Angie's Corner

Posts in the weight loss exercise category

Hiking to Improve Your Health- Inside and Out

by Angie Miller

Angie Miller

Sometimes, at the just the right time, a vacation comes along and gives you much needed perspective. For me, it was the day after our moving truck pulled away. After living in our Chicago home for nine and a half years and heading into a future full of change, I knew that a break from reality was just what I needed. When it comes to vacation destinations, the mountains, with their unwavering strength and dignity, have a way of making us feel stronger, more powerful, and more at peace with our situation, and the mountains are where I headed.

Hiking through the mountains is always full of adventure. One minute you’re trekking through snow wearing a tank top, trying to maneuver your balance and still keep your eye on the blue diamonds guiding your path. You’re also looking out for the animals that you can’t see, but the oversized, fresh tracks next to your own footprints indicate they’ve been there. The next minute you’re climbing a steep, rocky hill through dense forest, crossing bridges with beautiful streams, and coming out into a clearing with the most breathtaking lake.

Full of sunshine, still waters, amazing scenery, and even a moose- one ran right across our path- hiking through the mountains is a great way to gather your thoughts and gain stamina and strength physically and mentally. I chose Colorado, but you can hike through your local park or at a National Forrest. According to Wikipedia, the United States has 154 National Forests that lie coast to coast and cover 188,336,179 acres. We chose two trails in Roosevelt National Forest, but I’m certain that no matter where you live, available trails are within a day’s drive. Once you lace up your hiking shoes and head out to witness all the natural wonders, you’ll recognize the peace that comes from reflecting on all that is right with the world.

If you’re still not convinced, here are five reasons hiking is good for your health:

Five Reasons Hiking is Good for Your Health

  1. Hiking improves your cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness.
  2. According to WebMD hiking lowers your risk of heart disease, improves your blood pressure, and helps build bone density.
  3. Hiking helps shape your glutes and the muscles in your legs, while also strengthening your core.
  4. Hiking helps improve your balance and stamina, and manage your weight.
  5. Best of all, hiking can reduce your stress and anxiety and boost your mood.

Summer is the best time to enjoy what nature has to offer, so head to the trails and soon you’ll be on a path to clearer thoughts, a healthier mind and body, and a fresh outlook.

Happy Hiking!


Muscles and mountains just go together.
 
Brainard Lake, Colorado
Brainard Lake, Colorado
 
Brainard Lake, Colorado
 
Tree pose while standing among the trees.
 
 Nederland, Colorado
Nederland, Colorado
 
Nederland, Colorado
  
  
 
Stand tall, open your chest, lengthen your torso, and believe that you got this!
  
  My two favorite humans, aka my daughters. My hiking buddies. My inspiration.

- 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

 

Fit Tips For Your Week

by Angie Miller

Angie Miller

Monday Motivation:

Rise and Shine: Did you know that the most successful people are often early risers? It's the difference between staying up late and struggling to “finish” something, vs. getting up early to “start” something fresh. I'm by nature a late-night person who has had to work hard to turn this around, often reminding myself that there's nothing so important that it won't wait until morning when my body and brain have had rest. I'd rather be an early morning person who wakes up and says, “Let’s do this!” than a late-night person who says, “I can’t do this.” Discipline, leadership, and success require a good night's sleep and a fresh mind. Tonight, sleep well and start your week off right! #MondayMotivation

Tuesday Transformation:

The Best of all Three- (These are the top three questions I get asked, and my top three answers):

  1. What's the best time of day to work out? The time that's best for you.
    2. What's the best type of workout? The workout that you enjoy, that will motivate you to do again and again and again.
    3. What workout the burns the most calories? The workout that you do consistently- (as opposed to the one you do once and hate every minute of because it’s not any fun.)

Truth- it doesn’t benefit us to focus on these things. There is no best workout, best time, or best calorie burn. Anything you do will burn more calories than if you don't exercise at all. #TuesdayTransformation

Wednesday Workout:

Is Exercise Dangerous? One of my favorite sayings is, "Exercise isn't dangerous, people are." It's not the kettlebell, step, dumbbell, barbell, or any other piece of equipment that are dangerous. It’s people, and potentially poor application of a piece of equipment that when used improperly can cause injury. The key here is, "when used improperly." When bad posture and muscle imbalances meet a piece of equipment, dangerous things can (and often do) happen. Bottom line, alignment and execution are pivotal in order to get the best results and to remain injury free. Start by building a strong foundation with no equipment at all. Just your body against gravity. Focus on alignment, weight distribution, and core strength among other things, then add resistance. I love kettlebells, they have transformed my body; but before you use any piece equipment make sure your posture and alignment is top notch and seek proper instruction. #WednesdayWorkout

 

Thursday Thought:

Thought for the day: I've shared this one before, and it still rings true. Exercise for self-care, self-preservation, and self-control. You know when you're flying on an airplane and they're going through emergency landing procedures- they tell you to put on your mask first before your child's, right? Because they know that you can't save your child (or anyone else) if you don't save yourself first. That's how I look at exercise. How can we care for others if we aren't caring for ourselves? Put on your mask first- exercise, eat well, sleep, and take time out once in a while for self-care and self-preservation. Only when we’re feeling out best can we give our best to others. #ThursdayThought

Friday Fit Tip:

Mindset Matters: Do you work out because you feel guilty if you don't, or because you feel great if you do? If you want to make exercise more enjoyable take out the “shoulds” and bring on the coulds. There’s a big difference in how we feel about exercise when we say, “I should work out today because __________________ “ (you fill in the blank), vs. “If I could ____________________(run one mile today, finish the entire workout DVD I just purchased, lift weights for twenty minutes, etc.) imagine how good I could feel. Shoulds make us feel obligated and resentful about exercise. Coulds open our mind to possibility. Replace shoulds with coulds to take away the guilt and change the way you feel about exercise! #FridayFitTip

- 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

 

Mental Motivators to Maximize Your Workouts (2)

by Angie Miller

Angie Miller

Last week I wrote a blog titled, Four Mental Motivators to Maximize Your Workout. This week I want to continue in that spirit, and give you two more mental motivators to maximize your workouts.

5. Reframe Your Resistance- Negative self-talk is a form of resistance that interferes with motivation. Negative self-talk might prevent you from starting your workout, or it may prevent you from enjoying it once you begin. The only way to defeat negative self-talk is to reframe- to redirect your thoughts and turn negative statements into positive ones. Here’s a simple exercise to practice reframing:

On a piece of paper make two columns. In the left-hand column write down negative self-talk that affects you personally- things you say to yourself that bring you down. In the right hand column write a more positive, encouraging way to look at the situation. Pretend it’s your friend who said the statement on the left. How would you respond to make your friend feel better?

Here are a few examples:

Negative Self-Talk:

Positive Reframe:

There’s no point in me working out today, I never stick with my routine anyway.

I’m going to work out today because I know it will make me feel good. Then I’m going to take it one day at a time rather than putting pressure on myself.

I don’t know why I even bother to work out, I always end up quitting because it’s too hard.

The next time I work out I’m going to go at my own pace, (use lighter weights, work out for less time, or go slower), so that I enjoy the workout and have a more positive experience.

 

Everyone at the gym is fit and motivated. Why would I want to go there?

People at the gym come in all shapes and sizes, but the one thing they all have in common is that they’re there to exercise. That’s the motivation I need.

 6. Park Your Thoughts- Sometimes stress and worry can suck the motivation right out of us, and it’s those times that “parking” our thoughts can be a powerful tool. When we “park” our thoughts we give our mind a respite from our worries, if only temporarily. Parking our thoughts is a way to put them aside, or compartmentalize if you will, so that we can focus on what we need to do- which in this case is to enjoy our workout. Sometimes we need to park our thoughts at the door, right before we walk into the gym, or we need to park them at work, before we leave the office. The bottom line is that exercise will clear our mind and better prepare us to face our stress with more clarity and a healthier perspective, and that’s the power of parking. I’ve parked many negative thoughts on my way into the gym, and when I leave and come back they don’t seem nearly as overwhelming.

Stay Inspired~ Angie

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

 

Weight Lifting Myths

by Angie Miller

Angie Miller

Do your muscles turn to fat when you stop lifting weights? Check out these fitness myths to find out.

When it comes to exercise and proper nutrition there are a lot of myths and misconceptions. After all, living a healthy lifestyle requires a lot of time and dedication and we all want to know if there’s a better way. But in reality there are no short cuts, and if it seems too good to be true it probably is. Below are four common myths, and some facts to set the story straight.

 

Myth #1: If you stop lifting weights your muscles will turn to fat.

Fact: Fat and muscle are two different types of tissue and cannot convert to one another.  When not in use, muscles atrophy, or decrease in size, but they don’t turn to fat. If you stop exercising and lifting weights, but you continue to consume the same amount of calories, you will likely see an increase in body fat and a loss of muscle mass. 

Myth #2: Exercising first thing in the morning on an empty stomach will help you burn more calories from fat.

Fact: It’s true that when you wake up in the morning your body hasn’t had fuel for a number of hours. This puts it in fasting mode and increases the use of fat for energy because glycogen (energy) stores are depleted. However, it also slows metabolism. Working out requires energy, and if your energy stores are depleted you won’t have the fuel needed to push yourself harder for longer periods of time. For best results, fuel your body before you work out to boost your metabolism and burn calories more efficiently.

Myth #3: If you want to lose weight you need to be in your “Fat Burning Zone.”

Fact: You burn the most calories from fat when your body is at total rest. In other words, when you’re sleeping.  On the flip side, you also burn the least amount of calories overall. If your goal is to lose weight then you need to burn more calories than you consume. The more calories you burn, the more weight you lose. Where the calories come from is secondary.

Myth #4: If you want to chisel a sexy middle you need to do crunches and sit-ups.

Fact: You don’t get to choose where you lose fat. Training a muscle group in isolation will strengthen the muscles underneath the fat, but not burn fat from that area. Cardio/aerobic exercise burns calories and reduces overall body fat, strength training amps your metabolism, and eating a lean, healthy diet keeps you trim and strong.  If you want to chisel a sexy middle your best bet is to combine cardio and strength work with exercises that stabilize and strengthen your entire core.

While there may not be any shortcuts, the good news is that knowledge is power. The more we understand about exercise and nutrition the better decisions we make, and good decisions lead to positive results.

Best 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

 

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

 

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