Developing a fitness routine comes with its fair share of challenges. While your ultimate goal may be to lose 20 pounds or build muscle, it’s important to remember to stay mindful while you exercise. Self-care plays an important role in fitness and it can help you get the most out of your workouts and help your mind and body feel better following your stint at the gym.
This is particularly true if you’re in recovery and searching for healing techniques to get you through your addiction. Here are a couple of ways you can balance your workout regimen and improve your overall health.
Adopt healthy eating habits
A healthy diet and a good fitness routine go hand in hand. How are you going to find motivation to hit the gym when you’re putting drinks and foods into your body that are loaded with sugar and fat? Try and swap out pizza, beer and burgers for healthier foods like water, fish and salads. Healthy foods will not only help you gain more energy, but they will help you look better, too. In fact, a healthy diet can protect against certain cancers, improve moods, clear up skin, reduce the risk of a heart attack and improve your sex drive. A healthy diet and exercise can also be great supplements to addiction recovery, because they allow you to focus on something other than the substance you’re craving.
Don’t push it too far
When you step into the gym or hop on your bike for a ride on the trails, it’s important to remember to never overdo it. It’s healthy to push your boundaries and try and take your fitness routine to the next level, but strengthening your muscles with new workouts and pushing your muscles too far is different. When you push yourself too far, you may start to notice chest discomfort, shortness of breath, joint pain that lasts for days, fever, nausea, depression or anxiety. Overdoing your workouts can lead to serious health consequences and you should be mindful to the signs that your body is telling you when you exercise. Know it’s OK to rest and take a few days off from working out in order to improve your overall well-being.
Consider yoga or meditation
While it’s important to practice cardio and weight lifting, incorporating exercise that relaxes your mind is crucial as well. Meditation or yoga can help accomplish this. These two exercises are typically infused with one another, but they can be practiced on their own. Both yoga and meditation help you stay present in the moment instead of letting your mind wander into stressful thoughts. With yoga, you put your body into certain poses that help you build core strength and stretch muscles. Meditation helps you control and focus on your breathing so you can have peace of mind.
Put your phone away
Smartphones are often treated like a love-hate relationship. They allow us to capture in-the-moment memories and communicate easier with friends and family, but they can also be a distraction, especially when we’re exercising. While you may use your phone while at work, put it away when you’re working out. You can try putting your phone away for an hour while you attend a spin class or go for a run and see how it feels. When you’re not distracted by your phone, you can stay present in the moment and focus on the fitness goals you’ve set for yourself. Without your phone on your mind, you’ll be able to improve your self-care while you meet your fitness goals.
Photo: Unsplash - Christina Gottardi
All too often I see gym-goers completing workouts that are doing little to help them reach their fitness goals. Keep in mind, I am a big proponent of moving and I love the concept of accumulating 10k a day in steps so I'm happy to see everyone and anyone in the gym. Getting specific about your workout and what you want to accomplish is key towards seeing any results. Here are 7 things that any workout that is worth it's 'weight' should have:
It can be hard to get in a daily allowance of all the vitamins, and minerals that you need in a day. Vitamins, minerals and nutrients keep us healthy, ward off chronic disease, decrease risks of cancer and help us lose weight.
On my busiest days, I am aware that I could easily miss a meal therefore I plan and load up on highly nutrient dense foods to get through. Here are my favorite and all of which, I will eat throughout the day:
1. Nuts - Pecans, walnuts, almonds, peanuts etc. The nut is mighty and is almost packed with everything you need to get a fast jolt that will satiate you and get you throw the day.
2. Sweet Potatoes - Another food that is almost perfect and highly transportable. They give you the perfect balance of healthy goodness.
3. Salmon - The all mighty salmon. Wild-caught this superfood provides you with loads of Omega 3,6,9.
4. Berries - Great for the many antioxidants they hold, berries are one of mother natures miracle foods.
5. Eggs - The most Egg-cellent of foods, perfectly balanced by nature for you. Enjoy the yolk in addition to the white for a convenient snack.
You have to run…A LOT
When I tell people that I ran track and still currently run for exercise their first question is how many miles a week. They assume that I run a lot. In reality I rarely run over 2-3 miles. I love getting outside, I love conquering the hills and I love the time to be alone. The goal is not the distance or the speed. The goal is simply being present, feeling my body, hearing my breathing and understanding that with each step I am becoming stronger.
In fact the first five minutes are hard FOR EVERYONE!!!! The body is just getting adjusted to the impact, the activity and and exercise. It’s in shock and it does not feel good. Almost every run I complete, I could easily stop at any point during the first five minutes because of how uncomfortable it is. That’s when I focus…on music, my breathing, my day anything to get through it. Once those five are up, you are good to go. So stay with it, it does get easier.
My run ends with running
Your run ends with stretching. We see these runners killing it on the streets of Atlanta, LA, Miami all over but what we don’t get to witness is the end of their run. Most runners understand that the recovery is just as important as the run. Stretching is not only a time to recover but a time to relax and reflect
We work and we work hard. This often leads to a lot of down time in front of the computer. Sitting throughout most of the day while working is what I like to call productively sedentary. This can cause a great deal of harm to your body leading to hip bursitis, IT Band Syndrome, knee pain and more. It's why sitting is now commonly called "the new smoking."
If you are sitting more than 4 hours in a day here are seven stretches for you to complete at the end of your day. These stretches will increase circulation, flexibility and decrease chronic knee pain. Hold each stretch for 10-30 seconds relax and remember stretching should cause discomfort but no pain.
I often see runners, cyclists and yoga enthusiast maintaining an active lifestyle. These fitness disciplines make up a healthy workout regiment. However, they do not make up a complete and comprehensive workout regiment. Strength training also known as weight resistance training is a major component that should be incorporated into everyone's fitness regiment.
As a strength and conditioning coach, I understand how intimidating weight lifting can be. However, strength training will not only prevent injury and increase bone density but it will absolutely change the way your body looks. It is why the majority of my clients look the best they ever have and it is primarily why I have started LIFT at Piedmont Park. This class is offered indoors at the Piedmont Park Community Center Mondays and Wednesdays 6-6:45pm (1071 Piedmont Ave). Parking is available behind Willy's Mexican Restaurant. All Fitness Levels are welcome. LIFT is a total body fitness class that focuses on building strengthen and eliminating imbalances creating an overall better better. Try it complimentary... hope to see you soon.
Recommended Strength Classes in Atlanta:
HIIT 30 - Exhale Spa - Loews Hotel
Core Barre - Exhale Spa - Loews Hotel
Training with JPierre - H.E.A.T Atlanta
Fast Twitch - Forum - Buckhead location
The holidays means more shopping, more people and more germs! This is the time of year that I really increase my health regimen. The most effective way to achieve that goal is not with supplements but with superfoods. We should be very deliberate about the amount of food that we are eating out and the germs it encounters. Also, as the seasons change so does our need for certain nutrients. For example, it's citrus season! Citrus is known for its high levels of vitamin C which helps to boost immunity and fights the common cold and flu.
Here are a 10 healthy food to consume in a week.
1. Citrus - Whether it be an orange, water with multiple lemon wedges or a grapefruit for snack.
2. Broth-Based Soups - Broths and soups are close to the most nutrient dense food item that we can get. Having it in liquid form allows for better absorbtion.
3. Water - As temperature drops, indoor heat arises. Dry air increases dehydration. Keep water by your side.
4. Salad - Have a big salad with at least four different colors represented in the mix.
5. Beans/Legumes - Slow-cooked beans with rice provides all the amino acids of meat. Make this a meal this week.
6. Tea - Ginger, chamomile, lemon are my favorite ways to wind down with medicinal intent.
7. Kombucha - Probiotics are a must for my entire family GT Synergy is our favorite.
8. Garlic - Such a powerful superfood, I find ways to sautee it with broccoli, add it to Italian dishes etc.
9. Bone-Broth - At least once a week I'll make something that incorporates a stew or soup WITH bones.
10. Greens - I know we all love Kale but any type of greens, stewed, sautéed is a perfect way to consume an in-season nutrient-rich food.
Starting your workout can sometimes be the hardest thing about your workout. Transitioning from a sedentary state to a physically active one can be difficult. For this reason it is important to incorporate a quality warm up. In addition to reducing the risks of injury, warming up properly is the optimal way to ready yourself physically and mentally for the work that you are about to do . Before you begin your weekend workout take time to set intentions, move dynamically and gradually prepare your mind and body to optimize your activity.
You can complete the exact same workout with a different training tool and get a completely new workout. Using different tools provide an added change in intensity and increased focus on form. Today in Core and More at the Georgia Tech Campus Recreation Center, I used the Bosu Ball in order to give class a way to engage the core even more. We completed pushups, squats, crunches and many other exercises. Adding a new element, giving us all an amazing total body workout. - Make the gym your playground. Explore to gain more. Love You Healthy. IG/Twitter: @loveyouhealthy
Our 2017 eclipse was indeed awesome. We awoke knowing that there would be a brief period of darkness today. It would get dark and cooler. Our day would change, however we were prepared to see it though. We knew the darkness was temporary and most importantly the sun was always shining. We will definitely have another eclipse (period of darkness) in our life before the next 40 years but be prepared. See yourself through the temporary darkness, and know the sun is still shining. Don't let anyone eclipse your light.