How Can I Stay Motivated? Q&A With Suzanne

I am loving your questions for this feature and I’ve had a lot of feedback that you love it too. So let’s keep it going! This week we’re talking mindset and veggies for training.

To participate in next week’s mailbag, post your question on my Facebook page, ping me on Twitter, or just drop me a line.


Q: I’m feeling down and demotivated. I just can’t seem to stick to a program long enough to see results. Advice?

A: In my experience, there’s usually two things at work here, both regarding mindset:

Your inner critic has taken over.

WTH is an “inner critic?” Well, I think the name is fairly obvious: It’s that nagging voice in your head saying you can’t do it, you’re failing, you’re behind, why bother, just give up now, this is too hard, blah, blah, blah. Your inner critic doesn’t like change and will take every opportunity to put you in your place. It wants to keep the status quo, not grow. So as soon as life happens – you miss a workout, eat too much one day, or whatever – your inner critic will have a field day trying to get you to quit, become discouraged, and go right back to your old habits.

Your response to this should be to watch your inner critic instead of beating it up, trying to ignore it, or giving in to it. Our inner critics are here to stay on some level, even if very quiet someday (the goal). So each and every time you hear that voice, lovingly detach and observe without condemning or judging it. Think, “Hmm, that’s interesting. My inner critic is totally raging right now.” Then do one small thing that feels good towards your goals. Feeling successful breeds motivation.

You’ve lost touch with your “why.” 

One thing that gets my clients back on track pronto is reminding them of their “why:” Why do you want to lose weight? What drove you to start changing your habits to begin with? (And I do hope you’re changing habits, not “dieting.”) Think about your short-term why (e.g., looking hot for your wedding) and your long-term why (being fit and active five years from now).

Post your “why’s” where you can see them every damn day – at your desk, on your bathroom mirror, in the car – and make a habit of reading them frequently. Remembering your why is a huge motivator.

These are just two mindset changes we master in online coaching and they’re crazy important to reaching any goal.

Q: Are there any veggies that are “better” than others when it comes to working out?

A: We all know vegetables are at the core of a clean eating diet. You’ve simply got to get into the mindset of letting them help you get (1) fiber and water to keep you full longer, (2) vitamins and minerals for relatively few calories, and (3) energy for your workouts. Eating more veggies translates into a leaner, healthier physique, period. Here’s how you can use veggies to your advantage in weight loss and muscle building:

Before you work out. Vegetables are complex carbs and that means fuel. Have a snack 30 minutes before your workout with a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein, depending on the intensity and duration of your workout (30-90 grams of carbs and 15-30 grams of protein).

The best veggies for energy are the starchy ones, such as potatoes, corn, carrots, beets, winter squash, and green peas.

After you work out. Eat within 1 to 2 hours with a 2:1 ratio of carbs to protein after finishing your strength-training workout (along with eight ounces of water). The more intense your workout, the faster you need to refuel.

Post workout you need to restore energy stores and help repair muscle tissue. If you’re eating a meal, focus on starchy carbs that digest slowly and keep you full longer, like squash, yams, peas, and corn. Stir-frys, salads, and egg and veggie scrambles are perfect, but be sure to include plenty of protein. A whole-grain turkey sandwich or wrap with lettuce and tomato works too.

With every meal. Women between 19 and 50 years old need between 2 and 2 1/2 cups of veggies per day to get all the health benefits. Mix it up with veggie pizzas, kebabs, and slaws, oh my!

Training Update

The countdown to unrestricted activity after my last surgery continues – two weeks to go! This week I hit the gym for only the second time in 14 weeks. Wow, it kinda hurts to say that aloud.

I admit I had something of an identity crisis when I saw familiar faces at my gym. While they continued to plug along as always, I no longer had what I’d worked so hard for. My arms and shoulders are mostly firm, but my caps have vanished and my biceps are average.

I don’t like being average in the gym.

But, that’s just more motivation for me to push forward. I’m sick of my long absence and there’s no reason now why I can’t get after it, just differently for now.

I’ll be sharing my comeback to a sculpted physique right here on da blog! It’ll be interesting for you and me both to witness how fast (or slow) it really takes to build muscle. I haven’t been a beginner for years, so you can bet the perspective is valuable in mentoring my coaching clients.

I’ve been doing light lower-body stuff at home, but it’s time to up the ante without using my upper body. I did this workout in addition to all kinds of stretching and light band work (and my booty and hammies were super sore, I might add):

1. Leg press 3 x 12 (120 lbs)
2A. Bulgarian split squat 3 x 12 (BW)
2B. Shoulders-elevated glute bridge 3 x 15 (BW)
3. Hyperextension 3 x 12 (BW)
4. Standing hip extension 2 x 12 (25 lbs)
5. Seated calf extension 3 x 12 (120 lbs)

That’s it for this week!

Big love,

This article originally appeared on

2 thoughts on “How Can I Stay Motivated? Q&A With Suzanne

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