When you believe, you trigger a chain reaction of events…in your body and in your mind. You let go of the what-if’s and you open yourself up to new possibilities.

I used to be a dancer. When I lose all this weight, I’ll be ‘her’ again.” ~Anonymous / many women

Why not be her right now? Because you won’t “see” her, until you BELIEVE in her.

When you don’t believe, you stay on the sidelines…of your life. You operate within self-imposed limitations. You stay in fear. You lose curiosity. And, most tragically, you close down. But often, life happens to give you another chance. Another chance to believe. To believe you can write a new chapter…or to believe you can’t and so you relive an old one. The choice is up to you. Belief simply powers up your expectation.

What do you believe? You need look no further than your life to answer this question. Our beliefs limit us and, interestingly, most of our beliefs come from other people. Our subconscious, in particular, is programmed with strong beliefs from our childhood. These are the most difficult to rewrite because they were ingrained at an early age…and perhaps passed down over generations, so we are not even aware of their changeable existence and overriding impact. Consider these common ones:

You must work hard. Life is tough. Winning is everything. The world is a cruel place. Women only care about money. Men can’t be trusted. You’ll get fat (and infertile) over forty.

Enough. The problem is…

We tend to experience in life what we identify with in our beliefs.” ~Gregg Braden

Imagine if your beliefs empowered you into greater living? Fewer limitations, less distrust…more confidence, conviction, and competence. The fantastic news is they can. With awareness and intention, we can reprogram them.

If you are embarking on a big life change or a long journey of commitment, belief is incredibly important. It is everything. Because your body hears absolutely everything you say…and worse (perhaps), everything you think. So, whether you’re contending with Stage 3 cancer or triple-digit weight loss…leaving an abusive relationship or moving to a new city, wherever you find yourself making scary change, you are likely face-to-face with a deeply hidden belief that has held you back in the past.

A couple of weeks ago, we talked about things we need FREEDOM from. I received answers like obligations, restraints, negative patterns of thinking…all things we impose on ourselves. This finding is huge. It means the key to freedom lies within ourselves…as a belief (or set of beliefs) we need to realign with our current dreams and sources of happiness.

More good news:

Our subconscious mind cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image.” ~Robert Collier

So, try this. Imagine a new reality. Keep it strongly in your mind. Often change requires a long-term commitment and therefore a steadfast vision. To stay on course, however, requires tremendous belief. Belief in what’s best for you. Belief in your perfection and worthiness all along the way. Belief to wear blinders to any media or social pressures that don’t serve your best interest.

We live our lives based on what we believe about our world, ourselves, our capabilities, and our limits.” ~Gregg Braden

Or, in the words of Bruno Mars…

Don’t believe me, just watch.” ~Uptown Funk (Mark Ronson, featuring Bruno Mars)

imageThe willPower & grace exercise associated with BELIEVE is the Cougar Lunge with Rotation. Here are 10 reasons to BELIEVE in the Cougar:

1. To overcome quad dominance in the squat (and other lower body exercises). When women complain that exercise is making their thighs get “bigger”, it means one or two things: quad dominance and/or no bodyfat loss. See my video for more on this.
2. To improve posture. When you “move like a cougar”, your upper body is strong and lifted. You engage the postural muscles front and back.
3. To build body strength…challenge: can you make this exercise 40% upper body, 60% lower bod?
4. To develop precision and coordination. Where you rotate…where you don’t. Square off and find your eyes every time you return.
5. To increase ankle flexion…a common obstacle in achieving deeper, more effective squats.
6. To engage the “long” muscles in the hamstrings. We can’t lengthen a muscle without lengthening a bone, but we can focus on engaging the longer muscles in the legs.
7. To execute greater torso rotation. Think range of motion. Engage your abs and shoulder girdle to pull back.
8. To communicate more confidently…through our body language. Over 50% of our communication comes through how we “speak” with our bodies. As you find your eyes in the mirror in Cougar, ask yourself, “What am I communicating?” Confidence or…something else?
9. To increase flexibility & mobility…flexibility in the hamstrings and adductors & mobility in the hips and spine.
10. To enhance neuromuscular connection and proprioceptive awareness. Learning to engage a specific muscle leads to superior form, muscular balance, and smarter training. Proprioception is a fancy word for your body in space. Where your fist is relative to your shoulder as you begin to rotate. More refined movement leads to a more refined physique.

Believe that you can twist deeper…believe that you can find yourself again.” ~willPower & grace

Reprogram your beliefs. Reprogram your quads. All hail the cougar lunge. She’s a powerful cat who gets what she wants.

Sarah Ingmanson

Sarah Ingmanson

Sarah is a studio owner, fitness instructor and competitor. She is a former investment banker and equity research analyst with her MBA from the Wharton School and her MA in International Affairs from the Lauder Institute of the University of Pennsylvania. Sarah is fluent in Japanese and consults with Japanese companies on corporate governance, finance, and investor relations. Sarah's interest in Japan stemmed from her first tour with Disney On Ice as a professional figure skater. For more info on Sarah and her studio, visit