noun: Internal and external factors that stimulate desire and energy to seek or be committed to a goal.
Motivation is critical for reaching any goal. It’s especially true when it comes to health and fitness. Motivation is often the key difference between success and failure. I find most people who are building a health program are motivated by one of three things:
Desire – Perhaps it’s something you’ve always wanted to accomplish, like running a marathon. Or maybe it’s a part of your life you’d like to improve, like being able to play and keep up with your children even after a busy week.
Personal Connection/Personal Reward – Like everyone else, you want to look good on the beach or in your new jeans. Or perhaps your motivation runs deeper–nothing energizes us like a charity run or other event that is centered on helping a loved one.
Necessity – Pain and illness are very strong motivators. Many people reach a point where they have no choice. They must change their health habits.
However, you don’t have to wait until it becomes absolutely necessary and you’re forced to make changes. You can identify positive motivations to make changes right now!
Here are some ways you can motivate yourself to be healthier:
- Sign up for a charity run or bike ride with your family.
- Plan a vacation that requires some level of fitness, like climbing Mount Kilimanjaro or an overnight trek along the Appalachian Trail.
- Get friends and co-workers involved–join a runners club, a softball league, or plan a race together. Sign up for a group fitness class and encourage everyone to participate.
- Try something totally new. Take dancing lessons with your spouse or sign up for those scuba lessons you’ve always wanted to take.
Don’t wait. Get out there. You’ll be happy you did!
by Keith Paine …
Especially living in New York City, as I do! Culturally, we put more value on what we do, and much less value on the sleep we get. Well, have you considered the negative toll that sleep loss may put on your body and mind? Everyone’s individual sleep needs vary. In general, most healthy adults are built for 16 hours of wakefulness and need an average of eight hours of sleep. Recent surveys have found that more people in the U.S. are sleeping less than six hours a night, and that sleep difficulties visit 75% of us at least a few nights per week. Chronic sleep loss will contribute to health problems such as weight gain, high blood pressure, and a decrease in your immune system’s power. And if you are an exerciser, sleep is a key part of your program— recovery. Sleep gives your muscles time to repair and rebuild after each sweat session.
Here are six really good reasons to catch those Zs :
1. Learning and memory: Sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory through a process called memory consolidation.
2. Metabolism and weight: Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain, by affecting the way our bodies process carbohydrates and by altering levels of hormones that affect our appetite.
3. Safety: Sleep debt contributes to a greater tendency to fall asleep during the daytime. These lapses may cause falls and critical mistakes such as medical errors and road accidents.
4. Mood: No one likes a grump at work! Also, sleep loss can also leave you too tired to do the things you really like to do (go for the run, go out with friends, etc), which will affect your mood even further.
5. Cardiovascular health: Serious sleep disorders have been linked to hypertension, increased stress hormone levels and irregular heartbeats.
6. Disease Prevention: Sleep deprivation alters immune function, including the activity of the body’s “killer“ cells. Conversely, catching up with sleep helps all immune function, so your body will fight disease better.
Remember, the proper amount of sleep each night is necessary to face the world with your best foot forward. Sleep will help you on the road to good fitness, good eating and good health!
“Water is a critical element of the body, and keeping the body adequately hydrated is a must to allow the body to function.” – Melissa Stöppler, MD, on MedecineNet
As most of us know from junior-high school biology, our bodies are made up of mostly water. So, knowing how much water we need to drink to stay properly hydrated can seem confusing. If we have so much water in our bodies, then why do we have to keep replenishing it?
The answer, in part, lies in the fact that our bodies use water on a cellular level. That means that every ounce of tissue, every muscle, every organ—basically almost everything in us—is composed on the most basic level by water. As our bodies are always changing and evolving (or the opposite), our hydration levels can vary greatly. Here are some of the key ways we are constantly losing water :
• Breath! Humidified air leaves your body every time you exhale.
• Sweat—especially when you exercise.
• Eliminating waste.
So, if we’re losing water all the time from basic body functions, common sense tells us we have to constantly replenish. Here are some basic daily water requirement levels. Since most adults weigh between 100 and 250 pounds, these standards from MedecineNet should give you a good general idea on how much water to drink daily:
• If you weigh 100 pounds – 50 ounces minimum, a quart and a half a day
• If you weigh 150 pounds – 65 ounces minimum, 2 quarts daily
• If you weigh 200 pounds – 70 ounces minimum, over half a gallon a day
• If you weigh 250 pounds – 75+ ounces minimum
And so on. Keep in mind these are minimum daily requirements. And if you add in other factors like exercise, sickness, dehydration from diuretics such as coffee and tea, we all definitely have some hydrating to do. On more factor: winter air is dryer air, so it probably makes sense to kick up your hydration this winter. If you have additional questions, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or find us on Facebook.
by Antonio Sini …
It can only happen if you ask yourself the honest questions. What do I mean by that? Well, as a fitness professional working with people on their personal health, one of my challenges is to help each client find out what they really want to achieve, and then implement effective ways to bring out the changes they desire. Creating a safe and effective exercise program is actually relatively “easy.” The harder part is actually identifying everyone’s underlying motives for positive change. If those motives are not uncovered, then the exercise program is often ineffective. This leads to frustration, temporary failure, and often a regression back to poor health habits.
What if we all took a look at what we value at the start of an exercise program, rather than simply looking at what specific exercises you want to do. Discovering the value that you place on your health, and how your entire being will benefit, has a far more lasting impact than just going through the motions of exercise.
Here is an example of what I mean: Let’s say you’ve just purchased a gym membership. How would you take advantage of it? Some typical answers are: “I would start exercising with a trainer”; “I’d take classes to get in shape” and so on. However, what would your answer be if we turn that question around: How does it feel to have a gym membership and exercise regularly? The answers here would be very different: “Happy”; “Less stressed after I work out”; “I feel so much more energetic.”
The first answer tells me what actions you would take with the gym membership. The second reveals more of what you value in your life – a stress free environment, happiness, feeling less fatigued. So in finding out what you value, your actions which follow have a far more significant impact on the changes that you wish to make. That’s really how you really stay motivated to succeed and how you truly change.
by Keith Paine …
For most of us, exercise is a compartmentalized activity. It’s a thing we do 2-3 times a week before work. It’s a chance to focus on ourselves and on the way we want to feel. It’s an opportunity to get back into our bodies and away from the stresses of work and life.
Sometimes life rears its head, however, and shakes us out of our routines. When a big storm like Sandy hits, our lives are upended, and we’re reminded of what’s truly important. When that happens, our idea of “fitness” takes on a new meaning.
Fitness could be defined as the ability to walk up and down 23 flights of stairs in the dark with a fully packed bag and bottles of water—as one of our clients did–and realizing that it wasn’t that hard. Fitness could be loading heavy boxes of supplies for a relief effort, as another client did, and finding she could do it for hours without injury. Maybe true fitness is the ability to make better choices. Maybe it’s the ability to act–reaching out to a community when your parents have lost their house, or just offering to help in any way you can.
Being fit enough to help others as well as yourself. Having the ability to overcome stressful situations. Realizing that the training you do has benefits that you weren’t aware of. Maybe true fitness is just being able to handle whatever life throws at us.
By Tyler Farrish …
The safest and most effective variation of lunging is the reverse lunge. When you reverse your lunge, the effects on the muscles are the same, but less stress is placed on the knees because they cannot extend beyond the toes. And by taking a step backwards instead of forwards, it is easier to maintain balance and keep your weight primarily centered up on your forward leg.
In this video Tyler demonstrates how to properly perform a reverse lunge. Incorporate reverse lunges into your exercise routine to build stronger, more powerful legs.
by Antonio Sini …
I’ve probably heard this question asked a thousand times: “I haven’t lost any weight and I’ve been exercising for weeks! What gives?” The answer is that a scale just measures weight–it doesn’t provide an accurate measure of one’s progress. You can easily be releasing body fat and getting leaner without losing weight.
How is that possible you ask? Muscle is denser than fat, and takes up less space. If you burn off a pound of body fat but gain a pound of lean muscle, the scale will not change but you will notice the difference in your body. As you lose body fat and replace it with muscle you become leaner and more toned.
If you want to really measure your progress more accurately, toss the scale aside and use a tape measure. Measure the following 3 points every four weeks (no sooner!) to really gauge how well your exercise program is going:
• Waist, 2” above your hip bones
• Thighs, 6” above the knee caps
• Upper arms, halfway between your elbow and shoulder.
Lowering body fat levels and building lean muscle tissue can result in a dramatic transformation to your physique. It will also speed up your metabolism, improve bone density and help prevent sickness, including heart disease and diabetes. You’ll look better, feel better and best of all become more Nimble!
By Tyler Farrish
Food. What is it? What does it mean to you? As this answer will vary from person to person, most of us will think of our latest craving for a particular meal, cuisine or treat. This is completely normal!
However, there’s often little secondary thought given to the experiencing of food—not the what, but the way we consume. We’re often just throwing food down the hatch, and moving as quickly as possible onto the next bite. Oh, the speedy lives we live. Before you move on to your next meal, have you ever stopped to think about how you feel after you eat?
Take this morning’s breakfast for example: How did you feel 30 minutes after you ate? Did your energy levels increase, decrease, remain the same, or did they rise briefly only to be followed by a quick crash? Did this meal satisfy you for 3-4 hrs? Did you notice any physical or emotional changes (i.e.: bloating, lower abdominal discomfort, gas, anxiety, hyperactivity, lethargy, etc.)? How well was the food processed by your body?
The main message I would like to drive home in this brief article is the importance of developing a relationship with your food. There is one nutritional goal we are striving for: To identify foods harmonious to your body. It’s as simple as that! Bio-Individuality states that each fruit, vegetable, meat, & fat will affect your system uniquely. Keeping that in mind, here’s your take-away for this month:
- Simplify Meals – Try to eat simply, choosing one fruit or vegetable with a meal, one source of protein, & one source of healthy fats.
- Make a Food Diary - via whatever is easiest (Google doc, notes on iPhone, journal or email, etc). Keep track of everything, food & liquid. Note how your body responds to different foods.
- Detox & De-Stress your digestive system - Try to drink half of your bodyweight in ounces of water each day. Aim to chew each bite 20-30 times to take stress off your digestive track. Avoid processed foods as much as possible & shop for organics
Now you can start to determine what foods/meal combinations work best for your body. Food is nourishment; it impacts every cell of our being…
At Nimble Fitness, we often talk about knowing your food and eating locally farmed meat and produce. The other day, I decided to shoot a short video interview with Mike, the owner of one of my favorite farms, Flying Pigs Farm. Here are some of the important points we talk about in the video:
*Where is the meat I’m eating coming from?
*How are the animals treated?
*Are they fed properly?
*Are drugs or steroids used with the animals?
Next time you are in the Union Square farmers market, check out Flying Pig’s farmstand. Also, take the opportunity to ask questions, from Mike and the other local farmers. It makes food shopping more social and personal at the same time.
The food we eat is broken down to nurture every cell in our body–I feel it deserves all the commitment, appreciation and respect we can cultivate towards it!
To your health,
Summer is here! That means looking for tasty ways to get more fluid into our bodies, especially in warm weather when we spend more time outdoors hiking, swimming, golfing or just goofing around at the beach. Why not cool down your internal thermostat and stay energized in the scorching sun with homemade smoothies? The first thing you’ll need is a blender. Next, get yourself over to your local farmers market and stock your fridge with seasonal fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and peaches. Take one cup of ice, one cup of skim milk (soy milk, nut milk or yogurt will work too), one cup of fruit, and blend together for an amazingly refreshing smoothie. It sure beats boring water and the natural sugars will pep up your step while the phytonutrients found in the fruit skin will keep your skin healthy and young.
Try these great smoothies for a refreshing change:
1 cup of ice
½ cup strawberries
½ cup peaches
2 slices of peeled cucumber
4 mint leaves
Pinch of raw cane sugar
Splash of lemon
4 Tbs Brazilian nut milk, or Almond milk
½ cup of water
1 cup of blueberries
1 Tbs grated ginger
Pinch of cinnamon
1 Tablespoon of honey, maple Syrup, or agave nectar
1 scoop green powder
*option to add a ¼ cup of fresh squeezed juice for added sweetness
by Nimble Client, Annie Shapero
As I write this, I’ve got one eye on the clock. At noon, I’ll leave my friend’s fourth-floor walk-up and take the bus halfway across London, where I’m on vacation, for 30 minutes of TRX at a training gym on Tower Bridge Road. You might be wondering why am I spending precious vacation time in a gym; maybe you get the impression that I’m a fitness nut.
Not so! I’ve never been much into fitness. I dance because I love it, and I run because it clarifies my brain. Until recently, I also thought running was the best way to burn off last night’s wine. You couldn’t have paid me to do a push-up and I used to shudder at the thought of a plank. That stuff was for bodybuilders and yogis, not for me. I thought I had it figured out and I felt pretty good…
Sometime last November, however, a friend took me to a TRX class at Nimble Fitness. A body-weight suspension class sounded pretty hardcore. And it was. And yet throughout the entire 45-minute class, I never felt inadequate or intimidated. The trainer was attentive and encouraging, and swinging from the straps felt fun in a sort of nostalgic, jungle gym kind of way. With TRX there were push-ups and planks, not to mention squats, pikes and crunches. But I barely noticed!…Until the next day (and four days after) when my entire body ached, in the best possible way. I went back for more.
It’s now been nearly five months and without realizing it, I’ve transformed my body into a tighter, stronger and braver version of what it was. During the week I’m pretty rigorous about my eating. I stick to rice, vegetables, fruit and fish. Weekends are a free-for-all. Wine is both a ritual and a pleasure (and my job), so it’s around, ideally in moderation. I still run sometimes when it’s sunny, and dance whenever I get the chance, but good old-fashioned strength training–dressed up as fun and fancy TRX–got me thinking, and got my body moving, in ways I never imagined.
And that is why I’ll gladly board the double-decker bus, or le Metro and spend an hour of vacation sweating with a suspension trainer. The novelty has yet to wear off, and I’ve still got work to do. As long as it keeps working, so will I.
In the past, when a person had a cancer diagnosis, they typically were told by their doctors to rest and not to overly exert themselves. However, recent research suggests that cancer patients need to be told exactly the opposite of previous advice and should become more physically active no matter what stage they are in with their cancer treatment.
Benefits of Physical Fitness
Physical fitness for mesothelioma and other types of cancer have now been well documented. According to the National Cancer Institute, being physically active and fit has multiple benefits for cancer patients. Even mild activity can help a patient’s overall health and contribute to weight control and improved stamina. For many people, weight loss due to physical activity also helps control obesity and diabetes risk.
Being physically active can also improve blood pressure and cardiovascular health. Lung capacity also improves, making it easier to breathe.
There are also mental health benefits to being physically active. Some of the most common symptoms associated with cancer include depression and anxiety. Individuals with cancer may doubt the physical attractiveness or feel they are a burden to those around them. However, by becoming physically active, patients often begin to see improvement in their feelings and emotions. They may begin to feel more hopeful about the future as their body is able to accomplish more and they are able to engage in activities they have enjoyed in the past.
Physical activity also usually provides increased mobility, which can be extremely important emotionally and physically when it comes to fighting cancer. Decreased mobility means the inability to visit friends, go out on routine errands and maintain independence. It can also mean being unable to walk, being easily fatigued and simply not feeling able engage in activities. However, even with mild to moderate physical activity, many patients begin to feel better. They are able to be more social, feel more energy and are able to be more independent.
Almost everyone can be physically active to some degree. Patients do not need to run marathons or become a body builder. They simply need to become more active overall. Maybe its parking your car further down the street at the grocery store or taking the dog for a nice brisk walk more often.
However, individuals who have difficulty with mobility, mild stretching exercises can help with improved balance and mobility. It can improve stamina and muscle strength. Yoga and Pilates are recommended exercise programs, in addition to working with a balance ball and rubber exercise bands.
Walking is recommended for individuals to build stamina. For patients starting out, start by walking down the driveway or taking a short walk up and down the street. As stamina improves, walks can be longer. Many patients report that simply being outside improves their mood and energy levels. Also, as you are able to walk longer distances, your self-confidence will improve and you will feel better about yourself.
As your stamina improves, you may want to add other types of physical fitness activities. Consider swimming, bicycling or running to improve cardiovascular health and improve muscle tone and strength.
Long Term Benefits of Physical Fitness
No matter where you are in your cancer treatment, you can reap the long-term benefits of physical fitness. Individuals who are physically active tend to have better survival rates than those who are not fit. Additionally, recurrence levels are much lower for people who are physically active. With continued activity, it is easier to maintain weight control and cardiovascular benefits, such as healthy blood pressure levels and lean muscle mass.
No matter where you are in your fight with cancer, you can benefit by being physically active. You do not need to run marathons. You just need to get moving and become more active. You can improve the quality of your life, begin to feel emotionally better and be much more able to fight the cancer in both the short and long term.
(Article contributed by David Hass of The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance)
by Keith Paine
Springtime is traditionally a period of renewal for most of us, a fresh start. It can also be a good time to step back from the day-to-day pressures we all face, and do a bit of self-assessment on a broader scale. Where were you last year at this point? And how do you feel now, in comparison? What are the different aspects of life that you use to measure your progress? All tricky questions, especially the last one. There are a lot of numbers we can use to define success: money gained, miles run, pounds lost, etc. Are these superficial numbers, that change so easily, really a way to measure how we are?
Scientific research continually suggests what spiritual advisors have known for a very long time: true well-being is measured along a different, much deeper set of guidelines. Values, such as commitment to a cause, the freedom to act, and connection to others, are continually mentioned as the key determining factors to long-term happiness. Of course, these values are much harder to quantify, and they often exist independently of each other. How often do we sacrifice one of these factors to concentrate on another? Much like our physical health, it does not help us to focus on one thing to the exclusion of others. If your nutrition is terrible, it’s going to negatively affect your exercise, digestion, sleep, and so on. So it is with happiness. It’s in the balance of these major factors–commitment, freedom and connection–that well-being seems to be found.
Take a moment this week to assess yourself on your participation in these deeper values. Identifying those gaps in your life—and working to fill them—may be the surest path we have towards personal fulfillment.
An inspiring tale by Nimble client Anne Pelletier
Camelback may not be a big mountain, but for me it might as well have been Everest. Rising 2700 feet above sea level in Phoenix, Arizona, this rocky peak looms over the surrounding desert. I have vacationed in the area for many years, but I never have had the confidence to make the climb.
Scaling a mountain was the furthest thing from my mind when my doctor gave me some ominous news last year. “You are in an alarming state of de-conditioning,” he told me. On the way home from that visit, I made a vow to make exercise a part of my life. The problem was, I hated exercising! The thought of repeating my previous experiences in a gym was off-putting: boring repetitions, endless time on a treadmill, one-size-fits-all trainers whose workouts left me exhausted and discouraged.
So, it was without much hope that I joined Nimble Fitness. I had done some research and found they were conveniently located and offered TRX equipment. I had never worked with TRX, but the novelty attracted me and I decided to give it a shot.
I immediately felt comfortable working out in Nimble’s low-key space. Everything here, from the well-educated trainers to the quote painted on the wall, contributes to an atmosphere of well-being, as opposed to simply “getting big” or seeing how much you can bench press. I was referred to Keith, who along with Antonio and Daniel, co-founded Nimble in 2006.
At first we started slowly. I could ride the bike for only 3 minutes on level 1! De-conditioning, indeed! That didn’t faze Keith, however. He always encouraged me and I soon found I felt more energetic AFTER my workouts than I did on the way there. My friends laughed when I told them. “That’s the way it’s supposed to be!” they said.
Soon, I was looking forward to my time at Nimble. Keith always had new and interesting workouts planned for me. He was constantly aware of the limitations of my body, whether a shoulder or a knee hurt, for example, and he planned his workouts accordingly. I’ve worked with TRX, slant boards, resistance bands, mat work, Yoga, Pilates, weights and various machines. I now arrive early to get in 20-30 minutes on the bike before my session. And by the way, I’m up to 20 min on level 6.
All this put me in much better shape to tackle Camelback when I visited there last month. With a gentle push from my friend, Erick, and a helpful guide I was able to make it to the top (and back down) fairly easily. The upward climb is a cardio-taxing workout that challenges you to pull your body up a steeply rocky ascent. Going down, your joints get the workout as they support you on the steep descent. At the top, I took a moment to celebrate and Erick memorialized the moment in the photo you see here. Afterwards, I felt such a sense of accomplishment! I am so grateful to everyone at Nimble who has been supportive of me. I couldn’t have done it without them.
Today, regular exercise is a part of my life. That’s never happened before, but I am so glad it’s true now. My doctor can’t believe the transformation, but I can, because I’ve worked hard to get here. And if I can do it, you can, too!
by Antonio Sini -
I work out 4-5 Xs a week. I lift weights, do yard work around my house, even ride my bike on the weekends. I walk all over the city too. By all accounts, I’m a pretty strong and healthy guy. So how is it that I managed to throw my back out the other day by simply reaching down to pick up a small box? Considering all the things I do to stay in shape–to be sidelined by a 2 lb. cardboard box. How frustrating!
However, when I stopped to look at all the factors that went into injuring my back, I can’t say that I was completely surprised. My son had kept my wife and I up all night, so I only managed 3 hours of sleep. That morning, I spent 2 hours sitting in traffic on the way to the mall. Exhausted, and with my back already weak from sitting for so long, I spent the afternoon bent over tending to kids. Needless to say, after all that, I should have known better than to try and pick up that box while holding my son in my arms.
The big lesson? Often it’s not a lack of strength that affects our health, but an imbalance in our lives. I see it every day with clients who complain that they work out regularly but still feel weak. They come into the studio stressed out from work, exhausted from barely having slept the night before, and on their 3rd cup of coffee. Of course you’re going to feel weak! Being healthy encompasses many things–eating well, moving your body often, staying flexible, getting enough sleep at night and managing stress. Learning how to balance these aspects of life is what creates well-being.
Below are some common imbalances, which I see often, and some simple solutions to help keep your health on the right track:
Do you eat well, exercise regularly but spend little or no time improving your flexibility?
I’m guilty of this one. Being flexible allows your muscle tissue to work more efficiently, which in turn helps you move better throughout your day. Stretching, which lengthens muscle tissue and helps to re-set our body balance and alignment, also reduces the chance for injury and allows you to recover from your workouts quicker. Spend 10 -15 minutes after every workout stretching. Or dedicate an entire workout to flexibility! Yoga can be an especially good alternative to weight training days.
Do you exercise regularly, but don’t get enough sleep?
If you are having trouble falling asleep at night, it could be because you are exercising too late in the evening. The body needs time to wind down. Try switching your workout to mornings or during lunch breaks. Also, you’ll need to watch your caffeine intake. Never take anything with caffeine up to 6 hours before you go to bed. The ideal rest scenario is 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. If this is not possible (and as a father, I know how hard this can be!), I suggest a minimum of 6 hours. 15-20 minute power naps can work wonders for people who don’t sleep well during the night. Avoid exercising strenuously on the days you haven’t gotten enough rest. Better yet, give your body a day off.
Does your exercise program involve only doing cardio or only strength training, but not both?
Cardiovascular exercise is any type of exercise that increases the work of the heart and lungs. This type of exercise helps control your weight and prevents disease. Cardiovascular exercise also provides you with more energy throughout your day and keeps you from feeling fatigued. If you only lift weights, you’re neglecting your body of these tremendous benefits.
Conversely, if you only focus on cardiovascular exercise, you’ll miss out on the benefits of strength training. These include increased metabolism, increased lean muscle and improved muscle function and balance. Another big benefit to including strength training with cardiovascular exercise is injury prevention.
Do you exercise regularly, but have unhealthy habits outside of the gym?
What you put into your body is as important as what you put out. Don’t sabotage all the hard work you put into exercising. Smoking, drinking alcohol in excess and drug use will all negate the benefits of a great work out. So will poor nutrition. Eating the right foods plays a major role in the way you look and feel. Here are some ideas for what best to put into your body for long-term health:
*Closer to nature is always better with food and drink, organic if possible.
*Avoid or eliminate processed sugar, salt and flour
*Make dinner one of your lightest meals
*Hydrate throughout the day, not just when you’re thirsty.
By Daniel Lucas ….
It’s no secret that stress can be a killer to our health. Stress can manifest instantly, and it can slowly grind people down over time. Cortisol, a steroid hormone produced in the adrenal gland, is released when we are stressed. Cortisol increases blood pressure and releases glucose into our bloodstream. It’s apart of the “fight or flight” response. It also suppresses the immune system, to save energy for dealing with the stressor. In an evolutionary sense, our stress response was designed for emergencies only. However, if you are experiencing highly elevated stress levels on a daily basis, cortisol will wreak havoc on your system.
Imagine trying to drive a car by pushing on the gas and the break at the same time. How long could that possibly work? And yet, if you are constantly flooding your system with Cortisol in response to stress, and at the same time suppressing your immune system, you’re basically doing the same thing.
Let’s cut to the chase, stress happens in our busy lives. If something is stressing you out, you have to deal with it! As scary as it can be, sometimes you have to step into the fire and take focused action to resolve a situation. But how do we release stress afterwards? Really, I’m asking you how do YOU de-stress? Do you have a strategy? Are you doing it enough? There is nothing more important to your health and longevity.
Here is a quick de-stress cheat sheet (try them all and see what works!):
- Diaphragm & 3-Dimensional Breathing
- Meditation Sleep
- Cut down on stimulants
- Move slowly and consciously
- Eat nutritious whole foods
- Focus on someone else. Love them!
- Forgive–and move on.
- Be present & honest with friends.
- Turn off the TV!*Listen to music.
- Take a nap or take a vacation.
- Just take a walk.
- Get a massage.
- Alter your exercise & training program to incorporate more de-stressing work.
And the list goes on. Doing the things that help you to feel great have to be a priority as important as your work. Below is a link to a video of my friend Karen Atkins explaining how to balance your right and left brain hemispheres. Done consistently I’ve found this to be a nice way to de-stress and it’s super simple to do.
by Antonio Sini
I love a good power nap. There have been many long days at the studio where I wouldn’t have survived without one. Research has shown that a daily nap can promote physical well-being, improve your mood and your memory, sharpen your senses and revitalize your energy. By deliberately putting time aside for a “power nap”, you will be much more productive the rest of the day. A 15 to 20 minute nap is all you need–the key is not to fall into the deeper stages of sleep in the afternoon. Even if you don’t fully fall asleep, you’ll still reap benefits from the relaxation time.
Here are some quick tips for that perfect siesta:
- Schedule your nap during the second half of your day, usually between 1pm and 5pm.
- Avoid caffeine 4 hours before a nap. Also avoid eating at least 2 hours before your nap.
- Nap regularly and keep your time consistent so you nap at the same time every day.
- Find a quiet space and turn off your phone. Let others know not to disturb you.
- Help your body relax by taking a few deep breaths. Clear your mind by focusing on your breaths.
- If light bothers you, wear a sleep mask or place a towel over your eyes. A dark room will work best.
- Have a glass of water when you wake up and walk around for 5 minutes to stimulate your nervous system.
As I stated, a good nap should last no more than 15-20 minutes. You may think this is nothing but, believe me, its all you need. You’ll feel your heart rate increase when you wake up and you may even start to sweat as your metabolism fires back. After a few minutes and big glass of water you’ll feel good as new!
by Daniel Lucas
Do you know what “home” feels like for your body?
I’m talking about the place where you feel structurally in alignment. Where you move with poise and feel relaxed. Whether we’re feeling “at home” or not often comes down to what we have done, or what he haven’t done, prior to being aware that we are out of alignment. Being able to feel our bodies, and having checks and balances so that we can catch small disruptions in our joints or tissue, can save us from creating further dysfunction.
Here is a simple assessment that I got from my friend Sue Hitzman, creator of the MELT method. I love it and have used it on myself during my marathon training and with almost every client I have ever worked with. It’s called a body scan, and it’s also great for starting a lying meditation.
After you assess yourself, you can perform any movement you wish and now you have a way to simply assess how it affected your body. For example, if you are performing a power move but your technique is off, you may feel a hip positioned differently then before. Remember everything changes when under load, so you can use this technique to see how the quality of your movement changes while in motion. Re-assess often! You’re simply using it to have an easy way get in your body and feel how your workouts are affecting how your body presents itself to the floor when simply lying relaxed. (For more information, contact Daniel and the Nimble Fitness team at email@example.com).
by Daniel Lucas
Here is an overview of some keys to success when it comes to the art of recovery. At its core, recovery is part of the discipline, patience and commitment it takes to perform at your highest level.
Whether you’re training for the New York City marathon, as I am, or just want to get stronger, all the magic happens in adaptation. We stress our bodies to new levels of fatigue, and our bodies repay us by becoming stronger, faster and more powerful. Muscle fibers shift and grow from these stresses over time. An effective, progressive program will include disciplined recovery periods, with the ultimate goal of being prepared and healthy on race day.
Here’s some tips for effective recovery:
1. Study! A little research goes a long way! Run with this list of tips and use the information you find to make needed changes in your program. If you find some more information that gives you a big YES in your mind, you can probably use it to your advantage.
2. Awareness. All the study in the world will not take care of you better than you. Be aware of everything when it comes to your recovery. Here’s a quick list to get you started: overall energy, mood, joint range of motion, muscle symmetry, aches and pains, bowel movements, sleep quality, caffeine and alcohol consumption.
3. Hydration. Pre, during, and post. We have all heard this song and dance before, but why do so many people compete dehydrated? Habits, addiction, and lack of consistency are the biggest culprits. My quick take on it is this: know your body, pee clear for a couple days before big events, use sea-salt in your water before a race, drink water between meals, limit beverages that dehydrate you. On the other hand, over hydrating can be a problem too. Hydrating prior (several days before) an event and using salt tablets for long runs is also something to consider. Maintaining proper electrolyte balance can make or break your performance.
4. Nutrition. All of the above are important keys to success, but the food you put in your body is what your cells use to regenerate. So, give every training session the fuel you need to perform, and the nutrition you need to recover. This equation will be different for all of us—so be very aware of how your nutrition is serving you.
5. Anti-Oxidants. The waste created in our bodies from intense prolonged exercise creates free radicals, so consuming some high quality anti-oxidants can help balance that equation. Examples would be fruits like pomegranates or berries, and other vegetables rich in anti-oxidants.
6. Sleep. Getting high quality sleep allows your body to heal most of all! The important work of repairing tissue happens when you’re in deep sleep. The basic secrets to great sleep are: a consistent early bedtime, knowing what time you need to eat to sleep well, cutting caffeine later in the day, making sure your bedroom is dark and quiet.
7. Symmetry and Tissue Hydration. Flexibility is a big key to performing at your best. It’s a big part of maintaining symmetry from limb to limb, and being able to re-set tight, tired muscles. Also, hydrating muscles and connective tissue with myo-fascial release tools or massage is important. So you have a choice: Force another tight, challenging run or take care of yourself on a higher level?
8. Functional Exercises. Exercises that target postural muscles that are prone to weakness are an important part of any successful program. Study up on corrective strategies, and include compound exercises that really improve your balance and integrated power.
M.E.L.T. Hand and Foot Treatment Kit
“The MELT Hand and Foot Treatment is an innovative self-treatment technique that can make your whole body feel better in just minutes. By stimulating the hands and feet, this easy-to-learn treatment can help reduce these common painful symptoms in just minutes a day:
- hand, foot, back, and neck pain
- plantar fasciitis, bunions, neuromas
- arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, trigger finger
- even headaches, gut issues, and insomnia!
The MELT Hand & Foot Treatment Kit includes everything you need to start feeling better now: 6 MELT Treatment balls (2 of each size), 1 Bunion Reducer Band, a 60-minute DVD featuring MELT Method creator Sue Hitzmann, and an illustrated instruction guide, all in a convenient travel case.
These quick self-treatments can be done anywhere – home, work, or travel.”
We sell the M.E.L.T. Hand and Foot Treatment kit at Nimble Fitness. If you are unfamiliar with how to use it, schedule a session with one of our M.E.L.T. certified trainers – contact us