Achieve Physical Confidence

Everyone pretty much knows that exercise does a body good, and as mortal humans, we need to exercise. There are 100s of reasons to exercise including  improved heart health, living longer, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, weight control, and increased bone and muscle strength… just to name a few of my favorites.

Some exercise is better than none, more exercise is generally better than less, and no exercise can be disastrous. But just in case you need a few more reasons, here you go.

Self-confidence relates to our self–assuredness in our personal judgment, ability, and self-worth. Exercise is an important tool that helps us achieve physical confidence. Beyond day-to-day energy demands, the ability to be physically fit and able to meet any physical situation is very empowering.

Here are 7 ways in which exercise boosts confidence:

Sense of Achievement: Exercise is great for giving you the feeling that you have done something rather than just sitting around.

Change of Mindset: Stressed out? Lost in anxious and negative thoughts? Doing physical exercise can shake this mindset and make you feel confident and positive.

Enhanced well-being: When you exercise, the body releases chemical substances known as endorphins which relieve stress and make you feel good psychologically. This will absolutely boost your confidence because you physically feel better. It’s like nature’s Prozac.

Appearance: Exercise tones you up and can enhance any body shape. Feeling attractive and good about the way you look pumps up your self-confidence.

Anchors Ahoy: Exercise acts as a reliable anchor point and can make you feel in charge. When it feels like you are in control of nothing, one thing you can control is how to be active. Make the choice to exercise and enjoy being in charge of at least one thing during your day.

  The Social Butterfly Effect: Whether it is joining a gym, walking in the neighborhood park, attending a yoga or dance class, exercise gives us the opportunity to meet new people. New friends can be a great self-confidence boost.

 Competition: Exercises can ignite that competitive you. Challenge yourself to work out harder, run farther, or do an extra rep, lift a heavier weight, or even try a new exercise class. Going past your limit makes you feel on the top of the world.

 

10 Steps to a Better Mind Set

I have a thing for top X lists. They are easy to read, and no matter what is on the list, there is always one thing that causes that light bulb moment. So I came across a list for how to be more confident, and it started me thinking about our state of mind.  Here is my list to encourage a positive state of mind every day.

1. Learn from the past (10 minutes ago, yesterday, last year, or even high school drama, etc.) regardless of the outcome; don’t beat yourself up about the things that didn’t turn out your way. It’s gone; it’s never coming back. Instead learn from it for next time. There are no failures, only feedback.

2. Be prepared. Prepared for what you might ask. Well every day is different, so be prepared to meet the challenges and opportunities of the day. My husband is the poster child for preparedness, and he has taught me well, along with making me a little crazy along the way.  For example, when we are going to any get together—family, friends, business, whatever, he will run through the names of all the people that he knows will be there. Not just the new people, but everyone including the ones he has known for most of his life.  That may seem extreme, but being prepared doesn’t just mean you are ready to give a presentation at work or being prepared for a job interview, but for all the little things throughout the day.

3. Develop and play to your strengths. Know what you are good at and expose yourself to these opportunities at every opportunity – because you’re good at it, you’ll enjoy it and have more confidence.  If you’re not sure of your strength’s ask a friend or family member. They will usually be able to rattle off all sorts of things you are good at.

4. Develop your areas for improvement. Know and appreciate that you can’t be perfect at everything.   Put a plan in place to improve them over time. Especially as parents, there are always things we can improve on when it comes to our kids.  For me, I am working on being more patient, less of a control freak, more confident and social, and more organized.

5. Be in charge of your thoughts at all times. What is a thought? It’s just a question or idea that you’ve asked yourself. Some days it may be the only thing you have control of. If you’re thinking negative thoughts, you’re probably asking a negative question. Be aware of your thoughts…after all, you are the one thinking them.

6. Become a Rhinoceros.  Develop thick skin and don’t let the words of others affect you? Remember that no one can make you feel inferior without your consent. It’s not what they say to you that’s the problem; it’s what you say to yourself after they have stopped talking that’s the problem. I read an article that said if someone calls you a clock; it probably wouldn’t affect you, because you know you are not a clock. The same holds true when people may try to label you as something you know that you are not.

7. At the end of each day list your achievements and successes throughout that day.  All too often we don’t give ourselves credit for what we’ve done.  I usually make a mental list of all the things I have done wrong… yelling at the kids, not being patient enough, not accomplishing everything I should have. While that may help me to recognize short comings and try harder tomorrow, it doesn’t allow for any appreciation of the things that I did well and did accomplish.

8. Improve your body language. The way that you move your body has a big impact on your mind set. Move your body assertively and walk with your head up, shoulders back as though you’ve got somewhere very important to go. Along with thoughts, some days, body language may be the only thing you feel like you can control.  But it really does work by almost tricking your mind to feel more powerful and in control.

9. Emotion is created by motion. Like point 17, make sure you move around consistently. This creates energy and gets the blood pumping around your body – it makes you feel better and more confident.

10. And finally – ask yourself in 10 years’ time will what I am worrying about really matter? This one can be easier said than done, because it may not matter in 10 years, but it matters right now. But often times by asking yourself the 10 year question, it can bring to light that what you are worrying about is more trivial than you first thought.

Vanity Is Your Friend

You know one of my favorite sayings is “nothing tastes as good as looking fit makes you feel”. I know it may sound kind of shallow, especially as I try to teach my kids that it’s what’s on the inside that counts. But come to find out, there are a few million people who may agree with me, and there are even studies to back it up.

The word vanity can conjure up all sorts of images, and it can even be applied to the bell curve with most of us falling somewhere in the middle. When it comes to motivation, vanity is a great asset. We all know there are so many health benefits to eating right and exercise including the prevention of:

Heart disease and Stroke

High Blood Pressure

Noninsulin-Dependent Diabetes

Obesity

Osteoporosis

But many people think that these conditions won’t happen to them, so that’s where vanity comes to the rescue and keeps them motivated to exercise and eat right. Yep—people just want to look good. (Many younger women will stop using tanning beds not because of the overwhelming evidence that it causes skin cancer, but because it can cause wrinkles. )

A recent article in the LA Times called “In-Your-Face Fitness: Vanity can be a healthy asset”, offers some interesting facts about the price of beauty(including that pretty people make more money), but the bottom line is that exercising to maintain good looks is just fine because it helps you stay healthy.

Anything that gets people to exercise and eat better is a good reason, even if it might seem a little vain.

Exercise Expectations

What You Can Expect From Exercise

The Shrot Term Benefit (right after you finish): Exercise works on the part of the brain that determines what kind of mood you’re in. No matter how rotten you feel when you start out, a good run, swim, bike ride, or walk can change that mood. If you’re already feeling good, you’ll even feel better.

The Long Term Benefit: After a few weeks your body will be firmer and more flexible. Your pulse will be slower when you’re not working out; a sign that your heart is working at a healthier pace. You’ll look better and the difference will start to show in your shape and how you carry yourself.
 
 What You Can’t Expect From Exercise

You can’t expect to look like a super model that  you see in a magazine, television or advertisement. If you went to take voice lessons, you might expect your voice to improve, but you wouldn’t expect to sound like Madonna. The same goes for your shape. You’ll end up with your body –  in shape,  not with the shape of someone else.
 
A Work Out That Works
The word exercise covers a lot of different activities, from walking to weight lifting. The best exercise is any kind that keeps your whole body moving for at least 20 minutes, makes you breathe harder than usual, makes you sweat, and gets your heart beating faster. 

A good exercise routine involves these four things:
Warming up
Conditioning
Cooling down
Stretching

Warming up
Before you begin working out at full force, start slowly by using the same motions you’ll be using when you’re exercising . By starting out easy, your giving your blood time to make its way to your muscles. The blood is fuel for those muscles, and if you don’t give it a chance to get to them, they might poop out on you. 
 
Conditioning
This is when you work your body so much that you feel a difference in your pulse rate and in the way you are breathing. During conditioning, you’re working out the most important muscle of all — your heart. Exercise that increases your pulse rate (makes your heart beat faster) is the kind that has all of the benefits like controlling your appetite and making you feel terrific. People who don’t exercise end up storing much more of what they eat as fat, than people who work out often. The reason for this is that muscles which are in good shape from conditioning use of a lot of energy, and fat uses hardly any energy at all. (Read: you burn more calories)
 
Cooling down
Don’t bring yourself to a sudden stop when you’ve finished your work out. Your body isn’t prepared to quit as quickly as you might be, and a sudden stop could cause cramps, dizziness, or even fainting. Slow to a stop by lightly doing whatever activity you’ve been doing, just at a slower pace.

 
Stretching
This softens and relaxes your muscles, allowing them to handle the extra stress you have put on them during your work out. Well-stretched joints are less likely to strain, or sprain. Even if you only have time for a quick stretch, doing it after your workout is key.
Make the most of your routine by including all four steps, and embrace your inner supermodel.

Motivation to Dominate Your Exercise Routine

What motivates you?

What is it going to take to increase your will to succeed. What is it that lights that fire under your butt to go and exercise and push yourself to levels you never thought you could?

Once you find what pushes you to be your best, you need to think about it every day, so it will get you through a lot of difficult days when you want to skip a workout or cheat when you shouldn’t.

Here are the things that motivate me.  Some days it is all of them, and some days it may be just one.

 1. Visualization

There are many tricks for visualizing your success. There is visualization where you see yourself training and looking at yourself with the body you really want.

When I was training for my body building competition, I would visualize myself on stage going through all my poses. Then I would visualize myself taking the first place trophy!

Some need to actually see it in a photo, so they cut out a picture of someone they admire or want to look like. You can even take your head off of one photo and paste it to the body of someone whose physique you want.

 Maybe one of these will help and maybe not. But don’t feel bad if visualization isn’t your thing, because something else is.

 2. Competition

Many people have that competitive spirit.  I definitely do. This can work to your benefit no matter what kind of exercise program you follow. Do you play a sport or do you have a business rival (or nemesis, as my husband would say)? Are you a super competitive mom when it comes to having the smartest or most well behaved kid? Beating someone else or another team drives 99.9% of all athletes.

Beating someone or establishing dominance and achieving victory is a great feeling even if you don’t think of yourself as super competitive. On the flip side, losing and seeing others “win” drives people too.

Another way to compete is to compete against yourself. Whatever you did last week, you can try to beat this week.  This can come in the form of a faster mile, adding 5 pounds to your bench press, doing an extra push up, staying on the treadmill for an additional 10 minutes, etc.

 3. Role Models

Some of the greatest people had a role model to push them to achieve their own excellence.

Most athletes, whether basketball players, tennis players, or bodybuilders have a person that they look up to and want to emulate.  In business, lots of CEOs follow a certain person’s philosophies so they can attain the same level of success.

So if there is anyone out there that has done what you want to do, they can inspire you and motivate you to achieve your goals.

4. Positive vs. Negative

This is the biggest question about motivation. The fact is both ways work and it is just a matter of what works for you. A big generalization, but men often do okay with negative re-enforcement, where as women are more drawn to positive re-enforcement. 

When we were living in South Korea, we took a Tae Kwon Do class with two other women teachers.  Koreans take their Tae Kwon Do very seriously, and our “teacher” was very serious.  He didn’t speak any English, and we barely spoke Korean, but we could tell by his tone and his facial expressions of disappointment (or maybe even disgust), that we were not doing things right.  Almost every class had one of us girls crying by the time we left.  My husband never even flinched.  He didn’t even understand what we were talking about when we tried to describe how the “teacher” made us feel.

If you are one of those people that needs to be comfortable and positive to achieve your best, then make sure you are surrounded by coaches and people who offer that type of encouragement.

On the flip side if you respond better to the need to prove the haters wrong, or showing your coach you are not a weak piece of poo (or whatever), then you know the type of coach or training partner to look for. You are not wrong for either tactic pushing you.

5. Music

I love my ipod, and I am always looking for “the best workout song” list to add new tunes.  Most lists have a lot of either heavy metal or hip-hop that will get the adrenaline going. I have an embarrassing eclectic list from Johnny Cash to Metallica. The most important question, though, is what does music do for you?

If you don’t like metal or rap, no problem. If you like classical, pop, or country and it helps you get going, then let it blast.

Whatever it takes to light that fire in you that day is all that matters. You might not like music at all and get pushed by silence. Great! Put your earplugs in and give it all you got. 

Whether it is any of these strategies or something else completely, as long as it is something that motivates you and makes you more confident in your abilities, then use it to your advantage and make all of those goals you set for yourself a reality.

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