lift heavy

The Right Kind of Goals-Setting Yourself Up for SUCCESS

goalSHORT TERM GOALS VS LONG TERM-WHICH IS BETTER?

When it comes to goal setting, a lot of people want to think “I want to be a size 0 and I want it now”. What if I told you life doesn’t work like that? Just like if you set your eyes on your dream career, you don’t get to just make the decision and then make it happen over night. For most, it takes months, even years to get the proper education, degrees, certifications, and training to reach those goals. Well, just like the career change example, you can’t just make health and fitness goals that are so big and have them happen within 24 hours. But so many people think it should work that way, so when they starve themselves or they work out hard for only 1 day, they give up already. But the journey has only started, so why give up before you even tried?!

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SHORT TERM GOALS=SEEING SUCCESS AND RESULTS QUICKER

Create goals that are stepping stones for your long-term goals. Think about your goals of getting a degree, or moving up in your career to being the boss-it doesn’t just happen overnight after you decide that’s what you want for yourself. Health doesn’t happen overnight, either. It’s broken into pieces and smaller steps you have to take little by little to help you get to that ultimate goal, and you may even change your goals as you move forward. For a degree, you break off little pieces of information you are required to know to obtain the degree in smaller forms in each class you take. With that dream job, you have to work hard everyday and slowly prove yourself to everyone in the position you start at and move up slowly. That’s how this works, as well. Don’t get overwhelmed with wanting to drop 20 pounds in a week. You are setting yourself up for disappointment before you even start. But if you tell yourself your goal is to eat a healthy breakfast every morning this month and work out for at least 30 minutes most days of the week, you will feel better about yourself. Or make a goal of wanting to get into your old jeans in a couple of months. Small goals lead you to the bigger ones. They are easier to obtain and keep you motivated when you reach them to keep going towards the bigger goals. Stay focused and keep pushing.

PROCESS GOALS VERSUS PRODUCT GOALS

There are two different types of goals-product and process. Mainly everyone sticks to product goals, like losing 10 pounds, getting to a goal weight, fitting a certain size. That’s great and all, but sometimes when you focus too much on your size, the physical deal of getting healthy and fit, you forget the whole reason you really should be doing this. The scale shouldn’t never be your only motivation. Don’t start down the path of being so focused on numbers. What are you going to do when you get to that goal weight? Just be satisfied and happy the rest of your life? Think you can just be that goal weight the rest of your life? Doubt it. Don’t get hung up on that stupid piece of metal. It doesn’t determine your wealth. And for the record, if you do this right and actually build some muscle, the scale may go up rather than down as your waist shrinks.

Process goals. My favorite. When I get a new client, I always ask them what their goals for themselves are first. And I always hear the product goals. They ever even think about process goals. That’s when I speak up and ask them about things they always wanted to do-hike up a mountain, go rock climbing, PR on squats, do a strict pull up, knock out 8 million push ups without stopping. Those are the goals that make people love this lifestyle. These types of goals are what get us going in the mornings, they keep us pushing and excited to keep this habit going. I haven’t stepped on a scale since my last doctor visit and don’t plan to until my next one. Ask me my weight I have no idea. But I can tell you my PR on deadlifts. Ask me how far I have come in my heavy squats. Ask me how many push ups I can knock out in 60 seconds. These are the goals you can see yourself get to and quickly. And you can always find something new to try and reach without it being unobtainable. My current goal at the moment? A full muscle up. The damn things suck, but I have learned the things I hate the most and suck at are the things I need to work on the most. Think about what you want to accomplish. Maybe it’s a half marathon. Or getting a handstand. Maybe master the splits. Learn to dominate the weight room and not feel intimidated. Swim a certain length without stopping. It could be to be able to bike a certain distance. Or learn to dance without feeling a fool. These goals are what make we (the fitness enthusiasts) never get tired of this life. It pumps our blood. It gets us going. This is our secret, if you want to say we have one.

 

Now, what do you want to accomplish?

 

 

Benefits of Writing IT DOWN

We all get busy, we all think ‘well that isn’t so bad’ or ‘I worked out a few days ago…I think’. We all get wrapped up in school, work, family, friends, pets, chores, errands, and just keeping our heads above water (trust me I know-I work two jobs as well as a full time students and I get up and have to be somewhere by 8am every single day of the week-I GET IT). But while you are guessing about your food intake, you thoughts on how much you are eating, how much you are actually active and pushing your goals onto ‘next week’, today is still here and you can fix it all TODAY. RIGHT NOW.

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It has been proven in countless studies that people who physically WRITE down their goals before they start trying to obtain them are more likely to stick with it and actually achieve them. 

Here’s some more statistics for you. This is the more troubling one:

 

50% (yes-HALF) of the people who start a new diet/workout routine or program will END UP QUITTING. 

This should be startling to you, as it is to me. Why? Why do we constantly put our health on the back burner? Years from now, you will have so many aches and pains, along with some diseases or disorders probably and wish you had taken your health seriously NOW before it was too late.

CHANGE YOUR APPROACH

Can we stop only dieting/exercising to lose weight?! This is aggravating as a fitness professional, it’s all I see. If you start think about simply getting healthy, becoming active to prevent diseases, to keep your body working properly, and to eat right to fuel it. It’s like you have a Lambo and you decide to never wash it, never have maintenance done and you decide to use orange juice instead of gas. Really guys? I love cheese fries as much as the next girl but I know my body can’t USE that junk for much of anything besides storing it as fat and hating me for putting that fried stuff in it. Now, don’t get me wrong, I do eat a balanced diet, so I eat loads of fruits, veggies, protein packed lean foods but I also eat when I get a craving. My goal isn’t surrounding whether the scale says SKINNY or it says FAT ASS. Because guess what? That scale DOESN’T know me. For most of my life, for my height, according to those ridiculous charts doctors go off of based on height and weight to determine your BMI and whether you are overweight or not, I have ALWAYS fell under the overweight column. Even though I have been an athlete, with muscular legs and been in small clothing sizes. So I don’t believe the scales. You should ditch yours, too.

 

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That’s what weight is-mass times acceleration of gravity. Yet so many people spend their lives worrying about this stupid calculation. Chill out. Eat. Workout. Be happy.

 

Keep a journal-for work outs and for food

When you write down things and see it on paper, in one place, you can really start to realize what it is you need to work on, what you are doing that might be really working for you or damaging your goals. 

For food, I always come back to MyFitness Pal. Why? Because this world is glued to a freakin piece of technology constantly in their hand at all times, so by having an app you can take anywhere, you can even pull up foods if you are out to eat and about to order, to see what fits your macros/calories or any of that stuff if you count them. You can scan barcodes on most foods and it’ll pop up automatically, showing the content and serving size immediately. For average people, they do not realize a few things when it comes to eating

1.) Calorie/fat amount. This is a big one. If you asked someone the amount of calories in something they were eating, they would usually guess a number incredibly lower than what it really has in it. Educate yourself! If you thought there was only 300 calories in a slice of pie but it really has 800- you are seriously underestimating you daily amounts. So be sure you are aware of these things.

2.) Serving Sizes.  This is another biggie that I see even with educated individuals. Marketing people for foods and brands are smart. They know how to get you to buy their product and eat it. If they say that 1 serving of something is only 100 calories, you are sold and go digging in, head in the bottom of the bag like a vulture. Please read further on your nutrition label. The serving size is probably tiny, like 10 crackers, 2 cookies, etc. You have to watch this. If there were only 100 calories in a serving, but you just mindlessly ate 12 servings, well…….

 

As for your exercising and working out, you can easily do this by setting a goal-let’s say you want to work out at least 3-5 days out of a week. So write that goal and put it on the fridge. Now invest in a calendar, one you can hang somewhere you can see it daily, like the fridge, the wall, your bathroom, the front door, where ever. Get one that you can go back and see your progress later, so not just a washable weekly/monthly board one. Now pick two color markers. On each day, you will mark with a check mark in one color or a big X in the other color. The check mark will mean you worked out, the X will represent that you did not. 

 

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(You can also Google ‘Workout Calendar’ and find some awesome templates to print out and use if you want!)

 

Of course you can do your calendar digitally, but there’s something about marking it yourself-with your own hands, and having a physical connection with this log. It’s just like writing your goal, you can type it out but it won’t be the same as if you wrote it in your own handwriting with pen and paper. There’s a psychological connection when you actually write with your own hands that you don’t get from technology. You can also see your progress and how you have been adhering to your goal all at once, rather than clicking on the days one at a time on your computer. But, to each their own. Do whatever works best for YOU!

 

Happy Working out guys!

 

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My Fitness Pal-Why You Should be Using it

My Fitness Pal has been around for a while now. It’s an easy app you can download on any smart phone (Windows/Apple/Android) and you can keep up with your food and drink intake at the touch of a button. You can manually enter the food or you can now even scan barcodes and the app will load the information for you. Most foods are already plugged in and all you have to do is search for it, find it, and enter how much of it you had. Super simple.

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Why use it

Studies have shown for many years that having and keeping a record of you food intakes (a food diary/journal/daily log) does significantly help with changing eating habits, whether it’s losing weight, gaining, becoming healthier and so on. My Fitness Pal is extremely easy and since it is in app form (with a login) you can access it from all your mobile devices and even from your computer. You really have no excuse to not be able to record everything you eat, as you eat it.

I know it can become tedious having to enter in everything you put your mouth, but it helps you realize what you really are eating every day. A lot of people when asked how many calories/fat/protein/etc was in something they just ate, they weren’t even close to the real numbers. You should know what you are eating. You should know the reality that most people do not actually eat the serving size recommended and listed on the nutrition facts for most foods. You are probably eating twice that amount unless you actually go around measuring your food. Measure your food and plug into the app BEFORE you eat it, so you can really see what is going into your body. If it is 3000 calories and has 500 g of fat, I don’t care who you are, you’ll probably think ‘well, I probably shouldn’t actually eat this’. This is good way to handle binges/mindless snacking and so on. If you see the damage before you ever even do it, you’ll think twice about it.

You also are probably guessing your calorie amount and how much you really eat on a daily basis and are probably off by a lot. Most people who are overweight do not realize how much they are actually eating. It’s like a denial type of thing your mind does. By recording your daily intake, you can hold yourself accountable and also notice where you need to make your changes.

You don’t have to be on the macros counting diet, IIFYM, nor do you have to be counting calories for a food diary to help you reach your goals. I would suggest you try the macros counting if you do want results and without depriving yourself, but to each their own. A food diary will make you aware of your daily habits and since you can even add friends and they can see your daily log, too, it holds you accountable. You can even share when you reach goals on social media sites if you so choose. These sorts of things tend to help motivate more than just trying to diet and keeping it all to yourself. It’s a proven fact that social support is in fact a big factor when it comes to being successful and sticking to a workout routine or diet.

With My Fitness Pal, it’s pretty simple and user friendly. Simply plug in your foods, you can even try and plan ahead by entering foods you think you may eat and seeing how your macros or calories come out if you are a counter. You can view your nutritional values for each food as well totals for your whole day. You can view it in list view and also as a pie chart. If you are a macro counter, you can set your goals for macros (carbs, fats, protein) and look at your pie chart to see where you are for the day.

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I honestly don’t know what I would do without My Fitness Pal. Now I am not saying be strict everyday and I am certainly not saying you don’t get to have treats every now and then without recording them. I do. So you can too. But once you get in the habit of plugging in your food and what a good day looks like and have done it for a while, you get the general idea of how you should eat and what to eat without having to be so strict with plugging it in. And that cheat meal? Don’t even worry about plugging it in. If you do, you’ll feel really guilty probably, and nobody’s got time for that.

 

Let me know if you try My Fitness Pal! Add me if you want to!

ashhealthgirl

 

Happy eating!

Working Out-On a Budget

Think you need a gym membership to get fit? Think you need a personal trainer for $90/hour? Think you have to spend thousands to get a decent set up for a home gym?

Think again.

You can work out at home- with little to no equipment. Body weight exercises, yoga, all types of things! I will break down proper form on these in later posts, if you don’t know what any of these are (or you can ask me!).

  • Squats/squat jumps
  • Lunges (walking, forward, back, side, pulses)
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Push ups (push up rows, incline, decline, on your knees, wide, narrow, regular)
  • Mountain climbers (slow or fast)
  • Burpees (beginner style or advanced)
  • Squat then raise one knee to elbow, squat, repeat with other side
  • Tuck jumps (stand still, jump and bring your knees forward and up towards your chest)
  • High knees in place
  • Booty kicks in place (lift feet back towards your booty)
  • Plank tucks (in plank position, jump knees to chest together, jump legs back into plan)
  • Plank holds
  • Plank arm switches (go from on hands down to elbow one arm first, then the other, then one at a time get back on your hands while engaging your abs and squeezing your booty)
  • Tuck Straddles (sitting on your booty with knees to chest, lean back some, lifting your feet off the ground with knees still bent, lift hands off the grounds and go from tuck position into a straddle-straight legs out-and return back to tuck position still not touching the ground nor your legs with your hands)
  • Superman lifts
  • Handstands and Handstand Push Ups against the wall (please work up to this, I will post working up to handstands and inversions soon)
  • V ups (laying flat on your back, with arms straight by your head, engaging your core lift both shoulders and legs off the ground, reaching hands towards your toes then come back flat down and repeat)
  • Penguins (laying on your back, feet on the ground, legs bent, knees in the air, you will go side to side touching the side of your hand to the side of your ankle on that side, repeat as quickly as you can, with shoulders lifted off of the ground)

 

 

 

 

Equipment on a Budget

There are so many ways to get some equipment when you want to be more hard core than just body weight moves.

When I graduated with my business degree, I was given $500 as gifts from family. I took that and went sale/yard sale/craigslist shopping on the hunt for some great deals on workout equipment. Even if you just get dumbbells in different weights, you can do a lot.

 

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I started with just the dumbbell set where you can add or take off the weights as you desire or need. But then I went and got the 10 lb, then 20 lb and then a 30 lb (yes, I can actually curl that 30 lb one because ARMS OF STEEL). You can find dumbbells at Walmart or Target as well as people who bought them and let them collect dust for months for pretty cheap.

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Having a stability ball is great for abs, arms, and all kinds of things. I love this stupid thing. Next I wish to get a bosu ball, which is just half of a ball and is really great for getting all areas of your abs with different moves.

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This bench set came with the weights, the barbell and the bench. I found it on sale for $150.00 at Walmart. No joke. It was the last one. I see them online, especially Craigslist often too. Check everywhere. Price check on Amazon as well, especially if you have a Prime membership. I recently bought another barbell and 100 lbs of extra weights to be able to add more weight to my squats.

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I got this for FREE. A family member had it and used it for like a month. He heard I am a fitness junkie and that I jokingly wanted a punching bag to tape my old manager’s face (from my desk job) to it and go at it. He took me up on that joke and I found this at my house in the bed of a truck the next week. Ask around. People buy or receive workout stuff over time and if they aren’t using it, you can!

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Craigslist. $125. No lie. Keep your eye out. Set an alert from the app available on the smart phones for certain items when they are posted. This is how I found this baby. It had been bought by a husband to his wife after she had baby number one. She hardly used it, and just had baby number two and just wanted to sell her fitness stuff for extra money for the family. It was a win/win situation. I got a great working treadmill for my HIIT sprints and she gained extra money for feeding her two children.

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I know as odd as it seems, ankle weights are a cheap must have. As a former gymnast and gymnastics coach, you can do so much with these babies. Walk with them on the ankles, put them on your wrists while you walk to gain some muscle work as your do cardio. Put them on the ankles as you do your jumping jacks. Do leg raises with them on. Put them on your calf and do straddle seated leg raises with toes pointed. Hurts sooooo good for the thighs.

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Another cheap but great item. Jump rope is great cardio. Change your cardio up to keep your body guessing and your metabolism through the roof. Do 30 sec of jump rope as fast as you can (feet together) and then a 30 sec rest 20 times. Good burn!

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Not only is the pull up bar ($20 at Walmart/Target/pharmacies) great, but you can even add the bands either for assistance with pull ups (if you are new, you probably need the bands to put your foot in to help until you are stronger) or as I show on the right, you can do pull downs for arms with the bands. See? No need for a gym membership here.

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Another way to use your bar and $5 pack of bands, leg day! Put your bar on the ground in the doorway for support, place a foot in the band loop, kick that leg straight back as far as you can while keeping your upper body remains straight with your chest up. Repeat on the other leg! You can also stand facing the other way and kick forward, or try to kick side to side.

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You will not miss doing the equivalent of this move in the gym, the hip abductor machine. (lol) This helps with saddle bags and the sides of your booty. Tie a band into a loop, put legs in, raise one leg as high as you can. Then the other leg. You will feel the burn. If not, tie the band tighter and/or add the ankle weights for extra work!

Another good idea is trying out YouTube videos! Look up fitness or home workouts and you can find videos similar to programs like Insanity or P90X.

See? Working out doesn’t have to break the bank. If you do things right, you can create a home gym on a budget, for less than it would usually cost for a gym membership for 6 months. You save gas. You save time. And you can workout in your underwear (or naked) with your own music blasting (unless it’s 3 am and your neighbors aren’t cool with that). It’s much more fun.

Happy exercising!

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