“Will Power” is a Practice

I’ve always despised hearing people say “Will Power”.  It made me feel like this was a way to describe someone with supernatural powers because not everyone, including myself at times, possessed this skill.   I despised it so much I even wrote a post on it at one point, however, my thoughts on will power have changed.

Towards the end of my prep I realized something; Will Power is a Practice.  Although this last prep was much easier and smoother then my first, I would be lying if I said it was a perfect one no thanks to my “Will Power”.  See the thing is, I screw up to and then I ask myself, “Why did I do that?  This is my goal and those actions don’t support my goal.”

It occurred to me during one of my self-therapy sessions that this will power that people possess does not always come so easy but it doesn’t mean it can’t be developed.  Whether you are training for a show for the first time or trying to lose 50lbs the entire journey is a process.  The further you get through it the easier it will become, but you will continue to make mistakes a long the way.  As you continue to grow and continue to get stronger, your Will Power strengthens as well.

I bet if you look at the bigger picture and dissect your actions from what you were like when you started and what you are like now, you can find a stronger Will Power.  Everyone has Will Power and some are able to flex bigger Will Power muscles then others.  But just like that scrawny teenager that has grown into a massive muscle man your Will Power cannot change over night…it just needs a little practice.

What are your thoughts on Will Power?

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Be Thankful for the Body You Have…at Every Stage.

Imagine what life would be like if you lost the ability to pick up a plastic fork and feed yourself dinner? Or if your significant other and two little girls had to wipe you down with a towel and call that a “bath” as you laid in a hospital bed? It’s hard to imagine, right? Unfortunately, those are the kind of memories that are so embedded in my brain that I don’t remember what life was like before my mom got hurt. My mom was as healthy as any woman could be minus the ruptured disk in her neck that would forever change her life.  Despite the chronic pain, you can never dream of a day where your only two choices in life were to either learn how to move a body that no longer felt like yours or lay in bed and watch the world crumble in front of you.

As I get closer to the show and the urgency of getting lean is increasingly emphasized, I start to nitpick all the things I need to see change. My lower belly isn’t flat enough, my shoulders aren’t round enough, my butt isn’t round enough…should I do more cardio? Work out harder? Sleep more?…. My weight, my weight for crying out loud isn’t moving!

I won’t be effin’ ready.

And then I remember that this show is only a tiny part of what is important in life.  Having a body that is capable of going through these intense changes is a blessing and I am lucky to  have the opportunities that I have been given, the support team around me and most importantly my health.   While I am over here stressing out about a flatter stomach there is someone in the world, like my mom, who lost the ability to be in control over their body.  It’s funny how the tiny bubble we live in weighs so heavy on our shoulders that we forget how blessed we truly are.

So yes,  getting frustrated over your fitness progress will happen and that is ok.  I mean, if you didn’t really want something then you wouldn’t make the effort or give two shits about what results you’re getting.  But lets not forget how fortunate you are to even have a body to take through this journey.

After all, you could be learning how to feed yourself again…

 

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You Aren’t In This Alone

“Look at the sky.  We are not alone.  The whole universe is friendly to us and conspires only to give the best to those who dream and work. ” – A.P.J Adbul Kalam

I know what it is like to go through a fitness transition and feel like you are in it alone. Trying to be healthy and take on active lifestyle can seem lonely when all your friends and family don’t seem to get it.  Sure, they think it is great and they applaud you for your efforts but sometimes it doesn’t seem like it is enough.  The same friend that said they are cheering you on is the same friend giving you a hard time for making gym a priority or trying to tempt you into eating pizza.  It’s frustrating and it can hurt, but despite your feelings of loneliness it doesn’t mean that is the reality of your new fitness life.

I love training and competing in bodybuilding but it’s also a small subculture within the fitness community and can be looked at as “extreme”.  Even though the underline theme of fitness is a commonalty among gym goers it can still feel like a lonely process.   A few years ago when I was going through a tough time in my fitness transition, I was at the gym on the stair master, minding my own business and one of the physical trainers that work at my gym came up to me and handed me a sticky note.  On the sticky note it was a suggestion on how to change-up my cardio.  He explained the science behind it and went on his merry way.  I could have been offended by this action, but instead I was thankful.  I was thankful that this stranger thought to give me a tip on how to change things up because he wanted to help me succeed.

It was then I realized that in even my loneliness moments I actually have secret fans rooting me on.

So no matter who is giving you a hard time on your new lifestyle choices make it your mission to listen to those silent cheers.  Sometimes those secret fans have the biggest voices and they are there to let you know that you aren’t in this alone!

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Ways To Love Your Body at Every Phase

When you’re going through a the fitness journey of either losing body fat or putting on muscle to shape your body differently the transitional periods can suck.  You’re clothes are too small or too big, you don’t feel like you look your best but you know you are making changes.  You might get down on yourself if you skip the gym, miss your yoga class, eat whatever the hell you want for the day or just get frustrated at this slow ass process just to get to that end goal.  Just because you aren’t where you want to be it doesn’t mean you can’t love your body throughout the journey.  Here are four things to keep in mind to still love your body at every phase.

Treat yourself.

Girl, you’ve been kicking your own ass in the gym, making awesome nutritional choices and good for you! However, it is extremely easy to get caught up in the process so treat yourself to some feel goods and I’m not talking about food.  Not all the feel good treats need to be food related; take yourself to a spa, get your hair done, get a pedicure or how about a massage?  You can even take yourself to the movies or pack up your food, bring a good book and a blanket and sit outside in the beautiful weather.  You will be surprised how good you can feel when you stop worrying about what your body looks like and start doing things that feel good to your body!

Flirt.

Yes, I said it – Flirt! I don’t care if you are single or in a relationship, but for Christ’s sake flirt with another human being (or the one you sleep with every night).  Flirting doesn’t have to be overtly sexual or even with intentions on dating them.  Flirting can be fun as hell and give you an extra boost of confidence.  You have to admit – if feels pretty damn good to flirt with someone and walk away knowing they are staring at your hard-earned ass. So get out there and show the other humans of the world how amazing you are by being that sexy, confident you’ve person become since transforming your life.

Admire your gains.

It is so easy to focus on what you need to change and what you don’t like but how about you take a second to admire your damn gains! Appreciate those new curves you’ve built or the tighter waistline you created.  Sure, it may not be your goal physique but it sure as hell much different then it was when you first started.  It also wouldn’t hurt to give yourself some kudos to all the great life style changes you’ve made. So sure, you screwed up on your diet but when was the last time indulged in some sweets and stay consistent with your gym attendance?  Give yourself a break and start lovin’ on those gains!

Fall in love with the process.

Creating discipline, changing your habits and making the gym a nonnegotiable part of your day can be difficult and exhausting.  Not everyday feels the best and some days you  just want to be lazy AF.  Shit, some days you need to be that and there is nothing wrong with it.  But you have to be in love with the process you are in to love the body you have.   Loving the process creates the positive space in your head which allows you to love your body at every phase.  Feeling the blood rushing through your muscles and your heart racing after one hell of an accomplishing work out can leave you on a body high for days.  If you are using diet and exercise as a form a punishment then you have more work ahead of you then any post can give you, but if you can find your enjoyment in your new routine then you will begin to appreciate your body on a much bigger scale then ever imaged.

 

Fitness is not just a one stop trip and you’ll go through phases of wanting to lean out your body, add muscle, shape your booty, add more definition to your arms and so forth.  Changing your physique at any stage is a process and the process isn’t always that glamorous, however you can always find time to love the body you have at every phase of your fitness journey!

 

What do you do to love your body?

 



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The Reality of Changing Your Fitness That You Won’t Admit To…Yet

This week at work we are preparing for a big weight loss challenge that our company puts on to help inspire members to get into the shape they’ve been wanting to do for years. It’s huge three-month event with a $10,000 grand prize and after seeing a few of these throughout my employment, it never fails to amaze me the kind of remarkable changes the every-day person will make when they are ready for the commitment.  As a trainer, it is inspiring to see our clients transform inside and out before our very eyes.  Unfortunately, we do see many people who enter this challenge just as excited and motivated as the “winners”, but never seem to make it past a couple of weeks or pounds to then enter the next challenge, diet, or work out fad with the same enthusiasm and the same results.  (repeat cycle for this rest of their life)

Where do they go wrong?

I constantly meet with people who want to change their health and bodies and for some reason they believe they can do it themselves. I don’t mean any disrespect when I say this, but really?!

Let’s think about this for a second…

You dislike your body, you’re overweight, your body hurts when you wake up up in the morning and suffer random aches because of “old age”, you’re on medication to live longer or close to it…and you believe you can change all your “bad” habits over night and make this radical change?  You’ve spent your entire life creating the body you currently have.  If it was so easy to wake up in the morning and go to the gym then why haven’t you done it already?  If it was so easy get rid of all the sugar in your diet or strip yourselves from carbs then why haven’t you done it already?  If your solution to your weight problem is taking Zumba class four times a week and eating Greek yogurt and granola as your breakfast and a salad for dinner, then why haven’t you freakin’ done that already?

Because it is NOT that easy and (most likely) the radical plan of action you created is not realistic or sustainable.  I call it “radical” because going from the couch to the gym 5 times a week is an extreme change for most people.  You live a busy life with work, family, school commitments, not to mention the social life that you don’t want to give up as (you shouldn’t have to) and there is a high chance you dislike working out.  We live in a world where our health takes a back seat and everything else in our life comes first. When the reality is we can’t do any of these things in our life without our health unless you strive to suffer forever.

So, I ask again…if changing your health and fitness was that easy then why haven’t you done it already?

This isn’t being said with the intention of making anyone feel bad or incapable of standing on their own two feet.  I believe that at some point you will do this on your own, but right now, in the infant stages of your health and fitness journey you need someone to help you because it is NOT THAT EASY!  Some people need help in accountability and motivation, while others just need some education to make the right choices.  Some people need all of the above just to make it through the gym doors and that is okay.

Think about your fitness goals and be honest with where you are currently at.  Take a second to look at the big picture; what has been standing in your way all these years? What kind of help do you really need?  And when you decide to enter a new challenge, set a new years resolution or consider spending a shit ton of money on a new diet fad, put some thought in to the realistic obstacles that will challenge you to make changes and find a place or a person who can help you overcome them when they occur, because they will.

Motivation only lasts so long when you are in the same body two days later.

I know some of you are thinking that you have to spend a lot of money on a trainer to see success. And yes, it’s not a secret that trainers cost money and it would be wonderful if we could all afford a trainer.  It also shouldn’t come as a surprise that you may need to invest in your health and use some of your financial resources.  If you can’t squeeze a dime out of your current budget then it doesn’t mean you’re shit out of luck.  What it does mean is that you are going to have to get creative and do some research to see what is available to you.  Either way, changing your life now requires time and money.   Do you want to spend money now on preventive health or would you rather save up your Starbucks pennies for reactive health care? The choice is yours and when it’s time the change will happen and you will be ready for it.

Whether you decide to set your new fitness today or next year, I just ask you take the time to get real with your expectations and know what it means to accomplish the goals your goals.

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How to Stay Focused During The Holidays

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The Holidays can be a time a great temptations that can derail your weight loss progress.  Holiday parties can make it impossible to stick with a nutrition plan.  End of the year deadlines make for a busy work schedule that keep you in the office and out of the gym.  Travel plans make it even more challenging.  Seriously, have you ever tried to find something healthy to eat in an airport?  Not to mention this can be a highly stressful time of year.  If you are a stress eater you may find cravings hitting you harder than usual during the Holiday Season.  With all the detractors it may seem like it’s just not possible.  Oh well, I’ll start after New Years.  Unfortunately, throwing in the towel can set you back even further and cause you to pack on extra pounds that you will be regretting later on.  Here’s a guide to making it out alive.

Shift Your Focus. 

Losing weight is difficult even under the best of circumstances.  With all the distractions and temptations, losing weight during The Holidays may be a little too much.  Instead of stressing about weight loss this may be a good time to focus on maintaining weight.  Getting through the season without adding to the scale is a victory in its self.  Shifting you mindset to maintain your weight rather than trying to lose can alleviate some of the pressure and allow you to enjoy your Holidays.

Don’t Beat Yourself Up

So you’ve been less than perfect with your nutrition and you haven’t seen the inside of a gym in a couple weeks.  You’re feeling down and even a little angry with yourself.  You’re losing the progress you were making and the mountain is going to be even steeper to climb once you get back to it. The worst thing we can do when we fall short of our goals is to start talking negatively.  Beating yourself up will only make you feel even more defeated.  Stay positive and realize that the current circumstances are only temporary.  You will get back on track as soon as possible.  Allow yourself the freedom to be human and make the best of the situation.

Don’t Throw it All Away

Just because you can’t eat perfectly right now doesn’t mean you should say “Eff it” and eat whatever you want.  Not being able to go to the gym as often as you would like shouldn’t become an excuse to stop going completely.  Allow yourself to be less than perfect and have some slack.  Enjoy your favorite foods and time with loved ones.  The mental break will be good for you.  The last thing you want to do is let your health and fitness come to a complete stop.  Enjoy your Holidays and indulge a bit, but keep your momentum going.  If you stop altogether it will be even harder to get started again when the time comes.  Maintaining a bit of focus will position you to get back on track once the Holidays are over.

This time of year is difficult for anyone trying to watch his or her weight.  Stressing out and getting down on yourself will only make it worse.  Give yourself a little slack.  Enjoy the Season and keep a bit of momentum going and you will be able to survive.  And remember it’s only a temporary situation.  You will be back to being your usual Rock Star self once things return to normal.

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