Be Aware of Fake Medical Journal Websites

I follow a lot of health, fitness, and weight loss pages across social media pages. It is always frustrating to see articles promising impossible weight loss results for an impossibly small amount of work, but the most frustrating thing I find is fake medical journals.

It goes something like this. You are on a social media site and you see a sponsored or shared post about how someone found the secret to losing weight. You click the article and it takes you to a website that appears to be a medical academic journal of some sort, complete with other articles, databases, and a web address to tie it all together. The author of the post will likely discuss an ivy league researcher or a medical doctor that found the secret to weight loss and how cheap and easy it actually is! You will then read all about some supplement and the article will conclude with a way to purchase the product.

On the surface, it looks great. But, in reality, it is nothing short of a scam. There are a few quick ways to determine if the health journal or health news website you are reading is a fake:

  1. It is trying to sell you something other than a book or subscription to the journal. Real health journals or health news sites will not try to sell you anything except more information.
  2. The author of the article does not match the author who shared the content. People often make social media accounts impersonating a researcher and pretend their article just posted. If the name of the person in the social media account does not match the author on the website, it is probably not real.
  3. Every additional web page takes you to an order form. Before you buy something from a website, see what else they published. Click other tabs on their website and see if they are publishing real content or if the entire website is a single page.
  4. The URL has multiple web addresses. What I mean by this is the website’s URL might be something like ‘medicaljournal.org-clickly.com.’ If you see something like this, the second URL is the real website you are on. In this example, you are visiting clickly.com and not medicaljournal.org.
  5. It’s too good to be true. On average, healthy weight loss is no more than a sustained 2 pounds per week. Anything more than that should be under the supervision of your doctor and often comes from prescribed medications to supplement your nutrition and exercise plan, or surgery.

Next time you follow a link to a website that looks like a medical journal or a health news website, take a few extra seconds to scan the website for any red flags, it may be a fake. If you are thinking about purchasing anything to aid with weight loss, talk to your doctor beforehand. Some herbal supplements can react with medications you may be currently taking, making it essential for your doctor to clear you to take it.

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2 Weeks to Health Chapters Explained in 1 Sentence or less

2 Weeks to Health: A 14 Day Weight Loss and Healthy Living Course is a short, useful, and to the point health and weight loss course that teaches you the essential but often overlooked realities of living a healthy life. Here are the key takeaways from every chapter explained in just one sentence or less:

Chapter 1: Wanting to make a difference in yourself is the first step.

Chapter 2: Don’t procrastinate.

Chapter 3: Make sure you are doing the right things.

Chapter 4: Start exercising every day, even if you’re not quite sure how to yet.

Chapter 5: Information is understanding.

Chapter 6: Wellness starts with solid goals.

Chapter 7: We all needs days off.

Chapter 8: A good understanding of nutrition is essential.

Chapter 9: Knowing how to implement those nutrition facts is easy with a few tips.

Chapter 10: You probably don’t need to take supplements.

Chapter 11: Workout planning can be as easy or as complex as you want it to be.

Chapter 12: Fitness doesn’t just take place in the gym.

Chapter 13: Is this working for me?

Chapter 14: Keep it going.

Do you want to buy the book? Click Here to check it out on Amazon.

The Obesity Action Coalition

The Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that is dedicated to giving a voice to the individual affected by the disease of obesity and helping individuals along their journey toward better health through education, advocacy, and support.

There are three major issues that the OAC advocates for: obesity, weight bias, and access to care. The OAC view obesity as a chronic disease that is often understood by people not affected by it, including healthcare practitioners. Addressing obesity requires an individualized approach that requires a team of doctors, dieticians, trainers, and perhaps psychotherapists. Trainers are a large part of the obesity treatment process, which is why 2 Weeks to Health created the 14 Day Weight Loss and Healthy Living Course.

The ultimate goal is to get people the treatment they need to eliminate obesity. To allow access to obesity treatment, the OAC advocates for insurance coverage of obesity and its related illnesses. The OAC seeks to empower individuals affected by obesity to take action and to provide those individuals with the education they need to fight obesity using safe treatments. It is also important to the OAC to eliminate the negative stigma associated with obesity and to eliminate prejudice against people with obesity.

Anything we can do as individuals to help stop the obesity epidemic is a worthy cause. By working together and by working with organizations like the OAC, we can slowly increase the international awareness of obesity and help individuals with the disease live a healthier life by losing weight and mitigating related disease. To read more about the Obesity Action Coalition you can visit their website www.obesityaction.org.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans

Every few years the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) work together to publish the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This 144-page document is full of medically and scientifically sound information discussing how you can keep yourself and your family healthy. To keep it simple, this document is broken down into 5 main guidelines that anyone can follow:

  1. Follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan. All food and beverage choices matter. Choose a healthy eating pattern at an appropriate calorie level to help achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, support nutrient adequacy, and reduce the risk of chronic disease.
  2. Focus on variety, nutrient density, and amount. To meet nutrient needs within calorie limits, choose a variety of nutrient-dense foods across and within all food groups in recommended amounts.
  3. Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reduce sodium intake. Consume an eating pattern low in added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium. Cut back on foods and beverages higher in these components to amounts that fit within healthy eating patterns.
  4. Shift to healthier food and beverage choices. Choose nutrient-dense foods and beverages across and within all food groups in place of less healthy choices. Consider cultural and personal preferences to make these shifts easier to accomplish and maintain.
  5. Support healthy eating patterns for all. Everyone has a role in helping to create and support healthy eating patterns in multiple settings nationwide, from home to school to work to communities.

The Dietary Guideline also gives some key recommendations to kick-start your healthy eating pattern.

A healthy eating pattern includes:

  • A variety of vegetables from all of the subgroups—dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy, and other
  • Fruits, especially whole fruits
  • Grains, at least half of which are whole grains
  • Fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, yogurt, cheese, and/or fortified soy beverages
  • A variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), and nuts, seeds, and soy products
  • Oils

A healthy eating pattern limits:

  • Saturated fats and trans fats, added sugars, and sodium

Key Recommendations that are quantitative are provided for several components of the diet that should be limited. These components are of particular public health concern in the United States, and the specified limits can help individuals achieve healthy eating patterns within calorie limits:

  • Consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from added sugars
  • Consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from saturated fats
  • Consume less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day of sodium
  • If alcohol is consumed, it should be consumed in moderation—up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men—and only by adults of legal drinking age.

In tandem with the recommendations above, Americans of all ages should meet the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans to help promote health and reduce the risk of chronic disease. Americans should aim to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight. The relationship between diet and physical activity contributes to calorie balance and managing body weight.

Who Should Take Supplements?

A common question I receive is “should I take this supplement?” A lot of people want to believe that supplements alone will allow them to achieve their fitness and health goals. My full opinion of supplements can be found in the supplements chapter of 2 Weeks to Health First Edition which is available for free here. But in summary, no supplement can fix an ongoing pattern of poor nutrition and exercise choices.

Taking supplements will not make up for a diet that lacks in whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, lean meats, and plenty of water. Also, no protein or creatine supplements will create muscle on their own without completing the adequate exercise. While supplements certainly have their place, I recommend to most of my clients to lay off the supplements and focus on getting their nutrition from real foods. However, there are times when people need to supplement in order to stay healthy.

Who for sure needs vitamin and mineral supplements? A pregnant or breastfeeding woman, a woman able to become pregnant, someone on a restrictive diet (vegetarian, vegan, cultural), someone with limited milk and sunlight exposure, someone with a diagnosed health condition that affects the body such as anemia, elderly adults, and someone who is unable or unwilling to consume a healthy diet (food intolerances or allergies). If you fall into one or multiple of these categories, talk to your doctor or dietitian about which supplements you may want to take. I do not recommend you take any supplements without first consulting a medical professional. For conditions such as these, neither myself nor any other personal trainer is qualified to prescribe these types of supplements for these conditions so it is important to see a doctor.

What is the worst that can happen if you take supplements without a doctor’s approval? Many prescription drugs as well as supplements are plant-based and may react with one another. It is not uncommon for someone to experience side effects after mixing certain supplements and medications. Always ensure your doctor is informed about what you are taking and they give you their approval. And if you aren’t required to take supplements from your doctor, focus on getting your nutrition from real food and use the money you saved from not purchasing expensive supplements on a gym membership.

 

Plogging – An Environmentally Friendly Way to Stay in Shape

I recently stumbled upon a workout called plogging, or simply picking up trash while jogging. While this idea may sound ridiculous, it is an excellent environmentally friendly way to reach your health goals. If you ever notice one of your favorite run routes has litter around it, take a trash bag with you next time you go for a run. Every time you notice a piece of trash, squat down to pick it up. The more trash you pick up, the more squats you complete. Not only will your legs and glutes be more toned than if you completed a normal jog, but the Earth will be a cleaner more beautiful place because of your plog.

Here are some tips to having a better plog:

  1. Instead of carrying around a trash bag, line a small backpack with a trash bag and throw all of your trash in the backpack.
  2. Meet with a group and run in different directions around a park. Give a time frame to meet back at the starting point. Whoever has the most trash collected at the end wins. The more miles run usually will mean the more trash you will aquire.
  3. Switch up your plogging location. While a nature trail may need some trash picked up every few weeks, running there every day will be unlikely to provide the trash you would need to get your daily dose of squats.
  4. Conduct a different type of exercise for each type of trash you pick up. Cigarette butts are worth 5 squats, water bottles are worth 5 push ups, and fast food containers are worth 10 sit-ups. Feel free to make your own roster of what trash equals what type of exercise. Be careful of traffic when stopping to conduct an exercise during your plog.

What other ways can you think of that can make plogging or other types of exercise fun and environmentally friendly? Comment below!

2 Weeks to Health 1st Ed – Day 14: Permanently Changing Your Lifestyle

This is day 14 of the first edition of the book 2 Weeks to Health, a 2-week course designed to kick start a healthier life. The expanded and reworked second edition is set to be released in the summer of 2018.

“The body is a mirror of how we live our lives.” – Lisa Rankin, MD

The road to health is not a sprint. It is not a secret diet nor a special workout, it is a marathon. You need to plan on this lasting the rest of your life, because as soon as you stop caring about your health, your health will degrade. That is why it is important to make everything you have learned in this two week course a lifestyle.

That means you will need to sacrifice some of your sedentary hobbies, like watching hours of TV per day, and adopt challenging habits, like maybe waking up before the sun rises to sneak in a run. When you go to the gym you will often see the same healthy people there every time you go, and you will soon learn that they are healthy because they are always there. Those people make working out and eating healthy a hobby and a part of their existence, it’s just who they are, and the best part is they enjoy doing it. If you keep up your momentum and stay mentally strong, soon you will realize that everything you are doing no longer becomes a temporary fix to improve your heath, but a permanent change that helps define who you are. Health isn’t just a byproduct of exercising, it is a lifestyle that millions of people have decided to adopt.

As you continue your path to better health, periodically ask yourself “is my diet and exercise program working for me.” If not, then revisit the foods you are eating and your exercise routine. Try new foods and workouts until you find something that you enjoy and gives you the results you are looking for.

I have a secret for you, there is no secret to living a healthier life. If you follow what this course suggests, take it to heart, and start applying it to your life, then you will be on a path to a healthier life. But, your learning isn’t over. Always seek new knowledge for how to live healthier, especially healthy recipes because we all love food. All I want from you now is to keep setting goals and reaching them, continually creating a healthier version of yourself.

2 Weeks to Health 1st Ed – Day 13: Staying Active Around the House and at Work

This is day 13 of the first edition of the book 2 Weeks to Health, a 2-week course designed to kick start a healthier life. The expanded and reworked second edition is set to be released in the summer of 2018.

“Limiting the time you’re inactive is even more important than exercise.” – Tom Rath

Small changes can make a big difference. If you consciously think of ways to make yourself more active throughout the day, then you can improve your health by changing only small things in your everyday life.

Desk jobs will often require you to sit for 8 hours per day, and humans are not made to be sitting down for that long. There are a few tricks to get yourself moving during the workday. First, park far away from the entrance. Force yourself to walk a little bit from your car to the office, the parking spot right by the door is not the best one for your health. Instead of sending an email or calling someone you work with, walk to their office and see if they are available to talk. If not, ask when they are and walk back to their office later. When you have a quick break, spend it doing a couple exercises or stretches instead of checking social media. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, even if you work on the 10th floor. Organize your workspace so that you are required to stand up when you need to use the printer, file documents, or answer the phone. Start by implementing a couple of these and turn them into habits, then add more as you see fit. Sitting all day is horrible for your health, so forcing yourself to move around a little bit more will help with your fitness and weight loss goals.

There are also ways to stay more active at home. On average, American adults watch about 5 hours of TV per day. Just imagine what you could accomplish with your health if you just cut back on one of those hours, or exercised while watching TV. Think for a second about what you do when you are at home or with your family. It probably involves a lot more sitting, right? Just like at work, at home the small changes can make a big difference to your health. Walking your dog, playing outdoors with your kids, cleaning your house, playing active video games such as Dance Dance Revolution, and even cooking can get you up and moving around at home.

Becoming and staying healthy requires a lot of work, at least at first. Once you get into the habit of eating healthy, going for long walks with your dog, working out 5 days per week, and however else you choose to live healthier, it is no longer a lot of work, it becomes a lifestyle.

2 Weeks to Health 1st Ed – Day 12: Creating a Detailed Workout Plan

This is day 12 of the first edition of the book 2 Weeks to Health, a 2-week course designed to kick start a healthier life. The expanded and reworked second edition is set to be released in the summer of 2018.

“Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they’ve got a second.” – William James

By now you probably have a workout routine somewhat in place whether it’s classes, a trainer, or a home DVD. Today’s lesson is all about giving you the information you need to plan your own workout. My goal is by the time you are done reading this, you can create a good workout plan for yourself without needing anyone’s help. I still recommend you use a trainer and to attend any classes or at home video programs you enjoy using, but you will inevitably have days where it’s up to you to get a good workout in.

The first question to ask yourself is ‘how many days should I exercise?’ Shoot for at least 3 days per week with 5 being the ideal amount to begin. With work, school, kids, dinner with friends, and whatever you have going on, you can choose what days those 3 to 5 days happen, but ensure you are fitting in good workouts no shorter than 30 minutes in length. If you still feel short on time and 3 days a week sounds like too many, then do what you can. If you  are only working out 3 or 4 days per week, keep working on your time management to fit in 5 days per week. If you continue to struggle to find time to work out do not feel discouraged, because even one day per week is better than none.

Now that you have your 5 days set, just remember that on your rest days you have more to do than just sit around (see day 7). But what should you do during those 5 days? That will depend on a lot of factors such as your SMART goals, but there are a few things that everyone, regardless of their goals, can focus on. In any given week you want to make sure you workout each muscle group in your body, and that you get plenty of cardio. The main muscle groups fitness enthusiasts recognize are abs, legs, back, arms, chest, and shoulders.  Each week you want to work out each of these muscle groups, but each muscle group has several muscles in them that need to be worked out individually.

When you are planning what to do during your 5 days, I recommend doing 20-30 minutes of cardio, 20-30 minutes focusing on your muscle group of the day, and then some time to warm up, cool down and stretch. Cardio exercises includes swimming, biking, elliptical, stair climbs, running/jogging, and essentially anything that gets your heart run up for an extended period of time. If you have 5 workouts per week and you lift every muscle group and do some form of cardio each workout day, your weekly schedule might look something like this:

Monday: Legs, stairs

Tuesday: Chest, walk/jog

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: Back, walk/jog

Friday: Shoulders, arms, bike

Saturday: Abs, walk/jog

If your goal is strictly to lose weight, you should still work each muscle group but your focus should be more toward calisthenics rather than lifting weights. For example, instead of going to the bench press to work your chest, it may benefit you more to do push-ups and burpees to work your chest. Also, classes at gyms often focus on the full body. I still highly recommend you hire a trainer so you can know what is best for you, and then you can branch off and do your own workouts based on your own plans. Even if you do not care about building muscle, resistance training (weight lifting) is still very important for your overall health. It has been proven to increase your metabolism, increase bone density, and slows down muscular degeneration which naturally happens with age. Do not just do cardio and neglect the weights.

Now that you made a plan to know what you are doing each day of the week, the next goal is to go into more detail about what you’re going to do when you show up to your workout location, be it your local gym, your living room, or a local track. Let’s say you are planning your own workout for Friday and Saturday, and the rest is with your trainer, and you decided to do yoga on one of your rest days. Now your week is all scheduled, but you just need to make sure you don’t lose any momentum toward your goals on Friday and Saturday. Friday you are planning on going to the local gym, and Saturday you will stay at home and run around the block.

For Friday you decide you need to work your shoulders and arms, and you plan on doing a stationary bike. First you should ensure you are going to work all of your muscles in your shoulders and arms. Your favorite fitness website or application can break down the different exercises for you. You see what exercises are available to exercise your shoulders, and decide to do the shoulder press, and the side lateral raise. You check arm workouts and decide to do hammer curls for biceps and bench dips for triceps. For abs on Friday you decide to do planks, sit-ups, leg lifts, and Russian twists. On the bike you decide to do a 30 minutes interval workout, and the jog will be a 1 mile jog/walk around the block. Now you know all the exercises you’re going to do, and you’re making sure you do cardio, and that you are working out every muscle group this week. If you can do this much workout planning for yourself, you are on the right path and you will learn much more with time. And by the way, your weekly workout plan now looks something like this:

Monday: Legs and stairs with personal trainer

Tuesday: Chest and walk/jog with personal trainer

Wednesday: Yoga Class

Thursday: Back and walk/jog with personal trainer

Friday: Workout without trainer – shoulder press, side lateral raises, hammer curls, bench dips, 30 minutes on the stationary bike with sprint intervals

Saturday: Workout without trainer – planks, sit-ups, leg lifts, Russian twists, walk/jog around the block

Sunday: Rest, stretch, hydrate, recover, motivation, and goals

If all these exercises sound like a foreign language then don’t become discouraged. There are plenty of websites and videos that show pictures and videos of these different workouts, how to do them, and what muscles they target. It will take some time to learn them, and to learn which ones you enjoy doing the most.

At this point in your weekly workout planning you have a trainer or instructor taking care of 4 of your days, and you planning the 3 others. Remember, Sunday may be a rest day in this example, but it doesn’t mean it is an off day. The next question is how many repetitions and sets should you do of the exercises you planned? Individual exercises are broken into sets and repetitions. A repetition is the completion of an exercise when you do it one time. One bicep curl is equal to one repetition. If you do multiple repetitions, let’s say 12, then those 12 repetitions (or reps) make up one set. So if you do 4 sets with 10 repetitions per set, that means you did 40 repetitions total. Another way to measure how much of an exercise to do is by time. For example, you can do planks for 30 seconds or as many sit-ups as you can in a minute.

Any exercise will commonly be 3-6 sets, with anywhere from 5-50+ reps per set depending on the exercise. For shoulder press, and most exercises that are considered weight lifting, you should choose a weight that allows you to do about 8-10 reps before your muscles do not allow you to do any more. The number of repetitions will change depending on your goals, but 10 is a good number. Then depending on the length of your workout, you can choose to do that number of repetitions 3-6 times. You may need to reduce the weight after each set, you will get tired, and that is okay. Allow your body to slightly recover after each set by resting 1-3 minutes.

I’m going to add the reps and sets to the workout plan for Friday and Saturday which now looks like this:

Friday: Shoulder Press 6 x 10 (6 sets, 10 reps), Side Lateral Raises 3 x 10, Hammer Curls 4 x 10, Bench Dips 4 x 10, 30 min bike w/ intervals at an average level of 4

Saturday: Core Workout Circuit repeat 5 times: Planks (1 minute), Sit-ups (1 minute), leg lifts (1 minute), Russian twists (1 minute), once the circuit is complete, jog/walk around the block, 3 minutes of walking with 1 minute of jogging for 30 minutes

You can also add the weight you plan on lifting when you go workout. It is always good to add the extra weight goal into your plan, but it is not required.

 All this workout planning can be done in your food/workout journal, and you can make notes on how you felt, whether you should increase or decrease the number of sets or weight, or anything else that could help you during future workouts. It is also good to do a warm up set with lower weight when you start an exercise. If you are planning on doing 6 sets of shoulder press, then actually do 7, but your first set will be a much lower weight so you can warm up your shoulders before doing a heavier weight.

The Friday workout shows how you might structure a workout at the gym when you have machines available to help you. Saturday shows how you might train at home which includes bodyweight workouts and a jog around your neighborhood. So which one is better? In my opinion neither is better, a balance between the two is what will get you in great shape. If you want to build muscle faster or spice up your cardio life, then a gym is needed. But, becoming stronger, thinner, and healthier can easily be done at home through calisthenics and outdoor cardio. Some of my most difficult workouts use no weights or equipment, and I move no more than a couple feet, so there are no excuses for not getting a great workout in when you are confined to your living room.

Planning can be a lot of fun because you know that the plan you are creating will push yourself to be healthier. It might take a little bit of time to learn and get used to, but once you become more knowledgeable about workout planning, you will be able to walk into the gym without writing anything down and know exactly what to do. That might take a few years, but it’s a great feeling when you reach that point. Next time you do a workout on your own, I challenge you to put some additional thought into your workout based on what you learned today, and ensure that even though there is no trainer there to push you, that you create a plan that pushes yourself.

Your daily workouts are extremely important, but so is what you do every other part of your day that will tip the scale and help you become healthier. If you work a desk job and then come home and sit on the couch and watch TV, even if you workout every day your lifestyle is still fairly sedentary. Tomorrow we will briefly discuss the benefits of staying active around the house and at work.

2 Weeks to Health 1st Ed – Day 11: Staying Motivated

This is day 11 of the first edition of the book 2 Weeks to Health, a 2-week course designed to kick start a healthier life. The expanded and reworked second edition is set to be released in the summer of 2018.

“Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” – Lou Holtz

What goals did you have for yourself when you started this course? It has been 11 days, so I bet some of you wanted to lose 20 pounds by this point. Some of you would be ridiculous because that is not at all attainable. Your sense of accomplishment all boils down to your expectations. If you set your expectations too high you will never feel accomplished, but if you set them too low, you will not accomplish anything. When you are setting your goals, make them SMART! Smart stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.

Specific – When setting your goals, make sure you specify the who, what, when, where, why, and how of what you are doing. Instead of saying ‘I want to run faster’, say ‘I want to run my hometown’s 5k with my husband and finish 1 minute faster than I did when I was in good shape 5 years ago, and I’ll get there by running 3 miles, 3 days a week’. Another example might be ‘I want to walk my dog for thirty minutes every other day around the block to strengthen my legs and burn calories’.

Measurable – Avoid setting goals that you can’t measure or track. It’s great to say you want to eat fewer carbs, but if you don’t make it more specific and add the number of grams of carbs and then monitor your carb intake (day 5), you won’t know if you have reached your goal.

Attainable – It is good to be ambitious, but do not be so ambitious that your goal becomes impossible to achieve. If you currently can only walk a mile before you are winded, it is not a great idea to say you are going to run a half marathon in 2 months, you will fail and become discouraged.

Relevant – Ask yourself if your goal is worthwhile and worth your time. While a goal to eliminate red meat from your diet will help with your overall health, eliminating all meats may not be relevant to your overall goal of improving your health.

Timely – Set a time frame for when to complete the goal. Will it take a month, a year, a lifetime? It is up to you to decide, but a goal without a deadline will never be achieved.

Now that you know how to make SMART goals, I want you to sit down with a pen and paper, your tablet, or whatever you take notes on, and think of some SMART goals to improve your health. Pin them up on your refrigerator, your desktop, your bulletin board, or somewhere that you will see them on a daily basis. This will keep the goals in your mind and motivate you to never miss a workout, or not take that cheat meal.

Another way to keep yourself motivated is to make it fun! To a lot of people exercising and eating healthy is a fate worse than death. It really does not have to be painful, and should be a lot of fun! Becoming a healthier person doesn’t mean you need to go out and run for miles or eat tofu for every meal. One of the best ways to improve your health is to find a hobby you are passionate about that is also a great exercise. Then any time you go have fun, you are improving your body. Some fun and healthy hobbies are hiking, swimming, and most sports will make the list.

Keep the ‘why’ in mind. It’s not what you do, it’s why you do it. The ‘why’ is the core of intrinsic motivation. For some people, knowing why they want to get fit is an easy answer, for others, it is a bit more difficult. An easy answer may be to look good for the summer. A more difficult answer may be they want to feel better, but ‘feeling better’ is hard to measure. So the ‘why’ should be SMART just like your other goals. Regardless of your reason for wanting to live a healthier life, hold onto it. Add it to your vision board and look at it every chance you get. It’s the people who never lose the sight of why they are exercising and eating healthy that will ultimately reach their goals.

When you achieve a goal, make sure you reward yourself. There are a lot of different ways to do this, and they range from small items such as being allowed to watch your favorite TV show after exercising, or large items such as once you lose 40 pounds you will go on a cruise in the Bahamas to show off your new body. Regardless of the method you choose, set rewards for yourself for each of your goals or milestones and do not let yourself get the reward until you reach the milestone, no cheating. This will motivate you to keep working to perhaps eat some ice cream for dessert or go to the movies and get popcorn and soda as a reward.

Lastly, do not underestimate motivational videos. It is amazing how much motivational videos can alter the way we think. They discuss the core of our desires and the difficult actions that it takes to get there. Every motivational video is different, but after watching any of them I always have the desire to reach my goals and start right after the video ends. Watching a motivation video before a workout will put you in a mindset of action to achieve your goals. You can click here to view the top motivational videos on YouTube.

I hope you are continuing to exercise, and have a basic workout plan that you are starting to follow. Tomorrow I am going to discuss some details about workout planning, and how to plan workouts on your own if you do not have a personal trainer.