By Fitness Editor Paula Jager, CSCS
In the last post, we were taking the remaining few weeks of the year to reflect, reorganize and reassess where we are, where we want to go and how we’re going to get there. Did we? I spent the last few weeks making detailed spreadsheets in Excel of goals as I prefer to call them, strategies and timelines. I made them in 3 distinct categories: fitness, career and personal.
While those areas are important other things are often neglected. When Sarah chose the picture for the first part of this series she was pretty tickled with herself as she told me about it. Little did she know how appropriate it actually was. I had to laugh when I saw it but what a coincidence that that was something I had recently chose to work on for the New Year. . .
. . . “inner peace”. It’s not that I’m unhappy—not at all. I am blessed and have a great life. I have health, a job I love, a wonderful husband and parents and a community of friends that are incredible. I’m far from wealthy but I have adequate income to pay my mortgage and put grass-fed beef on the table on a regular basis.
But I do need to slow down and breathe, taking time to just enjoy the moment. No, I’m not giving up weights and doing solely yoga. I had to laugh when I was in our local health food store the other day and a gentleman stopped me (he was giving a blood analysis) and said, “Breathe; you have type A stamped on your forehead!”
Whoa, am I that obvious? I laughed and so did he but he was right. Life is not a race.
As this column generally does relate to fitness I would like to share my personal top 25 tips on training, nutrition and lifestyle to help you meet your goals in 2013.
Top 25 Fitness, Nutrition and Lifestyle Tips for 2013
- Don’t skip the warm up: Warm up properly before your workout by raising core body temperature along with a few light sets of appropriate exercises to prepare the body for the work to come and avoid injury.
- Let the pink dumbbells go ladies: Don’t be afraid to lift heavy weights, that will help you look better, feel better and build stronger bones. Gentlemen—the heavy weights apply to you also.
- Compound it: Don’t waste your time on too many isolation exercises; get more bang for the buck by sticking primarily to squats, presses, bench and deadlifts.
- Get your heart rate up aka “moving”: Effort + intensity = results; stick mainly to interval training or metabolic conditioning as opposed to long, slow distance training.
- Call for back up: Balance your core work with back extensions, glute ham raises and kb or db swings in addition to abdominal work. And make sure you squeeze it! Your arse that is; the glutes are a part of the core—squeeze them tightly during heavy lifts to increase stability.
- Birds of a feather. . .: Don’t waste your time at the gym chatting with those that don’t work hard. Train with intense like minded individuals who are equally passionate about achieving their goals.
- Lose the shoes: Or, at least the platform sneakers; switch to a minimalist shoe to get the most out of your lifting and running workouts.
- Variety is the spice of life: Vary your workouts; strength days, metabolic conditioning days and combo days for the best results.
- Fuel your machine: If you’re a hard training athlete aim for 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight from pastured animals and wild seafood.
- Sugar & the bitter truth: As good as it may taste do yourself a favor and take it out. This includes sodas. Sugar is addictive, toxic and linked to many diseases. A little raw honey or maple syrup as an occasional treat.
- Go organic: Lose the pesticides by purchasing as many organic fruits and vegetables as you can. If the bugs won’t eat them why should you.
- Smart snacking: Be prepared by carrying a cooler filled with healthy items like fruit, nuts, veggies, raw cheese and organic deli meats when you’re you’ll on the road or away from home/office.
- Immunity, vision, heart and brain health: Eat garlic, onions and cruciferous veggies along with yellow, orange and reds, blues and purples and plenty of leafy greens to keep your body and mind functioning its best.
- Say goodbye to Mickey D: No fast foods— that goes for Chick-fil-a too which is no better despite what some say! Make it yourself - that includes ditching processed and packaged foods.
- No artificial sweeteners: These are not food! Creepy laboratory products with sketchy safety record. They have been shown to produce an insulin response.
- Leggo the Eggo: Or muffin, cereal, bread, pasta and pseudocereals. Limit your grains to traditionally prepared (sprouted, soaked, or sourdough) if you eat them and if you don’t, get your carbohydrates from roots, tubers and starchy vegetables such as potatoes, turnips, rutabagas, yucca and plantains instead. And limit those if your goal is fat loss or you have metabolic derangement.
- No nukes: Don’t microwave your food; use an oven, toaster oven or range top for reheating. No, it doesn’t take that much time nor is it an inconvenience because it’s healthier.
- Dairy: Go raw from grass-fed cows or ditch it completely.
- Spice up your life: Add spices to your food to give flavor and even burn a little extra fat. Cayenne, mustard, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and clove will all do the trick depending on the dish.
- Go alkaline: The use of alkaline water has been shown to remove acid wastes, improve immune function and hydration status. Make water your main beverage; aim for about ½ oz per pound of bodyweight a day.
- Declutter your home/work space: Having excess “junk” around makes it hard to think and be productive. Start your spring cleaning early by getting rid of stuff you don’t use.
- Chill out: Schedule down time into your daily/weekly planner. It will save your sanity. You will never get it all done; the list will never be all crossed off. You will be more productive and refreshed after down time.
- Black Out: Use black out curtains in your bedroom for a sound nights sleep, cover all LCD monitors so that the room is pitch black and aim for 8-9 hours of quality sleep per night.
- Help the environment: Switch to all natural cosmetics and bath products along with all natural cleaning products for the home
- Be positive: It takes more energy to frown and be negative than it does to smile and be positive.
Good luck with your goals and while training, nutrition and health are all very important let us remember to slow down, enjoy the moment and also acquire our “inner peace” along the way. Happy New Year!
Paula Jager CSCS and Level 1 CrossFit and CF Nutrition Certified is the owner of CrossFit Jaguar in Tampa, FL