How to Start an Exercise Routine AND Stick with it with Melissa Vogel | IT 010

Mar 4, 2020

How can you make time for an exercise routine when you’re so busy? What’s best, cardio or strength training? How can you be a fit mom?

In This Podcast


In this podcast episode, Kathryn Ely speaks with Melissa Vogel about starting an exercise routine when you’re a busy woman, managing your career and children.

How to Start an Exercise Routine AND Stick with it with Melissa Vogel | IT 010Meet Melissa Vogel

Melissa Vogel is a personal trainer and fitness instructor with over 20 years of experience in the health and fitness industry. As a working mother of three and business owner, she has learned through her own life experiences, that you can find a balance between health, fitness, and good nutrition no matter how chaotic life can be. Find Melissa on Instagram.

What is your story and how did fitness become such a big part of your life?

Melissa grew up in an active household which naturally lead her to stay active and play sports. But when she was younger, she saw an ad for someone to come in and clean gym equipment in exchange for a gym membership, and that’s when the love for fitness began. At 16 years old she even started teaching as an exercise instructor.

Tell us about your struggles

In her twenties, Melissa found life easy with no kids and only having to worry about yourself. Along the way, as she got into her career and had children she found life really difficult. You’re supposed to work, take care of the house, attend to your marriage and still have time to keep fit. In her last pregnancy, she gained over 60 lbs. That’s when she hit rock-bottom and knew something had to change.

Change happens when you hit rock-bottom.

It really changed her thinking. She hated how she felt and never wanted to feel like that again. She took everything she knew and logged everything. It took 5 or 6 years to organise her system and bring it all together. But the important thing to remember is that she did it one step at a time.

Who do you work with and what is your program?

Melissa works with moms trying to balance a busy family life, career and still want to be fit and have a good exercise routine. They know what being fit feels like to be fit but now they have this career and kids and it’s just taken over.

The program is Busy to Bomb FitMmom. It literally takes you from busy to bomb. Melissa becomes your virtual personal trainer and you get to train with her workouts no matter where in the world you are. You’re part of a group and community that will push you and motivate you, and that’s what’s really crucial. Many women try and do their fitness alone and fail miserably. If you really want to make a change you need to be inspired and motivated and your background needs to support that.

If you tell someone your goal you’re 33% more likely to achieve your goal. But if you tell someone and have someone holding you accountable for achieving that goal it jumps up to 77% more likely to reach.

What tips for can you give busy women to make time for fitness?  

Go into each week with a gameplan. Every week could be different, and things happen but if you plan one week at a time, you’re more likely to stick to it. Do it every Sunday and sit down with your support system and go over the week. Crucial conversations need to happen. If you don’t put it in the calendar, it’s not going to happen.

Where do you start if you’ve never really had an exercise routine?

Just be active and just start moving. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Set small realistic goals and start off lower on your goals so that you can reach it. You don’t need a gym membership or home equipment.

If you’ve never exercised before and only have 20mins a day, find a walking pattern with routes. Find a path and spend 20mins on that. After that, invest in dumbells and start walking. Remember you can also lose weight by controlling your calories. Pay attention to what you’re eating.

What is best, strength training or cardio?

Both, but strength training really gets you going. After the age of 30, we’re fighting so much with our body. You have to stay on top of it. Fat can’t live where muscle grows.

What is one imperfect action that we can start doing today to be our best physically and mentally?

One: set your gameplan for your physical movement for the next week. Two: get a paper and pen and be conscious of the food you eat for the week.

And when you do that, pat yourself on the back, and celebrate the fact that you took action toward the life you want.

Useful links:

Kathryn Ily

Meet Kathryn Ely

I’m Kathryn Ely and at age 50, I’m enjoying my very best life. I spent years as a lawyer and then stay-at-home mom helping others go out into the world and live their best lives. While this was very important to me, I did not realize that I was losing myself in the process. I followed all of the “shoulds” like “women should always care for others” and “taking time for yourself is just selfish”.

As two of my children were getting ready to go out into the world I realized I was lost, without my next purpose, and it was scary. So I went back to school and over the course of several years, I not only found myself, but I designed the formula for women in midlife to achieve their most fulfilling lives. It is my mission to equip as many women as possible with this design and the tools to make this chapter of their lives the best chapter.

Thanks for listening!

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Imperfect Thriving is part of the Practice of the Practice Podcast Network, a network of podcasts seeking to help you thrive, imperfectly. To hear other podcasts like the Bomb Mom Podcast, Beta Male Revolution, or Empowered and Unapologetic, go to

Podcast Transcription

[KATHRYN]: Imperfect Thriving is a part of the Practice of the Practice podcast network, a network of podcasts seeking to help you thrive imperfectly. To hear other podcasts like the Bomb Mom podcast, Beta Male Revolution, or Empowered and Unapologetic, go to .
Welcome to the Imperfect Thriving podcast for all of us women in midlife to discover yourself limiting beliefs, determine exactly what you want your life to look like and the imperfect actions to get you there.
Welcome to the Imperfect Thriving podcast where we’re all about taking daily imperfect action toward the lives we want. Now I’m your host, Kathryn Ely. I’m so glad you’ve joined us today. So we have a great show for you today. We have Melissa Vogel. She’s a personal trainer and fitness expert with over 20 years of experience. She is going to share so much of her fitness and health knowledge with all of us today. And I know in midlife things start to shift and change a little bit. Am I right ladies? It’s a lot easier to put on weight, harder to take it off and maybe you’ve always exercised a little, but you feel like you might need to step it up a little more or maybe you never needed to exercise before. It was easy to keep your weight down and where you wanted it to be, but now it’s a little bit different and you just don’t know where to start. No matter where you are in your exercise journey, this episode is for you.
By the end of this episode, you will learn how to make fitness fit into your busy schedule, what type of exercise is best for losing weight and how to start a new exercise routine and make it stick as well as how healthy eating fits in and so much more. But before we get started, do you have your Blueprint to Thrive yet? If you don’t head on over to where you can sign up for my free email course Blueprint to Thrive. In this email course, I will guide you to examine the eight domains of your life to learn exactly what is working well for you and what you might like to be a little bit better. It’ll help you uncover your self-limiting beliefs that have been holding you back, help you discover exactly what you want, the eight areas of your life to look like, and the actions to take to get there, and it’s all free. So if you haven’t head on over to and get yours today.
Now let’s get started. I’m so excited y’all. Melissa Vogel is here. Melissa is a personal trainer and fitness instructor with over 20 years of experience in the health and fitness industry. As a working mother of three and a business owner, she’s learned through our own life experiences that you can find balance between health, fitness and good nutrition no matter how chaotic life can be. Melissa, welcome to the Imperfect Thriving podcast. I’m so glad you’re here.
[MELISSA]: Hi Kathryn. Thank you so much for having me.
[KATHRYN]: Oh, we’re so happy to have you here. So I’d love to start with just asking you to tell us a little bit about your story, how you got to this point, and maybe any obstacles along the way.
[MELISSA]: Yeah, yeah, for sure. So my story, it’s different. It’s unique. I kind of grew up in a family of health and wellness. My mom back in like the eighties was like reading nutritional labels and looking into organic and stuff. And like, no one was doing that back then.
[KATHRYN]: Oh my gosh. She was so far ahead of her time
[MELISSA]: So far ahead. Oh my God. I just went home for thanksgiving and I was looking at all the books. She’s like, “Do you want some books?” And she literally had books from like the 70s and they were talking about like the effects of sugar and ingredients and I’m like, “Oh my God, mom, you were so ahead of the game.” But, that’s what I grew up around. So it was nice to kind of have that background, you know, and just like, you probably should read the cereal box before you eat it, you know, and look at things. And I know most people don’t have that. So I grew up really lucky with that. But also my dad is police, my entire family is like military and stuff and he was in SWAT and Varian, do martial arts and working out. So again, I grew up in that environment, which was really cool because it kind of like ingrained it in me a little bit.
It’s like kind of who I am and part of my DNA. So as I was like growing up, I stayed active, I did sports and then like my real journey started when, gosh I was probably like, I couldn’t drive yet. So I was probably like a freshman or sophomore in high school and I saw an ad in my high school on the walls and it was for someone to come in and clean gym equipment in exchange for a gym membership. And I was like, “Yeah, that sounds like an amazing idea.” I mean I clearly was not a normal teenager. Like who gets excited over that? But that’s kind of like what launched my love for the gym and the weights. And that’s how I started instructing and it’s kind of a long story. I’ll give you guys the short version. But that’s kind of what like really launched me into it and at 16 years old I started teaching group fitness classes and they were like, “Can you not tell anyone your age?” They were like, if anyone asks, don’t tell them your age because I mean, could you imagine taking classes and then finding out your instructor was 16.
[MELISSA]: Yeah. But that’s like what launched it. And I just was like, “Oh my God, how cool is this to inspire 30 women in a room right now at once,.” And they all laughed like, “Oh my God, that was so much fun.” And that’s what started. And after that I like started personal training and really getting more into it. And it was just nice because it had fit with, you know, my past and my history and watching my dad work out and doing pull ups that, you know, six years old in the basement and stuff. And I grew up doing martial arts too. I did [inaudible 00:06:29], I did Wing Chun with my parents. It was just all part of our life and I just continued that on and continued on with martial arts. I did Krav Maga before I even had kids. Currently, I’m a first degree black belt going for my second degree in Taekwondo. Yeah, I just, I like keeping that going and everything, but it hasn’t always been easy and a lot of people think, “Oh well, you know health and wellness, you grew up in that and blah, blah blah.” And I’m like, “Uh-uh, I’m still a female. I still struggle with the same issues as everyone else.”
[KATHRYN]: Definitely. Tell us a little bit about those issues and what you struggled with.
[MELISSA]: Yeah, well, it was like, looking back, it was super easy as you know, in your 20s and no kids and like unmarried, or just a young couple or even before that, you know, you just have yourself to worry about. And it’s easier to be fit. There’s still struggles, but it’s definitely easier. But along the way, as I got more and more into my career and then I got more and more pregnant and I had my first kid and I bounced back pretty quick because I was really young when I had her and then the second kid, you know, life is different and you’re taking care of like another kid and then another baby and oh yeah, don’t forget you’re supposed to still work and take care of the house and you know, tend to your marriage. And then I had a third one and I couldn’t work out throughout that pregnancy. It was really tough one on me. And over that process I gained 60 pounds and that baby only weighed eight pounds, six ounces. So she was not a 60 pound baby and it was just a lot for me to take care of two kids, be pregnant and then have a third baby and still maintain my career, make money, train clients, you know. It was just a lot. And within that mix, I know a lot of women listening are probably like, “Yeah, it’s a lot on our plates.” And what’s sad is like it doesn’t get easier as they get older.
[KATHRYN]: Right. And fitness can just easily push you farther and farther down the list of obligations, right?
[MELISSA]: Yeah. And I’m like, where was that chapter in the baby books?
[KATHRYN]: As women, we tend to put ourselves last anyway, but a lot of times it’s so easy for the end of the day to come around and we haven’t done half of what we wanted to do for ourselves. And fitness oftentimes is one of those things. So how did you come back and gaining 60 pounds and not being able to exercise over that pregnancy?
[MELISSA]: You know, the biggest thing that has to happen, and I hate saying this and telling people this, but it’s the honest and God’s truth. And I’m, I don’t sugar-coat much, at all, ask my husband, ask my kids, ask all my clients. I don’t sugar-coat things at all. I just don’t feel like it benefits anyone, but honestly, if you really want change, and the moment that happened for me and the change happened for me was when I hit rock bottom. And unless you really go deep and hit a rock bottom, it’s really hard to change those shoulds into musts. And I had a moment where I was in my basement and I was like trying to like workout and like do another DVD, you know the baby was sleeping, and I was trying to do something and I was doing this move called mountain climbers. I don’t know if you guys know it, but you’re on your hands [crosstalk] Yeah, you’re right on your knees, you know, on your chest. And my stomach was literally hitting my thighs and I could feel it and I was like, “Dear God, what is going on right now? How did I get here?” And that moment is literally ingrained in my brain. Like that was my rock bottom moment of like, “Okay, I am not a person that my stomach is so large and filled with fat. I’m just being real that it’s now hitting my thighs.” And when you have that breaking moment of like rock bottom, it changes you.
[KATHRYN]: Kind of it shifts your thinking.
[MELISSA]: Oh my God, I didn’t want it anymore. It made me cry. I like came to my knees and just sat there and I think I was crying so loud that my husband came and checked on me and was like, “Are you okay?” And it just hits you when you have this moment when you know that something is over or something needs to change. It was just this rush of emotions and feeling of like, I hate that feeling and I never want to feel that again ever. And that was a defining moment for me. And from that point on I was like, “That’s it.” I am going to take all of my knowledge, you know, and that was hard to swallow because I’m a personal trainer. I’m a nutritional coach. I know what I’m doing and yet I still let myself get here. But I’m human. I’m a woman, I’m a mom, I’m a wife, you know?
[KATHRYN]: Yeah.
[KATHRYN]: I took everything I knew. Like from that moment on, I took everything I knew and I was like, “Gosh darn it. I’m like, I am going to log everything I do. I’m going to track what I do. If it creates progress for me, awesome. If it doesn’t, I’m trashing it.” And it took me honestly about five or six years to organize my system and tweak it and see what needed to work and be changed, make sure that there was a mental aspect, a physical aspect or nutritional aspect and bring it all together. And slowly but surely I chiseled the fat off of my body one step at a time and I created my system and my program that worked but it took a long time to get there.
[KATHRYN]: So tell us about who you work with and what that program is.
[MELISSA]: You know, my age range is around 33 to 45 years old, give or take. You know, that’s just like an average range. But I work with like the busy hustling working mom who is, they used to be in shape, you know, they know what that feels like. They know what a better body, a stronger mind, stronger muscles feel like but now they have this career and kids and many of them teenagers and it’s all just taken over and they know the struggle of, “Oh my God, how do I fit it all in?” And their schedule has like literally consumed their life because if one kid doesn’t have practice, another one does, or if you’re going to that game, then this one has a game and then, “Oh, don’t forget to make dinner,” you know. “Oh mom, where’s my uniform? Is that washed yet?” You know, and like everything piles up. So that mom —
[KATHRYN]: And what gets sacrificed is our physical and mental self-care.
[MELISSA]: Absolutely. Us. And it’s that mom that struggles with that and needs help. That’s who I work with. That’s my niche.
[KATHRYN]: Yes. So tell us about the program that you’ve created.
[MELISSA]: Yeah, I have a program that’s called Busy to Bomb Fit Mom. Um, and I love it because it really does take you from going from busy into being bomb. And bomb can mean so many different things. Like we think of like a bombshell. You know, when I hear the word bombshell, I think of like Victoria’s Secret model. And at first I was like, “Is that really what I’m going for?” And then I’m like, “Yeah, screw it. I’m a mom of three. I could totally look like a Victoria’s Secret model. I’m sticking with that name.” I like bomb now and that’s why I use that. But it can mean whatever you want it to be. And this program is a complete encompassing program that not only, I become your virtual personal trainer, you get my workouts, you get my app, and everything so I can train you no matter where you live, but also you’re part of a group and a community and an environment that’s going to help push you, keep you motivated, inspired. And that piece right there is crucial because so many women just get the gym membership or you know, the online programs or the stuff that you can get on your Apple TV and they try and do their fitness alone.
And that’s great. I’m all about people trying to work out like, hey, if that gets you up and moving and you’re doing something in your living room versus sitting on the couch, awesome. But if you really want to make change and you’re like, “No, I want this 20 pounds off of my body,” you need to be motivated, inspired. Your surrounding and your environment need to support that and —
[KATHRYN]: And we really want to make a change, it’s all about having some positive reinforcement, isn’t it?
[MELISSA]: It is. And I don’t think people realize that. I always try to explain to the group like, imagine being like an alcoholic and you’re trying to kick that addiction, but it’s still in your house. All your family is like, “Oh, we’ll just party in the other room. You go in the bedroom and we’ll party out here.” Could you imagine trying to kick that habit and like, it’d be impossible.
[KATHRYN]: Right? It’s time you have to get rid of an old habit and start a new habit. We have to make it much more difficult to have the old habit and much easier to start when you have it.
[MELISSA]: Yes. And when you look at it with fitness, if you have a sabotaging husband or boyfriend or maybe your parents or your in-laws, they’re always bringing you over cake and ice cream and, “Hey, let’s go out to lunch, let’s go out to breakfast,” and your friends are like, “Hey, let’s go out and drink. Let’s go do dinner, let’s go to the winery.” Like all these things, that’s your environment. And those are supposed to be your support people. So if your environment is still filled with, just for a lack of better example, alcohol, if it’s still filled with that, that’s really hard to make changes. And I think women are becoming more aware of that, which I’m super happy about but they don’t see that like, “Hey, if you don’t really clean up your kitchen and clean up your mindset and clean up those that are around you,” or at least tell them like, “Hey, these are my goals. I need you to support them because this is important to me.” It’s really hard to make change if you don’t have that. So that’s why that’s the first step and the biggest part of my Busy to Bomb Fit Mom program is that we put you in a community that can be your environment even if your home environment isn’t the best.
[KATHRYN]: Okay, super. So you set them up to succeed with the new habit that they want to create, which is spending time on their own fitness?
[MELISSA]: Exactly. Exactly. And when you can have people cheering you on and people that are your sounding board of like, “Hey, I don’t feel like going to the gym today, you guys,” and people share that in the group. We have like five women like jump on that immediately and they’re like, “No, you got this. Look, focus on your goals. You can do it now. Go work out. And when you’re done, take a selfie.”
[KATHRYN]: Well they say that if you tell someone your goal, you’re 33% more likely to achieve that goal. But if you tell someone and you have someone to hold you accountable for that goal, it jumps up to like your 77% more likely to reach that goal.
[MELISSA]: Amen. And it’s really hard for women to realize that. And it’s really hard to say it out loud too. It takes some guts to post share whatever that, “Hey, I’m going to lose 20 pounds by March 1st,” because we have that fear of like, “Oh my God, what if I don’t do it? Then I look like an idiot and I put it out there to everyone and that fear sets in.” Right?
[KATHRYN]: Right, exactly. What about some tips for how we can still make time for fitness with such busy schedules? How do we carve out that time?
[MELISSA]: Yeah, yeah, for sure. So you have to go into each week with a game plan and as many, women know, that are listening to this every week can be different. You know, a kid could get sick one week from the next and then it’s probably passed on to the next kid and work calls and a conference call happens that you weren’t planning on that, you know? So every week is crucial. I don’t even tell people to set up their entire month because like honestly I don’t even know what tomorrow is going to look like. So I just try and do one week at a time and you have to do it every Sunday. Start before you go into Monday. If you start Monday, you’re already behind. Honestly, you’re already behind. So every Sunday night, I have my group members, we call it crucial conversations and everyone has to sit down with their support system. Who is it? Is it your husband? Is it your parents? Do you have a nanny or a babysitter? Do you have friends that are helping you and just go over the week like, “Hey guys, I’m on Tuesday,” or you know, “Honey, I need you to pick up the kids from school on Tuesday because I’m going to the gym from three to four. So I just need you to grab them. I’ll meet you guys all at home after.” But those crucial conversations have to happen because we can’t expect other people to read our minds.
[KATHRYN]: My Sunday mindfulness and intentional routine where I plan out my week. And if you don’t carve it out and you don’t put it on the calendar and you don’t make it a priority, it’s just not going to happen.
[MELISSA]: Yeah. It’s like a wish. You’re just wishing,
[KATHRYN]: Exactly. So, being mindful and intentional and really setting the time that you want to exercise on your calendar for the week. That’s a day before. I love that. That’s great.
[MELISSA]: Yeap.
[KATHRYN]: So, say someone has never really exercised before. Where should they start?
[MELISSA]: Just be active. I think people get too wrapped up in being fancy or like having to have the right shoes or the right gym membership or like, “Oh I have to have this water bottle.” I’ve even heard that before. “I have to have this water bottle. You know, because I don’t really have anything to drink out of.” I’m like, “Are you kidding me?” Just start moving. People don’t realize the power of a walk every day without failure for like 45 minutes, 30 minutes. Can’t do 45? Do 30. But I’m all about setting small, realistic goals to start off with because if you start off with like, “I’m going to work out. I’m going to walk seven days a week.” Well come on. Realistically, you’re probably going to hit four. If we’re really being honest, you’re probably going to hit three. So start off lower, hit that goal, then achieve it.
But honestly, just moving an activity is the first step. So take a walk, “Hey, I’m going to start walking two days a week.” That walk right there will make a chemical difference in your brain and your joints and your body and it’s burning calories. It really is. So don’t think that you have to have an extravagant, you know, gym membership or whatever. You don’t. You don’t have to have equipment at home to get started. Let yourself hit that first goal first, then maybe invest in a gym membership. Then maybe invest in some dumbbells for at home or something like that but just put it on the calendar, execute it, then reevaluate.
[KATHRYN]: So what do you think is most important or most beneficial for say women my age that are 50 years old or around that age? Straight training or cardio training or do you need both?
[MELISSA]: I would say both. But if we’re being honest, which I am, it’s strength training. You need that resistance against your muscles because after the age of 30 now the statistic could be, it could vary depending on what professional you’re talking to, but let’s just say 30, we’re fighting collagen, we’re fighting elastin, we are fighting bone density, we are fighting muscle, we are losing muscle. It’s a losing battle and you have to stay on top of it. Muscle’s a big one and it just starts dropping after you’re 30, then it drops even more after you’re 40. So just picking up some weights and doing resistance training is going to do a number on your body. And I always tell people too that like, “Remember this. Fat can’t live where muscle grows.” So the more you build that muscle and put it on your body, the less fat you’re going to have.
Now cardio is great. Don’t get me wrong. Cardio is going to burn the fat off of your body at a faster rate. Absolutely. While you’re moving, your heart’s going, you’re pumping, you know, you have a higher caloric burn. All that’s awesome. So if you can do both, I would. Two days resistance training, two days, just some cardio. And cardio is awesome for your heart health too. And like one of the number one killers in this country is heart disease and heart failure. So definitely keep those heart and lungs strong. Heart and lungs strong but really if you have to pick, I’m all about those weights and building that muscle
[KATHRYN]: And doesn’t strength training, tell me if I’m wrong, also help ward off osteoporosis. Doesn’t it make our bones stronger too?
[MELISSA]: Absolutely, because you’re fighting. Think of like having dumbbell set on your shoulder and you’re pushing that weight down on your body and you’re compacting those bones and you’re making them stronger and growing. And that’s why, for women 50 and older, too, outdoor walking is amazing because you’re having like that pounding on the pavement of your heel and that pounding helps build up that bone density too. So you don’t need a treadmill. Don’t do the elliptical, just get out on your pavement and walk. And that pressure and that pounding on your heels and your joints is actually a good thing.
[KATHRYN]: Oh, I didn’t know that. That is really understanding. So, what if, say I have a listener or a client who has never exercised before and only has, say 20 minutes a day? What would you tell her would be the best workout she could do?
[MELISSA]: I would have her find a walking pattern to start off with, go in her neighborhood and find, “Okay, what route can I take? Is there hills nearby? Can I run this path?” You know, check out the pavement, make sure it’s safe, and find a path. Spend your 20 minutes just kicking that path’s ass and just destroying it. After you’ve mastered that, then invest in like a weighted vest. Put that on. Now we’re adding a little bit of resistance training and we’re still getting that pressure in that pounding on the pavement. After you’ve done that, then you can invest in some dumbbells, take the dumbbells in your hand and start walking and just take it baby steps at a time. But the first action is just taking a step and outside. And if you can do it in the wintertime too, it’s amazing for your lungs. It does more conditioning when you’re fighting the cold outside. It makes you burn more calories because you’re cold and your body is trying to stay warm but also it’s making your lungs expand and contract at a faster rate because it’s fighting the cold, which is great for you. That’s awesome. But baby steps, walk add weight, add dumbbells after you’ve mastered that. When you come back home, start adding it a little bit more. “Okay. I did my 20-minute walk and I’m going to come home and I’m going to do 10 squats, 10 bicep curls, 10 shoulder press, and then I’m going to be done.” Baby steps.
[KATHRYN]: So I love that. How long does a workout need to be? Like start with baby steps for sure but then how long do you think we should work up to? 20 minutes, 40 minutes, an hour? Is there any magic number?
[MELISSA]: You know, I always say an hour. 60 minutes of any type of workout is phenomenal, but to start off 20 minutes, your next goal should definitely be 30, because your body, it takes a little bit to warm up, right? It takes your joints getting awake, it takes your muscles to stretch and be limber. And that takes, it can take around 20 minutes. It depends on how hard you’re working. After 20 minutes, your body starts to enter what we call like a fat-burning zone. Okay? So if your workout is 30 minutes, you’ve spent 20 warming up, then you’re going to spend a good in that fat burning zone. So if you’re working out 40 minutes, guess what? Now you’ve got 20 minutes in the warmup, but now you got 20 minutes in the fat-burning zone. Does that make sense?
[KATHRYN]: Absolutely. So the more weight you want to lose, the more time you need to spend in the fat-burning zone?
[MELISSA]: Yes, exactly.
[KATHRYN]: Okay. Got it. So now, we’ve talked about positive reinforcement of the community. I would also say after you take a walk for 20 minutes, instead of beating yourself up for not meeting expectations of walking for an hour, pat yourself on the back for the process and the step that you took that day and you will be more likely to get back out there and try again tomorrow versus I would also think that biting off too much at the beginning and maybe exercising super hard could also set you back and be a roadblock for future progress.
[MELISSA]: Oh yeah, because fitness and working out is so much of a mental game too. And we don’t realize that if we don’t give ourselves that positive reinforcement, and that could even just be like saying it out loud. That’s why I love when women in my group, they post like, “I just killed a 30-minute workout. I didn’t have time for it, but I did it anyways.” And everyone’s like, “Oh my God, that was amazing.” That just gave her like this boost of confidence. So you’re right, patting yourself on the back for that 20 minutes is going to be amazing for yourself. Confidence. If she, if there’s someone that she can tell that she did it, like who cares if you feel like you look stupid saying it like, “I just worked out for 20 minutes.” Like people are going to be like, “So what?” But that does something for you and it makes you feel good about yourself and giving yourself that acknowledgment.
I don’t know why, but we’re just so ingrained with like, you can be proud of yourself, but don’t be too proud of yourself. You know? Like we want to hear about your wins, but like don’t get too good. And I say, “Screw that.” I think if you’re making gains and hitting goals and you’ve lost 10 pounds and you’re doing it the right way, you should scream it from the rooftops. Like you should just be proud of that and say it out loud and screw anyone who thinks that you’re bragging. Like, I can’t stand that. And I teach my girls that too. I’m like, “No, if you kicked butt today in class or at practice, I want to hear it and I want you to tell me about it and why I want you to be proud.” So that’s a really big thing mentally, that we have to start shifting with women in their brain to have like, share your wins. That’s okay.
[KATHRYN]: Absolutely. It’s okay to feel good about yourself. It’s okay to be proud of yourself. So how does everything fit in with this? What’s more important to losing weight? How you eat or how much you exercise or is it a combination of those?
[MELISSA]: It is a combination of, but you can lose weight and lose body fat just by controlling your calories and paying attention to your caloric intake versus your caloric outtake. So how many calories are we consuming versus how many are we burning? And many people come into my program completely blind. They had no idea that that Starbucks that they’ve been getting every day, every other day is 575 calories and about 27 grams of sugar. And when I start teaching about labels, nutritional labels, ingredient labels, paying attention to your food and your calories, they’re like, “Oh my God, I had no idea that I was consuming that much.” And even if I don’t get my hands on them physically and we don’t start working out, just them paying attention and stop consuming so much of excess calories that they don’t even need, they drop body fat. So if you have to pick, do nutrition. Absolutely. Get that under control.
[KATHRYN]: Okay. So I’m hearing once again, just like with being mindful and intentional about the sitting down and planning your exercise for the week, we really need to be looking at labels and really even beginning journaling maybe what we eat in a day and how many calories and what we drink and how many calories that is in a day.
[MELISSA]: Absolutely. And you know, when I first started, even just like five years ago, we didn’t have apps. I mean we did, but they weren’t as good as they are now. But we didn’t have fancy apps and technology to be able to track our food on our phone. So there is nothing wrong with an old school paper and pen and just writing down what you ate. You know, paying attention to how much water you drink, paying attention to the juice you decided to have for breakfast that was loaded with 30 grams of sugar in it, you know, and how much it added up. It’s very eye-opening when you are mindful of what goes into your body.
[KATHRYN]: Well, I could talk about this with you all day long. This is so interesting to me. All right, I want to wrap it up by asking, you know, we’re all about the eight different domains here. And I always say that physical and mental wellbeing is our most important domain because if we’re not taking care of ourselves in the best possible way, we can’t be our best selves in all of our relationships.
[MELISSA]: Absolutely.
[KATHRYN]: So what is one imperfect action that we could start doing today that would move us closer to our best physical and mental wellbeing?
[MELISSA]: You know, I don’t want to say one action. I’d make it into two. One is to set your game plan for your physical movement. Have that crystal clear just for the next week and identify what it is that you can do. “Okay, I’m going to do my walks, or, “You know what? I have that gym membership and I’m actually going to go use it two times this week.” Make one physical and then your second is just get a paper and pen and be very intentional with the food that you consume for the first week. Don’t even say you’re going to do it for a month. As you said, imperfect action. Setting a goal for your physical activity, setting a goal for your nutrition, and just doing that and becoming more mindful, aware, and having a goal and hitting it is going to be life-changing for you.
[KATHRYN]: Melissa, I’m so excited that you have taken your time to be with us today. I’ve enjoyed our conversation so much.
[MELISSA]: Oh, thank you for having me. I’m happy to be here. Happy to talk with you guys.
[KATHRYN]: We’ll have to do it again sometime, for sure.
[MELISSA]: For sure, yes.
[KATHRYN]: So if you’ve enjoyed today’s show, please take a second and go rate review and subscribe to the podcast. And as always, we don’t want to just learn. We want to take what we’ve learned and go do something about it. So please listen to all the tips that Melissa has given us today, especially the two actions that you can take. So let’s go out until next time and take imperfect action. Thank you.
If you love this podcast, will you rate and review it on iTunes or your favorite podcast player? Also, I have a free nine-part Blueprint to Thrive email course. It’s a step by step guide to finding out what you want your life to look like, exactly what’s holding you back and how to get to that life you want. Head on over to to get the course today.
This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. This is given with the understanding that neither the host, Practice of the Practice, or the guests are providing legal, mental health, or other professional information. If you need a professional, you should find one.

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