Category Exercise Motivation

Hey Monday – you do you, boo!

Mississippi Gulf Coast

It’s Monday again, and my advice to you this week is one of the more recent sayings of my generation – “You do you, boo.”

We can become overwhelmed trying to figure out how we are going to do everything, and if we are doing said things the correct way, that we sometimes get even more behind! So here’s my take on some of the popular life advice out there and how I think it can fit better into your life:

We frequently hear things we are supposed to be doing, such as — Eat healthy. Meditate. Pray more. Find “Me Time”. Exercise. Ensure our children get 60+ minutes of active play. Make goal lists. Keep our house clean. Become minimalists. Embrace nature. Travel. Read to our kids. Always be striving towards a new challenge.

Look, LIFE is a challenge enough without my now to-do list on how to tackle it correctly!

So let me break it down:

1) Eat Healthy. Don’t get caught up in the latest diet trend trying to figure out what is/is not the right one, or start shoveling anything that says organic into your mouth in an attempt to make yourself feel better. If you’ve been eating like crap, pick up an apple. Slice up some cucumbers. Add some non-greased-up food into your life and check it off the list.

2) Meditate. This doesn’t mean you have to sit down for 20 minutes and then be stressed 20 minutes later that you “wasted” 20 minutes. To one person 20-minutes of calmness might be exactly what they need, and to another it may be popping on headphones and dancing while you check “vacuum the house” off your list.

3) Pray more. I’m bad at this one, and I don’t have much advice to give other than if you believe in some higher being and praying to Him/Her makes you feel better, then yes, get on it. Maybe before you pick up that phone in the morning, or as you close your eyes at night. Seems simple and reasonable enough, doesn’t it? I’ll work on it.

4) Exercise. I think this can tackle “me time” at the same time can’t it? Music in the headphones, daydreaming that you’re an amazing karaoke star shocking everyone you know (Am I the only weirdo that does this?) or watching HGTV on the gym’s treadmill.

5) Ensure our kids get 60+ minutes of active play. Accept that some days this won’t happen. Accept that sometimes you’re running around to appointments. Or that it’s 105* outside and Mom is no mood to feel like a roasted pig. Forgive yourself – and then figure out how this can actually be achieved. Recess at school? Great! Kid goes to an after school sports activity? Perfect! Send him/her out in the yard while you get in your exercise? That works too!

6) Make goal lists. If you know what they are, do not get yourself into a frenzy about not being organized and fancy about your goals. If you know what they are, and whether you’re working to achieve them, and you’re happy with that, then carry on.

7) Keep our house clean. I like to clean on Mondays because the weekend can bring about anything, and if it’s spent at home there’s bound to be dirt and chaos somewhere. Remember you’re making memories in that house, not a catalog photoshoot. Yes, let it look the way you want, with the decor and comfort that makes it feel like your space, but every homeowner has sticky crap on their baseboard from some unknown substance somewhere, so nobody is perfect, and don’t you let anyone tell you otherwise!

8) Become minimalists. I agree that extra unused stuff has got to go, but I am not to be made to feel guilty when I find cute, yet realistically unnecessary fall decor. If you see the pumpkin, want the pumpkin, can afford the pumpkin, don’t let this self-righteous feeling of minimalism make you feel guilty about that pumpkin. Buy it, move on, go box up something at home and donate it. It’s all a give and take, right?

9) Embrace nature. Y’all I love being outside in the sunshine. A cool unexpected breeze is the best. But trekking through the woods not knowing when a snake or other unexpected creature may lurk is not my style, unless I’m with a group of people and one of them can become the victim instead of me. Find the nature that makes you actually enjoy it – me, I love the beach! I can sit there all day and night. But I can’t get there everyday, because I have things to do. Find your nature, and get there when you need to recharge.

10) Travel. Yes it is the best thing in the world to actually see and experience the world, but we all have different budgets and priorities.

11) Read to our kids. Sometimes time is not on our side and those little crazies just need to sleep. I get that parent guilt of not reading to them just before bed – I know it’s real, I feel it! Most nights mine get books, but I have to remind myself that they did read at school. They did get the whole rest of their day tailored to them, and if it’s way past their bedtime, or mom is just DONE, they need to sleep. So push the guilt aside. You’re not alone if you miss a night. If they got it elsewhere, I will say this again – Forgive. Yourself.

12) Always be striving towards a new challenge. If life is currently a challenge for you, don’t add another one. Don’t feel guilty because you’re not studying or training for something. Get what you have going on now in order, then consider adding something later. And if you don’t want to – that’s fine, go find that nature you’re supposed to be seeking, pack a veggie sub, meditate and do some yoga. You’ve got the time, right?

Nobody has the answers on how to do all of this correctly. You do you, boo.

Just Another Motivated Monday

Monday is up there for one of my favorite days of the week. Yes, Monday. I’ve never quite understood the “Monday Blues” thing, but maybe if I was trapped in a job or environment I didn’t want to be in, then I’d get it.

Here we are on another Monday. Another fresh start. Another chance to grab this week by the you-know-whats and make him your you-know-who. (I’m trying not to use foul language here, please tell me you understood that sentence.)

So how does one combating the Monday Blues, start the week off on the right foot and keep the motivation going the rest of the week? Even if you partied too hard, or feel overwhelmed and exhausted – You. Can. Still. Do. This.

Step 1: Make A List (but you may have to rethink how you make that list)

Yes, I know a list is not a new revelation, but I want you to consider how you write that list. Often we put big ticket items on our to-do lists when its the little items that are actually clogging up our brain. We all have those pesky tasks that nag us but never seem important enough to handle. “One day I’ll get to it.” I agree, sometimes life is too busy to sweat the small stuff, but if you’re already sweating it, you’re not going to cool down until it’s handled. If every time you open that guest bedroom closet you groan in annoyance at the clutter, then clear the clutter. Put it on the list and handle it. If something is clogging up space in your mind, you’ll never make room for the big ticket items until it’s done.

Unless something is due by a specific date, make the list for the entire week. This way it allows you the freedom to pick and choose what items you handle each day and you can delight in your productivity as you watch the items be ticked off everyday, instead of mumbling about daily items being carried over to the next day’s tasks.

Step 2: Don’t start Monday off with crappy food choices.

If your health and well-being is a priority in your life, then starting Monday off with terrible food choices is not going to get your mental health started off right. Yes it is highly likely at some point during the week you’ll eat something maybe you could have replaced with a healthier option, but you’re more likely to feel okay with it, to forgive yourself for it, to not have a grumpy attitude about it, if its not on Monday. Grab a piece of fruit, or make an egg white omelette (I’m not against regular eggs, I just think egg whites are easier for omelette flipping) and get your Monday energy a healthy kickstart!

Step 3: Prepare yourself for that “Ah crap!” moment.

Without fail, something always happens that causes an, “Ah crap!” Like you forgot to wash your child’s stinky uniform socks before today’s game. You forgot something was due and you’re currently experiencing a slow technology episode, and you’re five seconds away from throwing an inanimate object across the room. An emergency arises and you “do not have time for this!” It is going to come. Accept it. Own it. Yell incoherent noises if you have to, but when the mayhem is over, it’s over. You cannot allow that one panicked time to completely mess up your positivity and accept defeat. None of that, “Ugh, I give up, maybe next week will be better.” If it’s Wednesday, this week isn’t over, so maybe in an hour life will be calmer again, if you allow it to be.

We all know that so much of life is determined by attitude. To get happy results, we must have a happy outlook. Make your lists. Eat that energizing food. Accept the mayhem when it happens, because it happens to all of us, and keep trucking along. Get that Motivated Monday started, and if Monday sucks, there’s always To-Do-It Tuesday. And if Tuesday sucks too, there’s always Winning Wednesday….

Tips For Staying Focused On Exercise

I’ve been asked before, “What do you when you’re in an exercise slump?” I have to be honest with you (and I promise I’m not saying this to sound snobby or better than thou) but I don’t really have slumps. There’s times when life is crazy busy and I don’t get to work out quite as much, but that’s referring to exercising two or three times a week instead of five. I don’t have long breaks from exercise.

How is that possible?

We all have our daily tasks, and each are given their placement of priority – whether we write it down or not. If there’s a time crunch or a lot to get done, we know which will be handled before others. Often times I believe “exercise” is put on the “If I can get to it” list for a lot of folks. I understand that. I’ve had to do that. If my child needs to go to the doctor, or we’re almost out of essential groceries, obviously that needs to be handled first. Exercise can wait. But it’s the how long does it have to wait that becomes the problem.

To me, exercise isn’t an added chore, it’s a mental and physical necessity. If I don’t get a bare minimum of exercise in a week, I am one cranky person. I am stressed. I feel gross. It’s just not good. So for me, it’s high on my priority list. I need to fit it in so other aspects of my life can be successful. I can’t exactly be a good mom and wife if I’m cranky and feeling gross, now can I?

So we’ve established that exercise should actually make the list of daily priorities instead of being an extracurricular that would be nice to get to, but how do we stay focused once it’s on the list? Consider these tips and ideas:

  1. Think about your current mood and how exercise can fit with it. If I am super busy and having to make a lot of decisions, I don’t like to lift weights. I don’t want to have to count reps. I don’t want to come up with exercises and ensure I hit key target areas. I want to hit the open road, just me and my music, and zone out while I’m running. But then there are (rare) days when running is the last damn thing I want to do. I don’t have the patience for it. I don’t want to deal with monotony. I need to lift to keep my mind off of something stressing me out. Figure out what you’re in the mood for, and choose that exercise. Otherwise, if you start out not in the mood, you’re going to have a hard time getting into the mood, and giving up is right around the corner.
  2. Figure out what you like about exercise. Exercise should be a happy experience. If you focus on the pain, or disappointment you may feel if you don’t lift enough/run fast enough/swim enough/squat enough, then it won’t be so happy. Do you like exercising with other people? Do you like working out in the morning or the evening? Do you like having a pre-planned workout all setup for you? What about exercising makes you happy you’re doing it? Figure that out and write it into your daily planner, and then it switches from being a chore, to a happy task.
  3. Always have a goal or a mission. I have run in a lot of races. I’ve done a couple full marathons, several half marathons, a couple Spartan Races, and various other events. In November I’ll be doing my first duathlon (biking and running). These events keep me in check. I know I have a race coming up and if I don’t prepare properly, that day will kick my butt in a very bad way, so I have to run/bike/lift/hate life while doing burpees. What’s your goal? Is it just, “I need to work out” because if so, that’s not a long-lasting goal. What are you trying to get out of your exercise today, tomorrow, next week, next month? Do you want to get rid of saggy arms or inner thigh fat? Don’t worry about someone else’s goal, make your own. That will give you a mission for going to the gym and hopefully keep you going so you can reach your goal.
  4. Remember that exercise can be your “thing”. So many times in our lives we are focused on doing things that help other people – meetings to please clients, playground adventures to please kids, delicious dinners to please spouses. But how often is just you doing something that makes you happy? I often have to bring my kids along to the gym with me while they play in a little kid area, that’s in the same room as me……………. They have been yelled at many times as I have listed off all the things I have done for them that day and, “I. Just. Want. To. Exercise.” so they need to shoosh and get along. But when I do get to exercise without them, I enjoy my break from the kids/spouse/friends. It’s MY thing. It’s MY time. It’s all about ME and I like it.

Tell me — What keeps you focused? What takes your focus away?

Stay active, friends!

How To Stay Motivated When It’s Flipping Hot Outside

Today the heat index is 104* F/40* C. It’s a scorcher! As life would have it, mid-afternoon was the only time I could go for a run today, so I embraced the heat. I don’t recommend this for new runners, or anyone not used to this type of climate. I was equipped with my running belt, sunglasses, heatgear shirt, and GU pack. It is possible to go for a decent run in less-than-ideal conditions, but one must be smart about it. I made it 5.15 miles before calling it quits.

So how does one stay motivated to not only sustain a run, but actually go outside and get started on a run when it feels like you’re entering the gates of Hell?

  1. Prep beforehand. Don’t drink a bunch of coffee that elevates your body temperature and heart rate, and then go out into the heat. You will sweat your tail off. The same goes for beer, or even the morning after a booze binge. Drink water, water, and more water.
  2. Don’t leave home without the key survival essentials. Because I live in an area that is always hot, I rarely run without my water belt. I just absolutely need it, or I start daydreaming about water and lose all motivation, plus I could put myself at harm. If you don’t want to wear a water belt, put a water bottle inside your mailbox and take laps back to your house for quick water breaks.
  3. Dress smart. This is pretty obvious, but just in case… You do not need to wear extra layers to sweat more and lose more. Please don’t do that in hot conditions. Wear something that is breathable and comfortable to wear when wet.
  4. Think shade. An open road or path might be great for solidarity and lack of noise, but it also sucks for keeping you shaded. Find trees, tall buildings, wherever you can to keep you out of the sun as much as a possible.

Ok, so these items will help give you a successful run, but maybe they won’t be all you need to motivate yourself to run. When the weather app says “it feels like death” outside, how do you get yourself to say, “screw it, I got this”? A sense of pride and accomplishment always help me. Anyone (healthy) can run in 75* F weather, but who can run in 100*+ weather? Only the truly motivated and tough, right? Be that tough person. Be that person that says, “No excuses.” Know that if you can run in hot, sunny, or humid conditions, how much better will your run be on that cool, breezy day? You’ll appreciate that cooler climate, that’s for darn sure. Your body will be stronger. Your body will be tougher. Your mind and heart will be more dedicated.

Stay healthy, friends, and remember to drink your water!

Why We Should Support Our Fitness Friends

I believe one of the absolute best foundations a person can live by is to be a supporter, not a competitor. I’m not saying participating in competitions is bad – that’s not what I’m referring to. I’m a huge believer in participating in races, going for your dreams, trying to the best you, you can be. What I’m talking about is more comparing yourself to others in a competitive manner.

So you exercised five days a week, gave up pantry snacks, and your friend lost weight but you didn’t. That’s frustrating, I know. It doesn’t feel fair, does it? But what’s the alternative – she gain weight? She become sad? Is that what you actually want for your friend, for the sake of keeping things “fair”? No! For your own sanity, your friendship, and for you to be the person that shines a positive light on others, congratulate her. Tell her your proud of her, and keep doing you, boo.

Since becoming a mother, I have noticed how excited a child is when they see him/herself in the mirror. You ever notice that? A toddler is all smiles and excitement! Simply pure joy to see their face, their outfit, their crazy post-nap hair. If we all looked out ourselves in the mirror with the same excitement of a child, we’d be a much happier world. But so many people will look in the mirror and start pointing out the negatives. They start comparing their hair/face/make-up/body/attire to someone else, or to some standard. Again – comparing and competing only does harm to ourselves.

A gym should be an encouraging, happy place. Personally I never pay attention to other people at a gym – It’s “me” time – and I firmly believe the perception that people are being judged while there is just something people have made up in their heads from being self-conscious and uncomfortable in that setting. Yes, I am certain judgments have happened, but screw those people. They are likely few and far. If you’re severely overweight, don’t think someone at the gym is judging you negatively for being there. You’re there! You’re trying! If you’re walking on the treadmill and the person next to you is running and slinging sweat everywhere (I hate when that happens) it’s okay. You don’t have to run. Tell them they’ve done a good job – even the pros need an encouraging, positive word now and then.

Don’t compare. Be supportive. And if you want to wear a princess dress while doing TRX, put on that tiara and do your thing girl.

Why do you want to exercise?

Welcome to my blog. It’s nice to have you here.

So why do you want to exercise? Or diet? And how can my page help you on your journey?

I’m Jen, and I’m “normal”. I don’t stray too far on either side of the fitness or healthy eating spectrum. I believe exercise is a vital part of life. I prefer to do some level of activity everyday, but dedicate 30-90 minutes of structural exercise 3-6 days a week. I know and appreciate the value of fruits, vegetables, lean meats and fish, and minimal fats in my diet. But, I also understand when you’re in a new country or on vacation, that carpe diem should be applied to one’s diet.

So yes, I’m normal. But I also consider myself a motivated person, and I have had a few people tell me I’ve motivated them on their fitness journeys, even when I hadn’t intentionally tried to.

Why do you want to exercise? Is it is for your own mental and physical well-being? Is it because a medical professional told you you have to? Is it because you feel the social pressure to do so? Before one can succeed at reaching any sort of exercise goal, this question must be answered. You must also figure out if it’s a strong enough reason to keep you motivated. I exercise because I like it. I like watching myself overcome a fitness feat I had doubt I could reach. Mentally speaking, if I don’t exercise for a few days, I get really grumpy. Physically I feel a little gross. But that’s me. Those are my reasons. That is part of my exercise journey. What are your reasons? What keeps you motivated?

Why do you want to diet? I know you’ve heard this before, but doing a diet without any plan to change how you eat for the rest of your life is doomed to fail. If you stick to a diet for 2 months, good for you. But if you return to a previous, unhealthy way of eating immediately afterwards, well then what was the point?

How can my page help you? If you hadn’t already read on my Facebook page, or from following me on Instagram, I am on a mission to try out different exercise and diet plans over several months. I will give honest feedback on how the plans are going, and whether they live up to the claims we all hear about. For the month of May, I checked out the Zone Diet, which is very popular among crossfitters (I am not one). During June I will continue the Zone Diet, but without it being the main topic of focus, as I will be dedicating this month to Strength Training. I hope you join me!