OPPORTUNITY LOOKS A LOT LIKE HARD WORK

I didn’t coin this saying. And even though Ashton “Chris” Kutcher moved millions, including myself with these words, it was actually Thomas Edison. One of my favorite things about exercise is the way it tests you. How badass are you? Can you overcome obstacles? When things get hard, do you take of the resistance, do you wuss out or do you add more?

There is always a point in an intense workout where you feel like you’re completely gassed. And you think to yourself, there is no freaking way I can keep going. You see your mind quits on you before your body does. Your mind puts limits on what you can accomplish and it’s in these moments were you find out how badass you really are. Exercise pulls greatness out of you if you let it and so opportunity looks a lot like work.

I’m an endorphin junkie and one of my favorite ways to get my fix is spinning. I started cycling this past May at Shift and I was instantly hooked. I love spinning because it makes me feel badass, but more importantly because it helps overcome obstacles outside of the studio. Every single day you show up and climb into the saddle, challenges you, inspires you and pushes you to be MORE. Challenges are opportunities to grow. If you don’t test your limits, nothing changes. 

And so when I feel like I’ve reached a hill I can’t climb, I remind myself of all the hills behind me and I make that hill, for lack of better words, my b*tch. And so opportunity looks a lot like hard work.

   

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BODY TRANSFORMATION WITH JUST FOUR MODIFICATIONS

  1. Stagnate workout durations to prevent overtraining and shock your body: Monday-90 minutes, Tuesday-45 minutes, Wednesday-60 minutes, Thursday-30, Friday-90 minutes, Saturday-45 minutes, Sunday-Recovery
  2. Switch up exercises– I never am doing the same exercise, be it cardio, lifting, toning, squatting, for more than 10-15 minutes at a time. I move from one exercise to the next so that my body is constantly adjusting to keep up with me!! The more often it has to adjust, the harder it has to work.
  3. Let your muscles recover. Target one to two muscle groups per workout session and allow several days of recovery inbetween. I workout my biceps, triceps, shoulders, chest, and back 1 day/week, my abs 3-4 days/week, and my lower body 2 days/week. Whatever your goals are-to tone, build muscle, loss weight, get it better shape, etc.- your muscles need rest in order to change!
  4. Let your body recover!!! One thing that most health/fitness fanatics struggle with is taking days off. However, taking a day off to let your body rest is crucial to muscle development and strength, preventing over training and injury, and burning out.

MIND GAMES

I recently read an article that discussed the effects of anxiety and stress on eating habits. It is well known that some of us are emotional eaters. However, this article argued that men deal with being overwhelmed physically, while women turn to a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. While I am not so sure emotional eating is gender specific, the answer seems obvious–put down the spoon and go to the gym.

Easier said than done though..how many of us find ourselves mindlessly munching when things feel like they are out of our control? In order to break these habits, we have to learn to become aware of our emotions and recognize symptoms of anxiety early on.

 The cerebral cortex elicits the release of dopamine, delivering a sense of pleasure and reward. This response focuses the attention of the individual so that the behavior is repeated.* In other words, these learned behaviors, that evolved to promote survival, have taken a turn for the worse. If we can trick our minds by changing the neurological reward to say exercise, then we can begin to change these learned habits.

Can’t get to the gym? Do five-ten minutes of lunges, squats, push ups, planks, and crunches. Go for a walk. Climb a few sets of stairs. If feel yourself starting to become overwhelmed with work, school, or a relationship, take a moment to assess the signals, and refocus.

*Discovery Channel- Neuroscience Psychology

TOO SORE, TOO TIRED, AND TOO DRAINED?

I’m not going to lie, I am one of the rare breed of people who hears their alarm and jumps out of bed. However, I do have those days when faced with another hour of sleep or the treadmill, all I want to do is roll back over. Considering I prefer am workouts, there are some mornings every muscle on my body aches and I ask myself how do you know when you’re too sore, tired, and drained to workout? And when do you know to be suck it up, lace up, and go? So I did some research.

Unless your muscles are throbbing or you completed a long, strenuous physical activity in day before, man up. Being sore is part of exercising and is a sign that the body is adapting and changing, which for many of us is the motivating factor behind the hours we slave in the gym. Studies indicate that moderate exercise actually aids in recovery by increasing blood flow, releasing endorphins which eases pain, and keeps us on track!!

I have always advocated rest days to friends and now clients. However, I find myself struggling to take them myself. I think this is partly due to the fact that exercise is my anti-anxiety drug and therapy session. To put it bluntly, it keeps me sane. I am always doing ten things at once and on days that I don’t exercise, I find myself anxious and overwhelmed. HOWEVER, it is important to know your body and to be able to determine when enough is enough. Self-discipline and self-will won’t help you when overtraining leads to injury. On rest days, take a walk or bike ride. Get those muscles warm and keep moving!!!

Happy Monday!! Have a happy, healthy week!!

THE “FAST” DIET

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I apologize for this rant I am about to give, but the dietitian in me has to go off about this. I found this new 2 day/per week fasting diet published in Health Magazines September 2013 issue. First of all no one should ever be fasting to lose weight and a 500 calorie diet will do nothing for you but make your body think that you are starving, thus storing the food you do consume as fat and SLOWing your metabolism. Second, any diet that drastically restricts foods deprives your body of essential nutrients it needs making you moody, lethargic, and to put it bluntly, unhealthy. And third, of course you will lose weight if you deprive yourself, but the moment you can eat (the other 5 days of the week), your body will fight you to over consume to fill the depleted energy stores, and lets face it 90 percent of people will give in. This is an unhealthy, unrealistic approach to long-term weight loss. Skip the fad diets, eat healthy, and exercise.