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Cardinals Fitness Tip of the Week: Staying Healthy During the Holidays
The holiday season is rapidly approaching, and now more than ever you need to be prepared to guard the fitness goals you have worked so hard for. With Halloween and unlimited bowls of candy just around the corner you need to approach this holiday with a plan. Here are some good tips to help you stay healthy during the holidays.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
This week as you’re buying huge bags of chocolate M&M’s and bat-shaped gummies begin to formulate a plan on where you are going to put all these treats. The best place is somewhere out of sight, out of mind. If you take that candy and dump it all into a bowl a week before Halloween, it’s a pretty sure guarantee that you will be eating most of that candy in little “snacks” as you walk by before any of the kids get to it. Those small little snacky trips add up to quickly become many excess calories that will accelerate weight gain during the holiday season.
A great Idea to prevent excess unhealthy candy calories is replacing the candy in the bowls around the house with healthy alternatives. A good idea is filling a bowl with mandarin oranges or unsalted almonds to keep snacking light and healthy. This makes reaching for a snack as you’re walking around your house something that you can feel good about, and that can bring you closer to your goals. There are also several great recipes with different protein bars (such as the Quest protein bars) that can help you make great little snacks that are high in protein and fiber. Even little candies like Jolly Ranchers can be a good substitute snack. At only 25 calories a piece, and long lasting flavor, they make a decent choice to keep around the house.
Consider the Cost
Here are a few facts to help you avoid the candy grabbing mindset this holiday season:
Cardinal’s Fitness Tip of the Week: Accountability
Whether you are new to Fitness, and just getting into a healthy routine, or you have been training for over a decade, and think it impossible that you would ever “fall off the wagon” it is important to have some accountability to keep you on track. With the technological advancement of the past 20 years staying accountable is easier than ever. Exercising with a close friend is a great way to start, but following up by keeping track with a mobile app, and getting to know others who are involved in the same activities will help you maintain your health long-term as well as develop meaningful, healthy friendships.
Get Involved in Group Fitness Classes
Group fitness classes are a great place to start if you are just beginning, and a motivational place to exercise and learn new skills if you already have a basic knowledge of health and fitness. Classes combine the best elements of accountability to make your exercise regimen the best that it can be. First, classes involve others. Having other people who are both fitter than you and less fit than you is beneficial for staying on track. There are people who you can encourage, and people who can encourage you, people who you can look up to and people who look up to you. It is a good environment for positive change to just happen once, but to continue for a long time. There is a special bond that forms between friends who go through something difficult together. Now a single exercise session probably isn’t going to be one of your life's most difficult feats, but there is still a friendship bond that can develop between individuals who are united in one goal, and who each get out of their own comfort zones to accomplish it. When you can find a place that offers smaller, more personal group fitness classes then you know you have found something special. Small fitness classes not only enable you to get to know the others participating in the class, but the instructor as well. This is helpful because as the instructor gets to know you better he or she can help you with questions you have along the way, and even structure the workouts so that they are more conducive to the small groups goals.
Find a Good Environment
This one almost goes without saying, but many people get trapped in a contract that they are uncomfortable with. If you are going to join a gym, it needs to be a place you are comfortable in. Beginning a new phase in your journey to better health is a daunting task, and requires that the people helping you through it are supportive and personable. Look for a gym with smiling faces, a friendly environment, and people that want to get to know you. Don’t let yourself be pressured into signing a contract, find a place that will give you wiggle room. You never know how your life is going to change so having a no-contract option is always a plus. Having people at the place you work out who know who you are will encourage you to keep on coming back and help you stay committed to your fitness goals. A recent study of brain activity found that when people hear their own names it releases a signal in the “pleasure” portion of the brain. It is important that the people at your fitness center know your name, and take time to make your experience personal.
There are many ways that technology can make getting healthy easier than it was a few decades ago. There are also many sites that are misleading or completely false. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, chew up the good and spit out the bad, your pursuit of knowledge will pay off soon. Collect a few good blogs, podcasts, or youtube channels that will help you condense the information you let in. This will help you avoid the confusion of trying a million different diets or training protocols, instead you can start with the basics and build from there. A few words of warning: when looking for good sources of information stay away from extremes, if someone says that eating a certain way is the only way to go and if you sway from it you may die (doesn’t sound reasonable, but trust me it happens) then they aren’t a trustworthy source of information. If someone encourages that you seek information and question what they say then they are worth listening to. A few sources I recommend are the youtube channels: Biolayne, and The Macro Experiment. Podcasts from iTunes: Physique Science Radio, and The Fat Burning Man. These are good places to start, and may lead you to find other channels or podcasts that you like.
Another great way to use technology to help you reach your fitness goals is mobile apps. There are many good apps to keep you on track both in regards to exercise and nutrition. Here are a few suggestions to get you started: MyFitnessPal, MyMacros+, and MindBody Connect. MyFitnessPal and MyMacros+ are both apps to help you track your diet. Studies show that just keeping track of what you eat can result in weight loss simply because you become more aware of everything you take in. These apps are both great, and make tracking easy because many products are already in their databases. Instead of typing all the ingredients in everything you eat you can just scan the barcode and it will enter it automatically. MyMacros+ also has a feature to track your weight every day and graph it over the course of a week so you can see if you weight is going up, down, or maintaining. Some people do not like tracking their weight daily as it can lead towards an unhealthy obsession with a number, but if you don’t think your prone to that I encourage you to try tracking your weight daily- or at least a few times a week. This is because you can see every day whether or not you are getting closer to your goal.All of these apps improve accountability by making tracking extremely easy
A Great Place to Start
Cardinal’s Fitness is a great place to start. The combination of affordable no-contract memberships, and top of the line equipment and trainers makes us a beginners dream facility. We offer an extensive list of group fitness programs to help target any area of fitness that you feel you lack. Our staff wants to know you and looks forward to making your fitness journey a success. Each of our instructors takes time to learn new guests names and encourage each member in their class.
We also make Mindbody Connect available to anyone who wants to come to our classes. This app makes it easy to reserve your spot and view what classes we offer on any given day. We also offer affordable nutrition counseling, to help cut through the confusion and get you going on the right track. Come into Cardinal’s today and try a class for just $5!
Many people today have made their health a priority. They come to classes for good reason- to get in or stay in shape- but many lack a clear direction for a specific goal that they are trying to accomplish. There are several steps involved in accomplishing a goal, the first of which is choosing one.
"If you aim at nothing you'll hit it every time" - Zig Ziglar
Goals need to be specific. If your goal was to "lose some weight" how would you ever know when you had lost enough, or the quality of your weight loss? You could just decide to "lose weight" and starve yourself while staring at the scale until the number gets smaller, but a large portion of your weight loss would be muscle lost, which doesn't help you in the long term. A better goal to set would be to "lose 10 lbs of fat by July 2015." This goal is better in that it is specific. Not only are you clarifying the type of weight you want to lose, but you are also setting a deadline that is both reasonable and motivating.
Set Smaller Goals Along the Way
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
If your long-term goal is to lose 100 lbs it is better to focus on 10 lb increments than always thinking about the daunting triple-digit weight loss goal. These smaller goals help you keep your eye on the big prize, while letting yourself enjoy the small rewards that accumulate during the journey. Instead of being discouraged that you have 90lbs left, be encouraged that you lost 10! That is a milestone that is worth celebrating. This will also encourage you to slow down, you're just trying to lose 10 for now, best to take it slow and make sure its quality fat loss. According to research, slower is better. If you drop 10 lbs in a week you're much more likely to put it right back on the next week than if you lost it over the course of a month.
Focus on Learning
Those who forget the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them
There are so many who do whatever it takes to lose weight, and in their tenacity they forget that weight loss isn't the goal, fat loss initially and then weight maintenance are the two things that will matter in the long run. If you lose musle mass, your weight loss wont be as aesthetically pleasing, and will be harder to maintain. Plus, regaining that muscle after will make your process even more difficult! Fat loss is what you are after, not just weight loss.
Then there's what comes after the fat loss, weight maintenance. So many people know how to lose weight, but so few people are able to keep it off. Don't jump onto another fad diet or crazy exercise regimen! Before you decide to kill yourself with hours on the treadmill or multiple workouts a day or extremely low calories for quick weight loss, look at whether or not those actions will be maintainable. Learn from what you already know about yourself, if you know that you will be able to go hard for 2 months, but have a history of burning out, don't do that! Decide instead to set a reasonable and maintainable exercise level, say two or three times a week. That way you can create a habit and maintain it once you have reached your goal. Similarly,don't go and drastically cut down your calories! There are many diets today that advocate this for quick weight loss, and guess what, it works! For a month or so. Your body cannot operate on extremely low calories, and often times it will actually do the opposite of what you want. You will lower your calories so much and for so long that your body thinks you are starving it! So, as a survival mechanism, it will begin to store fat so that it wont starve. Set dietary goals that are maintainable, otherwise you will likely bounce back when you are reintroduced to your normal eating habits.
A HUGE part of reaching your goals is nutrition. If you want your results to last you must have some idea of what you should eat, and why. There is so much confusion on the internet and in print about what you should and shouldn't eat. One day milk is good, the next day it is bad, one day you should eat whole grains, the next you shouldn't ever eat wheat products. It is impossible to keep up, and very difficult even to begin to find trustworthy information. At Cardinal's we care about our clients, we want the goals you reach here to stick with you throughout your life. We now have a Registered Dietitian on staff, who is eager to help you not only reach your goals, but increase your understanding of what proper nutrition looks like, which will increase your possibilities of maintaining your success long-term.
|Interested in Nutrition Counseling?
Click here to contact our Registered Dietitian
Monica Garrett, M.S, R.D., L.D.