veryone’s heard the phrase “fat and happy.” I believe it’s a myth. No … I know it’s a myth. Ask any fat person and they’re probably not as happy as they may lead you to believe. I know it was true for me. But now, I’m truly fit and happy. I’ve embraced the “Be the Change” attitude and applied it to all aspects of my life. And I think I can help you do the same.
I’m not a licensed therapist, but sometimes just sharing life lessons can help as much as visits to your friendly neighborhood Ph.D. And I am a certified personal trainer, sanctioned by the International Sports and Conditioning Association (ISCA), with a passion for cooking and educating others on how to create well-balanced, nutritious and delicious meals.
So the exercise and nutrition tips you see here are things I’ve already tried and are doing/using myself. I hope they help make your journey a little more pleasant and (dare I say it?) easy!
Use the stairs as more than just a means of transportation from one floor to the next. Stairs can quickly become an interval "anaerobic" workout.
• Start by going up and down five times at a moderate pace to warm up.
• When you complete the warm up, start at the base of the stairs again. Use quick feet and speed to go up as quickly as you can.
• Catch your breath on the way down.
• Repeat for 20 minutes to get one heck of a workout.
• When this becomes easy, try taking two stairs at a time or timing your ascent and working to beat the time.
Use Your Body
You don't have to go to a gym to get a great strength workout! Your own body will supply enough resistance.
• Stand in front of a chair or bench with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
• Make sure to sit back into the chair with your weight in your heels.
• Make sure your knees never go forward over your toes. (Yes, you feel like you are falling backwards, but you will get the hang of it.)
• Perform three sets of 10 repetitions.
These can be performed on your couch or the same chair you used for your squats.
• Sit on the chair or couch and place your hands on the edge with palms down and fingers forward, keeping them close to your butt.
• While supporting your weight, move your rear end forward off the seat.
• Using your arms and your legs, lower your rear until your arms are as close to a 90° angle as possible.
• Then raise yourself back to the starting position using the back of your arms (triceps muscles).
• Perform three sets of 10 repetitions.
Use your couch to do crunches correctly!
• Lie on the floor with your knees bent and your toes under the bottom of the couch.
• Without straining your neck make sure your lower back is pressed against the floor and your belly-button is sucked in.
• Place your arms out next to you hovering slightly above the floor.
• Now, breathe in and exhale as you raise up by bringing your ribs toward your hips slowly.
• Then lower, not allowing your shoulders to touch the ground.
• Perform three sets of 20 repetitions.
When the weather is nice, visit your city or town's public parks and trails for an excellent workout in the great outdoors.
• Start with trying to complete one lap around a lake or through the trails walking fast the entire time, as if you are hurrying to catch a bus. It's best if you begin by knowing what that distance is. Usually town parks and recreation departments can give you that information.
• This can turn into jogging for one minute and walking for two minutes, repeating until an entire lap is completed.
• The family that plays — and works out together — is a healthier family. Get your friends involved, too. It's always a great time saver to bring your loved ones and do your workouts together. Not only does it help to have someone with you, but you also don't have to sacrifice quality time with your fam and friends to get in your workouts.
• When time is short or you are traveling, you still need to get in some exercise. Try an INTENSE 15- to 20-minute interval cardio workout, which help spike your metabolism. Beginners, try 30 seconds hard and 1 minute rest, and then repeat. Advanced exercisers, go hard for 30 seconds and rest for 30 seconds until you’ve reached 15 or 20 minutes.
• Does running hurt your knees? If you are using a treadmill, set the incline to 10 and walk up that hill. This burns just as many calories and helps build endurance. No treadmill. Find a nice steep hill and walk up and down!
Do you think eating your veggies has to be expensive? It actually doesn't.
• Frozen or canned vegetables, which are less expensive than fresh produce, have just as many nutrients when purchased and prepared properly.
• Make sure your frozen vegetables have no added butter, salt, or sugar. Just good, plain vegetables.
• When preparing canned veggies, make sure to rinse them in water (using a strainer is the easiest way) to wash off the salt liquid before cooking and/or serving. (The same applies to fruit.)
• Still miss all the fresh produce of summer (in Iowa we take it when we can get it)? Visit your local farmers' markets and roadside stands. Not only is the produce usually cheaper, but you will be supporting local farmers and enjoying a very fresh, nutrient-packed product to feed your family.
Plan Your Meals
Before heading to the grocery store, plan a week's worth of meals.
• Not only does this help keep you from impulse buys and going over budget, but it also helps to ensure the food you buy gets eaten and doesn't spoil.
• Plan meals with similar ingredients. This helps to combine foods you already have at home with what you need from the store.
Including balanced snacks throughout the day is not only important to help keep your metabolism going, but it also keeps you from grabbing unhealthy "convenience" snacks during the day.
• A 100-calorie pack of almonds (make them inexpensively at home using small, reusable plastic bags and measuring cups) paired with an apple is a great snack that doesn't need to be refrigerated, so you can carry it with you in your car or wherever you're going.
• A banana and a light cheese stick are also a great option, but be sure to check the label on the cheese stick. You want a higher number of protein grams vs. fat grams, otherwise it's a fat stick, not a cheese stick.
• Stay away from packaged foods that have more than 7 grams of sugar per serving.