Quieting the quitter in us
Last year my client started out with a 6 month goal of running a mile. We started with slow jog intervals of only 30 seconds at a time, with 2 minutes of walking to recover. Four months later she ran her first 5k. It was tough. This past November she ran her first 10k and placed top 10 in her age bracket- a non-runner! By her last race, she was running intervals almost the full mile at a time, recovering for only a minute or so.
Well, today we amped up that intensity to sprint intervals- to burn fat and really push her cardiovascular system. I knew it would be tough- they are INTENSE! If you are really pushing yourself to the limit, those 30 second sprints should feel like you are about to die. Then recover for a minute. We started off, and each time, about 26 seconds into her sprint, she would slow down, shake her head and try to stop. “I can’t”…she would say. So I put my imaginary Jillian Michaels hat on (which I almost never do) and pulled her by her arm and yelled at her “Yes you can!” For a whopping 4 remaining seconds. She was so close to finishing strong, but her inner dialogue had defeated her.
We did 10 rounds. By round 4, I started timing her inner chatter perfectly and would snap her out of it- telling her “I know what you are thinking right now and don’t you dare stop!” Then the timer would beep. It worked.
After round 10 she thanked me, said I pulled her through. It’s all mental. Our thoughts can literally choke and suffocate us from the inside out. When my clients shake their head no, I tell them it’s too late- you already ARE- you just gotta get to the end!
Tough love is hard for me as a coach. But I learned something today- some of us need it more than others- that person to push us past our own demons- push us through the negative chatter… My job now is to help my client dig deep enough in her psyche to stop that “I can’t” from ever surfacing, and bring the “I can”, “I will” and “I am” to the surface.
Never let yourself get too hungry, too tired, or too stressed.
I was thinking about this on the treadmill yesterday. Why do I eat so well most of the time, then turn one day and eat foods that aren’t the best for me? Why do I skip workouts, or have one too many cocktails and feel like junk the next day? I know better! But I figured out why this happens to me...
If I let myself get too hungry, I reach for anything to satisfy me, and then I keep eating more of it. If I get stressed I may have a drink or two, which can lead to me eating bar food. If I get tired, from pushing myself too much or staying up too late, I skip workouts. They are all pieces to the same downward spiral puzzle.
So never let yourself get too hungry- fill up on veggies and eat regularly on whatever schedule you have decided- whether it’s 3 square meals, or 5-6 smaller meals.
Aim for 8 hours of quality sleep- go to bed a little early, create a routine before bed that calms your body and signals it is time for slumber. Take a 20 minute power nap during your lunch hour if you can.
Manage your stress- find time to laugh and play throughout your day. Don’t take life so seriously! Exercise releases stress reducing hormones, but so does watching a good comedy or taking a bubble bath or playing a game with the kiddos.
Never let yourself get too hungry, too tired, or too stressed!
You have work, baking, shopping for the holidays, parties- oh and at some point the kids gotta eat and mama needs to clean something, right? So during the holidays, what happens to your fitness? It can easily end up on the bottom of that list of “to do’s”.
It’s a vicious cycle- you don’t have time to work out- you eat a little crappy. You start to feel low energy, lethargic even. It’s cold outside and dark when you wake up- who wants to leave the house on a cold dark morning to go to the gym?
Well guess what? Your health, your energy and definitely your stress level depend on it. Let’s forget trying to be in a bikini right now- honestly we are wearing sweaters and trying to skip shaving our legs- having a six pack may not be your biggest concern right now! But exercise has a myriad of benefits that definitely should be at the top of your lists.
· It reduces blood pressure.
· It releases natural endorphins- the happy kind
· It reduces stress hormones.
· It will help you sleep more soundly at night, which gives you more energy to tackle that gift list.
So we know it’s good for us- big deal right? How are you going to actually fit it in? How can you motivate yourself to drag your ass to the gym, or get to that workout class, or go on a run?
Here are just a couple tips, create your own go to motivators-
· Get up early- I don’t care if you are not a morning person- as the day goes on, excuses begin to pile up and your schedule gets filled. If this is you, wake up a little early (in the dark even) and get it over with. I guarantee by mid-day you will have forgotten you even worked out!
· Set out your clothes, your shoes, your iPod whatever you need- have them in your front seat of your car so on the way home you just can’t ignore them- take them into the office and change before your ride home. If you work out in the morning, sleep in your clothes if it helps!
· Delegate other tasks to free up 30-60 minutes. Kids can help with dinner, cleaning can wait until the weekend,( who needs to dust right now anyway?) Find the holes in your schedule that can be managed a little better and create that workout time.
· Grab a friend- set a date with him or her to hit the gym or go on a run or walk together. That creates accountability. You can’t let that person down by being a flake!
· Last but not least, post a “before” pic on your fridge or bathroom mirror. Then find a picture of yourself at a time when you felt your best and post that too- which one do you want to be?
Have a very Merry Christmas and a Fabulous 2013!
I am sure everyone has heard of this rule- 80% of your fat loss is nutrition, 20% is exercise. I have even read that 80% is nutrition, 10% is exercise and 10% is genetics. Either way the nutrition, the fuel you put into your body, tremendously impacts what you look and feel like.
However, the 80/20 rule I also talk to my clients about is healthy living and being realistic. As long as you are consistently eating the right foods and getting daily exercise in 80% of the time, that other 20% (holidays, vacations) should not completely sabotage your hard efforts to live a healthy life.
So keep the fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean protein sources at the forefront of your mind when choosing. Do not berate yourself and say you “cheated” just because you indulge every once in a while. It is all about consistency and the big overall picture.
Have you ever heard of The Paper Towel Theory? Bob White first wrote about it, and a friend of mine recently shared it with me. It’s definitely a motivator!
The theory is – say you have two rolls of paper towels, both with 150 sheets on them. You want to lose 35 pounds of that. One roll is “Big Christine”, we will set her off to the side. The second roll is “New Christine”. Each sheet of paper towel represents a quarter pound of fat. Every day we work out, let’s take one sheet off, so at the end of the first week we have taken 5 sheets off that roll. Does it look any different from the first roll? NO! It barely made a dent! “This working out and eating right isn’t working! “But a few weeks later, you have taken numerous sheets off, and comparing New Christine to Before Christine you can start to see the difference. It took time. As we get smaller, the sheets we take off are becoming more noticeable, because they are wrapping themselves around a smaller surface. Be consistent- do not give up!
So back to this 80/20 rule, especially timely topic because of the holiday season. Be consistent with your food choices and daily exercise. Pride yourself on being strong willed and having a goal, despite the baking, the parties, and all the marketing ploys to overindulge. That’s your 80%.
Treat yourself when you feel like it, and enjoy it. Don’t feel guilty! That’s the 20%.
It’s simple, it’s definitely realistic and it is attainable.
Have a great day,
My pal Leslie has been going at it for nearly 12 weeks now. She sent progress pictures yesterday with an email, and gave me permission to post. Leslie is a perfect example of how becoming healthier is not a matter of a straight line, but more turns and curves and twists to get to your goal. A single mom with a young daughter and full time job, she is just like anyone else trying to “fit it all in”. I am very proud of her and excited as she embarks on the next 12 weeks!
in her words-
"It’s time for an update that really shows results, I was a little worried about this but I can say that no scale will truly tell it. Pictures are for real. I know we all see old pictures from the past and say hey I remember those days or wow I look young or I look so fat. Well I can say that my 12 weeks ago those pictures are something that I do not want to go back to but what a great reminder as to how far I have come. I can honestly say that I didn’t work as hard as I should of although I have seen results they could be better and I will continue to strive forward. Personal things that have gone on are now slowly moving in the past so I know that my focus will change and that will help with myself, mind and body and I know that stress can put a huge burden on and weight. I promise within the next 12 weeks, the results will be amazing and I’m excited to see what the future holds. Even though I’m over 900 miles away thanks to Christine and all the support it really has helped!!!!
Leslie's changes can be seen in her arms, abs, lower body- but even her posture! She is standing with more confidence- love it! She reminds me of the popular inspirational pic online:
This past week I have been toying with the idea of competing in another bikini contest. A friend of mine is competing in a March show, and I am helping her prep and train for it. Giving her tips and advice from my first experience has gotten me excited again, because it really was an awesome challenge!
My husband actually brought this topic up last week. “I think you should do another one“ (contest). This surprised me, mostly because I really thought it was hard on my family when I was going through the training and diet. He did see how much fun I had, and having a goal to strive towards made it so much easier to push myself. So I told him, “I think I might compete again, but maybe I’ll just start training and dieting ‘as if’ I might compete and then just decide as we get closer to the date.” He replied “Whoa! I don’t think so! There is no ‘maybe’ or ‘try’. You either do or you don’t. It’s all in or not at all.”
I hate it when he’s right.
Yesterday I had a friend I met on Facebook message me just to chat and catch up. She asked if I had a trainer with my first contest, if I enjoyed the competition, etc. I asked her if she was considering a competition, and she said she was on the fence about it. Then she asked me the ultimate question- “What would you tell someone who is thinking about competing?” Here was my opportunity to spit some wisdom in her direction. I told her “Go for it- why not? Take the leap, enjoy the challenge but go all in- 100%. You either do or you don’t. There is no try.” My husband‘s wise words in action.
Don’t go halfhearted into this decision or anything else in life.
Make it a fabulous day, people!
On July 14th I competed in my first bikini competition. I trained for 12 weeks prior to that- I lost 15 pounds and got to a ridiculously low body fat and weight. So much weight that my grandma saw my pictures and said “Oh Honey, you look like you need a sandwich!” As challenging mentally, emotionally, and physically as it was, I can truly say I enjoyed the process and the results. I will definitely compete again.
But here’s the tough truth of it all- post competition I did it all wrong. I had told myself that I was not going to gain it all back. I wanted to gain some of it, so I did not look as grandma would say, like I need a sandwich, but had no desire to lose the definition of my lean muscle and wanted to keep my body fat down to a reasonable (for me) level.
Well, I gained it all back. ALL OF IT. The first two weeks after competition, my metabolism was buzzing- not humming, I mean buzzing. I could eat whatever I wanted and nothing really changed. I tried my best to maintain the diet but with increased portions, and occasional cheat meals. 7 days in Cozumel at an all-inclusive resort with endless buffets and unlimited alcohol started to slow that metabolism train down. Fast forward a couple weeks, and another 7 days in Las Vegas with more food and alcohol and very little exercise. It’s no wonder I am back where I started. Where I told myself I would not go.
Let’s be clear- I am not expecting sympathy. I am not telling you this because I want anyone to feel sorry for me- quite the opposite. I want you to all know that I am not perfect- I make mistakes- I have to start from scratch too. I am most own worst critic, and I see the downward slope my physique has taken and mama don’t like it! So back to the drawing board (or step mill) I go!
I want this entry to be about me holding myself accountable- to myself and my clients and friends. I love to motivate and inspire, but sometimes that means showing my faults and mistakes for everyone to understand that I go through struggles also. Everyone has those challenges; it’s how you overcome them that give you the confidence to be your best!
Leslie accomplished one of her original goals she set for herself 2 months ago when we started. With her personal life throwing her some curve balls, she didn't let that stop her! Here she is in her own words- "Ok, So I made it to the 60 day mark and completed my first Mud Run...What a blast!! I guess I thought the little things I was doing as far as the treadmill and the small weights were doing something...But now I know that my bones hurt and muscles that have not been used in years were used this weekend I need a lot of work!!!! With the help and motivation from you (Christine) I know I can still accomplish my goal. 2 months down and 2 more until I see all of my family out of town and I want this to be my next thing to look forward to and push me along. I think that more so I need to do this for myself but it makes it easier when you have a clear outlook. I am focused now for the next month on adding more strength training, I have the cardio portion down and my eating is a lot different than it was 60 days ago (including the cocktails) and I know that I need to incorporate everything in order to see better results. Stay on the look for the next update!!! Thank you Christine! Love you! PS. I'm looking for my next run event to sign up for as well"..... Les
Many people who are new to exercise and eating healthier jump “all in” and over extend themselves. They create a bunch of rules to live by, limit their food choices, restrict too many foods, and create an unrealistic exercise schedule. This strategy sets them up for failure. As soon as they miss a workout or eat a less than perfect meal, they often get discouraged and give up.
Rather than set yourself up for failure, set yourself for success! Start with a few simple changes, and build up new habits each week. This will become more of a lifestyle choice and less of a temporary insanity fix.
To get you started, here are 5 simple rules to live by you can start with right now!
#1 Drink more water. Water makes up %60 of your body weight. It flushes toxins, keeps your blood healthy, and revs your metabolism. You may think you are drinking enough, but chances are you aren’t. The eight glasses per day is a minimum for most, not taking into account exercise or environment.
2) Move more each day- this seems obvious enough, moving more burns calories-not just daily exercise- you don’t need to go to a 90 min spin class each day right off the bat. How about walking the dog after dinner? Simply adding 15 minutes of walking each day will give you health benefits. You can build up from there, but take it slow if you have not exercised in a while.
3)Eat more fresh, less processed. Simply eat more foods in their natural state. Don't get caught up trying to count every calorie- that is not a realistic lifestyle. Just pay attention to limiting your intake of processed foods- those foods with labels that have ingredients a mile long and you can’t pronounce- and start focusing on fruits, veggies, lean meats and whole grains.
4) Stress less- find a way to de compress at the end of the day, maybe yoga, maybe reading for 30 minutes, music, or a bubble bath. Take care of your mental and emotional health. This reduces the stress hormones in your body, and allows your body to burn more fat rather than hold onto it for your “crisis” mode. Get creative in finding ways to relax.
5) Sleep more- sleep is essential for muscle building and fat loss. Rest and recovery is vital to regulating your insulin levels and hormone levels, and keeping your body in an optimum fat burning state. Try and aim for 7-8 of good rest. Turn of the television and electronics 30-60 minutes before bed, and prepare yourself for some good slumber.
Small changes, big results! Remember to stay positive and don’t get overwhelmed with all the details, keep your new habits simple and progress from there!
Leslie wrote this week's post- I am thrilled that she has been so pro active in making healthy changes that fit her lifestyle!
Keep up the good work, and now is a great time to ramp things up a notch :)
"Just checking in, it has been 40 days since I decided to make this life changing goal and so far so good!!! I’m still trying to overcome a lot in my personal life and I know that sort of thing as well as stress can have a huge effect on weight. I can successfully say I have not gained and I know that I have lost by the way some of my clothes fit although I am not going to get on a scale just yet. I have measured and lost an inch off my hips and my belly so I’m excited about that. I know the slower it goes the longer it will stay off and I know it took years to put it on so it won’t come off right away.
One thing that I started to do this week was set my reminder on my phone because I felt like some days I wasn’t eating as much as I should because I just wasn’t hungry but I also felt sluggish at night and I’m sure that was my metabolism slowing down….I have 22 days until my 3.1 Mile Mud Run and I am super excited to fulfill one of my goals as well as for the next 22 days make a promise to myself first and then Christine that I am going to bump up my cardio and my strength exercises. Thank you so much Christine for the help and encouragement always!!! Love you lots.