Heather's Story

Today I want to introduce you to Heather. Heather has multiple sclerosis and began training with me in August 2016. She can't control the fact that she has MS, but there is a lot she can control. She has taken control of her health by adding strength training and cardio to her regimen. The success you will read about below is what happens with consistency; these changes don't happen overnight. Pay close attention to this sentence, "Best of all, I have more energy than I’ve had in a very long time. The chronic fatigue and frequent pain I have struggled with for years even when not dealing with a MS relapse, are gone."

Heather's story:

"On August 8, 2016, I had my first strength training workout with my trainer, Kim Bouldin. As I walked out of Clear Rock that evening, I remember feeling amazed at what I had just accomplished physically, mentally and emotionally. Less than 2 weeks before this, I was struggling with the worst relapse I have had with Multiple Sclerosis since being diagnosed in 2003. For more than 2 weeks I could barely get out of bed and when I did, I had to use a cane.  I couldn’t work or take care of my family; I struggled to even take care of myself. I decided something had to change and that NOW was the time to make a change. I can’t change the fact that I have MS and other health challenges, but there was, and is, a lot I CAN change.

It’s hard to believe that it has been less than 5 months since my first workout with Kim. I am working out with Kim consistently 2 times per week. By the end of August, I also started doing the Tread cardio classes at Clear Rock once or twice a week and gradually added more cardio on my own. I feel like a different person. 

Physically, I am down 4 pants sizes and 3 top sizes. (Clothes shopping is actually fun now!) Muscles that I didn’t even know I had are becoming strong and toned. Best of all, I have more energy than I’ve had in a very long time. The chronic fatigue and frequent pain I have struggled with for years even when not dealing with a MS relapse, are gone.  

Mentally and emotionally I feel stronger and healthier than I have ever felt. I have been overweight my entire life, watching my weight go up and down as I tried and tried, but could never stick to a healthy regimen for very long.  I can honestly say, for the first time, that fitness and eating healthy is no longer a means to an end. This is my lifestyle now and because of the positive impact on my life, I am confident that I WILL continue. My attitude and motivation changed from “I have to lose weight”, to “I want to be healthy and feel better”.  I love that I have finally found a way to be active and stay healthy that I truly enjoy and look forward to doing.

Yes, I am losing weight, but even if the scale said the same thing today as it did on August 7th, I would still continue because of all of the other improvements.  This new mindset, along with the support from my family and the encouragement and accountability from Kim and Clear Rock is making the difference."

Trust in the process.

New Year, New You?

About sixteen years ago our family received a membership to our local recreation center as a Christmas gift. I had asked for the gift, so it wasn’t unwanted. I had big plans to get up early and hit the gym before I had to take Jon to daycare and then get to work. I was going to start my shiny, sparkly, brand new routine and stick to it! We went in early January to get our membership ID cards and then we never went back. I’m not kidding! Not one day in the entire 365 days of that year did we step foot back in that recreation center. What happened to my grand plan? I have no idea. It was not until several years later that exercise became a daily part of my routine, my life. I can’t change the past, so I will not dwell on what could have been, but I can move forward. I wanted to share this with you because I want you to know that I have been there. I struggled to make exercise a part of my routine just like many of you do. Many days it is still a struggle.

Reminder: Breathe. Stay calm. Be kind to yourself. The new year is just a few days away. For many, this means a giant upheaval of stagnant routines by diving headfirst into new fitness and nutrition programs. While change is necessary to change, it is important to not adopt too many new things at once. When we do that, things become overwhelming and then we quit. And when we quit, we don’t just quit one or two of the new routines. We quit them all. Trust me when I say there is nothing magic about January 1st. Any day or any month can be the time that you make the choice to take that first step. You can read more about getting a jump-start on the new year in my last newsletter.

How-To Get a Jump Start on the New Year

With the new year upon us, we will begin to see a plethora of ads enticing us to jump on the latest and greatest fitness plan/regimen. Shiny and new! Fitness fads. Why are we so attracted to shiny and new? What is it about January 1st that is different from the other 364 days of the year? The truth is that we have the power within us to make every day like January 1st. That power comes from the daily practice of believing that “I AM ENOUGH!” and “I AM WORTH IT!”

Instead of waiting until January 1st, consider making that move today. Take that first step outside of your comfort zone. The size of the step doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you take that step. You will head into the holiday with a new sense of empowerment. This first step looks different for everybody. For some, it may be going for a short walk when the comfy, warm couch might have otherwise won the battle. For others, it may be going back to the gym or training studio after a hiatus. 

Once you have taken that first step, you can begin to add onto it to develop a routine that works for you. You may find that you have to return to feeling somewhat uncomfortable and set some healthy boundaries to develop and keep your routine. This is normal and a part of the process. Get used to being uncomfortable. This is where the progress is made! 

The more you say “YES I CAN!” to that negative voice in your head, the less power it will have over you and the more empowered you will become and feel. Make this a daily practice and you will be surprised at how quickly that negative voice quiets down. Start small. Even those small steps count, and when you add them together, it’s a big deal. Break free of those chains that have been holding you back and discover who you are. 

How-To Combat Negative Self-Talk

Hey, you! Yes, you. The one with the voice in your head telling you that you are too fat, too lazy, too old, too (fill in the blank with the negative thought of the day) - STOP IT! Letting that voice, those lies, continually beat you down is what keeps you stuck in a vicious cycle of misery. Interrupt that voice with a proclamation of truth that says, “I AM ENOUGH!” Empower your body, mind, and spirit with the knowledge and belief that you are enough. Write yourself notes (I love Post-It notes for this!), just like you would to a dear friend or loved one, and leave them all over your house, your car, your office so that you are constantly reminded that YOU ARE ENOUGH! That voice in your head that lies won’t stand a chance against all that affirmation!

Try the above suggestions for just a few days and see if that doesn’t help to get your mindset into a better place. I know that when I am in a foul mood and everything seems to be going wrong, I begin to let that voice tell me the familiar lies that I am not smart enough, good enough, etc. Changing the messages you send yourself is not easy and it takes a very conscious effort to combat those lies. But I promise you: the magic that happens is worth it.

Core Strength

Core strength is an essential part of any exercise program. The core can be defined as all of the muscles from your shoulders to your hips, but especially the ones that wrap around the torso. These muscles help to hold your body upright and in alignment so that you can move as intended. If you have a week core it may be difficult to work towards building a stronger body or you may be at risk for an injury. Think of it like the foundation of a house. Your core is the foundation. A weak or cracked foundation isn't going to be able to properly support the house, right? So by focusing on strengthening the core we can help ensure our bodies are properly supported for daily activities and exercise. 

In an effort to help motivate everyone to work on their core strength, we are going to do a Plank Challenge beginning Tuesday, November 15, 2016. The challenge will run through Tuesday, November 29, 2016. This challenge is for all fitness levels! There will be instructions for various levels of plank so that even beginners can take part. The goal here is to build a stronger core by planking once a day. The amount of time you plank is up to you. I promise that if you do daily planks your core strength will improve by the end of the challenge. 

You can join the challenge by visiting the event page and clicking "Interested" and then "Going".

Stages

Did you start out the new year with a new plan for a new you? This new plan was going to finally be the answer to all of your problems. All you had to do was follow the plan, yet here we are at the end of October and you are frustrated and struggling with the plan. You are not alone.

Many years ago our family received a membership to the community recreation center as a gift. This was going to be the answer! We were going to go to the rec center as a family and exercise and get healthy. Yes! We headed over the next weekend to get our ID cards made and then never stepped foot back in the facility. Not my husband, not me, or our son (he gets a pass as he was only 4 at the time.)

What happened? I can make a ton of excuses, but it really comes down to a few things, with the first, and most important being: I wasn’t ready. Next, I had no idea what I was doing. I was intimidated by the facility, the equipment, the classes. If I only knew then what I know now about the stages of change. There are five stages of change as described by Prochaska & DiClemente in the Transtheoretical Model

 

I was somewhere between the preparation and the action stages. *It is important to note that people can enter and exit any stage of the model at any time. Additionally, relapse can occur after reaching the maintenance stage, which is considered stage number 6 in some updated models. I took the action of getting my ID card made, then exited the action stage and didn’t return until years later. 

One of the first things I had to do was to quit beating myself up about something that happened in the past. I had to learn to treat myself the way I treat my family and friends - with love and kindness. I deserve better than the criticism and lies the negative voice in my head was spewing. I re-entered the action stage when I began treating myself with love and kindness. I began exercising because it was good for me, it felt good, and I enjoy it. My body deserves all of the wonderful benefits of exercise and the more I do it, the better I feel. When I miss a workout or two, I don’t feel the same. My body is stiffer and my mood is off. Fortunately, I now know that I am only one workout away from a good mood. 

If you are struggling and feel stuck, I can help.

Steps

Steps. Did you get your steps in? This is a common phrase these days. Fitness trackers have become all the new rage. They are quite an improvement on the classic pedometer, as many track sleep, heart rate, etc in addition to steps. Some of these fitness trackers also allow you to compete against friends and family in daily and/or weekly challenges. I believe this can be a great motivator!

So how many steps should we get each day? There have been many recommendations over the years, so I did a little research to find out some more information. The information below is from a study I found on pubmed.gov.

<5000 steps/day may be used as a 'sedentary lifestyle index'; (ii). 5000-7499 steps/day is typical of daily activity excluding sports/exercise and might be considered 'low active'; (iii). 7500-9999 likely includes some volitional activities (and/or elevated occupational activity demands) and might be considered 'somewhat active'; and (iv). >or=10000 steps/day indicates the point that should be used to classify individuals as 'active'. Individuals who take >12500 steps/day are likely to be classified as 'highly active'.

As you can see, the recommendation per each individual is not the same. The key is to move more than you were previously moving. If you get a pedometer, wear it around for a few days, and find you are only averaging 3000-4000 steps per day, increasing your steps to 5000 or 6000 per day is a great way to start moving more. If you are a more active person, it is reasonable to shoot for 10,000 steps or more each day. 

Now, how do we get more steps? Should we aim to get the same number of steps each day? Obviously there are going to be days when we move more than other days and that is okay. In order to get more steps, try the following tips:
-Park and walk - Don't always aim to get the closest spot at work or when you are shopping

-Get up from your desk each hour and do a lap or two around the office. Take a note pad and jot down a to-do list if you feel like you are wasting time. Consider walking with a colleague for a meeting instead of sitting together at a desk.

-Stand or pace while on the phone at home or at work.

-Take the kids or dogs on a walk before or after dinner. Yes, even in the winter. There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing choices. 

-Use the treadmill at home or at the gym while watching your favorite TV show.

-Get up and do laps around the house while the commercials are on if you are sit

Additionally, try to spread your steps out over the day. Just because you may exercise or complete your step goal early in the day doesn't give you a pass to chill out the rest of the day. There have been recent studies that there are risks to sitting too much.

 If you are struggling and feel stuck, I can help

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