Fitness & Wellness

Commit To Be Fit

Commit To Be Fit

Commitment is what makes the difference between success and failure. Any goal worth achieving is worth working toward. It’s the same when it comes to good health. You have to commit to be fit. It’s like any other goal, without commitment, you won’t achieve it. Unfortunately, setting a goal is easy, but sticking with it is tough. There are things you can do to help strengthen your commitment.

Schedule your workout.

Your workout should be as important as any other appointment. Scheduling it as an appointment makes it that way. One way to do it is to exercise the first thing in the morning. It can get your day started right and provide energy for the whole day. If you’re not a morning person, it may be a real challenge that takes some mental toughness to achieve.

Remember why you decided to get fit.

Were you feeling exhausted and tired all the time? Are you uncomfortable in your own skin…because there’s just too much of it? Do you want to help avoid a serious health condition or help improve your health? What was important to you at the time you made that commitment probably won’t change. Write it down. Put it on your mirror. Keep your mind focused on not only your goal but your reason for making that goal.

Pay attention to both the big victories and the small ones.

Sure, shedding fifty pounds is a huge accomplishment, but that takes time. Create smaller goals to celebrate along the way. You probably don’t remember when you first started walking, but your parents probably do. They applauded and praised every small, wobbly step. That and the desire to move on your own kept you going, no matter how many times you fell. Learn to love the accomplishments along the way.

  • Use several different ways to measure success. You might not lose weight when you first start but you are losing inches and gaining muscle. For those who just want to get fitter, increasing the number of reps or lifting heavier weight.
  • Make sure you have your clothes ready and everything packed. If you know you might not meet your scheduled appointment with the gym, take your gym bag anyway. Find a time to fit the workout into your day.
  • Plan something new and exciting that you can do the fitter you get that you couldn’t do before you started. It can be something as simple as walking the whole day at an amusement park or more adventurous like rock climbing.
  • Add activities you love to your workout. Not only should you vary your workout so you don’t get bored, try to do at least one or two fun activities to provide exercise.

Be Smart. Eat Smart

Be Smart. Eat Smart

It’s time to be smart when you eat. That means you should eat smart. Luckily, you don’t have to be a brain surgeon to do it. In fact, it’s actually pretty easy and gets even easier the longer you do. The basic rule is to eat whole foods. Those are foods that are closest to their natural state. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re uncooked, just not highly processed. It’s like the difference between eating a baked potato and eating a potato chip or eating fruit rather than a fruit rollup or drinking a fruit drink.

What makes it easy?

Go to the produce section of the grocery and pick out your favorite fruits and vegetables. They’re ready to eat with very little preparation. You can steam them, bake them, grill them or eat them raw. You can’t eat healthy without a protein and for most people, that means fish, meat, chicken, eggs or cheese. For those who consume a vegetarian diet, it might mean beans and nuts. A healthy fat is also important, but you don’t need much. Butter made from milk from grass fed cows or an avocado.

You don’t have to give up your favorites, just get creative.

Salsa and chips are delicious and most homemade salsa is actually a healthy choice. You can get creative and use salsa to top your eggs, use as a dip for veggies, use as salad dressing, top a burger or put on a baked potato. You’ll get all the nutrients that salsa contains, plus its delicious taste. Getting creative means saving money, too. Left over grilled vegetables can top salad the next day and left over raw veggies are perfect for soup.

Not only will you be eating smarter, you’ll be smarter!

Some food can actually boost your brain power, besides helping you shed weight. Most people know that cutting out sugar helps avoid blood sugar drops that leave you feeling foggy, but did you know some foods actually help your brain. Blueberries help boost your memory, and tomatoes prevent damage to brain cells from free radicals that causes early onset dementia. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish provide support to brain cells. Most of all, ensuring you drink adequate water throughout the day keeps you focused and alert.

  • Eating smart means eating food that’s nutrient rich and lower in calories. That just makes sense, especially if you want to shed weight.
  • Your children will love healthy eating when you make fruit pops or have individual serving sizes of nuts or fresh fruits and vegetables ready for snacks.
  • Eating healthy can also include how you eat. Don’t stand up and eat. Savor every bite and enjoy it. Really taste your food and don’t eat on the run.
  • Eating more frequently is part of healthy eating. Have snacks ready and don’t miss meals. You might be tempted to grab a few candy bars at the gas station or from the candy machine if you do.

How's Your Will Power

How’s Your Will Power

Most people think that people are overweight or out of shape because they lack will power. That’s not necessarily true. While losing weight can be a struggle, often people fail not because they simply are lazy or lack will power, but have no idea on the right way to do it. Instead of eating healthy, they go on a starvation diet. You can’t maintain a starvation diet very long and remain healthy. The body also rebels when the calories are super low. It’s created to survive, so it lowers the basal metabolism to ensure there are enough calories for the most important organs, like your heart and brain. That makes it even harder to lose weight.

The only will power you need is in the beginning.

Changing your lifestyle isn’t something you do overnight. It takes commitment for several weeks until the behavior becomes a habit. Luckily, in the initial weeks of working out and eating healthy, you may still possess that driving force that got you started in the first place. Having a personal trainer or workout buddy that holds you accountable is another way to keep the motivation going. Keep a regular schedule for working out, planning meals and sleeping. (Getting adequate sleep no only helps you stick with the program, it helps you lose weight, too.)

Lack of knowledge is often a problem.

It’s not how much you eat, but what you eat that makes a difference in how much you weigh and how healthy you are. It’s next to impossible to eat too many calories in fresh fruits and vegetables, so focusing on those during your learning period is important. Eliminate processed foods, sugar, white flour and starchy veggies from your diet. Stick with steamed, roasted, baked, broiled and grilled meat and avoid fried foods like they’re the plague…because for people who want to eat healthy, they are!

Remember it’s all about consistency.

While you might feel great after working out once, it’s a start, but certainly won’t magically make you fitter. Just like eating an apple and not a bag of chips is good, you have to do it more than once to get benefits. On those days when you don’t feel like working out, go anyway, even if you decide you’re only going to stay for a few exercises and then leave. You’ll find you’ll probably get through your entire workout once you get started.

  • Give yourself a mental pat on the back when you skip a sugary treat in favor of fresh fruit. Make it easier to do by having healthy snacks available.
  • Don’t forget to drink plenty of water. What you drink is as important as what you eat when it comes to losing weight. Just one can of a soft drink a day can put on an extra pound in a month. Studies show that diet colas and soft drinks also add inches to your middle, regardless of low calorie counts.
  • Make sure you put your workout in your schedule, so you keep your appointment with the gym as you would any other appointment.
  • Make sure you have a goal and a way to measure your success along the way. If your goal is big, break it down to smaller ones that give you more feedback and reward. Those accomplishments keep your motivated and boost your will power.

What’s Your Inspiration To Get Healthy

Getting fit and healthy isn’t always easy or convenient. There’s no microwavable healthy fitness magic that comes in a box. That’s why I ask clients in Louisville, KY, what their inspiration to get healthy is and to focus on that motivation when the going gets rough. It can help at those times when doing one more lift seems impossible or that cake looks like it needs an avid fan to eat it. It also helps to keep priorities in line. If your family is your motivation, yet you’re not using your new found energy to do fun and active things with them, it’s time to make changes there, too.

Keeping your inspiration in focus can help you visualize the new you.

Do you want to look fabulous for your next reunion. Picture exactly how you want your body to look. Is it slim? Is it muscular and toned? Get a good mental picture that you can hold in your head as you workout to actually make you feel like you want to do just one more set. Keep it in your head when you’re hungry, so you get healthier food to eat. It also helps when you’re tempted to consume a pint o ice cream or a whole cake! You’ll find that vision is far more beckoning than the extra dessert.

Don’t wait until you’re totally fit to start having family fun.

Maybe you can’t go an hour with the kids shooting hoops or hike for hours on rugged terrain, but you can go to the zoo or an amusement park that requires walking. It doesn’t have to be anything as special as Disneyland, it can be just taking a walk around the neighborhood and looking at flowers or riding bikes with the kids on a bike trail. If they’re your inspiration, make sure you start using your extra energy and build on those quick walks as you get fitter.

Get social when you eat.

Sharing healthy eating is quite rewarding, especially when the food tastes delicious. Learning new recipes and broadening your experience is a reward in itself. Getting children involved in healthy eating by making healthy food fun, like ants on a log, which is celery, peanut butter and raisins. There are drawbacks. Not everyone has developed a taste beyond Mountain Dew, coke and cheese puffs. Try fun foods like vegetable spaghetti, particularly if you have reluctant eaters. It’s so unique, everyone will want to try it.

  • Healthy dishes, no matter how delicious, aren’t always loved by family and friends, so taking them to group bring-a-dish get-togethers may mean you carry them home almost intact. That’s okay if you’re taking a lot home. It’s a day or two worth of meals you won’t have to cook.
  • Your inspiration often is a clue on how to measure your success. If you want to have more energy, checking your weight won’t inspire you, but tracking repetitions and sets will.
  • Getting healthy can be the ultimate outcome of working out and a healthier diet. If that’s your goal, do it up right. Get a heart monitor watch or a blood pressure machine for in home use to track your progress.
  • Don’t worry if you find new inspiration along the way. People do. It doesn’t invalidate your initial reason for working out, but just adds to it.

Get Rid Of Arm Flab

Get Rid Of Arm Flab

Arm flab is often called bat wings because they give your upper arms a winged appearance. While working out is one way to get rid of arm flab, sometimes it takes more than that. They come from either too much fat and too little muscle or losing weight rapidly and having excess loose skin. The younger you are and the shorter time period you were overweight will determine how fast your skin shrinks back to fit your new body. Whether arm flab comes from too much fat, too little muscle or weight loss, there are ways to get those upper arms looking good again.

Start with exercise.

Grab some weights and get ready to go. While exercise will tone the muscles in the area, if it comes from extra fat, you’ll have to lose weight all over your body. Luckily most people do a full body workout at the gym. Not only will the exercise reduce fat, it should also have exercises for the triceps, which dangle if you have flabby arms. If you don’t have weights, fill milk jugs or detergent bottles with handles with water or sand until you have the perfect weight for exercising. Using water filled bottles provides another benefit. As you get stronger, you can add more water or sand to increase the weight.

Get fit where you sit.

Use your chair or seat as a support as you do a chair dip. Your feet should be on the floor and legs slightly extended. Putting both hands on the sides of the chair next to your hips with your fingers pointing down, lift your bottom off the chair and forward using just your arms. Lower your body with your elbows at 90 degrees then raise yourself back to seated position. Lay on the floor for another great exercise. Hold a single weight, filled bottle or heavy object in both hands. Lift it above your head and then lower it behind your head and lifting it back up to in front of you.

Get on your knees with the weight in your hands.

While you have the weight in your hands, sit up on your knees. Hold the weight in both hands above your head and slowly bend at the elbows to lower it behind your head and back up with hands straight in the air. Use two weights, one in each hand bending over. You’re going to create a slow flapping motion (how appropriate for bat wings) with your arms. Bent over, lift both weights behind you, lifting the weights in the air. When you’re done, focus on doing the same thing, but providing resistance as you lower the weights.

  • Push-ups help strengthen and build the triceps. You can do modified forms, like bent knee or partial ones that keep your feet on the floor and hands on the bed.
  • Do a plank and hold it. This simple exercise isn’t really as easy as it looks, especially when you hold the position longer. It will help sculpt your upper arms.
  • Make sure your diet has adequate nutrition to build both collagen and muscle tissue. You’ll need the collagen to add elasticity to the skin and the protein to build muscle tissue.
  • Resistance training, using weights or resistance bands, not only helps eliminate flab under the arms, it builds the upper arm, too. While the focus may be on the triceps, the biceps need a workout, too.

Staying Healthy This Summer

Staying Healthy This Summer

One of the most important goals you should have for you and your family is staying healthy this summer. One of the first things you need to remember is to stay hydrated! Instead of loading up on soft drinks, make your hydration water. It’s healthy and no calorie, making it a far better choice for anyone, whether trying to lose weight or not. Not only is cola unhealthy, it doesn’t quench your thirst. It contains two ingredients that makes certain it doesn’t, salt and caffeine. Sugar masks the salt, which makes you thirstier and the caffeine acts as a diuretic, also making you thirstier.

Don’t forget the sunscreen or to do safe sunning.

Getting some sun will help prevent vitamin D deficiency, but getting too much can lead to cancer. There’s a sweet spot that allows you to do safe sunning, followed by sun block, so you don’t get too much sun. If you go out at midday, which is when the sun is at its highest point, just ten to fifteen minutes three times a week may be enough to maintain vitamin D levels. The fairer your skin, the less time you should be unprotected. Midday sun is safer than exposure to the sun later in the afternoon. Unless you’re specifically trying to soak up the rays, wear sunscreen to prevent burning and skin damage.

Get moving before you embark on a super active day.

While you should exercise all year around, summer offers loads of opportunity to have fun doing it. Rather than miss out on summer fun, start getting in shape as soon as possible. You’ll build your stamina, flexibility and strength, which also protects you from injury. Don’t be a weekend warrior and overdo. Get ready for those times when you’re going to be extremely active by getting into shape ahead of time. If it’s hot out, take breaks and don’t forget to hydrate.

Get plenty of rest.

It’s harder to sleep in the summer. The days are longer and often sleeping schedules change because of that. You still need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep to be your healthiest. Getting adequate sleep not only keeps you more alert during the day, it’s heart healthy and can help you lose weight. If you need to make your room darker, blackout shades and curtains help.

  • Stay on the beaten path when hiking. If you’re out in the woods or even gardening, watch out for plants like poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac. Learn what they look like so you can avoid them.
  • Practice water safety. Keep children supervised and assign swimming partners, even for adults. Don’t forget life vests for everyone when boating.
  • Make family get-togethers and barbecues healthier by including healthier food selections. It’s summer and a perfect time for grilled veggies. Grilled chicken is a better option than hot dogs, while grilled portabellas can substitute for burgers.
  • Steer clear of alcohol, especially when out in the sun. Alcoholic beverages dehydrate you, so if you choose to drink when you’re out in the hot sun, alternate it with water.

Real Mom Nutrition

Real Mom Nutrition

Like most moms, good nutrition for your kids is important. It’s not always that easy to do, but certainly can be done by following a few steps. The first and most important is to have healthy foods in the house and ready to snack on and eat at meals. If you don’t have junk available, all your kids will know is healthy food. If you’re making a switch from junk food to healthier eating, it’s more of a challenge, but still can be done.

Don’t force kids to eat healthy food.

The minute you force kids to eat new foods, automatically, they know they won’t like it. If you’re introducing new food to a child, you can put some on their plate and see if they’ll try it, without the hassle and tears of just one bite. Some parents don’t give their child any of the newly introduced food, but serve it to themselves, saying they don’t think they’ll like it because it’s for adults. That alone makes kids want to try it. Smart moms make food look appealing and fun, so there’s no doubt kids will love it.

Make eating healthy more fun with meals kids will love.

If you want kids to enjoy their meals, make them fun. Make your own taco or burrito night can be one way to do it. Have plenty of healthy options ready to pile on the taco or burrito, like the traditional lettuce, tomato, onion, taco meat and cheese, plus other options, such as avocado chunks, sweet potato squash filling—instead of refried beans—mixed mushroom sauté and Greek yogurt. There are fun recipes that kids will love that combine fruits and vegetables with flour, eggs, a small amount of sugar and spices for fruit and vegetable muffins. Smart mom’s even let kids help make these, so they see how delicious fruits and vegetables can be.

Real mom nutrition includes what the kids drink.

You may think that you’re doing your child a favor by providing fruit drinks, but you’re not. Neither are sugar drinks and soft drinks appropriate. Smart mom’s make sure the fluid is as healthy as the food. One problem with fruit juice is that it’s missing important fiber and far more calorie laden than eating the fruit. Instead, have bottled water on hand for the kids. Frozen fruit or ice cubes with fruit in can add a cold treat while adding flavor. A tiny refillable bottle also makes it easier for kids to drink. Even adding some juice or berries to make it more flavorful will boost their desire to drink it.

  • Make healthier French fries in the oven from sweet potatoes. You can even make sweet potato chips and kale chips for snacks.
  • Homemade trail mix in individual single serving baggies, popcorn, and fun treats like ants on a log—celery with nut butter topped with raisins—can make kids look forward to healthy treats.
  • Never give kids junk food as a special treat or reward. It makes it look far more appealing and desirable. When eating in restaurant, choose healthy several healthy options and let your child pick from those.
  • Teach your children to make their plate a rainbow. Each colorful fruit or vegetable contains specific nutrients that often relate to the color it is. When you have a plate filled with a rainbow of colors, you’re more apt to have all the nutrients you need.

Eating Simple

Eating Simple

One of the benefits of eating whole foods is that they’re often the easiest to make. I have clients in Louisville, KY that love eating simple and reap the benefits from that whole food diet. Eating simple doesn’t mean eating boring. In fact, you’ll be amazed at just how flavorful the food can be. It doesn’t mean that you can’t use herbs and spices, either. It simply means that you don’t eat complex foods created in the lab by food manufacturers.

Slicing and dicing is part of eating simple.

Eating fresh fruits and vegetables is certainly part of the program. A simple meal can include a huge salad with a variety of vegetables, nuts, herbs, spices and even some fruit. A salad composed of romaine hearts, cherry tomatoes, olives, baked chicken or tuna, hard boiled eggs and green beans cooked until tender, yet crisp and topped with a vinaigrette is simple, well balanced and simply delicious. You can combine dried cranberries with quinoa, thinly sliced Brussels sprouts, pecans and an orange vinaigrette for a delicious and nutritious salad that’s perfect for lunch.

Eating simple can be quite inexpensive.

When you eat simple, you choose fruits and vegetables that are in season. That can cut the cost of meals considerably. To avoid those with pesticides, choose organic versions for food on the Dirty Dozen list. That’s the list of fruit and vegetables shown to have the highest amount of pesticides. They include strawberries, spinach, kale, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery and potatoes. This year it’s a baker’s dozen, since it also includes number 13, hot peppers. For all other fruits and vegetables, eating non-organic is safe.

Let’s steam, roast, grill, broil, slow cook or boil the food.

Eating clean and simple means cutting out the breading, pan and deep fat frying. Air frying has become a popular alternative to deep fat frying, but it never should replace the other cooking techniques. It does use only a fraction of the oil used in frying foods, but still creates compounds in the foods, some of which can cause cancer. You’re better keeping it simple by throwing the lean steak on the grill or roasting a chicken.

  • When eating simple, always remember portion control, particularly on meat, nuts, cheese and starchy vegetables.
  • Eating simple means having snacks readily available for mid morning and mid afternoon. Slice and cube fruits and vegetables and store in the refrigerator as soon as you get home, so they’re ready for those times you need a snack. If you buy nuts, store in individual serving size bags or containers.
  • Don’t forget to make soup, especially with leftovers. You can use the left over vegetables at the end of the week to create a delicious soup. The bones from the meat or poultry can be used for bone broth.
  • Add a little extra to every salad or meal by sprinkling herbs, ground flax seed, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds or leftover roasted vegetables.

Why Some People Call Alzheimer's Type 3 Diabetes

Why Some People Call Alzheimer’s Type 3 Diabetes

One of the reasons I became a personal trainer in Louisville, KY was to help people stay healthier using natural methods, including exercise. Lately, there’s been a lot of promotion on food as medicine and rethinking about serious conditions like Alzheimer’s. Several studies are now considering Alzheimer’s as Type 3 diabetes. While most studies are in their infancy, there are links to insulin use in the brain and Alzheimer’s disease. It all starts with genetics in this particular case and shows that serious conditions occur from a variety of causes, not just one. It reminds us that we all are different and have different needs.

Your genes determine your risk factor.

There’s a study produced by Mayo clinic in both Jacksonville, Florida and Rochester, Minnesota that identified a specific type of the Alzheimer’s gene APOE4 (approximately fifty percent of people with Alzheimer’s have the APOE4 gene.) that affects the brain cells use of insulin, causing them to starve to death and leading to the dreaded Alzheimer’s symptoms. Since it involved the brain’s use of insulin, they called it Type 3 diabetes. People with that genetic factor pose a ten to fifteen times higher incidence of Alzheimer’s than those that don’t.

The study had a hopeful outcome.

The study first identified those they believed would be helped by delivering insulin to the brain, then created an intranasal mist to provide the insulin. The results were excellent and a great start. The decline of brain functions slowed in some patients and reversed in others. The next step is a bigger trial backed by the National Institute of Health.

What you can do until there is a cure.

If you’re at risk for diabetes, have insulin resistance or have diabetes, the best preventive measure you can take is keeping your blood sugar levels under control. One study showed that people who used medications, like Metformin, for four years, had only one fourth of the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Animal studies show GLP-1 receptor agonists—newer diabetes drugs—also improved memory. Even if you don’t take medication, laying off donuts and high glycemic products and eating a healthy diet can help.

  • Just like controlling insulin resistance and diabetes 1 and 2, exercise is also a boost in brain health. Not only will it help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, it also helps prevent dementia and other brain diseases.
  • Besides eating a healthy low glycemic diet, eating probiotic foods, those with omega-3, vitamins D, B12 and folate can help. Lowering your carb intake and including healthy protein and fat in your diet boosts your resistance.
  • Adding foods like blueberries and spinach to your diet can also reduce the potential for Type 3 diabetes.
  • Control stress in your life. One of the best ways to burn off stress and enjoy that great feeling is a hard workout. Learning meditation or deep breathing can also help. My favorite, after exercise, is to be thankful. Wake up every morning and go to bed every night thinking of something you’re thankful for that day.

Changes To Improve Your Energy

Changes To Improve Your Energy

There’s a lot of ways to improve your energy level that help maintain a high level. While some people automatically reach for a sugary treat, it may help for a short time, but it won’t take long and you’ll be right back to dragging around, trying to stay awake. Instead of grabbing a sugary treat, try a bottle of water to give yourself a boost. Sometimes, even mild dehydration can drain you of energy, which is often why coffee doesn’t do the trick—it dehydrates you. Water also can be helpful if you think you’re hungry. Often the body confuses the messages and sends a signal of hunger when you’re really thirsty. At those times, you’ll often find yourself craving watermelon, sodas or other foods that are filled with fluid.

Get daily exercise.

Of course, you should expect that to be on the list. I constantly tell people how much working out regularly boosts your energy level. You can get some instant help if you’re tired at work where a pushup is really inappropriate. Take a brisk walk up and down the stairs. For those with a private area, deep knee bends, jumping jacks without the jumping and even doing windmills can boost your circulation and get you back on track to feel great.

Eat healthy.

Yes, we already covered snacking on sweets, but you should consider cutting out sugary foods at every meal. Making sure you have adequate proteins, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates will provide energy throughout the day. You’ll also improve your health, which means another boost of energy and keep off extra pounds. If you’re overweight, that’s important. Being just ten pounds overweight is like carrying a ten pound weight everywhere. That certainly can sap your energy reserves. Make sure you don’t restrict your caloric intake too much. It saps you of energy and can be counterproductive for weight loss.

The no brainer is to get more sleep.

In our country, people pride themselves on burning the candle at both ends, working long hours and basically abusing themselves to achieve their work goal. In truth, it may actually harm them and impede their progress. Lack of sleep affects everything. It negatively impacts your energy level, weight loss efforts and cognitive functioning.

  • When you sleep, make sure the room is dark and you have all electronic devices turned off. You’ll get the most benefits from your sleep that way.
  • Build a social network or stay connected with the one you have. Socializing will help get you moving even when staying in bed or watching television would otherwise be your endeavor.
  • Move more. Park further from the store, take the stairs or make an effort to get up and walk for a few minutes every hour. It keeps your circulation going and boosts your energy level.
  • If your energy level is low and you’re doing everything right, get a checkup. Sometimes, feeling dragged out is a sign that something is wrong.