Maximize Your Workouts with These Nutrition Tips

Copied from Mayo Clinic News Network

Did you know when and what you eat can have an impact on your workout?  Eating and exercise are connected.

According to Dr. John M. Murphy of the Mayo Clinic Health System, you can maximize the effectiveness of your workouts by using a few tips:

HEALTHY BREAKFASTS

If you exercise in the morning, get up early enough to finish breakfast at least one hour before your workout. breakfast1 This will give you energy and raise your blood sugar.  If you don’t eat, you might feel sluggish or lightheaded when you exercise.  Good breakfast options include whole-grain cereals or bread, bananas and yogurt.  A cup of coffee is OK, too.  Emphasize carbohydrates for maximum energy.

SIZE MATTERS

You want to be careful not to overeat before exercise. portions
Eat large meals at least three to four houses before exercising.  Small meals should be eaten two to three hours before exercising.  You can have snacks an hour before exercising.  Eating too much can leave you sluggish, and eating too little may not give you the energy to stay strong during your workout.

 

SNACK WELL

 snacksMost people can eat small snacks right before and during exercise.  It’s important to do what feels best for you.  Snacks shortly before xercising probably won’t give you an energy boost, but they can help maintain blood sugar levels and prevent distracting hunger pains.
Good snack options include energy bars, yogurt, low-fat granola bars and peanut butter sandwiches.

 

EAT AFTER YOU EXERCISE

Eating after you exercise will help your muscles recover.  Within two hours, try to eat a meal that contains protein and carbs.  Good post-workout choices include yogurt and fruit, peanut butter sandwiches, and pasta with meatballs. pasta

DRINK UP

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends you drink 2-3 cups of water before your workout, half to 1 cup of water every 15 to 20 minutes during your workout, andwater 2-3 cups after your workout for every pound of weight you lose during the workout.

 

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A Simple Way to Exercise

What is the simplest exercise in the world?  Walking!   Walking is the best exercise!walkingWalking requires no special equipment, no expensive gym membership, and can be done anywhere, anytime. The only thing you need is a good pair of walking shoes and a water  bottle.  Keep them in your car so when you find an extra 10 minutes, you can go for a brisk walk anytime.

The risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer and diabetes can be reduced just by walking for 10 minutes a day.  30 minutes daily is recommended at least 3 times per week, but you can do this in 10 minute spurts throughout the day.  Walking is a great way to relieve a stressful day in the office – take 10 minutes a lunch to walk – simple!

Here are some tips for walking to well-being:

  • Walk more mindfully.walk   Be aware of mind, body and soul as you walk.  Notice everything around you: nature, sounds, and sights.  If you can walk with nature, it will enhance the experience.   Besides being more relaxing, it is more beneficial to walk on an uneven surface – you burn more calories than on a flat, even surface.

 

  • Related to mindful walking is to walk meditatively.  Focus on your footsteps, each step up and each step down.  Notice your surroundings walk2but keep your mind focused on your footsteps.  If your mind starts to wander, bring it back to your footsteps, up and down, up and down.   Breathe regularly.   Meditation does not need to be done inside.  It is highly restorative to the soul to mediate while out in nature.

 

  • Walking outside can relive stress and ease anxiety and depression.  Walking on a treadmill is good for you, but it is boring! treadmillNature is a great way to improve your mood and lift your spirits.   Treadmills have a purpose, but in my opinion should be used only when the weather is so bad that you can’t go out.  Even walking in the rain is a mood lifter if you can get past the squishy shoes!

 

 

 

  • Walk with a buddy.  walk3It is so much more fun and it enhances emotional well-being.  It also holds you accountable.  If you know someone is waiting on you, then you are more likely to continue.  It is a great way to build relationships and keep in touch with each other when life gets to busy.  Remember, even 10 minutes can boost your health and happiness level.

 

 

  • Try a new route.beach pic1  Exercise can get routine.   If you walk the same route every day,
    you will get bored and  your brain will get bored.   Try walking in a different neighborhood or subdivision.  If you have the chance, walk on the beach.  Try hiking in the woods, or walking up and down some hills. Try walking around the outside of a shopping mall or business office. This is the beauty of walking- you can do it virtually anywhere!

 

  • Use technology as your friend.   Get a fitness tracker or download one of the many free apps that tracks your mileagemapmywalk your time, your speed, whatever is important to you.  Most of these apps allow you to chart your progress on the computer, so you can see how you have improved.   This is a great motivator for those who are self-competitive.  Many also include a GPS so you can walk in neighborhoods that you may not know as well as your own.

 

  • Finally, find a reason to walk that helps others.  Once you have been bitten by the walking bug, it is great to find a walk to do that helps a charity.  There are dozens of walks (think Avon Walk, Walk for Juvenile Diabetes,etc). walk5 There is even an app for your phone that donates money from corporate sponsors for every mile you walk. Look for the Charity Miles app on your phone.   These walks are a great motivator – you have a goal to work towards which will keep you going, and you are helping others at the same time.

So get out and do the simplest exercise available – just walk your way to good health!

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Invitation to Well-Being thru Exercise

Today I extend an invitation to all of you.   I invite everyone to jump on the well-being train.   This is not the same as wellness.  Wellness is concerned with your body and your health.   Well-being is for your mind, body and soul.   It is the complete package.  It is the route to happiness.   Unhealthy people can be happy, and healthy people can be unhappy.  But if you have well-being, you have health and happiness and a true enjoyment of life.life-is-good

Your well-being is tied to many factors, starting with your philosophy of life – the spiritual or meaning of life.  It is also influenced by culture, motivational, and psychological factors. Your lifestyle and behavior are also determining factors.

One of the best ways to achieve well-being is through a good exercise program.  good-moodBeing active is one of the best ways to achieve a sense of completeness, a true mind/body/soul connection.

What does exercise do to influence  well-being?  It reduces stress, depression and anxiety.  It raises self-esteem.  It increases stress resilience.  It gives us a time out from our normal life.   It increases our sense of fun, leading to a positive attitude.  It makes us more alert.   It makes life more fun.

 

Of course, exercise is just one small part of achieving a holistic sense of mind/body/soul.  It means eating healthy foods, getting a good night’s sleep, practicing mindfulness, giving to others, learning new things, and nourishing relationships.   All of these things go into psychological well-being, but exercise is certainly a stepping stone to a happier, healthier lifestyle.

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When Weight Clings

I began my diet on Januaryholiday-scale 1, as so many others do.  I always rationalize my winter weight gain as being evolutionary.  In other words, our ancestors had to have more fat on them to keep them warm in winter, so our bodies evolved as such.  While there may be a smidgen of truth to this, the real truth is that I am a glutton during the holidays, and it catches up and clings to me in January.   Hence, my yearly attempt to lose weight.

I always promise to only weigh once a week.  Weight loss, if measured every day, is uneven.  Sometimes water weight, or how much you sweat, or what you eat the night before can cause fluctuations and cause weight to cling to you.  In one study, the participants weighed themselves 12 times in one day, ate well, exercised and showed a fluctuation of up to 7 lbs from morning until evening!   Weight fluctuations can be deceiving and demoralizing.  I know this because I am guilty of the daily weight measure.  It throws my whole day into a tailspin if my weight goes up by a few ounces or pounds.

Actually, it takes up to 48 hours for food to “stick” – in other words, if you pig out and then just sit for the next two days, you will gain weight.  If you exercise both days, you should not see a weight gain.  If you diet and exercise (highly recommended) you should see a weight loss.

The best way to weigh yourself, so as to really get a measure of what you weigh, is do it at the same time of day, once a week, clothed in similar clothing week to week. When I tried Weight Watchers, scale2 I weighed every Monday and I always wore the same outfit, including the same shoes and even earrings, so that I would get a true weight. If you weigh yourself every day, or multiple times a day, you will get discouraged at the fluctuations, and give up.  You will believe that dieting doesn’t work for you.

The other factor to consider is how your clothing fits.   Also measure your composition.  If these are getting better, maybe you don’t need to depend on the scale so much.  You are getting healthier and leaner, and maybe more muscular.  So don’t give up!  With less intake, and more output you will lose weight, even if the scale doesn’t show it on a daily basis.  And remember, your focus should be on good health, not weight!scale

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Be Specific in Your Goals

Committing to an exercise program is difficult.    It takes a long time to become an exercise addict.  But if you keep at it, you will eventually get there.   Some tips to help you become addicted:

  1. Write it down – be specific in your goals and track your progresswrite
    When I was trying to diet, I never made it very far.  Once I started keeping a food journal, and could see every single bite that passed my lips, it became much easier to stick to it.  The same applies to exercise.   Write down your goals, and track your progress.   It is very helpful to see your progression.  It helps to work towards a specific goal, whatever that may be for you.
  2. Don’t focus on the negative, always keep a positive attitudepositive
    Everyone hits a plateau.  Whether it is dieting or exercise, you reach a certain point and seem to be stuck there.   This is the most important time to not give up!   Always stay positive – look where you started and how far you’ve come.  Don’t be discouraged by a plateau.  It is a temporary state and should give you incentive to keep moving. Your mind is powerful – if you think positive you will see your life change for the better.

 

3. Switch it up change

If you keep doing the same thing every day, your body will eventually become accustomed to it and you will not see progress.  You  need to switch it up.   Add some cardio, or add some strength training.  Cross train your body.  Add more weight or change exercises.   You need to wake up your muscles and shock them out of their routine.   Change is good and you will see progress.

 

hiit
4.  Do some high intensity interval training. (HIIT)
This is my least favorite.  I don’t like to do intervals, but if you want to see improvement, this is the proven way to do it.   Do some basic exercise for a specific amount of time, and then push it for 30 seconds. Go back to basics for one minute, and then push for 30 seconds.  It is hard, but it will result in quicker and better results for you.

 

5.  Never give up! dont-give-up‘Nuff said.  If you want to be fit and active, you can’t do it part time.   You can’t do it for a while and then quit.  For beginner exercisers, it is a proven fact that if you quit doing cardio (aerobic) training, you will lose the benefit within 2-3 weeks. Strength training benefits last a bit longer, but are lost within 2-3 months. (The older you are, the faster you lose benefits).    So keep it up.  Take rest days when you need them, but commit to being a fitness freak for the rest of your life!   It’s well worth the effort.

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The Greatest Wealth is Health (Virgil)

As we enter the new year we all tend to make resolutions, or commitments.  As we know, the gyms become super crowded for a few months, and then the crowds start to thin out by the end of February. Let’s not be one of those quitters!

resolution

As the quote above says, the best gift of wealth you can give yourself is health.   We don’t need to be super thin, or super cut, or super strong.  We just need to be healthy. We can’t give up in February because we don’t look like the other guy.  We have to think about the good we are doing for ourselves and our insides.  Even if we look a little flabby, the benefit of exercise on your heart, your bones, and your emotions is well documented.  The key to good health is exercise.  It wards off all kinds of diseases, healthy-exerciseillness, and even depression.   Exercise not only changes your body, but also changes your mood and your attitude.  So we can’t quit.

When you start your new routine in January, set a goal.   This goal can be weight loss, or  increasing the amount of weight you can lift, or how many days per week you will go to the gym.  It can be lowering your blood pressure,  improving your heart rate, or dropping a clothing size.  It can be whatever YOU want it to be.   When you reach your goal, don’t quit – keep going!   You either can set another goal to reach, or work to maintain the goal you have reached.  And don’t be discouraged if it takes some time to reach your goal.  This is where many people give up.  Don’t have unrealistic expectations about the time to reach your goal.  Just work one day at a time towards the goal, and you will get there.  Will it be easy?  No!   You have work for what you want to achieve.  But the end results are worth it!  Do it for yourself, and your body (and mind) will thank you!

Sometimes it helps to share your resolutions which will make you more likely to stick to it.  Tell a friend or relative.   Or feel free to let me know by your comments – I will promise to nag you year-round to stick to it!

Hoping you all have a wonderful and safe New Year!

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Keep on keeping on…..

After a long respite, I am returning to my blog.  I have had a long series of ups and downs in the past few months, and have had some major life changes.  But as always, life has settled back down and somewhat normalized, so I can get back to the business of fitness!

One of the things that has been consuming my time was studying for certification as a group fitness instructor and as an indoor cycling instructor.   I received my certification and was pumped to start teaching. However, I ran into the age-old conundrum:   You can’t get hired without experience, and you can’t get experience without getting hired.   At any rate, this will not de-rail my enthusiasm for working out.  I was hoping to be able to combine my workouts with teaching others, but it is not to be I guess.

I love my workouts even more now that I have so much more knowledge on joints, muscles, bones and their interactions.  I learned so much in this course, that even without a job I can benefit.

So as always, I will keep on keeping on.   Never give up!  I will continue to look for a job, I will continue to work out, and I will continue to write!

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