Trainer Blog

Your daily habits define who you are…

The things that you consistently do on a daily basis determine your body’s shape, strength and stamina, as well as many other things.

You can look at it any which way you want, but ultimately, that’s it! Nothing else matters as much as those daily habits.

The problem is that most of us have bursts of fitness motivation, when we eat well and workout hard for a short time…but then the motivation wears off and we go back to our daily habits. That familiar routine that gives us comfort and security.

Your only focus, when it comes to finally shaping up (for good) should be to make and keep a handful of healthy,daily habits. When these healthy habits become your comfortable routine, then you’ve hit fitness gold.

This is great news for two reasons:

  1. First, when you do something habitually it no longer requires a lot of brain power or motivation to get it done. It pretty much happens automatically. So once you’ve settled into your new daily habits, you’ll easily maintain them.
  2. Second, once your daily habits have been around long enough to begin to transform your body, you get to give up the exhausting psychological and emotional struggle of trying to “lose weight”. That quest, which has taken up so much of your time and mental energy, can finally be put to rest, leaving you time and capacity to go out and enjoy your life. Once you’ve achieved that ever-allusive feeling of self worth and security, the ride has just begun. Now the fun really begins.

So today, take a few moments to determine which healthy, daily habits you will begin to include in your daily life, and continue to prompt yourself to do these until it becomes automatic and comfortable. While each and every one of you have unique situations and abilities, here is a general list of ideas of healthy daily habits to get you started…

  • Daily resistance training workout – same time each day.
  • Daily cardio bonus workout (walk, jog, bike etc) – same time each day.
  • Daily protein shake to replace breakfast or lunch.
  • Daily water drinking – bring your water bottle with you.
  • Daily green drink.
  • Daily salad at one meal (maybe lunch?).
  • Daily bonus push-ups at home.

Go on, get working on your own personal list of daily fitness habits. Make these realistic actions that you could fit into your daily life, and watch as your body effortlessly, naturally transforms over the next several weeks. Contact us to see how much these habits (and others) can really facilitate a key role in your overall, personal success.

Quick note for you overachievers: resist the urge to commit to difficult or extreme daily habits. You aren’t having one of your fitness bursts right now, that fizzle out shortly – these habits are meant for the long run. So instead of saying that you’ll run 6 miles each day, only commit to 2 miles. Do those 2 miles ever day for a few months and you’ll see the value and truly life-changing powers of a daily habit. It takes time for them to settle in. It’s the consistency, not the effort or duration, that matters most.

If I Were the King of the Forest

Katie’s Corner – It seems one of the concerns that I’ve been hearing over and over again in the past few weeks is that people fear they are not good enough. Whether it’s that they are not able to do a certain exercise to the full range of motion or they are intimidated to try a new class, it seems to have become a recurring theme as of late, and I’m not sure why. Regardless, I do think it’s important to address, as there are likely many others who keep their insecurities to themselves.

The other day, a friend coincidentally sent me a quote, quite apropos, which reads, “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” Of course, we all know that Thomas Edison was as persistent as they come, but he was human and therefore also feasibly suffered much fear of failure. And yet he invented one of the greatest, most widely used creations on earth.

One thing we forget—or maybe don’t even realize—is how much courage it takes to walk into a gym or studio, not just the first time, but also the third, and 53rd, and 123rd. Every time you walk through the door to the studio, you’re saying, “I’m not giving up. I’m going to try. And I don’t care who’s watching.” This week, celebrate your courageousness. Your courage to put one foot in front of the other is the very thing that is going to lead you to success.

Replace your Toothbrush

Every year, we painstakingly set and commit ourselves to New Year’s Resolutions, which most frequently are forgotten by the end of the month of January, only to be remembered again in a post-holiday haze of guilt. And so begins the habitual cycle of setting ourselves up for failure. The system seems broken to me, and I’ve learned that if a pattern isn’t working, a change is needed. So I have an idea that’s simple but, more importantly, doable in order to keep you (and me) on track for sustained success.

It’s probably no big news to you that The American Dental Association recommends that we replace our toothbrushes once every three to four months because of inevitable bacteria buildup and wear on the bristles. This is a pretty common fact that you likely learned at an early age, so you may be wondering why I’m bringing in up in a Katie’s Corner and what relevance it has to you. Well, my proposal is this: every time you replace your toothbrush, you also reflect and reevaluate your behaviors, actions, and goals in your own life. Because of the daily grind and regular life occurrences, checking in with oneself on a daily—and even weekly—basis seems daunting and nearly impossible to do. But checking in once every three to four months is much more achievable and frankly, I think, a much healthier way of pondering desired goals and perceived shortcomings.

Try it out. Replace your toothbrush…and then reevaluate your expectations of yourself. Are you accomplishing what you want to accomplish? Have you reached the goals that you’ve set for yourself? If so, great! Treat yourself to a (healthy) reward. If not, modify your approach so that you’re able to reach your goal within the next three months. I know I’m due for a new toothbrush soon. Are you?

Time for a Summer Shape-up

It’s that time of year again! No more excuses and no more halfway doing it. You’ve got to go all out to look and feel your best, just in time for Summer. But before you set up shop in the corner doing 3.7 million sit-ups, you should know that as helpful as it is to have a strong core for overall health, there are much more effective ways to get the results that you crave.

FITNESS
What you need is a full-body exercise routine that really gets your heart pumping. That means on top of a solid foundation of strength-training exercises, you’ll want to pile on plenty of high intensity cardio exercises to really jump-start your metabolism. Try a class that takes you out of your comfort zone or sit down with one of our health & fitness specialists for a complimentary consultation. We’d be happy to help you develop a routine that makes the most sense for you and your schedule.

NUTRITION
Food journaling is a critical component to weight management. Documenting what you eat throughout the day makes you more accountable for the choices you make. The simple action of tracking your food intake is a constant reminder that you are choosing to pay attention to your health and well-being. In time, you’ll start to understand where your calories are coming from and the nutritional balance of your meals and snacks. This knowledge will make it easier to make the necessary changes to your diet and lifestyle. Then, if your stomach is upset, you feel unusually tired or sluggish, bloated, unsatisfied, etc., you can look back and see which foods made you feel this way.

Follow this link to set up an online food journal through MyFitnessPal!

The Art of Reflection

It always amazes me the things that I remember from my childhood. I joke around that I don’t remember anything before age 12. Although slightly true, the more I reflect — the more that comes back. So why are those memories suppressed? Things happen and things change so fast that we’re forced to react. For me personally, I think it’s more of a protective response. If I uncover those memories, it becomes increasingly more difficult to embrace the change that’s taken place as time has taken it’s toll.

Three days ago, I was on the Cape celebrating my 25th birthday with those closest to me. My family went out to dinner to our favorite restaurant – who are we kidding, the foods not even that good. Anyways, I look around the table and see all of the same people, but it doesn’t feel the same. Sure, my dad’s still cracking crab legs for everyone, my mom’s still cracking jokes, and everyone is happy to be together. But, we’re all so different. My sister is in high school, about ready to start driving, my grandfather is half asleep (maybe not so different), and my Nana is sitting in her wheel chair.I look down at my grandmother repeatedly and she’s smiling ear-to-ear, just because I’m “home” for the day. It means the world to her. As she sits there looking so fragile and so worn, I can’t help but think about what a strong woman she was, always there to support all of us. Many of my best childhood memories are centered around her. I was the favorite and I called her my best friend (still do). I used to sleep over every Friday night and she’d cook pancakes for me in the morning. I’d see her almost every day– so active, so caring, and so full of life.Recently, life has gotten in the way and it was my first time back since right around the Holidays. I was happy to see everyone, but sad recounting old memories. It’s certainly easier (for me at least) to trudge forward, rather than to reflect back. But, what good does that do?

Here I am, just days later, back on Cape — but this time alone in a hospital waiting room. It’s 4AM and eerily quiet on the floor. My grandmother lies in the next unit, on life support, and completely sedated. There’s no telling if she’ll wake up and how she’ll be when she does. With each passing day, leading up to this most recent event, she was losing fragments of herself — physically, mentally, emotionally. The aging process is difficult for someone like me — who can’t reflect — who can’t absorb or truly understand how quickly things can change. I can, however, recognize that there are some parts of her that will always be there, that will always stay with me. Every day, sometimes 3, 4, 5 times she’ll call from her chair at home.

“Hey Honey, it’s only me; call me when you get a chance”.

Hundreds of voicemails… Always wondering how I’m doing, always from “only her” or “just Nan”. She lived her life for all of us, and that was enough for her.

As time pushes on, once more I’m forced to reflect. How can I lead a life that’s meaningful to me, yet purposeful at the same time? I can’t change what’s thrown at me and I certainly can’t slow things down. But, I can alter my approach. I can choose to reflect back, rather than to push through. I can choose to enjoy the little moments, instead of getting saddened by them. I can choose to spend time with those that matter most, because that is what matter’s most to me, deep down. I can take these lessons from my grandmother with me for the rest of my life, cherish them, and truly be the best person I can be.

Then I’ll know, like Nana, that I lived a good life.

7 Ways to Boost your Burn… Just in Time for Summer!

Boost Your Burn #1: Track Everything
Counting calories, weighing out food portions, and keeping tabs on how far and fast you run isn’t the most exciting thing to do. But if you want to be as efficient as you can be, you need to do it, at least for some time. Without tracking your intake and outtake, you will never be able to figure out the weaknesses in your fat-burning program. Once you grow accustomed to keeping track, it becomes very rewarding when you have a good day. And since you live in the 21st century, tracking the amount of fat you consume and burn is made easier thanks to all sorts of electronic devices and apps. So make use of those that make the most sense to you and stay on top of your calorie-burning game. If you need suggestions, we’re here to help.

#2: Power Up with Protein 
Every time you eat a meal, try and toss some protein in for good measure. Whether you go with lean chicken or beef, beans, lentils, or Greek yogurt, plugging protein into every meal helps your body stay full and fueled. When you keep protein in your system, it’s much easier to say no to whatever unhealthy temptation comes your way. It’s a great way to boost the metabolism, as well!#3: Eat and Work OutYou don’t want to gorge yourself on everything you can shove into your mouth before working out, but eating a bit beforehand can work wonders. With a protein-rich snack 90 minutes prior to working out, you’ll find yourself to be more focused and better able to push your body harder and longer than usual, leading to faster fat burning success.#4: Forget Your Weight

This may seem contrary to popular belief, but if you really want to push through those troubling, frustrating phases, you’re going to need to ignore what the scale says. When the goal is burning fat and toning up, you’re going to want to add muscle, which, of course, weighs more than fat. Aside from that, there are so many other factors that can influence your weight on a daily and weekly basis that it’s often truly best to leave this one alone.

#5: Resistance Train

Since you read the last tip, you probably saw this one coming. If you’ve been frustrated by your weight fluctuations and plateaus in the past, you may want to consider more of a structured strength training routine. That doesn’t mean you have to become a professional body builder or push yourself until you can bench press a small car. What it does mean is that you need to include weights and strength training as part of your overall program, a few days a week. If you’re new to lifting weights, reach out to us and we’ll assess your goals and get you on a program that’s just right for you.

#6: Go Green

It may seem like magic, but green tea is rumored to aid in fat burning. Actually, the connection between drinking green tea and burning more calories is well documented in research. It may be a great alternative to all of that coffee you’re drinking!

#7: Change It Up

Been eating the same stuff and doing the same workout routine for a few months? Not seen any change along the waist line? Then your body may be asking for some variety. Changing up your exercise routine on occasion will work your body in new ways, forcing it to respond accordingly. So if your weight loss has plateaued, variety will get the burn heated up once again.

Remember that the most effective fat burn comes as the result of a consistent and challenging exercise program. Call or email today to get started on an exercise program that will change your life forever!

Oh, to be a kid again!

One of the hardest things about getting older is losing the drive to play and joke around like a child. Luckily, it comes somewhat naturally to me, so when have the opportunity, my kid center is readily accessible. When was the last time you acted like a kid? Innovation and physical dexterity can actually improve when we do this, so why do we often stifle our silliness? Often, I’m afraid, we’re too worried about what other people will think about us or we even think it’s inappropriate. Both of these are many times true for me.
Each week, I mentor a 10 year old girl by playing active games with her. It requires planning, for sure, but I’m frequently surprised how much the games morph once we let loose and let our imaginations take over. So far, we’ve created memory games and obstacle courses, mimicking activities and animal-inspired relays. It’s even helped me in creating new ways to interact with my adult clients and group classes.Your challenge this week: unlock and unleash your inner child. Skip, jump, run, sing, and be silly, even if (and especially if) it’s by yourself. Dance around your kitchen while making dinner, and turn the music up loud and belt out that new Imagine Dragons song on your way to work. Don’t let anyone stop you, and I guarantee, you’ll end up with a huge grin on your face.

One last anecdote—today, while doing yard work, I had an urge to run across the yard with an empty wheelbarrow. So I did. And do you know how freakin’ fun it is to run across the yard with a wheelbarrow? Really stinkin’ fun.

Experience Your Food

When I was in my first semester of my senior year in college, I took a class called Spirituality West and East. Under the guidance of the most exceptional professor I’ve ever had (or teacher of any kind for that matter), my classmates and I studied a variety of beliefs from Hinduism to Greek Orthodoxy, not by simply reading about them chapter after chapter in a textbook but by visiting their places of worship and practicing some of their rituals and traditions. It was not a course about religion, but rather a reverent and sincere exploration into the worlds of the practitioners, both individually and collectively. This class was a life-changer for me, and I am grateful for its place in my journey.

While studying the Buddhist tradition, the class prepared and ate a meal together, completely in silence. This eating meditation, designed to move us through the process of a meal in a way most of us hadn’t before, brought my attention to the composition of the dish—from single components to finished product—the textures and tastes of each bite, the process each of the ingredients underwent in order to materialize on our table, my body’s satisfaction when I was finished eating. I actually still use the lasagna recipe we prepared and think about the eating meditation every time I make it.

When was the last time you truly enjoyed a meal? Do you run out the door with a Greek yogurt in one hand and a coffee in the other? I’m certainly guilty of it. But every once in a while, I will prepare a meal with my own hands and fully experience what is produced. Your challenge this week is to fully experience one of your meals. If you make it, great! If another person makes it for you, show your appreciation. Be in the moment, however long or short, and be grateful for the food that fuels your body.

Challenge Accepted

This week, I was talking with one of my clients during a session, and we were discussing how much she had progressed in the past few months, both in her workouts with me and in group exercise classes. We talked about how I had “upped my game” recently and the workouts were growing increasingly tough, though she appreciates the challenge. She said she simply wants to continue to get stronger and develop more in the months to come. There was a moment of shared silence between us, and then we had a realization that no matter what you do in fitness, there is still another challenge that lies ahead. And in that moment, I felt a sense of hope—for myself and for the people I see every day.

Another client later in the week described his experience of racing in a pack of cyclists. As he was conveying the utter thrill he gets from racing, I noticed that my heart was pounding and my stomach was in knots because I knew that no matter how frightening it sounded in that moment, this was something that I was going to have to try.

Of course, if you’re looking at it from the perspective that the glass is half empty, this idea of never-ending challenge can sound daunting. On the flipside, though, how wonderful that we can set our own path to greatness, achieving milestones of growth and achievement along the way. My first tattoo is on my back, and written in one of my dearest friend’s handwriting is the text, “There is no done,” intentionally left with no punctuation at the end. What a thrill this life is that the adventures are never over. They keep coming and coming, and if we choose to accept the challenge, we’ll see great reward—even if it takes a few (or a hundred) times to succeed.

So what’s your next adventure? Your challenge? Step up, show up, and conquer.

Small Group Personal Training

Six years ago, I was living in Galveston, Texas and needing some serious motivation. I needed an outlet for fitness that I hadn’t found since moving there. I worked out on my own, hopping from machine to machine at the gym—pretending like I knew what I was doing. And it just wasn’t cutting it. Feeling like I was wasting more time than actually doing good for my body, I decided to take a different approach.

One of my coworkers told me about a small gym, just five minutes down the street, which was offering a Boot Camp Group Training class. Like many who walk through the doors of Energia and 50/50 for the first time, I had never been to a group fitness class and was terrified. But, I swallowed my fears, and went to class on the first day it was offered.

Kat, the instructor, explained the format of the class—that over the next eight weeks, she’d push us in ways we’d never been pushed and we would be doing various exercises, both at the gym and around downtown Galveston, using mostly bodyweight and mental fortitude. This statement almost had me running out the doors. I looked at the people around me, who also seemed to be a little squeamish about the intense exercise they knew they were about to do, and it gave me a sense of comfort. For the next eight weeks, we would be in this together.

Kat Girl, as I grew to so affectionately call her, sparked a drive in me I never knew I had. She knew exactly how to demand things of me, in a kind way, somehow understanding that I had been “stuck” for a long time and desperately needed this challenge at this very point in my life. She fostered a sense of teamwork between her students—strangers before this class—cheering and encouraging us on as a group. She had a knack for driving her team, and, plain and simple, I was inspired for the first time in years. I continued well past the eight weeks with her and the group of people with whom I began my journey—2 more years, to be exact. Our bodies sweat gallons and our muscles burned more times than I care to count, and it was tough work, but all of us were better for that class, both in body and mind.

And now, six years later, Energia unveils its Small Group Training classes. We’ve placed several throughout the week, giving you the opportunity to attend what is convenient given your schedules. You can sign up one session at a time or buy the 10 pack of Small Group Trainings at a discount, knowing that this program could be exactly what you need to jumpstart your workouts. We hope that it will evoke similar types of commitment and teamwork in our groups. Please let us know if you have questions, and know that we are thrilled to bring this new program to our Energia Family. Happy sweating, everyone!

 

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