Exercise Why Bother?

Excuses! Excuses!
We all have them, we all use them – but should we?
Here’s the one I hear most often…..

‘I just don’t have the time to exercise’
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How many times have you heard this?
How many times have you said this?

Having just coached my group of determined, very busy, working Mums at 06:30 this morning it becomes even more obvious that there really is NO valid excuse when it comes to exercise.

I’m bound to say that, I hear you say, as a Fitness Instructor I KNOW we should ALL move EVERY day.

Not having the time to exercise is a lame excuse (harsh? but true).

The benefits of exercise constantly get short changed. It is true that exercise is good for enhancing weight loss but that isn’t where the benefits stop.

-> Exercise is essentially an anti-diabetes drug.

-> Exercise is one of the few surefire ways to enhance the cardioprotective effects of your ‘good’ cholesterol.

-> I’m in 100% convinced that the 2 most powerful ways that you can slow the aging of your brain and body: exercise and meditation

A client paid me a great compliment the other morning, it was a chilly, dark and soggy morning, yet she had set her alarm, put her kit ready for her pre-breakfast exit to work towards her goals.

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As we warmed up she explained how a friend couldn’t believe she was coming to group exercise so early!
That’s when she paid me the nicest complement –
“The body of an 18 year old when she’s about 50! Is reason enough to get up and do whatever Jax says!”
Very sweet – especially as I’m 57, and I’d be quite happy with the body of a (fit) 30 year old.

Youth is wasted on the young, and all that!

So, don’t waste a bough moment dreaming, thinking and putting off what you need to do.

Go Walk this lunchtime. Not fast, just get moving.

Eat Clean, Train Smart, Expect Results!

Jax

Live Like A Puppy – Feel Great

From a fitness instructor and educator I admire.
She has a fabulous sense of humour and explains how to eat, live and be healthy here …

By Jenny Burrell BSc (Hons), Founder of Burrell Education, Specialist For Pregnancy and Post Natal Fitness & Therapy, London, UK.

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Live Like Princess Puppy
I do believe that dear Poppy has greater emotional and literal intelligence than most human beings….and all the dog owners out there know what I mean here… this is the regime she employs to keep her figure:

1. She employs INTERMITTENT FASTING, somedays she eats masses, somedays not much at all.

2. Poppy always drinks her water, all day long.

3. Poppy doesn’t eat sweet things, processed food, trans fats or anything rubbish – just high class OPTIMUM NUTRITION dog food.

4. Oddly for a dog, she loves fish! A bit of smoked salmon goes down very well 🙂

5. She rests, lols around and sleeps most of the day in the comfiest spot in the house – some posh furry cushions ON MY BED!

6. She takes formal exercise 3 times a day and is always gagging for it, if I just mention the word OUT and she’s on my heels til we head out.

7. When on the lead, she heads off at a pace, employing the POWER WALKING STRATEGY.

8. When released from her lead she bombs around the park for 20 mins employing the HIGH INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING STRATEGY.

9. Nevermind 8 hours sleep, I’m sure she’s on more like 14! Truly and obviously obeying her CIRCADIAN RYTHMNS!

10. She is friendly, outgoing, extremely good natured and likes EVERYONE! She therefore is welcomed everywhere she goes and is always treated well by humans and her other doggy pals – OBVIOUSLY HAS VERY GOOD SELF-ESTEEM.

11. She is never angry, growly or bitey…..unless you are the postman…..what is that?

12. She has high emotional intelligence ie., shifts very quickly when I start swearing and stays very very close when I cry.

13. She only gets stressed when little children are around…she is scared of them for some reason! If they are in the park when she arrives, she turns around to leave. A perfect demonstration of knowing what’s good for her and walking away from things that aren’t. I BET HER CORTISOL ISN’T VERY HIGH!

14. She accepts all kind words and deeds offered graciously – tail wags when you praise her and you could easily get a numb arm just sitting there rubbing her belly for over an hour 🙂 SHE OBVIOUSLY HAS HIGH SELF-WORTH!

15. Finally, she hates going in the car!!!! Just pure organic walking for this simple girl.

Hhmmmm….so back to the title, don’t you agree – EAT, REST AND LIVE like Poppy and we’ve got it licked!

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Simply learn from your Dog! – obviously if you over feed and under exercise your dog, if it feels unloved and is stressed it’s probably overweight (like you.)

Jax.

Pt 4 Stress, Cortisol and Fat Loss

Part 4 – 50 Ways to Deal with Stress.

Take Action – Deal with issues that bother you…….

  1. Don’t ignore problems–deal with them and move on.
  2. Re-evaluate your diet and exercise–too much of a calorie deficit and too much cardio can both increase stress and cortisol! 
  3. Lay in the sunshine for a bit of natural Vitamin D.  Supplement D3 through the Winter.
  4. Quit smoking-nicotine increases your stress level, despite what you may think.
  5. Lower your standards. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
  6. Buy yourself flowers.
  7. Just smile because you can.
  8. Dance like no one is watching (maybe make sure no one is watching?)
  9. Take a hot bath or shower.
  10. Organize a hot spot of your home.
  11. Procrastination is like poison – Do It NOW!
  12. Ask yourself if a problem needs to be dealt with right now–then forget it until it does.
  13. Spend time with positive people, not moaners and groaners that bring you down.
  14. Ask for help. Don’t struggle alone.
  15. Foam roll or self-massage – ATR – active tissue release will relax your muscle and protect your joints.  A relaxed body will cope with mental stresses much better than a tight one.

Pt 3 Release Stress, Control Cortisol and Lose Fat

How to Reduce Stress

So for weight loss as well as overall health, here are 50 ways to reduce stress…..

  1. Practice meditation by closing your eyes and getting in touch with the present moment.
  2. Get a massage or ask someone close to you to give you one.
  3. Read a good book.
  4. Play a game of touch football, soccer, or basketball with friends or family.
  5. Turn off the news or news websites.
  6. Get a pet or spend time with someone else’s.
  7. Plant a garden.
  8. Go for a challenging bike ride.
  9. Practice daily self-affirmation in the mirror. Accept yourself.
  10. Hug someone you care about.
  11. Have a chill-out day. Stay home and relax.
  12. Write down all of the things you are thankful for – and read your list often.
  13. Create something-a painting, a poem, a flower arrangement-the possibilities are endless.
  14. Visit an aquarium and watch the fish. (or a pet shop!)
  15. Try talking therapy – CBT or NLP .

 

Follow my blog to make sure you don’t miss the last post in this series.

Thanks.  Jax

Pt 2 Release Stress, Control Cortisol and Lose Fat!

How to Reduce Stress

So for weight loss as well as overall health, here are 50 ways to reduce stress.

  1.  Sleep removes cortisol from our system. You need about 8 hours of quality sleep every night.
  2. Practise Yoga. Just one moment where you focus on living right NOW rather than what will come tomorrow or fretting about yesterday.
  3. Add healthful foods that provide energy. You will stop craving junk.
  4. Prepare meals ahead of time in large portions, refrigerate and freeze so you can grab and go. 
  5. Have dinner with a good friend.
  6. Write in a journal.
  7. Watch a funny movie or tv show.
  8. Listen to good music-the more mellow and calming, the better.
  9. Play a board game with your kids or partner.
  10. Stay active during the work day.
  11. Make Love!
  12. Learn  and practise progressive muscle relaxation by tensing and releasing every muscle from your head to your toes.
  13. Get some fresh air – go walk the dog.
  14. Practice deep breathing by taking a deep breath in through your nose and blowing out in a controlled manner, like you’re making a candle flame flicker.
  15. Make sure you eat when you’re hungry.
  16. Create a Vision Board with all your dreams on it!
  17. Practice visualisation or self-hypnosis.
  18. Move some heavy weights – feel your tired muscles regularly.
  19. Do a commitment analysis and find what you can let go.
  20. Laugh-go to a comedy club or spend the day with someone who makes you laugh.

 

Next time even more ways to cope with stress while working towards a healthy lifestyle….

follow my blog to make sure you never miss a post.

Thanks  Jax

 

Caffeine Friend or Foe?

Caffeine, Stress and Your Health: Is Caffeine Your Friend or Your Foe?

 

About.com Guide

Updated August 27, 2012

Caffeine is a drug, popularly consumed in coffee, tea, soft drinks and, in smaller doses, chocolate. While we seem to have a love affair with these products, there’s been quite a bit of confusion and even controversy surrounding caffeine lately. Is it good or bad for us? Here’s a brief tutorial on caffeine, and some surprising answers to these questions.

Effects on the Body:

  • Hormones- You can feel the effects of caffeine in your system within a few minutes of ingesting it, and it stays on your system for many hours—it has a half-life of four to six hours in your body. While in your body, caffeine affects the following hormones:
  • Adenosine- Can inhibit absorption of adenosine, which calms the body, which can make you feel alert in the short run, but can cause sleep problems later. (More on this below.)
  • Adrenaline- Caffeine injects adrenaline into your system, giving you a temporary boost, but possibly making you fatigued and depressed later. If you take more caffeine to counteract these effects, you end up spending the day in an agitated state, and might find yourself jumpy and edgy by night.
  • Cortisol- Can increase the body’s levels of cortisol the “stress hormone”, which can lead to other health consequences ranging from weight gain and moodiness to heart disease and diabetes.
  • Dopamine- Caffeine increases dopamine levels in your system, acting in a way similar to amphetamines, which can make you feel good after taking it, but after it wears off you can feel ‘low’. It can also lead to a physical dependence because of dopamine manipulation.

These changes caffeine makes in your physiology can have both positive and negative consequences:

  • Sleep Caffeine can affect your sleep by keeping you awake longer, thereby shortening the amount of sleep you get, and giving you less time in the restorative stages of sleep, which takes a toll on your level of alertness the next day and overall health.

Interestingly, though, caffeine doesn’t affect the stages of sleep the way other stimulants do, so it’s a better choice than speed or other ‘uppers’ to use if you need to stay awake.

  • Weight Many experts believe that increased levels of cortisol lead to stronger cravings for fat and carbohydrates, and cause the body to store fat in the abdomen. (Abdominal fat carries with it greater health risks than other types of fat.) Also, if increased cortisol levels lead to stronger cravings for caffeine-laden foods, the body goes into a cycle that leads only to worse health.

The good news, though, is that caffeine can speed up metabolism. Also, it can help the body break down fat about 30% more efficiently if consumed prior to exercise. (You must be exercising to get this benefit, though.) Additionally, caffeine can keep blood sugar levels elevated, leaving you feeling less hungry.

  • Exercise If caffeine elevates levels of cortisol and other hormones for a temporary boost, after caffeine wears off, the body can feel fatigued and feelings of mild to moderate depression can set in. This can make physical activity more difficult.

On the positive side, caffeine has been found to enhance physical performance and endurance if it isn’t overused. This, combined with its effect of fat burning during exercise, can actually enhance workouts and enable you to get in better shape if you take it at the right time.

Caffeine and Stress

Because caffeine and stress can both elevate cortisol levels, high amounts of caffeine (or stress) can lead to the negative health effects associated with prolonged elevated levels of cortisol (which you can read about here). If you ingest high levels of caffeine, you may feel your mood soar and plummet, leaving you craving more caffeine to make it soar again, causing you to lose sleep, suffer health consequences and, of course, feel more stress. However, small to moderate amounts of caffeine can lift your mood and give you a boost.

The Verdict on Caffeine

With potential negative and positive health consequences, caffeine can be your friend, but in controlled doses. Here’s what you should remember about caffeine:

  • Don’t Take Too Much Because of the health risks (above) associated with higher levels of caffeine, as well as the risk of physical dependence that can come with four cups of coffee or more each day, it’s wise to limit your caffeine intake. (Withdrawal symptoms can include cravings, headache, fatigue and muscle pain.)
  • No Caffeine After 2pm Because sleep is important to proper physical functioning, and caffeine can stay in your system for 8 hours or longer, you should cut off or limit your caffeine intake to the first part of the day to ensure that your sleep isn’t disrupted.
  • Enjoy Caffeine With Physical Activity Caffeine is best ingested before exercise—that way your performance is enhanced and the stress-management benefits of exercise can keep you healthy and feeling less stressed throughout the day.