The Magic Equation for Success

I often get questions from people on what are the most important things they can do to see change whether that is weight loss, toning up or addressing health issues.  The equation for success is a simple 3 step process:  Set a goal, be realistic about what you can/cannot do and whatever your plan is be consistent.  That’s it!  The magic formula that stands between you and crushing it.

 

Fitness success formula

So why then is it so hard?  Why do people often fail?  Did you know that approximately 70% of people who start an exercise program quit?! Talk about the odds stacked against you. But the question still remains why did your plan fail?  Starting is step #1 and a great accomplishment but without the proper amount of forethought before beginning your plan motivation quickly slides into a slippery downhill slope.

Now the story can go two ways…. there are those of you who are like “yeah that’s totally me, I just can’t stick with a plan no matter how hard I try”.  On the flip side, there are others who say “I did have a plan and a goal but I saw no results so I just quit”.  Do you think Simone Biles got to the olympics by throwing the towel in?  Hell no, she tried it again and again and again until she perfected her craft.

So then what sets these two groups apart?  Why did one plan fall through and the other plan play out like an airplane stuck on a runway? Lets take a look into what happened in both scenarios:

Scenario #1: “I just can’t stick with a plan no matter how hard I try”

For the majority of you, chances are you fall into a version of the above (based on the previous stat at the beginning of the article). It’s ok the great thing is that it is NEVER too late to start again.  In the words of Janis Joplin, “Tryyyy just a little bit harder”.  So how can you try a little harder?  Let’s be frank, you need to set a goal.  That’s usually the biggest missing piece it’s lack of clarity from what you want and are expecting to achieve.  If you don’t know what you want, no one else will either. So my advice to you is come up with a solid plan… think it through.  What do you want?  What are your expectations?  Are they too high?  By all means it is good to challenge yourself but if you set some super high expectation of yourself that’s almost just as bad as not setting one at all.  Start small…. crush it…. set a new goal again and again and again.

So what are some types of goals you can try out if you need some ideas?

  1. Upcoming event  – for some of you maybe you have a vacation or wedding or event coming up in a few weeks, months etc that you want to look your damn best for.  What’s great about this goal is there is a clear date and a clear timeline to follow.  You know exactly how much time you have and are committing to.  The trick though is once you nail your goal don’t stop and say “ok I’m good i’m going to go back to being lazy now”.  NO! Set another goal…..  see below for some more ideas.
  2. Health related – Maybe you went to the doctor recently and uncovered that you are overweight or have high cholesterol, or worse are pre-diabetic or maybe you just want to be able to have enough energy to keep up with your kids. Whatever it is don’t just sit there wishing you could do something different just do it!  Use that goal as your driver to get healthy and benchmark your change.  By 6 months from now I want to be 20 lbs down or by my annual health exam next year I want to lower my cholesterol.
  3. Vanity goal – Maybe honestly you just want to look good.  You want to wear those size 4 or 6 pants you buried in your closet for the last 10 years or you want to see definition in your abs or firm up your butt. That’s ok too.  In this case find and clip pictures of what you aspire to be, how you want to look and use those pictures along the way as motivation toward your goal.  Just keep in mind realistic expectations… unless you are willing to supplement time, nutrition and hardcore years of training/clean eating most people will never look like the airbrushed models in a magazine (sorry!).  But that’s ok, be your best version of you.

The great thing is that once you start a plan that you thought out and succeed, that success will continue to motivate you to smash your goals again and again!  In the words of Sagi Kalev in Beachbody’s program Master Hammer & Chisel, “Are you a hammer or are you a nail?”.  Be the hammer….

Crush it!

Scenario #2: “I did have a plan but saw no results so I quit”

It’s ok, I’m not going to yell and say you didn’t try hard enough, I don’t know your situation.  But I do have a question for you.  What didn’t work?  Did you set a realistic goal?  Did you focus on exercise AND diet?  After all it takes two to tango.  You can kill it day in and out at the gym but if your diet is filled with crap choices your going to be stuck in the same spot like a hamster running on a wheel. To really succeed you need to be realistic too… maybe you were too extreme with exercise and diet and burned out before seeing any changes?  Think back on why you quit and then try again a different way or with a more defined goal in mind.  See how that works.

Look, no matter which scenario resonates with your current situation it is never too late to figure out what works but you have to be willing to try and no one can motivate you more than you can yourself.  Check out some of the other articles on this site to help inspire your new workout plan and diet and apply the 80/20 rule to all that you do.

Lastly, in this super long post, I do want to take a moment to congratulate those of you reading this that have figured out what works for you.  I know there are at least a few of you out there killing it and seeing really great results.  You, my friends are what can help the rest.  Share your success and what works for you.  Remember, we are all in this together…. we only have one life to live so let’s make the most of it.

By Kim Hale, founder of HoneyCrunched Fitness

 

Advertisements

Cardio Day Do’s and Don’ts

stretching before cardio

C-A-R-D-I-O, what’s that spell?  Cardio! (Insert dramatic eye roll here). What’s your definition of cardio?  If you’d ask a group of people I suspect you would find a different answer from all of them.  Maybe you like to run or take long walks, maybe your more of a get in go hard and get out in 15-20 minutes in which case HIIT is for you,  whatever your type cardio plays an essential role in heart and cardiovascular health.  Cardio also releases those endorphins that make us feel good while managing to help elevate our metabolism.  It’s an essential building block of a healthy lifestyle.

Everyone I have spoken to about cardio gives you a wide range of emotions about how they feel waking up knowing it’s cardio day.  There is the one type of person that absolutely loves cardio and focuses most if not all their weekly workouts around spinning, running, rowing , jumping etc.  The second type doesn’t mind getting a little sweaty and out of breath few times a week, and our last type hates it almost as bad as a kid hate getting a shot at the doctor’s office.

I fall somewhere between the last two categories. I used to be a 100% focused cardio-a-holic! I loved it and my lungs and endurance sure did too… but let’s be frank cardio is downright exhausting! I was not doing it because it was my favorite thing to be doing at 5am in the morning I was doing it because I feared that the only way to maintain my weight/not gain weight was doing a large amount of cardio – all the time.  WRONG.  So it wasn’t until I forced myself to try a new Beachbody program, Master Hammer and Chisel that I learned there is a much better way!  I could lift weights and increase my strength and stability in every day things like pushing doors and picking up my daughter while changing how my body looked.  You definitely work up a sweat and increase your heart rate lifting weights and yes I did have 1-2 cardio days a week I just didn’t live or die by cardio like my former self.  Here’s a great article if you are on the fence about cardio benefits versus weights from Precision Nutrition:.

But what works well for me and my body goals may not be the same things you like or the goals you have.  However amongst it all there are a few guiding rules when it comes to cardio and reaping benefits from it versus going overboard:

DO make sure to incorporate cardio weekly. 

What’s your goal? Weight loss?  Incorporate 3-4 cardio sessions a week.  Gain muscle/maintain you can get away with 2 no more than 3 days of cardio a week.

But, DON’T overdo the cardio.

I repeat… do not. Rather if you have tank in the gas ditch your go to cardio routine for some pilates, yoga or strength training substitute.  Overdoing cardio leads to low levels of energy, feeling burned out, and is not going to change your physique the way you want.  Seriously…  think about your goals and answer this question:  Would you rather be a smaller version of your current self or would you rather be more defined “toned” and stronger?  Excess cardio with no weight training focus gives you a “skinny fat” physique versus adding in strength training (with or without weights).

DO mix up the intensity of cardio you do weekly.

Not every cardio session has to be max intensity or too low intensity.  Mix is up add a quick HIIT session,a low intensity walk, or a steadystate run into the week.  Not only will your mind thank you but it will keep your body guessing which promotes change and prevents plateaus.  Need some inspiration?  Check out Popsugar Fitness’ cardio workouts for inspiration.

DON’T starve yourself before doing cardio.  

Yes in some various states when all the stars are aligned if the intensity of your cardio is low enough you may just possible burn more fat doing cardio on an empty stomach…  but personally, I’d rather fuel myself with something small as opposed to nothing and be starving, sweating and running on E through the whole thing.

DO make sure you are mentally prepared for cardio

The worst thing you can do is force yourself to go for a run or through some HIIT routine when you are running on 3 hrs of sleep, or you went out and drank too much the night before, or you are feeling ill.  Not only will you suffer through the whole workout but this also can lead to bad form and potential injuries which would set you back even further from your goals.  Instead on these days DO workout but opt for something more manageable like yoga or pilates or even a nice walk outside.

How often do you like to do cardio a week?  Have any extra tips to share with us on what works for you?  Share in the comments below.

 

DVD Review: Angie Gorr

About twice a year, my workout dvd collection starts to bore me and I am ready to invest in a new program to throw in the mix.

After exhaustive research on Amazon, bodybuilding.com, and random forums rating exercise dvds I finally settled on a new one… “Custom Fit” by Angie Gorr.

custom fit by Angie Gorr
Girls this video kicks ass! Actually I liked it so much a few weeks after I bought a second video of hers, “Sweat and Tone”. They are currently thrown in rotation once a week and are one of my dvd favorites already.

I think the greatest thing about both of these videos is the amount of customizing you can do. Only have 20 min? 30? 60? Not a problem! She even let’s you mix up your session between cardio, upper body, lower body and abs depending on your goal.

The quality of the video production is not as dynamic as Bob Harper’s or a Beachbody dvd but the workouts offered definitely make it worth your time. So if you are in the market for a new dvd to “get your beach on” this summer try Angie’s out. She won’t disappoint.

Do you have a favorite workout dvd? What is it and what makes it one of your favorites?
Written by Kimberly Hale

3 Easy Ways to Exercise Everday

Window shopping at Simpsons department store. ...

Fitting in a solid exercise routine is not easy. For the greater majority of us the thought of waking up and going to the gym or class or going for a run seem less and less appealing as the week goes on.  Believe it or not there’s a reason for that too.  Most people start their week off physically and mentally strong but as the weight of the world, lack of sleep, and busy daily schedules add up day after day after day you soon see exercise is not the problem but everything else is!

American Heart Association, lists a minimum requirement for daily exercise as 150 minutes a week or roughly 30 minutes a day 5 days a week.  Other recommendations will tell you to aim for about 10,000 steps daily or just under 5 miles.

How much of that requirement do you meet on a daily basis?  No matter if you’ve got the insane drive it takes to stay on your daily program rain or shine or if you happen to fall off the weekly wagon, shit happens sometimes.  Simply put, that darn thing called life gets in the way leading to even the best intentions falling to the wayside.  We’ve all been there and may currently be there while reading this post thinking, “shit I knew I should have set my alarm earlier this morning.”  Which is why we have to account for that and we have to get creative in the way we approach being active so make the most of our time.

Here are 3 ways you can reap the benefits of the exercise when the practicality of a busy life takes over:

1. Do your chores: Have laundry to do?  How about vacuuming or sweeping the floor?  If you’ve let those chores slip what a great easy way to knock two birds off with one stone!  Gardening is another one of those tedious but necessary things to maintain.  Weed away to torch calories and work on your arm muscles! Through doing these easy weekly tasks you are exercising your body which counts.  (Extra Tip: Feeling extra ambitious?  Wash the floors that will get you feeling refreshed (or sweaty) and your house looking in tip-top shape.)

2. Go shopping: Holiday shopping can never start too soon. Go to your local mall and walk, even if it is just to browse. Bonus points if its nice out and the mall is outdoors! All those window shopping steps add up.

3. Park and walk: this one applies no matter where you are. If you are capable of walking make it a point wherever you go during the day to not park right up front. Park down the block or at the end of the parking lot and walk. Even better if its close enough ditch the car altogether! Less wasted gas + less pollution + health benefits from exercise = 1 pretty sweet deal. (That means cabs and public transit too… get out a block earlier or if feasible a stop early)

Hopefully these ideas will help you see there are lots of things you can do that can fall under the “exercise umbrella”.  Just keep in mind that a true exercise schedule is still king.  A solid exercise routine can be difficult with the amount of dedication, focus and determination that it requires to keep on a schedule no matter rain or shine. These ideas will help you patch the rough spots/days of the week where you just can’t get the motivation, energy or time to stick to your routine.

Ultimately, exercising makes you feel better.  It lifts your spirits, is great for your health and makes you say, “damn this shirt looks good on me.”  So do yourself a favor and carve away some time even if it’s through the three ways mentioned above.

How do you incorporate exercise when a busy life gets in the way?  Share your method with us so we can all learn and walk away with a pointer or two!

Written by Kimberly Hale

Best Fitness Tracking Devices: You are what you Beep

English: Polar (TM) pulsometer for fitness. Es...

Let’s talk fitness tracking devices for a moment. Do you use one for monitoring during exercise or even throughout your day? With the ever-changing tech landscape, these fitness devices are getting more and more intelligent to the point that they know you better than you know yourself!

I use a women’s pink polar heart rate monitor which I LOVE! I’ve had it for five years now and actually just replaced the batteries for the first time last month. But I will tell you frankly, heart rate monitors can be quite annoying at times too. Check out the situation below, ever happened to you?

It’s workout day, but you are so not in the mood. You strap on your watch and start working out. 20 minutes into your workout you are hot, irritated and feel like you’ve been working out for an hour. Every dumbbell lift or squat feels like the hardest thing in the world, only to discover upon looking at your heart rate monitor that your monitor has not jumped to over 50% and you’ve only burned a stinking 50 calories. What a jip!

The above is a situation I find myself in at least once a week. Not to mention that I’m 125 lbs so if I want to burn something as simple as 300 calories in an hour I either need to workout above 75% of my heart rate a good majority of the hour or workout for 90 minutes. Neither ideal solutions.

Point being, fitness devices force you to perform at your best. They set expectations for you and if you don’t live up to them they let you know it. What better way to motivate yourself than that? Whats also great is it’s black and white. You can’t fall into that situation that many people do of overestimating how many calories you’ve burned or how hard your working.

As I’ve been doing some research for my next fitness tracker, below are a few of the top monitors I’ve been looking into that won’t break the bank.

Polar FT4o Women’s Heart Rate Monitor Watch – ($100) – This is the new version of my current one. It tracks heart rate letting you know if you are in a fat burning range, total calories burned during workouts, weekly workouts, and lets you know if you are improving your fitness over time.

FitBit Flex – ($100) The best feature about this tracker is that its more flexible than it’s competitors and since you are wearing it 24/7 that’s definitely something to consider. Not to mention its price point it a bit better than the 2 mentioned below. The FitBit syncs up to IOS and Android operating systems. This monitor tracks your sleep patterns, steps and calories. What’s additionally cool is Fitbit’s platform gives plenty ways to analyze your stats.

Jawbone – ($130)- This fitness device comes in multiple colors and is thin like a bracelet. You wear the band all day and all night and it tracks how active or inactive you are, how many steps you’ve walked, calories burned, and even monitors you sleeping pattern letting you know how long it takes you to fall asleep. It also syncs up to your computer or an iphone app.

Nike Fuel Band ($150) – Worn 24/7 this band tracks your calories, steps, and sleep patterns. It also has LED changing colors to show you how your progressing in terms of activity throughout the day. Sync it up with your smart phone and it’ll analyze your day-to-day so you can get a good idea over time when you’re most active/inactive.

Tried out any of these? Swear by one not on the list? I’d love to hear your reviews…

Written by Kimberly Evans

4 Kickass Workout DVD’s

dumbells for exercise

multicolored dumbells

Do you work out at home?  If so what do you look for in an effective workout DVD?  Do you have a few that you consistently go to or do you have videos to cover your  range of moods?  For me, it’s the latter.  Since I’ve been steadily adding to my growing collection since 2006, I have accumulated over 50 videos ranging in difficulty levels and styles like: yoga, pilates, cardio, weight training, ballet, cardio, kickboxing, kettlebell….  you get the picture.  Talk about an investment…

It was about this time last year that I posted an article on my top 5 cardio dvd’s.  Did you get a chance to try any of them out?   I will admit looking back, those are still some of my all time favorite workouts (yes out of the 50).  However as another year has gone by and my goals are different with wedding day just around the corner, I have expanded my collection into a new realm.  Below you will find 2013’s list which I labeled as “killer workout” since you are left running on empty by the end of these DVD’s….  but it’s so worth it!  Check it out:

1. Jeanette Jenkins: Bikini Boot Camp – Also known as The Hollywood Trainer, I LOVE her.  She’s well-known past her original Crunch Fitness days as whipping celebrities in shape before they strut their killer bodies on the red carpet.   I rediscovered her videos in about March of this year and seriously can not get enough.  This particular video is close to an hour and 20 if you do it from start to finish.  There’s a cardio camp, strength camp, abs camp, and stretch camp all built-in.  She also has kickboxing dvd’s and a power yoga dvd I’m eager to try.  As a foreword, her dvd’s can be a little pricey ($40 on Amazon instead of $15-$20 that most are) but they are absolutely worth the money.

2. Tracy Mallet: F.I.T. (Functional Intensity Training) – Tracy is known for her pilates and cardio barre type workouts but this one incorporates some of those moves, packed in with cardio bursts, weight training and those tricky lesser known exercises that leave your glutes feeling it for days!

3. Shawn T: Insanity –  Now don’t let this one scare you.  Yes you will be gargling for your breath the whole time, but it’s only 30-40 minutes and it’s so worth the time.  Don’t let the “program” fool you.  You don’t have to do the workouts as they recommend to get great benefits.  I treat these as separate workouts and I add one workout into my week if i feel I need an extra boost. They are highly effective when you need a quick butt kicking cardio workout.

4. Jillian Michaels: Ripped in 30 : Like most of Jillian’s dvd’s this one contains several levels of workouts.  This dvd in particular comes packed with 4 short 24 minute workouts.  Surviving one is great, managing to get through two might cause your legs to seize between bear crawls and duck walks it sure packs a punch.  One of my favorite lines is when she says during a glottal exercises “I want to bounce a quarter off your butt!”

These are just a few of my recommendations sure to get you in the best shape of your life whether, like me you have a wedding or special event, or just because you want to look and feel your best.  I encourage you to give at least one of these a try and let me know what you think.

Written by Kimberly Evans

How Do You Define Hot?

strength training sweat session

Ah, the age-old quest for a rockin hot body. But have you ever stopped to think about what that means to you? Is a hot body one that is 365 bikini ready? Or maybe it means a healthy body or even more just being comfortable in your own skin. That’s hot right?

Well, whatever definition you choose, consider this: what does looking the way you want to take to achieve? How much time do you need to acquire that “killer body”? Is it daily workouts at the yoga studio or kickboxing boot camp or low carb diets? As you start to learn what your definition is its at that point you can take a look back and see how much that’s worth to you and frankly if it is realistic. Also what additional requirements are needed to help fit in the process? Is it costing you a fortune in online supplements or $98 “trendy” yoga pants?

Where am I going with this? Sometimes we put so much pressure on ourselves to fit in a category we consider “elite” that we lose sight of those more important things in life-like family and friends. Even our already tight wallets take a hit. It is in recognizing this that we discover if there is a need to adjust our hot body definition.

As I am in wedding mode now, I am determined to keep up my daily routine and “your so conscious of your diet you make others want to gag” regime. But once the bells have rung I plan on re-evaluating my definition of healthy to fit into a working plan that can benefit me and at the same time allow me more flexibility to spend more time with family and friends.

I now realize that it is unrealistic to expect I will always be a size 2 and I am finally confident in saying I accept that. I know given my Virgo background and anal retentive ways I will also never slip on my size 12 clothes again..Its a balance that frees us , keeps us sane and helps take our focus off the less important things and put it back where it belongs on our loved ones.

What is your definition of a hot bod? What changes would you like to make in your own lives?  Please share below.

Written by Kimberly Evans