NOTE: This article is not a substitute for sound medical advice. Please consult your primary care provider for any and all health/wellness relating questions.

The other day, I was talking to a buddy who is wanting to get back in shape. His asking my advice about cardio is what inspired me to write this. This article is an appeal to all to consider shadowboxing as a viable cardio option (either in addition to or in place of running). First and foremost, shadowboxing is more about visualization and creating a mindset of success than weight loss. It creates discipline and gets your mind and body in good shape. It is a great alternative to running. Here’s why:
Shadowboxing is low-impact on your joints, thus eliminating debilitating pain from running.
Shadowboxing also sculpts, tones and develops the upper body in ways that running simply can’t (e.g. developing the major and minor muscles of the upper body and trunk).
Shadowboxing also creates a sense of empowerment and self-confidence- in the case that you would need to, that you could hold your own in a fight. You get a better sweat going in a shorter period of time, plus you can pace yourself a little better in shadowboxing in place of running.

Running has been around since man learned he can get to where he wanted to go faster (or to escape dinosaurs trying to eat him). Running is almost unbeatable in its weight-loss potential. It’s also unmatched in its overall health benefits. Running can…
Strengthens bones and tendons
Improves heart health.
As you can see, both shadowboxing and running have great benefits. In my opinion, both shadowboxing and running can be used to give “the 1-2” to fat and health problems. Or you can use them separately as standalone exercises that will get you in shape. It takes a while and it takes faith in yourself, time to prepare and to begin. Both shadowboxing and running takes guts and mental fortitude. It’s not pretty most of the time. It hurts. It is inherently challenging. It’s not supposed to be easy. Then again, anything worth having or worth fighting for is not going to be easy at all. You can find a few free workouts online if you’re interested, starting with the links below.
In closing, no matter which one you choose, you will be better off if you are active and doing it. You will be better off for making health a priority. For those of you who follow and read my columns, blogs and articles… here it is.
Be disciplined, hungry and humble enough to learn more about you and your body. Don’t rely on articles, gadgets and trends to get it done for you.
Be astute and savvy enough to take workouts and diets and tailor them to your needs. It’s your body… it’s your life. Take ownership of your health.
Reading, doing and preparing are just three of the basics that will help you win in life.



Cutting Carbs Is a BAD IDEA

Ask someone how to lose weight quickly, and chances are, they’ll respond with “cut out carbs.” The reason behind that is the fact that cutting out carbs does cause fast weight loss. But that doesn’t mean fat loss, and cutting out carbs could be causing your health some harm. Fitness Expert Kente Bates gives you the skinny.

There’s no two ways about it, if you get rid of all the bread, pasta and potatoes from your diet, that scale will go down. Add so-called junk food to that restricted list, and the losses will be even greater. If you take it to the extremes of banning even “healthy carbs” like fruits and certain vegetables too, then you’ll drop kilos at a rate of knots.

And voila – all of a sudden you’re a weight loss guru. One guy mocked my assertion on hard work, gleefully and mockingly sneering “cutting carbs is all it boils down to”.

What most on the cutting carbs bandwagon fail to see… while cutting carbs does usually bring about weight loss, this doesn’t necessarily mean fat loss. And no carbs should cost you your good mood and high energy levels.

While there may be instances where you may need to cut down your carbs, there should never be any reason to take them out completely. Low-carb diets aren’t sustainable, and cutting them will end up making you fat.

Let’s look at why.

What are carbs?

We all know what foods contain carbs, but few of us actually know what carbs are – that is, one of the three main macronutrients, the other two being protein and and fat.

Your body uses carbohydrates as its main source of readily available energy. It can use protein and fat to make fuel, but this process takes far longer and is much less efficient. In other words, your muscles, organs and brain love the stuff.

When you eat carbs, they’re either used (more or less) immediately for energy, or they’re stored as glycogen in your muscle cells and liver.

Why a low-carb diet might seem like its working 

Ninety-five per cent of us will have tried cutting carbs before, and within this 95%, almost all of us will have seen weight loss in the first week or so*. While this seems epic, don’t fret – because weight loss isn’t fat loss.


When you cut carbs from your diet, your body turns to its stored carbohydrates (the glycogen in the muscles and liver we mentioned earlier). At any one time, you can have as much as 500 grams of stored glycogen, and each gram of glycogen holds around three grams of water with it. This means if your body has to use up all its glycogen for energy because you’re not eating carbs, you can lose up to two kilos (0.5 kilos from glycogen and 1.5 kilos from water) within a few days. But this is not fat loss.

The general public eat a crap-ton of carbs! Think about it – your typical breakfast might include toast, cereals or juice, sandwiches, wraps or bagels at lunch, plus sugary coffees, chocolate bars and fruit throughout the day, then some kind of starch with dinner. That’s a lot of carbohydrates.

By suddenly cutting these out, you’ll put yourself into a calorie deficit where you’re consuming fewer calories than you burn – and it’s creating a calorie deficit that causes weight loss, not the fact you’re not eating carbs.

The perils of swapping bread and potatoes for butter and pistachios 

Most people who cut carbs replace their starches and sugars with low-carb vegetables and proteins. That’s great. What’s not so great is when a low-carb diet turns into a high-fat diet because you’re swapping out your starches for high-fat foods such as coconut oil, nuts and seeds, avocados and full-fat cheese.


There’s nothing wrong with these foods per se, fats are far more calorie dense than carbs (containing nine calories per gram, whereas carbs have four calories per gram). So swapping out carbs for fats can be surefire way to reverse any calorie deficit and turn it into a surplus, undoing any work.

Two slices of bread, 100 grams of cereal, a medium sweet potato, a banana and a flapjack bar come in at 800 calories altogether. But the same calories from fats is a much smaller volume of food. In fact, 100 grams of mixed nuts and 1 and-a-half tablespoons of olive oil is all you’ll get for the same 800 calories.

The mistake low carbers make is to drastically ramp up their fat intake, and while it’s true you can eat a little more fat if you’re cutting carbs, it’s much easier to over-eat fat than carbs. And if you go into a surplus of calories, you’ll gain fat.

When you add in the fact that you’ll feel like crap for the first week or two of going low carb, and that low-carb diets are insanely difficult to stick to long-term, it’s safe to say that such a drastic approach is not a good one.

Why carbs are crucial

You can survive without any carbs in your diet, but there’s a difference between survival and getting what you want- results.

If you want to lose fat optimally, maintain your strength and energy, and lose weight and keep it off, carbs are critical. That doesn’t mean you can stuff your face with muesli, chips and spaghetti though. You need the right amount of carbs – and preferably at the right times.

How much should you be eating?

Your carb intake should be based on your activity level, as carbs are your main source of energy, the more active you are, the more you need. The best way to do this is to base your carbs off your total calorie intake.

For weight loss, men need roughly 24 to 30 calories per kilo of bodyweight per day, while women need 22 to 26 calories per kilo. The more active you are, the higher your multiplier, so guys training hard four or more times per week for instance should go for 28 to 30 calories per kilo. Within that, you can tweak your carbs to your total calorie intake.

While no food should ever be banned completely, it makes sense to choose more nutrient-dense carbs and ones that are higher in fiber – so whole-grains like brown rice and quinoa – as well as white and sweet potatoes, fruits and vegetables. These should make up at least 80% of your carb intake, then you can have 20% leeway for more junk-style carbs.

Carbs can be eaten at any time, but for optimal results, eat most around your workouts. Before training they’ll be used for energy so you get a better session, and post-workout they aid recovery.

Carbs: your new best friend 

You will lose weight on a low-carb diet (at least in the first few days, which includes a large portion of water). But that alone doesn’t make this the best dieting approach. In fact, it’s surprisingly easy to gain fat when going low-carb, plus you’ll feel tired, irritable and hungry, all of which mean a low-carb diet isn’t only unnecessary, but potentially damaging to your long-term health and fat loss too.

Look at carbs as a macronutrient that will need manipulating from time to time, depending on your goals and activities. Don’t jump on the bandwagon of quick weight loss- always think for yourself. Get to know your body and what works best for it. Are you on the go all the time, training hard virtually every day and looking to get stronger and build muscle? Then carb up!! Carbs are not a bad thing!!

Are you on a fat loss quest, a little on the lighter side, and maybe not so active day-to-day? You can still eat carbs, you just may want to ease back on them slightly.

As always, the extreme approach doesn’t work. What works is a method that’s based on you – your goals, your body type, and your preferences. Knowing your body, label reading and hard work to achieve your goals are the way to win. These are the basics. THE BASICS ALWAYS WIN!!



Keto Diet: The Basics and free Keto Diet ebook

In the past few years, the Keto Diet, along with ketones have exploded in popularity due to the discovery and exposure of them on several health shows, such as Dr. Oz and The Doctors. Just as with anything else, some people love and swer by the Keto Diet, while others are not as trusting, souring on the diet as a whole. This article is about the basics of the Keto Diet, a few pros and cons and a free ebook link.
NOTE: This article (and this site) is not a substitute for sound medical advice. Please consult your medical care provider for any and all health-related questions.
Here are the basics of the keto diet:
This diet (and its many varieties) boasts of turning the body into a “fat burning machine. It is based on getting the body in a state of ketosis, or a survival mechanism that burns fat when food intake is low (akin to surviving starvation).
On this diet, the consumption of high-carb foods will produce glucose (easiest molecules in body to use as energy). Glucose is processed by insulin to mainline the glucose throughout the body via the bloodstream. Fats are stored as they are not needed- the glucose is the preferred energy source. Cutting carbs will induce the body into a state of ketosis, hence “Keto”.
The idea of a properly maintained Keto diet is to get the body in a constant state of ketosis or fat burning primarily through cutting carbohydrates.


The Keto Diet in all of its forms offer quite a few health benefits. Here are a few of them listed (you can look up the rest via the links provided at the end of the article).
Brain health and brain function
Weight loss/maintainence
Greater proportion of weight loss will come from abdominal area
Reduction of Blood Pressure
Reduction of Blood Sugars and Insulin
Appetite Suppression

With its burgeoning popularity plus its benefits, the Keto diet will no doubt become more popular as time goes on. On the other hand, experts critically pan the Keto diet, citing it is unsustainable for sustained weight loss. One sticking point the experts will point to is the excessively high fat content of the diet itself (upwards of 70-plus percent) is diametrically opposed to the longstanding USDA recommendations that fat content of all food top off around 30-35%. There is no evidence that the Keto diet will lend to sustained weight loss, primarily for those battling diabetes and heart disease.
All in all, the Keto diet is not going anywhere. Please do your due diligence and determine if the Keto diet is right for you.



Flu Season 2017-18: Stats and What to do About It

In the spirit of “The Total Self”, this article is all about health. The following stats and figures are from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, GA), Plus I throw in some pointers on how to avoid the flu this year.

NOTE: This article is not a substitute for sound medical advice. Please consult with your primary care provider for any and all medical or health issues.

This flu season has been one of the more brutal ones in recent memory. Maybe you got the flu shot and it didn’t affect you. You may have been among the many who swear against the flu shot and you didn’t get sick. In any case, here are a few statistics on the 2017-18 flu season compiled by the CDC:

  • Only 2 of 5 Americans in the U.S. received the flu shot by early November 2017.
  • 6% of all persons 6 months and up received the flu shot.
  • 8% of all children 6 mths-17 years old received the flu shot.
  • 5% of all adults 18 and up received the flu shot.

Among children, flu vaccinations were similar across the board of all racial/ethnic groups with one exception- non-Hispanic children of other/multiple races had higher flu vaccination coverage than non-Hispanic Black children.

  • Among adults 18-49, vaccinations decreased by 3.7% in the 2017-18 flu season compared to the same period of time in the 2016-17 flu season.
  • Among Hispanics, vaccinations decreased by 7.7% in 2017-18 compared to 2016-17.
  • Unvaccinated people are at a higher risk of contracting the flu virus and transmitting the virus to others, some of who are at risk of having the flu/severe illness.
  • 3 of every 5 people 6 months and over in the U.S. were not vaccinated by early November 2017.

Here are statistics on mortality rates due to the flu:

  • A total of 101 influenza-related deaths in children occurred throughout the 2016-2017 flu season, according to a report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This is the first time since the 2014-2015 season that the number has exceeded 100.
  • Each year, between 4,000 and 50,000 people are specifically killed by influenza, and most commonly it’s caused from a variation of an influenza A strain virus.
  • Influenza B strains tend to occur later in the season and be of the more mild variety.
  • Influenza claims between 3000 and 49,000 lives annually.
  • Over 10 billion USD is spent yearly combatting and treating the flu.


With these statistics, what can be done about this? Here are a few pointers to help you not get sick:

  • Your body needs sleep. Your immune system will not function properly without proper rest.
  • Eating healthier. Your body needs the proper nutrients, vitamins and minerals to ward off the flu.
  • Water Intake. Increasing water intake is crucial. During the winter months, water intake falls precipitously. Go beyond the government-recommended 8 glasses of water per day. (I would estimate a healthy 200-lb adult male would need at least 12-15 glasses of water daily). Alternately, try snaking on water-based foods also to keep hydrated.


In closing, and I am sure you’ve seen this already by now- the flu is no joke. This flu season has been brutal! Stay healthy people. Optimum health is fundamental to a vibrant life.

Staying healthy is a huge part of the basics. THE BASICS ALWAYS WIN.





Sleep Disorders- Facts and Exercise/Techniques

In this article, we are talking about sleep. Facts and a new sleep exercise. REMINDER: This article is not a substitute for the sound medical advice of your primary care provider. Did you know that at least 25% of all American adults suffer from insomnia? The true cost of the lack of sleep is as follows (according to The Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center):

  • Direct costs of sleepiness and lost productivity on the job is estimated between $16-$20 BN (USD) annually.
  • Drowsy drivers account for at least 125,000 to 150,000 crash incidents reported by police annually in the U.S. alone.
  • At least 45-50 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders- and at least 75% of these go undiagnosed.


Sleep is very important. Though the body and mind have monitoring and defense mechanisms to keep the body aware of surroundings during sleep, the true purpose of sleep is to reboot the brain and heal from tiredness, stress or even small injuries. If you’re anxious, overcaffeinated, stressed out it can and is very difficult to get the sleep you need and deserve, especially when you are dead tired.

There is a sleep exercise that has been reported to help. The 4-7-8 Method, formulated by one Andrew Weil M.D.. Dr. Weil is a pioneer in integrated medicine using holistic healing methods. The 4-7-8 Method is as follows:

  • Breathe out. Assume a comfortable position in your bed (or anywhere), Breathe out slowly, puckering your lips as if you’re about to whistle, making a soft “whoosh” sound.
  • Inhale and count to four. After exhaling, close your mouth, inhale and count to four (a slow count- thousand-one, thousand-two, and so on)
  • Hold your breath and count to seven. As much as possible, hold your breath until you reach a seven count. If you can’t reach that… try a four or five-count- but build it up to the seven count.
  • Exhale and count to eight. Exhale. Pucker up and exhale again, this time to an eight-count.



NOTE: Remember to use your nose to inhale and exhale out of the mouth. Keep the ratio at 4-7-8 while doing this exercise. Don’t worry if you can’t get 4-7-8 the first few times. Keep at it until you achieve 4-7-8. This relaxes the body and makes it much easier to fall asleep.

This technique and others like it are “natural tranquilizers”.

As always, consult your primary care provider before starting this or any other health maintainence regimen.




About Dr. Andrew Weil M.D. http://

Breathing: Three Exercises.;eepmedicine/factsaboutsleepdisorders

Depression in Humans: What are the differences and HOW to defeat it



Is depression different amongst humans, whether they be male, female or nonbinary? In so many words, yes. As far as symptom patterns tend to play out, they will usually fall in line with the two major genders. For women, the symptoms are more readily visible (i.e. crying, overeating) as for men, the symptoms are more subdued (i.e. working to excess, drinking/abusing drugs, working out to excess). In any case, the symptoms of depression may in fact hit men harder due to lifestyle choices and extracurricular activities.

Here are the top 5 signs of depression for men:

  • Self-medication (abuse of controlled substances, abuse of alcohol and abuse of medications)
  • Escapism (working more, working out to excess, retreating into more ‘childlike’ pastimes such as video gaming, LARP, etc)
  • Irritability
  • Risk-taking becoming a regular part of life (reckless driving, driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol)
  • Becoming controlling, violent and/or abusive



Studies show that women are 3X as likely than men to be diagnosed with depression than men are and are at least 2X as likely to seek treatment for it. Here is a list of the top 7 causes/triggers for depression in women:


  • Puberty (biological and social fallout from it- not fitting in, body image, etc)
  • Premenstrual difficulty
  • Pregnancy
  • Postpartum depression
  • Perimenopause/menopause
  • Trials and tribulations of life itself
  • Accompanying conditions of depression (anxiety, substance abuse and/or eating disorders)


Why the differences?


Obviously with traditional gender roles for the main two genders being as they are, women are afforded more avenues to get help and to communicate their feelings. Men are taught to “man up”, to be “strong” and to shun help. For men, them seeking help is often a result of not being able to function correctly (in some cases not at all) as the symptoms of depression interfere with life itself.


What to do about it


Whether you’re male, female, nonbinary or anywhere within the gender spectrum, the treatment for depression is a combination of psychotherapy and medication. Please know that it will take some research, patience and working with your mental health provider to develop the action plan to defeat depression. You and your mental health provider will have to figure out what works and what doesn’t work moving forward. As for the side effects of the medication(s), most of the side effects will go away on their own, usually within the first 3-6 weeks of taking them. As always, listen to your body and alert your mental health provider in lieu of any complications.




Gorman, J.M. “Gender Differences in depression and response to psychotropic medication”. Gender medicine 3.2 (2006): 93-109

Winkler, Dietmar et al. “Gender-specific symptoms of depression and anger attacks”. The Journal of Men’s Health & Gender 3.1 (March 2006): 19-24

“Male Depression: Understanding the Issues”. Mayo Clinic (2013)

“Depression In Women: Understanding the Gender Gap”. Mayo Clinic (2016

Beating Procrastination

Procrastination… killer of dreams. Procrastination… killer of hopes. All by simply doing nothing. Simply by what’s called “active avoidance” (doing something in the place of the thing you set out to do due to fear, etc). Procrastination is a problem in every field, killing productivity, slowing growth in companies, ending some companies. Yes, procrastination is a problem. But how do you solve it? It’s a learned trait, but how to understand and defeat it?
I have compiled a list of 8 ways to beat procrastination. Basic steps- the basics always win. Basic steps that make a big difference. Before we delve into the list of ways to defeat procrastination, we must define it. Procrastination is the practice of putting off urgent tasks in favor of more pleasureable ones, thus effectively not doing the thing you set out to do in the first place.

All in all, procrastination is not laziness. It is a way that seems to be easier for one who is under stress. In the end, procrastination costs. It costs you (depending on the situation) time, it costs you all kinds of things you value and hold dear. In a lot of ways, Procrastination is insidiously easy. It can become a mindset of putting things off. That is the wrong mindset if you consider yourself a man or woman of action. Procastination can strip you of motivation, it can strip you of effectiveness, creativity and even honesty/integrity. It is dangerous to allow procrastination in your life.

Now… here’s the good news. Procrastination can be beat. YES. But what say you.Are you willing to try? This list I compiled will no doubt help you get to where you need to go. Procrastination is a force, but nothing, and I mean NOTHING is as powerful as the force of the human spirit. Here is the list:


1. Focus on an area in which you find procrastination most problematic (getting in shape, homework, doing reports for work).
2. Begin small and progress as you experience success. Be patient. Establish your own deadlines. Be realistic in setting a timetable. Hold yourself to the deadlines.
3. Break the project into smaller parts. Chip away at it in small bites. Don’t wait for that “big chunk” of time.
4. Set a definite beginning time. Break the inertia of inactivity. If getting started is especially troublesome for you, set a time for 10 or 15 minutes. Commit yourself to doing something on the project until the timer rings. Then you can decide whether to stop or continue. Chances are you will gain momentum and continue after the timer stops. If not, try another 10 minutes later in the day.
5. Do the most important things first. Avoid the distractions of the trivial and routine tasks when a higher priority job is waiting in the wings. Examining each task in light of your goals will help you set priorities.
6. Reward yourself for completing parts of a major task. It can be anything. Contract with yourself for a big reward for completion of important tasks. A pizza, sleeping extra late on a weekend, or shopping for something may help motivate you to complete the job. Be nice to yourself.
7. Establish a “Commitment to Excellence”. Excellence is a sufficient level of performance for most things in life, and for many tasks (a new hobby, cleaning your room) adequacy is all that is necessary. Give yourself permission to be less than perfect. A good garden may have some weeds. You might double the amount of time spent typing a paper, attempting to get the spelling perfect. Could that extra time be better spent in another activity which will gt you over the hump? Maybe so.
8. Procrastination is a learned habit, and can be defeated with a more constructive habit, giving your greater control over your life. If procrastination has limited your achievements, do something about it now!

Help for Hardgainers

This article is dedicated to the ‘hardgainers’. You know those guys who cannot get any muscle size no matter how much they eat, no matter what they do. I have 10 tips that can help.
As always, see your primary healthcarre provider before starting any fitness regimen. This site and the advice given here does not relace sound medical advice or opinion. Now the list.

1) 60 Minutes or less. Keeping your training under an hour will defeat the killer of many hypertrophic hopes and dreams- you guessed it, overtraining. Overtraining is a killer. Destroyer of gains due to overzealousness. Keeping your training under 60 minutes is a sure way to make overtraining irrelevant to you.
2) Become a member of the ‘Clean Your Plate Club’. Yes… eating has everything to do with building muscle mass. No matter what you eat, for the hardgainer- eating is and should be a habit. Without those extra calories, how will you gain that extra muscle mass you long after?
3) Stop relying on supplements. We all know that suplements are great. Supplements get the job done in ways that you couldn’t on your own. In this case, however, lay off most (not all) supplements. It’s a safe bet to only focus on supplements that will help with your gains (more on that later).
4) Take it Easy. Aside from this being a truism of life, this shuld be a goal for those of you seeking to put on muscle mass. Cutting out stress triggers (situations, people) will help your central nervous system do its job better and more effectively.

5) Overload on Calories. For the hardgainer, caloric intake is the name of the game. In fact, it is something that will dominate this article (as it dominates the hardgainer’s thoughts). Eat, eat, eat some more.
6) Think Progress. As mentioned above, your workouts should really be under an hour if even that. The main thing is to make sure you are progressing at a workout.
Now some things will work for a while and you may see some results. But if you want to gain weight, you’re better off focusing on progressing in either the number of reps or an increase in weight lifted within your main program.
7) Rep Range: The Right Mix! Keep the rep range between 6-8 repetitions. Outside of that, you risk overtraining (that will decimate any gains you have made).

8) Use a Mass Gainer. Remember me saying earlier about how most supps are not to be relied upon? This is why. You have mass gainers that are made just for increasing appetite or simply packing on extra pounds. Mass gainers are fantastic for hardgainers because it will slow metabolism somewhat. Metabolism is the hardgainer’s ‘frenemy’.

9) Hit the Buffet. Once a week…. hit a buffet line. Load it up, eat, eat and eat some more. Besides, buffets are cheap and you can eat all you want.

10) Slow it Down! Lastly, is a concept powerlifters and strength athletes have been using for the longest. Slow the pace of your reps down and use frequent breaks in your sets. Also you need to focus on the big presses ( e.g. bench press and squats). The concept of slowing your rep pace down will have an effect of building big muscle, just not lean muscle. The breaks will give the muscle time to grow. Visualization is another great trick you need in your ‘gainer arsenal’.

In closing, the hardgainer has the metabolism the rest of us want. The trade-off for the hard gainer… a great metabolism, but he cant gain muscle weight/size/mass for anything. These tips will get the hardgainer on the road to mass and strength, just as he has dreamt of.

The Total Self: How to Diet

In the spirit of “The Total Self” motif, I present a new view on dieting: How to pick one that will work best for you? We are in an era of unprecedented information about fitness, dieting and everything in between. We are also in the midst of the greatest obesity epidemic across all age groups in America ( by 2020, 76% of ALL Americans will be either obese or overweight). Almost everyday, the average person sees umpteen commercials about fitness (usually about weight loss). These body-image centric commercials sure put a lot of doubt in people’s heads about fitness and what it really means to be healthy. Almost all the emphasis centers around losing enough weight to look like a model. In this article, I will present at least 10 ways to pick the best diet for you… or to create one. Yes, you do not have to follow self-proclaimed fitness gurus, trainers, etc. As always, see a physician before starting any weight-loss regimen. Listen to your body. Now, the list.
1) If it’s not fun, don’t do it. Almost all health/wellness professionals agree that if you are not having fun and seeing results on your fitness regimen, you probably will not stick with it. Simply because some PAID model/athlete is endorsing a product on television (or some other form of media) does not mean that the much-ballyhooed product will even work. Of course, not every diet/weight loss plan is structurlly, scientifically sound (or makes sense). You also have to have a sense of satisfaction as a motivator to do the thing.

2) Evaluate the plan. Does it work? Is it faddish? Do you like what you see in it? Are you able to fit your lifestyle in the workout/diet plan? Conversely, can you fit said workout/diet plan into your lifestyle? Please consider all of these things before trying the “latest and greatest” diet or workout you may hear about, see or read somewhere.

3) Do not rely SOLELY on supplements: Supplements are great, but relying solely on them is not a good idea. As with anything else in life, moderation is key. You can even overdose on water (hyperhydration). Moderation is key. Use your head. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.
4) Include exercise. Yes, all the carb-counting, label-reading goodness you do will never amount to much without exercise. Be sure it’s something you can handle and make it fun.
5) Eat your favorite meals and snacks (in moderation please). Yes, I said it. SACRILEGE, some will say. All jokes aside, you have to make the diet regimen tenable. This is definitely a way. Just don’t over-indulge in it. This defeats the purpose of dieting in the first place. Splurging on a “guilty pleasure” is just fine. Moderation is key.
6) Make a maintainence plan. Now that you’ve lost the weight, or are about to embark on your life-changing fitness plan… make sure you have a maintainence plan. A maintainence plan is sure to keep the pounds/inches off. Now that you have achieved ‘the look”, a maintainence plan will keep you looking sharp. The hardest part is indeed maintaining the achieved goal.
7) Be a tortoise, not a hare. You must keep a slow, steady pace when losing weight (or sculpting your body). Anything else is unhealthy. Don’t risk your life over a few extra vanity pounds. Don’t fool yourself.
8) Allow snacks between meals. Yes, more about food. Snacking is important. Snacking done healthily will curb cravings, thus keeping you in line with your fitness goals. Snacking done healthily will make the difference in you meeting your fitness goals or not. It also will be better for you health-wise.

9) Include all the food groups. Your body is a temple, the original machine (LaMettrie, 1748), the covering of your vital organs. Treat it right. Eating food from all the food groups is a sure way to ensure your way to the “promised land” of fitness is a sure-footed one. Treat your body right. Eating from all the food groups will help your body function as it should.
10) Leave room for improvement. Every diet has flaws in it. Who says it has to stay that way? Educate yourself, get to know your body. Tweak your diet based on your needs at the particular time. A constant of life is change and growth. So should your fitness journey.

In closing, I trust that these tips will help. These tips are essential to help you get what YOU need, not what the fitness pros want you to have. You have only one life… why not diet, exercise in the best way… YOURS.

15 Ways for Success with Your Fitness Regimen

It’s now June… how many of you have kept with your New Year’s pledge to lose weight, perhaps turn your life around? If you’ve fallen off track, that’s no big deal (over 85% of Americans break their New Year’s pledges in under 45 days). In case any of you all need a refresher, or a plan to get over the hump (or just to stay the course), here is my list of 15 ways to have success with any fitness regimen. This is by no means a comprehensive list… but hopefully it will work for you. Now, the list.
There is no shortcut to ideal health (whatever that is for you), no magic pill that lets you hit your five-a-day target and no single exercise that gives you a shredded physique in minutes. It takes time, hard work and an educated approach to get in shape and stay in shape. Following these tips will make your fitness quest (and life) a whole lot easier.

1. Prepping for Success
The better path to a sound diet is found by using your weekends wisely. Use the extra time you have on your weekends to make large batches of healthy meals that you can portion up to cover at least a couple of midweek lunches and dinners, avoiding the certain death of your fitness goals via fast food.

2. Mix Up Your Exercise

Variety is – cliché alert! – the spice of life, and many sports and activities support each other in ways you won’t realise until you try it. For example, strength training for your legs and core will make you a better runner, while those addicted to dumbbells will find Pilates works muscles they’d never even considered.

3. Calibrate Your Fitness Technology
If you invest in a fitness tracker, don’t just sit back and assume that following the preset targets will lead you to glory. Adjust the steps, active minutes and calorie targets regularly to build on your progress, or make them more realistic if you never get close and have started to ignore them. If you don’t engage with your fitness tech, you’ll quickly discard it.

4. Add In Extra Activity
This one of the oldest tricks in the book: take the stairs not the escalator, or get off the bus a stop early and walk. Any activity is better than none, and will only encourage you to do more. And if you really want to up the ante, try sprinting up the stairs (safely) each time you take them – clinical studies found that short bursts of high-intensity stair-climbing can make a significant difference to your cardiorespiratory fitness.

5. Keep Tabs On Your Visceral Fat

You can be skinny on the outside (at least your arms and legs), but fat on the inside. Visceral fat is the type that builds up around your organs and often results in a pot belly. It’s linked with heart disease, several types of cancer and type 2 diabetes. Check your waist-to-height ratio (WtHR) to see if you’re at risk. Grab a piece of string and use it to measure your height, then halve it. If it doesn’t fit around your waist, get exercising – visceral fat is the first type to go when you start a health regimen.

6. Value Your Rest Days
When you start on a fitness kick, it’s tempting to exercise every day while motivation is high. This is a bad move, and one that may see your motivation flame out within weeks, because you’re always exhausted and won’t see the massive improvements you expect for your efforts. Why? You’re not giving your muscles the time and rest they need to recover and grow.

7. Up The Intensity If You’re Short On Time
Health and wellness experts still promote the 150 minutes of moderate activity a week minimum, but now offer an alternative option of 75 minutes of vigorous activity a week. That’s running or singles tennis, for example, rather than cycling or walking, which count as moderate. You can also mix the two, so 60 minutes of vigorous cardio plus 30 of moderate will do the trick also. Bear in mind the guidelines also demand strength exercises on two or more days a week alongside your aerobic activity.

8. Treat Your Body Right
Nothing derails a health kick as quickly as injury, as many serious injuries will start out as small ones- you may think it’s OK to push through. Scaling back the intensity for a few days is better than having to shut it down for a few months. If you have an urgent desire to hit the gym, target a different part of the body from the one that’s bothering you.

9. The Drive for Five
Eating at least five portions of fruit and veg a day should be at the cornerstone of your healthy diet plan. What’s not wise is getting in a rut and eating the same five every day, because different types of fruit and veg contain different vitamins and minerals. A good way to vary your five-a-day is to eat different colors, as the hue is a decent indication of the nutrients they contain.

10. Don’t Undervalue Your Sleep
There is tendency for people who sleep very little to brag about it, as if it’s an indication of their commitment to life. However, getting the full seven to eight hours is vital to a healthy lifestyle, as it provides the energy for your exercise and even influences dietary choices – a 2016 study found that in the day following a night of limited sleep, people ate an extra 385 calories on average. You don’t snooze, you lose.

11. Increase Your Cadence On Your Runs
If you are consistently picking up injuries when running, one change it’s definitely worth trying is to up your rate of strides per minute (your cadence). If you overstrike, thus taking fewer steps, you put extra pressure on your knee and hip joints. Try and take more steps, which means your feet will land more beneath your body, reducing the impact on your joints.

12. Give It Your All or Turn It Loose
The first time you try an exercise it’s very hard, but at least quite novel. The second time the novelty is gone, and it’s still hard, leading to the temptation to quit. Try it at least once more, as the third time is often the charm – when a sport or workout starts to become as enjoyable as it is tough.

13. Count Reps Backwards
This is a mental trick that might make resistance workouts a little easier. Counting down the reps means by the time it’s really hurting you’re at the 3,2,1 stage, which feels closer to the end than 8,9,10 or whatever target you’re going for. It won’t work for everyone, but it’s worth a try.

14. Make Full Use Of Your Street Furniture
Exercising outdoors is a great way to ensure you get your hit of vitamin D (if it’s sunny) as well as a good workout, and it doesn’t have to be all cardio. As well as the exercise machines that litter many parks, you can nearly always finds a bar or ledge for pull-ups, or a bench or wall to do dips on. Rarer treats can even include chains to use as ersatz TRX ropes.

15. Record Stats and Progress

Nothing builds motivation as efficiently as seeing signs of improvement, so make sure you keep some kind of record of your activity. It can be as simple as noting your record five-rep max or fastest 5K time, using either one of the many excellent fitness apps available or old-fashioned pen and paper.
In closing, these tips and tricks will help in your fitness goals. Knowledge is power. Knowledge is a fundamental building block in fitness and in life. Knowledge (alongside hard work and dedication) is the most essential of the basics. THE BASICS ALWAYS WIN!!