What Does Fitness Mean To You?

Remember when you first got up on your two-wheeler bike for the first time? The feeling of unyielding pride and joy! Of never wanting to stop and thinking you were on top of the world. That is the feeling of fitness!
When you wake up in the morning feeling refreshed, strong and confident this happens from eating healthy meals, exercising regularly, getting adequate sleep, balancing stress and living a positive lifestyle.
We can’t always control everything in our lives, but what we throw out comes back to us. What I mean by that is if you follow the five basic steps that I have touched on above in a positive way they will spiral back for you. But if you live in a “I’ll never look like the model in the magazine or I want to try the five-day diet and expect quick results” then you will never get anywhere fast.
Just like the two-wheeler bike it took patience and a lot of practice to get up and moving. Fitness is a lifestyle and a journey, not a destination!

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.

Getting Your Vitamins & Minerals The Natural Way!

Have you been reading about the bad press supplements have getting lately? You knew that it was just a matter of time. It’s that magic pill syndrome, right? You can’t just take a pill and hope that everything wrong will suddenly disappear.
Just like one workout isn’t going to change a lifetime of bad habits. It’s better to get the vitamins and minerals you need through the foods you eat every day. It may not be as convenient, but nature has an amazing way of giving us what we need if we just take the time to do what we need to do the right way!

Let’s look at grapes for example, they have amazing benefits:

Protect the heart
Pump up the brain
Protect against skin cancer
Protect against diabetes
Aid in weight loss
Protect against migraines

Another easy way to add amazing benefits to your diet is cinnamon and one tablespoon of honey every morning before breakfast may help relieve arthritis pain in as little as one week!
Cinnamon is known for its anti-bacterial properties as well as boosting cognitive and memory function.

Here are some other benefits of Cinnamon:

Reduces cholesterol
May help in reducing cold symptoms
Controls nausea
Helps when you have an upset stomach
Improves overall circulation
Improves the bodies immune system
Aids in weight loss
Helps stop/slow down hair loss
Eases toothaches
Can increase longevity

These are just two examples of super foods and there are SO many more that can easily be incorporated into your diet on a daily basis. It’s not as difficult as it appears to eat healthy.
When you take supplements, first you must make sure of the grade. These are not regulated by the government and if you are not careful and not getting pharmaceutical grade supplements you may be ingesting ingredients you really don’t wish to be. Also, you might be overloading on vitamins unknowingly. A, D, E, & K are fat soluble. This means they are stored in your fat and not readily excreted from the body. This can lead to toxic situations and make you very ill. If you are taking medications or have a medical condition, some supplements might not interact well with those drugs. Why take the chance when you can get everything you need from your food?
There are some instances when supplements are necessary. If your Doctor prescribes them, then by all means follow his orders. But don’t listen to ads, friends or late night television for guidance!

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!