Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Pain And The Fine Line It Creates

I have been asked this question before, and I have also asked this of other people. Are you hurt, or are you injured? To most sports people they will know what that is, but for those who do not, I will try to explain. Most people will think of being hurt and injured are the same thing, and to some extent they are the same. The difference lies in the severity. If you are hurt you can probably work through it and continue whatever it was you were doing to hurt yourself in the first place. If you are injured you most likely will need to seek medical attention, and not continue with your activity.

I want to give credit to 24 Fit Club for indirectly giving me inspiration to write about this topic. You should go check it out as there are some good things there to read.

Pushing through the pain is a common thing for me. I have been told that you can do it and even though it hurts you can still do it. This philosophy will not work for everyone as every person's idea of pain and pushing are different. I like to watch a show called Made on MTV. The short of it is this, a person who isn't good at something wants to be good at something. They get a coach and usually five or six weeks to get good at what they want and at the end they enter some sort of contest to show that they are now good at whatever it was they were trying for. The majority of the people on that show that want to do something athletic, snowboard, play basketball, or any other sport, are not usually that in shape or athletic. I most recently watched a girl who wanted to be a ballerina. She was put on a training schedule and to her it was pretty intense. There was one scene where she was using a step machine and basically had a panic attack because it got to hard and she quit. This is where pushing through the pain needs to take place. That girl on Made was not injured, she was just hurt, and by the standards that I set earlier means she could have continued with her workout. That episode got me to thinking how do you push pass the pain.

I was always under the assumption that to push past the pain you just have to tough it out and do it. Like all advice, it is one thing to say it, and another thing to know how to do it. The first time that you get hurt you are more likely to quit than you are to keep going. I know that when I was swimming I would get a sort of leg cramp or in basketball I would say my toe hurt or some other excuse because I didn't want to continue. Looking back on that it seems odd that I would rather lie to not do something than to simply say I do not want to. I digress... Toughing it out seems to be a learned response. You get injured and you either move past it or you let it stop you. You might not always push past it, but the more times that you do, the easier it gets for you to do it. Yelling and berating someone for not being able to push past the pain, especially when it's their first opportunity to try to, is probably not the best solution to get them to try harder. There is a difference between taking a little time to be able to push past the pain, and just giving up. Most people never give the chance to allow the time it takes each individual to push past the pain and therefore they quit either by their own accord or by the actions of others.

My take on this is simply to do what your mind and body are telling it to do. Your mind and body are both amazing resilient things and when pushed, it will deliver the results that you want to see.

Keep on pushing and don't let a little pain slow you down. 365 Fit,fit for life.

It's sort of ironic that when the girl from made quit cause she was hurt actually continued after she was injured. Just goes to show you can do anything if you want to.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Intensity, Never Just Go Through The Motions

Intensity has always been a pretty major buzz word in fitness. The only problem is it is hard to define making it hard for people to know what it means to be intense. To some it means grunting loudly, nostrils flaring, veins popping. To others it means going as hard and as long as you can possibly go. I hope to cover something in the middle of those two examples.

For this purpose, intensity refers more to how hard you are pushing yourself, whether it be cardio or strength training. As the title states, more often it seems that people simply go through the motions. Oh, I was at the gym for 45 minutes I must have done something good. I just did 20 reps that must mean that I did it right. People simply go through the motions of working out. They hop in their car, drive to the gym, and spend their allotted time. Few people in the casual group of fitness really focus on what it is they are doing.

To get the most benefit out of your cardio workout, it isn't about going longer it is about going harder, or more intense. You will burn more calories running/biking going nine mph for 10 minutes as opposed to doing the same motion but only getting up to five mph. The point is to push yourself just hard enough to make sure you are focused on what you are doing. This means, put down your magazine, stop the chatter with your friends, and for 15 minutes focus on what you came to do in the first place.

I like the idea of interval training and there are many different types to do. The basic premise to all of them is, go hard and then ease up and repeat. I typically like to do a minute of as hard as I can go, followed by two minutes at about 70%. Other way's to do it are short 30 second sprint bursts followed by 10 seconds of a slower speed. Whatever you choose to do, just make sure you are present in your workout meaning your thoughts are on is this too easy or should I speed my pace up.

Lifting weights follows the same concept of cardio intensity. Looking back on how I started my lifting I can remember trying to lift too heavy of a weight and only getting in half repetitions. I thought I was doing something good since I was there and I was lifting a decent amount of weight. Now after all I have read on lifting I know that I was doing myself a disservice. I wasn't getting a full range of motion nor was I using good form in my lifts, I was just going through the motion. This is where intensity fits into the equation.

First for most guys, check your ego at the door, it doesn't belong in a gym. After that, for your lifts, find a weight that you can actually lift, all the way through your repetitions, and with good form. This is where being present will benefit you as well. Lift with intensity meaning thinking about good form, powering through your entire range of motion getting the most benefit from each movement that you do. Like with cardio, doing 10 solid reps with the proper weight and good from will be much more beneficial than doing 10 half reps with a weight you can not lift.

Intensity is what will get you through your plateaus. If you aren't happy with your weight loss then run harder, faster, you will see improvements. If you aren't getting stronger, lift with a purpose and you will see improvements.

Keep on going no matter what, good things are just a day away, 365 Fit will always be along for the ride. Good things.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Snooze

I am writing this to you today, well this should have been my Tuesday post, so you will get two lovely postings today to makeup for me not doing anything yesterday.

No the snooze is not some ultra cool person that everyone should know. Although it is an ultra cool something that everyone does know. I am sure that every person at some time in their life has hit the snooze button, again, and again, and again, unless you don't own an alarm clock, or were somehow blessed with some waking up ability that I am not. The snooze seems like a necessary evil that no one really wants to have as intimate relationship with, and yet ultimately we do.

I have read a few different articles concerning this snooze button and whether or not we should use it. Like my water article there is no real good answer. Physically I know that it does us no good. Getting that 9 minutes or however long your snooze is set for, is probably more detrimental than helpful. Psychologically however the snooze button can be a god send. It gives us that little chance for hope that our day is going to be that much better or we will somehow be that much better by preserving our present state of comfort and mostly unconscious state.

I hit the snooze button way more than I should. Lately, and by lately I mean the last three days, I have been doing a better job. I know that isn't very long, but at least its a start, and like all good things it has to start somewhere.

I have also read some tips on the snooze button. Namely for me the ones I like are having a reason to get up in the morning and getting enough sleep at night. I have been getting up at five in the morning to go workout. I lay in bed and I want to hit the snooze button, i truly do, but I do not hit it because I know that I need to get up and go workout.

A viable alternative to the snooze is using two alarm clocks. The first thing you do is find out when you should get up. You can figure this out by using this general rule. Your body goes in sleep cycles lasting approximately an hour and a half. So with that in mind you plan accordingly. I need to get up at 5 a.m.. I want about eight or so hours of sleep. So if I go to bed about 9 p.m., I would set my first alarm for about 4:30 a.m. which would be in the seven and a half hour range of sleep. I set this alarm really quiet in the hope that at that time I will be ready to wake up and the little noise from the alarm will be enough to wake me up. The second alarm you setup farther away from you at the absolute last time you can get up and use this as your last resort. This system is supposed to help you wake up naturally and allow a safeguard to make sure you get up in time for your day.

One last thing that I saw that intrigued me. I am not sure how effective it works but it is an alarm clock that has wheels on it. Named, Clocky, it is literally an alarm clock with wheels. It allows you to set the length of your snooze from 0 to 9 minutes. If it is set for 0 you have no snooze and it just will get off your table and start cruising around your room. Again, I am not sure how well it will wheel around, but the notion that you have to get out of bed to chase this alarm clock sounds comical at least.

The snooze is great, but for us here at 365 Fit it needs to be done away with. I will leave you with this thought taken from an interview over at ESPN with Tiger Woods. He was asked how he is able to have done so many great things but doesn't feel like hitting the proverbial snooze button and take a break or a day off. His response was, the way I look at life is: the greatest things about tomorrow is that I will be better than I am today. That is some powerful words and if that doesn't motivate you to be 365 Fit, I don't know what will. Good things.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Strength, Flexibility, Balance

Strength, flexibility, and balance are all parts of your one whole. Without one the other three are ultimately doomed to fail. If we are not strong then we can not possibly balance ourselves when we are lifting for strength. If we are not flexible then we can not possibly move within our full range of motion getting the optimal benefit from whatever fitness move we are trying to do. If we are not balanced, then we will fall when we lift and when we stretch.

It seems like we fall into one category or another, but mostly into the strength or flexible category. Often we will see mostly men lifting to get strong, often neglecting certain areas that should be worked more than others. With women we see the opposite and they usually go the flexibility or balance route more so than the strength route in fear of becoming bulky.

In all fitness we need to have all three. I have been working on a plan to incorporate all three of them. I have taken ideas from articles I have read and past experiences and this is what I have come up with.

In the mornings three days out of the week comes my strength. I am trying to build up to more complex movements, but mostly focus on my main areas of my body. My chest, back, shoulders, quadriceps/hamstrings/glutes. I do dumb bell bench press to isolate each arm separately to work my chest and upper arms. I do leg press to focus on my quads/hams/glutes. I also know that squats may or may not be better for me, but this is what I choose to do for now. I do bent over dumb bell rows again to isolate my arms and to provide a wider range of motion for my lats. I finish with pull ups/chin ups to work basically everything, my shoulders, biceps, triceps, lats, traps, delts, and even a little of my abs for good measure.

In the evenings I take a chapter from yoga/pilates and work on conditioning my core and lengthening and stretching my muscles as well as adding flexibility. I like to do this in the evenings as it tends to relax me a little more and it's not as intensive. I try to do this every day, especially on my strength days to help get the tension out.

Balance is going to be coming by way of Ray Allen and men's fitness. I read an article about him and it shows him doing different things for balance. I found it interesting looking at him standing on one foot usually with a band around his quads, knees, or ankles and then throwing him things, medicine balls and the like. I think doing some off balance things such as using a wobble board, or a bosu ball, or just standing on a pillow once or twice a week and just moving will help to incorporate some of the smaller stabilizer muscles. I know that you shouldn't be doing everything with an aid ( bosu ball ) since you won't be getting the strength bang for your buck as you can not lift as much weight, but once or twice in a week should help out your balance.

I know this one is lengthy and technical or at least more technical than previous posts, but I wanted to share a little insight on where I was in my 365 Fit goals and plan so that you can see that I am a real person, doing real things, just like you. In the following days/weeks I will be going a little more in depth on each of the three areas, strength, flexibility, and balance and will hopefully clear up things, or add too things as we go along.

Here is to all of you doing your thing and getting 365 Fit, even if the rest of the world isn't. Good things.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Just A Little More

I have been playing around with the notion of, "just a little more." Lately it seems like if I just gave a little more I would be more productive in all areas of my life. If I would just stay on task at work a little more, or if I would cleanup after myself just a little more, or if I would be fit, just a little bit more, who knows where I would be today.

It is easy to be lazy. I am not sure why it was made that way, but for most that is true. Now I know that there are people out there that will go crazy if they have to sit still for more than five consecutive minutes, but it seems like to me as a whole that most people are inherently lazy. If we would take a couple minutes on a daily basis to be just a little bit more, fit, productive, or what have you, that we would all be better off.

I end with this as I have done just a little more. I know that this is just the beginning of 365 Fit, and no one has read this but people I know, but if I am able to give advice, then I should be able to take my own. It is late, or at least later than I would like it to be and I could have gone to bed instead of writing today's post ( even though it is Sunday now, this is Saturday's post ), I took it upon myself to be diligent in my efforts and post something. I feel better now that I have and it took just a little more effort on my part to do the right thing.

I hope that all of you fictional readers take this to heart and every day do a little bit more. I hope this finds you well, and will help you get a little closer to being 365 Fit. Good things.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sunday April 27th Quick Tip

Sunday was the day that we decided to get back on the wagon and be proactive in our fitness habits once again. It must have been a long time since we've done this as the grocery shopping was both a little bit of a shocker and the whole process, shopping and preparing, was a larger endeavor than I remember it being. Either way I feel good about where we are going and for once I feel just as good about the journey as I do the destination.

Our little experience today brings me to today's quick tip. Almost every store and/or building you will ever go in has automatic doors. Why not use a couple extra muscles and go through the manual doors. I know that it isn't much but at the same time it is more than the alternative would get you.

Today is a quick post but I hope you enjoyed it anyways. As always I hope this tip finds you well and gets you a little closer to being 365 Fit. Good things.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Water, the legend, the myth, the reality

Water has always been under great debate and scrutiny so I figure I'd get this one out of the way early. There are basically two extremes to this argument with a variety of gray in the spectrum. On one end you have people who think water is the godsend and you should drink as much as humanly possible during the day. On the other end are the ones who shun waters existence and curse the day that water was born and was forced upon us to consume in those unheard of quantities. I hope that most people are going to be somewhere in the middle of those two extremes. I fall into the middle some where though I lean more towards the drinking more water than not side.

I have read through a number of different articles talking about how much water do I need, should I drink eight glasses a day, how much is too much, and is there any benefit to drinking more water. The following is what I got out of the articles.

Drink water.....

Let's start out with some basics. Below are two simple formula's for figuring out how much water you should drink.

Male Drinking Requirement, in fluid ounces:Body Weight x .35
Female Drinking Requirement, in fluid ounces:Body Weight x .31

Those are just general formulas for an average person.

Hydration Calculator
This a series of nine questions that will help you to determine how much water you need. Take it for what it's worth and not as the final word on how much water you should drink.

Water: How much should you drink every day?
This article was posted at the Mayo Clinic site. Among the articles I read it provided a good amount of comprehensive coverage. It lists the health benefits of water which include flushing toxins and bringing nutrients to the body. It goes on to explain three approaches to determining how much water you need, replacement, 8 - 8 ounce glasses a day, and dietary recommendation. All three approaches boils down to this quote taken from the article, "Even apart from the above approaches, if you drink enough fluid so that you rarely feel thirsty and produce 1.5 liters (6.3 cups) or more of colorless or slightly yellow urine a day, your fluid intake is probably adequate." Next it discusses different factors, exercise, environment, health conditions, and pregnancy/breast-feeding, that will affect the amount of water you need. Then it continues with other sources of water besides plain water such as fruits and vegetables, milk, juice, and other beverages. Finally it wraps things up with ways to stay safely hydrated, not relying solely on if you feel thirsty before you drink something, and to make sure your water bottle is sanitary.

Benefits of drinking water oversold?
This article from was one of a number of sources that had an article about a recent study on benefits of water. I picked this one because it seemed to be the most detailed of them all as it outlines all the claims of water instead of just glossing over them. It covers the five claims of water, Drinking water helps to excrete toxins, Drinking water helps your organs work better, Drinking water reduces food intake and helps you to lose weight, Drinking water improves skin tone, and Drinking water wards off headaches. The general consensus of all the claims on whether or not they are true is that water does not help as much as it has been claimed too.

Basically there is no real benefit of drinking more water. On the same note, there is no real benefit of not drinking more water. It just comes down to personal preference and listening to your body. The article ends with some thoughts on the placebo effect of water. It says that if you think that water is helping you lose weight, have better skin, makes you feel stronger, or any other benefit that you perceive more water consumption is giving you, continue to do it. Like I said before, science hasn't really proven that more water is better, and there is no benefit of not drinking more water. So if you feel good because you just downed your eighth - eight ounce glass of water then drink on.

I like to drink water, most of the time. It does get hard to stomach after large quantities of it, but that goes for most things in life. I am a believer in the placebo effects of water in that I think it makes me feel better, makes my skin look a little better, and it gives me a general feel of being healthier when I drink more water than less.

I hope that this write up covers some questions you might have had about water and how much you need. As always stay fit, listen to your body, and you will be on your way to being 365 fit. Good things.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Friday April 25th Quick Tip

Some time ago I watched a show entitled "I want to look like a high school cheerleader again". It was a version of "The Biggest Loser" as it had multiple "competitors" trying to lose the most weight. The difference, if you can call it a difference, was that they were all former cheerleaders who have lost their form.

During the course of the show it followed the drama and showed the girls working out which was all well and good. I got into the show, and I think I watched all the episodes, though not sure if I should be admitting that or not, but either way, I watched. At the end of the series or it might have been during I forget, they were showing some of the contestants healthy things to do while out to eat.

Everyone seems to struggle with eating out. They smell the food, they see others enjoying themselves by gorging on their meals and you think, why can't I be one of those people? There was one suggestion that stuck out from the rest of them. People think that salad is a healthy alternative to the junk that most will eat while they are out. The problem with this is the creamy dressings that they pile on. The trainers on the show used a simple, common sense solution to solving that problem.

The next time you are out to eat and want or order a salad, get your dressing on the side. Have the server put it on the side, or if it's a salad bar, get a separate dish for your dressing. Once you have your dressing on the side, just dip your fork in the dish to get your dressing. This cuts down immensely on the calories you intake, and you might even find out that you can taste your salad.

I am guilty many times over of drowning my salad in dressing. I have always thought that it would make the salad taste good, and to some degree it does. If you use that simple solution stated above, you will find that your salad will taste better. All the things that make a salad healthy will taste crisp, not soggy, and the flavor will pop like a salad should.

I hope that this dining out tip will help you in your quest for 365 Fit. Use this tip with the previous dining out quick tip, and you will be well on your way to being 365 Fit. I hope this quick tip finds you well. Good things.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Thursday April 24th Quick Tip

What we live in today is an age of convenience. We all want something for nothing, and we would like it to work that the less we do the more we get. Today I give a simple tip of convenience.

When we go to the store we usually drive around in aimless circles trying to find "the" parking space. Not "a" parking space but "the" parking space. We all know the one. The one up front, as close to the door as humanly possible. We curse the cars that get a better spot than we do and we feel let down when we have to settle for a spot that is less than optimal.

My quick tip is simply this. Park in the first available spot. Not the first available spot that is closest to the building, but literally the first available spot, even if that means you are parked as far away from the door as possible. You might be thinking, well if I park that far away it will take too much time. If you can't take the extra couple of minutes to walk a little bit further and get a little bit healthier, than you might need to reevaluate things in your life, other than your parking situation. Besides, you would probably waste the same amount of time driving around in your mini circles looking for the best parking spot, as you would just parking your car and walking. You not only save the environment by driving less, you save a little cash by not wasting your gas. You might even luck out and find that it takes less time for you to walk, then it takes to drive in your circles.

I hope you enjoy today's quick tip, and I hope it takes you to being a little closer to 365 Fit.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wednesday April 23rd Quick Tip

It seems like more and more people eat out these days. I for one seem to be perpetuating that self made myth quite nicely. The burning question that seems to arise from eating out is, what can I do to be more health conscious. The first thing that comes to mind is, don't eat out. The second is a simple tip that I picked up from somewhere.

Portion control is one of the biggest and easiest things you can do for yourself when trying to control your weight. Restaurants are notorious for giving you enough for yourself, your significant other, and the left side of your family tree. Most will think nothing of this because it looks like you are getting a good deal on food, not that you are eating too much.

So what can you do to help yourself, simple. When you order your meal, just ask the waiter/waitress to box at least half of your food up before it is even brought out to you. Better yet, ask them to not bring out your box until they bring out the check, to stop any temptation of picking at your food. Better still is, split an entree with a friend, and still have them put half of what you ordered in a box. Chances are that your entree, once split into fourths, will still be an adequate meal as part of your six meals a day, and it will save you a few bucks, and that is always a good thing.

No matter what you choose to do, always think smart, think healthy, and do what you need to do to make yourself 365 Fit. Hope this Quick Tip finds you will. Good things.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tuesday April 22nd Quick Tip

If you are going to pick up your kids from school, or are just waiting in the car for someone or something, here is a quick tip to help you get in a little mini workout while you wait.

Make sure the car is in park before you start this. Recline your seat all the way back, and do some situps. It doesn't really matter how many you do, just get started and see how many you can do. To add this into your routine, see how many you can do and then try to beat it the next time you are waiting.

Hope that you find this quick tip helpful.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Birth Of 365 Fit

Everyone wants to be in better shape. Everyone talks about it, thinks about it, and reads about it on a daily basis. The problem that usually arises boils down to, no one does anything about it. We are all either too tired, too lazy, not motivated, it's too hard, not enough time, or any other meriad of reasons that we have come up with on why we never actually get things started. 365 Fit isn't revolutionary or evolutionary or any other "volutionary" it is just simple things that we can do every day 365 days of the year to be a little more fit. I will add my two cents in on most day's and will provide resources of articles I have read, or just general advice and motivation for people to look at.

The main goal however, is to have you, the readers, supply your own daily tips and things you do each day to be fit. Readers can submit what they did that day to be fit, motivation advice they used that day, recipes, success stories, or any other advice or tips that they use to help them stay 365 Fit.

I hope that with myself and everyone who reads and takes part in this, can make something great so that each and everyone will be 365 Fit.