Self Improvement

How Being Mindful Will Get You a Better Workout

When you hit the gym, does your mind run a mile a minute, while your body struggles to keep up? If you find yourself distracted while working out – constantly checking the clock or running through your to-do list – then you could benefit from a little mindfulness.

Not only will it help you calm that overactive chatter in your head, being mindful can also help you get a better workout.

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Mindfulness simply means becoming more aware of the present moment. Being mindful during your workout helps you stay connected to your strength as you move through each exercise. And when you lose focus, your workouts just aren’t as effective.

Here are some ways being mindful will get you a better workout and better results.

• Mindfulness boosts your mind-body connection. I’m sure you’ve heard this popular term several times. But do you really know how to use your mind-body connection related to your fitness goals?

This is how it works, go within and focus on contracting the specific muscle your working on during the muscle-shortening phase of the exercise. The more focus and tension you can put on that muscle the stronger you will become and the faster your results.

• Mindfulness gets you better results. When it comes to training (and especially strength training), your overall form is extremely important! Being mindful during your workout improves the quality of your movement and exercise technique. This means less injury and better quality workouts for better results.

• Mindfulness leaves you feeling satisfied. If you focus more on your workout, moment by moment, you’ll have a sense of pride and accomplishment when you’re done. You’ll end your session feeling satisfied and knowing you truly did your best – now that’s a good feeling!

Tips on Training with More Mindfulness

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Sounds great, right? But how do you actually put mindfulness to work for you? Here are a few tips to get you started.

• Highlight a purpose for each training session. While you may have a big “why” that’s driving you and keeping you motivated, you also need to enter each workout with an immediate purpose that you can focus on.

For example, you might decide to concentrate on working your lower body for today’s strength training session. Or you might set a goal for a certain number of calories you want to burn during a cardio workout. Make your purpose achievable and measurable – and then, focus!

• Don’t rush it. Your time in the gym is just that – YOURS! Take your time once you start your workout and don’t rush through the movements. Focus on your form, particularly in strength training exercises. The goal isn’t to get in and get out – the goal is to make your time count!

• Breathe. Sounds easy, right? If you find yourself rushing or your mind wandering to a long list of “to do” items you need to tackle, bring yourself back to the moment by taking a deep breath. Remember, this is your time to exercise – everything else can wait.

So, when you feel the need to pop in earbuds and zone out on the treadmill, consider a change of course. Try working out without any distractions and stay mindful during your next workout.

Pay particular attention to what your body is doing and how it feels.

Changing how you exercise can make your time at the gym more enjoyable and unbelievably satisfying!

Celebrate International Women’s Day: Be Bold For Change!

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This year’s International Women’s Day theme couldn’t be any more timely and inspirational.

Being bold and determined to make changes is the first step to reaching our goals.

Take this time to draw inspiration from women who are recognized for their achievements which paved the way to creating awareness for greater equality.

The common thread among women who have succeeded through the years, is that they not only make decisions to change, they also see it through. 

For most of us though, making lifestyle changes is a process that takes time and may require support. Once we’re ready to make a change, the difficult part is committing and following through. So we need to make a plan that will prepare ourselves for success. Careful planning means setting small goals and taking things one step at a time.

Where the mind goes, the body follows.

Let us work on the psychological aspect of making lifestyle changes that last. Here is a list of tips from the APA (American Psychological Association) to help us get and stay on track.

Make a plan that will stick. Your plan is a map that will guide you on this journey of change. You can even think of it as an adventure. When making your plan, be specific. Want to exercise more? Detail the time of day when you can take walks and how long you’ll walk.

Write everything down, and ask yourself if you’re confident that these activities and goals are realistic for you. If not, start with smaller steps. Post your plan where you’ll most often see it as a reminder.

Start small. After you've identified realistic short-term and long-term goals, break down your goals into small, manageable steps that are specifically defined and can be measured. Is your long-term goal to lose 20 pounds within the next five months?

A good weekly goal would be to lose one pound a week. If you would like to eat healthier, consider as a goal for the week replacing dessert with a healthier option, like fruit or yogurt. At the end of the week, you’ll feel successful knowing you met your goal.

Change one behavior at a time. Unhealthy behaviors develop over the course of time, so replacing unhealthy behaviors with healthy ones requires time. Many people run into problems when they try to change too much too fast. To improve your success, focus on one goal or change at a time.

As new healthy behaviors become a habit, try to add another goal that works toward the overall change you’re striving for.

Involve a buddy. Whether it be a friend, co-worker or family member, someone else on your journey will keep you motivated and accountable. Perhaps it can be someone who will go to the gym with you or someone who is also trying to stop smoking. Talk about what you are doing.

Consider joining a support group. Having someone with whom to share your struggles and successes makes the work easier and the mission less intimidating.

Ask for support. Accepting help from those who care about you and will listen strengthens your resilience and commitment. If you feel overwhelmed or unable to meet your goals on your own, consider seeking help from a psychologist.

Psychologists are uniquely trained to understand the connection between the mind and body, as well as the factors that promote behavior change.

Asking for help doesn't mean a lifetime of therapy; even just a few sessions can help you examine and set attainable goals or address the emotional issues that may be getting in your way.

Making the changes that you want takes time and commitment, but you can do it. Just remember that no one is perfect.

You will have occasional lapses. Be kind to yourself.

When you eat a brownie or skip the gym, don’t give up. Minor missteps on the road to your goals are normal and okay.

Resolve to recover and get back on track.

Primary Factors To Building Muscle For Women

Today I want to share the primary factors to building muscle for women.

No matter your goals or ideal body type, all women can benefit from building muscle. Lean muscle helps you function in daily life and decreases your chances of osteoporosis – not to mention the toned, fit look you get from adding a little muscle.

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And building muscle through strength training can also have a huge positive impact on your psychological health as well.

There are lots of factors that affect a woman’s ability to build muscle. Some you can control, and some you can’t. If you want to achieve a more toned look, then it’s important to what to expect out of your body and what you can focus on changing.

Factors To Building Muscle For Women

Factors You Can’t Control

• Your Gender

Let’s get the obvious out of the way – does gender affect your ability to build muscle? The short answer is yes. Men and women have the same quality of muscle tissue, but men typically have more of that muscle tissue (thanks to testosterone).

• Your Age

When building muscle for women, your age will effect your results, which of course, we have no control over. If you were an athlete in high school and college, you have an advantage because muscle gain is most rapid in our early years.

Once you cross the threshold into your 20s, your ability to build muscle slows down.

• Your Genetics

This is a big one! Genetics play a huge role in your body type – from size to strength to appearance.

First, let’s look at muscle fibers. There are two basic types of muscle fibers: slow twitch and fast twitch.

Weightlifting and other explosive exercises focus on fast twitch fibers.

You may inherit a higher percentage of one type of muscle fiber over the other, and those with a higher percentage of fast twitch muscle fibers have an advantage when it comes to building muscle.

Another genetic factor is the length of your limbs and muscles. You may have noticed that many elite Olympic weightlifters are relatively short and stocky.

There’s a reason for this: People with shorter limbs tend to lift more weight because they have better leverage.

Similarly, the length of your muscles also impacts how effectively you develop size and strength. In this case, people with longer muscles have an advantage.

Factors You Can Control

• Your Training

When it comes to building muscle for women, the type of training you choose plays a HUGE role in your overall muscular development. This isn’t the time for long cardio sessions – instead, focus your energy into strength training.

Practice good lifting technique as well, so you target the right muscles in the right ways.

If you hit a plateau with your weight training (or just get plain bored), switch things up. This serves up a new challenge for your muscles to adapt to, leading to more strength and size.

Don’t forget about recovery. Rest days are essential for your body to recover and rebuild muscle, so pencil in at least 1-2 days of complete rest each week.

• Your Diet

While I could talk endlessly about the importance of diet in your body composition, in this article, I’m focusing primarily on protein – the building block of muscle.

Make sure to include a lean protein source in every meal and add extra protein in your meals immediately around training to repair and regrow your muscle fibers.

Becoming A Stronger Woman

Now that you understand the factors of building muscle for women, you can ignore the ones that are completely out of your control, and focus your attention and focus onw aht you CAN cotrol when trying to tone and build muscle.

But why should you focus on building muscle in the first place?

Weightlifting is hard work, but it’s worth it. As I mentioned at the start of this article, building muscle boasts a lot of health benefits – but it also has a big positive effect on your mental health.

Sculpting a toned, fit body improves your overall well-being, self-esteem, and self-worth.

If you love the way you look in that little black dress, then you’ll instantly get a boost of confidence that shines through in so many areas of your life.

If you’re ready to start your journey to a stronger you, keep in mind that this is YOUR journey. Don’t compare yourself to others.

Instead, focus on accepting your body as it is each and every day, while knowing that you’re working toward big changes.

You should also celebrate the small victories.

Did you notice a subtle change in your arm definition this morning? That’s amazing! Were you able to hit more reps during your workout?

High five! Notice and appreciate all the improvements you’re making along the way.

Now that you know the factors you can and can not control when it comes to building muscle for women, you need to get your diet to match your training to better help those muscles grow and show.

I’ll help you incorporate diet and weightlifting into your routine, so you can become a more confident, sexier version of you.

Become a stronger woman, both inside and out, as you get in shape and love the way you look!

5 WAYS A PERSONAL TRAINER CAN HELP YOU SUCCEED

You’ve tried over and over to maintain a healthy lifestyle. You want to stay strong and active, keep up and play with your grandchildren or take your fitness to the next level. Your dream keeps getting farther away as you get older. Stop the internal fight by teaming up with a personal trainer who can support and teach you the tools you need to succeed. Here are 5 ways a personal trainer can help:

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1. Accountability – It tough changing your day to day rituals. We get used to doing the same things day in and day out and it tough figuring out how to fit in workouts, food planning, and life balance. This is why a program with accountability helps. Checking in with your trainer for regular measurement, body fat and pictures is usually enough to keep you on track and motivated to keep going and skip that pizza or dessert.

2. Debunking all those old myths about nutrition – It’s tough to keep up on all the new information out there about nutrition. What works and what doesn’t work. Why low fat, low carb diets do’t work. Why limiting your calories can actually create chaos with your hormones and metabolism.

3. Gives you confidents and knowledge to exercise property – Learning how to properly weigh-train can be intimating, especially for beginners. A personal trainer will teach proper progression to insure there are no injuries, while building strength and function within the kinetic chain.  Have you been training for a while but you’ve plateaued? Learning new exercises and combinations can give you more effective results and take you to that next fitness level you’ve been working so hard to reach.

4. Teaches proper nutrition for life not a quick fix – Are you always wondering what proper mix of micronutrients will help your transformation. What to eat and how much? What might work for someone might not work for the next person, we are all unique individuals. Throughout your program a personal training can dial in what works for you, so you are successful for life.

5. Teaches life changes that stick – How many times have you tried to incorporate more healthy habits into your life? Then a week later your not doing it at all? Having that accountability with someone who teaches life changing sustainable habits through small daily steps is essential.

It’s a team effort to move past life changing fears and uncertainty to one of desire, excitement and change. Make your life feel significant, valuable and happy!

5 Must Have Gifts for Women Who Workout

Trying to get your holiday shopping done? Or making your own list for Santa? Either way, I’m here to help you with a list of great fitness gift ideas that go beyond leggings. I rounded up 5 must-have gifts for the fittest women on your list – including yourself!  

1.   Moji Heated Foam Roller

Suffering from muscle soreness? The innovative Moji Heated Roller packs a one-two punch to relax tight muscles and help you recover from a tough workout. How does it work? The foam roller design and pattern combine with heat therapy to target your muscle tissue and stimulate the flow of blood and oxygen. It’s a game changer when it comes to pain relief and recovery! 

2.   6 Pack Fitness Leather Tote

This Six Pack Fitness Renee Tote is sleek and packs away 4 meals for an 8-hour workday. It has an insulated modular core system that keeps meals fresh and organized all day. It is preloaded with 4 snap lid containers, 1 nutrition compact for supplements and 3 gel packs to keep meals organized. The large zipper main compartment included an interior sleeve for a laptop up to 13 inches, plus organizational pockets for accessories. Designed for the professional fit women who like to eat healthy on the go.

3.   Dr. Teal’s Epsom Salt Soak

Remember when Calgon used to take you away? Well these days, it’s Dr. Teal. These Epsom salt soaks are the ultimate for relaxing and recharging. With a mix of Epsom salt and essential oils, Dr Teal’s soaks help reduce inflammation, relieve stress, and provide relief for achy muscles. After a hard training session, pour one of these solutions into your tub, lay back, and soak – divine!

 4.   Anker SoundBuds Curve Wireless Headphones

Exercising with great workout buds makes your workout even better. The Anker SoundsBuds Wireless Headphones are Bluetooth, with built-in mic and carry pouch. These have clear sounds quality and noise cancellation technology. They are customizable for the perfect fit to keep them in place during touch workouts. And last up to 14 hours of battery time. Plus, they’re sweatproof! Get ready to tackle your toughest workouts with these chic wireless headphones.

5.   Black Mountain Products Resistance Band Set

I couldn’t have a wish list for women who workout without actually putting any fitness gear on it! So to round out my list, check out this set of resistance bands from Black Mountain Products – an all-in-one set that you can take anywhere. This is the perfect gift for anyone from beginner to expert who wants to continue their strength training program at home or on-the-go.

For even more ideas, check out my favorite products on my website. I have a long list of supplements, gym equipment, and other miscellaneous gift ideas for any fitness buff.

If you want to take your fitness game to the next level and boost both your confidence and your results, check out my services page. I offer one-on-one training and online programs with a personalized approach. Let me help you find your strength!


Build Lower Back Strength with Bosu Supermans

Looking to shake up your workout? Incorporating BOSU ball exercises can add some spice to your routine, while still giving you awesome body-sculpting benefits.

There are SO many ways you can add a BOSU ball to your training, all depending on your needs and the areas you want to target. Plus, there are different variations for every fitness level.

And as a bonus – you’re getting an ab workout, too! A BOSU ball incorporates balance and stability into every exercise so you are constantly tightening and strengthening your core.  

Strengthening Your Lower Back

Your back is your foundation and gaining strength in your lower back can help support your entire spine. If you spend a lot of time sitting, the muscles in your lower back may be getting lazy, and you may even be experiencing some back pain.

So let’s work on strengthening that foundation!

A great way to increase strength in your lower to mid back is to add BOSU Superman’s into your workout routine. This exercise really targets those lower back muscles, while also working your glutes, hamstrings, and even shoulders. 

The Exercise: BOSU Superman

1.   Get on the ball.

Place your BOSU ball on the ground, round side up. Lay face down with your tummy on the BOSU ball. Toes and forearms should be resting on the floor.

2.   Engage your core.

Pull your bellybutton in toward your spine, squeezing those abs and engaging your core.

3.   Superman!

Lift arms and toes off the floor while maintaining your balance. Squeeze your glutes to keep legs up. Now hold for a count of two feeling a squeeze in your lower back, lower arms and legs without touching the ground and lift again. This is not a big movement. Only go up enough to where you feel the lower back muscles engage. Do 2 to 3 sets for 15 – 20 reps.

TIP: Don’t let your shoulders creep up to your ears – pull your shoulder blades back and together. And don’t forget to engage your core and breathe.

The Variation: BOSU Hyperextension

If you can’t hold your balance during the BOSU Superman, try this variation – the BOSU Hyperextension. This exercise still emphasizes your lower back muscles, but you’ll get some added stability by keeping your toes on the ground.

To perform this exercise, you’ll get on the ball in the same position as the Superman, with feet placed about shoulder width apart. Your arms can be crossed over your chest or placed behind your head.

Then, lift your chest off the ball to hyperextend the lower back. Hold for a count of two and repeat. Remember this is not a big movement. Only come up enough to get a squeeze in the lower back. Toes are staying firmly on the ground throughout this move.  Do 2 to 3 sets for 15 – 20 reps.

Remember, always keep your abs tight and breathe.