<![CDATA[Emily Long Strong - Blog]]>Tue, 24 Nov 2015 08:03:07 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Thanksgiving Challenge]]>Mon, 23 Nov 2015 23:48:51 GMThttp://www.emilylongstrong.com/blog/thanksgiving-challengeFirst of all, I am thankful for YOU! For those who are looking to grow,  improve, change and always move forwards. For encouraging and supporting me, and for be willing to challenge yourself. I am inspired by all of you!!
So for Thanksgiving this year, I thought I would pass along some valuable tips that will help you thoroughly ENJOY your Thanksgiving day without guilt! If you implement a few of these simple tips, you'll feel like you weren't strict, but in control...

*Sliding Lunge (10 alternating, 5 each side)
*Plank hold w/ X slide (10 reps)
*Brazilian Crunch (10 alternating, 5 each side)
*Sliding Side-stepping squat  (5 each direction)
x3 -- Approximately 5 minutes long!!! Everybody has time for that!!!

Here are 5 simple tips to give you freedom to ENJOY Thanksgiving without going nuts!

1) Skip the appetizers that you can eat anytime.
Examples: mixed nuts, chips and dip, high fat veggie dips, bread with oil, meatballs, etc.
Although everything listed is delicious, it's stuff you'll see again at other parties, and it's not worth it on Thanksgiving!
Alternative: Munch of raw veggies before dinner time. It will keep your mouth and your brain busy so you won't have a chance to think about being hungry. And there's no guilt involved because you know you're just minutes away from a feast!

2) Skip the Alcohol until during/after dinner.
If you stick to water before dinner it will work the same way as munching on crunchy raw veggies. It keeps your mind busy and satiated so you're not filling up on calories from egg nog or wine.

3) Start with the protein and veggie.
Since you're going to fill your plate twice (HELLO! It's Thanksgiving!!!) be intentional about how you do it! Start with loads of turkey (if you love the dark stuff, who doesn't, do half white and half dark), and add all the green veggies. Once you're finished with that, add the sweet potatoes, stuffing, and mashed potatoes to your plate. That way you'll enjoy every bite, but you won't overdo it since you're already loaded with protein!

4) Choose the equivalent of 2 slices of pie for dessert.
That means if Aunt Betty made 6 different pies to choose from, you'll take a sliver from each that measures out to no more than 2 slices of pie. You'll find it's MORE than enough, it takes longer to eat, and you feel like you just pigged out (but you didn't).

5) Don't eat what you don't love.
This is a big mistake many people make. If you kinda like it but don't LOVE it, don't eat it! That leaves room for more of what you love! Don't eat it just because it's there. Think about each choice intentionally before you add it to your plate. If you love it, enjoy it!

BONUS: It's not the end of the world if you stuff yourself on one day. You know what sabotages people about the holidays? It's actually the days BETWEEN the holidays! If you eat 4,000 calories on each holiday but go back to a healthy diet and exercise the other days, you will likely not gain a pound. That leaves room for A LOT of enjoying yourself. So don't bring the pie home, pie is not breakfast. Decide what you're willing to do and stick to it!

Start your mornings with 5 minutes of movement. Not everyone can workout at 5am, but everyone can squeeze in 5 minutes of movement. You will be shocked to find that just a tiny bit of intentional movement in the morning will improve your mood, reduce stress, encourage healthier eating and more movement throughout the day.
I know it sounds crazy, and maybe even pointless, but if I'm right about even just ONE of those benefits I listed, it's worth it, isn't it? Give it FIVE mornings and then tell me if you don't feel even a little bit better.
Here's the irony... the workout video attached to this email is FIVE MINUTES LONG if you follow it exactly. So now you really don't have any excuses! :)

Here are the keys:
1) Try to do it without interruptions. For me that means making sure my son is either sleeping or preoccupied.
2) Set an alarm. It's just FIVE MINUTES. Don't make it a project or you will not continue to do it.
3) If you set your alarm and then feel like you have another 5 minutes, go for it! But only COMMIT yourself to 5. Anything above and beyond that is just a bonus!
4) Have FUN!

Much Love,

<![CDATA[Gratitude Is The Best Attitude]]>Wed, 28 Oct 2015 14:59:21 GMThttp://www.emilylongstrong.com/blog/gratitude-is-the-best-attitudeWith Thanksgiving just short of a month away, I figured it is an appropriate time to talk about gratitude. But not just  being thankful for your "things" or even just for the people in your life, but finding a way to be thankful even in the midst of trying circumstances, or around difficult people...
You hear it all the time, "There is always something to be thankful for", but do you BELIEVE that to be true?? That there is always something to be thankful for, in EVERY circumstance? In every person?

It is easy to be thankful when we are feeling good about our lives. When our job is going well, our finances are in order, our relationships are easy and comfortable, we don't have a lot of stress, etc. 

Naturally then, it's difficult to be thankful when things are are not going well. When we lose our job, we are drowning in debt, we are experiencing stress and anxiety and our relationships are suffering. The overwhelming feeling is defeat, and feeling like a failure. It seems there's not a whole lot to be thankful for.

The major difference between those who are thankful when times are good, and those who are thankful ALL the time, is our perspective on circumstance.

People who are grateful when things are going well rise and fall as a victim to circumstance. This may be difficult to grasp, especially if you hold up the mirror and find that this is you (I had to do this at one point, and still have to remind myself of this regularly).

Too many of us fall into the victim mindset in many areas of life. "If so and so wasn't here I would have gotten that promotion." "If my boss liked me he would give me a raise." "If my husband bought me flowers I would be kind to him." "If my wife had dinner ready for me every day I would buy her flowers."

Do you see the pattern? In each scenario, the person is claiming victim status which says "Someone else got me into this circumstance and someone will have to rescue me out of it."

What a powerless place to be!! That makes you a victim to your circumstance, other people's decisions, and your happiness rises and falls on those things. The newsflash for someone like that is things will NEVER get better. 

Now take the person who takes PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY in each of those situations and finds a reason to be grateful instead of falling into the victim role. The victim is jealous of competition, but the one who takes personal responsibility works harder and finds out what areas need improvement to continue growing and work towards the next promotion. The victim only reacts based on what other people do for them (i.e. cooking dinner or buying flowers), the person who takes personal responsibility for their own happiness SERVES others, even when they don't deserve it. Because let's face it, we don't really deserve it, either.

Do you see the difference? The point is that the CIRCUMSTANCE is exactly the same, the difference is a change in perspective about the situation, and the people involved. 

So here's the good news (those really stuck in that victim role may consider it bad news).... YOU alone are responsible to be grateful. True gratefulness comes from the heart and is not dependent on things going well. In fact, you are grateful all the time, and when things go well it is just a really wonderful added bonus. Your outlook is different though, and therefore your mood, joy and happiness are not indicators of your circumstance. They are indicators of a grateful heart despite the world around them. 

About a year ago I was invited to speak to a about seventy-five employees of local business with the sole purpose of helping them create a better, more supportive place to connect with each other. There was gossip, division, stress, and lack of cohesiveness as there is in many businesses.
I was brought in to share some tools to help the employees build bridges between coworkers and customers that they don't necessarily "like" and help facilitate a more positive atmosphere.
I had them do an exercise where they had to list 3 things they liked about each person at their table.  People later told me that it took them far outside of their comfort zone to shift their mind from the things they couldn't stand about those people, to intentionally finding something they appreciated about them. But when they did it, guess what happened? They began to genuinely appreciate that person for certain qualities. It's not that they began to "like" them, or started hanging out with that person. But their perspective changed because they were able to focus on the value that co-worker brings to the table instead of the unfortunate qualities.
Many told me they were amazed that they were even able to find anything positive about them! (Yikes!)

I challenge you to do that. Next time you wake up without zest for life on a Monday, think of what you're GRATEFUL for that day. Or you have to see a certain coworker that you can't stand, force yourself to find 3 things that you appreciate about them. What is it that you really like about your job, those people, your boss, your kids, your husband.... whoever and whatever it is! I Dare you! And then funnel your energy into those things.

If your co-worker is negative and gossipy, but she has a wonderful organizational skill, give her opportunities to use that skill! Ask her for tips on organizing your desk drawers, and how she sorts out her to do list. Empower them by helping them work in their strengths. You will see attitudes change and walls come down. 
Same thing goes for your spouse, your kids, your friends. There is ALWAYS something to be grateful for, and yes sometimes it's grasping at straws to find it. But the more in tune you become with LOOKING for things to be thankful for, the more you'll find them. 

Thanksgiving is a perfect time to evaluate where you fall in terms of gratefulness. But don't be thankful one day of the year and a victim the rest of the time. Be thankful EVERY day of the year! Most likely, as a result of the shift in your own attitude, your circumstances will improve and give you countless things to be thankful for! :)

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Much Love,
<![CDATA[Your 2015 Challenge]]>Thu, 05 Feb 2015 07:07:16 GMThttp://www.emilylongstrong.com/blog/your-2015-challenge This year, do you want to focus on the GOALS or do you want to focus on the process? I ask, because the majority of people who set resolutions have already failed. Why? Because they can’t understand why day after day they’re not achieving their goals. But you know why. It’s because day after day they’re not following the process. They’re stuck living in the past, in the future, and everywhere else except for exactly where they are at that moment. The *only* moment they can actually control.

I am totally guilty of this. 
This past month has brought on a lot of change, not just in circumstance but in thought process, goals, decisions, etc. It has been a slap upside the head, but (as always) a necessary one. 

We have been forced to take a harder look at ourselves in the mirror and ask ourselves- What DRIVES me. What am I PASSIONATE about. Why did God put YOU here right now, at this time, in this city, surrounded by these people. What stirs up my heart? What do I HATE about what I see around me? What problems need to be solved? What strengths and talents have I been give that I not just can, but MUST use to make a difference in this world? What do I need to spend LESS time doing? What do I need to spend MORE time doing?        

It has been such an amazing time of reflection, but at the same time, of chaos. Our house has turned from being neat and polished for the holidays, to a dumping ground for toys, puppy paraphernalia, books, papers, and a lot of other junk. 

A few weeks ago, I decided to pull my boot straps up and get to work. By the time I collapsed in my bed at 3 am, I had accomplished 3 loads of laundry, 2 loads of dishes, a clean kitchen, dusted house, clean bathroom, Ben’s room clean (he was sleeping in my bed with Jason, thankfully), a packed toddler (for a weekend at grandma's), 50 of my 66 email responses, all text messages and phone calls, and for the first time in weeks I finally felt like I could tackle this monster.

While I was dusting and organizing Ben’s room, I started to take note of things I pass by daily but rarely stop to note. His changing table, diaper storage, tiny socks hidden behind the dresser, rattles and teethers still in the toy box. Tears filled my eyes as I dusted his chair-rail and baseboards. I remembered setting that room up for the first time just a few weeks before he made his grand entrance and wondering what life was going to be like with a baby. I pictured sitting in that room night after night in the now barely used rocker, nursing my sweet tiny miracle and thanking God for him. I remember the sounds, the emotions, the exhaustion and anticipation. 

What would this boy be like? What would his little voice sound like? Would he look more like me or Jason? What will his interests be? How can I best teach him about Jesus and how to love God with his whole heart, soul and mind? Am I going to be good at this Mom thing?

And yet here we are. All alive and well. Ben has turned out to exceed my expectations in every way, and I am positive he will continue to do so- and I don't pretend to have had much to do with it. I have learned just a tiny bit more of what God’s love is for us in the way that I love my son. 

Both 2013 and 2014 have brought some of the biggest challenges of my life, and yet also the biggest lessons, growth and rewards. In the course of 2 years we have had the mourn the loss of 4 sweet babies, and learned how truly delicate, and precious human life is. 

I learned how to turn that mourning into dancing (literally, most times :)) and how to fuel that same energy into something positive. I learned that although I certainly spent necessary time grieving, how amazing and powerful it felt to overcome even my own emotions and funnel it into changing someone else’s life. Go figure.

I think above all else I finally began to understand the sacredness of life, and how quickly the years pass. That time is the only thing you can never, ever get back. Our days our numbered and I am determined to spend mine well. And that circumstance is NOT the lord of my life. God is, and He is perfect and loving, and I can trust in Him.

That has allowed me to look at circumstances and try to find the lesson in them. Circumstances are all too often not in our control, but our reaction and response to them ALWAYS is. I truly believe our response to our current circumstance largely impacts the circumstances we find ourselves in in the future.

As always, it is an incredibly imperfect process. And I am SO ok with that! In fact, that’s why I started by blog. A big ol’ celebration of IMPERFECT processes, and imperfect progress. 

So to sum it all up, I figure I'll share with you the 6 main things I learned in 2014 (and in true ELS style, a challenge for 2015):
  1. The importance of being present in relation to accomplishing goals- and pretty much everything else in life. (If you live in the past or the future, you will not accomplish your goals.)
  2. Motions precede Emotions (John Maxwell) -- and along that note, how to turn mourning into dancing. (spoiler alert- when you're in mourning, you JUST. START. DANCING.) 
  3. That circumstances are often out of our control but our response to them is entirely in our control. (Control, you seek? Start by controlling your reactions.)
  4. Sacredness of life (Talk about out of our control).
  5. Time is the only non-refundable commodity (Spend it well).
  6. Most times, things don’t go according to plan. Plan accordingly. (And always have a good book with you at all times. See #2 and #3)
  7. Prepare, do, review (Time wasted always planning is never spent in ACTION. Sometimes it's all Ready, fire, aim. Learn from your mistakes.)
2015 6-STEP CHALLENGE: 21 Day Process Project, but each day focus on being present all day, every day.

STEP ONE: (Sorry, step one is like a 3 in 1)
1) Identify 3 things you are GREAT at. What are your strengths?
(ie: Relating to people, connecting to people, inspiring others, making people laugh, listening, etc)
2) Identify 3 areas where you can improve.
(ie: not worrying about what people think of you, implementing tools to reduce stress, etc)
3) Identify 3 things that will be different about YOU (not your circumstance, not your schedule, just YOU) and state them in the present. (ie: I am more confident. I am bold. I am a loving mom who is patient and kind with her children.... etc)

Now, WRITE THEM DOWN. If you have just been thinking of those things in your mind, now is the time to write them. Plain and clear. Think of Habakuk 2:2, “Write the vision. Make it plain and clear.” and Proverbs 29:18, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” On that note- do you realize that you need vision in EVERY area of your life? Not just business ventures and weight loss goals? I challenge you to consider your vision for your marriage, as a parent, your vision for your relationships… etc. 

Post it somewhere. Somewhere you’ll look every single day. On your fridge. On your steering wheel. I post things on my bathroom mirror that I don’t want to miss. I regularly  keep bible verses and names of people I want to pray for throughout the day pasted on there.
What if someone sees it?! AWESOME. Now you get the chance to pay it forward. Don't get all awkward. OWN it. This is YOUR life… YOU have to live it, YOU are responsible for it. Not anyone else.

Be present. EVERY. DAY.

That’s it. I don’t want you to obsess about working out for 10 minutes every day, or not eating any fried foods. All I want you to do now, now that your vision is plain and clearly stated and you will read it multiple times each day, is BE PRESENT. 

Here is why- When you KNOW your goals, and your subconscious is focused on that, the only missing piece is focusing on what you’re doing RIGHT now. 

Several people who started the first "Process Project" fell off about 7-9 days in. Most likely because it became reactionary. It's 9pm and you're like- crap what did I do today in regards to my process!? They didn't really take the time to dig deep to discover their goal, and then find the why of the why of the why. That's called purpose. And if you forget about your purpose until 9pm, let's just say, honey, you ain't dreamin big enough.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson says it lil this, "The first step in achieving your goal is  to take a moment to RESPECT your goal. Know what it means to you to achieve it." 
When you're reading about The Process Project that's the "Why of the why of the why" part of it.

When you KNOW your goal, and you’re 100% present, you make the right choice.

Spend TEN MINUTES each day reflecting on that day. At the end of the night before bed, go wherever you need to go to be alone, grab a notebook, set a timer if necessary, and reflect on that day. What went well, what could have gone better? Ask God to open your heart and show you areas of improvement, and also to highlight the things that went well. Use that time to make mental notes of mistakes you won’t remake the next day. Be careful not to have a judgmental attitude towards yourself and your shortcomings, but instead be excited and proud of yourself for taking this time to invest in yourself.
***Blog coming soon about how selfish it is to keep your focus on all your weaknesses. Until then, think about this verse: 1 Corinthians 12:10 " My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of CHrist, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.For when I am weak THEN I am strong."

Spread the word. There is POWER in numbers. I have an OVERWHELMING urge for #TheProcessProject to blow up all over the country. And this is why- TOO MANY PEOPLE ARE FAILING in life- in their marriage, as parents, as friends, in their jobs, etc. And each time we fail, our faith grows weaker. I know because that was me (and could be me if I don't keep a close eye on things)! I was always so great at starting things and terrible at finishing them. Each time I quit something, I had a line up of really great reasons (read: excuses) for not completing it. And although on the outside I kept things calm and like I had it all in control, inside me I was becoming insecure and my fear of stepping out of my comfort zone grew stronger, while my faith grew weaker. Each little failure added fuel to the fire of defeat.

It took getting MAJORLY uncomfortable OVER and OVER and OVER again before I finally began to realize I wasn’t destined for failure. But it would take work to get out of that vicious cycle.

Working with hundreds of clients over the years I have seen people fail and I have seen people succeed, and there is only ONE difference. The process. That was IT. One quit on the process, the other plugged away day after day. (If you haven't already, read more at "The Process")

That is striking a cord in some of you right now! Some maybe are even feeling a little bit offended. But here’s the deal, you can’t fail if you don’t quit. And if you quit, you failed! And if you're offended by that, I probably can't help you. 
But it’s not over yet. If you’re reading this, that means you still have a pulse. And if you still have a pulse you still have an opportunity. You and I can lock arms and hold each other up when we feel like quitting again.

There is such a need in our society to stop focusing on the shiny objects and start focusing on being PRESENT in the PROCESS. Will you help me do that? Help me spread this message. If it tugged at your heart strings, chances are it will tug at the heart strings of your friends and family. Join together, lock arms and march forward!

So step 6 is to think of at least 10 people that you think would be inspired to join you in this. The first 10 people that come to your mind (or more if there is more!), send them the link and ask them to join you! Ten people you know who want MORE out of life, who deserve more, and are ready to make some changes. 

LET'S DO THIS!!!!!!!!!

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<![CDATA[Growing Pains]]>Thu, 05 Feb 2015 06:57:37 GMThttp://www.emilylongstrong.com/blog/growing-pains<<This post was written back in May 2012 for my Fitness Business site. It made a big impact there, so I figured it was worth sharing here!! It's so fun for me to read this and think back to where we were, what was going on, and be so THANKFUL for what we learned along the way! :):) I encourage you to journal your journey so you can do the same thing!!>>
We’ve all heard the phrase “Oh those are growing pains you’re feeling.” It’s a phrase used to explain stress/anxiety when someone is going through a life change like  switching jobs, moving to a new city, getting married, having children, sending their kids off to college, losing a job, losing a loved one, etc. Any seismic shift in one’s “normal” results in a series of emotions, which are often referred to as “growing pains”. Growing pains are associated with, well, pain, discomfort, sadness, grief, depression, but they are called “GROWING” pains because of the promise of something much bigger on the other side.

Right now I could say Ben is experiencing “growing pains” because he is teething. We are in the midst of sleepless nights, crying out of the blue, chewing on everything. But we can endure it because we know that at the end, he will have a couple new teeth that will help him to continue to grow. Although it is tough, and there is nothing I enjoy less than hearing my baby cry and scream in pain, I know that MANY others have been through this before, and have come out of it just fine- with no memories of it even.

I decided to blog this week about something that is very personal and vulnerable to me. As a business owner and “leader” of sorts, this is actually very uncomfortable to do (I suppose you could consider it a type of growing pain!). But I think it is of upmost importance in this particular field, because if you haven’t realized it by now, “fitness” and “health” is about so much more than just fitness and health. Often times, the ultimate goal is stated as “to be healthy, to lose weight”. But that is honestly not the reason… for anyone! Yes you want to be healthy… but WHY. What is the goal of that goal? So you can live longer? So you can spend time with your kids? So you have energy to ENJOY your life and not let it pass you by? Those are the real reasons, but often we don’t think of them in our conscious thoughts.

So all that to say, I have been experiencing major growing pains lately. Those of you are currently an active part of TREO know that a lot has been going on! From the Fit in 40 challenge, to the group 5k, to the launch of a new line of Supplements, to a huge charity event we’ll be hosting in June… and everything involved in each of those. Jason and I threw ourselves (along with our employees) into a whirlwind of activity, often asking ourselves- are we moving too fast? Right around the time that I was borderline having a panic-attack (not entirely seriously.. but close), we read a blog post by someone we respect. It talked about not waiting until you’re “ready” before moving forwards, because you’ll never be ready. Use the forward pressure and momentum to your advantage, go with it, do the best you can, and you’ll be amazed at the results. It is almost always awkward, uncomfortable, and painful at times, but it is also almost always worth it. We decided to pick ourselves up by the boot straps and keep pressing forwards.

There are times when things are going GREAT and everything appears to be lined up. Then there are other times where things are not going perfectly at all. If 10 great things happened, it is almost always easily overshadowed by 1 negative thing. THIS is a growing pain. Teaching yourself to deal with the 1 negative thing, turn it into something positive and move forwards. Do it right the first time, because next time will be much harder. Learn from your mistakes and be stronger.

So I thought I would share this personal experience because I can honestly say it has helped me to change my outlook on life recently:

All through middle school, high school and college I was SO SHY. I know it is probably hard to believe now (haha) but I really was so incredibly shy. I had very little confidence and was constantly insecure.. about how I looked, what I was wearing, what I said and what I did. Anytime I had to present a book report, or even answer a question in class, my hands shook, palms sweat, heart raced and face turned beet red.  I got made fun of all the time for it- which of course made it worse (beet red turned to plum purple). When I got to college, I had to take a public speaking course in order to get my degree. I had anxiety for WEEKS before the class started. Any time I even thought about it I would start to feel shaky and my heart would race. I was so scared. I ended up taking it in the summer since I figured 3 weeks of 3 hour classes was better than a whole semester of torture. I made it through, passed the course, and lived to tell about it. 

What’s really interesting, though, and what struck me recently, was on the night of the Fit in 40 orientation, Jason said to me, “So did you ever think you’d be speaking in front of 85+ people?”. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of that. I felt so comfortable and natural, I wasn’t even nervous about it for a second. That caused me to look back at the past few years since college, and try to identify where that all changed. I remembered how I had started teaching group exercise classes about 4 years ago. I remember how nervous I was for hours before each one. I remember at times wanting to quit and stop doing it, even though I loved the idea of teaching them, and I loved making “fitness” fun for people. It progressed from there, to getting a bigger class to teach, to starting Group Personal Training with Jason, to increasing the classes from 2/week w/ about 4-7 people per class, to eventually 20/week with 15+ per class. All the way to where I am now, doing what I love, and not being able to imagine life any other way.

Maybe that was TMI…. but here’s my point: It took someone else (in my case, Jason) reminding me that not long ago, I was a girl that had you told me I’d be leading an orientation of 85+ people, she would have laughed in your face.

As a result, instead of being anxious and stressed about the growing pains I’m experiencing right now, I have been able to change my outlook based on where I once was and where I am now, and imagine where these growing pains will take me in the future. It took much longer than 4 years to get me where I am today. And I could have easily quit back when I started and decided that it wasn’t for me (why would something be “for me” if it’s so uncomfortable?!”). Let me be the one who reminds you to look back on your life and see how far you’ve come. Although you can feel the “pain” of growing, you don’t always “feel” the growth itself. By the time we’ve grown, we’re onto the next thing and never stop to be proud of ourselves.

Back to a literal sense, if we did not experience growing pains as a child, we would be unable to function to our fullest potential in every day life. Every time you “save” yourself from experiencing the pain of growth, you prevent yourself from experiencing life.
I am making a point to identify the areas of my life that I have become complacent, and if you are at all challenged by this, I suggest you do the same.

Relationships/Friendships/Marriage? Health? Job? Spirituality?

There are so many areas that it is just simply easier to stay comfortable. To stunt our growth. The greatest and most influential people in the world are never comfortable. The second they are, is the second they stop moving forwards. Use this forward pressure. Be better every day. Allow yourself to dream big and allow yourself to fail. If you get caught up in the stress and anxiety of every day life, like I did for a long time, you become inward focused and you poison and pollute your mind with lies. Do not underestimate your will, your mind and the power of self-belief and positive thinking. “Weak will, weak body. Strong will, strong body”. Do not forget it!
<![CDATA[Refresh Buffalo! 12.6.14]]>Fri, 05 Dec 2014 05:01:10 GMThttp://www.emilylongstrong.com/blog/refresh-buffalo-12614One of the most common things I hear from people when talking fitness and nutrition this time of year is, "I can't wait until January 1st so I can be done with the junk food, and get serious about my weight loss goals."

Well, here's my advice to you: If you're serious at all about your health, body composition and how you look and feel, then you don't have time to wait, START NOW!

**To see the actual REFRESH Buffalo News article, click HERE! :)
See, what people don't understand is the "I will start on January 1st" statement is not just an excuse, but it is a mindset issue. It's the "I will start tomorrow" mentality. Because guess what? The 1st is a Thursday, so what is the next thing I will hear from folks? "I will start on Monday." Most likely there will be a post-Christmas party somewhere, so the only natural next step is "I will start the day after my party." Then there's the birthday party, Valentine's day, your anniversary, your best friends bachelorette, a wedding… and I think you get the picture.

So what I would challenge you with is this: Take a good, hard look at your goals verses your excuses and make a decision about what is more important. Making that decision now will save you a lot of time, trouble and guilt in the future.

If you decide that you're SERIOUS about your health and making some changes, then there is absolutely no room for "I will start on Monday", you must start today. 

**And if you're serious about starting NOW and you need some extra support and encouragement, you NEED to check out #TheProcessProject! Click HERE to check it out.

NOTE: You'll find 2 workouts below that you can do at home OR the gym, but if you are serious and ready to go, TREO Sports & Fitness is launching a HOT FOR THE HOLIDAYS Special which starts NOW. You can see details HERE

If your schedule won't allow you to get in to the gym this time of year, start with the at-home workouts and then check out our "FIT IN 15" Special Offer that will be posted THIS week. Keep an eye on TREO Sports & Fitness website (<---Click there) :-)
As far as Nutrition goes, the best thing you can do to start now is to follow the 80/20 rule. Eat 80% good 80% of the time. A perfect example is this: Out of the 31 days of December there is typically an average of 5 parties to attend. That is 5 meals out of the 124 during the month of December (assuming you eat 4 times per day). So even if you completely BOMB those 5 meals, but you keep the other 119 under control, you won't see a pound gained on the scale. In fact, you'll probably actually lose weight! 

The problem comes in when you find yourself eating cookies and cake for breakfast, grabbing a cookie every time you pop into the break room and drinking one too many poinsettia martinis. Start this habit now, and you'll already be set up for success when the New Year arrives.

It's so simple that it's just as easy NOT to do, as it is to do. It just takes some intention.

When it comes to exercise, once again, there is no reason good enough to entirely hold off until the New Year. I can go on and on about the benefits of exercise, but just to touch on a few, it will help you reduce stress, increase energy, improve mood, improve sleep… need I go on?

Start with just 10 minutes a day at your own level. If you're just getting started, even 10 minutes of brisk walking is just fine. If you're looking for something specific that you can do at home or at the gym, then let's get to work :)

Here are 2 workouts. Each one should take between 8-15 minutes (depending on the amount of rest you require between sets. The less the better). You can view the videos below to see what the workouts should look like when put together. LET'S GO!

WORKOUT 1 <Perform 3 sets of 8-10 repetitions per side>
1) Single Leg Squats: Starting with feet hip width apart, about 12 inches in front of a chair or stool. Shift your weight to the right foot and lift up the heel of your left foot to ensure you don't shift weight back over to that foot. Leading with your hips (not your knee) push your hips back towards the chair, keeping your chest lifted and your eyes straight ahead until your hips touch the chair (use books to boost the height if necessary). Press into the heel of your right foot to engage your glut on the way back up to standing. Complete reps and then switch sides.

2) Plank to Push up: Start in a push up position, in a straight line from your shoulders to your heels and hands directly below your shoulders. Keeping your abs and gluts nice and tight, lower onto your right elbow, and then down to your left elbow, keeping your abs and gluts tight the entire time and without allowing your hips drop to either side. From there, press one arm at a time back up into a push up position to complete 1 rep. Lead with the left arm next. (To increase difficulty, add a push up at the top of each rep.)

3) Modified Deadlift:  If you don't have weights at home, you can fill 2 grocery bags with books, milk jugs, etc. Make sure it is enough weight. Start with the grocery bags on either side of your hip-width feet. Keeping your chest up and eyes forward, sit back into your hips until your hands reach the handles of the paper bags. Engaging your gluts and pressing into the ground with your heels, drive your hips forwards until you are in an upright position. Reverse the movement by leading with your hips, engaging your hamstrings and slowly lower the bags back into their original position. 
WORKOUT 2: <Perform 3 sets of 8-10 repetitions per side>
1) Cossack Squat:  Standing with feet wider than hip width  and toes turned out slightly, sit hips back and shift weight towards the left leg (making sure that your left knee remains in line with or slightly behind your toe). Remove weight from the right side almost completely by flexing your foot so that only your heel is resting on the floor. Stand up to center and repeat other side.

2) Bulgarian Split Squat: Elevate back foot about 12" off the floor, resting the top of your foot on the surface. Making sure hips stay square, slowly lower your back knee down towards the floor, keeping your front knee in line with your ankle. Straighten back up and repeat. Once set is complete, switch sides.

3) Static Door Frame Row: Standing inside a door frame, facing the frame, bend knees slightly by pushing hips back. Grab the edge of the door frame with your right hand so that your arm is in a 90 degree angle with your elbow at your side. Without allowing your body to move forwards or back, pull the doorframe towards your body engaging your back and arm (nothing will move, but all the proper muscles will be engaged). Hold for 10s, release and switch sides.

All 6 exercises become 1 workout, movements are more advanced:

<Perform 3-5 sets of 10 reps total (5 each side)>
1) Pistol squat (or low single leg squat) <<See picture below>>
2) Plank to push up WITH a push up at the top of every rep
3) Modified deadlift (increase weight used)
4) Cossack Squat (Hold a weight with both hands at chest level)
5) Bulgarian Split Squat (Hold a weight with both hands at chest level)
6) Static Row (Hold for 30 seconds)
Much Love, 


Here is an example of a pistol squat (replacing the single leg squat). Only perform this exercise if you have learned how to do it safely and properly from a coach! Otherwise stick with the single squat and practice increasing your depth.

Go get 'em!
<![CDATA[12 Tips for Keeping a Healthy Heart and Back This Winter]]>Thu, 20 Nov 2014 20:24:56 GMThttp://www.emilylongstrong.com/blog/12-tips-to-keeping-a-healthy-heart-and-back-this-winterThere are 2 things that are often associated with shoveling during the winter season, especially in a place like Buffalo where we get hit hard almost every year: Back injury and Overexertion. 

People who aren’t ordinarily susceptible to these things are STILL at risk so it is important to be educated.

Those who are in Buffalo during the storm we are having right now, keep in mind that if your road is unplowed, or there is a driving ban in your town, it would be extremely difficult to get to the hospital, so use wisdom when deciding how important it is to go outside and shovel or snow-blow.

My two loves: Jason and 3 year old Ben during the Buffalo storm, November 2014
  1. Are you strong/healthy enough to jog a mile? If you’re not, chances are your heart isn’t conditioned enough to shovel or snow-blow intensely. If you are in this category, be prepared to take frequent breaks and DO NOT over-exhert yourself just to finish up quickly. 
  2. Did you just eat a heavy meal? If you did, you need to wait at least 30-45 minutes before you go out and start shoveling. Would you eat a heavy meal and then hop on the treadmill for sprints?
  3. Would you Doctor approve you for intense cardio exercise and lifting? If you don’t think so, play it safe.

  1. Start with a warm up and finish with a cool down. Walk around to increase your heart rate slowly. Don’t jump in cold. Take time to let your breath and heart rate recover before you run inside and sit on the couch.
  2. Take breaks to do some body weight squats, or mini hops to get blood flowing to your lower body. Your heart is designed to send blood to the working muscles. When you shovel, you are engaging in short, explosive movements with a small appendage (your arms). Your heart slows blood flow to other areas of the body and sends it to your arms. This is a big strain on your heart if it’s not conditioned.
  3. If you are already at risk for high blood pressure, stay out of the snow. Shoveling is known to raise blood pressure extremely rapidly due to the short, explosive movements. 
  4. Take breaks BEFORE you think you need one. Don’t let your lungs burn before you take a break. 
  5. Stay hydrated. This is intense exercise!
  6. Know heart attack warning signs and PAY ATTENTION to them. Remember that if your street is unplowed and you don’t know how you’d get to a hospital it may be best to play it safe. Remember to use wisdom!

If you are sure your heart can handle shoveling/snow-blowing, then pay attention to these tips to keep your back healthy. Be proactive if you start experiencing symptoms. In a situation like this, assumer the worst so you can be prepared to handle it if it is an emergency. Better safe than sorry!

1.   Warm up and cool down before and after starting. Don't take this lightly.
2.  Don’t shovel from the bottom of the pile. Start skimming off the top and then get deeper.
3.   Keep the heaviest part of the load as close to your body as possible, and keep one hand close to the shovel for better leverage
4.   Engage your abs, hinge from your hips and bend your knees to pick up snow. DO NOT bend through your spine or “hunch” forward.
***Note: Doing it with proper form WILL force you to slow down, and that is not a bad thing! Listen to your body!
5.   Keep your hips and shoulders square to each other. Do not twist or rotate to pick up snow or unload it, but instead pivot your feet.
6.   Instead of tossing the snow to the place where you’re unloading it, walk there. Yes it takes more time, but throwing out your back will take a lot MORE time to recover from then walking 3 feet to the snow pile.

Last thing to consider, some tough love from me :). If you find yourself in a situation where you have to seriously consider whether you’re fit, healthy and strong enough to shovel, it is time to get serious about getting in shape. We have one chance, one body and one life to live. It is our responsibility to be good stewards over what we’ve been given, and to take good care of our bodies.

Regular activity, strength training, and cardio along with a healthy diet and high quality supplements are vital to living a long, healthy life. So many diseases and injuries can be prevented with intentional care of our bodies and our health. 

It is SO not about how we look, yet we allow that to be our driving force. I think that all too often we think that our “why” to exercise and eat well is simply because of how we look at the beach, when what truly matters is if we’re healthy enough to go to the beach or to play with our kids, or our grandchildren. We don’t wonder if we’re healthy enough to run around and chase a ball, or go for a walk until it’s too late and we realize we aren’t. 

It boils down to the quality of your life you choose to have. And how much value you place on that. I hope that if you find that you’re not physically fit enough to get outside and shovel, that you resolve in your heart to change that so you can be strong, healthy and fit next year. Not for the sake of shoveling, but for the sake of you. :)

Much love!!


Note: Even if you can answer YES to all of these questions, it is important to consult your doctor before engaging in any sort of physical activity, even shoveling or snow-blowing.

<![CDATA[The Metaphorical Grandma]]>Sun, 14 Sep 2014 03:39:01 GMThttp://www.emilylongstrong.com/blog/the-metaphorical-grandmaJust a couple weeks ago,  Jason and I were down at Keuka Lake for Benjamin’s 3rd birthday weeked (THREE!!!!!!! AHHHH!!!). Luckily for us, my amazing parents stayed home with Ben while he napped so Jason and I could sneak out for a playground workout. Total side note, how weird is it that 2 full grown adults go to a playground for a workout date while their toddler is sleeping? Isn’t that weird??...
Anyway, while we were there, there was a brother and sister playing on the monkey bars. They would watch us do pull-ups, pushups, leg raises, etc., and copy what we were doing. It was awesome! They were probably 8 and 10. 

They were there with their Grandma so every once in a while we would exchange a few sentences. At the very end, when they were leaving, I said to the young girl (who was about 10), “You did an awesome job! You were a rockstar on those monkey bars!” She smiled, proudly. Her grandma told me they were her favorite, to which I responded, “They were always my favorite growing up, too! And look! I am almost 30 and I still hang out on the monkey bars!” They both smiled and this is when everything changed…

The grandma reached around, grabbed 2 handfuls of the extremely impressionable 10 year girl’s stomach, and said “Well God knows she needs it! Don’t you, chubs?

<- False. Said one granny ever.

The girl smiled at me sheepishly and in obvious humiliation, turned and walked away towards the car. My jaw dropped and I said nothing.

Why do I share this story with you? Because how many times do we deal with this in our lives? How many times does the metaphorical grandma reach around from behind, grab 2 handfuls of your belly and say “You are not good enough.”? Maybe the metaphorical grandma is your own negative self-talk (aka: Head Trash).

I was SO incredibly disturbed by what happened and had to totally calm myself down from thinking nasty thoughts about what I should have said to the grandma and how she should probably spend some time on the monkey bars herself, and how upset I was over the state of this country and the fact that young girls have to compare what was said to her to what she sees on the media and ask herself- how do I get from where I am (not good enough) to where I want to be (unattainable, airbrushed perfection).

The craziest part is- I’m not sure we even know what we believe to be beautiful. On one hand we’re all about stick-skinny Victoria’s Secret models- “Gosh if I could have her legs!” and the next minute we are blasting the thigh gap- “Ew! People who have a gap between their thighs are sickly looking and gross!” (as they secretly google “how do I get a thigh gap” from their phones). After that, we are singing songs like “I’m all about that bass” that basically says “Sorry skinny girls! Boys are NEVER going to want you! They are all about voluptuous curves and allllll this bAss!”
Well, it goes both ways, folks!

When we say to a girl “Girlfriend! Embrace your curves! Guys like a little cushion! They don't want a skinny fat chick with no meat on her bones!”, we are simultaneously saying to the next girl, “Hey string bean! You are gross and we are all OVER size 0. Eat a cheeseburger!” -- Not to mention we are saying that the reason the voluptuous girls should enjoy their curves is because that is what BOYS want. Wow. Great lesson! This is another blog topic entirely.

Or when we all talk about how Kate Moss is totally right on about how nothing tastes as good as thin feels, and when a well-known CEO of an athletic clothing line alludes to the fact that “Our pants are really designed for those women who’s legs don’t rub together. You know, those with a thigh gap.” which says to the athletic, muscular girl next to her “Oh that’s muscle in those thighs? I don’t care, that should be a gap of empty air space. If you want to be pretty, forget strength and being healthy. Also, forget about your bone structure and the fact that your hips are narrow and you couldn’t have a gap even if you weighed 93 pounds. You must find a way to have a thigh gap to be pretty.”

<-The same blog post that is all about how women need to love their bodies is the one that posted this picture. Those of us with thigh gaps are very confused. Do I love my body?  Or do I eat a cupcake… The weirdest part about it is I am known for standing like a flamingo, and have done that for most of my life without even realizing it. 
For your viewing pleasure, this is how I stand when I brush my teeth every day:

We even get carried away with “fitspo”. How many times have you seen an amazingly sculpted athletic body with some kind of saying on it- “Suck it up now so you won’t have to suck it in later.” If you're like most Americans, that probably inspired you to go do 100 crunches, then stand in the mirror holding your shirt up trying to see if you can find an ab, followed by feeling defeated and crashing in front of the television set for another episode of "The Biggest Loser" while you smash your second bowl of Panda Paws. Sound familiar?

Now- I am NOT saying anything is inherently wrong with that statement. I mean, it’s true. Seriously... suck it up and do the work. But that’s not the point.

The point is- do you even KNOW what you want? Or what your body is capable of doing? Or better yet what it is DESIGNED to do and be and look like?!

I will tell you this- the first time I started testing the limits of what my body could DO I stopped obsessing over how it LOOKED. And the craziest thing happened, it starting looking better than ever. Did it look like the Barbie doll perfection on the cover of magazines? No, not even close. 

Before, when I was depressed over my “flabby” butt and my weird bumpy un-toned stomach and flabby, soft arms, all I did was THINK about food, THINK about working out, OBSESS over what I looked like and made life ALL ABOUT ME.

Once I started realizing- Hey! I am pretty strong! I started challenging my body and started leaving the gym thinking- “Sweet! I did a pull-up for the first time today!”, instead of “The scale went down a pound!!!”

What I’m saying is, it’s all ridiculous! The real issue is that SO FEW people have found a
balance between embracing what they have and NOT shaming what they don’t have! You know what I’m saying? 

Here’s what I mean, I don’t sit here and blast girls with boobs and great curves because I don’t have any! I sit here and say, Hmm, let’s work with what I can. I can build my booty with squats and other things, but unless I want man pecs I can’t really do anything non-surgical in that area (haha). So I should probably just focus on what I can change for now.  

The point is, embrace it without saying something NEGATIVE about what you can’t have. When the “thigh gap” trend was going around, it was the first time that I realized I do in fact have a “thigh gap”.  As quickly as the thigh gap became “the thing to have”, several articles by popular fitness inspiration started circulating that said things like “Girls! If you don’t have a thigh gap that means you are a STRONG, HEALTHY individual! Why would you want to be a string bean?! Embrace your beefy quads!”

So I’m what... weak and unhealthy? A string bean? Actually I just have really broad shoulders and extremely boney hips. My hips are set wider and therefore I have a thigh gap. Not because I tried to have one or because I do a million sumo squats and leg lifts suggested by pinterest. Simply, because I do.

<- I think it's safe to say that this math equation is true: "thigh gap"  ≠  "weak" or "stringy" or "skinny fat".

Are you following me yet??? Why do we have to put one down to lift the other?!

Instead of “I love my curves because I think that string bean girls look like they are sickly and gross.” how about let’s try, “I love my curves!!!!!!” PERIOD.

Instead of “I love being thin because I really think J-Lo’s butt looks ridiculous.” (what?!) how about let’s try, “I love being thin!!!!!” PERIOD.

STOP apologizing about what you LOVE about yourself!!! STOP saying that you love it simply because you hate something on someone else. 

You know what? I love being the size that I am because I think I am a lot stronger than I look and I think that’s awesome! I also love it because I know it’s a body that was earned and not given. I know that I EAT (a lot) and don’t obsess over calories, carbs, fat or sugar. I also know what my body has been through, especially in the last almost 2 years and I think- You GO, girl! 

And do you know how many times the metaphorical grandma has reached around and grabbed my stomach and said “Honey, you’re too thin. You need to gain some body fat. You don’t want to look too muscley, do you? I can see your ribcage! You need some meat on those bones! But not more muscle. You don't want to start looking "bulky".”  And you know what they’re really saying is: “Maybe you’re happy with where you’re at, and you may even be perfectly healthy and eat enough and get enough nutrition. But according to my standards, you look too thin and frankly, I don’t like it. I think that you should have some meat on your bones and stop working out so much. You’re starting to look like a man.”

But you know what? I (finally) don’t even care! And you shouldn't either.

So here’s the end of the story…

Love yourself. Stop hating on other people’s body types. Stop feeling like you can only build yourself up when you put someone else down. Just love yourself. 

Once you’ve done that, you can FINALLY let go of “you” and start focusing on and investing in others.  

And to tie in the loose end I left when I started this post, I don’t even know where to start in reference to that grandma. I am sure she meant well, but what she did was detrimental to that young girl. Something the girl will have to battle on her own. So that’s where this post comes in. I can’t put a stop to the “metaphorical grandma”, but I can hopefully help you see yourself as you are. Most of all, do it without apologizing for loving yourself, and without putting someone else down at the same time. Do it just because you do.

End rant ;)

<![CDATA[The Process.]]>Thu, 31 Jul 2014 14:50:47 GMThttp://www.emilylongstrong.com/blog/the-processIt has been over 10 years that my husband, Jason has been involved in the fitness industry, and now just over 6 for me. There are several things that we have learned during that time of working closely with people from all different walks of life, different ages, different goals, and different levels of motivation.

But what’s crazy is that, like with most things, all of those people with all of their differences still only fall into 2 categories: 1) Those who achieve their goals and, 2) Those who do not.

So no matter if it’s an athlete or a fitness client, someone who has 100 pounds to lose or 10, or someone who is 20 or 55, the process is almost always identical.

Here’s what I mean… everyone wants to get from Point A (where you are) to Point B (where you want to be). Everyone can say out loud what they want to achieve or tell themselves where they’re going to be 6 months from now.

So what’s the difference between the two groups?

The Process.

I’m going to start by challenging you to think outside of the box for a minute.

Think of the last time you accomplished something, small or big. (Examples: Graduated from college, passed a big test, got a great job, got a promotion, lost weight, took a leap of faith, etc…)

If I came up to you after your big job promotion and said “Wow! What a stroke of luck! You are SO lucky to have gotten that job promotion. The stars must have totally aligned for you! How excited you must be to have been chosen by luck out of all of those people!”

What would your response to me be? Probably a smack in the face. And it would be well-deserved.

Because what I just did there is rob from you the PROCESS, and assume that you did not work hard and bust your butt for that promotion, but that you just got your wish granted. You lucky duck!

What about if you just lost 50 pounds. And I say to you “Man, you are so lucky. You have a gift of will-power that I just don’t have. You are so lucky that you lost that weight.”

Again, what would your response to me be? SLAP! You’d say, do you know what I had to SACRIFICE to lose 50 pounds?? Do you know how many times I had to say no to cake, cookies and donuts?! Do you know how many times I almost cried in my office because everyone at work was trying to pressure me to give in on “pizza day”? Do you know how hurtful it was when my friends and family told me I could never do it because I had tried and failed SO many times before? But guess what I DID IT. Because I CHOSE to do it. Every day I made choices that led me to where I am. And as a result I have gained confidence, improved my quality of life, realized how strong I am and can be, and finally started to believe that I can do ANYTHING I set my mind to. 

And you’d be right.

When people would approach me about 6 months after giving birth and would say to me,  “You are SO lucky that you snapped right back and got into shape after having a baby. I knew you would! I wish I had your genetics. You are SO lucky!!”

Do you know what my response was? “You are right! I am SO lucky that I got up every morning and prepared my food for the day. I’m so lucky that I worked out at least 4 times a week INTENSELY and fueled my body properly. I am so lucky that even when I didn’t feel like it, or didn’t “have time”, I got moving because my goal was too big to let laziness, procrastination, and excuses get in my way. I am so lucky that I made a CHOICE to do whatever it took to get my body back to better shape than it was before I had the baby. I’m such a lucky duck.”

Here’s the deal, you guys. I
t has never… I repeat… NEVER been about the “end result”. It has NEVER been about the goal. It has ALWAYS been about the process. The major difference between those who fail and those who succeed is that the ones who fail are ONLY focused on the end result and are ignoring the process, where those who succeed are focused on what they need to do TODAY. They are focused on the process and understand that it would be insane to think they could get to their goal any other way.

If today I promised you that you could take a magic pill and end up exactly where you want to be, many of you may take it. But at the end of the day,
what builds you as a person, develops your character, makes you stronger and more willing to take on challenges, improves your confidence and quality of life, is not suddenly achieving the end result. The thing that does all of those things is the process you had to go through to get there.

Ask any successful person what their favorite part of their journey to achieving their goals was and they will tell you… The Process.

At the end of the day,
if we did not have to go through difficulties, we could never grow. I for one can say that as a young married couple, it was the years of being completely broke, in debt, working 4 jobs, trying to build something from nothing, and realizing that God was going to teach us the SAME lessons over and over again until we finally learned them, that taught us skills and lessons that have made us a million times stronger and more resilient today. I have learned that so many times that I actually look forward to periods of discomfort now because they ALWAYS lead to incredible growth IF I choose to be humble and accept it.

You’ve all heard this quote by Michael Jordan: “I have missed over 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

…think about that.

The book “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill talks about how
“each and every failure brings with it a seed of equivalent success”. Of course a seed by itself can do nothing. It must be planted, nurtured and taken care of until it is ready to grow into that success.

So I’ll leave you with this thought.
Are you enjoying the journey? Or are you being deceived by the lie that you are failing because you have not yet succeeded?

Because what you need to remember is that
this very process that you’re in right now IS the achievement of the goal. Be thankful that you’re in a “process” right now at all! Because if you weren’t that would mean you are stale, stagnant, bored and without purpose or direction. It would mean you are moving backwards, because no one can ever just “stay the same”.  Take The Process a million times more seriously than the end result. By the time you get there, you’ll have 5 more goals lined up anyway, and 5 more processes to enjoy.

Squeeze every bit of personal growth and development out of The Process. Learn every lesson there is to learn. Be patient with yourself.
Do not allow yourself alibi’s for why you’re not doing what you need to be doing to get where you want to go. Allow yourself to fail but remember that when you do you have a seed you need to plant and nurture EVERY single day until it has grown into an equivalent success. Be prepared to hold up the mirror and confront yourself to find out what went really well that day and what needs to improve. Be Strong!

Now that you understand why you should be rejoicing in your process, it's time to get plugged in. I wanted to create a way to keep people accountable and encouraged. Unfortunately it's not always those people closest to us that are our biggest encouragers. It may be because they're afraid we'll get hurt by failing, or it may be because they don't understand why you want to change when everything in their life is staying the same. Regardless, you need to surround yourself with people that are on the same journey as you. That is why I  came up with the idea for #TheProcessProject.

Your time to start is NOW. Not tomorrow, not on Monday. If you are DEAD SERIOUS about becoming who you want to become on your way to achieving what you want to achieve, then you need to suck it up buttercup and get started right this second. Here's how! Click on #TheProcessProject and learn how you can get involved RIGHT NOW!!!!!
<![CDATA[Choose Strong.]]>Sun, 27 Jul 2014 06:05:26 GMThttp://www.emilylongstrong.com/blog/choose-strengthDid you know…

Strength is about much more than muscle mass, or how much weight you can pick up. 

Strength is a state of mind. 

Have you ever heard of the trick often performed with extremely strong weight lifters, where before an audience they are asked to pick up a weight they are used to lifting. With ease, the athlete performs the lift. Next, weights are added. The lifter is told it is a weight much heavier than what he has been previously known to accomplish. Although the weight that was added is actually significantly lower than what the athlete is fully capable of lifting, he is unable to complete the lift. 


Was it a random muscle malfunction? His nutrition wasn't on point? 

…or is this a perfect demonstration of mental strength, and the power of the mind.

I believe the latter.

That is why we're here. I for one know that mental strength is found through inspiration via personal growth and development. Either surrounding myself with people that are stronger than I am, or submerging myself in media and literature that fills my head with ideas and inspiration, instead of trash (aka TV).

Because, for real, we deal with enough head trash that is entirely self-imposed.

I am positive that each situation in our lives is a crossroads and an opportunity to learn and grow, or "stay the same" (which actually means take a few steps backwards, no one ever stays the same). I know that in my life I have made both choices. 

I know that making the choice to "stay the same" is the more comfortable one…at the time. It is easier to make, and less painful. Until down the road that small decision was a seed planted that led you to other less-than-optimal choices. 

In other cases, when I made the better choice and chose to set aside my pride, and learn and grow, although measurably less comfortable and much more painful, I cannot think of a time that I made this choice and regretted it- no matter how badly it sucked while going through it :).

Have you heard, "Comfortable  now, uncomfortable later. Uncomfortable now, comfortable later."?

It's the night before a test and you have 2 choices: 1) Hang out with your friends 2) Study for your test.

If you choose #1, the less responsible choice, you are now faced with more less-than-desirable options to choose from: 1) stay up all night studying and be exhausted for the exam 2) Wing it tomorrow and ignore that it will impact your GPA 3) Cheat.

You see? The choices we make lead us to the opportunity to make other choices. That was the "comfortable now, uncomfortable later" choice. 

Take a look at your life. What choices are you presented with each day? Which brand cigarettes to buy? To go or not go to the gym? Which restaurant to eat out at for lunch (because you forgot to pack yours…again)? 

Once you make each of those decisions, you are soon presented with more options. So you said no to the gym, now you have to choose whether to try to squeeze into your current size that barely fits, or give in and go spend money on the next size up in jeans. Had you made the choice to continue to go, maybe your choice would instead be whether or not to belt these loose jeans and wait until you reach your goal weight to buy a new wardrobe.

So ask yourself again- what kinds of choices are you presented with each day? 

We always hear "hindsight is 20/20" but what about when it's not? Hindsight is ONLY 20/20 when you remove your rose-colored glasses. Because let's face it, most of us can give an alibi on the spot for every choice we've made. "I had to go out with my friends! It was my one friends birthday and… blah blah blah blah blah." Right? You know it's true!

Mentally strong people know how to hold up the mirror and say- "Wow. That was a terrible choice that presented me with even more bad options. I need to make a change."

So back to the deceived weightlifter… what lies are you buying that are keeping you from living out your dreams, and reaching your potential? What lies are you choosing to believe about yourself that are keeping you stuck under the glass ceiling? You will never outperform what you believe about yourself. And if you're like me and you believe that God has designed you for a specific purpose, and planted to seeds of dreams in your heart- then you have the pleasure of leaning on HIS strength instead. And there is absolutely NOTHING you can't do with Him.