Achieve Physical Confidence

Everyone pretty much knows that exercise does a body good, and as mortal humans, we need to exercise. There are 100s of reasons to exercise including  improved heart health, living longer, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, weight control, and increased bone and muscle strength… just to name a few of my favorites.

Some exercise is better than none, more exercise is generally better than less, and no exercise can be disastrous. But just in case you need a few more reasons, here you go.

Self-confidence relates to our self–assuredness in our personal judgment, ability, and self-worth. Exercise is an important tool that helps us achieve physical confidence. Beyond day-to-day energy demands, the ability to be physically fit and able to meet any physical situation is very empowering.

Here are 7 ways in which exercise boosts confidence:

Sense of Achievement: Exercise is great for giving you the feeling that you have done something rather than just sitting around.

Change of Mindset: Stressed out? Lost in anxious and negative thoughts? Doing physical exercise can shake this mindset and make you feel confident and positive.

Enhanced well-being: When you exercise, the body releases chemical substances known as endorphins which relieve stress and make you feel good psychologically. This will absolutely boost your confidence because you physically feel better. It’s like nature’s Prozac.

Appearance: Exercise tones you up and can enhance any body shape. Feeling attractive and good about the way you look pumps up your self-confidence.

Anchors Ahoy: Exercise acts as a reliable anchor point and can make you feel in charge. When it feels like you are in control of nothing, one thing you can control is how to be active. Make the choice to exercise and enjoy being in charge of at least one thing during your day.

  The Social Butterfly Effect: Whether it is joining a gym, walking in the neighborhood park, attending a yoga or dance class, exercise gives us the opportunity to meet new people. New friends can be a great self-confidence boost.

 Competition: Exercises can ignite that competitive you. Challenge yourself to work out harder, run farther, or do an extra rep, lift a heavier weight, or even try a new exercise class. Going past your limit makes you feel on the top of the world.

 

Set Yourself Up for Success – Tips to Start the Week Out Right

The Sunday night blues, you know that feeling of dread mixed with anticipation for the upcoming week. Everyone gets the SNB (Sunday Night Blues), at one time or another, and sometimes it can be every single Sunday.

Getting fit and healthy is hard work, and setting yourself up for a successful week is key to staying on track.  

Start your Monday off right, so you will stay on your healthy track all week. Just add a few simple steps on Sunday. (Courtesy of Fitsugar.com)

Wash Your Workout Clothes

We make sure our clothes, our kids clothes, and the hubbies clothes are ready to go, but don’t forget the workout clothes. Starting the week with nothing to wear to the gym is an excuse waiting to happen. Start your washing machine or head to the laundromat to make sure your dresser is stocked with clean sports bras, work-out pants, wicking tanks and tees, socks and all the other gear you need to get your sweat on.

Plan a Menu for the Week

This is a must, and it sets the stage for a nutrition packed week. To prevent unneccesary trips through the drive-through, arm yourself with a meal plan for the week. Make a list of everything you will need for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, then head to the grocery store to shop for the ingredients. Tip: Leftovers are the working woman’s best friend. There’s no shame in cooking just two or three times and eating leftovers the other nights.

Chop a Bunch of Veggies

Wash and chop a bunch of veggies like carrots, celery, cukes, and cherry tomatoes. Store them in clear containers, so when you open your fridge their bright colors will catch your eye. You’re more likely to snack on raw veggies throughout the week if they’re already prepared. A plate of veggies and salsa is a great way to take care of any hunger pangs.

Make a Workout Schedule

Grab your calendar and schedule your workouts for the week. Write down times and the type of workout, just as if it were an appointment or business meeting. And make sure you stick to your schedule.

Make a New Workout Mix

A new favorite song can be just the thing to get you moving. Creating a new workout playlist can be a small act that can set the tone for your workout. Alternate between upbeat tunes and mellow ones for an interval workout, or make a 30-minute dance party mix for an intense cardio routine.

Roast Veggies for the Week

I love roasted veggies, so this tip is one of my faves. On Sunday night, fire up the oven and roast a dish of vegetables, like sweet potatoes, squash, green peppers, onions, etc.  that you can add to salads and entrees for the week’s meals.

Pack your lunch

On Sunday night, pack your lunch for Monday. It’s cheaper than eating out and usually healthier too. And no one likes to pack a lunch during the chaos of trying to getting ready and out the door on time.

Spin Some Salad

Wash and dry some lettuce in your salad spinner and store your greens so that they’re ready to be turned into tasty salads for upcoming dinners and lunches. Or make a big salad and place it in the fridge in an airtight container so when Tuesday night rolls around, your salad is already made.

 

Have a great week!

Another Reason to Exercise

 

There is a study for everything these days. Almost any topic you can think of will have some kind of study proving it or disproving it.  And some of those studies seem like a complete waste of money or a complete no-brainer. For example “Eating at restaurants boosts risk of weight gain”, well duh. “Drinking alcohol leads to drunkenness”, double duh.  And just one more for good measure “Women prefer dating thin, hot, rich men to fat, ugly, poor ones”.

Luckily, there are actually some good studies out there too.  I don’t write as often about specific studies, but I found this one very encouraging. Science rocks!

The study explains that exercise may encourage healthy eating. Okay, I know some of you are thinking duh, but the reason it inspires healthy eating may not be what you think.

Exercise can actually change the parts of the brain that influence impulsive behavior.  With fast food on every corner, baked goods in the office break room on a weekly basis, eating out more often due to busy lives, we are surrounded by temptations and triggers that make it easy to over-eat.  The researchers state that the part of the brain responsible for “control” undergoes “relentless strain”.  Amen to that!

The study indicates that there is evidence that regular physical exercise changes the structure of the brain and how it works by increasing the connections in the grey matter and prefrontal cortex.  One result of these increased connections is improved inhibitory control. It keeps us in check on impulsive, excessive, or inappropriate behavior, like eating a jar of frosting for breakfast, perhaps.

By actually changing parts of the brain that influence impulsive behavior, increased physical activity may help compensate and suppress those feelings that drive us to over-eat.

With regular exercise, our brains learn to more easily resist the many temptations that we are faced with every day, especially where supersized calorie food is everywhere.  

Exercise also brings other benefits, such as making the brain more sensitive to physiological signs of fullness, which helps to control appetite.

Do studies make things absolutely true? Not necessarily, but there are a bazillion benefits to exercise, and if you need a bazillion and one to get moving, here you go! Please exercise.

How To Start Good Exercise Habits

 

We have all been there, probably several times. It’s been two months since you’ve seen the inside of the gym or done any type of exercise. There are many reasons that we let exercise go by the wayside, but how do we start again? Starting again may be even more daunting than starting for the first time, but here are some ways to get back to it.

Once you have an exercise habit, it becomes automatic. You just do it. You go to the gym, you run three days a week, you play tennis every other day, you take a kick boxing class every Tuesday, etc… there is no force involved. But after a month, two months or possibly a year off, it can be hard to get started again. Here are some tips to climb back on that treadmill after you’ve fallen off. Choose the ones that you like and make the most sense, and then choose a few that don’t. You may be surprised at how well some of these tips work.

Reward Showing Up – 90% of making a habit is just making the effort to get there. You can worry about your weight, amount of laps you run or the amount you can bench press later.
Commit for Thirty Days – Make a commitment to get active every day (even just for 10 minutes) for one month. This helps solidify the exercise habit. By making a commitment you also take pressure off yourself in the first weeks back of deciding whether to go. Just go!

Make it Fun – If you don’t enjoy yourself at the gym, it’s going to be hard to keep it a habit. There are thousands of ways you can move your body and exercise, so don’t give up if you’ve decided lifting weights or doing crunches isn’t for you. There is an endless range of programs that can suit your tastes.

Enjoyment Before Effort – After you finish any work out, ask yourself what parts you enjoyed and what parts you did not. By focusing on how you can make workouts more enjoyable, you can adjust your workout plan to incorporate all the exercises you like and take out the exercises you don’t like. You will notice that after time, your likes and dislikes will change. An exercise you used to hate may become one of your favorites.

Realistic Scheduling – Don’t put exercise time in a place where it will easily be pushed aside by something more important. Right after work or first thing in the morning are often good places to put it. Lunch-hour workouts might be too easy to skip if work demands start mounting. Be realistic with your timing. For example, if you are not an early morning type, trying to get up a half hour earlier to exercise may prove to be too overwhelming.

X Your Calendar – One person I know has the habit of drawing a red “X” through any day on the calendar that he goes to the gym. The benefit of this is it quickly shows how long it has been since you’ve exercised. Keeping a steady amount of X’s on your calendar is an easy way to motivate yourself.

Measure Fitness – Weight isn’t always the best number to track. But fitness improvements are a great way to stay motivated. Recording simple numbers such as the number of push-ups, sit-ups or speed you can run can help you see that the exercise is making you stronger and faster. The stronger you get, the faster the pounds will drop, and the better you will look and feel.

Habits First, Equipment Later – Expensive equipment doesn’t create a habit for exercise. Despite this, some people still believe that buying a thousand dollar machine will make up for their inactivity. It won’t. Start building the exercise habit first, only afterwards should you worry about having a bunch of equipment. Furthermore, some of the most effective exercises require no equipment at all (push-ups, squats, jumping jacks, sit-ups, etc.).

Isolate Your Weakness – If falling off the exercise wagon is a common occurrence for you, find out why. Do you not enjoy exercising? Is it a lack of time? Is it feeling self-conscious at the gym? Is it a lack of fitness know-how? As soon as you can isolate your weakness, you can make steps to improve the situation.

Start Small – Trying to run ten miles your first workout isn’t a good way to build a habit. Work below your capacity for the first few weeks to build the habit. Ease your body and mind into your exercise routine, and after a few weeks you will want to start challenging yourself by doing more.

 

There are 1,440 Minutes in Every Day: Schedule 30 of Them for Physical Activity

Fall is the best time of the year, especially in Arizona. For us it means getting back outdoors after being cooped up during the long, hot summer. It’s time to pump up the bike tires and get moving.

But fall can also be a confusing time of year when it comes to health and fitness. Summer is over, so there is no need to obsess about fitting into that bikini or those shorts. Halloween is right around the corner, which can be a diet disaster with all those treats and goodies around.

 

Then in almost a blink of the eye it is Thanksgiving, which we all know is the biggest eating day of the year. But who just pigs out on Thanksgiving? Our leftovers usually last at least a week.

 

Before you know it, you are going to a Christmas party every weekend, and now it is time to start that New Year’s Resolution to lose those 10 pounds you may have just gained since October.

 

Sound familiar? Well, since it is the beginning of October, there is time to put another plan into action to change that all too familiar course of eating and dieting mayhem.

 

There are 1,440 minutes in every day. Schedule 30 of them for physical activity! Starting today.

 

First, let’s define physical activity. The definition may surprise you.

 

Physical activity is any form of exercise or movement that uses energy. Some of your daily life activities—doing active chores around the house, yard work,—are examples. I don’t know about you, but my vacuum must weigh 100 pounds, and my heart really starts pumping when I push that thing around.

 

To get the benefits of physical activity, include activities that make you breathe harder and make your heart and blood vessels really start pumping.

 

If you haven’t been active in a long time, choose something you like to do. Many people find walking helps them get started. Before you know it, you will be doing more each day.

If you feel like you don’t have the time, start with 10-minute chunks of time a couple of days a week. Walk during a break. Dance in the living room to your favorite music. It all adds up.

Start by doing what you can, and then look for ways to do more. After a few days or weeks, build up your activities—do them longer and more often.

Pick up the pace. This is the easiest way to kick it up a notch, because it doesn’t require an extra time commitment, when you may already be pressed for time. Walk faster, add a jog, squeeze your butt while you walk—anything that changes the intensity.

If you get in the habit of physical activity now, you can enjoy the next few months of the year, even indulge here and there, and start your new year off with a resolution that has nothing to do with losing weight.

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