So yesterday at work one of the other trainers asked me a few “would you rather…” questions.
One was about which piece of equipment I would choose from the gym as a weapon if a zombie apocalypse happened…
And the other was about which I would rather give up, nuts or dairy.
Which got me to thinking, isn’t a healthy lifestyle really all about “would you rather?”
I mean think about it…If you could eat whatever your favorite food is every day and look and feel great and be healthy, wouldn’t you? Would you really eat vegetables or cut out gluten and processed foods if you didn’t have to?
BUT that isn’t reality.
The reality of it is you are always playing a sort of “would you rather” game. Would you rather eat that pint of ice cream and feel crappy later or eat a natural, whole foods meal and feel energized and good later?
Would you rather eat pizza and chips and not perform well or eat a burger without a bun and a salad and get in a great workout?
I personally would rather eat well and feel great, be healthy and perform well. That is why I eat well most of the time. Plus I do find that I enjoy all of the whole natural foods that I eat. I love grass-fed beef and fish and fruits and veggies (especially cauliflower for some reason haha).
BUT there are those cheat days when I WOULD RATHER indulge and even risk feeling super crappy the next day than eat healthy.
Eating well is a choice and sometimes it isn’t always an easy choice. When you are stressed or pressed for time or put into situations where the EASIEST thing to do is cheat, you are more tempted to just give in without really thinking about the consequences of your choices (and how you will feel tomorrow about them).
Eating well and working out isn’t easy (yes it is easier for some people than for others), but it is a choice.
So think about it…What would you rather do?
So I definitely have solid views on nutrition, but I actually don’t vocalize them as much as you would think considering I rant and rave all the time about them here.
If someone asks me my opinion, I will tell them what I personally think.
Like yesterday, the volleyball girls asked me about post-exercise nutrition.
My answer? Eat a lean protein source and a simple carb. Those will be quickly absorbed by your body and used as fuel.
When asked what counted as a lean protein source or simple carb, I answered…
Turkey, chicken, whey protein, rice, potatoes, fruit.
Notice I didn’t say no gluten. Notice I didn’t say no protein bars. (Heck notice I didn’t even say, “Well honestly, I don’t even worry about pre and post workout nutrition…That is something that really only a top few elite competitors/athletes/bodybuilders need to worry about…That the most important thing truly is to eat a whole, natural food diet throughout the day and make sure you are eating when you are hungry!)
I simply listed things I believed are good – things that I would eat.
When asked specifically about bread or gluten or processed foods, I usually say, “Well I don’t believe in eating those things, but there are other people who do x, y and z and it works for them.”
I will almost always present the other side. (Except of course for here where I get to rant about the other side! YESSSS!)
Because it isn’t up to me what you choose. I can provide you with information about my reasons for my decisions, but I can’t tell you what is right.
Because it is a gamble. There are literally thousands of studies and people on both sides of the fat/gluten/carb/vegetarian fence.
Which side you decide to pick is ultimately up to you.
I’ve picked a side and am constantly doing research to make sure that I know WHY I make the decisions that I do.
Anyway, the reason I thought about all of this is because I’m writing up a “10 Healthy Lifestyle Tips” for this Heart Healthy Expo Jeff and I are going to tomorrow.
I was reading through a lot of the different heart-healthy tip things online and I couldn’t bring myself to provide people with recipes or tips that included canola oil and other such crap as healthy.
So below are the 10 Heart Healthy Lifestyle Tips I came up with. I managed to make the tips stay pretty darn mainstream WITHOUT going against my beliefs. I didn’t say not to eat whole grains…I just most definitely didn’t say to do it!!!
- Eat whole, natural foods and cut back on processed, pre-packaged food items. Processed foods are loaded with sugars and bad fats that cause inflammation.
- Use healthy fats such as olive oils, coconut oils and naturally-raised animal fats INSTEAD OF canola and soybean oils, which cause inflammation because they are loaded with omega-6s.
- Cut back on sugar and consume more complex carbohydrates especially fruits and vegetables, which are rich in vitamins and minerals that protect our health.
- Cook more meals. No matter how healthy the restaurant meal supposedly is, it never measures up to a home-cooked meal. Even with our busy schedules and long workdays, we can fit in time to cook. It just takes some planning. Find meals, like casseroles and crockpot recipes, which allow you to make huge portions all at once so that you have leftovers for all those busy days when you don’t have time to cook!
- Plan in some “me time.” Too much stress can negatively impact our health. It is important to take some time each day. This can mean going for a walk with friends, reading a book or anything that allows you to relax for even just 5 minutes at the end of your day.
- Get more sleep! Those who average five or fewer hours of sleep per night have a far higher incidence of “silent” heart disease. In a study done, 27% of those who slept five hours or less per night developed calcifications that can signal heart disease after five years, compared to just 6% of those who slept an average of seven hours or more.
- Do 30 minutes of low intensity aerobic activity (walking, hiking, swimming, chasing after your kids on the playground) 2-3 times per week. Low intensity aerobic activity helps to strengthen our heart and burn fat.
- “Sprint” once a week. To sprint means to do short, intense activity once a week where you get your heart rate up and then let it recover before you go again. The intensity of your sprint will be dependent on your fitness level. A sprint should be between 8-20 seconds of intense work followed by a long period of rest (2 to 5 times the amount work).
- Lift weights! Too often we ignore weight training when it comes to heart health, but strength training is important! Resistance training has been shown to decrease heart rate and blood pressure while improving cholesterol levels and glucose metabolism. All of which result in a healthier heart! Add in weight training 2-3 times per week.
- Skip the two a days! More time in the gym doesn’t always equal better health. Overtraining can actually have negative effects on your health. Your workouts don’t need to be more than an hour especially if they are super intense. So don’t worry about how long you workout for – focus on your intensity!
NOTE: I am not ashamed of my beliefs, but I do believe that sometimes if you are too vocal upon first conversation with someone who you can actually get them to shut down and complete tune out all of the good stuff you are saying. Sometimes if you ease people into the unknown they are more accepting of the things you have to say!
I’ve been asked this question numerous times recently when I’ve been lifting and have wanted to give up.
It always manages to amp me up just enough to push hard until the end even when I thought I had nothing left to give.
It even got me through my workout on Friday – and I literally almost skipped the workout because my body was just so tired.
I was bruised and beaten down. Just about every muscle was sore. I was on the verge of being completely overtrained.
And I talk a lot about NOT overtraining. But there are some points where you just have to give everything you’ve got and more.
There are going to be the rare times, like when training for competition, when you might have to overload your body to really get the results you want.
This overload isn’t prolonged. At most it is a couple of weeks. But still…those weeks leave you feeling destroyed and sometimes even emotionally drained.
But you push through knowing that the harder you work, the bigger the payoff in the end.
You push yourself because you know this isn’t the norm.
You fight even when you want to give up.
You prove how bad you want it.
Now I ask you, when is the last time you wanted something so bad that you fought through sweat, blood and tears?
When was the last time you pushed until you really had nothing left to give?
Well than maybe you just haven’t yet found something worth fighting for.
In my opinion though, being fit and strong and healthy is sometimes worth the pain. It is worth sometimes feeling like the odd man out because you aren’t indulging in junk food at the party. It is worth sometimes going to the gym even when you just want to go home.
It is worth a little sweat, blood and tears.
Do you love talking about health and fitness?
Do you love to find the latest trend and read about it and go all gung-ho for like three days and give up?
I feel like over the past few years I’ve met a ton of people who seem to like TALKING about healthy eating and working out, but that DON’T actually do it.
And those are the same people who wonder why they aren’t getting results.
Sorry but talking about being healthy doesn’t make you health.
You’ve got to actually WORK AT IT.
You’ve got to PRACTICE what you preach.
I don’t sit on the couch eating chips and bread as I tell you to eat only meat and veggies.
I don’t ask anyone to do something that I haven’t done before or am not willing to do myself.
I don’t try a new diet or workout program AND RAVE ABOUT IT only to give up on it a few days later.
Every guideline, every recipe, every workout or tip I’ve written about I’ve tried…And believed in.
As with everything, I’ve evolved. I haven’t given up…I’ve just found better ways of doing things.
So what I’m saying is…
For one, you’ve got to actually give something a try. You can’t just get all pumped about a new diet and talk about it to everyone. And rave about how great it is going for the first week only to give up because of some dumb excuse the next week.
For two, once you give something a try…like really give it a chance to find out if it works, you CAN’T stick with it after it has PROVEN not to work for you.
Basically I’m telling you that you can’t just talk about being healthy or rave about something that isn’t getting you results.
And if you want results, you’ve got to give your diet and exercise experiments a chance to prove if they work. At least a month is needed of strict adherence to know if that program works for you.
On the flip side, if you want results, you also can’t stick with something that you’ve tried and hasn’t work. You can’t just stick with something because it worked for someone else. Don’t just keep following something like a drone. Think about it!
Anyway, the point is that you won’t get results by just talking about being healthy. You’ve actually got to go after it. You’ve got to try things…and I mean really try them. You’ve got to find things that work and things that don’t work and you’ve got to keep growing and evolving.
So stop talking about getting fit and start DOING IT!
Holidays are usually full of partying and bad food. The question is, “Do you cheat or do you stick to your diet?”
Both can work. And frankly what I do depends on the holiday.
On holidays where BBQ is common, like Memorial Day, the fourth of July and Labor Day, I find it very easy to stick to my diet.
So I do.
BUT on holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Ryan or my birthday, I find it much harder to eat well.
I don’t believe in all of those tips to keep the fat off during the winter holiday seasons. I mean seriously…get a smaller plate so you don’t eat as much?!?!
I would much rather just eat badly with family on those days and then go right back to my diet afterwards. I would much rather eat super clean before the holidays and super clean afterwards than deprive myself of food in a social environment that has so much meaning for me.
I don’t like having feelings of deprivation. That is why I eat the diet that I do!
So if I think I’ll feel like I missed out, I indulge. A little indulgence one day could keep me from binge eating for the next week or so.
But it is really up to you. The question I always ask myself way in advance is, “Will I feel like I missed out enough to make me want to cheat for the entire week after or will I be satisfied eating well?”
In Boston, all too often Ryan and I would spend time together by watching TV or a movie. We would do active things together, but not near as frequently as we should have.
Since moving to Cali, we’ve spent so much more time together doing active things – even just activities such as walking around a farmers market together.
There is something about being ACTIVE together that brings you even closer together. There is a bonding that goes on when you DO things together.
Like yesterday…We did a quick workout together then got some coffee and walked about 4 miles on the beach, watching the waves. We later put together some furniture. All active things. All times to bond.
There is just something about the bonding that happens during physical activity that is so different from the bonding that happens at any other time.
That is why I encourage all of my clients, friends and family to DO things together. Go paddleboarding. Go rock climbing. Go for a hike or jog or even do a workout together!
Yea there may be some competition when you do a workout with your spouse, friend or family member, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
The fact that you are overcoming a challenge together will bring you closer. The fact that you are both talking and playing together while getting endorphins from the exercise will bring you closer.
Playing together will help you develop a stronger bond. A healthier relationship. And a healthier you.
So today…go play with your family and friends!
If you’ve ever pushed or pulled a sled, you know it is perfectly wonderful torture.
Tonight Ryan came in to the gym for a workout and I started our workout out with a sled pull (pull the sled toward you by pulling a long rope in) and then pushing it back to the starting position. (This was made even more torturous by the fact that you then had to bear crawl backwards back to the beginning.)
BUT tonight I’m not going to discuss how torturous the bear crawl was. I’m going to discuss the torture and the benefit of pushing and pulling a sled.
If you want to develop strength and power in your legs, you should be doing sled pushes. If you want to strengthen your core and your upper body, you should be doing sled pushes. Sled pulls are great too for the upper body, core and even the legs.
The sled helps you develop POWER and STRENGTH. AND it also helps you develop great ACCELERATION and SPEED.
Corey, one of the owners and trainers at Innovative Results, posted this article about sled training to our Facebook group a few weeks back and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.
It is a very functional tool that can work your entire body.
So why aren’t you doing workouts with the sled?!?!
Add this circuit into your next routine:
5 rounds with a challenging weight on the sled:
Sled pull toward you for 20 ft.
Push it back to the starting position (20ft)
Then bear crawl backwards to your starting position at the rope (20ft)
I hate this question.
To me this question means, “I don’t like to work hard and have given up in the past and want you to have some secret that will make me better almost instantly.”
Do you think I am reading too much into this statement.
Not one bit.
When people ask this question, it means they really aren’t ready to commit to all of the hard work, dedication and time it will take to reach their goals. They aren’t willing to sacrifice or really change anything that they are currently doing.
I never ask how long will it take me. I sometimes think, “Ok how long should this take me or what is a realistic time-table.” But never how long will it take me.
The more I think about the question, the more I hate it.
And usually I respond back to the person, “Well how hard are you willing to work and how dedicated will you stay to the program when I’m not there.”
I usually get a whole bunch of “Uhmmmm” and “I don’t know” and “How hard will it be?”
Honestly, that to me means that you won’t achieve your goals unless we change your attitude.
Accomplishing any goal is HARD WORK. It usually takes time and a clearly laid out plan. It will involve a lot of ups and downs and times when you want to just give up.
I mean do you ever really achieve your goal and go “Well I’m done. Back to not working out and eating badly.”
I most certainly hope not!
Most health and fitness goals don’t have a set end date. They are ongoing.
So please don’t ask how long it will take to get you to your goals. Set and goal and lay out a plan. Work each and every day toward that goal in some small way.
And guess what?
You’ll get there when you get there but you’ll feel good every day knowing that you are working toward something that matters. You’ll feel good knowing that you were willing to sacrifice and work hard!
I haven’t posted a recipe in a while. Unfortunately, I haven’t been doing as much cooking as I had planned to since Ryan and I are staying with his very wonderful, generous and hospitable family until our lease starts.
So since I’m not always in control of cooking the dinners, there are always temptations around.
And unfortunately, I am human.
I don’t find it necessarily a sacrifice to forgo the flour tortillas or the bun on the burger, but boy do I have a hard time passing up guacamole and chips, homemade baked goods or frozen yogurt.
There are just certain trigger foods that you just can’t seem to ever resist.
And I’ve been indulging, in my opinion, way too often.
So yesterday Ryan and I made a pact to eat completely Primally this next week with no small indulgences.
Maybe this works for me because I’m competitive, but committing to eat well with someone else always seems to motivate me. I don’t want to cheat because I don’t want to let the other person down and because I don’t want to “lose” the bet.
By committing to eat well with Ryan, I’ve not only gained a support system to help me achieve my goals but I’ve also made myself RESPONSIBLE for being someone else’s support system. By eating well together, we have found a way to hold not only ourselves, but also each other, ACCOUNTABLE.
There are many ways you can hold yourself accountable.
Telling other people about your goals is one way.
BUT I’ve found that telling other people works even better if you can get them INVOLVED in helping you accomplish your goals.
When people are involved in helping you accomplish your goals, they are much more likely to stay on top of you to achieve them. Also, if you can get them to try to accomplish the same goals, you then have even more RESPONSIBILITY toward them.
For instance, with Ryan and I both working to eat perfectly Primal this week, I won’t want to eat badly because then he will know I failed AND because I don’t want to eat badly and tempt him to then cheat as well.
The accountability along with the added responsibility of helping him achieve his own goals keeps me on track to achieve mine.
So next time you attempt to achieve something that maybe you’ve failed at accomplishing before, get a friend or family member to work toward the same goal with you! Holding yourself accountable and making yourself responsible are key to achieving your goals!