Category Archives: Philosophy
I blogged not too long ago about Zen and the Fine Art of Procrastination 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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
Stress is something which can make or break our health and overall wellness. When the going takes tough, it’s easy to make the following excuses:
- I just didn’t have the time.
- I needed to treat myself after the day I had.
- I wasn’t in the mood.
I’ve found that exercise and eating well actually reduces my stress and helps me get by on my bad days.
Need time to unwind? Instead of reaching for something unhealthy in order to feel better, why not try the following?
- Go out for a walk.
- Run it out! Put on your running shoes and get going!
- Do some yoga. It’ll both be good exercise AND it’s calming.
- Angry? Try some cardio kickboxing. I love Les Mills Combat for giving me my daily dose of punches and kicks!
- Hungry? Reach for something tasty, but healthy and nourishing. Bad food will just make you feel worse.
- Get high on endorphins from your workout, not alcohol! That glass of wine or bottle of beer won’t help you in the long run.
- Drink plenty of water and get extra sleep.
Stress management should be something which eliminates stress versus tacking onto it. You never, ever want to find yourself slipping into bad habits or creating new bad habits due to a bad day.Instead turn it into an incentive to treat both yourself and your body right.
Finding your soulmate workout is what trainer Chalene Johnson has talked about in her own lectures and writings. Basically the idea is this: find a way of being physically active which YOU enjoy. Not everyone is cut out to be a runner, a yoga enthusiast, a dancer, a cyclist…you get the picture. Some forms of physical activity you will enjoy more than others.
My advice is to experiment with different cardio and resistance training workouts until you find one which you really get a lot out of and will look forward to doing. Don’t get me wrong; some days you will want to workout more or less than others.
Everyone has their “off” days. Tip of the day: make your “off” days as seldom as possible and trick yourself into doing the workout anyway. My personal strategy is this: I tell myself I’ll do the “first five minutes”. I have never, ever not done the full workout after getting into it for the first five minutes.
Sometimes however, no matter how much of a “high” you get once the workout’s complete, it’s just not your cup of tea. Try different ones. Find out what sorts of physical activity YOU enjoy. Is it running? Dancing? Kickboxing or other forms of martial arts based workouts? Competitive sports?
Whatever it is, find your bliss! And keep doing it!
My personal favorite is Les Mills Combat, close runners-up being Turbo Fire, running, and dancing. I’ve also just started doing Les Mills Pump in addition to Combat for more resistance training. I love love Les Mills Combat! I am on my third round of the program and I can’t get enough of it.
Workouts may be work, but they don’t have to be a chore! If you’re looking for tips, suggestions, and ideas on what sort of fitness program to do based on your interests and your fitness goals, please contact me and I’ll do my best to help you out!
I’m a software engineer. I’ve been in my career for almost fifteen years now, and have spent way, way, way too much of my time seated at a desk, bent over a keyboard typing out code.
Obviously this isn’t healthy. We weren’t designed for long periods of sitting day in and day out, eating processed food, and sitting in traffic to and from this experience. It’s not ideal. It’s not conducive to our well-beings.
Okay, so you may be thinking, “Yeah, no kidding, Tea-Addicted Geek, so what the heck do I do about it?” Great question! I’m here to share with you based on years of experimentation and pain what has worked for me.
- Park as far away from your building as possible and walk.
- STAIRS. Walk them. Ditto with Escalators. Up AND down. It drives me nuts to watch fellow fitness coaches just STANDING there on an escalator going down! I am used to taking absolutely every advantage I have to be active, and this is one of those things.
- Get. Up. Walk away from your desk. Grab water. Grab tea. Drink it. If this means frequent bathroom breaks, GREAT! Even better: take the time to walk to your co-workers versus sending them emails. You’ll look more proactive AND you’ll be on your feet more.
- Go for walks during lunch breaks, indoors or outdoors. No place to do it? Walk up and down the stairs.
- Get up earlier and work out before going to work. For some this may be challenging. I am NOT a morning person, and some mornings for me are better than others.
- Bag your lunch. You’ll save money AND you won’t be eating crap (or tempted to do so).
- Join any wellness, fitness classes or programs your workplace provides. My own place of employment will be offering a series of Zumba classes this month.
- Do exercises at your desk. Visit those links and see what works for you!
- STRETCH. My neck and shoulders are prone to strain and injury due to my occupation, and stretching every hour helps. I also recommend rumble rollers or foam rollers. Worth. Every. Penny.
- If you can take public transportation to work, DO SO. It’s not only green, but it’s also giving you more chances to be active and on your feet! It could (and does) make the caloric burn difference. When I have a job in downtown Boston, I burn an extra 200-400 calories per day on average according to my Bodybugg. It takes 3500 calories to burn in order to lose a pound, that’s 500 calories PER DAY extra to burn. See how much that could help?
- Tips on healthy snacks at work: hummus and veggies, pieces of fruit, rice cakes, meal bars (watch the sugar!!), and smoothies. I sometimes bring a travel blender into work in order to make my Shakeology protein smoothies.
- Find out if any of your co-workers are into fitness, maybe organize a regular group walk. It’s social, it’s fun, and it can only help you and others in the long run.
If you work in a career like, odds are likely not everyone will be as mindful as you. They may want to eat crap, sit around, and be perfectly happy about that. Some may even make fun of you or try to sabotage your success. Don’t let them! It’s YOUR life, not theirs, and they’re perfectly welcome to do what they want with theirs. In the end, YOU have to live with your body, your health, and your happiness.
And who knows? Maybe one of them will join you for a quick walk around the building. 🙂