Archive for October 21, 2015

Why get smaller? Workout to be MORE.

I work out to be MORE of myself, not less.

Day before yesterday, I had a conversation about what my deepest fitness beliefs are.


It was a little hard to put them all in words at that moment, but there are a few primary, cornerstone beliefs that guide my own fitness and how I train and coach others.


One of those primary beliefs that came to mind first was that I believe in working out to be more of oneself, not less.


I know that can sound weird at first, because we’re so socially programmed (especially as women) to exercise to make less of ourselves in terms of size, weight and body fat.


The objective is always to get smaller in some way.


Now, I’m not saying ‘hey get out there and get as BIG as you can’ instead (unless that’s your thing, then by all means, do!).


I’m saying that maybe if we shift our attitude towards the purpose of exercise in our lives, we will be happier with our bodies, our selves and our lives.


I’m saying that using exercise to grow into more of our human potential, into more of our best selves–the strongest, most capable, most courageous, whole-hearted, inspirational versions of our selves can be SO much more fulfilling, while STILL yielding those aesthetic results we seek.


It’s not an ‘either-or’ prospect: the goals of growing stronger, becoming more AND changing one’s body composition are mutually agreeable.


My bottom line: life is fuller and better when we approach exercise and fitness with a growth mentality full of joy and hope, rather than with a ‘shrink’ mentality full of fear and dissatisfaction.


It’s why I say: Work out to be MORE of your self, not less.


Compliments: The Key to Better Body Image


Struggling a little with feeling positive about your body?



Have a hard time accepting compliments or thinking well of your body/body parts?



Lots of us do.




One cool practice/mindset shift that has helped me move from picking at my body’s ‘imperfections’ and moving to a place of improved body image and acceptance isn’t about how we view our own bodies at all.



At least not in the beginning ūüėČ



A couple of years ago, I started a practice of thinking more kindly towards and about the people I came into contact with each day.



I think it started with my clients, seeing the beauty, gifts and strengths their bodies possessed that so often they weren’t able to see–at least in the beginning.



Whether it was a great pair of calf muscles, or string shoulders, or hourglass figure, or bright eyes or huge smile, I would notice and name it, to myself AND them.



This carried over into continuing this practice in the general public.



Instead of noticing what someone ‘needed to work on,’ as I had in past years, I would find something beautiful or positive about them: broad shoulders, gorgeous hair, a kind voice….



The immediate result was that I was much nicer and more relaxed running errands, standing in line, etc.



The less obvious outcome (which took me a while to notice myself!) was that I began to think more kindly towards my own body–appreciating its strengths and gifts and paying less attention to (and being more forgiving of) its flaws.



I even started complimenting myself (in my head, anyway) on things like the shape and strength of my legs rather than fixate on the fat and cellulite on my thighs.




I see it’s there–I just don’t give it importance.

The attributes totally outweigh the ‘imperfections.’




Whoa. Who knew being kinder and more accepting of others would cause me to be more kind to and accepting of myself??



I didn’t–at least in the beginning. But I now know that it really works.


If you’re struggling with your own body image, or body appreciation, give this¬†a shot:

–>Find the strengths and beauty in those around you throughout the day. Name their attributes. Tell them if you’re up to it!

–>Keep practicing body appreciation with others, and attribute-naming. Make it a habit–a natural reflex.

–>Then try the same practice with yourself. Notice one positive thing about your body and your person. Name it. Compliment yourself–even if it’s just in your own head ūüėČ


Finding the strong, positive and beautiful in others just might be the key to you being better able to find it in yourself.





Trainer Tip Tuesday: Make your warm up work for YOU.


It’s Trainer Tip Tuesday!


This week’s tip: make your warm ups work for YOU.


Once upon a time, my warm ups consisted of a few minutes walking on a treadmill or pedaling on an elliptical–and that’s what I recommended my clients did for their warm-ups, too!

Then I learned better and started doing better.

A warm up isn’t just for the purpose of ‘warming up’ and elevating the heart rate to prepare the body for some extra exertion.

  • The purpose of a warm up is also to prepare the joints that are going to be moving more, and get them releasing more synovial fluid to ‘grease’ the joint and make all that extra movement more comfortable.
  • The purpose of a warm up is also to prep the muscles, tendons and ligaments involved that will be involved in your workout, to get them a little more ‘bendy and flexy’ as I like to put it.
  • But one of the purposes that gets overlooked sometimes is the prepping of the brain that is super important to the quality of one’s workout. It’s two-fold: first, you’re prepping your neuromuscular system to react and respond better AND you’re also setting your conscious intent for your workout–taking a moment to set goals, envision your success and become more present in your body.



Mindless walking on the treadmill doesn’t effectively accomplish these things!

What does is a series of movements that mimic the movements you’ll be engaging in during your workout–often called a dynamic movement warm up.


There are about a million different variations you can do, because the movements you choose are specific to your needs!


BUT it’s always a great idea to include exercises that take you through the major movement patterns (push, pull, rotate, hip hinge, squat) and get all the major joints of the body moving, too–ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, elbows and wrists.


During these dynamic movement warm ups, you’ll have the opportunity to start noticing how the different parts of your body feel and start dialing in your mindfulness and turning off all the other busy thoughts of the day.


It’s also a great time to quietly review the elements of your coming workout in your mind, and set your intention for how hard you’ll be working, how smooth your movements will be and how you’ll achieve the success you seek by the end of your workout.


And who doesn’t want to walk away from their workout feeling satisfied and successful?!


One of my new favorite and TIME-SAVING dynamic movement warm ups is a combination of 5 elements that turns into a ‘flow’ warm up:

-Spiderman Lunges
-Hip Flexor activations
-Hamstring ‘stretches’
-Thoracic twists


Perform the sequence 3 to 5 times each side while dialing in your body awareness and setting your workout intention, and you have a super winning, effective and time-saving warm up.


Bottom line: Skip the treadmill/elliptical/bike warm up and up your workout mojo with a dynamic movement warm up! It’s win-win-win.

Trainer Tip Tuesday: The ‘Just-One-Rep’ Plan


It’s Trainer Tip Tuesday!

Today’s tip is a little mindset shift that can go a LONG ways for your confidence and strength development: take on your workout ONE REP at a time.


You’re probably saying ‘Duh, lady, heard that before and I have the t-shirt,’ but I mean it a little differently ūüôā


I’m going to make a little confession here before I illustrate my point: many of the exercises I do these days in my Kettlebell-CrossFit training are really challenging for me, and in all truthfulness, they kind of scare the crap out of me. Not because what I’m doing is inherently dangerous, but because I still work to quiet that little voice of doubt in my head that says ‘I don’t know if I can do this/can handle this.’


That doubt has overwhelmed me on many occasions, and threatens to from time to time still.


It has shut me down and caused me to say ‘I can’t’ before I’ve even tried.


There’s nothing quite as disappointing as going home thinking you really didn’t try your hardest/give it your all.


Eventually, I got sick of selling myself short all the time out of fear and doubt. But I still needed a thought process, a mantra, to help me think my way out of my fear and doubt.


I made a deal with myself: I would simply tackle each workout one rep at a time.


Instead of letting the workout as a whole overwhelm me, I would make myself fully present in and only aware of each repetition, and when I’d executed that rep, I’d allow myself to take on the next one.


And it worked.

I would be so focused in the execution of one rep at a time that three things would happen: a) I’d produce some really high-quality, full-effort reps, b) my fear would disappear, and c) my confidence in my own abilities skyrocketed. I was definitely on to something here.



If you’re someone who gets overwhelmed or intimidated by a workout or by certain exercises, try giving the ‘only one rep’ perspective a try.


Imagine that heinous exercise that seems to be your nemesis or just intimidates you.


Maybe it’s burpees, or back squats, or push ups, or pull ups, or barbell cleans or kettlebell snatches.


Imagine you’re supposed to do 5 or 10 or 15 or even 30 reps of that exercise. How do you feel when you hear you have to do THAT many of the exercise that torments or scares you?


Now imagine you only have to do one rep. One fantastically focused and gorgeous rep. How do you feel now?


I’m betting, if you’re anything like me, the second scenario was welcoming and relaxing, while the first scenario was more like having a large brick wall thrown in your path.


So if you’ve been intimidated by trying a new exercise, completing a tough workout, increasing the amount of weight you’ve been using for a particular exercise, or just plain testing yourself to see how many reps you can do (like with pull ups!), I suggest trying the ‘one rep mindset’ trick.


Buy fully into that one rep, show yourself you can do it, and keep buying in to each next rep until you’re hitting–then surpassing–your goals.


Think yourself stronger, action yourself forward.

You got this!

Sharpie yourself in.

scheduling for the win!

Remember the saying, “I’ll pencil you in”?


I always thought that was funny, because writing anything in pencil implies that it’s able to be easily erased–hello, math class!



While the actual act of ‘penciling’ someone in is probably on the decline due to automated calendars, reminders and alarms on all kinds of electronic devices, the saying is still out there–in certain circles at least ūüėČ


But it’s this saying that comes to mind when talking with clients, family and friends about ‘finding’ time to work out.


One of the first obstacles many people find where fitness matters are concerned is in the scheduling of their workouts.


It often seems like everything under the sun gets written into a schedule before any consideration of workout needs happens at all.  Which, of course, leaves very little reasonable opportunity to work in those workouts!


Notice I said ‘reasonable’ opportunities–not the odds and ends fragments of time left after you’ve plugged all your other variables into your day.¬†The likelihood of a workout happening at those moments tends to be pretty slim. ¬†Those are the ‘catch my breath’ moments!


Writing anything in pencil screams ‘indefinite’ to me. ¬†It can be erased and replaced so easily.


Which is why I adopted the saying, “SHARPIE yourself in.”


Ever try to erase something written in Sharpie? ¬†(I’m betting some of you parents have some interesting attempted-Sharpie-removal stories)


Yeah, that stuff’s not going anywhere–which is exactly my point.

When you write something in Sharpie, it’s not going anywhere–no erasing, no replacing.


Which brings me to you and your workouts–rather than penciling yourself into your schedule of responsibilities, work, family, household, community or otherwise, make your own fitness and wellness a priority and Sharpie your workouts into your daily and weekly schedules.


In my life, putting those workout plans first thing in the day is the best guarantee of a good outcome because there’s less likelihood of having to deal with outside interferences. ¬†But if your workout time is in the afternoon or evening, stick to your guns and really SHARPIE it into your day.


Each week, I sit down, usually on Sundays, and evaluate the week’s plans. ¬†Aside from the set-in-stone events: ¬†recurring school and sport stuff,¬†I won’t write anything else in my schedule until I’ve ‘sharpie-d’ in my own workouts.



After that, I’ll plot and plan in all the other household and business to-do’s, and most of these are flexible events that are much easier to fit in around my workouts than vice-versa.


*Quick side note: ¬†I work from home currently, and I totally acknowledge that if you have¬†office hours you’ll likely have¬†a different scheduling challenge than I do at the moment. ¬†The ‘Sharpie’ approach might be even more beneficial for you in building consistency and relieving stress :)*


Of course we know Plan A can sometimes fall¬†through, for whatever reason, so having your Plan B’s in your backpocket is necessary, too.


I’d liken this to ‘Sharpie-ing’ your backup plans into the margin under the ‘notes’ section of your calendar–it’s there for reference if you need it, preplanned and ready to go.


By getting in those workouts, you’ll physically feel better, be more productive, and be more consistent (which means feeling more successful), so carving out that time, making those plans¬†indelible¬†is the worth effort it might¬†take¬†to make it happen.


Make your own wellness, fitness and health a priority. ¬†Try the SHARPIE approach, either mentally or on paper, (if you’re ‘old school’ and have a day planner like me), and make your workout plans indelible.


Let me know how it works for you!

Talk to you soon,