How to Get Strong & Healthy ??????? ????????? ????? ?????? ????!

Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

Let’s face it, we live in a weight-obsessed culture. And yet, somehow, the U.S. is also tied for 10th place (with Lithuania) as one of the world’s unhealthiest countries. This tells me that something is not working…..

I noticed that once I started to shift my focus from weight loss to getting strong & healthy, the journey felt different. ??????!

Getting strong & healthy doesn’t have to solely equal weight loss. Yes, you may need to lose some weight. And chances are, once you start moving more~ you will!

So read on if you’d like some of my top suggestions for getting strong & healthy without obsessing over weight loss!

Start with More Movement

A sedentary lifestyle is a major contributing factor in the serious health problems so many Americans suffer from, so we’ve got to find ways to move more!

The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity) each week , preferably spread throughout the week, for better health. Movement really IS the magic pill everyone is searching for.

The movement can be as simple as walking. Walking is great for everyone from beginners to advanced; it’s low impact (so very safe) and no equipment is needed. It can be done anywhere! This is the perfect activity to get started with because it’s something we already do, so there can be no excuses about lack of coordination or rhythm!

You don’t have to join a gym or buy expensive equipment. Invest in a good pair of walking shoes, grab a friend and hit the trails! I even enjoy walking in the winter as long as I’m dressed for the cold!

As a personal trainer, walking is usually the first suggestion I’ll make to my clients. Walking & stretching to be precise. Everyone needs to have a basic foundation of cardiovascular health built up before moving on.

Time for Strength Training

Once you’ve gotten a consistent walking & stretching routine under your belt, it’s time to add in some strength training!

I know for a lot of women, this conjures up images of burly men at the gym hurling around massive barbells, but that’s really NOT what I have in mind when I say “strength-training”. Strength training can be as simple as moving our own bodyweight against gravity.

You can get a great workout with squats, lunges, pushups, planks, and triceps dips. For the novice strength trainer, I would start here!

I have been working out consistently for about 18 years now, but I still love to do bodyweight workouts, also called Functional Workouts. They’re called functional because we’re literally just moving our own body through all the main movement patterns: squat, hip hinge, push, pull, and carry. Strengthening these movements safeguards us against injury, & gives us better energy and endurance throughout the day!

Then, once you’ve mastered the movement patterns above, you can think about adding some weights or resistance bands. Always make sure you have great form before adding weight!

Clear Out The Processed Junk

When I work with women in my health coaching groups, the first thing I encourage them to do with their diets is to start clearing out the junk food!!

Start reading labels, and anything with a list of chemical names created in a laboratory, steer clear of it! If we want to get healthier and feel better, it makes sense that we want to start eating more nutritious, REAL FOOD.

A large portion of our “food” isn’t really food at all. It’s a “food-like substance”. Also known as Frankenfood! Our bodies have no idea what to do with that garbage. It gets in there and wreaks havoc on our systems while at the same time hooking us so that we crave more.

I’m really not some kind of purist. Trust me, I have put many toxic substances in my body through the years. But now that I’m sober and on a path to leading a healthier life, I am on the lookout for “cleaner” foods and products. Check out this article to find out more about the most common toxins in our food.

This is another interesting one!

Get your head in the game

Does working out and eating right feel like punishment to you? No one wants to stick with something that feels bad!

What if you shifted those things from a “have to” to a “get to”??

Changing old thinking patterns takes time and INTENTION. It’s not going to happen overnight. Those grooves have been run in our brain over & over again, so it makes sense that our brain always goes there.

Reading books that challenge my thinking have been a HUGE aid in changing my mindset & helping me to understand that I need to push myself if I ever want to get better in ANY area of my life!

We need to find the thoughts that are keeping us stuck and change them!!

Here’s some things that I have found helpful with behavior change:

  • Being in touch with how I’m feeling/getting off autopilot.
  • Journaling to help sort out feelings/noise in my brain.
  • Slow down. Breathe. Have a cup of tea.
  • Take a walk in nature.

Many people start out thinking they need to start working out and eating right. But what they don’t realize is that we must FIRST get our head in the game. Our actions are a direct result of our thoughts, right?? So it makes sense that we’re going to have to take a good, hard look at whether our thought life is helping us….or hindering us.

I tell my health coaching clients that the working out and eating right components are a ???? ???? compared to the work you have to do in your own head to get & keep yourself on a path of forward movement. You’re going to come up against your own broken thinking, laziness, and excuses time & again until you MASTER YOUR MIND.

Most people think they join my health coaching groups to get some good workout tips and diet hacks, but after a few weeks, we start to get into the nitty gritty~ which is the MINDSET WORK!

Don’t let Diet Culture determine your focus!

At 48, I can think back on many, MANY years of specific messaging (since I was a young girl) about how I needed to look. I was too tall. I was too skinny (but I had cellulite also- figure that one out(P.S. Everyone has it!!)). I needed to grow a butt and boobs.

You guys, it’s ALWAYS going to be something!! Something wrong. Something we need to change. Which usually involves something we need to BUY; padding someone’s pocket as we strive for more unrealistic goals.

Add to that, the fact that we now live in an age of photoshopping and plastic surgery. The women’s images we see plastered before us every day are UNREALISTIC and we don’t even know if they’re REAL, for Pete’s sake!

Decide that you’re done trying to shrink yourself and you’re going to, instead, focus on getting strong & healthy. It’s a whole different focus and approach.

You see, when I shift my focus from the “eat less/diet/get smaller” mentality, to one where I’m fueling myself for good health and strength…..well that’s an ???????? different feeling! By placing the focus on HEALTH & STRENGTH, I feel the shift go from a mindset of lack to a mindset of abundance!

If it’s not about freedom and abundance, then I don’t want any part of it at this point in my life!

Workout to get strong, feel better, sleep better, and have more energy!

Let me know if you have dealt with this struggle on your fitness journey!