Angie's Corner

Posts in the stress category

Summer Shape Up- Ten Minute Toner

by Angie Miller
Angie Miller

 
There’s no better time than Monday morning to challenge your body and brain with a time efficient, circuit style workout that will target every muscle in your body. The exercises, from my Crave Results DVD, are fun and functional. They’re designed to work multiple muscle groups, boosting your metabolism and making you stronger for everyday activity.
 


 
Equipment: All you need for this full body toner is your body weight, one dumbbell, and a resistance band.
EXERCISE ONE: Squat
Targets: glutes, quads, hamstrings and core muscles

Start position: Stand tall with your feet hip-distance apart. Secure the resistance tube under your feet and hold the handles at shoulder height.
Movement: Bend at your knees as if sitting back into a chair. Stop when your buttocks are parallel to the floor, then slowly extend your legs and come back to standing. Be sure to keep your core engaged, torso long and knees behind your toes. Look straight ahead and keep your head in line with your spine.
Perform: 16 repetitions

EXERCISE TWO: Single-Arm Bent-Over Row
Targets: back, arms and shoulders
 
Start position: Place one end of a resistance tube under your left foot and hold the other end with your right hand. Step back with your right foot and place your left hand on your thigh for support. Create enough resistance with the tubing so there is no slack. Hinge forward slightly and stabilize your core by contracting your abs and back.
Movement: Start with your arm extended and slowly drive your elbow up and back toward your ribs. Focus on squeezing your upper back muscles as if you were trying to move your scapula toward your spine, or "place it in your back pocket." Then lower your arm until it is fully extended and repeat. Be sure to keep your arm close to your body throughout the exercise. To avoid hyperextending, stop when your palm is flush with your body and try to avoid any hip movement.
Perform: 16 repetitions on each side

EXERCISE THREE: Reverse Wood-Chop
Targets: core muscles, glutes and legs
 
Start position: Stand tall, holding a dumbbell horizontally between your palms at chest level. Abs are engaged and torso is long.
Movement: Begin with a squat, bending your knees as if you were sitting back into a chair; stop when your buttocks are parallel to the floor. As you squat, rotate your torso, bringing the weight outside your hips. Then extend your legs and drive the weight above your head as you come back to center. Maintain control of the movement and avoid swinging the weight. Focus on maintaining a strong, stable core, and rotating your torso rather than your hips.
Perform: 16 repetitions on each side.

EXERCISE FOUR: Core Chiseler
Targets: chest, arms, shoulders, abdominals, back and obliques
 
Start position: Using a mat or a towel, begin in prone (plank) position, on your knees or your toes, with your hands placed directly below your shoulders or slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
Movement: Keeping a strong center, bend your elbows and lower your body, bringing your chest as close to the mat as possible, then push back up to plank by slowly extending your elbows and straightening your arms. Focus on keeping your center tight so that your bottom doesn't drop, causing your lower back to sway. Be sure to keep your head in line with your spine and avoid "head-butting" the mat.
Next, turn your body and open up into a side plank position, making sure your support hand is directly below your shoulder. Avoid dumping weight into your shoulders and consider placing your bottom knee on the floor at a 90-degree angle for additional support. Throughout the movement, brace your core by engaging your abdominals and lower back and holding your center tight.
Come back to plank position, then turn your body and open up into a side plank position facing the opposite direction.
Perform: 4 total repetitions. Rest and repeat.
If you enjoyed this circuit, and you’re interested in more functional exercises that include balance challenges, check out Crave Results. Balance is one of our body's natural resources that we depend on for stability, and our core is our center of gravity. The stronger and more stable our center of gravity, the more efficient and controlled all of our movements will be.


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, stress, Weekly Blog, Wellness | 0 comments | Read more

What Causes Exercise Relapse?

by Angie Miller

Angie Miller

Have you ever started an exercise routine and were determined that exercise was going to be a lifelong friend, only to find yourself 6 months, or a year later, looking back at that time and wondering what happened?  I teach a workshop on exercise behavior and motivation and one of the most critical components we discuss is how to avoid relapse. This is important, because we have to understand the obstacles that get in our way in order to minimize their impact.

It’s similar to driver’s education where we’re taught to turn into a skid and go with the resistance rather than overcorrect and make the situation worse. Temptations act as resistance to exercise, but if we turn into them as we do a skid, we can manage them before they sabotage our best efforts. The key is to identify situations that put us at risk and develop a contingency plan for action. Contingency plans ensure that we’re prepared even when our situation changes, and they help us prevent relapse.

What’s the difference between a lapse and a relapse?

Before we talk about relapse and how to avoid it, it's important to note the difference between a lapse and a relapse.

Lapse= a temporary glitch in your routine. You went on vacation for a week and you lapsed, deciding that the treadmill didn’t sound nearly as fun as a lounge chair by the beach.  The key is that a lapse is temporary.

Relapse= a return to old habits, the life you lead before exercise. A relapse is when you fall off the wagon completely, when the week turns into a month, and before long exercise is a distant memory.

Typically a relapse happens over the course of time, due to a chain of events that’s similar to a domino effect. It looks something like the following:

Relapse Effect:

  1. Exercise Obstacle= Angie goes on vacation for a week.
  2. No Plan= Unfortunately, she doesn’t plan ahead or think about the effect this vacation will have on her regular exercise routine.
  3. Short Lapse= Rather than hit the fitness room in the hotel, she hates treadmills; she decides that a week off is just what she needs. However, on Sunday night when Angie returns home she heads straight for the scale and doesn’t like what she sees.
  4. Toxic Thoughts= Angie is so upset by her weight gain and alleged mushy muscles that all she feels is despair and disappointment. She questions her ability to “get back to where she was,” so much so that she begins to wonder if it’s worth it. Maybe she should just give up.
  5. Relapse Begins= It’s week two and Angie has lost her motivation. She continues to allow toxic thoughts to pollute her mind and fails to consider that vacation weight is as temporary as the vacation itself. Her thoughts deplete her energy and by the end of week two she still hasn’t returned to her regular routine.
  6. Full Relapse= Angie’s thoughts send her into a tailspin of negativity and mild depression. Her weight gain has affected her confidence and she doesn’t feel comfortable in her own body. She is even less motivated to exercise and she has decided that this is just how it is; she’s not going to stick with it so why bother.

The reality is that even with the best of intentions, it’s not uncommon to start an exercise routine and slip back into old habits- finding more comfort on the couch than in an exercise class. While it may be common, however, it’s not inevitable and history doesn’t have to repeat itself. Knowledge is power and the key is to identify obstacles that get in our way so that we can deal with them effectively. All of us have situations that put us at risk: vacations, work travel, out of town guests, and holiday craziness to name a few. Research supports that potential relapses have a lesser effect if the individual anticipates them, sees them as a temporary bump in the road, and develops the proper skills for prevention (Dishman and Buckworth, 1997).

Check back next week for Part II, Preventing Relapse, and learn how to recognize situations that put you personally at risk, how to develop a contingency plan, and Six Steps for Prevention.

- 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, story, stress, 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

 

When Was The Last Time?

by Angie Miller

Angie Miller

 

I want to live well, and that, as opposed to living long is my goal. To live well I believe we have to take risks, go after our goals, seek challenges, practice self care (exercise and proper nutrition), and we have to ask questions! Asking questions takes courage because the answers to those questions can impact our lives in ways we never imagined. There are so many questions we could ask, ones that require soul searching and ones that require nothing more than the opportunity to put aside our inhibitions.

 

I have three questions for you for a little Monday Motivation. The first two are light and fun and will require nothing other than for you to be open to more joy in your life. The third question might require some soul searching, and of course I love that question because that’s where true growth and life-changing opportunities lie.

 Three Questions for Monday Motivation:

  1. When was the last time you did something spontaneous, something that wasn’t in your “plan” for the day? Consider the possibility of waking up to your mental whiteboard of must do’s, the white board that’s filled with notes, lists, and errands. What would happen if you cleared some space on that white board and called a friend to meet for lunch, or headed out on a little expedition to visit a museum or an exhibit you’ve wanted to see? What about getting a pedicure, or finally sitting down to cherish a good book that’s been sitting unopened on your nightstand? What’s the worst that might happen if you push back a few self-imposed should’s for another day and take an opportunity to be spontaneous and do something unexpected, just to embrace the sheer joy of living in the moment? Remember my post last week: “Today is the youngest you’ll ever be.” This day will never happen again, and this moment is the only moment we can count on, so why not?
  1. When was the last time you were alone in your thoughts, meditating on them, reflecting on them, and possibly journaling about them? Self-reflection is a critical cornerstone to a healthy mind. Thoughtful engagement with your personal worries, concerns, goals, hopes, and dreams is the key to being healthy from the inside out. Journaling provides the opportunity to purge our thoughts and it gives us great insight. We become our own personal sounding board. Giving our voice a place to be heard is cathartic. It makes our worries much more manageable and much less powerful. Grab a pen and paper and give it a try. What have you got to lose?

 

  1. When was the last time you did something that made you uncomfortable; that challenged you on a personal or professional level? If it’s been awhile, this will require some self-reflection and goal setting. Remember, age is not a limitation; it’s inspiration to get started, if you haven’t already, in accomplishing that goal that has been speaking to you and calling your attention. This past weekend I accomplished one of my goals. I spoke to a group of all mental health professionals, something I have never done before. I typically present and educate to health and fitness professionals, but this was a different audience. The best, most rewarding part was that less than a year ago I passed the National Counselor Exam to become a Licensed Professional Counselor. Though I earned my Master’s in counseling many years ago, licensure was a two-year process that involved three more master’s level courses and many other challenges, to sum up that process as briefly as possible. My goal was, and still remains that I help bridge the gap between the world of physical health and emotional well being, and bring the fitness and mental health community together to recognize that you can’t have one without the other. As a counselor, educator, and fitness professional, my mission is to help people get well from the inside out. Yesterday, in reflecting how long it took and much work I invested to make all this happen, to get accepted to speak at the conference, and to have the opportunity to influence mental health professionals, all I could think was, if I had to do it over again I would in a heart beat. Goal setting is worth it. Challenging ourselves, getting uncomfortable, and stepping outside our comfort zone opens up a world of possibility. We have nothing to lose, and everything to gain, because failure is only in our lack of willingness to try.

Today, ask a question or two, and go on a fact-finding mission of sorts. Bring a little extra joy into your life, and grab onto opportunities for growth. Be inspired~ 

Best to you 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, Healthy, practice, stress, tips, Weekly Blog, Wellness | 0 comments | Read more

What do stress, confidence, and brain health have in common?

by Angie Miller

 

What do stress, confidence, and brain health have in common?

 

Angie MillerIn today’s fast paced society, managing stress is pivotal to good health. Stress can erode our confidence and compromise our ability to think clearly and effectively. So how do we manage stress, build our confidence, and boost our brain potential?  Exercise.

  1. Exercise reduces stress. Wayne Dyer says that much of what perpetuates stress is guilt and worry. Guilt about the past and worry about the future paralyze many of us. He calls them unproductive emotions because they prevent us from focusing on today. Exercise frees us from negative thought patterns, the “should haves” of yesterday and the “what ifs” of tomorrow, and instills positive emotions that help us cope with everyday stress. Exercise is like a broomstick to the brain. It clears away the clutter, gives us clarity, and helps us to be present.  
  1. Exercise gives us body confidence. Exercise gives us the opportunity to challenge our body and discover our true potential. When we run that extra mile or increase the amount of weight in our workout, we realize how strong and capable our body is when put to the test. Through exercise we gain body confidence and that transfers into every area of our life. When we accept the way we look, it changes the way we feel. That affects how we live our life at home, in the office, and in our relationships. More importantly, it has a positive affect on our internal dialogue, that voice that guides our behaviors and decisions.
  1. Exercise boosts our brainpower. According to the latest research, exercise continues to prove itself worthy of more than bigger biceps. Exercise is one of our best lines of defense against cognitive decline. It increases blood supply to the brain and helps us stay sharp and focused. Through exercise we create a relationship between our brain and body, one that fosters a connection that will keep us strong mentally and physically for years to come.

Exercise is a powerful tool. It can give us a lean physique, six-pack abs, and amazing arms. But it can do so much more. Exercise empowers us to look, feel, and live our best life.

Angie Miller

Angie Miller is the star and creator of the Bedroom Body Workout and other top selling exercise DVD’s. Passionate about fitness and education, Angie teaches at Northern Illinois University and is a Certification Specialist for the Aerobic and Fitness Association of America (AFAA). She is a freelance writer, group fitness instructor, personal trainer, and proud mom. Learn more about Angie at: http://www.angiemillerfitness.com

 

By Collage Video | | Angie Miller, exercise, stress, Weekly Blog, wellness | 0 comments | Read more

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