My workout partner[ Farel|http://www.farelhruska.com] and I are often amazed at how good of shape people are in at our gym. We are, after all, fitness professionals. You would think that people would be watching us. They’re not. So we were watching these two amazing women doing pull ups. Another woman came up and commented on the strength of the gals. We told her that we’ve set a goal this month inspired by them. “Oh yeah, how many pull ups are you going to do?” she asked. “Just one”, we answered. She laughed. It’s not that we set the bar low. We are just realistic. Right now, neither of us can even do one pull up. If we train to do one this month, then maybe next time we can do two. My point is not to be overwhelmed by any goal. Cut it into the smallest bite size piece and go for it!
Squeaky knees, stiff necks, aching backs or tender joints- we’ve all encountered bodily creaks as we head into our day. How much we should do while our bodies sound like a popular morning cereal, emitting a “snap, crackle, pop”?
A general rule of thumb is: if you find your mobility significantly decreased, or have pain that does not go away in 48 hours, you should see a health care provider for diagnosis and treatment (WebMd). At Stroller Strides, we also ask you to simply listen to your body. If your mind is telling you to slow down, or avoid movement, then listen to your gut and rest.
For run-of-the-mill aches or stiffness associated with motherhood and pregnancy, stretching exercises will help increase your flexibility and help you work out the kinks. Strength training will also help you build muscle, have stronger bones, and increase your functional fitness levels. The more you work at increasing flexibility, the less likely you are to have injury and stiffness in the long run.
One of the best stretches for aches is the pelvic tilt, as it decreases stress on the back and is the building block of good posture.
Do the pelvic tilt on your hands and knees, keeping your head in line with your back. Pull in your stomach and arch your back upward. Hold this position for several seconds. Then relax your stomach and back, keeping your back flat and not allowing your stomach to sag. I like to practice this stretch along with a long child’s pose for a total body stretch and relaxation period. To do child’s pose push your bottom back onto your heels with arms extended, forehead down and hold while you breathe deeply.
The next time you are stiff or sore, try these stretches to get your blood flowing, your body limber, and your kinks worked out.
Taking the time to write down exactly what you eat and drink everyday will allow you to get a better idea of why you may not be accomplishing your desired goals. Estimate calories wherever you can. Maybe you’re eating too much, or possibly not enough. Does your diary show multiply trips to Starbucks each day? Are you eating enough fruits and vegetables? A food diary will allow you to make an accurate analysis of your eating habits so that you can improve upon them, and then actually track your own progress.The food & exercise log that I use and recommend isFitBook- it is an excellent way to document everything you do, track your goals and see all of the things you've accomplished.
2) Sit down for at least 3 meals a day.
This means no eating at your desk, in your car, at the playground, or in front of the television. It also means that you don’t skip breakfast, lunch or dinner! Even more impressive is if you can sit down for two or three additional snacks as well, but that may be pushing it! If your focus is on your computer, watching your children, talking on the phone, watching television, etc., you aren’t truly aware of the calories that you’re consuming. Chances are that by not listening to your body, you won’t know when you feel full and should stop eating, and that is what leads to a quick extra 3,500 calories each week.
3) Cut out junk food and take-out for one week.
This might be really hard for some of us, and I understand the challenges. But for a single week, eat as clean of a diet as you can. Brown bag it to work, or pack a cooler each day with fresh fruits and vegetables, complex carbohydrates, and lean proteins. You may be tired at the end of the day, but for one week, resist the urge to order out. At the end of this week, review how you’re feeling overall.
My guess is going to be that if you incorporate fresh organic choices into your diet and cut out the junk (which is usually packed with excess calories and sodium), you’ll find that both your body and mind perform at an improved level. And if you like the results after one week, keep it going!
Whether you want to lose weight, gain weight, or you just want to establish healthier eating habits, these tips will help you move in the right direction. There are more tips at www.strollerstrides.com.
Calories, calories, calories. It is almost a bad word isn't it?
They seem to be everywhere and we are always hearing about them. We all know that we need to reduce our intake of calories to lose weight, but what exactly is a calorie? According to the dictionary, a calorie is the unit of heat equal to the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water by 10C at 1 atmosphere pressure.
Now, let’s discuss it in real-life terms. The first thing to understand is that every food and almost every liquid (except for water, tea, coffee, and some diet drinks) contains calories.
• One gram of fat contains approximately 8 calories
• One gram of carbohydrate and 1 gram of protein contain approximately 4 calories each.
• One pound of body fat contains approximately 3,500 calories.
3,500 calories seems like a lot, but over the course of one week (7 days), all you have to do is consume 500 extra calories a day and you’ll gain a pound.
On the flip side, if you reduce your caloric intake and/or work out, you can burn an extra 500 calories each day and lose a pound.
The first step to take in any weight loss, weight gain, or improved nutrition program is to become more aware of your own body and what you are putting into it every day.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever blindly shoved meals or snacks into your mouth during a brief break from work, taking care of your family, or keeping a home. This distracted eating leads to a distinct disconnect with our bodies, which is ironic because the food we eat is the fuel that allows us to keep moving and get everything done!
So how do you become more aware? Stay tuned for some real-life tips and check out the Stroller Strides website for more ideas on thoughtful eating.
In keeping with staying on track for New Year's Resolutions, I am telling you to document your year. Track your progress by writing down your workouts and your food intake. If you aren't getting the results you want, you can see that it might be because of the double soy lattes or the skipped Stroller Strides class. When it's in black and white, there's no denying it. Also, you are more likely to stay on track if you know it's going to be documented. I personally use the fitbook to track my days. I especially like it because it's compact, stylish and helps me track my mood. Please share your questions and success stories!
Ok, I know this sounds overwhelming if you are already having trouble getting a workout in. But here's my thought on this. Let's say you plan to workout on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On Monday, your baby is sick and you miss your Stroller Strides class. On Friday, you aren't feeling well and miss that workout. Now, you have just worked out on Wednesday. Yes, you could say "I'll just workout on other days to make up for it". But that doesn't really work. Let's face it. Our days are packed as moms from wake to sleep. You have playdates, your errands to run, work, etc. So consider this, PLAN to exercise every day. Literally put it in your appointment book and find a way to get it in on most if not all days. Some days may be lighter or shorter, but you are moving regularly. Then, when appointments come up, you won't have to feel bad that you only exercised one day this week.
SHARE! What's your strategy to get your workouts in?
I'm going to write a lot about making your New Year's Resolutions come true! I'm writing from my own personal quest. Last year I set a goal to get in the best shape of my life. Too vague! I should know better. I think in many ways that I did commit and make strides in my own personal fitness. I was far more consistent in exercising than I had been in previous years. BUT, I just got on the scale (something I do not normally do) and found myself almost 10 pounds heavier than the previous January. Uh oh! I'm the first one to know that body weight isn't worth it's weight. You don't know how much is fat and how much is lean body mass. But, somehow 10 pounds doesn't feel quite right. This year, I have a plan. I am going to get my body fat measured so I can know that I'm truly putting on muscle and not fat. To keep on track, I am scheduling all of my workouts on my calendar so that nothing can get in the way. And, I am using the FitBook to track my eating intake. For me, it's not so much about counting calories or fat, as it is making sure that I'm eating whole foods and getting in enough fruits, vegetables and water. What's your plan for the New Year?
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