By: Megan Millard
If you didn't know it already, let me let you in on one of the most essential things you need for fitness, nutrition, and overall health: Water. Staying hydrated is key for weight loss, and for your body to function at its' best. While this is common knowledge, it's also true that most people aren't getting the water they need. With our busy lives, it's easy to forget such things. Here are a few tips on making sure you're properly hydrated.
Get a water bottle
Might seem like common sense...but it's worth it to invest in a nice water bottle. Keep it filled to the top and carry it around with you everywhere. If you have it with you all the time, you're more likely to sip more often.
Make your water "fun" by adding fruit and herbs
We're all used to the lemon water we are served at restaurants...but guess what? There's more out there, folks. You can add almost any fruit you want to some water for a refreshing twist on just plain old tap. Some great combinations:
Lemon and Cucumber
Cucumber and Mint Leaves
Blackberry and Mint Leaves
Raspberry and Lime
Lemon and Lime
You can be creative with what you put in your water. Tip: If you want to include mint or other herbs, and in some cases with the fruit, it's best to mash it up a bit to bring out the flavor.
Look at your urine
Yeah, I said it. You can tell how hydrated you are by the color of your pee. Use this photo, which was originally shared on our Fit Fam blog back in November, as a guide.
Make your toast a little more interesting with this fun combination of food. Here's what you'll need:
2 slices of bread of your choice, lightly toasted (pictured above is whole grain)
Top it with:
Sliced grilled chicken
Get your protein, carbs, and important vitamins with a creative combination!
By: Megan Millard
So, you have a gym membership. That's a great first step. But are you getting the results you want? Many people struggle with their personal goals, knowing what they want to see but not necessarily knowing how to get there. Below are a few tidbits that can help get your started and get you thinking--modifications to your current routine that will help you along the way.
1. Make the gym a habit.
Any exercise will be beneficial to a person's overall health--but if you really want the results you desire, you have to make going to the gym a habit. One of the most important aspects is making a workout part of your routine. So, get in the habit of going to the gym 3-5 times a week and stick to it. Once that habit is formed, you will see a change. It's all about consistency!
2. Chew slower/Eat less
Since when does chewing have anything to do with weight loss or anything fitness related? I can't tell you how many times I've ordered too much food for lunch when I was hungry, thereby over-estimating my appetite. Then, I always end up eating too much and feeling stuffed. Lately, however, I heard this tip and decided to give it a try. I cut the amount of food I would normally order in half, sat at my desk and just chewed, eating as slowly as possible. It worked. I was left feeling satisfied and not stuffed. Controlling your portions is essential to getting those results.
They say to drink 8 glasses a day. But depending on your diet and activity level, you could benefit from even more. Make it interesting--slice up some lemons or cucumbers, add them to a pitcher and fill with water, and try and drink the whole pitcher throughout the day. Adding some calorie-free flavor in there will make the experience a little more exciting and your drink more refreshing. Also, don't forget to drink water before bed, since your body is at rest and detoxes at night. Now that I'm making sure I drink a lot of water, I've been feeling better and noticing results in my skin as well as my weight and overall mood.
4. Take a class
This goes along with tip number 1 about forming habits. To start, pick out one class that focuses on an area you want to work on. (All class times available on the website). For example, if you want to target your core, take Tami's Core-N-Cardio class Thursday nights at Edgewater. Put it on your calendar and make sure you go every week. Hold yourself accountable for sticking to your plan and others will hold you accountable in class too.
5. See going to the gym as a treat, not a chore
A lot of people dread going to the gym at the end of the day--thinking of it as just one more thing that needs to be crossed off the list in an already busy schedule. But it's all about perception. Go into the gym with the mindset that it's your time to focus on you. Whether you want to treat yourself to 30 minutes on the treadmill with your favorite tunes or you'd enjoy a yoga class to unwind, you have control over your workout. Pretty soon, you'll find that you enjoy going to the gym if you don't already.
Did you stop doing something or start doing something in your own routine that made a big difference to you? Share your experience below and let us know what worked or what didn't.
There are a thousand reasons NOT to do something. Whenever we don't want to do something, it's easy to pull out that bag of excuses and use the most convenient one. But, as someone once said, "Winners never lie to themselves, they always deal with the truth." So, it's time to get real. Here are 3 common excuses I hear for not joining a gym, and ways you can work around it.
"I'm too busy"
Between running back and forth between work, social events, and sleep, we lead busy lives. But i don't care how busy we claim to be. We all spend some part of our day doing frivolous tasks. The circumstances under which we can't squeeze 30 minutes to an hour out of our day to spend at the gym are few and far between. Once you add it to your routine, you'll see it will become part of your schedule, and it will reduce the stress that being busy can cause!
"I can't afford it"
The money struggle is real. Bills pile up, money is tight. But when you do the math, you'l realize a gym membership is about the price of a cup of coffee a day. Think about what you spend your money on typically, and weigh the benefits. For such a minuscule amount per day, you're getting access to all sorts of fitness equipment as well as a variety of classes. I'd say it's more than worth it.
"I don't like working out in front of people"
This is a common reason I've heard among friends why they don't want to go to the gym. I get it, it can be uncomfortable at times when you feel like you don't know what you're doing. The good news, however, is that by joining the gym, you'll be surrounded by people who are at all different levels of fitness. So while you sweat it out, there may be others around, but you won't be judged. Also, fitness orientations and training programs are available for those that want some guidance.
So, there you have it. Now, be honest with yourself and get at it!
It's easy to observe music videos and television and envy the the appearance of someone. We are constantly bombarded with images that show us to look a certain way. It's easy to get caught up in trying to look like or even be like someone else. But the truth is, that's not happening. Instead of aspiring to be like someone else, focus on being the best you.
1. Pinpoint your goals
Do you want to be toned? Gain muscle? Lose weight? Whatever your goal is, make sure you identify it so you can plan how to better achieve it. Make lists. Talk to a trainor. Consider taking group fitness classes that align with your goals. And don't forget your cardio. It's good for everyone.
2. Remind yourself of your good qualities You are a unique individual and there are things about your personality that no one else has. As cheesy as it sounds, make a list of all your positive attributes and read it every morning. These reminders will give you a boost before you start your day. Additionally, remember to always set some time aside every day for yourself. You deserve it.
3. Get your diet right
Don't focus on completely changing your diet, but take a look at your current diet and make note of where some adjustments can be made. Substitute sugary drinks with water. Eat more protein. Plan out your meals and find fun ways to incorporate healthy foods into them. Once you get used to a healthier diet, you will see results and it will get easier.
You can't be the best version of you if you're stressed out. Try a yoga class. Light some candles and take a bath. Watch your favorite movie and tune out for a couple hours. Whatever it is that eases your mind, do it. Stress has a surprisingly large impact on overall health.
Go ahead and admire that super-fit supermodel, but remember-aspire to be YOUR best.
After a long day at work or school, sometimes that couch sounds a lot more appealing than hitting the gym. But it doesn't have to be a chore--it can be fun. Additionally, when it comes to your diet, there a number of little things you can tweak to get the results you desire becoming healthier at the same time! Check out a few tips below.
Drink tea in place of something sweet
Whether it's after a meal or before bed, the sugar craving is real. But next time, instead of giving in to that sweet tooth with candy, try a cup of tea. There are many teas that exist that are flavored like your favorite dessert. This way you can taste a little sweetness without all the unwanted calories.
Try: Chocolate Macaroon, Birthday Cake, or Red Velvet Cake--all from David's Tea (www.davidstea.com)
Substitute Greek yogurt for sour cream
Greek yogurt will add that creamy texture and taste to your meal, but it's much higher in protein and lower in fat. I've tried this in my own kitchen and I honestly cannot taste the difference.
Try: Dill chicken--Combine one cup of Greek yogurt with onion soup mix, fresh dill, and cream of mushroom soup and pour it over chicken breast in a pan. Bake for an hour and ten minutes at 325 degrees.
Forget you're actually working out
Without music or T.V. to distract you from the fact you're burning calories, working out can be harder than it has to. Put together a playlist of songs and make a deal with yourself that you'll keep it up until the playlist is over. Another thing I like to do it watch T.V. shows on YouTube on my phone. I get engrossed in whatever I'm watching, and before I know it, 45 minutes has gone by and my workout is over.
Take a group fitness class
Some people are shy about working out in front of other people, but in a group it's easier to keep going since there's that accountability factor.
Try: Zumba Xpress with Cecelia, Monday nights at 7:30-8pm (Edgewater)
What little tips and tricks do you have to get fit? Share them below!
By: Megan Millard
Welcome to 2015! With the new year comes a slew of new year's resolutions. Eat better, be more patient, and to get organized are a few common ones. However, if there's one common resolution that is worth sticking to, it's to work out. (OK, you probably saw that coming).
Whether you want to gain a little muscle, lose weight, or just improve your overall health, it's not too late to make going to the gym a New Year's resolution. Here are 5 of many reasons to make it happen:
1. Physical health
While this may seem obvious, by working out you are doing wonders for your body. Besides controlling your weight, it reduces your risk of a number of diseases including cardiovascular disease and some cancers, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. All of this, plus you're greatly increasing your chances of a longer life. No matter your age or weight, you can only benefit by incorporating some physical activity in your life.
2. Mental Health/Stress Reduction
Everyone knows that working out is beneficial for the body, but many people overlook its' incredible influence over the mind. The stress of a hard day at work or a bad day in general will melt away with some aerobic exercise. It reduces anxiety, improving one's mood. Additionally, as you age, you can keep your judgement and learning skills sharp with muscle-strengthening and aerobic activities 3-5 times a week.
3. You're getting the most out of your money and your time
Think about the cost of a cup of coffee. For even less than half of that cost per month, you can afford a gym membership that allows you to achieve your fitness goals. Instead of 30 minutes spent watching T.V. from the comfort of a couch, spend the same 30 minutes on a treadmill while you watch videos on your phone. If you find it difficult to complete a workout, this could be a good way to distract yourself. Before you know it, you've burned serious calories.
4. You're getting much-needed "me" time
When you think about your daily life, filled with work, meetings, appointments, housework, and social activities, how much of your time is really your own? By joining a gym, you can make a deal with yourself to designate whatever amount of time you choose to working out--because when you take time for exercise you're taking time for yourself. For half an hour, you can tune out the rest of the world and give yourself that time to improve (as mentioned above) your physical and mental health. What better gift?
5. You're part of a community
Whatever your shape, size, or workout goals, going to the gym offers you a sense of community. You'll be surrounded by people who share the same or similar resolution as you. Whether you want to engage by taking a group fitness class or you simply want to get in and get out, you'll have the opportunity to do your thing and reap the benefits. You'll know you're not alone in your journey.
There you have it--5 reasons get up and go to the gym and make this new year's resolution count. Please feel free to share your own reasons or workout goals below!
Time seems to fly by no matter what we do. However, being present in your daily lives and creating a habit of mindfulness is the best way to savor every moment of our lives. You’ll find that you are less stressed and more satisfied with your circumstances when you take the time to appreciate the people and things around you. The following five suggestions will help you to live in the now, compared to the past or future.
Tune in not out. We live in an age of technology that makes it easy to interact with people virtually and remove ourselves from the people and situations around us. While activities like listening to our headphones, spending time on social media, and playing video games are not harmful, and can be therapeutic at times, it is important to not spend too much time removed from those around you. Try commuting to work without your headphones or the radio several times a week. Instead talk to those around you, take some time to mediate, or just take note of the scenery around you. Focusing on your surroundings and those around you is the easiest way to stay present in your daily life.
Stop and take a bite out of life. Try eating your food slower. While you are chewing, take some time to think about the taste and texture of your food. Eating your food slower not only allows you to enjoy and appreciate your food more, but helps you to focus on the present. You will eat less with your eyes and more with all of your senses.
Enjoy nature. Take some time every day to sit outside and be in nature. Feel the sun on your skin, the breeze on your face, the smell of grass, etc. Nature can be very peaceful and bring you back into the now. This same principal is also important during the winter. Playing in the snow or taking a short walk outside will have the same benefits as enjoying nature in the warmer months. If you dislike the cold, then take some time everyday to look out a window with a view of some nature. Another alternative could be purchasing some indoor plants that you can care for and appreciate daily.
Focus on one thing at a time. Sometimes we can get overwhelmed by all of the things that we have to do each day. The stress and anxiety from our busy schedules can keep us from being present in the now. You can improve your presence and mindfulness by doing one task at a time. Try starting with your smaller tasks first. You’ll feel more accomplished and less stressed once you have knocked one or two things off your list.
Listen and talk less. Our final suggestion for being more present in your daily life is to listen to what others are saying more than talking yourself. You’ll improve your relationships and connect with your co-workers and loved ones on a deeper level. Listening to and helping others work through the hardships in their lives can also help you to put the minor hardships in your own life into perspective.
Try out one of these suggestions today and we know you will feel more mindful and present in your life than you were yesterday! :)
The month of December is a time for reflection. As we spend time with our loved ones and evaluate the last twelve months, many of us feel recharged and ready to set goals for the New Year. For those looking to improve their health and fitness it can be particularly challenging to create goals that are realistic and achievable. Many of us choose goals like losing weight or running a marathon, but we fail to create a manageable plan to reach that goal. The key to success with health and fitness goals is evaluating your starting point, establishing appropriate short and long-term goals, setting accountability checkpoints, adjusting your diet and fitness habits gradually, and choosing workouts that you enjoy. This type of holistic planning will keep you on track and motivated year-round.
Evaluate Your Health and Lifestyle. Knowing your health and fitness base line is critical to setting realistic and appropriate goals for the next year. Ask yourself questions like, how good is my diet? Do I smoke cigarettes and/or drink often? How often do I exercise? Do I have any physical limitations? Take some time to sit down and answer these questions. Decide what areas of your health and fitness that you would like to improve. Then schedule a checkup with your doctor to check your vitals and make sure you are able to safely workout. Once you have the go ahead, then move to step two.
Establish your short and long-term goals. Long-term goals usually take twelve or more months to accomplish, where as short-term goals can be accomplished in a day, a week, or a month. One strategy for creating the perfect fitness resolution for you is to create your long-term goal first and then to work backwards. Your long-term goal should be more general and take longer to accomplish. Examples might be to loss 20 lbs., to eat organic foods 80% of the time, or run a marathon. Once you have chosen your long-term goal, then you will create your short-term goals. Try starting out with one short-term goal and then add a new short-term goal each week. You want your short-term goals to be very easy to accomplish within a week’s time. Examples would be taking a workout class, eating a piece of fruit everyday, or going to bed before 10pm.
Set checkpoints and accountability checks to make sure you meet your goals. Our first suggestion is to put gentle reminders and affirmations up around your home. Two examples would be PostIt notes of affirmations on you bathroom mirror or alarms on your phone to remind you to eat healthy and exercise. We also strongly suggest joining a weight loss program or forum where you can interact with others that have similar goals. Having a structured fitness program gives you a routine that you can plan for and buddies to motivate you. Finally, we suggest you create weekly or monthly checkpoints where you evaluate your progress to make sure that you are consistently improving no matter how small the improvements are.
Adjust your diet slowly and don’t overwork your body. Changing your diet and exercise regime too dramatically can result in detox symptoms and fatigue. Try adding one healthy diet and fitness habit to your routine every week. This will help you to feel less overwhelmed with the positive changes you are making to your life and help you to naturally integrate healthy habits in your long term lifestyle.
Pick workouts that you enjoy. The best workout is one that you love to do! Find what brings you happiness whether it is hiking, dancing, martial arts, yoga, biking, weight training, etc. You’ll find that a fun workout makes it much easier to stay consistent.
Alright, you are ready to put your health and fitness plan together for the new year! Good luck and remember that we are always here to answer your health and fitness questions as well as provide the best group fitness classes and personal training options for you to reach your goals!
RFC staff. We want to share our fitness knowledge with you!