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Stuck in a Progress Rut?

Are you eating well AND working out, but not seeing the progress you want?  It happens and I know from experience, it’s sooo frustrating!  Before you give up altogether and go elbow deep into the ice cream pint, there are a couple of things to know. 

1.     Hitting a progress wall, though frustrating, is not actually a bad thing.

When progress seems to come to a screeching halt, it means that there has been significant progress.  It means that you’ve made drastic changes in your lifestyle but your body has grown accustomed to them. 

Acknowledge and appreciate the changes you’ve made.  Maybe you started eating cleaner, greener, foods, or you finally started consistently going to the gym.  These are great things!  Don't let a number on a scale make you think otherwise. 

2.    Plateaus may be frustrating, but they are not impossible to overcome!

A body plateau refers to a period of time in which your body no longer responds the same way to your fitness or diet routine.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “Our bodies are SMART!”  They are perfect functioning machines.  When our body senses drastic change, it automatically begins to adjust.  Plateaus are the results of our body’s impressive (but sometimes irritating) ability to adjust to change.

Please pause for a brief science intermission:  Body mass is the major factor that determines your body’s basal metabolic rate, or resting metabolism.  When you reduce your body’s mass through exercise, your basil metabolic rate also declines.  Your body burns fewer calories at rest, and weight loss tends to slow or stop completely.

Fear not!  There are ways to kick this back into high gear.  The most common plateau cause is consistently doing the same type of exercise.  As a running fanatic myself, I experienced this firsthand.  When I was only running, 5+ times a week, of course it made a huge difference at first.  Running is a great workout, and I burned a lot of calories in a short window.  However, my plateau arrived with a vengeance.   While I saw significant progress in my legs, for example, the rest of my body was lack luster. 

Variety in your fitness routine is crucial.  In order to avoid or break through your plateau, you want to target different parts of your body by mixing up your fitness routine.  This will “shock” your body and prevent it from adjusting accordingly, aka the dreaded plateau. 

Knowing this, take a look at your diet and exercise routine.  Is it varied enough?  Are there things you can add in to help counteract the progress rut?


6 Tips to Guaranteeing a Workout in Your Busy Schedule


6 Tips to Guaranteeing a Workout in Your Busy Schedule

If you’re searching for the fountain of youth, look no further than your closest park, gym, or exercise class.  Not only does regular activity strengthen your muscles and improve heart and lung function, but it can also reduce your risk of major diseases, stimulate the growth of new brain cells, and even add years to your life!

That all sounds great so why is it so hard to make exercise a priority in our lives?  We’re busy! There aren’t enough hours in the day.  I get it.  Like many of you, I too work in a corporate environment, which is the crux of this conversation.  All too often, our fitness plans fall by the wayside due to client meetings, overdue proposals, company events…you name it.  

Here are 6 easy ways to ensure you fit fitness into your daily routine!

  1. Establish a bedtime routine- I know it can be hard to turn off the running to-do list in our mind so keep a pen and paper on your nightstand.  As soon as you think of something you have to do the next day, write it down and close your eyes, instead of harping on it and losing sleep.  For the restless sleepers in the house, I suggest covering any clocks in your bedroom.  Not seeing the time will eliminate any anxiety about not being able to fall asleep, or having to be awake in a certain amount of time.
  2. Get some Zzz’s- If you think you can function on only a few hours of sleep, you’re either lying or delusional (probably from lack of sleep.) We all need 7-8 hours of rest.  The reason most people find it hard to wake up in the morning is because they’re not getting enough sleep.   
  3. Set Your Alarm- Make a morning commitment to yourself.  Working out in the morning guarantees there is no gray area.  No last minute client calls or fire drills at work.  Make it harder to set the snooze button by moving your alarm out of arm’s reach.  If you’re already standing to turn off your alarm, you’re more likely to get up and get going!
  4. Find something worth waking up for- If you’re like me it can be difficult to overcome sweatpants separation anxiety (I swear it’s real).  The only way I know I’ll workout, is if I find a workout I don’t want to miss.  Find your what you love.  Some enjoy camaraderie, while others enjoy competition.  Some enjoy group settings, while others prefer to be alone.  You get the idea!  Know that exercise is a lot like food.  Once you understand how different types of exercise nourish your body in different ways, you can put together a “menu” of activities to keep yourself active.
  5. Make your workouts efficient and effective- HIIT, or high intensity interval training, only requires 30 minutes.  With a combination of cardio and strength bursts, you can squeeze a lot of exercise into short period of time. 
  6. Don’t skimp on the small things- Trust me the little things add up!  Physical activity can come to fruition in simple and modest forms.  Try getting off the subway or bus one stop earlier and walking to your destination.  Take the stairs instead of the elevator to your office or apartment.



Yoga Practice, Not Yoga Perfect

In the past I tried yoga but never connected with it.  Honestly, I just hated that I was so bad!  I had this false notion in my mind that yoga should be easy.  Compared to other forms of exercise I’d done, Yoga seemed mellow.  I assumed that because I didn’t sweat and I wasn’t out of breath, it was easy.  

Turns out, I had it all wrong.  Contrary to popular belief, Yoga is not about mastering a pose, or being the most flexible.  In fact, yoga has nothing to do with perfection, performance or competition.  Yoga is a practice. 

We often trap ourselves in the idea of perfection.  I used to dismiss yoga simply because I wasn’t the best at it.  Recently I had a yoga teacher start class with the following anecdote:  If you ask a room full of kindergarteners who can draw, they all proudly raise their hands.  However, if you ask a room of adults, there are no hands raised. 

So why did this resonate with me?  At some point as we grow up, we learn that if we’re not perfect, we’re not good enough.  Yoga reteaches us that there is beauty and power in the practice.

Turns out, I wasn’t “bad” at yoga, I was just practicing.  I enjoy yoga now, not because I’m the best but because it instills a feeling of accomplishment in me.  Yoga makes me feel stronger by challenging me in new ways and I can constantly improve.