Lucky 7s Black Friday Workout

Black Friday Workout & Why I’ve Been Away

I hope those of you who celebrated Thanksgiving had a good one.  I did not celebrate this year, and it was depressing, but I live in the UK now, and it’s not a thing here.  I couldn’t even find a turkey.  Apparently, they exist in greater frequency after December 1st.

Interestingly, Black Friday IS a thing here.  I guess Black Friday is a happy thing?  Unless you had to work at 4 am today.

Black Friday is not my thing – it’s kinda gross, in my opinion.  You can read all about how I feel about malls, department stores, and shopping here.

Did you miss me?  Did you notice?  It’s okay if you didn’t, it’s been a minute, and there has been much else of greater importance going on in the world.

So, for those of you who might be interested/noticed my absence, you might be wondering why?

To sum it up… 2016.

If you follow me on Instagram or IRL or whatever you know that my thoughts on this year can be summed up in two words:  DUMPSTER.  FIRE.

Ugh.  I’m going to be real right now because that’s me.  I have been avoiding blogging (on all of my blogs) over the past 5-6 months because, quite frankly, I couldn’t deal with the shitshow of the election and the atrocities taking place in the world.  I’ve been super discouraged, angry, and, if I’m honest, DISGUSTED.

I talk about positive thinking and empowerment.  I believe in these things significantly.  But I cannot deny that it’s been tough to wade through the dumpster fire without getting burned.  We have to put it out.

I wear my heart on my sleeve.  I also wear my conscience on that sleeve.

It’s difficult for the things going on in the world to not leak into how I feel about literally everything around me.  It’s been tough to worry about creating content when I’ve wanted to shout from the rooftops about things that have been, as Michelle Obama says, ‘shaking me to my core.’

However, throughout all of this year, I have remembered that there are a lot of good people in the world and that I cannot let the focus of the bad apples and negativeness cloud my entire life.

In other news, I am back in school.  I am pursuing a new degree (to add to the collection) in an attempt to find new career opportunities here in Scotland.  I don’t know what to expect between Brexit and the recent election, but I’m remaining optimistic and hoping for the best.

NOW for better news.  I have been working on a new fitness jumpstart program which is a sign that I am getting on with things, and I will not continue to let the uncertainties of the world cloud my days.

I am aware that my privilege allows me to do so and I do not take this for granted.  

Here’s a post-Thanksgiving quick and effective workout – check it out, share it, etc.!

Sweat out some of the drama with me!

 

Lucky 7s Black Friday Workout

How have things been going for you? Are you ready to send 2016 off and welcome a new year?

Let’s connect!

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Daily Intention: Freedom

Happy Wednesday and Day 3 of my February Daily Intentions Workout!  Were you able to work possibility into your day yesterday?  Hopefully, your mindset allowed you to get through all that you needed to do and more!  I know it’s only day two, but isn’t it amazing how much more positively our days go when we are putting intention and energy into our minds?  I hope that you are truly noticing the power of intention already!

Today’s intention is Freedom. What does freedom mean to you?  Is it freedom from self-doubt, money, or fear?  Is it the desire to feel free from resistances within your life or to make the choices you believe you should?  Whatever freedom means to you — work those desires into your day.

Wear that shirt/dress/hat you’ve been thinking about returning.

Apply for a job you feel qualified for and make that career change.

Join a fitness class or group you’ve been thinking about joining for ages.

Do something new and do it because you wouldn’t have normally done so.

Freedom is living a life where there is trust.  Belief in yourself and that the decisions you make are what makes your life meaningful and fulfilled.   Freedom is the comfort in the knowledge that everything is as it should be.

February Daily Intention Workout

Daily Intentions Workout Challenge

How will you work the intention of freedom into your day?

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Erasing Negativity: Get Passionate

Happy Friday!  I bet this Friday is a serious TGIF for most of you.  The full week back at work after the holidays is a definite doozy, but you’re nearly there!  Here’s a high five for ya!

So, today I’m wrapping up the erasing negativity theme with a post about something I’m very, well, passionate about:  Getting passionate!

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For years, I’ve been hearing people say to me, “Erin, just do something you’re passionate about.”

Or, asking me “What are your passions?”

How easy is it for you to answer that question?  And if you can answer that question, how long did it take you to do — or at least know — what your passions are?

It’s really a tough question for so many people to answer.

When I was in high school, I had a good group of friends and I can’t say that I had an unsatisfactory childhood by any means.  As a part of a minority, I came from a family with both parents still married and living together under the same roof.   I wasn’t in any AP classes, had mediocre grades, and I pretty much gave up on everything I was the slightest bit good at because I had next to no confidence.

In fact, I once let a girl claim she won a tennis match against me that determined which one of us would make the varsity team because she basically convinced me that it was more important for her to be on that team than me.  Even though I could have cleaned the ground with her ability wise (and she knew it), I agreed to let her take the victory, without even trying.

To be honest, that exchange became a very normal dynamic in my life for nearly two decades after it happened.

Somewhere along the way, I started to write a story about myself that could have easily been titled, “I don’t think I’m good enough, so neither should you.”  Not thinking I was “good enough” became such a versatile mantra as it could talk me out of just about anything.

Even though I loved and excelled at being an athlete, I quit every sport I was involved in because I felt I didn’t belong on the team.  As a result, I started to gain weight and not apply myself in other areas of my life.

I think that was when I lost sight of not only what I was passionate about but what it even meant to feel passionate in general.

Which is why I made so many poor choices until I was 31 years old.

So what changed?

I got tired of feeling like shit and wanted to change my story.

 So, I decided to get passionate about my life again.

How I Started To Change My Story

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that after the death of my father, I decided that it was time for me to clean up my act and get healthy again.  (If you’re interested in reading more about my decision to get healthy you can find out all about it here.)

I wouldn’t say that I woke up on January 1st, 2012 and all of a sudden everything became clear to me.  I think we all know that sort of stuff only happens in the movies.  However, what I did know was that I started to feel better about myself and my life within the first week of eating better and exercising regularly.  From that first week, I started to fall in love with fitness and healthy eating again.  Maybe it was the athlete that I had shut out of my consciousness coming back to greet me, but whatever the reason, I knew that I didn’t want to go back to how I felt just days before.  Ever.

Little did I know that making that one decision would lead me towards the path I believe I was meant to be on, the person I was always meant to be, or preparing for the career I was always meant to have.

Does my story sound familiar to yours?  Are you going through something similar?

If so, you’re most likely not just lacking your passion, you’re lacking the ability to become passionate about anything full stop.

How To Get and Unlock Your Passions

You don’t have to keep living a passionless life.  As I stated before, I was stuck in one for about 18 years.  It can feel hopeless, make life seem empty, and can force us to focus more on what we don’t have to work with rather than working with what we do have.

But, enough about me, let’s talk about you and how you can get passionate about your life right now.

You have the tools to become passionate about your life again — they are within you — and they want to come out.

  1. Acknowledge what and who it is that you really love.  Who do you love?  What do you love?  What do you love to do?  Regardless of whether you think it’s a healthy or unhealthy love, write it down and acknowledge it.  Knowing who and what’s important to you will allow your mind to start appreciating it and going after it.
  2. Filter your experiences and keep score.  Look back at what you’ve done professionally or recreationally over the years.  What did you like about it?  What were your strengths at your last several jobs?  What did you like about what you were doing?  What didn’t you like?  If you make a list of all of these things that you liked and didn’t like, you’re on your way to uncovering what makes you “tick”.
  3. Do something for somebody else.  It’s undeniable that doing something for somebody else makes us feel better.  Especially when it’s for somebody less fortunate or that really needs a helping hand.  When we find the spirit to give, it makes us feel incredible.  Start with small acts of kindness (random if you so choose).  The spirit of giving helps us feel like we’re serving something greater than ourselves.  In fact, one of my goals for 2016 is to do one kind thing for somebody each day!
  4. Stop focusing on what you think can’t do.  How do you do this?  Stop saying things like “I can’t”, ” I should”, “I shouldn’t”, or “I’ll never”.  Your mind believes every single word you say (to yourself and out loud).  If this is something you’re currently doing, you need to do two things right now.  First, you need to get out of your comfort zone by doing something you wouldn’t normally do.  This doesn’t have to be monumental (just yet) but the quickest way to show yourself you’re bigger than your fears is to do something that you normally wouldn’t.  Second, you need to raise your standards for yourself.  If you want to get out of the mindset that you can’t do something you’ve been wanting to try, you need to start raising the standards of every aspect of your life.  If you are surrounded by negative people who keep you stagnant, decide if it might be best to go your separate ways.  You need to start taking care of yourself in more ways than in just the physical sense. Tell yourself you are capable and can do whatever you tell yourself you can. Once you decide to change your standards, you will want to keep it up, and you’ll take actions to keep yourself on track. Remember, if you’re letting your struggles define you and your ability to be passionate about your life, you’ll believe whatever story you write for yourself.  Whether it’s good or bad.  If you speak like you “can”, your mind will make it so.
  5. Get physical.  It doesn’t matter if you join CrossFit or if you just start walking to work each day, but you need to move your body in order for your mind to be healthy, focused, and driven.   I’m not just saying this because it worked for me and I’m not just saying this because I’m a personal trainer.  I’m saying this because it’s a scientific fact.  The body and the brain are inextricably intertwined.  Endorphins trigger a positive feeling in the body and positive feelings lead to constructive actions!

You can also hire a life coach to help you find more passion and direction in your life.  I happen to know one. 😉 Though seriously, often times, having someone ask the right questions at the right time can bring all the clarity and motivation you’re needing.

Life can be heavy for so many of us, but often times we make things bigger than they need to be because we are living inside of a story that makes us believe that we’re lost or living without purpose.  We all have purpose and passion and our stories can change whenever we choose to change them.

You don’t have to figure this all out in one day and you don’t have to apologize for your story.  It’s a treasure and it’s still being written.

Have you ever struggled with finding your passion or being passionate about something?  Are you living with passion right now?  

Let’s connect!

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Erasing Negativity: The People You’re Surrounded By

Hi, guys!  Are you feeling this week’s theme of erasing negativity?  I have to say, just writing these posts is so incredibly therapeutic.   I hope that the information I’m sharing will help others come to terms with the sources of negativity in their life and help them to take the necessary steps to live their best life ever.

In keeping with the theme, today’s post is all about finding out if the people you surround yourself with are enabling or disabling your ability to lead a positive and fulfilled life.

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You know that saying, “Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are?”  It’s super powerful.  I used to think that was such a bullshit thing to say.  Do you want to know why?  For years, I surrounded myself with some very, very toxic people.

And before I decided to make wellness a priority, for years, I was a toxic person.

I am talking from a takes one to know one place here.  I know how it feels to be on both sides of this issue and, frankly, neither situation is healthy.  This post is going to help you determine if the people you surround yourself with are toxic or uplifting, and how these different types of folks impact your overall happiness.

Identifying a “Toxic Acquaintance.”

First off, a toxic relationship doesn’t have to be with somebody who pushes you to do unhealthy things.  A toxic acquaintance isn’t really an entirely toxic person either; it’s their toxic behavior that can be detrimental to our person growth.

It isn’t always easy to determine whether or not an acquaintance is “toxic” either.  For example, I had a toxic boyfriend for nearly two years until I started to realize (with the help of my psychologist) just how incredibly toxic his behavior was.  It was nearly another 18 months before I finally broke off all communication with him and moved out.

Take a moment now and think about the people you surround yourself with — even if they are family members.  Just think about your relationships objectively for a time being.  Is there maybe a person in your life who you’ve started to dread being around or maybe a person who makes you feel like the life is being drained out of you every time you spend any amount of time with them?  If either of these things sound familiar, it is possible that you’ve got ties to a toxic acquaintance (or relative).

Five Traits of “Toxic Acquaintances (or Relatives)”

  1. They have obvious narcissistic tendencies.  Not sure what I mean by this?  Do they talk more than they listen?  Does everything have to center around them?  Do they interrupt you?  One up you?  Belittle your problems?  If a person in your life is doing this, they are struggling with narcissistic tendencies.
  2. You are directly affected by their drama and behavior.   Toxic people tend to live from crisis to crisis.  There is always something happening to them, and when there isn’t something there, they’ll create it.  When you’re friends with a toxic person, you are expected to nurse their wounds and listen to their carrying on.  Often a solution is offered and often it will respond to by a direct refusal of even considering your advice.  Toxic people are full-time victims and view themselves as never at fault for what’s happening in their life.  As such, they are not responsible for trying to make their situation better, either.  If this sounds like somebody you know, you’re sadly fighting a losing battle.  Until that person acknowledges their victim mentality and narcissistic ways, they will continue to refute any and all of your advice.  Frustrating much?
  3. They lack empathy and support for others.  Toxic people, though they seem to bounce from crisis to crisis, will find other people’s problems trivial at times.  They will use their experiences as a reference point for the circumstances of others around them.  Not sure what I mean?  Take the following, for example, “I don’t know why she’s complaining about, it’s not as if she was with him as long as I was with my ex.”   For a toxic individual, they cannot separate their experiences (and outcomes) from the experiences of those around them.
  4. They are controlling.   A toxic person is not only controlling in the sense that they want you to be available whenever they need you or they question your loyalty to them.  When you’re with this person, you can’t think for yourself or challenge their opinion on anything without automatically having them discount your opinion or belittle it as being “silly” or “ignorant”.  All of this also without any consideration of your point of view.  Are they overly critical of you and yet, fail to be able to accept any constructive criticism you have had to offer them?  Any aspect of an attempt to control the relationship is a sign of narcissistic and toxic behavior.
  5. You’re exhausted after you’re around them.  .A healthy relationship requires a healthy amount of give and take.  Toxic acquaintances tend to be takers and exhibit very little (to no) give.  If somebody in your life leaves you feeling drained emotionally and mentally after you’ve been in their company, ask yourself when the last time was that person even asked you how you were feeling.  If you can’t think of one, it’s time to consider the possibility that this person might be toxic for you.

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How To Handle Toxic Relationships

If you’re like me, you like to see the good in people before you accept other people’s “warnings” about them.  Over the years, I’ve had people come up to me in a public place and when an individual I’ve been with has left the table and ask, “why are you friends with her/him?”  I would often be put off by this, naturally.  However, in almost every circumstance, I ended up having a major falling out with that person within the span of a matter of months.  There’s nothing wrong with being a compassionate and accepting person — those are terrific qualities.  Unfortunately, toxic people (consciously or otherwise) prey on folks with those qualities.

I regard to my ex-boyfriend, mentioned above, I went on to discover the ten years before our relationship he had often left relationships with previous partners on medication or in therapy as a result of his mental abuse.   Unfortunately, some people are master manipulators, and it can take months (even years) for their reign of control over you to show itself.  If you feel that any of the five descriptions I’ve provided are present in any of your relationships, you don’t have to scrap the relationship just yet.  There is still hope.

Three Steps You Can Take to Try and “Mend a Toxic Relationship”*

  1. Be honest with them about how you’re feeling.  A bitter pill to swallow for most people with toxic behavior issues since they rarely accept responsibility for their part in anything.  However, as a reformed person with toxic behavior issues, if it weren’t for the people who cared enough to tell me how my behavior was affecting them, I wouldn’t have been able to change my ways.  The bottom line is:  If they aren’t willing to take your feelings into consideration or make you feel bad about trying to have a rational conversation, you’re better off with them out of your life.  Wish them well, send them love, but move on for your sake.
  2. Use I-statements.   Back when I was studying interpersonal communication at college, I took a class that centered around conflict resolution.  One of the most memorable things I learned during this course was the importance of using  I-statements when confronting others regarding their behavior.  I-statements are an assertion about the feelings and emotions of the person speaking.  They let the person listening know that this information is about the speaker.  An example of an I-statement would be, “when you tell me I’m being oversensitive, I feel belittled”.  In that case, the speaker is owning the feeling of being belittled rather than blaming that feeling on the recipient by saying, “when you tell me I’m being oversensitive, you make me feel belittled“.   If taking ownership for your feelings and using I-statements while you attempt to salvage this relationship isn’t given the appropriate consideration then, again, you’re better off without this person in your life.
  3. Seek the help of a professional.  I only advise this personally if the relationship is worth saving.  If you absolutely must try everything to help the toxic person see where you’re coming from in an attempt to save your relationship (this is mostly for spouses and relatives) I would advise seeking out a mental health or strategic interventionist professional to try and see it through. It requires that both parties enter the situation with an open mind and willingness to work things out.  If this approach doesn’t work, this relationship (and individual) are most likely beyond repair.  Protect yourself and your wellbeing and move forward.

* I must stress:  If you feel threatened or in danger, never attempt to handle the situation on your own.  

Attracting Uplifting Acquaintances

Now on to the optimistic side of this post, those acquaintances, and friends who lift us up and make us inspired to be the very best version of ourselves we can be.  These are the people we can go to when we’re down, inspired, angry, frustrated, and anything in-between.  It can be difficult as an adult to befriend these types of people, but it’s not impossible.  Now, let’s discuss how to pull (and keep) positive people into your life.

Five Traits of Positive People (They’re Not Always Obvious)

  1. They are kind to others.  They don’t have to like everybody they come in contact with, but regardless of their personal feelings, they are always kind and considerate to others. An admirable quality.  If you’re somebody who struggles with separating connection and kindness, this is a type of person you need more of in your life.
  2. They make friends with other people with ease.  As we get older, it becomes challenging to develop (and maintain) genuine friendships.  I often find myself thinking that there must be something weird about me that it can be difficult to connect with others, but when I do, I often find myself (and the other person) saying, “I feel like I’ve known you for years.”  People you can connect to in ways that feel unforced and super comfortable is an amazing thing.  We all need more people like this in our lives, right?
  3. They are present and listen to others with intention.  Have you ever been out with a friend and realized they are attached at the hip to their phone?  I mean, we’re all guilty of “expecting” a call or text that may overlap with a coffee date or get-together, but there’s nothing worse than being with another person who isn’t fully engaged in your quality time together.  I try, whenever possible, to turn my phone off when I’m with others or leave it in my bag.  If I am waiting for a text or call (which, living in a different country than my friends and family is often for me), I just let the person know, “if I’m checking my phone it’s because I’m expecting a text from my family, so sorry!”   There’s nothing more encouraging and motivating than spending time with people who want to give you their full attention.
  4. They don’t take you (or your time) for granted.  Okay, there’s always going to be unexpected things that happen in life, and occasionally plans may have to be broken or rescheduled.  It happens to the best of us.  However, if it’s continuous, that’s another story.  Positive people and acquaintances will not take you or your time for granted.  In addition to not being connected to their phone, they will appreciate the time you’re both making to maintain and evolve the relationship.
  5. They encourage you to take (calculated) risks.  We all need to break up with our comfort zone over and over again in life, so it’s best to surround ourselves with people who give us that positive nudge we need to take a plunge into something new.  Not every idea you ever have will be one that a positive thinking friend will back 100%, but you can be sure that whatever their opinion is on your plans, they will have your best interest at heart when they share their two cents.

That’s a stark contrast, isn’t it?  Some of this information may seem super obvious or predictable, but you would be surprised how many people spend years surrounding themselves with people who don’t encourage them.  When you spend any length of time with people, you can tend not to pick up on how the relationship you have with them is evolving — or more sadly — going nowhere.  While I do consider myself an independent person, I have been (and put others) through the cycle of relationship toxicity before.

Being able to see the other side of something gives you such a different perspective than you could ever have if you never challenged it.

Sadly in life, not all connections we make with others meet our needs (or theirs) and when this happens it’s best to save what you can and walk away from what you can’t.  Free yourself and your life up for those who will encourage you and those whom you will support you in return.

Can you think of a time you were in a toxic relationship?  Do you consider yourself to be a positive person in your relationships?  Have you ever experienced toxic behavior in yourself?

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Battle Rope Workout

Hey, everybody! It’s been a while since I’ve done a fitness post!  Since my days are basically filled with workouts I’ve created for my clients, I thought I would share one with you.  I LOVE workouts that are off the gym floor.  I actually have a confession:  I DON’T LIKE THE GYM.

Say WHAT?

Photo Credit

 

I love working out, obviously, but I don’t like gyms.  I know that sometimes you gotta take it inside, but what I like to do and how I roll with my clients can be done just about anywhere.  I like to create fun, varying, and functional workouts because they keep people interested and THEY WORK.

One of my ABSOLUTE favorite tools is the battle rope because it is so much fun AND I feel like a total badass after I use them.  So, badass, in fact, that, I feel like I could roll up on Rhonda Rousey …and still get my ass kicked in under three seconds.  I think that battle ropes should come with a warning on them, because you do feel insanely tough after you use them and you could end up having your mouth write a check your ass can’t cash.

But I digress because I’m starting to make no sense.

If you have access to battle ropes, or want to buy them to add to your own fitness equipment collection, I’ve got an awesome workout for you that will not only burn a shitload of calories while increasing your strength and coordination, but it will also make you feel super empowered.

You be all like this… Photo Credit

 Battle Rope Workout!

 

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I tried this workout with my client, Kaly, this past Saturday and she was working up a sweat and having so much fun in the process (even in the miserable Glasgow rain that has made a comeback)! She was a good sport and let me take a few snapshots!

Incidentally, it’s really hard capturing someone busting their butt with battling ropes like she was!

battlerope CollageI love to keep workouts fun and interesting and with battle ropes you get just that.  Strength training and endurance rolled into one killer workout.  I HIGHLY recommend giving them a try if you want to mix things up and feel totally badass!

Have you ever used battle ropes?  What’s the most fun workout you’ve ever done?  Do you train rain or shine?

Let’s connect!

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