Lolo Jones’s career has been marked by highs and lows. She’s a three-time Olympian who has competed in two separate sports—hurdling and bobsledding—in both the summer and winter Games. She was also the gold-medal favorite in the 2008 Olympics when she snagged her foot on the second to the last hurdle and ended up missing the podium entirely.
She’s a reality TV veteran who has appeared on Dancing with the Stars, Celebrity Big Brother, and The Challenge, but she’s also had her personal life picked apart after speaking out about her virginity in 2012.
“I’ve failed so many times over my career,” Jones tells SELF. “And if anything, I’ve had some amazing moments, and those failures propelled me to make history.”
In fact, Jones considers herself something of a pro when it comes to dealing with sucky circumstances. Her latest struggle? Having to bow out of the Tokyo Games due to the pandemic-induced delay, which made it impossible for her to prepare for both hurdling in Tokyo and bobsledding in the Winter Games in 2022.
“That was really tough because I was training for the Summer Olympics before the pandemic hit,” she says, referring to her intent to try to make the track and field team for the 100-meter hurdles. “And once it hit and they delayed the Games, I knew that I couldn’t go for both because they’d be six months apart.”
For Jones, now 39-years-old, missing the trials for the summer Games was a big disappointment, especially considering she had to withdraw from the 2016 Trials for the summer Rio Games due to hip surgery. But the decision was just another example of the resilience Jones has learned to cultivate throughout her career. It’s something she hopes to inspire in other people, too. In fact, that was one of the big reasons she decided to write her book, Over It, which she started amid the chaos and frustration of the global pandemic.
“I was like, where’s the book for the person who’s come up short multiple times and they’re not on the other side? Where’s their inspiration?” she says. “I wrote my book for the people who are frustrated, who are feeling hopeless, who are still in the battle.”
With that in mind, Jones sat down with SELF to offer some of her tried and true tips for overcoming the toughest of life’s proverbial hurdles. Here are her strategies for coping with the unexpected and emerging stronger than ever.
1. Write it all out.
Even before she became an author, Jones was in the regular habit of writing out her thoughts and feelings as a form of catharsis.
“I’m big on journaling,” Jones says. “There have been so many moments in my life where I just wanted to scream because I’ve been so angry, and just being able to journal and let it all out and let my raw emotions [out]—where tears are just dripping on the pages—has been really therapeutic and has given me hindsight to look back and see what I’ve overcome.”
You don’t have to be a traditional pen-and-paper kind of person to get the benefits of journaling, either. As SELF has previously reported, journaling out your negative thoughts can help you identify patterns of thinking or triggers, as well as help you identify ways to feel better These 13 journaling apps can help you quickly log important events or feelings, as well as provide prompts to dig a little deeper.
2. Cultivate your own team of supporters.
Jones recognizes that her sport has afforded her a built-in support network of coaches and teammates, but she says anyone can replicate that same camaraderie and mentorship outside of athletics, too.
3 Bodyweight Moves Julianne Hough Swears By
For Julianne Hough, having a strong core and lower body is key. The actor, singer, and Dancing With the Stars alum loves exercises that target these muscle groups, so she makes sure to incorporate them regularly into her workouts.
“I'm a big believer that everything stems from your core,” Hough tells SELF.
A strong lower body (including leg muscles like your hamstrings and quads, and your glute muscles) is also important too, since those muscles are the foundation for so many movements in everyday life—and in dance. Strong legs, Hough says, allow her to dance with speed and power.
When it comes to building this strength, Hough relies on a lot of bodyweight exercises. She recently shared three of her favorites with SELF: plank to downward dog toe tap, kneeling obliques crunch, and fire hydrant.
The first exercise is a variation on the plank—one of the most classic, effective core moves—that combines core strengthening, mobility, and a little bit of cardio, too, thanks to its dynamic movement. As with any plank variation, you'll also be working on your shoulder stability, which is something many people tend to neglect in their workouts, but is important for injury prevention and safer lifting, as SELF reported previously.
The second exercise, which involves hip external rotation, engages your glutes and core. Thanks to this movement pattern—different from how you move in more traditional butt exercises like the squat or glute bridge—you'll be working your smaller glute muscles, too, as SELF reported previously.
The third especially targets your obliques (the muscles on the sides of your abdomen) as well as your glutes in a crunch-style move. Because it's a single-leg move, you'll also be working on building more balanced strength.
The best part, though? You can do all of these moves with just your bodyweight.
Hough typically does these exercises within a KINRGY Carve workout, a specific form of KINRGY (Hough's dance-inspired fitness method) that focuses on strengthening through bodyweight yoga and Pilates moves, and also incorporates doses of cardio, too. She recently partnered with FitOn, the free fitness app, to release workout videos that you can do at home.
Want to try these three exercises for yourself? We'll tell you how in just a sec. First though, a reminder that form—not intensity—is what's important. “It's not about how hard it is,” says Hough, “it's about how well you're doing the move.”
Incorporate these moves into your strength and cardio routine like Hough, or try them out on their own for some targeted lower-body and core work. (Want some workout inspiration? Underneath each move, you'll also find a full routine that incorporates that exercise.)
5 Reasons to Get a Workout Buddy: Motivation & Accountability
When it comes to working out, the first weeks are usually great. You are excited to get to the gym, and you love the feeling of exercising. Once the “honeymoon” stage of your new workout routine is over, it gets more challenging to get to the gym: your bed is just too comfy in the morning, or you have extra work at the office that prevents you from going in the evening.
Reasons to Find Someone to Exercise With
It’s easy to cancel your gym session with yourself. That’s why it’s important to find a workout buddy. Here are five reasons why everyone needs to go find a workout buddy.
Accountability: When someone is counting on you to meet them at the gym, it’s a lot harder to skip. Having the accountability of a buddy always keeps you going. On days when it’s hard to get out of bed early in the morning, you don’t want to skip because you know your partner is waiting on you. Fun: If you aren’t someone who loves exercise, maybe a workout buddy is just what you need to keep you coming into the gym. Having someone with you who can make you laugh will make exercise more enjoyable. Going through an intense workout alone is never as fun as having someone right next to you working hard and making you laugh. Variety: When you have to come up with your own exercises all the time, they can start to get a little repetitive. If you and your buddy take turns picking the workout, it will change things up. You both might enjoy different types of exercise, so the variety will keep each workout from getting boring. Motivation: When you exercise alone, there is no one beside you cheering you on between sets. It’s encouraging to have someone with you saying “You can do it” in the middle of your set; sometimes that’s just what you need to hear to finish out strong. Competition: If you are someone who thrives on a little healthy competition, you definitely need a workout buddy. You will always be competing with your workout buddy. If they move up in weight, you don’t want them to drop the weight back down for you, so you push yourself to go up. If you are running, you push yourself to go longer so that you don’t make your buddy stop. How to Find a Fitness Friend
Having someone to work out with makes a big difference in the quality and frequency of your exercise. Ask a friend to join you, check out these apps, sign up for group fitness training, or try these other ways of finding a gym partner.
This blog was written by Kaci Lierman, Health Fitness Instructor. To read more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.
5 Tips to Improve Positivity (These Really Work!)
Get the Basics…
Having a positive outlook will give you the “happiness advantage” as you pursue success. The pay to this advantage isn’t crazy complicated. This perspective turnaround can happen in 21 days. One of our recent team meeting topics was something we’re all familiar with: Training!
It was a little different, though, because we were focused on brain training, specifically: Training Your Brain to Be Positive!
Why is it important to train your brain to be positive?
According to Shawn’s research, when reflecting on something that’s happened to us, what actually happened doesn’t shape us as much as our thoughts or feelings about that event.
Shawn says, “90 percent of your long-term happiness is predicted not by the external world, but by the way your brain processes the world.”
People tend to think that as long as you continue to work harder and longer, you’ll accomplish more and therefore be happier.
Unfortunately, your brain works against you here and simply starts looking for the next goal once you achieve the original one. So if you place your happiness and fulfillment on the other side of some success, you’ll never actually get there!
Positive brain training can help to increase your happiness right now, which in turns boosts your performance in some unexpected ways:
“If you can raise somebody’s level of positivity in the present, then their brain experiences what we now call a happiness advantage, which is your brain at positive performs significantly better than at negative, neutral or stressed… we’ve found that every single business outcome improves.”
Ready to start your brain positivity training?
Here are Shawn’s simple tips…
5 Tips to Boost Positivity
Here are five simple ways to boost your positivity, add some more happiness to your life, and increase your performance:
Take 2 minutes to write down 3 positive things in your life. If you do this daily for 21 days, you’ll rewire your brain for more positivity! Write down your thoughts by journaling. Exercise daily (Hopefully, you already have this covered! If not… ). Start practicing meditation. Add some random acts of kindness to your day!
How are you going to start training your brain to be positive?
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