All tagged mindset

How to Get Started When You're Nervous to Start (A Step-By-Step Guide)

COURAGE, the cowardly dog and the secret ingredient.

Making any sort of change takes an ounce or two of bravery. You know that, because those fitness/life changes you've thought about but haven't made are sitting there licking their lips and twiddling their thumbs, looming in the distance, reminding you of what you haven't done yet, which is at the very least intimidating, if not downright terrifying.

Hoards of advice would tell you to just do it anyway, that the only way to get started is to start, that the time is passing by no matter what so you might as well get to stepping. I don't disagree, and also... if you were gonna get started after hearing all that, you would've done it already ("you," is really, "we," here).

The fear will never disappear entirely, so, what then?

Is Your Workout, "Working?"

Is your workout "working?"

A client came to me once saying that her workout didn't "work." She twisted her hair around her fingers, obviously nervous to say so.

"I love the feeling I'm getting during our sessions & in my own gym time," she said. "I feel stronger. I push myself harder, and I love feeling accomplished. I can lift more weight. I'm having fun. But it's just not...working."

Of course, because I am a fan of questions more than most other things, I asked what she meant.

(I'm sure you can guess the answer. I like to hear people share their thoughts out loud.)

We put so much pressure on fitness programs to end in fat loss, but is that the only answer? Does a lack of dramatic fat loss REALLY mean your program isn't working?

Back to School Season and the Return of Routine

I work with a lot of moms (and quite a few teachers), in my coaching adventures. As a result, even though I only have four-legged children at the moment, this time of year is fraught with, "back to school," the hustle and bustle of getting everything ready for the change of seasons.

Even if you aren't getting little ones ready for the bus (or writing lessons in your not-really-spare time), I'm sure you can feel the shift in the air, yes? September is a mini-new year, in many ways; fall is one of my favorite times to take stock of where we've been, where we're going, and what we need to let go in order to get there. It's a time of evaluation, of harvest, of moving to prepare for cooler weather and more time inside learning new things (at any age, in any context). You might be looking forward to fresh-picked apples, for example, or you might be finding it easier to make time to get movement that makes you feel like yourself again, now that your kids are on a more reliable schedule.

(Or maybe you're not, because as soon as one routine gets set, it seems like things get shifted yet again, and we're standing there re-learning how to fit ourselves into our own lives. It happens.)

Either way, we're standing on the edge of a season asking us to come home, get grounded, and build a foundation that will sustain us into our next season.

Thinking About Thinking (How to Examine What You Think, What You Know, and What You Think You Know)

Challenging our beliefs is one of the most pivotal practices in which we can engage, in fitness and in life, AND, it is not easy.

What does it mean to, “challenge your beliefs?” Quite simply, to consider you may be wrong. To acknowledge you are looking through a lens that may or may not be shared by those around you. To realize what you know is informed by your position or experience, and there are others out there. To wonder, “if this is true for me, but not true for another person, why and where exactly do our experiences differ? What common ground exists? Could I expand my perspective?”

A (cough) challenging practice, to be sure. What’s good for us doesn’t always feel good at every moment.

Why would you want to do it?

Stigma, shame, and disconnection all heavily contribute to negative health outcomes, for ourselves and others, for starters. All of those behaviors begin from the beliefs we hold, particularly, in the fitness industry, about which behaviors and bodies are acceptable, visible, and worthy of respect (and, by contrast and extension, which are unacceptable, invisible, and shame-worthy).

Put in fitness context specifically, every time you say you, "can't eat that," about your favorite food, for example, you're denying yourself pleasure and joy, making a judgment on what you think you deserve, and implying certain foods are meant for certain bodies (and those bodies only).

Sound like what you mean? Is that even accurate to what you intended to say? I didn't think so.

One Self-Care Tip for Your Weekend (and Every Day, to Nurture Your Inner Boss)

Sometimes the best I've got is doing a #Friday morning face mask, putting laundry in, and deciding⁠—mid-Marco-Polo-client-checkin as I'm trying to escape my super loud washer/dryer, no less (I didn't exactly think that timing through)⁠—working from bed is the move for the day.

We've been conditioned to believe we must follow the rules: sit up straight, be here at this time, wear this, do that, be quiet, look like this, eat that. Our worth is often measured by our productivity: we believe we're only worthy of rest, reflection, of any kind of space after we've gotten things ticked off our to-do lists, submitted our reports, proven our value.

You can break the rules, of course, and I'm assuming if you're here reading my work, you already know that. You may just need a reminder, so let this serve as one.

Are You Hiding? 👀👀 (One Shift to See More Progress Instantly)

A lovely thought to consider: we’re all these big, powerful, multitudinous forces, under the surface, imprisoned by nothing but our thoughts. That’s true for some of us, and others of us are kept in hiding by bigger forces making it unsafe to show the whole of who we are. It’s worth considering why any one of us isn’t allowing our full selves to shine; I’d imagine, if we pull on these threads, we’re playing roles we didn’t necessarily choose and staying in them most of all because it’s easy to do so, no matter how uncomfortable it may be.

How do we get from keeping our heads down, hiding away, playing our parts to the bold, unapologetic, magical mermaids we are? Some common advice is to, “fake it ‘itl you make it.”

I’m not big on, “fake it ‘til you make it,” because that feels really…cheesy and inauthentic to me.

Why I Don't Believe in the, "No Excuses" Movement

When I decided to become a coach, I realized, first and foremost, this sort of trust was vital to the success of everyone involved: if I can't humble myself enough to listen—deeply and fully—or to understand that at any given moment you may be having an entirely different experience and perception of our interaction and/or environment than I do (and believe you about your experience), then am I really being of service?

Am I really helping you along with your goals?
Does this change when your goals are different from my goals?
Or when they're different from the goals other people have, or have had in the past?

Seems quite basic, when you put it that way, but I haven't always hit the mark, and I find time and again, as I both get to know coaches further and have hired some myself, we could all use work, here. Not being understood seems to be a common experience of the human condition, especially in fitness.

Why You're Hung Up on Your, "Summer Body"

During warmer weather in particular, we hear all about, "summer bodies," and, "getting ready," and all sorts of things implying that our bodies aren't enough as is, and, when we inevitably buy into it, we're often left with less money and more frustration than when we started, plus a heaping helping of shame.

Body image issues are logical: they don't come from nowhere, and nothing is wrong with you if you struggle to love your body.

(In fact, I'd argue that, "loving your body," isn't really the point, here; it's to think if your body less, so that you can be more of who you are, other than your body.)

And, the first step, for so so so many womxn I coach, is to recognize, while your body is certainly all yours and you can do whatever you choose with it (or you should be able to, anyway), perhaps (juuuust maybe), your thoughts on your body are not entirely your own.

STRESSED? 😬 What to do About Your Training

“I went to squat yesterday. My warmup felt fine — I was a little tired, but I thought once I started lifting I’d feel better. I usually do,” a client said to me.

"When I got to the working sets, everything felt HEAVY. Like, heavier than it should have. I finished the workout anyway, because it was written down, so I had to do it. But I’ve felt like everything is heavy and takes longer than it used to for a couple of weeks now.

What am I doing wrong? Am I losing all my progress? How am I going backwards when I haven’t skipped a workout?”

I could hear it in her voice: the frustration, the confusion, and the shame composing a horrifying opera whose featured aria, “You’re a Failure!” is familiar to us all.

When I hear this song in my line of work, my first course of action is to listen (we all need to be heard, after all), followed by asking questions.

The questions give me box seats to the full production, where I learn it’s not only the weights that feel heavy but life as well. And the last thing we need to do when life gets lifey is up the stress ante with long, heavy, grindy workouts.

Sometimes long, heavy, grindy workouts are just what the doctor ordered, but sometimes they’re pouring gasoline on the fire, leaving us feeling ineffective and not knowing where to go next.

Patterns: Why Are You the Way that You Are?

If you're here, it's likely you've tried quite a few diets and exercise plans throughout your life, very few of which have made the lasting changes you were hoping.

You've tried the 21-day-"fixes," the grapefruit diets, the plans in Self magazine (I'm not picking on them, really; that was one of the first places I ever saw any sort of structured workout myself!), and they've all yielded lackluster results.

It's also highly likely that you've realized this is a pattern, and one you'd like to break.

As more of us in fitness decide we want to let go of harmful patterns (e.g., the binge/restrict cycle, over-exercising/burnout cycle), are we helping ourselves understand what to do next?