Control Freak

Take Control

The term ‘control freak’ gets thrown around often. Most people relate that term with people who have to have control of every aspect of their lives and sometimes even the lives of others. Is it good to have control over everything? What if you had no control over any aspects of your life? How can you harness control to benefit your life?

We obviously cannot have control over certain areas of our life. We cannot control the weather, traffic or even time. Sometimes we cannot control our health. However, are there smaller events that can make these things we seem to have no control over work for us. For instance, as far as weather is concerned, do you have a backup plan in case the weather becomes impassible? If you know you will hit traffic at 8:35 am, can you leave 10 mins earlier to avoid the stress? We have no control over how fast time eludes us, but can we plan ahead and be prepared so that we make the most of the time we have? Finding ways to make situations, that can become very stressful, easier will help gain control of the situation. Those are everyday examples, now what about your health?

Apart from being under a doctors care for serious medical issues, what can you do to be proactive about your health? Just as with anything in life if we have a plan of action it will make life much simpler. If you leave your exercise and diet up to chance, you leave your health up to chance as well. Planning and organizing your meals for the week to guarantee healthy choices, will help you reach your goals sooner. Another benefit to being proactive about your meals is that you have now reduced the stress of “what will I(or my family) eat today?”. It doesn’t seem as though it would be a stressor in your life, but have you ever tried figuring out a meal last minute? You’re hungry, tired and most likely not wanting to be creative in making a healthy, delicious meal. The easiest option is usually fast food or take out, not always the best option. So, do you have control over your diet?

The same principle will hold true with exercise, if you maintain control over a schedule for your exercise, you will undoubtedly stick to it. However, leaving your exercise or workout for whenever you have the time for it, or a haphazard schedule, will most likely result in you going weeks without exercise. Seeing as how exercise is a great stress reliever, you want to make sure that you make the time to workout. When you come to the gym you can fortunately leave the time dedicated to exercise up to your trainer and the carefully thought out program they have planned out for you. The hardest part is on your end though, making the time to get in to train regularly. Take time to sit down with your trainer and lock in your times to train. If you attend bootcamps, make sure you schedule out which ones you will be going to and enough time arrive before the bootcamp starts.

While too much control can be viewed as a bad thing, you do not want to loose control over the necessary things in your life. Being proactive and allotting the proper time to exercise and eat healthy will help reduce your stress, help you reach your goals, and make you a healthier happy person.

An Avocado a Day

An avocado a day…

Avocados have endless benefits and possibilities. They have been used for hair conditioner, face creams, and even desserts. How can you use them to benefit your body daily? Besides a great guacamole recipe how have you found a way to fit avocados in your daily life?

Let’s start with the health benefits of including avocados in your daily diet. This fruit… That’s right, I said it, fruit of the avocado tree is filled with vitamins and nutrients. Among them are: vitamins K, C, B5, B6, E. Also, one serving of avocado has more potassium than one serving of a banana. Avocados contain no cholesterol, sodium, or saturated fats. They are also the highest plant food in healthy fats, this monounsaturated oleic acid has been proven to reduce inflammation. Avocados are also high in fiber, in a 100g serving there are 7g of fiber. Foods with high fiber content will aid in weight loss. Eating avocados can help lower cholesterol and triglycerides, while increasing HDL (the ‘good’ cholesterol). With heart disease being a leading cause of death in America, a daily consumption of avocado can help reduce your risks of succumbing to this disease.

With all of these benefits to be had, how can you make sure you are able to get the most from avocados? Here’s some tips on how to include avocado into your diet daily. Avocados are notorious for their fickle timing. You have to be careful when selecting them from the market, too hard and they won’t ripen for days, too soft and they must be used immediately. If you do come across ones that are too firm, place them in a brown paper bag overnight, they should be ready the next day. Once they are ripe, they will have a smooth creamy texture, this makes them the perfect substitute for foods with saturated fats such as butter, cheese or sour cream. Try replacing your typical mayonnaise with slices of avocado or even whipped avocado. You can even enjoy avocado on its own. Slice it in half, add salt & pepper and try it as a side for your next meal. Did you know there are even desserts made with avocado? Ice cream, brownies and smoothies, all rich in flavor and rich in physical benefits.

Improving your health doesn’t happen in one day, instead it takes one day at a time. Including avocados in your diet will not only add variety to your life but could in fact extend and increase your quality of life. One day at a time take responsibility for your choices and try to improve them everyday.

It’s All in Your Head

Have you ever been so overwhelmed, so stressed, so worried or shaken by something that you cannot seem to gather your thoughts? You literally cannot think clearly. It’s almost as though your brain is clouded and nothing can be resolved properly. Sometimes the only thing that helps is laying down, maybe going for a walk, others hit the gym.

When you walk into the gym, whether you are having a good day or are terribly overwhelmed, it is your time to focus on you and the tasks at hand. As discussed previously, a good time to start blocking everything out and giving your all into your workout starts with the warm-up. Walk in, put your things away, grab a mat and a space on the floor where you will be out of the way begin your warm-up. Focus on the tasks at hand, each rep, block out anything that may have been bothering you or weighing on your mind. Once your workout begins you can harness your aggression, anxiety or stress into any big movements that are programmed out for you. On several occasions I have had clients walk through the door and say: “I just need to throw a ball around right now.” Some days that may be all you need and it will help alleviate some stress from the day. Communicate with your trainer if you are under a great deal of stress, you may not be able to concentrate on new exercises or complex movements. You may actually benefit more from doing exercises that have been previously programmed, ones that you can do without much thought.

What if you’re attending a boot camp but still can’t seem to shake what’s going on outside of the gym, the best way to gain mental clarity is to focus on each exercise at hand. Think about what your body has to do in order to properly accomplish the exercise as well as the entire boot camp. When time for a water break comes, it’s obvious that you are going to socialize but try not to focus on anything other than the boot camp at hand. You may have previously wanted to talk about something with your friend, however a 30 second water break is not the time. Not only will those stressful thoughts cloud your ability to perform but you will also take away from someone else’s ability to perform at their best. Give this time at the gym as a gift to yourself. The only thing you need to think about is yourself and how you are performing. For most people working out can be quite cathartic. Why not give it a try?

Along with focusing your efforts in the gym, proper hydration and a healthy diet can go along way in helping anxiety, stress and depression. Allow yourself to self medicate on exercise and a healthy lifestyle and watch how you will be able to keep daily affairs in control and keep a clear mind in all you do.

Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail

How many times have you heard that saying?   Probably quite a few times.  This holds true for many aspects of life, no less so than trying to get in shape, add strength, lose fat, etc.

In order to see some results from what is likely to be hard work, you’re going to need to plan some things.  Because if you don’t have a plan, what is likely to happen is the matter that seems to be the most urgent at the time will get attention, and all others will go on the back burner. We get it, life gets crazy and things come up.  But there is always going to be some pressing issue that needs attention.  Without a plan, what happens is your own health takes a backseat to what seems the most important at the moment—and that could be as simple as a television show that you want to watch, or something with work or kids.  Having a plan will keep daily occurrences from creeping in and sabotaging your health.  Isn’t that the goal here, planning for your health.  Nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress reduction.  All things that can impact your health.

If you do not plan for your goals, they simply will not happen.  So lets plan:

•    Exercise
•    Meal Planning
•    Sleep

Take a look at each one, and figure out what may get in your way, or what obstacles to you foresee.
Then plan!

Without a regular routine for exercise it can easily fall out of your schedule. Different routines work for different people. Majority of people response well when they come the same days, same times, every week. If you know that you have a standing appointment to keep you will end up scheduling around your pre-booked appointment. That may not necessarily work for you and your schedule. You may need to schedule around an ever changing work schedule or that of your families schedules. Find what works for you best, it may not have to be so structured. However, If you make sure that you plan the time every week to get your exercise in, you will be sure to succeed and maintain a regular routine.

Meal Planning
This can be the most difficult part of your health. When it comes to making sure your diet is on point, it can be hit or miss. What will make the difference? Planning. Take an average day. Besides work, house maintenance, caring for your family, and many other responsibilities, your diet is sure to be one of the things that will surely suffer. You come home late and have spent the whole day snacking, instead of taking time to figure out and prepare a healthy meal for you and your family, you grab whatever take-out is closest. Its understandable and happens more than you would like i’m sure. When you plan ahead, you plan to succeed. Try taking one day a week to plan your meals out as well as shopping for the needed ingredients. Some people are able to take that day and prepare the meals for the week as well. When meal prep is priority, you will be surprised how easy it is to eat healthy.

A few weeks ago we discussed how important sleep is for you. Do you have a regular sleep routine? Not just the pre-bedtime routine, we discussed. If you fall asleep watching television and then wander into bed, that may not be the best routine to optimize your success. Allotting yourself the proper amount of sleep ( 7 hours for those between the ages of 26-64) can greatly benefit you. You set an alarm in the morning to wake you up for work, why not set one so you can begin to prepare for bed? After a short while of preparing and keeping your sleep schedule, it will then become a habit. Your body will start preparing for bed before you do. The benefits of a regular sleep schedule, are well worth the effort to make it a regular part of your day.

Imagine two jars. One is filled with stones. One is filled with sand. If you try to combine the two materials together how best would they fit? If you tried to place the stones in the already filled sand jar, it would be near impossible to combined them together. Now, instead, if you poured the sand into the jar of stones the two are able to fit inside one jar together. When we plan our health priorities( the stones) ahead of time we will still have room for everything else in our lives( the sand). Planning ahead helps us to make sure we are able to get everything in our lives accomplished. Try and make an effort to plan out your health goals, especially your exercise, nutrition and sleep.