Can you believe it’s already almost SPRING?!
As someone who suffers with seasonal affective disorder (Winter really makes me want to hibernate), I can be the first to shoot my hand up and say NO!
I thought Spring should have started 3 weeks ago when the winds in Reno literally whipped me in the face to the point where I got wind-rash burn.
So yeah, you could say Summer’s calling my name.
And it got me thinking:
You know what REALLY sets the tone for summer?
Putting on last season’s swimsuit, looking in the mirror, and realizing that it fits, first of all.
And on top of that, finding it fits WAYYYY better than last year.
Why such an upleveled appearance?
Well because you’ve been putting in #work, of course!
On your body, yes.
But more so on your wellbeing.
The kind of self care work that claims confidence, and inspires you to embrace the parts that you appreciate about yourself just as often as points for potential progress.
Imagine: simply seeing you, staring back, embodying the epitome of health, and your best self.
Which got me thinking again: (got a lotta thoughts ok?! 😉
Why don’t we set ourselves up for that sensual stare right now?
Just in time for the start of Spring!
Sounds absolutely IDEAL to me.
But before we can access this progress, we need to address the problem.
From HIIT to heavy lift, slow sculpt to soaking in ice baths, there’s SO much out there trying to grab your attention as it claims to be THE ultimate and all-knowing way to the best results, and fitness fulfillment.
But as the experts say: Not all exercises are created equal.
Which means that some of those suckers claiming their methods to be the best – must be straight lyin’.
Ugh, the strug – it can be so damn overwhelming.
But fret not!
Coming right up are 5 Fitness hacks to achieve the results you seek, right now.
Below are 5 things to think through before deciding on the workout routine that’s right for YOU:
But before we start, let me disclose that I am not a fitness trainer or a health professional.
What you’re about to read is simply what I have discovered throughout my many years of seeking a style of fitness that just felt RIGHT for me.
And I sincerely hope what I’ve learned might help you too.
(#1) Understand the results you’re reaching for. Reflect + Goal Set.
Goal setting is like the new color black.
Every confident human attempting to crush it has got it hiding in their closet somewhere.
Seriously though, setting aside time to understand the thing you truly want to accomplish, is what it’s all about.
Think about it. If you don’t have a specific goal set, how will you know when you can shout: Mama I made it?!
You need a specific goal, in order to make it measurable.
And perhaps even a SMART goal?
Solely for us smarty pants! (*wink wink*)
Set yourself up for success by not just setting a goal in sights, but a SMART goal:
( I remember when they first introduced this very process to my cohort during our volunteer orientation in Ecuador. )
I was the one who wrote in pencil.
Call me a freak or can you relate?
Anyways, according to Indeed, a SMART goal is an acronym that stands for:
“Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-based. Each element of the SMART framework works together to create a goal that is carefully planned, clear and trackable.”
Basically, SMART goals set us up with specific measurables so we can see, “DID I DO DAT?” and allow ourselves the opportunity to actually recognize, understand, and appreciate the weight of our accomplishment when it’s all said and done.
As the metrics of the SMART goal make us realize, goal setting can get dimensional when you really get down and dirty wit’ it.
Especially because SMART goals still only scratch the surface, giving YOU the space to color in the blanks.
Something I suggest?
See it from a bigger picture.
Don’t make the mistake of morphing your physical goal without taking the controller of those goals (your brain) into account too.
Did you know that, “Although your brain is only about 2 percent of your body weight (about 3 pounds), it uses 20 to 30 percent of your body’s blood flow”? 
Don’t worry, I didn’t either before I started working for the team building out Brain Revolution, and read celebrity psychiatrist, Dr. Daniel Amen’s bestselling book, Change Your Brain, Change Your Life.
Seeing how your brain is “the most metabolically expensive real estate in your body,” as well as the source of SO much of who and what we become, the importance of marrying brain and body health becomes crystal clear.
Because I don’t care how fit or how fly you look- I know you’d agree that it’s just not worth “feeling” fit and fly as hell if you also feel like you might fall over from overexercising or undereating.
And if that’s not something you’ve ever felt or thought about, take it from someone who’s been there.
Because I’ve been that girl that almost lost her mind (which we will discuss another time), by wanting my body to look a certain way.
And trust me when I say it’s NOT worth it.
Not even a little bit.
You can’t have a strong, healthy, or happy body without supporting your brain with the necessary nutrients.
It’s just not possible.
The organ that harbors your thoughts, emotions, and feelings is just as important as the vase that envelops it.
Which is why I want to challenge you to think about what you’re REALLY looking to achieve in finding the fitness method that’s fulfilling to you.
Is it loving who’s looking back at you in the mirror?
Because you and I both know that takes a transformation as mental as it does physical.
Is it feeling secure and confident in your skin?
Like you’re at home, everywhere you go?
‘Cause that kind of confidence comes from within.
Maybe for you it’s a desire to feel like you’re physically fit enough to accomplish all of those things your mind is set on, and increase your longevity to live long enough to see it all through.
The point is, you want more meat to your goal than just the physical flesh.
Then, of course, it is VERY physical.
And guess what?
It’s A-okay to have very physical, tangible, aesthetic goals too – even if sometimes they feel a little shallow!
I for one do not accept that there’s anything radical about wanting to feel your best AND look your best.
After all, why would you only want one?
Especially when you can have the whole package, baby!
(#2) Take into account time, resources, and lifestyle.
This one’s short and simple.
Some types of workouts take more time and resources than others.
Be practical, and ensure your choice of workout is congruent with the life you lead.
Now that you’ve got your goals geared up in a realistic way, you’re ready to make some major #gainz (both aesthetically and emotionally), opening with:
(#3) Get to know yourself, and allow the unique attributes of your body, brain and spirit to make the choice FOR you.
You’ve probably heard before that (*technically*), there are “3 types of bodies.”
And if you have yet to hear it, here’s a brief, bullet description (Kendra style-of course!):
- Ectomorph – someone with a skinny bod and small bones + struggles to gain muscle mass. (Me, technically)
- Endomorph – someone with a stronger and stockier build, slower metabolism + typically stores their weight from the waist down.
- Mesomorph – (*think middle*) someone with even weight distribution, naturally defined muscles & an “athletic” build.
Now, as a girl with an allergy to black and white boxes and limiting labels, (as well as the girl that will always scream you’re INFINITELY unstoppable from the sidelines!) I won’t be the one to tell you that changing your natural composition type is impossible.
But just know that a full on shape shift takes some strong ass self discipline inside and outside of the gym, and that’s not something that’s made for everyone.
I don’t know about you, but it was definitely not made for me.
A quick, personal story:
Although I played volleyball and had been active all my life, when I first started truly finding my footing in fitness (6 years ago), I fell in love with heavy lifting.
I have always loved a challenge, and heavy lifting helped me to feel strong in a way I had never felt before.
You know, in the type-a-way that influences you to believe you’ll win an arm wrestle against ANYBODY..even your Dad.
(An utter fail at an attempt for me, btw.)
I loved how heavy lifting empowered me as an individual.
More than that though, heavy lifting helped me overcome consuming thoughts surrounding food, and the size of my body.
And I say “overcome” in an ebb and flow kind of way, because I’ve found those feelings never quite erase completely – they will always be with me.
I just don’t allow them the opportunity to be acted upon anymore, and I’ve learned how to observe them from an unattached, outsiders perspective.
Through the guidance of my fitness-mentoring-mamas at Camie Cragg Fitness, I learned to view food as fuel, and strength as a state of being.
At CCF, I also became the first client to my favorite trainer (and one of my best friends to this day!), Ashley Ploussard.
But as I continued to compartmentalize my muscles for training, I was simultaneously conjuring up those OCD-esque tendencies to air on the side of extremism.
(If you’ve seen my About page – you know all about that.)
It was (of course!) no fault of the sport, or the style of workout, or the sets.
It was simply my mind reverting back to the extreme perfectionism that pokes holes in the perception of your own self worth.
The kind of perfectionism that made me believe – if I didn’t seamlessly execute the set at hand – I couldn’t be proud or at peace with myself.
Every time I went to workout, I convinced myself that there was a strict plan outlined for me in order to achieve optimum muscle mass increase.
Which was all fine and dandy, until I had to skip a day.
And found myself consumed by a panic that this would absolutely RUIN my physique, and the person I wanted to be.
Or until I only have 20 minutes to workout instead of an hour and a half..
Which meant that I couldn’t check the box of every muscle group outlined for the day.
Long story short, weight training ramped up my piercing perfectionists mindset, yet again.
Which takes us to my second piece of advice that pairs with knowing your body.
Know your MIND and your innermost SPIRIT.
In other words, if you’re a perfectionist or struggle with OCD-esque tendencies like I do, you may want to forgo following a fitness routine that requires any extensively rigid guidelines.
On the other hand, (but in the same breath!) if you’re of the spontaneous type and struggle to stick to things without structure, you may want to consider committing to a more reliable routine like rotational weight lifting, or timed, guided classes.
(By the way, I should probably say that I no longer feel this way about fitness or my body – but that’s a story for another day too, because right now I want to focus on YOU. 🙂
Jumping back to the physical effects, it’s important to understand that:
No matter what body type you have, the techniques that achieve the best results for body building are not the same as the techniques that will increase your flexibility, inspire better balance, help you lose weight, or give you long, lean, lines like one of my favorite flow gurus, Melissa Wood Health inspires.
What that means for your body:
You know those big, aesthetic, dreams you have of yourself absolute ROCKING that skimpy AF kini of your DREAMS, glowing in the aura of your own confidence?
You’ve got to align your fitness methods with both your body, brain and spirit in that beautiful dream.
Whether for you that means moving towards HIIT or heavy lift, yoga, power pilates, or a simple slow sculpt, here’s a super brief, short list of some of the specific effects of a few of my favorite workout styles:
(Keep in mind that these are Kendra-coded, and may require further research for more information 🙂
- Yoga, Pilates & Slow Sculpt – Think spiritually-stretchy – in your flexibility, in the way that these styles tend to enhance the aesthetic of longer, leaner lines, AND in the expansion of your sense of self, all while remaining low in impact (in case you have injuries like I do) and spiritually grounding.
- Heavy Lifting – Think building + bulking. Heavy lifting will help your muscles gain mass, and yourself gain strength, all while also burning fat and boosting metabolism.
- HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training. HURRAY for high energy peeps! This style is higher on it’s impact on your joints (due to the jumping it often requires), but can help to boost your mood, burn fat FAST, and shed an extremely impressive amount of sweat.
Now if you’re wondering HOW IN THE HELL I know all of this stuff, it’s because I’ve tried each of those types myself, in my searching to find one that worked for both my brain and body consistently, which leads us to:
(#4) Embrace what’s fun and feels good for you.
Plain and simple:
When something is fun and feels good, you’re going to be inclined to do it more often.
Plus, Neuroscience shows us that when you repeat any given activity, it activates and strengthens the corresponding neuralpathways in your brain.
Aka: the more you can embrace exercising in a way that feels the best for you, the more your nervous system will strengthen those patterns of activity in your brain, helping you form a sustainable, healthy habit with greater ease and energy.
What’s more than that?
Your brain is always sending messages to your body, and vice versa.
Think about that, and ask yourself this:
Do you want your workouts to communicate care for your body, or punishment?
Self-love or self-loathing?
Because (forget fulfillment for a sec!) the bottom line still is:
You won’t stick with your workout routine if you feel like you’re dying a slow death, or chugging a lukewarm Smirnoff ICE, every time you step inside the studio and/or gym.
Especially in the long term.
Because we know it’s not necessarily the singular actions we take, but the routines we engage in that give us REAL results.
Now, if you’re like:
WTF, Kendra…NO workout feels GOOD.
Let me be more specific.
When it comes to working out, I mean this in the hurt-so-good kinda way.
You know how it is!
The pain signifies the progress.
So sometimes it burns like a biotch, but what I mean here is that you shouldn’t feel like your body is breaking.
You should feel like your spirit, brain and body are connecting.
Ideally, your fitness routine should lead you closer to feeling in flow, and at home in your body, not like you’re in some foreign spaceship looking over from above.
(#5) Know this is a trial and error process, and be patient with the practice and yourself.
I want you to know I get it.
I too am guilty of glancing into the mirror 5 minutes in and wondering where the workout is being represented on my body.
But the truth of the matter is, it’s not an instantaneous thing, and “health” is a whole lot more dimensional than just your physical size and shape.
It’s the same thing with finding a fitness routine YOU find fulfilling – it takes a little time, reflection and intention.
Be gentle with yourself, you’ll get there!
Remember, we’re all just a constant work in progress. <3
P.S. Want to dig a little deeper into understanding the connection between your brain and your body? Uncover how your head may be both helping (and hurting!) your body goals right here!
 Amen, Daniel G. Change Your Brain, Change Your Life: the Breakthrough Program for Conquering Anxiety, Depression, Anger and Obsessiveness. Piatkus, 2016.