We recently received some bad news about my mom's health. I drowned my anxiety, sadness, and fear in a 2-serving size of Cape Cod potato chips (260 empty calories) followed by a Devil Dog (180 empty calories) and washed down with a 20-oz Diet Dr. Pepper (0 calories, full of chemicals) at 10:00 at night (the worst time to indulge in carbs). After I came out of my 400-calorie carb coma, I not only still felt anxious, sad, and afraid, but I also felt bloated, guilty, and ill. I felt guilty because I ate such crap and my body deserves better and I promised myself a four-pound weight loss this month. I teach my clients to find alternative ways to deal with their emotions and, yet, here I was not being the super-human trainer I should be and instead acting human and feeling guilty for it. I also felt guilty because it did absolutely nothing to change the state of my mom's health; it was a useless reaction. If anything, it was detrimental to my health.
Why am I telling you this? To remind you and me that the solution to life’s problems cannot be found in the crunchy folds of chips or the icy slush of a frozen margarita. Nor can they be found in the center of a snack cake or at the bottom of a glass of wine. When you come back to reality, those problems will still be there and you will still feel the emotions that sent you looking for an escape in the first place.
Find alternative ways to alleviate these emotions – call a friend, go for a walk, do a kick-ass workout, seek professional help. You will not only feel better for it, but you will be able to be there for the people who depend on you.
There is no quick fix when it comes to safe, effective, and sustainable weight loss. The pills, body wraps, and gadgets that promise you dramatic results are not safe, effective, or sustainable. You may see a smaller number on the scale, but what does that number reflect? It shows a decrease in bodyweight, but not necessarily a decrease in bodyfat. In fact, most likely it is a loss in water and muscle. Muscle is the last thing you want to lose because it is your metabolically active tissue. The only way to truly rev up your metabolism is by adding muscle to your body. Ladies, I hope we know by now that we are not designed to bulk up, so do not be afraid to lift heavy weights.
There is, however, a magical pill with amazing benefits - fat loss, increased lean body mass, improved quality of sleep, improved quality of life, more energy, and the list goes on. Interested? Oh, there is one catch, it takes 30-60 minutes to swallow, must be taken 3-6 times a week, and the side effects during that 30-60 minutes include sweating, feelings of exertion, and elevated breathing rate. You are probably on to me by now. That jagged little pill is call exercise - the combination of progressive strength training and interval training.
You cannot out exercise a bad diet. Eighty percent of your results, or lack thereof, will come from how you fuel your body. You are what you swallow, so the next time you eat, remember that what you are about to put in your mouth is about to become a permanent part of your body.
One of the commentators for the Tour de France said that Jens Voight was fighting his machine and that he always fights his machine. Obviously, the machine referred to in this case is his bicycle, but it got me thinking. Yeah, it happens every now and then.
Most of us fight our machines all day every day; we fight our own bodies. The human body has an amazing potential when it is taken care of properly - given adequate sleep and hydration, exercise, and the right kind of fuel. We fight against our machines when we deprive our bodies of exercise, rest and water, refuel at intermittent intervals or with non-foods or too much food. Under these conditions, our bodies work against us, not for us.
Some of us take much better care of our cars than we do our bodies. We get the oil changed every 3000 miles and follow the manufacturer's recommended maintenance plan. Why? Because that is how we keep our cars running optimally. It is how we extend the life of the car. Yet, a car can easily be replaced or fixed if it breaks down. Our bodies cannot.
We have one vehicle, one machine, to get through life with. Every time you eat (or don't eat) you have the opportunity to make your machine work for, or against, you. Your level of physical activity also makes your machine work for, or against, you.
Stop fighting against your machine. Refuel your body every 2-3 hours with whole foods - lean proteins, plenty of vegetables, healthy fats, and fruits. Drink 100+ ounces of water a day. Your machine cannot easily be repaired or replaced.
"Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live." - Jim Rohn
- In the US, it is predicted that breast cancer will be responsible for 39,520 deaths in 2011.
- In the US, there will be over 280,000 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed in 2011.
- In the US, there will be over 2,000 new cases of breast cancer and 450 breast cancer deaths in men in 2011.
For more information about breast cancer, visit Susan Komen for the Cure.
Join the Race for the Cure to support the Massachusetts affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the cure. The Race for the Cure is a 5k co-ed fitness run/walk on October 30 in South Boston to raise money for Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Click here for more information.
The glutes are an important, yet often overlooked, muscle group. The glutes are a set of three posterior hip muscles – gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus from superficial to deep. All three glute muscles act on the hips.
Few of us manage to use our glutes effectively. Most of us spend a majority of our time sitting, which results in tight and shortened hip flexors – the muscles on the front of the hips that act as antagonists to the glutes. When a muscle contracts, the opposing muscle relaxes (reciprocal inhibition) to allow joint movement to occur. Although this is necessary for movement, it results in the body turning a muscle off when the opposing muscle is chronically tight. In Core Performance Women, Mark Verstegen describes it as if a circuit breaker is tripped, cutting off the power to the muscle. Tripping the glutes’ circuit breaker leads to lower back and knee problems. The body is a kinetic chain; immobility in one joint will cause other joints to compensate, leading to dysfunctional movement patterns.
If you can learn to activate and fire your glutes and move through the hips, you will improve your movement patterns and reduce the likelihood of lower back and knee issues. Here are some exercises that will help return the power to your glutes.
1) Glute Bridge: Lie supine on the floor with your knees bent, back of your head flat on the floor (do not hyperextend your neck), and feet hip-width apart and as close to your glutes as is comfortable. Relax your arms by your sides and lift the balls of your feet so you are on you heels. Contract your glutes and lift your hips off the floor until your shoulders, hips, and knees are in a straight line. Keeping your glutes contracted, lower your hips until your glutes barely touch the floor. Keep your glutes contracted throughout the entire range of motion. Perform three sets of ten repetitions.
2) Mini Band Walk: Place a mini band around your legs just above your knees. Assume a ¼-squat position with your feet hip-width apart and your knees inline with your toes. Maintaining your ¼-squat and foot position, take ten steps forward and ten steps backward. Perform three sets of ten repetitions.
3) Mini Band Lateral Walk: Place a mini band around your legs just above your knees. Assume a ¼-squat position with your feet wider than your hips and your knees inline with your toes . Maintaining your ¼-squat and foot position, take one step to the right then one step to the left. Perform three sets of ten repetitions.
4) Mini Band External Rotation: Place a mini band around your legs just above your knees. Assume a ¼-squat position with your feet wider than your hips and your knees inline with your toes. Keeping both feet flat and planted, dip your right knee inward and then push into the band to return to the starting position. Complete set and repeat on left side. Perform three sets of five to ten repetitions.