Thursday, December 15, 2011

Beware of Perfectionism

What is Perfectionism? 

The irrational belief that you and/or your environment must be perfect.
Striving to be the best, to reach the ideal, and to never make a mistake.
A habit developed from youth that keeps you constantly alert to the imperfections, failings, and weakness in yourself and others.
A level of consciousness that keeps you ever vigilant to any deviation from the
norm, the guidelines, or the way things are “suppose to be”
The belief that no matter what you attempt it is never “good enough” to meet
your own or others expectations.

Irrational beliefs that contribute to perfectionism

Everything in life must be done to your level of perfection, which is often higher than anyone else's.
Its unacceptable to make a mistake.
I have no value in life unless I am successful.
You must always strive to reach the ideal in everything you do because it is in the achievement of the ideal that you give meaning to your life.
Don’t ever let anyone know what goal you’re working on, that way they won’t consider you a failure if you don’t reach it.

Some negative consequences of perfectionism

Low self-esteem
Compulsive behavior
Lack of motivation
Lack of belief in self

To overcome perfectionism we need to:

Accept ourselves as a human beings.
Forgive ourselves for mistakes or failings.
Accept that “ideal” is only a guideline/goal to be worked toward not to be achieved 100%.
Develop a sense of patience, and reduce the need to “get it done yesterday”.
Be easier on oneself; setting unrealistic goals or deadlines sets you up for failure.
Accept yourself the way you are; let go of the ideas of how you “should be”.
Reward yourself for your progress, even when progress is slight.
Realize the most important thing is to be going in a positive direction.
Love yourself, believe you deserve good things.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


IT'S HERE!!! Time to decide and put together a fitness plan for January 2nd, 2012 through to the end of March. Very excited to pickup the parcel and start reviewing the changes in P90X2! BRING IT!!

Check out the video of Tony and the first copy hand delivered!  Ok, I'm getting just a little excited now!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

My Experience with Team BeachBody Customer Service

I want to share my experience with the folks over at Team BeachBody customer service.  Whether you have a great, good or bad experience, people tell someone else so they know what to expect when they are considering who they are dealing with.  Word of mouth is extremely powerful and can change the course of a company's success or failure.  And so after having dealt with a situation, I would like to pass along my observations and recommendations.

I am currently enrolled in a monthly supply of a product from Team BeachBody called Shakeology since the beginning of September.  In my opinion and the professional opinion of dozens of doctors and thousands upon thousands of other customers, Shakeology provides amazing health benefits.  My first full month of using it I experienced the benefits made in the claims the company advertises.  I blogged a post back in September about how Shakeology Acts like a salad and tastes like a dessert.

My plan was to use the shake to replace my whey isolate protein powder and the multi-vitamin/mineral supplements I've been taking as part of my healthy diet, with no extra out of pocket expense.  Only there's been a HUGE problem.  I've not been able to drink Shakeology for over a month!  Reason being I haven't received my 30 day auto shipment to my new home address in British Columbia.  In the beginning of October I called and notified Team Beachbody of a new shipping address, but it was already too late.  They'd already sent my second shipment to my previous address.  However, customer service said they'd simply mail me a package to my new address and the residents at the old address could simply return it to sender.  Sounds like a simple thing doesn't it.  Well, the package was promptly returned in the postal mail while I awaited the shipment of Shakeology to arrive at my new address.  Only it never came.  The weeks have gone by and I'm still waiting.  I thought well maybe it got lost in the mail system, or the Canada Post system is really slow, or maybe it got hung up in customs.  Who knows.  Last week I sent an email to Team Beachbody.

 Customer By Web Form (David van der Leek)11/03/2011 06:17 PM It has been weeks since I talked to a representative at beachbdoy to have my shakeology order sent to my new address and still my order hasn't arrived. Please confirm the order was shipped.  The previous auto ship order that was sent to my address in Alberta was received and immediately returned to Beachbody.  It is extremely disappointing and frustrating to have such a lengthy delay in having the product shipped and received to my address in BC. Please contact me ASAP to confirm delivery of the shakeology auto order. I hope that this is not typical of the kind of experience customers have with shipping to Canada. I may have to reconsider the use of the product if I cannot receive it in a timely manner.

So fast forward four days later and this morning I received this response from Customer Service.  Someone didn't use a spell checker before sending out the response below.  LOL

 Response Via Email (Valeria Dominguez)11/07/2011 08:36 AM Hello David:

Thank you for contacting Team Beachbody!

We Apologize for the delay in your order. This was an error on our nehald we had the incorrect postal code, so your order never was shipped out. We have corrected the postal code and have send it to the correct address today at 7:35 AM as of yet we do not have a tracking number, as soon as we do we will email you the information. We appreciate your patience and understanding in this matter, please accept a box of protein bars as an apology for our error. Here is the order number for the bars 10792398 This order was shipped out to: my new address

For any questions or concerns please contact us via email at or toll free at 800 240 0913

We wish you are having a healthy day!

Well, that was a very nice gesture wasn't it?  It did raise a couple of concerns.  First, the order for the October auto shipment to my new address was NEVER shipped.  Why?  Because they didn't have the correct postal code. difficult would it have been to email me and ask for it, or pickup the phone and call?  Never happened.  Second, I've never ordered any other consumable products from Team Beachbody and wasn't particularly interested in the Protein Bars.  No one called or emailed to say, "hey we made a mistake on your postal code and need the correct one.  In return, we would love to be able to send you some extra product as a way to say thanks for your continued support as a good customer.  Would you like to try some Protein Bars or would you prefer something else?"

Hey, I'm really not trying to be difficult or a pain in the backside.  So I picked up the phone this morning before going to work and called Customer Service.  A nice voice answered after a brief number of rings.  For the life of me I don't know what the heck she said after she rattled off her robot greeting.  I actually thought for a moment I had reached an answer machine!  LOL  Anyways, as soon as I realized I had a live person on the other end I explained the situation.  I said I wasn't interested in any products other than the Shakeology and asked to have the goodwill of Protein Bars removed from the order and replaced with a bag of Shakeology instead.  She was very quick to reply that it wasn't possible to substitute.

When I mentioned how even though I'm not an official BeachBody coach because I live in Canada,  I do have a strong following of friends on Facebook and here at my Blog, where people will be interested to learn about my experience with the product and with Customer Service.  I expressed again my desire to have an additional bag of Shakeology instead of the Protein Bars.  Customer Service put me on hold while she went to talk to a supervisor.  Upon coming back on the line about 5 minutes later, her tone had changed drastically to rather uncaring and was very short.  I was told that the supervisor has authorized your request.  I thanked her for the service and said I was satisfied.  The call ended.

I came home this evening to find a message on the answering machine.  Hmmm...strange, I don't recall giving her my phone number.  Anyhow, the message was from Customer Service, only this time the tone was very warm, very friendly, very caring and with much concern that I was completely satisfied.  I was assured that I would be receiving my original auto ship order for October, plus an extra free 30 day supply of Shakeology, PLUS the Protein Bars, and that I could use them or give them to friends.  This was totally unexpected and I think that Customer Service went above and beyond to make sure that a customer was completely satisfied.  For the most part I am.  I'm only frustrated that I will still not have my Shakeology for at least another two weeks while it makes its way through Canada Post.    It's thrown a real monkey wrench into the my healthy eating plan as I have been without my supplements, and I NEED MY SUPPLEMENTS!!!  As a result, I've put off my intense workouts until such a time as I receive them.

Well that's my experience with Team BeachBody Customer Service.  In a nutshell, they made a mistake in my address.  Nothing was done about it even though they knew there was a problem until I called wondering what happened.  I think they could do a better job of being more customer oriented and focused on customer needs.  They certainly did make me a satisfied customer when they agreed to my request, but went above and beyond to also include the Protein Bars.  Companies need to be very aware of their customers needs and concerns no matter the size of the company or the products being offered.  Good customer service is hard to come by, but on the whole I think Team Beachbody is doing a tremendous job at a tremendous value for people who are seeking the very best in healthy alternatives.  People make mistakes.  Great people resolve them in a timely and fair manner.  Thank you Team Beachbody for providing good customer service today.  I don't expect you to be perfect, but I did expect you to fix things when they went wrong, and you did!  Kudos!!  DECIDE, COMMIT, SUCCEED!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Fell Off The Exercise Bandwagon

At one point or another, everyone who starts out gungho on the exercise wagon, falls off.  Things come up for all of us such as the kids, career, a vacation and a host of other things that might mean you deal with those before your workout.  Then one day before you realize it you're sluffing off and haven't exercised in days, weeks or a month!  I'm here to tell you that it's in the past and not to worry.  Simpy get back on the exercise wagon and remember your reasons for WHY you started in the first place.  Make it YOUR plan to get back on track.  I'm writing this in part to re-motivate myself and get my mind right and on track.  I hope it will also encourage you to be a striver

Goals are critical to your success.  Once you've achieved your goals, set new ones and make sure to have them somewhere you'll be reminded of them.  If you've fallen off the wagon, think about WHY you chose your goals when you first began your transformation.  Keep your goals updated and make them your priority for the day.

If you fail to plan on when you're going to workout and just hope that you'll fit it into your day at some point, you're setting yourself up to fail.  Be sure to schedule your workout session for a specific time of the day just like any other important daily event in your life.  Write it down.  Put it in on paper, the internet, the computer, the phone or any place where you'll see it and be reminded of it.  Friends, your health and fitness is just as important as the rest of your commitments.  Don't let yourself down and fall off the wagon.  Set yourself up for success!

Sticking with an exercise routine is challenging for everyone, even for me.  So if you feel like you're alone, just know that the difficulties of sticking with it are the same for each of us.  Don't give up altogether.  If you find that you're unable to workout 5-6 days a week, if that's just a little too ambitious for someone as busy as you are, then modify your workout schedule and continue to get the benefits from working out less.  Maybe you'll switch up your routine and simply exercise every other day.  Or maybe you'll put in 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening.  Just modify your schedule however you need to make it work for you!  Being consistant is important, and working out a little each day is always better than none. 

So remember, no one is perfect so you shouldn’t beat yourself up if you fall of the exercise wagon.  You didn't give up when you started walking before falling down, you didn't give up riding a bicycle before falling down, and you need not give up execising when the going gets tough.  The key is getting back on as fast as you can.  DECIDE, COMMIT, SUCCEED!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Importance of Heart Rate Target

To be effective, exercise must be performed within the aerobic heart rate range for the body to benefit from the workout and burn the most calories. This aerobic range is generally between 60 and 80 percent of a person's maximum heart rate. If you are severely overweight or in poor shape, the aerobic range might be 50 to 60 percent of your maximum heart rate.
Adults should get at least 30-60 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise most days of the week, preferably daily. (Children need at least 60 minutes a day.) Doing less than this will minimize your health benefits. Moderate aerobic exercise is generally defined as requiring about as much energy as walking 2 miles in 30 minutes.
If you want to get a good aerobic workout, strengthen your heart and lungs and lose weight, you must bring your heart rate up to 60 to 80 percent of its maximum level, which is known as your target heart rate zone.

Calculating Your Target Heart Rate
Your target heart rate is a range of beats per minute that helps you determine if you're exercising at the optimum intensity. If your pulse is too low, you won't get the maximum benefit from your workout; if it's too high, you won't be able to train as long.

This FREE calculator below will give you suggested heart-rate ranges for various workout levels, based on your age and gender. Keep in mind that these are general numbers—different people may have different ranges. As you become very fit, you'll be able to handle higher heart rates for longer periods of time.

The Heart Rate Calculator

Your Maximum heart rate (HRMax) can be determined using the formula: 226 - your age for women or 220 - your age for men. A more accurate method is to perform a stress test under supervised conditions (highly recommended for sedentary people over 40 slightly overweight).
This free calculator calculates your ranges using 2 different methods. The standard method: HRMax x % and the Karvonen method: HRR x % + HRest where HRR stands for your Heart Rate Reserve and HRest your Resting Heart Rate.
To find out your Resting Heart Rate (HRest) take your pulse first thing in the morning after waking up.  Do this for 3-5 days and take the average, or simply enter your age into the calculator.  To calculate your different ranges simply follow the 4 easy steps below.

Note: The Karvonen method of calculating your exercise heart rate is considered the gold standard, benefiting athletes, or people who are looking for weight loss and fitness improvement.



  1. Choose your sex
  2. Enter your resting heart rate
  3. Enter your maximum heart rate or if you do not know it enter your age
  4. click the Calculate button.
Sex:Female   Male
Resting Heart Rate (HRest):
Maximum Heart Rate (HRMax): or your age: 
Heart Rate Reserve(HRR):

Heart Zones

Zone NamePercentage of Max HRPerceived Exertion Difficulty
Z1 Healthy Zone50%-60%2-5 (perceived exertion)
Z2 Temperate Zone60%-70%4-5 (perceived exertion)
Z3 Aerobic Zone70%-80%5-7 (perceived exertion)
Z4 Threshold Zone80%-90%7-9 (perceived exertion)
Z5 Redline Zone90%-100%9-10 (perceived exertion)

In the lower zones, you can train for longer periods of time. But, as you move up to higher-intensity zones, you need to decrease the amount of time that you spend at those levels, particularly in the top two (the Threshold and Redline Zones). Overdoing it increases the likelihood of injuries or burnout. Your specific heart rate will depend on your workout intensity and your current level of fitness. For maximum weight-loss benefits, I recommend exercising at a high level of intensity zone 3 to zone 4.    

Why is monitoring your heart rate important?

Many exercise training programs are meant to take you through the correct heart-rate ranges automatically, from Recovery (for warming up and cooling down) through Aerobic (for extended cardio) through Threshold (for "extreme" workouts). But it still helps to know your personal target ranges—especially if you're doing a continual cardio exercise where it's easy to alter the intensity. It's also important to know for interval training, in which you work out at a high intensity for a short time, then have a low-intensity recovery period.

Because the heart zones may vary quite a bit from person to person, you can also decide what zone you're in by the "perceived exertion" of an exercise. If you're breathing a little hard but can talk easily, you're probably in the Healthy Heart Zone. If you're breathing very hard and can't talk well, you're probably in the Aerobic Zone. And if you can only gasp one word at a time, you're probably in the Threshold Zone.

Friends, every one of us has dozens of reasons and excuses why we “can’t” test the limits of our potential or push the boundaries or get outside of our comfort zone. And, every single one of those reasons is flawed! If you had never pushed the limits of your ability, you would not be able to walk or run. You would not be able to ride a bike or drive a car. You would not be able to read, get on the Internet, etc. It is only by going “too far” that we discover our strengths and expand our power.  It is time now for you to DECIDE, COMMIT, SUCCEED!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Show Your Skin Some Love!

The human skin is often known as "the largest organ of the human body". It has the largest surface area of all the body's organs. It also applies to weight, as skin weighs more than any single internal organ, accounting for about 15 percent of body weight. For the average adult human, the skin has a surface area of between 1.5-2.0 square meters, most of it is between 2-3 mm thick. The average square inch of skin holds about 650 sweat glands, 20 blood vessels, 60,000 melanocytes, and more than a thousand nerve endings!  So what can you ladies and gentlemen do so that your precious skin doesn't start to look like last years luggage?  If you want to have the skin of a 5 year old and prevent your skin from looking like it has a crocodile complexion, then read on.

As my blog covers health and fitness through exercise and proper nutrition, I'm going to focus on a few of the best foods to feed your skin for looking and feeling great.  But before I go into some of the basics, there are two very simple things to avoid.  Your first step is to moderate the amount of direct sun exposure, and two is to stay far away from tobacco smoke. It doesn't matter if the cigarette belongs to someone else--you are breathing the same smoke they are. Steer clear or look like leather and stink like a horses saddle!  Ok, on with the guide to younger looking healthy skin.

The first and most important key to healthy looking skin is good hydration.  There's nothing better than pure, clean water to quench your body's thirst.  Most people are dehydrated. If your urine isn't clear, you are drinking too little water. This is hard on your kidneys, and can lead to painful stones and/or urinary tract infection. Plus, it causes your skin to be as flexible as leather and look about the same. Drink up! Alcohol dries the skin, so keep it off your skin and out of your diet for maximum skin protection. Sodas don't help. Their caffeine is dehydrating, as is their sodium and refined sugar.

Vitamin A is one of the most important components of skin health, and low-fat dairy and non-dairy products such as yogurt, kefir, goat milk and almond milk are a great place to get it. Reducing your intake of dairy will cut back on your levels of unhealthy saturated fat and lower cholesterol.  The skin-health assets in Green Tea are matchless. It has anti-inflammatory properties, protects the cell membrane, and sipping on this super drink can also boost your metabolism.

Another snack that is loaded with vitamin A are carrots, which helps balance the pH of your skin's surface, making it just acidic enough to fend off harmful bacteria. National Cancer Institute researchers found that people with the highest intakes of carotenoids—pigments that occur naturally in carrots—were six times less likely to develop skin cancer than those with the lower intakes, so start crunching your carrot sticks when the snack cravings strike.

The high-antioxidant content of blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries yield countless healthy-skin benefits. Not a fan of fleshy fruit? Artichokes, beans, prunes, and pecans are packed with the stuff as well.  Fruit provides your body with vital nutrients that help to fight infections, while repairing cells at the same time.


 The common healthy-skin ingredients in salmon, walnuts and flax seed are essential fatty acids, which not only block harmful irritants, but also act as the passageway for nutrients coming in and out, and for waste products to get in and out of the cell. The stronger that barrier is, the better your skin cells hold moisture, and the better looking and feeling your skin will be.

Good-quality healthy oils labeled cold pressed, expeller processed, or extra virgin, keep skin lubricated and looking and feeling healthier. But remember even healthy fat is high in calories, so limit yourself to two tablespoons a day.  Some suggestions include Olive Oil extra virgin, Coconut Oil extra virgin, Avocado, Flax seed Oil and Hemp Hearts.  Limit and or avoid as much as possible butter, margarine, lard and shortening.  These fats are artery clogging!

Studies show that even skin damaged by the sun may suffer fewer consequences if selenium mineral levels are high. So feed your skin some 100 percent fresh ground whole-wheat bread, muffins and other whole grains, such as rolled oats (NOT QUICK OATS), brown rice or wild Rice, quinoa, amaranth, barley, Millet and buckwheat.  Avoid refined grain products such as white rice, white flour, white bread, pasta (non-whole wheat varieties).  Turkey, tuna and Brazil nuts are also high in the mineral selenium, which plays a key role in the health of skin cells.

The tiny seeds of the sunflower are packed with the most natural vitamin E of any food around. And no antioxidant is better at slowing down the aging of skin cells to keep you looking younger longer. Chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, walnuts and peanuts also contain the good, essential fats that actually help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels.  They really are natures perfect booster food packed with nutrients to keep your skin looking younger and feeling great.

Lastly, a good exercise program, consisting of both weights and aerobics will activate and rejuvenate the skin, while improving blood flow. Also, body sweat triggers production of sebum, which is the skin's own natural moisturizer.    Your journey to health and fitness and having great youthful looking and feeling skin begins with proper nutrition and exercise. It's not what you put on your skin, it's what you put on your plate and into your mouth that's important!  Decide, commit, succeed!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Age-Defying Muscles

"It's bad business getting older, and I would advise you not to do it!" Those words from Woody Allen on his experience with aging.  If only it was a matter of choice, and too many of us avoid the proven alternative.  Because the truth is that there is an established method and strategy that will let you grow old with some grit and grace, and its name is strength training through muscle confusion.

At around the age of 40, our bodies slowly and progressively begin to lose strength.  We lose about a quarter of a pound of muscle every year, or roughly 1 to 2 percent loss in strength!  What's happening is the aging process breaks down muscle, known as sarcopenia.   Your muscles up until the age of 40 are naturally able to synthesize enough proteins to grow and maintain muscle.  However, the bodies ability to keep up with the demands of life begins to wane.

Thankfully, the remedy to slow down this phenomenon is readily available.  Weights are the fountain of youth and the age-defying muscle builders!  Combined with a nutritional diet of lean proteins, we can put a halt to the decline and actually reverse the trend.  More muscle means you'll be more mobile, lower your risks and incidence of heart disease, obesity, certain cancers, and diabetes as well as increased quality of living.  Just ask someone who hasn't kept up with exercise and good eating about the quality of their life and you will usually find that they will encourage you to start doing those things as early as possible in life so that you can truly have some golden years. 

Fitness experts recommend that all healthy adults do strength training exercises at least two to three days a week.  It is also recommended to concentrate your muscle exercises on all six of the major muscle groups:  chest, shoulders, arms, abdomen, legs, and back.  The easiest and least expensive way to get into a weight training program is to use hand weights and or exercise bands combined with body resistance training, and that simply means using your own body weight.  If you want the most bang for your buck, you don't need to invest in expensive machines and pulley systems.  Your body is the fitness machine.  I strongly recommend the at home fitness program created by Tony Horton for Beach Body called P90X.

What I like about P90X is it gives me a structured, easy to follow, total body workout and nutritional guidance that is bringing me what I view as amazing results!  It's for all levels of fitness, so whether you're just a beginner or need to take your workouts to the next level, you're going to get exactly what you need!  Don't just take my word for it, there are thousands of success stories on Youtube and a few that I've shared here on my Rx For Fitness and Health blog.

To wrap it up, let me suggest some training tips for guaranteed success: 

1.  Always warm up prior to your workout!  Do some light jogging on the spot, some squats, arm circles and or push ups, jumping jacks and light stretching that will raise your heart rate slowly and get the muscles warm and ready for the workout.

2.  When performing any strength training exercise, watch your form in the moves by lifting with precision and controlled.

3.  Do NOT hold your breath.  Just breathe.  Focus on exhaling during the hard part of the lift.

4.  Start with a lighter weight and more repetitions for toning and to get the form first, then heavy up for fewer reps and for building more muscle.

5.  Do not over exert yourself or over extend your joints beyond comfort. Push yourself a little out of your comfort zone, but If it HURTS, STOP.

6.  Train the larger muscles first, such as your pecs, lats, glutes, quads and hamstrings, and then work your way to the smaller muscles of your hips, arms and shoulders.

7.  Leave your abdominal and core muscles training for the end.  You need these muscles fresh to help stabilize your body during weight lifting.

8.  Proper Rest and recovery is critical, so wait 48 hours between training the same set of muscles again.

9.  Lift with purpose, don't just lift, but focus on it and squeeze!.  Set goals and write them down and work hard to attain them!

The different workouts of P90X are based on a training concept called periodization, or "muscle confusion." This method of cross-training is achieved through switching the order of exercises and incorporating new moves and varied movements. From my own experience now using the method for the past 8 months has prevented my body from adapting to exercises over time and resulting in continual improvement without plateaus.  It has provided the perfect balance for strength training and my muscles have developed and continue to build in mass.  I feel stronger, have more energy, sleep fantastic and enjoy a quality of life at the age of 48 that I now feel like I had in my twenties!  If Tony Horton can do it at the age of 52, you too can have age-defying muscles if you decide, commit and succeed!  It's never too late to get started, so what are you waiting for?  "Why not you?  Why not you to do something for work that you love?  Why not you to have a healthy body?  Why not you to have a healthy love?  Why not you to be, have or do anything you have ever dreamed of?  We are so quick to think others are deserving over ourselves.  The truth is that we are ALL deserving, SO WHY NOT YOU?!!"  - Jillian Michaels

Monday, September 26, 2011

Take Back Your Life!

Before you are tempted to buy that new high-definition plasma television, before you sign up for a 500-channel satellite dish, before you allow a TV set in your child's bedroom, consider this:

Your television viewing may be slowly killing you.

On average, American adults now watch more than four hours of television per day. That's four hours wasted every day, four hours squandered on gaping into the vapid, make-believe world of the little screen. That's four hours not spent talking with loved ones, helping kids with homework, volunteering in one's community or doing any of the wonderful things that bring meaning to life. That's one-sixth of your time on earth. Can it be any surprise then that more than half of American adults are now overweight, and nearly one-third are clinically obese? Television viewing is the number-one cause of physical inactivity, and physical inactivity is now the number-two preventable cause of death, behind smoking.

The time that we are parked in front of our television screens is time lost for playing outside, for taking a walk or for engaging in a new sport. It's time spent in an unnatural state of physical deprivation, a sedentary state that over time puts us at greater risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and arthritis. But the hours we spend sitting still in front of our televisions are only part of the problem. The advertisements we watch on TV overwhelmingly push an unhealthy diet rich in fat, sugar and salt. Sugary breakfast cereals, fast-food meals, candy, soda, beer and other processed foods account for nearly all the food advertisements served up on television. How can a public health message like eating five or more fruits and vegetables a day compete with the billion-dollar marketing of junk food on the tube? It can't, and research shows that the more television people watch, the less healthy are their diets.

The detrimental impact of television on children is even more distressing. The percentage of overweight children in the United States alone has more than doubled in the last generation, and obesity among young people is highly correlated with the hours of television they have watched. On average, kids today spend more time watching television than they spend attending school. When they stare for hours at television screens, children aren't running, jumping or playing in ways that are essential for the formation of healthy bones and muscles. They aren't exercising their imaginations, creating their own games, and interacting with their peers. They aren't developing the most crucial skill needed in today's information-based economy: reading.

Instead, our children are numbed by television into a state that experts call "attentional inertia," a TV-induced stupor marked by lowered brain activity, passivity and dulled emotional responses. In this deprived sleep state they are exposed to more than 14,000 sexual references on television in a year's time, and they witness more than 200,000 acts of violence by age 18, including 16,000 murders. They are subjected to more than 20,000 television ads each year, including advertising that is inherently deceptive for young children who unknowingly accept marketing claims as truth.

The time has come to recognize the harmful effects of our television habit and take action. Beginning today, each of us needs to get up from the couch, turn off the TV, and get involved in more creative, active and social pursuits. An obvious time to start a TV-free lifestyle is at the dinner hour. Today about 40 percent of families say they regularly watch television while eating dinner. Turn off the television when you eat tonight, enjoy some good food and get to know the people you live with again.

Despite what the TV networks and cable stations want us to believe, we aren't missing anything of value if we choose to live with little or no television. Stronger and healthier bodies, more powerful minds and more cohesive families: we have all this to gain, and more, when we take back our lives from our TV sets.

Take the TV Free Challenge for one week!

Monday, September 19, 2011

4 Superfoods You Should Add to Your Diet

I recommend this article! I eat a variety of super foods, including the ones mentioned in the article with the exception of yumberries. But check out my blog post back in June in the archive on the fantastic fitness foods!

4 Superfoods You Should Add to Your Diet

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Exercise Is For Life

When I exercise I feel great and I know I'm better for it.  My stress levels are less, I've been sleeping better and I would say that my energy level is stronger.  Exercise has also been of great benefit in clearing out the external negativity that constantly seems to want to feed my mind.  With all these pros, ask yourself, why do I lose interest in working out so fast?  Why do we fall back into old habits so easily?  What is it about those people who have been able to stick to it and be a success?

Let's face it, exercise, especially if you haven't done it for a long time because of a sedentary and lazy lifestyle, is very daunting.  It's darn right hard work and very challenging.  Some of the benefits I've experienced are not instantly gained right at the start of a new program.  In fact, at first, my workouts left me very sore and very tired!  I experienced shortness of breath, my joints hurt, my muscles ached for days, I felt drained and at times wondered why even bother, we all die anyway right?  There were times when I could barely finish even half of the workouts in the beginning.  It was a real struggle!  I'd put the P90X DVD disk into the player and pace the floor delaying the inevitable decision to push the play button.  I didn't see results immediately, because the truth is nobody does.  It takes time to get over the hump of pain. The rewards for those who persevere far exceed the pain that must precede the victory!  It took me time to see the results and benefits of eating healthy and working out.  It took a little time before I really began to accept and actually enjoy the workouts.  But just know that eventually, you will too, so don't give up, stick to it, and as Tony Horton says, just "do your best and forget the rest!" 

Remember my friends that EFFORT is a solo performance that only you can perform.  No else can do this for you. Someone may inspire you and you may feel motivated to make a decision, but it is entirely up to you to succeed at your goals.  Believe in yourself and trust WHY you are doing this.  It's not a 90 day program, a 180 day program or a 360 day destination.  It may very well start out that way, but then your vision changes and you begin to see a much bigger picture, a picture for a healthier lifestyle that doesn't end when the the weight loss or the muscle gain is reached.  In the beginning, setting some smart goals is very important.  What do you want to accomplish and why?  How are you going to get there?  When do you want to achieve your goal by?  P90X, or for that matter any exercise program that you will stick to, is a valuable tool to accomplishing your dreams.

Many professionals recommend a personal fitness trainer to assist you on your fitness journey.  May I recommend Tony Horton as he's been there for me the entire time, both through the extreme home fitness program P90X and through the website Team Beachbody.  There's no way I could afford a personal trainer all the time, but Tony Horton at the age of 52, seen to the right, helps you with the basics as a beginner, pushing you toward a striver level and then to an extreme warrior athlete!  Look where I was when I started out in February of this year and how far I've come since then!  Wouldn't you agree that it's an incredible transformation?  Wouldn't you like to experience it for yourself and why everyone who has gone through this is so excited about what life now has to offer!  You don't need a gym membership.  You don't need to feel embarrassed showing up to a fitness center when your home and a few simple and basic tools is all you'll need.  Just show up at home and start to make this a daily habit.

Remember, you want to exercise and you want to feel good.  You want to have an enjoyable experience and one that is positive.  I want to tell you how positive and encouraging Tony Horton is, but you will know for yourself after he inspires you to do better than you have ever done before.  Get involved with others through online support groups.  Again, you do not need a gym or club membership, you just need to decide, commit and succeed!  Yes, it is a struggle, but it's a predictable outcome based on the success of so many individuals before you.  The path to health and fitness has many side roads, many pitfalls, many valleys and peaks that will ultimately lead to your success.  Effort is a solo performance that only you can perform.  Exercise is for life and it's bright future is in your hands!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Nutrient Efficiency

Walk the aisle of the Big Food supermarket and you'll see words on labels like enriched or fortified.  That's because virtually everything from cereals, bread, canned foods and pretty much everything, with the exception of the fruit and vegetable section, can be considered processed junk food!  If it comes in a box, a bag, a can or a wrapper that's a pretty good indicator the food has been altered from its natural whole state with hardly any nutrients remaining.  So the food manufacturer slaps on a larger healthy label to appeal to your desire to eat better. Big Food knows that "health" sells.

Sure the processed foods contain proteins, carbs and fats.  All the food we eat contain these energy giving dense macro nutrients.  However, that's only half the story.  The other half are the micro and phyto nutrients missing from the processed foods touted to contain all the "8 essential vitamins and minerals" your body needs.  When we fuel up on these processed foods that are "fortified" or "enriched" we may find ourselves eating even more of the same food to fill in the bodies need for more nutrients to sustain itself and function properly.  Your body needs energy, but it also needs nutrition from the calories you consume.  Low nutrient foods that are high in calories will give you some energy, but your body will feel like it's starving from malnutrition, and so you simply eat more and more because you still feel hungry.  What your body really is crying out for is nutrient dense calories instead of filling up on empty calories.  It's a vicious cycle of feeling the need to eat because you're lacking nutrients, yet the more you eat the processed foods the worse your body will feel which leads to overeating and an unhealthy weight. 

Natural whole foods contain hundreds of varying things that our bodies can use for defense and promote good health.  So rather than try to add nutrients back into food that's been stripped through processing, it's much easier to simply eat a living organism that is full of nutrition and satisfies your body's requirements.  One of the keys to shedding extra weight and maintaining good health is to get as many nutrients as possible from each calorie you eat.  Begin by eliminating the dirty dozen and start to add nutritional food into your diet.  Throw away and stop buying the stuff in bags and boxes and make veggies and fruits the cornerstone of your diet. 

We humans are omnivores, meaning we eat both plants and animals that are loaded with everything needed to sustain life.  Vegetables are among the most nutrient dense foods you can fuel up on.  You simply cannot over eat on vegetables that are full of fibre.  Fruits in their natural whole state too are chock full of nutrients.  If you want to melt away unwanted pounds and improve your health by supplying your body with energy and nutrition, eat fantastic fitness foods!  That strategy is not what the food industry is trying to shove down your throat!  Don't buy into their deceptive labels and be bamboozled by slick marketing!  Get REAL with your food and live life to its fullest.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The (Unsurprising) Truth About Toning Shoes

For all the hype, do toning shoes work?  Have there been any peer reviewed studies?  Do the claims of manufacturers stand up to scrutiny?

"Helps tone legs and bum more than regular trainers. Reebok EasyTone with balanced ball inspired technology. Better legs and better bum with every step."

I've said it before and I'll say it again, there's no magic pill, no magic cure or any secret remedy to strengthening your body and becoming fit.   I agree with the author that "you can never achieve “lean” or “toned”  legs/bum/abs/neck/arms/etc by simply exercising that body part more.  I repeat – body shaping doesn’t work.  The only way to achieve a lean/toned look in any area of your body is to simply have a low amount of body fat."

The (Unsurprising) Truth About Toning Shoes

You want to know how I am getting lean, toned and gaining muscle all over my body?  By simply eating healthier and working out 5-6 times a week!  Just see for yourself in this video of me bringing it!

It's never too late to start changing bad habits, habits that can shave years off your life and impact the quality of your life. So, if you want the straight dope on fueling your body with nutritious food and what to avoid, I'm here to help and it won't cost you a penny for the free advice based on my own experience and what has worked for me. I hope you'll follow my blog and provide me with some feedback on my posts. I'll be catering good choices that include both dietary and lifestyle changes. So if you could use a boost to your engine, buckle up for the ride of your life and let's get started!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Acts like a salad. Tastes like a dessert!

So here's the thing, I'm a huge skeptic when it comes to certain health claims.  I get even more suspicious about the product by the way in which a company markets their product. There are just so many businesses that want you to spend your dollars on what they claim is THE BEST thing since sliced bread that will turn your health around. I've avoided these marketing schemes like the plague and instead have chosen to focus on the very best whole foods that money can buy, as well as a mutli-vitamin/mineral supplement. I've also been investing in my health by buying and using a quality whey isolate protein powder as a way to up my lean protein intake. As seen by my results so far, it's proven to be a very successful combination in regaining control of my health and fitness over the past 6 months. I'm living proof that if you want results and are willing to put in the exercise work and eat healthy, you can have amazing results.

There is a catch though. I've had plenty of time available to me to achieve my goals, but some people are not so fortunate and don't have the luxury of hand preparing every single meal to maximize their nutrition. I on the other hand have. However, I just don't think I'm getting my money's worth on spending about 120 dollars a month on my current supplements and protein powders. They've been a huge asset to my health, but what if there was a something that offered even better nutrition, tasted great and I didn't have to eat huge bowls of fruits and vegetables to equal the nutrition, for about the same as what I'm spending now? What if I could replace just one of my daily meals and still have a way to fully nourish my body with super nutrients for optimal health? What if I could save myself some time and a little money while at the same time losing weight, reducing my cravings, increasing my energy levels and stamina and have a healthy digestive system? I'd be all for that!

Many people struggle with finding the right solution that works for them to lose unwanted pounds. We all know we need to eat foods that supply our bodies with essential nutrients, natural whole foods that maintain the vitamins, minerals and fiber, but that are stripped from highly processed foods. I have gone out of my way to boost my health by consuming superfoods such as maca root, goji berries, bee pollen, amaranth, quinoa, green tea, chia seeds, spinach, pineapple and blueberries to name just a few. I've been adding these superfoods to my home made green smoothies which I consume daily when I can't have a sit down meal or the time to prepare and cook a meal. My smoothies have made a huge difference in my diet and improved my health. Our bodies need ingredients it can easily absorb and utilize. It needs the combination of digestive enzymes, prebiotics, antioxidants, phytonutrients, essential amino acids and many other ingredients that frankly I am still lacking despite my very best efforts to eat clean. Even eating all the servings of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains every day does not supply me with complete nutrition for maximum performance. I want the best octane fuel for the race of life

Imagine combining 70 natural ingredients into one drink! There's no way possible for me to do that in my vita-mix blender, no matter how hard I were to try, and I throw a LOT of ingredients into my home made green smoothies as you can see. I recently tried to get my brother to give my smoothie a try and he couldn't even get one swallow down! He said it tasted like grass! Even my coworkers mock me and make fun of my smoothies! LOL!! However, I know it's healthier than processed and fast foods, and I've probably grown accustomed to it gradually as I've added more and more to my smoothies. But wouldn't it be great if you could get over 70 natural ingredients into one smoothie that acts like a salad but tastes like a dessert! I want a health food that has proven results! I want it backed by good solid scientific research! It must leave me feeling full and satisifed and contain only the best of superfoods that are avaialable on the market at a fair price. So I've decided to put it to the test.

Like I said, I'm a huge skeptic and don't lightly make decisions when it involves my money and my health. But an investment with proven results is certainly something that deserves my attention. I'm also very careful about what I might recommend to my friends and family. I've put off for six months giving this product a fair shake, no pun intended. LOL! But I'm at a point where I want to take my fitness goals to a whole new level and my body is going to need the perfect combination in order to transform into a lean mean machine. I need this food to help build muscles, improve my skin and hair, support a clear mind and mental clarity, improve my mood and reduce my cravings. I need this food to reduce the free radicals that cause oxidative damage.  I want to lower my chances for degenerative conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, dementia and arthritis. I need this food to boost my immune system, help fight disease and sickness, to slow down my aging process and detoxifiy my body. I need this food to help protect my body from stress and create balance in my hormone and immune system. I need this food to supply better intestinal health and aid my digestive process. I need this food to be easily broken down and increase absorption of nutrients. Is there any such shake, meal or vitamin that can make this claim and back it up with proof? YES there is! I'm willing to put it to the test when a claim as substantial as that is made. Just check out these supplement facts on this nutritional label by clicking the image on the left for full size.

This shake is going to replace my whey isolate protein powder and the mutli-vitamin/mineral supplements I've been taking as part of my healthy diet with no extra out of pocket expense. I still plan to continue making my green smoothies, but this additional smoothie shake is likely going to be the healthiest meal of the day. I have not been paid to endorse this product and I receive no compensation by way of any affiliation. I am simply passing along to you my interest in a healthy product that may be of benefit to you in your own health journey. If this doesn't transform my health in 30 days, I'll be getting a full refund, even if the bag is totally empty! I can't go wrong putting it to the test. So, I've decided to try it for just one month, I'm committed to that and now let's see how far I'll succeed with Shakeology from BeachBody, a dietary supplement. It will replace one meal each day at a cost of about 4 dollars per meal. Pretty inexpensive if you ask me when you consider the cost of junk processed foods that contain so little nutrition. You don't have to look far when you leave your home to see the fast rising trend of people being overweight and obese from poor diet and nutrition. Make no mistake my friends, you are what you eat and drink!

Most people want to have better health. Most people would like to do something positive for themselves and that will also help others and make a difference. If you keep on eating what you've been eating, you'll keep on feeling and looking the same with no change. I want to be a success story that you can follow, and get inspired and motivated to make a positive change in your own life. Take that first step to freedom of body and mind. Your chance is here and I hope you will take it! It all starts with a decision. Decide, commit, succeed!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Drink Up - Give Your Body What It Needs

What should I drink?  How much should I drink? What frequency do I need to drink?  When is a drink needed?  It would seem that something as simple as water may be very complicated.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.  Many of us don't get enough water for whatever reason or excuses we can come up with to rationalize why we don’t or won’t. Life is busy, we substitute, we’re forgetful, too many bathroom breaks and sometimes we just don't care. Survival without food is possible for several weeks, but try to go without water for more than a week and expect to perish.  Even going without proper hydration for several hours takes its toll on your health. 

Your total adult body weight consists of between 60 to 70 percent water.  The human body needs all that water for so many different functions, such as elimination of waste and toxins, regulating body temperature, producing digestive enzymes, distributing minerals, vitamins, amino acids, glucose, and many other nutrients to your cells and many other important roles in your health.  Life, as we know it, cannot exist without this one simple ingredient, purified water.  

Dehydration occurs with as little as a 1% loss of total body weight as a result of fluid loss.  If you fail to replenish daily water losses over time or lose a lot of body water in a very short period of time, you will notice signs of thirst.  Fatigue, loss of appetite, dark urine, poor concentration, clumsiness, dizziness or light headedness and cramping in limbs, stomach or back, to name just a few.  By the time you feel these signs of thirst, it’s already too late! 

There’s no hard and fast rule to how much water a person needs daily.  If you’re active, you’ll consume more.  If you live in a hot climate, you’ll consume more.  Listen to your body.  But as a general rule of thumb, most in the debate agree that eight 8-ounce cups of water throughout the day is about what’s needed for an adult to replace what’s lost.   Drinking purified water, or eating water rich foods regularly throughout the day every couple of hours will maintain what your body needs. 

It is especially important to stay hydrated during intense or strenuous exercise, and especially during the warmer times of year by consuming enough fluid to replace that lost to sweating. If you become mildly dehydrated, drink water slowly one sip at a time to replace lost fluids.  Besides purified water, I have found from my own experience that recovery drinks after a workout are extremely effective at replenishing the body with the essential nutrients lost during vigorous exercise and rehydrate the body with lost fluids. 

Drinking a sufficient amount of clean water is one of the smartest things you can do for yourself and will help your body to prevent short changing itself.  So the next time you reach for a coffee loaded with syrups, sugars and whipped cream, before you indulge in sodas, carbonated beverages and sugar loaded juices, reach instead for the one drink that truly satisfies thirst and improves your health, water!

It's never too late to start changing bad habits, habits that can shave years off your life and impact the quality of your life. So, if you want the straight dope on fueling your body with nutritious food and what to avoid, I'm here to help and it won't cost you a penny for the free advice based on my own experience and what has worked for me. I hope you'll follow my blog and provide me with some feedback on my posts. I'll be catering good choices that include both dietary and lifestyle changes. So if you could use a boost to your engine, buckle up for the ride of your life and let's get started!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Heart of the Matter - Lose to Win!

My road back to health and fitness is a personal journey filled with many steps and bites taken each day.  It took many years for my health to be damaged and will take many more for that to be completely undone.  However, I have experienced what many would call an amazing transformation in just six months.  My challenges were certainly not the same degree that some people will face.  But have no doubt, I struggled daily with choosing to eat healthy, exercise and stop making excuses!  It's all in your mindset.  Sure I made some mistakes along the way too.  I hope you can learn from my personal experience and take away from it what you need to succeed in your own personal journey. 

 Every man is free to rise as far as he's able or willing, but the degree to which he thinks determines the degree to which he'll rise.  - Ayn Rand

I am often asked now, “What did you do to lose weight and improve your health?”  There are several factors that can be identified in the success of people who lose weight.  But first, by identifying the things that led to my packing on the weight, I can offer some tips for a weight loss plan that will work when you decide and commit to doing them, as it has done for me. 

I love food!  Before I began my weight loss routine, I would eat more or less whatever I desired.  I could stuff myself to the point where shortly afterward I would hurt.  I would eat and drink whatever I could get my hands on.  I had no idea how many calories I was consuming.   I also had no idea what my body needed calorie wise.  I liked to stay up late, snacking on a huge bowl of mixed nuts, chips and other junk food in one hand and a drink in the other.  There were days where I was so tired upon waking up that I would snooze in bed till the very last minute, with just enough time to spare to get to work on time.  That meant that many breakfasts were skipped.  For lunch and dinner there was rarely a time where I wouldn’t fill up on meat with very little vegetables on the plate.  Fruit was not part of my regular diet.  My diet consisted of very little fish and other lean proteins.  I love bread and would daily down a peanut butter and honey sandwich on white bread.  I ate lots of white flour foods, pasta, a ton of white rice and many other processed and canned foods.  My meals were spontaneous.  I’d come home, look in the fridge to see what was there and grab whatever I could to fill my stomach.  At work, lunch often consisted of KFC, A&W and other fast foods including the fries and pop!  I loved to drink slurpee’s, down energy drinks, knock back a few beers daily and the list of high calorie beverages goes on and on.  Water was not high on my list of things to drink.  I rarely exercised.  Sure I’d go to the swimming pool now and then or go for a walk from time to time.  I cut the lawn when it had to be done and shoveled the sidewalks in the winter.  But generally, my time was spent on the couch watching television, on the computer playing games and more or less being a slouch on my butt.  So imagine that’s your kind of lifestyle and what years of these bad habits will do to your health.  My before pictures are evidence of what happened. 

So now that I’ve identified the actions that damaged my health, let’s take a look at a plan that works to heal yourself through proper nutrition and exercise.  This plan is called Decide, Commit, Succeed!  IT IS HARD WORK!  Do not underestimate how tough it’s going to be and how committed you’ll need to be to get the results you want.  Amazing effort brings amazing results when you make a promise to yourself and follow through with your plan!

Figure out where you are.  How many calories does your body need and how many to burn off.  Besides the kinds of food you eat, you need to burn more than you take in to lose weight.  There are some free food journaling websites that you can use to track what you eat.  Do it!  You won’t know where you need to be until you know where you currently are.  One of the most important meals of the day is breakfast.  Don’t skip it!  Matter of fact, besides three small portion meals each day, I recommend two or three snacks throughout the day between meals.  Your diet must include fruits, vegetables and lean proteins, including fish, white poultry and legumes. Toss the white bread and all other white foods in the trash!  There’s zero nutrition in them and the refined simple carbohydrates play havoc with your blood sugar levels and pack on fat.  Instead, eat whole grains in all their varieties.  Don’t wing it!  Spontaneity is good in the bedroom, but for meals it’s best to plan ahead.  Write down what you’re going to eat and when you’re going to exercise.  What you drink is critical.  Soda pop, alcohol, energy drinks, etc contain empty calories, meaning no nutrition.  So eliminate these and eat the nutritional calories your body needs.  Drink plenty of water.  Nutritional food is 80 percent of the formula for success in your weight loss plan.  The other 20 percent is vigorous exercise 5 to 6 times a week!  Make sure you plan for it and make it a priority.  It’s an investment in your health, so don’t let anything distract from you committing to this daily regimen.  Schedule yourself an appointment on your calender!

You don’t need a gym or club membership.  You don’t need to be a star on a television show.  All you need to succeed is listed in the simple weight loss tips above that worked for me and have worked for thousands upon thousands of people who decided to take control of their health and stop making excuses.  Don't reinvent the wheel.  No fancy gadgets.  No gimmicks.  Just good old fashioned eat healthy and exercise.  Just show up and keep pushing play! It’s your choice! 

I hope that by reading through my blog archive that you'll be truly inspired and feel motivated to get off your butt.  I’d be happy to read what you have to say about my blog posts and answer any questions you may have. Let me know how you're progressing in your own personal journey.  We strengthen each other in the sharing of our stories, and I'd enjoy hearing from you.  So tell me what's worked for you, what hasn't, what you're challenges are, what your successes are and more. 

It's never too late to start changing bad habits, habits that can shave years off your life and impact the quality of your life. So, if you want the straight dope on fueling your body with nutritious food and what to avoid, I'm here to help and it won't cost you a penny for the free advice based on my own experience and what has worked for me. I hope you'll follow my blog and provide me with some feedback on my posts. I'll be catering good choices that include both dietary and lifestyle changes. So if you could use a boost to your engine, buckle up for the ride of your life and let's get started!