a kind of power

Still mind, firm grip, clear intention. 
All part of the art.

The abs and back lock. I curl the bar with steel plates collared on.

One more. No, I can get two.

I don’t care about callouses. I don’t even care about the difficulty of breathing. I care about the rep. The next rep. Clean. In perfect form, the hardest kind.

In the mirror I look like I might explode. And I might–one day. But it’s all worth it today.

The pain lasts a few seconds after I set the bar down. So much satisfaction and only a blip of pain to get it. Delayed pain will hit late on the next day, usually between my shoulder blades, in my glutes, or the side of my quads. Why don’t my hamstrings hurt much? Maybe I oughtta address that.

I sweat hard when I go heavy. That’s how I reach the thrill. Sweat makes the muscles glisten. I need to shine. It’s part of the art.

Who would have believed I would play with Dumbbells?

It’s nothing like playing with dolls, or coloring in books, or dancing to record albums. That was me then.

Dumbbells, barbells, plates, cables…

This is me now. Power.

Not better, but power in it’s own way.

Michelle Bernard strong and calmIt’s a rock hard determination kind of power. This is how I’ve come to own myself, how I have chosen to rise above the opinions others had about who I was to become–others who saw me in the past as shy, wearing dresses, with plump legs and squishy cheeks, and never sweating.

She’ll be a smiling church girl when she grows up. She’ll eat cornbread and fried chicken and green beans from a can.

She’ll bake pies and banana breads–splurge on foot longs–sip diet cokes at the bowling alley on Saturday nights and her double helping of fried mushrooms.

Or she might be a hippy with a big booty, no she’ll be fat or what we call a (very) big girl when she grows up.

Because that’s who I used to be.

But now I play with fitness toys and health books and I do push ups and chins and press a stack of weights over my head. I Vitamix green stuff with protein. I live the art of movement.

Still mind, firm grip, clear intention.

It’s all part of the art.

Michelle Bernard eyes above ordinary

live above ordinary

21 Days to Your Summer Body

Did someBODY say SUMMER?

Summer officially starts in less than 21 days, folks. Let’s make sure we feel confident, strong, and satisfied in those denim cut-off shorts and that white tank top.
It’s the perfect time of the year to begin losing weight, and I wanna help. For the next 21 days Imma be sharing simple steps that’ll walk you into a healthy lifestyle for Summer and (if you continue ’em) beyond. Summer officially starts in less than 21 days, folks. Let's make sure we feel confident, strong, and satisfied in those denim cut-off shorts and that white tank top. Click To Tweet

Do you wanna lose some weight? Maybe 5 or 10 pounds? Maybe a bit more?

Okay.
Once we decide we’re ready to lose weight, we want it to happen as soon as possible.

Weight-loss goals are reached by setting up and repeating lifestyle habits.

The repetition of new lifestyle habits may feel slightly unfamiliar and not always comfortable. Ne’er fret.
It gets easier.
But I want you to know upfront: It does not take 21 days to change a habit.

It takes about 21 days to set up a new habit.

I believe it takes 70-90 days to CHANGE an old habit into a new one.
That’s 9-12 weeks.
This is not bad news. Good things take time to take root.
Remember, if you have a goal to elevate your health and lose excess body-fat, get stronger, and raise your level of natural energy; you’ve chosen goals that are gifts.
Of course, you want to achieve these goals as soon as possible! And you deserve to achieve them.
Give yourself a few weeks, 21 days, to set yourself on course to receive these gifts.

Check-in every day for easy steps to create your summer body. You’ll learn the habits that will gift you a summer body and also gift you an ongoing lifestyle of health and leanness.

DAY 1

Find a place to workout.

You need a gym, studio, basement, back yard… Use that membership you bought January 3rd.

Advance-schedule your workout days and times.

Advance-schedule specifically means ➪ pick the same days and times every week.

 

 

Automating your workout schedule will make it feel like a responsibility, not a luxury. Responsibility simply means RESPONSE ABILITY.  Respond to your health and fitness. You can do that each week.

Aim for 4-6 workouts a week if fat-loss is your goal. If you’re a new exerciser, advance-schedule 3 workouts per week.
That’s all for today, folks. Except one more thang: if you advance-scheduled Saturday as a workout day—go workout tomorrow!

DAY 2

Weigh yourself today.

Don’t get too attached to the scale, though. I don’t advise you to weigh yourself again till June 21st.

Does that feel like holding your breath? It might if you’re as addicted to weighing yourself as you are to breathing.

You don’t have to check to see if the seed has sprouted roots, just water it and give it plenty of sun.  It will grow.

Take every step in these next 21 days, and you will see your meaningful goal become reality.

Now, set a meaningful goal to achieve in 4 weeks or by July 4th weekend.

Your goal needs to answer these questions.

How do you want to feel in 4 weeks?

Pick 2-3 words.
In case you’re blank, here’s some help:
focused
confident
disciplined
determined
sexy
strong
devoted
gorgeous
athletic
powerful
motivated
decisive
Use one of these or choose your own.

What will be different about your body in 4 weeks? Describe how your legs will look, how your abs will look, how your clothes will fit.

How will you know you’ve reached your meaningful goal?

There are many ways to answer this question.

Think about the comments you might get like “Daisy, are you doing something different? You look younger.”

And, “Bella, you have so much energy. Are you working out more?”

You could also describe a piece of clothing you will wear in 4 weeks.
White skinny jeans,
a form-fitting back dress,
a tank with spaghetti straps.

Remember, do not weigh yourself again until day 21. Let your clothes give you information about your progress for a couple weeks. They’ll get looser.

Review DAY 1.
By now you should have your workouts scheduled for the week. To save energy, keep your workout schedule the same every week so that it becomes an expectation not a luxury.
See ya tomorrow.

DAY 3

Cultivate what you wish to create on the inside, and live like you expect to see it reflected on the outside.

What if you could look and feel the way you imagine?

Write a 6-month fitness, health, and body vision today.

With a consistent workout schedule of 4-6 days a week and a healthy eating plan, you can completely elevate your health and lose excess fat. I believe it takes 6-9 months to give birth to a new experience of your body.  I was certainly able to lose my first 20 pounds in 9 months ☞ 20 pounds that stayed lost because I become a person who practiced the habits of being 20 pounds leaner.
In my thirties, when I started lifting weights, I changed my body again in a span of 6 months doing 5 workouts a week for no more than 60-75 minutes each workout.

During both of those transformations, I also read more library books than usual, received more work oppportunities, and accomplished other personal goals.

In other words, the tenacity and focus I used to remain consistent and  devoted to my health and body goal fed into every area of my life.

Now, write your 6-month body, fitness, and health vision today.

How will you look in 6 months?

Describe your energy level, activities, doctor’s reports, size, outfits you will wear, and the way you expect to feel.

Try this to describe your 6-month vision :

Find pictures that represent the way you’d like to see yourself in 6 months.

Make a private PINTEREST board.

Select pins that represent your fitness, health, and body vision.  Include pins of body parts like abs and arms, quotes you believe in, workout outfits you’ll wear, daily outfits you’ll wear, a trip you’ll take, and meals you’ll eat.

Day 4

Now you have two goals. You have a short-run goal and a big picture goal.

After July 4, set short-term goals every 8-12 weeks and keep setting big picture goals every 6 months.

Look at your goal every day.  Look at your vision every day.

Look at your Pinterest board and play make believe. 

make believe: Michelle Bernard

Make believe you are living your vision —— while showering, during cardio, before bed, or whenever you have time to dream.

It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.
                                                                                                                     Muhammad Ali

Day 5

Find the perfect water bottle.

You can tell whether your bottle contains BPA or not by looking at the bottom of it–#2 HDPE (high-density polyethylene), #4 LDPE (low-density polyethylene), or #5 PP (polypropylene) means your bottle is fine. A #1 is recommended for one-time use. Unfortunately, some of the fun, colorful bottles so pervasive on the market today often contain polycarbonate plastics. You can identify them by the #7 recycling symbol. (quoted from the article link below)

Find a water bottle without a PBA lining.

You need to drink 50 percent of your body weight in water ounces per day.

Don’t weigh yourself again. Use your weight from two days ago.
Back away from that scale! I gotcha.
Certainly fruits and vegetables contain water, so eat a fruit every day along with 3 or more vegetables.  This counts towards getting your water, too.
Also, drink 100% coconut water. Try this one. It’s sensational.

Day 6

Add more green to your life.

I call it a GREEN MUSTACHE, instead of smoothie. 

A smoothie is usually stocked with fruits. For most of us, smoothies add extra sugar calories to a day of already eating a majority of high sugar meals. Michelle Bernard green mustache

A GREEN MUSTACHE is stocked with green and other colorful veggies! Try parsley, cucumber, celery, kale or spinach (fresh or frozen) and blend with lemon rind and pulp, lime, ginger, and/or carrots or beets.

Pick 3-6 veggie ingredients and add one fruit or two fruit halves like one banana or half a pear and a handful of blueberries. Blend with water and ice.

Sometimes I use half unsweetened almond milk and half water. I always add a scoop of whey or hemp protein. 

Drink a GREEN MUSTACHE once a day 5-7 days a week!

DAY 7

Remember to Advance-Schedule this week’s workouts. Re-view DAY 1.

Add a strength training workout to your weekly schedule.

This includes body weight training like yoga or Pilates, push ups, dips, and squats w/o weights. It also includes using free weights, kettlebells, machines, bands and tubes, the Bosu, and the TRX.  Classes like Soul Cycle, CrossFit, and Barre have a strength building component.

Increasing muscle density makes your bones stronger, raises your metabolism, and can improve your posture.

I love strength training because of these reasons, plus it makes me feel like a warrior.  

I advance-schedule 4 strength training workouts every week.

How many strength training workouts are you advance-scheduling?

DAY 8

Start a daily journal.

Write about your experience losing weight, working out, and eating. Write your feelings. Write your challenges. Write your successes. Write your progress.

Write for 20- 30 minutes in the morning or before bed.

Re-write your meaningful goal in detail every week. Re-write your long-run vision every week.

Keep your imagination occupied.

DAY 9

Surely you’ve advance-scheduled your workouts this week!

Also, re-view the first 8 days today.

Stretch and relax for at least 10 minutes after each of your workouts.

Stretch your large muscles: your quads ☞ stand and balance. use your R hand and fold your R ankle behind you. repeat on the L leg.

Stretch your hamstrings and back.

 Child’s pose to stretch the back.Forward bend stretches the hamstrings.

 

Tight muscles limit your range of motion and can hinder agility. Stretching after each workout will help prevent injury and reduces the tendency to exacerbate a mild injury.

 

DAY 10

Good morning. I bet you’re feeling great! You’ve been working out 4-6 times each week, so your body is beginning to change.

Your appetite has probably changed, too. It’s likely you’re craving healthier foods, and loving those green mustaches.

To keep your portions small, use smaller plates. Make sure they are lovely plates. My favorite plates are the Asian-style sushi and noodle plates.

High sugar foods like pasta are usually served on a family-size platter. I don’t know about you, but even with my years of training and awareness, I could easily finish a family-sized platter of gnocchi.

So, if I want pasta and clams for example, I serve it in my wine goblet. It ends up being less than a cup of cooked pasta, which I feel no guilt about eating. I just love it.
I eat my morning oatmeal in a wine goblet.

Beautiful plates make food feel beautiful. That’s how it ought to feel when we eat.

DAY 11

Listen to your thoughts when you eat.

Would you believe that paying attention to your thoughts while eating can help you eat less, eat healthier, and digest easier?

But just as important, listening to your thoughts while eating points you toward what you’re really craving.

Sometimes just a few bites of cake will do, especially when what you really crave is a sweet conversation or alone time in a sweet-smelling flower garden.
Perhaps you’ll realize you don’t want an extra slice of pizza; you’d be more fulfilled with a staycation so you can paint canvases and go to the museum.

Listen to your thoughts while you eat for a week.
Write your observations in your journal.

DAY 12

Turn the world OFF 30 minutes before going to bed.

Do this so you can get the 6-9 hours of sleep your body needs to rejuvenate cells, reboot your mind, relax your nervous system, and dream.

Blue lights, computer screens, and Law and Order in the background can interrupt your biorhythms making you tired the next day. Restless nights can also make you gain weight. If you keep waking up with a mind full of thoughts, be sure you also have a body full of cortisol. And when you have too much unneeded cortisol, your belly gets fatter.

So, turn off the world 30 minutes before you turn off all the lights.

TV, Facebook, InstaG, email, text ☞ OFF YOU GO. Let your mind stop grinding.

Tomorrow I’ll share the mental massage, a way you can point the mind at your goals and intentions.

DAY 13

Give your mind a mental massage before bed or in the morning.

I prefer my mental massage before bed during the 30 minutes when I’ve shut off my gadgets.
Mental massages can be as short as 5 minutes and long as 30.
Sit or lie still and close your eyes. (I like to make hot tea and sit on my bed.)
With your eyes closed, take three slow breaths. Set an intention.
An intention is a desire that you are willing to allow into your life experience.

Last night my intention was: LET ME LEARN MORE ABOUT MYSELF THROUGH TEACHING. AND LET ME CONTINUE TO SHARE WHAT I LEARN.

Monday night my intention was: I RELEASE ATTACHMENT TO PERFECTION. MAY I BE POSITIVELY IMPACTFUL.

You can also intend a short phrase or single word like: I’M FREE, LET GO, EASY, LOVE, and THANK YOU.

Repeat your intention 3-5 times then breathe in silence. After 5-30 minutes say THANK YOU or YES or IT IS DONE.

I’d like to know how you sleep after the mental massage.
Leave a comment below!

DAY 14

Is your conversation about food and exercise optimistic or annoying?

Have you ever been around those constantly complaining dieters?
Have you spent time with exercisers who have contempt for exercise?
Or those people who tell anyone who will listen how tired they are, how hard losing weight is, how deprived they feel?
I can’t have that…
Oh no, I’m not supposed to eat…
Ugh! I wish I could just take a pill…!
Exercise and healthy eating has helped them manage their weight, reduce joint pain, and sleep better yet they complain about it.
I hope this is not you. I hope this will never be you.

Being able to eat healthy food is a blessing.

Being able to move, climb stairs, walk without swollen ankles, carry groceries for blocks, bend over without getting stuck bent over, and all the other benefits like reduced susceptibility to heart disease, diabetes, and cancer IS A GIFT.

I hope you are grateful for what your body can do. I hope you feel blessed to access real, natural, clean food and water.

Think about this today. Is your conversation about food and exercise optimistic or annoying?

DAY 15

Yesterday you observed your conversation around food and movement.

Today, listen to your thoughts about your body. The perfect time to notice what you’re thinking is when you look in the mirror. Are you pleased? Are you disappointed? Are you impressed? Are you not looking?

We have unconscious thoughts that flood our minds when we look in the mirror at our image. Pause and listen to them. If they are negative towards you, write about those negative thoughts in your journal.
Ask yourself why you have those feelings?

Then practice WHAT IF?

Ask yourself WHAT IF…(add your personal desire regarding your body and health)?

See each of the questions in your mind.

WHAT IF I had sculpted legs?
WHAT IF my belly was flatter?
WHAT IF I loved vegetarian meals?
WHAT IF I felt comfortable seeing my body in the full-length dressing room mirror?

Ask as many WHAT IF questions to address the negative thoughts you have about your body.

 

WHAT IF is a way to make believe. The more you change your negative thoughts into WHAT IF, the more they become suggestions to your subconscious mind. The images of you embodying your WHAT IFs will help you start to believe you can become what you imagine.

 Good job, if you’ve made it to HERE. One week till SUMMER.

 

 

 

DAY 16

By today you should have advance-scheduled and completed 9-14 workouts! Congratulations. Have you advance-scheduled strength training as well as cardio and flexibility training, too? Keep your BODY of EXERCISE well-balanced.

BODY of EXERCISE = a combination of strength, cardio, flexibility, and relaxation.

I know the value of having muscle, so I advance-schedule 4 strength training sessions a week. I do 2 cardio sessions and 3 hatha yoga sessions each week. Most days I combine modalities, for example I do strength, cardio, and yoga on Thursdays.

I workout 5 times a week. I prefer to keep my workouts at 45 minutes.

Start thinking about how you’ll reward yourself for maintaining all 21 days.

List of possible rewards…

Get a massage
Buy a new workout outfit
Buy new sneakers
Take yourself out for a healthy picnic
Go to the Botanical Gardens for lunch among the flowers
Buy a rosemary plant
Get a pedicure
Buy a journal
Buy an orange bikini
Get a Vitamixer!

Every 8-12 weeks, when you’ve achieved your meaningful goal, reward yourself!

 

DAY 17

Get support.

It’s always easier to start a new goal. Most of us need help maintaining our results.

Get yourself around people who are living healthy and excited about it. Get yourself around people who can motivate you. Get around people who can teach you. Get around people who support you.

Find a tribe that shares your vibe. 

DAY 18

We are only days away from the start of summer.
Summer gives longer days, more light.
What does MORE LIGHT mean to you?

Are you available to living lighter than you’ve ever been or feeling lighter than you’ve ever felt?

This is a question that challenged my belief.

You can believe you deserve more LIGHT, more health, more love, more help, more happiness.

Choose this right now. 

Notice that when you’re open to being and feeling lighter, you become LIGHTER.

I’ll talk more about choosing LIGHT tomorrow.

DAY 19

What other ways can you become lighter?

Begin by shaking off some of your stuff.
Do you have extra stuff weighing down your fridge,
your purse,
your closet,
your car,
your desk?

Clear away the excess. 

Take 20 minutes today and throw away stuff you don’t use, don’t need, that doesn’t speak to you, doesn’t represent you or your goals, and the stuff that doesn’t matter. Choose one area from the list above to LIGHTEN. 

Then LIGHTEN up tomorrow, too. Spend another 20 minutes discarding unnecessary weight (stuff) in your personal areas.
If you want to become lighter in a big way, spend 20 minutes every day this  week. Clear away the excess.

DAY 20

Would you look at that?

Tomorrow is day 21.

You made it.
How do you feel?
Today is the perfect day to re-view the last 19 days. Scroll up and check your progress.

Today, add PINS to your Pinterest vision board.

You’re going to weigh yourself tomorrow and again on July 4th.
After that, maintain 4-6 days of exercise for at least 30 minutes (I prefer 45+). Your body will change.
Resist checking the scale every 2 hours.

Only weigh yourself every 12-20 weeks. Fit of your clothes will give you more information.

The step for today is for your mind.

Choose a healthy life.

Advance-schedule 4-6 workouts so you can move your body regularly.

Drink a green mustache 5-7 days a week.

Fill your body up with LOVE TALK.

Say thank you for the amazing things your body can do.

Write your feelings, dares, decisions, and declarations in a journal EVERY DAY.

 

Instead of feeling rushed to lose weight and eat perfectly, just choose to live healthy.

Then shift your thoughts and habits into the thoughts and habits of a person who lives healthy. 

If you want more support ☞ Lean Happy Healthy You Michelle Bernard

DAY 21

Congratulations!

You’ve got everything you need to start summer with a healthy and fit body.

Keep re-viewing the 21 steps. July 4th is a few weeks away.

Reward yourself today! What reward did you choose on DAY 16?

Set another meaningful goal for August 1. Re-view DAY 2.

Weigh yourself today and again on July 4th.

And there’s one more step for today: encourage someone else to live healthy and fit with you.

Supporting someone to achieve what you aim to achieve will help you to become more successful.

Books I recommend for more info on bod and mind.

       

Happy Summer