MF 103 : Moving Forward in Your Health and Fitness, with Robin Rubin
Updated: Jun 17, 2022
Robin Rubin is a personal trainer, a fitness coach and instructor. Today, Robin is going to share some incredible tips on how to keep to your health and fitness goals in 2017, no matter how busy your schedule is.
Successes at a glance:
Personal trainer, coach, and certified group fitness instructor:
Works w/ clients in DMV area, ranging from age 20 – 90.
Specializes in personal one-one training and group sessions:
Bootcamp style classes.
Proud wife and mom of two.
Former elementary school teacher:
Bachelors in early childhood education.
Masters in educational technology.
How Robin starts her day and sets the right tone:
Robin is a busy professional w/ a family. So starting the day right is extremely important to her. Like many of the entrepreneurs and successful leaders I’ve spoken to on this show, Robin actually prepares her morning the night before. Because Robin teaches many of her classes in the early morning, one of the most important things to prepare are the workout clothes. As Robin explains, seeing the workout gear laid out the next morning gives her that early boost of inspiration. It also sets the right mindset for Robin to “get moving!” Even when Robin isn’t teaching a class, her morning always starts out w/ something fitness related so it’s a habit she sticks to on a daily basis. Second, Robin makes sure she has breakfast every single morning (and never skips!). Occasionally, this may include a cup of coffee. Third, Robin puts everything on her calendar. She not only puts her meetings and the classes she teaches but maps out her own personal fitness schedule; using both a virtual and paper calendar
How to keep motivated and stick to your fitness resolutions:
As we’re in February, many of us are starting to feel that deep winter lull. January 1 is now a distant memory as are many of the New Years’ resolutions we made back then. This is especially true when it comes to fitness and exercise. Many of us are still recovering from a two-month round of holiday eating that started in November and are just now trying to pay the price by making a resolution to exercise more and eat better. The problem is that while many of us start w/ a burst of renewed energy at New Years’, by February it seems that we’ve run out of steam. As Robin shares, the most important way to stay on track is to set small goals. Too many of us see exercise and fitness as a mountain requiring an epic climb. The dilemma Robin identifies is that too many people go from one extreme to the other. In other words, if you try to go from not working out at all to working out 5-6 days a week, you’re not going to make it. Instead, start w/ small, achievable goals such as cutting out that one soda a day. Another hack that Robin shares is positive reinforcement. For example, if you achieve your small goal, reward yourself w/ a workout shirt – something that will help build momentum towards your larger goal. More importantly, avoid food as a reward! Second, Robin recommends that instead of putting so much focus on Jan. 1, make your goals gradual and spread out over a longer period. Set new small goals every month and continue to build on them: example, this month could be to reduce your sugar consumption, next month could be to walk 10,000 steps a day (Robin mentions using Fitbit and a time audit).
Robin shares small, easy action items you can start doing today:
Park farther and take longer walks to your destination (this will not only increase your activity but lessen the headaches of trying to find that “perfect” parking spot!).
Take the steps at work and skip the elevator.
Pre-package your food on Sundays, plan out your meals.
Keep a food journal.
Keep it in perspective: this isn’t about January 1 or any specific month or day. As Robin shares, this is a life change you’re ultimately trying to achieve. By following the steps above, you’ll not only find greater success in achieving your small goals but making healthy changes that will stay w/ you for life. That’s how we keep moving forward.
Robin has already shared some great hacks on changing your reward system and not using food as a reward for accomplishing your goals. Beyond that, Robin recommends that you consult w/ a nutritionist if you need to make serious changes to your diet. On this, Robin reminds us of an important point: every individual is different. So make sure if you work w/ a nutritionist, that they understand you and any health conditions you may have so he or she can tailor a plan that is most effective for you.
Knowledge bursts (on health and fitness):
Tips for those who are in demanding and time-consuming jobs:
Integrate activity in your everyday must-do routines. For example: when Robin was a school teacher and didn’t have time to commit a workout class or hit the gym, she would do squats while doing her hair and makeup. Robin took an existing activity and turned it into a workout session. By the same token, you, the busy office worker or entrepreneur, can do the same. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, take walks around the parking lot during your lunch break, tighten your core while sitting at a stoplight. These are activities that you can easily integrate and will not take up any more time than you already spend in your busy day. Finally, if you’re in a job that requires a lot of sitting, make sure you take a few seconds to get up at regular intervals and stretch, even if just for a few seconds. If possible, you may want to consider sitting on a fitness ball or a standing desk).
[note: before engaging in any new workout routine or environmental change such as replacing your office furniture, consult w/ your physician first if you have serious back issues or other medical conditions]
Pre-plan your lunches. It’s easy to get tempted by the Friday donuts and the candy bowl at an office. Using the hacks that Robin shared above (food journaling).
Use a fitness tracker.
Finally, keep perspective: a workout does not have to be a 45 minute period at the gym. A 10-minute burst of activity here and there throughout the day can be just as effective, especially for the person who doesn’t have time to go to the gym.
How do new parents incorporate physical activity and build good habits for their kids early on:
When Robin had her kids, she started taking them to the gym w/ her as hers had a child care facility. Robin admits this was hard at first but eventually her kids started having so much fun that by the time her workout was over, they didn’t want to leave! If you’re a parent or parent-to-be and thinking about a gym membership, make sure to find one that is kid friendly. And don’t feel bad! Gyms are not just for single people and this is part of what your membership dollars goes to support!
If a gym membership isn’t in the budget, take your kids to the park. As your kids get to that age where they can climb and play, do so w/ them. This will not only encourage your kids as a role model of physical activity but will give you a vigorous workout at the same time! Robin reminds us, this is the time to enjoy the company of your kids and they can make the perfect fitness partners!
Set a healthy reward / positive reinforcement system. As Robin mentioned above, you should not reward yourself w/ food and the same is especially true w/ your kids. It’s an easy trap to fall into, especially w/ parents. So consider a reward that reinforces good habits such as a pair of kids sneakers or sidewalk chalk.
Finally, a great family practice Robin shares is the dinner time conversation / competition. Robin’s kids are now 16 and 17 and so both are very active in high school. To continue a physical fitness mindset, Robin’s family talks about what physical activity each member incorporated into his or her day and makes it a fun competition. Also, Robin learned from her family physician to have a foot race w/ her kids. When they’re young don’t let them beat you since you want to instill a healthy competitive attitude but know eventually they will win as they get older and that becomes a really proud moment for them and you as you all move forward together.
Qualities to look for when hiring a personal trainer or fitness coach:
Flexibility: what does their schedule look like, can they travel to you, what times are they available. Robin also adds to this being able to improvise. There are times when a training or coaching session may have to occur outside or in a backyard.
Modifying for you: As w/ nutritionists, Robin emphasizes it’s extremely important to find a trainer who can work w/ your particular circumstances and modify their training to accommodate any particular health or physical limitations you may have.
Fun: physical fitness should be seen as something you’re excited about and that you look forward to. While that’s not always the case, a trainer w/ a good attitude, who encourages you and pushes you in the right way, creates a high energy and friendly competitive atmosphere can make exercise that much more fun. Robin also talked about the benefits of an accountability buddy. To make working w/ a personal trainer more fun and less intimidating, have that friend join you.
Robin’s recommendation to recharge or reboot when facing a mid-day lull:
Robin recommends a little energy boost in the form of a small cup of coffee, a healthy snack if you’re hungry or take a break and do some physical activity such as taking a walk. Get up and move!
Alternatively, sometimes you need to reset. Robin recommends a little deep meditation and deep breaths when you need to calm yourself and regain focus.
If you’re feeling stressed about everything you have to do, list it out.
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Give yourself some credit. If you’re serious about changing your health and fitness habits, take those baby steps, set reasonable goals. And know that you’re going to make mistakes. Sometimes you’ll slip – don’t be too hard on yourself. Change takes time but each day you’ll get to reset and start fresh. Finally, everything in moderation!