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.

photo.PNG

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.

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

#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…

#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.

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!!