By Constance Ray
As a single parent, you have a lot going on. As a parent you have all the duties: good cop/bad cop; punisher and consoler; lunch maker and bread winner. The short and long of it is: you’re busy. So busy that you may forget to take care of yourself sometimes.
If that sounds like your life, you may not have a system worked out yet for staying fit and active… but it’s probably about time you work one out. Exercise is extremely important for human beings. We are not meant to be as sedentary as modern life allows us to be, and exercising regularly helps balance us mentally, emotionally, and physically. Getting in a light workout every day can help keep you healthy, calm, and composed so you can be a better single parent.
Why is exercise so good for you?
Exercise and Mindfulness
Exercising is a great way to practice mindfulness in your everyday life. As a single parent, you probably have a million things running through your head at all times just to try and stay on top of all your responsibilities. You want to be as prepared as you can for your kids sake, but constantly thinking about possible outcomes to situations keeps you from being in the moment.
Just like exercise trains your cardiovascular system and muscles, it can also help train your brain to be more mindful. When you are in the moment jogging, lifting weights, swimming, or doing whatever else you love, you get to escape from the to-do lists and what-ifs if only for a few minutes. Doing that over and over again (over 66 days, according to James Clear) makes it second nature to be mindful when you’re not working out.
Exercise and Motivation
Sometimes, as a single parent, you get burnt out. You don’t want to have to get up off the couch and drive your kids to the mall-- you want to lay here with your eyes closed. Of course, if you don’t take on parenting duties, no one else will. What you need is a shot of motivation.
Exercising daily helps keep you motivated as a single parent. ADrugRehab says, “Not only does exercise reduce stress, but it also boosts your positive, motivating emotions, too. Part of this is biology — the body is regulating itself during exercise, but it also has to do with seeing and feeling the results of your efforts.”
Keeping a regular exercise schedule helps prevent burnout so you can be there for you kids everyday, like they need you to be.
Exercise and Your Body
You want to be around for years to come so you can see what awesome adults your kids grow up to be. Exercising regularly helps ensure a longer, more enjoyable life. Inactivity leads to heart disease-- which is the leading cause of death for men and women of most ethnicity in the United States. Exercising regularly can also help keep your weight down, regulate cholesterol, and make it easier to manage existing ailments like diabetes. Taking time to get in a light workout now will help make sure you’re around for years to come to lecture your grown children about how they should be exercising, too.
As a single parent, you have a million things going on that can get in the way of taking care of yourself. With that being true, it’s still necessary to set aside time every week to exercise. Exercising helps you practice mindfulness, which in turn reduces stress and makes you a more present, conscious parent for your kids. It also helps keep you motivated so you can tackle all the challenges being a single parent throws at you. Finally, exercising will keep you physically healthy so you can be around for years to come and see your children grow into amazing adults.
Data indicates that losing weight or getting in shape is the second most popular New Year’s resolution, following closely behind saving money. While you may have good intentions, it can be hard to follow through on a health-related goal throughout the entire year. Between demanding work and family life, social engagements, vacation, and stress, eating right and hitting the gym may not always be top of mind.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Arm yourself with some proven advice and aim to do your best most of the time and you’re likely to see the results you’re seeking.
Trust Scientific Evidence
Economists and psychologists conducted copious research to tap into the reasons why it’s so difficult to motivate yourself to get fit, to include what you can do to change your mindset.
Adopt the buddy system
There’s more to the buddy system than just partnering up with a friend for a run. Research shows that even receiving a motivating phone call from a friend every two weeks can increase your exercise level by up to an impressive 78 percent. Other benefits from the buddy system include: healthy competition, a more enjoyable experience, humbleness (watch that ego), and improved form and safety because you can look out for one another.
Consider workouts like therapy
If you’re going through a tough time like recovering from an addiction, exercise that promotes mental wellness like hiking in nature or taking yoga can be beneficial to your healing process. Yoga teaches you to focus only on the present moment; being able to let go of your worries and struggles with recovery, even briefly, can be the best medicine for you.
Sign Up For A Charitable Fitness Activity
Signing up for a charitable fitness event such as a marathon or walk works twofold. Not only do you have to stick to a training program for the big day, but because doing something for a good cause, you’re less likely to bail. If you really want to stay on top of your game, organize a race with your local school, church, or social organization for the charity of your choice.
Give yourself a "cheat" meal day
It’s unrealistic to think you’re going to be on point all the time — but studies show it’s better if you’re not. By giving yourself one cheat meal day a week, you can boost your metabolism due to an increase in leptin production. The ideal cheat day is high-protein, high-carb, low-fat, and alcohol-free — booze actually decreases leptin production. Note that for most of us, it’s only psychologically possible to stick to a diet 80 percent of the time.
You may find that a combination of tactics versus one approach is more effective for the long term. If you get off track, take time to reevaluate your routine. It may be helpful at this point to mix things up — not only to avoid discouragement, but also to challenge your body in a new way that may prove to be more effective.
Photo Credit: Pixabay
by Constance Ray
It took a long time and plenty of proverbial blood, sweat, and tears, but you finally managed to get sober. You should feel proud of yourself, as that’s no small accomplishment. Even though you likely had help from family and professionals, it’s still your doing.
That’s why you need to start exercising. It took a lot to get back in control of your life, so you should be concerned with relapsing. And believe it or not, getting physically fit can improve your mental health and help you stay sober. Read on to learn how, including what kinds of exercise will help you the most.
How Fitness Helps Your Mental HealthPeople typically think of their body and mind as two separate things. However, the two are very interconnected. For example, if you are stressed and filled with anxiety, your immune system works poorly and you get sick more often.
That’s why being physically fit can help you stay sober. In fact, the Huffington Post lists several mental health benefits of exercise, such as:
In other words, you won’t need to abuse substances because you’ll be happier. Exercising regularly can help ease that pain but in a healthy way.
More Than Just Working OutIf getting fit helps you stay happy and sober, should you hit the gym today? That’s not a bad idea, but exercise is more than just lifting weights. Health.com explains some of the best exercises for people in addiction recovery:
But as DrugRehab.org points out, there are some alternative exercise activities that can also help, including:
As Lifehacker notes, you probably have a routine of sorts already. You just need to upgrade it somewhat:
Of course, you’ll have to create a daily routine that works for you specifically. To do this, start your day by listing the things you need to get done. Ask yourself what tasks need to get done to get to work, be productive, stay sober, and so on. Then create a timetable that includes exercise you need to boost your mental health.
Exercise For SobrietyIt’s not like getting fit will magically keep you sober forever. You still need to make smart choices about places you visit, who you count as friends, and so on. But building a daily routine that includes exercise can boost your mental health so you are stronger and can more easily stay sober.
For more information on this article visit recoverywell.org
So how do you know if you’re eating too much? Here are some red flags to watch out for that your body is sending you that it’s time to cut back or eliminate the "sweet" stuff.
1. You constantly crave sugary things.
The more sugar you eat, the more you’ll crave it. medical expert Brooke Alpert, M.S., R.D., author of The Sugar Detox: Lose Weight, Feel Great and Look Years Younger, say “More cravings then equal consuming more sugar—it becomes a vicious and addictive cycle.” This isn’t just because your taste buds have adapted and left you needing more and more to get that same taste, but also because of how sugar gives you a high followed by a crash, just like an actual drug. “By eating a high sugar diet, you cause a hormonal response in your body that’s like a wave, it brings you up and then you crash down and it triggers your body to want more sugar.” Also the daily consumption of sugar enabled the bad bacteria (bio flora) to take over, that causes an imbalance which makes the cravings uncontrollable.
2. You feel sluggish throughout the day, going with the old saying of "What goes up must come down." After sugar causes an initial spike of insulin and that “high” feeling, it causes an inevitable crash. “Energy is most stable when blood sugar is stable, so when you’re consuming too much sugar, the highs and lows of your blood sugar lead to highs and lows of energy,” Expert says. Eating a lot of sugar also means it’s likely you’re not eating enough nutrients such as protein and fiber from vegetables and fruits, both important nutrients for sustained energy.
3. Your skin won’t stop breaking out. “Some people are sensitive to getting a spike in insulin from sugar intake, which can set off a hormonal cascade that can lead to a breakout like acne or rosacea,” Rebecca Kazin, M.D., of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery and the Johns Hopkins department of dermatology explained. "A sugar binge can show up on your face in just a few days. If your skin’s unruly, Kazin recommends reassessing your diet, otherwise “you may be treating skin for other issues without getting to the bottom of what’s really going on.”
4. You’re way moodier than usual. The blood sugar crash that happens when you’re coming off a sugar high can cause mood swings and leave you feeling crabby. Not to mention, if your energy is also tanking, that just contributes to a bad attitude.
5. You’ve been putting on some weight. Excess sugar is excess calories, and since it has no protein or fiber, it doesn’t fill you up (so you just keep eating it). It also triggers the release of insulin, a hormone that plays a big role in weight gain. When we eat sugar, the pancreas releases insulin, which carries sugar to our organs so it can be used for energy. When you load up on sugar, your body’s told to produce more insulin—over time, that excessive output can lead to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance means our bodies can’t respond to normal amounts of insulin properly and therefore can’t use sugar the right way. The initial weight gain from simply eating too many calories from sugar is being compounded by the disruption to your normal insulin response (there’s a link between insulin resistance and obesity). What’s more, when the pancreas works in overdrive for too long you can develop diabetes.
6. You’ve been getting more cavities. When bacteria chow down on food particles in between the teeth, acid is produced, which causes tooth decay. Our saliva maintains a healthy balance of bacteria on its own, but eating sugar can impact the pH and throw off the natural ecosystem. This gives the bacteria a chance to thrive and multiply, leading to cavities.
7. Your brain tends to get foggy, especially after a meal. This fog is a common symptom of low blood sugar, and gut bacteria response to sugar (See benefits of probiotics). When you eat a lot of sugar, your blood sugar levels rapidly rise and fall instead of gradually doing so. “Poor blood sugar control is a major risk for cognitive issues and impairment,” expert says.
8. Nothing tastes as sweet as it used to. “Eating too much sugar basically bombards your taste buds,” Alpert says. “This sugar overkill causes your taste bud sugar tolerance to go up, so you need more and more sugar to satisfy that sweet craving.” When your taste buds need lots of sugar to feel like something is sweet enough, it can be tough to lower your base level. However, it you cut back and suffer through it in the beginning, you’ll eventually lower your tolerance again and be content with minimal sugar. You might even start to feel like things are too sweet for you and—gasp!—be happier consuming sugar in moderation.
*Before getting started, it is highly recommended that you consult with your doctor and a health professional before using any pre-workout supplements. Pre-workout supplements can have serious side effects to your overall health if not used as directed -Also Peak Performance Fitness does not support the use of pre-workout supplements to anyone under the age of 18.
We live in a world where we expect to feel something when we use pre-workout supplements. If you don’t feel some sort of energy, tingly sensation, or mental focus, then we consider it a terrible product. But what many of us find out is that these pre-workout supplements also have some drawbacks—specifically, side effects.
We want you to understand not only your nutrition but how things work and potential consequences (especially if abused). Pre-workout supplements are no exception. Some of us swear by pre-workout supplements and can’t work out without them. Then on the flipside, we have people who never use pre-workout supplements and they have amazing workouts. The choice is ultimately yours in the direction you care to go,
Here are some potential side effects and how to avoid them when it comes to pre-workout supplements.
Have you ever looked at the label of your pre-workout supplements? You should. What you find on the back might give you a good indication if the product is for you or not—especially if you use your pre-workout supplements for a night-time training session and they contain stimulants.
In general, pre-workout supplements are "caffeine" based. which can go anywhere from 200-400mg of caffeine per serving, which equals to 2-4 cups regular serving in one dosage.
Sure, the caffeine in the pre-workout supplements will help give you energy throughout your workout due to it activating epinephrine and norepinephrine in the body, but if taken at night, it will also cause you to lay in bed staring at your ceiling.
So how can this be combated if you plan on getting a good night’s sleep? The half-life (how long it lasts) of caffeine is anywhere from three to five hours. With that being said, if you plan on hopping into bed around 11pm, you shouldn’t take your pre-workout supplements after 6pm or they might affect your sleep.
This can happen for a number of reasons, but most people will find the issue arising from two things in particular.
The first one is some specific ingredients used in the products that can have a laxative effect with sensitive systems that sends you to the toilet fairly quickly after slamming down the pre-workout supplements. These ingredients include high dosages of the following: sodium bicarbonate, magnesium, taurine, arginine, Yohimbe, creatine, and caffeine. But more times than not, it comes down to how you use the product.
A problem in the supplement industry is that sometimes you have people creating pre-workout supplements without truly knowing how they work in the body and how they are absorbed. For instance, and this is the second issue we were talking about above, how much water you use to mix up your favorite pre-workout supplements.
The Reasoning For Adding More Water
Many call for you to mix your powder with around 8 ounces of water and more times than not, this isn’t enough. This can cause a paste to form in your gut.
A simple fix to the above would be to use more water the next time you use your pre-workout supplements. If you pick up something new and find following the directions on the label had you running to the toilet, next time add more water.
It is also recommends that you drink water during your workout as well. If you drink water throughout the day and consistently, you might not even show any signs of gastrointestinal issues when following the directions. It’s truly a case by case and person by person basis.
It goes without saying that the above (diarrhea) goes hand in hand with dehydration. Certain ingredients in pre-workout supplements can pull water and excrete it causing dehydration. Some ingredients are put in to do this on purpose (for instance if it has a blend to help with weight loss or included as a diuretic) while others, when consumed in high doses, can cause dehydration.
It is always recommended consuming water throughout the day, even when you aren’t thirsty. If you find after taking any pre-workout supplements that you are urinating more than normal, be sure to replenish what is lost by grabbing some water.
When exercising, not only do you sweat and lose water, but the water being shuttled to your muscles, especially if creatine is present in the pre-workout supplements, it’s pulling water from other areas of the body to flood those working muscles. This can cause dehydration depending on the severity. Again, be sure to drink plenty of water to prevent this side effect.
The side effect of a headache can be attributed to dehydration. When your body becomes dehydrated such as in the example above, it can cause a headache. Your brain is surrounded by a sack full of fluid. When dehydration occurs, that fluid surrounding the brain is decreased which can cause the brain to bump into the skull. This in itself can cause a headache.
Some pre-workout supplements have ingredients that help promote vasodilation (the pump we strive for). Many of these ingredients are forms of arginine, citrulline malate, or beta-alanine.
In order to minimize the effects, if you are getting headaches, you can either stay away from pre workouts that include vasodilators if you’re consistently getting a headache, or lower the dosage/serving size you are using to see if that changes anything. It’s also advantageous to consume water both before and after taking any pre-workout supplements.
5) High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is something we can have even if we aren’t using any form of pre-workout supplements. The best remedy is live a healthy lifestyle to minimize the negative effects poor exercise and nutrition habits can have on the body.
Another thing that some people might not realize is that the simple act of high-intensity, short duration exercises like what takes place when you are weight training or doing HIIT, can increase your blood pressure. Now, the levels can go back to normal, but during that timeframe even without the use of pre-workout supplements, your blood pressure can become elevated. If your doctor told you that you have high blood pressure, you should stay away from pre-workout supplements that have stimulants altogether.
Finding Another Avenue
All stimulants increase your blood pressure. That’s the nature of the ingredient (such as caffeine). This can be problematic if you already have an underlying high blood pressure issue that you might not be aware of. Again, for that reason, We highly recommend consulting with your doctor before starting an exercise program or using pre-workout supplements.
If you have an underlying health issue such as high blood pressure, one way to not exacerbate the issue would be to find pre-workout supplements that don’t have stimulants or that are very mildly dosed. There are plenty of pre-workout supplements out there which aren’t stimulant heavy to choose from.
6) Tingly or Prickly Sensations
A common side effect of many pre-workout supplements is a tingly or prickly sensation throughout your body. Everyone is different and it depends on your sensitivity to certain ingredients found in the pre-workout supplements. While a “side effect” it really isn’t anything to be worried about. If the pre-workout supplements contain ingredients such as niacin, beta-alanine, or vitamin B3, you’re more than likely going to get this sensation.
Many pre-workout supplements include niacin in a higher dose just for that very reason. They want you to feel something after taking their pre-workout supplements. It comes back to people equate something working if they can feel them. High dosages of niacin can also cause a flushing effect on the skin where it can become red, blotchy, and even itchy as if you have hives (but not as severe).
Preventing the Side Effect
The tingly and prickly sensations you get from some pre-workout supplements is harmless and nothing to be concerned about. Eventually, what you are feeling will subside and you’ll go back to feeling normal. The sensation is simply due to a reaction within the nervous system.
If you aren’t interested in this particular side effect, it would be recommended that you stay away from pre-workout supplements that contain these ingredients. You can also isolate certain ingredients to stay away from as well. If you don’t like the flush of niacin, then find a product that doesn’t contain niacin. Or pay close attention to the dosages for the above-mentioned ingredients and find a product with lower doses or simply take less of the product per workout and see how your body reacts.
For more nutritional information and how to get started click on http://www.peakperformancefitnesstx.com/nutrition.html
Pain is your body’s way of telling you something is up, and yes, there is definitely a difference between normal soreness, which says, “Hey, you had a great work out!” and injury related pain, which says “Whoa, something serious is happening here.” Making that distinction is key if you want to get an effective work out and avoid hurting yourself. So let’s get down to deciphering your body’s language.
Though it may make it tough for you to walk up and down the stairs, some muscle soreness is normal, good pain. As long as you’re feeling that soreness in the places that were targeted during your last work out. In other words, don’t be concerned when you wake up the next day after a hard workout feeling a little tight and achy. (You’re likely experiencing DOMS, or delayed onset muscle soreness.)
On the flip side, if you did 50 sit-ups and now your lower back feels sore, that’s an indication that your form or execution was off. You’ll need to correct that if you want to get results in your abs without hurting your back in the process.
Generally, mild soreness that lasts less than 48 hours means you are good to go.
We’ve all heard the expression: “No pain, No gain,” but that’s not always a great rule to follow. You need to look out for pain that is sharp and localized (felt in one specific spot or area). This is bad pain, and is likely a warning sign of a more serious injury, such as a tear. Three examples of bad pain:
1. Pulled Muscle If you feel a sudden tightening during an exercise, you’ve probably pulled a muscle and how you should respond depends on the severity of the pull. Again, this could be a sign from your body that you’re over doing it or that your form is off. Take a break from that particular move or activity until the muscle recovers. You can tell if a muscle pull is more serious if it bothers you even when you move gently, or if the pain persists longer than two weeks. If that’s the case, make an appointment with your doctor.
2. Achy Joints If you’re doing a kettle bell swing and all of a sudden you feel a sharp pain in your back, it’s time to stop. Soreness or achiness in your joints can also be a warning that your muscles aren’t absorbing the force properly, and that the soft tissue around your joints (tendons, retinaculum, and musculotendinous junction, for example) is absorbing too much force.
3. Pain that increases Any kind of pain (sharp, dull, or otherwise) that progressively gets worse, and more intense as you workout is bad news. If you experience any of this, take a break from activity until you can get to your doctor and have it checked out.
In general, injury-related pain occurs when a muscle is overused, likely because it is compensating for another area of the body that has shut down. I see many patients who come in with hamstring pulls caused by glutes that aren’t working properly, for instance.
TO AVOID PAIN
Avoiding pain is one of the biggest reasons why you should be doing a dynamic warm up before working out. It’s the number one way to prevent overuse injuries.
A dynamic warm up includes moves that prepare your body for activity by turning on the muscles that aren’t working, making them limber and long. It also helps ensure the muscles you target are actually the ones that do the work.
Bottom line, you need to listen to your body. By understanding different types of pain, you will know your body better and be more responsive to its needs.
Brought to you by your Peak Performance Fitness Team
Original Article written By: David Reavy with REACT Physical Therapy
Carbohydrates and Fats have always been the main topics of many weight gain or weight loss methods, and have been blamed as the primary culprit of all Weight or Fat gains that has plagued our country for decades. Most see Carbohydrates, or fats as the "enemy" but in reality they are Fuel and Energy sources for our bodies. As a sports nutritionist It is important to discuss their purpose in order for people to understand what they are used for, and to see how our bodies utilizes carbohydrates and fats during athletic or physical activities and intense exercise programs.
Carbohydrates vs Fats energy conversion
While the body can store both carbohydrates and fat, when it comes to converting these nutrients into energy, carbohydrates are by far the fastest and most efficient form, which is why they’re great for fueling athletic performance.
Fat, on the other hand, is a slower-burning fuel. As duration increases and/or intensity decreases, the utilization of fat as an energy source increases at the cost of speed and intensity.
The body’s fat stores are almost limitless in relation to available carbohydrate stores. This makes fat an attractive fuel choice for endurance exercise like long-distance runs, bike rides and swims. How well your body can use fat during exercise depends on how athletically conditioned you are.
If you’re very active, and looking to optimize your performance, it’s wise to stick with the sports-nutrition strategies that have been consistently backed by research. Carbohydrates are converted into energy by muscles faster and more efficiently than fat, proving why they’ve been the go-to fuel of choice for so many athletes for so long now.If you are a weekend warrior like most however, your body may not require as much fuel sources. It may also respond differently than those who are athletic, or normally active during the week. For this reason, you may want to experiment with different carb-to-fat ratios and see how it impacts your performance and overall health. Whether you’re a recreational or serious athlete, it is always a good choice to consult a dietitian or a nutritionist that can help tailor a nutrition plan to meet your individual needs.
From your Peak Performance Fitness Team
Studies shows that people who skips breakfast are likely to be more overweight than those who eats breakfast in the morning. As the saying goes that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Breakfast helps kick start your metabolism from a long periods of starvation. By eating a healthy breakfast in the morning, we are feeding our bodies with the necessary nutrients to start functioning effectively, and burn calories more frequently.
here's a simple recipe of a balance breakfast of complex nutrients, carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats
berries & Cream Oatmeal
Serves 4 people
Per serving 1/4 size for 1 serving : Calories: 291; Total Fat: 7g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 152mg; Carbohydrate: 51g; Dietary Fiber: 9g; Sugar: 15g; Protein: 9g