Fitness & Wellness

Balancing Mental And Physical Health

Balancing Mental And Physical Health

A truly happy person leads a healthy life, balancing mental and physical health. When a person’s mental condition is centered and happy, that person tends to have better health. If someone is fit, they tend to be happier. The body and mind work together to complement each other, with one directly affecting the other. Even the very term disease, indicates the connection between the two. It’s the prefix dis, meaning not and the word ease. Together, they mean not at ease, which could take on the meaning of being mentally uncomfortable, but more commonly means illness.

The body and mind are connected.

While there are stories from psychologists demonstrating how people display certain physical illnesses from a mental conflict occurring earlier in those people’s lives, you don’t have to search out stories like this to see it in everyday life. I see it all the time with clients. People come in angry and stressed or depressed and upset. As they workout, you can almost see that veil of emotion lifting and their spirits with it. It’s more than that. While staying healthy and working out can lift your spirits, studies also show people who are depressed often have poorer than average health.

Treating both the body and the mind has become important.

Exercise, a healthy diet, adequate sleep and good hydration are important to good health, but so is taking time each day to quiet the mind and thoughtful reflection. Whether you choose meditation or simply take time to review the day’s events, keeping a positive attitude is mandatory to good health. Meditation is nothing more than being in a state of relaxed awareness, allowing your body to rest while letting your mind remain awake, but quiet. More and more studies show that meditation, as part of a program of health, can also reduce the potential for heart disease, anxiety, depression, hypertension and insomnia.

Eating healthy feeds both the body and the mind, just as exercise helps both.

Eating should be a pleasure, but to many people it’s nothing more than a habit. I see it every day in restaurants, people shoveling food in their mouths, barely chewing and swallowing. They barely taste the food and are on to the next bite. When you engage in mindful eating, you’re savoring each bite, looking for the subtle blends of tastes and enjoying each combination. While we recommend choosing a rainbow of colors when creating a meal, the Ayurvedic method is to include six tastes: sweet, pungent, salty, sour, bitter, and astringent. Astringent, bitter and pungent tastes are anti-inflammatory and include foods like ginger, peppers, mushrooms and tea. Many people’s diets include just sweet, sour and salty.

  • The mind can produce chemicals that boost the immune system, with physical exercise burning off the hormones of stress that can slow it.
  • Your mental attitude not only can change the course of illness, it can also boost the benefits of exercise and help you get in shape faster.
  • Building good friendships helps both the body and the mind. Studies show that people who have a more social existence live longer.
  • If you want to be healthier and live longer, smile more and laugh. Studies show that laughter truly can be the best medicine.

Workouts For Biceps

Workouts For Biceps

Finding the best workouts for biceps is a quest that many people pursue. Having big guns is the sign that you’ve worked out. While women won’t develop the massive muscles men do, they’ll get a sleek, strong look that is perfect for short sleeve tops. I’ll just list a few that I find effective for the upper arm. One works the biceps brachii, the muscle at the front of the arm located between the shoulder and elbow. One works the brachialis, located at the bottom of the upper arm, connecting the bottom of the bicep to the forearm. The last one works both areas.

Use dumbbell curls for the biceps brachii.

You can use either dumbbell curls or barbell curls to get great results. Both do a good job of strengthening the biceps brachii. Here’s a quick review of the dumbbell curl. Holding a dumbbell as you stand straight, with arms to the side of the body and make sure your elbows are close to your torso, rotate your hands so your palms face forward. Keeping the upper arms still, exhale as you curl the dumbbells by contracting your biceps. Raise the dumbbells to shoulder level. Hold the position, while you squeeze the bicep muscle. Inhale and lower them back down. Repeat.

Hammer curls are good for the brachialis.

Start the hammer curl in much the same position as the dumbbell curl, but your palms should face toward your body. Keeping the upper part of your arm stationary, exhale and bring the barbells slowly, all the while, contracting your biceps. Bring them up to shoulder level, focusing on keeping your elbow stationary as you move your forearm. Hold for a bit, inhale and lower them back down. Repeat.

If you want to workout both the long and short heads of the biceps use regular grip barbell curls

Adjusting your grip width on a barbell can help eliminate discomfort problems, but it also can be a great way to vary the area worked. If you use a wide grip, it works the short head of the muscle, while a narrower grip works on the long head more. Stand up straight as you hold the barbell with a shoulder-width grip. Face the palms of the hands forward with the elbows held close to your body. Curl the barbell forward as you exhale and contract your biceps, while ensuring the upper arm remains stationary. When the barbell is at shoulder level hold the position and squeeze the bicep. Then slowly lower the barbell as you inhale. Repeat.

  • When you first start, work with a personal trainer to ensure your form and breathing are correct.
  • Don’t attempt to start too heavy. Work on form. Your trainer will help you pick out the right weight for your fitness level.
  • By adjusting your body position, you can improve the effectiveness of an exercise. For instance the incline dumbbell hammer curl is more effective than the dumbbell hammer curl.
  • Don’t work on biceps every day if you want growth. They need about 48 hours to repair themselves. They get stronger as they heal, so don’t mess up that process.

Have You Thought Of Weight Training Once A Week

Have You Thought Of Weight Training Once A Week

While weight training once a week is acceptable, doing strength training twice a week is better. Strength training doesn’t always require the use of weights. In fact, bodyweight exercises and resistance bands are two good examples of strength training that requires no weights. In our gym in Chino Hills, CA, many students use kickboxing, plus other strength training techniques to get the maximum benefit from strength training, while enjoying a fun, yet fitness oriented outlet.

Strength training builds muscle tissue.

No matter how old or young you are, you’ll benefit from having more muscle tissue. Older people benefit because as people age, their lean muscle mass starts to dwindle. It’s called sarcopenia. You really don’t have to be very old to show some signs of it. It starts at about the age of 30 when the rate of decline is as much as 3 to 5 per cent each year. More muscles affects bone density, too. Strength training has been compared with some osteoporosis medications and found superior. Thirty minutes of training twice a week showed an improvement in bone density in postmenopausal women that had low bone mass. It improves bone density in teens, too.

Strength training helps you burn fat.

A lot of people hop on the treadmill or take up running to lose weight. While cardio is good for burning calories, strength training is better. It doesn’t burn as many calories as cardio does while you’re doing it, but it does provide a lasting effect. It builds muscle tissue. Muscle tissue requires more calories for maintenance than fat tissue, so it improves your resting metabolism rate. That means you burn more calories 24/7. Unlike running, which can use lean muscle mass for energy, weight training builds muscle mass and burns off fat.

Strength training improves functional fitness.

You’ll get more than just stronger from working with weights or other types of strength-training, you’ll improve your coordination, posture and balance, too. It reduces the risk of falling by as much as 40 percent in older people, when compared to those who didn’t do strength training. Stronger muscles and core strength also improve functional fitness. That protects you from injury doing every day types of activities.

  • Strength training burns more calories following exercise. The increased calories are used during the recovery period after a workout.
  • Strength training helps you sleep better at night.
  • Women don’t develop large bulky muscles during strength-training like men do. Instead, they develop strong toned, attractive muscles.
  • Strength-training can boost your immune system, while also reducing the pain from chronic diseases like arthritis.

The Best Pre-Workout Foods

The Best Pre-Workout Foods

There’s a myth that starving yourself before a workout is good. It’s just that, a myth with no science to back it. You do need some food to help sustain your body through a workout or it starts feasting on your own muscle mass. One study showed that cyclists who ate something before their workout lost the same amount of fat as those who ate nothing, but the group that ate nothing also took ten percent of their calories used from burning protein and some of it was muscle mass. That’s counterproductive. Not all food is the same when it comes to eating before a workout. Here are some of the best pre-workout foods.

Grab a banana or a fruit smoothie before you workout.

Both of these make a great pre-workout snack. The banana has natural sugar, potassium and easy to use carbohydrates, so it can supply your body with energy by boosting your stores of glycogen and boost blood sugar levels. Fruit smoothies are also high in natural sugars and provide the same benefits as a banana. They also contain phytonutrients and extra nutrition for good health. Be ware of consuming these more frequently than pre-workout, since they’re high in fructose!

Yogurt and fresh fruit make a great pre-workout snack.

When you combine the quick energy fruit with the long lasting protein of yogurt, you have a snack that not only boosts your energy, it helps prevent muscles tissue breakdown. Top your Greek yogurt with berries and throw in a few seeds in your yogurt or find Greek yogurt topped with them. You can pitch some coconut, dried figs and vanilla into plain Greek yogurt for flavor, but don’t get the ones with fruit flavors since they’re higher in calories and sugar.

One of my favorites is an apple and nut butter.

While it’s easier to get peanut butter, I’m a huge fan of almond and cashew butter. No matter which you choose, slicing an apple and spreading the contents of two tablespoons of nut butter on the slices is a delicious way to get all the pre-workout energy and protein you need. If you’re not a fan of apples, use a banana instead.

  • Eat your pre-workout snack about a half hour to an hour before you workout. It gives it time for the benefits to be available for the body and to avoid cramping.
  • While healthy fat is good for you, too much can hamper your performance. It digests slowly and can make you feel out of sorts and sluggish so you won’t do your best.
  • Having a source of protein in your workout food can help prevent muscle breakdown and boost muscle recovery.
  • If you’re eating complex carbohydrates before a workout, do it two hours before the workout starts. They’re slower to digest and can help maintain blood sugar levels.

You Can't Out-Exercise A Bad Diet

You Can’t Out-Exercise A Bad Diet

When I was growing up, I knew some pretty crazy people. I had one female friend that would eat a donut running in place. She said the calories didn’t count if you were moving, since they didn’t stick because you burned them up. Of course, that logic is hooey, but it seemed pretty convincing when I was in my early teens. Now I can firmly state that you can’t out-exercise a bad diet. Not only is it nearly impossible to work off all the excess calories, there’s also the problem with getting the nutrition you need for a healthy body.

Seriously, unless you’re a professional athlete, you simply won’t burn that many calories.

Even professional athletes eat wholesome foods, but probably a lot more than you do. Olympic swimmers like Michael Phelps and Ryan Murphey who are constantly training, still stick to whole foods for their calories. In an interview with Ryan Murphey he said that before his morning training, he ate a Power Bar and banana, after practice he ate eggs, spinach, fruit and some oatmeal or Greek yogurt with granola and fruit. You didn’t notice any donuts in the mix because they provide no nutrition and actually impede his performance. Ryan even noted that with all the exercise he gets, if he ate chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast he’d gain weight.

Your training will suffer if you don’t eat right.

That’s right! The wrong foods can take away from your workout, rather than help it. If you eat the right snacks before a workout, you’ll boost your energy levels and enjoy all the benefits of working hard. You can’t maintain a high intensity workout. You’ll lack the energy to move. A good workout requires you to work your hardest.

You won’t get the results you want for weight loss if you don’t have a healthy diet.

Sure, exercising will burn off calories, but when you combine it with a healthy diet, you also get super results that not only take off pounds, it leaves you feeling energized. You’d be at a stand still for weight loss if you ate a burger and fries and exercised enough to work off the calories. Rather than trying to offset your poor eating habits with exercise, strive for a healthy lifestyle. You’ll look and feel better while shedding pounds more rapidly.

  • Eating the wrong foods can lead you to be cranky and overweight. Even if you’re working out, if you have too much fat in your diet, you’ll be sluggish in the gym. Too little carbs, you’ll burn out and burn muscle tissue.
  • If you eat poorly, you won’t have the nutrition to build the muscle tissue you need to burn extra calories. You need the building blocks to boost muscle tissue growth.
  • If you eat the wrong foods high in sugar, your blood sugar levels will fluctuate and create an even more ravenous appetite, while lowering your energy level.
  • Eating the right food about a half hour to an hour before working out, can and does help boost your performance. Something as simple as a banana or an apple with nut butter can help you workout your best.

Make Procrastination Work For You

Make Procrastination Work For You

Everyone procrastinates about doing something. It may be something as significant as making a call about a matter you can cover in a text to someone you know will keep you on the phone forever. It could be starting a program of lifestyle changes you’re putting off doing. While it may be tough to make procrastination work for you when you consider the phone call, lifestyle changes are quite another thing, especially when it comes to eating healthier or ending bad habits.

You can procrastinate away when it comes to eating unhealthy foods.

If your favorite stop is at a Quickie Burger for their super triple burger deluxe, it’s time to put your super power, procrastination, into action. Just do what you do best when it comes to working out in the gym or creating healthy menus, put it off and drive by the burger palace. You can tell yourself that you’ll get one tomorrow. No matter what the temptation, don’t take the time to stop but tell yourself you’ll eat it another time.

Cutting out bad habits, do the same routine.

I’ll do it later can be your chant as you conquer every bad habit. Want to quit smoking, put your cigarettes in a difficult place to reach and when you think about smoking, consider how tough they’ll be to get to and wait until later. Find ways to make smoking more difficult so your powers of procrastination have a chance to kick in and stop you, at least for that moment.

Change I’m only going to eat a little to I’m only going to workout for a minute.

Seriously, don’t consider working out for an hour, just consider a short exercise. It’s like that little sliver of cake you’re going to eat and then end up consuming several large pieces. It’s easier to think of exercising for just a few minutes than it is for 30 minutes to an hour. Go for a short walk around the block and if it feels good, procrastinate about stopping. Even if you only get in a few minutes of exercise, it’s a few minutes more than you would otherwise do.

  • Whether you’re trying to eat healthier, quit a bad habit or get your booty into gear at the gym, procrastination is just a small tool to help you along. You need a plan and the desire to do those things to succeed.
  • When you want to eat healthier, shop healthier. If the snacks and processed foods are available, you’ll eat them.
  • Have healthy snacks already prepared. Slice up veggies and have healthy dip ready. Have a bowl of fruit, such as cantaloupe, cubed and ready. If you don’t have to go through the hassle and make it easy, you’re bound to eat healthier.
  • Know yourself. Identify your pitfalls and the places you’re most likely to breach your reserve. Don’t ignore the fact that you’ll be tempted, but use it as a planning tool. If you fall off the wagon, it’s no big deal, it happens, just get back on track and start again.

Ways To Exercise Even On Vacation

Ways To Exercise Even On Vacation

Whether you spend your vacation traveling the country or take leisure time in Chino Hills, CA, there are ways to exercise even on vacation that can allow you to stay fit without worrying about a schedule. Some clients love the idea of taking a vacation at home. It involves not only taking time off from work, but also other scheduled activities, such as clubs, volunteer work and even the gym. That doesn’t mean they don’t workout. They do it, but in a different form.

Leaving the area makes your regular gym workout almost impossible.

While those staycationers can go to the gym, but simply choose not to do it, those leaving the area need to make other arrangements. Some people plan ahead and check the accommodations to ensure there’s a gym in their hotel that they can use. There are other ways to stay fit and not miss any of the fun. Working with a personal trainer before leaving on vacation is one way. The trainer can create body weight workouts you can do anywhere, since they’re equipment free.

Have fun activities that provide a great workout.

You don’t have to do a traditional workout to get plenty of exercise. Hiking with the family, swimming, bike riding and just walking on the beach can provide a great aerobic workout, without interrupting the fun. While walking on the beach may not sound like a huge workout. The drag of the sand, or in case it’s too hot and you walk in the water, can create a drag that adds to the energy burnt can create a tough workout everyone will enjoy.

Pack up some resistance bands and have strength, cardio and flexibility workouts ready.

You don’t want to overpack, so much of your workout equipment is out of the question. However, resistance bands take up very little room and can provide workouts that boost all types of fitness. With a little extra planning you can do all three types of workouts using only them. Add some body weight exercises to create variety, particularly if your vacation is longer than a week.

  • Sightseeing can be a good workout, particularly if the ground is uneven or sloping. Walking the sloping streets of San Francisco, for instance, could be a great workout regardless of your level of fitness.
  • Create a game plan before vacationing. While getting away from a schedule may be your goal, having a list of activities you want to do that don’t have to be scheduled can be a refreshing adventure.
  • Make fitness more fun. Get a pedometer and challenge yourself to do more walking each day. Spend time exploring your vacation area, while boosting your exercise for the day.
  • If you’re going out of town, check out places where you can participate in a group workout that allow you to pay per session. Make them something unique that you’ve never done previously.

Why There's A New Surge Of Interest In Kickboxing

Why There’s A New Surge Of Interest In Kickboxing

If you’re looking at kickboxing as a spectator sport, it lags behind many others when it comes to drawing audiences, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t gaining popularity. It’s growing huge numbers of fans who participate in it, as both a good outlet and a form of exercise. There’s good reason that more and more people are turning to kickboxing as an alternative to walking on the treadmill. It’s simply more engaging. You never watch the clock when you kickbox, because your mind is too busy watching your opponent and planning the next move.

Kickboxing is a great cardio workout.

It’s so good, there are classes popping up called cardio kickboxing. Kickboxing requires a lot of energy, even if you’re throwing punches in the air. It burns about 350 to 450 calories in an hour and gets the heart pumping into the intense zone, for cardio conditioning. It helps burn belly fat, lowers your risk of coronary disease and diabetes. Most of all, it boosts your endurance, while keeping you focused.

Kickboxing builds strength.

Kickboxing is a high impact sport that works on all parts of the body at once. It not only helps you build strength, it helps you develop power behind that strength. You’ll punch, kick, twist and use all body parts, which not only develops the arms and legs, builds core strength. It strengthens your hips, legs, upper arms and back, too.

Boost your balance and flexibility with kickboxing.

This sport is based on jumps, punches, kicks and explosive movements. It improves the range of motion, which also improves your flexibility. If you’re kicking, you’re standing on one foot, which trains you in the area of balance, too. Before working out, kickboxers also do stretches and training like hopping on one leg and letting the other leg swing freely. It improves muscle coordination, making them work together in synergy.

  • It improves reaction time and that can help prevent injury. That makes it a good for seniors. It helps to build neuromuscular control, which improves mobility, balance and dual-tasking activities.
  • Kickboxing boosts your confidence. Not only does it make you feel stronger, your posture improves. That makes you look more confident, which actually aids in becoming more confident.
  • Kickboxing gives you a feeling of power and control. If you feel like you can handle yourself in a tough situation, you feel more in power. While you won’t want to walk down dark allies to test it, it’s a good tool to have for self-protection.
  • The kickboxing community is warm and welcoming. People of all levels of ability help one another to improve. That sense of community is often what helps beginners stick with it as a form of exercise.

Help Get Rid Of Stomach Fat With These Healthy Snacks

Help Get Rid Of Stomach Fat With These Healthy Snacks

Eating the whole foods can help you shed those pounds, but some pounds seem to be more stubborn than others are and like a bad relationship, stay glued to you no matter how hard you try to lose it. Exercise is a huge help. It helps burn off the calories, while also burning off the hormones of stress, like cortisol, which are linked to the accumulation of abdominal fat. Some foods actually help you shed those belly bulges. You can get rid of stomach fat with these healthy snacks, feel satisfied and lose extra pounds.

Include an avocado in your diet. It has healthy fat.

One of the biggest problems with belly fat isn’t how it looks, but how it affects your overall health. It’s called visceral fat and the toughest type to shed. There’s a strong link to heart disease and diabetes based on the amount of belly fat you have. While eating fat to get rid of fat may sound like a fallacy, it’s true. Avocados and nuts are a good source of healthy fat. One study showed that a diet that had plenty of monounsaturated fat, like avocado and avocado oil, actually prevented the distribution of fat around the waistline by regulating certain genes. Put some salt on it, make some guacamole or add a few shakes of hot sauce and eat it.

Grab a handful of nuts, seeds or spread some nut butter on a celery stick.

Yum, nuts and nut butter are among my favorite snacks. Just like avocados, nuts contain monounsaturated fats. They also are a good source of protein and help you feel fuller. While saturated fats turn on the genes that lead to storage of fat in the abdominal area, the mono and polyunsaturated fats turn them off. Get a start by grabbing a handful of Brazil nuts, walnuts, almonds or pistachios, rather than those crackers, can help you shave pounds, particularly around the waist. Nuts and seeds should be part of your diet. I have a thin client that eats all the time. Yeah, lots of people hate her. What she eats is important. She constantly has a bag of a mix of raw nuts, raisins and cranberries with her. I see her eat, A LOT!, but never gain a pound.

Grab a cup of yogurt with live bacteria.

If you can find yogurt made from the milk of a grass fed cow, all the better, but not necessary if you want to shed belly fat. Just make sure the bacteria is active and that there are no additional sweeteners added in the form of flavoring. Just like nuts, yogurt has protein that can help you shave off pounds around your mid-section. If you really need to have more flavor than plain yogurt provides, throw in a handful of fresh blueberries or strawberries for help shedding belly fat, flavor and added nutrition.

  • Eat a hard boiled egg as a snack. They’re really good and one of my favorites for snacking. Eggs contain quality protein and are easy to transport when hard-boiled.
  • Grab a bottle of water instead of a bottle of pop or even a fruit drink. Water helps you stay hydrated, but it also helps you avoid sugary drinks, especially low calorie ones, that have been proven to add fat around the middle.
  • Don’t forget to exercise. Exercise helps burn calories, while also burning hormones that create abdominal fat. It often works to reduce your cravings for food and sugary products.
  • Slice up mushrooms and serve them with a yogurt dip. Just a few herbs and spices added to yogurt or cottage cheese can create a great fat burning dip for the mushrooms.

Spring Into Action Summer Is Coming

Spring Into Action Summer Is Coming

Are you ready for the skimpy summer clothes? Do you have the energy to do all the fun things that come with warm weather. Summer is coming, but you still have time to get ready for it and make this the best summer of your life. Whether you want to get into shape and have a beach body everyone will envy or just boost your energy level so you can keep up with the kids and still have some oomph left over for adult time later that night, it’s not to late to start working on it. You’ll notice the difference in 30 days, start seeing the transformation in 60 days and love what you see by the time summer arrives.

It takes hard work, but you can handle it.

I assess all my client’s fitness levels first. I also learn about any special needs and what the goals are. That way I can create a personalized workout program for you. The workout will be tough, but you’ll never be bored. It changes continuously. I know you’ll love the variety, especially the addition of kickboxing. You’ll not only get fitter, you’ll feel more in charge when you know you can handle yourself in any situation.

If you need to shed weight, exercise does more than just make you fitter.

You’ll build muscle, but the sinewy sexy kind, not big bulging ones. If you’ve every watched the old TV series “Charmed,” you know that Phoebe, one of the sisters, used kickboxing to fight evil and she had a body that turned heads. The exercising you do to build them burns calories, but it also continues to rev up your metabolism even after you leave the gym. Not only do you benefit from the afterburn, you’ll benefit from the muscle tissue you build. The more muscle tissue you have, the higher your metabolism becomes. That’s because muscle tissue requires more calories for maintenance than fat tissue does. It won’t take long before you notice that it’s easier to lose weight.

Eating healthier is important for weight loss too.

You notice I didn’t say dieting. Dieting simply doesn’t work. Learning how to eat healthier does. One thing you’ll find as you get fitter is that your body will crave healthy foods. That’s great! Switching out from sugary treats to healthy snacks, like a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts, gives you the boost of energy, plus loads of nutrients to help build muscle tissue and keep you going longer. The combination of exercise and a healthier diet will have you ready for all the fun summer has for you.

  • Start to get ready for summer now. The sooner you begin, the quicker you’ll be able to make plans for a summer of active fun.
  • Even if you’ve failed at getting fit before, we can help you. We help people of all fitness levels, even those who have never exercised in their life!
  • Once you see how much fun getting fit can be, you’ll start to look forward to each session. That’s when you start to really feel the changes you’ve made and love every part of it.
  • You’ll feel and look more confident as you become fitter. Part of the reason is that your posture will improve and you’ll walk with more confidence. Of course, looking great also helps.