by The FIRM Master Instructor Jennifer Ray
I think we can all agree on one thing: Life is busy. With that said, who has time to exercise?
I’m not here to scold, because we are all guilty of making excuses as to why we don’t have time to exercise. And I’m not saying these excuses aren’t often legitimate either — sometimes there really aren’t enough hours in the day! What I am here to do is offer easy solutions to a problem that faces us all.
by The FIRM Master Instructor Kelsie Daniels
I said in a past blog that I prefer to be a lean 145 pounds versus a plain ol’ 145 pounds. A lean 145 just looks better … tighter, smaller, stronger, FIRMer, and, well … leaner! I would take that one step further and say that most of us would also feel better if we were leaner instead of just smaller!
When your goal is “weight loss,” you want to lower the actual amount that you weigh; in other words, you want to see the number on the scale go down. A goal of “fat loss” involves the desire to lower your body fat — the actual amount of visible and invisible fat you carry on and inside your body. People who want to lose weight probably need to lose body fat as well, so I say why not just go for a “two for one” and make fat loss your goal and get some weight loss as an added benefit?
A while back, a few members of The FIRM Believers Web Club started chatting about how they make “green monsters” in their blenders using spinach, kale, avocado and other green gems. These monsters were essentially the healthiest drinks that I’ve heard of!
The idea was somewhat novel to me. Because I really enjoy eating whole vegetables, I’ve never really considered juicing. And because I am not a fan of juicers that extract the fiber out of the fruits and vegetables, I never really considered making my own juices. But these FIRM Believers changed my mind, and my blender is now getting a workout!
We’ve said it hundreds of times in our decades of sharing fitness with the world, but we all need a reminder now and then. In order for fitness and weight loss to be successful long-term, exercise and changes in your diet must be integrated into your lifestyle. And the only constant in life is change. Your diet and exercise routine has to be flexible. Your mindset about them both has to be flexible. Enter a key word: moderation.
I did a Google search on what causes stress in people’s lives and I found things like unemployment, divorce, financial problems, health issues, fatigue and so on. In reflecting on how I deal with stress, let’s just say that far, far less than unemployment has caused me to eat a dozen donuts in one sitting!
Yes, I’m talking about stress eating. Most of us have had the unfortunate pleasure of experiencing it at one point or another, and it is not for the faint of heart. I can down a whole can of party peanuts if Auden has a particularly bad day at school! Thankfully I have come to terms with the real me and I am now able to recognize the signs of impending stress and do a fairly good job of not eating us out of house and home when things get rough. Please allow me to share some of my tips, and I welcome any you have to share that have worked for you.
Are high-calorie drinks that boast all sorts of health benefits duping you? I have seen clients of mine get completely sidetracked by calorie drinks that they purchased at Starbucks, Jamba Juice — even at the gym!
Many of these beverages promise you everything from increased energy to younger looking skin, but don’t even think about taking a sip before looking at the nutrition label. Because what manufacturers aren’t boasting about is the sugar and calorie content of these “wonder” beverages — enough to throw off any well-intentioned dieter.
We all know that the key ingredients to weight loss and maintenance are exercise, healthy nutrition and proper rest. But what happens when you feel like you’re no longer getting results with your exercise routine? Does this mean that exercise doesn’t work anymore? Not a chance! It could just mean that you need to break out of your current workout rut — variety is the spice of life, after all!
Here are four signals that your routine might need a tune-up:
1. Your workout bores you.
You used to enjoy walking outside, so why do you dread your walk workout each day? It’s easy to get bored if you stick with the same routine for too long. Sometimes it helps to add variety to your walks. For example, try listening to music when you walk, adding speed or hill intervals, or bringing a family member or friend along with you. I’m sure your family pooch would welcome a stroll around the neighborhood! If all of that isn’t enough, then maybe it’s time to try a new activity. Maybe you’ve always wanted to try biking or are interested in taking a dance class? Change can help keep your workouts fun and interesting, giving you something to look forward to.
There is no better time to amp up your fruit intake than during the summer months. June, July and August offer us the best-tasting and widest variety of fruits, so go find a farmers’ market, or a conventional market with good produce, and start shopping. And remember, the wider variety of colors that you can include in your diet, the better. I’ve color-coded the fruits for you to make it easier to eat a rainbow each day!
Most of us pursue fitness in order to look good. In this quest, we run an extra mile to lose five pounds or pick up a heavier weight to trim our arms. A balanced fitness program and sensible eating habits are powerful tools for weight loss. However, the same tools we use to look our best and lose weight are also powerful tools in maintaining the quality of our lives and our health.
What is physical fitness? Physical fitness includes five health-related components: muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiorespiratory fitness, flexibility and body composition. The FIRM workouts are designed with these components in mind. Once you’ve begun to see results on the scale, in your jeans and with your tape measure, what are the benefits you don’t see?
We are still early into 2011, so talking about recharging our batteries and taking a rest might sound crazy. However, it’s important to remember that sufficient rest and recovery periods are necessary to avoid burnout and injuries, as well as to get the best results possible from our exercise routines.
Check out this list of signs to see if you may need a little recharging: