The first page of a fresh calendar year is symbolic of so many things in life. There are 365 blank squares before us, waiting to be filled. And before the pages get cluttered with school events and doctor's appointments, we have an opportunity to schedule something for ourselves first!
Our resolutions may be big or small, vague or deeply personal, but they all share one common fault: Without commitment and accountability they are just empty wishes, vanishing into the air. How are some people so successful in achieving their goals, while others never make it beyond posting their resolutions to Facebook?
I am not anti-resolution, but for some time I have taken up an issue with the inflated importance placed on the changes we wish to make... just once a year. In reality, it's winter, it's cold, and we are under the same time constraints with the same limited hours of daylight on January 2nd as we had on December 21st. It's easy to make really big plans for ourselves in the midst of winter break. But then we're thrown back into the mix, probably still feeling the effects of New Year's Eve, and wondering, "Wait, so just how am I going to do this?"
So while there is absolutely nothing wrong with making a New Year's Resolution, I want to help you re-think how you approach your goals. Because it's not enough to just say "I want to _____ in 2015," you need a plan with concrete steps to follow and complete at pre-determined intervals. It is the same approach I encourage clients to take when beginning or making a change to their workout routines, and can be implemented any time of year.
First came "The Baby Food" diet. Then, just "The Baby Diet". Both of these diets are rooted in one basic principle: The time and care we take to make sure our children eat balanced, nutritious meals needs to be spent on our own plates as well!
But if images of dull pureed lumps of vegetables make you turn as green as your child's peas, then fear not. Even if you have children that are still enjoying their meals from a food processor or a jar, you can feed everyone the same foods, just prepared in slightly different ways.
My "Whole Family" Diet is based on the idea that the family needs to eat together at least a few times a week, with the same foods on everyone's plate. When we take as much care to feed ourselves the same foods as our children, we eat healthier and take in more nutrients. When our children see that their plates are the same as ours, they are more likely to grow up with a more developed pallet and an appreciation for good foods, especially when they reach the age where they can help in the kitchen and take ownership of the food they prepare.
Bonus: All of these meals can be prepared in about 30 minutes!
My Top Five Holiday Survival Tips
It's that time of year again! We're running around trying to get everything done between work deadlines, holiday parties, and traveling to see everyone before the year is over. It feels like everywhere we turn there is another batch of cookies to bake or begging to be consumed. And no matter how deep a clean the house just received, it's mere minutes before it looks like it's been stampeded through by a herd of muddy elephants.
Take a deep breath. Everything is going to be OK.
I want to offer you my tried and true Holiday Survival Guide. Because even though I am a fitness professional, I too struggle to find even minutes to exercise some days. But here's the thing; even if I don't do everything I want to do, sometimes just carving out a few minutes for squats and push ups is all I need to stay on track with my own fitness. Here, I'll tell you how you can not only maintain your own routine, but set yourself up for success come January 1st!
1. Use your calendar to schedule your workouts. By booking yourself ahead of time, when you get that email or pop-up notification, you'll know it's time to tie up your shoes and hit the road or the gym. Even if it's just twenty minutes that you take at home in between morning appointments and picking the kids up from school, that's plenty of time to do several body weight exercises and keep the muscles engaged. That is far better than just giving up on sweating altogether from Thanksgiving through New Years Eve. Plan a small amount of activity for at least 3 days a week, and try to carve out one solid hour for yourself on the weekend. Take that hour to go to a yoga class, take a long walk in the woods, or sweat it out hardcore on the bike. Whatever suits you.
There are very few pieces of equipment that I have as strong of an attachment to as my dear BOSU. The shelves in sporting good stores or aisles are jam-packed with gidgets and gadgets that promise to expedite results if you use those items exclusively in your fitness routine. I chose to invest in a BOSU for my fitness "arsenal" because it allows for a variety of exercises for every ability while challenging the body in a way that guarantees improvement in strength and movement.
To be clear- this is not an advertisement. I am not being compensated in any way for professing my love of this beautiful blue half-dome. I just want my clients to know why we will be incorporating the BOSU into many aspects of your individualized fitness routines.
BOSU For the Brain
Proprioceptive awareness is the term we gym nerds use to refer to the brain's ability to know where the body is in space and what it is doing. To understand what I am talking about, stand on one foot. Now, stand on one foot and close your eyes (please do not stand near furniture with sharp corners or a stairwell). Did you fall over? Hopefully not! But you probably did lose your balance rather quickly. By doing exercises on the BOSU, we force the brain to communicate more with your working muscles, and your muscles to send faster signals back to the brain. We begin first with standing on both, then just one foot and gradually progressing to compound, multi-joint movements. The more the body and the brain talk to each other, the more efficient you will become in any exercise we do, increasing the effectiveness of each workout.