Saturday, May 31, 2008

Meat My Only Friend

I love meat. I like hamburgers, hotdogs, steak, chicken, pork, bacon, sausage, pepperoni, is that meat, basically all animals. The problem with this love is that it raises some concerns that I have been reading about.

The inhumane treatment of animals in slaughter houses is crazy. Rotting meat, feces, bugs, all of this crazy stuff is happening in these places and we still eat it. I read in one book that the manager told the workers to mix the obviously rotten meat in with the fresh meat. That is just sick.

I guess the way the process works is that as soon as the animal dies it starts to decompose. That means that you are putting a dead, rotten, carcass in your mouth and swallowing. Which then, since your body has a hard time digesting meat, sits in your stomach and basically rots some more until it passes out of your system. This scenario is kind of like the egg you are eating. An undeveloped baby chicken. Yep, you just ate a dead baby fetus. If you think about it in those terms then we shouldn't eat anything ever.

It is hard to know where the line is between using descriptions to gross you out and having actual information that will be beneficial to you. Is meat good for you, probably. Is meat bad for you, probably. Should we eat meat? Should we not eat meat? Who knows. I think that there is no real consensus on if we should eat meat or not. We can get the same protein and other minerals from plants and supplements. So that means we shouldn't eat meat then right? Again, who knows. If you choose to eat meat then that is what you should do. If you choose to not eat meat, then that is what you should do too. All that I ask is you to think about your food choices and decide which one is the best for you.

365 Fit for life.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Skinny Bitch

I have been doing a bit of reading here as of late and I came across a book that was in my collection and read most of it. The book I am referring to is Skinny Bitch. It's an interesting take on things that goes against the sugar coated norm of everyone needs to do things on their own time sort of approach. They basically yell at you, swear, and tell you that you are a horrible person. Well maybe not the horrible person, but they do call you names. This book or plan isn't for everyone, those that are sensitive need not read this book. For those of you though who want someone to step up and slap you in the face, this is the book for you. Geared mostly towards women, hence the title, the book still offers good advice that can be used by either gender.

The gist of the book is to be organic and vegan. No meat, no dairy, and did I mention no meat. They regaled me with tails of horror stories from meat packing plants and let me tell you, they didn't paint the prettiest picture when it comes to slaughter houses. I love meat, end of story. The stories in the book however made it a little harder to eat meat. I am on day two of my not quite vegan food choice. I have eaten an egg, and I've had some yogurt and cheese, so I am not quite vegan. I am happy to say though that I have not had any meat in over 36 hours. That my friend is quite an accomplishment.

My question for you is this. Vegan, vegetarian, what do you think of all of this. Can you go without meat? Should you go without meat? I'll talk about it more in my next post, but let me know what you think.

365 Fit for life.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Big D Word

Diet. Everyone is talking about going on or being on a diet. I say down with diets. I am going to try my very best to never say the word diet ever again in these posts. Just the mere word diet sends negative thoughts running through my head. Diet means no good food, starving yourself, and being miserable. I don't know about you, but that doesn't sound very healthy. Instead I will talk about healthy nutrition choices, eating for life, good food, and anything that promotes eating in a good healthy way. It might be difficult but we all should do it. The less we talk about it the better you'll feel, I'm sure of it.

I'll leave you with this. I was reading an article from a long time ago and it went something like this. We should spell diet, edit. Instead of thinking we are on a diet, we should just edit our food choices. Something to think about, edit.

365 Fit for life

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Justification Is Not The Only Way

We justify everything. We justify why we didn't go to the gym. We justify why we didn't eat healthy that day. We justify just about everything. And to who? And for what? Justify is just a nice way of saying excuse. I am going to not workout today, and I feel justified in saying that because I was so busy at work today. Translation...I am going to be lazy and I just want to make an excuse up in my head so that I don't feel bad about my actions. I think I stated a couple posts ago that if you want to do something just do it. You want that second piece of cake, then eat that second piece of cake. I think that is better that you feel healthy emotionally and mentally then if you feel better physically. Do we really need that second piece of cake, probably not, does it make us feel better, probably. The only caveat to watch for is to not indulge ourselves all the times. Moderation is the key and in this case it is no exception. Back to the topic.

We should feel bad for the choices we make. Not necessarily because of the choice, but because we try to reason with ourselves. That answers the question, who are we justifying this to. We are justifying it to ourselves. Sure you are talking to another person, but no matter who it is, your mom, your significant other, or whoever, we are really just justifying it to ourselves. But the person I am talking to, they want to know and they'll understand what I'm going through. Wrong. While the person you are talking to is going to listen more than likely, and yes they will offer you what you want to hear. "I had a really tough day at work, I am going to eat that whole pint of ice cream and that's OK" ..."Sure it is, you had a tough day that is totally reasonable" or something like that. Sound familiar? Well it should. Each day we justify to ourselves why we should be able to do things, and it's not just with food or fitness, it's with everything. Most people will tell you what you want to hear, and that is agreeing with your decision. Some will say it's cause they can really sympathize or empathize with you. Some will agree with you because you want them to agree with you later. We would be doing everyone a favor if we just told them, no fat ass you do not need to eat that entire block of cheese. OK, maybe you can be a little nicer, but I think you know what I mean. We think we are doing them a favor by letting them feel good about their decision and letting them get over their ordeal with food or another substitute. If you tell them they shouldn't eat that, they will probably be mad, and they will probably say not nice things, but it will help them, I promise. If they do not need to eat something as a friend they should respect that you are trying to help them. Give them some space afterwards cause they won't be too happy, but I'm sure the next day they will say thank you.

365 Fit for life

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tuesday May 27th Quick Tip

Here is another simple tip. I was walking around at work the other day and I took the elevator up for convenience. I think we all know where this one is going. Take the stairs.

I thought about it for a little bit after I took that elevator ride and I thought, well I was in a hurry, and this way was quicker. I suppose I was in a hurry, and taking the elevator was quicker. Then I asked myself did it really matter if I got there quicker. Was that 20 or so seconds of extra walking going to really matter to my time schedule? The answer to that is no. I could have and should have walked that extra bit and took the stairs.

I have heard that a good rule of thumb is, if it is less than four flights of stairs take them. I say let's do one better. Just take the stairs no matter what. This provides more than just a health benefit. Taking the stairs we know takes more time than the elevator. This means that you need to plan for it kind of like planning for the morning traffic. If you know that you need to plan that extra time to take the stairs, then you should in turn get a little more organized at work. Maybe you won't spend that extra couple minutes surfing the net, or finishing up your seventh game of solitaire. Productivity is a great things, and taking the stairs gives it to you two fold.

365 Fit for life

Monday, May 26, 2008

Flexible Like A Bendy Pretzel Bobcat Thing

If you have seen the movie, "Two Weeks Notice", the title of this post might seem familiar. Now I do not remember the exact quote of what she said, but the effect is there, bendy like a pretzel.

At one point we were all flexible. For most of us it was probably when we were like 5, but either way we were flexible. I was flexible at 5 maybe even 6, but I wish I was still flexible like that. Like most I grew taller, and my flexibility sort of went with it. A lot of attention is given to cardio and to strength training but not a lot of attention is given to balance, or flexibility, or to stretching. I am guilty of that as I think I have one post that says anything about flexibility. So I am going to remedy that now.

Flexibility is a key idea to most anything. Oh my hamstring hurts, I can't run....I have said that a few times in my life. I have really tight hamstrings and sometimes they hurt more than they should when I run. Even though I know this, I usually tend to ignore it. Bad idea. I would say flexibility is one of those things that you need to spend time on along with your cardio and strength training. Yoga and pilates are the two most known ways of getting more flexible, but simple stretching is a good place to start.

You want to stretch after you workout, or at least after you are warmed up. I have read that static stretches, one where you are stationary and are trying to stretch an individual muscle, is actually bad for you before your workout. They say that you will actually lose power because of it. I do not remember the details, nor are they overly important. The point of it is just make sure you are warmed up. I would say start with the biggest muscles first, your hips, your quads, and your hamstrings. I like to start with a butterfly stretch and then work in some hip stretches. I then like to lay on my back and stretch out my hamstrings. I stand up, stretch my quads, my calves, and then move onto my shoulders and upper arms.

This is a quick quick version of how I like to stretch. When I get more time I will dive into some more in-depth writing on stretching and everything else.

365 Fit for life

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Skinny Bitch

I recently semi started to read a book entitled "Skinny Bitch". I have only read a couple chapters but it seems like a good book so far. The content is the same that I have read and have known before but there is one key difference in this book. The book yells at you. It tells you to get off your lazy fat ass and do something about it. Now for the most part I am all about taking a nicer approach to fitness. You need to do things on your own time, or at your own pace or when you are ready. This approach will definately work for some people and it will definately not work for others. For those others that's where Skinny Bitch comes in. Those are the people that need someone to kick them in the pants and really tell them whats up. Oh sugar isn't overly good for you, so maybe, you know, if you want, you should probably not eat that, you know if thats ok with you. Skinny Bitch tells you, quit your overindulging habits, throw away all that shit you are eating, and get healthy.

Some people need a little more blunt, and some need a little more subtle. The bottom line is to figure out what you need and get it. If one approach doesn't work then try the other. If you have tried the moderation and being nice to yourself cause you didn't want to burn out or over do it or whatever, then try to be mean. Yell at yourself, tell yourself that you are fat and disgusting and that you need to change. Do whatever you need to do to get the results you want.

365 Fit for life.

*Disclaimer - I am not promoting a book nor am I telling you to go buy this book.
*Disclaimer 2 - I am not telling you to make yourself have a lower self-esteem by yelling at yourself. Before you try that approach, know yourself enough to know if you can handle something that critical.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

What Does It All Mean?

Motivation, goals, plans. All of these things have good intentions. All of them mean nothing without action. It's easy to find motivation. It's easy to make goals. It's easy to make plans. Why is it so hard to take action? It seems like I always want to have the right answer to everything. Who doesn't? I have the right answers to a degree when it comes to this whole fitness thing. I understand the principles of lifting and nutrition. I understand what it takes to get results. Regardless of this knowledge, something inside of me fails to pull the trigger when I need to the most. I usually get to a certain point and I ask myself, what does it all mean? Why am I doing this? What motivation do I have to consistently keep going? As of late it seems like there is less and less motivation to keep me going. I always have these thoughts running through my head trying to figure out what keeps stopping me from achieving what I want from my fitness. I have yet to come up with anything solid that will stick with me for too long. I know there are things I could do, sign up for a marathon, join a sports league, or join a club of some sort that would force me to stay more active and eat better. I will figure it out.

Summer for me is only 6 days away. I keep telling myself that I will throw myself head on into my own version of a boot camp during the summer as I will have nothing better to do. I hope that works.

I am writing this post not to depress or bum anyone out, but more so as a reminder to myself and to everyone that I struggle with every day things like every person who might read this. My question for you is this, what do you use as motivation? What do you see in your future that keeps you working towards something? Leave me a comment, I would love to know.

365 Fit for life

Friday, May 23, 2008

All Is Not Lost

I have been covering the proverbial wagon for a few posts now and I can safely say that the wagon doesn't look as good as it used to. The story is going like this. I have been working out doing lifting and cardio pretty consistently. My food consumption has only been going moderately good. I eat a good breakfast, lunch, and two snacks during the day like I should. The problem that I am having is with dinner. We went out to eat a couple times, and I have just been eating more than I should. I feel a little bad about what I am doing, and the only thing that is keeping me afloat is the fact that I am still working out. Usually when I fall off the wagon I tend to go all out, I don't workout I eat junk 24/7 and generally it is a bad experience overall.

I think I wrote a few posts ago about if you have a bad day then that is fine or a bad two days, as long as you don't wait till the next week to start over again. You should just pick up right where you left off. It will save you time and a multitude of other things if you start up again right away. I am half doing that. I can still see my wagon and slowly but surely I will catch it again.

My closing thought is, what causes you to get off your wagon, and what helps you get back on?

365 Fit for life

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Thursday May 22nd Quick Tip

Use a smaller plate. Yep, that's it. Use a smaller plate when you are at home eating your food and you will eat less. If you have a smaller plate it does double duty. One, it will force you to not put as much food on your plate as you would with a larger plate. Two, your plate is smaller thereby giving you that illusion that there is more food on your plate than there really is tricking your mind into thinking that you have enough.

I am not sure how well this one works for me, but it makes sense either way. If nothing else give it a try and if it works for you then keep at it. If it doesn't work, well then you can chalk it up to your list of "you have tried everything".

365 Fit for life.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ready Made Is Portions Made Easy

I love macaroni and cheese. Particularly the off-brand spiral macaroni and cheese. I like to make two boxes because well I am a glutton for punishment I suppose. When it is all made up I stare down at the contents in the pot. I grab my bowl and keep scooping and scooping never ready to stop. After my bowl is heaped over the top I sit down to enjoy my feast of noodle and cheese. It is very satisfying for the moment but later I usually regret it. If this scenario sounds familiar to you then read on.

Having ready made portions is one of the reasons that lean cuisine or smart ones or healthy choice or whatever brand of "health" food you buy is so popular. Aside from it being already cooked, pre-packaged, and it's ability to be nuked in the microwave, having it already be the portion of food that you need it to be is very helpful. On the diet that I like to be on, eating my six meals a day, I make everything the night before, except breakfast and dinner. I make my two snacks and my lunch and even my breakfast and dinner are made following a recipe that makes exactly what I need to eat. Instead of making a family size pot of spaghetti, I boil my one ounce or two ounces or whatever it calls for and not the whole box. This virtually eliminates any excuse I have to over eat. I know what and when I should eat, I make my food, and just eat what I have made. There isn't anything more to it.

This is a big help for some people. I am sure you have heard this before, and like I have stated previously I am not writing a new book, merely restating what is known in a forum that I hope to be productive. The moral of this story is make only the amount of food that you need to eat. If you have to make more than that, then go to your local store, throw down your 20 bucks or whatever it costs and buy some plastic containers. Measure out your servings and put them in your containers to store and just pull out one when you need to eat.

Information is half the battle, using that information is the other half. I will provide you with as much information as I can, and all I ask is you use it. My question I pose to you is, what do you do to help control your portions? Leave me a comment or an email.

365 Fit for life.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Portion Control Is The Best Control

Like many of you I have read countless articles on health, diet, and fitness. It seems like everyone says different things about how you should go about your exercise and nutrition. The one constant is portion control. I have never seen an expert tell you that you should go and eat a steak the size of your head. Or of course you should get extra heavy gravy on those butter filled potatoes. Moderation is the key to success. I am sure you already knew this, but it never hurts to hear it again.

It is hard sometimes to get the portions you need right. The following are some things that I have found to help you on your way to always getting your portions right.

Portion Distortion Quiz by DiscoveryHealth
This is a quick 5 question test about portion size. After you answer the question it tells you if you are right or wrong, and gives some helpful information about the correct answer.

The Portion Plate
I try to never endorse anything or sell anything or advertise anything on this site. Thankfully I am still not endorsing, selling, or advertising anything. Well maybe advertising if providing a link to something that you can buy is considered advertising, but it's small and I haven't bought the product, so you can call it what you want. Either way this is the portion plate. It looks cool anyways. It's just a simple plate that has the portions of food that you need split up on your plate so when you are dishing up you know what you need to be giving yourself and your family. I am not recommending this product, nor am I telling you that you need to buy it, I am just giving you more resources in your path to being fit.

Readers Digest Portion Size Guide by
This is a nice PDF file that lists the portions of foods you should be eating in cups and ounces, and also includes a nice every day visual such as a CD or a baseball to help you gauge your portions better.
Portion Size Guide by
This is virtually the same thing both provided by Readers Digest. This one is in html form just in case you can't or don't want to view a PDF file.

Size Does Matter - Master Portion Control by
Another guide that lists portion sizes and also includes some helpful information about the right portion size for you. At the end there are some helpful tips to help you out.

Food Database by Calorie King
A little more comprehensive then just a portion control sheet it shows calories and serving size of different products.

Food Reflections by University of Nebraska - Lancaster
Shows some good information about how out of proportion or portions are.

Portion Size IQ by WebMD
This has a little quiz you can take, but what is really good is the information it gives to you following the quiz.

I hope these links and information help you to be more aware of the food and the amount of food you are eating. 365 Fit for life.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Why Do We Fall Off The Wagon

Like I stated in my last post, and if you do not know what I am talking about then read my last post, falling off the wagon is easy. So then, what makes it so easy to fall off that wagon and what can we do to stay on it. I hate to inform you that there is no magical solution, a catch all for every individual that will give you the road map to your success. All I can say is that everyone has their own strengths and preferences and you just need to figure them out and play them up.

Being healthy for the first time is always going to be a challenge. For some it will be a challenge for the rest of their lives. For others it will be so easy that you wonder why you weren't always healthy or healthier earlier in your life. It is easy to be lazy and fat because your body seems to want it that way. My body tends to be comfortable at around 190 pounds. The problem is that I am not comfortable being around 190 pounds. I am not obese nor do I have any major health concerns, but my body likes that higher weight then the rest of me does. Everyone is different, but I am sure everyone can relate to that in some way or another. It's like your body gets to a certain level, and will do everything that it can do to stay there. It is very frustrating. Another reason on why it's so easy, is because food tastes good. Let's face it, food that is bad for you, usually tastes the best. Now I know that there are people out there that love all vegetables, eats only lean cuts of meat, and eats fish like it's becoming extinct. To those people, you are probably not reading blogs like these, so we will exclude you for the moment. I know that I love food. I love my hot dogs, cheeseburgers, tacos, pizza, and yada yada yada. This inturn coupled with that your body is usually trying to always be balanced, tends to lead to some problems in the eating department.

The solution to all of this is to simply ignore what your body is telling you, and focus on what you want to happen to your body. Your body is highly adaptable and very flexible if you make it that way. You don't really need 3,000 calories filled with sugar and chemicals. Your body will work just fine on 1,800 or 1,500 or whatever it is that your body needs. One of the greatest things you can do is work on that portion control. I will talk about that more in depth later, but that is where it all has to start. If you are just beginning your jouney to being fit, then that is a good place to start. It is hard to cut out the junk food that you are used to eating. For some it is easiest and best to just go cold turkey. Get a big garbage bag and just throw out all the junk that is in your house. For others that is not the most economical or reasonable way to start things out. With that in mind that is where portion control plays a big part in it. Instead of grabbing that big bag of chips, put a serving into a smaller bag, put up the big bag, and then go about whatever it was you are doing. Eat your serving, and then at the very least wait 20 minutes before getting another. Chances are that one, you will not want to work to get that second serving, or two, you just will not want it.

I hope this post helps a little bit, I think it might have just been ramble, but maybe you can glean some information from it.

365 Fit for life.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Falling Off The Wagon

It seems like the wagon or I should say the proverbial wagon is very tiny. Also the road is bumpy and full of stormy weather. Every day there are more and more pot holes in the road towards success, and every day it gets a little harder to stay on that path. So what happens when we fall off the wagon? Do we give up and wait for a new week to start over? Or do we take control of our life again in that very second and jump back on the wagon before we have to wait for a new one?

It is easy to fall off the wagon. It is easy to justify it. It's my birthday, I have friends in town, it's the weekend, I have to celebrate, etc. All of these are great reasons to indulge yourself. I also recommend that you do indulge yourself. If it is your birthday and you see that cake in front of you, eat that big piece of cake that you know you want. If your friends are in town go out and eat with them and have a good time. If it's the weekend, drag out your grill and go to town on it. If you need to celebrate then celebrate with the best of them. Now you might be thinking that all of this is counter intuitive, and to some it might be. It is not about what happens in life or what it takes for you to fall off that wagon, but like with everything else it's what you do to get back on that counts.

If you are faced with temptation then stare it right in the face and attack it. If you eat just a sliver of that birthday cake you are not only going to regret that you cheated on your diet, but you are also going to feel bad that since you cheated that you only had a little bit. That goes the same for the other scenarios. If you go out with your friends that came to visit you after a long time, you will feel bad that you did not go party with them. Most people would want to have that indulgence and say they had a good time, then feel miserable for not taking advantage of their social situation and that they cheated on their diet.

After you have your awesome day or even before you have your awesome day there are things that you can do to ease that pain that you will undoubtedly feel after the big night. I know I am behind on my posts, so I will break them down so I can feel good that I have a post for every day since I started this blog, even if some of them are posted on the same day.

365 Fit for life.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Lifting Through Cardio

In my last post I talked about getting more cardio from your lifting. This time around I will talk a little bit about getting more of a lifting workout through your cardio. The way to accomplish this is through resistance.

Most people usually do cardio on a treadmill, bike, or eliptical machine. All of which provide a good cardio workout. An often overlooked piece of equipment, or at least, I tend to overlook it, is the stair climber. I usually avoid this bad boy because, well, it's hard. It forces you to do more work and keep your heart rate pumped up through the duration. I guess in essence it is probably one of the better machines to use, but with all things, it depends on what you hope to achieve.

Stair climbers allow an increase level of resistance to add to your cardio. You get the benefit of constantly moving which is what cardio is meant to do, but it also works your legs, namely your quads, more so than a standard treadmill would. People usually try to seperate their lifting from their cardio, and I think that is why the stair climber is usually avoided.

If the stair climber isn't your machine of choice, any of the above machinery listed above will work, you just gotta know the adjustments. For the bike you need to increase the resistance. This will force you to pedal harder giving your legs a better workout. On the treadmill you need to raise the incline of the machine making it seem like you are running up a hill. The eliptical you can do both, increase the resistance and the incline. There is a little debate on whether or not the eliptical machine is worth the time, but I will cover that later.

There you go, lifting from cardio, hope it keeps you going, 365 Fit for life.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Cardio Through Lifting

Cardio through lifting is not a new concept by any means. It is just picking up the tempo of your lifts. You do that by decreasing your rest period and increasing your reps. I am sure you have heard that they say to build lean muscle you need to lift less weight and do more reps. I am not overly sure how accurate that is, I will have to do some research and post something about it later, but for now, we'll call it plausible that the statement is true.

Decreasing your rest period is probably the easiest way to burn more calories while you are lifting. If you usually rest, the time inbetween your sets, for a standard 60 seconds, then decrease it to more in the 30 to 45 second range. It allows you to spend less time lifting, increase heart rate, and increase muscle fatigue.

If you want to go the increase your reps route, then it's as simple as that, increase your reps. If you do a standard 8-10 reps then do more like 10-15 reps or more. In some or all cases you will probably have to lower your weights. In most cases you wouldn't want to decrease weight, but if you are in a leaning phase, then dropping your weight shouldn't be an issue. Lower weight will allow you to get in those extra reps you need to keep your heart rate elevated and burn those extra calories.

For the best results you should probably combine the two. Less weight with higher reps per set combined with a decreased rest period. One more thing to note, doing some circuit training is also a great way to get more of a cardio workout from lifting. The short of circuits is to do a little lighter weight but rotate through multiple lifts doing maybe a 30 second lift period for all lifts in succession. I will explain more about circuits in a later post.

I hope this little information helps and allows you to get 365 Fit. Keep it going.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

To Lift Or To Run, That Is The Question

I like both. I am not quite sure the level of likedness that I have for either, but at some point in my life I have liked both lifting weights and cardio, though usually not at the same time. Both items are a necessary evil in order to be the best you can be. It doesn't mean that you have to be chained to your treadmill or stuck inside your gym every second of the day; it just means both need to be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle.

I like lifting weights because of the "pump" you feel afterwards. I am pretty sure that the pump, and for those who don't know it is that feeling when your muscles get all swelled up with blood and it makes it so you can't put your arms down at your sides, means absolutely nothing aside from a physiological response to the exercise you just did, but its a good feeling none-the-less. I like it more than cardio because with cardio, there is no stopping, ever, for what seems like forever. I like the look you get from lifting weights knowing that I am getting stronger for my efforts.

I like cardio because it helps me lose the poundage that I so do not want to have any more. It makes you feel accomplished that you just did something like running a marathon or at least running a mile. I like the sweat that it builds because it makes you feel like you worked hard. I like it more than lifting because I know that in order to see the results of the lifting you need to lose the fat that surrounds your muscles.

If I had to choose one of the other, I would probably choose to lift more so than cardio. I feel more accomplished from lifting five more pounds than running five more minutes. Also for me personally, lifting is easier than cardio. Maybe its cause my lungs like to breathe or I like to be able to rest more, but for whatever the reason may be, I prefer lifting.

With all that said what would happen if we only had time for one, and what is the best of both that we should be doing. In the next couple of posts I will talk about how to combine both lifting and cardio to get a little extra benefit from your workouts. Until then, keep it going, 365 Fit for life.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Am I Fit Or Just Skinny

Am I fit or am I skinny. I have never been really ripped, and on the same note I have never been really fat either. I have always been average. I have always wanted to lose weight not a great deal I suppose at any given time, but I have never thought, man I need to gain weight. So I suppose you could kind of lump people into three categories if you had to. The skinny, the average, and the fat. I am here to talk a little bit about the average.

It seems like the two outside categories get all the loving. Skinny people are either loved or hate as most people are like how can you be so skinny and not do anything. Or I hate you for being so skinny. Fat people will usually get the why are you so fat, or the, why are you so fat. Fat people don't get much loving. Average people are always just pushed into the back of people's minds. Like skinnier folk they usually don't obsess as much about their weight, nor do they try to make fun of themselves for their weight before other people do so they won't feel uncomfortable.

I am average. I guess I could think I want to be skinny, but that wouldn't be true. I want to be fit. Yes I think I might need to walk through the valley of skinny to get to my fit, but I want to be fit. I have heard that your body goes through different phases, a weight loss phase and a bulking phase. I am probably in the weight loss phase as it stands. In this one I am trying to lose as much fat as possible while maintaining or making gains in strength but definitely not losing any. This is accomplished by, you guessed it, good nutrition and cardio. Once I get down to a good weight, I would then hit the weights harder and go for bulk or muscle.

I am not sure where I was really going with this, but I think I went some place. So if you find yourself saying I wish I was skinny, maybe you should say I wish I was fit; or better yet, say I wish I was 365 Fit.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tuesday May 13th Quick Tip

How often do we find ourselves standing around. We might be doing something, we might not be, but I know that we are standing a lot. I remember standing in line at the pharmacy the other day and there was a long line ahead of me and the liklihood that the line was going to move forward in a quick type fashion was slim. Instead of standing there idle I chose to do something about it. I thought what would 365 Fit do? This is what they'd do.

Calf raises and reverse calf raises ( I do not remember what you exactly call them but I'll explain ). Just stand on your toes and then rock back on your heels over and over and over again. Stand up on your toes trying to make yourself as tall as possible. Hold the position for a few seconds before reversing the motion. Rock back on your heels trying to get your toes as high in the air as you can.

I am not sure how much muscle this could possibly build as your calves are pretty strong to begin with so it would need a lot of reps or a lot of weight to encourage muscle growth. At the very least you will be expending energy and therefore burning off a few calories even if it's just a couple.

You might look a little funny doing it and people might stare, but that's ok. If they want to stare then let them stare, in fact invite them to join in on it. Better you look silly for a few minutes knowing that you are doing something good, then to be ashamed and not take every oportunity you have to do something to be fit.

Keep it going, 365 Fit for life.

Monday, May 12, 2008

My Day Monday

I was lounging around on the couch this afternoon and the need for a little thirst quencher decided to appear. There is a gas station maybe a quarter of a mile down the road and I made a good 365 Fit choice. I rode my bike. This one was a no brainer. I felt good that one, I got up off the couch, two I saved a little gas, and three got a little healthier in the process.

Well, that's what I did to be 365 Fit today. What did you do? Let me know, comments, emails, whatever you gotta do.

Keep it going, 365 Fit for life.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Fat Loss By Any Means Necessary

No one wants an excess of fat. Well I take that back, most people do not want an excess of fat. My last post I talked a little bit about the nutrition aspect of trying to see those abs. This time around I want to talk about the exercise portion of what it takes to get those abs to shine.

I have read that low intensity long duration cardio such as walking is best. I have read that high intensity low duration cardio such as intervals is best. I have read that running is the best cardio, that bike is the best cardio, that elliptical is the best cardio, and stair climber is the best cardio. This is where you need to evaluate yourself a little bit and decide what is best for you. One may very well be better than the other, I am a big fan of running, biking, and walking. If you have bad joints particularly in your knees then biking or walking might be your best bet. If you are just starting out then high intensity intervals is probably not your best bet.

Cardio needs to be fun, because when it's not, you will not do it, period. If you like sports then play sports. Get involved in pickup basketball, go play some racquetball, play soccer with your kids, play tennis, do whatever you need to do to get yourself active. Most places have local leagues or church leagues or work leagues or some type of league that can get you up, get you out, and get you motivated to do something.

I personally like doing a little combination of all things. I love playing basketball so when I get the chance I play basketball. I like the feeling of accomplishment I get after doing a high intensity interval workout. I like taking a walk with my girl and my dog, it is relaxing and I know it is doing some good. The elliptical machine gets me to sweat, and there's nothing better than a good sweat.

Whatever you choose, just choose something, and do it. Like I stated earlier in my consistency post, just keep at it and you will see results. My only rule of thumb is if you do not see the results you want after a week or two, change it, my first thing to change is the intensity. If you walk, walk a little faster, if you run, run a little faster. I say this change first as it makes you work harder and saves time if you do not have a lot of it. The next change is duration. If you only do two days a week of cardio do three. If you do 30 minutes of cardio, do 40 minutes.

Keep on keeping on, 365 Fit for life.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Friday, May 9th Quick Tip

Breathe. That's it. Nothing more than to simply take a few minutes to breathe. This isn't a time to sit in front of the television, or while you are showering or anything like that. Take five minutes out of your day, find a place to relax, and concentrate on your breathing.

Find your comfy place, sit, lay down, stand, do whatever you need to do to get comfortable. Close your eyes, and visualize yourself breathing in deep and concentrate on the air filling your lungs. Imagine all of the oxygen rushing to each of your organs, your muscles, and every other part of your body. Take a few really deep breaths, holding them for a few seconds each time. Exhale through your nose slowly, and repeat for several minutes.

This will help to de-stress, relax, and generally make your life a little bit better, if only for five minutes.

Good things, 365 Fit, for life.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Food, The Stuff That Abs Are Made Of

I have been reading information concerning abs and how to get them. It seems like there is a general consensus about how to get them, good nutrition and fat loss, but it also seems like no one can come to one conclusion on how to go about it. Basically the main thing I have learned is that you need to control your calories eaten, and how many calories you can burn doing cardio and other strength work. Simple huh. It's not always that easy. How do we go about getting the proper nutrition and the right kind of workout?

Lot's of protein, a little protein, no fat, some fat, more fat, the possibilities seemingly endless on how to go about it. I have read some articles that swear you should eat no fat whatsoever because you are trying to lose fat after all, why would you want to be eating it? Others have said you need to eat "good" fat from foods such as nuts, avocados, olive oil, and fish. I have also read that you should cut your protein intake as you are trying to not bulk up. On that same note, I have also heard you should get plenty of protein so that you gain muscle faster.

Here are my thoughts. While I am sure that there is some magical formula somewhere that will give you the exact amounts of everything that you should eat and do at all times, but I have failed to find such a formula. My best guess is to do the things that you know are going to benefit you. That means, if you feel good eating 1500 calories instead of 2000 calories and you are feeling better, then go with that. If you want to eat more protein to try to gain muscle and you think that is working for you, then keep doing it. If you think that you need to eat more good fats in your diet, then eat more good fats in your diet. The bottom line is check with yourself, check with someone who is knowledgeable about nutrition, and always eat healthy.

Every person is unique and every person will need a different set of guidelines to follow in order to be fit. Keep reading up on the issue of nutrition, and if you have any specific questions, drop me a line or leave me a comment.

Good things, 365 Fit, for life.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

All I Want For Christmas Is My First Two Abs

Six pack, washboard, abs, whatever you want to call them, we all want them. The six pack is one of those elusive things that seems like it will always just be out of reach. Even for those that are in good shape they may not be able to see their abs. For the next few posts, however many I feel like posting, I will be writing and discussing abs.

I know that I have always wanted abs for as long as I have worked out. You see them in movies, you see them on tv, and every now again you see them in real life. I want to be able to look in my mirror and see my own abs, not abs of another dude.

I'll start with the basics, and get this first one out of the way, though I might come back and touch on it again later. We all have abs, just most people can not see them. Crunches and any other ab exercise while good, will ultimately not give you the six pack that you want. The only thing that will reveal your abs is getting rid of the fat that is covering your abs, enough said.

In order to see your abs you need to get your body fat % down in the single digits. At about 10% you can probably flex and see your abs, but in order to actually see them, you need single digits. At about 9% you can probably see the outline of your top two abs, closest to your ribs. At between 7-8% you can make out the next two of your abs. Finally at around 6% you can see all six of your abs that make up your six pack. These numbers are of course averages of what it will most likely take to see the abs that you want. Some may need to get even lower percentages to get the same results, others might be slightly higher. Also some may be down that far but not see anything at all. This could be just from body composition on where you store your fat, or else it could be an error in your body fat calculations both of which mean you need to just work a little harder.

I hope this gives you a little motivation to do what you need to do to be 365 fit, and to get that set of abs you've always wanted. In my next few posts I'll be covering some different areas of your abs and give some examples of things I've found that have been helpful or informational to me.

*Note - I know that I referred to your abs as a six pack even though you have 8 abs, but for the purpose of this post, 6 pack abs will suffice, more on that later.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Strong Mind Creates Strong Body

This article goes hand in hand with a previous article, Pain and the fine line it creates. It said that you should be present in the moment and be mindful to what you are doing. This will hope to go a little further and explore what goes into having a strong mind and a strong body.

Mind over matter. This is a common saying that people use, but what does it really mean. Your body is built to do amazing things, but like everything there are limits. The things that separate people from one another physically are not always the physical but rather the mental. If two people are running a race and are both matched well physically it will be more often than not the one who has a stronger mind. They will force their body to push themselves harder and longer to do what they need to do faster and better. This is the key to success that most people fail to realize.

Sitting underneath that bench press bar is often an intimidating moment. To some it is the motivation to do something great, and to others it is what is going to make us not. Here is where we need to find the mental fortitude to push our bodies beyond itself and make us better.

The last time that I was in the gym I tried something to help get me mentally fit to lift. I closed my eyes for a second and took some deep breaths, to get as much oxygen to my muscles as possible. I visualized my lift and told myself, I can do it. Getting yourself prepared to do the task is half the battle. I am not sure how much it helped or even if it helped, but I know that I had a much greater chance of success with a positive outlook than a negative outlook.

Strengthening your mind is just as important as strengthening your body. Most people neglect their mind when they work out. So educate yourself, be mentally prepared, and as always, 365 Fit for life.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Consistency Leads To Amazing

This is something that everyone struggles with. Unless you are a super type person, then you have had a problem with consistency at one point or another. I know that I among many individuals have had my fair share of hardships trying to stay consistent in all that I do. It isn't about running a marathon or being an iron man or anything that dramatic it is about doing what you are capable of doing a little bit every day or every other day or however much you feel you can do and still be pushing yourself a little bit.

Everyone starts out with a bang. Monday morning roles around and for once Monday's are a beautiful thing. For most people we dread when Monday happens because it is the start of a new week and the farewell to another short weekend. But for those who are trying to be fit, Monday is a new start, a chance to be that person you always knew you should be, but for whatever reason havn't. Monday is the day that everyone seems to say, this is the start of my new week. I am going to the gym, I am eating right, I am going to take care of myself. So maybe you go strong for that first week. You eat right, you exercise daily, and you generally feel good about yourself. Then the weekend hits and willpower, gone, motivation, gone, laziness, kicking into overdrive. If the weekend didn't kill you than arguably the next Monday usually does. Then it is no longer awesome Monday I get to start over, because you already are on this fit plan, and it is oh great, Monday, I have to go to work. Then meetings happen, life gets in the way, plans are made, and boom, all your hard work from the week before is gone. I have gone over this scenario dozens and dozens of times and I am sure that I will go through it again.

Here comes the good stuff, and a little less of the negative stuff. Consistency leads to amazing. Remember you do not have to hit it full throttle right out of the gate, this is the downfall of a lot of people. They use it all up in the first week, and have nothing left in the tank for the long haul. That is why we start slow, a build up. I was reading through a little bit of the couch to 5k program. It gives some good words about starting slow and it being a process that take time. They went on to say that even if you feel that you are able to do more you shouldn't. This works for those people that are just starting out. One day you feel great and are like I think I should do more. Or it is for people that feel like they haven't done enough. In both cases doing what the program suggests is a good thing. For those people who feel great that day will probably end up over exerting themselves and end up not doing anything good for themselves. If you are one of those people that feel like they haven't done enough, then chances are that no amount is going to be enough, and you like the first group will end up doing some harm to yourself. You should just feel good that you are sticking to a plan and be happy that you got your tasks accomplished.

Starting slow allows you to better accomplish your goals. It allows the consistency that you need to be successful. If all you can do is two days a week, then do two days a week, but do it every week for an extended period of time, like at least three to six weeks. Consistency will get you to where you want, killing yourself for one week will not.

Keep on keeping on, 365 Fit

Friday, May 02, 2008

Friday May 2nd Quick Tip

Today's quick tip takes place in the shopping realm once again. It is actually a two for one as they both come from the same place.

If you know you only have a few things to purchase, either grab a basket, or just carry your items. Most shoppers instinctively go for the shopping cart. If you carry a basket with you, it will allow you to carry a little extra weight while you are walking around.

The second tip is when you are leaving the checkout counter. Instead of just letting the bags hang down at your sides like dead weight, why don't you use them to do some curls on the way to the car. Make it a challenge for yourself and see how many times you can curl your bags and the next time try to beat that number.

I hope these little tips help you on your journey to being 365 Fit.