Moderation is Key!

"Understand that the right to choose your own path is a scared privilege. Use it! Dwell in possibility!" ~ Oprah Winfrey
“Understand that the right to choose your own path is a scared privilege. Use it! Dwell in possibility!” ~ Oprah Winfrey

I was reading a post from a colleague the other day in Facebook and I have to tell you, it made me think about never stepping foot into another hospital in my life again. He was re-telling a story about a friend who had recently had a about a week-long stay in the hospital for a GI problem and the conditions for less than sanitary due to lack of personnel and supplies. What was my take away as a trainer?
We as an industry must step up our game and serve you as the public better than the medical community is treating you! Because you don’t want to end up getting sick.
Here are my tips as a fitness trainer and health coach for a healthy individual to maintain or increase their fitness base.

Nutrition is your first key: Stick to a Mediterranean Diet. In my opinion, it’s the healthiest overall diet out there. Drink water! Lose the soda, juice, limit the coffee (so you can sleep), and limit the alcohol (it’s just empty calories and it makes you do stupid stuff when you are over served).

Exercise: Find what you like to do and get out there and be active! Don’t let a trainer get in your face and make you do things that will harm you. There are trainers out here that will show you good form and encourage you the right way and listen to what you want. If you are doing an activity that you don’t like, guess what? It won’t last! Try new things, you never know if you will like them until you try. Lift weights, it can be your own body, bands, medicine balls, stability balls or free weights. Just to name a few, the options are many but the benefits are very real. Move away from the computer (yes, I going to as soon as I finish this!) and do read more. Stop watching so much TV, it stunts your mental capacity and it makes you bottom heavy. (Really). Go outside. Get some fresh air!

Sleep! It’s so under rated. If you get 7-8 hours a night, your out look on life will be so much better. Your health will be much improved as will your energy level to do the things that I mentioned above.

Socialize. Studies show that connections (other than on the internet) are good for your soul. It decreases stress, which leads to the hormone cortisol, which leads to fat stores. You might even find a workout buddy.

It doesn’t need to be extreme. Lifestyle changes can be moderate and still be very beneficial. If you take these tips, use them consistently, I’m confident that you will not need magical pills or tricks to stay fit and healthy. This is the key for an optimal lifestyle.

Don’t Be Fooled About Low Fat And Weight Loss!

For so long all you ever heard in the fitness and diet world was the key to losing weight was choosing low-fat foods. Well…how did that work out for you? Probably not so well! The reason for that is when the food industry takes out fat they usually replace it with sugar or a sugar base substitute. This is where the real problem with obesity lies.

1 sugar carb gram = 4 calories.

Counting calories from sugar is a much better system than just counting overall calories for weight loss. It takes a little longer, however it is absolutely worth the effort. You won’t have that insulin spike, out of control cravings, and up/down fatigue.

It’s important to eat enough protein, green vegetables and fats to keep you feeling full. These are fine as they are not full of sugar. Think about dark leafy greens, nuts and whole grains as they are a good source of Magnesium. Any time you can boost this naturally with food, it’s a good thing!

Speaking of boosting naturally, here’s some ways to boost your Serotonin naturally. Getting enough sleep, going for a walk in the neighborhood, gardening and smelling your flowers. Serotonin is a feel good hormone that will help your body and mind stay stress free. Stress, is one reason that makes it hard to lose weight.

To achieve optimal health and fitness, you have to let go of the practices that are ineffective and balance the ones that work.

Health & Fitness~It’s Mind Over Body!

“What screws us up most in life, is the picture in our head of how it’s supposed to be.” – Unknown

A healthier attitude to take towards fitness is to love who you are today! The person you see in the mirror, who is doing the best he or she can do to be the healthiest person in the future. Someone who has a specific goal, that is smart and action filled. One who knows that it takes time and not drastic fad diets or crazy exercise plans, but balanced lifestyle changes. Someone who will want to help lift others along the way when they see or ask for help in their fitness quests to the best of their ability instead of judging. This is the picture of someone who is on a journey to optimal health and fitness!cropped-cropped-istock_000020700700_extrasmall.jpg

“Discipline is …

“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment” ~ Jim Rohn

Be the best you can be every day! Move a little closer to your goal and know by the end of your day that tomorrow you will be just that much higher than you were the day before. One step at a time up your personal mountain! It’s your’s alone to climb!

1000 Crunches In A Day? Really? Why?

I’ll bet you have heard this at some time, some where is a fitness facility by someone boasting. The abdominal muscles are the body’s most obsessed and talked about in the entire body. Although, there are a lot of misconceptions that go along with all of that boasting. Let me see if I can help clear some of that up for you.

Those 1000 crunches are not going to help! You can’t spot reduce! You can tone your abdominal muscles, but unless you start changing your diet that same layer of fat will still be sitting there. The best combination is a clean, healthy diet, cardio exercise and strength training and yes…in that order. It will not happen over night but you will get there!

The flat stomach that everyone seems to want, get over it! Anatomy was not designed that way and it only leads to eating disorders. The torso is shaped somewhat like a cylinder and not like the “washboard” that you so commonly hear them referred to. It just depends on genetics, gender and of course, age.

So, the more positive approach to this is to work on posture which can do amazing things to make you look slimmer.

Last, if it seems to good to be true then it most likely is a scam. There are no magic pills or potions. Don’t buy into infomercials! Most of those gadgets will get you injured. As I started out, you do not have to do 1000 crunches. Your muscles fatigue, if the exercise is done correctly (speed, form and weight) no more than 15-20 reps max per set.

I hope that gives you a little insight into a few myths into the abdominal training. Besides, there are FAR better exercises, such as planks and the multiple variations just to name one that can bring much better results.

Is Walking All I Need To Do To Be Fit?

One of the most accessible forms of cardio exercise is walking.  It provides many health benefits and can be accomplished by all fitness levels. You can walk almost anywhere and it doesn’t really require any special equipment and can be quite a social event.

While using large muscle groups such as quadriceps (thighs), hamstrings (back of the legs) and gluteal muscles (rear) as well as other lower leg muscles. It is low impact, which means you are not stressing your body the way you might during running or jumping exercises. The great aspect of using those large muscle groups is that you improve circulation, bone health, cardiovascular endurance, reduction of obesity and the risk of diabetes. This is because it does get your heart beating faster and to some extent strengthens and tones your muscles.

If you walk on a consistent basis you may be able to lower your LDL, which is your “bad” cholesterol. Also, if you are an outdoor walker and can get some sunshine you will also get the added benefit of vitamin D.

There are some ways to improve your walking program. I have listed a few for you.

Speed and terrain really do matter.

Intervals rock! After a warm up of 5-10 minutes at an easy pace, pick up your pace as though you were late for a meeting. Go at a pace where it would be difficult to carry on a conversation for up to 5 minutes and then back down for a recovery. Recover depending on your fitness level and then when you are ready, repeat. Don’t forget to cool down and stretch at the end.

The other alternative would be to find a place where there are hills that you could walk on hills and flats, repeat.

Don’t forget your music! Nothing motivates better than a good playlist of music to get you moving.

Also, check out some apps on your phone. There are some great ones out there such as The Walk – Fitness Game, or you can just track it with any of the several apps out there that are quite motivating. I also might suggest getting a pedometer to help track steps on a daily basis. I happen to use the Fitbit and am quite happy with it, except I keep losing mine. My fault, not theirs!

As you start walking longer, I would suggest that you do get a good set of walking shoes. Dress for the weather, bring water.

Don’t take long walks after eating big meals. Last thing, I’m going to put this out here is walking all you need to be fit? You really need to add weights too. This can be a bodyweight, band, or swiss ball session. As I stated in an earlier post, fitness does not have to be complicated or expensive. But to compliment your walking, you really need to balance your program out with strength.

Make 2014 Your Best Year!
Make 2014 Your Best Year!

Pay Only For What You Need!

How many New Year’s Resolutions will include expensive gym memberships, diet plans, supplements, books, videos etc… It’s a multi-billion dollar business! Oh, am I going to make some enemies in the next few sentences! What a waste of money!

The truth is health and fitness can be very basic and inexpensive. It’s all about balance and moderation of proper nutrition, exercise, sleep and lowering stress. Less is more!

Let’s start with the gym memberships. The box chain gyms (you know the ones) they appear to be a good deal until you read the fine print. They will get you with their maintenance fees, activation fees and so on. Also, what you may or may not know, is they count on most of you dropping out by the third week in January. All they really care about is that you signed their contract! They mostly figured you would get sick of the crowds and go away once you lost your willpower and for most, that happens around the third week.

Diet plans, fad of the week! Here is the thing about diets, what are the first three-letter of that word? OK, now let’s get real and talk about healthy lifestyle CHANGE! What can and will you do to make some permanent changes in your eating habits that are sustainable? Think about portion size, eating a dessert once a week instead of every night, exchange water for soda. These are just a few suggestions, I have many more that really are not that hard but can bring big changes for life time gains. It takes six months for a change to become a habit.

On the subject of eating, if this is a goal you should be looking also at your sleep and stress pattern. These have a great deal to do with over or poor eating habits. This is where I would suggest a journal. If you write down sleep, eating and emotions you might just pin down where the problem really is and maybe what the trigger might be, so you can stop it in its tracks. By the way, a journal can be a notebook that you get at Wal-Mart or Target for a dollar. Remember, I talked about balance? It might be that you have to start saying no to certain things or people and start taking better care of you!

Supplements, most of what you need you should be getting from your food! If you take the time and shop from the perimeter of the grocery store, stay away from processed foods and prepare at home you should be good to go. This, of course means if you are healthy and don’t have special needs. If your Doctor has told you that you need a certain vitamin or mineral than follow his/her lead. The general public needs to know that each vitamin can become toxic if taken in excess.

On to videos, many of them are quite good but my problem with these are you don’t have someone watching your form. My suggestion is when you are new to working out, get a certified trainer to do an assessment and give you a program with your goals and needs in mind. Watch and teach you good form and then cut you loose to do it on your own. It’s worth the money, I promise! You can do this at home at very little cost. There are endless exercises that are quite effective using bodyweight and bands.

So, with a little planning and commitment you can have a solid health and fitness plan at a very economical cost. It will take a little work on your part, but you are worth it!

Happy Healthy New Year!

What’s In Store For 2014?

About this time of year the New Year’s Resolutions start to develop as we attend yet another Christmas party and promise that we will be better tomorrow.

As you reflect on the past year, think about who and what is important in your life. It’s not an event that you should be trying to get into shape for, it’s the people who you love in your life that matter.

I recently heard of a woman who actually walked out of a group exercise class because she was so annoyed at the instructor who kept yelling something to the effect, “Let’s go! We have to get in shape for the summer months and those swimsuits girls!” As this lady kept going, she just kept thinking, what would her daughter think if she heard that message? Not what she wanted her to think! That wasn’t the message she had been trying to convey for a healthy

Make 2014 Your Best Year!
Make 2014 Your Best Year!

self-esteem. BRAVO!

The point being, why are YOU wanting to get healthy and fit? Is it to be around for another fifty years to share with your spouse? Or, to be a good mentor to your children? That’s what it’s all about.