Make 2014 Your Healthiest Year Yet

Week-End Wellness

By Tammy Parkinson, CPT, ACSM, NASM, Nutritionist, Body Firm Personal Training & Nutrition

tammyThis past week, I’ve been reconnecting with several clients I’ve worked with over the last year.  In doing this…I simply cannot believe how fast this year has gone by!  “They” say time goes by faster as one gets older…which might be a true perspective; however with the right nutrition and fitness plan, it may go by faster, but at least we are healthy enough to keep up!

Here are my 5 top Fitness and Nutrition tips for 2013 as a recap to help slide into 2014 on the right foot (or hands, depending how you slide!)

Fitness:

Never let a 3rd day go by without some kind of activity. Ever.  This builds momentum and inertia…so you never feel that you’ve lost ground.  Your motivation stays strong and you always feel somewhat fit because truly…you’ve worked out consistently!

Mix up your workouts to keep your mind and body “interested.” Of course, personal training is perfect because your trainer will give you different workouts each time you train.  This keeps your muscles challenged, goading them to work hard.  It’s also beneficial to try workouts or activities which are completely different than your “usual” stints.  If you always road bike, try a mountain bike (completely different cardiovascular and strength systems).  If you always do a vinyassa yoga flow, try yin, and if you always run, try mixing up your trail activities with some power hill hikes.

Remember your heart is also a muscle. We often think about training our legs, our abs, our shoulders…but we forget that our heart is also a muscle which needs to be trained. This means great cardiovascular health through aerobic and anaerobic activity (not to mention diet…but we’ll get to that). Make sure you become educated as to where YOUR heart rate should be on both these levels and work smart to improve these.

If you are injured, give your body the right treatment to recover. I’ve seen so many people push through an injury, only to prolong their healing months longer than needed…sometimes years. Depending on one’s injury, you might need therapuetic healing remedies like massage, Active Release technique, laser, foam rolling and or rest. Now, just because you might have a shoulder impingement doesn’t mean you can’t get out and hike! It’s important to move; just avoid the areas which are injured and work hard to heal them.

Train your core. What is your “core?”  Pretty much everything but your limbs! Your core is the center of your body…the base of all activities. I remember one of our trainers telling me no matter what the exercise (even if it’s for your forearms) it’s always about the back/core. How one holds their body in every exercise, impacts our core and can strengthen or weaken our “center.” Keep your core strong, and all other movements become easier.

Nutrition:

Eat Green: We’ve heard a lot of buzz about being green (driving, recycling, buying organic food and clothes, etc.) however what I’m talking about is eating green foods (and I don’t mean food coloring!). We’re talking about leafy vegetables, sprouts, artichokes, broccoli, parsley, cilantro, cucumber, and bok choy just to mention a few. These green foods have chlorophyll in them which are blood oxygenators and extremely alkaline. Green foods have been known to help with healing our bodies (even injuries) as well as help with sleep, energy, mental clarity, sports performance, blood sugar regulation, weight loss and mood regulation for starters. My tip is shoot for a green meal every day at least one time to start, and eventually work to have something green every time you eat.

Cut back on inflammatory foods:  Inflammatory foods have been known to cause a myriad of disease like diabetes, high cholesterol, gout, dementia, acid refulx, and even cancer. Some of these inflammatory foods are sugar, alcohol, fried foods, breads, crackers, wheat, WHITE BREAD (huge one), high glycemic foods, condiments, and artificial sweeteners. Try and cut a little bit out at a time, eventually making these inflammatory foods only a “treat” here and there vs. an everyday meal.

Take great care of your kidney and liver: Because we DO have inflammatory foods now and then, it’s extremely beneficial to look to foods which are healthy for these organs. Our kidneys and liver are the “filtering system” to the rest of the body, so giving them a little TLC with herbs and the right foods are recommended. Some of these elixirs would be dandelion or burdock root, ginger, cilantro, chlorophyll, lemon and black licorice. Herbal teas are a great way to add this in to your dietary regiment easily.

Drink water. SO over rated? Not really! We’ve all heard it though, a million times. The way I finally “got it” was I actually started forcing myself to drink a lot of water to test out this theory. I started drinking 80-100 oz a day. I admit, I didn’t like it and it was hard! In time though (only a couple of days) I felt “cleaner”…I had more energy…my eyes felt clearer, and I felt hydrated (a feeling I never had before) and I worked out better. Our bodies are made up of 70% water. We need that much to simply function; so if we deplete our bodies of water…we can’t function well. It’s as simple as that. It’s like asking our plants to thrive without much water, our animals to stop drinking when they are thirsty and our cars to stop needing so much oil. We are “designed” to need water…so start giving your body what it’s designed to live off of and feel the difference!

Live by the hunger scale: What I mean by this is so often we wait until we are starving to eat (this would be a “7” or more on the HS (hunger scale) and we stop eating when we are an “8” meaning over full). When we do this, not only do we abuse our metabolism we will end up eating about 60% more calories than our bodies need. If we can start eating at a “3” (when your stomach and mind starts to think about food and you know you could eat a little something) and STOP eating at a 4 (meaning you are satisfied not full) you will want to eat healthy meals/snacks every 3 or so hours and you’ll end up training your metabolism to run efficiently and smoothly. You’ll also make nutritionally sound choices because you are never totally famished and in a fog!

These are just a few of my “tips” for healthy eating… I can go on…but if you’ve read this far, your brain is full!

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