Common Core

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“Core strength is key to everything. it’s not the way I look, but about stabilizing my body so I can perform better on stage” -Paul Stanley

“But if I keep my core and back strong, the scoliosis does not bother me” -Usain Bolt

“What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.’ -Ralph Waldo Emerson


Everyone is different. We have unique nutritional needs and wants. Some people function well on low carb, low fat diets. Others function well on low fiber vegetarian diets. Some people have extreme allergies and need to avoid certain foods altogether. Some people need to lose weight while others need to gain weight. You get the picture.

But, we all want the same thing.  We all want that strong and sexy core.  We want that “perfect” body with hard muscles and curves.  We want those formed, rock hard abdominals and obliques.  To get there, each person needs to follow certain “common core” practices to stay healthy, well, and improve their bodies. First, Each and every one of us needs to feed our bodies with certain, necessary nutrients:

-low fat protein for strength and healing

-whole grain carbohydrates for long lasting energy

-fruits and vegetables for vitamins and minerals

-Dairy for healthy bones

-healthy fats for maintenance

-water or low calorie fluids to stay hydrated


Consider these principles as well when choosing your foods:

-No one food is good or bad. We create our personal beliefs about foods and humanize them from our experiences and thoughts around them.

-Moderation is key. Small & irregular desserts & snacks are OK.

-Choose to eat high quality foods to satisfy hunger and nutritional needs. Do your best to avoid eating out of boredom or emotions.

-High quality foods and calories will almost always create better health than low quality foods and calories.

-Preparing foods at home will be more healthy than eating out most of the time.

-Consistent portion sizes are key. Appropriate portion sizes of foods will help you get to a healthy weight and keep your body working well.

-Exercise will make your body strong and get you to a healthy weight over time.

Of course, this is a short list of core principles toward a balanced, healthy meal plan. Consult a dietitian and personal trainer to find realistic food practices for you. As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!

 

 

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The Reality of Ready

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“Don’t wait until they tell you that you are ready. Get in there. I waited a long time out in the world before I gave myself permission to fail.” -Peter Dinklage

“It’s a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you’re ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now. And you may as well do it now. Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any.”― Hugh Laurie

“If we wait until we are ready, we will be waiting for the rest of our lives” -Hugh Laurie


Ever say this to yourself, “I’ll do it when I am ready?” You’re not alone. Millions of people say this to themselves each and every day. While waiting to be “ready” is the safe play, it does not bring progress. It keeps us in our comfort zones. When we decide we aren’t “ready”, we do not take action. Nothing changes.


Changing your life is scary. It takes courage. It’s risky and puts you in the spotlight for people to judge. But, the only way to make changes is to ACT. No one is ever ready for big decisions. However, the hard decisions are essential to make a difference in your life. When you begin making a change, you may not be ready. But, you can assess, adapt, and adjust your efforts. Just stay committed to the process. You will notice that you were ready all along. As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!

“F” Words

 

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“I’m talking about pursuiting it in your heart! Like believe in it! Having faith! 100%! That whatever it is you set out to do, that you can do it!” – Eric Thomas

“If you don’t trust, you will die physically if not emotionally.  To do anything in life, you must have faith” -Tony Robbins

“That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” -Steve Jobs


I recently read a book that totally changed by perspectives and priorities. “The Subtle Art of not giving a F*ck” is a highly acclaimed New York Times Bestseller by Mark Manson. Don’t let the vulgar title fool you. this book is chalk full of real advice and a fresh perspective. For the most part, Mark explains that most peoples cares and priorities are out of alignment. H suggests that society teaches us the wrong things to care about. These lessons include but are not limited to being liked all the time, following all the rules, having a ton of things, and making a boat load of money. He stresses that putting too much emphasis on these things will ultimately leave people empty and hating their lives. After reading this book, i came up with my own “F” words to live by.

Faith– Having a belief bigger than myself provides me with a strong positive outlook despite challenges. I believe things will turn out well no matter the circumstances.

Focus: Life becomes what we focus on. We have unlimited choices, options, people, etc. to define our lives. Our mood and out look will even change depending on what we focus on. We can choose to focus on the positive aspects and be optimistic even in the most dire of circumstances.  It may just be harder to find sometimes.

Family: Love them or hate them, your family will always be around. They are there when we are born and most of the time stick around until the end. We all have a unique connection with our family from day one and should celebrate that fact.

Friends: Our friends are basically an extension of our family. They fill in the gaps that your family cannot. They understand and empathize your situations and can be trusted to always have your best interest at heart. The best of friends pick you up and love you when you are at your lowest.

Food: Most people do not realize that food fuels your body. It is like gasoline for a car. Foods provide so much of what our bodies need each day- water, energy, protein, vitamins, and minerals just to name a few. If you want to feel better and look better, prioritize choosing quality and natural foods in your day.

Fluids: Our body is made up of 60% water. Let me say that again, we are made up of 60% water!! So then, why is it that we do not drink enough h20?? Simply put, most people do not prioritize water for one reason or another. Maybe they think it tastes bland. oO, they don’t “feel” thirsty. The fact is, we are really bad at identifying thirst. We are usually dehydrated by the time we feel thirsty. Or, we confuse thirst for hunger and eat excess calories.  Do yourreelf a favor and drink more water and low calorie drinks.

Fitness: Our bodies are meant to move. They are designed to move in all directions and ways. Why then do we stay at rest in front of our tv or at our desk? Because it’s easy of course! Well, lack of motion is detrimental to your body and mind. When we exercise, we improve our physical body. Exercise even improves our mood and clears our thinking. Go out and move!  One tough part about fitness is consistency.  Monitoring your progress is key.  If you need assistance, consider using a fitness tracker.  You can take a look at this guide for more information.”

Society has become a world of unlimited options. We have so much at our fingertips and can access virtually anything we please. But its important to focus on the important facets of a healthy individual. Prioritize these “F: words and see how your life changes! As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!!

Rise Up

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The phoenix hope, can wing her way through the desert skies, and still defying fortune’s spite; revive from ashes and rise. -Miguel C Cervantes

The greatest glory in living lies not in ever falling, but in rising every time we fall” -Nelson Mandella

We never lose our demons, [Mordo]. We only learn to live above them. -The Ancient One, Dr. Strange

You will, at some point in your life, be confronted with some kind of adversity.  It’s more often than not a universal given.  Some people would disagree with that statement.  But, life was not meant to be easy.  Obstacles and difficult decisions present themselves when we set goals and go after them.  The bitter truth is that we all fall.  What matters most is that we pick ourselves up again.

This concept can be applied to health goals.  Say you are looking to lose weight.  Along your journey, you find yourself in this situation.   Dessert was way too tempting at the restaurant. You decided to treat yourself since you are out with your friends.  The next day rolls around.  Because you had dessert yesterday, today wouldn’t hurt right?  A snowball effect occurs. The discipline and food choices haven’t been easy. Now, the discipline has fallen away and bad habit takes over. You have fallen off the proverbial “wagon”. So, you revert to your old habits.  In this case, you have two choices: keep falling behind, OR rise above your obstacles.

Consider sticking to a workout routine.  You begin with high expectations.  You have energy and motivation to get started. You are loving your workouts.  They are fun and exhilarating.  But, at some point, you plateau.  The workouts aren’t as fun anymore.  Your energy isn’t there.  You’re not seeing progress as fast.  Your’e discouraged.  What do you do?  Stop going or rise above?  I’ll give you a clue: it’s the latter.  Decide to rise above the negative feelings and doubts in your mind.  Once you do, you will enter the next level of progress.  As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve! 

Get in the Zone

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“If people are conscious of what puts them in flow, they’ll have a clearer idea of what they should devote the time and dedication to master.” -Dan Pink, “Drive”

“Our job is to get out of the way of ourselves and let the art flow through us. We need to stop trying, stop doing, start allowing. We have no clue what we can be when you stop forcing and start being”  -Kyle Cease

“A touch of the jitters sharpens the mind, gets the adrenaline flowing and helps you to focus.” -Richard Branson

I’m sure you have been on a team once in your lifetime.  Or, you have seen movies or videos portraying teams before a big game in the locker room.  What do these teams do as they prepare for their game?  THEY LISTEN TO PUMP UP MUSIC.  Teams consciously play music that gets them psyched up and focused on the game at hand.  They know that if they stay focused, determined, and positive, they have a better chance of winning the game.  This type of focus has been given several names: drive, flow, in the zone, juices flowing, motivated.

Whatever you call it, this feeling of being at your best and focused can be attainable by anyone. It can be defined as being “fully aware in the moment, in utter control that the sense of time, place, and even self melt away.  The feeling of complete autonomy and engagement are attained”. Most people may argue that this state self motivation and focus is hard to come by.  That it is only available to the most elite people.  Self motivation is a natural skill or tribute reserved for the best among us.  That may be partly true. It is obvious that our lives have become so distracted that we find it difficult to become fully engaged in a single task.  However, I would argue that it is available to ANYONE who looks to tap into their own unique motivation.The secret is finding how you can get into the zone!  For me, listening to positive music or reading a motivational quote can help me focus.  Consider these other examples:

-watch a motivational video
-listen to upbeat music
-meditate and try to clear your mind
-do warm up exercises
-focus on breathing deeply for several minutes
-write down anything that comes into your mind down
-repeat positive quotes/ sayings to yourself

-watch a motivational video

Most importantly, find something that can help you focus on the task at hand- whether it be making better food choices, exercising, or staying motivated.  Don’t worry if it doesn’t come at first.  Focus is another skill that needs to be practiced and developed.  Continue to work and persist on it until you find yourself in that elusive state.  Once you find what works, continue to practice until it becomes natural.  As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!

 

Tap Into Your Team

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“The fact is, there is no foundation, no secure ground, upon which people may stand today if it isn’t the family. If you don’t have the support and love and caring and concern that you get from a family, you don’t have much at all. Love is so supremely important. As our great poet Auden said, ‘Love each other or perish’.”
― Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.”
― Michael Jordan


“The best advice I can give to anyone going through a rough patch is to never be afraid to ask for help.”
― Demi Lovato, Stay Strong


“If you need help bark like a dog.” – Gendry.

“That’s stupid. If I need help I’ll shout help.” – Arya”
― George R.R. Martin, A Clash of Kings

Like most people, I set goals for this new year.  I set goals I knew would help me reach new heights and improve myself and the people around me.  This year, I went one step further.  Knowing that it is easy to slip up and forget these goals, I sent them to some of the people I trust the most.  That’s right, I sent my goals out to my closest friends and family. I know they will support me and hold me to my word when I I have a difficult time pushing on.


Too often people set goals or start out on a journey ALONE.  They want to make changes.  They want to achieve new goals for their lives.  However, they feel like they have to do it all by themselves.  For some reason, people do not reach out for help.  Maybe, they are embarrassed, or too proud to reach out.  Maybe they want to prove it to themselves or others that it can be done without any help.


Let me ask you this: if you achieve your goals alone or with the aid of others, does the goal carry less meaning to you?  Probably not.  You still met or exceeded your goals.  You still achieved the results you wanted.  But, if you recruit a team, a few things will occur.  For one, your journey will be more fulfilling because you shared the events with others. Also, you will gain encouragement from your team when you feel discouraged or “stuck”.  Through these exchanges you create a deeper connection with the people you put n your team.  They experience you in a more intimate part of your life and therefore become closer to you.  Finally, you show true strength when asking for help.  Most people think the opposite.  They feel they are weak to ask for help. However, opening up and being vulnerable is true strength in action.


So, who to pick?  This is tougher than it seems.  The immediate answer will be those people in your social circle.  Your best friends, siblings, etc.  However, be careful of who you pick.  Some people close to you may not understand your needs or journey. If you want to lose weight, would yu enlist a friend who consistently tries, but never gains any progress?  Or, would you choose an acquaintance you met at the gym who dropped a bunch of weight and managed to keep it off?  I’ll let you answer.  Consider these qualities when recruiting your team:
 
-someone who is honest and trustworthy
-someone who is a positive person
-someone who will push you
-someone who will empower you
-someone who will check on you
-someone who has made changes themselves

Go ahead.  Set your goals.  Tell others about them.  Convince those you choose to be on your team to help you along.  You won’t regret it one bit.  As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!

KISS it

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“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated” -Confucius
 
“Complexity is your enemy.  Any fool can make something complicated.  It is hard to keep things simple” -Richard Branson
 
A little simplification would be the first step toward rational living, I think.” — Eleanor Roosevelt
 
Ever hear the “KISS” principle?  Most of the time, this term is used in sales meaning “Keep it Super Simple”.  Salesman do not want to overcomplicate the sale or confuse the customer (at least the good ones).  They know that more information and more complexity slows down decisions and makes things more difficult.  Therefore, they focus on what is most important to the customer and communicate their messages in a clear and concise way.
 
I got to thinking one day, “can I apply this principle in other aspects of my life?”  And, I heard a reverberating YES YOU CAN!  I have realized that people make things more complicated than they really are.  They add more information by tirelessly doing more research than needed.  They consult a handful of diet books and multiple professionals.  People over think their diet and exercise plan.  We label foods as good or bad or even forbidden.  Complicating things will lead to confusion, frustration, and ultimately failure.
 
So what are you to do?  I know.  The internet is filled to the brim on different diet plans and exercise plans to choose from.  We have preconceived notions on different foods.  For example, people label foods with gluten as “bad”.  In reality,gluten is only a binding protein that SOME people can’t digest.  Also, people dodge red meat because it is said to cause cancer.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  OVERCONSUMPTION of overcooked red meat can lead to health problems.A lean steak every now and again will not hurt your health.   My favorite that I hear all the time is that “fruit will make me gain weight because it has sugar.”  Sure, fruit has natural sugar.  But, it also has fiber, water, and nutrients your body needs.  The amount of sugar in fruit will not contribute to weight gain if you eat it in moderation.   Therefore, aim for simplicity when making changes:
 
-eat in moderation- cut your portions down to half
-switch out sugary drinks for water
-exercise for 15 minutes than you usually do
-Eat 2 more servings of fruit and vegetables
-Take a walk instead of watching TV after dinner
 
There are more ways to simplify a lifestyle change.  Reflect on your weak points.  Make a simple goal.  Decide to commit to it for awhile.  As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!