Angie's Corner

Posts in the fitness tips 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

 

Weight Lifting Myths

by Angie Miller

Angie Miller

Do your muscles turn to fat when you stop lifting weights? Check out these fitness myths to find out.

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.

Best 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

 

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

     

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

    by Angie Miller

     A reflection on love:

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

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

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

    Securing Self-Love

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

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

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

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

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

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

    - Angie

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

     

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