Saturday, February 22, 2014

Technology and Health.... Always and Forever

Technology. Whether you love it or hate it, it's become a huge and necessary part of life in this day and age.

So, why not embrace it? Why not use it to improve your physical health? There are SO many great resources out there that can help you reach your goals, track your progress, and make the journey easier. Let's talk about a few.

Tracking progress:
Having the numbers and data laid out in front of you that tell you what you are (or aren't) accomplishing can be exhilarating, informative, eye-opening, shameful, motivating, or (most likely) some combination thereof. Using apps or devices that help you track your progress (whether it's your steps, your food consumption, your weights and reps at the gym, your running, or whatever it is you want to watch and improve) can simplify the whole process (and make it much more likely that you'll actually stick to your plan).

My two faves are my FitBit and MyFitnessPal. The two can sync and tell me calories in vs calories out, break down my macros, tell me how many minutes I've actually been active, and much more. It totally encourages me to get up and move, because I want to see those numbers get high! The two that I'm most obsessed with are my stair count and and my calories burned. If those numbers are low, I'm known to march up and down the stairs at home in my jammies or to schedule a session with the TRX. I like that they both make me more aware of what I'm doing to my body.

Other options include distance-tracking apps (Nike+, Charity Miles, or Runtastic), food-tracking apps (LoseIt! or My Diet Diary), meal-planning apps (Food Planner or Dinner Spinner), and other tracking devices (UP24 or Nike Fuelband). Whatever you're into, there's probably an app or device to help you get there.

Making a plan
Better to have a plan than to aimlessly run, bike, or lift (sometimes). I get more out of something if I have a destination or purpose, and the MapMy series of websites is my fave. They have a version for Running, Biking, Hiking, Walking, and more general Fitness. There are also options like Strava, which is cool because you can compete with people on set "courses" determined by GPS. Oh, technology.

Utilizing online resources
There are so many great things on the Internet. Some of them can even help you be a better version of yourself. Whether you want to sign up for a race, find a YouTube channel to inspire you when it comes to fitness, or educate yourself about components of your sport, the Internet has a plethora of options. Just be sure to be smart about your options and do a little research before you buy into anything.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Making Progress

Progression. It's so hard to wait for it. I used to be (and still am, in some areas, although I'd like to think I'm getting better) sooo the kind of person who decided she wanted to do something, threw herself into it 110%, and then watched as it died off quickly because she didn't become a fabulous ballerina/marathon runner/poetry writer/master scriptorian/yogi immediately.

It's hard to start at step one. It's hard to wait for visible results. It's hard to do all this work for what seems like such little pay-out.

I see this all the time at work (I work in corporate wellness and fitness)... Either: 1) people who want to lose weight come in, set some really high goals, throw themselves into it for anywhere from 2 days to 4 weeks... and then we never see them again or 2) people who come in 1-2 times per week and take it really easy while they are there, and several months later they wonder why they still haven't lost the weight.

Seems like the problem usually lies with the level of effort put into reaching their goals. If they put in too much effort too soon, they burn out. If they don't put forth enough effort, they don't burn out, but they really never get to where they want to go.

Whatever our goals may be, these problems seem to persist. We either want immediate progress and get frustrated when things don't work out, or we just kind of coast along and don't push ourselves hard enough to make any change.

So how do we find that middle ground? The level of effort that sparks progress but doesn't sap all motivation? Unfortunately, there is no right answer. Fortunately, being mindful and aware can work WONDERS. Take mini self-assessments on a regular basis. If you feel yourself burning out, take a break, take smaller steps, switch something up to make it more interesting... but don't keep dashing forward, full speed ahead, because you're destined to crash. On the other hand, if you're feeling great but feeling like you're capable of more, then it's time to see what you can (safely and intelligently) step up!

Something that I see as being very beneficial is having a plan. A physical, written-out, step-by-step plan. Whether it's a workout plan for the next several weeks/months, a page of broken-down goals for the number of essays/articles you would like to read/write, a running plan that progressively increases your volume or intensity, or a plan to help you build and develop a certain skill (plug for pistol squats, mostly because I love that she's broken down the progression), it is so helpful to have a way to measure your progress and see if you are staying on track.

We are capable of so many fabulous things, but unless we're smart about them, most of us won't ever reach that amazing potential.

cheesy, yes, but so true

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Detox Diets.... Yeah.

So I saw this article on detox diets the other day, and I like. There are a lot of words thrown around in the world of health and fitness these days that people totally buy into without actually knowing what it is they are doing to themselves...

Like this. "Detoxing" is not about drinking really really expensive juices for long periods of time. That's bad. The way you go about detoxifying your system is just what it sounds like - less toxins in, more toxins out.

Please, please, please do your homework before buying into some fitness trend or fad. Especially if the people convincing you are going to make money off of it.

Quotes of the Day

"Whether we are young or old, what we do today determines the service we will be able to render and enjoy tomorrow." -Elder Robert D. Hales

"Although you may at times have asked, why me? it is through the hardships of life that we grow toward godhood as our character is shaped in the crucible of affliction, as the events of life take place while God respects the agency of man. As Elder Neal A. Maxwell commented, we cannot do all the sums or make it all add up because “we do not have all the numbers.” -Elder David s. Baxter

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Laborers in the Vineyard... again with Elder Holland being a stud.

LOVE this talk by Elder Holland, "The Laborers in the Vineyard."

"Envy is a mistake that just keeps on giving. Obviously we suffer a little when some misfortune befalls us, but envy requires us to suffer all good fortune that befalls everyone we know! What a bright prospect that is—downing another quart of pickle juice every time anyone around you has a happy moment!"

"Surely the thing God enjoys most about being God is the thrill of being merciful, especially to those who don’t expect it and often feel they don’t deserve it."

"Step up. Do it for your sake. Do it for the sake of those who love you and are praying that you will respond. Do it for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ, who paid an unfathomable price for the future He wants you to have."

I invite you to read/listen to the whole thing if you'd like a very uplifting message :)