Angie's Corner

Posts in the tips category

I Dare You

by Angie Miller

Remember growing up when someone would dare you to do something and you couldn’t resist the challenge? The idea of taking a risk was so filled with adventure that fear, if it existed, was something you were willing to face just to prove you were up the dare.

The idea of taking a risk is like fuel, it gives us the courage we need to play by our own rules and go out on a limb. Risks don’t have to be big in order to be impactful. They can be small changes, or even decisions we make in our day-to-day lives that are out of the norm. When we take a risk we set the wheels in motion that inspire change, and we never know what might come of a little adventure.  

I have three dares for you on this Monday morning. The first two are light and fun. They encourage you to put your inhibitions aside and embrace more joy in your life. The third requires that you’re willing to step out of your comfort zone, a scary place initially, but where true potential lies.

I Dare You To…

  1. I dare you… To do something spontaneous that wasn’t in your plan for the day. Consider the possibility of waking up to your mental white board of must do’s, the one that’s filled with notes, lists, and errands. What would happen if you cleared some space and called a friend to meet for lunch, or headed out on an expedition? What about getting a pedicure or finally sitting down to cherish a book that’s been sitting unopened on your nightstand? What’s the worst that might happen if you replace shoulds with wants, just for the day, and take the opportunity to do something unexpected? Remember my blog: “Today is the youngest you’ll ever be.” This day will never happen again and this is the only moment we can count on, so why not live in the moment?
  1. I dare you… To be alone in your thoughts, to meditate, reflect, and journal about them. Self-reflection is a critical cornerstone to a healthy mind. Thoughtful engagement with your personal worries, hopes, and dreams is the key to being healthy from the inside out. Journaling provides the opportunity to purge your thoughts and it offers great insight. You become our own personal sounding board, and it’s cathartic to give your voice a place to be heard. Not to mention, it makes your worries more manageable and less powerful.
  1. I dare you… To get uncomfortable and to do something that challenges you on a personal or professional level. Remember that age is not a limitation; it’s inspiration. There’s no better time than the present to get started on a goal and embrace the opportunities that lie ahead. Age is a driver, it’s reminder that if not now, then when? I filmed my first fitness DVD after the age of forty, I started teaching college right before I turned fifty, and just this year I am starting to practice as a therapist. My goal has always been to promote the link between physical health and emotional wellbeing, and to bring the fitness and mental health communities together. We’re never too old to do what we want to do, and often the wisdom and experience that come with age bring us greater success.

Those three words, I dare you, can make even the most mild mannered among us stand tall and rise to the challenge. Dares inspire action and action inspires change. Change is full of unexpected opportunity, so go ahead, I Dare You…

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

 

Ten Tips to Get You Motivated to Exercise

by Angie Miller

Angie Miller

 

How do we master motivation? Whether you dread exercise and wish you were more motivated, or love to get your sweat on but sometimes need a little budge, we all could use some motivation to get us out of bed in the morning and into a pair of tennis shoes. Here are Ten Tips for Motivation.

 

 

Ten Tips for MOTIVATION:

  1. Make it something you enjoy! Motivation comes naturally when we enjoy doing something. The key is to find something you enjoy even if it means thinking outside of the box. Exercise is any form of structured movement and that could be as simple as walking through your neighborhood after work. It could also be activity that is broken into smaller increments for those who are time pressed: 10 minutes of your favorite cardio DVD to get you energized before work, 10 minutes of a strength training DVD in the afternoon, and 10 minutes of yoga before you go to bed. Anything that gets your body moving will boost your metabolism.

 

  1. Options are not an option! Variety is key when it comes to exercise. If you do the same thing day after day eventually you suffer burn out and you stop seeing results. Worse yet, you go through the motions and that’s anything but exciting. Change up your workouts to keep your body guessing and your mind active.

  1. Timing is key! There’s no right time to work out, just the time that’s right for you. That said, you have to find the time that fits into your schedule. Once you do, write out your game plan for the week, or month if possible, and stick to it. If you try to squeeze exercise into your day chances are it won’t happen; but if it’s on the schedule it’s a plan, and the plan becomes part of your routine.

  1. It has to be convenient. Location, location, location! It’s not just important in real estate. It’s important to keep us motivated to exercise because consistency is key. If the gym is too far away chances are you won’t want to sacrifice time, energy, and cost of travel. Set up your living room or bedroom for your workouts, or find a gym nearby so you can stay motivated, be consistent, and build good habits.
  1. Value is vital. If exercise is going to become an integral part of your life, it has to hold personal value. In other words, you have to believe it’s worth it and that you’re worth the time it takes. There are few situations where I will allow something to disrupt my exercise routine because exercise is my lifeline. I’ve lost too many people in my life to preventable disease and I know all too well that exercise is my most powerful defense. That beats burly biceps any day.

  1. Ask a friend to join you. We’re social creatures, and we enjoy things that we can do and share with others. Friends are also great at keeping us accountable and giving us that extra push. Whether you share a workout in your basement, or at the gym, it’s not only an activity to get you both healthy; it’s an excuse to spend time together.

  1. Tackle your goals. Before you begin, start by setting one or two SMART goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Oriented. Example: I want to perform 30 minutes of light resistance training three days per week at a moderate intensity. The more specific the goal, the more likely you are to achieve it. No goal is too small, but big, overwhelming goals can be discouraging.

  1. Invest in good workout wear. A new pair of supportive shoes and a cute outfit or two is not only motivating; it’s worth it. If we’re comfortable and we feel good about what we’re wearing, we’re more likely to look forward to exercise.

  1. Own your barriers. Know what gets in your way… work, time, fatigue, etc. Write out your barriers, those things that pull you away and challenge your motivation. Then write out ways you will overcome those barriers. We all have barriers, but if we plan ahead and strategize how we’re going to deal with them, that’s more than half the battle.
  1. Never let someone make you feel guilty. I’ve been told countless times, “I wish I had time to workout.” This is generally a statement by someone who doesn’t value exercise; therefore they don’t make the time. We all have the same number of hours in a day and if we value something we make time for it, bottom line. You don’t need to feel guilty for taking care of yourself so you can better care for others. Kudos to you for striving to be your best.

 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

 

Resistance Band Workout: Total Body Circuit

by Angie Miller

Angie Miller

 

If you’re looking for a total body workout that targets every muscle group and requires limited equipment, grab a band and get started with these five exercises. This resistance band workout strengthens your legs, shoulders, back, and arms, with interesting variations that challenge your balance and work your core. Complete each exercise consecutively for the recommended number of repetitions, then repeat the circuit two more times, resting 1-2 minutes between each circuit.

 

Exercise One: Bicep Curl to Overhead Press

  • Targets: Biceps, Shoulders
  • Repetitions: 16x  
Exercise Two: Reverse Lunge to a Knee Balance
  • Targets: Glutes, Legs, Core
  • Repetitions: 8x each leg  
Exercise Three: Reverse Row 
  • Targets: Upper Back
  • Repetitions: 16x  
Exercise Four: Side Lunge with a Side Press
  • Targets: Glutes, Legs, Core, Shoulders, Arms
  • Repetitions: 8x each side  
Exercise Five: Hip Extension to Knee Balance
  • Targets: Glutes, Core
  • Repetitions: 8x each side   
Form and Execution Tips: Be sure to keep your torso long and extended, abdominals engaged, glutes tight, chest open, and shoulders down, and head in line with your spine.   Tip: Remember that exercise bands offer variable resistance, which means that the resistance changes throughout the range of motion. This keeps the movement dynamic and allows you to create the amount resistance you need. If you need the work to be harder, step further away from the anchored band so the pull is greater, use a band with greater resistance, or increase your range of motion throughout the exercises.   Tip: Make sure that your band doesn’t have any “rebound,” when you return to your start position. This means that you don't want there to be any slack in the band no matter where you are in the movement.   Best to you in health

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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Is Fear Holding You Back?

by Angie Miller

There are a lot of scary things in this world, including situations and events that we can’t control, but I don’t think there’s anything scarier than letting fear hold us back from realizing our dreams. Our lives are a living testament to what we create, and too often we give more power to our fears and doubts than our dreams and desires.

According to Brian Luke Seaward, in his book, Managing Stress, there are seven basic human fears. One of them, fear of the unknown, is why many of us are paralyzed to go after our dreams and desires. It also speaks to why we get stuck, unable to extract ourselves from bad jobs, relationships, or other situations. While we might wish for things to be different, or dream about what our lives would be like if they were, our fear of the unknown can make us feel powerless to change.

Fear of the Unknown

For some, “The devil you know is better than the devil you don't.” The fear of failure, or the idea that the situation might somehow prove to be worse, can hold many of us back from taking a chance on change. Yet if we reflect back on our greatest accomplishments we know they didn’t come without risk. Our ability to step into unchartered territory opened the door to opportunity, and that’s why facing our fears is so pivotal to our growth. Whether you’re looking to go after your goals or get out of a bad situation, here’s a closer look at fear and how to conquer it.

Three Tips to Conquer Fear of the Unknown:

  1. Own Your Fears- “You have to claim it to tame it,” as I once heard Carrie Fisher say during her autobiographical stage production. In order to change our situation, whether it’s going after our goals, getting out of a bad relationship, or quitting a harmful habit, we have to be honest and have the courage to admit that things need to be different. Maybe they need to be different for our safety, or simply to answer our calling. Either way, we have to acknowledge what we want or need, and what is holding us back, before we can figure out how to move forward.
  1. Gather Information- Knowledge is power and the more we understand something the less likely it is to scare us away. Information is the fuel we need to set fire to our fear. When we research, whether it’s how to stop emotional eating or how to start our own business, we gain insight into how it’s done. We learn how others have mastered the feat and we realize that we're not alone. Change may not lead us in the direction we’re expecting, because life can be unpredictable, but it will lead us out of our current situation and that’s progress.
  1. Take the first step. The first step is always the hardest. It’s like going to the gym. The most difficult part is getting out the door. Once you’re there, working out is easy, relatively speaking. Once you take that first step toward your goal, or away from a bad situation, you just have to remember that everything worth accomplishing takes time and patience. It’s like a staircase. At the top of the staircase is where we want to be, and each step gets us closer to our goal. More importantly, it reassures us that we’re making progress and gives us the tools we need to tackle the next step.

Fear only has power when we allow it to hold us back. When we own our fears, gather information, and take the first step, we can successfully save ourselves from harmful situations and embrace the opportunity to realize our dreams.

Be Fearless~ 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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Turkish Get-Up

by Angie Miller

Mastering the Turkish Get-Up!

Grab a kettlebell for this Turkish Get-Up!

There are few training tools in the fitness mainstream that pique interest and create more discussion than the kettlebell. For some, an intimidating ball of iron, for others a versatile piece of equipment that with proper training can transform your body. While kettlebell swings, cleans, jerks, and snatches offer unique challenges in terms of proper skill and execution, the Turkish Get-Up (TGU) is, without a doubt, one of the more complicated lifts to master. The TGU, however, is unique in that it has multiple parts that can be practiced as stand alone exercises, then put together for safe, seamless execution.

Why a Turkish Get-Up?

The TGU is a complex, integrated exercise that improves flexibility, joint mobility, and overall body strength. It also helps strengthen and stabilize the core, while also improving balance and coordination. Along with being a great lift, the TGU can also be used as an assessment tool to spotlight areas of the body that may be tight, such as the hips, or areas that may need strengthening, such as the shoulders. Overall movement quality can also be assessed with this total body exercise.

Safety Tip:

Whether you’re using the TGU as an assessment tool or you’re in the beginning stages of learning or teaching it, it’s good to practice without load, or a very light object like a shoe. With the many moving parts and coordination required for the TGU, it can be challenging enough using just body weight without adding in the additional control needed for a loaded movement. The goal is to focus on quality of movement over load or quantity.

How to Perform the Turkish Get-Up    

(View all the moves of the Turkish Get-Up )

Set Up:

  1. Lie supine on the floor. Bend your knees, roll to your right side, and grab the handle of the kettlebell.
  1. Roll onto your back and press the kettlebell straight up overhead toward the ceiling with your right arm. Extend your left leg out to the side (about a 45-degree angle for a wide base of support), and your left arm at a similar angle, palm down on the floor. This is your start position for the get up.

Tip: Remember that if the right arm has the kettlebell, your right knee is bent. Keep your right foot planted firmly into the floor. Lock the elbow of your right arm and push your shoulder down to pack it into place.

Executing the Lift:

  1. Actively lift and roll your hip to the side as you punch and drive your right hand up, coming up onto your left forearm.

Tip: Lengthen through your spine. Fully extend your right arm, lock your elbow, and pack your shoulder down. Maintain space between your shoulder and your head and avoid collapsing or sinking into your shoulders. Keep your eye on the kettlebell.

  1. Keep punching your right hand through and come up onto the palm of your left hand. You’re almost in a seated position here.
  1. Now lift your hips off the floor into a strong semi- bridge position, pressing into your right foot and left arm. Your left leg remains locked out and fully extended.

Tip: Be careful not to hyperextend through your lower back. Engage your anterior core and keep your center strong throughout each part of the get up.

  1. Bring your left leg back, threading it under your body, and placing your left knee on the ground.

Tip: Angle the left knee back so you can turn your hips up and stack them. Keep your eye on the kettlebell overhead.

  1. Now press into your left arm and corkscrew your body into a half kneeling position, squaring your hips and shoulders to the front, keeping the kettlebell extended overhead in your right arm.

Tip: Be sure to windshield wipe the left knee (you’re no longer going to angle it) so both legs are at a 90-degree angle. To assist in getting into the half kneeling position, slightly hinge your hips and shift your weight back toward your heel so it will be easier to take your left hand off the floor.

  1. Looking straight ahead, press off the ball of your right foot and come up into a standing position.

Turkish Get Down:  

(View the moves to get down )

The start position for a get down is the ending position for the get up. To get down, simply reverse the order. Be sure to practice on both sides.

- 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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Feasting Without Adding Fat

by Angie Miller

Angie Miller

 Five Tips to Feast Without Adding Fat

Thanksgiving is days away, and while we appreciate the joy of family, friends, and celebration, we want to feast without adding fat. Like most prescriptions for a healthy diet and proper exercise, it’s much simpler than we think. With a little modification, we can avoid packing on the pounds while still enjoying the holiday festivities. Check out these five tips. 

 

  1. Avoid famine before you feast. Many make the mistake of thinking that if they starve themselves up until it’s time to eat, somehow they’re saving calories and shrinking their stomach. Generally, the opposite is true. One day of skipping breakfast and lunch won’t shrink your stomach, but it’s likely to make you feast to curb your famine. As I mentioned in my blog, “Two Tips to Tackle the Urge to Overeat,” the problem with getting too hungry is that when we do eat we often indulge rather than enjoy, meaning that we eat too quickly. According to most research, it takes about twenty minutes for our brain to get the message from our stomach that we’re full. If we eat quickly our brain never gets the message until it’s too late, and by that time we’ve eaten too much.
  1. Choose your beverage wisely. Water will make you feel fuller, and in turn help you to eat less. Alcohol on the other hand can make you lose your inhibitions, and along with that your self-control. When we drink alcohol our sense of rational decision-making is impaired at best. While we may normally be in tune with listening to the signals our body sends, alcohol can suppress those signals and cause us to eat more than we normally would. Drink water before, during, and after the meal to keep your stomach satisfied and your hunger at bay.
  1. Move away from the table. Once the meal is finished, a great distraction is to move away from temptation and into another room where the focus becomes something other than eating. Getting lost in conversation, connecting with friends and family, and sharing laughter reminds us that Thanksgiving is more than just a feast.
  1. Be selective about your sugar. When it comes time for dessert, remember that it’s okay to savor the sweets, but do so in moderation. Pick your favorite pie or other dessert, and by all means dismiss any thoughts of guilt or regret, but make an effort to stop there. If you can’t decide and there’s more than one dessert you want to try, split both of them in half and share them with someone else. Two times the fun, but half the calories.
  1. Earn your calories. Fitness has joined the fun when it comes to holiday celebrations. There are turkey trots, holiday master classes, and when all fails there are treadmills. Whether we pound the pavement or pick up a set of weights, when we start our day off with a good sweat we’re more inclined to make our calories count. In the end, it’s Calories In vs. Calories Out, and the goal is to gear up for a big meal by blasting calories before you begin.

Wishing you much joy, laughter, and love this Thanksgiving holiday.

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

 

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ARMED AND READY FOR THE HOLIDAYS


by Angie Miller

Angie Miller

Arm & Ready for the Holidays


by Angie Miller

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whether it’s summer time fun or holiday festivities, we all want to bare arms that are strong and sculpted. This upper body workout gives you three exercises to strengthen and tone your biceps and triceps, along with interesting variations that challenge your balance and work your core.

 

Tip: Remember that exercise bands offer variable resistance, which means that the resistance changes throughout the range of motion. This keeps the movement dynamic and allows you to create the amount resistance you need. If you need the work to be harder, step further away from the anchored band so the pull is greater.

 

Tip: Make sure that your band doesn’t have any “rebound,” when you return to your start position. This means that you don't want there to be any slack in the band no matter where you are in the movement.

 

Equipment Needed: Resistance Band, (as well as a Sliding Glass Door or an Anchor for a Doorway).

 

Wishing you lots of joy and good health during the holidays~ 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

 

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How to Improve Your Relationships

by Angie Miller

Angie Miller

How to Improve Your Relationships by Asking the Right Questions

Sometimes the most interesting conversations happen in the most unsuspecting places. When I travel to speak at conferences I always find this to be the case. While it’s amazing to share my passion with like-minded professionals and to learn from some of the best, I also appreciate that there’s a different type of learning that takes place when the sessions are over. The conversation becomes more about life and less about business. This is when we share stories and connect through our experiences, and these are the stories that stay with me long after the conference is over.

One such story was told recently at Optima, a conference held in Arizona by the National Academy of Sports Medicine. After our sessions, one of my colleagues shared a story about about questions and how he used them to create a more loving connection with his wife. Naturally I was intrigued, because if you read my blogs you know how fascinated I am with questions.

My colleague learned that when he and his wife would come home from work she wanted to discuss the events of her day, while he preferred to unwind in silence. He soon realized that what she really wanted was what we all want, the validation of someone caring enough to ask about our day, and listening with empathy and understanding as we share our thoughts and feelings.

Questions can help us initiate personal change, and they can also strengthen our relationships with others. That said, not all questions are created equally, and the type of questions we ask makes all the difference. Some questions can be answered with a simple yes or no, while some lead to deeper, more meaningful conversation. When it comes to asking questions there are so many possibilities, but regardless of the person we’re communicating with we can keep the conversation flowing and gain greater insight if we keep a few tips in mind:

  1. Avoid close-ended questions. Close-ended questions are those that can be answered with a simple yes or no. They’re dead end questions that don’t lead anywhere. They feel choppy, like you’re interviewing the person vs. having a conversation with them. “Did you like the movie?” “Are you hungry?”
  1. Ask open-ended questions. Open-ended questions are leading questions that open the door to more in-depth communication. Open-ended question require a person to reflect before they answer. Their answers are more revealing and we greater insight into their thoughts and feelings. An open-ended question leads to a deeper understanding of the person we’re communicating with and helps us learn more about them.
  1. Open-ended questions often begin with: why, how, what, describe, tell me about ___________, how do you feel about ________ what do you think about _______.

There are so many questions we can ask to foster a deeper connection with those we care about. Questions open the door to better communication and more meaningful relationships, and as far as I’m concerned that’s a powerful way to build bonds that can last a lifetime.

Best to you in Health and Happy Relationships!

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

 

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Weightless Workout

by Angie Miller

Angie Miller

The Beauty of Bodyweight Training

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

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

 Downward Facing Dog:

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

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

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

 

 

  1. Side Plank:

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

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

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

 

  1. Tabletop:

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

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

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

 

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

Sincerely,

- Angie

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

 

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

 

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