Five Steps of Problem Solving

There’s no doubt that you will encounter problems on your fitness journey. However, problems are just opportunities to learn and grow. Remember that continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection.

Instead of spinning your wheels on the same problem for months (or even years), break through it using these steps.

You’ll find there are three possible outcomes. One, the problem isn’t a real problem, but more of an inconvenience. Two, the solution is simple. Or three, the problem is a truth that you will need to accept.

Five Steps of Problem Solving

  1. Recognize the problem
  2. Define the problem
  3. Come up with alternatives
  4. Pick the best solution
  5. Test and verify that solution

*If you get through all five steps and the problem still isn’t solved, then it’s time to repeat steps 4 and 5 and keep working towards a solution.

Let’s dive into an example of a nutrition based problem and possible solutions:

Problem: You stick to your diet all day but you overeat every single night.

Step 1. Diet starts on Monday, and by day 3 you recognize that nightly overeating keeps occurring.

Step 2. You define the problem by either journaling about it or telling someone about it.

Step 3. You come up with alternatives such as having a cup of hot tea instead of food, fasting during the morning so you can eat later in the day, or increasing your overall calories as this may be a sign that you’re actually not eating enough.

Step 4-5 (Possible Solution One): You test the tea solution. And you think “f*ck this, I’m still hungry and this tea ain’t gonna cut it.”

Step 4-5 (Possible Solution Two): You fast in the morning but end up inhaling your food, leaving you overly full… remember the goal is to feel good, not just hit your macros.

Step 4-5 (Possible Solution Three): After a week or so of trying these solutions, you finally increase your overall calories to have more balanced meals that keep you full and satisfied throughout the day, preventing the daily binge at night.

I’m serious when I say take pen to paper and go through these steps. Yes, I know it may seem daunting, but you know what’s even worse? Ruminating on the same problem over the course of months with no actual solution.

If this trial and error doesn’t do the trick, reach out to a coach. I’m happy to answer questions and brainstorm solutions without being hired full time. Sometimes it just takes a few tweaks to find your winning solution!

To apply for fitness and nutrition coaching you can fill out the questionnaire here.

Six Skills for Self Regulation

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In the fitness community we often hear phrases like “discipline beats motivation” and it’s like “Cool… so what does that actually mean?”

Do I drag myself to the gym when I’m dead ass tired? Do I jump into a hardcore bodybuilding diet?

Probably not.

Going harder is not always better. Instead, start using some of these skills for self regulation aka self discipline.

Six Skills for Self Regulation

  1. Set some goals. (see previous post)
  2. Track your behaviors.
    • Pick one to start, like steps, macronutrients, or exercise.
  3. Get feedback on your progress.
    • If you have a coach or a trainer, this should be happening weekly or biweekly.
  4. Create a reward system for yourself.
    • This could be concrete or intangible! Make it meaningful to YOU.
  5. Use motivational self talk.
    • For example, pepping yourself up before or during your workout. Or celebrating little wins along the way.
  6. Confide in social support to boost your confidence.
    • When you have family, friends, or coworkers who are rooting for you, you’ll feel certain that you’re making positive changes in your life!

Put discipline into realistic action steps you can actually use.

Because at the end of the day, self discipline IS self love.

If you’d like help creating better habits and routines to reach your fitness goals, send me a message at littlewarriorfitness@gmail.com.

Challenges, Obstacles, and How to Fix Them

Last week we reviewed why goals work and how to create them, but it’s still easy to fall for these three mistakes. Review your goals and use the strategies below to fix them as needed!

GOAL SETTING CHALLENGES & HOW TO FIX THEM

  1. Failure to set specific goals.
    • Set specific numerical goals that can be assessed.
  2. Setting too many goals too soon.
    • Too many goals are overwhelming and untrackable. Instead set 1-2 short term goals at a time.
  3. Failing to adjust your plan.
    • Adjusting is part of the process. Lowering the goal is just like taking a knee, you’ll be back in the game in no time!

In a perfect world, you’d set ideal goals and pursue them without any interference, but that isn’t likely to happen! So how do you overcome obstacles? You take note of potential challenges and plan specific strategies.

OVERCOMING OBSTACLES

  1. List benefits of regular exercise. This makes drawbacks seem less important.
    • *Drawbacks are usually hassles, not real issues.
  2. Refuse drawbacks by replacing them with alternatives.
  3. Make a T Chart with three biggest obstacles and three practical alternatives.

It might seem like a lot at first, but goals point you in the direction of your dreams! So dream big, work hard, and make it happen!

If you’d like help setting your own goals, shoot me an email at littlewarriorfitness@gmail.com and we’ll set you up for success!

Your Guide to Goal Setting

You can snap a screenshot of your favorite fitness influencer and use their physique as #goals, but how effective is that going to be in the long run?

Imagine you’re building a house (in this case your body), would you pick a plot of land, randomly start building, and see where you end up? Of course not. You’d create a detailed plan- in this case, detailed goals. So let’s begin with four reasons why goals work in the first place.

GOALS:

  1. Direct your attention and actions
  2. Increase your effort
  3. Improve persistence over time
  4. Help develop new learning strategies

Think about how these apply to your fitness goals. When you have a specific training plan, you’re attention is focused on that, not what cardio machine to camp out on. Your effort increases weekly in order to beat your previous stats, which improves your persistence over time. Not only that, specific goals will help you learn new strategies as you adapt your plan to fit your lifestyle.

Now that we know why goals work, it’s important to know how to create goals specific to you! Use these six goal setting principles to create 1-2 goals of your own.

GOAL SETTING PRINCIPLES:

  1. Set specific measurable goals
  2. Set realistic but challenging goals
  3. Set both short and long term goals
  4. Focus on performance and process
  5. Get goal feedback and evaluation
  6. Set timelines to achieve goals

I think these principles are self explanatory, but I want to touch on are #4-5 for a minute. #4, Focusing on performance and the process will help you complete the daily actions that lead to your outcome! Sometimes the outcome seems so far away that we give up. Focus on the process and the outcome will take care of itself! And #5 getting goal feedback. It’s important to share your goals with someone like a trainer, coach or friend who can give you honest feedback. My clients and I do this weekly and it helps us determine what’s working, what’s not, and where to go next!

So now you know why goals work and how to create them. Take some time this week to get crystal clear about what you want so you can start going after it!

And stay tuned next week, we’re gonna dive into navigating potential challenges and overcoming obstacles, because let’s face it, like happens and sometimes we gotta adjust our goals!

If you’d like help setting your own goals, shoot me an email at littlewarriorfitness@gmail.com and we’ll set you up for success!

Are You Asking Appropriate Questions?

When you’re starting a fitness journey it’s easy to ask yourself questions like “How do I get a flatter stomach?” or “What’s the best exercise to burn fat?” Simplistic questions often come with more complex answers though!

Instead, ask yourself powerful questions and get to the heart of your values and desires. These questions will help you determine where you are currently at and help you decide what‘s important to you going forward.

THE QUESTIONS

What is stopping you?

How does this relate to your purpose?

What resources are available to you?

If you could start fresh, what would you do?

Where are you too hard on yourself?

If you could do anything you wanted, what would you do?

After answering this series of questions, look for opportunities to uncover underlying issues, not just factual answers.

Be precise, use these questions as stepping stones and adapt them to your current journey!

If you’d like help answering powerful questions or making a plan based on your answers then send me an email at littlewarriorfitness@gmail.com I can’t wait to talk with you! Or sign up for online coaching where we will take a deeper dive into strategies like this!

Creating A Clear Focus

This post started out on Instagram, but I received a lot of questions on creating a clear focus, so I figured I would go a little more in depth over here!

The point of setting a goal, is to direct your attention and change your behavior in order to reach it. Let’s say your goal is to gain muscle. You know that in order to do that you will need to lift weights, eat in a caloric surplus, and limit cardio. But every time you hop on Instagram you see your friends perfecting their diets, attending fun group exercise classes, and doing cardio based workouts. You may be tempted to change your behaviors based on social cues, which will ultimately lead you away from your goal. But at the end of the day, creating (and committing to) a clear focus will point you in the right direction and keep you on the path towards what you want most.

Here’s my top four tips on creating clear, focused, goals.

Tip #1 Set long term goals, think big!

Easy “do your best” type goals are not always motivating. Challenge yourself! When coaching my clients, we review their long term goal once a week! The bigger the goal, the more important it is to be reminded of it often.

Tip #2 Climb the ladder one step at a time.

Set some small goals that will help you along the way to your long term goal. Once a week, we also review smaller goals that we’re working towards. These can be behaviors to change or milestones to reach. Short term goals are usually held in the context of weeks or months.

Tip #3 Build your goals on existing strengths.

Instead of saying “I’m gonna stop skipping workouts.” Say “I’m going to maximize my time in the gym to have the most effective workouts!” What are you already doing well? How can you improve upon that?

Tip #4 Don’t deny the difficulties.

Develop strategies for coping with challenges, because they WILL come. Anticipate barriers such as childcare, work schedule, and other commitments that might interfere with your fitness goals. Then, brainstorm possible solutions to each problem so that you’re prepared when they arise!

A clear focus will improve your effort and performance. When you walk into the gym with a focused training plan specific to your goals, there’s no question on where to begin. All you’ll need to do is focus on performing your best! Direction is more important than speed, so be crystal clear on where you’re going.

Most importantly, creating a clear focus gives you ownership of your goal. You’re in the driver seat, stay accountable, and let’s go!

If you’d like help defining your goals and creating a clear focus, send me an email at littlewarriorfitness@gmail.com I’m happy to help!

How to Recover Like a Boss

You’ve got a solid training plan, and you’re motivated as ever, but what happens when you’re three days into your program and you’re feeling destroyed? Quitting isn’t an option, therefore you’ll need to learn how to recover in order to perform at your best. I’ve outlined my top tips when it comes to post workout recovery so that you can keep your body in prime condition.

Active Stretch: My first few tips begin before you even workout. I start all my training sessions with active stretching to warm up the muscles and prepare them for exercise. Doing so helps bring blood to the muscles and increase range of motion, reducing risk of injury.

Foam Roll: There’s a lot of fancy products on the market today, but this is an affordable staple worth purchasing. If you’ve never foam rolled, it’s basically manual therapy to help reduce soreness,  and increase mobility and range of motion. I include foam rolling in my warm up routine, but it can be done after training as well.

BCAAs: Branch Chain Amino Acids usually come in a flavored powder and can be consumed during your workout. If you’re training fasted, this is a necessity during workouts to prevent muscle loss and promote recovery! When selecting a brand, make sure the product includes the three main branch chain amino acids; leucine, isoleucine, and valine. My favorite is “Intra Flight” by Bare Performance Nutrition.

Static Stretch: This type of stretching should be reserved for post workout. It’s a great way to improve flexibility and cool down. The reason I suggest performing these stretches post workout is because your muscles are already warmed up and “loose” if you will.

Protein Powder: If you’re consuming enough whole food sources of protein, then protein powder isn’t essential, but it is a rather tasty, and convenient way to meet your protein requirements! The best time to consume powders is post workout because it will kick start muscle protein synthesis. Consider digestibility, taste preference, and budget when choosing the right one for you. My favorite is Peanut Butter Cookie vegan protein powder by Bare Performance Nutrition!

Sleep: The easiest, yet hardest part of the recovery process. Life is busy and we often don’t prioritize sleep, but it is when we rest that our body recovers! I know it’s hard, but aim to get 6-8 hours of sleep each night.

Water: When your body is properly hydrated, your metabolic function improves. This is because nutrients are distributed throughout the body, which allows them to be absorbed and used for energy (and recovery). There’s many recommendations for the amount of water you should consume. Check out my post on hydration to see a few. At the end of the day, I always believe the best recommendation is the one that you will stick to! So set a goal and stick to it!

Rest: There seems to be this idea that we should have #nodaysoff and while I love the hustle mentality, that’s just not the best way to make progress! Make sure to schedule in 1-2 rest days a week and give your body a break!

Stay Active: I know you’re thinking “Wait didn’t you just tell me to rest?” and you’re correct, but that doesn’t mean turning into a couch potato all day. I recommend getting movement and blood flow in on your rest days. Go outside for a walk, get some chores done around the house, or play outside with your family. A body in motion, will stay in motion!

There’s a lot of fancy products and services geared towards recovery but before investing in cryotherapy or deep tissue massages, try nailing these recovery tips first! It’ll save your muscles and your wallet!

Ready to start your plan and make real sustainable progress towards your goals?

Contact me to snag your spot.

Coaching: Apply here!

Instagram: @littlewarriorfitness

Email: Littlewarriorfitness@gmail.com

Mental Fatigue and the Power of Routine

For most of us, the daily routine has been harder to implement over the last few months. Do you find yourself desiring structure and routine, yet wishing for more freedom and flexibility? There is power in both and you can use each to your advantage. I want to outline the benefits of routine and explain how it can alleviate mental fatigue when it comes to your health and fitness goals.

You might’ve noticed your willpower is higher in the morning than when you’re exhausted in the evening. For example, you might find it easier to get your workout done in the morning, compared to the evening after a long day at work. Oftentimes, this is because of “mental fatigue”… I think of mental fatigue as being mentally exhausted from spending too much energy on life’s daily decisions. You probably don’t even realize you’re doing this because you’ve become so accustomed to it.

When trying to create a healthy lifestyle, the amount of questions you ask yourself per day drastically increases. Questions such as:
“Is it better to eat 3 meals a day or 5?”
“Is it better to go to the gym in the morning or at night?”
“How much water should I be drinking?”
“How often do I need to weigh myself?”
You get the idea.

All of this second-guessing can become exhausting when you’re not sure of the correct answer. Not to mention the amount of willpower you’re already using to make new lifestyle changes.

That’s where the power of routine comes in. Dedicating specific days to prepare healthy meals will alleviate that lunchtime panic of grabbing anything on the go. Scheduling your workouts will hold you accountable because it’s already built into your day. Routine helps keep you on the path to reach your goals without the mental exhaustion of a million different thoughts. Plus, it’ll save you time in the long run because you’ll be less indecisive and more deliberate in your efforts. Take a look at yourself, your schedule, and your habits and determine what works best for you!

Start identifying your barriers and create some non-negotiables that can become part of your daily routine. I want to stress the importance of implementing realistic non-negotiables in your daily routine. It’s not realistic to say “Starting now, I’m never going to eat dessert again!” or “Starting Monday, I’m never going to miss a workout!” Start with what you’re capable of and grow from there… Think more along the lines of “I’m going to let myself have a few crackers instead of the whole bag.” or “I’m going to drink more water and less calorie-filled drinks.”

At the end of the day, the power of routine offers a lot of benefits. You’ll see an increase in your own mental toughness because you’ll no longer give yourself the option to skip out on the things that move you towards your goals. Your behaviors will become so automatic that you won’t even question if you “should” or “shouldn’t.” And when you spend less energy on everyday small decisions, you’ll be able to focus all your energy on more meaningful and important outcomes in the long run!

Perfect, Practical, and Everything in Between

Somewhere along our fitness journey most of us learn that achieving a healthy lifestyle depends on our everyday actions, not just one quick fix.

However, oftentimes people think they need to nail EVERY aspect of their fitness transformation perfectly in order to see results… “Hit my protein goal, eat 5 meals a day, train 4 times a week, follow everything perfectly!” etc.

Our fitness journeys usually start with inspiration, which leads to motivation.

Motivation becomes more specific and when motivation starts to diminish, you learn to practice willpower and discipline.

If approached in a step by step manner, then over time, you will become so automated that each aspect (meals, workouts, etc.) will become habit and routine. It takes time, but it does get easier.

Have you ever noticed how some couples tackle a weight loss goal together? One overhauls their entire lifestyle, only to feel burnt out with little to no results. While the other changes something simple like cutting out soda, and continues to lose the weight over time. That’s because practicality leads to sustainability. When you merge health and fitness with your life using simple steps, it will lead to greater success.

As a coach, I create programs that look perfect on paper, but I know full and well that life comes first and that we have to merge the two the best we can! If your plan isn’t working in real life, then it’s not reasonable. I would rather someone nail the imperfect than create something perfect that they can’t stick to!

Of course, you have goals but take away the need to be perfect and focus on being practical because at the end of the day adherence is key. You can have the best diet and training plan, but if you don’t follow it, it will do nothing for you. No quick fixes here. We’re in this for the long haul!

Check out Shrewd’s entire blog here!

Habits, Routines, and Consistency

When someone first comes to me with a desire to improve their health and fitness, I try to dig a little deeper past their physical goals. Sure, we all want to look our best, but we all want to feel our best too! Today I’m going to share with you my top 3 tips to develop habits that become routines so that you are not relying exclusively on willpower.

I believe the 3 most important pillars when creating your new lifestyle are mindset, nutrition, and fitness. Let’s dive into how to set yourself up for the process by starting a journal, getting fresh groceries, and reviewing your workouts.

Tip #1: Your Journal

Pick a specific time to journal and hold yourself to it. Journaling first thing in the morning can help you visualize your goals, whereas journaling last thing before bed can be a great time to reflect upon your day. Decide what will be the most effective for your daily schedule!

There are a lot of great journal templates out there, but I recommend getting something completely blank and creating your own flow within those pages. If you create your OWN system that fits your purpose and needs, then you will be much more likely to stick with the process and develop consistent habits.

Tip #2: Fresh Groceries

There are many effective research based diets in today’s world, but the diet that will be the most successful for you, is the diet that you will stick to. Whether you are following keto or you are including all foods in moderation, you’ll  notice that you think clearer, move better, and sleep deeper when following a whole foods approach. Meaning you aim to eat 80% of your food from whole food sources and leave 20% for treats, like Shrewd Food!

Find some time to build a meal plan that includes a good mix of whole foods and fun treats. Then you can follow that plan for just a few days or even one week. It’s a great way to start establishing consistency!

Tip #3: Your Workouts

For your workouts, I recommend picking a specific time and specific days just like you would with your journal. Think realistically about this one. We often get so excited to start chasing new goals that we want to do all of the things, all of the time. Try starting off slow. If you can fit 3 days of exercise into your schedule that’s great. You can always add more days later rather than overwhelming yourself with 6 days of workouts only to feel defeated and quit all together. 

So think about how these 3 tips fit into your life. Create a set schedule and a very clear plan of action for just one day. What vital tasks will help move you towards your goal? Prepared meals? Scheduled workouts? Alone time for personal development? If you can execute one single day, then you can repeat that day over and over and before you know it, you will have finished up one whole week, which turns into months and years of a healthy lifestyle!

I’m linking Shrewd’s blog here in case you want to check it out!