Tag: fitness

Low on Willpower? How to crush your workout plan without it

I’m on week 10 of 12 week my workout plan, 4-5 days a week of lifting at the gym, for 30 – 60 minutes. This is the first plan I have ever done without skipping workouts or extending out the weeks and I am so proud! I’ve been doing a lot of introspection on why this time is different, and I have some takeaways that I know will help you achieve similar success.

We’ve all started an exercise plan before thinking that this time we’ll stick to it, and then we feel miserable when we don’t. I’m here to tell you that if you’re relying on pure “willpower,” not only are you going to have a hard time getting to your goal, but also it will not be enjoyable. There are better ways to ensure success:

1.  Small successes beget bigger ones

Motivation through negativity is the quickest way to fail. Posing pictures of people who have your “dream bod” or telling yourself that you need to workout because you don’t like your body may be motivating for a short time, but you can’t ride the negativity train for very long without losing steam and hating yourself along the way.  What’s more motivating? Meeting small goals and feeling good about them. Every time you meet a goal or see small improvements, you build positive momentum and want to keep going. When you start something new, keep your goals simple and manageable so that you can see results. For me, it was simply checking off the boxes on my workouts for the week and being able to see progress in the weight I was lifting from week to week.

2. Do something you actually like

This may seem obvious, but it’s a big deal. I like lifting and running, and I alternate between them depending on what I’m into at the time. Lifting weights makes me feel strong and confident and I think it’s fun to see how much weight I can do on a given day. If I didn’t enjoy it, there’s no way I would have gotten this far. This does not mean I am super pumped about getting to the gym every day that I go. I still have days where I’m not as into it, or I’m tired and just do the minimum to get it done. But for the most part, I like it enough to keep going. When you do something you like, it’s much easier to convince yourself to do it, even on days you’re not so motivated. And life is too short to spend hours a week doing something you totally hate.

3. Know what motivates YOU

This is the first workout plan where I had a physical book to write in and I learned something big about myself. I already knew that I enjoyed having a plan when I hit the gym so I don’t have to think about what to do or how long to stay. What I didn’t know was that I love keeping a physical record of the weights I’m using and seeing all of the check boxes in my own handwriting from week to week. Once I got a few weeks into the plan without missing a workout, there was no way I was going to have a week go by where I left boxes empty. It is super motivating and makes me feel accomplished. Again, feeling good about your progress means you’re more likely to keep going back for more. Keep in mind that everyone likes different things. Paper check boxes do it for me, but you may think it’s dumb to carry a book around and write things down between sets. Find out what YOU like and do it. And this may require trying several different things before you find something.

Willpower is not the way to results and you are not weak or lazy if you’ve been relying on it and feeling disappointed.  Skip “just do it” and build yourself up for success.

Curious about what my workout plan is? Right now I’m doing the “Get Jacked” plan from Girls Gone Strong. I highly recommend following them, and their founder Molly Galbraith.

Want to know why I became a health coach? Read my story.

ETM Reviews: Fitbit Ionic Smart Watch

I’ve had a number of people ask me what I thought of my new Fitbit Ionic watch, and I love it! So I’m sharing why in today’s blog. I’ve been wearing various models of Fitbit and Garmin fitness watches or step trackers since 2014, so I’ve logged a lot of steps and tried out all of the features.

Trackers I’ve used before:

  1. Fitbit pepple – super basic step tracker that you clip to you.  You set a goal and it shows you in lights how far you are to hitting it. Nice and simple if you aren’t into bells and whistles.
  2. Fitbit Charge HR – My second favorite tracker. I probably never would have upgraded from this if it were waterproof. It has a heart rate monitor, sleep tracking, activity/exercise tracker,  and a nice little screen to see the time and your stats for the day.
  3. Garmin VivoSmart HR – This is a good watch. It shows texts/calls, is waterproof so you can swim, does sleep tracking, and has a heart rate monitor. But is has no GPS, and the Garmin app is so not user friendly (especially compared to the fitbit one). I never looked at the app and the tracker lost it’s value as I paid less and less attention to my stats. Also, if you wear a Garmin running watch, it will not sync the steps from that and the VivoSmart.
  4. Garmin Forerunner 15 – Mostly a GPS running watch that works well, but also does track your daily steps. No heart rate or any other metrics.

And now I have the Fitbit Ionic. This watch is by far the best one I’ve ever used. Here’s why:

  1. It has GPS. I no longer have to look ridiculous wearing two watches when I run. And it connects to the satellites super fast!

    fitbit run map

    Track your runs with the Ionic’s GPS and see the route in the Fitbit App

  2. It’s waterproof. This is especially helpful when you are on island surrounded by water, or just don’t want to remember to take it off before showering. It has a swim mode and will track how far and fast you swim, and count it towards your activity minutes.
  3. It stores music. If you get Pandora (the paid version), Deezer or another approved music account, you can sync the playlists to your watch and run with music and no phone or MP3 player. You can also just store your music files on it. Connect some bluetooth headphones and you are out the door!
  4. It takes sleep tracking to a new level. My old Fitbit and Garmins tracked my sleep, but it was just awake and alseep time. This one tracks your time in different stages of sleep: awake, REM, light and deep sleep.

    fitbit sleep stats

    Track all of your sleep stages with the Fitbit Ionic Sleep Tracker

  5. It has built in breathing exercises and short workouts – try 3 minutes of guided breathing or a 7 minute warmup – all from the watch.
fitbit app

The Fitbit App is user-friendly and motivating

It’s safe to say that I am obsessed with this new watch from Fitbit and highly recommend it for anyone who wants to track steps, workouts or just general health, sleep and stress levels.

Know a friend that is looking for a new fitness watch? Hit share on your favorite platform below!

 

Feminism and Weight Loss – can they go together?

I’ve been studying personal development and nutrition for a few years now, and consider myself aware of media and how it affects women’s self-esteem and body image.

Whether you realize it or not, constantly seeing images of thin, photo-shopped women on social media, in magazines and advertising your favorite products can damage how you see yourself, and create body dysmorphia.  These images consciously or subconsciously tell you that your body is abnormal and needs to change.

As a health coach and self-proclaimed feminist, I encourage women to love their bodies and love seeing companies stop using photoshop in their ads. I think all of the women in my life are gorgeous.

However, the number one goal my clients and friends have is weight loss. Who am I to tell them that they can’t want to lose weight? And after coming home from a month-long vacation and noticing that my clothes were pretty darn tight, I started to think I could stand to lose a few pounds myself.

But there is NO way I was going to admit that. Judging my body based on its weight and feeling like I needed to look or be a certain way was just admitting that the media and all of its ugliness was right…right?

Body image can be a real mind f*ck, especially in the days of technology and social media. There is a whole industry targeting women, making them feel like they need to change themselves and buy certain products to do it. It’s in their best interest that you feel inadequate, and there are plenty of times a day that I and all women feel that way. Once you start creating awareness around the barrage of ads and subliminal messaging, it’s hard to go back and admit that you want to look differently.

How can you tell that something is what YOU want to do for your health and vitality and not something that you feel you need to do because of what the outside world is telling you?

There is no right answer, unfortunately. You have to examine your motivation, and the easiest way to do that is look at the language you are using when you think about starting to eat or exercise differently. Are you telling yourself that you’re fat and need to go look better for your cousin’s wedding? Or are you noticing that your energy is waning and you don’t feel as good as you want to, and you want to make some changes to get there?

See the difference? Both could have the identical outcome – e.g. a few more days in the gym every week. But completely different motivations.

Even if your motivation is just that you want your butt to be a little more poppin’ that’s okay. It is your prerogative to look and feel however YOU want to. But know that you may not stay on the workout train for very long unless you have a “why” that feels good to you. We can’t change our habits by beating ourselves into submission. Positive reinforcement will always work better.

More importantly, know that you ARE perfect the way you are now, and later. That you are worthy of love at every weight. It is possible to love yourself and want to change how your body looks and feels. Not only is it possible, but it will work better that way. It doesn’t have to be one or the other, and the patriarchy isn’t winning when you are making decisions that are good for you. The most important aspect of feminism is women having their own autonomy – the right to make decisions and be who they want to be, when they want to. And know, if you’re even thinking about this, that you are one step ahead of pervasive media. There is no shame in wanting to lose weight, or any other changes that you’re thinking about making. Do what is in YOUR best interest.

<3 Stephanie

 

 

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