Archive for October, 2014

Today’s world is hectic for many of us. We have so much to do and so little time to do it in. When you look at the time you spend at your job, running household errands, taking care of the kids, spending time with your spouse and trying to fit in some quality you time, it is no wonder that most of us can not find the time to schedule in a consistent and regular fitness routine. However, we know we need to have a consistent fitness routine in order to stay fit and healthy. So, how can we schedule our fitness routines in these hectic times? We have compiled a list of tips that should make it a little easier for you to schedule and stick to a consistent fitness routine.

  1. Use a planner. It is your choice to use an online planner or a handwritten planner, whichever one you feel more comfortable with and are more likely to never lose. You should use this planner to keep your day planned out as much as possible. Your planner needs to be extremely detailed. You want to include everything you are doing by the hour and stick to it.

  2. Be specific with your workout times. You need to have a specific time written in your planner of when you are going to workout. If your planner says to be at the gym at 7 AM, then you need to do everything in your power to be at the gym at 7 AM. It is unavoidable that some days life will happen and throw off your planner, but you need to be prepared for this to happen. It never hurts to schedule in some extra workout time during the week just in case something comes up and you miss your normal workout time.

  3. Stay consistent. You should try to schedule the same time and same days each week to workout. Your body will become use to this schedule, and you will eventually find yourself on the way to the gym without having to put much thought into it. It will become a habit, and when fitness becomes a habit, you will be on your way to achieving the body of your dreams in no time.

  4. Remember your goals. There will be days when it is going to be harder to stick to your fitness routine. You may feel tired after a long day, feeling as if there is something more pressing you need to do at this time or feel too stressed to focus on your workout right now. However, you have to keep in mind the reasons why you started in the first place. There were certain goals you wished to accomplish by starting your fitness routine, and by keeping these goals in mind, you should be able to find your motivation and stick with your fitness routine.

It can be difficult trying to fit everything we need to do into our days; however, we need to remember our goals and how important our fitness routines are in our lives. And, who knows? With a little hard work and focus on all the little details, we may just be able to make our days a little bit more organized and productive.

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Don’t Fear the Gym

Posted: October 28, 2014 in Fitness, fitness classes, Goals, Motivation
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Most of us know we need to have a consistent fitness routine to stay fit and healthy these days. But, what do you do if you are a gym-a-phobe, otherwise known as someone who is afraid of the gym? There are many people who go out of their way to purchase a gym membership but never use it. This can sound crazy to some of us. I mean why would you spend money on something you are not going to use? Most likely these people keep on having the best of intentions to finally get in and start their fitness journey. There are many reasons and excuses people can come up with for being afraid of the gym, but our goal should be trying to understand these reasons and helping them overcome their fears. So, here are a few ways you can overcome these fears or help your friends overcome them.

 People, Cover, Cry, Desperate, Desperately, Emotion

  • Do some research. The first thing you need to do is have a plan. You have to know ahead of time what type of exercises you will be doing and how to properly perform these exercises. There is an abundance of information available online to help you discover fitness routines that can fit your needs and goals. You can even look at pictures, diagrams and videos to see the proper way to perform these routines. If you are a fitness newbie or struggling in this area, you should have a trainer map out your routine and correct your form as you exercise. You do not want to injure yourself by making a mistake in your form.

  • Do not panic. A lot of us feel as if everyone’s eyes are on us. They are watching every move we make and waiting to laugh at us when we make a stupid mistake. This is not true. Everyone else is too busy doing their own workouts or thinking that everyone else is watching them. So, try to calm down and go with the flow. If you happen to make a mistake, so what? Move on to your next set or take a breather. Remember the only thing that matters is that you are working on achieving your fitness goals.

  • Bring a friend. Some of us may have a problem relaxing in an environment where we do not know anyone. So, the best option for us would be to bring a buddy. You will have some support with you and a familiar face to help calm your fears. Some of us feel that we are stronger united, so why not invite some friends along? As an added plus, many researchers have found that using the buddy system helps people stick with their fitness routines.

  • Put on your headphones. Music can help ease our anxiety, get our heart pumping and help us escape into our own little world. Most people can focus on the music blaring in their ears and forget the others around them in the gym. So, if you want to get super motivated and forget about those around you supposedly judging you, then bringing your own music to the gym may be the way to go.

  • Do not be afraid to ask for help. The people that work at the gym are there to help you. They can help you find the proper equipment and find the answers to any questions or concerns you may have. They are employed by the gym to make your workouts the best experience they can be. So, never be afraid to ask for help if you need it. You never know they may prevent you from injuring yourself, or they could help you reach your goals a little bit faster.

It can be scary trying new things. I get it, but you can not succumb to your fears. Once you go to your local gym and try it out, you will see that it is truly not that scary. In fact, most of the gyms I have been to have been a lot of fun. So, take a chance and do not let your fears stop you from getting the body that you want.

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Many of us believe that to get the results that we want fast, we have to feel some pain and then push ourselves past that level of pain. However, exercise can be uncomfortable at times. We all know that it is a lot of hard work, and we have to keep working a little bit harder and a little bit longer to achieve the best results. However, it should never be painful. So, how do you know when you have surpassed the discomfort and are in true pain? As most people say, you have to listen to your body, but this can be hard for a lot of us, especially for those new to fitness or ones trying a new exercise routine. So, here we have a list of common injuries that may occur when you push yourself too hard, too fast, and the signals your body may be sending you to prevent them.

  • Over training. This happens when you go into your workout like you could conquer the world. You think you not need breaks, and you have to be in the gym everyday to feel the burn. This kind of thinking will only wreck your body and put an abrupt end to your fitness routine. You need to allow yourself some down time to allow your body to adjust to your routine and repair itself after all that hard work. Your body will send you signals that you are working too hard. You just have to know what to look for. If you have experienced continuous amounts of fatigue, insomnia, soreness that just won’t go away or a cold that you can not get over, then it is probably time for you to take a break from your routine. You should get some down time with plenty of sleep and nutritious meals to allow your body the chance to rest and repair itself.

  • Working out with an injury. You have experienced an injury, but you do not want to put an end to your fitness routine. So, you think that the best option for you is to push through the pain and continue as normal. However, you have to realize your body is not ‘normal’ during an injury. Your body is sending you signals that you can not exercise as you have before. If you notice a certain area of your body having a constant and persistent type of pain or continuous dull aches and a smaller range of mobility, then you are on your way to doing some serious damage. So, stop eating ibuprofen like candy or wrapping whichever area of your body hurts and take a break. It would also be wise to visit your doctor if the pain persists and to help speed up your recovery time.

  • Not getting enough sleep. Your body has to repair itself after a grueling workout, and sleep gives your body the chance to relax and repair itself. Therefore, we need to ensure that we are getting enough sleep to allow our bodies the required downtime. The worst part is that our lack of sleep can affect more than just our fitness routines such as our attitudes, our eating habits and increasing the levels of certain stress hormones. Sleepless nights can wreck your entire day, so you should be aware of the warning signals your body will send you. You may notice your energy levels crashing throughout the day, unusual hunger, an increased number of mood swings, a lack in motor functions and problems concentrating if you are sleep deprived. You will also have problems staying alert and awake even after ingesting caffeine and other energy drinks. You may need to start scheduling a time to go to bed or visit a sleep specialist if your sleep problem persists.

It may sound so easy to listen to our bodies to avoid fitness injuries, but a lot of us may know the saying but not know the signals to look for. It can be difficult trying to decipher all the pain signals from our regular everyday discomfort. However, with a few of the descriptions above, you may be well on your way to understanding your body’s warning signals.

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Most of us know that in order to achieve our weight loss goals, we have to stop going out to eat. We can have better portion control and consume a lot less fat and calories by cooking our own meals. However, sometimes you may find yourself in a situation where you have to go out to eat. You may have a family or job function you have to attend or be invited to a party you just don’t want to miss. So, how can you celebrate with friends and family or go to a required job function without sabotaging your weight loss goals? There are a few things you can do to limit the amount of damage done to your new healthy lifestyle and still manage to get out of the house at the same time.

  • Skip the sodas and opt for water. Many studies have found that the average American ingests an additional 245 calories a day from guzzling our favorite soft drinks. This can add up to almost 90,000 calories a year, which is around an extra 25 pounds! Furthermore, this research shows that even by consuming these extra calories, our favorite sugary drinks just can’t give us that sense of fullness the way food can. So, by choosing water, you can eliminate some of the excess calories and sugar from your meal.

  • Put down your fork in between bites. This method is perfect for helping you to realize if you are still hungry. Did you know that our brains has a lag time of about twenty minutes when it comes to sending our bodies a signal that we are full? This lag time is crucial in controlling your weight. If you can find a way to eat slower, your brain will be able to catch up to your body, and you will find that you are no longer hungry much quicker. This can easily put an end to overeating and, of course, bellyaches.

  • Look for healthy options and order the smallest sizes. Many restaurants are now offering healthy choices. While these choices may not be as healthy as eating at home, most of the time they are healthier than other items on their menu. If the restaurant you are visiting does not have healthy options, try ordering the smallest sizes they have available. Try to opt for the healthiest choice available to you when you go out and then, do not overdo it.

  • Do not eat your entire meal. We all know restaurants do not follow the proper portion sizes. In fact, many surveys have shown that most restaurants have even enlarged their plates just to fit more food on them. So, if you want to lose weight, you should not eat your entire meal. Try saving some for tomorrow or splitting your meal with a friend. I know it can be extremely tempting to eat your entire meal, especially if it is sitting right in front of you, so your best bet may be to go ahead and get the waitress to bag up half of your meal ahead of time. This way you avoid temptation and can be sure that you do not overindulge.

  • Skip dessert. If the meal is high in fat and calories and does not follow the proper portion guidelines, then you can rest assured that the desserts served by the restaurant would follow these same rules and probably then some. By adding more fat and calories to your already higher normal than average meal, your diet has just taken a double whammy that can be especially hard to overcome. So, do not try to convince yourself that you can work off this excess amount of fat at the gym the next day because it is obviously not realistic. So, do yourself a favor and skip the dessert menu.

Going out to eat with friends, family or work colleagues is suppose to be a treat, and most of us really do enjoy getting in that extra social time. However, you do not want to get this extra social time by putting your weight loss goals in jeopardy. It is okay to have some fun sometimes. We all deserve a treat every now and then, but remember these tips to ensure that you do not completely wreck your weight loss goals while having fun.

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Weight loss can be hard, but as long as we can hold onto our motivation and keep working towards our goals, then we can eventually achieve our dreams. One of the best ways to stay motivated and build momentum is by rewarding ourselves for a job well done; however, we need to ensure that these rewards do not undermine all of our hard work. When we constantly reward ourselves with food, we are actually sabotaging our weight loss journey. That fun night out or that extra dessert can really add up, especially when you are trying so hard to lose weight. Therefore, you should look for other ways to reward yourself than through food alone.

If you are one of the many who are struggling to come up with ways to reward yourself that does not involve food, then you have come to the right place. Here is a list of a few of my favorite things that you can reward yourself with that will not hurt your weight loss journey.

  • Get in some extra alone time. We all need some quality time just by ourselves every now and then. It is just natural to feel the need to step away from others once in a while to get a little down time, and this could be the perfect way to reward yourself for achieving a new weight loss milestone. You could take a nice, long, hot bubble bath, go shopping, visit a museum, take a stroll through the park or whatever makes you happy. It is your way of rewarding yourself for your accomplishments with something you like.

  • Buy some new workout clothes. This reward can also help build your confidence. You want your workout clothes to fit you properly, and as long as you are losing weight, then you will always need new ones. It will only make you feel better about your weight loss to look into the mirror and see yourself in a nice fitting workout suit and not something super baggy. So, get out there and buy something cute that fits you right in all the right places.

  • Go to the spa. You have been working so hard to lose that excess weight, so why not treat yourself? You want to look good when you reach your weight loss goals, so go out and get your hair and nails done or get a nice relaxing massage that will put you at ease. You could get a facial to make you glow or if you feel like splurging, you can get an entire makeover. Also, if you feel as if this may be a little too expensive, do not worry. You could do your own pampering at home. You can find many at home spa ideas online and even invite friends over for a nice pampering and socializing session.

  • Plan a night out with your friends. You can get in some extra socializing and show off your weight loss at the same time. Your friends may be amazed at how good you look, and you get to spend the night hearing them sing your praises. However, you need to be careful visiting bars and restaurants to avoid the whole excess food rewards damaging your weight loss journey. So, go out and have fun, but avoid overindulging.

  • Buy a new outfit. You are losing weight, so of course, your older clothes are not going to fit you properly. Therefore, you should celebrate your weight loss by getting an outfit that fits the new you. As an added bonus, you may begin to notice others staring at you because they can now see how much weight you have lost, and some may even compliment you on how great you look in your new outfit.

Trying to lose weight can be a long and hard journey, but if we reward ourselves for the progress we make, we are more likely to stick with it. Therefore, you need to recognize the progress you have made and find creative ways to reward yourself for every little inch you move toward your goals. So, try not to dwell too much on the setbacks you may encounter and celebrate the baby steps you make along the way.

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Did you know that when women have a night out, they usually prefer to drink their calories instead of eat them? Well, it is true. Most of us do not think or realize that just because something comes in liquid form, it still affects our caloric intake and therefore, our weight loss goals. Many cocktails are loaded down with sugars and syrups that will also add many more unseen calories to your daily intake. It is easy to overindulge in our cocktails when we are having fun and not thinking about the effect they could pose on our weight loss results.


It is easy to overindulge when you are drinking. Alcohol causes our brain to release a chemical known as dopamine. This chemical helps us to lower our inhibitions, as many of us may have noticed while we are drinking. With lower inhibitions comes higher susceptibility to overindulging in those high in fat and deep fried bar foods. You know the late night feeling when drinking does not seem to satisfy your hunger, so you mindlessly start shoveling in nachos, wings, chili cheese fries or whatever is within reaching distance. The worst part is that most bars do not offer healthy options, and they do not follow proper portion sizes. So, not only do you eat more than you normally would or should, you are eating foods high in fat and calories, which can be catastrophic to your weight loss goals.

Affects your metabolism

Alcoholic drinks can cause problems with the way you burn fat and calories. Your liver is actually in charge of the way you burn fat, and we all know the ill effects alcohol can have on your liver. Your liver metabolizes the fat in your body in order for you to use it as energy, but when you drink your liver instead begins to shift from burning your fat stores to burning only the excess calories you are consuming from your cocktails. Since you are not burning your body fat for energy, you will inadvertently be hindering your weight loss efforts, and it could also lead to a buildup of fatty acids in your body. This will result in a double whammy to your weight loss routine and may lead you down the path of quitting your weight loss routine altogether.

Cutting back on your cocktails, no matter how tasty or low calorie you think they may be, is essential to achieving your weight loss goals. You may be one of the ones that trick yourself into thinking these calories won’t add up because they are liquid. Well, believe me this is not true. So, the next time you go out try to be aware of all the calories you may be consuming from this cocktail and try to opt for smarter and healthier choices just as you would for your meals.

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Flu Season Gym Etiquette

Posted: October 14, 2014 in Uncategorized

Some helpful tips via One Fit Mama Canada on working out during flu season

One Fit Mama Canada

Its that time of year again.  I just got over a bought of the flu that lasted almost 2 weeks and lead to all kinds of yuck.   While I know how I got the bug (thanks honey)  it got me thinking about the gym when you are sick, slightly sick or down right ill.

Hygiene All the Time

I am always very conscious of hygiene at the gym.  Doubly so lately considering all of the news coverage of the Ebola Virus suddenly having me becoming a hypochondriac.  I don’t think you need to walk around with a mask or in a bubble.  However some basics things definitely help with keeping the bugs at bay.  The biggest one for me is hand washing.  I wash my hands before every workout and right after every workout.  I also make a very concerted effort to not touch my face at all during…

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It can happen to any of us. We have been away from the gym or out of the fitness loop for a while, and then we decide we might need to get back on track and re-enter the fitness world. It can be intimidating to return to a scene that has changed so much from the last time we visited. What should we do? First of all you should feel proud that you had the courage to get back into shape and give yourself a pat on the back for trying to improve your lifestyle and health. However, there are some things you need to be aware of to help you get safely back into the swing of things.

  1. Do not overdo it. You may think that you have to make up for lost time by pushing yourself too hard too fast, but this could be catastrophic to your new fitness routine. As a fitness newbie or someone practicing a new routine, it can be difficult to tell when you are pushing yourself too far, too soon. You need to remember to start out slow and steady, just enough to test your limits the first few weeks. You should not try to set any personal records or compete with others at your gym, just yet. You do not want to become too sore to continue your workout routine or cause yourself to get injured. This could result in many of us quitting our routine or taking another prolonged break.

  2. Not exercising enough. You need to have a consistent and regular fitness routine to get the best results for your body. You should workout at least three days a week for about thirty minutes a day to help get your mind and body refocused on your exercise routine. If you are looking to lose weight and get back in shape, you have to workout regularly. If you exercise once every two weeks or so, you are not really doing your body that much good, and your results will be minimal. So, you need to put yourself out there and stick to your fitness plan to achieve the results you want.

  3. Not eating properly for your workouts. You need to eat properly before and after your workouts. Your body needs energy to be able to push yourself through your workout, and food is the main way we get this energy. The best pre-workout snacks are proteins and carbs, and you should try to avoid anything with too much fiber. After your workout, your body needs even more energy to recover. Again, protein and carbs are a good way to go. Many athletes choose to go with a protein shake or a smoothie of some sort. It is up to you, but you need to remember to avoid eating anything too sugary or anything loaded in fat or calories because you will only end up undoing all of your hard work. Also, remember it is just a snack not a buffet. You do not want to overdo it.

  4. Revisiting your old habits. You need to consider what caused you to be on a break from your fitness routine in the first place and make sure not to revisit these old habits once again. If your break was caused by boredom or lack of interest, you may need to look into ways you can spice up your routine. You may need to find something that can get you excited and looking forward to your fitness routine. If you couldn’t find the time, look at your schedule and plan a time to workout that you make yourself stick to no matter what. Whatever excuses you were using, you need to find ways to overcome them. Anything that you can do, do it. You need to find ways that will ensure you stick to your routine and help us avoid taking another unexpected break.

There are many excuses and reasons we can conveniently find to help us rationalize taking a break from our fitness routines; however, it is up to us to look for ways to overcome these excuses and reasons. We need to do what is best for our health and do whatever we can to stay active. We need to stop using these convenient excuses and reasons for quitting our exercise routines and stay on track to becoming a fitter and healthier you.

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Fitness trends are known to change at the drop of the hat. What is all the craze today may be old news tomorrow. We may find ourselves wondering what we should try next and if it will truly work for us. There are so many options out there that it can be confusing to choose the right one. Some may not be our style, may be too difficult or extreme for us and others may just be an injury or accident waiting to happen. We have to be careful when deciding on what fitness routine we want to start next, so we have decided to make it a little bit easier for you by taking a look at some of the hottest fitness concepts out there today.

Yoga, Downward Dog, Exercise, Stretching


This is an extremely intense form of fitness and should be approached with caution. CrossFit is a combination of Olympic weightlifting, boot camp style exercises and some gymnastics. You are meant to do as much physical activity as you can in a short amount of time. Please remember that when you do a high amount of intense exercise that it can be dangerous. It is recommended that if you do not have much fitness experience and are not use to the high intensity involved in cross fit that you may want to opt for something else. There have been many injuries associated with CrossFit, such as fainting, strained or sprained muscles, tendonitis and ligament injuries. If you do try CrossFit remember to ease into it and try to calm down the intensity in the beginning.


Hot yoga

Hot yoga is the newest twist to yoga routines. Some people like to add some heat to their yoga. They do yoga indoors and turn up the temperature. Some even go as high as 101 degrees. They believe the higher heat will help them stretch further and achieve the best pose or posture; however, working out in this much heat can be risky. You have too be careful of dehydration and heat stroke. You may also stretch too far and cause an injury to yourself. It would be best to start with a normal yoga class that is taught by an experienced teacher. You will know the positions better and be more aware of your limits before you try working out in extreme heat.


Spiderbands and aerial suspension

Spiderbands is a new fitness concept that emerged in New York and New Jersey. It is a type of aerial suspension. You actually leverage your entire body weight through a cardio and toning class using different apparatuses, such as bands, straps, ropes and even hammocks that are hanging from the ceiling. It sounds like fun, right? You just have to be careful. Even the most experienced aerialist can have an accident. Remember all the accidents in Cirque du Soleil. It is important to stay focused and find an experienced and highly qualified trainer. You want to have fun but remember to stay safe at all times.

There are a never ending number of fitness trends popping up daily. If you are curious and want to try out something new then do it. However, you should always start out a new fitness routine slowly and with caution. Your body may not be able to perform every move of your new routine perfectly, but that is to be expected. You have to give your body time to learn and adjust to these moves. Do not rush it. You do not want to injure yourself. You can easily energize a dull and boring fitness routine by finding something new to spice it up, but do your research ahead of time to know what to expect and ensure your teacher is qualified to lead this type of class.

Most people may ask, what is the difference between kickboxing and cardio kickboxing? The main difference is cardio kickboxing is basically an aerobics class that incorporates some kicks and punches. It does not use any heavy bags or sparring with another participant. Cardio kickboxing has gained popularity in the last few years, and women, especially, seem to be flocking to these types of fitness classes. They find it fun and enjoy getting their heart rate up while listening to some upbeat music. However, are they getting all the benefits that they could have if they were truly kickboxing?

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A more complete workout

While cardio kickboxing can get your heart pumping improving your cardiovascular health, there are many components it is missing. It is important to improve your cardiovascular health, and kickboxing also does this. In addition, kickboxing has a countless number of different drills that can work your body much harder than air punches or kicks ever could. Hitting pads, working heavy bags, and drills that focus on coordination are just a few tools in a kickboxing fitness routine that can help you achieve benefits that you cannot obtain from cardio kickboxing. You should begin to see improvements in your endurance, strength, speed, agility, coordination and balance to name a few. Cardio kickboxing may be able to claim a few of these benefits but definitely not all of them and certainly not to the degree that a true kickboxing class can.


More focus on technique

Many cardio kickboxing instructors are trained to be personal trainers, and they may not be an educated martial arts instructor. This is not to say that all of them are without martial arts experience, but there are many who aren’t qualified to be teaching martial arts. This means you are basically getting an aerobics class with added kicks and punches that may not be up to par. There are many cardio kickboxing classes out there stating that they oversee how each of their students perform techniques to ensure a workout that is free of injuries; however, many of the instructors happen to be performing techniques in improper ways that may cause you to put stress on weak areas of the body, such as the elbows, shoulders, or knees. This can inevitably lead to an injury. Yet, these are the people who are overseeing our technique?


Self defense

There seems to be so confusion among many cardio kickboxing participants that think that what they do might have some kind of practical application in a real life self defense situation. They may feel that since they are learning kicks and punches from a cardio kickboxing instructor that they will have an upper hand in any type of dangerous situation. However, just as I said before, there are many of these instructors out there that are not qualified to be teaching martial arts. In a true kickboxing class you will learn how to focus, timing, coordination, and have the added benefit of a truly certified martial arts trainer. You will ultimately have a more rounded education in self defense, which will all add up to being better prepared.

I am not trying to bash cardio kickboxing. It is a great workout for some, especially if they are only trying to focus on cardiovascular health. However, most people go to the gym looking to get results, and if you want to get the best results you need to focus on more than cardio. Kickboxing gives you cardio and so much more. This helps you see better results much faster. The choice is yours, and maybe it would be best for you to give both classes a try and see which one appeals more to you.