5 Simple Strategies for Sticking to Your Fitness Goals

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No matter what your fitness goals are, strength training is an important component to any exercise program.

Sticking to your fitness goals can be challenging, but it is also very rewarding. Learning to be healthy takes time and dedication to your fitness goals. Sticking with those goals also takes time and patience to perfect.

Don’t be discouraged if you stumble every now and then, the most important part is that you get back up and try again.

Here are some tips to help you stick with your fitness goals.

Commitment

Make fitness more than a goal, make it a lifestyle. The more committed you are to your fitness goals, the more likely you will be to stick with them.

  • Tell others about your decision to be healthy. When we make public our intent to be fit and healthy we also make that commitment more real in our minds. Every so often it is good to reaffirm your commitment to being healthy and fit.
  • Teach others what you have learned about fitness. By teaching others you will gain a unique perspective on how fitness works.
  • Write it down. Write down your commitment to yourself and the specific goals that you want to reach.

Switch It Up

Your exercise routine should not become boring. Once your workout becomes boring, it won’t be long before you stop doing it. Try new things, and keep it fresh and exciting.

  • Take A Class: Instead of doing your same old workout, try taking a class. There are so many different classes and teachers, each with their own unique approach to helping you meet your fitness goals. Classes can be really fun, especially when there is an energetic and highly motivating teacher.Also, classes are great places to meet other fitness conscious people, and when you have people with a fitness mindset in your life, you are more likely to stick with your fitness goals.Class choices are plentiful and include: aerobics, cycling, Kettlebell, CrossFit, ViPR, Bosu, ballet barre, boot camp, Pilates, Tai Chi, QiGong, Zumba, Doonya, and kickboxing, just to name a few.
  • Hire A Personal Trainer: They are experts at motivating people to workout. They will also give you fresh ideas for your workout and can guide you to take your fitness to the next level and that can be motivating in and of itself.The other critical benefit of getting a trainer is that it gives you someone to answer to, it’s much harder to skip a workout when you have an appointment with a trainer.

Start Small And Set Specific Goals

When choosing your fitness goals, you should pick a goal that is easy to stick with. Start with small goals and work your way up to the bigger and longer goals. Don’t set a goal that will be too hard to manage. Anything we make hard we will stop doing, make your goals fun and easy.

Goals should be categorized as short and long term, and specific action steps should be included as to how you will reach each of the goals.

Take each goal one step at a time. Break each goal up into steps that are easy to implement. Even a hard goal can be made easier if you break it up.

Starting with smaller goals will help you to build momentum. Each goal that you complete will empower you to start working on the more challenging ones.

Motivation

Motivation is the key element to sticking with your fitness goals, and it is the driving force that pushes you to succeed and to keep with it. Here are some tips to help you stay  motivated.

  • Remember why you made a fitness goal in the first place! Keep connected with the reasons you started in the first place. When you stumble, use those reasons to motivate yourself.
  • Reward yourself!! When you do good and push through a hard workout remember to reward yourself in a healthy way. If you workout all the time without noticing and acknowledging the payoffs and rewards, it will be much harder to stick with your goals. A reward will help you to remember how gratifying all the hard work can be.

Momentum

Motivation is the driving force, but momentum is what makes the whole process easier. When we have momentum on our side, nothing can stop us. It’s only when we lose that momentum that it becomes hard to stick to our goals.

  • Don’t take long breaks or to many breaks between your workouts, this will cause you to lose focus and momentum. When you feel that momentum, keep it going.
  • Don’t think about it, just do it. Many people tend to over think and wonder if they should workout or complete a step on their goals action list and this causes them to talk themselves out of doing those things.

Motivation and momentum are critical to sticking with your fitness goals. Use your commitment to strengthen your resolve and take each goal one step at a time. Make your workouts fun, exciting and different. Most of all, don’t forget to reward yourself!

 

 

Staying Healthy On the Go is Easier than You Might Think

Photo credit: Velislav Panchev CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0

In this day and age, hectic personal and professional schedules often make staying healthy seem like a distant possibility. Going to the gym or indulging in a long exercise routine at home can be difficult to fit into a day, along with preparing the food you need to eat well.

Staying healthy on the go is much easier than you might think! Healthy living can easily be incorporated into your busy schedule, thus enabling you to be healthy and productive at the same time. Take a look at the following health tips for busy people and customize a plan that works for you.

The Importance of Routine

Staying healthy on the go involves advanced planning and a fixed routine in context with eating, sleeping, and exercise. A strict no-excuses plan of action will enable you to turn fitness and health into a habit rather than something which you indulge in occasionally.

Understanding your own health and fitness goals will be the first step to being healthy; this will be followed with a weekly meal plan. Pre-planning and preparing your meals will enable you to eat healthier while on the go, and will prevent you from giving in to unhealthy food cravings. Carrying a bottle of water is also a good idea, as you will need to stay hydrated throughout the day.

Exercise is Vital

There are little things you can do throughout your day that will enable you to get the exercise you need without having to resort to an expensive gym membership. From choosing to walk or bike to work to climbing the stairs instead of taking the elevator, there are a number of small changes you can make that will keep you fit and healthy even on the busiest days.

For those who travel frequently, you could consider packing a portable gym with you, such as a yoga mat, resistance bands, running shoes, or your favorite bodyweight workout DVD, all of which will facilitate an effective cardio and strength training routine on the go. Also, fitness trackers and pedometers like Fitbit are ideal for tracking your physical activity and providing a motivational tool for increasing the steps you take each day on the road or at home.

Staying healthy on the go involves just a few small lifestyle changes, which will enable you to eat healthy and stay physically active. These changes are important for your health and will also serve as a stress buster for the busiest people. Exercise gives you endorphins, which contribute towards making you feel happy and relaxed. You can also invest in a few portable exercise items such as a skipping rope or resistance bands, which are easy to carry around with you and will enable you to follow a no-excuses policy when it comes to staying healthy at all times.

 

Waiting for the Sandman: Tips on How to Fall Asleep Faster

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To ensure optimum cerebral and physiological performance, the average human should get at least eight hours of sleep a day. A neglect of sleeping pattern or insufficient hours of productive sleep can be detrimental to the body in more than one way. A loss of sleep or insomnia can lead to weight gain, problems of high blood pressure, and a lowered immune system. Sometimes the solution to insufficient sleep can he attained by simply understanding how to fall asleep faster.

There are several advantages of getting a good night’s sleep. A proper sleep cycle ensures maximum productivity of the brain and keeps our emotional health in good order. The brain is one of the most overworked organs of the body. Although it is not at complete rest while we sleep, it gets enough time to reboot itself and get ready for the next day. Sleep deficiency does not only hinder learning, it also has adverse effects on our decision making faculty. Lack of sleep can result in making a person emotionally imbalanced and can lead to concomitant behavioral changes. More often than not, people with anger issues and irritability suffer from sleep deprivation.

Advantages of Sleep

There are several benefits of sleep. For instance, sleep controls the body’s regular flow of ghrelin and leptin – hormones to make us feel hungry and full respectively. A study has shown that the flow of ghrelin rises exponentially to the total reduction of the flow of leptin in case of sleep deprivation. That is why people with sleeping problems tend to feel hungrier than people who get well-rounded sleep.

If you need to know how to fall asleep faster, there are several ways of ensuring a restful night sleep that you follow. Taking a bath before going to bed is a good idea, because it helps to relax our body and calms our mind. Some people find drinking milk before going to sleep very beneficial. Then there are others who always sleep with mild incense burning on their bedside table.

How to Fall Asleep Faster

In case you feel you lack proper sleep, you could try to improve the ambience of your bedroom to maximize comfort. Design your bedroom to give it a calming effect. Keep the temperature of your room between 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit and do remember to turn out the lights. If you are one of those people who cannot sleep in total darkness, keep a light on in the other room or maybe keep a window open to let a crack of light enter from the streets. You could wear a night mask to block out light and listen to soothing music before going off to sleep.  The benefits of sleep are endless. Still wondering how to fall asleep faster? Simply lay on your bed with your eyes closed, relax, and count those sheep!

 

Strengthen the Bond between You and Your Partner by Working out Together

Image: Robin Reichert

When love is in the air and you have the most beautiful person in the world as your partner, you definitely want to spend as much time together as possible. Eating together, sleeping together, and watching movies together are all activities that many couples enjoy, but one of the best activities of all to enjoy as a couple is working out.

Couple exercises are not just intimate, but also a whole lot more entertaining and inspiring than working out by yourself. A workout with your partner will motivate you and keep you going. Your partner will make it worth your while to exercise. And at the end of it all, you both emerge as a gorgeous couple who are the envy of everyone.

Benefits of Exercising as a Couple

A workout with your partner is very beneficial in a variety of ways. First and foremost, you will both act as great motivators for each other. Push each other when one of you feels like giving up.

You can also learn a host of other things from one another. Maybe one of you is good with high intensity workouts, while the other one prefers low intensity workouts. Synchronize with each other to form your own unique fitness routines. This will also help you bond and become more intimate over time.

Workout Ideas for Couples

There are so many things that a couple can do to keep fit. Here are some ideas for fun couple exercises that will make you want to workout with your partner right away:

  • Hiking: Weekend hiking tours will not only push you to burn calories, but it will also be a wonderful time spent with your beloved in the lap of nature.
  • Indulge in sports: Playing sports like basketball, tennis, and badminton will not only improve your hand-eye coordination but also help you shed extra fat. The competitive edge is even more exciting when your partner is involved.
  • Learn martial arts: While you both learn something new and useful, you also help each other to improve your skills through constant practice.
  • Dance: There are so many forms of dance to choose from that will not only help you to sizzle your personal chemistry but also help in a complete body toning. Salsa, Hip Hop, Flamenco, Quick Feet, and Beachbody’s CIZE dance workout; the couple in love will have a plethora of dance choices available.
  • Traditional workout routines: Run, jog, walk, do push ups, sit ups or pull ups. Compete with each other to see who has more strength and endurance. Competing as a couple will definitely help in achieving your ultimate fitness goals.

The good health of your partner is partly your responsibility. Motivating your loved one to workout and remain fit is your way of accomplishing that responsibility so you can live a longer and happier life together.

 

The Benefits of Choosing Organic Foods

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“Going organic” is a recent trend that has been gaining popularity at a rapid pace, and with good reason. At a time when the convenience of pre-packaged, nutrition-deficient food has taken precedence over healthy, wholesome eating, we have seen an increase in health risks, obesity, and sudden death. Organic products come as a breath of fresh air, and many people are beginning to focus more on the benefits of eating healthy. Read on to learn about the many advantages that come with going organic!

What Are Organic Products?

Organic products are unprocessed, and free of chemicals, growth hormones, and other unnatural additives, which are usually present in the food that is manufactured by big agri-food corporations and other large food manufacturers who produce fast food and packaged snacks. Organic products also have a limited shelf life since they are free from preservatives, and it is guaranteed that they will taste better as a result of this.

Respect Your Body’s Nutritional Needs

Consumers who buy organic food have stated that their bodies have changed noticeably thanks to the increase in the nutritional value of the food they eat. A cup of organically grown vegetables will provide you with optimum nutrition as compared with a cup of pre-cut, preservative-laden vegetables. Frozen, non-organic food will also provide you with less nutrition. Therefore, it’s a good idea to stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables and to visit the local Farmer’s Market to see what other natural products are available.

Organic Food Tastes Great

A number of people prefer eating organic food since it is not only healthy, but also tasty. This is because it has been untouched by manmade chemicals, color, and preservatives, which tend to compromise the natural taste of food products. Chemicals never taste good, and will cause both short and long-term damage to the body; buy organic products in order to enjoy both taste and nutrition from your meals.

Organic Food is Affordable and Healthy

Contrary to claims that organic food is too expensive, it is actually becoming more affordable thanks to increasing demand for organic food options. Organic food prices are falling thanks to an increase in people who are growing and selling them.

Try eating organic for about a month to see if you notice a difference in your health or how the food tastes. If a month is too long, then try it for a week, a day, or even just for dinner. You may find that it tastes better and makes you feel healthier, more energetic, and you may even lose a few pounds. Consider excluding chemically enhanced condiments from your meal, and be sure to limit consumption of sugar and salt. Clean eating and regular exercise go hand in hand for those who are looking to lose weight, and organic products can boost results dramatically.

 

 

Laughing for Health? Laugh Harder and Live Longer!

Photo credit: Eric Ward from Provo, UT, USA (Laughing) [CC BY-SA 2.0]

There is a reason why laughter is considered to be the best medicine. When you are laughing, you are not just amused by a joke or a funny situation; you are actually laughing for health benefits. There are several important benefits of laughter. Laughter reduces stress and relaxes the whole body. A hearty laughter can keep the body calm for as long as 45 minutes, as it is extremely conducive to the overall development of the immune system. It also helps the body to generate infection-fighting antibodies by reducing the level of stress hormones and improving resistance to diseases. Laughing for health is the best way to keep medicines and chemical drugs at bay. You wouldn’t need any other drug to make you feel good, as laughter has its own high. Laughing reduces stress and triggers endorphins that make us feel good about ourselves and render us generally perky. By laughing hard, you are actually improving your blood flow and fending off cardiovascular diseases.

Healthy Body, Sound Mind

Health is not just what the physical body reflects. An overall healthy body entails a healthy mind and favorable interaction in society. Laughter is believed to be a panacea for every biological, mental and social condition. If you are laughing for health, you are also securing your social bonds. Laughing with other people is a great way of bonding and sharing happy thoughts. Isn’t that everything we need to lead a healthy life? Besides, it improves your mood and develops the body’s and the mind’s resilience towards adverse conditions.

Generating Laughter

Unfortunately, in today’s world, laughter has to be generated in laughing clubs and other therapeutic centers. People visit these places and forcefully laugh to enhance their biological processes. This practice can be extremely therapeutic, but it is essentially very sad. Laughing for health has become a prescribed medication as more and more people are falling prey to sedentary and depressing urban lifestyles. The best way to laugh is with your friends and family. If you don’t know how to get your kicks, start watching your favorite sitcom or read a comic book. The serious dearth of laughter in urban places has triggered a number of stand-up comedy cafes and laughter shows. You should not have to look for a reason to laugh, just do it. Laughter is highly contagious and can make a huge difference in your daily life. Laugh to live.

 

 

Are You Suffering From Brain Fog?

Photo credit: Shannan Muskopf [CC BY-SA 3.0]

Almost everyone experiences brain fog from time to time. So, what exactly is brain fog? It’s a condition where you feel a general lack of mental clarity. You may feel forgetful, confused, or have trouble concentrating. Brain fog can be caused by a range of factors, such as nutritional deficiencies, hormonal imbalance, stress, sleep disorders, or environmental toxins. Once you understand why you are suffering from brain fog, you can then take proactive steps to fix it.

Here are 5 possible reasons you are suffering from brain fog –

 

Poor Nutrition

Eating a diet filled with highly processed foods, aka junk foods, will leave you feeling foggy. There isn’t much, if any, nutrition left in these foods after they’ve been stripped of their natural state, taking this and that out and adding in more chemicals than we can count to come up with something that will stay on the shelf indefinitely.

You know when you put bad gas in your car how it makes your car sputter, cut out and just run poorly. Well, think of highly processed foods as bad fuel for your body.

Get more fresh whole foods into your diet to combat brain fog. Eat organic as often as possible and fill your body with the goodness that comes from real food.

Sedentary Lifestyle

Leading a life without much movement can be a cause of brain fog, because your brain isn’t getting what it needs to be sharp and alert.

Your brain needs oxygen and vital nutrients, which is carried to it through the blood stream. If you don’t get your blood pumping to increase blood flow through exercise, your brain is lacking the very things it needs to do its job properly. Exercise improves brain function, so get off the couch. Even a quick 10-minute walk will go a long way towards improving your brain power.

Toxic Buildup

Our bodies can get polluted from chemicals in the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the foods we eat. If you don’t eat healthy and get some exercise, these toxins can build up, causing your body – and your brain – to function at sub-optimal levels.

Detoxifying can be an unpleasant experience the first time because we’re stirring up all the crud that has built up over our lifetime. The more often you do this, the easier it becomes and you will feel the effects of having a cleaner body and a clearer mind.

Stress

If you’re under a lot of stress on a regular basis, this can lead to physical and mental problems. Stress elevates a hormone in your body called cortisol that causes inflammation in your brain and body. Chronic inflammation can cause a host of issues including fatigue, damaged brain cells, depression, weight gain and glucose imbalance.

You need to have an outlet for your stress. Adding an exercise regimen will help you to not only feel better by releasing endorphins in your brain which cause you to feel good, it can even help you shed unwanted weight. You can also choose to pamper yourself by taking a hot bath, getting a massage, meditating or trying yoga.

Dehydration

If you don’t consume enough water, you may suffer from dehydration. Water helps flush the waste and toxins out of your body that can accumulate in your intestinal tract.

You should consume at minimum a half gallon of water per day. An easy way to incorporate more water into your day is to drink a full glass upon rising and another before each meal.

If you find yourself feeling foggy on a regular basis, chances are good you’re suffering from one or all of these issues. Get some exercise, eat better, drink lots of water and release your stress, and you’ll feel sharper in no time.

 

 

4 Great Reasons Why You Should Be Using Coconut Oil

Photo credit: Tom Woodward CC BY-SA 2.0

There is a widespread misconception that coconut oil is bad for you because it contains saturated fat. However, people all over the world are reaping the health benefits of coconut oil, and it’s truly one of the healthiest oils you can consume. Here are 4 reasons why you should use coconut oil as an alternative to other traditional cooking oils.

1.  Coconut oil boosts your metabolism.

Not only is coconut oil easily converted to energy by your body, it also increases your metabolism and promotes weight loss. Because it boosts your metabolism, it helps your body burn fat more effectively.

Coconut oil may triple your calorie burn. Since coconut oil is a medium-chain triglyceride (MCT), it is converted to energy so quickly that it creates a lot of heat. In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, MCT’s burn three times more calories for six hours after a meal than LCT’s.

The February 15, 2005 issue of Woman’s World magazine stated that coconut oil is the “underground high-metabolism secret.”

This is great news for people who have thyroid problems, since coconut oil improves sluggish thyroids by stimulating the production of extra thyroid hormones. Most other common oils, like vegetable (soy) and corn have been shown to inhibit thyroid function.

2.  Coconut oil can improve skin and hair health

Coconut oil one of the best things you can apply directly on your skin and hair, as it helps to alleviate skin problems such as rashes, dry skin and eczema. You can also use this oil to help heal and restore skin to a younger appearance, or even use it as a makeup remover.

Not only does it soften and smooth your skin, coconut oil has antioxidant properties that protect the skin from free radical damage. Coconut oil makes excellent massage oil, too.

3.  Coconut oil vs. other oils

Coconut oil has anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial effects when both consumed and used topically on the skin.

Most oils oxidize and turn rancid very quickly causing free radical damage in our bodies. Coconut oil is not easily oxidized and does not cause harmful free radical damage like polyunsaturated vegetable oils. Free radical damage is thought to be responsible for many ailments in our body from arthritis to increased susceptibility to cancers.

Coconut oil also helps our bodies absorb other nutrients more effectively, such as the fat-soluble vitamins A, E, D and K.

4.  Coconut oil is one of the best oils you can use for cooking.

Coconut oil has a higher smoke point than olive oil, which means it can take higher temperatures better. There are several healthy omega-3 oils we can choose to consume, such as flax and olive oil, but they don’t do well under the high heat we use for cooking. Therefore, coconut oil is really the best choice when cooking at higher temperatures.

It’s harder for coconut oil to go rancid, unlike other cooking oils, which are usually rancid long before you even bring them home. Coconut oil, on the other hand, is stable for over a year at room temperature.

I’ve only mentioned four reasons why you should be using coconut oil, but there are many additional uses and health benefits. So, go ahead and blend a little coconut oil into your favorite smoothie, or add it to bitter greens like kale. It also makes a nutritious addition to oatmeal or your favorite baked veggie recipes. Be as creative as you want and enjoy the incredible health benefits of this tropical oil.

 

4 Healthy Habits to Help Manage Stress and Maintain Calm

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Stress, especially chronic stress, is an unhealthy disadvantage of living in this fast-paced, 24/7 world. We get so caught up in work, family, children’s activities, grocery store runs, and keeping the household running smoothly that we end up creating a daily routine of unhealthy habits. It doesn’t have to be this way, however. We have the ability to make better choices, beat the stress, and a live a life that allows us to breath and enjoy each minute. What are some healthy habits we can pick up that will help maintain a sense of calm and keep stress levels in check?

Get more sleep – This may seem like a no brainer, but it’s surprising how many people don’t allow themselves a good night’s sleep. If you deprive yourself of this time of rest, you will begin to let stress creep in and issues that come along will seem bigger than they really are. Remember to let yourself unwind a little bit before going to sleep. This will prevent you from lying in bed thinking about the events of the day, and, in turn, not being able to fall asleep easily.

Meditation – Begin the day with a meditation session. It doesn’t have to be extremely long, but even 10 minutes of quiet and calm will make a world of difference on how the day unfolds. Wake up a half hour earlier and make time to get in touch with your goals for the day and what you hope to accomplish. Find a quiet spot where you won’t be bothered, and take advantage of that time to focus on breathing and just being in the moment.

Write it down – Writing down your thoughts for the day can help to rid your mind and body of unwanted stressors that bog you down. Getting it all out of your head and down on paper has a calming effect that makes any situation seem better. You can do this in the morning or when you are winding down during the evening hours. Just pick a time that feels comfortable for you and make it a daily routine.

Read a good book – Read one of your favorite, uplifting books to help calm your mind from a long, demanding day and to prepare you for a restful nights sleep. If you’re not into reading that much, you can always choose the audio version of the book and listen while you relax. You can also get up early in the morning and choose this time to read, if that is what fits your schedule.

There are numerous ways to maintain a set of healthy habits in your daily routine. If you can find a way to carve out a little quiet, relaxing “you” time on a daily basis, not only will you make daily stresses more manageable, but also improve your productivity, concentration and overall health. You just need to plan ahead and take action to make your life as calm and stress free as you want it to be. Find out what activities fit your family life and schedule, and then set some goals for everyone involved. Your whole family can benefit from this, and you will see a noticeable difference in the stress level all around.

 

 

How Yoga Helps Burn Fat

Yoga is not as easy or simple and static as many think. It is actually physically demanding and after spending 30 to 60 minutes striking and locking different yoga poses, you will realize this. Not only that, but there are different forms of yoga that exist too – some are more intense than others.

What is more important in regards to achieving weight loss with yoga exercises is what particular positions you are performing.

Here are a few examples of some great fat burning yoga poses:

The Cobra

This is one of the easiest and most effective yoga poses that exist. It not only aids with weight loss, but it helps to tighten the abdominal and buttocks muscles as well. Tightening of the mid-section also contributes towards that thinner look that you may be shooting for.

Lie down with your face to the ground. Put your hands onto your shoulders with your palms facing down and spread your fingers apart from each other. Then, begin pressing through your hands, bringing your head up, and then let your chest and upper back follow. This lift will take your body off the mat. While performing this movement, you should be looking ahead and your shoulder blades should be kept low and back. You will then want to push the shoulders back and let the stretch transmit evenly all throughout your spine.

You just have to take a few deep breathes when performing this pose and then you can return to the beginning position, where you lie face down on the ground.

The Bow

This one is a bit harder to pull off, but it can seriously help with weight loss and it helps to tone the abs, arms, and legs.

Lie on your belly and create a bend in your knees while reaching past them and grabbing your feet. Breathe your stomach in and stretch the feet upward, while simultaneously lifting the upper part of your body. Make sure that while doing this your shoulder blades are kept low and back.

Lock this pose in and take some deep breathes before going back to your relaxed starting position.

Other Poses

These are just two of the many effective yoga poses that exist. Take a look at this list of yoga exercises to find out about more poses that will help you with losing weight and shrinking down your mid-section, as well as strengthening your body and mind.