The Power of Words 

The other day I watched a really cool documentary called FedUp. It was about healthy lifestyles and diet and how The US has created a diet so over processed and drenched in sugar this it’s slowly killing us. Although it was similar to every other nutrition/testimonial/ “I transformed my life and now I want to share my discoveries” documentary, it veered off to discuss the word and the psychology of the term “diet”.

Diets are advertised all the time. Celebrity diets, South Beach, cleanses, fixes, etc. The ads all have thin, attractive, and happy people who seem to have improved all quality of life by dropping those few extra pounds. A week or two of strict rules for a lifetime of a beautiful seems worth it, right?

Well, let’s look at it a little deeper. How many times have you or someone you know tried a diet, had success for the duration, and then when the desired weight was dropped, discontinued the plan?  Why stay on it any longer if you’ve reached your goal? This way of thinking leads to “yo-yo” or “crash” dieting. You look great, you’ve worked hard, and then all of a sudden your pants don’t fit and you start all over. The reality is that diets shouldn’t be viewed as a “fix” they should be viewed as a “life style change”

Diet

(noun): 1.a special course of food to which one restricts oneself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons.

(verb): restrict oneself to small amounts or special kinds of food in order to lose weight.

Synonyms of diet include: limitation, restriction, and fasting. Does that sound like an exciting time? No. Well, not to me at least!

The nutritionists featured in the documentary felt the same way. By limiting and restricting, the diet process already seems negative and difficult. We need to replace them with positive phrases to change the way we think and feel towards the experience. The point they were trying to make was: Let’s stop calling it a diet and start calling it “a life style change”. I’ve always had a problem with the word diet. As soon as I told myself I was going on a diet, I’d immediately be hungry and want to eat everything in the fridge. Change is new and exciting, lifestyle sets the tone for a long and gradual process instead of a quick burst. Better yet, it makes it a priority. When someone says they have a “health” or “active” lifestyle, people may think “wow you must work out a lot” or “you probably set aside time to do that because you make it a priority”. This leads me to my next point- diet and priority.

Shortly after seeing FedUp, someone on my Instagram shared this quote which fits in quite nicely with everything else I’ve been saying in this post. Diets are what happens when we don’t want to make clean eating a priority. If you say “I don’t have time to cook” or “I don’t have time to workout” do you really not have time? If you change it to “It’s not a priority for me to cook or workout” and you don’t feel wrong, then time really is a factor. But, if you do this and you feel a little guilty, then maybe you should reconsider and try to make a change. This works for all kinds of things! I’m really bad at doing the dishes. I’m that horrible roommate who leaves them out… for a few days (oh my gosh I know. Its so bad!). So, when I’m bumming on the couch and think “ugh I’ll do them later, I don’t have time” I started to change my phrasing and now my sink is clean!

The last thing I want to add on to dieting is that every pound counts as a victory. I feel like America sheds more light on “big success” stories- we even have TV shows based on it (Biggest Loser anyone?). Now, before I start- I am NOT putting down those amazing stories where someone went from 400 to 130lbs. Those are beautiful and wonderful stories of triumph and personal growth and self discovery. What I mean is that stories of someone’s struggle to lose 5lbs may be over shadowed and maybe not celebrated as much as it should be. For instance, I was never an obese person. When I lost my weight, it was really only 10, maybe 15lbs and I was able to cut my dress size in half. But I worked just as hard for it and I couldn’t be more proud! Anyone whose working hard and losing any amount of weight is amazing! Be proud of that 3 pounds you lost and don’t ever feel like it’s not as good as that guy who lost 300. We are all working on ourselves and we should support each other in our individuals weight goal journeys. »♥«

The Biggest Loser Winner who lost “too much weight”.

Life Goals: The Pull Up

Hey everyone!

Have any of you ever seen Terminator 2, where Sarah Connor is doing her beast workouts and all her awesome pull ups?

Bangin’ them out like a champ!

Well, that movie has motivated me for at least the past 4 years to be able to do a pull up. Just one is all I need! It’s always been my “if I can do a pull up I’ll finally feel like I’m really fit” goal. Not that I don’t think I’m a pretty fit person, this is just something I feel like will push me to my next level f awesomeness.

When I first started working with my trainer some-odd-years ago, I told him dream and we got to work. We worked on the assisted pull up machine and we also did what I call “laying down pull ups” (maybe you know them as laying rows?)- where we would set the smith machine bar to about thigh height and I would lay underneath and try to pull myself towards the bar maintaining a plank position. They were super hard!

With the tools and the help of my trainer I tried super hard, and when my noodle arms didn’t start changing, I got mad and fell off the fitness wagon (we’ve all been there).

Now, back in action, I’m researching and cross training and I want this so badly! To be able to do a pull up for the spartan race would be fantastic, but even before new years is a grand feat!

Here’s what I’ve found so far:

  • Melody Schoenfeld shares her 10 moves to help prep for the pull up in her Proof is In the Pull Up article. What I really like is that a. she is a woman, so it’s more relatable and b. she shows these really hard core exercises that help mimic how to set up your abs for the actual pull up. I like how she talks about initiating the lats and I learned that using the assisted pull up machine doesn’t set you up for using the correct muscles, which is something I had started to notice when watching other people on it.
  • Steve, from NerdFitness, has some good tips in his How to Do a Pull Up for people who don’t necessarily have a lot of equipment. He also talks about the different assists either using a rubber band, chair, or person.
  • Jeff Kuhland’s “Coach, I Can’t Do Pull Ups” emphasis on mobility and not “kipping” or swinging and losing form to complete a rep. Kipping happens a lot with people. Going nice and slow makes it harder, but always makes it better.
  • Stew Smith, a former Navy SEAL, gives us the good old military workout for good pull ups in “Tips For A Better Pull Up“. Nothing better than military tips- those guys are like pros.
  • Pull Ups for Total Beginners” is another do-it-at-home kind of deal which I like. I feel like the less props you use to start, the better off you’ll be. I also just want to give props to the guy’s hat. Lookin’ good in a bucket hat.
  • Allyson Globe’s lengthy and in depth article on “How Women CAN Do Pull Ups”  was a good read for motivation. I like that she gives a quick explanation of the difference between a pull up and a chin up and what muscles are used in each. I really appreciate how detail oriented she is and how she describes the fundamentals of shoulder position and hand grips. People tend to see the big picture and the big muscles more so than the details that build your pull up from the ground up.

In my own pull up journey there is one thing I didn’t see  mentioned very much that I’ll add. Jeff covered it very briefly, but I’d like to go into it a little more- mobility. I have a stiff neck and I am sensitive and aware of it when I do upper body work. I try not to progress too quickly with weights so that I don’t compensate by hunching my shoulder or straining. I need to work on opening that up. Even in yoga I have a hard time keeping my palms together and extending my arms fully above my head. So, those of you who carry stress and tension in your neck should be mindful of this as well.

Female power! Look at those muscles!

The exercises I learned and will begin to incorporate are:

  1. Hanging and one armed hangs for time
  2. Bat wings
  3. Negative pull ups
  4. Laying rows
  5. Hanging shoulder shrugs/ lat initiating

I think that doing my push-ups, tricep push-ups, and shoulder push-ups, as well as the other arm/back exercises I do will also help.

I’ve started and feel that I’ve already mad a tiny yet notable bit of progress! I have 4 months until New Years, plenty of time!!! »♥«

Changing Up the Routine

Life happens,

You work late, kids have summer camp, weekend get away with your family, it’s too hot, etc. Instead of putting your routine on the back burner, try to change it up to fit your lifestyle and your needs!

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For me, it’s always about my jobs. I have a pretty constant schedule at HammerFit, but it seems like I’m always rotating through that second job. Since my half marathon, my week kind of looked like this:

  • Monday/Friday– Abs, Arms, and run
  • Tuesday/Thursday– Legs and elliptical
  • Wednesday– arms/back and cardio (either running or hiking)
  • Saturday I have my yoga teacher training so sometimes its my rest day and sometimes its my yoga day.
  • Sunday– Long run and stretching/ light yoga

My goal here was just to start getting stronger. I like doing 2-3 sets of 12-16 reps. I honestly get bored with anything over 4 reps of 16 unless its a certain ab workout. I like changing up my moves often.

Now, here I am, August is here and I have about 7 weeks until my spartan race training and I’m in a rut! I can’t really get into my workouts like I used to and i’m not as motivated. So it’s time to change it up! Here are the things I thought about and how I processed it through my brain. Hopefully it helps anyone out there who needs a new regimen.

Exercise standstill questions

  1. What are you working towards? Running, Spartan race, general fitness, a certain goal?
  2. Has this changed from previous goals?
  3. Has your work schedule changed? Did you get a new job?
  4. Are you trying new exercises regularly and rotating them around?
  5. What haven’t you implemented?
  6. Does your body feel better, worse, bigger, smaller?

Personally, I’ve switched my goals from running to cross training. I’d like to keep the running in because I’m going to start half marathon training again in the near future, so I don’t want to cut running out. I’m also a huge cardio junky. It makes me feel better about everything and de-stresses me just as much as yoga. I always change up what I do for my exercises. Yes, I have some staple things I keep, but other than that I’m always trying new things I’ve found online. My goals right now are the Spartan race and cutting down my mile time, as well as working on strength and balance for yoga poses. I’ve implemented a lot of weight and balancing exercises to help out and it’s made a huge difference! I’m also still working on my one pull up goal. I’ve researched different ways to work with it (post pending!) and try to do them often.

This is what I came up with for my new exercise routine!

  • Monday/Wednesday/Friday– Total body and light cardio. So maybe 30 minutes of elliptical on a light to moderate setting or light weights if I go hiking on Wednesday.
  • Tuesday/Thursday/Sunday– running and yoga which I space out with at least 6 hours. Running comes earlier in the day and yoga comes later.
  • Saturday is still teacher training.

Hopefully this inspires me to work harder and changes up my body so I get the desired results for my new goals. »♥«

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