Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Summer's Over...Here's How to Make the Return to Reality a Little Easier

Did you hear that, the ending of summer? That alarm buzzing at you can feel like a fast, hard sucker punch to the face, so if you’re stuck hitting the snooze button once, twice, three time’s a charm, we have some tips that will help you get back on track, fit, and healthy as you return to that regular routine.

Hopefully you were able to get out and make the most of your summer while it was in full swing, go on a relaxing vacation, a fun getaway, or at least enjoy some time off from work. Cherish those times but of course they can make going back to whatever is waiting a little less appealing. Getting back to your regular eating and workout routine can sometimes be tough too; well, we helped you with ways to stay fit while out vacationing and luckily some of those things can carry over here as well.

*Get Organized: Once you’re all unpacked and home start doing all the things around the house as you normally would. Get right back to cooking up those healthy meals, hitting the gym at your regular hours, the sooner you start the easier it will be and there’s no time like the present. If you’ve got a few days left before going back to the office take the time to get a jumpstart to getting back on track.

*Get Prepared: The night before you have to report in, make getting up as easy as possible. Working out first thing in the morning is ideal; you get it done, it will give you plenty of energy and make you more productive at work, and you won’t have any excuses that come up later. Lay out your clothes, have your bag packed and ready to go, even go so far as to have a quick and handy breakfast pre-packed and ready for you after. That way you can be up and out the door in a dash!

*Get Packing: Remember how we said it’s smart to pack snacks and lunches while on vaca? Well, the same rule apply here. You don’t want to wait until you’re overly famished at work or on the go that makes you dive at the first edible thing you see. Instead, take time the night before to put some carrots or almonds in a baggie, make a healthy turkey sandwich, and don’t forget to stay hydrated with water or electrolyte water!

*Get to Bed: Skimping on zzzz’s is one of the worst things that the majority of people are guilty of. Not only for fitness’ sake but overall health; fitness wise though it stagnates muscle repair and growth and will leave you feeling drained. It also isn’t doing your mental clarity any favors. It might seem like you just ‘can’t’ put that file away and it’s easy to get sucked into distractions, but you need go to bed. Set an alarm that reminds you it’s time to power down and tuck in.

*Get Realistic: Accept that yes, it might be rough those first couple of days, you might have to force yourself to get up and get that sweat session in, but once you get over the hump you’ll slip right back to your healthy habits of before. Soon enough that alarm won’t feel as early, the workday not as grueling, and the healthier fare food ever more appealing!

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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Kids Aren't Getting Active, Americans Putting on Weight - Do I Need Studies to Tell Me This?!

In scanning some recent health and fitness news releases, I find a headline that informs me that a ‘new study’ proves many children are not getting enough exercise. Ummm, duh? Do we really need another study to state the obvious? And are people still funding these studies instead of actually taking proactive measures to get these kids moving?
This particular study came by way of the YMCA, tracked kids from 5-10 from over 1,600 American families. The results were that 58% of these youngsters were not getting outside to play for at least four days a week. The reason for this was cited that the parents kept the kids inside to spend time at the computer or with the TV instead.
“Among the factors you could blame are technology, time and money,” explains the YMCA’s US Director of Chronic Disease Prevention, Dr. Matt Longjohn. “There are many small things that make it very difficult for families to get an hour of physical activity a day.”
That sounds very familiar to the same kind of excuses adults are using to shirk a sweat session. We’ve tackled, answered, and busted those excuses before and making fitness a priority goes for people of all ages. Sure, schools cutting programs makes it harder but that doesn’t mean you have to cut out any kind of exercise…there are 24 hours in a day.
Families can workout together or at least during the same time, and if you don’t have an hour then make that shorter workout more intense. Doing intervals will take you less time but you can get the same, sometimes better, results than a moderate effort lasting twice as long.
It also comes down to parents setting the example of fitness being fun and an important part of a healthy life. We can revisit our tribute to moms for that one and read a few of their pointers.
I’m amazed sometimes at what the ‘results’ from these studies are, and that they make it to headline status. Not long ago there was one that issued this late-breaking alert: Americans are putting on weight, latest study reports that it is most likely due to increased portion sizes.
Does that one even warrant a response? :)

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Surviving the Buffet Line -- Tips for Staying Sane While Eating on Vacation

In our summer vacation series we’ve covered how to still fit in those workouts while out traveling and we’ve also shared that it’s okay to sometimes take a break from regimented workouts, but it’s a good idea to still make that time an active rest. This time we’ll talk about the big F word. No, not that one: Food. 

Food on vacation, do images of colossal buffets come to mind? The BEST burgers and fries  that are the width of rulers? How about ice cream mountains swimming in hot fudge and caramel? Are you drooling on your computer, if so I’m sorry. Let’s face it, one of the biggest draws of many tourist destinations is the grub, the restaurant business loves it and heck, the people there dining are fans too. We live in a society where food is often a major focal point and usually when we are on vacation that is a prime opportunity to experience new foods from different areas and cultures.

This isn’t a bad thing and in fact some of the best memories from a vacation can be food related. Now, some people take that to the extreme and see their break as a no holds bar food-fest and take it to an unhealthy level. Savoring a slice of cheesecake is one thing, wolfing down half the cake and never really tasting much of it is another.

And let’s face it, plenty of summer destinations include sun, sand, surf, and swimsuits, you don’t want to completely wreck havoc on that bikini bod! Here are some tips for still allowing yourself to take full advantage and giving your palette a much deserved vacation while still staying reasonably sane and healthy.

*Take inventory. If you’re at a buffet, do a lap around the spread first before you start filling your plate. That way you can choose the items that you truly want instead of filling up on some so-so things before going back and seeing that you missed out on your favorite foods. 

*Weigh the options. Are you a big dessert person and think of the entrée as merely an obstacle to get through on your dive for the sweets? If so, that’s fine and there is certainly no reason to feel guilty on getting your dessert on. But, if you do plan on that maybe choose a lighter entrée and then indulge in that dessert sans guilt.

*Get menu savvy. Know what you’re ordering and if you don’t, then ask. How many times have you ordered something thinking it was one thing and wind up getting something totally different? Do you then grudgingly dig into something you don’t really like and regret it? Feel like you ‘wasted’ your bite…and potentially calories? Ask your waiter what something is if you need to and if you’re in a different country don’t feel too embarrassed if you have to have it explained a second time.

*Enjoy it, don’t turn into the wolfman. Make sure that whatever you’re eating you are actually liking the taste of. Savor those bites. If you’re not, why force yourself to finish it? If it’s a ‘meh’ experience maybe just take a pass and find something that really makes your taste buds sizzle. You don’t want to wind up feeling overly stuffed and then think back on how you didn’t even really like that shrimp scampi to begin with.

*Packing eats. When you’re out and on the go it’s easy to forget to eat something before you are at the point of being famished. Then it’s even easier to gobble down the first thing that’s remotely appealing and usually on the greasy side. So plan accordingly and pack some snacks or even a lunch or two to enjoy between kayak lessons or site seeing. Not only will you save a little money but you’ll be doing your hungry belly a favor too.

*Ditch the ‘guilt’ hitch-hiker. Finally, give yourself the liberty to cut loose on the whole diet thing. If you’re in some far off country how many times will you get a chance to eat that certain something, maybe never. Don’t pass up on the experience solely because you’re sticking to a diet; in all honesty it takes a whole 3,500 calories to gain a single pound of actual fat. Worst case scenario, you come back a little heavier; that’s okay you can always ‘undo’ that by working out a little harder upon your return!

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