I’ve never really liked the phrase “New Year’s Resolution”. By definition a resolution is a clear path, a course of action, a calculated procedure that one resolves upon. Is that what we do every year on New Years? Or do we do something more like this… “This year I am going to lose weight, eat healthy, and run a marathon WHOO HOOOO!!” Those are not resolutions folks, those are loosely defined goals with no plan, no forethought, and very little hope for coming to fruition. So what then happens? We blindly hit it at hard as we can. We starve ourselves by eating tasteless “health food”, hit the gym for a whole week and a half, eagerly look at a scale every morning until finally we quickly burn out and return to our old ways. Are you sick of this? Are you tired of failing? Are you tired of feeling like nothing you do towards your fitness goals works? Well I know why you are failing, I can tell you the exact reason you have not reached your goals. You did not respect your goals enough to plan for them.
Haley and The Mountain
I like analogies so here is a real one for you. When I was younger my family used to vacation in Frisco, Colorado at the very base of Mount Royal. You could see the trail head from the front door of our family cabin. One day my 10 year old self decided I would hike to the top of that mountain. After all, I had seen literally hundreds of hikers coming in and out of the trial head talking about how beautiful the summit was that morning. So I put on my Reeboks with the blinking lights in them, tossed on my jacket and up I started on the trail. I figured I’d be up and down that mountain in time for lunch! Now Mount Royal trail is a 3 mile round trip hike rising over 1,000ft from it’s base to a summit of 10,500ft. Needless to say, the 10 year old from Nebraska (elevation 934ft) with NO water, NO snacks, NO map and slippery soled sneakers did NOT make her goal. She didn’t even come close. Now do you think my ten year old self was disappointed? Heck yes I was!! I was near tears by the time I got back to our cabin. I had tried as hard as I could! I just can’t do it, it’s too hard! I hope you are starting to see where this is going and perhaps even feeling a little sheepish when comparing this story to yourself.
So what was my problem? I did not respect my goal enough to plan for it. I saw other people achieving what I wanted, and without thinking it through I just barreled up the mountain. I truly did try as hard as I could! No doubt about that. And it wasn’t for lack of desire that I didn’t get up that mountain either, I REALLY wanted to see that summit. I did not take the time to understand my goal and prepare a RESOLUTION to get to the top. You see my fitness friends, a resolution is not the goal, it is the plans we make to get to our goal.
Conquer your Mountain
Climbing your fitness “mountain” requires planning. If you do not have a clear path you will get lost or exhausted, turn around and head right back to where you started feeling just as defeated as that 10 year old little girl. Reaching your fitness summit can be approached the exact same way you would prepare to make a big climb.
1. Know your Terrain
You need to know EXACTLY where you are going in order to reach your goals. We can always see the top of the mountain from the bottom but the path is usually hidden from clear view. Lay out your path. If you want to lose weight you need to know what your healthy weight is to start with. You need to know how far you need to go to get there (say 20 lbs) and how fast you can safely get there (2lbs per week max). Knowing where you are going and how long it’s going to take (10 weeks minimum) will keep frustrations at bay and give you something to measure and track. Write out your plan, and stick to it! Straying from the plan is about as helpful as deciding your going off the mapped trail so see if you can find a quicker way. That always works right?? (slap)
2. Know your Ability
My 10 year old self should never had attempted that hike all in one day. I was inexperienced, didn’t know what I was doing and didn’t bother to ask questions. I should have started with easier hikes (goals) and worked up to finally reaching that summit. The same goes for you and running that marathon. Have you ever even run a 5k?
Start there, train, and keep moving to more difficult goals 10k, half marathon… and then you will be prepared for your ultimate goal. Small goals also bolster self confidence, which is going to be so important along the way. This applies to weight loss too. Start small, like 1 inch off your waist. It will keep progressing from there!
3. Ask the Experts
Do not guess when you are setting course for your goals. Had I stopped one of the hikers and asked them what the trail was like they probably would have given me some great advice like “Why don’t you try to get to the half mile marker just for today. Hey, where’s your water kid… or your parents? Your shoes have blinky lights in them weirdo, go find some hiking boots.” Any of those suggestions would have been very helpful! What I’m getting at is ASK those who have accomplished your goal how they got there. Most people will be flattered and more than happy to advise you (yours truly included)!
Now sit your butt down
Sit down, do some research, and begin to write out your RESOLUTIONS. There are few opportunities in the year that provide as fresh a start as January the first. Be ready, have a plan, and attack it. I’ll see you all at the top!
We all do it. We get up in the morning with every intention of working out AFTER work. Maybe we even take that little extra step and pack our gym bag and put it in the car so we can just head straight to our workouts after work. But about 3:45 it starts to creep in… the internal debate. We toss back and forth all the really good reasons we have to NOT workout. “I could get some laundry done, My friends are going to happy hour, I’m SO TIRED, I’ll workout tomorrow morning instead” Before you know it you are heading straight home (or to Buffalo Wild Wings) and completely tossing out your good intentions you had earlier that day. FAIL. I’m going to share the little tricks that I do that gets my butt to my workout, rain or shine.
Keep packing that bag
While it isn’t a sure-fire method to get you to the gym, it does take away the NEED to go home and get your workout gear. If you have to go home before your workout, chances are high that you will be wandering dangerously close to your couch, which has a curious magnetic pull to your butt after a long day of work. You also avoid other distractions such as TV, chores, significant others, kids… whatever. Just avoid home base all together until your mission is complete! Back-tracking to the gym and then home again probably wastes a minimum of 30 minutes no matter how close you live to the gym.
Pack some mid-day ammo
For me, this is apples. Apples are a great source of energy and a perfect pre-workout snack. It keeps those tummy grumbles at bay without weighing you down. If I’m out of apples I turn to a small cup of coffee. If you don’t have coffee readily available at work keep a box of teabags at your desk. Some people like to get all fancy-pants and drink energy powders or take pre-workout pills… in my opinion you really don’t need that kind of expensive crud but hey, to each their own.
Keep post-it notes in your car
Since we are starting our day with such good intentions, we might as well leave our lazy late-day self a note in the car to remind us what we were going to do after work. Don’t just write a note and leave it there for weeks. Write a new one to yourself daily and be specific and positive! ”You’re going to take cycling at 5:30 today because you’re winning!” (I like to make mine funny) is a great example of a positive, specific note. ”Get your butt to the gym cuz you’re a fatty” IS NOT a nice note to leave yourself!! Don’t be negative! This may sound lame, but this really works.
Take a class
I LOVE group fitness. I love the energy, team environment and most importantly… I love that it usually takes only an hour or less! You always workout harder than you would on your own and you don’t have to think about it. The inflexible class start time discourages you from skipping out because you HAVE TO be there. You know it starts at 5:30 ends at 6:30 and you’re done. Mission accomplished and you’re a sweaty rockstar! There are SO MANY options out there. From your box-gym classes to private studios to your total beatdown bootcamps (Shameless plug for Halo Effect Bootcamp) there are options for everyone!
Do not rely on someone else
Fitness magazines are always telling you to get a workout buddy. You may be surprised when I tell you to do your own thing! It’s hard enough to balance you own schedule let alone your’s AND someone else’s. And let’s be honest, if your buddy calls and says they can’t make it because the 3:45 curse got to them, are you still going to go? HECK NO YOU WON’T! You’ll bail too because you were relying on THEM instead of yourself! You’re a big kid… you can cross this street without holding someone’s hand.
You can WIN the battle everytime if you start doing these easy fixes. Good luck and keep crackin!
Health and Happiness,
I’m dipping into my Q&A emails for this topic. A Halo Effect Fitness fan asked how she can get leaner, more defined legs without bulking up her quads and tush. This is a totally legitimate question. I get really irritated with trainers who tell women they can’t bulk up from lifting weights because they lack the testosterone to do so. Bullcrap! Building muscle mass without lowering your body fat will produce more bulk because non-essential body fat is generally located over your muscle tissue, and will be pushed out by incoming muscle tissue. (Non-Essential body fat is the fat we carry in our bodies not critical for organ insulation and body temperature regulation.) Don’t get me wrong, I want you to have a good comprehensive strength training program, but when slimming down is the goal, you will need to have a high amount of cardio included into your routine.
Most people have heard that it really isn’t possible to “spot reduce” body fat. This is true. Your body is unique in the fact that where you store and lose fat first is mostly genetic. All the gals in my family have tiny little waists no matter what, but we all gain in the tush and thigh area. This is pretty common among women but there are plenty of us out there who will chubby it up at the waist or chest too. (why oh why wasn’t I one of those chest girls!) Unfortunately, the first place you gain fat is usually the last place you loose it from. Your body put the fat there and that’s where it wants it dang it! But you CAN win this battle. And here’s how…
Sorry folks but there is no getting around this one. Plan on spending a lot of time in the cardio world. The best way to tackle this beast is with variety. 2 reasons why you should change it up- 1. By varying your routine you are much less likely to to get bored and drop out. 2. By varying your modes of exercise you are alternating your moving muscle groups (remember that whole desire for definition thing.) When I talk about variety I also mean variety in your intensity. It’s okay to jump on that elliptical at the gym and mindlessly pedal away during a Kardashian’s show, but make sure you’re getting some good high intensity stuff like a cycling class, or a good tough hike too. Plan on doing some cardio 5 days a week. (GASP! Did she just say 5 days a week?!) Yes I did. And yes you do too have time. You don’t have to go to the gym to get in some cardio. Somewhere close to you, there is a road to be jogged on, a staircase to be climbed, or a rope to be jumped. You can get in some great cardio right at home in 20-30 minutes. If you can’t find 20-30 minutes a day to take care of yourself, you really need to take a long hard look at where your priorities are. Make the time to do it, or stay at your current state and learn to deal with it.
My fitness savvy people were probably expecting me to advise high rep, low weight strength training program to carve out your legs. NOPE. I’m advising explosive, multi-planar plyometric movements. (OMG what is she talking about??) Calm down, this is not complicated. Think about box jumps, burpies and stationary jumping lunges. These type of athletic explosive motions are what really begin to carve out your legs and keep that CARDIO rate nice and high. Burn baby burn! Hit up Halo Effect in the comment section in this blog for more info!
And now the most important part…
Your diet, more than anything else I have talked about above, is what is going to make those legs lean out. There are 5 golden rules I am going to briefly touch on.
EAT: Your body is storing that fat. You need to give your body a constant supply of nutritious food and not let yourself go hungry. As we went over in the last blog, if you make your body think it is starving, it will NOT let go of that fat.
DRINK: Water that is… Water is essential to all bodily functions and can greatly help when improving your body fat ratio because it helps your body better flush out waste materials. The minimum you should be drinking in ounces can be calculated by taking your weight in pounds and dividing that by 2. If you are getting in a good workout multiply that number by 1.5.
NO JUNK CARBS: Notice I did not say low carb. Get rid of white rice, potatoes, white bread or tortillas and plain pasta and sugary foods. Toss out those STUPID 100 calorie packs of crap. Yeah they are 100 calories, but they are EMPTY calories with little nutritional value. No bread basket with dinner. Get the point here? Instead, DO eat whole grains a little earlier in the day. Whole wheat bread, pasta and tortillas are readily available at any grocery store. Try to lay off the “bready” carbs at dinner time and make friends with sweet potatoes and squash instead.
LOVE YOUR VEGGIES: You can have as much of these non-starchy varieties as you like. They are high nutrient and high fiber. Experiment with different cooking methods and spices. I like to keep a big bag at work filled with chopped carrots, broccoli, sugar snap peas, cherry tomatoes and bell peppers. I can mindlessly munch whenever I want.
KNOW YOUR GOOD FATS: Avocado, whole eggs, olive oil, raw nuts & seeds are your friends, but don’t over do it! It is not ok to have a whole avocado in one sitting! You do need these fats to encourage your body to release the stored fats in your body and not cling to them. I would also look into getting a good high quality fish oil in your diet.
So off you go! Be sure to hit me up in the comment box if you have questions or want more info from me. I LOVE hearing from you all!
Health and Happiness,
Alrighty, I’m gonna go ahead and tackle this little fad that always tends to pop up this time of year. “Cleansing” diets. I probably better start off by saying I fundamentally hate the concept of “diets”. By definition a diet is what you consume on a daily basis, healthy, junky and in between. The general population tends to think a diet is something that they “go on” like a carnival ride, with the intention of someday getting off of that ride. In the 10 years that I have been a trainer I have never (let me repeat that) NEVER seen a temporary diet program produce results that were anything other than… well, temporary! The ONLY successful cases I have ever had clients truly reach and maintain their weight loss goals are those who made the commitment to change their lifestyle and eating habits forever. Yep, you heard me… FOR-EV-ER.
Now back on the subject of these “cleansing” diets. User beware of these programs that make you radically change the way you eat. I will NEVER endorse any program that tells you to not eat (even for a day), depletes your body’s hydration levels or puts you on massive calorie restrictions. There is no such thing as a “reset” button on your metabolism and frankly, by taking part in these type of diets you are telling your body IT IS STARVING. When your body is starving it is built to adapt in ways to keep you alive. Therefore, by cutting off the calorie (energy) supply to your body, your body will react and try to conserve energy & subsequently slow your metabolism. Now what happens when you start eating again?? Your body still thinks it is starving so it will not be using all of these fun new calories you are re-introducing to your system, BUT it sure as heck will store them as fat for the next time you try to pull this crazy cleansing diet! Be NICE to your body people. Do not starve it, dehydrate it or fill it with awful tasting cayenne pepper, lemon, molasess water… that is mean! Your body will get you for that.
What I do believe in….
I believe in eating clean, non-processed foods at every available opportunity. I believe in stuffing your face with all the wonderful vegetables you can get your hands on, enjoying fruits and whole grains in moderation and keeping your protein intake high and lean. If you are hungry, EAT. Never let yourself feel thirsty and drink plenty of water everyday. And of course, savor those little moments when someone brings in a batch of homemade cookies to the office, HAVE ONE. It’s okaaaaay. (slow head pet) If you completely deprive yourself of the occasional treat you WILL lose it and go all tasmanian devil in your pantry when you get home. We’ve all been there… and it’s not pretty.
Health and Happiness,
Happy 2012 to all you Halo Effect fans out there! I hope the holidays were bright and cheery, spent with family and friends. I made a resolution to blog more this year! Ha-ha, that in mind… Below are my top 5 tips to making your resolutions STICK this year!
- BE SPECIFIC- “Lose weight”, “Workout more” and “Eat healthier” are not bad resolutions… but they are way too vague. By being specific with your goals you have a definite target to aim at. Instead of saying “I’m going to lose weight”, look up what your ideal weight range/ body fat % really is for your body type and set a hard number you are trying to reach. Instead of “workout more” look at your current schedule and see where you have time to fit in workouts. Set your routine and stick to it! And instead of “eat healthier” develop a plan of attack on what you are going to increase (leafy greens and lean protein) and what you are going to try and reduce (packaged food and drive-through meals)
- WRITE IT DOWN- Putting pen to paper makes your resolution more concrete. You can make this as fun or as simple as you want. I’m a fan of the simple sticky note on my bathroom mirror and on my computer at work. Some people get elaborate and make a big poster on their fridge, or frame their goal in a nice picture frame and put it bedside. It doesn’t matter what you do but get that goal written down and displayed somewhere you can see it!
- TELL THE WORLD- Tell your friends, family and peers about your resolutions. By verbalizing your intentions to others you are creating an unspoken support system. You may even find that other people in your circle have similar goals. Use social media to publicize your resolutions as well. There are also many online outlets that let you post your resolutions publicly for the world to see.
- CHECK YOURSELF BEFORE YOU WRECK YOURSELF- It is always an excellent idea to get a complete baseline assessment of your current physical condition before you begin your quest for resolution success. This way you have a way to track your progress and know that you are on target for reaching your goals. Good things to measure would be your % body fat, weight, resting & return heart rate, and circumference measurements. Halo Effect Fitness provides all of these assessments at no charge with any training package purchase.
- GET INSPIRED- Surround yourself with things that motivate you to reach your goal. Go ahead and splurge a little bit on some rad new workout gear. Get a cookbook that focuses on healthy recipes and try something new every night. Go see a trainer who can ramp up your motivation and put you on a great new program! (Hint hint. Wink wink.) The point is to associate you resolution with only positive things, and not look at it as an unpleasant sacrifice to your current lifestyle.
Feel free to respond to this blog with your resolution and how you plan to get there. I LOVE hearing from you and maybe you can help inspire others as well!
Hello to all my ghoulish guys and gals! Halloween is upon us which means the time honored tradition of completely inappropriate Halloween “costumes”. Arizona is a state that most definitely bears all for both guys and gals. (Think Tarzan and Jane, Adam and Eve, Greek Gods and Goddesses) Not feeling confident enough to get out and strut your stuff this year? NONSENSE! 2 weeks of a killer workout program, well structured diet (and maybe a little spray tan) will have you trimmed down and ready to hit all the happening haunts with confidence! You have to have a plan! Halo Effect Fitness can help you formulate the perfect exercise routine and nutrition program to give you accelerated results. Halo Effect Fitness is all about covering every aspect of your personal fitness. Think of it as a witch’s cauldron with the perfect recipe for success. A pinch of discipline, a dash of motivation, a lot of help from Halo Effect Fitness and poof! The perfect spell for a Halloween costume that looks so good IT’S SCARY! (cue screams from jealous onlookers) So go ahead guys, buy the Green Lantern Costume. Gals start putting together the perfect naughty (fill in the blank) outfit. Halo Effect fitness is here to help you by offering a FREE WEEK of bootcamp, starting Monday the 24th of October. No test-in required! Fill out the enlist info to get started! Want some tips to get you started? I’m also offering deeply discounted rate for one on one personal training throughout the month of October. Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
First off I’d like to say I am in no way a licensed nutritionist, but I have taken my fair share of nutrition courses and definitely know what works for me. The secret I’ve found it to KEEP THE CRAP OUT OF THE HOUSE! If you don’t have the crud in the house, you won’t eat it! Here is what is on my weekly grocery list.
Whole Grain Oatmeal- Can’t get enough of it! Toss a packet (or 2) in your bag for a hearty start to your day! Stay away from the super sugary kins and stick to labels with “High Fiber” or “No Sugar Added”.
Eggs- I hard boil these 2 dozen at a time. Another portable easy option for getting lean protein in the morning. (Pop out the yolk if you’re seeking lower fat)
Spinach- Not just for salads! I toss it in everything from sandwiches to omelets. Also great sauteed with a little olive oil and garlic!
Apples- Fantastic for a little 4:30 snack to give you energy before workout.
Quinoa- A fantastic alternative to pasta or white rice, quinoa is a higher protein option to satisfy those who just NEED some kind of carb with dinner.
Almond milk- I go for the unsweetened vanilla Almond Breeze. There is more calcium in this stuff than skim milk an 0 grams of sugar! I really like it because the shelf life is longer so no wasting if I can’t get through it right away. This is also the perfect mixer for your protein powder.
Asparagus & Broccoli- Can’t get enough of these 2 super greens. They are both versatile enough to go from breakfast to dinner.
Greek Yogurt- High protien and high calcium with pro-biotics to help those us us with digestive issues. I go for the organic kind when I can!
Cherry/Grape Tomatoes- I love these little guys because the prep is next to nothing, just rinse and eat. No brainer way to up your veggies at every meal!
Berries- One of my favorite sweet craving satisfiers! One of natures best sources for antioxidants.
Chicken- An extremely versatile and relatively cheap protein option. I’ll grill up in bulk and chop up a large tupperware full so I can toss it into salads, wraps, pasta, whatever!
Ground Turkey- I use this a lot in chili and pasta sauces. A lower fat option to ground beef.
Salmon- If you watch you can get those giant fillets on the cheap. Take that beast home and cut it into 4oz-6oz pieces and freeze in small freezer bags. You don’t even have to thaw them before you stick them into the oven. I just drizzle with olive oil and whatever seasonings I’m feeling, toss it in the oven on broil and it’s ready in about 15-20 minutes!
Avocado- I’ll admit it, I’m addicted! I keep it to a 1/2 of one of these guys a day. Healthy fats are great for keeping down hunger and helping you to burn fat throughout the day.
Whole wheat pasta- I don’t believe anyone should have to give up pasta! Just be careful on your servings. I take what I can hold with an open palm and that’s all I boil up per serving. I fill the rest with chicken and chunky veggie sauce.
Light String Cheese- Awesome afternoon snack that is really portable.
Raw Almonds- Another great snacker with a good dose of omega 3s.
Hummus- I never go for crackers or pita with this. Always cucumber, sugar snap peas, or carrots. Try all the different varieties out there!
Green tea- I drink the stuff constantly. If you are sensitive to caffeine there are decaf options available. Brew your own! None of that sugary pre-bottled crap! It’s cheaper that way too.
These are some of my go-to staples, but I believe variety is the spice of life so just buy that odd looking veggie or fish and give it a shot. The more fun you have with your meals the more likely you are to stay away from the crap! Check back for more of my favorites!!
Think you’re ready for Halo Effect Fitness?? PROVE IT!!! Halo Effect Fitness is offering a FREE BEATDOWN! Like us on Facebook and recieve a free bootcamp class for you and up to 5 of your friends! Once you “like” us, fill out the enlist form and be sure to mention this special Facebook promotion to receive the deal!! This free class will be tailored to fit YOUR SCHEDULE! This class will show you what Halo Effect Fitness is all about! Be prepared for a workout that will push you to your limits! Hurry, free classes must be scheduled for the first week in October there are limited times available!