Each new year starts as a point of reflection from the previous. 2009 seemed to be a year of bad news but with the beginning of each new year comes the opportunity to start with a clean slate. Below is the result of my reflection of 2009 and why I think you should make 2010 the year that you say, “I am in the best shape of my life!”
- H1N1 won’t be the last epidemic, we should expect to see more and far worse – When the H1N1 pandemic was announced a detail that wasn’t discussed in great detail was that statistically the world was overdue. Throughout history outbreaks of illness and disease have tended to repeat themselves at regular intervals and according to history this one came late. We’d be foolish to think this will be the last or the worst, but we can greatly reduce our risks but maintaining our efforts for optimal health and fitness.
- Prescription drug sales continue to rise by more than a billion a year – IMS a medical statistics firm reports that prescription drug sales in Canada continue to rise annually. The steady increase is attributed in part to direct-to-consumer drug advertising. Unfortunately gyms and health clubs will never be able to bombard consumers with the message of feeling better through exercise the way a drug company can. However, a health and fitness club can always promise more positive than negative side effects from exercise than a drug ever can.
- You have a better than 1 and 2 chance of contracting one of “Canada’s Five Deadliest Diseases” – As I reported in a previous column Canada’s five deadliest diseases are: Disease, Cancer, Lung Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease and Diabetes. When looking at the effected statistics we all have a better than 1 in 2 chance of experiencing one or more of these conditions. Regular exercise and healthy eating are one recommendation for the reduction of risk to all of these diseases.
- You can’t control the economy, you can control your health – 2009 was the year of economic downturn, it was doom and gloom for most of the year. Major layoffs, unemployment on the rise all spelled increased physical and emotional stress. Though you can’t control the economy you can control how you feel about it and how you deal with it. By making exercise a regular part of your life you will reduce stress and the physical effects it brings.
- The world wide obesity phenomenon – Not just a Canadian problem but a worldwide one. Obesity is dramatically on the rise. You could have an expensive medical procedure with still no guarantees and live with the potential negatives or you can educate yourself and embrace activity and improved nutrition.
- Be a role model for your children – Next to worldwide obesity I see child obesity as a separate and more alarming problem. This past year was filled with news on child obesity, it should not be a growing statistic that parents are outliving their children. We are all products of our environment; it’s my opinion that responsible parenting and true concern for your children and yourself has to be a powerful advocate for adding exercise and healthy eating to your family’s lifestyle.
- Improved hormonal balance – Inactivity, stress, and toxicity are all notable contributors to hormonal imbalance ranging from mild to severe instances of depression, infertility, and fatigue. Regular exercise creates hormonal cascades that help to overcome or improve hormonal imbalance.
- Improved self-esteem – It is undeniable that we are emotional creatures and that the better we feel about ourselves the better we perform and the more successful we become. You deserve to feel better about yourself and from weight loss to hormonal cascades I’ve seen exercise provide improved self-esteem thousands of times over.
- This is the year for that thing “you have always wanted to do” –The thousands of clients I have coached, each and every one always had that one thing they always wanted to do when they really sat down to think about their goals or reasons to exercise. Things left unaccomplished are in danger of becoming regrets, it’s time to cross that one thing off the list.
- Because you want to – The most important reason of all, and after reading this list the one I hope you will all come to settle on. There are far more than 10 reasons to embrace the idea of fitness and healthy eating. As I stated in a column in months past this investment in yourself will always produce a return, has zero risk and tonnes to be gained. Happy New Year to everyone and make 2010 the year you say, “I am in the best shape of my life!”
The holidays are a joyous time for a different kind of growth and development then the kind I spend each day preaching to my clients. It’s a time to spend with family, to grow relationships, be thankful for the year behind and to celebrate the season and the year to come. If you’ve been working hard all year it’s ok to indulge through the holidays as your body will be quite forgiving once you resume your regular exercise and nutritional plan in the new year.
A few tips, warnings and lectures for holiday survival:
Surviving the Christmas Party – Though I can’t do anything for you regarding the stories circulating the office come Monday morning I can give you a couple of tips on how to do the least damage during your evening of reveling. First alcohol is a nervous toxin, there are no ifs, ands or buts, it’s bad for you and it’s bad for fitness. The less the better but any which way anything more than 2oz is going to have a dramatic effect on your metabolism and the more you consume the longer you will be affected. What you can do to aid your recovery is ensure you consume at least 3-4L of water over the 3-4 days that follow to aid your liver and kidneys as they try to break down the alcohol. A detoxification program and the use of heat therapy like saunas and event hot tubs may also help to break the alcohol down faster. Though these methods don’t repair the damage caused they will allow you to get back on track faster. Second, eliminate sugared sodas from your cocktails, order them with diet soda or try drinking them with water. Sugared sodas are a primary culprit as far as unbalancing blood sugar and causing major insulin spikes that trigger cravings for all those things we love and know we shouldn’t eat. There is plenty of opportunity for Christmas goodies that force us to consume excess sugar so avoid it where you can.
Holiday Desserts – There are so many wonderful Christmas treats it makes your mouth water thinking about them, nanimo bars are my personal favorite. It would be cruel and unlikely to try to persuade most to steer clear of these treats entirely. Instead try to make sure that you have consumed a solid food meal high in protein no more than 30 minutes before you dive into the goodies. If this is simply not possible than force yourself to consume two large 8oz glasses of water, even better would be both. Obviously this will ensure your stomach is not empty and you won’t consume as much but more importantly this also changes the rate of gastric emptying (digestion) and ultimately how quickly our blood sugar rises causing triglyceride storage (fat conversion). If you can avoid the big insulin spikes you will find it much easier to resume your better eating habits once the holidays conclude.
Activity – It is going to be a cold winter they say, with lots of snow. This provides great opportunity to be regularly active through the holidays from the must do of shoveling sidewalks to many other activities like building snowmen, cross county skiing, snowboarding, skating etc. Don’t let winter slow you down.
From our fitness family at One-to-1 Fitness Merry Christmas and best wishes for an exciting 2010!
With all the talk and discussion about the H1N1 virus it would seem now more than ever is a great time to be thinking about taking better care of yourself. As a Red Deer personal trainer and holistic lifestyle coach I am convinced that one of the best vaccines you could ever utilize is that of prevention with regular exercise and balanced nutrition.
Generally when it comes to fitness and weight loss there are plenty of reasons to improve our lifestyle but for most, if not all of us, our desire for improved appearance seems to dwarf the others. Our skewed ideals make us forget that by crash dieting, making drastic changes in activity, or restricting ourselves to the point of semi-starvation we may achieve short term success at the cost of long term health. It doesn’t have to be this way, when your body is working with great efficiency it will generally dictate to you what it needs more and less of. Overeating is very difficult to do if you are consuming quality food with an efficient metabolism. Metabolic efficiency is not that difficult to improve you just have to be aware of the key factors that tend to make us less efficient.
1) Toxicity – Our world is toxic. Our industrialized society creates constant toxic physiological overload beginning with the home we live in. Our paint, our floors, the insulation in the walls, you name it our physical environment alone is enough for most of us to be in a state of toxic physiological overload. If you consume any alcohol at all or feel the least bit stressed this effect is further increased. Time and time again this is one of the largest factors preventing people from seeing immediate weight loss results when they begin to add exercise and improved nutritional habits. To begin to detoxify one of the best practices is to drink more water and get additional rest. These are two prominent natural recovery mechanisms your body uses to detoxify. Beyond these the next step is to consider additional detoxification treatment such as Far Infrared Sauna or many of the popular detox supplement programs available.
2) Dehydration – I’ve talked about it a number of times, but it’s more than just common it is an epidemic. Statistically an overwhelming percentage of our population is dehydrated. Chances are if you are in a room full of people right now; everyone, including you, is in some stage of mild to severe dehydration. Dehydration even in its mildest form saps vital resources severely compromising our immune system. Consume at least 3L of filtered water per day and avoid caffeinated and carbonated beverages. Mood and energy both become more stable once we reach and maintain an adequate level of hydration.
3) Improper Food Balance – This is one we could argue about all week, but your body is so smart it has all the answers, you just need to listen. I’ve discussed many different ratios and the logic behind over the years, I’ve also discussed listening to your body based on the science of metabolic typing. In many ways a holistic approach would dictate we must listen to our bodies. After all our whole objective is to “feel” good. Adjust your food based on how you feel about 60-90 min after a meal. If you feel any negative energy cues (ie. Fatigue, jitters, anxiety, cravings, etc) these are indicators of needing more or less carbs, protein or fat(for initial adjustments protein and fat should be considered as one and the same). Simply begin by adjusting one component of your next meal until you find you are having an improved post-meal feeling. I know it’s not the immediate answer you were hoping for but it will give you the awareness to change for a life time.
4) Exercise – Use resistance exercise for at least 20 minutes, 2-3 days per week and perform any form of cardio activity for at least 20-30 minutes an additional 2-3 days per week. These two things with moderate effort will be the catalyst that brings it all together.
These four elements, seemingly over simplified, truly are the key to avoiding a compromised immune system. Maintaining great lifestyle habits like the above will undoubtedly help you avoid cold, flu, H1N1 and many other forms of illness you will no doubt be in contact with every day. Well the above and good hygiene, I’m going to wash my hands, you should to.