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    I Have A Problem With New Year's Resolutions

    Happy New Year!

     

                We have officially entered 2017, and that is super exciting. With the start of the New Year, I’m seeing a lot of posts on social media and a lot of people talking about New Year’s resolutions—especially the whole, “new year, new me” concept. Honestly, I find all of the talk about New Year’s resolutions to be rather ridiculous, and I have a problem with the idea of New Year’s resolutions.

                It sounds harsh, I know. The sentiment behind New Year’s resolutions is fantastic. Setting goals and using the New Year as a fresh start to go after those goals is a great concept. However, there’s a huge trend of people who set resolutions every year and don’t follow through in working to achieve them. For example, take the gym. At the start of the year, it often becomes overwhelmingly crowded with people set out to improve their health (which is fantastic). However, after about a month, they give up and it’s back to the regular crowd. The gym is only one example. The same could be applied to eating better, being more financially responsible, getting organized, etc. Generally, resolutions have a way of not sticking with people. Why the heck don’t they stick?

    The truth is, most people are lazy, and they don’t know how to set proper goals.

    Most of us want things (relationships, health, financial status, etc.) to improve with little work. We say that we’re willing to work for it, but after a while, things become difficult and it’s easier to throw in the towel than to keep going. We lose sight of the purpose of making the resolution in the first place, and come up with excuses. Now, this is definitely not everyone, so I don’t mean to generalize here. But, it’s common for people to give up once things get hard, and resort to old habits.

                That being said, I have good news. This doesn’t have to be you, and you CAN achieve your resolutions. The problem that I have with New Year’s resolutions is that they connote that we need a whole new year to make a positive change in our lives. Not so. You can make a positive change, set a goal, or make a resolution for yourself ANYTIME. At the start of the New Year, on Dec. 31, literally anytime! If you put off trying to make positive changes until the new year, you’re already putting off working towards your goal and setting yourself up to make excuses when the new year does indeed come.

                Another big part to achieving goals is to set goals with a plan. Just saying that you want to “eat better” doesn’t help you change your eating habits. The best way to actually find success with resolutions and goals is to stay away from the broad and general. Get specific. HOW will you eat better, HOW will you get organized, HOW will you improve your fitness, etc. etc.

                Making a plan for how you will go about achieving your goals will not prevent obstacles that make the journey difficult. When those come along, instead of giving up, show grace. Forgive yourself if you feel as though you’ve messed up or lost track, and KEEP GOING. As long as you keep going, you will get to your goal. As soon as you give up, you lose.

                You don’t need a new year to become the best you possible. All you need is a plan of action, and the willingness to fight for what you want.

    Why The Holidays Are Never Really About The Holidays

    With Thanksgiving and the holiday season right around the corner, I’ve been thinking a lot about the holiday and the fact that there are a few issues surrounding it. Don’t get me wrong; it is one of my absolute favorite holidays. There is however, a strong disparity in our culture between what Thanksgiving should be and what it is—and this disparity comes in a couple different forms.

                First of all, in theory Thanksgiving is a holiday to GIVE THANKS. Personally, I don’t think we should have one specific day a year set aside to give thanks, and that we should be doing it every day, but that is beside the point. The point is, what Thanksgiving is, is a time to spend with loved ones expressing gratitude for the blessings we have. What it actually has become is a time for us to spend with loved ones (ok, good), but also gorge ourselves in copious amounts of food, followed by feeling guilty for what and the amount that we ate.

                Second, for those of us who are trying to go after our fitness goals whether that is losing weight, gaining muscle, prepping for some sort of physical competition, whatever it is, the holidays can become a stressor. The idea of being around “tempting”, “guilty”, “bad” foods, can cause stress that we’ll overindulge and lose track of our goals. And that stress can ultimately suck all of the joy out of what is meant to be a joyful time of year.

                I find it interesting (and rather ironic) that we tend to overindulge on the holiday that is supposed to be centered around expressing gratitude. But here’s the thing. You don’t HAVE to overindulge. Ever. The key to beating this is a matter of focusing your mindset.

                Going into Thanksgiving, whether you have strict fitness goals or not, focus on ENJOYING the holiday. Staying present and mindful of what is going on will allow you to make the most of the time spent with loved ones, as well as the food you’ll eat. The overindulgence of food is usually from mindlessly eating, so stay conscious of your body, and eat until you’re full. Enjoy and savor every bite, and then be done. Also, focus on the people you’re with and the conversation to be had. Quality time with loved ones is much more important in the long run than what you’re eating for one meal.

                Get rid of the guilt and punishment mindset. If you happen to eat more than you think you should, that’s OK! You’re still on track, and you’ll still reach your fitness goals. Speaking from experience, one meal will NOT ruin your life. You got this!

                Most importantly however, expressing gratitude is a crucial part of keeping yourself in check. It is easy to feel guilty for this and that, to feel like you’re not “fit” enough, or attractive enough, or even to just get caught up in the day-to-day irritations that inevitably happen to everyone. Taking the time to think about all the things that you’re grateful for in life will not only help keep you from drowning in a sea of sorrows, but it will surprise you how many small things we take for granted daily that are worth being grateful for.

    Gymtimidation

                Ever since I began making fitness a priority in my life, and spend a significant amount of time at the gym per week, my friends have taken to asking me for help with their own fitness. That could be anything from advice on workouts, to nutrition, to actually going to the gym with them. I think it’s AMAZING, and I love being able to share some of the things I have learned over the past few years. However, there’s one common theme that I’ve noticed, and is worth addressing.

                Most of my friends are girls, and there are several preconceived notions about women in the gym that cause this little phenomenon that I like to call, “gymtimidation”. Gymtimidation is when someone, it doesn’t have to be a woman, is intimidated by the gym. That is totally normal.

                What I have noticed, however, is that there is a common trend among women to be intimidated by lifting weights/ the weight room in general. They fear weights because (this sounds very generalized and stereotypical, I know, but bear with me here):

    1. They don’t want to go into the weight room and be “judged” by big, bulky, (mostly) men who “know what they’re doing”. They don’t want to potentially make a fool of themselves.
    2. They don’t want to lift weights because they think that doing so will make them no longer look feminine.

    Both of these are understandable, but wrong.

                First of all, nobody actually cares that much. I don’t say that to be harsh, but it’s true. Most of the time when you go into the weight room, everyone is doing their own thing. If it seems like someone is staring, or judging you, or both, nine times out of ten, they’re not. Most of the time, in between sets I will stare off into space. If you happen to be in my line of vision when I decide to zone out, then it may seem like I’m staring at you. But, like most people, I’m not. If someone really has a problem with the way that you’re performing an exercise, they’ll correct you. But, that’s rare. My advice—put your headphones in, get in the zone, and do you.

                Second, weight lifting does not, I repeat, NOT make women bulk up in the same way that men do. Ladies, picking up a weight WILL NOT cause you to lose your feminine figure. In fact, it will enhance it.

    The bulk associated with weight lifting has to do with hormones. Because women don’t have as much testosterone as men do, we naturally can only “bulk” so much. The intimidating images of women who are ridiculously large are often a product of steroids and a very specific diet.

    The truth is that weight lifting is actually very good for fat loss. What it comes down to is metabolism. The more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn at rest. This means your metabolism will be much faster, and your body will be much more efficient the more muscle you have.

                Despite popular opinion, weight lifting is the key to getting the muscle definition that many women want. Not only that, but it’ll make you feel like a total badass, and rock your confidence.

                Don’t let "gymtimidation" keep you from trying weight lifting if it’s something you’re interested in. Get a friend to do it with you! Be careful though, side effects WILL include increased confidence, a new appreciation for hard work, and a greater love for your body.

    Beach's Chest Routine

    Looking to get a massive pump and increase your strength? Check out Beach's Chest Routine!

    Incline db 5x10-12
    Alternating db press 4x12-15
    Hammer incline press 5x10-12
    Incline db fly 15x12x10x8x6
    Cable fly 5x10
    100 push ups

    Beating The Devil A.k.a Self-Doubt

    Doubt is such a powerful, yet underrated thing. What I mean by underrated is that it often is not suspected as the culprit of why achieving goals (and even simply going through life) is such a difficult process sometimes. It’s the worst.  Because it is underrated, it’s almost easier to fall victim to it.

    Doubt is volatile. It’s the first step on the path to failure. It leads to a whole host of other issues and insecurities that get in the way of living a happy and fulfilling life, achieving what you set out to.

    Comparison is one. Doubting your own abilities, worth, etc. often leads to thought processes that resemble something like, “wow, so-and-so is so awesome. I could never do that”, “wow they are so fit. I’ll never look like that”. Those thoughts can be about anything and come in any form. When we don’t catch doubt when it’s happening, it leads to feelings of inferiority to others. Let’s get one thing clear. YOU ARE NOT INFERIOR TO ANYONE, NOR ARE THEY INFERIOR TO YOU. We all have different skill sets, and abilities that are DIFFERENT, not LESS. Comparison is a waste of your time. Focus on you!

    Doubt leads to guilt, especially in regards to achieving goals. Doubting your own abilities or worth allows the guilt of not doing “enough” or not being “enough” of anything to creep in. Enough of the “enoughs”! The guilt comes from a place of feeling like you’ve already failed. The truth that a lot of people have a hard time recognizing is that in pursuit of a goal, guilt is truly not necessary. Any progress is good progress, and it’s not worth your time to get caught up in whether or not you’ve done enough to get to your goal. YOU HAVE NOT FAILED, NOR ARE YOU A FAILURE. (Say it out loud). The guilt that you feel for not doing or being enough leads to a spiral of negativity and self-hatred. Take it from someone who’s been there, it sucks you dry of all your joy and confidence. How is anyone supposed to get anywhere in life when they are constantly telling themselves that they can’t do anything?

    Often, when we doubt ourselves we don’t even realize it. We seek validation from sources other than our own self-love, and those sources come up dry 100% of the time. Seeking approval from others will get you nowhere. Seeking approval from society based on superficial factors (looks, money, etc.) will get you nowhere. Seeking approval from anything or anyone beyond yourself WILL GET YOU NOWHERE. That is where we learn how to feel like we don’t measure up because we are trying to live up to standards that aren’t necessarily made for us out of fear that we will seem like an “outcast”.

    We all do it. To some extent, it’s unavoidable to doubt ourselves from time to time. But practically, it’s so important to catch doubt early on and replace feelings of doubt with self-love. This is easier said than done, and requires diligence. For me, it means telling myself out loud that I’m awesome every time I catch myself doubting. For others it’s engaging in activities that make them feel great (working out, meditation, getting outside, whatever). Find what you love about yourself and remind yourself of those things DAILY. That will help you change your mindset to a more positive and confident one, and soon enough you will be able to demolish doubt as soon as it pops into your mind. This may seem like common sense, but it’s important. Practicing good habits for mental and emotional health are equally, if not more important than physical health. There is a reason that so many people fall victim to insecurity, anxiety, depression, whatever it may be that keeps them from truly believing that they can do whatever they set their mind to. Once you believe you can, the success will follow. Yes, I know it’s cheesy, but it’s true!