Tag Archives: time management

The Small Stuff Adds Up

It’s been quite some time since I penned (or typed rather) a blog post. I wish I could give a good excuse, but really, who isn’t busy? I guess the good part is that while I have been busy, it has not affected my commitment to eating right and working out like a madman.

This post will be brief and to the point. One of the thoughts that’s been running through my head lately is the idea that the small things we do each day add up – either positively or negatively. Most Americans strive so hard to live a life of comfort that they often do themselves a physical disservice. We drive around searching for the closest parking space to the store, take the elevator or escalator instead of walking up or down the stairs, eat finger foods because it seems to be the simplest way to eat, wear slip-on shoes, etc., etc., etc.

All these little things surely make us comfortable but certainly don’t do us any benefit from a fitness standpoint. I’m sure you’ve been around someone (hopefully not yourself) who had difficulty breathing after walking up a single flight of stairs. You don’t get into that type of physical condition overnight; but the wrong type of small stuff will add up over time, and the sum often adds up a little nuisance called obesity (among other ~enjoyable~ medical maladies).

A small late night snack here, a small late night snack there, an elevator ride here, a small get-together that certainly must include food (likely unhealthy), a skipped workout, driving somewhere you could walk to… the small stuff truly adds up. Take stock of your daily habits (perhaps even journal them) and evaluate the small stuff that comprises your day. Do the small habits, routines, and decisions of your day guide you to maintaining healthy physical fitness, or do they contribute to a slow, steady decline toward a very unhealthy person that doesn’t become the person you should be?

While you may never develop an appetite for rigorous, intense workouts or have the fortitude to correctly eat almost all the time, you can pay attention to the small stuff and ensure that the small stuff is adding up to a positive outcome.

Very simply, the choice is yours…

True Fitness = Hard Work + Proper Nutrition

The title lists a very simple equation, and yet the solution seems to evade so many people. Let me write it out again:

True Fitness = Hard Work + Proper Nutrition

It’s not to say that Hard Work is more important than Nutrition – I just happened to list them alphabetically. The opposite is probably true that proper nutrition will benefit you more long-term than hard work if you could only pick one. By Hard Work, I mean strenuous, physically-exerting exercise. And by Proper Nutrition, I mean eating foods that are actually good for the body (that’s a dissertation in itself) and getting proper sleep and hydration.

I often run into people that I haven’t seen in awhile, and they typically remark how much thinner and more fit I look. Of course, they want to know what I’ve been doing to achieve my level of fitness. When I tell them about my workouts and changed eating habits, their peaked interest usually dwindles. It amazes me that practical living and hard work are a major turnoff to people. I mean, when you see how hard people will work to live in a certain community or get to a certain position at work, it’s obvious that hard work is not a foreign concept to them; and they seem to have enough common sense that they would seriously evaluate the food their body intakes.

Let me reiterate:

True Fitness = Hard Work + Proper Nutrition

There are no quick fixes or magic potions that will turn you from a lump of dough to a fit, vibrant person. It will take hard, strenuous work. I have stated it before, but I am a strong advocate of working out with kettlebells and bodyweight exercise.

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The benefits are clear:

  1. You will get strong
  2. You don’t need much space
  3. You don’t need to go to a gym
  4. You don’t need to make much of a financial commitment
  5. You can accomplish a lot of hard work in a fairly short period of time

It will take some effort to research the foods you eat, read the labels, understand what ingredients/foods/medicines are good or bad for you, make well-informed food purchases, plan and prepare nutritious meals, etc.

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Again, the benefits are clear:

  1. If you are overweight, you will lose weight
  2. You will be healthier with a stronger immune system
  3. You will have more natural energy (this will fit perfectly into your strenuous workouts)
  4. You will be likely live longer
  5. You will maintain the weight your body was designed to support and your joints will thank you profusely for that

The solution to true fitness couldn’t really be this simple, could it? If you read most of the trendy health and fitness magazines, then to them, the answer is no. There’s always a new gimmick workout or diet (or even diet pill). There’s a huge industry devoted to the millions of people who keep futilely chasing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

If you truly want to live a longer, healthier life where…

  • You are physically strong
  • You are able to run and play with your kids (or grandkids)
  • You wear normal clothing sizes
  • You get sick less often
  • You won’t need an untimely knee replacement
  • You won’t increase your risk of cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.

Then review the formula 1 more time:

True Fitness = Hard Work + Proper Nutrition

Decide today to be equally committed to both components of the solution, and you will be the better for it. Don’t expect many others to join you, but hey, you are living your life in your body. Only you can directly change and affect you.

Brush Your Teeth… a Little Earlier

This entry will be short and sweet (well short at least).

I recently went to the dentist to get in a cleaning before year-end. My dentist and I were discussing my love/hate relationship with flossing – or my lack of interest sometimes in flossing. In her opinion, the best time to floss is at night because that is when your mouth is most inactive and getting the least amount of oxygen flow as you sleep.

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At any rate, she said, don’t wait until right before you go to sleep to floss because you will probably be too tired at that point to do it properly if at all. Do it earlier in the evening. That got me thinking about late night snacking and the struggle that can be for some people.

Perhaps this is something that could potentially be a small help to people who struggle with late night snacking. Take some time early in the evening (maybe 8 or 9 PM) to completely floss and brush your teeth (oh, and you can skip the mouthwash too although that’s another story/theory for another day). With your mouth feeling so fresh and clean, you just may be inclined to let it stay that way until the next day and avoid eating something just because you feel an urge to eat.

If you have any tips or ideas for combatting late night snacking, add a comment and share.

Myth-Scuses!

In January 2012, I decided that I was going to take control of my life in terms of health, well-being, and physical fitness. The reasons that I got to the point of being unhealthy, lazy, couch-potato-like, and out-of-shape were because of the excuses that I convinced my mind to believe. Not only did I buy into these excuses, but they weren’t even true – ‘myth-scuses’, if you will.

Here are the 5 myth-scuses that enabled me to live a life where I often felt unenergized and tired:

  1. I Don’t Have Time – I’m Too Busy
  2. Maybe I’m Just Getting Older
  3. I Can’t Afford a Gym Membership
  4. I Can’t Afford to Eat Healthy
  5. I Can’t Stay Motivated

As time goes by, I will elaborate on how I confronted each of these ideas, but for this post, I will just focus on the first idea. I work in IT supporting conferencing technologies, specifically audio and video conferencing. The nature of this work sometimes consists of additional night or weekend work as well as being on call at times. The increasing responsibilities of my job as well as taking on responsibilities at my church teaching children began to consume the majority of my time. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not going down the road of telling you that I came to the conclusion that my job was not important. It is very important – it pays bills, it provides for needs, it generates relationships, etc. In retrospect, I have found that when I am shape and maintaining an intake of healthy foods that I am able to contribute a greater focused energy to my responsibilities than I was previously able to.

In my mind, I believed that in order to be in shape, that I needed hours and hours a week to accomplish this goal. In college, I competed in intramural sports as well as lifted weights at the gym 5-6 times a week. Since this did keep me in shape at that time, I equated that amount of time to what I would need now. I did not consider that perhaps my time then was not used as effectively as it could have been to generate results, nor I did I think for a second that my methods of working out could be wrong or misguided. At any rate, I convinced myself that if I couldn’t spend hours and hours a week working out, well then, I guess I just wasn’t going to work out at all. A few pushups on some rare occasion would be enough, right? (ha!)

Early this year, I discovered the concept of high intensity interval training (HIIT), and more specifically Tabata training. For someone like me who likes to give maximum effort at whatever I decide to do (and this unfortunately included sitting on the couch for long periods of time), high intensity was a perfect fit. I don’t know that I understood it at the time; but I do believe now that if that if high intensity training is the only thing you do, that you will lose a lot of weight but probably not have much else to show for it. Nonetheless, what an eye opener to learn that by packing maximum intensity in intervals into brief workouts that I could burn more calories (and continue burning calories) than I would through traditional cardio methods.

In the first few months, I did a lot of high intensity training mostly with bodyweight exercises such as burpees, lateral jumps, squats, and pushups. And to circle back to the original idea that I didn’t have time in my busy day to work out, well let’s just say that was going out the window. I was completing workouts 3-4 times a week in 15-30 minutes. There were other factors that I will expound on later, and I still had (have, really) so much more to learn; but more than anything, it was a step in the right direction.

What are some of the ‘myth-scuses’ that have held you back??