Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Motivate Yourself in Health and Fitness

Is There a Real Need For a Personal Trainer?
Let's talk about different forms of motivation. As a person looking to get motivated to lose weight, you should first ask yourself, "Can I motivate myself? If I cannot afford a personal trainer can I still get the job done?" Some people - those who are motivated by something or have completely made a decision to motivate themselves -- can use this motivation to get to a point where they're making good decisions about their eating habits, losing weight, and reaching their goals. On the other hand, there are people looking to lose weight who are not in a particular state of mind to motivate themselves. The question is, Do you need a personal trainer to motivate you? I cannot answer that question for you directly, just as I can't take your journey to health and fitness for you. But I can tell you this: in my opinion you can lose weight without a personal trainer. And you can even lose weight without dieting. I'll give you tips on how to succeed in self-motivating to weight loss, and discuss if and how a trainer can be useful in the process.
You Can 'Do It Yourself'
Self-motivating can be very difficult. We have created a society which seems to be very needy. This manifests in the realm of health and fitness as the belief that we have to hire a personal trainer and go to a gym in order to accomplish our health goals. But personal trainers are just another tool to assist you in your weight loss; hiring a personal trainer does not determine whether you're going to lose weight or reach your goals. I know a lot of personal trainers who have obese clients start a weight loss process and after they lose five or 10 pounds they set them loose. Those clients are still obese. I know personal trainers working with clients to get them stronger but they end up gaining weight because of the muscles they build. In the grand scheme of things, this is a positive development because muscle burns more calories than fat, but the clients cannot control what they are doing outside of the gym-- self-motivating to change their diets - so they do not lose weight. The good news is that the inverse is also true: you CAN lose weight without a personal trainer. If you structure the way you make changes in your life properly, you can do the job of losing weight and getting fit yourself.
To do this, you will have to understand certain aspects of fitness and nutrition. Given the public health crisis of obesity in our society, there are enormous amounts of information on how not to be obese available to you -- on the Internet and in libraries and bookstores -- that you should take full advantage of. Gather resources and information about the human body, food plans, workouts, training regimens, and dietary supplements to help you work towards reaching your fitness goals. I also recommend looking in the self-help section of the bookstore to see what speaks to you. This can help you change your mind about other negative habits in your life so there is a complete metamorphosis, not just of the body but of the mind as well. This is what ultimately determines your success - how far you can go to alter your mind. This is why personal trainers do not guarantee weight loss, because they cannot live in your head. What can guarantee that you reach your goal is altering your state of mind so that you think differently about health and fitness, about your weight loss. Even better, eventually you will not have to think about it at all. Health and fitness and training can and will become second nature, just like waking up and brushing your teeth.
You Can Do It at Home
As we think about health and fitness being second nature, let's also consider the necessity of a gym or fitness facility to reach our fitness goals. As with the 'need' for a personal trainer, there is no need to pay a monthly fee to enter a place where there is equipment, other people, or sometimes distractions in order to reach our fitness goals and become healthier people. Just being active and doing more than you did in order to become obese or gain the weight will start the process of reversing your obesity or shedding pounds. So if you do not have a gym or fitness facility, what do you or where do you go for exercise? Well, places you can get a good workout may be in your own home, like a spare bedroom, basement, or garage. Find a spot where you can lay out a couple of mats, put up a small television, get a few free weights, and some workout videos. Add some fresh plants and make sure you have nice lighting and upbeat colors to make it an inviting personal workout space. Over time, setting up your own workout space will cost you considerably less than the gym membership that you going to be paying for even when you're not going to the gym.
You can also go outside in the sunshine and nature to get some vitamin D and fresh air. In the spring, summer, and fall your training may happen at a park or lake or some other outdoor venue. In the winter this may be a little bit more difficult, but you will have your personal workout space to retreat to, where you can continue to stretch, do push-ups, sit-ups and free squats in order to keep your body in motion to burn fat and continue weight loss. None of these suggestions requires you going to a fitness facility. They don't require you to put out a great deal of money to become healthy. What it does require is that you build a resistance to failure and the negative voices in your head and create within yourself the aptitude for self-motivation. This means you will have to take on the burden of being able to motivate yourself. In essence you will have to become your own personal trainer.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Purchasing Fitness Equipment For Health And Fitness

Are you looking to find and purchase fitness equipment? Supreme health and fitness is possible when purchasing fitness equipment and actually using it! As you read this article, you will discover how to purchase some great equipment, as well as discover some great benefits of doing so!
There are many different ways that you can get fit, however, one of the best things that you can do, to stay committed to achieving great health and fitness, is by purchasing fitness equipment, and using it regularly.
This is an easier discipline than going for a run, jog or doing press ups, and other activities. Why? Because when you have something tangible, you will be more apt to work it daily!
The good news is that there are many options out there, and investing the time to finding and purchasing fitness equipment that is right for you, is a good idea. There are many options, such as treadmills, weights for weight training, and rowing machines, aerobic training equipment, and much more. Investing the time to finding the best, is a great idea.
This can happen with some research.
The first thing to do, is look at what you like. If you are new to health and fitness, exercise, etc, then it can take a bit of soul searching to be able to find the suitable options that you like, and would like to invest time into using.
If you use a gym, and want to add to this with your own fitness gear, then you likely know what you like, and selecting the best options is much easier than if you didn't know. Whether you use a gym or not, purchasing equipment for home is a great idea. Not only does it save a lot of money, but it can also can actually make all the difference in your fitness level, as it is there, and doesn't require scheduling time at a gym, which can be expensive.
There are many ways to purchase fitness equipment. For example, the fitness magazines are generally full up with options to buying fitness equipment.
Locally, you may also find stores that specialize in this equipment or at least have these kind of items for sale. A better solution I like to go with, is to buy fitness equipment online. When you purchase online, you will ultimately find that you have access to a better range of options, and this can make all the difference.
Being able to buy the best, is a good idea, and most local stores don't have the range of options we need. Buying online also has the added benefit that you can actually go through and order, and then get home delivery!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Current Trends in Health and Fitness

Earlier this year I attended the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) Personal Trainers Conference. During the conference, I learned some useful information and received validation that I am on the right path when it comes to my personal approach to workouts and fitness in general. Since these types of conferences are a good reflection of current trends and future directions of the health and fitness industry, at least among true fitness professionals, I thought you might be interested in learning about the most discussed topics during the conference.
On a side note, there are always personal trainers and other health and fitness employees who have no interest in increasing their knowledge or providing better information to their clients/customers. These people are not representative of the entire health and fitness industry, although they do make up a significant portion of it. The true professionals realize that health and fitness information is constantly evolving and we have to keep learning if we want to provide our clients with the most accurate information and the best quality service.
Personal trainers and other health and fitness employees who are not interested in improving their knowledge or staying up to date with information are usually more concerned about making money than they are about their clients. Naturally, it is best to avoid these people whenever possible, because they generally provide lower quality products or services that will not help you effectively reach your goals and generally result in disappointment and frustration.
Okay, with that little diversion out of the way, let's get back to the conference. There were many different topics covered during the conference including nutritional issues, performance enhancement for athletes, training special populations (children, elderly, people with injuries, etc.), and more. However, even with this wide variety of topics, there were some topics that seemed to keep coming up over and over in different presentations.
Probably the most frequently discussed topics were related to movement, specifically the importance of moving correctly and training to correct poor movement patterns. If you have followed my writings over the years, it should be no surprise that proper movement is very important to me and it is great to see that movement issues are taking a more prominent role in the health and fitness industry.
There are many reasons why movement technique is getting more attention, but one of the driving forces is actually the rising cost of health care. As health care slowly shifts from just treating problems to actively preventing them, research has found that people who have incorrect movement technique are more likely to develop muscle and joint problems later in life, which results in higher numbers of joint replacements, falls, and other major problems. To make matters worse, these problems are not only found in the elderly.
With the removal of physical education from many schools, children are growing up being less active. This not only has implications for increasing levels of childhood obesity, but it has consequences for movement as well. We are finding that inactive children are much more likely to have poor movement technique when they grow up, which results in premature deterioration of their body. Younger people commonly have physical problems that should not occur for another 10-20 years or more and many of these problems are the direct result of poor movement technique putting excessive wear and tear on their muscles and joints.
The good news is these incorrect movements can be retrained and when poor movement patterns are replaced with correct ones, people can dramatically improve their long-term health. Unfortunately, training biomechanically correct movements is more complicated than just performing random exercises and exercising on traditional machines will generally not do the job. It takes concentration and awareness of what muscles are contracting and how each segment of your body is moving, along with the knowledge of how each movement is technically supposed to be performed.
When all these elements are put together in a well-designed training program, people of all ages and ability levels can improve their overall health and physical function. This was evident at the conference, because there were sessions on exercising and training movements with many different types of people including, children, elderly people, athletes, pregnant women, and people with injuries. It is clear that training is advancing past simply working individual muscles and becoming more about training each muscle to work correctly with the rest of the body.
Proper movement was not the only topic covered and many of the usual subjects were represented as well. On the nutrition side, protein intake and supplementation are still popular, because people are always interested in learning things they can do to improve their results. Another topic that continues to be noteworthy is eating disorders, along with the importance of developing good eating habits. People with bad eating habits (eating too much before they go to bed, eating too few calories, etc.), almost always have a hard time making progress, because even a great exercise routine can be undone by poor nutritional habits.
There were also many sessions with practical information about different types of training and demonstrations of new training equipment. Much of the focus was on training to improve specific attributes, such as speed, agility, power, and balance. Improving these different characteristics is important for improving physical performance in athletes, but they also have applications for improving performance in everyday tasks and improving the quality of life in all segments of the population.
Of course, no conference would be complete without sessions on core training, because everyone cares about their abdominal muscles. Fortunately these sessions were not about generic topics, such as training to get 6-pack abs, but rather training to improve the function of your body. The core muscles are essential for protecting your spine, maintaining good posture, preventing back pain, and much more, but many people still only think about how they look and not about how they function.
The topics discussed above were not the only ones covered during the conference, but they were the most common ones. When looking at everything, it's clear the overall theme and general direction of the health and fitness industry is learning to use specific exercises and movements to improve physical function in people of all ages and ability levels. As time progresses, hopefully training not just to improve appearance, but also to improve physical function, will become a standard for personal trainers and others in the health and fitness industry. Unfortunately, right now we are still a long way from that happening.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Thoughts, the Foundation for all Health and Fitness Achievement

"Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe it can achieve" - W. Clement Stone
Like any learned skill, there are certain basics that must be mastered first. The very bedrock upon which all health and fitness achievement rests are thoughts. Everything man-made in the world or any action you've taken in the past all started with a thought. There is not one man-made object or goal that didn't start as a thought in someone's head that was then made into reality. Your toaster, your TV, your automobile, your desire for better health.
A single thought ultimately transformed into physical reality.
In order to achieve any health or fitness goal you must start with this basic concept; thoughts are things. Thoughts are the foundation upon which you build the framework for attainment of your goal. Every thought has a physical manifestation in our bodies; every thought produces physical substances called neuro-transmitting enzymes that have instant effects on how we feel and who we are at the cellular level.
Don't believe me? Think of biting into a big, juicy lemon or think about fingernails slowly running down a chalk board and tell me you didn't have an immediate, physical response.
Or how about a thought that changed the world?
Every day, thousands of times a day, all over the world people fly from destination to destination. It's amazing that a person can step into a device that lifts them off the ground and flies through the air at great speed sometimes over great distances safely carrying them to their destination in a matter of minutes or hours! Only a bit over a hundred years ago that would have been considered impossible or a miracle. Yet it happens every day today and it started with a thought in someone's head that man could fly. On December 17th, 1903 the thought that man had had for generations to fly, became reality.
That is the power of thoughts!
If you can have that kind of immediate response from such a simple thought, just imagine what you can accomplish with a focused, burning desire backed by faith and persistence!
Life isn't fair or normal, there's just life. But that should be a comforting thought. If life were fair all things would be equal and all people would be equal. The logical conclusion is that there could be no social movement up or down, no bettering of yourself nor worsening, no getting healthier, just stagnation. Because life isn't fair it means you have the ability to control whether you improve your life or make it worse but at least you have the ability to make change.
What about external influences which you have no control over? Say your significant other is killed in a car accident or you become paraplegic in a skiing accident. The list could go on and on. But there is one thing you have total control over.
Viktor E. Frankl, a concentration camp survivor, put it best in his book "Man's Search for Meaning,"
"The one thing you can't take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one's freedoms is to choose ones attitudes in any given circumstance."
The only absolute freedom you have is choosing how you react to life. And how you choose starts with a thought.
Who you are right now is the sum total of what you've thought about up to this moment. If you're not satisfied with who you are right now, the good news is who you will be from now on is entirely up to you. Change your thoughts and you can start changing yourself. If you want to lose weight or be more fit, it all starts with a thought.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Health and Fitness Business

Online search activity rose thirty-nine percent last year to hit an all-time high of 5.7 billion searches, according to Nielsen Netratings, the global leader in Internet market research. Studies have also discovered that searchers are using the Internet as their global and local "yellow pages". Whether they are searching for the latest movie times, a good Moroccan restaurant, a nearby health spa or a fitness center in their city, fewer and fewer people are picking up the big yellow book and spending fifteen minutes trying to find your listing.
Instead, they have a permanently-connected broadband link to Google, Yahoo, MSN or their favorite local search portal, and within seconds they have typed in something like "Denver health spa" or "North Seattle chiropractor," received thousands or millions of results, and scanned the first few until one catches their eye.
Many business owners in the health and fitness industry think it is good enough to put up a web site and print the URL on their business card. They have no idea that thousands or millions of other web sites are competing for the same terms (usually product/service+location) or that, without being properly optimized, their web site is destined to sit in the darkest corners of cyberspace. If the purpose of the site is to act as an online brochure, sort of a convenience for those who already know about your business, then it doesn't need to rank high on the search engines.
However, if your web site is meant to bring in sales, leads, news clients, members... what good is it doing way back on page 55 of Google for your best search terms? If you run a fitness center, shouldn't you be on the first page (or at least the first few pages) for "Your City Fitness Center" or "Your City Gym"? The same goes for all local businesses, from chiropractors to martial arts schools and health spas.
But it doesn't have to be local either. What if you manufacture fitness equipment, or produce a health supplement and want to market your products nationwide or globally? The same principal applies - either you compete for those key terms or you sit back in the corner and throw money away on hosting and web site design, never to obtain a positive return on investment.
Now that you know "something" needs to be done, let's discuss what that "something" is. It goes by the name Search Engine Optimization - SEO, for short. Search engine optimization is a mixture of Internet marketing, web site design, copywriting, PR, coding and other factors with the solitary goal of getting your web site to show up better on search engines for a certain group of keywords and phrases.
Professional search engine optimizers study the algorithms patented by major search engines to determine how each determines how to rank a web site. Google alone looks at over 200 factors when choosing where to place a web site on its result page for a search! Lucky for you there are firms out there dedicated to staying on top of the latest SEO strategies. Just be sure to choose the right one, because not all search engine optimizers are created equal.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Health and Fitness Clubs on the High Rise

Health and Fitness Clubs Surprise Rise?
It came as no surprise to me. The report from pronounced that memberships to health and fitness clubs were actually on the rise, even in spite of current economic conditions. The biggest growth is coming from elder 'Boomers', age 55 and up.
Um... that would be me!
So why the surprise? The fact that my age demographic is leading the way in the current membership explosion shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. It was the Boomers who started the whole craze.
I can't say I'm big on joining a fitness center as I prefer doing my own thing. Here in my high rise condo, I have access to an indoor pool and a very well-equipped gym.
I rarely use it. But whenever I walk by, the majority of people who do use it are... you guessed it - minimum 45+. One of the regulars is 78 years old!
For myself, I spend a good amount of time in the stairs, currently running 5 cycles up and down 22 floors, three times a week. It takes just over 30 minutes. As well, Maggie and I do a fair bit of walking after dinner and on weekends. Add a few stretches coupled with some occasional resistance training as recommended by most professional trainers and I'm good. In fact, I'm pretty darned proud of my 55+ year old bod!:)
The Lure of Health and Fitness Clubs
It's hard to resist those health and fitness club flyers, isn't it? Boomers especially cling to the vision of maintaining a youthful, vigorous appearance. We're getting more 'quantity' of life, with age expectancy rising all the time. What Boomers demand now however is 'quality'. They want to squeeze as much enjoyment out of their ever lengthening years.
Of course, you could always take the Rodney Dangerfield approach to looking your best, "If you want to look thinner, hang around more fat people."
Personally, I believe you actually become who you hang out with. My job teaching young children for the past 37 years has certainly had a better effect than any gym. Plus the fact that Maggie is 12 years younger keeps me energized as well!
Choosing a Health and Fitness Club
Whether or not you join a health and fitness club is a matter of choice. Some people need the extra push and accountability that a personal trainer or other club members will give. Organized gyms also can provide a social outlet which is most important in this day and age of increasing isolation and cocooning.
Of course, due diligence is required before signing on the dotted line at any fitness center. While the initial offer to get you in the door may be quite enticing, you have to be extremely aware of the inevitable upsell to an annual or 'family' package deal.
The main question is, will you actually stick to the program? Most clubs are banking that you won't! They know most people are very weak when it comes to keeping commitments, especially the pain-for-gain kind. They also know these same people are even weaker when it comes to asking for a refund. They would rather simply slink away rather than be held accountable.
The fact is, most health and fitness clubs are very strict with their refund policies. This brings a whole new meaning to the term, "Use it (your membership) or lose it (hundreds of dollars of your hard-earned cash!)".
Warning: Health and Fitness Club Fraud
It's not bad enough that you have to be aware of 'upsell-hell' when you shop around for a training center. It's extremely rare NOT to be confronted with an upsell opportunity, so expect it. (Do you want fries with that?)
Maggie actually had such an experience with a spa, very similar to the gym bait and switch routine. She purchased a basic package, only to be told the next week that the package was 'discontinued'. She would have to upgrade.
The following week, she was pitched to add a massage. The week after that, she was followed by a rep with a clipboard, showing her all the benefits she would gain if she upgraded to the next better deal. Maggie didn't return again after the 5th week. She just cut her loss. Obviously, this spa mistook her for an ATM machine.
Occasionally though, you'll come across outright frauds. The news from my old home town of Nashua, N.H. recently reported that the president of a new, unregistered health and fitness club was found guilty of illegally using $14,000 in pre-paid memberships to carpet his facility. Apparently, this person was a firm believer in exercise as law officials concluded that he planned to take the money and run!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Heath and Fitness For Everyone

If there is one concern that all of us have it is directly focused toward our well beings. For being well is the only way to live, both physically and mentally speaking. Specifically, it is our health and fitness levels that are, whether we truly choose to accept it or not, all too important factors in our lives. They keep us going. Keep us living. And having poor health will not allow us to fully live and enjoy what life has to offer. And being out of shape is nothing to be satisfied with as it proves to make us incapable of doing many activities we would otherwise love to do.
So, hopefully with all this said, it would make individuals like yourself say to themselves "Well, am I I, fit?" Or, "Am I happily living?" And they're questions that should be inwardly asked and answered accordingly. If you're not healthy or physically fit you need to ask yourself why. Usually, lack of a healthy life is not simply put upon individuals. Instead, it's gained from something that's done, or, more likely, from something that isn't done.
Ask Yourself If You Live A Healthy Lifestyle
You need to ask yourself if the way in which you live is in line with being - and, more importantly, striving to be - healthy. Do you eat well on a regular basis or do you eat poorly day in and day out? Or is there a bit of a combination, of monitored and carefree eating? Do you exercise to keep yourself in decent shape or do you prefer vegetating, inadvertently keeping yourself unfit? Or again, do you exercise intermittently and still partake in being a vegetable too?
After asking yourself the above questions give yourself some answers. If you do eat without care daily, do sit around and opt out of exercising then it's likely you're a bit unhealthy. Yet, this unhealthiness can easily be addressed and fixed.
Changing The Way You Live - Becoming and Being Healthy
All that needs to be done is a little reorganization of what you typically do day to day, both concerning eating and exercising habits. As far as eating goes, it's a matter of eating healthfully. This means that you eat wholesome foods, in fair amounts, around 3-4 times a day. Stay away from junk or filler foods. Avoid eating till you're stuffed or considerably "satisfied." And eat on a schedule having 3 full meals each day, trying to snack rarely and healthfully, if and when you do.
As far as exercising and activity goes you should aim to be active at least 3-4 times a week to maintain a fitness level that is in line with being healthy. Exercise can be moderate to strenuous based on your current physical shape or fitness goals. Just be sure to stick through exercising even if at first you seem unable or not strong enough - the effort put into a workout is completely worth it, as is your overall good health that will surely follow.
Truly, Anyone Can Have Great Health and High Fitness Levels
And don't underestimate yourself through the process of becoming a healthy individual. You can (stressing the word "can") eat well and be active all at once. It will just take some initiation and unbendable determination on your part. For, no one ever said that being healthy was a matter of just proclaiming yourself healthy. It takes work. It requires drive. But, in truth, it's really not all that difficult to work toward; having good health and being fit is easy enough for everyone to achieve.