Category Archives: Physical Health (Exercise)

Physical Fitness, Exercise

Motivation Monday! – Reasons to Exercise

me getting my sweat on at the park!

me getting my ’30 minutes in’ at the park!

Welcome to Motivation Monday!

Finding the motivation to exercise can be REALLY tough.  Everyone is so busy and tired these days.  With everything going on in our day-to-day lives, finding the time to squeeze in physical fitness often takes a back burner to just about anything else – but it shouldn’t.

Many people think about exercising as a method to lose weight and it absolutely is.  But there are SO many more extremely important reasons to stay fit and healthy other than to improve physical appearance.  So even if you’re not over weight, EVERYONE should be making exercise a priority in order to live their best and healthiest life, now and in the future.

Exercise can literally be life changing.  Below I have provided links focusing on some of the best reasons to stay fit!  If you’re not already getting enough exercise, I hope the below information can nudge you in the right direction!  If you are already exercising, this information will hopefully give you all the motivation you need to keep going!

In case you were wondering how much exercise is enough, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that adults “engage in moderate-intensity physical activity for at least 30 minutes on five or more days of the week,” or “engage in vigorous-intensity physical activity for at least 20 minutes on three or more days of the week”.

GREAT REASONS TO EXERCISE!

#1 – Exercising has been proven to reduce your chances of getting many types of cancer including BREAST CANCER.

http://www.livescience.com/35164-exercise-reduces-risk-some-cancer.html

http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/obesity/physical-activity-fact-sheet

#2 – I LOVE this link!  The 10 reasons to exercise, besides losing weight, listed in this link are more than enough to motivate me to exercise regularly!!

http://lifehacker.com/top-10-reasons-to-exercise-regularly-besides-losing-we-1473616982

http://greatist.com/grow/reasons-exercise-and-eat-right

#3 – Exercise can be used as an ‘anti-depressant’!.  I find this fascinating and this is by far THE #1 reason that I exercise!  Depression affects nearly 19 million adults each year.  To avoid being one of them, I exercise regularly.  I’ve been off antidepressants now for 7 years and counting (:

http://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/exercise-and-depression-report-excerpt

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/brain-bootcamp/201009/can-exercise-cure-depression

#4 – Lastly, the below link gives the top 6 EXCUSES people give for not exercising and how we you can move past them!  NO MORE EXCUSES!!!

http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/guide/the-top-6-exercise-excuses-and-how-to-beat-them

How to Get/Stay Motivated!?

What works best for me is consistent routine.  I take spin classes, cardio step classes, sculpting/weight training classes and I play squash once a week.  I do the same things at the same times every week at my local recreation centre.   The classes are all included in the membership!  Now my body and brain are used to it and I’m MUCH less likely to talk myself out of something that I’m already mentally committed to.

Pick the days and times you want to exercise and mark them down for the week.  GET A ROUTINE GOING.  If possible, take classes you really enjoy every week at your local gym/recreation centre.  Signing up for a class motivates you to ‘keep your appointment’ and allows someone else to do the mental motivation for you.  All you have to do is show up and do what the instructor tells you!  It’s the ONLY way I manage to stay consistent.

Another great motivator is having support from friends.  If possible, recruit a friend or family member to exercise with you!   I have a really good like-minded friend who takes almost all the same classes as me.  I look forward to seeing her each day/week.  We also keep each other accountable and support one another in our fitness goals.  It makes it a lot easier to get to the gym 4 days a week!  A good support system is hugely motivating!

The most important thing is finding something you enjoy or you won’t be motivated to keep going.  Lastly, don’t set your expectations too high and don’t exercise just for the purpose of weight loss.  Remind yourself it’s for SO MANY other reasons and ANY amount of exercise is better than none at all.  Just START SOMEWHERE and work from there.  Set small, achievable goals so you won’t get discouraged and give up.  EVERY.  STEP.  COUNTS!

Have a wonderful, healthy, happy week and keep moving!

Motivation Monday (Featured Muscle Group – Thighs)

images

Welcome to Motivation Monday! Last weeks featured muscle group was the glutes.

This week I’m focusing on links that give great exercise tips for toning the thigh muscles!  As a very short woman (barely over 5 feet tall!) my legs have always been an area of my body that bothered me.  I gain all my weight in my bum and thighs so when I’m even 5 or 10 pounds over my ideal body weight I end up a larger lower body that’s disproportionate to my smaller upper body (also referred to as ‘pear shaped’).  I’m not trying to go for the ‘thigh gap’ or anything.  I’m 37 years old don’t have any desire to have the body of a 16 year old, thank you very much.  But I do need to work on my butt and thighs to keep them from looking like bags of jello.  Instead of a ‘spare tire’ around my middle I sort of have one under my bum. Damn you short legs!  Haha.

We all have to make the most of the bodies we were given.  Like most people, I have areas of mine that I like less than others, to put it nicely.  Instead of whining about it, I’m trying to make the most of what I have.  The older I get, the harder the battle is going to be so I’m setting myself up now in order to not have to work so hard later on.  Maintaining my body will be a LOT easier than trying to improve my body in my late 30’s and into my 40’s!!

#1:  I really liked this link from Fitness Magazine for Top 10 thigh exercises!  I do a lot of these already during the sculpting classes I take but some of these I can do at home when I’m watching TV or at the park when I’m with the kids!  The bonus here is that almost all of them work your butt at the same time as your thighs!

http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/workout/thighs/exercises/top-thigh-exercises/?page=9

#2:  I really liked the below video!  I enjoyed this girls personality and her workout is great.

http://www.jessicasmithtv.com/video_posts/how-to-slim-saddlebags-beat-inner-thigh-bulge/

#3:  http://www.shape.com/celebrities/star-trainers/3-butt-and-thigh-moves-celebrity-trainers-swear

#4:  http://www.shape.com/fitness/workouts/top-10-new-exercises-thinner-thighs

#5:  Pinterest is a great place to find stuff about pretty much ANYTHING you’re into!

https://www.pinterest.com/explore/back-thigh-workouts/

Have a great week and make sure you’re getting 30 – 60 minutes of some form of exercise 3 to 5 days a week!  

 

 

 

Motivation Monday! (Featured muscle group: Glutes!)

Tight Tush - Motivation

Today I’m starting a Weekly Monday Post entitled ‘Motivation Monday‘.  I have endless tips and ideas for different exercises, but in all honesty, there are already a gazillion other sites out there dedicated to fitness.  SO, I can either spend my time summarizing/plagiarizing all the things I read/learn about, OR I can do even better and just send direct links so you can go right to the source without having to do the searching yourself!  You’re welcome!  Haha.

I’m not getting any younger (if you are, PLEASE share your secret!!), and gravity is a bitch (that’s the nicest word I could think of), so exercising those glutes it imperative to maintaining a nice firm ‘lifted’ bum.

This week I’m going to focus on incorporating NEW butt exercises into my routine because the body very quickly adapts to whatever exercise you’re doing and your muscles have to work less and less the more you do the same thing.  Less work = less results.  Keep switching it up to keep your muscles guessing and working hard for you.  Changing up the routine = stronger muscles and more calories burned!

glute work

Below were some great links for glute work!

I like this link because it has video for each exercise so it’s easy to learn.   Also, you don’t need weights, so you can do this exercise while watching TV, hanging at the park or even while you’re reading a magazine!  Now that’s multi-tasking!

http://www.cosmopolitan.com/health-fitness/advice/a28978/9-butt-moves-that-beat-squats/

Also check out:

http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/workout/butt/exercises/our-top-10-exercises-to-tone-your-butt/

I did the below exercises to try it out and make sure they were effective enough to repost.  I had to cancel my cardio class the next day because my butt hurt so much (that’s a GOOD thing!).  Haha.   I like how you can follow along step by step in real time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFlH8XJsF7Y

Hope you find these links helpful and/or motivating!  Have a great week and make sure to set aside at least 20 – 60 minutes 3 or 4 times a week for exercise of ANY kind!!

Laura

 

The family that plays together stays healthy together!

playing at park with Cassius

A while back I was at the park with my two kids and I noticed something that made me pause and take note.  As I looked around, I realized that almost every single adult there was on their phone instead of engaging with their children.  Unfortunately, I have been guilty of this many times as well.  Usually a trip to the park is a chance to get my kids out for some exercise and fresh air while I get some much deserved time to myself.  After all, the park can be  incredibly boring for an adult.  There’s only so much watching my kids go down the slide I can handle.  So I turn to my phone to keep me entertained.

But that day I had left my phone at home by mistake.  So when my kid saw me looking at him instead of looking at my phone, he took the opportunity to ask me to help him on the monkey bars.  That turned in to me trying out the monkey bars, and that led to a 20 minute game of tag with both my boys – and about 6 other kids who had seen us playing and spontaneously joined in.  It turned out that once I was up and moving I didn’t mind it as much as I thought I would.

Before I knew it, over an hour had passed and I had spent the entire time engaging my children and laughing AND GETTING EXERCISE.  I’ve never seen them so happy at the park and when we got home they were content and relaxed and left me alone since I had already spent so much quality time with them.  I was able to make dinner in peace!

I didn’t know who had gotten more out of our day at the park; them or me.  I felt great.  I realized that in the future I could either sit around where ever we were and be disengaged and bored, or I could join in to whatever they were doing and be fully present.  And so, the next time we went to the park, I decided to wear my gym clothes so I could play with them without caring if I got sweaty or dirty; and I brought water and healthy snacks to ensure I had enough energy.  (Doing this really helped put me in a mental state where I was ready to move).  I even brought a yoga mat so I could sit under a tree and do some stretches before we played.  I felt content and in the moment.  It was a beautiful summer day.  I was with my kids.  I felt happy.  I felt proud of myself.

Once I got moving, I wanted to keep moving.  I was doing planks, push-ups and lunges at the park and the kids were joining in!

Now lots of times when we go out for ‘play time’ I bring balls, skip rope, a frisbee, or even bubbles, so we have different fun things to keep us busy while we all play TOGETHER.

Lately I’m managing to fit a lot more exercise in without it really feeling like exercise – or sacrificing family time; and my children are seeing me being FUN and happy and engaged.  They have become more active and adventurous themselves because of this.  The best part is, they are less whiny and needy at home because of our little ‘play dates’ together.  It really is win win.

Don’t get me wrong, there will still be lots of days when I’m ‘that mom‘ at the park staring at my phone, because every day isn’t going to be a ‘super mom’ day.  I just don’t have the stamina or mental energy to run around like a carefree child all the time.  But I’m going to make the effort a lot more often.  For them and for me.

 

 

Want to stay motivated to eat right and exercise regularly? The key is to lower your expectations!

lunge bicep curl at park

I am, by nature, a very goal oriented person.  I like to set goals and achieve them.  It gives me a sense of accomplishment and pride.  There’s only one problem with the goals I have set in the past regarding my eating and exercise habits.  I would set goals that were extremely difficult to achieve.  Then I would struggle to achieve them, feel like a failure, and ultimately give up.  Once I’d given up, I would feel like an even bigger failure.  It was a vicious cycle that got me nowhere and only eroded my self-esteem even further.

Eating healthy and exercising consistently are not easy things to do.  Magazines and television make it look like everyone should have an amazing body and that you suck if can’t achieve that.  The reality for most of us is that it takes a lot of work, willpower and dedication just to have an average looking body; and the older you get, the harder it gets.  The older you get, the harder it is to break old habits and form new ones too.  Being healthy is all about consistency and habit-forming.  The hardest part BY FAR is starting.  But you need to start somewhere.  Anywhere.

I truly believe that your MINDSET is 99% of what it takes to look and feel your best.  If you don’t feel like eating right and exercising, eventually you’re going to stop doing it.  So the key is to get your mind in a place where it actually WANTS to do these things – not just see the results from doing them.

After I had my first child, I was shocked at how much my body had changed.  My hips literally felt wider.  My stomach was looser.  After I was done nursing, (which I did with both the kids for around 10 months each), my breasts were deflated and left smaller than before I got pregnant.  WTF?!  I always felt tired and I was always so busy and even the thought of the daunting challenge of getting my ‘old body back’  just made me want to get into my pyjamas and eat a bag of chips.  I wasn’t mentally ‘in the game’.  Until one day I was trying on clothes and feeling horrible about myself and I decided I was just going to start somewhere.  I needed and WANTED to make a lifestyle change.

This was a pivotal moment for me.  A ‘game changer’.  Because this time I was going to do things differently.  I was a mom now.  I had nothing to prove to anyone but myself.  No one expected me to look perfect, and honestly, no one cared.  So why should I?!  I didn’t want to look ‘perfect’ anymore (whatever that means).  I just wanted to feel good about myself.  This time I was going to take baby steps and make very small changes over time.  I wasn’t going to set ridiculously high expectations and goals that I couldn’t possibly achieve.  THIS time, I was going to set ridiculously LOW expectations and goals so that I couldn’t fail and hate on myself!  Eureka!

I started by setting short-term goals rather than long-term ones.  I wasn’t going to tell myself I needed to lose 10 pounds ‘by the end of the month’ or not eat chocolate for a week, because I had been down that road enough times to know it wasn’t going to happen.  Instead, I would set a goal to take a 10 minute walk and eat just one serving less of bread for the day.  The next day it would be 2 push ups and only half the dessert I usually eat, and so on.  These were attainable goals.  Because I was now mentally saying ‘this is so easy’ each day, I actually looked forward to my little challenges and felt good about myself when I accomplished them.   It really is the little things that add up to BIG changes over time.  Cutting out one piece of cheese or a handful of crackers a day might not seem to make any difference in a week, or even a month, but by cutting just 100 calories a day, you can potentially lose up to 10 pounds within a year.  Baby steps and consistency are key.

Once I had shown myself that I could stick with something, I started setting weekly goals such as doing some form of exercise for just 15 – 20 minutes 3 times a week and ensuring that I ate at least 2 servings of fruits and/or vegetables and only half my usual portion of carbohydrates each day…

It took some time, but eventually I began to see results.  I was feeling happier, more confident, and proud of myself.  This was the driving force to keep going.  Now I was in a consistent routine.  I just had to improve on it more and more over time; and as long as I wasn’t going backwards, I had all the time I needed.  It was a gradual climb – and still is.

I have now committed to taking classes at my local recreation centre (such as spinning, cardio/sculpting) an average of 3 – 4 times a week.  I can honestly say that I really ENJOY these classes.  I just have to show up (which is the hardest part!) and an instructor yells and tells me what to do for an hour while I listen to music.  I don’t have to think about it or motivate myself to keep going or work harder.  Someone else does it for me!  Thank gawd, because there are SO many days when I wouldn’t do it on my own!  (When my children were still in the baby and toddler stages, this was the best part of my day because it was time to myself and a huge stress reliever!  SIDE NOTE:  most local recreation centres offer one hour per day of FREE child minding with memberships!)

I now take these classes at the same time (early morning before by brain and body can talk me out of going!) and on the same days each week.  (I switch up the classes to keep my body guessing and working, but I take classes consistently).  It has become such an ingrained routine that I don’t even have to think about it/procrastinate anymore.  I just get up, get ready, and go.  I also weight train, but not nearly as much as people think.  I go to the gym 20 minutes before my classes start and do around 15 – 20 minutes of weights.  I believe that this has been crucial in changing my body and helping me to achieve my goal weight.  When you do cardio, you’re only burning calories and fat while you’re exercising; but when you do weight training, your body continues to burn fat and calories at an accelerated rate for the rest of the day.  You might lose weight with cardio alone, but you can actually change the way your body looks by incorporating weight/resistance training.  Another HUGE plus is that your muscles burn a lot more fuel than fat does so this means you can get away with eating more food and not gaining weight if you’re working on your muscles!  I feel that weight training is just as important, if not more important, than cardio.

By going to the gym and eating (mostly) healthy foods consistently, I set myself up to feel happy, energized, and motivated.  This alone is enough to keep me going.  As soon as I stop eating right (which I do around 80% of the time) and exercising regularly, I start to feel depressed, lethargic and unmotivated.  So I keep going.  It makes me a better person both physically, and more importantly, mentally.  A better wife, friend and mother; and seeing how my lifestyle choices are positively affecting my husband and children is my greatest reward.

The old saying is so true:  “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!”.  I am happy; and proud of myself; and everyone around me benefits from that.

Why I exercise, especially when I REALLY don’t want to

lunge bicep curl at park

I woke up this morning to a cool breeze blowing through my bedroom and the sound of the rain against the window.  It was one of those mornings where I just didn’t want to get out of bed.  I’ve been ending my evening with a giant piece of chocolate (leftover birthday) cake for the last three nights (I have mixed feelings about it finally being finished.  Haha) and haven’t been to the gym since Tuesday.  So now I was feeling a little ‘bloated’, really lazy and a bit guilty.  And unfortunately, I knew what that meant.  I HAD to get my ass to the gym.  Getting to the gym when I feel great and excited for a workout is easy.  It’s going when I’m feeling fat, tired and lazy that’s the hard part!  But that’s exactly when I need to be going the most.  Because NOTHING makes me feel better about myself and motivates me to eat better than a good workout.

I’m very lucky.  I live across the street from the local recreation centre (which offers FREE child minding in the mornings and two evenings a week!!).  I have absolutely NO excuses not to work out.

Once in a while I’ll go to the gym and do weights and stuff, but 95% of the time I take various FREE classes that are included in the membership.  I take spin classes and body sculpt/cardio classes.  I love these classes because the instructors are amazing, it’s a lot of the same people at each class so there’s a real sense of camaraderie, and it pushes me to do more and work harder than I would on my own.

Today I almost called and cancelled the gym twice.  I always sign up for a class the day before.  Once I sign up I feel pretty mentally committed when I wake up the next day.  I wanted to sleep in and stay in my PJ’s all morning.  But instead, I dragged myself out of bed and got in the shower immediately to wake up. Then I wanted to eat lots of bread and cheese for breakfast but because I was about to take a class, I didn’t want to feel heavy, so I had one piece of rye toast and a hard boiled egg with a coffee.  Then I geared up and got out the door into the rain and hustled over to the gym before I could change my mind.

I already felt a little better by the time I got there.  “Showing up is half the battle!”  I did an hour long step cardio/weight training class.  At first it felt awful.  My body was resistant.  I wasn’t in the right mental head space.  The weights felt like lead.  If I hadn’t of been in a class this is probably where I would have said ‘f*** it’ and just gone home.  But then the inevitable happened.  The same thing I can ALWAYS count on happening.  As I began sweating my body started to feel lighter, as did the weights.  I began moving a little faster, squatting a little lower and jumping a little higher.  And then, there it was.  That feeling of happiness.  That feeling of knowing the day was only going to get better from here and I could take it on with motivation and enthusiasm.  I was starting to feel good!  Before I knew it my class was over and I was covered in sweat and feeling great.

I then went home, decided that after all that hard work I wasn’t going to ruin it by eating shitty food and made myself some chicken soup and a salmon salad sandwich.  Then I called the gym and signed up for a spin class tomorrow.  A body in motion stays in motion.

My day is off to a great start (: