Successful Weight Loss Requires Attitude Change

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Do you find your attitude during your weight loss to a bit of a roller coaster?

Are you good when you’re eating healthy and working out, but bad when you’ve slipped, binged or neglected your health?

We’ve all been there. Losing weight is a challenge and requires a long term commitment and a lot of patience.In order to be successful, you need to change your attitude for weight loss.

Focus on the positive.

You are the only one in charge of your thoughts and attitude. The constant negative thoughts and words start to become a habit. Pay attention to what you think and say to yourself or about yourself.

Every time you have a negative thought or attitude, stop and remind yourself that all big things take time.

Remind yourself how far you’ve come and focus on the ultimate goal. Most important – stop beating yourself up.

Remember this is not a quick fix.

This is a life-long commitment. A marriage between you and your health. So unless you’re ready to divorce the health and weight loss effort altogether, learn to love who you two are together.

As with any marriage, there will be days that are great, and days that you want to run away to Rio.

Learn to embrace this relationship, even though it’s not perfect.

Work out issues as you go along, and forgive the occasional cheat.

Reward yourself.

We often seem to be berating ourself for bad behavior, but quite often forget to reward ourselves for the small “wins” that happen with weight loss. I’m not talking just the numbers on the scale, but the efforts and actions that go into each day of your new healthy lifestyle.

Did your day consist of eating healthy and a 3 mile walk? Acknowledge that with yourself and with others.

Flying solo is lonely.

Find others that will help lift you up and keep you positive. By joining our weight loss group, our members enjoy access to a private Members Facebook page. This private page is an amazing support system for our members. I love seeing the way people post about their “sucesses” and how supportive all the other members are with their comments on that post.  We should do that everyday.

Be proud of your accomplishments with more positive self-talk. This will lead to behaviors that reflect those actions. Over time, you will begin to notice that you want to repeat those behaviors in order to get that good feeling.

You are the guide to your thoughts and behaviors.

Take responsibility not only for your physical actions of eating healthy and exercising, but the mental actions of having positive thoughts and attitude.

Not only will you become a happier person, you will find it easier it to lose weight and keep it off.

Aren’t you worth it?

7 “FATTY” Foods that Can Help You to Get a Washboard Stomach

These 7 shocking Fatty (but healthy) super-foods can actually help you to burn body fat faster!

At this point, the anti-fat propaganda has died and almost everybody understands by now that eating fat doesn’t necessarily make you fat. 

In fact, it’s absolutely imperative to get enough healthy fats in your diet to keep your hormones balanced, blood sugar under control, and prevent cravings.

1.  Super Dark Chocolate (at least 72% cacao content or higher).

It might not be a secret anymore, but yes, dark chocolate (NOT milk chocolate) can be a very healthy food, even though it is technically calorie dense.

However, I would contend that dark chocolate can actually HELP you to burn off more body fat if you’re the type of person that has a sweet tooth and likes to eat a lot of desserts.  In this case, just 1 or 2 small squares of dark chocolate can many times satisfy your sweet tooth for only 30 or 40 calories as opposed to 500 calories for a piece of chocolate cake or a piece of pie.

Also some brands of dark chocolate that are in the mid 70’s in % cacao content or higher, can have a fairly high ratio of fiber content (I’ve seen some brands have 5 grams of fiber out of 15 grams of total carbs per serving), and relatively low sugar content compared to the amount of healthy fats.  In fact, that’s one of the “tricks” I use to select a good quality chocolate… I look for more total fat than total carbs (or about the same number of grams of each).

The importance of that fact is that it means many dark chocolates will not greatly affect your blood sugar and will have a fairly blunted blood sugar response compared to other “sweets”.

In addition, dark chocolate is also very rich in healthful antioxidants, including a powerful compound called theobromine which has been shown to help lower blood pressure and have other health benefits.  The fat content in a good dark chocolate should come solely from the natural healthy fats occuring in cocoa butter and not from any other added fats.  Any chocolates with added fats or other additives will generally not be as healthy.

The reason I say to choose dark chocolates with at least 72% cacao content is that the higher the % of cacao, the lower the % of sugar.  However, this does mean that any chocolate over 80% cacao content will generally start to get a more bitter taste and have very little sweetness.  If you like this type of taste, then the higher % cocao, the better. Otherwise, a good 75% dark chocolate is in my opinion an almost perfect combination of lightly sweet with a rich chocolate taste.  Just remember to keep those daily quantities of chocolate small as it is calorie dense!

You can also reap the benefits of the antioxidants and fiber without all of the calories by using organic unsweetened cocoa powder in your smoothies or other recipes.

2.  Coconut milk, coconut flour, and coconut oil.

Coconut milk and oil are great sources of a super healthy type of saturated fat called medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), including a component called lauric acid, which is a powerful nutrient for your immune system, and is lacking in most western diets.  In addition, MCTs are readily used for energy by the body and less likely to be stored as bodyfat compared to other types of fats.

Along with coconut milk and coconut oil as healthy fat choices, we’ve also got coconut flour as a healthier flour option for baking. Coconut flour is an extremely high fiber flour alternative (almost ALL of the carbs in this flour are fiber and not starch!).  Coconut flour is also VERY high in protein compared to most flours and is also gluten free!

Just beware that if you’re going to use coconut flour for baking, it absolutely NEEDS to be mixed with other flours as it sucks up moisture like crazy… I’ve made delicious baked goods by mixing coconut flour with almond flour and quinoa flour in equal parts, and adding slightly more liquid ingredients than the recipe calls for.

3.  Grass-fed (pasture-raised) butter.

Yes, delicious smooth and rich BUTTER (real butter, not deadly margarine!)… It’s delicious, contains loads of healthy nutritional factors, and does NOT have to be avoided in order to get lean.  In fact, I eat a couple pats of grass-fed butter daily and maintain single digit bodyfat most times of the year.

There’s a lot of confusion about this topic… in fact, I just saw a TV show today that was talking about unhealthy foods and one of the first things they showed was butter.  It just shows that the majority of the population has zero idea that butter (grass-fed only!) can actually be a healthy part of your diet.

In fact, there’s even ample evidence that REAL butter can even help you to lose body fat for a couple of main reasons:

   a.  Grass-fed butter is known to have high levels of a healthy fat called CLA, which has been shown to have anti-cancer properties, and also has been shown to help burn abdominal fat and build lean muscle.

   b.  Grass-fed butter also has an ideal balance of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids (unlike conventional grain-fed butter) which helps fight inflammation in your body, and can help balance hormones.

   c.  The healthy fats in grass-fed butter also contain MCTs, which help to boost your immune system and are readily burned by the body for energy.  The healthy fats in grass-fed butter also help to satisfy your appetite and control blood sugar levels, both of which help you to stay lean!

If you have a hard time finding a grass-fed butter at your grocery store, Kerrygold Irish butter is one of my favorites, and even though the label doesn’t clearly state “grass-fed”, the cows are 100% grass-fed on lush green pastures in Ireland. It’s one of the richest butters in color that I’ve seen, which indicates high levels of carotenoids.

4.  Whole Eggs, including the yolk (not just egg whites).

Most people know that eggs are one of the highest quality sources of protein.  However, most people don’t know that the egg yolks are the healthiest part of the egg… that’s where almost all of the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants (such as lutein) are found in eggs.

In fact, the egg yolks contain more than 90% of the calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, thiamin, B6, folate, and B12, and panthothenic acid of the egg. In addition, the yolks contain ALL of the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K in the egg, as well as ALL of the essential fatty acids.  Also, the protein of whole eggs is more bio-available than egg whites alone due to a more balanced amino acid profile that the yolks help to build.

Just make sure to choose free-range organic eggs instead of normal grocery store eggs.  Similar to the grass-fed beef scenerio, the nutrient content of the eggs and the balance between healthy omega-3 fatty acids and inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids (in excess) is controlled by the diet of the hens.

Chickens that are allowed to roam free outside and eat a more natural diet will give you healthier, more nutrient-rich eggs with a healthier fat balance compared with your typical grocery store eggs (that came from chickens fed nothing but soy and corn and crowded inside “egg factories” all day long).

If you want more details on eggs, here is an article that details more about why egg yolks are BETTER for you than egg whites.

5.  Grass-fed beef or bison (NOT the typical grocery store beef!).

I know most people think that red meat is unhealthy for you, but that’s because they do not understand how the health of the animal affects how healthy the meat is for consumption.  Keep this in mind — “an unhealthy animal provides unhealthy meat, but a healthy animal provides healthy meat”.

Typical beef or bison that you see at the grocery store is raised on grains, mainly corn (and to some extent, soybeans). Soy and corn are NOT the natural diet of cattle or bison, and therefore changes the chemical balance of fats and other nutrients in the beef or bison.  Grain-fed beef and bison is typically WAY too high in omega-6 fats and WAY too low in omega-3 fats.  In addition, the practice of feeding cattle corn and soy as the main portion of their diet upsets their digestive system and makes them sick… and it also increases the amount of dangerous e-coli in the meat.  This is not the case with grass-fed meat.

On the other hand, grass-fed beef from cattle and buffalo (or bison) that were raised on the type of natural foods that they were meant to eat in nature (grass and other forage), have much higher levels of healthy omega-3 fats and lower levels of inflammatory omega-6 fats (that most people already eat way too much of) compared to grain fed beef or bison.

Grass fed meats also typically contain up to 3 times the Vitamin E as in grain fed meats.

In addition, grass-fed meat from healthy cattle or bison also contain a special healthy fat called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in MUCH higher levels than grain-fed meat.  CLA has been proven in scientific studies in recent years to help in burning fat and building lean muscle (which can help you lose weight!).  These benefits are on top of the fact that grass-fed meats are some of the highest quality proteins that you can possibly eat… and this also aids in burning fat and building lean muscle.

Grass-fed meats are a little harder to find, but just ask your butcher or find a specialty grocery store and they usually have cuts available.

6.  Avocados.

Even though avocados are typically thought of as a “fatty food”, they are chock full of healthy fats!  Not only is this fruit (yes, surprisingly, avocados are actually a fruit) super-high in monounsaturated fat, but also chock full of vitamins, minerals, micro-nutrients, and antioxidants.

Also, guacamole (mashed avocados with garlic, onion, tomato, pepper, etc) is one of the most delicious food toppings ever created, and you can be happy to know that it’s also one of the healthiest toppings you can use on your foods.

Try sliced avocados or guacamole on sandwiches, burgers, eggs or omelets, on salads or with fish, or as a delicious side to just about any meal.

The quality dose of healthy fats, fiber, and micronutrients that you get from avocados helps your body to maintain proper levels of hormones that help with fat loss and muscle building.  Also, since avocados are an extremely satiating food, eating them helps to reduce your appetite in the hours after your meal.  Say goodbye to junk food cravings and bring on that fat burning!  I personally eat anywhere from a half to a full avocado DAILY and it only helps to keep me lean.

7.  Nuts:  Walnuts, Almonds, Pistachios, Pecans, Brazil Nuts, Macadamias, etc.

Yes, this is yet another “fatty food” that can actually help you burn belly fat!  Although nuts are generally between 75-90% fat in terms of a ratio of fat calories to total calories, this is another type of food that is all healthy fats, along with high levels of micronutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.  Nuts are also a good source of fiber and protein, which of course, you know helps to control blood sugar and can aid in fat loss.

Nuts also help to maintain good levels of fat burning hormones in your body (adequate healthy fat intake is vitally important to hormone balance) as well as helping to control appetite and cravings so that you essentially eat less calories overall, even though you’re consuming a high-fat food.  My favorite healthy nuts are pecans, pistachios, almonds, macadamias, and walnuts, and by eating them in variety, you help to broaden the types of vitamins and minerals and also the balance of polyunsaturated to monounsaturated fats you obtain.

Try to find raw nuts instead of roasted nuts if you can, as it helps to maintain the quality and nutritional content of the healthy fats that you will eat.

Also, try to broaden your horizons beyond the typical peanut butter that most people eat, and try almond butter, cashew butter, pecan butter, or macadamia butter to add variety to your diet.

One of the little “tricks” that I’ve used with clients when trying to cut down body fat is to have them eat a handful of nuts such as almonds or pecans about 20 minutes before lunch and dinner.  This ends up being a perfect time to control your appetite before lunch or dinner and helps you to eat less overall calories on that meal.

Why choose high protein snacks?

Protein is an important nutrient in the body for a number of reasons, including providing essential amino acids required for building new cells in the body.  Protein is a component of every cell and hair and nails are made almost completely from protein.

The body does not store protein as it does other macronutrients such as carbohydrates, so we need to eat it to provide the building blocks for enzymes, hormones, bones, skin, blood and muscle cells.

A good level of protein is especially important when you are dieting or undertaking an intensive training regime to ensure that muscle mass is not lost.  If you are not eating a sufficient amount of protein and your stores of carbohydrates are depleted, muscle may be burnt as a source of fuel, leading to loss of muscle mass.  This loss of muscles makes you weaker and more prone to injury.

Eating a diet high in protein is thought to promote satiety and help to keep blood sugar levels constant.  There is also some suggestion that a high protein diet may be effective in reducing risk of some lifestyle diseases such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes, however it is important to note that best effects were usually seen with strict calorie controlled diets that were also low in unhealthy fats.

By snacking on healthy, high protein foods, you may find you are less hungry and therefore less tempted to reach for unhealthy snacks or over eat at meal times thus resulting in fewer calories consumed and possible weight loss.

If you do not normally eat much protein in your diet, snacks are a good way to ensure you meet your requirements and may help those who are very active to maintain muscle and build strength.

After a tough workout, a snack that is high in protein and low GI carbohydrates may be the best option for recovery and to keep blood sugar levels stable (see also: healthy post workout snacks)

How much protein is required?

The US department of health and human services recommends that women consume about 5 ounces of protein per day, although six may be more appropriate for very active women.

Most people easily meet protein requirements daily, although vegetarians and vegans may have more trouble eating this amount.

Healthy High Protein Snack Ideas

 1. Nuts and seeds

Peanuts on PlateThese make the perfect snack on the run as they are easily transportable and keep well.  A small box of these in the car or on your desk at the office makes a quick and easy, yet satisfying snack.

Nuts and seeds are packed full of nutrients and high in healthy fats as well as proteins, making them a nutritious treat.  Unfortunately, nuts and seeds are high in calories due to their high fat content, so it is important to keep serving sizes small, particularly if you are watching your weight.

A small handful should be enough to keep you going without providing too much energy.

For the healthiest snack, choose nuts that are raw and unsalted, as roasted varieties tend to be higher in fat and very salty ones often leave you craving more.  For a balanced post workout snack, add a few pieces of dried fruit for carbohydrates and variety.

2. Yogurt

greek-yogurtHigh in calcium, vitamin D and protein, yogurt can help to maintain healthy bones as well as make a tasty, nutritious snack.  Women are particularly at risk of osteoporosis later in life, so a good calcium intake is vital.

Low fat varieties are the lowest in saturated fats, however may be higher in sugar and therefore calories than normal varieties.  A low fat natural or Greek yogurt is the best option, but check labels to be sure as these can vary from brand to brand.

Top with a little muesli, nuts, seeds or fruit for a more substantial snack.

3. Low fat milk

glass-low-fat-milkOnce again high in calcium as well as protein, milk makes a versatile base for many different high protein snacks.  Try blending with fresh or frozen fruit for a healthy smoothie, or adding a little cocoa for a warming drink that fills you up.

Soy or almond milk makes a good alternative if you do not drink milk.  Always choose low fat varieties for the least saturated fat.

 

4. Tuna fish

canned-tunaCanned Tuna and any other fish in a can make an ideal high protein snack.  Serve on whole grain crackers or in a salad for added vitamins and minerals or buy snack sized tins with added flavours such as sweet chilli or lemon pepper for a more convenient snack on the go and eat with a fork.

For the lowest calorie option, choose fish packed in water.  If you are not concerned about calories, those canned in extra virgin olive oil add some extra healthy fat.

5. Eggs

eggsEggs may have gotten bad press in the past, but they are currently endorsed as a healthy food that can be eaten daily and they are certainly packed full of nutrition as well as protein.

A hard-boiled egg makes a more transportable snack, or poach on whole grain toast with spinach for a more substantial snack or meal.

 

6. Legumes

LegumesChickpeas, lentils and beans are all good sources of protein, especially for vegetarians.  They are also high in other nutrients, particularly fibre which is important for bowel health.  Dips made with beans or chick peas such as hummus with vegetables or whole grain crackers make an ideal snack, or try dried varieties.

Be aware though that some flavoured and fried varieties can have as much fat and salt as potato chips, meaning they are not a healthy choice.

 

7. Nut butters

nut-butterA spread of nut butter on crackers or even fruit or vegetables can add protein to a snack that is normally low in this nutrient.

Peanut or almond butter make a nice topping for celery, apple or banana slices or can even be eaten by the spoonful.

 

 

 

8. Cheese

cheeseCheese is an excellent source of protein, but hard cheeses are generally high in saturated fat, so soft white cheeses make a better option from this perspective.  Unfortunately soft cheeses are generally not as high in calcium, but are a good choice if you have plenty of other calcium sources in your diet.

Spread on crackers or dip fruit and vegetables for a healthy and tasty high protein fix.  Hard cheeses are fine in small quantities, but due to the high saturated fat content, they should not be an everyday food.

Choose stronger flavoured cheeses so you can use less but still get great flavour.

9. Tofu

tofuTofu is a great protein alternative for vegetarians and meat eaters alike.  Low in fat and high in isoflavones, which are thought to have health benefits particularly for women.

Marinated tofu makes for more interesting flavour, but remember that fried varieties may be higher in fat and calories.  Plain tofu stir-fried with a few veggies makes a more filling snack.

 

 

10. Protein bars

protein-barsWhile there is really not need to spend so much money to get your protein fix, (these are normally expensive), there is no doubt they are convenient on the run and may also contain other valuable nutrients.

Sufficient protein can easily be obtained from natural foods; however, the occasional bar is probably a better choice than a high sugar product such as granola bars.

 

Can you leave food on your plate?

Growing up, you probably got the same speel from your parents as I got. “you can’t leave the table until you have finished everything on your plate”, or worse still, “Finish your dinner or NO DESERT!”.

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This works well when you are a kid, but now that we are all grown up, we can’t be afraid to leave food on our plates. The key here is to know when you are full, and to stop eating. If that means you still have food on your plate, so be it. It is not the end of the world (as your mother may have made you think). Food can always be put into the refrigerator for another time.  Here are a couple of tips to help you to stop eating when you have had enough to eat: 1.       Serve yourself a smaller portion. 2.       Don’t go back for seconds. 3.       If you’re at a restaurant, don’t use the excuse that you paid for it so should finish it. 4.       Don’t eat as if it is your last meal. You will eat again, so there is no need to gorge yourself on food now. 5.       Get out of the habit of feeling “stuffed” at the end of a meal. When you get this feeling, it means you have over eaten. We want to eliminate this feeling all together!  Good luck and happy weight loss

Building an achievable fitness plan

The most important first step to becoming fit is making a workable fitness plan, otherwise it’s too easy to lose focus. Try asking yourself these five questions below and make sure you answer them completely honestly:

Building an achievable fitness plan

1. What are my bad health habits?

Your answers might be poor eating, having too many snacks or sitting down for too many hours…

2. Where do you rate yourself on a scale of 1-10?

One being completely out of shape – breathing heavily while doing daily tasks – and 10 being perfect fitness.

3. How much time do you currently dedicate to exercise or activity each week?

And is it enough?  Would you like to be more fit and do you want to have more energy?

4. What three fitness activities do you most enjoy? 

Be honest – do you like walking, exercise classes or simply playing outdoors with your kids?  Don’t hold back from putting something more adventurous down as a bonus answer  – you can work up to high-powered activities as you build your fitness.

5.  What roadblocks have caused you to lose focus in the past?

Maybe you’ve stopped exercising because you’ve become busy at work, or your routine was interrupted and you didn’t get back into fitness.  Put down anything that derailed your plans.

Now let’s use your answers to make a fitness plan

You can decide to fix just one thing at a time so that you don’t overwhelm yourself.  Let’s go through your answers and build a fitness plan you can stick to all year.  You don’t need to aim too high – right now, we just want to improve on where you are now.

Overcoming bad habits

If you eat unhealthily then you should focus on making your next meal more healthy because you can’t change what you’ve eaten in the past but you can make sure your next meal meets all your nutritional needs.  Approach fitness in the same way: focus on your current or next workout and do the best you can. Decide right now when you are going to do an activity… or even go and grab your running shoes and prepare for an activity session as soon as you finish reading this!

Your fitness rating

It’s good to know where you are – but you also need to think about where you want to be.  I’d like you to aim for two points higher than your current number.  So,  if you rate a five then your fitness plan should slowly take you up to a seven. And, if you’re already at level 10 then I know you’re ready for any challenge but maybe you could diversify?  Think about whether there are any areas you could further develop or learn to love more?

Your exercise routine

If you want to give more time in your life to exercise then try to increase your exercise habits by 10 minutes per week until you reach at least 30 minutes of activity a day.  Exercise doesn’t have to be daunting: if you currently sit down in an office for long periods then promise yourself that you’ll go and visit a colleague instead of emailing at least twice each day.  Or, plan a walk straight after work – even if you only go around the block then at least you’re out and about.  As you build your fitness plan, you’ll soon see that adding 10 minutes of activity here and there can make your day more fun and that has to be better than thinking of exercise as a chore.

Choosing an activity

You can start out by only doing the activities on your list – the ones you listed in answer to question four. The start of your fitness plan is not a good time to try new types of exercise, so focus on your favorites – they’ll help you feel confident and comfortable for the first few weeks.  Activities like walking, jogging and body-weight exercises are a great way to start out. I love the phrase: “don’t run before you can walk” because a slow and steady approach builds results that will last.

Avoiding roadblocks

If you find yourself always stumbling because of one particular obstacle then avoid it!  It sounds simple I know, but if you always plan early morning workouts but you can’t get out of bed then consider lunchtime or evening sessions.  You know yourself and your fitness plan needs to be tailored to who you are so, don’t pledge to do something that you won’t enjoy because then you’re less likely to succeed.

Finalizing your fitness plan

Now you should have everything you need to create a fitness plan that meets your needs.  You know what you want to achieve, how you what to achieve it and why.  You even know what might knock you off course.  With your fitness plan, be kind to yourself and choose an easier route that you know you will be happy navigating over the long term.

Once you have gathered all your thoughts, why not write them out clearly? For me, transferring my thoughts to paper helps to make them concrete – and if I have my goals written down, I know I can’t ignore them. Place your fitness plan somewhere prominent to remind you of your starting point and your aims.  I recommend sticking it on the fridge because keeping it visible will help to keep you motivated.  I also always keep an exercise journal because it’s a great way to track my progress and, when it works, you want to be able to remember how you did it.

Are You Facing A Weight loss plateau?

Have you hit a weight loss plateau? Has your fitness plan stalled and you don’t feel you’ll reach your goals?  Don’t worry, you’re not alone. I can help you power back up and start seeing results again.

Weight loss plateau

 

If you ever feel that you are doing everything just right with your fitness and nutrition plan but your results don’t seem to represent all of your hard work then I have a simple but effective piece of advice. Hitting a fitness or weight loss plateau is a very common problem in the world of sports performance and general weight loss. There are many theories on why our bodies sometimes hit a temporary yet frustrating roadblock but, by thinking outside the box, you can power through the frustration and start seeing results again. Keep on reading and you may be surprised at just how easy it can be to jump-start your flat-lined results.

All you need to do is take a few days rest in order to kick start your results.  Honestly – I’m not crazy or cracking one of my usual jokes – you need to do something really different to put body back on track and move past your fitness or weight loss plateau. I believe that if you’re ready to break free from a weight loss plateau or prevent yourself from hitting a future roadblock then a good rest may just be the magic ingredient you need.

Being consistent with your activity level and nutrition plan is an important strategy when it comes to sports performance, weight loss and fitness but have you ever heard the old saying that “too much of a good thing can be a bad thing”?  In my opinion this saying is especially true when it comes to overexerting your body. Pushing your body to the point of exhaustion can spell disaster for your fitness level and weight loss goals. A plateau can happen at any point if you don’t schedule some quality down time into your program.

Three great reasons to rest your body

Here are my good reasons why a rest is sometimes more beneficial than a training session.

  • Avoid fatigue

Your body needs to re-generate, restore and repair itself often. The most effective way for your body to naturally heal itself is for you to rest. Overworked muscles and over-stressed joints just don’t perform as well and luckily our body lets us know when our muscles are overworked.  Your pain receptors will make movements uncomfortable and your joints can become tender when you push your body too hard. The nervous system also needs time to rest in order to adapt and improve from training.

Always listen to your body and rest if you are sore.

  • Natural Cycle

Athletes train in cycles for a reason, the timing of training may vary from athlete to athlete but one common factor in every athlete’s training program are pre-planned rest days. One of the main reasons athletes rest is to avoid fatigue, but resting the body also helps athletes avoid common overuse or stress injuries. Many athletes notice an improved general performance after taking time off from training.

A well-rested body will get better results than a tired one.

  • Spark Excitement

If you are putting your body through the motions day after day, you can become complacent and your exercise intensity is likely to drop without you even realizing.

Have you ever seen a dog that hasn’t been walked for a few days? As soon as the dog goes out, it’s like a whole new world and they are just so excited. Well, it can be the same for humans when we’re working out.Taking a day or two off from your current workout routine can make you come back to the gym with a renewed commitment and excited approach.

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There could be many factors that impact your results but if over-training is one of them it is easy to fix with a simple day or two of rest. My goal is to help you discover ways to improve your current fitness level and emphasize that you should to listen to your body. We are all individuals and our bodies adapt at our own personal rate: giving your body adequate rest so it can be strong for your next workout is a smart approach to achieving sustainable results.

You only have one body so use it wisely.

Although I am encouraging you to add a few rest days into your intense training weeks, this is not an excuse for you to sit on the couch and do nothing all the time! A simple change of routine or incorporating activities that are at a lower intensity such as a gentle walk or swim are acceptable rest day activities.  Occasionally my family enjoys a ‘duvet day’ where we sit back, relax and read or watch movies.  We’re usually active and we like getting out and about but now and then it’s good for everyone to recharge.

I know that taking a rest definitely improves my performance and helps me reach the next fitness level.  So, aim for one or two rest days a week but keep your completely inactive couch days to a few times a year!

Getting Active …

So often when people hear the term ‘active’ it brings on a feeling of dread!

People imagine having to dedicate hours to insane workouts or worse, they might think of extreme sports that they’d hate like, perhaps, skateboarding and skydiving. I think this is because the term ‘active’ can have so many meanings.  We hear the word being used in commercials with a visual of a man diving off a building and the tag line “Active men use this deodorant” and it sets an expectation about what ‘active’ really means.

Some people think you have to be skinny to be active. Again this is because the media often uses the term ‘active’ while showing incredibly toned bodies with 6 pack abs. Subconsciously, this can make us associate an active lifestyle with too much hard work and danger. So if you, like so many others, find yourself saying “I’m not cut out for this active lifestyle thing” let me try and change your mind.

The perils of our modern lifestyle

The modern world of technology and advanced transport has changed the way we live. We often spend far too much time sitting at a desk staring at a screen. And, it’s a sign of the times that many people go straight from front door, to car, to parking lot.  Then they ride the elevator up to their offices, often with no fresh air in between leaving the house and arriving in the office.

Being active doesn’t take much; adding a walk around the block or even to a colleague’s desk can at least get you up and out of your chair.  I always like see how people mix up their commutes by adding a walk, climbing the stairs or even cycling if they’re feeling courageous.

Talking of bikes, have you seen the ’push bikes’ that now have engines on the back?  Or the little motorized scooters?  I bet that no one dreamed how popular these would become back in the 1990s…

Technology is wonderful but it has made us a little lazy. Just because you can sit on a bike and let it propel you to your destination, it may not be the best choice for your body especially if you want to stay healthy.

Find your own ‘active’

Find your own ‘active’, Samantha Clayton, Discover Good Fitness

The truth is that if you are not sleeping or sitting still, then you are being active.  Even fidgeting counts as activity and helps you burn calories!

Finding the level of activity that is right for your body is the best piece of advice I can give you.  Increasing your activity level can be as simple as taking a midday stroll or as dramatic as training for a marathon. Once you make a commitment to increasing your activity level, guess what? Every few weeks your body will adapt and you may be inspired to take it to the next level.

In my world the meaning of ‘active’ changes every day.  Some days it’s riding real bikes around the yard with my kids and other days it’s an extreme mountain trail adventure… Both are active, both are enjoyable and both are fun!

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Getting on the activity ladder is often the biggest step of all, but now that you know that being active does not have to mean skydiving and high intensity workouts, you may be ready to start climbing up your ladder to a more active life.