Motivation – How To Get It and How To Keep It

How many articles do we need to read to get motivated? For me, I could read a motivational article every day and not be bored. There are a million ways to motivate yourself to exercise, or do anything for that matter, but here is a list of a few of my favorites.

Think about how you feel after a workout. I always feel great after a good workout. It’s like a high, all be it an exhausted one at times. I let that motivate me the next time by remembering the sense of accomplishment I feel after.

Think about reaching a goal. Set a goal for weight, or your waist measurement, or a number of days to work out, or a number of miles to run this week. Setting and tracking a goal helps motivate you to complete that goal. Just be sure to make it easily achievable.

Think about others’ success stories. I enjoy reading blogs about people who are into running, or losing weight. It can show the ups and downs they go through, and you can learn from their experiences. I find the success stories of others incredibly inspirational. If a fitness website has success stories, I’ll almost always read them. Maybe I should add success stories to mine.

Think about an upcoming event. A trip to the beach, or a reunion. We are going to Vegas next in a few weeks. Nuff said.

Think of it as “me time”. I mean this in two kinds of ways. While many people make time to take care of others (kids, spouse, other family, co-workers, boss), they don’t often make time to take care of themselves. So on the one hand, use this me time to make yourself a priority, and on the other hand, think of it as a quick “escape” from the stress of kids and a time for contemplation.

Think about how you’re going to look. Imagine a slimmer, fitter you, and let that visualization drive you.

Motivation can be different for everyone. It really doesn’t matter how you get motivated and stay motivated, as long as you do it for yourself.


Engage In Life – Easy Moves To Challenge The Body

I read an interesting statement the other day. THE BODY ADAPTS DOWN. This makes sense when you think about how smart our bodies are.  They can adapt to the most strenuous situations and challenges, so the opposite must be true, too.

If we are physically inactive, muscles become smaller, bones become thinner, hormone production decreases, cellular conversion of energy gets lazy — nature chooses disintegration.

 We are looking at buying a new car, so I turn to the car analogy. Even the most expensive, luxury car won’t run after being left in a garage for too long without use. The batteries will go dead, the tires will go flat. Similarly, a person whose heart, lungs and muscles have gone flat isn’t going to be able to do much.

To avoid this dead battery syndrome, keep yourself active by keeping your body engaged in life.

I’m not talking about extreme exercise, or spending hours at the gym every day, but regular activities that promote deep breathing, sweating, and keeping muscles toned. Walking (especially uphill), swimming, bicycling, resistance training, even just deep breathing are all good activities. How about playing/running with the kids, sweeping the pool (twice maybe), or mopping the floor for that matter, doing some sit-ups or push-ups while you watch your favorite show, get creative, but get moving. Here are a few more suggestions to start you off.

Push-ups – Okay, probably not the most favorite exercise for many people, but there are different ways to do push-ups that don’t make them so hard. You don’t need to pretend you’re “Rocky”, and do them with one hand; just do what works for you. Do them on your knees, instead of keeping your legs straight. Or, do them standing up against a wall. You will be building up arm strength and working out muscles in your chest area.

Jumping Jacks – Does this bring back memories of third grade P.E.? These are always fun, as they bring back memories of being a kid! Well, surprise – they are also great cardio exercises, and good for warming up, too.

Leg Lifts – Leg lifts are great for building up strength and muscles in your legs. Just like with push-ups, there are a few variations. If you find it hard to do the exercises with your legs straight, try bending them slightly.

Dancing – Dancing is a wonderful exercise, which is great for your heart. Not only that, but it can lift your spirits as well, especially if you do some silly and crazy moves with the kids. Crank up the tunes and get moving.

Jogging In Place – Jogging is a great exercise for your heart. You can jog in place at home while watching TV or listening to music. The only equipment you will require is a good pair of shoes, to eliminate any stress to your legs. Mix it up with some high knees.

Squats – Squats are the “go to” exercise for your legs and buttocks. To get the technique down, you can even try these by sitting and standing up again from a regular chair.

The body is a smart cookie, so use this to your advantage by challenging your body and keep it moving to ensure that your body adapts up instead of down.

Cardiovascular Exercise – 3 Reasons To Get Your Heat Pumping

Love it or hate it, cardio is the key to good health.  I usually dread cardio, but I am oh so glad when it is over.  My flavor of the month right now is spinning and running.  I love to run through the neighborhood, but hate running on the treadmill, so running might have to take a hiatus for the next month or so, until it cools off a bit.  Even at 5:00 AM it seems to be hitting 90 degrees lately.

The term cardio covers a wide range of activities that include the use of major muscle groups in the body working in a continuous manner. But most importantly, the heart muscle is the one to benefit the most from cardiovascular exercises. There are various physical activities that can be considered cardio training, such as walking, jogging, running, swimming, rowing, cycling, as well as taking classes like Zumba, cardio kick boxing, or even something as novel as pole dancing.

The nice thing about cardio is that even a little bit goes a long way to lead you to good health.

1. It boosts energy levels. Regular cardio exercise can help in improving a person’s energy levels. When the body goes through regular cardio training, it slowly adapts and is more able to cope with the added strenuous physical activity. People become less tired while doing more work. In the process, they can become more energetic. Physical endurance isn’t just important for exercising. Think about playing with the kids (we just got an X-Box Kinect, and I need all the energy I can get), power shopping during the holidays, sightseeing on vacation. The more energy the more fun you will have in your every day activities.

2. It helps improve weight control and metabolism. Regular cardio exercises can help maintain your desired weight level. When we do cardio, our bodies require more energy and our metabolism speeds up to supply it. With an improved metabolism, the body can burn more calories more efficiently. Regular cardio training can also help build up muscles,  and muscle burns calories, while fat does not. This means that the more muscular you are, the higher your metabolism will remain at all times.

3. It helps prevent disease. Regular cardio training can help in the prevention of heart disease. The heart also has muscles that make it work more effectively. Strengthening them makes the heart grow stronger and delay or prevent the development of diseases associated with the heart. Most cardio strengthens the lungs as well. Conditions associated with a sedentary lifestyle such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease can be prevented with regular cardio exercise and training.

So even if you hate doing cardio, your heart and your health love it.

The New Year’s Resolution Article… Already?

OK, so here it is. The article about the ubiquitous New Year’s Resolution to lose weight. Really? Already?

(Like Andy Cohen says…) Here’s What –

The majority of people will gain 7 or more pounds just during the holidays. It is so easy to eat that cookie or piece of fudge, drink a glass of egg nog, or have a plate full of fried appetizers at the Christmas party because you are thinking that your diet starts on January 1st. Everyone does it. I had sweet and salty chocolate covered toffee for breakfast. (It may have been the best toffee I have ever eaten, and for those of you who read my blog, that is a number one rule for “bad calories”.) Anyway, back to my point.

So if you are like most of my clients who have around 10 or more pounds to lose already, then you gain an extra 7 during December, on January 1st things may look a little daunting.

What happens so many times is that people will lose a few pounds in January, maybe even the entire 7 or the entire 10, but then our busy life kicks in and we haven’t had time to really build those healthy habits to make them part of our everyday routine. In February and March you find yourself exactly where you were before the holidays, or even heavier. The motivation of a New Year’s Resolution doesn’t seem to be there anymore, and you go through the rest of the year 10 pounds over weight.

Sound familiar? How many years have you done this? This year try something new! START NOW! Start building those good habits of eating right and exercising TODAY! You don’t have to go crazy, because there will be a lot of temptation over the next few weeks. Enjoy your favorites, but start practicing good habits NOW. I double dog dare you.

Step 1
It is really important to set an attainable goal. Returning to your high school weight is probably not a realistic goal, but getting into healthy habits certainly is. While setting a goal is important, it must be attainable, or you are setting yourself up for failure and frustration.

Step 2
Create a specific plan before you begin. Will you count calories? Go high protein, low carb? How often will you exercise, and what type of exercise will you do? Walk every evening? Go to the gym and lift weights before work? When you improvise, you will often find that you slip up on a regular basis, and, even though you feel like you’re on a diet, you’re not actually losing weight.

Step 3
Have a plan B. Decide what you will do when you head to a friend’s wedding, a business lunch, or make cookies with the kids. Constantly depriving yourself sets you up to binge. If you indulge at every special occasion, you will have trouble losing weight.
Step 4
Build in non-food rewards. Whether you want to lose 10 pounds or 50, it is important to reward yourself for staying on plan. Don’t use these rewards as an excuse to slip on your diet. Reward yourself for staying on your plan for a specific amount of time, with a manicure, a great new pair of jeans, or a night at the movies with your friends.

Step 5
Seek out support. Friends, family members or coworkers can all provide you with support on your weight loss goal. (I know this great girl who loves to help people reach their health and fitness goals. Yes, shameful self promotion.) Tell about your plan and ask for support. Most will be more than happy to ask how the diet is going, encourage you to exercise or simply listen to you complain when the pounds don’t melt off as quickly as you want. Many of them will also have similar goals, so you have an instant support system.

Step 6
Focus on your weight loss. This is a big one! It is tempting to use the New Year as a time to revamp your life, but it takes a great deal of emotional energy to create a new habit. If you are serious about losing weight, don’t set other goals, such as getting up earlier, reading more or anything else to distract you from your goal. Concentrate on one resolution at a time. After you are comfortable with your new routine, you can always try adding something else.

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