I’m In Love…

…with Fitocracy.com, a fitness social network that helps you reach your goals by turning them into a game. Get rewarded for your workouts by earning points, unlocking challenges, and gaining rewards. Share it with your friends and become part of the community to get tips and motivation from real people trying to achieve the same goals you are.

I love this site, (there’s also an app for your iPhone, by the way), because it puts the fun back into working out. They have optional “quests” you can take upon yourself, such as a 6 mile hike to earn even more points and rewards, which means you may even try something new that you never would have otherwise. And reaching new levels can help keep you motivated by seeing your progress.
So, get tracking!

Accepting The Body You Have Now

A client asked me the other day if there’s such a thing as an objectively beautiful way to look. I said no. I don’t believe that such a thing as objectivity exists, because what you think is beautiful and what I think is beautiful can be 2 different things. Yes, Megan Fox is gorgeous – I think we can agree on that – but to say that is the only kind of beautiful there is would be missing out on a whole lot.

It’s ok to want to strive to look and feel better, but not if it’s unattainable or unrealistic. And definitely not if you’re doing it to gain acceptance of others, yourself, or to “finally be happy”. More importantly though, you have to like yourself along the road, otherwise you’re not going to suddenly be happy when you get there. Most likely your body isn’t the only thing holding you back.

You have to realize and internalize the thought that despite what you look like, you are still you. If you’re thin or overweight, you’re still all the other things that make you who you are. And for that, you have to love every bit of yourself and stop judging your self-solely on your size.

Check out this great article in the Huffington Post yesterday about accepting the body you have now.

Do It Because You Can

Natures gym

If you’ve ever said “I hate running” you most likely hate it because you’ve gone about it the wrong way. Because, if you ask anyone who’s actually completed a race they’ll tell you that there’s nothing like that rush you get when you cross the finish line. Most people when they start running start too hard and fast too soon. Honestly, you’ll feel like dying and that’s just going to make you hate it. I’ve talked about training for my first half marathon, and my second, and now my third, and the impact it’s had on my life. Years of therapy didn’t do for me what running has. I’ve learned to see the bigger picture and stop obsessing about weight loss. I’ve learned how to eat and enjoy food, and not starve myself, because with running your body actually needs food just like a car needs gas. I’ve learned that I can push myself harder than I ever thought possible. And I’ve also learned to actually love my body and the powerhouse that it is. My legs have never been stronger and I’ve never been happier. And when you’re happy, things have a way of falling into place.

Like most people at the start of a new year, you’ve probably made some resolutions to lose weight this year and finally use that gym membership that you pay for year after year. And like most people who make resolutions, you’ll probably start out strong in the gym, going 4-5 times a week, killing it on the elliptical, but come March you’ll be down to 1 day a week if you’re still even going at all (and that’s the best case scenario!). Most likely though, you’ll be back to resolving to do better next year. And so, nothing changes.

There’s nothing like a new routine to keep you motivated. The trick though is not just to do something new, but do it with a goal in mind. Most people don’t like doing anything without a reason, so to help you not hate running take a look at this schedule that will take you from a couch to 5k in just 9 weeks. That’s less than a season of The Office. All I ask is that you stick with it for 9 weeks and then decide whether you truly hate running or not. I promise, there is nothing scary about it and you’ll see how amazing you feel.

** Before I go, I want to give a shout out to my amazing clients this week for really stepping it up and pushing past your comfort zones. I don’t know what it is, but I see something within you guys that’s changed in your determination and I just wanted you to know that I notice it. Especially, Melissa, Jen, and Ariel – you’ve taken major steps.

Congratulations Melissa for running, literally, towards your fears. It takes a really strong person to know what you’re afraid of, and still greet it with open arms.
Jen, you’ve been talking about this 5k for a long time now, and I’m ecstatic that you finally put all the excuses aside.
And Ariel, woo-hoo on finally stretching!! Keep it up and we’ll have those pesky little glutes working in no time!

I Resolve To Not Resolve This Year

I hate the idea of New Years Resolutions. Every year we vow to do a million things that we think will change us. And, every year we look back on the last and see what we didn’t really make happen, and decide that this year will be different. This year things are going to change once and for all and we’re going to become fluent in Italian, take an art class, raise the perfect children, and of course, lose 15 pounds and become a walking billboard for swimsuits. It’s all just too much pressure to do in one year really. And for some reason we make these grandiose claims like we’re some sort of superheroes that can go from not speaking a word of Italian to becoming fluent. And on top of that we think that we can do the other 3 things on the list too. I don’t know about you, but the last time I checked there’s only 24 hours in a day. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t strive for things. You most definitely should. I just don’t think that you should put such an “I must or else…” attitude on it.

You need to set yourself up for success, not disappointment, and that’s why I think we should start a “Fitness Bucket List” instead. This is a list of things that you want to accomplish in your lifetime. Maybe you like the idea of running a marathon, but aren’t ready to do it. Instead of putting that down as a resolution for this year (who are you kidding, really…), put it on your bucket list, and then set a goal this year to run a 5k. That’s so much more manageable and will get the momentum going for running longer distances. And then maybe 2 years down the road you’ll have actually become a runner and the idea of going the full 26.2 miles won’t seem like such an impossibility.

Most of the time we quit things because it gets too hard to handle. And the reason it gets too hard to handle is because we put too much pressure on ourselves from the get go when we really should have been more realistic about our abilities.

The other great thing about a Fitness Bucket List is that it sets us up for a long-term mindset of living a healthier lifestyle. Resolutions always seem to be something that you accomplish once to check it off your list, but it has no staying power. For many who see a resolution through to completion end up slacking off after they’ve accomplished it. And then you know what happens? It goes right back on their list next year. And that only makes you feel worse. A Fitness Bucket List will keep you moving forward.

Here are some tips on creating your list:
1. Nothing is out of reach, so write down everything and anything that comes to mind (you can always erase things later).
2. Keep it positive. Instead of writing “get down to 130 pounds”, write down things that will help you get there, such as working out 3 times per week or getting 7 hours of sleep a night.
3. The word “fitness” relates to every aspect of your health, which means anything that you think will help create balance in your life. If that means taking more “me time” or doing something that you’ve been afraid of, then so be it!
4. It’s not set in stone. Remember that you can always change the list, so don’t be worried about writing what you really want.
5. Nothing is out of your reach. Many people say “I’m not a runner”, and to me that’s crazy. You might not run right now, but you can if you want. And you don’t have to log 20 miles a week to be considered a runner either. You just have to run.
6. Write down what YOU want, not what you think you should want, or what everyone else is doing.
7. Choose things that will empower you, not make you crazy.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and hear some of the things that you put on your list, so please share!

Goalgetter

“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.” – Henry Ford

You can say what you want about Michael Phelps being born to swim, but he wouldn’t be breaking records if he wasn’t aiming for the gold. Do you know that when he was a kid his teachers told him that he would never be able to focus on anything? It sounds crazy considering that he’s the only athlete to win 8 gold medals in his sport and that he’s set 5 world records. One of the secrets to his amazing achievements is that he keeps a list of all the races he wants to enter, with goal times, on his nightstand. He sees it every night before he goes to bed and every morning when he wakes up. He’s set his sights on his target and to say that he isn’t focused is crazy. You don’t get to be a world champion without goals.

Think about it, have you ever heard of a marathon that didn’t have a finish line? Me neither. How would you know who won without that marker at the end? What about sports? Baseball has 9 innings and ice hockey has 3 periods. Without those the teams can play forever trying to one up each other. Stores have business hours indicating when they’re open and when they’re closed. And businesses have profit targets that they aim for, otherwise they would never know if they should stay in business or not. The same goes for things that you want. How would you know that you’ve achieved success without some sort of definitive mark telling you that you’ve arrived?

One of the biggest reasons that people don’t succeed is because they never define what success means to them in the first place. How can you know if you’re successful if don’t have a plan? One of the
scariest things to overcome when deciding to make a change in your life is the fear of setting goals. Many of my clients get stuck in this process because of fear. Fear of setting the goal and then the possibility of not reaching it. People interpret that as failure and no one wants to feel like a failure, so it’s easier to just not set the goal in the first place, right? Wrong! Without setting the goal you’re just like a hamster in a wheel. Always spinning to nowhere. If you have nothing to measure your success than there’s never anything to tell you when you’re done. And if you never know when you’re done than everything begins to feel like such a chore and you’re forever beating yourself up for not having gotten the body that you want or the life you want to live.

But there’s one more reason why goals are so important. Knowing that there is an end point makes the struggle to get there so much more manageable.

Goals shouldn’t be feared they should be embraced, because by setting them you actually make your life easier by having something to aim for. If you just keep your eyes on the finish line then no amount of struggling will equal failure, because you’ll keep at it until you get there. There isn’t one successful person out there that doesn’t have goals. Do you think Oprah is getting her own cable network because she just dabbled a little bit here and a little bit there? No way! She definitely had a clear path that she was going down in order to become the megastar that she is. I promise that this is where your success begins.

A good goal is one that is definable and realistic, such as “I want to be able to run a 5k by June”. I’ve stated what I want to do (run), I’ve stated a distance to aim for (5k), I’ve given myself and end date (June), and I’ve made it a realistic goal by giving myself 6 months. By defining the terms I know exactly what I need to do in order to achieve it, and by giving myself 6 months to get there I make it attainable and not too pressure filled. Along the way I may set mini goals (baby steps) in order to help me get there, such as starting with walk/run intervals for the first month and working my way up to running consistently for a full 5k. That way everything becomes way more manageable and I hit mini successes along the way to my larger success. It’s contagious.

Try it. Set a goal for today, something that you’ve been putting off, and see how great you feel once you do it.

Lose Your Excuses

What’s the one thing getting in the way of your success? YOU.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obdd31Q9PqA&feature=player_embedded]

There is no such thing as can’t, there’s only WON’T. And that’s what’s stopping you from seeing the results you want to see and truly changing your life. There’s never going to be the perfect time for you to get started and do the work that’s needed, so stop finding excuses for why you can’t do something and take control of your life. Wake up an hour earlier if you have to, put a band-aid on your blister, work your arms if you have shin-splints, and just stop the whining and complaining. No one is responsible for your life, so stop blaming other things and other people for why you’re failing. You’re failing because you’re not trying hard enough, and maybe you’re not trying hard enough, because you don’t want it badly enough. It’s a harsh reality, but it’s true.

It took me 10 years to get to where I am today, but I’ve never given up. And I know that it’s never over. It’s not that I’m perfect, it’s just a constant striving for success, and with each achievement there’s another one around the corner. There’s always more, because I want to be as far away from where I started as possible. I’ve seen clients completely turn their lives around by taking action and doing their homework, their workouts, and facing their harshest realities, even if it means facing their most intense anxieties and fears. No, it’s not easy, but it’s absolutely worth it, because in the end you’ll get what you want. And if you want it badly enough you’ll make it happen. NOTHING can stop you. Lose your excuses.

Confidence Is What Makes Anything Possible

Happy Friday everyone! I came across this video of a man today and was practically moved to tears. It may seem a bit corny to send this out to you today, but just watch it. We’ve all been in a place at some time or another where we’ve had a dream to do something, or lacked the courage to speak to someone, or just didn’t believe in ourselves. Maybe you feel like that today and if not, you might feel that way a few days or weeks from now. Confidence is the one thing that makes anything possible and it’s what’s going to separate you from the rest of the pack. I hope this video shows you that you should always believe in your ability to conquer yourself.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__Gs02ZmUmE&feature=related

The Only Way Out Of A Tunnel Is Through It

you might even find some amazing things along the way

“By referring to previous struggles and using them as reasons for not getting on with your life today, your assigning responsibility to the past for why you can’t be successful or happy in the present. The more you see yourself as what you’d like to become, and act as if what you want is already there, the more you’ll activate those dormant forces that will collaborate to transform your dream into reality.”

– Dr. Wayne Dyer

I’ve heard from some of my clients in the past that they are afraid to even try to lose weight, because they’ve tried before and failed. They’re afraid of judgement from their friends, because what if they try and don’t succeed, then everyone will look at them as weak, lazy, and having failed. The thing is though, you’re letting the past and everyone else dictate what you can and cannot do. And the only purpose that’s serving is to keep you where you are today, which is overweight, unhappy, and self-conscious. You’re avoiding the pain of failure and replacing it with failure to try. And so you’re still in the same place that you’ve always been and it’s getting you no where near happy.

Don’t let past failure in losing weight have so much control over you and be the reason that you don’t try. Everyone will fail at least once, if not multiple times, on their way towards success. It’s the only way you learn. I’ve “failed” so many times on my way to regaining control over food and eating and I often wanted to just forget the whole thing and not even try, but I realized that I was even more miserable without trying, so suffering the possibility of failure and judgement from others wasn’t as bad. It was the choice between taking the “easy” road of staying sick and depressed, in order to avoid all the painful feelings that would come up, or doing the work to feel comfortable in my body again. The trick for me was to look at these failures as “flops”, rather than something so finite (flop has a softer and friendlier ring to it, don’t you think?). And to come up with my Victory Vision.

I often talk about writing a Victory Vision. This is an honest and heartfelt statement that you write to yourself about the things that frustrate and piss you off about where you are today. Seriously, I want you to get mad when you write this and think about all the things that you feel helpless over and what that’s doing to you. How does it make you feel and how unhappy are you feeling that way? Do you hate how you keep saying that you’re going to stop overeating, but then don’t, or are you upset that food has such a hold over you that it’s the first thing that you run for when you’re lonely or need comforting? Are you sick of living a life of yo-yo dieting and staring at the numbers on the scale or your imperfections in the mirror? What does it feel like to put on a dress and hate the way you look in it? What’s it like going into a dressing room and not being able to find anything that you feel good in? What makes you cry? Do you want to get rid of these things and feel better about yourself and have more confidence? What are these things doing to you mentally, emotionally, and physically? Write it all down and get it out there. Then, using the present tense, as if it were true already, I want you to describe what your life is like after you’ve gotten rid of all these problems. Write about your happiness, your confidence, your strength, and anything else that reaching your goal means to you. Make it as real as possible, so that you’ll want more than anything to get there.

You’re the only one that can change your life, so stop letting the past have such a hold over you. Stop avoiding failure and pain and start tackling these problems, because the only way out of a tunnel is through it.

When There's A Want There's A Way

I want to tell you about my client of the week, “M”. I don’t actually have “a client of the week” thing going on here at Very Personal Training, but if I did, she would be it (hmm, maybe I should start…).

I’ve told you about M before and her amazing perseverance. But this week she brought it to a whole new level and gave the word “conviction” a whole new meaning.

2 weeks ago M. and I had our last session for about 4 weeks. I went to Italy for a week and then when I got back she was going to be away at a resort in Connecticut and then she was to go off to the Jersey Shore for 4th of July week. After that we planned on returning to our usual 5-day-a-week training routine. Yesterday though, M. called me, sounding so refreshed and alive, asking if I had any time available to train with her today. Immediately I got worried and asked if she had canceled her trip to the shore. I was nervous that she had a bad time at the resort and needed to get back on track. Instead though, she said that she had a fabulous time and had actually met with a trainer at the resort for 7 out of the 10 days that she was away and that she was home for 2 days between vacations and just wanted to keep the momentum going.

I was beyond thrilled! I had planned on taking today off, but when I heard she actually WANTED to train and was pushing herself so hard I jumped to schedule a session. You might think that just because she trains 5 days a week with me that this is a no brainer for her, but that’s not the case. She has to push herself to get to me every single one of those 5 days and she does (even when she has food poisoning), because she is determined to keep the depression at bay, take the last 10-15 pounds off (which she is succeeding at), and sleep well at night. For her, this is medicine and as hard as it is she never ever gives up and always pushes herself harder.

This is what it means to really give it your all, be consistent, and keep on fighting no matter what. There are no excuses with her ever, no whining, and no complaints.

When I opened the door this morning she looked like she just woke up (because she did). She overslept, but still managed to jump out of bed, put her clothes on, and make it here. I didn’t get a phone call from her trying to reschedule or cancel and she had such a bright smile on her face. Because she knew that she was right where she should be.

Take this lesson from a 65-year-old cancer surviving woman. If you want to succeed at your goals, first you need to know what they are. After that, it’s all about consistency and perseverance. There are no shortcuts and there are definitely no excuses. Do not let anything ever stop you.

When There’s A Want There’s A Way

I want to tell you about my client of the week, “M”. I don’t actually have “a client of the week” thing going on here at Very Personal Training, but if I did, she would be it (hmm, maybe I should start…).

I’ve told you about M before and her amazing perseverance. But this week she brought it to a whole new level and gave the word “conviction” a whole new meaning.

2 weeks ago M. and I had our last session for about 4 weeks. I went to Italy for a week and then when I got back she was going to be away at a resort in Connecticut and then she was to go off to the Jersey Shore for 4th of July week. After that we planned on returning to our usual 5-day-a-week training routine. Yesterday though, M. called me, sounding so refreshed and alive, asking if I had any time available to train with her today. Immediately I got worried and asked if she had canceled her trip to the shore. I was nervous that she had a bad time at the resort and needed to get back on track. Instead though, she said that she had a fabulous time and had actually met with a trainer at the resort for 7 out of the 10 days that she was away and that she was home for 2 days between vacations and just wanted to keep the momentum going.

I was beyond thrilled! I had planned on taking today off, but when I heard she actually WANTED to train and was pushing herself so hard I jumped to schedule a session. You might think that just because she trains 5 days a week with me that this is a no brainer for her, but that’s not the case. She has to push herself to get to me every single one of those 5 days and she does (even when she has food poisoning), because she is determined to keep the depression at bay, take the last 10-15 pounds off (which she is succeeding at), and sleep well at night. For her, this is medicine and as hard as it is she never ever gives up and always pushes herself harder.

This is what it means to really give it your all, be consistent, and keep on fighting no matter what. There are no excuses with her ever, no whining, and no complaints.

When I opened the door this morning she looked like she just woke up (because she did). She overslept, but still managed to jump out of bed, put her clothes on, and make it here. I didn’t get a phone call from her trying to reschedule or cancel and she had such a bright smile on her face. Because she knew that she was right where she should be.

Take this lesson from a 65-year-old cancer surviving woman. If you want to succeed at your goals, first you need to know what they are. After that, it’s all about consistency and perseverance. There are no shortcuts and there are definitely no excuses. Do not let anything ever stop you.