Amanda Fisher Coaching

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

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Three Key Pieces To Building A Strong Consistency Muscle

I wax on about consistency.  And….I am a wholehearted believer that consistency trumps intensity every single time.  Meaning, those that just plug in and do the work, even if it’s just for a few minutes every day, will ALWAYS get ahead faster than those that beast for 6 weeks and then fall off the wagon.

Because they have committed to something everyday, they have set themselves up for a powerful chain of events.  Picture it as rolling a tiny snowball at the top of a hill.  The tiny snowball seems meaningless.  But as you roll it down the hill and it adds layers and layers of snow, and pretty soon doesn’t need help getting rolled down because it’s getting huge….well, you get the idea.  It’s the powerful chain of events.

The thing that I see that trips most women up is that we try to make this part TOO DAMN HARD.  “A little something everyday” seems to end up being “Annihilate your body everyday” or “I have to workout an hour everyday” or it doesn’t count.  You see, it is easy to mess up the intensity of consistency.  Making it….not so attainable everyday.  It’s sexy to say “I’m gonna KILL my workout everyday from here on out, no excuses”…..but it isn’t actually DOABLE.  Because life, somewhere, will pop up along the way, and throw you off your game, and you’ll miss a day.  For many women, missing that day then sets off a guilt chain, which sets off yucky feelings, which makes it easy to either bail on the NEXT workout, or feel icky about oneself.

These emotions, surrounding something healthy and empowering like workouts, are just completely useless.  They don’t solve anything for us.  They don’t make us better.  They just make things harder.

So, I wanted to lay down my three biggies for helping you flex your consistency muscle.  Said another way, here’s my no-glam, real talk approach to getting your rear end from canceling on yourself 50% of the time to hitting your workouts 90% of the time.

  1. Accept that in the beginning, and sometimes overall, that you won’t actually feel like working out.  It’s the most unsexy advice out there.  But…to be honest, the most useful.  We want to do things we feel like all the time.  We want everything to be fun.  Welp, the hardest part about making a change is that…it’s NOT always fun.  It’s just not.  In order to build the size of your consistency muscle, though, you must flex it frequently.  Your consistency muscle doesn’t grow in size if you don’t work it.  Said another way, you can’t develop consistency if you don’t put forth the effort. And the beginning, well…that is HARD sometimes.  The first few days are exciting, and that quickly wears off and forces you to confront that workout consistency hasn’t been in your life, and real life with pop up at you and try to throw you off your new workout game, and you will have to tell it to eff off and stay the course.  I don’t want to be Negative Nelly here, but it’s just how it goes.  The people who are doing the damn thing are the people who do it even when they don’t want to sometimes.  End of story.  This is you at the top of the hill beginning to roll the snowball.  To get it going on it’s own, you have to help shape it first.
  2. Insist upon committing to less, and over-flippin-delivering.  Ever look at a to-do list that is a mile long and you feel so overwhelmed that you just give up because what’s the point?  Flexing your consistency muscle is absolutely no different.  It’s easy to bail when you feel like the flex you are about to make doesn’t make much difference in the overall picture so why start today?  In order to get that snowball bigger and bigger, we need a streak of winning weeks under our belt.  Commit to MUCH less when you begin setting your sights on a bigger consistency muscle.  MUCH less.  Think 2 workouts per week here, and make them workouts that you will actually DO.  Solidify them in your calendar, execute them when they pop up.  Whatever happens on the other five days of the week happens, but nail those two workouts.  In my experience, those that commit to less, tend to show up a little extra for themselves  during the week because the insane pressure is gone.  I operate no differently.  I commit to less, and usually over deliver like a boss.  When you do the two workouts you’ve said you would do this week, you’ve just given yourself 100%.  When you do the two workouts out of the six you said you would do…well, that rate plummets to 33%.  Which would you feel good about?  Go back to the snowball.  When you are in the early stages of shaping that snowball, which do you think would help you build faster….100% focus or 33%? The clients that I work with tend to feel pretty damn jazzed at 100%, and therefore think it’s not so hard to sometimes toss in an extra workout for the week, or do another empowering action that nudges them forward (er….builds that snowball a bit bigger).
  3. Be incredibly stingy with the number of changes you make at one time.  Hey ladies, go back to #2 and that to-do list that can always be a mile long.  I’d like to encourage you here to keep only ONE of those things about change.  In this case, your workouts.  Most often, we struggle with consistency because we lose track.  We get lost in the shuffle of too many changes.  We don’t laser beam focus on it.  We try….to change too many things at ONE time.  An example here would be trying to change how you eat AND how you workout all in the same.  You can definitely do both, but we need to focus on one first to get the snowball shaped and formed, before we focus on the other.  In order to build our consistency muscle, we need to flex it A LOT.  A great rule of thumb is get a streak of weeks under your belt where you focus on only ONE change, and can execute that change 90% of the time….before adding another change.  Meaning….pick your change, and rock it for a few weeks, and get to at least 90% consistency before adding one more thing to work at changing.  This will help you build and shape that snowball and get it rolling down the hill by itself…before you focus on a second snowball.  Said another way, you are flexing the hell out of the consistency muscle, and now you are finding yourself standing in front of your bathroom mirror doing ALL the flexing and admiring that new muscle.

You guys, NONE of this sound sexy.  Absolutely none of it.  Which is why we don’t read this stuff on social media, because it doesn’t sell.  Big Fitness and Big Diet don’t sell this stuff because they can’t generate revenue from it to keep them in Big Fitness and Big Diet.

So, sometimes when you feel frustrated and like you know exactly what to do but find yourself consistently….NOT….doing THAT, it’s time to try a new approach.  What I’ve just talked about above actually won’t line the pockets of Big Diet and Big Fitness but it WILL vaccinate you against their bullshit.  Because you will have just built insane CONFIDENCE by doing the thing that trips so many up.

Helpful?  Drop me a comment on my Facebook page!  Or better yet, join Boss Up! – my private Facebook group, where my Lady Boss tribe talks about a bunch of cool shit each week!

 

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: The Fourth Trimester (And Beyond!)

My name is Amanda, and I haven’t updated you guys on the fourth trimester (ummmm, sixth trimester?) since I was 14 weeks postpartum.


Oops! Sorry not sorry, though. I mean, life happens. Ummmm, we have an active nine month old (“active” is an understatement). And a 4.75 year old. And, since I last updated you guys….I BECAME A FREAKING DANCE MOM. I mean….life is busy! Ha!


I’m going to drop you a picture of me postpartum at some point, but I can’t remember when. I’d update the picture, but it’s like 37 million degrees below zero right now in Minnesota, and to be honest, I’m lazy….and cold, so this one will suffice.

I’m still pretty much here, as the picture shows. And to be clear, I’m not showing you a postpartum belly picture for comparison purposes. This picture, given the right audience, could be something to laugh at. Or, given the right audience, it could be something to admire. I’m not sharing the picture for judgement purposes, I’m sharing the picture because it is a clear shot of a topic I’ve become very passionate about in the last few months.


It’s a picture of a body who has grown a healthy human and birthed a healthy human (almost on the side of the road, because our baby had jazz hands about coming out STAT, but….we made it to the birth center!), gone through the ringer mentally and physically a bit postpartum, and….well, is coming out on the other side full of lessons learned and the big guns to help other women.


I digress. There’s lots I’m going to talk about here. So I’m just going to get into it.


If you have been a part of my postpartum journey, you’ll remember that I was wondering if I wasn’t dealing with some sort of prolapse early on postpartum. I actually wasn’t (and still am not), but to be honest, it was the biggest mental mind game to go through. There is not lots of quality (FACTUAL) info out there on prolapse other than “have the surgery” and “don’t lift more than five pounds” and “don’t be on your feet.” Well...that’s actually not humanly possible as a mom. It’s just not. It’s shitty advice, and, now on this side of it….is absolutely untrue and GARBAGE advice for most individuals. This is gonna be “my thing” to rage about for awhile, I feel like….the complete disservice that moms receive as “postpartum care.” I will assume you can feel my blood boiling through my words.


I am ECSTATIC that I had been working through a postnatal fitness course at the tail end of my pregnancy and now throughout postpartum. It gave me the tools I needed to advocate for myself, and the tools I can share with my clients so I can be in THEIR corner when they need me.


If you remember, I was under the care of a physical therapist, specializing in pelvic floor and women’s health. You guys, this should be standard stuff for mamas. A part of recovery and “pre and postnatal care.” It’s SO IMPORTANT. During my sessions, I went through everything from posture, to resting and nursing/feeding positions, to how to use or minimize force on core and pelvic floor, how to pick up baby in certain positions, how to exhale through exertion during movements that require extra “oomph”.....if you can imagine hauling an infant carrier up into a high seat of a car to the car seat base, you probably can understand “oomph.”


Here’s the thing….even though I’m not dealing with prolapse, I’ve learned…..that about 50% of women ARE. Perhaps mild, and undetected. And many women know they have it, but don’t talk about it. Because it seems embarassing, or gross, or like….a failure of your body or something. And it’s just NOT those things, it’s really just a sign that something, somewhere, isn’t working like it should.


And here’s where it gets interesting. Upon conversation after conversation with my physical therapists (I’ve visited two now), SOMETIMES they come from pregnancy. In the pregnancy realm, they can occur because of a long labor or long pushing phase. Or because of tearing. And not healing.


They can also have NOTHING to do with pregnancy, and come from faulty mechanics of our core and pelvic floor. Our “pressure system,” if you will. They can come from a few other places too (excessive coughing, heavy lifting….again, if your pressure system is off).


After an interesting discussion, my pelvic floor dysfunction symptoms are likely not from our second daughter’s birth. They are from the FIRST daughter’s birth, almost five years ago. Long labor. Long pushing phase (4+ hours). Severe tearing (level 3, I should have been referred to a physical therapist right off the bat, but wasn’t).


On top of a core and pelvic floor that wasn’t ever properly rehabbed, I added layers upon layers to the mix - lots of direct core work and always holding tension during my lifts where I possibly didn’t need to, which resulted in holding tension in my core during everyday life as a habit. Finding myself holding my breath during certain everyday life tasks, which didn’t really help with the force and pressure in my core and pelvic floor.


And on top of all THAT, add in a second pregnancy. The weight of growing another human. And pushing that human out.


Get it? Stuff ADDS UP. It’s compounding.


Upon further work, I’m really not dealing with a super weak pelvic floor. I’m dealing with one that is ALWAYS holding tension because it’s compensating for what my core muscles AREN’T doing. And, it’s freaking exhausted, yo.


And so, with the help of my postnatal course, diving down the rabbit hole on this stuff and geeking out at book after book after book on this stuff, AND with the help of two physical therapists who have been absolutely WONDERFUL, it’s truly coming down to this.

I have been a shitty breather for most of my life. For the past few years I’ve paid attention, but not before that. And, for many, many, MANY years, I’ve been a “suck in the gut” girl. And if you think about what happens internally when you suck in your gut, you push things UP and you push things DOWN. Things that aren’t meant to work up and down, or move like that. And….that breeds dysfunction. My internal “pressure system” is off.

So for three solid months, I’ve been working on breathing. Breathing in a variety of positions. Expanding my belly AND my ribs. Working on breathing lying down on my belly and breathing into my upper back. Side lying breathing. 90/90 breathing. All fours breathing. Blowing up a balloon. Because breathing, the expansion that happens is what sets off the muscles of the core working, AND what helps pelvic floor muscles function as they need to. Proper breathing, that is. Improper breathing, well...basically just AMPLIFIES everything in the worst way.


This has been a mind game for the better part of those three months. At first, it was easy. And then, I caught myself holding my breath a lot without knowing it. And then when that got better, I felt weird and like I was “off” because my muscles were changing and my posture was changing, and….after 35 years of my body used to doing things a certain way, supporting structure and fascia and muscles, and STUFF were having to operate differently.


And of course, this has impacted workouts too! Because I’m always focusing on breathing during every exercise. And I’m exhaling during the hardest part of my lifts (blow before you go). I’m regulating my pressure system in real life, and in workouts, and….it’s been mentally draining. But physically, I can feel the good stuff coming from this.


My pelvic floor symptoms are MUCH better. Not amazing yet, but like, we are getting places. I still sometimes feel off if I’ve been on my feet all day, or had a shitty breathing day, or didn’t sleep enough or something. But most days, things are good. I’m currently in the very early stages of training for a Highland Games competition (throwing stones, tossing a caber, that sort of thing) and working on my power and explosiveness with light weight, executing my breath, so….I can PATTERN that over and over and over and when the time is right, increase the weight as I need to.

I’m still working on breathing. I’m still working on the mind muscle connection between core and pelvic floor areas. And I’m working on not holding excess tension in my core during everyday life AND during my workouts. And that, some days, feels like a full time mental job.


My last conversation with my physical therapist was a good reminder. I was pissy and frustrated because I feel SO FAR postpartum and she reminded me I’m SO EARLY postpartum yet. My body is still changing and shifting. My hormones are still out of whack. And I still have some joint laxity that I can feel. I asked her to talk me off the ledge and she didn’t….she just gave me a gentle reminder that this can take awhile to work through to get to a point where I don’t think about it all the time. How long? She says 18 months is still early postpartum. So….I’m just shutting up and getting my breathing done. And my other exercises. And being experimental and mindful when adding in new exercises to workouts and training. And I’m being mindful to “blow before I go” when lifting and exerting effort.


Here’s the lesson that I needed to learn through all this. The last nine months have been a hell of a lesson in working on the shit that matters. Everything can “look right” on the outside, but also be a hot mess underneath the hood. So, this is a good lesson for me to be learning. I’m so glad I have gone through this at the same time I’ve worked through a postnatal fitness course. I’m so glad I have gone through this to gain compassion for my clients coming back to workouts after baby.


I’m so glad I have an ever expanding toolbox to help other women.


And so, I want to invite you to join my #CoreBoss course where I give it to you straight, and help you with the basics of what I know. My learnings from my postnatal course. My learning about breath and breathing and how a “core” actually works. If you are a woman, this free course is for you. Even if you aren’t postpartum nine months. Even if you’ve never had a baby. Even if you are postpartum 30 years. I am passionate about this topic, and I want to share it with tons of women, because….it seems, we need to get the word out that stuff like this MATTERS.

Please share this post with a girlfriend who needs this info. We need to pass this on and talk about it MORE, not less. This is not “do sit-ups and hope the problem solves itself.” This is USABLE information. You will learn, and then apply, and then learn more, and learn how to assess YOURSELF along the way. And you will learn what questions to ask when it’s time to advocate for yourself.


And, when you are looking at a postpartum mama and see a belly or no belly or whatever, instead of asking her if she’s dropped the baby weight yet….maybe ask her how her body is feeling and remind her that rest is freaking important. Because, you know, the FUNCTIONING of everything inside is a big deal. What the outside looks like….well, is only one sliver of information.


And to all you ladies guilty of sucking in the gut. Please stop. Your insides will thank you.
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