Mental Toughness Exercise: “Progress” 

“Progress”

Mental Toughness is an important aspect of not our fitness journey but also in becoming a better version of ourselves, mentally, that needs to be practiced and trained EVERDAY, just like our muscles. This week’s Mental Toughness Exercise will be reflecting on the progress we have made so far and also thinking about the progress that is to come.

I love the quote that talks about how every small step leads to the bigger goal. We forget about all the small victories along the way, like the little shops and gas stations every couple of miles down the interstate. Our fitness journey is a long path and we need to stop every once and awhile and reflect back on all the small victories we have had along the way.

My fitness journey has taken me down more than a few paths; swimmer, runner, pregnancy, weight training, and bodybuilder so it is very easy for me to just see myself NOW and not how far I have progressed both physically and mentally. The person I am now is no longer who I used to be a year ago or even two years ago. I used to have a runner’s build before I became pregnant where I lost my core and gained 20 pounds. After having my son I became obsessed with the gym to lose the extra weight and mentally couldn’t take a rest day because I felt too much anxiety when I did not go. I was also eating very clean and never even touched a piece of bread or cake. Today at 27 years old and a mom of a two year old I have the most muscle tone I have ever had, lifting more than I was two years ago, and I am now following the flexible diet, macros, which allows me freedom in my nutrition to enjoy the foods I love while still staying fit. I also no longer feel like I have to workout everyday, I actually just came off a 9 day vacation where I didn’t workout once! And I didn’t lose my abs 😉

My future progress was the hardest to reflect on and really think about. This is partly due to having a tough time making definite decisions and I highly recommend the book, “Hot to Decide”. But overall I would still like to continue to work on my relationship with food & the gym (progress is continuous! Just like our fitness journey), build more muscle tone (building those glutes!), and try a new sport! CrossFit Games anyone?

Everyday this week I will think about either the progress I have made in a particular strength training exercise, miles run, foods eaten, or what future progress I want to achieve. As always, making sure it aligns with my goals of balancing both fitness & nutrition!

 

What progress have YOU made so far on your fitness journey or in your daily life? 

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Mental Toughness Exercise for Life & Fitness: Positive Thinking 

“Positive Thinking”

 

Yeah yeah. We have heard about positive thinking over and over and over. How much good can it do?

Remember Mind-to-Muscle Connection to focus on while lifting? The quote I always post, “the body achieves what the mind believes?”. How swimming is 80% mental & 20% physical?

How come every aspect of our lives comes back to our minds, and not our physical bodies, and yet it is still shrugged off and tucked away in a “to-read” file.

The mind is vastly over looked when it comes to achieving goals and fitness. The vast majority of people you witness who start their own fitness journey will be achieving more goals they set for themselves, have better relationships, and have gained more self-confidence & self-esteem because of their fitness journey and the hard work they have put in by staying out late, waking up early, or training while on vacation and not mainly because of the “outside” progress they have made. Our bodies cannot make us wake up at 5am, our minds wake us up at 5am. Our bodies don’t tell us to run 3 miles before heading to the beach for a day filled with sun, friends, and sand. Our minds lace up our sneakers and head us out to a sunrise run. These are the people who will continue to grow inside and out.

So! Back to “Positive Thinking”. It seems as though every Monday there is always a “Series of Unfortunate Events”. ALWAYS without fail. EVERY Monday.

Last week I woke up late for the gym so my workout had to be cut short, then I was out running errands and forgot to pack a snack (hello hangry), and then I had to rush through my errands to finish them to be back home to relieve my husband of Wes so he could go to work. Whew. I was feeling stressed, getting a headache, and I was unhappy. If I just took two deep breaths and said to myself something like, “It’s ok, I can get a long workout in tomorrow” or “once this is over we can sit and watch TV during Wesley’s nap time” I could of turned my entire day around. I would of pushed myself harder during my workout in the morning AND I would of enjoyed my husband’s company when he arrived home after a long day.

I am going to practice this Mental Toughness Exercise, “Positive Thinking”, every day this week…

Stay tuned….And I will report back on how well the exercise worked for me this week! (August 1-7th)

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Mental Toughness Exercise for Life & Fitness : Get Uncomfortable!!

“Get Comfortable with the Uncomfortable”

     Why should we focus on our “Mental Toughness”? Our mental toughness is what is going to carry us through the ups, downs, the wins, the losses, the obstacles, and the victories throughout our fitness journey. Without mental toughness we wouldn’t make fitness an intricated part of our life, a never ending journey. We would quit and give up quickly. Mental toughness also is what will push you through those early morning workouts, those late night workouts, and is what will allow you to never hit the snooze button on your alarm!

     If you read my last blog post (  Beginning Mental Toughness Training  ) and implemented it this past week then you are ready to start practicing and training on your mental toughness!

     This week’s exercise is going to be about getting comfortable with the uncomfortable. Always wanted to try the Squat Rack? Too nervous to try it out for the first time? First say to yourself: time to become comfortable being uncomfortable! Walk confidently over and act like you know what your doing.  Act like the regular gym-goer who acts like they have grown up in a gym. Same thing applies if you want to be more outgoing or positive, just act like someone you know or aspire to be like that is personable or positive. Like the saying goes, “Fake it till you make it!”.

     Do you hate doing Bicep curls because they are too uncomfortable? Complete 6 sets to failure with 15 seconds rest in-between. Stay in the moment and focus on each rep. Give yourself praise and positivity! The next time you will feel more comfortable with being uncomfortable.

     Everyday this week, July 18-24th 2016, I will be implementing this Mental Toughness exercise of becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable in the gym:

Day 1:

 I HATE barbell squats 🙅🏼 and I usually stick to 30-35 pounds (on each side of the barbell) because that is where I am “comfortable”.
Today at 5am I walked into the gym and went straight to the squat rack ✔️
I looked at it and said I’m ready to get uncomfortable!!
My Personal Record is 45 pounds for 4 reps. Today I went 55 pounds for 3 reps!!!!

Day 2: 

Today I was completing a descending rep set (12-15 reps, 8-10 reps, 6-8 reps, 4-6 reps) and I was at the 8-10 reps portion of the set completing Barbell Deadlifts.
I was at rep 6 and starting to feel uncomfortable and this is where I would usually stop and wait to complete the next set.
BUT
I said to myself “Get Comfortable BEING Uncomfortable” and I pushed myself to complete the next two reps!!!
SO
I stressed and challenged both my BODY and MIND this morning (all before leaving at 9am for my flight!

Day 3:

I wanted to finish out my arm workout with 3 sets of 30 seconds on those big braided ropes.
BUT
I am at a gym where I know NO ONE, in another state, and the ropes are in the middle of the gym.
I felt insecure and self conscious but I said to myself, let’s get “Comfortable Being Uncomfortable!”.
AND
I completed all 3 sets surrounded by a sea of people

Day 4:

It stays light here in Ohio until past 9:30pm so I have been going to bed way later than normal. I woke up at 5am to get my workout in and it was a rough awakening….
BUT
I said “Get Comfortable With Being Comfortable” !
It took me awhile to get out the door but I made it!!!

Day 5:

Day 1 I focused on Barbell Squats and reached my PR of 55 pounds (on each side)! Today, I walked over to the squat rack and immediately placed 55 pounds on each side of the barbell and completed 6-8 reps for 5 sets!

Day 6:

Rest Day! 

We all know how hard it is to make our bodies and minds relax for an ENTIRE day.

Day 7:

Conditioning Workout! 

I only complete my HIIT workout if I go to my boot camp class but since I am away this weekend I told myself to get comfortable with being comfortable and I completed my own HIIT workout
     I have been holding myself back from various things in the gym and that is partly due to being in offseason and no longer working hard towards the goal of competing in a show. I do not have to follow any rules or coaching and this has allowed me to slack off from challenging myself these past few weeks. Having this small goal of completing the Mental Toughness exercise everyday gave me drive, determination, and motivation to challenge my mind and body for these past 7 days. 


I am overcoming my un-comfortability with heavy Barbell Squats! Try to do something each day this week that is uncomfortable for you! What will you become comfortable 
doing this week? 



Feel NOT Look 

Mental Toughness Exercise for Fitness

When I ask clients and friends that message me for advice what their top fitness goal is their number one response is, “I want to lose weight”. It is such a vague, surface level answer that I always try to dive a little bit deeper and some of the responses I then receive are “I want to feel good wearing a bikini”. THERE! Emotions and feelings have finally come into play. If you change your fitness journey to be one where you want to feel more confident, be happier, and engage in social events you will not only succeed in obtaining your goal, but it will filter out into all areas of your life. That is what will carry you years down the road to making fitness a part of you, a habit, and something you will enjoy & love doing. I workout not to obtain leaner legs or a set of six pack abs. I workout because I come home energized to play with my toddler and devote time to my family. I leave the gym happier, rejuvenated, and ready to obtain my personal and professional goals.

For this week’s exercise I want you to wake up and even better you get out of bed I want you to think and visualize how you want to feel in the next couple of weeks and what would that look like.

If your goal was to lose 10 pounds or have abs, how would you reword your goal? 

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Mental Toughness Exercise for Fitness: Stay in the Moment 

My client inspired today’s Monday’s Mental Toughness exercise! She has been struggling to keep her mental game strong in the middle of her runs; often her emotions overcoming her ability to keep running. Running has been one of her hardest cardio exercises to complete and her goal is to complete a 5k by the end of the summer.

Running, especially inside on a treadmill, can become boring and thus your focus is heightened on every step and every breath you take.

Try this next time you head out for a run:

Create a Spotify list of your ten favorite songs that pump you up and make you want to dance. Assuming each song is 2 mins long you will have 20 mins of HIIT cardio covered with great tunes. Once you begin running you will walk every other song, which will allow you to complete a 2 min HIIT run with 100% effort. The walk will allow your heart rate to slow down and while during the walk you repeat to yourself a positive mantra. Next time you go for a run only walk half the song, instead of the full song. Each run you lower your walk time until you are running for the entire HIIT cardio!

Let’s go out and RUN!

*picture is of me after I completed my FIRST half-marathon!

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Is What You Want, REALLY What You Want?

“You probably know to ask yourself, ‘What do I want?’, Here’s a better question  “

Right now I am a working/stay at home mom and since I graduated three years ago with my Masters I have been trying to get a “foot in the door”job to jumpstart my career. Three years of interviews and rejections definitely wears on your body, mind, and soul. My frustration level has reached an all time high and then my father sends me this article. I not only enjoyed reading it to help me in my personal situation but I love how he also mentions fitness.

“You probably know to ask yourself, ‘What do I want?’, Here’s a better question ” is the title of an article written by Mark Manson that completely altered my perspective not only on my personal life but fitness as well. Many of the difficulties and challenges that you face in your personal life can also be related to your fitness journey. I wrote a blog post a while ago about how saving for a vacation equals long hours at work & a second job. These “sacrifices” are very similar to the challenges you face to achieve your fitness goal: early mornings or late nights & declining social events so you can afford your gym membership.

Mr. Manson talks about how we all want the perfect life: romantic relationship full of sex, the second vacation home on the beach, and a 4 hour work week. What we all seem to skip over and miss is that they didn’t just wake up one day married and rich or with a six pack of abs. What you don’t see are the 60 hour work weeks or the 5am gym sessions before they take their children to school and go to their 9-5 job.

Many of us want the results, the 6 pack abs, but we don’t want to endure the sacrifices that get us to those results. When we say, “I want to lose 10 pounds!”, actually should be stated, “Do I want to put in the sacrifices to lose 10 pounds?”. Mr. Manson states that if you really wanted that second vacation home or the lean physique then you wouldn’t mind and actually would enjoy the sacrifices and struggles on the journey to your goal.

Think about what you want, who you want to be, where you see yourself in 5 years…If you really want it then do you see yourself enduring the sacrifices head on?

*My first bodybuilding competition Sept 2015. You definitely have to really want to do it because of the strict diet of 16 long weeks of prep for a competition show! Many just want the lean physique and not the hard work to get there & many do not compete again…

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Mental Toughness Exercise for Life & Fitness: Positive Thinking 

Welcome Back Monday!

Positive thinking is a major skill and tool to practice daily to improve your mental toughness. Today I want you to complete a simple exercise that you can perform throughout the day to not only improve your mental toughness but also allow you to complete those small steps towards your ultimate goal. Mondays are great for motivation and mental toughness practice so that we can start the week off with the fire in the belly! When you start to notice negative thinking trails of thought I want you to say this mantra in your head: “A change may just be around the corner”.

What is your mantra for positive thinking today?

never skip monday

Mental Toughness Exercise

“Mental Workout”

Author, Jason Selk, has a 100 second, or 2 minute, mental toughness workout. I love that it is only two minutes!! Fits in perfect with the values of Cal Fit, creating the time in your life for fitness, nutrition, and mental health!  Try to challenge yourself to complete this every day before you fall asleep for 30 days!

Two Minute Mental Workout:

  1. Start with a centering breath. Breathe in for six seconds. Hold that breath for two seconds, and then breathe out for seven seconds. Controlling your breathing this way is a stress reliever, and it reduces your state of arousal.
  2. Recite a personalized identity statement to yourself in five seconds. A good identity statement is one that emphasizes one of your positive qualities and pinpoints something you want to become, like “I am confident and passionate. I’m consistently excellent every day as a leader, executive, and mother,” or “I care more about my clients and I will outwork the competition. I am a million-dollar salesman.”
  3. Visualize your own personal highlight reel for 60 seconds–seeing in your mind three things you’ve done well in the past 24 hours and mentally rehearsing three important things you need to do today.
  4. Repeat your identity statement to yourself for five seconds.
  5. Finish with another centering breath cycle–breathing in for six seconds, holding for two and then exhaling for seven. Your mind is now ready to focus and perform.

*Read more about the Mental Workout here: http://www.inc.com/jason-selk/the-two-minute-secret-to-mental-toughness.html

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Mental Toughness Exercise

Mental Toughness for Mondays!

I love posting my mental toughness blog on Mondays because Monday’s are usually a long, challenging, and tiring day. I found this great article on Active.com about mental toughness. Today during your workout or during your meeting at work, don’t worry about what you are doing or how much you are doing. Just show up and give 100%. Let everything else bouncing around in your head fade away and focus on giving it your all.

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“It isn’t your time or total reps that ultimately count—it is the fact that you put in 100%. You weren’t holding back. No plans for the future or memory of the past. You simply put out for the moment and found you had enough to take you the distance”.

 

Read more here:

http://www.active.com/health/articles/3-tips-to-build-mental-toughness?page=2

Mental Toughness Exercise

“5 Powerful Exercises to Increase Your Mental Strength”

Today I want you to try one of Forbes’ 5 Powerful Exercises to Increase Your Mental Strength. The one exercise I want you to focus on is “Practicing Tolerating Discomfort”. The idea is to eventually get to a place when you can acknowledge your emotions but you are not controlled by them. This way you can continue to challenge yourself and complete your goals or make personal gains! One way to help you work on this mental process is to step out of your comfort zone and experience discomfort. Maybe that means trying a new machine you have been eyeing for a month or small-talking to another member at the gym who you see frequently. These small steps might lead to bigger gains of progressing farther in the gym or gaining a new fitness partner to chat with about nutrition and fitness.

 “Some discomfort is often necessary for greater gain, and tolerating that discomfort will help make your vision a reality, one small step at a time” (forbes).

 

*For a few other mental toughness exercises please visit:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/groupthink/2013/12/03/5-powerful-exercises-to-increase-your-mental-strength/#143a324e550e

 

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