Which Way Should I Go?

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“Cat: Where are you going?

Alice: Which way should I go?

Cat: That depends on where you are going.

Alice: I don’t know.

Cat: Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”

 Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Where are you going in life? Are you on the right path?  It’s an important question to ask yourself and you may be surprised at the answer. Without purpose or direction we become stagnant and feel empty.  Have you considered what you value most in life?  If you don’t know, then you may end up on the wrong path.

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It can be a challenge in our busy lives to achieve balance when it comes to family life, career, and health. However, if you don’t know where you’re going, you may find yourself at some point in life, full of regrets.

Stop spinning your wheels and write down an action oriented plan with specific goals that will help you live your best life.

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In an interesting article by James Clear  The Four Burners Theory , he reports:

One way to think about work-life balance is with a concept known as The Four Burners Theory. Here’s how it was first explained to me:

Imagine that your life is represented by a stove with four burners on it. Each burner symbolizes one major quadrant of your life.

  1. The first burner represents your family.
  2. The second burner is your friends.
  3. The third burner is your health.
  4. The fourth burner is your work.

One of the most frustrating parts of The Four Burners Theory is that it shines a light on your untapped potential. It can be easy to think, “If only I had more time, I could make more money or get in shape or spend more time at home.”

One way to manage this problem is to shift your focus from wishing you had more time to maximizing the time you have. In other words, you embrace your limitations. The question to ask yourself is, “Assuming a particular set of constraints, how can I be as effective as possible?”

For example:

  • Assuming I can only work from 9 AM to 5 PM, how can I make the most money possible?
  • Assuming I can only write for 15 minutes each day, how can I finish my book as fast as possible?
  • Assuming I can only exercise for 3 hours each week, how can I get in the best shape possible?

This line of questioning pulls your focus toward something positive (getting the most out of what you have available) rather than something negative (worrying about never having enough time). Furthermore, well-designed limitations can actually improve your performance and help you stop procrastinating on your goals.

Consider writing down a small goal for each area of your life that you feel needs improvement. Here are some ideas:

Relationships–  Take time each day to tell your loved ones how much you care for them. Set restraints on social media and use that time to spend with your family. Get in the habit of giving hugs more often. Read books, play board games, or put puzzles together with your children each week. Try and set up a consistent schedule to call your parents, siblings, and friends. Create special memories!

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Career-  This is a biggie! We all need to make money to live but if you hate your job, you will most likely be miserable. Let’s face it, we spend a lot of time at work so it’s vital to find something that is compatible with your family life. Also, if you have small children, you will regret working 60 or more hours a week. That’s precious time away from loved ones that you will never get back. Consider your options for another job with better hours or maybe a work from home option. Set a goal to improve this area of your life by determining the pros and cons of your current working situation and where you can make small positive changes.

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Health-  This is an area many of us end up sacrificing due to time restraints. However, it’s easy to set just one or two weekly goals that can make a substantial difference in your health.  Number one is the food you bring into your home. Learn to make healthier food choices when shopping for groceries. It’s important for your children to learn the relationship between their health and what they eat.  Take them shopping with you and let them make their own grocery list of healthy food choices. Restrict splurges on fast food to special circumstances or occasions. Additionally, consider how you can add activity into your day?  Ride a bike or walk to work if that’s an option.

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Set your alarm an hour early and get your workouts on your calendar.  Even a ten minute workout once or twice a day can make a difference. Determine specific days and times each week for physical fitness and stay consistent. You will never regret this.

Consider what you value most in life and make a plan to make sure you take the right path. Because if you don’t know where you’re going than it doesn’t really matter.

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Friday Motivation Ten Minute Abs

I love teaching my Friday weight training class and try to put a different spin on it every week.  Class will start with total body weight training and then I plan to finish with this quick and effective ab routine.  Do this three to four times per week and tweak your diet with a specific goal to drink more water and eliminate processed foods. You’ll be surprised how quickly you start to see results!

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ABS/ CORE CIRCUIT –

Perform each exercise for one minute and try to complete entire circuit 2x

1.  Glider Plank Walk & Knee Tuck –This is one of my all time favorite.  To work the abs efficiently you need to engage the stability of the core.  This is done with gliders but you can use small towels under your feet or your socks will work to allow your feet to slide while performing the exercise. Perform this exercise for 1 minute

 

2.  Burpee + Four Mountain ClimbersI love this exercise.  It works the entire body and the mountain climbers really challenge your abs/core. 

Perform this exercise for 1 minute

 

3.  Up Down Plank – This exercise is tougher than it looks.  Try leading with one arm for thirty seconds and then change lead arms to complete the minute.  Modify on your knees if needed.

Perform this exercise for 1 minute

 

4.  Plank Jacks With Knee Tuck-  Love this but it’s a tough exercise for one minute. Challenge yourself!

Perform this exercise for 1 minute

 

5.  Pilates Double Leg Stretch–  Pilates is an amazing way to get your abs into shape and your core strong.  Try this for 30 seconds, hug your knees into the chest and recover for 10 seconds and then finish with 20 more seconds of the exercise.

Perform this exercise for 1 minute

 

Stretch, Recover, and Hydrate

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Try my easy, healthy, green juice to help to hydrate and recover from your workout! Two Ingredient Healthy Juice

Last Killer Workout Of 2018

This will be my last workout I’ll be teaching for 2018.  How can I make it different than all the other workouts this year?  I love to combine body weight, cardio intervals, and weight training into all my classes.  So hear we go:

Make sure to warm up for 7- 8 minutes.  Complete circuit 3-4 times.  Take water breaks as needed and finish with final stretch.  ENJOY!

 

  1.  Bear Crawl Push-up (12 reps)

 

2.  Wall Sit With Bicep Curl (12 reps)

 

3.  Alternating DB Reverse Lunge With Burpee (12 reps)

 

4.  Burpee Wood Chop Tricep Extension (12 reps)

 

5.  DB Clean And Press Row Combo (12 reps)

 

6.  Standing DB Alternating Knee Crunches (12 reps)

 

7.  Plank Jack Push Up (12 reps)

 

8.  Mountain Climber To Side Plank (12 reps)

Five Tips For Injury Recovery

Injuries tend to reveal our lack of patience in life. Our bodies are brilliantly designed to send us signals such as pain and swelling that force us to rest and heal after an injury. However when the healing begins and the pain lessens, we often jump back full force into our activities before our bodies are ready.

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And, although I’m in the fitness field, sometimes I fail to follow my own advice. After injuring my knee during a run, I found myself struggling with pain, swelling, and limited range of motion around my knee. I had difficulty instructing my fitness classes and immediately modified exercises that aggravated my knee; I also had issues teaching yoga because of my inability to fully flex my knee. Due to continued pain and swelling, I ultimately limited my activities and stopped running for four weeks. I used ice and compression on my knee and elevated it in the evenings to reduce swelling.

Running is like therapy for me and after a month off, I was anxious to get back to some short runs. Although my knee felt much better, I knew there was still quite a bit of swelling lingering from my injury. However, I decided it would be safe to ease back into running by trying a short two-mile run. I felt since I was running 5 to 6 mile runs prior to my injury that it would be a safe trial. However, ten minutes into my run, I started to feel pain and against my better judgement continued to run. The pain was minimal and I was determined to finish my two mile goal.

Big mistake; I paid for it later as I laid on the couch with an ice pack and ibuprofen on board for pain. I later discovered that due to my impatience, I would have to take off another two months from running.

You can avoid my mistake by following these tips for a safe and effective recovery:

  1. Evaluate the injury- If the pain is unbearable and the swelling persists; go to the doctor.
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2. Use RICE immediately after your injury- REST, ICE, COMPRESSION, and ELEVATION- Use ice packs on the affected area and keep it elevated as much as possible throughout the day. Wear a compression sleeve or bandage as needed during activity.

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3. Take more time off than you think before resuming activity and make sure all swelling and pain is resolved.

4. Modify activity as you heal; utilizing body weight exercises and gentle stretching appropriately.

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5. Talk to your physician or a health and fitness professional about ways to strengthen and heal any muscle imbalances which may have contributed to your injury.

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Killer Body Weight Weekend Workout

Try my new weekend workout. Perform each exercise with little rest in between exercises.  Aim for 12 repetitions each exercise and complete entire circuit 2-3 times finishing with final stretch.  Don’t forget to warm-up with 7 to 10 minutes of light activity and drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.  Enjoy!!

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T- pushup- Push- up side plank (12 reps)

 

Burpee Jump Lunge  (12 reps)

 

Jabs with 360 Jump Squat (12 reps)

 

Burpee with Tricep Push-up (12 reps)

 

Glute Bridge to sit-up (12 reps)

 

 

Downdog Mountain climber (12 reps)

 

Three Reasons Your Workouts Aren’t Effective

You may be surprised that although you workout consistently and typically make good food choices, you may not be as healthy as you think.  Check out my blog post below to find out what may be affecting your “so called healthy lifestyle.

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  1. You Think “Organic “Always Means “Healthy”   I’ve seen many clients I train who claim they eat a healthy diet, but when I ask them to put it on paper it’s a different story.  Food products are plastered with deceptive advertising such as fat free, reduced sugar, organic, and all natural.   One of my clients swears she makes healthy meal choices, however,  she snacks all day on “organic snacks.”  It’s important to always read the ingredient list on packaged products even if they are labeled organic. You may be surprised that the ingredients are not really that healthy.

Per Danny Deza’s article, 16 Most Misleading Food Labels

A label that says made with organic ingredients must have a minimum of 70% all ingredients that meet the standard.

Keep in mid that organic is not synonymous with healthy. In fact, it may be anything but. Organic food can still be packed in fat, calories, and sugar. “Companies like to add magnetic words on products to make you think it’s healthy,” says Taub-Dix.

Always check the ingredient list on packaged foods and if you can’t pronounce it or don’t know what it is, don’t buy it. Try to journal your food intake for a couple of weeks and determine the amount of whole foods you are actually consuming. Set a goal to eliminate all packaged foods and stick with organic fruits, veggies, and healthy fats.  It’s also important to choose a quality protein source such as organic chicken, grass-fed beef, fish, raw nuts, cottage cheese, and yogurt.  If you choose occasional packaged snacks make sure to read the ingredient list to determine what is actually in the product.

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2. You perform killer workouts in the gym but sit the rest of the day.  New studies are pointing out that although we may be exercising 5-6 days a week, what we do afterwards may be even more important for our health. In the article, Sitting Will Kill You Even IF You Exercise

Our entire modern world is constructed to keep you sitting down. When we drive, we sit. When we work at an office, we sit. When we watch TV, well, you get the picture.  And yet, a new study that’s running in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that this kind of sedentary behavior increases our chances of getting a disease or a condition that will kill us prematurely, even if we exercise.
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Therefore, it’s important to keep moving during the day.  Park further away from your destination or walk to lunch.   If you have a desk job, try getting up every hour and taking a short walk break or consider purchasing a “standing desk”.   Thomas B. Trafecanty with the Huffington Post reports,

Sitting too much can kill you. It sounds dramatic, but it’s true. An emerging base of research points to the detrimental effects of something that most Americans do without much thought on a daily basis (for nearly six hours per day, research finds).

Though experts are still trying to figure out exactly why, it’s commonly understood that sitting for prolonged periods comes with a host of negative health effects. Whenever possible, office workers are advised to get up and take movement breaks throughout the day. It’s not always easy to just walk away from the task at hand, though, so in some cases workers are combining the best of both worlds by installing standing desks.

The styles vary from stationary surface areas that look like raised tables to floating standing desks that transition from sitting to standing with a few swift movements. There are manufactured versions of standing desks, and those that workers have devised on their own. In all cases, the end goal is the same: reduce the amount of time spent sitting during the workday.

Some studies have concluded that standing desks can promote better posture and reduce the risk of obesity and diseases such as cancer.

In addition to a standing desk, pedometers are great gadgets to help you track your activity levels.   Setting a goal of 10,000 steps per day can be a great motivator to help you stay active and improve your health.

The pedometer, a small, inexpensive device that counts the number of steps walked per day, could be key to ramping up a person’s physical activity. An article from Stanford Medicine reports: 

Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have found that the use of a pedometer is associated with significant increases in physical activity and weight loss and improvements in blood pressure.

“Much to my surprise, these little devices were shown to increase physical activity by just over 2,000 steps, or about 1 mile of walking per day,” said the study’s lead author, Dena Bravata, MD, MS, a senior research scientist in medicine. “This goes a long way toward helping people meet the national guidelines for daily physical activity.”

3.  You Don’t incorporate a recovery day in your workout program – Exercise causes a breakdown of  the muscles and tiny tears in the muscle fibers.  Recovery time is needed to repair the muscles and replenish energy stores.  Therefore, recovery days are needed to help increase your muscle mass and get stronger.  It can be easy to fall into the trap of over-training especially for athletes and the novice exerciser. Some of the signs of over-training can include poor workout performance, decreased appetite, depressed mood, fatigue, increased resting heart rate, and insomnia.

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You can ensure you are truly living a healthy lifestyle by eating whole foods and avoiding packaged and processed foods.  Don’t be fooled by deceptive advertising and eat mostly fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean protein.  Be sure to incorporate a rest day into your schedule each week and consider purchasing a pedometer to track your daily activity levels.

Three Steps To Better Aging

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What if you could look into a crystal ball and see yourself ten years from now?  If you are on an unhealthy path; you might not like what you see.  What if you could start today and help offset the effects of aging by changing your lifestyle?  One of my favorite quotes, “We are our daily choices” really rings true when it comes to enjoying life in your golden years.

Take steps now to slow down the aging process by making better choices:

#1.  REDUCE SUGAR– It’s the number one offender on the list – Sugar ages your skin and your body! Sugar increases inflammation in the body resulting in increased free radicals that can promote wrinkles and increased risk of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and more.

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Per April Long with ELLE on Sugar and Aging

“The science is this: When you have sugar molecules in your system, they bombard the body’s cells like a meteor ­shower—glomming onto fats and proteins in a process known as glycation. This forms advanced glycation end products (commonly shortened, appropriately, to AGEs), which cause protein fibers to become stiff and malformed. Much of what is known about glycation’s ill effects comes from diabetes research: The connective-tissue damage and chronic inflammation resulting from diabetics’ sustained high blood sugar can lead to debilitating conditions, such as cataracts, Alzheimer’s, vascular tightening, and diseases of the pancreas and liver.

The proteins in skin most prone to glycation are the same ones that make a youthful complexion so plump and springy—collagen and elastin. When those proteins hook up with renegade sugars, they become discolored, weak, and less supple; this shows up on the skin’s surface as wrinkles, sagginess, and a loss of radiance. The presence of AGEs also makes the complexion more vulnerable to bad-news assailants such as UV light and cigarette smoke. As New York–based dermatologist Cheryl Karcher, MD, puts it: “Number one, the glucose makes the cells abnormal; and number two, it creates free radicals. So you get a double whammy when it comes to aging.”

#2.  INCREASE YOUR ACTIVITY LEVEL  Exercise is vital for healthy aging.  Cardiovascular exercise can help you maintain a healthy brain and heart.  While strength and flexibility training can help prevent joint issues and falls.

 

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Furthermore, research suggest that exercise improves brain health due to increased blood flow to the brain.  Additionally this may help reduce the risk of age related dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Per uwhealth.org

“Certain regions of the brain typically get smaller through the normal aging process, but individuals who were more physically fit (as determined by an exercise test of their aerobic capacity) had greater brain volume in areas related to memory. The higher the fitness level, the healthier the brain appeared. “In order to see an improvement in fitness levels, individuals need to exercise at a moderate to vigorous intensity,” Dougherty notes.

So how does exercise change the brain? Researchers have only theories for now, but they think it could be because exercise increases blood flow to the brain to help remove toxins, or releases hormones that help create new brain cells, Dougherty explains. Research has also shown that exercise can improve cognition in healthy individuals as well as those at risk for Alzheimer’s and dementia”

Exercise can help maintain healthy weight levels, improve heart health, and keep muscles strong and flexible as you age.  Expanding waistlines can lead to diabetes, heart disease, and chronic back and knee issues.  It’s clear that research supports the many benefits of a consistent exercise program to promote healthy aging

Per mayoclinic.org

Aerobic exercise can help to improve your heart health and endurance and aid in weight loss. Strength training can improve muscle strength and endurance, make it easier to do daily activities, slow disease-related declines in muscle strength, and provide stability to joints. Flexibility exercises may help you to have optimal range of motion about your joints, so they can function best, and stability exercises may help reduce the risk of falls.

For example:

  • Heart disease. Regular exercise can help improve your heart health. Recent studies have shown that interval training is often tolerated well in people with heart disease, and it can produce significant benefits.

  • Diabetes. Regular exercise can help insulin more effectively lower your blood sugar level. Physical activity also can help you control your weight and boost your energy.

  • Asthma. Often, exercise can help control the frequency and severity of asthma attacks.

  • Back pain. Regular low-impact aerobic activities can increase strength and endurance in your back and improve muscle function. Abdominal and back muscle exercises (core-strengthening exercises) may help reduce symptoms by strengthening the muscles around your spine.

  • Arthritis. Exercise can reduce pain, help maintain muscle strength in affected joints and reduce joint stiffness.

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#3.  LEARN SOMETHING NEW   Research suggest that learning a new language or learning how to play a musical instrument can also help maintain brain health as we age.  Along with retirement comes more time to pursue new interests and opportunities.  Consider learning a second language, joining a book club, or learning to play a musical instrument.  Join a senior group to promote continued social activities and engagement with others that have similar interests.

Per Huffington Post

What happens in our brain?

Every time we learn something new, our brain changes in mysterious and quite substantial ways.

According to Muireann Irish, Associate Professor from Sydney University’s School of Psychology and Brain and Mind Centre, increasing attention is being directed towards understanding how learning new skills can bolster cognitive functioning — particularly as we age.

Ever heard the phrase ‘use it or lose it’?

“This is in recognition of the fact that the human brain in ‘plastic’, meaning it is capable of reorganising and forming new neural connections throughout life,” Irish told The Huffington Post Australia.

By taking on mentally challenging skills, we can potentially capitalise upon neuroplasticity to strengthen existing connections in the brain, or even forge new connections.

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So there you go; just three simple steps to better aging.  Start today with small goals such as becoming more aware of your daily sugar intake. Try drinking your coffee black or switching from soda to water for one of your meals. Download a app that can track your daily sugar intake.  Begin to take the stairs and park further from your destination to increase your daily activity.  Buy an activity tracker and set a daily step goal to help motivate you to move more throughout the day.  Read my article Do You Need An Activity Tracker?for more information and to help you determine the right tracker for you.  Consider researching new learning opportunities such as book clubs, an online college course,  or taking  up a musical instrument.  You can improve your chances of  staying healthy and living a better quality of life as you age.  Why not start today by setting some goals and by taking one step at a time?

Your Health Is Wealth

How many of us wake up everyday and truly understand what a blessing it is to be healthy.  I’m sure you know of a loved one, friend, or acquaintance that may not be so lucky.  Think of the many people who suffer from diseases such as cancer, autoimmune disorders, or are disabled in some way.  The truth is we take our health for granted; but if we walked in the shoes of those less fortunate for one day, or even an hour our mindset would most likely change.

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Make your health a priority by making healthy food choices, exercising, and reducing stress in your life.

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The key is to develop discipline by understanding the benefit of healthy choices versus the downside of processed food and inactivity.  Our daily choices when it comes to nutrition and exercise significantly affect how we feel.  We’ve all given in to cravings and had days where we splurged on fast food and maybe too much sugar or alcohol.  The key is to remembering how you felt afterwards or the next day.  It’s likely you paid for it with an upset stomach, headache, and a major lack of energy.

 

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Is it really worth it?  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about being so rigid that you never eat a piece of cake or enjoy a glass of wine.  But the key is moderation!

 

 

Learn to practice gratitude on a daily basis.  Wake up each morning and give thanks for your health, your loved ones, and having food and shelter.  There are those in this world that are so much less fortunate.  YOUR HEALTH IS WEALTH!  Learn to make it a priority.

Practice taking care of yourself by making healthy food choices and staying active. Consider keeping a journal and writing down what you are thankful for each day. Take an hour each day to reduce stress with meditation, yoga, reading,  or simply some quiet time to reflect on your blessings.

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Friday Motivation- Don’t Let The Weekend Destroy Your Progress

We all need a little reminder that the weekend can offset all the hard work put into your workouts and food choices during the week.

How quickly we forget; planning each workout, logging our meals and killing it in the gym.  All for what???  Two or three days of eating calorie laden foods, downing several alcoholic beverages, and before you know it you are back to square one.  So how are you ever going to reach your goals??

 

You can still enjoy your weekend without letting things get out of hand.  It’s all about balance and awareness.  Follow these tips to keep you on track with your goals.

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Lower Body Fat-burning Circuit

Ready for a kick butt lower body circuit?  This workout it for you.  Start with a treadmill warm-up (7 minute fast paced walk followed by a 8 minute incline walk or run).  Then perform circuit 2-3 times and finish with a one mile run at your top pace.  Enjoy!

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