Fitness Humor – The Magic Pill

There’s definitely some humor in this at first glance, but the quote also suggests that nutrition is vital to our health – what we take in to fuel our bodies matters, and it’s almost amazing that it isn’t one of the first things many doctors look into for chronic illness.  

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I think a lot of folks assume “clean eating” is bland, boring, and flat-out awful…but it ISN’T.  I’ve never heard someone say that they tried eating healthier foods and found themselves to be more lethargic, or that they suddenly were getting sick all the time, or that they gained weight… It has always been the TOTAL opposite – people have more energy, they feel refreshed and stronger physically, they sleep better, get sick less, have more mental clarity…and they often lose some stubborn pounds while they’re at it.

Sautéing your spinach in a cup of olive oil isn’t going to help…but let’s say you added a dash of oil (healthy fats) and some salt and pepper.  You’d be amazed how great that can taste!  Veggies, fruits, lean proteins…they’re absolutely DELICIOUS and they certainly don’t have to be devoid of flavor.  Spices can make a marked difference, and what’s really great is that no sauce = you can actually taste THE FOOD.  

If, however, we just reach for sugar, products with more ingredients that you can’t pronounce than you can, fried foods (the list goes on), it may taste and feel good in the short term…but it will kick your butt later.  You might find that you are dragging a lot, or that your skin has become dull or temperamental.  It may be that you are even feeling more depressed than normal, heading to the doctor more frequently, or that your clothes have started to feel too snug.  The side effects of a poor diet are doing as much damage to your internal organs too – they heart, brain, blood, ALL of you, needs clean sources of fuel to keep it functioning optimally.  Imagine putting the lowest-end fuel in the Ferrari – it’s not going to do what it is capable of, period.

Challenge yourself – even if in small doses, or for a short, manageable time frame – to try more whole foods, and start to lessen the processed ones.  Being creative with cooking isn’t hard these days with all of the apps and recipes you can find online.  There are also tons of recommendations out there about spices to use, or lower-calorie condiments if necessary, to keep your meals tasting as delicious as you deserve them to be.  

Cutting out the junky stuff might be tricky at first – withdrawal is a real phenomenon.  But stick it through and give your body a chance to adjust – you will find that you had the “magic pill” all along.  Caring about what you put in your fuel tank can make ALL the difference.

Go Ballistic!

Ballistic, high intensity movements are an awesome addition to any workout.  They’re sometimes tough to push through, but they’re worth the effort.

High intensity training has plenty of press coverage so you can find lists of benefits all over the place, as well as solidly backed articles. . .

For the naysayers, I’d encourage giving it a go for a time and you will notice many of the purported benefits yourself, nevermind what others are saying.

That said, it isn’t something you need – nor should – do every workout.  The body gets pushed quite a bit during HIIT, so it’s important to also take a rest.  Two to three times a week is generally the recommendation (though don’t take it from me directly, as I’m not a doc myself.)

I personally love adding it in here or there.  Some of my favorite non-equipment HIIT exercises include:

  • Active Skater Lunges
  • Jump Squats
  • Sit-thrus
  • Bench Hops

I find that these jazz me just a bit more than steady state cardio, and are a great addition to my regular weight lifting routine.  HIIT exercises give me (and my metabolism) a nice boost, help me be as efficient as I can be with my workouts, as well as increase my endurance for Martial Arts.

If you haven’t tried HIIT before, start slow – try some jumping jacks, jump rope, or jogging in place to start. You don’t have to make it impossible (which honestly will only make you jump ship that much quicker!)  

It’s okay to take your time building up! HIIT is an awesome “bang for your buck” approach to fitness – the benefits are not only ones you’ll feel, but ones you will see.

Keep up the awesome work!

Be Brave

Fake it until you make it, as they say. . .

You may not be ready – literally, or in your own mind – to give that monstrous presentation to the CEO.

You may not be ready – literally or. . .in your own mind! – to compete in the next category up in your sport.

You may not be ready to take the next step, whatever it may be. . .

Or, frankly, to face yourself head on, once and for all. . .

But. . .

You can pretend to be brave enough to get by.  

Most things in life move fast – ever notice how you say “oh my god, is it APRIL already?! How did the year get here so quickly!?!” It isn’t going to slow down anytime soon.  If you worry about not being ready, opportunities will (not maybe) pass you by.  

It’s a lot like putting on a “happy face” even when you don’t feel like it – that physiologic action pulls a mind-over-matter type about-face by relaying to your brain that things aren’t so bad after all. The act of smiling in and of itself creates a chain reaction (thank you neural messaging!) that helps lift your mood – when things are severe, any uplift can make a huge difference.

Pretending to be brave may not have the same scientific explanation exactly, but it can bring about a wave of confidence you didn’t know you had.  If, in the moment, you are still struggling, remind yourself that being thrown to the wolves, and being UNprepared WILL teach you.  A LOT.  You will learn from the experience – what to not to do, what to do better, and most importantly, what you did that really worked.  Down the road you won’t have to put on the “I’m a shark” face (or…er…fin!) because you will have already proven to yourself you have the wherewithal to kick ass. 

 

When Nothing Goes Right…

I love what the “…go left” in the original version of this quotation stands for. . .but I *also* love the gym-rat-edited “…go LIFT” one, and not because it’s gym-leaning.

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Exercise is, 1,000%, a proven de-stressor (that happens to have added health benefits, vs. other known de-stressors, like comfort foods, binge eating, alcohol consumption, body-harming vices of whatever design…)

I think a lot of folks who haven’t had the opportunity to be (or exposure to being) active don’t know what they are missing. Whether it is lifting iron in a gym, taking a jog, or just dancing like no one is watching as fiercely as you can, physical movement and engagement can turn a very BAD day (or series of events!) into a much more positive one.  It’s not only for your heart and body, but your mind and emotional state too too… 

When nothing goes right, give your body a chance to work out the aggression, frustration, disappointment, whatever. . . It really doesn’t matter if it’s jumping jacks during commercials, going to a barre class, or playing in a soccer league.  ANY movement helps.

By changing your direction and focus, and letting your body do what it was designed to do – move – you can alter not only the tone of the day, but your mood with it.

Win, win.

Smile For The Sun – It Smiles For You!

There’s something to be said for getting your (natural) dose of Vitamin D, beyond what the vitamin itself provides.

The sun has that uncanny ability to pick up one’s mood (just as, sometimes, those rainy days can make you feel more glum.  No offense, rain, we love you…but the dreary coloring and lack of direct light can definitely weigh on the temperament!)  I don’t ever sit out, per say – not so gentle on the peau – but it is incredibly important to get outside and jam in the sunbeams every so often.

I knew someone once who was prone to down moods…often.  One day she called me and said “I was looking at the shades in my room – they were down.  They’ve ALWAYS been down.  But I thought of you for some reason, and that you would say I needed to show the sun my face… So I opened them…  I felt the difference right away!  I couldn’t actually believe it.”  She was truly and sincerely taken by the immediate flood of warmth and good feeling – it can actually be instantaneous.  

 

Heading Off “Angry”

No but really…

There are certain words that you just can’t say angrily.  

Even if you manage the tone…after an arduous (murderous!?) day…you can’t possibly mean “bubbles” as angrily as you *try* saying it.

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Oh yes, little things CAN diffuse stress – you mustn’t underestimate the power of absurdity and silliness!

No one will know that when you leave the room for a moment it’s because you are going somewhere where you can *attempt* angrily spewing the word “bubbles” (knowing full well, of course, that you CAN’T, and that you will be returning to your meeting with a giggle in your step.)

Pissed off?  

Try it.

Really. 

One

Two..

Three…

“BUBBLES!”