Health

Why you should handwrite (not type) your goals, dreams and aspirations

The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believeWhen was the last time you wrote something down by hand?

Perhaps it was on Monday when you wrote out your to-do list in your work notebook. Or maybe it was Wednesday when you wrote on a Post-It note to remind yourself to pick up eggs. Or perhaps in was on Friday when you wrote a few pleasantries in a birthday card that you were planning to give your friend on the weekend.

Or maybe you just typed your to-do list in your lap top at work, set a reminder on your phone to get eggs and wished your friend a Happy Birthday on their Facebook wall.

Although my handwriting is barely legible and I misspell almost every word I write, I love writing things down. Pen to paper is my jam. I’m a visual learner, so there’s something about physically writing things out that helps me to remember it better than if I typed it out on a computer screen. (more…)

Improve your health, fitness level and nutrition knowledge in Koru Personal Training’s January 2016 challenge group!

practice makes purpose challangeIf you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you know I don’t like New Year’s resolutions or diving in head-first to some new diet trend or fitness program and giving up all your vices cold turkey. Most of us are back to our old ways by February, and feel crappy that we failed our resolutions yet again.

I’m more a fan of setting goals or intentions for the year, and then setting smaller SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound) goals to help get me there. If one of your goals is to improve your health, fitness level, mindfulness practice and nutrition knowledge this year, I’m hosting a month-long online health challenge over on Koru Personal Training’s Facebook page for the super reasonable price of $20! (more…)

8 tips to help you have a healthy holiday season

8 tips for having a healthy holiday seasonWith less than a week until American Thanksgiving/Black Friday and Christmas not far behind that, you’re no doubt starting to experience that familiar holiday feeling: Stress.

Standing in line at Wal-Mart to get that Lego Star Wars kit for your 10-year-old; spending hours on hold with UPS trying to track down that package you ordered from Amazon early (because you were trying to beat the rush) that’s been shipped to the wrong address; hitting up grocery store after grocery store trying to find baking supplies for those thoughtful homemade gifts you’re planning to make (apparently everyone had the same gift idea); and trying to find the time to whip up a different appetizer to bring to each of the seven holiday parties you’re invited to over the next several weeks… it’s exhausting.

And let’s not forget about the guilt you’ll feel after mindlessly inhaling all the delicious holiday baking available at said seven Christmas parties (and the leftovers coworkers bring into the office after the weekend) and not being able to get to the gym because you have baking to do, decorations to put up, and Christmas parades to attend. (more…)

The small habits you should focus on to reach your health and fitness goals

focus on the steps that will lead you to the goal, not the goal itselfLast week I wrote about why we need to get obsessed with consistency and the actions that feed the goal instead of focusing so much on the final product when it comes health and fitness. So what are those little habits and actions we should be getting obsessed with in order to reach our goals?

Obviously this is going to vary from person to person based on your past histories and current habits. But here’s my attempt at coming up with a general list of habits to work on changing and how you can start to take the steps to do that, based on some of the barriers I’ve seen with clients and some I’ve encountered myself.

I’ve grouped them into three categories: exercise, nutrition and mental health, or what I like to call the Self-Care Trifecta. Getting a handle on these three things is a lifelong process, and sometimes I find we focus too much on one for too long while ignoring the others. Though balancing all three is a mighty challenge (and one I don’t think we’ll ever be able to do at the same time), having the Trifecta tip in three directions throughout your day, week or month is better than having it just topple over to one side completely.

Since trying to form too many new habits at once is overwhelming and generally doesn’t work, I would pick ONE habit out of all three of the categories to work on for a month. Then for the next month, continue your chosen habit (or take it up a level) and add in another habit from a different category. I’m going to be facilitating something similar to this using a habit changing worksheet with my Koru Personal Training January Facebook Challenge Group next year (sign up at the link if you’re interested!), but here’s a sample of just some of the things you can choose to focus on for 30 days: (more…)

{thinking out loud} My thoughts on Instagram model Essena O’Neill and cultivated social media personalities

gymselfie1I’m sure we’ve all heard the story by now about Instagram model Essena O’Neill, an Australian teenager with over half a million followers who decided to quit the social platform in a blaze of glory, but not before showcasing what really goes on behind the cultivation of each picture-perfect shot by editing the captions.

“See how relatable my captions were – stomach sucked in, strategic pose, pushed up boobs. I just want younger girls to know this isn’t candid life, or cool or inspirational. It’s contrived perfection made to get attention,” she writes.

While some people applaud her for her honesty and exposing the truth behind those seemingly perfect yet staged Instagram photos (where she was often paid up to $2,000 by a brand to wear their clothing in the post), others have slammed her for blaming social media on her problems and causing a stir just to get even more media attention.

What are your thoughts on this? (more…)

Forget focusing on goals: To get healthy and fit, focus on this instead

Get obsessed with consistency and the actions that feed the goal We often hear about how important goal setting is when it comes to achieving anything, from becoming more successful at work to improving your overall health and fitness. While setting short- and long-term goals are still important and a part of the process of achieving a more happy and healthy you, sometimes focusing too much on an end goal can be more of a barrier than a motivation factor.

I was listening to the Lift Like a Girl podcast the other day that touched on exactly this topic. In the episode, fitness coach JC Deen and Nia Shanks were discussing the perils of fat loss (you can listen to the whole episode here) and how where you’re at is a process of your habits. When asked how someone can successfully overcome the perils discussed earlier in the episode, JC read a quote from trainer Amir Siddiqui that I thought was a great analogy for why focusing on the end goal doesn’t always work: (more…)

Self-knowledge, the problem with self-help books and how to truly change your habits

practicemakespurposeYou know when you hit 30 (or 25, perhaps), and you start reading self-help books to address an identified problem or figure out what your life’s purpose is?

Unhappy in love? Relationship on the rocks? Feeling unfulfilled at work? Kids driving you crazy? Stress and anxiety ruining your life? Depression dragging you down? Unable to pay the bills? Feel empty inside? There’s a self-help book for that, I’m sure. And most of it is probably fairly good advice, especially if it’s penned by a PhD, medical doctor, scientist, therapist or psychologist with decades of experience behind their words of wisdom.

But does reading, intellectually understanding and even applying some of what you’ve learned ACTUALLY help you? Not the ego you, but the REAL you? The you that all those self-help books promise to help reveal?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately as I’m currently eyeballs-deep into several self-help books. It’s all fascinating stuff, and while some of the wisdom and advice has definitely helped me to understand myself and others better and to see certain situations with more clarity, I’m curious as to how it’s actually affecting my true self. Although intellectually I understand the advice and have been working on applying some of what I learn into my everyday life… is it really me? It’s like when I give a new client a strength training program or nutrition plan: Intellectually they know what to do and can even take steps to incorporate it into their lives… but is it their default state? Is it something that truly resonates with who they are, their desires, their values, their beliefs? Is that why changing habits — especially ones related to fitness and health — so hard to do? (more…)

The 3 biggest road blocks to weight loss and how to break through them

adkarI want to lose weight/run faster/get stronger, and generally I know what I need to do to achieve that goal (eat less, move more, lift weight, run fast), but I just don’t know how to make it happen with everything going on in my life.

Does that statement ring true for you at all?

If so, welcome to step three or four of Prosci’s ADKAR process for managing change!

In my other life (the one outside of fitness and health blogging and personal training), I’m an internal  communications and change manager professional for a large organization, and was thinking the other day how a model we use for managing change within the organization — called ADKAR — could totally be applied to fitness and health. (more…)

{Friday Favourites} Best reads of the week in health, fitness and wellness

the best reads in health and wellnessHappy Friday, y’all!

How was your week? I’m almost recovered from the marathon and Thanksgiving food binge on Sunday. I had about two days of soreness and hobbling after the race before I felt normal again, though I’m clearly not quite recovered yet as I went for an easy 15-minute run yesterday and bailed on the sidewalk. Probably not the best idea to go for my post-marathon recovery run in the morning in the dark on uneven pavement. Other than a scraped elbow and torn glove I’m fine, and happy that I didn’t also tear my Lululemon running jacket.

I’m actually surprised I feel as good as I do after last weekend, which gives me hope for my upcoming marathon training plan. I’m going to go back to focusing on strength training for about a month until I start to ramp it up again for the Phoenix Marathon in February. (more…)

Do motivational quotes actually motivate you?

un-motivational quote

“To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.” – Anonymous

“If you are not willing to risk the usual you will have to settle for the ordinary.” – Jim Rohn

“Opportunities don’t happen, you create them.” – Chris Grosser

“All progress takes place outside the comfort zone.” – Michael John Bobak

There. Now that you’ve read those, are you ready to get up, put down your phone/close your laptop and create a risky opportunity that makes you feel uncomfortable in order to achieve greatness? Are you going to put on your workout gear and head to the gym right this very moment, even though you’re currently cozy in your bed/sitting at your desk at the office? No?

I’ve often wondered if reading motivational quotes layered over images of mountains, oceans and trees actually inspire people to get up and DO the things the quote is trying to motivate you to do. Although many of us seek out and resonate with words of wisdom, especially when we’re going through tough times or are working on something that requires mental strength and willpower, do they actually cause a person to take action? (more…)

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