Angie's Corner

Posts in the Healthy category

Facts You Should Know About Alzheimer’s Disease

by Angie Miller

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

Best in heart and brain health.

Sincerely,

- Angie

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

 

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

Three Fitness Mistakes

by Angie Miller

Angie Miller

Three Fitness Mistakes that Sabotage Our Best Efforts

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

 

Three Mistakes to Avoid:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best to You in Health and Fitness~

Sincerely,

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

 

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

Are you selfish?

by Angie Miller

Angie Miller

If not, here’s why you should be...

Did you know that learning to be selfish is a selfless act? While we may have been taught or conditioned to believe otherwise, learning to be selfish, as in self-care driven, is an act of love to ourselves, and in turn to those we care most about.

We don’t always want to admit it, but there’s only so much of you and me to go around. If we keep giving without replenishing, we’re left with nothing but an empty bucket, tired, exhausted, and frustrated, wondering how good intentions could lead to negative outcomes. When we learn to practice self-care, we listen and attend to our mind, body, and emotions.

Maybe it’s age, experience, or the lessons I’ve learned from not creating healthy boundaries, but I’m finally starting to understand the importance of self-care. For women especially, it can be tempting to put our personal needs aside, but ultimately we can’t give away what we don’t have. By practicing self-care, it turns out the payoff is exactly what we want. It gives us the extra reserves needed to be available and give to others. Not just in body, but in spirit. With a generous heart and not a tinge of resentment. For those of us who love deeply and care unconditionally, isn’t that our goal? 

Here are three tips for self-care, two that require nothing more than a shift in thinking that can have an incredible impact on our everyday life.

Three Simple Steps to Self-Care:

  1. Learn to say no. No is a powerful word, and it’s a tough one to learn. After all, yes shows that we’re cooperative and caring, and responsive to the needs of others, right? Yet in reality, when we say yes to others we’re saying no to ourselves, and maybe even to those we love and care about. Consider this: If I say yes to that opportunity at work, I say no to having any free time to do what I love, or to spending more time with family and friends. A yes to someone else is a no to us, and after a while that can take its toll. There’s no doubt that no is a more direct word and it may be difficult for others to accept, but usually those are people who will readily drain our energy and absorb more than their fair share of our time. Saying no, is saying yes to self-respect. That’s a win-win for everyone.
  1. Establish boundaries. Boundaries are like a line in the sand and they send a powerful message. With boundaries we know what we’ll give, and what we’ll accept, and we don’t cross the line. If we do it comes at a great cost. It undermines our value, and it creates frustration and self-doubt when we forget to be true to what we know is in our best interests. Safe, healthy boundaries serve as personal protection. Our mission is clear and others know where we stand, therefore we can be trusted to be consistent vs. unpredictable. Bottom line, boundaries are critical to self-care. When we don’t have limits, life can take its toll.
  1. Create a Personal Space. Diana Chapman, a renowned speaker and author, suggests that each of us has gifts, talents, dreams, and desires that are unique and special. In order to “be a good servant” to our gifts, she suggests that we create a space to nurture them and allow them to flourish. I created such a space in my own home, a small room that no one uses, where I set up candles, fluffy pillows, and soft lighting to make it warm and inviting. It’s clean, clutter free, and personal. The key is to find a space where we can check in with ourselves and check out from the world; where we feel safe and protected, and we have the energy needed to nourish our gifts.

Best to you in self-care and safe boundaries.

~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, Healthy, practice, Weekly Blog, 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

Mother Daughter Aerial Workout

by Angie Miller

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

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

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

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

Three Benefits of Aerial Silks:

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

Best in Health~

Angie

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

 

Weightless Workout

by Angie Miller

Angie Miller

The Beauty of Bodyweight Training

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

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

 Downward Facing Dog:

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

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

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

 

 

  1. Side Plank:

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

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

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

 

  1. Tabletop:

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

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

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

 

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

Sincerely,

- Angie

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

 

Five Fitness, Diet, and Workout Mistakes You Might Be Making

by Angie Miller

Angie Miller

We all want to look and feel our best, but sometimes we make decisions that get in the way of our ability to do just that. Below I have listed five of the most common fitness, diet, and workout decisions that I have witnessed in my 20 plus years as a health and fitness leader. We’ve probably all been guilty of at least one or two, but knowledge is power and reminders help keep us real.

 1. Going on a diet. Yep, that’s right, I said it. Lets face it; just saying the word diet makes us hungry. It’s a loaded word that says it’s time to chuck the chocolate and every other food we enjoy, and chew a lot of gum to keep our mouth active and mind distracted. There’s power in words, and the word diet has too many negative connotations. What if instead we decide to do one of the following: cut back, reduce our calorie intake, lower our sugar consumption, or start tracking our daily food intake using one of the many awesome sites that allow us to do so? It’s amazing what it does for our psyche to change how we approach a situation and the words we use to describe our goal. Down with the word diet. Set yourself up for success rather than dread.

  1. Not surrounding yourself with like-minded people. If you want to get fit and feel good, hang around others who have the same goals. The people you surround yourself with influence your lifestyle, decisions, and even attitude. If you hang out with healthy eaters, chances are you’ll become more aware of your own daily diet decisions. If you hang out with friends who like to workout, chances are you’ll be inspired to do the same. On the other hand, if you hang out with people who don’t have those goals, you’re likely to feel guilty or defensive for the time you spend boosting your buns and growing your guns. We all need support, encouragement, and understanding from our family, friends, and significant others on any goal we hope to achieve.
  1. Relying on the scale rather than your measurements for signs of progress. I know this is tough one. After all, who doesn’t love a morning where we see a number on the scale that excites us? But the scale is a finicky, deceptive little guy who is likely to set us up for self-doubt. If you love to see numbers that excite you, focus on the numbers you see when you measure yourself. Measurements are better indicators of progress, and the way your clothes fit speaks volumes. Muscle really does weigh more than fat, and it’s denser so it takes up less space, which means that your clothes fit better and you feel better. Not to mention, water weight and fluctuating hormones can make daily weighing disastrous. If you insist on weighing yourself, do it only once a week so you’re more dependent on factors that are better indicators than body weight alone.
  1. Being scared of the unknown. There’s no greater mistake than doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. The more we’re willing to get uncomfortable and challenge our body in new and unique ways, the more our body will respond and pay us back in spades, aka help us meet our goals. We have to change our routine to change the outcome. I’m not saying we have to do everything different. I’m talking about small changes to wake our body up, stimulate our brain, and activate our senses. Adding an additional strength training workout once a week, a morning walk, or changing our regular exercise routine one day a week can do wonders in terms of both results and burnout prevention. Remember that your body is a machine and it’s designed to take the path of least resistance. It learns to work smarter, not harder, so you have to give the machine new challenges for it respond accordingly.
  1. Getting our information from the wrong sources. It’s the Wild West out there on the Internet and it seems that knowledge and credibility are determined by the number of followers and likes on social media sites rather than certifications, education, licensures, and degrees. While some social media savvy individuals may have a lot of exposure and visibility, that doesn’t always translate to knowledge, experience, and proper education. When you get your workout information from blogs, websites, and You Tube, check out that person’s credentials. If you can’t find them, take that as your first sign and run for the hills. Enough said.

Stay tuned next week, because there’s more to come on Monday.

Best in Health~

- Angie

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

 

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

How to Achieve Better Balance

by Angie Miller

Angie Miller

~Going from Chaos to Calm

Balance means something different to everyone, but personally when my life is in balance I feel calmer and more at peace, as if everything is in sync. Balance is something that we strive for in a physical setting and in life, and there is a strong parallel between the two. In a physical setting, balance is required for all athletic endeavors and everyday functional movement. In everyday life, balance is required to successfully manage our time and responsibilities. Good life balance means that we can juggle personal and professional commitments in a healthy, positive way.

In a physical setting I help individuals achieve better balance by implementing four variables. These variables are meant to manipulate the environment and teach the body how to maintain balance even when the environment becomes less stable. These physical variables are the same ones we use to create and maintain balance in our everyday lives. When an event occurs that threatens our stability, we turn to these variables to get back on track. There are four variables we use to “fight” for our balance in a physical setting, and how we can apply them to everyday life.

Four Variables:

1. Support- In a physical setting, the more support we have the more stable our environment and the better our balance. Support in a physical setting is generally defined in terms of how many contact points, or areas of the body that touch the ground, (ex. two feet vs. one). It could also be any object that adds additional stability.

In life, we also need support when our balance becomes compromised. Support comes from our friends, family, and those we lean on in times of difficulty. They are the people who offer us shoulder to cry on, or who help us out when we can’t be three places at once. The stronger our support system the more likely we are to feel emotional, cognitive, and spiritual well being, and the stronger our foundation.

2. Visual- In a physical setting our visual focus can alter our level of stability. When we’re standing on one foot and we turn your head, or close our eyes, our stability is challenged. The clearer, more focused our vision in a physical setting, the better our balance.

In life, we don’t have a crystal ball. We don’t know what might happen unexpectedly and change our lives in ways we can’t imagine, but we do know that when we have a clear vision of what’s important to us our decisions will be easier to make and our vision will less clouded. Good vision in life means that we can maintain our focus even when things happen that temporarily obstruct our view.

3. Movement- In a physical setting, adding movement and range of motion increases the balance challenge. If I ask you to stand on one foot, then I give you a gentle nudge it forces you to fight for your balance. In a physical setting, the more you add movement and range of motion the more difficult it is to maintain balance.

Life is much the same way. Life is constant motion. Life doesn’t slow down when our parents get sick, or our spouse loses their job. Life demands that we maintain balance even when it seems like the ground beneath us is no longer stable. Things may happen fast or unexpectedly in life, but like visual, movement can be managed by knowing our priorities and what supports our foundation. The stronger our priorities and our understanding of what’s most important to us, no matter what our circumstances, the less movement will throw us off balance.

4. Added Resistance- In a physical setting, added resistance is any additional weight, such a free weight, medicine ball, or body bar that adds to the balance challenge. The more resistance you add, the more difficult it is to maintain your balance.

Life is much the same way. The added resistance in life is the additional responsibilities that can throw us off balance if our circumstances change: Job loss, divorce, financial setbacks, or any obstacles that get in the way. The less resistance, the easier it is to maintain balance. That said, if we’re able to work with the resistance rather than against it, and temporarily ride the waves, we can achieve better balance no matter how challenging our circumstance.

Balance is the foundation for stronger, more peaceful existence. Applying the four variables can help us stay on track and maintain a healthy life balance no matter what comes our way.

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

 

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

Total Body Machine Makeover Part II

by Angie Miller

Angie Miller

 

 

 Here's Part I of Total Body Machine Makeover

 

 


 Station Five: Biceps Machine
You’ve targeted the large muscles of the back, chest, and shoulders. Now it’s time for single joint exercises that target the biceps.
Tip: Perform 16 reps of a bilateral (two arm) biceps curl, or 8 reps each of single arm biceps curl.

 

Station Six: Triceps Extension Machine

Say goodbye to bye-bye arms. Triceps are stubborn and hard to work, and that’s all the more reason to make sure you don’t leave the gym without a triceps challenge that will make you proud to show off lean, sculpted arms.

Tip: Perform 16 reps of a bilateral (two arm) triceps extension, or 8 reps each of single arm extension.

Station Seven: Glute Machine

Your glutes are your powerhouse. They improve your posture and assist you in everything you do. They’re also your back’s best friend, giving it the stability and support it needs.

Tip: Perform 16 reps with both legs, or 8 reps on each side.

 

Station Eight: Abdominal Machine

You’ve worked the back end, now it’s time to target the front. An abdominal machine will keep you safe and stable, giving you the six-pack of your dreams while keeping your alignment secure.

 

Spring renews our energy and inspires us to seek new challenges. If you’re looking for a fun, alternative workout, machines can’t be beat. They’re safe and effective and they give you great results!

Happy Monday!

~ 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

 

Total Body Machine Makeover

by Angie Miller

Angie Miller

 

Sunshine, warm weather, and longer days have finally arrived, and with that come fresh goals and a renewed sense of energy. It’s the perfect time of year to take on a new challenge and shape our muscles to show them off for spring. Here’s a circuit workout sure to stave off boredom and deliver results. Whether you’re new to strength training or an old pro, mixing it up with machines is a great way to keep your body challenged.

 

 

Circuit Workout: start with the Elliptical and rotate through the machines for three complete cycles:

  1. Elliptical Machine for a warm-up and cardio.
  2. Rowing machine for the large muscles of the back.
  3. Shoulder machine.
  4. Chest machine for the pectoral muscles.
  5. Biceps machine.
  6. Triceps machine.
  7. Glute machine for a strong, powerful gluteal muscles.
  8. Abdominal machine.

Before you begin, keep in mind that if machines aren’t a part of your normal routine they can be intimidating. The good news is that today’s fitness machines are better than ever. With visuals and instructions they’re easy to use. Unlike free weights, body bars, and exercise bands, they provide stability throughout the exercise. They also guide your movement patterns, helping to keep your range of motion safe and effective and reducing your risk of injury.

Station One: Elliptical Machine

Start out with elliptical training for an active, full body workout. For a safe, proper warm up, stay on the elliptical for 10 minutes. If you have more time, increase the resistance or speed and add 10 more minutes for a quick cardio blast. 

Tip: Watch your foot placement on the elliptical. For smaller women it may be best to step to the inside of the pedal for the narrowest, most comfortable stance. Use your arms to get a full body workout and to better engage your core

 

Station Two: Rowing Machine

Now that you’re warmed up and ready to go, start with the large muscles of the back and challenge them with a machine that is fun, functional, and easy to use. Rowing machines are incredibly versatile. They strengthen your back muscles as well as your arms, legs, and core.

Tip: Depending on your fitness level, your initial rowing time may vary anywhere from five to ten minutes. Increase the time or level intensity as you feel stronger and your body feels ready for an additional challenge.

 

Station Three: Shoulder Machine

Next up, it’s time to train the upper body with a cable machine that trains your shoulders and arms while engaging your core for improved strength.

Tip: For added stability and support, perform a one-arm shoulder press in a seated position. Once you have that mastered try adding a two-arm press. When you’re ready for the next level perform the exercises standing.

Tip: Perform 16 reps of a bilateral (two arm shoulder press), or 8 reps each of a single arm shoulder press. 

 

Station Four: Chest Machine

A total body circuit wouldn’t be complete without a chest workout that also targets the arms and front of the shoulders. For versatility and best results, perform both a chest press and a chest fly to target all of the surrounding muscles.

Tip: Perform 16 reps of a chest fly and 16 reps of a chest press

 

Here's Part II of Total Body Machine Makeover

- 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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