The Difference Between Being Physically Active and Physically Fit
Exercise is an important life changing commitment each of us should stick to. Not only will you lose excess weight and look good from working out regularly, but your immune system will be stronger and you’ll have more energy than ever before. Just getting your standard three to four workout sessions per week for twenty minutes each day could dramatically change your life.
How To Get Fit
Most people know all of the health benefits that come with exercise, yet they still come up with every excuse in the book not to do it. As a personal trainer, I hear a lot of excuses in conversation with people. The number one excuse is not having the time to do so. However you could always wake up an hour early to fit in a short twenty minute workout if you wanted to. Procrastination is a huge factor as well; people keep putting it off until the time is right – which is never to them. The people that incorrectly believe they’re getting enough exercise are the hardest to convince though. Just walking around, walking the dog or cleaning your home is not real exercise. All activity does indeed burn calories but you have to cross a certain effort threshold in order to shed fat or build muscle.
There’s a huge difference between just moving around and exercising. Most people don’t realize that just walking around playing golf or casually chasing after a tennis ball does not strain the body enough to get it into great shape. Yes, any physical activity is better than none though you still need to work the body hard in order to make your body respond by changing. When these “active” people attempted to weight lift or run a mile, they ended up sore and tired for at least a week. If they were truly active, the soreness would not be severe.
Whether you’re “active” or inactive, give me a call so we can set up a consultation to discuss exactly what you need to do to get started on creating the body you would rather be in. Each person is different, so a customized plan will be created for you to reach your goals as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Eating Right to Fuel Your Body and Mind
When it comes to health, aging and weight loss almost everybody wants a quick fix. Some sort of miracle drug, diet or workout that will magically help you lose weight, stay in shape, look and feel younger and regain your health and vitality. The miracles of modern science can only go so far in helping you look and feel younger. The rest really is up to you. What you eat is a critical part of your life. How you fuel yourself, how you nurture yourself and even how you heal yourself. Taking action NOW will help you improve your health and longevity, both mentally and physically.
So what can you do, right now, to help your future self? Here are a few of my favorite nutrition tips for longevity and active living.
Choosing nutritious, whole foods that give your body energy, nutrients and fiber to last throughout the day will help you feel satisfied and satiated. Yes, you can find protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals in various nutritional supplements, meal replacement bars and shakes, the best way to get your nutrition is through food. Real, whole, natural foods that require chewing and digestion which allow the nutrients to be absorbed (or in the case of fiber: not absorbed) into your bloodstream and processed through your digestive tract and eliminated as waste. Daily multi-vitamins and multi-mineral supplements can be added to your nutrition routine, since it can be a challenge to try to incorporate every single vitamin, mineral, amino acid and more into your food intake. When you think about what you’re putting into your body, it helps to know the critical building blocks of human nutrition.
· Protein: Lean proteins help build muscle, keep you feeling full, boost your metabolism and help you lose weight. Depending on the type of protein they can provide high amounts of minerals and amino acids as well. Eggs and fish containing healthy Omega-3 fatty acids are all filling and give you plenty of energy and help keep muscles strong and are beneficial to your brain. There are many plant-based sources of protein, such as quinoa, tempeh and tofu, as well as vegetables and nuts that are also high in protein.
· Vitamins: Fruits and vegetables can be packed full of vitamins. There are 13 essential vitamins including A, C, D, E, K and 8 types of B vitamins which are all important to a well-rounded diet. Choose green, leafy vegetables, colorful peppers, tomatoes, carrots, berries, melons and more to provide a rainbow of colors on your plate and a ton of nutrients for your body.
· Fiber: Leafy vegetables, artichokes, lentils, chickpeas, beans and certain types of peas as well as oats, oat bran and chia seeds are great sources of fiber, which is a necessity for good digestion. It also may aid in weight loss, improved digestion and can help lower blood sugar levels and cholesterol levels. All are increasingly important as we age. Grab a handful of air-popped popcorn for a high-fiber snack.
· Carbohydrates: Carbs can get a bad rap in the world of nutrition, and for good reason. Carbs can be starchy, sugary or even liquid (such as beer, juice, soda and sweet wine). They can also provide long lasting energy and contain key nutrients. Steel-cut or rolled oats are a great way to start the day. Milk, barley, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, beans and many low-glycemic fruits can be consumed, in moderation, as part of a well-rounded diet.
· Nuts and Legumes: Many varieties of nuts and legumes (beans, lentils, peas, peanuts) contain high levels of minerals, good fats and even fiber. Almonds and walnuts top the list of most densely packed, nutritious foods. But these need to be eaten in moderation due to their high fat content. They taste great, but can pack on the pounds if eaten in excess.
· Calcium: Minimally processed dairy such as hard, aged cheeses like parmesan are high in calcium and have low levels of lactose for those who have difficulty digesting it. Poppy, sesame and chia seeds are also high in calcium and are a great option for those avoiding dairy. Canned salmon or sardines are high in calcium and Omega-3 fatty acids.
· Minerals: There are 18 essential minerals including calcium, chloride, chromium, copper, fluoride, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium, sulfur and zinc. All of these can be found in our foods. Some are more essential than others. Most of us don’t get enough calcium or iron in our daily diet. Both can be found in red meat, eggs, poultry, legumes, fish, leafy greens and broccoli. Interesting fact: consuming foods with both iron and vitamin C can help you absorb almost twice as much iron as consuming iron alone. Try having a grilled chicken salad with lemon or orange slices or add spinach and tomatoes to scrambled eggs.
· Spices: Not only do spices add flavor and variety to your food, many also contain healing properties. Ginger helps relieve stomach aches, nausea and motion sickness. Tumeric is an anti-inflammatory. Cinnamon helps control blood sugar levels and boosts metabolism. Cayenne pepper is both an anti-inflammatory and anti-irritant. It helps boost circulation, metabolism, digestion and can even help with weight loss. Cloves help digestion and relieve upset stomachs. All of these spices are high in anti-oxidants, and, as an added bonus, help boost the immune system.
· Amino Acids: There are 20 different types of amino acids, 9 of which are called “essential amino acids” due to the fact that your body can’t actually produce them, but are required for humans to grow and perform at peak potential. When you consume protein, your body breaks down the protein and digests the amino acids. These are essential to building muscle and boosting your immune system. Probably the most commonly known amino acid is tryptophan which is present in turkey and is usually blamed for the “turkey coma” many people experience after a big Thanksgiving meal. That’s not it’s only function and it’s just a small part of what amino acids do for our bodies.
Eating well and creating a healthy nutrition routine now will set you up for success in the long run. It doesn’t have to be dull, boring or flavorless. Pack your meals and snacks with healthy, nutritious options. Fuel your body with filling, flavorful, healthful foods that keep you going throughout the day and power your workouts. Don’t waste your calories on empty sugar drenched, carb filled junk.
How’s it Going?
We are two weeks into the New Year – how are you doing with your resolutions? If you didn’t make any resolutions this year, consider taking the time to commit to one small healthy change. Here are some suggestions:
- Don’t eat after 7pm.
- Drink a healthy protein shake for breakfast.
- Cut out that daily sugary snack.
- Exercise a minimum of 4 days each week.
- Join one of my exercise programs.