Find your fitness motivation!

Have you ever wanted to:

Feel better mentally or physically?
Lower your risk of disease?
Lose weight?
Sleep better?
Have more energy?
Avoid injuries?
Be able to keep up with your children or grandchildren?
I want to give you some tips on HOW to make fitness a priority and what you should focus on to make fitness a part of your life.  First, a little about my background with fitness….

 

I have considered myself an athlete for most of my life.  When I was young I ran track, played softball, street hockey, kickball, skateboarding, and any outdoor past time of the 80’s and 90’s!   I pretty much stayed outside afternoons and weekends feeling best when I was moving. Remember? Remember those days when we played and moved our bodies?? We walked a mile up hill to school every day!!!  Okay, I am turning into my grandfather here.  In college,  I played soccer and softball for a couple seasons and ran cross country for 2 seasons as well. In soccer, we had 2 hour morning sessions and I specifically remember sprinting up hills on 3-4 hours of sleep.  Ahhh, to be young again!   After college, I ran many 5ks, 10k, 5 half marathons, a full marathon, did triathlons, tried out surfing a bunch of times, rock climbing, and you get it- I cannot sit still!  Most will tease me and ask what I’m running from.  Seriously, when I have my ear buds in and some good tunes, I feel like Forrest Gump.  I could run for days when I’m in the zone!  Those endorphins really know how to lift my mood!  I truly enjoy challenging my body to move certain ways and sustain speed, demonstrate agility, and feel the thrill of events and races!

Fast forward to life now!  I have a 3 year old and a 1 year old and life is crazy busy!!!  I discovered that fitting in me time is challenging to say the least.  I focused my efforts on soaking in every minute with the children and actually left my job as a behavior specialist to stay home to be with my young children and spend more time on my passion with fitness as a team beachbody coach!   I have run a handful of 5ks in that time, and have tried out every fitness class from boxing to piloxing to Crossfit, but I have actually found that home workouts are so much more than I imagined!

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I have a true love for home fitness programs, with each one helping me crush my fitness goals with my own personal trainer in my living room.  Each program is designed to help an individual meet different goals.  If you want to get lean and build strength with your own body weight, Piyo is the answer!  If you want a quick 25 minute workout that torches calories and works your core- it’s T25 for you.  With these workouts, I have not had any knee pain. I have built strength I have never had before.  I have more flexibility than ever!  I connect with each trainer on the screen and have met each one in person at the events I’ve attended.  Each of them are experts in the fitness industry and day-to-day motivational leaders if you follow them on social media!

This year, I signed up for my first Spartan sprint!  I have a workout program that I enjoy and look forward to and it incorporates Hammer and Chisel, 22 Minute Hard Corps, running with 50 plus lbs (My kids in a stroller!!) and burpees (Insert disgusted emoticon here)!  Each day, I am truly inspired by my new fit family- those working to help others with fitness as instructors, facebook group leaders, Spartan athletes, and the people trying to add fitness into their life and sustain it!  For some, fitness is not a passion.  It is a nemesis.  It is something that they truly strive for, but aren’t able to follow through with.  People will want to start running, and never make it out the door.  They will feel great one day and sign up for a $100/month gym membership and never go.  As a behavior specialist, a KEY factor in most behavioral change is MOTIVATION. Let’s take a closer look at what that means.

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WHY POWER

Your WHY power is going to be what drives you in starting a new fitness program.  It’s not just why you want to start, but how DEEP is that why, how STRONG is that why, and what is behind it?  Many people miss this crucial step in writing down why they want things to change and what it truly means for them, their family, their life, and what it will look like when they get to the level of fitness they are striving for!  I encourage anyone wanting to start a program to envision what it will look like, feel like, be like to reach that fitness goal!

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ENJOYMENT

I am not saying that you are going to be dancing for joy every time you GET to workout each day, BUT you should not be dreading it or avoiding it.  Someone posted in a fitness group the other day that he really hated running, but he was doing it anyway and not giving up.  It was part of training for a race he was doing that involved running.  I get that, BUT I don’t recommend that mentality in general. Most people cannot will themselves to do something that is hurting their feelings to think about!  So, do not try to do a fitness program you do not like, that is too long, that is led by a person you want to punch in the face, or is just not up your alley.  When I work with people who want to start something, I always ask them what they like.  Yoga?  Cardio?  Weights?  Finding something that you actually like to do will definitely help you get it done each day!  It is human nature to avoid things we find aversive, so don’t decide to run if you the thought of your feet hitting the pavement, makes you want to vomit!  You WILL come up with excuses.  If you enjoy the workout even slightly, and you know WHY you started it you may schedule it in as part of your routine and make it an important event you won’t cancel.  Find a workout buddy!  Join a group/meet up or an online accountability group and connect with those people.  Surround yourself with others with similar goals and desires. Get an amazing song playlist together for motivation or listen to a motivational speaker as you get your workout in.  Very often, I turn down the sound on my workouts and listen to motivational speakers.  This will stimulate your mind and work your body at the same time.  There is no way you can have a bad day when you start it off that way!  Buy yourself a new workout outfit to get motivated.  As I write this, I think I need another one myself!

 

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PROMPTS

MOST people tend to follow through with things that require the least amount of response effort.  If your gym is across town and there are 500 million traffic lights getting there, you may talk yourself out of the workout and decide to go to the mall instead because you really NEED a new Lululemon top and THAT will positively motivate you.  If your gym is around the corner, or you have a beautiful area to walk/run nearby or you have set up your basement or garage as a workout space, you will decrease the likelihood of making up excuses.  Set yourself up for SUCCESS!  Set your clothes out the night before a workout OR wear them to bed!  Some of us actually do this!!  Keep your sneakers handy and have your gym bag ready to go.  Put it in front of the door so you can’t leave without it or store it in your car.

ROUTINE
Getting into a new routine can be hard.  Many of us truly fear change.  We are comfortable with how things are going.  We already wake up at 6:30 and do not want to lose that half hour of sleep in the morning.  We don’t have time to fit fitness in.  Well, who has time to be sick, tired, or injured? Not me!  Once we get home after work, we are tired and cannot think about going back out again.  The kids need to get to soccer and karate and dance and we become second priority.  Your health should be a priority.  How can we take care of others when we aren’t taking care of ourselves?  It’s not selfish to be strong physically and mentally.  When fitness become a routine, it gets done!  Put it into the schedule for every day at the same time with a day or two of rest.  Once it becomes habit, it’s second nature.  Find an accountability group or accountability partner and check in with them at the same time every day.  They will expect it and you will expect them to check in with you.  I cannot tell you how many people say they stuck with a program because they were held accountable toward it with a one-to-one coach.

 

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THINK POSITIVE THOUGHTS and JUST DO IT
There is a reason why the fit people are usually happy.  They are good at weeding out the negative from life. They are good at ignoring the voice that says “I can’t.”  “This won’t matter.”  “I can’t finish.” They believe in themselves.   They train themselves to focus on the good, acknowledge progress no matter how insignificant it seems and they set goals.  Goal setting can be a huge motivator.  It’s super rewarding to set a goal and reach it- even if it’s getting a workout in 3 days a week or being able to do a push up.  Start re-training your mind by focusing on the good and remember that having a body that you can move is a GIFT.  Your physical body is the only place you have to live so respect it, move it, and treat it with kindness and attention.  Anyone can change at any time.  When you feel in control of your life, you will start seeing the world in a new light.  Time to take back control!

PARTING WORDS (A compilation of cliche motivational quotes!)
No matter how slow you go, you are still lapping everyone on the couch.  It doesn’t get easier, you get better.  It’s a lifestyle, train like there’s no finish line.  Exercise is the most underused anti-depressant.  You don’t have to be great to start, but you do have to start to be great!  Nothing will work unless you do.   Think about why you started!!!  Believe you can and you are halfway there!

 

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My top 5 stimulating and soothing toddler/preschooler activities

My 3-year-old has many interests and preferences and does not hesitate to let me know!  I have found that we are all much better off when he has been involved in activities that engage all of his senses and challenge him.  He has always been strong-willed, persistent, and quick to react emotionally when things don’t go his way.  Very typical for a 2 or 3-year-old!  At the same time, he is creative, imaginative, very social and fun!  When my daughter came along, Gavin was 2 and a half and activities were hard to organize and execute.  Many times, I found myself flipping on the tv and calling it what it was- survival mode!

These days, I’ve been trying to get it down to a science with balancing activities that hold his attention, stimulate his mind, and allow him to explore through his senses.  When he engages in these on a regular basis, I find his attention is better.  He communicates more.  His attitude is more upbeat and he is easier to redirect (another way to say that he is more flexible!)  When I was a behavior specialist, I would not want to a formal plan for a preschooler for behavior until I knew the child was getting things he/she needed including a good amount of movement, hands-on activities, things that made him/her smile.  Let’s face it, are any of us engaged with anything when we are not happy or stimulated by the activity itself!

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1.  Playground!  When we are at the playground, Gavin gets a chance to run, play, slide, jump and be imaginative.  He will climb to the top and confidently yelll “I did it!”  He will also pretend he’s driving a boat, or a car and the woodchips are the water.  Physical activity allows him to get his heart rate up and gets the endorphins flowing!  Just being outdoors can be soothing to the soul!  Trips to the zoo, beach, or even a walk at a local pond can be relaxing and fun!  Fresh air is a miracle in itself!  Did you know the recommendation is 60 minutes of activity EVERY day?
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2.  Music or dance party!  Music somehow soothes the soul, doesn’t it?  When I see Gavin getting a little anxious about something or a little on edge, I will play one of his favorite songs right from my phone.  This usually helps redirect.  We also have spontaneous dance parties and he and his sister love to dance around the room!  It changes his mood instantly!
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3.  Play-dough!  Yes, I know not everyone likes messy activities, but if you put down an old shower curtain or set rules about where play dough stays (on the table), this activity can be pretty neat.  I believe meal times are the messiest activity we have!  By providing sensory experiences we allow children to focus, relax and be present with an activity that can be quite calming!  We take play-dough out to restaurants, and Gavin has a blast squishing, rolling and making figures.  But you can make your own version of play dough that’s just as much fun to make as it is to play with. This recipe makes 3 1/2 cups of dough. 1. In a medium saucepan, mix together the flour, salt, vegetable oil, cream of tartar, and water.

 

And yes, sometimes it will end up on the floor and you will pray that it is JUST play-dough!
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4.  Baking!  I am not a huge baker.  I don’t like the science behind baking.  I actually love cooking where I can throw in ingredients and change the way things taste.  I like to take control when prepping food!  On the other hand, there is something rather comforting about the smell of homemade muffins!  Gavin loves helping me cook and will stay engaged the WHOLE time.  He absolutely loved these healthy muffins he helped me make and they were fairly easy too!  They are over on my facebook fitness page!  Here is an easy, healthy and no-bake recipe!  http://moneysavingmom.com/2012/05/4-weeks-to-fill-your-freezer-homemade-energy-bites-day-18.html

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5.  Shaving cream car wash!  Take out any toys that need to be washed, including cars, trucks, dolls etc. and have a cleaning party!  Get the sensitive skin shaving cream if you want to avoid the perfume smell, a bucket of water, some clean scrub brushes (dollar store or Target), a tub and some mats and towels.  Again, this is slightly messy, but it will hold your child’s attention and be stimulating to all of his/her senses!  If you don’t have shaving cream, sand or water table or even a trip to the beach are also great activities for the threenager!  Very stimulating and soothing at the same time!

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I hope you enjoyed these!  Please share this post if you feel that other parents could benefit from hearing about easy to prepare sensory stimulating activities!

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What do moms really want for Mother’s Day?

A fancy brunch? A family trip to the zoo? Diamond earrings???   No, no and no according to a poll I took in my absolute favorite moms’ group.  My ideal Mother’s day would be meeting up with these fabulous moms who have been an incredible support to me in my last 3 and a half years being a mom!  We would probably share a mimosa….or 3!!!
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So……this one is not a shocker!!!  Number 1 is SLEEP!!!!  This is such a hot topic in groups!  We RARELY get 5-7 hours of sleep and if we do, it’s so completely broken, we can just refer to it as a little “shut eye.”  When we aren’t talking about how our kids never sleep, we are thinking about it and if we aren’t thinking about it, we are probably nodding off into the baby’s high chair tray while feeding them smashed peas, or the computer screen where we should be working.  Lack of sleep is all consuming and it feels like we will never, ever sleep again.  Even when our eyes are shut at night, we are listening with our entire beings for a child falling out of bed, a cough or a hack, a baby forgetting to breathe and if all is quiet, we hear our husbands snoring!!!!   On the days that our kids aren’t teething, they are sick with fevers, colds, stomach bug, etc.  Poor babies.  Poor parents!  So, being able to sleep in an hour, two hours or all day would be PHENOMENAL!!!  Ideally, it would be uninterrupted and for as long as possible!  Heck, I was sick last week with the stomach bug and part of me was sort of excited about staying in bed getting to sleep even though I felt horrible.  Ahhhh…..precious, precious SLEEP!!!
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Number 2 is A DAY OFF, a night off, a weekend off, a vacation off, or at least a few hours off from mommy-ing!  We love it and we will shout it from the rooftops, but sometimes we get so lost and caught up in taking care of everyone else’s needs, that we slightly feel like we are losing our minds or our identities, and we don’t even remember to shower or get a chance to shower and if we do, we don’t get to dry our hair or complete a thought because we have little fingers under the door!  A few hours for a mani, or a pedi, a hair appointment, movie trip, spa day, beach day, shopping or a massage.  No texts to report a missing shoe, or sippy cup or to ask where the graham crackers are.  Just some down time.  Something, anything to help us relax, step back, breathe, and REFILL our own cup!  This is a mom’s dream.   One mom was planning a spa day AND a trip to the winery with her own mom.  AMAZING!!!!!!  We are better mommies and better people all around when we decompress!!!  Oh, and when we come home, we want a clean house too.  Asking too much?  We deserve it!!!!  <3
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Number 3 is a day of FUN!!!   Responsibility-free time to just ENJOY the family.  Other family members take over ALL responsibilities including cooking, cleaning, laundry, packing bags, etc. (or outsource these jobs to professionals!)  Mom gets to sit back, play, laugh, take it all in without stressing over details.  What a PERFECT way to be present with the family.   Having others do the dirty work, the behind the scenes work, the upkeep.  Mom gets to interact with the family in a stress-free environment!   Essentially, moms want to feel like a visitor in their own home!  Waited on without responsibility.  🙂
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Number 4 seems to be a CLEAN house.  Someone to come and clean the house that day or maybe a day in the week following.  There is something magical about having a clean house and not having to put in any elbow grease.   The people that have this luxury say that it is completely amazing and others who don’t seem to have this as a #lifegoal.  If you aren’t giving the gift of a clean house, check 1, 2, or 3.  🙂

Number 5 is breakfast, or brunch, or farmer’s market, or morning out with the family- something very light, but fun and the event should probably include MIMOSAS!!! 🙂

Number 6 is  just say no to the big challenges of parenthood.  We want a day of no diapers, no teething, no potty-training, no fighting, no one saying dinner is gross.  Just NO.  None of that!  Can we get them to sign a contract for this one??

Number 7  is chocolate- in the form of chocolate or cake .

Number 8 is wine- in the form of red wine.

Number 9 is wine- in the form of white wine.

Number 10 is appreciation.  A thank you, a card, a verbal acknowledgement or maybe a kid-made card or gift.  In my opinion, this should be paired with one of the above, but would be truly appreciated any way it comes.

On this Mother’s Day, think about the gift that’s good for Mom’s soul.  Do that.  If you’re unsure, just ask.  Most of us aren’t shy about what’s good for our soul.  We love our babies, but we also know we are better moms when we get the time and attention we need for self-care too.

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