Category Archives: Articles

Articles that are useful in understanding certain aspects in health and fitness.

All Summer Sixteen!

Summer is quickly approaching and I can’t say that I have the physique I want just yet.   I believe the official start date is June 20th which gives me a bit of time. However, what I’ve done is planned a trip in early July (at someone’s beach) and my goal is to be summertime fine by then!  I’ve been working hard up to this point but it’s time to turn it up a notch and add the finishing touches!  Are you summertime fine yet?

 

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How to get your significant other to start working out

Unfortunately all of us don’t have the luxury of meeting our significant other in a fitness facility and sharing a love of fitness and health but that’s perfectly fine.  Working out is a way of life.  It doesn’t matter when in life it becomes a ‘way of life’ so don’t think there’s a time limit.  For the sake of the simplicity of this article, I’ll refer to your significant other as ‘partner’.  When you are a fitness buff and your partner isn’t, that can sometimes cause unwanted issues in the relationship/marriage.  It can cause things such as unnecessary anger, stress, jealousy, self-esteem issues, and even cheating.  Sad huh?  Don’t worry, one thing I’ve found is that fitness can be contagious to your lover IF done properly.

So how is it done?

The key is to make sure that you don’t make your partner feel bad about not working out or being fit, it’s also important not to pressure them.  You have to lead by example and be suggestive and sneaky in a way.  Perhaps the most important aspect is to always maintain a constant level of love.  NEVER make your partner feel worthless even if you think they’ve put on too much weight.  Continue to tell them how beautiful or handsome you think they are and how much you love him or her.  As always, if you can’t say anything nice then don’t say anything at all!

Now let’s get to business!  First off remember that your actions speak louder than your words.  So just continuing to workout and being consistent is very important.  What could happen from this is that he or she may actually be impressed by your actions and even your results and start working out themselves.

Secondly, invite your partner to work out with you EVERY NOW AND THEN.  I put that in all caps because it’s important that you don’t ask them every single day because then you’re pressuring them and that can send the wrong signal.  Start out by asking once every two weeks.  Make sure you ask in a ‘if you feel like it’ tone and if they reject then that’s perfectly fine and you should act as such.  The hope is that they will join you every now and then.

Third, pull out the bag of tricks!  If you have dogs, go to the park together and walk around the park a few times, it’s intimate and you’re working out!  Go out more on the weekends and walk around the shopping plazas and mall.  You can even buy a fitness band for the both of you and compete against each other to see who could get the most steps each week. Offer incentives such as the loser washes dishes for a whole week or pays for dinner on the next outing….something to make it interesting.  Invite your lover to play games that are somewhat physical but just appear to be a nice fun couples outing such as playing basketball, tennis, swimming, skating, etc.  Things that can be seen as fun but give you a good workout.

Next, begin to be a little more suggestive regarding what foods and snacks you buy at the grocery store (if you’re not already).  If the bad food isn’t in the house, then who will eat it?  Try to lean more towards healthy choices.  Last but not least, compromise!  Maybe the problem is that your partner doesn’t like going to the gym and even feels embarrassed.  Change your workout regimen a little and volunteer to workout from home a few days out of the week.  You both can workout to a workout video.  You can even get creative and let them buy a workout DVD of their choice.  You could even walk around the park a few miles together instead of going to the gym.  This shows that you support them and that it’s not all about you.

Well that’s all I have!  I’d like to reiterate that the most important thing to remember is that you never pass judgement, never decrease your level of love towards your partner, and never pressure them.  Feel free to leave a comment if you found this article useful or if you have any other ideas you’d like to share 🙂 !

How to stick to your New Year’s Resolution fitness goals….for real this time!

I myself personally am not big on setting new year’s resolutions.  What’s so special about starting something on the first of the year anyway? Why not mid July or even November?  It can easily turn into a placeholder to push something off only to fail again.  That’s just my personal take on it, however many people see it differently and actually see this as a chance to start over and get serious this time around.  It’s a fresh start to a new year.  If you’re one of those people and you just so happen to have a fitness goal then I’m here to help 🙂  You can also take what you learn here and apply to other goals you’ve set as well.

Whatever your fitness goals may be whether it’s to lose weight, gain muscle, tone up, or even increase cardiovascular endurance, it can happen this time around.  I know you’ve probably tried a million times and set the same goal each year only to find that you’ve fizzled out before February even hits.  Have you ever actually taken time to figure out why?  If you haven’t don’t worry because I have!

First off you need to change the way you set your goal(s).  Saying you’re going to lose 20 pounds is too much pressure.  Instead say that you are going to start going to the gym….simple as that.  Why?  First we want to build the habit that is going to help us reach our goal.  The key here is creating the habit.  We are not concerned about how many pounds you want to lose, we simply want to get in the habit of going to the gym.  Sounds easier doesn’t it?  I’m using this as an example so there are other ways to create a habit.  Another example would be to say I’m going to start walking. Remember keep it simple and vague with no defined goals such as I’m going to lose 20 pounds.  That’s a no no.

Next we decide how we are going to create this habit.  The key here is to start out slow (baby steps) with something that is not overwhelming and easily achievable.  How does that look you ask?  Let’s take our goal of creating the habit of going to the gym.  To start out you may start off by going to the gym at least twice a week.  This is a goal that is not overwhelming and definitely achievable.  You’re taking baby steps.  What tends to happen is a natural progression to increase the number of days you go to the gym.  You begin to be proud of yourself, you’re seeing results and you figure going an extra day out of the week could only help.  So now you increase from 2 days a week to 3 days and it’s easier to stick to that goal because 2 days has become a breeze.  Notice how the focus is never on losing those 20 pounds?

So you’re working on creating the habit of going to the gym, you are going to start out going 2 days a week, you’re at the gym….now what?  Well that’s the beauty of it, you’ve put all the time and effort into getting to the gym so there is no way you’re going to waste that effort.  You’re not going to go there and do nothing.  You may have a rough day every now and then and not give it your all.  The important thing is to do something.  You may only do 30 minutes of cardio and go home and that’s perfectly fine.  What I want you to see is that creating the habit creates a ‘trickle down effect’.  I had this same problem.  I’m going to explain how these tips worked for me and highlight the trickle down effect that happened from me creating the habit.

My Story:

Of course we all know I’m into bodybuilding and for as long as I can remember up until this year (2014) I was very inconsistent.  I would go to the gym steadily for a few months and then it would just fizzle out and I’d stop going for months.  Of course this happened over and over. As mentioned at the beginning of this article I finally sat down one day and took time out to figure out why I was so inconsistent. What you are reading now is what I came up with, tested and proven by yours truly.  Of course my ultimate goal was to build muscle BUT I scratched that and set a goal of going to the gym at least 2 days a week.  To take the guess work out of my workouts when I got to the gym I would find a bodybuilding program on bodybuilding.com (shout out, great site! 🙂  ) and complete the workout for that day.  If figuring out what to do once you get to the gym is a problem I would encourage you to find a program to follow.  The funny thing is I never gave 100% at all times.  Sometimes I’d go in and wouldn’t feel like working out so I’d only give about 50% BUT I did complete the workout.  So what started happening is after about three weeks of going to the gym 2 days a week consistently it started to feel like it was part of my daily routine…..kind of like going to work.  You go even when you don’t want to.  So I’m about 2 months in and have been going to the gym consistently for 2 days out of the week and I notice my physique beginning to change.  I’m seeing muscle where there once was none, I’m seeing cuts, my shirts are fitting a little tighter….this was awesome!  I got very excited and began going to the gym 3 days a week, Why?  Because I wanted to see more of the results that I was beginning to see so I became more excited about going to the gym and wanted to put more effort into my workouts.  I eventually increased my gym days to 4 times a week.  I saw myself getting stronger with more muscle so the increase was no burden at all.  I was giving at least 90% in all of my workouts because I saw that it led to me seeing better results a lot quicker.

Recap:

So what happened was what I referred to earlier as the ‘trickle down effect’.  I started with a simple goal of going to the gym at least 2 days a week.  Although I didn’t give my all in every workout I still saw results which led to me  WANTING to increase to 3 days a week as well as giving more effort in my workouts.  Of course I began to see even better results than before thus I increased to working out 4 days a week with even more effort during my workouts.  The increases were nearly effortless as I was excited about the results I was seeing and wanted to keep it going and gain even better results.  So you see, the simple goal of going to the gym 2 days a week helped me reach and maintain my ultimate goals of gaining muscle without that even being my main focus.  However, it is important to keep your main goal in the back of your mind but it should never include a number like lose 10 pounds or gain 8 pounds of muscle.  If you do that then you are just falling back into the trap.  Just a simple goal of ‘gain muscle’ or lose weight’ will suffice.  The only reason this is important is because it determines what type of workout or program you will do when you get to the gym.  If you want to lose weight then you shouldn’t go into the gym lifting heavy weights because it won’t do much for reaching your ultimate goal.  So the undefined ultimate goal serves only as direction for your workouts and that’s it!

Like I said, I’ve only provided examples thus your habit may differ from the ones mentioned.  It may be to walk around the block one day a week or eat healthy 2 days a week.  Whatever it may be just remember to create the habit and the rest will come!

I wish you all nothing but the best in your fitness endeavors!  Happy New Years!!!!!!!!

Fitness Bands….Are they useful to bodybuilders??

If you are even remotely into fitness then I’m sure you are aware of the fitness band craze.  They seem more geared towards people wanting to lose weight or simply be more active.  From a distance it doesn’t appear as if fitness bands are of any use for the typical bodybuilder….I mean they can’t track reps, push-ups, squats, and things like that.  They typically track things like steps taken, calories burned, distance, and even our sleep pattern.  A lot of them interact with some type of application that provides us with a dashboard view of our accomplishments.   So the question for us bodybuilders is….why even bother?

Well I’ll tell you why, at least for me personally.  I absolutely hate cardio or should i say ‘organized’ cardio.  You know…..the treadmill, stairclimber, elliptical, exercise bike….those types.  It’s boring to me, but I do it because I have goals I want to reach but I’m inconsistent to say the least.  This is where I believe a fitness band can help so I’m launching an experiment to see how it goes.  My spouse bought me a fitbit flex (see pic below) that I can wear on my wrist and it’s also waterproof so I can shower in it as well.  It tracks steps, calories burned, distance, weight and body fat percentage (entered manually). It also tracks sleep patterns but I’m not going to use that feature.

The experiment:

Right now I’m following a 12 week bodybuilding program and I am about 4 weeks in (I will post about it).  I’ve had my fitbit flex since about the middle of week 3 of my program and it’s allowed me to see just how inactive I am.  That’s all I did in week 3 was observe.  Then in week 4 I began working towards my goals that were automatically set for me with my fitbit flex (the goals are adjustable). The fitbit flex syncs via bluetooth with your computer or phone and posts your information to a dashboard after you’ve download the required application on your device.  Below I’ve posted a screenshot of the dashboard so you can see what my daily goals are.  What I plan to do is cut body fat using the fitbit.  What I’ve noticed so far is that it’s made me more aware of my daily activity which forces me to get up and take more steps in order to reach my daily goals.  Sometimes at the end of a workout if I haven’t reached my daily goals I’ll jump on the treadmill and walk until I reach that goal.  It doesn’t seem so much like ‘organized’ cardio since I have goals I’m trying to hit which makes it more like a game.  I’ll even go play racquetball for a while if I don’t feel like hitting the treadmill.  I’ve already seen a slight drop in my body fat percentage. There will be weekly posts with my accomplishments titled ‘Weekly fitbit stats’.  I’ll keep you guys updated and create a final post detailing my results at the end of my 12 week bodybuilding program.  Wish me luck!

Screenshot_2014-12-26-10-12-35  20141226_102108

The ‘Not Until’ Motivation Method

I know you’re probably wondering what the hell I’m talking about.  Well this is a motivation method that has worked for me particularly related to reaching my fitness goals (picture starting to form?).  The way the ‘Not Until’ motivation method works is that it subjects you to endure something (you don’t particularly like or enjoy) until you reach your goals.  Take me for instance, right now I am refusing to shave my stomach until I get firm, lean, and muscular looking abs.  Now to someone else this may not be a big deal but for me personally, I absolutely HATE having hair on my stomach.  It looks gross!!  It’s been about 3 weeks now and my stomach looks like that of a hairy man’s back.  I’ve provided a pic below of how my stomach looks now.  When my abs look the way I’d like them to, I’ll shave my stomach.  This doesn’t affect anyone but me and that’s fine.  I get motivation from knowing the harder I work toward reaching my goal, the quicker I can get rid of my hairy stomach.

Now this is just one of my ‘not until’ methods that I’m sharing with you but this can be used in so many different ways.  For example, you may choose not to shave your legs until you lose 15 pounds or a guy may choose not to shave his face until he gains 5 pounds of muscle.  Additional examples are:

I’ll wear the same tie everyday until…..

I’ll do the dishes 2 days a week until…….. (usually applies to the guys)

I won’t get my nails done until…….

I won’t buy any new clothes until….

I won’t use social media until…..

You get the point!  This could get very interesting! You could make this as personal or public as you want and entice others to join in as well.  If you plan on giving this a try, comment and let me know what your ‘not until’ will be.  Also note that this doesn’t have to relate exclusively to fitness.  You can apply this to any goal you want to reach such as saving $5,000 dollars and refusing to eat out until you do so.

As promised, here are the pictures of my hairy stomach 😦 I’ll post an updated pic when I reach my goal

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Risks of having a sedentary job and how to avoid them

Have a sedentary job? Know the risks and how to avoid them!

Many people think they have it made when they have a sedentary job which basically means that you sit at a desk all day.  A lot of the time that includes cool air conditioning and a nice comfy chair.  Sounds awesome right?  Don’t be so quick to take that position.  Sedentary jobs come with a lot of potential health hazards.  Don’t fear, I’m here to help you identify those hazards as well as how to avoid them.

Associated Risks

Perhaps one of the most apparent hazards is weight gain.  Sitting in a chair all day doesn’t promote much caloric burn which is the cause for the weight gain.  I’m sure you eat throughout the day (at your desk or sitting down in a nearby break room) but if you are sitting most of the day you’re not really burning many calories.  As we know weight gain can lead to other potential health related issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease.

Another health risk that not many are aware of is increased risk of blood clots which can travel to the lungs and cause a pulmonary embolism (blockage in the arteries of the lungs).  According to a study published in the British Medical Journal.  This is a lot more susceptible to happen in women.  Although it is a small increase in risk, it still exists, especially for those with deep vein thrombosis.

If you are not an active person outside of work your fitness levels diminish which can lead to issues such as constant shortness of breath.  According to several studies on this subject most inactive individuals with sedentary jobs experience a shorter life span overall.

Depending on how you sit, you can also gain bad posture from constant slumping in your chair which can also lead to constant neck and lower back pain.

How to avoid those hazards

Although this may all sound scary, you need not worry.  These risks can be dramatically reduced by following a few simple steps below:

1. Purchase a pedometer and set a goal to walk a certain amount of steps each day, shoot for two miles worth of steps initially and increase as you see fit.

2. Don’t email Sue down the hall or Bob on the second floor, walk or take the stairs instead to deliver a message.

3.Break your 1 hour lunch break into two 30 minute halves.  Use the first 30 minutes to eat your lunch and the last 30 minutes to walk around the building or outside.  You can even go a step further and formulate a walking group at your job to join you on your 30 minute walks.

4. Take time to massage your legs throughout the day.  It serves as a small rejuvenation and really stimulates blood flow.

5. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water.  Water serves many important purposes such as ridding the body of toxins, pushing nutrients throughout the body, body temperature regulation and much more.

Follow these 5 simple steps and you’ll be well on your way to a happier, healthier lifestyle!

Basic Guidelines for Nutrition and Weight Loss

Basic Guidelines for Nutrition:

• Distribute protein, carbohydrate, and fat throughout the day at each meal (read my earlier post on how to read nutritional labels)

• Choose whole grains and fiber-rich fruits and vegetables over refined grains and simple sugars

• Limit alcohol consumption, when you do drink choose light alcoholic drinks

• Schedule no fewer than four and as many as six meals a day. This helps to control hunger, minimize blood sugar fluctuations, and increase energy levels throughout the day

• Avoid empty calories (calories gained from foods with no nutritional value such as junk food) and highly processed foods (foods with artificial ingredients, sweeteners, etc), which contain many calories and do little to provide satiety (feeling of fullness)

• Drink plenty of water (9 to 13 cups per day).

• Never eat under 1200 calories per day as it’s not sufficient for proper energy and nutrients needed throughout the day.

• Take a multivitamin to ensure that you are getting the nutrients that you may not be getting from the food you eat throughout the day

Basic Guidelines for Weight Loss:

• Make small decreases in food and beverage calories and an increase in physical activity

• Count calories for the first 2 weeks to allow you to become accustomed to knowing how much to eat in relation to serving sizes.  (Note: If a sudden diet change presents too much of a challenge up front, it may be easier to begin by decreasing your portion sizes and limiting yourself to one plate or serving. As you get better at eating smaller portions, begin to incorporate healthier foods and pay more attention to nutritional labels)

• To get an idea of how many calories you should eat per day to reach your ideal weight, plug in your information and target weight here: http://www.webmd.com/diet/calc-bmi-plus

Suggestions:

• To assist with eating properly, I recommend you use the government site https://www.supertracker.usda.gov/ .  This site provides the following:

o Get your personalized nutrition plan.

o Track your foods and physical activities to see how they stack up.

o Get tips and support to help you make healthier choices and plan ahead.

o Provides a food-a-pedia that gives you access to the nutritional information for over 8,000 foods to assist you in making the right choices

Hope this helps!