Fitness & Wellness

What's In Your Gym Bag?

What’s In Your Gym Bag?

Your gym bag should have all the necessities to make your transformation from John or Joan Average Citizen to powerhouse and back again. While some people have everything they need and seem to be pros carry just the right number of necessary items, others either forget things or have enough stuff in their gym bag to hold them over for several days. The first on the list should always be clean gym clothing and tennis shoes.

Don’t forget your toiletries.

If you’re working out after work and going directly home, hair product may not be on your list. However, deoderant should be, as well as other toiletries. A bottle of dry shampoo can help remove the greasy feeling sweating left in your hair. For women, light moisturizer with a little bit of coverage to take the red out of your face can help you feel more presentable after a workout, but without taking a lot of time. If you’re going to work, make sure you have the makeup you need for the office and both male and females need their hair care products. Don’t forget your comb or brush, you’d be surprised how many people do. Most people buy a special one for the bag.

Think about the workout and include items to help make it better.

If sweat poured in your eyes and your gym charges a towel rental fee, take your own. You’ll want to keep your hands dry so they aren’t slippery for performing some of the exercises. While a sweat band helps, it only goes so far and having your own towel not only assures you that it’s clean—or least only used by you—but also ensures you’ll have one when you need it. For women with longer hair, make sure a few hair ties are in your gym bag.

Bottled water or a refillable thermal bottle is important.

Staying hydrated is hard, but what’s even harder is drinking from public faucets when you’ve heard all those stories about e-coli and other bacteria thriving there. They don’t have to be true to make you appreciate having your own water in a reusable bottle that keeps it cold and refreshing for hours. If you’re an avid water drinker, carry one plastic bottle in and keep the thermal one in your gym bag for when you finish the first.

– Having a few healthy snacks to munch on after the workout will keep you from grabbing a high calorie snack with no nutritional value.

– Don’t forget the Rx. Aspirin or other anti-inflammatory, muscle balm and even an elastic bandage should be part of your gear.

– Bring a spare pair of socks. Feet sweat big time and you want a spare, particularly if you’re wearing your gym clothes home. Have an extra tank top or tee in your bag too.

– For women, particularly if you’re coming directly from work, have a face wipe to remove your makeup before a tough sweaty workout or you’ll be wearing your mascara on your cheeks.


How To Get Back On The Fitness Wagon

How To Get Back On The Fitness Wagon

Don’t let one slip or even several days or weeks of neglect stop you from looking and feeling your best. It’s time to get back on the fitness wagon. Even if you fell off the wagon, then sold it for money for Oreos, it’s never too late to start over and get back into the routine of working out. One thing about exercise, it’s not a task, like doing laundry, where if you let it go for a few days, you can catch up again in one night. It takes time to get back on track, so you may have to take it slowly at first.

Sure, you messed up, but don’t let that stop you.

When you were learning to walk, you fell, stumbled and didn’t do it well at all. You never let that stop you. Slipping up and falling off the wagon is part of learning a new lifestyle. Some people get it immediately and once they start, it’s part of their life forever. Most people start and stop several times until they find the right motivation or learn to make it a habit in their life.

Were you in front of an open refrigerator all night?

Healthy eating is one of the biggest problems people face. They often feel that if they cheat on their diet or healthy eating habits, it’s all over but the shouting. That’s not true. In fact, there are cheat days built into healthy eating. Sometimes, eating a bit of the food you’re craving helps you stick with a healthy eating plan. In fact, eating more than normal on occasion may even help you shed weight by letting your body feel as though food is plentiful. Chalk up that eating marathon to a bad day and get back on track.

Are you feeling too tired to go to the gym.

When you’re tired, what you may actually need is a little exercise to get your blood circulating. However, if you’ve been working out furiously and not taken any time away from the gym, you may have overworked your body. Examine your workout habits and see if you really need rest. That’s not falling off the wagon but giving your body time to mend. Your personal trainer can help you identify the problem.

– Decide to workout for just ten minutes. If your exercise program has been put to the side, use the ten minute theory. Put on some music, run in place, do a few squats. If you feel like doing more time, go ahead. Otherwise, try ten minutes a few more times throughout the day.

– Take it one day at a time. Rather than say you’re going to eat healthy from now on, say you’re going to eat healthy tonight…and do it. Little by little get back to old healthier eating habits.

– Work with a personal trainer. If your exercise wagon crashed and burned, a trainer can help you create a new one.

– Switch your routine around to have more fun. Add fun activities like bouldering, bike riding and even Kangoo jumps to the workout.


Think Outside The Box

Think Outside The Box

Getting fit isn’t always easy. There’s the important matter of getting motivated and staying motivated. Carving out time is another problem. To solve that, sometimes you have to think outside the box. Everyone needs direction and guidance if they’re first starting out on a road to good health. If you can’t go to a personal trainer or only have a half hour or so to yourself in the morning or evening, you still can get the direction and expertise a trainer can provide.

Consider a trainer that does house calls.

Some personal trainers will come to you to provide their services. This can work best when your problem is finding time to leave the house, not a super cramped schedule. After all, do you want a stranger in your home before the kids get up? Another problem deterring this solution can be a lack of funds. If someone’s coming to you, expect to pay more. If the budget is tight already, this may not be a solution that is applicable.

Consider online training.

Online training is a viable alternative. Our online plan provides all the services of a personal trainer. Of course, we need information from you to help create the plan, just as we would in person. It’s customized and includes a complete program of exercise, hitting all areas of fitness from balance and strength to flexibility and balance. It also includes aid in the area of nutrition. In fact, to provide guidance until you learn healthier habits, we include seven days of meals. To make it even easier, there’s a grocery list too. You’ll be held accountable to your personal trainer via email and report progress, share success or get answers to questions that can affect that success.

Online training solves the deterrents caused by both time and money.

When you train online, you can get up early and workout in the privacy of your home. While I don’t recommend you workout late at night, since it stimulates increased circulation and make it difficult to sleep, it’s a possibility too. However, it’s much better to go to bed earlier and get adequate sleep to make early morning rising easier. It also solves the financial pinch, since online training is far less expensive than training in a gym or having private sessions with a trainer.

– No matter where you are, you’ll be able to train. If you go on vacation, as long as you have access to the internet, the trainer goes with you. That makes it ideal for people who travel frequently.

– Traveling can also put a strain at meal time. Email contact with a trainer can help you find healthy foods when on the road.

– Get a group together for support. With the low prices of the internet training, it’s affordable for almost anyone. Find three or four people who also want to sign up and then get together a few times a week to workout together. While you each will have different plans, many of the exercises will be similar, but with different goals.

– With online training, you can split your workout to shorter segments, getting at least ten to fifteen minutes of exercise in each one. It’s especially helpful to break the monotony of working at the computer and increase your efficiency in the process.


Beware Of Comfort Foods

Beware Of Comfort Foods

Comfort foods are often high calorie foods that tickle your taste buds and lower levels of stress. While you do have to beware of comfort foods, they really do provide stress relief, but not just from the pleasure of eating them. It’s from the neural activity it causes. One study on mice showed that rats under duress responded to sugar water, their comfort food, and displayed signs of reduced stress. When the liquid bypassed their taste buds and went directly to the stomach, there was no relief. That says comfort foods work only when they linger on the palate for a few moments and set off the taste buds.

Find a substitute for the food you crave.

All foods have certain characteristics. Sure, all comfort foods hit the taste buds, but sometimes it’s more than that. Sometimes, you need to hear the crunch and feel your jaw working. Crispy crunchy snacks are often your weakness in this case. Tooth grinders and clenchers often find these types of crunchy snacks best. Try a crisp apple instead of pretzels or chips. Salty foods are also important food cravings and again, chips might be your answer. Substitute with air popped popcorn. In the experiment on mice, a sugar substitute worked to replace the sugar water.

Find a physical outlet.

Whether you’re angry or sad, exercising helps. Stress of all types produce stress hormones that leave you feeling terrible. In order to get rid of that feeling, working out, not eating, is the answer. You need to do something active, to mimic the fight or flight response, which is what nature meant to happen. Run up and down stairs, take a brisk walk or do anything that gets your body moving. It works to eliminate that feeling of frustration, anger, sadness or just general depression and the blahs.

Identify what causes the urge to eat the comfort food.

You have to know what the problem is in order to solve it. Taking the time to chart your cravings and the events that led up to them is important. If you find you want comfort food every time you visit a friend, is there something lacking or wrong with your relationship? Does your work make you want to grab a big bowl of mashed potatoes or is it frustration with your budget? Work on solving the problem or learning to deal with it. The first step is always admitting one exists, not hiding out in a big helping of food.

– Learn portion control. You don’t have to give up comfort food, just limit the intake. Combine it with fresh veggies or other healthy snack. I have a client that loves mashed potatoes. Now, instead of eating a bowl full, she puts a small amount in a dish and uses it as a dip for celery. She gets the taste, but in a far smaller amount.

– Use fruit to quench that craving for something sugary. Make sure it’s one of the sweet fruits, such as bananas or grapes.

– If you love ice cream, make your own low calorie, healthy alternative. Slice a banana and freeze it on a tray, then mash or blend it until smooth. It tastes cool, creamy and a lot like ice cream.

– Fried foods are often at the top of the list. Baked alternatives are a good choice. Try some baked sweet potato fries. Experiment with various healthy foods until you get the same sensation of your comfort food.


Are You Hungry Or Bored?

Are You Hungry Or Bored?

People don’t always eat because they need the calories to sustain them. They eat for a number of reasons. Sometimes, it’s emotional and triggered by anger or sadness. Sometimes, eating occurs because, frankly, you have nothing better to do. It’s hard to tell whether you’re hungry or bored in those instances, unless you focus on why you’re searching for food. Before you grab a quick sandwich, try some of these tactics to see if you’re really hungry or if it’s something else you seek.

How do you feel?

If you’re stomach is growling and you haven’t eaten for hours, it’s not difficult to identify hunger. Sometimes, those cravings to eat come when you’re full. That’s when you know it’s something else driving you toward the cupboards and fridge. Real hunger grows slowly and lets you know several times you’re hungry. Emotional hunger occurs suddenly and becomes an overpowering craving for specific foods. These may be emotional comfort foods or crunchy salty ones, like chips. Both types indicate a feeling feeding rather than true hunger.

Try exercising or doing something active.

There’s no doubt that your nibbling was the need for something to do or overcome frustration, anger or sadness, if it goes away when you workout for a while. It doesn’t have to be strenuous, although getting your heart rate up does trigger hormones that make you feel good and burns off hormones from stress. Running up and down stairs for a few minutes is one solution if it’s rainy or dark outside, going for a walk if it’s not, can divert your attention and often work off that irresistible urge to snack.

Have a “to-do” list close at hand.

You can eliminate the urge to eat, while getting more done if you have a “to-do” list in hand. These are active tasks that you can complete in 20 to 30 minutes. They shouldn’t be major projects, but things you wanted to get finished “some day.” Cleaning out a drawer, the top shelf of a closet, moving the couch and sweeping both the couch and floor behind it are a few examples. When you feel that craving come on and know it’s from boredom, start one of the tasks on the list. Make them quick so you can cross it off the list and get the feeling of satisfaction, which often makes the craving go away.

– Do your cravings indicate a nutritional shortage? If you keep finding you have the same cravings, maybe it’s a nutritional shortage. There are a number of stories where pregnant women crunch on ice, only to find they lack iron or vitamin C to absorb it. When they get an adequate amount the craving disappears.

– Drink a glass of water. Sometimes, people eat because they’re thirsty, not hungry. If you drink a cup or two of water and the craving is still there, it’s something else.

– Think before you eat. Give yourself an emotional checkup. Is there anything bothering you? Figure out how to resolve it, even if it means just letting it go.

– Are you feeling deprived? That’s not a surprising emotion if you’re denying yourself some of the food pleasures you enjoy. Start with allowing a small portion of your favorite food as a reward after a week of healthy eating and then move on to non-food rewards, like a new outfit.


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