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.

How To Get Motivated To Exercise

With summer around the corner, do you know how to get motivated to exercise and stay motivated?

Are you still on track with your New Year’s Resolutions to get healthy and fit?

But as spring rolls around and the newness wears off on your resolutions, you might start losing your motivation to hit the gym?

Hey, it happens to the best of us.

But now is the time to take back control and refresh those resolutions so that you can be successful in your fitness journey.

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Here are my tips to stay motivated from New Year’s Day to New Year’s Eve – and every day in between!

How To Get Motivated To Exercise

Strength in Numbers

After a long, exhausting day at the office, you may start thinking about skipping the gym – but if you have a workout partner that’s counting on you, you’re more likely to stay committed.

Accountability is everything when you’re trying to stick to positive, healthy changes in your life. If you want to crush your goals, find a workout partner or trainer to hold you accountable, or consider joining a group fitness class.

As a bonus, social time is great for your mental health, and time flies when you’re having fun with your friends!

Spice Things Up

Variety is the spice of life, and this applies to your workouts as well. It’s hard to get excited about the same old boring routine – so break out of your rut! Incorporate different machines and movements, as well as real-life activities like hiking or tennis.

Not comfortable enough in the gym to step outside your comfort zone? Then a personal trainer is a great way to go. After all, the magic happens as soon as you step outside your comfort zone and try something new.

Be a Goal-Digger

It’s hard to crush your goals if you don’t set them in the first place. Write down both short- and long-term goals and look at them often. You may even want to write them on sticky notes that you post in different places around your house, so you’ll see constant little reminders to stay on track.

And don’t forget the best part of setting goals: Celebrating when you cross them off your list!

Make Fitness Fun

Exercise doesn’t have to feel like “exercise.” It’s ok to have fun while getting your sweat on. If exercising is enjoyable, you’ll look forward to your workouts and stay committed. Do you like rock-climbing? Then take your workout outside and into the fresh air for a tough but fun climbing session.

Maybe you love the calming energy that yoga gives you. In that case, make the mat your go-to exercise when you’re feeling burned out.

Remember Your Why

I saved the best (and probably the most important) for last. Remember why you started your fitness journey. Whatever got you moving will help keep you motivated.

So, whether you’re trying to lose weight, add muscle, or just get a better overall bill of health, your “why” is your secret weapon when you need a little extra boost of motivation. If you have that fire within, you will keep going. If not, find your reason.

Could it be for your health, to be a good example for your children and family, to be the hottest and most fun grandma out there or maybe you want to rock your bikini at the beach. All you need to do is find your “why”!

Now that you know how to get motivated to exercise, stop reading and start doing!

Choose one (or more!) of these tips and put it into action. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself at the end of the year looking back at all you’ve accomplished.

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 Benefits To Combining Yoga and Strength Training

Have you ever thought about combining yoga and strength training?

While you may be hitting the gym regularly to strengthen and tone your body, you should really think about adding yoga to your fitness plan.

It’s been around forever and for good reason. Yoga boasts a ton of very real, very powerful benefits for both your body and mind.

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Let’s break down all the benefits of hitting the mat and incorporating yoga into your strength training.

BENEFITS TO YOGA AND STRENGTH TRAINING

Mobility

With regular yoga practice, you can increase your range of motion. How does this help you in strength training? Better mobility opens your hips, allowing you to sit deeper in your squats. If you’re working on overhead work, such as pull-ups, better shoulder flexibility will make your training much easier.

Plus, suppleness and mobility make you less prone to injury. If you have tight hips or shoulders, try a few basic poses, such as Down Dog, Warrior, or Pigeon.

Recovery

One good way to combining yoga and strength training, is to use yoga after a particularly tough training session to loosen tight, sore muscles. All that stretchy goodness speeds up your recovery and reduces soreness.

Making yoga a regular part of your routine will keep you fresh and ready to hit your next strength session, and you’re less likely to get injured than if you train with hard, tight muscles.

For optimal recovery, stick to gentle yoga poses that focus on stretching. Also, transition slowly between poses, while listening to your body about what feels good.

Strength

Strength training isn’t the only way to build and train those muscles – yoga incorporates some strength elements as well. Once you get into the more advanced yoga poses, you’ll be engaging a variety of muscles and challenging them in new ways.

Why does yoga and strength training go so well together?

Yoga strengthens your muscles through extended poses, it also strengthens your joints. And as a bonus, moving slowly and holding poses for an extended time builds endurance as well.

Relaxation

Namaste your way to less stress with yoga – it’s the perfect way to create balance in your life with its combination of control and relaxation. Hit the mat regularly to for a reset and release the tension and stress from everyday life.

And remember, with less stress, comes less cortisol (that pesky, fat-inducing hormone that can wreak havoc on our bodies).

To get the most relaxation our of your time on the mat, end each session with the indulgent Corpse Pose – lie on your back, relax, close your eyes, and breathe deeply.

Focus

Mental focus is undeniably important in many aspects of life – including when you hit the gym. Deep concentration and focus bring an awareness of your body and its mechanics as you power through your reps.

Likewise, balanced breathing goes a long way when you’re working on either conditioning or heavy lifting. It calms your mind and keeps you focused on the task at hand.

Yoga can help you conquer both breathing and focus, as these are foundational components of the practice.

Now, that your convinced of all the awesome benefits to combining yoga and strength training, it’s time to roll out your mat and start enjoying all that yoga goodness!

What Are Some Healthy Snacks When Your On The Go

Today I want to talk about what are some healthy snacks you can have when you are on the go.

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?

You’re stuck in a meeting that’s running late, and your stomach is growling – time to hit the vending machine down the hall.

You’re rushing around town, running errands and shuttling kids – you decide to stop for fast food.

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Don’t let your busy schedule throw you off track! When hunger hits, be prepared and snack smart with these healthy (and delicious) snacks for on the go.

What Are Some Healthy Snacks?

Hard-Boiled Eggs

If you’ve been in an airport or convenience store lately, you’ve probably seen prepackaged hard-boiled eggs on the snacking aisle. This is one new trend I hope is here to stay! Grab a packet of hot sauce for a boost of flavor, and you have a tasty treat that’s undeniably healthy.

Jerky

Jerky is a tried and true road-trip favorite. It ranks at the top of the list of convenient snacks and is packed with the protein that your body needs. Just make sure to check the ingredients and try to choose a brand without added sugar. Or make your own!

String Cheese

Next time you ask yourself what are some healthy snacks I can munch on, remeber string cheese. There’s something about snacking on string cheese that feels like an indulgence – but the right cheese can be an incredibly healthy and filling snack. Cheese delivers a powerful one-two punch with both calcium and protein. Go with a lighter, lower fat option to make cheese your guilt-free pleasure!

Dry-Roasted Edamame or Chickpeas

This delicious treat is packed with nutrients and is an excellent source of protein and fiber. And they’re super portable for easy snacking that doesn’t require a cooler or flatware. The salty crunch is even more delicious than potato chips!

Greek Yogurt

While not the most portable option, Greek yogurt is still a foodie favorite if you’ve got a few minutes to sit and snack. It’s high in protein and calcium, which is great for your bones. Be wary of yogurt with added sugar – opt for one with more fat instead. It may have slightly more calories, but it will help you stay full longer.

Fresh Fruit

Craving something sweet? An orange or banana are great options to stick in your bag when you’re in a hurry. They’re easy to peel and eat anywhere without needing to be washed. While fresh fruit won’t keep you satisfied for hours on end, it’s an ideal “pick me up” when you need a little extra pep in your step.

Nuts or Nut Butter

Almond are a personal favorite for quick and easy snacking that leaves you feeling full and energized. Go for the pre-packaged bags to keep your serving size in check — or package your own single-serve baggies before you hit the road. Nut butters (while not as finger-food friendly) also give you a boost of healthy fats and keep you feeling full. Plus, both nuts and nut butters are packed with protein.

Other Snacking Ideas:

• Popcorn

• Olives

• Sliced veggies and low-fat salad dressing

• Tuna pouch

• Pumpkin seeds

• Hummus

There you go, 13 good options, so the next time you want to know what are some healthy snacks I can carry with me, just remember this post :)