Posts tagged fitness
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!
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.
I don't know about you, but I plan on being around for awhile and I plan on being active for the rest of my life. So the older I get, the more I value endurance.
When you hear the word endurance, what do you think of? Running is my guess. That is part of the equation, but not the whole thing. It is about your heart, lungs, and muscles all being able to do what you want them to do for as long as you want to do it.
That is why we are bringing back our Endurance Training class! It will be a 6-week series on Saturday mornings 7:30-8:30am from August 5 to September 9, 2017.
This class will help you:
-Complete 5ks, 10ks, mud runs, and beyond
-Improve your breathing
-Get stronger and fitter
-Have more energy
-Feel better overall
How awesome would it feel to get up a flight a stairs and not feel completely winded? Wouldn’t you love to be able to go hiking, biking, swimming or just being physically active with your family and not be held back by your current fitness level?
This class was a ton of fun and people saw excellent results last time, so I can’t wait to offer it again. There is a bit of bad news.
There are only 15 spots available and they are on a first come, first serve basis. You can reserve your spot below:
PS-There are two payment options after the registration. The shirt option is $89 and includes a tech shirt with our popular Run HSV logo on it. If you just want to do the training, the 6-week series is only $75.
On Monday I challenged you to get in 90 workouts in the time remaining in 2017. But we all know there are times where you get in a pinch and can’t get the workout in you want.
I wanted to give you 2 workouts you could use for those emergencies. These will all be 20 minutes or less, require no fancy equipment, and can be done in smaller spaces.
Sometimes all it takes is one little spark to ignite a flame. It's the same way with getting started on a healthy lifestyle. One action step at a time. Picking out a specific action and making it a habit. Think about what you would like to change the most. -Your weight? -Your endurance? -Your strength? -Your eating habits? -Your energy level? What is one thing you can do this week to ignite that fire and start conquering your struggles? Here are 20 examples of what that one thing could be:
1. Get the junk food out of your house 2. Set an alarm and stand up for 5 minutes every hour 3. Avoid fast food this week 4. Eat one healthy meal today 5. Take a 10-minute walk 6. Use a foam roller for 10 minutes 7. Floss (it adds 6 years to your life) 8. Stretch for 10 minutes 9. No liquid calories today (soft drinks, alcohol, coffees, etc…) 10. Commit to one workout
11. Turn the TV off and go to bed an hour earlier 12. Take 10 minutes of absolute quiet by yourself to de-stress 13. Find someone who will keep you accountable (friend, trainer, group) 14. Go buy some new workout clothes or shoes 15. Write down your goals where you will see them daily 16. Rather than creating excuses for not getting healthy, create a plan 17. Start a sleep routine you will do every night 18. Eat a vegetable you've never tried this week 19. Take a picture of yourself and do your measurements so you can track the amazing results you are about to achieve 20. Cut ties with a negative person (AKA energy vampire) in your life The list could be thousands of things, but I want you to think of one specific thing you will commit to TODAY to take action on. Pick something you know you can do, keep at it until it becomes a habit, and then target your next goal.
Let's get this fire started.
Are you sitting down? I have some news for you. Stand up!
A recent study of older women (average age of 79) published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that people who are sedentary have shorter life spans and are more likely to have high blood pressure, a history of chronic disease, lower physical performance scores, and are more likely to have experienced a fall in the past 12 months. The researchers found that the most sedentary women were biologically 8 years older than their actual age.
Another study in the same journal studied dementia risk in sedentary people. They studied people who were carriers of dementia markers and those who were not. The subjects with the markers for dementia developed dementia more often, but being sedentary greatly increased the risk of getting dementia for those who did not have the markers.
On a non-scientific note, I was talking to a physical therapist about the types of patients he sees. He said that 90% of what he sees is posture related ailments, the majority of them from sitting.
This is scary stuff! But it also means we can take control of our health by addressing the problem.
The first step is obvious- avoid sitting all day long! If you have a desk job this can be a challenge, but make it a priority to get up and stretch, walk around, etc… at least once an hour but the more often the better.
The second option is to address your desk area. There are stand up desks, adjustable desks that go from standing to sitting, sitting on and exercise ball, practicing good office ergonomics, etc…
The third thing to do is to address your posture. This might mean being more aware of your body position or doing more stretches and foam rolling to problem areas.
The fourth thing to look at is your leisure time activities. If you are sitting all day at work, then coming home and sitting on the couch or in front of a computer the remainder of the day that will catch up to you one day.
If you need more in depth instruction on some of these things or you would like someone to come speak at your office and address these topics, I highly recommend Dr. Nancy Harden from Flexibility For Life. I call her the Muscle Whisperer, she does pretty amazing work.
Did you know that now is when you see the most dramatic drop off in gym attendance every year? For whatever reason the third full week in February is when most resolutions are over.
If you have given up on the goals you have set for yourself, it’s not too late! There is plenty of 2017 to go, you just need to recalibrate.
Your first step is to find out what went wrong. Did you choose a goal that just sounded good, but not one you were committed to? Did you set too many goals? Did you have the right goal, but it turns out you hate working out?
It could be several different reasons why things did not work out. No pun intended.
Your second step is to figure out a new game plan. Don’t think about having to commit to the rest of the year. Set a goal for the next 4 weeks. As legendary SEAL Joe Maguire says, “Don’t look forward to the pain.” More on that in Friday’s e-mail.
Your third step is to figure out the most enjoyable way you could reach your goals. What types of exercise do you actually enjoy? Roller skating, yoga, swimming, hiking, lifting weights, shaking weights? Pick something you look forward to.
The fourth step is to do the same thing with food the next four weeks. Find some healthy foods that you like. They are out there I promise, you may have to do some experimenting. Or if you prefer you can start with the food first, then try the exercise in the fourth step.
Living a healthy lifestyle does not have to make you miserable. On the contrary it should make you feel energized and excited! You just have to find what works for you, even if it isn’t the typical “go to the gym, eat foods you hate but are super healthy, and look great but hate your life” tract that people get stuck on.
There is a phenomenon called information blindness that is caused by too much information. When people are faces with too much information, they just shut down and will now act.
Think about a restaurant with an overwhelming menu. What do you do? I just choose something that has a picture.
Or have you ever walked into a library or got onto Netflix with no idea what you wanted to choose? It can cause you to just give up.
Information blindness often happens with diet plans as well. People get presented with all the information for the whole plan up front, they get overwhelmed, and it paralyzes them. I've been there myself.
The idea behind the Lean and Clean Challenge is to give you the information slowly and help you build habits. All of the information is there for people who like a peak ahead, but it is not necessary.
Build the habit, make it stick, and then you will have it long term. There are still spots available if you want to join.
You can join here -->Lean and Clean Challenge
The challenge starts on Monday, February 20 and I would love for you to be a part of it. Join us today!
When I was 21 years old I was living in Dublin, Ireland. The last two weeks before I was about to go home, my older brother Tony flew over and we traveled along the coast of Ireland.
We had some awesome adventures and saw some great sights. One place stands out in particular for a not so good reason.
I got scabies from a hostel in Killarney located in County Kerry.
This was pre-internet in your pocket, so we based all of our decisions on one of those Fodor’s travel books. We would pick the cheapest hostel from the book and stay there.
It backfired on us, when I got scabies. If you want to horrify yourself, go look up what scabies are. Shudder…
So I have these super, itchy rashes on the inside of my arms and along my waistline. The best part of my day was when I got in the shower and burned the places with the hottest water I could find. Side note- that’s not what you are supposed to do.
I didn’t go to a doctor. Didn’t get any help. Just kept doing my quick fix of really hot showers that gave me temporary relief.
When I came back to the states, I finally went to the doctor. I got a prescription cream and it cleared it up almost immediately.
Pretty silly to wait that long when I could have gotten help huh?
People do the same thing every day with their body. They are not happy with how their body looks, feels, or performs but they will continue trying quick fixes.
Fad diets, the latest supplement regimen, or a couple of weeks of random workouts on their own. It’s ok to get help! This stuff is confusing and constantly changing, I feel your pain.
I get it, I did the same thing. I was embarrassed, I was broke, and I figured I could just deal with it.
It doesn’t have to be like that! There is no need to be embarrassed. I’ve been overweight and out of shape myself, don’t ever give up on yourself. We all started somewhere.
You don’t have to be rich to get in great shape. Want to hear some great news? Burpees don’t cost a thing! There are tons of free ways to get in shape. Eating healthy appears to cost more overall, but there are ways to eat good and not break the bank.
You don’t have to put up with feeling bad about you look. You don’t have to accept feeling tired all the time.
Life is too short to not be enjoyed to the fullest! And you can’t do that if you don’t feel good about how you look and feel.
If you have questions that I can help you with, please don’t hesitate to ask them. I’m always here to help.