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Create Success by Scaling Back



Life gets busy at the most inopportune times, but that doesn’t mean your health, fitness, or athletic goals have to wait. By pinpointing your priorities, it’ll be easier to stay consistent and still see the results you are after.

To help illustrate, a little personal history: I used to work out 10+ hours per week, balance my ratio of protein, fats, and carbs, and considered myself a connoisseur of nutritional supplements. I had everything dialed in. It didn’t take long for a budding relationship, a pair of demanding jobs, and a long distance management obligation of family affairs to cause a slow burnout.

I’d like to think I can put my head down and power through anything, but it’s simply not true, and I’m not alone. On a daily basis I hear from people who start a family, accept a new job, or otherwise take on more responsibilities stating they don’t have the time or desire to do all of the things they used to do (especially go to the gym 4 times per week.)

While chiseled abs and exceptionally low body fat are appealing, they may not be top priority for all of us. Sometimes the goal is too grand to fit within the context of daily life. It can be frustrating and downright discouraging when we’re putting in our all, but not reaping the rewards that we’re expecting. At times our best effort may simply not be enough when we’re trying to do too much.

Instead of continuing to follow a tired old program, quickly fall off track, beat yourself up for not sticking to the routine (which may or may not be within reach), and slipping slowly further away from your goals, handle this transition phase by scaling back. Relentlessly focus on improving just one thing at a time.

Scaling back can be done in a multitude of ways. One of the simplest things to try is to reduce the number of hours spent in the gym. Asking yourself, “What do I really want to accomplish here?” Be honest in your answer. You might find that you have a different goal at age 35 then you did at 28, which are inevitably different from your goals at 21. Sure, you still want to be athletic and lean, but it might not be the most important part of your life.

Take a long-term view; look good, feel good, and move well with each passing year while having plenty of time to focus on other pursuits and passions. Your relationships, career, and hobbies that delight are worth your time and effort too. Truthfully, this isn’t an easy transition to make. Ego and identity can get tied up in performance and appearance, but eventually, the transition becomes easier, little by little.

Go to the gym to lift heavy, cycle indoors during a rainstorm, or learn new choreography so you can dance your heart out (even more). On sunny days, enjoy fresh air and nature while you exercise and appreciate the company of friends and family. Include variety, but no need to feel overwhelmed. Focus on the quality of your workouts instead of the quantity. Put time in, but ensure that the time you invest is in line with your goals and your purpose. You’ll probably find that you’re done in a third of the time, minimize your exposure to injuries, and feel better than ever.

When life gets busy, consider what matters most to you. Clinging to the old way of doing things will waste effort, cost time, and may cause frustration. Focus on only one goal by scaling back; make the plan simple and doable to experience success. This will help you stay consistent, which we both know is the most important part of accomplishing anything.


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Fitness & Nutrition Tips

Supplements 101

PureWOD Photo

By: Dr. Anthony Gustin of SF Custom Chiropractic

Getting your nutrition from whole foods should be the cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle. However, there are plenty of times where supplementing a whole foods diet can be beneficial to your health. To fill gaps, for extra insurance, or for a quicker route to reaching your goals, supplementing can be an appropriate part of a healthy lifestyle.

Unfortunately, taking supplements can be one of the most intimidating aspects of nutrition. The onslaught of advertising from the supplement industry is never ending, but it doesn’t have to be impossible to choose those that work best for you. When deciding on which supplements to take, there are ways to sort through the mess in order to find the ones that will make the most impact on your health. Here are 5 important factors to keep in mind:

Goal – Many supplements are marketed as catch all solutions to whatever ails you — these are ones that should be avoided. Specialists win the battles with supplements. Identify your goal and enhance your nutrition with supplements. Use fish oil and omega-3’s to decrease inflammation, creatine to build strength, and protein powders to rebuild broken down tissues.

Dosage – Stay away from proprietary blends and mind your dosages. Most pre-mixed solutions are made up of many different supplement sources, but they are all mixed in at such little dosages that they don’t really do anything. Get isolated sources and dose them according to your needs, or find companies that have done the dirty work for you such as purewod.com.

Source – It matters where certain supplements come from and where you get them (fish oil, protein powder) while others don’t matter as much (creatine, beta-alanine). Do some research up front and look into high quality sources. Better to default on the high end than to take supplements that are of poor quality and potentially take away from your health.

Timing – Be mindful of timing your supplement intake. Some supplements matter if you take them before a workout, during or after, and some at night or in the morning. For instance, vitamin D should be taken in the morning as it mimics natural sunlight, sending messages to your body that the sun is out. Protein should be taken after a workout, especially if the goal is for fat loss, otherwise it may impede your goals. Find out when you should be taking your supplements and work from there.

Contraindications & Indications – Don’t take certain supplements that counteract each other. A probiotic taken with an antibiotic does not make for a good combination, and certain amino acids can compete with each other for uptake in the muscles and brain. Conversely, pair things that go together. For instance, fat soluble vitamins should be taken with food (vitamin A, D, E, K). If you’re taking any prescribed medications, always check with a qualified professional before starting any new supplementation.

There are clearly many factors in choosing the best supplements for yourself. Remember, start with a rock solid whole foods nutrition program, then use the guidelines above to help steer yourself in the right direction.

Want to dive deeper? Join us for the upcoming Sustainable Health Seminar: Supplements 101, Saturday, September 5th, 2015 from 12-1pm.

Disclosure: Dr. Anthony Gustin is an investor in PureWOD products.


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Fitness & Nutrition Tips

Go Green! Learning Why & How to Incorporate More Leafy Greens into Your Day

go-green-540w

In case you couldn’t make it to May’s Sustainable Health Seminar, we didn’t want you to miss out on all the goodness (or greenness).

There are many benefits of finding ways to sneak more green foods into your day. Nearly every process our bodies carry out rely on proper nutrient levels. These processes include water balance, enzyme function, nerve signaling, digestion, and metabolism. As much as possible, I recommend getting these nutrients your body needs from whole foods, especially greens and here’s why:

  • Leafy greens boost our energy levels naturally. They add a little pep in your step, especially in the morning and also during those pesky afternoon slumps.
  • Leafy greens are full of vitamins, minerals, and disease-fighting phytochemicals. They are rich in fiber, an important nutrient for weight loss and maintenance because it keeps you feeling full and helps control your hunger.
  • Leafy greens support connective tissues (such as skin, tendons, ligaments and cartilage that aid in joint flexibility), may reduce your risk of arthritis, and keeps your skin and hair healthy and beautiful.
  • Leafy greens can lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and help to temper blood-sugar swings by slowing the absorption of carbohydrates into your bloodstream after meals. This lowers your risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
  • Leafy greens assists our natural melatonin production so that you fall asleep quickly and sleep soundly throughout the night.

Now that we know why to eat them, let’s talk about ways to easily incorporate leafy greens on the daily. There is a trick to get copious amounts of nutrients with little effort. Maybe you need a quick breakfast before sunrise yoga, or an energy-replenishing lunch you can eat on your way from the gym to a meeting.

The answer, green smoothies! They’re a quick and easy way to get large amounts of leafy greens (and fruits) into your daily diet and provide your body with all the plant-based nutrients it craves. It’s a pretty simple and tasty combo: leafy greens + fruit + liquid-base… and maybe some fancy super-food booster toppings for additional flavor and health enhancing benefits.

Essentially, it’s a meal in a glass- high-quality liquid nutrition that gives you the nutrient density you need in a convenient, portable, delicious package. You’ll still want to eat a variety of foods to get the wide range of nutrients your body needs, but the smoothie outline that follows will give you an excellent start.

Let the green adventures begin!

The beginner-friendly formula below is how GreenLid makes most of their delicious green smoothie recipes. Now all you need is a blender, an open mind, and a willingness to drink your veggies! It takes less than 5 minutes to make a green smoothie (including clean up!) and they’re super easy to take on the go especially when you prep ahead.

smoothie-ingredients-chart

  1. Blend liquid base, leafy greens, & fruit together first
  2. Add ice (~1 cup) & blend again
  3. Choose a super-food booster or topping (~pinch or sprinkle; a little goes a long way)

Green smoothie blending tips:

  • Put 2 cups of liquid base into a blender, add 2 cups of tightly packed leafy greens and blend until all leafy chunks are gone.
  • Add 1-3 cups of fruit and blend again until smooth. For best texture and consistency, be sure to include a binder such as a creamy fruit like a banana, avocado, or mango.
  • Add 1 cup of ice and blend again (more ice will create a thinner smoothie)
  • Pour into a mason jar (or cute cup of your choice).
  • Gulp or sip like a rawkstar! …um, could I be any cheesier?

Print this Superstar Smoothie Formula by GreenLid and put it to your fridge so you’ll remember to blend, sip, and be nourished.

Identifying nutrient deficiencies

I do numerous nutrition consultations with clients on a weekly basis and although every individual has a unique reason for wanting to spur a nutritional change (including eating more leafy greens), there are generally a few common signs and symptoms that indicate their current diet isn’t working like it should.

Even if you do eat well, other factors such as age, certain health conditions and medications can impact your body’s ability to absorb the nutrients in your food. Nutrient deficiencies can be devious, too. Unless you are seriously deficient for some time, you may not notice any symptoms at all, leading you to falsely believe that your body is getting all the nutrition you need.

More often, however, such deficiencies do cause symptoms, which can range from minor to severe, like constant cravings, skin maladies, trouble focusing, coordination/balance difficulties, bloating and gas. Unless you know what to look for, you’re likely to mistake the signs for something else. If you suspect your health and digestion might not be functioning optimally, consider reaching out to a qualified professional. Our integrative nutrition coaching at Studiomix focuses on realistic, individualized eating strategies that will help you get results. Feel free to schedule an appointment today or email me directly at katy@studiomix.com.

By improving the function of the digestive system, all other body systems immediately begin to benefit. Here are just a few ways repairing the digestive system aids other body systems.

Resources:
http://mountainroseblog.com/33-herbal-boost-super-smoothie/
www.whfoods.com


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Fitness & Nutrition Tips

Pushing Past Plateaus & Building Self-Awareness

Pushing Past Plateaus

With so much emphasis on perfection, winning, and holding ourselves to high expectations, we often forget the process of what it takes to meet our goals. What happens when you don’t preform the way you would like? Learn how to set goals and intentions for that moment and grow from your performance instead of being self-critical. Be present, build self-awareness, positive self-dialogue, and develop consistency to push past plateaus.

Winning, meeting one’s goals, and exceeding expectations feels great. But what happens when all the effort, energy, and thought you put in does not change anything and everything feels or stays the same? Essentially, you’ve hit a plateau.

Plateau is a state of little to no change after some time investment and/or activity. To push past a plateau, a good start is to build self-awareness. Who we are, how we feel about ourselves, how we interact with others, and how we want to present ourselves are all based in our values, belief systems, and assumptions. Here are three simple techniques to take your values, belief systems, and assumptions beyond the plateau:

  • Intentionally be kind to yourself; the negative self-critique holds us down.
  • Fully accept your performance; always find something to learn or take away.
  • Appreciate yourself without any criticism, comparison, or doubt.

The mind cannot function without the body and the body does not function without the mind (sounds like something from the Matrix movie). How we feel about ourselves and the story we tell ourselves is how we interact or react to the external world. We are always reacting to every stimulus day-to-day, hour-to-hour, and minute-to-minute.

If you always do what you have always done, you always will get what you have always gotten. We have to take a fresh approach when we plateau, it is not about training harder or smarter; it is neither and it is both. Building awareness allows us to slow-down, speed-up, stop, create space for creativity, be kind or tough when needed, change our negative dialogue to positive and productive, and be in the moment.

No one ever says give me more stress and negativity. People seldom flourish in that environment, so why do we do it to ourselves? Consistency in performance comes from creating an inner environment that is aware, rich with self worth, self-value, self-kindness, self motivation, and focused on learning and improving.

To learn more and explore this topic further, join me for next month’s Sustainable Health Seminar on Pushing Past Plateaus, Saturday June 6th from 12-1pm. In the meantime, here are two mental practices anyone can start to do immediately:

  1. When brushing your teeth, say one to three things that you appreciate about yourself.
  2. Before every practice, workout, or performance set intent (goal) and post-performance acknowledge (reflection) on what you learned that will help you to grow.

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Fitness & Nutrition Tips

Ask a Coach Q & A: How Do I Start an Exercise Program & Stick with It?

Starting a New Exercise Program

Question: How do I start an exercise program & stick with it?

Answer: By Camille Priour, Fitness Intern

Solidify your goals

A blank slate can be both exciting and intimidating. Take a deep breath and acknowledge where you are right now and then decide where you want to go. Thoughtful time and energy can be a life-giving investment when you begin with the end in mind, considering honestly what moves you. On a core level, humans move in order to satisfy a need and explore the world. Identify the carrot dangling ahead of you and reach for it!

Plan ahead

Mentally prepare for what you are going to ask your body to do. Visualizing the path ahead prevents the mind from getting stuck when the body fatigues. Actualizing this plan will depend on realistic scheduling and commitment. Finding a coach, mentor, or trainer that aligns with your values and goals can facilitate the planning process as well.

Find accountability

Recruit a buddy or sign up for class in advance. Do something that connects your workout to your life and holds a firm place for that precious time dedicated to your program.

Raise the stakes

In the technology-filled world we live in, movement is often minimized and fitness becomes a luxury rather than a priority. But why else would we have a brain in our skull if it didn’t command our body to move?1 Internally, our lives depend on efficient movement through digestion, circulation, and detoxification. Externally, the only way we can actualize our ideas and intentions and impact the world around us is through movement, from completing a physical task to communication.

In other words, move like your life depends on it, because it does! Living the highest possible quality of life is at stake (while enjoying the perks of looking cute in those Lulus!). The sooner you can improve your movement and fitness, the better. You’ll feel so on top of the game if you don’t put it off until tomorrow.

Don’t be afraid to change it up

Consistency is an important component of progress, but humans are not machines with constant input-output returns. We plateau. We get bored. When this happens, we might need to refresh our palate with something new. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you hiccup in your plan a bit, because a little deviation can actually boost motivation.

Check out the graph below representing the brain as the body experiences something novel compared to the brai n as the body is experiencing something familiar. The brain’s reward system kicks into gear in anticipation of a new reward, giving us motivation to explore.2

brain-activity

So be intuitive when you get stuck. Self-exploration is completely valid, and trying something new can be beneficial. Keeping your workout fresh might just keep you sharp and ready to expand to your next edge!

Enjoy it!

How often do we trick our brains into thinking we are doing forced labor instead of exploring our limits voluntarily? As an adult, you are a free agent with the opportunity to create your own fitness journey, check points, and destinations. Embrace the sensations of freedom you can find within your workouts. Find an activity you enjoy doing, keep your eye on the prize, plan for the work, and indulge in the process.

Live it!

Last but not least, an ideal fitness program should begin to mold into an ongoing lifestyle. All this inspiration and willpower will only get you so far. Tangible results come through overcoming obstacles that come up in daily life, and persevering. As the saying goes, “If you want it you will find a way, if not you will find an excuse.”

So get out there! In the words of Mary Oliver:

“Tell me,
what is it you plan to do
with your one
wild and precious life?”

Sources:
1. Ted Talk- Wolpert, Daniel. “The Real Reason for Brains”. July 2011 http://www.ted.com/talks/daniel_wolpert_the_real_reason_for_brains?language=en
2. https://blog.bufferapp.com/novelty-and-the-brain-how-to-learn-more-and-improve-your-memory


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