Tag Archives: health

12 Days of Fitness 2019: Day 9 – Fitness is a Choice and Mindset

(This is part 9 of a 12 part series to provide you with some helpful health and fitness tips over the holiday season)

I’ll be honest. I really struggle when I hear people say that they either hate to exercise or that they don’t have any time to exercise as well as the thousands of other excuses they give on the subject. But then I can come to a better approach and realize that they just don’t get it. Going to the gym isn’t a punishment for what you ate or how much you sit; fitness is a celebration of the fact that you are alive and can still move. Perhaps they just don’t feel alive. I don’t know.

It a Choice

Fitness isn’t something you only do at a gym; fitness for life means you either approach your body and mind with respect, or you disrespect the gift of your own life and health and then everything that defines a healthy human being, such as the ability to pick up a grandchild or to walk on the beach, is taken away from you. Getting in shape isn’t something you only do for a wedding or upcoming vacation. Fitness is a personal choice where you decide to live your life at the highest level you can possibly achieve, because if you are fit and healthy, then anything in life seems possible. What would you give for an extra 10 years of quality life? If you are 30, this doesn’t seem relevant, but if you are in your 40s, way overweight and don’t move, you made a decision, and that decision was to end your life earlier than someone who does realize what you do today in fitness determines how you will live 20 years from now. You, and only you, can determine the quality, and in many cases, the length of your life.

It’s a Mindset

The mindset for fitness isn’t about being perfect or trying to recapture who you were, “back in the day,” but rather becoming the best you can be today. There is no perfect you, but there is a you within that can overflow with happiness, vibrant health and crazy energy, because you now understand you don’t do fitness, you are fitness. Mindset is everything in the pursuit of personal health, but you have to enter the arena with the understanding that fitness isn’t another hobby you only do when you have time or to relax. Fitness is the very essence of how you live 24 hours a day, how you think and who you are. You choose to be healthy; then you chose life. You choose to ignore your fitness, and you made a choice… and you will pay for that choice someday, and then when you can’t get out of a chair without help, or play with a child, or hold the hand of the one you love on a walk through the woods, what would you pay then for just one hour of health and life? And the sad thing is you could have had it all along.

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

See you tomorrow for Day 10 of the 12 Days of Fitness!

Just in case, here’s what you might have missed:

Day #16 Tips for Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain
Day #2 – Cholesterol Myths You Need to Stop Believing
Day #3 – Festively Fit: Staying Fit Over the Holidays
Day #410 Fitness Myths That Need to Die
Day #5 – 9 Ways to Trick Yourself Into Feeling Full
Day #6 – The Cult Of Supplements And The Dangers Of Multi-Level Marketing
Day #7 – The First 5 Things Nutritionists Will Tell You To Cut From Your Diet
Day #8 – Dispelling 5 Common Training Lies

12 Days of Fitness 2019: Day 3 – Festively Fit: Staying Fit Over the Holidays

(This is part 3 of a 12 part series to provide you with some helpful health and fitness tips over the holiday season)

Are you fearing this year’s holidays? Are you wondering how you will handle the challenges of being confronted with mountains of delicious food, endless parties, and crazy schedules? Unfortunately, these worries and fears often lead to complete resignation, which causes people to give up all regular routines, self-discipline, and otherwise manageable self-restraint related to health and fitness. This, in turn, can result in guilty consciences, sick stomachs, sleepless nights, sluggish bodies, and bad attitudes.

The Good News: There is a Better Way!

If all this sounds familiar, your first step is to change your mindset. Practicing sound nutrition, health and fitness habits is vital to life-long wellness. Healthy eating, effective physical activity and regular rest are practices that should become part of who you are and essential to your daily life, just like brushing your teeth or taking a shower. This shift in mindset sets the stage for greater self-empowerment and self-confidence, as well as a transition in locus of control from external to internal. The key is to recognize that you have the power to transform your life and live it to the fullest during times of joy, trouble, hardship, success, holidays, and festivities by applying key foundational behavioral principles. When you do that, you won’t get bogged down with seemingly endless challenging choices in every situation. If you make the following key foundational behaviors a priority, circumstantial, seasonal and unexpected events won’t have the power to derail you. Here ya go:

1) Drink water.Choose to drink water over anything else. Cold or hot herbal teas are a good option, too. Drink two cups of water when you first wake up in the morning and when you feel hungry outside of your regular mealtime/regular snacks. Festive Fit Tip: When you arrive at a holiday party, drink two cups of water or herbal tea before you start eating.

2) Move more, sit less. If you have the option of standing versus sitting, stand. If you have the option of walking versus driving, walk. If you have the option of moving about versus standing, move about. Daily physical activity and structured exercise, including cardio, strength and flexibility exercises, are a part of a healthy daily routine. Festive Fit Tip: When you attend a holiday party or an event, find a way to avoid sitting for the majority of the time (move about the room, start a dance party, etc.).

3) Something positive is better than nothing. Get away from an all-or-nothing mindset. If you don’t have time for a full workout, do 10 minutes of exercise and you’ll reap some positive benefits. If you forgot to add any fruits or vegetables to your meals during the day, add an apple at night. Apply this principle where it makes sense. Festive Fit Tip: Focus on nutritious foods during the holidays rather than on what you shouldn’t eat. Each time you eat at home or at a holiday party, add things to your plate that are good for you, such as vegetables, fruit, nuts or other healthy proteins or grains.

4) Take control. Focus. Reflect. Ask yourself: Is this behavior good for me? Be mindful. Choose wisely. Follow-through. Festive Fit Tip: When you are at a party and about to fill your plate with all the goodies from the buffet, pause and ask yourself: Is it time to eat now? What have I already eaten today? What is available here that is considered healthy?

5) Half is enough. Eat only half of the less-nutritious foods on your plate. If you take a cookie, for example, eat half of it and pack the other half for another day. Festive Fit Tip: At a holiday party or event, serve yourself only half of what is on the serving platter. For example, if you want a brownie, cut it in two on the serving platter and only serve yourself half (and don’t go back for seconds).

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

See you tomorrow for Day 4 of the 12 Days of Fitness!

Just in case, here’s what you might have missed:

Day #16 Tips for Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain
Day #2 – Cholesterol Myths You Need to Stop Believing

 

12 Days of Fitness 2017: Day 11 – Organic Foods 101

(This is part 11 of a 12 part series to provide you with some helpful health and fitness tips over the holiday season)

20 years ago most organic food was produced by small farms and was only available at farmers’ markets and health food stores. Since the early 1990s organic food production has increased at the rate of about 20% per year, in both developing and developed nations – making it far more widely available – with giant supermarket chains like Giant and Walmart carrying organic products. Usually organic foods are more expensive; so with economy on everyone’s mind we needed a reminder of what organic foods are all about.

What Does Organic Mean?

Organic foods are produced without synthetic pesticides and fertilizers and the land used to grow organic produce must go through a three year transitional period to ensure the soil is clear of conventional fertilizer and pesticide residue; in order to meet the USDA standards of organic certification. It must also be free from any waste contamination, either human or industrial and livestock must be free from growth hormones, not have been subjected to the use of antibiotics on a regular basis and must be fed a healthy diet. Organic products cannot contain genetically modified organisms in most countries. As far as food safety is concerned there is no difference between organic and conventionally produced foods – so always remember to wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running water to remove dirt and bacteria and employ safe handling and storage for meat, poultry, dairy and fish. Some scientists even suggest that organic farming practices are not as sanitary as conventional farming practices.

Is It All It’s Cracked Up to Be?

In terms of actual nutrition there has not been any conclusive evidence to suggest that organic foods contain any more nutrients than conventionally produced foods. They do however contain significantly less pesticide residue. And don’t panic – if you are very concerned about pesticide residues for yourself or your children and you’re unable to buy organic foods, you can remove a significant amount of the pesticide residues in your food by simple peeling fruits and vegetables and removing the outer leaves (but do be aware you will be losing fiber and some nutrients), and trimming any fat from meat and poultry as the residues tend to be more concentrated in the fat and avoiding fish from contaminated areas.

But Is It Worth It?

Some people think organic food just tastes better and, if you can afford to, it makes sense to give your body the most delicious and best possible food available, but don’t stress yourself out over it. A varied, nutritionally balanced diet with proper food safety handling, whether organic or not, is the most important thing for overall health and well-being, and if you can buy organic you can be assured that you are helping to sustain the planet.

See you tomorrow for Day 12 of the 12 Days of Fitness

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

 

Just in case, here’s what you might have missed:

Day #1 – Top 10 Reasons Why People Don’t Exercise
Day #2 – The Dangers of Dieting
Day #3 – The New Rules to Strength Training
Day #4 – How to Stay in Shape When You’re Busy
Day #5 – How Natural is “Natural Flavoring”?
Day #6 – Understanding Food and Nutrition Labels
Day #7 – Minimalist Fitness
Day #8 – 7 Common Myths About Fat Loss
Day #9 – The Food Pyramid: The Demise of the American Diet
Day #10 – 10 Weight Room Mistakes

 

The Bread is NOT Why You Can’t Lose Weight

Wouldn’t it be easier to place blame on something that’s so available on your weight loss woes? That’s exactly what happened in the late 90’s by Dr. Atkins, Dr. Sears, et al. in their quest to combat the rising obesity epidemic. They scared people into believing that bread, more specifically carbs, were the enemy to be avoided like the plague. In response, the food industry was forced to develop product that was low carb or no carb that people would buy by the dozens. And they did. Fast forward to current day and the low carb craze as it came to be known still has a life today. But despite its alleged magical powers, obesity in this country has continued to rise.

It’s All About the Bread

Bread sales in the country have decreased, albeit slightly. The biggest reason can be attributed to the fact that’s there so many options available to consumers. Low carb, whole grain, organic, diet, half sliced, sprouted, low sugar, etc. – the options are endless. Bring a snow day here in the northeast though and the bread aisle is wiped out! Apparently snow doesn’t care about your waistline. Here’s another tidbit. The bread doesn’t care about your waistline either. The amount or type of bread that one eats has no bearing on how much weight an individual will gain or keep. Now this is not a license to eat all the bread you want but it brings up a fact that most miss when they consider losing weight or dieting. Calories. That little number some obsess over and others know what it is but no one pays much attention to when concerned for their weight. It’s just easier to dump bread or eat a sandwich without it.

Back to Basics

Calories count. If you don’t think so, you can stop reading. But if you do, you have to pay attention to how many calories you need and how many you need to burn. Simply putting the bread aside isn’t going to be enough. For example, let’s say you order a cheeseburger you feel you earned but ask for the bun to not be included or halved. You might save about 150-200 calories. But what does the rest of the meal look like? No fries? Ok, so now you’re down about 350-400 calories. What about the burger itself? That can vary greatly depending on what or where you ordered it. That can be anywhere from 200-650 calories! The bun was a calorie culprit but a small one indeed. The point here is that bread became the scapegoat of irrational, minimally substantiated evidence that carbs, specifically bread, was bad for your body composition. Sure, there’s plenty of evidence showing the net effect of carbs on spiking insulin levels but note that’s when the carbs are consumed by themselves. (A major flaw of the GI – glycemic index; a discussion for another time.) If you enjoy bread, then eat it. Trust me, it’s not the issue with your waistline.

But What About My Waistline?

Waistlines didn’t expand in a day. They are the cumulative effect of poor diet choices and/or genetics, not because you ate bread. As I stated previously, it’s much easier to pinpoint and blame a single food group or item than take the responsibility that your diet overall is the issue. Who knows? Someday it could be green, leafy vegetables that are the problem. The very first step to achieving optimal health is examining what you consume on a daily basis, including Saturday and Sunday. There are no “cheat” days. If you “cheat” own it and move on but understand that “cheats” add up just like everything else, bread or no bread. Most of these food blamed scenarios all stem from a single thought, or idea that sounds good on the surface. Upon further review, they’re nothing more than a desperate attempt to satisfy a desperate audience.

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

12 Days of Fitness 2014: Day 12 – Making Fitness Permanent

(This is Part 12 of a 12 part series to provide you with some helpful health and fitness tips over the holiday season)

Sweat_FitnessSuccess-300x201During the holiday season, most do not even give health and fitness a second glance. After all, it’s a season of hectic schedules and spreading good cheer. Who has time to work out or eat healthy? But in a few weeks’ time, that all shifts to starting the New Year on a high note with a plan for more exercise and eating better. It’s an unfortunate reality that one, most people wait until January 1 to start taking their health seriously, and 2, that it usually all comes to a screeching halt within a month’s or so time. It doesn’t nor should it have to be that way. Too often people focus on perfection rather than making progress and when it comes to our health, it’s all about progress.

The Right Mind Set

How many times have you started a diet and/or exercise program and after may be only a few weeks or days threw in the towel? Often times people jump into a diet and/or exercise plan that is so strict or so completely the opposite of what is realistic for them that they quit entirely, repeatedly blaming that exercise is not for them or that the diet was too unrealistic. Many approach diet and/or exercise programs with an “all or nothing” attitude that sets them up for failure 100% of the time. It doesn’t and shouldn’t have to be that way. You don’t need to be perfect with your eating or your exercise program. That’s an unrealistic expectation of anyone and the person that says otherwise is usually hiding some demons of their own. You just need to moving towards a place better than you currently are and that is what progress is all about.

What is Real Progress?

Any movement in a forward direction is progress. There is no status quo; you are either moving forward or you are moving backwards. It’s as simple as that! That doesn’t mean there is no room for error. It just means enjoy life and all things in moderation with an eye on a greater pursuit – your health and well-being. It’s too easy to get caught up in the “I can’t eat that” or “I need to exercise more” mentality when the focus is on negative behaviors as opposed to positive, progressive ones. If you can consistently aim to eat better and regularly exercise, you’re making progress that can be more easily stepped up in times for more specific goals, such as preparing for a wedding or that summer vacation. Haphazardly piece mailing your nutrition and exercise is not going to cut it and is like climbing an oil-slicked slope – you might interpret you’re working hard but you’re not going anywhere!

The Secret to Progress

The secret is simple – make your diet and/or exercise the rule, not the exception. Good nutrition is something you need to work at daily; not weekly, or for a few months or for some unrealistic specified amount of time – DAILY! Same with exercise. It doesn’t need to be done in large chunks of time or with the pedal to the metal. It just needs to be consistent, not here and there, and in accordance with your goals. Do your best to be better and at your own pace. Keep a visual of this by keeping a food journal, or even making yourself a chart and document every time you eat a healthy meal and/or got a work out. At the end of the week, add it up and see if it’s in the majority or the minority – it becomes the rule, not the exception.

Accept and Learn From Mistakes

Don’t hide from your failures. Learn from them so that you are continually prepared for any situation. When you do get off course, don’t waste time and energy beating yourself up for it. Learn from what happened, and just move on without looking back. Many of us are so scared of failure that messing up makes us afraid to keep trying, and makes us question ourselves. After all, true success is just choosing to never give up, no matter how many times you fail.

Best to you and your families for a wonderful holiday season and a happy and healthy New Year!

 

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

 

 

12 Days of Fitness 2014: Day 11 – Are You Winning the War?

(This is Part 11 of a 12 part series to provide you with some helpful health and fitness tips over the holiday season)

holiday-weight-gain-torranceThere are two guarantees in life: death and taxes. The rest of course is up for debate. Every politician that runs for office promises no new or reduced taxes (yeah, right) and there are those who claim that their products or techniques reverse the effects of aging or prolong life. (good luck with that one). There are those however that take a very negative, self-defeating mindset when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle thinking “What’s the point?”; “I don’t have time to exercise”; “Why eat healthy? I want to enjoy life.” And the excuses mount on and on until one day it bites them in the backside and it’s too late. Then it becomes, “I’m just old”, “I have a family history”, or “I never had the time.” I’m not here to tell people how to live their lives but what I can share is a perspective that most never think about or worse, don’t even know that it’s going on. So let me share with you some key points regarding everyone’s health that should probably be taught more stringently and you can determine if you’re winning the war or not. Your health is not an entitlement.

  • Cells are the basic units of every living creature. We have approximately 37.2 trillion of them.
  • There are hundreds of different types of cells in the body and with few exceptions are all constantly dividing and regenerating as little as every two days or more than 30 years depending on the type of cell they are.
  • Every time cells regenerate, they have to rely on materials present to carry through with the process. That’s what we provide through our nutrition.
  • Cellular health depends on the quantity and quality of building materials being made available. Think of two buildings that are knocked down and rebuilt – one is made consistently with concrete blocks and the other is also made with concrete blocks but straw is gradually being used in place of the concrete until ultimately the building can’t be erected anymore. Are you providing quality materials to build strong or weak cells?
  • Over time as the cell is provided with less and less quality material it grows weaker to the point where even intermittent good quality materials are brought in can’t be used optimally.
  • The more and more these tired and weak cells are left to their own to survive the sooner they begin to die off and slowly start bringing more of their surrounding neighbors down with them.
  • The body is designed to keep this scenario from happening at all costs and it does an amazing job of doing just that. But in time, there’s only so much it can take, it gets tired, and begins to throw in the towel.
  • The body fat; the unwanted pounds; the high blood pressure; the high cholesterol; the diabetes, etc. are all examples of the cells losing their individual wars.

So what’s one to do?

  • Every single time you ingest something, whether it be food or drink, you are having an affect on the strength and rebuilding of your cells. You can enjoy all there is in life, but be aware that every choice has a consequence.
  • Every day that you’re not engaging in some form of physical activity, the cellular environment gets stale and sludgy, like a body of water with no movement. In time the net effect compounds and makes every effort to the contrary that much harder.

The best advice will never go away. You need to be mindful of your eating; not perfect. You need to engage in regular physical activity; not just for fat loss. You are not only what you eat, but what you absorb. Exercise goes well beyond just sweating for 30 to 60 minutes a day; it’s an inherent need that when our bodies aren’t getting that movement have no choice but to surrender, and not on your terms.

See you tomorrow for the conclusion of the 2014 12 Days of Fitness

 

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better

 

Blood Pressure: The Silent Killer 2013 – 12 Days of Fitness: Day 5

(This is Part 5 of a 12 part series to provide you with some helpful health and fitness tips over the holiday season)

High-Blood-PressureThink for a moment about the pipes in your home right now. If you have running water, there is a pressure that keeps water moving through the pipes. Same thing if your house is heated by hot water; there is pressure in the lines to keep hot water moving throughout the house to keep it warm. If there’s not enough pressure, the running water trickles and there’s little to no heat and if there’s too much pressure there could be a pipe or valve that bursts leaving you with no water and no heat. Our bodies work almost identically to the example here with pipes and water, only the pipes are the blood vessels and the water is our life force, blood.

What is Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure is the measure of the force of blood pushing against blood vessel walls (systole) and the subsequent recoil of the vessel walls pushing the blood continually along (diastole). Without enough pressure, it is difficult to get blood to and from the heart efficiently, often resulting in lightheadedness and dizziness. Too much pressure and there is stress on the body that is almost undetectable and felt without the use of a blood pressure reading. High blood pressure, otherwise known as hypertension, is dangerous because it makes the heart work harder to pump blood to the body and contributes to hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), rupturing of the vessels, and to the potential development of heart failure.

What is High Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure can vary greatly from measurement to measurement and situation to situation. (i.e. the white coat syndrome). An individual will be diagnosed as hypertensive when blood pressure is elevated for an extended period of time. Often there are no warning signs and 65 million American adults or about 1 in 3 people have high blood pressure.

What Is “Normal” Blood Pressure?

A blood pressure reading has a top number (the systolic) and bottom number (the diastolic). The ranges are:

  • Normal: Less than 120 over 80 (120/80)
  • Prehypertension: 120-139 over 80-89
  • Stage 1 high blood pressure: 140-159 over 90-99
  • Stage 2 high blood pressure: 160 and above over 100 and above

What Causes High Blood Pressure?

The exact causes of high blood pressure are not known, but several factors and conditions may play a role in its development, including:

  • Smoking – preventable
  • Being overweight or obese – preventable
  • Lack of physical activity – preventable
  • Too much salt in the diet – preventable
  • Too much alcohol consumption (more than 1 to 2 drinks per day) – preventable
  • Stress – preventable
  • Older age
  • Genetics
  • Family history of high blood pressure
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Adrenal and thyroid disorders

Blood pressure is of vital importance to our health, well-being and existence. Even though it’s something most of us probably take for granted, it’s one of the few health markers where we have a good opportunity of controlling what we can control. Simply just letting it go or waiting until a medication is prescribed is like taking a walk on a short plank. Sooner or later, you’re going to fall. Get it checked periodically and take charge of your plumbing.

See you tomorrow for Day 6 of the 12 Days of Fitness

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

 

 

The Importance of Sleep On Your Health

Have you ever given any thought to the impact sleep has on your health?  If you are like most Americans, chances are you probably did not even give it a second thought because you do not have enough time.  As a result, most of us would probably say that we do not get enough sleep.  Of course there are others that if sleep meant fitness, they would be two time decathletes by now.  Sleep is something most of us lack and take for granted, but can make a big difference in our approach to improving our health.

Sleep On This

On average, Americans get less than seven hours of sleep per night.  While the debate still goes on as to how much sleep one person needs, eight hours has been the golden rule for years.  In addition, 43% of Americans suffer from sleeping disorders, everything from sleep apnea to insomnia.  This can result from a number of causes such as anxiety, nervousness, mental tension, illnesses, medications, and changes in hormonal levels. Since sleep is something we do take for granted, most people deny or refuse to believe that they have a sleeping problem.  However, that awareness usually presents itself in not so kind ways, such as the 100,000 auto accidents caused last year by sleepy drivers.

Get To Sleep

Lack of sleep itself can be detrimental to you if you do intend to make exercise a regular part of your life.  Not to mention some of the risks associated with lack of sleep, such as increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, lung problems, and impotence.  For those who compete in athletic competitions, sleep is of the utmost importance for awareness and body recovery.  The same is true for those individuals trying to build lean muscle mass.  Sleep is a time of increased growth hormone levels when the body repairs and rebuilds from the rigors of an exercise session.  It is true that gains are not made during the exercise, but what you do afterwards.  The workout is simply the catalyst to get the process started.  Following are some steps to better sleep and unfortunately for some, more is not necessarily better.

  1. Get up out of bed if you are not sleepy when you lie down, or give your eyes some exercise until they tire, such as reading or a crossword puzzle.
  2. Avoid alcohol too close to bed time.  Although some claim it puts them out, it can cause restlessness and irritability as sleep goes on.
  3. Avoid caffeine before bed.  Caffeine is a stimulant.
  4. Try using some background noise, either soft music or the TV turned down set to go off at a certain time.
  5. Do not over sleep.  Too much sleep can actually leave you feeling sluggish.

Zzzzzzzz

One of the more common tell tale signs of bad sleep is snoring.  Snoring, while not always bad, (except for those around you), can be a sign of serious health problems if it is chronic. Men who snore habitually run a 50% risk of high blood pressure, and a 70 to 100% chance of ischemic heart disease (insufficient blood delivered to the heart).  Women who snore chronically have a 20% risk of heart disease and triple their chance of high blood pressure.  Some ways to treat snoring are as follows:

  • Lose weight to reduce fatty blockages in throat and nose.
  • Elevate the top of the bed or sleep slightly upright.
  • Avoid sleeping on your back, which prevents the tongue from blocking the throat.
  • Try wearing nasal strips to open passage ways.

Sleep can make all the difference between a great day and a bad day; losing weight or gaining weight; increased performance or poor performance; good health or poor health. Do yourself a favor and give sleep as much priority as you would your training efforts, eating efforts, and reaching your goals. And considering the amount of time you should spend in your bed, it is worth the investment to get a good quality mattress.

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

 

12 Days of Fitness 2012 – Day 4: 51 Foods You SHOULD Be Eating

(This is Part 4 of a 12 part series to provide you with some helpful fitness tips over the holiday season)

healthy_whole_foodsWhen it comes to healthy eating, the focus is often on what not to eat vs. what to eat. So, I thought I’d share with you today a guest blog repost from a Penn State colleague, Dr. Chris Mohr, an internationally known nutrition expert, which lists the foods he suggests we should be eating rather than focusing on what we should not. Let’s face it, most are aware of what foods should be avoided so I hope this list helps to enlighten and perhaps introduce options not thought of often.

Spinach
Wild salmon (fresh and/or canned)
Blueberries
Raspberries
Swiss chard
Quinoa
Rolled oats
Pistachios
Barramundi
Plain Greek yogurt
Apples
Red bell peppers
Yellow bell peppers
Orange bell peppers
Lean red meat
Whole eggs
Blackberries
Almonds
Sardines
Carrots
Black tea
Green tea
Pink grapefruit
Turmeric
Kale
Cauliflower
Red grapes
Nut butters (peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, etc)
Coconut (either fresh, where you crack the shell or unsweetened, shredded)
Strawberries
Avocados
Tomatoes (raw and cooked as both have unique benefits)
Pumpkin
Unsweetened, raw cocoa powder or cocoa nibs
Pineapple
Sweet potatoes or yams
Beans (black, kidney, chick peas, red beans, etc)
Lentils
Garlic
Broccoli
Red and green cabbage
Onions
Dark Cherries
Cinnamon
Oat bran
Beets
Barley
Mushrooms (all types)
Canola and olive oils (replace other less healthy fats with these, don’t simply add these to the diet)
Farro (a whole grain that’s super high in fiber)
Coffee (without sugar, cream and everything else)

Wow, there you have it – 51 of our favorite foods (and beverages).  Is this comprehensive of every single food that’s amazing for you?  Of course not.  But it is a pretty solid list of fantastic foods.  Variety and quality is the key.  Aim for foods with one ingredient when you eat (vs. processed options with many ingredients you can’t pronounce) and you’ll be much better off.

Thank you Dr. Mohr!

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

See you tomorrow for Day 5 of the 12 Days of Fitness

My 2012 Fitness Challenge personal update – 34,700 push ups done as of publishing time

 

 

 

Surviving A Hurricane

Hurricane_Symbol_BeveledThe past few days out here on the East Coast have been spent dealing with Hurricane Sandy and all the hoopla that surrounds such an event. I don’t mean to diminish the severity of the destruction of the storm, but a hurricane no doubt gets the attention of over zealous meteorologists. Hurricanes are bad storms.  Property is damaged; weather patterns change hundreds of miles away; and in unfortunate situations human life is lost.  I’m not saying that a hurricane doesn’t deserve the attention it gets.  I just often wonder why we don’t give the same amount attention to the one thing that matters more than all the rest – our health.

Life Is A Hurricane

As I sat and watched some of the events of the storm unfold, I couldn’t help but see the similar characteristics to our own health. With the advances in technology, we’re now able to predict the occurrence, magnitude, and general direction of the storm before it hits to give people ample time to prepare for safety. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for our health. Life is unfortunately a lot like a hurricane.  Often times the warning signs are there, though usually ignored or belittled, and action is taken only when it is too late. Our health is not a guarantee or an entitlement. It is ours to nourish, grow, and appreciate as much as we can within our control. Sadly, there are circumstances beyond our control just as with a hurricane, but aside from causing the winds to shift, we have a much better chance in determining where our health ends up.

Heed The Warning Signs

One of my favorite quotes says, “We don’t stop playing because we get old; we get old because we stop playing.” As a fitness professional, I often hear a million excuses why someone doesn’t exercise and their age is a top five. “I’m too old.” “I can’t do that at my age.” There’s your first sign. The mentality is all wrong.  The only one who says you can’t do something is you. It has absolutely nothing to do with hitting the gym or running a marathon.  It’s simple, basic physical activity, and when that diminishes it sets up the brew for a perfect storm.

So what does lack of physical activity cause? For starters;

  • 1 in 10 deaths
  • 7-10% chance of developing Type 2 diabetes
  • 10-14% chance of developing breast and/or colon cancers
  • Increase in weight gain
  • Increase in adipose (fat) tissue
  • Poor venous (circulatory) return
  • Decreased pulmonary function
  • Increased lean tissue loss
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased insomnia
  • Decrease in cognitive function
  • Decreased libido and sexual performance

The list goes on and in most instances, it’s not a one and done type event but a chain reaction of events. In a recent study published in The Lancet in July of 2012, lack of physical activity has been shown to be as deadly as cigarette smoking. The choice seems simple: Take action and be prepared for whatever the hurricane brings you or, sit and hope the storm doesn’t hit you too hard.

Move It Now

Exercise – let me clarify – physical activity is and should be a daily function.  How you get it and what you do is completely up to you.  Do what you enjoy, explore new options, and most importantly, stop focusing on weight issues. That’s right! When you do the things you’re supposed to do and don’t get wrapped up in the silliness that modern fitness has become, real fitness makes no judgment.  Good things can and will happen. Ultimately, it is your choice and it’s not because of your age, but because you shouldn’t settle for anything less than better.

 

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

 

My 2012 Fitness Challenge personal update – 30,400 push ups done as of publishing time