What if you could do something for 5-10 minutes a day for one week and you would reap the benefits for the next 6 months? And the benefits would include:
-higher quality sleep
-get sick less often
-less physical pain
-lower blood pressure
If you could put that in a pill, you could retire and live like a boss the rest of your life. But it is not a pill, does not require physical exertion, and it doesn’t cost you a thing.
It is simply the act of practicing gratitude.
Practicing gratitude has been thought of as a religious or spiritual technique by many people and has many skeptics of its benefits. But there are several scientific studies that back up these claims.
My challenge to you is to test this theory out. We all have 5 minutes in our day to make this happen if we are intentional about it.
Don’t overthink this one. Just spend 5 minutes each day thinking about and writing down things that you are grateful for. Pick a time, either first thing in the morning or before bed, and start. The hardest part is starting.
Then from there, just remember there are no wrong answers. You are doing this for you and you don’t have to show this to anyone. Just. Start.
Are you willing to give this a try?
I had the opportunity to do a boot camp for a group of breast cancer survivors this week. It was such an awesome experience! Two things really stood out to me about this group.
The first thing that stood out was the diversity of the group. There were women of all races, ages, sizes, and backgrounds. Cancer truly does not discriminate and can affect anybody at any time.
The other thing that stood out was how positive they all were! Laughing, smiling, and supporting each other the whole time. It was a sight to see.
They were all a part of a program at Huntsville Hospital called Surviving and Thriving. An awesome program that helps women overcome all of the obstacles that come after treatment. If you ran the Liz Hurley Ribbon Run this past weekend, you helped to fund this group.
Two takeaways that I would like for you to glean from this. The first is, please stay informed about breast cancer risks. Ask your health care provider which screening tests are best for you and how often you should do them.
The second take away is to never fight alone. Whether that is facing cancer, depression, or anything else. You are not alone. Get with a friend, find a group, talk to somebody. It is a hard step for a lot of people, but one you need to take
In my fitness business I train a lot of moms. Including my own mom. It is one of the things I really love about what I do. Moms continue to amaze me with what that they are able to accomplish.
I mean think where we would be without the patented "mom licking her thumb to get something off your face" move? We would be living like savages.
Giving birth is not a pretty scene, let's just put that out there. The beauty of childbirth is a myth along the lines of Bigfoot.
It is a miracle for sure, but an ugly miracle. There are also many changes that occur with childbirth, but there is one that continually crops up pertaining to exercise.
The peeing problem.
Yep, I'm going there. Because it is a real thing! Hardly a day goes by when I don't see a jumping jack turn into a flapping of the arms with no jump.
I don't even ask any more, I just know. There is about to be trouble up in here if she keeps jumping.
So I want to offer a fix for this problem in the form of a little something called Kegels.
What are Kegels?
They are exercises for the muscles of your pelvic floor that get their name from a doctor named Arnold Kegel.
I'm working on getting an exercise named after me one day. Hopefully a totally different muscle group will be involved.
The purpose of Kegels is to strengthen the muscles in the pelvic floor. Just like any other muscle if you exercise it, the muscle will improve.
On the flip side though, if that muscle is not exercised or gets damaged it will not function like it used to.
Why so you need to do Kegels?
Besides, the main reason I mentioned earlier, there are several reason why you should do kegels. Lately I have talked to several people who have older parents suffering from incontinence.
It has been a horrible experience for both the parent as well as the child, as you can imagine. They want to help their parents any way they can.
It is not just age that can cause incontinence; the pelvic floor can be adversely affected by giving birth, a sedentary lifestyle, and being overweight.
Along with incontinence (of the bladder and bowels if you really want to know), weak pelvic floor muscles can cause prolapse of pelvic organs and decreased sexual enjoyment.
How do you perform Kegels?
Like all heartwarming stories, this one starts in the restroom.
Next time you are urinating, contract the muscles that stop the flow of urine. These are the muscles you are looking to work. Chances are you have done Kegels before and didn't even know it.
Have you ever been peeing, heard a suspicious noise, and cut the stream off? If so, then you have gotten your Kegel on! That looks much worse in writing than I imagined, but I'm still going with it.
Once you figure out the correct muscles to contract, don't do it any more while urinating. You can actually weaken these muscles by continuing to contract the pelvic floor muscles while urinating.
Start off by contracting these muscles for 10 seconds at a time, then build up as your muscles get stronger. You can do these every day and at just about any time of the day. You might get a funny look on your face, but who cares?
This is a simple, but effective technique that can really improve your quality of life. If you know of anyone this article can help, why not pass it on to them? Anyone can do them and they can help everybody.
PS- do you know what else helps? Having a stronger booty. Keep doing those squats, deadlifts, and bridges!
On Friday I sent out an e-mail with two resources to help you cut down/eliminate your sugar intake. They are The Sugar Addiction Answer book and the home study course the 28-Day Sugar Free Me.
Both resources are each $19.95 a piece and come with a money back guarantee if they don't work. That is my promise to you, either they work for you or you get all your money back no questions asked.
These will take the guess work and frustration out of having to try to kick this habit on your own. Use these step-by-step instructions for your very own success blueprint.
You just need to decide what type of person you are. If you are a dive right in, give me all the information at once! Then you would choose The Sugar Addiction Answer book. You get all the information right away to consume at your own pace.
If you are more of a give me the information in small doses, so I can process it and understand it. Then you would want to take the 28-Day Sugar Free Me Course. With that, you would get one lesson per day for a month.
You can choose which one you would like below:
Health professionals have been saying for years that there is a connection between sugar and cancer. Now scientists have discovered more about how it actually works. This article describes how sugar traps cancer in a vicious cycle that makes it harder for people to beat cancer.
According to the USDA, average American eats 152 pounds of sugar every year. Then there is this stat from the National Cancer Institute:
In 2016, an estimated 1,685,210 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the United States and 595,690 people will die from the disease.
While cancer is obviously the worst-case scenario, sugar has several other negative effects on our bodies. Weight gain, poor digestion, decreased energy, brittle bones, and so many more bad things we don't want in our lives.
And since I'm on a roll with the bad news, I will remind you that we are reaching the peak time of year for sugar intake. It starts with Halloween, goes to Thanksgiving, holiday parties, Christmas, and then New Year's. You will be surrounded by sugar very soon, if you aren't already.
What is your plan?
If you don't have a plan, I have two options for you. The first one is my home study program for kicking sugar, called The Sugar Addiction Answer.
The goal of the book is to help you:
-Cut your sugar intake
-Gain more energy
-Reduce mood problems
-Learn about physical and emotional causes behind sugar cravings and ways to counter them so that you can control your cravings without going cold turkey
-Learn ways to get sustained energy without the ups and downs caused by sugar
-Learn to use food to curb sugar cravings
-Learn how to identify hidden sources of sugar
-Learn about sugar substitutes, and their pros and cons
It costs $19.95 and is a digital download so it is available right away so you can get started. You can get that here --->
The other option is the 28-Day Sugar Free Me. It's a 28-day program that is easy to understand and follow. You will get a step-by-step plan for weaning yourself off of sugar and replace your stress eating habits with new, healthy habits.
You get daily lessons, tips, and tools to help you fight off sugar. Everything is laid out step-by-step all you have to do is start!
Both of these options come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you try them out and they do nothing for you, please let me know and I will get you your money back.
I'm very serious about helping people with this, so I wanted to take all the risk away. It works or you get your money back, simple as that.
Also, if you have purchased The Sugar Addiction Answer in the past you get free enrollment in the 28-Day Sugar Free Me course. Please send me your purchase receipt and I will get you set up. Take that sugar!
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!
The other day I was all excited about my workout. I couldn’t wait to take a trip to Muscleville, population me.
I’m just a few sets in to my very first exercise and it happens. Stinking back spasms.
Not sure if you have ever had back spasms before but they are not much fun. The bad part is that is was completely my own fault that I got them.
If you were making a formula to give yourself back spasms, I came up with a pretty good one. First you get about 4 hours of sleep the night before, then, you drink lots of coffee to make up for that, do NOT rehydrate with water, eat not so great foods, sit a lot working on a project, rush through your warm-up, and then go too heavy too fast doing squats.
That will pretty much do it if you are looking to experience some sympathy back spasms with me. And I knew not to do all of these things, but I still did them. Do you ever get yourself in those situations where you know better, but do it any way?
The first lesson here is to always prepare for your workouts. If you are tired, dehydrated, your nutrition has been terrible, you’ve been sitting all day, and you halfway go through your warm-up chances are good you could injure yourself.
The second lesson was what I did after I got the back spasms. I obviously was finished with my heavy squats and deadlifts for the day, but that did not mean my workout was finished. I found some things I could do (wall sits, bodyweight squats, rear foot elevated squats) and not be completely miserable. Then the next day, I found upper body exercises I could still do.
When you have an injury, you can choose to give up or adapt. I always choose to adapt and you should too. It’s not time to throw in the towel because you are uncomfortable or it’s too hard. What CAN you do? Put the focus there.
Maybe it is time to clean up your nutrition, decrease your stress levels, or improve your sleep quality. If your lower body, upper body, or core is injured find what you can still work on and do that! Studies show doing something works 100% better than feeling sorry for yourself.
If you need help on finding what exercises you can still do, some lifestyle changes you can make, or anything else feel free to reach out to me. Don’t give in, awesomeness is still attainable at all levels of life.
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.
I was at Camp Sumatanga last week supporting a friend on his Emmaus Walk. Very cool experience and I was very grateful for the opportunity to be there.
One of the musicians there was blind. It was amazing! He was playing guitar and singing all without the benefit of sight.
My mind tends to wander, so I started to think about some of the TV features I have seen with blind people. How they have everything in their home a certain way, so they freely navigate around without tripping.
They have a checklist of sorts in their head that helps put things on autopilot. This got me thinking that a similar thing would be helpful for people trying to eat healthy and exercise.
So I put together an example of a checklist you could use to improve your success rate with added accountability. My suggestion is to look at this example and make it fit your lifestyle.
_______ workout clothes and shoes ready for the next day (always have workout clothes and shoes with you just in case)
_______ alarm set
_______ workout plan written down (if exercising on your own)
_______ change of clothes and toiletries packed (if showering/changing at work)
_______ quick breakfast planned for after workout
_______ healthy lunch packed or planned
_______ record all meals in food journal
_______ turn off electronics at 8pm
These are just a few things that can help you stay on track. Most days you might not be able to check every box and that’s ok. It’s striving to get better every day that is the main goal.
Take a look at that list, think about what you struggle with the most, and put together your own list. Having a plan will save you time, money, and frustration in the long run. It is well worth a few minutes of your time to put one together.