How Do You Eat an Elephant? – Shannon from Tough Mom Fitness

I am so happy to welcome Shannon back to share her thoughts on successful goal setting! If you missed her Finding Fitness interview, make sure to check that out here!

Use these steps and tips for your successful goal setting!
Photo by Rekita Nicole

How Do You Eat an Elephant?

 

One of my favorite sayings is “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” We can apply this wisdom to many areas of our life but for the sake of this post I’m going to focus on making the change to a healthy lifestyle.

 

For many years when I was trying to lose the 25 extra pounds that had stuck around after 2 pregnancies I’d get overwhelmed. When I looked at people who were in shape or eating right or just loving life it seemed like they were so far ahead of me. And, honestly, they were. I didn’t know their stories. For all I know they could have been standing in the exact same spot as me 3 years prior. I was comparing my beginning to their middle. At the time I couldn’t see any of that. My mind wasn’t working that way. All I could think was that there was no way I could ever achieve that.

 

That negative mindset held me back from making any progress for over 4 years. Then suddenly a switch flipped in my brain. I can really only attribute it to a perfect storm of thoughts coming together in my mind. At that point I changed my process and eventually lost 40lbs…twice. Yes, I got pregnant a third time and had to do it all over again.

 

Write It Out

 

Before you can make a change you need to know what you’re working toward. What is the end goal? We’re talking big picture here. Maybe your goal is to lose 40lbs and lower your cholesterol. Or maybe you want to lose 30lbs and run a 10k. Give it some thought and write it down. Don’t let fear hold you back from how big it seems.

goal-setting

Make it SMART

 

Did you write down that big goal? How do you feel when you look at it? If your goal is big enough you likely feel a mix of excitement and overwhelm. This is where most people stop. They dream big but when it comes time to work toward the goal they have no idea where to start. Your next task is to turn your goal into a SMART goal. It should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.

 

Let’s use the example of losing 30lbs and running a 10k. Those are really two separate goals so we’ll make a SMART goal for each. For example “I will exercise 5 days a week to lose 30lbs in 7 months so I have more energy to play with my kids.” And “I will follow a 12 week training plan to complete a 10k so I can check it off my bucket list.

 

Chunk It Down

 

Now you have a timeframe for your goals. I suggest working toward one goal at a time, unless they’re very closely related (such as losing weight and lowering your cholesterol). I’m going to continue with the examples I used for SMART goals. In this case I’d start with the weight loss. A big reason that people get so overwhelmed when it comes to losing weight is because they try to do too much right out of the gate. They want to workout at high intensity levels 6 days a week and overhaul their nutrition. Then what happens? Three weeks in they’re completely burned out and they quit.

 

You need to approach it slow and steady. Much like the tortoise and the hare – slow and steady wins the race.

 

So how can we chunk down the weight loss goal? Make a list of all behaviors that need to be addressed for you to reach your goal.

Need to exercise more than twice a week.

Need to start resistance training.

Need to cut out my daily soda habit.

Need to eat more veggies.

Need to cut mindless snacking.

Need to drink more water.

 

Look at your list and decide what makes the most sense to start with. Let’s start with exercise. Go from walking for 30 minutes twice a week to doing it 3-4 times a week. At the same time, look at what nutritional changes you can make. Increase your water intake by 10oz. Add a serving of veggies to two meals.

 

Commit to these changes for 1-2 weeks. Evaluate how you’re doing and then pick another item from your list to work on. When you break your goal down to manageable tasks it becomes much less overwhelming.

 

This is what I had to do in order to move past my overwhelm and achieve my results. Making a lifestyle change is hard. It’s a combination of nutrition, fitness, and mindset. Facing that looking only at the big picture of the end goal is enough to frighten anyone into inaction. But if you can use the process that I outlined above then you’ll be well on your way to success. Just remember,  “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

Shannon Dombkowski helps moms find their fabulous. She’s a certified health coach, personal trainer, wellness educator, mom of 3 girls + one lazy dog, blogger and the girlboss behind Tough Mom Fitness. Her passion is helping moms adopt and sustain a healthy lifestyle by making time for moving and nourishing their bodies while improving their mindset. She shares her tips on her blog and various social media sites. You can follow along on her blogInstagram, and Facebook.

Share

5 Simple Health Tips For All Of Us

Hey everyone! I am so happy to be welcoming back Allison from Waking Up Thirty! In case you missed it, you should definitely go read my interview with her from a couple weeks ago!

Today, she is sharing with us her 5 simple health tips. Enjoy!

Allison-Waking-Up-Thirty

Over the past few years I have been on a roundabout health journey. I went from being the healthiest in my life to probably being the sickest I have ever been.

During my last pregnancy I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and I had to reevaluate myself and look at my fitness in a whole new light. I had to start from the inside out and make myself strong again mentally as well as physically. Even though there were many things I had to change, I want to share a few things that any of us can do to better our health no matter the obstacles we are facing. These are five core concepts I try to put in place and evaluate any time I think I need a little boost in my routine or if I am feeling a little “off.” Most of the time I just need to readjust one of these things and I immediately start feeling better. Best of all – none of these things are going to cost you any money or require you to have any crazy equipment or knowledge beyond what we probably already know as adult humans.

Here are Five Simple Health Tips

1.) Sleep.

I am sorry to all you new parents out there that aren’t getting your regular sleep – I feel you. Someday you will have the chance to catch up on your sleep, but for now just power through it. For everyone else – go to bed. Go to bed at a reasonable hour each night for one week and see what happens. Try getting in bed by 930pm and seeing if you can fall asleep by 10pm. Even if you have to read a dictionary, if they still exist, try to get the shuteye you need. If you can get a solid amount of rest in before midnight, you are benefitting your body by hitting REM (Rapid Eye Movement sleep – Google it) earlier than usual, you will wake up more refreshed. If you have to wake up super early, go to bed even earlier than 9:30pm. The important thing is to get a solid sleep. Some of us only need seven hours, some of us need up to  nine. You have to do what works the best for your body and two weeks of concentrating on your sleep pattern is going to give you a general idea of how much sleep your body truly needs.

Getting an adequate amount of sleep can improve so many different parts of your body and mind including your cognitive function, your mood, the strain on your adrenal gland and thyroid gland, it also may even improve inflammation and aid in weight-loss. Wowza.

sleep-healthy-lifestyle-allison-waking-up-thirty
2.) Drink water.

Duh. I know, if you hear one more person tell you that you need more water. you might flip your lid, but there are a multitude of reasons why we need to get our water intake up. Our bodies are roughly 55% water… or they should be. All of our internal organs need water in order to operate properly. Our biggest outer organ, or skin, also needs water so it can regenerate and “glow.” When we optimize our water levels we allow our bodies to run smoothly and not overwork themselves. What are some of the immediate benefits of drinking water? Well, aside from not being thirsty, you can notice increased energy levels, less head and body aches and your muscles can even operate more efficiently! Yes! Your muscles can work better and this can prevent injury and muscle spasms or tightness. If your current health goals are to lost a few pounds, drinking more water should be at the top of your priority list. The average adult male needs about 3 litres (12 cups) of water per day and the average adult female needs 2 litres (9.3 cups) of water per day in order to optimize their bodily fluid levels. This amount can change slightly based on several variables such as individual activity level or even the climate, but starting with a solid 2 to 3 litres of water per day is a great base point.

3.) Go outside.

I worked at a desk job in a dark little office for almost a decade. There were weeks that I didn’t leave my building and I worked well into the evenings. The only time I saw the light of day was to run and grab my coffee or lunch, or to and from my car. It wasn’t until I started an outdoor running/jogging/hiking program that I noticed my general mood improved drastically. I slept so much better on the nights that I had spent time outside that day. I had actual colour in my cheeks (even with using sunscreen) and I had a bigger sense of wholeness in my health routine. The impact of spending time outdoors was so much more a mental benefit than a physical benefit. I truly believe mental health and physical health go hand in hand together.

Spending time outdoors seems like such a no brainer, but it is something we overlook doing. This is an age where we spend hours and hours being lost in the interwebs, but we can’t seem to get 15 minutes outside of our four walls. Making it a daily habit to get outside can be immensely beneficial for yourself. Vitamin D is also amazing… just sayin’.
get-outdoors

4.) Write in a journal or make a daily gratitude list.

“Ahhh, here it is,” you say. “Here comes the work.”

Whenever someone hears the word JOURNAL, they automatically have flashbacks to grade four when their teachers made them do a daily log and they had to rack their brains for something interesting to say. Or they imagine a soft, leather bound book with empty pages that sits in box or drawer somewhere in their own homes – probably given to them by a caring family member, but never used.

A journal does not have to be anything more than a couple of written lines of how you felt at the end of that day. Alternatively, you could wake up each morning and write out three to five things that you are grateful for in your life and set your day off right.

Why would this type of thing be included in a health and wellness tip post? Here is your answer: When we focus on the positive aspects of our lives, we tend to radiate more positivity in other areas. We start focusing on the good. When we write down our feelings or what has transpired throughout the day, we are able to go back later and see how or why we may have been feeling the way we were in that moment. Personal reflection is a stepping point for anyone who wants to better themselves in any aspect of their life.

journal-daily-gratitude-list

5.) Meditate.

Annnd here is where I go off the deep end, right? Wrong. So wrong. A meditation practice is not some sort of new age, funky, hipster-trend. There are ancient Indian records of meditation practices as far back as 1500 BCE and also records of other types of meditation from Taoist China that date in the 6th and 5th centuries BCE. The idea that total relaxation of the mind and spirit (whether you are religious or not) can be beneficial is nothing new – yet so many of us think it is hog wash and unfounded. Here’s the thing, there is actual scientific evidence that  there are benefits to practicing meditation: such as the increase of immune function, reduction of inflammation, decrease in anxiety & stress, and so on and so on. But, why the need to read medical journals or textbooks when you could do a little science experiment of your own and just try meditating for 10 minutes per day for a week. There are so many apps and resources on the web where you can find guided meditations to get you through your first sessions. You may be surprised at the results it gives you.

Whatever health and wellness journey you are on, I hope you are able to find a path for yourself. Even if you have to trudge through it on your own there are so many ways we can lift ourselves up during the process. Be smart. Love yourself throughout the trek and you will see the benefit a little self love and tenderness can give you.

love-yourself-allison-waking-up-thirty

Allison, thank you so much for joining us today on the blog! I love these tips so much and am personally planning on adding in more meditation to my routine!

Which one of these 5 tips are you going to work on improving? Do you have another simple health tip you would like to share? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!

Finding-FitnessAllison lives on the East Coast of Canada and brings Bootcamp style classes to rural areas in her community.
She used to work a sedentary job in television production, but has found her passion in helping others achieve their physical fitness goals and is also hoping to offer mindfulness classes in the future.
Her blog titled “Waking up Thirty” is a look into the mind of a 30-some-year-old who is trying to figure out her purpose after having some major life changes. Her posts are relatable to anyone who is finding themselves wondering why their life doesn’t quite look the way they expected it would.

Website

Twitter

Facebook page

Share

Burpee & Squat Pyramid – Sarah from Creating a Better Tomorrow

Hey everyone!  I am super excited to bring you this week’s post! Today we are welcoming back Sarah from Creating a Better Tomorrow. If you missed my interview with her a couple of week’s ago, I encourage you to check that out as well! Her story is amazing! And today she is going to push us to push ourselves with this awesome pyramid workout!

Enjoy! (Also, let’s take a second to celebrate that this is the first ever video on the blog!! But hopefully not the last 🙂 )

Every week (or almost every) over in my blog world at CreatingBetterTomorrow I share an at home workout.  As a busy mom of toddlers I know how precious every minute of your day and workout can be.  Forget wasting time and money driving to a gym you can get in an amazing workout at home with little equipment and space.  All of my online programming and personal training is designed to be 30 minutes or less and only ever require minimal equipment (if any!).  Today I wanted to put together a special workout just for you all Nymph in the Woods folks.  It’s a burner…and it has two of my favorite moves featured in it…squats and burpees!

You’ll notice it is a pyramid style so you’ll go down in one move and up in the other move.  It’s a twist on the traditional counting of repetitions or timing your moves.  I like changing up the style of my workouts.  By simply changing up the format (like pyramid vs. rep counting), it keeps me from getting bored and tends to make the workout seem to go faster!

There may only be two moves in this workout, but don't be deceived! This workout will leave you sweating and burning in the best way!

Only two moves but this workout will leave you sweating and your heart beating!

But I can’t Do Burpees!

I know what some of you are saying…”but I can’t do burpees.”  I beg to differ.  In my bootcamps I provide video demonstrations for each and every workout.  I just finished putting together all new videos for my 30 Day Total Body Bootcamp programs.  And here is one of the old videos.  I show you how you can modify a burpee to be low/no impact!

The only limitations you have in life are those you set in your mind.  You may have to MODIFY but MODIFICATIONS are not limits they are just stepping blocks to help you reach the next level.

The full program includes many workouts just like this for the 30 days.   I’ll provide you 5 workouts a week.  You then pick the 6th workout for the week to ensure you get some true movement you LOVE in and one rest day.  Only equipment needed is one set of light dumbbells and one set of medium to heavy dumbbells.  The workouts range in length from 25-40 minutes. Almost every workout will come with a video demo sent directly to you each week. THE BEST PART? You get a daily email message motivation and support from me!  ARE YOU IN?!?!?

I have a special coupon JUST for you Nymph fans.  Enter code nymph15 to save $15 off the total body bootcamp program or the total body and nutrition bootcamp program!  This is only good through the end of March 15, 2017.

I just want to say thank you to Sarah for that awesome workout! Want to see more from her? I definitely encourage you to head over to her blog and check out her programs and information!

finding fitness Sarah Creating a Better TomorrowSarah is a full time stay at home mom who blogs at Creating Better Tomorrow.  Her twin, 2 year old boys keep her active and fit no matter the day but she also enjoys teaching group fitness and training clients one on one.  She has a love for the garden and dirt…and eating all the things from the garden.  Her and her husband live on 7 acres out in the country where she can get her hands dirty and the boys can chase their chickens.
Sarah suffered from anorexia in college and through that experience has grown stronger in her relationship with her Lord, her body, and her family.  She know shares through her blog and fitness work a balanced approach to loving your body and moving in ways that make your body and mind stronger than ever.

Where to find Sarah:

On her blog at CreatingBetterTomorrow.com

Twitter: @CreatingBetter

Instagram: @CreatingBetter

Facebook: Creating Better Tomorrow

Pinterest: Sarah @creatingbetter

Share

5 Reasons Runners Should Practice Yoga – Sabrina from Love, Run, Yoga

Hey everyone! I am so happy to welcome Sabrina back to the blog! If you didn’t catch my interview with her on her fitness journey 2 weeks ago, you can check it out here! Today, she is going to be sharing with us 5 reasons why she thinks that all runners should practice yoga. And as someone who has ran 17 races since starting running in June 2015, I think she would know! Enjoy!

guest-post-Sabrina-run-love-yoga

Having worked for almost a decade for the YMCA, I’ve dabbled in my fair share of yoga classes. I would even incorporate age appropriate yoga poses into my preschool curriculum, but I never truly appreciated the benefits of it until I started running.

When I started training for my first half marathon, I would practice yoga on the days I didn’t run. It was more than just stretching for me – it taught me to appreciate my body and, most importantly, to listen to it – something that as runners we don’t always do.

So, without further ado, here are 5 reasons why I think all runners should practice yoga.

Improves Flexibility

This one seems like a no-brainer to me.  Isn’t this the whole point of yoga?  As a beginner, you can barely hold any of the poses but over time you are all pretzeled up like a true yogi, right?  Why do runners need to be flexible?  To begin with increased flexibility reduces the risk of injury.  It also helps improve posture and increases blood flow to your muscles.

why-runners-should-practice-yoga

Protection from Injury

According to Ashlee Willaman, a certified running coach and yoga teacher, “”Yoga does a great job of pointing out imbalances that can indicate injury is not far away.” Yoga can help a runner identify issues such as muscle imbalance.  Overuse of one muscle, and subsequently underuse of a complimentary muscle, can lead to overcompensation which opens the door for injury.  Yoga addresses all muscle groups which allows a runner to tune-in to their body to see what changes need to be made.  While a runner may complain of knee pain at the start of a yoga class, by the end she had learned the pain actually stems from the hip.  Certain poses can then be done before a run to open up the hips and reduce the risk of injury.  Learn how to identify pain and then work to fix and reduce it.  Don’t push yourself through it!

Improves Balance

The practice of yoga increases proprioception (the ability to feel what your body is doing and where it is in space) and improves balance.  For runners, better balance means fewer falls (oh, it does happen).  It also means less knee and back pain.

Boosts Your Immune System

Contracting and stretching muscles drains your lymphs (a colorless fluid containing white blood cells, that bathes the tissues and drains through the lymphatic system into the bloodstream). Regularly doing this helps the lymphatic system fight infection and destroy cancer cells.  Who doesn’t want to do that to their body?  And if you are a runner training for a big race, you can’t afford to get sick!

 

Relieves Stress

This one is near and dear to my anxiety-ridden heart.  The breathing techniques taught in yoga teaches your body to slow down and relax.  It lowers your breathing and heart rate and lowers your blood pressure too.  It also lowers your cortisol levels which helps anyone suffering from adrenal fatigue (the reason why I wake up at 2 AM wide awake and ready to party).  Your body releases cortisol when it senses an acute crisis.  When cortisol levels remain high, it can compromise your immune system and over time lead to brain damage.  Stress is dangerous – do yoga.

There you have it – my top 5 reasons for why runners should practice yoga.  What do you think?  Are you ready to try?  Remember, you don’t have to go crazy when first starting off.  As a busy working out of the home mom, I rely on DVD’s for my yoga practice.  If you are not ready to commit to that then just incorporating a few poses such as “Pigeon Pose” (see picture) after a run will help your body.

why-runners-should-practice-yoga

Further Reading:

Why Runners Should Do Yoga

Yoga for Flexibility

38 Health Benefits of Yoga

 

13394135_285492808462874_7750457502689943236_nSabrina is a wife, mom and avid runner. Since starting running in June 2015, she has run 17 races! To learn more about her and check out all of the wonderful things she posts, check out her blog Run, Love, Yoga!

To follow Sabrina on her social media, here are her Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest!

Share

Meal Planning: A Beginner’s Guide

Getting-started-meal-planning

So you all know just how much I love meal planning. After all, it’s the first step to meal prep! I’ve been doing meal planning for years! A lot longer than I have been meal prepping. I grew up in a home that did meal planning every week. My parents still do!

I’m excited to say that today I’m talking about meal planning over at Sarah & Co! Head over to her lovely site and check out the full post!

Share