As the days get shorter and the temps get cooler, our activity levels drop, and we tend to eat more. A lot more. In fact, the average American gains 2+ lbs over the six weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years. And it’s not just the holidays that lead to weight gain. The CDC estimates that over 40% of Americans are overweight or obese. That statistic is alarming, but what is downright frightening is that the CDC also states that obesity is linked to our Nation’s top killers: diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and even some types of cancer. So, what do we do to avoid succumbing to statistics like this? If we need to lose weight, how do we do so successfully? (Hint: it DOESN’T involve trendy diets or repeatedly starving ourselves of calories.)
Over many years I’ve worked with countless clients on some aspect or another relating to weight loss- whether that be a primary goal, or a secondary one. During that time, I’ve found there are a handful of changes people make who are successful at losing weight and keeping it off. Here are my top six:
Springtime means warmer temps and longer days- which means longer outdoor workouts, bike rides, and of course, outside runs. It’s a great time to hit the track, the trails, or the roads, and see how the legs feel unencumbered by layers of warm-weather clothing. However, with solo outdoor running - or any activity done outdoors- there are safety concerns. Yes, we risk dehydration, injury, getting lost and a host of other possible maladies. However what I’m referring to are threats to our safety that come from others.
Whether we run in an urban or a rural setting, we can be lulled into a false sense of security- either because there are supposedly lots of other people around who can help if we have a problem, or because we are isolated and feel like the fact that we are alone means no one else would be there either. Either way, we lulled into feeling ‘safe’, even if we aren’t. However there are precautions we can take to help maximize your safety and minimize yourself as a target. Here's 6 suggestions to help keep us safe on outdoor run:
Anyone who's ever made a New Year’s resolution to get in shape knows, developing and maintaining a sustainable fitness regimen is much easier said than done. And the key to doing so is to develop the habit of fitness. When a habit is ingrained, we are more likely to throw a leg over the bike, get out and run, drive to the pool, go to the gym, or unroll that yoga mat in the living room, regardless of the circumstance in which we find ourselves. But again, we all have the best of intentions, but the grand majority of us tend to fall short. However, there are that small percentage of people that seem to never miss a workout or skip leg day- they are constantly eating healthy, and always look fit!
So what makes those weekend warriors able to develop a sustainable fitness regimen? How come they never seem to lack motivation, are able to navigate hectic work commitments, the kid’s carpool schedule, and still keep those abs looking good and the run times dropping?
Keeping up with the Changing Seasons: How to Keep on Track when the Clock Rolls Back (or Falls Forward)
With the change of the seasons, many of us find it challenging to maintain our fitness routine. Whether it be the shorter days, the colder weather, or the inevitable hiatus from athletic competition we can fall into the trap of struggling to keep our exercise regimen going strong into the Fall and Winter months. Combine that with the Holiday season and its onslaught of office parties, family gatherings, and the food temptations that come along with them, it can be a recipe for health and fitness backsliding of epic proportions. In fact, most Americans gain 10 lbs. over the winter months.
However, bulging waistlines and failed fitness goals don’t have to be the norm when the seasons change. Here are 6 tips to help keep up our momentum as the seasons change:
On a recent trip to visit family in Utah, I went on an early morning recovery run and wound up in the ER. After a long day of travel and a poor night’s sleep, I arose early to run and found myself struggling to maintain an 11:00/mi pace (for me, that’s very, very easy under normal conditions). Initially, I rationalized that I was probably dehydrated from the flight, and that I was now running at 5,000 ft elevation when I live and train at sea level, and that I was tired from not sleeping well. All of those factors were valid reasons as to why I’d struggle, so I pushed on, trying to shake off the extreme fatigue. However, I only made it around the block before deciding to stop and walk back. During that 5 minute run, my heart rate had skyrocketed and I had to sit down on the curb 3 different times just to catch my breath.
Something wasn’t right. And I knew it.
With 2020 in the rearview mirror, the entire world is breathing a sigh of relief as we get this most difficult year behind us. So much has changed in just 365 days, with a global health crisis dominating so much of our lives for what has seemed like an eternity. Entire countries have been locked down and huge events such as the Olympics, the Boston marathon, and the Ironman World Championships (along with almost every other athletic event) have been cancelled or postponed. On a smaller and more personal scale, families have been separated for weddings, funerals, baptisms, birthdays, and holidays. In short, it's been a really hard year.
Yet, as with all hard things, there are a few lessons we can learn from maybe the most globally challenging year in our lifetime.
I’ve been thinking about gratitude over the past several weeks. After all, it is the time of year when we give thanks for the many blessings, privileges, and opportunities we’ve been given. I certainly have had my fair share. I’ve got my health, my faith, my wonderful family, and my business- no small thing in this time of pandemic.
Like many of you, there is a lot I’ve learned over the last 2.5 months hunkered down with my wife, our dog Bella, and our little guy Evan in a 1,000 sq ft apartment. Certainly I’ve learned a lot about myself, and my family, but I’ve also learned from you. All of us have gone through unique experiences during this time of quarantine - and many of us have gone through very similar ones. Hopefully we can come out on the other side of this with some lessons learned that will serve us in times of peace as well as times of crisis.
While the pandemic casts a dark cloud over our lives currently, hopefully we see the silver lining of perspective - of lessons learned from this pandemic and lockdown. Here are 6:
With the COVID-19 pandemic, many aspects of daily life have taken a backseat. And rightfully so. The fitness world has seen its share of turmoil as the Olympic games, the Boston Marathon, all NCAA championships, and all professional sports leagues have been cancelled or postponed indefinitely. Many personal fitness goals have been compromised as races and events world-wide have been cancelled, gyms and pools have been shut down, and most places are enacting ‘shelter in place’ protocols.
HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope 2019 was as good to you as it was to me. And I also hope you’re looking forward to an even better 2020. It’s not just the start of a new year, but an entire new DECADE! What a great time to evaluate our lives and examine the challenges, opportunities and blessings we’ve been granted over the past 10 years, and think about where we want to be in the next 10.