July Health & Fitness Challenge!!

In case you are unfamiliar with me and my coaching, I do a challenge every month in my FREE Health and Fitness group. The first three months went really well in terms of participation, and then this past month the challenge had a lot less participants. Instead of coming up with something myself, I thought that I would put it out to all of you!

What kinds of challenges would you find beneficial? It needs to be something that just about anyone could do. For example, the bootcamps I have done in the past had 4 workouts per week to complete MINIMUM and a simple meal plan to follow. The step challenge that we did simply required each participant to wear a fitbit and report back to me with all of their steps each week. Our biggest loser challenge required participants to access the Beachbody On Demand FREE Trial for the month. These are all things that pretty much anyone could do, without requiring a gym membership or expensive equipment.

The idea that I came up with for July is a YouTube Challenge. I am always pulling cool workout videos off of YouTube and sharing them in the group as a weekly challenge anyways, so I thought it might be fun to make it a theme for the month! If you vote on this challenge, I would put together a schedule of Beachbody based workouts found on YouTube to be completed throughout the month. Each week I would post the schedule for the upcoming week.

So far, the only other suggestion is to repeat the step challenge! If you have any other ideas, you need to go and request to join our group. Once approved for membership, you will be able to vote for your favorite idea, or submit a new idea for consideration!

Please let me know ASAP if you are interested in participating in this challenge.

My client Kassie and her amazing transformation!

Normally I don’t do this, but I asked Kassie for her permission to share her results here on my blog. This woman has worked her butt off with me, figuratively AND literally, for the past three and a half months.

Much like myself when I started, Kassie had no pictures of herself at her largest size. The photo you see there on the left isn’t even a true reflection of how far she had come, because she didn’t have a recent photo to utilize. Kassie came to me after having given birth to two babies over a period of 15 months, and she really wanted to get serious about her
weight loss journey.

Kassie started with me for my March Bikini Bootcamp, stuck with me through my April 11427194_399142830271762_4385147215304082693_nBikini Bootcamp, and then went on to participate (and WIN) my May Step Challenge. She has also been participating in my June Biggest Loser challenge, and has continued to lose weight!! Since starting with me back in March, Kassie has lost a total of 48 pounds, and she shows no sign of stopping anytime soon!

As the winner of my May Step Challenge, Kassie took home the 21 Day Fix Extreme fitness and nutrition program. She is in her first week of that program, and I cannot wait to see how she makes out with this challenge. I could not be happier to have such a dedicated and positive person to work with, and I am really proud of Kassie for everything that she has accomplished.

If you could benefit from a support system and a place where you can be held accountable turn to for motivation, you are welcome to join my FREE Health and Fitness group! We do monthly challenges, and we are actually in the process of voting right now for the theme of July. Head over and request to join if you would like to kickstart your own health and fitness challenge!

How to be a winner

So what if you’ve started and stopped you health and fitness journey many times over. Who cares if you’ve tried every diet out there, and failed to stick with it every time. Does it really matter that you’ve tried every weight loss remedy, pill, wrap, or drink on the market and still not gotten to where you want to be?

No. It does not matter what happened in the past, so long as you DO NOT allow it to impact your future in a negative way. Instead, LEARN from those errors. Use the mistakes that you’ve made in the past to fuel your fire and keep you moving forward in the present. Don’t allow your past failures to cloud your judgment and make you believe that you aren’t strong enough to do this, because you are.

You really just have to keep pushing yourself to dust yourself off and try again day in and day out. Keep trying to get through your workouts, and keep trying to stay on track with your nutrition. Each day you will get better, and it will get easier. As you build strength you’ll accomplish more, and it will build your confidence back up.

Only when you begin to believe in yourself, and to allow yourself to think positive thoughts of your success instead of negative thoughts of failure, will you be able to keep yourself on track.

Interest VS Commitment

I have been running challenges in my free health and fitness group for the past three months, and I’ve noticed a common theme. It is really unfortunate, but what I have noticed is a steady decline in participants over time. I keep a spreadsheet for each week with a record of participants and their results for the week, and each week of a program I see fewer and fewer names on that list. The very first time I did a challenge, it was almost overwhelming with the amount of people that were interested in participating. At the end of the month, we had less than HALF of the original participants still in the group.

“There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in something, you do it only when it’s convenient. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses; only results.” ― Kenneth H. Blanchard

With my latest challenge, I had a decent number of people demonstrate interest. However, when it came time to follow through, I’ve only had a few people stick to their commitment. We live in a world where it is easy to make commitments over Facebook, and even easier to blow off those commitments just as fast as you make them. I wanted to make this post for anyone that demonstrated interest in any of my challenges, but failed to follow through – or even just anyone in general who has committed and failed to follow through on any health and fitness journey.

If you made that initial commitment, you need to know that there was a REASON. On some level, you felt as though getting involved in health and fitness could help you or improve your life in some way. Maybe you’ve read my story, and it inspired you to want to do something for yourself. Maybe you’ve been feeling down because you’ve put on some weight. Whatever the case may be, there was a reason that you felt compelled to participate in a health and fitness challenge.

If this sounds at all familiar, I challenge YOU to start thinking about your reason. Dig deep, and try to figure out your internal struggles that may have been driving your desire to participate in a health and fitness challenge. If you can figure out your “why”, you can begin to use that as motivation to follow through on your commitment to health and fitness.

For all the ladies out there living in a man’s world.

Normally I like to avoid all drama and controversy, but I honestly feel as though this is something that needs to be said.

It has recently been brought to my attention that there have been things being said about me behind my back with respect to my appearance, and I know that I am not alone. This kind of thing happens every single day, to thousands of women around the world. It is honestly baffling to me that people can be so catty and cruel over something so trivial. Why do we care about the height of the shoes someone is wearing, or the fact that someone wears makeup in an office of people that typically don’t wear much makeup? Unfortunately, we live in a world where it isn’t easy to just be yourself and do what makes you happy – because someone will always be there to try and bring you down.

I’ve noticed that both women and men alike are guilty of this kind of negative behaviour, so it is not just any one gender. Agree or disagree, that is your prerogative. However, these are my thoughts:

Ladies; If a woman takes pride in her appearance, wears makeup, dresses well, wears heels, whatever the case may be; it by no means correlates to her being sexually promiscuous. Sure, some people that do those things probably would fall into that category. However, I know from personal experience that it is quite possible for someone to NOT be a “slut” and to still take pride in their appearance. In my case, I do it because I lost 60 pounds. I am confident again and I feel better about myself, so I like to demonstrate that in the way that I carry myself and the way that I dress. The moral of the story here is that until you take the time to get to know a person, you have no right to make snap judgments about them based solely on appearance. I know, it is cliche, but you should not judge a book by its cover. We, as women, need to STOP the judging and bringing each other down. There are enough men out there in the world that take care of that for us lol. Instead, we need to be raising each other up. We need to be a positive force in each others’ lives, and start being there for one another. Life is not a competition, nobody has to win or lose, so lose the edge and just LIVE.

Gentlemen; If a woman takes pride in her appearance, wears makeup, dresses well, wears heels, whatever the case may be; it does NOT mean that they are dressed that way to get your attention or approval, nor does it mean that you automatically have the go-ahead to push yourself onto her in any way. Honestly, I don’t go out to clubs very often, but when I do I usually find myself getting annoyed with at least one man who thinks that it is his god given right to lay a hand on me just because I am dressed nicely and at a club. It actually infuriates me to have a stranger come up from behind me and start grinding on me at a club. I just don’t understand the notion that it is okay to grind on a total stranger without at least introducing yourself and saying “Hey, do you want to dance?”. Six simple words – how hard is that? I’m sorry, but contrary to common belief, not every woman at a bar is there to find a man to sleep with. Some of us actually go just to dance, have a good time, and blow off some steam with some friends. Once again I revert back to the cliche, because you do not know the story behind every woman. My story involves a significant amount of weight loss. The other day I was talking to a guy, and somehow we got on the topic of appearance. I learned that he actually thought that the only reason women dress well or do their hair and makeup nicely was to please men! WRONG. Once again, obviously there will be exceptions to this and there will be women out there that do those things to please a man. However, in a lot of cases, we do it for ourselves.

For example, I didn’t lose a bunch of weight to please a man. I lost that weight because I was sick of living with depression and isolating myself from the world and everyone around me. I wanted to take my life back, regain my confidence, and start truly LIVING. I do not NEED a man, and as women, none of us do. We are strong, and we can get by without a man. In today’s society, I feel like more and more women are reverting back to old traditions and relying on men to take care of them; so much so that they are staying in dead end relationships. I am a firm believer in true love. I have zero interest in staying in a relationship with someone if I know that it is going nowhere, because it isn’t fair to you or the other person to keep pretending. Sometimes the hardest choice is actually the right choice, and though it isn’t easy to leave a bad relationship, sometimes it is exactly what you need to find yourself again.

I apologize for a bit of a rant, but I have been thinking a lot lately about these kinds of things and I felt as though I needed to get it off of my chest. I wish I knew where chivalry had gone, because I want it back! Drama and cattiness has been around for ages, and I doubt that will change anytime soon. However, if this message reaches even just one man or woman and helps him or her to change their behaviour in a more positive light – it has served its purpose.

Be kind to one another, because you never know what a person could be going through.

How to Stay Motivated!

I know how hard it can be to stay on track with a health and fitness journey, and I have fallen off the wagon many times myself. It is HARD. If it were easy, everyone would be doing. It isn’t impossible though, and you just have to decide that you’re going to do this so that you can create a better life for yourself and those around you. You DESERVE to be healthy, happy, and confident! I found this photo online, and I thought that it was a great little tip for anyone trying to keep themselves on track with a health and fitness journey. It is also a great place to start if you’re thinking about making these positive life changes, because it allows you to prepare in advance to engage in positive self-motivating behaviours.

The first point says to take it one day at a time, which is great advice with respect to your nutrition and workouts. Tracking is crucial. Each day, you should track what you did. For your nutrition, you should track everything that you put into your mouth. I personally like to create a template of what I’m going to eat the next day a night in advance. It is MUCH easier to rearrange things to hit your macro ratios when you do this in advance, because once you’ve already eaten something, you can’t take it off your journal. Tracking is made SUPER simple with myfitnesspal, which even has handy apps for smartphones and tablets. Click here to learn more about tracking and macro ratios. In addition to tracking food, it is important to track what you do with your workouts. Once you complete a workout and have the number of reps you did on each exercise and what weight you used, you will then know what to do the next time you do that workout. It also helps to show you when you should move up in weight, and allows you to track your progress over time. Click here to learn about my tracking challenge.

Surrounding yourself with positivity is a big one. It is important that you spend time with people who lift you up instead of bring you down. Try to surround yourself with positive people who support your positive life choices. If you hang out with people that constantly bring you down, it is going to hamper your progress. Sometimes people close to you can even be unsupportive of your new shift to a healthier lifestyle and try to bring you down to their level. In many cases, they aren’t doing this to hurt you, but they see themselves reflected in your positive choices and don’t like what they see. They’ll realize that they should be making these changes too, but they don’t want to, so their subconscious tries to sabotage you and get things back to normal. This can be especially hard if it happens to be a spouse, living partner, or loved one. Click here to read more on this topic and what you can do if you find yourself in this situation.

One thing that you can do to help keep you focused is create a vision board. I actually put out a challenge to my health and fitness group a while back where I asked them to do this, so I won’t get into too much detail on this subject here. Essentially what this means is that you think in depth about where you are currently, and where you would like to end up. Then you create a board of all of the things you want to do when you achieve your goals, what you will look like when you achieve your goals, what is important to you and your family, things like that. If you’d like to take on this challenge, click here to read about it.

SMART with respect to goal setting is actually an acronym. The acronym stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. I won’t get into too much detail here, because I actually have a blog post dedicated to this topic already. Click here if you would like to learn more about SMART and how it applies to your health and fitness goals.

One thing that helps many people stay on track is to reward themselves for achieving their goals. Some people find it helpful to reward themselves with a cheat meal at the end of each successful month. A healthier way to do this is to treat yourself to a new outfit. You could even just keep a jar in your workout area where you deposit a dollar for each workout that you do, and then when you hit your goal you can spend that money on something important to you. Maybe a spa day, who knows, that’s totally up to you! Be proud of all the small steps toward your larger goal, and allow yourself to be excited over those smaller successes.

Having belief in yourself is HUGE. It is really important that you believe that you can do it, because if you allow yourself to start thinking that you can’t do it, your thoughts will become a self-fulfilling prophecy and you will quit before you achieve your goals. If you’re struggling with something, tell yourself in your head that you can do it, even if you aren’t sure. Positive mental talk repeated over time will go a long way to helping you achieve your goals. Even if you can’t do something right away, there are all kinds of ways to modify moves. You just have to do what you can until you gain strength to do more.

Continuing from the last point, it is also super important that you don’t focus in on what you can’t do or the things you don’t like about yourself. Instead, focus on everything that you can do, the progress you’ve made, and the things that you do like about yourself. If you focus on the negative, you’ll never get anywhere. In order to be successful on your health and fitness journey, you have got to make an effort to shift into a more positive mental mindset. If you’re working out regularly and you’ve seeing results, this should happen naturally if you follow the advice in this article.

With this next point, the tracking I discussed above will really come in handy when it comes time to recognize your progress. It really helps to have a record of where you started versus where you are now, and seeing that progress firsthand can be really motivating. This can be in the form of a food journal, exercise charts showing progress over time with reps and weight increases, progress pictures, weight, measurements, etc. Any and all of these things will help you to recognize the progress that you’ve made along your health and fitness journey, and you should focus on that success. It doesn’t matter if you are still a long way off from your larger goal, and you shouldn’t let that discourage you from continuing. As I said before, focus on the positive!

One thing that helps a lot of people when it comes to staying motivated is to visualize themselves achieving their goals. So in this instance, you would sit down and relax while thinking about what you’ll look like when you achieve your goal. Think about what you will do when you achieve your goal and how it will impact your life and the lives of those closest to you. It may help for you to refer back to your vision board for ideas before you do this, and you can even update your vision board over time as you think of new ideas.

Another really important factor to staying motivated is to be kind to yourself. This may sound silly, but it really is crucial. If you are always down on yourself, pointing out all of your flaws, mentally criticizing yourself, et cetera you should focus on shifting to a more positive mental mindset. If you’re unable to do that on your own, you should find someone that you trust to talk to, or consider seeking professional help. If you are suffering from depression, you may find that cardio helps. I have never personally been diagnosed as clinically depressed, but I was going through a really tough time in the years leading up to making the shift to a healthier lifestyle. I was engaging in a lot of self-bashing, and I criticized my every flaw in the mirror. This behaviour wasn’t healthy. When I started doing Turbo Fire, a high intensity interval training program that focuses on cardio, I found a significant improvement in my mental mindset. I’m by no means a doctor or an expert, so I cannot say that this will work for everyone. However, based on my own experience, I think it is a great place to start.

Lastly, DO NOT compare yourself to others. Especially those who have been exercising and eating clean for a long period of time. I struggle with this a bit myself sometimes because I have a lot of friends that do fitness competitions. You have to remember that those people worked hard for a long time to get to where they are, while you may be somewhere in the beginning stages of your journey. Everyone is different, and we all go through different things. The weight loss process is not the same from everybody, and comparing yourself to someone else is only going to hurt you in the long run.

I hope you found this article on how to stay motivated to be helpful, but if you have any questions, feel free to send them my way! If you have been considering making some positive changes with respect to health and fitness and you just aren’t sure where to start, you are invited to join my FREE Health and Fitness group.

Make S.M.A.R.T. Goals

There are five factors to smart goal setting that will make you much more likely to achieve success with your goals. The word SMART is actually an acronym, and it stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant/realistic, and timely.

First of all, your goals should be specific. Anyone can say “I want to lose weight”, but not follow through. If you say “I want to lose 30 pounds in the next 3 months by eating clean and workout out at least 5 days a week” you have a MUCH better chance of achieving your goal. To get specific, you should refer to your vision board and think about where you are versus where you want to be. You should start thinking about how you’re going to achieve your goal and come up with a specific plan to follow, and then think about the five w’s (where, what, when, why, and who – as in with whom will you be working with on this journey) It helps to have someone do this with you, so I highly recommend finding a partner.

Next your goals should be measurable. This means keeping track of things. I discussed above tracking nutrition and exercise, but you should also keep track of weight and measurements. Do your weight and measurements in the morning after you’ve been to the bathroom and before you’ve eaten food. This is the best time to get an accurate answer, while if you wait until later in the day your food and water intake may have bloated you out a bit and added a bit of extra weight to the scale that shouldn’t be there. Also keep track of your clothing size, because it will feel great to know where you started and where you ended up. Lastly, and arguably most importantly, TAKE PICTURES!! Weight and measurements can sometimes be super discouraging because your progress doesn’t always reflect in the numbers. This can happen as you put on muscle, which is denser than fat. This causes your body to shrink while your weight may seem to stay the same or only lower slightly. Pictures are my favorite way of tracking progress.

Sometimes people aim a bit too high, and that is why it is important that your goals are attainable. Have you ever made a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight, spent a couple of weeks working out almost every day and following through on your nutrition, and then phased out? A lot of people have, myself included. Where did we go wrong? We expected to see awesome results in a very short amount of time doing something that is not necessarily sustainable. Going from no exercise and diet to exercise daily and all diet is a huge transition. When you embark on a health and fitness journey, you need to realize that the weight wasn’t put on overnight, and it certainly is not going to come off overnight. It will take time and effort to achieve your goals, so you need to pick a workout plan and a nutrition plan that is going to be sustainable over time.

Next is to ensure that your goal is relevant/realistic, and this is where you really need to evaluate your goal to find out if this is something that is really important to you. If you determine that it is, you need to think about the reason behind it – because that will come in handy later if you start to feel yourself slipping and losing motivation. You need to figure out the root of the reason you want this if you’re going to stick with it, otherwise you won’t mentally associate it as being a priority. Once you realize that this is important to you and you figure out the primary reason that is driving you to do this in the first place, your next step is to assess that specific goal plan that you created to determine if it can help get you to where you want to be with respect to health and fitness. Your goal also has to be realistic. You can’t set a goal to lose 100 pounds in one month, because that would be setting yourself up for failure. Choose a goal that is realistic and attainable, and it will give you motivation to keep pushing. Too many people set goals they can’t achieve, and then they give up because they get frustrated. You can avoid that from the beginning simply by setting realistic goals.

Lastly, your goal should be timely. Deadlines are great for getting people to move their butts into action, and you should definitely use that to your advantage. If your goal is to lose 30 pounds in 3 months, you can break that up into smaller increments and set a goal to lose 10 pounds each month. You could even break it up further and set a goal to lose 5 pounds every 2 weeks. This helps you to focus on small goals little by little. Each time you hit one of your smaller goals, you’ll be excited to be inching closer to your larger goal, and it will give you motivation to keep moving forward.

I hope you found this article on goal setting to be useful, but if you have any questions, feel free to send them my way! If you have been considering making some positive changes with respect to health and fitness and you just aren’t sure where to start, you are invited to join my FREE Health and Fitness group.

Couch to 5K

I don’t know about anyone else, but I always thought that I just didn’t have it in me to be a runner. It didn’t happen often, but once in a while I’d be having a good day and I’d be full of energy, so I’d decide to go for a run. One time I was so hopped up on energy after a kickboxing workout that I ran almost all the way to the bottom of my street (and my street is actually pretty long lol), only to turn around and realize that the only reason I made it all the way to the bottom without stopping was because it was all downhill. Let’s just say the trek back up took twice as long, and most of it was NOT spent running lol.

I also have this issue where sometimes cardio would cause me so much trouble with my breathing that my throat would get this burning sensation and it would feel as though my throat was closing off. Because of bad experiences like the one above, and the breathing difficulties, I decided that I just sucked at running and I focused my efforts on other forms of exercise. After working out for a while with my Beachbody programs, I decided to give running another shot. What I discovered was that I actually CAN run, it was just that I was out of shape before. I am guessing that this is the case for the vast majority of people out there that say they could never run!

I have decided to start the Couch to 5K program because I would really love to improve upon my running skills. Today marked the start of my 7 week program, and I would love to invite all of you out there reading this to join me. Even if you think “well, I’d like to… but, I don’t think I could do it”, I want you to give it a shot. You only have to commit to three workouts a week, and for the first few weeks it is just 20 minute workouts! It is not all running either! To condition your body for running, you actually would be doing walking and jogging intervals to build yourself up for longer runs. Over time the runs will get longer, and the walking intervals will get shorter.

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Click Here if you are interested in joining me on this journey, and request to join my FREE Health and Fitness group. This is where we will be discussing all things related to the challenge, plus it is where you’ll find access to a wide range of health and fitness information. I hope to see you in the group!

Please don’t pass up on this out of fear – because I truly believe that you can do it.

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What was your excuse again?

As I was catching up on the Dancing with the Stars premiere show, I was absolutely dumbfounded by one of the performances. Noah Galloway is a true inspiration for people all over the world. Not only is he a true hero, but he shows us all what it means to persevere through hardships and do things that nobody ever thought possible.

This performance actually made me tear up, and it really made me appreciate everything that I have taken for granted. It is a true blessing to be able to exercise on a daily basis, and he has had to learn how to do it without two of his limbs. If he can do that, the majority of the people out there saying “I can’t do that” for whatever reason – can do it too.

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right” Henry Ford  

I love this quote, and I think it is perfect here. Noah says in his highlight reel that what he lacks in limbs, he plans to make up for with hard work and determination. THAT is what it takes. Stop thinking you can’t do things, and start telling yourself that you can do things if you work hard enough! It might take a lot of practice, but eventually you can get there.

“You got hot!”

Believe it or not, the changes in your physical appearance only represent a small percentage of the positive effects that you experience from regular exercise and clean eating. More important than appearance is the improvement in your health, self-confidence, self-worth, self-esteem, and a shift to a more positive mindset in general.

However, it does feel REALLY good to run into someone that you knew before you lost the weight and hear them say how great you look. Getting that positive feedback from someone who actually knew you when you were heavier really reinforces all of the hard work that you put in to lose the weight in the first place. You will then be motivated to continue on with whatever it was that you were doing to lose weight!

Click Here if you’re ready to maximize your weight loss potential and commit to a program!