Health and fitness seem to be something that is important to everyone, yet they never seem to make it to the top of the priority list. Why is that? Why do people lack the motivation to take their goals and put them to good use.
Making a goal a priority is a conscious choice. Making your life and health a priority should be as important to you as all the other things you attempt to accomplish in life. Most people are scared because they allowed themselves to reach this point that they feel is a point of no return. The thing is, they are wrong. Yes, if you are very overweight it will take more work and effort than someone who is not as overweight, but it is still obtainable. The conscious decision come down to, you caring about yourself and knowing that every person deserves to be or become the very best person they can be.
I do know a bit about achieving personal goals. I myself hit 189 pounds when I was 19-20 years old. I consciously told myself, I did not want to be that person, I wanted to be the best me and I cared about me. What I'm going to do here is to give you some general goal setting advice.
Here are the reasons that I think many of us start a fitness regime, but then let it lapse.
First, we don't consciously make a firm commitment to achieving a particular goal. It's more like "I'd like to be a thinner or weigh less", rather than "I will do cardio training and weight training for 30 minutes every day".
Second, we don't support our initial commitment by establishing a consistent routine. For example, it is very useful to write your goals down. Then every day to read them and to speak you goal aloud. Once step better is to do this every morning and night. This helps your reticular activating system (the part of your brain that is vital to helping establish goals and keeping you ont track) keep you on target.
Third, we often chose strategies that don't have much chance of working for us. People often don't seek out strategies that will fit into their schedules or work with their lifestyle. So, then we get discouraged because we don't acheive the results we want. It's important to research for yourself rather than just follow the latest trend.
Fourth, I think it's important to choose activities and a strategy that you will enjoy. For example, your best friend may enjoy a weight loss class but you might prefer swimming. Also you may prefer a solo activity or to be part of a group. It's always easier to stick to a goal when you can find enjoyment in what you are doing.
These are some general strategies that can help you. If you visit my website at www.amppersonalfitness.com you can download some goal setting and self evaluation forms to help you see where you are at and set up goals for you. If you want more help beyond that, hiring a personal trainer to assess your current nutrition and fitness levels, help you assess your goals and then design a program that falls into those guidelines will increase your chances of success.
Whether you choose to do it on your own or with a trainer, these general guidelines will help you. Set your goals and become the best YOU!
My favorite small statement that I love to share is "Life is like and echo, you get back what you put out". This statement truly applies to all facets of life.
As a fitness trainer, I can definitely tell you that I have seen it apply to all facets of life.
You get what you put out. You do nothing, you get nothing. Nobody says a person has to be completely healthy or have the perfect body. What I do say is you should want to be healthy and look your best for you and those you love and care about. If you don't take care of yourself or care enough about yourself to take care of yourself and look and act your best, then how can the ones you love truly believe that you do that for them.
Is fitness hard? Is it not fun? Well, yes it can be these things. Is it always these things no. When you start out doing anything that you have never done or have not done it a really long time, it is hard and may not be fun. As we all know though, is that as we do it and keep trying it does become easier and it does become more fun.
Fitness brings more to your life than just making your body look better and be healthier. It brings an emotional and mental change as well. As we learn we become a different person. As we learn we grow and shape ourselves into the new person we are during that day. Maybe tomorrow will be different but thats okay.
As first you will have to put more effort into transforming you into your true authentic self, but once you are there, it is so much easier to be you and take care of you.
Make 2011 the year of YOU! Whether you are 35, 55, or 75, you are still young enough to start begin active, eathing healthy and make positive changes to you life. Why sit there and say, well I am 56 years old and I can't do that. Why would you give up on your life like that? Why would you want to sit around and do nothing for the rest of your life. You can do things and be very active until the day you die. Live life, don't let it pass you buy!
Life is Like and Echo, You Get Back What You Put Out!
Here we are one week from Thanksgiving and then it is on into the month of December, where we celebrate numerous holidays and have many festivities to enjoy.
This is the time of year when worry begins to set in for many of you. You worry about throwing away all the hard work and accomplishes you have made through your fitness journey in the past year. You worry about whether you can be strong enough to not have a particular food or just be able to take one bite and move on.
I am here to tell you that you don't need to worry. Enjoy your holidays and stay on track. We all indulge during the holidays. The key is to do it in small doses and keep to your daily nutrition regimen and exercise routine on all the other days to make it through the holiday season.
Here are some steps to make it through different holiday festivities.
Big Holiday Meals:
1. Eat a good breakfast the morning of the big meal and the morning after. Never starve yourself the next day, thinking that it will help because you may have over indulged. Make your breakfast 300 to 400 calories that includes high-quality carbohydrates, low-fat dairy, and fruit. Some good suggests are yogurt with a low-sugar granola and berries or whole-grain toast with cottage cheese and fruit. If you meal is later in the day eat a good lunch as well.
2. Make sure you eat prior to going to your holiday feast so you are not hungry when you get there. This will prevent you from snacking to much on other things.
3. Drink a lot of water prior to the meal. This will make you feel full and prevent you from eating to much during the meal.
***The day after your big meal, do a long and slow cardio workout. This will help burn off the food you over consumed. Shoot for 600-800 calories, hike or jog, enjoy the view.
Holiday Deserts and Treats:
1.The biggest thing you can do is to just skip the sugar. They are the same as any other desert and treat and offer no nutritional value and a lot more processed ingredients.
2. If you just can't seem to keep yourself from wanting it, then either you or have someone else cut off a 2" x 2" piece and put it on your plate. Then when it is gone, it is gone and you are done.
***The next day do intervals are the best workout for getting rid of those sugary deserts. 30 seconds on and 1 minute off. Do 8-10 rotations of those after a 5-10 minute warm-up and then finish with a 5-10 minute cool-down.
1. Before the party be sure to eat a meal and drink plenty of water. This will make you full and you will not be able to consume as much.
2. Time your drinks. Make it so you are not allowed to have more than 1 drink within an hour.
3. Water Swap. For every cocktail you have you must have a glass of water. Once you finish a cocktail, your next drink must be a glass of water. This will help you from becoming intoxicated and will keep you from consuming to many calories.
4. Time your drinks and water swap. The combination of the two is the best thing you could do besides not drinking at all. You must swap every other drink with water and you must keep your time limit for the cocktails.
***Alchohol inhibits your athletic performance, so you made need to make your workout a little more subdued the next day. Take a long walk, go swimming or do yoga.
Eating the Buffet Dinner:
1. Start with a salad and a large glass of water. Then it is on to ONE plate of food following serving sizes. Finish with a large glass of water. You will be set.
2. If not already a vegetarian, be pseudo-vegetarian on this day. Start with the salad and then on to all vegetables and fruits. Don't forget to add a serving of turkey but skip the rest of the food. Finish with a large glass of water.
***Start your day after workout with tempo cardio, find a good pace to start and every minute increase your speed until you hit your max speed and do it for an entire minute, finish with a 5-10 minute cool-down. Do a full body weight workout, 15 reps, 1 set with 45 seconds rest between sets.
It is possible to stay on track through the holidays. Make the choice to maintain where you are at through the holidays and then strive to make it a success using these tips and others.
Here a few other easy things you can do to help burn extra calories during the holiday season.
1. When holiday shopping, park the farthest away from the building as you can. You will burn extra calories walking into the mall, while shopping in the mall and then carrying all your packages out of the mall and back across the parking lot.
2. Take the dog for extra walks. Take him for walks after the holiday meals. Try to get others to go with you. Tell them you are starting a new holiday tradition that you all go for a walk together, maybe even sing a carol or two.
3. While holiday shopping or anywhere else that there is an escalator, walk up and down instead of just stand there. Take the stairs if they are an option.
4. Go sledding with the kids. For an extra calorie burn, pull them back up the hill.
5. Go ice skating. An hour of having fun on the ice burns 300-400 calories.
Enjoy the holiday season!
1. Jumping Jacks - Yes, good old fashioned jumping jacks-the same exercise we did as kids. They are an excellent warm-up exercise to start your routine with and provide good cardio benefits if done at a high intensity.
2. Walking/Running - If the weather is nice, be outside. Take advantage of the fresh air, sunshine and scenery. This keeps it much more interesting and fun than walking on a treadmill in your basement. The point of your walk should be to do it at 3.0 mph or faster. Get your heart rate up.
3. Running in Place - If you can't go outside and have no steps at home try running in place. You will be surprised how your heart rate will increase. Change it up by running with high knees or butt kick runs. Maintain a brisk pace for maximum benefits.
4. Step Exercises - These can provide good cardio benefits as well as toning your legs. Just stand in front of the bottom step on a set of stairs or any other solid surface that is the same height. Step up with one foot and then the other, then step back down with one foot and then the other. Increase the pace for a higher intensity workout.
5. Pushups - Old school exercises are awesome. Pushups are great for developing arm, shoulder and chest muscles. If you need to, start by doing them on your knees. When you feel that they have become easier, try them on your legs for a more challenging workout. To really take pushups to the next level, perform them with your legs straight out and your feet elevated on a chair. This method really works the shoulders and chest muscles.
6. Lying Leg Raises - These are good for toning the abdominal muscles. Simply lie flat on your back and raise your legs about 12 inches off the ground and hold them for 10-15 seconds. If you can't hold them for this long, try doing them with your legs bent. You can also do this by lying on each side and doing one leg at a time working the oblique abdominals.
7. Crunches - To perform crunches correctly, lie on your back with your knees bent at a 45 degree angle and your feet flat on the floor. Cross your arms across your chest and curl your upper body up while tucking your chin into your chest. Lift up about 18 inches and press your lower back into the floor. When you feel your abdominal muscles contracting you know you are doing them correctly.
8. Squats - This is a great exercise for your legs and glutes. To do them properly, stand with your feet shoulder width apart and squat down until your thighs are parallel to the ground then slowly stand up again. Be sure to keep your back straight and your head up through the entire movement.
9. Leg/Arm Raises -This exercise strengthens your core muscles and tones your shoulders and glutes. Start on your hands and knees. Raise your left arm straight out in front of you and your right leg out straight behind you at the same time and hold for 2-3 seconds. Repeat with the opposite arm and leg. Alternate from side to side.
10. Dancing - Dancing can be a great aerobic exercise if done at high intensity. The really great thing about dancing is that you can have a good workout and have a lot of fun at the same time.
You can always find ways to move. You can also use household items such as gallons of water, soup cans, etc. for add weight and weight lifting.
We all love to eat great food. Therefore I want to share with you some recipes that are easy to make and taste great, while keeping the calories in check and providing you with a well rounded meal.
1 small bag of new potatoes
1 pound fresh green beans
4 small-medium chicken breast
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
6 tsp olive oil
2 tsp lemon zest
3 tbsp capers
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup low-fat or skim milk
1 tsp seasoning salt
2 tbsp garlic powder
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Clean green beans and snip ends. Place on a large sheet of aluminum foil. Drizzle 2 tsp olive oil over beans and season with 1/2 tsp seasoning salt, 1 tbsp garlic powder and 1/4 tsp pepper. Toss beans around. Fold foil to make an air tight pouch. Set aside. You will place beans in oven half way through the potatoes cooking time and cook for 15-20 minutes.
Clean potatoes and cut into 1/2 inch chuncks. Place on large piece of foil. Drizzle with 1 tsp olive oil and season with 1/2 tsp seasoning salt, 1 tbsp garlic powder and 1/4 tsp pepper. Toss potatoes around. Fold foild to make an air tight pouch. Place in oven for 35-40 minutes.
In a shallow bowl, combine 1/2 cup flour, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Set aside. Pound chicken breasts to 1/4 inch thinkness. Heat 2 tsps olive oil in large skillet.
Place the milk into a flat dish. Dip chicken breasts into milk and then into the dry ingredient mixture coating both sides of the chicken. Placing chicken into the hot skillet. Cook 2-3 minutes each side or until golden brown. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.
Add lemon juice and capers to pan, scraping pan to loosen any browned pits until it makes a small amount of sauce. Drizzle sauce mixture over chicken breasts.
Serve with green beans and new potatoes.
Why we do what we do...Whether you partake in excess drinking, eating, smoke or any other destructive behavior, you need to know why you are doing it. People do it to gain the feeling of pleasure and avoid some sort of pain. The reason and logic is typically complicated and depends on the experience, incident and person, though there it sometimes does result from a simple stress or frustration. These simple incidences typically will only cause the indulgent behavior to take a course of a day or two, rather than something that carries on for months or years.
By nature people seek an escape from realty with the thought process of excess equals pleasure and relief. Therefore, stopping unhealthy behaviores may not be an easy endeavor. In some instances seeking professional assistance from a counselor, personal trainer or other professional will be the only way to move forward from these patterns. The best strategy is outlined below, but since every person is different and unique in their way of preceiving reality, it is advised that you define and customize this strategy to your personal and uniquie issues.
Recognize Your Problem:
You need to stop and contemplate where these pleasures, vices and over indulgences will lead you in the future. You need to evaluate the side effects and compare the worst case scenario to your current cause of why you are using these vices. If you begin to balance your reality versus the outcomes of the crutch, you will begin to realize and define why you are using them in the first place rather than dealing with the issues at hand. Typically the issue at hand if dealt with results in a better outcome than continued use of the vice.
Once you discover the root cause of your behavior, you will be able to work on stopping the poor behavior. Once you begin to remove the poor behavior, the human brain will begin searching for something that will provide it with the pleasure that was generated from the vice. At this point you must withdraw from the poor behavior and find another activity that will be a “neutralizer” activity or habit that will begin leading you away from your problems. Working Out: Exercising is one of the best ways to deal with any vice. Working out has numerous advantages that include: changing your appearance, the perception of yourself, increasing self confidence, increasing sex appeal and facilitating a positive attitude about life. From a scientific point of view the list includes: reduction of bodyweight, increase in good cholesterol (HDL), reduction in bad and total cholesterol (LDL), reduction in blood pressure, and increase in insulin sensitivity among others. All of these things translate in to a prolonged life expectancy and an overall stable and happy person. Work: The simple premise of having part in society and contributing to it with the task of work, whether for a company of for oneself will prove beneficial over time, in both psychological and physiological ways. This will enhance self esteem, strengthen community relationships, and help you recognize your role in society and the world. The key is to find work doing something you love to do. When you do things that you love to do, your passion shines and inturn will allow you to reap the benefits.Hydration: Replace soft drinks by drinking moderate amounts of water. This will prove to keep you emotionally balanced, help lose weight, increase energy, keep your bodies alkaline, remove waste products from your metabolism and increase glow in your skin. All of these benefits will empower you to go on and move forward.
Stay on the Path Toward Success:
Once your situation starts improving, you may want to gain leverage or anchor yourself to the current optimized behavior to prevent the opportunity to waiver and have it fall apart. The best way to achieve this is to have help from someone else, preferably a specialist in the matter of addictions and/or health and wellness. If money is an issue, you might want to seek help from people whom are close to you. This does not necessarily include your friends or family because sometimes our own close environment is what makes us draw into these habits in the first place. Friends and family are important to all of us, but this does not mean they are the best role model you can emulate. If friends and/or family members are toxic, then you need to not associate with them. Surround yourself with friends and family who are uplifting and caring. This will help you be strong, grow, in setting goals and expectations to become a better you. This may not be the only thing you may try to become the best you. This will help you be empowered. Use these strategies and set your goals as enhancers of pleasure, rather than focusing on the” supposed pleasure” that destructive patterns produce. It all depends on one's personality traits and the type of addiction one is facing. With this known I ask you to seek out a professional consultation depending on your own custom needs.
Be Well and Best of Luck!
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2 pds Sweet Potatos (peeled & cut into 1 inch chunks), 4 tbls olive oil, 3 tbsp lime juice, 1 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1 cup fresh cilantro (chopped), 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 medium red bell pepper (seeded & cut into 1/4 inch chunks), 1 bunch scallions (finely chopped), 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp ground pepper.
Boil sweet potatos until tender (7-10 minutes). Drain and transfer to large bowl to cool. In a small bowl whisk olive oil, lime juice, chili powder, cumin and cilantro. Add bell pepper and scallions to drained potatos. Pour dressing over potatos and toss. Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate and bring to room temperature prior to serving. Makes six servings.
Nutrition Information per serving: 260 Calories, 10 grams total fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 4 grams fiber, 420 milligrams sodium, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 41 grams carbohydrates and 3 grams protein.
Source-IDEA Fitness Journal/Nutrition Action Newsletter 2010