Exercise

How Facebook can help you sleep better, exercise more, and get rid of your depression

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facebook-gym  

If you are on Facebook, you have probably noticed that a lot of people are talking about the things they are thankful for. I love it! Too often Facebook is a place where people go to do two things.

Brag or complain.

 

Humblebrag-Header

 

Especially the dreaded humble brag. "My Ferrari hasn't been washed since I got back from skiing with Lady Gaga in Vail. LOL!"

This all sounds nice, but what does being grateful have to do with your health? As it turns out, it has a lot to do with your health.

Studies have shown that people who show an appreciation for the things they are grateful in life experience the following benefits:

-less depression

-more optimistic

-less aches and pains

-better sleep

-less anxiety

-exercised more often

Another great thing about having an attitude of gratitude is the effect is has on your brain. When you are grateful it effects the part of that releases dopamine. It feels good to release dopamine, so this helps you continue to have that positive attitude so you can experience that feeling again.

Another benefit is that your brain is not a multitasker. When you are focused on the positive things in your life, you won't be focused on the bad things in your life.

All of you doing the Facebook gratitude thing, keep it up! Or you can keep a gratitude journal if you are a more private type. Write a letter to someone who made a difference in your life.

I recently wrote a letter (by hand!) to a coach I had in high school who helped me. It really did feel good to picture hime reading the how he positively effected my life. It was 20 years ago, but I still benefit from the things he taught me.

Think of ways you can be more grateful and you will feel better. It's science.

Never let your butt go over your head and other tips for safer and more effective pushups

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butt over head 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.

what-muscles-do-push-ups-work

  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.    

Pumpkin Circuit and Pumpkin Pie With Nut Crust Recipe

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PumpkinWorkout

  Did you know that pumpkin is very high in alpha- and beta-carotene? Taking in these two carotenes has been shown to increase your life span. And what better way to eat pumpkin, than in pie form? This recipe from Healthy Living How To is a great one to try.   Pumpkin Pie with Nut Crust  
Nut Crust 
Prep Time:  5 minutes Cook Time:  15 minutes   Ingredients1 cup Almond Flour/Meal ½ cup Bob’s Red Mill Hazelnut Meal/Flour ¼ cup Extra Light Olive Oil or Coconut Oil Pinch of Himalayan Sea Salt   Directions
1.     With a fork, mix oil with nut flour and salt until you have a “crumble-like” texture.
2.     With fingers, pat curst into bottom and halfway up the sides of a 9 inch pie plate.
3.     Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes or until lightly brown.
4.     Much be completely cool before filling.
 
Pumpkin PiePrep Time:  3 minutes Cook Time:  50 minutes   Ingredients15 oz. Can Farmer’s Market Organic Pumpkin 13. 5 oz. Can Native Forest Organic Coconut Milk ¾ tsp. Ground Cinnamon ½ tsp. Ground Nutmeg ¼ tsp. Ground Ginger ¼ tsp. Ground Cloves ½ tsp. Himalayan Sea Salt 1/8 tsp. Stevia Extract Powder 2 Large Organic Eggs 1 Nut Crust   Directions
1.     Mix pumpkin, coconut milk, spices and stevia together.
2.     Add eggs and mix slowly just until thoroughly mixed.
3.     Pour pie filling into nut crust.
4.     Bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350 degrees F for an additional 35 minutes.
5.     Thoroughly cool and chill before serving.  What's your favorite way to prepare pumpkin? I would love to hear it.

How to get Revenge

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Revenge
  Have you ever heard the quote, "The best revenge is a life well lived."?   It really makes sense to me, but I see too many people going the complete opposite direction. I see more and more people who get hurt and then take it out on themselves.   It could be a spouse, family member, an employer, or any number of people that hurts them and it leads to self defeating behaviors and an overall negative attitude about life. They take solace in food, alcohol, solitude, anger, and many other destructive things.   They let themselves go completely and their health suffers tremendously.   Is that you? If you have gained more weight than you ever thought you would, what happened? Look back.   Do you remember a turning point? Chances are it leads back to some point where you were hurt.   Find that hurt and use it as fuel for success, rather than an anchor to hold you back.   Don't let that person continue to win!    The best way to get back at the person that hurt you is to forget them. You're worth the effort, so work on you and forget that hurt.    

10 Reasons You Should Be Exercising Outside

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OutdoorExercise
Fall is my favorite time of the year to exercise because I do 99% of my workouts outside. It is beautiful right now!
I actually feel weird when I exercise indoors. Even though the temperature is always nice and I don't have to worry about this weird neighbor I have who pulls out a chair and watches me exercise, I don't like it as much.
That is a weird twist because I used to do nothing but gym workouts. I started to wonder why that is, so I did some research. Turns out researchers have proven that there are some awesome benefits to exercising in the great outdoors.
Top Ten Reasons You Need To Exercise Outside
1. 50% greater improvement in mental health over gym workouts.
2. It decreases tension, anger, confusion, and depression (know anyone who could use less of those beauties?).
3. Increased rates of exercise compliance (easier to stick to your workout routine).
quote_outdoor_exercises
4. Vigorous, outdoor exercise increases energy and alertness better than a cup of coffee.
5. Much higher Vitamin D levels. In a related note, people with low Vitamin D levels are twice as likely to be overweight than people with normal to high levels if 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 phone/MP3 free for this one to work.
8. No need to worry about germs on the equipment or waiting on the guy who is reading a novel while camped out on the piece of equipment you need.
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. Adventure Boot Camp is outside. This has been scientifically proven by the way.

Kick off your Sunday shoes and feel like a kid!

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Nobody, and I mean nobody, stops Kevin Bacon from dancing!

Nobody, and I mean nobody, stops Kevin Bacon from dancing!

  Man my toes are killing me! Do you get many blogs that start like that? Every Sunday I do a circuit style workout with my wife and son. Great family time and it is a quick and effective workout. We did 30 seconds on 30 seconds rest for 4 round of: -Battle ropes -Kettlebell goblet squats -Kettlebell single leg deadlift  (right leg) -Kettlebell single leg deadlift (left leg) -Pushups -Hip thrusts -Sprints   In 28 minutes you get a full workout in. But back to my toes...   Why are they sore from all of that? Because I kicked off my Sunday shoes!   When was the last time you kicked off your shoes and ran barefoot as fast as you could? It really is an amazing thing that will give you a flashback to your childhood. Plus running in bare feet feels much better on my knees and strengthens your feet and toes (the reason for the sore toes).   When my son was about years old, he looked over at me and said, "Hey daddy let's take our shoes off and go run in the grass!"   I can't turn that offer down. And neither should you.   You don't have to run fast and you don't have to run far, but I encourage you to give it a try. It will be worth it.   Just be prepared to have grocery feet afterwards.
Don't say I didn't warn you

Don't say I didn't warn you

The “Whenever You Can” Workout

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Not exactly what we are looking for

Not exactly what we are looking for

  I've recently taken on some things in my life that have really cut down on my available workout hours. I'm very lucky that I am able to drop off and pick my son up at school. Family time is not something, I'm willing to compromise on. Getting up earlier is not going to happen either, 4am come early enough.   So what am I going to do? Go back to being fat? No thank you. Although I have to make a confession. I have daydreams of letting myself completely go. Eating like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day if you have ever seen that movie. It's a pretty sweet daydream.

Groundhog Day movie image Bill Murray

  But it ain't happening. Never again is my motto.   Do you have a schedule like that? A schedule where you have 5 minutes here, 10 minutes there. That's not enough time to workout!   It isn't enough time if you are trying to run a marathon, but if you are trying to lose fat and get in shape you can make it happen.   Here a "When You Can" workout I did the other day:   1. Got home from teaching my first class: 20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest for 8 round. Alternating between pushups and kettlebell swings every round. Took about 4 minutes.   2. Throughout the day: Randomly run up and down the stairs. Also helps break the monotony of working. Dropping down into a plank for 30 seconds here and there.   3. Just before I went to pick up my son: 5 minutes of sprints in the yard   4. Had 10 minutes: 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest for 8 rounds for numbers 1 and 2 below. 1. Weighted hip thrusts 2. Alternated between overhead presses and squat/upright row.   5. That night while grilling fish: 15 minutes of Goblet squats, barefoot sprints with the little man, and checking Facebook (keeping it real).   All of that adds up. Look through your day, you have little pockets of time where you can do something! This goes for anybody. Even if you workout every day, you still need to become more active overall.   Audit you day and find out where you are wasting time. Eliminate the waste and fit in some physical activity.
 

5 Weird Training Tips for 5Ks

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Don't let the pretty face fool you, she is a terror if you talk bad about her dancing

Don't let the pretty face fool you, she is a terror if you talk bad about her dancing

1. Don't be like Racquel Welch   Have you ever seen the sprinters in the Olympics? These are the fastest people on Earth and they have huge upper body muscles. Why is that? Fast arms, make fast feet.   If you run with your arms motionless and in by your side like Racquel Welch dancing on Seinfeld, you are not going as fast as you can. And if you missed the Seinfeld era, my sympathies.   Try following these cues: arms bent at 45 degrees, keep your hands loose (don't clench your fists),  let your arms swing back and forth (not across your body), and think about driving your elbows  back as opposed to pushing your hands forward. These things take a little practice, but can really help.  

Sweatpants

  2. Stop sweating in your work clothes   How awesome is it when you finish a run, get dressed for work, and you are still a sweaty mess? Wait, that is not so awesome. The first thing you need to do is a proper cool down. If you immediately stop your run/walk and go get ready, you will sweat a ton more. Try fitting in a 5 minute walk and some light stretching afterwards.   Most of us are not into cold showers, so try this simple trick. Run cold water on the inside of your wrists. Because there is a large concentration of blood vessels there, it will help cool the rest of your body.  

the-jedi-weekly

3. Jedi mind trick   One of the most important parts of running is the mental game.  It can be really overwhelming to think about going 3 miles, when the furthest you've gone is one mile. Treat it like you would eat an elephant. One bite at a time.   Tell yourself to make it one step further, get to the next light pole, then the 5th mailbox. Keep setting mini goals that propel you forward and don't let the big picture discourage you.    
The areas in red are the areas you will work with one "simple" exercise

The areas in red are the areas you will work with one "simple" exercise

4. Stay still, avoid injuries   Growing up my mom would always say "Planks don't stank." And even though my mom totally did not say that, the saying is true. When your core is weak it can lead to injuries and decreased performance.   Planks are a simple, yet effective exercise that can help make you a more efficient runner.  Here is how to perform a plank: -Lie face down on the floor, with your forearms on the floor and your elbows under your shoulders -Push off the floors only your forearms and toes are touching the floor -Don't let your hips sag down or your butt come up in the air   A good goal to start with is 30 seconds. If you can't get the full 30 seconds, just get to where you can. Look to add more time every week. When you are able to hold the plank for a minute straight, make it harder. Pick up one leg, raise on arm, lift and arm and a leg, etc...

GetRidOfSideCramps

5. Get up on the good foot and blow out the candles   You're out running, your legs feel great, breathing is on point, and then someone stabs you in the side with a knife. The dirty side stitch cramp. They are awful and can really cramp your running style. Let the hilarity sink in.   A simple way to prevent these side stitches from occurring is to breath out when your left foot hits the ground. These side stitches are basically spasms of the diaphragm that running can cause because it makes the organs attached to the diaphragm jump up and down. You put a much larger strain on the organs attached to the diaphragm when you breathe out when your right foot hits. The organs on the left side are much smaller, so there is less strain.   If you do get one, the best way to fight through them is to slow down and breathe out with pursed lips (like you are blowing out a birthday candle).   Hope these help!

Get comfortable being uncomfortable

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GetComfortableBeingUncomfortable   "Get comfortable being uncomfortable" is a phrase I have always liked. When it applies to other people :) It's always a little rougher when you are talking about yourself.  
We live in a world where every convenience can be taken care of.   Want some water when you get thirsty? It is everywhere!   Hungry? Try to drive 5 minutes without seeing a fast food place, grocery store, or convenience store that carries food.   Houses and cars are heated and cooled. My wife's car even has those sweet bun warmers in her car.   We aren't uncomfortable very often.   So when we do become uncomfortable, it freaks us out a little and makes us back away. When you are running, do you stop because your legs would not move any further or because you were very uncomfortable? Same with lunges, squats, presses, etc...   I want you to redefine your limits. Chances are, you already know where you are weak. Start there.   For me, it is the running part. I'm not a big fan of it. So that's what I will be working on the most. What is it for you? The best way to become strong is to work on your weakness.   One of my weak spots in life has always been public speaking. It wasn't a problem when I was working for other people doing one to one personal training. All I had to do was show up and train.   For any business owners out there, you know that you are your business. You have to be out in the public eye to grow your business. I will go speak in front of any group, any time anywhere now.   I'm not comfortable doing it, but I am comfortable being uncomfortable so I do it.   I still get nervous. I still feel like I am going to throw up. But I know that it won't kill me, despite my dangerously high heart rate.   This weekend I am even teaching a fitness dance class for charity. Talk about being out of your comfort zone... This one might actually kill me, but it's for charity so I'm in.   Are you comfortable in your workouts? I'm not saying they are easy workouts, but are you comfortable? Can you finish every set you do? Do you always feel like you had something left in the tank after a run? Are you going through the motions in the class you are taking?   If so, I challenge you to pick it up a little. Use heavier weights, run a little further, try that class that scares you.   You know what happens after that? You see it was not as scary as you thought. Then you will continue to conquer your goals and redefine your limits.   It will not be easy, sometimes it's not much fun, you won't be comfortable, but it will definitely make you improve.   Get comfortable being uncomfortable and the sky is the limit.
 

3 Fitness Hacks To Speed Up Your Results

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funny-bed-sheets-folding-mess

I'm a big fan of those life hacks you will see on the Interwebs from time to time. This one is things to simplify your life, like using a straw to remove the stem from a strawberry.   Which works really well if you've never tried it, by the way. Push the straw through the bottom of the strawberry and it pops the stem right off at the top.   Just don't believe the hype on the folding a fitted sheet one. That is impossible and can only be done by people born on a Leap Year during a full moon.   I wanted to offer 3 Fitness Hacks that are fairly simple, but can speed your results up.   Problem 1- You're not a "regular" person   Constipation can not only cause you to hold onto excess weight, but can also lead to painful health problems.   Solution- Go against the usual advice   This may sound counter-intuitive to traditional advice, but research has backed it up. If you are suffering from constipation, try reducing the amount of fiber you take in. Also, make sure you drink a large glass of water right when you wake up in the morning.  

 baby-squat

Problem 2- Your heels come off the ground when you squat   When your heels come off the ground when you squat, it begins to put pressure on your joints and tendons. This added pressure not only takes the focus away from the muscles you are trying to work, it makes you more susceptible to back strains, knee pain, and even plantar faciitis.   Solution- Ankle circles   A lot of times tight ankles are the cause of the heels coming off the ground while squatting. High heel shoe wearers are especially at risk. Try doing ankle circles every day.   Put your toes on the ground, heels are up in the air. Then start circling your foot around, almost like you are putting out a cigarette. And if you are smoking, go ahead and put that thing out. Do 10 circles in each direction, on each foot. images Problem 3- Your knees cave in when you squat   Just like your heels coming up, the knees caving in places strain where you don't want it and prevents improvements.   Solution- Shove your knees out   This is more of an awareness thing. Think about 4 steps when you are squatting. 1. Sit back, instead of down (push your hips back) 2. Shove your knees out and keep them out on the way down, as well as the way up 3. Keep your chest up 4. Push through your heels as you stand up   If your knees continue to cave in towards each other, try wrapping a mini-band around your knees as you squat. I use this one from Perform Better. Helps give you a better feel for how you should be pushing out with your knees.   Hope you found these helpful!  
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