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The Mentality of A Fitness Fanatic
By Nick Brucker
First off- yes! I AM writing this post because if you haven't yet discovered the amazing life as a fitness fanatic, you need to! If you have already been converted to our disciplined way of life , read on for your own entertainment purposes- we probably have a thing or two in common
I am a person who is high on life- all day, everyday. I love getting up, going through my morning routine knowing the value I will create for many people's lives. But know that it wasn't always like this- I had to work hard and push way outside my comfort zone on a daily basis to get to where I am currently. You see, life is based around our daily rituals, or as many of us know them- Our habits. If there is something that we don't particularly like about our lives, we have the choice to continue onwards, or to put a hault to it immediately! Us fitness fanatics know this first hand! If we try something new at its not what we hoped for, we make adjustments. Call me crazy, but I think this is also applicable to our lives as well, right?... Phew! I'm still sane then.
The 3 things listed below I have personally found to be the reasons many people give up on their fitness goals, and other goals long before they fully commit:
1) Lack of goals,
2) Lack of structure,
3) and the biggest one of all- Lack of Motivation!
These 3 components may look like three seperate entities, but don't be fooled- they are in fact all correlated with one another.
Once you know the goals you're after, you may then move on to create the structure or the plan needed to achieve these goals. THE LAST THING TO COME WILL BE THE MOTIVATION TO DO IT! Motivation is based off incentive, and incentive is based off actions. Take pride in everything you do and you will find the motivation to keep going sooner than you think.
Let me ask you this- do you think the participants on The Biggest Loser roll up super excited to be there?! Of course not! BUT, after they have chosen their goals and are given the structure to achieve them, it's up to them to deliver.With consistent action you will reap consistent results. Only with consistent results will you acquire the motivation to stay consistent!Read that again...
We as fitness fanatics have trained ourselves to be goal setters- to do whatever it takes to achieve the physique we desire! We have structure to our workouts, our nutrition, our supplementation, our sleep, which then manifests its way into the other parts of our days... We realize there is only one and only roadblock that's stopping us from our goals- its not our jobs, our family... its OURSELVES! This is why many of us our leaders, role models, and entrepreneurs at what we do because we practice good rituals (habits) every single day!!
Working out is a very critical asset to our day. It gives us a "high" like no drug could ever touch. We are not only addicted to achieving our goals, we are also addicted to the sense of well-being and joy we feel after our workouts (or postworkout for all you 'Finaticans' reading this)! It sets us up to succeed at anything we put our minds to! Our endorphins (the "happy" chemical in our brains) are released, intoxicating us to-
Feel more attractive inside and out.
Which then leads us to not care as much to how others perceive us.
Allowing us to do the things we truly want AND need to better ourselves.
Ultimately leading to appreciating ourselves, and the life we live.
AREN'T THESE THE SAME CHARACTERISTICS THAT MAKE UP THE MOST SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE TODAY?
YOU BET YOUR SWEET BIPPY THEY ARE!!!
Am I saying that being a Fitness Fanatic is the only way to achieve all these incredible attributes? Of course not! I have many clients whom I help on a much more discrete, personal level. But I have found regular diet and exercise to be the most straight up approach to helping individuals (as well as myself) find the structure and direction they need in order to reveal the Self-Love they've held within all along! As for me, I came from being a very obese, depressed young kid. Yes It is quite the accomplishment losing over 100lbs, but I still feel I'm a work in progress- I know all my 'Fanaticans' reading this feel the same towards themselves. This is the exact mentality which makes us overachievers in the gym, and in this game called "Life."
It's up to you to take hold of your life and hold yourself accountable- fitness fanatic, or not! If your boss tells you to stay late at work because Sleazy Sally over there knows how to fake a good belly ache, you still have the final say in doing what you know is right for you, so get to the gym even if its for 20 minutes! It's not about the workout, it's about keeping your self-discipline sharp by staying consistent!
Stick to your guns and stay committed to eat right and exercise more. With the mentality of a fitness fanatic, you will walk the red carpet towards victory with everything you put your mind to.
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|Boot Camp Spotlight:
Total Body and Mind Transformation
by Chris Granville
Before embarking on a long holiday weekend full of activities sure to tempt me away from healthy eating and abstinence I decided to mix up my workout program, get out of the gym, and try Ashley Mitchell's Total Body and Mind Transformation Boot Camp in Central Park.
Ashley is well qualified to get people into shape. She's an N.A.S.M. certified personal trainer and MAD DOGG certified spinning instructor and runs her own business, Lift Your Way to Fit. And when it comes to keeping fit she practices what she preaches. Her healthy lifestyle has led her to recently compete in her first figure competition taking 3rd and 6th place honors in two separate categories. But more importantly is her infectious enthusiasm for what she does. She wasn't always figure model fit and it's through her own journey that she has come to demonstrate a passion for fitness and a deep understanding of what it takes to help people achieve their health and fitness goals. Ashley makes working out enjoyable and even though she made the group work hard on this Wednesday evening everyone and was smiling and laughing in between the sweaty grunts.
Any thoughts of exercising in the sunshine were quickly dashed when it began raining minutes before camp began. But as soon as I met Ashley and the rest of the group it became clear that we were going to have fun regardless of the weather. A stretching routine got things started before a quick jog along Central Park South. As we stopped to enter the park Ashley made sure everyone was walking on tip toes. Prancing through Central Park on my tip toes would normally take some degree of arm twisting, but with this crew it was fun and gave everyone a sense of camaraderie as we romped through the park.
Our first stop consisted of a series of sets of Bulgarian squats, step ups on the benches, and high knee drills. It provided a great lower body workout followed by an intense cardio burst. Throughout each exercise Ashley had the group chanting positive mantras to keep everyone motivated. We quickly took off with anther jog to the east side of the park where we ended up at the pond, again taking to the benches. We performed triceps dips with alternating quad extensions that were followed with incline pushups, rounding out the upper body, as we took in the scenic landscape. One of our last exercises was perhaps the most difficult. Ashley led us to a path, slick with mud, rounding up to the top of a hill and began to bear walk up it. We began our ascent one by one, splashing in the mud, working hard as we climbed. She hadn't gone easy on us because it was raining as once we arrived at the peak we were told to bear walk back down. After washing the mud off our hands, everyone proud of the effort they had put it, we wrapped up the session with some core exercises before beginning the jog back to Columbus Circle.
It had proven to be a great workout targeting all the major muscle groups and working in a good deal of cardio. Ashley is a natural leader and an enthusiastic trainer who makes her boot camps fun and exciting in addition to hard work. Rain or shine I hope I get the chance to join this group again before the summer is out.
If you're interested in checking out the Total Body and Mind Transformation Boot Camp and Ashley, click here.
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Chris Granville is an ACSM certified personal trainer. A former NCAA Division 1 and professional athlete, he's a managing editor in book publishing and lives in New York City.
Getting the recommended 10,000 steps per day in this heat might seem ambitious, but staying mobile in the office can make a huge impact. Consider wearing a pedometer as an experiment.
Get moving today with the amazing advice and insight from Brett, Lisa, Andrea, Phillip, Nick, Maritza, and Joshua. Lastly, this month Chris took his talents to Central Park to visit Ashley Mitchell's "Body and Mind Transformation Boot Camp."
Need help? Have a personal trainer help you design a great program for your goals.
Enjoy the summer!
|Running Your First 5K Race
By Brett Cohen
Personal Trainer and Running Coach
Are you're in need of some extra incentive to do that dreaded cardio workout? Why not try a 5K race? Training for and ultimately racing this very doable distance (3.1) miles, not only provides the means for a leaner physique, but it's also a way to break out of the cardio training doldrums. Get off that treadmill or elliptical trainer and take it outside!!
The 5K is the perfect distance for someone new to running or those that want to "become runners" to start off with. Although the idea of running a half-marathon may seem glamorous, the reality is most runners that begin with such a formidable distance wind up getting injured along the way.
The training program for a marathon is four months and it is extremely challenging, both physically and mentally. The 5K on the other hand requires relatively little buildup, the training won't take over your life, and the race itself is over very quickly. It's the ideal distance for your first race.
Set attainable goals. At first, you goal should just be to finish and enjoy yourself. Don't worry about speed or pushing yourself. By logging only three to four runs per week, you can be ready to run the 5K distance in just 5-6 weeks, even if you've never run before.
Use a Training Program
If you've never run before, start with this eight-day walking program. (Walk for 20 minutes for four days, then walk for 30 minutes for the next four days. Continue this program by completing a 30 minute circuit of running for two minutes and walking for four, done five times consecutively. Do this routine three times a week, adding one minute to your running time, while subtracting a minute from your walking time each week for four week. But the end of four weeks you'll be running for 30 minutes!)
For true beginners most of your running should be done at a comfortable pace. Don't worry about pushing yourself. You should be breathing hard but not to the point where you get out of breath. This is especially true for runners who simply want to finish the race.
For those that are interested in pushing the pace, the best way to get faster is by adding some speed training to your schedule. This is done in the form of intervals (periods of increased intensity paired with periods of lesser intensity to recover). Intervals are not just for advanced runners. Training with intervals does more to increase your sustainable running pace then just running three miles at once.
The best way to stay motivated is to run with others who share the same goals. Find a local running group through your running specialty store or find one of the many running clubs that offer groups runs. Try to continually set events to train for. This keeps your training consistent and helps to motivate you to run longer or faster.
The Big Day
It's natural to be nervous for your first race, so make sure you plan ahead to reduce as much of the usual stressors as possible.
- Before your training even begins, make sure you get fitted for the proper running shoes.
- Get your number (bib) ahead of time whenever possible.
- Get plenty of rest during the week leading up to the event.. (no parties the night before).
- Make sure you are well hydrated and you've eaten the appropriate meal or snack before the race.
- Get to the race early enough to use the facilities and to warm-up and stretch.
- Be smart, be safe, have a great run.
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Brett Cohen is a Fitness Consultant, Holistic Lifestyle Coach, Runner and creator of the Ready to Run program. He will be coaching a Labor Day Couch to 5K program for East Side Running Company which begins on July 25th.
|Add Years To Your Life Expectancy
By Phillip Tomlinson
Personal Trainer and Martial Arts Instructor
"On the weekends I'm a regular couch potato," she proclaimed.
"It's my way to unwind after a long week sitting in front of a desk," she continued. "My little piece of heaven."
Then, as if on cue, my brain erupted with that old George Michael 90's hit "Freedom."
"Freedom! Freedom... I will not give you up."
If only this were really so. 'cause here's the inconvenient truth:
This kind of "freedom" can land you in a whole lotta trouble. Six feet under.
To put it into perspective, if sitting for long hours is your piece of heaven, it's killing you. This, according to a study by Nature.
And if you think working out counteracts the effects of long periods of sitting, think again, because here's the skinny:
Within five days after adopting habitual blocks of inactivity, fatty molecules, LDL cholesterol and insulin resistance significantly increase in your body.
Yes, an open invitation to weight gain, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes.
And if you've been following my blog at http://bodinsync.me, you've read this before. But there's more - in the form of new info.
The danger is not just limited to sitting. Adopting any static posture for a long time can have adverse consequences. As it turns out, being static can affect your circulatory system slowing the delivery of blood, oxygen and vital nutrients.
By all means work out and adopt a healthy diet but if you're glued to your desk for long blocks of time at work, and your couch for long hours - even after working out - you'll be throwing a monkey wrench into your well-meaning efforts to craft that most healthy you.
The fix is pretty simple:
Alternate between sitting and standing once every hour because the name of the game is activity. That could mean reaching down and touching you feet, stretching overhead, marching in place, taking a brisk walks, and so on. According to experts, thirty minutes per day is all it takes to be effective but, beyond this, they say if you can reduce your static time to three hours a day, you will have succeeded in adding years to your life expectancy.
Now, that's a little piece of heaven.
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|Is Knee Pain Interfering With Your Exercise Goals?
By Lisa Snow
Do you suffer from knee pain on one or both sides? Knee pain can be a big obstacle to your weight loss goals, since it may limit your ability to do cardio like walking and running, and may also limit your ability to do strength exercises like squats and lunges. Knee pain can also get in the way of having fun outdoors with your pets, children, or grandchildren.
Most people with knee pain do one of three things: 1) Limit their exercise to upper body moves only, 2) Stop exercising completely, or 3) Attempt corrective exercises for the knee. Unfortunately, all 3 of these well-meaning approaches are misguided! They assume you know what's wrong before you've even gotten the knee checked out. Are you SURE the pain is coming from a knee injury?
If you have knee pain, the first step is to get a correct diagnosis! You can do this by going to a medical professional such as a sports medicine doctor, chiropractor, or osteopath. They will generally do x-rays as well as a physical exam to find the root cause of the problem. Many people with knee pain (even severe knee pain) actually have nothing wrong with their knees! A large percentage of people with knee pain actually have a hip injury or a muscle imbalance at the hip. They never suspect it because their hips don't hurt! Going to a healthcare professional will let you know for sure if the problem is really the hip or the knee, or both.
Once you receieve a specific diagnosis, get a list of do's and don'ts in writing from your doctor. What specific exercises do they want you to perform? What specific exercises do they want you to avoid? If your doctor recommends several months of physical therapy, it's a good idea to finish therapy before contacting a personal trainer. If your doctor says you don't need physical therapy, you can call a personal trainer right away. Look for a trainer who has a lot of experience with knee injuries and has certifications in post-rehab or corrective exercise. It is generally safe to begin gentle exercise with a personal trainer at the same time you are undergoing treatment with a chiropractor or sports medicine doctor. Most patients don't need to wait until they've finished those types of treatments to begin training. However, be sure to get individualized advice from your doctor!
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|Talk to the Hand For Portion Control
By Maritza Molina
On the go? Not able to measure the amount of food you're consuming?
The answer is right in your hands! Did you know you could use your hands to figure out how many servings you're consuming? Below are some ways you can use hands to figure this out.
Fist = 1 cup
A serving of fruits or vegetables
Palm = 3 oz
A serving of meat or fish
Handful = 1 oz
A serving of nuts or seeds
Thumb = 1 oz
A serving of cheese
Thumb Tip (from knuckle up) = 1 teaspoon
A serving of peanut butter
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Maritza Molina is driven by the passion to help those who are new or returning to health and fitness. She will use functional training and assisted stretching with a focus on proper movement mechanics in her sessions to help you maximize the efficiency in your daily activities and prevent injuries.
| Article Top 10 Benefits of Drinking Water
- * Improve and Increase Overall Energy Levels
- * Help You Lose Weight and Raise Metabolism
- * Reduce Headaches and Dizziness
- * Keep Skin Healthy and Glowing
- * Enhance Sexual Performance
- * Improve Digestion
- * Reduce Hunger
- * Boost Your Immune System
- * Decrease Recovery Time From Injuries
- * Increase Mental and Physical Performance
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|Exercise & Pregnancy: Fit To Have Twins?
Having a baby is an endurance event that starts at conception. Moms need strong and flexible bodies to nurture their babies during the forty or so weeks of the pregnancy and beyond. Simply put, the benefits of exercise for a woman during a typical pregnancy include but are not limited to:
- Decreased risk of gestational diabetes.
- Decreased risk of hypertension/ preeclampsia.
- Decreased loss of bladder function.
- Decreased severity of pregnancy related muscular skeletal discomforts.
- Decreased loss of bone mass during lactation.
- Decrease in maternal weight gain.
- Decrease in time between birth and returning to pre pregnancy weight.
There are also indications that a fitter mom has an easier delivery with less chance of needing medical intervention (forceps, vacuum extraction, or caesarian section). However, I do not advocate exercise during pregnancy for these reasons as strongly as I would the ones listed above. Since I intend to get a bit more personal with this post, I'll say this now: However any woman is able to get through childbirth is the "right" way. The most important result of the birth is being able to celebrate a healthy baby alongside a healthy mom. Being physically fit is may or may not assist in an easier labor, but it certainly has many other attributes.
Once Mom is ready to go home, she will need the strength and flexibility to maneuver a small helpless being with zero neck strength into and out of seats, harnesses, and cribs, all ostensibly designed to challenge adult dexterity and patience. She will need to be able to bounce and coo and cajole for hours at a time with no sleep whatsoever. The job of mom also demands the ability to bend and crane and lift the most important and squirmy little being ever held without allowing him or her to fall. As the child becomes a mobile toddler, mom must be able sprint from a dead halt repeatedly. Once the tyke is on a bike, Mom needs to be able to trot alongside at a steady state pace for however long the vehicle privileges are granted for that day. Prior to my own pregnancy, I likened having a baby to running a marathon. Now that I am a Mommy, I would say having a baby is more like a "Tough Mudder" event that lasts a minimum of three years.
So far, I have been careful to specify the benefits of a "typical" pregnancy. "Typical" generally means that one fetus is growing inside a receptive uterus, with a healthy placenta, managed by a relatively healthy woman. Before I share a bit of my atypical or "high risk" pregnancy story, let it be noted that while my anecdote is a happy one, I am NOT advocating any sort of exercise program for anyone without the consent of a qualified obstetrician. When I begin working with an expecting client, I demand a note from a doctor before I give so much as a pelvic tilt.
When I found out I was pregnant with twins, I hyperventilated as quietly as possible as my doctor pointed out the two separate heartbeats on the ultrasound screen. My husband kept squeezing my hand and saying "Wow" then holding his middle and index finger up and mouthing "two!" We spent the rest of that morning assessing the magnitude of our good fortune (aka, freaking the hell out). We were not simply expecting a baby, we were getting plural. A small litter of kids was gestating inside me. Our life together was not just going to change, it was going to be completely leveled and rebuilt.
In logical fashion, my husband immediately focused on real estate and public school ratings. My concerns were pinned to wondering how my petite frame would manage two critters at once, how big I was going to get, and would my babies be able to make it inside me full term?
Any multiple order pregnancy has an increased risk of low fetal growth rate, pre eclampsia, gestational diabetes, and premature labor. Medical assistance might be needed. I might require muscle relaxants via IV. Maybe I would need a procedure called cerclage, which stitches the cervix to keep it from dilating too early. If my delivery needed to occur before a certain milestone, I might need medication to stimulate the babies' lung maturation before they were whisked into a Natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to assist with the development an early birth halted. The worry I had for what I could not control for duration of the pregnancy was nearly crippling.
The potential disaster of endangering my babies via my lifestyle was an excruciating reminder of how ill prepared I felt towards motherhood. My chosen "on the go" routine of training, dancing and generally racing about the city at all hours now felt completely inappropriate, yet it was how I defined myself. How long would I be able to keep working? How big would I get, and could I stay active on some level?
The weeks went by and somehow, the babies continued to thrive inside me. My husband opened two separate college funds. Meanwhile, I progressed from morning sickness to heartburn. My clothes grew uncomfortable and walking required considerable effort. At twenty three weeks, my husband and I went on a "babymoon" where I got to don a third trimester tankini that was too small for my second trimester twin bump. The typical challenges most of us face in New York City became more profound as subway stairs became a significant commuting issue. Sleep was fleeting, yet held more importance to me than eating. My stomach was pushed up into my throat, so it seemed, while my bladder was being compressed by what I am guessing was my son's huge skull. Intake of both food and fluids was very uncomfortable.
During this time I maneuvered cautiously between what I thought would be best for my babies, and what I felt I needed to do for me. The two concerns often felt like opposing forces. I was barely out of my first trimester when I got my first wave of guilt for wanting to, NEEDING to continue to exercise in some capacity every day. After all, I'd been highly active for most of my life. How could I just "cool it?" Anecdotes from other twin moms I knew suggested that I just hunker down, keep off my feet, and eat for three. I was told to expect a weight gain of 45 to 70 lbs for the well being of the babies. Mothering forums online also leaned towards extreme caution when it came to activity with any pregnancy, multiple or otherwise. The implied and not so implied message was don't be vain. Don't be selfish. It's not about YOU anymore! Even the literature I had collected on raising twins admonished exercise if I wanted to nurse (I did). One author speculated that our bodies could not produce enough milk if we exercised, or that the lactic acid created by activity would be present in the breast milk, and who knows what that could do to your babies (?!).
I took everything I read to heart, but I simply could not believe that attempting ballet class or moderate weight training was going to undo my bump. If anything, working out kept me more focused on the extraordinary sensations of pregnancy. I was out of breath very easily because I was breathing for the three of us, but it still felt good. My abdomen was immense, yet I still felt a connection to my deepest pelvic muscles and imagined that every time I contracted my core, I was hugging the little ones. I was also on a tight schedule with my Ob's office, where I had my cervix checked for dilation once, then twice a week once I hit the 3rd trimester. I even asked the exalted Dr. if I should stop exercising or working at a specific point. He looked at me wearily and said, "Whatever you've been doing seems ok. If you want to exercise, fine. You can go to work as long as you can get up out of bed." So I carried on. I lumbered from one place to another and sat as much as possible. I drank water constantly, and also got up to go to the bathroom a minimum of four times hourly. I wore support hose that took me twenty minutes to get into and a belly band to prop my massive tummy up.
I also made sure to move in some capacity everyday. By 33 weeks, working out was more comfortable to me than rest in any position. At 36 weeks, I was so miserable most of the time, that I began to lift heavier just to get the labor ball rolling. By nearly 38 weeks, my body had had enough. My Ob was also clearly tired of my unhappy looking mound of a profile in his office every other day, so off I went to be induced.
I was prepared to attempt 2 natural deliveries, but twin A's head was too big to get through, and Twin B was trying to push him out of the way, causing a birth canal gridlock that could have lasted another week. For nearly 9 months, I had lived in fear that I was inches away from a terrifying loss, when the reality was that my body did not want to let my babies go too early. In fact, their own rush to make an exit only delayed the grand entrance (this behavior never really stopped, by the way).
My beautiful babies were born at 37.5 weeks via C section. They weighed 6.5 and 5.5 lbs. and did not need the level 4 NICU I had researched. We were all home within 4 days. After about 8 weeks, I cautiously added exercise back into my schedule. If my breast milk was different due to an accumulation of lactic acid, my babies did not seem to care. They grew rapidly as my body lost more than the 40 lbs I had gained within a few weeks.
So there I was, two healthy infants and a body that was proving itself to be far more elastic than I could have hoped. As I nursed and pumped and spent many wakeful hours shushing my babies in front of my computer, I began noticing more literature on how maternal exercise benefits infants. Simply put, some of the perks look like this:
- Decreased risk of insulin resistance.
- Decreased risk of overly high birth weight and the ensuing complications.
- Increased heart and brain health.
There is even a slight correlation towards better athletic ability in children whose moms were active during pregnancy.
Did my twins find the taste of my breast milk repellant after a quick run? I can't speak for them, but I had a tough time weaning. They were three when I finally closed up my blouse and said "no more." At the age of 5, they still recall the good old days of mommy's milk and enjoy letting me know how delicious it was (tmi, kids!). I am guessing that any accumulated lactic acid might have gone undetected and we three were all the better for it.