Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Be a Lean, Green Fitness Machine

In honor of Earth Day today, here are a few eco-friendly fitness tips:

1. Stainless steel water bottles are a perfect way to stay hydrated while being green. Because they are reusable and easy to clean, you will never need to buy another take and toss plastic bottled water again!  Klean Kanteen is a great source for water bottles and accessories.

2. One mile in a car equals up to one pound of carbon released into the atmosphere. Skip driving to the gym today, and go for a long walk, jog or bike ride instead. This way you not only conserve gas, but you get your workout in while enjoying what Mother Earth has to offer.

3. Next time you expand your workout wardrobe, consider purchasing organic materials. Unlike conventional materials which use chemically and hormone treated seeds as well as harmful pesticides, organic clothing is untreated and relays mainly on the natural effects of the environment to grow. Organically grown materials help preserve our air, water, soil and the biodiversity of our planet.  Inner Waves Organics has great organic clothes for both men and women.

4. Get eco-friendly workout gear. For example, Gaiam yoga mats are phthalate and latex free so toxins won’t hurt the environment or interrupt your Zen.

5. Recycle your old iPods and MP3 players. Some major electronic stores will give you store credit if you turn in your gently used iPod. Or better yet, consider protecting the environment while supporting a worthy cause. Recycle for Breast Cancer will provide you with prepaid shipping labels and envelopes to send in your used items.

Take a moment to enjoy this beautiful Spring day and all that your environment has to offer.  If you're unable to get out and about today because of work and other commitments, consider scheduling a time in the coming weeks to get out and enjoy nature.  Go for a hike, bike ride or even camping, head to the beach, visit a zoo or local state park.  Be courteous of your environment and be sure to clean up after yourself.  Enjoy and have a Happy Earth Day!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

6 Tips To Get You Ready For Summer, and How To Keep The Momentum Going

Spring has officially sprung and the weather is getting warmer by the day.  If you're a Floridian like myself, you probably have been in tank tops and shorts for weeks now, but most of the rest of the country is finally getting to enjoy some sunshine and warmer temperatures.  This time of year is great because not only do we get the opportunity to do fun and exciting outdoor activities, but we can also start packing up the winter clothes and break out our Spring and summer attire!  This can be a somewhat discouraging time though, and not just because some of us may be in desperate need of a tan.  Often we let the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and the gloom of the winter months disrupt our fitness and nutrition regiment.  Eating healthy and working out consistently typically becomes less of a priority during the winter months and by the time the warm months come along, many of us are not quite ready to strut our stuff on the beach.  And then, once the summer months get rolling, we get busy with trips and parties, it can also be tough to stay on track.  So if you're in need of an extra boost to get you ready for bathing suit season as well as how to stay on top of your goals this summer, here are a few helpful tips to get you going in the right direction:

1. Get Up and Get Moving: Physical activity is incredibly important, not just for heart health but it is also a great mood booster, which is needed after the dreary winter months.  If you have spent the past several month sedentary, you will want to start off slow.  Going for a walk is a great place to get started. Spring time is actually wonderful time of year to participate in a run/walk event like a 5k.  In my blog post, "My Journey to Becoming a Marathon Mama" I offer some tips on how to get started with jogging.  Not only will this cardiovascular activity help you burn calories, lose weight and feel better, completing an event like a 5k will give you something to work towards and be an accomplishment to be proud of!  Running may not be for you but there are several other great activities you can engage in to get your heart rate up.  Biking, swimming, tennis, basketball and Zumba are just a few great examples of things you can to help get you in shape for summer time.

2. Lift Weights: Even more so important for shaping your body than cardiovascular exercise is strength training.  Although you cannot technically "spot train," lifting weights will increase your overall lean muscle mass, burn calories and tone your muscles to help slim and shape your body.  Body weight exercises like push ups, planks, squats and lunges are a great place to get started and can be done in the comfort of your home.  You will soon want to challenge yourself by increasing your work load with things like dumbbells, kettle bells, medicine balls, bands, etc.  And ladies, don't be afraid to lift heavy, you will not bulk up!  The best and most effective way to strength train is to hire a fitness professional.  This way you will have a safe, progressive program designed specifically to your abilities and goals.  For more information on hiring a fitness professional, check out my blog post on the topic.

3. Ditch the Quick Fix:  Vacation time may be right around the corner and you are eager to look good in your bikini, but think twice before you jump on the latest fad.  From pills to magic body wraps and juice diets to miracle cleanses, I have seen just about every quick fix around claiming to "change your body and change your life."  Yes, these things may give you some instant results, but don't expect them to withstand the test of time.  Many cleanses and diets are too strict to do for extended periods of time and once you are finished with them, the weight packs right back on.  Also, be leery of the latest and greatest weight loss products sold on the shelves or by people claiming to be experts.  Often these are simply fads that will not get you permanent results, sold to you by people with little to no knowledge of nutrition and fitness..  The only way to get true, lasting results is through healthy nutrition and regular physical activity.  You have to make a commitment to a healthy lifestyle, otherwise you will be constantly looking for the next quick fix and be disappointed yet again when the results do not last.

4. How To Eat Clean At Spring/Summer Gatherings:  From Cinco de Mayo to Memorial Day and Independence Day to Labor day, the warmer months are great for firing up the barbeque and enjoying delicious grilled food with family and friends.  Cook outs can be your friend or your foe though, so it's important to make smart choices when it comes to summer parties.  Be sure to stick with lean proteins like chicken and fish, avoiding those high in fat like cheeseburgers and hot dogs.  Skip the chip and snack table and opt for healthier side dishes like grilled veggies and salads with vinaigrette dressings.  Cooks outs also seem to be filled with decadent summer deserts like cupcakes, pies and ice cream.  Chose fresh fruit over these high calorie indulgences, that way you can enjoy a sweet treat with out the extra calories and fat most desserts are packed with.  Making healthy choices and portion control will help keep you on track even while attending Spring and summer gatherings.

5. Your Clothes Will Measure Your Progress:  When you adopt healthy eating habits, engage in cardiovascular activity and strength training regularly, you are sure to see results.  The best way to measure these results though is not on the scale, but rather how you look and feel.  The scale is just an arbitrary number that unless you have a large amount of pure body mass to lose, it does not tell you the whole story in your fitness progress.  The way your clothes fit, your energy level and how you feel are going to be your best tools to determine if you're reaching your wellness goals.  So instead of having an amount of weight you'd like to lose, consider having a "thinspiration" outfit that you'd like to not only fit back into but feel comfortable and confident in.  This way you will not be so caught up on what the scale is saying and getting discouraged if it's not moving the way you want it to.  Keep in mind muscle is more dense than fat tissue so if you're building lean muscle mass, you may not lose the actual pounds you thought you would.  But if your current clothes are getting loser and you're able to fit back into outfits you were previously not able to, then you're definitely making progress!

6. Don't Just Do It for the Bikini:  Although it's definitely nice to look good for a particular time of the year or specific event, it's important to keep the momentum going all year round..  More importantly than how you look, is how you feel.  When you commit to a healthy lifestyle, an added bonus will be looking better, but above all else, you will feel better and have more energy!  So yes with bathing suit season right around the corner, you may be currently focused on shedding some pounds and toning up for the summer, your hard work should not end there.  Commit to eating clean and working out all year long for a healthier happier you!

The certified and professional coaches at CWSC Performance can help you reach your fitness goals.  Visit us on the web at www.CWSCPerformance.com for more information about our training services, class times and prices.  Also be sure to like us on Facebook for upcoming events and promotion.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Tips for Staying On Track

Holidays, vacations, birthdays, office parties, social events and even just life often gets in the way.  Just when we find ourselves in a good routine, heading in the right direction, it seems like something always manages to come up and knock us of course.  With so much going on in our daily lives, it's easy to find excuses to not stay on track and unfortunately our health ends up taking the back seat.  So how do we stay focused when our life can be so out of sorts at times?  Here are a few simple tips to keeping your fitness and nutrition on track, even when your life isn't:

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail:  One of the best ways to practically guarantee you'll stay on track is to make a plan and always be prepared.  Regardless of your wellness goals, it is vital for results and your success that you commitment to you healthy habits each and every day.  In order to do so, preparation is key.  Here are a few helpful tools:
  1. Food prepping:  Make all of your meals ahead of time or at least plan your menu for the week.  Prepare healthy foods on Sunday, place them in microwave safe containers inside your refrigerator and take one with you to work each day.  This way you will not be tempted to run to Taco Tuesday or hit up the vending machine on your lunch and snack breaks because you will already have a nice, healthy meal ready for you!  If you cannot commit to doing the prep work, having at menu planned out for the week is a great place to start.
  2. Scheduling your workouts:  Be sure to mark your workouts in your calendar like you would any other important appointment of event.  Hiring a fitness professional will help  keep you on track and reach your goals, check out my blog post for more information on "How and Why to Hire a Fitness Professional."
  3. Take into consideration that there will be temptation:  From those pesky office candy dishes to the person who always brings in donuts or cookies, and of course lest not forget all those excuses you can come up with for skipping the gym, you are going to be faced with unhealthy challenges each and every day.  So next time someone comes in with sweets or a coworkers tries to convince you to go to happy hour instead of the gym, acknowledging that this is not a new event, something is ALWAYS going to be there to sabotage your healthy habits, make the commitment to just say NO!
You Are Human and No Human is Perfect.  You are going to get off track from time to time.  It happens to the best of us.  When this happens though, it is important to not beat yourself up about it and lose your focus.  How many times have you thought to yourself "Oh well, I've already blown my diet, I'll eat whatever for today and start over tomorrow," or "I missed the gym yesterday, this week is a wash, I'll start up again next Monday."  Understand it's ok to make mistakes but it's not ok to let those mistakes dictate your future.  Remember the following when you get off track:
  1. Avoid negative self talk:  Don't beat yourself up when you make a mistake.  It happens and there's no sense making yourself feel horrible about it, so move on.  Dwelling on it is not going to make it go away or the situation any better, in fact negative self talk will only drag you down.  For more tips on adapting a more positive attitude, check out my "Believe In Yourself..."blog.
  2. Don't allow yourself to stay off course:  Just because you slightly veered off path, don't allow yourself to continue making unhealthy decisions.  Pick up where you left off and stay focused on moving forward.
  3. Reflect on your mistake and how to avoid them in the future:  Although we want to avoid dwelling on our mistakes, it is important to acknowledge them.  Consider each mistake you make a learning experience.  Evaluate what brought on the unhealthy choice and how you plan to avoid it in the future.
And For Those Extra Special Occasions: When heading out for vacation, keeping your goals in mind will help you when you are faced with temptations and challenges.  Yes, you want to be able to let your hair down a little and enjoy your special event.  But it is important to not lose sight of the big picture and not use this time as a reason to completely over indulge.  Remember the following to help keep you on track, even when your routine is completely out of sorts.
  1. Portion Control: Often, when we are on vacation, we want to try all of the new and exciting foods and beverages available.  This is an exciting and sometimes rare experience, so we do not want to completely restrict ourselves.  Enjoy samplings of several different foods and drinks but avoid overindulging on everything in sight.
  2. Stay Active: Hitting the gym is probably the furthest thing from your mind when you're on vacation.  Even though you may have no intentions on using the hotel's weight room, don't forget to pack your sneakers and workout clothes.  You'll want to make sure you do something physical daily, it's good for the body and mind.  So even just a 20-30 minute walk or hike is a great way to keep your activity level up.
  3. 80/20 Principle:  This principle does not only apply to vacations, it is also a great rule to follow in your daily life.  Put plainly, the rule goes that you choose to eat healthy foods 80% of the time, which then allows you to indulge the other 20%. What's great about this approach is if you commitment to making healthy choices the majority of the time, you in a sense "reward" yourself by enjoying some indulgences here and there.  Keep in mind that the 20% should not be used as a complete free for all, you still want to keep portions under control, but you can certainly enjoy your sweet, or salty sinful treats here and there, you deserve it!

Let the coaches at CWSC Performance help keep you on track.  Our coaches are certified professionals with a variety of experience ranging from general fitness, post rehabilitation, weight loss, nutrition, sports performance training and much, much more.  Visit us on the web at www.CWSCPerformance.com for more information about our training services.  Be sure to like us on Facebook for upcoming promotions and events.