Why You Need To Get Rid Of Perfection

IMG_9565Chasing perfection can be a dangerous race. I know, because I’ve been there. The problem with chasing perfection, is that you will never find it. This week, I explore what perfectionism is, why it’s a good idea to let go of it, and how to move forward.
Perfectionism happens as a result of striving for flawlessness, setting excessively high standards, and being overly critical of yourself and how others view you. If you’re a perfectionist, chances are, you’re aware of it. Heck, you’re probably proud of it! Even if you know that your perfectionism tendencies are holding you back, you consider it the price you have to pay to reach success. How are you going to pick out an outfit if your closet isn’t color coded? How could you possibly have friends over if the house doesn’t look immaculate? How are you going to get that promotion if you’re not a workaholic? How are you ever going to reach your goals if you don’t stick to a well laid out plan 100%? I promise you, it can be done. You don’t always have to “Go big or go home” to achieve success. Perfectionists tend to think in extremes; you believe that you’ve achieved success or failure and there’s no inbetween. But life isn’t an all or nothing game. This can become especially dangerous in the health and fitness world because women (and men) tend to be very competitive with each other. When a perfectionist takes their nutrition and training to extremes it can lead to a lot of unhealthy behaviors. This is why it’s so important to let go of fear and judgement and live authentically from day to day.
There are so many reasons to let go of perfectionism, and grab hold of your life. When you spend so much time trying to make everything “perfect” you actually end up procrastinating your progress. You might think to yourself “I can’t move forward with this, I’m not motivated yet.” When in reality, if you just start moving in the direction of your goals, you’ll become motivated by taking action. You’re holding yourself back when you wait for the perfect moment. Why do perfectionists procrastinate? Because they let fear control them. Fear of failure, fear of mediocrity, fear of judgement, fear of letting themselves down. When a perfectionist feels as though they’ve let themselves down, they become overwhelmed with guilt and shame. Guilt for not giving 110% to their goal. Shame for comparing their actions to their own standards. These overwhelming emotions can cause a perfectionist to take extreme measures to undo the damage they believe they’ve caused. When in reality, they are probably the only one who is even slightly aware of their streamlined rituals and routines. I know you’re probably thinking “Ok, so how does this relate to health and fitness at all?” Well if you’re a perfectionist, you might have your sights set on an unrealistic goal, and an unrealistic plan. A perfectionist will convince herself that she needs to run X amount of minutes and eat X amount of calories to achieve the flawless physique she’s always wanted. This according to a study published in BioMed Central’s open access journal, Journal of Eating Disorders. Adaptive perfectionism refers to high standards driving a person towards achieving a goal body image. Maladaptive perfectionism is concerned with mistakes and other people’s opinions. The combination of these two makes the perfectionist at high risk for developing an eating disorder or even an exercise addiction.
So how does a perfectionist maintain excellence, success and happiness? By shifting her perspective and following a few simple guidelines. If you’re a perfectionist, be kind to yourself. Acknowledge the things that you do well, notice the things others compliment you on, and realize that you are always growing and changing. Work on yourself daily. Continue to do the things that make you happy and drive you forward in a positive way. That could mean reading about personal development/productivity, making time for your passions, or spending quality time with friends and family. Celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small. Maybe you decided to go a day without putting on makeup. Congratulate yourself on being comfortable in your own skin. Maybe you decided to cut your cardio session short so you could spend extra time taking a bubble bath. Celebrate the fact that you’re not forcing yourself to play a numbers game. Take small digestible bites. Don’t try to overhaul your whole life. Instead, make small changes here and there that you feel comfortable with. Over time, those changes will compound and lead to greater success without the suffering.
Being a perfectionist can motivate you to reach your goals and feel pleasure from your accomplishments. But being a perfectionist who doesn’t reach their goals can also lead you to a big depression. Learn to celebrate your success and be happy in the moment. “Live your life, because what’s scarier than a dream being gone, is a dream that was achieved but never celebrated.” -Adrianne Haslet-Davis

Seven Ways to Handle Stress While Living Healthy

Blueset-19Sometimes we get so caught up in our day to day life that we don’t even realize the amount of stress we’re under. We increase our responsibilities, decrease our sleep, and expect our stress levels to remain the same. We tell ourselves “I can do it all” and, when we can’t, we blame ourselves for it. This is where the voice in our head starts to speak up and beat us down. “I could have gone to the gym if I didn’t have so much to do.” “I should have stayed late at work to catch up.” “I would have gone to the party if I weren’t so tired.” We have to stop letting the shoulda, woulda, coulda get the best of us. Let’s take a step back, cut ourselves some slack and figure out a plan that works. We already know that stress is the problem. It just takes a little organizing and planning to find the solution. I’ve gone through some major stressors that most of us can relate to and reviewed the effects they are having on our lives as well as solutions to help manage them.

We all (or at least most of us) have to work in order to survive. The days of the one income household are long gone. For many women, finding a work-life balance can be challenging. Unfortunately, many of us end up letting it affect our health. Work stress can affect you mentally because your mind is cluttered with tasks, responsibilities, and duties. Work can also affect you physically whether you have a sedentary or an active job. Sedentary jobs can lead to physical stress on your lower back and hips from sitting at a desk too long. Sitting for the majority of the day can also cause your total energy expenditure to drop, which can lead to weight gain. The solution is as simple as getting up and moving. During the day you can walk and talk, stand at your desk, or even sit on an exercise ball to keep yourself more active. Going to the gym either before or after work will help counteract the effects of your job on your health. A morning workout will help you mentally prepare for the day ahead and get your mind right. An evening workout can help you unwind and reflect on the stressors that occurred throughout the day before going home. Consider these two options, and your personal schedule to determine when the best time for you to exercise is. Remember, you want to remove stress from your life, not add to it. If waking up at 5:00 in the morning stresses you out, then go for an evening workout. If your schedule is too cramped after work, then make sure to get your exercise in early before your day takes off.

Money is the main source of stress for most people and the second most common excuse people use to avoid a healthy lifestyle. Stress in general can lead to poor digestion, migraines, loss of sleep, depression, and so much more. So let’s explore how you can stress less about money while on your fitness journey. Go back to the basics for a moment. Is healthy food more expensive? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Do gym memberships cost money? You bet. There are ways to make a healthy lifestyle work for every budget, you just have to be smart about it. Let me explain my personal experience. When I first started working out I didn’t have a lot of money (I still don’t haha) so I would find the cheapest healthiest options at the grocery store. Canned tuna, black beans, apples, potatoes, oats, etc. I found the cheapest gym in town and paid $10.00 a month. All my workout gear came from Wal-Mart: tops, shorts, shoes, everything. I didn’t have a smart phone so I used my old school iPod and Dollar Tree headphones during every workout. I didn’t have a lot of money but I made it work! My point here is, the health and fitness industry sells you fancy, sexy, expensive, cutting edge products to convince you that you must have them in order to achieve success. But guess what? People have been getting in shape for years without using a FitBit!

The gym is a rather interesting place if you really think about it. It brings people from all walks of life. Young, old, rich, poor, friendly, and… jerks. Ah yes, there lies the culprit. If you ask any gym goer if they’ve experienced gym jerks they will most likely say yes. You can’t escape the social situations that bring about insecurities and anxieties in the gym, but you can manage your response to them. Often times people feel like everyone in the gym is looking at them, and they are partially correct. Gym goers are typically concerned with themselves, and if they’re looking at you, they are probably making some physical comparisons. You’d be surprised to find out how many people at the gym deal with physique anxiety. Ignore the external cues, focus on what you came to do, and recognize that insecurities scream the loudest. So the muscle man walking around with his chest puffed out might feel like he’s not big enough. And the girl who flirts it up on the elliptical might feel like she’s not perfect enough. I say if you’re in there, you’re enough!

Injuries can have major effects on your health, not only physically, but mentally as well. Physically, an injury might keep you out of the gym for weeks, put limitations on your workout, and hinder your progress. As a result, your mentality can suffer. Your inner voice might start to convince you that you’re not good enough, and that you should just give up. Instead, try to train smarter. If you’ve suffered an injury in the past, heavy lifting might not be the best option so try body weight exercises instead. If your joints hurt every time you lift, consider using braces, guards, or belts for extra support. You might feel awkward at first, but these things will offer you extra support and ensure a safe workout. If an exercise hurts, try another variation. There are many progressions and regressions for every type of exercise. Be smart about your routine and find what works for you!

We already talked about nutrition stress and how it pertains to money stress. Now we are going to focus more on how food choice/availability can cause stress while trying to achieve your fitness goals. First of all, the world is not revolving around your goals. The world does not care if you’re trying to lose weight or build muscle. Once you recognize this, you’ll stop being stressed about the healthy options at the bbq, the calories in the restaurant meal, or if you’ll have time to grab a protein shake. Of course I could go on and on about the dangerous health effects of drinking soda, consuming too many calories, or eating too much fat, but you already know all of that. You can have a cheeseburger at a bbq or a glass of wine with your friends and still see results. My solution for nutritional stressors is just to think logically about your food choices. Opt for high protein foods, drink plenty of water, watch your portion sizes, and allow yourself to enjoy a treat or two. You’re not going to reach your goal by eating ONE salad, just like you’re not going to sabotage your goal by eating ONE cookie.

Friends and family bring us a lot of happiness, but unfortunately they can bring us a lot of stress as well. Especially while you’re seeking health and fitness goals. There’s a few reasons why your friends and family make it difficult to reach your goals. They might fear change. They might think that you’re being selfish and leaving them behind. They might even think your goals are weird. Be prepared for them to say things like “Have dessert, it’s not going to kill you!” or “Just skip the gym today and come to happy hour!” If you’re making a big lifestyle change then you’re going to feel some resistance from everyone else who’s not on the bandwagon with you. Instead of viewing friends and family as the problem, view them as part of the solution. Share your desires with them and let them know that it’s important to you. Chances are, if it’s important to you it’ll be important to them. Think of fun ways to get them involved with your new journey. Instead of going out for dinner, offer to make healthy meals at home together. Instead of missing out on quality time, adjust your workout schedule so that you don’t have to miss anything. You’re friends and family should be there to support you, not to discourage you, so build a team right from the beginning.

How often have you seen people get into relationships, get comfortable, and “let themselves go?” It happens a lot! More time snuggled up together, dinner dates, and less motivation to attract another partner. This can be a slippery slope for couples, especially while trying to reach your health and fitness goals. Whether you’re in an existing relationship, new relationship, or looking for a partner, seek someone whose goals align to yours. Just like you would with friends and family, find quality time activities to do with your partner. Go to the gym together, get outdoors and walk your dogs or go on bike rides, prepare healthy meals together. Your partner should be your biggest ally. Motivate each other to reach your goals together! You’ll feel a stronger sense of unity and accomplishment if you work together as a team.

There are so many stressors in our daily life that can become roadblocks to success. Instead of letting them get in the way and cause you stress, use them to your advantage. Make your problem your solution and turn your troubles into triumphs!

Why Hire A Personal Trainer? Part 2

Ever heard people say, “They live in a virtual reality.”? Well, it’s true. Our world handles the majority of our daily tasks online. Online banking, online shopping, online bill pay, the list goes on. So why not online training? I’ve racked my brain to think of all the misconceptions, doubts, and concerns you might have when it comes to hiring an online personal trainer and dismissed them below.

Won’t important conversations get lost in translation?
No, and here’s why. Just because we don’t communicate in person doesn’t mean I’m not supporting you 100%. In fact, I’ve found that communicating online actually allows my clients to explore issues deeper than they would if we were conversing face to face. A bad breakup or a lost job that sent you into an emotional spiral isn’t easy to discuss in a crowded gym. And no, you’re not going to air your dirty laundry to a “private” Facebook group, everything is completely 1:1. I pay attention to anything and everything because I care and because I realize that your personal life DOES affect your ability to exercise eat healthy.

What about accountability?
So picture this. You hire a personal trainer from a big box gym. They take you through a 30 minute workout 2 times a week. Then what? You’re left on your own for the other 5 days of the week. Can you email your trainer at 1:00 in the morning? Can you talk to them every single day? Send them progress pictures? Be honest when you slip up? Probably not. Along with thorough weekly check ins, you can message me any time.

How am I supposed to get motivation?
I let my clients know ahead of time that my programs are for the highly motivated. You have to become your own cheerleader and use your own motivation to drive you forward, knowing that I stand beside you through the entire journey. We’ll dive into your why, set long term and short term goals, and keep you moving in the right direction even when motivation starts to ween. You’ll take more ownership over the whole process and invest in yourself long term!

What if I don’t know what a particular exercise is?
All of my training programs come with complete video tutorials for every exercise in your workout. You can also research it! Google Images, YouTube videos, and BodyBuilding.com are excellent resources to teach yourself how to perform new exercises. You’ll also better understand an exercise that you have taught and practiced yourself!

What about my form?
Valid point. When your trainer is watching you, they may correct your form, but are YOU correcting your form? Or is your trainer? When you take the time to research the exercises you’re doing, you’ll truly learn what it should look like, where you should feel it, and how to adjust. You can learn a lot about your body and how it should move by doing it yourself!

Why not just do workout DVDs? That’s like a personal trainer at home right?
Yes, the person exercising in the DVD is a personal trainer. No, they are not YOUR personal trainer. Workout DVDs are cookie cutter workouts designed for the masses. Eventually you with outgrow those DVDs and experience diminishing returns. An online trainer can adjust your plan as you make progress and keep challenging you to reach new goals.

How do I know my online trainer is legit and not a scam?
Ask! These days it seems like everyone is an online personal trainer. Check their credentials. If they are certified, they will be proud to share where they got their schooling from. I earned my certification through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NSAM).

How do I know if an online trainer is right for me?
The trainer you decide to hire should specialize in whatever your goal is. If your trainer says they train anyone or anything, back away slowly. For example, I don’t train men who want to build muscle. I don’t train college athletes trying to improve their speed and agility. I don’t train children. Instead, I’ve specialized in training women who want to lose weight and/or gain strength. This allows me to dial into specific training methods to better help my warriors.

How much does it cost?
That depends on who you hire. Trainers in gyms aren’t working for themselves. They are working for the gym. The gym isn’t interested in your goals, they are interested in your money. I am the founder of my business and I have my sights set on your success. I started Little Warrior Fitness to help women break through their own boundaries, not to make money. Some trainers charge hundreds of dollars, some trainers charge pennies. You get what you pay for, so find a quality trainer that’ll meet you somewhere in the middle. My online training programs are just $150 a month!

Shouldn’t I just eat clean to lose weight?
Think about how many diets you have seen that advocate for this… Paleo, Whole30, Weight Watchers, Veganism, the list goes on. I use an individualized approach to all my clients nutrition. You won’t be stuck on some unattainable meal plan, and you won’t be starving yourself skinny. My goal for all my clients is to teach them about nutrition so they can create their own sustainable diet that they can maintain forever.

Can’t I just calculate my own macros using My Fitness Pal?
My Fitness Pal will calculate Macros for you, BUT they are not accurately measured for you. As an online personal trainer, I account for your age, sex, height, weight, activity level, and goals. That being said, two females with the same weight WILL have different macros. I use a different approach for each person I work with.

I’m all for growing, evolving, and embracing change. Online personal training is an exciting, convenient, and maintainable process that can make a big impact on your health and fitness!

Still not convinced? Have another question that I didn’t address? Let’s chat! Email me at littlewarriorfitness@gmail.com!

How Do I Train My Clients?

When you train with me we will use all forms of training as a progressive system to  progress you to reach your goals. Three reasons I cycle you through different forms of training are:

  1. Physiologic Benefits
    • Improves cardio respiratory efficiency
    • Enhances hormone and cholesterol
    • Increases metabolism
    • Increases bone density
  2. Physical Benefits
    • Decreases body fat
    • Increases muscle
    • Increases strength in muscles, tendons, and ligaments
  3. Performance Benefits
    • Strength
    • Power
    • Endurance
    • Flexibility
    • Speed
    • Agility
    • Balance

Each form has a purpose that gives you a systematic approach for reaching your goals.

Phases of Training

I use three different levels of training which are stabilization, strength, and power. Within each level there are smaller divisions of training phases.

Level 1 Stabilization Level:

The main focus of this form of training is to increase muscular endurance and stability while developing optimal neuromuscular efficiency (AKA Coordination). The difficulty is increased by challenging your balance and stabilization systems, rather than just increasing the load you’re using.

  • Goals for clients at this level are toImprove muscular endurance
    • Enhance joint stability
    • Increase flexibility
    • Enhance control of posture
    • Improve balance, stabilization, and muscle coordination
  • Training Strategies for clients at this level areTraining in an unstable, yet controllable environment
    • Low loads (weight) and high repetitions

Level 2 Strength Level:

The main focus of this form of training is to increase muscle size (hypertrophy) and lifting heavy (maximal strength). The goal is to enhance stabilization endurance while increasing prime mover strength. Within Phase 2 you will use supersets, where you will perform two sets of similar exercises back-to-back without any rest time in between them. The reason for this is because we want to work the prime movers in the first exercise to elicit prime mover strength, then immediately follow that exercise by challenging the stabilization muscles. Clients who are working in Phase 3 will focus primarily on muscle growth, such as bodybuilders. Clients who are working in Phase 4 will focus on Maximal Strength Training by lifting heavy.

  • Goals for clients at Level 2, Phase 2 areImprove stabilization and increase muscle strength
    • Enhance joint stabilization
    • Increase lean body mass
  • Training Strategies for clients at Level 2, Phase 2 areModerate weights and repetitions (8-12)
    • Supersets (one strength exercise followed by one stabilization exercise)
  • Goals for clients at Level 2, Phase 3 areAchieve optimal levels if muscular hypertrophy
  • Training Strategies for clients at Level 2, Phase 2 areHigh volume, moderate to high loads, moderate to low repetitions (6-12)
  • Goals for clients at Level 2, Phase 4 areIncrease motor unit recruitment
    • Increase frequency of motor unit recruitment
    • Improve peak force
  • Training Strategies for clients at Level 2, Phase 4 areHigh loads, low reps (1-5), and longer rest periods

Level 3 Power Level:

This level of training focuses on the development of speed and power. The goal of this level is to perform a traditional strength exercise with a heavy load and superset it with a power exercise with a lighter load as fast as possible. This trains the muscles to exert maximal amounts of force in a minimal amount of time (rate of force production).

  • Goals for clients at Level 3, Phase 5 areEnhance neuromuscular efficiency
    • Enhance prime mover strength
    • Increase rate of force production
  • Training Strategies for clients at Level 3, Phase 5 areSupersets (one strength exercise followed by one power exercise)
    • Perform all power exercises as fast as can be controlled

Let’s recap!

3 Levels: stabilization, strength, and power.

Level 1 is comprised of Phase 1: Stabilization Endurance Training.

Level 2 is comprised of Phase 2: Strength Endurance, Phase 3: Hypertrophy Training, and Phase 4: Maximum Strength Training.

Level 3 is comprised of Phase 5: Power Training.

This type of training program provides an easy to follow, systematic approach that minimizes injury and maximizes results. It ensures that you will be properly and safely progressed to reach your goals!

Is Your Routine Helping You or Hurting You? Benefits & Barriers of Exercise

Do you want to better your mood? Reduce stress? Improve sleep? Reduce depression and anxiety? Then exercise! We’ve all heard the hype about the health benefits of exercising regularly, but let’s take a closer look at what those benefits actually look like.


Promoting Positivity

No, you don’t need to channel your inner yogi for this one. Many people report feeling good after a workout. Feeling good can mean different things for different people. Feeling good can give you satisfaction, make you feel energized, give you a positive outlook, enhance your alertness, improve your focus and concentration, and even promote relaxation.

Reducing Stress

Stress can manifest itself in many ways either physically or emotionally. Either way, exercise has been shown to reduce stress and provide immediate and long term results. Ask yourself “What time of day would be the most beneficial time for me to exercise and reduce stress?” For some people, exercising in the morning might prepare them for the day ahead. Some people find exercising during their lunch break helps disperse the stress throughout the day. Others find that exercising at the end of the day decreases their stressors and leaves them feeling refreshed by the end of the day. Exercise should reduce your stress, not increase it due to scheduling. Case in point, find what works best for you!

Improve Sleep

Exercise has the ability to help people fall asleep faster, sleep deeper, and feel more refreshed in the morning. By getting better sleep you’ll experience a higher resistance to stress-related illnesses, have higher immune function, and feel energized and refreshed in the morning.

Reduce Depression and Anxiety

Worry, self-doubt, and fear, these are the feelings of anxiety. Whether you experience trait anxiety (a personality trait) or state anxiety (a temporary feeling), exercise has been shown to decrease these feelings. Hopelessness can accompany the feelings of anxiety and lead to depression. “Research has shown that regular exercise has the greatest impact on depression and is comparable in effectiveness to psychotherapy and medication for mild to moderate depression” according to the National Academy of Sport Medicine.


So now that you know how your lifestyle can help you, let’s examine how your lifestyle can hurt you. Do you have a busy schedule? Do you want shredded abs by next week? Do you sometimes have low self-confidence? Is working out inconvenient? All of these are potential barriers when starting out on your fitness journey and can be avoided.


Time is the most widely used excuse for not exercising. If you have time to watch TV, scroll through Facebook, or browse Pinterest, then you have time to exercise! Take a step back and ask yourself “How much time am I really spending on these activities?” and “Where can I cut back to make more room for working out?”

Unrealistic Goals

You can’t make up for days, weeks, or years of not exercising by jumping into an intense exercise program to “undo” the damage. You will end up starting way too fast, and create way too many unrealistic goals, leading to lower motivation and a decreased self-esteem. Hiring a personal trainer can help you create SMART goals, and set up a plan to reach your goals in a realistic and healthy way.

Social Physique Anxiety

You’d be surprised to learn how many gym goers overemphasize the difference between their body type and the body type of the people working out around them. So, if you’re feeling more out of shape than the person next to you, chances are they’re thinking the same thing. Try finding a gym partner so you have someone there to support you. If you don’t have a gym partner, try to meet people with similar body types who you’re able to relate to.


Sometimes a gym may be out of reach for people due to their physical location or their financial situation. Examine all options available and then decide what your priorities are. Would you rather exercise at home? Invest in an at home workout routine designed by a personal trainer. Would you rather spend money at the bar or put that towards your health by hiring a personal trainer? For this barrier, ask yourself “Are these barriers real, or am I making excuses?”

Block your barriers so you can bring on the befits!

What Phase of Life Are You In? The 5 Phases of Change

Change goes against what is familiar, stable, and routine. For most people, change is uncomfortable, scary, and unpredictable. This is why, unless there is a really good reason to change the behavior, most people do not change. When there is a good reason (AKA a problem) the change process can begin.

Phase 1: Precontemplation

People in this phase do not exercise, and do not intend to start. People in phase one may have negative thoughts about exercise and believe many myths about exercise. If you are in this phase ask yourself “How do I feel about exercise?” and “Why do I feel this way?”

Phase 2: Contemplation

People in this phase do not exercise, but they are considering it. Misconceptions about fitness may still be present. People in this phase of training should ask themselves “What are the pros of exercise?” and “What are the cons of exercise?”. People in this phase should also ask themselves “What motivates me to become more?”

Phase 3: Preparation

People in this phase exercise occasionally, but are planning to begin a regular exercise routine. They believe in the benefits of exercise. If you are in phase 3 ask yourself “Are my goals and expectations realistic?” and consider building a social support network to help keep you motivated on your new journey.

Phase 4: Action

People in this phase are active, and have started keeping a regular exercise routine. If you are in this phase ask yourself “Do I have a plan to overcome any barriers or disruptions?” some examples of this are a fat loss plateau or a muscle gain plateau, even time can become a barrier. Figure out what you need to do to be successful! Hiring a personal trainer can help redesign your exercise program in this phase.

Phase 5: Maintenance

People in this phase are active and have been active for quite some time. Some may be tempted to return to old habits. If you are in this phase ask yourself “Do I have a check-in plan to monitor my progress?” and “Am I changing up my workout plan?”. If you are struggling in this phase, consider hiring a personal trainer to strengthen your motivation, provide social support, and design a program to fit your personal preferences.

So figure out your starting point and get ready to get after it!