Tips For A Fit 2018

small changes

It’s hard to believe we are now only less than 1 week out from Christmas and  start of a brand new year. As mentioned in my last post, I love Christmas. ( find it here if you missed it) https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2017/12/08/the-most-wonderful-time-of-the-year/

I try my best to slow the month down so I can just savor everything.

Of course, preparing for a new year means for me, getting my hands on a new planner to start plugging in appts and key things that are already scheduled.

I’m old school. I love getting a new planner with clean unmarked pages and putting pen to new plans, goals, and ideas.

One of the things that top the list for many people in a new year is to lose weight or start an exercise program.

I like not having to plan in “weight loss” for a new year. I spent enough years planning that and I don’t miss it…at all.

I’d much rather be scheduling new athletic adventures or learning new things for myself that I can share with others.

But what if  you need to drop some weight and you’ve decided that this really is gonna be your year? This year will be the year to achieve those goals you’ve had in your mind for a long time.

Maybe you’re tired of feeling sluggish and run down. Perhaps you don’t like looking in the mirror and wish there was less of you to look at. It could be the doctor has told you for your best health you need to start being proactive with your health.  It could be you just want to enjoy shopping for clothes again… nothing wrong with that either.

At the root of it all, the starting point, you have to want it bad enough to make it happen.  No one can force you and no one can make it happen but you. The desire has to be strong to start making changes that will lead to you being successful in your endeavors.

I am ready.  Where do I start?

It’s no big secret gyms see the biggest increase in attendance the first few weeks of January than any other time of year. People sign up with lofty goals and determination that quickly wanes once the novelty starts to wear off. Or they get there and are intimidated and don’t know what to do and their attempt is short lived.

I’ll let you in on a secret. You don’t have to join a gym to lose weight or to exercise. Now if you want to and think this is where you will excel, then by all means, take advantage of many of the programs available to members. If you choose to do so then be proactive and educate yourself so you know what’s available and how to best use your time when you are there. There are often health coaches that can give you direction in the beginning while you are learning.

However, I’ve found personally that there is a lot you can do at home and I personally think I work harder alone than being distracted if eyes are on me in a public place.

I have gathered up enough equipment  over time to have my own little home gym. It’s nothing fancy and I have to share space with lawn equipment but it’s my space and it works just fine.. other than it has no air conditioning or heat it works out pretty well haha

You too can gather some basic items to use at home. Whether it’s a garage space, an empty room, or in the living room you can carve out your own space to get a workout in.

Of course if you decide to make outdoors your gym ( this is my most preferred workout space)  by walking, running, cycling or any other activity you choose, the beauty of that becomes just getting dressed and walking out your door.

No driving, no waiting in traffic or being distracted at the gym. No extra time away from home if time is tight for you.

Make a plan.

What’s that old saying? Rome wasn’t built in a day.  Your improved body won’t happen in a day so it’s good to settle into a plan that will work for you day after day and be sustainable in the long run.

As mentioned above, you need to determine first, what will work best for you to get you active and moving. Would a gym environment be what you need? this could be perfect for someone who initially lacks a bit of motivation and needs that from others around them. A home environment is great but you really have to be motivated and determined in the beginning to get yourself out there and not opt to lounge around drinking more coffee.

Once you have that down you need to look at your new planner and schedule your workout times. Yes. Put it down right there with dr. appts, dinner dates, and meetings with the teacher at school.

Schedule time for you. After awhile, once you’ve built it as a new habit, you won’t necessarily have to pen it out but for now, do. it.

Take small steps.

Where people get off track and discouraged is trying to do to much, to fast. They think if they’ve made the decision to start it should all just happen and happen quickly.

It won’t. Accept that and know it will take slow, steady and determined steps. Maybe your first week will only involve getting some good shoes or some clothes to use. Maybe it will be gathering some tools if you’ve determined being at home will work best for you or if it’s the gym maybe you’ve spent some time investigating your options before you commit.

These are important steps. Then in the second week you are ready to begin what you’ve decided to do. Not only that, you’ve had the time to mentally prepare and plan for it which I believe is super important in taking on anything.

Starting small also means taking it easy with whatever physical endeavor you choose. Doing to much, to fast, can leave you with injuries or burn out.  Pace yourself slowly and allow your body time to make the adaptations to what you are doing. You might feel great after jogging around the block but if you haven’t done that in 15 years, I’m telling you, you will feel it and you certainly don’t want to feel bad before you get started.

Find ways to track your progress.

It’s helpful to take before you start pics or measurements etc. Noting these things does give you a marker of where you started from, especially when some times goes by. I’m used to myself now, but when I look back at photos from a few years ago I’m always surprised at how I’ve changed.

Leave your weighing in to only once a week. Keep it on an app on your phone or in a health journal, whichever you prefer. Do yourself a favor though and stick to a once a week weigh in and do new measurements once a month.

Maybe you have a pair of jeans or a dress you want to work your way back into. I often used that as a marker of my progress. Imagine my delight when one day the jeans I’d been wanting to get back into, were actually to big 😛

Share your activities.

Seriously. Share what you are doing on social media. I am pretty motivated but when I started sharing what I was doing a few years ago (whether it was running, my daily activities, or a new goal I was training for) it made me more aware of the fact I was doing it and I knew others knew I was doing it. From that came so much encouragement from people who lived vicariously through my craziness or better yet, got motivated to start doing something themselves.

When you have a support system that is all over the place, it’s a pretty cool thing. Not only that, if you miss posting or sharing, it’s always interesting to see who wants to know if you’re still being active.

Get a partner.

I’m used to flying solo in all my training sessions but I know some people do better with a partner. If that’s you, find someone to get on board with. You will both benefit from encouraging and challenging each other.

Set reasonable goals.

Once you’ve determined what you want to do, where you are going to do it, and scheduled the time to do it make sure you set  out some reasonable and doable goals to remind you of what you want to achieve.

Whether it’s getting into smaller jeans or working towards running your first 5k, set goals that will motivate you during your workout times. Goals are so important to have. They don’t have to be huge ( they can be) but really, setting small, reasonable ones will give you success and encouragement to keep on with what you are doing.

Be patient.

Yes. Be patient with yourself. Allow for days that don’t go as planned or a weak moment when you cancel on yourself ( you’ll be annoyed by that later, that you did it) allow for unexpected life things that might throw you off but just get right back at it. Don’t allow yourself to make excuses to not meet for your scheduled time.

Don’t allow negative, self defeating talk that will discourage you. Speak in positive ways to yourself and see yourself accomplishing what you’ve set before yourself.

Give yourself time to adjust and change. Remember your mind is a powerful tool and how you use if for yourself and for self improvement is a huge thing.

With a little practice, patience, and determination you will be moving into 2018 getting stronger and healthier as you turn your activities into your new lifestyle.

Are you wanting to make changes in 2018? Do you have goals or plans for yourself to get there? What motivates you to do it?

 

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The Power Of Your Voice

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It’s no secret I’m a little passionate about health and fitness.

Ok, well maybe a lot.

I’m passionate about it ’cause I know how it can change lives.

I’m by no means what I consider an “expert” but through observation of the world around me and interacting with people I’ve learned that I know a lot.

I’ve learned from others who are knowledgeable ( and sane) I read and learn from reliable intelligent sources, and most of all, I’ve learned to put it all to practice on myself. I keep what works, toss what doesn’t.

I’ve learned to implement a lifestyle that’s sane, sensible, and sustainable in regards to food and exercise. ( I know.. some of you are reading this believing I am insane with some of my athletic shenanigans, but that’s ok 😉

If anyone asks, it’s what I preach to them. Why? because it’s what will stick as a lifestyle.

We are not made alike, nor are our activities alike, therefore our needs each day are going to be different. Finding the right balance is key to success for all of us to live energetic and healthy lives.

Of course if you follow me you know one of biggest pet peeves is the overwhelming amount of “health” companies vying for peoples money with grandiose promises when the buyer uses their product.

One that has shown up more frequently that I’m not familiar with promised an astounding 10lb weight loss in one week ( I want to know, the long term of that, did the weight stay gone? I seriously doubt it)

Anyway, it was sad to me to see so many people jumping at the product like a frog after flies.

“More info please!”, ” Interested!”, “Please send me info!” “How do I get it?”

On and on it went.

I was torn between feeling sorry for them that they were desperate enough to believe it and were willing to part with their money over the “two pills” a day that were supposed to work wonders, (no diet or exercise!) or feeling like they deserved what they got for buying into such utter nonsense.

A quick bit of homework on my end revealed this company had received a warning letter from the FDA regarding an ingredient in their product.

Yet people were blindly begging for it.

This always bothers me so much. People begging for help from crazy things yet unwilling to do what really needs to be done.

So I’ll keep promoting sanity. Balance. Moderation. Building new habits.

All these in turn lead to a lifestyle of health and wellness.

So I will continue to use my voice…..

I’ll keep posting  about food and good nutrition and sharing reasons why you don’t need to participate in the new modern day snake oil.

I’ll share tips and sane ideas for the normal person plugging along in a consistent manner to make permanent changes. I’ll keep posting about my crazy  athletic shenanigans and exercise ideas.

Why?

Because for every “Oh brother” and rolled eye behind the computer screen, there’s someone else getting motivated, getting up off the sofa, and heading  out the door.

There’s someone making better food choices and learning how to eat better for good health.

Someone else is making a choice to change their life. They’re getting fit and gaining energy and that is giving them a better quality of life. Their  health is improving and they are seeing results in a multitude of ways.

If one person is motivated by what I share, it’s totally worth it. If only one person decides that athletic stuff looks fun or they want a challenge and then the bug bites them, it’s worth it.

Motivation tends to breed motivation.

I still feed off of it from others. I am highly motivated but seeing how others are doing and what they are doing reminds me to keep pressing on, to stay the course, and focus on my goals.

Remember in your own life, you can be a source of motivation and encouragement to others with what you do. Your determination to get your workouts done. Your choices to eat better food. Your positive and energetic attitude. Verbally encouraging and supporting the efforts of others around you.

It makes an impact.

Use your voice. Use your life.  Make a difference.

 

 

Tips To Kick Start A Healthier Lifestyle

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Once again another article caught my eye. I’m always drawn to news stories on health and fitness and am usually looking to see if it will tell me something new that I don’t know.   I  gather tidbits from articles that I find useful and valuable for myself or others and mentally discard the rest.

However, I’m always disappointed when the story leads to telling me this… being overweight/fat leads to health problems.

Like…tell me something I don’t know. Or tell the world something they don’t already know.

This is why the “diet” industry rakes in billions of dollars a year… from people who know that and want to make a change… who hope that the next new shiny thing will be what morphs them into being thinner, stronger, healthier, and more fit.

I may have said this before…  once or twice… and if you follow me much you know what I believe…

there is no magic cure or diet.

Can I just make a suggestion here? Throw something out at you? Do with it what you will…

Why not start with not eating crap… to put it bluntly…. and learning to exercise?

Two things. Two points here beautiful people.

Maybe you need to make a list of what you eat, maybe you don’t. You  know how you eat and what you eat. You know if it comes more in drive thru bags, boxes, or purchased off convenience store shelves.

Sugar, fatty, processed,  high calorie “foods”.  These are often what’s referred to as “empty calories” … simple carbs… it’s the stuff you don’t really need.

Cookies, crackers, chips, donuts, muffins, snack cakes, pastries, sugar cereals, sugared drinks, super size fries etc. we’ve been brainwashed to think we “need” to buy, eat, have these things.

We don’t.

All it does is mess with our bodies chemistry, often put us on a roller coaster of hunger, and adds nothing but fat to our bodies… and not the good fat we need.

It’s the kind of fat that grows around our waist and clogs up our hearts arteries and makes us buy bigger jeans.

Really, you don’t need that stuff. Yeah, some of it tastes good, but so does your health.  And trust me, when you start intentionally working your way away from it, these food products will have less and less pull on you.

So start there. Don’t go crazy and think you have to go live off kale and nothing else. Start by working to eliminate the crap food from your daily diet.

I’ve talked with people who “just” gave up sodas and they were amazed at their weight loss. No wonder. A standard can of Coke has 39g of sugar… which is 8 teaspoons in a can! Now figure if someone puts away….3,4, 5, or more Cokes a day…. that’s a ton of sugar for nothing but empty calories.

If one thing can make a big difference imagine if you cut out other stuff too. Depending on how much of these simple carbs show up in your daily food allotment you might have to take slow baby steps eliminating a thing or two at a time… but do it.

Your body will thank you… your improved health will be a huge reward for you.

Now the other part…exercise. I’m kinda big on that now days. Mainly because I have enough of a track record now to preach like crazy at you regarding all the benefits of it.

Mental clarity? Physical strength? Weight loss? Amazing lab results? A body that’s reshaped? Learning to set and achieve goals? Reduce your risk of heart disease? Gain energy? Improve memory?  Gain strength and flexibility? Sleep better? Increased confidence? Mood improver?

Am I selling you yet ? 😉

So here’s the deal. Find something you think you can stick with, that you like, and do it.

I hear all the time from people… “It’s great you run but I don’t like running!”

I get it… running is hard and its not for everyone… if you don’t like it…don’t do it… but for heavens sake find something you do like, or think you could learn to, and get after it.

Do it every day. Make no excuses to not do it. Put it on your planner like you do going to lunch with a friend or any other appointment. Don’t play the martyr role and place yourself on the back burner of life.

You… your health… is worth it… I hope you get that …really.

It needs to be up there on top of your list ’cause I’ll tell you, no one else is going to put your health up there and make you get stuff done.

So here’s the kicker. Here’s what I learned a few years ago when I was scrambling trying to get my feet under me and get on this fitness journey…

when I started daily exercising ( and I mean daily… I accepted no excuses from myself to not get it done) I liked how I felt when I finished. I liked the feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction of doing it. I loved how clear my mind felt. I even liked being tired from it ( no endurance in the beginning for sure)

Before the scale had barely changed. Before a visible muscle had appeared. Before I ever thought about running or lifting or riding a bike like a crazy demon….

I loved how I felt when I finished. 

And when you start exercising and feeling good about yourself for doing it, you start taking more of  a look at what you are stuffing in your face and evaluating it.

Is it worth it? Do I need it? Do I feel better without it?

And as you keep on eliminating that crappy food you don’t really need and make a commitment  to daily exercise, somehow, the weight slowly and steadily will begin to come off.

You gain a new confidence in yourself. You start to look at what you do and how you eat in a different way.

It’s a process. But if you start with these two points, I’m pretty sure you’ll find yourself on a path to success… and skinnier jeans as well 😉

 

Building Your Own Workout Plan

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Let’s talk a little about building your own fitness plan. It should be easy, right? Just decide you wanna lose some weight or gain some muscle or train for a race and do it.

Ah if it were only so cut and dried!

The best way to success is to have a plan, something that you develop, that will work for you, your life, your schedule and your goals.

Let me outline a few things that may help you

  1. Goal setting. I know this sounds cliché but if you don’t know what you want or how to go after it, how will you achieve it?  Whether you want to start walking, running, training for an event, lose some weight, or get into a schedule for the gym… whatever it is… your choice… It’s old school now days but I just love having a basic calendar to outline what I need to do. When I’m marathon training I sit down and mark out the mileage for each day, as well as days I strength train and have active rest days.  There’s something satisfying about blocking off each day when I get it done…and it gives me a visual tool moving me closer to my goal.
  2. Be real. No one knows your life better than you do. Don’t plan to train for a big event if you work full time, have a family and other obligations that won’t let you do what’s necessary to prepare. Or don’t set a to lofty goal to lose a big amount of weight in a short time. Better to be realistic and maybe overshoot what you have planned than be frustrated you can’t get it done.
  3. Know where you are. If your intentions are to lose weight, you’ll want to gather some measurements so you have a baseline from where you start from. I know it can be rather…sobering… but if you want more than the fickle scale to give you feedback you’ll also want some starting measurements. Be honest and be real with yourself.   Also, you might consider taking a “fit test”. This again, will give you a baseline for your strength and cardio abilities.   A.  Record time it takes to walk a mile. B. How many push ups can you do in a minute? ( knees on floor if needed) C. How far can you reach to your toes, seated on floor and leaning forward?  D. Pulse rate before and after test. You won’t need to reassess but every 4-6 weeks.
  4. Commit to exercise, most days of week. No matter what your goals are, exercise should be a part of them. Start small, but start. Get  a partner if you need accountability. Again, you use your planner to track your activities.
  5. Finding balance. Rest days are just as crucial to your success as time in the gym, or out on the road.  I’ll freely admit to chafing at rest days. I feel..lazy… or like I should be doing something. Until I got that rest days aren’t about being lazy but should be active…as in… feeding my body good food, and doing things like stretching, or yoga to keep my muscles in working order.  Having a rest day also gives you some time to be more mentally focused for when you’re out again.
  6. Speaking of stretching. This is something I’ve really learned the value of and have tried to be much better at doing it before and after a work out. I use a variety of things from the standard foam roller, to a pvc pipe to roll out on. A lacrosse ball is also awesome for feet or really getting into a tight knotted muscle.
  7. Mix things up. I learned early on that having several activities would keep me from getting bored with always doing the same thing. Later, as I learned more, it just made sense to incorporate a variety of things because it worked my body differently to make me strong all over and not just good for one sport.  Not only that, doing things like strength training if you love running or cycling will hopefully keep your body from injuries.  Find things you love doing and then make a rotation in your week with them. For instance my week might look like: run, cycle, strength train, run,cycle, rest day. Sometimes I put my rest day midweek.  Other times I might have an extra strength training day if the weather is really awful and I cant get outside.  Sometimes I have two rest days if my training has been more physically demanding. Making your own plan is flexible!
  8. Listen to your body! I’m not talking about that part that is encouraging you to skip your workout… tell that part to shut up and get after it. I mean if you feel “off” or not well, are running a temperature or something is really hurting you take a rest day. That is far more beneficial than doing it to just “get it done”. Chances are, a day off, you’ll come back stronger the next day.
  9. Make a commitment to consistency. I won’t lie. It is crazy hard in the beginning to commit to anything new, especially exercise! I would encourage you to make a daily commitment to it, not make any excuses for not getting it done, and challenge yourself to systematically take one day, one week at a time doing it.  Habits take a few weeks for form. Give yourself time to develop exercise as a habit… once it is… you will not be able to imagine NOT doing it!
  10. Finally, have fun! Yes, I said have fun….exercising… have fun. Find things you love and commit to becoming the best student you can of it. Enjoy how you feel and the things you will learn and accomplish. Enjoy new strength and energy and being fit.

 

Now… get busy… grab a planner… your ideas…. and get started on your own personal fitness plan!