Fitness and Health

Exercising By Default…?

Many people are talking about how they’ve gained weight during the quarantine, but I’ve dropped 10 lbs. I’m exercising by default… sorta. I feel as though if things were normal, I wouldn’t be working out as much. I’d probably have distractions or other excuses.

Since I’m freelancing and outside is closed, I don’t have much else to do but workout to avoid sitting all day. My New Year’s goal was to get in better shape, but before quarantine, my friends wanted to hang with me more than usual. Not complaining, but where were they when I was being a fatty? LOL. I’m not the type to hang with friends and eat a salad while they enjoy beer and fried food.

I’m not new to exercise, but during this time, I’ve noticed some things that have happened… mostly mentally.

My cravings change.
I start to crave the unhealthiest foods imaginable. Instead of reaching for an unhealthy treat, I workout. By the time I’m done, I find myself craving a smoothie or another alternative to what I was originally contemplating consuming. Usually I’d grab the cookie or order delivery and regret it later. Recently, I had a Dominos tab open with an order in my cart, but I had a cardio workout paused in my video player. I honestly sat for 30 minutes debating if I wanted to be bad or healthy. I chose to be healthy.

I divert my mind.
The most beautiful thing about working out is that my mind gets distracted. How many times have you found yourself stressing out about something and it goes away during your workout? People with stress and anxiety lean on exercise to give themselves a mental break from their worries of the day. I’ve had quite a few things to stress about and fitness has prevented one or two meltdowns.

Music motivates me.
Have you ever worked out to music and found yourself going to the beat? I could feel exhausted, but once my favorite jam comes on and the beat drops, I suddenly feel rejuvenated. Sometimes I’ll put my workout clothes on and pace around with a hot beat to get me going. Try to pick upbeat music during your intense workouts and slow beats during cooldowns, yoga, and/or pilates.

Who doesn’t want to burn calories?
I use a heart rate monitor and can view calories burned during a workout. If I’m at 450 calories, I’m often motivated to keep going to burn 500. As basic as that sounds, sometimes it motivates me to extend my workout… as long as I have the energy.

Confidence improves as my body changes.
According to the scale, I’ve dropped weight. I still have some fat to get rid of to see fully defined muscles, but I know I’m stronger. My arms are more defined. At one point, I would get tired doing 10 pushups on my knees. Now I can do 15 on my toes.

It boosts endorphins.
Endorphins are nothing, but neurotransmitters of your brain that make you feel good. When you workout, the production of endorphins is enhanced. Your mood automatically boosts or improves when these neurotransmitters are increased. Instead of taking a nap, I workout. If I feel sluggish, I’ll do squats or run in place to get the blood flowing and trigger endorphins.

I have a buddy who’s also working out.
It’s always great to have a friend who’s going through a fitness journey. She’s thinner than me and does different workouts, but that doesn’t matter. I only point it out because people have a habit of comparing themselves to people on different journeys. What’s important is we motivate each other and share great workouts we discover on YouTube. We haven’t seen each other face-to-face since February, but we’re both motivated to be in better shape the next time we see each other. It’s like we’re getting ready for a reveal.

 

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Fitness and Health, Health & Lifestyle

Get Your Workout Fix with YouTube Workouts

At the moment, non-essential businesses are closed including gyms. I’ve never been a gym person, but I know quite a few people who lived at their local gym and don’t have the proper equipment at home. I prefer to workout at home and happily wear my raggediest clothes to sweat in. No shame.

Many people may not think of going to YouTube for workout videos, but there are a plethora of workouts for every body type and needs. Search for what you’re looking for at the moment, and you’ll find it. My tip, look for vids with a runtime of 20+ minutes. There are a lot of “clip” workouts that won’t give you the workout you need. Here are some workouts in my playlist.

I love LesMills Combat workouts because I’ve always preferred martial arts style fitness. I have a couple more workouts on my hard drive that aren’t on YouTube. I mix those workouts with P90X2 and P90X3 workouts.

Whether you’re on a fitness journey or just love working out, I hope these and other YouTube vids keep you motivated and active during this time.

 

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Fitness and Health

Exercise: I Hate it, But it Feels Good

Like many others, my new year’s resolution is to increase my fitness. So far so good, but damn I hate working out. I’ve never liked it but remind myself that I’m not a naturally thin person who can eat whatever I want. If I eat a slice of bread, I’m bloated for at least 48 hours.

As I put my workout clothes on, I pace around my apartment to gather my thoughts or listen to a hype song for motivation. I talk to myself out loud saying, “Get it done!” or “You always feel good after it’s over, so do it.” Every now and then I’ll let out a growl then proceed to laugh at myself because it sounds like a kitten trying to meow for the first time.

The problem is, I have to start the motion. Even if I’m not mentally ready, once I press play to start the warmup and my body begins to move, I gain motivation. Eventually, my mind catches up with my body and I’m dripping with sweat with the urge to workout longer. Despite never wanting to workout, I ALWAYS feel amazing afterward. Bad cravings prior to my workout transform into craving a smoothie. Funny how that works.

I personally enjoy cardio, but my body reacts better to HIIT routines. I’m currently doing Les Mills workouts mixed with P90x for strength training. Choose routines you enjoy so the workout doesn’t seem tedious.

I guess I’m writing this to say hey, it’s hard. Getting in shape isn’t easy, but it’s doable. Hang in there if you’re on a fitness journey. Six months from now, you’ll look back and be glad you didn’t quit.

 

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Fitness and Health, Health & Lifestyle, portfolio

It’s hard to combat stress and anxiety in a world that can drive you insane. It’s normal to feel stressed or anxious about situations that make you feel frustrated, nervous and uneasy. When it starts interfering with your daily life, that may indicate a more serious issue.

How to Manage Stress and Anxiety

Eat a Well Balanced Diet
When it comes to appetite, stress and anxiety can either make you eat more or less. When I’m stressed, all I want to do is eat and sleep the day away. It may be difficult, but you have to continue to fuel your body with a well-balanced diet. Never skip a meal, eat energy-boosting foods and drink plenty of water.

Discover Your Triggers
Something in your life is triggering your stress or anxiety. Family, work, school, relationships, or friends may be the cause. Keep track of when you feel fine and when you become irritable, nervous or experience any other physical symptoms. Try to avoid stressors if possible. Writing in a diary and keeping track of your emotions will also help.

Exercise
Exercise helps increase the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters called endorphins. Physical activity allows you to focus on getting through your workout which results in a better mood. For me, it is hard to feel motivated enough to work out, but once I force myself to get up and start moving, the workout takes over and I’m proud I did it.

Talk to Someone
Keeping in feelings is never a good thing. Open up to friends or family that you trust. Simply expressing yourself can relieve stress. Talking to someone can also lead to advice you can utilize. I find this difficult to do for myself because I feel like I’m going to be judged or my feelings will be tossed to the side. Choose who you talk to carefully. Don’t talk to those who are self-centered and wouldn’t care about your thoughts. Choose someone who is empathetic.

Sleep
Stress and anxiety are exhausting on the body. Getting at least eight hours of sleep is important for your body to properly get rest.

Time-Out
Listen to music, go to the movies, take a hot bath, meditate, do yoga or simply go for a walk alone. Do something for yourself! Step away from the stressful moment to mentally breathe and clear your head.

Limit Alcohol and Caffeine
Avoid the “I need a drink” mentality. Caffeine stimulates your nervous system. This can result in a rapid heartbeat and high blood pressure. Sipping on a little alcohol may seem nice, but alcohol stimulates the production of the same hormones that produce stress. A study at the University of Chicago revealed alcohol and stress feed each other.

Keep a Positive Mindset 
If the only thoughts running through your head are negative, your outlook on life will be negative. Our minds can generate so many negative thoughts and scenarios. Positive thinking just means approaching situations in a more positive and productive manner. Self-talk, the little voice in your head, is the most damaging of all. Learning how to shift your thoughts will allow you to cope with stressful situations.

Don’t Be Hard on Yourself
Many times stress and anxiety are caused by an individual trying to be perfect or live up to certain expectations. Everyone is different and being perfect isn’t possible. We live in a social media world where everyone only shows the good in life causing a false image of their lifestyle. This causes envy or jealousy. Be the best you can be. Perfection doesn’t exist. Everyone is struggling with something regardless of how pretty that picture is.

You Can’t Control Everything
Being able to accept things that are out of your control will help you manage stress. There are times when you have to stop resisting and embrace the lesson. There are times when you can’t change things and that’s OK. It’s hard, but it needs to be done. Put things into perspective by asking yourself, is it as bad as it could be?

“Of course there is no formula for success except, perhaps, an unconditional acceptance of life and what it brings.” ~Arthur Rubinstein

Though you can use these tips for stress management on your own, if you feel as though your stress and anxiety is unmanageable, please seek professional help or ask others to help you find the support you need.

Utilize the helpful tips above to live a happy and stress-free life that you deserve.

10 Stress Busters to Live a Better Life

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Fitness and Health, Random Thoughts

Your Job Should Not Destroy Your Mental Health

Your job should never destroy your mental health!

I work with an individual who is sweet beyond words. She does her job, gets tasks done on time, and never causes issues. The problem? She is overworked thanks to two individuals not wanting to pull their weight, people take credit for her hard work, and they go to her for everything. It has gotten to the point of her feeling stressed and going grey at 23-years-old. She has admitted to working from 8 am-1 am at one point and gets very little sleep because people ping her at all hours of the night. Since she’s a hard worker, she feels obligated to do the work.

I’ve witnessed her cry at work multiple times. She admitted to crying several times on and off-site. Some may say she’s simply emotional, but when you’re overwhelmed, your stress will reveal itself one way or the other.

I cannot stress this enough to people. Your mental health is more important than anything. If you feel yourself deteriorating, step back. Take a day off. Don’t answer emails, phone calls, instant messages, or text. There’s nothing wrong with having a “me day.” We all need them. There are several jobs out there that don’t believe in or practice a work-life balance.

Some people are so stressed and mentally exhausted that they don’t know how to function at work or cope with additional difficulties. This can often lead to suicidal thoughts or a sudden burst of rage.

Please, if you’re feeling mentally or physically exhausted, talk to your supervisor or someone higher up who will listen and express empathy. If you don’t have someone, it’s alright to call out.

According to one study, only 7% will use a sick day for their mental health.

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YOU are a priority! Take the day off. Make it a three day weekend. Make it a promise to yourself to focus on you and you only. It won’t hurt. The last thing you want to do is dread going to work before you go to bed or before you get out of it the next morning.

 

 

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Fitness and Health, food

3 Major Health Benefits of Eating Fish

Apart from being delicious and easy to prepare, there are amazing health benefits of eating fish. It’s one of the healthiest food options to choose from and the nutritional benefits are a great excuse to start indulging. Here are three reasons why you should start incorporating fish into your diet.

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Fitness and Health

Are You Sleep Deprived?

When you are sleep deprived there are adverse effects that take place as a result. Sleep deprived individuals have trouble healing, focusing, and completing daily tasks. Sleep is essential to life and plays a role in many physiological and psychological functions such as tissue repair, growth, memory consolidation, and learning. Although sleep needs vary from one adult to another, experts believe that regular sleep deprivation (less than 7 hours per night) may over time have adverse effects on the brain and the body.

Getting enough sleep is a vital need for all of the organs to implement specific functions in the body. One of the benefits of sleep, in particular, is its restorative function. Sleeping is used to repair the body every day by putting it to rest. Also, sleep allows the body to stay more alert when you’re awake.

Conversely, sleep deprivation destabilizes metabolic activity. It increases cortisol levels (an in a hormone involved in the stress response) in the blood, affects the immune response diminishes the ability of the body to metabolize glucose and negatively affects the regulation of appetite. Similar changes are seen in people whose sleep patterns are disrupted, like, among others, in young children a case of illness. Normal body functions are disturbed b the lack of sleep, resulting in some metabolic consequences.

Effects of Being Sleep Deprived

The effects of sleep deprivation are easily recognizable: you are more irritable, you have a pessimistic attitude, you will have frequent mood swings, and you will suffer from stress and anxiety.

Similarly, sleep deprivation also affects you physiologically. It affects the sugar assimilation rate and can, therefore, lead to the appearance of glucose in the blood and an increase in your weight.

The negative effects of lack of sleep are also visible on the body temperature drop. This decrease can cause arrhythmias or even cardiac arrest.

One of the most severe effects of lack of sleep in a person is linked to his memory. Sleep deprivation can hinder the acquisition of short- and long-term knowledge and storage capacity.

Little sleep also affects your movements, it becomes slower. Similarly, lack of sleep affects the way you communicate. Your way of speaking becomes imprecise, and you present many difficulties to solve problems.

The long-term lack of sleep will also cause physical problems. In fact, many experts agree that sleep deprivation leads to the occurrence of tremors, increased perception of pain, exhaustion, intestinal disorders and an increased risk of suffering infections due to a weak immune system.

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Fitness and Health, Health & Lifestyle, Uncategorized

World Mental Health Day

Today is World Mental Health Day!

There are so many individuals with anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders that remain silent about their struggles. When they do open up, they’re often told they’re overthinking or “it’s all in your head.” With responses like this, people with mental health disorders retreat further within themselves. As a result, they are afraid to talk to anyone or self-medicate.

Let’s all be aware of the people in our lives. Reach out to them and ask if they’re alright. Give them an ear or a shoulder to cry on. Don’t dismiss their feelings.

This is also a time for those who feel overwhelmed and mentally exhausted to stop and take a break. Cleanse your mind by doing something you love. Even if it’s for an hour, the mental stimulation will be worth it.

Always remember to take care of yourself.

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