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Overcome a negative funk with movement

Overcome a negative funk with movement

When life gives you lemons, how do you make lemonade?  Self-compassion and movement.  Nicole shares her story at 27 weeks pregnancy and how she overcomes her negative funk.  Learn simple tips for self-compassion and how to get moving toward feeling stronger and more supported in your body and health.

Get your head out of routine

Life can get pretty routine.  Which is nice because we don’t have to think too hard about things.

The problem is when we don’t think about things we aren’t engaging as much in our lives and we tend to stay on auto-pilot.

While at an athletic training symposium this week, I heard a talk on sport psychology from an ATC who works with elite athletes.  He mentioned that everyone has a super bowl they are training for.  When an athlete goes down with an ACL tear, their eyes get fixed on getting back on the field, or winning a championship on a restored and healed leg.

We “regular folk” aren’t necessarily playing a competitive sport.  But we are in the game of life.

“The game of life has two participants, players and spectators.  Pick one.”
— unknown

Good athlete’s don’t get that way because they sat around thinking about it.  They got better and excelled because they took action on a daily basis with tenacity to fight for it.

How much have you side-lined your personal goals and dreams because of a nagging injury, or fear of putting yourself out there to accept a physical challenge?

There is always a way to find victory in your pursuit toward your own Super Bowl moment:  

1)   Get empowered: Find a way to get inspired and find hope again.  This step is one of the hardest, and yet in the end the most simple.  Say yes to taking the first step. You are capable.

2)   Fail:  There is no better way to get over your fear than to fail and realize you can get through it.  Failure is what helps you learn.  It’s not a weakness.

3)   Celebrate your milestones:  Find ways to reward yourself with the little things. Never miss an opportunity to find appreciation for progress.

4)   Surround yourself with the Positive: Constantly reinforce your positive thinking by finding people who will encourage you, listen to inspiring music or podcasts, or share your journey with social media as a way to document how far you are going and to get accountability to reach your finish line.

5)   Lean into the Magic: you have to be in constant touch with your hopes and dreams. Keep your vision and your super bowl moment top of mind by creating vision boards, putting pictures on your screen savers, talking and reading about it with whomever will listen.

“Capacity, audacity, and tenacity will take you to your mountaintop” –Robin Sharma, author of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari series.

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Your dreams and goals are worth pursuing.  If you need a helping hand to get started, give me a buzz and I will help you create your first action steps!

How to get More Healthy Proteins into your Diet

For the second time in the last 6 months, I am cooking 100% vegan for at least the hubs and me.  The first time I had to call it quits when I got super sick about 2 weeks into a 3-week program.  This time, I am going strong with 1-week left of an updated three-week program.

It has sincerely been awesome to eat more veggies, lentils, beans, and to cut back on meat and dairy.

If there is one surprise many of my clients have when they start taking a look at what could be holding them back in their diet is that they are typically low in getting in the daily recommended intake of proteins for their unique needs. 

When you are trying to increase energy, lose body fat, increase lean mass, or balance your hormones, one of the best things you can do is to get your protein intake up to an optimal level.

In case you don’t know how much protein you should be getting, the RDA recommends getting no less than .8 grams per kilogram body weight.  However, if you are highly physically active, over the age of 65, are attempting to lose weight, or are recovering from an injury, you will need more protein.   The exact amount is variable, but most nutrition experts agree that getting somewhere between 1.0-1.2 grams per kilogram is a good estimate.

You can calculate your protein intake needs using this calculator

And here is a list of my favorite veggie based proteins you too can start adding to your repertoire! Protein values are per single serving.

  • Tempeh: 16 grams in 3 oz
  • Red Lentils: 18 grams per cup
  • Split peas: 16 grams per cup
  • Northern Beans: 15 grams per cup
  • Kidney Beans: 15 grams per cup
  • Lima Beans: 15 grams per cup
  • Black Beans: 15 grams per cup
  • Garbanzo Beans: 14.5 grams per cup
  • Quinoa: 8 grams per cup
  • Pumpkin/squash seeds: 8.5 grams per ounce
  • Almonds: 6 grams per ounce
  • Hemp Seeds: 9 grams per ounce
  • Chia Seeds: 4.7 grams per ounce
  • Green Peas: 7.9 grams per cup
  • Spinach: 5.3 grams per cup
  • Squash: 5 grams per cup

For some awesome recipes that I love, you can check out Kris Carr’s site here.

I’d love to hear how you are using this list to make some additions or substitutions to your normal protein intake!  Send me your photos or recipe loves, and I will repost for all to share.

Using Routine to Dial Up your Workouts

After interviewing some the most successful people on the planet, experts know that the majority of these highly successful people have an intense dedication to movement and exercise.

They know what we know about the benefits of exercise, but they will dedicate time to make sure it gets done regardless of what else is on their plate.

Exercise improves memory, focus, our sense of organization and recall, sleep, and most importantly it improves our mood. 

So how do we get motivated to keep our workouts a top priority, especially when work and family life are already so full?

Routine.  Not just a schedule, but a ritual that makes the process of moving a part of our existence that we realize we cannot live without.

A world-class dancer, Twyla Tharp says it like this:

“I begin each day of my life with a ritual; I wake up at 5:30 A.M., put on my workout clothes, my leg warmers, my sweatshirts, and my hat. I walk outside my Manhattan home, hail a taxi, and tell the driver to take me to the Pumping Iron gym at 91st street and First Avenue, where I workout for two hours.

The ritual is not the stretching and weight training I put my body through each morning at the gym; the ritual is the cab. The moment I tell the driver where to go I have completed the ritual. 

It’s a simple act, but doing it the same way each morning habitualizes it — makes it repeatable, easy to do. It reduces the chance that I would skip it or do it differently. It is one more item in my arsenal of routines, and one less thing to think about.” – The Creative Habit

Twyla doesn’t always start out motivated.  She finds motivation once she has started her ritual.

James Clear, author of How to Be Motivated Every Day says,

 “The key to any good ritual is that it removes the need to make a decision.”

If you are struggling with consistency or motivation to workout, find a routine that gets you in motion.  Once you get started, more often than not you will experience that an object in motion will stay in motion. 

Meditate for 5 minutes; take 5 cleansing breaths, listen to the same song, sip on tea out of the same mug each day, do 20 jumping jacks. 

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The ritual doesn’t matter as much as what you decide it does for you to take away the question of whether or not to move forward.  As long as the answer is always yes after you complete the ritual, it is the right one.

Get creative and stick with your ritual for as long as it works for you.  Be sure to send us your ideas and rituals so we can learn from you too!

 

The best number to track to get fit

We have been coaxed into believing the scale is the highest measure of health and fitness.  But the scale fluctuates a ton depending on how much water you retain, what time of day you weigh in, how much fat vs. muscle you have on your body, your bone density and more.  It’s a pretty crappy way to evaluate whether you are actually getting more fit or not.

While I was vacationing in Mexico this past weekend, I jumped on a treadmill for my usual jaunt.  I started pushing the speed button and it was like I was floating.  Up and up the miles per hour went until I was gracefully moving at a 11.5 mile per hour pace.

Folks, that’s a 5:13 per mile pace, and the fastest I have ever run just one mile is 5:14. 

I kept this pace up for just under 40 minutes.  I felt like a BEAST.

Obviously, this treadmill was lying to me.

There’s comfort in knowing the numbers, right?  We want to be assured that what we are doing is working and that we have something concrete to prove that our invested time and energy has produced results.

There are many numbers we actually have control over.  Things like…

  • How many real push-ups or full pull-ups can you do
  • In what time can you run a mile around the track
  • How long can you hold a perfect plank
  • How many glasses of alcohol consumed in a week

The possibilities are endless.  But the number that matters the most is the number that resides in your heart. 

I am not saying to ignore the hard and fast, tangible proof, what I am saying is that we need to dig deeper.

The best number to track to get fit and improve your health is to use The Joy Scale

Yes, I know, I know, fitness is all about getting more physically strong, racking up a better VO2Max, holding that long yoga pose to improve your flexibility.  But the REAL end goal of doing these things is that they actually provide us with the capacity to live life more fully engaged.  Which is to say, that you are able to find deep joy in your day-to-day activities and being because you are getting stronger and connecting with your physical strengths.  Getting stronger helps us to sustain our energy and to act upon our passions so that deep joy bubbles up in us.

Are you workouts both bringing you joy and allowing you to open yourself up to more joy in your life overall? 

If not, here are some suggestions that can up your joy through movement:

  • Consistently workout whether you feel like it or not.
  • Listen to inspiring music while exercising.
  • Get curious about how much your body can actually do.  Push yourself to the outer boundaries to let it show you what you are capable of.
  • Surround yourself with people who encourage and uplift you during your movement.

Movement can reduce depression, it can clarify your mind, it can improve your immune system, and boost your confidence.

Of course it’s great if you can bust out push-ups, rock a deep squat, and run a 5 minute mile- but using movement to increase your joy is a wonderful motivator and method to make your whole life better.

And regardless of what that treadmill told me, I felt absolutely amazing running on my vacation.  Joy welled up in me in ways I don’t get from any other thing.

The number on the screen was irrelevant. 

Where do you find your joy in movement?

 

Emotions Can Make You Stronger

I adore author and speaker, Brené Brown.  This past weekend I had the incredible opportunity to attend her live event on Rising Strong as a Spiritual Practice

She has discovered some common traits in men and women who rise up after a fall.  These people include spirituality, among many other qualities, to get back up on their feet again.  They use their setback to make them even stronger in the end.

Have you had a setback in your life that you desperately want to turn into a comeback?

Me too.  But first, let’s talk about getting even.

This might be a simplistic example, but today my son punched his brother in the stomach. He did it because he was angry with him about something that had nothing to do with his brother- he was tired, hungry, and took his emotions out on his bro.

Not cool.

Brené talked in depth about how our emotions can literally be the key to our health.

Sadly most of us can only own or identify about three emotions when we are faced with circumstances that light us up (good or bad).  However, in order to be emotionally healthy and deal with our feelings, we need to be able to tap into the full range of thirty emotions possibly stirring in us.

That’s a big gap of missed connection.  While my son is still only four years old, wouldn’t it be great if he could instead express what he was feeling instead of abusing his body and those around him to get out his emotions??

Because emotions are expressed IN THE BODY.

Emotions are feelings.  We FEEL first in the body and then the mind interprets what is going on.  When a cop turns on his lights behind you, you heart begins to pound, you get sweaty palms, your thoughts start to race, and you grip the steering wheel tighter.

The faster we can put an accurate label on our feelings the quicker we can address our needs and deal with them.  Or pull over and actually find what we need.

It’s paralyzing to deal with the same setbacks all the time.  No one wants to stay in a place of defeat, hopelessness, fear, shame, or frustration.

We were born to use our strengths in this world.  So why let our emotions hold us back?

The more we stop to pay attention to our bodies, the more we can actually tap in to what we are feeling. 

The more we move the less likely we will be depressed and the more we will actually toughen our brain so that stress has less of an impact on us.

That’s right, there’s a biochemical reason that exercise will help you reduce your urge to punch people. Which is at least good news for my family. (Journal of Neuroscience, 2011)

Want to increase your grit and resiliency so that you can rise up after a fall in your life?

Take these 2 first steps:

  1. Stop and figure out what you are feeling when you are triggered by observing what is going on in your body.
  2. Once you know what you are feeling, get beyond the emotion by moving it through you. Choose a form of activity that feels right to express yourself (without hurting others).  Write down what thoughts and emotions come up for you or talk through it out loud while you are moving.  I promise you this is the best form of free therapy I have ever experienced.

When you can express yourself and own your emotions, you are liberated from the junk that holds you back- or from having to sit in time out. 

Proverbs 4:23 reads: “Above all else guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” 

If you want to get stronger, don’t wait until you feel like it, or until you’re ready. 

Movement will ignite the power in your heart to keep going.

 

 

 

The thing that kills motivation

Motivation is the driving force behind everything we do. 

It’s your “why”.

Most often our motivation is tied to a fear of failure, a fear of disappointment, a hope of increased joy and satisfaction, or our innate desire to accomplish a purpose-filled life.

In any case, having ample motivation is important if you want to make a change in your life - especially when you aren’t particularly in the mood to push past your comfort zone.

Passion is not what gives you bliss, but what you’re willing to suffer for, what you genuinely believe to be worth the exercise.
— ―Justine Musk

When you get really clear on what motivates you the “why” overcomes the suffering and makes taking more painful steps a little easier. 

But what about when you get stuck and can’t seem to find your will?

The silent killer that destroys our ability to focus on positive growth and change is Envy.

Coveting what someone else has will always leave you feeling like you are not enough, that your life somehow has less meaning, or that everything you do doesn’t measure up- so why bother anyway??

In our world of social media and sexualized images everywhere we turn it’s easy to find plenty of things that induce a state of envy, especially when it comes to how easily so-and-so lost 10 pounds, or how “x” diet is the new miracle, or how someone just finished their 5th marathon.

Of course, these are certainly inspiring and motivating stories, but let’s be honest…sometimes it can really make us feel like we have a long way to go, or get us wondering “what’s wrong with me” or “I wish I could do that!”.

The cure to envy is to celebrate.  Celebrate every single tiny step you have made to advance your health forward.  Celebrate other people for every single little breakthrough they have.  Tell people they inspire you and get curious about what they are doing! 

You can’t afford to lose your motivation.  The world longs to have you fully alive and sharing your gifts from a state of strength and health.

So write yourself a love letter of encouragement, call a friend to ask her what she is doing to look so buff these days- and then set your gaze on a tiny step you can take forward today that gives you pride. 

Of if you really want the accountability to stay out of envy mode so you can make your body your strength rather than your excuse, then check out my new Monthly Online Health Coaching Membership I will hold your hand, cheer you on, and get you unstuck.

Then leave some comments below about what motivates you!

Baby steps for BIG results-- 7 tips from those who have succeeded

Most people fall into a few categories when they seek out a trainer, whether it's wanting to

  • feel stronger, more confident, or more able to tackle the big things of life,
  • rock that bikini or pair of jeans, 
  • o r stay fit enough to do what they love for work, family, or play without getting fatigued or injured.

Creating change takes guts, and there are plenty of success stories from those who have stepped up to the challenge. 

I've consistently asked clients from both the Restoring Strength 90 day program and my private practice what they have done that gave them their greatest success.

"Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be". ~ George A. Sheehan

What have successful clients done that gave them their greatest success?

Here’s your cliff notes to their stories:

“I finally reached a point where I simply couldn’t stay the way I was.  I gave up all my junk and ate the same healthy foods until I got bored or my body stopped losing weight, and then I would change to different foods.  And I walked, and walked, and walked.  Now, people don’t even recognize me I have lost so much weight” – C.L.

“Once I learned to listen to my body I could allow myself to work hard and then I ate as many veggies and protein as I could.  Once I cut out the extra carbs and treats, I felt so much better I couldn’t imagine going back to the way I used to feel.” – M.E.

“After a couple months of strength training, we started doing deadlifts, and I loved the way I felt.  Exercise is one of the few ways I can feel truly strong and I can apply that strength to my work.” – R.Z.

“I used to hide my slip-ups and feel so ashamed when I would “fall off the wagon”, but when I started sharing my set-backs with other people I could trust, I was able to get back on track so much faster” – C.L.

“My life was spinning so fast I didn’t think I could fit in health- or at least it seemed it would take our more than it would give back.  Boy, was I wrong.  After I committed to taking action, even when it was inconvenient or hard, everything started to click” –C.R.

“Every time I tried to get in shape in the past, I would drag myself to stuff I thought I had to do, or cut out as many calories as possible to force myself to suffer enough to lose weight.  Now I know that when I appreciate my body and love it for all it does and can do, I take pleasure in the things that have allowed me to stay fit.” – M.G.

“I had no idea how much my habits for eating and movement were tied to my emotions and my environment.  Now that I can separate my emotional need for food or my depression from my lack of desire to exercise, I can make more intentional decisions that support me in the end.” – E.H.

Rather than sit on the sidelines, take it from these clients- Doing something is better than doing nothing.

Need some motivation to workout?

Most clients who come to see me are hoping to ultimately lose weight.  Yet once that goal has been discussed, the deeper longing rises up, and what bubbles to the surface is a hunger for more energy and confidence.

Saturday, May 7th at 8am,  I am hosting a Restoring Strength hike at Marshall Mesa Trail in Boulder (I am keeping my fingers and toes crossed that the weather will be nice and the trail will be less muddy!) to energize your body with a little technique you can do every day, and to help you revive your “Fun Flair for Self-Care”.  The hike is about 3 miles, and I’ll be there with snacks and beverages to boost your self-care love while you get to walk some amazing Colorado ground with other inspiring women.  Don’t miss the fun. 

After 9 years in private practice as a personal trainer, and over 17 years working in health and wellness… I can tell you that it takes strength to get stronger. 

Weight loss isn’t easy for many people who lead busy lives and who are dealing with hormonal issues.  And isn’t that most of us?

What I see time and time again, is that the dividing factor between those who gain the energy they need to keep pursuing the habits that lead to weight loss, and those who give up, is the strength and resolve a person has to stick with their intentions.

So what’s the secret formula for keeping your mental strength and resolve?

3 Simple Beliefs:

  1.  A belief that you are capable of doing what is required.
  2. A belief that you are worthy of a positive outcome.
  3. A belief that the energy you create will be used to generate something good.

Inside of each of us is a well spring of child-like energy that stems from times before we held limiting beliefs.

Children don’t often care about the outcome, they care about having fun.

  • They get curious about how much they can lift at once. 

  • They dance around because they feel like it.

  • They sprint to entice you to a game of chase (because that’s a really fun way to feel loved).

So where can you find the spark of child-like energy to get you going and to resource when you need a little fuel to keep going?

It’s actually really really simple.  We just make it hard because we’re adults.

Play.

No matter how tired or un-motivated you are, to cure the blah's in your movement get curious about what feels like play to you. 

Balance on one foot, Strike a funny pose and hold it; See how far you can jump; dance around to a silly song.   The endorphins from the smiles and laughter alone will be worth the effort!

And if you are in need of some consistent energy to get the get-up-and-go desire for play, check out my "Consistent Energy to Strengthen Your Body" Video Series to learn how to rise up and move.

Finding Trust in your Body

Finding Trust in your Body

Your body is an incredible gift that will sustain you through all of life's trials.  And many of us hardly consider what is best for our body and health.  Your body is more than capable of supporting many of your greatest dreams if you consistently treat it with love, respect, nourishing foods, rest, and movement.  

When the Scale Won't Move

Doesn’t the sun beating on your skin feel so good this time of year?  If you are like me, you have caught a serious itch to move more and more with the longer days and awesome weather (even if it snows every now and then still!).

With increased activity and motivation, there’s an expectation that our efforts would lead to some degree of weight loss.  We use the scale as our judge and referee, expecting it to tell us if we are OK or if we are doing a good job.  When the scale doesn’t move, we painfully and harshly beat ourselves up and follow the thought pattern that everything we are doing isn’t working and that something in us is broken.

Working IN Movement

Working IN Movement

With the coming and going of 3 kids’ birthdays and a weekend of crazy tummy illness, I’ve felt a decent dose of anxiety over the past week.  

What have you had going on that’s made your feel like life is out of control?

These days, it doesn’t take much, right?

If you are working out and doing any sort of involvement in life at what tends to be an accepted pace then you are likely asking questions about how to avoid burnout.  

Time Under Tension

Time Under Tension

In the lifting world, well-known strength and conditioning researchers Charles Poliquin and Ian King popularized the concept of increasing time under tension during reps to increase the demand and build strength.  Simply put, the recommendation was to increase the time it took to do the eccentric (or lowering) part of an exercise, pause 1-2 seconds at the transition, and potentially lengthen the concentric (or contracting phase) of the movement.

Using Trapeze Moments to Fuel your Fit Life

A "trapeze moment" is a choice we make to let go of what we are hanging on to in order to have the metaphorical open hands to grab onto the opportunities we want.  It takes making decisions based on where we want to be, not on where we are right now.  And it can feel very risky since we don’t always have certainty that what we aim to grab on to will be there if we let go.

When was the last time you faced a big choice where you put all your faith into the promise of what would happen rather than the pain of letting go and staying the same?

Restoring Strength to Reset your Life

Having been a long-distance runner for nearly all of my life, it has surprised me how little respect cardio gets these days. Trust me, I love my cardio...but there are some downsides to cardio that can't be avoided.  While it has always been a great stress reliever in many ways in my life, research also shows that is creates lots of oxidative stress (which makes us age faster) and can be tough on the joints.  And I wouldn't want to forget that it also tends to be less effective as a fat loss tool for most of us than lifting weights. Why weights?