It's crunch time! Also, Nestle's Crunch time. We have 2 months left in the year and they are crucial.
Think about how most of your years have gone from this point. Your workouts slowly start to fall off. Your eating habits start to backslide. Stress levels go up, weight goes up, and sleep goes down. A bad combination.
Then the New Year starts and you just don't feel like exercising to eating right. You feel sluggish, out of shape, and just blah. Pretty sure that is a word.
What is your plan to not let that happen this year?
You need a plan! Something to help you maintain your fitness level and maintain your healthy eating throughout the holidays. The plan will only work if it takes into account that you are still going to be enjoying yourself.
The good news is, I have a plan you can use and it won't cost you a thing. Just another gift for continuing to read these e-mails.
Make sure you open the e-mail I send you on Friday to get your copy of the Holiday Survival Guide. Tips, recipes, workouts, and more to help you figure out a game plan to get through the next two months.
2018 is the year you crush your goals and it all starts now!
We do our boot camps outside pretty much year round. This time of year is the absolute best. Makes all the hot and cold days from the rest of the year worth it.
If you’ve never exercised outside on a regular basis, now is the time to give it a try. I think once you give it a try you will be hooked!
Here are 10 reasons you should take your workouts outside:
1. 50% greater improvement in mental health over gym workouts.
2. It decreases tension, anger, confusion, and depression
3. Increased rates of exercise compliance (easier to stick to your workout routine).
4. Vigorous, outdoor exercise increases energy and alertness better than a cup of coffee.
5. Increased Vitamin D levels. On a related note, people with low Vitamin D levels are twice as likely to be overweight than people with normal to high levels of Vitamin D.
6. Helps you sleep better at night.
7. Test subjects scored 50% better on a creativity study after exercising. Side note- you have to go technology -free for this one to work.
8. No need to worry about germs on the equipment during cold and flu season or waiting on a piece of equipment during your workout.
9. Better way to increase your fitness level, especially for runners. Dealing with wind, temperature changes, different terrain, etc... makes your body work harder, expend more energy, and become more resilient.
10. The variety of workouts you can do outside is only held back by your imagination.
It is great to get in your workout 3 days a week or 5 days or every day. It is great to get a workout ANY days a week! But a game changer is what you get in during the other hours of the day.
Studies have shown, that even if you exercise every day you can still have negative health benefits if you are inactive the rest of the day.
I would suggest adding two elements: NEAT and fun movement.
NEAT is short for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. It is basically the movements of your every day life that can help you burn calories and stay active.
Some examples are:
-take the stairs
-park further out
-walk and talk rather than have a sit down meeting
There are hundreds of ways you can make your day more active if you just look for ways to make it happen. Take a few minutes and think of ways you could add 30 more minutes of NEAT to your day.
The next one that will help is fun movement. This is getting more back to the roots of your childhood and adding more play, type activities to your life.
These could be playing sports, running/walking your dog, flying a kite, etc… What are some fun ways you can get out and move? You don’t do them for time, reps, weight or anything like that. The only unit of measurement for this one is fun. Fall in love with moving your body and you will be active the rest of your life.
My family combined NEAT and fun movement yesterday for our Sunday Family Workout. We played soccer for awhile, ran back and forth carrying bricks from one spot to another for a project we were doing, threw the football, snuck in a few pull-ups, did weighted walking lunges, wall balls, wrestled around, and just generally enjoyed each other’s company.
It was an awesome afternoon! By the end, I was drenched in sweat because we had been doing fairly intense, physical movements for 90 minutes. This is an ideal situation. When you can fool yourself into getting a workout in, that is not a workout.
My challenge for you this week is to add 30 more minutes of NEAT activity each day this week AND to get out one day and do some kind of physical movement that you enjoy. It doesn’t matter how hard or how long or what the activity is. Just move and have fun. You will love it, I promise.
Make this a great week!
Seems like I hear more and more from clients and friends that they have stiff shoulders and backs. This is the time of year when that type of things becomes more common.
Car trips for fall break and holidays, the stress of year end work, holiday stress, etc... When you sit in a car or at a computer for too long, you will experience pain, it doesn't matter if you have perfect posture.
The absolute best way to avoid this is to get up frequently throughout the day. Every 15 minutes if possible, but at least once every hour. Get up, walk around, and stretch.
Something else you can do that is very helpful is this quick circuit:
|Upper back and shoulder stiffness|
Thanks again YouTube for picking a super, awkward thumbnail of me. It takes 10 minutes or less to get through, but it will make you feel so much better. Give it a try some time!
1. 10 Band pull aparts (knuckles up)
2. 10 Band pull aparts (palms up)
3. 10 Dislocators (back to front is one rep)
4. 10 Rolls on upper back
5. 10 Rolls on each shoulder blade
6. Repeat the whole circuit 2 more times as time permits
Fairly simple, but very effective especially when you do it consistently. Hope it helps you!
I have been working on a project for a long time and it is finally becoming real. On Sunday, November 5th the 1st annual Rocket City Adventure Race will be coming to downtown Huntsville!
Myself and Girls On The Run (a local non-profit) will be putting on the event. The race will start at 2pm and it is a partner race. This is a race for all ages and for all fitness levels. If you want to walk the whole thing, go for it! The main goal is to have fun and support a great cause.
The race is FREE but we are taking donations for Girls On The Run. Girls On The Run is an activity-based character development program for girls throughout North Alabama. It is a great organization and 100% of the proceeds will go to them.
There will be physical as well as mental challenges along the 2.7 mile long course. Some activities you will encounter are: putt putt golf, riddles, fitness station, and even a selfie station. This will be the most unique race you will experience this year and it won't cost a thing.
Find your partner now! The race is less than a month away. You can sign up here ----> Rocket City Adventure Race
I will give you more updates as we get closer, but feel free to reach out with any questions you might have. It's going to be awesome!
In my last post, I mentioned the research backing High Intensity Interval Training (the cool kids call it HIIT) as a time saving form of exercise. You will even see benefits from using HIIT if you use them in your walking program. Just by going a little bit faster a few times during your walk.
HIIT mixes intense exercise with low intensity “breaks”. I promised to give you a HIIT workout like the ones we do in our boot camps. And that is what I will do my friend!
For this HIIT workout we will do 30 seconds of all out effort followed by 30 seconds of a low intensity version of the same exercise.
Below are your exercises. Do 4 rounds of each (4 hard, 4 low intensity for each exercise, then move on to the next exercise in the series).
1. Kettlebell or dumbbell swings (low intensity do them without the weight or a lower weight)
2. High knees
3. Squats (for lower intensity you can use a lighter weight, no weight, and/or slow down your pace)
4. Knees (one foot forward, one foot back, drive your knee up as hard and as fast as you can. Change side every round.)
5. Seal jacks (arms and legs start out wide, jump them all together and clap your hands like a seal).
In 20 minutes you will work muscles from head to toe, get your heart rate up, get a good sweat in, and feel great afterwards. Plus you will get all the cardiovascular fitness, insulin resistance, and cellular level benefits I mentioned in my last post.
Give this one a try and let me know what you think!
In my last post I talked about using the Kaizen method to form good habits. I used some examples that were shockingly small.
But research has shown there is a way to pack 45 minutes of exercise into 1 minute. It sounds like a product that you would see on late night TV with 8 Minute Abs and something that makes Ramen Noodles cook EVEN faster.
Researchers compared a group of young men who were to perform moderate cardiovascular exercise versus a group of young men who would perform High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). The wanted to see if there were changes in aerobic fitness, how well they could control blood sugar, and muscle function at the cell level.
The first group did a 2-minute warm-up, rode 45 minutes on a stationary bike, and then did a 3-minute cool down. The other group warmed up for 2 minutes, went as hard as they could for 20 seconds, went 2 minutes very slowly, and then repeated that sequence for a total of 3 sets in 10 minutes. Both groups exercised 3 days per week.
Both groups ended up with:
-20% increase in cardiovascular endurance
-improved insulin resistance
-great increases in cells that produce energy and oxygen in the muscles
Would you rather exercise for 27 hours or 6 hours (with only 36 minutes being hard) to get the same benefit? That’s a pretty easy choice for me.
But, there is always a but, HIIT is not easy! It is also not the only way I recommend you exercise. There are some days you are just not in the mood for intense exercise. Going for a long run, hike, swim, bike ride, etc… at a leisurely pace is still great for your body as well as your mind.
In my next post I will put up a HIIT workout similar to what we do in our boot camp classes.
In study published in BMC Public Health, researchers wanted to know why some women exercised and others did not. The women were asked:
-what their physical activity levels were
-what they thought about exercise
-what made them feel happy and successful
-what a perfect day looked like for them
-if they considered exercise a priority
All the women in the study had 4 main things that made them happy:
1. Connecting with others
2. Being of service to others
3. Participating in leisure activities and hobbies
4. Feeling relaxed and free from daily pressures
To feel successful the women in the study wanted to contribute to the success of others, accomplish goals, and professional achievements.
Those were the things they could agree on. But when it came to views on physical activity, there was a stark difference.
The “low active” women thought exercise:
-was selfish and took time away from their family
-created stress in their life
-required too much commitment/intense effort
-this intense effort was taking away their need to relax
The “high active” group held the opposite viewpoint on exercise.
Exercise is not punishment! It is not something you do because you had birthday cake at the office or a couple of glasses of wine the night before.
Exercise is a reward to your body! It can make you a better mom, sister, wife, grandmother, employee, and boss.
It can get rid of the stress you are feeling.
It does not take 2 hours a day every day to get in shape. You can see results in whatever time you can fit in, if you are willing to try. I guarantee you have the time, but sometimes you have to make the time if it is not already there.
You do not have to deadlift 500 pounds, do burpees all day, or anything else that seems too intense for you. What do you enjoy doing? Do that!
When you exercise regularly, you are able to relax better. When you relax better, you can sleep better at night. When you get more quality sleep you get more energy. It is a rewarding cycle, not one that decreases your quality of life.
Our boot camps use these principles successfully. It is a place where women can go to connect with others, help each other out, accomplish goals, and get rid of stress at their pace and individual fitness level. For at least that one hour, they can sweat, smile, laugh, and be with their friends in a stress free and positive environment.
That one hour pays dividends throughout the day. These are moms, sisters, wives, grandmothers, employees, and bosses who are better equipped to do the things they need to do during the day. They are stronger mentally, physically, and emotionally because of exercise not in spite of it.
This study did not mention one thing about the physical difference in these women. It only mentioned one thing, their attitudes. And that is great news, because that is what you have complete control over.
So if you consider yourself “low activity” it is time to change how you look at exercise. Find a way to move that makes you feel good and do that! Regular exercise will pay dividends across all areas of your life.
Give it a shot. There are women just like you, who change their lives every day by starting with just one exercise session. Why not you?
Retired Admiral William H. McRaven did a commencement speech at his alma mater the University of Texas. The speech ended up going viral, so chances are good that if you didn’t see it you probably heard about it.
The speech was called Change The World By Making Your Bed. What does making your bed have to do with changing the world? I hate making my bed, I’m just going to sleep in it in a few hours!
There are several reasons for making your bed, the first being that it gives you a sense of accomplishment. Gives you a little pride to start your day and that sets the tone for the rest of the day. Inspiring you to do another task, then another task.
Making your bed shows you that the little things matter. You can never do the big things, if you can’t first do the little things. Then if nothing else when you come home and you have had a terrible day you have a nicely made bed waiting for you at home. And that gives you hope that tomorrow will be a better day.
I just finished reading Admiral McRaven’s book “Make Your Bed: Little things that can change your life...and maybe the world.” Great, short read if you are looking for a book. And it motivated me to “make my bed”. I just have one problem.
There is still someone sleeping in my bed when I get up at 4am.
So I’ve started waking up and immediately doing 5 minutes as hard as I can go on a VersaClimber. Wakes me up, I get in a little cardio training, and no matter how busy the rest of my day gets I have at least done 5 minutes of exercise that day.
What can you do to “make your bed” each morning? What can set the tone for the day and get you off on the right foot? Find what works best for you! Find that thing that no matter how bad your day goes, you will always have that one positive thing to look at as proof that this day was not a waste.