Tag Archives: fit

personality

The Psychology of Personality: How Knowing Yourself Better Can Keep Your Fitness Goals On Track

personality

Gretchen Rubin

I recently attended The World Domination Summit (WDS) in Portland, Oregon.  The conference was 3 days jam-packed, full of lectures and workshops all led by entrepreneurs, writers, and artists.  One of the of the many great speakers I heard was Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project.  

In her lecture, Gretchen pointed out that in order to be happy you must first learned key features of your nature.  You have to learn about yourself and the systems your brain by default uses to function before you can actually identify the things that make you happy.  So, rather than search for what makes you happy, Gretchen has identified a way for us to evaluate our own personalities so we can better structure our actions to live a happy life.

In her blog, Gretchen writes about different avenues of getting to know yourself better that can improve your life.  For example in What’s Your Personality Type for Play Gretchen explains how she was able to develop a career for herself based on her interests as a child.

More along the lines of fitness and exercise Gretchen’s work can help you better understand if you are an Abstainer or a Moderater.  A very important distinction to understand about yourself especially when trying to stick to a diet.

Gretchen says,

“You’re a moderator if you…

– find that occasional indulgence heightens your pleasure – and strengthens your resolve
– get panicky at the thought of “never” getting or doing something

You’re an abstainer if you…
– have trouble stopping something once you’ve started
– aren’t tempted by things that you’ve decided are off-limits”

When starting a diet it is very important to identify what type of personality you have.

If you are a moderator it can be important to allow yourself some treats, as long as those treats keep you within your diet ratios and calories!  Without the wiggle room to cheat every now and then a moderator will give up on a diet altogether.

personality

An abstainer can eat just one!

An abstainer on the other hand needs to make sure all temptations are out of the house.  An abstainer needs the black and white to stay on plan.

Whether or not one chooses to follow through with their fitness plan is also based upon personality type.

Gretchen divides all humans personality archetypes into 4 categories:

  • Upholders
  • Questioners
  • Rebels
  • Obligers

Each role describes the most basic ways in which people put priority into their actions.  Knowing your personality is great for learning how to best meet deadlines and accomplish goals including how to stick to your fitness and health goals.

Upholders:

An upholder loves rules.

It doesn’t matter who creates them, upholders will live by them.  If this is your personality type, you probably don’t have a hard time sticking to your diet and exercise plan, because it is a plan.  You have been given the rules.  If you are an upholder; I bet you get in your exercise 5-6 times a week, meal track like you are supposed to, and like following a specific meal plan for  your health. For the most part you are good as long as you follow that routine and keep your health in check. If you ever need to store things like smoothies or healthy beverages I recommend these guys for storage needs

The one drawback to being an upholder, however, is that you can often find it tough to question which exercise program is the best because you want to do them all.

You may try following too many workout plans and find you never actually stick to just one.  Upholders can also find that because they never allow themselves budge room to cheat, an exercise routine can become exhausting.  Rather than not stick to the rules 100% many of my upholder clients tend to be all or nothing.  At the times they commit to exercise and healthy living they do great, but when work or life doesn’t allow them to fulfill their goals 100% they stop altogether so they don’t have to admit they didn’t follow through.

If you are an upholder give yourself some budge room when it comes to exercise.  Even small movements accrued throughout the day are better than nothing.  Don’t allow the guilt of an incomplete workout week keep you from getting any exercise at all.

Questioners:

If you are a Questioner you need to know why you are doing something.

It isn’t enough for someone to tell you what to do, you need to know the reasoning behind what you are doing and then you will have no problem following through.

The best bet for a questioner is to hire a personal trainer.  You can constantly be reading books to reinforce your knowledge and desire to exercise, however, if you are looking for a reason not to hit the gym I’m guessing you don’t want to spend your reading time on that topic.  A good personal trainer should have the knowledge to convince your questioning mind to make exercise a priority.

If you don’t have the financial means to hire a personal trainer, a webinar I recommend is The Smarter Science of Slim.  It used to be available in book format, but has been taken off of amazon until The Calorie Myth comes out in January of 2014.

Rebels:

A rebel personality tends to think (and go) against the grain.

If someone tells you to do something, you are likely to do the opposite.  Obviously you won’t respond well to someone telling you to exercise.

If I was training a rebel, I would encourage them to try something everyone else thinks they can’t do.  For example I might plant the seed to a rebel that they couldn’t run a half marathon.  The idea that they couldn’t do something is the exact motivation a rebel mind needs to inspire them to train for one.

If endurance training isn’t your thing, try looking into another extreme sport such as snowboarding, mountain climbing, MMA, or mountain biking.  The extreme nature of the sport might be what initially attracts you, but you will soon find that in order participate at all or well you need a consistent workout routine to maintain the physical ability to do your activity.

Obligers:

An obliger tends to put others expectations before their own goals.

If you are an obliger, your biggest excuse for not exercising is probably your family, job, or social commitments.  You may have been a star athlete in high school when you HAD to be at practice, but probably find it very difficult to make yourself go out for a run on your own.

An obliger is best off building external motivation.  Find a running buddy.  Join a parks and rec team.  Hire a personal trainer.  Do something to hold yourself accountable to your exercise because if you are an obliger you won’t get it done on your own.

So What Are You?

Obviously not every category is 100% perfect, but there is a good chance that you identify with one of the four.

Once you figure out where you fall, don’t try to fight your personality.  Your nature is out of your control.  Stop fighting the way your brain best functions, but rather use it to your advantage.   If you would prefer to be another way you can use the knowledge of you nature to build systems around it, don’t try to change it.

I for example am an upholder, however am I am also very drawn to pleasing others so I have a heavy obliger nature as well.  I often commit myself to too many things (classic symptoms of an upholder) so I have learned to build external motivation into the things that I know I need to get done.

Exercise and fitness is very important to me, but between all the other commitments I set up for myself often times it can get pushed aside.  Rather than set up coffee or lunch dates with people, I often set up an exercise dates.  (A good system for obligers to use)  That way I can kill two birds with one stone.

What personality type do you identify with the most?  Have you set up any systems in your world to better use your personality to accomplish your goals?  Please share below! 🙂

 

30 day challenge

4 Reasons You Should Do A 30 Day Challenge

30 day challenge

Spring has finally arrived–which means summer is just around the corner. It is time to up the workout ante!

Challenge yourself to complete a 30 Day Challenge.

Your challenge can be whatever you want.

  • You can do the 30 Day Squat Challenge which should only take 2-5 minutes out of your day.
  • You can challenge yourself to run or walk a mile or more 30 days in a row.
  • You can do a yoga challenge, committing 60-90min a day to yourself.
  • You can Crossfit 30 days in a row.

Whatever sort of challenge you decide to do, here are 4 reasons you should do a 30 Day Challenge.

1.  You do have the time.  Find somewhere during your day to take a break for yourself.  If there isn’t space in the middle of your day, tack it to the beginning or the end.  You can always wake up 10 minutes earlier, or skip the hour (or more) of television you watch each night.  You’ll start to realize when you set aside time to focus on yourself, you’ll be able to  preform your other tasks and obligations more efficiently and more effectively.

2.  You will have set a new goal.  Broadcast this goal!  Let others know what you are doing!  They might do it with you!  The more the merrier.  It’s harder to break a commitment when others know you have one.

3.  You’ll push your boundaries.  It is easy to find an excuse to back out of our workouts when we are tired.  When you push through fatigue, your body is forced to rebuild itself back up stronger.  Your brain often fatigues before your body.  Teach the brain how strong you can be!  You’ll surprise yourself with how much you can improve in an activity when you work on it each day for a month!

4.  You can eat more food!  Obviously if your goal involves losing weight, you shouldn’t completely offset your exercise with extra food.  However, if you do a 30 Day Bikram Challenge, or push yourself to run 3-5 miles every day for the month of May, you will find you need to fuel your body better for this endeavor. Your body’s cravings can teach you what vitamins and minerals you’re lacking in. Once you’ve identified the vitamins you need it’s just a matter of visiting LuckyVitamin or going to your local Walgreens. The cleaner you keep your system and the more you ask of it, the more it can accurately tell you what you need. You will probably find your body actually craves lean meats and veggies! You will learn the food you eat is fuel for your hard working body!

Give it a try!

Push yourself!

See what you can do!

If you decide to hop in on the 30 day challenge,  talk about what you are doing below!

The more of us that join in the more support we have!

 

 

vegetarian lasagna

Vegetarian Lasagna

vegetarian lasagna

You can always add meat to a Vegetarian Lasagna, but this meal is a great way for vegetarians to get more protein in their diet.

Ingredients:

  • 3 Large Zucchini
  • 1 Stock Broccoli
  • 4 cups spinach
  • 2 cans Diced Tomatoes
  • 2 tsps minced garlic
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tsp every day seasoning
  • 2 Cups Fat Free Mozzerella Shredded
  • 2 Cups Fat Free Cottage Cheese
  • 1 Cup Fat Free Ricotta
  • 1 Egg

Prep:

  • Sautee Tomatoes, Garlic, Pepper, Every Day Seasoning in a sauce pot.
  • Combine Mozzerlla, Cottage Cheese, Ricotta, and Egg.
  • Slice Broccoli and zucchini vertically into thin strips.
  • Layer Pyrex Dish with sauce, zucchini, cheese, spinach, sauce, broccoli, cheese, spinach sauce, zucchini, sauce, and finally cheese again.
  • Bake at 350 Degree for 45 min or until cheese is golden brown on top.

Calories 428, 14.3g Fat, 22.5g Carbs, 3.9g Fiber, and 55.8g Protein

cross fit style workout

Beat Your Time Cross Fit Style Workout

Ok, here’s how this Beat Your Time Cross Fit Style Workout Works:cross fit style workout

  • Do the following exercises below as fast as possible performing each rep with the best form possible.
  • In between exercises do 10 pushups and 10 squat jumps (or 20 squats if you have knee issues)
  • After you complete the 7 exercises, record your time.
  • Work to beat your time the next round through!
  • Record your time below to push each other!

Beat your time Cross Fit Style Workout Exercises:

Neider to Push Press:  Do each movement 20x

Toe Taps:  20 to each side

Advanced Single Leg Squat:  10 Each Leg

Lifted Leg 1/2 V-Up

Toe Touches: 20 Per Leg

Split Jumps: 20 per Leg

Russian Twist: 20 to each side

 

Equipment Needed: Med BallWeights

 

Salmon with Red Pepper Cream Sauce

salmon with red pepper cream saucewas a Pescetarian for 4 years.  I know I need meat now, to keep my iron levels up but every now and then I crave fish.

 Salmon is a great source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins B2, B3, B6, A, D, and E, and the minerals iron, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous  and zinc.  

Salmon with Red Pepper Cream Sauce is an healthy recipe that is easy to make and will impress your friends with the pickiest culinary palates.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb Salmon (Serves 4)
  • 2 Red Pepper
  • 2 Sweet Onion
  • Non Fat Half and Half
  • White Wine
  • Chives
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Black Pepper

Prep:

  • Marinate Salmon with White Wine, Chives, black pepper, and some sweet onion sliced very thin  and let sit at room temp for about a half an hour.
  • Chop a sweet onion and red pepper into chunks.
  • Slow boil the onion and pepper with a 1/4- 1/2 cup of white wine (or water if you want to save the calories) but the liquid should evaporate out.
  • Slice 2nd onion and pepper into thin strips
  • Saute until onions and peppers begin to get soft.
  • Add Salmon to pan at medium high heat .
  • Cook 3 min one side, then 3-4 second side.  Salmon should be slightly rare in the middle.  You don’t want to over cook Salmon.
  • Add Sweet Onion and Red Pepper Chuck mixture to blender.
  • Add enough Non Fat Half and Half to blend down to a sauce.  (Should be approx. 1/4 cup depending on how your veggies cooked down.)
  • Serve Salmon on a bed of onions and peppers with Red Pepper Cream Sauce Poured on Top.

Calories 224 Fat 5.3g Carbs 12g Fiber 2.8g Protein 31g

 

lose weight quickly

5 Tips to Lose Weight Quickly

You’ve got a hot date this weekend,lose weight quickly

Your high school reunion is next month,

Maybe your sister is getting married and you want to look your best for the family photo.

Whatever the reason, we often find ourselves regretting our failure to stick to a healthy diet 1-3 weeks out from a big event.  We need to lose weight quickly!!

While a week or two might not be enough time to transform you into a Calvin Klein model, it is enough time to at least take away the bloat and perhaps drop 5-10lbs.

Here are my Top 5 Rules to Lose Weight Quickly!

1.  Nix the Sodium!:

  • There is so much sodium in the average American diet.
  • If it’s processed, you can guarantee that there is sodium in it!  
  • Check your labels, work to cut out as much sodium as possible.
  • What’s wrong with sodium you ask? Your body needs to have a certain level of sodium to allow the body to function properly.  When your sodium increases you must retain water to keep your sodium levels within normal saturation levels; unless until you have flushed the sodium out.  If you always eat high sodium foods, you are ALWAYS retaining water.  Nix the sodium and you might drop 3-5lbs in water weight right away!

2.  Stick to your Ratios:

  • If you want to lose weight eat 1g Protein for 1g of Carbohydrate you eat.  
  • Think about it, we call it low carb, but all you are actually doing is balancing your protein to carbohydrate ratio.  
  • This is why most diets seem to be “low carb.”  
  • Diets aren’t actually “low carb.”  Americans just eat too many carbs to begin with which is why you want to lose weight in the first place.

3.  Eat Veggies:

  •  If you eat enough veggies to balance out the protein you eat I promise you won’t be hungry.  
  • Veggies take up space filling your stomach.  
  • We often cheat on diets because we feel hungry: Fill up on veggies and you will have less reason to cheat.  
  • Veggies also contain lots of fiber to help you “push” some of the old crap you previously ate through the system.–You’ll feel less bloated when you have less sticking to your intestine walls.  
  • Season them with low sodium seasonings such as any of the Mrs. Dash line to add more flavor to your meals.  

4.  Drink Water:  

  • Your sodium levels do not balance out with one glass of water and the amount you drink can affect your eyesight, if your dehydrated and your eyesight is going away then try googling Eye doctors near me or visit your local clinician for treatment.  
  • Take eating sushi for example:  When you go out for sushi and have soy sauce with your roll it’s like you just consumed 1 tsp of salt.  Imagine instead of putting that tsp in your body you put it in a 8oz glass of water.  Now add 8 oz of water and pour half the glass out.  You are left with 1/2 a tsp of sodium.  After the next glass you’ll have 1/4 and so on and so forth.  
  • The more water you drink, the less water your body needs to retain to bring it back to it’s normally sodium saturation.  
  • Oddly enough, the more water you drink the less water you will retain.  
  • DRINK WATER!

5.  Don’t Restrict Calories Too Much:

  • The mistake most of us make is we restrict calories too much.  
  • This causes your body to go into “starvation mode,” meaning your body will shut down bodily functions to conserve calories.
  • If you cheat one day before you event you will stop losing weight and your body will for sure hold onto the calories during and after the function, making you rebound to a higher weight than you started at.
  • Eat at least 1200-1400 calories if you are female or 1400-1600 calories if you are male to avoid going into starvation mode!

 

If you look at any diet you will see it typically follows these rules.  The only difference is instead of telling you the science, they simple tell you the foods to eat.  Here are some “Safe” foods to consume and still drop weight quickly.  Stick to these foods, we’ll call it the What Courtney Eats Based on all the Diets she’s read about Diet.

Safe Foods:

Get creative!  Make something new!  I bet you won’t be bored.  Here are some recipes that might help you stay on track!

blueberry protein muffins

Blueberry Protein Muffins

Healthy Recipes

Chicken Tacos

chicken curry

Chicken Curry

green smoothie

Green Smoothie PB&J

And a couple recipes that will keep you on track.  Beware the following recipes do have cheese so make sure that you drink extra water to flush out that sodium!

Spicy Stuffed Pepper Burgers

Spicy Stuff Pepper Burgers

Spinach crust pizza

Spinach Crust Pizzas

gluten free lasagna

Gluten Free Lasagna

 

 

 

why try yoga

Why Try Yoga? Yoga Can Challenge and Benefit Anyone!

Most people equate yoga with a stretching class.why try yoga

Seeing the stereotypical tall and slender woman walking with her yoga mat might not necessarily get your butt to a yoga class.

Seeing a husband and wife come to class with their high school football star son on Saturday might stir some curiosity.

Seeing the neighbor down the street lose 20lbs might get you to walk through the door and try it at least once!

why try yoga

On Monday I wrote about Yoga being good for athletes.  While all this is true, think about how those same benefits could affect you in your normal life.  Maybe you don’t make quick change of directions on a soccer field, but you still carry your lunch, labtop, to-go coffee mug, and briefcase to the car every morning while talking on your cell phone.  Some mornings it might even be rainy or even worse icy.  As we age situations like this begin to get worse and worse.  Strengthening your body through yoga, will give you the strength and balance to better handle these situations that are part of normal living.

Why Try Yoga you ask.  You should try Yoga to tackle and conquer your daily tasks!

If you have been hesitant to give yoga a try, check out the video below for reasons why yoga might be a better workout than you think:

 

So give it a try.  I recommend Bikram.  I challenge you to make it through a class and still tell me yoga isn’t a good enough workout.  For those who fear the hot room, remember it’s also not as scary as you think.  If an 80 year old woman can take class you can too!  It might just be the yoga that keeps those 80 year olds going!

 

What’s yoga posture challenges you the most?  It is probably the one you need.  Tell me which one you hate below and why.  I’ll let you know why you might need it!

half moon pose

6 Tips to Improving your Half Moon Pose

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

A major component to yoga is opening up the body.  Half Moon Pose Begins this process.

Half Moon Pose uses opposing muscle groups to open up and stretch the front, back, right side, and left side of the body.

Half Moon Pose is an energizing pose that prepares you for class!  It uses almost every muscle in your body continuing to warm up the body stimulating the sweat you started to form in Breathing to continue!  Here are some keys to improving your Half Moon so you can begin “natural human traction” sooner rather than later!

  1. half moon pose

    This is an old picture. I’ve since learned if I squeeze my feet together my knees stay in one line

    Squeeze Your Feet Together:  Right from the beginning think of squeezing your feet together and keeping your body weight in your heels.  This will help you tone your inner thighs.

  2. Breathe:  As always, the number one focus in every pose in normal breathing.  Think about slowly inflating your lungs like a balloon, lifting your rib cage up towards the ceiling as you keep your body in one line.
  3. Smile:  Set your intention for a relaxed class.  If you can maintain a smile you will be more likely to maintain normal breathing.  When you maintain normal breathing your body will open up more than if you are tense, forcing yourself to push further.
  4. Use your grip:  When you first start, the hardest part will be holding your hands over your head.  Focus on SQUEEZING your hands together like you are juicing a lemon on top of your head.  It will help your strength improve sooner.  It will also help you lengthen and open up.
  5. Use Your Right Hand to Pull the Left:  When you bend to the right side, think about pulling the left arm further to right using the right hand.  Then think about pointing to the back right hand corner of the room as you come down further to push, push, and push.
  6. Focus on Your Hips:  Once you reach alignment, only focus on moving your hips further out past your toes.  If you think about bending more at the waist you will hunch, round, or bend.  By focusing on moving your hips further out past your feet, you continue to lengthen and open up the body.  This will make the opposite side compress more.

Opens:

  • Shoulders
  • Hips
  • Chest

half moon poseStretches:

  • Obliques
  • Outer Thighs Specically the IT Band
  • Latissimus Dorsi
  • Rectus Abdominis
  • Deltoid
  • Trapezius

 

Muscles Contracting:

  • Improves and strengthens every muscle in the central part of the body.
  • Especially the Abdomen.

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 Bikram says Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose) Benefits us by:

  • Preventing, reducing, and/or eliminating back pain and with the help of a KratomCountry Pain Relief Center.
  • Energizes you for class!
  • Helps rid the body of abdominal fat, toning your abs and obliques.
  • Tones your waistline, hips, abdomen, booty, and thighs (even those inner thighs!)
  • Stretches spinal nerves and abdominal organs improving the working of the bowels
  • Increases the flexibility of the spine
  • Alleviating anxiety and helping reduce stress
  • Works all the major muscles groups including the Quads, Glutes, Hamstrings, Calves, Biceps, Triceps, and lats!
  • Exercising the colon, pancreas, kidneys, muscular, skeletal, respiratory and glandular systems
  • Firming and trimming waistline, hips, abdomen, buttocks and thighs.
  • Increases flexibility of the spine; correcting bad posture, promoting proper kidney function, improving the health liver and spleen, reducing dyspepsia and constipation.
yoga for athletes

Yoga for Athletes: Don’t be the Dumb Jock

Yoga for athletes

Remember the dumb jock Kevin in Daria? He may not have been so dumb if he did yoga!

We have all heard the term dumb jock.

A dumb jock is a meat head, muscle head, fine tuned athletic machine but not necessarily someone you think uses their brain.

This is actually the furthest from the truth.  Athletes actually use their brain for every movement they perform.  Every physical task requires a complex system of neural pathways to make that action happen.  Think about what it takes to get to this page:

Just to get to this post,

  • Your brain had to signal to your right arm to move the mouse.
  • Then you must create the precise pressure against the mouse to scroll to the address bar.
  • To type the URL your brain had to send separate signals to each finger for every letter you typed.

This is obviously not ground breaking, but think about how simple that task is.  Those are the simplified steps to reaching the end result of reading this post but it still required 3 steps.

Now think about something as complicated as doing a layup, a simple move in basketball.

  • You have to send hundreds of signals to the lower body to coordinate running and jumping while moving towards a target.
  • Another 100+ signals are sent to your hands to dribble the ball, pick it up, use strength in your finger tips to palm the ball, and, finally, precise muscle control to send the ball in the right direction towards the hoop.
  • While both sets of signals occur there are also 100s of signals activating your shoulders to move, bringing your arm over your head so your fingers have a line of trajectory into the basket.

….I could go on and on about the amount of neural conductivity it takes to do one action, but I think you get the point.  Any movement of the body requires an intense amount of brain power.  As we perfect a skill, most of this happens subconsciously.  However, if you can learn to have finer control over these movements you ultimately become a more skilled athlete.

This is where yoga for athletes comes in.  Yoga helps better tune mind-body connection.  In other words, yoga enhances the way you create motion.

With yoga you can train yourself to become more aware of the physical actions you perform.

yoga for athletes

Tony may be a strong football player, but he could be stronger when he learns to lock his knee and transfer his body weight into the ball of his foot!

Think about the pose Dandayamana Janushirasana.

The first step of this pose is learning to “lock your knee.”

Locking your knee doesn’t mean have a straight leg.  It means contracting every single muscle fiber in your standing leg for 60 seconds so that you can stay stable while still controlling and moving other parks of your body.

Even the strongest athletes struggle with this pose when they first start yoga.  They will argue they aren’t flexible enough to do the pose, but what they don’t understand is that they are doing the pose wrong before they ever get started.

The purpose of the pose isn’t to kick your leg out and touch your forehead to you knee.   The purpose is to have the strength to keep every fiber in your quadriceps contracted.  It takes hundreds to thousands of attempts to train your body to do this.  After many attempts of trying, you would be more stable if you could just make the smaller muscles that make up your toes apply pressure to the ground.  That is the first step.  Then you begin to strengthen those muscles because you have become aware of them.

When you become aware of the “smaller fine motor control muscles” you start to realize how much they can help you in your sport.

  • A soccer player will begin to feel the push off to change direction all the way through their little pinky toe, allowing them to cut sharper and faster!
  • The basketball player will no longer just jump  up for a layup, but extend through their big toe fully contracting their calf muscle more than before adding inches to their vertical!
  • The volleyball player will not only know they need to snap their hand on their follow through hitting a volleyball, but begin to feel their brachioradialis, flexor carpi radialis, and flexor carpr ulnaris contract.

Yoga isn’t just about stretching tight muscles athletes use over and over.  Yoga can be a medium to develop finer control over your body, making you a better athlete in your sport.  Yoga will train your mind body connection.

The athlete you strive to be isn’t such a dumb jock after all!

 

running drills to improve running form

Running Drills to Improve Your Running Form

 

running drills to improve running formYou know it is important to have good running form, but often it is developing that good running form that is hard.

The 3 main keys to good running form is:

  1. Mid Foot Strike
  2. Angles:  Dorsiflexed foot and knee to 90 degrees
  3. Forward Tilt

Here are some running drills to improve running form: