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06 July

The Night I Couldn’t Get You Off My Mind

I usually write these articles during the day.  I try to build it into my workday so that I can keep “work at work”. But this article is different. I’m sitting on my couch and it’s 9:26pm.  This last week has been pretty busy.  It was one of those weeks where work life and personal life were both super busy. Even I struggled to find time to take care of myself each day.

That’s news to some people.  They assume that because I work in the fitness industry that I must never struggle with food temptations or wanting to skip a workout. I have it easier than most, truth be told. This stuff, this healthy life stuff… is what I do for a living.  So it’s always front of mind for me, and at this point in life I have a nice track record of eating well and working out. In other words, I’ve developed some nice habits that work well for me.  And I’ve also learned a lot of tools over the years too. One of those tools that is useful to me right now as I type this article is this: always move with inspiration.

All night I kept thinking about you. How most of you reading this are working full time jobs, raising kids, and doing what it takes to be healthy. That’s a lot. And I am in awe of you. I just keep thinking about how amazing I think you are and that inspiration has me typing this article at what is now 9:39pm. Making a life transformation is tough.  It’s rough.  It’s not for the faint of heart – and it’s the major reason most of us spend a lifetime gaining weight and then losing weight and then gaining weight again. It’s the yo-yo cycle that we’ve all tasted at one time.

 

 

 

But at some point you decided to pull up your big girl (or big boy) britches and do something different. It reminds me of that quote from Albert Einstein that says “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” You and Einstein get it. You figured out that the best way to change your life and get healthy once and for all was to do something different.  And that’s how we connected. So tonight, I raise my glass of water to you!

Cheers for being amazing and stepping outside of your comfort zone and doing what it takes to be the leader of your own life. And if you haven’t had the chance to meet our staff yet, then let’s get something scheduled.   We just spend some time together chatting about your goals – what is it that you really want from life? The ability to play tag with your kids and not be out of breathe?  To be able to fit into your favorite pair of jeans from 5 years ago?  Maybe to wow your high school friends at your upcoming reunion?  Or maybe just to prove to yourself that you are amazing and capable?

We’ll share what we do here, answer all of your questions, and show you around.  If you like what you see and hear then we can talk about the services we provide.  If not, that’s ok too.  Like I said, it’s just a conversation and we’re looking forward to it.

Like I said, this article is different.  It’s about our members and the people in my life that are doing it despite – well… despite life happening.  Cheers (again) to you!

 

A Lesson from Geese on Teamwork

28 June

I thought this week I’d write about geese.

Yup.  Geese.

When geese fly in the V formation, each benefits from the updraft (71% increase in efficiency, I believe).

Often as the lead goose tires, another will cycle forward to assume that key role.

Whenever a goose falls ill, two will drop from formation to stay with their sick comrade… until they recover or pass on.

Geese honk to encourage each other to keep up the hard work.

Who knew?

What powerful lessons in teamwork, shared leadership, and compassion for others.

This is one of the reasons I invite everyone from our community to check out what we do here at 24/7 Health Club and Wellness Center.

You’ll never find yourself alone.  You’ll always have the support, guidance, and teamwork from me, the staff, and from other members.

Sometimes (ok, most of the time) nature is smarter than we are.  Geese know how to fly to cut down on the resistance they face when flying.  They know how to motivate each other.  They know how to reach their goal.

That last line holds the key.

I think  we can all relate to the person or people in our lives that pull us down or sabotage our efforts.

But we also have those that help us, lift us up, support us, and motivate us.  And these people are key to reaching our results – especially when we’re talking about health and fitness.

I wish I could sell a magic service in which all you had to do was sprinkle some sugar on your head for 3 seconds and you’d magically get to be any weight and any level of health that you desired.

Wouldn’t that be great?

But you and I both know that lifetime health is a journey.  Just like the geese fly long distances… it’s this journey that tests who we are and what those around us are made of.

May we emulate geese on our journey.  May we get support and may we take the leadership role from time to time when people in our lives need it the most.

We’d love the chance to talk with you about what we do here at 24/7 Health Club and Wellness Center.  We’ll talk about you, your goals, and how to reach those goals.

Much Love, 24/7

 

 

Feel Better Almost Immediately

10 January

3 Often Over-Looked Things You Can Do to Feel Better Almost Immediately

Health is more than just calories in and calories out.  It’s how we feel physically and emotionally.

With 2017 newly gracing the stage many of us are focused on weight loss.

If we’re being honest… most of us are looking for the quickest and most painless way to reach our weight loss goals.  We’re not looking to don our track suits and sweatbands, ya know.

We just want to look and feel better… NOW.

I get it.  Weight loss is a weird thing.

No one really enjoys doing what it takes to reach their weight loss goals.  No one really LOVES to work out and skip yummy cookies and desserts.

And if you do LOVE that kinda thing… well then you spend your life working in the health and fitness industry like me.

Here are 3 things that we share with our members to feel better.  They’re often over-looked, but that doesn’t mean they don’t work.

  • Drink lots of water. We know you read this one a million times, but how much water are you actually drinking?  We challenge you to only drink water for the next 30 days.  If you must drink coffee or tea then make it decaf (or herbal) and limit it to a single cup once per day.
  • Get at least 7 hours of sleep. When you start a weight loss program your body is going to expend more energy.  It’s going to need proper rest so that it can keep burning that stored fat.  Most of us area already sleep deprived as it is… so adding in a weight loss routine just knocks us out even more.  Take care of your body and get some sleep.
  • Get active every day. Do we want you to have a workout routine where you are pushing your body to get healthy and lose extra fat?    But even if all you can commit to is a brisk 45 – 60 minute walk every day then do it.  Walking and being active helps is feel better.  If you can get outdoors and bring along a friend.

We’re all about keeping your weight loss goals and plans realistic.  The last thing we want you to do is start some intense workout plan or strict meal plan when we all know it won’t last.  You’ve tried that before, right?

We know that if you workout on your own or start some random diet you read about in a book… well the community, the coaching, the support isn’t there.  You’re left to your own devices to figure out what you should do and when.

So let’s make 2017 different.  Let’s get you set up with a program that makes sense for you, your life, and your goals.  Let’s make sure you have everything you need to succeed.

Visit the front desk or call today to schedule your FREE goal planning session with a 24/7 fitness coach.  We’ll work out a plan to reach your goals and ensure that you’re focusing on what matters and leaving the rest of the confusing stuff behind.

Huntsville Club – 256-851-0574

Harvest Club – 256-851-2473

3 Ways to Enjoy Your Workouts More

25 October

There are some people that love working out.  They think it’s enjoyable – dare I say, fun.  They like waking up early, putting on workout clothes, hitting the gym, and sweating.

Most people are not like these workout-loving weirdos (and yes, we have our share of weirdo’s on staff too!)

Don’t get me wrong… my clients now love to workout but it’s only because they did the hard work to get started, found a way to stay motivated, and let’s be honest… because they’re seeing results.

So after all of my years of experience I boiled down 3 ways to enjoy your workouts more.

  • dance-108915_640Listen to music – this may be something you’ve heard before, but it bears repeating. Listening to something you enjoy keeps your mind off the clock and keeps it engaged with something it enjoys.  Here’s where a lot of people get stuck though – they listen to the same playlist over and over until they’re bored out of their minds.

Mix it up!  Listen to books on Audible, new stations on Pandora or Spotify, or one of the many niche stations on Sirius XM.  The point is to listen to what you enjoy – be that political pundits, opera, stand-up comedy, or heavy metal.

  • women-in-workout-class1Workout with others – this is another one you may have heard before but it usually sounds like this: workout with a friend. What if you don’t have a friend that wants to workout and has the same schedule as you?

I think we can broaden this a bit.  Working out with others can mean just you and a trainer – so long as your trainer motivates you and inspires you.  You can also meet new people where you workout – this not only enlarges your circle of friends, but gives you the chance to meet people that also care about their health.

  • Start the correct program for you – I see people who have specific goals doing the wrong program a lot. While doing any movement is better than nothing, not everyone should be doing the same program.  An extreme example of this is a high school athlete looking to increase her vertical jump versus an elderly senior looking to build up bone density.  We all have specific goals and you want to ensure that the program you’re on is the right one for you.  This leads to faster results and that is a powerful way to stay motivated.

The 3 ways to enjoy your workout are just the tip of the iceberg.  Our goal is to get you from being “eh” about working out to loving it.  The fasttrack_headeasiest way to get started on your goals is to take advantage of the Fast Track Program.  During the eight session program, you will learn how to workout correctly, sample a variety of programs available at 24/7, meet people with similar goals as you and most importantly, you will have FUN!

Stop by the front desk or give us a call now so we can get you on the path to an amazing transformation!

Preparing the Hamstrings for a Run

28 January

Don’t Get Hamstrung While Sprinting

Even the most developed runners find themselves wanting to shave time off their sprints, but doing so is sometimes easier said than done. When all other options fail to produce the desired results, there’s one often overlooked set of muscles that can make all the difference in the world – the hamstrings.

The hamstrings are a group of three muscles that run up the back of the leg at the thigh. They provide the flexibility needed for the leg to bend at the knee. When they’re limber and well developed, they can help runners sprint faster and perform better overall. When they’re not in tiptop shape, they can get in the way, slowing down a run. Or, worse – they can be the source of injury; sidelining runners and other athletes due to strains and pulls.

Preparing the Hamstrings for a Run

Just like any other muscle in the body, the hamstrings should be properly warmed up and stretched out before a run. They should also be properly fueled with a healthy diet and plenty of water to keep them healthy, strong and limber.

When it’s time to work out this particular muscle group to help get ready for a run, there are many exercises that can assist. There’s one, however, that really challenges the hams and helps them better assist with push off speed and sustained speed. A simple variation on the leg curl can make all the difference.

Here’s how to get it done:

When performing a standard leg curl, pull the weight toward you with your ankles flexed. Your toes should point toward your shins. To add the variation, just extend your ankles so they point away from your shins as you lower the weights. This causes the hamstrings to work harder. Bands can be used in place of weights with similar results.

Other Tips for Hamstring Health

When the goal is to speed up sprint times, there are other steps that can be taken to improve hamstring performance and overall ability to compete. When training for a big race or just a jog around the block, be sure to:

  • Eat right – Good nutritional health is critical for performance. This means eating a balanced diet that’s rich in vitamins and minerals and low in fat.
  • Warm up – Before hitting the road for a run, take the time to properly stretch out and warm up all the muscles – not just the hamstrings. Proper preparation can increase speed while reducing the chances for injury.
  • Get professional advice – Don’t overlook the role a personal trainer can play in helping increase running speeds. Stop by a local gym or fitness center to talk with a pro in the know about putting together a training program that balances running goals with body health and common sense.

How to Get the Biggest Bang for Your Time

28 January

Exercise One Arm at a Time for Better Results

No one wants flabby, untoned arms, but sometimes getting results out of exercise routines is more difficult than it sounds. There are ways to maximize efforts to gain the desired look while properly toning arm muscles and avoiding injury in the process.

If it’s time to get serious about shaping those arms, consider exercising them separately. While this might add a few minutes onto the average workout routine, it has benefits that go beyond the visual results.

Your Arms Don’t Operate in Tandem So Don’t Exercise Them That Way

While it’s tempting to pick up two hand weights and get those curls out of the way faster, working the arms separately makes sense for a few pretty compelling reasons:

  1. It’s very difficult to concentrate the mind on      working out the arms together. When each arm is treated to a separate      workout, laser attention can be given to each individual muscle.
  2. It’s hard to maintain proper form when working out      the arm muscles in tandem. When each arm gets its own special attention,      holding proper form is much easier to maintain. This, in turn, can make a      workout more beneficial while helping prevent injuries that improper form      can foster.

How to Get the Biggest Bang for Your Time

When splitting a workout so each arm gets its due, just run through your normal routine twice. Shoulder presses, curls and other arm-building movements can all be beneficial. Just start with a set on one arm and then switch it up to the other. When doing so, be sure to:

  • Keep sets consistent in time and number to promote      symmetrical strengthening.
  • Focus on form to prevent injuries and maximize      results.

More Advice for Toning Those Arms

While giving each arm the individual attention it deserves can make a difference in the results department, more steps are often necessary to really gain the desired look. When trying to tone the arms and the body as a whole, be sure to:

  • Eat a balanced, healthy diet that promotes      fat-burning and muscle strength.
  • Take the time to work out properly without cutting      corners.
  • Get plenty of rest and drink lots of water.
  • Exercise patience. It can take time to see      results.
  • Consider talking to a trainer at a local gym or      fitness center for more advice on how to properly tone and strengthen arms      and other areas of concern. These pros can not only offer input on      exercise routines and goal-setting, but they are whizzes at helping others      get the most from their workout time.

The Unhealthiest of “Health Foods”

21 August

healthy foodBy Dr. Mercola

If you grew up believing the best way to start your day was a bowl of cereal, a piece of whole wheat toast smeared with margarine, and a glass of orange juice, you’re in good company.

If your health is ailing and you’re reading this, chances are your lack of progress isn’t due to apathy or poorwill power but instead, confusion over which foods are good for you and which are not.

Many foods considered “health foods” are doing exactly the opposite of what is claimed, thanks to massively successful corporate advertising campaigns. There are solid scientific reasons why America’s waistline has continued to expand.

In an article by certified personal trainer and health enthusiast Kris Gunnars, 11 so-called health foods are discussed,1 and unlike most mainstream nutrition articles, I agree with all of them.

If you are stumped about why you aren’t making progress toward your health or fitness goals, you might just be a victim of your “health food.” It would help to take a look at those popular foods, starting with one of the most beloved beverages among children and adults alike: fruit juices.

Fruit Juices

In spite of beliefs to the contrary, there are several problems with fruit juice that make it a FAR cry from “health food.” Consider orange juice, for example—particularly nearly all commercially prepared OJ.

Most all commercially prepared orange juices are actually highly processed into a liquid that bears little nutritional resemblance to fresh orange juice, as Alissa Hamilton, author of the book Squeezed: What You Don’t Know About Orange Juice, explains in the interview below.

First of all, it is pasteurized which decimates its vitality. Then the juice is kept in giant tanks to ensure a year-round supply. In order to preserve it, all of the oxygen is removed, and therefore all of the natural compounds that give oranges their flavor are destroyed.

Some companies add artificial flavor packs, which are essentially chemical perfumes. A common one is ethyl butyrate. If the “Best Before” date is 60 days or more, you know you have a heavily processed juice. Fruit drinks are even worse, consisting mostly of high fructose corn syrup in a mélange of artificial ingredients. Many commercial orange juices are also contaminated with mold from damaged fruit.

Additionally, fruit juice is far worse than the whole fruit, especially if it is not freshly juiced and is stored in containers, as the methanol in the juice will dissociate from the pectin and actually increase your risk of M.S.

But even fresh, pure orange juice—even freshly squeezed—is very high in sugar that is separated from its beneficial fiber and therefore detrimental to your health. One eight-ounce glass contains about 8 teaspoons of sugar, compared to 10 teaspoons in a can of soda.
Habitually downing this much sugar can increase your risk for gout, hypertension, heart disease, kidney disease and a number of other serious health problems. And many commercial juices have been found to contain unacceptably high levels or arsenic.
Consuming the whole fruit causes less of a problem as the sugar is modulated by the fiber and antioxidants in the fruit, so you’re better off eating fruit whole, but in moderation. If you want juice, making your own vegetable juice at home is an excellent option.

 

Whole Wheat and Other Grains

Contrary to what you’ve been hearing for years about the nutritional value of whole grains, there’s a sizeable body of scientific evidence that they frequently do more harm to your body than good. Grains contain anti-nutrients and lectins that can damage your gut. And it’s the fibrous portion of the grain—the bran—that actually contains most of the anti-nutrients. These components can cause inflammation, intestinal permeability and “leaky gut.”

Wheat and other glutinous grains are the worst of the bunch. Wheat germ agglutinin (WGA) has been found to be inflammatory, immunotoxic, cardiotoxic, and neurotoxic, and can pass through your blood-brain barrier and interfere with neurotransmitter function.

Gluten intolerance may be at the root of many chronic diseases, including many neurological and psychiatric conditions such as depression, ADD/ADHD, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s disease. Many people have gluten intolerance but are unaware of it, which makes it even more insidious. It’s important to realize that ALL types of grain contribute to insulin and leptin resistance, which are the primary underlying causes for most, if not all, chronic diseases—from diabetes to cancer.

Don’t be lured into believing that all products boasting the label “gluten free” or “low-carb” are good for you. Many of these items contain other grains that are highly processed, which make them no more nutritious than the average bag of chips as they will increase your insulin and leptin resistance. And many contain sophisticated combinations of ingredients specifically engineered to induce cravings.

Agave Syrup and Nectar

Agave still lines nutrition store shelves, as if you should be pouring it over everything. Most agave nectar or syrup is nothing more than a laboratory-generated super-condensed fructose syrup, devoid of virtually all nutrient value. Agave syrup is mostly fructose and is so highly processed and refined that it bears NO resemblance to the plant for which it’s named. Depending on how it’s processed, it may contain anywhere from 55 to 90 percent fructose. High fructose corn syrup is also about 55 percent fructose, so even in the best case, agave syrup offers no advantage.

The evidence is overwhelming that, when consumed in large quantities, fructose is the most damaging sugar you can eat. Fructose drives up uric acid, which is a direct pathway toward hypertension, insulin resistance, diabetes, kidney and liver disease. Better sweetener options are stevia (an herb), and raw organic honey, in small amounts. Honey is also a concentrated form of sugar, but at least it can offer some health benefits, provided it’s high quality.

Sports Drinks and Energy Bars

For most average exercisers and athletes, sports drinks are not only a waste of your money but can actually make your health worse. Most sports drinks are loaded with things you DON’T want, like high fructose corn syrup, sodium, and artificial colors and flavors. Less than one percent of those who use sports drinks actually benefit from them.

Sports drinks are up to 30 times more erosive to your teeth than water. And brushing your teeth won’t help because the citric acid in the sports drink will soften your tooth enamel so much it could be damaged simply by brushing. A far better alternative is coconut water, sporting a long list of beneficial nutritional compounds including natural electrolytes, enzymes, trace elements, amino acids, and antioxidants.

Coconut water also has anti-inflammatory and blood pressure-lowering properties, making it the perfect “sports drink.” But even coconut water is loaded with sugar and ideally should be limited to when you need to replace minerals and fluid, like after a sauna or long duration cardio. Energy bars are no better than sports drinks—essentially just overpriced junk food. Most commercial energy bars are comprised of cheap soy protein, high fructose corn syrup, synthetic vitamins, and waste products from industrial food production.

Vegetable Oils and Fake Butter

Americans’ massive over consumption of vegetable oils is largely due to the demonization of saturated fats that’s been going on for decades. As the push to avoid animal fats rages on, people are consuming unhealthy quantities of highly refined vegetable oils—corn, soy, canola, and safflower oil. Unfortunately, all of these are highly processed and have virtually no nutritional value. And they have turned the average American’s omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acid ratios upside down, which is a major driver of chronic inflammation.

Soybean oil is one of the worst vegetable oils, and processed foods are positively loaded with it. Whether partially hydrogenated, organic, or made from newer soybean varieties modified in such a way as to not require hydrogenation, soybean oil can cause dysfunction and chaos in your body at a cellular level. More than 90 percent of the soybeans grown in the US are genetically engineered, and as a result contaminated with dangerous levels of the herbicide glyphosate, which compounds their toxicity.

Margarine is basically a heart attack in a tub, loaded with trans fats (from hydrogenation, the process of turning liquid vegetable oils into a solid). Trans fats contribute to heart disease, cancer, bone problems, hormone imbalance and infertility, as well as low birth weight, growth problems and learning disabilities in children. Butter, on the other hand, is the real health food—it’s loaded with vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, CLA (if the cows are limited to eating grass and not grains), and many other nutrients your body needs.

Low-Fat and Fat-Free Foods

The low-fat craze has been one of the most damaging dietary fads in history, leaving many tens of millions with chronic illness in its wake. The idea that all fat (especially animal-derived fat) is bad for you is nothing more than a mistaken interpretation of science—one that has become “stuck” in Western culture. Of course, you want to avoid the previously touted “healthy” vegetable oils as not only are they highly processed but they have far too much omega-6 fats.

A healthier fat alternative that is not promoted by the media or most nutritionists, are saturated fats from animals and vegetables. They provide a source of a number of important health benefits. In fact, your body cannot function without saturated fats! They are needed for the proper function of your cell membranes, immune system, heart, brain and other organs. In fact, a recent “landmark” study provides compelling evidence that the type of fat you consume, not the amount, is what imparts the cardiovascular benefits of the Mediterranean diet.

When fats are removed from foods, it leaves them tasteless and unappealing. So manufacturers load them up with sugar and sodium and chemicals, in massive quantities. So stick with unaltered whole foods, including full-fat unpasteurized dairy. They’re much better for you—and they taste much better too!

Breakfast Cereals

 

Breakfast cereals are a favorite way to start the day for many, but they are rife with toxic ingredients and misleading advertising. Of course, the first problem is that they are grain-based, which I’ve already covered. But even many of the so-called “natural” varieties are contaminated with toxic pesticides, carcinogenic fumigants and solvents, and genetically modified ingredients. The only label that can give you any peace of mind is the “USDA Certified 100% Organic” label.

In 2011, independent testing by the Cornucopia Institute had shown that several breakfast cereals marketed as “natural”—even some that claim to avoid genetically engineered ingredients contain high levels of genetically engineered ingredients. Typical American breakfast staples, such as cereal, muffins, and the like, are popular because of wildly successful corporate PR. You might even consider skipping breakfast altogether.

But wait—isn’t that the most important meal of your day? Compelling new research indicates differently. Skipping breakfast may reduce your hunger, stimulate your metabolism, level out your blood sugar, and stabilize your insulin levels throughout the day. Properly done intermittent fasting will actually help eliminate most food cravings and help you achieve your ideal body weight.

Choose Real Food Instead!

When considering food—regardless of whether it’s organic, local, from a supermarket or from a farmer’s market, make sure you keep the following criteria in mind. Most often, the best place to find high-quality foods is from a sustainable agricultural group in your area. If you’re unsure of what foods you should be eating and in what proportions, or you just need some help getting started, please refer to my free nutrition plan. Make sure that your food is:

Exercise in Order for Better Results

27 June

Having enthusiasm for exercise is a fantastic thing. After all, diving in and getting the job done is great for the body, it can reduce stress, promote weight loss and a whole lot more.

Too much enthusiasm, however, can cause injuries and may quickly lead to burn out. That’s why it’s important to learn the ropes the right way. This means not only working with a 24/7 Health Club trainer to ensure that a routine selected is appropriate, but also ensuring that exercise order is properly followed.

When strength training is the routine in question, there is a very specific order to follow. Doing so can prevent injuries and keep motivation levels higher. Let’s find out why.

What is Exercise Order?

A sound exercise order simply involves applying good common sense to which exercises are done first during a workout, which ones come in the middle of a session and which ones complete the routine. Following a smart order can increase the chances that an entire workout will be completed. It can also ensure that burnout and frustration don’t occur.

What’s a Good Order to Follow?

For those who are working to increase muscle strength and tone, there is a very smart and simple order to follow when exercising. After taking the time to properly hydrate, stretch and prepare for a good workout, use equipment in this order:

  • Dumbbells
  • Barbells
  • Machines

This order is the best to use for a number of reasons. Starting off with the dumbbells makes sense because the small, stabilizer muscles that are worked out with dumbbells are more likely to fatigue faster than the larger muscle groups that are targeted by machines. The machines target groups, which require a lot less help from smaller muscles. This makes it smarter to hold off on the machines until later in the routine.

Other Tips for Success

Strength training is an important part of any exercise routine. It’s important though to make sure proper form is used and the right weights are selected. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to consult a trainer before developing any type of strength training routine. Remember, too, that it’s important to only strength train a few times a week. Alternate with cardio exercise if daily exercise is desired.

Following proper workout order promotes success. Be sure to start out with any new exercise routine – strength training or cardio – by consulting a physician. After that, consider working with one of our awesome trainers to get personalized advice for the best routine to follow for personal success.

Add It Up To Get The Motivation You Need

08 June

Even for some of the most dedicated athletes, sticking with an exercise routine can be tough. It’s often a daily battle that demands a steady stream of motivation to keep going.

If it’s time to get into a fitness and weight loss program that will produce lasting results, there are some great tips and tricks that can be used to keep personal motivation high. One of the best tips is to make sure that results are duly noted. After all, seeing is believing.

Keeping Track

Remember, results from exercise and weight loss plans don’t show up overnight. It can take weeks and months to see significant gains. It’s often best to track the little gains so results can be noted. Even the loss of a pound or two, for example, can show positive, forward progression. This, in turn, can provide the motivation necessary to keep going to see the “big” results most people are after.

So, what things should be tracked to keep motivation high? Here are a few things to consider measuring every four weeks:

  • Waist size – Just measure the waist before starting a workout and weight loss plan and then track results about once every four weeks. This number is a great one to track since results are likely to be fairly noticeable in a reasonable amount of time.
  • Body fat percentage – Work with a trainer or doctor to measure body fat percentage and keep track of it on a monthly basis. Remember, weight might not be the best measure to keep track of if strength training is also part of the plan. Muscle does weigh more than fat. As muscle develops, fat is likely to be reduced, but weight may technically go up.
  • Bench press amount – Keeping track of how much can be accomplished in a workout is also a great way to see real progress. Pay attention to the weight that’s comfortable to lift and the number of reps that are possible. This can serve as an everyday motivator as small gains are made. Other things to consider in this vein include improvements in endurance, speed, flexibility and so on. Anything that can have a mini-goal set to it that’s realistic, measurable and reachable, can deliver the motivation necessary to help keep a fitness program on track.

Fitness and weight loss plans don’t typically produce overnight results. When the desire is to enjoy lasting change in fitness levels, the progress can be slow, but steady. Tracking smaller results is a great way to keep motivation levels high so the big goals can be met. The most important thing to remember is YOU CAN DO IT!

Easy Ways to Make Fruit a Part of the Routine

13 February

Most people know they need to eat more fruit in their regular diet. Knowing and doing, however, are two very different things. Fortunately there are some very easy ways to work more fruit into your daily routine. The trick lies in making this healthy and tasty snack more available.

If it’s time to add better foods into the diet to promote improved health and weight loss, here are some great ways to make sure several servings of fruit are worked in:

Shop Smart

Fresh fruit can be a costly purchase, but it doesn’t have to be. Consider buying fruit from a local produce stand for what will typically be the best prices around. Make sure to pick a variety of different fruits and don’t overload too much. Remember the shelf life of fruit isn’t too terribly long, so it’s best to buy what will be consumed within a few days.

Best Bets

Grabbing any fruit instead of a processed sugar laden or fried snack is always the better choice. That said, when picking up fruit to work into the regular routine, consider fruits that are:

  • Easy to carry – Bananas, apples, pears, peaches and other similar fruits are easy to toss into a bag to consume later.
  • Rich in vitamins – Just about any fruit fits this order, but some choices are better than others. Citrus fruits, berries and bananas are always excellent choices here.
  • Sweet – When fruits will replace “normal,” unhealthy snacks, chances are they’ll be used to combat cravings for sweets. With that in mind, oranges, tangerines, strawberries and other sweeter fruits are great choices to beat back a sugar craving.

Slipping Fruit into the Routine

It’s really not as difficult to work fruit into the regular diet as it might seem. Here are some tips for making sure good, healthy choices are made each and every day:

  • Stock up on fruit before leaving the house – Toss a few pieces of fruit into a lunch sack or purse      before heading out for the day. It’s easy to peel a banana, for example, to snack on in the office. An apple is also a great choice here. If it’s easy to carry along a knife for peeling, citrus fruits work well, too. Berries carried in a baggie can also satisfy after-lunch cravings for something sweet.
  • Add fruit slices to regular meals – Cut up a banana and add it to the morning cereal. Toss berries into a yogurt cup to get an extra burst of nutrition. Use orange slices and pineapple to enhance a salad. Apple slices also go great with balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

Making sure to get several servings of fruit a day doesn’t have to be a chore. Just pick up a few pieces of fruit on the way out the door to make sure snack time provides the body with the fuel and nutrition it needs to get through the day.