Posts Tagged ‘Healthy Inspirations Coffs Harbour’

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Italian Meatballs

March 15, 2018

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Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Pakistani Curry

February 16, 2017

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Coffs Coast Health Club eNews – December 2016

December 1, 2016

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REVEALED: Top Tips to Avoid The Christmas Bulge!
On average, Australians gain 0.8 – 1.5kg over Christmas time; and it’s not often easy to shift the excess weight once the New Year rolls around. So, what can you do to beat the Christmas bulge? Mid North Coast Physio’s Accredited Dietitian Katie Drury reveals her tips to eat healthy while still enjoying the Christmas festivities.What are some strategies that can be used to make Christmas eating healthier?
1. Don’t skip breakfast: Instead, opt for a filling and healthy breakfast to start the day off on the right food, and avoid over-eating when it gets to lunch and dinner time. For example, eggs on wholegrain toast, a wholegrain cereal, such as Weetbix with low-fat milk or fruit and yoghurt.
2. Stick to healthy plate portions: aim to have half your plate filled with non-starchy vegetables or salad vegetables (i.e. everything but potato, sweet potato and corn).
3. Avoid Boxing Day over-eating by freezing leftovers on Christmas Day in individual portions that can be defrosted when required.
4. Take time to appreciate the foods you are eating; put your fork down between bites and take notice of the flavour and texture of foods when you are eating.
5. Drinking alcohol can add to the merriment of the festive season, but you don’t need to drink in excess to be the life of the party. Aim to have at least two alcohol free days per week, and try not to have more than 2 alcoholic drinks per day.
6. Keep up your exercise over the holidays! Ask for a gym membership for Christmas and get outside on Christmas Day with the family for a game of backyard cricket or touch football between courses.

If you would like to find out more about how a Dietitian can help you, call 1300273747 to request a FREE pre-assessment appointment with Katie.  These appointments are strictly limited so call now to ensure you avoid the extra kilos this Christmas.

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2016 Members & Guests Christmas Party!
THANK YOU for joining us for an afternoon of fun, frivolity, good food and great company at our annual Members and Guests Christmas Party.  It was so good to celebrate the year that was and to socialise without the lycra and the sweat!  Thank you to the Greenhouse Tavern for the fabulous venue and yummy food and to Wicked Berries for the simply delicious cake and chocolate covered strawberries.There were a number of special awards presented at the lunch;
Toormina Member of the Year 2016 – Dianne Scanlan
Toormina Team Member of the Year 2016 – Andrea Giacopazzi
Toormina Most Visits for the Year – Brad Lanser
Moonee Member of the Year 2016 – Sarah Howard
Moonee Team Member of the Year 2016 – Megan Howard
Moonee Most Visits for the Year – Benjamin Hooke

We also celebrated the end of the Healthy Inspirations 12 Week Challenge.  There were lots of fabulous results and everyone who participated is well on their way to being a happier, healthier, fitter and stronger version of themselves.

Healthy Inspirations 12 Week Challenge Winner – Scott Pearson.  Scott lost 21.8kg, 51.5cm and 7.4% body fat.  He won a photography session with Lisa Fahey Photography complete with a makeover from Kaboodle Body and Beauty and Sa-Lance Salon.

Healthy Inspirations 12 Week Challenge Runner Up – Paul Johnson.  Paul lost 14.6kg, 44cm and 6.6% body fat.  He won a pamper package from Skinfit

Healthy Inspirations 12 Week Challenge 2nd Runner Up – Carlee Hardaker. Carlee lost 11.3kg, 46cm and 4.8% body fat.  She won a pamper package from Skinfit

A huge congratulations to all our winners, please give them your best wishes when you next see them in the club!

Find the photos here on Facebook…

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JOIN NOW & PAY NOTHING TIL 2017!
If you or anyone you know joins Coffs Coast Health Club before the end of December they will PAY NOTHING UNTIL 2017! That means no joining fee & also no membership payments until the 5th of January SAVING OVER $200!We know it can be hard to motivate yourself to exercise during party season but it’s a hell of a lot easier if you’re doing it with someone. Training buddies can help keep you accountable, motivate you, keep you on track & provide a social relief when working out. If there is ever a time to keep up your training, burn those excess party calories or start on a new workout regime its NOW! Refer a friend that joins and you will receive 2 weeks FREE on your membership.

The offer is only valid to the first 50 people that join on any 12 month pay as you go membership, so move fast… Share, message or forward the offer to all your friends & help them pull through the holiday season in great shape.

Call 6658 6222, or email tori@coffscoasthc.com.au for TOORMINA
Call 6653 6122, or email lee@coffscoasthc.com.au for MOONEE

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New Music & New Moves – Latest Les Mills Launches!

We will be bringing all the latest moves and music to your favourite Les Mills classes this month when we celebrate the new releases.  Launch classes are always great FUN and they are team taught by our dedicated and enthusiastic instructors.

As this quarter sees the launch of PUMP #100 there is actually going to be a GLOBAL launch of this class on Saturday the 14th of January (pop that one in your diary) so for our Super Saturday and Monday Madness we will showcase ‘the best of the best’ of past releases to get you ready for the BIG 100!  All the other Les Mills classes will feature the LATEST release.

Super Saturday at Toormina – Saturday 17th December
7.30am PUMP
8.30am ATTACK
8.30am RPM
9.30am BALANCE

Monday Madness at Moonee – Monday 19th December
6.00am PUMP
9.30am BALANCE
5.30pm ATTACK

The theme for this launch is CHRISTMAS!! So throw on your fabulous Christmas gear, bring your friends, get into the Christmas Spirit and you might just win a PRIZE!

 

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The Original Member Privileges Business List!

What is your favourite business on the Coffs Coast? Do you own a business and would like to get some free advertising? Do you work in a business that you think could benefit our members? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you time to act is NOW!

The Coffs Coast Health Club Member Privileges List compiles a list of Coffs Coast businesses that create an offer or discount specifically for our members. The business wins because they get more clients and our members win because they save money. Its how business should be done… Shop local!

To be included in the 2017 Edition please contact:
Tori 66586222 tori@coffscoasthc.com.au or Lee 66536122 lee@coffscoasthc.com.au

 

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You Ask and We Deliver!

We love hearing your feedback, listening to your fabulous ideas and getting your requests.  In answer to many of your requests Santa has come early at Coffs Coast Health Club! 

You will be excited to know that we have just installed a massive air conditioning unit in the group exercise studio at Moonee.  The room is a bit smaller & doesn’t have the natural airflow of Toormina’s main studio, so this has been the number one request from Moonee since last Summer.  The feedback so far has been very positive, so it might be time for you to head on in and see what all the fuss is about.

In the last two weeks we have also purchased new kettlebells, slam balls, aerobic steps, tricep ropes, an olympic swiss bar and resistance bands. We have also ordered a couple of free wheel bikes as an extra warm up or circuit class option for both clubs.

A common request from our 50+ classes has been a circuit timer with variable timings and a large display, so we have just received one each for the Main Studio at Toormina and one is in the Studio at Moonee. Enjoy!

 

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Specialised Pilates Sessions at Toormina!
Coffs Coast Pilates sessions are designed to build strength, flexibility and lean muscle tone with an emphasis on lengthening the body and aligning the spine.  The sessions only involve a small number of participants and are designed for there to be interaction with the instructor and personalised attention.These Sessions are on Wednesday mornings at 9.30am upstairs in the Circuit Studio.  The sessions are only $15 each and bookings are essential through reception on 6658 6222 as places are limited.  Wear comfortable clothing and please bring a mat, drink & towel along with you.

 

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Monster Christmas Merchandise Sale!

All clothing and specially marked accessories are now discounted by 10%-60%. That means bargains starting at just $10 in both clubs!

BSC Limited Edition VIPER COLLECTION Compression Tights!
Handcrafted from High Performance Compression Fabric, in a luxe ‘Snake Skin’ pattern, these tights will create a flattering look for any body type.

All Coffs Coast Health Club Merchandise is also heavily discounted. Tshirts, Singlets, Hoodies, Hats, Bags and more so come down today and pick up a bargain! We have something for everyone.

 

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Help Us Help Our Communities Less Fortunate!

Every year we collect for worthwhile charities and this year is no different. The club spirit we have is immense and those in need benefit from all of our combined generosity. We have two ways this year to help…

Share The Dignity:
‘It’s in the bag’ campaign asks that we donate a handbag you no longer use, fill it with items that would make a woman feel special and even pop a thoughtful note into the bag to show her that someone cares and that she matters. Drop your bag to reception at Coffs Coast Health Club Toormina or Moonee, whichever is most convenient. All donations need to be in by 3rd Dec.

REAP:
REAP Coffs Harbour is a passionate and lively group of volunteers who collect food for disadvantaged local residents who are ‘doing it tough.’ Drop your items to reception at Coffs Coast Health Club Toormina or Moonee, whichever is most convenient. All donations need to be in by 17th Dec.

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Grab Your Diary!

Need some extra motivation, a new goal to aim for or just to hang out with your crew? Why not join your trainers, instructors and fellow members at one of the following events this month… We’d love to see you there…

1st December      – 50+ Members Class Christmas Party – Sawtell Golf Club 12noon, Book at reception
7th December      – 50+ RSL Class Christmas Party – Sawtell RSL Club 12noon
7th December      – Birch Carol & Coyle – Chicks at the Flicks – Lion 6.30pm
8th December      – Sawtell Summer Sessions

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Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week-Herb & Avocado Omelette

November 3, 2016

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Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Lasagne Meatloaf

October 20, 2016

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Stop and Smell the Roses by Glen Barnett

October 18, 2016

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 Someone said to me the other day that ageing is unimportant unless you are a cheese. This person was 70 had a lovely weathered face and a life behind them that was filled with achievements, experiences, adventures and many different pathways.  Just like most people their age.  So why do I think ageing sucks – because I don’t want this life to ever end.

Yes, I know I could drop dead tomorrow but as you age there is that awareness that you are heading closer to the exit sign than you were a few years ago.

How fantastic is life. That is not a question it is a statement. There are so many wonderful things to explore, enjoy and experience.  Now that exploration and those experiences may not always be enjoyable but they do allow us to gather the knowledge and insight to so much more than we started out with.

Next time you go out and about take a moment or more to look, feel and listen.  Look at life around you. Close your eyes and feel life around you. Open your ears and hear life around you. Even draw your breath in and smell life around you.  Get saturated in life. Sometimes this experience will be overwhelming to all your senses. Other times you may feel one sense is more enlightened than another.  This is a simple process that we don’t often pursue because we are too busy, to rushed or to blinked in our pursuits.

We all have favourite things to do that bring contentment to us or put a smile on our faces.   Watching children play, listening to favourite music, singing loudly in the shower or car, smelling the flowers at the florist, browsing through your favourite magazine at the newsagent even doing something crazy like when your money comes out of the ATM shout “I Won, I Won”.

Everyday indulge in one of these but don’t see this indulgent time as a treat, because it is your right. Your right to stop and smell the roses and fully enjoy, experience and explore every minute of your fantastic life.

For any other crazy ideas on how to live life to the fullest, call Glen Barnett at Coffs Coast Health Club on 66586222.

 

 

 

 

 

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Kale Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing

September 22, 2016

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Image from www.eatingbirdfood.com

A neuroscience researcher reveals 4 rituals that will make you happier

September 19, 2016

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You get all kinds of happiness advice on the internet from people who don’t know what they’re talking about. Don’t trust them.

Actually, don’t trust me either. Trust neuroscientists. They study that gray blob in your head all day and have learned a lot about what truly will make you happy.

UCLA neuroscience researcher Alex Korb has some insights that can create an upward spiral of happiness in your life.

Here’s what you and I can learn from the people who really have answers:

1. The most important question to ask when you feel down

Sometimes it doesn’t feel like your brain wants you to be happy. You may feel guilty or shameful. Why?

Believe it or not, guilt and shame activate the brain’s reward center.

Despite their differences, pride, shame, and guilt all activate similar neural circuits, including the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, amygdala, insula, and the nucleus accumbens. Interestingly, pride is the most powerful of these emotions at triggering activity in these regions — except in the nucleus accumbens, where guilt and shame win out. This explains why it can be so appealing to heap guilt and shame on ourselves — they’re activating the brain’s reward center.

And you worry a lot, too. Why? In the short term, worrying makes your brain feel a little better — at least you’re doing something about your problems.

In fact, worrying can help calm the limbic system by increasing activity in the medial prefrontal cortex and decreasing activity in the amygdala. That might seem counterintuitive, but it just goes to show that if you’re feeling anxiety, doing something about it — even worrying — is better than doing nothing.

But guilt, shame, and worry are horrible, long-term solutions. So what do neuroscientists say you should do? Ask yourself this question:

What am I grateful for?

Yeah, gratitude is awesome … but does it really affect your brain at the biological level? Yup.

You know what the antidepressant Wellbutrin does? Boosts the neurotransmitter dopamine. So does gratitude.

The benefits of gratitude start with the dopamine system, because feeling grateful activates the brain stem region that produces dopamine. Additionally, gratitude toward others increases activity in social dopamine circuits, which makes social interactions more enjoyable …

Know what Prozac does? Boosts the neurotransmitter serotonin. So does gratitude.

One powerful effect of gratitude is that it can boost serotonin. Trying to think of things you are grateful for forces you to focus on the positive aspects of your life. This simple act increases serotonin production in the anterior cingulate cortex.

I know, sometimes life lands a really mean punch in the gut and it feels like there’s nothing to be grateful for. Guess what?

Doesn’t matter. You don’t have to find anything. It’s the searching that counts.

It’s not finding gratitude that matters most; it’s remembering to look in the first place. Remembering to be grateful is a form of emotional intelligence. One study found that it actually affected neuron density in both the ventromedial and lateral prefrontal cortex. These density changes suggest that as emotional intelligence increases, the neurons in these areas become more efficient. With higher emotional intelligence, it simply takes less effort to be grateful.

And gratitude doesn’t just make your brain happy — it can also create a positive feedback loop in your relationships. So express that gratitude to the people you care about.

For more on how gratitude can make you happier and more successful, click here.

But what happens when bad feelings completely overtake you? When you’re really in the dumps and don’t even know how to deal with it? There’s an easy answer …

2. Label negative feelings

You feel awful. OK, give that awfulness a name. Sad? Anxious? Angry?

Boom. It’s that simple. Sound stupid? Your noggin disagrees.

[I]n one fMRI study, appropriately titled “Putting Feelings into Words” participants viewed pictures of people with emotional facial expressions. Predictably, each participant’s amygdala activated to the emotions in the picture. But when they were asked to name the emotion, the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex activated and reduced the emotional amygdala reactivity. In other words, consciously recognizing the emotions reduced their impact.

Suppressing emotions doesn’t work and can backfire on you.

Via Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long:

Gross found that people who tried to suppress a negative emotional experience failed to do so. While they thought they looked fine outwardly, inwardly their limbic system was just as aroused as without suppression, and in some cases, even more aroused. Kevin Ochsner, at Columbia, repeated these findings using an fMRI. Trying not to feel something doesn’t work, and in some cases even backfires.

But labeling, on the other hand, makes a big difference.

Via Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long:

To reduce arousal, you need to use just a few words to describe an emotion, and ideally use symbolic language, which means using indirect metaphors, metrics, and simplifications of your experience. This requires you to activate your prefrontal cortex, which reduces the arousal in the limbic system. Here’s the bottom line: describe an emotion in just a word or two, and it helps reduce the emotion.

Ancient methods were way ahead of us on this one. Meditation has employed this for centuries. Labeling is a fundamental tool of mindfulness.

In fact, labeling affects the brain so powerfully it works with other people, too. Labeling emotions is one of the primary tools used by FBI hostage negotiators.

To learn more of the secrets of FBI hostage negotiators, click here.

Okay, hopefully you’re not reading this and labeling your current emotional state as bored. Maybe you’re not feeling awful but you probably have things going on in your life that are causing you some stress. Here’s a simple way to beat them.

3. Make that decision

Ever make a decision and then your brain finally feels at rest? That’s no random occurrence.

Brain science shows that making decisions reduces worry and anxiety — as well as helping you solve problems.

Making decisions includes creating intentions and setting goals — all three are part of the same neural circuitry and engage the prefrontal cortex in a positive way, reducing worry and anxiety. Making decisions also helps overcome striatum activity, which usually pulls you toward negative impulses and routines. Finally, making decisions changes your perception of the world — finding solutions to your problems and calming the limbic system.

But deciding can be hard. I agree. So what kind of decisions should you make? Neuroscience has an answer.

Make a “good enough” decision. Don’t sweat making the absolute 100% best decision. We all know being a perfectionist can be stressful. And brain studies back this up.

Trying to be perfect overwhelms your brain with emotions and makes you feel out of control.

Trying for the best, instead of good enough, brings too much emotional ventromedial prefrontal activity into the decision-making process. In contrast, recognizing that good enough is good enough activates more dorsolateral prefrontal areas, which helps you feel more in control …

As Swarthmore professor Barry Schwartz said in my interview with him: “Good enough is almost always good enough.”

So when you make a decision, your brain feels you have control. And, as I’ve talked about before, a feeling of control reduces stress. But here’s what’s really fascinating: Deciding also boosts pleasure.

Actively choosing caused changes in attention circuits and in how the participants felt about the action, and it increased rewarding dopamine activity.

Want proof? No problem. Let’s talk about cocaine.

You give two rats injections of cocaine. Rat A had to pull a lever first. Rat B didn’t have to do anything. Any difference? Yup: Rat A gets a bigger boost of dopamine.

So they both got the same injections of cocaine at the same time, but rat A had to actively press the lever, and rat B didn’t have to do anything. And you guessed it — rat A released more dopamine in its nucleus accumbens.

So what’s the lesson here? Next time you buy cocaine … whoops, wrong lesson. Point is, when you make a decision on a goal and then achieve it, you feel better than when good stuff just happens by chance.

And this answers the eternal mystery of why dragging your butt to the gym can be so hard.

If you go because you feel you have to or you should, well, it’s not really a voluntary decision. Your brain doesn’t get the pleasure boost. It just feels stress. And that’s no way to build a good exercise habit.

Interestingly, if they are forced to exercise, they don’t get the same benefits, because without choice, the exercise itself is a source of stress.

So make more decisions. Neuroscience researcher Alex Korb sums it up nicely:

We don’t just choose the things we like; we also like the things we choose.

To learn what neuroscientists say is the best way to use caffeine, click here.

OK, you’re being grateful, labeling negative emotions and making more decisions. Great, but this is feeling kinda lonely for a happiness prescription. Let’s get some other people in here.

What’s something you can do with others that neuroscience says is a path to mucho happiness? And something that’s stupidly simple so you don’t get lazy and skip it? Brain docs have an answer for you.

4. Touch people

No, not indiscriminately; that can get you in a lot of trouble.

But we need to feel love and acceptance from others. When we don’t it’s painful. And I don’t mean “awkward” or “disappointing.” I mean actually painful.

Neuroscientists did a study where people played a ball-tossing video game. The other players tossed the ball to you and you tossed it back to them. Actually, there were no other players; that was all done by the computer program.

But the subjects were told the characters were controlled by real people. So what happened when the “other players” stopped playing nice and didn’t share the ball?

Subjects’ brains responded the same way as if they experienced physical pain. Rejection doesn’t just hurt like a broken heart; your brain feels it like a broken leg.

In fact, as demonstrated in an fMRI experiment, social exclusion activates the same circuitry as physical pain … at one point they stopped sharing, only throwing back and forth to each other, ignoring the participant. This small change was enough to elicit feelings of social exclusion, and it activated the anterior cingulate and insula, just like physical pain would.

Relationships are important to your brain’s feeling of happiness. Want to take that to the next level? Touch people.

One of the primary ways to release oxytocin is through touching. Obviously, it’s not always appropriate to touch most people, but small touches like handshakes and pats on the back are usually okay. For people you’re close with, make more of an effort to touch more often.

Touching is incredibly powerful. We just don’t give it enough credit. It makes you more persuasive, increases team performance, improves your flirting … heck, it even boosts math skills.

Touching someone you love actually reduces pain. In fact, when studies were done on married couples, the stronger the marriage, the more powerful the effect.

In addition, holding hands with someone can help comfort you and your brain through painful situations. One fMRI study scanned married women as they were warned that they were about to get a small electric shock. While anticipating the painful shocks, the brain showed a predictable pattern of response in pain and worrying circuits, with activation in the insula, anterior cingulate, and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. During a separate scan, the women either held their husbands’ hands or the hand of the experimenter. When a subject held her husband’s hand, the threat of shock had a smaller effect. The brain showed reduced activation in both the anterior cingulate cortex and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex — that is, less activity in the pain and worrying circuits. In addition, the stronger the marriage, the lower the discomfort-related insula activity.

So hug someone today. And do not accept little, quick hugs. No, no, no. Tell them your neuroscientist recommended long hugs.

A hug, especially a long one, releases a neurotransmitter and hormone oxytocin, which reduces the reactivity of the amygdala.

Research shows getting five hugs a day for four weeks increases happiness big time.

Don’t have anyone to hug right now? No? (I’m sorry to hear that. I would give you a hug right now if I could.) But there’s an answer: Neuroscience says you should go get a massage.

The results are fairly clear that massage boosts your serotonin by as much as 30 percent. Massage also decreases stress hormones and raises dopamine levels, which helps you create new good habits … Massage reduces pain because the oxytocin system activates painkilling endorphins. Massage also improves sleep and reduces fatigue by increasing serotonin and dopamine and decreasing the stress hormone cortisol.

So spend time with other people and give some hugs. Sorry, texting is not enough.

When you put people in a stressful situation and then let them visit loved ones or talk to them on the phone, they felt better. What about when they just texted? Their bodies responded the same as if they had no support at all.

[T]he text-message group had cortisol and oxytocin levels similar to the no-contact group.

Author’s note: I totally approve of texting if you make a hug appointment.

To learn what neuroscience says is the best way to get smarter and happier, click here.

OK, I don’t want to strain your brain with too much info. Let’s round it up and learn the quickest and easiest way to start that upward spiral of neuroscience-inspired happiness.

Sum up

Here’s what brain research says will make you happy:

  • Ask “What am I grateful for?” No answers? Doesn’t matter. Just searching helps.
  • Label those negative emotions. Give it a name and your brain isn’t so bothered by it.
  • Decide. Go for “good enough” instead of ‘best decision ever made on Earth.”
  • Hugs, hugs, hugs. Don’t text — touch.

So what’s the simple way to start that upward spiral of happiness?

Just send someone a thank-you email. If you feel awkward about it, you can send them this post to tell them why.

This really can start an upward spiral of happiness in your life. UCLA neuroscience researcher Alex Korb explains:

Everything is interconnected. Gratitude improves sleep. Sleep reduces pain. Reduced pain improves your mood. Improved mood reduces anxiety, which improves focus and planning. Focus and planning help with decision making. Decision making further reduces anxiety and improves enjoyment. Enjoyment gives you more to be grateful for, which keeps that loop of the upward spiral going. Enjoyment also makes it more likely you’ll exercise and be social, which, in turn, will make you happier.

So thank you for reading this.

And send that thank-you email now to make you and someone you care about happy.

 

Article sourced here: http://www.businessinsider.com/a-neuroscience-researcher-reveals-4-rituals-that-will-make-you-a-happier-person-2015-9?IR=T

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Salmon & Avocado Sauce

September 15, 2016

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20 Ways to Spring Into Your Fitness Routine

September 11, 2016

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As we head into spring cleaning season, most of us are focused on purging closets and organizing junk drawers, but this time of renewal can be about more than just conquering clutter and defeating dust bunnies. Spring is also a great time to step back and reassess other areas of your life—like your health and fitness routine. Read on for 20 ways to “re-spark” your motivation and fast-track your results.

1. Start from the ground up. Have your shoes reached the end of the road? Athletic footwear could be the single most important piece of workout gear, especially for runners and walkers. The decision to replace your shoes depends on a variety of factors, including mileage, preliminary pain, sole compression and odor. When the time comes, visit a specialty store where you can get a professional fitting. You might even consider investing in a couple of different pairs—a study by the Sports Medicine Research Laboratory showed that runners who switched athletic shoes throughout the week experienced 39 percent fewer injuries than those who stuck to the same pair.

2. Make sure you’re in good company. Finding a workout buddy significantly boosts weight loss success rates, but compatibility is key. If you already have an exercise partner or are part of a fitness group, take the time to evaluate what you’re getting out of it. Are you leaving sessions feeling like you’ve done more socializing than sweating—or, conversely, are grueling workouts causing excessive pain or strain? If so, it may be time to seek out a partner whose goals are more aligned with yours.

3. Set a schedule. Are sporadic workouts keeping your goals out of reach? Consistency is essential to success. Create a workout schedule and post it wherever you’re most likely to see it, whether that’s your fridge, a bathroom mirror or your phone’s calendar. Treat daily exercise like a requirement rather than an option.

4. Get a physical. Eighty percent of people don’t get regular well checks. Even if you don’t have any overt health issues, it’s a good idea to schedule a physical to ensure that your blood pressure and cholesterol are within healthy ranges, and to gauge your risk of any future medical issues.

5. Take it outside. Now that the weather has given way to sunshine & flowers, it’s the perfect time to move your exercise routine from the gym or living room into the great outdoors. Trade the treadmill for the sidewalk or the stationary bike for the real thing. There are countless ways to combine the benefits of being outside with exercise, such as taking your yoga mat to the park, introducing your dog to jogging or joining in a game of tag with the kids.

6. Do a skin check. While it’s smart to wear sunscreen year-round, it’s especially important in spring and summer, when you’ll be spending more time outside in direct sunlight. If you haven’t visited a dermatologist yet this year—or if you’ve noticed any new moles, marks or blemishes— make an appointment for a skin health check.

7. Try a new fitness class. Bust out of the winter doldrums by stepping outside of your comfort zone and trying a new group fitness class. Boutique fitness studios are popping up all over the country, providing a more intimate and personalized alternative to traditional gyms.

8. Dress for success. Fashion fitness is more popular than ever, and for good reason: A 2012 study explored the concept of “enclothed cognition,” which is when certain clothing causes people to think and behave differently. By investing in flattering, high-quality exercise apparel, you’ll be more likely to show up for workouts and push yourself harder. Inspect your current gym wear and ditch any worn, ill-fitting garments. Sports bras should be replaced every three to 12 months. And you don’t have to spend a fortune: Check out our tips on building a workout wardrobe on a budget.

9. Refresh your tunes. If you’ve been working out to the same playlist all winter, mix it up with some fresh spring songs. Effective exercise music can significantly enhance motivation and results. Check out our tips on how to create the perfect workout playlist.

10. Ditch activities you dread. Although workouts should sometimes be challenging, they should ultimately bring you joy. If you find yourself constantly watching the clock during spin class or feeling miserable during every mile of your run, it may be time to seek out a new activity. When you enjoy your workouts, you’ll be much less likely to skip them and will get more out of each session.

11. Stick it to the scale. If the movement (or lack thereof) of the numbers on the scale have you stressing, find alternate ways to measure your progress. For example, you can try on clothes to see if they fit differently, or use measuring tape to determine how many inches you’ve lost. After all, weight loss is not always the biggest indicator of fitness improvements.

12. Update your social stream. Social media can be a wellspring of positivity and inspiration. Keep the great ideas flowing by seeking out fresh sources of health and fitness motivation. In addition to our own Instagram and Facebook pages, we also like these 10 motivational Twitter feeds.

13. Show unhealthy snacks the door. When you’ve finished purging the closets, head to the pantry and fridge. Clear out any sugary sweets or high-fat, high-calorie snacks that add little to no nutritional value. Replace them with fresh fruits, veggies, nuts, dried fruits and other healthy snacks.

14. Bring Pinterest to life. Create a fitness bulletin board where you can pin “before” photos of yourself, inspiring pictures from magazines, your bib numbers from races, printouts of inspiring emails or message boards, or anything that gets you energized and excited about fitness.

15. Try a new workout tool. If you’ve been eyeing an abs machine or punching bag at the gym all winter, spring is the perfect time to take the plunge and try it out. Either watch other people and mimic their movements, or ask a personal trainer for a demo.

16. Plan a weekly menu. After you’ve purged the high-calorie culprits from your kitchen, sit down and plan a weekly menu of nutritious meals. Start by listing the healthy ingredients you already have and planning meals around those, then make a shopping list for the rest. Meal planning is essential to more efficient grocery trips and avoidance of unhealthy takeout.

17. Register for a race. Find a spring or summer 5K and recruit a friend to run or walk it with you. Setting a concrete goal will help boost your motivation, and it’s also a great way to meet other fitness-minded people. Plus, many local races support charities, so you’ll be doing good while checking an item off your bucket list.

18. Ditch the distractions. If you always read a magazine on the elliptical or scroll through your phone as you walk, make spring the season that you set these time-suckers aside. Without distractions, you can focus on more mindful exercise.

19. Ramp up the intensity. Break through a fitness plateau by boosting your workouts to the next level. If you typically run at a 10-minute pace, sprinkle in some fartleks (speed play) throughout. Instead of lifting the same light weights at high reps, try going heavier for slower, fewer reps. If you’ve always been a walker, sprinkle in some short jogging stretches. Look for any opportunity to stretch out of your comfort zone and make your routines more challenging.

20. Rest and rejuvenate. Just as it’s important to schedule exercise, rest and recovery should be part of your fitness routine. Take the time to reward and pamper yourself between workouts, whether it’s by taking a slow walk through the park, getting a massage or pedicure or spending an afternoon gardening.

Which of these have you already completed? What other suggestions do you have for refreshing your health and fitness routine for spring?

By Melissa Rudy, Health & Fitness Journalist
Sourced here: http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness_articles.asp?id=2095