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Archive for Happiness

Setting Goals: Twenty Fifteen

Well, the year has come to an end, and it’s time to start thinking about what you want to actualize in 2015. Here a little acronym to think of when setting a goal: S.M.A.R.T.

S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Achievable

R – Relavent

T – Time-bound

They are helpful for two reasons. First, they are effective in quantifying success. Second, they address unrealistic expectations. For example, you may want to finish a marathon in less than 3.5 hours. If this is your first marathon, you can see why this might be an unrealistic expectation. The key to SMART goals is to use both outcome goals, which focus on bottom-line results, and process goals, which address how you will train to achieve those results. For example, “To finish in the top five at the local Triathlon in my age group” is an outcome goal. The problem is that we have less control over outcome goals than they have over process goals. If you fail to accomplish an outcome goal, you may question the efficacy of your training, and get too self-critical. We have greater influence over process goals, such as “To run 2,000 miles during the calendar year.” Plus, in the end, this stuff is suppose to be fun! Enjoy life and have hope for what you can accomplish. It’s a new year and a new time to actualize your dream.

And remember, a goal without a plan, is just a wish.

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Keeping on track through the holidays

I know that someone out there must also feel this indulgent tendency to overeat this time of year. It sucks: you want to sleep more, eat more and be less active.
You know how hard it is to shed the winter fat layer. It takes a lot of hard work and strict eating. Avoid putting on those extra 10 pounds in the first place, by just being a little less indulgent at your next holiday party. And by following some simple tips.fitnessSanta

1. Drink more water. About 8 x 8 oz glasses per day. Add a little mint sprig or lime slice to jazz it up.

2. Track What You Eat. The only way to improve upon your diet is to actually know what you’re currently eating. Keep a food journal, or download a free food tracker app, and input all of the calories that you consume over the course of a week. This will give you a broad look at where your low quality calories are coming from (high sugar, empty calories).
Your first step will be to eliminate these fattening calories and to start replacing empty calories with nutrient-filled whole foods.

3. Space Meals Apart. Much has been said over the past decades about the importance of eating small frequent meals throughout the day. This is old, outdated science. New research has proven that there’s more harm than good to eating more frequently than every 4 hours.
Stick with 3 meals each day, and fill in a protein-based snack if your meals are going to be more than 4 hours apart.

4. Prioritize vegetables. When you first sit down for a meal, eat the vegetable, salad, or other plant-based foods first, before moving on to the rest of the meal. The reason for this is to fill up on the higher fiber, higher nutrient foods first before eating the less-healthy items at your meal.

5. Lastly, have an attitude of gratitude. Eating well and being well studies have shown are linked to a healthy mind. Therefore lift your spirits, just by being grateful. The more you are grateful, the better you’ll feel, the better you’ll eat, and you may even go do that jog you’ve been wanting to do.

Have a happy Healthy holiday season!

Strong Core for Winter Sports

It’s December and now is the season for skiing, snow boarding, snow shoeing, ice skating, and even sledding. If you’re not an active winter athlete, and you prefer to sit on your butt gaining weight this winter, then don’t bother reading this article. But if you have hopes and dreams, or scheduled plans to get involved in winter activities, I advise you to strengthen your core. Even if you do just want to sit on the couch all winter, tucking in your tummy and improving your posture will at least make your waistline appear a little slimmer.

Many people refer to “the core,” and typically we think of the abdominals as our core. But it is much MUCH more than just abs! It includes any muscle that is directly engaged with the spine or pelvis. The core will be the protective barrier for accidents or nasty falls. Therefore, a strong core is automatic injury prevention. Many winter sports are on very slick surfaces, where balance and stability are absolutely essential. Yet again, the core muscles will keep you balanced and on your feet. Changing directions on snow comes not just from your lower body, but the pelvis shifts your weight as it is the powerhouse of your whole body. Need a few exercises that will get your core powered up for the season, without any equipment? Watch this video:

Please don’t end up ruining your entire winter season, by getting injured out there on your first weekend. Firm up and stay tight. Have fun!

Fitness slump? Get to the tipping point!

Are you at a plateau in your speed, your fitness, your weight, body fat . . . are you at a plateau in your life? Are there things you want to change but just don’t know how exactly or know why it hasn’t changed yet? Often it can be very frustrating when you want something so bad, and you feel it’s right there within reach. Sometimes it just takes a tipping point to set you into action with accomplishing your healthy goals. Here’s a few guidelines to keep in mind if you decide to get in the best shape of your life.

1. The mental belief you can do it. Many times our own thoughts and beliefs prevent us from even forming a plan to begin working towards the goal. It’s like standing at the bottom of a huge mountain and you know what you want is up at the top. So, will you stand at the bottom of the mountain making up excuses why you cannot climb it? You must accept the reality that your goals are absolutely achievable!

2. Plan the work, work the plan. This is the second biggest ingredient for getting in the best shape of your life. Create a calendar that guides your weekly training plan of what workouts you’ll do and when. Getting something scheduled is the way to make it really happen! So, stop wishing and starting doing.

3. Stay positive. This ties in with number 1 on the list. You will most likely have stumbling blocks and setbacks that will discourage you. But, keep believing in your ability to make this dream a reality by not giving up and losing motivation. We have a very serious obesity epidemic today, and the way to change is with one person at a time. Your healthy fit way of life will positively impact numerous people, in more ways than you may even realize. Conversely, bad habits can rub off on others and create a domino effect.

4. Re-set your social circle. People will not always encourage your choices to eat low-fat and cholesterol-free foods. They may not even like it that you cannot attend some function because you have plans to exercise at that time. They may scoff at you at restaurants when you don’t chose to partake in dessert. Just remember, you are not alone. You are choosing the way of the healthy life. Many people will not understand why you do what you do. But, I guarantee you: we healthy folks support your choice! We are out here cheering for you and knowing that every little step counts towards climbing up that mountain. Keep that in mind and explain this message to your closest friends/ family and ask them to be supportive. And the rest of the critics can just frack off.

Your life is over in the blink of an eye, take action towards being the healthy, juicy, fit person you always wanted to be. I got your back.

Look better by standing taller

The way our bodies appear has more to do with what’s going on inside than you realize. When you are feeling down you actually tend to look down, and slump forward. As humans we have body language saying so much to each other. We cross our legs, fold our arms, close our bodies off to the dangers of the world. When feeling insecure about the state of our bodies, we suffer thinking we’ll be this way the rest of our lives. Do you think your body does not react to these negative thoughts? Of course our body feels the hatred and anger the brain emits! Loving your body today will most likely help it feel good and strong and healthy for tomorrow. You can think of it as, “I am just getting older” or “today is the youngest I will be for the rest of my life.” Your young body is alive and thriving so will you choose to let it sit there on the couch wasting precious time? Or take it out and see what it is capable of? Seize the day, my friend!

One chronic problem with many of my clients is that they hunch over and have poor posture. Do you know how much better your chest will look if you just stand tall and feel proud of who you are? Good posture is an amazingly simple way to look taller, leaner and more attractive overall. Men are notorious for doing a lot of bench press and or push-ups and tend to get really tight pecs and proportionately weaker upper back muscles. Thus, the hunched back problem festers. Even women, especially taller women and big-breasted women have to fight against our natural tendencies to slump forward. Also, focus on strengthening those beautiful upper back muscles by doing more fly, rows, and lat pull-downs to develop a nicer posture. If you keep your posture in mind throughout your training, it will improve.

Baby got back! Work those back muscles to improve your posture.

So, keep your chin up. Love yourself. Love your body. Because one day, you may look back and regret not taking advantage of these younger years.

Sunny weather = showing more skin

Are you ready to unveil to the world all your glory on the beaches and boardwalks of summer? How is that tummy looking? How are those thighs? Do you look good nearly naked? If you are confident in your physique then you probably don’t need to read this. But those of us who are striving to look a little better this spring and summer than we did last year, read on.

First off, it IS possible to achieve a lean healthy looking body! Now stop all that negative chatter and have hope.

Slim down before hitting the beaches!

Slim down before hitting the beaches!

Two of the greatest methods for getting that ideal body is through exercise and good nutrition. Easier said than done, eh? From my experience, we have to make it an on-going lifestyle to get the fat off and keep it off. Here’s a few tips this spring for looking slimmer and leaner.

  • Cut back on sugar. Sweets are a big culprit in adding extra empty calories to our diet, especially when consumed not before, not during nor after training. Like at 10 PM! Ease off on those girl scout cookies…
  • Drink more water. Staying hydrated
  • Drink less sweetened beverages. Or cut it out completely. Sodas, flavored drinks and other sweet drinks are a huge source of extra calories that just turn to fat! Just stick to water as the best beverage.
  • Speaking of fat, easy does it on the Easter candy, and other foods high in fat such as trans fats and saturated fats, like butter, cream and cheese. Instead eat healthy fats occasionally like plant-based foods, for exampl avocados, olive oil, and flax seed oil.
  • Don’t skip meals and get really starving and binge. Eat every 2 – 3 hours and prioritize eating more of the calories early in the day and taper off for a light meal at dinner.
  • Workout, get outside in this beautiful spring weather and go for a jog, go ride a bike, or just walk. Soon you’ll be showing the world your tan lines and if you skip workouts today, you’ll regret it in the summer!
  • Buy a nice new pair of running shoes to inspire you to feel excited to run, and throw out those old smelly shoes. Running shoes have limited miles available, so don’t use the same pair for too long.
  • Set a plan and schedule your workouts. If you have a job, you make sure to schedule that into your day, that will pay your bills. Well, if you schedule exercise, it will keep your heart healthy and help you to enjoy your life longer after you retire for that “job.” You are going to have your job your whole life, you are not going to have your job. Make fitness a priority.
  • Track your progress. If you can, take measurements of your waist and hips with a tape-measure to track your progress, instead of just weighing yourself.
  • Lastly, try to team up with a friend or join a running group, softball team, or bootcamp, like http://www.upyourfit.com/ my class in PB San Diego, CA! Power to the teamwork!

Well, if nothing else I hope this gets you pumped up to be healthier and connecting to your physical body. We are in our heads so much, it’s time to get out and go for it! You have the potential to be so much more than you can even imagine.

Do what you love. Love what you do.

Exercise. Many dread it. Some never do it. But it can save you from disease and illnesses. Still, some avoid it like the plague. As a fitness professional, it’s difficult to imagine hating it, since I live it and breathe it. However, if someone asked me to work in a lab all day dissecting mice I would probably avoid that just as much! We all have activities we detest that we know are good for us, like flossing, eating vegetables and getting in some cardio workouts each week (not in that order).

Have you been feeling that there’s a shortage of fun active hobbies in your life? Here are some options: hiking on a beautiful forest trail, or just walking around a park or a pretty lake, dancing at the club or just dancing at the Zumba class, or maybe you just like dancing around your living room when no one is watching! My point is to find an active hobby, whether it’s a jog along the beach, bowling, biking, stand-up paddle boarding, skiing, surfing, boxing, jumping rope or rock climbing. Humans have invented more forms of moving the body in a dynamic way than any other species on this Earth! We are meant to move, not to sit all day. Yet, we love to sit . . . sit in our cars, sit in a meeting, sit at out computers, sit at the table, sit until we have the highest percentage of obesity in human history!

I found the love of the sport of triathlon to get me to sit a lot less. It was the best motivation for me. It’s possible that discovering a new active hobby could make you healthier, happier and more motivated to get in the best shape of your life! If you try some new activity, let me know how it goes. Remember, as Mahatma Gandhi said “You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result.”

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