Tag Archives: fitnessmotivation

How to Break the Cycle of Excuses, Over-Eating, and Falling out of Your Fitness Routine

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I totally understand, I’ve been there myself. Since I’ve started training others full time, teaching classes, and running out of time by the end of the day, I have found it incredibly difficult to stick to my healthy lifestyle. It’s so easy to say “push through”, “stick with it”, “focus on your goals”. At the end of the day, however, sometimes those motivational messages just aren’t enough. Here is how I have managed to stick with my routines (despite falling off more than once, it happens) and if this article helps even just one person then I’ve accomplished my task!

1. “I just don’t have any time”
I am a HUGE believer that you should exercise when you will get the most out of your workout. This, unfortunately, isn’t always possible with the hectic lives we all lead! No need to fear! Instead of saying “well I missed my normal workout time, that’s it, it’s all ruined for the day.” Encourage yourself to get in 15 minutes of something low intensity right before you shower (post on super quick full body exercises to follow shortly). Even though it may not be the same as killing it in the gym, it will still boost those positive, feel good chemicals in your brain, and soon enough it will become a habit!

2. “I have no time for a healthy meal”
I am a huge advocate of prepping food out once (or twice) a week. If that still is too much for you to fit into your schedule it takes approximately three minutes (and I have TIMED this) to create a healthy fulfilling salad, with a yummy healthy dressing that will both be filling, nutritious, and will make you feel good about the decision that you made!! (Recipes for healthy quick meals to follow shortly!!)

3. “I have no motivation, I feel like I just can’t do it anymore”
This is probably one of the biggest reasons people fall out of their routine, lack of motivation. I cannot emphasise enough, DO NOT BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP!!! I’m a personal trainer, it is my job to make others fitter, healthier, and feel better about themselves, but, I’m getting ready to go back and see my mentor (check out @trainingaspects – they are the absolute best!!) for one month to up my cardio, strength and get myself to that next level. Find encouragement where you can! Whether it be from family, friends, a trainer, a blog, or wherever you can! Dig deep! You have it in you and you can accomplish whatever it is you want to. Always keep your eye on the prize and don’t be too proud to accept help from others!! Even Ghandi had a spiritual mentor, if he needed it, I’m sure the rest of us can admit to the fact that sometimes we just need that little bit of extra help!

I hope some of these tips helped, if you have questions, comments, feedback, I would absolutely love to hear it!! Please remember, you are doing this for YOU! For YOUR health, YOUR mental wellbeing, and sometimes we need to take a step back and focus on ourselves a bit more and remember, we can’t help others until we are the best person that we can be!!!

Much love,
Shannon

Exercise of the Day!! Spiderman Pushups!!

This exercise is going to challenge you and push you to that next level.  Be sure to squeeze your oblique as you crunch your leg up and in towards your arm, and make sure your core is engaged during the entirety of the exercise. 

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How to do it: Get in standard push up position. While you’re pushing up, bring your left knee to your left elbow. Return your left leg to the floor as you lower yourself. Repeat with your right leg.  Try for a set of 10 reps, five with each leg!! 

5 Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

5 Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

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Lets talk about BRAINS (no this is not a zombie related article). We all know the physical effects exercise can have on our bodies including reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, lowering resting heart rate, reducing the risk of hypertension and overall morbidity when exercise is incorporated into your daily lifestyle. If that isn’t enough of a reason to get your to the gym and scream “where do I sign up?!” we’re going to discuss the benefits a little sweat can have on your mental health and wellbeing. Here are five reasons to get out there and get active.

Stress- We have all had a case of the mondays. Deadlines that are overdue, bosses who seem like it’s their goal to make your life a nightmare, uncooperative co workers, OH! and then trying to rush home and get a healthy dinner on the table for your family. Unless you’re superman/woman, all these things can lead to STRESS! It may surprise you to find that one of the most common mental benefits of exercise is stress relief. Exercise increases concentrations of norepinephrine, a chemical that can moderate the brain’s response to stress. So, working up a sweat can help manage physical and mental stress, reducing stress and increasing the body’s ability to deal with existing mental tension. Need I say more?
Endorphins!- “Exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy, happy people don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t” (Yes I quoted legally blonde) and Elle could not be more right! Exercise releases endorphins, which create feelings of happiness and euphoria. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a gym rat to get your happy buzz on, working out for just 30 minutes a few times a week can instantly boost your overall mood! Need more of a reason to get moving?…..
Preventing cognitive decline- Unfortunately, as we age, our brains can get a little fuzzy. Working out, especially between the ages of 25 and 45, boost the chemicals in the brain that support and prevent degeneration of the hippocampus, an important part of the brain for memory and learning. So although exercise and a healthy diet cannot completely stop the degenerative effects of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, it can help slow the shrinkage of our brains that begins to occur after age 45.
Improving self confidence- Get to that gym and show them what you’ve got! On a very basic level physical fitness can boost self-esteem and improve positive self-image. Regardless of weight, size, gender or age exercise can quickly elevate a person’s perception of his or her attractiveness, that is, self-worth. In turn, this will keep you coming back, exercising, more self-worth, exercising, more self-worth, on and on, it’s a big circle of self love!
Lets talk about sex- Exercise can have a great effect on your sexuality. Firstly, cardiovascular exercise increases blood flow, EVERYWHERE (yes, even down there) increasing and intensifying orgasms. It also improves your stamina, put simply, the better shape you’re in the longer you last. Improved flexibility (I don’t think I need to expand on this one). Exercise also boosts testosterone. A Baylor University study found that men’s testosterone levels were highest during the 48 hours after they had lifted weights.

Working out can have positive effects far beyond the gym. Gaining self confidence, improving your mood, your cognitive brain function and your sex life are just some of the motivations to make time for exercise on a regular basis. So, get up, get out there, and get going!

Exercise of the Day! Stability Ball Pass Through!

Stability Ball Pass Through

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This is a fantastic exercise to target your core.  To increase the difficulty, try to keep your legs and arms from touching the floor on your way back down.  Go as low as you can with your arms and legs without allowing your lower back to leave the ground.  

Lie faceup on the floor, holding a stability ball overhead with both hands, your legs together and extended straight on the floor (a). In one motion, brace your core and lift your arms and legs off the ground, placing the ball between your feet (b). Squeeze the ball with your legs and lower your arms and legs back to the floor (c). Repeat, passing the ball back to your hands. That’s one rep. Do eight to 10, and try for 3 sets. 

Food For Thought: Portion Distortion

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As obesity rates rise, and diabetes is becoming an epidemic, shouldn’t we really be taking a look at what it is that we are putting in our bodies?  Doesn’t it seem alarming that when you order food at most restaurants the portion size is big enough to feed a family of four?  As portion sizes have grown at restaurants, supermarkets and at home, it’s harder to avoid overeating.  Here’s how portion sizes of some foods have changed over the past 20 years.

Bagel:

20 years ago: 3-inch diameter, 140 calories

Today: 6-inch diameter, 350 calories

Increase: 210 calories

Turkey Sandwich:

20 years ago: 320 calories

Today: 820 calories

Increase: 500 calories

Spaghetti and Meatballs:

20 years ago: 1 cup spaghetti with sauce and 3 small meatballs, 500 calories

Today: 3 cups of pasta with sauce and 3 large meatballs, 1,025 calories

Increase: 525 calories

French Fries:

20 years ago: 2.4 ounces, 210 calories

Today: 6.9 ounces, 610 calories

Increase: 400 calories

Soda:

20 years ago: 6.5 ounces, 85 calories

Today: 20 ounces, 250 calories

Increase: 165 calories

 

These statistics are staggering.  We must also remember, that this only takes into consideration the amount of calories and the increase in serving size, and does not address any of the issues of what they put in food today as opposed to 20 years ago that is also contributing to disease and obesity.  I think the thing I take away most from this article is to remember to keep eating clean, healthy, organic, natural foods. Stay healthy, and stay happy!

Shannon

Source: NIH 2013

 

Exercise of the Day! Plank Knee Twist!

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Here’s a great ab exercise that you can complete anywhere, even if you’re watching tv, get your reps in during commercial breaks!! Here’s how to do it: Start in high plank position, with your fingers spread wide and your hands directly underneath your shoulders.  From here bring your knee in and across to your opposite elbow. Alternate sides quickly for about 30 seconds.  Keep your core engaged and make sure that your hips don’t drop, but that your butt isn’t up in the air either.  Try and keep your spine in line with your neck and back of your calves.  Go for 3 sets and don’t forget to push yourself!

Exercise of the Day!! Bosu Swimmers!

Firstly, a little about the bosu.  The fantastic thing about Bosu Balance Trainer’s ability to simultaneously train every muscle in your body lies in the fact that it provides your muscles with an extreme amount of imbalance against which they must work.  This imbalance forces all the muscles in your body to contract, in order to balance the body.

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Though it may seem a bit silly, this exercise is a great way to tone, strengthen and elongate all of the major muscle groups in your body.  Position your body with your midsection across the rounded top of the bosu.  Lift both arms and legs up off of the ground so that you are supporting yourself with only your midsection on the bosu.  Flutter your arms and legs, as if you were swimming.  Shoot for 90 seconds of fluttering!

Spicy Roasted Chickpeas

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Put down the chips!  Step away from the tortillas! I have a crunchy, salty, spicy snack that will give you a fantastic boost of protein and fiber! These little chickpeas turn out amazing and crunchy after a little toast in the oven and are a great replacement for less healthy snack food alternatives, Enjoy!!

Ingredients:

  • 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, thoroughly drained and rinsed (about 3 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
  2. Place the chickpeas in a large bowl and toss with the remaining ingredients until evenly coated. Spread the chickpeas in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until crisp, about 30 to 40 minutes.

Which Comes First? Resistance Before Aerobic Exercise or Vice Versa?

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It is recommended that a comprehensive training routine combines both aerobic exercise and resistance exercise because improvements in both cardiorespiratory function and musculoskeletal function allow individuals not only to reduce health risks and symptoms associated with physical inactivity but also to perform activities of daily living comfortably and safely.  The challenge we face is to balance concurrent aerobic training and resistance training properly to maximize the performance benefits of both modalities.  So, which should come first? Resistance or Aerobic Exercise.  I think the answer put simply is, it all depends on what you’re looking to achieve.

It seems that concurrent training of either resistance training before aerobic training or aerobic training before resistance training can elicit both aerobic and anaerobic adaptations simultaneously provided that the training program is carefully designed.  Performing aerobic exercise first may be a preferred choice for developing maximal aerobic power.  This exercise sequence also has been shown to enhance postexercise energy expenditure.  The preceding aerobic session of high intensity or long duration may compromise the quality of subsequent resistance exercise.  This can be avoided, however, by allowing more time for recovery and/or by training different muscle groups between two exercise sessions.  On the other hand, resistance exercise first seems more favorable for developing strength power, and muscle hypertrophy.  This modality sequence also seems more effective in enhancing maximal aerobic power in the elderly whos VO2max is limited in part by the aging-related loss of muscle mass and strength.  Resistance exercise first also can yield some metabolic benefits and the high-intensity nature of resistance exercise can potentiate energy expenditure and create a metabolic environment that favors fat utilization during a subsequent aerobic session.

So how do you plan out your workouts? Do you separate your cardio and resistance by days, mix it all in together, or perform both on the same day one after the other?  Do you find the way you structure your workouts defines the type of results you achieve?

Butternut Squash, Chickpea and Kale Curry

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Looking for a healthy meal that won’t break the bank?  This is a delicious curry made with healthy, fresh ingredients that is bound to be surefire hit at your next dinner!

What You’ll Need:

1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1” cubes
1 bunch kale, leaves torn, stems chopped
1 can chickpeas
1 can coconut milk
2 tablespoons yellow or red curry paste
1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1-2 limes
1/4 bunch cilantro, chopped (for serving)

What to do:

-Heat a 3-quart saucepan or Dutch oven over med-high heat. Pour in 1/2 the can of coconut milk and whisk in 2 tablespoons of curry paste. Simmer for about 1 minute, or until fragrant.
-Add chopped onions and simmer for another 3 minutes.
-Add butternut squash, kale stems, chickpeas, remainder of coconut milk, stock, fish sauce, and brown sugar. Cover and bring to a boil.
-Lower heat to a simmer, and cook uncovered for an additional 8 to 10 minutes.
-Add in kale leaves, and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes
-To finish off the curry, squeeze the juice from half the lime. Then, season to taste: more fish sauce (if it’s not salty enough), brown sugar (if it’s not sweet enough), or lime juice (if it’s not tart enough).
-Serve with extras such as cilantro and lime wedges, and go get your Thai curry on!