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Are you constantly feeling exhausted and worn out all the time no matter how much you sleep? Yet you can’t seem to figure out what is wrong with you? You may in fact have what is typically known as “adrenal fatigue” (adrenal dysfunction). Adrenal dysfunction is quite an ambiguous condition as there is no evidence that this condition even exists.

Many of you will be more familiar with the term “Adrenal Fatigue”, however, most traditional doctors will argue that this condition actually does not exist. But Adrenal dysfunction is something that can occur individuals and many people will experience some level of stress on the adrenal glands at some point throughout their life.

My Experience

I suffered from a chronic case of adrenal dysfunction for a few years. This occurred from years of a stressful lifestyle both physically and mentally. As a consequence my body faced a storm of hormonal imbalances which left my adrenal glands exhausted.    

It has taken me years of recovery to try and achieve an optimal hormonal balance and it's still a work in progress.

Depending on the severity of your case, It can take a long time to recover once you have burnt the candle at both ends, and it can be a very long and frustrating process.

I was at a point where I was in a deep hole of a hormonal and fatigue shiz storm where even something as simple as brushing my teeth before bed seemed like the biggest most strenuous task which took up all of my effort and energy.

But you definitely do not need to be an athlete or live an extreme lifestyle to experience these symptoms. So let me make you aware of what it is and the things you can do if you feel you may have this condition.

What Are The Adrenal Glands?

The adrenal glands a small little glands that are located on the top of each kidney. The adrenal glands produce hormones that you need for survival. These include sex hormones and cortisol. The body not only needs these hormones to function optimally, but also uses these hormones in response to stress.

What Is Adrenal Dysfunction?

Adrenal dysfunction is where the adrenal glands decrease their ability to carry out their normal functions. Even though there is no scientific evidence that “adrenal fatigue” or dysfunction actually exists, those who experience it correlate the symptoms they experience with overworked adrenal glands producing too little hormones.


So What Causes Adrenal Dysfunction?

Our bodies are a very clever thing, they are after all built to survive. When your body becomes stressed it has coping mechanisms to deal with that stress and the body will make adjustments depending on the amount of stress it is placed under at any given time.

Adrenal dysfunction occurs when your body is placed under stress, whether that be physical, emotional, mental or environmental stressors (or a combination) and the demands of those stressors exceed the bodies ability to cope and adjust.

So basically, your coping mechanisms can no longer cope with the stress. When this happens the adrenal glands simply can not keep up so they become fatigued and can not longer respond properly to any further stress.

Types Of Stress:

It's important to note that adrenal dysfunction is not the issue, but is actually the result of other hormonal imbalances in the body, usually caused by ongoing stress from either emotional or physical stress or a combination of both

The most common causes of adrenal dysfunction that overwhelm the body and its coping mechanisms include:

Physical stress – surgery, poor nutrition, injury, exhaustion

Emotional stress - relationships, work related, psychological

Continuous environmental stress – from toxins, household chemicals, pollutants, food intolerances

Recurrent Illness – bronchitis or flu, autoimmune, pneumonia

Adrenal “Fatigue”

Continuous repealed stress , no matter where the stress comes from can add up over time and make an individual more prone to having hormonal adaptation which lead to adrenal dysfunction.

The tough part is, is that for many of us, we don't recognize certain things as stressors, but instead as normal day to day life.

Trust me i know his first hand, I thought I was invincible and continued to say "yes" to everything. Eventually, my crazy 6am-10pm days were pretty much the norm, however, I did not realize that this continuous stress on my body from long work hours, long training hours, poor nutrition and little downtime lead to my body's breaking point.

Stressors can be something as simple as being a single parent, constant lack of sleep, unhappy in work life, little or no downtime, financial stress, a death of a close friend or family to name a few.

Here are some signs and symptoms that could be a good indication that you may have some level of adrenal exhaustion. If you have one or more of these its OK don't panic, it will just make you aware of what the situation may be from and may be worth investigating.

Symptoms Of Adrenal Dysfunction

Difficulty waking up and getting up in the morning – you are a snoozer and even after a few alarms you still struggle to get your head up off the pillow let alone yourself out of bed.

Fatigue that continues to hang around – when you are constantly tired and exhausted and you can not relieve it no matter how much sleep you get. No matter what you just can not seem to feel refreshed.

Lethargic and lack of energy – even the simplest and smallest of tasks seem like a huge chose that takes maximum effort and energy.

Simple tasks take extra effort – everything seems to be so much harder than it should be.

Decreased libido – you hardly have the energy to function let alone have sex.

Reduced ability to handle stress or higher stress situations – your are more irritable, the smallest things get to you easily. You may react by yelling, rage, anxiety, compulsive eating.

Frequent colds and longer time to recover from illness, injury – your cold lingers around for a few months instead of a couple of weeks or day, or that small cut takes weeks to heal.

Light-headedness or dizziness when you stand up – sometimes you get dizzy spells or feel like you might pass out when you stand up too quickly after sitting down.

Mild depression – everything seems pointless and you find yourself down a lot of the time.

Cravings for salty foods – all the salt! You find you are drawn to salty foods and even add extra salt most of the time.

Less happiness with everyday life – you have a lack of interest in life or fun events. You would rather stay home and lay on the couch than go to a party or social gathering.

Increased PMS – bloating, tired, moody, cramping more than usual.

Brain fog – constant loss of train of thought. It becomes harder to concentrate and make decisions, you are less productive.

Memory loss or fuzziness – you forget things easily, like where you left your keys or why you walked into a room.

Decreased tolerance and patience – people become more irritating.  

Highest energy after dinner – the only time you feel better is after your evening meal where you start to feel more alive than you do all day.

Now that's a huge list pf possible symptoms. I know because looking back now I had pretty much every single one of these. However, it had gotten to a point where it just felt "normal" to feel like this, but I can assure you it most definitely is not.

It's important to note that no single one of these symptoms indicates that you 100% have adrenal dysfunction however they are a good indication that adrenal dysfunction may be present and it could be worth investigating further.

Regardless, if you are feeling like this, then its no way to live, they are mere warning signs that something needs to change in order to ensure you are living life to its fullest potential and at the most optimal of health possible.

So Now what?

If you think you may have some adrenal dysfunction then it is important that you investigate it further. But I want you to know what to expect. It's a tough condition to diagnose because many medical practitioners and even some endocrinologists (hormones specialists) have never heard of or have never dealt with the condition or simply do not believe that it is an actual condition.

This is because it's something has become difficult to detect in modern medicine as it requires a combination of symptom profile and test results to detect. I went to many different GPs stating my symptoms and they were all dismissed. Luckily I knew something was really wrong and I kept trying to find the answers, I didn't give up until I found someone who was familiar with the condition and could help me figure out what was actually happening with my body and how it was functioning.

I think it's important that you keep asking questions and never take one opinion as gospel. If something feels wrong then find out what it is, because it's not normal to live the life that way.

Note* I am not a medical practitioner. I am only sharing what i have learned through my own experience and research. This article is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any condition. Please consult with your health care professional before making any changes to your current lifestyle.

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You may be trying to eat well and exercises or even follow a nutrition plan and training regime to an absolute Tee, but no matter what you do the weight just does not seem to want to budge. Instead you find yourself getting crazy food cravings, you are frazzled, emotional, tired, stressed, even when life is peachy in other aspects.

Sound familiar?

So many women (and men)  complain about symptoms like this and talk about it with their girlfriends as an accepted norm, however even though symptoms are very varied, they may be an indication that there is an imbalance of hormones happening.

Hormone imbalance in women can come about for many reasons such as yoyo dieting, lack of sleep, stress, pollutants, chemicals, poor nutrition to name a few. And in many cases (particularly from my own experience) imbalanced hormones generally go unnoticed and cause detriment to your body under the radar, in many cases doctors will dismiss any underlying issue without any diagnosis.

So with unhappy hormones sneaking around unnoticed, how do you know you have a hormone imbalance? Well even though there are many signs and symptoms for different hormones, these may be some good indicators that there is an underlying issue that needs to be paid attention to.

Possible Hormone Imbalance Symptoms:

Tired and Wired

Do you wake up feeling so tired in the morning no matter how much sleep you get? Where you just need that cup of coffee to get you to function let alone going for the day?

Then on the flip side when it's time to go to bed you can not switch your brain off and you have a sudden bout of energy and you are too wound up to sleep?

Our little friend Cortisol (stress hormone) can be to blame here. Chronic stress causes high and fluctuating cortisol levels.

Fluctuating cortisol throughout the day is very stressful and taxing on your adrenals and sends you on a whirlwind of feeling energized and wound up to feeling chronically fatigued and tired. If this continues for an extended period of time it can cause our adrenals to completely burn out which will have you all kinds of long term trouble.

Brain Fog

Are you forgetting things constantly? Like where you put your keys? What time you are meeting a girlfriend for lunch or even what you walked into the room for? It's not something we would really think about linking to a hormonal issue but stress can be playing a role here.

If you have been experiencing higher amounts of physical or psychological stress for a period of time, this will cause or cortisol levels to increase.

High levels of cortisol (also known as your stress hormone) can inhibit your learning ability and memory which cause forgetfulness and ability to focus and concentrate on simple tasks.

Non Existent Libido

Or even just a low libido, 70 percent of the time is actually linked to a hormonal imbalance. so if you are not in the "mood" very often then it may actually be your hormones you have to blame.

In many cases estrogen dominance (higher estrogen to testosterone and progesterone levels) or even low estrogen can be main the culprits for your low libido along side with your thyroid and your cortisol levels. If you then add in everyday factors of a hectic lifestyle, stress, kids, work, lack of sleep, then no doubt that getting "frisky" id probably the last thing on your mind.

Uncontrollable Cravings

So we are women, we get cravings at the best of times especially around that time of the month, but if you find yourself craving the point where you are simply unsatisfied and you can't stop yourself because you are constantly hungry then your hormones may be coming into play.

Uncontrollable cravings for sugary foods can be caused but an imbalance of cortisol and insulin whereas if you have adrenal dysfunction you may find yourself reaching for salty options.

But in general make sure you get enough sleep. People who lack sleep have increased levels of Ghrelin (the hunger/appetite hormone) and decreased levels of leptin (the appetite suppressant hormone) which can make you absolutely ravenous and keep you going back to the cookie jar.

Stalled Weight Loss

If you are doing everything you can and no matter how well you eat or how many gym sessions, you do and you still can not lose or are even putting on weight then you may have a hormone issue at hand.

Even though weightless has many contributing factors that can be resolved from tweaking ones, dieting and training regime, sometimes it can stem from thyroid issues and stress. If you are eating little calories or over training or both (along with other stressors), the body's survival response is to slow down the thyroid function which in turn slows down the metabolism in order to preserve energy.

This means in order to lose any weight you may have to severely restrict calorie intake which is not sustainable or healthy for the long term.

Poor Digestion

Some people can notice the symptoms from stress in their stomach and gut. Gas, bloating and slow digestion are generally link to food intolerances, lack of chewing food or overeating.

But what people miss is that digestive issues can also be caused by imbalanced hormones particularly estrogen and progesterone as well as adrenal issues.

Take Matters Into Your Own Hands

Ok so now you may have identified that you may be experiencing some hormone imbalance symptoms. So what now? If you feel your symptoms are affecting you then it is always a good idea to seek some professional help and see a hormone doctor (endocrinologist).

If you can get a better indication of what the underlying issues are then you can take the necessary steps to rectify the problems and get back to restoring optimal health.  

Lifestyle Changes To Help Improve Hormonal Imbalance

Many lifestyle factors that cause stress can be some of the biggest underlying culprits to making our body adapt and create internal changes. There are a few things you can implement into your daily routine to help you improve your or prevent these symptoms that stem from hormonal imbalances.  

Get To Bed On Time

There is probably nothing else that is as important for helping restore your hormone balance than making sleep an absolute priority. But getting to bed before 10pm also is important for your optimal hormone function.

Experts claim that getting one-hour sleep between 10pm and 2am is equivalent to 2 hours sleep outside of those times. So it is important to get to bed at a time in order to ensure you get the best quality of sleep possible in order to reduce stress and keep you natural sleep cycle in check.

Bed time should be a ritual that helps you relax, so turn of your electronics an hour before bed and take a relaxing bath or meditate to help prepare yourself for a good night sleep.

Improve Your Gut Health

The gut is like a second brain in the body which is lined with billions of good bacteria and has a huge impact on your overall health. Any compromise or inflammation in the gut can upset your hormone function and balance.

This is because the bacteria in our gut help metabolize and recycle hormones which helps keep them in balance and without them you will most definitely find yourself with a hormone imbalance.

Cutting out foods that generally spike intolerance or inflammation such as dairy and gluten is a good starting point. A great way to ensure your gut is healthy is to introduce more fermented foods into your diet such as kombucha, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut. which are full of gut healing microbes. a serving of these per day along with a good quality probiotic before bed will help ensure you have a happy and healing gut.

Reduce Stress

It is very easy to jam pack a million and one things to get done in a day and while you may not feel very stressed, the simple fact of running around constantly with no down time can be putting your body under stress.  

Stress is known to be a major disruption of hormone balance and can cause the body to go into the fight or flight or survival mode. As a consequence your body can become a fat storage machine.

Some ways of helping stress reduction include simple things such as meditation, yoga, deep belly breathing, reading a book or taking a bath.

Where Do You Go From Here?

If you find yourself experiencing some or all of these symptoms i want to you take a deep breathe and do NOT stress! (we don't need any more stress in our lives thats for sure!)

Hormonal imbalances are very common due to the crazy lifestyles that we all lead these days. But it's important to be aware of what our bodies are telling us.

After all symptoms are little signals that our body sends us to let us know that something may be out of balance. It's definitely something i wish i knew i needed to pay attention to years ago instead of simply ignoring them before it was too late.

So i ask you to have some awareness when it comes to your body and what it may be telling you. Life is a constant toggle of balance and that's OK as long we you don't over do it and implement certain measures to reduce stress in your life.

I would love to know, what are you struggling with at the moment that i can help you with? Share in the comments below!

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D.I.E.T … that four letter word we all can't stand. Well if you have been following my principles you know by now that I am a big advocator for flexibility (within a structure) to help ensure you reach your goals while remaining sane and having a balance in life.

So this means I am a-OK with you eating out here or there because well you all need to live life right? But sometimes when it comes to eating out all of our good intentions seem to go out of the window, we overindulge no matter how well "behaved" we plan to be with our food choices.

I am the first to admit that I am not always 100% perfect with tracking my across but what is important is consistency over time. So here are a few tips that will help you survive your meal outings to ensure that you stay as consistent as possible with your food intake. Consistency is the key to success so let's get you on track!

Plan Ahead

If you know you are going out to dinner for an event or occasion that day or the next day then you have a few tools up your sleeve. You can research the menu in advance. Most restaurants have their menu easily accessible online. That way you can see what options they have, and then account for what you think you may have.

For example, if you really want the pasta dish and you have enough macros that day for pasta then that's absolutely fine you can factor that dish in. if you want a steak then you can factor the steak into your daily intake instead and opt for some vegetables on the side if you do not have many carbohydrates to eat. It's all about give and take, and trying to fit in that meal into your daily caloric intake.

Save Macros

I know that sometimes you don't always know whether you will be going out or not. But usually on a Saturday night, for example, I know there is a chance I may be going out to dinner I just don't know where. So in that case on Saturdays, I try to save extra macros/calories to play with for later in the day.

I try to eat lower calorie food options earlier in the day and that way if we do go out for dinner I have anywhere from, 600-1000 calories up my sleeve (depending on my overall daily intake of course) to pretty much order what I want to and still usually have macros left over for some frozen yogurt.

However, if you eat too many calories earlier in the day then you will most likely go over your daily caloric intake at dinner. Try to opt for salads and protein-rich meals with lots of vegetables to keep you full it's not about starving yourself to famine before you go out, you just need to be smart about it.

Do A Training Session

Even when you allow for extra calories it can still be difficult to estimate completely. So just to make sure you are putting any excess calories to good use make sure you get a training session in that day. I would recommend a resistance training session over cardio.

Resistance training will actually help your body burn more fat over a 24-hour period and in case you go over your caloric intake, at least those calories will be going towards helping your body recover a little better.

However, that does not mean it is an excuse to go "YOLO" on your food and eat half the menu at dinner time. It just means that you are putting all of those calories to good use.

Choose Protein First

Most of the time when eating out, food options tend to be high in carbohydrates and fats, making it very easy to hit these macro targets. So it can be very beneficial to try to choose meal options that have a higher protein content.

This will not only help you hit your protein targets for the day but will help keep you a little fuller. Protein is very satiating especially when combined with some fat (which most restaurant meals contain plenty of) which will help prevent you from overindulging and eating everything in sight.

Choose Low Fat Cooking Options

One thing to consider when eating out is that all meals will have hidden fat sources, making the fat content creep up very easily.

This is because it tastes good and all chefs will use fats like butter and oils to cook their food in. so you may think you are getting a healthy salad or vegetable-based dish, however, the fat content will be much higher than you think simply from the method it has been cooked in. this goes for meat also.

Try asking for grilled/baked meats over fried, battered meats. This will help reduce the fat content right away. Also do not be afraid to ask how food is prepared and ask for it to be prepared without butter or oils if you wish.

Now if those fats fit your macros then there is no need to ask to have them removed, but if they don't then there is no harm in asking.

Fill Up With Sides

Depending on where you go for dinner, I find the mains are either one of two things, friken HUGE or tiny. They usually have a small protein portion depending on where you go and an ample amount of carbohydrates and fat.

So how do you combat this? I always order some healthy sides such as grilled seasonal vegetables or a side salad. These will help give you some extra nutrients but also keep you a little fuller to help prevent you from overdoing it on all their foods.

Unless of course ( and I will say it again you have accounted for it all in your macros but this is a skill that even experienced macro counters can struggle with). so for the rest of you mere nutrition mortals, enjoy your food but side it up and you will prevent yourself from overindulging.

Just to give you all an example, my favorite food to eat out is Japanese and it comes with ALL the sushi carbs. I could honestly go to town on sushi I love it so much. So I still order a side of seaweed salad to start with which fills me a little to make sure I stay on track and don't go into "you" mode on my sushi. Plus if I don't overdo the sushi I usually have macros left over for frozen yogurt!

Never Arrive Starving

If you arrive at dinner absolutely starving, then this is a recipe for disaster. Tell me, how good is your will power or rational thinking when you are absolutely ravenous?

Even if you are tracking macros I doubt that you will care about any form of macro when you are dying to eat something. So an hour or two before dinner have a high protein snack. This will keep you a little fuller up until your outing and will help you make more rational and smarter food portion choices.

Here are some extra tips to help you estimate your macros in case you need them:

A serving of cooked meat, chicken or fish is like the palm of your hand

A serving of green salad is like a double open-cupped hand.

A serving of vegetables is like your fist, or about the size of a tennis ball.

A serving of baked potato or other starch looks like a baseball

A serving of salad dressing or sauce is about the size of your thumb.

I LOVE food and yes sometimes its completely fine to go out, have a meal and completely not worry about it. But… to ensure you have a greater success in reaching your body composition goals, there needs to be a little mindfulness and sacrifice. I am a HUGE foodie and absolutely LOVE all the food! But when you have goals to crush you need to focus on a little give and take. Balance and consistency are definitely key over any form of complete restriction. remember life is here to be lived and enjoyed but we can enjoy food within some small boundaries and still crush our other goals along the way!

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New Years Resolutions….

I personally like to define them as New Year Goals rather than resolutions, But no matter how you define it we all get excited to take on the new year head on with the greatest of intentions.

Over 50% of the population set new years resolutions, however, out of the 50% of the population that set out with new goals, 88% of them fail before the new year if done. So why is that? Why do we start off the new year with all of these great intentions then only months later find ourselves back to square one without following our resolutions through?

This morning I was thinking about my own goals for 2019 and how I am going to achieve them, especially with a baby on the way!

In the past have done those same things, set goals without following them through. However, when I have achieved my goals I have always relied on the same simple steps which see me through to the end every time.

Clearly Define Your Goals (Smart Goals)

In order to achieve your goals for the new year, you need to be clear about what they are. This is the most important step because if you skip this part then the rest is doomed to fail.

Many people get excited about setting a resolution and So many times I have heard people say " I want to lose weight and get in shape". Even though that is a great incentive, what does it really mean? Does it mean you are going to lose 5kgs? Run a marathon? Lose 10% in body fat? Squat 100kgs?

Goals need to be "SMART" which means specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and set within a time frame. So even though your ultimate goal may be to lose weight and be in shape, you need specific goals in order to get there.

Write them down and set a time frame, you can have many small goals to get to your ultimate goal. Start small within small time frames then keep adding to your goal once you are there.

SMART Goal Example:

For example, your goals may be to lose 10kgs this year.

Your first month might be "I will lose 2kgs this month"

Your first week may be " I will commit to 3 workouts this week"

Your second week may be "I will commit to 4 workouts this week"

Your 3rd week may bee I am going to keep doing my 4 workouts and pack a healthy lunch each day instead of buying lunch"

Building small habits over time that you can measure within time frames will help you get to your ultimate goal!

Track Your Progress

If you can measure it you can change it. Without knowing how your body is responding to your health and fitness goals you are simply flying blind.

So track your progress whether it's weekly, bi-weekly or even daily depending on your goals. Keep a record of your progress, this way you can see if you need to make any changes to what you are currently doing in order to make sure you keep your progress going track.

Your body will absolutely adapt over time as you become fitter and stronger so be prepared to hit sticking points and plateaus. However, if you are tracking your progress you can make small changes weekly in either your nutrition or exercise to help keep you breaking through to your ultimate goal.

Have Patience

How many of you have ever started a health and fitness goal and 2 days in you get upset because you have not seen any changes yet? We have all been there!

Change takes TIME and building new habits takes, even more, time. So don't get discouraged if you don't lose 5kgs in your first week, in fact, I guarantee you won't, even a 0.5-1kg loss in a week is considered to be relatively quick weight loss. So be patient and focus on all the positive changes such as you may have nailed all of your training sessions this week, or you feel stronger, you sleep better, you drink more water than before.

All of those little changes add up and count as progress so be aware of these and be patient, your overall goal is coming I promise you.

Make One Change At A Time

I don't know about you but coming into the new year I feel like I want to conquer the world!

But making the most of your good intentions for every aspect of your life all at once could backfire on you. Making too many changes at once can be a little overwhelming and your energy and focus can only be stretched so thin. Make sure if you have multiple goals just focus on one thing at a time with one small step at a time.

Committing to new goals usually means making lifestyle and habit changes, remember you don't need to commit to a full life overhaul all at once. Make a plan and progress after you become comfortable with each step.

Share Your Experience

Accountability, accountability accountability. I will say it one more time just for good luck, ACCOUNTABILITY!

Be public with your goals, tell all of your friends and family announce it on social media or hire someone that will make you accountable every week. Once you make your goals public people will generally check up on your and ask you how you are going with your progress.

When you have someone to report to or everyone knows what you are working towards, I can guarantee you it will give you that little extra motivation to stick to your game plan on the days you don't feel like it. When the world is watching you, you give it that little bit extra.

Make A Schedule

its great to have the perfect game plan to get to your goals, but it will only work if you make sure you get it done within your schedule. So be realistic when you set your goals and make sure you do what is within your means within your schedule.

Then do exactly that, schedule your workouts into your diary, or block out that time to get you food organized for the week. If you treat your steps like an appointment you will ensure that you tick them off every week rather than brushing them off with the same old "I don't have time" factor.

Ditch The All Or Nothing Mindset

we all want to start our path to reach our health and fitness goals, but I want to wait until Monday until everything is fresh.

Then Monday rolls along and you ate a little more than you should have, or you missed your workout, then you throw in the towel reach for the tub of ice cream and Oreos and say well you stuffed it up so you are going to start next Monday instead.

Yeah, I know you know what I am talking about we have all been there. When really you would have been better off eating a tiny bit less the next day and getting your workouts in the rest of the week.

Perfection doesn't exist, but consistency does. You may not be perfect all of the time but if you are as consistently as close as you can be each day you will get towards your goals sooner than you think.

Keep Grinding

The road to your goals is not always going to be easy and smooth sailing. But that's ok its call LIFE and it can get in the way sometimes. But what matters most is that you don't give up, you need to keep going when the going gets tough.

It doesn't matter how slowly you move forward to your ultimate goal, it's not a race, but what matters most is that you keep moving forward no matter what life ends up throwing in your way.

Have Fun

We all have goals that we want to work towards, and goals can take a lot of hard work! Just remember to have some fun along the way. Make sure you incorporate workouts that you LOVE, reward yourself when you hit milestones and share your enjoyment with the people around you.