Amanda Fisher Coaching

I help women get crazy strong - physically AND mentally - through strength training, sustainable eating habits, and a heathy mindset.

Category: Training (page 1 of 70)

Building A Bangin’ Metabolism: Your Exact Five Step Action Plan

Alright, let’s roll on with my metabolism series, shall we?

In case you missed my first installment, your metabolism mystery, go ahead and review that.  Likewise, you can read installment two, five questions to ask yourself before you assume your metabolism sucks, as well.

Today, our final installment, is alllllll about the big things you can do (or not do) to keep your metabolism in happy and healthy territory.  Consider it an action plan.  Something to refer back to on the regular, in case you lose your way, or in case you get muddled down in tiny details and need help finding your way back to the big things you can do to actually focus on that matter most.

Remember, like anything, all good things generally take time to accomplish.  I know, I know…the saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day” is sometimes overused, but it’s true.  We can take action on these big things…..over time.  Change, well…change that lasts anyway, happens in days and weeks and months, not overnight.

Some of the items on my list might surprise you.  Some might be things you would typically expect.  My list has nothing to do with superfoods, or dieting, or cleanses, or resetting.  It has everything to do with simple, strategic, and SMART things to focus on (and really, only just a few!) so you can cut through the crap and get down to business.

Should we get right down to it?  Let’s do this!

Don’t diet, but be a detective.  Guess what?  Big Diet tells us just to eat less and move more.  CAN this be true?  Sure.  But, it likely isn’t in the way we think.  And most often, diet tends to run amok and mess up our hormones and hunger and satiety cues, and lead us down the path of “on” and “off” with eating.  Instead of dieting, or eating less, or counting, or whatever, let’s build meals, and reverse engineer this thing!  Instead of relying on a website to spit out how much you can eat per meal or per day, why not build meals and taking notes and tweaking and figuring out how much you actually require to thrive?

I know this sounds overwhelming, but it really doesn’t have to be.  Build your meals around lean proteins and tons of veggies, and then sprinkle in some complex carbs and healthy fats.  A good rule of thumb is that protein and veggies don’t change in quantity just too much.  However, YOU being a detective is to determine the right amount of complex carbs and healthy fats for YOU.  Then, pay attention to how these things go for you.  If you take a few notes and be aware, you’ll be surprised to find out what things satisfy you and what things really don’t, and instead make you hungrier or a little up and down on energy, instead of stable.

I like to use the HEC method by Dr. Jade Teta.  If your hunger, energy and cravings are managed, you are on the right path, and are probably finding out that you don’t crave or binge eat because, well….you just don’t want to.  Your hormones are balanced, and doing what they need to do so YOU can do what YOU need to do.  This might take some time to figure out, but, it’s worth it!

I have a fabulous FREE resource for you, my #20Under20 Meal System, that will help you build some satisfying and tasty meals to help you get started!

Be strategic and stingy with your workouts.  Strength training is a must for a bangin’ metabolism.  Lean muscle on a body helps that body burn more while doing nothing AND while recovering from gym workouts.  However, we need to be smart.  ALL the workouts, for ALL the time, well, that’s a good recipe to hurt our metabolism long-term.

I like to think about folks after general health and fitness, and a lean body needing about two to four moderately intense strength training sessions each week.  Not two-hour long sessions, mind you.  But somewhere in the ballpark of 20-40 minutes.  This is crucial and a MUST for a metabolism.  Remember, the dosage, or how often, is different for everyone.  The number of sessions that fit into your life and that you can do consistently matters MOST.

After that, some women might benefit from one or two metabolic conditioning sessions.  These could be on different days or AFTER a strength workout.  These are those 20 minute max workouts, more intense, and less time than most think is “worth it” in the gym.

A great way to do your metabolism a disservice is to plod along on the treadmill for hours on end.  Remember, MORE doesn’t equal better.  Effective and better….is better.

My program, #MomBoss, might be a great way to get in about four SHORT strength sessions each week.  These would be an excellent workouts for busy mamas who find themselves wondering “what to do” in the gym, and who want to cut through the bullshit of “more is better” and get their goals accomplished STAT.

Find your stress management approach.  Unmanaged stress can create a shitstorm for us hormonally, which can in turn jack around with our metabolism.  Unmanaged stress can also entice us to eat our feelings, and then instead of acknowledging THAT, we say “my metabolism sucks” and never take action on managing our stress levels.  Please don’t read this as never feel stress.  We will ALWAYS feel stress in our lives in some form or fashion, and having stress isn’t a bad thing.  Managing stress, however, is key.

One tactic I really like for stress management is saying NO a lot.  Don’t always be a “yes” girl.  Your time is valuable, girl, and YOU are valuable.  Say no.  Turn down things.  Initially, this might make you feel MORE stress because you have to learn how to not feel bad.  But, in the long run, this will be HUGE.  If it isn’t a HELL YES, it’s a NO, at least initially.

A second tactic I really like is for scheduling time to do nothing each week, lol.  Seriously,  schedule time that can’t be filled with other things.  Simple as that.  Block out time on your calendar (and your family’s calendar) for doing NOTHING and then use that time to just do nothing or do whatever the hell you want that recharges you a bit.

If either of these two choices give you anxiety, it’s probably time to implement both, stat.  And, if you can’t find time on your calendar for downtime, you need to say no a LOT more.

Go the eff to sleep.  Guess what is our biggest hormonal reset?  SLEEP.  A time where your body recharges and repairs tissue.  Guess what HELPS a metabolism?  A hormonal system that isn’t all out of whack and jacked up.

I know, I am one step ahead of you.  We can’t control that we always GET the sleep, meaning, that we STAY ASLEEP at night, or fall asleep easily.  We CAN, however,  build a proper night’s rest into our schedule, and make an effort to prioritize 7-9 hours of sleep each night.  The other great thing sleep does is balance our energy, which….means…..we aren’t likely to experience cravings for sugar and stuff allll day everyday.  And those cravings are generally what make us go “why is my metabolism so slow” when we find ourselves in the candy dish all afternoon at work.

Always be moving (outdoors when possible).  Moving more (this is NOT fitness or exercise) is HUGE.  This can be ANYTHING.  Playing outside with kids.  Taking 10 minute walks after meals to help digestion.  Walking to do errands instead of driving.  Leisure walks.  This actually helps us burn calories in a way that doesn’t really compete with our appetite or anything that we are doing, and falls into that NEAT category from installment one.  And…..time outdoors and time moving your body….are GREAT STRESS REDUCERS.  We aren’t on this planet to work in a seated position all day, then stop by the gym to try and really kick ass for 60 minutes, only to drive home, and sit while eating supper and sit some more while catching up on two hours of DVR.  Bodies are made to move.  In a variety of activities. In a variety of positions.  And our bodies (and brains) need it!  So do our stress levels.

Ladies!  These are five things to begin implementing that don’t cost a dime!  Oh, and long term, they will put you in such a great metabolic space that you won’t be finding yourself googling “ways to fix my metabolism” and finding cures from shady internet sales people, you know?

Please share this with your best girlfriend who needs to stop obsessing over quick fix solutions that wreak havoc long term, mmmmkay?  Oh, and be sure to drop your questions if you have them!

Want my FREE #MetabolicBoss Guide sent right to your inbox?  It's EXACTLY what you need to know to build a bangin' metabolism.  Drop your email below and I'll send it right over!

Three Things That Make My Blood Boil About Pinterest Core Workouts

A simple search of “core workout” on Pinterest yields a frightening amount of shitty core workouts.

To be fair, there were about four “ok” ones.

And….after scrolling for probably 15 minutes, the rest were either not ideal, not factual, not safe, and…..most of those were from people who appeared to have no training or knowledge or education in actually writing and appropriate core workout.

Also, the language surrounding these workouts is absolutely horrid.

“Lose the mom pooch in x days….”

“Best exercises to destroy your belly pooch.”

“The x day flat belly challenge.”

“X day Muffin Top Challenge.”

“Shrink your belly in x days.”

“Perfect pregnancy prenatal core workouts.” (OMG you guys, this one made me cringe, the exercises were SO not ideal for a pregnant body)

My favorite part about scrolling these disasters is when the writer of the workouts has no idea what an exercise is called, so things like “butt ups” and “lean backs” are born.

Oh, and the plank a day pictures…..where there is so much anterior pelvic tilt that the woman in the photo isn’t even remotely targeting her core because her abs are out of the game (and her low back is probably sore like woah). Though, I suppose, it does make for a nice fitness model pose picture when her ass is in the air….*sigh*.

My blood boils, ladies. It BOILS.

Because instead of providing credible, factual, USEFUL information, social media (in this case, Pinterest) is just a place to get more garbage from, and to fuel it further down into the lives of women.

Let me tell you the THREE biggest things that really make me want to rant and rant and rant about Pinterest core workouts…..

  1. They are not user specific. I mean, duh, how can they be. They are poorly designed workouts that have a mish mash of exercises that *feel* like core muscles working and burning. BUT, the graphic they are designed on is so pretty, and tells you in so many words how THIS CORE WORKOUT is going to five you a flat tummy. If you can’t feel my sarcasm, I’ll spell it out. And “the core” isn’t trained by a mish mash of exercises easily displayed on a pretty graphic. It works through a variety of exercises during a workout that don’t always feel like muscles working and burning, maybe sometimes it does. It also works during the rest of your life too, during a healthy breathing pattern, how well you carry yourself with posture and alignment. This varies person to person, core to core….because bodies are DIFFERENT and have different “things” going on for them.

  2. They portray that “toning” your core, or melting at the midsection is done via a specific workout instead of a multifaceted approach of proper nutrition, strength training, and stress management and sleep. Just because someone writes “this core workout will shrink your midsection in two weeks” on a fancy graphic doesn’t mean that workout will ACTUALLY shrink your midsection in two weeks.

  3. Just because someone writes a core workout on Pinterest….doesn’t mean it is legit, credible, SAFE, factual, TRUE, or based on any sort of knowledge or training so they can advise other individuals. I DO know some legit professionals who pin some workouts, and they ARE credible. But, that’s probably like 4%. The other 96% is spewed up onto Pinterest boards from people not credible to provide such information, and shared to the masses of women wanting to consume this information. So, consider your source I guess is what I’m saying. And, don’t share things you don’t know to be true might be good advice for all of us (about core workouts, or life in general).

Here’s the thing. There is more to a healthy core than just a workout. SO MUCH MORE. How do we breathe, how we do sit, stand, and rest in positions? How do we exercise? Do we have any special considerations, injuries, or weaknesses that would impact any one of these things? Are we choosing exercises that mimic real life AND how the core rotates, doesn’t rotate, and how it protects the spine? SO MUCH to consider here.

And so, I’m offering you a chance to learn how your core works, how to work on breathing, how to stand and sit and rest with your core in mind. Oh, and….the big exercises to look to when it’s time to go to the gym. I’m actually putting on #CoreBoss for FREE beginning January 10th, and I’d love to have you join me. My goal with this course is to get women thinking critically about this stuff, so THEY can be their own guru, and not rely on Pinterest to vomit up crappy workouts for them. #CoreBoss is 100% online, and 100% FREE. Please share this with your best girlfriend who could use this information and stop the madness with allll the sit-ups, alllll the time, mmmmmkay?

Postpartum: My Experience With A Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist

Last week, I made a case for getting your postpartum body to a women’s health physical therapist.  

This week, I’m doubling down on that same subject to tell you about my own personal experience working with a women’s health PT.

While I was researching a good one in my area, I learned pretty quickly that these professionals aren’t just laying around for a quick visit.  They are pretty specialized, for a variety of reasons, and when you try to get into visit them, they seem to be generally booked out fairly far (considering they are pretty specialized, this makes sense).  So I booked my first appointment with my PT when I was two weeks postpartum, and had it set for when I was almost five weeks postpartum.  I visited the Institute for Athletic Medicine.

To be completely transparent, I knew I needed to make this appointment based on all the new writings and research in strength and conditioning world.  I knew I wanted to get back into strength training COMPLETELY ready to begin training smartly and progressing smartly.  I knew, after last time when I didn’t really know better, that I needed to take this seriously.

And to be completely honest, I booked my visit with the attitude that I was doing my due diligence in my postpartum health, but that I was only going to have to “clock it in” because I was probably one of those women who didn’t have any issues.

Did you know that women’s health PT’s want to know EVERYTHING about your core and pelvic floor health?  How many times a day do you go #1 and #2, can you hold it, for how long, do you ever leak, does it ever hurt, do you have back pain, how were your babies born, how many babies, how long were labors, any assistance during birth, EVERYTHING.

Upon talking about all these things with my PT, we began biofeedback testing.  Which basically means, I got undressed from the waist down, and got hooked up to little electrode thingies on my butt, on my thigh, and on my hip, and then she began coaching me on contracting my pelvic floor.  Then my core.  Then my core AND pelvic floor.  And we found out pretty quickly that my pelvic floor was hypertonic.  Meaning, it was ALWAYS working – contracted – and trying to do the job my transverse abdominis wasn’t.  A strong muscle is one that can contract AND relax.  My pelvic floor could not relax….thus, it was very weak.  Apparently this is very common, and especially common in those who lift.  Who knew?  Ha!

So, my first appointment was basically getting me to recognize coordinating JUST my pelvic floor and JUST my core, and then the two together via seeing a computer screen and the use of biofeedback to show me when I was contracting, relaxing, and the like.  And, my PT sent me home with some exercises to do daily to work on this.  We found that I could get my best contraction and coordination in a seated position versus a side lying position.  My PT also coached me on the importance of posture – sitting up straight, stacking ribs over hips, etc – in all of my daily life to support healthy core and pelvic floor function.  Feeding and nursing positions with baby especially, since that’s where a bulk of my time was spent.  She also gave me a hefty reminder to sit the hell down a TON during the day, because my pelvic floor needed rest and recovery, and getting up and doing a lot just made it work all that much harder.  She also recommended a follow up visit in two weeks to assess strength and coordination.

It was quite the coincidence that a few days after my first visit, I was at home, and began thinking I had symptoms of prolapse.  I felt weird.  I felt like I had something possibly lower than it should be.  I could feel something lower than it should be.  Cue all the freaking out on the planet.  I’m going to spare you about two weeks of drama until I saw my PT again, but the Cliff’s Notes are that I sat my ass off, I saw my midwife for my final PP check, and I also sought out an OB to double check, and to establish care since my care with the birth center was complete.  I also had emotional meltdown after emotional meltdown.  I knew that a prolapse would change a lot of things for me, strength training wise and work wise, and to be honest, it sorta felt like I was majorly getting betrayed by my body.  After visiting the OB, I had a sort of sigh of relief.  She was pretty confident after an exam that I didn’t have a prolapse of uterus or bladder, but since I had some symptoms (like I couldn’t go #1 all the way gone), that it could possibly be very mild prolapse, OR it could be par for the course of being only six weeks PP and still nursing, with very loose joints and connective tissue.  She advised continuing on with PT, and checking back in sooner (versus a year later for an annual visit) if I felt like things were getting worse instead of better.  I was happy to have this feedback, but to be honest, I trusted the expertise of my PT over the OB.  Not because the OB doesn’t know anything.  The OB knows women’s health, and specializes in the overall health of me and my female anatomy.  However, she doesn’t have the expertise of how specific muscles and systems work, and how those muscles and systems need to be treated, how they need to function, and how they respond to force during daily activities (I’m not saying any of this “right” but I hope you get my gist).  Her job ISN’T to know those things, and so the help of someone who’s job it IS (the PT) is vital.

Upon visiting my PT for my third visit, she agreed with the OB.  Not a prolapse, but potentially a very mild one IF symptoms continued.  She also very optimistic that with additional exercises, we could take care of any issues. That visit was internal.  She checked the strength of my pelvic floor muscles, and rated them at a 2 out of 5 for strength.  We also checked coordination of them – could I contract them and not my TA, could I contract my TA and not my PF, and could I contract both together.  I was definitely getting way better at this.  Because I had good coordination, and because I was actually doing my exercises, she said I could begin strength training smartly, and without any additional load (aside from floor presses) than my bodyweight.  You KNOW I was jacked up to begin this!  I think that was somewhere around 7-8 weeks PP.  She also explained that while I thought I was feeling symptoms of prolapse, that it was likely my pelvic floor was just on overdrive, and that I needed to be diligent about relaxing it as much as I could.  I did that in various ways – laying on my back with my legs supported on a couch above me, and letting my legs have zero tension, doing some child’s pose stuff and breathing drills, and some other things I’m forgetting at this point.

Over the course of 14 weeks, I had five PT visits.  Each one, I could tell I was getting stronger and stronger.  I was also learning that those weird prolapse symptom feelings had way more to do with having an overactive PF, PLUS they were really present when I was overtired, and when my hormones were changing.  For instance, I work really long days on Mondays and Wednesdays, and could pretty much bank on prolapse symptoms those days, and then most of the rest of the week was fine.  And also, I quit nursing at 12 weeks, and not long after that I could tell that my body was trying to generate some sort of cycle, and that made me feel off again.  I guess this is all normal stuff with tiredness, stress, hormonal changes, and a host of other things.  I’ve also been very diligent about introducing “new” exercises into my strength training to test for a few times to see if any of THOSE generate weirdness.  So, basically, I’m just really freaking aware all the time about this stuff.

My last visit with the PT was learning how to make intense exercises – think jumping, running, and those type things….pelvic floor friendly.  How to add a PF contraction and when.  How to incorporate breathing.  My PT also said since I had good awareness and good PF and core coordination, that I was safe to begin pushing the envelope a bit and testing myself.  On a full bladder, try jumping.  Stand in weird positions and side lunges and try doing my contractions, etc.  It’s super interesting stuff.

I’m about four months PP at this point, and can tell you that each week is getting better and better.  My coordination is good with my core and PF.  My PF is beginning to do it’s job without me having to mentally think through it during every exercise, every sneeze, every lifting of the infant seat, etc.  I also still have those weird tired days sometimes where I can feel that it’s exhausted.  I’ve been working out with lighter weights for two weeks, and this week have begun increasing the load so long as that each exercise, each rep, feels good, feels coordinated with core and floor, and as long as I can pass the 3 P’s (no pain, pee, or pressure).

All in all, I would categorize working with a women’s health PT as self-care.  I had a reason to work with one for five visits.  I think every woman should visit at least once to get an assessment.  I wasn’t referred by an OB or midwife, so this was self-refer classification.  I think people should know the ins and outs of that too, financially.  Each visit was approximately $200-225, and everything except $32 each visit was covered by our insurance.  I know everyone and everyone’s insurance was different, but that’s the kind of info I wanted to know before visiting and couldn’t really find so I had no clue what to expect.  Here’s how I’m doing the math on this one – if I DID NOT go this route, I would likely be having the bladder/sling surgery (that has a 70% fail rate and/or has to be re-done every 10 years) down the road.  At who knows what cost, but also losing my ability to work for a minimum of six weeks in my profession.  So for roughly $150 out of pocket, I’m very confident in the workings of my body and managing this stuff on my own, and know what to do next if something pops up, and will likely avoid any type of surgery.  $150 feels like pocket change considering all that.

I also feel pretty strongly that even if prolapse is a diagnosis for someone, this can very much help the severity of it, or help things almost completely.  And if prolapse isn’t, but incontinence or other things are issues, this is what should be the first step – not “just accepting it as normal” or waiting until you are done having kids to have the surgery, or considering surgery as the only cure.

This is NOT a sexy topic, but it’s a necessary one.  Running a gym, I see about 60 faces a week.  During my post natal fitness certification, I learned that 50% of women deal with this stuff.  You know what?  That’s 30 of my weekly faces, and I’m one of them.  So….it’s pretty damn common, and there is a HUGELY helpful resource available that really isn’t talked about.

So I’m talking about it.  If you have questions, I’m an open book on this one…..I pretty passionate about it at this point.  So, feel free to PM me on Facebook for questions, or just to get pointed in the right direction of a PT, and I’ll do what I can to help you out!

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