If you feel that getting up in the morning is a moving violation, and the only resistance training you get is when you push your luck or carry a grudge and your flexibility is measured by how you stretch the truth, and your cardiovascular exercise is limiting to jumping to conclusions…then it’s time to find something that moves you, literally and figuratively and engage in it.
HAVE YOU FOUND IT HARD TO GET YOUR WORKOUTS IN DURING THE HOLIDAY’S? HERE’S HOW YOU CAN SPEED UP YOUR WORKOUTS THIS SEASON
Combine Your Upper and Lower Body Exercises – Cut your strength routine in half by incorporating exercises for several body parts. For example, while performing a lunge, add bicep curls and/or a shoulder press to the movement.
Choose Compound Exercises – Exercises which work several muscle groups simultaneously are more time efficient than isolation exercises, which focus on one major muscle group. Examples of compound exercises include the leg press, squat, chest fly, walking lunge and seated row.
Circuit Train – With minimal equipment, you can set up stations alternating cardio with strength training. This keeps your heart rate up, giving you both the aerobic and anaerobic (strength) benefits. A sample circuit might include: jump rope, bicep curls, jumping jacks, push-ups, jogging in place, squats, mini-trampoline exercises and dips. Repeating the circuit up to three times is guaranteed to boost your metabolism in under 30 minutes.
Interval Train – Using active rest and work ratios will allow you to workout at the upper and lower levels of your heart rate zone and optimize calories expended. You can start with brisk walking for 2 minutes and jogging for 30 seconds. Then progress to 2 minutes of brisk walking and 1 minute of jogging. Eventually progress to two minutes of each and ultimately to spending less time walking and more time jogging. If you are already a runner, alternate your running with sprints where you accelerate with a burst of energy and then taper back to a run.
Increase Your Intensity – By picking up the pace, you do more and ultimately burn more calories in less time. You may need to work up to higher intensities gradually, but you will become more efficient in the process and be able to cut back on the duration of your exercise sessions. Ditto for you strength training workout. If you keep each set intense, you can get the most benefit and eliminate the need for several warm up sets.
Incorporate Mind & Body Exercises – You can get a lot of mileage out of choosing a discipline like yoga or pilates. Not only will you get the physical benefits of a well-toned body, but you will also enjoy the flexibility, relaxation and stress-relieving enhancements as well.
Make a NEAT Fitness a Lifestyle Change – By cutting back on some of life’s modern conveniences and getting more physical, you can expend up to an additional 800 calories a week. That can add up to 11 pounds lost at the end of a year. Doing this is called NEAT (non exercise activity thermogenesis or calories burned during non exercise activity). So, start taking the stairs — even if you work on the 10th floor! It will get easier. Park your car in the last spot and join the kids on the playground. rake your yard instead of blowing the leaves. You never know when the opportunity will arise to get your heart rate up.
Sex Counts – While I wouldn’t suggest replacing a formal exercise program with sex, it certainly does burn calories. The more fit you are, the more enjoyable all activities, including sex, will be.
There will be time zapping snags in the best thought out plan. So, prepare for changes and be flexible. Use obstacles as an opportunity to try something new. In the long run, the time you invest in exercise will come back to you. No one goes to the grave saying that they should have worked more, but you often hear people say, if I knew I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself. So, make your health and fitness a priority by making your exercise sessions timely.
Fruit is healthy and filled with vitamins and minerals, but they are filled with a tremendous amount of sugar, especially when broken down into a glass juice. Eating fruit is okay, but you would never be eating 4 or 5 pieces of fruit at a sitting. Your body is thrown by having to assimilate that much sugar as it’s built easily regulate one tablespoon of sugar in the bloodstream for proper brain function. There are about three or more tablespoons of sugar from that much orange juice. So what happens with that extra sugar?
The pancreas responds by secreting excess insulin to offset the sharp rise in blood sugar. . . resulting in the liver converting the excess sugar to LDL (or bad) cholesterol and triglycerides (a saturated fat), which is not healthy. Also, the increased insulin blocks your body’s ability to burn the newly created triglycerides, which end up as body fat. Your body simply can’t handle the excess sugar.
When you wake up in the morning your blood sugar level should be around 87. Drink a glass of orange juice and eat a bowl of cereal (both of which convert to sugar in the body), and your blood sugar level rockets to 120 to 130. Your pancreas rises to protect you, secreting high levels of insulin, which then pushes your blood sugar down into the 70s. You then feel exhausted and maybe a little shaky, so you grab a cup of coffee and a doughnut to bring it back up.
Of course, this just perpetuates the roller coaster cycle of blood sugar ups and down, which, in turn, exhausts your organs. Get off the roller coaster and save your immune system. Unfortunately, many of us live on this health destroying cycle. Eat fruit, don’t drink it, especially from concentrate which contains even high levels of sugar.
- Get quality sleep
Everyone has an opinion on how many hours they need to sleep. A high percentage of our opinions are rationalizations about how much we need to get by. But I’m not talking about getting by, but feeling energetic. Yes, there are studies that pop up saying we only need 4-6 good hours, but the majority of sleep studies conclude that adults need between 7-9 hours a night of quality sleep. Thus, you should consider structuring your day so that you will be able to wind down prior to bedtime and have the quality sleep your body needs and deserves. Even if you lay there for a while at first, you will begin to fall asleep earlier if you regularly place yourself in bed (without stimulation if possible-meaning TV)
- Surround yourself with encouraging people
Most of us tend to be very hard on ourselves. We are our toughest critics. The negativity only gets stronger if we spend time with people that are critical toward us. It erodes our self esteem and is unhealthy. Seek out people who are with you because they value you for who you are. Those people can truly make you feel as though you can accomplish anything.
- Exercise regularly
Exercise raises serotonin levels (the “happy” hormones). Exercise also gives you confidence when you overcome physical challenges. And with any accomplishment you will believe that much more in your worth and your ability to achieve more.
- Eat a clean, healthy diet
By eating a clean, healthy diet you send yourself the message that you value yourself enough to feed your body only the best. Avoid processed foods. Focus on a balance of fresh foods, mostly organic if possible, including wide varieties of vegetables, fruits, healthy fats (avocados, raw nuts, seeds, etc.), lean proteins and selected whole grains. Try to severely cut salt and sugar intake. A healthy diet keeps your hormones in balance, and makes for a healthier, happier, more confident YOU!
Eggs are a source of protein and can be a source of iron. But eggs can also cause iron depletion because they contain phosvitin, a protein compound that binds iron molecules together and prevents the body from absorbing iron from foods.
Eggs contain nonheme iron, which is less efficiently absorbed than heme iron, or the type found in meat, poultry, fish and seafood.
But if you eat eggs with Vitamin C or acidic foods ( lemon, lime, red pepper, tomato, grapefruit, orange, vinegar, balsamic ) your body is able to absorb the iron in them and in other foods. This also works with be beans or legumes which are nonheme iron sources.
Iron supplies oxygen to all our organs and tissues with the help of the protein hemoglobin. Iron deficiency can lead to anemia, decreased mental functioning. So always eat your eggs with acidic foods.
It is easy to become obsessed with calorie counting when wanting to lose weight, for one must cut calories to do so. And before I go on with specifics about the calories you generally need to cut, remember to relax and be aware of your caloric intake. The neurosis is eliminated when the end goal is creating awareness. With that in mind here are the basics.
The rule of thumb for years has been that he 3500 calories make up a pound a pound of fat, thus, you had to cut 500 calories a day from your maintenance metabolic rate to lose one pound in a week. However, this 3500 calories figure assumed all the weight lost would be adipose (fat) tissue. Unfortunately, lean body mass is also lost along with body fat.
Recent research in the International Journal of Obesity found the amount of lean body mass lost is based on initial body fat level and size of the calorie deficit.
Thus, the leaner you are the more lean mass you lose and fat you retain. While the heavier you are the more body fat you lose while retaining more lean tissue.
Therefore, I recommend using one of the percentage methods below which bases your caloric deficit on your starting body fat level rather than relying on the 500-1000 calorie per day deficit (below maintenance) as your guide:
15-20% below maintenance calories = conservative deficit
20-25% below maintenance calories = moderate deficit
25-30% below maintenance calories = aggressive deficit
The more body fat you have to lose the more aggressive you could be without as much worry about muscle loss and metabolic slowdown. If you are lean and want to get leaner to look “cut,” you’re better of staying conservative to retain muscle.
Remember, relax and be aware of your calories. Yes, keep track, you may have to adjust the numbers depending upon results (you will definitely need to adjust the calories cut down as you continue to lose) but be kind to yourself if your awareness and math don’t match.
If you watch focused professional athletes you will inevitably see them either transfixed or looking up as if remembering something or closing their eyes just before any important movement begins. They are watching themselves perfectly perform what they are about to engage in. This mental rehearsal or visualization causes a scientifically proven transfer from the mental to the physical.
So do what the pros do, picture your workouts. See the positions your body will be in. Even better, also feel how efficiently you will be breathing, feel the strength in your legs, in your core, in your upper body. See and feel the balance of your torso and the postures necessary to successfully perform. You’ll be amazed at the results if you do this habitually.
You can increase pleasure in exercise when you change your routine and environment. Seek opportunities to alter where and how you train. This will boost excitement, enthusiasm and joy.
By adding variety in your workouts, for example, incorporating the cross-training concept, can help you break through a plateau or boredom. If you run, for instance, ride a bike or swim once a week to balance the system and give certain muscle groups a rest. Ideally, any exercise program includes elements of cardiovascular exercise, weight training and flexibility. Try a boxing workout or running intervals on the track.
TO REALLY CHANGE ANYTHING, YOU MUST BE WILLING TO CONTINUALLY ALTER YOUR APPROACH UNTIL THE CHANGE HAPPENS.
If you’re going to change your course, your habits, your fitness level, your work situation or your relationship/s, the rewards must outweigh the risks for there are going to be challenges, setbacks and difficulties, known and unforeseen, which will cause you to look longingly back to your comfort zone, the area you were trying to escape from. When this happens, you must be diligent about remembering why you left that comfort zone and quickly look toward where you want to be. You’ll probably have to venture onto a slightly different path, and this may occur several times, but you’ll be moving toward your desired change. If you are persistent, you’ll get there.