Jules Erickson

Consistency is King

Your progress is not going to be made in one workout or meal; just like missing a workout, or eating off plan for a meal, isn’t going to break your progress.

Far more important is how many workouts you’re getting throughout each week for the month. And how many of your days involve some kind of meaningful movement.

You see, consistency beats inconsistent perfection every time. I’m constantly telling my clients, “something is always better than nothing.” That doesn’t mean a balls to the wall workout daily. It can be as simple as taking yourself through some dynamic stretches. Getting outside for a 20 min walk. Doing 50 bodyweight squats before hopping into bed. Just move in a meaningful way.

And rather than worrying each meal, blowing it on one, and then saying “eff it” and blowing each meal for the next 48 hours, try looking at your entire month. Most individuals should be shooting for 80/20, meaning 80% of your meals are clean, or on plan, and 20% of your meals allow for indulgence. Let’s say you eat 4 meals a day, that’s 28 meals per week, 112 meals for the month. At 80%, roughly 90 of those meals should be on plan. That means that 22 of those meals can include some indulgence and you’ll still make progress.

The goal is progress, not perfection, and consistency beats perfection every damn time.

Successful and unsuccessful people don’t vary greatly in their ability. They vary in their desire to reach their potential. And reaching their potential comes down to consistently striving every day.

You’re amazing, so shine bright and light up the world with your awesomeness.✨💕

xoxo -

Jules

MINDSET & MINDFULNESS

The one thing we can control in this life is how we choose to respond to what happens to us. Epictetus said, “We cannot choose our external circumstances, but we can always choose how we respond to them.”

Jesus said, “It is impossible that no offense will come.”

Buddha said, “You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.”

Lao Tzu said, “Do you have the patience to wait until your mud settles and the water is clear?”

Do you find you’re quick to react? Even to the smallest things. Maybe your go-to is anger. Maybe it’s worry and anxiety. Reacting is seemingly instantaneous, driven by emotion. Whereas responding requires thought. To take a step back from the situation, remaining mindful, evaluating, and then choosing how to respond.

This might seem minor, but it’s the constant reactions to the insignificant that start to chip away at our mindset, and we start to bring that negativity to the other parts of our life. Even more important, reacting to the small stuff is a clear indication that, when shit truly hits the fan and life gets real, you are ill-equipped to deal.

Mindfulness meditation has been a game changer for me. It’s not about not having feelings. It’s having the ability to be aware of what’s happening externally, as well as your internal thoughts and feelings, observing them, taking them in, and then letting them go.

Our breathing is deeply connected to this as well. The means by which controlled breathing triggers the parasympathetic nervous system is linked to stimulation of the vagus nerve—a nerve running from the base of the brain to the abdomen, responsible for mediating nervous system responses and lowering heart rate, among other things. The vagus nerve releases a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine that catalyzes increased focus and calmness. A direct benefit of more acetylcholine is a decrease in feelings of anxiety.

Just like strength training for the body, you can train your brain to remain calm, thus controlling how you respond.Think of peace of mind like the blue sky. Just because it’s cloudy doesn’t mean it’s not there. Peace of mind is always there, in spite of our circumstances, just a few deep breaths away.✨

“Happiness is an inside job. Don’t assign anyone else that much power over your life.” - Mandy Hale

Have your been responding or reacting to life lately? Are you quick to anger? Find yourself bombarded by anxious thoughts? Have you tried meditation?

XOXO -

Jules

A Simple Guide to Progressive Overload

In order to make any real progress, the body has to experience a stimulus greater than what it’s used to receiving on a regular basis. That’s exactly what progressive overload is.

Let’s break it down...

1️⃣ You’ve got to start with perfect form and progress from there. Do not overload a lift with less than ideal technical form. Figure out where you are on the regression-progression continuum and start getting stronger.

2️⃣ Progressive overload is more than just load. Increasing ROM, improving form, progressing the movement, performing more reps, performing another set, decreasing rest time, lifting with increase acceleration (intensity of effort); it all adds a new stress to the body.

3️⃣ Focus on improving form and ROM first, then focus on load.

4️⃣ Progressive overload takes some serious strategy for veteran lifters. New lifters can make awesome strength gains doing pretty much anything, as long as they’re consistent. However, after a couple years of solid training, you have to be strategic with your programming. Rotate lifts, periodize your programs, and experiment with different methodologies.

5️⃣ You’re not going to be able to increase load on every lift every month, so it’s important to switch up the emphasis with each new phase. I recommend focusing on progressing 1-2 lifts each month. A great way to break them down is this:
➡️ Glutes (barbell hip thrust, barbell glute bridge, Reverse hyperextensions, etc.)
➡️ Lowe Pull (deadlift, RDL, Nordic hamstring curl, etc.)
➡️ Lower Push (squat, RFE split squat, lunge, lateral lunge, etc.)
➡️ Upper Pull (pull up, chin up, bent over row, single arm row, etc.)
➡️ Upper Push (bench press, push up, overhead press, etc.)
➡️ Accessory (lateral raise, rear delt raise, core work, etc.)

Pick 1-2 lifts from the above categories to focus on with each phase of training. By rotating your focus, performing different variations, changing reps and sets, changing tempo, and adjusting rest times you can continue to challenge yourself and set new PRs.

xoxo -

Jules

Breaking the Cycle of Emotional Eating

Emotional eating is real--tired, stressed, bored, sad, even joy can lead to excessive eating. 

Feeling a lack of control can also contribute.

That’s me. Something I’ve struggled with for as long as I can remember, and something I have been working tirelessly on over the last 12 months. When unforeseen circumstances arise that are out of my control, I take immediate action. I try to remedy. Try to regain control.

When I cannot fix it, when the situation simply is what it is, that’s my trigger.

The truth is once we enter a state of emotional eating it’s almost impossible to to stop. It also brings about very real feelings of guilt and shame.

The key to breaking the emotional eating cycle is to understand your emotions, and the factors that typically lead to the act, and rather than eating to cope, dive in fully and change your actions.


First, just stop. Breathe.

Take a look inward and understand what it is that you’re feeling. Being able to name our emotions as they’re happening has actually been proven to diminish the intensity of it.

Be as specific as possible. For example, when I was in the middle of my divorce, I was feeling A LOT. So rather than stating a very general, “I feel sad,” I would challenge myself to go deeper. What I was really feeling — absolutely terrified that no one will ever deem me worthy of love or being faithful to. That no one will ever want me, and I am going to be alone for the rest of my life.

Go deeper to lessen the intensity of what you’re feeling, and show yourself compassion. Acknowledge what you’re feeling, and tell yourself it’s ok to feel that way. There is no reason to feel any guilt or shame for feeling this. Remind yourself that it will pass; what you’re feeling is not a permanent state.

When I was first practicing this, I would write it all in a journal. I carried my journal and a pen with me wherever I went, because when I was in the thick of divorce, starting over as a single mother, and my mother’s cancer, big emotions would hit at random throughout the day.

Just like anything, it takes practice. I’ve taken myself through this so many times, it’s second nature at this point. I no longer need the journal.

Now, what factors have lead to your emotional eating?

Who were you with?

What were you doing?

What was your stress level?

Did you sleep well?

Remaining mindful in an emotional state is key. Reacting to a feeling is immediate, it’s an emotional state in itself. It’s not based on thought. Responding, on the other hand, requires thought. It requires mindfulness and understanding. It requires compassion.


Understand your patterns.

To break the emotional eating cycle you also want to understand what your typical patterns are. For most, emotional eating is a habit engrained by repetition. They go into autopilot and reach for the same foods time and time again.

So what is your pattern? Do you go to the grocery store? The drive through? Is it food you keep at home regularly?

Once you identify your patterns you can take action to break them. 

Creating new patterns and habits, and breaking old ones takes a tremendous amount of practice and time. Yes, you will stumble. Yes, it is going to feel hard. Some days will feel impossible. But it will get better. It’s only a failure if you stop trying. When you quit, that’s when you fail. But if you get back up and continue to press forward, you will make progress, and it will get better. I am living proof of that.

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” - Calvin Coolidge

XOXO - 

Jules

The 100-Percent Rule

I picked up this idea from an article I read last year, right around this time, and it can be a total game changer if you let it. That idea being the 100-percent rule.

We always have the best of intentions when forming a new habit or attempting to take on a new project, but all too often we fall short. We don’t commit wholeheartedly. Giving something 75, 80, even 99% is hard. It consumes our energy, usually creating anxiety, because we’re not getting the results we’re after. Putting less than 100-percent effort into things that matter in life means we are constantly falling short of our potential. And that leads to feeling like we’ve failed, over and over again.

“99% is a bitch. 100% is a breeze.” – Jack Canfield

From that article, the writer (Suzie Moore) does an awesome breakdown of how to start implementing the 100-percent rule in your life.

1. Identify exactly what needs 100 percent of your attention.

Not everything in your life needs 100-percent effort, but your heart knows what truly does. This doesn’t mean you now take on a million projects; it means you need to take a moment, look at what’s truly important to you, and commit. 

2. Put in the effort.

As I said above, commit. 99-percent is consuming, draining, and anxiety-inducing. 99-percent weighs on you and is heavier than the actual task. 100-percent will not be easy, not at first. But over time it will become habit, and a non-negotiable. You don’t have a choice. Whatever it is, just do it.

3. Repeat (again and again).

100-percent is how you achieve your goals, and reach your true potential. Once that goal is met, or the new habit is formed, it gives you the mental space for the next priority to become clear, since you’re not plagued by guilt about other multiple half-assed attempts. And when you give 100-percent, it becomes clear what isn’t important, and that stuff naturally falls away.

What am I committing to 100-percent? My writing. I will be writing every day; emails for you, blogs for the Lift & Love Life site, and content for products. I am not the most skilled writer out there, but I love helping people, and getting quality information out there is one way I can help. Committing to writing every day means my skills will improve, and I won’t feel the anxiousness that comes every time I do publish something.

So, with that I ask you, what’s important to you? What are you committing to 100-percent from this point on? Email me and I promise to check in with you periodically to help hold you accountable. 

“Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek.” – Mario Andretti

The time is now. Dear greatly, take MASSIVE ACTION, and commit 100-percent.

XOXO – 

Jules

Happy New Year, Everyday.

I+have+always+been+delighted+at+the+prospect+of+a+new+day%2C+a+fresh+try%2C+one+more+start%2C+with+perhaps+a+bit+of+magic%2C+waiting+somewhere+behind+the+morning..jpg

We are on our 2nd day of 2019, and I hope you've had a wonderful start to your new year.

The new year is always an exciting time. It's an opportunity to review your last year; what you've done well, and where you can improve. It's full of possibility. Dare I say, even a bit of magic?

But I have a little secret for you; did you know it's possible to experience this same magic on a daily basis?

Every morning, you are given a new day. Another 24 hours to get one step closer to your goals. And really, that's what progress comes down to. It's the little things, done day after day, that make the difference. Consistency is king when it come to making progress, no matter what the goal is. And each day you're given a fresh start to go for it.

Every morning, you are given another opportunity to grow, improve, show gratitude, and live joyfully.

Every morning, you are given another chance to dare greatly and take MASSIVE ACTION.

This is what I see in every sunrise. 

Every new morning can bring the same motivation and magic as every new year.

XOXO -

Jules

"Yesterday ended last night, today is a brand new day. And it's yours." - Zig Ziglar

5 Tips to Navigate the Holidays

This time of year isn't always the easiest. From Thanksgiving through the New Year, people tend to struggle, so I had some thoughts I wanted to share on the matter.

1. What you do the majority of the time is what matters most, not what happens over a few holiday events. So, if leading up to your holiday parties and events, you're eating well 80-90% of the time, and getting 3-4 workouts in per week, you're going to be just fine. 

As I like to tell my clients, 80-90% compliance done consistently is ALWAYS going to be more effective than inconsistent perfection.

2. Do YOUR best, and "best" is going to look different for everyone. For myself, I like to stick to my foundational health habits to get me through this time of year. I know that if I'm at least accomplishing these things, I'll be able to bounce back and get into my routine with more ease.

- Build each meal around a quality protein and LOTS of non-starchy veggies.

- Move daily.

- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

- Prioritize sleep.

3. Keep moving daily. This doesn't mean I'm expecting you to hit the gym and crush a high intensity workout every day. It can be as simple as getting out of the house and going for a 20 min walk. I know each one of you can commit to a walk, at the very least.

Really, what I want is for you to move your body in a meaningful way daily. And that can look however you want it to. Just move.

4. Avoid going off the rails with your diet. It can be incredibly difficult to swing the momentum back in the direction of health and wellness when you've let yourself go completely. It's not impossible, but again, much easier to get back to your routine when you've practiced eating moderately.

5. NO GUILT. Regardless of how the next two weeks play out, the absolute last thing I want for any of you is guilt and shame surrounding your food or activity choices. Your progress will not be made in a single workout or single meal. It is a cumulative effort. What matters most is what you do once the events are over. All those other days, the days where there are no events, and you're living normally, those are the days where progress is made or lost.

Regardless of how the next two weeks play out, I want you to enjoy the hell out of them. Enjoy each bite, enjoy the time spent with the ones you love, and enjoy having a break from the normal day-to-day.

And for those of you who struggle actually being around your family this time of year, or for those who might feel their loneliness exemplified by lack of family, I am truly sorry. Stay strong, and please know that you are not alone. You will get through this and life will be back to normal soon.

“The dark does not destroy the light; it defines it. It's our fear of the dark that casts our joy into the shadows.” - Brene Brown

It’s in the darkness that our light can shine the brightest.

XOXO -

Jules

Chia Seed Pudding

I have been playing with chia seeds lately (I know, I’m late to the party), but this little beauty is a powerhouse.

A one-ounce (28 grams/about 2 Tbsp) serving of chia seeds contains:

Fiber: 11 grams.

Protein: 4 grams.

Fat: 9 grams (5 of which are omega-3s).

Calcium: 18% of the RDI.

Manganese: 30% of the RDI.

Magnesium: 30% of the RDI.

Phosphorus: 27% of the RDI.

They also contain a decent amount of zinc, vitamin B3 (niacin), potassium, vitamin B1 (thiamine) and vitamin B2.

They are also high in antioxidants. Antioxidants fight the production of free radicals, which can damage cell molecules and contribute to aging and diseases like cancer.

They are also incredibly easy to incorporate into your diet. This little pudding recipe is a prime example, and it doesn’t not disappoint.

CHIA SEED PUDDING

Recipe = 1 serving

8 oz almond cashew milk

2 scoops vanilla plant protein (mine is a blend of pea, hemp, and quinoa)

2 Tbsp chia seeds

1/4 c blueberries

1/4 c raspberries

Shake and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Feel free to put your own spin on it. Try different protein powders, add different fruit, etc.

I’ve been enjoying them in the evening as a dessert, but they also make for an easy grab-and-go breakfast if you’re in a rush.

Whip a few of them up, and make sure to use the hashtag #liftandlovelife so I can show you some love.

XOXO -

Jules

33

Today is my 33rd birthday. I’ve never been one to loathe aging. In fact it’s quite the opposite. I’ve always viewed each birthday as a personal new year; a time to reflect and show gratitude.

Between my divorce, navigating life as a single parent, my mother’s cancer diagnosis, and my sister’s car accident, the last year has been absolutely brutal. Without a doubt, the most devastating challenges I have had to face thus far.

For years I was the queen of keeping a cool exterior. I viewed showing any kind of emotion, or asking for help as signs of weakness. Mind you, not when other people sought my council. No, it was only weakness if I required help. 

I was a rock. I could handle whatever blows life was going throw. And I was going to do it by myself.

This mentality seemed to serve me well through the first 30 years of life. It wasn’t until my marriage started to unravel, and I had completely lost myself in the roles of mother and wife, that my no emotion, no help, rock mentality started taking its toll, and some destructive behavior started becoming a daily practice.

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren't always comfortable, but they're never weakness.” - Brene Brown

I had never learned the tools to cope with big emotions because I had never allowed myself to ever feel them. I shoved them into the dark depths, where they would never be seen (of felt).

I knew in the midst of coming to terms with my decision to file for divorce, and having just learned of my mother’s cancer, that this was a pivotal moment in my life. This was not something I was going to be able to send into the labyrinth, never to be dealt with. The pain, fear, and anger I felt was overwhelming. Consuming. And I realized I only had two options; let it break me down, or break me open.

I chose the latter.

We are not what happens to us, we are how we choose to respond to what happens to us.

We go through the tough stuff to grow and be better; because there will come a day when someone is struggling and are in need of the tools you’ve learned, and you will be able to provide them.

33 is a new year. There will be more pain (such is life), but there’s also going to be a whole lot of vulnerability, joy, and mindfulness.

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.” - Brene Brown

XOXO - 

Jules

The Single Leg RDL

The Single Leg RDL is a killer movement for your hamstrings and glutes, while also challenging your stability. It helps to eliminate strength imbalances between your two sides, and is an awesome booty builder.

Unfortunately, form on this movement can be quite difficult for some. You’ll often see people lose their neutral spine position, unable to keep the non-working leg straight, etc. I like to teach the Single leg RDL with no weight to start, and will often use a dowel or monster band for external feedback.

Learn the movement.

Grab a thin monster band and loop it over your shoulder and under the foot of the non-working leg. Think about pressing into the band with your foot as you go through the ROM.

The feedback provided by the band makes finding the proper position much easier. It’s just like throwing a band around your knees on a squat.


Challenge stability, then load.

Focus on mastering the movement by controlling stability first, and then you can work on loading with heavier weights. I like to use the following progression:

1. Ipsilateral Single Leg RDL

This first variation challenges stability without challenging rotary control.

2. Contralateral Single Leg RDL

The second variation challenges stability AND rotary control.

3. Single Leg RDL

Once control has been established and form is locked in you can start to challenge with heavier loads.

I’m using kettlebells, but these movements can be done with dumbbells, a barbell, cables, sandbags, bands, etc.

Now get out there and show me your Single Leg RDLs. Use the hashtag #liftandlovelife so I’m sure to see your posts.

xoxo -

Jules