Fitness Tips | The Cycle Project

Archive for the ‘Fitness Tips’ Category

Nov
23
2013
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Setting SMART Goals

We all now how important setting goals is when it comes to accomplishing a task.  They are the carrots on the stick that keep us moving forward.  But what if you’re not setting good goals?  A GOOD GOAL?  You may be asking yourself, “Isn’t any goal a good goal?”  True, anything is better than nothing.  But when it comes to setting goals, there is a way that will improve your chances of accomplishing them.

Instead of setting vague or random goals that may not push you to take action, it is important that you set SMART goals, which will help motivate you to take steps toward achieving them.  So what are SMART goals?

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Time Sensitive

 

Specific – Generalities don’t work. The more specific and detailed your goals are, the more you can get emotionally attached to achieving them.  What do you want to accomplish?  Why?  How is this goal going to make you feel once you reach it?
Measurable - ”Getting in better shape” or “Lose a few pounds” are too vague.  Vague goals lead to vague results.  Make sure to set the exact weight you WILL BE, or the dress size you WILL get in to, or how fast you WILL run a mile, etc…Either you are going to hit that number or you won’t. But either way you need to be able to measure what you are going to achieve.
Attainable – If you want to lose 100 lbs, it won’t happen in the next 3 months.  If you are currently a couch potato, running a 7 minute mile isn’t going to happen in 3 months either.  In setting your goals, make sure you push yourself towards a difficult goal that is going to help you get better, but make sure all that effort will allow you to reach the goal in the amount of time you have specified.
Realistic – This one is similar to attainable above.  But take it a step further; make sure the goal you are setting can eventually be reached.  Attainable refers to reaching it within the time specified.  Realistic refers to whether or not you can ever attain it.  For instance, I will NEVER be able to win a gold medal in the Olympics for women’s floor exercise.  I am not a gymnast, a woman, nor will I ever achieve that.  Yes…its a drastic example.  The point is, make sure you will eventually be able to reach the goal you are setting.
Time-Sensitive – Set a due date.  You know what you want to do.  Now set a time you are guaranteeing it will be done by.  And then get to working to make sure it happens.
SO…putting it all together, a good goal could look like:
“Today is January 1, and I weigh 200 pounds.  On or before June 1 at 6am I will weight 184.9 lbs or less.”
“Today is August 1 and I can’t do a single push-up.  By Halloween, I will be able to do 10 real push ups in a row without stopping”
If you have any questions about setting your goals, or want some help in setting your goals, just let me know.  I am here to help in any way I can.
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Sep
09
2013
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The Perfect Nap: Sleeping Is a Mix of Art and Science

Why Some Snoozing Sessions Leave You Groggy While Others Help

 

There’s an art to napping.

Studies have found different benefits—and detriments—to a nap’s timing, duration and even effect on different people, depending on one’s age and possibly genetics.

“Naps are actually more complicated than we realize,” said David Dinges, a sleep scientist at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. “You have to be deliberative about when you’re going to nap, how long you’re going to nap and if you’re trying to use the nap relative to work or what you have coming up.”

For a quick boost of alertness, experts say a 10-to-20-minute power nap is adequate.

A snooze on the couch on a Sunday afternoon may seem like the perfect way for a responsible adult to unplug. But at a time when roughly one-third of people report not getting enough sleep, more naps, albeit short ones, might make for a more functional workforce, researchers say.

How Long to Nap

Naps

Sleep experts break sleep down into several stages, which the brain cycles through roughly every 90 to 120 minutes. These stages are broadly characterized into non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. NREM is further broken down into stage one and two, which are considered light and intermediate sleep, followed by slow-wave sleep. Awakening from slow-wave sleep, the deepest kind, results in what doctors call sleep inertia or sleep drunkenness: that groggy feeling that can take awhile to shake off. Finally, there’s REM sleep, often associated with dreaming.

Sara Mednick, an assistant psychology professor at the University of California, Riverside, said the most useful nap depends on what the napper needs.

For a quick boost of alertness, experts say a 10-to-20-minute power nap is adequate for getting back to work in a pinch.

For cognitive memory processing, however, a 60-minute nap may do more good, Dr. Mednick said. Including slow-wave sleep helps with remembering facts, places and faces. The downside: some grogginess upon waking.

Finally, the 90-minute nap will likely involve a full cycle of sleep, which aids creativity and emotional and procedural memory, such as learning how to ride a bike. Waking up after REM sleep usually means a minimal amount of sleep inertia, Dr. Mednick said.

Experts say the ideal time to nap is generally between the hours of 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Napping later in the day could interfere with nighttime sleep.

The body’s circadian rhythms help people to expect to be awake in the morning and early in the night. “So if you take naps when your brain doesn’t expect to be sleeping, you feel kind of thrown off,” contributing to the sleep inertia effect, said Rafael Pelayo, a clinical professor at Stanford University School of Medicine’s Sleep Medicine Center.

A telltale sign of being very sleep-deprived, he said, is dreaming during a short nap. “Definitely in a 20-minute nap you should not be dreaming,” he said.

Ilene Rosen, an associate professor of clinical medicine at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine, said the ideal duration of a nap is still being debated, but generally speaking the “10-to-20-minute nap is really the optimal time in terms of bang for your buck.”

Leon Lack, a psychology professor at Flinders University in Australia, found in a 2006 study in the journal Sleep that among shorter breaks, 10-minute naps packed the most punch.

The study compared naps ranging from 30 seconds to 30 minutes, testing 24 participants at each of several intervals. After each nap the individuals were tested on a variety of mental-processing tasks. The sharpness of the 10-minute nappers became apparent “right away,” Dr. Lack said, and remained apparent for about two to 2 1/2 hours.

Those who took 20- and 30-minute naps tended to feel groggy immediately after the nap for up to about 30 minutes. From there, they showed mental sharpness similar to what researchers saw from the 10-minute nappers, with that sharpness lasting a bit longer.

Jonathan Brandl is a Newton, Mass.-based consultant who works from home. Up at 5 a.m. to hit the gym, he finds himself fading around 2 p.m. His solution is a fast snooze in a comfy chair in his den. His trick for waking up: He holds a pen or pencil in his hand, which usually falls about 10 to 15 minutes into his nap, waking him up.

“After the nap, I feel totally refreshed and then power through the rest of the day,” the 56-year-old Mr. Brandl said.

Though napping at work often remains taboo, experts say growing scientific evidence of its benefits has led select workplaces to accept it.

Christopher Lindholst, chief executive and co-founder of New York-based MetroNaps, has installed specially designed sleeping pods for Google, Huffington Post, an Iowa construction company and the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team. The chairs retail for $8,995 to $12,985.

The 60-minute nap may not be kosher in most workplaces, but it also has its pluses.

In a 2012 study in the journal Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, researchers split 36 college-aged students into three groups. Each group learned a memory task, pairing words on a screen with a sound. Afterward, one group had 60 minutes to nap, another 10 minutes. The final group didn’t sleep.

Upon retesting, the napping groups fared better, as expected, said Sara Alger, lead author of the study and a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Notre Dame.

More interesting, she noted, was that on further testing, including a week later, the 60-minute group performed far better than the 10-minute group, which now performed as poorly as the non-napping group. The researchers concluded that slow-wave sleep—only experienced by the 60-minute nappers—is necessary for memory consolidation.

Researchers continue to explore why some individuals don’t seem to benefit from naps. Dr. Mednick said ongoing studies are looking at potential genetic differences between habitual and nonhabitual nappers.

Kimberly Cote, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, said individuals who don’t normally nap tend to slip into the deep stages of sleep more quickly than those who do. Studies have found through monitoring brain waves that regular nappers are good at maintaining a light sleep when they nap and show better performance improvements than their non-napping counterparts.

“We’re not sure what those individual differences are,” she said, “if that’s something that they’ve learned to do over time or if there’s something biologically different that allows them to nap like that.”

Another trick to waking up perky after a short nap is to drink a cup of coffee before sleeping. Caffeine won’t hurt such a short break and should lessen the effect of sleep inertia.

Dr. Dinges recommends sleeping partially upright to make it easier to wake up. Studies, he said, have found that not lying totally flat results in avoiding falling into a deeper sleep.

“A lot of people say, ‘I only need four hours of sleep a night.’ There’s a few of them around but not very many,” he said.

Source

 

 

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Sep
04
2013
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What Motivates YOU?

The success or failure of your fitness routine heavily depends on the intensity of your motivation. In order to stick with it, even when it’s hard and you’re tired, you’ll need to fixate your mind on a single motivating thought. This may be a mental picture of what you will look like in your skinny jeans, the thought of how relieved you’ll be when the doctor give you a clean bill of health, or the reaction that your friends and family will give once you reveal the new you.

Discover what motivated you the most then direct your focus there. Bring this thought to mind whenever you feel like giving up and going back to your unhealthy lifestyle.

 

Elite Physiques & The Cycle Project

Elite Physiques & The Cycle Project

Sep
02
2013
0

7 Awesome Reasons To Be FIT

I spend a lot of time talking about what it’s like to be working towards your fat loss goal, with your perfect body somewhere off in the distance.

Today I’m going to switch perspectives and turn the focus onto how it feels to BE at your ideal weight.

In addition to getting you pumped up and motivated to work even more diligently towards your goal, studies have shown that those who spend time visualizing the accomplishment of their goal have a higher success rate in actually getting there.

So if you are still working towards your goal then sit back and let the following 7 Awesome Reasons to be FIT really sink into your mind. Visualize the following as being a part of your reality.

Awesome Reason To Be FIT #1: You Always Look Great
When you are at your ideal weight clothes look and feel amazing. Every. Single. Day. Gone are the days of looking for ways to cover your ‘problem’ areas because even those areas look great. Friends, family members and co-workers tell you how fantastic you look and that you’ve never looked better.

Awesome Reason To Be FIT #2: Your Confidence Is High
The act of accomplishing any worthwhile goal is enough to seriously boost your confidence, and this is even more apparent when reaching a fitness goal. When your body goes through a transformation there’s no hiding it. You are tighter, leaner and more attractive. You stand straighter, walk taller and exude a genuine confidence that can’t be missed.

Awesome Reason To Be FIT #3: You Have Lots Of Energy
Before you met your fat loss goal, getting off the couch was a challenge…one that you didn’t always win. Once you became fit, new surges of energy course through your veins. You thrive on motion and activities that used to tire you out now leave you energized.

Awesome Reason To Be FIT #4: You Are Strong
The life of a truly fit person knows no limits! In your free time you hike, bike, walk, pick up new hobbies and play with the kids. Picking up items that used to feel heavy is now a breeze as your functionality for daily tasks has never been stronger. Gone are the days when you’d tell yourself, “I can’t do that. I’m not strong enough.”

Awesome Reason To Be FIT #5: You Have No Health Worries
You’ll never forget the look on your doctor’s face when examining your transformed body. Gone is the lecture about the many risks of weight-related ailments. Those days are behind you. Your healthy, strong thriving body is health-worry-free.

Awesome Reason To Be FIT #6: You No Longer Have Weight To Lose
How long have you been trying to lose the fat and get down to your ideal weight? Long time, right? In all that time your fat loss goal has been a giant monkey on your back – always in the back of your mind, always weighing you down.

Guess what? Poof! That giant monkey disappeared the day you reached your goal weight an in its place came a sweet, carefree peace of mind.

Awesome Reason To Be FIT #7: You Are Able To Enjoy Life
Once you transformed your body, life got decidedly more fun and exciting. You never knew how much your weight had held you back from excitement and adventure until the day that burden was lifted. You now enjoy life with carefree abandon – the way you were designed to.

If these 7 Awesome Reasons To Be FIT have lit a fire under you to reach your goal weight once and for all then reach out to me right now. Call or email and I’ll have you sailing toward your FIT body in no time.

But don’t wait—to do so would be to risk losing the motivation that you feel right now. I’m here to help you transform your body with a specialized fitness plan that’s designed to quickly get you to FIT.

What are you waiting for? Begin your body transformation today!

 

Elite Physiques & The Cycle Project

Elite Physiques & The Cycle Project

Aug
28
2013
0

The Way Nature Intended

Food that’s untouched and unprocessed is always going to be the healthiest. See how many real, whole foods you can fit into your diet, while cutting out the packaged foods. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how quickly your body transforms when you eat food prepared the way nature intended.

 

Elite Physiques & The Cycle Project

Elite Physiques & The Cycle Project

Aug
21
2013
0

Diet Matters Too

Don’t forget how much your diet matters when it comes to getting your legs into amazing shape. In addition to a challenging workout routine, incorporate these diet tips into your routine: Eliminate processed snack items from your diet. Cut down on the amount of grains you eat each day. Include lean protein with each meal. Fill your plate with colorful, nutrient-dense veggies. Enjoy fresh fruit as dessert, instead of sugar-filled items.

 

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Aug
07
2013
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After Your Vacation…Get Back At It

You may feel tempted to skip your workout the day after you return home from vacation, but be warned that it’s a slippery slope. After all you’re tired, you have unpacking to do and you’re stiff from the ride home. That day slides into the next day and the next day. Before you know it you’ve been home for a week and still haven’t gotten in a workout.

Jump into your workouts immediately once you return home. Sure, you’re going to feel a little rusty on that first day back, but remember that the sooner you get back into the swing of your routine the better. You can do it!

 

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Jul
10
2013
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What’s Your Why?

Why do you want to exercise and get into great shape? Grab onto the first answer that came into your mind. That is your unique reason why.

Your reason could have to do with weight, size, shape, strength, appearance, health, function or longevity. Or it could be about something completely off the wall. Hey, it’s your reason and there are no wrong answers.

This reason is your motivation. It’s the thought that you need to return to whenever you’re feeling discouraged or want to give up. Remind yourself of it often. Write it down and put it where you will see it everyday. If you just don’t quit then you’re bound to succeed.

 

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Jun
26
2013
1

Motivation vs Habit

I recently heard a quote that’s worth sharing: Motivation is what gets you started, Habit is what keeps you going. This is very true.

When you first start an exercise program you are filled with motivation. It’s what got you into the gym in the first place. It’s what gets you up out of bed and into your workout gear in the morning. But what about when that motivation starts to fade?

This is when habit takes the driver’s seat. Let’s face it, you’re not always going to feel incredibly excited about striving after your fitness goals – so on those days when you aren’t looking at the big picture goal allow habit to direct to.

Put your healthy eating and regular exercise into habit, and results will find you.

 

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Jun
24
2013
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19 Awesome Reasons to Exercise Today

I know it’s summer and you have exciting places to go and things to do. But wait! Did you forget about your workout? Again?

Lots of people fall off the exercise wagon during summer months due to vacations, taking care of kids home for the summer months, and other warm weather distractions. I get it, I really do, but what about all the amazing perks that you’re missing out on?

Just in case you needed a little reminder that will motivate you to lace those shoes back up and get your workout back on, here are 19 Awesome Reasons to Exercise Today!

  1. Exercise makes your clothes fit better: Consistent exercise will tone and tighten your body, and this means that your clothes will not only fit better they will also look nicer. But don’t get too attached to your current clothes. Exercise ensures that soon you’ll be trading those current clothes in for smaller sizes.
  2. Exercise reduces your stress: Let’s face it, you have enough stress in your life—so take a break. A challenging workout invigorates your muscles and leaves you relaxed and less stressed.
  3. Exercise boosts your energy: Research routinely concludes that exercise increases energy levels in sedentary people. So when you’re feeling fatigued, fight it with the most powerful tool available: exercise.
  4. Exercise makes you stronger: Who doesn’t want to be stronger? You rely on your body’s muscle strength and endurance throughout each day. With consistent, challenging exercise, your body will naturally become stronger.
  5. Exercise burns calories: Extra calories end up stored on your body as fat. Fight back by eliminating loads of calories with fat-blasting workouts.
  6. Exercise gives you confidence: Healthy confidence is a wonderful thing to have. By exercising consistently you’re able to increase your natural confidence.
  7. Exercise can be fun: Don’t laugh, I’m serious on this one. Whether you believe it or not, exercise can be really enjoyable. Too many people think the only way to exercise is through countless hours at the gym or on a treadmill.  Remember how fun it was to run and jump as a child? Tap into your inner child as you find enjoyment in moving your body through any form of exervcise; paddleboarding, cycling, hiking, swimming, softball, etc…are all great exrecises that are also fun.
  8. Exercise reduces your blood pressure: Exercise is so powerful that it has been proven more effective than medication in reducing high blood pressure. A single workout has even been shown to reduce blood pressure for the day, and consistent exercise reduces overall blood pressure.
  9. Exercise tightens your problem areas: With exercise you can reduce flab on your arms, legs and waistline. So wave goodbye to the jiggles with a consistent, challenging exercise program.
  10. Exercise increases your insulin sensitivity: Research continues to prove that exercise dramatically improves insulin sensitivity. Peak after-meal insulin levels have been shown to drop by more than 20 percent after as little as 3 weeks of consistent exercise, whic means less fat storage.
  11. Exercise improves your sleep: Exercise is your most powerful sleep aid. Tired muscles encourage your body to quickly fall asleep in order to get overnight repair work done.
  12. Exercise lowers your risk of heart disease: Exercise strengthens your heart and protects it against disease. A non-active lifestyle is a huge risk factor for heart disease, so use consistent exercise as your ally against disease.
  13. Exercise makes you feel amazing: Challenging exercise releases natural endorphins (happy hormones) into your bloodstream that dissolve pain and anxiety. You’ve probably heard of the ‘runner’s high’, this can be achieved by any great workout.
  14. Exercise lowers your risk of diabetes: Research has shown that exercising as little as half an hour each day can dramatically reduce your risk of diabetes. If you are at risk of diabetes, or already have diabetes, use regular exercise as treatment for reversing the disease.
  15. Exercise is an opportunity to meet new people:Triathlon teams, bootcamps, workout centers and even jogging trails are all great places to connect with fun new friends. So lace up and put your self out there!
  16. Exercise improves your BMI: Maintaining a healthy BMI is key in disease prevention, and exercise is the best way to keep your BMI under control.
  17. Exercise increases your endurance: Don’t ever get out of breath from walking up stairs or through the mall again. Your regular exercise builds up endurance for everyday activities.
  18. Exercise improves your overall health: Does your doctor give you the lecture about losing weight and exercising more? Once you start exercising regularly you and your MD will see an overall improvement in your health.
  19. Exercise makes you look amazing: Are you excited about the current shape and size of your body? If not, no worries. Regular, challenging exercise will work wonders on your physique. Within just a few weeks you’ll start to see shape and tone in all the right places.

I hope it goes without saying that I am your go-to point for all things exercise. It’s my passion to see each and every one of my clients reach their fitness goals and improve the quality of their lives.

Please call or email today to come in for your free consultation. Together let’s turn this summer into your time of transformation. Just think of how amazing you could be looking after working with me!

No more excuses this summer. You have 19 great reasons for getting back to your workouts. I’d like nothing more than to see you attain all of the above 19 benefits of exercise!

 

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