Angie's Corner

Posts in the fitness success 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

 

Keeping Your New Year's Goals

by Angie Miller

4 Steps To Keeping Your New Year's Fitness Goals on Track

Don’t wait until clients get off track…Educate them now on how to avoid exercise relapse.

As a new year begins, our group fitness classes are packed and our personal training schedules are filled. We have more clients than we have time, and they are motivated for change and eager to train. While setting goals with these motivated people holds tremendous potential, equally important is educating them on exercise relapse and how to identify and overcome barriers such as injury, temptation and negativity to minimize their impact.

As part of goal setting, I always discuss exercise relapse with clients, many of whom can relate to the struggle. They’ve started a routine in the past and were determined that exercise was going to be a lifelong friend, only to fall off the wagon 6 months or a year later. Learning how to avoid relapse is similar to learning to turn in to a skid in driver’s education. If we understand the resistance, we can work with it rather than against it. It is vitally important to engage in this discussion when a client is beginning an exercise program, rather than waiting for something to cause them to veer from their goals.

  1. IDENTIFY HIGH-RISK SITUATIONS

    Temptations act as resistance to exercise. If clients can identify situations that put them at risk, we can help them develop contingency plans for action.

    Reflect. Encourage clients to think about past situations where they fell off the wagon and stopped exercising. What was going on in their life? What happened? What circumstances led to their relapse?

    Write down their barriers. Have clients write down the situations or obstacles that got in their way. Common barriers include:

    • vacation
    • holidays
    • work travel

    Develop a plan. Once clients identify the situations or obstacles that got in their way, you can help them develop a plan for how they’ll deal with them in the future. Make sure that their plan involves action–a way that they will change the situation, their thoughts and behaviors in response to the situation, or all of these. 

    1. CULTIVATE A SUPPORT SYSTEM

    When clients are trying to develop a lifelong habit, it takes time and discipline. They are more likely to succeed if they have a support system. A workout buddy serves as great support, but if they don’t have a workout buddy, family members, friends or co-workers can help them stay motivated throughout their journey. Encourage them to think about who might be supportive so they can share their goals with that person.

    1. AVOID NEGATIVE MENTAL DIALOGUE

    Our mind is the boss! Negative dialogue is powerful and self-defeating because the words we use matter to our mental mindset. When clients understand the power of their words, they understand that goals need to be framed in terms of something positive they’re striving toward versus something negative they’re trying to escape. Any time a goal starts with the word stop, it’s grounded in negativity.

    Check out this goal, and see how it sounds with a negative connotation versus a more positive spin:

    • Negative: Stop eating late at night.
    • Positive: Start eating a healthy dinner that will help prevent late-night cravings.
    1. REPLACE SHOULDS WITH WANTS

    “I should work out today because otherwise I’ll gain weight,” is the type of message that makes clients feel guilty and resentful. “I want to work out today because I love how I feel afterwards,” is the type of message that makes them feel empowered. Help clients replace shoulds with wants to change the way they feel about exercise.

    Goals are impactful. In the words of best-selling author Melody Beattie, “The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.” Goals give our clients direction and help them to stay motivated. Best of all, goals lead them to accomplishments they might never have thought possible. If we can help our clients set realistic goals and avoid common barriers, we can set them up for a lifetime of success.

    - 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

     

    Should you BOSU?

    by Angie Miller

    Angie Miller

    Check out this BOSU Blast Total Body Workout

    When you train with a BOSU, that blue dome that looks like half of a stability ball mounted onto a round base, you provide your body and mind with a unique, challenging training experience that is not only fun, it pays off in dividends. When you stand on top of the blue dome, every muscle in your body is called to attention and you’re instantly aware of your posture and alignment- good or bad. In turn, your body is forced to respond, making smart, intuitive adjustments by straightening, strengthening, and coordinating your movements so that you can maintain your center of gravity, aka not fall off. Why is this so amazing? Because the instability that the BOSU creates forces your body to create stability, and that means that no matter what exercise you’re doing, you’re working on stabilizing and strengthening your center of gravity, which is your core musculature. BOSU is smart training. You’re literally fighting for balance, and for once fighting is a good thing because it means your body is on high alert.

    To give you a glimpse into some exercises you can do on a BOSU, here’s a short video that I recorded right in my kitchen to show you that not only is BOSU amazing, it doesn’t take up much space. Anywhere you can set the BOSU down and have enough space for your body to extend horizontally and vertically from head to toe, you’re good to go.

     

    These six exercises include: knee to chest with rotation, knees to floor with downward dog, push-ups, rear leg lifts, squats, and lunges. All of them require strength, balance, coordination, and core strength and stability. I recommend that you watch the video to see how I perform the exercises, then try a set of 8 repetitions per exercise. Once you feel good about your posture and alignment, you can add four repetitions and do 12 of each exercise, then 16. After that, add more sets. Try to work your way up to 2-3 sets of 16 repetitions per exercise.

    Two Minute Total Body BOSU Blast Exercises:

    1. Knee to Chest with Rotation- (Muscles Worked: This is a core exercise, but your entire body is assisting and working hard to keep your stable.)

    Exercise Tips: Keep your chest open, head in line with your spine, and shoulder blades retracted. Engage your abdominals and brace through your center. Keep your glutes tight and try to avoid rounding through the shoulders.

    Exercise Tip: Exhale as you bring your knee to your chest, inhale as you extend the leg back. Exhale as you rotate your knee to your opposite elbow. Inhale as you extend your leg back.

    1. Knee Tap to Downward Dog- (Muscles Worked: This too is a core exercise, and the Downward Dog adds more back muscle recruitment. Again, your entire body, as with all BOSU exercises is assisting to keep you stable).

    Exercise Tips: I included this exercise to show you a safe, effective alternative to traditional crunches as a way to work the abdominal muscles. By adding the downward dog, not only do you get the opportunity to recruit your back muscles, you alternate between working the front of your body and the back of your body. This is important to keep your body strong and stable on both sides. The knee tap to the floor works your abdominal muscles without all the other compensations that are made in traditional core exercises, such as pulling on the head. After four to eight taps, extend into downward dog, readjust, and go back to four more taps.

    1. Push-ups- (Muscles Worked: Core, chest, and arms).

    Exercise Tips: You may want to modify by coming onto your knees for the push-ups. Remember that less is more in terms of exercises where compensations that could cause injury are common. Come down as far as you can to the BOSU, inhaling on your way down, and exhale on your way up.

    Exercise Tips: Be sure to keep your center strong, glutes tight, head in line with your spine, and torso long and extended. Avoid head butting during a push-up. Keep your chest open.

    1. Rear Leg Lifts- (Muscles Worked: Glutes and hamstrings).

    Exercise Tips: Using all the cues given above, be sure to also keep your hips level. Avoid tilting your hips or moving them in any way throughout the exercise. Stabilize the hips and the center of the body.

    1. Squats- (Muscles Worked: legs and glutes).

    Exercise Tips: Stay long through your torso. Come down as far as you can without hinging at your hips (leaning forward), or allowing your lower back to sway. Keep your center strong and remember that again, less is more. Less range of motion means less likelihood for injury and unsafe movement. Inhale on the way down. Exhale on the way up.

    1. Lunges- (Muscles Worked: legs and glutes). Same cues as above for squats. Be sure to avoid going down further than 90 degrees. Weight equally between the heel on the BOSU and the front of the foot on the floor. This is a tough one!

    Enjoy your BOSU workout and have a fit, healthy week!

    - 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, exercise, fitness success, Motivation, Weekly Blog | 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

     

    Eight Fun Facts About Diet & Exercise

    by Angie Miller

    Angie Miller

     

    Did you know?

    Eight Fun Facts About Diet & Exercise




     
    1. Did you know that 3,500 calories equals approximately 1 pound (0.45 kilogram) of fat? That means you need to burn 3,500 calories more than you take in to lose 1 pound. If you cut 500 calories from your typical diet each day you'd lose about 1 pound a week (500 calories x 7 days = 3,500 calories).
    2. Did you know that only doing crunches will not get rid of belly fat? Unfortunately we can’t spot reduce. The best way to target abdominal fat is to reduce your overall body fat, which means plenty of cardio, combined with strength training. Stick to it, because oftentimes the first place you gain weight is the last place you lose it. 
    3. Did you know that eating after 8 doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll gain weight? The fact is: what you eat, how much you eat, and how much physical activity you do determines whether you gain or lose weight. Morning noon or night, when you eat too much your body stores excess calories as fat.
    4. Did you know that exercise could help reduce anxiety? Exercise provides distraction, reduces muscle tension, improves resilience, builds brain resources, and sets you free from disabling thoughts and emotions. Exercise frees your mind and helps you take action. 
    5. Did you know that effective goal setting is still one of the most proven methods for losing weight and breaking exercise plateaus? Exercise alleviates the ambiguity of “doing your best” or “trying your hardest.” Specific, challenging goals lead to better performance and more commitment. 
    6. Did you know that boosting your calorie IQ is one of the most effective ways to control your weight? Tracking your food and drink consumption, using pen and paper or one of the many online tools, is one of the most successful, proven methods for keeping weight off. You’ll be amazed at how much you’ll learn and how easy it is.  Before long you’ll be a calorie connoisseur. 
    7. Did you know that if you’re trying to lose weight, the three most helpful sections of the food label are right at the top: Serving size, servings per container, and calories per serving? Read the label and be careful. If there are two servings and you eat both, unfortunately you double the calories, double the fat, and double the trouble.
    8. Did you know that we are all motivated to exercise and stay healthy for different reasons? It’s also important to recognize that our motivations may change over time. Being clear about your motivations and embracing the types of exercise that you enjoy and make you feel successful are key factors toward adherence.

      - 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, exercise, fitness, fitness success, Healthy, Motivation, Wellness | 0 comments | Read more

      Resolve to Set Goals, not Resolutions for the Year Ahead (Part I)

      by Angie Miller

      Angie Miller
       

      “If you don’t know where you’re going, you might wind up someplace else.”

      - Hall of Fame baseball legend Yogi Berra

       
       
       

       

      Last year I wrote a blog about the importance of Setting Goals vs. New Year’s Resolutions. As 2016 approaches I’d like to reinforce the power of goals in helping us to achieve our greatest potential.
      Goals are impactful; they give us direction and help us stay motivated. They lead us to accomplishments we might never have thought possible, and they help us begin each day with intention.

       Resolutions on the other hand are notoriously short-lived, rarely do they last and seldom are they structured and planned. One of the greatest gifts of goal setting is that goals build our self-esteem. Each time we conquer a goal our confidence gets a boost and we are inspired by our own success.

      While goal setting holds tremendous potential, it does take practice to set specific goals that are realistic and achievable. That’s why SMART goals are so popular. Ultimately, goals give us a plan and a plan is all we need to succeed. I’ve developed a Six Step Guide to Goal Setting Success to help start your new year off right.

      Six Step Guide to Goal Setting Success

      1. Set SMART Goals:

      Specific= Goals should be as specific as possible. Broad, general goals like, “I want to get fit” aren’t recommended.

      Measurable= Goals should be measureable. You should be able to calculate your progress. (You can measure weight, inches, distance, and even load (such as 10 lb. dumbbells vs. 8 lb.).

      Achievable= Goals should be attainable. You should be able to reach the goals you set.

      Realistic= Achievable and realistic go hand in hand. You want to set goals that make sense, that are realistic given your level of motivation, history, time frame, and physical abilities and limitations. Ideally, your goals should be moderately difficult: Enough to challenge you, but not too difficult where you’re set up to fail, and not so easy that little effort is required.

      Time Oriented= Goals should have a definitive start and end point. They should be attainable within that time frame.

      Here’s an example of a SMART Goal for Running:

      Specific- (Example: Increase my running mileage from 10 miles per week to 16 miles per week in six weeks.)

      Measurable- (Example: Each week, add one mile.)

      Action Oriented-  (Example: Run 3x per week, and add the additional mile to one my runs…For instance: Week One-run two/four mile runs, and one/three mile run. Week Two- run three/four mile runs…Keep progressing in this manner.)

      Realistic- (Example: Increase the distance I can run by 10 percent each week so that I can safely work my way up to 16 miles per week in six weeks.)

      Time Oriented- (Example: Try my new running program for six weeks, then reassess.)

      1. Set short and long-term goals: Long-term goals give us direction and guide our future. Short-term goals give us measureable objectives we can work on in the here and now. Short-term goals lead us step by step to our long-term goals. Imagine a staircase. At the top is your dream, or long-term goal. Each step is progressively linked; therefore every step is progress and one step closer to your ultimate goal.

      1. Record Your Goals:

      Writing your goals on paper makes them more concrete. It also keeps you focused. Equally important is that you record your progress to keep you motivated and accountable. The key is to design a simple, efficient workout log that’s easy to reference.

      I recommend that you follow the FITT principle when recording your workouts:

      Frequency= record the date, the time you work out, and the number of minutes you worked out

      Intensity= record your heart rate or rate of perceived exertion during your workout

      Time= record the amount of time you worked out

      Type= record the type of exercise you did

       

      1. Get Support: Enlist in the help, support, and encouragement of your significant other, friends, children, co-workers, or anyone else who might be of assistance in helping you achieve your goals. Give your goals power by giving them a voice. Share them with others so they can be the wind beneath your wings, giving you that extra push when you need it. We’re social creatures, so if you can find someone who shares your goal that’s even better. You’ll have a workout partner and someone to share in your success.

       

      1. Know Your Barriers: We all have obstacles that get in the way: I’m too tired, I don’t have enough time, my job is demanding. 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. Evaluate Your Goals: Since you set SMART goals you had a definitive start and end point. At the end of the given time frame that you set, evaluate. Did your goals work? If not, what got in the way? If so, where can you go from here? Small steps lead to big gains. Sitting down and evaluating your goals gives you an opportunity to celebrate your gains and strategize for future accomplishments.

      Check back next week. In Part II I'm going to share a Goal Setting Contract, some common problems in goal setting, and a little note on the power of goal setting for increasing motivation and commitment to exercise.

      - 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

       

      Four Fitness Myths Busted

      by Angie Miller

      Angie Miller

      When it comes to exercise and proper nutrition there are a lot of myths and misconceptions. After all, living a healthy lifestyle requires a lot of time and dedication and we all want to know if there’s a better way. But in reality there are no short cuts, and if it seems too good to be true it probably is. Below are four common myths, and some facts to set the story straight.

      Myth #1: If you stop lifting weights your muscles will turn to fat.

      Fact: Fat and muscle are two different types of tissue and cannot convert to one another.  When not in use, muscles atrophy, or decrease in size, but they don’t turn to fat. If you stop exercising and lifting weights, but you continue to consume the same amount of calories, you will likely see an increase in body fat and a loss of muscle mass. 

      Myth #2: Exercising first thing in the morning on an empty stomach will help you burn more calories from fat.

      Fact: It’s true that when you wake up in the morning your body hasn’t had fuel for a number of hours. This puts it in fasting mode and increases the use of fat for energy because glycogen (energy) stores are depleted. However, it also slows metabolism. Working out requires energy, and if your energy stores are depleted you won’t have the fuel needed to push yourself harder for longer periods of time. For best results, fuel your body before you work out to boost your metabolism and burn calories more efficiently.

       

      Myth #3: If you want to lose weight you need to be in your “Fat Burning Zone.”

      Fact: You burn the most calories from fat when your body is at total rest. In other words, when you’re sleeping.  On the flip side, you also burn the least amount of calories overall. If your goal is to lose weight then you need to burn more calories than you consume. The more calories you burn, the more weight you lose. Where the calories come from is secondary.

      Myth #4: If you want to chisel a sexy middle you need to do crunches and sit-ups.

      Fact: You don’t get to choose where you lose fat. Training a muscle group in isolation will strengthen the muscles underneath the fat, but not burn fat from that area. Cardio/aerobic exercise burns calories and reduces overall body fat, strength training amps your metabolism, and eating a lean, healthy diet keeps you trim and strong.  If you want to chisel a sexy middle your best bet is to combine cardio and strength work with exercises that stabilize and strengthen your entire core.

      While there may not be any shortcuts, the good news is that knowledge is power. The more we understand about exercise and nutrition the better decisions we make, and good decisions lead to positive results.

      - 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

       

      Want Strong Legs, A Tight Tush and a Chiseled Middle? Try These Exercises on The Ball…

      by Angie Miller

       

      Angie Miller

      Stability balls are great fun! They offer controlled instability, meaning that they are unstable, but you can safely control them within the training environment. It’s the instability that challenges you and forces you to use all of your resources, your core, your posture, and quality movement patterns to maintain your balance throughout the exercises.

      I love training with stability balls because I feel like a kid again. They’re light and dynamic, but oh so challenging. I have a multitude of exercises I like to do, and today I’m going to share two of my favorites. Both are multi-joint, multi-muscle exercises. These are more complex exercises that force you to stay on alert physically and mentally, and give you better results in less time. Be prepared to improve your posture, better your balance, and move in in a purposeful manner. Next week I’ll share more stability exercises, and soon you’ll have a short twenty-minute workout you can put together or mix and match to make your own.

       

      Want strong legs and a tight tush? Try Wall Squats with the Ball

      Stability ball, wall squats are an excellent way to train the legs and tone the tush. 2-3 sets of 12-16 reps will have your legs and backside feeling stronger and sexier than ever before.

       

      How to Do: Stand against the wall with the ball secured behind your lower back, above your gluteals. Secure your center by co contracting your abdominals and lower back so your spine is neutral. Inhale as you bend your knees to 90 degrees, exhale as you extend your legs and stand tall.

       

      Safety Tips: Be sure to keep your center strong, and avoid rounding your back. Be sure to keep your knees behind your toes, making sure that they don’t extend beyond the ball of your foot. Be sure to breath properly throughout the movement.

       

      Want to work your chest while challenging your core? Try Push Ups on the Ball

      Stability ball push-ups are a great way to train your core while working your chest. The added balance challenge keeps the exercise interesting and fun. Try 2 sets of 8-12 reps and feel the difference in your upper body and core strength.

       

      How to do: Kneel next to the ball and walk out so the ball is under your thighs and your hands are directly below your chest, a little wider than shoulder distance for extra support and proper form. Keep your center strong, engaging your abdominals and lower back. Inhale as you lower, exhale as you lift.

       

      Safety Tips: Avoid “head butting.” Be sure to lower your chest and keep your head in line with your spine throughout the movement.

      More to come next week! (Visit next blog 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

       

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