Archive for September 20, 2016

4 Reasons you NEED to work out (that have nothing to do with weight loss)

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Confession:  I really hate the whole ‘exercising to lose weight’ thing.  It’s, well, kind of boring.  And it’s also not long-term inspiring.

 

 

I get it, though—in the beginning the vast majority of us (who weren’t athletes in our youth) probably started exercising, aka: ‘working out,’ to lose weight.  I know I did!

 

 

 

When I first started working out and lifting weights with a structured plan in a for-real gym, it was between the my junior and senior years in college.  I wanted to look more like the other girls I knew, to be more slim and ‘toned.’  That was it.  That was my big motivation to exercise—just to be, well, skinnier.

 

 

 

 

To my surprise, a magic thing happened in the first 3 months of following this structured plan—I fell in love with the process.  Or, more accurately, I fell in love with lifting weights and more in love with running.  The time spent on cardio machines trying to ‘burn off the fat’ I could have done without (literally, it turns out—but that’s another story).

 

 

 

 

Since then, I’ve been up and down the scale a few times, been on dedicated plans and gone through phases where I’ve been completely off-plan, but for the past 10 years, I’ve been dead consistent.

 

 

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Yes, weight loss was often initially a motivating factor, but it’s not what’s brought me back to the gym, or gotten me out on the road, or busting out my loop bands at home week after week.

 

 

 

What’s kept me moving consistently through lifestyle changes, pregnancies, illnesses, surgeries and other adversities are the following 4 reasons.  These reasons are also why I’m wholeheartedly dedicated to getting other people just like you to start exercising, exercise more regularly, and keep exercising for life.

 

 

 

  1.  Exercising just plain makes us feel better.

 

 

 

I’m sure you’ve seen a tank, t-shirt or meme somewhere at one point that said, “You’re just one workout away from a good mood.”  Well, it’s not just some gym addict’s cute little slogan—it’s actually, physically true.

 

 

 

Exercise—physical movement in general—does put us in a better mood.  Our bodies are hard-wired to move, from the most primitive parts of our brains.   It started out as a survival mechanism, because we needed to find or hunt food to survive, so our brains were wired to create biochemical systems by which we could get food more easily.  Meaning, our brains were wired to give our bodies what they need to move, chemically and hormonally, so that the body could get the fuel the brain needed to survive.

 

 

What this means for us now:  our brains have created system by which we feel better and have ‘happy’ chemicals and hormones released when we move and exercise.

 

 

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Just this one benefit alone has kept me working out consistently—even, and especially, on the days I DIDN’T feel like working out AT ALL.  I know I will feel better afterwards, so it’s always worth putting in the 10 to 60 minutes of effort that day.

 

 

 

Like today.  I didn’t really want to workout.   Having a glass of wine and kicking up my feet sounded way better!  BUT I knew I would feel better afterwards…so I worked out.  Then I felt better—not like ‘over-the-moon’ estatic, but in a calmer, happier state of mind.

 

 

 

Those workout efforts don’t need to be intense to work for us:  it can be as simple as taking a walk outdoors for 5-10 minutes, or getting down on the floor and doing some planking, or glute bridging for 5-10 minutes.  Even the shorter workouts give us those ‘feel better’ benefits.

 

 

 

We just have to move a bit to get that ‘feel better’ side effect.

 

 

 

2. Exercise increases brain activity and improves academic performance.

 

 

 

Thank you, evolution!  Because of the way our brains are wired, after we’ve exercised, our thinking abilities become enhanced.  Due to the chemicals released in the brain and the effects on the learning and memory centers of the brain, we are primed to be able to think more clearly, creatively and quickly after exercising.

 

 

 

I know after I’ve worked out—especially after workouts that combined something that elevated my heart rate and required some skill to do (movements where I had to concentrate on balance or direction)—I feel my ‘smartest,’ and solving problems, writing programs, and communicating with others just ‘flows.’

 

 

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Other times, when I haven’t moved for much of the day, thinking through a complex idea, or understanding what I’m reading, or even giving my kids good reasons why they should or shouldn’t be doing something just feels HARD.  It’s like having cotton in my brain.

 

But if I move a little—take the dog for a walk, or crank out a few squats or push ups or lunges, the mental fog lifts and I’m able to get things done way more easily.

 

 

 

 

Who doesn’t love being able to do more in less time with less mental struggle?

 

 

 

3.  Exercise helps us manage our stress (and minimize distress).

 

 

 

To build muscle, we have to stress it—in a reasonable amount.  This then promotes a repairing response by the body, where the muscle tissue  is rebuilt to be stronger when allowed adequate time to recover without more stress.  Too much stress, and we create sprains and strains.  Too little stress, no muscle growth.

 

 

 

Same with our brains and our neural plasticity!  With regular, but appropriate stress—the kind we apply to our bodies through exercise,  we condition our brain and nervous system to handle stress better and to recover better from episodes of stress.  Over time, we also improve our threshold for stress, too—it takes more stress to provoke a stress reaction, and our bodies learn how to recover more quickly instead of staying in that stressed condition.

 

 

 

“The great thing about exercise is that it fires up the recovery process in our muscles and neurons.  It leaves our bodies and minds stronger and more resilient, better able to handle future challenges, to think on our feet and adapt more easily.”

 

 

John H. Ratey, Spark: The revolutionary new science of exercise and the mind

 

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Bottom line:  regular exercise improves our ability to deal with stress and raises our stress threshold (it takes more to stress us out than it used to!).

 

 

4.  Exercising adds to our ‘I can do this’-ness

 

 

 

Let’s face it, life is full of things we can’t change, that we wish were different, and we can often feel blown about by life’s circumstances.  And while we may not have control over what happens at work, or in our family, or amongst our friends, or where the army moves us, we can control one thing:  our choices.

 

 

 

When we choose to exercise, especially consistently, we choose to help ourselves feel better, think better and manage stress better.  We prove to ourselves, one choice at a time, one workout at a time, that we can do this.

 

 

 

Through consistently choosing to move our bodies, to do our PT/rehabilitative exercises, or go for runs, or show up to class, or go lift some weights, or take a walk, or get down on the floor and do some ab and glute work, we choose to take a little control over our own destiny—to influence the outcome a bit in our own favor.

 

 

 

When we keep ‘showing up and doing the work’ day after day, week after week, we prove something to ourselves; we prove that we can do this.  We prove that we have the ability to withstand, to overcome, to get better ‘in spite of’ our circumstances.  The more we choose to get up and move (even when we really don’t feel like it!), the more we prove that we are strong, resilient, capable people who choose to do good things for ourselves and grow in our strengths and abilities instead of shrink in the face of challenge.

 

 

“The more we do, the more we CAN do.”

 

 

 

We just have to get started DOING!

 

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If you’re in need of a little extra ‘nudge’ to get moving consistently, want more real-life-doable and effective workout ideas, and are looking for a supportive community to help get you on track and keep you there, check out the Elevate with Kate FB community!

 

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/elevatewithkate/

 

 

“Get Strong, Be Strong, Stay Strong.”

 

 

Our Mission: To create a supportive community of women who raise each other up as we actively pursue becoming our best selves, both in and out of the gym.

 

 

We are a community of women who strive to better our health, as well as our physical and mental fitness, with the goal of living fulfilling and satisfying lives.

 

Come check it out!  https://www.facebook.com/groups/elevatewithkate/

#beyourbestyou

 

Why adding MORE gets you results.

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So you got off-track.

 

Your best intentions for getting or staying on a regular exercise schedule didn’t pan out.

 

Maybe your ‘I’m going to start eating better’ plan didn’t come to fruition.

 

And you might be feeling a little disappointed, maybe a little lethargic, maybe a lot unmotivated.

 

What do you do now?  

 

Go on some crazy, extreme ‘quick fix’ to get yourself ‘right’ again? Throw out the baby with the bathwater in the process, while you throw yourself headlong into a massive diet-and-exercise overhaul…only to have it all backslide after 3 weeks of ‘being good’ and ‘on-plan’?

 

Or….

 

Or maybe you start over, TODAY, with just ONE small change that’s pointing you in a healthier, happier direction.

 

One small improvement you can make each day: a ‘plus ONE’ approach.

 

Now, making one small change might sound, well, kind of insignificant, or maybe even a little wimpy. It’s not the grand, brag-worthy, intense, restrictive, grueling ‘fix’ that you can tell everyone you’re toughing it out through.

 

Then again, how long would that grueling, Herculean effort actually last? In my personal and professional experience, about 3 weeks. Sometimes 4, but that’s pretty generous. And it inevitably leads back to square one, in a hurry, with the extra mental baggage of having ‘failed’ once again.

 

So instead of trying to ‘right the ship’ all in one fell swoop, maybe using a more reasonable, realistic and just plain long-term effective approach, like the Plus ONE approach, is a better way to go right now!

 

Here’s the deal:
** +1 is always greater than zero
**  +’everything all at once’ can only be a painful sprint effort at best (meaning it can only last a short time)

 

 

But Plus ONE? Plus 1 is do-able. It’s a small win, a consistent measureable sign of doing better that we can handle, that we can stick with, that we can feel proud of.

 

So what does this Plus 1 approach look like in real life?

 

 

It might depend on what your biggest challenges are currently, or what’s the easiest thing for you to tackle right away—because taking action is key to making this kind of approach work. It might be something that you are super confident you can do consistently right now.

 

Possibilities, based on the challenges I regularly hear my clients and readers face, could include:

 

  • drinking one more glass of water each day
  • changing their after-dinner snack
  • adding in just one more serving of veggies each day
  • adding in just 10 minutes of movement to each day
  • adding in one strength training workout per week
  • adding a short walk to the after-dinner ritual
  • adding one serving of protein to breakfast (or lunch, or dinner…)

 

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Notice it’s ALL about ADDING 1 thing IN, as opposed to taking things out, excluding or restricting or avoiding.

 

 

It’s about making workable additions and ‘crowding out’ old behaviors with new ones—because our brains aren’t wired to ditch old patterns of behavior (kind of inconvenient, I know), but they ARE wired to learn new patterns of behavior, and when these patterns are repeated many times over time, they become the ‘new normal.’

 

 

That’s why consistency is such a big deal—and engaging in small, easily repeatable behaviors is so much more effective in creating the habits we want to have so that we can lead the kind of life we desire to lead.

 

 

It’s like what Tony Robbins says, “In essence, if we want to direct our lives, we must take control of our consistent actions. It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently.”

 

 

Extremes, by nature aren’t sustainable. Plus 1? Those we can do every day.

 

And when the first Plus 1 becomes normal—just a regular part of daily real life, then you get to Plus 1 another thing. By ‘plussing up’ regularly and consistently, you will effect massive change over time—on your mind, your body and your life.

 

Give the Plus 1 approach a shot TODAY!

 

Remember to think about ONE thing that either challenges you the most right now, or is the easiest to act on right now, or one positive change you are super confident you can do and stick with right NOW.

 

Maybe one of the suggestions above can be a great place for you to start! Whatever it is, take action—don’t wait or hesitate. Because it’s what we DO consistently that shapes our lives.

 

What are you waiting for? 🙂

 

 

To help you get even more consistent with healthier, more helpful choices, I’ve created the FREE Back to YOU Boot Camp 7-Day Challenge.

 

Now that the kids are back to school, vacations and summer holidays are behind us, it’s time to get back to focusing on YOU.

 

Back to YOU 2

 

Get back into the swing of things and start building back up those consistent exercise and healthier eating habits with the FREE 7-day “Back to You Boot Camp” challenge!

 

What it is:

 

The FREE Back to You Boot Camp Challenge is a 7-day workout and healthier eating ‘reset’ challenge, designed to help you get back to working out more consistently, eating a little better, and feeling like your best you all over again.

Through 7 days of 30-minute or less workouts, daily nutrition mini-challenges, and motivation-boosters, we’ll create ‘inertia-based motivation’ that will keep you moving long after the 7 days are over—because bodies in motion tend to stay in motion (just ask Einstein).

 

 

Head on over to the official B2YBC page by clicking the link here to get all the details and get signed up! The challenge starts September 6, so you have plenty of time to commit yourself and get ready to rock out 7 days of consistent workouts and fun daily nutrition mini-challenges.

 

It’s FREE, fun, and full of support from both me and a whole community of positive, dynamic women!

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But don’t wait too long to sign up!!

 

Registration closes TONIGHT at midnight!!

 

Keep ‘plussing up’ and I’ll talk to you soon 🙂

 

Kate