What are you willing to exchange for a six-pack??

So I came across something from Precision Nutrition today and I loved it so much (I wish I had come up with it…I mean) I wanted to share it with you. 😉 It’s a simple, yet very informative, infographic that illustrates the lifestyle trade-offs required for different looks/body fat levels.

If you’re struggling with your health and fitness goals or just starting to make changes or if you simply desire to be healthy and fit, I think this is such an important thing to consider. Which is why I decided to write a quick little blog post about it. So without further ado, here are 3 reasons why you should take the time to consider the trade-offs:

exchange

go to site #1. Balance

It brings to light the common extremes our minds tend to go to when thinking about diet and exercise: 1st extreme – that we can look like an air-brushed cover model with just a few small tweaks or the 2nd extreme – that it has to be painful and you have to restrict and deprive yourself of everything you enjoy in order to get healthy.

Both of these are simply not true. Which leads me to #2…

see #2. Reality check

In life, we are constantly looking at and weighing the trade-offs. However, you can’t do this if you have a false sense of what the trade-offs are or if you’re just not sure what they are in the first place. For instance, have you ever wanted something so badly only to find yourself a little let down when you finally got it? Whether it’s because you had built up in your head its power and potential to give you something it actually had no capacity to give or simply because it did not deliver the results or happiness it promised, it’s easy to become disillusioned.

This is what so often happens in health and fitness. Losing weight so that you look and feel healthy versus losing so that you look like a super model involve very different levels of commitment and trade-offs. Yet I think most of us subconsciously equate the two. Same goes for being fit and being a marathon runner or being strong and looking like a fitness model. There is so much misinformation and air-brushing illusion out there that it can be hard to know what the reality is.

On top of that, in our all-or-nothing mindsets we tend to believe that we need to have every last detail in place and perfected before anything will change. We jump straight into the deep end and then wonder why, 4 days in, we already feel like we’re fighting just to keep our head above water.

#3. Prioritize

It forces you to figure out what your priorities are. Once you’ve figured out what’s most important to you and what you want your life to be about, then it’s a lot easier to decide which trade-offs are worth it and which ones aren’t.

Of course, different people are going to have different priorities and that’s OK. I’m not saying that you can’t or shouldn’t aspire to be lean. What I am suggesting is this:

* Take some time to honestly evaluate your life and your priorities. Figure out your purpose and what you want out of life. Be careful to make sure that you aren’t looking for joy or peace or a fix in something that has no capacity to give it.

** Take a look at  The Cost of Getting Lean and consider the cost. You might realize that some trade-offs are just not worth it or you might find yourself surprised at how little the cost is!  If the trade-offs are worth it, then go for it! If not, then you have a bigger reason & motivation that allows you to let go and be OK with a different goal.

buy fluoxetine online no prescription Knowing your why, having that higher purpose, is critical for motivation and longevity, especially when it comes to enjoying a healthy lifestyle!

 

don't forget to factor in these things too!!

 

 

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.

step back

 

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…

 

3 Keys to Keeping It Off

Most of us probably know or know of someone who has lost the weight and then put it all back on. Or maybe you are that person. Well you’re not alone. Just try to look up the “where are they now” stats for the Biggest Loser. Considering that there has been 16 seasons with an average of 20 contestants each, you’d hope you’d be able to find an abundance of success stories! However, from my searches, they seem to be pretty sparse.

See the problem doesn’t seem to be so much with losing the weight as it is with keeping it off. In fact, there have been numerous weight loss studies that show just how grim the statistics are when it comes to sustaining it.

HOWEVER, there are those that have achieved their fat loss goals and continue to keep it off. When it comes these individuals, it’s no surprise that there appears to be some common similarities. The 3 factors below seem to be present in those who are able to maintain a healthy lifestyle long term:

1) A support system

I don’t think I really need to explain this. I’m sure we’ve all experienced how much harder something is when we don’t feel supported. These days a healthy lifestyle can already feel like you’re going against the flow. If you don’t have people in your life that encourage you in this, (or at the very least are understanding and supportive), then of course it’s going to be that much harder.

airplane

If your friends make you feel bad about making healthy choices or tempt you to constantly cheat, it might be time to have a DTR. Explain to them why this is so important to you and ask them to kindly get on board. Suggest other things to do instead of pizza and beer night. If not, maybe it’s time to find some new friends with similar goals or interests.

2) Some system of self-accountability

It’s been found that one of the #1 tools in successful maintenance is some form of self-monitoring. Of course, I’m sure most of your minds went straight to the scale or a certain pair of jeans. While that’s not wrong, here’s why I don’t think it’s the best method. The scale doesn’t give us any measure of what we’re doing day-in or day-out. It can only tell us that something is or isn’t working after the fact. And it can be pretty fickle even at that.

Why not get ahead of it and use something that will keep us more mindful of our day-to-day actions, something that can be specified and easily measured? Here are some better options to self-monitoring:

*The 90/10 Rule

Unless you’re looking to compete in a figure competition, there’s little difference between eating 100% compliant and 90%. Say you eat 3 meals and 1 snack-per-day. That’s 28 meals a week. This means that you have 3 meals/snacks (I like to round up. 😉 ) where you can enjoy those foods that don’t necessarily move you toward your goals.

I have found that personally, I can maintain my current body composition with an 80/20 split. That’s maintenance, so I’m not losing or gaining any fat. 🙂 So if 90% feels to hard, start a little lower.

*Counting Your Macros or Calories

While this method has been made much easier with digital food scales and food tracking apps, it’s still one of the more time-consuming and in-depth methods of accountability. I usually only recommend this to clients who already have some of the more basic habits under their belt and are still looking for more results. It is great for getting a better idea of proper portion sizes, which are especially out of control here in America.

*A Food Journal

This is one of the simplest ways to start tracking, but most overlooked. I scoffed at the idea myself for a long time. But I read this recently and thought it was a great example of why it’s so helpful:

For many of us, eating can become a lot like driving. Have you ever driven somewhere and realized upon arriving that you were so zoned out that you can’t remember entire parts of the drive? Clearly, on some level, your mind was still engaged or else you would have crashed. But, another part of your mind was thinking about all the other things you needed to get done that day or the any number of other things going on in your life.

Unlike driving, a food journal allows you to go back and take a closer look at what you consumed that day. Yes, it can be hard to write down those treats and over-indulgences. Remember: you’re not a better or worse person based on the types or amounts of food that you eat. A food journal is simply a way to help keep yourself accountable. If you’re not honest on it, then you’re just lying to yourself and that’s just not gonna get you anywhere.

3) Exercise.

It has been shown that people who didn’t just focus on diet but also included some form of exercise had a higher rate of sustained weight loss. Now, yes, I have my opinions on what works best  and what is most effective for certain goals. But ultimately, any type of physical activity is exercise. I just. Want. More. Movement!

Plus, most people will only stick with stuff they don’t despise, so for serious: find something you ENJOY doing!

handstand

Dance, lift, run, swim, walk, bike, yoga, kayak, jump rope, kick box, somersault, PLAY. Do what you love and you won’t hear me say a word about it…

…unless you ask my opinion. 😉

NOW, this all that being said…

The holidays seem to be an especially difficult time for, well, just about everybody 🙂 to maintain consistency and their weight. This has always frustrated me because instead of the holidays being an enjoyable and rejuvenating time, it ends up being more stressful and uncomfortable than anything else. Over-eating and feeling stuffed into your jeans is NOT fun. On top of it, we end up having to spend the first couple months of the year just getting back to where we were in November!

To avoid this, I’ve come up with the strategies needed to enjoy the holidays while maintaining your fitness and physique! These include time-saving workouts, healthy recipes, tools for navigating the big meals and holiday parties while still feeling satisfied, and of course, some encouragement and accountability from me! I’m super excited to finally be offering my first online product! However, I will only be offering this to a select number of people, so if you’re interested, get on the waiting list below to be sure that you will get all the juicy details and be notified as soon as the program opens up. Can’t wait for another awesome holiday season…no deprivation, no scales, no stress, just fun! 🙂






 

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Do you have the Courage to Do Less? (part 2)

In part 1, we talked about how our culture celebrates work and activity and can be almost hostile, it seems, to rest and renewal. ESPECIALLY in the fitness industry! Which is really quite counterproductive as evidenced by my own story. 🙂 So how do we stay fit while moving away from the ‘go hard or go home’ mindset? How do we find balance?

To maintain a powerful pulse in our lives, we must learn how to rhythmically spend and renew energy. *

The reason I loved The Power of Full Engagement so much is because the point  of the book is that rest allows us to stop going through the motions and more fully engage in life, whether that be in business, fitness, or relationships. The author’s point is stated simply in this question: “If you could wake up tomorrow with significantly more positive focused energy to invest at work and with your family, how significantly would that change your life for the better?”.

Prioritizing rest is prioritizing your work, your loved ones, your health, your quality of life. That is why rest is so important.  That is why I believe rest should be just as much of a priority as work.

rest pic

So with that being said, here are few things I have learned to implement that have really helped me Do Less and therefore, find more balance:

1) Managing energy, not time

Allow me to start with a story. My first real job was cleaning hotel rooms. Since I’m not a morning person, I figured I would just workout after work. Only problem with this was that I was on my feet, vacuuming, scrubbing, picking up after random people, and making beds the entire day. So when I did actually get a workout in, it wasn’t a very productive one. So I tried working out before work. As much as I hated getting up earlier than I absolutely had to, this ensured that I had plenty of energy and got a good workout in. Plus it turns out I actually had more energy throughout the work day as well!

Many of us have a story like this, right? We put together our schedule, looking for where we can fit this or that in, without any concern as to the energy it will take to accomplish it. This is why so many people struggle to get to the gym regularly. Sure, most of us have plenty of time to workout after work, but without the energy to do it it doesn’t really matter how much time you have!

 Energy, not time, is our most precious resource. *

Take some time to learn yourself. Figure out when you are the most energetic and productive. Schedule the most important things you want to get done during those times. Then let the rest be what it is. Learning to manage your energy can be tricky. You have to let go of the “superman/superwoman” mentality, BUT I think you will also be surprised how much you get done.

2) Actively disengaging

Going right along with scheduling your priorities around your most productive time, we also have to allow for down time.

It’s been shown that people produce a higher quantity and quality of work in shorter bursts (90-120 minutes) followed by a time of deliberate rest or actively disengaging (even if it is just 5-10 minutes). Actively disengaging means deliberately shifting your attention from achievement to restoration. Your body needs this whether it be for a project, a workout, or a conversation. You can’t give your full attention to everything without any breaks and then expect to keep up the same amount of focus all day long.

Running yourself ragged day after day, beating yourself up about the things you didn’t get done, that’s no way to live. Plus, it’s completely unsustainable, meaning eventually something will give out.

Schedule specific times for rest and rejuvenation.

Set up clear boundaries between work and home. Learning to actively disengage enables you to be productive at work, then go home and be all there for your loved ones.

3) Learning when to rest and when to go hard

Yes, in order to reach most goals, especially in the gym, you will have to push past perceived limitations and learn how to deal with discomfort.  But there also needs to be a balance between too little and too much! (For more specifics on what that looks like in the gym, go here.)

Back in the day, when I was still running myself ragged in the gym, I would often make some of my best gains after coming back from vacation. It’s embarrassing that I never put it together back then. No one can go at 100% intensity all of the time. We have to back off and give our bodies rest so that we can come back stronger and with more intensity.

Nearly every elite athlete we have worked with over the years has to come to us with performance problems that could be traced to an imbalance between the expenditure and the recovery of energy.*

Sometimes you just need to take it easy, back off on the weight a bit, and focus on the basics. Sometimes you need to take the day off and just go for a long walk instead. As you learn to listen to your body, you will also learn when it’s feeling good and can be pushed harder.

When in balance, people tend to experience:

  • Fewer injuries
  • Better hormone balance
  • Lower stress levels
  • Less anxiety
  • Higher productivity
  • Deeper relationships
  • More happiness and contentment

Dan John, a world renowned fitness expert and strength coach, was talking about training when he said, “you have to have the courage to do less.”

It is a little scary, isn’t it? But the benefits above are the things that lead to higher consistency, which in turn leads to fat loss and a healthier mindset & lifestyle!

The challenge is finding that balance for yourself. It might not be easy, but it is definitely worth it.

What do you think? Do you have a hard time believing more rest could actually help instead of hinder your progress? What tools do you use in order to unsure you’re getting enough rest? Leave a comment over on the Beth Burns Fitness facebook page and let me know! 🙂

*All quotes from: The Power of Full Engagement by Loehr and Schwartz. I highly recommend.

[Tweet “Prioritizing rest is prioritizing your work, your loved ones, your quality of life. “]

[Tweet “Energy, not time, is our most precious resource. -The Power of Full Engagement”]

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Do you have the Courage to Do Less? (Part 1)

We live in a world that celebrates work and activity, ignores renewal and recovery, and fails to recognize that both are necessary for sustained high performance.*

The other day, I was giving my marathon-running friend a hard time because she was complaining about how hard it is to taper off her running in preparation for an upcoming race. My other friend then commented on how funny it is that I’m the fitness person and yet here I am, encouraging her to enjoy it, to sit on the couch and relax a little more! But this is what most of us think, right? That fitness-junkies and personal trainers are all about this:

 

nopain nogaingo-big-or-go-homeno_pain_no_gain_2013-10-13_18-15-57

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the most part, it’s true. In fact, health and fitness isn’t the only realm in which we hold to this ridiculous type of mindset. This was my own mindset for a long time….

I used to feel guilty about relaxing. I lived on as little sleep as possible, which usually meant 4-6 hours for me. I thought walking, or anything else that didn’t feel challenging, was a waste of time. I thought, along with most Americans,  that there was a certain nobility in being busy all the time. To the point where I was even embarrassed if I didn’t have a list of stuff I’d done over the weekend. I pretty much lived in a constant state of anxiety.

I’m not trying to be dramatic. I’ve never had anxiety attacks or needed medication. It was more of an inner struggle, but unfortunately it still caused a whole host of issues for me. My hormones got completely out of whack and I got sick easily. I never listened to my body so my joints ached and I dealt with a lot of injuries. Then, my body just literally started forcing me to rest more. I couldn’t read or watch movies without falling asleep. My progress, both in and out of the gym, plateaued. When I got sick, it took a lot longer for me to recover than it should have. I was a bit of a hot mess. 🙂

So why I am sharing these experiences with you? Because quite honestly, I’ve had enough of it and I want this kind of mentality gone. We’ve got enough imbalance, stress, and guilt to deal with.

Being fit is not about who can do the most or go the longest or endure the most pain. Ignoring pain signals, working out when you’re really sick or already exhausted, making yourself vomit or super sore on a regular basis… these things are not healthy. The all-or-nothing attitude is what leads to burnout, injury, or not even beginning in the first place!

When I started prioritizing rest and allowing myself to rest more, what do you know, I actually became less anxious and more productive! It was like a weight was lifted off of my chest (which probably seems counter-intuitive: most of us seem to think that if we’re resting more, we will be getting less done).

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Let’s get away from go hard or go home, perfection or nothing! True health is not found in the person who needs the least amount of rest, but in the person who has found the perfect balance of work to rest. As Dan John puts it: You have to have the courage to do less.

Do you?

~

Next time, we’ll go over some practical ideas for what this looks like so stay tuned for Part 2! But for now I’ll leave you with this one final quote:

“The busier we are, the more important we seem to ourselves and, we imagine, to others. To be unavailable to our friends and family, to be unable to find time for the sunset (or even to know the sun has set at all), to whiz through our obligations without time for a mindful breath, this has become the model of a successful life. (W. Muller)

We have lost connection to the simple but profound message of the Twenty-third Psalm: “He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.” *

 

*All quotes from: The Power of Full Engagement by Loehr and Schwartz. I highly recommend. 😉

 

Help! I can’t stop eating!

Recently I received an email from a reader that I wanted to share with you guys….

Hey Beth~ Right now I am really struggling with moderation. I eat well and exercise regularly during the week but, for example, on the weekends or Fridays I will hang out with friends (which I don’t want to stop doing) and we eat relatively healthy things (our tradition is the in-house made guac from whole foods) but I have no control on moderation. I just can’t stop eating. I feel full and “gross” until the next day, but for the most part, I will repeat every weekend. It is an internal battle in my head that I mostly lose. I feel like every weekend derails my nutrition goals. I’ve tried writing things down that I don’t want to eat any more. For example, I have been fantastic about not eating any type of chip or fries. But horrible about not eating sugars or peanut butter. Help!

Ugh, we’ve all been there my friend. For some, it’s a weekend thing and for others it’s a nightly ritual….we usually don’t sit down with the intention of eating until we’re sick. But you get home from a long day of work and it feels like all you have the energy to do is sit in front of the tv and eat. So we do. We eat dinner and then dessert and then we’re craving something salty and before we know it, we find ourselves waddling to bed full of food and regret. We scold ourselves for being so weak. We promise ourselves that we’ll remember this feeling and never eat like that again…

Yet, we find ourselves back there more often than we care to admit. Why?

I thought about it and came up with what I believe are the 3 main reasons for why we tend to do this and offer you a tool to help deal with each:

1) Food FOMO

FOMO stands for Fear Of Missing Out. I first heard this used in terms of food by my coach, Jill Coleman. Sometimes it’s being afraid of missing out on the actual food itself and other times I think I’m more worried about missing out on the experience. When you’re at a social event and everyone’s gathered around the buffet table, munching and chatting and laughing, I don’t want to miss out on that so I stay with the group and I munch and chat and munch some more.

The solution to this? Honestly I think it might be the opposite of putting all those foods that tempt you off limits. It’s actually been proven that your desire for something grows when you know you can’t have it. Perhaps, that’s the reason for the weekend binge. You’ve resisted it all week. You know it’s the only time you’re able to have it. So that desire for guacamole goodness that been building all week in anticipation of Friday of course wins out over any kind of reasonable thought process.

Idn't that serving just adorable...ha ha! yeah right..

*The fix: Allow yourself to have those foods during the week….in specified portions.

DO NOT just grab the bag and sit down on the couch. We all know that never works!

Give yourself a predetermined amount. That means decide now what a reasonable amount is and stick to that. Allowing yourself to have some each day should cure your food FOMO. After all, why would you have it if you know you can have some chips and guac every day?! 🙂

2) Mouth boredom

When there’s tons of amazing food every where you look, it’s hard not to think about it. The more you think about it, you start convincing yourself that you’re still hungry or that you just absolutely MUST have this particular food right now!

*The fix: Sometimes you just need a diversion to get your mind and your mouth off of food!! My two favorite tools for this are mint gum and water/tea. Both of which are natural appetite suppressants. Although usually we don’t need an appetite suppressant as much as just a distraction for our mouth.

3) Habit

I think this is probably the most common reason.

At the end of the day or week, we’re feeling drained and looking to kick back. We don’t want to have to think about food. Our willpower is exhausted and all we have left to fall back on is HABIT. And changing a habit, well, that takes mindfulness and deliberate practice. Moderation is not a switch you can simply flip on and off. It’s a PRACTICE. So here’s my favorite and most helpful way to practice and get better at this (I also learned from this from Jill 🙂 ).

*The practice: Take a third of a protein bar and put the rest back. Savor and enjoy that one third, then go DO SOMETHING for at least 10 minutes. If you’re still thinking about the protein bar after that, go have another third. Then go do something for at least 20 minutes. If you still really want more, then you can go finish the bar. However, you’d be surprised at how many times you’ll forget about it after the first or second helping.

Protein bars can be really addicting which is why I used that example, but in all honesty, I do this practice with cookie dough ice cream. I give myself 2 spoonfuls. 😉 You can do this anywhere with anything, but it’s usually easier to start off practicing it at home!

my favorite treats!

my favorite treats!

I know this might sound kinda silly, but if you’re serious about wanting to get to a place where you can enjoy food and parties without the uncomfortable stomach feeling or the regret, then you have to find a way to build up your willpower and reset your habits. Imagine being able to have the foods you want and NOT completely derail your goals! THIS is a worthwhile practice!

But it is still a practice. Be ready to mess up. Be willing to look back and figure out how you need to do differently next time. Be patient with yourself. Be persistent and unwilling to give up.

Is this helpful? What tools do you use to prevent yourself from going all in on the weekends?

*Interested in Colorado Springs kettlebell classes? Check out my in-home training studio, Springs Kettlebells!*

13 Lessons I Learned In My 20s

It’s funny because the other day my brother called with an assignment from his health class. He didn’t tell me what it was about until after he had asked me the required questions, but it turns out it was a survey on exercise addiction. I’m happy to report that according to the survey I am NOT addicted. We laughed about the questions and then hung up. But it hit me that if he had given me that survey 7-8 years ago my answers would have been different. I was addicted back then.

Back then, I would get extremely upset if I didn’t get my workout in. I never listened to my body. I worked out as hard as I could every time and it would often determine my mood depending on how well it went. Sure I was small, but I didn’t have a period, I would get close to blacking out every time I stood up, and my hormones were completely out of whack. My nutrition was either really disciplined or balls-out cheats because I didn’t have the self-control to stop. On top of all that, I had very little self-esteem or confidence.

Fast forward to the present. I turned 30 this past Sunday. Then yesterday I went on a bit of a rant about moderation and balance. That and the above story are actually what inspired this little post on 13 important things I’ve learned in the last 10 years. Some of it is about health and fitness, some of it is funny, and a lot of it is about mindset. Oh, and if you missed the rant on facebook, no worries. I put it in here too because I think it’s just that important. So here they are, in particular order….

By the way, one thing about me: I LOVE quotes. So just be prepared cuz they be all over this thang!

1) Sometimes ya gotta preach rather than listen.

One of the things we’ve learned about the human brain is that the human brain believes what you say to yourself more than what anyone else says to you. ~Eric Cobb

Pretty crazy right? But I bet if most of you really think about it, it would ring true in your life. I also heard recently about a study that showed that upwards of 80% of most people’s thought life is negative. Unfortunately this was very true for me. I used to be so harsh; I never allowed myself a win. I focused on all the imperfections and the areas that needed improvement. I really beat myself down. My low self-esteem had nothing to do with my support group. My parents never made me feel anything but loved and supported. I never really experienced any bullying in school. It took me a long to realize what a powerful effect my own thoughts had on me.

**So start now my friends. Learn to preach to yourself rather than listen to yourself.

2) Learn to take a compliment!!

I don’t even want to admit how many years this took me to learn. I can still see the puzzled look on my mom’s face and the frustrated look on Joel’s after they would try to pay me a compliment. I always had a snarky remark or a reason I didn’t deserve the compliment.

*Needless to say, on those occasions when someone else wants to “preach” to you by paying you a compliment, TAKE IT.  Say thank you and shut up! Otherwise, people just might stop complimenting you altogether and believe me, that’s worse.

3) If you want something from your spouse, ask for it.

I know this might sound crazy, but my husband is not a mind reader and neither is yours. 🙂 And the sooner you can learn to stop playing mind games and just be honest and open with each other, the better. Instead of stewing cuz the hubby isn’t helping clean up dinner, just ask him to help. What’s the worst that could happen? 🙂

4) Get over yourself and realize that nobody’s got it figured out.

I’ve spent many years feeling very paralyzed by fear. Mostly fear of failure, especially failing in front of others. I never really knew why I was so afraid of it. Until I saw this quote the other day and was humbled to realize how well it put it into words…

It is pride’s hunger for perfection that paralyzes a heart in fear. ~Ann Voskamp

The only way I moved past the fear was by getting over myself and realizing that nobody’s got it all figured out!  I couldn’t let that stop me from trying anymore. Which leads me to this…..

5) There are worse things than failing.

“Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.” I don’t know who said that first, but I find it to be the only way to look at it.  Sometimes it bums me out how long I sat on the sidelines because I was afraid to fail. But even that I believe was for a reason. We learn and grow the most in times of trial. Luckily, I finally woke up to the fact that I was a lot more miserable not trying at all.

what if you fly

*You will fail. You will have trials.  You will fall down. But that is how we learn to fly.

6) Never wax your own bikini area. Just….Don’t.

I think that pretty much covers it. Yep.

7) Get enough sleep!!

Seriously, I don’t know what it is about today’s culture that we think running on as little amounts of sleep as possible is somehow commendable. Remember me mentioning that my hormones were all jacked up? Yeah, turns out all I needed was a good 8 hours of sleep each night. The benefits of sleep are far-reaching and really quite amazing. (I go into a little more detail over here if you’re interested.)

learn to love it people

learn to love it people

Ain’t no shame in needing sleep, so please, give your body the rest it needs and deserves.
 

It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil;
  for he gives to his beloved sleep.  ~Psalm 127: 2

8) Being lean is NOT everything.

I really do love working out. I love feeling AND looking fit and strong. I’d be lying if I said otherwise. But is it everything? Absolutely not. My life is not exercise or a number on a scale or how hot I look in a swimsuit.

My life is my husband, my family, my friends, my dogs, and above all else, my faith. And if I were to tighten down on my nutrition and get super ripped and lean, I’d still be me.

*All I’m saying is be very careful of putting anything up on a pedestal and thinking that you will be happy if you could just have that one thing.

9) Sustainability is everything.

Moderation: the process of lessening or eliminating extremes; doing nothing in excess.

I get why people roll their eyes when they hear the term “moderation”. We either think it’s not “hardcore” enough OR we’ve decided that we are just the “all-or-nothing”-type personality. I personally used to put myself in the latter group. It took me a long time to realize that that mindset was exactly what kept me from really making progress. Let me explain…

As humans, I don’t think we’re very good at finding balance. The current culture doesn’t help, but our work/rest and self-discipline/grace ratios are so far out of whack. We try one extreme until we can’t bear it any longer then we swing all the way over to the other side. Deprive, binge, deprive, binge, and so on. But the thing is we are HUMAN. And while most of us would laugh if someone asked if we thought we were perfect, what we say with that all-or-nothing attitude is: I will be perfect or I won’t even bother to try! When I say it like that it sounds ridiculous, right?! But that’s what we do!

How do you think you’d feel if you started letting go of those impossible standards and thinking of it in terms of improvement instead of perfection? For me personally, I actually started making progress and ya know what else? I started enjoying it! So how about it?

Let’s work to improve our body instead of punish it. Let’s work on the discipline to say no sometimes, but also on giving ourselves the grace to mess up, to not eat perfect all the time, to figure it out as we go! Because the thing is, all-or-nothing always ends up back at nothing.

So if what everybody says is true, my metabolism will go to complete pot this year. But honestly, I’m not worried. Partly because worrying does nothing to help the situation, but also because I know I will figure it out.

10) Stop Comparing.

comparison*I know I’ve talked about this before, but I think it’s worth repeating. Comparison is you telling God that He did it wrong. And if you insist on it, it will suck all the joy out of life. The fact of the matter is comparison is a game you will never win, seeing as you will never be anyone but you, so why bother?

11) DIY projects are rarely as easy as pinterest makes them look and never as easy as HGTV makes them look!

nailed it

*Story. Of. My. Life…not even joking.

12) The little things add up.

It’s the little things, done day in and day out, that make up your life and who you are. Stop trying to find the ace in the hole. Work hard. Try to move forward in some way every day and leave the rest up to God.

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. ~Proverbs 16:9

13) Don’t be anxious

And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?  ~Matthew 6:27

I know, easier said than done. But God has gotten us this far and He will bring us home. What a blessing He gives to us by promising that He’s got all of our tomorrows so that we can simply focus on today. Let go of that anxiety and worry. Don’t let the things you want cause you to forget the many things you have.

So there it is folks. I hope you enjoyed it cuz I enjoyed writing it. So far, I’m feeling pretty good about no longer being a 20-something…. 🙂

yep

yep  😉

 

 

4 Ways to Make Change Easier

Let’s just admit this right now, change is hard. It’s rarely convenient and sometimes it really just sucks. In the health and fitness realm, nutrition is by far one of the hardest things for most of us to change. I know this from experience….

When I got into fitness in college, I was still eating whatever I wanted. I figured that if I trained hard enough I could compensate for eating whatever I wanted. So I put all my effort in at the gym in order to “earn” my food and I could throw down with the best of them…..(OK, maybe not quite like Joey. 🙂 )

This actually worked for a while, but it eventually started catching up with me. My body wasn’t where I wanted it to be and more importantly, I didn’t feel very good because my body just simply couldn’t handle all the crap anymore.

My first few attempts at changing didn’t last long. I thought if I was going to be a trainer I had to eat the perfect diet, but I just didn’t seem to have it in me. I beat myself up and figured I could never help people if I had no self control or discipline myself.  I felt helpless, being torn between not wanting my life to be consumed with food prep and never being able to eat sweets or eat out but I also was fed up with feeling bloated and like food controlled me.  So how did a food-lover like myself finally find some success?

Here’s where I finally started…..

Pick something…pick anything!

I know you’ve heard me say this before, but I don’t care. 🙂 Pick one thing to work on. I know, I know, that takes too long. We want results and we want them now. The problem with that is we have years and years of certain eating habits built into us. So just like you didn’t get out of shape overnight, it’s going to take some time to build up new habits to replace the old ones.

Here’s the thing: I want you to think about how long you’ve been trying to change the way you eat. Now go back to the first time you tried to change your eating habits and think about how far you’d be if you had started with a habit, worked at it until it was set, and then built on that.

It’s sounds so reasonable, but it’s hard to drown out this culture of quick fixes and instant gratification. We look at the 30 lbs in 30 days diet and think, “I could do just about anything for 30 days!” The problem comes 30 days after that, when we are either right back where we started (or heavier) or we have developed a binge/deprive cycle because that’s the only way we know how to stick with the program.

faddiets

The time is gonna pass either way. In a year, you could be right where you are now or you could commit to those small habits, build on them as you get better and better, and have 12 to 24 new habits that have you looking and feeling better. Dare I say, that almost sounds enjoyable. 😉

Make it easier

Life has got enough ups and downs and challenges as it is and willpower is exhaustible. There will always be an excuse. If you want to make a lasting change, you have to make it easy enough that you know for certain you can do it no matter what life throws at you.. These little changes might not feel like you’re doing enough, but trust me, you are. Willpower is like a muscle, the more consistently you train it the bigger and stronger it becomes. As you continue, these things will become habits that you don’t even have to think about!

So back to making it easier. Most of us eat (or at least prepare) the majority of our meals at home. So maybe that’s where you start. Find healthy new recipes, plan out the grocery list, and stock your fridge and pantry as necessary. Don’t worry about eating out or what you’re going to do at friends’ houses, just focus on what you eat at home.

If that feels like too much, make your focus smaller. Ask yourself, what can I change?

Can you start trying out a healthier dinner option a few times a week? Can you hard boil a batch of eggs and have them peeled and ready as an easy way to add more protein to your breakfast?  Can you change out your sandwich at lunch for a salad, wrap, or a bun-less burger? Can you replace the late night sweet with a protein shake or a piece of fruit? Can you skip the second helping?

The key here is to not let yourself get bogged down by crossing bridges you may never get to. Zero in on the target until you can easily hit it every time. Then simply move on to the next. You just might be surprised how little it takes to see change sometimes.

Forget the rules and learn what works for you

It’s actually been scientifically proven that when we are told we can’t have something, our desire for that thing increases. So what if, instead of a list of “good” and “bad” foods, no food was off limits.  What if we dropped the guilt and stopped beating ourselves up every time we slip up? This was big for me. When I stopped putting all sorts of foods on the “bad” list, I stopped binging on sweets and my ability to feel in control skyrocketed. However I ask myself these few questions first…

-Is this gonna help or hurt my goals?

-Am I gonna feel better or worse after I’ve eaten this? (body, not mindset, wise. Remember: no guilt!)

-Is this something I really want and how often do I get a chance to have this?

-Is it worth it?

Over time, you’ll learn what foods are worth it and which ones aren’t….for you. No it’s not easy at first, but it become easier as your body starts to look and feel better, your preferences start to change, and you build up your will power.

habits

Focus on  ADDING

Instead of focusing on all the things you “shouldn’t” have, start focusing on what you can add into your diet to make it better. The more protein you add into each meal the less room there will be for other things. The more healthy recipes you start add to the menu, the less room there is for other less healthy recipes. The water you drink, the less cravings and less soda you’ll have room for.

How about adding some intermediary foods? These are the foods that bring you down off the ledge. These are foods that make you feel like you’re indulging without derailing your goals. They keep you sane and satiated but also help build up that will power. Liiiiike wine, avocados, nut butters, or chocolate. Because what is life without a little chocolate?!

There are also some cool websites out there, like this one, that offer tons of great ways to substitute flour with protein powder and make delectable baked goods like this:

It's a 4th of July flag cake! Can you believe June's almost over?! Seriously how is that possible?!......ahem, anyways back to my post

It’s a 4th of July flag cake! Can you believe June’s almost over?! Seriously how is that possible?!……ahem, anyways back to my post

See, what I’m really trying to do here is get you to look at nutrition from a different mindset. A much healthier mindset.  Fat loss is a process, but it can be a positive one! It doesn’t have to involve crazy deprivation/binge cycles or you just white knuckling your way through it. You won’t always do it perfectly, but if you persist I promise it will be worth it! No more searching and confusion, no more money down the drain on another fad diet, no more yo-yo dieting that leaves you feeling worse than before, no more guilt and self-loathing; just YOU knowing what works for YOU. So don’t be afraid to start small. Don’t roll your eyes at it either. Like most change, there’s never a perfect time for it. Ya just gotta start.