Category archive: Motivation
Going to the gym for the first time can be a nerve wracking experience. You’re walking into a foreign world of new equipment that requires certain form and safety awareness, you’re about to get sweaty and vulnerable in a room full of people you don’t know – and worse, they might judge you.
This is an all too common scenario I hear from someone who wants to make a change in their life, but may be self conscious about doing so. Being judged by seasoned gym-goers is a huge fear, and an unfortunate reality that discourages newcomers to a healthy way of life. This is particularly evident at this time of year, when we so often year gymgoers complaining about the “New Years Resolutioners” who are clogging up the gym, with comments about how they can’t wait for the herd to thin out – and I am SO disappointed by this attitude!
I find it baffling that these people don’t seem to remember that at one point, they were a beginner too. Someone who didn’t know what they were doing, someone taking the first step towards getting where they are today. Are their memories so short?
Instead, as seasoned gymgoers, we should be encouraging newcomers (regardless of the time of year), for taking the first step towards a healthy life. We should cheer them on for what could be a definitive moment in their lives, and we should also be willing to offer help, advice, and assistance with a smile. So this is my call to the seasoned, long term gym goers to be more supportive, to stop being so judgmental, and to remember how to be a courteous human being.
When I posted my thoughts on Facebook, I got varied responses, including:
“It makes it hard to work out!” – Really? Be creative and work around them. Maybe its an indication its time to change up your routine as well, and try something new.
“Well you know they won’t stick with it!” – This gets to me. DO you know that? No you don’t. You do not know whether or not someone will stick with their goal or not, because you have no idea what that person is capable of. Whether they start January 1st, or any day of the year, whether or not they are 5 lbs overweight or 100 lbs overweight, it doesn’t matter. You cannot anticipate if that person expects immediate results, of if they’re willing to work hard day in and day out, and you are not the judge of how bad they may want it. To assume you know otherwise is incredibly self righteous. That person deserves to be treated based on their potential just like you do, and not be assumed a failure.
Worst of all, one of my fans said she saw this quote on a Fan Page, which will remain nameless:
“It would be nice if we could get together as a group and take pictures of the buffalo in the gym tackinling their NYE resolutions. We’ll call it a month long social science experiment since they should be back to Mcribbing it up in a month”
I was disgusted that anyone in an industry dedicated to helping people feel healthy, happy, fit and confident could ever be so tactless, tasteless, and just plain rude! And its disheartening, to know so many in the industry have been saying much the same…
So I’m asking you with this post, to reconsider how you’ve been treating people at the gym since the new year, and to evaluate your attitude. Are you being self-righteous? Are you acting entitled? Could you be more supportive?
Inevitably, someone is going to read this post and think, “Its not MY responsibility to help someone at the gym, I don’t work there.” You’re right, its not. Just like its not your responsibility to hold the door for someone behind you or help someone pick up something they’ve dropped, and so on. But you still do them, because you’re a decent human being, and not a selfish jerk. No one is asking for you to completely derail your workouts either. Courtesy and a smile alone will get you a long ways.
And yes, occasionally, I judge. I judged the guy with the swastika and white power tattoos, I judged the drug addict who started jumping over benches and making karate noises, and I judged the woman sipping a Starbucks latte while walking on the treadmill. So I’m not perfect. I never said I was. But I’d like to think I do a pretty good job of supporting people when they’re trying something new.
It happens before every summer, and every new year: people will make resolutions to lose weight, eat right, and get healthy. Unfortunately, up to 88% of people fall through on their goals in record time. So how can we make our personal goals stick, and avoid the usual pitfalls? Here are a few tips to help with making effective goals on the way to any achievement:
Set Your Horizon:
Your journey cannot begin without a destination. A goal always starts with the driving factor which is the long term outcome you want to achieve. Whether its ”I want to change my eating habits,” ”I want to lose 50 lbs” or, “I want to quit smoking”, you must decide on the end point.
Make a Plan:
To create an outcome is the first step, but it is completely hollow unless it is followed with “I will achieve this by…” This is also the best time to do research. Research may include collecting healthy diet recipes, finding a workout plan that best suits your lifestyle and interests, or browsing the local gyms for one you would feel comfortable working out in. It may also include looking into the success stories of others, and asking questions: some of the best advice you can receive is from someone who has reached a similar goal. The planning stage is the best time to set a realistic deadline for when you want to be successful by. Not only does this keep you on track, it helps you evaluate your progress over time, to better understand how far you can go. (Research is also very useful for understanding what a reasonable timeline is for your specified goal).
Be realistic, and start with small goals:
Once you have determined an end point and a plan to follow, its time to plan a few pit stops. Progress does not happen over night, and small goals help gratify our successes while keeping us focused on the end outcome. If your overall goal is to lose 100 lbs, start with 15, and celebrate your achievement. Start with dropping a pant size, lifting 5 lbs more than you can at the moment, or switching to whole grains. The success of these small goals replenish our drive to reach our final destination, and encourage us through those long phases in between, where it may feel as if we are not getting very far.
Find a support group:
Share your goal with your friends and family, and ask someone to join you on your journey. Exercise partners are a great way to keep yourself accountable, and motivated! Support groups can help facilitate the research portion of your planning, share their own experiences, and help you when you are struggling. In many cases, people find that their immediate friends may not be the most supportive to their plans, but do not be discouraged by this! There are people everywhere who will support you, and you may gain new friends in the process.
Be accountable and honest:
One of the largest pitfalls associated with exercise, health and diet goals is denial, so do not be afraid to admit when you’ve made a mistake. Everyone is capable of making an excuse for why they didn’t make their workout, and we all know they’re usually tenuous at best. But the excuse game is in no way is beneficial towards reaching your goal. If you don’t have an excuse, don’t try and make one. Acknowledge your slip up, take responsibility, and move on. It is only through acknowledging our faults, weaknesses, failures and slip ups, that we are able to meet them head on and achieve better in the future.
Do not succumb to guilt:
Regret over an indulgence or a missed workout often leads to an entire guilt trip, causing the person to fall further and further behind on their goals, or starting all over, which we know can be so discouraging. Many people also consider their exercise to be, “all or nothing.” Slipping up once, means its just not going to happen for them. This is ridiculous! So you skipped the gym, so you had that cupcake, is it worth throwing everything away? Mistakes happen, and so do missed workouts. You may not feel good about it, but it is not the end of the world. Pick up where you left off, because lamenting gets you no closer to your goals. Those who wallow in guilt rather than face their problems head on are more likely to repeat the guilty action, or fall out of the habits entirely. Do not be a victim of your guilt!
Write everything down. Your weight, what you eat, what weight you were using for your reps, everything. By having the information handy, not only can you see where you are progressing and have a better understanding of how to increase your intensity at a reasonable rate, but you can also see where your weaknesses are. Does your weight shoot up after a lazy weekend? Are you not eating as healthily as you should when you’re out of the house? Tracking your progress on a regular basis helps you evaluate your patterns, and improve upon them.
Reward yourself in the proper ways that promote your new, healthier lifestyle:
A reward for your hard work should motivate you to move further, not act as a setback. There is something so counterproductive about treating yourself to sweats for succeeding in healthy eating, or taking a week off at the gym to celebrate six months of consistency. Try little treats that will excite you about your health and fitness – a new workout outfit or a new piece of equipment you’ve been eying, new supportive shoes, a day at the beach, a new supplement, or something that reminds you of what it took to achieve. Also, ensure that the reward match the accomplishment; losing that first ten 10lbs is a huge step in the right direction, but not quite worth that trip to Africa. Save that for your last ten lbs when you can show off your beach body with pride.
Most importantly, never stagnate!
Continue to make regular, active goals, even once you have achieved your milestone. The ceaseless drive to improve and the endless pursuit of success will always enrich your life. Once you have achieved your endpoint, strive for personal bests, better diet, harder muscles, anything that will keep you chasing happiness and health! The fulfillment of your triumphs will inspire others, and leave many memories for you to be proud of.
What do you want to achieve? What are you waiting for? You can do anything, as long as you make those first few steps.Details
What is your theme to guide you through the year?
Mine is The Year I Set Myself ON FIRE!
This year, I’m going to blaze brighter than ever, burn harder and increase the intensity in everything I do, until I’m a bonfire that no one can ignore. Watch out world, I’m coming for you. You can embrace the fire, or you can become coals in my wake.
Success isn’t a result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire. ~Arnold H. Glasow
Below, I’ve provided a sample (100 Songs) of the music I like to listen to while working out – these songs incorporate what I use for weight lifting, cardio, pole fitness, aerial silks, kickboxing and many other workouts, so you will find a great variance in music choice. My tastes range from musical scores and theme songs, to things you might hear on the radio, right into obscure bands that aren’t well known.
Where available, I’ve attempted to include Youtube links to the songs. I hope you enjoy, and perhaps find something new to add to your list!
- Escape the Fate – Gorgeous Nightmare
- Metallica – Fuel
- Katzenjammer – A Bar in Amsterdam
- Mariana’s Trench – Toy Soldiers
- Mariana’s Trench – Desperate Measures
- Mariana’s Trench – Haven’t Had Enough
- Mariana’s Trench – Stutter
- Mariana’s Trench – Shake Tramp
- Mariana’s Trench – September
- Mariana’s Trench – Vertigo
- Mariana’s Trench – Celebrity Status
- Mariana’s Trench – Sing Sing
- Rob Zombie – Dragula
- Sonata Arctica – Kingdom for a Heart
- Sonata Arctica – San Sebastian
- Sonata Arctica – Still Loving You
- Rev Theory – Hell Yeah
- Theory of A Deadman – Bad Girlfriend
- Saving Abel – Addicted
- Saving Abel – New Tattoo
- Jakalope – Witness
- Emily Osment and Josh Ramsay – Hush
- Hot Rod Herman – Dragula Remix
- Rammestein – Feuer Frei
- Enomine – Mitternacht
- My Chemical Romance – Black Parade
- My Chemical Romance – The Sharpest Lives
- Voltaire – Zombie Prostitute
- Voltaire – Vampire Club
- Voltaire – Brains
- Christina Aguilera – Express
- Christina Aguilera – Show Me How You Burlesque
- Christina Aguilera - Not Myself Tonight
- Christina Aguilera – Vanity
- Pink – You and Your Hand
- Pink – So What
- Danny Fernandes and Josh Ramsay -Hit Me Up
- Shinedown – Sound of Madness
- Shinedown – Devour
- Shinedown – Sin With a Grin
- Shinedown – Cry for Help
- Hammerfall – Hearts on Fire
- Hammerfall – Blood Bound
- Hammerfall – Natural High
- Dropkick Murphys – The Gauntlet
- Within Temptation – What Have You Done?
- Within Temptation – The Howling
- Within Temptation – Angels
- Nightwish – Amaranth
- Nightwish – Bye Bye Beautiful
- Cee Lo Green – Fuck You
- My Darkest Days – Porn Star Dancing
- Adam Lambert- For Your Entertainment
- Repo! The Genetic Opera - Zydrate Anatomy
- Paramore – Thats What You Get
- Paramore - Let the Flames Begin
- Paramore – Fences
- Versa Emerge – Fixed at Zero
- Papa Roach – I Almost Told You that I Loved You
- Papa Roach – Hollywood Whore
- Oingo Boingo – Dead Man’s Party
- Oingo Boingo – No One Lives Forever
- Symphony X – Accolade II
- Symphony X – Out of the Ashes
- Game of Thrones – Intro Theme Song
- Ascetic Junkies – Dracula
- Concrete Blonde – Bloodletting
- DJ Bobo – Vampires are Alive
- DJ Bobo – Pirates of Dance
- Army of Lovers – Crucifed
- Dragon Force – Through the Fire and Flames
- Dream Evil – Fight You to the End
- Grace Potter and the Nocturnals – Paris (Ooh La La)
- I am Ghost - Lovers Requiem
- I am Ghost – Killer Likes Candy
- Jonathan Coulton – I Feel Fantastic
- Jonathan Coulton – Skullcrusher Mountain
- Maroon 5 – Moves like Jagger
- The Trews – Not Ready to Go
- Princess and the Frog – Friends on the Other Side
- Selena Gomez – Naturally
- Tom Jones – Sex Bomb
- Tom Jones – You Can Leave Your Hat On
- Warren Zevon – Werewolves of London
- Young Artists for Haiti – Wavin’ Flag
- Drowning Pool – Bodies
- Rancid - Red Hot Moon
- Finger Eleven – Paralyzer
- Nine Inch Nails – Hand that Feeds
- Blackmore’s Night – Storm
- Blackmore’s Night – Rainbow Blues
- Bowling for Soup – The Bitch Song
- Christina Perri – Bang Bang Bang
- David Guetta - Love is Gone
- Flogging Molly – Black Friday Rule
- Freedom Call – Carry On
- Gackt – Vanilla
- Great Big Sea – Company of Fools
- Great Big Sea – Consequence Free
- Great Big Sea – Ordinary Day
Today I am getting involved with a movement asking “How would you change the fitness industry?”
This topic is near and dear to my heart, not only for what fitness has done for me and my life, but for what I have been able to share with others to encourage them towards their happiest, healthiest selves. Fitness is what I eat, sleep and breathe, this is what keeps me going, what makes me happy, healthy and strong. It is my passion, and I strive every day to live and act as a positive example and role model of what I believe.
Therefore, my answer to this question comes without a second thought: less artificiality.
Fake boobs, fake nails, fake tans, and fake bodies from steroids are NOT what health and fitness is about, yet it is impossible to open a fitness magazine or website without seeing at least one, if not all of the above, on the front pages. In my heartfelt opinion, these are not things that we should be promoting as ideals – instead, we need to be stressing the natural: natural health, natural results, and natural beauty.
This is an issue I struggle with every day, and it bothers me constantly, especially as a fitness professional who refuses to go under the knife or get fake for success. To me, fitness and the fitness industry should be about promoting health, confidence, and loving yourself for who you are – and who you can become through hard work and consistency. These values are what drew me in and changed my life, and they should be the paramount priority.
If your body came from a scalpel, or a pill or an injection… it doesn’t mean as much to me. The real heroes of fitness are those who gained their bodies from eating right, and working out consistently with intensity. These are the values I want to glorify – these are the values that I continue to encourage, and embody. Should we truly be promoting the idea that the only way to a perfect body is through drugs and surgery? I hate the notion.
So, my proposal for creating a better fit is to see more natural models being displayed to demonstrate the benefits of hard work and dedication. I would like to see a stronger condemnation for the use of illicit substances, and a discouragement of plastic surgery for the sake of aesthetics.
Let’s be happy with who we are, and what we can achieve through our own means!!Details
Despite our best efforts, even the fittest people can fall sick. What inevitably follows is the struggle whether or not to work out based on our condition – can we push through? Should we take a rest day? Will we make ourselves feel worse?
The best way to determine whether or not you should be hitting the gym while ill is to follow the neck up rule, which stipulates that if your symptoms are mostly felt from your neck up (sore throats and coughs, runny noses and congestion, headaches and so on), then you’re good to push through a moderate workout – modify where you need to, but don’t be afraid of getting your sweat on.
If, on the other hand, your symptoms fall below the neck (chest congestion, nausea, stomach flu, etc), then you’re better off taking an extra rest day to recover rather than make yourself any worse. The one exception to this rule that need be noted is a fever: if you have a significant fever, skip the workout to prevent overheating your body.
Follow this simple rule, and you’ll be back on the path to consistency in less time than you’d expect!
This article was written for Muscle and Strength
The advent of Thanksgiving commences the holiday season; a time for togetherness, giving, and of course, lots of delicious dinners and desserts. What is a health oriented individual to do when it seems everyone else is indulging?
The holiday season is a difficult time to stick to health goals as we all know — certainly contributing to the upcoming New Years’ Resolutions surrounding wellness. But this does not mean we should throw our carefully crafted discipline to the wind! So in light of the approaching holiday challenges, I present to you my survival tips for making it through the holidays with a clear conscience, no guilt or regrets, and less worries for your waistline.
Don’t go hungry. Temptation is much easier to resist if your stomach is not growling at you. Save overindulging later by eating breakfast and lunch on holiday dinner days. This way, you will not feel ravenous while selecting what you put on your plate.
Watch portion sizes. Follow the Plate Proportion Rule:Protein and carbs should make up 1/4 of your plate, whereas veggies should take up half. By setting a visual guideline for yourself, you will prevent overindulging on filler such as mashed potatoes and gravy, and ensure you get a serving of vegetables that you may have otherwise passed on. Fill your plate reasonably, and avoid seconds. The second helping will not taste better than the first!
Be condiment conscious. Have your vegetables without the cheese sauce and your meat without the skin or fat. The slimmer alternatives are just as delicious, and you will save an enormous amount of calories. Do not add extra salt, and you will avoid bloat. NO Gravy! Gravy is as empty in nutritional value as a soda, and just as potent in calorie content. Avoid!
Eat slowly. Allow your mind the time it requires to communicate appetite satiety to the rest of your body. Holidays are often culprits of overeating, given the tendency to enjoy as much as we can, as quickly as we can. Everyone has had the experience afterwards of “I ate too much!” Avoid this by savoring your food, and reap the rewards.
Do not consume empty calories. Liquids, such as wine, beer, juice and soda, contain no nutritional value. Each is filled with sugar and calories that we often not even considered when we eat. Save these calories for the food; stick with water. Not only will you be able to enjoy more, but water consumption will help you feel more full.
Stick to your guns. Aunt Mabel shouldn’t guilt you into having her famous cheesy potatoes if they are not part of what you have allotted for your planned plate. Remember that these are your goals, and what someone else does, or says, does not affect you. Only you have the power to improve yourself. Do not give that up!
Have some. Just be wise. Remember that indulging every now and then is perfectly acceptable! In fact, it has been shown that those who ‘cheat’ occasionally, are more likely to stick to their diets in the long run. This is a result of satisfaction; it is easy to resent your healthy choices if you receive no enjoyment.
Like a child who knows good behavior will earn him periodic privileges, we can accept our parameters, if the payoff is worth it. In the end, if you choose this option, just be wise about your choices. The piece of pie may not turf your results, but a whole pie and whipped cream might. Be reasonable.
To conclude, I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season, and I look forward to any comments or tips you might have about how you make it through the holidays in a healthy way!Details
This article was written for ActivewearUSA.
Motivation is the key to your success: it can make or break your diet and workout plan, encourage consistency, and help push you through to the next level. Motivation is what gets you out of bed an hour early to get in a workout before the work day, and it’s what keeps you from indulging in that disastrously tempting bowl of ice cream in the evening. Everyone knows just how important motivation is, yet some people find motivation extremely difficult to come by. Stress, time crunches and the road blocks that life throws at us are often the cause of these dips in our motivation levels, and once one falls off the motivation wagon, it can be very difficult to board again.
Similarly, we all have that one person in our lives who just isn’t motivated. They may complain about the way they feel about their bodies, yet they never seem to follow through on the initiative to start exercising or adopt a healthy diet. It can be very tough when these people are a member of our immediate family, best friend, or significant other: all you want to do is help them succeed, and realize their greatest potential, right? It is because of this, that whenever I am interviewed, I am always asked “How can I motivate my girlfriend to work out?”, “how can I convince my friend who constantly complains about their weight to eat healthy?” or “how can I get my family member to join me in the gym?” It is a concern to health-minded individuals to share their happiness with others!
However, as Steven R. Covey once said, ““Motivation is a fire from within. If someone else tries to light that fire under you, chances are it will burn very briefly.” No truer words have been spoken on the subject – when you want to achieve something, it is not the photo on the wall that pushes you, it is that inner voice that tells you “Yes, I want this, and I want it badly.” Encouragement is intensely valuable, but if the fire’s not burning, you can’t blow on the coals!
So how then can you motivate the people in your life? Is it possible to help make a difference?
The answer is yes! And I have the secret: Set an example.
If you’re looking to encourage and motivate someone else, chances are that your own personal motivation is on track. And that is fantastic! Keep at it! By continuing on the path of health and fitness, not only will you reap the results and become happier and healthier, the people in your life are going to be aware of your successes. This is motivating! I am not suggesting that you should brag about your progress, or talk of nothing else, but if you are constantly making healthy positive choices, it will have an influence on those around you – and a bigger one than trying to convince them to do something they just don’t want to.
Setting a positive example for the people in your life is the foundation of motivating others, but it is not all you can do. Sometimes, subtle actions are paramount. Become an encouraging workout buddy! People are often more receptive to the idea of working out if they don’t have to go it alone, and if they know they’re going with someone who can make it fun! Become a great hostess! Throw parties, and serve your most delicious clean eating recipes – you’ll have people asking for them before the night is over. Be the outing planner! If you are stuck in a rut going out to eat at unhealthy restaurants with your friends, plan a picnic instead, or a day at the beach or even a fun drop in swing dancing class! Bearing these ideas in mind, not only will you help motivate those around you, you will find yourself even more fired up!Details