5 Tips for Holiday Fitness

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5 tips for staying fit during the holiday

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In my family the holidays are CRAZY, literally my husband and I jump from house to house for 2 two days non-stop. This does not include all the holiday decorating, shopping, cooking, cleaning, and extra parties. Giving up holiday fun and food for the gym can be less than appealing. So here are 5 tips for including fitness during the holidays!

  1. Do what you love, love what you do! Find an activity that you enjoy. It can be walking your dogs. Zen out with yoga. Or if you’re lucky enough to have snow… go for a snowshoe trek. When I am having fun and getting some exercise at the same time then I am more likely to do it.
  2. Fun Run. There are tons of holiday themed 5ks out there. 5ks are great for any fitness level as most are family friendly and just encourage movement, meaning walking is ok! When you are part of a large group of 5k-ers in elf and Santa costumes it makes for an interesting and entertaining day of activity.
  3. Try something new. Pre-Christmas, I always like to try a new fitness class, piece of equipment or gear. Many stores and gyms offer promos and free trials (it’s to encourage purchase for the new year), I use this as an opportunity to see if I want to add this to my Christmas list. For example, I recently tried out a new spin cycle class and loved it, so I asked for a membership for Christmas.
  4. Prioritize yourself. We can get caught up during the holidays preparing for others. Exercise and fitness is your time, honor yourself and your body. I try to schedule an hour of exercise each day (yoga, lifting, long dog walk, etc.). It’s always different. It’s always at different times. But it focuses my attention on my health so I can be able to enjoy time with my loved ones for the family.
  5. Park FARRRRR AWAY. This is actually something I do year-round but I started during the Holidays a couple years back. I don’t spend a ton of time circling crowded lots when I am out shopping. Instead, I park in the very back and walk (mall, grocery store, Target, wherever I go). It truly makes a difference, especially when you have to walk back with arms filled with heavy shopping bags.

Remember the Holidays are a time to be joyous and merry. Don’t put pressure on yourself to be a gym rat or fit in that run (unless that’s your passion of course). Work on enjoying the time with loved ones, having fun and taking care of yourself!

-Alix Josey



Say No To Sniffles

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Call it the MOM in me

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It’s inevitable.  Sneezing.  Coughing.  Runny Nose.  Kids get sick.  Sometimes they pass it on to their siblings.  Sometimes it comes straight to mama and papa bear.  Sometimes it knocks out the whole family in one foul swoop!

Call it the mom in me, but I take great precautions to nip colds right in the bud!

Here are a few tricks to try out this Fall/Winter:

Eat a Plant- Dark colored plants and leafy greens are important for building strong immune systems. Try hiding spinach or kale in their spaghetti.  Get tricky!  They will never know!

Kids Need Hydration too- Drinking plenty of water will flush the system and keep little bodies hydrated. Skip the juice box, opt for water instead.

10-11 Hours of Sleep- A solid nights sleep helps not only to recharge; it also allows the body to heal strengthening the immune system. Plan a bed time and stick with it!

Vitamin D- Studies show that vitamin D intake limits instances of flu by over 50%, for kids that means roughly 2 ½ servings of dairy per day. My kids grab fortified milk for breakfast!  (Cheese on pizza counts in my book too!)

Get Moving- Exercise is as important to little bodies as it is for grownups. 40 minutes a day for little ones helps keep the doctor away!

Vitamin C- A MUST. Vitamin C not only helps build a strong immune system, it helps to shorten the length of a cold.   There is a new twist on this old staple: Organic Vitamin C lollypops!  Kids think its candy!  You have permission to think you’re awesome!

It will happen… Kids will still get sick.  There are over 200 forms of the common cold!  But, focus on health and wellness; and remember with preventative measures it’s the small things that make a big difference.

Do you have a tip that I need too?  Share it below!

-Tristan Cablay



Couch to 5K Workouts

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Last week, we heard from Alice Gresham at Fitness Connection about how to get off your couch and run a 5K! This week she’s back to give us a few more workouts in preparation to run a 5K.

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The Couch Ab Workout

 Couch Knee Ups

Scoot up to the edge of the couch feet underneath you and knees close together. Lift one knee as high up as you can from a sitting position for a “knee up. Repeat 20 times (20 reps). Switch and repeat on the other knee 20 times. Rest only enough to take 3 deep breaths and then repeat for you second set of 20 reps on each knee. Three deep breaths. Last set of 20. Done!

Couch Leg Ups

 Scoot up to edge of couch straighten your right leg laying the heel on the floor. Now lift your straightened leg up as high as you can, remembering to keep your back straight. You guessed it …25 reps.

Switch legs. 25 reps. Repeat for second and third sets. Whew! You might not think that lifting your knee up or leg up works the abs. Absolutely!

When you do leg raises or lifts, your entire abdominal wall isometrically contracts to stabilize your legs and protect your spine.

Translation, every time you sit or stand you use your ab muscles.

Couch Leg Raises

Scoot up to the edge of the couch again but this time you’re going to lean your upper body back toward the back of the couch while bending your legs and stabilizing yourself with your hands of both sides of you, while pressing down with your hands lift your legs, bent knees up, toes pointed toward the floor, let them tap the floor and back up. Repeat the lift and tap 25 times. Rest. Repeat. Rest. Repeat. You should be having a definite understanding right about now about where your abs are, lol. Nice work!

Couch Planks

You know how normally we are stretched out on the couch on our backs watching those soap operas or favorite movie, this exercise is performed on your stomach so you just have to turn over face down, placing your fore arms under you with your palms facing up. Next with your face down, dig your toes into the couch and push yourself up onto your toes and your fore arms and begin counting slowly clicking off the seconds until you can’t hold yourself up any longer. 1,2,3, 4,….10……45……1 minute…..1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds….until you plop down at failure. Failure simply means you can’t hold it any longer. When you feel your muscles trembling don’t panic. That’s just your muscles telling you that you are using them in a way they don’t normally get used and they may not be all that happy about it. For however long you were able to plank, be happy because you will only get better, stronger the more you practice.

In order to develop moderate full body strength you should be able to hold your plank for a minimum of 2 minutes. If you weren’t able to make it to 2 minutes today, over the next couple of weeks practicing at least one plank daily, should get you to 2 minutes, then 2 and a half then 3. Planks are terrific for strengthening weak tummy muscles and back muscles if you want to alleviate occasional annoying back pain. They are the perfect full body exercise to help you rebuild core strength and muscle strength because believe it or not, you engage about 200 muscles to make this plank happen.

Remember that a strong core (abs) will equal a strong back that eventually will bother you less and less as you go about your everyday activities.

Water Jug Swings (aka Kettle-Bell Swings)

Now we’re gonna venture a little further from the couch to the kitchen to fetch a gallon water bottle for this next exercise.

Normally referred to as Kettle Bell Swings, it is a fantastic full body exercise that gives you a cardio workout as well as lower and upper body. Stand with your feet a little wider than your shoulders holding the gallon jug with both hands, arms straight so its hanging down in front of you. Now bend your knees and lean over toward the front so the jug is hanging in front of you. Start a gentle swinging motion back and forth and on the count of 3 as you swing the jug up in front

of you straighten your legs and at the end of the swing push your hips forward. The jug should be up in front of you now appearing to have been hoisted up by your arms but instead its propelled by the motion of your hips being thrust forward. Repeat by returning to the bent over position, arms swinging the gallon jug bag down sort of between your legs and back up in front of you to about chin level. Let the motion of your hips snapping forward bring your arms up. There you got it!! Repeat 13 more times. You know the drill…2 more sets my friend before you can flop back down on the couch.

Well ladies, that does it! I am so so proud of you. If you replaced that “I can’t do it” self-talk with “yes I can” just long enough to perform this easy Couch Workout then you NOW understand that your path to fitness starts wherever you are…hospital bed, couch, wheel chair or bedside.

Until we meet again, let me leave you with my favorite fitness quote.

“It’s really not that you can’t

It’s that you won’t.”



Fall In Love With Yourself

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The importance of loving yourself

by Hannah Sullivan

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If you’re like me, you’re one of those people who is always trying to be better and live a happier and healthier life. I am a huge advocate for real, daily self-care and love. And at some point in the day, all of us could use a minute to just relax and replenish ourselves!

Face it, daily stresses can get the best of us. While some of us are half empty glass people, some people have glasses full of Prosecco, so it’s extremely important to give yourself some daily love to balance yourself out! Relaxing and just doing things for YOU can drastically reduce stress and make you an overall happier person.

Ask yourself these questions daily to see where you stand:

Do I make time for me?

Do I exercise regularly?

Do I sleep at least 6-7 hours a night?

Do I have hobbies that I enjoy doing?

Do I have a morning and evening routine?

Am I in tune with my own needs and feelings?

If you answered mostly yes, you’re on the right track! If not, it’s time to focus on you. Treat yourself to some zen time.

Whether it’s in the morning, at lunch, or right before you unwind for the night, it is so important to get that me time in! The best time for me to replenish myself is at night, so I’ve shared some of my favorite things to do to show myself some LOVE!

Taking care of YOU:

Take a hot shower or bath to relax

Apply a face mask to bring out all those nasty toxins

Turn off your phone and reconnect with yourself

Light a candle

Write in a journal your daily thoughts

Count your blessings & say your prayers

Take a deep breath and put things into perspective

Whatever you do, whether it’s a bubble bath or a long run, make sure you’re taking time every day for yourself. As women especially, we tend to put everyone’s needs before our own. We’re selfless, an honorable characteristic, but sometimes the most important person to take care of is yourself.



Couch to 5K

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From Couch to the Courage of the Virtual 5K

by Alice Gresham of Fitness Connection

Who am I, this bold new guest in your blog community who is honored to be here to share my wisdom of how to go from a fitness zero to a fitness hero?

I am a youthfully aging, healthy warrior waging war against the vestiges of a brutal menopause, a broken thyroid, a stubborn muffin top, a rapidly falling booty, thinning hair, sagging, wrinkling skin, and the daily aches and pains that degenerative arthritis brings.

I’ve been asked to contribute to this blog because as a life-long activist for fitness, a personal trainer and now Manager of Fitness professionals, I’ve assisted clients to overcome the self-sabotaging feelings of helplessness, fueled by a lack of confidence by using FITNESS as a resource to reconnect, re-energize, restore and heal.

Yes! YOU can emerge or come back from your battle even stronger, more determined and more fit than ever. What better preparation could there be for living the rest of….the best of your life?

So, how do you get started?

Well, my first advice is always find to some upbeat positive, song to use as a motivational sound track for your workout. It’s a ton of those kind of songs that drive my treadmill work-out. My recommendation for you this month is pop artist Sia’s new hit The Greatest” featuring rap artist Kendrick Lamar. This choice will not only motivate you but impress your friends, kids and grandkids that you are so in touch with the latest, cool music.

 The next step is the first step. You don’t need any special clothing or equipment. You can start barefoot in your jammies. All you need is the will to live…better. So let’s go!!!

The Couch Workout- Couch Squats

From that couch you’re sitting on, scoot up toward the edge and place your hands on either side of you on the couch and push yourself to a standing position. And we’re off. Get ready for your first set of box squats….or should I call them couch squats.

You’re going to push yourself up from your comfortable seat on the coach to a standing position, then sit back down and push yourself up again. Perfect! Now repeat for your first set of 15. Now ideally your gonna want to try and stand up hands free but if that’s not possible (yet), hands and all just get yourself down and back up 15 times. This couch squat uses your calf muscles, quads, hamstrings, gluteus minimus and maximus (booty) and your stomach (core) muscles.

That’s about 12 muscle groups for this one exercise. If you are hands free, then add both straightened arms to include 6 more muscle groups (biceps, triceps (aka batwings), deltoids to make it a whopping 16 muscles, by raising your arms straight out in front of you when your bootie hits the couch and lowering your straightened arms in front when you stand. Repeat for three sets of 15. And don’t forget to breath. Feeling energetic? Add some hand weights/1-2 full gallon water jugs.

8 Reasons to love Couch Squats

You can do them anywhere.

Improved circulation

Lose weight and tone by burning calories

Non-impact on knees and does not strain your back

Improves posture

Keeps knees flexible and tones whole leg

Helps builds muscle throughout the whole body by releasing hormones vital for muscle growth

Makes a better bootie by tightening up what’s drooping back there.

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 You can do it!

 To run a VIRTUAL 5K click here!



HIIT and QUIT Workout

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A fast HIIT workout by guest blogger, Robyn, of happiesbetter

Some days we really don’t have time to hit the gym or make it to class.  There are times when there just isn’t an extra hour in the day to lace up the shoes, and others when we don’t feel like getting creative.  On these days, we know we still need to get our blood pumping.  We still want the mood and immunity boosting effects that exercise gives us.

This is the perfect time for the 10x10x10 HIIT and Quit!  You can do this anywhere, barefoot or in shoes.  All you need is 3 high energy songs and a timer.

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10 x 10 x 10 HIIT and QUIT

10 exercises, 10 times each, repeat for for a total of 10 minutes! (10 seconds rest in between rounds)
1. 10 Jacks

2. 10 Punches

3. 10 Squats or Squat Jumps

4. 10 Pushups

5. 10 Bicycles

6. 10 Glute Bridges

7. 10 Mountain Climbers

8. 10 Plank toe taps

9. 10 Front Kicks

10. 10 High Knees

Move from one exercise to the next with no rest in between, until you finish #10.  Rest for 10 seconds, and start over.  Beginners will get through approximately three rounds.  Set a goal for yourself and try to beat it!

*If you’re a fitness overachiever who wants a more intense challenge, here is your bonus workout:
(you will need 1 dumbbell)

10 x 10 x10 HIIT and QUIT Advanced Challenge
  1. 10 Air Jacks (regular jack motion, launching feet off the ground as arms come up)

2. 10 Running Scissors with Punches

3. 10 Weighted Squat Jumps (hold weight at chest)

4. 10 Military Pushups (feet together, arms in tight to body)

5. 10 Full Situps

6. 10 Single Leg Glute Bridges (alternate legs each round)

7. 10 Spiderman (pushup with alternating side crunches)

8. 10 Plank Aparts (start in high plank, hop feet apart/together)

9. 10 Front Kick Squat (alternating)

10. 10 High Knees

Move from one exercise to the next with no rest in between, until you finish #10.  Rest for 10 seconds, and start over. Set a starting goal of 4 rounds in 10 minutes.

There is beauty in a quick, easy to follow workout. You have the opportunity to get your heart rate up, work your core, practice your bodyweight skills, and even train on a few plyometric moves; all without a big investment of your time.

As always, get it done and try to make it fun.  You’ll never regret investing 10 minutes in a better you, a better day, a better outlook, and greater health. Have a good workout, and a fabulous weekend!



Benefits of Vitamin D

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Grab Your Sunnies: Benefits of Vitamin D

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by Erica Johnson

So many of us don’t know that Vitamin D is one of the strongest tools against fighting breast cancer —imagine that, something as simple as 15 minutes out in the sun has scientifically been shown to decrease your breast cancer risks by upwards of 77%!! That’s huge.

Other studies show that women who are vitamin D deficient have a 222% increased risk of developing breast cancer. So what can we do? The solutions are EASY and you’ll ask yourself why you didn’t start this long ago?

My three easy ways (that I incorporate daily into my diet) to get my proper levels of vitamin D include:
• 15-20 Min of Healthy Sun Time! You’ve read in my prior blogs that my daily walks with my dog Missy are a part of my workout regimen. Well, it’s also about getting some healthy doses of vitamin D. So grab your cute sunnies and your favorite puppy (or neighbor or friend) and start moving. So easy…you can even try a stroll over your lunch break!

• Vitamin D Supplements. Come to my kitchen and you’ll find an entire cabinet of vitamins. (My hubby used to laugh at me, but then I got him started on our daily dose of vitamins and he will attest how much better he feels and how much healthier he is!) My favorite way to get my Vitamin D supplement is via the adult chewy vitamins. They’re DELISH and make me feel like I’m having candy vs. a vitamin. I literally start my day by taking my three chewy vitamins with a large bottle of water. And at only 2,000 IU’s suggested per day of vitamin D supplements, it’s super easy to achieve!

• Chow Down. Finding foods with rich levels of vitamin D may be much easier than you think (and you’re probably already eating some of them). Some of my favs:
a. Shiitake Mushrooms
b. Eggs
c. Fortified cereal
d. Fortified yogurt
e. Tuna fish

So next time you have a few extra minutes, grab your sunnies, walk to the grocery store and pick up some vitamin D supplements and some of these favorite foods of mine to start ramping up your body to fight against breast cancer. How simple and easy of a way to DRASTICALLY decrease your risk!



Full Body Boxing Burner

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Friday’s Fitness Inspiration: A Full Body Boxing Burner

by guest blogger, Robyn from happiesbetter

Have you ever stopped to wonder what the deal is with curling up our fingers and punching something? Why does that release of our power and muscle tension feel so gratifying?

The energy transfer that happens when we aim for something, strike, and retract sends messages to our brain that generate those satisfying feelings. Plainly speaking, hitting and kicking (nonviolently, of course) feels awesome!

This is why I regularly turn to boxing, either in the air or on a bag, when I need to destress and get some of that gratification from my workout. I also teach it in my martial arts infused fitness classes, and usually incorporate boxing drills into my personal trainings.

Boxing and kickboxing moves are amazing for core power and strength. Combining the basic moves into simple combinations makes for a heart pumping, fat burning, full body training session. All it takes is seven or eight good songs and some gloves. Suddenly, we are working out like Rocky Balboa: chin down and hands up!

How exactly are we getting a full body workout? Every jab, cross, hook, and uppercut is combining power from your legs, moving up through your hips, and extending all the way out through your fingers. The ability to speed up punches or find more power is never going to depend just on your arm strength; that comes from down low.

The key to maximizing your full body results is this: engage your core as you execute each punch, every kick, and even as you jump, duck, and shuffle. Engaging your core just means tightening the muscles up and down the middle portion of your body. It takes practice and lots of reminders when you’re just getting started, but muscles have amazing memory and are trainable.

Now, grab some gloves, get your music ready, and find some space where you can punch, jump, and kick in all directions. If you have access to a heavy bag or a standing bag, great; if not, you don’t need one to get all of the benefits of this 20 minute Boxing Burner:

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The Workout

Shadowbox Warmup: 2 Minutes
Get light on your feet. Bounce a bit, and throw some easy punches, duck, switch feet, loosen up your shoulders and hips, throw some low and light kicks. You’re boxing now, so get into character!

Straight Punches: 2 Minutes
Step out to feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart, and lower into a half squat keeping your chest proud. Punch straight forward right, then left, and continue alternating. Visualize a target in front of you. You’re aiming toward the height of your own gut.

Jumprope: 1 Minute
This is pretend jump roping. Unless you have a real jumprope and prefer it. Fake jumprope is great because you focus on your feet and keeping the core engaged. Jump it side to side, or jump from one foot to the other. Hold your hands out as if you’re holding a real jumprope. Play around. There are no jumprope rules!

Jab Cross (R): 1 Minute
Right foot is forward and the right punch goes first (jab), left punch come across your body. Repeat this in a 1, 2 count. Remember to keep your hips loose and let the hips help you power the punches. Abs are tights!

Shadowbox: 90 Seconds
Same as the warmup, but pick up the intensity a bit.

Jab Cross (L): 1 Minute
Put that left foot forward this time.

Jump Squats: 1 Minute
Feet shoulder width apart, deep squat, push up through your toes and come down with a SOFT landing. Repeat for 1 minute.

Shadowbox: 90 Seconds
You’ve Got This!

Straight Uppercuts: 2 Minutes
Step out to feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart, and lower into your half squat keeping your chest proud. The uppercut comes up from your hip, fist up. Visualize your target, which is at the height of your own chin. Keep your abdomen engaged.

Knee Ups: 30 Seconds
This can be done with a bounce or without. Alternate bringing your knees up toward your waist. As you get comfortable, start to lean back as the knee comes up and push your knee out towards your imaginary target.

Front Kicks: 1 Minute
Feet shoulder width apart. Lift up the right knee, extend your leg and reach out with the ball of your foot (curl your toes back). Repeat on the left side and continue alternating.

Combinations: 2 Minutes
Combine your jab, cross, and uppercut in a 1, 2, 3 count (Right, Left, Right). Switch sides. Remember that your jab side is whatever foot is in front.

Freestyle: 3 Minutes
Get lost in the music. Throw it all out there…jabs, cross punches, uppercuts, kicks, duck away, switch your feet, shadowbox. Get it done and MAKE IT FUN!

Speed Punches: 30 Seconds
Finish strong with the speedbag, either up high or down low.

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Bonus Boxer’s Handstand
I hope you’re willing to give it a try. Start slow. Reverse your blood flow.

Robyn Jennings is the Founder of www.happiesbetter.com



Benefits of Practicing Yoga

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Yoga can benefit your mind, body, and spirit in so many ways. Guest blogger, Tayler, is a yogi we love!

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by guest blogger, Tayler Gyug, manager at YogaPod The Woodlands

In today’s world, society unfortunately praises the overworked, exhausted, and sleep deprived. However, those who work long hours and run on a constant flow of caffeine are at a higher risk for illness due to lowered immune systems from high stress levels and lack of sleep. Thankfully, yoga exists to combat these issues.

Yoga has been around for thousands of years and has survived long after the multitude of new and exciting health fads have come and gone. If anything, that shows just how amazing yoga really is!

A yoga practice can vary depending on where you practice and what you are hoping to achieve. You can find the most peaceful studio, an outdoor space for a community class, or a nice little corner in a gym and you will still find the same benefits – peace, relaxation, and release. These benefits develop over time, though relaxation is possible in your first class. Some are fooled by the misconception that yoga is “easy” and expect to find immediate release of tension. I assure you, that simply won’t happen. This is why it is called a “practice”. However, yoga isn’t hard on your body like throwing around heavy weights and running for long distances can be. One of the great things about yoga is that it is as easy or as challenging as you want to make it!

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During your first class, you might feel resistance in your muscles and you might even ask yourself why you signed up for a class that you know nothing about. You wouldn’t be the first person to feel this way. Here’s where the good news arrives: your biggest accomplishment is getting on your mat. Once you are there, your only job is to focus on your body and your breath. Everyone else in the room is doing just that, so relax! If everyone knew all there is to know about yoga and were super flexible, we instructors would be out of a job.

Once you learn to focus in on your body and your breath, your practice will be amazing and you will feel the immense benefits if you do it regularly. Your muscles will lose tension and gain flexibility, your circulation will improve, and you will sleep more soundly. In addition, you will become mindful of whether or not you are focusing on the present. The biggest benefit you will find is your connection to your breath and the revelation that your breath controls your body. Here’s a clue: deep breaths = less stress!

Overall, yoga is one of the best things you can do for yourself. You don’t have to be flexible to do yoga. Yoga is for the willing, not for the flexible. The benefits are endless and all you have to do is be willing to make the time to get on your mat. You are worth it!

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Editor’s Note: Tayler is the Kavi (manager) at YogaPod The Woodlands and teaches multiple classes there! Tori and Alix have both taken multiple classes and LOVE Tayler. She’s a 200-hour RYT and has taught yoga for 2 years. On top of yoga, Tayler enjoys salsa dancing! She has her BA in History from Texas A&M, loves the color red, has been to 10 countries, and is determined to help others love themselves. Follow her blog or stop by YogaPod to see Tayler!

 

 



Creating Consistency

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Friday’s Fitness Inspiration:
3 Steps to Creating Consistency!

by guest blogger, Robyn from happiesbetter

We all want to achieve some kind of health and fitness results. Some of us want to be great at something. Unfortunately, we don’t magically achieve or become great at anything by talking or dreaming abut it. We might be great at the kind of magical thinking that allows us to put things off and delay setting goals, but we’re not 4 years old anymore. There is no time like now to get real! There really is greatness within each of us, but it’s time to figure this out so that we can reach our goals and enjoy the amazing rewards and satisfaction.

That crossfitter with the amazing booty didn’t wake up like that after late night skinny cows and a half bottle of pinot noir. The amazingly bendy yogi you follow on Instagram; he’s not arriving late to twice-weekly classes. Your favorite American Ninja Warrior contestant doesn’t wait for perfect weather to train.

Achievers and finishers in sports, arts, business, and academics share something that we are ALL capable of: consistency. They show up mentally and physically; they stay the whole time. They do this regularly in order to complete what they start.

How do we fit in our personal health and fitness goals, and be disciplined, when real life is happening all of the time?

The irony is that the stress and chaos of real life is exactly why we need to make the time for personal challenges/disciplines that allow us to become great at something. For some goals, it’s a daily commitment, and for others, less. The hard part is creating the schedule or plan, and sticking to it. Some of us, myself included, need some extra help with this.

“I mean, can I really call myself a martial artist if I’m not regularly showing up for class?” “Nobody can take away my black belt for not going.” “Look at all of the times I did go last month!” I’ve got a hundred justifications and a dozen techniques for calling it in. Aches and pains? Used that. Sick kids? Yep. Dental appointment? Yes, at least twice a year. Oops, I’m out of gas! I need to go to the grocery store. Yep, they’re excuses. The truth is, sometimes I just don’t want to go because it’s hard work. It’s certainly much, MUCH easier to stay home.

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Step 1: Own Your Excuses!
You know exactly what you’re doing. And I get it. And so does everybody else. Make a list of all of the ways you wiggle out of making it to the class, the gym, the practice, the lesson, the lecture, etc. Write down your most ridiculous excuses, have a good laugh at your own expense, and forgive yourself for being human.

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Step 2: Accountability Partner(s)
Now that you know you’re not fooling anyone, including yourself, it’s time to call somebody that you trust and respect. Tell them what your goal is. Yes, you have to say it out loud. Like this: “Hi, it’s me. I’m going to train for a race I’ve always wanted to run. I’m having trouble getting my booty out the door 4 days a week. Would you please be my accountability partner and help me reach my goal?” Saying it out loud gives your goal more energy and makes it real. Maybe they train with you, or maybe they just support you. Either way, having somebody you respect looking out for you makes your journey to greatness a little less scary.

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Step 3: Reward Yourself
So you have a partner and you’re doing pretty good. You’re committed, being consistent, and starting to progress toward your short or longterm goal. But, you’re still thinking about not going to practice or class, and the old thoughts won’t go away. This is normal. We actually have to unlearn behaviors like making excuses and slacking off. The only way to unlearn the behavior is to keep showing up, even when you’re not happy about it. Offset this pissed feeling by setting up some planned rewards for yourself. Tie your rewards to mini goals. For example: “If I can run 15 miles by Friday, I’ll give myself a guilt free weekend off.” Or, “I’m making it to class 10 times this month, then I’m treating myself to _____.”

Continue the hard work and dig in at the precise moment that you’re ready to say “uncle”. I believe in you. I know you can do it. That’s because I, Robyn Jennings, the queen of excuses, can do it. There’s fun along the path to greatness but the real reward is in the growth that happens when you know you persevered and got it done!

Robyn Jennings is the Founder of www.happiesbetter.com