When it comes to lifting weights, most people have the wrong perception. Weight training does not necessarily equate to bodybuilding and its benefits are not limited to aesthetic muscle growth either. It is a principle that can be used to achieve a variety of goals for both men and women. In fact, all kinds of athletes and sportsmen use different variants of weight training to boost specific aspects of their game. As the general consensus is that the only ones who lift are the people who want to get jacked, let us take a closer look at what else weight training can do to help your health. (more…)
Posts Tagged ‘Healthy Lifestyle’
99% of the World is Stressed Out!
It seems like every time life is looking up, something nasty happens. This is a pattern I have noticed over the past 20 years. Just recently I was laid off from my contract position at a global trading management software company. That’s 20-25 hours a week of revenue gone, kaput, vanished, and ceased. Now I have to balance working on client projects with finding a new job or more contract hours.
Just when I think my family situation is going well, my parents or my son’s mom does or says something stupid, people get mad and fight, and I end up right in the middle of it. Just when I think my financial situation is getting better, I get hit with several thousands of dollars worth of bills that I wasn’t anticipating. The cycle never ends. Is everyone else’s life like this? I would venture to guess that for 98% of the people in the world, this is exactly how life transpires.
How to Combat Stress
- Take a deep breath and blow it out slowly, repeat at least 10 times. Now realize that you have power to control your life.
- Be aware that you always have a choice with both emotions and work. Sometimes you need to let your emotions out but still stay in control.
- Say something positive to yourself as soon as you wake up.
- Start every day with reflection on the previous day, focusing on positive accomplishments and events.
- Set goals for what needs to be achieved in the day then write a to-do list. Steps to consider when writing your to-do list:
- Know your limits and be realistic about what you can accomplish in a day.
- Prioritize your tasks and work to finish them starting with the highest priority (urgent/important).
- Do your most difficult task at the beginning of the day when you are fresh, thereby avoiding the stress of last minute preparation. Procrastination only facilitates stress!
- Focus on one task at a time. Multitasking is one reason people feel like they haven’t accomplished anything.
- Emphasize quality in your work, rather than quantity. A finished quality product is much better than a shoddy one that will have to be fixed later. Microsoft could stand to take a tip like this.
- Stagger deadlines for large projects. This will help you to deal with less stress at any one time.
- Schedule personal time-outs. This will allow you to relax and reflect at strategic points throughout the day. You will also be better prepared when an unanticipated task arrives.
- Delegate some of your tasks to others. Why should you have to do something that someone else is better at?
- Review your goals and accomplishments at the end of the day. This is soothing and will help you sleep better.
- Know your limits and do not push yourself too hard or beat yourself up when you do not achieve your goals. If you have unfinished tasks, go ahead and start your to-do list for the following day.
- Improve organizational skills. Stress arises from feeling overwhelmed, thus you should get organized by breaking responsibilities down into manageable pieces and by focusing on the things that really matter.
- Stop worrying about what you cannot change. This is hard, but it also acknowledged as an important coping mechanism.
- Take responsibility for your life. Control your own destiny by deciding what you want and go for it!
- You will have more self-confidence and energy if you treat your body right by following these tips:
- Eat a healthy breakfast and healthy snacks only. Stay away from sugary snacks by keeping fruit, vegetables, nuts, and high-protein snacks available when you feel like a snack.
- Drink water. Avoid alcohol and caffeine as they both contribute to stress in the grand scheme of the day.
- Exercise a little every day. Endorphins released by exercise can lower stress levels.
- Eat a small amount of chocolate for more endorphins. A SMALL amount.
- Use a good vitamin and mineral supplement everyday to keep micronutrients balanced.
- Get enough sleep and try to get into regular sleeping patterns. Most people need at least 7 hours of sleep a night, kids need more like 10.
- Listen to music. Get some aggression out by listening to something heavy, or calm yourself down with some positive and relaxing music.
- Use positive self-talk by reminding yourself that you have been in similar situations and that you can get through this one too.
- Visualize yourself overcoming a stressful situation. See it and feel it.
- Visualize positive things; this does not take long but can help you regain focus.
- Develop a sense of humor. I know I have been so stressed out before that I just have to laugh otherwise I will freak out.
- Talk to friends. This is one of the most important things, as keeping things bottled up can only cause more stress.
- Learn to say no. You can’t possibly do everything you are asked.
- Communicate to those around you, that you need a change in communication and situation.
- Learn to meditate and let the stress go.
- Taking a bath will give you private time and relax the body.
- Chew gum. It has been shown that the action of chewing can reduces stress, which is why some people under constant stress tend to overeat. If you don’t like gum, chew on a toothpick.
Whether you want to lose weight, become more fit, feel better, or even add on some weight and muscle, nutrition is key!
Exercise is important and should not be forgotten, but in order to lose and maintain your weight, up to 75% of that will come from proper nutrition, while the other 25% will come from exercise. This is frustrating, confusing, and sometimes infuriating to many because nutrition is a discipline filled with complicated and conflicting information.
Fortunately, nutrition and your “diet”, over time can become an easy and natural way of living, which is why a couple of my friends created the Fairburn it Off Nutrition & Fitness Plan. When you have a goal, a plan, and some motivation, progress falls right into place.
What is Fairburn it Off?
The Fairburn it Off Nutrition & Fitness Plan was created by husband and wife team David and Elyse Fairburn. Despite David being a certified nutritionist and Elyse being an instructor in the fitness world, they initially struggled themselves with trying to calculate the perfect amounts of food and succumbing to strict diets and several supplements. After finally taking a step back and using what they know and have experienced, they created a sustainable lifestyle nutrition plan to help people lose weight, maintain that weight loss, and not fall prey to some of the very pitfalls that the Fairburns experienced themselves.
The key to the plan is sustainability – the belief that when you simplify healthy living by making your lifestyle healthier and easier to maintain, that you will experience consistent and positive results. To accomplish this, the Fairburns plans were designed to help you better understand proper nutrition through eating clean, nutrient-packed, whole foods, while still maintaining fitness through both cardio and resistance training. Through sustainability and this balance between nutrition and fitness, you can see positive progress and build new and healthy habits.
TBT: This is a post I wrote back in May of 2007. These were my thoughts on motivation, prioritization, and how to make the most of your training. It pretty much all still holds true.
We all have priorities in life. Some of mine include finishing the move into my new house, running a successful website development business, keeping my girlfriend happy, spending time with my son, staying strong and healthy, and not getting fired from my day job. What are yours? Can you list your top 5 and assign priority values to them? I have done this, and what I have found is that staying strong and healthy continues to drop below those tasks that involve either family members, or putting lOOt in the bank (or more accurately giving lOOt to bill collectors).
How can we reprioritize in order to keep our gym goals intact?
I don’t want to get small or weak or fat, and neither do you. In my time, I have seen too many men with joint, neck, back, or hip issues, or perhaps they are just overweight with big pot bellies. Years ago I swore this would not be me. So, how can we redirect some of that focus back into the gym? How can we, when faced with working 14 hour days in order to make a million dollars by age 40, still exercise? Where can we draw some of this motivation that I am talking about. I have a couple suggestions that you could try, some of which I am testing out right now.
- Get a lifting partner that will show up on time for each workout. Find someone that isn’t going to talk about his/her friends, or work, or a party, or kids… find someone that wants to FOCUS on training when it’s time to train.
- Tell others about your plan (blog about it?). If you tell others what you plan to do with your body, you will hold yourself more accountable for your own progress. After all, no one wants to be embarrassed by failure.
- Realize that you aren’t good to anyone else unless you are healthy. If you are always tired, hurt, or sick, you are no good to your family or co-workers. Suck it up and get healthy!
- Sometime in your life, you will need to be strong. Perhaps something will fall on you or a loved one. Perhaps you will need to move the contents of an entire house by yourself. Maybe you will need to fight off an attacker, or push a car out of the snow, or rescue someone from a burning building. No matter what the aggressor might be, you will inevitably need to be strong for one reason or another. Why not prepare for it before it’s too late.
- Find some good ass lifting music. I personally prefer Static-X, Pantera, Avenged Sevenfold, Staind, Godsmack, Powerman 5000, Korn, Slipknot, Linkin Park, Marilyn Manson, System of a Down, Disturbed, Nickelback, Type O Negative, Evanescence, Tool, Rage, Soundgarden, Audioslave, Incubus, Queens of the Stone Age, (Hed) P.E., Megadeth, Motley Crue, Stereomud, Lamb of God, Ill Nino, Sevendust, Faith No More, Hatebreed, Mudvayne, Shinedown, Taproot, Theory of a Dead Man, Foo Fighters, and Three Days Grace, just to name a few.
I have a son that I want to inspire to be strong and healthy. I have a girlfriend that, quite frankly, I want to impress with visions of a Greek God, feats of strength to rival Hercules, and the skill to defend her from predators. These abilities prove to her that I am a male worthy of mating… frequently, if you catch my drift. I have this blog that visitors will be reading, and I don’t want to embarrass myself with failure. I have a business to run, and I want prospective clients to be wowed by my dedication to life and ability to multi-task. Finally, I want to get in better shape, faster, than the guy on Better Body Journal, for he is one of my nemeses in this game of strength.
Find your solution and make your own motivation. Formulate your goals, and make it happen!
The Importance of Recovery
When you first set out on your journey to bulk up and build the muscular physique that allows you to look and feel your best, or even pit yourself against other athletes in strength, endurance, and overall fitness challenges, you might be focused on working hard in order to build muscle and advance as quickly as possible. While this is certainly an important part of the equation, over time you’ll learn that there’s more to bodybuilding than simply lifting weights.
For one thing, you have to create a targeted diet plan that provides you with the proper nutrients and caloric intake needed to steadily put on muscle. But you’ll also come to the realization that rest and recovery time is nearly as crucial to your ongoing success as ramping up the amount of weight you lift and the number of reps you do.
There’s nothing like pushing yourself to your physical limits and leaving it all on the field, so to speak, when you exercise. Not only does it make you feel like you accomplished something, but it also gets you one step closer to meeting your fitness goals, whether you’re shooting for 20-inch biceps, you want to bench press your own body weight, or you’re training for a marathon, just for example.
A good workout can boost endorphins, making you feel energized and amazing throughout the day, and it can also help you to sleep better at night. Unfortunately, it might have just the opposite effect, making you feel fatigued but amped up at the same time. If this is the case, you might be looking for a few good ways to recover and relax after an intense workout.
Here are just a few strategies that might help.
How to Workout in 100+ Degree Heat
Weather experts have predicted that it’s going to get up to 105 degrees today, where I live in southern NH. Those crazy temperatures have prompted me to write this quick note about exercising in the summer heat.
If you are dedicated to fitness, that means you are exercising even when it’s 110 degrees outside in the middle of summer. Unfortunately, that level of dedication can get you into trouble if you don’t make safe decisions. The kind of trouble that can put you in the hospital or worse.
Here are 3 mistakes that people commonly make when they exercise in the dead heat of summer.
Wear proper clothing
Cotton is your summer nemesis. When you exercise, cotton clothing will hold sweaty moisture, which can cause chaffing and rashes. Cotton socks swell with moisture, causing them to lose their shape, which can lead to blisters – the deadly enemy of lower body training. Sweaty clothing also weighs you down, making exercise harder, which causes you to sweat more. It is a dangerous cycle.
A study by Canadian researchers has deflated the hopes of lifetime bachelors every where. 4400 subjects; some single, some married, some widowed; participated in the study, so it is seems pretty legit. The researchers determined that the married men are officially healthier than single men. Why?
When asked why, male participants in the study gave credit to their wives. Wives are really good at reminding us about doctor appointments, making sure we take medicine, resting when we are exhausted, getting medical help when we are hurt, and don’t forget that sex is a major anti-stress technique.
Faster Emergency Medical Treatment
On average, married men who are victims of a sudden heart attack, arrive at the hospital 30 minutes quicker than their single counterparts. Not only can that fact explain why men are healthier, it could explain why married men have a longer lifespan than bachelors. A 30 minute delay in treatment for a heart attack, quite often means the difference between life and death.
Interestingly, the wives don’t even have to be present to elicit this caregiving effect. Some study participants noted that even if their wives were not present, they would hear the female voice of reason telling them to seek medical attention immediately.
It is unfortunate to note that there is no difference in the time it takes women to get to the hospital, whether they are married or not. Come on guys! Pick up the slack!
Women Will Find the Answers
Wives also ask lots of questions. You would know this if you ever got ‘lost’ on a road trip with a female. Married women reportedly ask their own doctors for advice on behalf of their husbands. After all, isn’t pretty much every wife also a nurse? You kind of have to be a nurse when you have a pack of young children and one really big really hairy ‘kid’ to take care of on a daily basis.
This post is an excuse to post a picture of a super sexy wedding dress (yes, obviously it is the dress that is sexy), which you can see at the top of the page. But I also want to take a moment to say, “Thanks!” to all the wives out there who remind us that good health is sometimes more than benching and squatting triple bodyweight.
If you have been told you have high blood pressure, with the top number (systolic) of 140 or above, or the bottom number (diastolic) of 90 or above, you might be worried, and for good reason. High blood pressure means you have a higher risk of heart attack or stroke.
Your doctor may have talked to you about taking medication to bring your numbers down. I’m here to tell you that might not necessarily be the best solution. If your numbers are low enough, you might be able to control your blood pressure by adjusting your lifestyle. If you successfully control your blood pressure with a healthy lifestyle, you may avoid, delay or reduce the need for medication.
That being said, do not stop taking, or make any adjustments to your medication unless you talk to your doctor first. In fact, you should probably talk to your doctor before making drastic changes to your diet.
Here are 10 lifestyle changes you can make to lower your blood pressure and keep it down:
The DASH Diet
- Lose extra pounds and watch your waistline
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a healthy diet
- Reduce sodium in your diet
- Limit the amount of alcohol you drink
- Avoid tobacco products and secondhand smoke
- Cut back on caffeine
- Reduce your stress
- Monitor your blood pressure at home and make regular doctor’s appointments
- Get support from family and friends
You are what you eat-or so they say. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can be particularly important when it comes to controlling your blood pressure. What you choose to eat-and just as importantly, what you choose not to eat-may allow you to keep your blood pressure within safe limits.
Today you will learn about a proven diet for blood pressure control: The DASH diet.
This is a guest post from Shaun Sinclair, founder and author of Stay Fit Bug. Shaun is a former 100/200 meter runner and professional athlete. Visit him at his website and connect with Shaun on Twitter.
Look after your BACK!
Because once that goes you are FINISHED!
It really is that simple.
The spine and the muscles surrounding it are the backbone to our physical existence ‘Pun intended’.
However, it is a part of our body that is prone to injury. Now, prevention isn’t a difficult thing to do. But one thing I am certain of is that trying to cure the issue of back pain is an entirely different matter (Yes… not always easy).
- Good form
- Good exercise execution
- Embracing good posture
All of those things are highly important when it comes to protecting your back. Heck, embracing good posture isn’t even something you need to worry about in the gym only. In fact, that has a lot more to do with your activities outside of the weight room.
- How you sit at your desk in the office.
- In your bed and how you sleep (sleeping on the floor is still one of the best things you can do).
- How you position your body when using a computer at home, which of course, is where most of us spend most of our time in today’s world on Facebook and the like.
These lifestyle habits are highly important in regards to back injury prevention. Now let’s see how you can change your lifestyle to proactively protect yourself from back injuries.