Top 3 mistakes we make when setting a fitness goal

As soon as the calendars turn to January, our minds turn to setting resolutions – don’t they? We want so much to make a change and to make this year somehow different by setting the right fitness goal. So we start the month with the best of intentions:

-Buy new shoes so that we can run more regularly. 

-Set our alarms to workout before work every morning. 

-Have audacious goals of losing X lbs/fitting into that pair of jeans.

-Download a new workout program from FitnessBlender to do at home. 

Even with all of that planning and preparation, most of our new year’s resolutions inevitably fail. And as a coach and trainer (work with me for free!), I work with women to help them actually reach their fitness goals.

I’ve found that most fitness goals fail because of motivation (see allllll about that here and here) or three simple mistakes that we make when we are taking the first steps toward our goals.

If your fitness goal involves getting more consistent with your workouts, losing body fat, and learning to workout at home, #StressFreeStrength – my free fitness challenge starting next week – could be a great fit for you. 

Today, I’m walking you through these three mistakes so that you can NOT make them and be successful in reaching your fitness goals.

3 things NOT to do when setting a fitness goal

If you're setting a fitness goal in 2018, make sure you're not making one of these 3 mistakes.  fitness goal list - fitness goal motivation - fitness goal for women - realistic fitness goal

Sign up for the gym

We never seem to have enough time to actually get in our workouts, because there are a thousand things to do. We plan to head to the gym at lunchtime. Before we know it, we look down at your phone and it’s already 12:30pm, thirty minutes after we should have left. Anxiety fills our stomachs, because we know our workout is gonna take a full hour. We mentally count how much time it’d take to change, get to the gym, and fit in the workout. With the next meeting at 2:00pm, getting in a workout seems impossible, so we skip it. When we’re finally walking to our car at the end of the day, we’re frustrated and just a little guilty. We’re not just frustrated because we missed a workout but because we had planned to do it all along but ran out of time.

Sound familiar?

But what if I told you that your motivation isn’t actually the problem.

The gym is the problem.

Here’s the thing. The gym is a fabulous tool for working out. It’s a place where we can meet other likeminded people and have access to cool equipment (love me a squat rack and 12 different KB weights), but it is NOT the only tool. And it is not what’s gonna get you the results you’re looking for.

Results come from consistent, effective workouts (like those in #StressFreeStrength), NOT going to the gym.

So if you’ve got a gym membership or ClassPass subscription that you’re not using because you’re too busy and you’ve been missing workouts, join #StressFreeStrength with me!

Go at it alone

Whenever I talk with women who are trying to lose weight/get more consistent/change their bodies, I always ask one question:

Who is on this journey with you?

So often, the answer is no one. We try to hold ourselves accountable and keep ourselves motivated alone. This is REALLY hard to do.

If we don’t have social support in place when trying to reach a fitness goal, we are setting ourselves up to fail. We NEED people in our corner. We desperately NEED accountability.

This is why I am not offering another free, downloadable workout program to help you reach your 2018 fitness goals. I see so many other online programs not offering support or community. You download the program, read the emails, and you’re off on your own. Not in #StressFreeStrength. You’ll have access to me and a group of women with like-minded women with the same goals so that you feel supported and accountable from day 1. This is the secret sauce that’s gonna help you reach your goals once and for all.

Aim for 60 minute workouts

For years, I believed that I had to exercise for an hour in order for it to *count.* If I couldn’t get in a 60 minute sweat sesh, I’d skip my workout.

I remember waking up late for class in college and realizing I didn’t have enough time for my crazy long workout session. Instead of throwing on my shoes and doing a quick bodyweight circuit in my dorm, I huffed off to class, feeling like a failure.

And that’s so common, isn’t it? We get down on ourselves and feel guilty when we can’t fit in that hour long workout, regardless of the circumstances. 

We gotta get our minds right and reset our expectations.

Before implementing shorter workouts, I’d feel overwhelmed by the amount of time it’d take to complete a workout. On days where I didn’t have at least an hour to devote to working out, I’d just skip it and make myself eat less to “make up for” my missed workout. Now, I’ve cut my workout time in half without compromising results.

So many women STILL believe that more is always better, so they stress about getting in 60 minute gym workouts. If they’re not able to fit in those long ass workouts, they’re beating themselves up, anxious, and forcing themselves eat less to make up for it.

This is an awful cycle that’s keeping us from reaching our goals. What most of us miss is that trying to complete long workouts is actually making us fatter in the long run. So, instead, I recommend short workouts doable at home – exactly like I programmed for #StressFreeStrength – my free fitness accountability challenge starting on January 20! Claim your free spot here. 

With knowledge of these simple mistakes, you’re on the right track to reaching your 2018 fitness goal! If you want support and a jumpstart, grab your spot for #StressFreeStrength before sign ups close on January 19!

New Year’s Workout – 2018

Happy 2018, my lovely friends! I hope you had a fantastic holiday weekend! Juno and I hung out on Saturday, and I spent New Year’s Eve out with my best friend (shenanigans on Instagram). But now that we are officially into 2018 and ready to take on the new year, I figured it was only fitting to share a new year’s workout!

So many of us want to get back on track after the holidays and one of the best ways to do that is by simply incorporating, short, sweet metabolic workouts (like this one). In preparation for my winter #StressFreeStrength challenge (starting Saturday January 20!), I’m sharing a fun, effective workout, playing off our new year – 2018.

Your New Year’s Workout

Today’s workout is using a set of moderate dumbbells to work your entire body. If you don’t have any equipment, grab a backpack or work bag and fill it with books. You can use this as a makeshift sandbag.

For this workout, we’ll be incorporating Metabolic Effect’s Rest Based Training (RBT) principle (see more here). With RBT, we work as hard as we possibly can for the prescribed interval, resting only as needed.

This workout’s structure is a little different than my other HIIT workouts, because we are playing on the new year – 2018 (this format was inspired by my Halloween workout). Instead of working on an interval timer, we are performing two rounds of five exercises.

Round 1: 20 reps

Round 2: 18 reps

See what I did there!

HNY! In honor of 2018, we've got a brand new, real time full body workout to get us off to the right start. Check it out! New Year's Workout - New Year's Gym Workout - New Year's Exercise Workout

Keep in mind that both rounds are going to be TOUGH – with the rep range helping you build endurance. Instead of pacing yourself, break the round into sets so you can go as hard as possible. If you’re looking for guidance of how hard to push and for form cues, join me! We can work out together below.

If you’re loving this workout and want more short, effective home workouts, #StressFreeStrength is for you!

And honestly, that’s why I felt obligated to create #StressFreeStrength, a 10-day workout challenge to help you get stronger, leaner, and more consistent without any stress, shame, or obsession over the process.

Here’s the thing. So many women STILL believe that more is always better, so they stress about getting in 60 minute gym workouts. If they’re not able to fit in those long ass workouts, they’re beating themselves up, anxious, and forcing themselves eat less to make up for it.

This is an awful cycle that’s keeping us from reaching our goals. What most of us miss is that trying to complete long workouts is actually making us fatter.

Why? We are: 

-Less consistent

-More stressed because fitting in long workouts is tough

-Cheating ourselves on intensity.

#StressFreeStrength is unique, because I’m gonna show you exactly how to structure your workouts in a way that keeps you from getting stressed out. The goal is to crush 8 workouts (all 30 minutes or less and doable at home) over 10 days, and every lady who completes all 8 will be put in the running to win free coaching with me.

We get started on Saturday January 20 (yep Saturday!) so sign up ASAP below.

Creating Your Weekly Workout Plan – Step by Step

You’re ready to get more consistent with your workouts but just can’t seem to get into a rhythm that works for your schedule. Or maybe, you’ve been working out for a while now, many times a week but are just not seeing results. Your weekly workout plan is full of 5, 6, 7 workouts and you’re doing them all, but you look in the mirror, frustrated that your belly looks the exact same.

Sound familiar?

As a coach and trainer, I hear from women weekly about their struggles with exercising. And honestly, they fall into two main camps:

  • Women who are having a hard time getting consistent with workouts. They’re trying so so hard to workout but most days, things get in the way (especially during the holidays) and they fall off the wagon.
  • Women who are exercising (very) consistently but aren’t seeing changes. They’re working out hard and following a strict workout program but the scale doesn’t budge, their pants don’t fit differently, and they don’t know what they’re doing wrong (make sure you’re not telling yourself one of these four lies that are keeping you from seeing results).

Now, I talk tons about consistency (if you’re struggling see here, here, and here for some of my best recommendations) but to be real, for years (and until I developed the nutrition and workout protocols I teach in #ConsistentlyLean) I struggled with working out a ton and not seeing results.

It was incredibly frustrating. And looking back, it all boiled down to two simple mistakes that would have been fixable with the right weekly workout plan (download a great one here).

(1) Doing the WRONG types of workouts and (2) OVERexercising

So many of us are working out for too long (see two reasons to shorten your workout) and working out inefficiently (create the most effective 20 minute workout using these guidelines), which keeps us from seeing results. UGH!

I’m a firm believer in working out for leveling up your workouts (tips to create an effective routine) so you can scale back the amount of time you’re exercising each week but I keep hearing from women that they’re struggling to know when they’ve done enough. They’re constantly questioning themselves and worried that they’re doing too little (or too much). And honestly, a lot of this comes from a workout program that’s not working FOR them.

So this week, I’m breaking down, step-by-step, how to create your best weekly workout plan to keep you consistent AND seeing results.

Creating your weekly workout plan

Learn to create your own workout plan, step by step. Weekly Workout Plan For Women - Weekly Workout Plan For The Gym - Weekly Workout Plan for Home

Step 1: determine how many days a week you want to workout

You first need to decide how many day per week you’d like to workout. I generally start clients on a three days a week workout plan. This is a great amount of weekly activity to start seeing physical results and start feeling different in your own skin.

Because you don’t want to work the same muscle group back-to-back, this will influence how you set up your workout split. If you’re ready to bump your routine up to 4 or 5 workout days per week, the same principles apply! 🙂

Step 2: slot in your lifting days

The first step to creating your weekly workout plan is to add your lifting days. Because lifting weights is the best way to change the shape of your body, we gotta focus on adding it first to our program. Below are my recommendations for lifting schedules.

3 day workout plan

Monday: full body weighted workout #1

Wednesday: full body weighted workout #2

Friday: full body weighted workout #3

4 day workout plan

Monday: full body weighted workout #1

Wednesday: full body weighted workout #2

Friday: full body weighted workout #3

Saturday: additional, body part specific lifting workout OR HIIT cardio, depending on your goals (more on that below)

5 day workout plan

Monday: lower body workout #1

Tuesday: upper body + abs workout #1

Wednesday: metabolic conditioning workout OR HIIT cardio, depending on your goals (more on that below)

Friday: lower body workout #2

Saturday: upper body + abs workout #2

Step 3: schedule your recovery activities

Our bodies need recovery (see why to take a rest day) and restorative activity just as much as they need workouts. That’s why it’s so important to schedule these activities in the same way that we would schedule our workouts.

Take a minute to look at your weekly workout plan to determine when and where you can add some restorative activities – think yoga, stretching, mobility work, meditation, or walking.

Step 4: add cardio based on your goals

Generally, I recommend clients lift weights 3-4x per week. Once those 3-4 workouts are scheduled, we can consider adding some cardio, most often, in the form of HIIT or MetCon. These types of cardio activities preserve muscle tissue and help raise our metabolic rate. This is different from long duration, steady state cardio (think running 5 miles) that actually can break down our hard earned muscle.

If you have fat loss goals, try adding a short HIIT cardio workout (like this one) to your schedule.

Trying to maintain your progress?Ttry adding a MetCon circuit or consider doing low intensity steady state (walking) or yoga.

If you’re training for an endurance event, add your moderate intensity steady state cardio.

Using these four steps, you can create a weekly workout plan that works for YOU and will help you see results. If you want a done for you, weekly workout plan that will help you STOP overexercising, get CONSISTENT, and see RESULTS, download my #GoldilocksFitness Program. I’ll program a week of workouts for you so that you can rest assured you’ve done enough, without overdoing it. Grab your copy below.

Holiday Workout Plan – 7 Days of Bodyweight Workouts

Happy (almost)December! In honor of the busiest month of the year, I wanted to share out a weekly workout plan that you can use all December long.

When we are slammed at work, traveling to see family, or facing back-to-back holiday parties, fitting in a workout seems like the last thing we wanna do. But at the same time, a quick workout can set the tone for our entire day. In fact, I strongly encourage my coaching clients to emphasize consistency with their workouts above all else during the holidays.

Why?

Because it’s the ONE thing we can truly control.

In a time where many of our meals are outside the norm, it helps to focus on our fitness. This focus allows us to get a few victories under our belts so that we can have more motivation to take on challenging eating situations.

That’s why I’ve created this super simple holiday workout plan, so that you can take it with you anytime you’re traveling (or just plain busy) this holiday season. You can repeat this workout plan for 2-3 weeks, just be sure that you are progressing the movements as best you can (here’s how to do it with equipment and here’s how to do it without).

Every workout in this holiday workout plan is bodyweight only, so you can workout absolutely anywhere. If you wanna add equipment, go ahead but it’s not at all required for these workouts.

Let’s get to it.

Your Holiday Workout Plan

Day 1: Bodyweight Stair Workout

Full breakdown

Today's full body bodyweight stair workout will work your entire body. One round will take about 6 minutes to complete, and I recommend completing 2-3 rounds for a full workout.

Day 2: Burpee/Lunge Ladder Workout

Full breakdown

 

A ascending ladder just means that you will start with 1 rep of one exercise and 10 reps of the other, adding 1 rep to the first exercise and subtracting 1 rep from the other until reaching the allotted number of reps. For example, with this workout, you will complete 1 burpee and 10 jump lunge (per leg) in the first round. Rest as needed. Then complete 2 burpees and 9 jump lunges (per leg).

Day 3: Turkey Day Full Body Workout

Full breakdown

This workout will be performed in a circuit style and works your full body. You will do each bodyweight strength exercise for 50 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, and then you'll move into 30 seconds of your cardio move of choice (skipping, high knees, burpees, etc) before transitioning into the next strength exercise. The goal of this style is to combine cardio and strength to maximize your results.

Day 4: Rest/Recovery OR Glute Activation Workout

Full breakdown

My plan is to use this sequence as a warm up before strength sessions. I also encourage you to add it to your mobility routine to make sure your whole body is properly mobilized and stabilized.

Day 5: Halloween Inspired Full Body Workout

Full breakdown

My treat for you is a bodyweight halloween workout you can do absolutely anywhere. Bodyweight workouts are possibly the most effective way to improve your relative strength while also getting a cardio burn. And I'm all about improving that relative strength! That being said, the other key benefit of incorporating bodyweight training into your routine, especially if you would otherwise skip a workout, is that you can get your sweat on anywhere.

Day 6: Sprints + Core Circuit

Full breakdown

Looking for a new core workout? This ab workout will get you wedding ready in no time. And, let's be real, this is not your typical six pack sit up workout, because I'm all about results. And in order to change your physique, we've got to incorporate both effective ab exercises to build strength AND interval cardio to reduce body fat.

Looking for a new core workout? This ab workout will get you wedding ready in no time. And, let's be real, this is not your typical six pack sit up workout, because I'm all about results. And in order to change your physique, we've got to incorporate both effective ab exercises to build strength AND interval cardio to reduce body fat.

Day 7: REST!

Here’s why rest is so so important…

If you want more fun, short, and effective workouts that can be done at home, #SkipTheGym might be a great fit for you. Try out a free workout & get a sample meal plan bonus here.

Turkey Day TRX Workout – Travel Ready

The TRX is one of my favorite pieces of equipment, and I recommend it to clients almost every single week. This super simple implement is amazing for creating full body workouts, using nothing but our bodyweight. Whether you workout at a gym or at home, incorporating TRX movements is a great way to increase your relative strength and improve stability/balance. Oh, and it’s really flipping fun. Today, in honor of Thanksgiving here in the states (I did a Thanksgiving workout last year too – try it out!), I’ve build a workout that requires only your TRX so that you can take your TRX workout with you anywhere.

TRX Workout

This workout was a reader request, and I’m more than happy to oblige, because the TRX is my go-to when I’m traveling (try out my other TRX workout, too!). It can be used to work your entire body (and doesn’t take up much space in a suitcase).

In fact, when I used to head up to the mountains, the TRX was my favorite piece of equipment. I’d throw the TRX up on the beam outside and do a full body workout. I’d do few movement, then run up and down the stairs leading to the cabin. So fun.

So, today’s TRX workout is inspired by the TRX workouts I did while traveling up to the mountains. It’s gonna work your entire body, with minimal equipment. I filmed the workout at the gym (for ease of camera angles) but this workout is 100% doable at home, using the TRX door attachment.

If you wanna stay on track with your fitness over the holidays while only training at home, you gotta join my #HolidayHIITNess challenge. Grab the details (and your spot) here.

Work your full body with just a TRX. TRX workout for women - TRX workout for beginners - TRX workout routine - TRX HIIT workout

Instructions & real time video demo

For this TRX workout, we’re focusing on strength training. I’m sharing 4 movements that you will do 10 reps each. To make this workout more challenging/metabolic, add 60s of cardio in between rounds. Complete this circuit 3-4 rounds through for an awesome full body workout in 20 minutes.

As always, I’m sharing a real time, follow along video of this workout so that you can workout with me. For exercise progressions and modifications, want this real time demo. I go through one round, in real time, with you, providing ways to make the workout easier and more challenging.

Is weekend eating a problem?

I’ve cleaned up my eating Monday through Friday and am pretty confident with how I’m doing there. But, on weekends I relax a little bit. Am I going to see results or is my weekend eating a problem?

Questions like these are super common in my #ConsistentlyLean coaching group, and to be real, I hear them discussions like this all the time in the hallways at the office. So many of us do well with our eating Monday-Friday but by the time Friday at 5pm comes around, all of our good habits go out the window.

I get it.

Before automating my eating, I ate well all week long but by Friday, I’d overdo it on boozy beverages and treats (hello sweet potato fries). All weekend long, I’d feel guilty and disappointed in my lack of willpower. That guilty feeling can make us feel like we have done everything wrong, but what if we haven’t?

Having a slightly different weekend eating plan isn’t the kiss of death. By asking yourself (and answering honestly) these 3 simple questions, we can figure out if weekend eating is keeping you from seeing results or if there are other things we can change first.

Is weekend eating keeping you from reaching your goals?

If you think weekend eating is keeping you from reaching your goals, ask yourself these 3 questions. weekend eating quotes - weekend eating healthy - weekend eating tips

What are your goals?

Truth is, some goals don’t necessitate eating near perfectly 7 days a week. If we’re aiming to maintain weight or gain muscle, we can be a lot more flexible on weekends (or any other day for that matter).

However, if we are aiming for fat loss, we have to be a bit more careful.

As an example, when I am trying to lose body fat, I only have 2 drinks, twice a month (so 4 drinks in 4 weeks – yikes). BUT when I am in a maintenance period, not trying to gain or lose weight, I drink a couple drinks 3+ times a week without putting on weight.

It’s super important to get clear on your goals so that you can determine if you even need to consider changing your weekend eating habits.

If your goal is fat loss, yes, we probably need to take a look at your weekends and try to get a little more consistent (here’s one of my fave blogs on the topic or grab my #ConsistentNutrition cheat sheet).

Do you have the nutrition basics down Monday-Friday?

Let’s get real. If we eat four meals a day (I do – here’s why), weekends only account for 8 meals vs. the 20 meals consumed Monday-Friday.

Before calling weekend eating the reason we aren’t seeing results, we need to be super honest about how ‘well’ we are eating during the week. Sometimes, it’s easier to blame the weekends because everyone is doing it. Instead, ask yourself these questions about the 20 meals you eat all week long. Check your answers and see if there is room for improvement.

  • Do we have protein at every meal?
  • Are we filling every plate with non-starchy veggies?
  • Do we have nutrient timing down?
  • Are our portion sizes on point?

Check your answers and see if there is room for improvement. If there is room to improve, try focusing on those areas before tackling your weekend eating.

How different is your weekend eating from your weekday eating?

Now, if you’ve made it this far, you probably have a goal of fat loss. Your weekday eating is probably pretty solid.

Awesome!

We’ve isolated that weekend eating could be keeping you from seeing the results you want, but let’s dig a little deeper.

Many of us fall into a lot of nutrition guilt because we are depriving ourselves on other days of the week (here’s how I found the middle between deprivation and guilt). So, to ensure that we’re eating consistently every single day and not stressing too much about being perfect M-F, let’s break it down.

Time for a nutrition audit

Instead of just *assuming* that our weekend eating is so bad, let’s take stock by going through the process of a nutrition audit. Here’s what to do:

  1. Pick a representative weekday and record everything you eat for your meals, snacks, and drinks, without judgment. 
  2. Next, choose a weekend day to do the same. Record everything, without guilt.
  3. After a few days, look at both food logs and compare the differences. Ask yourself the following questions:
    1. What’s the same between these two days of eating?
    2. Are there any glaring differences?
    3. If so, why are they so different?
    4. What patterns do I see?

By the end of this process, figuring out your next step should be pretty easy. Identify one thing to change in your weekend eating habits and do it consistently for two weeks. Then, reassess in the same way.

If you take away one thing from this post, know that weekend eating isn’t all bad.

Having some variability between Monday and Saturday is totally OK, depending on your goals and how different it actually is. Ask yourself these questions and take stock.

My friend, I know consistency with nutrition is hard. We often know what we need to do but implementing it is another story. There are days when we’re really good and days when everything is off. Sometimes nutrition is effortless, but other times, it gets so overwhelming or we get sick of making decisions, so we end up overindulging and feeling guilty later. When these things happen, we feel like there’s no middle ground between restriction and guilt.

But there is.

And I want to teach you with my #ConsistentNutrition cheatsheet. Don’t miss this. 

Struggling to be consistent with food? Apply the 80/20 rule to your nutrition and get consistent once and for all.

Can emotional eating be a good idea?

In the last few years, emotional eating has become pretty taboo. In every group coaching program I run, ladies talk about how eating for reasons other than hunger/nutrition is holding them back from reaching their goals. There are countless articles about how emotional eating leads to weight gain. And honestly, it seems like every coach out there is saying that emotional eating is the devil.

I get it. Eating is a way to fuel our bodies and help us reach our performance and aesthetic goals, so if we are eating for reasons other than fueling our bodies-like for comfort or enjoyment-that seems bad, right?

As a nutrition coach, I totally understand that emotional eating can be a barrier to reaching our goals. But as a human being (and a woman going through a break up), I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about emotional eating and wondering if it is always so harmful.

Well, I’m gonna take a less popular stance and say, no. It’s just not that simple. 

Food is much more than fuel.

Food is social, communal, and fun. Simplifying the equation and saying that we should only eat for fuel is ignoring the human element of eating. We eat with friends out at happy hour, enjoying the conversation and the taste of the snacks. We sip wine because it relaxes us and makes us feel good.

And that is totally okay.

For years, when I was struggling with my eating disorder, I believed that I should never eat or drink something with ’empty’ calories. I would never have a soda or juice, because those calories were not giving my body nutrition. Drinking alcohol was foreign to me, because it only gave pleasure, not nutrition.

Like all the coaches and trainers out there saying “emotional eating is bad (always),” I made nutrition very black and white. But, my friends, it’s not that simple. There are definitely situations where eating for reasons like comfort, relaxation, or just plain enjoyment is perfectly fine.  Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that we should always be eating for reasons other than nutrition. 

Instead, I’ve distilled down a couple situations in which emotional eating is okay/normal/not detrimental to reaching our goals.

2 conditions that could make emotional eating helpful-not harmful

Is emotional eating all bad? Talking through 2 conditions that can make emotional eating helpful to your goals. Stop emotional eating - Emotional eating thoughts

You’re doing it mindfully and with full awareness

The true problem with emotional eating comes when we do it without recognizing what the heck we are doing. We all know that feeling, watching TV after a long day and looking down to realize that we’ve just eaten half the bag or chips. Or maybe we reach for a cookie at work because we’re stressed and they’re right in the break room.

Without awareness of our behaviors, we set ourselves up to eat in ways that keep us from reaching our goals.

I’d argue that the reason emotional eating is harmful is because we don’t always recognize that we are eating to soothe ourselves.

If, instead, we consciously choose situations (and foods) that make ourselves happy in the midst of bullshit, we’re actually engaging in a form of self care.

Sangria sorbet cheat day

As I worked through a lot of pain and sadness in my break up, I found myself wanting to eat more foods that I enjoyed. Instead of berating myself for wanting the whole Lenny & Larry’s cookie instead of half, I asked myself why and consciously chose to eat something I enjoy, instead of restricting.

I also recognized that there’s a huge difference between eating for comfort (as our only coping mechanism) and making food choices that are easy, tasty, and enjoyable. When we are going through tough times, it’s important to make things easier and not stress over the small stuff. Part of this is defaulting to our nutrition survival strategies and another part is being aware of our choices/behaviors.

When we are aware that we are eating for emotional reasons, we can consciously ask ourselves if this is the choice we want to make. If so, cool. Have the cookie. If not, maybe do something else.

You’re simultaneously using other mechanisms to cope

At the end of the day, eating foods we enjoy should never be the only thing we do to soothe or relax ourselves. Sure, having a glass of wine or a treat helps in the moment. But, if it is the only thing we do to care for ourselves, eating emotionally can become unhealthy.

We get into trouble when food is the only thing that brings us joy, however, eating for comfort is not inherently bad. It’s just one strategy to help us handle the challenges life throws our way.

Over relying on any one strategy for self care can be problematic.

Eating for comfort should always be combined with other methods of self care, including exercise, spending time with friends and family, snuggling a dog, or talking with a therapist.

If you take one thing away from this post, remember that emotional eating is not all bad. It can be part of a healthy lifestyle and doesn’t have to derail your health and fitness goals. Stay aware, choose options that make your life easier, and make sure that you are practicing other methods of self care.

Looking for more information on how to eat consistently while still enjoying the foods you eat? My #ConsistentNutrition Cheatsheet can help you navigate the middle between deprivation and the guilt that comes from overeating.

Doing your first (or best) push up: top 3 exercises to improve push up strength

When we think about our fitness goals, one of the most common ones I hear revolves around push ups. I hear from ladies all the time that they’re trying to achieve their first push up from their toes, working on their range of motion, or trying to crush a fancy push up variation. Even in my #ConsistentlyLean coaching group, many of the ladies are working on their push up goals.

And I get it.

Crushing a full push up is HARD. It requires tons of upper body and core strength. And as women, we do tend to have more lower body than upper body strength. But don’t read that as “I’m never going to be able to do push ups from my toes.” There are SO many ways to increase your relative strength enough to complete lots of different types of push ups (the triceps push up is one of my faves).

woman push up

I’ve worked with nearly 100 women online over the last year and have helped many of them achieve their push up goals. So today, I’m sharing my three favorite exercises to progress your push up (learn exactly how to implement them in my free #PushUpPower Blueprint).

 

But first, let’s talk form.

One of the biggest mistakes I see ladies make in the gym is doing push ups with crappy form. They’re on their toes, arching their backs, and barely moving their chests towards the ground.

I get it. There’s pride involved. We want to be able to do *real* push ups. But the truth is, our bodies don’t care if we are on our toes, knees, or up against a wall. Our bodies know the force exerted on the muscles. And with a push up, range of motion is queen. We’ve gotta make sure that we’re correctly progressing (here’s how to progress or regress any exercise) so that we are moving towards a full range of motion (think chest all the way to the ground while still engaging the core).

This is why I won’t default to having clients perform their push ups from their knees; the range of motion is different AND it does not engage the core muscles in the same way. Today, I’m gonna share my three favorite exercises to help you build push up strength so that you can do your first (or best!) push up. If you want me to break it all down for you and show you exactly what to do, check this out.

 

Before we get started…

If you’re working through an injury, follow the cardinal role of working out: don’t do anything that hurts! If you’re feeling pain, stop it.

However, if you’re feeling stiff, that could be a warm up or activation issue. It’s so incredibly important to warm up prior to exercising, but it’s something so many of us skip, because it feels like just another long set of exercises to do before we start our actual exercise. That’s why I warm up like this instead.

Additionally, it’s super important that we activate the muscles we’re about to work, prior to exercising. This (1) decreases the likelihood of injury and (2) helps our muscles work harder during the actual workout. Activation is so important that I specifically call it out in my DARR formula for effective workouts.

Alright.

Assuming now that we’re all warmed up, activated, and ready to go, here are my three favorite exercises to improve your push up strength.

Learn the 3 best exercises to improve your push up. push up challenge - how to do a push up - beginner push up - push up workout

Wall Push Up

If you’re just getting started with push ups, this is the best place to start (yes, instead of push ups from your knees). This exercise will build the strength you need while also engaging your core.

Elevated Push Up

Once wall push ups become too easy for you, it’s time to elevate your hands. By elevating your hands, the movement becomes quite a bit easier (while still forcing you to use your core muscles).

While you’re doing elevated push ups, you can definitely incorporate some push ups from your knees for variety.

Push Up Holds

Once you’ve mastered these push up variations, it’s time to start increasing the challenge. One of the best ways to do this is through push up holds.

By holding yourself at the bottom of the range of motion, you’ll build lots of strength so that you can do even more challenging variations. It’s super important NOT to arch your back while you hold, so be mindful of your form.

By incorporating these three exercises into your routine, you’ll definitely master the push up! Try adding one (or all) to your next workout. If you want a step by step guide, grab my push up blueprint. I’ll tell you exactly what to do and when to do it to get your first (or best!) push up in the next four weeks. Check out all the details here.

How to handle high stress situations without falling off the wagon

When life gets intense, often the first thing to go is our good nutrition and exercise habits. It’s the last thing on our minds. So the question remains, how can we weather the tough times without completely falling off the wagon?

As a coach and trainer, I get this question a lot. And over the last month, I’ve had to figure it out for myself, too.

Dealing with a break up is hard. And with all of the this emotional stress, I basically stopped eating in a way that’s in line with my goals. It felt like everything was completely OUT of my control, so controlling my food intake more closely seemed to give me a modicum of peace.  For a while, I didn’t think much of it – skipping a snack or eating a smaller breakfast seemed pretty innocuous, considering how much my heart hurt. But, after a week or so of wallowing, I came to a tough realization.

I’m struggling, and my actions are doing NOTHING to lessen the struggle.

Well shit.

Tell me I’m not alone here.

stress management - destress - self care routine - self care ideas

Life gets really tough, and all we want is to make it a little bit easier. So, instead of recognizing that we’re having a hard time and addressing the stressors, we slip into bad habits, whether that’s overeating crap, skimping on sleep, or killing ourselves at the gym to numb the pain.

Sound familiar?
Yep, me too; that was my reality during the second half of September. I struggled to maintain my weight, and as I lost weight week after week, things got even harder. Once I realized wtf was happening, I knew what to do to make life a little easier, instead of digging myself deeper into a self-destructive rut.
Today, I’m sharing how I pulled myself out of my bad habits and figured out a better way to cope.

Get back to the basics.

No more counting macros or worrying about what % carbs I’m taking in on non-workout days. I return to my default, using my daily food rules/nutrition survival strategies to guide what I eat.
  • Prioritize veggies and protein at every meal to stabilize blood sugar and satiety.
  • Eat one BIG ASS SALAD  per day to ensure I max out the micronutrients & fiber of veggies.
  • Dark chocolate every day. Keeps me sane.
  • When in doubt, choose dietary fat over carbs. Carbs often leave me feeling bloated and uncomfortable, and I have found food timing to be incredibly important.

Move HAPPY.

Stop being a slave to your workout plan and do the movement that brings you joy. Make your workouts something to look forward to each day by doing more of what you love.

Instead of doing your defined workout plan, maybe it’s time to revert to the the type of exercise that is the most fun for you.

Love dancing? Dance more.

Love running? Run more.

Lifting weights brings out your inner strength? Lift more heavy shit.

Practice gratitude.

When life leaves you reeling, it becomes even more important to center yourself on what really matters. Start and end your day with reflections on three things you’re grateful for – I’m always SO grateful for this girl.

So, the next time you find yourself feeling stuck, sad, or like you just can’t stay on track, return to YOUR survival strategies. Sure. They’re not perfect (who wants to be?), but they get you through absolutely anything life throws at you.
Even at 10 years in recovery, my eating disorder still comes up. These are the two things I do when my disordered eating tendencies show up.

What I do when my disordered eating tendencies come back

A couple weeks back, I got a question that shocked me a bit. One of my past coaching clients/friends, asked me outright: do you still struggle with your eating disorder? Honestly, for a second, I paused, worried what admitting the truth about my disordered eating tendencies would do. I momentarily panicked that it would make me *less* of a coach. I stumbled with my words for a moment, trying to figure out what to say.

But only for a second.

After my momentary slip into imposter syndrome, I confidently wrote back this message.

Yes.The thoughts come up. I just don’t act on them.But I think the thoughts will always be there to be honest, especially when we’re stressed. 

And this is really common isn’t it?

When we’re stressed and overwhelmed, our bad habits and self destructive tendencies show their ugly heads. Whether it’s overeating, drinking a bit too much, or exercising excessively, it’s really easy to slip back into old patterns when life gets tough.

And for me, that’s my disordered eating tendencies. Whenever it feels like shit is hitting the fan, my brain reverts to how I used to handle stress (cuz that’s easiest). The difference between me 10 years ago and now is how I handle it.

Today, I’m sharing the two things I do when my disordered eating tendencies come back.

What I do when my disordered eating tendencies show up

Even at 10 years in recovery, my eating disorder still comes up. These are the two things I do when my disordered eating tendencies show up.

Revert to my nutrition survival strategies

When all I want to do is eat less (or workout for an extra 20 minutes), I immediately return to simple nutrition strategies that make it really easy to eat well (and enough).

I don’t stress about getting enough veggies. I stop worrying about eating too many bars. I snack.

Basically, I make my life reallllly easy when it comes to food, so that I have less room for error and I stress about it less (I talk all about my nutrition survival strategies here).

Recognize when we’re slipping

But how can we do that? Simple. We get super clinical and figure out what’s actually going on.

My favorite way to do this is to ask ourselves why, not just once but about 5 times. As we force ourselves to double down on what’s actually happening we can get to the root of the problem. Below is the exact conversation I had with myself a couple weeks back.

Why am I worried that I’m restricting?
Why am I restricting myself?
Why do I think restricting is gonna help?
Why do I feel like I need to change my body?
Why do I have to diet and restrict to change my body? 

Getting to this point broke my heart a little bit, because I realized why so many of us are struggling: we see restriction and over exercise as the only ways to change our bodies (spoiler: it’s not).

See, I’m a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach. I coach women every single day on how to change their bodies without obsession, stress, or restriction. I absolutely know better. But the truth is, restriction is such a part of who I am, I have to call myself on my BS every once in a while. This doesn’t mean that I give into these tendencies anymore but I have to acknowledge that they’re still present.

So, if you’re struggling, start asking yourself why. Keep asking until you get to the root of the issue. It’s not easy, but it’s so so important.

This kind of personal, vulnerable stuff is EXACTLY what I share with my tribe. They get my best stuff, and I email them weekly. I would love for you to join us. Sign up here or at the link in the sidebar 🙂