If you want to stay energized all the way to the end, you need the proper nutrition for your first 5K. It starts with good nutritional meals while you’re training that replace the vital nutrients and help your body repair after a tough workout. Get a good balance of carbs, protein and healthy fat with a daily amount of about 2.5 grams of carbs and 0.5 grams of protein for each pound you weight daily. Don’t forget the healthy fats, either. Nuts, salmon and butter from grass fed cows are good sources of Omega 3s, which help lower inflammation and speed your recovery time.
Get plenty of these specific nutrients.
While you need a well balanced diet containing all nutrients, three vitamins and minerals are particularly important. Iron is often lost when running, so add some extra lean red meat, lentils or leafy greens to your diet. If you want to maintain muscle function and bone health, eat foods high in calcium. Dairy, bone broth, sardines and leafy greens provide it. Don’t forget the vitamin B if you want to maintain your energy level. Snack on nuts to increase this nutrient.
Don’t worry about carbo-loading.
Eating a diet higher in carbohydrates, while you cut back on fats and protein may be good for races that take 90 minutes or longer. Unless you’re really, really slow (which is okay—at least you’re trying), you’ll finish the race a lot quicker. You won’t need the extra fuel from just eating healthy before the race. In fact, carbo-loading could actually make you feel sick and slow you down when the race starts.
Keep your breakfast light and make it a few hours before the race.
You want to eat something before a morning race, but not a heavy breakfast and not as you’re headed for the starting line. Eating a meal that contains200 to 300 calories, is low in hard to digest fiber and fat and comes from unprocessed carbs is best. Keep the fiber under ten grams and steer clear of spicy foods to avoid an upset stomach. If the race is later in the day or at night, follow the same protocol for lunch and dinner.
- Make sure you stay hydrated, drink about 20 ounces of fluids a few hours before the race and another ten ounces about 20 minutes before the race starts.
- Test drive some breakfasts before you go for training so you know what works the best. For example, you might find that a bagel, small apple and an 8-oz sports drink works better for you than a bowl of oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar. Try a few different combinations and go with the best one the day of the race.
- Take a snack along in case you’re hungry before the race. A small banana, some animal crackers or anything to curb the hunger that’s about 100 to 200 calories will do.
- Several weeks before the race, practice mock up races that start the same time as your first 5 K. Create sample diets to eat before the race and see what helps you feel and do your best. Not everyone reacts to specific foods in the same way, find out what works best for you.
Are you spending your time working out at the gym, dreaming about the foods you can no longer eat or just counting the minutes until you’re finished. If you are, you’re doing something wrong. Getting healthy shouldn’t be a punishment for past transgressions. You should love being healthy. You can do it by making just a few changes that will bring a whole new attitude toward a healthy lifestyle.
Don’t go it alone.
When you’re trying to make changes in your life, you need support. Who understands better than someone else who is doing the same? Don’t just go from machine to machine at a box gym. Instead, join a glass or sign up for group workouts. You’ll find other people struggling with the same goals in mind and not only does misery love company, company turns misery into fun! If you have a close friend who also might consider changing their lifestyle, talk them into going with you and make it your time together.
Change your mind.
Life is all about how you look at it and so is living healthy. You can dread going to the gym and hate healthy food or change your mind. Look for fun workouts and activities that you enjoy. Just moving more is the first step, whether it’s taking a hike, bicycling or having fun at a hip hop dancercize. Even traditional workouts can be fun. Work out your hardest and you’ll boost your endorphins. Start to identify how much control your getting on even smaller muscles. Notice how great you start to feel and how much easier the workout becomes each time. Before you know you’ll be addicted to that feeling and look forward to each visit at the gym. Enjoy feeling the power of controlling your own destiny.
Make it a challenge to learn to cook your favorite foods, but making them healthier in the process.
After a few weeks of eating healthy, your tastes will probably change. Until then, you can work on conquering healthy recipes or finding ways to make your favorite dish healthier. You might not be able to translate all food favs into healthy options, but it’s rewarding when you find a way to do one or two. Sneak in healthy foods, disguised as yummy dishes, to family get-togethers and smile when you receive those compliments. You can tell the family how healthy they are when the meal is over.
- Include other activities besides a gym. When you first started out, you may have just walked a few blocks for extra exercise. It’s time to get back to basics and do things you love. Go dancing, rock climbing, hiking or biking to supplement the time at the gym.
- Work in a cheat food or two during the week. Schedule it in, so you’re really not cheating. A sliver of cake after visiting in-laws or a half a donut after Monday morning meeting can be part of your program.
- Do it your way. Just because the latest craze is a protein shake with wheat grass, doesn’t mean you like it. Choose healthy options in exercise and food that appeal to you.
- Don’t forget to hydrate. The next time you’re running short on energy, try a bottle of water. You’ll be amazed at how your body perks up and is ready to go. Thirst often disguises itself as hunger, so this trick also helps to curb your appetite. Remember, you’ll look better the more hydrated you are.
If you struggle with getting started or sticking with your exercise program, you need to find your workout buddy who will hold you accountable for those gym visits and make working out a lot more enjoyable. Not only can a buddy help you stick with it, they can also help you during the exercise by identifying form problems or being a spotter when lifting. There are many ways to find a workout buddy, the easiest is to find a like-minded friend and go with them.
Group training can be a quick way to find a workout buddy.
Group training automatically provides a group of like-minded people doing the same exercise or similar one. If you’re working with a personal trainer, your goals may be different from your workout buddy, but the need to have a compadre that understands what you’re going through isn’t. In fact, workout buddies are often of different levels of fitness. One often helps the other and by doing that, gets more resolve to stick with the program.
Use an app or website to find a workout buddy.
FindanExercisePartner.com, Meetup.com and Zogsports.com are all sites that can help you find someone that’s interested in exercising. You have to match up your interest, whether it’s gym partner, tennis partner, running partner…etc. The more specific you are with your interest, the better the match will be. It may feel a little awkward at first, but it works and evidence of that is that these types of sites and apps are becoming more popular.
Scope out the gym.
Look for someone that looks as lost as you are and strike up a conversation or just tell them you’re looking for someone to exercise with to keep you more focused on coming to the gym. There’s a big chance that they’ll love the idea, too, particularly if they’re a newbie to workouts. For those more seasoned, look for someone that’s closer to your fitness level. Most people like the idea of breaking up the monotony of working out alone and being held accountable by someone else.
- Getting the right workout partner can help you work harder. If you’re like most people, you’ll put in the extra effort if you know someone else is watching.
- Check with the gang at work. Sometimes insurance carriers even provide money to compensate for the cost of joining an exercise group or joining a gym.
- If you’ve been having a rough time with the workout or not seeing the progress you want, a workout partner can help keep you going by either chiding you into it or lending a sympathetic ear with well placed encouragement.
- Find someone as committed to getting healthy as you are. If your commitment lags a bit, choose someone that’s focused on the task at hand to help keep you in line.
If you’ve never heard of the caveman diet, also called the Paleo diet, then primal living will be really confusing. The Paleo diet is a way of eating that mimics the way our ancestors ate, back in pre-agriculture days. Primal living takes that one step further and considers all facets of your life from the way you eat to where you spend your time or how you live your life.
Did caveman spend all day sitting at a computer or in front of a TV?
Of course, the answer is no. Our society has become enthralled with labor saving devices and social time is spent on social media or playing computer games. We now have jobs that require you to sit all day. All this sitting takes a toll on our bodies and leaves us prone to serious conditions and weight gain. Consider people who lived less than a century ago, before the advent of TV. Physical labor was part of their daily routine and entertainment consisted of dances, movies, but not very often, or the radio. They walked, ran and played hard, especially the children and were far healthier. Simply adding a half hour of exercise to your day may not be enough. Standing at work, moving frequently and getting active is important.
Don’t hide from the sun, it has benefits to offer.
Yes! You can get skin cancer from overexposure to the sun. The operative work is overexposure. People with fair skin need to have protection from harmful rays, but not block them completely. They are they building blocks to the creation of vitamin D for the body. Slowly acclimating the body to sun exposure until the body can create a light tan and ensuring you have the right SPF sunscreen helps. Get the benefits, but avoid overexposure and burning.
Remember that not all fat is bad, even some saturated fat, according to primal living.
There’s been a school of thought that stated it was sugar, not fat, responsible for the accumulation of fat in the arteries. At the time it was introduced, most nutrition experts scoffed at the idea. Cavemen ate fat and didn’t get heart disease. In fact, some fats provide huge benefits. Even saturated fat offer some benefits and may be a good source of energy.
- Going barefoot has made a comeback with primal living. If you’ve never walked through plush, thick grass in bare feet, you’re missing out on the ultimate nurturing. Being barefoot also is healthier for the feet, but it may not go over well at the office or at a posh event.
- Gluten may really be a culprit. Grain isn’t part of the primal diet and grain contains gluten. Ancient forms of grain didn’t contain as much. The processing of grain is also changed, which can cause many problems.
- The Paleo diet is also supposed to heal leaky gut. At one time leaky gut was considered a joke, but like lactose intolerance, it’s not being seriously considered as a problem by some in the medical community.
- Spending more time in nature is part of primal living. There’s no doubt about it, it will help you relax and appreciate all the beauty and wonder of the earth. The destressing and relaxation benefits your health.
Does muscle really burn fat? The answer is yes and no. One pound of muscle tissue requires about five to six calories a day to maintain at rest, while one pound of fat tissue requires just two calories at rest. Therefore, the more muscle tissue you have, the more calories you’ll burn even at rest. If you have ten pounds of muscle tissue, you’ll burn an additional thirty to forty calories when you’re resting. Of course, the amount isn’t huge, but every little bit helps. However, building the muscle tissue is what really burns the calories.
Strength training turns your body into a fat burning machine.
You can do cardio all day long and never get the big results for weight loss that you get from strength training. Not only do you burn calories while you’re working out, you keep burning calories after you’ve finished training. The body needs to the extra energy to help repair the muscle tissue. Combine it with other types of workouts for flexibility, cardio and balance and you’ll burn calories long after you finished working out.
What you eat makes a huge difference.
You can’t go to the gym, work out for a half hour to an hour and then stop at the local burger joint for fries, a burger and a malt and expect to shed pounds, particularly if that was your snack not your meal. You have to learn to eat healthier foods that are both lower in calories and higher in nutrition. It’s not about dieting, it’s about making smarter choices when it comes to foods. No matter how much muscle tissue you have, if you eat more calories than you burn you’ll gain weight.
When you eat may or may not make a difference.
So many facts in the world of weight loss, nutrition and exercise come from scientific studies. However, there are also other scientific studies that contradict almost every one of the facts. One study shows that people who eat breakfast tend to lose weight easier than those who don’t. However, another study shows that intermittent fasting, eating all your meals within an 8 hour time frame starting at 10, could be the way to shed pounds. The fact everyone agrees on is that when you eat fewer than 3500 calories than you burn, you lose weight, but eat 3500 calories more than you burn and you’ll gain it.
- Drinking eight 8-oz glasses of water is shown to help weight loss and if it’s cold, it boosts the metabolism too.
- Working out will help you shed pounds in other ways. It boosts your energy level so you’ll be more active and that burns more calories.
- Working out and building muscles has other benefits besides just weight loss. It helps prevent osteoporosis and can trigger the body to create more antioxidants.
- If your goal is to look thinner, rather than just to lose weight, the more muscle tissue you have, the thinner you’ll look even if you don’t shed a pound. Muscle tissue is denser than fat tissue, so it weighs more per cubic inch.
The reason many people fail to get fit is that they don’t stick with the program long enough to see results. They don’t see change immediately and tend to give up right before they come. The same is true about losing weight. Finding ways to stay on track is often the first line of attack to prevent this. Here are some tricks to stay motivated until you can get the results you want.
Set small goals that lead to your big goal.
Losing ten pounds takes time, just like losing inches does. Make goals that are more quickly achieved to keep you going to the gym and sticking with your healthy eating. Goals that are quicker to reach and don’t involve taking weight off or building muscle can be rewarding until you reach your other larger goals, like wearing pants a size smaller. Set a goal to double the amount of reps you do or do a HIIT workout faster. You can accomplish this, while not easily, but more quickly than you would shed ten pounds.
Create a regular workout time.
When you do an activity at a specific time, it becomes a habit and you miss it when you’re not doing it. You also don’t have to try to fit the workout in, it’s always on the list first. There’s often not time left at the end of the day to wedge in a workout and soon, your workout goes to the wayside and you’re back to square one. Putting on your schedule first makes it an important appointment that you NEED to keep.
Alternate your gym time with fun activities.
Exercise doesn’t always have to be in the gym. You can hike, play with the kids, rock climb dance or do other fun things. The best part is that you know those days at the gym make it possible to enjoy the time even more. Try bicycling to a friend’s house or take up inline skating. It’s all fun and all great exercise. Consider a self-defense or martial arts class to really go outside the box.
- Workout with friends or get a workout buddy. When you’re exercising with others, it not only requires a specific time scheduled, it keeps you accountable. If you don’t go, they know. It’s also far more fun than just working out alone.
- Use the services of a personal trainer. Not only do trainers hold you accountable and get results faster, it costs you to miss a workout, so you’ll be more apt to show up.
- Have a backup plan. When going to the gym becomes too difficult, which will happen on super hairy days, have equipment at home and a plan of action to take that ensures you get your workout for the day.
- Create a reward system. Give yourself something special if you don’t miss a session in a month. Make it something you’d never buy for yourself or a luxury like a day at the spa, that’s a real treat.
Even if you’re getting exercise, are you sure your children are? Getting kids off to the right start is one reason creating fun and effective fitness for kids is important. There are so many sedentary things to hold children’s attention today that play often involves a computer or other hand held device. The days of kids running outside all day and coming in at dark exhausted and ready to eat then go to sleep are gone. As a parent, it’s important to find ways to get your child moving to help them achieve fitness, a healthier lifestyle and even better grades. Studies show that working out can help your child be smarter and perform better in school.
Be their example and workout together.
Playing games with your kids and working out doesn’t have to be a chore or anything like you do at the gym. You can lead the group in follow the leader and get them moving right along with you. For younger children, a day at the zoo—not the real zoo, but the one in your backyard or living room where they become the animals—can work all their muscles as they pretend to be elephants, leap like panthers and fly like a bird around the room. As children age, playing tag, basketball, dodgeball and even jumprope with them can get them started on a healthy lifestyle while providing great exercise for you.
Consider martial arts, dance class or team sports for exercising.
There’s a lot to be said for dance classes, particularly ballet. It builds muscle tone, flexibility, discipline and confidence. If your child isn’t the tutu type, a martial arts class does the same, but is a bit more active. Team sports, such as baseball, basketball and soccer are also good to get your child running and exercising. In fact, most active sports and training will do the trick, but make sure it’s what your child wants to do.
Go hiking or spend a day at the beach.
If you want your child to enjoy the hike, include something they love. If they adore watching animals, put a squirrel feeding station in the yard and when you hike, collect acorns, buckeyes, pecans and walnuts on the ground to fill the feeder. If they like rocks or sea life, collecting shells along the beach and interesting rock specimens adds another dimension to each walk. Share that interest and help them catalog each find.
- Play strong man. Have weights at home and show your child how to lift properly to build muscles. Even girls will benefit from doing this.
- Go for a family bike ride either in a local park or to one. Make sure you have water bottles for the bike if the day is hot. A picnic in the park is the perfect way to end the day.
- Start skipping rope. Whether each person has his or her own rope to skip or you play double dutch, jumping rope gets your circulation going and will theirs too.
- Inline skating, roller skating and ice skating are all great hobbies the family can do together. Make it a weekly event.
We often focus on just the physical side of life here, because as fitness trainers, it’s the biggest part of our jobs. There’s another side of life and that’s what makes people feel happy about living. It’s the reason that people workout and get fit. Living longer is only important if each day is important. That can only be accomplished if it’s spent on fruitful activity that truly makes you happy. What does your bliss look like? When you find the answer to that question, you’ll understand why working out and living healthy is so important.
Your bliss doesn’t have to be something exotic.
Are you incredibly happy just spending time with your family and friends and want to enjoy that longer? There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, that’s quite understandable. Nothing brings more joy than spending time with people you care about and love. Getting more time to watch children grow and spend time sharing thoughts with friends and family makes life more pleasurable and can be the reason you choose to eat healthy and exercise on a regular basis.
Is your bliss learning about new places and new experiences?
Perhaps you’re an adventurer who wants to climb the highest mountains or see the sites of ancient civilizations. That takes plenty of energy and good health. When you consider how living healthy gives you more time and physical ability to do it, it makes going to the gym just that much easier. If you want to take up a new sport like rock climbing, being fit makes it possible.
Do you want to create things or make your personal environment more attractive with your own hands?
Do you want to build your own home, design the perfect furniture or create the perfect herb garden? Is your bliss based on using your mind and own hands to create something that is unique? You need energy to be the most creative and good health to continue your quest.
- Finding your bliss makes it easier to keep your appointment with good health and make the lifestyle changes to live longer and healthier.
- It’s not selfish to look for what makes you happy. Everyone deserves to be happy. It doesn’t stop you from fulfilling obligations to others or take anything away from others.
- Everyone should have a special joy in life they look forward to enjoying. That joy can be different as time passes. You can also have more than one joy.
- If you’re a foodie, you can change your bliss slightly to something healthier, like learning to find and even make healthy delicious food can be your bliss. If your goal is having fun with the gang, healthy active fun can be the ultimate bliss when you change to a healthy lifestyle.
How many unknown calories are sneaking in that you didn’t realize you were eating? Eating healthy isn’t about counting calories, it is about having all the information to make smarter decisions. If you were eating fresh fruit and suddenly found out that somehow, someone found a way to inject six tablespoons of sugar inside each piece without anyone knowing it, you’d avoid eating fruit. Finding the hidden calories helps you avoid foods you thought were healthier and lower in calories. It also helps stop mindless munching on fattening foods.
Just because it’s healthy and lower in calories doesn’t mean you can glut on it.
There are loads of healthy foods that when consumed as a normal part of your diet, blend right in and don’t pack on the pounds. For example, avocados and nuts are both healthy. An avocado is 114 calories for just one half of one, while nuts are between 150 and 250 calories for a meager one-fourth of a cup. If you ate a half an avocado each meal and one half at each snack time it would add almost 600 calories to your diet. Once a day is more than enough of this higher calorie food, unless it’s one you love and account for the extra calories elsewhere…then maybe twice a day. Nuts are easy to binge on, they’re crunchy and delicious. One-fourth a cup never seems like enough and over the course of a day, if you ate just four servings you could be consuming 1000 calories, almost half the amount you need daily.
Changing that low calorie salad to a mountain of calories.
Whether you’re eating at home or partaking of the salad bar, loading your salad with all the goodies may be a hidden area where you’re munching down more than you intended. Add all the fresh veggies you want to your gorgeous lettuce or spinach salad, but watch out for those toppers. A handful of pumpkin seeds, some glazed walnuts, croutons or tortilla chips, dried cranberries or other dried fruit and a lot of grated cheese doesn’t seem like much, but then you also drown it in creamy ranch dressing instead of a vinaigrette, you’ve got so many hidden calories you won’t have to eat the rest of the day.
Raisins or other dried fruit can pack on the calories.
Fruits good for you, right? So why is dried fruit not so good for weight loss? Consider this, how full are you after eating 15 raisins? Now, compare that to how full you are eating 15 grapes. The grapes are more filling because they’re bigger and contain water to help fill that empty void in your stomach. Dried fruit is healthy, but it tricks you into thinking you aren’t eating as much. That means you’ll probably eat far more and take in far more calories.
- Don’t fall for the protein bar hype. They’re just candy dressed up in a healthy package and often contain more calories than a candy bar.
- Granola and trail mix make a quick easy snack with lots of health benefits. However, it’s easy to overdo with this munchy treat and ignore the meaning of a single portion.
- Watch what you put in your smoothie. These delicious drinks are easy ways to get several portions of your fruit and vegetables, but you can add too many extras that put the calorie count over the top. Commercially made smoothies are even more loaded with calories.
- Non or low fat frozen yogurt can be a fat magnet in your body. The fat gives yogurt a great flavor and removing it means you have to replace that flavor with something else. Most of the time it’s sugar and makes you pack on the pounds.