Angie's Corner

Posts in the tips category

Resistance Band Workout: Total Body Circuit

by Angie Miller

Angie Miller

 

If you’re looking for a total body workout that targets every muscle group and requires limited equipment, grab a band and get started with these five exercises. This resistance band workout strengthens your legs, shoulders, back, and arms, with interesting variations that challenge your balance and work your core. Complete each exercise consecutively for the recommended number of repetitions, then repeat the circuit two more times, resting 1-2 minutes between each circuit.

 

Exercise One: Bicep Curl to Overhead Press

  • Targets: Biceps, Shoulders
  • Repetitions: 16x  
Exercise Two: Reverse Lunge to a Knee Balance
  • Targets: Glutes, Legs, Core
  • Repetitions: 8x each leg  
Exercise Three: Reverse Row 
  • Targets: Upper Back
  • Repetitions: 16x  
Exercise Four: Side Lunge with a Side Press
  • Targets: Glutes, Legs, Core, Shoulders, Arms
  • Repetitions: 8x each side  
Exercise Five: Hip Extension to Knee Balance
  • Targets: Glutes, Core
  • Repetitions: 8x each side   
Form and Execution Tips: Be sure to keep your torso long and extended, abdominals engaged, glutes tight, chest open, and shoulders down, and head in line with your spine.   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, use a band with greater resistance, or increase your range of motion throughout the exercises.   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.   Best to you in health

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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Is Fear Holding You Back?

by Angie Miller

There are a lot of scary things in this world, including situations and events that we can’t control, but I don’t think there’s anything scarier than letting fear hold us back from realizing our dreams. Our lives are a living testament to what we create, and too often we give more power to our fears and doubts than our dreams and desires.

According to Brian Luke Seaward, in his book, Managing Stress, there are seven basic human fears. One of them, fear of the unknown, is why many of us are paralyzed to go after our dreams and desires. It also speaks to why we get stuck, unable to extract ourselves from bad jobs, relationships, or other situations. While we might wish for things to be different, or dream about what our lives would be like if they were, our fear of the unknown can make us feel powerless to change.

Fear of the Unknown

For some, “The devil you know is better than the devil you don't.” The fear of failure, or the idea that the situation might somehow prove to be worse, can hold many of us back from taking a chance on change. Yet if we reflect back on our greatest accomplishments we know they didn’t come without risk. Our ability to step into unchartered territory opened the door to opportunity, and that’s why facing our fears is so pivotal to our growth. Whether you’re looking to go after your goals or get out of a bad situation, here’s a closer look at fear and how to conquer it.

Three Tips to Conquer Fear of the Unknown:

  1. Own Your Fears- “You have to claim it to tame it,” as I once heard Carrie Fisher say during her autobiographical stage production. In order to change our situation, whether it’s going after our goals, getting out of a bad relationship, or quitting a harmful habit, we have to be honest and have the courage to admit that things need to be different. Maybe they need to be different for our safety, or simply to answer our calling. Either way, we have to acknowledge what we want or need, and what is holding us back, before we can figure out how to move forward.
  1. Gather Information- Knowledge is power and the more we understand something the less likely it is to scare us away. Information is the fuel we need to set fire to our fear. When we research, whether it’s how to stop emotional eating or how to start our own business, we gain insight into how it’s done. We learn how others have mastered the feat and we realize that we're not alone. Change may not lead us in the direction we’re expecting, because life can be unpredictable, but it will lead us out of our current situation and that’s progress.
  1. Take the first step. The first step is always the hardest. It’s like going to the gym. The most difficult part is getting out the door. Once you’re there, working out is easy, relatively speaking. Once you take that first step toward your goal, or away from a bad situation, you just have to remember that everything worth accomplishing takes time and patience. It’s like a staircase. At the top of the staircase is where we want to be, and each step gets us closer to our goal. More importantly, it reassures us that we’re making progress and gives us the tools we need to tackle the next step.

Fear only has power when we allow it to hold us back. When we own our fears, gather information, and take the first step, we can successfully save ourselves from harmful situations and embrace the opportunity to realize our dreams.

Be Fearless~ 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

 

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Turkish Get-Up

by Angie Miller

Mastering the Turkish Get-Up!

Grab a kettlebell for this Turkish Get-Up!

There are few training tools in the fitness mainstream that pique interest and create more discussion than the kettlebell. For some, an intimidating ball of iron, for others a versatile piece of equipment that with proper training can transform your body. While kettlebell swings, cleans, jerks, and snatches offer unique challenges in terms of proper skill and execution, the Turkish Get-Up (TGU) is, without a doubt, one of the more complicated lifts to master. The TGU, however, is unique in that it has multiple parts that can be practiced as stand alone exercises, then put together for safe, seamless execution.

Why a Turkish Get-Up?

The TGU is a complex, integrated exercise that improves flexibility, joint mobility, and overall body strength. It also helps strengthen and stabilize the core, while also improving balance and coordination. Along with being a great lift, the TGU can also be used as an assessment tool to spotlight areas of the body that may be tight, such as the hips, or areas that may need strengthening, such as the shoulders. Overall movement quality can also be assessed with this total body exercise.

Safety Tip:

Whether you’re using the TGU as an assessment tool or you’re in the beginning stages of learning or teaching it, it’s good to practice without load, or a very light object like a shoe. With the many moving parts and coordination required for the TGU, it can be challenging enough using just body weight without adding in the additional control needed for a loaded movement. The goal is to focus on quality of movement over load or quantity.

How to Perform the Turkish Get-Up    

(View all the moves of the Turkish Get-Up )

Set Up:

  1. Lie supine on the floor. Bend your knees, roll to your right side, and grab the handle of the kettlebell.
  1. Roll onto your back and press the kettlebell straight up overhead toward the ceiling with your right arm. Extend your left leg out to the side (about a 45-degree angle for a wide base of support), and your left arm at a similar angle, palm down on the floor. This is your start position for the get up.

Tip: Remember that if the right arm has the kettlebell, your right knee is bent. Keep your right foot planted firmly into the floor. Lock the elbow of your right arm and push your shoulder down to pack it into place.

Executing the Lift:

  1. Actively lift and roll your hip to the side as you punch and drive your right hand up, coming up onto your left forearm.

Tip: Lengthen through your spine. Fully extend your right arm, lock your elbow, and pack your shoulder down. Maintain space between your shoulder and your head and avoid collapsing or sinking into your shoulders. Keep your eye on the kettlebell.

  1. Keep punching your right hand through and come up onto the palm of your left hand. You’re almost in a seated position here.
  1. Now lift your hips off the floor into a strong semi- bridge position, pressing into your right foot and left arm. Your left leg remains locked out and fully extended.

Tip: Be careful not to hyperextend through your lower back. Engage your anterior core and keep your center strong throughout each part of the get up.

  1. Bring your left leg back, threading it under your body, and placing your left knee on the ground.

Tip: Angle the left knee back so you can turn your hips up and stack them. Keep your eye on the kettlebell overhead.

  1. Now press into your left arm and corkscrew your body into a half kneeling position, squaring your hips and shoulders to the front, keeping the kettlebell extended overhead in your right arm.

Tip: Be sure to windshield wipe the left knee (you’re no longer going to angle it) so both legs are at a 90-degree angle. To assist in getting into the half kneeling position, slightly hinge your hips and shift your weight back toward your heel so it will be easier to take your left hand off the floor.

  1. Looking straight ahead, press off the ball of your right foot and come up into a standing position.

Turkish Get Down:  

(View the moves to get down )

The start position for a get down is the ending position for the get up. To get down, simply reverse the order. Be sure to practice on both sides.

- 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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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

 

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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

 

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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

 

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Weightless Workout

by Angie Miller

Angie Miller

The Beauty of Bodyweight Training

As bodyweight workouts rise in popularity, I often get asked about their effectiveness and their ability to deliver results. Personally, I think bodyweight training is the foundation of all training. Not only do I love the freedom and flexibility of weightless workouts, no equipment, no fuss, I love what they teach us about our body. When it’s just us against gravity we learn how to create resistance, and how to target every muscle group effectively simply by changing our body position. Bodyweight training teaches us how to manage and distribute our body weight, how to stabilize and strengthen our core, and how to use our gluteals for power and support. This gives us better body intuition that carries over into everything we do, in the gym and at home. Most importantly, without the added dimension of dumbbells, weighted bars, and other training tools, we can focus on proper form and technique, and just like dancers we can learn to move with grace and precision.

 Here are of three of my favorite bodyweight exercises: All three exercises build upper body strength in your arms and shoulders, help you to stabilize and strengthen your core, improve your flexibility, and teach you to use your gluteals and legs for power and support.

 Downward Facing Dog:

            How to Do: Start in plank position with your body fully extended, hands directly below your shoulders, hips stable, and shoulders down and back. Engage your torso and lift your hips in the air, keeping your hands and feet in place so you stay long and extended.

            Tip: Think about distributing your bodyweight so that your shoulders and wrists don’t feel any extra pressure. Engage through your center as if you’re wearing a belt.  Lift your energy up through your spine and down the back of your legs, rooting into your heels.

            Tip: Be sure to keep your neck long to avoid your shoulders sinking into your neck.

 

 

  1. Side Plank:

            How to Do: Start from front plank, then open up into a side plank, extending one arm up toward the ceiling.

            Tip: Make sure that your support arm is directly below your shoulder. Be sure to keep your neck long and look up toward your extended arm. Stack your hips and shoulders, placing your body against an invisible wall behind you.

            Tip: You can modify this exercise by bending your bottom leg and placing your knee on the floor. This helps take pressure off of your shoulders and wrists.

 

  1. Tabletop:

            How to Do: Start with your buttocks, feet, and hands on the floor, with fingertips facing your hips, feet are hip distance apart. Gently lift your hips and try to flatten your torso, engaging your center, pulling your chest open, and drawing your shoulder blades together.

            Tip: Keep your head in line with your spine and don’t forget to breath. Really engage your gluteals here, using them for strength and support.

           Tip: Tabletop opens your chest and strengthens your back, gluteals, and hamstrings, all three areas that are often overlooked and undertrained. This is great for your posture!

 

I hope you enjoy bodyweight training as much as I do. Here’s to good health, strong muscles, and amazing posture!

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

 

Are You Ready for Change? Part II

by Angie Miller

Angie Miller
Are You Ready for Change? Part II
Read Part I Here!

Change is a chance for a new beginning, but change can be daunting because it means that we have to face the unknown. That said, if change is gradual and we approach it in a healthy, step-by-step fashion, we can readily accomplish our goals and set ourselves up for a lifetime of success.

The Transtheoretical Model is one such model that helps us approach change in a gradual manner. The model highlights the importance of planning. Additionally, it addresses the critical nature of mental and emotional preparedness as we work through the process of change. There are six stages in the model, but we don’t necessarily go through them in the same order. We may backtrack if the change is especially difficult. This model reinforces the type of effort and commitment required for lasting change, and helps us to recognize our potential.

Last week I shared the first four stages: Precontemplation, Contemplation, Preparation, and Action. This week I’m going to share the final two stages of change, how to avoid relapse, and common pitfalls that stand in the way of our success. Whether it’s exercise, healthy eating, or some other change you need to make in your life, check out these stages and get yourself ready for change.

Transtheoretical Model

  1. Maintenance- In this stage, a person is maintaining their exercise plan, continuing to see progress, and working toward a long-term commitment for exercise and healthy behavior. We enter the maintenance stage after we have successfully implemented and maintained our new behavior change for six months or longer without falling back into old habits. The maintenance stage requires diligence, hard work, and the discipline to avoid relapse.
  1. Termination- In the termination stage our new behavior, aka exercise plan has become habit. Exercise is now a part of routine and how we live, therefore relapse is no longer a risk and old temptations are not an issue.

When it comes to lasting change there’s always work to be done, but if we plan ahead and approach change gradually, we can mentally and emotionally prepare for the next step and accomplish goals that will last a lifetime. Before you plan for your next big change, check out these common pitfalls that often prevent us from reaching our goals. The key is to anticipate them and develop skills to manage them, therefore ultimately avoiding relapse.

5 Tips to Prevent Relapse:

  1. Expect & plan for difficult situations that put you at risk: schedule alternative activities while on vacation, or bring along an exercise band while traveling for work. Another idea is to put your workout clothes in the car so you’re not tempted to come after work and skip the gym.
  2. Stop “shoulding” yourself: replace “shoulds” with “wants” to maintain balance in your life. Shoulds put pressure on us and make us feel like we’re failing or not living up to our own expectations. Wants give us temporary relief and make us feel good. Instead of, “I should work out today, because I want to wear that dress this weekend.” How about, “I want to workout today, because I know I will feel so much better afterwards.”
  3. Use positive self-talk and imagery to avoid negative dialogue: The messages we send to ourselves are powerful! Our mind is the BOSS! “I am so proud I worked out today, despite how tired I am,” vs. “I don’t know why I bothered working out, I was tired and off my game.”
  4. Don’t let “time” be your excuse: The most frequent reason given for lack of exercise is time, but research supports that this is more a perception than reality. Making the time for exercise is key. A way to do that is to schedule our workouts the way we schedule our other activities like going to the dentist. Finding time always boils down to time management and priorities. A great way to make exercise a priority is to make it enjoyable, meaningful to you, and targeted to your needs and goals.
  5. View a temporary relapse as just that- temporary: It’s only catastrophic if the mind makes it so, and that only undermines confidence and willpower. We’re not a total failure if we didn’t exercise for a week. That week is gone, and the week ahead has yet to happen. Opportunity awaits and a new outlook is all it takes.

Best in Health!

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

 

Are You Ready for Change?

by Angie Miller

Angie Miller

Have you ever found yourself making excuses or searching for reasons to hold on to a person or situation that you know isn’t in your best interests, yet you can’t seem to find the courage to change? As the saying goes, “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.” Meaning that often we choose to deal with the familiar even when the familiar isn’t ideal, as opposed to facing the unknown. Frankly it’s why so many people get stuck, in unhealthy relationships, jobs, and even unhealthy lifestyle decisions- smoking, sleep deprivation, overeating, or lack of exercise. Maybe in the past we’ve tried to change, but somehow we revert back to old patterns. Maybe we see the need for change, but we have no idea where to begin. Or maybe we don’t have what I call a driver and change isn’t even in our radar. To me a driver is something that motivates us to change, something that is making us uncomfortable enough to override our fear of the unknown.

Research supports that for lasting change to take place we have to go through a series of stages. These stages help us approach change gradually, thus preparing our mind and emotions and setting us up for success. The Transtheoretical Model is one such model of change. The Transtheoretical Model assesses our readiness for change and helps provide us with strategies to adopt new behaviors. There are six stages in the model, but we don’t necessarily go through them in a step-by-step fashion. For instance, we might backtrack if the change is especially difficult. The model reinforces the type of effort and commitment required for lasting change. Whether it’s exercise, healthy eating, or some other change you need to make in your life, check out these stages and see if you are ready for change.

Transtheoretical Model

  1. Precontemplation- In the precontemplation stage a person has no intention of changing. Maybe they’ve tried in the past and given up, maybe they’re in denial, or maybe they’re completely unaware they have a problem. In terms of exercise, a person in this stage is saying, “Exercise, what is exercise and why would I want to do that?”
  1. Contemplation- In the contemplation stage a person recognizes that they have a problem and they start to consider the need to change, but it’s not immediate. A person can stay in the contemplation stage for months or even years. After all, old habits die hard. In terms of exercise someone in this stage might say, “I really should exercise. My jeans are starting to get tight and my doctor says it would help me lose weight. Maybe I will someday.”
  1. Preparation- A person in the preparation stage is much closer to taking action. Rather than just thinking about change, someone in this stage is starting to develop a plan and identify what he or she can do to get started. In terms of exercise a person in this stage might say, “Next week I’m going to hire a trainer and start exercising two days a week.”
  1. Action- This is the execution stage where thoughts turn to action. A person in this stage has hired the trainer and started their exercise plan. This is an exciting stage, but there can be a downside. If we jump into the action stage before working through the other stages our likelihood of success decreases. Without preparation and realistic goals our exercise routine is typically abandoned long before it becomes a lifestyle; thus why the earlier stages are important.

Action, when it’s well planned and executed, is where we start to see results. When it comes to lasting change, however, there’s more work to be done. Next week I’ll share the final two stages for successful behavior change, and how to avoid relapse and common pitfalls that stand in the way of our success.

Read Part II Here

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

 

Girl Power II

by Angie Miller

Angie Miller

5 Reasons You Need A Girls Getaway Part II

Here’s a link to Part I

Nothing parallels the power of female connection and few things soothe the soul more than a girls’ getaway. Women for me have always been a source of comfort, security, and unconditional love, and it’s because of their profound support that strong female connections have become my life support. It’s also the reason I foster my friendships and find ways to make girls getaways not a luxury, but a necessity.

I’ve had two girls’ getaways in the past few months. The key I’ve decided is to be flexible in your standards of how you define a getaway, and to be spontaneous in taking what you can get when the opportunity arises.

 Here’s five lessons I learned from my girls’ getaways, and why I think you should grab your girlfriend/s and go, as soon as possible:

  1. You’re not alone. Nothing is more validating or comforting than knowing that your girlfriends share similar thoughts, experiences, worries, and doubts, about parenting, relationships, ageing, careers, you name it. What we reinforce in one another is what female connections and true friends are so good at offering- love and companionship, and a gentle reminder that we’re all doing the best we can and thankfully we’re not alone. We have the support and validation of friends who only want the best for us, who have our back, and who are there when we need them the most.

Me with my college girlfriends- Nancy and Michelle- in Cancun, Mexico

  1. Time may pass, but connections are never lost. Before we met in Mexico, my two college girlfriends and I hadn’t all been together for a girls’ weekend since 2009. Since that time we have navigated our way through life situations that have forever changed our perspective, yet we discovered that we’re still the same girls we were in college- young at heart and happy to share new adventures. We seemed to pick up where we left off, and with shared history and a connection that has stood the test of time, we accepted our common, yet unique struggles with an empathetic ear and an open heart.
  1. Wine, chocolate, and fine dining- in abundance. Does fine dining include beach drinks and outdoor restaurants where bathing suits are the dress code? We thought so. Mix that in with a good meal or two, great dessert, and some Mexican beer, and/or margaritas, and it’s amazing the laughter and direction of the conversation. Better yet, no one’s judging if you go back for another round, or decide that one dessert isn’t enough.
  1. There is always someone who wants to give you a massage-for a price. I’ve had few girls’ getaways where I couldn’t justify the need for a massage, facial, or both. Not only do you get a special treatment, you also get to share it with special people. Not to mention, you get invited into that quiet little room where there’s unlimited dried fruit and every tea imaginable at your disposal. Afterwards you and your besties can bask in your luxurious robes and cute little slippers. With all the toxins removed from your body you’re able to look at life through a different lens- one that feels a little less overwhelming when your muscles feel like Jell-O.

Who doesn’t feel more relaxed with blue skies and a beach?

  1. There’s no need to hold back- it’s a judgment free zone. I consider myself a fairly private person. I often hold on to things, maybe more than I should. I need internal processing time if you will, before I can talk about the “big stuff.” Well something about girlfriends, a beach, some margaritas, have I mentioned those, and spa treatments, seems to act like truth serum to the soul. I found myself spilling it, and I came home five pounds lighter as a result, (okay not really, but five pounds lighter in the burdens I had been carrying). Here’s what I’ve discovered about baring your soul on girls weekends: If your teenager is making you question your parenting skills, you’ve discovered that your extended family might be crazy after all, you’re questioning your career choice, life choices, you name it, you’re not alone. Everyone on some level has been there, and sometimes it takes girls getting away, where they feel safe and supported, before they can open their heart and lay out their worries and doubts, all to be picked up by you and your friends so the burdens can be shared. When the words come out of your mouth and the faces around you show support and understanding, when you relay stories and situations and you feel validated knowing that you’re not crazy after all, then you know you’re in the right place with the right people.

Remember, we can love our kids, spouse, significant other, and jobs to pieces, but our girlfriends get us and that’s why getting away with them is pivotal to our health. It doesn’t have to be a weekend in Mexico. You can grab your girlfriend next door and spend a day shopping and an evening out for pizza. Either way, it’s amazing what girlfriends, laughter, and connection can do for our perspective and our attitude, something everyone around us can appreciate long after the party is over.

I’d say I look pretty relaxed, beach hair and all.

Here’s to Girl Power!

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

 

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