One of Three Reasons Why We Exercise

Abigail Wings Class 030913This past Saturday our 6 year old grand daughter Abigail went with me, as my exercise class assistant, to teach the Wings Wellness Cancer Survivor Exercise Class. She was purple from head to toe of course, complete with yoga mat and water bottle. If she read this she would correct me and say “I’m almost 7”.

The Bug, as I call her, thinks it’s normal to have a grandmother who teaches exercise classes and who does Insanity, P90X and personal training. She also thinks it’s perfectly normal to have a grandfather who eats clean, trains intensely and currently competes as a bodybuilder. They are big buddies, by the way.

When we found out our daughter was pregnant with the Bug, that’s when we decided to step it up and get serious with our level of fitness. We’re in it for our health. We want to live as many years as possible, as well as possible. We now also have the Bear and the Sweet Pea, so life just kept getting sweeter.

What is your reason WHY? How deep is it? A trainer once said that a person sitting on the couch eating snack food is just as motivated as the one who just ate clean and is in the gym working out. They each are motivated by something. What motivates you? Hopefully we can inspire you in some way to dig deep and find your reason why. Our children and grandchildren need us around. They need us to be examples. It’s not too late to be the one who leads your family into a healthier lifestyle. Tell us your reason why. We want to hear from you!

Supplements Don’t Matter Yet

The question “what supplements should I take?” is one of the most frequent questions we are asked. It’s a legitimate question. What you would like to read right here, right now, is exactly what you should be taking to help you reach you goals. If someone would just tell you, just share the secret, you would go buy them right now and take them faithfully to get your results.

There’s only one problem. They may not matter yet. 

What?! Of course they matter! They are all over the place, everyone is taking them, and I’m reading about them all the time! Surely there is something I should be taking, that is the answer for my ____________ (weight loss, hard-gainer muscle building, inflammation, muffin top, joint pain, overeating, heart health, peak performance, cellulite, digestive disturbance, slow metabolism – you get the picture). I’m pretty healthy, I’ve been dealing with this a while, and I’m not getting anywhere. I know I’m missing something. The answer is out there somewhere. I want to know what I should be taking to get results. Someone just tell me and I will do it!

Here is the hard truth: supplements don’t matter until you build the foundation. 

Would you build a house on a damaged foundation? No. Would you paint and put new wheels on a car that had no engine? No. So why would you invest in supplements to try to enhance or boost something that is not there yet? Sure, we are learning more about supplements that can benefit our overall health. We’re not talking about someone with specific health needs, or telling you to disregard new science. But our point is this – without having the fundamental components in place allowing your body to first run the way it should, taking supplements for enhancement makes about as much sense as a bald guy hurrying to a haircut appointment.  Bald man head

Why are we willing to spend money and be faithful to quick fixes, but not the basics? The fundamental components aren’t new and they aren’t sexy. They are the things most people DON’T WANT TO DO,  because they require focus and discipline. Here they are: 

1. Sleep

If you don’t get enough sleep, and we mean 7 or more hours a night, you are basically undoing the effort you put in during the day. Make this a priority! Supplements can’t help you if your hormones are out of whack, you’re exhausted and running on fumes, your body can’t recover from workouts and you can’t control your eating because you can’t think clearly. Stop cutting your sleep short!

2. Water

Your body is like a machine, and if you want it to run well, you will give it plenty of water. Even small degrees of dehydration can negatively impact function. Supplements to enhance your workout performance are wasted if you are voiding them out with dehydration. Muscle repair will be slowed if you’re dehydated & nutrients can’t be shuttled in to the tissue.

3. Clean Eating

Your body is tough and smart. It will try to make do with anything you throw it. Just don’t expect your body composition to be high lean and low fat if you’re not going to give it the fuel it really needs to perform, repair and grow. You are slowing your results if you’re giving your body plenty of food, but not plenty of nutrition. There’s a difference, and it’s about more than just protein. Your body needs lean, clean, whole, fresh, unprocessed food. Until it gets that on a consistent basis, money is wasted on diet pills, fat burners, expensive protein powders and random vitamins. Give your body what it needs with real food. If you can’t get enough whole food in each day, make a balanced protein, veggie, fruit, fiber, healthy fat smoothie in your blender or drink Shakeology. It’s the only meal replacement we use and recommend.

4. Exercise

You can lose weight without exercising. It’s completely true. Problem is, that weight is going to be a mix of water, lean mass and fat. Lean mass is a precious commodity. Exercise and proper nutrition will help you keep it. Cutting calories, cutting out entire food categories and most dieting tactics just make you a smaller version of the bigger you. Your body is designed to move, so get up and get moving. Consistency and intensity matter. You can reshape your body and build strength, size and speed without supplements.

5. Stress control

Stress is killing us. It impacts all the other components. If we can’t sleep, we’re drinking everything but water, we’re grabbing comfort food on the go, and we’re not getting our workouts in, THEN STRESS WINS, AND WE LOSE. Ditch the sleeping aids, alcohol, caffeine loading and macaroni and cheese. Work on the other components, do whatever it takes to get some down time, find your perfect stress tactic. Make this a priority.

So there you have it. Sleep, water, clean food, exercise and controlled stress. Concentrate on these things. Put in the work it takes to master them with a high level of compliance. THEN your body will help you know exactly where it needs extra assistance! 

Is Agave a Good Choice?

agave emptySo I seriously don’t like what I’ve been hearing lately concerning agave. Some of you may be like me, looking for the most righteous sweetener possible. I don’t sweeten a lot of food. I’d just like to have a sweetener I can use in oatmeal or in my coffee without feeling bummed about it or worrying that I am going to grow a third eyeball in the middle of my forehead or something. Over the last several years I graduated from plain white sugar to raw sugar or sucanat, and from Equal and Sweet-n-Low to Splenda. Then I went totally Splenda. Then I discovered stevia and agave and dropped the Splenda. One problem for me is that I like stevia in hot tea, but not in coffee, so agave seemed to do the trick. It has a hint of a molasses flavor and is sweeter so I didn’t use as much. Agave is lower on the glycemic index so it doesn’t spike blood sugar like honey would, it’s plant based, and you can get it organic. What’s not to love? Now I’m hearing that agave is too processed and may even be so processed in some cases that you might as well be using high fructose corn syrup! Good grief! How can we take plants and mess them up that much?

My most recent purchase of agave was organic, raw agave that is low-heat processed. Apparently in agave this is the best we can do, but some experts I know are recommending we not use it. Word now is that stevia (also plant based) or small amounts of raw, local honey are the best in cases when you MUST have sweetener. There are some other natural sweeteners that aren’t readily available, one is Grade B maple syrup which is harder to find. Better yet to not use sweetener at all.

These are the two I’m using now – stevia and raw, local honey. But now I’ve found out that the pollination process with the honey involves cotton and soybean plants. I’m not a betting woman, (ok, maybe a few rolls of quarters in a slot machine once in a while), but if I was, I’d bet these could be genetically modified crops. Drats!!!

Well, my mom always said if you didn’t drink it black you weren’t a real coffee drinker anyway…

What sweeteners do you use, and how do you use them?

The Difference in a Cheat and a Treat

We’ve talked about cheating and treating before, but lets dig in a little deeper this time. What is the real difference?

Cheating

Many of us know what it’s like to be on a diet and then cheat. Sometimes it’s a meal, sometimes it’s a day, and sometimes it’s a whole weekend. It can even spiral into weeks. There we are again, trying to get started, usually on the next available Monday. Have you done this? If you have, you know how bad it feels. If not, try to imagine what it feels like to have pressure to be 100% perfect with your eating. Then your willpower caves, you give in to a craving and now, once again, you have failed. Why even try? You’ll never be perfect. It’s not a fun place to be, and it can have long-lasting negative consequences. From the food you ate? Sure, but the bigger issue is the depressing spiral of negative thinking.

Treating

People who enjoy treats have a completely different mindset and strategy. They are on a journey, and the experience is mostly positive. If you study them, you’ll see unique habits and attitude. You will also discover that they have a deep reason WHY, that drives them to make the choices they do. Rather than dieting, they generally make healthy choices with their eating on a consistent daily basis from meal to meal. They aren’t starving. The most successful ones are not eating low calorie diets. It’s also highly likely that they are strategically eating some tasty starchy carbs. What?! Yes, carbs! They enjoy eating, and may exhibit a thankful attitude regarding food. They enjoy a special treat periodically. It doesn’t derail them, and they feel no guilt. Yeah I know, but they really are human!

So what is the difference?

There can be many differences, but let’s highlight three of them for this discussion.

1. Treaters have a PLAN.

This is a big deal and in our opinion, one of the most critical differences. Treaters PLAN. They intentionally buy food, prep food, own blue ice & divided plates, carry coolers, know their schedules and know where the pitfalls lie. Rather than walk blindly or nakedly into a temptation zone, they are prepared. This isn’t willpower and determination. This is planning and being in control of your own eating destiny.

2. Treaters are SELECT.

The most successful treaters don’t talk a lot about trigger foods or make genenalized statements about classes of food. For instance, they might not say “I love cookies!” or “I can’t give up my pizza”. Instead, you might see them go to a specific bakery or café to pick up the exact cookie they like, or they might say “When I eat pizza, I like XYZ pizza from XYZ pizza place.” Anything else doesn’t seem like a treat, and it’s not worth it! This allows them to pass up anything less than their very favorite. When they do get their favorite item, it’s satisfying and enjoyable, and then they can move on.

3. Treaters eat DELIBERATELY.

If you watch a treater, you will notice that they eat well. They don’t skip meals, and they don’t eat like birds, but they don’t overindulge. They aren’t eating low calorie, fat-free, low-carb, etc. The most successful ones aren’t even counting calories. They are choosing food that is nourishing and eating plenty of it. This helps feed muscle, deny fat storage, stabilize blood sugar, diminish inflammation, promote healing, maintain energy and erase cravings. Eating is an experience and a gift!

If you want to break out of the negative cheating cycle and become a positive, satisfied treater, start with implementing and practicing these behaviors. Develop a PLAN, be very SELECT with your food, ditch the fad diets and DELIBERATELY nourish your body. You will be amazed at the difference!

Have you transitioned from being a dieter who cheats to a healthy eater who treats? Tell us about what has helped you! Do you have favorite treat foods? Tell us what they are!

You might also find this post helpful:

Is it okay to have a cheat meal?

GoToob Travel Containers for Liquids

Are you trying to find a way to transport liquids during travel or just when you are out and about? We are too, and we just found these travel containers for liquids by GoToob, so we thought we’d share the info.

They are 2 oz containers so they’re carry-on approved if you are flying, which is nice. We also like that they are different colors. Who doesn’t need something like this for things such as shampoo (flying or for your gym bag)? They are soft and squishy and have an unobtrusive suction cup, so you can even stick them to the wall. There is a no-leak valve, so it shouldn’t be too scary to throw them in your bag.

The best part though is that they are 100% BPA-free and food safe! I’ve been looking for a way to be able to carry some raw honey or almond milk with me for hot tea or coffee when I am out and about and hadn’t found anything I really trusted in my purse or back pack, but now I think I’ve found the solution!

They aren’t cheap, but I think they are worth it. We’ll let you know how they hold up and I’ll try to add these to our Amazon store so you can get to them easily.

Do you have solutions you like for liquids and other items when you travel or run errands? Let us know!