2015- The Year of Not Falling for Gimmick

It’s coming up on 2015 and the craze of setting resolutions is upon us.  The quest for better health, losing weight, getting in better shape are among the top resolutions many will set come January 1st.  And the solution that most will use to take on their resolutions?  They will be of the quick fix, gimmicky, too good to be true variety.  Pills, shakes, mangled exercise science applications, cleanses, detoxes, super-foods, etc.
And why is that?

Because losing weight and getting healthier is an emotional endeavor.  And companies prey on that emotional attachment.  But you’re smarter than that, right?

Let 2015 be the year that you don’t fall for the shiny object promising this & that because chances are if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.  We are smart people, but we seem to fall for every little magic pill or new “secret to weight loss” without using any sort of logic or rationalization.  Let 2015 be the year you use logic and rationalization.  In one of my upcoming articles for Watchfit, I focus on the latest craze of waist training and the dangers that are inherent in doing something like that.  Basically a fad or gimmick that has a celebrity endorsement and promises the world.  My key takeaway from that article?  Making sure there is a physiological reason for the results that are claimed.

“We go to great lengths to find the quickest and easiest way to get results, to find that one “magic pill” that will make our lives easier and/or better.  But if there is no physiological reason as to why something will work, then it’s most likely a gimmick that won’t have long lasting results.  
We are always in search of that one thing that will help our aesthetics without analyzing whether or not it’s actually healthy for us.  Yes, we are a society that bases a lot on appearance and less on what will make us healthier, but what if instead of wasting the time and energy we spend on gimmicks like waist training, we focused on solid exercise and nutrition programs.  We’d have a much healthier society as a whole.”

That was my conclusion.  We waste so much time searching for the next best thing instead of looking at what works and what has always worked.  Exercise and nutrition!
We over complicate and cloud common sense with a lot of garbage that is unnecessary.

If there was a magic pill or secret way to lose weight, don’t you think everyone would be doing it?  Don’t you think doctors all over the world would be prescribing this magic?

That’s because it doesn’t exist.  What does exist is following a consistent exercise and nutrition program. One like we have at AMP where we test you strength, your conditioning, and we stay on top of your nutrition. We try to steer you in the right direction and away from fads and gimmicks, because why waste your time and money.  

Let 2015 be the year you make the healthy choice, the one that will leave you with long lasting results, not ones that last a few weeks and go away.

Happy New Year!!


Why New Years Resolutions Suck

“The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time” -Abraham Lincoln

Take one day at a time, because looking to far into the future can derail what you are trying to accomplish today.  
This quote plays into the exact reason why resolutions fail. We look too much into future instead of focusing on one day at a time, getting better one day at a time.  


1% Better Every Day!

As we get towards the end of 2014, we look forward to what we want to accomplish in 2015.  What worked in 2014, what didn’t work in 2014, what can I improve? Because we all want to improve something.  

Millions of Americans will set to create New Years Resolutions around this time, only to give up on them by March.  Why is that?
The issue that comes every year from setting New Years resolutions is that we set goals that are either too lofty or too vague.  Most often it lies with being too vague.  Starting an exercise program, eating healthier, creating a better financial situation, or whatever it may be creates a lack of specificity. And without specificity, its easy to get away from them.  


Or it could be that your are just not ready for change.  When January 1st hits, we all want to change.  But do you REALLY want change?  Are you prepared to take the necessary steps that need be done in order to get in better shape?
Change or being ready for change comes in phases:  

  1. Precontemplation. No intention for change nor is aware of problematic behavior or may be let down by past failures.
  2. Contemplation. Aware of the need for change and intends to take action, but isn’t committed just yet. 
  3. Preparation. Has decided to start changing behavior and has a plan of action, like going to AMP
  4. Action. Has made changes by developing effective habits and behaviors.
  5. Maintenance. Has made changes over the long haul and is working hard to prevent sliding back to their old ways. 

Where did you fall?  If you are like most people making resolutions, you are in stage 2 or 3.  Let AMP help you get to stage 4 & 5 by creating a training program for you and keep you accountable.

Another reason we struggle with our New Years resolutions is we want to change everything all at once.  We really lack the ability to focus on so many things at once.  Research has shown that when we try to change a single behavior at a time, the likelihood that we’ll retain that habit for a year or more is better than 80%.  When we try two behaviors, our chances of success are less than 35%.  When we try three behaviors or more, our success rate plummets to less than 5%.  

That is why resolutions fail and
why resolutions are a waste of time!

Is it any surprise, then, that when we try to massively overhaul our lifestyle in short order, the changes simply don’t stick?  Of course not.  But, let’s be honest.  Most of us aren’t known for being patient.  And most people who try to start an exercise or nutrition program want to be in shape, like, yesterday.

Finally, pick a behavior based goal.  Not one based on the outcome.  You can’t control the outcome.  Avoid going into 2015 saying, “I want to lose “X” amount of weight in “Y” amount of time because what if you don’t hit that mark? Do you just give up?  Behavior on the other hand is easily controlled by YOU!  
Every single day you have complete control on behaving in ways that take you towards your goals or away from them, so if the outcome doesn’t happen, you can look at your behavior over the course of a month to see what you could have done different.  

Here’s what I want you to do:

  • Select one habit or behavior & ONLY one habit/behavior. Whatever you think will have the biggest impact on your life.
  • Write down your plan. What steps do you need to take?
  • Find someone to keep you accountable!
  • Post Publicly:  For January, we want to use our white board to write your habit down so you are accountable to it


So what have we learned?  We need to pick ONE habit or behavior (because we can control behavior) and go with it. We need to ensure that our habit or behavior is specific and not just “eating healthier.”  Get specific, for example “2 vegetables at every meal, or training 16 times in January”
Create more ease with your goal setting and I guarantee your “resolution” will be more successful.

Your final thing to do?
Write it down on our white board!!


Sleep!!

How much sleep does the typical adult get?  A little under 7 hours.  Even further, about 1/3 get under 6 hours.  Well what exactly does that mean for your health?
Studies suggest that people who sleep fewer than six hours per night gain almost twice as much weight over a 6-year period as people who sleep 7-8 hours per night.  Why?

  • decrease in satiety hormones, increase in hunger hormones
  • altered glucose tolerance, insulin resistance & diabetes
  • inflammation
  • obesity
  • disruption of cortisol levels and rhythm
  • decrease in testosterone and increase in estrogen
  • loss of lean mass, including muscle, bone and organs
  • decrease in thyroid stimulating hormone
  • heart attack
  • stroke

Wow!!

So why don’t we get enough sleep?  Is it because we are so busy, or that our brains are still processing, or is is it more of just staying awake because you want to despite how tired you are.  Maybe you’re just mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, or catching a TV show.  Solving that problem can help you lead to better and more sleep.

So now we all know that it’s important for our health, however, I think many underestimate how much sleep can affect everything in your body from brain activity to hormone levels or think that we can get away with little sleep.  It is just as important as exercise and nutrition.  Earlier in the week, we posted about setting a routine when you go to bed.
This includes set up your room so that you can get a quality nights rest. 
Here are a few good tips include:

  • Turning off the TV, phone. 
  • Making sure its dark enough 
  • Cutting out the caffeine
  • Stretching
  • Setting a Bedtime
  • Temperature( I know I like it where its not too hot or too cold)

Either way, creating a game plan will make a world of difference in the quality and quantity of your sleep.  Just like nutrition, you need to set up habits to be successful, and it is no different when it comes to sleep.

Take control of your sleep environment and behavior and see how successful you are.


Just Breathe!

It’s one of the simplest things we do, yet it has become one of the most complicated things as well.  Breathing!  
Breathing occurs in two different ways, when relaxed and when under duress.

Why is has it become complicated?   In one word, STRESS.
 
Our bodies response to stress, whether its from someone attacking us or from a deadline at work, is typically the same biologically speaking.  It results in an increase in cortisol and a difference in how we breathe.  

You may have heard me mention cortisol and how it can wreak havoc on fat storage.  This comes down to increases in stress.  The bodies normal response to immediate stress is a short increase in cortisol.  This gives us a quick burst of energy, sharpens our memory, increases our immunity, and decreases our sensitivity to pain.  These are all important and natural functions of cortisol and ensure that we are able to weather the curve balls that life throws at us.

However, and this is a big one, if the stress doesn’t let up, neither does the cortisol.  Unfortunately, what is healthy in small bursts becomes dangerous over the long term.  If you have persistent stress in your life, then you have cortisol levels that are out of balance:  your body makes so much cortisol that it detrimentally affects your health.  For example, increases in abdominal fat or our ability to breathe.

Ideally we want to just breathe using our diaphragms, however when we’re stressed or under duress, or even when we’re exercising, we use other muscles as well.  For example, we use our chest and neck muscles as well.  What this ends up leading to is tightness in your neck, shoulders, and/or back.  

What I want you to do now is lay on your back, take a deep breathe in, and notice 1 of 2 things.  Did you belly rise or did your chest rise?

If you’re like most people, you saw a big rise in your chest over your belly.  

What does that mean?  Probably that you are in a constant state of “panic breathing” or “compensatory breathing.”
Take a look at this!

In addition, try some of these tactics:
•    Reduce stress.  Easier said than done.  Learning how to cope with stress more effectively may be all it takes to balance your cortisol.
•    Be consistent with Sleep.  Going to bed at the same time each night will help to regulate your circadian rhythm. Practice this habit to ensure you get enough sleep.
•    Exercise.  This is a great way to reduce stress, however it doesn’t have to be all out, exhausting exercise.  It can be movement, like going for a walk.