Happy New Year! It is the third day of 2017- have you made your resolutions yet? We, presumably like many of you, have resolved to take better care of ourselves and improve our health. We want to work out more regularly, eat healthier meals, and drink more water.
We want to step out of our comfort zones and expand our horizons in all aspects of our lives: nutrition, fitness, work, and personal. We want to work harder, do better, and of course relax frivolously along the way.
With all of this in mind, let’s start the year with a new workout routine! This routine was put together by our trainer, Ken Yu, to strengthen our backs. It is a full-body workout, which is important when aiming for overall improvement in your health and body.
Start by stretching the hamstring muscles. Lie on your back and straighten your leg upwards to target the muscle fibers nearest to the knee. You can also do the sitting hamstring stretch, which stretches the muscle fiber higher up the muscle nearer the buttocks.
Do 5 Rounds:
20 seconds plank hold
10 body weight squats
10 elevated pushups (kneeling pushups)
10 mountain climbers on elevated surface
20 seconds of arm circles
-Rest as necessary between rounds-
Also, our friends over at The Fit Blog have just begun their Fit With Diabetes New Year Challenge! Join them in a 4-week challenge filled with meal plans, workouts, and diabetes education.
We are always looking for new exercises to add into our #ExerciseRegularly routine. This week, we asked our trainer Ken Yu to some of his favorite moves for those killer abs. Check out his workout below, with YouTube links for examples if you need any help!
“Make sure you do the repetitions for quality and not for speed. Try tighten your abs and keep them tight throughout the exercise. Take breaks when needed.” – Ken Yu
- In-Outs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeTze9BXGW4
- Bicycle Crunches: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iwyvozckjak
- Wide-Leg Sit-up: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GeRK-6S0xXs
- Scissors: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoNCIBVLbgY
- Pulse-Ups: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Lh4JtL-6ME
- Leg Climbers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIOStk2Hznc
- Russian Twists: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wNNCQj2mV4
- End with 5 Sets of plank holds for approximately 5 – 15 seconds.
I used to play tennis every day for more than 1 hour a day – I loved the game, and I was very good at it. This was before I was diagnosed with diabetes – after that, I never won again and I lost my love for the game completely.
I don’t think diabetes is 100 percent to blame for this, but probably at least 50 percent. When I was diagnosed the summer of 1989, I had just reached the finals of a large national tournament in Sweden. I lost in the final, but overall I had done very well – especially considering I had suffered from tonsillitis three times during the spring preceding this event, and I had been seriously injured the year before.
However, after my diagnosis I lost my confidence in my body. I had never had such a failure in my life and here I was, at 17 years old (I spent my bday in the hospital getting trained on injections and glucose monitoring), feeling like I was suddenly disabled. Little did I know that the complications they warned me about during those first few weeks with diabetes would be a reality less than 20 years later and that I would go through two transplants before I turned 40!
Tennis represented so much to me as a young person, I spent most of my free time either playing tennis, getting to tournaments, working out to play better or preparing ahead of games. I loved going to my club and I even loved hanging out after tennis, relaxing and feeling the work-out in my body and if I had won, feeling strong and confident.
I guess the closest to this feeling in my current life, is when I present at conferences or when I have an important business meeting. I have the same feeling of anticipation, preparation and then during the presentation I have a high, triggered by endorphins, and I am on top of the world for the duration of the event. The problem is coming down afterwards. Being in the zone is great and all, but afterwards I feel empty, anxious and even sad.
As a diabetic, sometimes these events could be affected by my disease. For example, if my blood sugar was running low and I had to go up on the stage for a presentation, I would need to quickly eat something to avoid the risk of passing out and the absolute certainty of presenting poorly because my brain did not have enough sugar to work with. When I was high, I could also feel it, since I would get slower in my thoughts and especially in my reasoning. I would rather be high than low, and my solution to avoiding this roller coaster was to always keep myself slightly high, but not high enough to be slow, blurry-eyed or lethargic.
After getting my pancreas transplant in January of 2010 I have not experienced any of these feelings and it is such a relief and such an advantage! I sometimes say that I did not know how hard it was living with diabetes before I got a pancreas transplant and realized what normal life is supposed to be and how good I felt. Achieving that feeling for everyone with diabetes is our goal, and while we pursue the cure, we need to identify a range of products that can help people with daily life.
I hope that I will get back to tennis one day, but for some reason, tennis more than any other sport is linked to my life before diabetes. I know that I have a new chance, and should be incorporating tennis into my life, but it is easier for me to exercise otherwise without ever feeling that diabetes, transplants and age have had a negative effect on my performance!
Balance has to do with our ability to stay in one position for a given period of time without moving. It sounds silly because how often do any of us actually do this? Balance training is more important than just teaching us how to stand still with our eyes closed.
However when we practice standing on one foot, eyes open or closed, we learn how to use gravity, environmental feedback, cues from our feet, and what we see to train the muscles in our body. Balance training also involves strengthening core muscles and muscles around joints. By learning where our bodies are in space and improving joint stability, we are better able to sense which muscles are needed to activate or deactivate to keep joints in proper alignment when moving. This improves coordination, athletic skill, and posture, which prevent falls and muscle strains, decreasing the likelihood of injuries.
Wonder where to start? First, test your balance. Stand close enough to a wall that you can use it for support. Stare at a spot on a static object in front of you and slowly shift your weight onto one foot while lifting the other off of the ground. If you feel yourself falling, place your foot back on the ground or your hand on the wall. If this is challenging, continue to practice this on both sides.
If you feel comfortable doing this, try walking heel to toe in a straight line. You can slowly progress to walking lunges and using props to help improve your balance. Simply sitting on an Indo Board, Physioball, or BOSU balance trainer will strengthen your core muscles by challenging your balance. Once you develop greater balance, you can begin to stand on an Indo Board and BOSU trainer, then take that one step further and use these props for dynamic exercises, for example doing squats on a BOSU trainer.
Getting into exercise for the first time or after a long hiatus? This is the place to start. Balance training is the best way to get to know your body and become conscious of where it is in space.
If you are currently active, return your focus to balance training. Combine balance exercises with flexibility, endurance, and strength training to improve overall physical fitness. But first, consult with a doctor, physical therapist, or a well-educated personal trainer to make sure your body is up for the challenge.
We are thrilled to announce that in one month, we will collaborate with UNIX Gallery and Contini Art UK, to bring you a special performance by the artist Omar Hassan, a member of the Lyfebulb Entrepreneur Circle.
Omar is an internationally renowned and celebrated artist whose technique, style and personality break away from conventional approaches. Hassan’s work merges his many worlds: fine art, boxing and living with Diabetes. In his work, Hassan explores the gravity of disease and simultaneously emanates positivity and the powerful urge to overcome adversity.
Omar will create one of his amazing works of art on November 17th at UNIX Gallery, located at 532 W 24th Street in New York City, which will then be auctioned off during a silent auction. The proceeds will go the Lyfebulb’s foundation, and help further our mission to improve the lives of those living with Diabetes. If you are unable to attend the event, you can still make a donation here. We appreciate any support our community may be able to provide!
We hope to see you at UNIX Gallery on November 17th at 6 pm!
To RSVP, please email Andrew Cole – email@example.com.
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.
As we look towards a healthier new year in 2015, we should start by adjusting our fitness routines that may not have yielded the results we really wanted to accomplish in 2014.
A technique that will both increase your cardiovascular capacity while also build and tone your muscles is interval training. Interval training consists of low to high intensity, explosive workouts you complete with interspersed rest time between different component exercises and regulated time within each set. Your body operates anaerobically during the high-intensity periods while recovering aerobically during periods of lower intense workouts.
Traditionally, tales of losing weight and getting into shape all revolve around lower to medium intense workouts such as jogging, biking, or exercising on the elliptical or StairMaster machine for extended periods of time. The key difference between these types of exercise and interval training is that calorie burning ends abruptly after your jogging session as concluded. Interval training, on the other hand, will cause your body to continue burning calories for 2-4 hours after you’ve completed your training session. You can also start burning fat right away whereas in low intensity workouts it may take up to 20 minutes before a significant amount of fat is burned.
Adding intense circuit training into your workouts will stimulate muscle building hormones. One of the biggest knocks to traditional cardiovascular exercise is the loss of both muscle and fat. Interval training puts your body in a state where you can burn fat and gain muscle at the same time. interval training also develops the cardiovascular system. By pushing your heart rate high during periods of work, you’ll increase your cardiovascular output.
There it is: a way to workout for less time, and burn more calories. Incorporating interval training will better equip you to reach your goals in 2015.
Here’s an example of an Interval Training workout you can do at home with just your body weight.
If you have the time, I also recommend a low intensity quick 20-30 minute bike ride or jog to be fully warmed up.
1. Warm Up: Get on a stationary bike for 20-30 minutes. Stop, get off the bike, and stretch.
2. Bike Sprint: At a low resistance, and sprint hard on the stationary bike for 30 seconds. Aim for 90% of your maximum heart rate. To recover, bring your speed down to a comfortable pedal speed for a minute.
3. Jump Squats: Get off the bike and jump squat, with your bottom out to the and your legs slightly apart. Then jump from the squatting position into the air, landing in the same squat position as before. Do this for one set of 15-20.
4. Shoulder Wide Pushups: Do one set of 15 pushups, with your elbows at a degree angle from the body with your hands shoulder-width apart.
Modification: Do the pushups with your knees on the ground, but do 25 instead of 15.
5. Bike Sprint: Get back on the bike and sprint for 30 seconds (low resistance). The goal is to be at 80% of your maximum heart rate. To recover, decrease your speed and bike for one minute.
6. 16” Pushups: Do one set of 15 pushups, with your elbows at a 90-degree angle from the body, with your hands 4-16” apart
Same Modification: Do the pushups with your knees on the ground, but do 25 instead of 15.
7. Sprint: Back to the Bike. Sprint for 1 minute at a high resistance, aiming for 70% of your maximum heart rate. To recover, slowly bike at a low resistance for 90 seconds.
8. Jumping Jacks: Do one set of 15 or 20 jumping jacks. If you’re strong enough, add two 10- or 15-pound dumbbells. Lift up the weights when you jump out, in an overhead press position, pulling them back down to shoulder height as your legs go back together.
9. Finisher: Increase the bike resistance to double digits. Bike at a decent speed for 30 seconds, aiming for 60% of your maximum heart rate. To recover, bring the treadmill down to a 1.0 incline and drop your speed to 1.9 or 2.0 for a 1-minute walk. Finish with a light stretch.
Your blood sugar will most likely take two turns. During the warm up, should you choose to warm up, you will likely experience a slight dip in your blood sugar, so plan accordingly to be above your comfortable exercise blood glucose level.
However, during the interval training your blood sugar will stabilize if not rise, so resist the urge to start too high or drink sports drinks with a high glycemic index that may also cause your blood sugar to spike while taking a break.
Weekends are for spending time with family and friends, running errands, and relaxing, but as most people know, there is never enough time between Friday night and Monday morning. Those pesky Monday mornings always come too quickly.
Here are four little things that help me get through the week.
- That first sip of coffee:
Nothing pulls me out of my warm bed more than the thought of drinking coffee. It’s an addiction I’m only slightly ashamed of. I look forward to drinking my first sip of warm coffee, freshly brewed with just a dash of almond milk. (Honestly, I look forward to drinking coffee all the time — in the morning, during the afternoon lull. The best time for coffee is when you get to grab a cup with a good friend.)
- Hearing your favorite song on the radio:
I have no shame about admitting I cannot sing. Even still, when my favorite song comes on the radio I can’t help but sing along. It’s a good thing there’s usually no one else in the car to hear it. If you’re feeling blue, turn your favorite song on and don’t be afraid to sing and dance along, it definitely can bring a smile to not only your face, but anyone who happens to see your sweet moves. Might I suggest ‘You Make My Dreams’ by Hall & Oates.
- A quick workout:
Even if I can’t get in a full workout during the day, I always try to do a little something. Whether that’s a yoga session, a walk around the neighborhood, or dancing around to a few songs, the littlest amount of exercise can improve one’s mood. As Elle Wood’s once said, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.” All Legal Blonde quotes aside, get out there and go. I promise it’ll significantly improve your wellbeing.
- Casual Fridays:
I sincerely apologize if your office doesn’t have a casual Fridays policy, because being able to dress a touch more comfortably does wonders for brightening the mood. As superficial as it may sound, I think that sometimes how you look helps you to feel like you can take on the world. Whether that’s wearing your favorite pair of shoes, your workout clothes, or throwing on a touch of red lipstick before you head out the door.
LifeTime Athletic gyms are extremely popular around the country and in the tri-state area especially. As a diabetic, staying in shape is essential to my glucose-control and overall health. This summer, I attended a LifeTime Athletics gym in close proximity to where I worked.
A 24-hour gym is extremely convenient for diabetics, and LifeTime provides that service. As diabetics, there are unfortunately plenty of instances where my blood sugar is either too low or too high for me to feel comfortable working out. The 24-hour accessibility of gyms such as LifeTime allow me to take some time away from my originally intended workout time, and carefully allow my blood glucose level to arrive back in my comfortable workout range, without having to rush due to limited gym open hours.
LifeTime offers a wide range of equipment and space for varying workout types. I like to incorporate different types of workouts into my weekly regimen such as weight-training intensive or cardio intensive days. Some facilities are deficient in either free weights, weight machines, or cardio machines, while abundantly supplying the other categories. The LifeTime gym exceeded my basic needs when it came to workout apparatuses. The monthly membership is not without a substantial price, but the gyms are full of great amenities diabetics and athletes in general will appreciate such as fully stocked snack bars (for post workouts or lows), spas, and yoga studios.
Lastly, LifeTime does a pretty fair job of creating a community environment within its gyms. Whether it arise from the aforementioned spas, yoga studies, and snack bars, or events such as 5ks, triathlon events, and groups weight-loss challenges, LifeTime provides a platform for strangers with similar interests to meet, greet, and tackle goals with one another. The idea of community is especially resounding amongst diabetics because we are all sympathetic to each other’s diabetes-complication and are constantly bouncing tips and ideas off one another. The environment at a LifeTime gym is especially conducive to such an open forum. My experiences with the staff and trainers on sight have been primarily positive in that they are friendly and relatively knowledgeable about any questions I may have. I would feel comfortable referring other diabetics to their trainers for advice on how certain exercises may affect their glucose levels.
Overall my experience with LifeTime Athletics was positive. While membership comes at a steep price, the facilities and amenities attached are of high enough quality to justify the price. I was extremely satisfied with the range of options available to me as someone who likes variety in my workouts and health maintenance.
Whether it be at a LifeTime gym or any other, it is most important we diabetics continue to push ourselves to make regular exercise and workouts a priority. I encourage you all to find an activity you can enjoy and make those trips a staple in your weekly schedules.
This is the first installment of many to come in my NYC-area gym review series. For further information and health & fitness tips follow me at @roycHealth.
Becoming disciplined is quite frankly the best way to control your health. But before we delve further into exactly what becoming disciplined means, we need to make an important distinction: the Super-humans versus the Disciplined.
Super-humans are incredible. Super-humans once ate bacon cheeseburgers at McDonald’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner before turning it around and going vegan. Maybe they bought a two-month frozen meal package or meal replacement shakes and actually stuck to the plan the entire time. They bought that new gym membership and went from never stepping into a gym to working out 7 days a week. They have every meal, workout, and medication calculated so perfectly that they always look and feel great no matter the scenario. Seriously, hats off to the Super-humans.
This message is not for those lucky few, and I do mean few, who can turn it all around in one swoop. This message is for the rest of the people who want to regain control of their lives in ways that are gradual, but lasting. Embracing the disciplined lifestyle is about making enough small changes so that they you can reach your goal of becoming an new self.
As it pertains to weight loss, new studies have shown a large number of successful dieters will eventually regain the weight they’ve lost and then some. Whether your goal is to lose weight, gain muscle mass, control your diabetes, or any combination of the three, life changes are going to have to be made.
Somewhere buried amongst the old adages that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and that it takes 30 straight days of an activity for it to form into a habit exists the unforgiving truth: small, permanent life changes are necessary in order for you to reach your goals. Disciplined people are prepared to make these changes for good.
The key to these small changes is to be realistic with yourself about your current lifestyle, and to find viable components of that lifestyle that you can make tweaks to long-term.Here are a few examples of ways you can make that fantasy version of your healthy self into a reality.
When it comes to exercise, commit to taking the stairs, commit to making a day like Monday (rain or shine) a workout day.
After committing to one mandatory day of exercise, it will be easier to fit in 2 or three other days in the week when it’s convenient. When thinking about diets–njoy a cheat meal: if you worked hard to stay on course with healthy, clean food, then enjoy a cheat meal. You must keep the cheat meal to a MEAL. Not a whole day, or a whole week of binging
Use this commitment to not just cut out the foods you love, but as an opportunity to try new foods. Eating chicken, brown rice, and veggies can be monotonous, challenge yourself to cook up tasty, new, and exciting healthy meals.
For diabetics, set a schedule so that your basal rates are adjusted not only 1 or 2 hours prior to a workout but also a few hours following your workout.The best way for your blood sugars to be consistent is if your pre-game/pre-workout meals are consistent.For a full week once every two months, keep extremely diligent notes of your blood sugars and activities. Release your inner perfectionist. This will allow you to make easier generalizations in the future.
Outside of these quick tips, keep looking for ways to become more disciplined and reach your goals. Coming to Lyfebulb and becoming part of our online community is the first step. Together we can continue the fight!