Archive for the tag - resolutions

Best Tips for Joining a Gym!

Need a spot, sir?

Hundreds of thousands of Americans – and people all around the world – will be joining gyms this week to help uphold health and fitness-centered New Year’s resolutions. As someone who has joined 6 different gyms in 3 different countries in the last year alone, I’ve become something of an expert.

Here are a few tips that I use when joining a gym:

  1. Location, location, location. I spend 90 minutes at the gym, 6 days a week. That’s a lot of time. The last thing I want is to extend my time commitment with a long commute to the gym. Even a 15 minute drive translates to 30 minutes of commuting a day, or 3 extra hours a week. Creating time for exercising is challenge enough – spare yourself the pain of an even larger time commitment by finding a facility near your home, or near your office.
  2. Take your gym for a spin – during the time you’ll usually exercise. You’d test drive a car before buying it, and there’s no reason you can’t do the same with a gym. Ask for a free day pass, and then use it during the time when you’d typically workout. You may discover that the gym is overcrowded at your ideal exercise time. Overcrowded gyms mean longer waits for equipment, and thus longer or incomplete workouts. Trying a gym out will also give you the chance to review the equipment and its condition. Is the gym clean? Are the machines functioning or out of order?
  3. Bargain. Despite what the salesperson tells you, gym rates are usually not set in stone. And know that the person behind the counter is probably working on commission – they are motivated to sell you the most expensive gym membership possible. You can negotiate discounts in monthly rates, and waive sign-up fees. If you’re looking at a few gyms, leverage their rates against each other. Don’t be afraid to bargain. Expect to pay anywhere from $10 – $250/month depending on the facility and the terms of your contract.
  4. Consider a bulk purchase. Along the lines of bargaining, consider buying a full year’s membership at once. Many gyms offer discounts if you pay it all upfront. It could be a great idea – or a terrible idea if you relocate or stop using your membership.
  5. Review the gym hours and holiday closings. Is the gym even open when you need it to be? When I was living in Buenos Aires, my gym didn’t open until 8AM! As a morning person, I had to bend my schedule considerably to get my workout in. Check on the holiday closings. My current gym is closed during every holiday – even January 1st and 2nd! If you get the various annual holidays off of work, you might want a gym that’s open.
  6. Ask for a class schedule. Maybe you’re interested in trying out yoga, pilates or spinning. Most gyms include free classes in their schedules – it’s all built into your membership, so see what your gym offers!

Use these tips to help find a gym that works for you. And if you have any tips of your own to offer, feel free to share in the comments below!

Happy 2011, and good luck in your gym search!

10 Tips: When it Comes to Portions, Size Matters!

When it comes to portion control, size definitely matters.

It’s no secret that weight release is the most common New Year’s resolution, but taking advantage of portion control is one of the best tactics to employ.

There’s a difference between portions (what’s on our plate) and servings (what’s recommended), and most of us are getting way too much of some things… and not nearly enough of others.

Here are few tips to help you ring in 2011:

  1. Opt for smaller plates. We tend to fill our plates to their capacity, and by using a smaller plate – you’re likely to put less food on it. It’s a simple trick that works wonders at buffets or holiday parties. And in your own house, use 8 or 10-inch dinner plates instead of 12 inch. {Insert inappropriate innuendo here.}
  2. When saving leftovers, freeze food in individual portions. When you reheat the food – you’ll only be defrosting what you need, and thus less likely to overeat.
  3. Just take a few bites. I’m officially obsessed with nibnobs. I love cake – but it’s obviously terribly unhealthy. A slice of red velvet cake, for example, can have 550 calories and 27 grams of

    Perfectly portioned nibnobs.

    fat. Recognizing the importance of portions, nibnobs are bite-sized desserts… and they are totally satisfying, even for the sweetest of sweet tooths. I’m even bringing a plate to my parents’ house for New Year’s day.

  4. Divide your plate in half. Fill one half with veggies and/or fruits. Fill the other half with a mix of proteins (like meat), and starches (like rice, potatoes, etc.).
  5. Buy individually portioned snack foods. Instead of buying a huge bag of chips, buy smaller bags. It will prevent mindless munching. If you’re looking to be economical, buy larger bags of food but divide portions up in baggies. Never eat directly from a big bag!
  6. Keep junk foods out of sight. Office workers who kept candy in clear dishes on their desks dipped in for a sample 71 percent more often than those who kept their candy out of sight. But keep healthy foods, like veggies (carrot sticks!) and fruits readily available. A fruit basket on your kitchen table can work wonders.
  7. Don’t mix food and TV. You wouldn’t drink and drive and neither should you eat food and watch TV. It’s much harder to watch portions while zoning out in a good television show.
  8. Use visual cues to estimated recommend servings. A deck of playing cards = one serving (three ounces) of meat, poultry, or fish. Half a baseball = one serving (one-half cup) of fruit, vegetables, pasta, or rice. Your thumb = one serving (one ounce) of cheese. A small hand holding a tennis ball = one serving (one cup) of yogurt or chopped fresh greens.
  9. Split desserts at restaurants. It cuts calories and builds relationships!
  10. Ask for dressings, spreads and sauces on the side. Most restaurants are far too generous in their condiment portions.

Obviously, portion control isn’t the be all and end all of weight release; it’s just one tool of many, but it can be a super helpful and effective dimension of a bigger plan.

What portion control tips do you have? Share them in the comments below!

7 Tips for Losing Weight in the New Year.

No surprise: Losing weight is the #1 most popular New Year’s resolution. So, here are seven strategies (that work) to help you shed the extra pounds:

  1. Recognize that weight loss is a spiritual issue. You can’t release weight with the same spiritual mindset that gained it. Read books like Marianne Williamson’s A Course in Weight Loss. It shares 21 spiritual lessons for shedding your weight, forever. When you love your body, you make decisions that honor it. Embark on a path of self-love.
  2. Drink lots of water! Water has a boatload of great benefits for your body. Among other things, it helps boost your metabolism and curb your appetite. Drink at least 8 cups a day.
  3. Describe your body with words that lift it up. Avoid negative self-talk, or criticizing yourself – even when talking with others. “I am beautiful. I am releasing weight with ease,” is a healthier and more effective mantra than, “I look so fat today. I am disgusting.”
  4. Look long-term, and avoid fad diets. If you go on a diet, you will eventually come off it. Real change is longer term – don’t look to fad diets for answers.
  5. Replace emotional eating with a healthier alternative – like going for a walk. If you’re eating when you’re not hungry, and are unable to replace comfort foods with healthier alternatives or activity, then you may wish to seek professional help.
  6. Stock your home with healthy foods. Buy foods that a caveman would eat: berries, unsalted nuts, some lean meats, vegetables, etc. It’s much easier to eat healthier foods when that’s what is available. After you eat a healthy meal or snack, bring awareness to your body’s reaction. How does it make your body feel to eat nourishing meals?
  7. Understand the calorie deficit. Weight release occurs when the body burns more calories than it consumes. While the formula seems simple and straightforward, know that calorie deficits are most effectively achieved by working on both ends of the equation – eating healthier foods will result in fewer calories consumed, and regular exercise will result in more calories burned. Don’t try to release weight through starvation. It will slow down your metabolism, and likely result in long-term weight gain.

And, stay tuned for my brand-new fitness program which will launch tomorrow. I’m super excited to share it with you… Through my new program, I’ll help you use fitness to get the results you’ve always wanted. ๐Ÿ™‚

Is weight release one of your New Year’s resolutions or goals? Which of these tips will help you in your journey?

How to Avoid Gym Burnout on January 1!

With January 1st just a few days away, we’ll continue our focus on New Year’s resolutions. And more specifically, how to keep ’em. Today, we turn our attention to burnout. The treadmills will be packed on January 1st – but how many of those people will be there a month later?

You know the story. Maybe you’ve even lived it. Starting on January 1st, many people have a new-found commitment to their health. They are energized and enthused about getting to the gym. And so they hit the gym frequently, and for an extended duration of time. It’s a full out sprint into a healthier lifestyle – but almost always, burnout occurs. The commitment isn’t sustainable, the energy subsides and the resolution is never realized.

Burnout is avoidable; here’s how:

If you don’t currently exercise, and if January 1st will mark the start of a new (or renewed) workout schedule, then start slowly. I know that you’re super excited to hit the gym and change your health and body, but pace yourself. Start with 2 or 3 days a week for 30 – 45 minutes. Over time, slowly build on it. After a month, maybe you exercise for an extra day – or for a few extra minutes. Gradually build on your workout schedule.

If you already exercise, but want to vamp up your workout, try increasing your current schedule by 20%. If you exercise 3 days a week for an hour, try hitting the gym for 40 minutes on an additional day. Don’t go from 3 days to 6 days – it’s just not sustainable.

Here’s the bottom line: We are creatures of habit and change is difficult. If you can introduce small change – instead of a huge change – you’re more likely to stick with it. I liken January 1st to running a marathon. A good marathon runner can pace himself or herself. If you start a marathon with a sprint, you’ll start fast – but there’s no way to finish the race. Perseverance goes out the window.

You’re excited about your New Year’s resolution – I can feel that! But here’s what you’ll need to do: Dole out that energy, enthusiasm and excitement in a way that it will last you through the entire new year. Ration it out as needed, but don’t burn it all in the first two weeks and then have an empty tank for the rest of the year.

Pace yourself and you’ll reach the finish line.