Angie's Corner

Posts in the Wellness category

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

 

By Collage Video | | Abs, Angie Miller, exercise, fitness, tips, Weekly Blog, Wellness | 0 comments | Read more

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

 

By Collage Video | | Angie Miller, cardio, exercise, fitness, tips, Weekly Blog, Wellness | 0 comments | Read more

Save Calories and Slim Down

by Angie Miller

Four Ways to Save Calories and Slim Down

1. Did you know that chewing your food more before swallowing can help you slim down? When we chew more, we spend more time eating and less time consuming. If you're a fast eater you can consume a lot of calories in a short amount of time, which can quickly translate to unhealthy weight gain. The next time you take a bite count the number of times you chew before swallowing, then increase that number, double it if you can. By slowing down, we’re paying attention to the signals our body is sending, noticing when we feel full and ultimately eating less.


2. Did you know that lowering your salt intake can help treat or prevent high blood pressure (hypertension)? Salt is a four-letter word for a good reason and there’s a lot we can do to lower our salt intake, other than just putting down the saltshaker. Here are a few tips:

  • Choose fresh or frozen foods over canned or processed foods.
  • When eating canned or processed foods, select those that are sodium-free or low in sodium. Also, try rinsing canned foods, such a beans and vegetables, to remove some of the sodium.
  • Avoid foods that are cured, braised, or smoked, all which add sodium to your diet.
  • Get your flavor fix with pepper, herbs, and spices, or try no-salt seasoning blends.

3. Did you know that reduced fat, low fat, and fat-free are not synonymous with low calorie? A calorie is a calorie, whether it comes from fat, protein, or carbs, and all calories count. While some foods are better quality, quantity does matter. 3500 calories equals one pound, regardless of where the calories come from. Not to mention, when food manufacturers take out fat, flavor often follows. Sugar, salt and other additives are often substituted to make up for the taste.


4. Did you know that making simple modifications could help you maintain your weight even when you eat out? If you can’t imagine salad without dressing, or dinner without dessert, that’s okay provided you modify your approach. Try these tips:

        • Ask for salad dressing on the side. Dip your fork in the dressing and follow with a bite of salad. Avoid condiments such as bacon bits, croutons, and shredded cheese.
        • Avoid fried, battered, and breaded foods, and instead ask for roasted, grilled, baked, or broiled. Also avoid heavy sauces, and instead substitute with flavorful spices.
        • For sandwiches, avoid croissants and biscuits and try whole-grain or whole wheat bread. Again, avoid condiments such as mayonnaise, and substitute with hummus or mustard.
        • For dessert, consider that sharing is caring. If you divide the dessert, you divide the calories.

            Calories count, but counting calories is no fun. Simple solutions can help us manage our weight and enjoy a healthy eating experience!

            Best to you in Fitness and Health!

            Sincerely,

            - Angie

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

             

            By Collage Video | | Angie Miller, cardio, exercise, Wellness | 0 comments | Read more

            Tackle the Urge to Overeat

            by Angie Miller

            Angie Miller

             

             

            Two Tips to Tackle the Urge to Overeat

             

             

            1.  Listen to Your Body’s Signals: Did you grow up the way I did, where you were instructed to finish your dinner before you left the table? Somewhere along the way we may have been so busy listening to instructions that we forgot how to listen to our body and the signals it sends telling us when we’re hungry or full. Our body knows what it needs. It's up to us to get our signals straight and it may be that we need a little retraining.

            Try This: The next time you sit down to dinner give yourself the portion size you normally would. Before you begin eating, cut that portion in half and eat only  half. If you’re out to dinner you can do the same thing. Just cut in half whatever portion they give you. After you finish that half, stop eating for about 10-15 minutes and focus on something else- conversation with those around you, a good book if you’re alone, something that will distract you and give your brain time to get the proper signals from your stomach. Once the 10-15 minutes has passed, reevaluate if you’re still hungry. If you are, cut the rest of your meal in half again and follow that same pattern. If you end up eating your entire meal chances are you really were hungry and that's okay. The difference is that you're not eating an entire meal because it’s ingrained in you to do so, or mindlessly eating because it’s in front of you. On the other hand, if 10-15 minutes passes and you discover that you’re full, you can store the other half of your meal for another time. If you’re out to dinner you can have them put it in a to go box and ask that they keep it refrigerated until you’re ready to leave. It’s best to do that sooner rather than later so you’re not tempted to pick at it or keep eating as you get lost in conversation. The goal is to eat mindfully, with conscious thought and awareness. In doing so we slow down, savor our food and the pleasure of eating, and to listen to our body’s signals to avoid overeating.

            1. Don’t Get Too Hungry: Remember the last time you were “starving?” Maybe you had a long day at work and you were too busy to eat. Maybe you were saving up for a big meal (bad idea). It could be any number of reasons, but my guess is that when you were finally able to eat again you just wanted something quick and easy. Unfortunately, that usually translates to something high in fat, full of sugar, and low in nutritional value. We plan what we’re going to wear to work or a special event, we plan our vacations, parties, and dates, but when it comes to food we sometimes forget that our diet, one of the most significant contributors to our health and well-being, also requires planning. Eating well requires time, commitment, and effort. Not only to plan our meals, but healthy snacks as well.

            Try This: Keep healthy snacks in your handbag, vehicle, desk at work, and anywhere else that’s accessible, so you can avoid getting too hungry. Healthy snacks might include almonds, carrots, a piece of fruit, or a nutrition bar. You can make these yourself, or buy healthy snack size servings. The problem with getting too hungry is that when we do eat, we often indulge rather than enjoy. In other words, 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 that message until it’s too late. We eat until we feel full, and that generally means we’ve eaten too much. The goal is to eat smaller, healthier snacks in between meals, so we can avoid feeling so hungry that we sacrifice quality for whatever is quick. That way we make sure that our calories contribute to our overall healthy and well being.

            Cheers to a Happy Monday and Healthy Eating!

            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

             

            By Collage Video | | Angie Miller, goals, Healthy, practice, Weekly Blog, Wellness | 0 comments | Read more

            Facts You Should Know About Alzheimer’s Disease

            by Angie Miller

            Why I Walked to End Alzheimer’s Disease- Facts You Should Know

            What do you call it when you walk for a cause, volunteer for something you believe in, and share your love for fitness and health? I call it a cathartic experience, and that’s what I had these past two weekends.

            Last year I was given the opportunity to lead the warm up for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in my community. This year it led to two more warm ups, and the chance to be a part of two Walk to End Alzheimer’s events. I’ve lost both of my parents to dementia related diseases, (Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia). Needless to say, sharing fitness and health with hundreds who have joined forces to fight Alzheimer’s was an amazing way to pay tribute to my mom and my dad. It was also my chance to raise awareness about the power of exercise to keep our brain healthy.

            Exercise and brain health is a passionate subject for me. Not only because it’s personal, but because it’s a testament to the fact that exercise does far more than get our body fit. I’ve spent decades leading exercise classes and teaching everyone from college students to fitness pros about exercise, and I love reading current research supporting that exercise can help us maintain a healthy brain. How? Exercise helps lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, prevent diabetes, reduce stress and anxiety, and keep our emotions healthy and balanced, all of which can indirectly contribute to impaired cognitive functioning. In her article, “Exercise: It does so much more than burn calories,” Elizabeth Pegg Frates, MD, states that, “Exercise can also help enhance our cognitive skills — it’s true that what is good for the heart is good for the brain. Research demonstrates that regular exercise can actually increase the size of the hippocampus, an area of the brain involved with memory.” Best of all, “150 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity per week can significantly decrease the risk of dying prematurely.” That should inspire all of us to get active, right? Not for big guns and tight buns, but because we want to live well, with a healthy body and an active, healthy brain.

             

             

             The fact is, Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia are likely to affect all of us on some level, and we can all do more to keep our brain healthy. Here are some facts I learned on my walk. Thanks to the Alzheimer’s Association, these signs are posted all throughout the walk, increasing awareness and education on how devastating this disease is to our loved ones, to caregivers, and even to our economy at large. I hope they inspire all of us to care for our bodies, and in turn to care for our brain.

             

             

            Me with my team who helped me lead one of the warm ups. They’re a group of fitness friends who attend my Pilates and Young at Heart classes.

             

            Me with my team of Young at Heart fitness friends who helped me lead one of the warm ups.

            Best in heart and brain health.

            Sincerely,

            - Angie

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

             

            By Collage Video | | Angie Miller, fitness, goals, Healthy, Motivation, Weekly Blog, Wellness | 0 comments | Read more

            Three Fitness Mistakes

            by Angie Miller

            Angie Miller

            Three Fitness Mistakes that Sabotage Our Best Efforts

            The kids are back to school, the weather’s getting cooler, and we’re falling back into a fitness routine. Exercise is an investment of our time, and like any investment we want to get great results. Who doesn’t want to look and feel like they’re a walking testament to their hard work and efforts? Before you get started, check out these three fitness mistakes that even the best intentioned exercisers have been known to make. Knowledge is power, and the more you know the safer and more effective your approach, thus the better your results.

             

            Three Mistakes to Avoid:

            1. Doing Too Much Too Soon- When I meet a new person at the gym, or overhear someone telling me that they’ve started to work out for the first time, the kiss of death is when they tell me, “I'm going to exercise every day until I get this weight off/feel better/can fit back into my clothes.” Personally, I’ve been exercising consistently for over 20 years and I still don’t exercise every day. Not only would I get burnt out, I wouldn’t get the results I’m looking for and more than likely I’d suffer a setback and get injured. More isn’t always more, and quality should always precede quantity. When you first start an exercise routine your body is on high alert and it’s ready and responsive. You’ll get a return on your investment up to a point. If you push yourself and do too much too soon, that’s overload on your body and your mind and it’s too much of a strain on your schedule.

            Try This: Start small and work your way up from there. Two to three days a week is ideal. Thirty minute to one hour sessions and you’re good to go. Once you have that down pat for about six weeks, set a new goal. Add more time to your routine, or another day of the week, and before long exercise won’t be something you “have to do,” it will be a “habit” you can’t live without.

            1. Being Sucked into The Extreme Workout Mentality- Extreme workouts, the kind that promise great results in less time, where the workout is so “intense” that they claim you only need to do it for thirty minutes, are not for the novice exerciser (nor are they for me). Thirty minutes of sheer torture is going to feel like thirty hours, but one hour of something you enjoy will feel like it’s time well spent. Not only do we dread workouts that are beyond intense, they too lead to injury and burn out. After all, how motivating is it when you’re sore all the time and you dread your workouts?

            Try This: Find a routine that will challenge your body and test your limits, but one that will make you feel successful. We don’t need extreme programs to get results. We need programs that make us feel like “we got this,” that encourage us to keep going. As long as we’re going, we’re getting closer and closer to where we ultimately want to be.

            1. Not Asking for Help- When we’re sick we go the doctor. When we need a haircut we head the hairdresser. When we have a toothache, need our taxes done, or want a massage, we always go to the experts. That said, why not seek the advice of a fitness expert, someone who knows their trade, who is educated, certified, credentialed, and experienced, when we want to care for our body and make it stronger and healthier? Whether it's quality fitness DVD’s, a certified trainer or instructor, there is plenty of good help out there. If you’re really serious about getting great results, and you want to get them safely and effectively, invest in good help. You only have one body, and of all the things to skimp on, it isn’t your health. If you do want to plan your own routine, be careful where you get your information. I’ve said this before, and I can’t emphasize it enough, “It’s the Wild West out there on the Internet and it seems that knowledge and credibility are determined by the number of followers and likes on social media sites rather than certifications, education, licensures, and degrees. While some social media savvy individuals may have a lot of exposure and visibility, that doesn’t always translate to knowledge, experience, and proper education. When you get your workout information from blogs, websites, and You Tube, check out that person’s credentials. If you can’t find them, take that as your first sign and run for the hills. Enough said.” Check out my blog, for more fitness, diet and workout mistakes you might be making:

            Try This: If you are going to plan your own routine, check out how to do it in a way that’s supported by science. Check out my blog on How to Build an Exercise Program to Achieve My Goals: http://www.collagevideo.com/blogs/angies-corner/14852673-how-to-build-an-exercise-program-to-achieve-my-goals

            Also, if you need some guidance on resistance training, check out my blog, Mix it up with Machines. Machines are safe and effective, and they give you the results you’re looking for without all the guesswork: http://www.collagevideo.com/blogs/angies-corner/16755708-mix-it-up-with-machines

            Best to You in Health and Fitness~

            Sincerely,

            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, Healthy, practice, Weekly Blog, Wellness | 0 comments | Read more

            Are you selfish?

            by Angie Miller

            Angie Miller

            If not, here’s why you should be...

            Did you know that learning to be selfish is a selfless act? While we may have been taught or conditioned to believe otherwise, learning to be selfish, as in self-care driven, is an act of love to ourselves, and in turn to those we care most about.

            We don’t always want to admit it, but there’s only so much of you and me to go around. If we keep giving without replenishing, we’re left with nothing but an empty bucket, tired, exhausted, and frustrated, wondering how good intentions could lead to negative outcomes. When we learn to practice self-care, we listen and attend to our mind, body, and emotions.

            Maybe it’s age, experience, or the lessons I’ve learned from not creating healthy boundaries, but I’m finally starting to understand the importance of self-care. For women especially, it can be tempting to put our personal needs aside, but ultimately we can’t give away what we don’t have. By practicing self-care, it turns out the payoff is exactly what we want. It gives us the extra reserves needed to be available and give to others. Not just in body, but in spirit. With a generous heart and not a tinge of resentment. For those of us who love deeply and care unconditionally, isn’t that our goal? 

            Here are three tips for self-care, two that require nothing more than a shift in thinking that can have an incredible impact on our everyday life.

            Three Simple Steps to Self-Care:

            1. Learn to say no. No is a powerful word, and it’s a tough one to learn. After all, yes shows that we’re cooperative and caring, and responsive to the needs of others, right? Yet in reality, when we say yes to others we’re saying no to ourselves, and maybe even to those we love and care about. Consider this: If I say yes to that opportunity at work, I say no to having any free time to do what I love, or to spending more time with family and friends. A yes to someone else is a no to us, and after a while that can take its toll. There’s no doubt that no is a more direct word and it may be difficult for others to accept, but usually those are people who will readily drain our energy and absorb more than their fair share of our time. Saying no, is saying yes to self-respect. That’s a win-win for everyone.
            1. Establish boundaries. Boundaries are like a line in the sand and they send a powerful message. With boundaries we know what we’ll give, and what we’ll accept, and we don’t cross the line. If we do it comes at a great cost. It undermines our value, and it creates frustration and self-doubt when we forget to be true to what we know is in our best interests. Safe, healthy boundaries serve as personal protection. Our mission is clear and others know where we stand, therefore we can be trusted to be consistent vs. unpredictable. Bottom line, boundaries are critical to self-care. When we don’t have limits, life can take its toll.
            1. Create a Personal Space. Diana Chapman, a renowned speaker and author, suggests that each of us has gifts, talents, dreams, and desires that are unique and special. In order to “be a good servant” to our gifts, she suggests that we create a space to nurture them and allow them to flourish. I created such a space in my own home, a small room that no one uses, where I set up candles, fluffy pillows, and soft lighting to make it warm and inviting. It’s clean, clutter free, and personal. The key is to find a space where we can check in with ourselves and check out from the world; where we feel safe and protected, and we have the energy needed to nourish our gifts.

            Best to you in self-care and safe boundaries.

            ~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, Healthy, practice, Weekly Blog, Wellness | 0 comments | Read more

            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

            Preventing Exercise Relapse

            by Angie Miller

            Angie Miller

            How to Prevent Exercise Relapse (Part II)

            Click here to read part I

            Last week I wrote a blog about exercise relapse, what causes it and how to distinguish a lapse from a relapse. Now it’s time to talk about prevention. Two of the most critical considerations when starting an exercise program are learning how to identifying situations that put us at risk for relapse, and learning how to avoid relapse.

             

             How to Identify Situations that Put You At Risk:

            1. Reflect: Think about past situations where you fell off the wagon and stopped exercising. What was going on in your life? What happened? What circumstances led to your relapse?
            1. Write down the situations and obstacles that got in your way. Some common barriers often include:
            • Vacation
            • Holidays
            • Work Travel
            • Lack of a consistent routine- variable work schedule or inconsistent schedule in general, therefore exercise time isn’t consistent
            • Lack of planning- when exercise isn’t scheduled the way we other responsibilities, it often falls to the bottom of the list
            • New relationship or relationship difficulties
            • Job Stress, job loss, or even a new job
            • Time Management- “no time” to exercise is often perception (more on this in next week’s blog)
            • Lack of Motivation- usually stems from not being in a routine. Routines give us a sense of purpose and we stick to them because they become habit.
            1. Develop a Plan. Once you identify the situations or obstacles that get in your way, it’s time to develop a plan for how you’ll deal with them in the future. Make sure that your plan involves action- a way that you will change the situation, your thoughts and behaviors in response to the situation, or both. Let’s use job travel as an example.
            2. Situation: In the past I got out of my exercise routine when I traveled frequently for work.
            3. Plan: In the future I will pack an exercise band in my suitcase, download my favorite exercise DVD (before I go), and get up 30 minutes early to workout in my hotel room.

            Now that you’ve identified your triggers and developed a plan, it’s time to talk about prevention. Here are six steps to help you prevent relapse.

            Six Steps for Prevention:

            1. Realize that you’re not alone: The first step in prevention is recognizing that nearly everyone who attempts to maintain a consistent exercise program relapses. The key is to recognize what causes you to relapse and have a contingency plan for action.
            1. Develop a support system: When you’re trying to develop a lifelong habit it takes time and discipline and you’re more likely to succeed if you have support. A workout buddy serves as great support, but if you don’t have a workout buddy try to get family members, friends, or co-workers on board to help you stay motivated and support you throughout your journey.

             

            1. Avoid common obstacles. A simple thing like putting your fitness clothes in the car so you don’t stop home after work and get sidetracked can make a huge difference. Another simple solution is to place your tennis shoes next to your bed so they’re the first thing you see when you wake up in the morning- instant motivation.
            1. Avoid negative dialogue. Our mind is the BOSS! Negative messages are powerful and self-defeating. Messages such as, “I’m going to be traveling a lot for work so why bother,” set us up for failure; while positive messages such as, “I’m going to workout today so I’ll stay motivated when I travel,” set us up for success.
            1. Replace “shoulds” with “wants”: “I should workout today because otherwise I’ll gain weight,” is the type of message that makes us feel guilty and resentful. “I want to workout today because I love how I feel afterwards,” is the type of message that makes us feel empowered. Replace “should’s with “wants” to change the way you feel about exercise.
            1. Maintain perspective: Remember that a temporary lapse is just that- temporary. It’s only catastrophic if your mind makes it so and that only undermines confidence and willpower. Maintain perspective by remembering that it’s not uncommon to relapse, but if you take positive steps toward prevention you’re far more likely to experience success.

            Best to You in Health & Happiness~

            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, cardio, exercise, goals, Healthy, 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

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