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30 Days of Motivation: How Willing Are You?

There’s no question you WANT it.The question is how BAD do you want it. Because if you really, REALLY want it, you will do whatever it takes to get it. In my line of work, I hear a lot of people who say they “really want to lose weight”, they “really want to get healthy”, or they “really want to have a six-pack”. But, honestly, they don’t – because if they really did, they’d really follow up and really make it happen.

Sure, they’d PREFER to be thin, fit, healthier, leaner – but in order to actually get thin, fit, healthy and leaner, they have to do more than “prefer” it, they have to be willing to DO it. What are your actions saying about what you say you want?

how bad do you want it

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30 Days of Motivation: Don’t Let Your Weekends Get in the Way of Your Goal

weekendIt’s time to face another weekend! Will you erase all the hard work you put in this week, or will you protect it like you’d protect your most precious belonging?

So many people aren’t as protective over their weekday investment as they should be. They loosen the reins  – a little too much, only to find themselves regretful of the damage come Monday. If you are in the habit of sabotaging your weekend, here are some tips to help you stay on track.

5 Weekend Fitness Tips

1. Set your alarm. Just because it’s the weekend doesn’t mean you need to sleep in. If you really want to make the most of your day, start your day off right – and early. Get your workout out of the way and enjoy the rest of your day!

walk or run2. Plan one activity that requires you to be on your feet. For me, my 1 activity I’m planning to do is go to the Frog Leg Festival. Yes, you heard right! We are going to a nearby small town country-style festival to enjoy the some good old-fashioned festivities, which includes a lot of walking, shopping arts and crafts booths, and just enjoying the great weather.

3. Eat before you go out. If you want to eat well, plan ahead. For instance, we will eat a full meal before going to the Frog Leg Festival so the smell of funnel cakes won’t suck us in and tempt us to cheat. You can even do this before going out to dinner, or going to a party, so you can just nibble a little once you get there instead of be tempted to overeat.

cocktail4. Avoid alcohol. Many people blow a lot of calories on excessive drinking over the weekend. If you like to have a drink when socializing, trade it for a non-alcoholic beverage – or drink one water for every glass of alcohol to cut calories. Truth is, it wouldn’t kill you to completely go without, but if you are going to have one, keep track of the calories so you stay accountable and track your “damage”.

5. Beef up your cardio. If you know you’re going to fancy party or eating out, make room for the extra calories by getting some extra cardio in. Most people typically have more time over the weekend to exercise, but they are less likely to actually make the time. Fight the lazies and the temptation to feel like you “deserve the time off”. Working out is not work, it’s a luxury, and it makes you feel better – and THAT’s something you deserve!

Quick Weekend Blitz Workout:

Here is a quick cardio & abs blitz that Steve created for Designer Whey. Give it a try! Do it for time for the most intensity. 🙂

I will not erase my hard work

30 Days of Motivation: Fitness Isn’t a Job, It’s an Opportunity

out of breath exerciseHave you ever realized just how spoiled we are? We ALL are! We think we have it so rough. Busy schedules, poor economy, working hard for little money – and don’t even mention exercise and diet! But, in reality, Americans have it much easier than so many people in the world. Yet, we are so quick to complain when we experience even the slightest bit of discomfort because we only can see “our” world, and not reality.

Shortness of breath, burning muscles – and even a slightly cramped style from dieting, while everyone else is living it up around us, can make us feel deprived. Oh “bless your heart”, as all my southern friends say. God forbid you have to eat grilled chicken and steamed vegetables. “I pity the fool”! (Mr T should have been a trainer!)

Hard workoutIt’s really ridiculous that we let some of these common complaints get in the way of our goals. We could have it SO much worse! Yet, we complain just because our fitness makes our life just a little bit uncomfortable.

You want to know what’s not fair? People who don’t even have the luxury of the internet to read blogs like this one, or learn about workouts they could do in their mud hut. Or better yet, what’s not fair is they are just trying to fight to live another day while we fight to just look and feel better, probably living many more days than they could dream of.

We don’t HAVE to workout and eat healthy, we have the OPPORTUNITY to workout and eat healthy!

Next time you have an urge to complain, stop yourself, and think about how darn lucky you are that you CAN workout – even if it’s hard to squeeze it in your busy schedule, even if it hurts a little, and even if it’s tougher than you hoped. You have an opportunity to improve your health when many others aren’t so lucky.

getoverit & getafterit

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

30 Days of Motivation: Leave the Past in the Past

How many times have you heard someone talk about the past as if it still is the present? We do it all the time. Often times we pick fights with our spouse, and friends, based on things that happened YEARS ago – and we also do it to ourself. We think of all the times we fail and we let it affect our present, and ultimately our future.

It’s time to put the past behind us and set your sights on your goal. Because, honestly, it doesn’t matter where you’ve been, where you came from, and all the other many excuses of why you’ve had it rough and tough. What matters is where you are going – and you can only get there if you keep looking forward, and stop looking back.

2013 where youv'e been

30 Days of Motivation: Could I? Would I? Should I?

Live today so you never look back and say “I coulda, I woulda, I shoulda”. No Regrets! 

We’ve all done it – those moments we realize we coulda woulda shoulda. So, how can we improve? Next time we make a decision, we ask ourself “Could I? Would I? Should I?”

no regretsMaking NO Decision is Still Making A Decision

I think many of us are not making bad decisions as much as we are making NO decisions. If we stop to think about what we are doing, we typically know the right thing to do. However, most of the time, we rush into things, or live on the fly, without stopping to ask ourself  if we are making the best decision. Every time I ask myself “could I, would I, should I?”, I make MUCH better decisions – purposeful decisions, instead of impulse decisions.

Even the smallest decisions are decisions we can regret. From whether we should run or not (Spoiler Alert: The answer is almost always yes) or we should eat “this or that”, sometimes we just need to stop and really think about what we are doing. If we are honest with ourselves. We’ll make  more decisions we can be proud of and less decisions we regret. #GETAFTERIT

2013 no coulda woulda

 

30 Days of Motivation: 10 Ways to Easily Boost Your Fitness

One of the most popular excuses people come up with on why they don’t exercise is because they don’t have time, but what if I told you you could exercise during normal daily activities? Well, you can!

Here are 10 ways to incorporate exercise in your normal daily routine. 

shaving legs1. Bend: Stretch your hamstrings when you shave your legs (women) and put on your socks and shoes. Instead of bending your legs, bend at the hips, stretching your hamstring each time you need to reach your legs or feet. Do 3 sets of 30 second stretches when you are finished.

2. Move: Stand and walk around when you talk on the phone, instead of sitting in a chair.

3. Squat: Hover over the toilet, instead of sitting down, to strengthen your leg muscles (a great one to prepare you for dirty toilets!).

4. Squeeze: Hold your abs tight and do mini-crunches at every stop light. To make sure you are doing it right, place your hand over your stomach, fingers laying across your lower abdomen, thumb over your belly button. As you tighten your abs, you should feel your stomach tighten and flatten. Try to hold that position as for the entire light. Add pulses (mini-crunches) to boost intensity.

flexing biceps5. Flex: Hold groceries, or bags, like a dumbbell. Hold them in a static (isometric) bicep curl contraction, flexing your biceps, instead of holding them straight down by your side. This forces the weight onto your muscles instead of the weight of your bags just hanging off the bones. Muscles get stimulated (and pumped) and you get a boost of energy.

6. Fix: Correct your posture every time you get a text. Feet flat on the ground, pelvis tilted forward (so your bottom sticks out a bit), shoulders are rolled back, and head is aligned with your shoulders (no forward head). As often as we get texts, this should drastically help reduce neck, shoulder and back pain due to poor posture.

stretch your neck7. Stretch: Stretch your neck and chest every time you end a phone call. We all need a trigger to remind us to stretch through out the day. By choosing a regular occurance, like a phone call or email, you can get in the habit of stretching more often – and prevent neck injury or posture related neck pain.

8. Pump: Pump out a bunch of air squats while you are waiting for your food to heat up in the microwave. Most people stare at the microwave, or do nothing, while they wait. Boost your energy by boosting activity when you wait for mundane tasks like waiting to nuke your food.

walking parking lot9. Walk: Power walk from your parking space to your destination. Most people mosey across the lot. Don’t be THAT person. Walk with purpose and drive. You’ll not only get out of other drivers’ way, but you’ll get a boost of energy in the process.

10. Exercise: Do at least one exercise during each commercial break while you zip through commercials (yes, even you Ti-Vo people). Sit-sup, push-ups, plank, crunches, squats or lunges are all great exercises to tone your body during a time we are bored anyway. Why not get fit during the Jenny Craig commercial!

In today’s busy world, we have to get creative to get active! This is YOUR year!

2013 MOVE

Oops I Did It Again!

Every Christmas Steve and I allow ourselves to go off our diet for a period of time and indulge in some of our favorite Holiday treats. And, every year, I wake up the day after Christmas surprised at my growing belly. Why I’m surprised, I have no clue. I ate enough to kill someone and deserve to look 4 months pregnant. Ha! But, now it’s time to get after it and get back to a healthy routine of working out more regularly and eating healthy SMALL portions again.

Here is a vlog I did the day after Christmas last year. All the feelings and tips are just as applicable today, so I thought I’d share them with you once again. 🙂

Let’s make 2013 the BEST YEAR YET!

Monday Motivation: No Regrets

no regrets

If you want to reach your goals, you have to change your thinking. What do I mean? I mean, instead of doing what you want to do now, think ahead of where you are going and work backwards. You can’t always make decisions based on what is right in front of you. You have to look ahead and project the repercussions. Then, you can make a decision based on the projected result.

Depression EatingToo often we do what feels good now, but what feels good now often times has a horrible result. Being lazy feels good. Eating a cookie tastes good. Skipping a workout on a bad day is tempting. Blowing your diet when you are depressed can be comforting. All of these feel goof for the moment. But the fact is, those temporary pleasures are just that – temporary. How will they leave you feeling afterwards? If you thought you were depressed before you eat a half gallon of ice cream, how do you think you’ll feel after you eat the ice cream? THAT, my friend, is the reality.

Tomorrow most likely will come, so if you really want to make good decisions TODAY, you need to think how those decisions will affect your TOMORROW.

No regrets! #GetAfterIt

 

50 Shades of [Athletic] Grey

Before I even begin, I must confess I have not read this book. I have no idea if there is any reference to the actual greyscale. Now, with that in mind, hold on to your panties – because I’m about to get down and dirty – about fitness that is! 😉

The fitness industry often bounces back and forth between two extremes – black or white. Like we’ve seen in politics, fitness is often either extreme right or extreme left. People preach fitness is very easy or ridiculously hard. I think we need more grey!

Black & White

Back in the 80s, fitness gadgets and programs were always marketed as fun, easy workouts – rarely showing someone even breaking a sweat. It’s like they thought they could fool people into getting fit. But no matter how easy the fitness model made it look on TV, sooner or later the person was going to figure out it took work.

Then came Biggest Loser and P90x where extreme measures were exploited, making people believe they weren’t working out unless they were jumping 4 feet in the air one hour straight. Drill sergeant trainers, yelling in your face, stole the show – and people wanted the Jillian Michaels experience, so they too could be “forced” to workout and get results. The major difference between the two extremes was the message. One tried to attract the fat and lazy crowd, and the other tried to attract the fat and desperate I’ll-try-anything crowd. But what about everyone else?

The Danger of Pale Grey 

I personally think everyone fell into the pale grey aera. Even with extreme fitness being more more accepted, most mainstream magazines and brands continue to lean toward the gentle nudge “pale grey” approach, in an attempt to make people feel better about making very little effort. Many writers mislead readers by promoting basically anything, but sitting, as a fitness routine – and people believe it. I guess headlines like “get off your fat butt” doesn’t sell. Maybe we need a clearer message because, in a recent diabetes study, data showed only 3.5 percent of Americans between 18 and 59 did the minimum amount of physical activity recommended by the Department of Health and Human Services. Mediocre message might just make a mediocre impact.  I think we need more honest headlines, honest advertising and real hard facts, but the truth hurts.

People want to believe they are doing everything right. People don’t like hearing that they need to workout harder or that they need to improve. Most people think that doing anything is good enough – and while it’s better than nothing, that doesn’t mean it’s the answer.

50 Shades of White

When it comes to painting a room, most people will gravitate to neutral colors. White, off white, antique white, linen white, smokey white are for people afraid of commitment. When you choose an actual color, you have to stick to decorating around that color. It takes a lot of thought and requires some level of commitment. The same goes with fitness. Like bold colors, bold fitness makes the biggest impact. The problem is, people are often too afraid of failure to commit. So they play it safe, choosing a “white” workout that’s not too difficult, not too scary, not too risky, and that doesn’t require too much of a commitment. As a result, they don’t get the impact they hoped.

The New York Times recently did an article on Updating the Message to Get Americans Moving. In the article, the director of the psychology laboratory at the University of Georgia, Rod Dishman, said he was annoyed when students enrolled in walking classes, boldly saying “It is a sin for a healthy, capable young adult to enroll in a walking class. It is obscene. What they are getting credit for is avoiding making any effort.”

I’m sure none of the students felt that way. However, I totally understand the director’s point of view. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not knocking walking and I realize his words are harsh. Walking may be someone’s only option. I’m trying to encourage people to realize that even an out-of-shape body is typically capable of so much more – and I’m sure the majority of his students could have done more too.

A New Start

Instead of choosing a program based on what someone is willing to do, maybe they should look at fitness from the finishline instead of the starting place. What do I mean? I mean, a person should base their activity on their goals. For most people, fitness is about being physically fit and at a healthy weight. When it comes to weight loss and making drastic changes, it’s not enough just to move – you must move purposefully.

So, what shade of grey are you? Now THAT’s a good question. You may not only pick only one “shade” or training style. Of matter of fact, I’m a firm believer in variety. Whatever you choose, you should have an idea of where that exercise falls on the fitness greyscale.

Here’s a simple chart I created of various popular activity, and the approximate calories burned. In order to get a real understanding of calorie burned, note that sitting on a computer burns approximately 100 calories per hour, so you can subtract 100 from the calories burned during exercise to reflect INCREASED activity. Also, please realize these are generalities only.

The Fitness Greyscale

White: (130lbs: 100-200 calories/hour. 200lbs: 200-300 calories/hour.)
Walking 2mph
Stationary Bike, no resistance

Mild Stretching

Light Grey:
(130lbs 200-300 calories/hour. 200lbs: 300-400 calories/hour.)

Walking 3mph
Elliptical, light pace/resistance
Stationary Bike, light resistance/pace
Swimming
Tai Chi
Weight Training, light weight with moderate rest
Seated Exercise Class
Bicycle, less than 10mph
Light Calisthenics 
Golf

Grey:
(130lbs: 300-400 calories/hour. 200LB: 400-500 calories/hour)

Power Walking 4mph
Elliptical, moderate pace/resistance
Jogging (12-min mile)
Low Impact Aerobics
Body Toning Class
Weight Training, light weight with little rest
Weight Training, moderate weight with moderate rest
Weight Training, heavy weight with ample rest
Beginner Yoga or Pilates
Water Aerobics
Zumba
Stationary Bike with Moderate Resistance/Pace
Swimming Laps
Moderate Bodyweight Exercises
Cycling 10-15mph
Moderate Calisthenics 
Stepper
Rowing, moderate
Tennis

Dark Grey:
(400-500 calories/hour. 200LB: 500-600 calories/hour.)

High Impact Aerobics
Kickboxing
Spinning
Running
Advanced Zumba 
Power Yoga
Circuit Training
Weight Training, moderate weight, with little to no rest
Weight Training, heavy weight with little rest
Vigorous Calisthenics 
Jump Rope
Cycling 20mph
Gauntlet Stair Machine
HIIT
Boxing
Rowing, vigorous

Black:
(130lbs: 500-600 calories/hour. 200LB: 600-700 calories/hour)

Sprinting
BCx Boot Camp
P90x
CrossFit
Insanity
Sports Conditioning
Olympic Lifting
Plyometrics
Tabata 

Get Ready for the Holidays & Help Someone Get Fit: 

Read my fitness gift guide: Top 25 Fitness Gifts for Your Fit Friends

Will Run for Mexican Food: Why Dangling the Tortilla Chip Works

Motivated to Run
We all have our reasons for running. Some people run for their cardiovascular health, some run for weight loss, some run for stress relief, and others run to eat or drink. Let’s face it, most people run to make more room for calories (or to burn already eaten calories) – so they can eat what they want without getting ridiculously overweight.

Although I can honestly say I don’t run just so I can have Mexican, I’d run a little extra if I know Mexican Food is in my future. I love me some chips and salsa – so much so, I’d run a few extra miles to get it and not feel bad about eating it.

Dangle the Carrot Tortilla Chip
We all have goals, and we have to have them so we can focus on the the reward. But it’s two-fold. Often times our goal IS our reward. For many fitness people, the goal is to look good – and so is the reward. At the same time, our goal should be to feel good too – you should feel good once you’ve reached your goal, and you need to feel good along the way. Part of feeling good is not feeling deprived. You’ll never be successful if you are miserable. And, just like we save up our money for the things we want, we should save up our calories for foods we want so we can enjoy our fitness lifestyle along the way to success.

In order to do this successfully, we need to “shop” (eat) wisely, so we don’t overdo it. Many times we work very hard so we can cheat on the weekend, but have no idea the real damage we do when we go off our diet. If you can keep tabs on your cheat meals, it may be exactly what you need mentally to motivate you to keep working out.

On the Border? Or Over the Edge?

I would have to run 20 miles to afford to eat one basket of chips and salsa, Steak Fajitas and one drink.

In order for you to make sure you aren’t going overboard on calories, here are a few popular dishes from the popular Mexican Food Chain, On the Border. As you look at the calories, think about how long it would take to run, or walk, them off – typically, about 1 mile per 100 calories.

Appetizers:
One serving of Chips & Salsa: 430 calories
The Border Sampler: 2060 calories
Steak Fajita Quesadillas: 1210 calories
Steak Fajita Nachos: 1450 calories
Queso without Chips: 430 calories

Salads:
Chicken Fajita Salad with Smoked Jalapeno Vinaigrette, 960 calories
Taco Salad with Chipotle Honey Mustard Dressing, 1600 calories

Popular Meals:
Steak Fajitas, 1495 calories
Dos XX® Fish Tacos w/ Creamy Red Chile Sauce, 1950 calories
Southwest Chicken Tacos w/ Creamy Red Chile Sauce, 1280 calories
Street-Style Mini Chicken Tacos (with rice, without beans), 890 calories
Enchilada Suizas (with rice, without beans), 1000 calories
Classic Chimichanga Chicken w/o Sauce, 1300 calories
Big Steak Bordurrito w/ Side Salad w/o Dressing, 1750 calories

Dessert:
Sopapillas, 1340 calories
Sizzling Apple Crisp, 1120 calories
Border Brownie Sundae w/ Vanilla Ice Cream, 1360 calories

 

5 Spicy Tips to Saving Calories:

#1 Cut Calories without Cutting Taste:
SKIP 3 Tortillas (that come with Fajitas), saves 360 calories
SKIP Refried Beans, saves 220 calories
SKIP Mexican Rice, saves 280 calories
SKIP Cilantro Lime Rice, saves 390 calories
SKIP Chipotle Honey Mustard Dressing, saves 320 calories
SKIP Smoked Jalapeno Vinaigrette, saves 250 calories
SKIP Black Beans, saves 180 calories
SKIP MIxed Cheese (topping on tacos, fajitas, salads,), saves 110 calories
SKIP Sour Cream or Guacamole – NEVER! It’s worth the calories! (sour cream: 60 calories, guac: 50 calories)

#2 Stick with Chips & Salsa:
Don’t be tempted by all the appetizers. Instead stick to the basics. Chips and salsa takes a while to eat and has fewer calories than most of the other menu items.

#3 Split a Meal:
Most people are STUFFED after eating Mexican food because they snack on so many chips. Most likely, you will eat the same amount of chips no matter what, so split a meal so you leave satisfied, but not stuffed.

#4 Add It Up, Before You Order it Up:
Decide what you want to eat before you even go to the restaurant and add it to your calorie app (like LoseIt). This way you order smart, instead of impulse buy everything that is so nicely displayed on the menu.

Taco Trivia:  If you think getting a soft taco is always better than crunchy. Think again. A chicken soft taco is 10 more calories than the crispy chicken taco at On the Border. 270 calorie per taco.

#5 Bounce Back
Once you cheat, go right back to healthy eating and exercise. Don’t start a downward spiral of cheating. The key to fitness success is how quick you bounce back after you go off course – planned or not.

What do YOU Run For? 

 

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