Angie's Corner

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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

 

Four Mental Motivators to Maximize Your Workouts

by Angie Miller

Angie Miller1. Just Five Minutes More- This is a tool I personally use when I run, because it’s an activity where I always need a little nudge. When I want to quit I tell myself, “just five minutes more,” because that helps me to break it up into smaller, and more do-able increments. No matter how much I may be struggling with my run, I know I can manage five minutes. Five minutes is a short-term goal that motivates me to complete my long term-goal. When the five minutes are up I say it again, and so it goes until the end.

2. Repeat a Mantra- Find a short phrase that speaks to you, something that will center your attention and keep your mind focused. It could be, “you got this,” or “breathe through it,” and one of my personal favorites, “turn into it.” In mindfulness and meditation I teach people to turn into their discomfort, not to resist it, because it’s the only way to manage it and move forward. Whatever your mantra, stay with it as long as it’s effective, and change it up when you need new inspiration.

3. Prompts are Powerful- Sometimes mental motivation needs to come before the workout starts, and this is why prompts are powerful. A prompt is a cue that inspires you to act on a behavior, and the behavior in this case is your workout. Prompts can be posters, signs or notes you place around your house with motivational sayings, quotes, or images that inspire. Prompts can also be symbolic, such as placing your gym shoes and gym bag next to your bed so they’re the first thing you see when you wake up; or in your car so you’re not tempted to stop home after work. Prompts are reminders, and they help to prevent us from losing our motivation or getting distracted.

4. Use Imagery- Imagery is used by athletes to build confidence and to keep them focused. Imagery is where you visualize yourself doing something that you may not have been able to accomplish up until this point. It’s a “mental film” of you surpassing your own self-imposed limits. Maybe it’s you running that half marathon or completing the full hour of your favorite fitness DVD. Imagery is designed to help generate positive feelings, images, and thoughts about your capacity to achieve your goal. Runners visualize themselves crossing the finish line, while other athletes visualize how they would feel, act, and think when they win the championship. Imagery is a visual representation of you accomplishing your goals.

Stay Inspired!

    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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