We’ve Got This!

We may have never met, but I am here for you! Life can be crazy sometimes. Finding the strength to continue on your with fitness and healthy lifestyle goals can be difficult. Let’s all help lift each other up. When you see someone struggling, offer to help them. That little bit of encouragement that cost you nothing, could prove to be a monumental positive influence in someone’s life.

Transform Your Routine

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One of the hardest things about getting in shape or creating a healthy lifestyle is changing your routine and exchanging bad habits for good habits. Humans are very much creatures of habits. We fall into routines that we are comfortable with rarely veer off course. We wake up at the same time most days. We go to the same coffee or lunch spots. We go to the same stores, websites, and entertainment areas. Now, there is nothing wrong with having routines. The problem occurs when those routines are detrimental to our health and fitness. We fall into these bad habits because they are easy (fast food) or convenient. These bad habits start to form and it make it harder and harder to get out of the routine and into good habits. Another issue with routines is that we find our comfort zone. We are attracted to things that seem easy because life can be hard and having  something easy in our daily life provides us a nice break from our hectic lifestyles. Unfortunately, in order to see change and improvement we need to get out of our comfort zones.

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One of my favorite pieces of advice is “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.” It is a piece of advice I received when I was learning about stand up comedy and how we can apply the techniques to our everyday lives. Another piece of advice you’ll see a lot of is “Success begins at the end of your comfort zone.” Both of these quotes are spot on. The first step in changing up your routine is acknowledging there is an issue and you need to change something. The next step is to address these issues by finding ways to change them. This is where stepping outside of your comfort zone comes into play. You need to be willing to see beyond your boundaries and believe that you are capable reaching your goals through these changes.

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Once you have taken these steps, you are on your way a better version of yourself. The next step is to acknowledge that it will take time to change your routines and results will not occur over night. My recommendation is to set a goal of 3-4 weeks of consistent, throughout planning. Pick a habit you want to change and then plan on enforcing that change everyday for the next 3-4 weeks. One example would be a healthy eating goal and you decide to cut out all fried food for that time. Really focus and make sure you stick to these goal. There are a lot of studies out there that say 21 days, 28 days, 66 days, 124 days, and so one are needed to set new routines. Honestly, it comes down to each unique individual. The reason I recommend 3-4 weeks is because it a short-term goal that is manageable. Once you successfully hit the goal, you will look back on the last month and realize that you do not need that old routine or habit anymore. Then the next time you get a craving or urge to fall back into the back habit (like the example of eating fried food) you will have the mindset and mentality to know that you do not need or want that bad habit in your life.

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Now setting these new routines will not be easy. Getting out of the comfort zone and making changes takes a lot of courage. My recommendation and advice to helping you stick with these routine changes is to Remember Your Why. Remember why you started. Remember that idea that was in your head about how your life will improve if you stick with the changes. It can be extremely tough to stay motivated and remember these reasons, so a useful tip would to them down on some post-it notes and stick them to your bathroom mirror and the wall next to your front door. This way you are reminded everyday of why you started this journey when you get ready to leave the house or get ready for bed.

28 Day Clean Eating Challenge:

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Below is simple clean eating challenge that help you set a new healthy routine. It focuses on cutting out unnecessary calories and processed foods, while replacing them with natural and beneficial foods. If you do not feel that you can follow everything in each category, then pick and choose 1-2 items from each to follow. Starting off with a subtle change will help show you that you can achieve your goals. After you complete this challenge, you can then focus on cutting out more items that are unhealthy. Doing these small over time will lead to growth in your confidence that will allow you to continue to push your comfort zones.

Goal Achieved! Now What?

This is a bit of a #HumbleBrag post. Last year I decided that my New Year Resolution was to be more consistent with my running routine and to help raise more money for charity. I successfully ran more miles than any year prior and did it on a consistent basis. One of the main reasons I was able to achieve this goal was because I joined the Hogwarts Running Club. You can see my previous post about how virtual running clubs can help you achieve your goals, here.

Last year I tracked 635 miles on the charity miles app. That equates to $158.75 donated to Stand Up To Cancer simply because I used the app to track my miles as I ran. All of these miles I put in throughout the year also counted to the Hogwarts Running Club house cup. That was a little motivation to continue to get in miles week in and week out. I knew that running, even just a few miles, was helping out the team.

Throughout the year I also joined in on all the Hogwarts running club events and achieved #PerfectPrefect status. There were 6 virtual race, varying in distances, and a challenge event. All of these cost $25, with $20 of those entry fees going to charities. The charities that the club worked with last year were US Quidditch,  Limbs For Life, To Write Love On Her Arms, The Harry Potter Alliance, Mission K9 Rescue, Back On My Feet, and Antarctica South. All the names listed below were part of the Hufflepuff house team that I was on and were also perfect prefects. Between all of us we helped raised a combined $506,546.60 for these charities! On top of all these races, I also donated some race fees to the Luna Fund. That is a fund that allows runners, who cannot afford the registration fee, to sign up and partake in the festivities.

Perfect Prefect 2017

So I hit my goal last year, now what?! Keep going! This year I am continuing my moment and looking to hit a new goal. I’ve preregistered for all of these Virtual Races and will be a perfect prefect again in 2018. My new goal for this year is to hit 1000 Charity Miles. I’ve signed up for the 1000 Mile Challenge through I Love To Run and I’m already on a good pace to achieve the goal. It seems like a lot of miles, but when broken down, it comes out to roughly 2.7 miles per day. This should not be a problem for me as the shortest distance I run is 3 miles. The tricky part will be making sure to stay consistent throughout the entire year. I’m using a wall calendar and a running journey to help track my progress and keep me on pace. The key to hitting goals is to keep them attainable and to make sure you have a solid plan.

Transformation Tuesday: 5 Motivational Quotes

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———- Work Hard and never give up! Earn everything ———-

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———- Motivation will fade — Remember your why ———-

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———- Change is the key to success ———-

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———- You control where you end up. What path will you take? ———

———- Believe in yourself. You are worth it ———-

Workout Wednesday: Motivation

Here is a little motivational quote to get you through your workout today. It’s the middle of the week and you may be starting to feel your motivation slip and feeling tired from work or school. Attack the day and get that workout in! Remember, the only person you are competing against is the person you were yesterday. Your goal everyday is to improve and be better than you used to be.

 

Treat Yo Self: Fitness Style

Treat. Yo. Self. —- Take some advice from Donna and Tom from Parks And Rec. Spoil yourself. You deserve it.

Working out, sticking to your fitness plan, and getting after your goals can be extremely exhausting. You will have your ups and your downs. You’ll see results come when you do not expect them and there will be times when you expect results but have hit a plateau. Even when you expect this to happen, it can become frustration and you may find that you lack motivation to continue. This is where treating yourself comes in handy. Buy yourself something awesome when you hit that plateau, start to lack motivation, or hit a substantial goal. Some of the best motivation you can find to keep going in your fitness journey is buying yourself some new workout clothes or accessories.

Losing Motivation?

Anytime I feel down on my progress or feel my motivation slipping, I buy something small that I can use in my workouts. Typically, I’ll buy a new shirt, shorts, headband, gloves, socks or just something else that I can wear on most of my workouts. The concept here is that when you get something new, you will want to wear them. This is a little added motivation to get out and hit that next workout. It’s a great way to jump start a new workout streak, try some new workouts, or fit through that tired feeling you have.

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Hit a small fitness goal?

Reward yourself for small fitness goals that you hit. Just like how dogs earn treats when they do something good or learn new tricks, you should get a reward for your hard work too. These rewards can be something a little more expensive or something that you’ve been wanting to buy for awhile but haven’t pulled the trigger yet. Some of my favorite things to purchase are new race entries. If you are a runner, you know races can become expensive. One reason I love this idea as a treat is because it gives you something to look forward to completely and will help you stay on track with your fitness goals. The other item I like to get is a new pair of running or cross training shoes. You will need to replace your shoes as some point anyways, so might as well pick up a new pair with a new colorway and hold onto them until your current shoes where through. Having those shoes waiting for you will keep you excited to keep training and earn the right to where them down the road.

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Achieved that big fitness goal you’ve been trying to reach for years? TREAT. YO. SELF.

I recently hit my goal of moving my VO2 Max Score from “Very Good” to “Excellent” on my Fitbit App. I had been working on this by increasing the frequency/consistency of my workouts. Mixing up aerobic and anaerobic exercise and it’s slowing increased. I like this measure better than weight because your weight can spike or plunge at anytime and doesn’t have much impact on your overall fitness. So what did I do to treat myself? I bought two new pairs of running shoes and running pants. Things that I need and will use for a long time, but are not cheap. I can’t wait to break them out and keep pushing myself.

Some other items that are great to get when you achieve these massive fitness goals are Bluetooth headphones, new fitness watch/smart wearable, or gym equipment. These are big ticket items that are not cheap, that you’ve been wanting to buy for some time, and can finally have a reason to get them. If you don’t need or want anything new for working out, then treat yourself to something else. Go on a vacation. Go to the spa and get a massage. Go get a Mani-Pedi. Buy yourself something new for your kitchen or house. TREAT YO SELF to something you wouldn’t normally get. You’ve earned it and you deserve it!

*\ Hogwarts Running Club /*

It’s that time of year again! New year starts and your fitness resolutions are going strong. You are hitting the gym, trails, or paths and getting in your workouts. Unfortunately, sooner or later you will most likely run low on motivation and most likely quit your new years resolution. Statistically speaking, only 8% of people will successfully follow through on their New Year Resolutions. So the question here is how do you make sure that you are part of that 8% of people who succeed? One way I’ve found success sticking to my fitness and running goals is by joining virtual running clubs. Our lives are always busy and it’s very easy to find excuses to skip workouts or meet ups. Virtual running clubs are a great way to be part of a motivational community while being able to do your workouts on your own time, when it fits your schedule. A few recommendations would be: Virtual Running Club, I Love To Run, Geek’d Out Running Club, Whovian Running Club, and Chilton Running club. All of these are great options, but my favorite one and the one I’m going to focus on is the Hogwarts Running Club!

Last year I joined the Hogwarts Running Club with the goal to run more consistently and it absolutely worked! I feel in love with running a few years back when I was in college and I found it increasingly difficult to consistently find time to run now that I had a fulltime job. I kept coming up with excuses like I’m too busy, too tired, the weather isn’t great, etc. Sound familiar? We’ve all been there. The Hogwarts Running club is amazing because it’s not something you are doing on your own. You have house teams for support and motivation while also competing against houses and earning money for charities. Here is how it works:

The Virtual Races:

The Hogwarts Running club has 6 virtual races throughout the year. They are all Harry Potter Themed, so you can get your nerd on while running! These are very simple. They open up registration throughout the year for each race. You simply sign up for a small registration fee and they will mail you the race medal. All you need to do is run/walk the miles for the race. They can be completed all at once or spread out over a few days if the distance is to far. The medals are all amazing and definitely worth adding to the collection, but the best part of this running club is the registration fees are donated to a different charity for each race. Some Charities that the Hogwarts Running Club worked with last year were To Write Love On Her Arms and Back On My Feet.

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Mad-Eye Moody Constant Vigilance 5K – 2017

The House Cup:

In addition to these virtual runs that go on throughout the year, the House Cup is really a great way to keep all the members motivated to run throughout the year and not just during the virtual races. How the house cup works is you download the App Charity Miles and join the house team (Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, Slytherin) that you will be competing with throughout the year. I’m a little biased but I’d say team HRC18HUFFLEPUFF is the best! We might not win every week, but we definitely have the most fun. The house cup is a weekly competition that compares the 4 Harry Potter House Teams on Charity Miles and points are awarded based on how many miles each team put in that week. This is a really cool feature that, if you follow along regularly, can help you stay competitive and motivated.

Hogwarts Express – Platform 9 3/4K – 2017

Facebook Community Rooms:

The other great feature of this virtual running club community is that each house has a dedicated closed Facebook group. These groups are meant to be community for those with like minds to help motivate each other, ask questions without being judged, share funny memes and photos, and basically anything that is related to Harry Potter and Running. One thing that is great is that you will most likely identify with a specific house group and when you join that group, you will have thousands of like-minded people to help motivate you. I’m a Hufflepuff and absolutely love the community page. It’s full of fun people who are all trying to help each other stay motived, share their struggles, and post recipes of their favorite cookies! Each House group is different and I would recommend checking out Pottermore to get sorted into your house.

The main reason I like this virtual running club so much (besides the fact I’m a huge Harry Potter fan) is that you can do one part of the running club are all of it. It’s up to you and what you feel is the best for you. If Harry Potter is not your thing…….that is totally fine. I would recommend searching for other virtual running clubs out there that fit more of your interests and can help you reach your New Year Resolutions.

If you have any virtual running clubs that you are a part of that I didn’t mention, I’d love to hear more about them! Feel free to leave a comment and tell me more!

Embracing Change and Fear

The New Year is here and you, me, and everyone else out there is busy setting New Year Resolutions and getting after it! Whether your resolution is about getting healthier, working out, reading, cooking, or socializing more, you are planning on doing something that will require a change in your life. The end of the year is a great time to reflect on where your life has been going and what you want to improve on in the future. Reflection and change are necessary for a happy and successful life, but they can be the hardest things to do.

Those New Years Resolutions that you’ve set are there because you’ve identified areas in your life that you want to make improvements on. These improvements may be areas that you are happy with but want to get more involved with, or they can be negative aspects you want to change. Either way, you need to make change and with change comes uncertainty and the need to leave your comfort zone.

Change and uncertainty can be scaring for a lot of different reasons, but stepping outside your comfort zone is necessary when making changes in your life. So here are a two helpful tips and ideas to help you face those fears, embrace change and make 2018 your best year yet!

  1. Breaking Habits and Setting Routines Takes 21 days

This is typically a rule you’ll see when you are looking up information about quitting smoking, better eating habits, or working out more. By the end of the three weeks you will see that your cravings for old habits are all but gone. You will still have some urge to go back to the previous habits, but you have the recent memory (Recency Bias) of the good habits and that will help carry you through the resolution for the following months and years. Key tip here: Dive head first and all in to that resolution!

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FEAR Has Two Meanings

2. FEAR Can Have Two Meanings

The biggest obstacles that people run into when trying to make change is being afraid. There are many reasons for someone to fear change, but all the reasons have one thing in common. They are based in our minds and halt us in our place. I am someone who battles anxiety everyday, so I am very familiar with this experience. One of the thoughts that really help me embrace my fears and not be controlled by my anxiety is the following: FEAR has two meanings. Forgot Everything And Run or Face Everything And Rise. Our fears are often based on uncertainty and our mind trying to make excuses for us. Getting outside your comfort zone is key to change and success. Face those fears and embrace the change!

 

Recovery Tip: Ice or Heat an Injury

Should we ice or heat to recover from an injury? This is a question that all athletes and trainers have been asking for a long time. If you have ever seen the great 90’s movie, Rookie Of The Year, you know that some people have an interesting take on the recovery approach….Now we all know heating up ice cubes is ridiculous and won’t work, but Icy Hot products are one of the most popular recovery products in the market. They are great for aches and pains, but there are some injuries where heating or icing could actually cause added harm.

Exercising to stay healthy and improve your fitness is always great, but unfortunately at some point you will run into an injury. It’s to be expected when you are trying to push yourself to make improvements to your body and health. Set backs and injuries can be expected when training, but the good thing is that there are plenty of options out there to treat any injury. The bad news is that there is so many options out there that it can be confusing on which ones to use. So instead of trying to pick out the right product at the local pharmacy, let’s get back to the basics.

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When to Ice an injury:

Ice should be used on acute injuries. These are injuries that involve swelling or bruising. Ice is almost always the answer to any fresh injury. It’s primary role is to help slow down and reduce any swelling and inflammation. Examples of injuries to ice:

  • Rolled ankles/joints
  • Freshly pulled muscles
  • Impact injuries (hit by pitch in baseball, tackles in football, etc.)

Always remember, when it comes to icing an injury that you do not forgot the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation).

When to Heat an Injury:

Heat should be applied to injuries that involve tight muscles, spasms, and chronic pain. The key to heating injuries is to improve blood flow and loosen muscles. The key to recovery with heat will be stretching after heating. Here are a few examples of injuries to heat:

  • Back Spasms
  • Lingering pain in muscles (not freshly pulled muscles)
  • Stress Headaches and neck pain

It is important to not mix these up. If you were to switch ice or heat on these injuries, you could be making the injuries worse. Icing a spasm would cause more tightness and pain. Heating a rolled ankle would increase the blood flood to the area and increase the swelling.

Please make sure to go see a Physician for serious or lingering injuries. Major injuries require expert opinions and testing. Icing a torn ACL would be great for pain management and reducing swelling, but you will need surgery. Let’s hope you never have to experience that example or one like it.

Best of luck out there in your path to a fit and health life. Remember that small injuries will occur, but that is no need to quite or give up. Embrace the recovery time and hit the ground running once the pain is manageable or completely gone.

 

 

 

 

Health Tip: Cut The C.R.A.P

Just like how Teri Garr in Young Frankenstein had to PUT…THE CANDLE…BACK, you need to PUT…THE DOUGHNUT…BACK! Seriously, put it back. There is next to no nutritional value in doughnuts, cake, cookies and white bread. They may taste great and that sugary snack can get you from lunch to dinner but it does nothing good for your body.

There are about 1000 different diets and schemes to losing weight, being fit, or just being healthy in general, but the one thing they all have in common is that eating healthy is the key. One of the most common phrases you will hear in the fitness community is “Abs are made in the gym, but revealed in the kitchen” and it is absolutely correct. One of the prime examples of this that has been in the new lately is from Tom Brady. The dude is now 39 years old and in the best shape of his life. While most quarterbacks in the NFL are breaking down on almost every other play, he’s slinging the ball around like guys who has never been hit by a linebacker. The main reason for this is because of an overhaul in his diet. It’s absurdly strict and definitely not recommended for everyone, but the point is that what you put in your body is extremely important and affects everything from your weight to your attitude to your energy levels. If you want to read up more about how Brady keeps dominating the NFL, check out this article from Yahoo.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not perfect when it comes to my diet and eating habits, but I know that the healthier I eat the better I feel. A rule that I like to follow is the 80/20 rule. This just means that the I focus on eating healthy and natural foods 80% of the time and I allow myself to indulge in cheat meals 20% of the time. Now those cheat meals tend to be fries, chips, bread, or chocolate. I’m not going all out with fried food and extra fatty food. One way I focus being healthy is by cutting the C.R.A.P. and eating F.O.O.D!

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Cut the C.R.A.P.

Carbonated Drinks: 

By cutting these out, it means that you’ll be cutting out a lot of sodas and drinks that contain chemicals, sugars, and calories that have no nutritional benefit. These drinks are what are considered empty calories. They may taste great and help curve that sweet tooth, but your body doesn’t need them. When your body doesn’t need calories, it stores them as fat for later. This is why those diet drinks that are so popular do not actually lead to weight loss. Your body sees these chemicals/ingredients and doesn’t need them, so it’ll flush them out or store them for later.

Refined Sugar:

That white bread, white cake, and favorite breakfast cereal is doing nothing for you. Refined sugar has zero nutritional value (fiber, minerals, vitamins) and are extremely high in calories. Cut these out by switching to high fiber breads and oatmeal and you’ll notice how you’ll be more full, more often. That full feeling will lead to eating fewer calories and more weight loss.

Artificial Sweeteners/Alcohol:

Artificial sweeteners are those yellow, blue, pink sugar packs you see people loading up their morning coffee with and is one of the main ingredients in soft drinks. If it’s not natural and needs to be created in a science lab, it’s probably not ideal for your body.

Alcohol is another option here. Beer gut is a real thing. No don’t get me wrong, I love to have beer/wine as much as the next person, but alcohol is processed through the liver as a toxin and signals the body to store fat. So this is something you should definitely cut back on or cut out all together.

Processed Foods:

These foods are ones that have additives that allow the food to not expire or have longer shelf lives. Examples being cereal, fruit snacks, dried fruits, mixed nuts, and microwave popcorn. These are great because you can buy them in bulk and not worry about them expiring before you can eat them. But avoid them as much as possible because the artificial ingredients and additives are terrible for your body. There is great article here that explains more about why exactly you need to avoid these foods.

Consume Real F.O.OD.

Fruits & Vegetables:

There is a reason that health professionals want you eating multiple servings of fruits and vegetables every day. They are loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber that your body needs. Replace those fruit snacks, candy, and sugar snacks with unprocessed and natural food. This simple change will boost your energy in no time. You

Organic and Lean Proteins:

The reason you should focus on these is that they are all natural. You know what you are getting when you are eating these organic and lean proteins. Now I’ll be honest, I don’t eat organic that often because they are expensive. So when I don’t eat organic, I look at the labels that and ingredients. The shorter the ingredient list, the better.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids:

Add these into the diet by eating more fish, specifically salmon. Omega 3s are great because they are anti-inflammatory and will help reduce overall swelling.Not only that, but they can help reduce risks of heart attacks and strokes, they can reduce anxiety and depression, and they can help improve sleep. For a full list of benefits, check out this article.

Drink Water: 

If you think you are drinking enough water, you are not drinking enough water. The majority of the human body is composed of water and is the key to life. By drinking more water you will not only have more energy and feel hungry less often, but your skin will clear up and your body will be flushed of harmful toxins. The recommended amount of water you that you should drink is 1 oz per 2 lb of body weight. So if you weight 150 lbs then you should drink 75 oz of water. Honestly, I think that is nowhere near enough. I’d recommend drinking 1 oz per 1 lb of body weight. I weight 155 so that is  roughly 1.25 gallons. When I’m working out regularly, I’ll definitely hit that amount and never have to worry about dehydration.See the image below for just a few of the great added benefits of drinking more water.

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Now, I know that making all these adjustments at once will be tough but they will absolutely be worth it. If you do not feel like you can completely make these changes at once, then start small and slowly work them into your eating habits. I’d love to hear more about other eating habit changes that you have been making that have been successful. Feel free to comment here  or reach out to my social media pages with details. I always love learning new and different ideas to living a healthier lifestyle.