Tag Archives: motivation

Early Bird Gets The Workout!

Of course it’s hard to get up early when you go to bed late. Early morning workouts are sooooo much better when you set yourself up for success. 

3 Ways to Set Yourself Up for Success

  1. Eat a balanced meal the night before.
  2. Oh, and better yet, try setting out your gym clothes the night before.
  3. Begin your calm and peaceful evening routine earlier in the evening so you’re ready to go to bed at a decent hour.
  4. Bonus! Figure out what you’re going to eat for your early morning pre-workout snack the night before. (Try some of these overnight oats recipes.)

Click for more pre and post workout snack ideas!


Life can be full of excuses…

Something came up. I’m tired. I’m hungry. Traffic is bad. 

Good news! It doesn’t have to be! Many of us are busy with schedules that get more and more unpredictable as the day unfolds.

The number one excuse for lack of exercise and physical activity is time.

 

The trick is blocking time off for yourself every single day. Whether it’s 5 minutes or 50 minutes, make sure to protect this time with all your might. Purposefully identify it and protect it. 

Not it’s time to ask you a very important question. Why NOT try early morning workouts? Please don’t say, “I’m not a morning person.” Wait. Have you tried working out in the morning at least 3 times?

Yes? How did it go?

No? When will you do it?


Did you know?  

“According to a study recently published in the journal Obesity and highlighted by the New York Times, they may also be better at choosing healthy food over junk.” (source: www.nymag.com, 2017)

And on top of that…

A research team of a California-based biotechnology company 23andMe, attempted to uncover the genetic predisposition of morning and night people.  (N=89,283)

“The researchers found that after taking into account the effect of age and sex, morning people were likely to have lower – and thus generally more healthy – BMI, or body-mass index, a measure of the ratio between height and weight.” (source: www.theguardian.com, 2017)

Personally, I despise BMI (Body Mass Index) as a number to focus on when it comes to your health and wellness. It’s merely a ratio between your height and body weight and can easily be off-set for muscular individuals who may not be very tall.

After probing a bit deeper, I came across a study that found exercising 30 minutes on 3 mornings per week caused people between the ages of 40 and 60 years old to experience a 10% drop in blood pressure throughout the day.

Now that’s what I’m talking about! Read more about the benefits of early morning (and evening) workouts here.


So go ahead. Set your alarm.Go to bed early and hit the gym in the morning!

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It’s Time! Spring Accountability Group Starts Monday!

DURATION: 7 weeks

START DATE: Monday, March 13, 2017
END DATE: Sunday, April 30, 2017


WHO SHOULD SIGN UP:

This Accountability Group is open to former Best Body Countdown participants and ANYONE who wants to learn, grow, and increase their daily fitness, nutrition, and wellness accountability. Our group is perfect for anyone who needs an extra nudge of accountability and support from a trustworthy, reliable, and knowledgeable certified fitness professional. You can participate from anywhere!

PURPOSE:

Our Accountability Group will help you stay committed to your health, fitness, nutrition, and healthy living goals. This is about building a health conscious community of like-minded people who are open to learning and filled with a desire to improve their fitness.

WHAT’S INCLUDED:

  1. Weekly E-Check-ins

  2. Interactive Group Texts & Check-ins (via GroupMe app)

  3. Interactive Closed Facebook Group

  4. Group Fitness Challenges

  5. Motivational Quotes

  6. Recommended Reading

  7. Reflective Questions

  8. Goal Setting & Accountability Activities

  9. Fitness, Nutrition, & Wellness Tips & Tools

  10. Access to Certified Personal Trainer

We will heavily rely upon online and mobile technologies for communication, accountability, support, and motivation! (e.g., Facebook, GroupMe, MyFitnessPal, Endomondo, SuperTracker, Fitness Blender, SworkIt, and more!)

$12 per week
($84 total for 7 weeks)

Partial payments accepted. Ask me how to set this up.


DON’T THINK ABOUT IT. BE ABOUT IT!

Ivory Latta’s Academy: It’s Bigger Than Basketball

Source: www.ivorylatta.com

Permission to use photo granted from Ivory Latta. Source: http://www.ivorylatta.com


The
Washington Mystics (10-6) led by as many as 24 points and the Seattle Storm (5-14) were never able to recover from such a huge deficit during yesterday’s matinee game. The ‘Stics won 87-74 and slide into second place in the Eastern Conference. After the game, I caught up with the game’s leading scorer, Ivory Latta (20 points, 2 assists), to chat a little bit about her upcoming basketball academy in Reston, Virginia.

This is not Ivory’s first time doing her academy.

I did it in Atlanta and it was a great success, but this is my first time doing it here in D.C. I want it to be a continuous thing. [There are] a lot of girls out there that need to hear a good message they can take going into the school year so they can have their focus and be ready for their season.

As with any camp, there will be plenty of basketballs, a gym, coaches, whistles, several drills, and the squeaky sound of sneakers on the court.

It’s a skills camp. We need to get back to the fundamentals of things. You’re going to come out there and enjoy yourself and have fun, but at the same time you’re going to learn a lot of things. I’m going to put you through some college drills. You will be put through some WNBA drills.

But what will make Ivory’s Academy unique? What should campers and parents expect during the day?

Ivory Latta further breaks it down for us.

My main thing is to also have a segment of my camp where you understand it’s more to basketball. Me, being a college coach for two years, that’s my opportunity to share what I know the college coaches are looking for. My crew will be able to talk to you about social media–the things that you need to watch out for but not to put on social media because College coaches have that one person that’s looking. That’s a big thing of recruiting kids.

College coaches regularly monitor social media accounts of potential high school recruits and have often used the not-so-smart word choice in a recruit’s 140 character post on Twitter s as grounds to cease individual recruiting efforts.

Ivory further explained.

It’s not your ordinary camp because there are a lot of things I want to touch on. Kids need to [also] really take care of their money.

Financial literacy is a big topic for anyone and is especially important for athletes who may experience an influx of financial resources. In 2009, Sports Illustrated estimated that 78% of NFL players go bankrupt within two years of ending their playing careers and 60% of NBA players are scraping to make financial ends meet within five years of retiring from the league.

This camp is about learning and finessing both basketball and life skills.

I wish you could have seen the big grin on Ivory’s face as she spoke about her upcoming academy. She is super excited about local girls’ participation in her first Academy held in northern Virginia. It is bound to be a huge success!

You’re going to go through some college drills. You’re going to go through some WNBA drills. You’re going to have a good time. You’re going to learn. And all I ask of the campers is to come and bring a lot of energy.

Ivory Latta sets up the Mystics offense while the New York Liberty's Anna Cruz matches up. August 5, 2014. IPhoto credit: Mark Coleman

Ivory Latta sets up the Mystics offense while the New York Liberty’s Anna Cruz matches up. August 5, 2014. Photo credit: Mark Coleman


Ivory Latta Academy

Saturday, August 15, 2015
(girls ages 8 – 16 years old)

YMCA – Reston

12196 Sunset Hills Rd.
Reston, VA 20190

Learn more and register at http://www.ivorylatta.com.

Ivory Latta is a University of North Carolina alumna and Washington Mystics point guard currently playing in her ninth WNBA season. This season she averages 11.9 points, 2.9 assists, and 1.8 rebounds per game. She shoots 88% from the free throw line (12th overall in the WNBA), 38% from three-point land (10th overall in the WNBA), and 40% from the field. The Mystics travel to Texas to play the San Antonio Stars (5-14) on Friday, July 31 at 8:00pm ET. The game will be shown on WNBA Live Access.

Follow Ivory Latta
Twitter @IvoryLatta12
Instagram @babyivey12
www.ivorylatta.com

Train Like Everyone’s Watching

Photo credit: Christian Battaglia

Photo credit: Christian Battaglia

Oftentimes when we go to the gym to exercise, we end up going through the motions. We do a little bit of this. We do a little bit of that. Lift. Do some cardio. Stretch. And call it a day.

But what if we trained like everyone was watching?

For trainers, what if we trained like our clients were watching? For all of us, what if we trained like all of the people who look up to us were watching?

Just the other day, I started my workout on an indoor basketball court at a local rec center. I did some static, active, and dynamic stretching, speed, agility, and quickness drills, and a little bit of strength and core work using my body weight as resistance. This was a very typical warm-up for me.

As I was doing my warm-up on one half of the court, two young ladies were shooting around with their coach while two family members watched on. Little did I know just how much they were paying attention to what I was doing way on the other side of the court.

As I began to pack up and exit the gym with my headphones still on, I received a standing ovation from all five of them. I removed an earbud and asked, “Why are you clapping?”

Their responses were priceless.

“You’re better than me. I don’t know how you were doing all of that.”

“I’ll never be able to do that. I was exercising through you.”

“You must eat super healthy, right?”

“That’s what ya’ll (coach pointing to his two players) need to be doing.”

We chatted a little bit about the importance of clean eating and exercise performance. Afterwards, I hit the weight room and continued to train like everyone was watching.

5 Key Takeaways:

  1. Always be a stickler for exercise form.

  2. Have a game plan for your training session and execute it.

  3. Take your training seriously.

  4. Always represent YOU because you are your brand.

  5. Remember, you can motivate anyone anywhere anytime.

Pursue Your Strengths, Improve Your Weaknesses

photo credit: Joshua Earle

Every day I receive a “Today’s Word” email from Joel and Victoria Osteen. Admittedly, I don’t read them every day. I do manage to read most of them. This morning’s email is entitled, “Pursue Your Strengths.”

Below is an excerpt from the email.

“God has equipped each one of us with specific gifts and talents. It’s up to each of us to identify those gifts and be disciplined enough to develop them. You have to learn to stay in your strength zone. What are you naturally good at? What do you enjoy doing? Take the time to identify your strengths and weaknesses, and as the Scripture says, give yourself to your gifts. In other words, don’t spend all your time trying to improve your weaknesses. Don’t waste valuable days pursuing things that are outside your main gifting. Focus on your strengths. Be bold and step out in the area of your gifting.”

I couldn’t help but to think about how today’s word overlaps with fitness and wellness.

BE DISCIPLINED ENOUGH TO DEVELOP.
Consistency. Perseverance. Will. Planned. Purposeful. These are essential ingredients to staying disciplined. Repetition of healthy habits translates into personal and physical development and growth.

STAY IN YOUR STRENGTH ZONE. 
Listen to your body and find your “sweet spot.” This is that special place where you know you are pushing yourself enough to grow, feel challenged, and a little bit uncomfortable. Our bodies love to go through a process called General Adaptation Syndrome*. As a result, we must keep it guessing with purposeful and diverse exercises.


WHAT DO YOU ENJOY DOING?

This is something I always ask my clients during their consultation. It’s super important for exercise to be fun and challenging. In the words of famous ice creamster, Jerry Greenfield, “if it’s not fun, why do it?” If you don’t know what you enjoy doing, start trying new things. Have fun experimenting with new healthy activities to find your niche!

Disclaimer: I sincerely apologize if I now have you thinking about ice cream and you’re trying to keep this yummy delicious treat to a minimum in your diet. (I scream. You scream. We all scream for what? ICE CREAM!)

IMPROVE YOUR WEAKNESSES.
Although the article suggests to not focus on your weaknesses, part of the fitness and wellness journey is to hold a mirror up to your daily healthy or not-so-healthy habits and identify areas you seek improvement. The magic happens when you can lean upon your strengths to help you improve your weaknesses. For example, if you have a solid knowledge base about healthy eating and reading food labels, use that to help you improve pre-planning meals and prepping your meals each week. Here’s another example. if you’re a super organized person, why not apply your organizational skills to mapping out your weekly fitness and wellness program (days, times, exercises, meal prep days, grocery shopping, etc.)?

It’s amazing what happens as a byproduct of pursuing your strengths. For example, instead of telling yourself, “I need to stop drinking alcohol,” instead try telling yourself, “I drink least 64 ounces of water daily.” As a result, alcohol (or sugary beverage) intake ends up decreasing.

It’s not about what you cannot do, it’s about what you CAN do. There are so many things that we can individually and collectively do. Start there.

“Do not neglect your gift…”
(1 Timothy 4:14, NIV)


*General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) is a process in which the human body’s kinetic chain adapts to stress placed upon it. GAS is divided into a three phase process. The first phase, alarm reaction, involves the body’s initial reaction to a stressor. It commonly results in delayed onset muscle soreness. An example is performing 12 reps of push ups and being sore in your chest and arms the next day. In the second phase, resistance development, the body “increases its functional capacity to adapt to the stressor” (NASM, 2014, p. 305). In other words, your body gets smarter and starts to get used to muscle movement patterns and resistance load. For example, if you keep doing standard push ups over 2-3 weeks, your body will adapt to this exercise. If you slightly alter the push up (e.g., push-ups with one arm on floor and one arm on an unstable surface), your body will be a little confused and go back to Phase 1. The last stage, exhaustion, is a phase we don’t want to visit. Here, you would experience too much physical stress on your body and result in injury, emotional fatigue, and joint pain.

A Mother’s Strength

Photo Credit: Gustavo Del Castillo Photography (Oakland, CA) @gdcphotography

Today is THE day for all mother’s across the globe. It’s Mother’s Day!

Let us remember…

  • several of us may no longer have our mother here on Earth to celebrate this special day
  • some mother’s may be mourning the loss of their only child or children
  • some of us may have mothers who do not recognize us or remember who we are
  • some of us may have mothers fighting for their dear lives
  • some of us are unable to have biological children
  • some moms may be separated from their children and families
  • acknowledge that today is an emotional day for many

The physiological definition of strength is “the ability of the neuromuscular system to produce internal tension to overcome an external force,” (National Academy of Sports Medicine, 2014, p. 312).

I couldn’t have defined the strength of moms any better. Day in and day out mom’s use their God-given strength from within to overcome every external force imaginable on behalf of their children and families.That takes extraordinary STRENGTH.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Wellness is Like a Puzzle

There are several pieces to put together in the wellness puzzle. Oftentimes, we open the box, throw all the pieces out on the table and don’t even realize that one or two fell off on the floor. As we start with the corner pieces and work on the border, we feel accomplished, hopeful, and inspired. Then the tougher part begins. We need patience, discipline, and focus to put the middle pieces together and connect them to the border.
puzzle

photo source: dealmakersblog.com

But when do we notice that two pieces fell on the floor when we first started the puzzle? It sometimes takes us a long time to figure out how to put the whole puzzle together because we’ve been missing two key pieces on the floor.
Marinate on that.
Just think if you were with someone else (an accountability partner, personal trainer, health professional) when you first opened the “wellness” puzzle and tossed all the pieces on the table? Hopefully, that person would have immediately told you that you dropped two pieces, picked them up, and maybe even helped you figure out where the piece goes. Thus, helping you accomplish your goal of completing the puzzle that much sooner.
KEY TAKEAWAYS:
1. You do not have to embark upon this journey alone.
2. You must identify puzzle pieces, understand how to put them together, TRY to put them together, and get quite a few pieces wrong in order to ultimately complete the puzzle. Every accomplishment is rooted in several mistakes made in the journey to get there.

Gandhi’s 5 Insights to Achieve FitWell Goals

Today is January 1, 2015. The first day of the first month in the year of 2015.

How is today different than yesterday or last year? More importantly, how do you want today to be different than yesterday and last year? Furthermore, how will you make today better than yesterday and last year?

thoughts1 I’m a fan of quotes and the insightful, reflective, and power-filled thoughts of others. Here is one that comes to mind for me this morning. (see image)

Together, let’s reflect on these words as we begin a new year.

  1. This year, why not be more mindful of our thoughts? Really challenge ourselves to reframe anything negative and turn it into a positive. Easier said than done, I know, but positive thoughts become a breeding ground for a healthy body. Mr. Gandhi is also famous for his words, “Be the change you want to see.” We can take this one step further and revise his words to say, “Think about the POSITIVE changes you want to see.”  And take this another step further–proclaim your thoughts in writing and out loud. The law of attraction is real folks! (Recommended readings: Joyce Meyer’s “Battlefield of the Mind” and Rhonda Byrne’s “The Secret”)
  2. This leads me to thinking about behavior or putting our thoughts into action. Almost every single thing we do every day is a choice. Yes, a choice. We choose to eat. We choose to sleep. We choose to communicate with others. We choose to walk the dog. We choose to buy a new smartphone. We choose to exercise. We choose to our attitude. Even during the most difficult and trying times, yes, we choose our attitude. Do we allow our environment and circumstance to define our attitude or do we choose to maintain a positive, hope-filled attitude grounded by a loving spirit? Author, activist, and amazing person, bell hooks, said, “We cannot effectively resist domination if our efforts to create meaningful, lasting personal and social change are not grounded in a love ethic,” (2011, p. xxiv). Folks, we need to love ourselves enough to be able to choose the right attitude and “create meaningful, lasting personal and social change.” This applies to fitness, wellness, and LIFE!
  3. Next up, habits–or repeated behaviors over time. Most of us have heard the saying, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” This assumes we start with the end in mind and often, we don’t define where we want to go and end up doing several things over and over again with no clearly defined direction. Insane? Maybe to some folks, but I prefer to call it lack of a vision, clearly defined goals, and a plan to achieve said goals.Think about it. What do we need to do over and over again to expect the results (plural) we want? Get seven hours of sleep? Read the Quran? Share time with a mentor? Go for morning walks? Practice the art of saying no? Remember what Greek philosopher, Aristotle, once said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Marinate on that for a minute.
  4. Our habits demonstrate to others what we value. If a stranger was able to view a snap shot of your daily life via a secret camera, what would she think you value? Take some time to reflect on your habits. Challenge yourself to include habits of behaviors that are present and absent from your life. Oftentimes, inactive habits are just as powerful or more powerful than the ones that are active. Write them down. What values do they reveal?
  5. Last but not least, our values shape our destiny. Now, if you back track up through this list and remember that we originally started with our thoughts, this all makes sense. Instead of saying our values shape our destiny, we can say our thoughts shape our destiny. Check out what Carter G. Woodson said over a century ago about the power of thinking. ““If you can control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his action. When you determine what a man shall think you do not have to concern yourself about what he will do.” Deep, huh? The good news is that you have the power to control your thinking and actions! The next time you think about having a negative thought, try to immediately kick it to the curb or immediately reframe it as an affirming thought.

It’s all connected ya’ll. Thoughts. Words. Behaviors. Habits. Values. Destiny.

Think about these concepts as they apply to your fitness and wellness. Journal about it. Share your thoughts with a confidant. Begin mapping a success plan for your destiny! Get started TODAY!

Happy New Year!

Reference

hooks, b. (2001). Salvation: black people and love. New York: Perennial.

 

Rain: Turning a Negative into a Positive

It rained last night in DC, Maryland, and northern Virginia. With the rain comes Cleansing and Renewal. Did you know that rain stirs up NEGATIVE IONS in the atmosphere? You may be wondering, what exactly is a negative ion?

rain2 (2)

Negative Ions are “tasteless, odorless and invisible molecules that we inhale” when we are in environments that contain moving water (e.g., rain, waterfalls, rivers, beaches). “Once they reach our bloodstream, negative ions are believed to produce biochemical reactions that increase levels of the mood chemical serotonin, helping to alleviate depression, relieve stress, and boost our daytime energy.”

What are you waiting for?

Go outside and enJOY the HEALTH BENEFITS of RAIN!

Reference: Mann, D. (2014). Negative ions create positive vibes. WebMD. Retrieved from http://www.redlandsdailyfacts.com/health/20140301/rain-brings-health-benefits

 

Pushing Past Feeling Stuck in Old Habits Part 2 of 2

This is Part 2 of 2 from the prior post, “Pushing Past Feeling Stuck in Old Habits Part 1 of 2.” First and foremost, I can’t believe it’s September already! I should have posted this last month! Anyways, I digress…

So, what happened with the person who was trying to push past feeling stuck in old habits? Unfortunately, this person is still feeling a bit stuck. German professor of Sports Science, Dr. Walter Brehm (2004), would describe this person as being in the Preparation phase of the Stages of Change model (see photo below). This means the person might exercise in some capacity occasionally (e.g., walk to work, take the steps instead of the elevator, maybe even do some push ups), but would like to begin a regular exercise routine within the next month. However, “next month” might not come anytime soon because the person may have unrealistic personal goals and expectations. Stages of Change Model

When a person is in this stage, it’s important to create and clarify realistic goals, draw upon positive past experiences with exercise, identify and utilize a support network, and be realistic about any and all limitations (schedule, injuries, health concerns). Thankfully, a certified personal trainer can help with all of this!

So what’s next? Realistically, this person could stay in this stage for quite some time, but what will help is EDUCATION. It’s important to simply immerse ourselves into what we would like to do. For example. If I want to start walking, I might want to conduct a Google search about “benefits of walking.” Or perhaps I look for a local MeetUp group that walks in my neighborhood. Maybe I ask around my circles of friends, family, and colleagues—who else walks? Can I walk with you? And so on…you get the gist of it.why

My last tip for this person and ALL OF US (myself included), is to DEFINE and remember our WHY. Why do we want to exercise in the first place? Why does it truly matter? So what if I lose weight? Why does it matter? After we define our why we must hold it dearly to our hearts because THE ANSWER TO OUR WHY keeps us MOTIVATED. It really does. I usually probe my clients heavily when answering and uncovering their why. I don’t settle for “to lose weight” or “to fit into my pants” or “to look better.” I really want (you) to know why all of that matters to YOU. Sometimes tears surface when we get to the heart of our why.

For me, it’s two fold. First, food and nutrition are important to me. I love to eat, I don’t like being hungry, and I hate for others to be hungry and unable to afford the cost of a basic, healthy meal. As I continue to grow and reach my first financial goal as a professional business, I will begin to collaborate and financially partner with local non-profits that provide healthy meal options and education to families and individuals in need. Second, I simply do NOT want to become a statistic! Black women are at the top of almost every chart that lists demographic groups hit the hardest by various chronic diseases. I want to proactively do my best to stay off of these lists! Check out some statistics…

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) listing of 10 Leading Causes of Death for African Americans
Check out the CDC’s lists for other ethnic and special populations
Another comprehensive listing of various chronic diseases prevalent in specific ethnic groups

So, in a nutshell, it is my goal to stick around and hang out for a while on this planet called Earth for a long time. I would like to see my little 11 month old nephew grow up into a man and ACTIVELY participate in all of the fun things to enter his life in the years to come! Plus, I want to continue to have as many options as possible that require mobility of my body. I actually enjoy moving and doing things. Go figure! (smile)

In conclusion, I leave you with a simple, yet complex question. What’s the answer to your WHY?

Reference

Brehm, B. (2004). Successful fitness motivation strategies. Human Kinetics, 21-40. Champaign, IL.

 

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