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Posts Tagged ‘Fitness’


I’m not anti-trainer, I do think they can help you on your path to health, but it’s important to realize that at most gyms they are employed as salespeople, not as trainers.

If you’ve ever been around a corporate gym franchise, trainers come and go like crazy; my coworker is on her fourth trainer in less than a year. Why? Most commonly because they didn’t meet their sales goals.

An acquaintance of mine recently lamented on how, when he was a trainer, he dreaded the end of the month, because if he didn’t meet his sales goals of renewals and new clients, he’d get pulled into a meeting, reprimanded, and threatened with being fired.

I’ve personally walked through trainer-only areas (because those of you that know me know I think rules are suggestions) and seen the sales goal boards I am so familiar with from my early career days selling advertising.  The goals weren’t caculating how they’d helped their clients reach their goals, they were calculating how many clients they’d sold more training packages.

So, speaking from a sales perspective, their best strategy would be to have you see improvement and teach you a few things, but not see enough improvement or learn so much that you no longer need them.

So go to them if you need help with your fitness routine, but don’t lose sight of the fact that they make money the more you come back to them.

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A very large bowl (I used my "Flirty at 30 coffee mug for scale) of chopped carrots, cucumbers, green peppers and red peppers. In 5 work days, my goal is to eat all of this.

A very large bowl (I used my “Flirty at 30 coffee mug for scale) of chopped carrots, cucumbers, green peppers and red peppers. In 5 work days, my goal is to eat all of this.

 

Sundays I nickname “Set yourself up for success day.” It’s usually the day I do everything I can to make it easy throughout the week to stick to my diet and fitness goals, including controlling my hypoglycemia.

It usually consists of:

  • Meal planning. I don’t plan-out each meal per se, but I plan out at least 2 fully-cooked recipes (which usually make 4-6 servings), so enough for the whole week.
  • Grocery shopping. Especially for fresh fruits and vegetables and any healthy meal items so I’m well-stocked for the week.
  • Chopping vegetables. I’ve learned a valuable thing about myself: an unchopped vegetable (unless meant to be eaten whole) will never get eaten in my house. I chop them all and prepare a huge bowl of them to take to work for all week noshing.
  • Prepare my workout clothes for the following day.
  • Laundry. Since I’m busy around the house anyway.
  • Ironing any clothes that need it.

Although it looks like a lot, it doesn’t take up the whole day, just a few hours. And it makes the rest of my week so much easier.

Do you something similar? What do you do to ensure success of your health and fitness goals?

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1. You may not realize what you look like

A woman standing in front of a mirror with cuttings from a magazine showing skinny models

“untitled” by Danielle Henry, via Flickr Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 2.0

I went from a size 10 to a size 0-2. But when I still look in the mirror, I see a size 10. It’s amazing the tricks your mind can play on you. I’ve known other women that have had this issue as well. It’s a challenge for them to see what they really look like, which can cause a danger of going overboard (see #12).

2. Your health costs probably won’t change short term

A jar labeled "Health" full of money

“Health” by Pictures of Money, via Flickr Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Long-term studies have shown that regular exercise and reduced belly fat can significantly reduce your chances of a wide variety of ailments. But, in the short term, your health costs probably won’t go down and may, in fact, go up. Gym memberships, your new diet (see #6) and and increased tendency to go for regular check-ups can add up.

Also, the more athletics you do, the more likely you will gain a lot of sports injuries, which, trust me, are costly.

3. It’ll get really hard to find clothes

A man walking between large stacks of clothes

“Men Shopping for Clothing Accessories” by epSos .de, via Flickr Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 2.0

I can no longer find clothes in regular stores. Unless, of course, you want to wear teenage-looking clothes, then, by all means, hit up the juniors department. Stores stock-up what they can sell and they don’t sell many small sizes. So, it can be very frustrating to find the sizes you need when you become fit.

It’ll also get harder to find clothes that are the smaller sizes that actually fit your arms and legs. Most clothing designers assume that if you have a small waist, you’re going to have thin arms and legs, not muscular ones.

4. Store clerks won’t like you

A woman store clerk with a non-friendly look on her face

“Store Clerk In Blue” by Phil Warren, via Flickr Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Overweight people complain about customer service bias, and I can see that. The truth is, fit people have the same issue. I can’t tell you how many dirty looks I’ve gotten when I’ve asked a store clerk for help finding a small size. They don’t have any tolerance for a skinny person complaining about having clothing issues.

5. Alcohol looks a lot less enticing

A fruity looking pink alcoholic drink with an orange slice

I bet this is over 400 calories and your entire sugar intake for the day. “Colorful Drink at 32 Degrees Bar at Urban Crust” by Nan Palmero, via Flickr Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 2.0

When losing weight, you have to limit or give up alcohol. It’s not uncommon for fit people to stop drinking or, at the very least, significantly reduce their alcohol intake, even when they have hit their goal.  First, because their tolerance has dropped, but second and most common, they look at alcohol and think in their heads, “It’s not worth the calories/macros.”
6. Your grocery bill will be really high
A pile of fresh vegetables on a kitchen counter

“Farmer’s Market Bounty” by ilovebutter, via Flickr Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Healthy food is expensive, you can eat a lot more of it for the same amount of calories, and if you are working out more, you’re going to need to eat a lot more. This is the trifecta for an insanely high grocery bill.

See How much I spend on groceries

7. But your restaurant budget will go down

A sandwich made of fried chicken, egg and cheese

SO DISGUSTING! “KFC Double Down “Sandwich”” by Michael Saechang, via Flickr Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 2.0

As you continue to learn about nutrition and how “unhealthy” foods make you feel, you’re going to be eating out at restaurants a lot less. You’ll find yourself saying to your friends and family “Why don’t you come over and I’ll cook?” or “How about I meet up with you all after your dinner out?”
8. It will affect who you date
A couple in front of food at a restaurant

“Date Night” by Amy Truter, via Flickr Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 2.0

This one is not about appearance, it’s about lifestyle. If you are busting your butt at the gym most days and eating really healthy, you’re most likely not going to be compatible with a junk-eating couch potato. Instead, you’re going to find yourself gravitating to someone with a similar philosophy on a healthy lifestyle.
Sadly, I’ve also heard of this impacting marriages, where one spouse decides to make healthy changes/wants to be more active and the other refuses to do so.
9. It will affect where you live
A street view of a gym

An apartment may look a lot more enticing when you see there is a gym around the corner. “Gym.” by A National Acrobat, via Flickr Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Figuring out what the nearest gym options are, what the nearest activities are, and where the nearest parks are will become a major factor in determining where you live.
10. Your body will become something that is analyzed

For some reason, it’s very socially acceptable for people to comment on fit people’s bodies (think about how much talk their is about Michelle Obama’s arms). Most of these are positive, but not always, as the above example shows.

You might also find that you do this to yourself. I find that I regularly talk about my body, my diet, my weight, etc. Somethings this is a good thing, but sometimes these aren’t topics you should discuss. It depends on your audience and if you are obsessing or not (see #12).

11. People will explain to you why they can’t do it

A white board drawing of a stick girl and the words "Can't do this"

“Can’t do this” by Quinn Dombrowski, via Flickr Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 2.0

This one is the most awkward for me because I never know what to say. I’m a very non-judgmental person and I definitely understand that I don’t know everyone’s full circumstances and there may be legitimate reasons why they can’t, but I don’t always agree that someone’s reasoning for not taking care of their health is legitimate. I had a coworker once tell me that she could never look like me because she’s “always been a bigger girl” and that I was naturally thin. I’m actually not naturally thin, but I figured it was best to keep my mouth shut.

Another rendition of this is statements like, “I wish I could look like you” and “I could look like you, but I like (insert junk food) too much.” There is no good answer to any of these statements; if you try to tell them they could, they will get mad, and if you agree with them, you may insult them. I just try to change the subject.

12. It’s easy to go overboard

A thin woman's stomach with a balled-up measuring tape in front of it

“Body Image. The subjective concept of one’s physical appearance based on self-observation and the reactions of others.” by Charlotte Astrid, via Flickr Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The fitness industry makes money on self-improvement, so they have a vested interest in you always feeling inadequate and needing to improve something. I had a trainer recently say “maintaining is not a goal” in response to me telling him that was my goal. I disagree; if I can stay at this same fitness level as I continue to move into my later 30’s, I’ll consider that a win.

Fitness is also an easy problem to fix, which can set-off a vicious cycle of needed self-improvement. It’s not uncommon for someone to have another problem in their life and vent it out by doing more in the fitness realm (example: men tend to get in shape during a divorce to raise their self-confidence). This can be healthy, but it can also lead to obsession when you realize that it’s one part of your life you can easily control.

What would you add to this list?

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A Clean Eating magazine opened to a page with a dog's leg in the middle of it.

My boyfriend’s dog doesn’t think much of the magazine either.

For some points program, I was given a year’s worth (which I think it 10 issues) of Clean Eating Magazine. Constantly on the hunt for good recipes that are low in processed foods, I thought this would be a good fit. But, the magazine has so many flaws in it it’s honestly not worth reading it.

Some of my comments are below (note: I received a couple of issues at once, so I was able to really assess the magazine over a sample of more than one):

  • June 2015 issue, according to Alicia Rewega, Editor-in-Chief (page 5), is supposed to be easy issue, “so everything inside is simple to make with just a few quick steps…”  But when I actually looked at the recipes, most had 12-20 ingredients. I’m sure they are easy enough to measure out, but anything with that many ingredients isn’t “easy and simple to make” to me.
  • Clean Eating, although not always, is usually tied to fitness/bodybuilding. But the recipes in the magazine are very low protein, many with only 8-12 grams of protein per serving. This seems like audience confusion to me.
  • Pay 74-75 of the June 2015 issue has a weeklong meal plan, but it’s incredibly unrealistic. For example, Wednesday’s breakfast is 2 Dark Chocolate Cherry Hazelnut Energy Balls and 1 hard-boiled egg.  The Energy Balls are 151 calories for 2, and a hard-boiled egg is 70 calories. So breakfast is 221 calories. Um, seriously?  That’s not enough energy! You’d be starving in an hour!
  • It’s really hard to distinguish what is an advertisement and what is an actual article. There’s a very tiny “ADVERTISEMENT” note in light gray on the corner. This bugs me since this is my profession and making a clear distinction is really important from an ethical perspective.
  • In the May 2015 issue (page 21) asks the dietitians the best time to take vitamins. These dietitians clearly aren’t “up” on their research. Maybe they should read The Atlantic’s The Vitamin Myth: Why We Think We Need Supplements.
  • In the May 2015 issue (page 17 “Traffic Signals for Food” and page 25 “Run to Stay Young”), they report on studies with VERY low numbers of participants (30 participants? Are you kidding me?), which is an inherent flaw in nutrition and health research design and shows very little concern for quality science reporting. The staff should really read I Fooled Millions into Thinking Chocolate Helps Weight Loss. Here’s How. and then hire an actual science reporter before publishing studies.

I could point out more, but I think that’s enough to prove what I mean. This magazine has some serious flaws and I definitely don’t recommend it.

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Lifehacker has started a new Vitals health and fitness section. This is one of their first articles. It’s full of useful information including how to calculate your average calorie expenditure each day and how much protein you need.

Check it out!

Exercise vs. Diet: Which Is More Important for Weight Loss?

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Someone doing yoga with the Dead Sea in the background

Dead Sea yoga by Ian Bothwell from flickr Creative Commons

 

A couple of years ago, I took a yoga class from the self-proclaimed “least flexible yoga instructor ever,” which gave me comfort since the friend I took it with might as well be Gumby.
During balance moves, the instructor (who also admittedly struggled with balance) told us the trick was to focus on some unmoving point to maintain balance. The more I practice yoga, the more I find this to be true. If I focus on another student and they start to falter, so do I. But if I pick something unmovable, such as a mark on the floor or the base to a stand of weights, my ability to balance increases significantly.
One particularly insightful morning last week, I was finishing my karate circuit training workout with some yoga and it occurred to me that, within this simple yoga rule is a powerful life lesson: if we focus on things that center us, we have a better chance of staying balanced.
This could be major truths, which in my life include the existence of God, faith in humanity, the need for hope, etc. But it could also be things like family, friends, children. It could also be moments, such as a warm breeze making the leaves on the trees sing with it’s presence.
Whatever it is, take a few moments today to contemplate what centers and balances you in your life.

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Welcome to hell….this is my super-intense workout that I do to prepare for an extreme sporting event. Typically, I used this circuit training workout when preparing for karate tournaments, but I’ve used it for other things as well. You can easily swap-out the cardio drills for drills specific to your sport.

I don’t recommend doing this workout for more than 3 weeks at a time.  Like many of the other high-intensity workouts these days, it can cause a lot of damage to your joints if you do it long-term. And, you need to vary your workouts often for them to be effective.

Basically you use very light weights, high reps for 60 seconds straight, then immediately transition into a karate drill for 60 seconds straight, then go to the next muscle group and continue rotating between lifting a light weight per muscle group for 60 seconds straight and then doing a drill for 60 seconds straight. When you work through all the muscle groups, you start all over and go through 3 times.

So…chest exercise, front kicks, back exercise, footwork v drill, shoulder exercise, v drill and so forth. Use fast-paced music and DON’T STOP the entire time!
I typically do the upper-body one day, then cardio the next day, then lower body the third day and keep rotating for six days. Then one day of rest and start all over!
Finally, I find this circuit-training routine for karate makes me lose weight and burn fat fast, so if that’s not your goal, eat more (good food)!
Post below if you have any questions.

Here's the routine for upper-body days

Circuit training lower body

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