Angie's Corner

Posts in the Motivation category

What do I eat after I work out?

by Angie Miller

You just finished your five-mile run. Your muscles are depleted and you’re in need of nutrition, but how soon after you sweat should you be refueling and what should you eat to make the most of all your hard work? Here are few commonly asked questions and my tips for how to tackle your post-exercise nutrition plan.

 The best post-workout diet tips

Before we take a bite out of post-exercise meals, let's talk post-workout hydration. Is water the best choice or should we be reaching for sports drinks?

Proper fluid balance is essential for athletes as well as recreational exercisers. Dehydration can negatively impact performance and when you don't get enough fluids it can interfere with your body's ability to maintain normal temperature. During most activities, water is adequate in order to prevent dehydration. However, during endurance events or activities greater than 60 minutes, a sports drink may be beneficial to enhance performance. The drink should contain carbohydrates to properly fuel the nervous and muscular systems. Specifically, for post-workout hydration, research suggests that for every pound of weight lost, drink approximately 16 to 20 ounces of fluid and then drink an additional 16 ounces of liquid with your post-workout meal.

How soon after a workout should we be eating a post-workout meal?

There is a window of opportunity or "metabolic window," that lasts approximately 60 to 90 minutes immediately following exercise, especially intense training. During this time, the body is most receptive to nutrient uptake and you have the best chance of reducing muscle damage. This window also allows you to maximize the strength and muscle gains achieved during your workout.

Should the post-exercise meal be solid foods or a liquid meal replacement?

The moment you cease exercise this window opens, and from that time on the benefits begin to decrease. Because it generally takes approximately 2 to 3 hours to digest solid food, consuming solid food may not be the best option during this time. Although nutrition bars with the proper carbohydrate, protein and fat ratios can be effectively used before and after exercise, liquid is generally recommended because of how quickly it is absorbed and nutrients are delivered to the muscles.

How soon after a hard and/or long workout can we eat solid foods?  This is important for athletes and competitive exercisers who have rigorous training schedules. When it comes to consuming a post-event or post-exercise meal, one that consists of solid foods, most research supports that you should wait 1.5 to 2 hours after major activity depending on your post-training snack.

What are the specific benefits of post-exercise snacks?

For most recreational exercisers, post-workout feedings and snacks are not critical, but it can increase the potential benefits you receive from your workout, as well as help you to prevent injury, fight fatigue, and avoid the stress of over-training.

What is the bottom line answer when it comes to post-exercise meals?  While post recovery snacks and meals are important, they are not as significant to recreational exercisers as they are to endurance athletes. I always encourage my clients to remember that there's research, and there's the "ideal," then there's real life. If you don't fuel according the latest research, that's not to say you won't reap rewards and experience positive results. It is suggesting that you get even better results when you fuel properly, as well as improve your performance. My advice is to do the best you can, and try to make health-conscious choices when it comes to diet and exercise, not just post-recovery, but all the time.

- 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

     

    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

     

    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

    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

     

    Are You Ready for Change?

    by Angie Miller

    Angie Miller

    Have you ever found yourself making excuses or searching for reasons to hold on to a person or situation that you know isn’t in your best interests, yet you can’t seem to find the courage to change? As the saying goes, “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.” Meaning that often we choose to deal with the familiar even when the familiar isn’t ideal, as opposed to facing the unknown. Frankly it’s why so many people get stuck, in unhealthy relationships, jobs, and even unhealthy lifestyle decisions- smoking, sleep deprivation, overeating, or lack of exercise. Maybe in the past we’ve tried to change, but somehow we revert back to old patterns. Maybe we see the need for change, but we have no idea where to begin. Or maybe we don’t have what I call a driver and change isn’t even in our radar. To me a driver is something that motivates us to change, something that is making us uncomfortable enough to override our fear of the unknown.

    Research supports that for lasting change to take place we have to go through a series of stages. These stages help us approach change gradually, thus preparing our mind and emotions and setting us up for success. The Transtheoretical Model is one such model of change. The Transtheoretical Model assesses our readiness for change and helps provide us with strategies to adopt new behaviors. There are six stages in the model, but we don’t necessarily go through them in a step-by-step fashion. For instance, we might backtrack if the change is especially difficult. The model reinforces the type of effort and commitment required for lasting change. Whether it’s exercise, healthy eating, or some other change you need to make in your life, check out these stages and see if you are ready for change.

    Transtheoretical Model

    1. Precontemplation- In the precontemplation stage a person has no intention of changing. Maybe they’ve tried in the past and given up, maybe they’re in denial, or maybe they’re completely unaware they have a problem. In terms of exercise, a person in this stage is saying, “Exercise, what is exercise and why would I want to do that?”
    1. Contemplation- In the contemplation stage a person recognizes that they have a problem and they start to consider the need to change, but it’s not immediate. A person can stay in the contemplation stage for months or even years. After all, old habits die hard. In terms of exercise someone in this stage might say, “I really should exercise. My jeans are starting to get tight and my doctor says it would help me lose weight. Maybe I will someday.”
    1. Preparation- A person in the preparation stage is much closer to taking action. Rather than just thinking about change, someone in this stage is starting to develop a plan and identify what he or she can do to get started. In terms of exercise a person in this stage might say, “Next week I’m going to hire a trainer and start exercising two days a week.”
    1. Action- This is the execution stage where thoughts turn to action. A person in this stage has hired the trainer and started their exercise plan. This is an exciting stage, but there can be a downside. If we jump into the action stage before working through the other stages our likelihood of success decreases. Without preparation and realistic goals our exercise routine is typically abandoned long before it becomes a lifestyle; thus why the earlier stages are important.

    Action, when it’s well planned and executed, is where we start to see results. When it comes to lasting change, however, there’s more work to be done. Next week I’ll share the final two stages for successful behavior change, and how to avoid relapse and common pitfalls that stand in the way of our success.

    Read Part II 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

     

    Girl Power II

    by Angie Miller

    Angie Miller

    5 Reasons You Need A Girls Getaway Part II

    Here’s a link to Part I

    Nothing parallels the power of female connection and few things soothe the soul more than a girls’ getaway. Women for me have always been a source of comfort, security, and unconditional love, and it’s because of their profound support that strong female connections have become my life support. It’s also the reason I foster my friendships and find ways to make girls getaways not a luxury, but a necessity.

    I’ve had two girls’ getaways in the past few months. The key I’ve decided is to be flexible in your standards of how you define a getaway, and to be spontaneous in taking what you can get when the opportunity arises.

     Here’s five lessons I learned from my girls’ getaways, and why I think you should grab your girlfriend/s and go, as soon as possible:

    1. You’re not alone. Nothing is more validating or comforting than knowing that your girlfriends share similar thoughts, experiences, worries, and doubts, about parenting, relationships, ageing, careers, you name it. What we reinforce in one another is what female connections and true friends are so good at offering- love and companionship, and a gentle reminder that we’re all doing the best we can and thankfully we’re not alone. We have the support and validation of friends who only want the best for us, who have our back, and who are there when we need them the most.

    Me with my college girlfriends- Nancy and Michelle- in Cancun, Mexico

    1. Time may pass, but connections are never lost. Before we met in Mexico, my two college girlfriends and I hadn’t all been together for a girls’ weekend since 2009. Since that time we have navigated our way through life situations that have forever changed our perspective, yet we discovered that we’re still the same girls we were in college- young at heart and happy to share new adventures. We seemed to pick up where we left off, and with shared history and a connection that has stood the test of time, we accepted our common, yet unique struggles with an empathetic ear and an open heart.
    1. Wine, chocolate, and fine dining- in abundance. Does fine dining include beach drinks and outdoor restaurants where bathing suits are the dress code? We thought so. Mix that in with a good meal or two, great dessert, and some Mexican beer, and/or margaritas, and it’s amazing the laughter and direction of the conversation. Better yet, no one’s judging if you go back for another round, or decide that one dessert isn’t enough.
    1. There is always someone who wants to give you a massage-for a price. I’ve had few girls’ getaways where I couldn’t justify the need for a massage, facial, or both. Not only do you get a special treatment, you also get to share it with special people. Not to mention, you get invited into that quiet little room where there’s unlimited dried fruit and every tea imaginable at your disposal. Afterwards you and your besties can bask in your luxurious robes and cute little slippers. With all the toxins removed from your body you’re able to look at life through a different lens- one that feels a little less overwhelming when your muscles feel like Jell-O.

    Who doesn’t feel more relaxed with blue skies and a beach?

    1. There’s no need to hold back- it’s a judgment free zone. I consider myself a fairly private person. I often hold on to things, maybe more than I should. I need internal processing time if you will, before I can talk about the “big stuff.” Well something about girlfriends, a beach, some margaritas, have I mentioned those, and spa treatments, seems to act like truth serum to the soul. I found myself spilling it, and I came home five pounds lighter as a result, (okay not really, but five pounds lighter in the burdens I had been carrying). Here’s what I’ve discovered about baring your soul on girls weekends: If your teenager is making you question your parenting skills, you’ve discovered that your extended family might be crazy after all, you’re questioning your career choice, life choices, you name it, you’re not alone. Everyone on some level has been there, and sometimes it takes girls getting away, where they feel safe and supported, before they can open their heart and lay out their worries and doubts, all to be picked up by you and your friends so the burdens can be shared. When the words come out of your mouth and the faces around you show support and understanding, when you relay stories and situations and you feel validated knowing that you’re not crazy after all, then you know you’re in the right place with the right people.

    Remember, we can love our kids, spouse, significant other, and jobs to pieces, but our girlfriends get us and that’s why getting away with them is pivotal to our health. It doesn’t have to be a weekend in Mexico. You can grab your girlfriend next door and spend a day shopping and an evening out for pizza. Either way, it’s amazing what girlfriends, laughter, and connection can do for our perspective and our attitude, something everyone around us can appreciate long after the party is over.

    I’d say I look pretty relaxed, beach hair and all.

    Here’s to Girl Power!

    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

     

    Girl Power

    by Angie Miller

    Angie Miller

    5 Reasons You Need A Girls Getaway

    Nothing parallels the power of female connection and few things soothe the soul more than a girls’ getaway. Women for me have always been a source of comfort, security, and unconditional love. I grew up in a female only household- four sisters and my mom, and my husband and I raised two daughters. I also have girlfriends throughout the world, thanks to multiple moves and plentiful work travel over the years. These women are sustenance to my soul. I count on them to be there when the tears won’t stop flowing or my heart feels like it may never be whole again. They are also the first ones I text to share a random “girls only” story that I know will make them laugh; or maybe an “I need to vent” story that I know will be returned with just the right amount of validation. It’s because of their profound support that strong female connections have become my life support, and it’s also the reason I foster my friendships and find ways to make girls getaways not a luxury, but a necessity.

    I’ve had two girls’ getaways in the past few months. The key I’ve decided is to be flexible in your standards of how you define a getaway, and to be spontaneous in taking what you can get when the opportunity arises.

    Getaway #1: A few months ago I was scheduled to lead a professional training in New York and I had planned to leave a day early, something I often do so I can enjoy the city and spend time with local friends. Though it may be work related, travel to a different city is one of the best times to catch up with someone who lives in the area, or to have someone join you who can share in your adventure. The day before l left I called my friend April in Philadelphia and asked her to join me. It was spur of the moment, but I knew she was going through a difficult situation and I swooned her with thoughts of wine, girl talk, shopping, and a weekend in New York City. It worked. The very next night we were hugging in the hotel lobby, laughing, and picking up where we left off, (I don’t remember how long it had been since we had last seen one another). The following day we met another friend of mine, Nancy, from Long Island, a single mom with limited time to spare, but a smart mom who knows how much her sanity depends on getting a break once in awhile. My two friends had never met, but you wouldn’t have known that based on the laughter and easy conversation. The three of us only had a couple of hours together, but it was time well spent and those moments are precious whenever you can get them. The rest of the weekend with April was a mixture of wine, laughter, sightseeing, and work, but I can’t think of a better way to enjoy my work than to share my travels with women who make my world a better place.

     Nancy, April, and Me at New York’s Battery Park

    What’s not to love about New York?

    Getaway #2: Picture three college friends, living in three different cities, 7 kids and three husbands between us. One just lost her father, the other just helped her parents move into an assisted living facility as her father’s health is declining, and I lost my mom nearly three years ago after caring for her through her battle with dementia. I also sent my baby off to college this year and found my recent empty nest status not all it’s cracked up to be. Lets just say that when I proposed a girls getaway it didn’t take a lot of convincing to get my girlfriends on board. Once we picked a date, I performed a power search through Google flights and it seemed that a weekend in Mexico was in the cards: Affordable, quick flight, sunshine, and the number one criteria- a beach. Okay, maybe it was the margaritas

    .

    My college girlfriends- Nancy, Michelle, and Me- at our resort in Cancun, Mexico

    Can you imagine waking up to this type of serenity everyday?

    Both of these getaways provided much needed connection and support and filled me with a renewed sense of belonging. The reality is that we can love our kids, spouse, significant other, and jobs to pieces, but our girlfriends just get us, and that’s why getting away with them is pivotal to our health. It doesn’t have to be a weekend in Mexico. It can be a work trip where you call up a local friend and meet for lunch, or a business trip where you invite a friend to come along. If all else you can grab a friend and spend a day at a local spa. No matter how you make it work, it’s amazing what girlfriends, laughter, and connection can do to lift our spirits and give us perspective; something everyone around us can appreciate long after the party is over.

    Next week, check back for Part II of Girl Power~ 5 Reasons You Need A Girls Getaway. I’ll share five reasons why I think you should grab your girlfriend/s and go, as soon as possible.

    Here’s to Girl Power!

    Sincerely,

    Angie

    - 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 | | exercise, fitness, goals, Motivation, tips, 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

     

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