April 3, 2013 | Filed Under Healthy Lifestyle | No Comments
Having a good body image is a part of reaching overall health. Conversely, having a poor body image can profoundly affect your weight and health, leading to eating disorders, depression, low self-esteem, anxiety and even obesity.
- Unhealthy Behaviors
If you are unhappy with the way your body looks, feels and functions, you may have low self-esteem. This can cause increased levels of stress and push you toward relieving that stress in unhealthy ways, like abusing alcohol or drugs, smoking or overeating.
People who have a negative body image and low self-esteem are less likely to care for themselves properly and often neglect exercise. This leads to a host of health problems, and low self-esteem has been linked with high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
People with negative body images are more likely to practice poor eating habits and become obese or overweight. Being overweight carries a significant health risk and increases your likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and arthritis.
- Eating Disorders
Dissatisfaction with your body type, size or weight can lead to binge eating disorders, bulimia or anorexia. These eating disorders can be disastrous for your fitness goals and overall health. People with eating disorders run the risk of fainting, fatigue, dehydration, heart failure, dangerously high or low blood pressure, muscle weakness, kidney failure, electrolyte imbalances, tooth decay, high cholesterol and other significant health risks.
Improve Your Body Image
If you have a negative body image, start feeling better in your own skin by following these tips:
- Think of your body’s capabilities instead of its appearance. It is pretty amazing what our bodies can do. Instead of setting goals to be something, like a size 2, set goals to do something, like use your training gloves each day or finish a marathon.
- Redefine health. You use your workout gloves or training gloves everyday, you stay active and you eat a balanced diet. That is true health, not being at a certain size or weight. If you are killing yourself to get “healthy,” there is something wrong with your definition.
- Stay off the scale. Your weight can fluctuate up to five pounds every day, so only step on the scale once a week or every two weeks to monitor your weight accurately.
How do you keep a positive body image? What do you do when you are feeling negative about your appearance? Share your best image-boosting tips with our readers in the comments below!
Image By: Pink Sherbet Photography
February 21, 2013 | Filed Under Healthy Lifestyle | No Comments
Do you need a cup of coffee just to get going in the morning? Do you crave more joe or soda to beat an afternoon slump? If the answer is “yes,” read on to learn how to kick the caffeine habit for good.
In Part 1 , we discussed why you need to curb your caffeine intake for lifelong health. Here, in Part 2, you’ll learn 3 simple steps to how to achieve just that.
- Admit You Have a Problem
The first step in overcoming addiction is recognizing you have a problem. It may seem dramatic, but too much caffeine can cause havoc to your body, just like alcohol or drugs. The legal stimulant feeds your body’s reward circuitry, but when you drink too much, you are not giving your pleasure centers actual pleasure; you are just feeding an addiction. Excessive caffeine intake can cause anxiety, severe adrenal stress, cardiovascular disorders, irritability and insomnia.
- Respect the Ritual
Caffeine consumption is often wrapped in ritual. If you always start your day with a trip to your favorite coffee shop, keep going as you break your habit. Instead of ordering that venti frappuccino, order an herbal tea or decaf coffee. If you sip coffee each morning before you hit the gym, try enjoying orange juice in your favorite mug before reaching for your weightlifting gloves. Making a healthier substitute will feed your brain’s motivation to get the stimulation, keep your ritual consistent and slowly wean your body off caffeine.
- Use Exercise to Detox- but not too much
Reward your brain’s pleasure center with exercise instead of caffeine. When you feel a craving, grab your gym gloves or take a brisk walk for 30 minutes. Help your body detox by eating a healthy diet high in vitamin C and leafy greens and drinking plenty of water. Eating small meals throughout the day can also help keep your energy (blood sugar) levels steady. Know your limits, though. Cravings for artificial energy are found in large numbers in populations that exercise too much. It’s all about balance. If you don’t listen to your body today, it will scream at you tomorrow.
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February 18, 2013 | Filed Under Healthy Lifestyle | No Comments
Do you need a cup of coffee just to get going in the morning or get through an afternoon slump? If the answer is “yes,” read on to learn how to kick the caffeine habit for good.
Our resident health counselor Laura Wald, shares that she has found sugar and caffeine addiction in a majority of her clients that are personal trainers. As a result many of them suffer from adrenal fatigue and thyroid disease. They may workout for 1-2 hours or more per day, but they are slaves to their coffee and find themselves craving artificial energy in all the wrong places. The problem lies in balance between food/drink and physical activity, and caffeine has become the socially acceptable go-to drug of choice, creating illness as a result. In this post, she shares with us the Top 10 Caffeine Related Health Problems.
Caffeine-Related Health Problems: Top 10*
- Cardiovascular Problems
Caffeine increases heart rate, elevates blood pressure, and can contribute to the development of heart disease. Both decaf and regular coffee increase cholesterol and homocysteine, the biochemical that science has linked to increased risk for heart attack. Caffeine is also linked to coronary vasospasms. Coronary vasospasms cause 20% of all fatal heart attacks that kill otherwise perfectly healthy people.
Caffeine stimulates the excretion of stress hormones, which can produce increased levels of anxiety, irritability, muscular tension and pain, indigestion, insomnia, and decreased immunity. Increased levels of stress can keep you from making healthy responses to normal daily stress.
- Emotional Disturbances
Anxiety and irritability are hallmark mood disturbances associated with caffeine consumption, but equally important are depression and attention disorders. Depression may occur as part of the letdown after the stimulant effects of caffeine wear off. It may also appear during the recovery period after quitting caffeine while the brain’s chemistry is readjusted. Rather than increasing mental activity, caffeine actually decreases blood flow to the brain by as much as 30%, and negatively effects memory and mental performance.
- Blood Sugar Swings
Diabetics and hypoglycemics should avoid caffeine. Caffeine stimulates a temporary surge in blood sugar followed by an overproduction of insulin, which causes a blood sugar crash within hours. This rollercoaster causes weight gain since insulin’s message to the body is to store excess sugar as fat.
- Gastrointestinal Problems
Many people experience a burning sensation in their stomach after drinking coffee because coffee increases the secretion of hydrochloric acid, which leads to an increased risk for ulcers. Coffee, including decaf, reduces pressure on the valve between the esophagus and the stomach so that the highly acidic contents of the stomach pass up to the esophagus, which can lead to heartburn and gastro-esophageal reflux disease. No wonder the best selling over-the-counter drugs are the so-called antacids.
- Nutritional Deficiencies
Caffeine inhibits the absorption of some nutrients in addition to causing the urinary excretion of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and trace minerals, and all essential elements necessary for good health.
- Male Health Problems
Milton Krisiloff, MD, has found that in the majority of cases, men can significantly reduce their risk for urinary and prostate problems by making dietary changes, which include eliminating coffee and caffeine.
- Female Health Problems
Fibrocystic breast disease, PMS, osteoporosis, infertility problems, miscarriage, low birth weight, and menopausal problems such as hot flashes are all exacerbated by caffeine consumption. Women on birth control pills are particularly at risk since they have a decreased ability to detoxify caffeine.
Many people find that in their forties, they can no longer tolerate the same level of caffeine consumption as they could in their 20’s and 30’s. Production of DHEA, melatonin, and other vital hormones decline with age, but caffeine speeds up that process. Caffeine dehydrates the body and contributes to aging of the skin and kidneys. It has been shown to inhibit DNA repair and slow the ability of the liver to detoxify foreign toxins.
- Adrenal Exhaustion
Caffeine consumption leads to eventual adrenal exhaustion, which can leave you vulnerable to a variety of health disorders related to inflammation, autoimmunity, and fatigue.
We will share easy steps to reducing caffeine and getting you on a path to health that supports your workout routine in Part 2. Subscribe to our RSS feed to make sure you don’t miss it!
*Adapted from Caffeine Blues: Wake Up to the Hidden Dangers of America’s #1 Drug, by Stephen Cherniske. Warner Books
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November 20, 2012 | Filed Under Exercise, Healthy Lifestyle, Stretching, Tips for Beginners, Workout Tips, Workouts | No Comments
Learn how to keep injuries at bay while working out.
While working out in the gym can help you get in better shape, doing the wrong things can inevitably lead to unwanted injuries. Since no one wants to get hurt while trying to tone their thighs, flatten their belly or build muscle, you need to know the most common ways you can injure yourself so that you can effectively prevent making these mistakes. So, what are the easiest ways to turn your healthy workout into a disaster? Here are some of them:
- Skipping your warm up. It may be tempting to skip the warm up part of your routine and dive head-on into your workout, especially when you’re pressed for time. Well, to tell you the truth, you are putting yourself in harm’s way if you choose to do this. Keep in mind that warm up exercises are there for a reason. They work by preparing your mind and body for the task ahead and by improving the elasticity of your muscles to prevent injuries. This is what a healthy workout is all about.
- Not using the proper form. Using bad form not only compromises your workout, it also puts you at a greater risk for injury. So, whether you are doing cardio workouts or weight training exercises, you need to use the proper form at all times. When lifting weights, keep your back straight when bending at the hips, don’t lock the joints or bend your knees excessively, and keep your head and neck as still as possible. Also, consider using proper fitness gloves since they provide additional comfort as you perform these muscle building exercises.
- Going past your limit. To get the most benefits from a healthy workout, you need to know your limits. Don’t try to make up for lost time by overexerting yourself. This won’t do you any good and may cause harmful strain to muscles and tendons that can lead to pulls, tears, or snaps, not to mention dehydration and nutrient deficiencies.
- Lifting excessively heavy weights. This can increase your risk of straining your muscles and/or injuring your back, shoulders and knees. Weight training is not a sprint, but rather a marathon. You need to work your way up to heavier weights in a gradual manner to build true strength and endurance.
- Doing the same routine. Doing the same exercises over and over again can lead to overuse injury so consider varying your workout. Try to modify your moves, or work only certain muscle on alternate days, or revamp your total workout routine. Not only will it prevent boredom, but also prevent overuse injuries.
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April 2, 2012 | Filed Under Exercise, Healthy Lifestyle | No Comments
Plenty of anecdotal evidence exists to support the claim that exercise can help reduce anxiety and some forms of depression. Those of us who have been working out for years don’t need to be told that exercise feels great, and most of us have seen how a good workout can put the challenges of a difficult day into perspective.
But careful scientific studies (like this one: http://www.fitness.gov/mentalhealth.htm) provide more proof of what we already know about exercise and mental health. Here are a few key take-home messages:
- All forms of exercise offer a great way to reduce feelings of anxiety and gloom. The reasons are partly physical, since a workout stimulates blood flow and oxygen delivery to cells. But they’re also emotional, since working out offers a change of perspective, a chance to step out of our regular routine, and a healthy distraction as we shift gears from one set of challenges (mental or emotional) to another (physical).
- Weight training is great for mood and mental health, but aerobic activity may offer even more pronounced benefits. To get the most out your workout, make sure you blend cardio exercises with weight training and resistance moves.
- Exercise may have bigger mood boosting effects for those who face bigger challenges. In other words, the positive benefits increase among those with higher anxiety at the starting point.
- Sleep, exercise and mental health go hand in hand. You can get the benefits of any two, but you won’t fully get where you need to be without the third. To make the most of your workout, get plenty of sleep. To boost your mental health and feelings of well-being, get plenty of sleep and plenty of workout time. Don’t cut corners. Take care of yourself in all three of these areas so you can keep your life on track and take care of those who depend on you.
January 20, 2012 | Filed Under Healthy Lifestyle, Progress, Workout Routines | No Comments
The word “overtraining” seems to be thrown about all over the place these days. There are so many different muscle building and weight training programs on offer, and many of them appear to totally contradict each other.
So how do you know if you’re overtraining? The truth is, everyone is different and everyone responds to weight training differently. One definition of overtraining is where you train your body above its capacity, meaning it cannot recover and adapt quickly enough to be prepared for the following training session.
You may or may not experience the following symptoms when you’re overtraining. With some people you only have to look at them before they start training and you know they’re overtraining. Here are some common symptoms you may feel:
· You can’t seem to get any bigger (lack of weight or muscle gain)
· You don’t have enough energy at the beginning of your workout
· Your target muscles are still sore from the previous workout when you work them again.
· You find it hard to get to sleep and have a good night’s rest
· You have a general lack of energy throughout the day
· And in extreme cases you may feel depression and anxiety
If this sounds like you, before you start thinking about your routine, you should take a week off. Don’t train at all for one week. Your body needs the rest and recuperation time. You will find that the week after your rest week your body will be fired up and ready to go!
Now you have to look at your daily life and plan a routine to fit in. When you look at your daily life you need to consider things you can change, like your fitness, diet and rest time. What you do in your every day life really affects your workout.
Overtraining prevention is up to you. All you need to do is follow a few of the basic principals in muscle building. Quality over quantity, eat big including lots of carbs and protein and rest up between workouts. Good luck with your training!
January 9, 2012 | Filed Under Healthy Lifestyle | No Comments
Sleep is essential for a person’s health and wellbeing, according to most health experts. Yet millions of people do not get enough sleep and this has been linked to increased health risks in a number of areas such as heart disease, obesity, and chronic fatigue.
One of the most critical components to any successful weight lifting program is ensuring that you get enough sleep for your muscles to repair themselves. It is important especially if you are stuck at a plateau in your routine, as getting enough sleep is critical to your progress.
Here are some common sense hints for getting you the sleep your body deserves:
1. Get plenty of regular exercise and try to complete your workout at least three hours before bedtime. Exercise increases the amount of deep sleep you get.
2. Eat dinner two to three hours before bedtime and minimize liquid intake. Heavy dinners tend to keep us awake, as do meals that are high protein. Some people report better sleep with a glass or warm cow’s milk or soy milk.
3. Begin slowing down at least one hour before bedtime. Take thirty minutes before bed to use for relaxing, such as soothing in a warm bath, meditating, reading a book, and/or listening to calming music.
4. Avoid products containing caffeine. If you have trouble sleeping, this is very important! Try not to consume caffeine after the early afternoon if you have problems getting to sleep.
5. Avoid alcohol close to bedtime, as it will interfere with your sleep later in the night.
6. Avoid foods and drinks high in sugar. As your sugar level drops during the night, your sleep may be disrupted.
7. Establish regular times for bed and for waking.
8. Improve your sleep environment, i.e. comfortable mattress and pillows, quiet, dark, comfortable room temperature. People report that they sleep better when they take the TV out of their room.
October 24, 2011 | Filed Under Healthy Lifestyle, Motivation, Progress | No Comments
Your workout plans have gotten off to an excellent start. You realized it was time to get moving, you put a plan in place, and you’ve been following it to the letter. Your healthy habits are on track, your workout goals are realistic, and your support team is fully behind you. There’s only one problem: Your body hasn’t yet gotten the memo. No matter how many reps you do or how thoroughly you exhaust yourself, your body remains stubbornly resistant to change. The reps you’re able to sustain have not budged, your strength and endurance don’t seem to be increasing, and your fat is just as settled in and comfortable as it’s ever been. Those rolls aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. What’s wrong? And what can you do about it before you lose motivation and drop the project altogether?
First, remember that adding exercise to your weekly routine is a lifelong change. Exercise is one small part of a healthy lifestyle, not a quick fix for any specific problem. Just like breathing clean air, exercise is not a short term treatment plan. Instead, it’s a fundamental aspect of health and something your body both requires and deserves. You may not see changes during the first week, but that’s no reason to stop. If you’re getting frustrated, take steps to protect your enjoyment of the process. Change your routine to something more fun. And make sure your gear isn’t part of the problem. Your clothes should be comfortable, your workout environment should be encouraging and your hands and feet should be protected from blisters. Use your Gripads and choose the right shoes for your routine.
Second, be patient. If you’re giving your all, your body will get the message eventually. You may experience lags now and then, but if you stay on track, these moments will pass. Share your feelings with your support team or your trainer to get the tips and encouragement you need.
October 20, 2011 | Filed Under Healthy Lifestyle, Nutrition | No Comments
No workout plan is complete if it only extends as far as the door of the gym. Your chances of staying motivated, seeing results, and feeling great will increase if you maintain your focus on a healthy lifestyle and carry it with you throughout the day. Sleep, stress management, hydration and nutrition should all play a role in your normal routine from early morning until bedtime. If you maintain healthy habits twenty four hours a day, you’ll see the difference in your strength and endurance as you exercise.
Start with nutrition. If you’re ready to make positive changes to your eating habits, begin by paying attention to what you’re doing now. What exactly are you eating and how often? Now is the time to place limits on unconscious snacking and make sure that your regular meals are planned and balanced.
Raise your intake of leafy green vegetables and fruits. Exchange processed crackers and cookies for whole grain carbohydrates. And switch from beef and pork products to lean proteins like fish, chicken, nuts and legumes. Each of these moves represents a small, easy change that can improve your health and focus and may have a positive impact on your workout goals.
Don’t skip breakfast. If you’re interested in cutting calories, start by exchanging high calorie, low quality foods for healthier options. Then get a handle on snacking and reduce portion sizes during lunch and dinner. But don’t cut corners on breakfast. For a long list of reasons, our bodies need breakfast to trigger our metabolisms out of sleep mode. Studies show that those who eat a complete healthy breakfast actually lose more weight and stay better focused throughout the day than those who don’t.
Maintain consistent, healthy eating habits and when it’s time to grab your Gripads and head for the gym, your body will be properly fueled and ready for your high energy workout.