Tis the season for food guilt, health shaming and misinformation memes! Here’s a few tips to deal with the influx of “1 serving of mashed potatoes = 30 minutes of running, 1 piece of pie = 300 burpees” crap you’re seeing today (or will see this weekend).
1. Let it sink in: these memes are total bullshizz, based on averages and guesstimates that are unlikely to represent you. Unless you’re hooked up to a machine, NO ONE can tell you how many calories you’re burning.
2. They promote a potentially dangerous and disordered way to think about food and exercise (very similar to the calculation process observed in those who suffer from eating disorders). A system of checks and balances might work in terms of overall consumption over a period of time, but not for individual choices and one-off days.
3. They are over-simplified and don’t tell the whole story: your metabolism increases when you overeat meaning you’re burning more calories for awhile (the body takes care of itself amazingly). You also burn calories through daily activity: more so than just your workouts. In fact, most of us burn far more calories OUT of the gym than in. (did you know your brains use approx 20-25% of your caloric intake a day?)
Calories in and calories out is a tricky matter and not as simple as the “experts” make it out to be.
4. Unless you’re eating 10,000+ calories in one sitting (AND continue to do so for days on end), you’re unlikely to gain any “real” weight this weekend. The bloat, poop and water will take care of itself in a day or so, and if you go back to your normal habits (NOTE: YOUR EVERY DAY NORMAL HABITS. No extremes), any weight gain will take care of itself too. Believe it or not, a few days “over” on the scale won’t kill you, break you, or even be noticeable to ANYONE but you.
Weight gain AND weight loss is about consistently engaging in activities that promote either over time. It NEVER boils down to one meal, one overeating session or one holiday. Thinking this way can throw an otherwise AWESOME program WAY off track: two extremes do not equal balance.
And if you DO end up gaining an additional 1-3lbs due to Thanksgiving business, good times and yum yums? SO THE EFF WHAT, lol. It’s not a big deal, EVEN if you’re on a weight loss mission. Just go back to what you were doing that feels good and supports your goals. Bam: you’ll be right back where you were. And loving yourself - not hating yourself - along the way can be mega beneficial to your overall success.
But stressing about it? Going extreme? Getting frustrated? Overthinking it? ALL things that zap the energy you need to get back to doing YOU. And the more you allow yourself to fester in these emotions & thoughts, the less likely you are to get back “on track”.
So ditch the infographics, misinformation, food shaming and guilt promoting pics and quotes. They don’t serve you, don’t help you in the long run and aren’t necessary. Plus, as stated, total bullshizz.
Bonus? All those extra treats mean hella full glycogen stores. Use them to power your workouts, have more fun and enjoy life like the bad ass you are.
NO GUILT. NO SHAME. NO JUDGEMENT. These things are not required to get where you want to go, nor do they cater to your greatness.
And you are GREAT.
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We’re all different, and you gotta do YOU.
YOU includes a history that you need to work with to make the best decisions for your body: the way you approach your diet and training needs to work for all of “you”.
Some people are totally amazing at moderation. They can have treats in the house, and eat them when desired, without finishing the whole box or bag. Others might struggle more with it, and having treats in the house is too much pressure for them. They might feel like willpower failures, but the truth is they aren’t. All it means is that in order to make the best decisions for themselves, they might need to be more diligent about controlling their environment. That’s empowerment, not weakness: a former alcoholic who refuses to keep booze in the house isn’t weak, but rather doing what they need to do. The same goes for people who might need to calorie count and those that don’t. Or those that need trainers/buddies to workout and those that don’t (sometimes you’re better off with friends and sometimes, it’s not the best for you). When you employ techniques, sometimes you need to base them on WHO YOU ARE. Not necessarily who you’d like to be. In short, it means keeping them realistic to your current situation.
If you can’t seem to commit to an hour a day, there’s nothing wrong with 20 minutes. If you can’t ever seem to make a morning workout, maybe a different time works best. If you have tried and absolutely HATE broccoli, there’s no need to eat it. There are far too many veggies in the world for broccoli to be the end all be all. Try something else.
I’d love to be the person who can keep treats in the house and never touch them. But I’m not that person. If I buy them, I’ll eat them. If I eat them, I often feel shitty on the inside and my workouts/life suffer for it. I’d also love to be the kind of person who loves going to the gym, but I’m not. At-home workouts are what works best for me, and I focused my energy on making them awesome with tools, research and by making my space conducive to home sweating. I used to feel guilty about this (as a trainer, I suppose it’s weird to hate gyms), but I realized there are loads of people like me who can benefit from at-home training experiences. I simply stick to what I do best and kick as much ass with it as I can.
In addition to your routines, your goals should also reflect your own self-awareness. My example would be the fact that I’m not pursuing goals related to incredible leanness, six packs or getting the lowest body fat percentage possible. For some (especially those competing), these are goals they attribute to success and they work really hard to get there. For me - due to my history- these are goals I attribute to disorder: it can be dangerous for me to focus too heavily on aesthetics or numbers. I don’t feel empowered when I micromanage my diet: I feel out of control. I don’t feel good about measuring my body fat percentage against other people: I feel obsessed. It would be very easy for me to pursue those goals, especially with the support I’d have from MANY awesome people. I even feel as though I “could” do it and keep my body in fairly good health too (or at least try). But because of my history - because of my self-awareness OF that history - I’d be poking a sleeping dragon. It wouldn’t be healthy for me to pursue those goals given my history with body image and food.
The world is filled with conflicting messages, right? Body acceptance in the world of fitness is a topic where conflict often arises. Many people struggle with the messages that they should love and accept their bodies as is, while simultaneously they feel pressured to improve the body they have (lose weight, get stronger etc). It becomes murky territory for those of us who support people on their quests to implement change in their lives, while also trying to make sure they love themselves and stay realistic.
Can you love your body AND still want to change it? Well… yeah. Of course! But for some people, the concept is a tough one to wrap their heads around. Hopefully, this will shed some light on how it’s done and how to start shifting your thinking & attitude.
Your weight is one thing. How you feel about it is another.
It’s easy to confuse losing weight with a boost of confidence/happiness, but one actually doesn’t CAUSE the other. They might happen simultaneously, but working on your head (and satisfaction with your body) is a whole other issue. If you’re not just as focused with trying to acheive body acceptance and doing more of what makes you happy, that body you want won’t mean much…even if you get it.
Don’t wrap up your happiness in your weight. You’ll never be satisfied. Believe it or not, you might get the body you want and still be unhappy (it’s fairly common). Don’t ignore everything else that makes you YOU. Those things end up being MORE important than what you look like at the end of the day, trust me.
Just a reminder! Those calories don’t burn themselves, and resolutions to live healthier don’t just “happen”.
Go ahead. Get sweaty. You’ll feel so bad ass after, it’ll make your head spin. :) 20 minutes is enough to get a little sweaty, get those endorphins running, and following it up with an UBER healthy dinner is a great way to finish the day feeling like a rock star.
Need some ideas? These workouts can be done ANYWHERE. All you need is about a snow angel of space (lie on the ground and fan your arms out). Modify the jumps if you need to, land softly, and cut them in half if you’re short on time.
Workouts To Fit Into Your Schedule TODAY.
Power Pyramid - 30 minutes.
The Dirty Dozen - 30 minutes
Body Rock TV - Booty Challenge! - 10-15 minutes
Total Body Murder - 600 Rep Challenge (can you handle it?) - 15+/-minutes
20 Minute Full Length Yoga For Fat Loss - 20 minutes
700 rep Tag Team workout! Do it with a friend! - 20-40 minutes
No matter who you are, or how fit you get, everyone struggles with motivation at one point or another. Even regular exercisers (AND personal trainers) have trouble getting pumped up on occasion. Whatever the reason for a lack of motivation, inspiring YOURSELF to get sweaty is an uphill battle that’s a normal part of this crazy journey.
Motivation is a tricky bitch.
People often say I’m lucky that finding the motivation to workout comes easily to me, but that’s not the case. Yes, it’s true that there are days when I really look forward to my workouts. But believe me, there are plenty of days when I couldn’t care less and plenty of days when it takes me an extra kick to get going. Lots of different things motivate me, and I need to use reinforcements to get my ass moving on a regular basis.
The internet is OBSESSED with quick tips that can help you find motivation, but they don’t address the biggest part of motivation: you. What works for one person will not work for everyone & what motivates you to workout one day might not work the next. The key isn’t finding one great motivator. It’s building a tool box full of motivators that work for you in different situations. You need to reflect on WHY you’re LACKING motivation before you search for HOW to treat it.
Motivation depends on two things
Your overall goals (what you’re aspiring to in the future and working towards)
Your immediate goals (what you want in that moment).
Your overall goal might stay the same as your immediate goals change. For example, you overall goal might be to lose 10lbs but your immediate goal might be to relax, to finish your paper, to hang out with a friend or to get your laundry done. You want those 10lbs, but you might not feel like working out that day. Or the next. That’s where tricks for finding motivation come in handy.
So where do you start?
The first step is asking yourself what’s getting in the way, and then treat it. Are you tired, hungry, stressed, sad, injured or ill? All of those things have an impact on whether or not you’ll want to get sweaty, and if they happen often enough, you can take steps to prevent them so they don’t get in the way. If you’re always exhausted at the end of your day, then maybe morning exercise is a better option for you. If you’re not getting enough sleep, it’s time to be your own parent and put yourself to bed earlier. If you’re lacking energy because you’re hungry, well you NEED to find a way to plan your meals better around your workouts (snacks on the go!). Don’t simply keep missing your workouts and feel bad about it: address the root of the problem.
After treating the obstacles, then you need to ask yourself what’s left? Ask yourself some key questions to help identify what could help you.
Here are 10 things you should ask yourself when you’re stuck in a motivation rut…
1. Do I have something to work towards? When you’ve hit your weight loss goal, you might be less inclined to put in the effort that got you there. This isn’t true of everyone, but it’s common and one of the reasons a lot of people yo-yo in their weight. They hit their goals, don’t have the same drive to workout & start to re-gain the weight.
Don’t let it happen to you! Re-evaluate your goals: they don’t have to stay the same. Now’s the time to buckle down and get more specific: want to improve your pushups? Want to run 5K? Want to complete a 30 day challenge or address nutritional goals? Weight loss is great, but there are hundreds of ways to train for fitness. Get competitive with yourself; you never know how far you can go until you try. This might also be a good time to whip out those before pics… just to remember how far you’ve come.
2. Do I need a breather? Burn out is REAL. If you’ve been pushing yourself hard for awhile, de-motivation can be your body’s way of trying to get you to slow down. Burn out is very real and can last months unless you nip it in the bud before it gets out of control. Taking a few days off every now & then can re-energize you and get you itching to get back to your sweat sessions. Don’t let yourself feel guilty. Think about it: everyone needs a mini-vacation sometimes, even your body.
After a break try different activities for FUN like walks, swimming, sports etc. It’s okay to go off your training plan and explore fun classes and different ways to move. Some athletes train hard for a few weeks, then dial it back a week to recover: it’s your training plan, you can take time off when you need to.
3. Am I lacking energy? Like workouts, motivation takes energy. Sleep, nutrition and stress have EVERYTHING to do with it. If you haven’t been feeling up to your normal activity levels (or find yourself too exhausted to want to throw on your sneakers) take a look at how much sleep you’ve been getting, if you’ve been eating enough and whether or not you’ve just got too much on the go. Instead of pushing yourself into a half-assed workout, go to bed earlier, get some Zzzzz’s and hit it hard the next day. Your body needs sleep more than sweat sometimes. Boost your calories too if you find you’re lacking the energy you used to have, and address stress head on.
4. Does your workout get you excited? Like a relationship, you need to mix things up in your workout to keep the fires burning. Doing the same thing over and over is not only bland for the mind, but for the body as well. You’ll see better physical results if you challenge your body with new moves, intensity & styles. You’ll see better mental results by challenging yourself to try new things & making an effort to step out of your comfort zone, even if only for short periods of time. Add yoga, dance, sports, running, cycling or take it outside if you find that your current routine leaves you yawning for more.
5. Am I stressed out? Yes, it’s true that exercise can reduce stress, but only if stress doesn’t keep you from exercise. It’s easy to see your workout as just another thing you need to check off your ever-increasing to-do list, but if you’re stressed about fitting your workout in, some time management might need to be implemented. Ask yourself what you can do to make it easier. You can also try to see it as a break from everything else. Your ME time. Re-frame your thinking and try to see it as a treat rather than a chore. Turn off your phone, don’t think about work. let people know you’re booked for the next 30-60 minutes and enjoy the alone time, like you would a bubble bath. Hey, why not TAKE a bubble bath post workout while you’re at it.
6. Do I need a push? If someone else was here pushing me, could I do this workout? Trainers are awesome at pushing their clients beyond what they think they are physically capable of doing, and believe me trainers are great supports. But they are just people. You feel great at the end of the workout because the person doing the work is YOU. If you can’t afford a trainer, you can be your own trainer or imagine someone there pushing you to start. This doesn’t work for everyone, but sometimes it’s enough to get you started. Kick your own butt a little and exercise some tough love (imagine Jillian Michaels or Tony Horton right there next to you). There’s no shame in posting a few motivational mantras around the house either.
7. Do I need a buddy? If imagining a trainer isn’t working for you, maybe it’s time to call in reinforcements. If you’ve had a rough few days working up motivation, there’s no shame in asking for a little help. Ask a friend to go for a walk, come over to do a DVD or hit the gym. You may even inadvertently motivate someone else to get moving: a little pay it forward fitness love.
8. Am I struggling to push PLAY? Sometimes, finishing the workout isn’t the problem. It’s starting. I know when I’m home about to get sweaty, it can take me up to a half hour of farting around from the time my shoes are on to the time I press “play”. I can lose momentum. Sometimes we need to just STOP THINKING our way out. Your mind will tell you things that your body can refute if given the chance. I use two tricks: First, I set a timer for 5 minutes to get my workout gear on, turn off my phone and turn on some music. I don’t think about my workout, but rather about just moving. Usually, within 2-3 songs my workout lust comes back.
If that doesn’t work, I use the 5 minute trick. Studies show that people who commit to only 5-10 minutes of exercise at a time, are more likely to stick through their whole workout once they start. If after 5 minutes you still have no motivation, you might need to take a closer look at what’s stopping you.
9. Is WHEN or WHERE i workout getting in the way? I like working out in the evenings after work, but it often conflicts with my clients, friends & other obligations. Often, I have to make plans around my workouts, which can be stressful. Working out in the morning is tough too, BUT it eliminates the stress of having to fit in a workout at a busier time. I also like exercising at home, which has it’s benefits and drawbacks. Like working from home, it’s often distracting to get a decent sweat on when there’s dishes to do. Solution? That’s when I head to the gym or take my workouts outside. You might find the opposite. If getting to the gym becomes a hassle, and you find yourself missing workouts, you might want to consider setting up a home gym, taking it outside or having a few DVD’s on hand. If when or where you workout is making it harder to workout, time for a change.
On days when you feel like working out, do your best to squeeze the workout in and make the most of it. Those are golden days, take advantage. More importantly, pay attention to what is different on those days: it may help you discover what’s missing on days when motivation is running low.