Going, going, GONE! Just four days left….

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The importance of sleep and rest days

Having goals you’re passionate about is normal and natural. Not only that, but if you see a long road ahead of you towards achieving those goals, it’s possible to have one of two reactions:

  1. Give up and quit
  2. Overdo it

In this blog post I’m going to address #2. We’re all guilty of it regardless of what stage of fitness we’re in, whether we’re beginners just started out or seasoned pros who are VERY intent upon getting the job done and are enjoying it too much.

It could happen for many reasons. You may be aggressively training for a competition. Perhaps there’s a 10K coming up and you’re realizing that you’ve started your training a bit late in the game. Maybe you’re just trying too hard to “do it all” and have set high expectations for yourself.

I’m here to tell you why your enthusiasm is wonderful, but you need to go eaaaaaasyyyyyy on yourself. Rest days allow your body to repair muscle and prevent injury. Sleep allows you to recharge for the day ahead. Not getting enough of either can lead to all sorts of not fun things like:

  • Injuries – these can be minor or major, and can potentially take you out of your training for days, weeks, and sometimes months
  • Illnesses – these are signs that your body has HAD it.
  • Burn out – mental and physical fatigue to the point of risking one or both of the above

And besides, those thing I listed suck and will make you not be able to work out. Everything in moderation for best results!

Treat your body right, you only get one per lifetime. ๐Ÿ™‚

I was gonna write this post earlier but I put it off

I blogged not too long ago about Zen and the Fine Art of Procrastinationย and some ways around it. There’s the practice, and then there’s the mentality.

Not everyone procrastinates for the same reasons. Some do it because there’s a huge, ugly item and they just DON’T want to do it, so they’re putting it off because they don’t want to. That simple. Other times it’s more like “My to-do list is so long, I’m overwhelmed, I keep getting interrupted by people demanding my attention, I’m fried. I think I’m going to go do something mindless until the headache goes away.”

I usually wind up in the latter camp, the point of reaching such high levels of stress that accomplishing anything is meaningless because I’m too frazzled to focus. Thinking straight at that point is a joke.

When you reach that state, it’s best to find your zen. Just breathe. Take a five minute walk, go meditate, make some tea. I’m drinking a nice blend from Teavana right now.

When I’m done with this blog post (which is one item on my lengthy to-do list), I plan to tackle the rest, fully energized and having had some tea. After all, if I can bite off one item, it means I’ve accomplished something and some of the stress should go away, right? Easy does it.

Signing off from the Land of No More Procrastination.

Clean eating tips for dining out

On the go, on vacation, or otherwise am forced into eating out? People reference this as a super clean-eating killer. Here are my tips to minimize the damage that dining out can do to your fitness goals:

  1. Pick food that’s been steamed or grilled versus fried or sauteed.
  2. Research your restaurant! Some places offer more healthy options than others.
  3. Don’t be afraid to create your own entree! And tip well. ๐Ÿ™‚
  4. Watch those salads! Dressings which are creamy and for those of you who are not vegan, cheese and other forms of animal protein can sneak on a lot of unnecessary fat and calories in the form of marinades and other hidden additives. Some salads at fast food places have as many calories and fat as a Double Whopper and with not much in the way of nutritional value to offset that. Also, ask to have the dressing on the side.
  5. My advice for soups is similar to salads: avoid bisques, anything creamy. Also be cautious on added sodium.
  6. Double up on vegetables! They’ll fill you up faster.
  7. When in doubt, see if the menu has something that’s indicated as “lighter fare”.
  8. Avoid the bread basket!
  9. Eat slowly! Frequently restaurants will give you too much food. If you have some leftover, it’ll be yet another delicious meal. ๐Ÿ™‚
  10. One trick I use not to eat too much ย is to eat food that’s not too bland. If there’s a lot of flavor I feel like I’ve eaten more and I don’t eat it as quickly. If you don’t have much of a spice tolerance, this trick won’t be good for you however.
  11. Drink plenty of water, and avoid soda, juices, and alcohol. Tea and coffee (without milk and sugar) is fine.

Feel free to share your own tips in the comments!


Small steps over time wins the race!

People first starting a fitness journey tend to look at their end goal and get overwhelmed. It seems like a lot to accomplish! This is where people can screw up; often times people will overdo it in their impatience and wind up either burning out, overtraining, getting an injury, or getting sick. Or they think that they’re not accomplishing anything and quit way too soon. That’s NOT the appropriate way to join Team Happy and Healthy, folks. Here are my suggestions on starting out:

  1. Make substitutions. Do you normally eat fast food or pizza for lunch? Swap out fries for a garden salad, soda for seltzer or plain water.
  2. Start increasing your physical activity. Park further away from your job, consider walking, biking, or taking public transportation, take the stairs as opposed to the elevator or escalator, etc.
  3. Keep motivated! Read books, magazines, and blogs which inspire you and make you feel better about obtaining new, healthier habits. Watch movies, YouTube videos of motivational speakers. Listen to audio. Keep pictures around your desk, on your computer, or on your cell phone which make you smile and keep you focused on your goals.
  4. Stay positive. Tune out absolutely everything which causes you to doubt or feel bad about yourself. Mental health is every bit as important as physical health, and each contributes to the other. Torturing your mind and/or body will not bring you success.
  5. Be patient! “Rome was not built in a day, and neither was your body.” -Tony Horton You are not in this for a quick fix, a “diet”, or what-have-you. There are no magic pills to pop. You are in this to build good habits to carry you through the rest of your life, and by doing this you will improve your quality of living in ways you may not even realize yet.
  6. Celebrate small victories. In Team Happy and Healthy, there are no small victories. Can you do one more pushup on your knees than you could a week ago? Celebrate! Are you taking the time to get some extra walking in? Celebrate! Did you turn down that lunchtime cookie for a salad instead? Celebrate!