Set An Intention

intention

Intention Set…Go

I have been reading a little about setting an intention.

Set an intention in the morning or the night before, then reflect on how it went the evening after.

It is another way to make a little change and adjust.

This shrinks it down even further to; Just one day, one intention.

Give it a try and see how it goes.

Or you can read more about Stoicism

Consider it while your training and note your intention in some way afterwards. Cheers!

Yes, I want online training!

Sunshine is Good For You

Direct Sunshine = Good

I’ve been told to protect myself from direct sunshine for as long as I can remember.

Too much sunshine on my pale skin was a shortcut to skin cancer.

Then, the other day, I read an article about how wrong that advice actually was for my health.

The article referred to a few different pieces of research that surprised me. It should make us question the current American Academy of Dermatology guidance on sun exposure.

They strongly recommend against spending time in sunlight without applying high SPF sunscreen.

The benefits of sunlight

Most of us know that the sun on our skin helps our body produce vitamin D.

The vitamin D produced by your body has been shown to help stave off cancer, heart disease and stroke.

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) suggest we get our Vitamin D from supplements instead.

There’s only one problem with the supplement approach…

In clinical trials, Vitamin D supplementation has failed spectacularly.

Vitamin D from supplements have yet to prove any of the same benefits.

Regular exposure to sunlight is important for your circadian rhythm (governs sleep cycles, etc).

Sun exposure helps the body release endorphins, serotonin and nitric oxide into your blood stream.

This combination of goodness reduces the risk of prostate, breast, colorectal and pancreatic cancers.

Want to reduce your risk for heart disease?

Nitric oxide released by the sun exposure has a positive effect on blood pressure.

Sunshine also reduces inflammation and dampens the autoimmune responses.

Then, as you maybe experienced, it also improves virtually every mental condition.

Sun exposure and cancer

It’s true that unprotected exposure to the sun increases the probability of certain skin cancers.

However, you may be surprised by the mortality rate for skin cancer in the US.

26 per 100 000 develop melanoma, the deadly form of skin cancer, each year.

However, fewer than 3 per 100 000 people die from skin cancer in the US each year.

Split the research by racial heritage and you find that people with natural pigmentation have significantly reduced melanoma and skin cancer rates in general.

For heart disease deaths in the US, the number is 209.1 per 100 000 for males and 130.4 per 100 000 for women.

Basically, for every death as the result of skin cancer, a hundred die from cardiovascular disease.

That said, there is a relationship between sun exposure and melanoma that cannot be ignored.

Mostly though it seems people who avoid the sun are more at risk than those who don’t.

In a study by Pelle Lindquist of 30 000 women in Sweden over 20 years they found that sun worshippers had lower rates of blood clots and diabetes.

Although they had higher rates of melanoma, they also were eight times less likely to die from it.

The research also shows a correlation between sun exposure and reduced risk of dying from heart disease.

Avoidance of sun exposure is a risk factor of a similar magnitude as smoking, in terms of life expectancy

Pelle Lindquist – Author of “Avoidance of sun exposure as a risk factor for major causes of death: a competing risk analysis of the Melanoma in Southern Sweden cohort”

Get enough sunlight

For the skin to produce vitamin D along with the other benefits, the sunlight exposure must be on unprotected skin.

The article recommends enjoying the sunlight without sunscreen on days where the UV index is 3 or lower.

An UV index below 3 is typically the case throughout the winter in North America (but do make sure by checking your preferred weather app first!).

The article also recommends spending some time outside without protection on days with an UV index above 3 (but more way more limited!).

The baseline recommendation is to avoid getting a sunburn.

The UK, Australian and New Zealand health authorities all operate with similar recommendations to the ones described in the outsideonline.com article (above).

Nutrients…Nature’s Energy Nuggets

nuggets-Evan-Amos [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

Nuggets of Energy

Is it possible to break a cycle of tiredness with nuggets of energy?

A big question about food is whether all calories are created equal.

Calories are what gives us the energy we need to be active, think, and survive each day.

Depending on genetics, body composition and activity levels your needs will vary.

Part of the mystery of being you is finding out what level of energy you need to live the life you want.

If you like a more sedentary lifestyle, it makes sense that you would need fewer calories.

What does not change is that we all need nutrients to be healthy and keep our bodies running the best it can.

Nutrients Count

In a car allegory, calories are like the fuel for the body.

Nutrients are the window wash, oil, lubrication, electrons, battery acid, etc.

All the parts that allow you to use the fuel the best you can.

Out goal is to run efficiently. To get the best gas milage and stay in running order.

It matters what you use for each one of the elements.

A donut is not going to give your intestines the best digestive process.

Whereas oatmeal will help your digestion and provide a slow burning energy that will sustain you longer.

It’s more bang for your buck (quite literally).

Flavor Factor

What is weird with this car vs. human body analogy is that a car does not have taste buds, or behaviors.

To most people a donut tastes better than oatmeal.

Unless you have a strong conviction as to why you want to eat oatmeal, it would be hard to leave that donut alone in a side by side choice test.

That is why having oatmeal in your cupboards and leaving donuts at the store make it easier to choose.

If you are feeling low on energy and a little down in general, try switching out one food habit for another. One that will give you a nutrient boost.

Oatmeal over donut, for example.

This is not a matter of willpower. This is a matter of energy management.

Give your day a little boost with a training session. Cheers!!

Yes, I want online training!

Gratitude + Organization = Calm

organization-Mosart 81 [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Organize Your Calm

Thomas and I downsized back in 2015. Sold our house and got rid of a lot of stuff.

It was a relief and felt very freeing.

This last summer we downsized again, moving in to an even smaller apartment.

What is funny is I still have a hard time taking the time to clean.

Even though cleaning our apartment takes up a lot less time.

Part of it is that I have never found the gratitude for the place we live, or the things we own.

Valuing Stuff

Clothing, furniture and tools we use in our daily lives, like kitchen utensils, either have a purpose, or make things pretty.

Now, most of our things are practical and less pretty.

I do think that having things organized, regardless of their use, can make them pretty.

Clean lines and practicality have been two things that I really appreciate about design.

Looking around our little apartment, I see places where this can be improved.

I also see things that can be let go of, opening up more space.

Decluttering is a long process.

It takes a few cycles.

Gratitude Cycle

This next cycle can be a little bit more about appreciating what we own.

Being grateful for what it provides.

Recognizing the gift that owning it is.

If you I do not feel that way about something, maybe it is time to let it go.

My focus has been; “does it do something for me? Do I need it instead of want it?”

Switching that to gratitude takes away the judgment and guilt when it comes to what you want to keep.

I can see how it can build a home and not just a place to eat and sleep.

How do you find gratitude in your home and with the things you own?

Look to find appreciation for the equipment and your body, that helps you to train each day. Cheers!!

Yes, I want online training!

Staying Ignorant, Good Plan?

ignorant

Ignorant Bliss

Can bliss come from being ignorant about the world?

I was listening to a pod cast and the interviewer remarked on how happy the interviewee always seemed to be.

The interviewee claimed that a big part of his happiness came from avoiding the headlines about culture and politics in the world.

He didn’t get caught up in other people’s drama, or allow himself to aggravated about things he could not control or impact.

Just like there are people who live for the outrage, he lived to ignore all that causes the outrage.

Focus on What Matters

What mattered to him? He son, mom, friends, work buddies…the people in his life.

The people he could help, and who bring him a smile each day.

This all makes sense…right.

Those are the things that matter to him. Things that are real and he can be part of.

What do you consider important?

How does it impact your emotional life?

When you train today, will you feel better or no different when done?

Yes, I want online training!

Freeze Fat Away – The new solution!

Freeze Fat Away (BS!) - Dreamy Pixel [CC BY 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

I don’t know if you’ve heard of this, but the new “loose fat fast” fad are Cold Vests.

Basically, you put on the “cool fat burner vest” or the “cool gut buster” freeze fat way.

By simply wearing the vest or wait band, they claim your metabolic rate can increase by 300%.

But wait, that’s not all!

Pick a miracle cure sales person from TV

They also promise that you’ll expend an additional 500 kcal per day by wearing this miracle.

Now, if the promises hold true, over a week you’ll burn enough extra calories to drop an extra 1 pound per week(!)

This sounds awesome, doesn’t it?

Just put on a fat burner vest, endure some cool and freeze fat away!

Freeze fat away, is it real?

If you’ve lived for a while, you’re probably just cynical enough to question the validity of the “freeze fat away” promise.

Maybe you’d even take the time to look at the website for the company and read about their “Brown Fat Cooling Vest”.

Like all good marketing pitches, they spin a good yarn.

But, in all fairness…

Just because the numbers seem big doesn’t mean they’re wrong.

Is there any science to back it up?

Actually, there is.

Probably not in the way the maker of the products hoped for though…

The Department of Exercise and Sport Science at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse was commissioned by the American Council for Exercise (ACE) to perform a scientific review of the claims.

Unfortunately, the study provided a clear conclusion:

Neither of the cooling implements will increase your metabolic burn by 300%.

They won’t increase your calorie burn by 500kcal per day either.

The real effect of the cool fat burner?

The commissioned study was designed to decide whether wearing the Cool Fat Burner vest and/or the Cool Gut Buster abdomen cover would significantly increase the calorie expenditure when compared with resting metabolic rates.

The study consisted of 20 volunteers between 19 and 25 years of age. All of the participants had a BMI greater than 25. I.e. they were overweight or obese.

The participants had their metabolism measured during two states;

  • Resting – Not wearing the vest or abdomen cover, they sat still for 30 minutes.
  • Low-intensity fat burn – Wearing both products, they sat still for 30 minutes.
  • High-intensity fat burn – Wearing both products, sitting still for 30 minutes while drinking ice cold water at the start and the half-way point of the 30 minutes.

The good news

First, let’s cover the good news!

Both the low and high intensity testing phases resulted in a percentage wise significantly greater calorie burn.

The low intensity testing phase had an increase of 14% as compared to the resting phase.

The high intensity phase had an increase of 27% as compared to the resting phase.

Not 300%, but still fairly impressive, right?

Burn 27% more calories by sitting still for 30 minutes, drinking some ice water and wearing a cold vest plus abdominal cover.

Sounds like something we should consider spending money on, yes..?

(What comes next is the kind of stuff that causes people to lose faith in science…)

What do the numbers translate to?

As a fat loss/weight loss strategy, freezing fat away is a pretty sh*tty one.

Though the percentage numbers look pretty good, the absolute kcal numbers are abysmal.

When you account for the fact that the numbers had to be extrapolated to wearing the products for twice the time of the actual tests?

Well, then it gets even worse!

The “high intensity fat burn” phase resulted in an additional burn of 23.4 kcal for the test hour.

For the “low intensity fat burn” phase, the number is a whopping 12 kcal for the hour.

In practical terms?

(FWIW, the following statement completely ignores how fat loss really works. It’s merely for illustration!)

Based on the results from the study, in order to lose 1 extra pound of fat?

We’d need to wear the fairly expensive vest and abdomen cover for an hour per day, while drinking 16 oz of ice water every 15 minutes during that hour, for 149.5 days.

If calorie burn is your goal, you’d be far better off just going for a lazy stroll!

And if you spend an hour doing VPT training, with some extra intensity, today you’ll possibly burn more than 10x the number of kcal.

Yes, I want online training!

Finding ways To Thrive

thrive

Thrive Your Way

Looking for ways to thrive and not just get by.

Since I started this new position I have lived to just get by.

This was a drastic change from putting most of my focus on how to be healthy through nutrition, exercise, and mentally.

All of a sudden, I was faced with the average day of my clients.

Working their butts off to make sure they performed well at their jobs and taking care of their families.

The energy needed, and even the idea of taking care of myself seems like a bit too much.

Even though I know doing that will make everything else soo much easier.

A Little Here, A Nudge There

I have been starting to nudge myself into doing things I know are a bit better for me.

Adding in a little mediation again. Trying to calm my mind to help with sleep and energy.

My nutrition needs to step it up a little more.

It seems to be a challenge just to get the grocery shopping in!

Then once the groceries are in the house, taking the time to make something to eat is a different challenge.

I do pretty well with breakfast, as long as I have the ingredients.

Lunch is still a struggle, unless I have left-overs.

Dinner is a hit or a miss altogether.

Tonight it was “breakfast for dinner”.

Which I do like, a lot.

The desire to do more to make things change faster is real.

It is important to keep in mind that change feels a lot more taxing than coasting along on your current habits.

So keeping it simple can help keep things going.

I am not as concerned about “changing” as I am about finding a way to thrive in my current life.

Find a way to have more energy for doing the things I enjoy and being with the people I care for.

What makes you feel as if you are thriving in your life right now?

Do a little training for a bit of energy boost. Cheers!!

Yes, I want online training!

Micromanaging Sleep, Oh My

sleep micromanaging

Micromanaging Your Zzzzz

Micromanaging anything can be stressful and time consuming.

Since I am all about getting a good night sleep, I pay attention to articles that pop up in my newsfeed and have to do with sleep.

Hoping there is new insight in how to improve falling and staying asleep.

Last week I noticed a trend about micromanaging sleep.

As someone who has a hard time falling asleep, I consider any time I sleep a win.

Reading an article that states that just because you fall asleep quickly does not mean you are getting quality sleep is a bit of a head scratcher.

Another article I saw today was along the same lines. Not all sleep is quality sleep.

Getting into the details of feeling sleepy, even though you slept through the night.

What is Up?

Both of these articles lead you to a discussion about sleep dysfunctions, like sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea, if you don’t recall is where you have a difficult time breathing while you are asleep. In those cases, your sleep is not very restful.

Sleep apnea typically has to main sources; How you are physically put together, or from being overweight.

I remember first seeing a machine to help you get enough air while sleeping. It was included in the movie “Sleepless in Seattle”.

Meg Ryan’s character had a boyfriend with all kinds of hereditary ailments that he could not help, one of them was allergies.

He looked like a relatively fit guy so as a result, I thought people with severe allergies needed to use a machine to get enough oxygen while sleeping.

Since that movie came out, obesity has become part of even more people’s lives.

Sleep apnea machines have become more common.

I think helping people get better sleep by raising awareness of sleep apnea is the main motive behind these articles.

Unexpected Side Effect

There are unexpected side effects of articles like this. People, like myself, who suffer from anxiety may wind up fretting a little more.

One of the articles did mention anxiety, and they suggested meditation to help deal with the anxiety and sleep.

This backs up other articles and studies I have seen stating that meditation can improve sleep, when anxiety is getting in the way.

Understanding the intent of an article can help decide how much to apply to your own life.

If in doubt, look for more information. If possible, try to find a study to review and help you understand.

Have you read articles that go too far into the weeds, so the forest gets lost for the trees?

How do you back up again so you can see the trees?

Get in a little training and set yourself up for a better night of sleep. Cheers!!

Yes, I want online training!

Count Your Wins, Note Your Losses

count

Count Your Wins

Taking a count of your wins and noting your losses is one way to gain perspective.

Looking back on the past 3 months, 6 months, or year and asking a few big questions can help.

Questions like;

What have I been consistently doing that is helping me meet my goals?

Or

What have I been consistently doing that is hindering me from reaching my goals?

These are key questions that will show you both sides of your current situation.

The insight you gain can help you make an adjustments you want to make.

Recognizing Losses

Recognizing losses does not have to be a negative exercise.

It may reveal something positive.

Maybe you stopped swinging by Starbucks after work and feel better for it.

Perhaps you were able to replace what you got out of visiting Starbucks with something else.

If it gave you an afternoon pick me up, what does this for you now?

You still might mourn not having a late-in-the-day caffeine kick, but that short run around the block gives you a burst of needed energy instead.

Once again seeing what is working and what is not.

Spend a little time this week thinking about, and possibly writing down, a status report.

Then decide whether your priorities are being met, or if you want to make a change or two.

As you train today, consider why something works for you. Cheers!!

Yes, I want online training!

Baby it’s Freaking Cold Outside

Freaking Cold

What do you do when it gets Freaking cold? 

Good clothing helps, a lot. So does training indoors.

Indoors does not always help. When we ran a brick and mortar gym, we did not have the best heating.

In order to warm up, clients needed to get moving and keep moving.

Then bundle up afterwards.

I find that I burn more calories in the winter, trying to stay warm. 

If I add purposeful movement there is real bang for my buck.

Running Caution

The only caution we ever give is to be careful below 20 degrees. 

Training outside below 20 degrees for anyone who has difficulty breathing, well it can cause problems.

Indoor training, or making it a lighter day, can be a better choice in those situations.

Doing some sprint drills inside, or even an intense HIIT session can support your efforts. Especially if those efforts have to do with running.

Save the longer runs for days when the temperature is above 20 degrees. 

Living in Colorado has its benefits. One of them is that it may get cold, but the cold does not stay around long.

We have a couple of days of chilly weather, and then it warms up again.

Not great for headaches kicked off by sudden temp changes, but great for training.

Git’er Done

I do not mind training between 50 and 32 degrees F. It is easy to dress for and not so easy to get overheated.

Breathing does not get challenging because the air is not too cold coming in to your lunges.

If feels like you get an extra boost, because it is not pleasant to wander in, so moving with speed is a benefit.

It is also slightly more work for your body to stay warm. As I mentioned, more energy is burned just trying to keep your core heated correctly.

Colder months do not mean no outdoor time.

It just means you want to be mindful of what the temp is and what type of activity you are doing.

Get out there and enjoy the benefits of the colder months.

What is your favorite temperature to train in?

Indoors or out, have fun training today. Cheers!!

Yes, I want online training!