Shari Duncan

General HEALTH

Me Exercise?…To be healthy, You got to GET UP and MOVE!
Shari

by on Dec.26, 2010, under Fitness, General HEALTH, Motivation, Weight Loss

The human body is not designed for inactivity.

You and I need to exercise to get healthy to maintain good health.  Period.

It is hard to admit that we are getting fat as a nation. While it may be hard to admit in words, it is not hard to see the evidence as we look around.  And it is no longer just one particular group that need to make lifestyle changes, it’s every where, every demographic…and every age group; even our children.

But, What many don’t realize is that even if you are not overweight, exercise has numerous benefits that are important for maintaining a healthy body and a healthy mind.

Besides a general increase in overall quality of life, here are 10 documented benefits of exercise.

  1. Lower mortality – a daily 2 mile walk can add years to a life over that of a sedentary person’s life.

    Grab a friend and get to it!

  2. Improves cardiovascular health – Heart becomes more efficient through exercise and heart rates decline (good cholesterol – LDL decreased).
  3. Has a positive effect on blood pressure and reduces blood pressure in people with hypertension (Bad cholesterol –HDL increased).
  4. Reduced risk of certain types of cancer; particularly colon.
  5. Lower risk of diabetes because regular exercise lowers blood glucose levels; which help to control blood sugar levels.
  6. Regular exercise helps in weight control as well as favorable effect on body fat distribution away from abdominal area and aides in bringing dangerous body fat levels down to a healthy range.
  7. Exercise (especially weight bearing) can contribute to optimal bone density and help protect against osteoporosis.
  8. Physical activity counters anxiety and depressionimproves mood and the ability to cope with stress. Exercise releases chemical substances called endorphins that work as an effective anxiety reliever.
  9. Moderate activity enhances immune system and aides in resistance to colds and infections.
  10. Exercise improves balance, strength and flexibility – all which canreduce risk of falling.

BOTTOM LINE: Get up and move. Leave all of the excuses.  A little exercise not only does your body and mind good…. It may just give back to you much more than you put into it.

In good health,

shari

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Strengthen your Immune System the Natural Way: With Food
Shari

by on Nov.21, 2010, under General HEALTH, General Nutrition, Weight Loss

The more informed you are about what breaks down the immune system and what keeps it strong, the easier it will be to stimulate and strengthen it.

Your whole body will love you for it.

The Immune System is a barrier, your defense mechanism against infection, viruses, fungi and bacteria and all other harmful organisms that can enter our body. The breakdown of the immune system begins when toxins from the foods we eat, the environment we live in, and a poor diet causes our systems to weaken and not function properly. When the immune system starts to weaken, our bodies are subject to fatigue and illness and it is very hard to ward off infections.

There are many ways to enhance immune system dysfunction.  It will probably not surprise you to learn that eating a well balanced diet tops the list to keeping the immune system functioning properly. Specifically, a diet high in fruits and vegetables has many of the phytonutrients critical to enhance immunity as well as many of the important vitamins and minerals.

Get some color on your plate!

Incorporate colorful foods to boost your Immunity

Incorporate colorful foods to boost your Immunity

Eat variety, and make sure when you are shopping, you get all kinds of fresh and exciting foods to cook with. A steady and balanced intake of essential vitamins and minerals helps to keep our immune systems working properly by providing us protection from infections and disease. Fish, poultry, lean meat, low-fat dairy products, cereals and legumes (peas, lentils, and beans) are all good sources of minerals. Foods such as cheese, eggs or liver, which supply vitamin A, and spinach, sweet potatoes or carrots, which are good sources of beta carotene, should also be eaten daily. Intact whole grains, not the flour products made from them are what really strengthen the digestive system. Fiber (as found in whole grains) helps cleanse the colon of toxins and helps prevent intestinal infections.

Additionally, generous amounts of high quality protein are important for maintaining rapid production of cells to support the immune system, preventing loss of lean muscle mass and boosting energy.

Water:

This is essential for regulating all of the body’s systems. It eases the job of the kidneys and liver to process and eliminate toxins from the blood. It helps keep mucous membranes moist enough to combat the viruses they encounter. And it is a little known tool for reducing sugar cravings. Try a big glass of water the next time you are craving sugar, then wait a few minutes and see if the need for the sugar is really still there.  Non-caffeinated hot teas with lemons (herbal, green, white, and ginger) are also great immune boosters that facilitate the reduction of inflammation and swelling within the body

The vitamins known as the antioxidants are C and E.  These particular vitamins stimulate immunity and protect the body against cancer by neutralizing the free radicals. It is no coincidence that just as the flu/cold season starts all the amazing citrus fruits come into season as they are packed with Vitamin C and will help keep your immune system in top shape.  Also Vitamin A strengthens the immune cells.  It plays an important role in supporting the cells of the skin, gastrointestinal tract and lungs – plus vitamin A promotes the formation of the protective mucous in your gastrointestinal tract.

Four Habits that weaken the immune system:

1)        Overdosing on sugar – There is strong evidence that sugar has a negative effect on the function of the immune system. Eating or drinking 100 grams (8 tbsp.) of sugar, the equivalent of one 12-ounce can of soda, can reduce the ability of white blood cells to kill germs by forty percent. The immune-suppressing effect of sugar starts less than thirty minutes after ingestion and may last for five hours. In contrast, the ingestion of complex carbohydrates, or starches, has no effect on the immune system

2)         Excessive Alcohol – Excessive alcohol intake can harm the body’s immune system in two ways. First, it produces an overall nutritional deficiency, depriving the body of

maintain a healthy weight for a healthy immune system

maintain a healthy weight for a healthy immune system

valuable immune- boosting nutrients. Second, alcohol, like sugar, consumed in excess can reduce the ability of white cells to kill germs.  One drink (the equivalent of 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1 ounces of hard liquor) does not appear to bother the immune system, but three or more drinks do.

3)        Food Allergens – Many people are sensitive to certain foods, which can result in symptoms including intestinal distress, fatigue, and even weight gain. Common foods that create such problems are dairy, eggs, gluten (the protein in wheat), soy, corn, and food additives.

4)        Too Much Fat –Obesity can lead to a depressed immune system. It affects the ability of white blood cells to multiply, produce antibodies and rush to the site of an infection. Consuming too much food at one setting also puts extra stress on the digestive system. Increased digestion takes a lot of the body’s metabolic energy, leaving very little energy for the immune system.

A healthy diet is the foundation of long term health maintenance and a strong immune system. An optimal diet will reduce the risk of disease and strengthen the body’s defenses and natural healing power. It will help you to reduce the other daily stresses to your system, and even positively affect your moods and sense of wellbeing.

When you begin to eliminate or reduce the most harmful foods, and at the same time, add more of the beneficial ones notice how this begins to affect your digestion, your energy level, even your moods. As you start to feel better, you will be more motivated to keep making changes. As you integrate more healthful foods into your diet, you will discover the natural tastes and sweetness in simple foods.

So, what will you try today?

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Considering Glutamine?…. It’s that Important !
Shari

by on Sep.22, 2010, under General HEALTH, General Nutrition, Supplementation

There are no side effects. No health risks. It doesn’t make you bigger or stronger or give you energy or burn fat, yet it could be one of the most useful supplements around.

What is Glutamine?

Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in our body – and highly concentrated in muscle cells. Glutamine has recently been re-classified as a conditionally essential amino acid. This means that while the body can make glutamine, there are times when the body’s need for glutamine is greater than its ability to produce glutamine.

Although the body produces glutamine, under times of stress, glutamine reserves are depleted and need to be replenished with supplementation.  Glutamine depletion caused by stress

Supplement with Glutamine if your body is under stress, which  includes stress from exercise.

Supplement with Glutamine if your body is under stress, which includes stress from exercise.

can be activated by something as minor as a common cold and the level of depletion increases with the severity of the disease. Patients undergoing surgery, burn victims, those suffering acute trauma, as well as HIV and cancer patients will all find their glutamine levels severely depleted by their condition.

Stress related glutamine depletion does not only occur with illness but also occurs due to stress caused by exercise. But the need for glutamine for many critical functions such as the immune system takes precedence over the building of muscles. Without any glutamine in the muscles we cannot build muscle mass and in fact the muscles can start to breakdown.  And the more stress the body is under, the more glutamine that is pulled away from the muscles.  And working out puts a lot of stress on the muscles.  If we supplement our body with glutamine we allow our body to keep a high supply of glutamine in the muscles and stop the muscle catabolism. This means the body can use the glutamine in the muscles to synthesize protein and build muscle mass. Because there is now enough glutamine for the whole body – the other critical functions such as the immune system have enough glutamine to perform their necessary functions as well.

Studies have shown that glutamine supplementation can do the following:

  • Increase Protein synthesis (which leads to increased muscle mass)
  • Increase nitrogen retention
  • Decrease muscle breakdown
  • Decrease recovery time needed after a workout
  • Enhance immune functions

How much glutamine is needed?

The typical American diet provides 3.5 to 7 grams of glutamine daily found in animal and plant proteins. Many people choose to supplement daily due to the long growing list of benefits.

Research shows levels of supplementation from 2 to 40 grams daily. Two to three grams has been found to help symptoms of queasiness.  This two to three gram dosage used post workout builds protein, repairs and builds muscle and can induce levels of growth hormone found in the body.

High levels of glutamine supplementation have been used in hospital settings with doses of 20 grams per day to treat colitis, Crohn’s disease and diarrhea. 40 grams per day of glutamine are used with HIV, cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and burn victims.

If you work out regularly or intensely,  or simply want to boost your immune system, you should consider supplementing with glutamine. In addition, if you are going through any type of stressful event or just trying to fight off the cold or flu – glutamine can be very beneficial.

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Shaking Things up with ViSalus.
Shari

by on Sep.04, 2010, under General HEALTH, General Nutrition, MISC., Recipes, Supplementation, Weight Loss, Whey Protein Recipes

“The Vi-Shape Shake is Fast Food made Healthy”.

It surprises people to find out that healthy protein shakes actually can taste great, fill you up, help you lose weight, maintain lean muscle, all while providing your body the nutrition it needs.

ViSalus products simply work! As a natural athlete, optimal nutrition is very important in my life.  With the Vi-shape mix and entire ViSalus product line, me & my clients are getting the proper fuel needed for our systems to heal itself and function at peak level.   The Bodybyvi challenge allows each person to decide for themselves what their personal health goal will be.  With so many meal replacement and supplement companies to choose from, I chose to promote ViSalus not only for their scientifically advanced nutrition but the companies genuine desire to help people change their lives.

ViSalus Health Sciences Vi-Shape mix offers the ultimate in flavor, fun and convenience when it comes to meal replacements. It also provides the nutrients that you just can’t get from your average diet alone.  The Vi-Shape Nutritional Shake includes a unique, concentrated and highly absorbable blend of proteins called Tri-sorb protein. What makes this blend special is it contains the highest quality whey available, (whey hydrosolate along with whey protein isolate) and non GMO soy with the isoflavones removed. The tri-sorb protein is the fastest absorbed and utilized form of protein available. It has been processed to remove fat, lactose, carbohydrates and isoflavones to provide the most pure concentrated protein.

In addition to the ultra-high-quality blend of protein, the shape mix formula includes fibersol, which helps to keep you feeling full without gas, pre-biotics, aminogen to help with nutrient absorption plus 23 vitamins and minerals along with other ingredients to help you burn fat.

Nutrition Information: (per 2 scoops of shape mix)

* Total Calories: 90                                                            

* Total Fat: 1 g
* Total Cholesterol: 15 mg
* Total Sodium: 75 mg
* Total Carbohydrates: 7g
* Total Dietary Fiber: 5 g
* Total Sugars: <1 g
* Total Protein: 12 g

The cost for a 30 serving supply is $49 month (less than $60 with tax/shipping). This equates to $2 per meal, a significant savings over what you are currently spending on a less nutritious meal right now. ViSalus has a referral program for customers as well.  AND, when you refer 3 customers to buy the Vi-shake mix, you get yours free the next month.
ViSalus Nutrition Shake mix is known for its superior nutrition profile but it is also the MOST customizable to your taste preferences. The base is a sweat cream flavor, (tastes like cake mix) which you can enjoy as is but you can easily change the flavor by adding fruits, juices, yogurt, cocoa, peanut butter, coffee….

Vi-Shakes... Easy to make meal in a minute.

Vi-Shakes... Easy to make meal in a minute.

With that said, here are just a few mix-in ideas.  Please feel free to share your recipes and ideas too.

To two scoops of the ViSalus Shape mix add one or any combination of the following:  Feel free to be creative and experiment with flavor combinations!!

Milk, Soy, Almond,  or low fat chocolate.

Coffee, iced

Fruit Juices (orange, pineapple, cranberry) – * use lower sugar versions

Fresh or frozen fruits or applesauce.  (Peaches, berries, Mangos, Bananas)

Yogurt.  (Again,use no sugar added or lower sugar versions)  These come in a multitude of flavors.  1/2 container to one shake adds just the right consistency and flavor.

Peanut or Almond Butter (1 heaping Tablespoon)

Cocoa – Hershey’s baking cocoa or sugarfree syrup works and tastes YUMMY!

A couple of personal favorite’s of our are:   Chocolate & Peanut butter,  Banana & Peanut Butter,  Strawberries & Bananas, Key lime yogurt, fresh lime and almond milk, Orange Juice, Mango and peach,  Orange juice and almond milk (Dreamsicle), iced coffee, almond milk and creamer (latte)…. etc. etc…

What are your favorites?

For more information about ViSalus or the bodybyvi challenge, or to place an order please message me or visit the link provided:

#mce_temp_url#

http://sharipronatural.bodybyvi.com

Take the challenge…. and experience the profound benefits wellness and healhy living can bring to you.

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Bands, Balls, Bells….. No Gym Required
Shari

by on Aug.04, 2010, under Fitness, General HEALTH, Motivation, Strength and Agility Training

Get fit. Lose the excuses…and those membership dues.


No money.  No time. No babysitter. Too busy. Too self conscious. These are the reasons given for NOT joining a gym.  But we all WANT to be fit and healthy. Guess what?  You don’t need a gym to get an amazing workout. And you don’t need to fight crowds to wait for fancy, expensive equipment.  You can get fit and healthy….at home!

Exercise should be made convenient and not made to rule your life… With a few simple, inexpensive aides, you will be on your way to a better you.  These aides will add versatility to your at home training sessions. Adding variety to your workouts will keep you engaged and interested, and keeps your muscles guessing and challenged so that you will make progress.

So swing by your local Wal-mart or Target and pick up one or all of the following:

Get back to basics with the 3 B’s…..

Resistance Bands:

Bands offer constant tension on the muscle, both in the positive and the negative part of the movement. Bands incorporate more stabilizer muscles to keep the band in alignmentthroughout each exercise, adding a different dynamic to the same old moves. This helps with coordination and balance as you engage more muscle groups. They also offer more variety than cables for example because you can create resistance from all directions – overhead, below, sideways, etc.

  • You can perform the same exercises as you do with free weights–the difference lies in positioning the band. For example, stand on the band and grip the handles for bicep curls or overhead presses. Or attach it to a door and do lat pulldowns or tricep pushdowns. The possibilities are endless and you’ll find there are a multitude of exercises available to you.
  • Bands range from $6 – $20, depending on how many you buy. Most bands are color coded, according to tension level. (It’s best to get at least 3, as different muscle groups require different levels of resistance).
  • And, they are easily packed away in a suitcase so that you can get your workout in even when traveling.
  • http://exercise.about.com/cs/exerciseworkouts/l/blbandworkout.htm

Stability Balls:

Exercise balls challenge you by placing your body in an unstable environment.  They are among the most versatile (and my favorite) exercise aides in that they help to improve core strength as well as strengthen abs and back.  When you lie or sit on the ball, your legs and abs immediately contract to keep you from falling off. Add an exercise to that (like a cheststability exercise ball or shoulder press or crunch), and you’ve just increased the intensity of the movement.

Use the stability ball as your “weight bench”.  This adds difficulty to the movement as well as engages the legs, butt and abs.

Before you buy a ball, make sure it’s the right size for your height. To test it, sit on the ball and make sure your hips are level or just slightly higher than the knees.  Again, you can find a stability ball for under $20.

http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/workout/gear/equipment/best-stability-ball-exercises/?page=1

**When shopping for fitness balls, you may also consider purchasing a medicine ball.  A medicine ball is a weighted, hollow ball that varies in size from the size of a volley ball (lighter) to a basketball (heavier).

Dumbells:

You don’t need a whole rack of weights to supplement your home workouts. 2 -3 sets of dumbbells will enable you to get in a full body workout; especially if used in conjunction with a stability ball and/or bands.   For every exercise you can do with a traditional barbell, you can do a similar exercise (and more) with a  set of dumbbells. Use the heavier set for exercises in which you can manage more weight — squats and lunges for example; and lighter weight for exercises that work best with comparatively lighter weights — raises, rows, curls, etc.

For the exercise suggestions that follow, remember that many times the stability ball can replace a weight bench.

http://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com/dumbbellexercises.html

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Promote Good Health; Prevent Disease with Multivitamins
Shari

by on Jul.10, 2010, under General HEALTH, General Nutrition, Supplementation

Whether you’re healthy or sick, chances are you can benefit from a daily multivitamin.

Do you want to feel better, have more energy while at the same time taking measures to prevent or delay future health problems?

A good daily multivitamin/mineral supplement improves your overall bodily functioning and boosts both your physical and mental health and well-being. Surprising to me how few people I’ve asked take vitamins daily.

Consider these nutritional questions.

  1. Are you a teenager, pregnant, breastfeeding or elderly?
  2. Are you a picky eater that avoids certain foods or food groups on a regular basis?
  3. Do you skip one meal or more on a daily basis (coffee for breakfast doesn’t equal a meal!)?
  4. Do you generally eat the same foods most days?
  5. Do you have food allergies or intolerances that prevent you from eating certain foods (e.g.  lactose intolerance)?
  6. Do you eat fish, including oily fish less than twice a week?
  7. Do you get less than15 minutes of sun exposure daily?
  8. Are you a vegetarian or vegan?
  9. Are you dieting or following a low calorie/low carbohydrate diet?
  10. Are you inconsistent with your exercise program or don’t exercise at all?
  11. Are you under a lot of stress at home or at work on a regular basis?

If you answered yes to more than 2 of the above questions; you need to take vitamins, EVERYDAY.

The United States Department of Agriculture recommends that most adults aim to consume 6-11 servings of grains (mostly  whole grain), 2 or more servings of fruits, 3 or more servings or vegetables, 2 or more servings of low fat dairy, and 2-3 servings of protein (meats, poultry, fish, legumes, nuts):    THIS IS DAILY.!!

No matter how health conscious we strive to be; it is quite difficult, even for the most disciplined dieter to consistently get all nutrients from all sources.  There are 24 essential vitamins and minerals we should be getting every day. When we don’t get these key nutrients on a daily basis, we will not feel or perform as well as we would if these nutrients were consumed daily. This is where a good multi-vitamin/mineral fills the dietary void. Those who take daily multivitamins report a feeling of general well being. The individual vitamins and nutrients in a quality daily multivitamin dose delivers not just the specific benefits of each individual vitamin, but also the combined (synergistic) benefits of all of the ingredients working together.

So investing in proactive wellness by supplementing with a multivitamin (preferably with minerals) makes good sense. It is a sound investment in your health and wellbeing.  A GOOD multivitamin is at the foundation of overall balanced nutrition. But with so many out there; be careful when selecting your supplement as quality is essential. Dissolvability has been a problem for some multivitamins.  If a vitamin doesn’t dissolve properly, its nutrients won’t be absorbed by the body.

Shop around and read labels.  Store brands are often cheapest but frequently in this case you get what you pay for.  Many of the cheap forms of minerals in generic brands (zinc oxideand magnesium oxide) are often not absorbed by the body.   Remember, if your body can’t absorb the nutrient, it is useless.

Look for vitamins that are free of yeast, sugars, preservatives, wheat products, artificial coloring and flavors.

ARE YOU READY TO FEEL THE WAY YOUR BODY WAS MEANT TO FEEL? …….   Please follow the link to discover what I have discovered

http://www.sharipronatural.myvi.net/

Again, a quality vitamin does not replace a healthy and balanced diet; it merely supplements it.

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Vibram FiveFingers – Discover the Alternative.
Shari

by on Jun.13, 2010, under Fitness, General HEALTH, Natural Bodybuilding, Strength and Agility Training

It has 5 fingers.  It may just be the perfect workout glove; for your feet.

So many of us struggle with posture, balance and proper body mechanics not just in everyday activities but also when we train.  Although we work hard to maintain correct form and execution, it becomes challenging if alignment is off center. Risk of injury increases and strength, speed and agility may suffer.  Many of the exercises we perform in and out of the gym rely on flexible yet stable support from our feet and legs. Most traditional athletic shoes unfortunately, do not provide a sense of control. Of course, traditional footwear is necessary for

In (and out) of the gym: Increase Balance, Improve Posture while strengthening muscles in feet and lower legs.

In (and out) of the gym: Increase Balance, Improve Posture while strengthening muscles in feet and lower legs.

protection, safety and security but experts believe these same shoes that we wear day in and out also serve as a “cast” for the foot. And over time, they in fact weaken our foot and leg muscles, leaving them underdeveloped and more prone to injury.   It is important that the foot be stimulated and exercised in its natural state as often as possible.

So in my personal quest to improve my own center and develop a stronger base, I have discovered the Vibram Five Finger Shoes.  These funny looking shoes have been around for a couple of years. I was actually introduced to them over a year ago by a fellow bodybuilding friend and immediately dismissed them as ridiculous. Said to him, “no way would I ever”!  But as I looked into ways to improve my situation, the more these “five finger shoes” began to make sense.  They are unlike any other conventional footwear in that their design mirrors flex points and silhouettes the foot to propel the body forward and promote a more natural gait.

Here’s what the official website has to say about 5 finger footwear for use during fitness training:

FiveFingers footwear not only provides a sure-footed grip to enhance torque during power moves, it’s untrathin sole enhances feedback and lowers your center of gravity to improve balance and agility. FiveFingers will allow your foot to move naturally, flexing easily with every move you make. Its five individual toe slots lets your toes to separate gently, allowing you to use them as your natural stabilizers and providing unrivaled balance and increased muscle stimulation to your feet, ankles, and lower legs.

6 Key Reasons to Wear or Train in Vibram FiveFingers:

1. Strengthens Muscles in the Feet and Lower Legs – wearing FiveFingers will stimulate and strengthen muscles in the feet and lower legs, improving general foot health and reducing the risk of injury.

2. Improves Range of Motion in Ankles, Feet and Toes – no longer ‘cast’ in a shoe, the foot and toes move more naturally.

3. Stimulates Neural Function Important to Balance and Agility –when wearing Vibram FiveFingers, thousands of neurological receptors in the feet send valuable information

My new shoes... Black, of course

My new shoes... Black, of course

to the brain, improving balance and agility.

4. Improves Proprioception and Body Awareness – those same neurological receptors heighten body awareness, sending messages about body mechanics, form, and movement.

5. Eliminates Heel Lift to Align the Spine and Improve Posture –By lowering the heel, our bodyweight becomes evenly distributed across the footbed, promoting proper posture and spine alignment.

6. Allows the Foot and Body to Move Naturally, Which Just FEELS GOOD.

http://www.vibramfivefingers.com/indexNA.cfm

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Commit to be Fit. Why Motivation isn’t Enough
Shari

by on Jun.06, 2010, under Fitness, General HEALTH, Motivation

Sure you’re motivated, but are you committed… I mean really committed to making the changes in yourself that you want?

The reality is that we are well intentioned. We don’t want to be overweight, deconditioned, or lethargic all the time.  Who among us doesn’t wish for optimum health and energy?

So motivation gets us started.  It comes from a source outside of us. It drives us to establish goals when we are contemplating changing a behavior…like weight loss, increased activity, or a healthier, leaner body.  But being motivated is a fleeting feeling. Motivation waxes and wanes.  It’s easy to skip a workout, go home and raid the fridge and overindulge on pizza or ice cream after a hard, stressful day of work.   It is easy to come up with reasons (excuses) to deviate from the goal.

Seeing it through:

" I may not be there yet, but I'm closer than I was yesterday. "

This is where commitment enters.  Commitment is an action. It comes from a source inside of us. The commitment to accomplishing the goal is the key to success.  So no matter what, we hit the gym and opt for the grilled chicken on whole wheat tortilla instead of the ice cream with fudge sauce.  That is commitment.

Those who are successful in reaching goals make a commitment to giving their best at all times. They strive to capitalize on strengths and work on improving weaknesses. They overcome obstacles and view them as challenges instead of making excuses. On days when motivation lacks, they push harder.  They dig deep going to a place where they can visualize their goal…. And they keep going. Not always an easy task.

If you want to be committed to your own personal health, fitness or life goal… you must take the words “should” and “maybe” out of your vocabulary.   Replace them with “I will” and “I can”.  Act with certainty and confidence.   Don’t allow outside influences, situations and circumstances to get in the way. Because the reality is, these interruptions and distractions happen every single day to every one of us to potentially throw us off course.  This type of self discipline is not easy.  There are many powerful forces that will distract you from your goal.  Be courageous and face the difficulties.  As you accumulate small victories, your self confidence will grow. Just set out to do your very best every day.

“Commitment is what
Transforms the promise into reality.
It is the words that speak
Boldly of your intentions.
And the actions which speak
Louder than the words.
It is making the time
When there is none.
Coming through time
After time after time,
Year after year after year.
Commitment is the stuff
Character is made of;
The power to change
The face of things.
It is the daily triumph
Of integrity over skepticism”

Most things worth accomplishing aren’t easy. So set the bar… set it high and go for it. After all, if it were easy, everyone would do it.

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Fly Like Superman… and Strengthen a Weakened Low Back
Shari

by on Jun.05, 2010, under Fitness, Stretching / Flexibility

One of the best back exercises to strengthen low back muscles is the Superman.

Whether you suffer from chronic low back pain or want to strengthen a weakened low back, the “superman” pose is an exercise that should be included in your workout.  Although, it primarily focuses on the low back, the movement will also help in developing a strong core and glutes. This pose can be part of your warm-up, integrated into your core/back workout

Keeping arms outstretched and feet flex, aim to hold the pose for as long as possible.

Keeping arms outstretched and feet flex, aim to hold the pose for as long as possible.

routine, or included as part of your stretch at the end of your training session.

To perform the Superman, lay on your stomach on an exercise mat. Place arms overhead, fully extended. Keeping your head in a neutral position, flex your feet. (Toes toward shins – Don’t point them)  This foot position keeps the focus on the glutes and lower back and not the hamstrings.  Simultaneously, raise your arms, legs and chest holding the contraction for 2 seconds. Lower and repeat 10-15 times. Complete 3 -4 sets.

Your goal should be to work up to holding the “flying” position as long as possible.

ALTERNATE SUPERMAN VARIATION:

If you find it difficult to perform the movement as described above, try the crisscross variation. In the same start position, first raise just the right arm and left leg, again holding the contraction for at least 2 seconds.  Repeat with left arm / right leg –  again aiming for 10-15 repetitions on each side.

As you gain strength, increase the length of time you hold the position and the number of repetitions. As your conditioning improves, you should also find that you will be able to rise higher and most importantly your low back pain level will decrease.Alternate Superman

The Straight Superman is another variation where you extend your arms straight down along your side. Slowly raise your legs and trunk as far as you can, making a “Bow” with your body. Try to hold this pose for a 10 count.  Slowly release and repeat for desired number of repetitions.

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Prebiotics and Probiotics : How Important are they to your Health?
Shari

by on May.30, 2010, under General HEALTH, General Nutrition, Supplementation

Though not the same, prebiotics and probiotics complement one another and work together to improve overall health and wellness.

Improve your digestive health by ensuring a healthy colon.  Two buzz words in regards to digestive health are Prebiotics and Probiotics.  Prebiotics and Probiotics are bacteria that reside in your intestinal tract.  Both are essential to a healthy immune system and an important factor to overall good health.

What are Probiotics?

Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria and other microbial organisms that naturally live in the digestive tract. Your body is home to trillions of these “friendly” beneficial microorganisms. Natural probiotic foods and quality probiotics supplements contain millions of good friendly bacteria that help make you healthier.

The “good” bacteria in your intestines manage 4 main jobs for you:

YOGURT: An excellent Probiotic food source

YOGURT: An excellent Probiotic food source

  • They help to digest your food,
  • Fight off disease-causing bacteria,
  • Make nutrients available for you to use,
  • And keep bowels moving at the perfect pace

These “friendly” bacteria contribute to better digestion and help protect you from “unfriendly” harmful bacteria that cause illness.

Many factors can disrupt your body’s natural probiotic balance, including:

  • Taking antibiotics,
  • A diet of processed, low fiber foods. Not getting enough fiber.
  • Ingesting environmental toxins,
  • Stress
  • And eating a diet high in refined bad carbohydrates.

When lifestyle or dietary factors reduce the beneficial bacteria in your body, harmful bacteria and yeast can flourish, greatly increasing the risk of diarrhea, vaginal yeast infections and many other health problems.

Some good food sources of probiotics are yogurt, cottage cheese,fermented vegetables (like sauerkraut, pickles,), sourdough bread and miso.

What are Prebiotics?

Prebiotics are indigestible carbohydrates available in thousands of different plant foods. Prebiotics do not get metabolized in the stomach or absorbed in the GI tract. Most importantly, prebiotics encourage the growth and increased activity of “good” bacteria within the intestines; thus, enhancing the effects of probiotics. Prebiotics nourish and strengthen probiotics. They should be consumed prior to or with probiotics.

The two most common prebiotics are fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) and inulin. The richest food source is bananas. Other prebiotic sources are:

Bananas & other fruits, veggies and garlic. All great Prebiotic food sources

Bananas & other fruits, veggies and garlic. All great Prebiotic food sources

  • Fruit
  • Garlic,
  • Barley,
  • Artichokes,
  • Soybeans,
  • Wheat and Sprouted Wheat
  • Onions and leeks.
  • Asparagus

Eating a combination of prebiotic and probiotic foods is important to keep beneficial bacteria thriving. When you eat prebiotic foods, you nourish the good bacteria in your body. By eating probiotic foods, you replace friendly bacteria that have been lost.

Here are a few of ideas to incorporate both prebiotics and probiotics into your diet:

  1. Add banana or berries (prebiotics) to unsweetened yogurt or kefir (probiotics) for breakfast or as a snack.
  2. Add prebiotic vegetables such as spinach and tomatoes to your salads. Make a yogurt based dressing to include those probiotics too.
  3. Feed the good bacteria in your gut by eating more asparagus or spinach. Sautée with garlic for a double dose of prebiotics

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