Fitness & Wellness

Improve Your Body Image

Improve Your Body Image

It’s hard to find anyone that loves everything about how they look, but it’s extremely easy to find people who hate everything. That poor body image is a deterrent to getting fit. While you might think it drives you to do better, it’s really counterproductive. Feeling bad about how you look affects your elf-confidence and often detours progress in all areas, including fitness. Having a good attitude toward your body will drive you harder to treat it right, eating healthy and exercise. Finding ways to improve your body image is important to successfully improving your body.

Start with loving what you see.

Nobody and no body is perfect. Those pictures of models in magazines and online are often airbrushed and photoshopped to appear that way, but they aren’t. You are beautiful or handsome, whether you’re 120 pounds or 300 pounds and you have been given a body that’s meant to be healthy for decades. Treat it with care. Treat it the way you would anything, human, animal or inanimate object you appreciate or love.

Eating healthy is one way to show love to your body.

Seriously, people often treat their cars better than they do their body. They make sure it gets the right fuel, check the fluids and clean it with love. You should at least make sure you’re getting the right fuel. That can happen when you care about yourself. The amazing thing is that when you treat your body better, it starts to look healthier. Regular exercise is important to a healthy body, so adding that should be part of your focus.

Avoid comparing yourself to others.

Avoiding not only comparing yourself to others, but also negative talk about yourself or another person’s body is one way to improve your body image. That’s right! Whether you compare yourself to someone you feel looks worse than you or someone that you feel looks better, it’s all defeating. There’s always someone that looks better than you and someone that looks worse. It’s not important. Body negativity, whether it’s about you or someone else, sets the focus on appearance. The brain often doesn’t differentiate whose body you’re talking about, either. Keep your talk always positive and avoid negativity about how people, including yourself, look.

  • Send yourself a daily love note. Put sticky notes on the mirror that tell you how great you are or just tell yourself that face to face when you’re looking at yourself.
  • Take steps to change your body image, by taking steps to treat yourself in a better manner. Change your eating habits to include healthier foods. Add regular exercise. One study shows that people who start a workout program improve their body image even before they see results.
  • Remember it’s not all about you. That may sound harsh, but it isn’t. It helped many self-conscious clients. Focus others and become interested in what they say and who they are. Remember, many they may be self-conscious, too. It takes your focus off your body image.
  • Be aware of your negative thoughts and change them. The minute you notice a negative body image thought, replace it with a positive statement.

Is A New Year Detox In Order?

Is A New Year Detox In Order?

Getting a clean start for the year isn’t a bad idea, but a fad detox that’s radical and unhealthy doesn’t fit into anyone’s idea of a healthy way to treat your body. Luckily, there are many different types of detoxing and a mild one can be quite beneficial. It can be anything from intermittent fasting to ultra clean eating to give your immune system a boost and start the year right. Here are some techniques I suggest to clients in Stamford, CT that will boost your energy and give you a head start.

Consider an intermittent fast.

An intermittent fast is a short fast. It can be as simple as eating your meals within an eight hour window and not eating for sixteen hours. Other types of intermittent fasting may be fasting for one day a week or eating light two days a week and then healthy normal meals other days. When you combine fasting with drinking 12 to 18-ounces of warm water each morning, you’ll have a detox that flushes you system, while providing other health benefits. That warm water should be pure and free from chemicals, so you may need to get a good source of bottled water that’s chemical free. Intermittent fasting has shown to have many health benefits, besides aiding weight loss.

No matter what type of mild detox you do, make sure you cut out processed foods.

No matter whether you’re fasting or not, processed foods have no place in your diet. I’ve actually seen people fasting for health only to grab a few chips when it was time for them to eat. The idea of a detox is to eliminate the toxins in your body, so adding more is counterproductive. Eat more fresh vegetables and less meat. Go for grassfed beef or wild fish when you do. Eliminate dairy, gluten, sugar, corn and soy from your diet on those fasting days.

A detox that involved purging of any kind isn’t healthy.

I don’t care what you read, taking substances to get diarrhea and purge your colon really aren’t healthy. Any type of cleanse or detox that involves pills, laxative teas and those types of things isn’t a healthy route to take. Switching to a primarily vegetarian diet or focusing on eating light some days, drinking more water and cutting out processed foods is both healthy and smart. One particularly good detox that I endorse is the sugar or simple carb detox, which eliminates most simple carbs, including drinks and foods that contain refined sugar, fruit juice and milk products.

  • After light eating or a modified short fast, where you also cut out sugar, you’ll be amazed at how sweet fruit really tastes. Rather than a “detox” diet, consider it a tastebud reset.
  • Check the hygiene products you use. Many toxins are absorbed through the skin. Look for natural soaps, shampoos and beauty products whose ingredients don’t read like a list of lab ingredients.
  • When you’re detoxing, make it complete. Get plenty of exercise and sweat! You’ll feel better and burn off the hormones of stress. Exercise is important and one reason you shouldn’t do a radical detox. They leave you weak.
  • Get adequate fiber during a detox and plenty of sleep. Both are important to keeping you healthy. It’s also great advice even when you’re not detoxing.

Do Muscles Need To Rest

Do Muscles Need To Rest

There’s a reason that your personal trainer doesn’t push you hard every day to lift to your maximum or workout to exhaustion. It’s because it’s counterproductive to your ultimate goal. Muscles need to rest after a workout. Those long hours at the gym won’t help you achieve your goals any faster and can cause problems that can put you out of commission for a while.

A hard workout has consequences.

A tough workout creates a lot of stress on your body. When you build muscles, it causes microscopic tears that have to heal. Like any type of sore or cut, it takes time to heal and if you go right back into the gym and stress it again, that won’t happen. Speaking of stress! The workout also stresses your body, but in a good way. It causes the body to create more antioxidants that boost the immune system. If you workout too frequently, the immune system is remains stressed and suppressed. That can drop your immunity for up to 72 hours.

Check out your productivity.

One of the biggest tells that you need some rest is a poor performance. Too much gym time can make your accomplishments disappear and you start regressing rather than progressing. Pushing past it and “sucking it up” to get through the workout won’t help. In fact, that makes it worse. Your enjoyment of the workout diminishes and it affects your desire to continue.

Your mood, energy level and health suffer from overworking your body and not getting a rest.

Your mood may be the first sign that you’ve been working out to much. While your body is fighting to get back to normal, you might be fighting with others. Not giving your body a rest can cause anxiety, irritability, anger, confusion and depression. It may take longer to recover from a workout and you may find you’re not only fatigued, you’re more susceptible to illness.

  • Loss of appetite is one sign that you’re working out too much and need a rest. It’s one of the later stages.
  • Your resting heart rate can give you information. If it significantly goes up, it’s a sign that you may be stressing your body.
  • Not only does insomnia signify that you might be overdoing it at the gym, it also adds to the problem. Your body needs a rest for adequate healing and it can’t get it.
  • When you overwork your muscles, you actually can lose muscle mass and put on fat. That isn’t normally what the people working out too much are hoping to achieve.

Don't Stand In Your Own Way

Don’t Stand In Your Own Way

Don’t stand in your own way if you want a healthy lifestyle. I’ve had clients come up to me in the Stamford gym and tell me their friend, mother, cousin or husband wants to start, they’re just waiting to get finished with a big project or any other excuse you can fill in the blank. While some of the excuses are valid, like recovering from a serious injury, others aren’t. They’re just people standing in their own way on the road to fitness. I actually respect people more who say they simply don’t want to workout and own up to it, even though I don’t understand it.

I know you care about your family, but they need you.

I hear people say they don’t the time. They’re too busy taking care of their family, who simply couldn’t function without them for an hour. To that, I ask, “What are they going to do when you’re seriously ill or injure yourself due to poor flexibility or strength?” Working out helps you stay healthier and reduces the potential for serious conditions. It also gets your body in shape and can prevent accidents and injury.

Check your calendar.

Are you actually creating time for fitness? It takes scheduling ahead and treating your workout like an appointment. If you had a doctor’s appointment or a dental appointment, you’d definitely make it, even if it was just for a check-up. You need to make your exercise time an appointment with fitness. If you don’t, you’ll find that the day gets in the way and you never make it.

The excuse that you can’t afford to pay for a gym or a personal trainer is just that, an excuse.

Don’t get me wrong. I firmly believe that working with a trainer is far more advantageous than working out on your own. Working out in a gym can be an easier way to have access to all the fitness tools. However, to get fit, you don’t need to go to a trainer or go to a gym. I believe fitness is so important you should never let money stop you. It costs nothing to workout at home and if that is what fits your budget, you need to do it. I’m in the business because I love helping people get fit. If you do it on your own that’s good too. Just start working out!

  • Some people worry about how they’ll look when they start working out. They worry others will make fun of them. Don’t let that worry you. Everyone feels awkward at first.
  • Don’t worry that you can’t keep up with others. That’s an excuse that doesn’t work when you workout with a personal trainer. You’ll always be working within your capabilities.
  • Eating healthy doesn’t have to be hard. Just focus on eating fewer processed foods and more whole foods at first. Make sure you have healthy snacks available.
  • It doesn’t have to take long hours or a lot of money to eat healthier. Planning ahead and making meals ahead can save both money and time.

Get Tangible Results With Your Workout

Get Tangible Results With Your Workout

People who workout, do so to get results. While there may be some people who go to the gym as a pastime or for social reasons, most people want to look and feel better. Just sitting on an exercise bike pedaling lightly as though you’re making a short ride through the park won’t get you where you want to be if results are what you’re hoping to achieve. It takes work and consistency to get results. One hard workout a month is definitely not enough to give you the endurance or strength that most people want from their exercise program.

A good workout pushes your heart rate and tests your cardiovascular system.

Yes, any exercise is far better than no exercise at all, but not all workouts are equal. When you push your muscles to do things you haven’t achieved, you’ll get far more results than doing an easy workout you’re comfortable doing. If your heartrate isn’t increased when you’re working out, you won’t get the cardiovascular benefits that provide you with more endurance. Go for the gusto to see results. Challenge yourself with weightlifting and cardio that pushes your heartrate.

There’s a reason that sayings and clichés are so popular. They’re true.

Use it or lose it. If it doesn’t challenge you it doesn’t change you. Train insane or remain the same. In order to change you have to do something different. These are all things you may hear in the gym and they’re all true. Exercise and working out hard has been known to be important throughout history. Plato wrote, “Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it.” In order to achieve what you want physically, you have to push yourself. If you’re looking for more modern philosophy about exercise, try a quote from Cher, ” Fitness — if it came in a bottle, everybody would have a great body.”

Be honest about your effort and true to your goals for results.

If you’re not seeing the results you want, you need to ask yourself whether you’re working as hard as you should be. You need to take a look at your diet, since you can’t out-exercise a poor diet and it’s necessary for the building blocks to a healthy body. Can you honestly say you’ve stuck with your workout schedule and are doing all the things right, including getting adequate sleep.

  • It takes more than just working out and eating healthy to be fit. You have to watch what you drink. Get lots of hydration from water and cut out the alcohol and soft drinks.
  • If you’re trying to shed pounds, start building discipline muscle and push yourself away from the table, unless the table is packed with whole foods that are healthy for you.
  • Every week try to do a little more than you could do the week earlier. If you’re lifting weights, lift to failure. If you’re jumping rope, push yourself to go a little faster.
  • There are no pills or supplements that substitute for consistent effort, a healthy diet and hard work.

Defend Yourself AND Burn Calories

Defend Yourself AND Burn Calories

Boxing is a great way to learn how to defend yourself, while you burn calories. People come to our gym in Stamford, CT with one goal in mind. It’s either to learn how to box and the art of self-defense, or to shed those extra pounds. After they’ve worked out a while, they realize they get a bonus. Those who want to learn self-defense, get ripped and lose weight. Those who wanted to lose weight, find they love their new found skill and want to get better.

Boxing burns more calories than many other sports.

Those who decided to turn to boxing as their preferred weight loss technique do so because it’s an effective calorie burner. While running will help you burn calories, boxing can help you burn even more. Not only is it tough when you’re sparring, you have to prepare you body to box with warm up exercises like jumping rope, calisthenics and sparring putting a torch to calories in the process.

Unlike running, boxing builds muscle tissue.

One of the pitfalls of running, compared to boxing, is that it doesn’t discriminate from where the energy calories come. Running great distances actually burns muscle tissue and fat to produce the necessary energy. When you’re boxing, you’re building muscle tissue at the same time you’re expending energy. Since muscle tissue requires more calories for maintenance than fat tissue does, the more muscle tissue you have, the more calories you’ll burn even at rest.

Boxing can provide the tools that can help you win, even when the fight isn’t on a level playing field.

In real life, there’s seldom a level playing field when it comes to self-defense. The attacker may be bigger, there may be more than one or he or she may have the element of surprise. Boxing can anyone defend themselves by providing the ability to hit a moving target by improving hand-eye coordination. It offers training in footwork that aids in avoiding an attacker or hitting them with a well-directed, well-timed blow. You develop the power to knock out with both hands using various techniques delivered at different angles and ranges. Boxing teaches you to fight with passion and aggression, being able to take a hit and use defensive moves to avoid them.

  • When you practice boxing, you boost both your anaerobic and aerobic capacity. That’s important for both burning calories and self-defense.
  • Unlike other forms of exercise to burn calories, you learn a skill and the knowledge that the skill can help you overcome an attacker, even if he or she is stronger than you.
  • Boxing gives you the confidence to face someone bigger than you and the courage to walk away from a less skilled harasser that you could wipe out in seconds.
  • That new confidence from achieving a fit body makes you look victorious and not like a victim at all. You’ll be far less likely to be attacked, since people who do that, at heart are cowards.

Working Out While Traveling

Working Out While Traveling

If you’re away from Stamford, CT, it doesn’t matter whether you’ve traveled to relatives, are enjoying yourself on a sandy beach or enduring a conference, it’s not a reason to let your efforts to be fit slide. While working out while traveling isn’t always easy, it’s not impossible either. You have to plan for it, rather than just hope there’s a way to make it happen. Just like sticking with a healthy diet is important every day, so is keeping up a schedule of regular workouts.

Consider taking a gym with you.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you really take a gym with you, but can mean taking some exercise equipment that’s particularly easy to carry and small. Consider resistance bands tucked nicely into your luggage. They’re light, small and great for working out in a small hotel or motel room. Jump ropes, core sliders and Monkey bars are all equipment that can fit in your suitcase or car without taking much more room than the now antiquated roadmap.

Grab an exercise mat and do some body weight exercises.

Of course, people were fit long before there were gyms everywhere. You don’t need a lot of machines to help you. Body weight exercises are a perfect workout and require no equipment, unless you want a mat for the floor…just in case the cleaning crew for your hotel room wasn’t nearly as thorough as it should have been. Part of the workout at the gym is bodyweight training, so you already know many of the exercises.

Check ahead and see if the hotel has a gym in it.

If you really insist on using traditional gym equipment, there’s no reason to panic. Many of the hotels and motels across the country offer gym use as part of their room cost. If you can’t find one that does, consider going aquatic. See if they have a pool and do some swimercising. It can be a nice change of pace and something the whole family can do together.

  • Choose to go on foot whenever you can. Walking is still a great form of exercise and a full day of walking will wear you out in ways you’ve never imagined.
  • Opt for an active vacation if you have a choice. While walking and sightseeing are a great idea for exercise, consider rock climbing, surfing and bicycling, just to name a few options. The more active you are on your vacation, the less you have to worry about getting in that gym style workout.
  • Pay just as close attention to what you eat as how or when you workout. Keep it healthy on a vacation, there’s often loads of choices. You’ll notice the difference in how you feel almost immediately when you opt for unhealthy ones.
  • Stay hydrated. That’s the best tip of all. Keep bottled water on hand every minute of your trip away. If you’re going for business, just make sure you’re hydrated before and after a workout.

Is Yoga Good For Weight Loss

Is Yoga Good For Weight Loss

I’m always glad to hear when people try different types of workouts. Variety is the spice of life and also a reason many people opt for boxing at our Stamford, CT gym. Yoga provides other help for weight loss, while still burning calories, just fewer than those of regular workouts. The classes are often longer than other types of workouts, so it’s not as intense of a workout, yet a calorie burning experience. There are forms of yoga that are extremely grueling, like Bikram or Vinyasa Flow yoga that burn between 477 and 594 calories an hour.

Yoga can make you more aware of your body and its needs.

Yoga promotes and inward focus. It can help you be more aware of not only your body, but also its needs. It often helps people become more self-aware of what they’re eating and how it affects their body, whether or not they’re really hungry and if they’ve satisfied that hunger. This is helpful for those who were raised as members of the plate cleaner’s club or feel the need to eat because the clock says it’s time, even if they are not hungry. That in itself is a huge help for weight loss.

Yoga can help you eat slower.

There’s a lot to be said about how fast or slow people eat and the effect it has on their weight. Eating slower gives the body time to signal the brain that it’s time to stop eating. Yoga makes people more mindful of eat bite, often slowing the eating process and enjoying the flavor of each bite. In this way, it allows the brain to catch up with the body and experience satiation before the overeating occurs. That’s a huge aid to weight loss.

Yoga can help you deal with stress.

Stress is often a common factor in overeating. It can lead you to seek out sugary treats, simple carbs and high calorie foods that are often comfort foods. Yoga is a big help when it comes to dealing with stress. Many of the breathing techniques can be used on the spot when stress occurs, nipping it in the bud immediately, rather than waiting to work off the stress at the gym later.

  • No matter what form of exercise you choose, whether it’s boxing, traditional workouts, yoga or a combination of those, doing it on a consistent basis is what gets the best results.
  • Yoga is complementary to boxing. It’s the thoughtful mental quiet and flexibility training that can add to the flexibility training and strength training of boxing. Doing both enhances different aspects of your fitness program.
  • To use only yoga as a weight loss program, you need to find a class that is challenging and one that makes your heart rate increase if you want the most for your workout time.
  • No matter what exercise program you select, it has to be combined with a healthy diet for weight loss to occur.

The Importance Of Protein Plus Fiber

The Importance Of Protein Plus Fiber

If you’ve been eating healthy, you know that protein is an important addition to your diet. Fiber is too. However, eating protein plus fiber can be a real boon to weight loss. Whether you’re eating the two together in a main meal or as a snack, you’ll feel fuller, even if the calorie count is far lower than other meals or snacks. That feeling of satiety can help you shed extra pounds without feeling deprived and makes it far easier to shed pounds.

A diet high in protein is proven to help weight loss.

There were studies on the best way to lose weight comparing a diet high in protein or one high in fiber. While fiber was very good for people with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, protein won out when it came to losing the most pounds. The reason was the boost the metabolism that protein offered. A diet high in protein also filled you up and that feeling of fullness lasted longer. Protein also increases thermogenesis, that’s the heat your body makes. It takes calories to do that, so you’ll boost your metabolism with protein.

So what does fiber do for weight loss?

Fiber also makes you feel fuller. The body can’t digest it, so it provides bulk and takes up space in the stomach. Since you can’t digest fiber, there’s no calories coming from it. There are two types of fiber, soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber adds bulk, while soluble fiber does, too, but it does it differently. It absorbs liquid, turns to a gel and that gel makes you feel fuller, while slowing down digestion and releasing energy more slowly.

Why do them in combination?

You’ll get the benefit of both. Some foods are not only high in fiber, they’re also high in protein, so you don’t have to create odd combinations or work very hard to get the best results. One study shows that protein from plant sources is an excellent way to increase protein intake. Plant sources include nuts, seeds and whole grains. Luckily these are also high in fiber, so you get both of these potent weight loss food sources in one food.

  • The increased protein and fiber means blood sugar levels remain more stable, so there’s fewer sudden spikes, followed by huge dips. That can prevent those sugar cravings that occur when you crash.
  • If you’re exercising while you’re trying to shed pounds, the protein will help you boost your muscle development. The more muscle you have, the easier it is to lose weight, since muscle tissue requires more calories to maintain.
  • Some simple snacks that combine fiber and protein include eating an apple with nut butter, a handful of nuts, Greek yogurt with berries or a slice of cheese stuffed in a celery stick.
  • Based on your weight and level of activity, you need approximately 46 to 56 grams of protein each day and 25 to 35 grams of fiber.

Do You Have A Healthy Gut

Do You Have A Healthy Gut

If you’re like many of my clients here in Stamford, CT, you want to do what it takes to stay fit and healthy. You exercise regularly and eat a well balanced whole food diet, plus get adequate hydration and a good night’s sleep. There’s a lot of talk lately about the benefits of having a healthy gut to supplement a fitness program. Luckily, many of the things my clients are already doing are part of the program to assure a healthy digestive and elimination system.

What is good gut health?

You may think you’re alone in life, but guess what, you’re walking around with groups of microbes living inside you. You have trillions of microorganisms living inside you or around you. One estimate of the amount is about 100 trillion. If they all huddled together on a scale, there’s an estimate that bacteria could weigh a pound or two. In the gut alone there are between 300 and 1,000 different species with about 30 to 40 species making up the bulk of the microbes. The bacteria help digest food and make certain nutrients during digestion and makes them available to their human host available. Without gut bacteria, no matter how much you ate, you’d die of malnutrition.

Signs of an unhealthy gut vary.

There are various studies that link poor gut health to autoimmune disease, mood disorders, mental health issues, cancer, skin conditions, general health issues and food intolerance. Sleep disorders can be linked to an unhealthy gut and unintentional weight changes, both gaining and losing, without changing overall diet. If you’re a sugar addict, it’s not only the cause of poor gut health, it’s also a result. Eating sugar can create an imbalance that leads to cravings for sugar. Of course, digestive issues are always a leading issue with poor gut health.

Taking probiotics may help, but there other things you can do, too.

The problem with taking probiotics, is that you don’t always know what bacteria you need and which you’re missing. However, eating fermented food like kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut and yogurt (with live cultures) helps. Studies show high fiber foods do, too. Garlic and onion also may be beneficial, just as collagen boosting foods, like bone broth and mushrooms.

  • Lower your stress level with exercise or meditation and breathing exercises. You’ll benefit your body in a number of ways besides just dealing with stress. Stress takes its toll on all parts of the body, including the gut.
  • Get plenty of sleep and stay hydrated. Just like eating sugar leads to sugar cravings, getting inadequate sleep can lead to poor gut health and insomnia. Staying hydrated boosts gut health.
  • Avoid highly processed foods and stick with whole foods with lots of fiber. Many studies show that fiber can help boost beneficial bacteria in your gut.
  • Eat slowly and chew, chew, chew. The slower you eat and the more digestion that takes place in your mouth, the less digestive disturbances you’ll have. That can lead you on the road to better gut health.