Viewing posts from: August 2015

5 Confessions of a Personal Trainer, Part 1

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

Fitness goals Habits Mindset Nutrition Uncategorized

During a recent training session with a client, the topic came up of confessing to behaviors many would assume we wouldn't have. From slightly embarrassing funny quirks to things that go along with the old "do as I say, not as I do" motto. We all have them, it's just human! For fun I thought I'd start with 5 confessions from a personal trainer & health coach:confession1. I hate ab work & skip it frequently: While I don't believe doing 500 crunches a day is worth the effort, I do think it's very important to develop strong core muscles. It reduces injury, allows for proper postural alignment, makes your stronger for heavier lifting & can give you a more aesthetically pleasing physique. Yet 9/10 I skip out on the burning ab work because I simply don't enjoy it. I would rather spend my hour on my legs or back & avoid holding a plank for minutes on end. Warning, now I am paying for it with some issues related to that weak core. Guess it's time to suck it up buttercup! Boo core work!!!41f461afad4b531fa4df3bfba731fbe02. I have dessert every night: Studies have proven that the rumored don't eat before bed, no carbs after 6pm & other similar forbidden dietary rules are simply crap. Yep none of that really matters just an FYI. However that doesn't necessarily mean that every single night of the week I need to have dessert right before I head to bed. Yet I do! It started as a test to try & regulate my blood sugar to sleep through the night (story for another post). Now it's just a pleasurable habit that I could probably do without but haven't been able to ditch. I eat a delicious Quest protein bar while laying on the sofa with my husband while we watch a comedy before bed. I look forward to it all day & take it into account calorically by eating small portions at dinner. Totally worth it!image23. I skip cardio in favor of walks: I use to be a cardio addicts, true story! For years I put in hours on the elliptical, log lots of miles & even ran a marathon. Now I have to bribe myself to put in a sweaty 20 minute session on any type of workout equipment. I try to because I would like to keep some aerobic capacity & it can help me keep my maintenance weight in check. Especially during the holiday seasons. However I LOVE walking & lately have just preferred the more gentle cardio to a pounding run or interval session. Sometimes it's good to listen to your body & ease off the peddle for a bit. But sometimes you gotta put your big girl panties on & put in the work. It's an ebb & flow.image14. I LOVE wine: People often ask me if I ever "cheat" on my diet or eat junk food. First of all I'm not really a fan of the "cheat meal" concept but honestly I enjoy what most consider to be healthy foods. Yes a pizza or greasy burger may sound good at times but I also love a really good salad or bun-less burger. I don't feel deprived, know it makes me feel better & choose foods that I'm excited to eat. So no loss on the grease. The one thing I'm not very good at turning down? Wine! There is something so relaxing about a glass of wine paired with a tasty meal. Or sitting on the patio with friends & sharing a bottle. My favorite? An evening spent cooking in the kitchen with my husband while we share a bottle (or two) & talk for hours on end. I've gone through "no drinking" phases but have found it's not worth it to ME to skip out on those moments just to have more defined abs. At least not at this point in my life. Do I drink anytime I feel like it? No! I limit it to weekends & try keep it to a few glasses with water in between.crossfit5. I'm scared to try Crossfit: While I have my professional opinion about crossfit as a sole form of fitness that's not particularly positive, I do appreciate the strength focus & community vibe it provides. I have inquired multiple times to different boxes about dropping in to try a class. How many times have I gone? Zero! I will say part of the reason recently has been injury related & I didn't want to have to overly modify or risk making it worse. But the biggest reason is it intimidates me! I'm very interested in olympic lifting & love the short metcons. Yet I am also use to being relatively quick to pick things up & being good at athletic endeavors. No I'm not great at everything by any stretch but I typically catch on pretty quick. The idea of having to modify workouts, be the weakest in the class, finish last etc has kept me from giving it a try. All the things I tell people to not let hold them back. Again do as I say not as I do...I'll save some more fun confessions for part two to keep this on the shorter side. No worries though, I have plenty more to share! Maybe a short 6th one? I totally should wash my sports bras more often. I only have 3 I like, which if I washed daily between workouts & trainings would mean a lot of laundry. So if I didn't get TOO sweaty I will let dry & re-wear...Anyone else do the same or have fun confessions to share?? 

All or Nothing vs Baby Steps..Which to Choose?

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

Fitness goals Habits Mindset Nutrition Uncategorized

All-or-NothingThe day has come in which you've decided enough is enough, it's time to get healthy. Monday morning starts day one of the new you!You clean out the pantry, throw out the donuts, set your alarm for 5am spin class & you are ready to go! This new diet is going to be awesome & in a month you'll drop all the weight gained over the past few years.You even have your first cheat meal planned out & can't wait to dive into a juicy burger, fries & soda. You can deal with this temporary healthy eating for just a month right?.....funny-fat-pug-dog-chair-pizza-diet-starts-next-week-picsIn full disclosure I have absolutely said all those things, made the proclamations & thrown out all the junk food. I've promised to hit the gym every day until a given date, no excuses allowed! Guess what? It usually lasted until around noon on Monday when my belly started growling & I rationalized eating a greasy sandwich because "I worked out this morning". I can truly say this approach never once worked for me. Even if I did stick to a perfectly crafted plan, the second I was stuck in a social situation or unplanned circumstance, it became all or nothing. I usually went all in with the standard mindset of "well I already blew my diet, so might as well eat all the food".Either I ate the cheese dip appetizer, enchiladas & margarita or I would sip on water & politely pretend to not be hungry. Funny how there isn't an in between allowed. Well after years of feeling like a failure I decided to try something new. What could it hurt?Don't get me wrong, there are a few people that can flip the switch on bad habits & truly overhaul their lifestyle. Yet I'd say 9 out of 10 times that isn't the case & most people succeed by taking baby steps over an extended amount of time. If you have been struggling with healthy eating (whatever that definition may mean to you) or exercise for health these are a few tips to making small changes for long term results.129056345541848020_WHXyHnTv_c1. Mindset: I really believe mindset is the biggest piece to the puzzle. You can buy all the clean food, hire a trainer & check off all the boxes on the way to skinny. However if your goals aren't internally motivated by something more than skinny jeans, it's unlikely you'll sustain the change. Instead take a hard look at:

  • Why it's so important to you to make a lifestyle change: low energy, can't play with kids, getting sick often, feeling uncomfortable in your own skin or preventative health? Find what matters in the big picture of life as opposed to short term aesthetics. Write that down to remind yourself when times get hard & motivation is low.
  • How long did it take you to put on weight or lose fitness capacity: taking a look at how you got here in order to set up realistic expectations for goals along the way. If you don't deep down believe you can achieve a goal that you set too high, you will make a half-hearted attempt before giving it up.
  • What are the barriers to success you've encountered in previous attempts: so you've tried this diet thing before & tripped over the same stumbling blocks. Learn from that!! It's the best thing we can get out of our failures is to learn so we don't repeat. Figure out what keeps getting in the way of your much deserved healthy & happiness in order to work on ways to overcome.
All-or-Nothing-0082. Nutrition: Our food choices are based around a wide array of factors. From how we were raised, what we have access to, who we surround ourselves with, work schedules, personal preferences etc etc. This is why I don't give one size fits all meal plans, everyone is completely different! Instead figure out small weekly changes you can make that are upgrades. Instead of what you need to take out of your diet, look at what you can add. It's a start & much better attitude then taking all your favorites away with nothing to replace them with. Where to start? Here are a few tips I have to making small dietary changes for long term success:
  • Don't label foods as good or bad, or completely off limits for life. As soon as we give food that kind of power it consumes us. Instead decide you are CHOOSING not to eat a few foods for now, as they are not going to help you achieve your goals. Again go back to the internal reasons such as "eating this isn't going to allow me to chase my kids around the park without huffing & puffing". Not "I'm not allowed to eat this because I'm on a diet". See the difference? None of your favorite foods are being ripped off the shelves forever, take away the desperation & know they are always there for a better time in your journey.
  • Do stick to foods you already eat, enjoy & know how to prepare. I'm not saying don't try new foods! Of course you should for a multitude of reasons. However start with simplicity. Don't plan to cook a fancy kale dish with 20 ingredients when you know you don't have time or the interest in lots of cooking. Instead make simple swaps to your current diet & incorporate new methods over time. Currently eating a burger with fries every night? Try simply dropping the bun to start with. Like broccoli & eat it frequently already? Sub the fries for a vegetable you enjoy. Small changes add up! Once you start to succeed you'll feel more than capable of additional upgrade.
  • Make quantifiable goals, not general statements. For example with a client last week I asked what his nutrition goal was for an upcoming business trip? He said to drink less beer. I simply replied that's a great goal, how much beer is "less"? He was slightly disgruntled with having to give an actual number but it's really important. We can always justify "less" or i'll do "better". But what does that actually mean? As I can certainly rationalize that I drank less wine then I did at that one dinner which I don't remember much of the evening... Yea that doesn't mean I succeeded in my goal.
Start-where-you-are-1024x7163. Fitness: Obviously as a personal trainer I'm going to point out the importance of fitness in everyone's life. And yes, I have a personal & professional passion for lifting weights. I've read, seen & experienced the benefits. However I am also a big advocate of starting where you are, doing what you enjoy & just moving more in order to take advantage of the mood boosting benefits! In fact I actually have found that the extreme fitness trends are not all that beneficial to the majority of people looking for general health & happiness. Finding easy ways to get moving, build habits & boost confidence is where to begin:
  • Walk more. Yep this one is direct. I have so many people tell me walking doesn't matter much & isn't strenuous enough to make a big difference. Well that is completely wrong my friends. Daily movement can make a huge difference! If you are out of shape then that 30 minutes a day of walking is the perfect place to start.
  • Try something new! Don't like running? Stop forcing it! You may not be enthusiastic about starting a fitness routine when you are out of shape or are feeling self conscience about your body. However there are so many different ways to get fit that I encourage everyone to try new activities. Hell dance in the living room for 20 minutes a day if that makes you happy & raises your heart rate. It's a start!!
  • Schedule fitness like it's any other appointment. Again don't just say I'll exercise "more". What does that mean. Start with realistic goals of a few days a week, write it on your calendar or Google whatever & check it off when accomplished. We set aside time for work, kids, laundry, tv & so much other daily tasks yet aren't prioritizing health that allows us to do those things. Stop letting exercise be an if I have time endeavor. Your too important for that!
One of my favorite quotes is still Albert Einstein's definition of insanity being "doing the same behaviors over & over again & expecting different results". Regarding health & fitness we spend so much time trying to repeat the same styles of diets, workout programs & habit based changes. We get so stuck in the one size fits all approach that we don't slow down enough to say this isn't working for ME, why & what can I do differently to better reach my goals. Life isn't black or white, all or nothing, good or bad or fail or succeed. Find a middle ground that works for you, a years worth of small changes can lead to a lifetime of healthy habits.Do you struggle with the all or nothing approach to healthy living?