Veterans Day

Vets Day

Happily, most folks love their Veterans and that’s as it should be.

But Veteran’s Day is kinda like Mother’s Day – one day a year Mothers get special treatment even though Mothers are Mothers every day, yeah? (I think it’s appropriate to capitalize “Mother” since they’re such extraordinary people.)

Same goes for Veterans. Veterans and Mothers get all this glory for one day a year and then they have to go back to the normal issues of life.

To help you appreciate the Veterans in your life (and you have more Veterans in your life than you may realize – it might be it the mailman, the lady who helped you buy your home, your Doctor, or accountant) I thought I’d propose the following project for you. What follows is a list of exercises that simulate what it’s like to be in the military.

Sadly – or perhaps happily – there is no way to simulate what your favorite combat Veteran has gone through. Those Vets are in a class by themselves – and there’s only one way to join that class.

So for today, we’ll have no guns, no explosions, no combat, just a snippet of what virtually everyone in the military goes through whether they are front-line or desk-bound. I want to give you a chance to live through a taste – just a small taste – of what it’s like to be in the military.

(By the way this certainly applies to our active duty personnel as well.)

My suggestion is that you pick one of the following ideas and carry it out. Just one, but be mindful that all of the others belong to the daily life of the military as well. Please – pick just one of these, do it, then go tell your favorite Veteran that you’ve just gotten in a small way a sample of what they’ve gone through.

OK? What I’m going to do is explain a bit of the military life, then challenge you to live through what your Veteran lived through. For the sake of your Veterans try just one of these Challenges! Here goes:

1. Mail.

REALITY -You never get enough, it never comes on time, it’s a bittersweet reminder of home.

CHALLENGE – Next time you want to read your email or texts, wait one hour. Same with phone calls. Then imagine what it’s like to wait a week.

2. Meals.

REALITY – Often monotonous, sometimes not cooked or overcooked, sometimes late, sometimes (as on ships and subs) eaten in rooms without windows, or in the dark, or not at all.

CHALLENGE – Eat the same thing you did yesterday, or delay your lunch for two hours, or cook your dinner and let it get cold. Try having a cold can of soup for dinner.

3.Sleep.

REALITY – Sometimes you don’t get any. Sometimes interrupted in the most unpleasant ways. Sometimes in unpleasant conditions and places. Sometimes in a room or shipboard sleeping bay with 50 other guys (with creaky bunk beds). Sometimes with troubled dreams. Sometimes too wacked-out to fall asleep.

CHALLENGE – Go to bed a few hours late. Get up a few hours early. Tell someone to call you at 2:30am just to bug you. Worse, tell someone to yell at you to wake you up.

4. Drudgery.

REALITY – Standing all day. Sitting all day. Packed in tightly in a small container wearing helmets, pointy gear, or weapons, or seated in a chilly container at 30,000 feet, or a warm sweaty one 500 feet under the ocean surface.

CHALLENGE – Stand at your desk for an hour, or sit with a pile of bricks on your lap, or drive to work with the car heater off and the windows down. Go for a walk in the cold without a jacket – or wear a sweater and two jackets. Ride in the most crowded BART car for three stops past your normal stop.

5. Clothes.

REALITY – same uniform every day – not just the same style, but the very same as you wore yesterday. And the day before, and the day before. Who needs soap?

CHALLENGE (and this could get kinda raw, I’ll bet nobody does this one!). Wear the same clothes three days in a row – without taking a shower. Frankly, I’m not gonna do this – I sort of hope you don’t either – but you get the idea.

6. Work.

REALITY – Sometimes dangerous, sometimes demanding, often monotonous, frequently unfulfilling (other than the truly gratifying fact that you are contributing to an important work).

CHALLENGE (and you knew we’d work an exercise into this thing somehow) – Make it a goal to do 50 pushups today by the time the sun goes down. If you can’t do a pushup on the floor, lean against the wall or your kitchen counter and at least push against it 50 times. At least do something hard, boring and repetitious to get a feel for a soldier’s day.

7. Pay.

REALITY – Military pay is hardly generous. Worse yet, you sometimes feel like the average citizen is hardly grateful for what you do. You wonder how you’ll make a living when and if you get out.

CHALLENGE – This will be easy. Take a $10.00 bill, put it in an envelope, and send to a Veteran (or active military) but don’t put your name or a return address on it. You’ll know they’ll enjoy it, they’ll not know who did it, and naturally they won’t thank you for it since they won’t know who sent it. You’ll know what it’s like to give without getting much in return.

If you don’t know any Veterans then send it to the Wounded Warriors Project:
http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/

8. The Waiting Family.

I tried to come up with a simulation for this one, but nothing can mimic the feeling of separation and loneliness that military families endure. The waiting, the fears, the anxiety cannot be replicated. Worse, the soldier on active duty knows his or her family is on edge, and he or she bears that as well. These dear people are also Veterans and deserve our thanks.

You get the idea.

If you’ve been in the military you could add a thousand things to the list. The ordinary things of life that civilians take for granted become the extraordinary things of the military life.

If you haven’t been in the military then why not send this Newsletter to your favorite Veteran and tell them, “Thank you. I appreciate you more than ever!”

A final word. If someone ever told me, “Well, hey, they volunteered for it. Too bad for them.” Or, in an earlier era, “They got drafted. Tough luck.” My answer to that would be, “Yeah, and you know what? In spite of the hardships, the challenges, and worst of all the occasionally piercing loneliness, many would do it again because the cause is worth it. And they’d do it again in spite of your stinking ungratefulness.” And then I’d turn and leave.

But that would not be most people, and I trust that is none of you. A grateful nation loves its Veterans. Go find one and give thanks.

Jesus said, “Greater love no man has than this – that he would lay down his life for his friends.”

Thanks, Veterans. God bless you, your loved ones, and the country you served!

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Return of the Telomeres

Lots of folks liked our 21 item list of the benefits of exercise two weeks ago as well as the story about a Professor last week, so we’ve got more benefits and another Professor for you. His topic will be the now-famous “telomeres” and a discussion of why you may not need supplements to amp up your telomere health.

So here are today’s reasons to exercise and what the Professor learned about telomeres.

Reason #1: To Melt Fat Away

The most coveted side effect of exercise is, of course, fat burn. The combination of a challenging exercise routine and a balanced meal plan is the best known way to lose fat. Here’s what losing fat feels like:

  • Your pants become loose
  • People around you begin to say that you look great
  • A glance at yourself in the mirror makes you smile
  • Your energy levels soar
  • You feel amazing

Reason #2: To Alleviate Pain

Regular exercise is a great way to alleviate chronic muscle and joint pain. Persistent back pain can be lessened by strengthening your core, and you’ll protect yourself against injury. It amazes people when the chronic pain that they’ve lived with for years begins to fade after starting a regular exercise program.

Reason #3: To Increase Lean Tissue

More muscle is good for many reasons. You see, muscle uses many more calories each day than fatty tissue. In fact, one pound of muscle burns 30-50 calories each day at rest—compared to a measly 9 calories per pound of fat.

When you exercise your body composition will change to contain more lean tissue, thus resulting in extra calories burned while you sleep. What could be better than that?

Reason #4: To Stay Young

Here’s our Professor for this Week. Tim D. Spector, a professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College in London, led a study on the effects of exercise on aging.

As a curious aside, noticing that our Professor of the Week POW) was from England, when I did a search I stumbled upon a “quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore” wherein was contained this bit, purportedly from an unpublished play by Shakespeare:

ENTER: Coach and Athlete

Coach: Look, m’Lord, on yon horizon – it comes!

Athlete: Aye ! [Translation:Yep!] And that right quickly. Behold! Even the Telomeres!

Coach: Strange. Longer the telomere, longer the life – as with the shorter the shorter!

Athlete: Passably strange, yet not so if we exerciseth! To arms!

Coach: To arms! Cry Havoc! Let slip the dogs of war! To arms! Start ye [Tr: you] with curls, gimme 3 sets of 12 reps. Verily [Tr: Righto!] strike now a blow for the Telomeres!

EXIT ALL.

I think that’s what I found.

Now back to Telomeres, because the results were astounding.

He (the POW) found that exercise appears to slow the shriveling of the protective tips on bundles of genes inside cells (called telomeres), which means a slowing of the aging process.

That’s what he says, anyway. This telomere stuff is out of my league, but here’s the study in a nutshell:

  • Telomeres cap the ends of chromosomes and every time a cell divides, the telomeres get shorter.
  • Once a telomere gets too short, that cell can no longer divide.
  • Aging occurs as more and more cells reach the end of their telomeres and die. This results in weakened muscles, skin wrinkles, loss of eyesight and hearing, organ failure and slowed mental functioning.

So now comes this: Ask not what your telomeres can do for you, ask what you can do for your telomeres. Here’s what our Professor tells us:

  • The study analyzed the telomeres from the white bloods cells of twins over a 10-year period. Telomere length was used as a marker for the rate of biological aging.
  • It was found that the length of telomeres was directly related to that twin’s activity level. “There was a gradient,” Spector said. “As the amount of exercise increased, the telomere length increased.”
  • People who did 100 minutes of weekly exercise had telomeres that looked like those from someone about 5-6 years younger than those who did 16 minutes of exercise each week.
  • People who did 3 hours of vigorous exercise each week had telomeres that looked like those from someone about 9 years younger.

So, what the good Prof is saying is, Do more for your telomeres and they’ll do more for you – and longer, at that!

Reason #5: To Prevent or Control Type 2 Diabetes

Regular exercise helps to stabilize blood sugar levels. This is something that people with type 2 diabetes, or at risk for type 2 diabetes, gain substantial benefits from. Exercise improves the body’s use of insulin, and the related weight loss improves insulin sensitivity.

Hark: Patients with type 2 diabetes need to follow guidelines from their doctor before starting an exercise program.

Reason #6: To Lower Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Levels

Exercise has shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels for these two reasons:

  • Weak Heart Muscles pump little blood with lots of effort. By exercising you strengthen your heart muscles and train them to pump more blood with less effort. The stronger your heart is the less pressure will be exerted on your arteries.
  • Exercise Increases HDL levels in some people—this means a decrease in your risk for heart disease. Other heart disease risk factors such as weight, diabetes and high blood pressure all show improvement with regular exercise.

Reason #7: To Feel Great

The first thing that clients tell me after starting an exercise program is how much better they feel. Most didn’t even realize how bad they felt! It is easy to get used to feeling sluggish, achy and unmotivated. Exercise boosts your energy levels and makes you feel amazing.

The quickest, easiest way to guarantee that you’ll meet your fitness and weight loss goals is to work one-on-one with a qualified fitness professional. You’ll be held accountable with your workouts and you’ll be instructed properly and shown techniques and strategies that will expedite your results.

Not only will you feel better, you’ll feel better about yourself! Let’s do this thing!

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Simple Concept, but It Works!

How about a nice controversial Newsletter to start the day? Got just the thing for ya. This should generate some blowback – unless you read it carefully. The story of what Professor Mark Haub did makes it worthwhile in any event.

Let’s speed through some basics then get to the story. You already know these concepts but it will be good for us all to start from the same place, yeah? ​Read on.

Calories, Fat, and BMR

Calories. A small-c calorie is “a unit for measuring heat equal to the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one gram of water one degree Celsius.” A large-C Calorie is “a unit of heat used to indicate the amount of energy foods produce in the human body that is equal to 1,000 calories.” So when we talk body-fat Calories, we’re talking large-C calories but everybody uses small-c and that’s fine.

Fat. You already know calories, so let’s talk fat. When you eat more calories than you burn, you generally store the excess as fat. The common thought is that there are 3,500 calories in a pound of fat.

Also, a pound of your body fat (I know you have some!) is about the size of a pint of water. Yuk. If you put on two pounds over the weekend you’ve just happily added about a quart of fat, enjoy it.

Basal Metabolism Rate. “BMR” is the amount of calories that your body burns when at rest in order just to stay alive. This is for powering things like the muscles you use when you breathe and for pumping your heart and other systems – including thinking (gosh wow, thinking takes energy?).

What gets metabolized? Righto, fat.

The In’s and Out’s of Calories

OK, now that we’re all on the same page, let’s use all this info.

Some body fat is necessary, at least if you want to keep on breathing and thinking and you haven’t eaten lately.

But most people have excess fat – so, thinking about your tummy, you’re probably wondering: What’s the deal? Why won’t the weight come off? You are doing everything you can think of to make it happen.

If this is you, there’s one simple thing standing between you and a slimmed down, amazingly fit body. One. Simple. Thing.

And here it is: You eat too many calories. Behold the formula:

Calories in exceeds calories out = build fat
Calories out exceeds calories in = burn fat

That’s it. Just what you don’t want to hear, let alone face, yeah? Yet solve this problem and your dream body will quickly and easily become reality.

“Can’t I do it with exercise?” you ask. Well, you may remember from a prior newsletter that for a 150 pound person to burn off one Snickers candy bar requires about 150 pushups. Not gonna happen.

And hey, don’t give me the excuse that, “I only eat healthy calories.” That’s great, but even healthy calories add up to extra pounds when we let them go unchecked. 4,500 calories of carrots is still 4,500 calories, and besides I  suggest we stick to the Snickers Bar.  I’m gonna.

​​Enter the Good Professor Haub

You’re aware, no doubt, about all the past and current “diet” gadgets – Atkins, No Carb, Paleo, Grapefruit and so on. You’re also aware of carb-cycling, cortisol effects, hormonal imbalances, intermittent fasting, and all the rest of the things that people talk about when it comes to weight management.

​​Wonderful though this knowledge is, your fat loss will still come down to calories in vs calories out. This, finally, brings us to our controversial story.

​You may have heard about the professor from Kansas State University, Mark Haub, who performed a famous junk food diet. Professor Haub proved a powerful lesson for anyone who still has weight to lose, so let’s listen up (ooh, that sounds fierce).

In a demonstrative experiment for his nutrition class, Professor Haub ate a diet of pure junk food for 2 months. I’m talking candy bars and packaged snacks – the kinds of things you find in a snack machine.  I’m also wondering where he was when I was in college, I could have done the experiment for him.

Now, you’d expect him to gain weight, right? Well, there was one catch. He was only allowed to eat 1800 calories each day. Yes, those calories were pure junk, but the limit was firmly put at 1800 calories.

Before the experiment, Professor Haub’s typical calorie intake was closer to 2600 calories. So his junk food diet put him at an 800 calorie per day deficit.

And wowsie, did that calorie deficit pay off. Within 2 months he had dropped 30 pounds, bringing his BMI (not BMR) from overweight down to normal.

No, I’m NOT recommending a junk food diet as your answer for fat loss although maybe I’ll volunteer to try. What I am pointing out is how powerful a reduction in calories is when it comes to lowering your body weight.

This was a fascinating study to read. I’m not giving all the details here, do a search and you’ll find lots about him.

Back to Basics: Why Calorie Counting Works

So. Do you know how many calories you eat each day?

If you’re not sure, don’t worry. You’re about to learn the one fat loss tool that will change everything for you. First we need to get to the bottom of how many calories you’re eating each day.

Yes, even those healthy calories.

Before you start whining, let me explain. Food journaling doesn’t involved lugging around a journal, writing down each food item throughout the day then looking everything up at the end of the day to manually tally calories like it used to.

These days food journaling has gone digital, and tracking your calories only takes seconds of your time.

Here’s what you’ll want to do:

#1: Download a food journal application to your smart phone. At the touch of your fingers you’ll be able to look up food items and instantly see your running calorie tally.

#2: Find your BMR. Meet with your doctor to find a daily calorie count that will allow for safe weight loss and then diligently maintain that number. Or, if you want to bypass the good doctor, do a search for a Basal Metabolism Rate calculator and input a few numbers you should get a reasonably good BMR estimate.

#3. Eat healthy, fresh foods and when you decide to indulge, make sure to do so within your target calorie range. Watch your BMR number like a hawk, assuming hawks do so.

The Application Thereof –

​​Remember from above that there are approximately 3500 calories in a pound of fat. If you wanted to lose a pound a week, make sure your calorie intake per day is 500 calories below your daily BMR. That way at the end of the week you’ll be one pound lighter – and your spirits will be as well!

Couple that with a great workout program and you’l​​l love the new you!

These three, simple steps will give you structure and clarity that you need when it comes to making food choices and will quickly result in pounds lost and goals achieved.

Once your goal weight is met, your target calorie range will be adjusted for maintenance. Sounds good, right?

I’d love to hear from you. Call or email today to let me know how you are doing with this!

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Boundaries

Hello, Warrior –

I trust things are going well as you prepare for your weekend! Here’s a thought to occupy your mind whilst you shop for dip and chips for the BarBQ – do you know your fitness boundaries? Do you – say, in your average conversation over hot dogs – associate fitness with boundaries?

Look. It’s not hard to get and stay fit. It’s not about hard work and deprivation. It’s about boundaries.

Let me explain. When you were a child your parents set boundaries around you. They were the authority on what was or wasn’t acceptable behavior. You had to complete your chores before dinner. You had to finish your homework before going out to play. You had to eat all your vegetables before dessert. If you failed to comply with these boundaries then you knew that there would be consequences.

(As an aside, I now think that making a kid eat their veggies in order to get desert is a mistake. We are simply rewarding bad food behavior with more bad food behavior.) (But you still gotta do the homework.)

As an adult you are now your own authority on what is or isn’t acceptable behavior. You are in the position to set boundaries around yourself. These boundaries serve as a framework of order around you – a rock of support in an otherwise chaotic world. (Sounds large, yeah?)

With self-imposed boundaries you can assure your success in anything, but especially with fitness and weight loss.

Your fitness boundaries have to be self-imposed—no one is going to do it for you. Don’t look at this as a bad thing! Self-imposed boundaries are self-empowering! Could it be that you’ve been living life without fitness boundaries? You eat whatever you want, whenever you want it, that kind of thing? Stuff like:

  • You use any excuse to avoid exercise.
  • You indulge whenever it feels good.

Your Fitness Boundaries

Well, then. It’s time to introduce boundaries back into your life. These boundaries are the key to unleashing your ideal fit and healthy body.

Fitness Boundary #1: What you eat

If you were to be perfectly honest with me, you could list off the foods that are unhealthy and fattening, right? So why are you still eating them? You know that refined, fried, processed and sugary foods are not good for you except as treat meats or treats, not as daily fare.

Place boundaries around what you will allow yourself to eat. Acceptable food items include whole foods, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean meats. You know already know this, but now think of these in terms of boundaries and see what it does for your fitness.

Fitness Boundary #2: How you exercise

I know that you’re not an Olympic athlete, but that doesn’t mean that you can simply pass on exercise. By now you are well aware of the host of benefits that exercise provides. With regular exercise you’ll look great, feel amazing and have more energy than ever.

Most importantly, you will not just feel better, you will feel better about yourself. This is huge!

Place boundaries around how often you must exercise. Choose exercise that is challenging and fun – don’t be afraid to try new activities that improve your strength and endurance. If nothing else, learn to do Cross-body Mountain Climbers!

Fitness Boundary #3: When you indulge

Let’s face it, we live in a world where indulging has become the norm, rather than the exception. When you live life without fitness boundaries, everyday is an opportunity to indulge. These indulgences all add up quickly, causing your clothes to become tight and your energy levels to drop – and you begin to hate your body, if not yourself, for indulging. Guilt can make you feel gutless.

Place boundaries around when you can indulge. You’ll find that by limiting your indulgences you’ll end up enjoying them even more.

Take Action – Now!

Sit down and take a long, hard look at your lifestyle. Are you eating as healthy as you could be? Are you exercising 3-5 times each week? Are you indulging too often?

Answer the following questions:

  1. What 3 food items can I eliminate from my daily diet? (These should be nutritionally void items like high-calories beverages, fast food, packaged snacks, high-fat food, candy or desserts.)
  2. When can I schedule exercise into my week? (Pick 3-5 days, and select a specific time frame. Example: I’m going to exercise on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays from 5am-6am.)
  3. When will I allow myself to indulge? (Don’t go overboard here, especially if you need to lose weight. Enjoy whatever treats are within your boundaries and do so guilt-free knowing that you’ve maintained healthy food boundaries the rest of the time.

Remember what we said above: Self-imposed boundaries are self-empowering!

Fitness boundaries put your fitness results on autopilot. If you know what constitutes an acceptable meal, then choosing what to eat just got a whole lot easier. If you’re committed to exercising 3 times a week, soon it becomes second nature.

Need help setting up your fitness boundaries? I am here to help – call or email me now!

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7 Fat Loss/Muscle Build Myths Debunked

Everywhere you turn there’s another headline about how to lose weight, shave fat and build muscle. Many of these eye-catching headlines are myths, plain and simple. And if you’re not careful they can suck you in and spit you out without helping you lose any weight at all.

What myths are out there waiting to trick you? Here are seven that you’re most likely to come up against.

Myth #1: You Need to Work Out Every Day

A little bit of working out will help you lose a little bit of weight, so a lot will help a lot…right? Possibly. If your “little bit” of working out involves taking a walk from your living room to your mailbox then ramping up to a jog around the neighborhood, then everyday is a good thing.

However, pumping iron at the gym 5 days a week while also doing cardio another two days is NOT a great idea. Not only do you increase your chance for overuse injury, but you don’t give your body time to recover. If your body can’t recover, you can’t get your peak performance every day, making it harder to burn fat.

Be advised: Recovery is the first step in any fitness program.

Myth #2: No Coffee!

For many people, having to drop coffee is unbearable. I dunno, it might even be a sin or something. In fact, I think it is a sin.

Fortunately, if you’re a coffee lover and you’re trying to lose weight, you don’t have to give up your hot caffeinated goodness altogether. What you will need to do is cut the sugar and creamer. Once you get used to the taste of black coffee, you may find that drinking a cup half an hour before your workout will actually propel you to your best sessions ever. I’m not saying that the weight will fly off your body, but many of us do like a pre-workout lift. Helps the weights fly off the floor, if not your body.

BTW, green tea before a workout is a personal favorite – a bit of a lift with an easy-to-stomach flavor (just in case something goes wrong during the workout, you know).

Myth #3: Slow Is Better

Slow-moving folks rejoiced at the idea that a slower pace could mean more fat burned. And while moving slower—walking instead of running—may seem more appealing, there is a problem because moving at a faster pace and pushing yourself harder will always burn more calories in less time.

Of course, if you plan to walk at a moderate pace for three hours, you will burn more than if you sprint 100 yards and call it quits. But if you can sprint 100 yards, walk 20 yards, and then sprint again, repeating the process for an hour, you will easily shed more calories, fat, and pounds, than just going for a walk for the same amount of time.

Personally, I think walking as an exercise is overrated – unless that is all that you are able to do, of course.

Myth #4: Cardio Is All You Need

Want to lose weight? Good. You’ll need to get some cardiovascular exercise. But don’t buy into the idea that cardio is all you need to lose weight.

If you don’t lift weights or do some sort of strength training, your aerobic workouts will eventually work to burn off your muscle as well as fat. In the end, this means less strength and a lower metabolism—both which could lead to an inability to maintain a workout routine. Plus, you’ll look kinda weird.

Myth #5: Your Workout Should Be Killer

Ever feel your workout didn’t work you hard enough?

If you’re improving and increasing, don’t sweat it. That’s just a sign that your body is growing stronger and better able to handle whatever you throw at it. While many think a workout isn’t good unless it leaves you unable to stand up straight or lift a book, don’t believe the hype.

Pushing your body so hard that you can’t function after a workout may give you mental assurance that you’re working hard, but it’s putting you at extreme risk for extreme injury.

Myth #6: Heat Burns More

Slide this one under the heading “Stranger Than Fiction,” but according to research, those hot yoga classes may not be paying off like you expect. Strangely, they found that people who slept in a colder environment increased their weight loss ability substantially more than those who slept in a warmer temperature. Granted, the study involved sleeping and not exercising, but the chill should transfer to your workouts. Get the temp turned down a notch for a month or two and see if there are any changes!

The same concept applies to ice in your drinks, by the way!

Myth #7: There Are Negative-Calorie Foods

Whether you’ve bought into the myth or not, you’ve likely heard that certain foods—celery is a favorite—burn more calories via digestion than they contain. So if you eat nothing but celery, you’ll burn more calories than you consume, which catapults your weight-loss ability into the heavens. Unfortunately, this isn’t true. Celery is low in calories, but you could survive on it if there was no other food available.

So, there you have it. If you come across any other such myths email them to me and perhaps we’ll have a follow-up Newsletter about those critters.

Now go out and push some weight around!

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Stay Fit on Your Vacation

Hello, Warriors!

Leaving town for an end-of-summer get-away? If you’re not careful your trip will quickly turn into a fat trap.

I know this from personal experience in the last few days – ask me about our “dinner” at Fenton’s Ice Cream Tuesday night on the way home from kayaking at Tahoe! Major regression.

Worse yet, I’m running the Ragnar Trail Relay at Tahoe next week (starts Friday morning, runs all day and night until Saturday evening) and I was hoping that working out at Tahoe would help for the race – and I came home weighing more than when I left. Some training session, that! Talk about fat traps – your sometimes-humble correspondent outright dove into one! Voluntary set-backs abounded.

So, speaking from my own recent downfall, I don’t want your fitness results to disappear before you return home. Keep reading for my 2 simple steps and a nice Bodyweight Routine to avoid the dreaded vacation fat trap. Who knows, maybe you can encourage me to follow my own advice next time. Please?

There are plenty of strategies and techniques out there for staying fit on vacation, but most are fairly complicated. I’m not going to give you a list of 27 things to remember in order to avoid those vacation pounds – you are getting away to relax, after all! I’ll keep this simple and effective.

The following 2 steps are all that you need to take with you on your vacation to ensure that you come back looking and feeling amazing. Like I said, maybe you can even shame me into keeping my own Rules!

Step #1: The 1/3 Rule

Most vacation pounds are gained as a result of constant indulgence. Each meal becomes an opportunity to eat your heart out to the tune of “I’m on vacation!”

Look, I get that you’re on vacation and want to enjoy the richer tastes of life, but doing so at every meal is going to do a lot of damage to your waistline.

Rather than indulging constantly, I want you to adopt the 1/3 Rule. This means that only 1/3 of your meals ought to be eaten with the mindset of “I’m on vacation.” At this one meal each day you are allowed to eat things that are normally off-limits. Enjoy your favorites and do so with no guilt.

At your other 2 meals each day you’ll keep things lean and green. Fill up on lots of greens, veggies, and lean proteins. Pass on the breads, grains, potatoes and anything with sugar. Drink water, and avoid beverages that contain calories.

I would have been fine with this rule since we only took nuts and raisins on the kayak. However, before that we had waffles and all the toppings at the cabin, so there went the rule. Ah, hypocrisy!

Step #2: The Exercise Rule

This step is just as important as the first one, so don’t drop the ball on this one: Each and every day you must do some form of exercise.

Notice I said some form of exercise. I didn’t say that you had to go to a weight room to do a traditional workout. While on vacation, exercise should be diverse and exciting.

Your vacation activities can become your workout. Take a hike, go exploring on foot, swim in the ocean or bike through a foreign town. If you aren’t able to fit a vigorous activity into your day then start by doing this body weight routine:

VACATION BODYWEIGHT ROUTINE:

  • 20 push ups
  • 30 seconds of jump squats
  • 20 walking lunges
  • 30 seconds of plank hold
  • 30 seconds of rest
  • Repeat from the top 3 times

Enjoy your vacation! And watch out for hypocrites!


Be Excellent

By the way, here’s why I don’t mind telling you about our visit to Fenton’s ice Cream joint and my 3 million calorie sundae (ah, the memory lingers in my mind – and my waist, too come the think upon it).The most important aspect in becoming and staying fit is to be persistent. Even with the Ragnar Race next week, I knew my upcoming training schedule would make up for the Fenton’s Diversion. You can exercise every day for a week, but if you follow that week with a month of no exercise then you’ve lost all ground. On the contrary, if you are consistently and intelligently working out, then you can build into your program times and days and meals and Fenton’s wherein you can treat yourself.

Call it a treat – not a reward, which is a horse of a different wheelbase – and enjoy the extravagance and enjoy yourself (meaning glory in who you are) and enjoy your life. If you wait until you attain your goal(s) to enjoy yourself you will discover that you are not a very nice person – and others will discover that as well. Remember, the way you treat your own heart is the way you will treat others – so work hard at reaching your goals but enjoy yourself on the journey.

The key, then, is to find an exercise program that you are able to consistently do and then stick with it.

Aristotle said, perhaps after a nice stormy workout, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

Enjoy your excellence!

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5 Stupid Habits of Healthy People

Hello, Warrior!

You aren’t a stupid person – not by any means. Hey, you’re reading this Newsletter, right?

In fact, maybe you’re healthier than most. Check it out – you exercise regularly. You watch what you eat. You keep up-to-date on the latest health concerns. You don’t binge on sugar. And you never – ever – eat fast food. Well, almost never. Same here, although I don’t consider Snickers Bars fast food, so I’m safe.

But I wonder if you have a few unhealthy skeletons in your closet – ones that you probably aren’t even aware of.

The following 5 Stupid Habits are frequently committed by health conscious people. Once you break these bad habits, you’ll find that achieving your weight loss goals just became a whole lot easier.

1. You’re Dehydrated

  • It has been said that 75 percent of the population is chronically dehydrated. Would you disagree? When was the last time that you actually drank 8 glasses of water in a day?
  • Dehydration occurs when more fluid leaves your body than is taken in. Symptoms include: fatigue, irritability, headaches, nausea, rapid heart rate, and, in extreme cases, even death.
  • Dehydration also slows your metabolism, which hinders weight loss.

You shouldn’t wait until the feeling of thirst or dry mouth hits you, at that point damage has already been done. Instead, constantly rehydrate throughout your day to avoid dehydration.

The best way to do this is to incorporate water into your daily schedule. For example, have a water bottle at your desk and train yourself to sip on it often.

2. You Eat Out Too Often

  • Research suggests that most people eat out one out of every 4 meals and snacks. That’s an average of once a day. Can you imagine?
  • Restaurant food is designed to do one thing: to taste good. In order to increase eating pleasure, many items are loaded with fat, salt and sugar. This causes you to eat way more calories than you actually need.
  • Even when you order ‘healthy’ items, you’re still taking in more calories and fat grams than you would if you had prepared the item at home. Imagine the last salad you ordered out. Didn’t it come with cream dressing, coupons, cheese sprinkles and a piece of butter laden bread on the side?

The main reason people eat out is for convenience, so with a little organization you’ll find that preparing your own meals takes less time than you thought it would.

On the weekend sit down and plan out your meals for the week. Then go to the grocery store and stock up on everything you’ll need for those meals. Pack your lunch and snacks each night before bed, then grab it on your way out the door in the morning. When you prepare dinner at home, make enough for at least the next day as well. Your efforts will pay off both in terms of weight loss and in money saved.

3. You’re Sleep Deprived

      • In a Gallup Poll survey, 56% of the adult population reported that drowsiness is a problem in the daytime. That’s more than half of us that clearly don’t get enough sleep.
      • Healthy adults require 7-8 hours of sleep each night. When you fail to meet this need your body goes into sleep debt, which continues to accumulate indefinitely until you catch up.
      • A lack of sleep negatively affects your immune system, your nervous system, and interferes with healthy hormone release and cellular repairs.

The best way to combat sleep deprivation is to set a scheduled bedtime. Your body will benefit from a consistent sleeping and waking routine, and you’re sure to get all the rest you need.

 

If you have trouble falling asleep once you’re in bed, then try these two tips. First, make sure that you don’t drink any caffeinated beverages after lunchtime. Second, don’t eat for three hours before you go to bed. This helps eliminate sleeplessness due to indigestion, and will also turbo-charge your weight loss.

4. You’re Stressed Out

I don’t have to tell you that we are living in a fast-paced world and that most of us have stress levels that are through the roof. But what you might not realize is that your stress levels are making you fat! Gosh wow. Read on!

  • Stress creates an increase in the hormone cortisol, and chronic stress creates a chronic increase in cortisol. This is a problem because is slows your metabolism, leads to cravings and is linked to greater levels of abdominal fat storage.
  • (As a quick aside, speaking of cortisol, when you are working out at a heart rate above 100% of your HR max you’ll be producing cortisol. I personally think it’s OK to spike up there on occasion, as I did on a hill run this morning, but done too long the negatives on this will outweigh the positives. And you’ll outweigh what you want to weigh!)
  • The vicious cycle of stress and weight gain goes around and around. Stress causes you to eat emotionally, and your raised cortisol levels cause that food to be stored as fat. This, Folks, is not better living through chemistry.
  • One of the most effective ways to instantly eliminate stress is to sit down and write out a list of all the things that are bothering you. This should include things that you need to get done, issues that weigh on your mind and anything you believe contributes to your stress level.
  • Once it’s all down on paper, organize it like a to-do list and start resolving each item. Doing so will get the stress off of your mind and will put your body into the motion of resolving each issue.

The final word on stress belongs to Jesus, Who said, “Come unto me, all you who labor and are heavy laden [He’s talking stress, here, yeah?] and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls, for My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28)

5. You’re on Exercise Autopilot

You do the same thing each and every time you exercise. Same machines, same pace, same duration. While your routine sure feels comfortable, your results have long since halted.

  • A plateau occurs when your body adapts to your routine and weight loss stops. It is incredibly frustrating, and totally avoidable.
  • You don’t have to increase the amount of time that you spend exercising in order to see quicker, faster results. It’s all about challenging your body.
  • There are two simple ways to instantly increase the effectiveness of your exercise routine. First, increase your pace. Secondly, increase your intensity. Constantly vary your speed and intensity in order to keep your muscles guessing and adapting.

Another way to break through the exercise plateau is to do something totally new. If you regularly use weight machines then start using free weights. If you normally jog on the treadmill then start using the bike.

Are you ready to break the plateau as you take your routine to the next level? Would you like to know without a shadow of a doubt that you are going to lose weight in the coming months?
It’s my goal to see you achieve greatness. I believe that you’ve got what it takes.

It’s so simple. Call or email today to get started on a program that will improve your health and well-being, and will get you amazing results.

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Why You’re Gaining Weight –

Let’s do two things today – both of which mean just that: You will have to DO something. First some soul-searching (in a helpful sort of way) then some Abdominal Exercises. Gosh, you’re in for a really fun day!

First, some soul-searching.

Tired of gaining weight? Of course you are – none of us enjoy it when the number on our scale begins to climb. So why are you gaining that extra weight now?

That is a valid and frustrating question. And the answer is often found in recent changes in your life.

According to Edward Abramson, Ph.D. the author of Emotional Eating, “Any change in your life circumstances can produce changes in eating and exercise, which leads to weight gain.”

Let’s dive into the major changes in your life that have caused that annoying weight gain…

Life’s Fat Traps: We all gain weight for different reasons. You often hear about one-size-fits-all weight loss solutions that take little or no consideration of how the extra weight piled up in the first place. To experience true weight loss it is important to understand why you gained it in the first place.

Think back to the time in your life when your weight was just right. Were you in your teens? Your twenties? Or maybe your thirties? Picture yourself as you were at your ideal weight. Now when did things change? Was it a gradual addition of pounds that accumulated over a span of multiple years? Or did you gain it all at once?

Check out the following weight gain triggers and determine which one is responsible for your plight.

College: The college years are some of the easiest for gaining weight. In fact, a recent study by Cornell University found that on average, college freshman gain about 0.5 pounds a week – almost 11 times more than the average weight gain among 17-and 18-year olds and almost 20 times more than the average weight gain among American adults.

Marriage: There’s nothing like holy matrimony to encourage a barrage of calories to overtake your diet. Late night comfort snacks are always more enjoyable when you have someone to share them with—and who better than the person who pledged to stick by your side through sickness and health?

Pregnancy: Talk about a great time to gain weight! And we’re not just talking about women here—many men admit that they gained ‘sympathy’ pounds right along with their wife. Hormonal changes along with strong encouragement from everyone you know to indulge in anything their heart desires leave most pregnant women with a feeling of entitlement when it comes to food.

Career: Though you may not realize it, your career choice plays a major hand in your weight. Those who go from an active lifestyle to spending 8 hours a day behind a desk and another 2 hours commuting almost universally gain weight. Conversely, people who spend their 8 hours in constant motion find weight loss a natural byproduct of the job.

New Habits: Close your eyes and go back to the fat trap that triggered your weight gain. What changed in your lifestyle?

Now then. To help sort things out, I’ve broken things down into two specific behavioral categories.

1. Eating Habits: Did your eating pattern change at this time in your life? If your weight gain occurred in college then maybe you went from eating 3 square meals to an all-you-can-eat buffet style cafeteria. Or if marriage was your weight gain trigger, then maybe you went from eating small meals to fattening comfort food. Pregnancy brings on the perfect environment for a change in eating habits. You go from eating normally, to eating ‘for two’, to munching on your baby’s snacks right along with the little critter! Your job can also dictate your eating schedule. Long hours and early meetings may cause you to grab a donut or chips from the vending machine.

2. Activity Level: The second category that leads to weight gain is your activity level. Simply put, what kind of exercise were you doing before your life changing event and how does it compare to your current exercise regime? Chances are good that you were doing more exercise before your weight gain began—which means that you are doing less exercise today! Go ahead, think back to the exercises or physical activities that you used to do and compare them to your schedule today.

Your Transformation: You’ve figured out which fat trap in your life led to weight gain, and then narrowed down the exact behaviors that changed as a result, so this naturally leads us to a solution.

It’s time to make a change.

Call or email today to get started on a fitness program that will make you immune to all of life’s fat traps.

Once you start working with me, those numbers on your scale will quickly change direction. Let’s do this!

OK, now for the Ab exercises.


AH, THE ABS!

The athletes I work with know that just because those crunches won’t reduce your body fat, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strengthen your abdominal muscles. Regular ab exercises are an essential part of your strength and conditioning – necessary in order to get that fit physique you want.

Meaning, simply, that you’ll have something nice to look at when the tummy fat goes away.

Here are three of the best critters for toning those abs –

Plank: Lie face down on mat resting on the forearms, palms flat on the floor. Push off the floor, raising up onto toes and resting on the elbows. Keep your back flat, in a straight line from head to heels. Tilt your pelvis and contract your abdominals to prevent your rear end from sticking up in the air or sagging in the middle. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, lower and repeat for 3-5 reps.

One key element in planks is to be sure to release all your tension between repetitions. Your muscles benefit from the release and re-tightening more than if you just keep the tension between reps.

Knee Tucks: Start on your back, bend your knees into your chest, point your toes together, and open knees out to the sides, keeping toes touching. Extend both arms overhead on either side of your ears, palms facing up. Lift your hips off the floor and bring your knees up towards your armpits. Slowly lower your hips back down to start position. Repeat for 12-15 reps.

One-Arm Full Sit Ups: Start lying on your back with your right knee bent, foot flat on the floor, and left leg extended straight out on the floor. Extend your right arm to the ceiling and reach your left arm towards your left foot. Sit all the way up, rolling through your back, keeping your right foot on the floor, and your right arm up over your shoulder and your left arm reaching in front of you all the way up. Slowly roll back down to the floor. That’s one rep. Repeat 15 times on one side, 15 times on the other. For an extra challenge hold a kettlebell in your extended arm.

If this feels like to much at first, simply treat it as a crunch, bringing your left hand to your left knee.

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Kitchen Junk and Body Hammer

KITCHEN JUNK AND BODY HAMMER

Mostly I’m on vacation until the third week of September, this being our anniversary month and all, but I’m wanting to hit two things since next week we won’t be near the internet and I may not get a newsletter out. This might be a bit long but the workout at the end will make it worth it.

First comes some help with bad habits of the kitchen variety and then comes a pounding workout – the BODY HAMMER – in case you need to punish yourself for bad kitchen stuff, guilt being a sometimes worthwhile motivator. So, look at our study of your Kitchen Junk and then, if your conscience leads you, go for the workout below.

As an aside, I’m still not sure why I use RED for the workouts but there you are.

Kitchen Junk

Have you noticed that most of your bad habits came from a string of little, soft choices – where you made the wrong choice?

If your wrong “soft little choices” have created some bad habits, isn’t it time to put some distance between you and those wrong choices? Let me offer some help, at least as far as your kitchen is concerned.

If you have a bad eating habit, perhaps this is a good time to look at some items in your kitchen that help feed (heh) your bad habits. If we can eliminate these we can redirect the bad habits towards fitness, yeah?

I mean, sure, you consider yourself to be a healthy person, but do you really have healthy food in your kitchen? You’d be surprised how many fattening foods you’re still buying and eating. Keep reading to learn the 7 Worst Items inside your kitchen cabinets and refrigerator.

1. Breakfast Cereals

Be advised that I love breakfast cereal – that’s why we don’t keep the stuff around. It’s delicious, it’s easy to prepare, and (sometimes) it even gives you enough energy to get to lunchtime.

Unfortunately, breakfast cereal is often jam-packed with extra sugars that will do more to drag you down than build you up for your day. Prefer the flavorless kinds? Then be ready to be hungry soon, as they often don’t provide enough good calories to fill you up for long. Still hungry for a bowl of cereal? Consider this: they’re one of the most processed foods on the market. The labels are a clear giveaway.

Think about alternating between oatmeal, a high-protein breakfast like eggs and bacon (yeah, bacon) and then occasionally treating yourself to the sugary cereal.

2. Flavored Yogurt

Yes, flavored yogurt tastes much better than its plain peers, but going with a pre-flavored yogurt will instantly double the amount of sugar you consume. Fortunately, overcoming the flavorless thing can be done healthily. All you have to do is add chopped, fresh fruit of your choice and enjoy!

3. Frozen Entre

It’s hard to believe how many people rely on frozen TV dinners on a regular basis. If you’re a frozen believer, it’s time to put your fitness before convenience. On top of frequently lacking all the vitamins and minerals you need for optimal health, frozen dinners often ooze with trans-fats and sodium. This means that while your palate may be pleased, your waist, arteries, and heart will not.

4. Diet Soda

One of the most dangerous “foods” to ever be invented was the diet soda. By trimming certain things from the ingredients list, soda manufacturers guaranteed a giant market share, consisting largely of people who are attempting to be health conscious. Admit it – isn’t that why you drink the stuff?

Unfortunately, diet soda messes with your body’s ability to recognize and manage sugar properly. And while diet drinks may be calorie-free, those who drink them are at a much greater risk for weight gain than those who do not. In addition, it continues the habit of wanting a sweet drink, like, daily, right? This heartily augments sweets desire without even using sugar. Clever, that. All in the name of health, too.

In my opinion, you might as well occasionally go for the sugared soda. Occasionally, I say. Nikki and I don’t think a day of skiing is complete without a Coke after the last run, but we would do without the stuff if all the lodge offered was diet soda. Just drinkin’.

5. Popcorn

No, all popcorn is not to be avoided at all costs. But more than likely, a lot of the unpopped kernels in your kitchen pantry should be ditched. Here’s a good way to determine if your popcorn is at war with your good health. Is it in a prepackaged bag that simply has to be tossed in the microwave to be cooked? Then stay away! Those prepackaged popcorn packages, whether lightly buttered, drowning in butter, or candied, offer no benefit.

If you’re going to do popcorn, you’ll need to pop it the old-fashioned way, preferably via air popping.

6. “Skinny” Desserts

The word “skinny” is alluring. It’s what you want to achieve. And marketers know that. Unfortunately, marketers are not tied to some code of ethics that prevents them from using words that are not factual. What they are tied to is doing whatever it takes to sell more of their product. A great way to do that is to toss the word “skinny” on your favorite dessert item. You’ll buy it, thinking you’ve saved yourself valuable calories, but all you’ve probably done is buy a smaller portion of the same stuff, only there isn’t any natural sugar and flavor. It’s artificial.

7. Granola Bars

These are one of our stables when backpacking. Although enjoyed by healthy hikers and runners and athletes around the world, granola bars are the final unexpected bad choice in your kitchen. This one may have you scratching your head when you consider that your favorite kind is crammed with every fruit and nut you can imagine. But read the ingredient label and you’ll soon see that there is probably more sugar—make that high-fructose corn syrup—than goodness your body can use – at least inside your house.

Your Plan

Agreed – the infrequent use of the above will not ruin your life. I hope not, since I consume cereals, yogurt, and granola bars occasionally. It’s hypocrisy not to admit it on my part.

The last thing I want is to give up the occasional convenience, the sugar, and the other treats that go along with junk food. The Food Police should be put in their own jail and fed carrot juice all day, yeah?

But are you ready to break some bad habits and food addictions? Then ditch the unhealthy items from your kitchen in order to take your fitness to the next level.

Would you like to know without a shadow of a doubt that you are going to lose weight in the coming months? Then write down your plan to purge your kitchen – you may not be willing to do it all at once, but get a plan and commit yourself to sticking to it.

You can go slow on this. Start, would ya, with the item you like least. Once you rid yourself of that, go to the next item. You’ll find that you’ve broken some bad habits – and your fitness is sure to improve.

You CAN do it!


BODY HAMMER

Oh yeah – Hammer. Your body’s like a piece of dynamite. You can tap it with a pencil all day, but you’ll never make it explode. You hit it once with a hammer – BOOM! (At least I think that’s what happens; my parents didn’t let us play with dynamite. We did get lots of breakfast cereal, though, with the occasional TV dinner to boot!)

Don’t waste your time with an hour and a half of cardio nonsense! Get serious, do 20 hard minutes of hammering and you’re done. It’s so much more rewarding! The BODY HAMMER is a fast, hard circuit that requires no equipment.

Do each for 40 seconds of work, 20 seconds of rest:

1. Jump rope

2. Squat thrusts

3. Burpees

4. Star jumps (from a crouch, jump up and spread your arms and legs into a star, and come back down into a crouch) (Practice – you can do it! This is a fun one).

5. Pushups

6. Tuck jumps (jump, lift legs, tuck)

7. Stepups (on a step) (duh)

Repeat two more times.

The key is explosive execution: if you’re doing a pushup, go down slowly and, bang, push up!

Hammer for 20 minutes and you’re done! Congrats!

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Reward Yourself!

Howdy, Warriors!

Today I’m writing to motivate you to take action – and to reward yourself thereby.

I’m writing this from experience, kinda, because we just got back from eight days on the road wherein I went through the same oh-my-I-don’t-want-to-workout syndrome that you (don’t lie to me) experience.

I know the frustrations you have when it comes to actually doing something good for you body and your insecurities over the shape that you’re in and how hopeless that can make you feel – and I know first-hand about the lethargy you feel when it comes to put your best intentions into practice.

Although I did go running four out of the eight days we were gone, I didn’t do One. Single. Workout. Not. One!

Now part of my plan was, indeed, to take some time for recovery and rest, but I must confess that I truly did intend to do some serious workouts. I even brought a kettle bell with me – fat lot of good that did.

So out of all that comes my pep talk in bullet form—21 Rewards that you will gain from regular exercise.

Do yourself a favor and print this list and post it where you’ll see it every day. When you need motivation or encouragement, simply read over this list, find one – just one! – Reward that you want to achieve, and take action. Use that one to motivate you and you’ll still get the benefit of the other 20 Rewards in addition!

I guess I’ll have to go follow my own advice, yeah?

Remember that action alleviates anxiety. So whenever you’re feeling anxious over the current shape of your body, take that as a reminder to jump into action. And then begin to reap these 21 Rewards:

1. You’ll reset your body: Exercise has been described as a giant reset button. A good workout will block appetite swings, improve your mood and even help you sleep.

2. Your clothes will fit better: Consistent exercise will tone and tighten your body, causing your clothes to not only fit better but to also look nicer. Also exercise ensures that soon you’ll be trading your clothes in for smaller sizes.

3. You’ll be less stressed: You have enough stress in your life—it’s time for a break, yeah? A good workout invigorates your muscles, leaving you relaxed and less stressed.

4. You’ll have more energy: WebMD tallied research studies and concluded that exercise increases energy levels in sedentary patients. Next time you feel fatigued, fight it with exercise.

5. You’ll be stronger: Exercise improves muscle strength and endurance, two things that you use throughout each day. When you exercise consistently you’ll be pleasantly surprised when difficult tasks begin to seem easy.

6. You’ll be less likely to binge: Exercise has a powerful anti-binge effect on the body. This is due in part by an increase in sensitivity to leptin, a protein hormone, which has an appetite-taming effect.

7. You’ll burn calories: You know that excess body fat is made up of stored and unused calories. Fight back by burning loads of calories with fat-blasting workouts.

8. You’ll be more confident: Who doesn’t wish they walked and talked with more confidence? A consistent exercise program will do just that. As your body becomes more fit, watch as your confidence sky-rockets.

9. You’ll have fun: Believe it or not, exercise can be extremely enjoyable. Remember how fun it was to run around as a child? Tap into your inner child as you find a mode of exercise that gets you excited.

10. You’ll reduce your blood pressure: Exercise has been proven more effective than medication in reducing blood pressure to normal levels. A single workout has been shown to reduce blood pressure for the day and regular exercise reduces overall blood pressure in the long run.

11. You’ll lose the jiggles: Regular exercise tightens flabby arms, legs and waistlines. So wave goodbye to the jiggles with a solid exercise program.

12. You’ll increase insulin sensitivity: Researchers at Laval University in Quebec discovered that exercise improved insulin sensitivity dramatically. Peak after-meal insulin levels dropped by more than 20 percent after as little as 3 weeks of consistent exercise.

13. You’ll sleep better: Do you toss and turn for hours before falling asleep? Exercise is a powerful sleep aid. Your tired muscles encourage your body to quickly fall asleep so they can get their overnight repair work done.

14. You’ll lower your risk of heart disease: Regular exercise strengthens your heart and makes it more resilient against disease. A sedentary lifestyle is a major risk factor for heart disease, so rest assured that consistent exercise is your ally against disease.

15. You’ll feel great: Vigorous exercise releases natural endorphins (happy hormones!) into your blood stream that dissolve pain and anxiety. You’ve probably heard of “runner’s high” which actually can be achieved by any great workout.

16. You’ll lower your risk of diabetes: Studies show that exercising as little as half an hour each day can dramatically reduce your risk of diabetes. If you are at risk of diabetes, or already have diabetes, regular exercise is the most effective treatment for reversing the disease.

17. You’ll meet cool people: You could benefit from a group of new, energetic friends, right? The Warrior Studio, gyms, bootcamps, workout centers and even the jogging trail are all great places to connect with fun new friends. Fear not – you don’t have to take them home with you.

18. You’ll improve your BMI: You know that maintaining a healthy BMI is key in disease prevention. Exercise is the best way to keep your BMI under control.

19. You’ll increase your endurance: Do you ever get out of breath when walking up stairs or through the mall? Regular exercise builds your endurance for everyday activities.

20. Your doctor will be impressed: How many times has your doctor given you the lecture about losing weight and exercising more? Exercise regularly and get your MD off your back!

21. You’ll look amazing: Are you happy with the shape and size of your body? Regular exercise works wonders on your physique. Within a few weeks you’ll see shape and tone in all the right places.

Are you ready to alleviate your anxiety by taking action? Good! Your next step is to pick out just one of the above reasons to workout, claim it as your own, and start your workout!

Reward yourself!

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