How to Meet Fitness Goals the Second Half of the Year!

How to Meet Fitness Goals the Second Half of the Year!

How to Meet Fitness Goals the Second Half of the Year!

We’re a little more than halfway through the year, so are you still on track to meet your fitness goals for the year? Here are some tips to keep you on course and make each day count for the second half of the year!

Make Each Day Count:

Taking it one day at a time when you’re striving to meet fitness goals is the best way to ensure you get there. It’s not a race. It’s a marathon! Making each day count makes it more likely that you make the necessary lifestyle changes to make fitness a regular part of your life. If you tackle fitness one day at a time – with a bigger goal in mind – it won’t feel like an impossible idea! This means each day you exercise matters. Start with Sunday, and track each day. Wednesday is your mid-week check-in day to see if you need to ramp it up for the rest of the week or slow down a bit.

Keep a Log:

It’s easier to make each day count if you keep a log or exercise log. Keeping a log helps to keep you accountable to your goals. Take a few minutes each day to write down what you’ve done that day. And, just as we stated in the previous tip, use Wednesday as your check-in day. Check-in on Sunday to see if you met your goals in the prior week! Exercise diaries are also excellent for tracking your meals and your health!

Create a Routine and Stick to it:

If you haven’t already created a routine for the year, devise one right now! Create an exercise routine for the remaining months of 2019. Studies show that having a regular routine helps you stick to it. It also helps to keep you accountable to your goals! When you’re creating a routine, be honest with yourself. What would work best for your schedule and ultimate fitness goals? Being practical when you’re designing a routine means you’re less likely to find excuses to skip workouts! Record your routine in your fitness log. Be as specific. Then stick to the routine as much as possible! Remember to adjust your routine as you grow stronger.

Check Bad Habits:

It’s too easy to fall back into any bad habits you might have had before your starting working out. Keep to your planned routine while keeping in mind your ultimate goals! It helps to keep you from falling back into any habits that go against your goals. If your goals include changing your dietary habits, then use your fitness log to track your food intake as well That holds you accountable. At the end of each week, review your log to see if you met your goals. Again, that keeps you accountable.

Meeting your Goals:

Sometimes you need to change things up a bit to achieve your goals. Yes, sticking to your planned fitness routine is critical, but life can sometimes get in the way. If you have an early morning meeting that will prevent you from your morning workout, try working out after work instead. Or walk to work if possible to get in some exercise. Think of other creative ways to get in some activity or movement. Instead of your regular spin class, try a high-wattage dance class. Note these changes to your routine in your fitness log.

Turn to Apps for Help:

There are fitness trackers and apps you can use to keep you on course and accountable. There are numerous apps on the market, and you should use the one that will best meet your individual needs.

Use a Trainer or Work with a Friend:

Sometimes the best way to hold ourselves accountable is to hire a trainer and buy a package of appointments with them! My suggestion is first to try the class or have at least one session with a trainer before you buy a package. But, prepaying for something will make you more likely to show up. Also, a professional trainer can ensure you’re working out safely!

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Can Compression Socks Help You?

Can Compression Socks Help You?

Can Compression Socks Help You?

For some athletes, compression socks could be beneficial. Here is information on what compression socks are, what they do, and how they might help you. As always, consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.

What are compression socks?

Compression socks are snug-fitting socks that apply gentle pressure on the ball of the foot, around the ankle and on the plantar fascia. They are the tightest around the ankle and gradually get looser up the leg. The pressure helps to ensure that things stay in alignment and blood flow is improved while you’re wearing the socks. Compression sleeves work the same way but don’t cover the foot, just the leg.

What Do They Do?

The two most critical things compression socks or sleeves do is improve blood flow, which can lessen pain and leg swelling, and reduce your chances of getting deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a type of blood clot.

The compression helps your blood vessels function better by putting limited pressure on them, allowing blood to flow more easily. As a result, they can keep your legs from feeling tired and painful, keep swelling down, and help prevent varicose veins. Because they keep blood flowing, they can help prevent blood clots from forming.

Who uses compression socks?

Some athletes swear by compression socks. Better blood flow brings more oxygen to the muscles. Not only is this helpful during exercise, but the improved circulation can help muscles recover more quickly following intense or lengthy workouts.

If a doctor has prescribed compression socks, then you should follow their instructions carefully. (Some insurances will cover their cost if they’re prescribed by a physician.) You can also purchase compressions socks and sleeves without a prescription.

Although many athletes believe that compression socks and sleeves improve their athletic performance, there’s no direct evidence of this.

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The Importance of Stretching as You Age

The Importance of Stretching as You Age

The Importance of Stretching as You Age

As we age, we lose flexibility – especially if we’re not exercising. Staying in motion and flexible is key to a healthy, aging body. Stretching is an essential part of any fitness equation because it keeps your muscles ready to move. If you’re older than 30, you’ve been losing flexibility an average of 1% a year. Read on to learn why this matters.

Lack of Flexibility:

Being inflexible doesn’t just age you, it can lead to health issues including balance problems which can cause falls, poor posture, limited range of motion, and tight muscles that contribute to back pain or difficulty performing simple tasks. As we grow older, it’s critical to be concerned about balance and flexibility to avoid potentially dangerous falls.

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that “stretching activities be done at least two days per week. If you have lost some joint motion or feel stiff, range of motion or stretching activities should be done daily.”

ACSM recommends that a stretch should produce a slight pull on the muscle but not to the point of pain. With a static stretch, hold that position for 15-30 seconds, and each stretch should be repeated 3-5 times on each side of the body.

Stretches:

Here are four stretches ACSM* recommends. As always, you should consult your doctor before starting any type of activity.

  1. Hamstrings. Sit on the ground with legs straight in front of you. Gently lean forward from the hips (try to keep the back reasonably straight) until a stretch is felt on the back of the thighs. 
  2. Hip flexors. Stand on one foot, and bring the other foot to the buttocks. Pull back gently, while keeping your knee pointed at the ground and your hip straight. If needed, hold onto a counter or chair to keep your balance. 
  3. Calves. Step forward with one leg. Shift your weight toward the front leg while keeping the back heel on the ground. If you press the hip of your back leg forward, this will also help stretch the hip flexors. 
  4. Chest muscles. Standing in a corner, bring hands up to shoulder height and place against the wall on either side. Keeping hands in position, lean body forward until a stretch is felt in the front of the chest. This can also be done using a doorway, turning away from the hand that is on the wall

*DIY: Improving Your Flexibility and Balance (Information from ACSM Fit Society, Winter 2012—Article written by Lynn Miller, PT, Ph.D., FACSM

Additional Senior Exercises:

Some exercises incorporate stretching and can help you stay fit as you age. Here are five activities to consider:

  • Walking
  • Water therapy
  • Tai chi
  • Pilates
  • Yoga

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Why morning workouts might be your best workouts

Why morning workouts might be your best workouts

Why morning workouts might be your best workouts

The best time to work out is whenever it’s best for you and your schedule. However having said that, there are a lot great reasons – with some science to back it up – for working out in the morning. Here are five significant benefits of working out in the morning.

Morning workouts tend to become a healthy habit. 

Speaking from experience (and there’s data to back it up), if you add early morning workout as part of your regular morning routine, you’re more likely to do it and be consistent with it. Distractions to stop you from exercise are far less likely than if you wait until the end of the day when you might be tired, running late at work, or headed to a social activity. Our advice? Set out your workout clothes the night before, put them on first thing in the morning as soon as you get out of bed, and get going!

You’ll consume fewer unnecessary calories by making a morning workout routine

A study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that good morning exercise might make food less appealing to you. The Brigham Young University researchers showed images of food to two groups of women: those who exercised in the morning and those who did not. The morning exercisers (45 minutes morning workouts) were less interested in images of food than women who skipped the workout. Those who worked out in the morning also did not consume more food than the other group throughout the day.  

Pre-breakfast workouts can be beneficial for burning fat and sugar. 

There’s plenty of studies to indicate that you not only burn more fat with a morning workout, especially if you do it before eating, but it’s also good for your sugar levels. In one study out of Belgium, three groups of young men were studied. The sedentary group gained weight, developed insulin resistance, and added new fat cells. The men who exercised after breakfast gained about three pounds each and developed insulin problems. However, the men who worked out in the morning before eating gained almost no weight and retained healthy insulin levels. They also burned more fat throughout the day than the other men. A 2013 British Journal of Nutrition study found exercising on an empty stomach can burn as much as 20 percent more fat than when a meal is eaten first. (Keep in mind that some people get lightheaded if they don’t eat before working out. In that case, have a light breakfast, wait a while, then exercise.)  

You’ll sleep better at night. 

Having trouble sleeping? Stop exercising at night. Evidence shows evening exercise is more likely to keep you up at night.  The National Sleep Foundation says those who work out early in the morning experience deeper sleep cycles and “spend 75 percent more time in the most reparative stages of slumber than those who exercise at later times that day.” So, what are you waiting for? Lay out tomorrow morning’s workout clothes tonight!

It’s good for your blood pressure.

If you want to lower your blood pressure, do morning workouts for at least 30 minutes a day and add breaks in sitting all day. A study by the Baker Heart Institute in Australia in collaboration with the journal Hypertension (published February 2019) found that a morning workout supplemented by breaks in sitting throughout the day lowered blood pressure. The study found that the best morning workout lowered the blood pressure for “a good portion of the day among older adults who are obese or overweight, especially women”. A half an hour of moderate-intensity walking in the morning reduced the average 8-hour blood pressure by 3.4/0.8 mm Hg.

One last bit of morning encouragement: Bringham Young University researchers found that people who embrace morning workout session end up being more active in general. And as we’ve said, you’re more likely to make exercise a habit if you do it in the morning, but any time you can get in a workout is the best time – whether that’s first thing in the morning, afternoon, or evening. The most important thing you can do is find a time to exercise, write it into your schedule, and watch it turn into a habit. 

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Why Peanut Butter Is Good For You

Why Peanut Butter Is Good For You

Why Peanut Butter Is Good For You

Peanut butter

One of the world’s most popular spreads!

  • It tastes delicious
  • It sticks to the roof of your mouth before it melts and tastes wonderful.
  • Can eat it with lots of other foods

What Is Peanut Butter?

Peanut butter is mostly unprocessed food.

It’s basically just peanuts, often roasted, that are ground into a paste.

However, this doesn’t apply to many commercial brands of peanut butter that contain various added ingredients, such as sugar, vegetable oils, and even trans fat.

Eating too much added sugar and trans fat has been linked to various health problems, such as heart disease. Make sure and pick the brands that one ingredient….peanuts.

Rather than buying junk food, choose real peanut butter. It should contain nothing but peanuts and maybe a bit of salt.

For all purposes, the health effects of regular peanuts should be almost identical to those of peanut butter since it’s essentially just ground peanuts.

Peanut butter is not for everyone. If you are allergic there are a lot of nut butter alternatives.

  • Almond butter
  • Cashew butter
  • Sunflower butter
  • Pecan butter
  • Pistachio butter
  • Hazelnut butter

 

It’s a Good Protein Source

Peanut butter is a fairly balanced energy source that supplies all of the three macronutrients. A 100g portion of peanut butter contains:

  • Carbohydrate: 20 grams of carbs (13% of calories), 6 of which are fiber.
  • Protein: 25 grams of protein (15% of calories), which is quite a lot compared to most other plant foods.
  • Fat: 50 grams of fat, totaling about 72% of calories.

Even though peanut butter is fairly protein rich, it’s low in the essential amino acid methionine.

Peanuts belong to the legume family, which also includes beans, peas, and lentils. Legume protein is much lower in methionine and cysteine compared to animal protein.

Peanut butter is comprised of about 25% protein, making it an excellent plant-based protein source. However, it is low in the essential amino acid methionine.

Low in Carbs

Pure peanut butter contains only 20% carbs, making it suitable for a low-carb diet.

It also causes a very low rise in blood sugar and is a perfect option for people with type 2 diabetes. Peanuts are low in carbs and suitable for people with type 2 diabetes or those following a low-carb diet.

High in Healthy Fats

Since peanut butter is very high in fat, a 100-gram portion contains a hefty dose of 588 calories.

Despite their high-calorie content, eating moderate amounts of pure peanut butter or whole peanuts is perfectly fine on a weight-loss diet.

Half of the fat in peanut butter is made up of oleic acid, a healthy type of monounsaturated fat also found in high amounts in olive oil.

Oleic acid has been linked to several health benefits, such as improved insulin sensitivity.

Pure peanut butter is a good source of healthy fats. While some people have been worried about its omega-6 linoleic acid content, limited evidence justifies their concerns.

Peanut Butter Is Fairly Rich in Vitamins and Minerals

Peanut butter is fairly nutritious. A 100-gram portion of peanut butter provides many vitamins and minerals:

  • Vitamin E: 45% of the RDA
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 67% of the RDA
  • Vitamin B6: 27% of the RDA
  • Folate: 18% of the RDA
  • Magnesium: 39% of the RDA
  • Copper: 24% of the RDA
  • Manganese: 73% of the RDA

It is also high in biotin and contains decent amounts of vitamin B5, iron, potassium, zinc and selenium.

It’s Rich in Antioxidants

Like most real foods, peanut butter contains more than just the basic vitamins and minerals. It also contains plenty of other biologically active nutrients, which can have some health benefits.

Peanut butter is rich in antioxidants, including p-coumarin and resveratrol. These plant compounds have been linked to various health benefits in animals.

 

7 different ways to eat peanut butter

  1. Peanut butter and bananas
  2. Peanut butter and apples
  3. Ant on a log (celery)
  4. Peanut butter stir fry
  5. Peanut butter and yogurt
  6. Peanut butter on a granola bar
  7. Peanut butter with a SPOON
Kelly Fennelly

Kelly Fennelly

Personal Trainer | Fitness Guru
www.kellyfennelly.com

about

Kelly Fennelly

I have been a professional in the fitness industry for more than 20 years. A native of the PNW, I have lived in Seattle for 16+ years. I spend most of my time designing and implementing Wellness Programs for clients. Along with my passion for Wellness & Fitness, I have a passion for supporting local non-profits and contributing to our community. 7 years ago I started a not for profit charity called Little Black Dress Party and hold annual fundraising events for local nonprofits focused on women, children, and families.

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