Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Energy Boosters

Anyone else in an energy slump due to the never ending winter weather? I'm ready for the warmer, sunnier, snow-less weather too, but for now, join me in following these five natural ways to boost your energy without caffeine, sugary energy drinks or naps!

  1. Exercise for energy. Contrary to popular belief, exercise doesn’t make you tired, it actually builds energy within your body at the cellular level. So get off the couch or skip the nap and take a walk, run, swim, lift weights, play Dance Dance Revolution, whatever it takes to move your body. Just 10 minutes, can give you the boost that you need. So while waiting for dinner to cook, burst into some jumping jacks, take a speedy walk to a co-workers desk instead of e-mailing her or run the stairs at lunch. Just get moving…even if you don’t feel like it (especially if you don’t feel like it!)
  2. Eat for energy. You might get a quick energy boost from that handful of M&Ms or a chocolate chip cookie, but you will crash and burn just as quick. So fuel your body to keep you energized all day long. Eat healthy carbs such as whole wheat crackers or oatmeal, tons of veggies and fruit and remember to always eat protein with every meal or snack. Think almonds, tuna, chicken, turkey, walnuts, natural peanut butter and tofu. Think of your body as an engine and you are providing high grade gasoline when you eat well.
  3. Drink for energy. Ditch the “energy drinks,” caffeinated beverages and cocktails and drink water…a lot of water…at least 64 oz a day. One of the major symptoms of dehydration is fatigue, so when you are feeling tired or sleepy, especially in the middle of the day, chug a glass of water.
  4. Breathe for energy. Literally, take a breather. Just sit and take 5-10 deep breaths. Stress can cause us to fatigue mentally and emotionally which can manifest as physical exhaustion…so take a seat, inhale deeply, hold for a few seconds, and then exhale slowly and completely.
  5. Sleep for energy. Studies show that getting less than 6 hours of sleep leaves us WAY less than 100% not only mentally and physically but energy-wise as well. So get at least 7 hours of sleep and really shoot for 8 for optimal energy. Also, going to bed and waking up at the same time every night and day will help with energy dips. Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Small changes for weight loss and a long, healthy life

It’s no secret that the United States is not the healthiest or leanest place on the planet. But there IS good news if you want to get healthy…and lose weight. There are baby steps that you can take. You don’t have to ban ice cream or pizza from your mouth; you just have to make a few small, simple changes to get big and very important results…results that will last a very very long lifetime!

  1. Don’t drink your calories. Sodas, coffee drinks, smoothies and alcoholic beverages can all reek havoc on your waist line. The typical can of soda contains 150 calories, coffee drinks can have anywhere between 130 and 800 calories, and smoothies and alcoholic beverages are no better. So…what is the change here? Drink water before anything else. Water has zero calories and great body benefits!

  1. Hide the goodies. Move all the tempting cookies, chips, ice cream or whatever sabotages your healthy habits to the back of the cupboard, fridge or freezer. Out of sight, out of mind.

  1. Don’t hide the goods! Good food, that is! Get the fruit and veggies out of their drawers in the bottom of your fridge so that they are right in your face as you open the refrigerator door!

  1. Eat an appetizer before your meal. Nope, not stuffed mushrooms or chips and salsa, but eat a small veggie salad or fresh veggies before every meal. Research shows that people that follow this practice eat up to 12% less per meal…think of how that can add up!

  1. Walk it off. Whether you are an avid exerciser or a self-proclaimed couch potato, everyone can benefit from taking the stairs and parking in the furthest space away from your destination. Every little bit of movement counts: standing is better than sitting, walking is better than standing. Make it your motto.

  1. Make the best decision possible. At the drive thru, at the family dinner, at the lunch meeting, at the refrigerator, make the best decision possible…the healthiest decision possible. It takes 21 days to create (or break) a habit…stick with it!

  1. Slow down. Eating slowly can help your body register fullness before you overeat. People that take time eating (instead of scarfing your meals and snacks), weigh less.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Take your cardio to the next level

I have a ton of people ask me how they can make the most out of their cardio routines…basically, how to burn more calories in less time. That’s easy (and challenging J)! High intensity interval training (HITT) is designed to blast through calories like they’re going out of style. Whether you just want to get out of a cardio rut, break through a weight loss plateau, burn more calories per workout session, improve your cardiovascular fitness or decrease your running, biking or swimming distance-time, HITT is for you! Basically HITT is simply going between bouts of moderate exercise and intense exercise and repeating.

Benefits of HITT:
  • Blast more calories: the more rigorous the workout, the more calories you burn…even if you are only doing a minute of rigorous work at a time!
  • Banish boredom: changing things up every few minutes or so will keep you on your toes…literally! J
  • Improve your cardio capacity: as you continue your HITT, you’ll be able to go longer during the high intensity part!
  • You don’t need a gym or any equipment to get a great workout: you can do HITT with any motion including walking, jogging, running, biking, elliptical-ing swimming, doing jumping jacks and really any repetitive movement that elevates your heart rate.
So choose your poison…exercise, that is…and get started today!

Here’s a sample beginner HITT program. Use the chart below to determine how hard you should be working.
5 minute warm up
1 minute at RPE 5*
1 minute at RPE 8
Repeat the one minute intervals at 5 and 8 for a total of 20 minutes
5 minute cool down

As you continue your training, increase the duration of your workout. In fact, here is a treadmill interval workout that I've used to increase my race pace in the last couple months.

*10 Point Scale for Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE)
  • 0 - Nothing at all (like sleeping or laying on the couch)
  • 1 - Very light
  • 2 - Fairly light
  • 3 - Moderate
  • 4 - Some what hard
  • 5 - Hard (you're working but it's not killing you)
  • 6 - Harder
  • 7 - Very hard
  • 8 - Very very hard (this is a major should be breathing very very hard)
  • 9 - Super hard
  • 10 - Hardest (this is your maximum can't sustain this for very long)