The ABC’s of Meditation- 3 Different Styles for a Stress Free 2017 December 30 2016
Sometimes (ok, almost always) the end of the year brings with it a ton of stress and anxiety. Not just in terms of the year-end madness at work, but because of all the untied loose ends and unfinished business that unveil themselves as we inevitably head into an existential reflection of what we’ve accomplished throughout the past year. Hopefully, you are feeling positive about 2016 and entering 2017 with optimism and motivation. But incase you’re just human, and find yourself feeling a bit anxious or uneasy about what lies ahead, know that you’re not alone. More importantly, there are coping mechanisms that we can (and should!) use every day to help us stay level headed and balanced. Meditation is, for some, a vague and ominous concept. However, it’s important to know that meditation is simply just the act of silencing your loud inner voices for a while, connecting with your inner calm, releasing stress and worry, and being in the present moment . Rather than making it a big deal, think of it as a simple and gradual process that you are trying to turn into a habit.
(Image via www.boldselfimprovement.com)
There are many different methods of meditation, so if you’re not connecting with one, don’t give up! There doesn’t have to be some huge revelation or amazing epiphany that occurs, but rather a sense of deeper connection with yourself and a developed ability to control your stress and emotional state through the process. If you stick with it, this can be a useful tool or coping mechanism for times of high stress and anxiety. Here is a quick breakdown of the three main types of meditation.
This is probably the simplest form, making it the most suitable for beginners. This form of meditation solely entails being in the present moment, and silencing all other thoughts and outside noise. Though simple, this type of meditation is not always easy, particularly if you’re someone that struggles to clear your mind and silence the outside noise. However, if you’re one of those people, this type of meditation may prove to be the most beneficial, if you’re up for a challenge! To try Mindfulness Meditation, sit in a quiet space and try focusing on your breathing. Then, let go of all judgement. If negative thoughts creep in, let them go and focus on the silence. Just be in the moment. For more info, check out this article.
This type of meditation involves the repetition of a mantra, or a positive saying that has significance to you and your life. It is recommended to practice Transcendental Meditation twice a day, in 20 minute sessions. This is a great approach if your goal is to promote relaxation, alleviate stress, or promote positivity and self-development. This is a good type of meditation for those who struggle to clear the mind and be in the moment, as the mantra guides you in a sense and allows you to focus on your intention. This is a beneficial practice for anyone looking to lift their mood, is recovering from a trauma or experiencing extreme stress or depression. For more info, click here.
(Image via Popsugar)
This is an instructor-led form of meditation that guides you through the process. Different techniques are taught in these sessions, such as body scans and affirmations, and it’s a great option for those who prefer instruction or get distracted easily. The guided style is particularly effective if you have a specific focus on your meditation, something you’re trying to eliminate or achieve like reducing physical tension or overcoming emotions. There are tons of Podcasts and Apps that offer Guided Sessions if you’re interested in trying it out, such as Headspace. Learn more here.
Are you ready to get in touch with your inner self and work toward a self-aware, stress free 2017? Which form of meditation works best for you? Let us know in the comments below!
Why Wait for the New Year? 8 Things to do BEFORE 2016 is Over. December 02 2016
So often we wait until January 1 to finally look at our lives, reevaluate, and set goals or put a plan into action. This makes the first day of the new year seem ominous, existential and fraught with pressure and intimidation. Why not start the process a bit earlier and knock a few things off your 2017 list before you wake up with the inevitable post NYE hangover, feeling depressed and overwhelmed as you are finally forced to take a good hard look back at the past year? Attempt at least a few of the following steps over the next month to take some of the pressure off that first day of the New Year and give yourself a head start at accomplishing your goals and following your resolutions!
Tie Up Loose Ends.
You know those smaller items that keep getting pushed to the bottom of your “to do list” every month to make room for seemingly more important ones? Time to face them. Whether they’re household chores, uncomfortable conversations or tedious admin tasks, tackle them one by one and give yourself a clean slate for the new year.
Pay a Visit to your Doctor & Dentist.
Rather than trying to schedule a dozen appointments in January (along with the rest of the world) pay a visit to your doc and dentist and get a check-up before the New Year rush. You’ll feel better knowing you’re healthy and on top of it rather than neglecting any pending health issues until the new year that might impede your forward momentum. (We know, it'd be a whole lot more enticing if the doc looked like this guy.)
(Image via Huffington Post)
Do a Year-End Clean
Go through your closets, file cabinet, and any other storage areas and give them a thorough cleanse. Get rid of anything that hasn’t been worn or used in the last year, or that doesn’t have any purpose for the foreseeable future. The new year will be busy, so you’re more likely to give it the time it deserves now and you’ll feel refreshed and organized come January 1.
Volunteer for the Holidays
This may not be something on your “to do” list, but ending the year with a good deed is good karma, and will set you on a positive and righteous path for the new year. Giving to others less fortunate is a habit we should continue all year round, but this time of year is especially important so that families in need can enjoy the holidays. You’ll feel rewarded after helping others, and this sense of accomplishment will be a great thing to carry into 2017 as you reflect on your year.
Book a Trip
Give yourself something to look forward to in the cold, dreary months of winter to come! Book a trip somewhere you’ve never been. Try to opt for a destination that will both rejuvenate you and enrich your mind and soul.
Sign Up for or Renew Your Gym Membership
Don’t wait until after all the boozy parties and rich Holiday dinners to get back on your health and fitness regimen. Get into your routine before the damage is done. Once your program is in motion, it won’t be as hard to motivate yourself to achieve your fitness resolutions as it would be after months of being lazy, inactive, and over indulging.
Organize an End of Year Gathering
Whether it’s a Holiday Bash, a New Year’s Eve soiree, or just a simple dinner or cocktails with close friends, gather some of your most treasured people together before the end of the year. Relationships are a big part of mental well-being, so don’t let your hectic work schedule or family obligations get in the way of spending time with friends and family at this special time of year. It’s a great way to reconnect with loved ones and start the new year in a good place in your relationships.
Write Yourself a Letter
Before you ring in 2017, take some time to write yourself a letter outlining all your accomplishments, significant milestones and events in 2016. Next, describe a few goals you’d like to achieve in the year to come. This should be an annual tradition so that you can look back the following year and compare. This practice also forces us to hold ourselves accountable to our goals so that we are continuously growing and evolving and thus enjoying a more fulfilling life.
Shifting your Perspective and Improving Self- Confidence for a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year. January 01 2016
It’s easy for things to pile up and seem overwhelming when we are feeling negative and have low self-esteem. Negative energy builds upon itself, I’m afraid, until things that to someone in a more positive place might seem insignificant, suddenly seem unbearable. This makes it harder and harder to focus on the positive aspects of your life, thus allowing negativity to overwhelm you. The trick is breaking this cycle by bringing a little positivity into your life. Here are a few ways to shift your perspective, build your self-esteem and lay the framework for a healthy, happy and prosperous 2016.
Let Go of Negativity and Focus on the Positives.
It’s time to “trim the fat” so to speak, and weed out any people, thoughts or energies that are having a negative influence on your life. We ourselves determine our worth by the treatment we accept from others. Value yourself! Accept nothing less than respect and dignity from those you choose to keep in your life. It’s easy to make excuses for the people that we love when they are behaving badly, especially if you suffer from low self-esteem. It often seems harder to let go of people than to put up with the disappointment they repeatedly cause us. Be strong, and be honest with yourself. Ask yourself, am I benefiting from this relationship? Is this person going to lift me higher and support me in my life and endeavors? If the answer is no, it’s time to let go. It may be hard at first, but in time you will be surprised at how okay you are without these people weighing you down.
When it comes to your perspective, try and count your blessings rather than your disadvantages or misfortunes. Remind yourself regularly of what you DO have, by writing down a list of what makes you happy and what you are grateful for in your life, whether it’s once a week or once a month.
Take Care in Your Presentation and Appearance.
It’s easy when you’re feeling low to just give up on your appearance. It starts to seem pointless to make an effort so we get lazy in our grooming process. It may seem superficial, but when you look good on the outside, you feel better on the inside. Put yourself together every day, even if you don’t feel like it. Looking your best will give you the confidence to face the day, and push you out the door with your best foot forward. Also, even if it feels like you can’t really afford it, don’t be afraid to splurge on yourself every once and a while. Buy that dress that makes you feel like a million bucks. Better yet, wear it out dancing with your best friends. It’s amazing how much a little laughter, dancing and perhaps innocent flirting can do for the self-esteem. Laughter is contagious, and so is happiness. Positive vibes attract positive people, simply put, but misery also loves company… so take your pick!
Travel Somewhere You’ve Always Dreamed of Going.
No more excuses, just go! You can’t put a price on this kind of experience. Travel has a wonderful way of clearing the mind and shifting your perspective, and you never know what life altering adventures or experiences awaits you outside your realm of normal. It’s time to burst your bubble, get out of your rut- whatever you want to call it. After a few weeks away, your “problems” will suddenly seem less troubling and unmanageable.
While travelling with friends is great, going it alone is really the best way to force yourself out of your comfort zone, and will no doubt build self-confidence as you rely on your own devices to navigate foreign lands and forge new friendships.
Stop Over-Analyzing and Stay Busy.
Now is the time to reinvest paranoid, negative energy spent worrying about other people into yourself and what makes YOU happy. Start thinking of your own needs first, make sure they are being met, and then worry about other people. Just make sure they’re the ones who worry about you, too! Focus your time and energy on making yourself happier, stronger, more successful- whatever you desire.
Busy up your schedule with things you find fulfilling, whether its work, hobbies, or social events. You’ll feel more positive and have much less time to over analyze and focus on the negative aspects of your life, or those unworthy of your thoughts. Find yourself a hobby that will better your mental and your physical health. Make it a priority and schedule it in if need be, just make sure you keep at it. Practice makes perfect, and being good at something you enjoy will naturally build confidence. When you’re confident in yourself and your abilities, it’s easier to drown out the negativity that once overwhelmed you.
We hope these tips will help you start 2016 on a positive note. Wishing you a very Happy New Year from the No Sweat team!
We’ve all undoubtedly made dozens of new year’s health and fitness resolutions, with a genuine intention of following through, yet they always seem to fall by the wayside after a couple of weeks. Sure, life gets busy, but sometimes we also set unrealistic standards and expectations for ourselves that actually become intimidating and set us up for failure. Here are a few general rules to follow when making your resolutions that will make your goals more attainable, and therefore make you more likely to stick to them!
Set Realistic Goals
If you set out to work out 7 days a week from a 1 or even 0 day a week schedule, you’re inevitably going to burn out quickly. It’s important to set goals that are realistic, and that won’t seem so overwhelming that you’re tempted to give up. It helps to set a plan in motion to increase your exercise regimen gradually, making it less intimidating and more motivating. Start with 2-3 days a week, go with this for a couple of weeks, then increase your limits. This applies to your exercises as well, start slow and build your strength and endurance by pushing your threshold gradually. Remember it’s not a race, it’s a marathon!
The same rules apply to your diet- don’t try to cut everything out at once. Ease your way in so you don’t end up in a starve and binge cycle where you limit yourself so much that you overindulge every time you allow yourself. This is hard on the body and not effective for weight loss. Sugar and carbohydrates are common groups that come up on the “elimination list,” just make sure to maintain a balanced diet and match your efforts with regular exercise. It’s all about building a healthy, maintainable lifestyle. Starving yourself will only cause low energy, and less productive workouts as a result. You need your fuel! Just make sure it’s the right kind.
Sign up for Programs in Advance
Because the fitness world has figured out that the first couple of months of the New Year is probably the biggest time for people to try to find their inner health and fitness buff, there are hundreds of programs available to help get you on track come January. Signing up for a program in advance is a great way to give yourself a little nudge to follow through on your resolutions. Once you start going regularly, you will find yourself part of a like-minded community and thus more inspired to follow through and chase your end goal.
If you enjoy yoga, sign up for the 30 day challenge at your local studio. There is almost always one happening in January! If you’re looking to build some muscle at the gym, sign up for a few sessions with a trainer there. They’ll get you on the right track, and feeling more confident to continue on your own thereafter. These kinds of programs also make amazing Christmas gifts! If you have a close friend or family member that you know is looking to make some improvements to their health in the New Year, grab them a fitness package. They’ll thank you for it now, and then again later!
Don’t Keep Your Resolutions a Secret
Sharing your goals and resolutions with friends or family will also help you stick to them. Saying them out loud makes them real, and signifies a deeper commitment. Plus, once you’ve brought your best pal or your mom in on your secret, they won’t likely let you give up easily either. It’s nice to have someone else nudge you once and a while too, especially if you’re starting to feel uninspired.
Track Your Results
Whether it’s at the end of each workout, or the end of each week, take a moment to track down what you’ve accomplished that week. This will depend on what your goal is- eating healthy, losing weight, toning up, etc. Track down any headway you’ve made towards your goal, or any lapses. This will help you keep track of your progress, and not let any cheating slip through the cracks!
Be Patient and Persistent
Visible results are never immediate, however, the way you feel physically after upping your exercise regimen and improving your diet will improve almost immediately. If the endorphins aren’t enough to keep you motivated, remember that all things worth having take time, commitment and effort. Remember why you set your goals in the first place, you will achieve them eventually! In the meantime, you will enjoy feeling a lot more energized, healthy, and positive.
We hope these few pointers will help you stick to your resolutions this year, and wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!
If you are a runner or an athlete, you have no doubt felt the effects that high impact exercise can have on your joints, muscles and bones after a while. This is why athletes have been making a real movement toward lower impact forms of exercise such as body weight training, swimming, spinning, and even yoga. Sports are hard enough on their joints, they don’t need to be putting extra strain on them off the field, court, ice- whatever it may be. Us every day folk could take a page out of this book too. There are many different forms of low impact exercise that are quite effective and easier on the bod! These types of exercises help prevent injuries associated with traditional, high impact exercise and equipment, and is great for all ages and fitness levels. It can also be beneficial for rehabilitation purposes. Most importantly- despite popular belief, it produces visible results the same way that more traditional, heavy duty exercise does. So put down the bench press and try a different approach. Your joints and bones will thank you, and you’ll be surprised at the results you see!
Body Strength Training
It’s a common misconception that we have to push ourselves on strength building machines and lift heavy weights to build strength and muscle. It’s actually a much better workout to use your body weight and movement to build strength and muscle. Body strength training is a great combo of cardio and strength training, as opposed to weights which only target certain areas to build isolated strength. (Ex. Bicep curls, bench pressing, lat pull-downs, etc.) Another benefit is that because there is no machinery involved, you can transition more rapidly from one movement to another. Circuit training is a popular form of body strength training, which entails progressing through a series of movements such as lunges and knee lifts. This fluid range of motion not only helps with flexibility (allowing your joints to move more freely) but it builds core strength, helps with posture, back strength and endurance, and burns fat like crazy! You will also develop better balance through control and awareness of your body. The best part about this form of exercise is that there is lots of variety in the movements and exercises you can do. You can always switch it up which helps keep you motivated to push your boundaries and break plateaus. Oh, and it’s free and can be done anywhere, anytime… which leaves little room for excuses!
Swimming is often thought of as more of a leisure sport, when it actually works every muscle and offers quite an amazing full body workout! Because water is non-weight bearing, the workout often feels much easier as there is really no strain on the muscles. This is probably the lowest impact form of exercise, so it is particularly good for those already suffering from joint or bone issues, pregnant women, those in rehabilitation, or the elderly. However, it is an excellent alternative from anyone’s regular gym workout as it works both the upper and lower body all at once. Interestingly, as opposed to other forms of exercise, because those carrying a little extra weight tend to be more buoyant, this form of exercise will be less intense for the overweight and probably more intense for those with a lower BMI.
This is where all the runners live- it’s the same intense workout, without the heavy pounding feet on the pavement. Spinning has a lot of the same physical benefits of running- it increases endurance, strengthens legs, and ups your cardio fitness. The difference is that it is done in a controlled environment, and it is low impact and a whole lot easier on your muscles and joints. This form of exercise is great for anyone craving that high intensity workout, but not the achy knees and ankles. It is particularly beneficial for athletes training off season in helping them stay fit, while taking it easy on their bodies that will no doubt take a beating during the next season.
Love that heavy sweat you work up during a serious workout? Hot yoga is no joke, and no- it is not for sissies. While it’s not always the highest intensity workout, hot yoga is known for building incredible core strength and balance, and increasing flexibility and endurance. It also helps with toning and weight loss with regular practice. Being in a 90 plus degree hot room also helps you work up quite the lather, and sweating out all those toxins can be very cleansing and therapeutic! Another known benefit of yoga is that it has positive psychological effects, as it fosters a stronger mind-body connection. Yoga is also a low impact form of exercise that uses only bodyweight and movement to build strength and balance, and really stretches out the muscles. There are many different types of hot yoga, all at varying levels of intensity. (Bikram, Moksha, Vinyasa, the list goes on.) Be sure to check the class descriptions at your local hot studio to see which best suits your needs.
So, next time you hit the gym, will you think twice about picking up the barbells? Ask a trainer to show you some body strength training exercises, you won’t regret it when you’re old and nimble!
While we look forward to this festive time of year, filled with social events, seasonal cocktails and delicious hors d’oeuvres, the health conscious part of us also often dreads it; it’s kind of a love-hate relationship! The weight gain, the bloating and puffy eyes from lack of sleep and alcohol consumption- it all accompanies the fun times with friends and seasonal celebrations. Well, fear no more. There is no reason we can’t enjoy these festivities, and even indulge here and there, the trick is doing everything in moderation. Try these few simple tricks this season and you’re guaranteed to see (and feel) the difference!
Pick and Choose.
This applies to both the parties you attend as well as the treats you allow yourself. Don’t feel that you have to accept every single invitation you are extended. Pick and choose those that are important to you- close friends or family, important business colleagues, etc. By hand-picking a few, you will inevitably be on your game, more present and alert, and most importantly you will enjoy yourself more as you won’t be worn down from a long string of monotonous events and sleepless nights.
Like in an exercise regimen or diet plan, having a plan is key. Make a mental commitment to yourself before attending the party of how many drinks you will consume throughout the evening, how many hors d’oeuvres you are allowed to sample, and how late you will stay. This number will vary depending on what party it is (i.e. your best friends Christmas bash on Friday night vs. your boss’s elegant cocktail party on a Wednesday) how much you have eaten that day (is this dinner?) and so on. Be sure to consider how many parties you are attending that week also, and try to stay balanced.
Eat a proper lunch.
It is often said that we should “eat like a king for breakfast, a queen for lunch, and a peasant for dinner.” Calories consumed earlier in the day have more time to be burned off. Don’t starve yourself all day because you know you’re going to be eating tons of delicious treats and drinking lots at your party that evening. This is a dangerous mentality that can be detrimental to your ability to maintain your balance, as not only will you have little to no self-control and binge on the wrong things, but you will also get much more drunk if you don’t eat all day, resulting in an awful hangover the next day. Eat a generous, healthy lunch with lots of protein to keep you going for the rest of the day. This will give you a good base and keep you satisfied so you don’t make the wrong decisions later on (including being the drunkest person at the party)!
Eat a small healthy snack just before you leave.
Even if you’ve had a decent lunch and aren’t particularly hungry, force yourself to have a quick hit of protein and a veg before heading out to the party. (A couple of lean cold cuts and some cut up pepper or cucumber is a personal quick and easy favourite.) This type of snack is low in calories and will curb your appetite enough that you will be able to exercise self-discipline when hundreds of deliciously cheesy and breaded hors d’oeuvres are being paraded under your nose.
Apply the Rinse cycle
When there are trays of free cocktails being circulated every few minutes, it’s easy to lose track and forget to hydrate. It’s important that you make a point of chasing every drink with a glass of water. This is what we call “the rinse cycle.” The rinse cycle has several benefits, such as decreasing your level of intoxication, keeping you hydrated, and reducing hangovers. Don’t quit once you leave the party though, that full glass of water before bed is the most key part of kicking that looming hangover to the curb!
In a world where full time jobs are less and less common and contract work is becoming the norm, Entrepreneurialism is becoming a much more common and desirable venture. While we’d all like to think we have the next billion dollar idea, there is a lot more that goes in to becoming a successful entrepreneur than just a dream. There are a few essential characteristics one must possess in order to be a truly successful entrepreneur.
In order to attempt any business venture, let alone one that involves a significant amount of risk, financial investment and commitment, you must be a confident person. You must be confident in yourself and your ability to succeed before even thinking of taking on such an endeavor. Once you have mastered your own self-confidence, parlay this into confidence in the product or service you are offering. Make sure you have complete faith in your company and its potential for success. If you take your time and do the proper research to that point that you feel 100% confident backing up all of your claims, you will be ready to take your first leap toward success. If you are truly confident, you will project this to your customers, which will naturally increase their confidence in your credibility. While risk taking is inevitable, it is also important to remain somewhat conservative and level headed in your investments. Basically- don’t bite off more than you can chew, no matter how sure you are of your product. If this is not your strong suit, be sure to have an expert on your team advising you in this department.
Creativity & Resourcefulness
Part of being confident is being willing to break traditional conventions and defy existing “rules” or normality's. Entrepreneurs are innovators, so you have to be willing and able to think outside the box. Having a strong vision is the most important first step in starting your business. It’s about seeing an opportunity where others haven’t, and figuring out how to put together the resources to make it happen. Not everyone has a creative mind, so many feel that by just thinking up a great idea they are ahead of the game. However, it’s what you do with this idea, and how you execute your plan that defines you as an entrepreneur. You need to be the type of person that is willing to put in the work and do the research to figure out the best route to take to achieve your goals, not just take a stab in the dark. No one has all the knowledge from the get go. It is important, though, to know how to find it. Don’t be afraid to seek out resources who will fill those knowledge gaps and better your chance of success.
Passion and Persistence
If you aren’t passionate about your product, you might as well forget it now. Sure, money can be a great motivator, but if you don’t see immediate financial reward you’ll be likely to give up early. However, endeavors driven by a deep passion within are often those that persevere. Unfortunately, it’s more often than not a long road to success for entrepreneurs, filled with failure and constant trial and error. As such, resilience is one of the most crucial characteristics for an entrepreneur. You must have a thick skin and a sense of determination, and be willing to dust yourself off and try again… and again if necessary. It is this passion and confidence in your vision that will get your through the lulls and bumps along the road that can get disheartening. If you believe wholeheartedly in your passion and are 100% mentally committed, you will be more likely to dig deeper to find a solution to any problems that arise.
Open-Mindedness and Adaptability
The state of the world and the marketplace today is in flux. Just as you get comfortable with a new software, program or process, it advances. Any successful business recognizes the importance of staying ahead of the curve, and makes it a priority to keep pace with a rapidly changing environment. This also entails being able to identify times when internal changes are necessary. Being open-minded is essential in order for these changes to occur. It is important not to let your business become too personal to you. A business owner must be flexible and progressive for the betterment of the brand. This means being open to constructive criticism, and making necessary adaptations based on market demands or changing tastes. While it’s important to stay true to your vision, the finished product often looks entirely different than the starting idea. Be open to these modifications, and see them not as a personal attack on your beloved concept but a form of evolution. This should transfer to your staff as well. While you are the brains behind the operation, it is important to surround yourself with talented people so that your business is strong in every department. Value your team and their opinions, and be open to new ideas from all angles. This open-mindedness is what makes a true innovator.
Above all, the successful entrepreneur is self-driven and motivated. They are the people that get up early every morning and start their day, no matter what’s on tap. You have to make your passion a priority every day, not just when it’s convenient, and be willing to work overtime to make sure you achieve success. There will always be obstacles and distractions, but it’s the people that don’t let these things throw them off track that have what it takes to be a successful business owner. Entrepreneurs have a natural drive and ambition, a killer work ethic, and a natural sense of urgency that comes from within.
It’s so common when travelling to let all of your usual inhibitions and good habits go, and let the “vacation” mentality take over. If you’re someone who travels quite frequently, for work or otherwise, this “vacation mentality” can easily turn into your everyday regime if you’re not careful! There are ways to avoid this, it just takes a little mindfulness, and some preparation.
Just because you’re outside of your regular routine doesn’t mean you have an excuse to go for the junkiest item on the menu. It’s important to give yourself a little kick every time you are inclined to indulge, whether it’s at the airport or that fancy patisserie in the base of your hotel. Ask yourself before every meal- would I order this at home? If the answer is yes, then go for it. The goal isn’t to restrict yourself, only maintain your regular diet and habits to avoid weight fluctuations or falling under the weather due to a drastic change in your dietary régime.
Hydration is key always, but especially while travelling. Being on an airplane or stressfully racing through a busy airport is a draining and dehydrating experience. Being in a new city will also likely involve a lot of walking and a jam packed day of activities, and let’s face it hydration is often an afterthought. It’s important to compensate for all this extra movement with lots of water. Staying hydrated will keep you alert, looking fresh, and has also been proven to curb an appetite. Half the time we feel like snacking we are actually confusing our body’s response to dehydration with hunger!
Pack your Vitamins!
There’s no easier way to catch a cold or flu than to sit on a crowded airplane full of people from all walks of life, sharing re-circulated air for an entire flight. Yuck, I know. Kind of unavoidable though. The only answer is to equip yourself as much as possible by taking immune boosting vitamins and supplements before (and after) your flight. Echinacea is a wonderful herbal supplement that can be hugely helpful in preventing sickness. Vitamin C is an obvious second. Also, don’t neglect any other supplements you take on a regular basis. Make sure to pack them all for your trip! It may seem like extra weight, but especially if you are travelling frequently, falling off your vitamin schedule will only make your chances of crashing that much greater. It’s important to keep our bodies on a regular routine with vitamins, maintaining their levels on a daily basis for optimum health and performance. Travelling usually means foreign germs and less sleep, so vitamins are a huge saving grace in helping your body keep up.
Book a Hotel with a Gym.
As with your eating habits, it’s equally important to keep up your fitness regimen as much as possible while on the road. It’s all about maintenance. If you’re on a trip for pleasure, and doing a ton and walking and shopping, this will naturally compensate for the half hour or so you spend on the treadmill at home. However, if you’re spending your week with your butt in a chair at a conference, make sure to book a hotel with an accessible gym. This way there will be no excuse not to take a short half hour out of your morning, head down the elevator and sneak a quick sweat in.
Pack Healthy Snacks.
Before you head out to your hectic day in an exciting new city, wherever it may lead you, make sure to toss a healthy snack into your purse. Bring a pack of individually packaged almonds, or some protein filled granola bars. Having these handy will make the “don’t indulge” factor a whole lot easier. It’s a lot harder to say no to the baked ziti when you “didn’t have time” to eat all day. Keep your blood sugar levels stable by snacking regularly, and you’ll find it a lot easier to make healthy choices when you finally see a real meal.
Do you have any more tricks for keeping up your health routine on the road? We’d love to hear your input!
Morning Workouts- Early Bird Gets the Worm. September 24 2015
As a non-morning person, I have traditionally struggled to find the motivation to leap out of bed and get my disoriented, grumpy self to the gym. The snooze button and I have become close friends, despite my better attempts to pretend it doesn’t exist. After giving it a chance, however, I’ve started to see the benefits of getting my exercise in at the beginning of my day, as opposed to near the end. Here are the top 6 reasons that starting my day with a workout has officially turned me into a morning person!
It starts your day on a positive note.
Starting your day with exercise gives you a sense of accomplishment that you will carry with you throughout the day. Beginning on a healthy tip inspires you to keep this momentum throughout your day, swaying you toward the salad bar on your lunch break, or giving you a little extra nudge toward taking the stairs over the crowded escalator.
It elevates your mood and productivity.
As Elle Woods in Legally Blonde so eloquently put it- “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy! Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands.” Regular exercise has been scientifically proven to have a positive impact on our overall mood and stress levels. Starting your day with exercise will release endorphins, improving your mood throughout the day. Naturally, starting the day energized and alert with a positive mindset will increase your productivity.
It boosts your metabolism.
Often, for those of us too sluggish to give up that extra hour of sleep in the morning to get our bodies moving, our digestive systems tend to be a bit more sluggish. I often didn’t feel an appetite in the morning, and would end up skipping this essential meal and waiting for lunch. Getting your body moving first thing is a great way to work up your appetite for the day’s most important meal. Exercise boosts metabolism, so by getting it in earlier on, you will burn more calories throughout the day. (Especially high cardio or interval training exercises.) Eating a healthy breakfast is also key in getting your digestive system moving and kick-starting your metabolism for the day.
It’s the best time to build muscle.
Our hormones are elevated first thing in the morning, and drop progressively throughout the day. Testosterone, for example, is at its peak level in the morning, and is an essential hormone in building muscle. (Hello, abs!) With proper sleep, the morning is also when our bodies have the most energy and thus the most potential for a productive workout. Also, sweating regularly is great for the skin. Who needs makeup with that post workout glow?
It’s just you and your thoughts... and maybe a few others.
The gym in the morning is a far different vibe than it is after work hours. The snarling guy waiting to use your machine, the girl hogging the mat- these un-pleasantries are far less likely to be an issue in the wee hours of the day. The morning shift at the gym is a much more peaceful, serene experience. You will find yourself far less distracted or intimidated, and have a chance to really escape and experience the therapeutic aspect of exercise. Even if you’re not a gym rat and you prefer to jog outdoors or hit an early yoga class, these spaces will also likely feel much more calm and private earlier on in the day.
It improves your family & social life.
Getting your workout out of the way first thing in the morning is a great way to make sure it actually happens! There are so many distractions that can arise throughout the day- a last minute work assignment, a friend’s get together, a sick child, etc. Hitting the gym before you start your day checks off that box, leaving more flexibility for other priorities throughout your day, such as spending quality time with family and friends.
So before you turn your nose up at the early morning keeners and hit that snooze button, give the morning workout a shot. It might take you a little while to adjust to the new routine, but once you start feeling the positive impact it has on your life, you won’t regret it!
The Importance of Setting Goals July 27 2015
When talking about setting goals, it all really comes down to one main factor- motivation. With anything in life, it is human nature to let things slip or push them off if we don't have any real boundaries, structure, or targets to reach. Setting goals may seem simple, but this process is an essential factor in our success and productivity in all areas. Whether it's forcing ourselves to make it to the gym three times a week, stick to a healthy meal plan, or setting goals for our kids, it is crucial to put these targets in place for ourselves to make it easier to maintain momentum and motivation. An easy way to make sure you stay on top of this is to set aside an hour for yourself every Sunday to write out a list of weekly goals. Try to include one that relates to each compartment of your life, for instance one pertaining to health and fitness, one pertaining to parenting, one for your relationship(s), and of course those pertaining to your career or personal achievements.
Many people don't consider setting goals to do with parenting, but this is an area that we can really let slip if we don't set guidelines and PLAN, PLAN, PLAN! Try making a goal for each week that you yourself have to achieve, for instance "Do 3 different activities with the kids" as well as one for the kids, ex. "Help with the dishes every night" or "Get an A on an assignment." Implementing a star/sticker program can be a great incentive for kids to meet these goals as well. Create a board with each child's name on it, and place a sticker underneath for each achievement attained, working towards a grand prize after a certain number of goals have been met. It's great to train children to become achievement oriented from a young age, as it will set lifelong habits that will translate into a good work ethic later on. (Plus, you'll get a heck of a lot of chores done around the house!)
In Fitness & Nutrition:
This is also an area where it's definitely necessary to set some goals. We are all busy and life does get in the way. Sometimes it's just quicker to grab that cookie and latte on the fly instead of the egg-white omelette you'd planned to prepare for breakfast. Or to skip the gym because something more fun came up. Setting a weekly goal will help you focus and make sure you don't let yourself slip in this area. After all, our health is our most valuable and important possession, without which we could not succeed in all other areas of our lives. A meal plan is a great way to ensure that you stick to a healthy diet (at least most of the time, we're all human!) In your Sunday list of goals, include a weekly plan for at least 2 meals a day. If you work, packing a lunch is a great alternative to the tempting crap that the food courts offer. Once you are hungry, it's hard to use good judgement! Do a weekly grocery shop to ensure you have most of the necessary ingredients to make most of the meals on the plan. This will also create ann incentive to stick to it, as you've already committed. Just make sure to keep things interesting, giving yourself lots of (healthy) variety. For fitness, set some weekly goals that are realistic and attainable. If you like hot yoga, try to attend three classes that week. If you're a gym bunny, set a goal for number of visits to the treadmill.
With the busy hum drum of every day life, especially with young kids in your mix, relationships often start to take the back burner. Whether it's your marriage or even your relationship with your best pal, it's important to set a weekly reminder to pay attention to these important relationships so that you don't wake up one day and realize you barely know each other anymore. I find it helpful to designate one night a week for "date night" and another evening or lunch hour for seeing a friend (better yet, a group of friends so you can squeeze a few in at once!)
So take the time each week to put some targets in place. You'll feel great meeting them, and your life will inevitably be more fulfilled and successful as a result!