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Are you Music Strong?

In Entrepreneurship, Fitness, Flute, Travel, Workshops by AngelaLeave a Comment

Whew! I have been traveling so much, there has been no time for updating, sorry!  This last week I was blessed to have been invited to present at Stephen F. Austin University in Nacadoches, TX.  I gave a flute masterclass, a recital, two Music Strong workshops and a presentation on being a musician in the military.  It was a wonderful trip and I had a great time.  It’s always nice to be able to help musicians who are in the prime of their career, just learning how to practice efficiently and being able to give them the tools to prevent injury.  If you were in any of my classes, I would love to hear your feedback and if you’d like a personalized program, we can make that happen too! 🙂   You can click here for more information on hiring me as your trainer, to write you a plan to keep you injury free,  improve your endurance and extend your playing career.
Some pictures from this week!
A lot of you were asking about the books I suggested during the presentations.  You can find all of these books in my Amazon store.  The titles I highly recommend and used during my presentations are:

The only book that is not available in Amazon is “Inside-Out“. This is my go-to warm-up book, and is available here in the Resources Tab, or you can click here.  Inside-Out

This coming week I will be playing with Sinfonia Gulf Coast in Destin, Florida!  We have a concert on Thursday night at 7:30 PM and I am immensely looking forward to this.   Niche ad

 Sinfonia is one of a handful of American Orchestras awarded a special grant to perform “Identity” Zhongshan Zhuang,” featuring world renowned guzheng player Su Chang. Also on the concert is Rimsky-Korsakov’s brilliant orchestral showpiece “Scheherazade.”
Sinfoniachinese

Cheng: Identity: Zhongshan Zhuang
Artist: Su Chang (Guzheng)
Ensemble: Sinfonia Gulf Coast
Conductor: Demetrius Fuller

 Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade, Op. 35    

 
It will be a busy week – I”m also proud to announce that I will be giving a Music Strong workshop at my alma mater, Florida State University on Wednesday the 23rd at 2:30 PM.
Angela McCuiston Poster
 
I should be back to my “regularly scheduled programming” within a week.  I will be posting some pictures and videos and will have some more blog posts coming up.  Also coming up I have a 6-week Holiday Shape-Up boot camp special, will be posting details here soon!
In the meantime, my schedule has changed a bit and I have a few spots open for flute lessons via Skype and personal training clients.  Please contact me if you are interested and we can get something started for you!  I have a current special going on that if you would like to sign up for training with me you can save 50% off your first month with me when you sign up for any 3 month package.  Sign up today and you can start next year already having achieved your New Year’s Resolution!
 

 

Sinfonia Season Opening Concert: Musical Identities

In Uncategorized by AngelaLeave a Comment

Really looking forward to this concert! We are one of a few orchestras to get a grant to have this artist play with us and we end the night playing Rimsky-Korsakov’s  masterpiece “Scheherazade”
Concert is at:

Emerald Coast Convention Center
Ft. Walton Beach, Florida
Thursday, 24 October 2013 – 7:30 PM

 
Sinfonia Season Opening Concert: Musical Identities.

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Lyle McDonald’s Books and Body Recomposition

In Fitness, Nutrition, Resources by AngelaLeave a Comment

I am constantly referring people to Lyle’s books. From Rapid Fat Loss, to Flexible Dieting to getting in contest ready shape, he is an absolute authority on the science of fat loss, muscle gain, etc.   I’ve put all of his books together in one easy to find place right here.  He also has a free forum you can join to get more information from people using his products, seeking advice and wisdom and chat with the man yourself. His forum is at: http://forums.lylemcdonald.com/index.php
Clicking on each link will take you to a full description of the book including Table of Contents and sample of the first chapter so you really understand what you’re getting and if it’s the right book for you.
Additionally, if you like his products as much as I do and would like to be an affiliate (earning money for referring people to his products) you can do that through this first link:

Bodyrecomposition.com Banner

 

The Rapid Fat Loss Handbook

The world’s only sane crash diet.  Details when and why it is appropriate.
The Rapid Fat Loss Handbook
About the Book

The Rapid Fat Loss Handbook offers a scientifically based approach to quick weight and fat loss. Recognizing that people need or simply want to lose weight and fat rapidly, I set out to develop the safest, most effective way of accomplishing that goal.
I based the program around the idea of creating a diet that would provide the fewest calories possible while still providing all of the essential nutrients required by the body: protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. This provides simply the safest and sanest way to lose fat quickly without sacrificing health (or muscle mass).
Every aspect about how to set up the diet is laid out in a step by step form and the diet is based around whole foods that can be found at any market. With purchase of the book, you’ll also receive instructions for how to access an online calculator that will set up the diet and provide food recommendations.
As well, the diet also incorporates concepts I’ve discussed on this site: free meals, refeeds and full diet breaks to help with both adherence and the body’s tendency to fight back when dieting. Guidelines are provided for when to take them, how to use them, etc.
In addition, guidelines for moving back to maintenance, as well as for using the program to transition into a more moderate fat loss diet are provided in detail.
Specific training guidelines are also provided in order to provide the best results with the least time investment. Massive amounts of exercise aren’t needed; quite in fact, too much exercise while on the rapid fat loss program can hinder results. Quite in fact, for the extremely overweight, no exercise is actually required to reap the benefits of the program.
The book provides specific recommendations (for everyone from beginners to advanced trainees) for both resistance training and aerobic activity in terms of how often and how much will provide the best results.
As well, realizing that most people can’t or won’t join a gym, I developed a small home-exercise handbook outlining a basic routine that can be followed with no or minimal equipment. This is included with your purchase as a digital download.

 
A Guide to Flexible Dieting
This is my go-to book with clients, especially those wondering how to “diet” without “dieting”. It’s about learning how to eat less, manipulate your calorie intake the most effective way without eliminating food groups, buying goofy supplements or anything else “fad-ish”.
A Guide to Flexible Dieting
About the Book

The Rapid Fat Loss Handbook offers a scientifically based approach to quick weight and fat loss. Recognizing that people need or simply want to lose weight and fat rapidly, I set out to develop the safest, most effective way of accomplishing that goal.
I based the program around the idea of creating a diet that would provide the fewest calories possible while still providing all of the essential nutrients required by the body: protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. This provides simply the safest and sanest way to lose fat quickly without sacrificing health (or muscle mass).
Every aspect about how to set up the diet is laid out in a step by step form and the diet is based around whole foods that can be found at any market. With purchase of the book, you’ll also receive instructions for how to access an online calculator that will set up the diet and provide food recommendations.
As well, the diet also incorporates concepts I’ve discussed on this site: free meals, refeeds and full diet breaks to help with both adherence and the body’s tendency to fight back when dieting. Guidelines are provided for when to take them, how to use them, etc.
In addition, guidelines for moving back to maintenance, as well as for using the program to transition into a more moderate fat loss diet are provided in detail.
Specific training guidelines are also provided in order to provide the best results with the least time investment. Massive amounts of exercise aren’t needed; quite in fact, too much exercise while on the rapid fat loss program can hinder results. Quite in fact, for the extremely overweight, no exercise is actually required to reap the benefits of the program.
The book provides specific recommendations (for everyone from beginners to advanced trainees) for both resistance training and aerobic activity in terms of how often and how much will provide the best results.
As well, realizing that most people can’t or won’t join a gym, I developed a small home-exercise handbook outlining a basic routine that can be followed with no or minimal equipment. This is included with your purchase as a digital download.

Applied Nutrition for Mixed Sports
If,  like me, you enjoy several different types of activity with completely different nutritional needs ( for me it’s weight lifting and cycling) then this book will help you put together a solid nutrition plan to meet both needs.

Applied Nutrition for Mixed Sports

About the Book/DVD
Applied Nutrition for Mixed Sports examines the topic of nutrition for what are referred to as mixed sports. This includes almost all team sports along with many individual sports such as boxing, mixed martial arts and some track and field events.
Basically any sport that has requirements for both endurance and strength/power is considered a mixed sport. Because of the often odd nature of performance requirements, optimizing nutrition for these sports often presents problems that aren’t seen in either the pure strength/power or pure endurance sports.
The book, as well as the accompanying 2 DVD set, approaches the problem in an applied fashion building up the topic of nutrition from the ground up to present a comprehensive examination of how mixed sports athletes can optimize their nutrition.
This product started life as a seminar I did in Vancouver at Simon Fraser University in 2009 for their football and soccer teams on applied sports nutrition.  But rather than just slap the DVD together with the handouts and slides, I decided to write a complete stand alone book (derived primarily from the handouts).  Of course, the original DVD seminar is included along with the Powerpoint slides and the full package includes everything shown below.
Please note: The DVDs have no regional encoding and should play on any DVD player or computer with DVD capabilities.

The Protein Book
How much protein do you really need? This is a question that gets bantered back and forth by fitness professionals and the answer is “it depends”.  This book will answer all those questions  definitively for you.

The Protein Book

 
The Protein Book
 
About the Book

The Protein Book is a comprehensive look at the issue of protein intake for both strength/power and endurance athletes. Coaches looking for the latest scientific developments in terms of optimizing protein nutrition for their athletes as well as athletes looking for answers to their questions will find them all covered in complete detail.
Questions about protein such as “How much protein do athletes need?â€, “What’s the best protein?â€, and “When should protein be consumed around training for optimal results?†and many others are asked continuously by both athletes and coaches looking to optimize their sports nutrition.
As with most topics pertaining to sports nutrition, the answers to the above questions are context dependent. The type of sport, the goals of the athlete, the specifics of the situation all determine how much protein is required, what protein might be optimal, etc. No single recommendation can possibly be appropriate for all athletes under all situations.
With over 200 pages and over 500 scientific references, no questions about optimal protein intake for athletes remain unanswered.

 
The Stubborn Fat Solution
We all have stubborn fat, the last layer of protective padding and if you are trying to get lean for competition, photo shoots, etc. this will help you out.

The Stubborn Fat Solution

 

About the Book
The problem of stubborn body fat (typically the abdominals/low back for men and hips and thighs for women) is one that lean dieters have been trying to deal with for decades. Various simple explanations (typically involving estrogen) have been offered but the results from these simple approaches have been, at best, poor. This is a place where simple is simply wrong.
As it turns out, stubborn fat is stubborn for a number of inter-related physiological reasons, all of which conspire to make its elimination difficult (and for some, seemingly impossible). The Stubborn Fat Solution is the first book to scientifically examine the causes of stubborn body fat in extreme detail. From receptor type and number, blood flow, the propensity to both store and release fat, the physiology of stubborn fat is dissected in detail. The role of hormones and diet is also discussed.
Of course, all of the physiological verbiage is useless without solutions and The Stubborn Fat Solution provides those as well. The book describes four specific protocols aimed at optimally mobilizing and burning off stubborn fat.
While the protocols are primarily training based, the impact of diet on stubborn fat loss is also discussed and information on how best to incorporate the four protocols into your current training and diet program are examined. And while none are required, several beneficial supplements are also discussed.
Please note: Like The Ultimate Diet 2.0, The Stubborn Fat Solution is aimed at lean dieters trying to achieve extreme levels of leanness. Until men are 10-12% body fat and females are ~15-17% body fat, the information in this book is not necessary (although it will still be informative).

 
The Ketogenic Diet
Are you into low-carb?  This is for you:

The Ketogenic Diet
About the Book

Very low-carbohydrate (aka ketogenic) diets such as The Atkins Diet, Protein Power and The South Beach Diet have come and gone repeatedly over the years and there is currently great research and real-world interest in their effects. Unfortunately, altogether too much misinformation exists regarding them.
Folks who are pro-low-carbohydrate diets tend to present them as the quick and easy solution to everything including obesity. Easy weight loss without hunger or calorie counting is promised but never seems to pan out as well as we might hope.
At the other extreme are the anti-low-carbohydrate folks who tend to present low-carbohydrate diets as nothing short of a nutritional disaster being perpetrated by a bunch of con men.
The truth, of course lies somewhere in the middle. While low-carbohydrate diets aren’t for everyone and have their pros and cons, the research is clear: they have major benefits under certain circumstances and can be as healthy (and sometimes healthier) than ‘standard’ carbohydrate based dieting.
The Ketogenic Diet is the first and only book to objectively examine in-depth the scientific evidence regarding low-carbohydrate/ketogenic diets. It is meant to be a reference manual for low-carbohydrate diets; it is unlike any other book on low-carbohydrate diets that you have ever read or seen.
Covering every topic in extreme detail, The Ketogenic Diet addresses everything from the basic physiology of how the body adapts to a low-carbohydrate intake, the details of human fuel utilization, the impact of low-carbohydrate diets on body composition and many, many more.
Of course, none of the above is useful without practical application guidelines. Details on how to optimize low-carbohydrate diets for different goals (such as fat loss, bodybuilding and endurance performance) are discussed along with three distinct types of low-carbohydrate diets. In addition, the book includes a complete discussion of resistance, aerobic and anaerobic exercise physiology along with specific training programs for different goals and different levels of trainee
At 325 pages and containing over 600 scientific references, this will be your complete reference for ketogenic diets.
Please note: this book does not include information on the ketogenic diet for adolescent epilepsy (the topic is discussed briefly). I highly suggest The Ketogenic Diet: A Treatment for Epilepsy, 3rd Edition (Paperback) by Freeman, Freeman and Kelly (link will take you to Amazon.com page).

 
The Ultimate Diet 2.0 (UD 2.)
Advanced Cyclical Dieting for Super-Leanness
The Ultimate Diet 2.0

About the Book
When trying to diet to extremely low levels of body fat, muscle mass and performance loss, crashing hormones, runaway hunger and others are perennial difficulties that the non-genetic elite (or natural) dieter has to face.
The Ultimate Diet 2.0 (UD2) provides the answer to all of those problems and more. Building on previous cyclical diets such as the original Ultimate Diet by Dan Duchaine and Michael Zumpano, as well as Bodyopus, the UD2 includes a full discussion of the physiological hurdles that dieters must clear to reach their goals of extremely low body fat levels.
Based around cutting edge research into bodyweight regulation, calorie partitioning and more, The Ultimate Diet 2.0 is a coordinated program of training, nutrition and supplements that will let the most genetically average individual sidestep the problems I mentioned above.
Every aspect of the training cycle, what to eat, how to train and what supplements to take are described in detail. As well, modifications to the diet for different goals are described as well. Variations for powerlifters, endurance athletes and those seeking mass gains are detailed as well.
Please note: the UD2 is an advanced diet for advanced dieters and is only for those seeking very low levels of body fat. A male should be at 12-15% body fat or lower and females at 21-24% body fat or lower prior to considering the UD2. As well trainees must have at least 6 months of consistent training in the weight room under their belt before they even consider the UD2.

 
Bromocriptine
An old drug with new uses
Bromocriptine
About the Book

Bromocriptine is a dopamine agonist drug (meaning that it acts like dopamine in the brain) that has been used for over three decades for the treatment of a number of conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, acromegaly (the disease Andre “The Giant†had), and overproduction of the hormone prolactin. You may be wondering what this has to do with the topic of body composition.
As I discuss in many of my articles and other books, the body regulates factors such as body weight, composition and appetite through a variety of hormones such as insulin and leptin. It turns out that those hormones exert at least part of their effect through dopamine levels in the brain. When people diet, dopamine levels drop in the brain and this is responsible for many of the effects (such as lowered metabolic rate, increased hunger, etc.) that occur.
My book Bromocriptine starts by outlining the systems that regulate body weight and fat levels before explaining how the drug bromocriptine can ‘trick’ the body into thinking that it’s not dieting so that metabolic rate doesn’t slow, hunger is decreased, etc. Side effects, dosing and everything else related to the drug and how it can be used for various purposes related to body composition are outlined in detail in the book.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Defining the Problem
Chapter 2: How your Body Knows
Chapter 3: Leptin Resistance
Chapter 4: Bromocriptine
Chapter 5: What Bromocriptine Does
Chapter 6: How Bromocriptine Works
Chapter 7: Using Bromocriptine, Part 1
Chapter 8: Side-effects and Risks
Chapter 9: Using Bromocriptine, Part 2
Chapter 10: Miscellaneous Miscellany
Appendix 1: The FDA and Bromocriptine
Frequently Asked Questions
References Cited

 
In addition to all this, you’ll see that on his page he gives a $10 discount for buying 2 or more books. The first two books I ever bought from him were “The Rapid Fat Loss Solution” and “The Guide to Flexible Dieting” and I use them to this day in reference for myself and my clients.  I cannot recommend his products highly enough.

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My Favorite Pre-Workout Supplement

In Fitness, Nutrition, Resources by AngelaLeave a Comment

Pre-workout supplements are all the rage and have been for awhile.  Back when I worked at Vitamin Shoppe BSN’s N.O. Explode was our most popular seller, followed right up by USP Labs Jack3D.  N.O. Xplode got the job done but the taste!!! *shiver*  You will literally shiver because it’s so strong. Jack3D is good too, with less bitterness and I love the fact that it has less fillers, only things that are really proven to work: Beta-Alanine, Creatine, Caffeine….you can see my take on what supplements you REALLY need here.
EXCLUSIVE: Jack3d – USP Labs – Only $29.99 & FREE SHIPPING! – Pre-Workout Formula
But one supplement that has stayed with me throughout all of this is a drink called Celsius.  I started drinking it back when it was bottled in glass bottles and they still had the Ginger Ale flavor (please make it again!  Tasted EXACTLY like Ginger Ale).  The product got a makeover, they bottled them in cans and sold them by the 4-pack and suddenly I’m addicted.  I literally drink them almost every single day.

The Claim:

Burn up to 100 calories more when combined with exercise.  Celsius is way more than an energy drink as studies show Celsius may reduce body fat, increase endurance and provide greater resistance to fatigue (increased energy).* These were the results for participants, who drank a Celsius once a day during the 10-week study. On the days they exercised they consumed their daily Celsius 15 minutes prior to exercise.

 
The Best Part?  BACKED BY RESEARCH.
I dare you to find another energy drink backed by research!
Several scientific studies have been done on using this product in conjuction with exercise. From their website:

Thermogenic Scientific Studies

Seven scientific studies have been conducted on Celsius by U.S. accredited scientific research facilities according to strict scientific standards. To ensure consumer confidence, trust, and industry independence, the studies were presented at scientific conferences and published for peer review.

Celsius Has Thermogenic Properties

All of the clinical studies show that Celsius has thermogenic properties. Thermogenics are substances that increases metabolism and push the nervous system to be more active. This speeds up body functions such as heart rate and breath rate. In turn this causes you to burn more calories than you normally would. The increase in metabolism from thermogenics results in the body burning fat as fuel.
The scientific studies were conducted on the Celsius product as a whole, not just the ingredients contained in Celsius. This is an important distinction. The multiple studies show that drinking Celsius results in burning calories and providing lasting energy. When drinking a great tasting Celsius before exercise, Celsius reduces body fat, increases endurance and provides greater resistance to fatigue (increased energy).* Even better, Celsius has evidence of many consumers that have gotten real results. Read the stories from REAL PEOPLE who have gotten REAL RESULTS.

7 Different Clinical Studies! 
Download Thermogenic Scientific Clinical Studies:

Besides all this they actually taste REALLY good. The Cola flavor is unacnnily like cola, but my favorite is definitely the Sparkling Wild Berry.

Ready to try it?  They’ve got lots of different coupons out right now here are some:

(I’ll definitely be participating in this since it’s 1) cheaper than buying retail and 2) saves me from having to pick it up at the store every few days)


 

Top 10 List to Get to Who You Want to Be

In Fitness, Motivation and Success by AngelaLeave a Comment

 
So you’ve made it through all 9 weeks and here we are at the last week. I originally said there would be 9 steps, but turns out there are 10, though you may feel 10 is optional I want you to give it some serious thought.

Have accountability and take responsibility

What does that mean?
1. Take complete responsibility for your actions
responsibility
This means that you have a choice, and that choice is up to you, that in every situation you can choose how to act, how to react and how to be. Even when it isn’t fair, when you don’t like it, when it was wrong, you take responsibility for it. Examples I use in everyday life, change your way of speaking:

  • “I didn’t make time to practice” instead of “I didn’t have time to practice”
  • ” I didn’t do it”
  • “I didn’t prioritize”
  • “I chose to…”

All these ways of speaking signify that you are taking responsibility for your decisions and your actions.  When you say things like:

  • “I didn’t have time”
  • “I can’t”
  • “It’s easier for someone else”
  • “When I get organized I’ll…”
  • “Someday I’ll…”

All those statements do is make you a victim.  You are NOT a victim. You are a product of all YOUR choices.  Dare to disagree with me here.  If you don’t like where you are now, change it, do something different. But just whining and wallowing self-pity will continue to keep you where you are.  Yes, you may have had less than ideal circumstances in your life.  So?

Change it. Do it now and start taking responsibility.  If you want it, go get it.  If you didn’t do it, own it.

OWNERSHIP HAS POWER IN IT. 

“Successful people are willing to do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do.” – Jeff Olson

 
 
A man can fail many times, but he isn’t a failure until he begins to blame somebody else.” – John Burroughs
The predominant state of mind displayed by those on the failure curve is blame. The predominant state of mind displayed by those people on the success curve is responsibility.
Taking responsibility liberates you; in fact, it is perhaps the single most liberating thing there is. Even when it hurts, even when it doesn’t seem fair. When you don’t take responsibility, when you blame others, circumstances, fate or chance, you give away your power. When you take and retain full responsibility – even when others are wrong  or the situation is genuinely unfair – you keep your life’s reins in your own hands.
“Responsibility is declaring oneself as cause in the matter. It is a context from which to live one’s life.
Responsibility is not a burden, fault, praise, blame credit, shame or guilt. All these include judgments and evaluations of good and bad, right and wrong, or better and worse. They are not responsibility…
Responsibility starts with the willingness to deal with a situation from and with the point of view, whether at the moment realized or not, that you are the source of what you are, what you do and what you have.
It is not “right,” or even “true”, to declare oneself as “cause” in the matter. It’s just empowering. By standing for yourself as cause, “what happens’ shifts from “happening to you” to “just happening and, ultimately, to ‘happening as a result of your being cause in the matter’. – Werner Erhard
 

 

accountability2. Have Accountability:

What does this mean?  It means having someone generally, that you tell your goals and your plans to and that you will check in with, letting them know your actions.  Writing things down is a form of self-accountability.  Having an accountability partner is a trusted friend, and you tell them when you have done what you said you would do or when you haven’t done what you said you would do and they hold you accountable.
If you say “I will exercise 20 minutes every day, get 8 hours of sleep and cut out all alcohol. Will you hold me accountable?”  Your partner will ask you (ideally every day) : Did you exercise?  How long did you sleep? Did you drink?
And you have to answer truthfully.  If you say no, they can get on your case in a loving way to remind you of why.
So to recap over these last 10 weeks, these actions, done consistently over time will change your philosophy, they will change your habits and your habits will change YOU
The book I have been referencing and basing some of these blog posts around, The Slight Edge, has this to say:

“Wait a minute. How are these simple, everyday actions supposed to create all this wonderful happiness, health and success for me, if they’re all easy to do – if anyone could do them? If these are things anyone can do, why are only 5% successful?
Excellent question. Because they’re all easy not to do – and while anyone could do them, most won’t.
Every action that any of these goals requires is easy to do. Here’s the problem: every action that is easy to do, is also easy not to do.
Why are these simple yet crucial things easy not to do? Because if you don’t do them, they won’t kill you…at least, not today. You won’t suffer, or fail, or blow it  – today. Something is easy not to do when it won’t bankrupt you, destroy your career, ruin your relationships or wreck your health – today.
What’s more, not doing it is usually more comfortable than doing it would be. But that simple, seemingly insignificant error in judgement, compounded over time, will kill you. It will destroy you and ruin your chances for success. You can count on it. It’s the Slight Edge.

That’s the choice you face every day, every hour.
A simple, positive action, repeated over time.
A simple error in judgement, repeated over time.
You can always count on the Slight Edge. And unless you make it work for you, the Slight Edge will work against you.
successcurve

Top 10 List to get To Who You Want to Be

 
 
 

Get Off the Hamster Wheel! Tip #9 to Change your Body and Your Life

In Fitness, Motivation and Success, Nutrition by AngelaLeave a Comment

How successful were you at writing things down last week?  Did you do it every day? Most days?
What were your results, reactions?  Were you surprised by how much, how little or the reality of what you were eating?
If you remember, the goal of last week was not to JUDGE what you ate, simply to make note of it.  Now that you have a record of the TRUTH you have a choice to stop living in denial about how much and what you are putting in your body and actually change it…..or to keep running around on the hamster wheel of denial, blame and quick fixes.
Brutal? Yes. But sometimes the truth is brutal. That’s why you were on a hamster wheel in the first place and not getting results before isn’t it? The answer is yes if you are actually truthful with yourself.
If you’ve noticed, I haven’t mentioned exercise at all, and isn’t that one of the first things people jump into when they say “I’m going to get in shape!”  Yup, and one of the first things to go because most people will start out with the mentality that “more is better” and do too much. Then, they don’t see results quickly enough (or instantaneously) get discouraged because they thing the amount of “work” they are putting in should yield instant results….and quit.
By now, you know what I’m going to suggest is neither instantaneous nor hardcore nor extreme.  Just like everything else, it’s simple: easy to do, easy NOT to do.  The choice is up to you:

Tip # 9:  Do some sort of exercise everyday….or most days.

Getting in shape does not mean:workout to exhaustion

  • running 5 miles every day
  • joining a Crossfit gym
  • doing P90X or Insanity for 30 days straight
  • Doing every weight machine in the gym 100 times, every day.

There is no extreme here.  There is nothing wrong with the above workouts, if you LIKE doing those, great! But the catch is this:
Do not start the above workouts JUST to lose weight. YOU WILL FAIL. 
What I did say is do SOME SORT of exercise every day, or at least most days.  What does that mean?  It means:

  • Do something you enjoy
  • make it consistent
  • get your heart rate up

That’s it.
The point here is consistency, and it doesn’t matter what you do.  Let’s address these three aspects in short detail:

1. Do Something You Enjoy

If you hate lifting weights, don’t.  If you hate running, don’t. If you hate yoga, don’t!
The point is not do a workout because some trainer told you to, or some person on the TV, internet, doctor’s waiting room, buddy of your best friend’s gym owner told you to. DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY!
Some examples of good fitness that make people happy, that they enjoy:

  • Going for a 20 minute walk around the neighborhood or through a park, or a mall
  • Ultimate frisbee
  • cleaning the house (I don’t understand this one, but some people enjoy it, so whatever 🙂 )
  • yoga
  • hill sprints
  • tabatas
  • bodyweight circuits
  • lifting weights
  • bike riding
  • swimming
  • running

Any of these are great.  If you enjoy it that’s the key, you will not stick with an exercise routine you hate, so do something you enjoy!

slight edge

 

2. Make it consistent

I cannot stress this enough.  It is not the exercise that you do, it’s that you do it regularly that counts.  Slow and steady wins the race, right? Not really, it’s STEADY THAT WINS THE RACE.
I’ve heard this a lot, but it really hit home when I read the book The Slight Edge. 
This book has really opened my eyes to how to achieve what I really want in life.  It comes down to consistency, doing the little, seeminly tiny insignificant things every day that are easy to do but are also easy NOT to do.  Jim Collins talks about it in his book “Good to Great” about pushing the giant flywheel.  It weighs so much there is no way possible for you to give it one giant push and it turn, no, it’s steady effort that builds momentum.
I’ll say that again.
It’s steady effort that builds momentum.
An overnight success does not happen overnight. It happened over the course of the years of obscurity, doing the tiny right actions every day.successcurve
 
This is the success curve.  Take a close look at it and see if you can understand why consistency is key.  Then make a plan for what TINY action you can do every day to help you reach your goal.  Want to run a marathon but never done it before? It starts with taking a few steps every day, going for a walk every day, building your time, it doesn’t start with a 5 mile run.
 
 
 
 

3. Get your heart rate up

The key to exercise is elevating your heart rate.  Do you see the people on the treadmill sauntering along? It’s not different than the pace they take to walk to their car, walk around Wal-Mart or take up the entire aisle in a mall.  (I secretly want to smack these people in the back of the head.  I have always moved with a sense of purpose and being in the Army just amplified that urge. Sorry 🙂 )
Any way, the point of exercise is to elevate your heart rate, this accomplishes all kinds of things including better respiratory response, increase oxygen flow to lungs, brain, blood, etc. better joint mobility,  etc. If you do not elevate your heart rate, you aren’t exercising.  Don’t kid yourself.
Now, that doesn’t mean you have to go all extreme and elevate it through the roof, I just said elevate.  Anything above what it is when you’re sitting there doing nothing (called resting heart rate) is elevated.  Now eventually you will want to put more effort out there, because your body adapts. It adapts to stress, to exercise and to everthing else so what is challenging for you now will not be challenging later IF YOU ARE CONSISTENT.  That’s why you ladies lifting only 5 lb. weights in the gym bother me.  It worked for you then….and then your body adapted and it’s no longer a challenge. You are wasting time at that point.
Sorry to get on a soap box, but as a personal trainer this is the area that frustrates me the most.  If you like extreme, great, do that but please work up to it, or face injury. If you don’t like extreme, great, do SOMETHING.

This week’s goal:

So, the challenge this week is that while you are building on the blocks of consistency you’ve achieved in your eating habits, you will add one very small addition of consistent exercise.  Whatever it is, commit to doing it every day or almost every day.  That”s the caveat. If you are lifitng weights or doing aything strenuous, don’t do it 7 days a week, your body will not recover. If you are just going for a walk, that’s fine for every day.

  • Do some sort of exercise you enjoy every day
  • if your exercise is strenuous (like crossfit, weight lifting, etc.) do something on your “off days” that at least keeps you moving.

We are not trying to set records here, all you are doing is building cosistency in your exercise habits and getting used to moving every day.  Progression comes later.
 

philosophy

 
If you haven’t read the other tips in the series, they are meant to be read in order.  Start here:
The 9 Things you need to do to change your habits and get off the hamster wheel!

Get Off the Hamster Wheel! Guide To Change Your Habits Tip #8

In Fitness, Motivation and Success, Nutrition by AngelaLeave a Comment

If you haven’t read last week’s post, you can do so here: Get Off the Hamster Wheel Tip #7
We are down to the last few tips, and you know, I really struggled with this week’s and next week’s tips, trying to figure out which should happen first.  It came down to this:
Which small action do I have the hardest time doing?  And that’s how I picked Tip #8 which is:

Tip #8 WRITE IT DOWNfood journaling

I know you’ve probably heard this hundreds of times before, and that’s great, you’ve probably heard all the other 7 tips as well.  The point of change comes not by KNOWING what you need to do but by DOING it.
The task here is to start a food journal.  Write down every bit of food that goes into your mouth.  What I find is most helpful is if I write down my mood/hunger level before and after I eat as well, which can help me tune into my hunger cues, if I’m really eating for hunger or to satisfy another need, as we talked about last week.
The simple task of taking the time to write down what you eat and take the few seconds to actually see it all on paper can bring huge amounts of awareness to your eating activity.  Heck, this action alone has stopped me more than once from eating anything else, just because I didn’t want to have to write it down, to see it on paper, because when you write something down it becomes real.  Have you ever noticed that? There are certain things in life you don’t want to say out loud or write down because then you are faced with the reality of them, sometimes we think that if the thoughts stay inside our heads, they never happened.
Commit to having fanatical levels of integrity on this one.
Why?  Because when you start being honest with yourself in this one area, you can’t help but have it spill over into other areas of your life as well.  Do not cheat yourself, do not lie to yourself.  Make this commitment to yourself that for at least the next two weeks you will start writing down everything you eat and your mood and hunger level before and after.  You do NOT need to do this the rest of your life, I don’t want this to become an obsessive habit (and boy have I been there with this one, I’d even get anxious that I’d forget to write it down because I didn’t have my notebook with me! ) what you are doing is bringing awareness to your actions.  If you’ve stalled for awhile on your progress, go back to doing this and see what you find out.
 
I was perusing TJ Maxx awhile back and found a great journal. I really like the structure of having things laid out for me and this week, I commit to using it, consistently.  That’s the key, being consistent in your actions.  So, I’ll take it with me, leave it in the kitchen, etc. (The picture above is of said journal)
If you’d rather not hunt every TJ Maxx around, you can just get it here on Amazon as well: Buy the Ultimate Diet Log Here.
There are several other methods, I know a lot of people like FitDay, My Fitness Pal and Spark People, and I’m cool with those too, heck, whatever floats your boat! I don’t want you to get caught up in the trap of counting calories, though, and these sites do that.  That’s why I”m a fan of simply putting it on paper, worry about the numbers later!
So now, with all those great habits you’ve put into place: drinking more water, eating undisturbed, having vegetables at every meal and focusing your diet on whole foods, Eating exactly what you want, stopping eating when your satisfied, eating when you’re hungry – not to meet an emotional need…. now you can put all of those into reality, by putting them all down on paper.  This simple activity solidifies your activities into reality and makes them become habit.
 
If you haven’t read the other tips in the series, they are meant to be read in order.  Start here:
The 9 Things you need to do to change your habits and get off the hamster wheel!

 

Get Off the Hamster Wheel, Guide to Changing Your Habits Tip #7

In Fitness, Motivation and Success, Nutrition by AngelaLeave a Comment

Getting right to the point this week, this of course builds on last week:

Tip #7. If you think you want to eat, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Am I really hungry?
  2. What do I want to eat?  If it is a sweet ask yourself this
  3. Could I be satisfied with a healthier option, protein or a meal instead? If the answer is no, ask yourself this
  4. Do I really want this or am I craving this because I want something non-food related? Am I trying to meet an emotional need with food?
  5. If the answer to that is yes, have the courage to treat the emotional need and the craving will go away.

A craving is a signal that you are in need, the proverb is that somewhere along the way we got our remedies confused. When we were young and we wanted comfort, we would run to get a hug, play with friends when we were lonely, eat when hungry, drink when thirsty, cry when sad, invent games when bored and sleep when tired. Somewhere in the course of growing up we found out that just because we needed something we didn’t always get it, so we turned to food, activities or maybe even drugs, whatever gave you pleasure to meet those needs. We confused pleasure with meeting needs. To change your habits you have to go back to the source: identify your real need and have the courage to meet it instead of substituting food (or other things) for the answer.
When I started asking these questions I REALLY got somewhere.  I found that 7 times out of 10 I wasn’t really hungry.  Bummer.  I like to eat, but my hunger levels are actually much smaller than I think.  When I found I had a craving for something I’d ask “what do I really want?”  Am I trying to meet an emotional need with food?  Most of the time I found out, yes, I was.  I was either lonely, stressed, anxious, bored or tired.  In fact, tired was a big one.  A lot of times I found myself wanting to eat because I needed energy.  The answer for that? I thought “ok, I can  either eat for energy…or why am I tired? Not enough sleep, so GO TO BED! Whatever you’re doing can wait, and you’ll do it better tomorrow anyway!”
Easier said than done right? Maybe, but maybe not, you will never know till you try. It can be very empowering to meet your own needs correctly, it lets tug know on a deep level that your needs ARE worthy of being met, that you know enough to know what YOU want and can actually satisfy yourself. Tug don’t need permission. Sometimes we get caught in child mode, even subconsciously, and having the courage to identify what it is when you have a craving and WHY can empower you to change your habit of eating for comfort to being comforted by a movie, a walk, or another person. Don’t be afraid to go there, ours really worth it.
So this week everytime you want to eat ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Am I really hungry?
  2. What do I want to eat?  If it is a sweet ask yourself this
  3. Could I be satisfied with a healthier option, protein or a meal instead? If the answer is no, ask yourself this
  4. Do I really want this or am I craving this because I want something non-food related? Am I trying to meet an emotional need with food?
  5. If the answer to that is yes, have the courage to treat the emotional need and the craving will go away.

 
If you haven’t read the other tips in the series, they are meant to be read in order.  Start here:
The 9 Things you need to do to change your habits and get off the hamster wheel!

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Get Off the Hamster Wheel! Guide to Changing Your Habits Tip # 6

In Fitness, Motivation and Success, Nutrition by AngelaLeave a Comment

So what’s the story on the last week?
Did you eat yourself into oblivion with cookie dough/doughnuts/chips and cheese, etc.?  Do you look like the Pilsbury Dough Boy?
Are you sick of eating your “vice” or “nemesis food”?
Did you find that this was easy to do or difficult? My guess is difficult.  When I finally started allowing myself to eat what I really wanted, I was afraid I’d eat it all, but just having the freedom to say yes to myself was liberating.  This week’s habit changing tip can help you adapt to your new-found freedom:

Habit-Changing Tip #6:  Stop eating when you’re satisfied.  hungerscale

If you go back to Tip #2 you’ll remember you learned to eat un-distracted. Your hunger cues should be stronger now, you should be more aware of when you’re actually hungry, which, in turn, means you’re actually more aware of when you’re NOT hungry, when you’ve had enough.  And there is a difference between being satisfied and being full.
Satisifed is subtle, full is unmistakeable.  You will blow right past the feeling of being satisfied if you eat while distracted and eat quickly.  This is where the thought of eating slowly because it takes 20 minutes for your brain to realize you’re full kicks in.
But I’m not telling you to stop when you’re full, that’s when you ate too much.  Sometimes we just want to keep eating because it’s SOOOOO good, or we don’t get that particular food very often (think Christmas, birthday or Thanksgiving).  However, more often than not it’s just mindless eating, or eating to fulfill some other need that has nothing to do with food, but food keeps you occupied, gives you pleasure. If you don’t have pleasure in any other area of your life, or limited areas, food can become a drug, an addictive habit.
So the challenge is this:
This week, while you are drinking your water, consuming your whole foods, fruits and vegetables and eating EXACTLY what you want, you are to continue to eat undistracted, as often as possible, and focus on HOW DOES THE FOOD MAKE YOU FEEL?  When you allow yourself to acknowledge this you will know when you are satisifed and you can push the plate away, finished or not, because you might find out you were just eating that much food because your husband/boyfriend/friends/family conditioned you to eat that much or everything on your plate when really, you don’t actually want it all.
This is the other liberating principal:
While you can eat what you want, you don’t have to eat it if you don’t want to either. 🙂
Feels good to give yourself that freedom doesn’t it?
Leave your comments below and let us know what you’ve found out. What does satisfied feel like for you? Do need more or less food than you usually consume? Were you surprised?
 
If you haven’t read the other tips in the series, they are meant to be read in order.  Start here:
The 9 Things you need to do to change your habits and get off the hamster wheel!

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Get Off the Hamster Wheel! Tip #5

In Fitness, Motivation and Success, Nutrition by AngelaLeave a Comment

So how did last week go? Did you have an easy or a hard time incoropoarting more whole foods into your diet?
I know that for me, when I’m on the run, it can be more difficult.  So I ALWAYS make leftovers and then night before the next day I pack my lunch,  I include my piece of fruit, my vegetables and some sort of protein and snacks (if I pack them) are structured the same way: Greek yogurt, nuts, Quest Protein bar. 🙂
Today’s tip might come as a bit of a shock, or at the very least seem somewhat backwards, but stay with me on this.  This week’s habit changer is:

Habit-Changing Tip #5: Eat What you Want, what you really want.eat willywonka

I know I know, it sounds backwards, right? Isn’t that what got you to where you are in the first place? Maybe, maybe not.  It seems that more often and not, not only have we forgotten our hunger cues and we don’t undertand when we’re really hungry, we’ve also been conditioned to eat according to someone else’s rules:

  • Eat every 3-4 hours
  • Eat only after noon, in an 8 hour window
  • Carbs are bad! Stay away from carbs, eat only fats and proteins
  • Fat is bad! Eat a low-fat diet, throw away those egg yolks, have your salad plain and your toast dry
  • Too much protein will damage your kidneys, stay away from protein!
  • Breakfast should be the biggest meal of the day,you need lots of carbs for breakfast!
  • Stay away from sweets! If you eat ice cream you’ll get fat! Step away from that brownie!
  • To lose weight you HAVE to be on a diet
  • All things in moderation….(what???)

And on and on and on it goes.  We have been conditioned, over the years to have no idea what our bodies are telling us it needs, or what we really want.  Sooooo many times I have found that when I listen to my body, and calm down for a second, I can hear my body tell me what it wants “yes, chicken sounds nice, nah not in the mood for beef or fish. I don’t think I really want rice, that would be heavy right now, but a sweet potato sounds heavenly…oh oh oh! and Green beans please!”
When was the last time you heard THAT conversation?
More than likely your last conversation with your body over food went something like this:
“I REAAAALLY want that brownie. No, no I don’t. I don’t need it, it will make me fat, I should eat vegetables. I like vegetables, I like how they make me feel…..but they aren’t sweet.  Maybe I can have just a bite, just one, just a piece…NO! If I do, I can’t stop! I know myself  I do’nt have willpower!  I SHOULD eat CLEAN. I should eat chicken breast and brussel sprouts, with no oil, because oil is bad….but that would taste dry, like cardboard.  I should listen to what I really want, what do I really want? I want a brownie. Yes, yes I do……”stuff face
And on and on THAT goes.
More often than not, when I step back from that internal dialogue and ask myself “do I really want a brownie”? If the answer is yes, I’ll ask “am I hungry still?”  If not, it usually means I’m trying to meet a need with food.

But won’t I get fat if I eat what I want?

Maybe.  Probably not.  Geneen Roth writes some EXCELLENT books on this subject (that’s all another tip for another week), I highly recommend her books if you even suspect you have food issues.  Truth is, you can only eat so much cookie dough before you get sick of it, even if you eat it every day. And you know what, eventually your body starts screaming at you what it really wants, because hey, you say “I want_____” and you go eat ______ and then what?  You find out if that really satisfied you or not.
The point is, if you are having food issues and any food is “off limits” what do you think you crave? THAT FOOD. Have no forbidden foods.
I mean this with all my heart. I am so sick of hearing “I can’t have it in the house! I’ll eat it all!”  So do it.  Will it kill you? no.  Will a junk food bender kill you in a week? No.  You might feel like crap but I guarantee you’ll get sick of it.  I speak from experience.
What is your forbidden food? The food you LOVE but can’t have it near you or you’ll eat the whole bag?  Go get lots of bags of it.  Pretty soon, you’ll realize it’s always there, you won’t run out and you can have it whenever you want it.  Sometimes, just knowing you CAN have it whenever you want it takes the craving away.
Make no mistake, this takes a lot of courage. But what you are doing is staring your demons in the face and saying “I know best for me. No one can tell me how to eat better than myself. No one knows me like I do.  I know what I should eat”.
You’re not a toddler anymore getting spoon-fed carrots. You can make your own decisions and eat what you want. 
This gets into a lot of psychology but I can tell you from experience, this works.
The next few tips, I’m going to go ahead and give them to  you in a sneak peak because they make this easier:

  1. Stop eating when you are truly satisifed. Not stuffed, satisfied. And if that food doesn’t satisfy you, eat what does.
  2. Figure out if you’re eating to meet hunger or an emotional need.

You CAN have that brownie/cookie/doughnut, etc. but ask yourself this, am I hungry?  If the answer is no, more than likely you’re trying to meet an emotional need with food.
freedom
 
 
 
 
 
 
If you haven’t read the other tips in the series, they are meant to be read in order.  Start here:
The 9 Things you need to do to change your habits and get off the hamster wheel!