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Fueling your Body for Optimal Performance

From weekend warriors to Ironman finishers, performance is directly tied to diet.  If you want to train at the peak of your ability and recover quickly, you must be intentional about what you eat, taking care to feed your body what it needs.  Trying to work out with a body that is starving for essential nutrients will end only in frustration; and frustration eats your momentum and resolve with a voracious appetite.
Make the most of every minute you work out by fueling your body sensibly.  Let’s look at the basics.Traning-Nutrition-101_medium

Nutrition 101:  the foundation
The big three nutrients that you need to be concerned with are carbohydrates, protein and fat.  An eating strategy that balances these three macro-nutrients will skyrocket your fitness results.
Carbohydrates:  Some have argued that carbohydrates are the most important nutrient that an athlete consumes, because carbs fuel muscle.  Every time you move one of your muscles, you are using carbohydrates.  Your body breaks down carbs into sugars and then stores them in your muscles and livers.  If you eat more than can be stored in either of these two places, the excess is stored as fat in your body.

Good sources of carbohydrates include whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans.

Protein: In order to build muscle, you must have protein.  Muscle is the foundation of every athlete:  without a solid muscle base, you will be ineffective any fitness pursuit.  Muscle also plays an important role in protecting you from diabetes.  The more muscle you have, the more efficiently your body can uptake glucose from your bloodstream.
It is important to eat protein daily, because your body cannot store protein very easily.  Protein from animal sources is the easiest way to get complete protein, but plant-based proteins can be combined to provide complete protein as well.

Fat:  It is unfortunate that fat came under such fire during the last decade or so.  Fat is essential and you need a lot of it.  The key is to know what kind of fat to eat.  Avoid anything that is hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated.  These fats are also called trans-fats and are very unhealthy.  Instead try to get the majority of your fat from olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, seeds, avocado, wild-caught fish and free-range animal products such as butter, cheese, yogurt, beef and poultry

Visualize to Actualize

Remember, all things are created twice – first in the imagination and then second in the physical world.  Study this excerpt from Napoleon Hill’s famous book, Think & Grow Rich:
The law of autosuggestion, through which any person may rise to altitudes of achievement which stagger the imagination, is well described in the following verse:
“If you think you are beaten, you are,
If you think you dare not, you don’t
If you like to win, but you think you can’t,
It is almost certain you won’t.
“If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost
For out of the world we find,
Success begins with a fellow’s will—
It’s all in the state of mind.
“If you think you are outclassed, you are,
You’ve got to think high to rise,
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.
“Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But soon or late the man who wins
Is the man WHO THINKS HE CAN!”visualization1-300x300

Observe the words which have been emphasized, and you will catch the deep meaning which the poet had in mind.  Somewhere in your makeup there lies, sleeping, the seed of achievement which, if aroused and put into action, would carry you to heights such as you may never have hoped to attain.
Just as a master musician may cause the most beautiful strains of music to pour forth from the strings of a violin, so may you arouse the genius who lies asleep in your brain, and cause it to drive you upward to whatever goal you may wish to achieve.

Visualization Leads to Actualization

Visualization, done right, can be extremely powerful in achieving any goal.  As you think about your goals for the New Year, take into consideration the following…

Using your intellectual factor of imagination see yourself already in possession of your goal.  Picture yourself with the healthy and fit body you desire, and literally feel what it is like to have it.  You cannot achieve anything in your “outer world” until you first see it in your “inner world.”

Is Visualization for Real?
In one of the most well known studies on Creative Visualization in sports, Russian scientists compared four groups of Olympic athletes in terms of their training schedules:
Group 1 had 100% physical training
Group 2 had 75% physical training with 25% mental training
Group 3 had 50% physical training with 50% mental training
Group 4 had 25% physical training with 75% mental training.  LADDER_OF_ACHIEVEMENT_sports_psychology

 

The results showed that Group 4, with 75% of their time devoted to mental training, performed the best.  “The Soviets had discovered that mental images can act as a prelude to muscular impulses.”
Creative Visualization is distinguished from normal daydreaming in that Creative Visualization is done in the first person and the present tense – as if the visualized scene were unfolding all around you; whereas normal daydreaming is done in the third person and the future tense.  Using affirmations that begin with “I am so happy and grateful now that…” is an excellent way to begin programming your subconscious mind to move towards your goal.

Visualization is another tool that Olympic athletes use to get their minds in shape for competition.  In this technique, athletes mentally rehearse exactly what they have to do to win. Sports psychologists say that visualization boosts athletes’ confidence by forcing them to picture themselves winning.  It also helps them concentrate on their physical moves, rather than on distractions around them.

Deadlines and Contests: Your Keys to Fitness Victory

Have you ever told yourself that you are going to lose weight and get fit in time for spring, only to be frustrated when warm weather rolls around?
It’s easy to hide behind heavy winter clothes, but when the mercury starts climbing, the clothes get lighter and we can’t hide any more.  “Why didn’t I start working out weeks ago?” we ask ourselves.  “If only I had started sooner!”

Regret-proof your spring: Set a deadline
The best way to protect yourself from a regret-filled spring is to set a deadline and start NOW.  Deadlines are powerful motivators.  Without a deadline, you really have no set-point toward which to work.  You have nothing pushing you.
We need to be pushed.
Deadlines create a sense of urgency.  They help you position yourself to succeed, because that final date is always staring back at you.  It forces you to prioritize and strategize.  Otherwise, you will let things slide…you will keep putting off the workout, and insisting that tomorrow you will start eating better.
Without a deadline, tomorrow never comes.

Prevent deadline-creep:  Gcompetitive-analysis-250x250et competitive
But a deadline may not be enough.  Why?  Because you may be tempted to move it.  Deadlines are not supposed to be moving targets!  The best way to prevent deadline-creep is to get competitive.
Entering into a competition or contest is a sure way to give you the edge you need to keep yourself on track and finish strong.
There is something very motivating about competing with others.  Just knowing that your effort and results are going to be measured alongside others really will give you an extra boost in motivation.
This is a time when a little peer pressure is useful!  And you will find that those with whom you are in competition will also be your biggest cheerleaders:  they know exactly what you are going through and will be there to encourage you to keep moving.
Deadlines and contests form the perfect combination to guarantee your fitness success: put them to work for you!  Spring is close enough to give you a push, but still far enough away to ensure that you have enough time to get some serious work done.  Plan now to greet spring and warmer weather with no regrets!

Supercharge your Health with Green Drinks

No matter how committed we are to getting in the recommended five to nine servings of vegetables and fruits every day, sometimes we come up short.  It may be that we are busy and barely have time to eat at all, or perhaps we find ourselves in eating situations that don’t include many fresh vegetable choices.  Or maybe we just don’t like them.
On days that you find it hard to eat enough vegetables and fruits, a green drink is the perfect answer.  It is a great way to boost your health and even detox your system.
Green drinks are just that—green, because they contain the juice of fresh green vegetables and other vegetables and fruits.  There are many reasons to consider adding green drinks to your diet.raspberry-kale-green-smoothie2+srgb.

Why drink green juice?
Vegetables and fruit are full of essential vitamins, minerals and enzymes that your body thrives on.  And because you are consuming it in liquid form, your body can digest it quickly.  This is especially helpful if you have digestion issues, because the process of juicing ‘pre digests’ the food for you by breaking down the cell walls.  This means that the nutrition can easily go right into your system.
Drinking your veggies and fruits also allows you to take in more nutrients.  You may find it difficult to eat an entire bunch of kale in a day, but drinking the juice from that same amount is no problem at all!
You will also detox your body by drinking fresh juices.  The enzymes contained in the juice help to release built-up toxins, leaving your body much healthier.
Many people have found that juicing helps them to lose weight, increase their energy and even improve some medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Smoothies too!
An alternative to juicing your veggies and fruit (my preferred method) is to turn them into smoothies. While a juicer extracts the juice and leaves behind the pulp, a high-powered blender can be used to blend the juice and pulp together into a thicker drink.  Either method is fine–it just depends on your preference.  The fiber in the smoothies will cause you to feel full longer, which may help you to have fewer cravings.
Watch Your Calories and Sugar Intake!
WARNING:  Juicing can really jack up your calorie and sugar intake when you use a lot of fruit.  Be mindful of what you’re putting in you green drink…

Get started with these recipes

Here are some recipes1 to help you jumpstart your health and energy.
Baby’s First Green (a great starter juice)
1 large pear
1 apple
1 cup pineapple, cubed
4 large stalks kale
1 cucumber
Gena’s Classic Green Juice
1 green apple
1 inch knob ginger
5 large stalks celery
1 cucumber
1 large handful parsley
5 stalks kale
Veggie Ginger Juice
3 large carrots
1 beet
1 green apple
4 large stalks celery
1 large handful of spinach, parsley, or other dark green
1 small cucumber
1 inch knob ginger

Do you juice?  Let me know your favorite recipes!

Are You Still Planning to Lose Weight & Get in Shape?

It’s time to stop planning and start empowering yourself. The time to move is now, and a group personal training is the perfect way to get started.
Exercising by yourself can be tough. Nobody knows if you skip, there is no one to push you a little harder, and you don’t have a commitment to anyone else. One day off turns into two, and before you know it, weeks have passed without you even raising a sweat. Getting fit in isolation can be done, but it’s much harder and requires a resolve few of us have.
That is perhaps why the popularity of group personal training programs is exploding: people sign up for them because they work.
Group Personal Training Benefits
1. The biggest benefit that a group personal training offers is support. When you join a group personal training program, you are ensuring that you have like-minded people to motivate you and a qualified leader to help you reach your weight loss and fitness milestones. If staying motivated is a challenge for you, then a group personal training program will energize you to keep going. Members of group personal training programs can become close friends as they work hard and celebrate together.

2. You will push yourself harder in a group personal training program. During your workouts, there are no distractions to cause you to lose your momentum or excuses to slack off. Your coach will expect compliance, and while we will certainly work within your ability, you will be amazed at how far you can go in the right environment. The feeling you get when you know you have pushed yourself a little further than you thought you could will give you confidence in all other areas of your life.

3. Cost wise, you can’t go wrong with a group personal training program. They are led by certified personal trainers (not group fitness instructors), and this means that you get tailored, one-on-one help that approacGroup_Personal_Training_at_a_Gymhes the attention that you get when you hire a personal trainer. But it costs much less!

4. Ready for quick results? group personal training program generally incorporate variations of high intensity interval training or HIIT for short. HIIT training has been scientifically proven to be more effective and more efficient than traditional exercist programs. We’re not playing games in here. Our goal is to change your life and have a great time doing it!

5. It’s fun! Team training takes the torture out of serious workouts. There is nothing like laughing with each other as you struggle through those last push ups or pant through that last few seconds of burpees. In fact, a recent study has proven that pleasant distraction reduces pain.1 Don’t worry-we’re not going to torture you, but any serious fitness work has moments of discomfort. The distraction of having others around you doing the same thing can mean the difference between finishing with a smile on your face and not finishing at all.

If you are tired of the same old fitness routine or tired of your good intentions to get in shape leading nowhere, then a group personal training program may be exactly what you need.

1http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/WBL02175/Pleasant-Distraction-Reduces-Pain.html

10 Ways to Torch 100 Calories FAST

Some days you simply do not have time for your usual workout.  Perhaps you are traveling or you have meetings from dawn ‘til dusk.  Or maybe something totally unexpected comes up and your workout time disappears.
When life steals your exercise time, however, you do not have to forgo your workout.  If you have just a few minutes, you can burn off 100 calories, get your heart pumping fast and redeem at least a little of your workout.
Here are 10 ways to torch 100 calories
Use them on busy days or even to supercharge your normal workout days.  Most estimates are for a person weighing approximately 130-150 pounds.  If you weigh more, you can probably shorten the duration, but if you are lighter, add a few minutes to ensure that you burn at least 100 calories.
1. 10_Ways_to_Burn_100_CaloriesTake the stairs.  Stair climbing for 15 minutes will burn 137 calories.  Have a 15 minute break at work?  Find a stair case and set your phone alarm to alert you when 15 minutes have passed.

2. Run a 5-minute mile. By the time you are 4 and ½ minutes in, you will have already burned 100 calories.  If you can’t get outside, just run in place.

3. Ride a stationary bike at 20 mph for 4 minutes 54 seconds.

4. Work on the lawn.  Pull weeds for 17 minutes, rake leaves for 20 minutes, or dig dirt for 16 minutes.

5. Calisthenics. Spending 15 minutes doing some light body weight squats, lunges, jumping jacks, get-ups and knee-ins will burn about 137 calories.

6. Go for a walk.  A 150 pound person will burn approximately 117 calories by walking at a 4 mph speed for 20 minutes.  Walk in place if you do not have a good area to walk in outdoors.  Try walking in place while you watch your favorite television show!

7. Grab the vacuum.  Vacuuming your home or office for 28 minutes will burn 100 calories.  This is a great way to sneak in some exercise at work and get on the good list of your coworkers!

8. Chop fire wood.  It is hot now, but winter is coming!  Spend 5 minutes chopping fire wood and you will burn 100 calories.
9. Swim laps.  It only takes 12 minutes to burn off 100 calories while swimming.

10. Mow the lawn with a push mower.  14 minutes is all it takes to zap 100 calories.

How to Overcome Winter Weight Gain

weight-gainHow to Overcome Winter Weight Gain
Today, we’re taking a hard look at winter weight gain. It’s a common problem—people tend to pack on a few pounds during the winter months.
But we want to fight back, and we hope you will join us. Let’s get after this now, while winter is still in full force. We’ll have less to deal with when the warm breezes start blowing!
The good, the bad…and the solution
Although winter weight gain varies from person to person, research shows the average gain to be five to seven pounds! Some people gain this extra weight because they have Seasonal Affective Disorder—a type of winter depression. But most of us can’t blame winter depression for our tendency to pick up extra weight during the winter months.
So, why does winter weight gain happen? According to Lawrence J. Cheskin, MD, founder and director of the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center, it happens because we eat more and move less during the winter months1.
This is bad news and good news. It is bad news because it would be kind of nice if we could blame our cold-weather corpulence on something exotic like the jet stream cycle and waddle off for another espresso.
But it is good news because we can do something about it. We don’t have to greet spring with softer middles and tighter clothes. So let’s celebrate leap year by tackling winter weight gain with our weapon of choice here at Fitness Revolution: discipline.
Hour of decision
According to Merriam-Webster, discipline is a “rule or system of rules governing conduct or activity2.” This is perfect. In order to fight winter weight gain, we have to discipline ourselves to follow some rules.
Here we go…
1. Banned language: For the next several weeks, do not allow yourself to say, “Just this once.” If you pay close attention, a ‘just this once’ situation comes up practically every day. You go to a retirement party. You take spouse out for a birthday dinner. Someone brings a meal by your house because you’ve been sick. Your co-worker brings in the leftover pizza from last night’s party. Your child has leftover Valentine’s Day candy. You have to say no every single time. Otherwise, you will never get ahead.
Just grit your teeth, resist what others are having and make good food choices. I’m not saying it is easy. I am saying it is necessary.
2. Plan your occasional splurge, and do not deviate from the plan. Unending deprivation is never a good idea, but you have to be intentional about the time, place and food that you let yourself splurge on.
Love the hot wings at your favorite restaurant? Then let’s make a deal. Eat clean for ten days. No cheating. And then at the end of those ten days, go have the wings. Guilt free. Just enjoy them. Then set the next goal. But you are not allowed to deviate from your plan in the meantime.
If you do, you lose the wings.
Don’t waste your fun calories on something that doesn’t compare to those wings!
3. Keep moving. Exercise is not an optional activity. Now more than ever you have to get your body in motion. Exercise is very effective at preventing weight gain—and that is what we’re after right now. Don’t even worry so much about losing pounds; just work to keep the winter scale-creep from happening to you. Try to get some cardio in at least six days a week.
Remember: spring is coming. Let’s be ready for it, and leave winter weight gain behind.

Holiday Survival Guide: How to Get Through the Holidays With No Regrets

linux-christmas
Let’s face it: it is hard to stick to a healthy eating and exercise plan during the holidays. Everywhere we turn there are tempting foods and drinks—from treats at office parties to our own traditional family favorites. When you add in a busy schedule filled with shopping and get-togethers that make it tough to squeeze in exercise, you have a recipe for disaster as far as our scales are concerned.
The good news is that you really can get through the holidays without gaining weight. It will take some effort, but you will thank yourself a thousand times when January 1st rolls around and you have no regrets! [Read more...]

Your Strategy for Success on Thanksgiving

thanksgiving-dinnerIn just a few weeks, families all over America will be sitting down to a meal which looks back to that first Thanksgiving in which the Pilgrims commemorated the harvest after a harsh winter. The year was 1621, and Governor William Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving, which the colonists celebrated as a traditional English harvest feast. [Read more...]

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