Every few months or so, I like to think back and evaluate what has been going on in my life. What new things have I learned, tried, gone or seen. Have I adpated new habits? Picked up old habits? What has been making me happy. These are just a few of the recent things that have really been doing that for me.
Setting Goals unrelated to Fitness/Nutrition or Health
Working as a trainer, being a fitness competitor and doing all things health/wellness/nutrition 90% of the time--this can get a bit taxing and draining. I have made it a goal to step away from that world to exercise my mind in different ways. I always want to strive to stay balanced in life, in relationships, in work and with my family so this is an extremely important bullet on my list to stay focused on. I have been reading 1 book a month that has NOTHING to do with fitness/health/wellness. I just finished the book "Sarah's Key" Which was fabulous and before that I read "The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo" I find that reading is a small escape that helps me to just relax. It takes me away from my professional world as well as away from the computer screen. I also want to go indoor rock climbing!!
Eating More Fats
I love fats. I think more than any other food group. It is the most satisfying, always can curb hunger and aids in fat loss. I know that many people (women especially) get 'scared' to eat more fats in their diet and let me just say that this is the biggest mistake if they are looking to actually lose fat and gain muscle.
Focus on Form not weight
I see time and time again (mostly men) come into the gym, no warm up prior and grab a heavy set of dumbbells and begin to lift with god awful form. Don't get me wrong, when lifting, those last 2-3 reps in a set should be very challenging however when I see people start their set with awful form (due to heavy weight) this is not only hindering their muscle growth and strength gains, but also increasing the risk for injury 10 fold.
Recently I have slowed down. A lot. and I mean with weight. I used to just grab whatever I thought I could lift and slam out however many reps I was aiming for. Then I realized I was not engaging the proper muscles. I am a huge believer in the mind muscle connection. To truly engage the muscles that you are working with any given exercise you MUST think about the contractions. You should be able to FULLY engage the muscles properly even when no added weight is provided. Before squats, perform glute bridges and body weight squats, squeezing the glutes to really get a feel for the proper muscles you should be working. It is SO easy to just 'go through the motions' of exercises. Before performing back rows, squeeze your shoulder blades down and together and holding that position even before rowing back should feel like 'work' I have made stronger gains and increased my strength just by truly listening to my body and checking my ego at the door.
Allow myself some flexibility with Training:
I used to be as uptight as a grumpy, old math teacher when it came to my workouts. I had set workout days, I knew exactly what I would be working, when my rest days were etc. This set me up to become a crazy lady not to mention workouts took up 12372% of my brain time. It would go like this. I had a "planned rest day" on Sunday and then a friend would call me up to do something on Sunday afternoon. In my mind, I started freaking out. This is going to THROW OFF MY ROUTINE!! My life, my workout, my week...what am I going to do!!! (Yes these thoughts went through my head) I have since learned to actually have a life. If I wake up and skip a workout that was 'planned' Oh well. I realized I was flipping out about...nothing. It is too draining to be so uptight about a regimented schedule because I would much rather have a life. Of course, I still like to know what I am doing for my workout beforehand, but that may only take 10 minutes of planning right before my workout. I write it out, or grab my sheet that has already been written and get to it! I now plan my workouts around my life not my life around my workouts.
Doing "Unconventional Workouts" I know so many of us get stuck in our own little routines. I worked at a fitness center for 2+ years and I could close my eyes and tell you the routines of some of these folks from the moment they step foot into the gym until the last second they left; for TWO YEARS. I would want to poke my eyes out, personally, if I did the same exact routine for two straight years. I have to admit, I get stuck in my own routines every now and then, but recently, I have realized that it is so refreshing, fun and a huge plateau buster to step out of your comfort zone and try something new for crying out loud! Last week my friend brought me to a Hip Hop Yoga class which is very unlike to me to even think about, but ya know what? I wanted to try something new. I went, it was great....not so much challenging, but fun and that 90 minute class flew by. I felt invigorated at the end and will definitely go back. I am always so used to saying 'no' to trying certain workouts or classes but as a fitness professional as well as a health junkie I think it is both important and meaningful to step outside the box once in a while.
Never Closing My Mind: It is so important to be open minded. I used to (and probably still am) a bit stubborn when it comes to certain things. In my field is it SO easy to get sucked into the idea that 'my way is the highway' This is similar when I see people who are passionate about Crossfit or Yoga or Intermittent Fasting (or any other trends) That this is the ONLY way to do things. It's not. Before I started my new job, I knew basically nothing about kettle bell training. People would ask me and I would brush it off because (well really I didn't know enough about it) so I would say something like "oh its a waste of time" Then I started using KB's. My world opened up to a whole new avenue of fitness. I am in NO way a crazy KB advocate, however, opening my mind up to this new fitness trend made me more aware, knowledgeable and conscious of the amazing benefits it can produce.
I am not a fan of running-at all. Sure, I sprint, but long distance running? Its not for me in the least. If I have a client who runs marathons and love it, who am I to tell them to stop? Exercise, passions, life, religion should be about happiness and what makes you YOU and who am I to take that away. Of course I will always have some fitness rants that drive me bonkers, but these are just generalities/myths that I really don't believe in
Living in the Moment: I sometimes wonder why people put so much pressure on themselves to aim higher, do more, work harder and strive to hit that '5 year goal' (whatever that may be) I used to be one of these people. When asked "Naomi, where do you see yourself in 5 years" I used to freak out, get extremely anxious and say something-without truly knowing if this IS where I want to be in 5 years. After being asked this question time and time again, I realized that it's OKAY to not know exactly what my life will be in 5 years--in fact, I love not knowing where my life will be. I know this: I have passions, I have goals, visions, support, an extremely hard work ethic and I know what makes me happy. As long as I know this, I KNOW that in 5 years...I will be happy, successful and (hopefully) stress free. It is all about the things you learn along the way that shape who you are.
What has been making you happy?