My Opinion on Body Image, Fitness & Health

Today’s post might be offensive. Not on purpose. Not to push buttons. Not to get a reaction. Today’s post is sharing an opinion, my opinion and hopefully starting a conversation.

I’m a Les Mills group fitness instructor and have been lucky enough to meet a few of the LMUS TAP team over the years. Marlon Woods is one of them and he is one of the best. He is strong, authentic, inspirational, a great coach, a great presenter, a great trainer and someone who asks the hard questions.

Yesterday he posted a video on his Instagram [found here] regarding what a fitness instructor should look like and then asked us to be brave and share our thoughts. So, without thinking, I did. I taped a video sharing my thoughts, and then some [you can watch them here].

For those of you who have/haven’t watched let me break it down for you.

1] I expect Fitness Instructors and Personal Trainers to walk the walk. I expect a fitness instructor to be an example to those taking a class. In one word, you should be FIT. Now, understand, fit looks different on everyone. My fit might not be yours. You might be heavier than me and able to kick my butt in cardio. You might be smaller than me but able to lift more weight. THAT IS ALL INCREDIBLE. You are an example and that is my point. If you tell ME to do push up, squat, burpee, lunge, I EXPECT you to be able to do the same exercise, almost perfect [baring an injury of course]. You must look fit, otherwise you’ll lose me.

2] The ‘LOVE YOURSELF AS YOU ARE’ movement is a great one. People have worried far too long about what their looks, their lack of looking like a super model and hiding their unique to fit in. Right now it is an amazing time to be a woman, to be seen as something other than pretty. We can be strong. Smart. Techie. In charge. We can be it all and we are now being told we are ENOUGH just the way we are. Which is wonderful. But, is it also a crutch? Are we letting our health suffer because we have such a strong self body image? Are we pushing fitness away because we believe fit is meant to change our love of our self?  You are a wonderful human being, no matter what your pants size, but if your number is creeping higher and higher are you losing your outlook on being healthy because you feel adamant you ‘don’t need to be a size two’ ?

3] Too often FIT is something we associate with ‘skinny, pretty, lean’ and that’s so wrong. Fit is being able to lift heavy things. Fit is walking up the stairs without being winded. Fit is being able to get up and down with ease. Fit is not about looks. Fit is about health. Fit is about where you will be 5 years, 10 years and multiple decades from now. Will that nail polish you just purchased add years to your life? Are those jeans really something you need to ‘TRULY’ feel better about yourself? What about spending those dollars on your health? Maybe joining a gym? Maybe getting a personal trainer for four simple sessions? Maybe buying at home equipment to make it easier to train.

Are you making your health a priority? Are you looking yourself in the mirror and seeing what you hope to see? I hope you say yes to both questions. If you want help, ask me. I’m here for you, to guide you on your best path to health.

What do you think a fitness instructor should look like? What is your thoughts on body image and health? How do you view fitness?

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Workout Wednesday: Do You Even Foam Roll?

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I mean, do you? If not, you should, especially if you workout on the reg. What is foam rolling you ask? Foam rolling is a self-myofasical (SMR) release which can help in muscle recovery, movement efficiency, pain reduction and flexibility (source). Most fitness enthusiast or people in athletics use SMR to release over active muscles and fascia, which have become tight or thick due to constant use. What is fascia? “Fascia is the soft tissue portion of the connective tissue in the muscle that provides support and protection.” (source) and when you become over active, these soft tissues become restrictive and tight, often times causing pain and discomfort.

I had never heard of a foam roller until I 2010 when I started to experience (what I thought) thought was severe knee pain, but upon an appointment with a knee doctor I was told it was pain due to extremely tight quads and IT bands. Your muscles and skin should be pliable, but the skin around my upper legs were so tight they didn’t move when the doctor pressed his hands along my IT band.

I was sent to a physical therapist who showed the wonders [and a bit of the pain!] of foam rolling. Now, eight years later, if I’m at home I’m foam rolling AT LEASE once a day, plus extra if I’ve worked out or taught a class. Honestly, if I go more than three days without rolling my body let’s me know it is NOT happy, which means we, of course, bought a travel roller, ha.

What are the benefits of SMR? The National Association of Sports Medicine states:

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Given all the fantastic reasons you SHOULD foam roll, I bet you’re wondering HOW to foam roll? Y’all, I got you. Super easy to get the hang of and something you can do while watching television or right before bed. Brown Vintage Photo Collage Facebook Post.jpgFoam rolling can be done before static or dynamic stretching and also used as a cool down after a workout. I also personally will also foam roll when I’m feeling tight, even if I haven’t worked out, almost like an active recovery.

When foam rolling you want to slowly roll the targeted area [being sure to stay more on the muscle than the bone or joint] and when you feel tightness, hold pressure on the area for :30 – :90 seconds before moving on to the next area. If there is not a spot tighter than others, I will complete five to ten passes on the area I am foam rolling.

If you are new to foam rolling, I would suggest only targeting the big muscles until you become more comfortable with your rolling technique. I’m talking quads, hamstrings, calves, back and shoulders. NOTE: It is VERY important you maintain core stability, to protect your spine when foam rolling. Imagine pulling your belly button towards your spine throughout the whole movement.

I purchased my foam roller from Amazon and it was only $20 back in 2010 and now there are so many different versions you can buy decently priced. As a novice, you’ll want a medium to hard density and should stay away from extra extensions as they will be too much for you at the start. However, once you begin rolling consistently, the extra and bumpier foam rollers can bring even more relief than your regular roller.

Let me know if you need more suggestions for rollers and please don’t hesitate to post any questions you may have regarding rolling. I promise once you start rolling you’ll be hooked for life :)!

Now, 3, 2, 1, get your move on!

 

Lose the Hesitation and Try

Sometimes a class gets too hard. Sometimes the workout doesn’t proceed the way we expect. Head goes down. Breathing slows. The body starts to believe what the brain is shouting “NO! You can’t. STOP TRYING and walk away!”

Sometimes life comes in hard. Sometimes dreams seem too far away. Head goes down. Momentum slows. The heart starts to believe what brain is shouting “NO! You can’t. It’s too hard. You will fail. STOP TRYING and walk away!”

So you hesitate. You ask yourself, ‘can I really do this?’ over and over again. You start to believe the fiction seen everywhere.

“She’s prettier than me so I can’t compete.”

“They know more than me and I’ll never be as good as them.”

“I won’t make a difference.”

Lies, friends, lies!

Full disclosure, I believe those lies from time to time. Honestly, this weekend was one of those weekends I truly doubted myself. I carved out time to look at creating a better blog, investing in this space, started writing out workouts to possibly test and just try to get this lil dream of mine moving.

But, then I hesitated. And I started looking around on Instagram, Facebook and my ego shrank to nothing. All the dreams I started to put to paper seemed so far away. At the top of a mountain I’d never ascend. It loomed ahead, so big, so tall I shut my computer down and walked away.

I cleaned my house. I organized drawers. I was petty and mentally picked apart other people. I surfed Pinterest and window shopped things I don’t need in the least. I was defeated, plain and simple.

While scrolling through my pictures I came across something I created a month ago and all of a sudden I realized I just had a weekend pity party. ASK YOURSELFIF WHAT YOU'RE DOINGTODAY IS GETTINGYOU CLOSER TO WHEREYOU WANT TO BETOMORROW

Yes, I wasted this weekend because I was feeling sorry for myself. For 24 hours I chose not to believe in myself and let myself get a ‘step behind’ where I wanted to be now. How sad, right?

Over the years I’ve become a big believer in failing is how you learn and it’s better to flame out than never try. Yet, somehow I lost that fire with this dream. With this space, my instagram and personal training, I’ve become hesitant. Scared. Nervous.

Which is okay, as long as there is progress. So here is my progress for the weekend. Writing this post and scheduling two more. Planning my instagram posts and finding a rhythm in reaching out to other accounts. Writing out three workouts so I can film them in the next few days. Setting a goal for meeting ten new people at my gym and scheduling two assessments.

Planning will help me get closer to my goal. Planning will help you get closer to your goal. Take just ten minutes today and write out WHAT YOU CAN DO to get closer to your dream, be it big or small. Drop a goal in the comments so I can cheer you on this week.

Now 3, 2, 1, get your move on!

Still Show Up

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Even if you don’t want to do it, you will.

Even if it’s a baby small blog post saying very little, you will.

Even if you aren’t sure where this is going to go, you will.

You will show up.

You will keep going.

You will make an effort.

You will try to make an impact.

You will show up because that is how you get things done.

Monthly Motivation: Choose Your Thing

Morning, friends! How are you doing today? Hope your week is off to a great start, I’m getting back into the groove after a weekend away with Le Husband. Yesterday’s workouts were better than anticipated and now I’m planning the rest of my week.

 

Which is where my post comes in. Today is the FIRST day of our Monthly Motivation and I’m super excited to be hosting with Lynn. I honestly thought longer than I should have about what I wanted to share today. There are so many great places to start, so many awesome things to pursue and so much research to read.
And then the light bulb went off in my brain. With so much to do, how can one be successful? My suggestion:
What do you want to change? Is it drinking more water? Is it eating better? Is it being more consistent with your work outs? Is it leaning up? Getting stronger? Finding a way to make something a routine? Once you decide what you WANT to change, choose ONE THING and make a plan.
Too many people try to change EVERYTHING and then end of failing because the amount of things to change is too overwhelming. Raise your hand if you’ve been there [RAISES HAND HIGH]. Y’all I’ve been there too many times to count. Trying to RESET everything. Trying to get better at everything and IT. IS. EXHAUSTING. And completely unattainable.
So I learned. SLOWLY. Pick one thing, commit to it and make it a habit before you attempt the next big change. First it was lifting heavy weights with my husband. After six months of committing to getting stronger I started to add in more cardio. Then I began cleaning up my eating and figuring out WHAT works for my body. This was across three years, y’all. THREE! Changing your lifestyle is NOT a quick fix, it is something you have to decide to pursue and then COMMIT to working on day after day.
Take a moment today and think about what one thing you really want to commit to become more healthy. Then, plan it out. If you’re adding more fitness into your routine, WRITE workouts in your planner so you can’t flake to on yourself. Maybe you want to drink more water, set your timer on your phone as a reminder every hour. You could want to eat more whole foods and less processed foods, so that means slowly changing eating habits. Plan which processed food you will replace with a healthier version.
Small daily choices, become weekly choices, which become monthly choices and soon become habit. YOU CAN DO THIS, you just have to believe in yourself and find a plan you believe in. If you want help, email me or leave a question in my comments. I’m passionate about people working to improve their lives and want to help you as best I can.
What are you choosing to change this month? Linkup below and tell us!
 http://www.inlinkz.com/new/view.php?id=784075

Exciting Blogging News: Monthly Motivation

Hey, friends. Happy Thursday to you. Hope this week is going well [mine is because family time is super close this weekend]. Maybe this post will add a lil something to your week. Most of you won’t know this, but I met one of my besties via blogging. Yup, Lynn of Dispositive Motion is my BOFF [Best Online Friend FOREVER]. We connected quickly on our views of life, family, fun and of course fitness.

While both of us THRIVE when we’re active and eating healthy we both go about our workout routines different ways. she is a busy working lawyer mama of the cutest lil girl [I heart lil E], wife and twirling teacher so her workout schedule is much more limited than mine since I basically live at the gym and teach fitness classes. And you know what? that’s honestly the BEST thing ever. Because we get to ask each other questions, change up our routines and learn from one another.

We also get to hold each other accountable and on days where it’s all BLAH we get to motivate each other to stay healthy. Which is where the idea of our Monthly Motivation linkup was born.

Join us on the FIRST TUESDAY of every month for a dose of Monthly Motivation. Starting June 5th, we will be hosting a linkup to help set your monthly healthy living goals. The linkup will be all about sharing tips, tricks, food planning, workout planning and just talking about how you stay motivated each month. Share your favorite food ideas for adults and kids and just cheer each other on as we reach for our goals. Lynn and I are so excited and we can’t wait to see you on June 5th!

 

Fitness Friday: Barre Burner

Good morning and happy Friday, friends. It is a happy Friday here, as I am home with my family, including my darling baby niece. Last night was a long drive from Tennessee, but it was 100% worth it when I cuddled the precious lil girl.

Since I won’t be at my gym this weekend, I put together a quick full body barre burner for a sweat like no other. All you need is a set of light hand weights, a timer, space to move and a towel for sweat. BARRE BURNER

This burner is comprised of nine compound moves, which should each be completed for :30-:45 seconds each. Take :10 seconds of rest between each move and look to complete the entire series 3-5 times.  Check out my Instagram [PINKYFIT321] for video!

1] Releve with 45 degree arm lift: Heels together in first position, weights turned 45 degrees and starting at the ribs. Lift the weights up to shoulder height as you raise up on your tip toes into a releve. Return to the beginning position and repeat.

2] Right lunge with overhead press: Step your left foot back and bring your elbows to ninety degrees at shoulder height. Drop your back knee down into a lunge and press the weights up overhead. Return to the beginning position and repeat.

3] Left lunge with face pull back: Step your right foot back and bring your weights in front of you with straight arms shoulder height. Using your shoulder blades, pull the weight back towards your face as you drop your back knee down to the floor. Return to the beginning position and repeat.

4] Second position grand plie with hammer curl: Step into a wide second plie weights in front of you, turned in a hammer grip. Sink down into a grand plie squat, as you stand lift the weights to your chest in a curl. Return to the beginning position and repeat.

5] Reverse fly with left side leg lift: Bring your weights in front of you, facing them towards each other. Step your left foot out to the side and hinge slightly forward at the waist. Simultaneously lift your leg up and lift the weights to the side stopping at shoulder height. Return to the beginning position and repeat.

6] Front raise with right side leg lift: Weights in front of the body, knuckles facing forward, right leg out to the side, hinging forward at the waist. Simultaneously lift the weights up in front of you to shoulder height as you lift the leg up to the side. Return to the beginning position and repeat.

7] Tricep kickball with left back leg lift: Step feet together, hinging forward at the waist. Step your left foot back behind you and bring your elbows back and up 90 degrees towards the ceiling. As you extend the weights straight back behind your, lift your left leg off the floor. Return to the beginning position and repeat.

8] Row with right back leg lift: Step feet together, hinging forward at the waist. Then step your right leg back behind you. Let the weights hang down at your side, then using your shoulder blades and back muscle bring them up to shoulder height as you lift your leg off the ground behind you. Return to the beginning position and repeat.

9] Releve with slow front arm circles: Heels together in first position, palms turned out in front of you as you hold the weights. Lift your weights to the side in a slow circular motion, stopping above your head as you raise up into a releve with your feet.

Let me know if you give it at try. #burnbabyburn

Is This All Worth It?

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Stream of consciousness coming at you today, friends. Maybe it’s something you want to read, maybe it’s not. No worries, just getting vulnerable here. Raw. Time to get raw.

This week has been hard. Aggressively hard. Too much to do in too little time. Asking my body to work harder than it should for longer than it needs. A mound of yeses drowning me day by day. Hour by hour ticking away and NOTHING but wheels turning. Somehow everything snuck up on me so quickly and from Sunday night to Monday morning my mood shifted, my brain slowly shut down and my will to do fight on drained away. Teaching each class a different way to engage everyone is tough. Multiple formats and multiple subs make my head spin. Too much. Too much. Too much.

Tuesday was an all out beast of a day with four classes, training clients, working extra shifts at the gym, then dinner with a friend leaving town, all with the knowledge I had to be up to teach a 6am class the next morning. Happy face on I tried to push through. I tried to sub out a class to breath, but no one would help me. I tried to find happy in the small moments. Tried to seek out moments to recenter but it wasn’t happening.

Slowly this feeling of hopelessness ate away at my joy. At my love of fitness. At my dream of making fitness my FULL TIME. At making a difference, because that’s why I’m passionate about fitness. I want people to feel better about working out. About exercising. About feeling healthy. I want to teach people how to move their bodies so they can conquer things they never dreamed. But. But. But. It’s not working out. It’s so hard to convince people to pay me to teach them. Trying to flip clients via social media. Via walking around the gym. Just engaging people in the concept of PT is a trail because everyone just sees dollar bills, not what they will gain. Not enough. Not enough. Not enough.

I texted friends and then broke down crying to Lynn because I just couldn’t hold it together. Being a YES girl is in my blood. Who I am. How I was raised. What I want to be. But, I realized being the yes girl doesn’t mean others will say yes to you. Which hurts. Which changes perspectives. Which makes me feel icky. Lynn reminded me it is okay to say NO. It is okay to say no multiple times. To not always be the yes girl. To value myself more. Which is true. I need to make sure I’m okay so I can give my best to others.

So I had a good cry. Had a good breakfast and chat with a friend. Taught another class. Worked the front desk and finally found a YES person for my evening class. Then it became time for me. A bath. A book. A candle. Mac and cheese. Salad. Water. A nonsense television show. Writing this blog post. Face timing with my family. Recharge. Sweet beautiful recharge.

Now I am ready again. I am ready for the eight hour drive to Virginia tomorrow afternoon. I am ready to figure out a business plan for my dream. I am ready to discern what my correct path is at the moment. I am ready to sleep. Breathe in a new day and exhale joy for others.

To those who reached out, thank you. I love your support and your friendship. And to those reading now, thank you for being here to champion my words and give them meaning.

Monday Motivation: NEW HIIT ROUTINE

Good morning, friends. How are you today? Did you enjoy a great weekend? Ours was filled with some friend time, sleep, lots of house work, new tables built, car washing, blog planning and no working out. Crazy, right?

Not really. I usually schedule the weekends as OFF days, unless I’m subbing, since I rarely have a day off during the week. My body is one which needs days off to stay on plan I definitely need time off as this coming week is a bit bananas. My normal class schedule, a few extra class, working extra shifts at the gym and fingers crossed fitting in my own workouts, too.

Failing to plan is planning to fail, so I’ve map out my work/workouts Sunday evening. This allows me to PLAN time for myself and to make it similar to a meeting with someone else. PSA: You and your work outs are just as important as meeting a friend for dinner or drinks.

Check out this quick, HIIT routine I created if you’re looking for something new. I posted a video *HERE* on my Instagram account if you’re more of a visual learner. You’ll need a timer, mat, wall and a stool or bench for tricep dips. HIIT WORKOUT

*DISCLAIMER: Honor your body if you have any injures and make sure to check with a doctor if you are unsure if you should be working out.*

There are three SETS, with decreasing number of moves. Do EACH move for :30 seconds then immediately move on to the next move in the set. Make sure you take your rest at the end of each set. If you’re just starting out try one time, those who are more advanced can repeat up to four rounds.

SET ONE

High Knees: Jumping of the balls of your foot, alternate raising your knees to hip height. Use your arms for momentum and brace your core for stability. If jumping hurts, alternate driving your knees up toward your chest.

Pushups: Bring your hands outside the mat, similar to plank position. Lower your chest down to your elbow height then push back up to your starting position. You can do these on your knees or against the wall.

Wall Sits: Have your back against your wall, feet in front of you. Slowly lower down to a squat keeping your back against the wall. Hold for 30 seconds.

Low Ab Raise: Lay down on your back and lift your legs straight up in the air, over your hips. Using your lower abs, lift your low back off the floor like you are trying to stamp your feet on the ceiling.

In/Out Squats: Feet underneath you with soft knees, jump the feet wide and squat down. Immediately jump back in, keeping soft knees. If you do not like the jumping, you can side step and squat down.

SET TWO

Plyo Lunge: Begin in a lunge position, right foot forward with both knees at 90 degrees. Front knee over front ankle, back heel lifted. As you start to stand, JUMP up in the air and switch your left foot from the back to the front, landing in a lunge position 90/90 with your knees. Continue alternating. If jumping does not feel good, alternate stepping your feet backwards to a lunge position.

Plank Jack: Start in a plank position, hands under your shoulders, flat back on your knees or toes with feet straight behind you. Jump your feet out wide, like a jumping jack, then bring them back in behind you. Core engaged, butt down. If you need just alternate taping one foot to each side.

Tricep Dips: Using a bench or a stool, sit down with your fingers behind you, facing forward, knees bent. Lift your butt off the bench and keeping your back close to the bench, bring your butt towards the floor as you bend your elbows. Straighten them to lift back up.

Side Lunges: Start with your feet together, toes forward, hands on hips. Step your right foot to the right, keeping your knee over your middle toes and setting your hips back. Step back in and repeat on the left. Core stays tight the entire time.

SET THREE

Squat Lifts: Heels outside your hips. Squat down, trying to get your butt to your knee line. As you rise up, come up to your toes lifting your arms up like you’re reaching to the sky. Repeat.

Push Up to Side Plank: Hands under your shoulders on knees or toes. Bring your chest down to elbow height and push back up to plank position. Bracing your core lift your right are up as you twist to your right, stopping the elbow over the shoulder. Repeat pushup then turn to the left. If you need drop the inside knee to the ground on the twist.

Jumping Jacks: Heels down as you jump and press your knees out over toes. If you don’t want to jump, you can squat low and tap side to side.

I hope you enjoy and let me know if you try it out. 3, 2, 1 get your move on!

Fitness Friday: Introduction & Question

Happy friday, friends. The end of the week is so nice, right? I’m always a huge fan of a busy week being behind me, even though I’m always grateful for a chance to work and do what I love.

If you’ve been on Instagram or read Fitness blogs, you’ll have heard the term “Fitness Friday”. Everyone has a different definition and today I’m trying to figure out exactly what I want my Fitness Friday posts to cover. Workouts? Explaining new fitness terms? Is it a weekly thing? A monthly one? Do I even try and cover nutrition?

Here is were y’all come in. Let me know what you would want to see. What you might enjoy reading every so often in this space. I have some thoughts brainstorming but am always open to suggestions.

Before I go, I thought I’d leave you with something funny. Because today is Friday, so happy funny fitness Friday to you!

321 get your move on!

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