Exercise

How Being Mindful Will Get You a Better Workout

When you hit the gym, does your mind run a mile a minute, while your body struggles to keep up? If you find yourself distracted while working out – constantly checking the clock or running through your to-do list – then you could benefit from a little mindfulness.

Not only will it help you calm that overactive chatter in your head, being mindful can also help you get a better workout.

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Mindfulness simply means becoming more aware of the present moment. Being mindful during your workout helps you stay connected to your strength as you move through each exercise. And when you lose focus, your workouts just aren’t as effective.

Here are some ways being mindful will get you a better workout and better results.

• Mindfulness boosts your mind-body connection. I’m sure you’ve heard this popular term several times. But do you really know how to use your mind-body connection related to your fitness goals?

This is how it works, go within and focus on contracting the specific muscle your working on during the muscle-shortening phase of the exercise. The more focus and tension you can put on that muscle the stronger you will become and the faster your results.

• Mindfulness gets you better results. When it comes to training (and especially strength training), your overall form is extremely important! Being mindful during your workout improves the quality of your movement and exercise technique. This means less injury and better quality workouts for better results.

• Mindfulness leaves you feeling satisfied. If you focus more on your workout, moment by moment, you’ll have a sense of pride and accomplishment when you’re done. You’ll end your session feeling satisfied and knowing you truly did your best – now that’s a good feeling!

Tips on Training with More Mindfulness

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Sounds great, right? But how do you actually put mindfulness to work for you? Here are a few tips to get you started.

• Highlight a purpose for each training session. While you may have a big “why” that’s driving you and keeping you motivated, you also need to enter each workout with an immediate purpose that you can focus on.

For example, you might decide to concentrate on working your lower body for today’s strength training session. Or you might set a goal for a certain number of calories you want to burn during a cardio workout. Make your purpose achievable and measurable – and then, focus!

• Don’t rush it. Your time in the gym is just that – YOURS! Take your time once you start your workout and don’t rush through the movements. Focus on your form, particularly in strength training exercises. The goal isn’t to get in and get out – the goal is to make your time count!

• Breathe. Sounds easy, right? If you find yourself rushing or your mind wandering to a long list of “to do” items you need to tackle, bring yourself back to the moment by taking a deep breath. Remember, this is your time to exercise – everything else can wait.

So, when you feel the need to pop in earbuds and zone out on the treadmill, consider a change of course. Try working out without any distractions and stay mindful during your next workout.

Pay particular attention to what your body is doing and how it feels.

Changing how you exercise can make your time at the gym more enjoyable and unbelievably satisfying!

7 Tips for A Flatter Tummy

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One of the first things my new clients say is that they want a flatter tummy. Belly fat can be embarrassing and uncomfortable. It also affects a woman’s confidence and how she feels in her clothes.

Even more important is the problem that this type of fat around the mid-section is a risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

The good news—you can do something about it.

Here are 7 tips to help you lose belly fat so you can wear those form fitting clothes and feel beautiful in them:

1.    Eat a high protein diet: Protein should be a part of every meal. It keeps you full, decreases your appetite and helps build strong muscles. Studies have shown that eating quality protein (i.e., beef, salmon, eggs, turkey, pork, fish & chicken) throughout the day decreases abdominal fat—the type of fat that can be a precursor for obesity and disease. Not sure how much protein to eat? Strive for 0.8 grams per pound of body weight. 

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2.    Cut out sugar: For many of us, this is easier said than done. Sugar tastes good and many compare it to a drug that you can become addicted to over time. Quitting cold turkey usually doesn’t work. Instead, try to find healthier ways to satisfy your sweet tooth. Swap out candy for some fruit, and if you crave chocolate, eat a small piece of dark chocolate (at least 70% dark or higher), which is also heart healthy. And don’t forget those sugary drinks that are often overlooked. Ditch the sodas and juices, which are loaded with sugar. Flavored unsweetened seltzer or water is just as good and ten times better for your waistline. 

3.    Get active: It sounds obvious, but it’s always worth repeating. Cardiovascular exercise and resistance training will always work in reducing belly fat. You’ll burn calories whether you’re running, walking, biking, rowing or taking your favorite dance class. Studies show that aerobic exercise leads to weight loss, which ultimately results in reduced abdominal fat. What women sometimes forget though is the strength training part of the equation. Resistance training at least three times a week will not only get you stronger, but the muscles you build will take the place of fat. So don’t forget to lift those weights!

4.    Cut refined carbs and processed foods: Carbs often get a bad rap and there is some good reason for that. The problem occurs when you don’t eat the right carbs. A refined carb has basically been stripped of its nutritional value including fiber, vitamins and minerals. The lack of these important nutrients has been linked to obesity. Opt for complex carbs such as yams, sweet potatoes, whole oats, quinoa, and wild brown or black rice.

The same goes for processed foods. Just seeing the word “processed” on a food should be enough for you to stay away from it as it’s far from being natural and healthy. These foods are usually loaded with sugars and other ingredients that do nothing to keep your body healthy or your belly flat.

5.    Drink apple cider vinegar (ACV) every day: A tall tale or health hack? Whatever you may think about drinking apple cider vinegar, the truth lies in the science. One study showed that daily intake of apple cider vinegar significantly reduced belly fat. The acetic acid in the vinegar is what does the trick. And not only that, ACV has also been shown to lower blood sugar levels. Just be sure to dilute it with some water so it’s easier to drink.

6.    Drink plenty of water: Water is essential for all living things and that includes you. Water regulates your internal body temperature through sweating, it metabolizes and transports carbs and proteins, it helps flush waste out of your system and it keeps your joints lubricated. The list goes on and on. When it comes to belly fat, water is the perfect weapon to keep your body healthy while flushing out whatever may be causing belly bloat.

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 7.    Get more sleep: They don’t call it beauty sleep for nothing. A good night’s sleep, which should be at least seven hours a night, is important for a variety of reasons. Not only is it beneficial for mental clarity, but it also reduces cortisol (the stress hormone). Lack of quality sleep has also been shown to increase the levels of ghrelin—the hormone that regulates your appetite. That means you’re more likely to eat more, which can lead to belly fat.

Some of these tips may be much easier than others and that’s okay. Rome wasn’t built in a day so no one expects you to change your habits over night. Pick the one that you know is the biggest contributor to your belly fat and work on changing that behavior. If you can break the most challenging habit, the rest should be easy!

Resources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3284412/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17637702

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25477716

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19661687

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3632337/


 

Wake Up! Your Walking Workout!

Walking is one of the easiest and best kinds of workouts. Walking uses your whole body, calls for zero equipment or unique gear, could happen just about anywhere, is easy on your joints, and involves an impact which is terrific for your bones. So, why aren't you walking?

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Many people incorrectly assume since walking is reduced effect and simple, that it cannot possibly be as valuable. But, the reality is the benefits of strolling opponent to doing nothing has its advantages:

Advantages Consist of:

  • lower high blood pressure,

  • decreased danger of stroke,

  • lowered threat of cardiovascular disease,

  • reduced cholesterol,

  • rise in bone thickness, and

  • raised sense of well-being

  • mental and physical benefits

  • your clothes will get a little looser

  • your legs will look great

Walking can be an excellent weight-loss tool, in addition to a reliable approach for boosting your health and fitness. However, since it's much less literally demanding compared to several other tasks, you will require a couple of strategies to obtain the outcomes you want.

Make sure you continue to get results by mixing things up. Change up your pace by walking at a faster pace for 1-2 minutes and then a moderate pace for 2 minutes. If you're going slower, you could go farther. As well as, if you're walking much faster, you can minimize the distance. To keep your body stimulated for fat loss, mix it up!

Discover a hillside (or two!)

Hills are a terrific means to enhance your intensity without having to walk faster OR longer. As well as, hillsides will certainly recruit your heart rate a bit differently than flat terrain, which will boost fat burning effects at a higher level.

Gain a little weight (not really!)

Adding extra weight to your walking exercise is an easy method to challenge yourself at the next level. While you could have seen individuals sporting hand or ankle weights while walking in your area, weighted vests are a much safer method to burn extra added calories.

The vest evenly distributes weight naturally as to not alter the means you stroll.

Get innovative

Spice up your strolling routine by including added workouts in the process. See a park bench on your path? Stop and do a set of push-ups or triceps dips. Discover a collection of staircases? Playground? Why not jump on the swing, hang from a bar, or any of the various other fun activities that offer themselves.

Need more ideas? Try this walking workout

Walking Circuit Workout – 45 minutes

  • 5 minute walk – warm-up

  • 2 minutes jog

  • 1 minute walking lunges

  • 2 minute walk

  • 2 minute jog

  • 20 traveling lateral skip squats – 10 each side

  • 2 minute walk

  • Continue sequence until you reach 45 minutes

If you start on a regular routine you are more likely to add other healthy behaviours. So, lace up those tennis shoes and go out there!

Avoid The Festive 15

Tips for staying on track during the holidays

Having the willpower to avoid the cookie aisle at the grocery store on a “normal” day is tough. Avoiding the aisle, end caps and special displays during the holiday season, well that requires super human strength.  If you’ve ever been tempted to skip a glass and drink straight from a bowl of eggnog at your company holiday party, fear not.  I have some suggestions you can follow to help avoid the dreaded Festive 15 lbs!

Eat Regularly – Every 3 hours

Eating every three hours keeps blood sugar balanced and keeps you satisfied so you don’t have cravings. I have found this to be one of the easiest ways to avoiding the sugar craving. Especially before hitting the grocery store! I promise, if you eat before grocery shopping or heading to the holiday party, you will have zero cravings and more willpower to stay away from the cookie isle or dessert trays. 

Don’t bring home party leftovers

There is no doubt some foods are better the next day, but that is not true for your waistline.  Party leftovers can do you in, so avoid the temptation and take a pass when the host offers you a to-go container.

Morning workout

Studies have shown that people who workout in the morning tend to move more throughout the day and were able to resist food temptations.  Even if you can’t workout in the morning make sure it’s on your calendar for later in the day. Plan ahead and don’t go off schedule just because it’s the holidays. If you stay on your routine you will be less tempted to veer off your meal plan. Stay on your schedule and empower yourself to succeed during the holidays without weight gain. 

Avoid the “I won’t eat until the party” strategy

If you’ve ever skipped breakfast and lunch, you know that by the time dinner rolls around, you're starving and you end up eating twice as much as you would—or should—if you ate throughout the day.  The same is true about skipping meals before a party.  If you want to avoid the Festive 15, aim for the lean protein, vegetables and non-processed carbs throughout the day. Set yourself up as a winner and during the holiday party, you won’t overeat and will choose healthy items because your blood sugar is balanced throughout the day. 

The 30-second rule

I’m not talking about the dropping-food-on-the-floor rule, I’m talking about the willpower 30-second rule.  If the holiday cookies in the break room are calling your name, wait 30 seconds.  Go back to your desk and check email or return a phone call.  Better yet, go for a short walk around the office.  Nine times out of 10, the cookie monster in your head will stop talking and you’ll have the willpower to leave the cookies alone.

Weigh in

If you want to make sure your not packing on extra pounds, don’t ignore the scale during the holidays.  This is just a tool for keeping you accountable, and it’s an easy way to make sure you’re staying on track and not going to need a diet-related New Year’s Resolution.

Buffet gauntlet

We’ve all done it. You pick up a plate at the start of a buffet and half way through the line, your plate is already full of things you’re not even sure you wanted to begin with.  Instead of filling up with a taste of everything, have a look at the entire buffet before you get in line and decide what’s really worth the splurge. For example, try sticking to lean proteins and veggies and give yourself one splurge in the dessert section. 

Don’t drink your calories

If you want to enjoy a glass of wine or holiday cocktail, keep it to a minimum and drink plenty of water.  Aside from having to suffer through a hangover the next morning, mixed drinks pack a calorie punch—stay away from juices and syrupy mixers.  Drinking alcohol also increases cravings, which means you’re more likely to eat more.

Holiday Activities instead of Holiday Dinners

I’m not trying to be the grinch when it comes to holiday parties, but there are tons of fun holiday activities you can do with family and friends that don’t include food as the centerpiece.  Here are a few ideas…take a yoga class, go for a snowshoe hike, build a snowman outside with the kids, apply for a permit and hike to cut down a Christmas tree. 

Don’t throw in the towel

If all else fails and you’re worried you have indulged a little too much, don’t give up and give in to the New Year’s Resolution.  Getting back on track the next day is as easy as kicking off your day with a good workout and a healthy breakfast.  Don’t throw in the towel and give in for the rest of the season.  Remember, the extra pounds do not go away as easy as the holiday decorations.

Need more help staying on track?  You can become a Fit & Ageless member for just $9.97 a month and get access to nutrition advice and a complete library of exercise videos.  Click here for more information.

BEGINNERS - FIRST STEPS TO EXERCISING

Getting fit! Becoming the best version of you! FINALLY having a booty! It all sounds awesome, but it can also all sound terribly intimidating. There are a lot of steps in the process of meeting your fitness goals; and it’s not just about getting to the goal. It’s about a total lifestyle overhaul. You’re not just committing to going to the gym three days a week. You’re making a promise to yourself to make healthy decisions everyday.

But accomplishing all of this can actually be a lot easier than it sounds… depending on how committed you are to making a genuine change in your life. So, if you’re committed, read on!

It’s understandable that everyone has to start somewhere so if you’re a total beginner here are a few tricks to make getting fit a little less scary and a little more fun:

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  • Accountability Buddy: You don’t have to go it alone. Grab your best friend, your sister, or a trainer to go through the journey with you, so you have a cheerleader when things get tough and to hold each other accountable. Having a plan is number one, therefore after every workout, as your stretching, strategize your next workout, when, where and what you will train. Having a trainer, on the other hand keeps you accountable, on your toes and encourages you to get that last rep in. Because they know you can do it, and will remind you that you know you can do it too. 

  • Don’t Go Cold Turkey: Let’s talk about food. If you’re a beginner, we’re talking SUPER beginner, the food might be your biggest hurdle. Start simple by cutting out processed foods, like frozen dinners and/or dinners from a box. In place of those things add in whole foods, such as lean meat like chicken or fish, fresh in season veggies, and healthy carbs such as brown rice or sweet potatoes. Do that for a week or two and then cut out something else, like pop. You can do this by cutting in half what you normally drink for 3-4 days and then cutting that in half, and so on. The good news is, you don’t have to give up french fries, ice cream, or your favorite guilty pleasure all together right away, but saving those things for a free meal on the weekend will help you reach your goal much quicker.

  • Be Gentle With Yourself: Goal setting is a big part of understanding your fitness journey. You can use your goals to track progress and set benchmarks. However, it’s important to set goals that are realistic. People are different genetically and their bodies will respond to fitness as such. In other words, if you’re of Scandinavian descent don’t make your goal booty that of a naturally curvy Latina. Some things just aren’t physically possible. So, by all means reach for the stars but don’t reach for something impossible that may only leave you disappointed and feeling needlessly discouraged. Setting weekly goals to get to the gym and start eating clean whole foods are more attainable, and will help you reach your long term goals. Do what is needed on a daily basis will take the overwhelm out of the whole process.

  • Tracking/Journaling: It’s important to know what you have done and where you are going. Don’t be blind in the process and progress. Have a tracking journal or phone app where you can write what exercises you have done, what weight and how many reps. That way when you go the gym next time you will know your weights and reps and therefore, push yourself, and also pat yourself on the back as your strength and weight increases. Just has important is journaling your mood, water, sleep, calories, weight or body fat. Keeping track of all these things is higher knowledge when you have hit a plateau and you need to changes things up.  

  • Make An Investment: Being healthy is an investment, in YOU! It’s a lifestyle investment. You are worth the investment so take the time needed to plan your meals, your workouts, stretching, etc. Love yourself enough to take the time to invest in your health so you don’t have to pay for it later in life. Meaning in medication, doctors, being sick, unable to play with grandchildren, and unable to be active with friends, etc.

These are some simple strategies to help get you started on your fitness journey. If you need more guidance and support you might consider signing up for the 12 week Fit & Ageless weight loss program. 

WHY EXERCISE RECOVERY DAYS ARE NECESSARY

If you’re a fitness addict or even just super motivated to create your dream body, it can be easy to over do it at the gym. Rest days are just as important as the days you train. Not giving your body planned recovery days could turn into fatigue, pain in your muscles and joints, headaches or insomnia, muscle injury, and much more. Overtraining actually works against you and might end up setting you back in the long run. We salute your dive and dedication but being dedicated to having a healthy body and achieving your fitness goals encompasses more than killing yourself at the gym. Recognize and respect the importance of rest + recovery.

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Next time you’re mapping out your fitness schedule by yourself or with a trainer make it a priority to schedule rest days as part of the plan. Still not sure? Here are a few reasons why recovery days are an essential part of your fitness journey:

  • Muscle Repair - While working out you’re essentially breaking down muscle tissue. After your workout, your body repairs and replaces damaged muscle fibers through a cellular process where it fuses muscle fibers together to form new muscle protein strands. Therefore, planning 1-2 days off a week will give your body the recovery it needs for repair. For instance, one way to do this is to break it up during the week by taking Wednesday’s and Sunday’s off. Some like to get their training completed during the week and then taking the weekend off to be with their families. Choose what is best for your lifestyle and schedule. Give your body and muscles a chance to recover and go through the healing process that builds new muscle fibers and ultimately sculpts the body you’re working toward.

  • Meal Prep Time - In today’s fast paced world it’s necessary to plan time to get everything done. Look at your days off as an opportunity to be productive on the food front. Food is just as important, if not more, as the time you put in at the gym, and making sure meals are on point is crucial. Schedule it on your calendar and use your days off to prep your meals in advance. Be prepared no matter what comes at you during the week, you can grab your tupperware and go. You can also use that extra day off to re-evaluate your meal plan all together. What’s working, what’s not? Looking at your nutrients and how your body is being impacted by them is a great way to put your rest day to work to meet your fitness goals.

  • Mental Check-In - Your mind set also plays a huge role in your results and overall experience as you journey your way to your fitness goals. Ever heard of coaches urging their players to “have their head in the game?” well, if you’re not mentally there it’s not going to yield the results you want. Take rest days as the opportunity to seriously check in with yourself spiritually, emotionally, and truthfully. Are you feeling overwhelmed? Do you need an accountability partner?

Figure out what you need to do for YOU so you can succeed and feel positive about yourself right now and tomorrow. A balanced schedule with days scheduled off will help you focus on the things that will keep you on track while on your training days.