Finding Balance….

I’ll start this off by letting you know this is a work in progress for me.  In 20’s I worked close to 70 hours a week and partied like it was 1999… a lot.  I tend to pack as much as I can into a day.   Is that bad? I’m not sure… I do know if it’s all work and no play Kristy is a tired lady!

But what is a balance life?  Who decides what is the right mix of “things”.   My answer to that is ultimately you will decide and find your own balance.  So here are some of the things I found have helped me START to life a more balanced life.  (I say that as I would for about 10 hours today).

Work:

My name is Kristy and I am a workaholic. (Hi Kristy…) They say the first step is admitting it…. 1 down 11 to go.  Even since my first job at 15 , where I was paid under the table I have always worked the max amount of hours I could.  When I was old enough, I worked 2 jobs. After college I worked from 6:00am- 9:00pm most days.  I also picked up a bartending job so my weekends were until 3:00am. (back at it for 8:00am).  Yes, driven and stupid at the same time.  Why do I work so much? One of my fears is not being able to pay my bills.  I could have $100k in the bank and I would still get anxiety when it come to paying bills.  Why? Because I am crazy…. well less crazy now.  I always worried about the “what if”s of life.

How am I finding balance with work?I learned to say “NO”.  I would work crazy hours just to fit work in: up earlier, work late, work everyday…. It’s not healthy!  I was missing out on my life.  I joke with clients and say Life gets in the way of living… but it doesn’t have to. I learned to set a schedule and still to it.  Also, that my time is valuable!  I don’t just take on every person that wants to work with a personal trainer, the client has be deciatied to their goal! That doesn’t mean they are 100% at achieving their goal… but also long as they are working towards it, I have time for them.

Lastly, I have found that my clients are happier knowing their trainer/coach takes a day off.  Yes, I still work long days, but I shut down work Tuesday night after 7:00pm until Thursday at 6:00am. (baby steps) ha

Family:

One of my favorite things is Sunday with my family.   Sometimes we do nothing at all! Sometimes the whole family comes over and we sit around the kitchen just talking. If we are really lucky my Aunt Tina makes dinner! AMAZING! ha

After living in the mid west for several years and missing out on birthday parties, Thanksgivings, and Christmas, I learned you can’t get that time back…. Life is about the experiences with the people you care about... Cheesy I know… but true.  I missed my little brother growing up…. I can’t go back to see him play t-ball but I can make time when he has a lacrosse game now. No, I wont make it to all the games, but if I can get to some… that is balance to me.

Friends:

I have lived in a few different areas, I have friends all over the place.  We all have lives… some are married, some have kids, some are living the single life…. no matter what they are doing or what I am doing.  I make it a point to check in with them.  It’s not a daily thing, but when I have a moment I make sure I send them some love.

One of my favorite quotes is “Friends are like stars.  You may not always see them, but they are always there.”  I think TV makes us think we need to live next door and climb through your Bff’s window, or you have to meet every night for cocktails.  I disagree.  I think if you check in and set friend-date nights when you can it’s shows you care.

Me time:

My me time is my workouts, trips to target, walking my dog, and reading a good book before bed.   My “me-time” is doing something that make me a better person.  If that is taking a nap one day then that’s what I do… if it’s listening to a podcast while I drive to my next job, I do that. The goal of me time is to do whatever if is to make me feel good.  If I don’t feel good I’m not a good trainer, coach, wife, daughter, or friend.

People ask me a lot how to I balance my training for fitness competitions with living a “real life”

My answer to that… I remember why I started training for shows in the first place.  It’s a goal.  If I want to achieve it I need to stay on plan. It’s that simple.  I can still enjoy going to a friends wedding, going out with the girls for dinner, watch my husband eat pizza while I eat chicken, work 10 hours a day and still get my workout in… It’s about being strong to sticking to what your first set out to do.

How do I do this-

I meal prep and eat what I prep.

I plan and eat my cheat meals when I have an event, or for date night.

I go to bed earlier, and get up earlier.

I drink a lot of water.

I don’t eat dunkin donuts (like I would love to) because I remember that even though a chocolate glaze munchkin is very tasty… my goal is more important and more fulfilling.

donut

It’s a hobby that now I can get paid… if I win… But its not the end all be all… what is? Not missing out on life… but again, life isn’t eating and drinking, it’s spending time and with those you care about most.

In closing, Chris Bailey the Author of the Productivity Project says, “The less time you give yourself to complete a task, the better you will do it.”  What does that mean? Like I said at the start of this… I am a work in progress.  I still try to fit a lot into a day, but when I sent goals/ time limits for all areas of my limit I find it’s time well spent.

I make sure my clients feel appreciated.

I leave the phone at home on date night.

I check in with friends just to let them know that ever thought we doesn’t see each other I’m still thinking of them.

I check in with myself… honestly and openly.

I eat real food… whether it’s out of tupperwave or on a plate.

This is my balance.

Abs.

Need I say more? Everyone like a good set of abs! So why not give them there own post! 🙂

 

Anatomy:

Rectus abdominis 

External Oblique

Internal Oblique

Transverse abdominis

 

What do they do… besides look great in a bathing suit?

They support the “trunk”. 

Their job- flexion (think sit up in bed) and rotate the spine (turning and reaching into the back seat for your rice cakes)

Also, helps in breathing and all bathroom habits. 

 

If you have ever done a workout with me you know I stress posture a lot! Because of this I add at least 3 different abdominal/ “core”/ “powerhouse” exercises into my clients and my own workouts.

IT IS IMPORTANT TO MAKE SURE YOU STRENGTHEN YOUR BACK JUST AS MUCH AS YOU DO YOUR ABS.   Like any other muscle group it is important to keep the right length- tension ratio.  What does that mean?  In short… you want to make sure all your muscles are pulling/ supporting your bones and joints at the right tension to prevent injuries. (think the support cables of a bridge).

 

HERE ARE 3 OF MY FAVORITE ABDOMINAL EXERCISE

My #1 exercise is what I call the Mini reverse crunch…. why mini…. because once you get the muscles working the right way you can make the movement bigger…. YOU’RE LOW BACK SHOULD NOT HURT WHEN YOU DO ABS. AND YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE TO PUT YOUR HANDS UNDER YOUR BUTT.  You’re back tends to hurt because you aren’t using your Transverse Abdominis.  The Transverse is the deepest muscle in your abdominal.  Most people have trouble activating this muscle (I call it the Bermuda triangle of the abs). Here’s how-

Step 1- Lay down and let your body just melt into the mat.  Make a mental note of what part of your body is touching the mat. 

example- my tailbone, ribs/ shoulders, and head.  I have a high arch in my back…. if your back touches that’s ok… but if it doesn’t, don’t force it down by moving your pelvic and lifting your tailbone off the group.

Step 2- Pull your belly button to your spine… don’t hold your breathe. I like to put my hand there to help my brain focus.

Step 3- This step will vary for different people.  But in the video I start in the advance position with both legs up. You may start will both legs down… and lift 1 up at a time…. like you’re marching.  Be careful not to pop or rock in your hips.

Step 4- You see I am only moving about 1-2″.  IF YOU ARE HOLDING YOUR TRANSVERSE TIGHT YOU WILL NOT NEED TO MOVE MORE THAN THAT.   If you aren’t it will be very easy (for your abs…. tough on your hip flexors) to straighten your legs completely.

Try to do 2-3 sets of 15 reps to start.

 

 

Single Leg (you can alternate if you want) Straight Leg Oblique

In this exercise you are working your Obliques, transverse (if you are holding your belly tight), and your Rectus abdominis. (flexion, supporting, and slight rotation)

Tip 1- This is the advance level.  If this is to hard you can do a half bike, (bend you knee.  It takes the pressure off the hip flexor).

Tip 2- DON’T PUSH YOUR STOMACH OUT.  THINK DRAW  THE BELLY IN WHEN YOUR MOVE.

Tip 3- You can support your neck with your free hand.

 

Pilates Roll Up- This is one of my favorite movements. No matter how strong you are it’s a tough to do… and do right.  Sure,  you can make this easy by throwing your arms and kicking your legs to help you sit up… and you could just let gravity pull you back down to the ground after… But when you focus on controlling the movement and rolling the spine (in Pilates they call it articulation) It’s a killer workout both rolling up and down.

Step 1- Lie on your back with our legs out straight.  Reach your arms straight up to the ceiling… always keep your hands inline with your shoulders.

Step 2-  Pilates is all about breathing, so you will INHALE  and lift your chin to your chest bringing your head through your arms.

Step 3- EXHALE add “Scoop/ Roll up” I tell my clients image you are making a C with your body and you have to pull your belly button to your spine to get the top of the C (your head and shoulders) up…

As you sit up image your lowest rib growing away from your hips (DON’T LIFT YOUR SHOULDERS… INSTEAD THINK YOU HAVE A BIG BELT ON).

Step 4- The roll down is moving the opposite… so first you will let your tailbone, then low back, mid back, upper back, and lastly your head down to the ground.  WORK ON DOING THIS SLOW AND CONTROLLED.  Always remember to keep your transverse tight.

 

 

Lastly… we all know you can do 1000 of each of these, but if you aren’t eating right, and doing the right amount of cardio… you’re abs will forever be hidden.  Just a quick tip on this… watch what you drink.  The sugar in your drinks- coffee, soda, energy drinks, flavored almond milk, beer, and yes even delicious wine will add extra calories… which can all lead to extra inches to your waistline. 

 

If you would like more help with workouts or healthy eating tips email me at kristyleconte@gmail.com .

Until next time! Keep Moving Forward.

 

Interview with Heather Mowry

This week I thought I would change it up a little.  This week I thought I’d have you hear from someone else.  A bikini competitor that I think has a great story.  Yes, I’m a little biased because she is one of the people closet to me…  but if you need a little motivation her show will help.

 

When I think of Heather Mowry the first thing that comes to mind is drive.  I’d call her the BIKINI ROCKY BALBOA.

Heather has been competing for about a year and a half.   She has competed in 8 shows.  She has won a show (BEATING ME!) 🙂 , won her class, not placed, and placed in the top five.  She has been in the running for her PRO CARD (her goal) twice… losing both times by 1 point!  I don’t know if you have every been so close to a goal but so far… it sucks.  But Heather always keeps her head high and sets a goal for the next time.  Sure, she gets upset! Who wouldn’t! As a fitness competitor you would love to win… you work so hard to be the best you.  It’s nice when the judges think you are the best of the best too.  But when it doesn’t happen that is when your character shows.  Knowing her like I do… I know there are moments she isn’t 100%. (No one is).  But she shakes it off and focuses on the next show.  

 

I personal think she is one of the most, if not the most decided person to a goal that I know.  It’s always easy to keep going when you win… but it takes an extra something deep inside to push forward when you don’t!   She keeps a good balance of being humble but aggressive! She doesn’t let anyone tell her she can’t… trust me she’s been told she “couldn’t” or “shouldn’t” One of the typical things she hears… “You should just do figure”.   Maybe in the future she will try her hand at figure, but she sent a goal over 2 years ago to compete and win her PRO CARD in bikini and she is driving forward towards that.  

 

I worked out with Heather the other day and asked her a few questions to give you all a little more insight about her.

 

What motivated you to start doing shows?

I was going to the gym daily and not seeing the results I wanted. So I decided to train for something. To see what I could turn my body into… To see how dedicated I could be to a goal. And I fell in love with the process.

Heather and I in the Pine Tree State 2013 (our 1st show)
Heather and I in the Pine Tree State 2013 (our 1st show)

Favorite exercise?

I would have to say my favorite exercise is squats… Heavy squats!
What is your favorite thing to eat on prep? I would say my favorite thing to eat while on prep are my protein pancakes! Who doesn’t love pancakes!!!

Heather at the Cape Code Classic 2013 (1st place in her class)
Heather at the Cape Code Classic 2013 (1st place in her class)

What is one piece of advice you would give other fitness athletes?
Once you see the results you will fall in love with the process. And once you step on stage and feel that rush you will be hooked! But it’s stressful at times with diet and training. And def isn’t easy on the wallet.

Heather @ the Yankee. (placing 1st in her class)
Heather @ the Yankee. (placing 1st in her class)

We all know you have been fighting for your PRO card for while… What keeps you going?

Knowing I do have people rooting for me and want to see me succeed. And also, I just love this sport. I love the workouts, I like eating healthy (but do miss my ice cream) and the people I have met are amazing!

heather with pics

Fast forward, you won your pro card… Now what?

Omg I honestly don’t know! I would love to get on a pro stage and see how I can compete there. Keep moving forward and never give up…

just heather

 

Best of luck to you Heather in your next 3 shows (maybe 4)… I look forward to standing on stage together as IFPA PRO.  🙂