Start

Happy Monday Morning!!

Today is the start of a brand new day…and week.  So why not make the decision that today will be the day you change your life.

Bad Workout

Deciding to start a fitness program or healthy lifestyle does not mean you have to commit to running a marathon or hitting the gym every day or signing up for an intense boot camp class (though, you’re more than welcome to come to mine!).  You can start your brand new life by going for small walk around your block or adding in the Commercial Break Workout to your TV watching routine or even, since it’s summer, going for a swim.

Just do something.

I promise you that if you started adding a little fitness (and healthier eating) into your life your body will thank you.  And soon enough, your body will crave it.  Chances are you will feel more energized and happy and excited…and proud.

So, Happy Monday!  Make today the day you change your life.

~FB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20 Minutes a Day Can Change Your Life!

20 Minutes

I’ve said this many times before.  I’ve said it over and over again and I will continue to say it over and over again.  Why?  Because I believe it.  In fact, before I began my fitness journey, someone in my life kept saying that to me.  I thought he was just being an asshole and telling me I was fat (let’s face it, y’all, I was fat!), but eventually I listened to those words and I went from there.

As I mentioned in my last post, when I first started exercising, I couldn’t make it 20 minutes.  I could barely make it 3 minutes without wanting to kill myself (or feel like I was already dying).  My goal was to make it to 20 minutes.

When I finally did make it to the 20 minute mark I was ecstatic.  And for a long time that’s where I remained.  Just at the 20 minute mark.  Eventually, I did move up and sometimes I would (and still do) work out for hours on end.  But, there are times when time is limited and 20 (or 30) minutes is all you have.  You can sit around watching TV or creeping Facebook, OR you can get up and take advantage of that little bit of time and do something that will improve your mood, your energy level, your health, and your life.

Change Your Life

This past Saturday I was pressed for time and wasn’t able to get to the gym or a class but I desperately wanted to work out.  Technically, it was supposed to be my day off, but it was rainy and gross out and I was feeling lethargic and lazy and like I needed to do something. Initially, I was supposed to do the warm up for the Relay for Life but because of the raining weather, the warm up got cancelled.  Yet, I was craving a workout.  I didn’t want to overdo it because rest days are extremely important and, I admit, I don’t always take advantage of them, but I really wanted to get in a little cardio and a little strength.  And I did.

I got my game plan ready and I had myself a sweat-inducing, heart-racing 21 minute workout right there in my boyfriend’s living room.  And it felt great.  I felt great.  I accomplished a lot in a little bit of time and carried on with the rest of my day.

So, if that’s all it takes (at the very least, to start), why not set aside 20 minutes of your day and get moving in the direction to change your life.

~FB

 

 

 

 

 

Begin (Confessions)

I saw this post in my Facebook feed this today and knew I had to write something about it.

Beginner

…Because this is truth.

We all have to start somewhere.  We are all beginners.  We will not know our full abilities until we try.

When I first began my fitness journey I could not do a full three minutes on my elliptical.  In fact, I found it so hard that I gave up.  I was winded and sweaty (I still sweat like I’m burning in Hell) and, frankly, I was embarrassed that a mere three minutes of cardio nearly killed me and I gave up!

I had bought that elliptical on a whim of trying wanting to be healthy (read: skinny) and I failed.  And, apparently, at that time I was okay with failure.  But then one day, that one particular day, I made a decision and my life changed – forever and for the best.  I swear to God, that elliptical saved my life.  I saw this with all seriousness and certainty.  I was on a path that was destroying me.  My self-esteem was shot, my mental health was in the toilet, and I was overweight to a degree that I should never have let happen.

And I jumped on my elliptical and had my first real workout.

And, although I swore I would never publicly show this photo – I realized, “well shoot!  This was me!  This is what I looked like!”  So, here goes:

Side by side

Left: Before / Right: After 

Yep!  The pic on the left with the scratched out face and the really, really badly blonde hair is me.

And you know what’s sad?  I I don’t even recognize that person on the left and I’m ashamed that I allowed myself to treat my body that way. After A Lot of hard work, dedication, and discipline, the pic on the right reflects closer to where I am today. But each day I grow in my fitness. I’m so much stronger and adventurous in my exercising. And I look forward to challenging myself daily.

Once I started exercising regularly and eating healthier, I started feeling better on the inside too.  I know not everyone gets this or agrees. But this is 100% true for me. Exercise helped bring me out of a 10 year depression. It helped with my self-esteem and confidence.  There are days when I still struggle with these but overall, I’ve become a different person.  (Give it a chance….you might be shocked to find that exercise can help you too.)

Mood changer

When I look back to those years ago and hopping on my elliptical and failing miserably at my first attempt of working out, I almost feel glad,  Because I was doing it for the wrong reason.  As I said above, I wanted to start exercising to get thin, not to have a better life.  And it wasn’t until I decided to change my life that my life changed.  That’s when I really began.

So, don’t be afraid to begin.  Even if it means you’re starting over or beginning again.  It’s when you’re really ready that you will make the effort.  As you know, my mantra for years has been “If you’re not willing to do the work, you’re not ready to lose the weight.” (Thank you Shaun T!)  Again, #Truth!

So, don’t be afraid.  Go ahead and begin.  And if you have to, begin again.

~FB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’re Good Enough!

I had a conversation with another fitness professional recently and we were discussing how “haters gonna hate” (although we were more eloquent than that).

When you make the decision to change your life and to become a healthier person, there will always be someone – that one person – who will do whatever he or she can to keep you down.

I can attest to this.

After I’d made some changes and began eating better and exercising, I lost weight very quickly and my overall health changed.  Everyone was really supportive of me, my decisions, and my lifestyle.  Except one person.

This person, for whatever reason, wanted to make me feel bad for feeling good.  In fact, this individual even made a public comment that I looked sick and had “gone too far”.

Really?  I gave my life a makeover and worked my butt off to get healthy. Before that  was overweight, sedentary, and basically ate garbage.  But suddenly, now I’d gone too far?

good-enough

While you will always have tons of support while on your road to good health, you will also encounter a few people who jerks and will work to bring you down.  Either they’ll throw out a hurtful comment or a snide remark, or will just talk shit about you behind your back.  The truth is – and again, I’m calling a spade a spade – these few people are dissatisfied with their lives.  They’re jealous that you look and feel so damn good, and that you have accomplished (read: earned!) so much, and they, for whatever reason, don’t want to put in the effort to do the same for themselves.  So, in turn, they want to discourage you in hopes that they can bring you back down to their level.  DON’T LET THEM.

And if you need to, shake ’em off.

Remember, as always, You’re Worth It!

~FB

#youreworthit!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fitness: The Only Known Cure for Anxiety (Guest Post)

The wonderful team (and in particular, Dan Chabert) at Runnerclick.com have been kind enough to provide me with the following article.

As someone who has personally been affected by depression and anxiety in the past, I can attest that regular exercise can improve your mood and, in turn, really change your life.  I truly believe that exercise “cured” my depression (thank you, endorphins).  While this may not be true for everyone, and some of you may not agree with the statements below, it is definitely an enlightening read.

~FB

FITNESS:  THE ONLY KNOWN CURE FOR ANXIETY

Psychological symptoms such as anxiety have been scientifically proven to affect multiple aspects of fitness like endurance, conditioning, and concentration. However, fitness can positively affect psychological symptoms, and reduce both anxiety and stress. Fitness does not only keep our body in shape, but it also works our minds as well. Daily exercise is powerful enough to notably reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, also improving your overall psychological and physical health.

Scientific Background

Multiple researches have been performed to study the relation between anxiety and fitness, and how they affect each other. Studies conducted by the US Department of Health and Human Services and the Harvard Medical School as well as other health organizations and private researchers have revealed that fitness maintains a solid mental state and it can reduce anxiety and stress.

Exercise is very effective at diminishing fatigue, while enhancing awareness and focus. It is also proven to increase our cognitive capacity in general. This comes in extremely handy when anxiety clouds your mind and stops you from focusing.

Sessions of yoga, running, and other dynamic activities have shown to stabilize anxiety issues that affect the brain. Some people underestimate the effects that anxiety can produce to their body, thinking it´s just a psychological issue and not realizing how taxing it can be for their physical activities.

The US Department of Health and Human Services performed an investigation in which they found that participating in multiple fitness activities and aerobic training will reduce considerable amounts of mental tension, improve self-esteem and overall mood. Exercise works as a natural cure for anxiety and other psychosomatic symptoms.

Using Fitness as Psychological Therapy

For a long time, many psychologists have included exercise and fitness activities such as running, yoga, bike riding and swimming to their therapy. In fact, regular sessions of such activities may have an effect even greater than any possible medication.

While exercising, your body produces considerable amounts of endorphins, which work as completely natural analgesics for your mind, also refining sleep. After beginning a session, some people might be able to note important changes in their mood during the first 10 minutes of exercise, stimulating effects that reduce nervousness.

If exercising has a positive impact on your mind during short training sessions, making a frequent exercise schedule can be a definitive solution to your mental stress. Fitness will help you keep a clear mind and a healthy body all at the same time, it doesn´t get any better than that.

However, each therapy has a different outcome on each patient just like in any other case. Your body may generate a positive reaction when training and perhaps even relieve your anxiety for good, just like it might not have any impact at all on your symptoms. Regardless, one thing is for sure; fitness will help you improve your physical health, and this is undeniable.

Incorporating Exercise to your Therapy

For optimal results, you should look for a physical activity that best suits your personal preferences. Some anxiety patients prefer to clear their mind with a calm and quiet activity; practicing yoga is a perfect solution for these cases.

For more active exercises, running is an awesome idea. Going out for a jog with fresh air is very likely to reduce your mental symptoms in a matter of minutes. Concentrate on the path, admire everything throughout your trip and let your mind take off from daily pressure and anxiety. Running will clear up your mind while improving important aspects of your physical form.

You can always get a running buddy to add an extra layer of distraction to your exercise therapy. Social interaction while exercising is a great way to distract your mind from anxiety, stress, depression and other symptoms that cloud your brain. Some therapists recommend running or exercising with other patients of similar cases. Group therapy allows you to measure your progress along with other people under similar circumstances to yours.

If you prefer individual therapy, a playlist of your favorite relaxing music is always a great companion. Select songs that have a positive impact in your mood, ones that help you relax and that you can feel working with your activity. Music also has a very interesting scientific background in reducing symptoms like anxiety and similar.

If your body or mind can´t get used to physical activities, it might be an indicator that you need more time to adapt yourself. Don´t quit if you don´t see immediate progress, experiment different methods of practicing each activity and let your body adapt for one to two months before giving up on exercise therapy.

Fitness & Anxiety Disorders

Everyone has been through anxiety during a point of their life. However, when it comes to anxiety disorders, over 35 million people compose the most common symptom in the United States– This is where fitness comes in.

Research suggests that when it comes to anxiety, the exercise intensity is not really relevant to the treatment. A calm 15-minute long walk can be as effective as an hour-long intense training session. It´s a matter of personal comfort, where your body and mind try to find an activity that distracts you from these disorders.

A single exercise session will produce temporary results. A simple walk across the park can provide multiple hours of mind peace and declining in negative psychological symptoms; this effect is similar to the one of an analgesic for a common pain.

Not only does fitness work as a solution, but is also works as a prevention method. Investigators point out that people who practice physical activities are less likely to suffer from anxiety. Making fitness a habit in your life can lessen the amounts of anxiety.

Writer’s Bio:

DAN CHABERT

chabert-2

Dan Chabert

Dan is an entrepreneur from Copenhagen, Denmark. He is a husband first and ultramarathon distance runner second. The websites monicashealthmag.com, nicershoes.com & runnerclick.com keep him busy, as well as being featured in many different runner blogs all over the world.

Instant Results

I saw this meme the other day on my Facebook feed and I thought how true it is and has been for many of us.

instant-results

We’re just entering our second week of 2017 and, as most people do, many of us have also made New Year’s Resolutions.  (Have you?  Tell me about them.)

I almost never make resolutions for the new year because I know I’m more than likely setting myself up for failure.  (Stop swearing.  Yeah right!)

Instead, this time I have have made the decision and commitment to work harder on my strength training this year.  For Christmas I had received a free-standing boxing bag, something I have wanted for a long time.  I was ecstatic Christmas morning.  And I have been utilizing it this past week like crazy.

In addition to the boxing, I am going to continue to my strength training in the gym (and at home) with lifting weights and, hopefully, continuously increasing the weight.  Of course, this part will depend on how my back fares.  I wretched it again just this morning while shoveling snow.  Sometimes I feel like it’s never going to heal.  But, that being said, I will work on my strength while doing my best not to injure myself any further.

work-for-it

My Whole 30 60 (I am aiming big this time) also starts tomorrow morning and I have been so excited to get going.  Don’t get me wrong, I am going to miss chocolate and those dreamy peppermint mochas, but I know how wonderful I feel when doing a Whole and committing myself to completely clean eating for 60 days has me on edge in all the good ways.

But see – this is the point of this post.  Instant results would be fabulous!  But it’s just not realistic.  Oprah said years ago on her show that if there were a pill out there to make her lose weight she would be on it!  But, unfortunately, there is no magic pill. You have to work for it.  You have to.  The only instant result you get is making the choice to change your life.

That’s right, in one instant you can change your life.  You can commit yourself to a better lifestyle – to eating cleaner, to sleeping more, to getting enough water to drink, and to exercising.

30-minutes

Even 20 minutes a day can change your life!

Many years ago, when I was overweight and at my heaviest, I made that commitment. And, as you know, I haven’t looked back.  I have changed my life.

At first, I had a hard time getting through my workouts.  I was panting and huffing and puffing.  I could barely get through three minutes.  But I kept at it and I worked my way up to 10, 20, 30, 60, 120 minutes.  I have often said that 20 minutes a day can change your life  and I stick by that.  You do not need to spend hours upon hours in the gym.  But you do have to do something.  Start off with a goal of even 5 minutes a day.  Work your way up to 10 or 20 minutes over the weeks.  See how different you feel, how easier it is to breathe, how harder you can go.  Feel the difference in your body and how your clothes fit.  Commit yourself to one month.  Give yourself 30 days of eating better and working out even 3 times a week.  I challenge you* to do that. Thirty days is not a long time.  But those thirty days can change your life.

You have to work for it.

~Fit Bitch

*Anyone accepting my challenge, please feel free to comment or email me and let me know you’ve accepted the challenge, or if you want fitness tips, instructions, workout ideas, or nutritional advice/healthy eating coaching.

It Takes Time

Progress

So often I hear of people who’ve quit fitness because the results weren’t instantaneous.

But you know what?  Results likely won’t be instantaneous.

I’ve said this many times in the past and I stick by it – (think about it) – the weight didn’t come on overnight, so it shouldn’t come off overnight.  This is why I’m wary and against those “diets” and programs that offer nearly instant success, yet, encourage you to not exercise (I’m looking at you, Ideal Protein!*).  I mean, you’ve got to work for it, people!

(*You can read more about the dangers of high protein, low carb diets from my post here: https://nsfitbitch.wordpress.com/2014/09/21/the-dangers-of-high-protein-low-carb-diets/)

We all want to see our hard work pay off, and it will.  But you have to actually put in the work.  And you have to give it time.

Don’t be discouraged because three weeks have gone by and you haven’t lost the ten pounds you were hoping to.  Our bodies don’t work that way.  You might not lose those ten pounds for a few months.  But I guarantee that if you’re eating healthier and fitting in time to exercise regularly that the wonderful changes you’re making in your life are affecting your health in a positive way a lot more than losing those ten pounds are.

Remember:  Progress is progress!

Hang in there.  Stick with it.  Don’t give up.

~Fit Bitch

 

Inspire

Tonight someone posted the following to my Facebook wall:

Inspire

And a few weeks ago I received an email from a guy I met at the gym a few years ago.  He actually inspired and intimidated me.  He was doing things at the gym that I would only dream of doing.  Once I got to know him I learned a lot…he’s a former boxer, has two talented little girls (both under 10) who are in a band, and he rescues and rehabilitates dogs.  He’s a total rock star.  So I was very humbled when I received his email:

Hi Sandy.  I have been really busy trying to get my level 3 as a boxing coach – been taking courses, and spending 5 days a week working at the boxing club getting our boxers ready for their first fights in May. I decided to take the course because you inspired me – after watching you work so hard I decided to go for it myself.  So thanks girl!   It’s not hard to tell you love what you do -helping others reach farther than ever and believe in themselves.  Take care see you at the gym and thanks again for the inspiration – even though you didn’t know you were doing it!”

And – one of my biggest cheerleaders – always – has been a cousin. She constantly praises me and encourages me in my endeavors.  A few weeks ago she posted this:

I am YOUR biggest cheerleader. You inspired me to do whatever I had to to get to a much healthier state.  I can proudly say that I am now 135 lbs lighter, so much healthier and active.  YOU, Ms. NS Fit Bitch, inspire me every single day. You are simply an amazing representation of what dedicated, hard work can do to change a person’s life. I am beyond proud of you and love you so much.”

When I receive these messages all I can say, y’all, is OH.EM.GEE!!

You have no idea what these words mean to me.

When I set out on my journey I did it for me.  I did it for my health and for my future.  I had no idea that along the trail I was inspiring people – although, these days I try to set a good example and hope to inspire – but to actually hear it and see it.  It makes my heart flutter.

Thank you. ♥

And thank you to all of you who continue to read these posts and who come to my classes and who stand in my corner and cheer and who let me cheer you.  It makes it that much more worth it.

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

~Fit Bitch

Evolution

I don’t normally do this.  1) Because it’s embarrassing, and 2) Because I don’t want to be *that* person who feels the need to flaunt things.  That being said, do not read me wrong, I am very proud of how far I’ve come in my weight loss journey and healthier lifestyle, and I do not ever want to take away from how darn hard I worked to get where I am.  However, *THAT* being said, I am also disappointed in myself for letting myself get to the point it was 10 years ago.

I’m doing this now because the other day one of my best friends was telling me she felt disappointed with herself because she felt she’d gained weight (although I can visibly see that she has lost weight in the last 6 weeks).  I wanted to encourage her and let her know that I am her cheerleader, and that I have been in the same position.  AND that she does not look as badly as I’m sure she thinks she does.

And so, I brought her a photo of my old self.  The self from 10 years ago – a little bit before she met me.  I showed her a photo – THE PHOTO – that literally changed my life.  The photo that I honest-to-goodness did not recognize myself in.  As in, I actually had no idea who the person in the photo was.

It’s THE PHOTO that made me, within moments, turn my life around.  THE PHOTO that prompted me to get my big butt home and start an exercise program.  THE PHOTO that started a healthier eating plan.

It’s THE PHOTO that likely saved my life.

And now, for the first time, I am sharing it with you (ack!!!):

BIGUN

There you go!!  Not my finest moment.

But I have come a long way.  I continue to work my ass off.  I continue to have goals.  Sometimes I hit them, sometimes I slide really close to them.

I still have a bit of a tummy.

Skinny butt

I still have a bit of arm junk that hates me and just.won’t.go.away.

Wedding Pic

Maybe like my bestie I am still being too hard on myself.  I should be proud of myself.  Because, honestly, if I had not seen that photo I may not have adjusted my lifestyle.  I could have exposed myself to serious health problems or diseases.  In fact, I could be dead.

I wanted to share THAT PHOTO with you because, even tho it is humiliating for me, I wanted to prove to you that I have been there.  I didn’t take some magic bean and suddenly lose a ton (pun!) of weight; I had to work for it.  And the work paid off.

So, if you’re new to fitness, if you want to make a change, if you’re struggling, if you don’t think you can do it, if you think it’s hopeless (it’s not!!):  Hang in there.  Put the effort in and you will see results.  My transition was (thankfully) a short one.  But it does take time.  Stick with it.  You CAN do this.  ♥

AND – to my bestie, if you’re reading this:  I am proud of you.

~Fit Bitch

Breakfast

eggs

For many years I avoided breakfast like the plague.  I don’t know how I got it in my head that breakfast was bad for me, but I did, and it stuck.

When I was little my mom would always have a hearty breakfast ready for me and my brother before we went off to school.  We would sit at our kitchen table and eat cereal or eggs or toast….something good to nourish our minds and our bodies and to keep us warm and alert and raring to go for the day.  And it kept us from being hungry until lunchtime.

Then in middle school I started skipping breakfast.  I think it started mostly because I was now a little older, didn’t have to rely on my mom to help me get ready and primping my 13-year-old self usually had me running behind on the clock and I just didn’t have the time to eat.  Once I reached high school and developed eating disorders I gave up on eating nearly altogether.  And then in college and work, again, I just didn’t have time and of course, after all those years my body just became accustomed to not eating in the mornings.  Here and there I’d grab a bagel or a muffin but most of the time I’d go without.

Then a couple of years ago I started eating breakfast (I’ve told you all about my egg addiction) and something happened….I felt good, I had more energy, I wasn’t sluggish, and most of all, I wasn’t starving the whole day.  It was sort of life changing.

Here is the main reason why breakfast really is the meal of champions:

People who eat breakfast are significantly less likely to be obese than those who don’t.  The word literally refers to breaking the fasting period of the prior night.  If you don’t “break the fast” after going without food all night, your body goes into starvation mode, slowing your metabolism.  That means the next meal you eat will burn off more slowly.  Also, plenty of dieters forgo the first meal of the day, figuring they’ll end up eating fewer calories that way—when in fact, it works the other way around.  People who skip breakfast usually end up consuming more calories during the day, whereas those who start their day with a healthy meal end up consuming fewer calories overall.

Start the day with protein.  Protein makes you feel full longer so eating a high protein meal for breakfast will help to curb your hunger so you will make better nutrition choices throughout the day.  Eggs or egg whites are the best choice.  Other good choices are quinoa, turkey bacon, Greek yogurt. And don’t forego carbs – especially if you’re heading into your workout. All exercise relies on carbohydrate as carbs provide the energy that fuels muscle contractions.

Other reasons to eat breakfast:

1) Stay on Track – Studies show that if you start the day the right way, by choosing a healthy breakfast, you will be more likely to make healthy high fiber, and low glycemic choices throughout the day! This, of course, will help you lose weight more efficiently.

2) Boost Your Immune System – Eating a healthy breakfast will boost your immune system and as a result you will be sick less often, if at all. And when you are healthy you can get your workouts in to reach your weight loss goals.  So make sure to choose your healthy breakfast wisely!

3) Have More Energy – Having an omelet or another protein-filled breakfast will give you more energy to exercise and this will help you lose weight.

4) Curb Your Hunger – As mentioned above, a healthy, hearty breakfast will prevent you from snacking and overeating at other times in your day.

4) Insulin Health – Studies show that people who eat breakfast have more stable insulin levels, and this will put them in a better mood. Happy people usually make better nutrition choices and this will aid in your weight loss journey (kinda like what Elle said in Legally Blonde – “Exercise gives you endorphins.  Endorphins make you happy.  Happy people don’t shoot their husbands.  They just don’t.”)

~Fit Bitch