Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Finding Motivation

Acapulco group that I recruited to train with me all week at a waterski getaway (Ski Paradise). It's always more fun to work out with a group!
We all have had days (or weeks) when "jumping" into our workouts turn into more of a sluggish roll. Days (or weeks) where putting our sneakers on for a workout seems almost an impossible task. Days (or weeks) where we're completely and utterly unmotivated to exert a whole heck of a lot of energy.

First of all, it's okay. But at the same time you have to find the root of the fatigue and/or lack of motivation. There are several things that it can be...but below are the most common reasons.

1 - Overtrained - if you've been busting your butt for awhile and not taken time off to rest, your body will rebel and tell you that it can't go anymore by being tired, weak, and unmotivated.

2 - Lack of Nutrients - if you're not fueling your body correctly it won't run like it needs to. Think of putting sugar in your gas tank. Your car will run for a bit, but not with nearly as much "gusto" as it would with proper fueling.

3- Lack of Sleep - the human body needs AT LEAST 7 hours of sleep/night to function properly. This is consistent sleep, not 5 hours and then a 2 hour nap. Research shows that less than this, our organs start to not function as well leaving our body working harder than it needs to just to keep going.

4 - Boredom - just like our brains get bored doing the same thing over and over, our bodies get bored too. If you've been doing the same workout routine for 2 weeks or more, it's time to switch it up. The only time I do the same workout is for measurable testing purposes.

So, now the question is, how do we get over this unmotivated bump in the road? Below are a few simple ways to help regain motivation and determination to get back into a habit of taking care of your body.

1 - If you're feeling burnt out or overtrained, take a week OFF. Totally off. Maybe go for some walks or a hike but don't have anything scheduled. If you've been taking time off then follow some of the other steps below.

2 - Make sure you're getting a lot of water, lean protein (meat and eggs), vegetables, some fruit and healthy fat to energize your body. Look at the last post to see what is good for post workout recovery (protein and low glycemic carbs).

3 - Give yourself a bedtime that will allow AT LEAST 7 solid hours of sleep. Make it just like another appointment in your day. Be in bed by that time.

4 - Have a plan. Go into a workout with a plan. Go into the week with a plan. Making sure that you're getting a lot of variety in your workouts. Change the sets and reps. One day can be 3x20 of everything. One day can be do a circuit as many times through as you can in 30 min. One day can be run a 5K as fast as you can for time. Vary the exercises you're doing from jump rope, to olympic lifts, to gymnastics, to plyometrics, to yoga. Keep it ever changing and fun!

There are also some little things you can do...
- Get a workout partner to help hold you accountable, it's always more fun to do things with friends.
- Get a few new workout outfits or new shoes. You'll want to wear them so that will get you to the gym.
- Get a trainer. Hire someone to get you started, to get you back on track, to give you an individually designed workout.

So, if you're feeling like you want to throw in the towel with health and fitness, DON'T! Assess what's happening in your life to find the root of the problem and then follow suggestions above to find what works for you to get you back on track!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Fruit...good or bad?

We are always told to get lots of fruits and veggies. Well that should be to get lots of veggies and some fruit. But, why not a lot of fruit???

Fruit is higher in sugar than veggies. That means that the insulin response is more pronounced when consuming the higher glycemic foods. Not all fruit is created equal though...below is a list of common fruit and their placement on the glycemic idex.

Dates - 103
Watermelon - 72
Pineapple - 66
Cantaloupe - 65
Raisins - 64
Pear - 58
Papaya - 58
Apricots - 57
Banana - 56
Mango - 55
Kiwi - 52
Grapes - 46
Orange - 43
Peach - 42
Blueberries - 40
Plums - 39
Apple - 38
Grapefruit - 25
Cherries - 22
Prunes - 15

This list gives you an idea of what fruit is better than others. It's a good rule of thumb to stay with the fruit below 50 on the glycemic index. Because of the high sugar in fruit, it's best to have it after a workout because that is when our body can most use that sugar.

Now, with all that said, it's not just about the Glycemic Index rating for the fruit. When consumed fruit replenished the glycogen stores in our liver. When our liver glycogen stores are back up to where they need to be, any excess glycogen turns into triglycerides. So, this isn't exactly where we want to focus on replenishing these stores. We want to get our muscle glycogen back up after a workout. Eating sweet potatoes, yams, and squash will do this for us. These are all good sources of low glycemic carbs, but they also replenish the glycogen in our muscles that we have depleted during a workout.

I am not trying to tell you not to eat fruit, but I am telling you to eat it in moderation and to make sure you're eating it at the right time of the day (post workout is best). If you have a goal to lean out and have been eating very healthy, cutting out fruit will help you reach that goal. Focus on getting more veggies in your diet and for your more "starchy" carbs go for yams or squash.