Fitness & Wellness

Improve Your Body And Boost Your Self Image

Improve Your Body And Boost Your Self Image

Too much emphasis is placed on looking good, even at the expense of being healthy. Everyone wants to look fantastic, like a movie star, but not everyone has the makeup artists, hairdressers and clothing designers that stars have. What everyone does have is their own unique self and their own brand of charm and beauty. Building on that, you can make your body healthier, improve your body and boost your self image. It all starts with loving yourself first. When you care about yourself, you’ll want to take better care of yourself.

Taking care of yourself is the ultimate goal.

That doesn’t necessarily mean pampering yourself, although everyone deserves that occasionally. Your body needs to exercise to be at its best, so that’s what you should give it on a regular basis. It also needs to eat healthy foods and again, that’s what you should do. It’s all about taking care of your body as you would for anything you loved. If you had a car you loved, you’d make sure it got the best attention, had regular maintenance and given the best fuel. You should take care of your body in the same way. After all, you can get another car, but not another body.

The boost in your self image comes from accomplishing your goals.

YES!!! YES!!! YES!!! I’ll say it again, you will feel better about yourself when you look better, but the true improvement to your self-image comes from achieving your goals, not from looking better. If looks are all you value, you’ll never look good enough to be pleased with yourself. It takes more. The extra energy you get from exercising regular is another huge boost, but the real gold lies in the accomplishment of good health.

Never compare yourself to another person.

One of the biggest problems I find when I have a client that has a bad self image is the constant comparison to someone else. This goes back to focusing totally on appearance, rather than good health and fitness. There will always be someone that has better thighs, a flatter stomach, a firmer backside or a better figure. When you learn to love yourself as you are, you can start finding ways to treat yourself better and two of those are a healthy diet and a program of regular exercise. Focusing on how much you’ve improved, rather than comparing yourself with another, is the way to improve your self image.

  • Dress for success. Don’t relegate yourself to drab colors or baggy clothes. Take pride in who you are every day of your life.
  • Improve your self image by realizing that you are powerful enough to do the things that will make you look and feel better.
  • Know that only through accepting yourself, can you do the things that you need to do to make change. If you loathe who you are and continuously criticize yourself, you’ll be building a stronger negative self-image that will be harder to change.
  • Clean up your self talk and get busy. If you wouldn’t say the same things to a friend or acquaintance that you say to yourself, stop. Instead, switch your focus to ways you can treat yourself better.

Facing Your Fitness Fears

Facing Your Fitness Fears

Everyone has some fear when they first start a fitness program. Maybe they worry they’ll look silly and not be able to do the exercises. Sometimes, they worry about the potential health risks of exercise, fear failure or not know where to start and actually make things worse. People also worry that they’ll fail or quit before they see results. If you find you’ve been postponing your goal of getting fit, it’s time to start facing your fitness fears and take charge.

If lack of knowledge is your problem, it’s easy to overcome.

One reason people turn to personal trainers for help is that they have no idea where to start. They worry that they’ll overwork themselves and cause injury or that their workout won’t be effective. First, as far as effectiveness goes, getting up and walking is an effective and easy way to start. Your results will come slower, but you’ll still get results. When you’re ready for the next step or want to maximize results immediately, getting the help of a fitness professional can help you overcome those fears. It won’t take long for you to start building confidence.

If you fear that you’ll look silly when you first start, eliminate that fear.

You’re absolutely right. Most people don’t have perfect moves when they first start working out. That’s why getting help from a trainer to learn the right way to do each exercise is important. However, even if you don’t look perfect, it’s not a big deal. Everyone starts out feeling uncomfortable and gawky when they’re learning something new, even people who have practically lived in gyms most of their lives.

If you fear you’ll drop out or fail, make your workout fun.

Quitting is not an option you even consider when you’re having fun. It’s one of the reasons I like to mix up the workout and include kickboxing as part of it. My clients tell me they never get bored and actually look forward to traditional workouts that help them prepare for kickboxing and the actual kickboxing sessions. While fitness is a serious subject and extremely important, it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun doing it.

  • Group sessions are also an inexpensive way to get started. You’ll be amazed at the comradery and encouragement people have for one another in these groups.
  • Build your confidence as you build your strength. Another reason kickboxing is included at One Love Fit Club is that it is a super boost to confidence. You feel strong and in control when you know you can defend yourself.
  • You may feel awkward when you start the first session at the gym, but once you do the first exercise and see that you get guidance for every movement you do, that awkwardness will melt away.
  • Failure is never an option here or any time you work with a personal trainer. The only way you fail is by never starting. We provide the motivation and encouragement to continue.

Are You Properly Cooling Down After Workouts?

Are You Properly Cooling Down After Workouts?

Properly cooling down after workouts can help your body temperature, breathing rate and heart rate get back to pre-exercise levels. It lowers the risk of fainting from your blood pressure dropping too quickly and lets the muscles get back to the pre-exercise optimal length to tension relationship. It restores your body back to baseline or close to it and also helps prevent the pooling of blood in the veins of your lower extremities and aid in the elimination of waste materials after a workout. Just like warming up before an exercise, it’s an extremely important part of your workout.

You need at least five to ten minutes of cool down after a hard workout.

Your cool down isn’t just stretching, it’s lower intensity exercises before the stretching. Walking is one of those, just as flexibility exercises are. You can put one or two flexibility exercises at the end of your that are lower intensity and take approximately three to five minutes. During this time, focus on your breathing. Follow that with about five minutes of stretching the muscles you targeted that day. Use three to five stretches for each of the muscle groups, hold them for about a half minute.

The higher the intensity of the workout, the more important the cool down is.

At one time, cool downs were considered important to prevent delayed onset muscle soreness—DOMS. Studies have shown that’s not true. It does have the benefits mentioned previously, which are just as important, if not more important. Static stretching is one of the most important parts of a cool down after your heart is back to its normal rate. It helps to stop the constant shortening and lengthening that occurred during exercise and ease it back to normal activity. It also helps improve your flexibility.

The type of static stretch you use will depend on the area you worked.

If you worked your quadriceps, you’ll want to lay on your side and pull your heel toward your glutes, to feel the stretch in the front of the thigh. Lay on your back and pull your bent knee to your chest for glutes. For hamstrings, lay on your back and lift and straighten one leg, pressing your heel toward the ceiling, while you pull your leg toward your chest. For the chest, interlace your fingers behind your back and straighten your arms, while lifting your chin upward.

  • You can use the treadmill for lower intensity exercise at the start of a cool down. There’s a “cool down” setting on most.
  • A hamstring static stretch that’s good for a cool down is also a great one for back pain if you’ve sat too long, so you’ll get a “twofer.” Lay on your back, raise a leg and use a towel to loop around your foot. Pull the towel toward you and feel it stretch your hamstring.
  • Part of every cool down should be rehydrating. It also helps reduce the soreness in your muscles.
  • Get a protein shake or after workout smoothie to replenish the carbs and protein lost in the workout. Do this 15 to 30 minutes after the workout ends.

Sugar VS Sweeteners

Sugar VS Sweeteners

Which is better for you in the contest of sugar VS sweeteners. While artificial sweeteners have no or lower caloric value, they were voted the worse sweetener by Cleveland Clinic dietitians. That’s because they don’t satisfy the hunger for sugar, plus several other factors. Artificial sweeteners are better for you than sugar if you’re diabetic or prediabetic, since they don’t cause a spike in your blood sugar. However, consumed too frequently, they also are associated with insulin resistance, changes in gut bacteria and increased fat storage. Some, namely aspartame, has been shown to increase the risk of cancer in three separate animal studies, according to the dietitians.

So sugar wins the contest? Not quite!

Table sugar produces inflammation in the body. While it has substantial calories, it has no benefits nutritionally. You can get addicted to sugar and before you know it, you’re consuming more and more to get the sugar high. Sugar is in hundreds of foods, from ketchup to “healthy” granola bars. One can of soda contains as much sugar as the average man should have in a day and more than the average woman should have to remain healthy.

Sugar consumption could lead to heart problems.

At one time fat was blamed for coronary problems, but that was because of a study funded by the sugar industry. Since then, much has been learned and it seems that sugar is the real culprit. One 15-year study showed that people whose diet was 25% or more were twice as likely to die from heart problems than people whose diet was 10% or less. That’s just added sugar, not sugar found in food.

Stevia is a sweetener that’s natural.

Stevia is a natural sweetener that’s between 200 and 300 times sweeter than ordinary sugar. The negative word on stevia is that it dulls your taste buds, so you tend to look for the same sweetness in other foods. That means you’ll eat food that’s sweeter and sweeter—contains more sugar. Stevia is a plant and the sweetener is made from the leaves, so it’s natural. It contains no calories.

  • The most unhealthy sweetener is high fructose cornsyrup—HFC. It doesn’t stimulate the production of leptin, which tells your body you’re full. Therefore, you tend to continue to eat well past the point of satiation. Even worse, you’ll find this high calorie, low cost sugar substitute in almost everything.
  • The top rated sweetener by the Cleveland Clinic dietitians was fresh or frozen fruit to sweeten food and drink.
  • Raw honey is one alternative. While it does contain calories, as sugar does, it also comes with many health benefits and triggers fullness.
  • Maple syrup—real maple syrup, not the maple flavored syrup—is also a healthy option. Like honey it has health benefits such as antioxidants.

Diet Soda Adds Inches To Your Waist

Diet Soda Adds Inches To Your Waist

An interesting study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society showed that diet soda adds inches to your waist if you’re a senior citizen. It used information from the San Antonio Longitudinal Study on Aging that followed 749 subjects of both Mexican-American and European-American heritage for 12 years. The study started in 1992 and ended in 2004. The findings were amazing and not at all what you might expect. Those who drank diet soda had waist measurements that were three times as large as the subjects who didn’t. Men fared worse than women. The larger the body mass, the bigger the increase was.

Waistline measurements are critical to your health.

There’s fat and then there’s dangerous fat. Dangerous fat is called visceral fat. In common terms, it’s known as belly fat. It accumulates deep inside the abdomen and is difficult to lose. This is fat that accumulates deep inside the abdomen. Belly fat is linked to increased risks for depression, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance.

Another study showed that it’s not just the elderly that have to worry.

A study in the JAMA Pediatrics showed that mothers who drank diet drinks frequently when they were pregnant were twice as likely to have babies that developed weight problems at one year. The babies were obese or overweight by that time. There’s no concrete proof that drinking diet sodas while pregnant had a causal relationship with the obesity, but it certainly makes you stop and think.

What could cause the problem?

The sweetness of diet drinks cause the body to trigger a reaction in the sweetness receptors in the brain that gets the stomach prepared to digest sweet treats. When no sweets arrive, there’s nothing to digest so the body still craves them. That can cause the person to seek out food to satisfy that craving and can lead to weight gain. In other words, artificial sweeteners may trick the brain, leading to a weaker link to the hormone that tells your body it’s satisfied and to stop eating. Sugar has calories and calories trigger the fullness hormone.

  • Too often people who use artificial sweeteners or eat low calorie foods, feel they can eat more because…it’s low calorie. Don’t be fooled. Instead, learn how to eat healthier and choose whole foods.
  • The best way to satisfy a thirst with a no calorie drink is to make that drink water. Not only does water hydrate, but it’s also good to eliminate the bloat from, ironically, water weight.
  • One ten year study from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio followed 500 people for ten years.The results were that people who drank diet soda had a 70 percent larger waist than those who didn’t.
  • Consider how many artificial sweeteners are made. They come from a lab and made from chemicals that you might not want to put in your body in the first place.

Set Smart Goals And Achieve Them

Set Smart Goals And Achieve Them

If you want to change any part of your life, set smart goals and achieve them. That’s especially true for weight loss or fitness goals. Smart is actually an acronym for a goal setting strategy that outlines how to create the goals to ensure you create a map that’s specific enough to achieve them. Setting goals is important. It acts like a road map for a trip. You identify where you want to get and the route you’ll take to get there. It also identifies how long it will take to achieve the goal.

The S in SMART stands for specific.

If you want to look better, you need to identify exactly what that means. Looking better could mean getting a haircut, but it also could mean getting into shape and losing weight. If it’s the latter, it’s actually two ultimate goals that go hand in hand. One is to get fitter and the other is to shed pounds. Getting more specific means you identify the number of pounds, such as 15 pounds for the weight loss goal. For the fitness goal, it might mean being able to run up ten flights of stairs in two minutes or being able to lift 100 pounds. Be precise when you set a goal.

The M is for measurable.

I want to be healthy isn’t measurable. I want my blood sugar levels to return to normal. I want to be able to run two blocks without getting winded. I want to eat healthy well balanced meals that’s lower in calories and workout every day. Those last three goals can be measured. If you run one block and have to bend over to catch your breath, you haven’t achieved your goals.

A stands for attainable and R is for realistic.

A goal to grow taller is not attainable if you’re already at your adult height. (Although after working out, some people seem to increase their height because of improved posture.) A goal of losing four inches around the hips is attainable for people who are overweight. If you want to lose fifty pounds in four weeks, you’re not being realistic. That doesn’t mean you can’t use that as a big goal, but it does mean you have to give yourself more time to achieve it.

  • The T in the SMART goal setting system stands for trackable. If you don’t record your progress, the potential to achieve the goal is diminished.
  • While setting big goals is exciting, you should break those bigger goals down to smaller goals that are achieved quicker. That provides more motivation to continue.
  • If you find that you have a set back or road block in the way, don’t worry. It’s part of life. Find a way around it and get back on track to achieving your goal.
  • Goal are not carved in stone. Sometimes you need to adjust them when changes occur in your life. Those changes may cause you to rethink your goal or even set a bigger goal.

 Is Sugar Ruining Your Health

 Is Sugar Ruining Your Health

Is sugar ruining your health? The answer lies in how much sugar you eat and in what form. Do you eat processed foods? Are soft drinks the main way you hydrate? Is a candy bar your favorite mid afternoon snack? Some sugar is healthy. Lactose, sugar from milk products can be healthy. Fructose, the sugar from fruit also can be healthy. It’s only healthy when it comes in its natural container, fruit. Unfortunately, manufacturers have found a way to produce HFCH—high fructose corn syrup—and that it’s an inexpensive way to add sweetness and flavor to the foods they sell, so now it’s in everything. That means that the average American is loaded with sugar and that excess is what affects your health.

Sugar is addictive.

While there’s lots of argument among scientist as to just how addictive sugar is. Some scientists equate it to the addiction to opiates and cocaine or act as a gateway drug to alcohol and controlled substances. The article written by authors from the Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas, James J DiNicolantonio, a cardiovascular research scientist and James H O’Keefe, a cardiologist stated that sugar has many of the effects of cocaine and other addictive substances, triggering the reward and pleasure area in the brain, altering mood and leading to the intake of even more sugar. While other scientists refute the animal study, one thing is certain, when you eat sugar it whets your appetite for even more. It spikes your blood sugar levels and leaves you hunting for anything sweet a few hours later when that spike drops to rock bottom. It also releases large amounts of dopamine in the brain, which can also make it very addictive.

Sugar consumption leads to obesity.

Obesity has now surpassed smoking as the leading cause of preventable death. Not only does sugar add extra calories with no extra nutrients, it has an effect on the body that promotes fat accumulation. This effect comes from a specific type of sugar, fructose. Unlike glucose, the simplest of all sugars, fructose doesn’t trigger activity in the area of the brain that tells the body it’s had enough to eat. It also doesn’t cause the hormone ghrelin to lower. Ghrelin is the hunger hormone. You’ll eat more and feel less satisfied when you consume products with fructose and HFCS is in about everything today.

Even though it was hypothesized long ago, people scoffed at this idea until now.

Until recently, saturated fat has been blamed for cholesterol problems, even though the potential of sugar being the problem was revealed as long ago as 1972. British professor of nutrition named John Yudkin wrote a book called Pure, White and Deadly stating that it was actually the evidence led directly to sugar. Not only did the food industry set out to destroy his reputation, they joined forces with prominent nutritionists of the time and it worked. Today, we know that sugar, not fat has more potential to trigger heart disease and diabetes. After all, saturated fat was a staple in diets in the past, but until the 1920s heart disease was relatively unknown. When sugar became a popular additive to all foods, it began to increase. The same is true for diabetes.

  • Sugar is a prominent cause of tooth decay.
  • Sugar boosts insulin levels and that can be a major contributer to cancer.
  • Sugar can trigger and promote inflammation, which contributes to a number of different health issues.
  • Sugar suppresses the immune system and leave the body subject to a host of diseases and conditions.

What's Your Holiday Fitness Plan

What’s Your Holiday Fitness Plan

If you’re dreading the holidays because you know you’ll be exhausted, exercise less and eat like there’s no tomorrow, you can avoid all that with a holiday fitness plan. Your holiday fitness plan should include not only times to exercise scheduled in, but also options for exercise. You should plan ahead for those parties where every bite you take is a full day’s worth of calories! When you have a plan of action, you’ll be more likely to slide through the holidays without gaining a pound and maybe even losing one or two.

Put your workout on your calendar.

Make your workout an appointment, but have a backup plan. If you have it as an appointment, you’ll postpone a shopping trip and go to the gym more readily than you would if you don’t. There are some things that take priority. If you receive a note from school about your child’s play at the last minute and it’s during exercise time, the play takes top priority because family always comes first. That’s where your backup plan comes into play. Have a workout for home you can do in the morning before your day starts. Resistance bands are great for home workouts and they’re inexpensive and store easily.

Get the kids involved with your workout.

Everything is hectic and sometimes those we love most get left out because we’re trying to do more for them. When you’ve spent the day preparing for the holidays, plus work and family, you need to take a breather. It’s time to play an active game with the kids, go outside for a walk to see Christmas lights or even workout together. They’ll enjoy it and you’ll get a workout too.

Plan ahead for the big dinners.

Eat a little less the day before and after the holiday, but don’t starve yourself. You can eat later breakfast right before you leave for dinner, so you don’t gobble down everything in sight. If you’re making the meal, have healthy snacks to nibble on while you’re cooking. If you have a choice of plates and the dinner is buffet style, use the smaller plate. Expect to overeat and don’t deny yourself a piece of dessert, just remember portion control and go back to healthy eating the next day.

  • Fill up on greens, salads or veggies at the dinner table. Get a double helping of vegetables and say no to the dinner rolls.
  • Drink a glass of water before the meal to fill you up.
  • Plan a walk with the family after dinner. Most people will appreciate moving around and you won’t be tempted to nibble longer.
  • Stack the freezer with meals ahead of time so you won’t be tempted to stop at “Quickie Burger” for the family dinner. Reheating is also far faster than waiting in the drive through line.

Do You Need A Break?

Do You Need A Break?

There are two reasons that you might need a break from your workout. The first is that you haven’t given your body adequate time for recovery between sessions and it’s taken its toll. You’re out of sorts, cranky, exhausted and running on empty. Instead of busting stress, the workout is creating it and leaving you feeling worse afterward. You need at least one to two days of rest with no heavy exercise so your body has a time to mend.

If you’ve hit the wall, give yourself permission to take it easy for a day or two.

Instead of doing your normal routine, spend the time walking in the park, away from the gym. You can do stretches or other flexibility exercises that won’t task your body, but it does need rest. Burn out is the quickest way to end an exercise program, so take this time off so you can come back refreshed and ready to go.

If you have pain, not just aches, you need to take time to investigate the cause.

You’ll notice the difference between pain and aches. One is unbearable. I had a wrist injury that took months to heal when I first started out because I didn’t give that muscle a chance to heal. I kept pushing through thinking it was just minor, until I could take the pain no longer. It took months before I could do the movement without pain even after resting. Stop when you feel pain. Normally, it will be in just one muscle group, so you can switch to a different type of exercise and give those muscles a rest.

You may not hate all exercise, just the ones you’re doing.

That’s typical if you’re working out at a box gym where you go from machine to machine and possibly do a few body weight exercises or lifts. It’s time to add some variety to your workout. That’s why I love mixing workouts with kickboxing. Kickboxing is a complete exercise but it’s fun. If you workout one day and kickbox the next workout, you’ll get good results but you won’t get bored. Vary your workout or it will turn to drudgery. Remember, active sports and dancing are good exercise too.

  • When you start to notice you’re not focused, take a day off and go for a brisk walk. You’ll get the exercise you need and come back to the gym renewed.
  • Work with a personal trainer who will vary your workouts and make sure you do enough to get maximum benefits, but not so much as to leave you burnt out.
  • Change things up a bit and go to the gym with a partner. It makes it more social and more fun.
  • See a doctor if you have chronic pain from working out or can’t shake that tired, exhausted feeling even after a rest from the gym.

It Always Seems Impossible Until It's Done

It Always Seems Impossible Until It’s Done

If you’re grossly out of shape or overweight, it may seem like too big of a goal to tackle. You must remember, it always seems impossible until it’s done. It can be done taking it one step at a time, which is why you need to break the goal down to mini goals that are not only less intimidating, but get faster results. You have to focus on smaller steps. Babies don’t just jump up and run across the room. They first crawl, then stand aided, next unaided and finally take a few steps. It takes babies 18 to 24 months to learn to run, yet they don’t give up because they never learned to feel defeated or overwhelmed.

Start with your big goal and break it down to smaller ones.

Big goals are exciting, at least for a short time. Then you consider accomplishing them and it looks almost impossible to do. You need to break those goals down to manageable steps that are easier to tackle and which reveal the results quicker so they’re not only less intimidating, you get the motivation of accomplishing them sooner. A weight loss goal of 100 pounds could be broken down into 10 lb every five weeks goals or even 4 pounds every two weeks. Both are good and occur quick enough to be motivating.

Get a plan of action.

The plan of action is the most important part. It’s the baby steps to help you along the way until you can run. One of the most important parts of a trainer’s job is to create this plan of action. Your most important part is to follow it. Know that if you stick to this plan, you’ll see the results you want. Your main focus should be on the plan not the results and while you’re doing, just trust that the results will arrive. One reason I love kickboxing is that it changes your focus on the activity, not the weight loss.

Ways to boost your results.

You can ask for some “extra credit” assignments that don’t take place in the gym. The assignments may include taking a brisk walk daily, using the stairs and not taking the elevator or carrying several bags of groceries to the car rather than using a cart. (You need plastic bags or cloth bags with a handle you can hang over your arm to do this. Paper bags are just too awkward.) Living an active lifestyle outside of the gym gets you into shape faster.

  • Throw away the remote and start changing those channels by hand…better yet, get active and don’t watch TV at all.
  • Have fun and accomplish your goal. Weight loss is more than looking good, it’s feeling good and enjoying life, too. Don’t wait until those pounds are off to have fun. Take up a sport, go out dancing or come on in and kickbox and you’ll forget how intimidating the goal is and just have fun.
  • Keep your focus on your workout and healthy eating. You can control that directly. The number of inches you lose or pounds you lose are only indirectly controlled.
  • Don’t weigh yourself every day. It’s a huge mistake that can lead to discouragement.