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I know, you’re busy. I’m busy, too. Everyone is. Busy, stressed and tired.

For most, their exercise routine is just another cause of stress- one more thing you have to fit into your schedule, one more thing fighting for your time, one more thing you are too exhausted to do, and one more thing that makes you feel guilty when you push it off in favor of some downtime.

These would all seem like good excuses to skip exercise, if any of them were true. Poor exercise, it gets such a bad rap. If this sounds like you, you need to switch your thinking. Exercise is your CURE for stress. A good workout stimulates your beta-endorphins (which are 30 times more powerful than morphine) giving you more energy and helps you burn off that extra tension and anxiety- the perfect mix to nix stress.

The best workouts for eliminating stress?

Boxing. Sure, you get to beat the crap out of something, but you also get a great cardio, upper body and core workout. Punch away.

Aerobic Exercise. Working in repetitive motion, clearing your mind while pushing your body as hard as it will go is better for lowering stress than any prescription out there.

Sports. Playing basketball or volleyball with a few friends is not only a great workout, it’s a great stress reliever. Fresh air, blasting fat and fun with friends- it doesn’t get much better than that.

Yoga. For a slower, calming (yet, still effective) mind clearing workout, give your body and mind a good stretch with a long yoga session.

Don’t stress about stress- use it to your advantage. Use your anxiety and pent up energy to push yourself further than you thought you ever could, and end up feeling better than ever afterward.

Most people own a bathroom scale, and if you are trying to lose weight, you are probably pretty familiar with yours.  It’s the fastest and easiest way to measure your weight loss progress, and while it may not be 100% accurate all the time, it’s a good gague of how you are doing.

All too often, however, people let the scale rule their lives.  They let it dictate how they are going to feel about themselves that day, their motivation level and their mood.  If this sounds like you, here are 3 ways to break the scale’s hold over you, without throwing it out the window.

  1. Remember what the number on the scale really means.  The scale will tell you how much weigh at that exact moment, but it doesn’t tell you how hard you’ve been working, what kind of person you are or how you should feel about yourself.  If the number on your scale means all those things to you, you need to reevaluate your expectations- because no amount of weight gained or lost should decide how much you are worth. 
  2. Make it work for you.  Is that number not what you expected?  That’s your clue that you did something different and it’s not working for you.  More often than not, you’ll know what did it (pizza after work yesterday, or skipping the gym a few too many times last week) but a change on the scale is a clear sign of what your change of routine wasn’t a good idea.  Next time you are faced with the same scale changing temptation, you know what will happen next weigh in, and hopefully decide to pass.
  3. Remember that you are in charge of the scale, not the other way around.  You can through that scale right out the window if you want.  You choose when to weigh in and how often.  It’s not your judge, it’s a hunk of plastic and metal.  If you had a splurge last night, and your belly is still full the next morning, you know your weight is probably not going to be what you want it to be.  If you know seeing that number is going to bring you down, skip your weigh in that day, and vow to see a number the next morning that you can be proud of. This will motivate you to make better choices more than a guilt-enducing number ever could.

Think again!

Check out this battle between a typical morning Starbucks run and kettlebell swings, one of the best fat burning exercises around.

Place your bets, people, then click play.

Sometimes, being healthy sucks. It sucks when you go out with your friends, and they are swilling beer and cramming pizza down their throats and you are eating a salad. It sucks when everyone wants to go out and stay up late but you have to call it an early night because you have boot camp in the morning.

It seems like living a healthy lifestyle, or working towards your goals, is keeping you from doing the things you love. It’s always hard to be different.

You know what? You are different. To lose weight, or stay healthy, you have to live differently than most people. Most people are over weight, sedentary, and suffer from, or are at a very high risk of, developing diseases that will keep them from enjoying life to the fullest, and will in a lot of cases kill them prematurely. Most people can’t climb a flight of stairs without getting winded, dread bathing suit season because they hate they way they look and can’t play with their kids and grand kids.

I get poked fun at constantly for my choices. My friends tell me to relax and just eat a cheeseburger everyone in a while, and to let loose for once and stay out a few more hours on the weekends. People push food on me and groan when I say I’m on my way to the gym.  “Have fun every once in a while” they say.

You know why?

Because we make them uncomfortable.  If a real life person, like you and me, can make healthy decisions on a daily basis toward losing weight and staying healthy, it means it’s possible. It means they can can do it, too- they just choose not to.

To them, indulging in unhealthy foods and treating their body poorly is fun.  That’s not my idea of fun.  Sometimes, yes, but not always.  You can make yourself feel good and have fun without the aid of cheese and alcohol.

It’s not your responsibility to police others, but it is vital that you don’t let food pushers and workout distracters sway you from your goals.

My strategy? Don’t apologize: teach and motivate. If someone makes a comment about my overly complicated, healthified order at a restaurant, I explain why I made the choices I did, and when it arrives, I offer them a bite. If someone makes fun of me for heading to the gym, again, I let them know all the positive health benefits exercise has on one’s health and body, and I invite them to come along. 99% of the time, they will decline, but even if they say no, they learned something, and will gain a little appreciation for you working so hard to take care of yourself.

 
www.marriedtothesea.com
www.marriedtothesea.com

May 10th is National Women’s Checkup Day (which probably has something to do with the fact that Mother’s Day was yesterday) where women everywhere are encouraged to head their doctor and get a thurough check up. 

Many women don’t go to the doctor, or ignore nagging symptoms, until it is too late, and the consequences can be dire.

Many women are intimidated to go to the doctor, scared of what they may hear about their weight, their health, or their lifestyle, but you have to do it.  Make an appointment to get your physical soon.  Working out is an important part of staying healthy, but check ups are vital to spot health concerns before they potentially ruin your life.  You only get one body, one life, and you have to take care of it.  Do it for your family, do it for your friends, but most importantly, do it for you.

Soreness is a natural part of working out, but sometimes the line between soreness and pain can get blurry.  Here is your guide to deciphering between whether you should push through the pain, or give your poor body a rest.

You are sore for up to 3 days after a workout.

This means you worked your muscles hard enough to initiate changes. This a good thing.

To ease the pain, drink plenty of water and stretch to initiate the healing of your muscle fibers.  Rest at least one day before working the same muscles again to reap the benefits of your workout, and prevent injury.

You are sore for longer than three days.  The pain prevents you from moving the effected joint, or keeps you up at night.

This means you pushed it too far. You either used too much weight, worked out too long or didn’t rest enough between workouts.

To ease the pain, take a break from the workouts, take an ibuprofen, and see your doctor to check from injuries.

You are having muscle cramps during or right after your workout.

This means you are either dehydrated, didn’t warm up properly, lifted too much weight or a combination of the three.

To ease the pain, massage the afflicted areas, chug water and if the pain persists for more than 3 days, see your doctor.


Working out is going to cause discomfort, but it shouldn’t hurt.  If you are still unsure of your are normal sore, or injured, check with your doctor to make sure.

The number one excuse, by far, as to why people don’t workout consistently is because they don’t have time. 

No one has time.  No one magically has an hour a day where they find themselves staring at the wall because they just don’t have anything to do.  We fill our time on purpose, because doing nothing is boring.  So, sometimes we fill up our time with fun stuff, but more often than not, we fill it up with things we “have” to do.  Then, when we need to fit something in, like exercise, or a little me-time, there is no room.

This is why you have to make time to exercise.  It’s not going to fit seamlessly into your packed schedule, so here are some ways to free up time to get in a workout.

  • The easiest is waking up earlier.  Just wake up an hour earlier and get it done.  You are going to be tired when you wake up either way, so instead of snoozing for another hour, get out of bed and get in your early morning workout.  It will do more for your energy level than that extra hour, anyway. 
  • Consolidate tiny tasks.  I’m guilty of not following this one.  If you look at my planner, which if I lost, you’d find my curled up in the corner with no idea what day it was, it’s full of tiny little errands. Each day is riddled with “Go to the banks,”Go to the post offices,” and “Go to the store for one tiny little thing.”  If you consolidate all these tasks that can definitely wait into one trip on one day a week, you can easily free up hours per week to workout.
  • Turn of the tube. Many people watch TV as a way to relax and unwind, but you might be surprised how many hours you actually watch.  Take just one of those hours per day and get in your workout.  DVR is your friend- record your favorite shows and for the week, and watch them on one day, sans commercials, which will save you even more time.
  • Prep your meals for the week.  You gotta eat everyday, so instead of spending time everyday cooking up your meals, prep them all for the week on Sunday so you can just throw them together when it comes time to eat- saving tons of time, and even a few trips through the drive-thru, which is doing NOTHING for your goals.
  • Delegate tasks.  Give up some control.  Your kids can do some housework, like laundry, dishes and vacuuming, and let your spouse take care of paying the bills or doing the grocery shopping every once in a while.  This will save you time and give you a little bit of that ‘life balance’ everyone keeps talking about.

 

If this still doesn’t free up enough time for you, try to find your individual time sucks.  Everyone’s schedule is different so take a day or two and write down everything you do every minute of the day.  It sounds horribly time-consuming (which also sounds counterproductive to the topic of today’s post) but you may be surprised how many unimportant things suck up your time.  Try eliminating just a few and you may soon find yourself with an hour or two to kill, and I know just the place to do it.

I have a set exercise schedule that I consider to be fairly heavy (I run 28 miles a week, devote one day a week to an hour-long cardio session, strength-train three times a week and take one rest day per week), and I was just wondering: Should those of us who do intense exercise every week have a “taper week” every so often, like those preparing for races? I don’t want to run my body into the ground, but I don’t want to deviate from my normal routine if it’s not necessary to do so.
Thanks!
Justine
Wow, you do have quite the intense routine going.
‘Taper week’ is a term that racers and marathoners use for the week where they lighten their training to make sure they have enough energy to perform well at their races.  It’s important to rest your body so that your muscles have a chance to heal stronger, and your body has a change to refuel and get its energy back.
When you consistently push it to the max with the same routine, you are setting yourself up for performance plateaus and doing damage to your body.
Many people think of plateaus only in regards to weight loss, but you can hit performance plateaus as well. When you make your body do something for a long period of time, it adapts.  Your body is lazy, so if it knows what to expect, it will find a way to produce the same result with less effort, which means less energy, calorie burn, cardiovascular and strength benefits.  You are doing a lot of work, and not getting as much out of it as you could if you switch up your routine or cut back.  You have to keep your body on its toes.
If your body thinks it’s in danger, it will slow itself down.  You still may be able to finish your workouts, and feel relatively fine, but inside your other systems have been slowed to put the energy toward your workout and have a little left over to, you know, live.
When your body systems slow, again, you will miss out on results-your runs won’t burn as many calories because your body slows your metabolism to protect itself from using all of its energy stores, if you do run through all of your energy stores by not eating enough for your activity level, your body will strip proteins from your muscles to use as energy. Exercise tears your muscle fibers, which when they are allowed to heal, they heal stronger and, thus, you gain strength.  It takes about 48 hours for the proteins to synthesize and heal your muscles, so if you tear them again before they have a chance to heal from the first workout, you will at the very least not see results, at the most tear your muscle.

Your body is like a machine, and if you push it too hard, it’s going to give out.  Repeated stress on the muscles, joints and bones can cause irreparable damage.  Marathon runners often suffer from stress fractures and hip and knee joint injuries.  The cartilage can wear away, nerves can be pinched and bone density can be compromised.


Take a break. Even Olympic athletes have rest days and varying workout/training schedules. Try and schedule in an extra rest day to your week to allow your body to heal itself, or try different forms of workouts to prevent injury and to make sure all your effort is worth it and your results keep coming.

Hi, I am a 20 yr old college student who recently loss some weight. I try to eat as healthy as possible (with a few indulgences-whoops) and I try to get in an hour of activity everyday (even if it’s just walking) including pilates 2x a week. I don’t want to lose any more weight (as in scale number) but I still have belly rolls that I am uncomfortable with, especially since I am only 5’2 and I have a small frame. How can I take off the fat without going below my weight (for health purposes since currently I am at the low end of a healthy weight (but not underweight-I just don’t want to fall into the category).

thanks, Elaina

Ooo, this one’s easy.  WEIGHTS!

You are looking to improve the quality of your body mass, not lower it, so you need to switch the fat you have on your body to equal parts muscle.

Now, despite what people like to say, fat doesn’t actually turn into muscle, they are two completely seperate things.  So you must reduce your body fat, and then increase your muscle mass.  The best way to do that?  Diet and strength training.

To figure out how many calories you need in a day to maintain your weight, read this post.  Remember, you are looking to maintain so don’t subtract any numbers in the end- just take your BMR and multiply it by your activity level.  This is the amount of calories you need to not gain or lose weight.

Then, you need to start lifting.  The only way you can gain muscle mass is by over loading your muscles.  Work all your major muscle groups about 3 times per week, never on consecutive days (the rest days is when they heal and get stronger.)  So you can work your whole body every other day or split your muscle groups and alternate working them everyday.  It’s up to you.

To make sure you are lifting efficiently, you need to pick a weight that lets heavy enough that you reach failure in 8-15 reps, which means you cannot do another rep without good form.

Stick with that and you’ll be building muscle whole burning fat and still staying in the same sized pants!

One of the quickest ways you can boost your metabolism is to hit a My Revolution camp first thing in the morning.

And early interval workout (alternating quick bursts of strength training and cardio moves) can help you get a jump start on fat burning.

Many studies suggest that first-thing workouts are more efficient at oxidizing fat and converting it into energy.

Morning workouts also give you the energy you need to make it through your day, suppress your appetite so you won’t overeat and you’ll be less likely to skip because other things get in the way.

What are you waiting for?  Start your Revolution today!

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