Ideas, inspiration and motivation for a FIT LIFE!

Archive for the ‘Motivation for Monday’ Category

A Friend’s Motivation

Where do you go for motivation?   Who do you turn to when you need someone to lift you up, cheer you up, or inspire you?   My friend  is my “go to guy”.  He’s a fellow trainer, and has such an amazing ability to inspire.   There have been many days when I didn’t feel like working out, but he somehow gives me the energy to try harder.   He’s had a few hard knocks in life, and knows what it’s like to struggle.   He listens, understands and cheers me up.  With his permission, I’m sharing an email he sent to the trainers at the Hockessin Athletic Club where we work.  HAC is currently undergoing an expansion for Personal Training—and Willie is excited about it.  As we all are.  But I LOVE how it’s not about HIM—it’s about how to create a great TEAM!


“First, Happy Spring!!

Secondly, I wanted to say thanks to you all for your “awesomeness!”  I feel very privileged to work with and know some of the best trainers ANYWHERE!! And a little shout out to our equally awesomer place of getting our sweat on, the HAC daddy!!

I’m sure you guys know I’m excited beyond belief about our new space and the opportunities to elevate our game to way next level. I’m equally as sure that all the hopes and dreams of what we all want and expect are never going to match up 100%, and that’s ok. Somewhat. I’ll spare you my big rah rah speech and just throw out a couple out thoughts.

Teams are funny, they bring together people who under any other circumstances, wouldn’t know each other, much less hang out with, or even take the time to get to know. So when you end up on one, whether by choice, or circumstance, it requires some kind of bonding agent. Whether the forming of the team is by “executive” order, ie; pulled together to work on a project, positions on those kinds of teams are based on factors such as experience, seniority, need, volunteer & appointment. And we all know how sports teams work, same for military teams and the concepts of teams within the teams itself shouldn’t be a surprise. The thing those kinds of teams share is their duration, most are short term, course of season, wrap up of project, mission accomplished, goal reached.

This is where we are different. Our Team is absolutely the best kind of team there is. We are living breathing ever evolving ever adapting always learning ass kicking agents of inspiration and change!  Our “mission” never ends! Our goal is universal!  We are some of the best at what we do in a whole State!!!

So here’s my thing– the other thing all teams have in common, especially the kind I (we) aspire to be apart of, (think World Class) is sacrifice. The scary word. Nobody likes it, but we all do it and take pride in it when it comes to what we decide we can live with, or without. But here’s the rub, good teams also require (and I said good/WC) the ultimate level of sacrifice. Think Spock in Wrath of Khan, “Sometimes the needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few” (I’m sure I’m off by a word or two) and if we are going to be the gold standard, then let’s blow the doors off this thing! The new space is going to rock!! There is nothing else like it anywhere!!  HAC is about to blow up! This is serious ALL-IN time.

And as much as we are all soooo individual in our personal lives, the way we eat, train, stretch, favorite exercise, et al; we all have equally strong opinions and ideas and aren’t the least bit shy about voicing them. I’m going to say this with all the love and courage I can muster, we have to trust our leaders and put on our grown up UA gear, trainer-up, pitch in, and most importantly, embrace this opportunity with an open mind. IT WILL BE ALL THAT WE MAKE IT!! “

When to Weigh In

I have a client (a guy) that I constantly tease about his “girly” behavior.  No, he’s not wearing skirts or makeup—but he does something most women can relate to.  And he does it almost every day.   He steps on his bathroom scale.  He obsesses about his numbers.  He’s actually a very fit sixty-something gentleman, and has recently lost over 40 pounds, so I can certainly understand where his need to weigh himself all the time comes from.   But seriously.   It can make you crazy!  Do we really NEED to weigh ourselves every day…twice a day…with clothes, without clothes, before our daily…ahem, “constitutional”, after too…..   My goodness, how important IS it to weigh every day?   “That’s Fit” has a great  on the subject—I love sharing great information!

When Quitting IS an Option

You’ve heard the expression, “Winners never quit, and quitters never win”….and I generally believe that’s  true.  But sometimes, winners DO quit—in fact, smart winners quit in smart ways, and I’m not talking about giving up.

A smart winner quits when his or her current plan or program isn’t working.  Have you ever been to a gym and seen the same members on the treadmill for 45 minutes to an hour…day after day, week after week, and it seems like their bodies never change?   It’s because their cardio program isn’t working.   Their bodies are doing ONLY what is asked of them, nothing more.  Day after day, those bodies are used to that cardio program and will only expend enough energy (calories) to get the work done on that day.  Again, nothing more.   Those members need to shake things up!

If you find that the “diet of the week” isn’t working for you any more—you are tired of the same foods, you are not losing weight, you are always hungry, it’s time to “quit” that program and find something that works better for YOU.  Find a healthy, intelligent way to eat that works for YOU, and quit following the most recent fad.

If you’ve been going to the gym for a few weeks or months, you probably found that at first you were sore, and probably excited about all the new things you were learning. You probably started noticing changes in your body if you’ve been sticking with your exercise program.  But as time goes on, and your body gets used to those new demands you’ve put on it, it’s going to start only expending as much energy as it needs to, nothing more.  You may notice your weight plateaus, or you are not putting on muscle, or getting stronger.  It’s time to “quit” that program, and start shaking things up!   Add a Zumba class, try some high-energy plyometric moves, change the weights you are using.   You want to constantly keep your body guessing, so it has to work harder to keep up !

Quitting IS an option when you are not seeing results—but make sure you replace your old program with a new, fresh, challenging one….and you’ll get the results you want!

Easter basket remorse

I ate too much.  My Easter table was filled with ham, turkey, twice-baked potatoes, croissants, cheesecake and blonde brownies.  And I’m not above admitting that on a holiday, I have very little willpower.  And then, the Easter Bunny arrives with enough candy for my two teenage sons that their bags (not baskets, I think they went in the recycling bin two years ago) almost ripped!

Today I’m trying NOT to get into the candy so I can salvage my weekend.  I hope you can do the same.  To inspire you a bit, and perhaps take some of the fun out of the Easter baskets in your house, I’ve rounded up some of the worst  basket offenders.

1. Reese’s Reester Bunny.  Remember the commercial, “You got peanut butter on my chocolate”?  Great commercial because the end result is AWESOME!  But you’re better off avoiding this combo.  One of these bunnies has 798 calories, 42 grams of fat and 88 grams of carbs.

2. Hershey’s Hollow Milk Chocolate Egg.  It’s hollow, and it feels so light, how bad could it be?  These hollow eggs have more than three times as many calories as the Easter-candy favorite — the Cadbury Creme Egg.  At just less than 5 ounces, the shell alone has 570 calories.  If you factor in the four Hershey kisses inside  you’re looking at 660 calories and  41 grams of fat.

3. Marshmallow Peeps Chicks.  I really don’t get the love for this Easter favorite, but my son swears they are best when you’ve “nuked” them and they get puffy like marshmallows.  Peeps are super cute in all their different pastel Easter colors, but they have at least 140 calories and 80 grams of sugar (80!) for five of them.

4. A plastic egg full of Starburst Jelly Beans.  Jelly beans seem like a healthier choice because they don’t have all the fat associated with other chocolatey treats, but don’t be fooled.  Unless you have major willpower, the calories will add up quickly, because I’ll bet you can’t eat just one!  One plastic egg full of the Starburst variety has 190 calories.  And it  likely won’t fill you up at all.  If you really have to have one, just eat a few, close the egg, and hop away from the basket.

5. Large Chocolate Bunny.  Your basket might seem naked without one of these, but it’s also one that can derail your diet in one sitting.  If you have an average-sized seven-ounce chocolate rabbit in your Easter basket, beware.  That cute bunny contains more than 1,000 calories, making it the Easter bunny’s evil caloric twin.

I hope you’ve enjoyed your holiday weekend—It’s a new day, start strong, and hide the Easter basket!

Seven things NOT to say to yourself

Do you talk to yourself?  Does your self talk back?  We usually have a running dialogue with our “inner self”, and sometimes, that “inner”, isn’t very nice.  In fact, he or she can be down right mean!  Self talk can be a great motivator when you are trying to change or achieve something in your life.  ”You can do it”, “You’ll be great”!  If only we talked like that to ourselves all the time, I bet most of us would find success a bit easier to come by.

But it’s the “boy, are you stupid”, or the “you loser” that can derail us.  Especially when it comes from inside.  Our moms told us to “Be nice” when we were kids….good advice to our inner voice.  So here’s some things NOT to say to yourself as you live your own fit life.

  1. I’m so stupid.  No, YOU are not.  What you DID may have been stupid—locking your keys in the car for the third time in one day. (WHO would do that, I wonder…hmmmmm,)  But YOU are not.  You are better than your actions.
  2. I’m too Whatever—fat, thin, old, etc.  Those are words that basically say you don’t think you fit into a “norm”.  Too old to go back to college, BAH!  Too young to start your own business—think Facebook.  You have to believe that you can do or be anything without putting a label on yourself.
  3. It’s too hard.  I let my clients whine when they don’t particularly like an exercise, then I smile, and say “Ok, let’s go!”, and we do it anyway.  So go ahead and whine, but things with great rewards are supposed to be hard.  It’s called reality.
  4. I can’t do it.  I truly can’t swim as fast as Michael Phelps.  Nor can I sing like Mariah Carey.  Those are unrealistic expectations, and setting a goal to do those would be pretty unrealistic as well.  So your goals need to be realistic.  If you don’t feel as though you workout to a level you’d like, hire a trainer.  Find someone to push you.  Make your goals SMART:  Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.
  5. I’ll probably fail.  That’s just your inner voice calling you a coward.  There is risk in everything we do in life, from walking across the street to falling in love.  Failure is a learning tool.  Sure, it’s frightening, and can sometimes hurt a lot.  The hard part is getting back up from failure, but when you do, you are a little bit stronger and smarter.
  6. I have bad luck.  I’m not superstitious.  I believe we create our own GOOD luck by surrounding ourselves with positive people, keeping an open mind, and being willing to take risks.  There’s no “karmic force” conspiring to make our lives more difficult.  Bad luck could just be a small failure—see number 5!
  7. I don’t deserve it (the goal).  If you are working hard towards a goal, making sacrifices, learning, growing and trying…OF COURSE you deserve it!  You deserve a paycheck for working 40 hours a week, don’t you?  Then why wouldn’t you deserve to live fitter, be stronger, make more money, be happier?  You deserve a reward for your hard work.  Choose your reward.  Now get to work!

Teaching Motivation

I have a soon-to-be-sixteen year old boy that LOVES extreme sports.  Which means I am a soon-to-be-gray-haired mom who worries every time he heads out of the house with his helmet/skateboard/longboard/bike/lacrosse stick…. You get the picture, right?

When this child is excited and motivated about something, there’s pretty much nothing I can do to stop him.  Case in point.  He broke his collarbone a week ago while he was out longboarding with friends.  I’ve included the clip of the accident if you care to watch.  But after the crash, you may want to stop it.  He drops a “bad” word…I wish I knew where he learned it!

He’s going to be ok, but unfortunately for him, he’s sidelined from the lacrosse season, and as a captain, he’s heartbroken.  So my next challenge—how to motivate this teenager to stay motivated…focused…and inspired to still be a part of the team even though he can’t play.

Can you TEACH motivation?  Why is it that some of us are motivated to do the very best in all we do—work, school, the gym—and others can’t motivate themselves to get off the couch?  Children and adults alike have to find that inner “something” that motivates them to try harder, study longer, get up earlier, stay later—to be the best.

There are actually two kinds of motivation.  INTRINSIC motivation comes from inside an individual rather than from any external or outside rewards, such as money or grades.  EXTRINSIC  motivation comes from outside oneself and usually involves rewards which provide satisfaction and pleasure that the task itself may not provide.

Which one will help YOU meet your fitness goals?  I’ll bet a little of both.  You may  motivated to simply feel better in your clothes, and losing 15 pounds is important to YOU and only YOU.  Or that 15-pounds has to go before your best friend’s wedding, so you and your husband wager a “friendly” hundred dollars you can lose the weight.  (Yeah, and is that ever really friendly?)

So while intrinsic motivation is probably the best for “lighting a fire” within yourself, I have a few ideas how to give yourself the nudge you might need to reach your goals.

  • Start slow.  You can’t train for a marathon in one day, so break your training, or your goal into little pieces.  If you think about losing 50-pounds you’ll get discouraged, but I’ll bet a pound-and-a-half a week isn’t too bad!
  • Eat your Frog.  Remember?  It’ll be the worst thing you do all day—so get it done early.
  • Don’t be afraid to fail.  It’s a learning opportunity.  So you overate your “calorie budget” today–isn’t tomorrow the chance to try again?  This time, however, you know you have to track what you are eating.
  • Remember and celebrate your successes.  If you dwell on what IS working, and how you’ve succeeded, you’ll be more motivated to repeat it.
  • Develop a mantra.  I tend to tell my female clients “you are a warrior!” which sounds odd in day-to-day conversations, but when you are lifting weights, it seems to help them work harder.  Make your mantra positive, of course—and repeat it often throughout the day!!
  • Find a friend.  We know they hold us accountable, and they push us.  Plus, they get mad if we don’t do what we say we’re going to do.

As a personal trainer, I work hard to give my clients extrinsic motivation.  I’ll do the same for my son as he heals.  No one said it was going to be easy.

My father always says, “There’s two kinds of people in the world….the Irish…and those who wish they were Irish”.  Which means my Dad’s a big fan of corned beef and cabbage, and a nice Irish Whiskey.  If the restaurant I was in on St. Patrick’s Day Saturday was any indication…there’s a LOT of people wanting to be Irish—the Guiness couldn’t be poured fast enough!  St. Pat’s may not be an “official” holiday, but for many, it was a day to overeat and drink.  We all occasionally overindulge on weekends, but it’s really not the reward you need after watching what you eat all week long.  Having a cheat meal now and then is actually a great way to stave off cravings and binge eating, but overindulging every weekend can lead to problematic, compulsive eating behaviors.

If you step on the scale Monday after two days of overeating, you may be shocked to see a three, four or even five pound gain!  But did you REALLY gain that much in just two days?  Probably not.  Remember, one pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories.  To gain five pounds, you would have had to eaten over 17-thousand calories, and even Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps would find that challenging!  Also, keep in mind that your scale weighs everything…. water, undigested food (even if it will all later be burned off), and waste your body hasn’t eliminated yet, as well as bone, fat and muscle.  You likely ingested much more sodium than usual, which retains water.  It’s probably why you feel “fat” and bloated.

It can be really hard to “start over” on Monday with healthy eating.  Mondays are difficult enough, right?  But if you begin with baby steps, you can quickly get back on track.

  • Start by forgiving yourself.   Don’t call yourself names, don’t beat yourself up.  Today is a “do-over”, and your self talk will be “I can do this!”
  • Drink more water.  You need to flush out all that excess sodium.
  • Get back to sensible eating.  You may still feel full, and want to skip breakfast, but don’t.  You’ll just end up hungry later–and likely to overeat again.  Instead, try having just a small bowl of low-fat yogurt and berries.  Eat several small meals throughout the day with plenty of protein and vegetables.
  • Get your food journal out again.  Whether you use my favorite smart phone app  or just a notebook, logging what you eat is the easiest way to be accountable.
  • MOVE.  You may feel sluggish, or lazy after eating so much.  You may have to do an easier workout, but that’s ok.  Go for a walk, try a new class.  But find a way to move your body.

Don’t get discouraged by a weekend setback.  It may have been a step backward, but it’s NOT an excuse to give up.

I love to tell my clients that the only place failure is actually success is in the gym.  You are on your 9th rep, and you just….can’t….get….one….more….and you are spent.  You’ve reached failure.  That’s great!  You’ve given it your all!  You’ve left it all on the gym floor.

But really, failure is actually success in the “real” world too, IF you learn from it.  IF you use it as a chance to “Do Over”.

I just read a fabulous post about second chances, and how we can look at our mistakes to move forward and improve our lives.  I’m including it here for you to read  —-but I want to share the highlights.   Because whether we regret a mistake that hurts ourselves or someone else….or we can’t live the (fit) life we want because of past mistakes—we ALL need to be able to give ourselves a second chance.

The author, Judy Belmont, says we should all have a “second chance checklist”–and I’m applying it to healthy living.

1.  Turn unproductive regrets into productive regrets.  

—You regret overeating all weekend, but Monday is a new day…let it begin with a healthy breakfast.  You were too busy last week to exercise, so this week, put it in your calendar.

2. The more wrong turns you made in retrospect, you increase the odds that your future choices will be more informed.

—-We become better advocates of our own health when we learn what does and doesn’t work for us.  You know that trying the latest fad diet won’t last—been there, done that.  Perhaps you can choose to educate yourself about the local gym’s class schedule to choose a place you’ll want to be—because you know buying yet another piece of gym equipment for the basement isn’t getting you to use it.

3. Ask yourself – Did I do the best I could at the time?  Undoubtedly, the answer will be “yes!” 

—The author says, “Unhealthy people make unhealthy decisions and behave in an unhealthy way.  People do not intentionally make self- defeating decisions.  So consider it a noble effort to try your best, even if your best felt short and was misguided.”  I agree!!!!  Start small, because baby steps towards a healthy life are steps in the right direction!

4. Moving from regrets is a ripe opportunity to work on the ability to forgive.  

—-”A lack of forgiveness for oneself or others is one of the most common reasons for depression, anxiety and interpersonal conflict.”  We hold ourselves to such high standards, we often create unrealistic goals.  If  your reunion passed withOUT you losing the 20 pounds you had planned, stop beating yourself up.  NOW you begin a new goal…a smaller, more manageable goal that you can plan and strive for.

Give yourself a second chance.  A healthy life isn’t something reserved for the rich, or people with more time than you, or someone who knows more about exercise, or diet.  A healthy life is YOURS if you want it bad enough, and you are willing to move past your failures.

See Belmont’s post at:


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.