You may not be wearing the right shoes for the activity you are engaging in and may gradually be causing yourself some future pain and agony. I want to tell you a story about how I learned the hard way that I was wearing the wrong shoes.
I had been training for the Redondo Beach Triathlon for about 3 months a about 2 years ago and was doing great. My cardio was excellent, my swimming technique had improved, and I was more confident with ocean swimming. One day I woke up and stepped out of bed and I felt a pain in the pad of my foot "OWWW!!!" What had happened? I didn't fall or do anything that I thought would have caused this pain. Maybe my feet were just sore. So I put on my tennis instead of heels that week and went to work. A week passed and my feet were not getting better. I decided to go see the doctor.
My doctor did an X-ray and said that she didn't see anything unusual. She then asked me about my training. Next she recommended that I stick to my my tennis shoes for 2 weeks and stop training. What??? This was horrible! But I did what she asked. Two weeks came and went and one morning I decided to take myself for a little run. "OWWWW! are you kidding me?". My feet were not better. I went back in and had an MRI scan completed. "Stress Fracture." I was told. A very very small hairline fracture on the bone of one of my metatarsals. I was placed in a boot for over 2 months. This set my training back so much. When race time came about I still wasn't healed completely. I still competed but took it easy on the run.
So what was the cause of all of this? Well I remember that the days leading up to my injury I was jump roping for 3 days in a row in my NIKE training shoes (I thought I was Rocky with all that jump roping). The thing about these shoes were that they were not meant for high impact exercises since they had zero cushion. They were meant for lifting and stabilized motions. Being new to all this working out stuff I didn't think that jumping in them would be a problem since I was fine jump roping the first two days. I was wrong.
Now that I am better informed I have a pair of flat sturdy NIKE training shoes for lifting, a pair of cushioned Asics for running, and a pair of semi cushioned shoes for walking. I do not wear running shoes if I am lifting (squatting, lunging, etc) because most running shoes are higher in the back to encourage a forward movement when you are running. When you are squatting you do not want to be in running shoes and be pushed forward, especially when you have a ton of weight on your shoulders from a barbell. This could cause stress on your knees, not to mention some balance issues "Timber!!!!" I'm sure some of you might be reading this right now and a light bulb is going off in your head as to why you always tip forward on your squats. It's your shoes!! Basic right? Next time you squat try flat footed shoes or your bare feet. Your hamstrings are going to be doing work that they were doing when you were lifting in those running shoes. Also if you have weak ankles, you might want to try a shoe with better stabilization.
So moral of the story is, always wear the shoe that fits the activity you are doing. Don't be like me and wear something for every activity just because it looks cool. You may end up injuring yourself!!!
It's the New Year and you want to get your fitness plan into motion. You have already visited the gym a few times already and started eating a bit cleaner but it seems like you're slowly losing your momentum and it hasn't even been a month yet! Yikes! What gives? Why can't you do this? Well, don't beat yourself up over it. This happens to lots of us. Mostly because we don't understand that we have to eat the elephant one bite at a time.
Let me give you a scenario. Stephanie, a really really awesome girl with no clue about fitness, decided that she wanted to tone up and lose some body fat. So she decides to run when she gets the urge to or when she "has time for it". She also decides to eat a salad at lunch a few times a week instead of her usual fast food options. After two weeks Stephanie looks in the mirror and doesn't see any dramatic changes. So she slowly loses faith and gets back to her regular routine of eating whats available to her. You see Stephanie never weighed herself or took photos of herself at the beginning of her endeavor. She never researched anything about caloric intake vs caloric output (how many calories you consume vs how much you burn), or knew anything about the gym or strength training. She really was clueless about how to go about any of this, until she saw an unfavorable photo of herself that did it for her. The next day she signed up at the local gym and picked up a few weights, but still didn't really know what to do. That's when she googled "exercise routines" and "women and workouts". All sorts of information about getting into shape pulled up and the fog was lifted.
The internet is a great resource for learning all sorts of things. I found my starting points on bodybuilding.com (www.bodybuilding.com/fun/womans_lean_sexy_bible.htm) and on instagram by following the workouts on @iamfitmiss. Bodybuilding.com is a great resource for all things fitness. You can find a workout and diet plan specifically tailored for what it is you are looking to do (i.e. build muscle, lose fat, tone up, etc.). One of the main pieces of information I learned about weight loss is that you have to burn more calories that you consume in order to lose weight. Which means you have to calorie count and write down what you eat. The old Stephanie did not do this. She also didn't realize that in order to keep the muscle she was building at the gym she had to be eating a certain amount of protein each day. I also want to say, not to worry about getting big and bulky by lifting weights if that's not what you want. The only way you get that way is if you are consuming a high amount of calories. You have to eat big to get big. This information is only a small part of what you will learn as you start to research the diet plan that is right for you.
So whats the best way stay on track and pushing forward? It's writing your goals down and breaking them up into weeks. Below is an example for you to use.
GOAL PLANNING QUESTIONS and EXAMPLE ANSWERS
What is this weeks Goal? Know how many calories I have to eat in order to maintain my weight and eat about 200-300 less than that per day. I will track this by writing down in a journal everything I eat and by counting my calories. (You can find your Target Caloric intake at http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/what-does-2500-calories-look-like.html).
How will I tone up: I will strength train 3x a week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and cardio 2 x's a week for 25 minutes. I will follow the workout plan I found on bodybuilding.com and bring it with me to the gym.
How will I stray away from fast foods? I will prepare all my meals on Sunday Night and Thursday night for the week.
How will you track your progress? I will take a photo (front, back, side) every two weeks and weigh myself every week and write it down.
When will you celebrate and how? I will celebrate when I lose my first 6lbs and I will celebrate by having that one cheat meal. The In and Out Burger but not the fries or soda. Then its back to it. Every 6lbs I will celebrate by doing something small that doesn't destroy all my progress.
Hope this helps! and good Luck, you can do it!! Just Plan!
Fear of failure is something we all know too well. It's a self sabotaging behavior that keeps us from our goals and dreams. It leaves us with regrets that loom over us day in and day out. So why do we have fear? Well C. JoyBell C. put it like this "Don't be afraid of your fears. They're not there to scare you. They're there to let you know that something is worth it." I think she has something here. If what we wanted most was so easy to attain I think many of us would take it for granted and not really get to "feel" that euphoric sense of success and accomplishment. So how do we kick this bad behavior?
Break your dream down into steps and pre-plan. Losing 20 lbs before that Christmas party or becoming an IFBB pro in a few months time (my dream) seems like Mount Everest at first but if you break that goal down into small steps/tasks you can really get a hold of it starts to look more attainable. It actually starts too look like that hill behind your house or down the street that you can manage to climb a few times. If you want to lose weight you have to do your homework. You need to have a meal plan figured out and you have to think about how many calories you will limit yourself to. You should also have a gym/workout plan put together before you get to the gym. You are going to want to think about days you are going to workout and what muscle groups. There is a lot of information on the internet about how to drop weight in healthy ways. There are also professional nutritionists and personal trainers that have structured plans you can purchase less than $100 a plan. Whatever you decide to do, make sure that your journey is enjoyable and that you aren't burning yourself out before you have even started. That means getting enough rest and sometimes saying no to girls/boys night.
Separate yourself from negative people. I have to tell you that my family wasn't 100% on board with my dream of becoming a bikini competitor. They were used to seeing me more full than the weight I am at right now. My mother kept telling me that my face looked too skinny and that I needed to eat more, even though I was eating 5x's a day. More than what everyone else in my household was eating. Hearing all of these comments did make me angry and disappointed, but I separated myself from them by taking a walk or going to a different room. I wouldn't even engage it anymore. I started to believe that "they just didn't understand" and you know what, they didn't. It took a while for them to really see that what I was doing was something great for my health. I now have my Mom's full support and my family is excited to see me compete again. The more you are around like minded people, the easier it is push out all that negativity. I have met friends at the gym and at competitions that keep in touch on Facebook and Instagram. We all support each other. Oh, I also wanted to mention that I would get told by my family that my body fat was genetics and I would never be able to get rid of it (Cue my straight mouthed face with me saying to myself silently "Cause you're an expert on genetics right?"). Unless, you have a friend or family member that is a medical geneticist, don't believe everything you hear.
Think positive thoughts. Get out of your head and start telling yourself you can do it. I like these phrases when my brain turns to the dark side "This is too easy", "I got this", "Piece of cake", "I'm in charge here and I say I can", "I'm a man/woman of action", and my all time favorite from the Hobbit movie "I am fire, I am death." I use that one a lot, it gets me pumped.
Accept that you will have to sacrifice. You WILL have to sacrifice or an easier word to bear, TRADE. You will have to trade things for others. I trade going out and having mimosas with friends for quiet movie nights at home or early gym sessions. Some will have to trade sleep for morning cardio sessions. Others will have to trade skipping on that favorite T.V. show at home for putting in more time in the office for that raise. Just keep in mind that it's worth it and keep moving forward.
The Holidays are here! That means yummy cookies, gravy, and side dishes full of cheese and sour cream. These sound delicious but could be disastrous for your waistline. So how can you stick to your diet goals with all of these holiday goodies looming around you? Well, below are just a few tips I plan on using this holiday season in order to keep my diet in check.
1. Eat before your Holiday Party. The best way to fool proof your diet is to make sure that you have eaten the meals you have already planned out for yourself before your big event. This way, when you hit that holiday party you won't be hungry enough to over-indulge. Plus, everyone knows that the first few bites of any dish is always the best, so have one or two and then sit that plate down.
2. Go for the Lean Meats and Veggies. Try your best to go for the carved Turkey and not the processed deli meats that sit alongside the high fatty cheese platter. The point of this is to fill up on lean protein and veggies so that you don't get trapped into feeling like there is this black abyss of holiday emptiness in your stomach that you must fill up with high calorie starches, gravy, and fat.
3. Have one small serving of your favorite holiday treat. Don't punish yourself during the holidays. It's okay to enjoy a small slice of grandma's apple pie or auntie's green bean casserole, just don't go overboard! Some people tend to binge eat alone later on when they have felt like they have deprived themselves of all the holiday goodness they left behind.
4. Bring a protein bar or make a protein mug cake. If you feel the urge to binge, reach into your purse or pocket for that protein bar and take a few bites. Then walk around a bit and see if you still have that feeling of wanting to devour Mr. Gingerbread, his house, and his family. Yikes! and I am sure you will catch him too with all that cardio you have been doing lately! During the holidays I like to make myself chocolate protein mug cakes. I usually have it with some coffee that I sweeten with a packet of stevia and almond milk. This always takes away my sweet tooth.
(Check out this recipe by The Protein Chef at : https://theproteinchef.co/microwave-chocolate-protein-mug-cake-recipe/).
Well these are just a few tips to help you stay on track during the holidays. Just remember, the true test really comes down to you and how much you really want to reach your goals and how much time you want to take to get there. So have a clean and happy holiday season everyone!