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How to Cut Ties with your Unhealthy Habits

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How to Cut Ties with your Unhealthy Habits

I’ve been thinking about what keeps us from reaching our goals. Part of my day to day job as a trainer that I love is taking a look into my clients lives and figuring out together how to better reach their goals & create a healthy lifestyle they can maintain. With lots of contemplating and discussing, I’ve decided that one of the biggest stumbling blocks are the unhealthy habits that have become a part of our lives that we may not even recognize as habits. 

Let me shed some light on what I’m talking about. Maybe you always set your alarm for 30 minutes before you have to leave out the door, therefore leaving you with no time to eat a healthy breakfast in the morning. Maybe you always put the chips in the most convenient cupboard so you know exactly where to go when the salty craving hits. Or you always go with a friend to the gym who just wants to chat the whole time so you never really get the workout you want, haha gotta love those chatty friends! It could even be just going to the same grocery store you always go to, and walking the same route you always do, which conveniently leads you right to the ice-cream isle or the dang Oreo section! Then we buy them, and then we have to eat them.

The point is that these un-healthy habits are the things we do throughout our daily/weekly routines without even realizing we’re doing them. We’re probably looking beyond the mark with what we think we need to change to reach our health and fitness goals, when it could actually just be simple and right in front of us. 

My suggestion for breaking through this road block is CHANGING THINGS UP. Shake up your routine. I’m going to give you 3 suggestions that I’ve given to my clients to help detach from those un-healthy habits keeping us from our goals.  

Ok but first things first, let’s define a habit: it’s a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up. Dig deep and think of an un-healthy habit that is part of your life right now. If you think of how to get rid of a bad habit, doesn’t it make sense to change your routine! This brings us to my first suggestion.

  1. Change up your daily routine. Shuffle things around. Get creative and go crazy with this. If late night snacking is your issue, change up your entire nightly routine. This could be saving your plate of dinner until after your kids are asleep so that you have it ready to eat instead of your snacking habit. By shuffling your routine a bit, you’ll have no time to snack on the bad stuff! If a good nights rest is your struggle, maybe try sleeping on the opposite side of your bed away from where your phone is plugged in so you get a better sleep. Totally guilty of this! Maybe it’s going to the grocery store in the morning instead of the end of the day when you’re tired and hungry. Or if those tempting drive throughs get ya, try even changing the route home you take so that you don’t have to pass all those luring signs. Small rituals we have may trigger bigger behaviors, so best to just mix it all up!

  2. Out with the bad and in with the good. When you get rid of something in your life, it makes sense to replace it with something better right? This step is in hopes of avoiding the empty hole that can be left when we remove something that’s been a habit. Say you want to stop drinking soda. Well you’re still going to reach for that can of soda habitually unless you have something else to replace it with. Try a La Croix drink or some sort of sparkling water to get you that same fizzy goodness. 

  3. Learn to control what you can, and deal with the rest. There’s a sense of power that comes from being in control of our lives and decisions, rather than letting life just happen to you. Sometimes things our legitimately out of our hands, and the important thing is to do our best at bouncing back. However, I argue that In any situation we have some aspect that we can control. Even if it’s just our mindset, we have control over that. You may not be able to have control over your crazy Tuesday schedule of carpooling kids back and forth and them screaming in the back seat because they’re hungry after soccer practice, but you do have control over prepping some healthy snacks for you and the crew in the car to have amidst all the chaos. You may not have control over where your family chooses to go out to dinner, but you do have control over making an educated healthy choice off the menu (avoiding a sugary drink, getting your meat grilled, not eating the whole bread basket, etc.) Flexibility is key here as well. Don’t forget to live life. If a friend brings you her homemade banana bread, you say thank you and enjoy it. Then you just bounce right back into your healthy routine. 

A final thought is to be patient with yourself. If you think about it, habits aren’t created overnight, good or bad. If you’ve been doing something a certain way for 15+ years, that behavior isn’t going to just change over night. These adjustments take time. All that matters is that you’re moving in the right direction. Even if you take 3 steps forward and a couple steps back, you’re still better than you were when you started! 

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Get Pumped: 5 Major Benefits from Strength Training

Welcome Back! So with the recent feedback from the Resolution Revival program I’ve been so proud of the participating clients and their progress and feedback. There were so many who started off with a goal of “losing some weight” or “having my clothes fit better”, etc. But through a little encouragement and time, I noticed a shift as they completed the weekly benchmark fitness tests. Their goals became focused on strength, and increasing their test results. Accomplishing a physical challenge became more important than the number on the scale, or the way they looked. Then naturally, those other goals followed as a side result! So I thought I’d put in a little plug for strength training this week for my Wednesday Wisdom, and setting strength goals for yourself. Here are my top 5 benefits from strength training that will add to your life and your awesomeness :)

  1. Confidence. One of the biggest benefits I see in my clients after strength training is the confidence they stand with. Especially as women, there’s something empowering about being able to lift heavy stuff, am I right?! Knowing that you can jump into any situation (most situations I guess ;) and feeling like you can handle yourself feels amazing. Also, the fact that you’ve pushed yourself through hard things without giving up (hard challenging work outs, not quitting when you feel the burn) gives you a confidence to be able to take on challenges that come into your life. You can do hard things!
  2. Functional strength. The tasks of daily living become easier! You can carry your kids up the stairs without feeling like you want to pass out. You can carry all of your groceries to your car without struggle. Being able to perform the functions of daily life helps you stay young! which leads to the next benefit.
  3. Live a longer, healthier life. There has been plenty of studies on aging and it’s well known that strength training can actually reverse aging symptoms!! Keeping your muscles from decreasing in size, and your bones dense and healthy. There are also plenty of neurological benefits as well, keeping our neurons firing to all areas of the body. Sounds good to me!
  4. Naturally burn more fat. Its a common goal to want to “lose body fat” or “tone up”, but most people go about this the wrong way. Doing more cardio and eating less is not always going to get you there. What you really want to do is strength train, put on some muscle, and then once you have muscle underneath that fat, your body will naturally burn more fat throughout the day, and slowly widdle away that layer and those muscles will start to show. Muscle is the best fat burner we can carry around with ourselves everyday. Muscle mass naturally bumps up our metabolism. If you’re looking for a toned, sculpted, lean look, you have to put in the work to build that muscle before its seen underneath the fat layer. Unfortunately we can’t choose where our body stores fat or gets rid of fat, its just a total body thing. Spot reduction doesn’t exist. But we can choose which muscles we build. Eating right is going to play a huge part as well. Proteins, healthy fats, and lots of veggies should do the trick! Trust the process. 
  5. The psychological benefits of accomplishment. Think of the last really hard workout you put yourself through. Did you think to yourself after “I really wish I didn’t do that” or was it more along the lines of “that was hard, but I’m proud I pushed myself through it”. Most likely it was the latter. In a recent study I read, they found that strength training is associated with reductions in anxiety symptoms among healthy adults, reductions in pain intensity among patients with low back pain, osteoarthritis, and fibromyalgia; improvements in cognition among older adults; improvements in sleep quality among depressed older adults; reductions in symptoms of depression among patients with diagnosed depression and fibromyalgia; reductions in fatigue symptoms; and improvements in self-esteem. 

 

Well if I haven’t convinced you yet, see for yourself! Grab some weight, take a break from the treadmill, and experience these benefits in your own life. Here’s some feedback from my clients who have taken on my 4 week challenge:

“The challenge really opened my eyes to how hard I'll need to work to make a change in my body.....20 minutes of cardio here and there isn't going to cut it anymore!”

“After 4 weeks my focus has change from losing weight to building muscle, strengthening, and toning. I am excited to start another 4 weeks!”

“Never before have I done anything like this, but it has been really motivating and fun.  I wanted to increase my strength and these workouts have really helped.”

“Done!! What a great sense of accomplishment! Tricep dips are sooo hard! I have to do them on my knees, but I did all of them. Less sore than 1st 2 weeks for sure. Starting to build confidence in my strength.”

“Idecided not to step on the scale. What I am recognizing in myself is that it is challenging and exciting to meet the daily workout strength goals"

I love this feedback, and I am inspired by all of you strong women out there. Share this out with a friend you want to get strong with!

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Get Foam Rolling in Your Life, the Right Way

Alright some of you may still be wondering what the hype about foam rolling is. Is it just a trend? Does it actually do anything? Why does it hurt so bad? Well hopefully I can answer some of your questions and influence you to try it out and enjoy it like I have.

First of all, what is foam rolling? It is more scientifically known as SMR, or Self-Myfascial Release. It is a soft tissue therapy (muscles, tendons, fascia, connective tissue) that you apply to yourself with the goal to release tightness and soreness, also referred to as trigger points.

Some of the Benefits of foam rolling include:

  • Increasing range of motion
  • Increasing long term flexibility
  • Decrease Muscle Soreness
  • Decrease Muscle Pain long term
  • Increase Neuromuscular efficiency
  • Maintain normal muscle length
  • Address muscle imbalances
  • Aid with Injury prevention

Think of it as a little Therapeutic massage to yourself. Ok maybe a little more painful at times, but the more you do it the less painful it will be! 

Alright first order of business, how to choose the right foam roller? You can order them for as cheap as $8 off amazon if you’d like. You want it firm. It needs to be hard enough so that it’s pressing into you, rather than you pressing into it. Personally, I like the firm, solid black classic.

Now lets talk Technique. You may have seen people just roll around up and down on these things. Thats not exactly right. You should roll around for about 30 seconds to break things up, but then start to feel where you have tension and target that spot to release that tension. You want to push through that spot, relax, and feel it release. You will feel pain, but try to stay on that point until it releases. Then move on to the next spot. This is a slower process that most people think. 

When should you foam roll? Ideally every day, but you can start out with a few days a week. Before and after your workout is perfect. You will notice that your muscle soreness will decrease, and it’s a nice warm up before you get started. 

What Muscles to target? Well most commonly tight on humans is our IT bands, or the outer thigh. Your IT band connects your hip down to the outside of your knee. Since so many of us sit, or bike, or run, we aren’t getting that lateral movement, so that naturally tightens up. This can cause a pull on your knee and you will feel pain. Roll through that IT band, break up that tightness. Other points that are my favorite to target are your quads, calves, glutes, and back. I find my glutes are often in knots, so I just sit on the foam roller and knead through the soreness. Along with the benefits above, you will start to notice a longer, leaner look to your muscles if combined with regular exercise and a healthy eating routine. 

A common mistake? Most people always want to stretch their hamstrings, it feels good, but I suggest you stay away from it unless you are foam rolling them as well. Here’s the deal, our hamstrings are usually over lengthened. Think about it, hips are tight & short (sitting the majority of the day), hamstrings are over lengthened & being stretched through the day. Foam rolling breaks up the muscles, helps reduce the length of the muscles back to normal, and then you will feel stronger and better when you stretch them.

So there you have it, my quick 101 crash course on foam rolling. Have other questions? Let me know, comment below. Think someone else could benefit from this information? Share this blog post and spread the word, and let me know how your next foam roll session goes :)

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