What’s the BEST thing you can do for your health?

What's the BEST thing you can do for your health?

A while back I saw the below video on a friends Facebook page. It’s a very cool little video that talks about the single best thing you can do for your health. The great news is that it’s simple and accessible by anyone!

Even though I think it’s a great video, and has some great stats, I wonder how many people will watch it and say “D’uh!”.

Is it really new information to you that exercise is a good thing to be doing?

I don’t think it is. I actually believe that MOST people would easily tell you that exercise is the best thing you could do for your health.

So to me, the question isn’t what’s best for ones health, the questions is: if everyone knows it, why don’t we do it?

I encourage you to take the 9 minutes to watch the video and then answer MY question:

What’s the #1 thing that PREVENTS YOU from doing the BEST THING for can do for your health?

4 Tips for Setting AND Reaching Your Goals

Have you ever set a health or fitness goal before?

Have you ever set more than 1 goal?

Have you ever set the SAME goal many different times?

Goals are a funny thing. We all know about them, we all set them, but how often to we reach them? Many people set the same (or very similar) goals over and over again.

Even if you do reach the goal, hopefully you’d set a NEW goal to achieve even more.

Goals are a big part of my coaching program. On the most basic level, I work with people to help them achieve their goals. We set the goal, making a plan to reach the goal, measure our progress towards the goal and then adjust the plan as needed.

Do you go through that process with your goals?

Here are 4 tips to help you get better at setting AND REACHING your goals:

#1 – Set clear and specific goals. 

I see so many goals written as “get fit”, “eat better”, “get healthier”, “be more active”, “feel better”, “have more energy”, etc.

The trouble is that these are unclear and not measurable. Setting a clear and specific goal helps you measure your progress and adapt your plan if need be. Something like: “I want to lose 2 inches around my waist in 90 days” is a lot more specific.

#2 – Be realistic. 

Do you know how much weight you can lose or gain in 4 weeks? You may have heard numbers thrown out there of what other people have achieved, but do you know how much YOU can achieve? How about how long it takes to increase you run speed, strengthen your core or add 10 more pounds to a lift?

I see many goals set that are only attainable in extreme cases and don’t really apply to the average person. To be realistic with your goals you need to know what YOU can do. If you don’t know what you can do, that’s okay, that’s why we have the next step or you can consult with a professional 😉

#3 – Make a plan

Now that you have the goal. You need to make a plan. Again, I see a lot of failures at this stage because I set a clear goal but don’t make a clear plan to get there.

“I want to lose/gain weight so I’ll go to the gym.”

Yes, the gym is where the progress CAN happen, but if you don’t know what you’re doing while you’re there, how will you reach your goal. The goal is your destination, the plan is your map.

#4 – Measure and adjust. 

We set clear goals, we try and be realistic, but now it’s time to measure. The idea of a goal is that we HOPE to achieve it. Really, we’re taking a GUESS at what we can do and then we’re testing it. Whether or not we actually CAN is yet to be determined.

Many people fail to reach their goals in a speedy fashion and then feel defeated and quit. However, NOT reaching your goal actually gives you more information than reaching it. You now know what NOT to do, so it’s time to adjust.

If you don’t reach your goal, make a change to your plan and keep pushing on.

One of my favourite quotes in this area is actually in the signature of all of my emails:

“Never give up on a dream just because of the length of time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”
~ H. Jackson Brown

Setting goals isn’t about hitting them 100% of the time. It’s about setting a marker you hope to achieve and then doing everything in your power to get yourself there.

Have you been successful with your goals? What are your tips for success?

Introducing the #APLifestyle Challenge

We announced recently that on Monday February 10th we will be starting the #APLifestyle challenge.

The “challenge” part of it is that every day we will post fun things you can do to build a healthy lifestyle in 2014. These won’t be complex workouts or meal plans, they will be simple task and activities that you can do to build a healthier lifestyle.

There will be a wide variety of  things you will do including activity, nutrition, yoga and even mental health.

We believe that to build a true AnthroPhysique Lifestyle (#APLifestyle), you need to incorporate all aspects of your life: work, relationships, activity, nutrition, play, spirit, etc. The end results is creating the body you were born to have.

We want to show how small daily practices can go a long way to building the ideal healthy you.

There is however 1 caveat to the “daily” part of the challenge. We won’t be posting anything on Sunday’s. As part of our lifestyle, we believe that you should take 1 day to disconnect from work and the technological world and use it to reconnect with you and nature. So, Sunday’s won’t get a tweet from us but the standing challenge will be to disconnect and get outside.

Participation in the challenge is very simple. Just follow the hashtag #APLifestyle on Twitter. Each day we will post a simple activity, tip or challenge that you can do throughout the day. When you’re done the task simply tweet: I successfully completed the @AnthroPhysique #APLifestyle challenge today!

To let us know you’re going to join us and to help spread the word, please get started with: I’m starting the @AnthroPhysique #APLifestyle daily challenge next week. Join me to make 2014 a very healthy year!

Our goal this year is to help as many people as possible have a healthier lifestyle. Please help us with this fun daily challenge!

12 Healthy Snack Ideas for Nutrition On The Go!

Healthy Snack

We’ve all done it – used our busy lifestyles to justify a coffee for breakfast, skipping meals, or grabbing for that processed snack in hopes for some kind of afternoon energy burst. You may be raising children, with little time to devote to yourself. Or your job may be keeping you busy throughout the entire day, with little time for lunch or snacks. Whatever the case, always remember that even the littlest of change can make a big difference, especially when it comes to snacking.

To me, Nutrition on the Go means everything from proper hydration, preparing healthy snacks to get you through the day, or quick and easy breakfast ideas for those mornings you’ve slept through the alarm. But for this post, let’s talk snacks.

Why dedicate a post just to snacking? Well for one, healthy snacking can do more than curb cravings and increase energy, it can even save you a little money and reduce waste. And two, sometimes we just need to be reminded of the basics of nutrition and believe this starts with quick and easy ideas that everyone can try.

Healthy Snack

Healthy snack ideas, to name a few:

  • Pear slices and raw walnuts
  • Green Juice
  • That go-to smoothie
  • Dried Apricots (organic, unsulphured)
  • Applesauce and cinnamon
  • Homemade dips such as hummus, guacamole, or with rice crackers or veggies.
  • Multigrain rice cakes with honey and nut butters
  • Celery with nut butters (almond, pumpkin, walnut)
  • Homemade trail mix or roasted nuts
  • Organic Popcorn with melted coconut oil, sea salt and nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 mashed avocado on toasted dark rye
  • Spelt or gluten-free pancakes with almond butter

I’d love to hear about your healthy go-to’s when it comes to snacking, so be sure to comment below or on Facebook and Twitter.

Have a great week!

Wine: It’s delicious and… nutritious?

Hi! I’m Kelly!

I’ve recently come on board to write some blog posts for Chad from a woman’s perspective. I’m a 30 something avid worker-outer (is that a word?), marathon runner (which means I’m possibly a bit nuts) a sometimes/sometimes not a health conscious woman, a professional makeup artist, an enquiring mind, and quite obviously not a professional writer. I’m going to write about stuff that I want to learn more about and hopefully I’ll open up a few questions in your mind too.  So that brings us to my first topic.

Wine (what else would I write about?!)

There’s been a ton of hype in the past years about red wine being full of antioxidants and I recently over heard my mom saying “it’s healthy… it has antioxidants” so of course I had to research a bit.

Yes, it’s true, red wine (more than white) contains antioxidants and antioxidants have been proven to help prevent some health problems like heart disease, diabetes and even some cancers, but when it comes to wine consumption the health care pro’s say that moderation is key.  Moderation is not a word a woman in her 30’s usually uses in the same sentence as wine (a bottle is moderation… right?), so I did some research.  According to the Canadian health association a person should have no more than 10 drinks per week and no more than 2 drinks per day and they specifically say that the negative effects of alcohol far outweigh the positive effects if you consume more than 2 glasses.  As far as antioxidants are concerned wine is waaaaaay down the list. Actually wine didn’t even make the list when it came to foods and beverages that have a high concentration of antioxidants, the top 5 being berries, broccoli, garlic (yum!), green tea and tomatoes.

So in short if you’re concerned about getting your antioxidant protection, eat your fruits and veggies and drink your green tea.  Don’t fool yourself into thinking your sipping your red wine for the health benefits, sip (in moderation) because it’s delicious!

What’s YOUR favourite bottle?

Healthy Options When Travelling by Ferry

Have you ever had a tough time finding the healthy options when travelling?

I was on the ferry the other day and watched an interesting thing unfold. I could be completely off, but ultimately I made the assumption that the person in front of me was on a “Diet”.

I tend to “people watch”, a lot, and I look at how they move, act and eat.

I was watching this person while in line for ferry food. This means you usually get the option between burgers, fries and other lovely deep fried foods. Bottom line: not a lot of “healthy” options. This is a problem I’m sure many of you have found yourself in. So, what do you do?

Here’s what unfolded for me:

Sign #1 of a diet: At the drink station, they grab a cup, fill it with ice and go for the only “diet” option available.

Sign #2: Further down the line they are confronted with a bowl of mini yogurts. They dig through the bowl and find the low fat plain yogurt. The “healthiest” of the bunch.

Sign #3: At the food order station, they get oatmeal. Just oatmeal. They seemed very unsatisfied with this choice. I imagined they really wanted the deep fried chicken burger. Thankfully, there was a small container of brown sugar that they could grab for the oatmeal. (sign #4)

By the end of the line, their total tray contents were: 1 small diet pop, 1 small plain yogurt, 1 small oatmeal with brown sugar.

By the facial expressions I saw, it did not appear like it was their favorite meal, but rather the only healthy options they had available.

On the flip side, here’s what I chose to eat:

I got the “All Aboard Breakfast”: 3 strips of bacon, 3 sausages, scrambled eggs, hash browns and toast. I asked them to hold the toast.

 

So my question is:

What actually are the ‘best’ or healthy options? If we were both on a diet, why would we choose what we chose and what are the effects we think we’re getting from those choices?

I’d like to hear your thoughts on this topic so please comment below.

I’ll reveal my thoughts next week!

Weekly Activity Challenge – Benchmark #2

Weekly Activity Challenge - Benchmark #2

Welcome back to the weekly activity challenge! If you missed the announcement last week: for the next year (at least) I’ll be posting a weekly activity challenge on Monday’s. This will highlight some form of activity or workout you can do throughout the week to stay active. The challenges will vary from walking, to stationary holds, to workouts and other types of activities that we do naturally as human beings. You can try them every day if you’d like, but I’d recommend at least 3 times throughout the week.

Every activity challenge will follow a few key principles:

  • They can be done at home or outside.
  • They won’t require any specialized equipment, just things you can find at home.
  • They will be based on natural human movements and bodyweight exercises.
  • Should take less than 60 minutes to complete, most will be less than 30 minutes.
  • Can be done every day.

For the next 4 weeks, I will outlining out “Benchmark Challenges”. These are activity challenges that we will test every 10 weeks to see your improvement. In the next 4 weeks, you’ll be establishing your baselines to get a clear picture of where you’re starting from.

Today, I’m introducing Benchmark #2.

Weekly Activity Challenge – Benchmark #2:

3 sets for maximum time of:
1. Max plank hold; 1:00

Weekly Activity Challenge - Benchmark #2
NOT this kind of Planking!!

This means you’re going to get into a front plank and hold that position for as long as you can. It might be 10 seconds or 2 minutes, but hold it as long as possible. Then, rest 1:00 exactly before starting set 2. Repeat that for 3 total sets. The 1:00 rest is important for when we compare in the future. It keeps that variable consistent for comparison.

Try this workouts once per day if you can, or at least 3 times throughout the week. If you try it every single day, don’t be surprised if you’re score drops a little at first. This will be due to sore and tired muscles.

Please post your scores in the comments section for each time you do it. I also recommend a Workout Journal for your own records.

Have Fun!

*image from Google Image search: Planking

Muscle Soreness – What to do?

online fitness coaching - muscle soreness

If you’ve ever done strenuous activity, you’ve probably had muscle soreness from it. It can actually be really easy to get at times, but the question becomes how do I get rid of it and how long should I be resting before I workout again? In this video, I talk about the two types of muscle soreness and whether or not it’s good to workout.

Muscle soreness is a very common part of exercise if you’re challenging yourself properly. For some, muscle soreness is actually the reference point for whether or not they’ve worked out hard enough. Regardless of how you get it, it can be a very painful experience. At the very least, it’s definitely not pleasurable.

In my opinion, there are two types of muscle soreness. I’ll classify them as good soreness and bad soreness. Good soreness is when you’ve worked out hard and you feel it the next day. There’s discomfort in moving around but not a lot of serious pain. Bad muscle soreness is when there is a lot more pain. It can be very challenging to move around, especially after being stationary for a while. This is because there has been a lot of micro-tearing of the muscle fibers and they’re needing repair.

The question now is: should I workout, or should I rest?

With good muscle soreness, it’s actually beneficial to workout. The movement of the muscles and blood flow to the area will help reduce the tightness.

With bad muscle soreness, you likely want to rest those muscles. It may take up to a week or more for the muscles to fully heal. However, that doesn’t mean you need to stop working out completely. Do workouts that involve other areas of the body and avoid the muscles that are in pain. The exercise will still increase blood flow to the sore area and help the recovery process.

I’d love to hear your experience of this and if it worked for you. Also, I’d love to hear if you have other tips for reducing muscle soreness. Please share in the comments below.

Weekly Fitness Challenge – Water

Weekly Fitness Challenge - Water

For today’s weekly fitness challenge, I’m changing things up slightly and offering a nutritional challenge. The goal is to see if you can drink nothing but water for 7 full days.

This is always a fun one because of the questions I get about ‘exceptions’.

Is tea okay?

What about coconut water?

Fresh squeezed juice?

Although I agree that those things may have positive benefits, it’s not the focus this week. It also wouldn’t really be a fitness CHALLENGE if it wasn’t hard and didn’t exclude some things. So, for this week, no, those things are not okay. Go for it 100% and stick to ONLY WATER.

As Always, please post questions and progress in the comments below.

Introducing Lauren Atkins – Food Blogger

Lauren - food blogger

I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce Lauren Atkins as a guest blogger on AnthroPhysique. Lauren is a fellow Evernote Ambassador (Home Cooking).  In her spare time, she runs a food blog (Have Fork, Will Eat), studies gastronomy, and cooks and bakes as much as possible.  She loves to help other home cooks use Evernote and other tools to make their time in the kitchen as delicious and efficient as possible. Lauren will be posting here once a month to offer some great tips, recipes, and guidance for all things food and kitchen.

A few words from Lauren:

Lauren - food blogger
Lauren Atkins,
Have Fork, Will Eat

Hi all!  I am so excited to be doing guests posts on Chad’s site!  It’s full of inspiration and ideas for anyone trying to live a healthy lifestyle, and Chad is an amazing person and resource.  

I know that eating healthfully can seem like a big challenge, especially when you’re busy, you’re short on time and you have a giant sweet tooth.  I hope that with a few of my recipes and kitchen tips, you’ll see that it’s easier than you think, and delicious to boot.  I always thought that you are what you eat, so be both real and delicious.

As a bit of an intro to me, I’m just a few weeks shy of 30, married, no kids but two very spoiled dogs (an English Mastiff and a Shar-pei Basset).  By day, I’m an instructional technologist at the University of Michigan, because I love technology and I love helping people learn.  I know how hard it can be to work all day and then have to come home and cook dinner.  I also know how difficult it is to have a crazy schedule and still eat right during the day.  But it can be done!    

My favorite daily meals are simple, with just a few ingredients but a lot of satiety, though I have a soft spot for American comfort foods.  I like to experiment, and will make pretty much anything on request just to see if I can.  My goal is to have an efficient, organized kitchen and pantry, where quality raw food goes in one end and delicious meals come out the other.  I’ll stop now before I ramble about it too much but in future posts, I hope I can answer some of your questions and share great recipes and tips.  I’d also love to hear about your favorite foods, cooking methods or any questions you might have.

Please post any questions you have for Lauren in the comments below, or share what challenges you experience for keeping meals healthy.

vBlog #5 – Holiday Fitness Tip #2

My second holiday fitness tip is to help you fully enjoy the treats this holiday season. I don’t know about you, but at my family dinner, people start worrying or complaining about what they “shouldn’t” be eating.  After 3 butter tarts and their second piece of pie, the jokes start coming out about how long it’s going to take to work that off or the fact that it goes directly to their hips.

The holidays are a hard time stick to any diet or goal. This holiday fitness tip is about making your goal to have your treats when you say you will. Plan ahead for when you’ll have treats, but then stick to it. If it’s not planned, stay away!! Check out my video and let me know your favorite holiday treat in the comments.

Check out my last holiday fitness tip here.

What’s your plan?

Ever heard the term “Planning is the key to success” or “Failing to plan is planning to fail”? I have. Probably a million times too! But do I always do it? Not always. Life’s too busy right?!?

In my experience, the sayings are true and planning can play a big role in your success. One thing I often recommend to my clients is that they plan out their meals in advance. Especially when it comes to whatever meal is the hardest for them to make. Mine is dinner.

Last week, my wife put together this little plan:

We’ve been eating out a lot so it’s time to get back on the horse. A big step for eating better is to make your own meals.

For me, I could eat meat and a vegetable as my meal and I’m good to go. For my wife however, she likes more than two ingredients in a meal and has a desire for things to actually taste good. (weird right) So, along came the plan.

From the plan, we went and did a grocery shop to make sure we had everything we needed. Since then, it’s been as easy as: look at the plan, grab the ingredients, cook them, and eat them. Simple, easy, and actually fun.

We’ve been making dinner together, eating at home and feeling way better. We’ve had to modify our plan a few times, but it was just a matter of switching out the days and re-arranging. In 1 week, our plan has proven extremely successful and it has made dinner a much more enjoyable meal.

Do you plan your meals? If so, how has it changed your life? If not, how would it change your life if you did? 🙂

Please share you your plan on my Facebook page. You can find the one I posted above right here.

Announcing AnthroPhysique’s Weekly Activity Plan

AnthroPhysique’s specialty service is creating custom workout programs for individuals to follow on their own. I like to focus on helping people develop a lifestyle of activity that doesn’t always have to be a “workout” you’d do at the gym, but can include running, hiking, swimming or cycling. The key is to stay active on a consistent basis. Today I’m very excited to announce a new service I am offering.

Not everyone needs or wants a custom program and not everyone is interested in a personal coach. Many just want a little guidance of what to do. Some people do a similar workout all the time, so it’s nice to change it up and put a little spice into the routine. For this reason, AnthroPhysique is announcing the official launch of our Weekly Activity Plan.

The Weekly Activity Plan is exactly that. It’s a schedule of activities and workouts that will be release each week. The activities will range from gym workouts, to home workouts, to playful activities outdoors. The focus will be directed towards the average 30 – 50 year old professional person that is already consistent with some form of activity. Weekly plans will consist of 3 – 5 workouts depending on their intensity and focus and can be done on any day.

The distribution of the Weekly Activity Plan will be through this Shared Evernote Notebook. For simplicity, you can subscribe to this notebook through its RSS Feed and get the weekly updates in an RSS feed reader like Google Reader or Feedler RSS Pro for iOS.

 

For those of you that take on this challenge, and start to incorporate some or all of these workouts into your lifestyle, I highly encourage you to track your results in Evernote and Share your notebook with me. You can share it privately with me to coach[at]anthrophysique[dot]com, or you can share it publicly with a free account. Either way, I’d love to see how you’re doing with the activities as it will help me improve the program as you grow.

The plan has already started, so check out the notebook and send us your results! If you have questions or suggestions about the workouts, I’d love to hear from you in the comments.