Posts Tagged ‘focus’

I am a Body of Work in Progress

My life is a happy balance ~ Stephanie Joanne

My life is a happy balance ~ Stephanie Joanne

Describing myself and what I do is always the most challenging task. To be very honest, the simple truth is I am a personal trainer. I have been blessed with some great exposure and tv/media opportunities which have opened up some doors for me. The one thing I’m not afraid of is walking towards those doors and making things happen. I really believe that there are no chance meetings. Keeping this in mind, I am always thinking of ways to collaborate with those around me. Currently I am working with a few companies in marketing and the exposure side of their business. Aligning myself with key organizations such as The Treadmill Factory has my time tied up these days.

I was brought up in Europe. Sports and play were daily activities. I did it all. My parents pretty much encouraged me to play and do as much as my spare time could allow. Following a full extracurricular program my memories are of my father playing games outside with me that he played during his childhood. My big brother Jonathan always included me in games that he played with his friends and I played OBA (Ontario Basketball) until I was seventeen. In retrospect, I’m pretty sure that it’s because of this early interaction that I turned into quite the tomboy and sport fanatic. I also joined a gym with my Mom at thirteen years of age and I’ve been in love with fitness ever since. It’s like brushing my teeth. Something feels terribly wrong if I don’t move.

The hardest obstacle for me thus far has been trying to figure out who I am in this role as a “fitness expert”. I spend most of my time with media related obligations and in meetings. Yet somehow all I want to do is wear my tights and workout. Finding balance and making sure I enjoy the process of creating my brand has been my primary focus. My boyfriend frequently reminds me to stop and be grateful for all that I have already accomplished before looking at what is next. I need to be constantly reminded of this.

I keep my workout routine and supplements simple. I box twice a week, hot yoga twice a week and train at the gym three times. I take Cygen Powergreens21 and Cygen Fish Oil. I am obsessed with the new victory bars, my OhYeah and Quest bars have always been a staple. I am in love with this new Yoga place I found. The girl teaching is the best I have come across in YEARS!! Her name is Karin (from YogaTree) and she has me determined to get into all these poses I would have never thought possible. Bending legs behind my head, balance and hand/head stands…all that good stuff!

I have a great team of individuals cheering me on! My Dad offers a welcomed thumbs up and tells his little girl he is proud at times when I feel like I am still that 7 year old girl who does not have a clue what she is doing or where she is going. In reality this is the truth. The older I get the more I realize that “adults” as we knew it when we were kids, don’t quite have it all together like we thought they did. My brother is that guy who will always take care of his little sis; pick me up when and if I fall kind of brother. It sure makes life a lot easier knowing that even when the rest of the world thinks “you’ve made it” on the inside you still need to know that if time ever came and you’re about to fall, that someone’s going to catch you. That person would be my brother, hands down. My best friend Sabrina is the one I literally speak to for at least an hour a day. She is the one who knows all the details. It’s like a very attractive human diary. Then the man behind the woman is Sheldan. Most days after I’m finished running my business and taking on the world, he gets the cranky version of me. The version most would not believe existed. The big joke is that the Stephanie Joanne turns back into the Stephanie Beekhuysen (which is my real name) and all I want to do is sulk and get back rubs. He deals with me and he supports me, which gets him major points all day long. Life really is all about relationships. As long as I value my relationships and the time I spend with the people I love, everything else will fall into place…. I hope!

I'm always going to be Daddy's little girl ~ Stephanie Joanne

I’m always going to be Daddy’s little girl ~ Stephanie Joanne

If remaining committed to fitness is a challenge for you and you’re trying to figure out what’s the best path to success I really think it’s time to start looking inward for the solution. Too often people trust what “experts” have to say and they get caught up in a war of conflicting information. When I get stuck I turn off my cell phone; I turn away from the computer and I sit with a pen and paper. It may take me 5 minutes or it may (and often does) take me all day and night; but I take that much needed time to re-group and journal what it is that I want and more so why I want it. I take the time to answer the important questions, “What does it mean to me? What do I have to do to make my goals happen?” Then I act on it. I strongly suggest that you do the same.

Throughout this entire journey I have found that there really is nothing more important than my time and energy. I have had the fancy job and the fancy title and I reached a place in life where I had to let it go. No regrets! Now, I have the energy to do everything that I am passionate about in my own time.

My message is simple, take control of your life.

Twitter @stefjoanne or www.stephaniejoanne.com

The Magic is You

The crowd waits. Surely he’s going to die. How can he survive a dive from such a massive height into a tiny pool of water? But he can fly! – Only he doesn’t yet believe it. He’s been shunned all his life as a freak with gigantic ears. He’s lost his ’magic feather‘ and thinks that without it he can’t fly. Timothy mouse desperately, frantically tells him:

“It’s not the feather, it’s you! You can fly. Forget the feather. It’s time to dive.”

He falls. The crowd gasps. But just as he’s about to smash into the shallow water, Timothy’s words come back to him: “It’s you, Dumbo, not the feather!” At last he flies! He doesn’t need the feather.

Finally truly believing in himself, he escapes the captive circus.

This article is about your escape. How you can disregard ’magic feathers‘ and believe in yourself.

Why you need self-belief

Self-belief is vital. How many things have you not done or tried because you lacked belief in yourself?

Many fail to believe in themselves because others didn’t (take my friend Dumbo). But as Eleanor Roosevelt so deftly put it:

“Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

Yet self-doubts creep in, don’t they? Like unwelcome house guests that keep calling round simply because you played host to them before. Doubts such as:

  • Can I really do this?
  • Other people are better, smarter, more worthy than me.
  • What will other people think if I do/say this?
  • I can’t risk failure.
  • Success is for others but not for the likes of me!

If you sometimes have trouble believing in yourself then read, absorb, enjoy, and practice these self-belief tips.

Tip 1 – Remember self-belief is learnable

Your level of self-belief isn’t set in stone; not unalterable. We can all be flexible and change, even ’fly’. Remember you were born into this world with no sense of what you could or couldn’t do. Then, bit by bit, life started to teach you to limit yourself. A very young child never says: “I’m not the kind of person who could…” They haven’t yet learned to limit their own horizons or listened to people who leak pessimism.

One of the first steps is to re-examine and discard many of the limiting ideas you have about yourself; ideas that you’ve somehow collected along the way.

Tip 2 – Deal with the inner negative voice

When you start to doubt yourself listen, for a moment, to that little negative inner voice. Whose voice is it really? A parent’s, old school bullies? A collection of lots of different voices from different times and people? One thing’s for sure; that little inner self-critical voice wasn’t yours originally. It may masquerade as belonging to you now, but it doesn’t really.

Tell yourself: “This is not my true voice!” Then start to challenge it and also to just plain ignore it.

Tip 3 – Flip a weakness into a strength

Dumbo, our cartoon quadruped, was humiliated by his outsize ears. He hated them at first.  But, through time, he came to use them, to fulfill his destiny even, by changing his attitude.

If we just focus on what is not right about ourselves rather than what is, then we miss opportunities for self-belief. We shouldn’t assume there’s nothing to improve about ourselves, but just focusing on perceived weaknesses without either a) taking steps to improve them or b) also giving fair focus toward our strengths gets us nowhere.

For example,  if you know that you can be stubborn then find the positive in this.  Stubbornness used well is called single-minded determination. If you worry a lot, know that the positive flip side of this is that you have a powerful imagination which, in the right context, can be put to good use.

Take any negative belief you have about yourself and creatively flip it so that it becomes, in its place, a positive resource (think: ’ears/Dumbo‘). You’ll find this exercise fun to do.

Tip 4 – Develop your ‘super powers’!

Think of the typical powers of the more popular superheroes and write them down before you start your day. They may be such things as super speed, the ability to climb walls, flight, x-ray vision…whatever. Why do I suggest this? Because ‘priming’  your mind with qualities and positive characteristics can actually determine your behavior.

Not that you’ll start flying to the rescue of stranded citizens, but the pattern of superhero powers is one of ability, courage, and competence. In one study, people asked to write down as many super powers as they could think of were more likely to give to charity months afterwards. The pattern of giving to charity is that of being able. Prime your mind with ‘able words’ before you start each day.

As well as superhero powers, write all kinds of other positive characteristics (whether you think you have them or not). Do this before you go out. For example, I might write:

  • Strength
  • Dignity
  • Calm
  • Intelligence
  • Humor
  • Generosity
  • Quick wittedness
  • Charisma
  • Sex appeal
  • Approachability
  • Popularity
  • Determination

And so on.  I’m not just asking you to focus on your own present or even future qualities here, but just on the words. Take a few moments writing them down each day,  then a few moments running your eyes up and down your list (it doesn’t matter if it’s a similar list each day). Really reflect upon what each word means to you.

You’ll be amazed how doing this will powerfully prime your unconscious mind.

Tip 5 – Be your own motivational coach

If you notice doubts rearing their ugly heads, imagine you (the clear-headed part of you) are the coach and the anxious part of you is the person you need to talk to.

Think what you’d say to someone you really believe in if they started showing doubts. Sit down and say those same things to yourself. So if you are about to go for a job interview and you ’hear yourself‘  starting to express doubts, take a few moments to sit down, close your eyes,  and coach yourself:

“Look, you can do this! It’s natural to feel a little anxious, but that just means you care about what you’re doing! You’ve got all the relevant experience and qualifications! Now get in there and stop whinging! Even if you don’t get this job, you’re going to make me proud by giving it your best shot!”

Picture the decent, friendly, straight-talking coach in your mind. Is it someone you know or would like to know? Talking to yourself in these times as if you were another person (in the privacy of your mind) can ramp up your confidence fast.

Tip 6 – Do ‘hero training’

Hero training is a great way to increase your own self-belief.

Think of a situation in which lack of self-belief holds you back. Now think of your ’hero‘  – who could be a world leader, a movie hero, or the guy or gal down the street.  Now close your eyes and strongly imagine them dealing with the situation ’heroically‘.  Now imagine being them for a few moments, experiencing that time in their shoes. Keep doing this until you notice you can start to transfer a sense of their qualities to yourself.

Tip 7 – Create a powerful vision of yourself

Self-belief comes not just by trying to convince yourself you can do stuff. True self-belief actually comes from developing the vision that you can relax socially, start that business, write that book, or whatever it is you need to believe you can do or be.

Get into the habit of sitting down, closing your eyes, and watching yourself behaving decisively, calmly, and strongly. This powerful visualization exercise means you can learn from yourself how to be confident, have self-belief, and behave in ways which maximize chances of success. Imagine you are viewing yourself on a TV screen. The ‘you’ in the screen is showing the you watching how to act with self-belief. The more you do this, the more you’ll find that you’ll quite naturally start to become like the ’you‘ in the movie.

Self-belief doesn’t mean arrogance or blindness to one’s own shortcomings. Then again, it doesn’t mean believing that you are perfect as you are, either. Your self-belief really needs to be focused on what you will become. And an important part of self-belief comes from knowing your weaknesses and being relaxed about them.

Self-belief gives you the freedom to make mistakes and cope with setbacks by seeing them for what they are: temporary setbacks, not the end of the world. And something else you’ll notice: As your self-belief grows, people around you start to believe in you more, too. Because it really isn’t the feather – it’s you.

Your friends at Socially Fit

http://www.uncommonhelp.me

Your Attitude Determines Everything

An athletes mental toughness determines their character. Preparing mentally is just as important as preparing physically. Your attitude determines everything. Fitness or sport visualization is the key to success because if you can visualize how to be successful eventually you will be. Success comes to those who are most prepared. To have mental toughness in fitness an athlete must be able to conquer the fear of losing. Losing is only losing if you fail to get up and try again. Fitness or sport visualization can help you conquer that fear. Try it and you will be amazed.

Mental toughness is critical for success in fitness, and how you develop your mind will directly impact how you progress.

1. Every night, half an hour before retiring, go to your room, where you can be entirely alone and as remote as possible from noise and distraction.

2. Seat yourself in a wide and comfortable chair, or, better still, lie down on your back at full length. See that your clothing is loosened, so that you will suffer no distressing annoyance on this account. Compose yourself as if for sleep, assuming a position of restfulness, abandon and utter relaxation. Close your eyes, letting the lids rest lightly on your cheeks.

3. Shut your mind resolutely against every form of bodily sensation. Forget for the time that you are encumbered with a body.

4. Bar out of your consciousness every memory, every thought of the past.

5. Build a mental picture of the thing you want to have, to do or to be – the one thing that you immediately desire first and most of all. By this we mean nothing indefinite. We do not refer to ultimate aims that can come only as the result of long periods of effort. We mean something specific, something that can be yours tomorrow, something that in itself constitutes the next step in your chosen career.

6. See yourself finding the ways and means of realizing your desire, overcoming obstacles one after another, all the obstacles that can possibly arise. See yourself called upon to display, and displaying, alertness, promptness, courage, confidence, resourcefulness, patience, push, enterprise, expert knowledge, insight, shrewdness, tact, self-control, decision. See yourself face to face with the situation that confronts you in real life and manifesting the qualities and doing the things necessary to your purpose. Put yourself body and soul into this picture. Multiply details. Rivet your mind upon it.

7. Advance step by step, logically, wisely, consistently, to the climax of the drama. See yourself winning out. See yourself solving the problem, getting the thing you want, acting the part you desire to play. Detach your spirit from the flesh of this world and incorporate it in the mental image of yourself. Live the victory mentally until a sense of its reality permeates your soul.

8. Make your dream picture as delightful as possible. Dwell upon it with joyful satisfaction. Warm your heart with a feeling of thankfulness that which you have so long desired is really yours. This feeling of gratitude, this emotional element, will bring forth associations that will give life to the picture and will animate your faith. Keep yourself tight shut in this dream world for at least fifteen minutes.

9. Arise and make your preparations for the night. Then upon retiring once more close your eyes and let your mind dwell upon your vision for five or ten minutes or until you fall asleep. Let it be the last thing in your thoughts as you become unconscious.

10. Every time you are awake during the night call the mental picture before you and keep it in consciousness as long as you remain awake.

11. In the morning, immediately upon awaking, repeat the procedure set out in the third, fourth and fifth instructions.

12. The more of your spare time you spend in this way, the more promptly will you actualize your ideals. By repeated concentration, every detail of the image of your desire will be so deeply engraved upon your mind as to exert an influence throughout the day. It will inhibit wasteful emotions and impulses. It will give you poise and self-possession. It will so inspire you with its promise as to awaken an energizing response in the profoundest depths of your sub consciousness.

Find your focus.

Your friends at “Socially Fit”

http://www.motivation4athletes.com

I’m Fit Not Skinny

Alison

Growing up I struggled a lot in school with my academics.  I hated school and my teachers always accused me of giving up and not working hard enough.  My parents both owned their own businesses so I would be dropped off at school and left alone to get home, watch TV and eat.  By the time I was in the 4th grade I would go home and make a full box of Hamburger Helper or other boxed item.  I always loved sports and was even on a traveling basketball team. I never got to play because I was “too fat and slow”.  I began to hate practice because I knew I would never play. After a while I quit basketball and didn’t pick up another sport until volleyball came around in Junior High.  I could care less about the food I ate.  I just knew that I felt better when I ate.  During my 5th grade year I started having severe side pains and I struggled with the pain for 6 months till my doctor took out my gallbladder.  Two months later, I fell and dislocated my right hip and had to have emergency surgery.  I was on crutches for 2 months and I continued to eat and eat because I was behind scholastically and was missing out on what other kids my age were up to.  Going into the 6th grade I was right around 175lb.  I always joked about my weight and figured that it gave kids at school less of a chance to make fun of me.  At the end of my 6th grade year I switched eye Doctors and found out that one of the reasons for my poor academics were “somewhat” related to the muscles in my right and left eye.  One was weaker than the other.  I spent the following summer in eye therapy while everyone else was swimming and playing summer ball.

Alison with her brother

When I got into High School I got started on the Atkins diet and followed it on point very well.  I lost 40lbs, but then didn’t lose anymore.  I wanted to just maintain, but it seemed that no matter what I did, I continued to gain weight.  Going into College I refused to gain my weight back, but I gained that and more.  I reached my heaviest of 226lbs.  I was working out 3-4 hours a day; sometimes I’d skip class to work out, and actually would go a few days at a time without eating.  I was working for the football coach in the Athletic Department when one of the coaches recommended that I take a personal training class.  All my friends were athletic trainers or in some form of the Sciences so I took the class. With my exercise and diet being monitored for 6 weeks and me continuing to gain weight and inches, my professor/basketball coach informed me I should visit my Doctor for further help.  After visiting 3 different Doctors, the 3rd one finally diagnosed me with hypothyroidism.  This is a condition in which your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones.  It can be brought on by several factors, but one main cause is simply being obese.  I had a huge risk of becoming diabetic and I didn’t want that.  Family members on both sides have it and I didn’t want that for my future.  I came home after getting my medicine and googled, “Diabetic Diets”.  This site brought up a simple to follow plan and I dedicated my whole summer to the workouts from www.EAS.com combined with Oxygen Magazine’s workouts and meal plans and in 3 months I had lost 35 pounds.  I continued to buy books on thyroid disorders and met with nutritionists, and started working out with a woman trainer who had a back ground with hormonal issues.  The weight continued to come off and since I chose to make being fit my LIFESTYLE, like Oxygen Magazine references, I’ve lived by those principles ever since.

Alison with her brother

I know that ultimately, my strength comes from God.  I know that the desire he placed in my heart is for HIS will and I’m only following along for the ride.  I see it as the struggle that I had to overcome helps me to guide and encourage others; just to hear me say “You Got This”.  I ultimately believed in myself and I KNOW that everyone has it within them, it’s just my job to figure out what motivates them so I can tap into that and bring out their fullest potential.  Working-out is only part of being overweight. It’s so much more mental.  We all need someone to hold us accountable! The desire to never be the old me drives me on a daily basis.  I see so many individuals who overcome serious physical challenges and my challenge is “my self’.  I know what I need to eat to stay fit.  If my eating slacks, so does my attitude towards myself and others.  I want to lead by example. Those closest to me have loved me at my worst and now we look back and laugh about how I would eat a whole bag of Oreos.  I’m disgusted with my old self, but we look back at it because it was something only I could do for myself.  So many times when I was overweight I would pray to God to look like my friend.  I compared myself to others and would stand in the mirror and tell myself I was ugly and that I shouldn’t even be living.  I HONESTLY, am my worst critic.  I am harder on myself than anyone could ever be.  I have had to learn to accept myself and love myself for who I am.  I realized I couldn’t even love my family until I really loved myself. 

Alison (centre) with brother, and cousin on right – 2009

My lowest point, which I rarely tell, is that one day I was driving home from my cousin’s house and I thought that if I actually hit the bridge I would die and wouldn’t have to live in my ugly body anymore.  I remember hating myself so badly I would go to sleep wishing to die.  There is nothing worse than the feeling of not even believing in yourself.  NEVER will I be there again.  I LOVE ME! 

I’ve completed 2 1/2 marathons and several 5-10K runs and walks.  I was featured on Nike Women’s “Making Yourself” spotlight, recognized by Complete Nutrition’s Success Story of 2011, featured in Oxygen Magazine August 2011 and will be in an upcoming issue about Thyroid disorders. I am a Life Guard, Water Safety Instructor, CPR & AED Instructor, Spin Instructor, and as for May 28th… PERSONAL TRAINER!  I will be getting my Zumba certificate at the end of July and deeply desire to do the Nike Women’s full marathon in California one day.

I currently take BCAA’s and glutamine after each workout and currently my workouts are two times a day, however I also have classes that I teach.  My week starts with upper body and cardio, day two lower body and cardio, day 3 cardio 2X , then rest and repeat. I’m working on my abs right now so I’m really cutting out all sugars and salts. I have not had a nice stomach since birth. I’d love to see it!

My Current Meal Plan:
Meal 1 1 1/2 cups green veg and 1 piece fruit 
Meal 2 2 cups veg

Meal 3 1 1/2 cup green veg 1 piece fruit

Meal 4 1 scoop whey protein 1 piece fruit
Meal 5 2 cups green veg
I drink unsweetened almond milk with 2 cups spinach in between if I need an extra boost of flavor or energy.

Alison (today) Fit not Skinny

I originally started my fit journey because I was afraid I would never get married, but after finding out there was so much more to being “fit not skinny” I’ve dedicated my life to it.  I never would have imagined I would have done the things I have done so far.  I gained a whole new self-respect for myself and that is why I started training others.  I want them to view their lives as valuable and worthy.  I want others to know that they matter and that they are loved.  I want to help others gain their life back. I want them to be in control of their next move and share that encouragement with one other person.  If I can change ONE person’s life, I will die a happy woman.  It’s all for HIS glory. Let’s keep motivating others and sharing our stories and hopefully we can help that one person that I once viewed as myself.

Live to inspire, and be inspired to live.

 Alison.

Twitter: @Fit_not_skinny Facebook: Alison Hager Instagram: Fit_not_skinny

My blog: http://successinvariousforms.blogspot.com/

Living Life With Purpose

I (Shaun of Socially Fit) have changed my lifestyle dramatically since February. I quit smoking, began to exercise regularly, and for the first time in my life started to watch the things that I put into my body. These three things are goals that I am pursuing/achieving daily, but I didn’t think of it that way until recently.

Striving to meet these goals on a daily basis has given me a focus. That focus has become greater and has transcended my healthy lifestyle. I have also noticed a deeper sense of urgency when it comes to my life at home and at work. Many things have changed for the better and I can see them clearly.

I go into everyday with a purpose as I set out to achieve certain things. Some are as simple as picking up milk on the way home without forgetting, while others are more challenging (like two promotions within the year). I still have minor hiccups as I move forward, but I am moving with purpose so most mistakes are minimized.

This would have never happened without the support of my family and my new found love for fitness. Living life with purpose makes everyday worth meeting head on. I can go to sleep knowing that I have a plan for tomorrow and that yesterday has put me in a position to conquer today.