Why should you consider strength training? A lot of research and information is starting to circulate about the overall benefits of strength training. Traditionally, we have thought about weight loss and overall health by doing cardiovascular exercises. And the benefits and information we have received is mostly true. However, we are starting to learn that our bodies can be healthier by having an exercise plan that includes of variety of types of exercise.
If you want to lose weight, if you want to gain endurance, if you want to improve your heart and lung function, you should put in a significant amount of your time to cardio exercise.
If you want to gain strength, mobility, improve joints and bones, and maintain overall health, you should also put a significant time into weight training. How much of each type of exercise will depend on your personal goals.
Mindfulness is defined as “the psychological process of bringing one’s attention to the internal and external experiences occurring in the present moment, which can be developed through the practice of meditation and other training.” according to Wikipedia. In performing a search of content out there about mindfulness in fitness, I was surprised that information on this topic is limited.
Mindfulness: “paying attention to the present moment, with intention, while letting go of judgment, as if your life depends on it” Dr. John Kabat-Zinn
Too often, I realize that I forget to apply the techniques of mindfulness and relaxation to my daily life. I have taught others’ many strategies to feel more peaceful and cope with difficult illnesses like anxiety and depression. And I still forget how useful these practices are for daily life.
One area I do always apply mindfulness is during exercise. It is the reason I exercise, because I am focused, concentrating on one thing, getting in tune with my body and my brain.
Practicing mindfulness during exercise will greatly improve your results.
- Be Aware of what is happening with your body and muscles internally.
- Be Aware of where your body is performing well and areas that are difficult.
- Use the power of focused thinking to contract the muscles you want to strengthen.
- Focus on contracting and strengthening your core muscles, think through that squeeze, make it count!
- Positive motivating mantra – getting more in tune with your thoughts and body will help you use positive mantras to boost motivation and self-esteem!
Most people have an idea that they want to eat healthier. That you’re going to change your diet…soon. You’re going to try some of these new foods floating around on your Facebook fee. You really, really want to, but you won’t. Possibly because there’s not enough motivation in it. Or possibly because it all just seems to complicated and it will take time.
Not long ago, I wrote a post Keep It Simple. Make things simple for your life and go into a diet change with the knowledge that CONSISTENCY = RESULTS!
I have been playing around with different types of meal plans and making new changes in my own diet. Making a diet plan for someone else is near impossibly. Not because I’m not aware of what’s healthy and how to develop one. Rather because I have no idea what you normally eat. I have no idea what you like or what you’re willing to try. So I will repeat that following these guidelines will help YOU develop your own plan. YOU are in charge!
Personally, I have cut out aspartame! A big one for me. I LOVE COFFEE!! No, let me rephrase that, in order to function and maintain relationships I MUST HAVE COFFEE! I don’t like it black and I don’t like creamer, so this has been the easiest way for me drink my coffee…..until recently I found the idea of using butter (regular, unsalted butter) and I add a little cinnamon. 3 weeks now and I’m sticking with it. Also, I have traded out my carb based oatmeal breakfast for a green smoothie (almond milk, peanut butter or plant-based protein powder, 1/2 c. fruits, and a handful of spinach). Continue reading “8 SIMPLE TIPS – HEALTHY EATING GUIDE”
There are a lot of misconceptions and conflicting information about getting healthy and losing weight. Too often I hear people say they fell off the band wagon because they believed they had to change their life in such a way that depressed them. For too long we were told that to be healthy, we had to be skinny. To be healthy we have to cut our calories out. We can’t eat fat. We have to stick to a diet program very strictly. We have to look like the latest fitness model or we’re not really healthy. We should conform to BMI charts and weight charts. Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah
It’s crap, don’t listen to bad advice.
Don’t listen to the latest trends. They come and go, you want your health to stick.
Exercise routines are must if you want to be healthy or lose weight. Diet alone will not do this for you. I don’t think its necessary for us to review all of the potential benefits of exercise and how it contributes to weight loss, you already know. So why aren’t you doing it? Good question, huh? IT IS HARD! I’m not going to lie and tell you that it’s really simple to add 30 mins. a day to your routine to exercise, because it’s not. That’s what makes it even better, that’s what makes you feel even stronger when you can accomplish this task. Not only did you bust your butt exercising for 30-60 mins., but you also made a routine, squeezed those minutes into your day and possibly sacrificed something else to get the s&!@ done!
Heres a laundry list of reasons EXERCISE IS HARD:
- BUSY, BUSY, BUSY
- Work and work schedules
- Kids – even when you have the time, kids can just be chaotic when you try to workout
- Low Energy
- Sleep problems/Shift Work
- Lack of motivation
- Health Issues
- Not sure what to do
Well, that’s what I’m here for – to guide YOU on how to get up and get some motivation to BE A HEALTHY YOU!
You know you want to feel better, you know you want to lose some weight, you know you want to be more confident about your health and your body, you don’t know what to do, how to get there. I get it!
♥MOVING ON UP TO A HEALTHY YOU♥
You need to set out your goals:
- Why do you want to be exercise?
- How will this help YOU be healthier?
- What are your goals? to exercise a certain amount of hours, to lose a certain amount of weight, to improve your blood pressure, ???
- What do YOU need for motivation and accountability? Some people need a fit friend, a weekly reward, inspirational compliments, keeping logs to track progress, etc.
- How often per week do you want to work out? Aim for at least 2-3 days/week
- For how long? Aim for at least 30 mins./session
You need to make a schedule.
- Find the best 3 days in your schedule
- What is the best time? don’t just squeeze it into your schedule, think about what is the best time of day for you to exercise?
- What is offered, what is open in your area on these days?
- PUT EXERCISE IN YOUR SCHEDULE RIGHT NOW!
- Review your whole schedule, make sure your exercise plan works around the other events in your day and week. We do not want to miss a family get together, a basketball game, a date night. We want to make it work out for our whole schedule.
You may need exercise equipment:
- Clothes – if you don’t have comfortable gym clothes, consider getting 1-2 outfits in your size that you can move around comfortably. (Ladies, don’t forget a good sports bra!)
- Water Bottle – Drink plenty of water while you exercising.
- Shoes – Use a good fitting, comfortable pair of tennis shoes that give you good support. It may look silly, but I always walk up/down the aisle, squat, and stand on one foot to test out my shoes.
- Journal – you need to keep a log of your food and exercise when you are starting out. You can also use an app. I like to keep my exercises handwritten, it’s too time consuming on the apps.
- Other things people consider (but aren’t necessary)
- swiss ball
- weights for home use
- yoga mat
Don’t skip any of these steps! Start out right!
Consider new types of exercise. If you’re not sure what you like to do or you don’t like what you’re currently doing, try something new. You just might surprise yourself! or not, but at least you know. There are many different options, between running, walking, cardio machines, yoga, strength straining, group classes, dance cardio, step classes, sports, climbing. Chances are you have given up on exercise before simply because you weren’t doing something you enjoyed. I love dance cardio, even though I’m horrible at dancing. During my initial weight loss, I spent a lot of time on machines. It’s hard for me to stay focused and I feel BORED. Now that I’ve found something I enjoy, I haven’t gotten a machine for more than 15 mins. in probably a year. I still get my heart pumped up and sweat for 60 mins. a week. My favorite exercise is strength training with free weights. I never played sports and I was terrified of how poor my performance would be when I looked at that weight room. After I watched other women and talked to some friends, I fearfully tried it. I LOVE IT! IT’S KEEPS ME FOCUSED!! I do not like running. I do not run. But I’m still healthy. If you love running, then God has blessed you with a special gift and you should be using it. Find an activity you enjoy that helps you mentally. ♥
Now What? So you have the time, you got a gym membership and you’re here. What do you do? If you’re at a gym, it may be overwhelming and stimulating at first. If you’re at a group class, you may feel shy and confused at first. But don’t worry, most people do and most people are not judging you. Everybody had to start somewhere, even the flexed out guy deadlifting with 3- 45 lb. plates on each side started out somewhere. And everyone made mistakes, even that guy. Matter of fact, he’s probably maxing out right now with poor form. It’s okay, in order to move up we have to start and we have to experience some bad reps to get us there. Be confident and fake it til you make it!
If you have not been physically active for awhile, you’re best bet is to start with cardio machines, sports, or group classes with some strength & toning exercises. Find out what you can do without overdoing it.
There are programs and there are programs and there are articles and YouTube videos and live streaming and Instagram and more programs. My best advice to you is to ignore articles from entertainment magazines, ignore Instagram. Do not rely on live streaming, DVD’s or YouTube videos solely. Some of these sources give us a great way to work out at home, but they do not do it all. A class or YouTube video is not a program and it doesn’t add in your nutrition. DO NOT try any of these funny Instagram moves at the gym. I have done this, I have watched other women do this. WE DO LOOK FUNNY!! This is not a workout and if you have to follow along with the video at the gym, just do it at home.
Look for programs written by popular personal trainers that appear practical, contain full body programs, and don’t push too much. You do not need to do 12 different exercises at 12 reps a piece. It’s chaotic and can tax your body in the wrong way. Focus on the main compound exercises (which really only adds up to a few) and if you are using weight or intensity that is challenging, feel free to lower the reps a bit, say down to 8. For good program templates, I recommend:
If you really want to get into strength training, I recommend:
I’ve read a number of small articles by Shape, Women’s Health, etc. that get shared around social media. Some of these exercises are great, especially for isolation exercises. But a lot of them direct you to do too many bodyweight strength based moves in a short period of time. And they’re not giving you guidance on when to do them or what else to do with them. Most of these will just wear you out and that’s why you don’t stick with them. I feel that I am quite fit and I can rock it in a squat rack, I can rock out heavy weights for 60-90 mins. But I get tired just looking at some of these routines on paper. And you do want to pay attention to the order of the exercises, it is extremely important for your endurance.
Just stay away, just find a solid program.
And tweak that program to fit your needs and what you can do. There isn’t a specific program I can recommend to YOU, because I am not YOU. We all may need something a little different. I cannot tell you that there is one of these specific programs that I had tons of success with, because I didn’t use anyone’s program. I reviewed these sites and their workout plans extensively and I made my own workout plans based on what I learned. I’m not doing 100 crunches a day, I’m not running, I’m not doing a lot of jumping, I’m not working out every day of the week. Did I have success? You Betcha!! I am very happy to say that I decreased in inches, I drastically reduced my body fat, I have improved my speed and endurance, I have drastically improved my strength and I’m even starting to pump up the muscle!!! My best success was with my own program.
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!? GET OUT THERE, MOVE YOUR BODY, BE STRONG, BE HEALTHY, BE YOU!
Carbohydrates and sugars are the culprits of an unhealthy diet. Traditionally we have been led to believe that our main concern is in the fats, while they secretly loaded up our boxes of foods and grocery stores with tons of bad carbs (sugars) and chemicals. While people have been trained to read a food label well, all of these confusing names and long ingredients are just too much to decipher while you’re in the store, possibly trying to get as much food as you can, while your toddler is screaming in the cart for some other ultra sugared out box of whoever the latest character is. So we quickly review just the food label and move on.
Now fats are an issue, but not all fats. Healthy fats found in olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, nuts, nut butters, whole grain-fed dairy have a good place in a healthy diet. It’s obvious that the high fats in fried foods, snacks, vegetable oil, margarine are unhealthy. Cutting back on unhealthy carbs and sugars is the way to go if you want to get healthier, lose weight, and reduce your risk of future health problems.
Where do you find healthy carbs? That’s a good question. I often say when it comes to health and fitness, “It’s not rocket science”….but in my quest for more information on this topic, I’m beginning to think that it is. Actually, I’m beginning to think that finding good food has become increasingly difficult. I have been developing a theory that manufactures have conspired to hook us onto high carb/high sugar foods and charge us more money for them! It should not be that difficult to find a whole wheat carb item with a short ingredient list for a reasonable price.
That is all you are looking for.
- Whole wheat or whole grain is the first ingredient (or oats, quinoa, barley),
- Short ingredient list, and as a bonus look for products with dietary fiber – this helps your body digest and use sugar more efficiently
- Do not pick up a product that has the whole grain stamp or is labeled multi-grain, without checking the ingredients list.
- Be mindful that many products labeled fat free, sugar free, multi-grain still contain refined grains and added sugars.
- Check out SELF article “What’s The Difference Between Whole Grain and Whole Wheat?”
What has happened to our food that it has become this difficult to purchase a piece of whole wheat bread?
Body Image is still the topic of the day. It’s a major issue that affects a lot of people across the world. If you don’t believe this, check out that statistics at http://thebodyimagecenter.com/education-awareness/eating-disorder-statistics/ – The Body Image Center.
- 45% of children in grades 3-6 are unhappy with their body size, CHILDREN!, 70% of women and 43% of men are unhappy with their bodies. Yes this issue affects men, women, and children.
One of the main reasons many of you will want to get on the health track is to look better. Hopefully you will find other reasons too. But you’re not fooling me and I’m not fooling you…many of you will want a better body image. The idea here is that it really isn’t how thin we are, how overweight we are, or how much muscle tone we do or don’t have. Most likely you do not really need a better body. Body Image is about how we actually perceive ourselves and how we perceive ourselves in comparison to others’. Yes it is likely you are comparing yourself to others’.
A recent blog post I read described how even when people are fit, they don’t feel “fit enough”. Because a lot of their focus includes views, then comparison of fitness models, they get sucked into that idea of perfection that is portrayed. Check out Molly at Girls Get Strong. Others’ may simply be focusing too much on people in the media. And despite advances in positive body image, advances in photography and social media and tons of information somehow we still want to believe that we can look like the people in the media. We believe there is some actually perfect body to attain to.
Poor body image isn’t something that just affects overweight people or unhealthy people. I have read stories from the most beautiful people, ones that the rest of us admire, that believe in the same negativity the rest of us fall into. I have heard comments from young, beautiful women and men that boggle my mind. How could they think that about themselves, they look beautiful and healthy with natural muscle tone? Not only that, but they appear to have personality, dedication, and they’re obviously spending part of their life doing something good. Then I go home and look in the mirror….and have to remind myself….
Starting a new healthy eating plan might seem like a daunting task. My recommendation now and forever, is to Keep It Simple. It might seem like the thing to do is a set a start date make a whole new menu plan, workout 4 days a week and get a great start on your health! This idea looks good on paper, but it’s bad, it’s just bad. This approach is unrealistic and will play tricks with your motivation. Start by gaining some nutrition knowledge, reviewing what healthy foods are, and how to read a food label. Basically you want to buy fresher foods with less ingredients. When looking at carb items, you want whole wheat to be the first words, not way down, not refined, not white. We want to start small to allow our minds and our bodies to adjust to changes. If you do or think you have health problems, please get the advice of a health professional on the right types of foods to eat and to avoid for your particular health issues. Visit the following links to get a low down on carbs.
Good Carbs Bad Carbs – Authority Nutrition
10 Best Sources of Carbs -Men’s Fitness
I’m pretty sure we all know by now that buying pre-packaged, processed food is not good for us. I know this is a shocker, but in order for these items to be pre packaged, ingredients have to be added. Many of these ingredients/chemicals are not digested very well. It makes me want to roll my eyes when I hear people saying, “Do you know what they’re putting in these snacks (insert product name), they’re using a chemical!?!” Well… of course they are, look at the texture of that product, the box, its not even a natural food. Shop around the outside of the store for most of your groceries. Take the time to package your own food, it’s really not that much time and you’ll save money.
KEEP IT SIMPLE!!!
Pick a few things to work on for a week or two. Pick foods that you like or want to try. If you hate salads, by all means do not plan to eat salad at all. There are other ways to get the same nutrients in your diet. For me, I wouldn’t even try to eat tuna and as much as I’ve tried I cannot stand cottage cheese YUCK! No problems, I have found many other foods with similar benefits. If you are trying new, fresh fruits and vegetables, I do recommend looking for products that are in season and ripe.
50 SUPER HEALTHY FOODS Authority Nutrition
♥♥♥ So hopefully you’re thinking about why YOU want to be healthy, hopefully you are starting to set some realistic goals. Of course we know that many of us will reduce our risk of chronic health problems, of course we know many people that want to lose weight to look better. These are important factors, but maybe they don’t apply to you. Even if they do, there are plenty of other reasons in life to be healthy. I hope that you can find a couple that are motivating enough to challenge you to make your healthy work for YOU.
BENEFITS OF EATING HEALTHY:
♥ PRODUCTIVITY = BETTER JOB PERFORMANCE
♥ ENHANCED MEMORY
♥ BLOOD SUGAR REGULATION– many people can manage mild blood sugar problems with a healthy diet
♥ HEALTHY SMILE – if you’re going to feel better, you want a beautiful smile to go with it!
♥ BETTER SKIN
♥ REDUCE GAS AND BLOATING – who really enjoys this?