Tag Archives: Health and Fitness

Shape Up Your Attitude!

As a personal trainer, I have heard all the excuses for people not allowing themselves to get into shape. I have heard all the crazy excuses like “but it’s my 2nd cousin’s birthday”, or “I messed up at the beginning of the week, so I decided I may as well start fresh next week”, or the best one yet, “because I have been working out so much, I thought it wouldn’t matter if I let my diet slide for a few month because my fast metabolism from all the muscle should burn all the bad calories. I thought”. Now that is a mouth full!

Its time to shape up your attitude! If your head is not in the right spot, you will never allow yourself to reach your fitness and weight loss goals. There are many people out there that have bad food cravings which they give in to on a daily basis, or they emotionally eat instead of getting off the couch and going for a walk. There are also others who just don’t care because they are in such a bad spot in general that they are allowing their lives to spin out of control.

There are a few steps to take to help “shape up” your mind to prepare yourself for health and fitness.

Think about what is really upsetting you

If you are upset about work, friends, or your spouse, take a step back and think about how to work the situation out before emotionally eating. Nothing is worse then making yourself feel even more upset because you sabotaged your goals with food in a way to cope with your emotions. If you actually think you need to talk to someone about your problems, do not be afraid to do so.

Learn to control your cravings

Ask yourself “do I really need that chocolate bar? What will I get out of eating that pint of ice cream besides regret and self-loathing?” When I am craving something that is not good for me, I sit back and think about if the extra calories is really worth it, and I think about how it really tastes. Usually I remember that the food doesn’t taste as good as I think, and I rather eat something healthy that tastes great. Eating something you crave then regretting it afterwards because it didn’t taste good is never worth the extra calories and the feeling of guilt.

Put health first

I have a problem thinking about some of the foods that are out there for anyone to eat. A 1000 calorie burger and fries never seems appealing to me because of the saturated fat, sodium and overall heart-clogging affects of the foods. I always picture in my mind what these foods could do to my body if I allow myself to eat this way every day. There are many things in life that we all want to do and experience, and we cannot do these things if we sacrifice health for poor food choices everyday. The risk of diabetes, cancer, heart disease and other illnesses are not worth messing up our lives. Also think about your family and how tragic it would be for them to lose you at a young age because you had such an unhealthy lifestyle of fast food and no exercise.

I rather live longer then sacrifice my health for poor choices in food.

You don’t need a gym to get into shape

Many people despise the gym, but the good thing is a gym is not necessary to get into shape. The nice weather is here and the possiblilities are endless! Go for more walks, hikes, start running outdoors, play with your children in the park, make a date with your friends and make up your own outdoor workouts, play frisbee, soccer, baseball, I can go on and on! Take advantage of mother nature, it is wonderful out there. There is no excuse not to! There is always the option to workout at home too, and there are many videos and programs you can find for free on the internet.

Stop blaming others for your actions

When it comes down to it, you need to take responsibility for your own actions. Many people like to put the blame on to others, like their spouses or their family, but you are the one to blame. You are the one who is responsible for what you eat, and how you treat yourself. You cannot blame someone else for you pigging out on a plate of nachos at a party because it was on the table. Fill your plate with fruits, vegetables and protein, and if you must, take a few bites for a taste and avoid pigging out. If your husband brings home pizza when you are trying to lose weight, tell him to keep it away from you! Explain your goals and kindly express the way you feel about the food that he brings in to your home. If you are at a family gathering, eat the healthy foods. You don’t owe anyone an explaination as to why you choose salad over pasta or fruit over cake or sparkling water over a beer. You are the one in control of your life, so control it!

No more excuses! If you want to change your life and your health, do it! No one can do it for you. Get your head in the right space and realize what you are doing to yourself before you sabotage yourself more. Its never too late to make a change for the better, and no one ever regretted getting healthy and fit. Keep that in mind next time you want to sit on the couch with your bag of chips!

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Are you Over-Training?


As fitness athletes, we are obsessed with training and pushing our bodies to the max. This can be very rewarding for your body and your mind. But sometimes obsession can lead to over-training, which can be detrimental to the body, leading to injuries, illness and even body dysmorphic disorder.

Overtraining is something most of us do not think about. Overtraining can be a very negative thing for your body and overall fitness goals. Here is a list of signs that you may be overtraining:

  • Prolonged muscle soreness
  • Insomnia
  • Elevated resting heart rate
  • Increased colds and flues
  • Loss of motivation
  • Increased injuries
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Decrease in training intensity
  • A compulsive need to exercise
  • Decreased appetite

Do any of these signs stand out to you? Chances are you may be over-training. Think about your usual habits in the gym. If you are only training 4-5 times per week for 1 hour, you are most likely not over-training. If you are never taking a break and training 2-3 hours per day, then over-training is probably what you are experiencing.

Use a training log and write down how you feel after every training session to keep yourself in check. Go back and read what you have written down, and look for signs in your own words of decreased enthusiasm and downward trends in your training. It is important to listen to your body signals and rest when you are tired.

Take a break from training to allow time for recovery. If you feel that you may be doing more harm than good, take a few days of rest. Sometimes when injuries happen, or focus and motivation are low, allow yourself one week away from fitness to revive the body and mind. When you return to your usual training, you may have more focus, feel stronger and enjoy your workouts again.

The body repairs and strengthens itself during rest between workouts, and continuous training can actually weaken the strongest athletes. Taking a day or two off is not going to make you gain weight or set you back. You will allow your body to recover during your days off, which will allow your muscles to get stronger and grow.

Exercise should be enjoyed, and if you are in the gym parking lot dreading to go in, take a break. Your body and your mind will thank you!


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Coping With Diet Saboteurs


There is always has to be that one person in your life— at your job, amongst your closest friends or a family member. They can mean well or they may be a tad spiteful, but often people in your life have no idea how they are sabotaging you. It seems like every time you take a step forward to gain power over food, they are in your face offering you chocolate, a brownie, some chips, or an extra helping of mashed potatoes and gravy.

To sum it all up, people don’t like CHANGE. Getting fit and losing weight are changes you welcome, but if family and friends are not on the same page, they can be uncomfortable or perhaps a bit jealous with your changes. They may feel guilty that you are losing weight and they are not. Some people may not understand because they have never had a weight problem and they don’t realize how hard you worked to get the weight off. They may think it is ridiculous for you to worry about what you eat. Some friends and family may miss the old you, and the old you was the one spending time with them during happy hour and indulging on high-fat foods. This may be the “you” that they miss.

First thing, don’t assume the worst. Unless sabotage is blatantly deliberate, give saboteurs the benefit of the doubt when it comes to their motives. If your mother serves you your favourite dish, it’s most likely because she associates food with love, not that she wants you fat. It doesn’t pay to get angry, especially to your mother.

Just say no. You wouldn’t expect to have a drink forced on you if you were a recovering alcoholic, so tell the food pusher, “No, thanks,” and leave it at that. You don’t owe an explanation and you shouldn’t feel guilty.

Work on your own support system. It’s a proven fact- when your social network supports you, you will achieve positive results. Try recruiting family and friends to be part of your healthy lifestyle. If that’s not feasible, take a different approach like joining a weight-loss group, temporarily avoid friends who are a negative influence, or join group classes at your gym and meet others with the same goal.  In time you will get stronger and learn to handle the not-so-supportive people in your life.

Explain your goals and ask for help. Don’t expect your friends and family to read your mind and to know what your needs are. Tell them! Explain how important your goals are and be reasonable about them, especially with the people you live with. They may be willing to make short-term compromises about what foods are kept in the house.

Take responsibility. Remember that what you put in your mouth is your responsibility. While others may tempt you, ultimately you’re in charge of your own life. Look at difficult situations as opportunities to test your newfound control, and reinforce the idea that you are not adopting a healthier lifestyle for someone else, only for you.


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Why the Weight Won’t Come Off


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You are busting your butt everyday at the gym, sometimes two times per day. You are doing endless amounts of cardio and eating a very strict
low-fat diet. It has been months now, and you have only lost one pound! At this point you are thinking….

“Why do I even bother? Why is the weight not coming off?”

I probably hit a sore spot with a lot of women just now with the first paragraph. I see this almost every day with my job as a personal trainer and a competition coach. I have many women sit down with me and ask me the same question. Usually in about a matter of 2 minutes, I figure out what is going wrong with a few simple questions.

Your Current Diet

It can be the amount of food you are eating, or the type of food. A lot of us get caught up in the low fat, low carbohydrate diets. We buy bars, shakes and other processed foods thinking that they are healthy for us. Most of these foods are loaded with chemicals to preserve them and make the foods taste better. Low fat versions of food usually will have some sort of sugar added to make them flavourful. There can be many other reasons why your current diet is holding you back, for example too many carbohydrates or too many “treats” during the day. Or it can be as simple as too many calories.

Your Solution

Start prepping whole and fresh foods, and avoid anything in a package. If you think you may be eating too many calories, keep a food journal to figure out where you may be going wrong. Most people eat too many carbohydrates and not enough lean proteins and healthy fats, and if you
document your food, you may be shocked at what you are doing to yourself. If you have a weak spot for certain treats, keep them out of your house. If your favourite treats are not around, you won’t be tempted to pick at them.

Over-Training

More is not always better when it comes to training, and I can be guilty of this myself. I have spoken to many women who over-train,
especially with cardio. Some women I have spoken to do massive amounts of cardio; 2 hours in the morning and again in the evening! This to me is a hard concept to grasp since it is pretty tough for me to actually do a boring cardio session for a long period of time.

Your Solution

Try interval training. Interval training is very efficient and can burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time. Interval training should be so intense that you shouldn’t last more than 20 minutes, and in my opinion, 20 minutes of interval training is plenty. Switch it up day by day between interval training and continuous cardio, and keep continuous cardio to 45 minutes max.

Not Enough Weight Training

There are still many women who fear weight training, or to lift more than 10 pounds. The fear is that their bodies will “bulk” up and they will look manly. The fact of the matter is, women do not have the genetics to build up large muscles like men do. To increase your metabolism you need to build muscle. Muscle is more metabolically active than fat, you have the potential for a negative energy balance, which can result in weight loss – or fat loss – due to your metabolic rate. And that can add up. Muscle is also smaller than fat, so it takes up less space in our bodies than fat does.

Your Solution

Try full body resistance training 2 to 3 times per week, starting with the large muscle groups and ending with the smaller muscles. Try
super sets, strip sets, and giant sets. There are many ways to have a great workout, and avoid taking a lot of rest in between sets to burn lots of
calories and to make the most out of your workout.

You Train the Same Way Over and Over Again

You may have hit a plateau with your training and don’t even realize it. Many of us get caught up doing the same exercises the same way day
after day, and when this is done too much, your body will get used to the same exercises and will not respond to them any longer.

Your Solution

Change your routine maximum once per month. Change up the way you train and lift heavy. Ask advice from a fitness expert for new and
challenging ways to train to keep your body guessing.

You Don’t Give Yourself a Chance

There are many women I have spoken to with weight loss goals in mind. Unfortunately they don’t allow themselves a chance to actually acheive their goals. There is always an event, or a party or just an average weekend that the sabotaging happens. These women beat themselves up to no end, and then they do this again! Its a never-ending evil cycle that needs to be broken.

Your Solution

Keep in mind what is important to you; your weight loss goals or a weekend of binge eating and drinking alcohol with your friends. The answer will always be the same – You Are What is Important! Stop making excuses and stop selling yourself short. If you really want something to happen for yourself, you should never give up. This way of thinking is used in all aspects of life; job promotions or a dream vacation. Why should it be any different for weight loss or other fitness goals? Your family and true friends will understand eventually, and you still can have a good time at events without all the extra calories from food and alcohol.

There is always a solution to a problem, no matter how frustrating it can be. Take a step back to evaluate the problem and figure out a way to solve it. Weight loss does not have to be this stressful, and you should avoid over-thinking things. Keep your head in check and your eye on your goals. Good things always come to those who wait, and the best thing to do is stay patient! Remember that next time you feel like there is no hope.


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The Treat Meal


For all you competitors, you know this meal all too well. Some of you refer to it as a “cheat meal”.  I never use this descriptor to avoid the negative connotation that it implies.  To cheat is to say that you are not being compliant on your diet. Webster’s defines cheat as fraudulent or deceptive. Who on earth would want to accept such a negative word in their prep?

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