With the new year comes new changes. New Living Fit was in great need of a major make-over both online and in how the program is run. After having been inactive for some time and partnering with other fitness professionals, I am relaunching the NLF brand starting with the logo. Please make sure you follow this sight to keep up with all updates on where classes and seminars will be held.
I am always the first person to preach the importance of quality of life. It’s one thing to work 16 hours days but when your health in compromised in exchange, is it worth it? I am also ashamed to admit I too have let other responsibilities get in the way of my workout schedule. It sounds crazy but if all fitness professional were honest, we all have had our moments of slipping from time to time. So there you have my full confession. From that confession, I have decided my mantra will be “My Quality of Life is Top Priority.
Think about it for a minute: If I am not healthy, I cannot function effectively for my family, my employer or myself. I have to get back to deciding that my workout schedule always comes first. Now of course, I cannot do what I did about 15 years ago which consisted of spending 3-4 hours in a the gym per day. I do miss those days, no lie. But what I can do is manage my time better to stay consistent. For me that means:
- Going to bed at a decent hour to maximize 8 hours of sleep (I feel good with 8 as 6 hours makes me feel fatigued all day long.)
- Starting my day with either cardio or yoga. My body responds better when I get an early morning workout by elevating my heart rate.
- Lifting weights in the evening because strength training is just as important as cardio.
- Taking the time during the workday to periodically get up from my desk to walk around the building or meditate. My employer is a little behind the times about offering meditation rooms, or yoga/spin/aerobic classes in the middle of day (I am still working on them.) We are not at Apple or Google company status but I believe with the resources we have, we can join the culture of having happier and more productive employees.
- Always making sure my meals are prepared the night before. The most important thing for me is not eating a lot of processed food. Of course, if I am running late, there are times I grab things on the go that may not be the healthiest of choices. The key for me is not to make it a habit.
That’s my list. What are some of the things you can do to make your quality of life top priority? Write it down and together we can do it.
I have to say with only 4 years in, “I still feel like a novice to this running game.” My first official race was the Army 10-Miler in 2014. Here are the top 6 things I have learned making each race more enjoyable as I cross every finish line.
- Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate! I cannot stress this enough. This process should start the week prior to a race. Your muscles will thank you for this at the end. Water will assist in less muscle cramping while running longer distances. I made the mistake of trying to drink all my water the day of during the race in 2014. This left me feeling bloated and full the entire time which slowed me down. Trust me, it was NOT a good feeling. I tend to lean more toward water consumption over performance drinks as the latter have too much sugar and sodium for me.
- You need to get to the race early but not necessarily to stand around waiting. The main issue is parking especially if Metro has decided to not open early. I find that I can go early enough to leisurely find a parking space. This will give me time to relax, stretch or just get my mind focused. It’s no fun going to a race in the early morning hours (especially in the fall or winter) only to have your muscles get cold. Can you say, “injury waiting to happen.”
- Early morning races as the sun is slowly rising means the temperature will be cold. You can wear something to stay warm and then toss it as you warm up. I am told most races donate that discarded clothing to homeless shelters. I like to apply this same idea to the end of race. I will call this 3.5. Each runner gets all kinds of goodies like snacks and water once you finished a run. The next time you get your goodie bag, give it to a homeless person as you are walking back to your car or metro.
- Waves are important but they really do not matter. Waves are the “groupings” the race coordinators put you in based on your projected finish time. Sometimes I think waves are formed based on how early you registered but I am not here to debate that process. I can confirm that every race I have been a part of has a person or two or 20 who all try move up close to the start line. Just be respectful as you are moving toward the front.
- Along the race, if you need to stop, move to the far right or left if you are not there already and put one arm up. This gives the runners right behind you notification to move over as you will be stopping or walking. The last thing any runner wants is to trip over you as you have stopped to walk or tie your shoe.
- Read the signs spectators have made. Strangers all along the way will be rooting for you. Laugh when you see one that is funny. Just have fun. It makes the race more enjoyable.
It is fundraiser time for all schools and other auxiliary organizations. If you are like me you have been bombarded with cute smiling faces asking you to buy a tin of cookies, some sort of cake or some other pile of sugar you cannot have sitting in your house. If it comes in my house, I say I will only eat one but by day 2 the whole tin is gone. (Confession: I am a sugar-holic.) So my dilemma is wanting to support the cute smiling face asking for support but really wanting to say “Go AWAY because that cake means me no good!” And then I read this Washington Post article with a new approach to raising funds by connecting schools with local farms. Local farmers brochures of what they have for sale from apples, vegetables, assortment of cheeses, coffee beans and so much more. I LOVE this idea. Why? Not only is this a partnership to support local farms to stay in business but a larger drive to keep people healthy with the foods we eat.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) released a report on the obesity rates in the United States. Obesity is billion dollar industry due to medical costs. Truly surprising. What if that money could go into food education and agriculture/farming on the front end rather than gastric by-pass surgeries, medication for diabetes and high blood pressure as it stands now. Just “food for thought.”
Indulge me while I take it one step further. The kids of Alexander Wilson Elementary in North Carolina were challenged by their principal to read 1 million minutes. If they did it, he would sleep on the roof of the school for one night. They exceeded that challenge. We can apply this same concept to a health challenge that involves the entire family. You would donate money to a school fundraiser for every mile a kid rode their bike, jogged or how many minutes a child jumped rope. For each goal reached, a parent, guardian or teacher/administrator would have to match it by doing the same activity or something actively comparable. The possibilities are limitless. I am getting excited just thinking about this idea.
So the next time a cute smiling face of an adorable kids comes up to you asking you to buy a cake or cookie dough, first try to find the healthiest option in the brochure. If there isn’t one, join the revolution to challenge the school/organization to try something different.
The internet went crazy after Kanye West debuted his new video, Fade, at this year’s Video Music Awards this past Sunday. Before you click away because you think this article is about Kanye, think again. No one was talking about Kanye’s song at all, like I cannot even remember the tune of the song or what is was about. The video featured Teyana Taylor in a gym dancing to the song. Just her. Dancing.
My timelines went bananas over her extremely toned body. She looked great. Many of my online friends posted how they were going to starve, detox, eat only fruits and vegetables, drink their meals (juicing or protein shakes), etc. This is not the time for me to get into what methods are best for weight loss in a healthy way. That’s another article. It is also not about trying to fit into one standard mode of health and fitness. That’s definitely another article. What’s amazing is how many people started to look at wanting to make a change in themselves.
But here is the my epiphany: my friends, family and online connects are already trending in this health and wellness game. Think about it for a minute. How many of you post on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Periscope, some form of physical activity you are doing, just completed or will go to? How many times do you post, sharing with the world, your weight loss journey, successes and challenges? How many times do you post your excitement about eating something good for your body? I am going to make an assumption you at least do one wellness post per week. Some of us post more than others. Guess what?: You are trending. You too are motivating someone who wants to get healthy! Your strength and determination to keep at this lifestyle of good nutrition and fitness is AMAZING. You may not be on the cover of Runner’s World, Shape or Oxygen magazines but you are the main focus in the storyline of Happy and Healthy, Featuring _(Fill In Your Name Here)_.
Keep up the great work!
Disclaimer: I am completely addicted to how many calories I burn a day and what my exercise heart rate is during activity.
I did a Google search on methods to track exercise. There are over 50,000 items. You can track online, using a device (Fitbits, Garmins, etc.), apps on your phone, accountability partners, good old pen and paper or any combinations thereof. The beauty of it all: you can track any way you want. You and only you knows what works for you. We all respond differently to certain foods in all their variations, the same is true in how we monitor what we are doing.
Never let a trainer tell you there is only one way to achieve your goals. There are no quick fixes so never believe the hype of gimmicks claiming you will lose 5 pounds in 1 day (safely).
The main goal is work hard, try to fall in love or like with what you are doing and then relax. You will reach your goals. I promise you!