Targeting Healthy Habits in 2012
Health Target: Fiber
Fiber is your friend! Aim for a goal of 25-30 grams/day.
Why? Here's 3 of the many reasons to include high fiber foods on your plate:
1. Fullness. Fiber helps you feel full for longer, which means less in-between meal snacking and hunger pangs. Many well designed studies show the benefit of fiber to increase satiety (fullness) and help with weight loss.
2. Cholesterol reduction. Fiber acts like a magnet and binds to cholesterol, where it's then eliminated through the bowel.
3. Health benefits. Yet another study just released in the International Journal of Food Safety shows that fiber can "lead to improvements in gastrointestinal health, reduce diverticular disease, heart disease, colon cancer, and diabetes". Phew...now that's a mouthful!
My favorite sources of fiber include non-starchy veggies, berries, beans and legumes.
Tracy Baginski, CCN
What are your habits?
Do you eat the same thing for lunch, go through the same exercise routine, and fall into bed at the same time each night?
Or maybe you've made a habit out of eating whatever looks good, avoiding the gym, and staying up as late as possible.
John Dryden famously said, "We first make our habits, and then our habits make us."
Confucius said, "Men's natures are alike; it is their habits that separate them."
And Aristotle noticed that, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit."
It's pretty clear that the habits you adopt will shape who you are.
When it comes to your body, the two habits that define your physique are your eating and exercise habits. In fact, everyone that you know who is in great shape has dialed in these two important habits.
If you aren't happy with your body, then simply adjust your eating and exercise habits. Here's how to adopt a habit:
Making a Habit
Use these seven steps to create a life-improving habit.
1) Decide on the ONE habit that you would like to develop. It's tempting to pick up 3 or 4 healthy habits, but choosing just one new habit is realistic and doable.
Here are some healthy habit ideas:
- Do not eat after 7pm each night.
- Bring your lunch to work instead of eating fast food.
- Exercise 4 times a week after work for 45 minutes each time.
- Only eat fruits and veggies as your afternoon snack.
- Get up early and exercise for an hour each morning.
- Work with a personal trainer 3 times a week.
2) Write your new habit down on paper. Also include your 3 main motivators for developing this new habit, the obstacles you'll face, and your strategies for overcoming these obstacles.
Here's an example:
- My new habit is to work with a personal trainer 3 times each week.
- My 3 main motivators are 1) to feel confident in my bathing suit this summer, 2) to have more energy, and 3) to fit into my skinny jeans.
- The obstacles I will face are 1) not having the energy to go to my session after work, 2) not having enough money to pay for sessions, and 3) not having my spouse's support.
- I will overcome these obstacles by 1) doing my workouts before work instead of after work, so I have more energy, 2) cutting down on frivolous spending to ensure that I can afford it, and 3) asking my spouse to join me so we can get in shape together.
3) Commit fully to your new habit, in a public way. This could mean posting it on facebook, or simply announcing it at the dinner table. Put yourself in a position where you'll be embarrassed to give up on your new habit.
4) Keep track of your progress. You could keep a detailed journal or simply make a check mark on each calendar day that you successfully exercise your new habit.
5) Keep yourself publically accountable. This means either status updates on facebook or verbal status updates at the dinner table. Your friends and family are in a position to offer you support, so don't shy away from those close to you.
6) When you fail, figure out what went wrong so that you can plan around it in the future.
7) Reward yourself for your success.
Once your new habit becomes second nature, usually in about 30 days, feel free to add a second habit by going through the same 7 steps.
I'd love for my fitness program to become your new healthy habit! Call or email now to reserve your spot.
I'm often approached and asked to pin down a single exercise as the one that will help lose the most fat and sculpt the quickest. That's not an easy question to answer.
You see, I'm very aware of the fact that though an exercise may be perfect for Client A, it may not be the best choice for Client B—hence my hesitation to label any exercise as the universal best.
That being said, some exercises are definitely better than others. And, yes, there are even a few that I would call the best.
What makes an exercise the best?
When you decide which exercises to include in your routine, it is important to consider the type of movement involved. The simpler the movement, the fewer calories you'll burn and the fewer muscles you will strengthen. On the other hand, the more complex the movement, the more calories you will burn and the more muscles you will strengthen.
To put it simply, exercises that use complex movements will deliver better results than exercises that use only simple movements. Complex movements recruit multiple muscles, some to stabilize and others to perform the movement. This process keeps your heart rate higher than a simple exercise would, giving you a more intense workout.
What is a complex movement?
A complex movement is a multi-joint movement that recruits large portions of the body to complete the exercise. Let's compare a simple movement leg exercise with a complex movement leg exercise:
The leg extension machine uses a simple, isolated movement to work the quadriceps. You're in a seated position moving only your knee joint. There isn't much involvement, if any, from other muscles and it doesn't burn very many calories.
Now let's look at a free weight walking lunge. You start by standing with your feet together and a dumbbell in each hand at your sides (or a barbell across your shoulders, or a medicine ball held at your chest, or even with no weight at all). You take a large step forward and lower your back knee, keeping your front knee at a 90 degree angle. Now you push off your front foot and pull your back leg forward, repeating the movement.
How many muscles did you utilize while performing the lunge? Probably too many to count.
You certainly worked your quadriceps, gluteus, hamstrings, calves, abdominals, supporting muscles in your shoulders, arms and back- just to name a few. You also raised your heart rate and really kicked your metabolism into high gear. That's what I call a great exercise.
Other ways to increase intensity
Using complex movements are just one of many ways to kick your workout intensity up a notch. Try incorporating a Super Set into your routine. To do so simply perform two or more exercises in a row and then take a short rest.
Or how about a Compound Set? Perform one exercise, rest, then perform an exercise with opposing body parts. To find exercises that compliment one another, choose ones that have similar but opposite motions such as a chest press and a row.
The key to finding the best exercise is to find the ones that bring your workout intensity to a whole new level.
I'd be shortchanging you if I named any exercise as the best. The fact of the matter is that it is a combination of changing your workouts up, using interval training, and even some good old cardio that will ultimately see you to your goal.
These methods will help you to burn more calories, increase your metabolic rate, and will stimulate the production of more fat burning and muscle toning hormones. Of course, there is more involved to achieving your fitness goals. You need to incorporate fat burning into your routine. You need to consistently challenge yourself during workouts. You need to take control of your eating habits and to get your diet dialed in.
Can you image how you would look 3 sizes smaller? You'd look like a whole new, younger person.
It's actually much easier than you think.
I'm not talking about invasive, costly surgery, dangerous pills or potions, or grueling routines.
All it takes is losing one pound each week. One measly pound.
Hang with me for a minute and I will break it down mathematically. A pound is 3,500 calories—spread that over 7 days and you need a 500 calorie deficit each day to lose 1 pound in a week.
Your 500 calorie deficit can be done by a combination of increased calorie exertion (exercise) as well as a decrease in calories consumed (eating less).
Follow these steps:
- First, record your normal weekly exercise – look at everything from walking to participating in sports to exercising in the gym. This is your starting point. From here you'll need to burn an additional 3500 calories on top of your normal weekly exercise.
If you don't currently exercise, then any new activity will count towards your 3500 calorie weekly goal.
- Second, record your normal weekly food intake – this may be an eye-opener when you see how many calories you eat in a day. Record everything honestly, since you are only cheating yourself by not recording everything. Calculate the total number of calories that you eat in an average day.
- Now divide the 3500 calories between your activity list and your food list. You could choose to eliminate 1000 calories each week and burn off an additional 2500. Or you may decide to burn 3000 calories and eat 500 fewer calories.
Here are 7 simple ways to cut 250 calories:
- Drink plain coffee instead of a sweetened holiday coffee drink. Flavored coffee drinks are delicious but filled with way too much sugar. Drop 250 calories (or more) when you stick with plain coffee or tea instead of sugar-filled holiday coffee drinks.
- Just say NO! to the holiday treats. A single slice of fruitcake may seem innocent enough, besides everyone is eating them at the office meeting, why shouldn't you? You know that all those holiday treats are packed with fat and calories. For each tempting treat that you refuse to eat, imagine the 250 calories falling off of your waistline, and smile to yourself.
- Jog for 30 minutes. Want in on a little secret? The hardest part about a simple 30 minute jog is the act of getting your shoes on and walking out the door. It's true.
- Exchange 20 oz of regular soda for water. You know that soda is filled with tons of sugar, so why are you still drinking it? Every time you crave an ice cold cola picture swallowing spoonfuls of white sugar. That's probably the easiest way to weight gain. Stick with water and kiss those extra calories goodbye.
- Swim laps for 30 minutes. If your response to my jogging suggestion was ‘I have bad joints', then you are in luck. Swimming is one of the best aerobic activities you can do, and it is impact-free. When you swim you recruit your entire body, a process which requires lots of energy—AKA calories.
- Eat an apple instead of a cookie. Do you always go for something sweet after dinner? While your first instinct may be to reach for a cookie or a bowl of ice cream, why not consider what nature has to offer? Fruit is sweet, natural and lower in calories than traditional desserts.
- Come give my fitness routine a try. I have the whole calorie-burning equation down to a science, and I'd love nothing more than to help you achieve your fitness goal. My workouts have been known to burn up to 500 calories at a time, so what are you waiting for?
Losing 50 pounds in 12 months is very possible. Simply use the tips above to create your daily 500 calorie deficit and you'll be shedding the weight in no time.
And if you'd rather have me do most of the work for you, then call or email to set up your no obligation consultation.
When you work with me, there's a good chance that those 50 pounds will come falling off in less than 12 months. That wouldn't be so bad, would it?