What I’m Reading Wednesday: Vacation Edition

I hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. We have officially entered the unofficial start to summer and if you plan on traveling, here are some great articles and tips.

Don’t want to hunt down the local gym? Just want to be outside? Or to mix your routine? Track down the local stadium and try these bleacher workouts.
The Bleacher Workout That Will Torch Your Legs And Lungs – Laura Williams on Bodybuilding.com
You can pump out push up, planks, squats and lunges easily when you’re away from home. But the back muscles can be challenging to work when you’re on vacation and don’t have access to a gym. Luckily you can still do chin ups, as long as you have some towels and door.
Tip: Do Pull-Ups Anywhere Like This – Drew Murphy on T-nation.com
Traveling can be tough on your body. Cramped car or airplane seats, lugging around over-sized bags, and sleeping in a different bed will leave you feeling out of sorts. Some simple moves can help hit the reset button. Check some out below.
Tip: Feel Better and Move Better in 3 Minutes – Dean Graddon on T-nation.com

What I’m Reading Wednesday: Diet “Hacks”

I’m firmly believe the best way to:
– Lose weight,
– Get toned,
– Stay fit,
– Build muscle,
– Improve athleticism,
– And be awesome,
Is to be patient and consistent (not perfect) with your nutrition. But, sometimes we could use a little boost/hack/check-in. Here are some tips that could help…
Rumor Fact: It takes 20-25 mins for our stomach to register that it is full. Which is why wolfing down your food isn’t the best idea. That, and despite our stomach/intestines having fancy acid… they don’t actually have teeth.
Slow down. 
Even time yourself. 
Lose Fat with a Timer – Chris Shugart with T-nation.com
I’m partial to this article because the research was done at Cornell (in my hood). The study states that watching yourself in a mirror while eating will help you to make healthier choices. Creepy in public, but maybe could work at home? I’m not a fan of the “shaming” potential to this drill, but it could work for some folks.
Tip: An Awkward Way to Get Ripped – Chris Shugart with T-nation.com
This article could be frustrating if you believe your diet is excellent, but it is important to read.  Tracking every morsel and sip, even if it’s not exact, is an eye-opening experience.  Even a measly 250 calories (that’s 5.5 Oreos) everyday can add half a pound a week to the scale.  If weight lose is a priority, be cautious of those “little bites” or “sips” .

What I’m Reading Wednesday: Get Your Mind Right

I’m still on vacation and eager to soak up more rays before returning home, so this post will be quick and to the point.

 

When trying to make a lifestyle or diet change, you may try to “stop” or “avoid” certain activities.  This will only make you think about doing them more (check out the White Polar Bear Theory).  Instead, aim to begin good habits.  Check out the chart below:

Add vs. Avoid– Precision Nutrition

 

Stress has a huge impact on your life.  While a positive mindset can’t fix all the problems in the world, it can help you live a happier and healthier life.  As mentioned at the bottom of the article “the wolf you feed is the wolf that wins”.

Change Your Thoughts To Crush Your Goals– Shane Trotter with BreakMuscle.com

 

This one is about setting yourself up for success through your environment.  Eliminate distracting obstacles and making it easier to pick the healthier choice will be less taxing on your brain and will power.

Change Your Environment for Easy Fat Loss– Leslie Hooper from HooperFit.com

Stop Being Efficient.

Juggling work, errands, family, friends and any other responsibilities, leaves approximately negative time to waste.

So it makes sense to be efficient.

Wrong.

You’ll be more productive by being effective.

 

The chart below is out of “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephan Covey

 

Credit: https://www.pinterest.com/arialsde/7-habits/

Quad 1, Urgent and Important: The crises.  These are the deadlines at work, a flat tire, Johnny fell down the well, Adele tickets just went on sale, etc.  Matters that are important and demand our attention immediately.  Some we can plan for, others we can not.  Regardless, they are our top priority.

Quad 2, Non-urgent and Important: Prevention and New Opportunities.  This includes time with family and friends, the gym, meal prep, etc.  Things you know should get done, but can easily be pushed to the back burner.

Quad 3, Urgent and Not Important:  The interruptions.  The alerts on your phone, as well as most emails and meetings.  These intrusions want your attention… RIGHT. NOW. Something needs to be resolved or responded instantly, whether it takes a split second or a couple hours.  It might not be the most serious matter, but somehow it jumped to the top of the to-do list… generally because other people are waiting/nagging for a response.

Quad 4, Non-urgent and Not Important: The distractions and time wasters.  Addicting social media sites, videos games, TV shows, and almost anything that comes in an app form.

 

So… if you don’t have a lot of time, what should you focus on??  Quad 1

Image result for adele tickets on sale meme

Credit: Memegenerator.com

And next?  Quad 2.

Simple.

But is it?  You can get so lost in Quad 1 that you burn out and jump to Quad 4, just to shut your brain off for a bit.  And how long can you restrain yourself from checking your phone when an alert goes off (Quad 3)?  It’s feels so good to check things off your to-do list (being efficient), but you feel like you’re stuck on the hamster wheel.  This is why it’s important to sit with Covey’s quote:

“Don’t prioritize your schedule, schedule your priorities”

Quad 2 is area where we can get ahead in life.  You can build systems, such as making healthy meals and going to bed at a decent hour, so that you have energy throughout the day.  Developing supportive relationships with help you feel less anxious and more inspired.  Setting a goal and creating steps to achieve it will increase your drive.  You will be more effective.

So how do you make time for Quad 2?

End the bottomless and random to-do lists.  Organize your list into these quadrants. Pick 1 MUST-DO activity from Quad 2 and add it to Quad 1 everyday.  Whether it’s studying for another certification to further your career, messaging an old friend, doing some push ups or creating art.  Make sure to spend more of your time focused on these two quads.

Time is precious. Do more than just put out fires or collect Pokemon.  Set goals, work towards your dreams and build meaningful relationships.  Deal with the important matters that demand your immediate attention, and then schedule time for the other important factors in your life.

What I’m Reading Wednesday: Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That

Short on time? You and the rest of the 7.5 billion people on the planet. Good news, my post on Friday should help, until then… check out these quick fixes.
One of the best ways to build a burning desire to stab yourself in the eye lose weight is by counting calories. Unfortunately it’s boring, time-consuming, and “easy to forget” some of the cake/chocolate/ice cream calories.
Credit: Mememaker.com
What’s a good alternative?
Take a picture before eat meal or snack. You’ll have an accurate account of what you’ve been eating. Better yet, if you make it an Instagram account, it will help you to be more thoughtful and accountable (knowing others might be watching). Read more info here:
Tip: A New Kind of Food Log – Chris Shugart on T-nation.com
Have 20 mins or less to workout? Not a problem. You can accomplish a lot in that time. Focus on the B’s and H’s:
  • Breathless,
  • Burning,
  • Heat,
  • Heavy.

Check it out…

Know the B’s and the H’s– Dr. Jade Teta with T-nation.com

 

 

Speaking of workouts, if you’re looking for the biggest bang for your buck… don’t waste your time on body part splits (Arm/Back/Chest/Leg Day, etc). This is an advanced method for body builders that have been grinding for years. Unless you enjoy dedicating a part-time job’s worth of effort to your lifting, check out these other routines:

Body-Part Splits Are Dead– Andy Van Grinsven with T-nation.com

What I’m Reading Wednesday: Shakes, Sugar, and Bullsh!t… Oh My!

With about half of my Precision Nutrition certification complete, it’s safe to say I have food on the brain (shocking).  This week is about making a great meal-to-go, ending a sugar myth, and explaining why nutrition advice is wicked confusing.

Shakes are a quick, easy, and refreshing way to add:

  • vitamins,
  • minerals,
  • proteins,
  • healthy fats and carbs

Into your daily routine.  Having a store-bought one maybe seem more convenient, but you’re going to get a lot more (sugar) or less (vitamins) than you anticipated.  Instead, spend the extra 5-10 minutes to make your own.

Super Shake Creation Infographic– Precisionnutrition.com

Sugar, in moderation, is ok.  Too much sugar can lead to weight gain.  It doesn’t really matter if it’s table sugar (sucrose) or high fructose corn sugar.

But please keep eating fruit; it’s low calorie, has lots of good stuff in it (those vitamins and minerals) and tastes delicious.

Is HFCS High Fructose Corn Syrup Worse Than Sugar?– Examine.com

And finally the BS.  If you’re struggling with diets, understanding new nutritional research you saw on TV or just sick of gimmicky marketing… there’s a good reason why.  Nutrition science is still in it’s infancy phase and new information is be processed and discovered everyday.  Even then, it’s difficult to isolate specific causes and regardless, it might not apply to you at all.  But there are people that will still try to make money off of you. Check it out:

Why Nutrition Science is So Confusing – Precisionnutrition.com

If you have any nutrition questions, or there is anything I can clear up for you… I’d love to hear from you!  Check out my Contact Meg page.