Tuesday, December 4, 2012

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Nutrition, Exercise, And Weight Loss

Habits are really hard to break. It doesn't matter if they are bad habits or good habits. They CAN be tough to break. This is terrible if it is a bad habit, but it can be a major asset if it is a good habit. Once something good for you becomes a habitual part of your daily existence, and you regularly and willingly do it without prompting, you may begin to recognize the value of this new habit of yours.
The good side of a GOOD habit is that it is hard to break. The bad side of a BAD habit is... well, you guessed it... it is also hard to break. The good news is that habits are pretty easy to establish... even the good ones! While a bad habit might be hard to break, it is often fairly easy to create a good habit that replaces it.
One area where a few good habits could do a lot for you is in the area or health. If we look at nutrition, exercise, and weight loss, we might be able to come up with a few good habits it would be nice to have, and we might even figure out how to build these habits into our lives.
First things first. The creation of a habit usually depends on two things, repetition and time. If you decide to make a serious lifestyle change, it may be hard to do for several different reasons. One reason is impetus vs. inertia. Often, the initial decision to make a major lifestyle change is caused by some force... a friend dies of a heart attack, the doctor gives you a stern warning, your twentieth high school reunion is coming up, a new book on weight loss comes out, or a new exciting diet plan hits the market. Maybe it's internal. You just get tired of things being the way they've always been and you decide to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!
So now you have impetus, and it is enough to carry you over the next few hours or days. After a while, however, that initial burst of motivation tends to fade, and eventually you stop showing up at the gym, you go back to eating pie ala mode, or you drop out of the local community college because all the changes you have made are just too hard to keep going.
Therefore, my initial suggestion is that you try to break your lifestyle changes (i.e. new habits) into bite-size chunks, carefully chewing, swallowing, and digesting each one before beginning the next. I suggest you pick up a book on the subject of Kaizen.
For example: Let's say you want to eat a diet which is more healthy than the diet you eat now.
NOTE: When I use the word "diet" in this article, I simply mean the things you eat. That's what a "diet" actually is. It is a list of things you eat. In the last few years, many people have forgotten that original meaning of the word, and, when they hear "diet" want to know, "Which diet?" We're just using it to refer to what you eat.
In the interest of improving your health, you have decided to make some changes to your diet. Which of these would seem to be the most effective plan? By effective, I mean the one you think you could stay with.
* Go into your cupboard, pantry, and fridge and throw out all the food you have and then go to the grocery store and stock up on tofu, bean curds, and beverages made from green persimmons, or whatever.
* Pick one thing that you know is not good for you and drop it from your diet or find a substitute for it. Let yourself get used to the change and then move on to something else.
You know, I love popcorn and ice cream. As I grew older and began to discover fat on my body in places where there hadn't even been places before, I made a momentous decision. I would have to cut out popcorn and ice cream. You know how long that lasted! In fact, literally within seconds, a part of me began to feel depressed, I felt like I was being punished for something I hadn't done, and then I began to come up with arguments that ice cream and popcorn weren't really the problem. There must be something I wasn't doing right, but it wasn't the popcorn and ice cream... Really!
Taking my own advice, I did two things:
1. I bought ice cream in the form of small ice cream sandwiches and cups of ice cream. Rather than denying myself ice cream completely, I allowed myself to have one of these servings (smaller than the bowl of ice cream I would normally have eaten) a day.
2. I also bought popcorn in single serving bags. Previously, I would have popped a regular size bag and eaten it all myself.
Not a perfect or final answer to the problem, of course, but a step towards a solution. Interestingly enough, after I had been having my popcorn and ice cream in these reduced sizes, I eventually began to feel a little put off by the thought of eating as much as I used to.
I used the same small-step process to move from sugar to artificial sweetener, and eventually to stevia. I went from several cups of coffee a day to several fewer cups of green tea.
Do you want to improve the overall quality of your health? Why not start by simply creating a habit of taking one multivitamin daily? Then, start making some other changes. Maybe you can get an idea from what I did, or come up with your own small steps. Don't try to do it all at once, and realize that small steps mean small outcomes, but a lot of small steps will mean a large result eventually.
Just like the goals in your nutrition plan were not intended to make you dread eating or make you eat foods you detested, your exercise experience should be founded on a desire to find things you like to do that also provide the benefits of a formal exercise program.
You do not want to jump in with both feet and start exercising for long periods every day until you cannot stand the thought of ever exercising again. If you have not been exercising regularly recently (high school doesn't count) you need to start ANY exercise at an easy level and very gradually ease into more difficult activities or levels.
NOTE: One reason people give up on exercise programs is because they don't seem to be seeing any results. If you have begun exercising regularly and are gradually increasing the demands of your exercise program, rest assured that things are happening. Your body is making adjustments to your circulation, respiration, heart, lungs, liver, blood vessels, hormones, glands, immune system... even the blood supply itself. Things ARE happening, even if you cannot see or measure them. Just like a steady drip of water can eventually erode a solid rock, exercise will improve your physical and mental health in a multitude of ways.
Many articles in popular magazines recommend incorporating exercise into daily activities such as taking stairs instead of using elevators, parking farther out in the parking lot, and so on. While I wouldn't recommend these as exercise programs in themselves, these might very well be ways to ease into an exercise program or begin building the basics of an exercise habit.
You might want to try out different activities to see what you really enjoy, and what will fit into your life style and schedule. Someone who travels a great deal, for example, may want to focus on yoga or walking, while someone who has more free time and access to a pool may choose swimming. In fact, doing yoga while traveling, swimming while at home, and walking while at home or away, would be a great way of incorporating a little variety into your program. You don't have to do the same exercise every day to get the health benefits.
Whatever you choose, ease into it. There's no hurry! Even with a small beginning and small incremental increases in duration or intensity, you will soon see and feel positive results. Once the activities you choose become a habit, you will hate to miss your "workout" even if it's gardening or playing with the grandkids. Then you will be on a solid pathway to health.
This final section will be the shortest and the easiest to write... and for you to read, for that matter. If you skimmed down to the bottom of the page, skipping over the sections above, go back and read them now.
Effective, permanent weight loss means changing the things that got you to where you are now. You will have to make changes to take the weight off and keep it off. There are a lot of things that can take the weight off of you, but only lifestyle changes will keep it off. There is an old saying, "If you keep doing what you have been doing, you will keep getting what you have been getting." Changing your nutritional habits for better health, and getting the exercise you also need for health, will result in genuine, permanent weight loss in addition to increased health and a greater enjoyment of life.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Tips for Increased Muscle Tone, Faster Fat Burning, and Energy

So many people are talking about how slow their metabolism is and why they need to start taking the latest diet supplement scam yet they don't even understand how the human metabolism works. So before I even go into how to speed yours up, I want to first go over some of the basics.
What is metabolism?
Although there are many scientific ways for me explain it, and I could make it seem really confusing like most of the so-called experts do, but I won't. I'm going to give you my extremely simple and easy to understand definition... metabolism is the rate at which your body burns calories to sustain life
I should also note that your body, yes yours, burns calories 24 hours a day, everyday - regardless of whether or not you workout. Remember that your body needs energy all the time, even while you're asleep and that is why skipping meals is the absolute worst thing you can do if your goal is to lose weight (body fat).
Before we go any further let's talk about what affects metabolism...
What affects metabolism?
What do you think has the biggest impact on your metabolism? Activity levels? Your Thyroid? Age?
WRONG! WRONG! and WRONG! Activity levels, Thyroid function, and age do affect metabolism but not nearly as much as...
Any idea? It's muscle tissue! The more muscle you have the more calories you burn regardless of how active you are, how old you are, etc. It's live tissue and it's there working for you and burning calories 24 hours a day - each and every day!
Here's a list of some of the factors affecting metabolism in order of greatest impact to least:
  • muscle tissue (you already know why this is on the top of the list)
  • meal frequency (the longer you go between meals the more your metabolism slows down to conserve energy)
  • activity level (important but doesn't make any difference if you don't match your eating to your expenditure)
  • food choices (ex. low-fat diets tend to result in poor hormone production which leads to a slower metabolism)
  • hydration (over 70% of bodily functions take place in water - not enough water causes all your systems to slow down and unnecessary stress)
  • genetics (some people have higher metabolisms than others - you can't change genetics but you can still win the battle!)
  • hormone production and function (think you have a slow thyroid? it's not likely - before you go blame it on the thyroid first stabilize your blood sugar and throw in some progressive exercise 2-3 times each week)
  • stress (stress also can slow metabolism by placing extra stress and strain on numerous systems. plus, many people tend to overeat when "stressed out")
Why does it slow down?
How many times have you heard someone say, "as soon as you hit 30 your metabolism slows down"? Maybe you've said it. I know I hear it all the time and I got tired of hearing it so I did a little research and found that the metabolism does NOT slow down significantly due to aging but DOES due to a lack of muscle. And, you don't lose muscle quickly due to aging either but due to a decrease or lack of physical stress.
So, the major cause of a slowing metabolism is three fold...
  1. you lose muscle due to the lack of physical stress
  2. your body cannibalizes muscle when it needs energy but you won't supply any because you are "dieting" and skipping meals
  3. your activity levels tend to decrease as you get older
So now that we know the problem... what's the solution? Address those 3 issues! I've found through years of experience helping hundreds of people, that increasing your metabolism and getting rid of that excess body fat can often times be quite easy! Yet you'll hear of all these experts telling you how hard it is and why you need to buy their new diet program, supplement, or fitness contraption.
It's not that hard, it doesn't have to be confusing, and you don't need any of that crap! All you need is an understanding of how your body works and the willingness to make some small changes.
Here's my basic formula for jump starting your metabolism:
Step 1 - Stop the storage of new fat
It doesn't make any sense to start an exercise program if you just end up adding new fat later that day. This is a problem that is very common among people who start an exercise in an attempt to lose weight.
See the problem is this...
We don't get fat due to a lack of exercise - we get fat because we supply the body with more calories than it needs at a given time. So the solution has nothing to do with exercise - it's all about your eating! And I'm not saying you have to eat low-fat, super clean and healthy diet consisting of salad and tofu only. You can still eat the foods you like IF you can give the body just the amount it needs.
The key is to give the body the energy it needs, but just that amount and not a bunch extra because extra is extra is extra, it doesn't matter what it's from. Salad can be stored as fat, celery can be stored as fat - if it results in extra it can be stored as fat. I should also note that not all extra energy is stored in the fat cells and I will touch on that later.
So forget about trying to burn off any fat unless you can first stop storing new fat! Again, you do that by matching your eating to your activity level. This means small, balanced meals or snacks every 2-3 hours and the amount of calories in each feeding should depend on how active you are at that time of day.
Step 2 - Attack the existing fat
This requires a combination approach consisting of stable blood sugar/energy levels, and progressive cardiovascular/aerobic exercise and strength training.
We already talked about how important stable blood sugar and energy levels are and how to match your eating to your activity level so now I'd like to cover the exercise part of the equation.
In order for the exercise to even be worth your time you must be sure it's progressive. Just because you run on the treadmill for 30 minutes three times a week, that doesn't mean your body has to burn off that unwanted body fat! You have to force the body to make changes and improvements and the ONLY way to do that is to consistently provide a stimulus or stress that is greater than what the body is used to.
Here are some general guidelines on how you can make your exercise progressive and productive:
Strength training
  • Change exercises frequently (every 2-4 weeks)
  • Increase resistance
  • Perform more reps
  • Slower reps
  • Advanced techniques
Cardiovascular training
  • Increase speed/resistance
  • Perform intervals
  • Increase distance traveled
  • Cross train by performing numerous activities

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Make Healthy Fitness Goals That Boomers Will Stick To

2012 is certainly an interesting time to be alive! Some say that the end of the world is coming, although most Boomers have been hearing that prediction, seemingly, forever! Others believe that we are all coming closer to enlightenment this year - a free upgrade, if you will. I am part of this latter group. I see more and more masters sharing their teachings with more and more students and making ancient healing traditions available to everyone. Miracles in health and wellness are happening every day!
For many of us Baby Boomers, these last several years have been fraught with caring for or watching our aging family members deal with health issues like Alzheimer's, Osteoporosis, Heart Disease and Cancer. Seeing these diseases so up close and personal has made us all the more determined not to go there, and we are steering ourselves onto a much different course than the previous generation.
At the start of each year, we typically resolve to get fit, take care of our health, etc. so I have included several tips for making those resolutions stick not only this year, but for the rest of our lives.
My recommendations for this year are, firstly, become more aware of your own body and any changes you feel. Early diagnosis of any disease increases your chances of beating it.
For instance, cancer is so much in the news these days. Several of my friends and family members have recently had their first colonoscopy, this year I'll be going for my second. In the last few years there've been some changes on the recommendations for this test, just as there've been recent changes on testing for Breast, Cervical, and Prostate cancers. Thermography is becoming more and more popular and I can't help but think that health insurance will cover this procedure soon - maybe this year! The studies that have been done, show that Thermography may be able to find a tumor much sooner than mammograms and larger, more scientific tests are being done now.
Stay on top of the latest testing available. In my blogs and articles I post information on any new studies that come out, as do many other health coaches and doctors. Read these posts, and then have a heart to heart with your doctor about new testing, any changes you feel or see in your body or diet, and your own family history. I know that my parents and many of their friends would never have discussed family history with their doctor nor did they really understand their own body in the same way that I do. This Baby Boomer generation is learning to take charge of our own health care, and not rely on someone who sees us only once a year and doesn't really know us. That's a good thing, as fellow Baby Boomer Martha Stewart would say!
Exercise and diet have been proven to help prevent Osteoporosis and Alzheimer's disease, as well as many of the heart disease issues like high blood pressure and weight gain. A diet rich in Omega 3's is a must these days, as well as plenty of fruit and vegetables. Wild salmon, walnuts, flaxseed and sardines provide Omega 3's, and dark fruits like blueberries and cherries have lots of antioxidants, while green leafy veggies like spinach, kale, broccoli and swiss chard provide plenty of vitamins and some calcium as well. Almonds are also a good source of calcium, and my personal favorite.
Moderate exercise, on a regular basis, over the long term, is the best way to keep your body going strong, and I recommend choosing something that you love to do. How about Salsa lessons? Or maybe you've always wanted to play tennis, or you swim like a fish. When you enjoy exercise it's easier to get out there and do it, so choose wisely, and keep it going! Start an early morning swim club or join a dance class in January and your body will thank you.
Social activity has also been shown to help keep our brain cells healthy so combining exercise with a social gathering is another great way to keep active, healthy and vital well into our golden years.
And don't forget your supplements. I know they've gotten some bad press recently, but I'm still a believer in their benefits. It's impossible to get all the vitamins and minerals we need from our food, so make sure your multi-vitamin has everything your body needs and then add some Fish oils, Magnesium and Vitamin D. I also take extra Vitamin C, especially at this time of year to keep my immune system functioning properly. Bring the supplements you're taking to your next doctor's appointment and discuss your blood levels with your doctor and get his/her recommendations for the supplements that will be most beneficial for you.
In addition, I would suggest that you make your resolutions as detailed as possible this year. Make them measurable as well.
For instance, instead of resolving to get in shape, or to lose some weight, here are some examples of measurable goals:
  • I love swimming and I'm going to get to the pool early in the morning at least twice a month this year to swim for 30 minutes each time.

  • Losing weight is important to me so I plan to keep a food log for the next 2 weeks and use it to cut out one high fat food from my diet this year. I'll plan to eat it as a treat 4 times during the year, but leave it out of my regular menu.

  • Zumba is so much fun that I don't even realize I'm exercising! I resolve to make a minimum of 3 Zumba classes a month all year.
You can also work with a health coach. A good health coach will help set up a plan for you that will fit easily into your daily life, won't make you feel deprived, and set up new healthy habits that will stick with you over the long haul! If you'd like a free 20 minute session with me to discuss the benefits of a personalized wellness plan, please let me know!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Fish Oil And Diabetes Prevention

As baby boomers, the symptoms of Type 2 diabetes becomes a real threat in our lives, and prevention becomes critical. The good news is that we know there is a definite link between fish oil and diabetes prevention.
Type 2 diabetes is linked with other problems, such as high cholesterol, and hypertension, and obesity, which our entire society seems is suffering with.
As baby boomers it is critical to our health, mind, and lifestyle to eat a healthy diet that includes fiber and whole grains, get enough exercise, and stay trim, to get the most from our senior years.
It doesn't seem so long ago that we were stirring up the world with new ideas, raising hell on campuses, getting stoned, and losing our friends (and more) to war, and never having a clue we would be in our 60s.
Well, we made it, but some of us have slipped into a sedentary life style and become obese, as we near, or enter our retirement years, and this is really a downer for the revolution that we began some 45 or 50 years ago.
If you fit, you can change your life and drastically improve your health with fish oil and diabetes prevention by some simple lifestyle changes that could save your life and life style. And there's no time like now to get started, because Type 2 diabetes is irreversible.
Here are 4 tips that will get your health and mind back in the groove again:
Get Some Physical Exercise
If you can walk for 30 minutes most days of the week, you will get the blood circulating to all parts of your body, including your brain. Some sort of exercise every day will prompt you to lose some weight, and will lower your blood sugar, while boosting your insulin sensitivity. Any sustained exercise of 30 minutes will help keep your blood sugar normal.
Get A Lot OF Fiber
Fibers are foods like fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. When you eat a diet rich in fiber you will
improve control of your blood sugar
boost your ability to lose those extra pounds because they make you feel full
lower your risk of heart disease: Studies have shown that your 40% less apt to have a heart attack with 25 grams of fiber a day.
Eat Whole Grains
The Mayo Clinic doesn't know why, but eating whole grains reduces the risk of cancer and lowers blood pressure. So eat whole grain bread, pasta, and whole grain cereals for diabetes prevention and a good heart.
Loose Some Weight
You can reduce your risk of diabetes substantially with every pound you loose. Studies show that by reducing your weight by as little as 5% can cut your risk by over 50%. Now that's something, and think about the clothes you could wear again.
Times are easy now, and we can get laid back and enjoy life and the grandchildren, but we need to stay healthy and fit to get the most out of life.
Obesity and diabetes go together and are both killers, and we're lucky to know today that omega-3 fish oil supplements can help prevent diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, and a host of other problems.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Health Foods With Harmful Ingredients

Sometimes we all probably feel like we are walking through a nutrition mine field. What one person or organization calls healthy is deemed unhealthy or even deadly by another. So what is a person to do when faced with the idea of trying to improve food choices in order to achieve a healthy fit body?
Luckily there are a few things that we are absolutely certain of and these things are the focus of this article. There are a lot of everyday, common foods and food storage items that most people don't give a second thought, but that in actuality could seriously affect their overall health and quality of life.
This first unhealthy substance isn't actually a food, but it is something we commonly store foods in. Even health food stores sometimes place their "healthy" food in containers made of this cancer-linked substance. In June 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a report saying that styrene has a high probability of causing cancer. Now, given the fact that I've been in the fitness industry for quite some time, this is not news to me, but perhaps it is to you. Styrene is everywhere and it's a challenge to avoid it. Here are some very common products containing this potentially cancer-causing substance.
  1. Styrofoam cups and plates
  2. To-go boxes from restaurants
  3. Foam packing material
  4. Industrial emissions
  5. Second-hand cigarette smoke
  6. Floor waxes
  7. Paints and varnishes
Fortunately for us wisdom is power in this case. There are very simple alternatives to styrene these days and glass food and liquid containers are your best bet for ensuring the things you put in your body are not contaminated with unwanted and in some cases, deadly ingredients.
A second potentially harmful issue surrounds farm raised salmon (tilapia also). When we think of salmon we think of a beautiful vibrant fish leaping over small water falls in order to spawn, you know, just like we see on the Discovery Channel. Well, this isn't the reality for farm raised salmon. Instead envision tiny ponds densely packed with fish that have never felt a day of freedom. If this doesn't make you feel uneasy, the rest of the story will. Farm raised salmon are malnourished due to the fact that they are fed cheap sources of food in order to keep costs at a minimum. Feathers are a staple in the farm raised salmon's diet because it's a cheap source of protein. Because they are so poorly fed, their skin is a drab shade of gray. Since this wouldn't sell very well, these farm raised salmon are injected with the colorant Canthaxanthin in order to produce that healthy-looking pink color. Farmed salmon contain much higher levels of Poly-Chlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) and dioxins that do their wild-caught cousins. Research has shown that even a small amount of these compounds may cause irreparable brain development damage in children. Moreover, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has announced that ingesting more than a single serving of farm-raised salmon in a given week may cause a person to exceed the maximum intake level for these substances according to the World Health Organization. So many people eat salmon in an effort to be healthy and get those essential fatty acids found in this fish's oil. Unfortunately they are being deceived because not only do these fishes have lower quality oils than their wild-caught cousins, but they also have tissues (meat) fed with potentially harmful substances.
Here is a list of some of the substances farm-raised salmon ingest:
    Antibiotics Flesh dye (Canthaxanthin) Animal feces Blood meal Magnesium sulphate Bird feathers Animal bone meal Cane molasses Potassium iodide Sodium carbonate Soy Zinc oxide Di-calcium phosphate Yeast Copper carbonate Fowl organs Cobalt sulphate Cellulose
Unfortunately this story only gets worse but you get the picture. Farm-raised fish is a huge issue that has health conscious and environmentally conscious people up in arms over these practices.
Always look for "wild caught" fish whenever possible.
Be on the lookout for catchy names that are meant to trick you. For instance, many restaurants serve "Atlantic Salmon." This is another way of saying that these fish are farm-raised. Be careful when selecting fish at the grocery store or restaurant. I recommend you choose "wild caught" whenever possible.
Another troublesome "health" food has been a part of many American's diets for decades. This food is the one we know as microwaved popcorn. While this is certainly a tasty snack, it seems there could be some real drawbacks to using microwaved popcorn instead of popping it the old fashion way (in a pan using cooking oil).
The potentially harmful substance under scrutiny is called diacetyl. This chemical is used to give microwaved popcorn that wonderful buttery aroma. Popcorn companies have paid hundreds of millions of dollars in claims to workers who are exposed to the dangerous fumes given off by diacetyl in the factories where the popcorn is produced. Unhealthy, life altering evidence abounds where this chemical is concerned. While the scientific community readily admits diacetyl exposure in the work place is a dangerous thing, much of the science stops there without going into the homes of people who frequently eat this supposedly "healthy" snack.
It's not a reach to assume that anything causing serious problems to the workers dealing with it could also cause problems to someone actually eating it. Over time, who knows how potentially serious the health ramifications could be. My recommendation is to take a few extra minutes and enjoy popcorn the old-fashioned way, cooked on a stove, in a pan with cooking oil using real butter as a topping.
The three food items mentioned in this article are highlighted primarily because of their tremendous presence in our everyday lives. Every store is packed with farm-raised fish, styrene stored foods and microwavable foods containing harmful chemicals. Be on the lookout for harmful substances in many of the foods you think of as healthy.
Here's a few tips for those of you that are feeling a bit overwhelmed by the situation:
  1. If the package crackles when you pick it up, it's probably processed and loaded with chemicals.
  2. If it has more than five items in its ingredient list, it's probably junk.
  3. If you cannot pronounce any number of the ingredients, you can probably assume they are substances that your body was not designed to consume.
So I wish you well in your quest of living a healthy, fit lifestyle and hope you'll expand your awareness and knowledge of those foods that do benefit you and those that masquerade as health foods in order to lure you to the check-out counter.
Jared Meacham, MS.Ed., CSCS.
Jared is a fitness entrepreneur, personal trainer and recognized weight loss expert. He is creator of the Body Fat Meltdown weight-loss program for women. He is also owner of Precision Body Designs, LLC., and creator of the Dirty Fitness Training Program.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Fitness Routines

So you've decided to be proactive and start a fitness routine but before you begin take time to set realistic goals. It's worth considering how your age, sex, genetics, present and past health and lifestyle will shape your approach. This could be the key to sustainable fitness.
Here are five things to consider:
1. Why do you even want to start a fitness routine?
Asking yourself this question is a great place to start, as your motivation will affect how you deal during those days when you feel as if you're getting nowhere and your enthusiasm wanes. Some of us want to be super ripped like the couple with the unnatural pose on the cover of a fitness magazine but this motivation will only endure long-term for some. They'll never tell you about the countless hours at the gym or how their diets were radically modified for that one shot.
In the real world I'd say reasons like trying to lower cholesterol and blood pressure or trying to get healthy so you can enjoy your kids are two brilliant reasons of many.
2. Past and Current Health
Before beginning any fitness routine consult your physician. It has been said thousands of times by many a fitness professional and it litters the fine print of run of the mill gym contracts but very often people ignore this advice... sometimes to their own detriment. Having your doctor assess your past and current health will help point you in the right direction when setting fitness goals. Remember, fitness goals don't have to be static so as your fitness level improves your doctor could give you clearance to run a few more miles or lift a few more pounds.
The last thing you need is to collapse in your gym's weight room or to pass out in your living room, next to your brand new treadmill, because you didn't consult your doctor!
3. Do You Have Time
So you've seen your doctor and you've been given the green light to exercise. You're chomping at the bits and you're ready to do it but have you considered how much time you have available to commit to achieving your fitness goals? The majority of us who hold jobs don't have the privilege of twiddling around all day and going to the gym whenever we'd like. We have kids and long commutes. So what's the good news? It's called a 30 Minute Workout. One of the biggest exercise myths out there is that you have to workout for at least and hour to stay with the game.
4. What Gets You Motivated?
At any given time of day, at the gym where I have a membership, there are at least 20 to 40 people in the building. Some are doing cardio, some are in the weight room, some are in aerobics classes and some are spin classes. The people at the gym who are not motivated are easy to spot. They're the ones who do one set on the ab machine, then walk over to the weight room and stand there contemplating what to do next... finally deciding to go do cardio. They eek out a ten-minute slow-paced walk before hitting the stop button.
We don't want this to be you. So before you go crazy spending on a home gym system or buy a gym membership, get a sense for what motivates you. Personally I feel a lot more motivated at a gym where other people are really going for it because I feed off their energy. I'd never last more than two minutes at home.
5. Do You Have Family Support?
Because they're family doesn't guarantee they'll support you with your fitness goals. From my experience, it's not easy when everyone decides they're having Chinese and you feel left out or like you're the one inconveniencing everybody else.