Shari Duncan

Tag: Goal setting

Is Your Time in the Gym Time Well Spent?
Admin

by on Aug.10, 2013, under Fitness, Motivation, Natural Bodybuilding, Strength and Agility Training

How balanced is your training program?

Are you training chest and back as  frequently as legs?…  How much recovery time do you allow between workouts?…  Are your fitness goals written out and  are you progressing towards those goals?…  How do you know if you are getting in enough cardio hours… do you designate time each week for stretching, ab and core work?…
What about time management? Do you pace yourself,  and give enough time to recover in between sets, or perhaps spend too much time socializing with other gym goers?
This is why keeping a training journal can be most helpful.  Workout logs are beneficial for beginners as well as seasoned lifters.  I’d say they are essential if you are serious about achieving your fitness goals.

Why keep a journal?

  • Motivation. Looking back at where you come from is inspiring.
  • Awareness. You get an understanding of what works for you.

    Training logs provide accountability, progress, and motivation for your training sessions.

  • Experience. You learn from your errors: injuries, etc.
  • Confidence. You’ve got a plan when you go to the gym.

The process of writing down your loads, sets, reps, etc.  helps you to better remember the workout.  It’s nice to be able to flip back and see what weight you used and how many sets and reps you did.   The process of keeping a log enables seasoned lifters to critically analyze their programs and see if they’re truly delivering results.

Also, use your log to jot down important notes such as machine settings, how the set felt; (light, heavy), how you felt that day (energized, fatigued, hungry, sore).

Keeping a journal accelerates the learning process.

By writing down your workouts you are taking an additional few minutes to process what you have learned, repeat the concepts and terminology to yourself, and ingrain it into your brain.

If you are a beginner it is likely you will be able to beat previous efforst every week for several months. As you establish new routines, it is helpful to know what you did your previous workout and to have a specific goal for each training session. Logging workouts helps you remember the appropriate weights to use. Beginners struggle most with remembering not only which exercises to do, but in which order, how many sets, reps, etc.  because everything is new to them.  They’re not yet familiar with the names of exercises, the loads they used, etc. so training logs for beginners are essential.  I have been  journaling  for several years now and still write notes in the margins to remind me of proper set-up and/or form on certain exercises.

Tracking results and being able to check your progress lets you know if what you’re doing is or isn’t working.   If you make notes about your workout, you are also less likely to spend time chatting between sets or resting too long.   Seeing your gains on paper will reaffirm that you are progressing, and as a result motivation will likely increase or stay high.

The basic benefits of journaling

  • Faster learning
  • Remembering weights
  • Having information to analyze
  • Tracking progress
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Empower and Challenge yourself with Push-Ups!!
Shari

by on Mar.04, 2012, under Fitness, Natural Bodybuilding, Strength and Agility Training

Because sometimes the most basic exercises are the most effective.

Push-ups are among the all-time great total body workout exercises.  They incorporate the triceps, shoulders, chest, abdominals, back and core.  They can be made easier or harder. They build strength and stamina.  They force the heart to work harder and the blood to pump faster. This increases metabolism and helps you burn more calories.
And, they can be done anywhere, anytime, by anyone regardless of fitness level.

No space?…   No equipment?…   No time?…    No Problem.

NO  MORE EXCUSES!

If you cannot do one push-up today, begin with wall pushups or by standing about 2 feet away from your kitchen counter and pushing away for 3 sets of 15. Gradually work to

Decline Push-up on Stability Ball -For added core stabilization and tricep involvement.

something lower as your strength increases. Once you build up arm and core strength, “graduate” to the floor,  and begin by holding yourself up in a plank position with your chest off the ground.  Start on your knees, with hands wide. (Wider is easier).  Don’t worry if cannot go full range yet. .. In time you will.

Build Core Strength

In addition to building upper body strength and gaining more power in the arms, shoulders and hands, pushups done with the proper form will help build the core muscles in the middle of your body. To do pushups properly, your elbows must be fully extended at the start and end of a pushup, your toes should be on the floor and your legs, hips and back should be straight.

There are dozens of variations of push-ups out there.

Wrist-Friendly:

If you find that push-ups put strain on your wrists, try placing your hands on a set of dumbbells (or a push-up bar) to keep your wrists in a more neutral position.  According to Oxygen Magazine author Pam Mazzuca, performing pushups in this manner also increases core activation as well as engagement of the back, triceps and rear deltoids.

Angled, Medicine, Stability Ball, Bosu Pushups:

Push Up on Dumbbells to reduce strain on wrists.

By altering the angle that you perform push-ups, you also change the emphasis of the muscles worked. Doing pushups with your feet on an incline work the shoulder and upper chest muscles a little bit harder than a standard pushup does.    If you really want to challenge yourself, place your feet on a stability ball instead of a stationary object. This forces you to balance your body at the same time that you’re working your pushups, offering a tough variation.  Incorporating an unstable, movable surface such as a medicine ball uses more core strength, increases difficulty of the exercise and engages more core and triceps.

As you continue to progress try:  plyo, staggered, deficit, diamond, handstand pushups… just to name a few .

Walk-out pushups are one of many ways to incorporate pushups into your overall total body workout routine.  Check out this short DEMO:

Walk Out Push-up Demo

Start your own push-up challenge today and watch as you impress yourself as you gain not only strength but confidence!

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WANTED: Healthy Food Fast.
Shari

by on Jan.15, 2012, under General HEALTH, General Nutrition, Healthy Snacks, Weight Loss

Healthy eating doesn’t really take any more time than unhealthy eating; it just requires a little more foresight.

Everybody has a story about when or why they gained weight, or why they have no time to eat right. When you’re constantly on the go, it can be hard to find time to eat, let alone eat healthy. So you turn to quick-fix foods that are high in fat, sugar, sodium, or calories, and low in essential nutrients.  But eating is what gives us the energy to do everything on our to-do list.  And when we are busy and “forget” to eat, or hurriedly rush into the nearest convenience store or hit up a vending machine for chips and a coke, we are not fueling bodies.  So how do you find balance?

The solution isn’t to find more time, but to work with the schedule you do have. Instead of  waiting in the fast food drive in line,  use this time to visit the grocery store, and pick up prepared salads, sandwiches, and meats, pre-washed and cut fruits and vegetables, canned soups, low-calorie and low-fat frozen meals, yogurt, string cheese, and cereals.

To lose weight, and keep it off  you must eliminate foods that aren’t healthy and eat foods that are good for your body. There is a strong correlation between how and what we eat and being well.  People hold on to the illusion that there is no time to cook, no time to shop, and no healthy options for “fast food” meals.  But just because there is no time to always sit down and eat, does not mean you have to eat poorly. What it boils down to is being prepared and carrying healthy snacks with you.

Healthy Fast Food...or is it Healthy Food Fast?

Here are some healthy tips to try:

  • Cook a bigger batch of food on the weekends, and refrigerate or freeze for weekday lunches or dinners.
  • Set an alarm for mealtimes. Even if you’re buried in work, don’t skip meals; designate a time to eat.
  • Try not to do anything else while eating. Mindless consumption prevents the enjoyment of food. When that happens, people tend to eat more and eat unhealthy alternatives.
  • Put fresh or dried fruit where you can see it to remind yourself of your goal to eat healthy. Bananas, grapes, and apples make handy and nutritious snack items.
  • If at a restaurant, turn down the supersize option, and choose baked and broiled instead of fried.
  • Order the lunch portion at dinnertime, and hold off on fatty condiments.
  • Keep handy snacks around, such as fruits, dried fruits, nuts, seeds, trail mix, yogurt, cottage cheese, carrot or celery sticks, low sugar cereals,  and wraps

Eggs are by far the fastest cooking protein you can get. Scrambling 2-3 eggs takes about 2 minutes. Sauté some spinach with a little garlic, or add some diced ham and cheese, and you have a healthy homemade meal in less than 10 minutes. This works for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Hard boil eggs take about 10 minutes. Boil extra, peel and place in Ziplocs and carry

Protein Smoothies...Quick, Versatile and Portable Meal in a Minute

with you for a quick protein snack or for breakfast on the run the next day.

Fresh fruit protein smoothies are also quick, nutritious and satisfying. They are so versatile… almost anything goes. And they travel well. 1 scoop of  Whey adds approximately 25-30grms of muscle building protein for satiability.  I recommend buying one of the many personal blenders on the market like the Ninja or Magic Bullet.  Mix and go, in under 2 minutes.

Planning healthy meals and snacks ahead of time is especially crucial for people with junk food cravings.  If you must have junk food, give the healthier alternatives, such as baked chips, dried fruit, or sugar-free Popsicles a try. Look for low-calorie, low-sugar, and low-fat options.

In place of chips, try light popcorn, whole grain crackers, carrot sticks, red peppers, and rice cakes.

For the sweet tooth, sugar-free pudding, sugar-free Jell-O, fruit bars, baked apple, fresh fruits, and dried fruits are options.

If you put your mind to it, you can come up with your own ideas for eating well with little cooking. It’s just a matter of wanting to find solutions.

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Feed your Metabolism with Food.
Shari

by on Jan.01, 2012, under General Nutrition, Motivation, Weight Loss

All Calories are not created equal.

Contrary to what you may have been told, the body does not burn and store 500 calories of fruit and veggies the way it does 500 calories of refined, processed or fatty foods. Some foods take more work to eat–and therefore burn more calories while you’re digesting them.  Just the act of chewing foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean cuts of meat can increase your calorie burn by up to 30%! On the contrary, many other foods lack certain nutrients and minerals that have been proven to stimulate the metabolism.  The higher your metabolism level, the faster you will lose weight, provided you eat healthy food and pursue an active lifestyle.

Depriving your body of fuel is a surefire way to slow it down.

When you slash calories, the calories burned by eating are greatly diminished and so is your metabolic rate. Restricting calories also signals the body that there is no food available, so it tries to conserve stores of carbohydrate and fat by slowing down its metabolism. The best way to keep your metabolism revved is to eat regular meals with snacks when necessary to give your body a constant supply of healthy fuel.

Nutritional Superstars that Burn Calories

There are proven nutritional superstars that can fuel your metabolic fire and help you to burn more calories as you kick your diet into high gear. These foods/beverages act similar to the way a thermogenic or a cardio session in how they affect the body. They can ramp up your metabolism, and in essence, assist you in burning fat.   When you wake up in the morning it is especially important to “break the fast” (and a sleepy metabolism) by eating breakfast. When you eat breakfast you start burning calories earlier, thereby burning more total calories through the day. And keep your metabolism pumping all day long, by eating several small meals through the day.  You will tend to eat less at one sitting, which puts less burden on your digestive system and lets it work more efficiently.

So what are you waiting for?   Let’s get your metabolism moving!

Food does some amazing things for our bodies, including fight disease.  Try adding some of these metabolism friendly foods to your diet each day:

1. Oatmeal If you’re looking to jumpstart your metabolism, start your morning off with a bowl of oatmeal. This super food is rich in fat soluble fiber, which requires a lot of calories to break down. Eating oatmeal can also help decrease your cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease.

2. Grapefruit Studies indicate that eating grapefruit can reduce insulin levels. Lower insulin levels after meals can help your body process food more quickly and efficiently. This means that you burn more calories and store less fat.

3. Hot Peppers Adding some spice to your food can speed up your weight loss. Hot peppers, like jalapenos, contain a chemical called capsaicin, which gives these veggies their heat and causes a spike in your metabolism. This chemical also keeps the calorie burn going hours after you’ve finished your meal.

4. Lean Proteins The protein found in chicken, turkey and other lean meats takes a great deal of energy to break down. Therefore, your body burns a lot of calories during the digestive process. Protein is also an essential ingredient in building lean muscle mass, which burns more calories than fat.

5. Salmon and Tuna High levels of the hormone leptin have been linked to slower metabolisms and weight gain. A good way to lower leptin levels is to increase your intake of fish. The oil found in fish like salmon and tuna has been shown to cut leptin levels and help your body process foods more effectively.

Burn more calories with Green Tea

6. Low-fat Yogurt Low-fat yogurt is one of the best foods to eat if you’re trying to lose weight and boost your metabolism. Yogurt is full of calcium and protein. It gives you the energy your body needs to keep going all day and helps you build lean muscle mass. Yogurt can also help regulate your digestive tract.

7. Green Tea The caffeine found in green tea accelerates your heart rate and speeds up your metabolism. The tea also contains a chemical, known as EGCG, that stimulates the nervous system and helps you to burn calories at a faster rate.

8. Broccoli Broccoli is rich in both calcium and vitamin C. These two vitamins work together to help you burn calories faster and more effectively. Calcium activates your metabolism, while vitamin C helps you absorb more calcium.

9. Almonds Almonds may be high in calories, but they are also jam packed with essential fatty acids which are great metabolism boosters. And the healthy fat in almonds has been proven to help in lowering cholesterol.

10.  Apples,Pears, Berries:  These fruits are low calorie, high fiber, and rich in vitamins and antioxidants.  Your body must burn calories to break down. Since they help you stay full for longer, you‘ll eat less.  And they are naturally sweet!

Spices can fire up your metabolism too!

In addition to some of the suggestions listed, certain spices such as chiles, cinnamon, curry and ginger fire up your central nervous system and can boost your metabolism by as much as 12%.

Metabolism-Slowing Pitfalls

Just as there are natural ways to boost your metabolism, there are also natural ways you slow  your metabolism — Here are a few:

  • Skipping meals–always eat breakfast!
  • Sleeping less than 6 hours a night.
  • Eating empty calorie foods–exchange them for low carb, low-fat, high nutrition foods.
  • Choosing processed foods–exchange them for whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

And don’t overlook the power of water!

Researchers in Germany found that subjects increased their metabolic rates (the rate at which calories are burned) by up to 30 percent after drinking approximately 17 ounces of water. Water is also a natural appetite suppressant that banishes bloat as it flushes out sodium and toxins. Drinking enough water will also help keep you from mistaking thirst for hunger. It is necessary to drink water at frequent intervals, because it is water that helps in digestion of food. So drink up! Make sure that you are starting your day with a big big glass of water and drink all day long.  It’s hard to get too much water.

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Fresh Start Solutions: A Healthy New You for the New Year
Shari

by on Dec.26, 2011, under General HEALTH, General Nutrition, Motivation, Weight Loss

Quick fixes don’t exist for long-term health. Slow and steady wins this race.

We are creatures of habit. To make health-conscious changes, the changes have to fit in with our habits.

Have you ever changed, or tried to change, the way you eat? While you may want to change your diet, it can feel too hard and time-consuming. And when you are busy with work, family…life, there is just no time for added complication, right?  But, it’s the New Year and you are making a promise to start (and stay) on a strict diet to lose weight, but are you just setting yourself up for more frustration and failure…again?

Shifting to healthier eating habits can seem complex.   Nutritionists tell you, “Eat more vegetables; reduce your saturated fat; watch the sugar; buy organic; avoid trans fats; get enough calcium; eat low carb; high protein…”   On and on it goes.

Little wonder most people put off changing their diet…or opt for trendy rapid weight loss plans.

You already know that commitment is crucial for success; so you consider one of the popular commercial diet programs that promise quick and easy results. This craving for instant gratification is why people gravitate to fad diets. Unfortunately, (and statistically); these plans don’t let you MAINTAIN weight loss.  Once you “go off” the diet, and return to old ways, the bad habits return along with weight gain and associated health issues.

But no need to feel discouraged.  Small, incremental changes are the key to success. Health altering changes simply involve re-education to meal options that promote consistency while keeping your body filled with nutrition.    It is more a mind-shift and a behavior change, not a diet.  Learn to change the behavior you are used to and focus on building habits of living that improve your life.

Shift your attitude to viewing food as a fuel to sustain life and not something that controls your quality of life. We all have different body compositions, likes and dislikes, and finding success in making healthy lifestyle changes is a process that will take a little time and experimentation. Start with small steps and before you know it, the small changes add up to become part of a healthy new lifestyle.  For example, when you wake up tomorrow instead of skipping breakfast, eat a small meal consisting of healthy carbs, protein and a little fat. Do this for a week. Once this works for you with little effort, it will be time to make another small change.

Eat Real Food (and less of it)

No matter what diet you follow, make sure most of it comes from food without bar codes. Whole foods, with minimal processing and preservatives are best. Concentrate most of your shopping time around the perimeter of your grocery store.  Chances are the fresh produce, whole grain breads, meat and seafood departments, and dairy cases are around the perimeter of the store. Then dip into the isles for staples, like oatmeal and olive oil.  And you don’t need nearly as many calories as you think you do. Most women will lose weight (or maintain it) on 1,250-1,600 calories and most men between 1,500-2,000. Cutting calories by about one-third is also one of the best strategies for living longer.

Suggestions for the New Year / and a Healthier New You:

  • eat more fruit and vegetables
  • have a better awareness of your eating patterns and how to make your diet work for you
  • try some different foods and increase the variety in your diet
  • be on the way to controlling hunger and the portions you eat
  • work out some strategies for eating well when you’re busy

Follow these eight rules of eating, and you’ll more easily manage your weight and improve your nutrition From YOU: The Owners Manual by RealAge experts Micael F. Roizen, MD and Mehmet C. Oz, MD.

http://www.realage.com/food/8-ways-to-improve-nutrition

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Fitness Plateaus: How to get your body out of cruise control.
Shari

by on Nov.13, 2011, under Fitness, Motivation, Weight Loss

“… There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”  Bruce Lee

Workout plateaus are nothing new.  You are hitting the gym routinely. You feel more energetic and look better, but  suddenly now you‘re not feeling the burn anymore.  The scale stops moving and your body becomes immune to the stress of exercise.  You have hit the wall.  Fortunately, it usually only takes a few changes to overcome a workout plateau.

The key to overcoming plateaus is change.

Changing up just a few things can make a big difference.  Our bodies are highly adaptive and are constantly working to maintain homeostasis—so the workout that was so challenging and making you sweat and burn calories 6 weeks ago is no longer.   Changing your approach or routine will help you blast through frustrating plateaus. Remember the body acclimates to repeated challenges, making it necessary to make changes every four to six weeks.

A few suggestions from Web MD:

Pump it up. Instead of 40 minutes on the treadmill, pump up your metabolism with high-intensity intervals. Do four minutes of any cardiovascular exercise as hard as you can; then two minutes of strength-building exercises (using free weights or weight machines). Repeat this “harder/easier” cycle five times. (The magic cardio-to-weights ratio is 2-to-1.) Your

Change workout activities, intensity and break through plateaus.

post-exercise metabolic rate and fat loss will increase much more than if you exercised 40 minutes steadily at an average pace, and you’re also building lean muscle mass.

Shake it up. Walking doesn’t do much to help you lose weight, even though it’s good for your health. Instead, mix up your cardio intervals by throwing in new things every week: the elliptical machine, the recumbent bike, the rowing machine, the stair climber. Keep your body guessing.

Start it up. The one time when simple aerobic exercise can really boost your metabolism is in the morning. When you first wake up, your liver has burned through your carbohydrate stores, and light aerobic exercise can jump-start the fat-burning enzymes in your liver. So start your day with a brisk walk.

Count it up. You might think you’re not snacking between meals, but it’s easy to miss the bites of your kids’ leftovers you take here and there. For a few days, record everything you eat. Make sure the extra food you take in is accounted for — either by cutting out your dinner roll or by doing an extra high-intensity interval.

——

*Varying your activities or cross-training is important to avoid or break through plateaus.  But while changing up type of activity is important, it is also important to implement variations in intensity.

Specify different days of the week as low, moderate or high-intensity days.  Grab a new partner to work out with. Get out of the gym and move your workout outdoors.  The mix-up of activities will also keep your workouts enjoyable, thus helping with motivation as you break through the wall.

And if you’re not strength training, now is the time to start.  A pound of muscle burns more calories than a pound of fat.  And you want to replace fat with muscle to increase the amount of calories you burn a day.  If you are already lifting and have hit your plateau: You MUST step up the intensity of your strength training program. Bump up the frequency of your training from twice to three times a week. Increase the amount of weight you’re lifting to challenge your muscles even more or try a more challenging exercises.

But plateaus do not necessarily mean you need to work harder or spend more days at the gym. It may be time for an active rest.  Proper rest and recovery from working out is so important, it may just be the deciding force behind results and no results.  Consider taking a few days, to up to a week off from structured exercise, and instead take leisurely walks, play ball with the kids, or take a yoga class. Active rest rejuvenates the mind and the body and allows for overworked muscles to rest and rebuild. You will return to exercise stronger and ready for new challenges.

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Pool Running –Be kind to your joints AND burn more calories!
Shari

by on Jun.04, 2011, under Fitness, Strength and Agility Training

Get your feet wet and get in great shape.

It may look a little weird but pool running is one of the best cross training activities that’s not just for runners.  And it’s FUN!

Do you know someone who HATES to work out because they can’t stand to get sweaty and overheated?  Pool training might be the ticket that can whip them (and you) into shape!   Water resistance offers a no-impact, relaxing workout that still taxes the body, increases heart rate and results in an ideal cardiovascular exercise. Water running tests your endurance and fitness, increasing oxygen consumption and heart rate without putting weight and strain on your joints. We all know that running on pavement is a notoriously high impact activity. But water acts as a giant cushion for the body and is much kinder to joints and tendons than tarmac and other surfaces.  And the deeper you wade into a pool, the lighter your body becomes.
“The magic of the water,” says Jane Katz, Ph.D, a former Olympic swimmer, coach and author “extends the life of your

Burn calories and give your joints a break!

running by providing comfort, safety and a greater range of motion.”  Because the water pressure in a pool is significantly greater than air pressure, exercising in a pool provides two extremes at once–the resistance to stress the body and the liquid density to protect it.  So even when you travel, you can get a good workout from walking laps in waist –deep water in the hotel pool.

Added weight of ankle weights in a pool may be just what is needed to mix up your cardio routine and keep it challenging and interesting! The benefits of using ankle weights under water include enhanced resistance for not only your legs as you run or swim, but provide added resistance for your body in general.  Ankle weights tend to not cause joint damage or stress when used underwater.   If you are overcoming an injury, don’t stop working out… work out smarter!  Under water activities carry a lesser chance of joint strain and low impact and/or pool exercises can still give great results without compromising your routine or setting you back from your health goals.

Water Running:

As with any new workout program, start and progress gradually. Water running may not feel as grueling as running on pavement but it does require a good bit of energy. Studies by Dr Robert Wilder, a physiologist and the director of sports rehabilitation at the University of Virginia, have shown that the added resistance of water – it is 800 times denser than air and provides up to 12 times the resistance you get on land – means that you work harder and expend more energy pool-running than you do on land.   On average a person can burn 11.5 calories per minute running in water.  One study done at New York’s Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine found that walking at 3 miles per hour in mid-thigh water depth burned twice the calories of walking at the same speed on land

The exact number of calories burned are influenced by several different factors:

– your age

For buoyancy during deep water running/jogging

– weight
– fitness level
– water temperature
– range of motion used
– intensity
– time of day
– technique

At first you may find that you fatigue early and fail to sustain an entire workout. Give it time. In water, when you double your speed, your legs encounter a four-fold increase in resistance. While running, your body should be perpendicular to the pool. Your legs, however, should not flow as in typical running. To attain the greatest amount of resistance and smoothness, “sweep” your legs forward, from toes to hips, with minimal knee lift. This form, similar to the movement done on a cross-country ski machine, uses the entire leg to drive against the water.

Training Tips: Any type of training, from tempo runs to speed work, can be replicated in the water. For example, you can alternate faster leg action for 2 minutes with 2 minutes of easy striding (with high knees).  Or you can go hard

for 10 minutes, easy for 5, then repeat. Studies show you get virtually the same benefit as running “on-land” but with less wear-and-tear on the body.

If you engage in deep water running, you will need a special flotation belt known as an aqua jogger to keep you upright and afloat and enables you to run instead of merely treading water.  If you are running where your feet make contact with the pool floor, you should consider some aqua shoes (with rubberized soles) to protect the feet and prevent sliding.

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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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What comes first… Cardio or Weights? Prioritize YOUR workout.
Shari

by on Jun.25, 2010, under Fitness, Strength and Agility Training

You know you got to do it.  Love it, hate it, or just love to hate it; we all need to incorporate some type of cardio into our fitness routines.

It is an essential part of any training routine. The question that is  often asked  is whether it is better to do cardio BEFORE or AFTER weight training.  The answer lies partially on your specific goals and what you want to accomplish. Your current conditioning, stamina and mindset are also important considerations.

In general, any exercise performed when you have ample energy is performed with greater intensity and with more focus and efficiency. Exercises you perform once energy supplies

Cardio, BEFORE or AFTER?  The choice is Yours

Cardio, BEFORE or AFTER? The choice is Yours

are low (or depleted) are less effective and more likely to result in injury. So If you are a recreational athlete, you might consider doing cardio and strength training on separate days.  Or you might combine the two with intervals or circuit training, which both strength and endurance activities are applied to whole body or timed routines. Or you may just start with what motivates you that day.

However, if you are trying to achieve a specific goal, such as building muscle or improving sports specific skills, or if you have an extremely high level of fitness already, then order may play a role in your training regimen.

Cardio BEFORE Weight Training

Light cardio before training serves as great warm up that prepares the muscles for heavy lifting. The cardio can actually help to reduce the number of warm up sets necessary.

In order to build and maintain cardiovascular endurance,  perform endurance exercise first, If you are preparing for a hiking or biking event or training for a 10K or triathlon, then the focus, energy and efforts should be in the area that will assist you in improving/achieving optimal performance and results. Lifting prior to running is not recommended because you increase your risk of injury due to muscle fatigue.

Cardio AFTER Weight Training

Likewise, if the goal is to build muscle, it makes sense that your energy and efforts should be dedicated to weight training before cardio. Cardio burns fat and carbs depleting energystores necessary for strength training. So a hard cardio workout before training may not leave you enough fuel to challenge your muscles. If the body’s carbohydrate stores are depleted during intense cardio, there will not be enough critical fuel left to sustain a weight training session. Over time, this could actually lead to a decrease in strength.

Low intensity cardio activity after training also serves and is recommended as a cool down activity.

So if your goal is to improve your overall health and condition, the order really does not matter. Do what works for you.  If you prefer to get your cardio “out of the way”, then do it first. What matters is that you participate in activities that you enjoy and that combine both endurance and strength training!

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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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