Never miss a Monday. Here’s why…

Mondays matter more than any other day of the week.

This is because your actions on Monday set the tone for your entire week. Start out on the wrong foot and it could take days to get back on track.

Mondays are like mornings. If you win your mornings, you’re usually going to win your day.

Starting out with a healthy, balanced breakfast that avoids sugar and is full of fiber and protein gets you primed to eat healthy again at lunch, and again at dinner.

Likewise, when you exercise on Monday, you’re going to set yourself up to have an active and fit week. When you show up prepared and rested on a Monday, the rest of the week flows with successes and wins.

Fact: When you get that Monday workout in, you’re 4 times more likely to get in a Tuesday workout… and that Tuesday workout leads to getting workouts in the rest of the week.

On the flip side, when you don’t show up on a Monday with your A-game then you’re left chasing the rest of the week and playing a game of catch up.

This is true for your fitness, health, mindset and work.

When you choose to skip your workout Monday morning, and eat whatever is quick and available rather than what’s healthy, then you’ve started the week on the wrong foot, and you will spend the next several days backsliding away from your goals.

The fastest way to the top in fitness and health is to show up Mondays rested, prepared, and ready to dominate. Never miss a Monday again. Embrace Monday with enthusiasm and vigor.

Keep on keep’n on!

Do you feel guilty about this?

You have so many demands on you. Your family relies on you for money, food, transportation, and a myriad of permission slips, bills and paperwork. You hardly get a moment to yourself at the end of each day, and even less now that school is back in session. It’s hard not to feel guilty about taking a moment to care for yourself.

From the moment that your day starts, with making meals, getting ready for work, and getting the kids to school on time and yourself to work on time, you have demands on you minute-by-minute. It’s easy to start feeling like there’s nothing left for yourself, even though the benefits of self-care are well known.

How important is self-care?

Every time that we board an airplane to jet to another city, we are reminded of the importance of caring for ourselves before attempting to care for others.

“In case of emergency, air masks will drop the ceiling. If you are traveling with a minor, please put on your own mask before helping the minor.”

The reasoning is simple: if you are not in good working condition (i.e. gasping for air) then you will not be as effective when attempting to assist others around you in getting their air secured.

This concept applies to everyday life, not just while soaring at 39,000 feet. Everyday you have the ability to put your air mask on first before assisting others. Now it’s easy to feel like putting your air mask on first isn’t even an option – since the dependents in your life are so good at making their needs known, and your own needs are quieter and easier to shove aside.

Let’s take this moment to assess what your self-care needs are…

Sleep: Getting adequate sleep is essential for good health, and doubly essential when you lead a busy, demanding life. Unfortunately, sleep is one of the easiest things to skip out on, as you attempt to get everything done each day.

A normal, healthy adult needs at least seven hours of consistent sleep each night in order to function well. And while allowing yourself time to sleep may feel like a luxury, remind yourself that it is a necessity.

Nutrition: Keeping your body well fed with nutritious meals throughout the day is another key component to functioning as your best self. Most of us tend to let meal-planning slide, in order to meet the immediate demands in front of us, and end up scrambling to piece together less-than-nutritious meals.

Making the habit to pack a few meals that are rich in protein and veggies doesn’t actually take that much time out of your morning, and the benefit is extreme. The funny thing about meal planning is that it ends up saving you time in the long run, since it removes the need to scramble around for food throughout the day. And the steady energy that you’ll experience once your body is being consistently fueled with good nutrition is priceless.

Hydration: The number of adults that are suffering from chronic dehydration is staggering. Part of the problem is that we are drinking fluids throughout the day that are filled with caffeine and calories rather than plain old water.

That plain old water is what your body really needs to thrive, so remind yourself that proper self-care includes making hydration a priority. You could jazz your water up by adding in a few slices of lemon, some fresh herbs or a piece of fruit.

Relaxation: Relaxation!?! What the…!? Here is where you may feel the urge to tune out of my little talk on self-care. How in the world are you going to find the time to relax with everything that you have going on in your life?

I know it’s not popular to talk about giving yourself time off to relax, but the benefits of reducing your stress levels are too huge to ignore. I want to suggest that you try the technique of relaxing throughout your day by giving yourself a mental break. This doesn’t mean that you walk away from your desk at work or skip out on your responsibilities, just that you consciously take moments throughout your day to focus on deep breathing and to clear any cluttered or stressful thoughts from your mind.

There is also something to be said for making a practice of relaxing when you do have time off from work. Rather than trying to do a million things on your day off, make the effort to take some of the time to simply be. Deep breathing and calming thoughts will do plenty to help reduce your stress level.

Exercise: Lol, yup. You knew this one was coming! Yes, exercise is self-care. Exercise is NOT indulgent, or optional, rather it’s absolutely necessary for taking good care of yourself. Some people will tell you that their exercise time is also their relaxation time, which might not make sense when you first hear it. But when you walk into your workout with the worries of your day on your mind, and you walk out with a clear mind and the incredible rush of endorphins then you’ll understand perfectly what they’re talking about!

And there you have it.  Take the time to consciously practice better self-care. Remember all of your loved ones who rely on you and your stamina every single day. You’re needed, and you owe it to them to keep yourself in the best shape possible.

Keep on keep’n on!

When the “Right Time” is RIGHT NOW

Why are you still waiting for the right time to get fit?

You are busy and hectic. Your family member is sick. Your job is demanding. You are focused on planning a big life event. Your kids are pulling you in a million different directions. You’re an emotional eater…and now is an emotional time.

There are a million and more excuses for why you haven’t made your body a priority…yet. At the back of your mind you believe that the day will come when you are ready to take action in getting back in shape.

But that right time hasn’t come.

Let’s be honest with each other right now. The right time to get fit won’t ever magically appear. There will always be another life event to navigate. There’s always going to be someone you know who is sick…and you’ll even get sick at times. You will always have a reason to emotionally eat, if you allow yourself that chaos.

So what’s the solution? Drift through life in a body that you aren’t happy with? Avoid mirrors and bathing suits and sleeveless tops? Comfort yourself with the thought that you’ll dial in your fitness one day…just not today?

I’d like you to consider that the right time to get fit is RIGHT NOW.

Not despite your current life challenges but BECAUSE of them.

How much more effective do you think you’ll be dealing with a busy schedule, sick relatives, big life events and active kids when you’re living in an energetic, functional, fit body? Loads more effective!

Consider your current challenges as reasons why you MUST get fit NOW rather than excuses as to why you CAN’T get fit now. I know you can do this. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Keep on keep’n on!

Is Afterburn Real?

You’ve probably heard that High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) produces an afterburn effect, which means your body continues to burn extra calories at an elevated rate for 24 hours after the completion of your workout.

Sure that’s sounds amazing, but is it too good to be true?

The Science of Afterburn

There is a scientific term for afterburn: excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPEOC). This refers to the oxygen that your body needs to restore after a heart-pounding workout.

So afterburn is indeed real.

While you exercise your body needs fuel to keep your muscles firing, and this requires oxygen to transport the fuel into the muscles. This causes your metabolism to rev up to an elevated state during and after exercise.

Intense Exercise = Intense Afterburn

Studies show that there is a direct correlation between the intensity of your workout and the amount of calories burned during the afterburn period.

In order to get the most afterburn bang for your buck, you must push yourself to 70-85% of your max heart rate during your workout. The more intense your workout, the more bonus calories you will burn in the hours afterwards.

Intense and vigorous exercise keeps your body burning calories hours after the workout is through. And this is not the only benefit to HIIT workouts – there’s also the bonus of increased muscle tone, fat loss and an increase in your aerobic capacity.

Keep this in mind the next time that you push yourself through a workout. Remember that intensity pays off, and an HIIT workout has more proven benefits than a steady state cardio workout.

Cut back on sugar (28 day plan)

If you love sweets then you know how easy it is to eat more sugar than you should. You’ve probably had a doctor warn you to cut back and know that you have at least a few pounds to lose.

Candy, cookies, pastries, and other sweets are high in sugar, which is quickly and efficiently stored as body fat. And the more sugar that you eat, the more you crave it. It’s a rough situation for you and your sweet tooth, it’s as if your sweet tooth is against you ever meeting your summer body goal!

Don’t lose heart! It is very possible to gradually reduce the amount of sugar in your diet in a way that that’s painless and practical. I have a 28-day plan here to help you to cut back on sugar consumption without going crazy. By reducing the refined sugar in your diet you’ll experience an automatic drop in body fat – this means inches and sizes lost! Sound good? Here we go!

Cut Back Sugar: Week One

In this first week your goal is to get an accurate idea of how much sugar you are currently consuming. You’ll act as a reporter on your eating habits for a full week, recording down everything you consume.

This week is only for reporting. I don’t want you to change anything about your diet yet. Eat as you normally do, but tally sugar grams at each meal and snack. Yes, even your drink at the coffee shop and your wine or cocktail at dinner. Look up the sugar content of everything you consume and record it.

By the end of this week you will have a clear picture of how much sugar you are eating and which items in your diet are most sugar-filled.

Cut Back Sugar: Week Two

In this second week your goal is to eliminate liquid sugar. It is all too easy to consume large amounts of sugar in beverages, often without even noticing. You know which beverages in your diet contain sugar, from your reporting last week, so target and cut out these beverages.

Sweetened coffee drinks, smoothies, alcoholic beverages, sweetened sodas and teas should all be replaced with zero calorie options. Try liquid stevia for sweetening beverages without adding sugar, it has a more pleasing flavor than powdered stevia. Avoid super processed sweeteners like splenda or aspartame as these may cause bloating and cravings for more sugar.

In addition to focusing on removing sugary drinks this week, I also want you to focus on drinking lots and lots of water. Drink 8 ounces of water before, during and after every meal and snack.

Cut Back Sugar: Week Three

In this third week we are now going to focus on eliminating the food in your diet that contain refined sugars.

What’s great about this gradual approach to cutting out sugar is that over the course of the first two weeks, while you recorded your sugar consumption and then cut out sugary liquids, you likely found yourself instinctively beginning to choose items that are lower in sugar. That’s great! That’s going to make this week all that much easier as you begin to pass on those sugar-laden snacks and desserts.

This week target and eliminate the food items in your diet that contain refined sugars. These are packaged candies and snacks, dressings and sauces, desserts and sweetened yogurts. Read labels and check sugar grams. Swap these items out for naturally sweetened treats – sweetened with fruit or stevia.

Cut Back Sugar: Week Four

You are on the home stretch! As you enter week four you should already be noticing your clothes feeling a little looser, and your energy levels should be stabilizing. During this week I’d like you to once again record everything that you eat and drink. Tally up the sugar grams and take notice of anything that you’re still consuming that’s high in sugar.

This week should reinforce the healthy changes you’ve implemented and keep you accountable. If you find yourself really missing a certain sugar-filled item then look for healthier, low-sugar replacement foods to enjoy instead of reverting back to your old habits.

The key now is to maintain your new, low-sugar, habits. The first month is always the most difficult, as new habits are formed, so you’ve already done the hardest part! Going forward, whenever you find yourself getting hooked back on sugar then go through this four week process again to get back on track.

Now lets go get’er done!