Archive for August, 2011

If you want to be truly successful in how you achieve your goals, then you need to harbor the right habits and attitudes that will keep you on track. There are a number of good traits you have to keep for life to discover that more opportunities and good things are bound to happen, if only you allow them to.  Here are some of the features that great people tend to have.  Industrious work always pays off. There is no single famous individual person in history who achieved several goals in life without working for it.  Being industrious means working harder than anyone else, studying more than anyone else and even suffering more than anyone else. You have to understand the importance of delayed gratification as you work towards your ultimate goal. To begin hard work, you can begin by fixing your schedule, writing down tasks and functions of the day and finding the right people and resources that can assist you. Keep in mind that you have to be as independent as possible to finish more in the long term. Incorporating the following traits into your day will help you achieve and reach your goals:

Discipline and Consistency
Discipline is what separates the leaders from the followers. If you truly want to make changes in your life, you have to do things even if you do not want to at times, and maintain excellent quality and optimum performance each time. Being consistent is intertwined with patience, wherein you continue performing well, regardless of the situations and hindrances, to render the results you want in the end. Discipline and consistency are also interrelated, in the sense that discipline breeds consistency. If you continue practicing good habits and sticking to the functions that lead to your main goal, you will find it easier to do over time. You will change as an entire person and experience the opportunities that come with being dedicated.

Resilience
Problems are a part of every person’s life, but it is the resilient person who always prevails and achieves their goals. You need to learn from your past mistakes and convert these into more productive actions the next time. Learn to pick yourself up after each fall and put in double effort to become better. Some of the most successful people, as well as those who truly left a mark in history are known to have faced big difficulties and resentment before they let others understand their own way of doing things.

Optimism
You need to stay positive about your situation, regardless of the problems that you face. It is vital that you stay optimistic and always believe that you will get to your goal, no matter what. If you tell yourself that you will reach it sooner, chances are you will. It might help to believe in the powers of the Universal Law of Attraction which draws opportunities toward you just the way you intend to, and in the right intensity as you desired.

Patience
Some goals are very big and will take time to accomplish. Do not allow yourself to think that some goals are just too huge to be possible. Be specific and set goals that are attainable to your current situation and start working to achieve these. You can break it down into smaller tasks that are much easier to do within the given time frame that you have.

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Skinny-Fat! click

I wanted to share this article from Mark’s Daily Apple.  Check it out.  Click the link above.  Sometimes you cannot judge a book by its cover.  Just because someone may appear to be skinny on the outside, doesn’t necessarily mean they are.  I see alot of people go on these extreme crash diets.  Yes, they lose weight on the scale.  Some of this weight loss is fat but a good portion is also muscle.  Then, they tend to have that little bulge in the middle.  What’s happening here?  Well, the lack of quality nutrition is putting harmful stress on the body.  The body is an amazing machine.  It begins to protect itself and stores belly fat to ensure safety to the vital organs.  With the increased muscle loss from the under consumption of calories and/or too much exercise, the body’s metabolism begins to slow.  In turn, eat less and workout more.  And, as we all know, the body will not survive this way.  At some point, the diet will fail and the gorging will set in.  In other cases, certain diseases and conditions will begin to take place.  So, what should you do? For one, eat when you are hungry.  Consume balanced, whole, all-natural meals with lean proteins, limited grains, large amounts of fruits and veggies with some healthy fats.   Incorporate daily exercise with an active lifestyle.  Get adequate sleep. Enjoy life and be happy!!

As a trainer one of the biggest mistakes I see people make is underestimating the importance of nutrition’s role in shaping a healthy physique.

 “80 percent of what our body ultimately looks like is based on nutrition, while the other 20 percent comes from working out.”

 The old adage “You are what you eat” is absolutely true.  A number of studies have shown that food has a direct impact on our mood and energy levels.  Think about it.   Have you ever been cranky due to the fact that you have missed a meal or had a bad lunch?  Have you ever felt sluggish or lethargic after having a burger or fries or pizza?  Food has both a short term and long term result on our well-being.  In the short term it feeds our hunger and provides energy.  In the long-term, it dictates what our bodies will look like, helps determine our mental state, and impacts our stamina levels.

 The Take Away

• Bad food equals POOR performance and results

• Good food equals GREAT performance and results

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 5 years, you should have some idea that fish oil provides many health benefits.  These healthy fats reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis, several cancers, and the ability to elevate mood and boost brain function.  But, new research has uncovered a whole range of physical benefits as well.  A few are enhancing muscle growth, shedding body fat and even improving athletic performance.

Fish oil’s major components are essential fats known as Omega-3’s.  Essential means that the body cannot produce them on its own and must get them from nutrition. There are a couple of different types of Omega-3’s.  We won’t get into discussing those.  But, we would like to explain how beneficial Omega-3’s are in trimming body fat.  A recent study from National Taiwan University found that the omega’s from fish oil turn on genes that govern fat burning while turning off those that lead to fat storage.  In addition, the healthy fats aided in glucose uptake and glucose storage by the muscles.  If more glucose (energy) gets used by the body, less insulin is released to counter it and less glucose is left over to be stored as fat. In turn, less body fat, preservation of cardiovascular health and less risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Another study we found in the British Journal of Nutrition, reported that taking fish oil supplements increased lean muscle mass.  The study found the healthy fats reduced cortisol levels (stress hormone).  High levels of cortisol in the blood can cause muscle breakdown.  Thus, less cortisol, increased muscle protein synthesis (building muscle) which leads to a greater percentage of lean muscle mass. The findings also showed that fish oils increased lung function and capacity.  The better the lungs work and they more air they can take in, the greater the oxygen deliver to the muscles.  This allows for better endurance and recovery between working sets leading to better results in the gym.  So if you are looking for a lean, trim, sexy looking body with less risk of cardiovascular disease, start incorporating more fish into your diet or using supplementation.  With the typical American diet and all the processed foods, chances are you are not getting enough each day.  There is no optimum amount that has been determined but you should shoot for about 2-3 grams a couple of times a day.  If you’re a big fish eater, then choose a few 4 oz servings weekly.

Pedometers are the best kept secret to making exercising easier, improving your health and having fun in the process. Walking is one of the simplest, most cost-effective, and enjoyable forms of activity. Clipping on a pedometer helps to take out all of the guess work and lets you see your accomplishments before your eyes. How long will it be before you begin to see results? The answer: almost immediately! You will first notice a difference in your energy followed by improvements in your fitness level, performance, fat loss and muscular endurance.

A pedometer gives you specific feedback on your progress and inspires you to go a little longer or make better time in the same distance. Glancing down at your pedometer is assurance that you are doing your body a world of good. When clipped onto your belt, the pedometer (which is smaller than a pager) can be just the inspiration you need to get you moving from sedentary to fabulously fit. Put it on when you get out of bed in the morning to see how many steps you take all day. Gradually build your way up to a goal of 10,000 steps a day which is predicted to be the amount necessary for heart health. Do periodic step checks throughout the day to make sure you are achieving your goal. This way you will not be left with a majority of the steps to do at night. You can set goals to increase your steps by 5 percent increments every day until you reach 10,000. Don’t worry if it takes you a month or a year or more.

Start slowly and incorporate some of the following tips for using a pedometer to build up to 10,000 steps a day:

Any time you are waiting, get moving. For example, take a walk while waiting to pick the kids up from practice, waiting for your car to be serviced at the carwash or waiting for a plane.

Make it a family affair. Share quality time taking an evening walk rather than sitting at the table eating seconds or lying on the couch. Push the baby in a stroller or walk alongside the kids on their bikes.

Keep a journal. Note your total miles each day. Record how you felt after exercising as well as your goals for the next day. Some sophisticated pedometers can download all of your data.

Have rewards ready. For example, when you reach 5,000 steps, buy a new Dvd on your Ipod to listen to while you walk. When you reach 7,500 steps, treat yourself to a massage.

Park your car at the end of the lot or in the next lot over when going shopping or to dinner.

Take the scenic route by foot to your office or when traveling about during the work day.

Use the stairs instead of the elevator.

On long drives, stop every hour and walk around for 15 minutes.

Meet friends for a walk rather than lunch.

Make walking fun by dancing to your favorite music.

Use the push mower instead of the riding mower.

Join a walking club.

Sign up for a race and walk it with a friend.

There are enjoyable places to walk everywhere you look including golf courses, parks, rail trails, city streets, beaches, college campuses and so on. All you need to get started are some supportive sneakers, loose fitting clothing, a bottle of water and your pedometer. Although a little pricey, the Gruve by MuveInc is a great pedometer. Your purchase comes with the device, downloadable software for caloric tracking, biometric information, and goal setting targets. There are other ones out there as well that are more reasonably priced. But, The Gruve holds you accountable because you have to plug the device in daily to log. Here’s the link

http://www.muveinc.com/gruve.asp

1. Get quality sleep

As you’ve heard it said many times before, it is important for an adult to get quality sleep between 7-9 hours a night. Structure your day so that you will be able to wind down prior to your bedtime and have that quality sleep your body needs and deserves. Stick with the same sleep schedule day to day.  The earlier you have to get up, the earlier you need to go to bed. It’s a great way to rest from the stress of the previous day, and re-energize for the upcoming day.

2. Surround yourself with people that encourage you

As typical human beings we tend to be very hard on ourselves. We are our toughest critics. The last thing we need to is spend time with people that are critical toward us. It erodes at your self esteem, and is unhealthy. Spend time with people that see you and value you for who you are. They end up becoming “wind beneath your wings,” and truly making you feel as though you can accomplish anything.

3. Exercise regularly

Exercise raises your serotonin levels (the “happy” hormones). It gives you confidence when you overcome physical challenges. It also gives you a sense of accomplishment and it’s a way of telling yourself, “I value you.” Exercising sends you a message that you are worth taking the time out for yourself to make your body and mind healthier and stronger.

4. Eat a clean, healthy diet

Eating a clean, healthy diet is another way of sending the message to yourself that you value yourself enough to feed your body only the best. Avoid processed foods. Focus on foods that are fresh, like vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins. Remember to avoid the salt and sugar. A healthy diet keeps your hormones in balance, and makes for a healthier, happier, more confident YOU!

5. Finish what you start

Something motivated you to start that certain project, whether it’s the demand of the boss at work, or the need to finish a task around the house. It could also be an exercise program. Once you find the motivation to start something, realize there will be obstacles that may get in your way. Each time you overcome that obstacle, you develop a deeper sense of accomplishment, which fuels your self esteem. It is a great feeling to start something, and it’s an incredible feeling to finish it. Cross your finish line!

6. Eliminate “can’t” and “but” from your vocabulary

Those obstacles that get in your way when working toward a goal, typically come from a lot of self statements that begin with “can’t” and “but.” Take a day to just catch yourself, and note how many times you use those two self defeating words. The next day, turn those two words into “can,” and completely eliminate “but” from your vocabulary. No excuses… you CAN do anything you truly set your mind to! As you accomplish those goals that you CAN accomplish, your self esteem will sky rocket.

 7. Focus on your personal gifts

All of us were created with unique gifts. We ALL have something we are really good at. Get in touch with your gift, and focus on that in your day to day living. Sometimes we get caught up in comparing ourselves to others, and if they happen to be better at us at something it erodes our self esteem. You are your own unique you. Find what makes you special and zone in on that. As you focus in on what you are naturally good at, again, your self esteem will sky rocket! You will feel happier and more productive in your life!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer thus far. The heat has been relentless. I believe more rain than we have ever had here in the Midwest. I wanted to start the week off with an article I found on a blog I subscribe to.  From Charles Poliquin, one of the most renowned strength and conditioning specialists in the fitness industry. He has worked with all kinds of different athletes from high school to pro and past Olympians. In his words, he describes the problem with American diets and why they falter in preventing alot of autoimmune diseases. Have a look:

9 Steps 

Human beings evolved on a diet with an equal ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, whereas today Western diets typically have a ratio of between 15:1 to as skewed as 50:1. This means Western diets are terribly deficient in omega-3 fatty acids, and have excessive amounts of omega-6 fatty acids compared with the diet on which our genetic patterns were established. This distorted ratio is one of the primary reasons for the increase in diseases such as cancer, inflammatory-related disorders, and cardiovascular and autoimmune disease, to name a few. Research indicates that bringing the omega-6 and -3 ratio closer to 1:1 is an effective treatment for these diseases. Take note that omega-6s aren’t to be avoided as trans-fatty acids are. Rather, you need the appropriate ratio of omega-3s to -6s for optimal health.

So what can you do about it? Here are nine steps to re-balance your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio:

1.    Abolish Hydrogenated Fats
Eliminate all foods that contain the words “partially” or “hydrogenated fats.” These are trans-fatty acids, and there are no safe levels of trans-fats. That is why Canada and the U.S. are forcing food manufacturers to list the trans-fat content in their products. Unfortunately, the U.S. law is too lax regarding the interpretation of the content of trans-fats.
At equal caloric intake, people who eat the most trans fats always weigh more because these fats impair insulin receptors, decreasing insulin sensitivity. Trans-fats also interfere with the body’s ability to process omega-6 and -3 fatty acids, inhibiting their absorption. Additional detrimental effects on health include an increase in the bad LDL cholesterol, abnormal morphology in sperm, and a decrease in testosterone levels.
2.    Eliminate Pro-Inflammatory Foods: Corn, Safflower, Peanut, Sesame Oils.
Get rid of all foods that contain corn, safflower, peanut, or sesame oil. As a rule of thumb, these foods cause inflammation and contribute to the excess omega-6s in the diet. The ratio got out of balance from the increased consumption of omega-6 fatty acids since the 1950s due to a shift in the typical human diet and in the diets of animals that we eat. Omega-6s increased as a result of a shift away from the use of unhealthy trans-fatty acids toward the use of vegetable oils (corn, safflower, peanut, etc.) in cooking and processed foods. These oils may be better than animal-based trans-fatty oils, but they should still be avoided. 

3.    Eat More Wild Meats: Elk, Buffalo, Ostrich, Moose, Boar.
Wild animals are very lean with much higher omega-3 content because they feed on wild plants and prey versus domestic-grown animals, which are fed grains rich in omega-6s and poor in -3s, exacerbating the unequal ratio. Additionally, our modern agriculture is producing eggs, green vegetables, and fish that are significantly lower in omega-3 fatty acids than the same wild foods due to cultivation and feeding methods. This change has upset the omega-6 and -3 fatty acid balance that was characteristic during evolution, leading to a host of health issues.

Be aware that meat varies in fatty acid content based on the gastric system of the animal and on the feed. This means that eating pigs, especially those animals that had omega-3s added to their feed, will result in more omega-3s in your diet than eating beef. It is possible to increase omega-3 fatty acid content in beef and poultry by altering their feed. The best bet is to go for wild animals or wild caught fish—a more likely prospect for many—but if you can’t manage it, look for meats with enriched omega-3 fatty acid content through diet.

4.    Eat Only Grass-Fed Beef
Grass-fed beef, such as Tall Grass Beef, is ideal because grass-fed cows consume a higher level of omega-3s from the chloroplasts of green leaves. This means the meat will be two to four times higher in good fatty acids than grain-fed meat. This elevation in omega-3s helps offset the uneven omega-6 to-3 ratio. Be aware that omega-6 fatty acids are not inconvertible in the human body to omega-3s, meaning excess omega-6s do not help balance our omega-3 deficiency.
5.    Take Fish Oil Everyday: Use Liquid and Capsules for Convenience
Consume one to one-and-a-half grams of fish oil per percentage point of body fat a day (if you have 20 percent body fat you should take a minimum of 20 grams of fish oil). The fatter you are, the more likely you are deficient in omega-3s. Our Paleolithic ancestors consumed 300-400 grams of omega-3s a week. Make sure they are free of heavy metals, and solvents such as hexanes, a common problem with fish oil supplements. To put your mind at ease, Poliquin Performance only stocks products containing the purest medical grade fish oils—click here to see our selection.
6.    Eat Omega-3-Fed Eggs
Your best bet is to find a local farmer that has free-range chickens and feeds them an omega-3 enriched diet. You can find such a farmer easily on the Weston A. Price foundation website: http://www.westonprice.org, or go to Local Harvest to find a community supported agricultural programs and local farms: http://www.localharvest.org/organic-farms/
7.    Eat Green Vegetables and Certain Beans and Walnuts
Be sure to eat lots of green leafy vegetables, such as kale, chard, bok choy, etc. Also, get some beans into your diet in the form of great northern, kidney, and navy beans. Nuts and particularly walnuts are good too. These foods contain a large quantity of alpha-lipoic, which is a very healthy component of omega-3s.
8.    Add Flax Seeds to Your Diet
Flax seeds are another great source of omega-3s. Soak the seeds overnight to soften them so they are digestible, and then add them to your workout shakes. Make sure to buy small quantities of flax at a time and keep them in the fridge in a vacuum resealable container to prevent them from becoming rancid.

9.    Eat Cold Water Fish: Herring and Arctic Char
Small cold water fish such as herring and Arctic char tend to provide the best sources of omega-3s you can get from fish. Avoid swordfish and tuna at all costs because they are loaded with mercury.