With the Holiday Season in the past and all of us moving into the New Year, desperately attempting to stick to our respective New Year’s resolutions, sleep might be the last on our list. We are back to work, back to school, back to the daily routine and back to our respective training schedules. In case we did not have yet any training schedules for this year a week ago, the chances are, now we do – as a result of the resolutions we make around January the 1st… So, just a quick note: don’t get lost in all that craziness and do get some rest. As you might know, personally, I do quite a lot of triathlons and in our sport, sleep and recovery is called “the fourth discipline” (after the swimming/biking/running part). It is treated as an equally important aspect of preparation for the next race. Apparently, it is the best to sleep between 7 and 9 hours a day. The researchers are not yet sure why, but any longer sleep does not translate into anything that would benefit our bodies. They speculate that it might be because people who sleep too long often suffer from some chronic diseases or depression. They are not well; therefore, they sleep longer, but do not tend to profit from all that slumber time. If we sleep any shorter than 7 hours a day, we cause havoc in the hormone levels in our bodies. Stress hormones and hunger hormones skyrocket, causing us to overeat (possibly on so-called “comfort food” the next day. We have less energy and cannot focus well, which results in a skipped workout of the day or a poor workout, without any focus on the performed exercises. The body is in need of rest and simply cannot work on building healthy, lean body tissue or burning fat in any effective way. So, take all of the above into consideration and… sleep tight!
If you want to be done with your workout quickly AND have great results, crank the intensity of whatever you have been doing up! It is proven that instead of slaving for one hour on the bellowed oldie treadmill at a constant pace of [insert whatever has been your comfort treadmill pace over the last ten years here], you can gain some strength, endurance and fat- and calorie-burn capabilities by working out using an interval mode. It is a cool concept in today’s I-demand-it-faster-immediately-now! world we have been living in…
Get fit faster by drastically cutting the amount of time you spend chatting at the gym in between the sets, increasing the weights you lift, or increasing your workout intensity for some 6-10 times per workout (for only 10-20 seconds or so, go all out – to the extent of your abilities), and taking it at a slower pace in between: this pattern only ensures you will burn more calories over the 36 hours following your workout! Also, in case of the weight training, you can increase the number of sets or repetitions, your choice. By all means, make sure your GP is fine with you jumping on this fast-lane-to-fitness road. Once you are cleared, well, just HAVE FUN and write me about it at firstname.lastname@example.org! M.
Hello, Gals and Guys! Many of you ask me about the best strategy in terms of the abdominals: you know, THAT part of the body which seems to be always protruding in all the wrong directions, getting more than 3D and stubbornly collecting deep visceral fat, which is so hard to get rid of!
So, first of all, just RELAX. And I’m not kiddin’! Apparently, the stress greatly attributes to all that deep fat we put around the vital organs. Here is, why: when we are stressed, the body “thinks” that it is in danger and that maybe, maybe, it will have to do without any food for a longer time than it’d have liked to. So, it starts storing any extra calories it can find around right around the vital organs, such as the liver and stomach, for protection. Just in case… But it costs us many, many gained pounds! And this type of fat is just so hard to get rid of! So, we all will be much better off just not to stress (easy said…). ;-) Also, make sure to seep 7-9 hours each night.
Second, exercise and, in general, move around: the more you move and train, the more fat you have a chance to lose! The 6-pack abdos do not come from any focused spot training. Nope. They get revealed as a result of great nutrition strategy and moving around. Walk, jog, run, swim, play tennis, walk that golf field, row your boats!!! While on the phone, stand up, do not sit. Set your clock to remind you to stretch every 20 minutes or so. By all means, do not remain immobile for any longer periods of time!
Nutrition is 80% of our success here: IF you eat well, healthy, clean, if you eat lots of proteins and do not eat fast foods, those abs will reveal themselves: sooner or later, they will! Have an upper hand on your food intake, never skip your meals and make sure to have lots of satiating and healthy proteins throughout the day (think eggs, egg whites, beans, cottage cheese, tofu, chicken, turkey, and so on).
Only once you are on the track in terms of the nutrition, with help of targeted exercise, you will have a chance to help those muscles stand out there. Believe me, they are in there, burned under layers of fat, ready to be revealed!
And, last but not least, crunches are so passé! Nowadays, planks are all the rage: front planks, side planks, pulsating planks, dynamic planks… A while ago, the researchers put electrode endings on their study group consisting of some folks ready to do some planks and crunches for them. Apparently, the planks activated those abs to a much greater extent than the crunches!
Let me know if you want me to put you through some plank-involving routines, you’ll finally start seeing your abs while having fun! Stay in touch…
Vitamin E comes in 8 forms, yet it is still a relatively unknown and, unfortunately, neglected vitamin. While Vitamin C and B get all the hype, Vitamin E exists somewhere out there, but where? In what? In what form? Why should I eat stuff which contains that? What, finally, contains it?!...
It is a very important vitamin: one which performs a great antioxidant job, it also plays role in the neurological function of our bodies, in enzyme-related and even gene-expression tasks. It protects the cells from oxidative damage, chases the free radicals out of our system, helps in growth of smooth muscle and in healing of lesions and wounds.
Its deficiency can contribute to development of such serious conditions as peripheral neuropathy, ataxia and impacted immune response.
Some women even use it for their skin, especially during the pregnancy: breaking several capsules of vitamin E and massaging it on their tummy: apparently, it might prevent and/or reduce development of stretch marks.
Wheat germ oil is one rich source of it, but, if you are on a gluten-free program, this is not what you’d like to have. So, go for sunflower oil, palm oil, almonds, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, and top up with some fresh fruit and veggies: some of them – such as avocados, asparagus, broccoli, kiwi, mango, tomatoe, spinach, beet greens, collard greens and papaya, contain quite a lot of it. While one tbsp of wheat germ has 30 units of Vitamin E, one tbsp of peanut butter has 2 units of it. Daily, you want to consume about 22 International Units of Vitamin E. Your health and well-being will thank you for this! As always, stay Fit-Fit and e-mail me at email@example.com, I love getting messages from you!
I received this question from one of you. The choice is yours and it depends on your personal goals: both long-term and goals for the given day!
Do first the part which is more important to you on a given day or as a part of a given plan. If you aim at building muscles, lean body mass, power and strength, then warm up thoroughly and do the weight training session first. This way, your muscles will be still kicking and alive for the weight lifting part, while – in case you do the cardio first – your strength and overall muscle capabilities would be temporarily lowered due to fatigue. If you would rather put accent on your cardio, endurance, or, for example, improve the speed, then warm up and do the cardio first. Only then, top it up with some weight training. This sequence, actually, seems to be burning more calories than the other way around.
I am always for the variety and for changing and shaking things around in terms of the training. So, if you are pursuing general fitness, I’d simply recommend that you do cardio first on some days and the weights first on the other days. Only this change would assure that your body will keep guessing each and every day, what is next. Last but not least, I would not give up the weight training part. This is what builds the healthy muscle tissue in the body, which, in turn, burns so much more calories per hour than any other body tissue (such as fat). Once you get some nice muscles and train them, following each training session, you’ve got a guaranteed rest of the day of increased calorie burn (even while doing not related to fitness activities). The best is to perform your training (both cardio and weights!) using the interval method, which also guarantees you an increased post-exercise burn for up to 36 hours after you visited the gym! Stay Fit-Fit and keep me posted at firstname.lastname@example.org
You really do not have to pick up your pace that much, if you have enough of will, determination, stamina and time to go at a slower speed towards your goal! Tortoise is a winner for those of you who would rather, for example, walk than jog. Of course, if you are one of the cases who prefers to speed up and run versus walk, it makes you a winner, as well: you’ll need less time to accomplish the same fitness goal as a walker. To give you an example: What you burn over 60 minutes of a brisk walk equals to what the runners would burn over about 27 minutes of a 10-minute-per-mile run. So, it is a win-win situation: The main thing is to DO IT, to go out and exercise. However, the speed is left to your discretion. In fact, make sure you exercise at the speed you like – this way, you will lessen your chances of dropping out of your program altogether due to performing activities you simply don’t enjoy that much! Stay Fit-Fit, as always, and keep me posted about your fitness endeavors!
These are the words I heard a few months ago from one of my beloved Trainees…
They sort of got out of his mouth (with a big question mark at the end) following my probing if, by any, but by any chance, he had been doing his workout while away from home.
You see, whenever any of my Trainees wishes, in case they go away, I give them a handout with the prescribed exercises, numbers of repetitions and sets, and comments how on earth they should do them. Now, oftentimes, when they leave Sedona for a longer time, I’d do sessions with them using the Internet: I’d prepare a session especially for them, fire it their way, wait for the comments how (s)he “survived” the assault, and based on that, prepare the next plot, fire it their way… You get the idea. And I can also see them exercising on Skype, if they wish. I’d nag them, e-mail them, call them, doing all what is possible at my end to have the session (or sessions) happening at their end.
However, sometimes, the thing called “life” gets in their way and – no matter my efforts – they do not do their training. I cannot do much more at that point. Medicine is helpless. We reset the situation back to zero, so to speak, and start anew. One step at a time, one movement at a time and one session (with me in my Studio or on their own - wherever in the world they are) at a time.
So, coming back to my Trainee: He went away. He got super-trouper busy. The thing called “life” got in his way. The three sessions I had prepared for him in advance did not happen. Naturally, he is aware that I am aware that he does not have a dog in his household. So, when I asked, with that special look in my eye: “Did… your dog eat that handout I had given you before you left?”, he knew he could NOT, possibly, blame it on his dog/rabbit/friendly snake/homey tarantula/Greg the Lizard. Nope. So, he looked at me with that sparkle of the last hope in his eye and cheerfully answered/questioned: “Ahem… I think my wife ate that???...”.
Yey. I smiled back with full understanding. Because, you know, life does happen. And we just need to focus and keep going.
So, I do know you do what possible to keep exercising and keep staying healthy and in shape. By now, I am sure you know I do whatever possible in this Galaxy so you stay healthy and in shape. Now, what we do need in here is to truly commit to the goals at hand, repetitively. Even if it gets hard, even if it happens that we do skip a session or we have that Margarita (yummy, don’t get me started!...). ;-) Just accept that it happened and calmly, but persistently, come back on the track. Like my Trainee: You know what? Since then, he has been travelling a lot (losing weight in the meantime, gaining strength and flexibility) and he never-ever let anyone eat his homework again!!!! J Stay Fit-Fit, and remember, I am always rooting for you!
On occasion, you really can (justifiably!) be in that type of a mood that if someone tells you again to eat your salad, you might explode. We UNDERSTAND. After all, how many salad leaves can we digest daily without getting that feelin’ of turning into some sort of a rabbit???? Half a cup? A cup? TWO full cups????
Well, there is a remedy: you want to eat your greens, or you do not want to eat your greens but you feel you have to eat them, or you want or do not want to eat your greens AND you cannot eat any more of the salad thingie!!!! What is a gal or guy to do?
Eat dark green stuff such as: collard greens, Swiss chard, turnips, bok choy (or baby bok choy, my personal favorite, boosting with antioxidants!), escarole, spinach, broccoli or kale. They are all dark green, boosting with body-friendly nutrients, full of good filling fibers and easy to prepare. Actually, not very popular collard greens might contribute to lowering the “bad” cholesterol levels even better than the well-known and often used spinach or broccoli (not that there is anything wrong with these two, either… Just promoting the less-known guy…). You can sauté stuff with collards and garlic, for example. Or you can add the greenery into a nice portion of scrambled eggs or egg whites (full of proteins, as well). You can season your greens with vinegar or red pepper flakes – the more spicy the food, the more calories you burn during the day – and hey, every calorie counts, right?! So, go for that chili pepper and black pepper without any hesitation. If you decide to indulge in just one cup of kale, you’ll get a full day’s worth of vitamin C and vitamin A, as well as much more than even needed of the vitamin K. In one of my Be Fit Fit Newsletters, I presented a great and popular recipe for very healthy kale chips: check it up on my web site at www.befitfit.biz, under the “Newsletters” Tab. Turnips is also full of Vitamin K, and it does not joke in terms of fiber, and the Chard is yet another option if you want to replenish the levels of both vitamin A and C. As always, if you can, go organic: these leaves are not protected by anything against the pesticides, pollutants and all other types of daily assaults. Even if you get organic: wash them really well (even if yours boosts the “pre-washed” words on its package. Also, it is good to spin them after washing: they won’t be too wet not too dry, they will be… just perfect! Have fun and be creative in the kitchen, 80% of the weight-management success is in the nutrition, only about 20% is in the exercise (OK, 3% is the genetics, but let’s not go into such details…)…. Stay Fit-Fit, and e-mail me, if anything, at email@example.com!
I cannot overstate how important it is to be confident. Actually, this applies to all aspects of life, but today, I just would like to put your attention to the role of confidence in our fitness-related pursuits. What does it mean to be confident? If you are confident, you believe that you are able and will reach your goal or goals: be it simply a weight loss goal, a goal of finishing your first 5K, a goal of doing an Ironman under 11 hours, or such a simple thing as a goal of eating on the healthy side.
Even with the best motivation and even if we try our best to believe and remain confident, it is hard not to be “under-confident” from time to time. Self-doubt, busy life, tiredness, the thing called “daily life” cram into our plans and try to destabilize us and our pursuit of both the confidence and, through it, of our goals.
One thing we can do in order not to lose confidence is to focus on the daily progress: OK, I ate healthy this morning, did not “forget’ to have the breakfast, now I have to focus on the task at hand: eating a healthy lunch. And so on…
Also, make sure that your environment promotes all tidbits which can contribute to gaining more confidence: reach to your family for support, ask them not to go out to a fast food restaurant this week, make sure you shop for healthy foods and stock them at home, so there is no temptation to reach for that frozen pizza, because it simply is not in your fridge! Make sure you train for your first 5K: start from walking, then alternate walking and jogging, then increase the amount of time you jog versus walk, then make it a goal to jog the entire 5K several weeks before your first race. Then, try to run it over a decreasing amount of time, by applying various training methods, such as intervals, hill training, tempo runs, and so on…
With each and every workout completed, you will gain a tidbit of… confidence! So you will with each healthy meal you eat. You will feel more and more confident in your fitness, abilities, strength, balance and flexibility with each and every workout you have. Your confidence is not static, its levels fluctuate, depending on how successful you have been with your pursuits. Oftentimes, reaching smaller goals, such as a completion of a great workout, leads to an increased level of confidence from that moment on. And this, in turn, makes it so much easier to believe in ourselves and to go for and reach that major goal, such as a 50lbs weight loss or completion of a half-marathon.
If you lack motivation or confidence, talk to your trainer. If you don’t have one, perhaps it is a good time to hire her, investing in your physical and psychological wellbeing and health? Stay Fit-Fit and e-mail me at any time at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Goals are dreams with a plan, and when we stop setting them, we stop moving forward.” Chris “Macca” McCormack