Thursday, December 26, 2013

Little Changes, Big Results

   People are not intrigued by the idea of giving up their favorite foods or lifestyles to be healthier. There is a very common misconception that healthy food tastes bad. It is not that healthy food is lacking in flavor or taste, just that a person who eats a lot of fats is used to the flavor enhancing qualities it brings to the table. Fats are hiding everywhere, making things sweeter and more savory, softer and more delicious... all while wreaking havoc on our bodies. You can't change your whole life in a day. But if you've come to terms with the idea that you need to make some changes, here are a few small ways to start.
   1. Swap white bread for whole wheat. When you look in the ingredients label, whole wheat should be the first ingredient. Wheat bread has come a long way, it's no longer all dry and cardboard-y. I personally prefer pepperidge farm soft wheat. It's softer than white bread, healthier, lower in calories, and provides some fiber. Plus, wheat bread doesn't get stuck to the roof of your mouth like white bread does :)
   2. Throw out the overly processed crap. Hot pockets, easy mac, tv dinners, ramen noodles, american cheese, margarine, etc. Get rid of this stuff! If it isn't in your home, you won't eat it. And I promise you, if you don't eat it for a few weeks, you will no longer want it. The cheese will start to taste over processed, and you will start to prefer your eggs with cooking spray instead of drenched in butter. Think outside of the box; put peanut butter on a whole grain waffle instead of butter and syrup. Use high quality ingredients, and your body will feel high quality.
   3. Swap out your energy drink and soda. Nothing good comes from either of those things. Need the caffeine? Drink a coffee (don't go overboard on syrup and milk!) or some tea with honey. Not only does coffee and tea have healthy benefits, they'll give you the caffeine you need and a lot less unnecessary calories. Diet soda isn't a better alternative; it's 0 calories because your body CANNOT absorb the chemicals and artificial ingredients they use so they literally pass right through you. In case you didn't realize that's not good for you, it's not. You can also add Mio or Crystal light to your water if you truly despise the way water tastes. I personally think it's refreshing. Keep a water bottle with you so you don't forget or it doesn't become inconvenient to drink throughout the day.
   4. No more skipping breakfast if you have been! It kick starts your metabolism for the day and you need some carbohydrates, fiber, and protein so you can avoid unnecessary snacking on high sugary snacks throughout the day.
   5. Plan your snacks and pack your lunch before you leave for the day. This will help you to avoid binge snacking or stopping by the vending machine or a drive thru. Always have nuts and/or dried fruit on hand for an easy and filling snack.

Fuel your body with things it can use. Putting junk in it will only lead to you feeling like absolute junk and performing like junk too. If you want to perform and feel your best, you have to give your body the best.

Monday, December 16, 2013

The 12 Months of Health

   Everyone knows the song "The 12 Days of Christmas"... well I capitalized on that idea with The 12 Months of Health. It's awesome; it combines the elements of creating a habit without overwhelming yourself and a New Years Resolution all in one! Some background info for you first, to ensure you that this will indeed work.
   It takes an average of 21 days (3 weeks) to make or break a habit. Everything from chewing your nails to flossing can ultimately become a habit (or be broken) in 3 weeks. So it takes about 3 weeks of conscious thought and reminder but by the end of a month, it'll just be something you do.
   So here is my challenge to you. Everyone wants to start off the New Year with a million resolutions or one all encompassing one; be healthier, lose weight, eat better! That's great, but many people try to change too many habits at once, and they fail and then get discouraged. Once discouraged, it's hard to pick yourself up and start over, because giving up is so much easier. Being healthy may not always be easy, but I promise you, it IS worth it. You just have to go about it the right way. So make 2014 YOUR year; ingrain these habits in your brain so that by 2015 they're something you don't even think about, you just do.
   I made these pretty basic for a reason; because everyone needs to start somewhere. If there are a few that you want to tailor to your personal goals, be my guest! I also have them in a specific order for a reason, but if there is something you feel that  you should do differently, you know yourself better than anyone.  By focusing on one thing it reduces the amount of change you have to do, and by doing them for a month, they become a habit. So by the next month, the previous months task should be something you do without even having to think about it.

January: Drink more water!
   -Try getting a glass in when you wake up, before every meal, and before bed. Always keep a refillable water bottle with you so there is no excuse. Don't worry, you won't pee every half hour forever, your body will soon become fully hydrated and get adjusted.

February: Plan and log your meals! 
    -Plan your meals out Sunday night for the whole week; breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Then do your grocery shopping. This will help you avoid fast food meals or eating junk because half the thinking is already done. Of course things come up and it's not set in stone, but it does help... especially if you have long days and take your lunch and snacks with you.
   -Keep track of what you do end up eating. I suggest a small notebook or My Fitness Pal app. Hold yourself accountable and don't cheat- you're only cheating yourself!

March: Exercise 3-5x a Week!
   -You probably hit the gym full force in January. By February you started to wind down. Now you're in the New Years Resolution slump. Don't be a lump in a slump! Get to the gym. Stay at least 30 minutes each time you go. 45 minutes is even better, 1 hour is best. Do it. Summer is coming!!

April: Make Minor Diet Changes!
   -Now that you are logging your meals, drinking more water, and exercising, it is time to tweak your eating habits. Make small changes; wheat bread instead of white bread, whole grain pasta, incorporate more fruits and veggies and low fat dairy into your diet. Cut back on high sodium, high sugar, and high fat foods as well as processed foods if you can.

May: Cut Out Soda and Junk Food!
   -Once you stop eating the junk, you stop craving it. Drink water or juice instead of soda. If you need the caffeine, grab a coffee (not with a ton of syrup and cream!) or have a cup of black tea with honey. Coffee and tea at least have benefits. Soda has NONE. It is empty calories.
   -Many fast food places enhance their foods with chemicals so that you crave them. Once you get the toxic stuff out, you won't crave it. And if you think you do, and you have some, you'll probably get a nice upset stomach which is your body wondering why you started to poison it again! If you are planning ahead, you should rarely be stranded without a snack and need to cave in for junk.

June: Try One New Food Each Week
   -Make something new; you might like it! Especially if you haven't had it in years. Taste buds change, and you can go mind over matter with it and force yourself to like things. I've forced myself to like tomatoes, bell peppers, spinach, onions, fish, avocados and quinoa because it is good for me. And you know what, I've even come to enjoy those things, a lot! I started small; I had chopped tomatoes added to a burrito bowl or thin slices of avocado on a turkey sandwich. Peppers I grill and put on a salad, and now I even enjoy them raw. If you don't love it, give it a few more tries in a few different dishes.

July: Challenge Yourself
   -You have gotten half way through your year and you are doing great with being healthy! Now challenge yourself; try something new at the gym or outside, sign up for a 5K or a new yoga class. Your exercise routine is probably starting to get a little dull, so keep it interesting! Take a break from running to swim, it's great cardio and good for the joints. Join a hiking club or try a dance class. What can it hurt? Do something you will be excited for!

August: Pamper Yourself!
   -Taking care of yourself is important to your health too. Get a massage or a mani/pedi. If you've put on some muscle and are feeling a little sore, try seeing a chiropractor. Invest in some bubble bath and have a personal spa day once a week. When you take care of yourself, you feel better about yourself. Make the time after the shower to put on your favorite lotion and one day a week to unwind and pamper yourself.

September: Stretch!
   -You should already be stretching after your workouts or when you are sore, but start waking up 10 minutes earlier to incorporate stretching into your morning routine. It will help wake you, and your muscles, up. Do a little yoga sequence or just some general stretches. Get everything moving and loosened up!

October: Portion Control!
   -The holidays are coming. Start working on portion control now so that when they get here, you don't gorge! Invest in smaller plates, the American "dinner" plate is huge! Not to mention people feel a ridiculous psychological need to fill their plate. Buy or use smaller plates, think 6-8 inches instead of 10 inches (an average American Dinner plate!). Before you get seconds, sit for a few minutes, drink some more water, and think am I really still hungry? By the time you go to get seconds, it's probably cold. Just put it away. Why heat it up?
   -Don't forget to be mindful of packaged foods and their serving sizes as well!

November: Watch Less TV!
   -Read, do a craft, pick up a new hobby. Turn off the tv! I know it's getting cold out around this time and you put away the dresses and shorts and pull out the sweats but don't let this time of the year get you- you have done so well! Do something to exercise your brain. Try spending less time in front of the computer or on your phone too. It's not good for you!

December: Self Control and Maintenance!
   -You now should have a solid year of better health habits. Don't let them fall now just because the holidays get crazy. Stick to your schedule, but also know that life happens. Don't get discouraged if you get bogged down by holiday parties or you eat a few more cookies than you planned on. Just wake up and know every day is a new day; each fresh start has a new opportunity and don't dwell on the negative from the day before. All of your hard work will NOT go to waste because of a fun weekend, but it will go to waste if you think that you can just drop your habits for the month. They will be that much harder to start again.

  I hope you print this out and put it on the fridge or into your planner and I hope you enjoy the new healthier you that you will become! You can't change your whole life and everything you know in a day, but you definitely can in a year. I believe in you, now you just need to believe in yourself!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Supplement Use

   So I was asked to write a blog about supplement use. Personal disclaimer: I don't generally use supplements or endorse them. I believe in using a balanced diet to get all your nutrients, but I know many people do choose to use them. So I looked into some of the more popular ones. I would still encourage you to do your own research if you decide to start taking supplements. Because of my limited scope of practice as a personal trainer, this is not me suggesting you take anything, just providing you with some base information.The FDA does not oversee supplements, but

    Vitamins: vitamins help your body carry out many essential functions, and can be found in foods. The very bright veggies and fruits usually have more vitamins, and more of a variety, and that's why they say to get a wide range of colorful fruits and vegetables in your diet. Vitamins A, D, E, & K are fat soluble and therefore can remain in your body for a short amount of time. The B-complex and C vitamins are water soluble and therefore do not remain in your body for long. Some vitamins can even lead to detrimental causes if you exceed the Tolerable Limits, it can lead to toxicity.

    Minerals: minerals are also important for carrying out functions of the body. Calcium, Iron, and Potassium are all very important minerals and are also easily gotten from a balanced diet. Although Calcium is VERY important for Caucasian women over 35 to prevent osteoporosis along with Vitamin D. 

    Creatine: This is naturally occurring in the body and helps provide the body with immediate energy. Most of the body's creatine is stored in the skeletal muscle, and therefore many people want to supplement with it to increase the amount of ATP available to the muscle. Creatine is naturally made in the kidney and liver and supplementing may help build muscle but can also lead to kidney or liver damage. As always, research before you put something into your body.

    Whey Protein: Whey is the protein contained in the watery portion of milk that separates from curds when making cheese. It is often used to help increase lean body mass and add protein to the diet. Whey is considered safe, but if you are lactose intolerant, it does include lactose and if you don't stay hydrated it can cause constipation and cramps. Also, it is important to remember that an excess of protein is not stored, it is converted to fat. Pay careful attention to the serving size in the nutrition label and make an educated decision. You don't have to use 2 scoops necessarily, you can always tweak it to what works best for you.

   Fat Burners: These are awful. Not only are they constantly being recalled, they wreak havoc on your body. If something seems too good to be true, it is.
    Raspberry Ketones, Green Coffee Bean, anything else on Dr. Oz: all of these things are NEWER and therefore there has been little research. And if you read the fine print, diet and exercise are always needed and "individual results may vary". It's a marketing ploy, don't fall for it!

   GNC or any other sales people can give you information, but will also try and sell you. I recommend going to to look into anything you aren't sure about. Me personally? I'll stick to water during my workout, my pre workout consists of me telling myself to just do it, I won't regret it, and my post workout is chocolate milk. I will occasionally use a scoop of whey in a greek yogurt and banana smoothie if I know it's going to be a long day, but I also try to eat a whole grain waffle or a bowl of cereal too. A smoothie or shake is not going to keep me full! Vary your foods and plan your meals and you shouldn't be lacking in anything essential.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Personalized Macronutrient Needs

Many people these days know how to read a nutrition label. They have an idea of how many calories they need. But do you know what the numbers really mean, let alone to your diet and goals? Let me break it down from scientific to a little easier.
    Macronutrients consist of carbohydrate, protein, and fats. They are all necessary in the diet but in varying percentage points. These 3 macronutrients make up your total daily calories in a food. They break down in your body to provide you with energy, tissue building and repair, and insulation (respectively).
    The first step in learning what your personal needs are, you need to calculate your Resting Energy Expenditure. I will volunteer to be the example! 
     Step 1: calculate your body weight in kg by dividing your weight in pounds by 2.2
        140/2.2= 64 kg

     Step 2: use the chart above (sorry it's a little blurry!) to calculate your REE.
         (14.7x64)+496= 1,436 calories
         (1436)(1.6)= 2,299 calories
         (1436)(2.4)= 3,447 calories
         Average: 2, 873 calories

I used slightly different percentages; the percentages I used were for active individuals. There is wiggle room!

    Carbohydrates are essential for energy. The brain will ONLY use glucose (the simplest carbohydrate) for energy. So if you are low on glucose, you can ultimately pass out. Under NO circumstances will your body use fat or protein for energy in the brain... are you beginning to see why low carb diets aren't the greatest idea? A person generally requires 45-65% of their total daily calories to come from carbohydrates. The range is rather large because of varying levels of activity; a sedentary person will need less than an athletic individual. There are 4 kcals per gram in carbohydrate.
      EX: A food has 25 grams of carbs
             (25 grams)(4 kcal)=100 kcal of carbohydrates
      To calculate your recommended carbohydrate range, multiply your REE calories by 45% and 65%. Then divide the calories by 4 kcals to calculate the grams. Take the average for a solid number idea.
              (2873)(.45)=1,293 calories / 4kcal = 323 g CHO
              (2873)(.65)=1,867 calories / 4kcal= 466 g CHO
               Average: 395 g CHO per day

   Fats can also be used for energy but also help to insulate the body and the nerves. Too much fat isn't good of course, but neither is too little. The body generally requires 20-35% of your total calories to come from fat. There are 9 kcal per gram in fat.
      EX: A food has 10 grams of fat
            (10 grams)(9 kcal)= 90 kcal of fat
     To calculate your recommended fat range,  you will do the same thing as with carbs except within the range of 20-35% and divide by 9 kcals to calculate the grams.
               (2873)(.20)= 575 calories/ 9kcal = 64 g fat
               (2873)(.35)= 1,055 calories/ 9kcal = 111 g fat
               Average= 88 g fat per day

   Protein lends very little energy to the body but is very important to tissue building and repair. Unfortunately your body doesn't store a ton of protein, and for that reason you only require 15-20% of your total calories to come from protein. Your body will use the protein, or it will convert it into fat. Most people can only absorb around 25 grams of protein at once, so that 50 gram protein shake isn't doing too much help for you. I don't care how epic your workout was, you only require 6-20 grams of protein after it and it should be coupled with carbohydrates within the first 2 hours. Then again every 3-4 hours after that. Your stomach will only absorb water and alcohol, so you have to give your body time to digest it and then absorb it in the small intestine. As I said, your body generally requires 15-20% of your total calories to come from protein so let's calculate. Similar to carbs, there are 4 kcals per gram in protein.
        EX: A food has 12 grams of protein
          (12 grams)(4 kcals)= 48 kcal of protein
   To calculate your recommended protein range, do the same as before except with 15-20% ranges and divide by 4 kcals.
               (2873)(.15)=431 calories / 4kcal = 108 g protein
               (2873)(.20)= 575 calories/ 4 kcal= 144 g protein
               Average= 126 g protein per day
    Keep in mind, too much protein can lead to ketosis. Ketosis can lead to organ failure and is caused by a build up of Ketones, a waste product of protein and the nitrogen group. This is another reason low carb/ high protein diets are NOT a good idea.

    Every macronutrient is important, and have their benefits but too much of anything can be bad. This is why everything in moderation works and fad diets do not. The body needs all these things, so don't think low carb or fat free diets are ever okay- especially if you are active! The body is a very intricate machine, take care of it!
    As for the EX I used, to calculate the total calories of that food, you would simply add up all the kcals. So, 100+90+48=238 total calories in that food!

Food is fuel, not the enemy. Eat to Live, don't Live to Eat.

A pound is not a pound; muscle vs. fat weight

  Before you get your panties in a bunch, a pound is a pound. There are 3,500 calories in a pound. A pound of muscle on a scale would weigh the same as a pound of fat, but a pound of muscle would be smaller in size than the pound of fat. And much less lumpy.

A pound of Muscle vs. a pound of Fat
    Muscle is much more toned looking under skin then fat. So you've started a new workout routine, you're dropping inches, feeling energized, and looking great. So why isn't the scale budging, or even potentially creeping up? Then you hear the age old "muscle weighs more than fat".
     It doesn't weigh more, it is not heavier BUT muscle holds much more water than fat does. Therefore, you've technically gained water weight. Before you jump up to go buy diuretics, or push your water bottle away, water is a good thing. A GREAT THING.
     Since you're exercising, you are probably eating a little more carbohydrates. This is also a good thing. Carbohydrates are your main source of energy, but that's a whole new topic for a whole new blog. Carbohydrates also hold more water though.
    So now, when you hear people saying "muscle weighs more than fat....", you can say, "well, actually..." and they will be super impressed! Keep doing what you're doing. Focus less on the scale, more on the inches coming off, how your jeans fit, how you feel. Rather than focusing on a numerical goal of I want to weigh 130 pounds, focus on your body fat percentage, or have a goal of running a 5K. There's nothing wrong with hoping to lose 5, 10, 15 pounds but don't let it discourage you when it doesn't happen right away. Your body is still reaping the benefits of all your hard work.
    Focus on being healthy and happy, less on being super model skinny. 

The Benefits and Results of Exercise

    Maybe you are in the contemplation stage of starting an exercise routine; you think it’ll be good to start being healthier and you are ready to make the jump. Congratulations! Now, let me tell you why you should take the jump.

   Exercise has a ton of benefits that are short term and long term. Exercise also leads to immediate and lifelong results if you keep at it. Here are just a few short term benefits; you will sleep better. Have you noticed you’ve been tossing and turning or having trouble falling asleep? Well when you start exercising, you will start sleeping better and almost immediately, as in, within the first few days! You will have more energy. Not only are you now sleeping better, but exercise releases a ton of natural chemicals that help you facilitate energy better. You will WANT to eat healthier. Exercising helps you keep better control over bad decisions when it comes to what you eat. You won’t want to work so hard to be healthy just to put junk into your body. A long term benefit of that is you will lose craving for junk! A few other long term benefits of exercise are reduced risk for heart disease (the #1 cause of death in the United States!), as well as decrease your risk for diabetes, metabolic syndrome, high cholesterol, and even mental issues and dementia as you age. Your memory will improve as well.

   Benefits are great, but I know most people chose to start exercising not only to be healthy but to look good, and that is when results come into play! Exercise will help you shed fat, tone your muscles, and feel great about yourself. Don’t get discouraged though if you don’t wake up after day 1 looking like Miranda Kerr. In general, it takes 4 weeks for friends and family to notice a change, 8 weeks for you to notice a difference, and 12 weeks for strangers to realize a difference. So don’t give up after the first few weeks! Not to mention, you should start an exercise program because you want to have a healthy lifestyle, not just look good. Long term benefits and results coincide; I dare you to make a doctor appointment for a physical and get a full blood work up done. Go back in 6 months for another physical and see how much you’ve lowered your lipid and cholesterol levels. I guarantee you, your doctor will give you a high five.

   So you’ve been exercising for a few months, you are looking and feeling good and then you hit a plateau. This is common! It is time to switch it up or increase the intensity. When you first started, maybe walking a few miles a week was enough to shed some pounds. Try jogging or interval training, incorporate strength training, try a new class at the gym. Don’t get discouraged, get innovative!

   There are very few reasons a person shouldn’t exercise, but if there is EVER a concern, talk to your doctor. They will lead you in the right direction.

The Holiday Conundrum

     The Holiday Season is here! It starts with Halloween and ends somewhere around Valentines Day for most people. The weather gets colder, the sweaters get pulled out of the closet, the food gets heavier and more abundant. People. We are not whales! We don’t need to pack on the pounds to stay warm… get a thicker coat! I understand it, you start to wear more layers and you don’t see your bikini hanging in the bathroom from that beach trip last weekend. Halloween candy shows up at the office, and then you have the thanksgiving dinners, the Christmas parties, the New Years Eve bash, and then more candy when V-Day rolls around. Staying inside and baking becomes more appealing than going to the gym or outside to be active, and it gets dark at 4pm and your body is ready for bed. FIGHT THROUGH IT! The days are not actually shorter, the hours have not changed, it just feels that way. There is no law that says you have to eat soup instead of a salad or that you have to indulge in every piece of candy you pass.

    Think of it this way, you have approximately 5 months to kill your workouts and really fine tune your diet so when bikini season is back, you can amaze and wow everyone that much more! Because not only is yo-yo weight gain awful for you, but it makes it that much harder to shed the pounds a mere few weeks before that beach trip. Here are a few ways to stay on track and motivated.

1. Get a fit friend! Hold someone else accountable, and make them hold you accountable as well. Whether you go to the gym together or just send reminder messages, it will help.

2. Change your goals. Maybe over the summer your goal was to be active outside for 30 minutes a day and you rewarded yourself with a new pair of sandals. Obviously when it’s 20 degrees outside, that’s not realistic. Instead, make your goal to try a new gym class or wake up a half hour early to do an in home sweat session before the sun comes up for that boost of energy. Reward yourself with a pair of ear muffs or a manicure… or even a tropical vacation!

3. Take advantage of the nice days. You know the random days throughout winter that you get a warm or dry day, and it isn’t completely miserable to be outside; take advantage! Getting some sun on your face will help remotivate you and fill you full of feel good feelings! You may still have to bundle up in seven layers but you will still be getting fresh air.

4. Keep your diet on point. There’s no reason this has to dramatically change just because the weather has. While some of your favorite fruits and veggies may no longer be in the stores or in season, try new ones. Maybe you will find you really love pomegrante or eggplant. Use frozen berries to add to a fruit smoothie as a snack or add them to your oatmeal. You have options! Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean you should only be eating hot & heavy foods.

5. Monitor your food and alcohol intake at the holiday parties. Keep your portions in check, and avoid the dessert table if you can. If you are the one doing all the baking, bake for other people. Take what you make to friends houses or work so that you aren’t tempted to eat that whole pan of brownies for yourself.

    Thinking that winter is a time you can slack off is not even close to true. A healthy lifestyle is year round, and requires you to work at it everyday. I’m not saying don’t enjoy yourself, but don’t think oh I will just get back into the gym in January or use it as a new years resolution. Don’t set yourself up for failure when you have already worked so hard to get where you are.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

I'll just sweat it out... *cough cough*

   One of the biggest excuses I hear as a personal trainer is "I can't work out because I'm sick". Good. You shouldn't. When your body is ill, it doesn't need to be repairing the muscle you pulled apart, it needs to rest and get better. So if you wake up and feel like death, or as the day goes on you start to sport a runny nose, a sore throat, and possibly a fever and headache, you need to go to bed and sleep it off instead of the gym with some ridiculous idea you can sweat it out. The only thing you will achieve by going to the gym when you are ill is spreading your germs.
   A gym is already a germ factory; multiple people and children coming in and out, leaving sweat and sharing breathing space. A sneeze can travel faster than 40mph, a cough can spread its germs in a 25 foot radius, and a fever usually means your contagious. Plus, who wants to work out when you feel like that anyways? You would be surprised. You are not going to sweat out a fever; you have a fever because your body has amped up your internal temperature to kill the bad bacteria causing you to feel ill in the first place. You don't really want to force your internal body heat up any higher by running. You should however, feed and hydrate a fever. Make sure you are getting plenty of fluids- water and gatorade or even pedialite to replenish electrolytes. Eating chicken soup or scrambled eggs is easy on your stomach, but gives your body the fuel it needs to keep fighting the good fight. Starving your body will only weaken it more.
    Rest will never make a cold or flu worse. So get as much of it as you can. It allows your body to focus 100% on recharging and winning the war at hand. Exercise is a stress on your body. While it's a good stress most of the time, it is still considered a stress. If your body has to try and fight the flu and provide the power to lift weights, it's going to prioritize the weights to prevent you from dropping them on your face. A cold or flu makes your body feel broken down for a reason- listen to it!
   It's not recommended you come back to the gym until you feel at least 80% better or have been on antibiotics for over 24 hours. If you are that pressed on getting a workout in, walk your block or do pushups in your own house. Fair warning though: it's easy to get discouraged with a workout while you're sick because your body doesn't want to hold you up, let alone an extra 20 pounds bar for squats. You're risking losing form and injuries now too. Why aren't you just in bed yet?!
    Part of being healthy means caring for yourself when you are sick, even if it means you need to miss a few days of beast mode workouts. You will bounce back, and you will bounce back quicker if you give your body the time it needs to recover 100%.
   On a side note, people who exercise regularly get sick less often because exercise helps boost your immune system, help you sleep better, and make better nutritional choices. It doesn't make you superman (or Wonder Woman) though, so if you do catch the bug, hit the bed.

Monday, November 4, 2013

The reason behind failure

   Many people throw themselves into a new lifestyle. they make goals, they buy healthy food, and they join a gym. They're on track, full throttle for a few days, weeks, or even months. They they fall off the wagon. And the wagon rolls away...
   Why does this happen?? For many reasons. Here are just a few.

1) Unrealistic goals. You, and no one else for that matter, is going to lose 50 pounds in a month. Not even Kim Kardashian. It's not healthy, even if it were possible. Unfortunately, when people don't realize their goals are unrealistic, they fail and they get discouraged and then they quit. Everyone has an "I want it now" mentality. STOP. It will not be easy, it will not come overnight. But it WILL be worth it.

2) Life gets busy. Maybe the kids start school or a new sport, or school swamps you, or you get a project to do at work, or you come down with the flu. Let me be frank, shit happens. Somewhere along the line, an extrinsic factor will derail your workout for a week or so. It's easy to quickly lose the motivation and the time to exercise. The plan is ruined. NOT. Adapt. Find the time, rearrange your schedule and make time for you and your health. Just because you had to veer off the path for a few days does it mean all your hard work is down the drain.

3) It gets boring. Eating salad and grilled chicken everyday gets bland. Doing the same exercises at the gym 5x a week is easily left behind to do something more exciting. Walking the same track becomes visual suicide. Change it up!

   Those are only a few of the reasons a commitment to the gym fail. The list is endless. Let's not focus on the negative though, let me help you succeed.

1) Set realistic goals. It's healthy to lose 1-3 pounds a week, depending on how much you have to lose. Set small goals with rewards; rewards should not be food!
              For example- Goal: lose 5 pounds, Reward: a pedicure
Don't make all your goals based around weight. Make it interesting! Goals can be to lose inches, to walk or run a 5K, to fit into an old pair of jeans, anything! Start small, and work your way up. Bigger goals, bigger rewards if you want.
 Goals I don't recommend: exercising 7 days a week; you need a recovery day! 

2) Everything in Moderation. Don't say you'll never eat another cookie. You will eat a cookie. As soon as you utter those awful words "I will never eat another cookie", it's the only thing your body will want until you finally cave and eat the entire box. This is easily preventable. I strongly recommend a food journal; whether in a notebook or with an app, it makes you more aware of what you're eating. And
it helps to hold you accountable. When eating out, make smart decisions!

3) Switch things out slowly. You can't change your entire life in a day. I don't expect you to. Swap water
for soda (even flavored water, but please NO DIET! Diet soda is the devil). Buy skinny cow ice cream instead of eating an entire pint of Ben & Jerry's. Try to walk for a few minutes during your lunch break and do a few stretches when you wake up and before bed. Make little changes into habits and then progress.

4) Change it up! When you start to get bored, give your workout and nutrition an upgrade. Subscribe to
 a fitness magazine for motivation and ideas about workouts and recipes. Join a walking group and
 explore new places to walk, run, bike, or hike. Get a friend to join you, they'll probably love the
 invite. Try a new class at the gym that you didn't think you would like. You have nothing to lose
 except for unwanted fat!

 5) Be flexible. One bad day does not mean all the hard work you have done is wasted. Don't beat
  yourself up, just bounce back. Don't allow yourself to get discouraged, because no one is perfect.

   Don't let the wagon roll away. Fill it with supporters to keep it anchored. When you need them, reach out. Hold yourself accountable. Reward yourself. Never give up and always reach higher.

Being healthy is a lifestyle, not a fad. Learn it. Love it.