Using social media as a fitness accountability tool

Social media often gets a bad rap.

fitness accountability tool

I am certainly guilty of this some days…

Parents complain about their teenagers spending too much time on Snapchat. Mom gets angry with dad for constantly checking the hockey scores. Dad wishes mom didn’t feel the need to check in with her Facebook friends before she’s even finished her coffee. Friends tease friends about their habit of uploading food photos to Instagram. Non-users complain about the rest of the world being tethered to their phones.

Technology certainly is not without its drawbacks.

As with everything, however, it’s how you use the tool that matters.

fitness accountability tool

Maybe not the best way to use a megaphone…

My favourite way to use social media is as a fitness accountability tool.

Checking in with friends and clients via Facebook, Instagram, Evernote, Twitter and good old-fashioned e-mail (at least my kids tell me it’s old-fashioned; they never manage to respond to anything I send them…) keeps me accountable to my goals and them to theirs.

Social media sharing is particularly beneficial to those who don’t have a local, in-person group of friends to support their fitness, nutrition and health goals.

Find the right circle of online friends — your own personal support group — and sticking to an exercise schedule or diet becomes easier. Hence the popularity of online weight-loss groups (e.g., DietBet) and exercise programs (my 40+ Fitness Group Training program, for example 😉 ).

Furthermore, research demonstrates that just having a weight-loss or fitness support system in place results in better adherence to diet and exercise and more pounds shed and kept off over the long term.

The following are some of my favourite ways to keep my clients and myself accountable to our fitness and nutrition goals.

Ways to use social media as a fitness accountability tool

  • Facebook: I use both my Facebook business page and my 40+ fitness group page (shh, that’s a secret one) to share workout schedules and planned trips to the gym. Friends and clients often tell me that just seeing my post kept them from bailing on their evening workout. I tell them that it goes both ways 🙂 (sometimes trainers need motivation too…)
  • Instagram: I love to post a quick picture or video of an exercise that I’ve just incorporated in my workout. Hearing other’s comments about the exercise, suggestions as to ways to make it more challenging and even the occasional ‘dang girl, you be strong’ makes me feel good about my accomplishment (and may even motivate a client to challenge themselves a bit more too). Some fitness peeps ‘Instagram’ their meals too, in part to remain accountable to their followers, but also to help motivate themselves and others to make healthy choices on a daily basis. Follow me on Instagram (I almost always follow back) >> fitknitchick_1
fitness accountability tool

Make this move even more challenging by lifting one foot off the bench!

  • Twitter: This “micro-blogging” sits is informal and fast-paced, with nearly instantaneous feedback. Use Twitter to find friends with similar health and fitness goals. Follow links to motivational photos, low-calorie recipes and workouts you can do at home. Tweet when you feel the urge to eat and you’re guaranteed to get a helpful response in a minute or two. And Twitter chats are a fabulous way to connect with an already established healthy living tribe. You can find me on Twitter at fitknitchick_1
  • MyFitnessPal: Although most people think of MyFitnessPal as a personal nutrition diary, it’s also possible to ‘friend’ your friends and encourage their daily food journalling habit. Even better, if you’re willing to make your diary ‘public’, those friends will also have access to the details of your daily eats. My clients tell me how surprised they are to discover that simply knowing I’ll be looking encourages them to make healthier choices in the kitchen.

The key to using social media as a fitness accountability tool?

It’s right there in the name: SOCIAL media! Interact, participate and engage your way to a healthier, fitter you!

Do you have a favourite social media app that helps you with fitness motivation and accountability?

Feeling Uninspired? The Truth About Motivation At Midlife {Guest Post}

This week I’m doubly fortunate. Grateful for (1) the invitation of a friend to join her at an all-inclusive fitness and wellness resort and (2) the offer of another to cover for me here, while I’m away. Pamela Hernandez is a personal trainer, online fitness coach and motivator extraordinaire. She’s sharing some truths about keeping motivated at midlife (and beyond).

You will never be 24 again.

Neither will I. I will never be the same as I was the year I started my fitness journey. I can never go back to the amazing beginner potential and relatively stress-free life I had then. If only we had known how golden those days were when we had them, right?

I can only speak for myself when I say I might have been too busy being self-conscious and critical of myself to listen even if someone had told me how special that time was. However, I do not miss it. The awkwardness and insecurity of my 20s is something I do not wish to go back to. I love how 40 feels. I know myself so much better than I did then.

Midlife brings wisdom and a new awareness of what our bodies need. I certainly feel stronger than I did at 24 but I am also very aware of how different my body is. I don’t know about you but I make sure to go to the bathroom before too many burpees or jump squats. Anyone else proud to be asleep by 10 pm?

So if we know our bodies aren’t the same why do we keep expecting our motivation to work the same way? We’ve changed our workout routine (maybe?) but we haven’t taken a good hard look at our goals, our motivation and why we need to commit to a healthy and fit life in perhaps a very long time. Life has changed and probably so has our WHY.

Get Inspired

This is why you can’t stay motivated like you used to. You didn’t lose your motivation. You forgot to create it.

I wrestled with a motivational funk myself last summer, just as I was turning 40. As a personal trainer and health coach, I am 100% committed to a healthy lifestyle. Yet I found myself unfocused during my own workouts, uninspired with my clients and overwhelmed by the challenges of mid-life and owning my own business. What turned me around came some from a process of self-examination so I could get acquainted with my motivation again.

It started with a 100 Dreams List.

A friend recommended a book to me called 168 Hours by Laura Vanderkam. Early in the book she asks you to make a list of 100 Dreams. It’s a purposefully big number so you have room for all things, not matter how far-fetched or mundane. (I wanted to just once make my own nut butter.) Once you have your list, you can look for underlying themes and the places were your passion truly lies. It helps find a compass for life when things may have gotten off track. My list was both enlightening and energizing. I was in a rut and it gave me things to STRETCH for again. Plus now I get a little jolt of satisfaction every time I cross something off the list.

Pamela Hernandez

The AFTER photo!

I found myself a coach.

I normally stay away from online challenges but the Ultimate Oxygen Challenge appeared at just the right time. I tried to hide behind the idea that it was “research”. Inside I knew to get out of this rut I needed to turn myself over to someone else’s way of doing things. I also made a deal with myself that no matter what happened I had to take AFTER pictures to send in to Oxygen Magazine’s Future of Fitness section. (#38 on my 100 Dreams List.) It was amazingly freeing to have someone else laying out the plan, teaching me new things and pushing me out of my comfort zone. I joined the private Facebook group as just another women trying to win a cover spot, not as the expert giving the advice. I needed to feel like a beginner again and it worked. Hiring a personal trainer or health coach can give you some needed accountability and challenge old ways of thinking.

Are your “good” habits holding your back?

When good habits go bad it’s called tightening. When habits get so constricting that they keep you from enjoying life or moving forward they become a big problem. Check yourself for habits that are outdated, no longer make sense and stand in the way of joy instead of bringing it. A great example for me was multi-tasking during my workouts by listening to podcasts. When I started going to the gym many years ago I would crank up my favorite tunes and lose myself. I don’t know how I got away from music but now I save Serial for coloring and groove to Elle King and Robyn in the gym. I found a lot of habits that I thought were healthy for me but needed to go: how much and what I was eating for breakfast, my sleep schedule and my cardio choices to name a few.

I felt like a beginner again and it made all the difference. It’s not that I went back to 24 because we know that can’t happen. I just found a map to a new destination that made sense for my life as it is TODAY.

If you need a new map to motivation at midlife, let me help you create it.

MotivationMade

I invite you to read my NEW book, Motivation Is Made Not Found. It’s a collection of lessons I’ve learned on motivation and commitment with action steps for you to use to help you be your own motivation coach. Use them as a way to look at your journey anew (or perhaps really look at it for the first time). It’s on sale for a special price until February 29, so don’t wait too long.

Check it out and me know what you think. You can find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Let me know what’s your biggest motivation challenge.

Tough love Tuesday | motivation doesn’t grow on trees

I’m not the kind of instructor, trainer or coach who yells at or belittles her clients. I believe in setting a positive example and providing education, encouragement and a little ‘reality check’ when it’s needed. The following post is about the closest that I ever get to a ‘rant’. Know that it was written with love, in the hopes that it will help you move forward towards your health and fitness goals ~ Tamara

Lately, I’ve been blessed with a large number of new subscribers to this website. (Thank you all for deeming my content worthy of your time 🙂 If you’re not subscribed, you can do it now!).

Many of them have emailed me to tell me about their biggest challenges with fitness and healthy living (I ask for and welcome these interactions as they give me a better idea of the topics that readers are most interested in hearing about).

While I typically respond to as many of these emails as I can, I will admit to having failed to answer a single respondent citing ‘lack of motivation’ as their biggest hurdle to exercising regularly and making healthier choices in the kitchen.

Why?

Because motivation isn’t something I can give them. (Or you.)

 

Neither money nor motivation grow on trees…

 

Motivation doesn’t grow on trees. It won’t magically appear on your doorstep. It won’t reveal itself to you in a dream. You won’t wake up one morning and suddenly feel motivated to go for a run.

Sharing the things that motivate me won’t necessarily help you find what motivates you. It’s personal. It requires some insight, some self-reflection, a mindset shift and some thinking about the future. Some good, old-fashioned hard work.

If journalling helps you think and reflect, go for it!

 

Finding your motivation isn’t always easy. Sometimes it’s down-right difficult. You might think you’ve figured it out only to realize you’ve ventured down a blind alley and need to back-track a bit to get back on course. But it’s always worth the effort. Always.

Those of us who know WHY we want to be healthy and fit find it easier to start and stick with the behaviours required to be healthy and fit. (Need some help with finding your ‘why’? Here’s a little how-to book I’ve written on the subject, with step-by-step instructions > 5 Steps to Finding Your Exercise Why)

Perhaps my new readers’ biggest obstacle isn’t really “I’m not motivated enough to exercise and eat better” but rather, “I haven’t yet figured out what will motivate me to make healthier choices”. 

Cancer is hard. Divorce is hard. Losing a loved one is hard.

Exercising and eating well so that you have more energy, sleep better, a stronger immune system, balanced hormones, are able to keep up with your kids and continue enjoying the activities you love for many years to come isn’t. 

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It’s all about perspective.

Valuing yourself, wanting to be the best version of ‘you’ possible and desiring to live a full, adventure-filled life.

In the wise words of a friend:

“Yesterday, I was at an event where several of the 50+ aged women there don’t exercise regularly and most were not fit but were talking about knee surgeries, bad health issues… it made me realize the #1 reason I excercise is so that I can continue to be fit and healthy in my later years! There’s your motivation…”

I’d love to hear what motivates YOU! Perhaps your unique motivators will help another reader figure out hers.

5 Signs your Fitness Mindset is Holding you Back

Do you ever find yourself wondering why other women seem to be more successful than you at reaching their health and fitness goals?

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Why your best friend can enjoy wine and dessert without ever gaining a pound, while you diligently stick to your lunchtime salad and can’t lose one? Why the woman on the spin bike next to you hardly breaks a sweat during a steep climb, while you’re barely keeping up and there’s a lake under your bike at the end of class? How the woman who’s always in the squat rack at the gym never seems to miss a day of training, while you struggle week after week with consistency?

Chances are your mindset is holding you back. Those unspoken beliefs about yourself, your abilities and your capacity for change.

Wondering if your head is hampering your progress?

Here are 5 signs your fitness mindset is holding you back:
  1. You’re resistant to trying a new approach, even when the old approach isn’t working (what’s that quote about the definition of insanity?)
  2. You use limitations as excuses (time, energy, equipment, injury…)
  3. You have unrealistic expectations and are quick to judge yourself
  4. You’re threatened by other women’s successes
  5. You’ve been convinced by the media that weight loss and muscle gain are easy (lose 10 pounds in a week!)

In my experience, women who make consistent progress towards their health and fitness goals share a few key attitudes;

  • They focus on change and growth, rather than restriction and limitation. Exercise isn’t viewed as simply a way of cutting calories. Food isn’t ‘good’ or ‘bad‘, just a way to fuel your body to perform well and feel good. If the old approach to eating and exercise stops working (as it often does for women in their 40’s), they’re open to exploring new solutions. They see change as potential, not something that threatens and scares them.
  • They concentrate on what they can do, rather than what they can’t. Limitations can either stop you cold or force you to work around them. Whether you’re working through a knee injury, don’t have much time for exercise or are travelling and don’t have access to your regular workout equipment and foods, focusing on the things you have control over and letting go of those you don’t is key to feeling good about the process.
  • They aren’t threatened by the success of other women. Success isn’t a zero-sum game. Just because your girlfriend can squat 100 pounds doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to some day as well. Her victory doesn’t come at the expense of yours. Celebrate the successes of other women and use them as motivation and inspiration rather than letting them trigger thoughts of inadequacy and failure.
  • They don’t expect it to be easy and aren’t afraid of hard work. The biggest myth perpetuated by the fitness and weight loss industry is that results are yours for the taking. ’21 days to a bikini body’, ‘drop 2 dress sizes in a month’, ‘lose 10 pounds in a week’ headlines trick us into thinking that our goals can be met quickly and without very much effort. Expect the work to be challenging, but rewarding. Both during the process and ideally, for the rest of your life.

Remember, you already know everything you need to do to successfully reach your health and fitness goals. Don’t let your fitness mindset hold you back!

Enjoy this post? Make sure you don’t miss the workouts, motivation and inspiration I dish up weekly. Add your name to my blog updates list and you’ll also be the first to hear about upcoming programs and course offerings!

10 ways to measure progress other than the bathroom scale

Ask a room full of 40 and 50 year-old women what their number one health and fitness goal is and you’re bound to hear ‘lose weight’ more than a few times.

Given that weight loss requires a multi-pronged approach (strength training, cardio, attention to nutrition and of particular importance to those experiencing perimenopausal symptoms, improved sleep and stress reduction), it’s surprising that one of the most preferred ways to measure progress is still the number on the bathroom scale.

Especially when the pounds aren’t falling off as quickly as they may have when you were younger…

While I can’t argue that seeing a smaller number on the scales isn’t indicative of weight loss, there are many other ways to measure progress along the way.

  • Metrics that encourage reflection and celebration
  • Metrics that shift the focus from how you look to how you feel
  • Metrics that emphasize ability and performance

This week, I challenge you to substitute one of the following metrics (brainstormed by me and some very smart members of my Facebook community; you’re welcome to join us!) for your daily (or weekly) weigh-in.

10 ways to measure progress other than the bathroom scale

1. Take circumference measurements; Losing weight via a combination of exercise and attention to nutrition often results in circumference measurements decreasing before pounds on the scale. Especially if your exercise plan includes lifting weights (as it should 🙂 ). If seeing numbers decrease is a big motivator for you, adding up those inches lost every month or so can be a great way to measure progress. Six inches sounds like way more than 2 pounds, doesn’t it? And because it takes a little more time and effort than simply stepping on the scales, you won’t be inclined to do it daily.

Wendy asks herself “Can I get into pants I could not get into last month, three months ago, last year? Can I zip a jacket/vest?”

2. Estimate your body fat; For most people, losing weight is really about losing body fat (I can’t think of a single client who’s ever asked me to help them reduce their muscle mass…). When fat loss is accompanied by muscle gain, body composition estimates gives us more information about our health than the number on the scale. There are many ways to estimate body fat, some of which require professional help (e.g., callipers, immersion) or specialized equipment (e.g., Skulpt Aim device, see photo below). But if you’re only looking for a ball-park estimate, a simple, online body fat calculator is good enough.

My front and back ‘muscle quotient’, as measured by Skulpt Aim

 

3. Try on your ‘thermometer’ jeans; You know that pair of jeans (or other pants) that, when they fit well, make you feel like the best version of yourself? Use them to measure progress (or to tell you when you’ve fallen off track). Note that these shouldn’t be a pair of pants you wore way back when, before you had three kids and had hours a day to devote to fitness and menu planning. We’re aiming for realistic, attainable goals here ;-).

Heat suggests that once you lose the weight you “buy new, smaller clothes and get rid of the other ones. That’s just giving yourself permission to wear them again later.”

4. Tally up the ‘toonies’ in your workout rewards jar; I like to ‘pay’ myself for every workout I do, saving the money for one or two more extravagant rewards every year. Seeing the coins accumulate in my workout reward jar makes me feel successful and encourages me to get to the gym on those days where my motivation is low.

I seem to be always saving for new shoes…

 

5. Celebrate weight-lifting PR’s; My favourite numbers to keep track of? How many pounds I lift during my a workout. I use the app Strong to record my strength workouts. It has a fun, summary screen that tells you the total number of pounds lifted and reps performed during your workout. The best thing about these types of numbers? You celebrate when they go up!

Kudos to Shayna for “pushing … [her]self a little harder every week at the gym” (and noticing the corresponding changes in her body).

6. Complete a fitness test; Remember those fitness tests you had to take way back in high school? The gym teacher who recorded how many pushups and sit-ups you could do in a row? The stop watch she wore around her neck to time your planks and wall sits? Test yourself monthly and compare your results. Even if your weight loss workout doesn’t specifically include these four exercises, consistent exercise will produce spill-over effects and improvement over time. (Want to improve your pushups? Here are some tips for getting from knees to toes)

Try one of the follow pushup variations. Keep track of how many you can do.

7. Cut your 5K time; Pay attention to how much more quickly you can perform certain activities (and recover from performing them too). Time your runs or your metabolic finishers. Aim to shave a few seconds off each time out.
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In just a month, I shaved a 1.5 minutes off this metabolic finisher!

 

8. Peruse your progress pics; You know what they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. When we’re smack dab in the middle of a weight loss goal it’s sometimes hard to see the forest for the trees. We focus on what’s not changing and fail to see what is. Taking photographs of yourself (or having someone you trust do it for you) is a great way to objectively see the changes in your body over time.

Try wearing the same, form-fitting clothing in each set of photos (one from the front, one from the side, one from the back); it makes it easier to see progress and you’ll have twice the proof when those clothes start to sag and bag…

ways to measure progress

9. Celebrate streaks; Do you wear a pedometer and count your daily steps? Log your food in MyFitnessPal? Attend 6:00 am Bootcamp Monday through Friday? Why not keep track of how many days in a row you hit your goal? Generating healthy habits is the first step towards weight loss and improved fitness. Focus on the small, day to day steps and the bigger goals will follow.

MyFitnessPal loves to announce streaks to your friends...

MyFitnessPal loves to announce streaks to your friends…

 

10. Focus on how you feel; When it comes right down to it, weight loss and fitness improvement goals are about feeling good. We all want to feel healthy, energetic, happy and light in our own bodies.

As Meg says “feeling good is my wellness scale” (see what she did there? ‘wellness SCALE’?).

What’s YOUR ‘wellness scale’? One of the metrics mentioned above? Or something entirely different?
Share your favourite ways to measure progress towards your fitness and weight loss goals in the comments section below.

Training for the status quo | fitness after 40

A couple of weeks ago a fellow gym-goer asked me what I was training for.

She’d noticed that I lift heavy, 3-4 days each week and that I’d been consistently upping my weights, in particular on my rows (not stalker-ish; she’s quite interested in developing her back, so she pays attention to these things).

Was I training for a weight lifting competition? Nope (this made me giggle)

To build bigger muscles? Not particularly (although that Tricep score my Skulpt Aim gave me is bugging me just a bit 😉 )

SkulptAim_May5_2015

I could have sworn my triceps were stronger than this…

To lose weight or lean out? Nah, I’m pretty happy with my body the way it is (i.e., I’m not interested in doing what it takes to drop 3 or 4% more body fat…)

To improve my performance in another sport? Perhaps, if you consider life to be a sport (have you seen my new tag line?)

My lack of appropriate response clearly confused her, so I tried to explain that my primary reason for exercising consistently and progressively is to continue being able to perform all the activities I love, pain-free and for a long time to come.

That is, I train to stay pretty much the way I am. And when I look around at the mostly healthy-looking people in my gym, I don’t think that I’m alone.

I guess you could call it training for the status quo.

Note that this isn’t a case of simply running to stay in place (a la the Red Queen)…

Alice and the Red Queen

“It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place”, said the Red Queen to Alice

It’s running to NOT end up in a worse place 🙂

Training for the status quo has myriad benefits (especially for those of us who aren’t 20 anymore…)

Why I train for the status quo

  • maintain or increase metabolism; As we get older, muscle mass is both harder to create and harder to maintain due in part to a reduction in the production of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. With declining muscle mass comes a reduction in basal metabolic rate. Hence the increased challenge of keeping midlife pounds at bay. Progressive resistance strength training encourages muscle growth and allows me to continue eating (most of) the foods I enjoyed in my 20’s and 30’s without gaining (very much) weight.
  • health is more than how you look; It’s not just what you see that’s important; how things are working ‘under the hood’ is a strong predictor of future health and longevity. Training for the status quo can help improve many of the health markers your doctor is watching; cholesterol, blood pressure, lung capacity, heart rate and stroke volume, to name a few.

Like ‘eating for maintenance’, training for the status quo isn’t sexy.

But it’s a heck of a lot better than the alternative…

Does the phrase ‘training for the status quo’ make you think of a hamster wheel? Or do you see the benefits of exercising simply for the benefits of exercising?

 

training for the status quo

 

Overcoming obstacles to exercise and healthy eating

One of the favorite topics of discussion in my online women’s fitness training group is obstacles to exercise and healthy eating. It seems like one of us is always struggling with making healthy choices in the face of circumstances, seemingly out of our control.

obstacles to exercise and healthy eating

This is my kind of obstacle course!

Common roadblocks to consistently following an exercise routine and sensible meal plan include (but aren’t limit to…);

  • special events (I can’t say no to cake and wine at my best friend’s birthday party)
  • poor sleep or low energy (the dog was sick and kept me up half the night, I can’t possibly get to the gym today)

The underlying theme being that, anything other than our normal, well-controlled environment tends to result in going off-plan.

The thing is, only rarely are we ever in that ‘normal, well-controlled’ environment.

I don’t know about you, but my life is one big variety show/circus.

Each week is different from the last, presenting it’s own unique set of challenges to stay true to my fitness routines and goals.

It seems to me that rather than creating structure around exercise and nutrition, we really need to learn the dual arts of adaptability and resiliency.

Adaptability is the art of making due with what you have. No access to the gym? Head to the playground. Cable and pulley machine taken? Sub out a similar exercise that only requires dumbbells. Only burgers and fries on the menu? Go ‘bun’-less and ask for extra carrot sticks.

Resiliency is the ability to rebound quickly after a set-back. Beer and chips and s’mores at the weekend’s Cub camp? Eggs and veggies for breakfast on Monday. Back from an ‘exercise-free’ holiday? Schedule your workouts for the next two weeks as soon as you’re back.

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Rebounder fitness is so fun!

There will always be obstacles to navigate. The trick is to remember the end game.

And to remind ourselves that no one can force us to do something we don’t want to do.

In the words of a very wise friend (and member of my online training community);

In the end, the only one who controls my destiny is me

This week, I challenge you to recall these words whenever you find yourself facing an obstacle to exercise or healthy eating. 

How to stay on track while your trainer’s on vacation

*** Note that the tips in this post apply equally well to the absence of your favourite group fitness instructor and/or your regular workout buddy.

It never fails. You’ve just gotten into a groove with exercise. You’re hitting the gym several times a week and starting to see and feel the results of your efforts.

Then, out of nowhere, your personal trainer (or favourite group fitness instructor or regular workout buddy) goes on holidays.

While you might be inclined to take the week off yourself, there are plenty of ways to stay on track while your trainer’s on vacation.

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  • Pretend she’s there and keep your usual appointment. You know your way around the gym. And while you might miss her coaching (and charming personality 😉 ), there’s no reason why you can’t perform your usual routine on your own. Remember, one of her goals is to someday, turn you into an independent exerciser!
  • Ask her to create a special program for you to do in her absence. Have her include all of your favourite exercises (avoiding movements that require significant cueing) in an easy-to-follow circuit. If you feel confident about your ability to execute the program, you’re much more likely to do it.
  • Find somebody else to train with. This might be another trainer at your gym (a colleague and I regularly step in for each other when the other’s away from the gym and a client isn’t quite ready to train on their own), a friend or just a friendly face from the gym. Reach out to the woman who trains at the same time as you do and see if she might appreciate some exercise company. Read these suggestions for making partner training a success.
  • Try a group fitness class instead. If you’d really rather not set foot in the gym on your own, findan appealing sounding group fitness class and give it a try. Bootcamp, Circuit Training and Body Sculpt classes are all great alternatives to your usual gym workout. (If it’s your group fitness instructor who’s away, go to her class always; I bet she’s arranged a fantastic sub for you 😉 ).
  • Relax. Worse case scenario? You substitute daily walks for your strength workouts and skip the gym entirely while she’s gone. If you’ve been consistent with your workouts for any length of time, a week away isn’t likely to result in much loss of progress. And she’ll be relieved to know that she’s not the only one who’s hurting a bit the first day back…

Share your best strategies for dealing with a vacation-induced training hiatus…

Not your usual New Year’s Resolution post | fitness goals with soul

This is not your usual New Year’s Resolution post (and not just because it’s the third week of January…). No resolutions will be made. Nor will there be any mention of S.M.A.R.T. goals.

In my experience, most resolutions and fitness goals tend to be superficial, guided by ’needs’, ‘musts’ and ‘shoulds’ (“I need to lose 20 pounds”) rather than a true understanding of what will really make a difference in the goal-setter’s life and how they’ll feel when they finally achieve them (“I’ll feel strong and self-confident and know that I can tackle any problem life throws at me”).

I call this ‘finding your why’ (and have written an e-book that just might help you find yours; download your free copy here) and encourage my clients to dig a little deeper and uncover theirs when setting new fitness goals and intentions.

Recently, I attended an all-day workshop based on Danielle Laporte’s best-selling book, The Desire Map: A guide to Creating Goals with Soul.

 

The book is based on her experience helping life-coaching clients and entrepreneurs find clarity around the question “how do I want to feel in my life?”.

She argues that what we’re all really striving for is more ‘good’ feelings and that knowing how you want to feel is the most powerful way to achieve your life goals and dreams. Sure, resolutions and goals and intentions are fine, but marry them to the feelings you’d like to experience and the sky’s’ the limit.

You’re not chasing the goal, you’re chasing a feeling you hope reaching the goal will give you ~ Danielle Laporte

The book outlines a series of exercises designed to help the reader ‘get clear’ on those feelings they want to experience (their ‘Core Desired Feelings’) in five areas of their life, one of which is Body & Wellness (and includes things like fitness, food, rest and relaxation, mental health and movement). Part of the process is winnowing the list of CDF’s down to just three (three! I started with a list of 20!) and exploring what one might do (i.e., create an action plan) to experience more of those feelings on a daily basis.

I could write a novel about the workshop I attended and how I came up with my three Core Desired Feelings. But because this is a fitness website and most of you won’t stick around for more than about 800 words 😉 I’ll limit this post to sharing my ‘feeling words’ with you, explaining how they’re relevant to my fitness goals and talking a bit about how I intend to get more of those feelings in 2015.

WARNING: The following is a bit more ‘touchy-feely’ than most of the posts on this site. Tread lightly 🙂

Appreciation: Working in this fitness industry, it’s easy to get sucked into comparing yourself with others. There will always be people who can run faster, lift heavier, do more pushups and look better in a bathing suit than I do. I need to practice appreciating my current level of fitness. Allowing myself to feel good about what’s going well, rather than focussing on what still needs work. That doesn’t mean being complacent and ‘settling’. It just means “meeting myself where I’m at”.

Connection: While it may sound strange given that I work in a social fitness environment (and that I’m always encouraging others to ‘find their tribe’), I don’t have a fitness tribe of my own. When I exercise with friends, I’m the ‘trainer’. When I participate in other instructors’ group fitness classes, I’m a colleague. When I exercise on my own, I’m trainer/friend/colleague/gym staff. I want to feel like I’m part of a group. People who are all looking to inspire, motivate and support one another to achieve more. I experienced this sense of connection and community several years ago when I trained at another facility. I’m looking into going back.

Ease: While fitness is already a habit for me, there are still some road blocks preventing me from making the process simple and automatic. This year I’m looking for ‘ease’. Not to be confused with ‘easy’, ease is all about reducing the activation energy required to make things happen. That means working on a program that’s designed specifically for me, perhaps by another trainer at the facility I mentioned above (personal trainers need personal trainers too). It also means creating a workout schedule for myself that’s impervious to my clients’ requests for extra sessions or changes in their training times.

fitness goals

We created a ‘Core Desired Feelings’ memento by choosing one charm to represent each of our stated Core Desired Feelings.

 

And because the best way to get more of the feelings you want is to create those feelings in others, I’ll also be focusing on mirroring Appreciation, Connection and Ease;

  • Although feel very appreciative of my clients and class participants, I need to verbalize that appreciation more by letting them know that I value their energy, enthusiasm, perseverance and presence in my life.
  • I want to create more of a feeling of connection in my group fitness peeps by ensuring that everybody feels welcome in my classes. I’m going to focus on learning new participants’ names and expanding my circle of focus within the class to include participants I don’t already know well (Krys and Linda, that means you’ll be off the hook…).
  • Creating a feeling of ease for others by providing simple and clear cut instructions and meeting my clients where they are, not where I think they should be.
Now it’s your turn.

I challenge you to identify 2 or 3 feelings around fitness and health that you’d like to experience more of in 2015.

What will you do to get them? How might they help you achieve the goals and resolutions you’ve set for yourself?

Disclaimer: I have an Affiliate Marketing relationship with Amazon.com. That means that if you click on the text link below the image of the book “The Desire Map” and feel compelled to purchase your own copy (which I highly recommend, Affiliate Relationship or not), I’ll receive a small fee. It’s very small and doesn’t affect your purchase price at all. Thanks for your support!