Thursday, December 29, 2011

10 Foods that strengthen your immune system

Your body is constantly exposed to external threats everyday, so it's very important to provide it with the essential nutrients it needs to keep it's immune system strong.
Your immune system can often weaken due to bad nutrition, causing diseases that are entirely preventable.  The solution, to a large extent, is to incorporate these 10 foods that strengthen your immune system.
1.  Legumes -These are rich in vegetable proteins and are loaded with essential amino acids.  These include peas, beans, and lentils.
2.  Eggs - The ovoalbumin (main protein found in egg whites) is another protein that reinforces your immune system.  Choose "organic" if possible.
3.  Dairy - Milk and yogurt contain healthy bacteria that counter balance the bad bacteria that cause food poisoning and other ailments.  However, I would strongly recommend "organic" products in this category as well.  
4.  Lean/Grass-Fed Meats - These contain zinc and proteins that are easily absorbed in the body that help strengthen the immune system.
5.  Onions - Loaded with antioxidants
6.  Garlic - One of the most natural antibiotics.  Along with onions, garlic helps to bring up mucus and other material from the lungs, bronchi and trachea. 
7 Honey - This also has very effective antibacterial properties, not to mention it is a sweet addition to most foods.
8.  Fish - High in omega-3 fatty-acids, which mitigate inflammatory processes.
9.  Lemon - Has lots of vitamin C as well as the minerals magnesium and calcium, which help protect against viruses and bacteria.
10. Olive Oil - The fatty-acids in olive oil are great allies against inflammatory processes.  
Incorporating these simple foods in to your diet will help fight off those ugly flus/colds and allow you to continue to exercise and enjoy the benefits without having to visit your local health care facility.  Besides, no one wants to start the New Year off lying in bed.  

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Weekly Wednesday Quotavation

This one is from one of the most successful college football coaches.

"Ability is what you're capable of doing.  Motivation determines what you do.  Attitude determines how well you do it". - Lou Holtz

Monday, December 26, 2011

Too much or too little?

I want you to ask yourself if you are doing too much or too little of the following:
     1.  Multitasking
     2.  Drinking Water
     3.  Eating Salt
     4.  Exercising
     5.  Sleeping

I will break each category down making it easier for you to know if you are doing too much or too little of each.

1.  Multitasking- Is your phone or computer on all the time?  If so, you are doing too much multitasking.  Give yourself some silence by turning off email notifications, or turning your phone off for 15 minutes.  During this time, take some deep breaths, close your eyes, and just relax.

Set regular times each day where you check your email or voice-mail (this will be more difficult if you are a business owner or traveling sales rep, however, it can still be done).  You may need to let others know when you will be checking your mail so that they know when to expect a reply.
When speaking with someone in person, really engage in the conversation.  Be present and listen carefully.

2.  Drinking Water - We've all heard it, that we need to drink lots of water.  But how much?  You may not know this but water is the largest component of the human body, making up about 60% of our body weight.     Water helps circulate nutrients throughout our bloodstream, it helps control body temperature, helps protect vital organs, and also helps maintain a high blood volume needed for optimal athletic performance.

Each of us is unique in our needs, but as a rule of thumb, 64oz (8 glasses of 8oz) a day is the minimum.  The only exception is infants, those who are sick, and while exercising vigorously (which all may require more).  The easiest way to help make sure you are getting enough water is to fill up a canteen bottle (one that is 64oz is ideal) and keep it with you.  This way you will always know how much you still need to drink.  Try to spread it out throughout the day, rather than saving 40oz just before bed.  You will find that it really isn't that hard to do, and you will also become more conscious of just how much you can consume to feel your best.

3.  Eating Salt - Do you add salt to your meals?  If so, you are probably eating too much.  There is already plenty of salt (aka: sodium) in our foods; mainly in the processed foods that have become popular due to the cost and availability.  Excess amounts of sodium can cause hypertension (high blood pressure), and osteoporosis by increasing calcium excretion.  According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in three US adults has chronically elevated blood pressure, or is taking anti-hypertensive medication.  So next time you reach for the salt container, think twice. Odds are you don't need to add any

Exercise has been proven to help control hypertension. This leads me to my next category.

4.  Exercising - How many minutes per day or per week do you exercise?  Most of us live busy lives, so that is not an excuse for not getting in the necessary amount of exercise.  Did you know as little as 30 minutes per day, 3 times per week at a moderate intensity is all that is needed to help reduce coronary artery disease (CAD) as well as other cardiovascular diseases.  Exercise should be fun, don't look at it as another chore that needs to be done.

Try to be creative with your routine; whether it's dancing, running, cycling, walking, or swimming, make it fun.  If you travel regularly for work and have to stay in hotels, take a TRX with you.  If you sit at a desk for work, get up and go for a walk or run on your lunch break (just remember to change clothes :-).  Exercise helps reduce stress as well.

5.  Sleep - Are you getting at least 7 hours of sleep per night?  According to the CDC, adults should get between 7-9 hours of sleep per night.  You may say to yourself that you can function just fine on only 5 hours of sleep, however, the lack of sleep (and quality sleep) can alter your blood sugar enough to increase your chances of developing type-2 diabetes.  A lack of sleep can also increase cortisol levels (causing your body to store stubborn abdominal fat), increase stress levels, and even cause some serious heart-health issues.  Your body and mind need rest.  Wouldn't you rather sleep like a baby?

So if you are now aware that you are lacking in one area or are doing too much of another area, simply make a few changes to your lifestyle and you will soon feel much better.  It starts with baby steps.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Weekly Wednesday Quotavation

Once again, every Wednesday I will be posting a motivational quote to help stir up a little extra inspiration to your day or week.

"Strength does not come from physical capacity.  It comes from an indomitable will".
 - Mahatma Ghandi

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Breakfast idea

Do you sometimes get tired of eating the same old food/s for breakfast (you are eating breakfast right?)?  If you answered yes, then you are like most people, myself included.  Keeping meals exciting is one way to help keep you eating healthy.

I have listed an alternative recipe for one of Americas favorite breakfasts'...pancakes.  I found this on the Paleo Plan website.  Very simple to prepare and cook, yet taste exceptional good.  If you are looking for some added protein (there isn't much in the recipe), you can add some protein powder.  This is a great recipe for someone who is gluten-free as well.

I have made these just about every weekend and they continue to taste amazing.  I like how moist the pancakes remain, vs. when using flour (all different kinds) they seem to dry out a tad.  This recipe makes about four 4" pancakes.  Let me know your thoughts and if you liked them or not.

   1.  Banana Almond Pancakes

        2 bananas
            1 egg
           1-2 Tbs almond butter
           fresh blueberries
           1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
           1 tsp. coconut oil

1.       Mash bananas in a bowl.
2.      Add the egg and almond butter, and whisk until well blended.
3.      Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat along with a small pat of coconut oil.
4.      Pour small discs of batter onto the hot pan (around 3-4" around). They'll be easier to flip if you keep them from the edges of the pan.
5.       Add blueberries and walnuts as the pancakes cook on one side. Flip when batter loses its "tackiness" around the edges.
6.      Cook other side slowly over medium heat until fully cooked.
7.       Reapply oil to the pan after each round of pancakes.

Friday, December 16, 2011

TRX Directory

If you are looking for a certified TRX instructor/trainer in your area, visit TRX's website and search TRX Directory.  You can choose to search by name or location.  You will be able to view the instructor/trainer profile to determine if the person is suitable for your training needs.   Only those who have taken one or more TRX professional courses can be included in the database.

Visit my profile to see an example.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Weekly Wednesday Quotavation

Each week on Wednesday's I am going to post a motivational quote (aka:  quotavation).  I feel that motivating quotes can help you stay focused on the goal you are trying to achieve.  If you find one that you like, or is something personal to you, write it on a post-it-note and stick it to your computer, or refrigerator so that you see it on a regular basis.  It is my intent to keep you motivated with a positive attitude.

So, without further ado, here is the first "official" quotavation for this site.

"Energy and persistence conquer everything" - Benjamin Franklin 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Successful weight-loss tips to keep the weight off

If you are one of the many people trying to lose weight, have already lost weight, or just want to stay on track with your goals, consider the 6 successful weight-loss tips I have listed below to keep the weight off.

If you are trying to lose weight, then you will want to keep this post near by and refer to it periodically as you start your journey towards a healthy lifestyle.  For those who have already lost weight and want to keep the weight off you should be congratulating yourself.  This is/was a huge accomplishment and one you should be very proud of.  There are many others in your shoes who want to lost weight but for some reason or another are not as fortunate.

Hopefully by now you have learned some valuable lessons along the way and understand that more calories  burned than consumed will result in a loss of either fat or overall weight.  Proper nutrition combined with exercise is not rocket science but all too often we forget to reinforce one or the other.

The biggest mistake I have seen people make is that once they reach their weight-loss goal, there is a sense of relief and most people begin to go back to old habits.  It's easier to go back to old habits than it is to stay on track with the new, healthy habits.

So now that you have reached you goal, or are getting close to it, how do you keep that weight off?

6 Weight-Loss Tips

1.  Continue Exercising - I like to think of this as the "maintenance phase".  Maybe you used to go to the gym 3-5 days a week, for an hour each session, and run 2-3 days as well.  You can continue to do this (especially if you are training for a specific event), but you can also cut back to only 3 days a week and reduce the duration of each session (at least 30 minutes per day).  Be creative wit your workouts, you may be bored or burned out of going to the gym.  Instead do your workouts outside, at a park, or at a nearby mountain.  The most important thing to remember is to just stay active.   Wearing a pedometer might be one  idea so that you can aim to reach a certain amount of steps per day.  Try increasing the number of steps every other week, and mix in some hills if possible.

2.  Continue Eating Healthy - This may be the hardest for some people.  Having given up certain foods (pizza, ice cream, chips, etc.) while you were losing weight does not mean that you can go back to eating those foods now that you reached your goal.  Sure it's ok to have a slice of pizza or a bowl of ice cream every now and then, just keep the portion size moderate.   Try to find alternatives to those junk foods.  For instance, instead of eating chips and salsa opt for pretzels; and instead of ice cream try frozen yogurt.  There is no need to eat a strict diet, just be conscious of the foods you do eat.

3.  Get a Health Partner - Most of us find exercising with a friend more enjoyable than doing it alone.  Find someone who you know who also lost some weight and share your experiences.  Getting together weekly with this person will help keep you accountable.  A fun thing to do might be to invite each other over once a week and experiment making new, healthy meals.

4.  Be a Role Model - This is a good way to remind yourself why you chose to lose the weight in the first place, and reinforce good behaviors.  Find someone who is just beginning their journey towards weight-loss and be their mentor.  Share with them the things you did to be successful, and how you managed to get through the tough times and emotions to stay on track with what you wanted to achieve.

5.  Manage Stress Successfully - "Stress can be one of our greatest sources of undoing when we least expect it.  Set aside 15 minutes a day for relaxation and giving yourself a chance to enjoy calmness and quietness and reflect on your personal well-being". - Dr. Weaver, 2011

6.  Weight Yourself Regularly - Weigh yourself weekly and keep track of it on a sheet of paper or in your journal.  By regularly weighing yourself you will be conscious of your weight and will be better able to adjust your caloric intake if needed.  For those who prefer or enjoy using the computer as an aid I would suggest  becoming a member of Anytime Health or Fit Day...both are free to join.  They are great resources for keeping track of your weight, calories consumed/burned each day or each week, as well as the tracking the exercise you do regularly, plus much more. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Do you need the service of a Personal Trainer?

With the Holiday season upon us and the New Year just around the corner, this is the time of year when many people decide to set fitness goals or lose some weight.  Both of these decisions are great and ones I would recommend, if needed.

With so many magazine articles, newspaper ads, tv commercials and videos out there stating the benefits of "working out", ie: strength training, cardio exercises, etc. it's really hard to swallow that our population is still nearly 65% obese.  Even more frightening is that children and teens between the ages of 2-19 account for nearly 48% (CDC 2010).

 By tnilsen08
States that are in PURPLE represent the highest percentage of obesity (>30%).   The states that are in RED represent 25-30%, and states states that are in orange represent 20-25%.

With daylight savings cutting out daylight times significantly, this leaves very few of us time to train outdoors.  The fresh air, sun and changing environment make "working out" outdoors much easier than going to a gym or doing it in your home.  What motivates someone to go to a gym (especially if the gym is several miles from where you live or work) after a long day at a work?  The answer/s will be different for everyone.

I've seen it all too often where someone will set a goal of losing weight as a New Year's resolution.  Again this is a great goal if you are in need of losing some extra body weight, or body fat.  However, due to lack of motivation or some other factors (demographic, social, physical-environment) the goal was not attained.

 Lushpix Stock Images

Image Source Photos

A personal trainer can be just the key to success for many looking for help in achieving a certain goal, adding creativity to your current workout routine, or most importantly holding you accountable for actually getting your butt off the couch and into the gym.  It's amazing how psychology works.  I have not taken many psychology courses, but know a little how we as humans react to certain things.  If someone has a Dr.'s appointment scheduled they are more likely to attend the appointment than someone who says they are going to go see a Dr. but has no appointment.   I understand we all have had to cancel an appointment for one reason or another in our lives.  After all, we are humans!  The main reason why people set appointments is to be held accountable.  It works the same way in the fitness industry.  Personal trainers can be a very valuable service as they hold you accountable for making your scheduled training session.   Knowing that you have a 6pm training session with your Trainer, you are more likely to adhere to that appointment than go home and sit on the couch after a long day.  As a trainer, I am there to assist and motivate my clients and "help" them achieve their specific goal/s.  I cannot, nor will not, do the work for them.  It is my intention to plant a seed in someone's head on how to make improvements to their current lifestyle that will last them the rest of their lives.  I want to do everything I can to educate someone to make healthier choices that they in turn can pass on to their children or family members.  I hope that by doing this it will play a positive role in reducing the overall obesity percentage in America.

Art Parts Clip Art

Personal trainers are not for everyone.   However, if you need someone with experience to design or custom-tailor an effective training plan, give you a little extra motivation, someone to hold you accountable, or to ensure proper form, go to your local gym and find a certified trainer that you are comfortable working with.  Trust me, the investment will be worth it.

"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going". -Jim Ryan