Category: Physical Fitness Journey

Living Fit For Life: Success Story: Tonya

Living Fit For Life: Success Story: Tonyaimg_5265

I had the privilege of meeting Tonya when I was in the hospital with our daughter Angelina. We were a few doors down from their sweet family. We instantly bonded and occasionally hangout during our hospital stay.

When we were in the hospital Dennis and I would bring out resistance bands and workout together. Tonya spotted us one day and contacted me when she was interested in coming up with a workout plan she could do at home. Tonya shares here:

I met Michelle through our daughters-Angelina and Harper, in 2014. I learned she was a personal trainer and would see her working out in the hospital sometimes.  I thought, “Wow-now THAT is commitment!”  My husband ended up getting deployed in February of 2015 for nine months.  I knew that there was no way I could go to the gym.  I contacted Michelle and she came up with plans every month for me to do at home”.  

When Tonya’s husband was deployed she didn’t have a lot of time and needed quick effective workouts. She wanted to get back into shape after having her daughter and needed a workout plan that could work with her lifestyle. Tonya expands on this here:

” I was completely out of shape after having my daughter and I knew I needed to get back into the swing of things. I had always been in okay shape, but after spending many months in the hospital with Harper, the stress and hospital food had gotten to me.  I am a person who gets bored easily with workouts.  I told Michelle this and when she made my plan each month, every week was different.  It was perfect!  I had also mentioned that I didn’t have a ton of time.  Most of my workouts happened after 8:30 pm when the kids had all gone to bed.  I was usually exhausted but knew I needed to workout.  She tailored them so that most of the workouts could be completed in thirty minutes.  After a few months, I was running some 5K’s again.  I began to lose weight, was getting stronger and fitting back into old clothes again. When my husband returned home, I needed to continue to workout.  Now that he was back, I was able to join a gym again, but I continued to use some of the workouts Michelle had made for me on the days I couldn’t make it to the gym.   Just this past April, I ran my very first half marathon in under two hours”.  

Michelle provided me with support by:I loved the text check-ins every week.  I knew she was just a text or phone call away too if I had any questions about the workouts or moves.  I also like the little challenges she does throughout the year.

One thing I learned while working out with Michelle is how to lift weights. Michelle continues to motivate me and help me reach new goals by helping me understand the important components of an exercise program. Tonya expands about the components of a well-balanced workout routine: “I had never really lifted before working out with Michelle.  She taught me that a good balanced workout routine included lifting.  I lost weight but I also gained muscle (and definition!).  She is very encouraging and willing to help at any time”.  img_5947

Tonya learned to implement fitness and turn it into her daily routine by: “Once my husband returned home, I needed to get out of the house to workout.  It was my time to unwind and focus on myself again.  I can tell the days I don’t get a chance to workout-I am cranky, irritable, and just feel “blah”.  Even if all I can fit in is a walk with my family, I try to do something every day now”.   

One other important aspect of a living a fit lifestyle that Michelle incorporates when working with clients is the online Facebook group is about eating healthy. Tonya learned about healthy portions and nutrition by:The quick articles she posts or the pictures of her own meals are very helpful in seeing what is a healthy portion”.  

My name is Tonya.  I am an elementary teacher.   I have been married to Aaron for almost 8 years.  We have three kids; Kaitlyn (11-his from a previous marriage), Landon-6, and Harper-3.  Harper was born with Down syndrome and is the reason Michelle and her family came into our lives. ❤

The Day You Stop Letting the Scale Determine How You Feel About Yourself

IMG_4776You prep, food log, you are simply killing it at the gym, and pack enough water for a cross country hike in your book bag. Then there is that day you get on that scale. Thinking this has all paid off right? If I follow this plan I’m going to have these results, exactly when I want…

A feeling in your stomach makes you feel like your stomach is dropping to the bottom. Leaving you feel defeated, unloveable, not good enough, and you allow yourself to jump back in the cycle of feeling like you have failed yourself once again.

You order dessert, you give up, and the cycle begins again. I’ll start again Monday and then it is I’ll start again the following Monday.

Have you been there? I have. Let me tell you loosing weight it’s not easy. It’s downright frustrating and if you are like me when you don’t see the results right away you think to yourself why even bother?

I’m here to tell you today that the cycle in your mind, in order for you to reach your goals and be successful in forming a positive body image, you need a big old pair of courage pliers to cut some hefty chains. You have to break chains in order to have a positive body image.

Working with women as a personal trainer over the last several years has opened my eyes to what we as women face. A viscous cycle of trying to love on our bodies and not let a number on a scale or pants size determine our value.

Women who have been through eating disorders, heart ache, faced awful circumstances who know they somehow just want to feel better about themselves.

Feeling better about yourself doesn’t start with a number on a scale and today I simply want to share with you a few ways you can begin to break this cycle and how I am constantly working with my clients to value the uniqueness in how they have been intricately created.

  1. Throw out your scale. Yep. You heard me. Throw it out. Don’t weight yourself anymore. Identify with how your clothes fit. If you are working out consistently and hitting the weights you will start to notice your pants feeling looser and areas that are becoming more defined and that is more important than the number reflected on a scale.
  2. Learn to eat in moderation. A cookie isn’t going to completely throw off your health game. However 4-10 cookies might. Learn to a live a fit life. Eating healthy most of the time and allowing yourself to enjoy the simple pleasures of life once in a while.
  3. Find an accountability partner that builds you up and tells you that you’re worth it. That the hours at the gym, time spent meal prepping and grocery shopping will improve your lifestyle. Leaving you feeling like you have more energy, which leads to building confidence, taking ownership of your health journey, which in turn will help you begin to form a positive body image.
  4. Be ok with knowing this process is one that takes a long time. Change is overwhelming and it’s ok to hit road blocks. If you fail and learn from your mistakes you will come out stronger in the end.
  5. If you get a bit off track, don’t make yourself feel guilty. You aren’t going to lose your gains in the blink of an eye. Jump right back on the workout wagon and don’t beat yourself up.
  6. Workout to feel good not to punish yourself for what you ate. We all need carbs to fuel our bodies and movement to help set off endorphins that make us feel good!
  7. Love where you are at. Know that forming a healthy lifestyle like anything else in life takes time, effort and enjoy the process.
  8. When a negative thought comes to mind, replace it with a positive thought. You are beautiful, you are worthy, and you can overcome!

Learn to love the process and know that results take time and a lot of beauty comes out of being content with right where you are at. Let’s break the cycle, let’s toss the scales and commit to loving the process and move toward a fit body, mind and soul.

Blessings, Michelle

 

 

 

Adding Variety To Your Workout

This is part 1 of a five part series. You can read more here to find out more about this series: Introduction

Today we will focus on Aerobic exercise or otherwise known as Cardio. 

I am sharing a brief memory of how my love for running started before I get to the nuts and bolts of why aerobic exercise is so important for our health.

I can remember being a kid. My father owned a tree farming business and still does and we lined our back fields with rows upon rows of tree’s. I loved nature and the great outdoors. I especially loved riding my bike to the highest hill and taking my feet off the pedals and coasting all the way down to the bottom. My mom told me after I flew down the hill I would ride around the house anther fifteen times before doing it all over again.

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Seifert’s Tree Farm October 2013

It was in grade school that I remember my best friend who was a year older then me asking me to try to go on a run with her. While I chuckled and thought basketball is the only sport for me. I decided to join her. She assured me running to the stop sign and back was easy and that I could do it.

I remember in that moment a little seventh grader thinking, sheesh… this girls nuts. Huffing and puffing along I made it to the stop sign and back. I’m pretty sure my best friend ran five miles before I finished my two. I ended up running track that year and have been hooked ever since. I went on to run in college and coach 400 and 800 runners shortly after I graduated college.

My best friend and I still run when we can get together and I can’t explain to you how thankful I am that she encouraged me that day. There are special people in our lives that have the ability to encourage us and help you feel empowered. She is defiantly one of those people.She believed in me and in turn it helped me believe in myself. Running has been an outlet for me as I have gone through the grief of loosing my daughter and battled through depression over the last two and a half years.

My dad used to tell me growing up to train and surround myself with people who were better. It pushed me and continues to grow me. What a wonderful training slogan for life.

It has allowed me to understand that with change comes growth. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut and learning new ways to add variety to your workout help you from becoming stagnant in your workout routine. Aerobic exercise is one of the five ways to add variety to your workout.

The information below on aerobic exercise has been taken from an article from Everydayhealth.com . There are many benefits of aerobic exercise.  Mental benefits include an increase in confidence, emotional stability, memory and brain function. 19 million Americans experience depression every year and is is believed that aerobic exercise helps improve the symptoms of depression. Health benefits include strengthening your heart and lungs, lowers your cholesterol, reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, improve your immune function and lower blood pressure. Physical benefits include burning calories, which helps shed excess weight. Aerobic exercise tones the muscles and improves posture. It helps you look and feel better while increasing your stamina. Providing more energy for work and play. You will sleep and handle stress better.

My clients say this often: “I just all around feel better”. 

Now that you see the benefits of adding aerobic activity to your workouts. You might be wondering how much and how often?

The most recent guidelines published from the American Heart Association and the American College of sports medicine recommend 30 minutes of moderately intense aerobic exercise five days a week or 20 minutes of high intensity aerobic exercise 3 days a week to maintain good health and reduce your risk of chronic disease.

If you are just starting out slowly increase your intensity with the help of a trainer. Maybe start with first deciding what type of aerobic activity you enjoy most. Options are and not limited to: biking, running, hiking, dancing, and swimming.

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Photo Credit: Easterday Creative

Below is a quick and effective running circuit I do if I am short on time. If you are new to exercise check with your doctor before beginning any new training program. Use the FITT principe to slowly increase in Time, Intensity, Type, and Frequency.

Warm-up 5-7 minutes by jogging. Perform 4-6 short bursts sprints between 30-60 seconds at a time. Take a 1-2 minute break or until you feel recovered enough to perform your next short burst sprint. Cool-down 5-7 minutes

You can use this same workout on a bike, swimming, on an elliptical and while walking.

Next week we will talk about why adding variety with strength training is such an important component to your workout regimen.

 

Adding Variety To Your Workout

What should I do for my workout? It’s a question that used to haunt me and circle in my thoughts each morning as I climbed out of bed.

It usually ended in a 4-6 mile run and maybe a few crunches. It wasn’t until I became a personal trainer that I began lifting heavier and incorporating a variety of different types of training into my workouts.

If you asked me if I would ever attempted power yoga or swinging around a kettle bell I would have told you, your crazy. I felt the biggest burn from pounding the pavement. There really is noting more euphoric than a runners high.

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However after the birth of my first daughter the weight seemed hard to drop and just running wasn’t cutting it anymore. What should I do for my workout?

I was at this question yet again and I slowly started to incorporate lifting. I wasn’t really consistent and did it sporadically but slowly I started to feel a little bit stronger and the weight started to budge on the scale.

The more I started to read the more I learned that incorporating variety into your workout helps prevent plateaus and with building strength. When we re-challenge the body and overload it in different ways our body has to work harder, which breaks plateaus. Changing up your routine is important to do every 6-8 weeks.

Over the next five weeks I am going to expand on these five ways you can add variety to your workout. With each element you will find a free workout incorporated in its post.

The five ways to add variety to your workout are: strength training, core exercises, balance training, stretching, and aerobic exercise.

Next week I’ll be talking about the importance of aerobic exercise and will be posting a cardio workout.

If you are at a place where you think you reached a plateau,maybe you are unsure or how to add variety, or need the support of a certified trainer to take your workout routine to the next level, please don’t hesitate to contact me with questions.

I am kicking off an online boot camp on November 21, 2016 and this might be the perfect opportunity for you to try something new and add variety to your workout. I like to work closely with my clients and only have a few spots left open. 

I have ran this boot-camp in the past and women have said, “…what they enjoyed most is the sense of community and knowing that other people are doing the same workouts as them. They love the accountability of checking in and not having to worry about what to do for a workout. It’s simply laid out for them”.

Benefits of Fitness

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Here are me and my oldest before I was heading out to speak to a group of women about the benefits of fitness

This past weekend I was able to speak to a group of moms about the benefits of fitness. I have a passion for spreading awareness about the many benefits of fitness and how they can have such a positive impact on your health. I also have a passion for sharing my core beliefs as a personal trainer: “making fitness a habit of daily living.” I told these ladies: “you have to find what you love and go with it”. Schedule thirty minutes to yourself each day to fit fitness in your daily routine. I am notorious for disappearing to my treadmill during the day even if I only have a quick thirty minutes. I grab my headphones, running shoes, and disconnect with the craziness of life and connect to a world that allows me to process my thoughts, connect with God and reap the benefits of fitness. When I am able to take care of myself, I am able to take better care of my family and those around me.

For many women it’s hard to find your niche in the fitness world. I suggest when you are searching for a type of workout you enjoy to try many different forms of working out before you decide what you love the most. Try it a handful of times before you make a decision. When you enjoy something you are going to go right back to it and repeat it again. Making it a daily habit. If you have had a negative experience you are going to hesitate to allow yourself to go back to it again. This is when you may need the help of a personal trainer or friend to get you started in the right direction and encourage you to keep searching until you find what feel most comfortable to you while exercising. Personal trainers help clients understand the benefits of fitness and create training programs that will help them stay consistent to their workouts and goals.

When I asked the women: “How Can you Make Fitness Fun?”

I received answers like: “meet up with a friend to workout, group exercise, workout with your spouse and compete for a cause”

Here are some benefits of fitness that I briefly touched on when speaking to these women:

-helps with stress relief

-helps manage health problems

-helps boost the health of your heart, helping improve your ability to burn calories managing your weight

-strength training helps our muscles work more efficiently and keeps our bones strong

-flexibility (stretching) helps prevent injuries and provides mobility of joints and muscles

-our body is better able to perform the tasks of daily living

Once you figure out what you enjoy while working out, schedule a time to workout each day, and if finding what you enjoy or understanding how to build a workout program is overwhelming to you and you understand how important the benefits of fitness are I would love to help you create a fitness regimen that is tailored to fit the needs of your specific lifestyle.

Blessings and Live Fit, Michelle

Motivation Monday: Start this week off with a healthy breakfast

Where does the weekend go seriously? Well I have really learned the hard way in the past. Working out hard and putting in my hours and not seeing results. That is when I realized how much diet and fitness work together. Our diet is just if not equally important as our fitness regimen. You want to be rewarded for your hard work by seeing results. Thats when I realized that my mom was right, It has to start with a healthy breakfast. Not with somedays, everyday. Consistency here is the key. Eating a healthy breakfast is the basis of any good and healthy routine in life.

If you have kids, or a crazy work schedule, believe me I get it. It’s hard to plan out your meals and I have fallen victim to starbucks, dunkin donuts, the big breakfast (oh man it’s good), countless times because I failed to plan. I also extend out grace on certain occasions, well because come on Starbucks is a nice treat. Most days I have gotten into the routine of making breakfast that provides lean protien, fiber, and carbs out to my kids. At first it was hard, I mean MOMMY, Mom, I NEED Water, I’m hungggery, I pooped(ya, gotta love my middle child so dramatic in the morning), I just want to throw anything I can at her because I feel a bit scattered brained and then I remember, hey I have to feed my kids healthy breakfast too!

It was also overwhelming to me when I got online to find out healthy idea’s that I could make quick for my husband and kids. I get asked a lot at the gym about my diet so I thought I would share breakfast on most days and my oatmeal trick with you:0

A few Tips why breakfast is important:

1. Eating breakfast starts us off on the right foot, helping us make better choices throughout the day
2. By skipping breakfast to cut back on calories, it could cause you to over eat at other meals
3. It helps balance your fitness regimen by fueling your workout
4. Helps control your hunger and keeps you from reaching an unhealthy mid-morning snack

A few things to incorporate with your breakfast:

1. Lean protien-holds you over longer and helps you feel full until lunch (eggs have the highest quality of protien-grab an omelet instead of a bagel!)
2. Fiber- helps digestion, decreases cholesterol, controls our blood sugar, and helps with weight loss
3. Complex carbohydrates- whole grains, veggies, fruits are high in essential vitamins and minerals. They contain fiber and polysaccharides(which require more energy to digest and are released into our blood stream slower). (USDA recommends 55-60% of our total caloric intake be from this form of carbohydrates). While only 10% is coming from simple carbohydrates. These are refined sugars, table sugar, low nutrient density food, honey, corn syrup.

We usually have this variety for breakfast:

chobani yogurt w. peanut butter and honey 100% whole wheat toast (smoothie mid-morning)
Malt o meal w. peanut butter and honey 100% whole wheat toast (smoothie mid-morning)
Omelet w. butter 100% whole wheat toast (smoothie mid morning)
Oatmeal w. nut mixture and a pinch of brown sugar (smoothie mid morning)

Below is a picutre of how, (If I know the week is going to be hectic) I store my oatmeal. I make a big batch on Monday and then I pull it out throughout the week warm it up and add some brown sugar and nuts. The kids love all of this!

Please share your idea’s below, on our Facebook page, Instagram, or twitter. I love getting new ideas and it’s healthy and good for our bodies to change up the foods we eat. #livefitin2014

Blessings, Michelle

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Why Weights? Part 2

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(Photo courtesy of Pinterest)

Good Afternoon Fitness Friends,

Here is our second segment on Why Weights? if you didn’t get a chance to read our first segment on weight lifting it covered the benefits of why lifting weights is so important to incorporate into your fitness routine. Today I am going to talk about some resistance training guidelines.

Resistance Training Guidelines:

1. If you are new to weight lifting, find an experienced friend or partner that can offer feedback, assistance, check your technique and help keep you motivated.
2. Select a minimum to 8 to 10 exercises targeting major muscle groups
3. Training each muscle group for 2-4 sets and 8-12 repetitions
4. If you are just beginning a workout routine ease into it with 1 or more sets of 10-15 repetitions for the first month really focusing on your form and postural alignment
5. Resistance training for each major muscle group should be performed 2-3 days per week on nonconsecutive days, separated by at least 48 hours
6. Use a full range of motion
7. performing each exercise in a slow, deliberate and controlled manner.
8. Don’t hold your breath! Here is a great article explaining how to breath during exercise from Spark People.com and it also has some great video demo’s with different exercises explaining when to inhale and exhale during weight lifting. Breathing During Exercise

Reference-NETA Fitness Professionals Manual

What is postural alignment? Postural alignment when we are focusing on good posture. Our Chin is up, shoulder blades nice and tall, and abdominals are compressed. Our feet our hip width apart, weight evenly distributed on each foot. Postural alignment is important in preventing injury and making each exercise effective.

What is full range of motion? Range of Motion

Resistance Training during Pregnancy helps women from loosing muscle mass and here are some safe exercises that can be performed: Bicep curls, shoulder raises, chest press (back supported, on an inclined bench), triceps extensions, and leg lifts.

Blessings, I hope this information will help you on your fitness journey. Find a friend, keep good form and postural alignment, remember to breath, make sure to rest and exercise each major muscle group on nonconsecutive days and next week I will write on how to formulate a exercise routine that will target the major muscle groups.