Feeling the burn!

britt mcvicar fitness, personal trainer, yoga, olympia, workout

True or False: You should push yourself in exercises until you really feel the burn in your muscles.

False. This isn’t another article saying that heavy lifting  and that one exercise trend that is sweeping the nation with intense exercises are all bad for you. NO! Those are necessary and great ways to really transform your body.

BUT you can really screw your bod over if you ignore alignment and core strength. Set your foundation before launching into your exercise programs.

Lesson 1:
Chances are your core is on a sabbatical. Even if you can plank like a rock star, there is a possibility that your core doesn’t fire correctly when you walk or do other exercises. Your core is meant to stabilize and protect your body.

This is why isometric exercises are so great, you are replicating the duty of the core. This is also why I am not a fan of sit-ups, those work your hip-flexors and crunch your neck. Unless you are in a competition where you are head-butting your knees, I’d bypass sit-ups and do dead-bug!

Lesson 2:
Your body is a cheater. It actively looks for ways to conserve energy (calories). Even if you find an exercise routine that melts away 10 lbs, in about 4-6 weeks, your body will burn fewer calories because it got smart, and that sucks.

Solution? Do mini-modifications to your exercise routine, switch out every 4-6 weeks with a different routine or yoga!

Lesson 3:
Slow and steady win the race. If you like super intense workouts to see how many squats or burpees you can crank out in 45 seconds, awesome! If you just asked what a burpee is, you may benefit more from slowing down and focusing on all the muscles that are involved in a certain exercise.

Next time you sit down in your chair at your desk or for your evening meal, take the count of eight to do so. Your friends and family may look at you and wonder if you have hemorrhoids, but just tune in to your body and see if it is a bit more challenging to slow down. Do you feel your core engage at all? Or are you sending all the work to your hips and shoulders?

Important side note: if you are in the mid-west, this meal is supper, if someone invites you for dinner you best show up at noon!


Make your to-do-list kick a$$

03Lately I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed, like the day doesn’t have enough hours for me to get everything done. Does that sound like something you are dealing with? Like you set out Monday with a course but are quickly pulled in a million different directions and feel BUSY all day.

Sometimes it’s just hard to stay focused on whatever task you are doing because your ever-growing to-do-list is hovering like a drone, judging to see if you could be more efficient or work faster!

So what do you do? My motto is aim to do less 🙂 Yes, this will make sense soon.

Set your intention, out loud or on a piece of paper!
What if you started your day setting your intention. It can be as simple as “Today I am open” meaning, you are open to what needs to happen. Not focusing on what HAS to happen. Or maybe its “Today I am focused” so that every time you get distracted by the squirrel running outside your office window, you have a gentle reminder that today is your day to be focused. Doing this also allows the law of attraction to intervene, providing you with what you need to lead you to your dreams, or just help you with your day.
TASK: Give it a try, set your intention for the day and let me know how it goes!

I know, sounds nuts right?! But let’s consider this. What if you had a to do list of no more than 4 items? Yes, you need to go to the grocery store, do laundry, pick up the stuff in the living room, drop off the mail, pick up shampoo, exercise, pick up kiddos, make dinner, pour a shameless glass of wine and collapse and binge on Netflix. How in the WORLD can I get that all in one list!? Fret not friend, this list is about the must do’s. When you focus on what NEEDS to be done, the rest of the tasks fell into place. I tried this yesterday and by the end of the day, not only had I checked off my must do list, I made a big dent in the other stuff.
TASK: Take a small sheet of paper, like folding an 8 1/2 x 11 in half 3 times. Your to-do-list should fit on that. Don’t be a poophead and write super small so you can cram more!

You forgot to pick up the mail, or you had a soda with lunch but are trying to cut back, or you really meant to exercise today but you didn’t. When you find yourself worrying about what you didn’t do, pretend it’s your best pal telling you the same thing. You would easily forgive your friend if they missed a lunch date, or if they forgot to send the email to your group confirming a meeting, so why wouldn’t you forgive yourself?
TASK: What is one thing you can forgive yourself for doing or not doing today?

The thing is, you FEEL like you accomplished so much more when you are able to see that you checked things off your to do list. So make the ones that you check off count. Get you most needed done and watch the rest of your day fall into place.

I’m not promising peace love and joy because you made a list, but I am promising that this challenge will allow you the opportunity to think about what is most important to you each day.

For more amazing stuff on setting intentions and attracting the good, check out The Universe Talks : http://www.tut.com/

Disclaimer: No drones were used in the making of this blog

Love and Sparkles,


Conquer your 2016 – best ways to achieve your goals

“What’s your new year’s resolution!?” asked every retail clerk and friend in the country. Are you feeling that pressure lately too? People asking you what resolutions are this year, what you are going to do differently this year? Then you start thinking of last year’s resolutions, and 10 points to the person that can remember what those were!

Ok, let’s break this 2016 down!

Goals vs Resolutions: There is a stigma out there that resolution setting doesn’t work. Well one person put that to the test to find out why. Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor, found that we increase our success rate for our goals when we have accountability, commitment, and we just write the damn things down! Here is a great article about her research.

So this year, set your goals and write them down! Maybe try ordering them in order of what is most important for you so you focus. Then tell a buddy, find a friend, hell, post it on social media and hold yourself accountable to your goals.

Vision statements: So this mentor of mine asked me if I made resolutions for the new year. I’ve made a couple in the past but in the last 5 years, instead of resolutions, I’ve written my hearts desires on a piece of paper with my close girlfriends and we stuff them in a bag and open them again the following year. The purpose is to write it down and put it out in the world. Set the intention and see how it unfolds. (Anyone read the Secret?!)

Well my mentor suggested I take that a step further and make a daily vision for myself. “um what?” I asked. She said that if I would just write down how I want most of my days to look, it will add so much power and motivation to my vision because I will have a daily reminder of the intentions I am setting.

Challenge accepted – I wrote down my typical day. I won’t bore you with the deets but here is the basic premises:

–   I will wake up next to my husband and puppies and smile, because I am grateful for all of them

–  I will get out of bed with energy because I have purpose for each day

–  I will meditate for 15 minutes because it is my intent to remember the things I control, and the things I do not

–  I will nourish my body with good food and beverage choices because that will make me stronger and healthier

–  I will have the opportunity to exercise most days because I love what it does for my health – and I really love yoga pants

–  I know that my family will have enough money to pay bills, buy groceries that we need and want, and be more than able to save for our future

–  I know that I will have time to make a good dinner and share it with my family most nights

Affirmations: I’m going to add that your daily vision should include telling yourself a daily affirmation. I know, I feel the eye-roll coming but just hear me out. Write down phrases or ask a friend or your partner to write down things they think about you. “I am awesome” “I am loved” “I am worth it” – and use those to tell yourself something each day you can this year.

Fear not: She also said “The opposite of fear is love.” Read that again – love. Love beats fear, so when you are afraid of changes, paying bills, losing friends and family, or whatever you have in your life’s bucket right now remember, on the other side of that fear is LOVE. For me, it’s not so scary when I’m able to remind myself that the fear is only an emotion, it’s not concrete. It doesn’t have teeth or rope to hold me back. And when I can get past that fear, there is love. I don’t know about you, but in my life, love has been pretty awesome.

Write down your goals, review them daily, and share them with a friend or loved one so you have accountability! Or try a vision statement for your days of 2016! Or do both!

Much love and new year’s sparkles


Are you a Hell Yes?! Advice on making adult decisions

Holidays are here! Extra cookies at offices, parties, cold weather and the “what the hell, I can spend my money on that” attitude. When you ask someone how they are doing, their reply is “Oh I’m just so busy!” This time of year can be overwhelming for many. Days have less sunshine, we are reminded of family that has left this world, and if your co-worker brings one more batch of sugar cookies you will flip!

Do me a favor, take your shoulders down away from your ears, both feet on the ground, lift your rib cage up and forward. You matter and you are worth it!

Now that you feel like a superhero, allow me to share some advice I heard this week. Listening to Tim Ferriss, author of the Four Hour Work Week which you should all read, he interviewed an entrepreneur/musician and had some excellent take-aways. Tim interviewed Derek Sivers, creator of CD Baby which is an online distributor of independent music and has spoken at TED Conference.  Here is what I found awesome and worth sharing with you!

1)      Hell Yes! Or No –  Derek had a really interesting take on the decisions we make. Whether it’s an invitation to go to lunch, or an offer to work on a new project or company. Derek says we have two choices, hell yes or no. Meaning, if you aren’t TOTALLY in and jump up and down with a fist pump for good measure, then your answer is likely no. He says this tactic will help us rid ourselves from the piddly stuff that isn’t that important but we do anyway because we feel we HAVE to. Or maybe we want to but the truth is we don’t have time and other parts of our lives suffer because we spread ourselves too thin (sound familiar?) Derek said that when he put this into practice, he suddenly had more time for when something amazing came up and could say hell yes! Before, when those opportunities come, we are so busy that our hell yes’s can lose their luster. So put this to the test on a few choices and see how it works for you. Are you a HELL YES? Or a no?

2)      Summarize the good books that you read – That’s right, get your paper and pen kids, there is a quiz! KIDDING! Derek offered some great thoughts about how when you read a good book and are like “YES! That spoke to me and I love every sentence in here!” Then six months later you can’t remember what was in the damn book that was so awesome! You aren’t getting old, just some of us don’t have that type of memory system in place. Derek’s solution: Write a brief summary for the book or grab the highlights and notes from your Kindle and put them in a word doc. When you actively review that which stood out, it helps you retain those nuggets. Review these notes when you can to maintain your list of awesome from the things you read.

There was SO much more than those two things so you should definitely tune in to Tim’s podcasts for more.

Let me know what you think and if you put any of these nuggets to the test!

Happy Christmas and may your New Year be filled with blessings that make you whole – and sparkles


Perfection does not bring sparkles – a look at your decision to exercise

I’ve been challenged lately to slow down and take a closer look at my intentions for professional and personal situations. If you know me personally, you KNOW this gal doesn’t do slow down very well – at all.

If you are into those book things, I am gonna give a shout out to Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly. This book is about how vulnerability is actually a form of courage and that striving for perfection is the antithesis of growth and achievement. Perfection is the defensive shield that we put up; an armor to hide us from what we really need to deal with in our lives.

Geeze Britt, getting deep here! Well, I write with a purpose friends 😉 Plus I feel that you can all relate to this in your lives. We want to be good friends so we say yes to lunches with a friend even though we are exhausted, we say yes to taking on more projects at work because if we say no, we may miss that next promotion. We then mask our insecurities and vulnerabilities and in the end, we are anxious, stressed, exhausted little humans. Then we come home and take the edge off with alcohol, or chocolate, or both! Or we indulge in our favorite meal or dessert because by golly we deserve it.

Brown sites another author, Jennifer Louden and her book The Life Organizer where she states that we have “Shadow comforts” that help us hid behind our shields. I enjoy a good piece of chocolate as a treat or to savor, but sometimes we gulp the whole king-size bar in an effort to soothe our anxiety. I LOVE watching Super Natural. It’s the dumbest damn show and has no point and jumped the shark like 12 times. But it’s my show and I heart it! Other times we find ourselves flipping through the 300 +channels trying to find something when we should be dealing with an issue.

Enter the fitness perspective. Way to bring it back Britt! We exercise and beat ourselves into submission with a HIIT workout or for five miles on a treadmill or stair-stepper. But are we doing that because we want to increase our strength and lose weight? Or are we shaming ourselves for MAYBE eating two full maple bars at work today?! Or we dislike our bodies so much that we lose ourselves in a single exercise session and wonder why we don’t feel better afterwards.

Louden makes a great point “It’s not what you do; it’s why you do it that makes the difference.” So why are we working out, are we shaming ourselves because we think we need to be thinner, stronger, sexier, leaner?! Or are we more focused on our hearts, the function of our bodies, and trying to prevent ourselves from illness.

Take some time this week and ask yourself why you are doing certain things. This isn’t a blame game here, more about mindfulness. Mindfulness when you eat, when you spend time with a loved one, when you choose what to eat, and how you exercise. Be mindful and forgiving because you are your worst critic!

I could write a novel but I really encourage those of you who are struggling with this exact thing to talk to family, friends and professionals. Life isn’t about shaming yourself into submission. It’s about living the best way you know how, staying present and mindful of every decision you are making.

Since that was an emotional journey, here is a funny kitten video to bring you back to happy!

Much love and extra sparkles,