Keepin It Simple – 4 Easy Ways to Stay on Track in 2015

keep it simple

Happy New Year! and Happy New Year Resolutions! What will it be this year? Losing weight, gaining health, getting fit, building muscle, exercise more, eat less. Whatever your goals, one of the best strategies for success is  to Keep It Simple.

Here are my four favorite tips for any health and fitness related goals –

1.  Don’t Stress Out!  Stressing out about “how bad” you ate over the last 4 days, or how little you exercised is NOT going to help you lose the weight.  Nope, in fact, stress can make you hold onto more fat and pounds.  So stop it!  Move forward and don’t look back at what you did or didn’t do last week or weekend.

2.  Exercise with intensity!  Workout hard!  It doesn’t have to be long, it just needs to be intense.  And who wants to spend hours exercising anyway? I was so busy with kids this week, I only got 10-20 minute at the gym each day. I made sure my intensity was maxed out, and I feel like I got a good, all be it short, workout.

3.  Drink water like it’s your job!  Yes, down that water to flush out what you are retaining from any over-indulgent eating.  Salt, alcohol, and excess sugar can lead to a lot of bloat, so drink your water to flush it out! Who cares if you go to the bathroom 12 times a day?

4.  Just eat sensibly.  Eat your lean proteins, high fiber foods, fruits, veggies, and healthy fats.  It won’t take many days to see the changes.

Roll Back The Years With Healthy Teeth

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I am pleased to have Darla Scheidt, Marketing Director at Grove Dental Associates, as my guest poster again. Need a New Year’s Resolution? How about looking younger with a brighter, whiter smile. Whiter teeth are just a few steps away. Read on for great tips from Darla….

A smile might be worth a thousand words, but a smile that shows dingy, stained or chipped teeth can convey a message that you might not want to send. Your smile is one of the first things people notice when they meet you for the first time — and first impressions are formed very quickly. If you instantly want to impress others with your youthful look and your fantastic smile, you’re going to want to make sure your teeth are white, bright and healthy-looking!

 YOUR TEETH CAN REVEAL YOUR TRUE AGE. No matter how much money you spend on anti-wrinkle cream, vitamins and even cosmetic surgery, your true age can easily be revealed by the look of your teeth. Over the course of your lifetime, your teeth may gradually become stained, dull or chipped. Not only can your teeth add years to your appearance, they can also cause others to believe that you neglect your oral health. This can lead to embarrassment and might cause you to refrain from smiling.

If your teeth are showing the inevitable signs of aging, it’s time to figure out how to roll back the years by establishing oral health practices and doing what is necessary to restore your white, sparkly and beautiful teeth. You will look years younger and you will undoubtedly feel more vibrant.

 

START WITH DAILY BRUSHING AND FLOSSIING. The absolute most important thing you can do for your teeth is brush and floss them every day. Believe it or not, many people neglect this simple routine practice — even though brushing and flossing only takes a few minutes. Whether you use a manual or electric toothbrush is not as important as making sure your teeth are brushed every morning and every evening. Daily flossing is just as essential to maintain the health of your teeth.

 MAKE SURE TO RINSE YOUR MOUTH WITH WATER AFTER EATING AND DRINKING. After you drink a cup of coffee or red wine, or after you eat any type of food that can cause staining, make sure you rinse your mouth with water. (If you can brush your teeth after eating or drinking, that’s even better!) When you rinse your mouth, you minimize the risk of staining your teeth. Rinsing is also a good way to prevent tooth decay.

VISIT YOUR DENTIST TWICE A YEAR FOR A PROFESSIONAL CLEANING AND ORAL EVALUATION. Dental professionals recommend that you have a professional teeth cleaning and oral evaluation twice a year. A professional cleaning allows a dental hygienist to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth, and also includes a polishing treatment. During your bi-annual dental visit, a dentist will examine your teeth and gums and ensure that everything is healthy. If a dental problem is discovered, it’s important to have it fixed as quickly as possible in order to prevent additional problems.

 HAVE YOUR TEETH WHITENED. If your teeth have a yellow, brown, blue or purple hue, you may be able to whiten your teeth with an over-the-counter teeth whitening system. If an at-home whitening system is not effective, most dentists offer teeth whitening services in their office. Such procedures are usually quick and painless.

 

CONSIDER OTHER COSMETIC DENTAL PROCEDURES. Your dentist has the ability to improve the appearance of your teeth with various cosmetic dental procedures. Some of the most common include porcelain dental veneers, tooth bonding, crowns, bridges, dental implants and more. Make sure to ask your dentist about the available dental procedures that will work best for you.

Remember, your teeth and your smile are a focal point on your face. Therefore, you want to make sure your teeth look as youthful as possible so that you convey a healthy and vibrant appearance. Make people underestimate your age by keeping your teeth bright and shining.

 

 

Author Bio:

Darla Scheidt is the Marketing Director at Grove Dental Associates. Grove Dental is a successful multi-office, multi-specialty group dental practice in the Chicago western suburbs.  With four offices, more than 30 doctors and having been in practice for more than 40 years, they have been able to stay on the cutting edge of dentistry to better serve each one of their patients.

 

 

The Flex Belt – Friend or Foe?

I have never been aCAM00244c big fan of fitness equipment fads. I go with the tried and true free weights and running through my neighborhood. With that said, when I was contacted by The Flex Belt representative to try out the company’s product, how could I resist. I get a free Flex Belt to try, and then I just have to write an honest review.

So, we all have those things that we hold to be true, and two of my biggies (when it comes to fitness) are that 6 pack abs are made in the kitchen more so than the gym. Of course it’s important to work out your abdominals to build those muscles, but unless you have a healthy diet and lose some of your abdominal fat, all that ab work will never show itself. Secondly, I don’t feel like I have had a great workout unless I am sore the next day. This second one may or may not be scientifically true, but in my mind it’s true for me.

So here are the pros and cons –

PRO:

1. It’s easy to use once all the pads are in place. Don’t get intimidated by the pads… they are a bit sticky. Be sure to read the directions.

2. There are so many intensity levels of muscle contraction, it seems unlikely to get maxed out or outgrow the belt’s scope for a strong ab workout. The belt has longevity of usefulness.

3. MY ABS ARE SORE THE NEXT DAY… YAY!

4. I can wear it around the house while playing with the kids, cooking dinner, chores, or whatever.

5. It comes with a convenient carry case.

6. I don’t have to take time at the gym to work abs, and it works all abdominal muscles, so there is no need to do three different exercises to get this result. .. which translates to a shorter work out or more time for other muscles groups.


 

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CON:

1. It’s a bit pricey.

2. The directions indicate that if you have a belly button ring, you must take it out. This may or may not be an issue for ring wearers.

3. The belt is set up for only one individual to wear… can’t be shared with other family members.

4. I haven’t had to replace them yet, but additional gel pads must be ordered – (the belt includes the first set)

 

So, The Flex Belt claims that it will stimulate all your major stomach muscles at the same time providing you with the perfect abdominal contraction – that means your upper abs, the lower abs and even your obliques are going to get worked from The Flex Belt… and it does all the work for you. From what I have experienced this claim holds true. Will it give you a six pack abs? It may, but you won’t see that six pack reveal itself unless (or until) you also have a diet that contributes to shedding belly fat. Will I continue to use my Flex Belt… YES!

For additional information on The Flex Belt, check out this link! http://www.theflexbelt.com/?mcp=12389

Big Props for the Park -6 Exercises Using a Park Bench

In honor of the start of fall, I want to give props to the park bench.
Here are a few ideas to get a great workout without having to go any farther than your neighborhood park:
1. Bench jumps
  • Start by squaring up your shoulders to the bench and slightly bending your knees.
  • With both legs, jump up onto the bench and try to land in the same position from which you started.
  • Jump back down to the starting position. That’s one rep.
  • Try to do three sets of 10 jumps to get started.

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2. Incline push-ups

  • Place your hands shoulder-width apart on the edge of the bench, and put your feet back into a plank position.
  • As you do a push-up, make sure to keep your back and neck in line with each other to prevent any strain on your neck.
  • Reverse your position for a more challenging option.

 

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3. Bulgarian split squats

  • Start by facing away from the bench.
  • Move your left foot back and lift it up onto the bench with your right foot still underneath you.
  • Slowly bend your right leg into a 90-degree angle. “Avoid bringing your knee over your toe and turning your hips,” said Kensie Noble, senior in kinesiology and president of Alliance for Health and Fitness Professionals Club.
  • Come back up to your starting position. That’s one rep. Try to finish two sets of 10 on each leg.

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4. Step-ups

  • Face the bench with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Put your right foot onto the bench.
  • As you come to the top, drive your left knee into your chest before stepping back down.
  • Do 10 reps on each leg for three rounds.

 

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5. Side Step-ups

  • Stand parallel to the bench
  • Using your inside leg, step up onto the bench and drive the opposite knee upward.
  • Do 10 step-ups on each leg for three rounds.

6. Tricep Dips

  • Sit on the bench and position your hands shoulder-width apart on the edge of the seat.
  • With your legs extended out in front of you, scoot your butt off the seat so that your hands are the only thing touching the bench.
  • While keeping your back straight and close to the bench, use your arms to slowly lower yourself until your elbows are around a 90-degree angle.
  • Press down into the bench to raise yourself back to the starting position.
  • That’s one rep. Try to complete two sets of 15.

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With all of these exercises, make sure that you are using good form to prevent injuries. Put some headphones in or grab a friend, and go enjoy the great outdoors.

The Do and Don’ts for Avoiding Exercise Burnout

images[1]Burnout is a psychological term that refers to long-term exhaustion and diminished interest in work. Thanks Wikipedia!

We all experience burnout whether it’s at work, home, with family, friends, diet, and even exercise, maybe especially exercise.

Consider how many gym memberships purchased in January go unused in July, or how all you can think about is a cheeseburger two weeks into a new diet plan. Burnout can happen over years or in a matter of days.

Certain habits or lack of certain habits will accelerate the burnout process.

 

So if you don’t want to suffer from exercise burnout….

DO NOT Wing It

Failing to plan is planning to fail, as the saying goes, and creating lofty, long-term goals without establishing checkpoints along the way is failing to plan. Shoot for the moon, but include intermediate and short-term goals to assure that you remain on track to achieve your long-term goals.

Example:

Long-term goal: I will finish a marathon this year.

Intermediate goal: I will finish a half marathon within the next six months.

Short-term goal: Within the next week, I will jog three times for a minimum of 10 minutes each run.

Writing goals down (on paper, using a smart phone app or online software program) is an absolute must.

DO NOT Forget to Self-Assess

Your goal-setting process should include assessing weak links in the chain and how to address them. Using the example above of planning to finish a marathon, short-term goals could include completing some form of a fitness test, such as a one-mile run for time, gait analysis, nutrition consultation, body composition analysis, etc.

Example:

Short-term Goal No. 2: Within the next two weeks, I will complete a one-mile run for time to assess my current fitness status.

Intermediate goals should re-evaluate these tests every few weeks to validate your exercise regimen and determine what tweaks you may need to make. Modifying goals along the way (to account for “life”) is a  key to achievement and  sustained motivation. Altering your long-term goals can also be critical; for example, switching from the full marathon to the half marathon two weeks before a race is better than not showing up at all.

DO NOT Skimp on Sleep

Research suggests those who sleep less than six hours per night are at greater risk for burnout. Too little sleep can cause fatigue, impaired mental function and increased sensitivity to stress, as well as decreased motivation and physical performance. In a busy world, we seem to prioritize so much at the expense of ZZZs. There are usually enough excused to go around for not exercising, don’t add “too tired” to the list.

DO Take Time to Truly Relax

Multiple experts agree that a key to avoiding burnout from your job is being able to turn off work when you get home. Likewise, tuning out from exercise from time to time is essential to maintaining a long-term fitness program. Expert coaches suggest taking at least one day per week completely off from structured exercise and including another day or two of restorative activities (yoga, hikes, naps and Sunday football couch potato-ing all count as restoration). Every few months, take an entire week off, and just relax.

DO Find a Sport You Enjoy

Some people hate running – I would not suggest a marathon training program for those individuals. The key to longevity of an activity or fitness program is enjoyment; sometimes you must ignore what your friends are doing or the most popular class at your gym, and simply do what makes you happy. If it makes you sweat and also makes you smile, it’s the right activity for you. I still have a Groupon for 4 Pilate’s classes hanging over my head, because my friends think Pilate’s is great…. I am a gym rat and always will be.

DO NOT Overdo It

A fine line exists between what fitness experts call over-reaching and over-training. Over-reaching involves applying the overload principle to exercise, i.e. increasing the intensity, duration and/or frequency of exercise to create positive stress on your body that will gradually result in fitness gains. When over-reaching, you should feel tired and sore, but two to three days of adequate recovery should cure that.

Over-training occurs when the increase in physical activity is too much and recovery is insufficient. It can involve loss of sleep, lethargy, injury and a lack of fitness gains despite an increased workload. When in doubt, listen to your body – go hard when you feel good, and rest up when you feel overworked.

DO NOT Live for Repetition

Imposing the exact same stress demand on our bodies habitually does not result in positive gains. Doing the same activities each day or the same exercise routine will lead to a physical plateau and eventual mental burnout. Not to mention it gets really boring! Even if you’re a creature of habit, add variety to your favorite activity… it may be a change of scenery, faster or slower run times, switching up the free weights for machines, taking a Zumba class instead of Yoga, or whatever.. A change of pace and scenery may keep your muscles honest and your mind fresh.

The path toward burnout is can be averted. Self-assessment, goal planning, adequate sleep and recovery, variety and, most importantly, enjoyment can keep you pointed in the direction of lifelong fitness and goal accomplishment.

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