The Home Gym – Tips for Creating an Effective Workout Space at Home

Gym Vs. Home – What’s Effective?

“For a workout to be effective and beneficial, it must be done in the gym”. 

Okay, let’s just call this what it is -preposterous! Yes, there are certain types of training and strength building that are best accomplished inside of a well-designed gym with a variety of quality equipment available. That said, it is possible to build a quality home gym that supports a decent sweat!  Continue reading “The Home Gym – Tips for Creating an Effective Workout Space at Home”

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An Unprocessed Life – Simple Ways to Live & Eat Clean

Reducing the Complexity

Simplify: A term that means to reduce in complexity or difficulty. However, life is anything but uncomplicated. As individuals, we have certain responsibilities both in our personal and professional lives. We may have a business to run, a degree to complete, a trip to take, children to raise, or any combination of those or similar duties. As a result of the often chaotic nature of life, we look for simple ways to help us manage our time and resources in the most efficient ways possible. One way to “simplify” is by taking advantage of pre-packaged food items at the grocery store. Not only does this help reduce the preparation and cooking time of meals, but it also minimizes the element of meal planning. However, what we gain in time, we often lose in nutritional value and quality. The real question – are we really simplifying our lives by purchasing and consuming food items with a long list of complex ingredients? In other words, do we really know what’s in our food if we didn’t have a hand in its creation? The good news is there are very easy ways to simplify our meals and still keep up with a quick-paced lifestyle.  Continue reading “An Unprocessed Life – Simple Ways to Live & Eat Clean”

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Smart Snacks – Healthy Ways to Power Up for Mental Performance

Fueling Up the Healthy Way

Ready or not, fall is here! Anyone else notice the leaves starting to change? For many of us, this means dusting off the backpack, stocking up on school supplies, packing lunches, and organizing multiple schedules. Getting back in the groove can be a challenge after a leisurely summer season; however, fueling our bodies and our minds with the right nutrients will allow us to successfully tackle this challenge. Continue reading “Smart Snacks – Healthy Ways to Power Up for Mental Performance”

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Personal Training Services: Test Your Knowledge

Personal Trainers – Quality Matters

gym-warmup-1509325-640x480When it comes to our personal health and well-being, we have the right to  expect and receive high quality care and services. Whether it is a dental check-up, an eye-exam, or surgical procedure, the quality of care should never fall short of the expectation of excellence and professionalism. As the health-care consumer, we should all expect that the individual whose services we are seeking is educated, well-practiced, credentialed, and current in his or her professional field. Personal training services  should be no exception.

For individuals looking to improve overall health and reduce their risk profile, hiring a personal trainer or fitness coach is a worthy investment, however, knowing where to find quality services can be challenging and confusing at times. Finding an experienced and educated trainer is not always as easy as walking in to the nearest fitness center or gym. Continue reading “Personal Training Services: Test Your Knowledge”

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Think Your Drink – When to Choose Water over A Sports Drink

Think Your Drink

When it comes to hydrating purposes, what’s better – water or sports drinks? This question often arises when it comes to choosing what to drink during practice or athletic competition. Sports drinks are extremely popular thirst quenchers and training aides. Depending on the brand, a sports drink typically contains a form of simple carbohydrates (sugars), potassium and sodium (electrolytes), and water – all necessary elements for sustained, high intensity activity. Water hydrates; electrolytes enhance the absorption of water and glucose and assist in maintaining blood volume; carbohydrates provide energy for activity. All great substances, but there’s a caveat.  Continue reading “Think Your Drink – When to Choose Water over A Sports Drink”

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Beat Back to School Blues

Where did summer go?!

Wow – how is it August already? I feel like I missed a few months! As summer winds down, our kiddos (and even some of us) have to face to reality of heading back to school, can present serious challenges for many kids and parents.

As signs of autumn begin to appear, it is easy to think “good bye pexels-photosummer; hello tight schedules and stacks of homework.” But summer coming to a close doesn’t have to be a sorrowful event. Yes, the days are shorter and the morning air greets us with a cool crispness. However, this time of year is also a symbol of the start of something new and fresh. We can welcome its presence and still hold on to the joys of summer. As you prepare for the start of a new school year, consider the following ideas to help beat those back to school blues in healthy and creative ways.  Continue reading “Beat Back to School Blues”

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Age is just a Number – Kids & Strength Training

“Is weight training safe for kids?”

This is a question I am repeatedly asked by friends, parents, colleagues and students. Today, let’s take the time to “weigh” in on this topic.

The Criticism

Like most topics, youth strength training has its critics. Some naysayers theorized strength training in kids can cause stunted growth. Some also believe strength training is not appropriate for any child younger than 12. These claims are both unscientifically supported and far from the truth. As with any population and or novice group of exercises, there are considerations; however, when recommendations are followed and the appropriate supervision is provided, children – like adults – can achieve many healthful benefits from regular strength training. Continue reading “Age is just a Number – Kids & Strength Training”

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Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

I say “hydrate, hydrate, hydrate” with as much excitement and fervor as real estate agents say “location, location, location.” The topic of hydration is timely as I sit here observing my outside thermometer reading “94 degrees”. So, let’s get to the point.

Some common questions I receive:

  • Do I really need 64 oz of water each day?
  • How much is too much?
  • What do I need to sustain my workouts and how do I know if I’m hydrated “enough”?

All valid and good questions to ponder! The first point I want to emphasize is to let thirst be the guide to your personal water intake needs. Like anything in health, fitness, or life, a one-size fits all approach is short sighted and, quite frankly, erroneous.  Continue reading “Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate”

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At a Crossroads: Celestial Alarms

Sometimes you come to a fork in the road because you’ve created it for yourself; sometimes the fork is created for you.

In lieu of focusing this next post on health, wellness, nutrition, etc., I am making the focus on “the fork in the road” and the decisions we all must face at some point in our lives – decisions related to certain life events common to all of us – moving, marriage, new job, birth of a child, loss of a parent, a poor economy or a loss of a job. Any number of things can shake-up our lives and knock us off our otherwise steady feet. That’s not a reason to hide away or waive the flag. If anything, it should only make the fire inside of you burn hotter and brighter than the fire around you.

The Gist 

As of May 20th my life and the lives of my family and friends suddenly changed. I unexpectedly lost my job due to “budget cuts” (the quotes are intentional and yes, there is subtext – but anyone reading the media reports already knows the how’s, the why’s, and the who’s). I need not say a word. Wait for my book to come out and the story will reveal itself. 🙂

Rising Above & Letting the Garbage Roll By

The point here, my friends, is this: Sometimes certain events or circumstances in our lives occur because of a celestial alarm – an intervention from some other force that violently, but quickly disrupts the familiar and routine homeostasis of life. At the moment it feels like sudden death or as if a black hole has swallowed you up never to return you to your life. Well, in reflecting, maybe that’s exactly what needs to happen in order to remove you from someplace you don’t belong. Not because you aren’t good enough, don’t possess value, aren’t successful, or don’t have skills. Quite the opposite – it may be because you place integrity over conformity, honesty over popularity, and truth and wisdom above political and personal agendas. In essence, you are a threat to those who lack those same characteristics and, God forbid, you hold them accountable. Do it anyway. Accountability leads to credibility. Never sacrifice your own credibility for the sake of someone’s less honorable desires or veiled threats. To quote my dad quoting Mark Twain (I think?), “Never wrestle with pigs. You’ll just get dirty and the pigs like it.”

Far, Wide & High (A Sue-ism from my dear friend and mentor)

If you find yourself in some situation that seems to have shattered the pieces of your life, sweep them up and start to make a new picture. You know what you can smell when you do that? Opportunity. Although I’m stuck in a gray area of my feelings juxtaposed with my freedom, nonetheless, I smell opportunity and it smells good! Think far, think high, and think wide at the potential yet to be cultivated.

Here’s to you and anyone that has ever been or will ever be faced with something similar. Stand tall. Stand proud. Stand brave. Confront the ugliness of the situation with your character and values and you will walk away intact – changed, but in tact and ready to start a new journey. Don’t think of it as having to choose to take a left or take a right at the fork in the road. Think of it as a leap of faith – faith in yourself, your instincts, your skills, knowledge, education, and character. No one – not even a bully in a three piece suit – will ever be able to take any part of you unless you surrender it. Don’t. Just don’t. Keep taking one step each day and breathing in and out and remember that whatever is done in the dark will always come to light. Be true to who you are and true to your beliefs.

Here’s to new beginnings and GIANT leaps of faith.

Until next time…Meet you at the Well.

 

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Fitness Myths…Busted!

Everything on the Internet is true. Right? Oh..wait… 🙂

The advent of the Internet has helped the human race progress in business, media, education, etc. In addition, information is easy to find; a simple Google search can satisfy any curiosity. That being said, the internet is not the only source; magazines, infomercials, books, and celebrity endorsements all appear to be viable means of obtaining information, especially when it comes to exercise advice or facts. Having a variety of sources may seem helpful; in reality, it makes it difficult to determine the quality of information a given source offers. It is also difficult to differentiate between fact and fiction. Today, I thought I would focus on busting some common (and ridiculous) myths associated with activity and exercise.

1. “Weight lifting makes women bulky.” One of the key ingredients for muscle growth is testosterone – a hormone that is found in high concentrations in men, not women. Some individuals are predisposed to developing significant muscle tone; however, this is not true for everyone. Women simply lack the chemical make-up required to “bulk up”. So please, do not be afraid to lift some weight! Engaging in weight-bearing exercise can improve bone density – critical for the aging woman.

2. “If you stop lifting weights, muscle will turn to fat.” Just as lead cannot be transformed into gold, muscle cannot be transformed into fat. They are separate tissues that differ in their function, metabolism, and structure. If a person stops lifting weights, muscle will atrophy (weaken and decrease in size), but it will not turn into fat. We can be thankful for this! 🙂

3. “Work out in the “fat burning zone” to lose weight. This is one I like to consider a “half-truth”. It is true – there is what fitness pros consider to be a “fat burning zone”. This is the point at which lipids are being used as the primary source of fuel. Lipids are generally utilized at rest (including sleep) and during very low-intensity activities. Now, that part might be true, however, at lower intensity activities fewer calories are burned. In fact, the amount of calories burned in this “zone” are too low to initiate (or maintain) weight loss. If the goal is weight loss, a higher intensity activity is desirable. The overall goal should be to increase the heart rate and burn off a significant number of calories.

4. “Abdominal crunches result in a flat stomach.” Abdominal crunches are a great way to increase muscular endurance and strength. However, abdominal crunches will not necessarily flatten the stomach. In order to flatten the stomach, fat reduction must occur. This is achieved through a combination of cardiovascular activity, resistance training (to increase resting metabolic rate and muscle strength), and core (abs and lower back) training.

5. “If you exercise, you can eat whatever you want.” Ahhh, don’t we wish? Unfortunately, this is a myth…a big one. Exercising does allow flexibility in the diet in terms of caloric intake levels; however, it does not issue a person a license for eating recklessly. As long as foods are eaten in moderation (a slice of cheesecake or a cookie here and there), a fun and flexible diet is possible! Also, keep in mind that the body needs quality fuel to meet the demands we place upon it. Eating an unbalanced diet – either low or high in calories – will have a detrimental impact.

It is easy to find information, but it is not so easy to find truthful information. Remember to check the source and question the science behind it. As a general rule, if it sounds too good to be true, it likely is! Here are a few questions to ask when evaluating the credibility of the information you find.

The Who:

Who wrote the information?

Who provided the facts? Where did they come from?

Did someone pay for it? Who? Was it someone who would benefit?

The When:

Is it current? When was it written or updated?

The How:

Does the information seem reasonable based on what you’ve read or know?

Bottom line – when in doubt, ask a verified and qualified professional to validate the information.

Please feel free to comment if you have other questions beyond the ones addressed in this post.

Until next time…Meet you at the Well.

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