Ease Your Back Pain

Ease Your Back Pain

Too often, people skip their workout because their back is sore. However, that’s one of the worst things you can do. I show clients in Richmond Hill, GA how to ease your back pain without drugs and in a way that gets more permanent relief. Back pain is a serious and painful condition. It can cause endless nights of sleeplessness and interfere with productivity throughout the day. Statistics show that as much as two percent of the American population have back problems that interfere with work. Calculate in those with pain that continue to work and you have a huge number of people suffering. Part of the reason for back pain is sitting too long, lack of activity and lack of functional fitness.

Start with moving more.

You can prevent back pain and help it feel better if you have it by moving more. Today’s population has more sedentary jobs than they did in the past. Unfortunately, that means moving less and the prolonged lack of movement tends to shorten the muscles in the lower back. That leads to back pain. Getting up, moving around and yes, even bending over or stretching can help you feel better or reduce the potential for back pain.

Building your core muscles is imperative for back pain reduction.

If you don’t have strong abdominal muscles or other core muscles, those in your back are doing all the work. That can cause misalignment and back problems or tension pain from overwork. Rather than continue with back pain, start doing exercises to boost your core strength. As a side benefit, you’ll build your abs and look far better. Strong stomach muscles support the spine, just as good posture does. Make sure you stand and sit up straight to reduce the chance of back problems.

Do stretching throughout the day and when back pain starts.

Your first instinct when you feel back pain is to take an aspirin or ibuprofen and lay down, but that’s not the best move. If you’re at home, one quick exercise that can help is to lay on the floor with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Hold a towel with one end in each hand. Lift a foot and loop the towel around its sole. Slowly pull the leg straight up. Hold and lower. You may not be able to straighten your leg to a perpendicular position, but you’ll feel the tug and release. Then do the other leg. Rock and roll your back pain away. Lay on the floor, knees bent, then—keeping your shoulders flat—lay the legs to one side of your body, then back straight up and to the other side.

  • Some herbal teas can help improve circulation and provide anti-inflammatory benefits. White willow bark was the first form of aspirin. It does not have the side effects of stomach distress does as its manufactured counterpart. Turmeric is another anti-inflammatory.
  • Lack of circulation, lack of strength and flexibility are reasons for many backaches. Start a program of regular exercise to improve all three areas and watch back pain improve.
  • Losing weight and getting into shape helps tremendously. Obesity can create a tremendous pull on the body, particularly when the weight is primarily in the front. You’ll get relief from back problems as you shed pounds, but it will take some time.
  • Instant relief can come from soaking in an Epsom salt bath. In fact, you can also get it by soaking your feet. Epsom salt contains magnesium and that it can soak up through the soles of the feet transdermally to help relax muscles and ease pain.

Is It Time To Reboot Your Life

Is It Time To Reboot Your Life

Nobody loves change. It means learning everything all over again and not going through life automatically. That’s work, but it can be extremely exciting, too. If you’re tired of where you’re at and want something different, you have to change. It’s true for anything, whether it’s weight loss, feeling good or even financial. That means you may need to reboot your life to do it. Here in Richmond Hill, GA, I like to think of myself as a reboot expert.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results.

If you’ve been down the road to fitness before and stumbled off the path, you know it’s not easy. If you’ve done it several times, you need to find a different way to reach your goals. In other words, you need to reboot. What you’re doing isn’t working. Are you working out alone and depending on your motivation to keep you on the straight and narrow? You should see by the second failure, that’s not going to cut it. You need to be accountable to someone. Whether you get a workout partner to answer to or use the services of a personal trainer, it will help you stick with the program toward success.

If being accountable isn’t the problem, find out what is.

Seriously, people often aren’t honest with themselves, so they can’t be honest with others about why they’re not getting the results they want. You have to figure out what the problem is. If you’re working out and haven’t changed your eating habits, that might be the key to your problem with weight loss. Talk to the trainer or a trusted friend that’s a good enough friend to provide insight, not one that will just say what they think you want to hear. Learn to identify the things you can change that are stopping you and then change them. It’s true no matter what your problem, fitness or otherwise.

Don’t expect change to feel comfortable.

You may find your problem comes from doing the same thing continuously. If you’ve been doing the same workout for years, you’re either plateauing, where your body becomes more efficient at doing the workout and burns fewer calories or it simply isn’t right for your needs. If running has been your only form of exercise, maybe it’s time to throw in some strength and flexibility training, too.

  • Do you quit your fitness programs because they’re boring. A great solution is finding something you enjoy doing that’s active. As you get more fit, add a day of working out to your calendar, then two.
  • Talk to people who have successfully changed from inactive to active or read inspirational accounts. We honor those who have made their goals because they help inspire others to do the same.
  • If you’re a junk food junkie, throw out all that junk food and start eating healthy. You’ll miss sugar and refined foods at first, but it won’t take long before you love your new way of eating. That’s a big reboot, by the way.
  • Make one day a week a change up day where you do something new and active. Maybe it’s going for a swim, which isn’t new, but not normally part of your workout. Try our trial small group training class. It’s good for a change or just to start a workout program.

Break Those Bad Habits Now

Break Those Bad Habits Now

It’s the first of the year and that means New Year’s resolutions are waiting to be fulfilled or dropped by the wayside like a wrapper from a quickie burger. Most people have either habits they want to encourage or ones they want to end. However, all New Year’s resolutions, regardless of whether they’re a new venture you want to start or an old habit you want to quit revolve around changing a previous habit. Even if your resolution is working out more, you’re still trying to change the habit of being sedentary. You can break those bad habits and start this year right with a little help.

What started your bad habit?

Whether it’s quitting smoking, leading a sedentary life or eating every type of junk food available, something started it. It might have come from boredom or stress. Maybe your mother told you that a good rest was great for stress, when in reality, exercise is the best. Stress eating and boredom eating are habits that can send your scales begging for help. Find out what caused the bad habit if you can and start a program to replace it with a good habit.

Figure out a program that helps you replace the bad habit.

Scheduling your workout will help you replace the habit of hitting the couch. So will setting a timer for every fifty minutes to remind you to move more that hour. (Studies show that sitting at a desk for longer than an hour can actually wipe out some of the benefits of the gym.) One client loved to snack. She simply changed the food available from unhealthy to healthy. She never gave up snacking, but lost weight because she changed the food.

Find the perfect substitute for your bad habit.

If you’re stressed out, don’t grab food or a cigarette, run up and down the stairs at work or at home. Do some heavy breathing workouts for a few minutes and you’ll feel the stress start to melt. You may still want to smoke or eat, but this small diversion helps give you more will power. If you skip working out or procrastinate starting a workout program, get a workout buddy. They keep you accountable. A personal trainer provides that accountability, too.

  • Log your progress. Winners keep records. Sometimes, just writing down when you were tempted and did or didn’t give in to that bad habit helps.
  • Make it impossible to fall back into old habits. If you’re a junk food junkie who wants to change that, don’t keep any snack foods in the house that aren’t healthy. Be prepared with healthy snacks like cubed melon or bowls of fruit in the refrigerator.
  • Keep a reminder in front of you. It helps to use Post-It notes with your new replacement habit on it. Make it more upbeat than denigrating. You can do it! Exercise at 4:00. Eat healthy! Are some of those.
  • If overeating is a bad habit, try mindful eating. Savor every bite and chew each bite thoroughly before you take the next bite. Make sure you put your utensil down between each bite and never eat on the run. Always sit at a table.

Fitness Starts With Small Steps

Fitness Starts With Small Steps

The ultimate goal for people who workout is normally to achieve fitness, but fitness involves more than just exercise. It’s more than just eating healthy, too. It’s the total lifestyle you live and has many facets. That’s one reason people start on the road to fitness in small steps. While some embrace starting a program with a personal trainer, others slide into fitness by making a much smaller commitment, which could be as simple as walking for 20 minutes a day. Both are good ways to start, since there’s no right or wrong road to fitness, it starts with a small change.

You need to choose a goal you can stick with until it becomes a habit.

If you know that you can’t stick with an hour workout at the gym every other day, don’t set yourself up to fail. Instead, find a workout that fits into your lifestyle. You might find some good ones that you can break up into two or three sessions throughout the day. You also could work with a trainer who could supply you with a workout and will adjust your appointments to fit your schedule. Smaller goals you can reach more quickly will bring success. Rather than creating a goal to shed 50 pounds, break it down to smaller goals to lose ten pounds or ten percent of your body weight that can bring success quicker.

Identify what you really want and work toward it in smaller steps.

Maybe you just want to feel good, maybe it’s weight loss, whatever your goal, it should be one that means something to you. One small change can make a huge difference. If you want to feel better and lose weight, just cut out processed food and eat more whole food. You’ll see your weight change and feel better. You’ll also boost your energy. That doesn’t mean you can’t eat your favorite dessert occasionally, just not as much and not as often. Once you’re on the train to healthy eating, make other small changes to tweak your progress.

Give yourself time to make the change a habit.

Any new behavior takes time to become a habit. If you’re working out or exercising, do it for 12-weeks before you evaluate whether you want to continue or not. Twelve weeks isn’t really that long, but it can make a huge difference when it comes to your health and overall fitness. In fact, you’ll notice a big transformation in your energy level, attitude and appearance.

  • As you find each small change becoming part of your life, add another small change to it. Part of eating healthy is making minor decisions of eating one food, rather than the other, for more benefits.
  • Don’t be afraid to change your goals. Maybe you started out just to feel better and now want to lose weight. Set new goals.
  • Not all fitness goals have to be about diet or exercise. Making a goal to drink at least 8-eight ounce glasses of water each day also is a fitness goal.
  • Small changes give you a taste of success and can be far easier. They give you then energy and conviction to make other changes that will affect your overall fitness.

Start Your New Year's Resolution Early

Start Your New Year’s Resolution Early

No matter what your fitness New Year’s resolution is, you’ll find it’s easier if you start immediately and not wait until the stroke of midnight to begin. Many of my Richmond Hill, GA clients that started in January as part of their fitness resolution, say they wish they would have begun the goal as soon as they thought of it and saved the extra pounds they gained over the holidays. Not only will the program help you choose food more wisely, it can boost your energy, too. That’s especially important during the busy holidays.

Identify your fitness goal first.

If weight loss is one of your goals, there’s no doubt about it, it will be easier to start today! You don’t have to diet to lose weight, just make smarter choices when it comes to food. You’ll find you won’t feel deprived over the holidays when some of the changes are as simple as eating brown rice instead of white rice or using Greek yogurt for your baked potato, rather than sour cream. There are tricks and tips you can use to avoid all those extra calories, like using a smaller plate so it looks like you’re eating more, eating slowly and chewing each bite longer, filling up on salad and low calorie foods first and even going for a walk after lunch to avoid grazing. You could be starting the coming year weighing even less.

More exercise is an important part of fitness.

Even if you don’t have time to start a formal program, don’t let that stop you from increasing your time exercising. There are a number of quick workouts that take a few minutes you can do throughout the day. In order to stay healthy, moving vigorously every 55 minutes is important. You can run up and down stairs, march or run in place or do one of the many super short 4 to 7 minute workouts you find on the internet. It will get you ready when you join the gym when the new year starts.

Treat your family to a healthy holiday meal.

You’ll want to get them used to eating healthy and you can do it before they know you’ve started your program. Find healthy recipes to put on the holiday table that taste good. You’ll probably find several they absolutely love, so you’ll have some ammo when you’re “officially” starting your fitness regimen. You’ll probably find you also love these healthy foods, too.

  • Mindful eating slows you down at the table and lets your brain and hormones catch up with your meals to let you know you’re full before you’ve eaten too much. Chewing slowly and savoring the flavors also adds to the meal.
  • Start getting rid of the processed foods in the house. You don’t have to throw them all away, just don’t restock them. You’ll be ready to start the new year with a healthy, clean living cupboard and refrigerator.
  • One simple trick for good health and weight loss is to drink more water. It curbs your appetite and lowers your caloric intake. It can also be an energy booster.
  • Don’t skimp on sleep. Lack of sleep can cause you to gain weight, plus is bad for your health.

Can You Snack And Still Lose Weight

Can You Snack And Still Lose Weight

Some people think that you have to eat only three meals a day and nothing in between to be successful in weight loss. The truth is that you not only can snack and still lose weight, it actually might help you do that. Some weight loss plans actually suggest you break your meals down to six or more smaller ones throughout the day. While the way you eat is entirely up to your preferences, it is one way to shed pounds and fill in those times when you’re hungry between meals.

How snacks help you lose weight.

Snacks can help you keep your hunger under control. You won’t be ravenous at the next meal if you’ve tempered your appetite with a snack. That means you won’t over order in a restaurant or pile the food on your plate at home. That can lead to a lower caloric intake and faster weight loss. The key is not whether to snack or not, but what to use as a snack.

Plan your snacks or you’ll find yourself eating food that’s not healthy or thinning.

If you know you’ll be hungry mid morning or mid afternoon, don’t ignore that fact when you’re planning your healthy eating plan. Embrace it. Choose healthy foods that not only are lower in calories, but also add important nutrients to your diet. Food that has high fiber, healthy fat and protein will keep you feeling fuller longer.

Some snacks are better than others are.

Mixed nuts and fresh fruits are often at the top of the list when it comes to snacking. However, there are other snacks that area also healthy, filling and lower in calories. Popcorn fills you up with healthy fiber and yogurt (the unsweetened type) provides calcium and protein. Create your own trail mix and measure out individual serving sizes for plastic bags you can carry in your purse or keep in your desk at work.

  • Keep water on hand to sip throughout the day. While it’s not a snack, it can help fill you up, so you’re less likely to overeat. Sometimes, people eat because they think they’re hungry but are really just thirsty.
  • Hard boiled eggs have their own container and can stay fresh without refrigeration for up to two hours. You can take them to work and store them in the refrigerator for snacks later that day or for up to three weeks.
  • Have snacks ready in the refrigerator. If you have whole cantaloupe in the house, it won’t be eaten as quickly as having it in a bowl cut in bite size chunks. You can eat one or two chunks throughout the day without fretting about weight gain.
  • Try instant unsweetened oatmeal as a snack. It helps keep your blood sugar level and adds fiber to your diet. Have an apple or a few raisins ready to sweeten it.

Healthy Habits For The Entire Family

Healthy Habits For The Entire Family

Healthy habits for the entire family are important no matter where you live. Here in Richmond Hill, GA I often hear clients hunting for ways to share their new found fitness with their spouse and/or children. It’s only natural to want to share. If you’re feeling healthy and good, you want those you love to experience the same. However, they’re often faced by resistance when they try to get others to exercise or serve a super healthy meal that no one will eat. Here are some tips my clients found that worked. Feel free to add your own in the comment section, we love it when you share.

Plan family outings that are active and stay active in the home.

Instead of going out to dinner and then to the movies, consider a hike in the park and a picnic lunch. Get gifts that promote exercise, like a bike or sports equipment. Even a hula hoop can be fun, especially if everyone has their own and joins the group. Dance through chores with the kids and make sure you exercise every day at home with your children. Make it fun, not grueling. If you don’t have children, just a spouse, get your spouse to join you. For those with pets, you’ll do them a favor with play time that keeps both of you active.

Plan meals ahead and make them healthy.

Get everyone involved with meal planning. Find several recipes each week and let everyone have a choice. Don’t go for boxed or premade items and make sure every meal has a several fresh vegetables or fruits. Get the kids and/or your spouse involved with meal preparation. Make it fun. Have some meals made ahead of time and ready to heat and serve. Also have healthy snacks on hand like nuts, fruit, veggies and dip.

Create a scheduled time to eat together and stick with it.

In today’s world, getting the whole family to eat together is tough, but make at least one meal together manditory. It can be breakfast, even if everyone has to get up a bit earlier or dinner. Don’t sit in front of the TV, but eat at the table and talk. Talking in person with one another is a lost art and it builds bonds, while giving parents and insight to the trials of their child’s day. It lets all family members know they’re important.

  • Have healthy drinks on hand. Don’t go for the juice boxes, but stick with water. Too many people fail to drink adequate water but get their fluid from high calorie drinks, including juice. Most juice boxes are simply sugar water with flavor.
  • Get adequate sleep. Having a bedtime is important no matter what your age. Make sure every family member has a scheduled bedtime and sleep in a dark room with no electronic devices.
  • Take time for appreciation. Every day make sure each person makes it a habit to find something each person did that was impressive or kind. Make sure you include the sharing during a family meal.
  • Create a bed time ritual. Getting the kids to sleep is often hard, but not if they’re looking forward to your undivided attention where you read to them or simply talk. It’s one more chance to bond and to learn more about your child.

Packing Healthy Lunches

Packing Healthy Lunches

If you’re tired of trying to find something healthy at the fast food places near your office, want a healthy meal when you can’t get away from your desk or simply don’t approve of the menu on the school lunch program, packing healthy lunches doesn’t have to be a hassle. They also can be extremely delicious, too. A balanced lunch should contain a high quality protein, healthy fat, complex carbohydrates, fruit and vegetables and of course, water. While parents often include juice boxes, not water, with lunches, juice drinks are mostly sugar and very little juice. Water is always a better option. Not only does it hydrate, it doesn’t contain empty calories that can lead to obesity.

Choose a high quality protein.

Whether you’re a vegetarian or omnivore, you need protein. Protein is a primary building block for muscle tissue, bones, cartilage, blood and skin. You need it for enzymes, hormones and other necessary chemicals in your body. The problem is that your body can’t store it and it needs a lot of it. Protein helps keep you feeling fuller longer and can help you lose weight. Hardboiled eggs, cheese, nuts and nut butter are super simple options for both kids and adults. Veggie wraps with ham and cheese are also a hit with both.

Healthy fat is good for you.

While some people recoil at the very mention of fat, you need fat in your diet. It can’t be just any type of fat. For instance, trans fats are bad for you. High fat fried foods shouldn’t be on your list either. Without healthy fat, you can’t absorb fat soluble vitamins A, K, D and E. Healthy fat provides energy and keeps you feeling fuller. It helps build cells and is necessary for brain and nerve functioning, as well as keeping your heart healthy. Avocado, cheese, whole eggs, fatty fish—think salmon and sardines—and seeds like pumpkin and chia seeds are good sources.

Complex carbohydrates provide the energy you need.

Simple carbs include sugar, fructose and even fruit juice. They’re the type of carbs to avoid. Complex carbohydrates take longer to digest so you’ll feel fuller longer. They contain fiber that aids digestion and keeps you regular. Whole grains, whole fruit, beans, sweet potatoes and pasta are some of the choices Fruits and vegetables are known to be healthy and can provide not only nutrients, but also fiber. People need five to thirteen servings per day, based on age and weight.

  • Sneak in vegetables to kid’s lunches or add interest to yours with ideas that use vegetables, like mini quiche muffins with veggies or broccoli nuggets that look like chicken nuggets, only green!
  • Two ideas for balanced kid’s lunches are veggies with dressing for dip, hard boiled eggs, grapes and pretzels as option one. Option two can include chicken avocado salad roll-ups, cherry tomatoes, sliced red peppers, hummus dip and fruit salad.
  • Grown up option for brown bagging it can include food that you can warm if you have a microwave at your office. Spicy chicken breasts pressure cooked atop rice and beans, with trail mix and fresh veggies on the side is one option to brown bag it in style.

A Good Night's Rest Is Important

A Good Night’s Rest Is Important

If you’re like many people in Richmond Hill, GA, there’s not enough hours in the day to get everything done. You stay up late to finish a report for the next day, pack the kid’s lunch or simply try to unwind and then get up early in the morning and start all over again. The problem with that type of schedule is the inability to get a good nights rest with any consistency. If there’s a continuous lack of sleep, it can create some serious problems with health and even sabotage weight loss efforts.

When you’re sleeping, your brain is actually working hard.

You may be asleep, but your brain isn’t. It’s still performing a number of functions, which include removing toxins that build up while you’re awake. It is important to memory consolidation where it processes the events of the day and consolidates sensory input, feelings, memories and events to create links that help you process those events and remember them better.

Want to shed extra pounds? Sleep on it.

You may think that moving more and longer would help you lose weight…and you’d be right. It is unless you give up sleep to do it. One study showed that people who slept fewer than seven hours were more likely to be overweight. While the reason isn’t known for sure, scientists think it may have to do with the balancing of ghrelin and leptin hormones that regulate how hungry you get. When you’re tired, you’re also more prone to reach for a sugary treat that can start a cycle that makes you reach for more as your blood sugar roller coasters through peaks and valleys.

Sleep makes you healthier.

There’s a lot of research that shows lack of sleep can lead to heart disease. One reason may be that lack of sleep can lead to inflammation. That occurs because lack of sleep increases stress hormones. Inflammation is also linked to other serious conditions, such as diabetes and cancer. In fact, it may even be Even if you can’t get a full night’s sleep, studies show that napping throughout the day can help. It can boost cognitive functioning, put you in a better mood and improve your memory.

  • You need to sleep in a dark room and refrain from electronics before sleeping to protect your melatonin levels. That light exposure can reduce them. Not only does melatonin regulate your sleep cycle, it also suppresses tumor growth.
  • Keep stress at bay by getting adequate sleep. Sleep reduces the body’s stress and by doing that, lowers your risk of high blood pressure.
  • Sleep is the time your body repairs the damage of the day. When you sleep, your cells increase their production of protein that help repair damaged cells.

Should I Workout In The Morning

Should I Workout In The Morning

If you’re procrastinating starting a program of regular exercise because you’re not sure whether you should workout in the morning or another time of day, stop it! No matter what time of the day you workout, it will do you more good than sitting in your Lazy Boy debating the issue. While each time of day has its benefits, there is a drawback to working out right before bed. You’ll end up wired and find it difficult to sleep. Aside from that, there are benefits to every workout session, regardless of when you do it.

Should you workout before you go to the office, at lunch or after work?

As noted before, each time of day has benefits. If you choose to workout the first thing in the morning before you eat, you’ll get the benefit of working out on an empty stomach. That means your body will have to hit your stored fat for energy. You’ll be burning fat during aerobic workouts and train your body to burn fat more efficiently. However, it’s best for low intensity workouts. To avoid muscle breakdown when you’re trying to build, take a protein shake within a half hour of working out.

For the best aerobic performance and improved endurance, train when you have adequate stores of glycogen.

The early evening, afternoon or late morning is best for a workout when you’re training for a marathon or anytime you want more endurance. Your glycogen stores in your liver and your muscles are at maximum at these times. That occurs hours after you’ve consumed a full meal that has carbs. If you eat a hearty breakfast, then in the late morning or lunch is best. If you’re a breakfast skipper, it’s later in the day. It helps you avoid that “hit-the-wall” feeling that can occur when you run out of fuel.

Want to lift more and build power and strength, check your body temperature.

If you’re pumping iron, you don’t want to jump out of bed and hit the gym. It could be dangerous. When you sleep, your body temperature drops. The discs in your back also fill with fluid. After you’re awake a while, your body temperature rises and the fluid in your spine goes back to normal. Now it’s time to get in that power lifting. Waiting for your body to wake up and normalize is especially important if you have back problems.

  • No matter what your need, if the best time to workout for your needs doesn’t work with your schedule, choose convenience first or you’ll find yourself missing workouts.
  • Consistency pays off. Find a workout time that works for you and make it a permanent one in your schedule.
  • Everyone’s body is different. If you find you can sleep better after a night workout, by all means, do it. Just make sure you have a store of glycogen available for recovery.
  • If your morning workout is going to be strenuous, grab a banana or something light that can help supplement your depleted glycogen reserves. There’s ways to make any time of day work well.