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.