3 ‘all-or-nothing’ healthy living mindsets debunked

We’ve all got that little voice in our heads. The voice that undermines our best intentions and rationalizes the making of poor choices when it comes to fitness and nutrition. The voice that says ‘why bother’ or ‘what’s the point’ or ‘I’ll start next Monday’.

healthy living mindsetsFor many women, that voice reflects an underlying ‘all-or-nothing’ mindset. The attitude that only full-on-balls-to-the-walls effort is worth the time. That small steps don’t matter. That perfection trumps progress.

I’ve heard many variations on this theme from my clients and group fitness participants and have been known, on occasion, to utter the same words to myself

Below, I share the 3 most common examples and the arguments I’ve found to be helpful in moving myself and others past our ‘all-or-nothing’ mindset barriers.

3 ‘all-or-nothing’ healthy living mindsets debunked

This month is crazy busy at home/school/work; I’ll get back to exercise when things slow down.

This mindset is based on the assumption that tomorrow will be easier than today. That you’ll have fewer commitments and responsibilities in the future than you do now. That there’s a ‘perfect’ time to start an exercise program and clean up your diet.

In my experience, tomorrow never comes. The current crisis or workout passes, only to be replaced by another. Next month will be just as busy as this month (know the saying, ‘tasks expand to fill all available time’?) and before you know it, another year has passed without any appreciable progress towards your health and fitness goals.

The perfect time to make change is always right now. The path to progress is many small steps, repeated daily. Start by incorporating just one or two short workouts in your week. No more than 30 minutes and nothing that requires you to get dressed and drive someplace. Maybe all you have time for is a walk at lunch. That’s great. Start small and build from there; that way ‘when things slow down’, you’ll be ready to ramp it up ;)

Check out my YouTube channel for examples of short and efficient workouts you can do at home.

I’ve already derailed today’s healthy meal plan; might as well have another glass of wine/helping of dessert/handful of chips.

This mindset is built on the false premise that your body resets it’s metabolic clock at midnight. That today’s less-than-healthy choices are wiped clean by the act of going to sleep and getting up in the morning. That you won’t feel any worse or any less energetic tomorrow because of your overindulgence. That you can’t ‘eat just one’ and feel satisfied.

It often goes hand in hand with the “I’ll start my diet on Monday” mindset. Post-poning the opportunity to make small, healthy decisions today; decisions that will only become habit if you practice them consistently.

 I don’t have time for an hour-long spin class/bootcamp/gym session today; I’ll make it up later in the week.

A classic example of ‘go hard or go home’ thinking, this mindset is probably the most challenging to overcome. Thanks to the constant barrage of magazine headlines and social media posts encouraging us to work ‘harder-faster-longer-more’ and wondering ‘what’s your excuse’ when we don’t, is it any wonder we doubt the benefits of a mere fifteen minutes of movement?

The thing is, 15 minutes of exercise will always be better than nothing. Better than spending the same amount of time sitting in the car, on the couch or in front of the computer (unless you’re reading encouraging blog posts, like this one…). Find two 15-minute stretches of time in your busy day and all of a sudden you’re fitting in 30 minutes of fitness.

Is your ‘all or nothing’ healthy living mindset holding you back?

Enter your email address below to receive a free copy of my ‘5 Steps to Exercise Happiness. It’s full of actions you can take today to overcome mindset challenges and move you closer to your health and fitness goals.

 

 

 

 

The ‘10000 steps per day movement’ | keeping track with LifeTrakCore

Disclaimer: LifeTrak noticed me conversing with friends on Facebook about my interest in pedometers and the ‘10000 steps per day movement’ and sent me a LifeTrakCore C200 to track my daily activity (non-knitting activity, that is) and share the experience with my readers. Thanks LifeTrak!

We all know that we need to move more.

Not just vigorous exercise, but frequent bursts of low to moderate intensity movement throughout the day. Taking the stairs, walking to the grocery store, getting off the computer and stretching our limbs more than once every couple of hours.

Studies have shown that people who move continuously throughout the day have better health markers than those who exercise intensely for an hour then remain sedentary for the remainder of their day.

As a person who spends lots of her non-gym hours sitting and writing OR sitting and driving OR sitting and knitting, I was curious to know whether I was falling into the ‘sedentary gym rat’ pattern.

10000 steps per day

Enter the LifeTrakCore C200. A pedometer/heart rate monitor/calorie counter that straps on your wrist and keeps track of your daily movement.

10000 steps per day

For the past week, I’ve kept track of my daily steps, aiming to reach 10 000 steps per day. (Why 10 000?)  I decided not to do anything drastic to make sure I reached my goal; just go about my daily business and let the steps ‘fall where they may’. Since I’m a ‘numbers geek‘, I made you a table to look at. Can you see the pattern?

Screen Shot 2013-06-03 at 4.23.33 PM

What did I learn?

  • most days, my usual combination of working out and training clients gets me pretty close to 10 000 steps per day (one of the perks of working in the fitness industry, I guess!)
  • my step counts are highest on days when I teach group fitness (did you know that you can amass approximately 4000 steps in just an hour long Step aerobics class? Come join us!)
  • spending an hour in the gym, mainly lifting weights, added very little to my daily step count (maybe a good reasons to swap out stationary lunges for walking lunges?)
  • no workout, no walking, lots of writing leads to an appallingly low step count (although technically, Saturday IS my rest day. Should we be striving for 10 000 steps on rest days too???)
  • it’s pretty easy to add an extra 2000 or so steps to my day by just going for a 20 minute walk (although now that the bears are out, I’m not sure how often I’ll be doing this solo…)

I like being able to see my daily activity quantified; not just at the end of the day, but part-way through, when there’s still time to get back on track. Plus, going for a walk mid-day always clears my head and improves my productivity for the rest of the afternoon.

Have you every tracked your daily steps?

What surprised you the most about the experience?

And should we still be aiming for 10 000 steps per day on our ‘rest’ days? ;)

Lack of Motivation Monday: three questions to ask yourself

It happens to the best of us. Even those who exercise for a living. (But don’t we all exercise for living?)

We wake up and find ourselves lacking in motivation. “I don’t feel like it today”, “I’m too tired to get to the gym”, “It won’t hurt to skip my spin class today”, “I have a lot of other things to get done”.

When my motivation to work out needs a boost, I ask myself three questions:

  1. Did I exercise on two of the last three days?
  2. Can I fit a workout in tomorrow?
  3. Can I find 30 minutes in my day to move, without going to the gym?

If I answered ‘yes’ to the first question, I just might deserve a day off. I aim to exercise 5 days out of 7, leaving me 2 days a week for rest and recovery. Maybe my lack of motivation is just my body’s way of saying ‘rest today’.

Whether or not today is an official rest day, however, depends on my answer to question number two. If there’s time in my schedule for a workout tomorrow, I’m off the hook. Rest day it is. If not, and particularly if the rest of the week is jam packed and there’s even the slightest possibility that I might have to miss a workout later in the week, off to the gym I go.

I might not feel like exercising, but I know that I’ll regret skipping out on my workout later in the week. Usually once I’ve laced up my running shoes, uploaded an energizing playlist and warmed up a bit on the treadmill I get into the groove and end up happy with my decision.

Even when I’ve answered ‘yes’ to questions 1 and 2 and feel like I’ve officially earned a day off, I ask myself how I might fit 30 minutes of movement into my day away from the gym. A walk, mid-day, to clear my head. Some pushups and a plank, just because. Some shots on goal in the back alley with my youngest child.

Thinking about skipping your workout today? Ask yourself three little questions. If you can’t honestly answer ‘yes’ to at least two out of three, you might need a little more motivation!

Check out some of my previous Monday Motivation posts and get moving.

You’ll never regret the workouts you do, just the ones you miss! (A cliche, but true!)

What’s your secret to staying motivated to exercise even when you don’t want to?

 

Saturday shout outs; recent blog posts I love!

Finally, the weekend is here! Saturday is my favourite day to get caught up on my weekly blog reading.

Today, I thought I’d share some great posts from the last week with you. Posts that have inspired me and made me think differently about fitness, nutrition and blogging!

Have some favourite blog-finds of your own this week?

Feel free to share in the comments section below!

Working out is hard: show me your #PROOF

If you follow my Twitter stream (you do, don’t you? If not, just click on the little blue ‘t’ button over on the right), you’ve probably noticed me Tweeting about my workouts and including the hashtag #PROOF.

It’s all part of a FitFluential ‘motivation and accountability’ campaign. The premise being, that because our friends and colleagues are anticipating our daily #PROOF, we’ll be less likely to skip a workout and more likely to ‘crush it’.

It’s great to see what everybody else is up to (although some people are clearly over-achievers, setting the bar stratospherically high for the rest of us…) and it feels wonderful to have somebody see your #PROOF post and Tweet back words of encouragement and support. Because, frankly, working out is hard and a little bit of positive reinforcement goes a very long way.

What constitutes #PROOF?

People have been extremely creative, posting pictures of themselves during and after workouts (exhibiting the compulsory sweat), snapshots of the scrap of paper they wrote their workout plan down on, link ups to their Daily Mile runs, photos of heart rate monitors showing calories burned, minutes in their ‘target heart rate zone’ and, my personal favourite, the maximum heart rate they attained during their workout (that’s my competitive streak coming out again!).

Anyone can join in. You needn’t be a member of FitFluential (but of course, you should be! The only requirement is an interest in healthy living!).

Some examples of my recent #PROOF? Why of course!

and

and

I’d love to see YOUR #PROOF!

All you need to do is Tweet the details and include the hashtags #FitFluential and #PROOF!

And please feel free to let me know in the comments box below.

 

Hanging around with Tuesday Trainer and my TRX

One of my all time favourite fitness tools is the TRX. Five pounds of sturdy, nylon webbing, comfortable foam handles and a mesh, drawstring bag to keep it all neat and tidy when it’s not giving me a fabulous workout.

I’ve used mine at the gym, the playground and hanging from the swing set in my backyard. It’s lightweight and portable, making it the perfect holiday fitness tool. Taking up less room than a pair of shoes, it’s easily packed in your luggage. And talk about a conversation starter! People always ask what I’m doing when they see me working out with my TRX.

Today, I’m demonstrating two exercises using the TRX over on Tuesday Trainer. This week’s focus is super sets; check out the other trainers’ moves and the workout Lyndsay creates out of them.

Then, give this quick workout a try and tell me what you think! (Don’t have a TRX? We have them at my gym! Book a personal training session with me and I’ll be happy to show you in person!)

Have you used a suspension trainer before?

What are you favourite TRX exercises?

Monday Motivation: exercise makes you happy!

Last week, while navigating children and luggage towards our departure gate at LAX, I realized that I nothing to read on the plane ride home. Although I had yarn and needles for sock knitting (scroll down to see the yarn…), I was in a reading mood. I dashed into Borders and quickly scanned the bestseller rack for something suitable.

My gaze was immediately drawn to this book;

The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin. I particularly liked the sub-title, Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun.

The book is autobiographical, and describes the steps taken by the author to become happier in her work, home and relationships. She identifies 12 aspects of her life that she feels would benefit from improvement, tackling one each month and beginning the year with ‘Vitality’. Her reasoning? Having more energy makes it easier to engage in activities that increase happiness. 

But how to become more energetic? Rubin chose to focus on getting more sleep and exercising regularly (along with cleaning out her closets and faking it on days she didn’t feel very energetic!).

“There’s a staggering amount of evidence to show that exercise is good for you. Among other benefits, people who exercise are healthier, think more clearly, sleep better, and have delayed onset of dementia. Regular exercise boosts energy levels; although some people assume that working out is tiring, in fact, it boosts energy, especially in sedentary people…”

You know she’s right! When I’m feeling crabby and grouching at my kids (yes, I do this too) a trip to the gym is the only thing that turns my mood around. My family recognizes this and gladly sends me on my merry way, knowing that I’ll return calmer, happier and more likely to let them stay up past bedtime!

Tell me about your favourite happiness-inducing exercise!

P.S. I liked this book so much, I’ll certainly be writing about it again soon.

P.P.S. I’m extra happy today because children have gone back to school after nearly three weeks off! I know a lot of other moms who are happy about this too!

Can’t get to the gym? Try my ‘Hundred at Home’ workout!

Some days, despite your best intentions, a wrench gets thrown into your schedule making a trip to the gym impossible.

Yesterday was day 2 of the B.C. teacher’s strike, and although I was able to get my youngest two into a last-minute rec center program (we’re calling it ‘strike camp’), my oldest had no plans and was spending the day at home. While he’s old enough to be on his own for an hour or so during the day, I feel guilty leaving him in an empty house with only the cat for company.

So instead, he and I spent the morning ‘together'; he on his computer in his room, me on mine in the room next to him!

Determined to get even a quick workout in, I got up, threw on my workout clothes (once they’re on, I find it more difficult to find excuses not to follow through ;)) and made my plan.

at home workout

No turning back, now! (Yes, another new Lululemon piece)

In between writing and household chores, I would aim for a total of 100 repetitions of each of five different exercises. No showering and getting dressed in ‘real clothes’ until all the reps were complete! I’m calling it my ‘Hundred at Home’ workout, although technically, there are 500 reps in all…

at home workout

Total elapsed time? About 20 minutes, scattered throughout my morning. What are you waiting for?

For more, home-workout ideas, head over to Bite Size Wellness (I just happen to have a guest post there on a similar theme!).

Do you have a go-to at home workout for days you can’t get to the gym?

Disclaimer: Although I am a registered Personal Trainer, I am not YOUR Personal Trainer. Always adapt workouts to suit your body and fitness level. Always consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise program.

Monday Motivation: my favorite healthy living blogs

Welcome to Monday Motivation! Every Monday, I take a few minutes to talk about what motivates me to eat healthy and exercise daily.

Like many bloggers, I read a lot of blogs! These are just a few of the many competing for space on my Safari bookmarks menu.

Just a sampling of my Safari bookmarks bar...

Hearing what other bloggers are doing to stay fit and strong and seeing (most food bloggers have the strange habit of photographing much of what they eat!) the scrumptious looking meals they’re dining on, inspires me to work harder in the gym and the kitchen. I regularly pin‘ their workouts and recipes to try out myself when I need a new challenge.

Here’s a sampling of just a few of the healthy lifestyle bloggers I regularly look to for inspiration and motivation. Click on through and get to know them for yourself; I promise you won’t be disappointed! They’re all members of the FitFluential family and they rock my world!

Jody at Truth2BeingFit

Carla at MizFitOnline

Jess at BlondePonytail

Alexandra and Kymberly at Fun and Fit

Courtney at Sweet Tooth Sweet Life

and Lindsay at In Sweetness and In Health

What are some of your favorite healthy lifestyle blogs?

Does reading blogs about exercise and healthy eating motivate you to make better lifestyle choices?