Buddy Up!

Let’s be honest… we’ve all been there, me included: the alarm goes off, it’s dark outside, and though you told yourself you’d get up and go out to exercise, you roll over and hit snooze instead. Or maybe you’ve finished your work or school day, and you even though you told yourself you’d make it to the gym you plop down on the couch instead. Oy!

Staying self-motivated can be a real challenge when you haven’t slept enough, haven’t eaten particularly well, when you’re feeling fatigued, or especially if you’re depressed or feeling anxiety. These are the times when we all need a hand; we need a workout buddy!  Studies have shown that people are better at sticking with a workout routine when they have someone to be accountable to, someone who’s counting on them to SHOW UP.

Depending on your personality, your workout buddy can be:

• A friend! Choose a friend, family-member, or co-worker whom you can give permission to gently nag you about showing up, someone who will encourage you to be your best self and not be a pushover when you are feeling like a slug. Considerations: 1) For best buddy results, choose someone with a) similar goals, b)  at a similar fitness level, and, c) who can work out on a similar schedule. 2) Figure out what activities make you both tick. If you have to drag your friend to HIIT class when they just want to do yoga, one of you will be harder to motivate.

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My cycle class peeps! 

• A group fitness class. Getting to know your fellow members and instructor creates a community that expects you to show up regularly and be part of its success.  These people can become a multitude of friends!  Considerations: 1) This one may be a challenge to stick to initially are too shy or anxious to speak to anyone, or if you don’t feel “fit enough” to be seen in a gym (a very human feeling!).  You may have better consistency making your friend come with you to class and both of you becoming part of the community together. 2) Choose a gym or fitness studio that is convenient to either home, school, or work. If it’s further than 10 – 15 minutes away you may find yourself skipping unless your friend is driving. 3) On-going punch-card or membership cost may be a deterrent.

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Sharon J.! She shows up for me and puts in the work 

• A personal trainer. You paid for their time, so hopefully that is a motivator for you to show up to your appointment!  Finding the right trainer can not only encourage you to get your exercise in, it could change your life. You might find that you will work a little harder – and smarter – with that one-on-one attention. Considerations: 1) It may take a few tries to find a trainer you really mesh with. If this approach appeals to you, be patient! When you find them, you’ll know. I have clients whom I LOVE who’ve worked with me for YEARS.  2) Depending on the situation, you may have to pay a gym membership on top of the personal training fee. 3)  If you are not motivated by money, then hopefully you’ve found a trainer whose personality motivates you to show up.

… Another option which combines aspects of these, and has the added bonus of you not having to work against the inertia of not wanting to leave the house, is to join one of my Accountability Challenge Groups.  In my groups, which run through an app or social media, you will commit to a workout schedule and to healthier nutrition. You’ll workout in the comfort of your own home or office – in your pjs if you want! and with a friend if you want! – and check-in with me daily via the app. I’ll supply you with something to think about health-wise each day, and we’ll all cheer each other on through our fitness ups and downs.

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Me, getting my on-demand workout done. When I lead a group, I have to be accountable, too!

The benefits of this group challenge approach are many. The on-demand workouts can be done anywhere that you can find about six feet of space, as long as you have a phone, computer, or TV to stream them, and at any time of day. You can meet up at your friend’s basement, you can take your workout on vacation, you can even do it outside as long as you’ve got wifi to stream. You also get a little daily attention from your coach (me!), and you get to bounce ideas off the group… AND, in some of the groups, everyone can choose from their own on-demand program! That means if your friend wants to join the accountability group with you but you want to do Core De Force kickbox and your friend wants to do Cize hip-hop, you can!… PLUS, because you check in virtually via the app, you don’t even have to be in the same town working out at the same time to be cheering each other on with the group.

So, whether you find a friend, join a class, hire a trainer, or grab a friend and join my challenge group, you’ll find that working out is always #bettertogether.  🙂

 

PS.  Want more info about my next Accountability Challenge Group? Ask today to get in on the next one. 🙂

 

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Client spotlight: the one and only LT!

If you come to Pilates Northwest, you’ve probably seen my client LT.  He’s the guy who, when he’s not in the middle of his session, instantly puts everyone at ease with his friendly smile and self-deprecating quips. He’s also the guy other clients notice during his session focusing hard on the smallest movements, inspiring them with his intense concentration and work ethic.  You might have seen that he has an unusual gait. You probably guessed that he was born with cerebral palsy.

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LT is one of the most inspiring people I know. He never, ever stops working at improving. He always gives 100%. And he says things during his Pilates session like:  “That’s hard… I LOVE it!” and even after a really hard and especially muscle-lengthening workout:  “That’s. AWESOME!”

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And this month, LT is featured in Pilates Northwest’s client spotlight! I encourage you to take a moment to check it out. I think you’ll be inspired by his dedication to figuring things out, to not giving up, to finding a way forward when the end goal is clear even though the pathway is not.

From LT:

“My work with Mona and Pilates Northwest has been the key to me learning to speak and understand the language of my own movement. Everyone’s language will be different, but they will all respond positively to Pilates. Pilates will challenge you, but it will also change you!”

Check him out here:

https://www.pilatesnorthwest.com/client-spotlight-l-t/

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Some Days Need You To Play Offense

There are days when you have a big to-do list, or just a normal list but you didn’t get enough sleep… days when you are doubting that what you want to achieve isn’t worth the effort, or that what you want is worth it, but you just can’t figure out how to make it happen.

Meet those draining thoughts head-on with a mental attack that will energize you! You can close your eyes, or you can stare determinedly at yourself in the mirror, but either way pick a positive mantra and repeat it fervently for at least thirty seconds.

You can try something like one of these, for example:

•. “I am excited for this day/this workout/this project!”

• “I am capable and can handle this with grace!”

• “I have SO got this! I can’t wait to show myself how awesome I am!”

You’ll set off a positive chemical reaction in your brain that really will help you feel more energized and improve your outlook.

–> What are some of the “yes-I-can” things you tell yourself?

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3 Simple Pilates Moves, courtesy of me and Premera

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I had the privilege of being part of Premera’s recent effort to entice their members to try Pilates. Why would they want their members to try Pilates? Too many reasons to mention! Among other things, Pilates is great for:

  • injury prevention
  • injury recovery
  • preparation for other physical activities
  • and, most famously, core strength!

You can check out the Premera Wellness quarterly newsletter complete with instructions and three how-to videos featuring myself and my hubby! The three moves featured will strengthen your abdominal group, your mid-back and spinal muscles, and your glutes and thighs.

Do you have questions about form, or wondering if these particular exercises are right for your particular body? Just ask! 🙂

 

PS. Special thanks to Carie Nava at Premera for choosing me for this project. I am so grateful for the fun experience, and getting to work with her writer Marygrace Taylor, and her wonderful videographer Dominic Dunbar. Thanks also to Louise Beckley, director of Pilates Northwest, for allowing us to film on site – it’s my Pilates home!

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Next Health Challenge Group is open!

Nutrition, fitness, and support!

• Daily check-ins using Beachbody’s Challenge Tracker app.

• Anywhere-workout programs streamed via Beachbody On Demand

• 28 Days of Healthy Focus!

All participants are requested to use body-positive language. We celebrate the journey, not just the results. ❤️

Don’t you want to feel finish March feeling mighty, too? Message me to snag your spot in this month’s group.

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It’s All In You

I am my solution

Everything you want in life is in your reach if you can master yourself. Maybe it’s your attitude, or a skill-set, or a work ethic, or even a scheduling challenge. Maybe it’s a combination of things! Just know that if you are willing to put in the time to be honest with yourself, you can figure out what needs to be done to move forward. 🙂

–> What revelations have you had that allowed you to get out of your own way and move forward toward your goals?

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No Self-Limiting Allowed

Mona's broken seat post

I had a spill on my bike last Saturday. The seat post stem freakishly sheared off while I was riding, which in itself wasn’t so bad. It was the fact that I took my eyes off the road to figure out why I was suddenly standing on my pedals that caused me to miss the dip in the bridge toward the thick mud. The split second of relief when I stopped sliding along the road was unexpectedly interrupted by my husband crashing on top of me. Yup, smooshed me even more decidedly against the asphalt.

I have to pause to say that I am ashamed of myself, when in my pain I cried out to my never-would-hurt-me-on-purpose husband, “What are you doing ON me??” I only slightly redeemed myself as I rolled over, clutching my elbow as pain helped me come to my senses, groaning, “Oh, well, at least you didn’t hit your head.”

Short story: nothing broken, but deep, broad abrasions and bruising on whole left side creating intense pain when I move my limbs, especially my legs, and hands that ache when I use them too long. When I’m on my feet my leg swells up. It’s ugly.

Here’s the thing: all week I’ve been feeling sorry for myself. Depressed, even. And you probably know me well enough to guess that neither of those things sit well with the kind of person whom I aspire to be. Which makes me cranky and then the spiral continues. But then this morning I saw this:

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Which made me think, okay, what IS still working? My right leg. My right arm, even if my hand can’t grip well. My trunk is fine. So, I kicked myself in the rear and picked up a kettlebell as a weight, since I wouldn’t have to grip it too hard, and got to work. Winded after 20 minutes but much, much happier.

Yes, I will have to sit for the next few hours with my leg up. But you can bet I will be doing another round with that kettlebell.

–> What has motivated you to find another way forward when you couldn’t move the way you wanted? How did you shake off the self-pity and get going?

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Don’t Wait for Monday

How many times have you come up with a great workout or meal plan, or maybe an awareness of how to get more movement into your day, or perhaps some other wonderfully healthy action that will add to the quality of your life, and you say to yourself, “I can’t wait to start on Monday!”  WHY WAIT? Every moment, every single moment, is an opportunity to choose and make positive actions toward your health and fitness goals. Do something toward your dream TODAY. 🙂

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Asking Yourself the Hard Question

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How do you prioritize your time? Can you be honest with your answer? Like I tell my kids, often the truth is uncomfortable. If your health – fitness, nutrition, stress management, and sleep – is not really a priority, then will you choose to change how you use your time to make it so?

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Why Is Everyone Talkin’ Protein?

You’ve heard that you probably need to get a little more protein into your diet. What is all the chatter about? Why is protein so darn important?

Lemme tell ya! Image

– Proteins make up compounds known as enzymes, and enzymes, through biochemical reactions,  control every single bodily function.

– Proteins are a vital component of every cell in the body! Hair, nails, bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood all use protein as a building block.

– Proteins are needed to help repair cells, especially after exercise, and to make new ones.

– Proteins promote satiety, a feeling of fullness. This is especially helpful if weight-loss is a goal.

Proteins are the VIPs of your body!  But just like on the red carpet, there are A-list proteins and B-list proteins.  The quality of protein you eat makes a difference!  The reason? Your body does not store protein in cells for use as it does fat.  The protein makes up the cells, remember? So, do you want cells made of wiggly, mystery bits of hot dog proteins or would you prefer a higher quality, better functioning cell?  I know my preference!

So, what are the best proteins?Image

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, fish, poultry, and beans are your best bets. Try to eat from a variety of protein sources each day.  When choosing your protein, think of the food type as the protein’s “packaging.”  Compare these three protein-carrying packages:

– Protein in a 6-ounce grilled porterhouse steak does indeed pack a whopping 40 grams of protein, BUT, it also comes “packaged” with 14 grams of not-so-good-for-you saturated fat, and 38 grams of fat total!

– Protein in the same amount of salmon gets you 34 grams of protein, only 4 grams of saturated fat, and 18 grams of fat total. Bonus: salmon is packed with healthy fats like Omega 3s!

– Protein in a cup of cooked lentils has a nice 18 grams of protein – BUT – less than one tiny, little gram of fat! And oh, it comes packed with the benefits of heart-healthy, colon-friendly fiber!

There is also much research about the benefits of super-accessible-to-your-body whey protein, like that found in dairy* products, and egg white protein.  These two provide the nine essential amino acids that your body cannot make itself.  Soy products like tofu are also full of protein, and some other sources are beans, nuts, and seeds.  However, if you are lactose intolerant, or have an egg, nut, or soy allergy or sensitivity, you may want to talk with a nutritionist about alternatives, such as field pea protein (often sold as green or yellow “split peas”), which is easily digestible but has fewer sensitivity and allergy issues.Image

If at least one of your meals is eaten as a smoothie, read the label of your smoothie base carefully.  Again, think of with what your protein is packaged.  Watch out for excess sugars, both natural and artificial. If you’ve got gluten sensitivities, even the highest quality protein powder won’t feel good to your body if there are glutens in the mix! Same goes for the other major sensitivities like soy, dairy, nuts, and egg. You want your “VIP” of protein to only be accompanied by the highest quality entourage of ingredients that also agree with your system.

Ask a nutritionist or your doctor which proteins work best with your particular biological needs. Choose a healthy mix of lean proteins each day that suits your dietetic needs and you, too, will join the conversation about the benefits of protein. 🙂 

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PS.  If you are seeking a smoothie base with quality protein, my recommendation is simple: Shakeology, of course. And if you are vegan, soy-sensitive, or gluten-sensitive, check out the vegan Shakeology blends.  All Shakeology flavors are made from whole-food (not chemicals! not synthetics!), are certified low-glycemic (they won’t spike your blood sugar), and the new Vanilla flavor is also GMO-free! To your health! 🙂

*Dairy products contain both whey and casein proteins.

Sources:

– Neil Osterweil & Dr. Charlotte E. Grayson Mathis, http://men.webmd.com/features/benefits-protein

– Dr. Michael Colgan, http://colganprograms.wordpress.com/tag/whey-protein/

– A.D.A.M. Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, and David R. Eltz. Previously reviewed by Alison Evert, MS, RD, CDE, Nutritionist, University of Washington Medical Center Diabetes Care Center, Seattle, Washington (5/5/2011) http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002467.htm

– Harvard School of Public Health, http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/protein/

– All photos & protein word cloud illustration: http://www.fotosearch.com

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