Category Archives: Health/Fitness

3 Fitness Tips That Worked For Me That Will Get You In the Best Shape of Your Life

When it comes to health and fitness, they always say to eat a nutritious diet and to find time to exercise. While these are a great set of general advice to follow, it is important to determine what that means for you in particular (ex: what are your fitness goals?) and finding ways to maximize your results. Is there a way to take these basic tips a step further? Of course the answer is YES! I will share a few things that dramatically made a difference for me this past year alone and habits that I will continue to follow.

Incorporate a Healthy Balance of Natural Foods Within Each Food Group – When finding the right diet, there are so many different diets that exist and many are very restrictive where they eliminate certain food groups altogether or they just are not realistic because of all the food sacrifices that are needed to be made in order to follow the diet. BALANCE is the key to most things and I find with diet, this applies as well. In the past, I would try doing mostly an all protein diet or focus on fruits and vegetables but it took me time to realize that it is important to really eat a nutritiously dense mix of foods from ALL food groups. Even if the foods seem to be too calorically “heavy,” remember that the right foods are the building blocks to muscle growth so being too restrictive with your food choices could actually be setting back your workout results. It is for this reason that you should be focusing on having a good mix of everything (ex: healthy fats, carbohydrates, proteins, etc.).

Find More Challenging Exercises to Add to Your Daily Routine – As they say, “if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you” and guess what, this also applies to exercise! Last year, I decided to join a Barre Studio because I knew that the workouts were challenging in which the moves in the class were things that I would never push myself to do at a gym. I committed to taking the class 4-5 days a week and after just a couple of months, I already noticed it made a difference! This was the push that I needed to take my workouts to a different level. While I am not saying that you need to specifically join a Barre Studio, I am just recommending finding something that truly challenges you and pushes your limits if you are looking to see lasting results.

Weight Training Everyday Is NOT Necessary to Get Results – Oftentimes, people think that the more that you workout, the more beneficial that it is for your body. I used to weight train almost everyday but learned that just incorporating a few weight training sessions a week is just as effective and perhaps more effective so that it gives the body ample rest time in between the workouts to rest. It also keeps the body guessing and not too used to performing any particular movement at any particular time. I noticed that cutting back on the strength training workouts did not make me weaker in any way and also did not ruin my progress. So do not feel that you have to weight train a crazy amount of time in order to maintain a healthy and toned physique.

Why Self Care Is Especially Important During the Holiday Season

While the holidays can be a fun and festive time of the year, as we all know, sometimes the holidays can bring upon different levels of stress between planning events, putting some strain on your finances, dealing with family members you might not want to see, etc. That is why it is important to still take time for self care and to not forget about yourself as it is very easy to do so during this time of year. Meaning that you should not neglect your daily self care regime and feel that you have to take care of everyone else without taking care of yourself.

If you are used to working out, still make time to work out whenever you find any time that you can do so. If you need a massage to relieve some tension, then you should go ahead and book an appointment. Be sure to find ways to always clock in enough sleep each day and to continue to a nutritional diet. Of course it is understandable to indulge if you’re at a holiday party or a special event but moderation is still important to keep in the back of your mind. The things that make you feel good and that relieves any stresses in your life are the things that you need to prioritize along with all the other things that are on your holiday list. Trust me, you will never regret taking care of yourself! 🙂

Cardio or Weight Lifting? – What Would I Choose if I Could Only Pick One

When it comes to fitness, there is no denying that daily exercise has many positive effects on your life including extending your longevity, preventing serious health problems, boosting your mood, enhancing your physical attractiveness, etc. I cannot say enough positive things about working out and have been dedicated to living a healthy and active lifestyle since I was a teenager.

Not everyone has the time to work out everyday or as often as they would like; however, if you make your health and wellness a top priority, you can definitely find a way to incorporate it into your lifestyle whether that means waking up earlier to squeeze in a workout or maybe at night after a long work day. Remember that whatever that works for you is great and that it is extra beneficial if you can be consistent with how often you exercise. The question is, what is better for you–cardio or weight lifting? The obvious answer is BOTH! I think that it is important to put in time to do cardiovascular exercises such as running, swimming, biking, etc. in order to keep your heart healthy and to prevent excess weight from accumulating over time. However, the weight lifting aspect of working out is what keeps your body lean and tight which ultimately sculpts your physique so that you have nice curves and more developed muscles. So although I will always preach to do BOTH, if you have to choose one to focus on more than the other, I would absolutely always choose WEIGHT LIFTING! Of course, keep in mind that everyone’s health goals and bodies are built differently but regardless, I don’t think you can go wrong with adding weight lifting into your fitness routine. Personally, I find weight lifting to feel good both mentally and physically. I know women often worry about bulking up but most women’s bodies are designed to actually become more fit and lean as opposed to men who are able to bulk up more easily. Keep in mind that your diet is also a huge component when it comes to staying in shape, so do not forget to pair your workouts with a good food schedule and nutrition plan which will only enhance your results and all your fitness efforts!

Good Health Is More Than Just Diet and Exercise

When people think about being healthy, I would say that the first thing that comes to mind would most likely be diet and/or exercise. While I would absolutely agree that both are contributing factors to living a healthy lifestyle and extending your longevity; however, there are so many other aspects of being healthy that should not be overlooked. I made a short list of other things that people should also prioritize and balance out if needed in addition to eating healthy foods, taking health supplements, and working out. (If there is anything that I forgot to mention, be sure to share it in the comments below)!

Quality and Quantity of Sleep – I write the quality and quantity of sleep because both are equally important. It can be tough for people to fall asleep at night or clock in enough hours of sleep. As a result, that leaves people with low energy levels and over time can deteriorate one’s quality of life. Good sleep is a universal necessity that everyone can benefit from. I always recommend that if your schedule permits, find a time in the day to add a nap if needed to add some extra sleep time in your day.

Self Care (ex: skincare, personal grooming, etc.) – The way in which you take care of yourself matters and this is often a category that gets ignored due to a busy lifestyle. No matter how many professional and personal obligations that you have, it is essential to add self care to that list because taking care of yourself is a necessity! For me personally, self care can include the little things such as taking the time to wear products with sun protection during the summer months. It also means scheduling a monthly facial and/or massage. Never neglect yourself because you are your most valuable asset and deserve to be pampered!

Stress Levels – Throughout the course of our lives, it is natural that you will experience stress but it is important to try to find ways to eliminate stress in its entirety or find things to aid in reducing stress such as meditation. It is said that stress is a silent killer in people’s lives and that too much of it over time can take a serious toll on one’s life. It is for this reason that people need to try their very best to keep their stress levels at bay.

Mental Health – This often can be a taboo subject but it is definitely an aspect of life that should never be ignored. If you are not in a good place in your life, it is important to utilize the right resources to get you back on the right track. That might mean scheduling therapy sessions with a professional or going to a doctor to get a prescription. There should be no shame in seeking help when needed.

Happiness – Last but certainly not least, let’s not forget about increasing and maintaining your happiness levels. Your satisfaction with life matters and you should make this a focal point by pursuing the things that you love and eliminating the things that do not suit a purpose in your life. That might mean getting a new job, getting out of a toxic relationship, booking a vacation, and/or finding quality time to spend with your friends or family. Whatever it is that makes YOU happy, go for it! 🙂

Why You Can’t Always Trust “Fitness” Influencers – Along with A Much Healthier Approach to Fitness

Nowadays thanks to social media, there is so much information about health and fitness. People post everything ranging from their workouts to what they eat each day. Just about anyone and everyone can post including normal people who are fitness enthusiasts, actual professionals who work as trainers or within the fitness industry, or people who call themselves fitness influencers who might have a massive following but do not have a professional background. You might also notice that fitness influencers try to sell fitness programs that are marketed to help you train to look just like them or try to obtain a certain physique. While I also like to turn to places like Instagram to learn new fitness moves or as fitness inspiration to help me vary my workouts, that is the extent that I rely on social media for this information because I know that there are many people out there who might make fitness claims that are not valid. For example, it often is a taboo subject to talk about plastic surgery or any type of body procedures; however, there are some people that have had work done but say that they look that way thanks to their workouts and programs. This is false advertising! That is why I don’t think you can take everything that you see on social media all too seriously. Also keep in mind that everyone’s genetics are designed differently so a specific diet and fitness routine that works on one person might not necessarily work as effectively on someone else.

I believe the healthiest approach to fitness is to first set realistic expectations and fitness goals that apply to you personally. From there, you can create a game plan to determine how you will reach these goals and then develop the right habits that you can adapt on a daily basis that will help you achieve the results that you are looking for. Consistency is the key and as long as you are consistent with your efforts, you will notice that you will make progress over time. It is natural that there will be off days but never let that bring you down and know that you can always pick right back up from where you started or where you were previously. It is much healthier to focus on your own fitness journey than to compare yourself to others because the majority of the time, the people who might have a major social media following are not always the most knowledgeable and/or might be taking extreme measures to appear “healthy” when they actually are not. It is important to find what works for you and to apply it in your everyday life so it becomes a lifestyle as opposed to feeling like a chore which is why that it is also beneficial to find physical activities that you love paired with a healthy diet that you find enjoyable.

3 Reasons Why Daily Exercise is Essential

While many would agree that staying healthy is a priority, not everyone puts the right practices into place to ensure that they maintain their health. I would say that there are many factors that contribute to living a healthy lifestyle that include implementing a nutritious diet, getting enough rest each day, keeping stress levels low, and daily exercise. While I know many people live very busy lives between their careers and personal lives, I do not think that should be an excuse or a free pass to ignore exercising a few days a week. Why? I believe that daily exercise is not only important for your health but that it is essential for your well being.

Exercise Boosts Your Mood – For me personally, I am in such a better mood for the day after I exercise. Whereas when I do not fit in the time for a workout, I notice a difference in my mood where I might not feel as happy and upbeat. Studies do show that exercise very well does not only uplift your mood but it also helps as a stress reliever. For many including myself, exercise also builds my mental strength which is just as important as your physical strength and perhaps even more so.

Exercise Helps With Weight Management – While some might not feel that they are in need of losing weight or building muscle, it is still a good habit to exercise to maintain your weight throughout your lifetime. As people age, it is natural to put on excess weight little by little due to the metabolism slowing down over time. I do believe that focusing on a healthy diet is more effective than exercise given the choice; however, if you eat well AND exercise daily, that is the golden combo in helping you stay physically fit and obtaining a desirable physique.

Exercise Prevents Potential Health Problems – I look at it like this, we only have one body that is going to carry us throughout life. It is for this reason that we should treat our bodies with care and in order to do so, we have to feed our bodies with the right nutrients and fuel while also keeping the body moving in order for it to operate as efficiently and effectively as possible. By taking the time to exercise daily, it helps in preventing future health problems to occur and also can add many extra years to your life. Remember that every little bit of exercise helps and it is never too late to start!

How to Stay Fit and Fabulous Over the Holiday Season

As the upcoming holiday season approaches, we all know with that comes many celebrations and social gatherings. Since we are still in the middle of a pandemic, there might be a lesser amount of parties but I am sure there are still festivities to be celebrated. It is common for people to put on excess weight during this time because there are often more decadent foods and there tends to be a lack of structure during this time of year when prepping for the holidays. It happens and can be expected although there are ways to still enjoy this festive time and stay fit at the same time. I will discuss some healthy tips that will allow yourself to stay healthy but also not leave yourself feeling deprived.

Don’t Neglect Your Exercise Regime – I recognize that December can be an incredibly stressful and busy time of year, especially if you have a family and find yourself busier than usual with holiday activities. If you normally have a fitness routine, still continue to follow it as best you can or find creative ways to add exercise into your day. That might mean getting up a little earlier to fit it in or having to work out during times you normally would not be. Whatever you can do to find a way to keep your body moving will make a difference and remember that every little bit of exercise is better than absolutely nothing.

Indulge Within Moderation – Everything always comes back to moderation and this is especially helpful with making the right eating choices. When you are at a party or special event, I encourage you to eat what you love but it is important not to overeat because if you consistently overeat during these events, it is inevitable that you will put on excess weight. What I like to do is start with a small plate of all my favorite foods and create a little sampler. This way I can try everything and determine what I really enjoyed and get a little bit more of it if I choose to. Typically, I will already feel full after one plate but if I am still hungry, then I will go for a second plate and just grab what I enjoyed most. This way I don’t feel deprived but I still listen to my body to determine when I am full. By applying this same technique, you will be able to indulge within moderation.

Opt For Overall Healthier Choices – I know this can be tricky when you have access to more unhealthier foods and treats than you normally would. As I pointed out before, it is okay to have these things within moderation but it is also wise to choose the healthier food options that are available as opposed to filling your plate with all junk. The holiday season should not be a pass for all healthy eating habits to go out the window. You still want to try to eat as balanced of a diet as you can during this time of year while adding some treats that you don’t have all the time within reason.

How to Train Yourself to Make Healthier Food Choices

As the saying goes, “You are what you eat” and I couldn’t agree more with that statement. What we choose to eat each day not only impacts our overall health and well being but also influences our mood, energy levels, performance, longevity, and our quality of life. I don’t like labeling anything as “common sense” because I recognize that what is common to one might not be common to another but I think most people would agree that they know the benefits of making healthier dietary choices yet so many people don’t consciously follow through with it. I understand that food should taste good but why can’t it be both tasty and healthy? Given the choice, I tell people that I will always choose to eat something based on the health value over how good it tastes because the long term effects of eating the right foods outweigh the instant gratification of how good something tastes at that present moment. However, as I just mentioned, you can still choose to eat things that you love to eat and that are healthy at the same time. You can also treat yourself every so often to really delicious and decadent foods within moderation. If you currently don’t have the best eating habits, the good news is that there is always room for change and that change can start after reading this blog or whenever your mind is firmly set to make the changes that are needed to adapt healthier eating habits into your lifestyle.

Stock Up on Healthier Foods – I always say, out of sight, out of mind and this most certainly applies to food too. I like to have a concrete grocery shopping list before I set out to the supermarket so that I know exactly what I’m looking for and keep the list filled with both clean and organic foods. I try to avoid buying unhealthy foods and snacks because if I have access to them in the comfort of my home, then they are in sight which will make it more tempting to want to eat them. Of course it is okay to have some treats but I recommend finding healthier alternatives or to buy them less frequently so that the few times that you buy them, it is truly a once in a while treat.

Meal Prep Each Week – When you take the time to meal prep and plan out your daily meals, this allows you to be in control of what you eat in terms of the type of meal and the portion size. It is smart to buy containers and fill them up accordingly with a good healthy mix of foods and nutrients. If you are stuck with coming up with healthy meal ideas, you can easily research what others make through a google search or places like Pinterest and Instagram have plenty of resources to use as a guide.

Eat Out Less Often – Even though many restaurants provide healthier meal options on their menus nowadays, it is still hard to know how healthy the meal truly is. There is often a ton of hidden fats, sugar, and other unhealthy things added to make the food taste extra good but obviously aren’t good for you, especially when eaten in excess. For example, an innocent salad can end up having a lot junk in it by the time all the fixings and dressing are added on top. My point is that meals that appear to be healthy on the surface might not end up being as wholesome as you think. If you cook more at home, then at least you know the ingredients and what exactly you are eating as opposed to a restaurant where you are unsure of what the meal actually consists of.

Learn How to Study a Food Label – It is important to familiarize yourself with food labels and compare them when you are shopping for products. For example, it is beneficial knowing the serving size because although it might come in a single bag, you cannot assume that it is one serving. Other areas that I like to pay attention to are the actual ingredient list to see if the ingredients are mostly natural with little additives and artificial ingredients along with the amount of sugar. There are many foods that you would not think have a lot of sugar but actually do which is why it is good to look at how many grams of sugar are in a serving. In terms of the calorie count, I am not as concerned with this number because sometimes high quality foods are higher in calories whereas foods marketed as “low calorie foods” are not necessarily as nutritious as they want consumers to think they are and tend to be created with a lot of fillers and unhealthy ingredients.

Track What You Eat – Often I emphasize the importance of tracking things down which helps by literally keeping you on track but most importantly by making you stay accountable for your actions which in this case is monitoring your food choices. Even someone like myself who already prioritizes living a healthy lifestyle and is very disciplined can benefit from tracking what I eat. I find that when I take the time to list what I eat each day, I am more aware of what I’m eating along with how much. This practice personally helps me stay focused and mindful about making healthy choices each and everyday! (Trust me, it works)!

How to Make Fitness a Part of Your Lifestyle

Many people understand the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle and why adding physical exercise into their daily routine is important but not everyone takes the time to make it a part of their lifestyle. I understand the reason for this is going to vary from person to person but can range from simply not liking to exercise or perhaps living a busy life where it is hard to make the time for it. Whatever the case may be, the good thing is that any little bit of exercise that you do is always going to be better than doing absolutely nothing. So you can start very small and eventually progress over time. If creating a fitness routine is totally new for you, then it can be expected that you might not be doing much in the very beginning and that’s OKAY! As long as there’s a start, you can always build better habits as time goes on. You might now be wondering, “Well, how exactly do I get started?”

Find Physical Activities That You LOVE – Not everyone loves going to a gym but thankfully a gym membership is not a requirement. You can easily workout in the comfort of your own home or find sports/physical hobbies that you enjoy. If you participate in activities that you actually want to do, then it will not feel as much like work.

Set Fitness Goals and Write Them Down – If you have fitness goals that you are looking to achieve, then take the time to write them down. It is good to have goals because this can motivate you to actually take action to achieve them. For example, your goal might be to weight train for three days a week at 30 minutes a session. Once this becomes a habit, you can then reassess and create more challenging fitness goals.

Hire a Professional – It is a valuable investment to hire a professional to teach you how to train properly or if it is a sport that you are looking to get better at, then this is also a good reason to look into hiring someone who can up your skill set. Some people might feel intimidated or that they can’t do a certain physical activity but with the right professional help, there is an opportunity to grow, learn something new, and/or improve from where you started.

Plan Ahead by Creating a Consistent Fitness Schedule – By creating a fitness schedule in advance, you are adding concrete blocks of time within your day/week to work out while also holding yourself accountable to sticking to a fitness regime. It’s okay if it varies from week to week depending on your schedule as long as you are making some type of commitment each week. In other words, it is not as effective to have four days in a week that you work out followed by two weeks of inactivity before you get back on track again to your initial schedule. This plan lacks consistency which means that it is not much a part of your lifestyle. It is more preferable to maybe start with two to three days a week and commit to that rather than fitting in random work outs sporadically throughout the month.

Staying Healthy and Fit – 5 Things I Recommend Most

Before I share some of my healthy habits, there are a couple things to first recognize when it comes to health and fitness. For starters, everyone’s personal standard of what’s “healthy” is going to vary and secondly, what works for me might not necessarily work for you in its entirety as there are various contributing factors such as your body type, age, current health, etc. So please keep this in mind as you are reading because it’s easy to follow advice and then wonder why you are not obtaining the exact same results. As I mentioned, it’s because every body is different but at the same time, my general health tips are ones in which anyone can pick up at any time to achieve their very own personal success–so that means you can keep reading. 🙂

To me, staying healthy and fit is not only a LIFESTYLE but it also is a COMMITMENT to self. Chances are, my personal health standards are probably much higher than the average individual which is why it seems like I put in a lot more effort than most people. I’m sure I probably don’t need to put in as much work as I do to obtain results but I look at it like this: Why settle on mediocre results when I can opt for the very best results? I do what I know works for me and if that means extra workouts or a little extra focus on what I am eating, then it definitely is worth it.

Put in the Physical Work by Lifting Weights and Adding Cardio – Sometimes people are scared to lift weights because they think it will make them appear too bulky. Again, everyone’s body is genetically built differently but generally speaking, lifting weights will give you a desirable body composition and tone you up in all the right areas. Personally, I try to lift weights for an hour a day. I’ll switch up the moves each day to target different muscle groups but each day will be a mix of moves so that I can do a full body workout as opposed to isolating certain muscle groups on certain days. In terms of cardio workouts, I think it’s helpful to incorporate cardio workouts to burn a few extra calories in the day and that it is also good for your heart. With cardio, I try to fit 30-60 minutes of cardio about 5 days a week. (If I don’t have the time to do both in a day, I would choose to lift weights given the choice).

Eat a High Protein Diet – In order to keep the muscle and stay strong, it is important to make sure you eat enough protein in a day and ideally at every meal. If you consistently lift weights but are not feeding your muscles, then all the physical work could go to waste which is why you need to make sure you have enough protein built into your diet. Some forms of protein that I eat on a daily basis include: chicken, fish, eggs, and whey protein. I will also eat turkey and red meat on occasion.

Pay Attention to Portion Control – When I say “portion control,” I do not want this to ever translate as starvation because you absolutely need to fuel your body with enough high quality foods and nutrients in order to stay healthy and build your muscles. What I simply mean is to be mindful of how much you’re eating during each meal and to really listen to your body when you are full–no matter how good the food is (depending on what it is, you can always save it and eat more of it at a later time).

Stay Consistent with Both Your Exercise and Diet – “Getting” in shape is one thing but “staying” in shape is another. When people are determined enough, they can easily get fit but often times they cannot stay fit. The reason is that there is not enough consistency. In order to obtain any type of long lasting results, you need to stay consistent. For me personally, I consistently go to the gym in the mornings, usually 5-7 days a week. If you are just starting out a good fitness regime, I would say a minimum of 3-5 days are needed to build up consistency. You can’t expect to stay in shape when you workout sporadically or you skip weeks of any form of physical activity. The same also goes with your daily diet. While it is okay to indulge and enjoy a good meal here and there, it is important to stay focused on eating healthier and higher quality foods on a regular basis.

Track Food and Physical Activity – While many people might not see the benefits of writing down what they eat and their physical activity for the day, I personally think it’s extremely important for staying focused and holding myself accountable. That is not to say that if I wasn’t writing this down that I’d skip going to the gym and just eat whatever I want but I do think I’m extra mindful of my actions when I know I’m tracking it everyday. It also is a helpful tool to track progress over time which is another reason why I recommend taking the time to record what you eat along with your workouts.