Angie's Corner

Posts in the cardio category

Hiking to Improve Your Health- Inside and Out

by Angie Miller

Angie Miller

Sometimes, at the just the right time, a vacation comes along and gives you much needed perspective. For me, it was the day after our moving truck pulled away. After living in our Chicago home for nine and a half years and heading into a future full of change, I knew that a break from reality was just what I needed. When it comes to vacation destinations, the mountains, with their unwavering strength and dignity, have a way of making us feel stronger, more powerful, and more at peace with our situation, and the mountains are where I headed.

Hiking through the mountains is always full of adventure. One minute you’re trekking through snow wearing a tank top, trying to maneuver your balance and still keep your eye on the blue diamonds guiding your path. You’re also looking out for the animals that you can’t see, but the oversized, fresh tracks next to your own footprints indicate they’ve been there. The next minute you’re climbing a steep, rocky hill through dense forest, crossing bridges with beautiful streams, and coming out into a clearing with the most breathtaking lake.

Full of sunshine, still waters, amazing scenery, and even a moose- one ran right across our path- hiking through the mountains is a great way to gather your thoughts and gain stamina and strength physically and mentally. I chose Colorado, but you can hike through your local park or at a National Forrest. According to Wikipedia, the United States has 154 National Forests that lie coast to coast and cover 188,336,179 acres. We chose two trails in Roosevelt National Forest, but I’m certain that no matter where you live, available trails are within a day’s drive. Once you lace up your hiking shoes and head out to witness all the natural wonders, you’ll recognize the peace that comes from reflecting on all that is right with the world.

If you’re still not convinced, here are five reasons hiking is good for your health:

Five Reasons Hiking is Good for Your Health

  1. Hiking improves your cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness.
  2. According to WebMD hiking lowers your risk of heart disease, improves your blood pressure, and helps build bone density.
  3. Hiking helps shape your glutes and the muscles in your legs, while also strengthening your core.
  4. Hiking helps improve your balance and stamina, and manage your weight.
  5. Best of all, hiking can reduce your stress and anxiety and boost your mood.

Summer is the best time to enjoy what nature has to offer, so head to the trails and soon you’ll be on a path to clearer thoughts, a healthier mind and body, and a fresh outlook.

Happy Hiking!


Muscles and mountains just go together.
 
Brainard Lake, Colorado
Brainard Lake, Colorado
 
Brainard Lake, Colorado
 
Tree pose while standing among the trees.
 
 Nederland, Colorado
Nederland, Colorado
 
Nederland, Colorado
  
  
 
Stand tall, open your chest, lengthen your torso, and believe that you got this!
  
  My two favorite humans, aka my daughters. My hiking buddies. My inspiration.

- 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

 

Mental Motivators to Maximize Your Workouts (2)

by Angie Miller

Angie Miller

Last week I wrote a blog titled, Four Mental Motivators to Maximize Your Workout. This week I want to continue in that spirit, and give you two more mental motivators to maximize your workouts.

5. Reframe Your Resistance- Negative self-talk is a form of resistance that interferes with motivation. Negative self-talk might prevent you from starting your workout, or it may prevent you from enjoying it once you begin. The only way to defeat negative self-talk is to reframe- to redirect your thoughts and turn negative statements into positive ones. Here’s a simple exercise to practice reframing:

On a piece of paper make two columns. In the left-hand column write down negative self-talk that affects you personally- things you say to yourself that bring you down. In the right hand column write a more positive, encouraging way to look at the situation. Pretend it’s your friend who said the statement on the left. How would you respond to make your friend feel better?

Here are a few examples:

Negative Self-Talk:

Positive Reframe:

There’s no point in me working out today, I never stick with my routine anyway.

I’m going to work out today because I know it will make me feel good. Then I’m going to take it one day at a time rather than putting pressure on myself.

I don’t know why I even bother to work out, I always end up quitting because it’s too hard.

The next time I work out I’m going to go at my own pace, (use lighter weights, work out for less time, or go slower), so that I enjoy the workout and have a more positive experience.

 

Everyone at the gym is fit and motivated. Why would I want to go there?

People at the gym come in all shapes and sizes, but the one thing they all have in common is that they’re there to exercise. That’s the motivation I need.

 6. Park Your Thoughts- Sometimes stress and worry can suck the motivation right out of us, and it’s those times that “parking” our thoughts can be a powerful tool. When we “park” our thoughts we give our mind a respite from our worries, if only temporarily. Parking our thoughts is a way to put them aside, or compartmentalize if you will, so that we can focus on what we need to do- which in this case is to enjoy our workout. Sometimes we need to park our thoughts at the door, right before we walk into the gym, or we need to park them at work, before we leave the office. The bottom line is that exercise will clear our mind and better prepare us to face our stress with more clarity and a healthier perspective, and that’s the power of parking. I’ve parked many negative thoughts on my way into the gym, and when I leave and come back they don’t seem nearly as overwhelming.

Stay Inspired~ 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

 

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

 

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

 

By Collage Video | | cardio, exercise, Healthy, practice, 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

Save Calories and Slim Down

by Angie Miller

Four Ways to Save Calories and Slim Down

1. Did you know that chewing your food more before swallowing can help you slim down? When we chew more, we spend more time eating and less time consuming. If you're a fast eater you can consume a lot of calories in a short amount of time, which can quickly translate to unhealthy weight gain. The next time you take a bite count the number of times you chew before swallowing, then increase that number, double it if you can. By slowing down, we’re paying attention to the signals our body is sending, noticing when we feel full and ultimately eating less.


2. Did you know that lowering your salt intake can help treat or prevent high blood pressure (hypertension)? Salt is a four-letter word for a good reason and there’s a lot we can do to lower our salt intake, other than just putting down the saltshaker. Here are a few tips:

  • Choose fresh or frozen foods over canned or processed foods.
  • When eating canned or processed foods, select those that are sodium-free or low in sodium. Also, try rinsing canned foods, such a beans and vegetables, to remove some of the sodium.
  • Avoid foods that are cured, braised, or smoked, all which add sodium to your diet.
  • Get your flavor fix with pepper, herbs, and spices, or try no-salt seasoning blends.

3. Did you know that reduced fat, low fat, and fat-free are not synonymous with low calorie? A calorie is a calorie, whether it comes from fat, protein, or carbs, and all calories count. While some foods are better quality, quantity does matter. 3500 calories equals one pound, regardless of where the calories come from. Not to mention, when food manufacturers take out fat, flavor often follows. Sugar, salt and other additives are often substituted to make up for the taste.


4. Did you know that making simple modifications could help you maintain your weight even when you eat out? If you can’t imagine salad without dressing, or dinner without dessert, that’s okay provided you modify your approach. Try these tips:

        • Ask for salad dressing on the side. Dip your fork in the dressing and follow with a bite of salad. Avoid condiments such as bacon bits, croutons, and shredded cheese.
        • Avoid fried, battered, and breaded foods, and instead ask for roasted, grilled, baked, or broiled. Also avoid heavy sauces, and instead substitute with flavorful spices.
        • For sandwiches, avoid croissants and biscuits and try whole-grain or whole wheat bread. Again, avoid condiments such as mayonnaise, and substitute with hummus or mustard.
        • For dessert, consider that sharing is caring. If you divide the dessert, you divide the calories.

            Calories count, but counting calories is no fun. Simple solutions can help us manage our weight and enjoy a healthy eating experience!

            Best to you in Fitness and 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, cardio, exercise, Wellness | 0 comments | Read more

            Preventing Exercise Relapse

            by Angie Miller

            Angie Miller

            How to Prevent Exercise Relapse (Part II)

            Click here to read part I

            Last week I wrote a blog about exercise relapse, what causes it and how to distinguish a lapse from a relapse. Now it’s time to talk about prevention. Two of the most critical considerations when starting an exercise program are learning how to identifying situations that put us at risk for relapse, and learning how to avoid relapse.

             

             How to Identify Situations that Put You At Risk:

            1. Reflect: Think about past situations where you fell off the wagon and stopped exercising. What was going on in your life? What happened? What circumstances led to your relapse?
            1. Write down the situations and obstacles that got in your way. Some common barriers often include:
            • Vacation
            • Holidays
            • Work Travel
            • Lack of a consistent routine- variable work schedule or inconsistent schedule in general, therefore exercise time isn’t consistent
            • Lack of planning- when exercise isn’t scheduled the way we other responsibilities, it often falls to the bottom of the list
            • New relationship or relationship difficulties
            • Job Stress, job loss, or even a new job
            • Time Management- “no time” to exercise is often perception (more on this in next week’s blog)
            • Lack of Motivation- usually stems from not being in a routine. Routines give us a sense of purpose and we stick to them because they become habit.
            1. Develop a Plan. Once you identify the situations or obstacles that get in your way, it’s time to develop a plan for how you’ll deal with them in the future. Make sure that your plan involves action- a way that you will change the situation, your thoughts and behaviors in response to the situation, or both. Let’s use job travel as an example.
            2. Situation: In the past I got out of my exercise routine when I traveled frequently for work.
            3. Plan: In the future I will pack an exercise band in my suitcase, download my favorite exercise DVD (before I go), and get up 30 minutes early to workout in my hotel room.

            Now that you’ve identified your triggers and developed a plan, it’s time to talk about prevention. Here are six steps to help you prevent relapse.

            Six Steps for Prevention:

            1. Realize that you’re not alone: The first step in prevention is recognizing that nearly everyone who attempts to maintain a consistent exercise program relapses. The key is to recognize what causes you to relapse and have a contingency plan for action.
            1. Develop a support system: When you’re trying to develop a lifelong habit it takes time and discipline and you’re more likely to succeed if you have support. A workout buddy serves as great support, but if you don’t have a workout buddy try to get family members, friends, or co-workers on board to help you stay motivated and support you throughout your journey.

             

            1. Avoid common obstacles. A simple thing like putting your fitness clothes in the car so you don’t stop home after work and get sidetracked can make a huge difference. Another simple solution is to place your tennis shoes next to your bed so they’re the first thing you see when you wake up in the morning- instant motivation.
            1. Avoid negative dialogue. Our mind is the BOSS! Negative messages are powerful and self-defeating. Messages such as, “I’m going to be traveling a lot for work so why bother,” set us up for failure; while positive messages such as, “I’m going to workout today so I’ll stay motivated when I travel,” set us up for success.
            1. Replace “shoulds” with “wants”: “I should workout today because otherwise I’ll gain weight,” is the type of message that makes us feel guilty and resentful. “I want to workout today because I love how I feel afterwards,” is the type of message that makes us feel empowered. Replace “should’s with “wants” to change the way you feel about exercise.
            1. Maintain perspective: Remember that a temporary lapse is just that- temporary. It’s only catastrophic if your mind makes it so and that only undermines confidence and willpower. Maintain perspective by remembering that it’s not uncommon to relapse, but if you take positive steps toward prevention you’re far more likely to experience success.

            Best to You in Health & Happiness~

            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, goals, Healthy, Weekly Blog, Wellness | 0 comments | Read more

            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

             

            Today is the Youngest You Will Ever Be

            by Angie Miller

            Sometimes it’s our friends who know us best and sometimes all it takes is a little Dove dark chocolate for some true insight. I’m proud of my age, how about you?

               

            Seldom a week goes by where I don’t announce to one of my fitness classes: “Take a look at the clock and note the date and time…  Remember, today is the youngest you’ll ever be. This hour will never repeat itself, this experience will never happen again, and you’ll never be as young as you are right now. That said; what are you waiting for? We don’t get repeats and second chances are rare.

              

             

             Five Tips to Take Advantage of Time… Today:

            Today… Inhale confidence and exhale self-doubt. Your breath is the key to good posture and conscious awareness. Short, shallow, chest breathing exacerbates stress and tension, whereas deep breathing promotes relaxation and calm. This might require a few minutes of Mindful Meditation where you follow your breath and let go of thoughts and worries clouding your judgment.

             

            • As you breathe in, picture your belly filling up like a balloon and embrace positive, self-affirming thoughts:

                        “I am doing the best I can.”

                        “I am a good person with good intentions.”

            • As you exhale, picture your fears and doubts floating away on a cloud in the sky, on a leaf peacefully making its way down the river, or on a wave moving through the ocean.  

             Today… Do one thing that challenges you physically and do it with powerful intentions: Focus on being healthy and keeping your brain active and emotions balanced, rather than focusing on how you look or how much you weigh. In other words, do it for you!!!! Exercise to feel good, knowing that your mind is a powerful tool. It’s hard to have negative thoughts about your body, your life, or other people when your mind is full of positive energy from exercise.  

            1. Today…Remember that you can’t please everyone. All you can do is be yourself. In doing so you will attract the type of people who are meant to be in your life. We tend to be our own worst critic, and typically self-doubt creates concerns about what others think. In reality, as Ann Landers so eloquently stated, people just don’t give us that much thought…

              

            1. Today…Remember that you can’t meet resistance with resistance. If something isn’t working despite your best efforts, a significant relationship, job, friendship, or whatever it might be, maybe today is the day you allow yourself the option to step away from the situation, reevaluate, and perhaps start over. Resistance of any kind can’t be met with resistance if a successful outcome is anticipated. Sometimes surrendering to something that isn’t meant to be allows us to open up to what might be~ and therein lies possibility.

              

            1. Today…Remember that age is a reflection of our decisions. It’s relative to how we live our life and the choices we make, positive or negative. Age is a number, but how we age is more than just genetics. Water, sleep, exercise, nutrition, stress management, and healthy relationships are just a few factors that mirror back our decisions. As Coco Chanel was quoted as saying…

             Today is the youngest you will ever be, so enjoy your youth and make it a day to remember.

            Best to you 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, cardio, exercise, goals, Weekly Blog, Wellness | 0 comments | Read more

            Angie’s Corner

            by Angie Miller

            Dear Angie,
            Please help me get back on the wagon!
            I am a 43-year-old housewife and mother of 4 children. It has been about 18 months since I've enjoyed a regular fitness program and I am ready to return to one!

            Hello Everyone,

            This week I wanted to share a different type of blog. It’s actually a letter I received from a reader who wrote to me on my website. She agreed to let me share our exchange, as her concerns and struggles are not uncommon. I believe her words will resonate with many of you, just as they did with me, and it is my hope that my responses will prove helpful to those who might need a little extra boost of motivation and a few tips to get back on the wagon.

            Message: 

            "Hello, My name is Kristine and I am a 43-year-old housewife and mother of 4 children. It has been about 18 months since I've enjoyed a regular fitness program and I am ready to return to one, as I am very unhappy with my lack of stamina, muscle tone, and low energy levels. I am 10 lbs. more than my regular set point and I'm softer, less defined, and sagging in places I hadn't before, such as under my triceps (how did that happen?). I still lift groceries and laundry and clean like crazy!), and my derriere, (I KNOW how that happened - that's from all the sitting while doing my laundry and driving my kids all over the planet, ha!) Friends have told me that it is just my age, but I find it hard to believe that I could experience such a rapid decline in endurance and stamina so quickly because of my age.

            …I have always loved working out at home with videos. Among my collection of videos is your Bedroom Body™ Workout and it is definitely one of my favorites, however, what used to be a great workout for me has now become a challenge for me to do for even 15 minutes. I am writing to seek assistance in getting motivated with a plan of action and realistic goals for returning to my formerly strong, energetic self. You are an inspirational example of fitness and I like what I've read about you and your mother and two daughters from your website. Can you help me back onto the wagon? Best, Kristine"

              

            Angie's Response:

            "Hi Kristine,
            Thank you for writing! …
              1. I don't think it's your age. I think that society has come to use age as something to fall back on, when really our age is a reflection of our decisions more than anything else. I think you're right in your intuition that it isn't your age, it's that you've taken time off and naturally your body has responded accordingly. 18 months is a long time, and all of us no matter what our age would see a tremendous decline in our fitness and energy levels, just as 18 months of a fitness program would make our energy and fitness levels increase tremendously. As I get older, I battle that age stereotype more and more because I don't want to let age hold me back, and I'd like to empower other women to think the same. We can be strong and fit no matter what our age. :)
              2. First and foremost, try to let the past be the past. You deserve that. You took time off, you're seeing changes you don't like as a result, but now it's time to look to the future. How do you want to feel in the future? What kind of time could you realistically devote in order to feel the way you want to feel? Notice how I focus on feeling rather than looking, because I believe that we need to focus on getting healthy from the inside out. If you feel good, you'll be inspired to workout and look good. And if you look good, you’ll feel good, so it's a positive cycle that reinforces itself.
              3. Make a schedule. Schedule your workouts the way you schedule your kid's activities. Start with two days a week so you don't feel overwhelmed or paralyzed by the worry of... where do I start, how do I start, when do I start?
            Schedule two days a week, at the same time of day, and write it down on a dry erase board or a piece of paper where you and your family can see it; that way they can help keep you accountable.
             
            1. Now that you know when you're going to workout, decide what you're going to do. Maybe make the first day a cardio day and the second day a strength training day. Or choose your two favorite workout videos and decide which one you'll do each day.
             
            1. Decide how long you want to workout. Do you want to start with 30 minutes each workout? Then the second week increase to 35 or 40 minutes, then the third week you could go 45 minutes, and the fourth week shoot for the whole hour.
            1. Once you've successfully accomplished two days a week, on week five try to add a third workout day. Maybe it's a yoga DVD or a stretching routine on your third day. Then do three workouts a week for at least 4-6 weeks before you try to add 4th workout. In the meantime, if you want to increase the length of your workouts you could do that. Just try to keep the 10 percent rule in mind. Increase the duration of your workout or your intensity by only about 10 percent each week so that you don't get injured. Also, try to space your workouts: Tu/Th or M/W/F.
             
            I think my biggest piece of advice is to let your self off the hook. Let your past be your past. It's okay that you took time off. You were there for your kids and that's great, but now you want to be there for yourself and for your kids, and you can do both. From here on out, focus on the future and try not to compare who you used to be and how you used to look to who you are today. Just do the best you can, so you can look and feel your best each day. One day at a time."

             

            Best to you 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

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

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