In my last post I talked about how nutrition is so important in weight loss. Even if you aren't trying to lose weight, nutrition is so important! Over the course of the past 6 years or so I have lost 25 pounds. I changed the way I eat and feel so much better, not just because of the weight I lost but because eating cleaner gives me more energy, helps me sleep better and reduces my chronic acid reflux. Of course everyone is different but I can guarantee you will notice at least a slight difference if you are eating better.
I eat every few hours. Seriously. If I don't, I get hungry (hunger = anger) and no one wants to be around that. My meals and snacks are on the smaller side usually because my acid reflux doesn't like large quantities of food at once and portion control is a good thing. So I eat breakfast, a morning snack sometimes, lunch, an afternoon snack and dinner. I've started posting pics on Instagram (you can follow me - I'm jill2377) of my snacks because I've been trying to mix it up a bit. I try to have protein, healthy carb and healthy fat in every meal and snack. I also make sure my food is real. I try to stay away from processed foods or chemical laden foods (my version of "clean" eating).
The snack pictured above is banana (healthy carb), protein (almond butter) and chocolate (not as healthy fat). Just assemble and freeze. I swear it can fix any ice cream craving I have. You can also blend a frozen banana with some cocoa powder and almond butter to have a healthier ice cream.
Another recent snack - Wheat Thins (healthy carb), Brie Cheese (Protein & Fat), with a dried cranberry and drizzle of honey (somewhat healthy carb and sugar). Yesterday I had cherries and a plum (healthy carb) mixed in with some cottage cheese (protein & fat). Hummus and veggies are always a good choice too.
I like to say I stick to 80% clean and healthy eats and 20% is not so much. Some days it is more like 70/30 and some days it is more like 90/10. Everyone is different but this works for me.
The Fat Spot Reduction Myth
If I had a dollar for each person who told me they just needed to learn some moves to get rid of "this" as they point to whatever area bothers them the most, I would have a lot of dollars. It's a common misconception that you can just work one area of your body and lose weight in that one specific area. I've seen countless people who want to lose inches from their middle come into the gym, do some reps on some ab machines, then leave without doing anything else or changing their unhealthy eating habits then wonder why they aren't losing that belly fat.
The human body is only capable of losing fat from the entire body as a whole.
No one specific exercise or piece of equipment or number of reps will allow you to burn fat from the exact spot you want to burn it from.
Working with clients I often hear about aches and pains. I shouldn't just say often, I should say pretty much everyone has a sore knee or an aching back or a bum shoulder...something. I know the feeling, if I run too much during the week, my knees are a bit achy. Some of it is natural soreness after a good workout (You don't have to be sore to have a good workout - you might - but you don't have to. That's another blog topic!) but it also might be an injury due to overuse.
The first step is to identify if it is soreness or if it is a true injury (which will include pain rather than soreness). One way to treat both ailments is rest. Help to prevent both by resting your muscles adequately and work them in different ways throughout the week. This is why many people who weight train split their workouts by working different body parts on different days like Monday work Chest and Triceps and Tuesday work Back and Biceps. Or if you are a runner, make sure you don't run all 7 days of the week. Make sure you have at least one true rest day in there and do some cross training, do another type of workout in between running days.
When you work your muscles with any kind of resistance, they are actually tearing. When they repair themselves after your workout, that is when they are becoming stronger! If you don't give them a rest for 48 hours after a tough workout, they might not repair all the way and you'll just keep tearing them without letting them get stronger. This might be why you aren't seeing the results you want and might cause an injury.
Make sure you warm up properly before your workout, don't weight train the same muscle groups on back to back days and give your muscles adequate rest time.
Staying Active on Vacation
We took a short trip to Lake Michigan in my beautiful home state of Michigan this past weekend. We love to travel and always stay active while away. When I had an office job, I was always excited to have my days open to exercise. Even though my days are much more flexible now as a trainer, we still make it a point to work out on our trips. One big reason is because we rarely eat out when at home so eating out while on vacation tends to result in eating more then usual and eating lots of treats. (Anyone had Sherman's Ice Cream in South Haven, MI? Holy Moly, it is AMAZING! I may have eaten it everyday last weekend!!) We do bring healthy options for snacks and some light meals along with us but that is a whole other blog post topic!
Our workouts don't always look the same as they do at home when we are traveling. This trip I brought along some resistance bands and did some quick circuits with bicep curls, shoulder presses, tricep dips, push ups and rows. Of course I also added some squats and planks in there. We walked on the beach everyday and ran a few times. Plus there is a great trail from South Haven to Kalamazoo, the Kal-Haven trail, where we rode our bikes. We were able to enjoy the outdoors, spend time together, see more of the area and balance out some of that ice cream.
On your next trip, find ways to work some exercise in to your time. Many cities have walking tours or running tours. Some hotels have bikes you can use to bike around the area. If you are going to the beach, bring lots of options like a frisbee, volleyball or a football to keep moving. Of course there is swimming too. You'll feel better and reduce stress by working out....isn't that the point of a vacation?
Take Care of Yourself
One of the biggest reasons people give for not exercising is that they are too busy. Fitness is an important part of taking care of yourself and research demonstates it improves both physical and mental health. So why wouldn't it be a priority? For some, it might be that other people come first and they don't take any time for themselves. They might even say it is selfish to take that time away from their kids, their family, their work, their studies...whatever it may be. It is never selfish to take care of yourself! How can you care for others if you are not healthy and happy? And that is why is so important to take care of yourself. You must honor yourself, your needs, dreams and health, because only by doing so, will you will be able to do the same for those you love. Not to mention, you will be setting a great example of health for those around you.