Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Tips to Stay Motivated

Pep Talk

This is the time of the year when all that New Year's resolution momentum starts to fade.  Either life starts to get in the way, we feel bored at the gym, or we generally start to accept obstacles that keep us from our goals.

Take the initiative to set yourself up for success.  Use any or all of the tips below to keep the healthy lifestyle momentum going:
  • Find a workout buddy.  It's easier to get to the gym at 5:30 am if you know someone is there waiting for you.
  • Find a fitness mentor.  If you'd rather work out alone, find someone who can help guide you with encouragement or can keep you on track when you're feeling unmotivated.  This can be a spouse, sibling, friend, or coach.
  • Try something new.  Your workout might need a change of pace.  Try a new class or workout DVD to change it up.
  • Try non-traditional exercise.  Indoor rock climbing, dance lessons, or even mall walking can help keep you active without feeling like work.

Challenge Workout

Complete 60 seconds of everything, taking breaks as needed:
  • Plank
  • Side Plank (30 seconds per side)
  • Inverted Plank (like Table pose, but with feet extended)
  • Crunches
  • Reverse Crunches
  • Supermans
  • Windshield Wipers

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Plan to Cheat

Pep Talk

Let's face it -- you will never NOT have junk food again.  No matter how consistent you are, there will always be special occasions, holidays, birthdays, or vacations to lure you away from your healthy eating plan.  And you know what?  That is perfectly normal.

Any diet that expects you to be "perfect" 100% of the time is flawed.  Does this sound familiar?  Your diet is so strict that you feel very deprived.  Despite your desire to stick to it, you cheat.  And you feel horrible.  So you keep cheating.  You eat as much junk as you can because you will start back on track tomorrow.  And before you know it, you have eaten almost everything in the house, feel like crap, and are disappointed in yourself.

This vicious cycle will continue UNLESS you PLAN for treating yourself.  Your diet can be "perfect" if it strategically includes cheats from time to time. 

Many of you have already heard me preach about the 80/20 rule and my specific way of using it ("Sunday Funday").  But this principle can work for you.  You basically plan to eat healthy throughout the week (80% of the time) and reserve the other 20% for occasional treats.  If you strategically plan your treats for specific days (such as a work dinner, Friday family pizza night, or Sunday dinner at Grandma's), you can both make progress towards your health goals AND feel like a normal human being who can eat decadent foods from time to time.

The way you use this technique really depends on your lifestyle.  If you find you have a couple meals a week that are nutritional landmines, use your treat meals for those and get right back on track with your next meal.  I find that saving my treats for the weekend works best for my lifestyle.  I eat super healthy until Saturday around noon and then I eat what I want Saturday night and all day Sunday.  The golden rule is that I can never eat to the point of making myself sick.  I just eat normal portions of food I am craving -- like mac and cheese or pizza.

Just like with your workouts, everything comes down to planning.  If you plan ahead, you can make fitness and nutrition a regular part of your daily life.

Challenge Workout

Complete 10 reps of everything, then 9 reps, then 8...all the way down to 1 rep.  Take as many breaks throughout.
  • Triceps Pushups (on your knees or feet)
  • Lunges (left leg)
  • Lunges (right leg)

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Get Back into the Habit!

Pep Talk

It's 2016!  Time to usher in the new year with a fresh start to your health and fitness routine.

But I'm not going to sugarcoat things for you...IT WILL NOT BE EASY!

The first week will be rough.  Your body will hate you.  You will crave junk food.  Your energy levels will go down.  By Thursday, you will want to give up.  DON'T.  This is NORMAL.

The most important element with healthy eating and exercise is CONSISTENCY.  It doesn't matter if you push to 100% every workout if you only do three workouts and then give up for a month.  Doing two or three moderate-intensity workouts a week over several months will make a bigger difference.

Here are some guidelines for getting started again:
  • Start slow...if you are starting from doing nothing, plan on 2 workouts per week to get started.
  • Set realistic goals.  Even 30 minutes of exercise makes a difference, so plan something that you can fit into your schedule.
  • No matter what, eat healthy.  Even if you skip a workout, your healthy eating will fill the gap so that you do not lose progress.
  • If you are tired, take a rest day.  But get right back into it the next day!
The first week or so will be the roughest part of it.  And then, after that, you will start to feel better and look forward to the positive changes that your fitness creates.

Challenge Workout

Complete the following exercises as quickly as possible, taking breaks as needed:
  • 100 Jump Rope Hops
  • 50 Squats
  • 25 Pushups
  • 10 Burpees
  • 5 Lunges (each leg = 1/2 rep; both legs = 1 rep)
  • 10 Burpees
  • 25 Pushups
  • 50 Squats
  • 100 Jump Rope Hops