Category Archives: Stress

4th of July tips for staying on track!

fourthbbqIt’s the 4th of July! That usually means BBQ’s, boating, burgers, friends, hot dogs, and swimsuits.  Did I mention food?  This holiday makes me think of a few things. Besides sunburn and sunscreen (in that order…) It also brings up thoughts of friends, boating, hot dogs & burgers on the grill, watermelon, chips, and beers or cocktails.  A lot of those things can be a big hindrance to your fitness or weight loss goals, especially the friends… 😉   But here are a few tips that I hope will help you stay on track, and still have all the fun!

Tip #1  Workout in the AM

If you have big plans for the afternoon, like a BBQ or going to the lake, and getting together with those troublesome friends, then get your workout done in the morning.  You and I both know that if you leave it until after that BBQ or boating trip it will never get done.  Get up, get moving, and keep your fitness goals on track.

Tip #2  Drink your H2O

Drinking water will be a big one today. Drink a few glasses this morning before you venture out for the day.  Water will not only keep you hydrated while you are out in the sun (I really hope it gets sunny…) and having a few drinks, but it will also help to keep you feeling more full so you don’t overeat when you get to the line with those chips and burgers.

Tip #3 Moderation

Moderation is the key to success in my opinion. You can have a beer or cocktail of your choosing. You can have some of those chips and dip. You can eat a hot dog, and you can even have it in a bun. You can even have all of those things the same meal! I know, that’s crazy talk!  But seriously, you can have some of them… don’t eat four hot dogs, a whole plate of chips and dip, and wash it down with 8 beers. Would you like to know how many calories that is?  Good, that is 2186 calories…. and yes, I went with the light beers.  That is a whole day’s worth of calories for most people.   So don’t shy away from the BBQ foods you love, but be mindful and don’t overeat them if you aren’t hungry.

Tip #4  Have fun

There are a lot of things you can stress over if you have fitness goals, but stressing won’t help you.  Fun fact, stress actually makes your body put on body fat…  So don’t stress about “oh I can’t eat that” or “no, I can’t come to the BBQ. It’ll ruin my diet”  You can still go, enjoy a few “fun foods”  in moderation and it won’t set you back.  Just be mindful of what you are eating and drinking.

 

There you have it, none of these tips are mind-blowing or brand new things you haven’t heard before. BUT, if you go in being aware of what your priorities are (fitness goals vs. food goals)  then you can have a great day, and still not set yourself back for a week in the gym.  Now, go enjoy your freedom!

 

Happy Independence Day!

Z

Make Sure It’s Only That Sweater That Doesn’t Look Good This Holiday Season.

ugly-sweater-guySo you’ve got an ugly sweater party to go to…or maybe your family just has terrible taste in holiday clothes… Either way, this little jump-start will help you get noticed for more than just that ugly sweater.  By the time you put on that ugly *** sweater you’ll be feeling like this guy on the left. #winning.  And, you better figure out an answer to the questions “What have you been doing?” “How did you get in such great shape?”  “What is your secret?”  because you’ll be getting them a lot at the party.

 

So this is how you do it…(I hope you sang that too)

STEP #1 CREATE A PLAN

I think I’ve said this before, but if you don’t have a plan then you are planning to fail.  So figure out a plan that will work for you.  Determine when you will work out, and put it in your calendar. For example, say you’re going to hit the gym  at 5pm Monday through Friday, write that in your calendar or put it in your phone. Done, I should see you at the weight rack by 5:05.  Obviously you’ll be using weights and getting stronger  to reach your goals. if you’ve been a cardio queen/king in the past, then I suggest you go read some of my previous posts, like this one and this one

STEP #2 DIAL IN YOUR NUTRITION

You can’t outwork a bad diet.  If you go to the gym every day of the week for 2 hours and bust your butt, and then stop at the fast food joint on your way home to drink a six pack…you’re probably going to get fatter, not in better shape.  Figuring out how many calories you need to eat will help you tremendously in reaching your goals. There are a few apps that are great for this. MyFitnessPal and FatSecret are two that I suggest to people. You could also ask your trainer, he should know or be able to figure it out for you.  I know a guy that is pretty good at this kind of thing, you can check him out here.  The number of calories isn’t your only focus with nutrition, though.  You can lose weight by eating Twinkies and pizza. But, you can’t eat very much and you’ll look like garbage even if you lose weight.  Eating whole, nutritious foods will not only give you better nutrients and keep you healthy while working towards your goals, it will also keep you fuller for a longer time.  Foods that are nutrient dense (chicken, fish, veggies, fruits, greens) take longer for your body to digest, causing a gradual release of energy to your body.  This gradual release keeps you fuller for a longer time (so you eat less) and also helps in the prevention of fat storage from excess energy being in the blood stream.  So eat lean meats, fruits, and veggies, with some complex carbs mixed in.  If you’ve got questions on what to eat let me know, I’d love to help!

STEP #3 FIND A BUFF BUDDY

 buff-buddy-the-elf (This is Buddy The Elf, He loves everything Christmas)

This is a short one. Having a buddy that you meet at the gym and talk about your goals with will help to keep you on track. And, hopefully keep you from diving into that ice cream at night when you are sitting on your behind.  Friends keep friends accountable, don’t let your partner slip up, and they’ll do the same for you.  Become Buff Buddies and be the people at the party that everyone is talking about.

If you are struggling to find a buddy, maybe a Personal Trainer is a direction you should look.  Not only will they keep you accountable, but they also have a whole bunch of advice and ideas they can share with you that will help you reach those goals much faster than on your own.

STEP #4 SLEEP

Go to bed already!  Sleep is one of the most important aspects of being healthy.  When you are tired your body doesn’t function up to It’s potential.  One of the biggest factors in being tired is decision-making. When you are tired you don’t choose the right foods, I know because it happens to me too. And because the science says so.  Sleep allows your brain to “recover” from the day, along with allowing your body to recover from those intense bouts at the gym.  The less sleep you get, the more stressed you become.  Being stressed raises your cortisol levels, and cortisol is known to increase your appetite. Being hungry even after you’ve eaten your daily calories causes you to overeat for the day. Which is how you gain weight. You don’t want that before the big party. So go get your rest.

 

You’re not going to like this one…but I think it’s something that more people struggle with than they think…

STEP #5 CUT BACK ON THE BOOZE

I’m not saying you have to stop drinking all together. I enjoy a beer here and there with my buffalo wings, or when hanging out with some friends. But, you have to realize that booze has calories. Empty calories, actually.  That means you get basically nothing beneficial from them.  All they are doing is adding to your calorie total for the day. They don’t help you repair damaged muscles or get the proper nutrients for a healthy body. They only add calories to your diet. Along the same lines is water, except you need to drink more water, not less. You should be drinking much more water than any other drink throughout the day.  Not only does your body need water to survive, but it can also be used as a tool to help prevent overeating at meal time.  Drinking a glass of water before you eat will help to fill up your stomach a little more than normal. When your stomach is full it sends chemicals to your brain that tell it to stop the hunger signals it’s been giving.  Reducing appetite will help you not eat as much, in turn lowering your daily calories.  Bottom line: drink less booze and drink more water. I try to shoot for 100 Oz or more per day. Sometimes I get more, sometimes less, but it’s a good place to be for me. I would suggest trying to get about 60 Oz minimum per day.

 

There it is.  That’s how you get HOT FOR THE HOLIDAYS!  But seriously, these strategies will help you jump-start your fitness goals no matter what time of year it is. All you have to do is start, and stick with it.  Good luck and as always if you’d like any guidance feel free to contact me here.

Go make people forget about that hideous sweater you’ll be sporting!

north-swole

 

Z

 

 

Haha, I couldn’t resist adding this in there!

That might be a good gym name…

Movement is Medicine.

deer-standAs I was sitting in my tree stand this past weekend waiting very patiently, and sitting very still, with hopes that Bambi’s dad would stroll by my tree I noticed something.  No, it wasn’t a deer, or a squirrel. It was how uncomfortable I felt sitting still, in the same position, for a long time.  All my previous sports injuries, bad posture, and aches and pains, seemed to all agree on the same thing. Me sitting in the same position for hours at a time, is a bad thing.  I don’t know how people can manage at a desk job, and sit there for 8 hours (or more!) of your day without much movement.  I would not be able to handle it.  But guess what happened when I got out of the stand and starting walking back to my car… My aches and pains started to disappear!  That’s the point of this post, I have noticed throughout my life that I am more comfortable and in less pain when I have been moving all day long vs being super uncomfortable and sore when I sit for long periods of time.  Now, I may be more tired from moving and being active all day long, but my body feels way better, and I sleep better too!

desk-job So I decided I would give you some info on how so much sitting is causing you more pain, and most likely causing a rise in your health issues. As well as some ways to counteract all this inactivity!

According to the Mayo Clinic (they seem pretty smart, don’t they?) there has been a correlation between sitting for long periods of time and a number of health issues.  Some of these health issues are:

-Increased Obesity, gaining unwanted weight is never a good thing for your health. Plus, it doesn’t help you fit into the beach outfit either…

-Increased blood pressure.  I’m guessing many of you know the risks involved here, because I know a lot of people who have this issue… If you don’t know, call me and we can discuss them.

-High blood sugar, which leads to extra fat stored around the waist (abdominal fat is said to have to most negative health effects to a person), and abnormal cholesterol levels.

-An increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease… seriously, sitting can kill you….

All of these things increase your risk of dying at an earlier age, if you do not make an effort to take care of them.  BUT, I HAVE GOOD NEWS!!!!!  You can fix all of these things, and it isn’t even by going to the gym for 8 hours every day! (Although, I wouldn’t mind hanging out with you if you did…)  There are simple ways you can counteract the negative effects of sitting for long periods of time.  Here are a few ideas:

-Get a standing desk.  While you’re at work you probably can’t stand all day, I’m sure there are meetings and other things that you have to sit through. But, if you have a standing desk you can still get things accomplished, like emails, phone calls, etc.  You’ll just be standing while you do it instead of sitting.

-Do a walking lunch!  Prepare food that you can eat while you walk. This way you’ll be getting a little exercise while nourishing your body with good, healthy foods…not potatoe chips and a fast food burger…

-Find a lunch workout group!  If you can sneak away for a lunch workout not only will you get your activity levels up, you’ll also be more productive when you do go back to work!  I happen to know a guy who runs a noon workout group… if you’re interested here is the info!

-If you do have a meeting, try a walking/talking meeting. Walk laps around the building while you discuss the big idea you just came up with.  You can call them Walkie-Talkies! haha

-Maybe a walking desk, these have treadmills underneath so you can walk while you are at your desk getting things accomplished.

-Maybe it’s just setting an alarm to get up and move around every 30 min to an hour and take a stroll around the office.

It doesn’t have to be crazy intense to get the benefits, a little movement can go a long way. But, the same goes for inactivity. The more inactive you are, the more those negative health effects will creep up on you and cause you more problems.

walkingThe benefits of movement are amazing.  They can be anywhere from losing weight and building an amazing physique, to just adding 10 years onto your life.  Don’t waste and shorten your life by sitting on the couch.  Be active and be healthy.  Now get off your butt and MOVE!

 

As always, if you’ve got questions let me know! I’m here to help in any way I can!

Go enjoy this beautiful sunshine!

Z

Your life is making you fat.

Your house is dirty, your boss got on your case about all the work that’s piling up, and your kids keep nagging you to help with homework while you are washing THEIR clothes…  what do you do?  Turn to ice cream. Order pizza.  Go eat a cheeseburger.  Get fat, that’s the real answer.  All this stress can lead to a rise in Cortisol levels, and in turn cause you to gain unwanted weight.

First of all let’s go through what Cortisol is.  Cortisol is a hormone that is produced in your body when you are stressed (there are others also produced, such as adrenaline, but they have much different effects).  Cortisol’s job is to replenish your body after elevated stress levels, or in easy terms it increases your appetite.  Back in the caveman days this would be a good thing.  It would cause you to take in more nutrients after you had to escape from that saber tooth tiger or after hunting that woolly mammoth.  But, in today’s society the stresses are much different.  Instead of running from dangerous animals (unless that gorilla gets out of the zoo), stress usually comes from emotional or mental areas of life.  For example, you have too much to do at work and the deadline in encroaching on you much faster than you’d like, or you have too much to do around the house and only two arms to do it with. Something along those lines is where most of your stress comes from in today’s world.  The problem with that is these stresses are most likely not causing you to burn too many calories, like the cavemen were.

So what does this mean?  Well, Cortisol can stick around in your system for a long time, and if you are always “stressing” about something then guess what… yep, that Cortisol never leaves your system because you are always producing more.  So, because Cortisol increases your appetite that means if you never get rid of that hormone you will always be hungry, and in turn will be overeating.  Eating more calories than you burn means you will gain weight.  If you are eating more calories than you need, every day, every week… think about that… you could be eating yourself to obesity because you are worried about getting things done.  Seems crazy to think you could be shortening your life because you are worrying about doing that laundry…

Not only does that mean you are probably eating more quantity of foods, but because you are stressed you are more than likely going to reach for those comfort foods instead of celery.  I’m sad, where is the ice cream?  I am so worked up from my job that I don’t want to cook, I’ll just order a pizza.  Do you see where this is headed?  It’s all one big downward spiral.  Get stressed and you reach for the unhealthy options, and in turn eat more of those higher calorie foods because your stress hormones keep telling you that you are hungry… one big circle that seems tough to break.  I’m not saying a cheat meal or a cheeseburger once in a while is all bad, but if you let it those cheat meals will start happening daily, and you don’t want that.

But don’t worry, I’ll let you in on a little secret… That work is always going to be there, get it done and your boss will have more for you.  You will always have laundry that needs to get done, unless you live in a nudist colony, then I guess you can just go to the beach? Don’t forget the sunscreen…ouch.  But in all seriousness, there is always going to be something in life that needs to get done.  I’m hoping you can replace some of those things once in a while with a little bit of self-preservation time. Time to get your mind right and do what’s best for yourself.

So now that you are even more stressed because I just told you how stressed you are, I’m going to give you a few things that I enjoy doing to help relieve my stress levels.

#1- I bet you can guess this one, I go to the gym.  Not only does exercise have amazing health benefits but it has also been shown to decrease stress, increase those “happy chemicals” and decrease symptoms of depression.

#2- I go outside.  I enjoy hearing the sounds of nature and breathing in fresh air.  Being by the water, or out in the woods gives me a sense of calmness and has a rejuvenating effect on me that is sometimes hard to describe.  It just helps me let things go that were bothering me.  Even if it is just a walk down the sidewalk, seeing trees and animals helps. I just feel better.

#3- Hugs.  Yep, you read that right.  And no, My wife didn’t write this. Giving/Getting a hug can help relax you and (for me anyway) make you feel like you are not in this fight alone.  Added bonus, hugs actually help to lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of getting heart disease!

#4- Pets.  I don’t think I have to say much about this one, pets seem to know how to always make you a little bit happier 🙂

Those are a few of my go to things for when I am feeling stressed.  I don’t know if this has/will help you at all… I just hope you can smile a little today and not worry so much about all those things that stress you out.

If you need help with that #1 tip, or heck with any of the tips, I’m your guy.

Stay Healthy,

Zach