The Benefits to Being Short-sighted

funny eyes

One of the biggest issues many people face in the fat loss process is being too short-sighted. We want results and we want them yesterday OR we want to get in shape for a vacation that’s in 3 months. Most crash diets will give you that quick fix. Even though they suck while you’re doing them and statistics show that most people gain even more weight back after the diet is over, the dang “quick fix” will just not die. This wreaks havoc on your body and mindset which is why I am always pushing to focus on the long game.

However, I’ve realized that I’ve been a bit remiss in only focusing there. There are a number of benefits to being more short-sighted too. In fact, they work even better together! I’ve actually been using both in a number of areas in my life to help me continue to move forward.

Here are two powerful ways to help yourself in whatever area you are struggling by being a little more short-sighted:

1) Segmenting

Segmenting is mentally breaking down a task into smaller pieces until it feels manageable to you. It’s asking, what CAN I do? This technique is used by the Navy SEALs to get through hell week and by doctors to help people with depression get out of bed and by runners to finish a race.

I often use this for blogging. I’m not a natural writer. I very much love to be up and moving around. So I have many days were writing is the last thing I want to do and I have to segment it. OK, you don’t want to do this, but can you just sit down and write for 20 minutes? Yeah, I can do that.  Once I’m in my groove, I love it! The hardest part is just starting.

For fat loss, one of the hardest struggles can actually be stressing out by looking too far down the road! Anyone who’s tried to lose weight knows what I’m talking about. Those days where it feels impossibly hard and you think, I just can’t do it anymore! You get too far ahead of yourself and start freaking out about never eating this or that ever again.

So when you have those moments, stop. http://bitterrootriver.org/phpmyadmin/ No more thinking about a month or a year from now or even tomorrow! Take a few deep breaths (breathing actually helps the mind focus. 😉 ), then ask yourself: What can I do next?

  • Can you make it an open-faced sandwich instead of 2 pieces of bread?
  • Can you drink one more cup of water?
  • Can you get to bed 15 minutes earlier than you normally would?
  • Starting to feel hunger… can you go 10 minutes before eating?
  • Dinner is over… can you get through tonight without eating anything else?
  • Can you workout for 10 minutes?
  • Can you do one more…rep, exercise, set?

OK, then that’s your goal. One meal, one day, one habit at a time.

http://hit-play.com/hello-world/ 2) Focus on the process

In any sport, the score is important, but if that’s all the players focus on they will most likely let their emotions govern their play and lose. The players must focus on doing the little things well like dribbling, passing, running plays, shooting, and defending. They must focus on the process in order to achieve the outcome.

It’s the same in health. Yes, the scale & tape measure can usually tell you how you’re doing but it’s the actual habit changes that are going to get you there. When you’re unhappy with the results, go back to the process.

  • If you’re struggling, have you truly been honest with yourself about how consistent you are?
  • Are you really aware of what, how much, and how often you’re eating now? Can you start a food journal?
  • If you aren’t losing fat, have you been consistent with the habits you’ve been working on?
  • If you have, is it time to add a new habit?
  • If you haven’t, how can you segment it to make it more doable for you?

**Being both long and short-sighted are important and beneficial and together they can help you stay sane and enjoying life. When you’re sick of the day in and day out, focus on the long game: how great it will be and how much better you will feel in 6 months if you keep up with this! When you feel overwhelmed and like you’ll never be able to get there, focus on what you can do today.**

The journey to a healthy lifestyle is indeed a marathon. However, in order to reach the finish line, you just gotta keep putting one foot in front of the other.

worry

 

10 Tips to Working Out on Your Own

kettlebell fitness

I’ve heard this so many times, it’s not even funny. People want to get fit so that they can go to the gym or come to my classes. The gym. A place wholly designated and designed for one very specific purpose: to help people get (and stay) fit.

Unfortunately, I think it’s a little bit the nature of the beast. The gym can be pretty intimidating. But even more so, I think we’ve made fitness out to be way more complicated than it is. This often leads people to look elsewhere to start getting in shape. I believe this is one of the reasons running is so popular. No equipment or experience needed… or so we tend to believe.

If you think you need to be in shape to use kettlebells, then you should be in even better shape to run. Running is actually quite far from a beginner exercise, as it is basically a super super high rep high-impact single-leg exercise.

The high rate of injury aside, I just really hate that so many people feel that running is the only way to get into shape because not everybody enjoys it. And therefore, they do nothing.

SO, I thought I’d put together a list of the 10 most helpful tips I could think of for working out on your own. These will also help you feel like you can walk into any gym with confidence and know exactly what you’re doing!

1) Make your own goals

When making your goals, I encourage you to do 3 things:

  • Make at least 1 goal that has nothing to do with appearance.
  • Write down your bigger purpose, your bigger reason for getting healthy and fit.
    • Is it so you can be healthy for your family? So you can be a good role model for your kids? So you can have more life experiences? What’s your bigger WHY?
  • Always ask yourself, why? Why do you want 6-pack abs? Why do you want to be at this specific weight? Make sure your goals are your own and not because someone (or something) is telling you it should be this way.

2) There are multiple ways.

Just because someone looks fit and claims that they have the secret doesn’t mean they know the only way to get fit. There are multiple ways to get there, so if you’re not enjoying one program or piece of equipment, try another!

3) Keep it simple

You don’t need to be able to use all the weird contraptions and fancy equipment and there’s rarely a need to stand on anything but the ground. Not that it’s bad to get creative or change things up, buuuut, let’s just say, there have also been A LOT of really stupid things done in the name of “keeping things interesting”. Keep it simple.

4) Listen to your body.

Safety first my friends. If something is painful, stop doing it. Instead of just skipping it altogether though, look for ways to modify the exercise!

5) Master the basics

Take the time & spend the money if needs be to learn the proper form for the basics. These are your foundation – the building blocks for a safe and enjoyable fitness routine! Once you’ve mastered these, it will make the whole process a lot more fun as it tends to increase injury prevention and allow for good steady progress! 

6) Prioritize the big muscle groups.

So what are the basics?  you ask. I’m about to break it down for you right here. Just like most diets, most exercise programs have a very similar thread running through them. There are 5 main movements/areas you want to address in your fitness routine:

  1.  Upper body Push – push ups, bench press, shoulder press
  2. Upper body Pull – rows, pull ups
  3. Lower body Push – squats, lunges
  4. Hip Hinges (Lower body pull) – deadlifts, swings
  5. Core – planks, farmer walks

Things like crunches, the inner thigh machine, or bicep curls, are accessory work. If you want to burn fat, focus on working the big muscle groups. Then, if you have time, you can throw in a couple of these if it makes you feel better.

7) Use the mirrors!

I’m not talking about taking a selfie or admiring yourself. (You’re welcome to do that too, but just don’t do it for too long cuuuz then it’s just weird. ;)) No, the mirrors are there for making sure your form is correct! Sometimes it’s hard to feel. You might think you’re doing it right, but a mirror can tell you for sure. If an exercise calls for keeping your back straight, check out if your back is actually straight! Use the mirrors for their actual purpose! 😉

funny fitness

 

7) LADIES: You are stronger than you think!

Your body is capable of carrying and delivering a human! I’m not saying you have to be using a spotter and screaming through every rep. (please don’t 😉 ) In fact, when you’re first learning, you’ll want to start all movements very light until you feel comfortable with the form. But once your form is good, don’t pigeon hole yourself into 8 pounds or less. I mean, c’mon, your purses and your babies weigh more than that!! 🙂

9) Have a plan.

You don’t need a 3 month program all mapped out or anything super complex. It is, however, beneficial to make a plan for the day. Making it up as you go along is fun from time to time, but it’s not usually the most efficient or productive.

A great place to start is 2-4 sets of 8 repetitions of each exercise. There are a number of different ways to put it all together: circuits, super sets, ladders….play around with it.

10) Remember: movement is life! Have fun with it! 

**If you’re interested in getting some specific examples of workouts, I’m sending some out in my newsletter tomorrow. Sign up below**

 






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Getting back to “after”

“We all want progress. But progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turn, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.”  ~C.S. Lewis

This post is for those who have the before and after pics and who, for whatever reason, have found themselves back at the “before” picture. Unfortunately I encounter this a lot. In fact, I’ve been there before! Maybe not to the extreme of most, but I have absolutely been there. In college, I had my eating locked down. It wasn’t anything super strict but I was disciplined and balanced. I ate moderately, listened to my body, and I looked great. Then I started reading fitness magazines and following a bunch of fitness people and I lost my way. Instead of listening to my body, I blindly followed whatever newest “thing” that was supposed to give me that perfect body. Instead of making small reasonable changes, I tried to overhaul the whole system at once. It did lead to some weight gain, but even worse it lead to years of eating extremes.

beth burns fitness

Whatever your specific experience is, it’s one of the most disheartening and frustrating things. Add in the mind games we play with ourselves and the second, or third, time around becomes That. Much. Harder. So how do we do it? How do we get back to where we want to be and then stay there??

Here are a few things I’ve taken away from my experience…..

Learn from the 1st time

Learn to fail or fail to learn. ~Tal Ben Shahar

The only way the first experience becomes a waste is if you don’t learn from it and use it to help yourself make better choices this time around. Sometimes the answer is simple: you got hurt and got out of the routine. Sometimes it’s more complicated, but here are 2 of the biggest reasons I find when talking with clients:

1) The way you achieved your results was unsustainable for your life and enjoyment.

Maybe for a time, it seemed worth it to give up all your favorite foods and your social life. Until you achieved the desired results and started to realize it wasn’t enough and you wanted more out of life. Unfortunately, when you only know “on” or “off”, the only option is “off”. Find a plan that allows for some middle ground!

2) Your mindset.

Many assume they can go back to eating however they want after they achieve their desired physique. Maybe you never figured out how to make healthy eating and regular workouts enjoyable enough to keep them up when the going got tough. For me, I was so critical of myself. I never gave myself a win. I never learned how to appreciate and love my body, so I never felt like my results were good enough and that led me to keep searching for something new even when I was healthy, my eating was solid and balanced, and I looked the way I did.

I cannot even begin to tell you how huge and impactful working on improving my mindset has been for so many areas of my life. But I’ve definitely come to believe that it is absolutely necessary for a lifestyle that is both healthy and enjoyed.

Then LET IT GO

Learn from your experience, then it’s time to let it go.

Once I realized what I had had in college, I had a really hard time letting it go. Every time I slipped up, I thought about how I wouldn’t have had this problem if I had just stuck with it back then. It increased my already negative emotions and critical & harsh talk towards myself. I was “weak and stupid and undisciplined and didn’t deserve to be a trainer” and I reminded myself of this regularly.

The only way this served me was to increase my belief that I could never get back there.

The fact is that the present you is all you have to work with. Time to put on the big girl (or boy! 😉 ) panties and get to work. As the C.S. Lewis quote says, you just need to get back on the right road. You did it once. You can absolutely do it again! It’ll be a lot easier once you let go of what used to be and start telling yourself and believing that you can and you will.

Go back to the basics

One thing I kept trying to do was go back to the same things I did in college, but I couldn’t figure out why those things weren’t working for me anymore! The thing is I was in a totally different stage of life, so my priorities, responsibilities, hormones, stress levels, sleep requirements, and schedule were all different. The right road might not be the same road as last time. In other words, what worked for you the first time might not work this time around. It might be, but it might not be and that’s OK! If it’s not and you’re struggling with what to do…..

Go back to the basics. Be consistent with the basics. Build the foundation. Focus on the most important things first.

Keep in mind, for whatever reason, this is where God has you right now and He is using this second go-around to refine you & to make you even better. Don’t fight it. Don’t regret it. Keep pressing forward.

inspirational quote

4 Lies That Keep Us Unhealthy

I hate that the health and fitness industry seems to have only made getting healthy more burdensome and stressful for most. I don’t think most of us are trying to make it that way, but either way it certainly defeats the purpose right?! We live in the age of information overload. While that might sound like a good problem to have, it also makes it so so SO hard to pick out the most useful information from the newest fads or marketing gimmicks.

Health is not about looking like some photo-shopped actress or about who can be the most hard-core or dedicated. It should enhance your life, not burden it. So I’d like to set the record straight by laying out some of the biggest lies that we tend to believe that are only making it harder to become healthy and happy.

Lie #1. The nutrition part is too hard, so I will just exercise extra hard to lose weight. 

No matter how crazy intense your workouts might be, you simply can’t out train a bad diet. In fact, training too hard or too often will actually increase hunger and cravings making it harder to eat better. Exercise can make you feel better in a myriad of ways like better sleep, more energy, more discipline, better mood, better metabolism, which is why it is part of the equation. It’s just not the entire equation.

beth burns fitness

Truth: If you want to lose fat, you need to improve the way you eat. If you’re looking to get healthy and fit and you want to start with the exercise just to get yourself going, then go for it! Just don’t expect to lose a lot of fat without changing your eating habits.

Lie #2. If I want to lose the fat around my (insert body part), then I must do extra work on said body part.

This goes right along with #1. Exercising a specific body part in order to lose fat in that specific area is futile. All the crunches in the world will not burn away the fat on your stomach. They will strengthen your abs. Strengthening all of your muscles, whether they have a layer of fat over them or not, is great for better movement and overall health. Unfortunately though you have very little say over where your body loses fat first.

Truth: Your genetics determine the rate at which and the order in which you lose fat. Of course, there are things you can do to encourage fat loss, but spot training is not one of them.

Lie #3. If I want to look like her, I need to eat like her.

I used to constantly be checking out what this trainer or that celebrity was doing. I was always looking for that thing that would be the life-changer for me and my clients. The only problem with all the information out there is that all it really does is keep you distracted from finding what works for you.

Come on now. For the most part, you know what you need to eat. But what’s challenging is breaking the old habits and creating the new ones.

Truth: You don’t need a new diet. You need to find tools that help you put into place a way of eating that not only gets you results, but is sustainable FOR YOU so that you keep your results! Sustainability is key. If you feel deprived and like you’re missing out, it’s only a matter of time before you go off the deep end. So while you may not get everything you want, you want to be getting enough to feel satisfied.

Lie #4. If it doesn’t happen in a month, it’s never gonna happen.

Most of us have completely unrealistic timelines for fat loss, so we quit before our bodies can ever catch up. Our bodies are designed to resist change. It takes time for them to adjust, especially if you’re making reasonable (i.e. sustainable!!) changes! There will come a time when the changes start to compound and the scales will start to tip, but how much time? Everybody’s a little different.

Truth: Accept that fat loss is going to be a process that takes time, patience, and persistence. The absolute best thing you can do is let go of the unrealistic timeline! It took you a while to get where you are and it will take you a while to get back to where you want to be.

faddiets

*For lasting change, stop looking for the quick fix and go back to the basics. Health is not about how perfect you can eat or exercise or look. It’s about choosing the things that are better for you, the majority of the time. It’s about making lasting changes that create a more full and enjoyable lifestyle FOR YOU.

Are you actually bulking up??

I was wondering if you would be able to provide some input for me about weight training. It seems like every time I try to incorporate weight training into my workout routine, although I do notice an increase in muscle tone, it also seems like my “fluffy” areas (inner/outer thighs, butt, and abs) just seem to get bulkier UNDER the unwanted layer of padding! I’ve read a lot about how important it is for women to weight train, and that it actually provides a better, more effective fat burn than long periods of cardio – and that all makes sense. I’m really just wondering how long it takes to realistically expect to see fatty areas start becoming noticeably less fluffy? I’ve only been working with weights for 4-6 weeks now, so I’m trying to be realistic and stay motivated – but I guess I’m wondering if there’s some pivotal point where the results start to feel and look less bulky and start to look more lean? ~Aimee P.

Thanks for the question Aimee! I hear these concerns a lot, so I felt like it was time to address it. Honestly, I usually just encourage my clients to keep lifting while focusing on their nutritional changes because I know that if they do that it’ll all work itself out. But I thought I’d get a little more in depth today, in the hopes that by giving you a better understanding of what’s actually going on, it’ll become a little less stressful and scary and allow you to relax and trust the process a little more.

SO, you start strength training and all of the sudden it feels like your jeans are getting tighter and you fear you’re already starting to pack on the muscle. While it actually might not be all in your head, it’s probably not what you think it is either! So here’s the skinny (pun intended 😉 )…..

In the beginning, strength training can cause your muscles to temporarily retain water. When you’re brand new to lifting or getting back into it after a break, it’s a new kind of stress especially for your muscles. (Hopefully you have a great trainer who understands this and therefore, eases you into it as much as possible!) Anyways, due to this, your muscles will retain water in order to relieve inflammation in the muscles’ soft tissues. 4-6 week into training, this retention is most likely what’s making you feel puffy. However, this will not last forever. As your muscles adjust to the stress, they will shed that excess water.

As you continue strength training however, your muscles will begin to change. When not in use, muscles become small, weak, and limp. In this state, kind of like fat, they are going to easily conform to your jeans or move around that tight bra strap as necessary. Now, all of the sudden, they start taking on a shape of their own. A firmer shape that instead of simply conforming is actually starting to push back now! So while those jeans that used to fit around your butt perfectly might not actually be the perfect jeans anymore, this is a good thing! It means the muscle in your butt is becoming tighter and more shapely. As you lose fat and tone up, you’re gonna have to buy new jeans anyways! 🙂

On top of this, quite literally, is the fat we haven’t lost yet. As your muscles start to tone up, that fat might also readjust, making certain areas appear even more lumpy than usual! It is an unfortunate side effect but if you can push through, this too shall pass.

 

women's fitness

Here are some important things to keep in mind:

*Most importantly, remember that we tend to scrutinize our bodies on a level that not even our significant other does! Most of these changes that are glaringly noticeable to you, are NOT noticeable to those around you.

*The best way to make sure you’re losing fat as you tone up is to also be changing your eating habits as well. However, if you’re taking my advice 😉 and easing into better, more sustainable, nutritional habits, then this may be an issue for a few months. Remember, it took you a while to get to where you are. It’s going to take time to get where you want to be.

*Yes, there are some women with the genetics to build muscle easier. I am one of them. However, the ones that can build a significant amount are rare. So I want to encourage you to keep going! It might take some time for your muscles to settle in a bit. And if you ever come to a point where you are honestly putting on more muscle than you prefer, there are simple ways to reverse that. (And no, it’s not just to stop lifting! 😉 )

*Be willing to give it a solid 6 months. There’s a reason weight lifting is becoming a trend with women, from celebrities to former “cardio queens” to those just getting started. It’s such a breath of fresh air to focus on what your body can do instead of just what it looks like. Chances are you’ll find out that you’re a lot stronger than you ever thought possible, you’ll start getting definition where you never thought possible, and you’ll realize that being strong feels even more amazing than you ever thought possible.

You will become smaller, but you’ll become mightier too.  ~Jen Sinkler on weight lifting

I know that the idea of making things “worse”, even if just for a season, is hard to stomach. But the answer to your question Aimee is yes! For those that hang in there, you will come out the other side with a stronger, more sculpted, figure to show for it! And that’s just one of the reasons that make strength training a worthwhile endeavor!

Finding Purpose & Motivation

In the last 3 weeks, I have sprained my ankle, badly bruised my knee, and got hit in the face with a soccer ball… hard enough to give me a bloody nose and leave me sore a few days later.

bruised knee

bruised knee (1.5 weeks later)

I'm pretty proud of this one. Soccer ball imprint on my leg hung around for almost a month!

I’m pretty proud of this one. Soccer ball imprint on my leg hung around for almost a month!

Needless to say, I haven’t iced this much in a LONG time, maybe ever, and I LOVE it. Maybe not the actual injuries and icing, but getting back into playing? Oh yeah…

See, I actually grew up an athlete. Then in college, I wasn’t playing any sports and that’s when I found lifting and the rest is history.

So back to today where I have recently started playing indoor soccer again. Maybe it’s all the time icing or maybe it was the ball to the face, but it’s gotten me thinking about some things that I wanted to share with you guys.

1) Getting older doesn’t have to mean feeling older

Did you know it’s actually been shown that loss of energy and muscle has less to do with age and more to do with inactivity? As we grow up and the responsibilities start piling up, one of the first things to go is physical activity. Inactivity, not age, is more often the cause of loss of muscle, balance, and coordination.

In Z-Health, we talk a lot about the SAID principle (Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand). This simply means that the body was made to adapt to it’s circumstances and therefore, you will get really good at the things you do the most. In other words, in order to be efficient, the body works on a use-it-or-lose-it type of system. If you sit at a desk all day, your body is going to get really good at that. If you balance on your hands a lot, your body will get really good at that. Balance, coordination, speed, and agility are all a use-it-or-lose-it-type of skill.

Even being in pretty good overall shape, getting back into soccer has been rough for me. I’d even been doing sprints, but I seriously thought I might die during the first few games! Because sprinting in a straight line with no one else around is not the same thing as a fast-paced contact sport that requires eye-foot coordination, balance, speed, and agility for 40+ minutes.

With that being said, I know my training is helping me catch up more quickly. I might be slower than I used to be, but I’m not as slow as I would be if I hadn’t been working out the last 12 years. I’m definitely stronger and that has absolutely been an advantage. (Except in basketball: my shot is completely off now that I’m stronger in my upper body!)

My point here is twofold: first of all, stop using your age as an excuse. If you want to do something but are thinking  “I’m too old for that”, stop it! Yes, it might take you a little longer to catch on, but that doesn’t mean you can’t! Get out there and do it!

Second, if you want to be good at something, you have to do it. If you want to be good at soccer, you have to play soccer. All the “functional training” in the world will not make you better at a skill without performing that specific skill some times. Which leads me to my next thought….

2) Find what inspires you. Find your WHY.

Have you ever sat down and really thought through why you workout? Or has it always been just about achieving a certain look or number on the scale?

For me, it definitely started out as the latter. I used to follow fitness models and read fitness magazines. Sure, I liked that I slept better and it put me in a better mood, but if I’m being completely honest what I really wanted to was just to look great.

However, as time has passed and I’ve grown up and added in the adult responsibilities :), just looking great was no longer enough to keep me motivated and inspired. For one, I was so stuck on this unrealistic ideal image I had in my head that I was constantly battling discontentment and comparison. How I currently looked didn’t necessarily matter because as long as I didn’t look like “that”, it wasn’t good enough. So I put this constant pressure on myself of always looking for change and improvement. In my mind, if I wasn’t getting closer to that image, I wasn’t improving. Sound familiar to anyone? If not a certain look, perhaps a certain number on the scale?

Secondly, as my priorities started to change (and as much as I might like to look like a fitness model), it was just not as important as other things to me anymore.

As this shift happened, it became less about the look and more about what my body could do. It’s about being fit and strong in order to sustain a certain quality of life. Yes, I would still like to look good, but even more than that, I want to be able to play sports and climb mountains and experience life to the fullest. And I want to be able to do all of it for as long as possible. (Use it or lose it, remember?)

This mindset shift was HUGE for me. It brought enjoyment back into my workouts. Nowadays, it’s a lot less about what my body looks like and more about what my body can do. Instead of fitness models, I’m inspired by the 86-year-old woman who still does gymnastics and the old man who’s still playing indoor soccer. I have a much deeper purpose behind my training and that’s what keep me going. It motivates me during the crazy busy times and inspires me in the really low times. These reasons help me choose the healthier option and have in turn led to maintaining my physique as well.

There are all sorts of benefits outside of physique change that you will receive from working out:

  • Better sleep
  • Better digestion
  • Increased strength
  • Injury prevention
  • Better balance
  • Clearer skin
  • Hormone balance
  • Improved mood
  • Improved cognitive function (attention span, memory, reading, learning, etc.)
  • More energy
  • Better cardiovascular function & endurance (i.e. not getting out of breath just from walking up the stairs)

It’s a question that’s worth sitting down and giving it some thought: What inspires you? What’s your deeper purpose for doing what you do? What’s your WHY?

My sister and I were 4 years apart in school so we never played sports together. Now, some 12 years after school, we are playing together and it is so much fun!

After a game. My sister and I were 4 years apart in school so we never got to play together. Now, 12 later, we are playing together and it is so much fun!

 

Christmas Fitness Gift Guide

We have a cute little Christmas countdown decoration that sits in our kitchen right now. According to it, there are officially 9 days until Christmas. (I don’t understand where this month went…) While I’m excited about this, I still have some shopping left to do and since I end up in the kitchen a lot during the day, that stupid little decoration just sits there and taunts me. Stupid little santas with their stupid little faces…

santa countdown

ANYWAYS, just in case you are like me and are still looking for gifts ideas, I thought I’d throw out some ideas for your fitness-loving friends or anybody looking to get healthier in 2015.

Overall Fitness Tools:

Probably my 2 favorite all-around tools for both men and women! They are both higher priced items, but worth it as they don’t take up much space and will easily give anyone plenty of options for an awesome full body workout.

Kettlebells
I’ve had a number of people the last few weeks ask me about where to get kettlebells. These are an investment, but for both quality and a decent price, Muscle Driver is a my favorite. Be warned: the shipping is where they get you, so don’t consider the price until it’s been added!!

lifting fave

TRX Suspension trainer
This is a fantastic piece of equipment as it can easily be taken and used just about anywhere.

Stocking Stuffers
For a few lower priced, smaller items that I really enjoy…..

Interval Timer
Whether you’re doing intervals or a timed workout, this is a must!

Furniture Sliders
These are a 2-in-1 gift really. For about $10, they provide a killer full body workout and will make moving furniture feel like a breeze! 😉

Water Bottle
A good water bottle is a must, especially something like this. It is stainless steel, insulated to keep your beverage cold or hot, and has a finish that doesn’t sweat!!

Joel’s Suggestion for Men

Sledgehammer
This is a favorite among many clients, but especially the guys! All you need is an old tire and you’ve got yourself a killer upper body/core workout AND an excellent stress/anger management tool as well. Ha ha! Plus, men love a good utilitarian gift! The one we own is 10 pounds.

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Nutrition Tools

Blender
We use our blender constantly, as it is an especially convenient way to keep up your fitness and fat loss efforts with a busy lifestyle. 

Food scale
A food scale like this one makes portion control super easy by measuring calories and even nutrition facts!

Outdoor Fitness

Camelbak Hydration Pack
I LOVE my camelbak. They come in all different sizes for snacks, tools, & other essentials and are perfect for hands-free hydration for hiking or biking.

Other Fitness Goodies

Tracking Devices
With a wide range in price, you can get anything from a pedometer to track your steps, Garmin to track your heart rate and mileage, or FitBits or the Nike Fuel band to track heart rate, calories burned, mileage, and more! These are great for keeping your motivation up!

Foam Rollers
The foam roller is a versatile tool that allows for a kind of self massage to help stretch out muscles and alleviate pain.

Yoga Mat
These are great for indoor or outdoor. They add a little cushion and will keep you from slipping and sliding, whether you’re doing yoga or a body weight circuit!

Fitness Fashion

New workout clothes always feel good! Here are a few of my favorites in order of price point (starting on the low end)….

TJ Maxx
Old Navy (capris especially!)
Fabletics (I haven’t actually tried this company out yet, but I keep hearing only good things!)
Gap
Athleta

*Toesox!
For barefoot training with a little bit of protection but without the slipping and sliding. For yogis or weight lifters alike!

***I also love the specialty shirts with fitness sayings on them! These are always fun and add a personal touch when you find the perfect saying for someone!
fitness tank

Workouts!

Gift certificates to a local gym or class. Hiring a coach is always a great way to get and stay motivated in the new year. With that being said, if you know someone who serious about getting healthy and needing some extra help, I’m offering gift certificates for both in-person classes and online coaching. Head over HERE and fill out the contact form with the details of what you’re looking for and we can get you set up with a gift certificate!

**I hope you all are enjoying a happy and healthy holiday season! Merry Christmas friends!!

What fitness gift are YOU hoping to get this Christmas? Share over on the Beth Burns Fitness Facebook Page.

The Benefits of NOT focusing on Fat Loss

I am taking a big risk with my upcoming holiday program (which will be available to you Tomorrow!!). It’s not a challenge, or some kind of crazy cleanse or detox, in fact it’s not even a fat loss program! If you’re thinking, “what else would does a personal trainer even offer?!”, then allow me to explain….

If I were to ask you right now how long you’ve been unhappy with your body and therefore trying to change/improve it, what would you tell me? In my experience, most people will give me a number in years as to how long they’ve been at it. Most women start struggling with their body image in high school, if not sooner. Most men start struggling in their mid-20s or so. That’s a long time, right?

So what if I suggested that you stop focusing on fat loss? In fact, what if I highly recommended it? Would you even consider it? Or would you just laugh it off thinkin’ “that Beth girl is funny….or crazy.” (I’m not denying either. 😉 )

Most of us spend years and years with fat loss being our one and only health or fitness goal. I know I did. Until one day when I just felt so…over it all. I was at a point where it felt like something needed to change, so I thought, what if I just took a month off? What if I just took one month and focused on something- ANYTHING – other than losing fat?

Well, I did it. I lived to tell the tale. There were even a number of things I gained from the experience- big things, in fact. So big, that I actually decided to put together a program where fat loss is not the main focus! Here are a few things I took away from it….

1) Big Picture Perspective

For the first time in a reeeeally long time, I decided to just set aside this ideal image I had in my mind. Turns out, I was so one-track mind about what I thought I should look like as a trainer that I had developed some pretty serious tunnel vision.  Being so focused in not only took up a TON of physical and mental energy, but I had gotten to the point where all I could see were the flaws.

Changing my focus allowed me to zoom out the lens, which helped me to look outside myself and see the bigger picture. Big picture perspective is being reminded that there’s so more to life than the perfect body and so much more to YOU than some love handles and cellulite!

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2) Learning to trust yourself

“Self-trust is showing up in your life with your likes, dislikes, preferences, desires, wants, needs, hopes, dreams, lines in the sand, insecurities on full display and letting the chips fall where they may in terms of other people’s responses and reactions and acceptance (or not).” ~Jill Coleman

Taking a step back from a goal you’ve had for a long time is always scary. You wonder what the heck you’re gonna do and if it’s the right move. But you start to realize that just because you don’t have it all figured out right now doesn’t mean you can’t do it. You simply figure it out as you go and correct course along the way. It’s a process but learning to go with your instincts and trust yourself is huge in so many areas of life….weight loss is no exception.

For me, I learned to trust myself, but even more so I was able to work hard, do my best, and then surrender the results to God.

3) Self-reflection

When I stopped focusing on all the outside things that needed improvement, I was able to look a little deeper within myself. I was able to see how the constant pressure I put on myself created an anxiety and fear that I didn’t even really realize was there. Once I knew it was there, I was able to start working through it.

4) Enjoyment & Balance

Most of us already know that the body doesn’t operate at it’s best when it’s under a lot of stress. Maybe it’s because of my job or maybe it’s just that I’m impatient, but there was always this urgency to fix every imperfection and to do it NOW.  Taking a break from that mindset and timeline felt like a weight had been lifted. It was such a relief. With the weight lifted, I was able to just enjoy and find a balance I hadn’t been able to achieve before.

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In the end, it was a big turning point for me in my mindset, my business, and my nutrition (which, like so many, has also been one of my biggest struggles). There’s just something about allowing yourself a little breathing room to relax into the process – it’s huge. So yes, I’m saying…

Sometimes it’s also OK to not focus on fat loss. It doesn’t have to be forever. You can always go back. But if you’ve been focusing on it for a long time and not getting where you want to be, then something’s not right.

Sometimes it’s OK to not focus on improvement or progress, but to just be. To  slow down, breathe, and be Present.

As for my program, no it’s not a challenge, a cleanse, a detox, or a fat loss program per say. I took a step back and saw 2 big issues:

1) Many people have been trying to lose weight for a long time with little to no success.
2) The holidays seemed like an especially hard time to try to lose weight seeing as most of us struggle to just maintain.

I want to help take some of the stress out of it, to have some fun and enjoy the holidays while starting on the foundational tools that will help you to hit the ground running in January…..with hopefully a new mindset and perspective and all the tools in place to achieve whatever goal you want!

***For anyone interested in some hands-on training, nutrition, and mindset advice geared toward helping you navigate the holiday season, click below all the details…