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.

In the meantime, Be Social! Share!

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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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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A Shot of Motivation for You on the First Monday of 2017.

Welcome to 2017!

Most people would agree that 2016 was pretty rough, but it’s over.  We survived it and today is the day to begin attacking your goals, just like this girl did.

Turning New Year’s Resolutions into Reality

Most of us see the new year as a new beginning.  January 1 can be a launch pad for achieving all of the things you weren’t able to get to last  year. But, often times resolutions made in January don’t come to fruition, and are often forgotten by spring.

But, it doesn’t have to be that way.

If you need some help getting started on setting goals that you can actually reach, check out this article that provides tips that will help you turn your 2017 dreams into reality: Forget About Lofty Resolutions and Set Achievable Goals.

Happy New Year!

Karen

Five Killer Butt Workouts You Can Do Anywhere

Sitting all day on your tush can take a toll on its shape. And, for most people, finding time to go to the gym can be problem. Below are five butt workouts that you can do at home.  The best part is they are all around 10 minutes in length so they are easy to fit in to even the busiest schedule:

1. Best Beginner Workout for Butt & Thighs from GymRa

The pace in this workout is slow, but the exercises are effective and include enough repetitions of each exercise to achieve results. The exercises also promote balance and incorporate core training. This 11-minute video is excellent for the person that’s too busy to workout.

2. The Butt-Lifting Workout That’s Better Than Spanx from FitSugar

FitSugar never disappoints and this workout is one of my favorites.  Celebrity Tracey Mallett leads this 10-minute workout that will get your butt and legs in shape. Can you say pulse, pulse, pulse? Ouch!

3. 5 Best Butt Exercises to Sculpt a Cute Booty from Blogilates

Blogilates is one of the most popular workout sites on the web. In this workout Casey Ho proves that it takes more than squats when it comes to getting a firm, cute booty. None of these exercises require any equipment.

 4. The Kim Kardashian Butt Workout

Fitness trainer Rebecca-Louise shows you how you can get a Kim Kardashian-style butt in just 11 minutes a day. Rebecca does use a set of light dumbbells in this video. You could start with a five pound set and work your way up. I love this workout because at 5:57 minutes Rebecca does my absolute favorite glute exercise. Grab your weights and get to work!

5. Butt Workout 1 Tone Up: 30 Day Butt Lift from Be Fit

Be Fit has a 30-day butt lift program and this workout is the first of the series. The workout starts out with squats and lunges that use a chair then moves on to more targeted glute exercises.  The 30 day butt lift program is good for all fitness levels.

These five workouts provide you with different options for five days of the week so you’ll never have the chance to get bored. I’ve done all of these workouts and I hope you’ll try them too.

Which one is your favorite?

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My Running Success Story: From 5K to 10K to 15K to Half Marathon

When I hear people say that they can’t run I tell them Yes. You. Can. At one time I too said that I wasn’t a runner. Then I launched a Couch to 5K program as a workplace wellness program and ran my first 5K.  From there I worked my way up from a 5K to 10K to 15K and finally a half marathon.

Each time you complete an event you set yourself up mentally to achieve the next distance. Setting a goal to run a half or full marathon without any running experience might be daunting. But breaking those long distances down into smaller achievements keeps you engaged in your training where you develop both the cardiovascular and muscular endurance necessary for longer runs.

Cool Running’s Couch to 5K program is a good place to start if you’ve got the desire to run but you’re not sure if you’re ready. It’s the program that turned my dream of running into a reality. It can do the same for you.

5K at Crystal Lake Park, Urbana, IL –

This run took place on a beautiful fall day and was for women only. Proceeds went to organizations in the community that proceed services to women in need. Below is a picture of me with my co-workers. It was our first 5K and we rocked it!

5K

15K – Hot Chocolate Race  in Chicago, IL –

Here’s the crew on the morning of the race on Lake Michigan in Chicago. It was a cold morning but we warmed up once we got moving. The reward for running a 15K on a cold morning in November?  Chocolate!

15 K Hot Chocolate

Illinois Half Marathon

This race is practically in my backyard. Every year we get up early and travel to the race and don’t have the expense of a hotel room. They have a great after-party for runners and volunteers. Here we are at the University of Illinois’ Memorial Stadium with our medals.

Illinois Half

Illinois Half Marathon – Post Race Hydration

Ah yes. If you’ve heard that runners like to imbibe a little after they run, it’s true. We do. Of course we always drink responsibly.

Post Half Celebration

The Shoreline Classic 15K – Decatur, IL

This was my first year to do the Shoreline Classic in Decatur, Il. It was an absolutely perfect fall day and the race course was full of rolling hills. The hills weren’t the kind that suck the life out of you, but rather there was a nice steady stream of one hill after another that keeps the running both challenging and interesting. This year was the Shoreline’s 25th anniversary. We (my daughter and I) got medals, a really cool long sleeved shirt and the headbands.

Shoreline Classic 15 K

Trail Running

To stay in shape between big events I teach fitness classes and  compete in train runs throughout the year. The distance is usually between seven and eight miles but the course can be tricky. On these runs there are creeks to navigate, lots of mud, tree roots covered by leaves and hills (the kind of that suck the air out of you) and even an occasional snake.

Trail Runs

Lake Mingo Run

 Ready. Set. Go!

Get ready to start your running career by picking out a 5K near you, lace up your running shoes, and get outside. Here’s a link to the program that helps thousands of people turn their dream of running into reality: Ready To Launch Your Running Career?  Here’s The Method That Works. 

You might also like this article on the benefits of a structured running program: Five Ways You Can Benefit From A Structured Running Program.

Today’s the Day. Get out there!

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Collage Video is Back With a New Look and More Features

Not only is Collage Video back, it’s been given a much needed face lift and has some added features I think you’ll like.

In April I wrote that Collage Video was going off-line. Without a going-out-of business sale yet! But it is back and running and it has been updated with a more dynamic and engaging design.

Collage Video

Collage Video is the number one site for reviewing and selling workout videos.  My favorite feature  – being able to preview clips of the videos before you buy – is still intact. I’ve been introduced to some of my favorite instructors and found the best workouts for me using the preview tool.

Instructors like Kelly Coffey Meyer:

Kelley Coffey Meyer

And workouts like After Burn with Cathe Friedrich:

Cathe Friedrick's After Burn

Plus, Collage Video now has three active blogs: Angie’s Corner, Ask Gilad and the Collage Video Blog.

Ask Gilad

BayView Entertainment

Collage Video is now a division of BayView Entertainment. BayView Entertainment, LLC, is America’s number one independent distributor of fitness, wellness, and special-interest DVD releases. BayView has forged relationships with the top names in fitness and special-interest, including Pranamaya and Yoga Journal Magazine as well as performers and producers as diverse as Kathy Smith, Gilad, Total Immersion, 8 Minute Abs, Scott Cole, Joyce Vedral and many others.

The Collage Video website operates via a new design and faster web host with improved security and technical capabilities.

In a recent press release BayView Entertainment said it will leverage its buying power and industry insight, as well as its own deep catalog of fitness and wellness titles, to re-energize the Collage website with an even greater selection of fitness.

No Excuses

There are still plenty of reasons to have a good selection of at-home workouts in your possession. The main one is they are excuse busters. It’s never too cold, too hot, too early or too late for a workout in your own home. They fit your schedule, and the best selection is at Collage.

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You Should Be Taking More Steps Every Day

You can’t out run a bad diet but you can out sit a good one.

You might be eating low calorie foods that are high in nutritional value, drinking plenty of water, avoiding sugary pop and drinking lite beer only on the weekends. But if you’re sitting at a desk or have another sedentary occupation or past time, the pounds will be hard to keep off. If you find your waist line is expanding in spite of your calorie counting it may be because you’re sitting too much. By being sedentary you’re also losing that precious muscle mass that keeps your metabolism at its peak.

Earlier this year, four experts for the Washington Post created a detailed list of everything that happens to the body when you sit for too long.  The expert panel consisted of James A. Levine, inventor of the treadmill desk and director of Obesity Solutions at Mayo Clinic, Charles E. Matthews, National Cancer Institute and author of several studies on sedentary behavior, Jay Dicharry, director of REP Biomechanics Lab in Bend, OR and author of Anatomy for Runners, and Tal Amassay, biochemist at Barry University’s Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences.

Pedometer

Levine, Matthews, Dicharry and Amassay’s created list of health related issues that are the result of too much sitting.  The three big ones are:

  • Heart disease – muscles burn less fat and blood becomes sluggish in the veins when we sit. Prolonged sitting is also linked to high blood pressure and cholesterol which are also indicators of impending cardiovascular disease.
  • Overproductive pancreas – The pancreas produces insulin which carries energy to the cells.  If you’ve been sitting for awhile, the muscles don’t respond to the insulin so the pancreas has to produce more which can lead to diabetes. Scarier yet, according to the experts, a study was done in 2011 that showed a decline in insulin response after one day of prolonged sitting.
  • Colon cancer – The reasons why colon cancer is more prevalent among sitters isn’t proven but it is believed to be related to the elevated levels of insulin that encourages cell growth.

Other reasons to move more during the day is to prevent mushy abs, tight hips, soft bones and a foggy brain. A sore neck and shoulders and back problems are also the by-products of immobility.

There’s More

You don’t need more bad new, but even if you get a healthy does of structured exercise every week it doesn’t undo the health risks of sitting. One study shows that the negative effect of six hours of sitting is similar in magnitude to the benefit of one hour of exercise. That doesn’t mean that if you sit for eight or nine hours a day you have to exercise for three hours to make up for it. That would be impossible to do. What the researchers suggest is to break up the sitting with short doses of movement.

Taking short walks throughout the day, walking in place while you’re on the phone, and getting on the clothes rack treadmill while you’re watching T.V. are some simple ways to get more walking in. To get to the goal of 10,000 steps a day, you’ll probably need to get creative and do something extra. If you need some tips, click here.

Why This Is Important For You

A study published in the American Medical Journal shows that inactivity in American men and women continues to rise.  Researchers at Stanford University Medical Center report that in 1988, 19 percent of women were inactive. By 2010, that number had jumped to 52 percent. For men the rate nearly quadrupled, going from 11 to 43 percent in the same period of time.

The study notes that what didn’t change is the number of calories people consumed.  More calories and less activity is the formula for obesity.

I could have turned this into a post about 50 ways to put more steps in your day but I think you all know what you should do: park in the space farthest away from the store, take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk on your breaks at work. Knowing what to do and doing it are two different things.

Wear A Pedomoter

Wearing a pedometer will help you build the habit of reaching a walking goal. If you don’t wear a pedometer you don’t have any idea how many steps you’re getting in on an average day. It might be 2,000. That isn’t enough.

Try wearing a pedometer and set a goal to get to 10,000 steps a day every day for a week and find out what you have to do to get to the goal. If you’re a cube dweller it will be an eye-opener. It will help you reach your weight loss goals and might even save your life.

Pedometer 10,000

What do you do to put more steps in your day?

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Five Weight Loss and Exercise Excuse Busters Just For You

Human beings are really good at coming up with creative excuses. When you’re in my line of work you hear a lot of them. Half of them are about not reaching a weight loss goal.  And the other half are about not being able to get motivated to work out.

Here are six of the most common excuses I hear regarding exercise and weight loss along with a way to bust that excuse so it goes away for good!

Excuses

Flickr photo by Krissy Venosdale

Icky Weather – I can’t work out today because it’s too hot or too cold, it’s raining, snowing foggy, or muggy. Unless you live someplace like San Diego, CA the weather is rarely just right which means if you use the weather as your excuse to miss workouts you’ll never get them done. If the weather does affect your motivation you’ll need to get acquainted with doing workouts from home and there are plenty of options.

Since Exercise TV stopped programming three years ago, the best at-home workout solution is Be Fit. At Be Fit there are tons of quality workouts in a variety of formats and lengths to choose from so you’ll never get bored. The best part? Be Fit is free!

Too Busy – I don’t have the time. This is the mother of all excuses.  It is the one used most often by most people. The folks over at Skinnyms.com say you only need two minutes a day to successfully lose weight. No, they’re not talking about the new ten minute workout that only takes two minutes. They’re explaining how important it is to have a food journal and how taking two minutes a day to write down the foods that you eat can help you lose weight. In the Skinnyms article, 2 Minutes a Day to Weight Loss Success there are also some good low-cal recipes to get you started.

No Results –Maybe you’re demotivated because you think you’re doing everything right but you can’t get the results that you hope for. It may be that you’re doing too much cardio.  Overdoing it on the cardio without a couple of days of strength training will burn up your muscle which will lower your metabolic rate making it harder to lose weight. Plus you’ll never get any closer to getting the toned body you’re coveting. Weight Loss and Training.com has a 30 Minute Workout to Get Total Body Toned.  If you do this workout at home you’ll need a barbell. If you don’t have one you could substitute dumbbells or a weighted bar. Or, you could do it in the gym before you head down to spin class.

Funky – You’ve got that general feeling of malaise going. Nothing’s really wrong, you’re just in a funk and can’t get moving. A steady dose of motivation is what you need. Fitness Motivation for Ordinary People has a Facebook page that will get your spirits up and increase your mojo without making you feel bad about yourself.  Facebook is the gift that keeps on giving so once you ‘like’ the page you’ll get Ordinar People’s motivational stuff in your news feed.

Hangry – Whenever you try to lose weight you find you’re hungry all the time and that makes you angry. You’re hangry! You’ve probably seen tips for keeping that hunger under control, but that can be easier said than done. Lifetime Weight Loss has some tips that can really help including practicing mindfulness which is always one of my favorites. Check out What To Do When You’re Still Hungry for some strategies you may not have thought of.

Do you have an excuse that you need busted?

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Two Tips To Help With Motivation And An Exercise For A Deserted Island

Everyone is always searching for the secret sauce for exercise motivation. Even if you’ve found a workout that you love, there are days when you don’t want to do it.  Days can turn into weeks, which turn into months and before long you can’t remember the last time you went to the gym or did your before-work Tabata training.

You probably think that staying motivated has something to do with a magical internal force that you blame yourself for not being able to control. But new studies show that there are some specific practices that will help you reach your goals.

Below are a couple of tips to help you get moving when you know you should but can’t.  They might not be the quick fix strategies like drink this potion twice a day and don’t eat these three foods that you’re looking for. However, they do provide insight into some long term changes that you can make that will work if you give them a try.

As an added bonus, I threw in some exercise advice from Bob Harper should you ever find yourself on a deserted island.

Lazy Cat

I know I should try and catch that mouse, but laying here feels so good.

Mindfulness Meditation

Learning to live in the moment can have a huge impact on your productivity, weight and health. Now it seems that mindfulness meditation is a topic that is being studied in sports medicine. According to Gregory Cherok, a sports psychology consultant with the American College of Sports Medicine, research shows that mindfulness meditation improves attention and sharpens impulse control.

But, the simple skill of living in the present isn’t as easy to acquire as it sounds. Our human brains have a tendency to skip around from past, to present to future throughout the day. This is a distraction that takes us away from what is happening in the here and now.

Chertok says that mindfulness training is a critical skill in sports. Performance occurs in present time and focusing on past failures leads to anxiety and muscle tension. He believes that mediation can alleviate exercise boredom, one of the main reasons people have trouble sticking with an exercise program.  Chertok also suggests that people use one of the many meditation apps that are available

Tip – Shut out the noise and distractions for a few minutes each day and focus solely on your goals. Mindfulness meditation will keep you centered and provide relief for the stress that goes with trying to find the time to do the things that are most important to you.

If you want to find an app to help you get started with the practice of mindfulness meditation, check out Simply Being Guided Meditation or Meditation Helper at iTunes or the Google play store.

Early To Bed, Early To Rise

It seems that night owls struggle with exercise motivation more than their early-to-bed peers do.

A new study recently published in the journal Sleep, suggests that people that come alive when the sun goes down have difficulty finding the time or the motivation to exercise.

The study measured the habits of 123 healthy adults that slept for an average of six and a half hours a night. Over the course of a week each participant’s sleep was monitored with a wrist actigraphy and a sleep diary.

One of the lead researchers of the project, Dr. Kelly Glazer Baron, an associate professor of neurology and director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program at Northwestern University in Chicago, said that the average exercise was 83 minutes of vigorous activity per week.

“This was a highly active sample averaging 83 minutes of vigorous activity per week,” Baron said. “Even among those who were able to exercise, waking up late and being an evening person made it more difficult.”

Baron says that the study shows that circadian rhythms need to be considered when recommending exercise programs and interventions. “Sleep timing should be taken into account when discussing exercise participation,” she added. “We could expect that sleep timing would play even a larger role in a population that had more difficulty exercising.”

Tip – If you’re a night owl and have a hard time adhering to an exercise routine, this news should be key in helping you identify and overcome motivational barriers that you may not have been aware of.  Adjusting your sleep patterns so that you get to bed earlier and up earlier may be the first step towards better exercise adherence.

The Deserted Island Exercise

Since we’re on the topic of exercise motivation I saw this today and had to share. Bob Harper, trainer on NBC’s Biggest Loser, says that the Burpee – hated by many and loved by a rare few – is the best exercise for, well, for anything!

The burpee that you learned to despise many years ago in grade school has not only made a comeback, it has now been endorsed by Bob Harper as being the one fitness move to take with you to a deserted island.  That’s kind of a funny analogy but I get what he’s saying. You can do a burpee anywhere without any equipment.

Burpees strengthen both the upper and lower body, enhance mobility and balance, and kick up your metabolism. “It does it all,” Harper says. “You will get the workout of your life.”

If you’re motivated to exercise, and specifically, motivated to do burpees, here’s a quick how-to video for you.

Don’t be discouraged if you start out only being able to do one or two.  Keep adding a couple of burpees to your workout and eventually you’ll be able to do a full Tabata workout using just the burpee.

A Tabata workout is 20 seconds of movement followed by 10 seconds of rest for eight cycles. In other words, do as many burpees as you can for 20 seconds, rest for 10, then start again.

Interested in a 30 Day Burpee Challenge? Click here.

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