Ask Jillian: How can I Eat Well and Exercise When I'm on the Go?
Q: Being a mother makes planning really difficult. What are your suggestions on how to set and follow a meal and exercise plan when you are constantly on the go? – Claire Wilson (via Facebook)
A: Claire, you are definitely not alone on this one. In fact, I have only recently begun to truly understand what moms mean when they say this. So, let me guess, your schedule is crazed and unpredictable, right? I totally get it and can appreciate that! However, what I’ve found — and personally experienced — is that being on-the-go is not the only thing making most moms struggle.
Many of the moms that I know often feel like they need to be a “superwoman." It’s as though they feel like it’s their job to be everything for everybody: a loving considerate wife, selfless mother, devoted daughter, loyal friend — heck, maybe even a caretaker for their coworkers and neighbors.
America is a country that celebrates rugged individualism and a can-do attitude, but we often take it to extremes, which can result in many women feeling weak or guilty if they ask for help.
Have you ever heard the old adage “It takes a village”? That is a common saying for a reason. It does! So, here’s my advice: shift your perspective.
1. Ask for help! Life has a natural ebb and flow to it, an energetic karmic currency of sorts. As much as you give you must also receive, and in receiving it facilitates your ability to give back. When you’re happy and healthy, you’ll be a better mom, wife, daughter, co-worker, neighbor and so on. See? So call a few friends and family members, and especially recruit your significant other, to help you make a little “mom time” so you can get in a workout or just rejuvenate. Maybe they can help you with carpooling or watch the kids once a week so you can hit the gym? You get the idea. Make three phone calls to three people in your life and ask them for help in facilitating this for you. And be sure to divide up responsibilities at home. The kids and the hubby will get used to it. Plus, when they see how happy it makes you, they’ll be even more willing to do their part.
2. Learn the power of “no.” As women, we have the hardest time using this word. We worry that we’ll come off as bitchy and mean when we do. The truth is, learning to utilize “no” properly is critical in your self-preservation and well-being. It doesn’t make you a bad person to set boundaries. People who love and respect you will understand when you tell them that you wish you could do something, but you’re overextended. If they don’t, you might need to reconsider those relationships.
3. Put it in pen. After you’ve lined up your help, reprioritized your schedule a bit by saying “no” to unnecessary obligations, and scheduled some time for yourself, ink it in on your calendar or in your planner. Make an official date with you — and keep it! Show yourself the same respect that you show your family. If you promised your kids you’d be at their recital, I bet you’d move heaven and earth to be there, right? However, when it comes to following through on time you make for yourself I’d also bet that’s the first thing to get compromised. That, my friend, is unacceptable.
4. Keep it simple. No one (especially not me) says a workout has to take place in a gym. When all else fails, pop in exercise DVDs. I can’t tell you how many moms post pics on my Facebook wall of their toddler doing one of my exercise videos. (Hence my new-found use of the kid-friendly word “bummie” in my workouts.) Exercise videos are quick and effective, and you can do them in your home — alone or with your tots. They’re perfect for squeezing in an a.m. workout or a before-dinner p.m. one. No babysitting or driving necessary.
Look, I’m not gonna blow smoke up your bummie. These things aren’t easy to do. They are going to make you very uncomfortable at first, but you’ve got to fight through it. Try it for a week. It’ll get easier and easier to do as you begin to reap the positive benefits of your behavior changes. And know that almost all of the other mommies out there are struggling with this too. You aren’t alone, but by taking these steps you are inspiring others and setting a brave example!
Excerpt from Getting the Best from Yourself and Others…How to Orchestrate Your Attitude written by Julie Davis -Colan The power of choice is one of the greatest gifts we are given. Although we make many choices every hour of the day, we rarely make neutral choices. Each choice has a positive or negative consequence for us at some level.
Our attitude toward life is the most important choice we make! Let’s look at why such a simple choice—embracing a positive or negative attitude—is more challenging than it appears for many people.
Just think of the last time you were in deep thought about your plans for the evening while driving home from work. As you pull into your driveway you wonder to yourself, “How did I get home?” The car seemed to practically drive itself. Driving is a relatively complex task, requiring many choices along the way—turn right, turn left, slow down, stop, change lanes. Still, driving home can be successfully performed almost subconsciously. So, consider the multitude of much smaller choices we make each day that we don’t really think about: waking up, brushing our teeth, saying “good morning” to a colleague, eating our lunch, performing a repetitive job duty, and so on. Subconscious actions are useful most of the time, but we must also consciously choose our attitude to control our results. Our ability to choose is a gift, but it is also a huge responsibility. No matter what today’s “it’s not my fault” culture encourages, we are all ultimately responsible for our own choices. In fact, we like to write the word responsibility as response-ability. As humans, we have the unique ability to respond.
Here’s a scenario repeated daily. Family dinners are important at the Smith house. Jim and Jane Smith and their two children (John, age three, and Janie, age four) just sat down at the table. Before the first bite of dinner is enjoyed, John spills his milk and it goes everywhere.
A reaction to this event: “Not again, John! Every time we eat, this happens. Think, son, think! Do you want to eat in your room from now on?” A response to this event: “Uh-oh, John. Let’s get a sponge and clean this up so you can eat your dinner.”
When you react, you make a purely emotional and subconscious decision. Often, because of how your experiences and prior choices have programmed your subconscious mind, your reactions do not help you achieve the best results.
On the other hand, when you respond to a situation, you make a constructive and conscious decision. That’s why there are emergency response teams, not emergency reaction teams:
When you simply react, your emotional instinct is in control, with little thought of the long-range consequences.
When you respond, your brain is fully engaged and your self-awareness is high. You have the long-term consequences in mind.
We all experience plenty of negative situations and people. Choosing to respond instead of react helps positively orchestrate our attitudes—and our lives.
On Wednesday, April 29th, Darin Olien, Shakeology’s Ingredient Hunter and creator of the Ultimate Reset, will embark on a 21-day journey—and he wants you to join him. Take part in his Ultimate Reset Spring-Cleaning SuperLife Challenge to Reset your body and mind, and enter to win prizes! Read 3 Reasons Why You Should Do The Ultimate Reset with Darin This Spring.
The Ultimate Reset is an all-natural alternative to harsh cleanses and starvation diets. It is a 21-day clean-eating program supported with supplements that helps your body release toxins, restore balance, and fortify with clean nutrition. We spend so much time focused on changing our bodies from the outside, the Ultimate Reset is designed to get your body in shape from the inside. Over the course of 21 days, you’ll break away from processed foods and other bad habits and learn new healthy habits that you’ll want to keep for a lifetime.
Darin will be with you every step of the way with tips, video journals, recipes, and support. People will be doing the Ultimate Reset with you all over the country. Join in and stay accountable on the Ultimate Reset Facebook page and Darin’s SuperLife Facebook page to get even more support and help motivate others who are doing the Reset with you!
"21 Day Fix Teaches You How to be Healthy for the Rest of Your Life"
Meet Ashley S.. She lost 22 lbs with 21 Day Fix. She entered her results into The Beachbody Challenge, and won the $500 Daily Prize for April 24th!
Tell us about your life before you started the program. How did you feel about yourself and your body?
Before I started 21 Day Fix I was was upset with myself every time I looked in the mirror. I no longer felt sexy, my clothes never looked right, and my self-esteem was starting to really suffer.
What inspired you to change your life and begin your transformation journey?
I had seen great results from others doing 21 Day Fix and found myself close to ordering the program numerous times. It wasn’t until my best friend started the program, and sent me pictures of her outstanding daily results, that I decided I wanted in. I couldn’t wait to have the results and feel the way she did.
What is the greatest challenge you faced before beginning the program? How did the program and Beachbody® help you overcome that challenge?
The greatest challenges I suffered before 21 Day Fix were eating the proper portions, and sticking to a fitness plan. I was already making healthier choices with the types of foods I ate, but the containers helped me plan a more balanced day. I was able to easily scale back on some unhealthy carbs, and ensure I was getting adequate fruits and vegetables every single day. The program made it so simple. I didn’t have to spend so much of my day searching for a foods nutritional information and calculating calories. I had a platform of great food choices, and just had to pick what was right for me that day. It was so helpful not having food on my mind all day long. As for the fitness aspect, I absolutely love that the workout is different every day of the week, and only 30 minutes. I don’t get bored with them, and they keep my body guessing, resulting in more inches lost and greater definition.
What in particular did you like about the program you chose?
My absolute favorite part of the program is that you get visible results so fast. It’s beyond motivational to see your body getting healthier and makes you want to keep going and going. Plus, the program actually teaches you a healthy lifestyle. It’s not a quick fix with a product that you finish and then are lost on how to change your lifestyle. 21 Day Fix teaches you how to be healthy for the rest of your life.
Describe the results you achieved with your Beachbody program. Which achievements are you proud of?
I lost 22 lbs and 18 inches with 21 Day Fix and could not be happier! I’m most proud of how I stayed committed and didn’t cheat myself. Dedication definitely paid off. I love my shrinking waist, slimmer back, and more feminine clavicle.
How has your life changed since completing your Beachbody program?
I have a whole new perspective on eating well since completing 21 Day Fix. Right after starting I dove into literature on the science of nutrition and have learned so much about what processes happen within my body when I eat certain foods. My collection of delicious and healthy recipes is growing all the time and I honestly feel like this program has set me on the healthy path for life.
How did participating in a Challenge Group help you reach your goals? How did your group support you and keep you accountable?
I run a Challenge Group with my best friend, Leah Krabbenhoft, and it really helps to hold us accountable. Knowing that other people will see our results is so motivating.
How did your Team Beachbody® Coach support you on your journey?
My Coach was an absolutely amazing support. She motivated me to start, suggested great books for me to read, and provided much appreciated positive feedback and encouragement. We shared pictures of our meals throughout the entire program and got to celebrate each accomplishment we made along the way. The best moment we shared was the day our pants were too big!
How did a Beachbody Supplement or Nutritional Product or Program (such as Shakeology® or Beachbody Ultimate Reset®) support your transformation? What are the greatest benefits you gained? Did you see benefits to your energy, sleep, mood/mental clarity, digestion/regularity?
Shakeology truly helps reduce my cravings for chocolate and unhealthy carbs. I also love that I don’t have to take vitamins, and it covers one of my 6 meals!
How did a Beachbody Supplement or Nutritional Product or Program affect any existing health conditions you have?
I don’t know if Shakeology is the only culprit, but I reduced my triglycerides, raised my HDL, got off of anxiety medication, and rid my cervix of precancerous cells!
Did you achieve any other measurable improvements with a Beachbody Supplement or Nutritional Product or Program? (e.g. Blood Pressure, Blood Sugar, triglycerides, etc…)
My triglycerides went from over 200 to only 90!
3 Tips To Stay Committed To Your Goals
Have you heard the one about the chicken and pig who want to make a bacon-and-egg sandwich for the farmer they liked so much? The chicken says, “I could provide some eggs.” The pig replies, “That’s fine, but while you’re making a contribution, I’m making a real commitment!”
The same adage holds true to anyone trying to get in (and stay in) shape. If you simply get involved in your nutrition and fitness plan, and contribute some time and effort toward living healthy, you will most likely achieve some results. You may feel stronger, more confident, and pleased with your progress. However, these feelings won’t compare to the satisfaction you’ll experience if you are 100% committed to each training session and meal.
Committing wholeheartedly to your health is not easy. There will be times when you’ll experience temporary physical, psychological, or emotional discomfort. You may feel torn between ordering that 350-calorie blended coffee drink or unsweetened peppermint tea. You may be hesitant to attempt more pull-ups today than you did last week for fear of failing. We all struggle to eat healthy when you have a late night craving (trust me, I’ve been there). In these moments of weakness, it’s only natural to want to waver on your commitment to the goals you set. But committing to your plan makes it possible to admire yourself both inside and out. You’ll stand more confidently. You’ll feel sexier. You’ll discover your true sense of well-being, purpose, and personal worth. You’ll feel grounded, energized, and intact. You’ll simply be happier in mind, body, and spirit.
Here are three ways to help you stay committed to achieving your goals that can help you stay strong when you’re struggling:
1. Post your goals on your bathroom mirror.
Posting your short-term daily goals in a place where you automatically see them each day will help you to stay focused, motivated, and committed to staying on task. Your bathroom mirror is the perfect place because you’ll see your goals first thing in the morning and right before you go to sleep at night. For greater results, also post your primary purpose for setting your goals (e.g., wanting to have more energy to play with your kids, to go on an adventure trip, to live longer, to feel more confident, etc.).
2. Prepare daily for “what-ifs.”
Before your day begins, ask yourself if there are any challenges that may interfere with your daily goals. For example, what if you get called in to a last-minute lunch meeting? What if your child asks you to play during the time you blocked off for training? What if you’re going out to celebrate a friend’s birthday? For each what-if make a plan to cope with the challenge while still staying committed to your fitness and nutrition. Of course, there are plenty of uncontrollable distractions, but strategizing on how to cope with your most common challenges will set you up to deal with anything that happens during you day.
3. Journal your daily effort.
There is no doubt that tracking your nutrition and fitness improves your chances of achieving your goals. But I recommend also keeping a diary in which you answer the following question each day: Did I exert every ounce of effort to achieving my goals today? If your answer is yes, great! If your answer is no, write down one thing you can do tomorrow to be better than you were today.
When you follow these three tips, your level of commitment for fitness and nutrition will skyrocket, giving you the best shot at achieving your goals and feeling ultimate satisfaction. Better yet, when these three tips become part of your daily ritual, not only will you achieve your goals, but get results that will last!
Dr Haley Perlus
Could Walking Improve Your Creativity?
Everyone encounters those days that no matter what you do you can’t seem to shake off the fog. Here’ a tip: to get that haze to lift, try taking a walk.
A recent study, coauthored by Stanford researchers Marily Oppezzo and Daniel Schwartz, found through four separate experiments that walking has a large impact on creativity (average walking time for experiments was 15 minutes).
In the first test, 48 community college and private university students were selected to complete a word challenge. Then, students were asked to walk on a treadmill and complete an almost identical task. The research showed an almost 60% increase in creativity when subjects first took a walk and completed the task after sitting back down.
In the second experiment, Oppezzo and Schwartz also asked students to complete a word test. This time, the students completed both tests sitting down. The subjects who sat for both trials showed no marked improvements.
For experiment #3, Oppezzo and Schwartz wanted to test whether walking outside (versus on a treadmill) changed the results of the word test. People did indeed respond to outside stimuli, though it was inconclusive whether it produced better results than walking indoors.
For the final experiment, participants were asked to come up with analogies for a given phrase. In this test, participants sat indoors, walked on a treadmill, walked outside, and were pushed in a wheelchair outside. The results from this trial held true to previous results. Those who walked came up with creative responses 95% of the time (those who walked outside came up with creative responses 100% of the time). The researchers noted subjects walking outside were even more talkative than those who completed the test inside. On the other hand, those who sat indoors had a creative response of 50%. Those subjects rolled in a wheelchair didn’t appear to be effected by the stimuli and thus didn’t provide as creative responses compared to when they were walking. The researchers explained rolling oneself could increase creativity, but needs to be tested further.
Oppezzo and Schwartz believe the formation of novel ideas from walking demonstrates the strong interconnectivity between the two. They proposed walking allows us to free our mind, where exercise might not be able to do that. This is based on the natural ease in which most people walk.
So the next time you’re staring blankly at the computer wondering what to title your spreadsheet, try taking a walk. Even if you don’t come up with a Nobel Prize-worthy idea, at least you’ll get a little exercise.
Sore, Hungry or Slow? 3 Signs Your Program is Working
Exercise makes us feel great. It makes us less hungry. It helps us perform everyday tasks better. Besides our health and the way we look, feeling great, being less hungry, and performing better are exactly the reasons we put ourselves through exercise. However, en route to ultimate fitness, there are some hurdles we all need to clear. Mainly, they include being faced with the opposite of our intended goals. Enter the trilogy of grumpiness: getting sore, slow, and hungry. We tend to look at these as negatives, but you want these feelings because they’re clear signs your program is working.
Sore, Slow, and Hungry
Before we analyze why you need to embrace “going backward,” let’s answer the obvious question: why would we design this type of program? Certainly, there are exercise programs that don’t put you through torture. Could we have chosen such a path with P90X?
The answer is that programs lacking this trilogy don’t provide you an incentive to get in top shape. In the early stages of any exercise program, it’s possible to structure the schedule and diet around making small improvements. You push your body above its normal output, though just barely, and you keep it there. If you are greatly deconditioned, it will yield improvements. This approach doesn’t hurt, and frankly, it helps people who’ve never exercised—mainly due to the mental boost they get from feeling they can exercise. It’s a nice alternative for some people. But let’s be realistic. None of them would sit through a P90X infomercial, much less be inspired by it.
This is what we would call a foundation phase of training for someone who has never exercised. The upside with this method is that each day you leave the gym feeling better than when you walked in. The downside is that you’ll never have the body of a fitness model. To achieve a higher level of fitness, you need to periodize your training and eventually stare into your Nietzschean abyss. That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger is more than a cliché with P90X—it’s your life.
Soreness is the easiest symptom to understand. Most of us have been sore at some point. It happens anytime we do something physical that we’re unaccustomed to. From yard work to a pickup game to a marathon shopping spree, when you push your body beyond what you do in your normal day-to-day activity, you get sore. This is true even if you used to do the said activity all the time. In fact, that generally makes it worse, because you still hang on to the muscle memory of how to do the activity, which means you can really put the hurt on if you don’t have the requisite fitness base.
Most soreness comes from the breakdown of fast twitch muscle fibers. Our bodies have both slow twitch and fast twitch fibers. Slow twitch fibers have a low recruitment factor, which simply means they get fired up at low outputs. Fast twitch fibers have a high recruitment factor, meaning it takes something more intense to get them going. A simple example would be raising your fork to your mouth, which requires slow twitch fibers, compared to raising a heavy barbell over your head, which requires fast twitch fibers. Furthermore, we all have some extra fast twitch fiber for emergencies. When you run from a bear, you’re engaging these, which is why you’re likely to run faster than you ever have before.
Fast twitch fibers are repaired much more slowly than slow twitch fibers. You can pretty much keep shoving food into your mouth and never get tired. When you do get tired, you’ll be able to resume the activity quickly. Lifting a barbell over your head will wear you out, and it will take some time before your body is able to do it again. The more weight you add, the quicker you’ll get tired and the longer it will take before your body is ready to do it again. And once you’ve escaped the bear, you’d do well to avoid him for a couple of weeks. Those emergency fibers you’ve thrashed will take that long to recover.
Hypertrophy means muscle growth. Almost all training programs target this, even weight loss programs, because changing a body from rotund to svelte requires you to lose body fat. And the quickest way to lose body fat is to gain more muscle. Muscle requires more work from your body, even at rest, so your body will take the nutrients from the foods you eat and store them in muscle tissue rather than adipose (or fat) tissue.
To create hypertrophy, you need to overload your muscle fibers progressively to keep breaking them down. As you get fitter, you engage higher-threshold muscle cell motor units to keep the overload coming. Breaking down exactly the number of muscle cells your body can replenish right away is nearly impossible. This means that to advance your level of fitness, you are going to break down more muscle fibers than you intended. When this happens, you get sore.
Furthermore, the more varied the exercise you do, the more you’ll find areas where your body is out of balance. This means some muscles are stronger than others. When you do new exercises, your stronger muscles are forced to do extra work as the weaker ones catch up. This results in both the strong and weak muscles being overworked while they sort out the balance problem. This is the first step of Muscle Confusion, and as you know, there is no shortage of it in P90X.
“I heard I would get less hungry and all I can think about is eating” is a common sentiment expressed on our Message Boards. The reason is somewhat obvious—our entry-level programs have low-calorie diets, not to mention restricted diets. Most of these people are simply craving the junk foods we’ve had them cut out.
But Xers get hungry too, and they’re usually eating enough calories. This is because your body cries out for nutrients when it’s in breakdown mode, even when you’ve eaten all you can. Learning that this craving is normal will greatly help your success curve.
When your body is craving nutrients, you want to feed it. However, under the type of duress a hard program creates, you can’t possibly give it enough nutrients. Many of us try. We eat and eat. And while eating can help ease the mental anguish your body is going through, you can’t put all of these calories to use, and some will get stored in fat tissue.
When your body is hungry, supplements are your best friend. Most have very few calories and a lot of nutrients. Some have targeted nutrients, which basically means they’re designed for nutrient efficiency. But no matter how well we strategize, we’re all going to get hungry at some point in our programs. So much so that staying hungry is a metaphor for the bodybuilding lifestyle. In the film Stay Hungry, a bodybuilding champion (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger) sums this up with the line, “I don’t want to get too comfortable. I’d rather stay hungry.”
A note from expert Denis Faye: “If you’re hungry even though you’ve eaten all your calories and you’re trying to lose weight, your first course of action is to fight it. Hunger doesn’t necessarily mean you need food. It just means you’re used to food. However, if you’re going completely nuts, then you want filling foods with few or no calories. Herbal tea is good, so is broth or veggies, as long as they’re fresh and raw. If you must eat something more substantial, I’d opt for a straight protein, like chicken or egg whites. It’s not going to impact your blood sugar as hard and it’s not all that yummy, so you know you’re not just comfort eating.”
This is the hardest condition to conceptualize but the easiest to explain. During hypertrophy, your muscles are growing. Growing muscles are a bit like a growing person. Just as you learn how to grow into a developing body, you need to learn how to use new muscles. During the hypertrophy stage of your exercise program, your muscles are “big and dumb,” like the old-school concept of the “musclehead.”
Larger muscles have a greater capacity for strength than smaller ones. A large muscle isn’t necessarily stronger, but if trained properly, it will become stronger. Muscular efficiency (or absolute strength) is what gets targeted in the latter stages of a training program. Doing low repetitions, along with eccentric and plyometric movements, is all about teaching your muscles efficiency—essentially, the ability to recruit high-threshold muscle cell motor units.
While your muscles are growing, your ability to move quickly lessens. This is why athletes do all of their body-altering training in the off-season. When you start to feel slow, it’s a sign that your program is working. Just remember that you’ll want to increase your intensity and whip those big lugs into shape later on.
Remember these are stages, not chronic conditions. You should only experience them early in a program or new cycle of training. If you aren’t experiencing them at all, it means you’re ready to ramp your training up to the next level. But if they persist beyond four weeks, you’re overdoing it and risk overtraining. You may also experience them each time you transition to a new phase. In this case, though, they should be gone before you move into the next phase.
Ever wonder if your exercise routine is a bit out of date? Let’s do a quick check—are you wearing legwarmers? No? Then carry on.
As times change, some training techniques lose ground, while others never seem to disappear. Every year, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) announces what fitness trends are expected to be the most popular around the world. Now that we’re a few months into 2015, let’s see what ACSM predicted for the year to see if their crystal ball is working.
When creating their list of predicted fitness trends, ACSM pulled together 39 international health and fitness trends and asked 3,403 fitness professionals to rate each on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being most likely to be a trend). The intention here isn’t to capture “fads”— which might be popular for a year and then fade away—but instead to capture trends which might stay on the list for years to come.
Here are the top 10 trends the ACSM has predicted for 2015:
1. Body weight training
2. High-intensity interval training (HIIT)
3. Educated, certified, and experienced fitness professionals
4. Strength training (using weights to improve strength)
5. Personal training
6. Exercise and weight loss (combining a diet with exercise)
8. Fitness programs for older adults
9. Functional fitness (improve fitness components you use in every day life, i.e. balance)
10. Group personal training
If you’re wondering why home fitness isn’t on this list, keep in mind that, depending on your program, it likely fits into one or more of the above trends. For instance, FOCUS T25 is mostly all body weight training, while INSANITY MAX:30 could be incorporated into both the body weight training and the HIIT category. It will be interesting to see if any new trends come up this year that they haven’t predicted. Especially considering that just a few years ago, body weight training wasn’t even on the list.
Get Healthy Savings, Too.Dollar for dollar, Shakeology is the probably the world's greatest value in nutrition. How else can you get the nutritional equivalent of $41 of fruits and vegetables in a single glass?
Dollar for dollar, Shakeology is the probably the world's greatest value in nutrition.
To match Shakeology, what would you need to eat?How many fruits and vegetables would you need to eat to match all the nutrition you'll get from a single glass of Shakeology? Check out this video to see for yourself . . .
Hi I'm Kelly Richards Mulloy a stay at home mom of 6. I am on a journey to change my life inside and out. Health and fitness, staying young, join me.