Thursday, April 30, 2015

How to Get Out of an Exercise Funk

For Throwback Thursday, here's a post from my Making Fitness Fun blog from about a year ago.  Enjoy!  
Getting into an exercise funk is no fun.  I've been there.  I love being fit, but there have been times when I just didn't feel motivated to work out.  There have also been dark periods when I didn't even want to think about fitness.  I blame that on menopause.  I can't imagine any other reason for me to fall out of love with fitness. 

Luckily, I've always been able to get out of a funk. Because you can't stay in it forever.  It's nonproductive, feels yucky, and the longer you stay in it the harder it will be to get back on track. Here are some things that have helped me to snap out of it.  Use what works, chuck out the rest.  The important thing is that you get moving again.  

1.  Ask Yourself What the Problem Is.  You can't fix something if you don't know what's wrong.  What's the root of your funk?  Did someone make fun of you at the gym?  Are you overwhelmed by the terminology that your trainer is throwing at you?  Dig deep to find out what is causing this lack of motivation, fuzzy-headedness, blah feeling--whatever your funk encompasses.

2.  Go About Trying to Solve the Problem.  Write down the problem and what you may be able to do to solve it.  Say it's that people make fun of you at the gym.  Let the gym manager know what's going on.  He or she may approach the bullies, get their story, and tell them to stop or risk being kicked out.  Each gym has its own policies regarding such matters, but I would think that most gyms would have a zero tolerance policy as far as harrassment goes.

3.  Revise Your Goals. Revising your goals can help re-energize you and smash those barriers.  Don't try to be a hot shot athlete if it's not in you.  Shoot for losing 1 pound, 5 pounds, or even 10 lbs.  Or you could set a goal to run a mile, then work your way up to a 5K.  Similarly, set a goal to increase the weight you lift by 2 lbs. or up your reps by 5 (or by just 1; come on, one rep, you can do it.) in a week or so--whatever feels right for you. Challenge yourself to help put the fun back in your workout.  Don't expect to be able to start back at your previous fitness level if you have been away from fitness for more than a couple weeks.  Start back slowly; work back up to your previous level and then shoot for more.

4. Choose Activities You Enjoy.  What do you like to do?  Play cards, play Yahzee, garden, walk, play tennis?  Great, do it!  Okay, so playing cards and Yahtzee aren't exactly the most acitive pasttimes, but you could work them into your program.  Never mind that they aren't the usual exercise choices.  Maybe that's the problem.  You may need to shake things up; become creative when designing workouts to put the zip back into your program.  For instance, you may enjoy picking a card from a deck before each exercise in your program. The number can represent the number of reps, while the suit can represent the sets.  

5. Manage Stress.  If you're feeling pressured about things in your daily life including family matters, community obligations, bills, and so on, your workout could suffer.  It can put a dent in your enthusiasm and time for exercise.  But keep in mind that exercise can actually help relieve stress, so make sure you take time to fit in fitness.  Make time for yourself.  Consider meditating, getting more sleep, or talking to a close friend or family member to get things off your chest.  If that's not enough, consult a financial advisor, your doctor, or other professionals for more expert advice.

6.  Don't Over-Think Things.  This happened to me.  The more I learned about fitness, the more confused I got. I felt like I had to work out  a certain way, design programs a certain way, go by the book.  Then I heard from a trainer that I admired that she made her own programs specific to the clients' needs, not by instructions in a book.  Yes, we need to learn theory, anatomy, physiology, programming, etc., when studying to be certified personal trainers, but we also have to loosen up a bit and go with our guts,  and a client's preferences and fitness level rather than a textbook when deciding what's best for a client. It's similar to what doctors have said about me regarding my history of spina bifida:  "You're not 'textbook'." When it comes to training, I don't think of anyone as textbook.  All clients have individual needs.  When I stopped over-thinking and started concentrating on the exercises I liked to do and had fun with, I felt much better.  Workouts were fun again.

7.  Leave Work at Work.  If you've got a lot on your plate at work it may be hard to let it go and concentrate on your workout, but you need to.  Workouts are great for helping you relax and keep your mind off work.  Don't fight that.  You need this facet of your life to help you decompress. Don't stew about work issues.  Clear your mind, relax, have fun.

8.  Think Positively.  No matter what is going wrong there are probably a lot of things going right, too.  Take a moment to realize that.  Each night before you go to bed, make sure to write down three positive things that happened that day.  Remember to include any fitness time you managed to squeeze in and if you grabbed a healthy snack instead of caving in and having that sugary soft drink or donut.  Think of how it felt when you were at the top of your program, kickin' butt at the gym.  You did it then; you can do it again.  Focus on your strengths and build on them. Then tackle your weaknesses.

9.  Concentrate on the Present.  So, you messed up that workout; you missed a jogging date with your best friend.  It's done.  It's over.  Leave it behind.  A good way to put it behind you is to start over.  Concentrate on the present.  Try that exercise you goofed up on again.  Take it slow.  Master it.  Call your friend to set up another jogging date and make sure to arrive early.  Don't let the past control you; rather, control your present.

10.  Stick to a Schedule. You have a better chance of making your workouts if you schedule them into your  day.  Working out early in the morning is great.  You get it in before the day gets crazy.  But I can't seem to exercise in the morning.  I get up early for work as it is, so getting up earlier to fit in exercise just doesn't cut it.  So, I usually have to wait until the afternoon.  One time of the day I hate working out is in the evening.  I'm too tired, plus I don't know anyone who goes to the gym at that time.  Do cardio most days of the week and weight training at least two days per week.  And allow for rest intervals during your workout as well as on off days to help your body recover.  Overtraining increases the risk of injury, so, yes, challenge yourself, but don't go overboard.

11.  Accept Off Days.  Maybe you're having an off day, but that doesn't mean you have to turn it into a full-blown funk.  Use these to re-energize yourself rather than kick yourself down. Come back more determined than ever to better your technique, increase your sets or reps, and up the weight your lift.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Choice Is Yours

I believe we all have a choice in what we do for a living.  And yes, people should be paid fairly, and given wage hikes based on the quality of their work.  I also tend to agree with one worker who said that when the cost of food, rent, and other necessities go up, employees should get a cost of living raise.  But I also urge people in this position to take a long, hard look at where they find themselves.  They are working in fast-food.  This is where kids often get their first jobs.  Yes, it can be hectic and stressful.  But it is unskilled.  

Do you feel as if you're stuck in a job that you don't like, where you're not treated fairly, or where you just don't feel inspired anymore?  Here are some tips to try that may turn things around.

Improve Your Current Situation:  If you want to improve your job situation but don't feel as if you can leave your current job, do what you can to improve it.  Perk up work by making friends with co-workers, organizing an employee softball team or lunchtime walking meetings, and planning holiday parties.  You could also put a  plant or inspiring painting in your office to cheer it up a bit.  In addition, watch, listen, and learn.  Learn all you can from others in the business.  Be serious about your job.  Work your butt off.  Be the model employee.  Be the go-to employee when things need to be done.  Don't treat it as grunt work, but rather as a learning experience.  Keep your eyes and ears open for any opportunity to learn and advance your career.  

Balance Work and Home Life:  If you're already drowning in work, you may think finding time to spend with family and on hobbies impossible, but think about it.  When you're not at work, what are you doing?  I venture to guess that it has something to do with surfing the Internet, texting, laundry, grabbing fast-food on your way home.  Okay, you need to do laundry and you need to eat.  But, you know that the Internet and texting can be reduced big time.  Although the Internet can provide helpful information at the click of mouse, it can also be a huge time waster.  Cut down your leisure Internet surfing to an hour a day, and there you go--free time!  You can exercise, read,  meditate, cook a healthy meal for dinner, go shopping with a friend, do volunteer work, and something most of us get way too little of--sleep.  Whatever you feel you are presently missing out on, you can most likely fit into your day if you cut down drastically on your Internet and social media time.   Not into social media but still don't seem to have time to relax?  Take note of how you spend your time.  Maybe you watch 2 hours of television each evening, or spend the 30 minutes prior to a teacher's conference waiting around to go to the school.  In that time, you could take a walk,  shoot some baskets with friends, read a chapter or two of your favorite book,  check in on a neighbor, or work on restoring a piece of antique furniture.  Taking time for the things you enjoy can help you feel more content with your life.  

Go to School:  If you aren't getting anywhere in your present field, consider going to school.  This could include going to a local technical school to learn a trade.  Become a welder, pharmacy technician, certified nurse's assistant , or truck driver and the like.  These and other technically skilled jobs require 2 years or less of training, and financial aid is often available for those who qualify.  If you have a certification or degree already but want a change, consider altering or switching careers.  This takes planning, preparation, and discussion with family members who would be affected.  Find out if your employer will help pay for work-related courses.  If you're looking for a total change, look into financial aid.  Many schools, colleges and universities offer financial aid to students to help students with expenses.  You may also qualify for education grants and scholarships through area businesses and organizations.  Don't quit your day job before you have something solid to move on to.  This may mean you'll have to deal with a hectic schedule for awhile, but if it helps you to realize your dreams, it's worth it.  

Remember, you are in control of what you do.  If you aren't happy in your current situation you need to dig deep to find a solution.  Yes, it's great to have the financial and emotional backing of family and friends, but you don't have to have that to make a life change.  What you need is resolve, patience, determination, passion, imagination...and a little spunk!

I'd like to know how you got yourself out of a rut.  What strategies did you try?  What worked, what didn't?  Respond in the comment section below, or email me at  Your messages are always welcome.  Take care.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Oh, For Laughing Out Loud!

I am a fan of Loretta LaRoche.  Recently she wrote a piece on laughter.  She noted that laughter has many mental and physical benefits, and that it has gotten her through health issues.  I agree whole-heartedly.  

I've spent a good deal of time in the hospital and doctors' offices throughout my life due to spina bifida.  I've relied on laughter to get me through some tough spots.  I've found that, although hospital stays, surgeries, and doctors' visits can be frustrating and frightening, I can always find something to laugh about.  Whether it's mistaking a cervix for a hemorrhoid, a roommate having a facelift in order to look good for Bingo, or a surprisingly funny remark from a doctor, they take the edge off very uncomfortable circumstances.  It helps to laugh through struggles.  

I was particularly taken off guard by a beloved doctor who was quite conservative.  I was at his office for a pre-surgery physical.  When he walked in, he said, "So, are you scared poopless?"  I never thought I'd hear him say something like that.  After I picked my chin off the floor, I started laughing.  And, I remembered his remark throughout the whole process of blood work, pre-op, post-op, and recovery.  Every time I thought of it, I laughed.  And I recovered quite fast despite it being quite a major surgery.  Another of my doctor's told me later that his doing that surgery was a gutsy move.  But he did it for me; to improve my quality of life, and he helped me through it by making me laugh.  A top notch doctor with a heart of gold, and a sense of humor I had never seen until it was really needed.  Kudos to him, and all the other doctors out there who drop their guard a bit to show their human sides in order to help their patients through difficult situations.  I think it helps more than all the medication and surgeries just to know that the doctor truly cares about me.  It boosts my spirits when they drop their guard and helps me have more confidence in them.  And, I believe my confidence in them helps them do what needs to be done to help me.  It's a two-way street.  

Okay, so the next time you are heading to surgery, or you're facing some other difficult situation, I want you to dig deep inside and find something funny about it.  Purposely look for anything--big or small--that could be considered comical about the current fix you've found yourself in.  Can't possibly find anything amusing about such a scary, frustrating or just plain stupid circumstance?  Then fake it!  That still provides benefits.  Force yourself to giggle.  Try it.  Just a little bit at first.  Then increase it over time, finding any excuse to giggle.  Go for it--for health!

Now I'd like to hear how laughter has helped you through tough situations, medical or otherwise.  Post comments below, or email me at  I can't wait to read how you've benefited from laughter.  

Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much,
Amy :-) 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

What Is a Life Coach?

Hi!  Welcome to my blog.  I'll be writing about life and life coaching.  Some topics I plan to cover are motivation, weight loss, fitness, special needs, goals, positive thinking, habits, balancing work-home life, getting unstuck,  community involvement, self-esteem, making your dreams come true one step at a time, breaking down road blocks that stand in the way of you realizing your goals, how to get the most out of your life coaching sessions, believing in yourself, and shaking up your life to make it the best it can be.  

First, though, what is a life coach?  

What is a life coach?

A life coach helps you change your life for the better.  A life coach is a guide, a motivator, and a listener, not a psychotherapist, counselor, or consultant.  A life coach doesn't have the answers, but she does ask the questions which will help guide you to your own answers to problems in your life that make you feel "stuck."  Let's say, for example, you are bored with your job but you don't see any way that you can leave it.  The life coach helps you figure out, through discussion and exercises, how to jazz up that current job and make it more satisfying. (Click here for more information.)

Benefits of working with a life coach.

You are in control.  You decide what to discuss during the sessions.  Your life coach is your partner, guiding you through the sessions and providing non-judgemental support throughout the coaching process.  A life coach can provide you with accountability to keep you moving toward your goals.  You'll discuss and work through your life issues in a safe, trusting atmosphere.  There is no blaming, no yellinng, no guilt trips.  The life coach is in your corner throughout your working partnership, cheering you on toward a happier, more fulfilling life.  (Click here for more benefits of life coaching.)

What kind of life coach am I?

I'm pretty casual.  I want you to feel at ease and able to talk about your issues, dreams, and goals with me.  I provide the guidance, exercises, and accountability mentioned above.  I make sure that you follow through on tasks meant to bring you closer to your dreams.  I provide regular email support, sending you links and articles to compliment the coaching sessions.  We'll laugh, maybe even cry a little.  We'll celebrate your victories along the road to reaching your ultimate goals.  If something isn't working, we'll change direction.  No pressure.  What we talk about is up to you.  You lead the way and I'll guide you along, toward the happier life you desire, by asking appropriate questions.  Your answers to these questions will bring you closer to solving the issues that are standing in the way of your living the best life that you can.  I will help you discover your own answers to life's questions, and uncover the real you, helping you to become the best You you can be.  Through discussion and exercises, I can can help you break down barriers that are keeping you from experiencing life to the fullest.  

I will absolutely keep all your information and my conversations with you confidential.  I have a variety of coaching packages to choose from--short-term, medium-term, long-term, email coaching, phone coaching, month-to-month, etc.  You decide which package you would like.  You decided when the coaching partnership ends.  If you have any questions, be sure to contact me.  If you are interested in the free session to see if life coaching is for you and if I'm the right coach for you, click here

Do you need a life coach?

You may find life coaching beneficial if you:
  • feel stuck in your current life situation 
  • want to jazz up your life in general
  • need accountability, motivation, guidance and/or support to get through a temporary setback
  • need support and guidance during a loss of loved one, job, or pet
  • think about starting a fitness program but don't know where to begin
  • fear getting hurt if you start working out
  • have a health issue and wonder if you should be working out
  • have mobility issues due to an injury or medical condition
  • would like someone to provide accountability, motivation, support, encouragement and guidance as you make fitness a part of you life
  • need accountability, motivation, guidance and/or support to get through a temporary medical setback
  • have issues with family and/or friends related to mobility and medical problems
Check out the blue individual coaching tabs on my home page to see which type of coaching might be a good fit for you.  And, again, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.  I'd love to hear from you.