inner engine fitness

building a better body

A Workout in 4 Measly Minutes

There is plenty of proof out there that exercise is amazing for us, but how come we don’t continue doing it?! The answer is that our bodies and minds forget how good it can be if we go too long without exercise. Usually we take a break out of necessity or lack of motivation and never get back into the groove. Muscle memory works for us when we’re active and against us when we drop the ball!

Yes, our bodies are creatures of habit and we can easily fall out of doing something that is great for us, but we can all fit something in when we have the time. And yes, we have 4 minutes a day!

You saw that right: 4 minutes! Tabata is a technique to amp your body and mind in just four measly minutes. The only catch is that while you’re moving, you’ll be working hard….all out exertion hard. But, we can all suffer for just 4 minutes a few days a week, can’t we?! You bet we can!

And the best part is that you won’t be able to come up with good enough excuses as to why you couldn’t get it done. Four minutes is just longer than taking a restroom break or time to check your email. Come on, you know you can do this!

So, get ready to move your body and invigorate your mind in the shortest time possible. It is sure to amp up your energy and productivity!

Here is your workout:

20 seconds of running in place, pumping your arms (as fast as you can!)

10 seconds of rest

20 seconds of push ups, on knees or toes (fast pace, but controlled!)

10 seconds of rest

Repeat the whole sequence until four minutes is up. That’s 4 sets of 2 exercises. If you make it through that and still have more time, stretch or take a walk to relieve those worked muscles, or add this on to your daily workout.

Great job! Now feel those happy endorphins pumping through your body and mind. Feel free to sit down and get some work done, or maybe take a short walk to continue the glow. Relish the fact that you got a workout in. Remember, the more consistent you are with exercise, the better your body and mind will feel.

As an important side note, make sure to vary your routine, not just doing Tabata. Going full tilt, even for 4 minutes, is no joke, so dial it down if you need to. But if some days, all you have is 5 minutes to spare, there are no more excuses to miss a workout!

I hope you enjoy your speedy workout! Now, just remember to keep on moving!!

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My Highly Functional Diet

strawberries

Food means a lot of different things to people. It can bring up memories, it can cure the blues or help you handle stress, it’s an enjoyable thing to have with family and friends, and let’s not forget the best part, it just tastes good. 🙂

Arguably, the most important thing it provides for us physically is sustenance. The calories you take in from your food are important for energy. Food can make you feel good or it can deplete your energy, depending on how much and how frequently you consume it. (Think huge meals and too much saturated fat!)

Now, I’m not here to tell you what or how many times to eat during the day! This is just to get you thinking about making small changes to feel better during the day, and I figured I’d give you a snapshot of what works for me to get you started.

There have been many schools of thought as to how many meals to consume in a day. Some people abide by the three a day rule and others function on small meals throughout the day. I found a combination of the two is optimal for me. I have a larger breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with a small snack in my lowest energy part of the day.

I do believe in routine, but this example is by no means the only way I eat. I enjoy restaurant meals on occasion and I love a good dessert when it strikes my fancy. But as a general rule, the following is what keeps me feeling satisfied and energized throughout my day:

Breakfast: oatmeal with berries and a scoop of peanut butter with a protein drink

Lunch: Vegetable soup and half a turkey sandwich or a large spinach salad topped with a variety of veggies and turkey, tuna, or chicken

Mid afternoon snack: Greek yogurt with fruit and chia seeds or hard-boiled eggs and a small banana

Dinner: Broiled Salmon or Chicken, roasted veggies and sweet potatoes, followed by a square or two of dark chocolate.

I hope you find this helpful in deciding on possible foods to eat and how many meals work best for you. This is by no means the only or the best way for you to organize your meals, and the foods I choose are what I like best. This meal plan just happens to work with my schedule and my needs.

Let me know if you have any thoughts or want to share how you eat during the day. I’d love to hear from you!

What you eat is so important to how you perform mentally and physically each day. If you feel satisfied and energized, you will be more likely to continue following your routine…. and you will feel great doing it!

Vary your diet enough to keep you from getting burnt out, but make sure to take notice of what foods make you feel the best and give you the energy to think clearly and enjoy your exercise. Keeping a journal or using an app like myfitnesspal can help make the process easier.

So, here’s to happy eating and living! Life’s too short to not take pleasure in each day, and that includes the food we eat, so find what works for you and make it a habit. You don’t have to be perfect, but try to do what you can to be healthy and happy. Your mind and body will thank you!

 

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Less Than 3%?

In order to achieve true health, we need to relax and unwind.

In order to achieve true health, we need to relax and unwind.

A recent study in the news analyzed how many people follow healthy habits during their daily life. By the title, I’m guessing you know how many people follow these guidelines. It’s staggering to think that with all of the available information today, we still adhere to behaviors that are less than good for us. It shows that more is needed than just information. It’s all about behavior change and we all know that we don’t like change!

The study reviewed nearly 5000 adults, a decent sample size I’d say. They looked at four behaviors: non-smoking, good eating habits, exercise level, and body fat percentage. Less than three percent of the group achieved all four healthy habits on a regular basis. That is quite a statement about our society.

I believe stress is a major player. Who isn’t strapped for time and burning the candle at both ends?! What stress does to the body is that it triggers you to eat more and get less benefit from exercise. It also creates more addictive behaviors meant to thwart the anxiety you feel constantly. As a cherry on top, your body holds onto more fat when you are constantly stressed because back in the days when you were surviving, not just living, your body needed all the reserves available. Enter again into current times and your body believes it needs to protect itself from the onslaught of stress.

This is not a recipe for success. We need to figure out ways to be more mindful and less stressed out. Obesity is at an all-time high, and is starting at a very young age. We are literally killing ourselves, even though we know the right behaviors to adopt.

So, to try to handle stress a bit more effectively, I have a few ideas for you:

  1. Take a few deep breaths before you embark on any activity you find stressful.
  2. Carve out quality time relaxing with your loved ones, perhaps walking the dog or going for a leisurely stroll.
  3. Have just one or two glasses of wine (depending on your weight and gender) to unwind from a particularly rough day at work.
  4. Keep a constant supply of fruits and veggies handy and cut up, even if you have to recruit a delivery service or the help of your family members to achieve the goal.
  5. Make sure to get AT LEAST seven hours of sleep a night.
  6. For a minimum of a half hour at night, do something relaxing that is not work-related, even if that means you don’t have an immaculate house. Read a book, have a cup of herbal tea, talk to a friend on the phone or Skype, or take a warm bath.

Do these things and then you can work up to the four healthy habits listed at the top. Health and an overload of stress are not compatible. As long as you keep pushing yourself until you’re depleted, you won’t have the energy to change for the better. The answer is to support your fragile body, not to beat it up. If we are kind to ourselves, we lay the groundwork for a healthy future. So, take the step to build your health piece by piece. Soon, together we’ll make up more than a measly 2.7%!

If you’d like to, let me know what your sticking points are in your pursuit of better health. I’d love to help you break through the barriers.

For further information about the study, visit: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2016/03/less-than-3-percent-of-americans-live-a-healthy-lifestyle/475065/

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