Joel Harper, celebrity fitness trainer based in New York City. He is creator of the workout DVD series Fit Pack, the PBS programs Slim & Fit and Firming After 50 and of the workout chapters in The New York Times best-selling YOU book series and accompanying DVDs. He is author of Mind Your Body. JoelHarperFitness.com
Realize your best self through inspiration and motivation with the help of Bottom Line's most inspiring self-help experts.
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About Your Personal Mind-Body Coach
Your mindset is the crucial factor when it comes to slimming down, toning up, and boosting overall well-being. Personal trainer to the stars Joel Harper offers the motivation and guidance you need to achieve your fitness goals, and live life the way you want it to be in this blog. Joel’s blog posts are adapted with permission from his book Mind Your Body.
Negative emotions—particularly anger and anxiety—are normal from time to time, but it’s not healthy or productive to hold on to them for long periods of time. You may not even be aware of the emotion you are feeling at a difficult moment, but taking the time to name the emotion you are feeling raises your awareness, which is the first step to finding relief.
Affirmations work! So if you’re going through a rough time, repeat the affirmations suggested here a couple of times a day. Write them on sticky notes and put them in a place you frequently pass by. Then do the suggested exercises for five minutes to burn up excess energy and let it all out.
Affirmation: “I disengage from judging. I can’t change others. I let go and experience life in the now. I deserve to enjoy this moment.”
Exercise:Punching Bag (which strengthens arms and shoulders, by the way). Do for five minutes without stopping.
Get ready: Stand with feet comfortably apart. Lift your right foot off the floor, bringing your arms out in front of you, elbows slightly bent with your knuckles facing away from your body and in line with the center of your chest. Go!Circle your hands around each other vertically (up and over) as if you were hitting an imaginary punching bag. Go 30 seconds clockwise, then 30 seconds counterclockwise. To pump it up, do double time for 30 seconds in each direction, then an additional set at triple time. Don’t stop, and resist lifting your shoulders. Keep them away from your ears. Then do a second set with your left foot up.
FEELING ANXIOUS? Stressed? Tense?
Affirmation:“I move forward in life with ease. My path opens up and is made clear.”
Exercise 1: Towel Circles (a great cardio activity)
Get ready: Grab a big towel and come into upper push-up position, hands under shoulders, elbows slightly bent. Position your feet wide on either side of the towel, then bring your feet together, scrunching the towel between your feet. Go! Make as wide a circle as you can with your feet, starting with your feet in and together, then moving them up and apart. Do 25 circles, then switch directions and repeat. Do two sets.
Exercise 2: Knee Bounces (strengthens the entire body, with an emphasis on quads)
Get ready: Come onto all fours with hands under shoulders and knees under hips. Keep your elbows slightly bent and your back in a straight line from the top of your head to your tailbone the entire time. Raise your knees one inch off the ground. Go! Bounce your knees one inch up and down for two minutes. The effort should come from your quadriceps (the front of your thighs). Try to get 120 bounces in two minutes. Make it harder: Each time your knees come up, hop your toes one inch off the mat. Think floating, not pounding here. Imagine you are on a sheet of glass and you don’t want to break it.