Chia Seeds Provide Sports Nutrition Minus the Sugar and Calories

The popularity of sports drinks and performance gels has exploded over the last 10 years but most nutritionists would agree they aren’t that good for you. A simple drink that combines water, chia seeds and a twist of citrus is healthier and will help you keep that competitive edge.

Nutritional Value of Chia Seeds

Chia seeds made a comeback about five years ago. Before that, most of us either hadn’t heard of them or didn’t understand the nutritional benefits that adding them to your diet can bring.

Chia seeds

Chia Seeds Have Superfood Properties

Chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and are very high in antioxidants. Unlike other seeds – flax for example – they can be added to water, soups, salads, and homemade bread right out of the package. Flax seeds, while good for you, do not have any real nutritional benefits whole and must be ground before they can be consumed.

Chia seeds are a powerhouse of nutrients. One ounce (about 2 tablespoons) has 139 calories, 4 grams of protein, 9 grams of fat, 12 grams of carbohydrates and 11 grams of fiber. Chia seeds also contain essential nutrients including manganese, phosphorus, calcium, zinc, copper and potassium. As a bonus they contain essential fatty acids alpha-linoleic and linoleic acid, and vitamins A, B, E and D.

Adding chia seeds to your diet for the nutritional value they provide alone is reason enough. But some research shows they can increase your energy level and metabolism which can lead to improved athletic performance. Add them to the water you drink during your workout and you won’t need a sports drink like Gatorade that’s loaded with sugar and other additives or G2 that has questionable artificial sweeteners.

Replace Sugary Beverages with Chia Seeds to Maintain Your Edge and Lose Weight

Most of us look to sports drinks to help us get through athletic endurance trainings and events. If we are doing a 50 mile bike ride or a 13 mile run on a hot day, we need something beyond water to keep us moving. You can safely replace the sugary carb-loaded beverage with a tablespoon of chia seeds in water with a splash of lemon or lime which will save you calories and provide the needed energy.

A study cited in the National Institute for Health created two control groups that consisted of athletic males. They had both groups perform a one hour run on a treadmill at approximately 65% of their VO2max followed by a 10k time trial on a track. One group consumed 100% of their calories from Gatorade. The second group consumed 50% of their calories from Gatorade and 50% from chia seeds. The group that consumed the 50% Gatorade, 50% Chia seed drink performed just as well as the 100% Gatorade group, which shows the athletes could decrease their dietary intake of sugar by using the chia seed replacement drink.

Chia in water

Chia Water = A Healthier Option

While the study doesn’t go so far as to prove that chia seeds alone will lead to athletic performance, the good news is that often times we consume more calories in the form of beverages and other carb aids when we work out or compete in events. Unlike chia seeds, those calories comes from sugar that has no nutritional value and leads to inconsistent ebbs and flows in our energy level. Over time, consuming sugary sports drinks can sabotage our weight loss goals and leave us wondering why we’re working so hard but the stubborn belly fat doesn’t budge.

Plus, the high fiber content of the chia seeds (one ounce has 10 grams) will fill you up so you’re not starving when you’re done!

Motivation from Mel Robbins, More Good Coffee News, the 8 Hour Diet: It’s Friday. I’m in Link Love

Link-Love2

Ah . . . . Friday. Here you are once again. The funny thing about Friday is the love/hate relationship that I have with it. Of course I’m looking forward to the weekend. But, the end of another work weeks means that five more days of my life have slipped away. Have I made the best of them?

Sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes no.

One way to bring meaning to a week that has been less than overwhelmingly interesting in any way is to share tips via links about health and wellness news that I’ve found to be fascinating this week. I hope you enjoy and will share.

 – Not can you, but do you have the will to [change]?
–  The 8 Hour Diet is still a thing
–  Burn20 will inspire you to move more, and . . . .
–  There is now proof (almost) that coffee and a nap are the perfect combo.

It’s Friday. I’m in [Link] Love!

Mel Robbins on Why Motivation is Garbage –Mel Robbins, creator of the 5 Second Rule,  is a motivational speaker with one of the of the top 20 Tedx talks in the world. In this interview with Tom Bilyeu, she talks about how she changed her life with one simple strategy that came to her during a low point.  In this compelling interview she talks about how the habit of hesitation sabotages our success and what to do about it. The interview is worth a watch and just may motivate you to make some changes in your life. For an additional motivational burst, check out her short inspirational video This is Where Your Dreams Live below.

 

 

The Complete Guide to Intermittent Fasting – For several years I have practiced the 8 Hour Diet, intermittently at least, and can confirm that it has significant benefits. The 8 Hour Diet is believed to help you lose weight (without counting calories or starving yourself) and reduce the risk of chronic conditions including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s Disease.  The diet works because for 16 hours a day you are not consuming any calories. During this 16-hour period, the body is able to rest, repair and burn calories.

The book, The 8 Hour Diet by David Zinczenko and Peter Moore was a New York Times bestseller and brought the concept of intermittent fasting mainstream. For the most in depth look at the diet, the book can be purchased at Amazon.com. To learn more before buying the book, check out Stylecraze’s The 8 Hour Diet – Complete Guide.

 

Clock 2

 

Burn20 – Ingrid Macher’s Facebook page Burn 20 features short workout  videos – usually three exercises in each one – almost daily. Having these in your Facebook newsfeed is motivating and provides some great ideas for exercises that target a variety of muscle groups that can be done in a short amount of time.  Ingrid also has a free 5-day meal plan that you can download.  You can access the videos here – Burn 20 Videos, and the entire Facebook site here, Burn 20. Give her a ‘like’ on FB and start getting the videos today!

Burn 20

 

Coffee + Nap = Perfect Combination – I read some time ago that drinking a cup of coffee before taking a short nap would help you wake up more recharged than either option on its own. Researchers continue to study the benefits of the “coffee nap” and deem it to be the perfect combo. Why does it work you ask? “Both sleeping and caffeine block the brain’s receptors of adenosine, which is the chemical that causes drowsiness. While a nap on its own can leave a person feeling refreshed, the introduction of coffee beforehand can make for an even more effective energy boost.” Click here to learn more.

Cup of Coffee

I’ll have more next Friday.

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A Fifteen Minute Workout That Will Take Your Fitness to the Next Level

Getting and staying fit is a challenge for everyone. People that struggle with finding time to exercise may think that adhering to a lifestyle that includes a daily fitness routine is easier for others than it is for them. I don’t think that’s always the case but some people certainly have a way of making it look easy.

Are you struggling to find time in your day to work out? Or maybe you’re doing just enough two or three times a week to get by, but you envy people that look stronger and more fit than you do. If so, here are five basic exercises to start doing every day. These time tested moves burn fat, build muscle, and will give you a more defined look.

 1.  100 Squats A Day (can include split squats or lunges) – The squat works all of the muscles in the lower body. Doing squats everyday will increase lower body strength by helping you gain or maintain muscle mass. Doing 100 squats a day will give your bottom more shape and definition and increase your overall lower body strength. To give this exercise variety and challenge add weighted dumbbells or jumps.

Squats 2

Flickr Photo by Max Fitness

A good variation of the basic squat is a split squat. In this move, step one leg in front of the other. The back leg does the work as you drive the knee down towards the floor and back up. For this variation, try completing 50 reps on each leg.

Split squat

Flickr Photo by Max Fitnexx

 

2.  50 Push Ups A Day – The push up does for the upper body what the squat
does for the lower. It works all of the muscles in your upper half, increasing strength and creating definition in the chest, arms and back. There is no shame in doing push-ups from the knee position, just make sure you bend your elbows and get your chest down to the floor without your booty going up in the air. Have someone watch you or do a set in front of a mirror to make sure you’re using correct form.

Push up 2

Start the push up from a hand plank position.

Push up 1

Lower your body down to the floor, then push back up to starting position. Repeat.


3.  100 Crunches – yes, I said crunches – A Day
– I think the ‘no more crunches’ approach that we’ve moved to over the past five years is misguided. Ab crunches are easy to do, you can do them anywhere, and they are effective in toning the core. Start on your back with your hands behind your head and roll your shoulders up off of the floor. Lower back down so that head almost touches the floor and repeat.

Ab crunch 2

You can vary the crunches that you do each day to incorporate the obliques (side wall) of the abdominals more. In the same position, crunch up bringing the left shoulder towards the center. Lower back towards floor and repeat on the right.

Ab Crunch

Flickr photo by Oxyfit Gym


4. 25 Burpees A Day
Burpees are the ultimate functional fitness exercise. A burpee incorporates all of the major – and many of the minor – muscle groups in the body. Not only do they increase muscle endurance, they will get your heart rate up and boost your cardio fitness level which leads to better endurance for activities like running and biking.

The picture below shows the steps – from left to right – for completing a perfect burpee. If you are just getting started, try walking the legs out to position #2 (the second picture from the left in the series) and walking back in to complete position #5.

Burpee

Flickr photo by Jack Thompson


5. Plank for Three Minutes A Day
– The plank is now the most revered core exercise that strengthens your abs, back, and core. Research shows that planking supports proper posture and improves balance. There are so many ways to do a plank that you can try a different variation each day. Start out with a basic elbow plank . .  .Elbow Plank
then work up to a hand plank . . .

Hand Plank

Flickr photo by SAIT Polytechnic

and, finally to the side plank (which can be modified by going to an elbow position).

Side plank

For even more of a challenge, master the art of the reverse plank.

Reverse Plank

Start with 15 to 30 seconds in each plank position. Rest, then repeat until you’ve completed three minutes.

Give It A Chance.

You’ve read about the benefits of all of these exercises before. The question is have you not just tried them, but done them on a regular basis for a long enough time to matter?

For the next 30 days do these exercises every day (it will only take 15 minutes). You be the judge of whether or not you look better and feel stronger.

DO it Now

If you are not able to do the number of reps suggested, just focus on doing each move with the correct form. Keep track of how many you do and add a couple reps each day until you reach the goal. At the end of 30 days, move the goal up by adding weight or reps to the exercises.

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Beat the Heat With the Ultimate Electrolyte Replacement

It’s only June and already there is a record heat wave gripping the southwest states. Usually the intense heat doesn’t start until July but it’s getting an early start this year and not just in the south. It has been hot here in Illinois this year too with heat indexes up in the 100’s.

If you are working outdoors in the heat whether it be biking, running or gardening, you need to quench your thirst with something other than water.

Water

You Need More Than Water

Water is a great hydrator. It’s almost always available, has zero calories, and flushes toxins out of your body. There are many more reasons why it’s good to drink plenty of water every day and you need even more when it’s hot.

But, if you’re only drinking water, you are losing precious nutrients through fluid loss from sweating in the heat.  The major electrolytes found in the body include calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, phosphate and chloride. When these minerals become too low you may notice unpleasant – and sometimes dangerous – symptoms. Muscle weakness, an irregular heartbeat, a change in blood pressure, confusion, numbness and even seizures can occur when you have an electrolyte deficiency.

Sport Drinks Aren’t The Best Solution

Popular sports drinks advertise that they offer electrolyte replacement and provide potassium and sodium but they come with some other not-so-helpful ingredients like sugar or artificial sweeteners. A serving of Gatorade Cool Blue Thirst Quencher has 150 calories, 250 mg of sodium, 65 mg of potassium, 39 grams of carbohydrates and 35 grams (8.75 teaspoons) of sugar. Other flavors and brands have similar ingredient labels.

Gatorade Blue

A better option for electrolyte loss is the Nunn Active tablets that provide more total replacement. Nunn tablets come in a variety of flavors, have only 4 grams of sugar and contain 38 mg of magnesium, 25 mg of sodium, 360 mg of potassium. Replacing magnesium is key to reducing muscle cramps and twitches, weakness, irritability and even vomiting and diarrhea. Plus magnesium moves the other electrolytes into and out of the cells so it’s a must have in any electrolyte replacement.

The Nunn tablets only have 10 calories per tablet.

Nunn Tablets

 

Nutritional information per tablet is below:

Nunn

You can purchase Nunn Active from Amazon or any sports store. They cost about $6 per tube of 10 tabs which comes out to less than 10 bottles of most of the popular sports drinks.

I began using the Nunn Active tablets when I began spring training for a half marathon. The temperature was above average and on the long runs I sweat so much I could wring my clothes when I was done. Water wasn’t taking care of my thirst or fatigue. The Nunn tablets made a big difference in my ability to fully recover quicker. I notice a marked difference in the way I felt after using the tablets.

The tablets dissolve in water and are slightly fizzy. I’ve read some reviews where people have said they think they are too fizzy but I didn’t find that to be the case at all. The taste is not overbearing either.

If you want to stay physically active in the summer heat and be able to stay on top of your game, an electrolyte replacement link Nunn Active will help.

Have you tried the tablets? If so, share your thoughts in the comment box below.

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Ultimate Music Mixes to Fuel Your Motivation

I am an early morning workout person. Some days – Mondays in particular – when the alarm goes off at 4 a.m. the motivation isn’t there. But, the right music can change my attitude quicker than anything else. An upbeat, energizing mix will fuel my motivation so that I am able to give 100% even on days when I could not imagine that to be possible.

Since music is critical to my success, I thought it only fair that I share the sources that I use for the classes that I teach as well as the workouts that I do on my own.

Below are my top 5 fave sights to get workout music mixes:

Workout Music Source – WOMS has a YouTube channel where they update music every Friday. Their creations are mostly hour long re-mixes of popular songs that are good for running, kickboxing, CrossFit and any other type of workout that you can use music for.

I have been downloading music on a regular basis from WOMS and I’ve found these mixes to be the best of the best. The Girl Boss mix is my favorite. It has 14 fun, upbeat diva songs. All of the mixes are 32 counts and beats per minute is listed on each mix. Subscribe so you’ll get updates when new mixes drop. **Very reasonably priced.

Girl Boss Cardio Mix

32MIX – This site is for instructors only so you will have to agree to only use the music in a fitness class environment before you access the site. The truth is, anyone can purchase the music but because they remix music in its original form, copyright laws restrict them from selling to DJs and other people who might use their music in an environment not covered by ASCAP or other copyright licensing organizations.

There are a ton of mixes to choose from at this site and they are divided into categories. Once you spend a little time at the site, you’ll get an idea of the genre of each and will be able to find music that best suits you. I find this site a little hard to navigate but they do have a listening link for each of the mixes so you can listen before you buy. You can select the tempo for each mix and they even have a custom mix option. You pick 16 songs that you love they will mix them for you.

32 Mix

 

Instructor Music – Much like 32Mix, Instructor Music creates mixes using original artists’ songs and they specify that they are for instructors only. If you want to purchase the music just make sure you only use it for your own workouts or in an environment that is covered under a performance license(such as a YMCA, fitness center, etc.)

I’ve used Instructor Music mixes for years for the fitness classes that I teach. They create new mixes on a weekly basis and use up-to-date top 40 hits. They also have numerous retro mixes if you want a disco or old school rock and roll mix. The best thing about this site if the ‘Close-Outs’ where you can get mixes at a great price. All mixes are 32 count and download right to your computer or cell phone.

 

Instructor Music

Fitness & Music – This artist no longer updates their YouTube channel but there are still some mixes that you can access that are excellent. They have fun mixes with music from the 80’s and 90’s and megamixes that are compilations of current songs as well as some you probably haven’t heard for awhile. Because I like F & M’s music so much, I always wonder what I could do to encourage them to continue creating mixes. The 80’s Aerobic Mix Super Hits is timeless.

Fitness & Music
Israel RR Fitness – These mixes can be found at the Israel RR Fitness channel on YouTube. They are fun and edgy and can be used for a variety of workouts. What’s fun about IRRF’s music is it’s out of the box and crosses several decades of music in one mix which you don’t find very often. The Step Aerobic Mix #6 goes from September – originally by Earth, Wind and Fire – to Sexy and I Know It – to the Steve Miller Band’s Abracadabra. There are no copyright infringement rules you have to worry about here. Check out Israel RR. You won’t be disappointed.

Israel RR Fitness

I would love to know if you visited any of the sites I mentioned and if so, what you thought!

What is your go-to music web site?

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The Reality of No-Pain No-Gain and The Comfort Zone Thing

I like to be comfortable and I hate pain. I’ll bet you do too. No one avoids going to the dentist or paying off the balance on my credit card better than me.

For a year or more I’ve been working within my comfort zone. Every workout has been pre-empted with a mental reassurance of  ‘You’re good, girl. Just do what you can do’.

Guess what?

That doesn’t work.

The reality is that if you want to exceed, or better yet, excel at anything you are going to experience some pain. You are going to be uncomfortable. The rewards that come from both of these not-so-awesome ‘feelings’ are worth it. Life beings at the end of your comfort zone.

 

Comfort Zone

Dealing With Uncomfortable Pain: Outsmart Your Brain

I had to begin to reevaluate my own reality a few months ago when, for the second year in a row, it was looking like I wouldn’t be ready to run the Illinois Marathon (IM) half marathon. The IM is a huge annual event in my hometown (practically). I work in C-U and the this event brings that community to life on a level you might not be able to understand until you experience it.

I love the Illinois Marathon. Last year I didn’t participate for reasons too boring to go into here. This year, for similar reasons I thought I wouldn’t participate again. And then, something happened. I was sitting at my desk at work and my inner voice that always says “You’re good, girl” spoke to me in a different way.

She said, “What is wrong with you? Two years in a row you’re not going to run the half in the Illinois Marathon? ” I realized that if I didn’t do it this year I would never do it again.

At that moment I registered for the event and spent the next six weeks training so that I would be ready to, once again, run 13 miles.

Out of My Comfort Zone

My long runs took place on Saturday or Sunday morning. It was spring in Illinois and that means it’s either too chilly or too warm. There’s no in between. On some days it rained.

The first week I ran seven miles, the next week eight. Finally I got up to a painful, uncomfortable nine miles. There were days I didn’t want to go. There were days when my brain kept talking me out of going one more mile.

Why?? I want to do this. Why is my own brain working against me?

I’m not sure but I think it has to do with the way we have convinced ourselves that the status quo is good enough. We start to believe that we shouldn’t ever have to experience pain or be uncomfortable. I don’t know who to blame for that and it doesn’t matter now. If you can overcome that voice in your brain that tells you ‘you’re good’ when you’re not or that ‘you’ve got this’ when you don’t, you can reach your goals.

Was It Worth It?

Oh yes! It was awesome. Here I am at the Memorial Stadium Finish Line with my daughter.

half marathon

And here’s me with my daughter and other like-minded people I know that are willing to push to reach their goals.

IM Collage

After the half marathon I was ready for more painful and uncomfortablness.

I ran the Lake Mingo 7 mile trail run last week. The trail run is a series of rugged hills that suck the life out of you followed by valleys where you feel like you are going to fall head over heels. I was not comfortable at all after mile 2. But, look at me. I got a medal! I got fourth in my age group.

Lake Mingo Train Run

Here’s What I Know

I could not have done this without these 3 things:

— Changing my mental attitude to put an end to the complacent acceptance that whatever I can do is good enough. It’s not, and that thinking leads to nothingness.

— Seeking out people who are willing to be uncomfortable with me. If you can find people that can handle a little pain and you are able to support each other in the process you’ve struck gold. The picture below is a group of us that conquered the Lake Mingo trail.

Lake Mingo

 

— Accepting that there is going to be some pain in the process. It might be rain hitting your face on a training run or having to get out of a warm bed a lot earlier than you want to. If you are going to get what you want out of life getting uncomfortable and experiencing some pain is  inevitable.

It’s not easy being exceptional but, I know that you can be.

I’m begging you to settle for nothing less.

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Five Effective Full Length Work Outs (For Free) On YouTube

Getting to the gym can be a challenge. Going out for to bike or run can be even more of one if you live in areas of the globe that experience winter.

I’m constantly looking for effective (free) workouts on YouTube. I guess you could say it is one of my favorite past times. And, on this site I have always generously shared my picks with you.

So, here are my latest favorites. Honestly, I’m having trouble understanding why these instructors are giving away their workouts for free, but they are so ENJOY!

Tracie Long TLF Focus Series

I have to admit I just recently became familiar with Tracie Long. Her workouts are excellent for any fitness level and all are available on YouTube at no cost. Because there are so many good ones I had trouble deciding which one to post on the site but, ultimately chose the Tracie Long TLF Focus Series Vol 5 – Break Through.

Don’t let this seemingly simple workout that uses only a 6 pound medicine ball deceive you. Its low impact/high intensity moves kick in way before it’s over. How does she do the entire workout on that stage without falling off the side?

Equipment needed: one weighted ball (that will kick your you-know-what).

Chalene Extreme Intervals

It doesn’t get better than Chalene’s Extreme workouts. This one starts out using a big ball in the warm up, and then goes to cardio intervals that require no equipment. The workout alternates between cardio and strength intervals for a 40 minute fat-burning workout. As always, Chalene’s enthusiasm is infectious. Be ready to get your sweat on!

Equipment needed: Large ball, weights or resistance band.

Melissa Bender Cardio Body Sculpt HIIT

Melissa Bender is the real deal. She offers every type of work out from “Improve Your Rear View” to “Dancer Body” and boot camp. They are all intense but you can pace yourself and lower the impact on some of the moves as needed.

I’m sharing the 15 Minute Cardio Body Sculpt HIIT: No Equipment workout that was posted on her YouTube channel earlier this month. Melissa does most of her workouts using an interval timer (including this one). This is a tough workout so modify as needed.

Equipment needed:  yoga mat (optional).

Gym Ra – 30 Minute Power Workout With Dumbbells

This workout focuses on toning and strength. The instructor appears to be using three or four pound weights and is working through full range of motion on each of the exercises. For people that have been working out with weights, five or six pound dumbbells would be even more effective. Works upper and lower body. Check out more workouts at GymRa.com.

Equipment needed: Light weights.

Fitness Blender 32 Minute Home Cardio Workout With No Equipment

Fitness Blender has been delivering fitness videos for several years so if this one doesn’t suit you there are oodles on YouTube or the Fitness Blender web site to choose from. I like the setting of this workout and it appeals to a variety a levels. It’s not over-the-top, but is a good low-impact cardio workout.

Equipment needed: none

I hope you find a workout here that you like.

What’s Your Favorite YouTube Workout?

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Are You Getting Enough Exercise? The Answer Might Surprise You.

Is Your Sedentary Lifestyle Making You Feel Drained, Tired and Bored?

Too much sitting, whether it be at the office or on the couch in front of the TV, not only gives you’re a bigger, flatter bottom, it messes with your metabolism making it harder for you to lose weight and keep it off.

A review in the Journal of Applied Physiology says that inactivity makes you insulin resistant and raises your lipid levels. These two factors, alone or combined, can put you at a greater risk for type 2 diabetes, and fatty liver disease. The Journal also says that prolonged periods of sitting make it harder for your body to burn fat and may even encourage fat storage.

So we know that sitting too much is bad for us. That’s not new news. If you’re someone who shrugs your shoulders and thinks there is nothing you can do about it because you sit at a job all day and don’t have a lot of options for physical activity before or after work, hang on. There are some things you could be doing every day to get more activity in.

And, for people who already do structured workouts three or four days a week, moving more throughout the day is good for you too. In fact, some research shows that sitting all day undoes the benefits of that 45 minute HIIT workout you did this morning at the gym.

Doing These Five Things Every Day Can Improve Your Health

Wall Push-Ups – A quick, simple exercise that you can do anywhere gets you out of your chair and increases blood flow to your extremities. Stand facing a wall, put both hands on the wall about shoulder width apart. Press into the wall, then push away from the wall. Do 12 reps.

Wall Squat – Stand with your back against the wall and lower down to a sitting position. Hold the squat (with your back against the wall) for at least 30 seconds. Repeat six times.

Chair Squat – Stand up from your chair, then sit back until you’re almost touching the seat. Hover for two seconds without touching then stand back up. Repeat 12 times.

Move For Three – After 60 minutes of sitting stand and move around for three minutes. Marching in place while doing shoulder rotations or arm circles counts and will get kick up your metabolism for the next hour.

Leg Extensions – Sitting on the edge of a chair, lift and lower one leg. Repeat 12 times on each side.

Try to do these exercises everyday for two weeks. Keep track of how many you do and how you feel. See if the short activity breaks help you be more productive give your more energy throughout the day.

Get Creative

There are tons of other exercises that you can do at work and at home. Get creative and come up with a list of your own. Be sure to add some resistance to your exercises. Keep a light set of dumbbells in your desk that you can pull out during the day for a set of bicep curls or shoulder presses. Using light dumbbells, weighted balls and elastic tubing will help you maintain, and even increase, your muscle mass over time.

For more tips on staying active in a sedentary world, click here.

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What You Can Learn From Shaun T: You Can Do This!

“Every person has a unique gift or talent that they are meant to share with the world. That is why you are on this planet . . . . because you have something to offer that makes everyone better. Let your light shine today and every day. Because without your light, the work would be dark.” – Shaun T

Flickr Photo by: Vital Worldwide

Flickr Photo by: Vital Worldwide

Shaun is known for his big guns and ripped abs. He’s also got a big heart and a passion for helping other people be the absolute best they can be. He’s worked hard for his fitness icon stardom and had to overcome some challenges to get where he is today.

Before Shaun became known a fitness icon for Beach Body’s Hip Hop Abs and Insanity series he was a dance choreographer in New Jersey. In a podcast for NPR’s “My Big Break” series, Shaun says at the time, he was in an abusive relationship with a partner that was not supportive of his career.

He got a call from a friend in California that encouraged him to come out to Los Angeles for a vacation. While in L.A. he auditioned for a new dance agency. Out of the hundreds of people auditioning for the spots only seven men and five women made the cut. Shaun was one of them and was told that he would be contacted in a couple of weeks if they were interested in him.

Shaun tells NPR, “I was at the laundry mat, with my pocket full of quarters, when I got the phone call that the agency wanted me to move to LA to pursue a career in dance.”

Shaun T Meets Beach Body

“Believe it or not, Insanity is very difficult for me to do!” — Shaun T

He moved to L.A. to lead workout dance classes. In not time his classes were full.  That’s when Beach Body discovered him and set his iconic career in motion.

Shaun’s first Beach Body project was Hip Hop Abs, then Rockin’ Body followed by Focus T25 and finally, Insanity. It’s amazing to hear him admit that Insanity is difficult for him to do! He goes on to say that when people that are new to Insanity do the workout with him for the first timey they notice he’s out of breath too.

In October 2012, Shaun Thompson married his best friend and became Shaun Blokker. He made a choice to get rid of the negative influences in his life and go after his dream.

“People, you have no idea. I understand why you feel weak and why you might be not as confident as you want to be,” he says. “All you have to do is tell yourself you can do this, and I know that it’s possible.”

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Exercise Tip Of The Week: Work Out With High Achievers.

“Don’t join an easy crowd. Go where the expectations and the demands to perform and achieve are high.” – Jim Rohn

When I was out of town last weekend I visited a Cross Fit gym and got to see for myself what all of the fuss is about.  My trainer, Kelly, was a little powerhouse who reminded me of a blonde Jillian Michaels.  She was overtly serious about Cross Fit and her role as a trainer. She was determined that we were going to work as hard as we could while maintaining perfect form.

When she popped up against the wall in handstand position and demonstrated the wall stand push-ups that were part of the WOD that we would be doing I was a little out of my comfort zone.  But that’s okay. I like that. I can’t do a wall stand push-up, but Kelly can. And if she can do them, why wouldn’t I be able to if I worked at it?

Who Do You Hang With?

Do you hang out with people you’re comfortable with or people who push the limits?

Do you hang with high achievers?

Do you hang with high achievers?

Self-help guru Jim Rohn says, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” If this is true (and I wouldn’t be putting it in this article if I didn’t believe it was) you need to spend most of your time with people that are doing things that you aspire to achieve.  For me that would be people like wall stand push-up Kelly.

High fitness achievers are easy to find. You’ll find them at the Cross Fit gym and in the front row of the HIIT class at the local Y. They are the ones pushing themselves to do more today than they did yesterday. High achievers seek out coaches and trainers that will help them improve their skills and, at the same time, are mentoring people that look to them for help.

At work they hang out with the people that walk on their lunch hour and that don’t give in to eating a donut just because they’re a free leftover from a morning meeting. They post workout pictures and positive quotes on social media and get followers that want to get the residual effects of their accomplishments.

Be The Change

Jonathan Mead, creator of Paid To Exist says, “If you surround yourself with world-class athletes, it will be hard for you to not become one. If you go on a retreat where the only option is to create, it will be hard for you to not produce something groundbreaking. If you wake up with a community of doers, leaders, and world-changers, it will be incredibly difficult for you to not embrace your own greatness.”

But it’s not just about tightening up your circle so that the five people you spend the most time with motivate you to do more. It’s about being an inspiration to people that need your influence and support.

“The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great in whatever they want to do.” –Kobe Bryant

Are you a member of the high achievers club?

If you liked this article you might also enjoy: The Eight Habits of Ultra-Fit People.

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