Big stomach and fast food meal

You’re chugging the third soda of the day, just picked up fast food for the fourth time this week, and you can’t even remember the last place you put your tennis shoes. The last time you ran feels like it was months ago. Forget about the last time you even entered a gym. If this sounds familiar, you’re doing some pretty serious self sabotage to your physical health, fitness, and overall well being. 

You don’t even have to imagine the result of keeping that pattern up for years. Hormonal imbalances, digestive issues, and an unhealthy weight are all certainties. Look at the country around you. The vast majority of people do not work out regularly, don’t work on their diets, and absolutely do not do anything of substance in the world of self-care. That leads people to hide under baggy clothes, fear trying new pants on in the dressing room, and causes them to feel left during activities that require some sort of mobility or endurance. 

If the physical aspects weren’t bad enough, how neglecting yourself affects people’s mental headspace is even worse. Think about all the stress that comes from living an unhealthy lifestyle. Confidence suffers, body image dwindles, and mentally people just hurt.

You don’t have to keep living like that. If you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired—and you’ve reached your breaking point—stop self sabotaging your health and take control. A healthy lifestyle is just the sum of all the small decisions you make a day. 

Here’s a few simple ways to make a lasting change:

Easy Nutrition Swaps

When you have an all-or-nothing approach to nutrition, the lifestyle changes you are trying to make are going to fail and you are actively engaging in self sabotage, even if you mean well.  Instead of torturing yourself and eliminating everything you enjoy, make healthy substitutions.

  • Skip the soda and sugary beverages. If you’re a fanatic for flavored beverages, don’t cut them out cold turkey. Try flavored water, or flavored soda water if you’re craving bubbles. Stevia sweetened sodas are a great alternative if you are trying to cut back on calories.
  • Plan your meals ahead of time. Find balanced meals with plenty of protein and balanced carbs and fats. A great way to stay on track is to create your menu for the week before you buy your groceries. Post the menu on your fridge so you know what you’re eating every day.
  • Pressed for time? Try making larger batches of food. Double your dinner meals, so you can pack the leftovers for lunch. When you plan ahead and make enough to have leftovers, you avoid the stress of having to make healthy decisions in the middle of the day. Nutrition is the to healthier living.

Before starting an exercise routine, make sure you have a solid nutrition plan. If you expect results, the work starts here.

As a side note: Cutting out lunchtime traffic instead of rushing to grab something quick can work wonders for you mental health as well.

Remember, the goal of changing self-limiting habits is to form a new lifestyle, and, by extension, a new you. A slow, consistent set of improvements that are sustainable over a lifetime is better than an all-or-nothing approach to nutrition. The all-or-nothing approach people usually don’t even know they are sabotaging their overall health by trying to force something their mind doesn’t want.

Find Your Tennis Shows and Start Exercising

Once you have a plan for your nutrition, add in strength training. Combining diet, exercise, hydration, and sleep CONSISTENTLY pretty much guarantees you will see results.

If you don’t already have a membership, sign up for a gym. Now, more than ever, there are affordable options. Instead of seeing gym membership fees as money you’re spending, think of it as an investment in your health; especially if you want to change your body composition for the better. Even if you don’t want to, or can’t, join a gym, going outside to exercise is free and there are tons of things you can could potentially even do in your living room to build muscle.

Strength training is just as important as cardio. Some would even argue that weight training is slightly more important to overall health and wellness than traditional cardio is. As you gain strength and your muscles (obviously) grow, changing how you look, boosting your metabolism, and improving self confidence and body image.

That’s when you start seeing the results you want.

Here are some tips to begin with:

Establish a Strong Mind-Muscle Connection

Before you do anything, especially strength training exercise, your brain sends a signal to your muscles which causes them to contract and move the weight. That communication between your brain and muscles is the mind-muscle connection

If you’ve been a couch potato most of your life, or it’s been a while since you’ve trained, your mind-muscle connection probably isn’t very strong. Strengthening that connection before lifting heavy weights helps to prevent injury.

Here’s a few ways to do that:

  • Flex your muscles. Stand in front a mirror and see if you can flex the muscles you’re intending to target.  If you can’t, you can work towards improving that connection. 
  • Study the anatomy of your body. When you know what the structure of your muscles are, you’re more likely to be able to visualize their movement and intentionally contract your muscles.
  • Go slow and breathe. When you’re working on a specific area, make sure you have a strong mind-muscle connection. A slow, intentional tempo will build that connection, and you’ll be on your way to achieving your goals.

Leave Your Ego at the Door

Jerking around weights that are heavier than you can handle isn’t impressing anyone, and is a form of self sabotage. Start with a weight that you can control. Be sure to maintain a strong mind-muscle connection as you go through the movement. 

A strength training session is a time for you to work on yourself. Get your music in. Get in the zone. This is about YOU and your goals. Doesn’t matter what the dude next to you is doing. Pushing yourself beyond what you’re conditioned to do just to prove a point is a set up for injury, and will postpone you from reaching your goals.

6 Strength Training Ideas to Start

There are so many movements that you can do to strengthen your muscles, but to keep it simple here are some easy ones you can do:

Chest: Kneeling Push-Ups

  • Start in a plank position and drop your knees
  • Make sure your core is engaged
  • Lower your chest to the ground as you keep your elbows pulled in close to your body
  • Extend your arms and return to the position your started

Shoulders: Bus Drivers and Horizontal Figure 8s

  • Grab a light weight plate
  • Hold it out in front of you with both hands like you’re holding a steering wheel
  • Pretend to drive a bus, short, quick movements left and right
  • When your shoulders start to burn, good.

Biceps: Curls

  • Stand with a dumbbell in each hand at arm’s length
  • Keep your shoulders pulled back
  • Curl the dumbbell using only your biceps
  • SLOWLY return the weight to the starting position

Triceps: Pushdown

  • Find a cable machine with a rope or bar attachment
  • Stand upright and grab the end of the rope with your hands facing each other (rope) or towards the ground (bar)
  • Using your triceps, push the rope/bar down to the ground, extending your arms straight
  • Your upper arms shouldn’t move
  • Slowly return back to the position you started in

Back: Lat Pulldown

  • Hook your fingers around the bar and have a shoulder width grip
  • Lead with your elbows and pull them back and down with your chest up
  • Bring the bar down to your chest
  • Slowly return to the starting position

*Keep the load light enough to get the bar to reach your chest*

Legs: Goblet Squats

  • Start by standing with your feet hip distance apart
  • Hold the dumbbell in front of your chest with both hands (vertically like a goblet) with your elbows pointed down
  • Push your hips backward
  • Bend your knees as you lower into a squat (about 90 degrees), keeping your back straight
  • Push back to into a standing position

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How Often? What About Cardio? Do I Need to Stretch?

If you’re brand new to the gym, starting with full body workouts is important to create a strong foundation. This will help to evenly distribute soreness, while causing each muscle group to grow equally. Equal muscle growth is necessary for balance, symmetry, and overall feeling good. Aim for 2-3 strength training sessions a week to start. 

Here’s an example of how to structure your fitness routine:

Warm up and stretch:

  • Prepare your muscles by doing some dynamic stretching like jumping jacks, leg and arm swings, butt kicks, high knees, and walking lunges. This gets your heart rate up and primes your body for your training session.


  • Move through five or six movements.  Start with 1-2 sets of 8-10 repetitions per exercise. When you’re ready, go for 3 or 4 sets of 12 reps or heavier weight. Keep it spicy.

Cool Down and Stretch:

  • Don’t forget to cool down and stretch. Try some static stretches. Make sure you include a good stretch for your calf, hamstring, arm, shoulder, groin, and glute groups. Hold each stretch for about 30 seconds.  It’s easy to skip this step, but it’s important for muscle recovery, flexibility, and minimizing soreness.

In order to see maximum results, make sure include cardio. Two 20-30 minute sessions of steady state cardio (slow, less intense), or 2 x 10-15 minute HIIT sessions (faster, more intense) each week are a good starting point. Pick a form of cardio that you enjoy like a HIIT circuit, running, cycling, dancing, or boxing. Cardio exercises your heart while also helping strengthen muscles that increase functional fitness, which is the ideal goal for those of us who work sedentary jobs. 

Most Importantly

Be consistent. Breaking old patterns can be challenging, especially with the bodies tendencies towards laziness, but it’s not impossible with a bit of mental toughness.

You’re not going to lose 10 pounds overnight, but you will see results over time as long as you stay consistent and push through when you don’t really want to. That’s actually good advice for any aspect of life.

Those used to self sabotage and damaging their health through a sedentary lifestyle can make huge strides towards a better quality of living by staying on top of small steps and following the simple daily gameplan:

  1. Total calories: Track them, hit your requirements, and stay there. Every day.
  2. Protein intake: 1g per bodyweight pound, every day.
  3. Movement: 3x+ per week of 45 min workouts.
  4. Water: Drink it. Hydration is a necessity.
  5. Sleep: Prioritize 7-8 hours of quality sleep every day.
  6. Mental Wellbeing: Take care of yourself mentally. Every day.

As I said, small steps every day will push you towards healthier living. It really is just about tiny changes compounded each day to make your life better.

Start making simple swaps. Doritos for pretzels. Lemonade for water with lemon. Cheeseburgers for homemade taco rice bowls. Donuts for English Muffins.

People make it harder than it needs to be.

You’re ready to make a change. Even if you’ve failed before, you can still move forward. If you can’t do it for yourself, do it for your children, your spouse, or your dog. Whatever it takes. We only get one body, and you have the strength within yourself to stop sabotaging your health. 

Let Us Help You Out

I want to help you achieve better physical and mental health through exercise. Check out the plans I offer to my clients and see if you could benefit from working with me. If you have questions, you can always contact me through the Contact Us page

Health coaches, like myself, can help guide you on your pathway towards reaching your overall health and wellness goals, whether that is getting bigger, stronger, faster, more lean, or just generally feeling better physically or mentally.

If you choose to join one of my programs we will work together to help you uncover motivations and roadblocks, improve your overall health and wellness, and get you on a path to being excellent in all that you do through higher levels of overall fitness

The only thing you need is some motivation and a willingness to change some old habits.

Get into contact with me to find out what, if any, membership is right for you.

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