Foolproof Your Workout…

Here are the four top mistakes I witness (and help correct) as women embark on a new exercise regimen. Take a glance and avoid them yourself.


1. The Extreme Dream: Some of us are attracted to the extreme. And, some of us bring that to our workouts. Embarking on an extreme workout regime at the start of your program only works in the movies. I love GI Jane as much as the next gal. To embark on a marathon, boot camp or high intensity program with out proper progression is asking for an over-stressed system and injury. The body does not respond well to drastic changes in movement, load and impact. It is a malleable, miraculous wonder but it also belongs to a very powerful union that will go on strike when pushed to far. If extreme workouts are your ultimate goal, let go until you have created a foundation of consistent, habitual, and moderately intense exercise.

2. Data Dodger: Some of us don’t like to look at the black and white of things. We feel strongly that we have a sense of our behavior and reject the suggestion to log, tally or track. Cue mistake number two. I completely empathize with the tedium of logging our behavior and have made this mistake myself. But look at it this way, if after monitoring yourself you learn you have a correct sense of your food, exercise, stress, etc., you will have the joy of confirming your self awareness. If your sense is inaccurate, you just saved yourself months of wondering why success is eluding you. Food logs, activity trackers, heart rate monitors and pen and paper tallies are essential tools to understanding where you are so that you know exactly what needs to change.

3. She Stops Short: Having goals is great. Writing them down is awesome. Stopping there is mistake number three. Goals are a start, tasks take you to the finish line. For example, “I would like to feel as healthy and fit as I did before having children” is a wonderful goal, but you must articulate the tasks that will get you there. Big picture goals don’t do much for our daily choices and that is where the real power lies. Tasks need to be specific and measurable. Here are a few strong examples:

  • walk on the treadmill at the gym every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday after personal training for 20 minutes in a heart rate range of 22 to 28 beats per ten second count
  • find one, new, non-food related stress reliever every week for the next two months
  • schedule and enjoy one hour per weekend to do something for myself
  • complete three sets of ten pushups, squats, rows and RDLs twice per week

4. Goals Glutton: Taking on too many changes at once is a quick way to derail your program (and become very frustrated very quickly.) Do me a favor, fold your hands like this:   FoldedhandsBlakelyFITNow, fold them with the fingers laced the other way. Change is hard. Too many changes at once is futile. I have no interest in holding you back, quite the contrary. You can succeed at every single one of your goals, however long the list, just not all at once. Prioritize goals and habits by meaning and importance, then chip away at them one at a time.

Good luck! You can do this! Email to gain even more of my help:

Strength Training Exclusively for Women, Chicago, IL

Just Don’t Do It…

“Don’t do what?” you say? Quit.

End of rope

From October to January, things tend to get nuts. That’s actually why this whole Friday Quickie thing got started. The increased obligations and end-of-the-year rush are, at times, overwhelming. The indulging is everywhere, and everything seems to be vying for our time. Some of the holiday hoopla is fun. Some of it is not. If you’re feeling the pressure, I have a message for you: “Hold on!” Resist the urge to throw in the towel because life is throwing too much at you. Don’t let go of those little habits that help keep you healthy the rest of the year.

Keep your workouts (however short), your healthy breakfast (however imperfect), your positive thinking (however trying), your deep breathing (if just ten breaths), your time for movement and your health—all to the best of your ability. Don’t let go of it all because of a few setbacks. I assure you, it is far easier to hold onto the end of your rope than it is to let go of the rope now and later struggle to get a hold of it again. I understand the temptation to “start fresh in January.” But that’s 25 days away. You can do a lot of damage in 25 days. So don’t give up.

I invite you to value your small choices. For example, it’s been a year since I kicked my daily pop habit. (Yay for me.) Recently, feeling a little blue, I was about to indulge in a significant amount of bubbly sweetness with my lunch. “Why not? I deserved it.” “I’m not trying to lose weight.” “I haven’t had pop since the movies” … blah, blah, blah. And then I remembered, my teeth will not be happy about this decision and I will probably feel a pretty mean sugar crash just about the time of day my kids are their most trying. So I tipped my decision the other way and tried to go without the pop. I paused and moved to my homemade seltzer instead. Did I feel deprived? A little. Unsatisfied? Not really. In fact, halfway through my lunch I had forgotten. It was one small decision BUT IT MATTERS. Because, after ten years of Blakely Fit, I’ve noticed a trend: Little habits make a big difference.

So maybe you derailed at Thanksgiving? Maybe you wish you didn’t eat that pastry your vendor left in the conference room? Maybe you haven’t finished your workout as planned? So what—just don’t quit! Taking a ten-minute walk, passing over an extra piece of candy or getting an extra hour of sleep will serve you exceedingly well in this holiday frenzy. Don’t let little setbacks derail you; you’re too smart to throw in the towel. Hold on to what is important: your health, your livelihood and your loved ones. All your small decisions in the end WILL make a difference in your continued success. Just DON’T quit!