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GOAL SETTING: Being "Realistic" Isn’t All There is To It

Hi bloggers! This week I want to talk about goal setting. As a full-time Personal Trainer, I work with many different people: young, old, athletic, new to exercise, stroke victims, diabetics, overweight, underweight, men, women…and on and on. It’s important in my position to understand each individuals goals, and also to help them set goals for their training that they may not have even thought about before. Many people come in with a goal in mind, but have no action plan or idea how to actually achieve that goal. Afterall, if all of us knew how to achieve our goals, we would … right? 


WRONG. So, what is it about SETTING our goals that we fail at (if we already know we don’t always achieve the goals that we have in mind for ourselves)? Even if we do achieve them, how long-term or lasting is it for? You see, the majority of people want change, have goals in mind, but never achieve them.







I urge you to consider that setting a goal must include some the following things:


– The goal(s) itself 
– The emotional tie to your goal
– A time-frame
– Recognition of one’s strengths and weaknesses (in general)
– Priority tied to the goal itself (What you want to MOST improve upon)


I will go into detail about all of this because I feel that it has personally and professionally helped me achieve. I evaluate, and constantly re-evaluate myself on these, and urge a vast majority of my clients to do the same. Let’s explore why considering each component of your goal is important:

THE GOAL(S) ITSELF



This seems obvious, unless you really dig deep. This is where you recognize your goal, and dig deeper into setting long-term and short-term goals related to the bigger picture. For example: Your long-goal is to gain better balance and stability. Short-term, your goal then may be to stand on one foot, or a Bosu ball without falling off for a specified amount of time. 


Whatever your goal long-term goal is, your short-term goals serve as measurable mile-markers toward your accomplishment. Without a short-term goal, you will likely have little to no clue on what path to travel. Always check the mile-markers.

THE EMOTIONAL TIE TO YOUR GOAL



We all have reasons why we want to achieve goals, usually because of our own self-pride, self-esteem, competition, or because a loved one has achieved something that you want to relate to. Whatever the reason, it’s important to recognize it because emotions are what typically hold us back from accomplishing our goals. Take a minute to absorb that…

A TIME-FRAME



A time frame is extremely important in goal setting because it’s easy to slack off if you feel you have more time to complete a task. A time frame also will be recognized by those around you, and will come up in conversation often. If you are showing improvement, you will likely receive praise. If you are not showing improvement, you will likely experience some criticism; either positive or negative. See how this goes back to your emotional tie? 


A time frame helps keep you accountable, and selecting ways to determine your progress that are measurable (aka short-term goals). This also helps to increase your awareness daily of what you are striving for. I have many people that come to me with no time frame and say “I don’t care how long it takes, I just want to be healthy”. That’s a great attitude to take on to show that kind of commitment; however people often do not succeed because they give up when things get hard. They can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel because they aren’t even on the road the tunnel is on. They missed all the mile-markers along the way; as if traveling in the dark. With that, they lack progress because they’ve never held themselves accountable, and in turn, they never achieve that goal. It’s a vicious cycle. 


Set a time frame!

RECOGNITION OF YOUR STRENGTHS & WEAKNESSES



Choose at least 3 of each. Write them down on an index card, and put the index card somewhere visible. I put mine on my mirror. Everyday I look in the mirror, I evaluate, judge and motivate myself. Some days, I feel great about myself! Other days, I`m harsh, critical, and feel like giving up. Don’t we all? MY own words and MY own recognition keeps ME going. Others can inspire, and encourage but it is up to YOU to make YOU better. 


It’s very important to regroup yourself and realize your strengths and weaknesses so that when you re-evaluate, you can compare yourself on how you’ve grown as a person. You should always have an equal amount listed of strengths and weaknesses. Do NOT let your emotions get in the way of listing more of one of the other. Truly evaluate. Use your strengths to guide you through dealing with your weaknesses, and overcome your obstacles. I have found this to be a very effective tool.


Afterall, if you don’t take pride in what you’re good at, you`ll never get better at overcoming your weaknesses.



PRIORITY TIED TO THE GOAL ITSELF.
 WHAT YOU WANT TO MOST IMPROVE UPON



Life happens! Things happen. These are not excuses, it just is that way. Our priorities shift overtime as we grow and develop. It’s crucial to understand where you are at right now, and what’s important. Hopefully, when you get to your goal and grow, different things will become priority. If you don’t know your priorities, how will you continue pursuing your goal when life happens? 


If all else fails one day or one week, work on what you want to MOST improve upon. This is like having a Plan B in the forefront of your mind. 


Thanks for checking out this weeks blog! Remember, this is an in-depth approach on my end to be very clear on my philosophy behind goal setting. This is not all inclusive, and what works for one person may not work for another. BUT, is what you’re doing working? History has a tendency of repeating itself. If you have been shy of achieving your goals, or really haven’t even considered your personal goals in awhile please take my weekly challenge! I’d love to hear back from you!

SET GOALS! GET HEALTHY! ACHIEVE BALANCE!

ARE YOU BALANCED?







WEEKLY CHALLENGE: Get an index card. On the front write the date,  and fill in your goals (long-term and short term).  And the back accross the top write the 1 thing you would most like to improve upon. Then, seperate the bottom 1/2 of the back to list strengths (3) and weaknesses (3). Give yourself 1 week to look at the card everyday. Come back to my blog and let me know how you did & if this made a difference for you!

Hard Work: There is No Subsitute

Hard work. A topic that has been at the forefront of my mind this week, as I have been finding some things to be, well, hard!! I hear people say all the time “My life is so busy!” or “I have a life outside of the gym *followed by sarcastic chuckles*” I have personally struggled lately with the fact that I have tried to think of my life outside of the gym. It seems at times non-existent; as I am working hard to acheive lofty goals I have set out for myself, and sacrifice to make those goals a reality. So I stop the pity party, and share with you that this feeling is okay because That’s what HARD WORK is about. It’s not meant to be easy. It is HARD and it has an investment return. HARD WORK pays off.

On a personal level, my passion is for helping people grow, obtain knowledge and change their lives through health and fitness. It seems at times that is all that I do. So…what’s wrong with that? Nothing! You see, the problem isn’t that we do what we love too often, the problem is often that we do what we love MORE often for others than we do for ourselves.

Some of you may re-read that last paragraph. That’s okay. Let’s face it. How many times have you put loved one’s ahead of yourself? That’s not a bad thing. It just is. In fact, it’s a good thing; as long as you also address your own needs. This is where sacrifice comes into play.

Sacrifice is about giving something up either partially, temporarily or permanently that you know you cannot have too much of while trying to acheive a goal. Many people give up alcohol for their families. Some give up time with loved ones in order to work more and save money or provide. Others give up time with loved ones for the goal of saving money (not going out to eat or events), or even to spend more time studying or in the gym. Every sacrifice has pros and cons. That’s why it’s sacrificial. You give something up short-term in order to gain in the long-term.

The truth is, that without HARD WORK and SACRIFICE combined, neither of them mean much. Hard work comes in many forms. Different things are hard for different people. It’s important for us to grasp this in order to help and inspire others. There will be days that are hard. There will also be days that are good. Sometimes sacrifice will be small, and sometimes sacrifice will feel magnified as we progress forward, or even if we regress.

All of has have progressions and regressions, but the goal is to continue an upward trend. A beautiful person recently put it to me like this:

It’s like a statistical graph for any major company with large trends. Some days the graph will represent an increase, while other days the line on the graph may drop. The drop could last for a day, days, weeks or even months, but eventually will rise again. The important thing is that the overall trend of the graph is upward. This is also what’s important in our lives.

MY CHALLENGE TO YOU: Think about your overall graph of your life. This year. Right now. Appreciate where you are at today, and recognize that whether up or down you will be in a different place tomorrow. Are you trending up?

METABOLISM: How does mine work?

I want to address this topic because there is a huge amount of conflicting information out there. Let me begin by saying that EVERYONE’S BODY IS DIFFERENT. Now, we should all follow specific guidelines, but we need to learn our bodies. Think about it, in the days of our ancestors our activity level was high, and nutrition was balanced. Now-a-days, we are nonfunctional, lazy, and eat unnatural foods. This has lead to disease (including metabolic disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, on and on…)…

With those factors being considered, what may work for a diabetic, may be completely different then what will work for you. Please approach this blog with caution; in that, YOU must take responsibility for your health. I have educated opinions, as do others, and  some publish completely uneducated information. You must learn your body, know your lifestyle / activity level, and understand what nutrition program will best suit you. Your needs will certainly be different from my needs.

Here are some basic guidelines:

Breakfast: Within 1 hour of waking up EVERY SINGLE DAY. Do not skip this meal.

AM Snack: 2-3 hours later
Lunch: 2-3 hours later
PM Snack: 2-4 hours later
Dinner: 2-3 hours later
PM snack: FOR DIABETICS – a couple of hours after dinner to control fasting blood sugars by liver storage of glucose dumping into the blood stream.

Strength Training is for EVERYONE

Hi to my lovely blog followers! Today I want to address a topic that people ask me about every single day (especially from women) !

Who is strength training good for:

Children
Adults
Elderly
Pregnant Women (with doctor approval)
Elderly (with doctor approval)
WOMEN (yes, I put us women in our own little category)

Below are listed the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations for strength training for different populations for your ease. PLEASE NOTE: I have only included strength recommendations; not aerobic recommendations for the purpose of this blog. It is important that you mix both strength and aerobic exercise for health, weight management and disease prevention.

CLICK HERE : CDC Recommendations for Physical Activity for Everyone

CHILDREN 6-17 YEARS OF AGE:

CDC Recommendations for Children and strength training: 3 times per week 60 minutes or more a day.
** Note aerobic activity is recommended 60 + minutes everyday.

Children should do muscle and bone strengthening exercises that are age appropriate. Activities include things like gymnastics, pushups, running, and jump rope.

PREGNANT WOMEN

It is important to consult your physician regarding continuing exercise during pregnancy. Every woman’s body is different during pregnancy, and different complications may arise.

If you are regularly accostumed to exercise pre-pregnancy, your physician will often allow you to continue your normal activity levels, and make adjustments to intensity as you progress in your pregnancy. It is important to recognize potential risks of exercising and avoid exercises in a supine position which can inhibit blood flow to the uterus.

ADULTS 18-64 YEARS

CDC Recommendations for Adults and strength training: on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest,  shoulders, and arms)

It is very important for all adults to consider their current health state when chosing an exercise program. There are several considerations in developing an exercise program. Some considerations include: hypertention (high blood pressure), history of cancer or stroke, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, injuries, recent surgeries, lung disease and osteoperosis to name a few. These are all important to consider to prevent injury by selecting the proper exercises for range of motion, decreased joint stress, and regulating intensity levels for medications one may be taking.

The most common mistake with exercise programs is that they are not PROGRESSIVE. People get into a mental “Who Hah!” if you will, and jump right into performing exercises improperly that they have no business doing in the first place. It’s important to understand that one must have STABILITY before builing too much STRENGTH, and must have STRENGTH before they can build POWER.

OLDER ADULTS 65 + YEARS

CDC Recommendatiions for Older Adults and strength training: on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest,  shoulders, and arms)

Strengthening exercises include: lifting weights, resistence bands, body weight exercises, yoga.

WOMEN
CDC Recommendations: Are no different for women then for than that of adults which include men. That is: on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest,  shoulders, and arms).

This is what I hear from most women looking to lose weight “I want to tone up”. When I ask them their plan to acheive that goal this is what I get in response “Well, I`m going to do a ton of cardio everyday until I lose at least 10-15 pounds, then I`m going to do a little arms to strengthen and tone my upper body. My legs are fine. Actually, I really like my legs; they’re all muscle! Oh yeah! And abs EVERYDAY!”

Okay, so here I go…LADIES!  STOP NEGLECTING THE WEIGHTS. Not just machines, but the cables, free weights, and difficult exercises. Lifting weights will not make you bulky. Failure to lose bodyfat while lifting weights, will make you bulkier (AKA not eating properly, doing cardiovascular training). If you want the body that you desire, you cannot “lose some weight by doing cardio a couple hours a day, then tone up with machines later”. This approach will not work. Period.

Today I am only touching the surface on debunking this common myth among women. Of course there are different approaches and styles of training, and it is important to train for your goal. Yes, but you must also consider how weight loss / gain occurs. I will talk about this more in my next blog.

For now, EVERYONE HIT THE WEIGHTS!! (If you don’t know how, invest in knowledge & a fitness professional. How are those print-off exercises working out for you? If you’re doing them efficiently, it’s probably going well! If not, you’re doing something wrong. Stop wasting your time!)

A Personal Trainer, A Human Being

This blog I would like to dedicate to a brief auto-biography of my motivation, passion and determination for goal accomplishment, both for myself and helping others. I am asked daily what inspires or motivates me. I tend to be long-winded and passionate about many things so I will try to keep this to a minimum. This is informal so bare with me.
ABOUT ME
I am a Certified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist, in my mid-twenties, and striving to make a difference for others in my lifetime. I believe I was put on this earth for a purpose, and that purpose is to touch the lives of others by sharing knowledge, tools, enthusiasm, and fun!! You cannot take life too seriously, or it will consume you. Every trial is a challenge and opportunity to grow!

I love to spend time with loved ones, travel, be outdoors, barbeque, hike, watersports, write poetry, blog, research, workout (duh!), and network with people. I am very social, and enjoy being around people of all ages.
MY PASSION FOR FITNESS
My passion for fitness, overall health & wellness, and helping others developed by accident while seeking knowledge for my own wellness. While exploring different avenues of ways to be healthy, as cancer, obesity, autism and mental illness are very prevalent in every generation of my family, I found that exercise in general was my biggest stress relief. Exercising was the thing that balanced me, helped me cope with traumatic events, and feel better about myself. In fact, exercise quickly became an addiction.

As most young women, I struggled with exercising too much, eating too little, and ultimately damaging my body. It wasn’t long before my body finally spoke to me. I was determined to figure out how I went from feeling great to horrible. In college, I was uncertain of what to study, so I decided to study the only real thing I was interested in. Exercise and Nutrition. Made sense to me so I decided to continue my education in the nutrition science, and personal training field. My primary focus at this time was a healthy population (aka athletes). Of course, my close ones thought this education choice was somewhat ridiculous and I may never make a career or life out of becoming a personal trainer. I should be a lawyer or a doctor instead; not waste my brain. Who needs a personal trainer anyways? (Really, think about it)…

Through my education, I obtained textbook knowledge on the need of preventative care in the medical, wellness, and fitness fields; I sparked interest. However, my primary goal has always been to coach athletes. I became certified as a Personal Trainer in 2006, and obtained my AAS Dietetics degree in 2007. At this time I decided to train for a figure fitness competition.
MY STRUGGLE, TURNING POINT & INSPIRATION
Three months into my fitness competition training, I failed. I began gaining weight – rapidly! Within 4 months I went from a slim/athletic build of 5’7” 132 pounds, up to 200 pounds! I was devastated.

I had been training hard, exercising correctly, eating correctly, and still felt sick and tired all the time. I was even working in a hospital as a Clinical Nutritionist by this time. It took months and months of doctors and specialists to diagnose me. Meanwhile, I felt hypocritical, lethargic with little energy to do day to day tasks, let alone workout anymore. Especially carrying 65 extra pounds. My passions seemed to be taken from my grasp.

Finally, diagnosed in 2008 – Hypothyroidism; a metabolic disorder. My metabolism hormones were barely working. Finally, an answer, but I knew I had to figure out something to get back to healthy and quickly. Despite fitness and diet efforts, it took another year to regulate my medication and lose weight, but I still returned to personal training. It was my passion. I worked hard, lived by the rules, so I was determined to regain health while doing what I love. I found that I was able to relate and help so many other people who had medical limitations. In fact, I found that my limitation was becoming a mere emotional crutch, and I needed to not make excuses anymore. I needed to learn my body and do something about it!

So, I did and now I get to help other people too! My interest is still athletic populations; afterall I do run a bootcamp, take a bootcamp, and participate in HIIT (high intensity interval training) most day of the week, but I also have a desire and passion for medical disease management and prevention. Do NOT let your health concerns be a crutch. Learn to work with, around and against them!
LOOK AT ME NOW
I am healthy, happy, and committed to overcoming obstacles. I have quit buying into negativity or limitations that others have put on me. I believe in pushing myself mentally, physically and emotionally to push my boundaries, and also discipline myself into balance. Balance is important. When my clients ask me if their goals are realistic, I say “Don’t let anyone tell you they aren’t!”. I refuse to let others determine my accomplishments anymore.

Currently, I am pursuing competing (finally), in the NPC Nevada State Figure Fitness Competition on June 9, 2012 in Reno, Nevada. I am 20 weeks out, and just began my first leaning phase. I am leaning earlier than most competitors because I want to to know all the rights and wrongs of my body transformation, and have time to make adjustments.

My current training program includes: Strength training, HIIT training, balance / coordination training, power / agility training and yoga. I am currently exercising 2x per day most days of the week to prepare. I am doing this because it is a dream of mine, and also because I believe it takes a competitive athlete to understand the psychology of athletes. 

My secret to this attitude? I don’t listen to the limitations that others put forth. You are greater than you think. With discipline, sacrifice, time, energy and FUN anything is possible. For awhile, I accepted the limitations other put on me, and damaged myself emotionally, physically, mentally. Are you limiting yourself? I`m not! Not anymore.

Please follow me in my journey of the next six months of a total emotional, physical, and mental transformation. If I can rise above, so can you!
WEEKLY CHALLENGE: Write down your goals on an index card & post it in a visible place. Include the following on your card…
GOALS:
Long-Term
Short- Term
Strengths:
1
2
3
Weaknesses 
1
2
3
What you need to most improve on?
”If you have a body, you are an athlete!” – Bill Bowerman

Nutrition: Balanced Shopping Lists, Snacks, Ideas

Hi everyone! Welcome back to week 3 of my fitness blog! I hope you’ve all got some insight to my philosphy as a trainer, as well as some helpful meal planning tips, and some inspiration on progression. This week I`d like to talk about shopping lists, snack ideas, and variety in your diet.

I want to share with you some of my own personal snacks, shopping lists, and cooking methods.

Snack Ideas:

Snacks: Generally 200-300 calories. It is important to have balanced snacks aka carbs, protein and fat. I always try to keep my foods fresh, organic, and as close to natural as possible – LIMIT processed foods.

  • Fruit with low-fat mozzerella string cheese
  • Sliced lean meat and fruit (or crackers if you eat them)
  • Fresh fruit smoothie with protein powder
  • Protein pancakes
  • Veggies (non-startch) and low-fat string cheese or 1 oz of regular cheese
  • High protein granola bar (such as South Beach Peanut Butter Bar) and a peice of fruit.
  • Fruit and almond butter
  • Veggies and peanut butter
  • 1 serving of mixed nuts (unsalted) or almonds
  • Hard boiled egg whites and fruit smoothie
  • 1/2 turkey sandwhich (if you eat bread) – I don’t anymore unless it’s a rare occassion.
  • 4 ounces of juice and a serving of protein
  • 1 cup of milk (if you drink milk)
  • Greek yogurt or greek yogurt smoothie
  • Meal Replacement protein shake with carbohydrates. (Not all protein supplements have sugar, and not all lack sugar!)

Not sure how to read a food label? Follow this interactive link to learn more!!

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/nutrition-facts/NU00293

Shopping Lists:

It is very important to create a shopping list before your weekly visits to the grocery store(s). Sift through recipes for breakfasts, lunches and dinners that you would like to make yourself. Remember, cooking 1-2 times a week is ideal at minimum. You will always have food readily accessible for you on-the-go people! (All of us are!!)

Please refer to Meal Planning: Shopping Lists for a more in depth look at this concept.

Recipes & Meal Ideas:
Here are just a few recent recipes I have tried recently, and also some listings of foods I make weekly! Enjoy!!
Protein Pancakes:
Ingredients:
1/2 c. Oats
8 Egg Whites (Or whole eggs & egg white combo)
Banana (Optional)
1/4 c Water or milk (optional)
Cooking Directions:
Mix in blender! Pour onto skillet!
Pancakes:
Ingredients:
1/2 C. Whole Wheat or Oat Bran Pancake Mix
3/4 C Water (or low-fat milk)
1/4 c Almond Slivers
1-2 tsp Vanilla Extract
Top with Cinnamon (fiber!!)
Top with fruit (optional)
1/2-1 Scoop Protein Powder (OPTIONAL – vanilla or cake batter!)
Cooking Directions:
Mix in mixing bowl. Pour onto Skillet!! Top with yogurt butter and sugar free syrup or cinnamon!
(Natural or Gluten Free Chocolate Chips (optional for cheat meal) )
Egg White Scramble
Ingredients:
All Natural Beef Sausage or Ground Turrkey Sausage
4 Egg Whites
Chopped:  Cilantro, green onion, onion, tomato, bell pepper
Cooking Directions:
Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Pour onto skillet. Top over rice is optional!
Veggie Jazmine Rice:
Ingredients:
Jazmine Rice
Water
Cilantro
Sage
Oregano
Chopped Onion
Chopped Celery
Chopped Carrots (or any other veggies)
Sesame Seed Oil
All Natural Yogurt Butter
Cooking Directions:
Mix into rice cooker. Set timer! Enjoy!
These are only a few ideas that maybe you haven’t tried yet! Please refer to my Meal Planning Blog for more tips. I will post new recipes weekly! Please feel free to email me your and share!
Interested in more recipes NOW? Follow this link and browse by category!
REMEMBER: IF YOU DON’T DO WHAT’S BEST FOR YOUR BODY, YOU’RE THE ONE WHO HAS TO PAY FOR IT.

Progression: Full Circle Motivation Factors versus Motivating Behaviors (Never Streamlined)

This is a blog that I posted prior to my fitness blog launched. This is in PROGRESSION. Please read and enjoy. Comments welcome. I have included a link to my original blog at the bottom!

Progression: Full Circle Motivation Factors versus Motivating Behaviors (Never Streamlined)

Moving on. Growing. Learning. Changing. Adapting. Running past contentment. Pursuit of something better. Appreciation of forward motion…. To me, this is progression.
I am not just speaking of progression in terms of specificity such as: fitness, training, in a relational sense or spiritually, but rather in life in general. OVERALL. I know, a little backwards don’t you think? But, that begs the question: What is it that OVERALL (in general) in one’s life causes progression? Sure, there are specific incidences that influence this forward motion, but what leads an individual to admittedly change their entire thinking and developing process to reap the benefits of pursuing their life goals? How do these influence the rate at which we progress?
Finally, if life tends to cycle in  repetitious circles of high and low seasons, is it that progress truly happens at a specified point in time or is merely recognized at a specific point in time; either way,causing rapid and undeniable changes within an individual and the way others perceive them? While other’s perception is a whole other ball game, let’s say for arguments sake, that 100% of the time outsiders will notice the progressive changes as they occur, or also identify the changes at a specific point in time; usually correlating almost exactly to when others notice these changes as well. Sometimes, outsiders even notice these changes before we notice. It may not be pin-pointed as progression, but the changes are certainly undeniable.
These questions have been wandering a blunder in my mind, and for the sake of this blog, I will certainly attempt to avoid tangent thoughts and stick to answering these questions as I have found applicable in my own experiences thus far.
Question 1: What is it OVERALL in one’s life that causes PROGRESSION? 
(Remember I am speaking generally, and attempting to avoid specific experience in order to best answer this)
Doubt, failure and weakness breed progressive behaviors if motivation lies within. You can argue internal versus external motivation within an individual either exists or does not, but truly does that argument de-validate the point that motivation must exist, and be drawn from either negative or positive energy sources? To each his own source. I have yet to meet anyone who did not possess a motivating force for their life; even if negative or for a specific agenda. 
Now that the above is established, let’s explore the other questions….
Question 2: What leads an individual to admittedly change their entire thinking and developing process to reap the benefits of pursuing their life goals?
Assuming that an individual has been motivated by doubt, failure and / or weakness of some kind; they have chosen to reap benefits from these failures. Hence, progressing forward to change that pattern. Their motivation may have simply been to break their doubtful, weak and failing pattern. Now an individual has consciously decided to allow growth and development within their life.
Okay, now in order to continue in forward motion with these realizations after the individual has decided to allow initial development in their mind; obviously they need to decide where to apply it to. The only logical place is toward their goals. I mean, right? Where else would you apply all of this recognized energy toward if not to better yourself or directional goal? I can’t think of anywhere. Now, once one realizes this they need to determine the rate at which they apply this concept; which leads me into my next question / answer….
Question 3: How do these influence the rate at which we progress?
Realizing all of the above, allows one to truly evaluate the how realistic achieving is to them. If they have gained a lot of energy toward a specific direction, then perhaps they may pursue the goal full-force because they realize that it is obtainable; especially with the doubt, weakness, and fear of failure strongly in the background. From there, even more motivation is often drawn because what’s the worst that can happen? You fail again? So what… that’s experience right? Perhaps for some, just the thought of running away from failure and doubt causes an adrenaline rush and that “fight or flight” response; in which, the individual at this point actually views success or failure as a survival mechanism. 
Question 4: If life tends to cycle in repetitious circles of high and low seasons, is it that progress truly happens at a specified point in time or is merely recognized at a specific point in time; either way, causing rapid and undeniable changes within an individual and the way others perceive them?
Both. Successes and failures allow experiences to be identified as such: success or failure, that instills something internally in each of us. This something is the opportunity for PROGRESSION. This opporunity may be perceived by others before we recognize it, or it may also be doubted by others before they undeniably recognize it. Either way, the cycle continues for individuals who CHOOSE to recognize this, and then CHOOSE to pursue and live in a progressive way. If “fight or flight” response does not kick in, then an individual may recognize the opportunity to be motivated, but they are not as motivated to pursue their goal as they are truly pursue AND live out goal. See the difference? Pursuit is a risk. Pursuit may cause failure. <--- That statement alone is doubt. When doubt, failure or weakness overshadows motivating behaviors, one will NEVER be successful. 
It isn’t until you can look at YOURSELF, not others around you and realize that YOU NEED PROGRESS. Not just to recognize that you need it, not just to say that you need it, not just to think about progressing, or talk about progressing, but when you DO the following, you are already progressing:
Moving on – past failures and fears
Growing – from experiences 
Learning – from internal and external sources
Change – Change your response to the sources, and failures, and weakness. Change your ATTITUDE
Adapting – “Fight or Flight” – Survival. Let nothing be a reason to fail. 
Running past contentment – Constantly evaluate your failure, fears and weakness
Pursuit of something better – Use negatives for positives, and DON’T GIVE UP.
Appreciation of forward motion – Be thankful for every aspect of growth along the way, and don’t let it hinder your goals, but rather fuel the desires….
….. To me, this is progression; coming full circle.

When you want to be successful as bad as you want to breathe, then you’ll be 

successful!
 
 
 
Direction: A Screeching-Halt Approach to Every Stoplight: Progression: Full Circle Motivation Factors versus…: Moving on. Growing. Learning. Changing. Adapting. Running past contentment. Pursuit of something better. Appreciation of forward motion…. …

Prepare: Weekly Meal Planning is Essential

Today I want to hone in on the importance of planning your meals. Let’s face it, we are ALL busy. Career, kids, working over-time, under-paid, long days, responsibilities, etc. This is life. But what does it mean to live? To me, it means enjoying the quality of life while minimizing everyday stress. This is why we must take care of ourselves! So, today I will touch the surface of meal planning for a week in order to help you reduce your time spent on such tasks during the week.

For some this may seem a daunting task, and even ridiculous, time consuming, expensive, unreasonable or boring (all things I have heard recently), BUT what this really amounts to is: more time during the week for other activities, less stress of “to-dos” like making dinner, packing lunches, etc, more money saved, more energy, and a healthier you!!!

The Goal of Meal Planning:

The basic goal of planning your meals ahead of time involve the idea that you are conciously making decisions of what you are going to put into your body. This is one of the common excuses that I hear from people: “I am so busy, and I have to eat quickly on the go. I just don’t have time to eat healthy!”. Really? I challenge you otherwise. You CAN eat healthy on the go IF you prepare ahead of time. Pack snacks! Use tupperware, ziplock baggies, keep food in the car or your purse ladies if you have to.

The truth is, if you purchase your foods with a goal in mind (like a list), you will purchase foods that will be healthy, energizing and help you function more efficiently. If you don’t purchase foods with these goals in mind, you will likely always be stopping somewhere quick for a snack like a fast food chain or gas station (we’re all guilty of this!), or on the flip side you may not eat for a long period of time and then binge later on. This is not good either.

How to Meal Plan:

Not everyone is the same. We all have different metabolisms, activity levels, medical concerns, and innate cravings / needs. It is important to get in tune with your body and your needs in order to find a program that works for you. The key is BALANCE. (I will continue stressing this concept throughout my blogs). 

Balance with food is: Protein, Carbohydrate and Fats. It’s important to understand that your body needs all 3 of these nutrients for different reasons whether you are active or inactive. Your ratios, caloric intake, and percentages, or how you divide up these calories will be specific to you and your needs. It seems complex, but really it’s not. For those of you “health gurus” you know what I am talking about. For those of you who are already confused, have no fear! We will explore some general guidelines. As you become more in tune with yourself and your body, you will gain a better understanding of your own needs.

If you are at a complete loss speak to a Personal Trainer, Dietician, or research yourself. Be sure that what you are researching is valuable information based on science. Not just someone’s opinion. I have provided a couple of links below.

For more information you can visit http://www.nutrition.gov/, http://www.eatright.org/ , http://www.diabetes.org/, http://www.mypyramid.gov/ .

(Be your own advocate)

Considerations:

First, consider your goals ie: weight loss, weight gain, maintanance, or maybe blood sugar management for you diabetics.  Ok, now what does that mean to you? Increase calorie DEFICIT, decrease calorie deficit, maintain calories or spread calories and sugars out more evenly for glucose management? Whatever it means to you, just be aware of it.

Shopping:
Ask yourself these questions in order to determine the best action plan for you:
  1. How many days / week will you be cooking ?
  2. How many days / week will you be shopping for produce?
  3. What is your grocery budget?
  4. Gather coupons or sift through grocer specials for best deals
  5. Have a plan of what stores you’re going for where.
  6. Seperate your list by store.

First, make a list. If you like to cook, gather some healthy recipes and add to your list that way. If you don’t like to cook, consider foods that you like that you can package in tupperware or ziplock baggies to take on the go. If you know you have trouble snacking on unhealthy foods between meals at work, make it a point to add high protein snacks to your list. Some examples of my own snack list include: turkey pepperoni, low-fat mozzeralla string cheese, fresh fruit / veggies, almond butter, peanut butter, protein bars (for when I`m really busy), almonds, mixed nuts (unsalted), or smoothies with protein powder. Get creative! Snacks generally are 200-300 calories for most people. I always try to limit my fat intake at snacks because I know I am getting more at my meal times. Balance is important here.

Budget:

This is a main concern of most people, and one of the most common excuses I hear is “Eating healthy is just too expensive!” To that, I ask you:

  • How much per week do you spend on coffee, gas station snacks, energy drinks, etc?
  • How much per week do you spend on a quick lunch / dinner?
  • How much per week / month do you currently spend on groceries?

I gaurantee that you are spending more on all of these items combined then you will spend to prepare your own meals. Period. Eating out is one of the biggest ways to waste your hard earned money. Is it really that convenient?

WEEKLY CHALLENGE!: If you are guilty of this, save all of your receipts this week. Time yourself at each location to see how long it takes you to wait in line to get your food / coffee. Write the time on the back of the receipt when you get it, and add them up next week. I dare you!!

Preparing Meals:

Set a day and time aside. For me, I always cook on Sunday evenings around 7 as I wind down for the night. Sundays are my only day off, so it works best for me. I also find myself cooking more meat on Wednesdays nights (my off night from the gym). I love to cook so I like my meat juicey and fresh! Choose what works well for you.

Choose cooking methods such as baking, steaming, broiling to avoid access fat and calories. I personally use a rice cooker with a steamer for chicken, veggies, and my rice! Chop everything up, put it in the cooker, time it and wait! Minimal work to be done!

Spice up your life! Use spices and blends!! Don’t let yourself get boring. This is so much easier than you think! Try to avoid using any mixes with salt; especially if you are concerned with high blood pressure or water retention.

Make sure to clean all of your veggies before you chop them! I recommend chopping all of your veggies and putting them in tupperware. You can add them as a side dish to an entree, eat them as a snack, or even add them in your omeletes or scrambles like I do. No matter what, you have them ready to go!

Variety! Make sure with your meats you are cooking a variety. For example: tonight I made chicken. I steamed a couple of chicken breasts flavored with lemon juice, and then I cut strips of other chicken and made it over the stovetop with a little redwine and some spices. This strips I will add to my salad or over rice. This adds variety. I also made turkey burgers with Mrs. Dash and other seasonings. I made 4 different kinds to choose from: Fiesta Lime, Lemon Pepper, Tomato and Basil, Original. I also usually have ground turkey made. For my breakfasts, I use ground turkey sausage or all natural beef sausage (every other week) and package that up. I can add it to omeletes, scrambles, rice, or even have it by itself on the side with a smoothie.

Time Savers:
  • Clean up as you go! Rinse your dishes as you are done with them, load the dishwasher and start it at the very end!
  • Always go shopping with a list.
  • Choose a good time to go shopping. Avoid lines, frusteration.

I encourage you to set a timer to see how long your prep for the week takes you! You will be surprised!

Remember: You are your own best advocate. No one knows your body better than you do! We are our own worst critics, but we also go too easy on ourselves. Our bias allow crutches. Stop making excuses and DO SOMETHING!!!

NUTRITION IS AT LEAST 70% of your results that you will see regardless of your goal.

Eat breakfast within 1 hour of waking, and meals / snacks every 3-4 hours thereafter. Do NOT skip meals!

” If you fail to prepare you will prepare to fail!! “

Introduction: Living a Healthy Life; A Trainer’s Philosophy

Hi everyone! Welcome to my fitness blog. Each week I will be sharing insight to health, fitness, common questions, etc. Today I would like to introduce you to what LIVING A HEALTHY LIFE means to me.


While you well know that I promote exercise and am a personal trainer in a corporate gym, I want to urge you to keep in mind that fitness, health and overall well-being is not defined by “the gym” alone. Due to our non-functional lives, the gym is a modern day outlet to acheive training and balance that our bodies used to have in the days of our ancestors. However, our lives are so lazy now that we must train our bodies not to just adapt and become lazy with this lazy approach to life we have taken (I am not denying technologic benefits, but you can understand where I`m going with this!).

Health is the most valuable asset we have in our lives. Ironically, we have a significant amount of control over our own health; more control then anyone else could ever have unlike most things.There are hundreds of proven benefits to physical activity as you well know. Some of which include: Disease management & prevention, better sleep, hormone regulation, bone density improvement, clarity of mind, increased libido….the list goes on and on and on. We’ve all read the biggies on the internet, in magazines, and heard the tv commercials on weight loss products.

But what if living a healthy life goes beyond being “skinny” or “bulky”, thin or fat, athlete or former athlete, having perfect nutrition or exercising twice a day? Well, guess what – it does! Being healthy is, you guessed it, a lifestyle. Health is a balancing act of every single tiny part of your life, and everything you do affects it.

Health includes your physical being, emotional being, mental and spiritual being. It is absolutely essential to get in tune with your body in order to make well-informed decisions about how to help your body function more efficiently.  This is a process and it takes time.Your body is made to MOVE, you should do this often! On the flip side, sometimes your body needs to rest. This balance can be very difficult to acheive with conflicting information in every book or magazine you pick up, every fad diet claiming to be the best one, and websites made by everyday people who may or may not be well-educated or informed in the topic they’re preaching on. Many people have good intentions, but have no idea where to begin on being accurately informed, or following through with a long-term process. Most goals are cut short-term, and long term goals are never acheived. People quit. My goal, is to help motivate and inform people like you so you will not just quit. Knowledge is power IF you choose to use it.

Each week, we will explore different avenues of healthy living, how to goal set, make good choices, embark into a positive attitude, find an emotional balance (fitness / nutrition can be very emotional), as well as updates on my personal training adventures as I strive to acheive balance in training for a NPC Figure Fitness Competition. We have a lot to cover in due time. For today remember this:

Your health should be of utmost importance to you. While you do not have control of life, you do have a lot of control in your quality of life!! Make your health your #1 priority today.
Your health is important to you and your loved ones!!

Fitness: Physical, Mental, Emotional, Spiritual

Welcome to the first fitness blog post of 2012. I will share with you today an impromtu view into my mind as a Personal Trainer, Nutritionist and aspiring NPC Figure Fitness competitor. Strap on your seatbelts and enjoy the ride….

In my opinion fitness describes a specific state of balance and imblance that we usually attribute to our physical being. We consider ourselves or others physically fit or un-fit depending on their activity levels, and also based on their lifestyle habits. I presume that someone with poor lifestyle habits outside of “the gym” or other physically activity may not be physically fit. Or, for that matter emotionally, mentally or spiritually fit. You see, one may have a beautiful outer body, and be imbalanced in many other areas of their fitness. For this reason, fitness does not just refer to one’s body.

Fitness goes beyong work in the gym, crunches, flat abs, glamour muscles, or cellulite reduction. While physical fitness plays a crucial role in overall well-being (aka emotional, mental and some may argue spiritual), it is not the only peice to the puzzle. The puzzle is a jigsaw of many parts that fit together into one – Your body. Your body needs proper physical balances for longevity, disease management and prevention, reducing risk of injury, regulation of hormones, functionability, and many other benefits to be reaped. However, this is also true of mental, emotional and spiritual balance. All of these areas compromise who we are as people in our lives. Truly fitness is not about the gym.

Ok, that was a hefty statement. Let me elaborate…

Fitness is not about the gym because we are created to be functional beings (active – we are made to MOVE), relational beings (being in relationship / social with one another), growing beings (inovation, technology, knowledge seeking, philosophical), and emotional beings. We accept these as truth, and they seem simple right? Wrong.

As human beings we constantly strive to be accepted. Whether in society, the workplace, or with friends, family, significant others. That is our relational stress that triggers our emotions and can take a physical toll. It can also make us mentally exhausted or spiritually frusterated and seeking answers to everyday problems. For most people, these problems are what affects there physical fitness in either a negative or a positive way. Hence, motivation. Drawing motivation from positive or negative sources.