Angie's Corner

Posts in the Motivation category

Volunteerism… The Power of Making a Difference

by Angie Miller

Angie MillerA year ago this summer my daughter and I volunteered for Habitat for Humanity in Hungary. I had wanted to take a family vacation to Europe, but as time drew nearer I started to feel like I needed an experience that was more impactful and meaningful. One that would leave me feeling fulfilled. More importantly I needed to provide my daughter, who was 21 at the time, with the same type of experience: One that would give her perspective and experience with other cultures, lifestyles, and socioeconomic statuses. I wanted to show her the impact we can all have when we put ourselves out there for others. Frankly, I needed those things as well. It had been a year since my mom had passed and I had not only lost my mom, but my role as a caregiver. I needed somewhere positive to put my flood of emotions and a constructive way to manage my pain. I knew that my daughter did too. I wanted hard work, and I wanted to know that whatever I did I was making a difference. So I started investigating volunteer opportunities through Habitat for Humanity because I love their mission. I also know that one of the greatest benefits of volunteering through their Global Village Program is that you get to immerse yourself in another culture and travel to another country, all while helping to provide a family in need with safe shelter. Not to mention, you get to join a team of individuals from all over the world, which is eye opening in and of it self. We spent nine days in Hungary. I learned to mix plaster (handling a power tool was the most fun), mud and tape (excruciating work), paint windows (a breeze), and my most memorable…crawl inside of an attic and lay insulation while donning a hazmat suit, helmet, and gloves, while it was over 90 degrees outside. My daughter and I, and little Jean from Singapore were the chosen ones for that job. Apparently being short and compact made us the perfect fit for that type of work.

I wouldn't change a thing about volunteering on that trip, and especially about sharing those days with my daughter. Volunteerism changes lives, and it’s not just the lives of those we help. In helping others we ultimately help ourselves along the way. We learn and grow and we become a better version of ourselves. Whether you volunteer five minutes or five hours away, in the U.S. or outside of it, at the food shelter or building shelter for someone else, I cannot emphasize enough how truly impactful it is.

 If you’re still not convinced, here are my five top reasons to volunteer:

  1. It’s confidence building. You learn how to perform tasks you might not otherwise have had the opportunity to learn. Who would have thought I could manage a power tool and lay insulation?
  2. You meet other people who are like-minded and have positive intentions.
  3. You gain perspective. You realize that your worries often pale in comparison to the worries of those who have no shelter or don’t know where their next meal is coming from.
  4. You have the opportunity to share your volunteer experiences with your children, spouse, friends, and anyone who might benefit from the possibilities of giving their time, energy, and expertise.
  5. Last but not least it’s a workout, and who doesn’t love an unexpected opportunity to burn calories? When you volunteer, especially when you build a house, you move your body in a functional manner. You spend your days squatting, twisting, bending, and reaching, and you’re active for extended periods of time. You use muscles you didn’t know you had, and you recognize the power, agility, and strength of your body.

Wishing you the best in your volunteer experiences, and in all opportunities to create a better life for you and the lives that you touch.

- 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, goals, Healthy, Motivation, tips, Weekly Blog, Wellness | 0 comments | Read more

Two More Fitness, Diet, and Workout Mistakes You Might Be Making

by Angie Miller

 

Angie Miller

 

Last week I wrote about the fact that we all 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. In my blog I 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. This week I have two more I’d like to add. We’ve probably all been guilty of at least one of these mistakes, but knowledge is power and reminders help keep us real.

 

  1. Comparing yourself to others. I’ve written about this before and I think it’s worth mentioning again because comparisons, without a doubt, are our nemesis. There’s no quicker way to sabotage our best efforts at getting fit and feeling good than to get caught up in comparing how we look to someone else. To quote myself in a previous blog: “Seek and you shall find all kinds of people who are thinner, smarter, prettier, and more successful. Lets face it, our world is filled with people who could make us feel bad about ourselves if we were so inclined to use them as a yardstick with which to gauge personal value.” Comparisons undermine our self worth and deflate our sense of accomplishment. Rather than feel good about the results we experience when we workout, we compare our results to someone else and that never works. You and your best friend can do the same activity and get completely different results. One because you both started out looking different and needing different stimuli, two because your bodies will respond in their own unique way, and three, who knows what you’re both doing outside of gym in terms of diet, sleep, and other factors that tie into your overall health and well being. Not to mention, when it comes to exercise it’s most important to reflect on how you feel afterwards, aka more accomplished and more empowered, and you can’t weigh that on a scale. If you want to compare yourself to someone, compare yourself to the person you were yesterday and the person you hope to be tomorrow.
  1. Hating on your body. To quote myself again, “I tell my clients that we should think of our body as our house. The outside of our house, that part that everyone sees, is like the foundation and the walls of our real house. It shelters and protects what’s inside, and is often a reflection of how we feel and how well we care for ourselves. Our skin, posture, physique, and even our expressions mirror how healthy we are on the inside, but they don’t tell the whole story.”

Often the outside of our house reflects the wear and tear we feel from the negative self-talk that goes on in our head. I believe that we, especially women, would feel better about our personal house if we would spend less time focusing on what we don’t like and more time embracing it for all the wonder that it is. If we could see the big picture and realize what our body has done for us over the years: How many steps our feet have taken. How our legs have kept us standing despite the obstacles we have faced. How our hips, thighs, and abdominals give us our unique shape, and how they may be the bane of our existence, but in another person’s eyes signify the beauty and grace that makes us women. How our arms have embraced our children and the people we love, and lifted everything from the heavy load of life’s burdens to the powerful kettlebell we swing at the gym. How our neck and face may show our age, but thanks to good health we’ve made it to an age where those fine lines are a badge of honor, a sign of wisdom and experience.

What I’m trying to say is that personal acceptance is where it all begins. I am a living testament to this, and the fact that age has helped me make peace with my body. I am less judgmental and critical of its flaws because it’s those flaws that keep me humble and challenge me to work harder. I’m also more amazed by what my body is capable of and what it has done for me over the years. In the end, personal acceptance translates to us feeling worthy of the time and energy it takes to care for ourselves properly, and to make our physical, emotional, and intellectual health a priority. It allows us to come to terms with the fact that our body may have its flaws, but it’s a pretty amazing place to live.

Best to You in Health and Happiness

- 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, Motivation, Weekly Blog | 0 comments | Read more

Six Minute Total Body Kettlebell Workout

by Angie Miller

Angie Miller

Why train with kettlebells?

Kettlebells are one of the most versatile, time efficient training tools for all over body conditioning. They provide an excellent cardiovascular and strength-training workout that targets your core and improves your flexibility. Kettlebells deliver results; maximizing calorie expenditure and helping you redistribute your weight and lose inches.

Unlike traditional weight training, Kettlebell exercises focus on movement patterns vs. specific muscles. Their unique design allows the body to move through large ranges of motion. With a kettlebell, the weight is offset from the handle so the center of gravity is displaced. This trains the core, and makes the kettlebell more dynamic and challenging. Kettlebells can do anything a dumbbell can do, but not vice-versa.

Kettlebells are fun to work with, and we see and feel the results. Check out my tutorial below, which focuses on safety tips, alignment, and execution, then start swinging.

TUTORIAL:

Double Arm Swings- With this move you will send your hips back, load them up, and explode forward.  Begin by sitting back with the hips, knees slightly bent. Keep your chest open, and shoulders down and back. The weight is in your heels, rooted to the ground. Looking straight ahead, swing the kettlebell back between the legs, snap your hips, and stand up tall and strong. Lock out your knees and squeeze your glutes as you do this.  Don’t try to lift the bell with your arms, or “muscle the bell.”  All the power comes from your hips. Breathing is important here. Take a deep inhale in through the nose on the way down, and exhale as the kettlebell comes up.  You should not feel any pain in your lower back. If you do, check your form, and remember your breathing.

Windmills- Begin with a wide stance. The knee of the front leg may be slightly bent, and the foot will be turned out. The back leg should be straight. Stack your hips, one on top of the other, and lower the trunk toward the kettlebell as the hips flex, then extend and stand up tall. The Kettlebell arm remains upright and extended throughout the entire movement. Remember to look up at the bell. Initially, knees may be slightly bent, but as you become more flexible you may be able to accomplish this move without a bend in the knees. 

Cleans- Begin in rack position.  In the rack position your thumb should be able to touch your chest and your elbow should be snug against your abdomen.  As you let your arm come down, bend your knees, squat slightly, and let the bell hang as in the bottom position of a dead lift.  Point the thumb back, and as you stand up tall simulate zipping up your torso with the kettlebell.  Snap the hips and squeeze the gluts at the top, bringing the kettlebell back up into the rack position.  Picture a vertical line from your groin to your chest.  Hitting yourself in the shoulder or bicep with the kettlebell as you bring it up is an indication of improper form. Be patient and keep practicing.

Be sure to check back next week for more fitness tips and information, and feel free to reach out with any questions.

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, goals, Motivation, Weekly Blog, Wellness | 0 comments | Read more

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