Healthy for the Holidays

With Thanksgiving and the Christmas festivities around the corner, its inevitable that the good food will start coming out. This time of year everything is getting a bit colder and crisper. You want to be inside with your friends, around a fire drinking coco or hot cider. It is a beautiful time with family and friends. But like all of us know it is so easy to get caught up in the fun parties, events and delicious foods. For some reason our healthy eating goes out the window for treaties and holiday goodies and our trips to the gym become less and less frequent. I’m just going to give you guys some easy tips to help you stay fit and happy during the holiday season.

1. Make sure to be eating smaller meals throughout the day so you don’t feel the need to snack at parties or events. Try to eat before you go to parties so that you can be full and not have the food be the focus of the party.

2. Fit your life in around your workout. Workouts do not have to be long or take up your whole day. Just try to get a good sweat in. I know its hard when the holiday festivities are making your life so buys but even a small workout is better than not getting one in.

3. Don’t drink your calories. Yes, Starbucks has DELICIOUS holiday drinks but those calories really do add up and they do not do anything for your body. They are empty and after a half our the drink is gone anyways. Make a smarter choice like a chi tea latte, or a skinny vanilla latte; tastes amazing and you won’t waste all of your calories for the day.

4. Skip the condiments. Try to lay off the gravies or other high calorie dressings. No need to add extra gravy to the already delicious mashed potatoes.

5. Eat the good stuff! There are usually always vegetables or healthier options at dinners or parties. Eat those! They will sustain your energy and leave you more satisfied than the sugar filled treats!

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving with their families. What are some of your favorite food around the holidays? What kind of things help you stay healthy around this season?

Workout buddy

Are you easily self motivated? Are you all business in the gym, perhaps listening to your iPod? Or do you like to have a lifting buddy who will motivate you throughout your workout? Or a running partner? There are both pros and cons to working out by yourself or with someone else. You want to make sure that you are able to work out hard on your own, whether or not you have someone there motivating you.

When lifting, it’s really convenient to have a workout buddy. Usually you want that person to be able to lift about the same weight that you would be using for all your exercises. Having someone with you is a great source of encouragement. If it’s a really tough lifting day, you don’t feel like you are doing it alone. Also when you are trying to get stronger you will probably being using weight that is heavier and new to you so that you make gains. In these situations you will probably need a spotter just to make sure you get in your last couple of reps and that they can help you when your body starts to fail. Having the ability to lift a weight that you would not be able to on your own is a really positive thing of having a workout partner. Its can also be nice to have a running buddy. Someone who you can talk to our be pushed by when you want to give up. It’s nice to have someone you are going to run with that can hold you accountable to running. If you have someone who you need to meet at a certain time to run you are way less likely to find an excuse.

Having a workout partner is for some people and not for others. Sometimes it can be a distraction or if you are too competitive that can jam a wedge into just working hard and bettering yourself.

So what do you guys like to do? Are there certain workouts that you would prefer a partner and some that you would not? Do you usually have someone at they gym spot you if you are lifting heavy?

Does Music motivate?

Should, or should you not run with music? The great debate. There are a lot of great articles at Runners World talking about both sides, and what great runners use music and ones that don’t. I personally enjoy music when I am running three plus miles. For a short run I can usually find the motivation to get out and work hard for the duration of the run. But if I am in a “meh” mood or know that I will be out for a longer run then I like to use my iPod for motivation.

The thing that is nice about working out with music is that you can use the beat to run with or lift to. It usually gets you on a strict tempo, so depending on the song you are listening to it could push you to run faster or to relax with a slower beat. There have been many studies that show that if you use music you can go harder and last longer. I think it is just a personal preference and how you are feeling before your workout or run. I also enjoy running to podcasts. Sometimes listening to a sermon while running on a beautiful day is just what I need.

Just a side thought; one of my biggest pet peeves is when you are lifting next to a guy at the gym and he has his music blaring so that everyone can hear it. haha

What are your thoughts about working out with music? Any music pet peeves? What kind of music motivates you the most?

Fall fitness fun!

The leaves are changing colors, the air is crisper and the long running pants are coming out of the closet! It’s that time of year again. When everything just seems a little more beautiful and smells just a little more amazing. The fall is such a beautiful time to work out outside. Making sure you get in those last couple beautiful workouts before it starts getting really cold and you are stuck in the gym all winter long.

There are a lot of different excercise choices if you want to do an outdoor workout. Some people think that everything beside running or walking you need to do in the gym, but that just isn’t true. There are so many dynamic exercises that can be done outside. I love to run, so I would recommend everyone to try to get outside in these last few weeks before you are forced on the treadmill when the weather is just awful. Also, biking is another awesome thing to do outside especially, in the fall, because it is usually just perfect weather to where you will break a sweat but not be dying because of heat.

A really awesome alternative for lifting at the gym is park workouts! You don’t need a gym membership or some really expensive dvd’s, but just yourself and the park closest to your home. Usually these workouts are done in circuits or five or six exercises repeated for three or four sets. These workouts are a great way to get your heart pumping but also enjoy the nature of being outside and not stuck in a stuffy, florescent gym.  You can also do a lot of dynamic strength lifts at parks like doing push-ups or triceps extensions on a bench. Or doing jumping squats onto a platform of the jungle gym or doing planks on a swing and then pulling your head towards your knees for an even harder ab exercise. The combinations of exercises and difficulty are endless so have fun with it!

Also, with the weather just starting to get colder, we like to drink tea or munch on some more autumn focused snacks. Shape magazine put a great article together about the 50 best fall snacks. What are some of your favorite fall foods or workouts?

Yoga for all.

Meditation.

Relaxation.

Stretching.

Breathing.

All of these are powerful parts of  yoga. Yoga is an amazing way to improve your balance, flexibility and your breathing. Yoga is a great way to get a good work out in but also recover from running or lifting and relax.

There are many benefits of doing yoga. When I was going to yoga classes consistently, I had the most enjoyable runs, and my body was a lot more pliable and changed quickly when I was lifting weights. There are just so many benefits of taking of yoga or another stretching or balance class.

Some of the health benefits of doing yoga are that the chances of getting injured are a lot slimmer. Yoga works on your balance and flexibility and uses your own body weight and strength to work on your weaknesses. This is perfect for avid “exercisers” because it works areas of your body that you aren’t able to with just free weights or running.

People get injured most when they are not warming up, cooling down or stretching properly. Yoga makes sure you are aware of your body and what it is telling you. You can come into a yoga class and think you are pretty flexible and walk out an hour later feeling completely different.

The moves and positions are perfect to make you aware of your strengths and weaknesses. For me it is a great time to get a good work out but also meditate on God and His love. He has made this amazing body from His image, and it is a perfect time to thank Him for it. I love yoga as an exercise form but not as a religion. But if you are like me, you can take that time to relax in the presence of God while also being a good steward of the temple He has given me.

I would really encourage everyone to take up yoga, Pilates or some other stretching and flexibility facet. There are so many physical and mental benefits. I love to start out my morning with morning yoga and be able to spend time in God’s presence while also stretching and preparing my body for the day.

What exercises or activities bring you peace and relaxation?

Rest and Recover

So after a couple of days of hard workouts you are completely spent. You wake up feeling so sore and tired. What do you do? Do you push through the pain that your body is screaming at you, or do you just take a day off? A huge part of being healthy is being able to listen to your body and what it is telling you. The recovery process of your torn muscles repairing themselves to come back even stronger, is such a vital part of becoming leaner, more fit and healthy.

Make sure that you are aware of what your body is saying to you. If your muscles are sore from a hard work out that is alright. There is a huge difference in recovery pain and soreness, and having parts of your body hurt because you have injured them or pulled them. That is why making sure that you are doing all of the excersises properally and making sure the form is perfect is the most important part of lifting. But when your body is sore you need rest and lots of fluids. Making sure you are drinking plenty of water is a great start. Also sipping on some green tea throughout the day boosts your metablosism but also gives you some of the nutrients you need backs so that your body can proparly heal itself.

God has made our bodies so beautifully and has engineered them so very perfectly. They know how to repair muscles and fight off illness or become more flexible. But we need to be good stewerds of our bodies so that they can get everything they need to be as healthy as possible.

Getting sleep is so important. Making sure you are going to bed at a decent hour and getting up earlier is a good way to start getting on a good sleeping pattern. To make sure your body is getting enough rest to be able to grow bigger muscles or be able to fight sickness. Being in college it is a hard balance between school work, sleep and a social life but being reasonable and semi consistent on when you are getting to sleep and how much you are getting can help you improve your workouts and your energy levels.

So on recovery days make sure to be drinking plenty of fluids with antioxidants in them. Try to get a lot of sleep to let your muscles grow back even stronger. Also try to go on a walk or a little jog to stretch out some of your tired muscles so that they will not get stiff. Making sure you are recovering and resting well during the week is so important to your overall health and fitness goals.

Weight…We need to lift?

Okay, so there is such a huge stigma that comes with woman lifting weights. A couple of misconceptions I have heard woman say about lifting are, ” I don’t want to get bulky” or ” Isn’t lifting just for men?” or  “Won’t lifting make me look like a butch?” All of these statements are false. Lifting is a huge part of living a healthy lifestyle and it will help you lose fat if that is what you are looking for. Crossfit has a great article about the concept of being SkinnyFat. The concept is about some smaller woman having a large amount of fat and little muscle, and even thought they are skinny, their amount of fat is very prevelant.

What woman think they will look like If they lift...

What you will really look like...or even less defined.

One thing, for women that is really important when they are trying to stay healthy, tone up, and gain some muscle is to light weight and more reps. This will completely take you away from “bulky” to lean and long muscles. There are some really easy “Newby” exercises for woman on DiscoveryHealth.

In the near future I will be posting a couple of different, weekly exercise regiments for woman who would like to start lifting, and improving their overall health. The more muscle you have the more calories you burn when you are lifting and doing cardio. The more muscle you have you also will prevent more injuries and have a leaner, stronger look.

Healthy Eating that will change your body, energy level and mindset

Being in school it is so easy to just forget about all the little nutritional tips our parents used to give us when we were younger. But in all honesty the work! The little things like eating all your vegetables, making sure to eat breakfast and not eating after 7 p.m.

By FSanders

We just think that this whole “healthy eating” deal would just be to difficult and time-consuming for us to come up with a diet on our own, but it’s not. Actually, when you make small changes to your eating, your intake of food becomes simpler and easy to figure out.

Now with the media telling us every other day there is a different fad diet, or a way to lose 10 pounds in five days, its easy to lose sight of really what does work and how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. First thing, if all those fad diets really worked, everyone would be doing it, but they don’t get the same results that the traditional eating healthy and working out do. We all want instant gratification these days. So it is hard for us to look at the next six months and say, “If I work really hard at being the healthiest I can be and also make a constant effort to work out five-six times a week I could completely change my body, mind and soul.” But no, if we don’t see results in the first week, or something tough comes up I will cave under the pressure and go back to what is comfortable.

Just being able to make the small changes makes a huge difference. First thing when you wake up ever morning take your multivitamins.

Then Go to breakfast and get protein, a good carb in you for fuel to start your day. The biggest thing people forget about when trying to eat healthy is getting enough protein +-+-  it is essential for the success of weight loss, healthy eating and feeling full. WebMD does a great job at telling us how much protein we really need.

Just eating breakfast in the morning will boost start your metabolism and make you feel energized to seize the day!

Make sure to eat snacks of small protein or fruit in between your meals so that you can stay full and not feel the need to go and grab something unhealthy that will only satisfy you for a bit.

DRINK TONS OF WATER.

There are so many other great tips that I will continue to be posting, but the most important thing is to be positive about your healthy eating changes and know that with God all things are possible!

God Centered, Balanced view of Healthy Lifestyle

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

By Pneff

Everyone is striving for perfection. Striving for the best body, most perfect complexion. Wanting to be the most beautiful, have the best hair and outfit. What we forget though, is that God has given us our bodies. Perfectly, originally designed by Him for each one of us specifically. We are souls and have bodies. Because God has given us our bodies we need to be good stewards of them and use them to please Him; to treat our bodies with respect and balance. Andie does a great job in CanYouStayForDinner? of explaining how balance finally clicked for her and helping others try to figure it out too.

Balance is such a hard concept for myself, and others to figure out. Living life, trying to eat right, exercise and do all the other things that come with the life of a college student gets pretty tricky. It’s difficult to figure out where to spend your time and what you concentrate on each day. It gets harder and more difficult to focus on what God has planned for our day and easier to focus on what the world wants. In this blog I am going to be focusing on having a healthy mind, body, and soul. Learning how to find balance between all three and my journey on trying to figure it all out.