Fitness How To’s: Three Essentials in Exercise

First, let me say that if you are working out and have some form of regular exercise incorporated into your life, congratulations! It is one of the easiest things to NOT do and make excuses as to why we don’t. I know, because for nearly a decade that was me. I came to abhor anything that would make me sweat, and it became easier and easier to not workout. As I got my workout legs back under me, I found three F’s that have served me well at age 40 in keeping up with the demands of some challenging workouts.

Essential #1 – Flexibility

I am not a particularly flexible person by nature. However, flexibility is a HUGE part of making sure that you not only have a good workout, but is critical in making sure that you can continue to workout. Be sure to have some light warmup stretches to ease into your workout. Be sure to engage in active stretching over the course of your workout, and post workout do some focused stretching on the muscle groups you worked that day. Don’t worry if you can’t stretch to the floor or discover you have as little flexibility as I do. Stretch to where you’re comfortable and don’t push into positions your body isn’t ready for.

Essential #2 – Focus

Once you begin your workout, ensure that you are giving focus to proper form. If you fail to keep the form and focus intended in your workout, you are wasting your time. This is not to say that your form has to be perfect. However, there is a marked difference in the results one will achieve by doing moves “similar” to the trainers and duplicating moves you are shown. Solid focus in your workout means you will have to give greater effort in your workouts, but that translates into some phenomenal results. You’ll be happy you did 🙂

Essential #3 – Ferocity

Have a ferocious mindset when you enter your workout. This does not mean that you push your body to the breaking point and beyond; what it means is that even when you have to modify your workouts, you want to make it to the end. Some days will be a breeze and you will be excited to “push play” (as we say in TBB) or just jump into your run or whatever workout you do. There are other days, though, when it is a severe act of will to just show up. When you enter your workout “zone” so to speak, be ready to bring it, and do not waiver in your commitment and determination. Final note: guard yourself against overtraining. After speaking to Focus and Ferocity, I know it can seem even counterintuitive to not go all out, but remember that you are in this for the long haul. Your endurance will increase as will your strength, but you must have the patience to allow your body to acclimate to the demands of a workout regime again. Thanks for reading, and stop by tomorrow as we’ll talk about two huge landmines to avoid so that your efforts are not derailed and your results stay on track!

Advertisements

Fitness How To’s: Four Critical Components to Your Nutrition

Component 1: The right number of calories

While not the only component to weight loss, it isn’t any mystery that if you are serious about losing weight you have to create a calorie deficit. A number of people have struggles that go beyond the simple calorie count, but this is where it begins. If you don’t have a baseline and track in some measure where you are in relation to it, you have no chance of losing those unwanted pounds. That being said, there is a second component to having winning nutrition.

Component 2: The Right Kind of Calories

Many people who still struggle in losing weight after they have their calorie count under control see much improved results when they give focus to getting their calories from the right sources. While this example is a bit extreme, no one would recognize that there would be an issue in attempting to get all of your calories from soda and chips. You could technically gauge how much Coke and Potato Chips to have at all three meals to stay within a target calorie goal, but on top of feeling miserable you not likely see any changes. For some, that balance in the macros of your nutrition must be a bit more precise than for others. Keep your pulse on how many calories you proactively plan to get from protein, carb, and fat sources.

Component 3: Effective Distribution of Calories

One huge downfall many of us have fallen prey to is fasting through the day in an effort to use all of our calories in one meal. That does not allow our metabolism to achieve any balance, and is likely to wreak havoc on our body, mood, and emotional state. Avoid this pitfall! Plan at least 3 mealtimes on your day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and make an effort to stretch into 5 to 6 smaller meals on the day. With these in place, the 4th component is a no-brainer.

Component 4: Water

This was one of my greatest struggles. I had virtually lived on diet soda, and water was just too boring for my taste buds. I have made great strides by using water with lemon (and other citrus) to have some flavor and get to my 8 (+) cups of water on the day. The good news is that as you incorporate more water into your diet, the more your body will want it. This does not happen overnight, but I can tell you that I can actually sense my bodies thirst for water and soda has little appeal for me anymore.Seek to keep balance in your eating habits and you will see great strides in your weight loss journey. One final note, also be sure to not create too large a calorie deficit and so starve your body that it begins to shut down. One of the best tools I have found in helping me to reach target goals in this regard is an app/website called myfitnesspal (My fitness pal). You can put it on your smartphone or just log into it on your computer at myfitnesspal.com. It is totally free and allows you to track not only your calories but your fat, carb, protein, cholesterol, sodium, etc. Hope you have a terrific Tuesday, and drop by tomorrow for some tips on exercise 🙂

Likes and comments are much appreciated! If you don’t see this option, please click on the article title at the top of the page and check down here again. Thanks!

Fitness How To’s: Five Keys to Fitness Success

As we enter the final week of August I decided to do a countdown on my fitness page each weekday to focus on things you can do to end the month on a good note and be poised to start September off right! Tune in every day this week to get tips & reminders on how to accelerate your weight loss and achieve your fitness goals.

Day 1 – Five Keys to Fitness Success: Exercise, Nutrition, Accountability, Commitment, Adaptability/Resilience.

Exercise

There are a host of things we could look at, but let’s keep this simple. If you are serious about losing weight and/or getting fit the first item on this list comes as no surprise. It’s no secret that exercise is an essential part of fitness, no matter what level of exercise you engage in. It does not have to be high intensity, but you have to give your body some level of activity and elevate your heart rate. If you need this reminder as I did, renew your mind with the truth that it is ok to sweat a little.

Two inevitable questions that now follow: How much exercise? How hard should I go? In answer to the first question, make a plan to exercise at least three to four times this week. If you have been engaged in regular workouts you could even push to five or six workouts in the week. The level of intensity should be in line with what your body can handle, and only you know that. The real key here is to start slow if you’re just getting back on the horse or have never incorporated a regular workout routine before. You can always increase intensity the next day if things don’t seem challenging enough, but it would be terrible to get sidelined by an injury just coming out of the gate because of impatience. The duration of each workout is again going to be something you either know how to gauge because you know your body, or have to learn. If you are learning (or relearning) your body start with a half hour including cool downs. As you feel you can handle more consider gradually moving to 45 minutes and eventually even a full 60 minutes of activity.

Nutrition

Equally obvious is what nutrition you allow into your body. This is a huge deal because all the efforts of your workouts can be undone if you think you eat whatever you want simple because you “worked out”. Be smart, and identify some healthy meals you can use for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to ward off the hunger monster.

Accountability

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves; A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
I know there is a huge temptation to believe you can simply get it done on your own. The truth that we all know to be true is this: we do better with accountability. We thrive and gain strength when we have someone who goes through the struggle with us and helps keep us focused. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be the one providing encouragement.
Find at least one accountability partner, but if at all possible get a group of 3 or four. Give them the authority to ask tough questions and be prepared every now and again to tell on yourself.

Commitment

Don’t be in it for the short term. Make the commitment for the long haul. Temporary results are incredibly frustrating as the other side of the yo-yo diet always seems to leave us worse off than when we started. Make the commitment that you have decided to take ownership of your health and fitness goals and BE COMMITTED to them!

Adaptability

How does the saying go? “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”. Be prepared for the fact that your ideal plan to bring a fitness regiment into your schedule may not go entirely according to plan. You will have to “tweak” things, and possibly make sacrifices to get workouts in and be resilient enough to adjust to the curve balls life will inevitably throw your way. You can do it! It just might not look the way you envisioned it at the beginning 🙂

Your thoughts? Talk to me below! Comeback tomorrow as we give more focused attention to nutrition! (If no option to like or comment appears, click on the article title and scroll back down. Thanks!)

To Waste or Waist?

If you grew up in a home like mine, there was ample appreciation for what we had and it was unconscionable to allow food to go to waste. Translation? You cleaned your plate, and did not allow food to go into the garbage. While well intention-ed, this approach to eating fails to take into account the possibility of not having a well balanced meal, or have portions in excess of what we actually need. Add to to this the pressure of needing to validate family cooking by going back for seconds, and you have the makings of some potentially bad eating habits.

Of course, in high school this wasn’t such a big deal with football and plenty of activities to counteract the massive calorie intake. However, enter college, and then marriage with that same mentality in place but no exercise to balance it and it can create a bit of an issue. I was able to compound this problem further by looking at every plate put in front of me as a challenge as to whether I could finish it or not. With so many restaurants offering outlandish portions it became extraordinarily unhealthy for me when we would eat out.

As I have recounted in my other posts, the inevitable results of these eating habits landed me at 276 lbs. Fortunately I was introduced to a challenge group from a college buddy and by following the program with Shakeology and Les Mills Combat I am now within striking distance of breaking through the 200 barrier! I now plan that when we go out I may very well eat half my meal and bring the other half home.

This got me to thinking: why do I force feed myself when I know that I’m done with my meal? Then it struck me! I was still using the same eating philosophy from my childhood. I began to actually think through this idea of “Leave nothing to waste!” It occurred to me that just by shoveling what was left into my face does not mean it has benefited my body. Whenever I eat in excess, the bottom line is that it goes to MY waist, which means by eating it the food has gone to waste twice over!

Please know, I am not abdicating that we should get in the habit of throwing food away. I believe that if we reprogram ourselves to learn our bodies better, we can be better prepared to know when we are best served by ordering smaller portions or being ready to take food home. There are those occasions when it doesn’t work to try to bring the food home due to spoilage or distance from home. While it may be aggravating to throw perfectly good food away, what’s worse is if we waste the food twice over and pretend that by eating it we made a good decision. I am learning to listen to my body better. I encourage you to do the same, and when appropriate allow some food to go to waste so that it won’t go to waist 🙂

Les Mills Combat

For my return to the world of fitness I chose to use Les Mills Combat. I ordered the challenge pack to get my first Shakeology bag and the workout at a significant discount. First, I have to let you know that I LOVE this workout! I did TaeBo back in the day, and this so blows it out of the water. Having said that, I really want my review to be an honest reflection of what I experienced as I went through my 60 day challenge with the program.

I remember pushing play for the first time and wondering how this was going to go. At first I felt like this wasn’t so bad. I really felt like I could adapt to what they were doing. I quickly learned that having not done any exercise for a decade has a negative impact on one’s endurance. After 20 minutes I about collapsed and was more watching the workout than doing it. I’ve always liked a good challenge, though, so I looked at it as having a new goal in front of me.

For the second workout, I was introduced to Dan and Rach’s version of a High Intensity Interval Workout, or HIIT for short. This one was called HIIT Power. I haven’t been worked like that since high school football. I did not keep up for even 10 minutes of this workout before I had to resort to the modifications, and even then I was done after 15 minutes. I was exhausted, but still wanting to respond. Enter Day three.

Something interesting happened on day three: SORENESS. Pure, unadulterated soreness. It hurt to walk. To make things even better I have a 2 year old and a 4 year old who love to climb into daddy’s lap. This was not a good day. Still I had made the commitment to do this, and I wasn’t going to throw in the towel at my first real test. As it turned out, I felt better after having done the workout, much as it hurt when I started it. I was still sore, but the workout actually subsided the pain a little.

Before moving on, I have to let you know that Dan and Rach bring an AMAZING level of energy and enthusiasm to the workouts, and even though I was sore, I in part looked forward to the next workout because I got to be infused and motivated through the support of their encouragement. Short version: It was FUN!!!

My program track allowed me a break for day 4, and I was most thankful. I was still sore, it still hurt to walk, and yes, my children were relentless. My day 5 workout was another HIIT workout: Shock Plyo. I was at least mentally prepared for what to expect, but my body was not able to keep up with much of the workout. Back to modifications I went for as long as I could go. Crushing soreness? Yup. Still there.

Day 6: back to my original workout, and after fighting through the soreness I actually sensed I was doing slightly better. Still, the soreness lingered, and I was once again thankful for an end of the week break. When day 7 came, I was finally feeling my legs getting back to normal. It didn’t hurt to walk, though my kids were still able to cause some twinges of pain (totally worth it!).

During week 2 of the program I was making incremental progress and the soreness was MUCH lighter. Not gone altogther, but nothing like week 1. In week 3, I was able to keep up with a workout here and there, and the soreness was entirely manageable.

As the time went on, I saw more and more gains and was suddenly keeping up with the 60 minute workouts and loved the feeling of accomplishment that came when I was done. The HIIT workouts continue to be challenging, but I appreciated that even more as I knew I still had at least another level to aspire to.

I know that my week 1 account might seem daunting to some, but I give you the most honest perspective I can so that you can know what you might be in for if you have not been working out for a few years as was the case for me. I encourage you to be ready to commit, and to know what that will entail. You can do it! I loved this quote and posted it on my facebook page when I saw it:

You can do it!

You can do it!

Currently I am trying T25 and getting great results with it as well, but I can’t wait to go back and do the advanced version of Combat. If you are looking for a great way to start getting back into shape, Les Mills Combat will get you there 🙂

I’d like to try that…

If you’ve read my prior posts you know that while once a skeptic I am now 100% a Shakeology advocate. It delivered on it’s promises of being nutritious (and delicious), and more importantly it CRUSHED my craving for garbage food. To know that it is doing that while not only giving my body the recommended nutrition it needs but arming me with probitoics, phytonutrients and exotic superfoods that boost my health even more moved me from thinking about Shakeology as pricey to seeing it as an incredible value. Clever little video short talking about it here:

Shakeology Value

Shakeology Value

Don’t misunderstand; I realize that it’s quite a commitment to make when you first add Shakeology to your regiment. I also know that it DELIVERS. My results have been incredible, and I’m on my way to size 34 pants and shorts from a size 42. Did I mention that’s after 73 days? I’m not there yet, but am quite confident that I will make it to size 32 before the year’s end. For me, that’s better than high school.Ok, enough testimonial. How would you like to try a single serving pack on me? I have a limited supply of single serve packs I can send out as samples, but if you leave a comment or email me I would be happy to introduce you to what made a dramatic change for me. Take your second chance on fitness and hit the reset button. What do you wish you had started a year ago to be benefiting from now? What could you start today that would move you to your goals a year from now? Take the first step!

How Are Your Workouts Working Out?

 

Whether you get excited when you begin a new workout routine, or if  you dread what you might be in for it is critical to remember why you are engaging in the training of your body. If you want to maximize the results you can achieve from your workout, follow a couple of simple steps to get the results you want:

  1. Consistency –  Remember, nothing happens overnight. Your investment in training your body to learn and practice the workout (even when you’re crazy sore) will get you past that initial soreness in the first two weeks and help you acclimate to the demands of the workout on your body. It will get better 🙂
  2. Participation –  If need be, slow the pace down and at least keep yourself active for the entirety of your workout. Better to do push-ups from your knees than not at all. If a particular exercise is too demanding, at least run/jog/walk in place to keep your heart rate up until an exercise you can participate in comes on. Again, in time you will be able to do more and more. Just stay with it, and don’t give up!
  3. Balance –  Working out gives you the opportunity to be good to the outside of your body. If you are to get the full benefit from your workout you must balance this with eating right and being good to the inside of your body. Don’t sabotage yourself! Shakeology gives you a huge advantage in this regard, and be sure to familiarize yourself with the eating guide provided in your workout.

I welcome your comments below, or you can shoot me an
email
🙂