BODYbyDONAVON
Get Motivated!

motivation

 

According to a new study, that familiar feeling of exercise fatigue can be easily overcome with nothing but a shift in mindset. Participants who engaged in “self-talk,” specifically with mantras like “Feeling good.” and “Push through this.” not only outperformed their peers in a cycling test, but also perceived the workout as easier.

The study adds to a growing body of research on the “psychobiological model” of exercise-related fatigue – the idea that the mind and the body each have a role in determining how much exercise we can tolerate before we feel exhausted. And it’s not just cycling: Across different sports, including rugby and swimming, athletes who stay motivated with positive self-talk perform significantly better than their peers who don’t.

In the most recent study, researchers reported that no matter which mantra the volunteers chose, they cycled longer than the people who didn’t choose any. These results suggest it doesn’t matter exactly what we’re telling ourselves (“You go, hot stuff!”) as long as we’re engaging in some kind of self-motivation.

Find it hard to ignore the negative thoughts (e.g. “You’re not going to make it.”)? Psychologists say it’s okay to acknowledge those comments — and then turn our attention elsewhere.

Test out some of these inspiring mantras:

• Define yourself.
• You want this!
• Stronger with every step.
• Breathe. Believe. Battle.

• Keep fighting!
• Man up!
• You can. You will.
• Keep moving forward!

 

food

“What should I eat?” This is a question that is posed to me repeatedly by clients. Listed below, are my simple dietary “must-haves” that should be added to your daily diet.

  1. Quality proteins – Fiber One and Clif Bars do not count. These are low quality sources of protein. Quality proteins include items like eggs, lean grass-fed meats and dairy. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, nuts and seeds (almonds, chia and quinoa) are excellent sources of protein. Try to avoid the packaged and processed as much as possible, just like you would with anything.
  2. Quality fat sources – Over the course of time, the media and limited research have turned fats into a dirty F-word. The fact is that the body needs fats to survive and properly function. Good sources include things like EVOO, coconut milks and oils (great source of vital saturated fats and the oil is great to cook with). Again, eggs are a great fat source and completely nutrient packed. Avocados, flax and chia seeds, walnuts, cashews and the list goes on.
  3.  Nutrient-dense foods – Nutrient-dense defines a food that packs a whole lot of nutrition into a small amount of food. Colorful fruits and most vegetables fall under this category. As always, the more that something is processed and rendered, the less nutritious it becomes. So, the closer that you can get things to their natural state, the better. If you can grow it yourself, then even better!
  4.  Balance – The biggest thing that one needs on a daily dietary basis is balance. Diets that cut out entire food groups just don’t work. Or fads that promise quick and huge results. Your carb/fat/protein ratios should be a lot closer than you think. I like to try to make about 1/3 of my calories FAT, and a quarter to a third protein. Great nutrition (good sources, of course), and I’m less hungry all day long. The sugars get limited, for the most part, to natural sugars (fruit, honey, etc.). Again, (I can’t repeat this enough) try to limit the processed stuff whenever you can. Lastly, remember that there also has to be a note of desirability to what you eat every day. If you hate everything you eat, you are less likely to stick to the plan long term.

Eat well! Live well!

iStock_clean-meditate

 

We all burn fuel during our daily routine, and there’s even a name for it – non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). NEAT is the energy we use for everything from walking up stairs to texting, and with a little imagination, it’s easy to turn mundane activities into calorie burning opportunities — no gym required.

The best part is that, according to new research, these activities can help with weight management and actually count toward recommended exercise guidelines. We might not work up a sweat while shopping or doing housework, but every minute when we’re not lounging on the couch is another step toward good health.

For a long time, researchers thought that, in order for exercise to count toward physical activity guidelines, we had to be active for at least 10 minutes at a time. But results from a new study are causing some scientists to rethink those beliefs. Researchers looked at physical activity in adults between the ages of 18 and 64 and found that both long and short bouts of higher-intensity exercise were associated with lower BMI and risk of overweight and obesity. (“Long bouts” means at least 10 minutes of physical activity; “short bouts” refers to less than 10 minutes of physical activity. Intensity was measured by accelerometer counts per minute.)

Some great examples of and tips on short bouts are:

  • Shop – whether for groceries or clothes
  • Clean house – vacuuming, sweeping, or Swiffering is good for 150 calories per hour
  • Shake and bake – 30 minutes of chopping veggies or washing pots and pans may only burn around 75 calories, but add in some gluteus maximus.
  • Stop hop – get off the bus or train one stop early.
  • Take the stairs– taking the stairs can burn more calories per minute than jogging. Take two at a time to really get things moving.
  • Wash the car – this activity can burn 135 calories in 30 minutes
  • Shoveling snow – shoveling snow for 30 minutes can burn over 180 calories

Remember, while traditional aerobic activity and strength training are key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, everyday activities can be an additional way to get us moving — especially with a few calorie-blasting tricks.

 

stretch rope

 

It is possible to get an effective workout in 30 minutes, and only visit the gym a few times a week, if you maximize the workouts.

Disclaimer: The below tips are for those who have already been working out but want to see better results.

  1.  Limit your workouts to 30-40 minutes. The tendency of some people, who really want results, is to spend a lot of time at the gym. The truth is that after 30 or 40 minutes, the benefit isn’t as great. It’s better to work out at a higher intensity for a shorter amount of time.
  2. High-intensity  workouts.  If you’re just starting out with exercise, it’s best to take it slow. If you’re running or cycling, for example, build up your endurance for at least a month before you get into anything more intense. That means going at a rate where you can easily talk without being out of breath. However, once you have that base of endurance, step up the intensity to step up the effectiveness of the workout.
  3. Protein. Many people don’t pay enough attention to getting the protein their muscles need to rebuild. If you don’t, you are going to get very little out of your workout, as both      cardio and strength workouts require protein for building muscles. I recommend either whey or soy protein shakes.
  4. Water. Be sure to hydrate throughout the day. It takes a couple of hours for your body to absorb the water, so you can’t just drink right before exercise. Make it a habit to drink water regularly throughout the day.
  5. Carbs. Although the low-carb craze might say otherwise, carbs are our body’s main source of fuel. If you do intense workouts, you will need carbs, or you won’t have enough energy. If you do a shake, be sure to include carbs — or a banana is a great source of low fiber/high glycemic carbohydrates that you need for exercise.
  6. Slow lifting. Many people contract their muscles slowly and then release more quickly. But if you lift slowly in both directions, you are maximizing each move. Lift and lower to a 5-second count in each direction.
  7. Heavier weight. When you’re starting out, it’s best to start with lower weights so you can focus on good form. But once you’ve gotten your form down, it’s best to lift the heaviest weights you can lift while still keeping good form. Don’t sacrifice form for heavy weights — that is ineffective. But heavy      weights, with good form, can give you better results in a shorter amount of time. Heavy weights are not just for those who want to bulk up — that’s a common misconception.
  8. Compound exercises. Instead of isolating your muscles with exercises such as the bicep curl, you can maximize the time you spend in a workout by doing exercises that work out multiple muscle groups at once. With just a few exercises, you could get a full-body workout. Another benefit is that your muscles are working together as they do in the real world, rather than alone. Some great compound exercises include squats, deadlifts, good mornings, lunges, pushups, bench presses, military presses, rows, pullups, dips, and more.
  9. Mix it up. Don’t stick to the same workout routine for too long; your body will adjust to the stress level and you won’t get an effective workout. For strength training, change your routine every few weeks. For cardio, it’s best to cross train rather than, for example, run every time.
  10. Circuits. One mistake that people make is to do multiple sets of the same exercise without rest between the sets. This doesn’t allow your muscles to recover and it’s a waste of your workout. Instead of doing a set, resting, and then doing your second set, move on to multiple exercises in a circuit, so that you don’t rest between exercises but do rest each muscle group. This will give you a good cardio workout while you do your strength training.

shutterstock-honey2

 

In addition to being a great natural sweetener, honey offers numerous benefits that you should be aware of.  First off, honey is a better choice when dieting because it contains over 22 amino acids and minerals that aid in its metabolism.  This is in stark contrast to regular sugar that draws on the body’s nutrients to metabolize, which contributes to obesity and higher cholesterol.  Honey can also aid in the digestive system, which can boost your immune system.  It serves as a natural energybooster and is great when taken first thing in the morning or before a workout that you need some extra “oomph” for. It’s been widely recognized for use as a natural aid in home remedies because of its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.  Honey is often used as a hangover remedy because it is gentle on the stomach and its mix of natural sugars is known to speed up the oxidation of alcohol by the liver.  It’s been used for centuries to treat sore throats.  It’s also been used to treat eczema, brittle nails, bad breath and anti-aging.  Ultimately, honey, used alone and in combination with other natural substances like lemon juice, cinnamon and apple cider vinegar, can be a one stop shop for a myriad of your health and wellness needs. But, if you’re looking for a first step, just start by replacing sugar with honey.  Every little bit makes a difference.

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