Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes get a lot of news coverage when they occur, but do you know what kills more people annually than all of those events combined?
I know it seems like 2 weeks ago it was 20 degrees, but the heat is here and you need to be ready.
Some warning signs to look for are: weakness, dizziness, muscles cramps, nausea, rapid heartbeat, and vomiting. You are in danger of a heat stroke, heat exhaustion, or in my case you are probably doing public speaking.
If you feel yourself succumbing to the heat, immediately stop, get to a cool place, and drink some water.
Here are a few other tips for you to follow:
The body can quickly become overwhelmed when you are not used to the heat and humidity. If you’re like many people, you go from an air conditioned house, to an air conditioned car, to an air conditioned job.
You can’t expect your body to handle the extreme demands of exercising in this mess around here right away. Getting fully acclimated to the heat can take 2-3 weeks, so be prepared to slow your pace.
You need to drink fluids all day long this time of year, not just down a glass of water right before you head out. If you are exercising for more than an hour, it is a good idea to have a sports drink to replace electrolytes.
There is nothing like a nice bowl of steaming hot, oatmeal after a morning workout in 90 degree weather. Not too appetizing is it?
Anyone who exercises or works outdoors will tell you the heat has a negative effect on appetite. You will have to consciously monitor your eating habits to make sure you are getting enough fuel for your workouts.
This is a good time to increase your fruit and vegetable intake. Not only will it help you get more nutrients and vitamins, but will also help with hydration because of their water content.
Timing is everything
The best times to exercise during the hot months are before 7am or after 6pm. This doesn’t fit everyone’s schedule, but if you can avoid the hottest parts of the day you will be much better off.
The best thing to wear is something light (in color and weight) and breathable. Or at the very least switch from jeans to jorts.
My son rode his bike yesterday and found out that helmets really keep that heat in. Whenever you take a break from biking, make sure to take your helmet off so your head can breath.
Wearing a hat and sunglasses is a good way to get extra protection and prevent those nasty, eye squinting headaches.
It won’t improve your performance but it will help prevent growths on your body, which is nice. Also, sunburned skin can’t get rid of heat as efficiently and you can become overheated much easier.
For gingers only:
There is no such thing as a tan ginger, stop trying. All you will get is more freckles, a sunburn, and then skin cancer.
My clients probably don't appreciate my love of the humble pushup, but there is a reason I love this exercise. Most people know it as an upper body exercise (chest, shoulders, and triceps), but it also works the lower back, abs, back legs, and butt.
Whether you are doing pushups on your toes, your knees, an incline, or a wall these tips can help you get more out of your pushups.
1. Don't let your elbows flare out
It all starts with proper hand placement. Your hands should be directly underneath your shoulders at the top of the pushup. As you lower yourself down, keep your elbows in close to your body. Think about keeping your elbows lined up with the middle finger on your hand. When the elbows flare out, you place more stress on the shoulders.
2. Push through your pits
Focus on pushing with your armpits. This sounds weird, but will help you better recruit the muscles in your chest and triceps, gets the lats (the muscles on the side of your back) involved, and helps to protect your shoulders.
3. Never let your butt go over your head
This is just good life advice in general, so there's that. It will also help you avoid a common problem of "piking" your hips up. Keep your butt muscles tight, your chin off your chest, and lower yourself down chest first. This will give you a better range of motion and a more effective pushup.
4. Keep your chin up
When pushups starts getting hard a lot of people have a tendency to drop their chin down and keep grinding out the pushups. This can not only negatively effect your breathing, but can also cause you to injure your shoulders. Keep your head in a neutral position.
With the popularity of activity and food tracking apps, I get asked a lot how many calories does an hour of boot camp burn.
We have had people track their calories burned with monitors and depending on the workout it is anywhere from 350-800 calories per hour for an average size woman. Not every workout will be that high or that low.
Your size, the type of workout, and how hard you are working will all factor in as well.
The main benefit of the type of workouts we do is not just what happens during the workout, it is what happens afterwards.
There is something known as EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption and rhymes with Tupac), sometimes called the Afterburn effect, that occurs after a tough workout.
Basically it is continued calorie burn that happens as the body tries to put itself back together like Humpty Dumpty. Returning heart rate back to normal, repairing muscles, getting oxygen levels back to normal, and replacing energy stores (glycogen) all take calories to get the body back to its normal resting state (homeostasis).
That's fancy talk for, it revs up your metabolism like crazy. I also have an explanation in the form of a dental warning.
I had a client one time who had a dentist appointment a few hours after a 530am workout. She was having a procedure done that required the dentist to numb her mouth.
There was only one problem. Shortly after they numbed her mouth, it would go away quickly and she could feel things you don't want to feel at the dentist.
The dentist was at a loss until he figured out my client had been at boot camp that morning. Her metabolism was up so high that it would get rid of the numbing medication in no time.
Awesome for burning calories, not so much for being pain free at the dentist's office.
You can not get this afterburn effect from walking or low intensity exercise. You have to work hard and you will be out of breath, but it will pay off.
We do a lot of interval training at Huntsville and Madison Adventure Boot Camp to maximize the EPOC effect. Here are a few tips to add into your interval training to increase fat loss:
1. Use full body exercises 2. Shorter rest breaks (30 seconds or less) 3. Strength training mixed with cardio exercise 4. Always challenge yourself to lift heavier and go harder
It does not make for an easy workout, but it makes for an effective and interesting one. Give it a try, but don't go to the dentist afterwards.
I few years ago I was involved in a business that I really thought would be perfect for me. Great product, went along with what I already do, and I could help even more people reach their goals.
I put a lot of time, money, and effort into this business. The business was doing ok, but then I woke up one day and realized I did not have the passion for it.
Teaching fitness classes, writing, speaking to groups about health and fitness, etc... are the things that I wake up every morning excited about. What I was not excited about was the other business I had started. That should have been the first sign to get out of it immediately, but I stayed in it.
The effort and time I put in dwindled, but I was still putting money into the business. Not a good combo. I saw other people in the industry become very successful, so I hung on even longer.
In the end, I had fallen victim to what is called the sunken cost fallacy. I had put so much into this thing that I was very reluctant to give up on it, even though I knew it was what I should do.
Have you ever fallen victim to that? Found yourself so invested in an exercise program, membership, a nutrition plan, or even a piece of expensive equipment that you refuse to change?
You have to admit failure to begin success.
Take a good, hard look at what you are doing now. Is it working? Is it positively effecting your physical and emotional well being?
I know from experience it is hard to change once you are so ingrained in something, but to move forward you have to do something different to get a different result. There are hundreds of ways to get in shape, lose weight, and feel great. There is no reason to continue something that you don't enjoy, doesn't give you results, and is not improving your life.
Best of luck beginning your path to success!
In honor of our Glutes, Guts, and Guns Boot Camp that starts next week, I wanted to share 3 effective core exercises that you probably aren't doing right now. These can be done at home, or on the road but do require some minimal equipment. The 3 exercises are the Paloff press, resistance band torso twists, and suspension trainer hip drop.
Studies show that most people won't watch a video longer than 2 minutes. This video is 1:54, go watch it! That also means I could not fit in as much info as I like into the video. So here are a few further tips for these exercises.
1. Paloff press with resistance band
This what is known as an anti-rotation exercise. When you press out, you will really feel your love handles and butt muscles working hard. Start with the handles in the center of your chest, press out, hold for a couple of seconds, let it come back towards your chest, and repeat this sequence.
2. Torso twist with resistance band
Wrap the band around something that won't move, grab both handles with your hands, keep your arms straight, and rotate to your left. Make sure your arms are just holding on and not pulling the band, that is the core's job. Repeat on the other side. To make it more challenging, stand on one foot.
3. Suspension trainer hip drop
This requires a suspension trainer (TRX Jungle Gym, etc...) but could also be done with a rope if you were in a pinch. I am using a suspension trainer with a door attachment. The door attachment just rests on top of the door, you close the door (hopefully no one opens the door mid-exercise) and you can loop the suspension trainer through.
Then you will stand with one foot forward, one foot back, the lead foot will be the one closest to the door attachment. Place both handles over your head, elbows up high, lead with your ribs, drop your hip away from the attachment, and then stand back up. Repeat on both sides and then have really sore love handles the next day.
Desk jobs have their benefits such as: less chance of being attacked by vicious dogs; great for gingers avoiding excessive sun; good chance you have a chair that spins around; trash can basketball; the list goes on and on.
The downfall of desk jobs are the tight muscles and bad posture that go along with all these nice things. If they unchecked they can result in some serious problems.
The first fix is called the Thoracic Bridge. It's a great way to correct imbalances and tight muscles, plus it sounds fancy. Max Shank, a highly respected fitness pro, shows you how it is done here: Thoracic Bridge Video:http://tinyurl.com/lnqb55p
Here are 4 other options you can add to your arsenal as well.
1. Sound the alarm
Set an alarm so that you have a reminder to stand up at a minimum once an hour. Preferably every 15 minutes if possible. Or you could always rock the stand up desk.
2. Squeeze the Charmin
A side effect of too much sitting is your glute muscles going to waste. While you are standing up any way when the alarm goes off, why not add a little something to it? Put your feet slightly closer than shoulder width apart, feet pointed out at 45 degree angles, and pinch your butt cheeks together. Sounds weird (because it is), but it will really help you.
3. Pull it apart
You need a band for this one. Hold a band directly out in front of you, arms straight, wrists straight, knuckles up, and then extend your arms all the way out like you are demonstrating your awesome wing span. Make sure to pinch your shoulder blades together in the back. This one will you will feel a difference in by doing them for just a few days.
4. Tight hips don't lie
Sitting too much causes your hip flexors to tighten up. If you have trouble getting into a deep squat, the culprit can sometimes be tight hips. Try the 90/90 hip flexor stretch.
Go into a kneeling position, with your right knee up and your left knee on the ground. Keeping your back straight, push your hips forward, and think about sinking your hips into the ground. Hold that for 15-20 seconds and then do the same on the other side.
When I was 21 years old, I took a summer off when I was in college and moved to Dublin, Ireland. Didn't know anyone, no job, and no real plan other than it was something I had always wanted to do so I was doing it.
Eventually I formulated a plan for getting a job when I got there. The plan consisted of one step: Walk around until I found a job. There is a reason you can't rent a car until you are 25, males below the age of 25 do not have fully formed brains and are not known for making excellent decisions. Some say their brains never quite get there after 25 either.
I managed to secure a job interview as short order cook at a local pub. Part of the interview process was to gather all of the applicants into a room, give them a Guinness, have them hang out, and do a feeling out process.
This was the greatest job interview ever! I was laughing, having a good time, and I thought it was all going great until I heard a disapproving noise. And the noise was aimed directly at me.
The noise was followed by a disapproving sentence from the owner. He said, "That's the problem with you bloody (cleaned up for this e-mail's sake) Americans, you do everything so bloody (edited) fast!"
After a moment of confusion, I looked around and realized what he was talking about. Everyone had about 3/4 of their beer left and mine was just sitting there in a pile of lonely foam.
Spoiler alert I did not end up getting the job. But while I was living there I noticed that they have a lot of very lean people and a low number of overweight people.
So I started observing and I came up with 5 ways they stay in shape in Ireland.
1. Slow eating and drinking
This is the one I first learned at the job interview. Irish meals would be drawn out over music, laughter, and conversation. They would eat smaller amounts of food, but would feel full because they gave their brains the time to tell their stomachs that they and eaten enough.The focal point of their meals was the company they were with, not the food itself. This was pre-smart phones, so it may be different now.
2. Lots of walking
Everybody walks! I'm guessing it is because the people that drive are on the wrong side of the road. Crazy people. Think about how many calories you would burn if you walked 1-2 hours a day. Not to mention avoiding a lot of the trouble brought on by excess sitting.
3. A lot of the food is terrible
Seriously. Hard to eat to much when you don’t enjoy the food. I made the mistake of wandering into McCary’s (thinking it was a McDonald’s). Had the golden arches and everything, but I'm pretty sure the burger was made of ground leprechaun. It was AWFUL.
The thing I started doing is just using food as fuel, not a way to make myself happy. It was a mind set shift for me. Food should be enjoyed, but it's not a way to alter my mood. This ended up being a very valuable lesson for me down the road.
4. Avoiding fast food
Whenever I went into a fast food place (I was desperate! Have you ever seen blood pudding?) it would be 99% tourists. The locals would not eat there. A co-worker put it simply "We don't eat it it's because the food is addictive and it will make you fat." The Irish have a way with words.
Weird how "outsiders" can see that so easily, but we Americans keep right on keeping on with fast food.
5. Access to affordable, fresh produce
I was making the equivalent to about 4 dollars an hour. Not much in a big city like Dublin, but I could still afford to get fresh fruits and vegetables from the Farmer’s Markets they would have scattered throughout the city. Not that I ate vegetables back then, but a lot of the locals took advantage of it.
I'm not asking you to eat terrible food, but: eating and drinking slower; walking more; eating more fresh fruits and vegetables; not using food as a way to alter your mood; and avoiding fast food are all habits you can start adding to your life that will be a tremendous help no matter where you live.
Happy Saint Patrick's Day tomorrow, have some green vegetables!
The snow and ice has really been messing with my routine. Throwing my work schedule off, throwing my nutrition off, and making my hands look like a dead person's.
I'm done with winter.
Last week I went and taught my 530am class, came home, and didn't do much of anything productive for the next 8 hours or so. I was completely unmotivated to get anything done, despite having free time on my hands.
My son was at the end of his rope too. He had built every Lego, read every book, and crafted every mine he could think of. One of his friends lives pretty close, so we set up the parent saving bring a friend over deal.
The only problem was we had to walk over in the freezing cold weather on the icy streets and sidewalks. It's only about a 15 minute walk, but it was built up in my head as 15 miles. The laziness was on me!
But I promised my son I would do it, so off we went. It was not great when we started off. Wind all in my face, walking like a 90 year old man so I didn't fall on the ice, and feeling like a 90 year old man telling my son to slow down.
But after about 10 minutes I could feel things changing. I started to enjoy the walk and I started feeling better overall.
When we got back, I cleaned up and rearranged my garage, got a bunch of work done, and did several other things on my list. I felt great!
So what changed? The thing that changed everything was just getting started. Sometimes it really is that simple.
That has happened to me so many times in life. It could be a workout, writing a paper, cleaning the house, or hundreds of other things.
You have to take the first step! It is the hardest one, it takes the most energy, and it is the scariest step but it is also the most important one.
If you have 50 pounds to lose, don't think yo have to get rid of it in that first workout. Just start one workout and see what happens.
If you are training for a 5K and you've never run in your life. Run for 5 minute and see what happens.
If you eat out every single night of the week, try cooking one meal at home this week.
Whatever it is that has you overwhelmed, take a step towards overcoming it. You don't have to accomplish it this week, the goal is to break out of the rut and get your momentum going in the right direction.
Write down one thing you will do this week, then use that to build on. Rinse and repeat.
A few weeks ago I went down to New Orleans for a race. It was the Rock N' Roll Marathon series. My wife and I did a half marathon relay where we ran 8.5 miles and our partners ran the rest of the way.
I was running right along and about Mile 5 I heard a magical voice saying, "Hey we got King Cake over here!" So I did what any shining example of fitness would do and grabbed a piece of King Cake.
My rationale was that I will probably never be offered King Cake in any other race so I'm doing this! It was really good too. Except when the excitement of the cake eating wore off and the running was still going. Started to feel a little rough.
We were running next to this guy who was probably in his mid-50s. He was quiet for about a half a mile, but then that changed very quickly.
In this booming voice he says, "Do we have any George Strait fans out there?"
Everyone around him, "Crickets"
Undeterred he continues, "This is one of my favorite songs. Amarillo by morning. Up from San Antone...."
He continues sharing his favorites from George Strait. Favorite lines, the saddest line from this song, the best line from that song, etc... All in this voice that is super loud. I can see why this dude was a runner, his lungs were amazing.
Not gonna lie, his lungs were also getting on my nerves. My wife and I had to get out of there!
We picked up the pace and picked up the pace some more. We could still hear him from about a quarter mile away. Lungs for days.
We get about a mile away and we are safe. And guess what? I no longer feel nauseous from my ill fated cake decision. Not only that, but we just made great time and covered a lot of distance thanks to George Strait's brother.
Things that can take your mind off of your struggles are invaluable.
For some people music is a great distraction to help them push through tough workout. For others, an encouraging workout partner does the trick.
At my boot camp, I say and do weird things, crack jokes, and tell stories. I play songs that no grown man should have on his playlist. Part of this is because I am a weirdo, but is also to help take their mind off of the pain.
Sometimes all you need is one little thing to get you through the toughest part of your workout.
What works for you? I would love to hear what helps you push through your workouts when you feel like you can't go on.