Making Nice with Pumpkin Spice

It’s that time of year again.  Actually I’m a little late it’s been that time of year for over a month now.  What time? Pumpkin Spice time.  Walk into any grocery store or coffee shop and you’ll see a plethora of items with this label on it.  Anything from cookies to coffee, tea, cereal, you name it can be pumpkin spiced.  Let’s admit it, pumpkin spice is delicious.  The problem with the majority of these products is the added sugar and other ingredients.  Sometimes including artificial colors to get that nice pumpkin look.

So here’s my pro tip for everyone that still wants the full fall experience.  Head over to the spice section of your grocery store and you will find cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves a.k.a. pumpkin spice! You can even find them already mixed together with nothing else added to it.  Take it home and go crazy with it!  Sprinkle on raw apples, mix it in your smoothie or protein shake. Toss with pumpkin seeds (add a little Himalayan salt and coconut oil) or add right to your coffee or tea.  You will feel indulgent while sticking to your healthy lifestyle.  Enjoy!

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Don’t Fall to Pieces

Hey Everybody!  How are you doing?  I’m in my office getting some work done today.  Sitting at a desk on a computer is not a natural thing for me.  Yes you’re right I probably should get a standing desk.  I do make sure to get up and walk around while I’m doing office work and hopefully you do too.  Anyhoo, well yesterday was Labor Day so I guess summer is over.  Fall is maybe not quite here but it’s on it’s way.  What a great time.  Football, cooler weather and pumpkin spice everything.  I do enjoy the changing seasons.  For a lot of people, myself included.  This is when food temptations get really tough.  First it’s just a little Halloween candy, then it’s Thanksgiving, then Christmas/Hanukkah food, food, food everywhere!  In addition to the food cooler temperatures can mean less activity.  What a conundrum.  It’s important to stay mindful and not lose sight of your health and wellness goals.  If you’ve had success either now or in the past use what has worked for you.  Reach out to a health coach and/or personal trainer (hint, hint) and ask for help.  Believe it or not you can still enjoy the holidays without wrecking yourself.  Check yourself 🙂

What’s Going On?

Hey Everybody.  Thanks for checking out my website.  It’s been a very good, very busy summer.  I’ve added group and personal training to my repertoire and it’s really going well.  Fitness has been a huge passion of mine since I started my healthy journey a little over ten years ago.  So it’s really awesome to be able to help other people get stronger, gain more balance and improve their conditioning.  Keep in mind, when your training and eating healthier,  don’t make it all about the weight on the scale.  Some of the best comments I’ve heard from clients so far are things like, “My wedding ring fits again,” “I’ve gone down another notch on my belt”,  or my personal favorite,”My husband told me he’s jealous of the definition in my quads!”  This is all awesome stuff that doesn’t always equate to losing 5 or 10 pounds.  Count every success!

How toTalk to Your Kids about Kyphosis

Parents: we need to talk about something very serious.  Something you might not have noticed.  Maybe even something you’re dealing with yourself.  I’m not talking about drugs or bullying or the terrible lunches your kids are being exposed to at school everyday.  While those are all very serious issues this is something I’m not hearing anyone talk about yet I see it whenever I’m in a high school/middle school classroom or anywhere else where there’s a lot of teens.  The subject I want to address hear is kyphosis.  The forward rounding of the back, particularly in the shoulder area.  I believe the main cause of this is from sitting at computers and looking down at smartphones too much.  Things were all guilty of and to some degree suffering from.   When I train clients  I always make sure to do corrective exercises like band pull-aparts.  These are great for strengthening those weak upper back muscles.  Here’s a link: https://www.bodybuilding.com/exercises/main/popup/name/band-pull-apart.  These can be done everyday.

Another basic thing to work on to correct kyphosis is practicing good posture.  Whenever you catch yourself or your kids slumping over, correct it.  Fix it before long term problems such as back and shoulder pain and even breathing difficulties creep in.

Low Hanging Fruit

A lot of times when people start thinking about getting healthy or getting in shape we often want to think short term.  21 day shreds, elimination diets and fat burning supplements but for long term success it’s best to focus on some smaller changes that can have a big impact.  One of the easiest things people could do to eliminate calories would be to eliminate sweetened beverages, whether that’s soda or sweet tea or coffee with sugar and add in water. If you’re only drinking 1 or 2 glasses (or less) of water a day don’t try to start drinking a gallon or 8-12 glasses or whatever you’ve heard you’re supposed to drink in a day.  Start with 1 more glass a day.  Work on that then go from there.  Take small steps to build new habits.  Sometimes it’s easier to start by adding foods rather than eliminating them.  Add a salad or green vegetable to your dinner to get adjusted to eating healthier foods then slowly decrease or eliminate foods that are not so good for you like refined carbs. If you’ve been inactive for awhile start by walking, hiking or riding your bike before jumping into more difficult activities like running or crossfit. Get a few of these healthy habits in place and then you can go from there.  You’ll have more confidence to take on bigger challenges.

Deprivating my sensories

The other day I had my first experience with a sensory deprivation tank. A new place opened in my area and I decided to give it a shot. If case you’re not familiar here’s a little background on what a sensory deprivation or float tank is. This is from their website: “Flotation therapy, or sometimes called R.E.S.T., involves floating in a highly concentrated Epsom salt solution (900lbs!) that is more dense than the Dead Sea. The float tank is quiet, dark, and free from distraction. The experience is profoundly relaxing for both the body and mind.” So I got there and the woman took me to the room where my pod was, showed me around, told me to shower before and after and then I was on my own. So I took a quick little shower (even though I had just taken one at home and not put on any products), put my earplugs in, opened the door and stepped in my pod. There’s a little light in there you can use until you get situated and once I was in a good position, with my head in a pillow thingy I turned out the light and closed my eyes. It was a little hot in there at first and I found it slightly difficult to breath. Also it smelled similar to a yoga studio which isn’t great but could be worse. I started to meditate while I was in there. I forget what I did first but I alternated between four breaths in, 8 breaths out and box breathing, inhaling for five, holding for five, exhaling for five, holding for five and repeating. It took me a little while to get in the “zone” mentally. I probably shouldn’t have had that iced coffee on the way there. I would have liked a little music in the room but it was completely quiet. Later I found out you can play your own music in the room but at the time I didn’t know that. Physically I felt good. I adjusted to the warm water and the epsom salts felt great on my joints. Finally I got into a meditative state. For a little while I was envisioning myself in a cave and then later in space which was pretty cool. Eventually I fell into a pretty heavy sleep but I have no idea for how long. Could have been 5 minutes, could have been 45 minutes. I was in there for 90 minutes total. At the end some nice music comes on to let you know your session is over. I got out, showered off and got dressed. I felt good. Very refreshed. Before I left I went into the lounge area which was very welcoming with couches, books, water and tea. I looked around while I drank some water. I could have easily hung out there for awhile but after 90 minutes I really needed to get home. All in all I enjoyed the experience and I’d definitely do it again. I imagine repeat visits would yield greater benefits and make it easier to meditate in there. But it’s not cheap. Roughly the price of a good massage and if I had to choose between the two, I gotta go massage. But I would recommend trying it out if you can and deciding for yourself.

Weekend Recap

Last weekend I traveled to Kokomo, Indiana for my personal training certification. I don’t think that’s where the Beach Boys were singing about but I still had a great time. I left Saturday morning around 5:00 a.m. and found the coffee shop, the health food store and the YMCA where my certification took place. It was a beautiful new YMCA with shiny workout equipment: aqua rowers, life fitness machines, even a separate room with prowlers, tires and heavy bags (oh my!). I really enjoyed the class and learned a lot. I’m really looking forward to helping clients even more now by taking them through workouts and setting up smart programs for them. I’m so grateful I get to wake up everyday and do what I love for a living. Training, cooking classes, one on one health coaching. It’s awesome seeing people get real results. I Love it!

Happy Super Bowl!

Tomorrow is the biggest football game in the country and one of my favorite days of the year!  I love NFL football.  It’s really the only sport I follow anymore despite the controversies surrounding it (concussions, drug abuse, arrests).  The way I feel about the NFL is kind of the way I felt about meat before I gave it up.  I loved it and ignored the environmental, ethical and health concerns around eating it and the way animals are treated.  I’m just not ready to give up on football yet.  I grew up playing it until I got too small for it.  All the other kids kept growing and I maxed out at 5’6”!  Anyhoo.  Lots of people will be making lots of questionable decisions around what they consume tomorrow, myself included.  What? Did you really think I just ate kale and quinoa all the time?  Look, this is one day a year and I’m probably exaggerating a little on what I’ll eat.  I’ll have some nachos and probably(definitely) a piece of cake because it’s a birthday/super bowl party we’re going to.  Everyone has to figure out what works for them but for me I choose to eat clean, healthy foods 80-90% of the time and then once or twice a week I loosen the reigns a little bit.  I’ve found this works well for me now that I’m a maintenance level with my weight.  But I also have to be honest with myself to not take it too far.  I know how easy it is to let a cheat meal become a cheat day become a cheat weekend etc.  A good coach can help you around issues like this offering support and accountability to find what works for you.  One bit of advice before the big game, don’t forget about the rest of the week.  Get what you need from the store, cut some veggies, make a quick soup or whatever you do for lunch/dinner prep for the week and then kick back and enjoy yourself. Have fun I know I will! Just remember, if you can’t be good, be good at it!

The Struggle is Real

“The Principle of Priority states (a) you must know the difference between what is urgent and what is important, and (b) you must do what’s important first.”

Steven Pressfield, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles

 

I’ve been struggling with this a little lately.  If you’re keeping score this is my third blog post of the year.  It’s still early but I’m already a little behind with my goal of one new post per week.  However, I have been very productive in other areas.  Does anyone else do that?  I’ll knock out tasks on my to-do list because really I’m avoiding one task that I really need to get done.  Writing blog posts may not change the world but it’s important to me.  Mainly because I said this is something I was going to do.  I like to think I’m a man of my word and at the beginning of the year I said I was going to write 50 posts this year and I really don’t want to spend New Year’s Eve writing 40 new entries just to get it done (is that Parkinson’s Law?).  Other than my struggle with writing this year has been great for me personally.  There’s lots of new opportunities coming my way and I can’t wait to share them with you when the time is right.  Tonight will be the first meeting of my new running group and there will be a lot more fitness endeavors for me this year in addition to cooking classes and health coaching.  That’s it for now.  Talk to you soon!

The Cold, Hard Facts About Fitness and Nutrition

You must drink 10 glasses of water a day, walk 10,000 steps a day, sleep 8 hours a night and only eat carbs on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Ok I made that last one up but the first three are pretty much considered gospel and while it’s not bad advice, and maybe optimal for most   people it may not be possible for you where you’re at today. That’s ok don’t panic.  If you’re looking to make changes in your health think about what you can do today to work towards your goals.  It doesn’t have to be all at once.  If you’re not drinking any water start with one glass.  If you’re concerned about not moving enough find ways to move more throughout the day.  Maybe walk to the kitchen and get another glass of water.  (See what I did there?)  Many times we get stuck comparing ourselves to what others are doing or what we think we should be doing and miss seeing what we can be doing. Going from no water to 1 or 2 glasses a day is big.  Taking the steps instead of an elevator or parking your car further away from the store you’re going into is big.  Going to sleep 30 minutes earlier, big.  Healthy habits beget more healthy habits.