All Entries For excuse busters
How do you fit in the ideal amounts of cardio, strength training, stretching, balance exercises, and core training—without living in the gym?
Well, you could do multiple workouts a day: Cardio in the morning, Pilates at night. Strength training the next day and a yoga workout before bed. Or you could do one really long workout per day, such as 30 minutes on the elliptical followed by 30 minutes of full-body weight training (stretching each time, of course). While both of these options will work, they also take a whole lot of time. And when "lack of time" is number one on the list of excuses people cite for not exercising, I'll give you one guess how far longer and more frequent workouts will get you.
How about we all start working out smarter instead of harder? When you combine the right elements of cardio, strength-training and flexibility into a single workout, you're in and out of the gym in half the time—and still getting the results you crave. Read More ›
Editor's note: This is part 1 of a four-part series. Come back each Monday in January for a new dose of motivation from Jerome, who reclaimed his life and lost 100 pounds using SparkPeople!
According to various dictionaries, the word asleep has several definitions:
Adverb: 1. into a dormant or inactive state. 2. Into the state of death.
Adjective: 1. Sleeping 2. Numb and lastly dead.
There are many people who are completely asleep when it comes to living.
I am not talking about physically lying in bed, eyes closed all day. I am speaking to all those folks who are crazy busy all day. Busy with distractions that disconnect them from memorable conversations, meaningful activities, and mindful eating. Folks who are so busy making it through each day that each week blurs into the next. Don’t get me wrong. We all have crazy weeks. A million things to get done. It is when these day and weeks stretch into months and even years, that we begin to sleep through life. Denial sets in, and we no longer even realize we have stopped living. Denial is an ugly word that means refusing to recognize, acknowledge or believe.
I hear from many members of SparkPeople who joined to help not only themselves but their loved ones as well. Many I hear from are wives who are trying to help their husbands. Some are mothers trying to help their sons, others are siblings trying to help a brother. Read More ›
There is something about routine--it helps us get through life with all its twist and turns and ups and down. It's what we know. It's comforting. It's what takes the thinking process out of the equation.
But when does a routine become a rut? You know that place where you find yourself stuck in place feeling as though you are just spinning your wheels. Not moving forward, not moving backward.
I recently read an article about change and transformation and the measures to take in order to keep us moving in the direction to complete our metamorphosis. Just like the larva cannot turn into a beautiful butterfly without going through countless changes, same is true for us. We have to keep changing in order to grow-- in order to transform ourselves into the person we are meant to be.
If we elect not to change, over time we may find ourselves stuck in a rut, the place where we lose our passion, enthusiasm and zest for life. When we find the struggle of our situation easier to deal with than trying to make the changes. While changes can lead to anxiety and uncertainty, not taking the leap can keep us stuck. I know the daunting task that it takes to lose a lot of weight, while getting fit and healthy, BUT TRUST ME when I say the rewards for doing so can be so GREAT--we just have to have the courage to get out of our rut and our comfort zone. Read More ›
Every Thursday, I wake up earlier than normal to go for a run before I go to the office. This coming Thursday happens to be Thanksgiving, a jam-packed day in which I'll be cooking for more than a dozen people. Although it's Thanksgiving, it's still just Thursday to me. That means I'll be up early and out the door running while most people are still sleeping.
Since cooking for others and having company over can be stressful—and time consuming—sticking to my workout plan helps me stay sane, but it also helps me stay on track.
So what I'm wondering is: Will you be joining me Thursday morning for a workout, too? Read More ›
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”~Lao Tzu
A few weeks ago a colleague sent me a link to an article from the Times NewsFeed regarding Canadian Jean Béliveau's 11-year walking journey and the lessons he learned along the way. She asked if I would be willing to blog about it. After reading the article I sat on it trying to find a common thread as to how I could relate this man's journey with the journey so many of us have taken.
When Jean Béliveau begin his journey 11 years ago he had no idea how long it would take to get to his goal. He started out running, but soon resorted to walking. He struggled with many obstacles, such as falling ill in Algeria to being mobbed in South Africa. And while he did consider giving up on his journey, his girlfriend encouraged him to continue on, which he did.
After 11 long years what started out as a journey to achieve a goal to walk around the world, he learned much more than he ever could have imagined when we took his first step. He came back with a "wealth of knowledge and understanding." While most of us will never embark on a journey of this magnitude, I think we can find a commonality between his journey and that of our own.
"Obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it."~Michael Jordan
That commonality is that our life is a journey. We all have expectations and when our expectations fall short, it seems so much easier to give up than to push ahead. We plan, we take the steps to move us closer to our goals and for some reason, when we are confronted with an obstacle, this is what can cause many of us to turn away from our goals. After all life is so much easier when everything goes as planned. But it is truly the obstacles and how we overcome them that allow us to embrace the knowledge and wealth of living. Read More ›
I am not a morning person, but a few times a week, I make myself a morning exerciser. It's the only way I'm guaranteed to fit in my runs. A couple weeks ago, I was too darn tired to wake up early to run, so I decided I'd do it during the workday instead. I packed up my gym bag with my running clothes, then scrambled around the hall closet looking for travel size toiletries and a towel; packed a change of clothes (going over my mental checklist of underwear, socks, deodorant, oh yeah and a hairbrush), and headed to the office with a mental plan to run and shower during lunchtime.
I realized that by the time I packed up all my stuff, I could have been well into my run—or even finished a short workout (since 10 or 15 minutes of exercise is always better than none). And even with the best intentions—and a supportive work environment that encourages exercise—I never found the time to sneak away to run (let alone shower afterward). Before I knew it, my day was over, and my plans to exercise were foiled.
I enjoy exercising and make it part of my daily life—yet even I have trouble getting to it all the time. So I can only imagine how much harder it is for someone who doesn't like it and isn't quite in the habit. The whole scenario got me thinking about all the little things I do that have a big impact on my ability to stick with my exercise plans. Read More ›
Many of you have been trying to make exercise a habit. Some of you may have already succeeded in that goal. Either way, I'm proud of you for making fitness a part of your life—even if you're not always perfect at it. A consistent exercise routine offers so many benefits to your mind and your body, many of which you are probably already beginning to experience.
Now it's time for some tough love.
We all have our own ideas about exercise: what "counts" as a workout, how much we need to do, and how it benefits us. But some of those ideas are flat our wrong (or simply misguided). If you're exercising and not seeing the results you had hoped for, it could be that you're missing out on these eight truths about exercise. Now they may be hard to hear, but trust that I'm sharing them with you for good reasons. Understanding these realities will only make the habit of exercise easier for you—and help you get even better results from your efforts. Read More ›
How do other people stay motivated?
I'm not motivated to work out. Help!
Where did my motivation go?
Motivation. We all want it, especially when it comes to eating healthy and exercising. So why are we always at a loss—looking for it, losing it, feeling helpless without it?
Knowing what to do is one thing, but staying motivated to do it long enough is another.
I recently came across an article that put an interesting spin on exercise motivation—one that was very reminiscent of my psychology classes in college. So what can the world of psychology tell us about exercise adherence, or, our chances of "sticking with" an exercise plan? Plenty. Read More ›
Spring is here! These sunnier days and warmer temperatures are lifting my spirits and making my runs so much more enjoyable. But the thing that I get most excited about this time of year is my fruit and vegetable garden!
I started gardening for several reasons: to save money, to eat as locally as possible (it doesn't get more local than your own backyard), to have more control over how my food was raised, since I'm a big believer in chemical-free farming. But when I first started out, I was overwhelmed. I didn't know what I was doing. I didn't have a lot of space. I was already busy and thought I didn't have the time to learn or maintain it all.
Despite my fears, this will be my fourth year growing fruits and vegetables in my little yard. While I'm no gardening expert, I have learned a few things. When I talk to others about growing my own food, many say that they wish they could do it, too, BUT [insert excuse here]. If that sounds like you, I'm about to bust the top 5 excuses to not start a garden. Read More ›
"If a man really wants something he will find a way, if he doesn't he will find an excuse." Stephen Dolley, Jr.
The above quote was one of the first inspirational quotes I read when I joined SparkPeople over five years ago. It made such an impact on my life that I began to look at quotes or mantras, as some people like to call them, as a blueprint for changing my life.
For me, excuses allowed me not to have to take responsibility for the events in my life, whether that was eating well, making time for exercise or even organizing my home. After all I had so many more important things to take care, therefore excuses became my way of coping--in other words, it wasn't my fault. How could I exercise when I had work or family obligations to take care? How could I eat healthy when I didn't have time to plan and shop? How could I possibly get my finances under control when I just didn't have the time? And the list could go on and on.
When I read the quote from Stephen Dolley, Jr. it was an AHA moment for me. It made me realize that I alone was responsible for everything that happened in my life. I could no longer blame bad genetics for my high blood pressure or a 6th grade P.E. teacher who told me I would never be a runner. It was time for me to grow up and face the music as they say. It was time for me to take responsibility and quit blaming fast food restaurants for the bad choices I was making. No one made me drive to Mickey D's to pick up a serving of extra large fries and a Diet Coke except me.
Read More ›
A few years ago, Boston Sports Clubs conducted a study to find out how exercise duration affected one’s adherence to a workout program. They found that participants who exercised for 20 to 30 minutes actually exercised more consistently than people who worked out for 45 to 60 minutes at a time. The results are clear: You may be more likely to stick with shorter workouts than longer ones.
These findings didn’t surprise anyone at SparkPeople, since we’ve found that short workouts provide a great foundation to build lasting lifestyle changes. And why are longer workouts harder to stick to? Time constraints coupled with an all-or-nothing exercise mentality (deciding it’s better to do nothing when you can’t fit in a full hour) could be to blame.
When SparkPeople founder Chris Downie and I were researching and writing the new Strong Start Guide for the new paperback version of The Spark, we discovered similar findings. We surveyed more than 2,000 members to find out exactly what they did in the first two weeks of their weight-loss programs to either make or break their motivation and affect their results. "Strong starters" were the most successful in the beginning—and in the long term, and the habits, attitudes and even workouts they followed were markedly different than those whom we refer to as "false starters." When it came to exercise, these two groups couldn't have been more different!
Both strong and false starters alike seem to know that exercise is an important component of a weight-loss plan. In fact, the majority of people in both groups incorporated three to five days of exercise per week when starting their programs. But would you believe that the people who lost more weight and got off to a stronger start spent less time working out? Read More ›
Not so fast! Sure it's cold outside and the holiday hustle in full force, but that doesn't mean you should give up on eating healthy and exercising this month. The best defense against holiday excuses is a good offense: You need a plan in place to clear every hurdle that gets in your way this season.
Whether you're dealing with stress (too much to do, not enough time), travel, rich and tempting party foods, or a lack of motivation to exercise on these darker days, we've got you covered. Follow these tips to stick with your goals while still enjoying every moment of the season! Read More ›
As I've mentioned before, Spinning is one of my favorite workout classes, whether I'm taking the class as a student or leading the ride myself as the instructor. I love to teach Spinning, and I try to draw on various motivational techniques and phrases to keep the students going during the toughest parts of the class, such as all-out sprints or steep hills that never seem to end. During these times, I can tell when my class is working hard and struggling, wishing for a break in the intensity so they can recover.
Sometimes, when I let them know that the end of a sprint or top of a hill is just 15 seconds away—so close that they can "see" it—I notice that my students do one of two things: They either slow down right away, coasting to the finish without much effort – OR – they buckle down and push on through the end with strength and heart. Which person are you?
When you mess up on your diet, do you give up for the rest of the week, or get back on track so that one slipup doesn't get in your way?
When life gets busy, do you skip your workouts entirely, or do you squeeze in whatever you can, even if it's only 10 or 15 minutes?
When the holiday season hits—with all its glorious food and parties—do you resign to gain weight and restart next year, or do you continue pushing forward with all the effort you can muster? Read More ›
This time of year, food is on everyone's minds, whether you're looking forward to your traditional holiday favorites, feeling nervous about all the calories, or a combination of both. Unfortunately, we are so consumed with consuming food during the holidays that we often forget about fitness. We skip the gym to go to the office potluck, and tell ourselves we'll run "tomorrow" while we enjoy our neighbor's holiday party food tonight. Fast forward a few weeks, and we wonder why our pants don't fit when we were "so good" about eating in moderation.
But as you know, it's not just what you do—or don't—eat that affects your weight. The calories you burn through physical activity and exercise also play an important factor. Athletes may eat several thousand calories every day (not just on a holiday), but they won't gain weight because they are extremely active. Now, I am not advocating a Michael Phelps diet and exercise plan for all of you, but I am using it to illustrate the point that you can eat more and indulge here and there without repercussion if you ramp up your physical activity. And the easiest way to do that is to move your feet before you eat. Make this your mantra for the last few weeks of 2010, and you'll keep holiday weight gain at bay. Hey, you may even lose a couple pounds by New Year. Here's how. Read More ›
You probably remember your parents' relentless requests for you to keep trying those lima beans or Brussels sprouts despite your protests that you hated them. They probably even told you that your tastes can change and you might change your mind about them. ("Yeah right!" you'd say.) Maybe you begrudgingly at them over the years, but they always encouraged you to keep trying. I scarcely ate a vegetable or fruit as a kid, but not I love almost every single one of them as an adult. Whether it's eating vegetables, riding a bike, or interviewing for a job, now that we're grownups, too, we understand the importance of trying things more than once—and not giving up. Read More ›