Monday, January 28, 2013

Where To Start?

 I've had several people contact me in the last couple of weeks about how to start out.  Most people make New Year's Resolutions about becoming healthier without really knowing where to start.  This post will hopefully be a good guide for those of you who don't know where to begin or a good refresher for others.  These are just some tips that I've learned throughout my years.

First off, start small.  I think the problem a lot of people have is that they decide that today is the day I'm going to eat perfect and cut calories and workout for two hours and run five miles and so on.  That really is the quickest way to failure.  That is not sustainable for someone who wasn't already been doing some of those things.  If you are a parent, there are so many ways to be creative with working out when you involve a child.  Have dance parties in the living room.  Make games out of doing jumping jacks or sit ups.  If your child is of the counting age, they will love to help you count things like push ups or sit ups or whatever.  If you take your kids to the park, play on the equipment with them.  Do the monkey bars, play tag, etc.  Not only will it help you to be more active in a less-obvious way, but it will strengthen their relationship with you and teach them that being active can be fun. :)

Now, you may already be doing some of these things.  If so and you are ready for more, I highly suggest checking out  The workouts are killer but are usually only twelve minutes.  Anyone can spare 12 minutes.  Most of the exercises use only your body weight and the instructor shows how to modify for your level.  The nice thing about high intensity interval training (HIIT) is that you are doing YOUR best for that amount of time.  It is not about the reps, but about your effort.  You get as much out of it as you want.  Once you get the idea of how HIIT works, it is super easy to make up your own workouts.  It also shows just how easy it is to workout anywhere.  You have a spare minute at work, find a corner and do a minute of jumping jacks or squats.  It's not enough to make you too sweaty for work, but it's getting your heart rate up and is much better than nothing.  If you have ten separate minutes that you did something, you have ten minutes of working out logged in.  Studies have shown that doing more than one short workout in a day can actually burn more calories than doing one long one.  I mean think about it, if you are only working out for 10 minutes in the morning, you're going to push yourself harder because you realize that is a short amount of time.  Then you do another 10 minute workout in the evening and same thing.  You now have a 20 minute workout that was a higher effort than if you did all 20 minutes at once.  Make sense?

Next, there's nutrition.  Here's the part that I failed on for so many years.  Because I worked out so much, I thought I could eat whatever I wanted.  It doesn't really work that way.  Yeah, I can give in to my cravings every once in a while, but not every meal like I was.  I suggest eating 5-6 small meals a day.  Each meal should consist of a protein (chicken, fish, beans, nuts, seeds, etc.) and a complex carbohydrate (fruit, brown rice, oats, whole wheat pasta or bread, etc.)  Veggies are a free food.  Eat as many as you want/can.  The brighter the color of the veggie, the more nutrition it will pack.  Try to eat different colors of fruits and veggies through out the day.

Stay away from high fructose corn syrup!!!  Check your labels on bread, cereals, and any other pre-packaged food and try to stay away from this.  Your body doesn't know how to digest this and stores it as fat and it hasn't been around long enough to know of any long term effects on the body.  Why take the chance, right?  There are so many other ingredients that you should watch out for too, but this is a good start.

Take a multivitamin to help with any nutrition deficiencies you may have.  Dr. Oz has suggested cutting the vitamin in half and taking half in the morning and half at night.

Sleep!!!  Do everything you can to make sure you are getting a sufficient amount of sleep.  This is when your body heals and repairs itself from your busy day.

It is important to remember that you will not be perfect.  You will not always eat the way you should, or you'll miss workouts, or you won't get enough sleep on some night.  Don't stress about this and let it spiral you back to your starting point.  This is my biggest downfall.  Sometimes I'll cheat and have some food I've been craving and then I'll think, "Well, the day is already ruined, why not ruin it more?"  Then I'll feel too disgusted with myself to work out for a couple of days and it is a nasty, viscous cycle.  Forgive yourself for those times and realize that it is not about perfection.  My favorite analogy is "If you drop your cell phone, you don't stomp on it just because you already dropped it.  Why should eating be that way?"

I hope this helps!  If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask!  If there is something you want more information on, ask and I'll look it up.  I want to know what would help you out. I love helping with this kind of stuff!  Have a fantastic day!!!

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