Angie's Corner

Posts in the fitness category

Learning to Love Yourself~ An Ode to Valentine's Day

by Angie Miller

 A reflection on love:

  • In Eastern philosophy, self-love is thought to be the cornerstone of inner peace. A journey toward self-discovery is believed to be essential, as introspection promotes understanding and harmony with oneself, which lends itself to harmony and peace with the world.

Love is the foundation of human compassion toward others, but first and foremost toward oneself. It would be difficult to embrace the differences among us, and to feel empathy toward those with whom we share little in common, if we don’t embrace personal trust and honor. Peace within, promotes universal peace and acceptance.

Learning to love unconditionally and to fully embrace our unique qualities, from our greatest strengths to our most unbecoming weaknesses, is a more daunting task than we sometimes realize. Just as important, and even more challenging is being able to look in the mirror and love the image staring back at us. While there are endless ways to build and secure self-love, I believe that two of the most important are to Maintain Perspective and to Make Peace.

Securing Self-Love

1. Maintain Perspective~ Have you ever looked at a picture of yourself from five or ten years ago and yearned to look like that again? What’s more disappointing is to reflect that it was lost on you then, that your mind was shrouded in self-doubt and judgment. Looking back, whether it was your beautiful body shape, or your radiant, wrinkle free smile, it's difficult to imagine that you didn’t see it then, especially now that some of it has faded with age. With that in mind, why waste another day, another moment of self-doubt, judgment, or scrutiny? Isn’t now the time to celebrate your body, your face, your curves, your greatest assets, and yes even your wonderful flaws?

We know that time doesn’t stop. We were just reminded of that when we looked at an old photograph. Any more time spent wishing, takes away from time spent living and enjoying life to the fullest. I’ve said before that if we could have a 40-year old mindset with a 20-year old body we’d have killer self-esteem. Don't wait for time to pass to give you perspective on how good you look and how healthy you are. Embrace your body, your mind, and your spirit as it is, the youngest it will ever be.

2. Make Peace~ Now that you have embraced perspective, it’s time to authentically make peace with your body. I think it helps to start with a reflection so that we might remember what our body has done for us over the years. Reflecting: How our feet have kept us moving even when we were tempted to sit down and surrender. How our legs kept us standing even when the obstacles we faced made us feel too weary. How our hips, thighs, and abdominals have blessed us with our unique shape. Though they may be the bane of our existence, in another person’s eyes they signify the beauty and grace that makes us women. How our arms have embraced our children and the people we love. How they’ve lifted everything from the heavy load of life’s burdens to the powerful kettlebell we swing at the gym. How our hands have written love notes, held on to those who need our support, and given us the power to do daily tasks and achieve professional accomplishments.

How our neck and face may show our age, but thanks to good health and proper care we’ve made it to an age where those fine lines are a badge of honor and a sign of wisdom. How our lips have kissed our children and our lovers, how they’ve formed words we regret and those we’re proud of, but all of which have taught us lessons. How our ears have listened to our children breathe as we watch them sleep peacefully, how they have listened to words from others that wound us, lift us up, educate us, and fill us with information that helps us grow. In the end, we are a culmination of our experiences and our body is an amazing structure that allows us to embrace life and exist on this earth. Far be it for us to do anything less than be appreciative that we are unique, first and foremost, and though we are flawed and fragile, we are blessed nonetheless.

Maintaining Perspective and Making Peace lends itself to personal acceptance, and that’s where it all begins. Personal acceptance translates to self-love, to honoring oneself, and to recognizing that love begins on the inside. The more foster it and allow it to grow, the more we have to share with others.

“The hardest battle you are ever going to have to fight is the battle to be just you.” 
― Leo Buscaglia

- Angie

Angie MillerAngie Miller, M.S., is a fitness educator, university instructor, and Licensed Professional Counselor who blends her skills and expertise to empower individuals, mentally and physically, and provide them the tools they need to succeed. A veteran group exercise instructor and personal trainer, Angie is the star of acclaimed exercise DVD’s, including the Bedroom Body™ workout. Her passion for progressive education brought her to Northern Illinois University, where she teaches in the Dept. of Kinesiology & Physical Education. Outside of the university, she presents at fitness conventions worldwide and leads industry trainings as an AFAA Certification Specialist and Kettlebell Concepts Master Instructor. Angie writes for fitness journals and digital communities, and blogs for Collage Video. Connect with Angie at: http://www.angiemillerfitness.com

 

Ten Tips to Get You Motivated to Exercise

by Angie Miller

Angie Miller

 

How do we master motivation? Whether you dread exercise and wish you were more motivated, or love to get your sweat on but sometimes need a little budge, we all could use some motivation to get us out of bed in the morning and into a pair of tennis shoes. Here are Ten Tips for Motivation.

 

 

Ten Tips for MOTIVATION:

  1. Make it something you enjoy! Motivation comes naturally when we enjoy doing something. The key is to find something you enjoy even if it means thinking outside of the box. Exercise is any form of structured movement and that could be as simple as walking through your neighborhood after work. It could also be activity that is broken into smaller increments for those who are time pressed: 10 minutes of your favorite cardio DVD to get you energized before work, 10 minutes of a strength training DVD in the afternoon, and 10 minutes of yoga before you go to bed. Anything that gets your body moving will boost your metabolism.

 

  1. Options are not an option! Variety is key when it comes to exercise. If you do the same thing day after day eventually you suffer burn out and you stop seeing results. Worse yet, you go through the motions and that’s anything but exciting. Change up your workouts to keep your body guessing and your mind active.

  1. Timing is key! There’s no right time to work out, just the time that’s right for you. That said, you have to find the time that fits into your schedule. Once you do, write out your game plan for the week, or month if possible, and stick to it. If you try to squeeze exercise into your day chances are it won’t happen; but if it’s on the schedule it’s a plan, and the plan becomes part of your routine.

  1. It has to be convenient. Location, location, location! It’s not just important in real estate. It’s important to keep us motivated to exercise because consistency is key. If the gym is too far away chances are you won’t want to sacrifice time, energy, and cost of travel. Set up your living room or bedroom for your workouts, or find a gym nearby so you can stay motivated, be consistent, and build good habits.
  1. Value is vital. If exercise is going to become an integral part of your life, it has to hold personal value. In other words, you have to believe it’s worth it and that you’re worth the time it takes. There are few situations where I will allow something to disrupt my exercise routine because exercise is my lifeline. I’ve lost too many people in my life to preventable disease and I know all too well that exercise is my most powerful defense. That beats burly biceps any day.

  1. Ask a friend to join you. We’re social creatures, and we enjoy things that we can do and share with others. Friends are also great at keeping us accountable and giving us that extra push. Whether you share a workout in your basement, or at the gym, it’s not only an activity to get you both healthy; it’s an excuse to spend time together.

  1. Tackle your goals. Before you begin, start by setting one or two SMART goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Oriented. Example: I want to perform 30 minutes of light resistance training three days per week at a moderate intensity. The more specific the goal, the more likely you are to achieve it. No goal is too small, but big, overwhelming goals can be discouraging.

  1. Invest in good workout wear. A new pair of supportive shoes and a cute outfit or two is not only motivating; it’s worth it. If we’re comfortable and we feel good about what we’re wearing, we’re more likely to look forward to exercise.

  1. Own your barriers. Know what gets in your way… work, time, fatigue, etc. Write out your barriers, those things that pull you away and challenge your motivation. Then write out ways you will overcome those barriers. We all have barriers, but if we plan ahead and strategize how we’re going to deal with them, that’s more than half the battle.
  1. Never let someone make you feel guilty. I’ve been told countless times, “I wish I had time to workout.” This is generally a statement by someone who doesn’t value exercise; therefore they don’t make the time. We all have the same number of hours in a day and if we value something we make time for it, bottom line. You don’t need to feel guilty for taking care of yourself so you can better care for others. Kudos to you for striving to be your best.

 Best in Health~

Angie

 Angie Miller, M.S., is a fitness educator, university instructor, and Licensed Professional Counselor who blends her skills and expertise to empower individuals, mentally and physically, and provide them the tools they need to succeed. A veteran group exercise instructor and personal trainer, Angie is the star of acclaimed exercise DVD’s, including the Bedroom Body™ workout. Her passion for progressive education brought her to Northern Illinois University, where she teaches in the Dept. of Kinesiology & Physical Education. Outside of the university, she presents at fitness conventions worldwide and leads industry trainings as an AFAA Certification Specialist and Kettlebell Concepts Master Instructor. Angie writes for fitness journals and digital communities, and blogs for Collage Video. Connect with Angie at: http://www.angiemillerfitness.com

 

Feasting Without Adding Fat

by Angie Miller

Angie Miller

 Five Tips to Feast Without Adding Fat

Thanksgiving is days away, and while we appreciate the joy of family, friends, and celebration, we want to feast without adding fat. Like most prescriptions for a healthy diet and proper exercise, it’s much simpler than we think. With a little modification, we can avoid packing on the pounds while still enjoying the holiday festivities. Check out these five tips. 

 

  1. Avoid famine before you feast. Many make the mistake of thinking that if they starve themselves up until it’s time to eat, somehow they’re saving calories and shrinking their stomach. Generally, the opposite is true. One day of skipping breakfast and lunch won’t shrink your stomach, but it’s likely to make you feast to curb your famine. As I mentioned in my blog, “Two Tips to Tackle the Urge to Overeat,” the problem with getting too hungry is that when we do eat we often indulge rather than enjoy, meaning that we eat too quickly. According to most research, it takes about twenty minutes for our brain to get the message from our stomach that we’re full. If we eat quickly our brain never gets the message until it’s too late, and by that time we’ve eaten too much.
  1. Choose your beverage wisely. Water will make you feel fuller, and in turn help you to eat less. Alcohol on the other hand can make you lose your inhibitions, and along with that your self-control. When we drink alcohol our sense of rational decision-making is impaired at best. While we may normally be in tune with listening to the signals our body sends, alcohol can suppress those signals and cause us to eat more than we normally would. Drink water before, during, and after the meal to keep your stomach satisfied and your hunger at bay.
  1. Move away from the table. Once the meal is finished, a great distraction is to move away from temptation and into another room where the focus becomes something other than eating. Getting lost in conversation, connecting with friends and family, and sharing laughter reminds us that Thanksgiving is more than just a feast.
  1. Be selective about your sugar. When it comes time for dessert, remember that it’s okay to savor the sweets, but do so in moderation. Pick your favorite pie or other dessert, and by all means dismiss any thoughts of guilt or regret, but make an effort to stop there. If you can’t decide and there’s more than one dessert you want to try, split both of them in half and share them with someone else. Two times the fun, but half the calories.
  1. Earn your calories. Fitness has joined the fun when it comes to holiday celebrations. There are turkey trots, holiday master classes, and when all fails there are treadmills. Whether we pound the pavement or pick up a set of weights, when we start our day off with a good sweat we’re more inclined to make our calories count. In the end, it’s Calories In vs. Calories Out, and the goal is to gear up for a big meal by blasting calories before you begin.

Wishing you much joy, laughter, and love this Thanksgiving holiday.

Best in Health~

- Angie

Angie Miller, M.S., is a fitness educator, university instructor, and Licensed Professional Counselor who blends her skills and expertise to empower individuals, mentally and physically, and provide them the tools they need to succeed. A veteran group exercise instructor and personal trainer, Angie is the star of acclaimed exercise DVD’s, including the Bedroom Body™ workout. Her passion for progressive education brought her to Northern Illinois University, where she teaches in the Dept. of Kinesiology & Physical Education. Outside of the university, she presents at fitness conventions worldwide and leads industry trainings as an AFAA Certification Specialist and Kettlebell Concepts Master Instructor. Angie writes for fitness journals and digital communities, and blogs for Collage Video. Connect with Angie at: http://www.angiemillerfitness.com

 

By Collage Video | | Angie Miller, fitness, holiday, Thanksgiving, tips, Weekly Blog, Wellness | 0 comments | Read more

ARMED AND READY FOR THE HOLIDAYS


by Angie Miller

Angie Miller

Arm & Ready for the Holidays


by Angie Miller

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whether it’s summer time fun or holiday festivities, we all want to bare arms that are strong and sculpted. This upper body workout gives you three exercises to strengthen and tone your biceps and triceps, along with interesting variations that challenge your balance and work your core.

 

Tip: Remember that exercise bands offer variable resistance, which means that the resistance changes throughout the range of motion. This keeps the movement dynamic and allows you to create the amount resistance you need. If you need the work to be harder, step further away from the anchored band so the pull is greater.

 

Tip: Make sure that your band doesn’t have any “rebound,” when you return to your start position. This means that you don't want there to be any slack in the band no matter where you are in the movement.

 

Equipment Needed: Resistance Band, (as well as a Sliding Glass Door or an Anchor for a Doorway).

 

Wishing you lots of joy and good health during the holidays~ Sincerely, Angie

 

- Angie

Angie Miller, M.S., is a fitness educator, university instructor, and Licensed Professional Counselor who blends her skills and expertise to empower individuals, mentally and physically, and provide them the tools they need to succeed. A veteran group exercise instructor and personal trainer, Angie is the star of acclaimed exercise DVD’s, including the Bedroom Body™ workout. Her passion for progressive education brought her to Northern Illinois University, where she teaches in the Dept. of Kinesiology & Physical Education. Outside of the university, she presents at fitness conventions worldwide and leads industry trainings as an AFAA Certification Specialist and Kettlebell Concepts Master Instructor. Angie writes for fitness journals and digital communities, and blogs for Collage Video. Connect with Angie at: http://www.angiemillerfitness.com

 

By Collage Video | | Abs, Angie Miller, exercise, fitness, tips, Weekly Blog, Wellness | 0 comments | Read more

How to Improve Your Relationships

by Angie Miller

Angie Miller

How to Improve Your Relationships by Asking the Right Questions

Sometimes the most interesting conversations happen in the most unsuspecting places. When I travel to speak at conferences I always find this to be the case. While it’s amazing to share my passion with like-minded professionals and to learn from some of the best, I also appreciate that there’s a different type of learning that takes place when the sessions are over. The conversation becomes more about life and less about business. This is when we share stories and connect through our experiences, and these are the stories that stay with me long after the conference is over.

One such story was told recently at Optima, a conference held in Arizona by the National Academy of Sports Medicine. After our sessions, one of my colleagues shared a story about about questions and how he used them to create a more loving connection with his wife. Naturally I was intrigued, because if you read my blogs you know how fascinated I am with questions.

My colleague learned that when he and his wife would come home from work she wanted to discuss the events of her day, while he preferred to unwind in silence. He soon realized that what she really wanted was what we all want, the validation of someone caring enough to ask about our day, and listening with empathy and understanding as we share our thoughts and feelings.

Questions can help us initiate personal change, and they can also strengthen our relationships with others. That said, not all questions are created equally, and the type of questions we ask makes all the difference. Some questions can be answered with a simple yes or no, while some lead to deeper, more meaningful conversation. When it comes to asking questions there are so many possibilities, but regardless of the person we’re communicating with we can keep the conversation flowing and gain greater insight if we keep a few tips in mind:

  1. Avoid close-ended questions. Close-ended questions are those that can be answered with a simple yes or no. They’re dead end questions that don’t lead anywhere. They feel choppy, like you’re interviewing the person vs. having a conversation with them. “Did you like the movie?” “Are you hungry?”
  1. Ask open-ended questions. Open-ended questions are leading questions that open the door to more in-depth communication. Open-ended question require a person to reflect before they answer. Their answers are more revealing and we greater insight into their thoughts and feelings. An open-ended question leads to a deeper understanding of the person we’re communicating with and helps us learn more about them.
  1. Open-ended questions often begin with: why, how, what, describe, tell me about ___________, how do you feel about ________ what do you think about _______.

There are so many questions we can ask to foster a deeper connection with those we care about. Questions open the door to better communication and more meaningful relationships, and as far as I’m concerned that’s a powerful way to build bonds that can last a lifetime.

Best to you in Health and Happy Relationships!

Sincerely,
Angie

Angie Miller, M.S., is a fitness educator, university instructor, and Licensed Professional Counselor who blends her skills and expertise to empower individuals, mentally and physically, and provide them the tools they need to succeed. A veteran group exercise instructor and personal trainer, Angie is the star of acclaimed exercise DVD’s, including the Bedroom Body™ workout. Her passion for progressive education brought her to Northern Illinois University, where she teaches in the Dept. of Kinesiology & Physical Education. Outside of the university, she presents at fitness conventions worldwide and leads industry trainings as an AFAA Certification Specialist and Kettlebell Concepts Master Instructor. Angie writes for fitness journals and digital communities, and blogs for Collage Video. Connect with Angie at: http://www.angiemillerfitness.com

 

By Collage Video | | Angie Miller, cardio, exercise, fitness, tips, Weekly Blog, Wellness | 0 comments | Read more

Facts You Should Know About Alzheimer’s Disease

by Angie Miller

Why I Walked to End Alzheimer’s Disease- Facts You Should Know

What do you call it when you walk for a cause, volunteer for something you believe in, and share your love for fitness and health? I call it a cathartic experience, and that’s what I had these past two weekends.

Last year I was given the opportunity to lead the warm up for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in my community. This year it led to two more warm ups, and the chance to be a part of two Walk to End Alzheimer’s events. I’ve lost both of my parents to dementia related diseases, (Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia). Needless to say, sharing fitness and health with hundreds who have joined forces to fight Alzheimer’s was an amazing way to pay tribute to my mom and my dad. It was also my chance to raise awareness about the power of exercise to keep our brain healthy.

Exercise and brain health is a passionate subject for me. Not only because it’s personal, but because it’s a testament to the fact that exercise does far more than get our body fit. I’ve spent decades leading exercise classes and teaching everyone from college students to fitness pros about exercise, and I love reading current research supporting that exercise can help us maintain a healthy brain. How? Exercise helps lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, prevent diabetes, reduce stress and anxiety, and keep our emotions healthy and balanced, all of which can indirectly contribute to impaired cognitive functioning. In her article, “Exercise: It does so much more than burn calories,” Elizabeth Pegg Frates, MD, states that, “Exercise can also help enhance our cognitive skills — it’s true that what is good for the heart is good for the brain. Research demonstrates that regular exercise can actually increase the size of the hippocampus, an area of the brain involved with memory.” Best of all, “150 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity per week can significantly decrease the risk of dying prematurely.” That should inspire all of us to get active, right? Not for big guns and tight buns, but because we want to live well, with a healthy body and an active, healthy brain.

 

 

 The fact is, Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia are likely to affect all of us on some level, and we can all do more to keep our brain healthy. Here are some facts I learned on my walk. Thanks to the Alzheimer’s Association, these signs are posted all throughout the walk, increasing awareness and education on how devastating this disease is to our loved ones, to caregivers, and even to our economy at large. I hope they inspire all of us to care for our bodies, and in turn to care for our brain.

 

 

Me with my team who helped me lead one of the warm ups. They’re a group of fitness friends who attend my Pilates and Young at Heart classes.

 

Me with my team of Young at Heart fitness friends who helped me lead one of the warm ups.

Best in heart and brain health.

Sincerely,

- Angie

Angie MillerAngie Miller, M.S., is a fitness educator, university instructor, and Licensed Professional Counselor who blends her skills and expertise to empower individuals, mentally and physically, and provide them the tools they need to succeed. A veteran group exercise instructor and personal trainer, Angie is the star of acclaimed exercise DVD’s, including the Bedroom Body™ workout. Her passion for progressive education brought her to Northern Illinois University, where she teaches in the Dept. of Kinesiology & Physical Education. Outside of the university, she presents at fitness conventions worldwide and leads industry trainings as an AFAA Certification Specialist and Kettlebell Concepts Master Instructor. Angie writes for fitness journals and digital communities, and blogs for Collage Video. Connect with Angie at: http://www.angiemillerfitness.com

 

By Collage Video | | Angie Miller, fitness, goals, Healthy, Motivation, Weekly Blog, Wellness | 0 comments | Read more

Three Fitness Mistakes

by Angie Miller

Angie Miller

Three Fitness Mistakes that Sabotage Our Best Efforts

The kids are back to school, the weather’s getting cooler, and we’re falling back into a fitness routine. Exercise is an investment of our time, and like any investment we want to get great results. Who doesn’t want to look and feel like they’re a walking testament to their hard work and efforts? Before you get started, check out these three fitness mistakes that even the best intentioned exercisers have been known to make. Knowledge is power, and the more you know the safer and more effective your approach, thus the better your results.

 

Three Mistakes to Avoid:

  1. Doing Too Much Too Soon- When I meet a new person at the gym, or overhear someone telling me that they’ve started to work out for the first time, the kiss of death is when they tell me, “I'm going to exercise every day until I get this weight off/feel better/can fit back into my clothes.” Personally, I’ve been exercising consistently for over 20 years and I still don’t exercise every day. Not only would I get burnt out, I wouldn’t get the results I’m looking for and more than likely I’d suffer a setback and get injured. More isn’t always more, and quality should always precede quantity. When you first start an exercise routine your body is on high alert and it’s ready and responsive. You’ll get a return on your investment up to a point. If you push yourself and do too much too soon, that’s overload on your body and your mind and it’s too much of a strain on your schedule.

Try This: Start small and work your way up from there. Two to three days a week is ideal. Thirty minute to one hour sessions and you’re good to go. Once you have that down pat for about six weeks, set a new goal. Add more time to your routine, or another day of the week, and before long exercise won’t be something you “have to do,” it will be a “habit” you can’t live without.

  1. Being Sucked into The Extreme Workout Mentality- Extreme workouts, the kind that promise great results in less time, where the workout is so “intense” that they claim you only need to do it for thirty minutes, are not for the novice exerciser (nor are they for me). Thirty minutes of sheer torture is going to feel like thirty hours, but one hour of something you enjoy will feel like it’s time well spent. Not only do we dread workouts that are beyond intense, they too lead to injury and burn out. After all, how motivating is it when you’re sore all the time and you dread your workouts?

Try This: Find a routine that will challenge your body and test your limits, but one that will make you feel successful. We don’t need extreme programs to get results. We need programs that make us feel like “we got this,” that encourage us to keep going. As long as we’re going, we’re getting closer and closer to where we ultimately want to be.

  1. Not Asking for Help- When we’re sick we go the doctor. When we need a haircut we head the hairdresser. When we have a toothache, need our taxes done, or want a massage, we always go to the experts. That said, why not seek the advice of a fitness expert, someone who knows their trade, who is educated, certified, credentialed, and experienced, when we want to care for our body and make it stronger and healthier? Whether it's quality fitness DVD’s, a certified trainer or instructor, there is plenty of good help out there. If you’re really serious about getting great results, and you want to get them safely and effectively, invest in good help. You only have one body, and of all the things to skimp on, it isn’t your health. If you do want to plan your own routine, be careful where you get your information. I’ve said this before, and I can’t emphasize it enough, “It’s the Wild West out there on the Internet and it seems that knowledge and credibility are determined by the number of followers and likes on social media sites rather than certifications, education, licensures, and degrees. While some social media savvy individuals may have a lot of exposure and visibility, that doesn’t always translate to knowledge, experience, and proper education. When you get your workout information from blogs, websites, and You Tube, check out that person’s credentials. If you can’t find them, take that as your first sign and run for the hills. Enough said.” Check out my blog, for more fitness, diet and workout mistakes you might be making:

Try This: If you are going to plan your own routine, check out how to do it in a way that’s supported by science. Check out my blog on How to Build an Exercise Program to Achieve My Goals: http://www.collagevideo.com/blogs/angies-corner/14852673-how-to-build-an-exercise-program-to-achieve-my-goals

Also, if you need some guidance on resistance training, check out my blog, Mix it up with Machines. Machines are safe and effective, and they give you the results you’re looking for without all the guesswork: http://www.collagevideo.com/blogs/angies-corner/16755708-mix-it-up-with-machines

Best to You in Health and Fitness~

Sincerely,

Angie Miller, M.S., is a fitness educator, university instructor, and Licensed Professional Counselor who blends her skills and expertise to empower individuals, mentally and physically, and provide them the tools they need to succeed. A veteran group exercise instructor and personal trainer, Angie is the star of acclaimed exercise DVD’s, including the Bedroom Body™ workout. Her passion for progressive education brought her to Northern Illinois University, where she teaches in the Dept. of Kinesiology & Physical Education. Outside of the university, she presents at fitness conventions worldwide and leads industry trainings as an AFAA Certification Specialist and Kettlebell Concepts Master Instructor. Angie writes for fitness journals and digital communities, and blogs for Collage Video. Connect with Angie at: http://www.angiemillerfitness.com

 

By Collage Video | | Angie Miller, exercise, fitness, Healthy, practice, Weekly Blog, Wellness | 0 comments | Read more

Summer Shape Up- Ten Minute Toner

by Angie Miller
Angie Miller

 
There’s no better time than Monday morning to challenge your body and brain with a time efficient, circuit style workout that will target every muscle in your body. The exercises, from my Crave Results DVD, are fun and functional. They’re designed to work multiple muscle groups, boosting your metabolism and making you stronger for everyday activity.
 


 
Equipment: All you need for this full body toner is your body weight, one dumbbell, and a resistance band.
EXERCISE ONE: Squat
Targets: glutes, quads, hamstrings and core muscles

Start position: Stand tall with your feet hip-distance apart. Secure the resistance tube under your feet and hold the handles at shoulder height.
Movement: Bend at your knees as if sitting back into a chair. Stop when your buttocks are parallel to the floor, then slowly extend your legs and come back to standing. Be sure to keep your core engaged, torso long and knees behind your toes. Look straight ahead and keep your head in line with your spine.
Perform: 16 repetitions

EXERCISE TWO: Single-Arm Bent-Over Row
Targets: back, arms and shoulders
 
Start position: Place one end of a resistance tube under your left foot and hold the other end with your right hand. Step back with your right foot and place your left hand on your thigh for support. Create enough resistance with the tubing so there is no slack. Hinge forward slightly and stabilize your core by contracting your abs and back.
Movement: Start with your arm extended and slowly drive your elbow up and back toward your ribs. Focus on squeezing your upper back muscles as if you were trying to move your scapula toward your spine, or "place it in your back pocket." Then lower your arm until it is fully extended and repeat. Be sure to keep your arm close to your body throughout the exercise. To avoid hyperextending, stop when your palm is flush with your body and try to avoid any hip movement.
Perform: 16 repetitions on each side

EXERCISE THREE: Reverse Wood-Chop
Targets: core muscles, glutes and legs
 
Start position: Stand tall, holding a dumbbell horizontally between your palms at chest level. Abs are engaged and torso is long.
Movement: Begin with a squat, bending your knees as if you were sitting back into a chair; stop when your buttocks are parallel to the floor. As you squat, rotate your torso, bringing the weight outside your hips. Then extend your legs and drive the weight above your head as you come back to center. Maintain control of the movement and avoid swinging the weight. Focus on maintaining a strong, stable core, and rotating your torso rather than your hips.
Perform: 16 repetitions on each side.

EXERCISE FOUR: Core Chiseler
Targets: chest, arms, shoulders, abdominals, back and obliques
 
Start position: Using a mat or a towel, begin in prone (plank) position, on your knees or your toes, with your hands placed directly below your shoulders or slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
Movement: Keeping a strong center, bend your elbows and lower your body, bringing your chest as close to the mat as possible, then push back up to plank by slowly extending your elbows and straightening your arms. Focus on keeping your center tight so that your bottom doesn't drop, causing your lower back to sway. Be sure to keep your head in line with your spine and avoid "head-butting" the mat.
Next, turn your body and open up into a side plank position, making sure your support hand is directly below your shoulder. Avoid dumping weight into your shoulders and consider placing your bottom knee on the floor at a 90-degree angle for additional support. Throughout the movement, brace your core by engaging your abdominals and lower back and holding your center tight.
Come back to plank position, then turn your body and open up into a side plank position facing the opposite direction.
Perform: 4 total repetitions. Rest and repeat.
If you enjoyed this circuit, and you’re interested in more functional exercises that include balance challenges, check out Crave Results. Balance is one of our body's natural resources that we depend on for stability, and our core is our center of gravity. The stronger and more stable our center of gravity, the more efficient and controlled all of our movements will be.


Angie Miller, M.S., is a fitness educator, university instructor, and Licensed Professional Counselor who blends her skills and expertise to empower individuals, mentally and physically, and provide them the tools they need to succeed. A veteran group exercise instructor and personal trainer, Angie is the star of acclaimed exercise DVD’s, including the Bedroom Body™ workout. Her passion for progressive education brought her to Northern Illinois University, where she teaches in the Dept. of Kinesiology & Physical Education. Outside of the university, she presents at fitness conventions worldwide and leads industry trainings as an AFAA Certification Specialist and Kettlebell Concepts Master Instructor. Angie writes for fitness journals and digital communities, and blogs for Collage Video. Connect with Angie at: http://www.angiemillerfitness.com
 

By Collage Video | | Angie Miller, exercise, fitness, goals, stress, Weekly Blog, Wellness | 0 comments | Read more

What Causes Exercise Relapse?

by Angie Miller

Angie Miller

Have you ever started an exercise routine and were determined that exercise was going to be a lifelong friend, only to find yourself 6 months, or a year later, looking back at that time and wondering what happened?  I teach a workshop on exercise behavior and motivation and one of the most critical components we discuss is how to avoid relapse. This is important, because we have to understand the obstacles that get in our way in order to minimize their impact.

It’s similar to driver’s education where we’re taught to turn into a skid and go with the resistance rather than overcorrect and make the situation worse. Temptations act as resistance to exercise, but if we turn into them as we do a skid, we can manage them before they sabotage our best efforts. The key is to identify situations that put us at risk and develop a contingency plan for action. Contingency plans ensure that we’re prepared even when our situation changes, and they help us prevent relapse.

What’s the difference between a lapse and a relapse?

Before we talk about relapse and how to avoid it, it's important to note the difference between a lapse and a relapse.

Lapse= a temporary glitch in your routine. You went on vacation for a week and you lapsed, deciding that the treadmill didn’t sound nearly as fun as a lounge chair by the beach.  The key is that a lapse is temporary.

Relapse= a return to old habits, the life you lead before exercise. A relapse is when you fall off the wagon completely, when the week turns into a month, and before long exercise is a distant memory.

Typically a relapse happens over the course of time, due to a chain of events that’s similar to a domino effect. It looks something like the following:

Relapse Effect:

  1. Exercise Obstacle= Angie goes on vacation for a week.
  2. No Plan= Unfortunately, she doesn’t plan ahead or think about the effect this vacation will have on her regular exercise routine.
  3. Short Lapse= Rather than hit the fitness room in the hotel, she hates treadmills; she decides that a week off is just what she needs. However, on Sunday night when Angie returns home she heads straight for the scale and doesn’t like what she sees.
  4. Toxic Thoughts= Angie is so upset by her weight gain and alleged mushy muscles that all she feels is despair and disappointment. She questions her ability to “get back to where she was,” so much so that she begins to wonder if it’s worth it. Maybe she should just give up.
  5. Relapse Begins= It’s week two and Angie has lost her motivation. She continues to allow toxic thoughts to pollute her mind and fails to consider that vacation weight is as temporary as the vacation itself. Her thoughts deplete her energy and by the end of week two she still hasn’t returned to her regular routine.
  6. Full Relapse= Angie’s thoughts send her into a tailspin of negativity and mild depression. Her weight gain has affected her confidence and she doesn’t feel comfortable in her own body. She is even less motivated to exercise and she has decided that this is just how it is; she’s not going to stick with it so why bother.

The reality is that even with the best of intentions, it’s not uncommon to start an exercise routine and slip back into old habits- finding more comfort on the couch than in an exercise class. While it may be common, however, it’s not inevitable and history doesn’t have to repeat itself. Knowledge is power and the key is to identify obstacles that get in our way so that we can deal with them effectively. All of us have situations that put us at risk: vacations, work travel, out of town guests, and holiday craziness to name a few. Research supports that potential relapses have a lesser effect if the individual anticipates them, sees them as a temporary bump in the road, and develops the proper skills for prevention (Dishman and Buckworth, 1997).

Check back next week for Part II, Preventing Relapse, and learn how to recognize situations that put you personally at risk, how to develop a contingency plan, and Six Steps for Prevention.

- Angie

Angie Miller, M.S., is a fitness educator, university instructor, and Licensed Professional Counselor who blends her skills and expertise to empower individuals, mentally and physically, and provide them the tools they need to succeed. A veteran group exercise instructor and personal trainer, Angie is the star of acclaimed exercise DVD’s, including the Bedroom Body™ workout. Her passion for progressive education brought her to Northern Illinois University, where she teaches in the Dept. of Kinesiology & Physical Education. Outside of the university, she presents at fitness conventions worldwide and leads industry trainings as an AFAA Certification Specialist and Kettlebell Concepts Master Instructor. Angie writes for fitness journals and digital communities, and blogs for Collage Video. Connect with Angie at: http://www.angiemillerfitness.com

 

By Collage Video | | Angie Miller, fitness, goals, story, stress, Weekly Blog, Wellness | 0 comments | Read more

Mother Daughter Aerial Workout

by Angie Miller

 
Me, in my first Aerial Silks class, wondering if I’ll ever be able to get back out of this position.
 
My youngest daughter showing me how it’s done.
  
My oldest daughter making it look easy on her first and only try.
 
Here I am trying to keep up with my oldest daughter. This was my second Aerial Silks class.
 
 
Me, bending and extending like never before.
 
 

My youngest daughter, who shows her dancer skills on this one.

Nothing brings me more pleasure than sharing what I love with those I love, and there are few things I love more than exercise- especially in groups. I’ve lead group fitness classes for nearly 30 years, but sharing that experience with my loved ones, namely my daughters, has always been a challenge. Schedule conflicts, different interests (they were both dancers), and then there’s that little thing we can’t deny - who wants to go workout with mom when it’s another place she’ll tell you what to do? This summer, though, I was determined to find an activity we could all do together, something new and unique. Neutral territory if you will, that would connect us through movement and take us out of our comfort zone. Aerial Silks, also known as Aerial Yoga, was the perfect answer for my former dancers, and for me because I wanted to challenge my body in an activity where I have no prior experience.

Aerial Silks is a blend of yoga and acrobatic type of movements and it has a dance and gymnastics feel, in that strength and flexibility are important. The class uses suspended fabric that you wrap around your body, allowing you to climb, go upside down, suspend in mid air, and go into various yoga-like positions. There were so many unexpected benefits from taking this class, everything from having sore arms (who doesn’t want better definition through their arms and shoulders), to an incredible sense of empowerment when I discovered that maybe I’m more flexible than I thought (thanks to the assistance of gravity). If you’re inspired to try a class, and I highly recommend it, here are three reasons I know you wont regret the experience.

Three Benefits of Aerial Silks:

  1. Total Body Workout. Aerial Silks is a total body workout that uses every muscle, (even ones you didn’t know you have), from head to toe. It’s an integrated, multi-joint, multi-muscle workout that strengthens, defines, and lengthens (think flexibility)! You learn how to properly distribute your weight, critical for climbing and balance, and you’ll strengthen your core.
  1. Emotionally Empowering. I’ve mentioned how empowering it feels to discover how flexible you are when gravity is on your side, but have I mentioned how awesome it is when you’re suspended in mid-air, executing movements you never thought possible? Best of all, nearly everyone looks graceful doing it, even those who are new and have no experience.
  1. Feels Great on Your Back. If you don’t have an inversion table, Aerial Silks might be the next best thing. Any time you hang upside down you give your spine the opportunity to lengthen. This is a huge benefit for everyone, especially if you sit a lot throughout the day. Nothing feels better than a workout that allows your spine to decompress.
I couldn’t have chosen a better workout for my daughters and me. It always feels incredible to share something you love with someone you love, and it feels even better when that something that makes you all stronger and more confident about your body.

Best in Health~

Angie

Angie Miller, M.S., is a fitness educator, university instructor, and Licensed Professional Counselor who blends her skills and expertise to empower individuals, mentally and physically, and provide them the tools they need to succeed. A veteran group exercise instructor and personal trainer, Angie is the star of acclaimed exercise DVD’s, including the Bedroom Body™ workout. Her passion for progressive education brought her to Northern Illinois University, where she teaches in the Dept. of Kinesiology & Physical Education. Outside of the university, she presents at fitness conventions worldwide and leads industry trainings as an AFAA Certification Specialist and Kettlebell Concepts Master Instructor. Angie writes for fitness journals and digital communities, and blogs for Collage Video. Connect with Angie at: http://www.angiemillerfitness.com

 

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