So how do you train your brain to work for you rather than against you?

unnamed (2)It’s that time…back to school, back to workouts, back to routine, back to trying to stay fit and sane. I know for many of you, it is a struggle to get back on the wagon after being off your schedule for so many weeks. Even though I exercise on vacation, it is not the same as when I am here. No matter what, I am almost always sore when I come back and start teaching my group classes again. Things feel a little harder, especially pushups which are my weak point. But I know for sure if you just keep showing up, it will get better in a couple of weeks or so. I have done this so many times, it is just part of my routine. I started running the first day after my 6 week check up after each pregnancy. Don’t get me wrong, it is not easy, but I have trained that part of my brain – the part that knows how much better I will feel if I get back on the wagon – to be stronger than the part that whines and says, “I don’t feel like exercising today.” And yes, I know you guys do not think I have that side, but trust me, it is there.

So, whether you want to start back with your old exercise routine or start a new one, you want to lose weight, or whether you want to change your diet, whatever that change may be, your brain is typically your friend or your enemy, and for most people, their brains have been trained to work against change! Your brain is the one telling you not to exercise, telling you to eat that cinnamon bun when you are stressed at work, telling you to have that coke to pick you up at 3pm when you are dragging, telling you that exercising outside your comfort zone is just too painful so you need to stop. It is not your body telling you those things. Your body wants and deserves to be treated with respect, which means treating it to regular exercise, healthy eating habits, rest, and recovery time.

So how do you train your brain to work for you rather than against you?

1. Identify your core values then relate them to the habits you want to keep. For example, I want to set an example that my kids will hopefully follow.

2. Stay present or mindful of how you are feeling when your brain is trying to sabotage your healthy habits. Pay particular attention to worries, fear, and anxiety. For example, “I am feeling tired, my legs feel heavy, I am afraid that I will be sore, I fear that I will look ridiculous, I worry that I will not be able to finish the class, etc. Once you become more present in what you are feeling, you can use positive self talk to encourage action. For example, “My legs are strong and capable of running, I will have more energy if I move my body, I have been sore before and it goes away, it’s OK if you cannot do everything in the class, just try your best.” You get the idea.

3. Make notes for yourself and post them in visible places like your bathroom mirror or the refrigerator. Remind yourself what your goals are and that you can do it!

4. If you tend to have lots of negative self talk, rewrite your script! Wake up everyday with a mantra – “I am strong, I am capable, I am courageous, and I am going to give today my best!” You can change your mantras weekly if you want, or you can master one.

5. Deep breathe, deep breathe, deep breathe. This is the best way to redirect the brain. On the way to the break room, start the deep breathing. Before you get up to open the refrigerator, start the deep breathing. As soon as the negative self talk starts, immediately begin the belly breaths. It is amazing how quickly you can change your thoughts by being present with your breaths.

With that, I sure hope you will all be able to make it to class this week! The MWF class is back on at 9am at Stanford Hills. The T/TH class is on at 6am at Woodland School in Ladera. The Thursday 9am class will not start until after Labor Day.

If you would like to sign up for a class or would like to sign your child up for cross country at Hillview, please go to www.stellafit.com.

Also, if you are interested in a 3 month get healthy and fit program that would include one-on-one training, group training, and healthy habits coaching, please let me know.

Have a fabulous Sunday!

Cheers!

Stella