Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Balancing Fitness With a Busy Life
Dad, can you skip the gym today and spend time with us instead? (This is for mother's too)
If you're in a similar situation -- constantly going at full speed while trying to be productive at work, spend quality time with your family and make progress in the gym -- you're probably beginning to feel that something has to give. And you're right. As hard as we try, it's just not possible to achieve everything every day. But experience -- and science -- has taught me something else: Contrary to what you might have heard, you don't need to spend hours every day in the gym to get results. By modifying the way you work out and manage your time, you actually can achieve more than you thought you could.
When time is limited, go for maximal intensity through some sort of interval training. Or use some sort of strength complex or circuit. Modify the number of repetitions you perform for each set, decrease the rest period between sets, and incorporate compound movements or even increase the amount of weight you lift. You'll burn calories not only while you're working out, but also after you've left the gym. As your strength endurance increases, you can go through the circuit two to four times.
Monday, February 25, 2013
GET BACK TO BASICS
Every year, millions of people make very specific commitments to improve a variety of aspects of their lives, and studies show that over 90% give up their New Year’s resolutions within the first 30 days. While there are many reasons for this, the bottom line is that the complexities of accomplishing their goals end up overwhelming their ability to succeed. The sad thing is that most of those complexities are easily manageable through sound and simple strategies that properly align motivation, education, and capabilities as simply as possible.
When your body learns how to move as intended, your posture dramatically changes, exercise becomes significantly more effective, and you will feel better than you've ever thought possible. Learning to move well is easier for some than others, but it’s worthwhile for everybody. I have seen the positive effects of this on everyone. By focusing on building a strong Foundation before moving further in exercise, you will be giving yourself a huge advantage, particularly if you are experiencing chronic back, knee, and/or hip pain. Time to get back to basics!
Friday, February 22, 2013
13 Strategies to Stay Fit During Stressful Times (13 of 13)
Work out at home with the equipment you have at hand.
Exercise may be tough to fit into a busy day, but outfitting your home gym is easier than you think. Your home gym can be as lavish (mega-machines and expensive cardio equipment) or as simple (a good pair of athletic shoes) as you like and, for the budget-minded, it doesn't have to cost a thing.
Making Your Own Weights
Whether you're outfitting a home gym or traveling, there are a variety of things you can use as dumbbells such as:
• Full Soup Cans. These are great for lighter weights. Some larger cans weigh up to a pound (or more) and could be used for upper body exercises.
• Full Water Bottles. A large water bottle (say around 33.8 fluid ounces) can give you a little more than 2 pounds when full of water. Fill it with sand, rocks or change and you get even more weight.
• Computer Bags or Small duffel bags. My husband carries around a small computer bag so stuffed, it weighs about 10 pounds. Because computer bags usually have handles, these can be great for exercises like bicep curls, lateral raises or one-armed rows. Small duffel bags with handles can be filled with books and used for lower body exercises like squats, lunges and deadlifts.
• Milk or Orange Juice Jugs. Save your old milk jugs and fill them with sand, change or water for weights with ready-made handles
• PVC Pipes. I had one client who filled PVC pipes with sand, capping them off with duct tape to avoid spillage. This is a great idea since PVC pipes come in all shapes and sizes, many of which fit perfectly in your hand.
• Tennis balls and cans. Shawn Keith, certified personal trainer, recommends filling tennis balls and tennis cans with sand or change for some great handheld weights.
Most of these materials can be found around your house or at your local hardware store. If you're not into making weights yourself, there are some other alternatives for finding cheap equipment.
Thursday, February 21, 2013
13 Strategies to Stay Fit During Stressful Times (12 of 13)
Tell yourself you'll work out for ten minutes
If finding excuses to skip workouts made us fitter, we'd all be triathletes. We've robbed it of any joy. We've transformed it from a natural, stress-relieving activity to something we have to schedule, plan, and create goals for. In other words: another form of stress. First you have to realize that there are two types of energy—physical and mental—and that they feed off each other. Chances are, you're mentally tired from sitting at your job all day, and you need to get your blood circulating to rev your engine again. Grant yourself permission to call it quits if you're still slogging after 10 full minutes. Eventually, you'll make the connection that feeling tapped out means you need to move more, not less.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
13 Strategies to Stay Fit During Stressful Times (11 of 13)
Take care of your mental and emotional health
Mental or emotional health refers to your overall psychological well-being. It includes the way you feel about yourself, the quality of your relationships, and your ability to manage your feelings and deal with difficulties. Good mental health isn't just the absence of mental health problems. Being mentally or emotionally healthy is much more than being free of depression, anxiety, or other psychological issues. Rather than the absence of mental illness, mental and emotional health refers to the presence of positive characteristics. Similarly, not feeling bad is not the same as feeling good. While some people may not have negative feelings, they still need to do things that make them feel positive in order to achieve mental and emotional health.
Taking care of your body is a powerful first step towards mental and emotional health. The mind and the body are linked. When you improve your physical health, you’ll automatically experience greater mental and emotional well-being. For example, exercise not only strengthens our heart and lungs, but also releases endorphins, powerful chemicals that energize us and lift our mood.
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