Category Archives: Fitness

You Don’t Need To Go To The Gym

You don’t need to go to the gymWHAT???

Could this be possible?

So who’s excited to hear this?

Before you launch into your happy dance, let’s unpack this message and get to the real meaning here.

Today’s message, compliments of certified strength and conditioning specialist Anthony Yeung and My Fitness Pal focuses on 10 Essential Bodyweight Exercises. And as you’ll discover, most or all of these can be done at home.

Sorry for the devious title, but I needed to get your attention.

Like it or not, our bodies NEED exercise.

Strength training

And this includes strength training, even if you’re not training for a power lifting or bodybuilding competition.

Strength training becomes even more essential the older we get because our body loses lean muscle as we age. It’s a natural thing, but that doesn’t make it a good thing.

So we need to make sure that we retain or gain as much lean muscle as possible. For strength, balance, and stability.

Strength training also helps to strengthen our bones, which also weaken with age. And the additional benefits of strength training just keep racking up on the plus side.

Consider these three for starters:

  1. Heart health
  2. Brain health
  3. Weight loss

Need some more data, or convincing? Click here to check out the post Exercise For Longevity.

So to be clear, today’s takeaway is not about not needing to exercise. It’s about finding alternate ways to strengthen your muscles. And in this case, with bodyweight exercises that you can do anywhere, including at home.

Here’s the link to Anthony’s post.

Thank you for sharing your time with me. I hope you found value.

Now it’s time for YOU to take action…

What’s your Win to be Thin? Leave a comment below.

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Is Sitting the New Equivalent to Smoking?

We know that smoking is more than just bad for us; it’s deadly.

Recent studies are revealing there may be a new equivalent to smoking. Something we all do every day, and need to do less of.

Moving

Are you a couch potato?

Do you need a reason to start moving more?

Is walking part of your wellness plan?

How about regular exercise?

Well, in addition to losing your gut, my goal for sharing this My Fitness Pal article is to help you get off your butt, and get moving.

This may even add a little spring to your step.

Exercise has been proven to provide many healthy benefits which include weight loss and reversing preventable medical conditions like heart disease and diabetes. Not to mention living longer.

And if you’re already enjoying the benefits of regular exercise, congratulations. But don’t start celebrating, yet… at least until you read this article.

You’ll probably find it shocking and helpful at the same time. If you discover that you’re an “active couch potato”, you’ll appreciate the tips to minimize your sitting time to increase your longevity.

So stand up and click here to learn more about this silent killer.

Thank you for sharing your time with me. I hope you found value.

Now it’s time for YOU to take action…

What’s your Win to be Thin? Leave a comment below.

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The 7-Day Walking Plan

Last week’s post generated some great feedback. It was titled Judgement Day Is Calling!.

I have to confess though, I have been challenged lately with a lack of clarity, as it relates to the direction and content of this blog. Overall, I feel like I’m spinning my wheels and not providing valuable content.

Walking

Maybe I need to change direction…

Can you recall ever having difficulty setting a clear direction or path for the future? Or perhaps, the next step of a goal you’ve set?

If you can, then you can probably relate that it’s discouraging and frustrating. Sometimes even stressful.

Well, when I need to get creative, or just clear my head, I find that a power walk usually helps. So that’s what I did, I went for a power walk. And about 20 to 30 minutes into it, I did start feeling better. Not only with my thoughts, but with the added benefit of stress to my legs and core too.

So this week, I want to emphasize the benefits of walking. And introduce you to a My Fitness Pal blog post titled “The 7-Day Walking Plan”. You can link to it by clicking here.

Walking

Walking is an essential habit that provides tremendous health benefits. If you find that you’ve been sedentary, and have had difficulty beginning a new exercise regimen, walking is a fantastic way to get started. Just make sure to check with your doctor.

If you’ve already integrated walking and exercise into your wellness plan, check out the walking plan. You may still find value in it.

Variety and intensity can inspire better results.

And if you’re looking for better results through variety and intensity, you may also appreciate “Walk This Way, or Else… You can link to this post by clicking here.

10K a day is very doable, but walking 10,000 steps a day doesn’t happen by accident. It requires a plan, some desire and effort, and a little bit of time.

I’m hoping to recapture the clarity I once had for this blog. I truly believe these concepts are straightforward and sustainable.  And they deliver tremendous results!

So in the meantime, I want this post to spark something for you as well. To improve your activity level, and help you incorporate more healthy habits into your lifestyle.

By making them enjoyable and sustainable.

All the best…

Thank you for sharing your time with me. I hope you found value.

Now it’s time for YOU to take action…

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Judgment Day Is Calling!

Every day is judgment day for me.

And it starts in the morning…

when I step on the scale.

Actually, it’s all about the day before… knowing that I will be stepping up and held accountable in the morning.

Which helps to shape my choices and decisions in the moment.

About the quality of the calories I consume, along with a reminder about the ones I need to burn.

One of the most important things we can do to improve our health is to be mindful of the feedback we receive, as a result of all that we do (or decide not to do).

I focus on the long-term, and build habits around The Health Triad.

  • Nutrition – the quantity and quality of the calories you consume.
  • Exercise – the frequency and intensity you generate.
  • Sleep – the quality and the amount you get.

How can we know if we’re on the right track if we don’t monitor our choices and measure the results of our habits?

Feedback

Seriously…

Which is why I’ve learned to seek feedback through observation, and embrace failure when it happens. The information is invaluable, and ultimately helps us make better decisions in the future by influencing the next step we take in the moment (toward our goals).

Here’s an example…

Think about it this way. Let’s say you’re overweight. This could mean 30, 50, or 100 pounds. If you’re playing along, use your number.

Safe to say, this didn’t happen overnight.

But if you were weighing yourself daily and tracking it, over time you would notice a steady increase.

So this process of hopping on the scale every day could’ve provided you with a necessary RED flag. Which may have (hopefully) caused you to take a closer look at your choices and habits. And to maybe even seek some help.

Let’s turn this around and see how this example can help you.

The point of weighing in every day is not to cause you to freak out if there’s an increase from one day to the next.

Some days there will be an increase, and that’s okay. What’s not okay is a consistent increase every week.

So here’s why you should be doing this…

It’s for the feedback!

What patterns are you noticing?

Keep in mind, these can be positive or negative.

“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

~ Newton’s Third Law

And here’s the beauty of this feedback… how are these patterns (from your weigh-ins) influenced by the choices you made over the past few days or week?

Look back to find the real value of maintaining this daily routine.

Feedback

This keeps it memorable and manageable.

It’s top of mind. So let the scale motivate you! And use it to your advantage.

That’s why every day is judgment day.

“Your choices, decisions, and habits can be shaped in the moment when you know you’ll be held accountable in the morning.” ~ John Dolan

So the question becomes…

Will you maintain the momentum of healthy choices so you can live a longer, more fulfilling life? Or succumb to unhealthy ones and remain discouraged about how every diet you try ultimately fails?

It’s an example of delayed vs. instant gratification.

If your future is more important, then it will be easier to delay that gratification for the long-term value. Otherwise, disappointment and frustration may continue to rear their ugly head.

Only you can decide… so choose wisely.

Thank you for sharing your time with me. I hope you found value.

Now it’s time for YOU to take action…

What’s your Win to be Thin? Leave a comment below.

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Your Longevity Plan

I like to consume a lot of information.

No, not Facebook posts and Twitter feeds. Books…

It’s something I learned from my dad.

And I have to admit, he was right.

“Reading is one of the best ways to learn” ~ Jack Dolan

That’s what he used to tell me and my brother growing up. But it didn’t sink in until I was in my 20’s. I guess you can say I was a slow learner… but not anymore.

Today, there are many ways to improve your reading habit. The obvious one is with a good old-fashioned hardcover or paperback book.

And reading is so easy thanks to technology.

Ordering with Amazon is a snap, which is my primary method.

But there are some titles or topics that I prefer reading on my iPhone with the Kindle app. And for driving, walking, or when I’m on the go, I like to maximize that time with the Audible app, and listen.

Each format gives you a distinct perspective. And there’s so much variety, so I just don’t understand how anyone can say “I don’t have time to read”; or even worse, “I’m bored”.

Really?

Stop making excuses and find a way. There’s so much to learn!

And if you feel that you’re a slow reader, and it’s become an obstacle, you can lose that excuse with an Audible subscription.

How cool is that?

So why am I writing about reading?

And what does this have to do with health & wellness?

Well, I’m just finishing up an Audible book titled The Longevity Plan: Seven Life-Transforming Lessons from Ancient China. And I love it!

It’s about a small village in China once known as Longevity Village. One of the few areas in the world claiming to have a large number of centenarians.

Reading

There’s a lot to learn from these people. And the interesting thing is, that you can find a way to incorporate just a few of their healthy habits and you’ll begin to gain massive results!

You can browse to 4 different formats of this book on Amazon by clicking here.

Here’s the Amazon description:

From a renowned Johns Hopkins- and Stanford-educated cardiologist at Intermountain Medical Center — comes the story of his time living in Longevity Village in China, and the seven lessons he learned there that lead to a happy, healthy, long life.

At forty-four, acclaimed cardiologist John Day was overweight and suffered from insomnia, degenerative joint disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. On six medications and suffering constant aches, he needed to make a change.

While lecturing in China, he’d heard about a remote mountainous region known as Longevity Village, a wellness Shangri-La free of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, dementia, depression, and insomnia, and where living past one hundred—in good health—is not uncommon.

In the hope of understanding this incredible phenomenon, Day, a Mandarin speaker, decided to spend some time living in Longevity Village. He learned everything he could about this place and its people, and met its centenarians.

His research revealed seven principles that work in tandem to create health, happiness, and longevity—rules he applied to his own life. Six months later, he’d lost thirty pounds, dropped one hundred points off his cholesterol and twenty-five points off his blood pressure, and was even cured of his acid reflux and insomnia.

In 2014, he began a series of four-month support groups comprised of patients who worked together to apply the lessons of Longevity Village to their lives. Ninety-two percent of the participants were able to adhere to their plans and stay on pace to reach their health goals.

Now Dr. Day shares his story and proven program to help you feel sharper, more motivated, productive, and pain-free. The Longevity Plan is not only a fascinating travelogue but also a practical, accessible, and groundbreaking guide to a better life.

I highly recommend reading or listening to The Longevity Plan: Seven Life-Transforming Lessons from Ancient China.

And since we’re on the topic of reading, I can’t help but also highly recommend 3 other books that can help you get in great shape and build better habits in many areas of your life.

This includes:

  1. Burn The Fat Feed The Muscle (Tom Venuto) Great book about getting lean, naturally.
  2. The Compound Effect (Darren Hardy) This book can transform your life.
  3. Essentialism (Greg McKeown) – Learn how to simplify your life by doing “less but better”.

Thank you for sharing your time with me. I hope you found value.

Now it’s time for YOU to take action…

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This Is Incredible News!

Nutrition and exercise

This is incredible news! For years we have been hearing…

If we want to lose weight and live longer, that diet and exercise are 2 things we need to change. But that’s kind of vague.

I agree that nutrition and exercise are important. But to be more specific, I believe we need to consistently consume the highest quality foods, exercise regularly with intensity, and get 8 hours of sleep every night if we wish to live longer. And have more vitality…

I like to call it The Health Triad. And the article I reference below gives hope and reinforcement to this valuable advice.

One of my main motivators for eating clean, exercising with intensity, and getting 8 hours of sleep on most nights has been a desire to keep my arteries clear.

Hey, I don’t want to have a heart attack or stroke. So there’s only one way to do my part to prevent it. I’ve gotta take care of myself.

After reading this article, I’m going to enhance my description about keeping my arteries clear, to keeping my arteries “clear and flexible”.

Here are 2 takeaways from the article:

One: There are 7 risk factors that age us faster. These include:

  1. High blood pressure
  2. Elevated cholesterol
  3. High blood sugar
  4. Inactivity
  5. Poor diet
  6. Obesity
  7. Smoking

Two: We can lower the risk of heart disease by staying active and eating well, which works to keep our blood vessels healthy and keep our arteries youthful.

I’m not a doctor, but here’s my belief. Unless you have a serious lifelong medical condition, you have control over every one of these conditions.

Nutrition and exercise

And the prescription is nutrition, exercise and sleep – period.

I’m in! How ‘bout you?

Still not convinced. Read the article…

You CAN be as a healthy as a 20-year-old in your 70s: Staying active and eating well keeps arteries youthful and lowers the risk of heart disease by up to 55%. Researchers from Boston University found being physically active, eating well and not smoking increases the health of our blood vessels by up to 10 times, lowering our heart disease risk.

’70 is the new 20′ seems like a bit of a stretch.

But even if these best practices add 20 or 30 years to your life, it sure seems worth the effort.

Click here to read the full story.

Thank you for sharing your time with me. I hope you found value.

Now it’s time for YOU to take action…

What’s your Win to be Thin? Leave a comment below.

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A New Approach To Wellness

This week, I’m sharing a podcast episode that I believe resonates with this blog’s focus. It’s titled “A New Approach To Wellness”.

Wellness

In it, Chris Kresser discusses how a healthy diet can reverse many of the health conditions that sideline 50% of American adults.

Chronic illnesses that are preventable!

These preventable illnesses include:

  1. Heart disease
  2. Stroke
  3. Cancer
  4. Type 2 diabetes
  5. Obesity

I firmly believe that these illnesses can be prevented, reversed, and eliminated by what I refer to as “The Health Triad”.

Wellness

This is where nutrition, exercise, and sleep become the foundation to a healthy lifestyle that’s focused on longevity and vitality. Instead of inactivity and instant gratification.

Great health & wellness only happens when you have a long-term vision, and blend consistency with healthy habits that get results.

Or, on rare occasions when a medical emergency strikes (as a result of facing one of the 5 preventable illnesses due to years of neglect), and you’re forced to make significant lifestyle changes.

But unfortunately, this isn’t even enough of a motivator to make those necessary changes, many times.

If better health & vitality interests you, then you’ll find a wealth of information and takeaways here. And I hope you learn from and enjoy this wellness podcast as much as I did.

Here’s the link:

A New Approach To Wellness podcast

And if you’d like to learn more about Chris Kresser, go to www.chriskresser.com.

Thank you for sharing your time with me. I hope you found value.

Now it’s time for YOU to take action…

What’s your Win to be Thin? Leave a comment below.

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Welcome To The Machine

Hey 10K! Are you hitting it every day?

Cardio machineIf you need some help, you’re going to like this post.

So how can you increase your daily step count?

I have a few ideas to share that work for me, and I’m hoping they’ll work for you!

Full disclosure: I am not the type of person who likes to spend hours in the gym. I don’t have the time or desire. My average workout time is 45 minutes, which works for me.

I enjoy walking outdoors, so I supplement my workouts with it. Walking improves my thinking, problem-solving abilities, and creativity. And it’s relaxing despite doing it with intensity.

But I’m always looking for ways to log more steps.

And although running is great for so many reasons, it’s not really an option for me anymore. The lingering foot or knee pain I experience from the impact is something I now try to avoid.

But I have found other ways to increase my step count while keeping my heart rate elevated.

Cardio machineWelcome to the machine… Well, I should clarify… Low-impact cardio machines.

Let’s look at a few examples:

  1. Ellipticals: My favorite cardio machine is the Octane Elliptical. After using it for a while, and experimenting with different modes and levels of resistance, you can get close to a “running experience” without any impact on your knees, ankles, feet… And you’ll rack up a lot of steps during an intense 35-minute session.
  2. Bikes: It’s not my “go to” cardio machine, but it’s a good leg workout that will maximize your step count. For a super-intense session, hop on a “spin bike”. Remember your headphones and some loud, ass-kicking music for support and motivation. If you can ride outside, I’m sure my cyclist friends will agree that riding outdoors is more fun and exciting.
  3. Steppers: These cardio machines won’t give you the same high ratio of step count per hour as an elliptical or a bike will, but it’s an intense leg workout that gets (and keeps) your heart rate up.
  4. Treadmills: Aside from the obvious walking (or running), treadmills enable you to control speed or elevation to intensify your workout. I’d much rather walk outdoors at a fast pace than on a treadmill. But a treadmill is a good alternative when you need it.
  5. Jump rope: Surprisingly, I don’t experience pain from jumping rope like I do from running. So I jump rope frequently. If you haven’t jumped rope in a while, you may find that your endurance is low at first. Stick with it and increase the duration every time you jump. And before long, 15 to 30 minutes will be no problem.
  6. Walk the Mall: If the weather is bad or you want a change of scenery, walk the mall. You can window shop. But don’t stop when you see something you like. Instead, wait until you’re done with your walk. And use the stairs for added resistance and intensity.

My goal was to help you find different ways to maximize your step count, by pairing it with some of your cardio training sessions for efficiency. To make it a little easier to get to 10K a day.

Cardio machine

Thank you for sharing your time with me. I hope you found value.

Now it’s time for YOU to take action…

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There’s An App For That…

You’ve heard it a million times… “There’s an app for that”. Well stay with me, because it applies directly to this week’s theme.

So 10K a day is your new mantra.

And you’re R’acking up the steps. Congratulations!

But how are you T’racking your results and progress?

You know the saying, so say it along with me.

There’s an app for that…

As we discussed last week, there are plenty of apps for iPhone and Android to track your steps. And if you’re an iPhone user, the built-in Health app is incredible for tracking your step count.

But it doesn’t only track your daily step count (automatically), it retains all of your recorded data from Day 1.

Track

For example, in the fitness category, you can also track your active energy (calorie burn), minutes exercised per day, number of workouts, and a few other key metrics.

Aside from the step data, the data for the other fitness categories needs to be entered manually. This info is “tracked” and displayed on a dashboard. And represented visually in graph format based on the time frame of your choice – by Day, Week, Month, or Year.

In addition to tracking your steps, you may find a few other apps useful during your walks.

Here are four of my favorites:

  1. Audible: It’ impossible to read when you’re walking briskly, working out intensely, or driving. I use those times to listen to audio books. For about $15 a month you can get an Audible subscription and continue feeding your mind. If you like reading, it’s a way to maximize your reading time. If you don’t like to read, give it a try. You may take a liking to listening to audio books.
  2. Podcasts: Another great source for learning while you’re on the go. And it’s free. You can follow your favorite thought leaders and listen to their content based on your
  3. Music: Sometimes you just want to listen to music or need some motivation to put a little spring in your step.
  4. Your calendar: I do some of my best thinking during a walk. And I want to capture those thoughts. So instead of slowing down to type, I dictate my thoughts into a new calendar event, which allows me to remember the idea when I’m done or at a later time.

And of course, there are other ways to track your step count in addition to using your smartphone. From high-tech pedometers, fitness bands and smartwatches.

Perhaps this will help to put tracking in perspective for you:

“What gets measured gets managed.” ~ Peter Drucker

Or put another way, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure”.

TrackThe most important point here is to get moving.

Then, “measure” your activity and “track it” with an app or a device.

On another note,

I recently improved my work habits by going to a standing desk, which I love. And there’s huge a side benefit.

Although it doesn’t count for steps, this one move can improve my cardiovascular health by helping me stay “less” sedentary.

Recent research claims that even if you exercise regularly, sitting for long periods of time is unhealthy for a number of reasons.

Here are a few articles on the subject:

“Don’t be a ‘sitting duck for cardiovascular disease’ — move more, sit less,” ~ Dr. Barbara George, director of the Center for Cardiovascular Lifestyle Medicine at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y.

If you want to get a handle on how much time your daily sitting is adding up to, check out this sitting calculator. And pay close attention to the notes, which I’ve included in the image below.

Track

‘Nuf said. Now it’s time to go get some more steps…

Thank you for sharing your time with me. I hope you found value.

Now it’s time for YOU to take action…

What’s your Win to be Thin? Leave a comment below.

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Can You Give Me 10,000?

I need your help please. Can you give me 10,000?

I’m not asking you to write a check. But I won’t stop you if you feel so inclined…

It’s Month #5 and we’re launching our next habit – walking.

10,000 steps

Walking has been proven to be a healthy habit. Something we need to be doing all the time. Our bodies are powerful and resilient. And we’ve got to keep moving to remain healthy, vibrant and strong.

Walking is low impact. But it’s great exercise in so many ways.

For example:

  1. At a brisk pace, walking strengthens your legs and core.
  2. It gets your heart rate up. So it aids in circulation and breathing.
  3. And helps to clear your head. Personally, I do some of my best thinking and problem-solving when I’m on a walk (next best place is the shower).
  4. And if it’s sunny, you get to boost your Vitamin D production. Just remember the sunscreen.

Dr. Mehmet Oz recommends 10,000 steps per day (aka “10K a day”). And he’s not the only one.

10,000 steps

By the way, logging 10,000 steps is no small feat. You’ve got to be deliberate and make time for it. Otherwise you will struggle to get anywhere close to hitting that goal every day.

Let’s clarify a few things.

I’ve created this brief Q&A to help you get started with your new walking habit.

(Q1).   What counts as a step?

(A1).   Everything. But as with most things, quality matters. The faster or brisker your pace, the better. We are all at different fitness levels. And you will know when the steps you’re taking are meaningful, and when they’re not. Regardless, find a way to get to at least 10K a day!

(Q2).   How do I track my daily step count?

(A2).    The easiest way is with your smartphone. Or you can use a pedometer, fitness band / activity tracker, or smartwatch.

(Q3).   How do I track my progress?

(A3).    Your smartphone. As an iPhone user, I use the built-in Apple Health app. It automatically tracks your step activity, as long as your phone is with you when you’re moving. It also displays your “daily average” steps on a dashboard. Plus, a whole lot more health-related data. There are plenty of health-related apps on the Android. I’m just not aware of an all-inclusive one like the iPhone offers at this time.

(Q4).   Why 10,000 steps?

(A4).    Well first off, 10,000 steps equates to approximately 5 miles. Based on my research, I discovered that 10,000 began as an arbitrary number. It was originally created as a promotion by a Japanese pedometer company. But since that time, studies have confirmed that 10,000 appears to be the sweet spot where people lose weight and gain control of their health & wellness.

This article is packed with useful information about activity, ways to increase your step count, and top picks for pedometers, fitness bands, and smartwatches.

Will you commit to 10K a day?

10,000 steps

I hope so.

Just don’t do what I did last May, and you’ll avoid making a similar bonehead mistake. Click here to learn what ‘not’ to do.

This one incident set me back a few months, while the pain lingered for at least 6. But it’s a valuable lesson and I am happy to pass it on. So remember to leave the light on.

Thank you for sharing your time with me. I hope you found value.

Now it’s time for YOU to take action…

What’s your Win to be Thin? Leave a comment below.

Click here to subscribe. You’ll receive an email with a link to each new post. And if you know someone that can benefit from this content, please share it with them.