Monthly Archives: November 2012

Women’s Fitness: What Drives You?

I was raised up believing that the best example isn’t always the person shouting from the rooftops, but rather the one calmly—and in the most disciplined manner—going about her business, showing you how to successfully get a job done—actions > words.

That said, when you approach a plan of action—be it one of health or fitness (there is a difference)—you have to be aware of what your approach is going to be before you do anything.

For example, I began my journey towards health long before I considered becoming “fit”. I didn’t necessarily believe I could look anything like the International Fitness and Body Building (IFBB) Pros I saw on the covers of magazines, but I did feel I could correct the bad eating habits I’d latched onto over the years and change them for the better. And once I was able to do that, it dawned on me that I wanted to be more than just small, I wanted to be built!

I wanted great shoulders and awesome biceps.

I drooled at the sight of abs like some do at the sight of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream;

I wanted more for my body because I suddenly understood that more was possible. Prior to that I was constantly fed the negative stuff that so many women fall prey to:

You can never be thin again after you have babies.

Your metabolism will slow down after 30, why bother.

You’ll never be able to look like the women on the magazines, that’s impossible to do on a mom’s budget.

The list was endless. However, I was undeterred, I was going to try anyway—what did I have to lose?

The problem was, like many who embark on such a journey, there was no tangible place

for me to start. I wasn’t in a position to go to the gym anymore and a personal trainer was out of the question. Food wasn’t as much of a problem, but eating healthy while also learning how to use food as a tool for muscle-building and recovery was another animal altogether. And all those great recipes in the magazines were a great help—so long as you lived in a city with a Farmer’s Market on every corner and had a healthy budget to spend each week—I had neither.

So, I had to get creative and find out what worked for me, within my means. Once I did, I was able to make the adjustments necessary to set reachable goals and make my vision of a fitter me possible.

That was three-years ago and I’m happy to see I’ve done a pretty decent job of getting where I am now, all by myself.

The one thing that will always separate you from the person who fails to reach his/her own goal is motivation. Not everyone can sustain their drive over the long-haul—day in and day out, even when your emotional state is pushing you in another direction. It takes great strength, on a daily basis, to overcome the demons and make what feels impossible, possible.

For me, it’s no longer about the cover girl or the IFBB Pro, it’s about the feeling I get knowing I have a healthy body. The confidence and swagger I feel from that alone is unbelievable and it helps me to keep doing it no matter how hard it gets sometimes—and knowing I can always reach higher, get better, and be stronger is motivation enough to keep it interesting.

It’s not always going to be easy, but I promise you, you won’t regret the rewards.

What you’ll see and feel in return makes it all worth it.

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Women’s Fitness: Goals vs. Intentions

 

Every morning I get up, eat breakfast, and go over (in my head) what my plan is for the day. Typically, I know I will have about six-hours to do what needs to be done—mostly due to my kids being in school during that time. However, I also know that if I don’t write any of those floating words down on paper (or log them into my phone), they’re not likely to get done. And therein lay the difference between a goal and an intention.

 

When you develop a physical list of items to get done on a particular day or within a set time frame, it’s a goa.  But, if you simply allow those items to rattle around in your mind—only allowing them to act as an occasional intruder in your memory bank—then they are bound to remain an intention.

 

Proper nutrition, regular exercise, and healthy habits have to be goals, not intentions.

 

I always tell friends and colleagues that the issue most seem to have with getting “fit”  doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the actual acts itself (and all it entails), but instead with the confusion surrounding what one should do to get there.

 

How do I turn a set of intentions into something tangible?

 

Where do I start?

 

Who can help get me there?

 

Those questions are usually the reason so many people opt for the quick-fix—”miracle” pills and fad diets—because those things have set rules to follow: take xyz three times a day after a meal or do abc twice a day for thirty-days and you’ll see immediate results!

 

But, what they al fail to realize is fit is a lifestyle, not a diet. And the easiest way to get there is by understanding that it takes patience, commitment, and a desire to change your attitude towards food and exercise. If you can’t do that, you’ll have a difficult time gaining any satisfaction with the direction your health will take and that will most likely lead you to give up altogether. So, my advice is to figure out what your fitness goals are and then personally research what you need to do to get there.

 

Along the way, maintain training logs and keep a diary of your progress. And, if you need motivation, find a friend to take the journey with you, or look to the myriad of support groups that exist in the online community to help keep you focused and on-track.

 

In the end, the hope is that your goals become more than just a cluster of words in your head, but a tangible guide to where and who you want to be.

 

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Top 5 Must-Have Items for Your Home Gym

As an avid home gym user–I’ve not used an actual brick-and-mortar membership in over five years–I’ve come to recognize some of the more pertinent items I believe are essential to building a functional home gym and I figured I’d share them here with you all today.

So lets jump right into it, shall we?

1. Dumbbells of varying sizes.

I cannot tell you how significant hand weights are to building strength. While your body weight is a great tool, as your goals change, and you look to get stronger, you’ll need more resistance and incorporating weights of varying sizes will help you towards that end.

2. A cardio machine.

Be it a bike, an elliptical, a rower, a treadmill…whatever, a cardio machine is a necessity since not everyone has the benefit of a walkable neighborhood or a great bike or hiking trail nearby.

3. A mirror.

Despite what some think, a mirror isn’t all about being vain. It’s of the utmost importance in every exercise you do that you use proper form and that can only be monitored by watching yourself do the movements. The price of the mirror isn’t nearly as important as the presence of one. I used a full-length door mirror for months before acquiring a gym quality one.

4. A bench.

An adjustable bench can be multi-functional because you can not only use it to perform various strength exercises, but it comes in handy as a cardio enhancement tool as well. You can use it to do exercises like step-ups, push-ups, and dips.

5. A heart-rate monitor.

A heart rate monitor (HRT) can be a pricey investment, but it’s a worthwhile one if you truly wish to focus your goals and make the ongoing adjustments necessary to truly maximize each and every workout.

Keep in mind these are only a few items that are, in my opinion, the most important elements of a functional home gym. That said, your creativity is every bit as important in making a home gym work.

Log your workouts, keep a diary of your progress, and include more items as you become more versed at maintaining a home gym.