Beating Those Lazy Days

Friends, it has been weeks since we made our New Year’s resolutions. How can we motivate ourselves to stick to our plans for healthier and happier selves? We know that exercise is good, but also how easy and comfortable it becomes to slack off burning the fat off.

As the saying goes, When the going gets tough, the tough gets going. We’ll break own the three pillars to gym motivation for when being lazy seems so easy: Why you shouldn’t skip the gym, How you can avoid skipping the gym, and You missed the gym…now What.

Why you shouldn’t

Gyms across the country have the slogan “You’ll never say, I wish I hadn’t worked out today” across their walls. Why? Because it’s 100% accurate. You may not appreciate the soreness, or you may feel fatigued later on in the evening, but in a world filled with guilty temptations, one thing about your day that you’ll never regret is that you spent time improving your fitness.

It’s February. Before you know it, you’ll be trading winter coats and boots for bathing suits and sandals. Put the work in now, future you (the one catching rays by the pool) will thank you.

When you work out, you feel more confident. When you skip the gym, you feel more self-conscious. It’s simple. You can’t put price tags on confidence and positive feeling about yourself. Working out is also known to relieve stress and release endorphins. If you care about how you feel, then you know you have to keep a regular workout regimen.

We live in a social media dominated world. Whether it’s a celebrity favorite or your neighbor down the block, you can count on being subjected to photo evidence that other people are working out. A healthy lifestyle is a personal journey, but boy does it brighten your day when you know you too are putting in work at the gym.

Physically speaking, working out has far more benefits than just helping you to look good; but it can actually help regulate your sleep cycle. When you skip the gym, you’ll feel tired and sluggish all day and then wide awake and restless at night. This is easily one of the most annoying phenomenons your body will subject itself too, and the fatigue will negatively affect the productivity of your work week.

Are you worried about food cravings? Do you want to eat a little dessert guilt free? Well when you work out, it’s easier to eat healthier. You feel accomplished about your day’s work and the mindset you have when you return home is to keep the good habits rolling. Also, when you weight train or interval train your body feeds off calories hours after you’ve completed your workout. So if you so please, you can consume a few more calories than if you chose not to work out, without worrying about fat gains.

Remember, if you aren’t getting better, you’re getting worse

How you can avoid it

Now that you have plenty of reasons why you shouldn’t miss the gym, here’s a few tips on actually making it out there:

Your pilgrimage to the gym doesn’t have to be alone. Willpower is much stronger when you have a gym buddy there for support in solidarity. Join a group, carpool, set appointments with friends, whatever is necessary to get you in the room. It still counts if you are only there to not look bad in front of a judging peer.

Take the time to plan out a schedule. Whether it is what you actually want to accomplish in the gym on that day, or when you can make it, it is much easier to stick to a well organized plan. Improvisation is akin to procrastination.

You know what really boosts your motivation? Activities that you actually enjoy. 45 minute treadmill sessions aren’t for everyone. Join a recreational basketball or dodgeball league and get those competitive juices flowing.

Rats… You did miss the gym. Well now what?

So despite my words of wisdom and impeccable advice you still couldn’t make it out the gym. Never fear, here’s a few tips on what to do now:

Don’t overeat, feel yourself getting full. You should drink lots of water and other non sugary fluids throughout the day to mitigate your appetite. You shouldn’t hit 1000 extra calories on top of already missing the gym.

Take the stairs, take a walk around the neighborhood, or run all those errands you have been putting off for some time. It may not be the hour long sweat-tacular , muscle crunching workout you had hoped for, but the day does not have to necessarily be lost.

Take some time to analyze the day and see what happened. Be true with yourself on what caused you to miss on a promise you made to yourself. Was it a party the night before? Improper planning? Work to get better or plan ahead to ensure you won’t miss many more workout days again.

Last but not least, get ready to hop back on your bicycle go again the next day. You lost the battle, not the war.

You can do this, I believe in you.

Winter Health Tips

Tis the season folks, and while this time of year is filled with holiday celebrations, festive decor, and the exchanging of gifts, I am actually referring to a quite different type of season! One that can make this joyous, merry time of year seem quite the opposite; the sick season! You know how it goes. It hits you when you least expect it, usually at the worst possible time, knocking you right off your feet and into your bed where you remain until your body decides it is time for you to re-enter the world as the fully functioning being you were prior to the overtaking of the illness.

Sometimes getting sick is inevitable, but there are actions we can take to put ourselves in the best possible position to avoid getting sick! Preventing the spread of germs to others, and ourselves really is so basic, yet can be so difficult to remember as the hustle and bustle of everyday life can be consuming. So what can we do to prevent these disease causing bacteria and viruses from becoming the gifts that keeps on giving? We can start by taking care of ourselves as best as we possibly can!

Proper nutrition and exercise are engrained in our heads for a reason. With balance in each area, they do wonders for our entire existence. Getting the proper micro and macronutrients our body needs, provides us with the essentials needed to fight off these germs. At a cellular level, they enable our bodies to create and utilize immunity to disease causing pathogens. A body without adequate nutrients is like a car trying to thrive on an insufficient amount of fuel, antifreeze or oil…inevitably it will no longer be able to function properly to say the least. Staying hydrated is just as important! Water not only helps eliminate toxins, but also is vital to building a healthy, well functioning immune system. Exercise does wonders in preventing disease by increasing fluid output, thus also helping to eliminate toxins, enables the lungs to get rid of germs more efficiently, speeds up the rate of which your white blood cells (immunity cells) flow throughout the body, and also gives us those lovely endorphins and helps us breathe more deeply both of which promote stress relief. Which brings me to my next major way in which we can armor ourselves from illness!

Take care of that stress level! I am well aware that this can be much easier said then done. I know that for me taking those few precious minutes necessary to help eliminate stress can actually in itself seem stressful, yet inevitably when I commit to taking care of myself in this way I always reap the benefits, and so does my immune system. Stress causes the body to release a hormone called corticosteroid, which decreases the amount of white blood cells in the body. Stress relief can be as unique to the individual as our personality traits. For me yoga and meditation work wonders for coping with stress, whereas some of my close friends use weight lifting or writing as a main tool to deal with theirs. It’s all about finding what works for you! Also, it is okay to allow yourself those extra gifts of kindness whether it’s a massage, aromatherapy, a pedicure—whatever it may be, you deserve it! Taking care of yourself not only makes you well but also prevents the spread of disease to others.

In the spirit of protecting others while taking care of ourselves, hand washing is one of the best ways to shield others and ourselves from getting sick! This is such a minuscule action that can actually be life saving. In nursing school they had us use a black light to test how well we washed our hands. It was incredible seeing how much bacteria was left over even after singing row-row-row your boat twice and scrubbing viscously as we made sure we cleansed every nook, crevice and cranny of our hands. Think about how many things we touch even in a 30 second period of time, and how often we subconsciously touch our nose or mouth (two patent orifices serving as a direct route for infectious pathogens). Hand sanitizer is a fantastically convenient alternative if you are not coming in contact with body fluids.

Lastly, this is my own personal belief but I am a huge proponent of vaccination. Research continuously shows strong evidence that benefits of vaccination far outweighs the risks and helps greatly reduce disease transmission. All of this is especially true for those that are immunocompromised including the elderly, babies, those with chronic disease related issues, and people taking medication that decreases their immunity.

Taking care of ourselves puts us in the best position to ward off those nasty disease-causing germs. We have the opportunity to give ourselves the best chance of having a sick-free sick season! Staying well can allow us to fully enjoy this winter and holiday season and all of the associated festivities and feelings of warmth and joy. So as you deck those halls, trim those trees, or celebrate in whatever way suits you, don’t forget to give yourself the ultimate gift of being the healthiest you possible!