Martial Arts for Life

On A Quest To Be The Best!

After The Holidays…

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The six week period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is perhaps the most challenging part of the year to stay consistent with a workout plan and maintain a healthy diet. Many folks simply stop trying during this time of year and pledge they will get back to exercising and eating right “after the holidays.”

If you choose to take a break, do not underestimate the physical and mental output required to make a 180 degree turn when the season ends. It is incredibly difficult to switch from practicing minimal self-discipline to working out regularly and eating a proper diet. Every January many people’s resolution to exercise and eat right end up failing because of the tremendous effort required.

Slacking off on your workout routine is especially dangerous if you are new to the fitness game. It is very easy to slip out of your routine and lose the results you have worked hard for. In addition, when you decide to get back on track, you will lack the stamina and fitness level needed to exercise with the same intensity. In fact, it is estimated that after four to five weeks without exercise your fitness level may decreases by as much as fifty-percent!

However, the fact remains that the holiday season is a tough time. There are more temptations than usual with office parties, holiday dinners, and family gatherings. Holiday shopping and visits make scheduling workouts difficult. Your goal should be to take a balanced approach that allows you to keep the gains you have worked hard for and also indulge in some holiday cheer.

Here are 5 ways to find balance this Holiday Season:

1.) Decide In Advance. Decide in advance to exercise moderation when it comes to food and drink. Before attending holiday celebrations, make a decision to limit yourself to one slice of pumpkin pie instead of two – or two cocktails instead of three. Many holiday dishes and treats are high in calories. For example, one cup of egg nog contains nearly 350 calories and a slice of pumpkin pie has about 320 calories and 17 grams of fat!

2.) Avoid An All Or Nothing Approach. Even if you cannot maintain your regular workout schedule, you should still stay physically active. Remember the concept “to maintain is to gain.” If you are able to maintain your current fitness level (or a portion of it), that is an achievement in and of itself. Even small things like walking more or taking the stairs is helpful.

3.) Eat Before You Go. Consider eating a lean, high-protein meal and/or drinking plenty of water before attending a holiday event. This strategy will help curb your hunger and prevent you from completely overindulging.

4.) Observe the 70/30 Rule. During the holiday season, eat healthfully and avoid excess sugar, alcohol and fatty foods seventy percent of the time. The other thirty percent of the time allow yourself to enjoy your holiday favorites (without going completely overboard).

5.) Get Enough Rest. Many times feeling tired or stressed is mistaken for hunger. Proper rest also helps you to deal with the stressors that often accompany a hectic holiday season.

If all else fails, be sure to get back on track as soon as possible. Try to follow a simple rule: If you eat more, exercise more.

Martial Arts for Life New Providence, NJ

Making our community healthier & safer, one person at a time.

The Village Shopping Center, 1260 Springfield Ave., New Providence, NJ 07974

Proud to offer Martial Arts, Fitness, Nutrition & Personal Protection Strategies to residents of New Providence NJ, Berkeley Heights NJ, Chatham NJ, Stirling NJ, Gillette NJ, Summit NJ, Union County NJ, Morris County NJ and all surrounding areas.

P.S. Visit our website at http://www.BeginKarate.com to learn about our Academy and our programs.

Martial Arts for Life

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November 15, 2012 Posted by | Health & Nutrition | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

You Just Made The List!

This week I’m going to share a concept with you called “the list strategy.” This method is most valuable when you are trying to make changes to your diet for the purpose of eating healthier. However, it can also be a useful part of a weight loss plan as the two often go hand in hand.

We all consume things as part of our diet out of habit, or sometimes simply because they are made available. An example might be having a soda with lunch each day or mindlessly snacking on a bowl of chips at a party. It is estimated that up to ninety-five percent of our behavior is habitual – meaning that we are on auto-pilot for a lot of our daily tasks including eating and drinking.

The goal of this strategy is to raise your level of awareness when it comes to what you are eating and drinking. Then you can make better decisions about what you want to continue to have as part of your diet and what you can cut back on or eliminate completely.

Here are four action steps to implement this strategy:

Step #1: Goal Setting

The first step is to decide what your goals are. Are you looking to reduce sources of saturated fat and cholesterol in your diet? Do you want to avoid processed foods? Is your goal to consume less empty calories each day? Having a specific goal is important for success. A goal such as “eating healthier” is a bit too vague and can make it challenging to complete this exercise.

Step #2: Tracking

The next step in this process is to keep track of what you are eating for at least a week. Two weeks would be better, but most people get sick of tracking by the end of week one. It’s nearly impossible to keep track of everything you eat in your head, so get a pad and pen and write down everything you consume for a week. If it passes your lips it goes on the list.

Step #3: Analyzing

After you track what you’ve been eating for a week (or two) it’s time to take a look at your diet objectively. The goal is to examine what you are eating on a regular basis and make a list of the things you must eat less often or eliminate in order to accomplish your goals from Step #1. Remember, items to be eliminated could also be condiments like sour cream, mayonnaise, etc.

Step #4: Experimenting

The goal in Step #4 is to start with just one item from your list and do without it for two weeks. If you find that you really didn’t miss it, perhaps you can eliminate that food or brverage completely. If you find that it is something you really enjoy having in your diet, choose to consume it less frequently (for example, no more than once per week). Repeat this practice until you complete it with all the items on your list.

Naturally, any kind of change, even when it is an improvement, can be uncomfortable. This causes many people to revert back to their old behaviors and fall short of their goals. Choosing what to focus on and using the concept of substitution are two methods that can help “soften the blow” when making improvements to your diet.

Consider choosing what to eat based on how you feel afterwards, rather than how you feel during the meal. For example, you might really enjoy eating a double cheeseburger, fries and a large soda for lunch, but how do you feel afterwards? Are you energized and ready to for the second half of your day or do you feel tired and sluggish with indigestion? Concentrating on how you feel after a meal or a snack is a great way to view healthy eating in a proper perspective – focusing on what you are gaining (health & vitality) rather than what you may be losing (enjoyment from eating certain foods).

Another useful tool is the concept of substitution. For example, if your goal is to cut back on dairy products such as milk, perhaps you can try soy milk or almond milk as an alternative. You might find that you enjoy one of those products just as much as regular milk. It is much easier to replace a habit, rather than totally eliminate it.

Remember, the main objective of this strategy is to raise your level of awareness when it comes to what you are consuming on a regular basis and identify opportunities to improve your nutritional habits. The objective is not to completely eliminate all unhealthy foods and beverages that you enjoy, but rather to find a healthy balance between eating for pleasure and the benefits of a proper diet.

Martial Arts for Life New Providence, NJ

Making our community healthier & safer, one person at a time.

The Village Shopping Center, 1260 Springfield Ave., New Providence, NJ 07974

Proud to offer Martial Arts, Fitness, Nutrition & Personal Protection Strategies to residents of New Providence NJ, Berkeley Heights NJ, Chatham NJ, Stirling NJ, Gillette NJ, Summit NJ, Union County NJ, Morris County NJ and all surrounding areas.

P.S. Visit our website at http://www.BeginKarate.com to learn about our Academy and our programs.

Martial Arts for Life

 

October 16, 2012 Posted by | Health & Nutrition | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Getting Back On Track

As featured on the New Providence Patch: Read our Blog on The New Providence Patch

As summer rapidly draws to a close, it’s a perfect time to re-evaluate your day to day eating and workout habits. Summer often becomes a time when we tend to overindulge in food and beverages due to vacations, barbecues and the desire to enjoy ourselves. Almost everybody associates a sense of pleasure with consuming certain things. In addition, we are conditioned from the time we are children to recognize summer as a time to relax the rules a bit and enjoy ourselves – which is good for our mental and physical well-being.

Unfortunately, this “summer mindset” tends to lead to undisciplined eating and workout habits that should not be carried over into the next season. One of the biggest threats to your fitness is allowing those relaxed summer habits to slide all the way into the holiday season (which is rapidly approaching). Once you get off track, it becomes a slippery slope due to the forces of momentum. We’ve all had the experience of getting into a good groove with our diet and fitness regimen, which gives us the momentum to stay on track and avoid unhealthy meals and skipped workouts. You’ve probably also had the experience of skipping a work out, which turns into a couple missed workouts and leads you to make some less than healthy dietary decisions until you get back on track.

With the unofficial end of summer, it is a great time to develop some new momentum – starting with your nutrition habits.

One of the biggest misconceptions about eating healthy is that it requires a Spartan diet and you cannot have a bowl of ice cream or a cheeseburger ever again. The reality of the situation is most people want to be healthy and fit, but not at the price of completely eliminating the foods and drinks that they really enjoy. The key concept here is balance.

In prior columns, I have talked about the 70/30 rule, which simply means you eat for health and nourishment 70 percent of the time and you eat for pleasure 30 percent of the time. For most people, this means eating healthfully during the week and splurging a bit on the weekends. Remember, it is about balance, so the 30 percent cannot involve binge eating (or drinking for that matter) or completely over indulging in high calorie, fatty foods. As always, the percentages here can be adjusted upward to 80/20 or even 90/10. However, the minimum is healthy eating 70 percent of the time.

Naturally, a healthy eating plan should go hand in hand with a consistent workout plan. A minimum of 30 minutes of vigorous cardiovascular exercise three times per week combined with some form of resistance training at least twice per week are necessary for optimal health and fitness. Naturally, the less disciplined you are with your diet, the more exercise you will need to maintain your weight and overall health. However, I firmly believe that you cannot out train bad nutrition and a proper diet is the first building block in developing a healthy body.

So, with the change of seasons looming and the holidays around the bend, I encourage you to exercise the self-discipline to get back on track with proper diet and exercise – and avoid the temptation to continue the fast and loose rules of summertime!

Martial Arts for Life New Providence, NJ

Making our community healthier & safer, one person at a time.

The Village Shopping Center, 1260 Springfield Ave., New Providence, NJ 07974

Proud to offer Martial Arts, Fitness, Nutrition & Personal Protection Strategies to residents of New Providence NJ, Berkeley Heights NJ, Chatham NJ, Stirling NJ, Gillette NJ, Summit NJ, Union County NJ, Morris County NJ and all surrounding areas.

P.S. Visit our website at http://www.BeginKarate.com to learn about our Academy and our programs.

Martial Arts for Life

September 7, 2012 Posted by | Health & Nutrition | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment