What is fitness to you? I think when people think “fitness”, they think “exercise”. They think of running, lifting and sweating. They think of Fitness Magazine, with fit bodies and flat abs – but I think most people go down a LONG list of other things and activities before they get to diet, water and sleep.
Fitness isn’t an exercise. It’s a lifestyle. Fitness is truly a way of life, it’s not just what you do in the gym. This includes how you eat, how you sleep and how you move throughout the day. ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) describes fitness as a 5-part package. In order to be fit, you should be able to check off all 5 elements of fitness:
- Cardiovascular Respiratory Fitness
- Muscular Strength
- Muscular Endurance
- Good Flexibility
- A Healthy Body Composition
How do you stand up to the ACSM guidelines of being fit? I’m 4 out of 5 (flexibility being my weakness – but I’m working on it!).
I’ve seen a lot of body builders who couldn’t run a 1/4 mile and runners who couldn’t lift a weight. I’ve seen fit looking people have heart attacks because their bench press was more important than their heart’s health (and their love for unhealthy food was untamed). I encourage you to LIVE fit to BE fit.
As you work hard to get fit and stay fit, you purposefully do things to improve these 5 elements of fitness. This means you stop looking for the easy way to do things and look for ways to fit more healthy activity and fuel in your day. You go to bed earlier, you stay more active, you stretch, you drink a lot of water, you eat healthy, you manage your weight and you challenge your body’s strength, stamina and muscular endurance. You don’t just exercise – you LIVE IT!
People do NOT like the word diet. It’s like a bad 4-letter word that’s offensive in all countries. Everyone has a different definition of diet. I admit I use the word all the time, but I never think of it as a bad thing. To me, diet means results. It means healthy food, smart food. It means perfect portions, not overeating, not eating junk. It means practicing self-control and it means feeling great.
When did practicing self-control become so scary and bad? God ENCOURAGES us to practice self-control. There are countless scriptures on the importance of controlling our body, cravings and desires.
As you know, I like chips and salsa. I can’t eat it every day (but I WANT TO), but I do eat it. What if you let your kid eat whatever they wanted to eat every day? That’s a scary thought right? Well, it’s not too much worse than a grown adult eating whatever they want to eat every day. It might “look” healthier than PopTarts and Happy Meals, but it’s not much different when it comes to self-control.
Stop looking at dieting (or practicing self-control) as a horrible thing. Instead, look at it as empowering! Every time you resist your favorite cheat food, you are reminding yourself you are strong, you are one step closer to your goal, you are in control, you are not letting food rule your life, you are bettering yourself, you are doing the right and healthy thing. Every time you are eating healthy, you’re fueling your body with the foods it needs to help you reach your goals. Be proud, be excited!
Self-control requires sacrifice. Sacrifice requires being uncomfortable at first, but pleasure follows. Lack of self-control is the other way around. Pleasure first followed by discomfort that typically way outlasts the pleasure. Dieting (eating right, practicing self-control, managing calories) is investing in your future – and it’s SO worth it!!
Download the LoseIt app today and start taking control of your eating – and your body!
According to the Physical Activity Guideline for Americans, you should do 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise weekly. Even if you do the minimum, which means you should do 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity five days a week. This could easily get very boring over time!!
Today, on Answers.com, I wrote on ways to make your cardio more interesting and more effective. I wanted to make sure you didn’t miss these 3 workout ideas I shared with Answers:
1. The 3-Way Split
2. The 30-Minute Cardio and Core Workout
3. The 30-Minute Full Body Cardio and Conditioning Workout
CLICK HERE to get all three workouts on Answers.com!
Many people grocery shop with the best intensions, searching for low-fat low calorie items. However, just because an item is low calorie or low fat doesn’t mean it is the best choice. A great example of this is Greek Yogurt.
Before you can decide which yogurt to purchase, you need to ask yourself “what type of fuel do I need?” and “what are my goals?”. What do I mean? When I added my yogurt into my LoseIt app, I realized my yogurt was one of the small things throwing off my goals. I was getting more carbs than I wanted and I noticed my protein wasn’t quite as high as I expected (especially at breakfast). As I looked a little closer, I discovered the difference was my yogurt. I had gone from plain greek yogurt to vanilla (and had no idea it was non-fat).
Non-Fat vs. 2% Fat Greek Yogurt
As I compared the 2 yogurts, I was surprised to see how different their profiles were. See for yourself!
The non-fat vanilla yogurt has zero fat, but a whopping 20g carbs (and 20g SUGAR!) – and only 14g of protein compared to the 2% which only has 7g carbs and 17g protein. Don’t boycott non-fat vanilla yogurt just yet though. There’s more to this story than just choosing low-cal, low-carb foods.
While the 2% plain yogurt is ideal for a breakfast, snack or meal, there is one time of the day the non-fat vanilla yogurt would the perfect fuel for you – after a workout. You see, after a workout you want protein and sugar (to help push the protein through your system quickly). You also don’t want to have anything that would slow digestion in it (like fat). So, the non-fat vanilla yogurt would be a great fuel for those times you can’t get a post-workout protein shake. Since you can buy yogurt in small containers, this makes a great alternative to a shake if you are traveling or in a pinch.
When it comes to breakfast, stick with the 2% plain (unsweatened) greek yogurt. The fat will help the yogurt stay with you longer, keeping you full and energized. You get more protein and also less carbs, which is great for all of us trying to limit carbs and sugar while building or maintaining muscle mass.
Remember, not all yogurt is created equal. If you have some regular yogurt in your fridge, you need to compare labels. For instance, plain Yoplait yogurt has 33g carbs and ONLY 5g protein! That’s MORE calories, MORE sugar, MORE carbs and much less protein and nutrition for the fit peep.
Even Yoplait Lite has double the carbs and sugar than Chobani’s plain Greek yogurt. This means you will be hungry about 30 minutes after you eat the stuff, and that’s not what any dieter wants to hear!
As you track calories and learn more about nutrition, take your time studying labels and shopping for foods for fuel. Dieting isn’t just about choosing low-calorie foods, it’s choosing healthy foods that give you the nutrients you need without the extra riff-raff (sugar, fillers, etc). When you eat like this, you’ll discover you aren’t really dieting at all, you are just eating smarter!
For YEARS I poured balsamic vinegar on my salads having NO CLUE they had so many calories in them. I thought, like apple cidar vinegar, they were ZERO calories so I thought I could pour on as much as I wanted. Well, imagine my surprise when I looked at the back of my vinegar and saw that 1 tablespoon had 20 calories in it! I know that doesn’t sound like much, but I use TONS of the stuff – and at LEAST four times that much for a salad. Yes, 80 calories in what I thought was calorie-free bliss – PLUS I added olive oil too! Cha Ching (that’s me racking up the calories!)
The good news is, this isn’t the case for all balsamic vinegars. Balsamic vinegar just has more sugar in it than white vinegars. I bet you are thinking “Oooooh! THAT’s why I like it so much better”. Yep, that’s probably right!
Last night I was checking out labels of some of the salad dressings I had in they fridge, and low and behold, this yummy poppy seed dressing had HALF the calories of plain balsamic vinegar!! See! You NEVER know unless you take the time to study labels.
VINEGAR: The Search for Calories
I did a little homework on various vinegar for you. Here’s what I found.
Calories for 2 Tablespoons of Balsamic Vinegar:
Balsamic Vinegar, Of Modena: 0 Cal
Balsamic Vinegar, Roland: 20 Cal/2 T
Balsamic Vinegar, Of Madena, Monari Federzoni: 20 Cal/2 T
Balsamic Vinegar, Pompeian: 10 Cal/2 T
Balsamic Vinegar, Bertolli: 30 Cal/2 T
Balsamic Vinegar, Alessi: 20 Cal/2 T
Balsamic Vinegar, White, Alessi: 20 Cal/2 T
Balsamic Vinegar, Ages, Colavita: 10 Cal/2 T
Balsamic Vinegar, Regina: 40 Cal/2 T
Balsamic Vinegar, Holland House: 30 Cal/2 T
Average Calories Per Tablespoon (for all types of vinegar)
Cidar Vinegar: 3 Cal/1 T
Red Wine Vinegar: 3 Cal/ 1 T
White Wine Vinegar: 0 Cal/ 1 T
Balsamic Vinegar: 14 Cal/ 1 T
Distilled Vinegar: 3 Cal/ 1 T
Rice Vinegar: 1 Cal/ 1 T
Malt Vinegar: 0 Cal/ 1 T
Sherry Vinegar: 0 Cal/ 1 T
Champagne Vinegar: 3 Cal/ 1 T
I’ve been off my “diet” (AKA: Eating clean) for a month or so now. We’ve been staying pretty strict over the last year and wanted to take a break, and just have a little fun. (That even just sounds dumb already! Like we can’t have fun without a burger and ice cream?) Anyway, our plan was to start dieting again after July 4th. Monday, July 7th was the day to kick it back into high gear – but seriously, I just couldn’t wait. I couldn’t stand how I felt one more second!
I was so sick of feeling crappy, flabby and lazy. I had it up to my eyeballs in high-calorie food. 80% of the food I ordered I didn’t even really like that much. It was like I was on the search for something to satisfy my tastebuds in some special way. I almost boycotted salads because I can have those every day when I’m eating clean. I tried to squeeze in every food item I normally limit – and what a let down! Then, I thought “I really like the way eating clean tastes and makes me feel. So WHY OH WHY do I want to eat garbage?”
Don’t get me wrong, an occasional burger is no biggie, but hot wings one day, pizza the next, and ice cream too – that’s just dumb. Crappy food makes me feel crappy. It has no real fuel and nutrients to energize me so I am also more tired and less likely to workout. It’s double dumb! Yet, when I eat clean most of the time and have a small treat, it’s awesome. It’s not enough to make me feel bad and it’s just enough to satisfy a craving. That’s smart. So, why can’t I always be smart? I think it’s because we feel like we are missing something. How stupid is THAT!
When we are dieting, we aren’t missing anything worth missing. It’s when we are eating poorly, we are really missing out. We are missing out on feeling awesome in our clothes, as well as feeling energized to really LIVE and have fun. Our confidence is better, we are stronger, we are happier, we are more apt to do stuff we wouldn’t do when we feel fat and ugly (like go to the beach or wear a fitted dress). We don’t mind being in pictures, we are more positive to be around and aren’t as depressed. That’s not worth missing. Eating pizza and feeling like a big greasy slob afterwards? That’s worth missing!
So, the next time you feel like you are missing something when you are dieting, remember no chocolate in the world is worth what you’d be missing if you weren’t dieting & exercising! Making poor choices is trading the positive effects of healthy living for a temporary pleasure. It’s ain’t worth it – and it’s just plain dumb!
Let’s eat smarter!!
Before you can set goals, before you can change your ways, before you make any big decisions, before you commit to anything, there is something you must do first. You must consider the cost. Then, you weigh the cost with the reward.
Most people fail because they are too focused on the reward to consider the cost. They don’t dig deep enough to find out exactly what sacrifices are required. They jump in blindly ready to get the reward, without really being prepared for the work. As a result they fail, they quit or they get fired, divorced or unfriended.
How many times do we see this is the job place? People seem so excited to get a job, to get the paycheck, to enjoy the benefits….but they seem shocked they have to do a job – as if they had no clue they’d be expected to actually work for the pay.
You see it in the marriage. People love the idea of being loved, but forget there is a cost. Is it worth it? Heck yeah!!!! But, sadly, many people never really, REALLY think about what will be expected of them if they want to continue to be loved “til death do us part”.
When it comes to fitness, there is also a cost. Being fit costs time. It normally cost some amount of money. It may even cost you relationships (typically unhealthy ones you don’t need anyway). It will likely cost your favorite food fix, giving up a few bad habits and it the price of hard work. Sacrifices must be made. The question you have to ask yourself is “are you willing to make the sacrifice to get the reward?”.
David (in 1 Chronicles) was smart and understood true sacrifice. After he screwed up big time, he desired to pay full price for the sacrifice he was going to give to the Lord. Even after being offered a gift, he insisted on paying FULL price. I believe we should have that type of desire in everything we do. We should live in a way where we aren’t always looking for shortcuts all the time, but we are looking on ways we can pay in full – and be excited to do it.
As we say in the fitness world, EARN IT. Not that we can ever earn God’s forgiveness or love, there is something to say about how good it feels to earn our pay and to earn our good health. Even as a Christian, it’s great to know we are doing the right thing. It’s the earning process that is the learning process.
If we mess up, we need to accept it fully, and be willing to pay for our mistake in FULL. If we ate too much, if we were lazy and if we were irresponsible, we deserve where we are and we should be OK with paying for it. Anything else would be cheating (like David felt).
We can’t expect to fix a mistake without cost. We also can’t expect there not to be repercussions to our mistake and act surprised or irritated when we face them. We can’t expect to have someone else fix us. We can’t keep trying to find someone, or something, to take the blame.
We must be willing to pay full price for our mistakes. We must embrace the work, realizing it’s the work that will make us proud. It’s the hard work that will grow our character and shape us into the person God desires us to be. Short cuts cut corners, including cutting out important part of our personal growth. Not only that, they rarely work.
Insist on paying full price!
While one of my pet peeves is when a walker walks in the middle of the road, when there is a nice sidewalk right there, I have to admit I like running on asphalt over concrete. As I was running yesterday, I wondered if running on asphalt was actually softer and better for you. I decided to do some research when I got back home.
Asphalt vs Concrete
After doing some digging, I couldn’t really find any firm evidence asphalt is better for your body (there were mixed reviews and conflicts in opinions on the topic), however, I did find evidence it is indeed softer. According to my research, concrete is approximately 10 times harder than asphalt. These surfaces are measured by pounds per square inch (psi). Asphalt can be around 400-600psi and concrete can be anywhere from 3,000-4000psi for sidewalks to 8000-10000 for airport runways. Even though I found mix reviews on the impact these surfaces have on the body, I personally believe softer is better – and if nothing else, it’s more comfortable for me to run on them.
The next issue is how to run on the asphalt safely, without irritating drivers or getting run over. If you are like me, you’ve probably complained about people on the road. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard Steve say “there’s a sidewalk right there you moron”. What he really means is “I almost hit you and you scared me to death and I really wish you’d use the sidewalk so you will be safe”. However, after the guy flips you off for coming too close to him when he was running in front of the sunrise, in a blind spot, wearing all black and taking up his half of the road, “what a moron” comes out of his mouth first.
So, here are a few tips to keep you running safe, and keep everyone’s middle finger in control.
8 Safety Tips for Road Runners
1. Know that you are SUPPOSED to run on the sidewalk. Even if you choose not too, please know it is the law (at least it is here). While Florida law prohibits running on the road if there is a sidewalk nearby, I haven’t heard of anyone getting a ticket for that (YET). However, there are also laws for pedestrians to follow when sidewalks are not available. It would be smart for runners to follow these laws (since they are made for our own safety and were probably pretty well thought out) so you are as safe as possible if you choose to not run on the sidewalk. Tips #2 & #3 address those laws.
2. Run on the RIGHT side of the shoulder (to the right of traffic). The law says the first choice (if there are no sidewalks) is to run on the RIGHT of the SHOULDER. (Note, I don’t believe an extra 4 inches of asphalt constitutes a shoulder. The Federal Highway Administration defines a shoulder as “the portion of the roadway contiguous with the traveled way for accommodation of stopped vehicles for emergency use”. This means a true shoulder should be big enough to pull over safely on. I would have to ask an officer if we should run on a 6 inch piece of asphalt to really know, however, if my body can’t fit on the shoulder without crossing the line, I doubt very seriously they want you on it.) Please realize this is NOT saying to run on the right side of the road. Pedestrians should travel on the the FAR RIGHT of the shoulder OFF the road and not in the lane at all. Run to RIGHT of cars, to the RIGHT of the white line and the RIGHT of the shoulder. Got it? Good!
3. Run on the LEFT side of the road (facing traffic). If there is no shoulder, like in most cases around my neighborhood, then pedestrians should run on the LEFT side of the road. So, if you are running in a neighborhood, a country two-lane road or on a long drive, you should always be on the LEFT side of the LEFT lane going against traffic. Don’t think pedestrians have the right-of-way. They DON’T. The ONLY time you have the right-of-way is when you are using a crosswalk. And if a car comes close to you, don’t glare at them like they are the idiot. You are the one that is not where you are supposed to be. Waive politely for being in their way, thankful they didn’t run over you. If nothing else, they won’t drive by thinking fit people are dumb AND mean!
4. Move out of the way. It is polite to move to the outer edge of the road or even off the road when you see a car coming. This acknowledges that you see the car coming, and you know they have the right-of-way. Plus it’s just plain safe!
5. Be visible. It KILLS ME to see people running at dusk, dawn or even at night wearing black AND running on the road. Do you know how many times Steve or I have almost hit someone running on the road on the way to or from work, simply because they were not visible? Way too many times. Although you may not want to wear a dorky reflective vest, you can avoid wearing black, you can wear light and bright colored clothing, and you can even buy reflective clothing that is both stylish and safe. If you run during these times, you should invest in the proper gear. If you aren’t visible, then it would be better for your health to run on the sidewalk than trying to protect your joints but end up getting hit by a car. Just sayin’.
6. Turn your headphones down. I always have my headphones on when I run, but I keep them at a level where I could still hear screeching tires, a horn, siren or even someone yelling at me. If you can’t hear warning signs, you are risking unnecessary danger. If you are running at night, you may choose to not wear headphones at all so you can hear footprints if you feel you are at risk for anyone from sneaking up on you. The best way to stay safe is to increase awareness of what is going on around you at all times. If you block out noises, you just limited one of your most powerful senses.
7. Move off the road when you can’t see oncoming traffic. If you are walking around a corner or up a hill, realize oncoming traffic has no clue you are right around the corner. Your advantage is you can hear them coming. They have no advantage. You are in a blind spot and even their mere reaction to seeing you suddenly could cause them to overreact, panic or even swerve. Many people only think of what THEY can see, and not what drivers see. Just because you see someone coming doesn’t mean they see you.
8. Be nice. Seriously people. I hate to say this, but don’t be a grumpy running snob with your 4 water bottles, compression socks and competition outfit acting like you are racing for a million dollars. You are a walking (or should I say running) advertisement for fitness so be a good one! No one wants to hit a happy smiling runner. Noooo! They slow down, move over and wave a nice happy wave to that runner. If you want to get hit, have a mean scowl on your face and act like your poo don’t stink. Even if someone doesn’t choose to hit you, they may throw something at you just because they don’t like the way you look.
Share any of your own running tips or pet peeves below! I’d love to hear them!
More tips & laws for walkers and runners
Want to learn more? Read my recent blog for Answers.com, Walking and Running: 7 Rules to Stay Safe and Legal, for 4 more laws you need to know.
Do your Power Walks Lack Power? by Bonnie Pfiester, Answers.com
10 Tips to Buying Running Shoes by Bonnie Pfiester, Answers.com
Preparation Tips for Hiking by Bonnie Pfiester, Answers.com
Top 10 Running Surfaces by Runner’s World
Running on Cement, Asphalt & Grass by Livestrong
Sometimes I feel like I need a little boost to help me reach my goals. While I don’t normally take a lot of supplements aside from protein, vitamins and creatine, I do occasionally add a fat burner to the mix to give me that edge I need when I’m starting a new diet or I’m just kinda feeling blah. So, when I got the opportunity to try ThermoHeat, I jumped right on it – because NOW was one of those times!!
Being a fitness professional, I hate when diet pills claim to help you lose weight, get ripped, get your man back and fix all your problems (because you know some companies do make crazy claims like that!), however ThermoHeat just says it like it is – no fluff, just science (Click here to see clinical studies). It says it’s boost metabolism (and it DOES), helps manage your appetite (and it DOES!) and enhances energy and alertness (and it most definitely DOES).
You might have seen the ThermoHeat feature in Fitness RX. Basically, ThermoHeat is made up of a variety of nature’s best antioxidants, herbs, extracts and supplements. For instance, ThermoHeat has capsaicin in it, a chemical found in red chili pepper used to make paprika which reduces appetite & increases metabolic rate. Read more. While I’m no dietician or chemist,and can’t explain all the ingredients, I can tell you what this product does for me – or doesn’t do I should say!
Unlike many other thermogenics, ThermoHeat doesn’t make me jittery. Since I have heart palpitation issues, this is super important for me. Some fat burners make me feel very uneasy, but ThermoHeat is energizing without freaking me out. I can actually FEEL the warmth of the ingredients, warming me up from the inside – which is just plain cool (or hot, I should say). Increased body temperature results in more calories burned throughout the day.
Not only am I burning more calories at rest, the energy ThermoHeat gives me makes me want to burn even more calories. This is the edge I need to get my butt going on those days I’m not “feeling it”. Let’s be realistic. I would be lying if I told you to pop this pill and you’ll lose weight. While you will burn a few more calories a day and you may not be as hungry through the day, you will miss out on its benefits if you aren’t exercising and eating clean. What I love about ThermoHeat is I’m not only burning more calories, but I have the mental boost (more energy and alertness) to WANT to workout more. That’s the boost I’m talking about.
I have taken ThermoHeat before a run or before a class and LOVED the added energy! I don’t suggest taking it right before exercise (especially if you haven’t eaten) simply because the warm feeling feels more intense to me when I am huffing and puffing too, but if I take it with food or an hour before exercise I feel SUPER-FANTABULOUS! Seriously, the other day, I was SOOOOO DEAD! I really, REALLY didn’t want to go to the gym, but I popped some ThermoHeat (I know, it’s not a pre-workout pill, but I figured what the hay!) and DRUG my lazy bones to the gym – and ROCKED it! I totally left the gym feeling 10 foot tall and bullet proof. ThermoHeat is energizing indeed! Just ask Steve, who accused me of taking crack on the last BCx Boot Camp show on LiveExercise! lol After taking ThermoHeat, I was quite the energizer bunny! :)
Lastly, ThermoHeat is also an appetite suppressant and I DEFINITELY noticed I am not near as hungry now that I’ve been taking ThermoHeat. I do NOT condone going long spans without eating (we need to boost our metabolism by eating ever 2-3 hours), however, the other day I realized it was 6:45pm and I hadn’t eaten ALL day. I completely forgot – that is NOT like me! When I finally did eat, it wasn’t from hunger, but just because I knew I NEEDED to eat.
Basically, my take on ThermoHeat is this. If you want a little kick in the pants and need more energy without the jitters and heart racing, you should try ThermoHeat. I’ve actually never been so good and consistent about taking supplements. With ThermoHeat, I’ve been extra good about taking it on a regular basis like a good girl! Why? Because I’m comfortable taking it and it works! (oh yeah, and I have a lost a couple pounds too!)
SO thankful I got to try this product. I definitely give it 2 thumbs up!
OK, can I get a count by lifting your hands: Who wants to be weak? I’m pretty sure no one is raising their hand right now. No one is jumping up and down saying “Meeee! Meee!” No one wants to be weak. People want to be STRONG! And even if they are not strong, they want to appear strong.
What is required for strength? Well, in the fitness world, building strength requires lifting things that are quite difficult. It requires putting your body under great pressure. Our body doesn’t get stronger using the same 5lbs weights we started with. No, we have to keep moving up, keep trying heavier weights and keep challenging our body – many times to the point of failure (or perceived failure).
I personally HATE to fail. That’s why I hate pistol squats. I only can do so many before complete failure. Not only that, I can’t do them really well, and I can’t do that many of them. Even if I do as many as I set out to do, I consider myself a failure because they aren’t deep as I want, I’m not flexible enough to hold my dang foot out in front of me and I am not strong enough to pump that many out. I leave that exercise every time feeling like a big fat failure.
This is why I don’t like doing them. This is why I want to quit trying them. I stink at them. BUUUUT, I know I will NEVER get any better, any stronger or any more flexible unless I keep trying them.
Part of success is mastering the art of failing without it getting in the way of your goals.
We must realize every success requires many failures. We MUST fail to succeed. Every failure teaches us what not to do, it tests our strength, it teaches us discipline, it challenges our poor attitude and it grows our character. The good news is with every failure, is also a mini-success. These smaller successes help keep us trying. BUT, without trying, we never experience the small successes.
No one likes to fail. In fact, people try to avoid failure at all costs. People don’t love, for the risk of a failed relationship. People don’t pursue their dreams, because of the risk of failure. Many people don’t even start a diet or workout program because they don’t believe they can succeed and don’t want to be a failure in that too. However, if you want to succeed, you need to be ready for many failures (big or small) along the way. Part of success is mastering the art of failing without it getting in the way of your goals.
Don’t give into your weaknesses. Decide to be strong today. Accept that failure is a part of life, and the more chances you have to fail, the more chances you have to succeed.