Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Creating Belief in One's Self

There are many reasons clients hire personal trainers. Individualized program design, accountability, to gain knowledge about specific equipment, effective workouts, injury rehabilitation or prevention are all superb reasons. But to learn how to believe in themselves is a skill that flies under the radar.
The concept of self-efficacy is central to psychologist Albert Bandura's social cognitive theory, which emphasizes the role of observational learning, social experience, and reciprocal determinism in the development of personality. According to Bandura, a person’s attitudes, abilities, and cognitive skills comprise what is known as the self-system. This system plays a major role in how we perceive situations and how we behave in response to different situations. Self-efficacy is an essential part of this self-system.
People with a strong sense of self-efficacy:
  • View challenging problems as tasks to be mastered
  • Develop deeper interest in the activities in which they participate
  • Form a stronger sense of commitment to their interests and activities
  • Recover quickly from setbacks and disappointments
People with a weak sense of self-efficacy:
  • Avoid challenging tasks
  • Believe that difficult tasks and situations are beyond their capabilities
  • Focus on personal failings and negative outcomes
  • Quickly lose confidence in personal abilities
Self-efficacy is a concept I've been working on personally and with my clients for the last year. It seems to be a common theme amongst clients to want to avoid discussing nutrition or regular workout routines because it's viewed as challenging and difficult.  The level of self efficacy reflects the confidence in the ability to exert control over one's own motivation, behavior, and social environment.
As fitness professionals, imagine the possibilities for our clients when we focus on increasing their self confidence and improving mental attitudes! It could impact every aspect of their lives, not just fitness related goals.
So, where does self-efficacy come from?  According to Bandura, there are four major sources of self-efficacy.
1. Mastery Experiences
"The most effective way of developing a strong sense of efficacy is through mastery experiences," Bandura explained. Performing a task successfully strengthens our sense of self-efficacy. However, failing to adequately deal with a task or challenge can undermine and weaken it.
As personal trainers, effective goal setting is a great way to
-build self-efficacy; effective meaning measurable and realistic
-carefully select short and long term goals to help establish a set path to achieve even the smallest accomplishments.
2. Social Modeling
Witnessing other people successfully completing a task is another important source of self-efficacy. According to Bandura, "Seeing people similar to oneself succeed by sustained effort raises observers' beliefs that they too possess the capabilities to master comparable activities to succeed."
As a personal trainer, you may help your clients select role models. Professional athletes, support groups, introducing them to past or current clients, friends and/or family that have had success in similar goals. Creative ideas like making a collage of activities and role models to put on the fridge or in their home gym. Keep in mind what works for others may not work for your client. The concept behind this is "If he/she can do it, I can do it!"
3. Social Persuasion
Bandura also asserted that people could be persuaded to believe they have the skills and capabilities to succeed. Consider a time when someone said something positive and encouraging that helped you achieve a goal. Getting verbal encouragement from others helps people overcome self-doubt and instead focus on giving their best effort to the task at hand.
As personal trainers, I believe this is the most important aspect of our interactions with our clients. Together you have set realistic and measurable goals and it's part of our job to keep them motivated.  Increasing the awareness to their "self-talk" is key. While in session you can reinforce these beliefs by using their name and their goals while performing difficult exercises or tasks. You could try introducing the tools of positive affirmations and positive self-talk.
"You're doing great, Sandra! This exercise is strengthening your core and getting you in shape for bikini season! I know it's challenging and you're doing it!"
"I really appreciate your honesty in your food journal, Sandra. It's important that I'm fully aware of what you're doing on your own time so we can accomplish your goal of decreasing body fat percentage by 2% in the next 6 weeks. You are doing great!"
4. Psychological Responses
Our own responses and emotional reactions to situations also play an important role in self-efficacy. Moods, emotional states, physical reactions and stress levels can all impact how a person feels about their personal abilities in a particular situation. A person who becomes extremely nervous before speaking in public may develop a weak sense of self-efficacy in these situations. However, Bandura also notes "it is not the sheer intensity of emotional and physical reactions that is important but rather how they are perceived and interpreted." By learning how to minimize stress and elevate mood when facing difficult or challenging tasks, people can improve their sense of self-efficacy.
This aspect may be the most difficult to monitor. Personal trainers face the challenge of meeting with their clients only several hours a week. This might not allow us to be aware of the situations causing our clients stress, as well as their reaction to it.
What we can do is listen carefully when we are with them. Taking notes, remembering annoying co-workers and specific situations causing stress all go a long way with clients. By offering any self-care advice that you believe to be appropriate, your client can build upon physical fitness by improving his or her mental attitude.
References: Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review, 84, 191-215.

The Importance of Pre and Post Workout Nutrition

"We build muscles in the kitchen, we tear muscles in the gym."
"Changing your body composition comes down to 80% nutrition and 20% exercise"
"You eat far more often than you'll ever exercise."
All great quotes to live by. If you're one of my clients-you've heard these quite a few times.
Nutrient timing is a concept focusing on the importance of what you eat before and after your exercise routine. This is a great opportunity to exercise your will power. Fine tuning these choices can drastically decrease the time frame in which you see results from your hard work. Within the last year I've been incorporating the AMPED Line into my lifestyle. This amazing system makes sports nutrition easy and has been a significant game charger in my performance and body composition.
Ideal pre-work meal is mostly carbohydrate based.
Carbohydrate Sources and Timing: 1 hour (or more) before exercise:
Complex, low glycemic carbs (high in fiber) help ensure blood sugar balance.  Serving size should be about 30 g  Examples: 1/2 c oatmeal or quinoa, 1 rice cake, vegetables like sweet potato and squash can be good options.
20 minutes to 1 hour before exercise:
Simple carbohydrates such as those from fruit like dates, raisins or half of a banana, or a coconut water can give you quick energy. Easily digested sources of fat, such as coconut oil (a source of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs)) or chia seeds can be consumed less than an hour pre-workout, or even during a workout. These fats are easily converted into useable energy, fueling your workout rather than being stored as fat.
 Meal Ideas
  • Stir fry 1 c spinach for 1 min in avocado oil, add 1/2 c cooked quinoa; crack egg & cover for 1 minute. Scramble and enjoy.
  • 1/2 c oatmeal, 1/4 c dried fruit, 2 tsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 c sweet potato, 1/2 c sautéed spinach, 1 egg

HYDRATION: The first nutritional priority after exercise is to replace any fluid lost during exercise. Consume 16-24 oz. of water post workout.
Benefit of protein shakes/post workout liquid meals:Liquid form of nutrition that contains rapidly digesting carbohydrates (e.g., maltodextrin, dextrose, glucose, etc) and proteins can accelerate recovery by utilizing insulin for nutrient transport into cells, can result in rapid digestion and absorption. Also, these products are often better tolerated during and after workouts. Whole food meals aren’t always practical for a few reasons. Some find they aren’t hungry immediately after exercise, and the process of digestion may take 1-3 hours before its absorbed into blood stream and your body needs replenishing within the hour.
Protein and Carbohydrates:
Research shows that combining protein with carbohydrate within thirty minutes of exercise nearly doubles the insulin response, which results in more stored glycogen.   This is essential to building adequate glycogen stores for continued endurance training.  Endurance exercise is defined as repetitive prolonged exercise of submaximal intensity greater than 45 minutes.
Protein Data indicates a minimum of 18-20 g of protein after a workout to maximally stimulate muscle protein synthesis. This number will vary depending on lean body mass and your goals. Eating more protein than that, however, has a negative impact because it slows re-hydration and glycogen replenishment.
I highly recommend mixing the AMPED line Hydrate.  with 1 scoop IsaPro.Dairy Free option ) These two products cover all your nutritional needs and tastes incredible! Proper sports nutrition is the key to success in reaching your goals.  You'll feel better during and after your workouts.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Creating Heaven or Hell...You are the craftsmen

Clarity in this concept has been running through my veins the last few weeks and I really want to share. While monitoring my thoughts/reactions to daily events/future or past I sense the perception I'm creating about each and the energetic consequence of these thoughts. I'm realizing through my thought pattern I am creating suffering within. I begin to step back as much as I can from the situation to view all sides. There has to be a bright side! Eliminating the words "Can't, hate, won't, sucks" rephrasing carefully to "not yet, I am going to, working on..." 
Cognitive restructuring isn't easy at first, but the habit is fun.

While spending time with others, sharing in conversation I realize I am listening from a different place than before. My heart. I hear how they are expressing themselves. I sense the frustration, sorrow, guilt, self loathing, regret. I feel their hearts within mine as they express themselves to me. I hear a little bit of myself in their words. As they paint their portrait of the life situation presented, I can begin to grasp the full picture. I can see where they are choosing suffering instead of creating a viewpoint that settles the matter. By offering objective perspective the ability to advocate in a positive direction becomes more clear ! Finding both sides of the situation. Light and a dark. 

Maintaining peace within every moment is quite a fine balance of accepting what's presented before you, allowing it to be and letting go of previous expectations.

"Life" this waking dream state we all seem to co-exist in. (Co-create within!) We wake, we work, we eat, hobbies, family time, whatever we will our time to be spent doing. When OUR plan and the Universe's plan doesn't align are when the challenges arise.  Not getting the job you interviewed for, Losing your home in a fire, losing a family member, a tragic loss of a pet, car breaking down, unable to afford rent and bills, contracting an STD/AIDs, unexpected pregnancies, not scoring the audition, losing your job suddenly. Business shut down, financial bankruptcy, Car broken into, getting robbed/mugged, injuries, car accidents... do you see where I am going...? 

I'm not getting into karma or we attract what we think about... What I'm trying to share,  is that when presented with these unavoidable situations, we have the choice, to create heaven or to create hell. To be upset, stressed, angry, to revolt, to rebel, to create friction and tension OR to accept, to allow, knowing that all is in divine order. The amount of peace that comes with acceptance of whatever is before you is the heavenly state. Trusting that in the end...all things will settle. Realizing happiness is a choice. Truly. We all experience hardship. And when immersed in the pain of it, its hard to see through. There is always something learned, strength gained. Perspective, new direction, different intentions. 

To know you truly have the choice within you, to craft your day, to control what influences your moment to moment existence. It is your divine right. It's our truest choice in life. Our attitude. 

I love you. 
Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Cultivating Self Love

I am incredibly inspired by the unwavering warm feeling of true self love. My chest feels like love explosions are consistently going off, I feel love pulsing through  my veins and the desire to reach out and hug trees, plants, animals and humans. SO much love overflowing from the inside, I feel the urge to share it. No need for it to be returned, for I have all I need from within. 

What is Self Love? 

Is it looking at yourself in the mirror and saying...
"Oh my, how lovely you are. You are so beautiful. You are so strong. I am proud of you!"
Maybe. That's part of loving your physical vessel which is how your spirit represents itself in the world. 

Several things come to mind when I have paved my own path to incredible self love. 

1. Accept Your Feelings 
When I feel the sensation of anxiety, fear, sadness whatever it may be.. I take a moment to honor it. I have switched my self talk from "I am anxious" to now saying "I have a feeling of anxiety, it is not me, for it will pass." By accepting the sensation it looses its power. I then dig deeper. What is this emotion showing me? Where does the root of this emotion reside? Sometimes the answer is loud and clear, other times it is unknown. There is a fine balance of wanting to explain away your feelings and understanding the truth that they are showing you. Your feelings are the compass of your life. 

2. Forgiveness
May be one of the hardest. Acknowledging your past does not define you or your future. Forgiving yourself for your perceived mistakes. Releasing the shoulda woulda coulda's! Accepting where you are is perfect in this moment. You created this reality. Accept it. Honor the truth of that. I suggest trying a mantra. I forgive myself for ________. Even if it doesn't feel true, if you begin to state it you will soon believe it. The power of forgiveness is beyond comprehension. This doesn't stop with self, forgiving others is one of the most peaceful acts you can do in the honor of self love. 

3.Be Compassionate
Towards yourself! Treat yourself as you would your best friend. Positive self talk, support and belief in the ability to complete your tasks. Check in with your self talk. For example: You remember that you left important papers at home halfway on your way to work, do you call yourself a name? Are you angry? This is the perfect time to be compassionate! You can't change that you left your papers at home, but you do not have to beat yourself up, you are not dumb, or stupid. Instead of "WHY ME?" think.... "What's next?" Remind yourself that you are trying your very best in every moment of every day and that is really all you can do. Ahh, yes. Relax. 

4. Knowing when to honor your boundaries. Saying YES or NO! 
Life can pull us in many directions. Social events, work parties, travel experiences, whatever it may be. An important lesson in self love/self care is listening to what your heart truly wants to do with your time instead of falling into the pull of another. It is so easy to say "sure, I'll go along.." when in the back of your head/heart you would have rather stayed at home or done something different. What I'd like for all of us to realize when saying NO to one invitation we are also saying YES to many other things. For example: Declining a night out on the town with friends seems like being a debbie downer, but saying YES to relaxing at home, saying YES to cooking a meal for myself, saying YES to personal space, saying YES to saving money and energy. Saying YES to ME! 

5. Self Care
As you rise from your nightly slumber, you feel stiff, headachey and hungry. Self care is noticing what the body's sensations are telling you and making the time to address them. Stretching, drinking plenty of water, a healthy nutritious breakfast. Making a point to have food in the fridge, food with you at work. never missing meal time. Your body deserves the upmost attention and care. It is your vessel on how you are a service to life, taking care of it, is a true action of self love. 
You have time, if it's important to you! Cultivate a practice of stretching, meal preparation and fresh clean water consumption! 

What is self love to you? How to you cultivate this practice? I'd love to hear about it! 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Fulcrum Point -Present Moment

Inspired from The Hathor Material

Observing two children on a see-saw, you watch as one kid goes up, the other kid goes down. A beautiful metaphor for consciousness as it moves into this duality experience from its still-point of non-duality. Opposite forces come into play, as with the seesaw, our worlds of polarities, as something moves up, something else moves down and so on. That moment, when the narrow board pauses, each side is parallel to the ground and when there is no movement-that is the fulcrum point. The perfect balance of these dualities, a neutral state of friction or activity. This is the present moment-NOW.

So in our life, as we experience the dualistic natural of existence, when we feel "down" we are also entering an initiatory portal! The difficulties, tests and trails are how the soul grows. You are working through the emotional, mental and spiritual "contents" of your own consciousness. Experienced by the events, thoughts, feelings and emotions that trigger within you. If you honor the fulcrum point-the present moment of your life, as that center, the pivotal focus of your own consciousness, you are prepared to move into a different relationship with your experience. 

Honor your experience and feeling responses, for they are the meaning, context and purpose of your life.

It is ironic and paradoxical that your consciousness can create either heaven or hell around the same event. The reactions you experience in response to different events actually has very little to do with the event itself. These events are essential empty. They are triggers however, that cause something to respond from within your consciousness. As you go through the initiatory process of your life, you tune into the hellish tormented sensations of attachments-fears, pains, angers, sadness and the emotional states where you feel content, loved and fulfilled. These are your two polar states, and they work, move and pulsate from one to the other. The Fulcrum Point of your experience is on the edge of which they teeter. From this level of understanding you realize you are creating your emotional or feeling responses, and are responsible for them!

When you experience something difficult, look inside yourself in response to the event. The feelings and thoughts are telling you something. This is an opportunity for greater awareness and clarity. The power of the Fulcrum Point- it is a sacred moment. Every moment of your experience is sacred and when you find yourself in situations that are difficult and challenging, know that you have entered another initiation opportunity. They can be taken in a constructive and creative manner and the soul shall advance.

So- Love More. Forgive More. Understanding that love is truly an energetic power that will lead you to the qickest and deepest space of stability. When you enter into that vibrational state of love and acceptance, you are able to forgive, then you are in a position that is energetically unmovable. Whatever happens around you will not be disturbing because you are in the Fundamental Tone, the Fundamental Octive that holds and binds the Universe together. Consequently you are literally above it all and untouched by it.  

So let us Love more. Forgive More. 

I love you.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Reeling in the heart strings..

There always comes that sobering moment when a relationship ends. Hits you like a bag of bricks. Head, heart, gut all at once. Doosh. Soul mates are beautiful reflections for ourselves. We see what we are, what we are not, and what we want to become. But they are not our be all end all. WE ARE. True Self is within, not in others. Not in romantic connection. Not in two bodies intertwined together making love. These are all experiences to learn and grow from. All moments are fleeting. All experiences are too. Good and Bad. Try not attach yourself to anyone or anything. What is true is the wisdom and the love that lives with in. Practice self love every day. Its important to not sacrifice yourself for another. That is not the point of relationships! Let your self flourish. Honor your desires, honor your passions! Follow your heart. Don’t walk the path only because someone you love does. Walk your own path. Stay in check with your heart source.

You enter the Kingdom Heaven through the doors within. 

You are your end all be all. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

My Guru, the Blender

Last week I began my morning routine like always, getting all my supplies out to make my delicious morning smoothie. I had been using my roommates older blender. It was already missing a lid, and recently the only way to turn it on and off was to plug and unplug it. Another blender issue developed, it would stop locking into place and would end up spinning madly out of control creating a huge mess. 
Well, that happened. The blender didn't lock into place, and all my delicious organic ingredients went all over my face, clothing, and kitchen. It was too early for this! I wanted these nutrients in my body, not all over. I felt the sensations of frustration and self anger rising. I took a kitchen rag and smacked it on the counter top, releasing some of the energy. Why do I spend every morning with this silly blender? Why have I not invested in a new one?! 
That is it! I can change this, so I am!

After training a client, I headed to the Good Will to see what I would find. And sure enough, it was my lucky day! I found an incredible food processor/blender that is worth a great deal for less than $20. I came home giddy as gumdrops! No more messes, I was frustrated about a situation and created the change I wanted to see. That easy! Now my roommate and I get to enjoy this new kitchen gadget. I cleaned all the little parts and set them aside to dry. 

The following morning, my roommate and her boyfriend where excited to use the new toy. I received a text from her asking where the bottom part was that locks the blade and the glass container into place. Wishing I was home to help her look, I knew I had washed all the pieces and left them on the counter in plain sight. When I got home from work, I searched for the missing piece and I also could not find it! 
This does not make sense! I just had them yesterday, all clean and ready to go. I was amped on finding the piece. I searched through the trash twice, the recycling, every cabinet and drawer in the kitchen. I decided to take a break from looking, knowing that it's in the house and it will turn up. 

A few hours later, my roommates boyfriend came home and asked about the missing piece. This reminded me of the situation and I began frantically looking again. "This just doesn't make sense!" I declare, "I'm going to start searching in the places that don't make sense..." I began looking in the freezer, the fridge, the washing machine, the dryer, of course the missing blender part wasn't in any of these locations. My room mate comes home and also begins in the search. 
All of us had put quite a bit of energy into finding this missing piece. I decide to step out of the house and head to the store. 

When I return, I feel the energy is much more calm. They both have a smile on their face. 

Turns out, the blender wasn't missing a piece at all. It's a different design where the glass container screws into the base part, we didn't need the "piece" we thought we were looking for. 
It never existed. The answer was right in front of us the whole time, we just had to change our perspective. Look at it differently. Create a new way to approach the situation. 

Two lessons gained with the blender experience. First one, if you are angry about a situation and you can change it, DO IT. No more wasting time and repeating the same stressful situations over and over. Second lesson, the answer you are looking for may be right in front of you, if you can open your mind and  change your perspective and approach to the situation.