Do you remember the Thighmaster? Man that thing was genius! Great way to work those stubborn inner thigh muscles.
It was genius until you use it wrong and your Thighmaster goes flying across the room on the first squeeze. Allegedly. That would never happen to a trained pro like myself in his garage right as his neighbor was rolling the trash out.
The inner thigh muscles are also known as the adductors. You can remember that because they pull your leg back towards your body, like you are ADDing it back to your body. You just got 75% of what I remember from my college degree right there.
The adductor muscles are not only important because toned inner thighs look good, but they can also help you prevent injuries and increase your performance in physical activities.
So if you want to look better, prevent nagging injuries, and/or you would like to squeeze the life out of someone Bond Girl style I got your back.
Here are 4 exercises you can do at home to strengthen and tone your inner thighs:
1. Band Adduction
Connect a band to a stable object and then attach it to your right ankle. Stand up tall with tension on the band before you start. Move your foot to the left like you are sweeping just above the floor. Control the movement as it goes back to your right. Repeat on your other leg; hold on for balance as needed.
A great exercise for cardio, as well as working several lower body muscles. Start with knees bent, hips pushed back and upper body leaning forward with a flat back. Push off of your left foot and jump to your right, then do the same pushing off of your right foot. For low impact, you can step instead of jump.
3. Wall Squat Squeeze
You will need a wall and a ball for this one. Place a ball (exercise ball, medicine ball, basketball) between your knees, back against the wall, and slide down until your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. While holding the squat, shoulder blades in contact with the wall, squeeze your knees as hard as you can against the ball.
4. Chair Adduction
Lie on your left side; place the inside of your right foot on top of a chair or coffee table. Raise your left leg up and touch the bottom of the chair or table, pause at the top for a count, and then slowly lower your leg down. Repeat on the other side.
There are many ways that can lead to success in the fitness world. I have seen people get tremendous results with boot camp, Crossfit, lifting weighs, Zumba, running, and many other ways of moving your body. They all had the same thing in common though.
The person who succeeded set a goal and refused to give up.
Getting a trainer is an awesome idea. Getting a workout partner works really good. Getting into a workout group is excellent too. But it eventually boils down to 10 2-letter words.
If it is to be, it is up to me.
People can help you along the way. You can be given all the tools and knowledge in the world. But you are the one that will have to execute.
If you think about it, that is the best news you will hear all day! That means you already have everything within you that it takes to be successful. There is power in realizing that about yourself.
Never doubt yourself for one minute. Never doubt that you aren’t good enough or strong enough. You don't need magic, luck, or pixie dust. Even though pixie dust is pretty awesome.
The only super power you need is consistency.
If you ever need a cheerleader, if you ever need someone to just listen to you, or if you just need some advice I'm here for you. Decide today what you want to do, write out the plan, and get to work!
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.
When your body is stressed out, you WILL NOT lose fat and you WILL NOT build any of the lean muscle mass you need to increase your metabolism. Our bodies are hard wired to deal with stress first before anything else. If you have been doing all the right things (eating right, exercising, etc...) and not getting results, this might be the the key for you to start getting the results you deserve. This goes back to our days as hunter/gatherers when stress meant something with big teeth and fast legs was coming at you. That is definitely a priority. But our bodies can feel the same stress when a big project is due at work, financial problems are hitting you hard, etc…
It can also be a compilation of a bunch of smaller stressors coming together to bring you down. Look at your stress life like a bathtub. It doesn’t matter if you have the stress on full blast or if you have it barely on but it is steadily flowing. Eventually it is going to spill over and you are going to have a mess. You need a drain or ideally several drains.
Your job is to figure out what your faucets are, how much they are on, and find the drains to get rid of them. These are non-food/drink ways to rid yourself of stress that I’m talking about. When the food or drink is gone, the stress will come back ASAP.
There are hundreds of ways to manage stress. I will list a few options, but you need to figure out what suits your personality best. And find one that a few that you will actually do.
Here are some ideas to get your creativity going: go for a walk, hit a punching bag, listen to music, talk to a friend about your problems, pet a dog, do a hard workout, yoga, meditation, prayer, get a massage, start a budget, go swimming, go for a bike ride, take a nap.
Do something other than just internalizing your stress. You will be happier, healthier, and you will be able to get results much easier.
Raise your hand if you get enough sleep? Not too many hands there, I know mine wasn't up. But I am constantly working on ways I can improve my sleep/rest, which will lead to better recovery, which will lead me to getting better results with those first two building blocks we have talked about.
Here are just a few things that studies have shown that lack of proper sleep can cause:
-snack more after dinner
-eat more junk carbs
-fat cells age, making you more likely to gain weight and get diabetes
-a decrease in alertness and increase reaction time, making you more likely to be in a traffic accident
-increased levels of stress, anger, sadness, and depression
So here are 7 tips to help improve sleep quantity as well as quality.
1. The single most important thing you will need is a good bed
In my opinion a great bed and mattress are well worth the amount of money they cost. Think about how much time you spend in that bed over the next 10-20 years. A very worthwhile investment, so get a good one that works for you.
2. Create a good sleep environment
Keep the noise level down as low as possible, as dark as possible, and keep your room cool (to my wife this means 87 degrees, for me it is 48 degrees). The research shows around 68 degrees is an optimal temp. Sometimes my wife reads these e-mails, fingers crossed today.
3. Get a routine
You know the basketball players that dribble twice, kiss their cross medallion, wipe the sweat off their forehead, do 4 clap jacks, and then shoot a free throw? No? Okay, just know that you need a routine to help you wind down and relax before you go to sleep. This can be reading, listening to soft music, taking a bath, praying, some light stretching. Just find a calming activity you do every night that will be your body's signal to shut it down for the night.
4. What about when you have to get up in the middle of the night?
The number one thing is to avoid frustration. If you have been trying for more than 15 minutes and nothing is happening, get out of bed and do some sort of light activity (eat a light snack, drink a glass of milk, read something boring) with the lights dimmed. If your mind starts working a hundred miles per hour on things you need to do, keep a notepad next to your bed and write down the things on your mind. All of these are designed to take your mind off things and not be so frustrated at yourself for being awake.
5. Stay away from pills!
They are the absolute last resort. There are times when you need them, but research has shown that using a good sleep routine is more effective than pills.
6. Some things that can mess with your sleepy time:
* Too much food, especially fatty, rich food. These take a lot of work for your stomach to digest and may keep you up. Spicy or acidic foods in the evening can cause stomach trouble and heartburn.
* Too much liquid. Drinking lots of fluid may result in frequent bathroom trips throughout the night.
* Alcohol. Many people think that a nightcap before bed will help them sleep. While it may make you fall asleep faster, alcohol reduces your sleep quality, waking you up later in the night. To avoid this effect, stay away from alcohol in the hours before bed.
* Caffeine. You might be surprised to know that caffeine can cause sleep problems up to ten to twelve hours after drinking it! Consider eliminating caffeine after lunch or cutting back your overall intake.
* Smoking. Smoking causes sleep troubles in numerous ways. Nicotine is a stimulant, which disrupts sleep. Additionally, smokers actually experience nicotine withdrawal as the night progresses, making it hard to sleep.
*Electronics. Turn the electronics off at least 30 minutes to 1 hour before bed time and keep them away from you as you sleep. Our gadgets can suppress melatonin, keep your brain alert (and you awake), and all the beeps, buzzes, and chirps can wake you up in the middle of the night.
7. And of course, the best thing you can do is exercise!
Our bodies are not designed to sit around all day with zero physical activity. I have a saying about kids that applies to adults too. When in doubt, wear 'em out. Moving more and sitting less will help improve your sleep quality.
Some of these may seem obvious, but the idea is to do ALL the steps to optimize your sleep. Not just the ones that come easy to you. Good luck and get some rest tonight!
We walked about the first building block of success on Wednesday. How to find a successful exercise plan for you as an individual.
Today is all about nutrition. Eating correctly for your body is THE most important part of changing how your body looks. Period. Exercise can help build muscle, make you feel better, your body start moving better but if you want to SEE results you need to pick your game up in the kitchen.
The problem is there are so many nutrition plans out there, which one is the best? Paleo? Raw Food? Mediterranean? Seafood Diet? See Food Diet?
I recommend the Pale Joe diet. 6 simple steps to better nutrition. That says simple, not easy. Here they are:
1. Just Eat Real Food
If you did nothing else on this list, you could cure a lot of problems if you just followed this one thing. Cutting processed and fast food out of your diet and eating things that come from the Earth is exactly what your body needs.
Crazy stat from Dr. Mark Hyman- There 600,000 processed food items in our environment. 80% of them contain added sugar.
More on sugar later.
2. Don't fear fat
Fat has a bad reputation because it is high in calories, but it is also very beneficial too. Food like fish, nuts, avocado, and coconut oil (yeah I think we’re still good here) are all excellent examples of beneficial fats to have in your food plan.
Trans fats (man made fats) should be avoided at all opportunities. Shortening, fried foods, canned biscuits, margarine are all chock full of trans fats that will lower your good cholesterol and raise your bad cholesterol.
3. Shake the sugar habit
Sugar is absolutely killing America, especially our children. It is extremely addictive and has a vicious cycle that is very destructive to our bodies.
The end result? Your hormones get out of wack, you gain weight (among other side effects), and then you crave even more sugar!
Because of this threat, I've got some resources on getting rid of sugar addiction for good. If you are interested, just e-mail me at HuntsvilleBootCamp@gmail.com and I can tell you more.
Not So Fun fact- Having 1 soda per day increases a child's chances of becoming obese by 60%. And 90% of kids have at least 1 soda per day. That is a big reason experts are predicting that be 2050 obesity rates will sky rocket from 36% where we are now, to 50%.
4. Read the articles
If you read nothing else today, start reading your food labels. The package on the outside, is 100% marketing. The true story is told in the food label.
If nothing else, look at the first 3 ingredients (they are listed from the largest amount to the smallest). And if it has a bunch of stuff you don't recognize or can't pronounce, don't eat it.
5. Upgrade your carbs
Carbs have been demonized over the past few years. Carbs are not the devil. The simple starches (chips, fries, aka junk food) are the real problem and should be avoided for sure.
Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are all excellent sources of carbohydrates. It all gets back to the first step we discussed. Eat carbs that are not processed.
6. H2O you didn't!
I hate you can't see me say this with my sassy attitude face and voice on. It is beautiful.
More water, less liquid calories is the key here. I went to Starbucks yesterday and got a look at the calorie count on some of their coffees. Crazy! And the calories come from sugars and creamers.
Drinking alcohol, sweet tea, soft drinks, and other liquid forms of calories can completely throw you off. You don’t have to quit cold turkey, but you do need to cut down.
Which one do you need to start with? Pick the one you think will be the easiest for you to conquer, then start working your way down the list. The simpler you keep things the better.
My wife and I took the train down to New Orleans for a wedding a few years ago. The train is a pretty awesome way to travel if you aren't in a hurry by the way.
We get there pretty late, by my standards any way. It was about 10pm, so it was pretty dark out. The place we were staying at was one of those deals where you pay on-line, the person sends you a code, and then you get the key to your place out of a lock box when you get there.
I put the code in this stinking thing about 10 times and nothing! I was a little tired and admittedly a lot hangry, so my mind was not right. It is always good when you have to preface things like that, isn't it?
I gave the code one more try and then I kind of blacked out. When I come back to reality I am holding a lock box that was bolted into a concrete wall just seconds before.
In the middle of my Hulk Lock Box Smash I start wandering around and I see another lock box a little bit down from where I was standing. You can probably guess that the code worked perfectly on that one. That made for a slightly awkward moment for me and the other lock box owner...
How scary would a ginger Hulk be by the way?
Do you ever feel like you are just beating your head against the wall with your exercise plan? You keep trying the "code" that works for your friends, people on the Internet, and every celebrity. I will let you in on a little secret.
Not everything works for everybody.
Sounds pretty obvious, but that truth evades many people. Just because someone you know lost 50 pounds and kept it off doing Crossfit, Zumba, Body Pump, boot camp, etc.. does not mean it will work the same for you.
There are several facts that go into, but when you are choosing what workout to do consider a few things:
Consistency- Can I see myself doing this on a regular basis for at least 1 month? Consistency is a huge factor that can make or break your success rate.
Lifestyle- Will this fit into my work/family/home life? If it conflicts with more than one area of your life, it is going to be tough to establish a routine.
Enjoyment- Are you going to be miserable the ENTIRE time you are doing this plan? If so, don't do it! There are hundreds of ways to get in shape without having to hate your life the rest of your time on Earth.
Intensity- Can you safely work out harder without injuring yourself? Does your workout include progressions and regressions (ways to make it harder or easier) so you can continually get results at your level?
Be willing to try multiple things before you can find the plan that can give you long term results and that you will actually look forward to doing. There is a plan out there for everyone, it is your job to keep searching until you find it.
We do a pretty darn good job at Huntsville Adventure Boot Camp of helping people achieve these factors. If you would like to come see what we do, I am offering a free week to the first 5 people who e-mail me and ask for the free week. My e-mail is HuntsvilleBootCamp@gmail.com.
Our Tighten and Toning Camp starts on Monday and you can start with us, all it takes is an e-mail.
I was a chaperone for a church youth trip this past weekend. We took the kids to a conference called Motion that was held at the BJCC in Birmingham. It was amazing, overwhelming, and I don’t think I slept more than 6 hours total the whole time we were there. Sleeping on the ground is rougher than I remember. Hashtag feeling old.
Something one of the speakers said really stuck with me He said that knowledge is doubling every 5 years (some sources say every 18 months). So every 5 years the amount of knowledge the world knows DOUBLES. I think that is so crazy!
Like many things that is a two-edge sword. On one hand that means everything you need to know about health, fitness, nutrition, exercise or anything you want to learn is out there for you. On the other hand, there is a lot of garbage out there.
In your every day life think about how often you are bombarded with TV commercials, plugs on Facebook, radio ads, and Spam e-mails for weight loss advice, products, and services. I Googled weight loss yesterday and it came back with 270 million results.
How do you know what is legit? There are a few things that have always worked and will continue to work forever. The basics are not sexy or exciting but they are effective.
Are there great supplements out there? Absolutely.
Are there weight loss systems that help people? Yes!
Are there diets that work? Every day people are successful with any number of different ways of eating. But ask yourself these questions first before you try something crazy: -Could I work out harder and be more active (especially outside of your workout) overall?
-Could I eat more foods that I prepare and eat out less?
-Do I take in a lot of empty calories? (junk and processed foods, soft drinks, alcohol)
-Does my body need more sleep at night?
-Is my stress level too high?
That is a very oversimplified list, but if you answered yes to the majority of those I would start there. Exercise, proper nutrition, recovery, and stress management are building blocks of your health. If one of them is off, it negatively impacts the rest of them.
Where do you need to start? Pick one building block and start there. Over the next few e-mails I will break down each of the building blocks.
Let’s get back to the basics, so we don’t have to sift through all the confusion that is out there.
A recent study published by the Huffington Post found that 31 million people skip breakfast every day. Every day! My biggest problem is holding myself to only one breakfast a day.
Another recent study found that HALF of breakfast skippers are overweight. Breakfast skippers have been shown to: -eat 40% more sweets -drink 55% more soft drinks -eat 45% fewer vegetables -eat 30% less fruit In my informal studies, I have found 4 common reasons people skip breakfast and a few ways to help combat them. 1. "I work and have kids, how do I find time to cook breakfast?" Here are some quick, healthy breakfast ideas that take 5-10 minutes to make: -An apple, 1-2 ounces of cheese, and a handful of walnuts
-Green smoothie- Here are some recipes --> 5 Green Smoothie Recipes
-Plain Greek yogurt, mix in almond butter and fruit such as blueberries or strawberries
-Scrambling eggs really doesn't take that long. Heat up a non-stick pan with a little coconut oil (yep coconut oil, that’s a story for another day) over medium-high heat, when hot crack 2 eggs straight in the pan, scramble, and it only takes a few minutes. You can sauté some onions, peppers, and/or spinach to get some veggies in there. Or if you want a few options to try before an early morning workout, you can try these for some quick, light fuel.
-1 small banana
-Toasted English muffin spread with 2 tsp. strawberry jam
-1 cup nonfat or low-fat yogurt
-Half cup of oatmeal with protein powder or peanut butter
2. "I'm just not hungry in the morning."
There are several reasons why you might not hungry in the morning and that’s ok! You might need to experiment a little to find out what works best for you. This article does a good job talking about some of the reasons you aren’t hungry first thing in the morning --->Elite Daily
You can try starting your day by simply drinking some water or doing some light exercise around the house. Many times this will be enough of a signal to your body that you are ready for some fuel. Or if you are a morning exerciser you can wait until after your workout to eat. If you STILL don’t feel hungry, it’s fine! Don’t force yourself to eat when you’re not hungry, but make sure you have healthy food planned out for the rest of the day for when the hunger does hit.
3. "I don't like to eat breakfast in the morning because I eat too much in the evening and I am trying to save calories." It is not as simple as just burning off the calories you put in, about 75% of the calories your body uses come from your metabolism. Going too long in between meals for days, months, and even years messes up your internal system that tells you when to say when. One of the biggest steps you can make is when you begin to start eating out of necessity and not out of habit.
4. "I don't like breakfast foods" Who told you that you had to eat breakfast food at breakfast? They're not the boss of you! I am! Whoops, ignore that. Don't feel obligated to eat breakfast foods just because The Man told you to. Eat whatever your stomach can handle in the morning.