Stretching & Recovery

Stretching and recovery are important in health and fitness, no matter what your goal is. The benefits of stretching are endless and are especially essential in recovery and injury prevention. Yet so many people skip out on stretching and don’t allow their body time to recover. A few of the most important benefits of stretching include: 

  

  • Injury Prevention 
  • Release Muscle Tension 
  • Increase Range of Motion 
  • Reduce Soreness 
  • Improve Muscle Imbalances 
  • Increase Blood Circulation and Energy Levels 

  

After exertion, studies show that your muscles need anywhere from 24-72 hours to recover. You’ll notice this need in fatigue, soreness, fitness plateau, or even in your mood. Rather than pushing through and ending up burnt out, follow these steps to ensure you are allowing yourself adequate recovery:  

 

  • Listen to your body – notice the signs and allow yourself a day or two off activity. 
  • Schedule rest days – try to get at least 2 rest days in a week. 
  • Practice active recovery – engage in light exercise and movement on recovery days, such as stretching.  

  

To some, fitness and activity can be all about pushing yourself to your limit. The body is capable of amazing things when you break outside of your comfort zone, but it also needs these tactics of stretching and recovery to build back stronger than ever. Make a habit of incorporating stretching into your daily routine. Set aside just a few minutes to start your day, before a workout, after a workout, or to end your day. Give yourself room for recovery as well, and you will realize what you are truly capable of! 

 

SUSTAINABLE WEIGHT LOSS TIPS

Sometimes, we need a kick in the butt to get ourselves moving again.  A 30-day program, a 12-week challenge, you name it.  But once we lose the weight, how do we keep it off….forever?  You see, the statistics are pretty disheartening in the industry.  While the health and wellness industry continues to boom to over $10 Trillion per year, the number of individuals who lose weight and keep it off one year later?  Only about 1-2%.  We want to help you go from program to lifestyle.  We want you to keep the weight off and embrace new habits for life!  Check out these practical tips to live by, especially as we head into the busy holiday season ahead:
1.  Self-Monitor.  Every individual who keeps the weight off long term will monitor their weight and their food, at some level.  Whether that be an app like Myfitnesspal, Weight Watchers or measuring our portions of food once a month, you have to get back to basics.  Weight loss is about taking in less calories and expending more so find a system that can give you honest feedback from month to month!
2.  Watch your home environments:  Hard but necessary.  Even if you have kids at home, don’t use them as an excuse to bring junk food into the house.  30% of success is a product of your environments so control what you can and don’t let temptations surround you at night.
3.  Hire an accountability coach:  Based on multiple research studies, individuals who met with a weight loss coach, once a month, were 3x more likely to keep the weight off and stay on track.  It’s good to have fresh perspective and someone to report your goals to!
4.  Stay active!  The BEST way to keep the weight off is through exercise; specifically, strength training.  Even just 2-3 times per week of lifting weights, body weight or active yoga will help keep lean muscle on your frame (and your metabolism strong from year to year!)
5.  Create a strong social army!  Your attitudes, behaviors and thoughts will be the most like the five people you spend the most time with.  Add people into your social circle who value health and will be a positive influence in your life.
6.  Establish non-negotiables!  No matter the day, what is ONE thing you can stick with no matter what?  64 ounces of water before drinking anything else?  A healthy breakfast every morning?  What can you commit to and feel great about for the rest of your life?
7.  Master your bookends:  People who keep the weight off tend to have an earlier start to the day and go to bed earlier.  They take the time before work or at night to practice self care….exercise, meditation, journaling, personal development.  Which bookend can you improve over the holidays?
8.  Invest in your health.  Yes, you DO have to keep investing in yourself….sign up for big goals like a 5K, a gym membership, a running club, a cooking club.  How you spend your time and money shows what you value most in life.
9.  Be realistic.  Don’t allow one bad day or one bad meal to throw you completely off course.  It’s not about perfection.  Allow for some splurges and fun in life but then get right back on track, or BALANCE it with an extra hard workout or great food the next day.  One day at a time!
10.  Stop viewing health as an obligation.  It’s a gift we have been given.  Change your perspective from “have to” to want to…..move because you can and be grateful for the health you have, every step of the way!

Healthy Eating on the GO!

By Kendra Bylsma

Whether your job takes you across the country or your kids take you across town with extracurricular activities, we all must eat. With school sports starting back up for our kids and getting back from two weeks of vacation travel, I know first hand how hard it can be, even as a health professional.  Eating a balanced and nutritious diet on the road is one of the biggest challenges faced by those who spend considerable time traveling.

The “road warrior” lifestyle is one that can create major health issues over time. In a recent study done by Harvard University, researchers found a strong correlation between the frequency of business travel and various health risks, especially those who traveled more than 14 days a month. From higher BMIs, increased depression and lack of physical activity, traveling creates real barriers when it comes to sustaining healthy habits on the road. One of the biggest challenges is eating out.  Choosing healthy foods in an airport, drive through or five-star dining can feel impossible.  But… still possible, with a few key strategies in place:

  1. Power up with protein. Start your day with a protein-packed breakfast that will keep you from being hungry and making less-than-desirable choices later in the day. Whether that means making breakfast at home before hitting the road or enjoying a hotel breakfast buffet, be sure to make healthy, hunger-fighting protein the focus. I love to make an egg sandwich to go or sit down with a scrambled egg veggie hash.  Other options could include a greek yogurt with granola or whole grain toast with peanut butter.
  2. Pack snacks. Snacks have actually come a long way. You can ditch the bag of salty chips for healthy, delicious and filling snacks that aren’t loaded with empty calories. Plan ahead and pack nuts, granola bars, fresh fruit, low-fat cheese sticks or veggie and hummus packs.  You may pay a little extra for things to be “pre-packaged” but it’s worth it if it keeps you on track and cuts down on prep time.  I love the individual hummus containers for my kids’ lunches or my afternoon driving/  Plus, I love Larabars, pre-cut fruit cups, apples with sharp cheddar cheese slice or walnuts and dried cherries in a baggie!
  3. Don’t fear fast food. Fast food or fast casual restaurants are inevitable in life. At Allegro, we don’t believe you can eat clean and wholesome 100% of the time.  It’s all about balance and a nutrition plan that you can live with long term.  When faced with that as your only option, don’t fear the menu. Instead, break it down by entree/sandwich, side and drink and make the best choices in each category. Choose grilled over fried, salad over fries, water over soda, and steer clear of value meals that are only valuable to your pocket book but detrimental to your waistline!

What I Learned From Detoxing Digitally

by Emma Szczepanek

Last month after watching a very convincing Ted Talk I decided that I needed a break from social media. I’d thought about the idea many times before, but watching that video was the catalyst that made me decide it was time. I’ve always had a mostly hate relationship with social media (90% hate 10% love). It seemed like a chore, something I had to do to stay present in a social circle, the make or break of my career. Facebook always seemed like a constant stream of negativity, and Instagram, the ultimate highlight reel felt inauthentic. I never truly felt connected to anyone when I posted on Facebook or Instagram, but the idea of leaving these platforms made me nervous that my career would fail and my life would fall apart (I’m generally a worst case scenario thinker).

Once I made the decision to leave my social media platforms, and step away from the constant connectedness of the world, I actually learned a lot, and thrived without constant Instagram scrolling and Facebook nonsense. I benefited mentally. It felt like my brain changed. Here are a few things that happened:

I became more focused

Recent studies have shown that regular multitasking can reduce our ability to effectively complete tasks. Our brains can only handle so much information at one time and when we consistently bombard our minds with endless streams, it’s forced to switch between everything we’ve given it, putting less focus on individualized tasks.* I can’t even begin to tell you the number of times I found myself trying to read an article while watching a YouTube video, or the number of hours I spent scrolling through Instagram while Netflix played in the background. These seemingly small bouts of multitasking have a huge effect on our ability to focus when we really need to. Once I eliminated the temptation of mindless scrolling I was able to sit down and truly dedicate time to one specific task. Over the course of 30 days, I noticed that the amount of time I was able to really focus became longer and longer. I went from only being able to work for 30 minutes without a break, to sitting down and focusing on something for an hour or longer. I felt motivated by the amount of work I was able to get done.

I actually LIVED the life I wanted

This was something that only the 30-day detox could help me realize. I spent so much time on social media following influencers and other people that were living the life I wanted. Waking up early every morning, working for themselves, traveling, committing themselves to a regular yoga and meditation practice. These were all things that I wanted to do, this was the life I wanted to live, but I wasn’t doing it. I was getting an odd complacency about the life I wanted because I was almost able to live it through other people. Living that life in my imagination through their feed. I got satisfaction from seeing them do all of these things and didn’t actually try to do them myself. Once I gave up social media, I was able to sit down and take a true audit of my life. I was able to tune into the things I truly wanted, and I started to do them. I woke up early, did my meditation, did yoga, spent time on my business, all of the things that I had for some reason been avoiding but coveting in others. During these thirty days, I felt more like myself than I had in a while. I didn’t have other influencers, bloggers, trainers or coaches to compare myself to. I was doing my work the way that I wanted to do it, not being influenced by the things that were popular on social media at the moment. I was able to live my life in that same way. Without stepping away from the people that I envied so much, I think it would have taken me much longer to realize that I was letting them live my life for me.

I was able to create

When I was really able to be with myself and spend time figuring out what I wanted out of life and my career, without the influence of what the “successful” social media influencers were doing. I felt like my creativity was at an all-time high. I came up with new concepts to write about when I had been stuck for months, I came up with an entirely new project that I would have never thought to create before. For a long time, I thought that social media was inspiring to try new things and do something different, but it turned out that it was really holding me back, and instead of standing out, I ended up blending in.

Overall, the past thirty days has truly changed not only my relationship with technology but also my relationship with myself. It’s so easy to get caught up in the digital world because we’re constantly told that we can’t do things without it, but that’s not true at all. Technology and social media have made many things a lot easier, but it’s also taken a lot away. Our ability to connect to our authentic selves, to take chances and do things that may not get likes or follows. Being able to see the world on our phone or computer screen is a wonderful advancement, but being able to see the world with our own eyes is still possible, we just have to lift up our heads.

*[The Essential Digital Detox Plan – Orianna Fielding]

Find Your “Why”

By Jess Welch

Lose 10 pounds in 10 days! Twelve workouts to a flat stomach! Lose unwanted cellulite in just 30 minutes!

Tag lines like these pollute our media and are riddled throughout our everyday lives. Misinformation and misleading titles lead individuals to think sustainable weight loss is as easy as a snap of a finger. This leaves people feeling disheartened and unmotivated with continually fluctuating weights. Not to mention, we live in a society which thrives on instant gratification; thus making the humbling reality of weight loss a tough pill to swallow.

One thing I have continuously learned is this: weight loss is hard. We wouldn’t have an obesity epidemic on our hands if it was easy as pie to avoid… well… pie! Oh, and bacon, ice cream, cheeseburgers, chips, and other sinful tantalizing treats. The old adage of “consistency is key” couldn’t be truer. But those three words are far easier said than done. Too often, I talk to people who have lost a whopping 55lbs in 4 months sometime in their past, gained it all back, lost 20lbs then gained that back too, plus some. The list of weight-loss attempts is never short and too often, I hear defeated voices whisper “I should do better, be better, and have better self-control.” Too many of my clients are consistently reliving their weight loss failures.

The other thing I know about weight loss is this: sustainable weight loss is slow. It is healthiest to lose 1-2 pounds per week. Like I said, sloooow. And when you’re staring at a scale that has a decline as slow as molasses in January, you lose hope.

So why try? Weight loss is difficult and time consuming. Why care? That’s an important question to answer and its one I cannot answer for you. For some people it’s as simple as wanting a pair of jeans to fit or to go to the doctor and finally not receive the advice of “you should really lose weight”. Maybe it’s more clinical, like getting off medications for high blood pressure or getting out of the pre-diabetic range. It could be psychologically deeper, like having a past of bullying or a severe deprivation in self-confidence. Your perception is your reality and once you find a reason captivating enough to make the hard work and patience worth it, weight loss will come easier, I promise!

If you can’t think of your “why”, answer this: What do you gain with weight loss? It could be that size of jeans you always wanted to be in or that number on the scale. You could gain the confidence you never had to rock that bikini you never thought you could. Maybe it’s just the accomplishment itself, the follow through to actually accomplish a goal once thought of as unattainable. Whatever it may be, I urge you to find your “why”. My message is to utilize this as step one in your final weight loss journey to a happierhealthieryou!

 

What, when, and how? Choosing the best workout frequency based on your goals.

What, when, and how? Choosing the best workout frequency based on your goals.

Ryan Pender

Let’s open this up by drawing a poll: How many of you reading right now think about your current exercise program? Maybe you have specific goals and are wondering if you’re taking the right steps to reach those goals? If you’re still reading this, you most likely answered “yes” to one of these questions! Now I’m going to try and peer into my crystal ball and make a bold prediction: you are trying to achieve one (or more) of these three goals; (1) Improve your cardiovascular fitness (getting “in-shape” or running a 10k or half-marathon) (2) Increase your strength/muscle (3) Lose weight. Some individuals can be fit into these three categories, and many of said individuals will inadvertently swing for the fences to try and attain all of these goals at once.

This approach does tend to work with many individuals at the beginning of their fitness journey, let’s think of a fairly common scenario. You’ve signed up at Allegro Coaching (insert shameless advertising 😊) because you’re friend or family member dragged you in, or you made the decision yourself. You started slow, taking some classes and you’re feeling great! A few months go by and you’re going through some tough workouts, you even make a few friends with some of the long-time regulars. Running season starts and your workout friends start signing up for 5k/10k/marathons, and you start thinking to yourself, ”Hmm, I wonder if I can do that?” You do couple of fun 5k runs, a 10k here and there, and you’d like to step things up and get a little more serious. Where do you go from here? Maybe instead of wanting to run more you want to start getting serious about building muscle to show off your guns for beach season, or you want more specific results for weight loss. Regardless of what fitness-based goal you have, there is something called the F.I.T.T. principle (Frequency, Intensity, Time, Type) that we can bring in to help you focus into developing a training program. *Disclaimer*- If you haven’t done so yet, get your Allegro Baseline Assessment (A.B.A.)! You can speak with one of our fantastic personal trainers who can develop the best possible program for whatever results you want to achieve. Best news, the A.B.A. is free!

I won’t get into all of the details of the F.I.T.T. principle, rather I’ll give you the most important points to hit for our 3 broad goals; Cardio, Strength/Muscle, Weight Loss.

Cardio: Running, walking, biking, skiing, etc.

Frequency: If your goal is to complete a run, race, or ride, your optimal frequency will be to train 3-4 sessions per week. Does that seem like not enough running upon first glance? Pacing yourself is incredibly important, especially if it’s your first race! These days off will help your body recover (which is almost as important as the training itself), and eventually give you days to fit in some very beneficial core and strength training to your schedule.

Intensity: Whatever length of event you’re training to complete, it’s a good idea to start slow. Using running as an example: it’s a good idea to see if you can complete 30-40% of the race distance (approximately 4-5 miles for a half marathon) at a slow pace roughly 3 months from the event and go from there. If that 30-40% distance was pretty long and tough, that will be your “distance” day, which you will run once per week. Pair that with one short run (2 miles) at a slightly faster pace, and one more run that’s in the middle of your long and short runs. Try to add a mile to your middle and long distance runs each week, keeping your short runs at the same distance!

Time: Given that many events are distance based, time doesn’t have as much application as it pertains to the time allocated to training. However, it is important to note when you have time to train. Knowing if you will get to trainer before the kids get up, or later in the day is important. Remember this if you have a big goal: you don’t find time, you make time!

Type: If you’re training for a specific event, you’d be calling me Captain Obvious if I told you “You have to run if you’re running a race!” However, it is important to consider cross training with strength/core workouts and flexibility/mobility on your “off” days. This is where classes such as A-Fit, Circuit Training, CXWORX and personal training once or twice a week can drastically improve your performance and prevent running injury.

Strength/Muscle: *Disclaimer*- If you are reading this section and think to yourself,” I don’t want to bulk up, I just want to tone up!” Physiologically, there is no difference between muscle growth and muscle “toning.” Muscle tone simply refers to having a certain amount of muscle mass with a low enough bodyfat percentage to see the muscle. In a nutshell: “Toning up” requires you to build muscle, decrease bodyfat percentage, but your best results would come from a combination of both. Any product or professional that tells you otherwise is just trying to sell you something, and don’t you dare fall for it!

Frequency: The frequency for strength training can fluctuate based on your schedule and goals. You can get away with training 2 days per week but also push to train 5 or 6 days per week. Research has shown that both high and low frequency methods produce the same results, as long as your weekly volume (the total number of sets and/or reps) stays the same. So you can get the same results with training 2 or 3 days per week (focusing on full-body workouts) as you would training 5 or 6 days per week (focusing on one or two body parts per workout), just as long as the number of sets and reps stay the same. I’ve experimented with both methods and the results are the same…although I personally prefer to train 5 or 6 days because I can focus much more on what I’m doing.

Intensity: Whether you are lifting weights, using bands, or doing bodyweight exercises, it’s all considered “resistance” training! The goal here is to use a load that will fatigue your muscles after a certain number of repetitions. The general rule of thumb is this: use a resistance that fatigues your muscles within 6-12 repetitions (for muscle growth) or 2-6 repetitions (for strength), and complete 3-5 sets using that resistance for each muscle group. Since we all have different bodies that respond differently to exercise, some individuals may see more muscle gained from heavier loads!

Time: The amount of time will depend on your training frequency. If you’re training 2-3 days per week, your workouts may need to be longer (up to an hour or more) to make sure you hit all of your muscles groups. Conversely, if you train 5-6 days per week, that would allow you to have shorter workouts (30-45 minutes).

Type: Anything is game here! You can use dumbbells, bands, TRX, bodyweight, it all depends where you are in your journey! This is also where taking a circuit class, A-Fit or doing personal training would cover all of your bases!

Fat Loss: This is either good news or bad news, 80-90% of your fat loss will come from nutrition. However, you can manipulate exercise for some added benefit of fat loss or muscle gain/retention.

Frequency: Try to exercise most days of the week (4-6 depending on the intensity).

Intensity: You can mix this up quite a bit. If you don’t have time to dedicate a full hour, try to increase the intensity of your workout if you only have 20 or 30 minutes! This is where Les Mills GRIT is fantastic, you get a great High-Intensity Interval Training (H.I.I.T.) workout in a short amount of time!

Time: For easy to moderate workouts or steady-state cardio (walking, running, cycling), try to shoot for 20-60 minutes for a good amount of fat burn. More intense workouts can be shorter, 20-30 minutes.

Type: Everything under the sun! Cardio will help with increasing fat burn, strength training will help to build and maintain muscle, and H.I.I.T. training will help cover both areas!

Believe it or not, that is the short version of how to program for your specific goals! If you feel like you need help or you want someone to take out the guess work for you, sign up for your A.B.A. and our team of personal trainers will get you started on the right track!

 

Stop, Listen, and….Respond

by Jess Welch

 

Stop, Listen, and… Respond

As a wife, friend, and health coach I tend to want to solve. I want to fix. I crave the ability to alter someone else’s life experience so it is more meaningful and fulfilling to them. I went into this field to “help people.” So quickly I learned that my wanting to help people was really wanting to find solutions to problems that people cannot find themselves. Who doesn’t want to be the magic genie to make someone’s goals and dreams come true? However, that is always not the best way to help.

Too often, I find myself hearing stories that someone is experiencing similar to one I have personally experienced and stop listening. “I have the solution!! I have been there!” I want so badly to connect with clients and friends based on similarities that I forget the most important step.

Listening. Fully listening then responding in a way most meaningful to the person you are communicating with, not to you. This basic format of conversation is simple: Step 1) Listen Step 2) Respond. But what does that look like? What should that look like?

For anyone accustomed to conversing in a way to fix or make connections based on similar experiences, I look at this task as being as difficult as changing diet, starting a new exercise regimen, or quitting smoking.

Let’s dive deeper. Listening doesn’t always mean listening. Attention doesn’t always mean attention. I can be having an in-person conversation, have my phone out texting someone else, and be thinking about all the housework I need to do. Our world is designed to encourage multi-tasking so it is only natural that we do that while listening. However, meaningful connections are missed if we cannot figure out how to be in the moment and be present. This affects the person speaking as well as you.

Evaluating your response in moments of crisis, pain, or even contemplation for the party you are speaking to is the key. I am victim to this; I want to fix. My job is not to fix as I am not an expert in everything my loved ones or clients may be experiencing. So instead of trying to find the ultimate solution, we must respond in a way that is helpful and lets the person know you are quite simply… there for them.

Often our responses contain one of two things: sympathy or empathy. Understanding the difference between the two is essential. Sympathy tends to set us apart from one another. It is looking at someone rather than being with someone. Empathy is allowing yourself, and that person, to be in this situation together. I’d love to encourage everyone reading to allow that to sit with them.

Strategies for mindfulness and expressing empathy are vast and can vary depending on who you are and what works for you. Just like one exercise may work for me but not for you, trying different strategies will eventually lead you to one that is most effective for you. A couple mindfulness tips to try would be: putting your phone away, making eye contact, repeating what someone has said in your head, preparing yourself prior to a conversation with a few deep breaths, allowing yourself a break from all you have going on. A couple empathetic tips to try would be: reflective responses (taking out questions or personal experiences and repeating what a person has said in a different way), avoiding pity, make observations instead of evaluations, offer a chance for more to be said from the individual speaking.

Remember: Listen and Respond. Help by being present rather than presenting solutions. And try different strategies of mindfulness and empathy to help get there. I know you will see changes in your work and home relationships by trying this.

 

Should you work out when you’re sick?

If you only have a cough or cold, take it easy.

 

  • Give yourself permission to take a break.
  • If you have a minor cold, it’s okay to work out. If you are used to exercise and working out regularly, people can feel better with exercise.
  • Decrease the intensity and don’t push it.
  • Cardio will feel harder with a upper respiratory infection. Consider a light workout like gentle yoga or a walk.

 

If you have a high temperature or flu symptoms, take a break.

 

  • Quick Advice: The Neck check. Don’t work out if your symptoms occur below the neck.
  • When your body has the flu: chills, nausea, diarrhea or vomiting – Do not exercise until you’re feeling better and you haven’t had a fever free for 24 hours.
  • If you’re extremely tired, it’s better not to work out when you’re sick.

Happy muscles = happy, stronger body

You work hard all day long; going from work, to the gym, to home and maybe even chasing your kids around.  You push your body every day, sometimes to its limit.  Do you want to keep your body going strong and feeling great? Incorporating regular massage sessions into your routine is one way to ensure you will be at your best, always. Whether you sit at a desk all day,exercise regularly or are an elite athlete, regular massages will keep you bringing your A-game!

Research continues to show that regular massage therapy improves range of motion, reduces recovery time and increases muscle tone and flexibility.  Since massage acts as an “auxiliary heart” by increasing circulation, it gets rid of toxins and other metabolic wastes generated as a by-product of strength training. Not only will you feel better, but you will also recover quicker after workouts and keep your joints healthy and happy- for the long haul!

Here are a few other surprising ways massage can help:massage athletes

  1. Corrects posture ofdaily sitting
  2. Eases muscle pain
  3. Soothes anxiety and depression
  4. Improves sleep
  5. Boots immunity
  6. Relieves headaches

Click here to read about the massage types we offer!

 

 

As well, massage can be great for women who are trying to get pregnant, are pregnant or who have recently given birth. However, there are things to consider, especially during pregnancy.  It is highly recommended that a woman consult with her physician prior to getting a massage.

There are several key benefits of massage for a client who is pregnant or postpartum:

  • Lowers blood pressure, which helps the client to relax…and every new mom or mom-to-be definitely needs this!
  • Helps to move lymph through the body and increases circulation. The movement of lymph assists in the processing of toxins and shuttling vital nutrients to the different parts of the body.
  • Helps to ease muscle aches and decreases the time of recovery from strenuous activities.
  • Help alleviate much of the discomfort that can occur with pregnancy such as: low back pain, leg cramps and discomfort, difficulty sleeping, depression or anxiety, water retention and weight gain.

Interested in scheduling a massage with one of our therapists? Click here for more information or call (616) 451.9000 to schedule.

Motivation on the days when we just aren’t feeling it

 

motivation 1Written by Coach Kendra. 

We all have days when we just don’t feel like exercising, including myself. But we all need to exercise regularly. Exercise makes you more productive, happier, nicer, more creative, your body feels better and you can move easier. Alas, we all have days when we just don’t feel like it.  So how do you stick with it and get over that “stuck-ness?”

First, set yourself up for success.  I know this sounds obvious, but so many people set themselves up for failure.  They put these huge demands, deadlines and expectations on themselves; things not even possible to accomplish in a 24-hours.  If you want to lose weight or get fit, here are some simple suggestions.

Clean up your environment.

This means your pantry cleaned, organized and filled with healthy foods.  Get rid of trigger foods.   There are certain foods that I just don’t even buy.  If they make their way into the home, I won’t rest until they are gone.  Can you relate?

Set yourself up for success in terms of how you structure your day.

You need to clear something off your calendar that is LESS important in order to exercise, go to the grocery store and plan your meals. Even if it means you feel you are letting someone down.  It needs to be part of your routine.

Get it done before your brain figures out what you are doing.

This is our 5:30 am crowd at Allegro.  And there is something pretty significant with having a morning ritual.  Exercising first thing in the morning sets the tone for your day, gives you incredible energy and is one less excuse mid-afternoon when you just aren’t “feeling” that evening workout.

If my exercise is planned midday or later, create a GO TO playlist. 

Create a playlist to PUMP you up! It automatically hypes you up and makes you happy! This is not the playlist WHILE you work out, but BEFORE.  Dying to know what’s on my playlist?  Comment below and I’ll give you some fun suggestions!

Just do five minutes. 

Begin your workout. Set your timer on your phone and after five minutes if you are not feeling it, give yourself permission to throw in the towel.  But after my first five minutes of exercise all my hormones, endorphins and blood are flowing into my muscles and I feel GREAT! I can pretty much guarantee the first five minutes is the toughest part.  So stick with it and just START.

Add accountability. 

It’s never too late to add accountability to your goals.  Especially when you feel like you have failed at your goal, add to it…layers of it.  It works.  It gets teenagers to show up to a big brick building and study every night; if we can get teenagers to be accountable then we can certainly do it as adults!  First, find an accountability partner, someone who won’t let you off the hook on the days when you don’t feel like it. It can be your spouse, your kids, your best friend. Give them permission to keep you accountable.

Focus five feet out in front of you.

I remember last fall when I trained for my half marathon.  I love running, I really do.  But as the weeks went by, knowing I had a 12 mile or 14 mile run ahead of me was daunting; even overwhelming.  It reminded me of my high school track coach telling me to “just focus five feet out in front of you.”  The same is true with your fitness goals.  Just keep looking a little further ahead of you rather than think about how big and arduous this goal is.  Think about the next five.  The next five pounds, next five days, next five workouts. And just keep going.

Focus on your mindset.

It is unbelievable how much power you have over your life, your attitude and whatever you hope to accomplish.  A favorite quote of mine by Brian Tracy explains, “The law of concentration states that whatever you dwell upon, it grows.  The more you think about something the more it becomes part of your reality.”  If you decide that you are low on energy and feel lethargic, you will continue to feel more tired all day long.

People always ask me, “Kendra how do you get your energy?”  The truth is I get my energy from my mindset.  I will think about something that I am looking forward to and that gives me physical energy.  I think of things that make me happy and make me feel I can do anything.  And then I just tell myself over and over that I have a lot of energy.  And that just becomes my reality.

For more tips on mindset, check out our podcast “Ready, Mindset, GO!” on iTunes.

Now, ready, set GO – towards reaching your goals and becoming a better YOU in 2016.