Career Change

After over 10 years in the fitness industry, I have recently decided to switch careers from a personal trainer to a firefighter.  Please let me explain.  I have been passionately devoted to fitness ever since I got turned onto it back when I was a teenager around 13 or 14.  Fitness has played a key role in my life, my journey, my athletics and my career and I owe a lot to the health and fitness world.  It has been quite a journey of 10 plus years and I have evolved quite a bit since my first personal training job.  I enjoy helping others and caring for others and watching them succeed and achieve their goals with my help in their exercise program.  There is no greater feeling then knowing you helped someone, somehow and in someway whether it being losing weight, moving better, feeling better, having more energy or being out of pain.  Helping others is the biggest reward there is with this job.  However, working as a personal trainer is and can be a grind.  We are constantly battling hours, switching clients around and watching our paychecks take big hits when several of our clients decide to go vacation at the same time, which is usually the case.  As much as I love this industry, it dawned on me one day: Do I really want to be doing this for the next 20 plus year?  Do I want to be grinding it out and helping others workout in the gym when I am 55- 60 years of age?  Always worrying about clients, hours and a steady paycheck, I think not.  I am not fulling giving up on fitness either, I do believe I will always be training and finding those special clients to train as well.

When I moved here to South Carolina, I started talking to a lot of the firefighters at the gym I worked at, gathering as much information as I could and asking as much questions that I could think of.  I never really planned in my life to become a firefighter but quite honestly I think it is extremely fitting for me.  I am extremely into fitness and health, I was a lifeguard for 3 years, I have been doing high diving shows climbing ladders 80 feet in the air, I love helping other people and I want to be able to give back to my community.  I have been filling out applications, talking to Captains and getting information on the fire academy and what are my best steps to take to start on this journey.  I know the journey is not going to be easy and it is going to be tough at times but I am a true warrior and will not stop until I accomplish my goal.  At first I was hesitant to even post this and tell this story to all of you but I am firm believer in the law of attraction and making your goals known to all in order to help you achieve your destiny.  If you throw it out to the universe, the universe make things happen, open up doors for you and throw it back to you.  I am being as patient as I can for I know good things will come to those who wait.

I am aware it is a higher risk job and I am aware it has life threatening capabilities but you know what, so does driving your car down the highway.  I look into the positives more of what the job has to offer like helping others, caring for others, a steady paycheck and flexible hours.  The way the shift works as a firefighter (as in 24 hours on and 48 hours off) gives me more time to spend with my precious little girls before they get older and start school.  I am excited to start this new chapter in my life and will keep you all posted and updated as I continue on this journey.  Wish me the best of luck.

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100 Ways to Improve Your Life in 10 Minutes or Less

I found this yesterday and thought it was something definitely worth sharing to all of you or to y’all which I am learning is the norm out here in South Carolina.  It is all great stuff that we all can benefit from if we slow down and take some time for us each and every day and make it a part of our routine.  Simple, easy life hacks that take no time at all but add serious enlightenment, enjoyment, benefit and health to our lives.  See how many you already do or knew about and open up your mind to many more which can enrich your life for the better.  Without further ado:

1. Wipe down your office doorknob.
Using disinfectant wipes on commonly touched objects like doorknobs can reduce the spread of cold- and flu-causing viruses by up to 90%, according to researchers from the University of Arizona.

2. Meditate in the morning.
“I start my day with a simple meditation practice; it sets the tone for my day and clears my head to prepare for what’s ahead,” says Tiffany Cruikshank, an internationally renowned yoga instructor and the founder of Yoga Medicine.

3. Eat sardines twice a week.
They’re packed with protein and omega-3s, and most worthy of a place on your plate. Your heart will thank you.

4. Make your own salad dressing.
Skip the not-so-healthy bottled stuff; all you need are a handful of ingredients to bring out the best in your greens.

5. Cook with blood-pressure-lowering herbs.
Add these super-healthy spices to your recipes, and check out these 25 healing herbs you can use every day.

6. Get Sugar Smart.
Americans eat an insane amount of sugar—and much of that sugar is hidden in foods without you realizing it. Take back control with The Sugar Smart Diet, written by Prevention‘s own Anne Alexander (published by Rodale, which also published Prevention).

7. Do a sun salutation each morning.

Photo by Callie Lipkin

Sukanya Mahajan, a retired city clerk from Chicago (shown above), runs through the postures 6 times for 10 minutes. It will start your day with some stretching and strengthening—and it just plain feels good.

8. Ease anxiety with a Tibetan sky-gazing meditation.
Look out the window (or look upward), relax your whole body, and let your gaze expand into the spaciousness of the sky, says Dean Sluyter, author Natural Meditation: A Guide To Effortless Meditative Practice. Repeat the ahhh sound silently—it’s the most open sound you can make, and it amplifies the feeling. Let your attention go, and sit for a few minutes.

9. Play that calming music.
The body’s internal rhythms entrain to the external rhythms of music, like when you go to the sea and you start breathing slower and your heart rate slows down and starts moving closer to the rhythm and pace of the ocean. It’s the same with music, especially reggae, says Frank Lipman, MD.

10. Plan a trip.
Travel happiness actually spikes in the planning stage, according to research.

11. Put down your smartphone.
When that impulse to whip out the phone strikes, resist. You’re going to feel a wave of anxiety, says Sluyter, but don’t panic—that wave is supposed to happen. Once it rolls through, you’ll see that there’s something good in its wake: silence. Freedom.

12. Boost your memory while you grocery shop.
In lieu of a list, take a page out of US Memory Champ Chester Santos and think up a crazy story that features the items you need to buy.

13. Breathe deeply.
For fast focus, sit in a comfortable place, breathe naturally, and settle your attention on your breath, says Sharon Salzberg, author of Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation. With each inhale and exhale, mentally repeat the words “in” and “out.” If your mind wanders, just let go without judgment, and bring your attention back to it.

14. Don’t check your email when you wake up.
And don’t turn on the news or the radio—just sit silently and have a cup of coffee or tea and allow your mind to wander. This 10-minute cocoon of time is a calming, centering way to start the day.

15. Try frozen brown rice.
Packed with all the whole grains and fiber of freshly cooked rice, frozen brown can be ready in minutes—just microwave per package directions.

16. Focus on your mentors.
To feel a deeper connection to those around you, Sluyter suggests this ancient Tibetan technique: Sit quietly and think of someone who has unconditionally supported you. Close your eyes and visualize that person behind and slightly above you. Imagine her radiating love in the form of beautiful, golden light. Then visualize someone in front of you who you want to share the light with. Let it pour down through you and bathe the person in front of you.

17. Start foam rolling.

Photo by Amber Fouts

Business owner Carolina Caywood (shown above) does a trigger-point massage with a foam roller on her legs and feet every morning to ease pain and improve flexibility.

18. Get creative with yogurt.
Not only is it the fastest clean breakfast around, but it also makes an instant creamy addition to savory dishes. Use to marinate meat, as the base for dips, soups, and sauces,

19. Add rotisserie chicken to your grocery list.
Using rotisserie birds in your recipes can be just as healthy (not to mention faster!) as home-roasting your own when you opt for organic (meaning no water, sodium, or artificial flavors were injected).

20. Try a loving-kindness meditation.
Sit quietly, breathe normally, and repeat the phrase “May I be happy, may I be peaceful,” says Salzberg. Whenever your attention wanders, gently let those thoughts go and come back to the phrase. After repeating that phrase for yourself, offer it up to include all beings everywhere, saying “May all things be happy, may all things be peaceful.”

21. Use a netti pot.
“Every morning, wherever I am in the world, I do a netti pot ‘session’ to rinse my sinuses and stave off nasty bacteria and germs,” says Valerie Orsoni, health and wellness expert and founder of LeBootCamp. “Since I started this regimen, I have caught no cold during the winter or after traveling by plane.”

22. Brew a cup of afternoon tea.

Photo by Jennifer Causey

The process forces you to take a break and will put you in a Zen mood, says Khalil Hymore, Preventioncontributing food editor.

23. Have eggs for dinner.
Eggs turn into dinner faster than any other protein in the fridge (think beef, chicken, or tofu), saving you about 20 minutes. This superfood has endless uses, including in quiches, sandwiches, and soups.

24. Scrub your scalp in the shower.
Improving circulation to the follicles is one of your best bets for keeping the hair on your head healthy. While shampooing, use your fingertips to apply light, steady pressure along the center of your scalp (right where your middle part would fall) for 3 to 5 minutes, then rinse.

25. “Deal” with a difficult person.
Visualize the person with whom you’re having difficulty as a perfect, enlightened being radiating a pure, tranquil light, says Sluyter. But she’s stuck in an eggshell, and all the actions you find difficult or problematic are just this person trying to peck away at that shell. Now visualize yourself gently helping to peel away that shell so she can become her best, enlightened self. Next time you see that individual, you’ll frame your relationship in this new context.

26. Press a spot on your face to relax.
Relieve tension and get your blood pumping with DIY acupressure. Find the base of each cheekbone and press lightly for 30 seconds—it’s long been tied to a brightening effect on the complexion.

27. Use quick-cooking oats.
They’re still whole grains—they’ve just been pressed slimmer than traditional oats for faster cooking. Look for organic varieties to keep pesticides out of your morning meal.

28. Remember what you want.
Sometimes we’re so distracted by stresses that we never take time to settle down and listen to what our body, mind, and soul are telling us, says Malika Chopra, founder and CEO of Intent.com. Try this: Sit in a comfortable position, settle your breath, close your eyes, and, as you breathe, mentally repeat the words “I am” for 5 minutes. Next, ask yourself “What do I want?” 2 to 4 times—don’t feel like you have to answer it, let your mind settle down and see what bubbles up.

29. Dry brush your whole body.

Do this for better circulation and glowing skin: Before your next shower, start at the tops of your feet, working your way up your body and brushing with long, straight strokes in the direction of your heart. Each stroke should take 2 seconds, skipping the too-delicate skin on your neck, décolletage, and face. Watch this short video for a quick demo.

30. Have coffee…
Women who drink at least four cups a day have a 20% lower risk of depression, a 65% lower risk of late-in-life dementia, and, per the most recent research, a 21% less likelihood of developing tinnitus, of all things.

31. …And make it this kind of coffee
Mold-free coffee with butter and coconut oil gives you clean energy and a complete lack of cravings for about 6 hours, says Dave Asprey, author of The Bulletproof Diet (Rodale). H

32. Shiver for more burn.
Exercising in temps between 62° and 65° activates brown fat, a metabolically active type of fat that cranks up calorie burn and helps your body regulate insulin, says George King, chief scientific officer at Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston.

33. Turn down the music.
If you work out with headphones, set the volume at 60% of max. Studies show consistent exposure to sounds above 100 decibels (normal conversation is 60dB) can leave your with a permanent “huh?” reflex.

34. Stock up on frozen veggies.
Frozen veggies can save time and be healthier: Produce picked at its peak and then frozen often adds more nutrients than fresh that sits out too long.

35. Pop a daily probiotic.
People who regularly supplement with probiotics report fewer cold symptoms and faster recovery, per research. Try a supplement with at least 1 billion colony-forming units of either Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG or Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. lactis BB-12.

36. Cook your kale.
Cooking it and draining the water will remove much of its oxalic acid, which can contribute to kidney stones, says Asprey. Choose kale that’s lower in oxalic acid, like dinosaur kale, and boil until tender.

37. Visit the bathroom, even if it means being a few minutes late for work.
When poop sits in your colon, it becomes drier and harder, and that can plug you up, which causes pain (not to mention a pretty foul mood), says Alex Ky, associate professor of surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.

38. Trade the cookie for a squat.

Photo by Susan Seubert

Exercising in short bursts has completely changed Sadie Lincoln, wellness expert and founder of barre3 fitness (shown above). She says, “I do a quick 10 minute workout at around 3 pm every day. This time of day is when I used to grab sweets or reach for a cup of coffee—both were sabotaging my weight loss goals and didn’t help my productivity in the long run. This way of exercising has changed my life so much that I have created an entire company around it!”

39. Sit up straight!
When you move from poor posture to good posture, you increase levels of energizing hormones, as well as feel-good serotonin, plus you decrease the stress hormone cortisol, says spinal surgeon Kenneth Hansraj.

40. Take a peek at your pee.
It should be pale yellow to clear. If it’s not, drink more water. Researchers at the University of Connecticut founds that even mild dehydration zaps energy and lowers concentration among otherwise healthy women.

41. Jump in place 10 times.
In a Brigham Young University study, women ages 25 to 50 who jumped 10 times twice daily upped their hip-bone density after 16 weeks.

42. Give your coworker a mega-watt grin, even if you’d rather throttle him.

Even a fake smile can lower heart rate after a stressful event, according to a study from the University of Kansas.

43. Daydream of superfoods.
People who called to mind sensible food instead of indulgent junk had smaller spikes in ghrelin, the hunger hormone, according to the new book 20 Pounds Younger (Rodale).

44. Relieve a headache in 30 seconds.
Ease tension and relieve an achy head by searching for tender spots on your forehead and scalp, and then rubbing them in a circular motion with the pad of your thumb and knuckles, says Maureen Moon, past president of the American Massage Therapy Association.

45. Resist the urge to stifle that big afternoon yawn.
Yawning helps cool your brain, which in turn improves alertness and performance, according to research from University of Vienna in Austria.

46. Indulge in a mini marathon of hilarious animal videos.
Laughing lowers stress and blood pressure and gives some sparkle to your frame of mind.

47. Crush an afternoon slump with this 30-second yoga move.
Stand and ground your feet by pressing into all four corners of each sole. Bend knees and fold forward from hips, keeping back straight. Hang for 10 to 30 deep breaths, then slowly rise back up. You’ll improve blood flow to your brain and stretch your oh-so-tight spine, says yoga instructor Elissa Lappostato.

48. Fill up your tank after dark.
Gasoline emissions evaporate as you fill your tank, contributing to the formation of ozone, which is a component of smog—bad for your lungs and the environment. The sun facilitates this, so filling up postsunset keeps emissions from turning into pollutants.

49. Take off your shoes at your front door.
This keeps all kinds of grossness out of your home. When researches tested shoes for germs, they found a disturbing array of pathogens, including E.coli.

50. Brush your tongue.

That bit of flesh harbors a lot of bacteria, which can spread to teeth and up the risks of cavities and gingivitis.

51. Keep your bedroom between 65° and 70°.
A cool bedroom helps promote the drop in core body temperature necessary to induce restful, uninterrupted slumber.

52. Shop on Sundays for smoothies.
To make throwing together a daily smoothie super simple, stock up on ingredients from each of these categories: liquids, fresh leafy greens, fresh or frozen fruit, nuts and seeds, and boosters.

53. Prep smoothie packs for the week.
Load all measured solid ingredients into zip-top bags, starting with hard heavy ingredients, followed by leafy greens, and finally soft foods. Write the liquid you’ll need to add on the front of each bag and freeze until you’re ready to blend.

54. Say good-bye.

Ginger Zee, chief meteorologist for Good Morning America, says she always kisses her husband and dog good-bye (even though they’re asleep!) before she leaves for work. “Then on the ride to the studio, I take a moment to set my intention for the day. The routine has made me settled and focused.”

55. Make smoothie cleanup easier.
After you pour your drink, fill the pitcher halfway with warm water and a drop of dish soap. Blend on high for 30 seconds, rinse, and air-dry. Voila!

56. Take a bath.

Photo by Andrew Southam

Feel the stress leave your body while you soak. Cristina Ferrare (shown above), a model, actress, chef and host on Hallmark Channel’s “Home & Family” (weekdays at 10 am ET/PT) adds salts, soothing lavender, and grapefruit essential oils, and puts on soft spa music. “I do this for myself at night to calm down and it definitely has an impact on my life because it helps me to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep through the night,” she says.

57. Consider avocado a food group.
Eating an avocado or two per day gives you omega-3s, which help your body build healthy cell membranes, says Asprey. The dark part of the avocado closest to the peel has the most vitamins, so get out your scraping spoon—just discard any brown parts.

58. Soak your face in ice water for 1 to 2 minutes.
Exposure to ice water allows you to reset levels of the appetite hormone leptin, which leads to faster fat loss, says Asprey.

59. Say a prayer.
“Taking a few moments a day for prayer and breathing has been very impactful for me,” says Monica Potter, Star of Parenthood and Founder of MrsPotter.com. “I used to be very mindful of prayer when I was younger and it just gets more necessary as I get older.”

60. Breathe with intention for 2 minutes.
Inhale for 4 counts while saying “I am” in your mind. Then exhale for 4 counts while saying “at peace” to yourself. Repeat the cycle at least 4 times to ground yourself, says Aviva Romm, MD, herbalist and midwife.

61. Push your pressure points.
Daniel Hsu, doctor of acupuncture and Oriental medicine, says key acupressure spots on the head, face, and hands are really close to bundles of nerves, so pressing on them can help relax the nervous system. Apply pressure to the meaty part of your hand between the thumb and forefinger anytime you’re stressed.

62. Align your chakras.
Getting your 7 so-called energy centers in line could ease your pain and up your happiness, among other things.

63. Throw a mini dance party with your partner.
Research shows that romance reduces the production of stress-related hormones, says Elaine Wyllie, MD. Dancing around the house for a few minutes leaves you feeling youthful and excited.

64. Note 3 things you’re grateful for every night.
“I ‘practice gratitude’ for a few minutes a day,” says Gail Saltz, MD, bestselling author and associate professor of psychiatry at The New York Presbyterian Hospital Weill-Cornel School of Medicine. “I note three things for which I am grateful that day, they can be small, like a delicious cup of coffee, or big like my husband totally supported my book project. Over time this has changed my feeling about how full my life is and how much I appreciate it.”

65. Boost immunity with saline nasal spray.
Travis Stork, MD, uses one or two squirts every morning and night—it immediately moisturizes nasal passages and washes away congestion, allergens, and other irritants.

66. Eat cleaner.

Photo by Eva Kolenko

Cutting out artificial sweeteners, refined carbs, or anything that comes from a box changed Lisa Lenz, an office case manager in Auburn, CA (shown above). She says old friends barely recognize the new her.

67. Do 100 push-ups every day.
It sounds like a lot, but Jim Sears, MD, says you can break it up into 20 reps 5 times a day. If you’re not used to push-ups, do them on your knees, or start with 2, 3, or 5 and add one each week.

68. Ground yourself.
Stand and feel your feet on the ground, the distribution of weight between them, and with your eyes open, begin walking at a normal pace. Slow down and notice the sensation of your legs moving up and down. Your mind will wander, says Salzberg, but that’s OK—when it does, bring it back to those sensations.

69. Drink a cold glass of water with freshly squeezed lemon every morning.
It hydrates, gives a dose of vitamin C, boosts the immune system, and has fat-burning benefits, says Andrew P. Ordon, MD. Bonus: when skin is hydrated, fine lines and wrinkles are less obvious.

70. End your day with a guided meditation.

Search YouTube and select whatever guided meditation you need that day: relaxation, love, or health, says Jennifer Berman, MD. You’ll wake up happy and go to sleep with a quiet mind and calm stomach.

71. Indulge your sweet tooth.
Try this healthy dessert from Rachael Ross, MD: Slather a toasted slice of whole grain bread with 1 Tbsp of almond butter, and top with sliced banana, blackberries, a drizzle of melted dark chocolate, and ground flaxseed. It satisfies cravings while providing protein, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, potassium, and tons of antioxidants.

72. Exfoliate nightly, then apply a retinol or coconut oil.
Exfoliating allows the next product to penetrate deeply, and alternating the powerful anti-ager retinol with natural coconut oil is like a one-two punch for skin, says Jennifer Ashton, MD.

73. Eat like a caveman.
Following the Paleo diet forces artificial sugars and packaged foods out of your life—and replaces them with high fiber fruits and veggies.

74. Soak in some Epsom salts.
Once dissolved in warm water, they’re absorbed by the skin and replenish your body’s magnesium levels, which can be depleted by stress, says Deborah Levy, MS, RD.

75. Turn off your devices long before bed.
These devices emit light in the blue spectrum, which disrupts sleep. It shuts down production of the sleep-enhancing hormone melatonin when it hits your retina, explains Robert Rosenberg, DO, of the Sleep Disorders Center of Prescott Valley, Arizona.

76. Answer an email in person.

Not only is it friendlier, but it also forces you to walk around, which you should do at least once every hour if you have desk job, says Martha Gulati, MD, director for preventive cardiology at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Studies link sitting to weight gain and poor heart health.

77. Unleash your inner artist.
Research shows creative pursuits outside the workplace can noticeably increase your on-the-job performance. Researchers say the rush you get from creating something boosts self esteem and the belief you can succeed at anything.

78. Chew gum to improve memory.
Chewing Think Gum ($2, thinkgum.com), which contains caffeine, peppermint, and ginkgo biloba, improves aspects of memory, according to research published in the journal Appetite.

79. Do a high intensity AM workout.
Serious, kick-butt workouts can increase the number of calories you burn at rest (called after burn) for up to 72 hours after your workout ends, finds research in the European Journal of Applied Physiology.

80. If it hurts, just treat it.
It’s that easy. It took Prevention editor-in-chief weeks to call the podiatrist after his new puppy chewed up his fancy orthotics. He could have saved himself (and his freaky-high arches) a whole lot of pain.

81. Make a food plan for the week.
Chalkboards are trendy, but they’re also good for guiding your mind and your mouth toward a healthy meal at the end of the day.

82. Volunteer your time.
You get what you give: Research shows volunteering regularly can lower your risk for death by up to 24%. All that usefulness and altruism might cause your brain to produce more oxytocin and progesterone—good-vibe chemicals that curb stress and reduce harmful inflammation.

83. Layer products for radiant skin.

Never struggle to choose between two creams again: Apply lighter products like water-based serums first, followed by any oils or lotions, and finish with sunscreen, waiting a couple minutes between each step, says Jessica Wu, MD, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at USC.

84. Firm up your neck with one move.
Grasp your neck so your palms are touching your neck and the insides of your wrists touch. Then, simply jut your head forward using the muscles in the front of your neck and release. Do 20 repetitions twice daily for full effect, says Carole Maggio, a licensed esthetician and author of Ultimate Facercise.

85. Wake up tired eyes with chamomile tea.
Steep two bags in hot water for 5 minutes, then let chill for a few minutes. Once tepid, close your eyes and place one bag over each eye (you’ll want to cover both upper and lower lids) for 10 minutes. Chamomile’s anti-inflammatory qualities will soothe the sensitive skin around your eyes for a brighter, tighter look.

86. Wear sunscreen every single day.
With a reduced risk of skin cancer, and fewer wrinkles and sunspots, there are a million reasons to protect your skin, says Alison Sweeney, author of Scared Scriptless and host of The Biggest Loser. “Each morning, I make a point of taking care of my skin by applying moisturizing sunscreen. It gives me a few minutes of quiet and I’m protecting myself for that day and the years ahead.”

87. Try hand and foot therapy balls.
When used like a foam roller, they can relieve soreness, pain, and increase circulation in your hardest to reach places.

88. Spike your breakfast with cinnamon.
The spice has been shown to reduce insulin resistance and may help lower cholesterol and triglycerides, blood fats that could contribute to diabetes risk.

89. Drink water with apple cider vinegar.
The stuff has been shown to lower blood sugar levels, soothe digestive issues, and even treat dandruff, thanks to its anti-fungal properties. It’s also a gut-healthy prebiotic, giving your microbiome a dose of healthy bacteria.

90. Take the time to craft your mantra.
Especially when you’re using one for fitness. Your mantra should be something that stirs you into action when things feel tough, so it should hit on the deeper reason you’re exercising, says Jeff Halevy, a behavioral health and fitness expert.

91. Use clean food as a flavor booster.
Research shows that certain spices, herbs, and spreads not only boost flavor but can also help curb appetite, ease digestion, promote better memory, and even fight heart disease and cancer.

92. Keep peppermints in your purse.

They can ease ill-timed digestive issues, bring you back from a bout of light-headedness, soothe frustration during rush hour traffic, and give you a good afternoon pick-me-up.

93. Laugh your way through meditation.
If ohm-ing isn’t your style, trade yoga class for a comedy club: A good laugh now and then may give you a mental boost similar to meditation, suggests new research presented at the Experimental Biology 2014 conference in San Diego.

94. Take your walk to greener pastures.
The University of Essex in the UK found 30 minutes of walking in a green scene reduced depression in 71% of participants.

95. Bulk up on B12.
Low blood levels of B12 can lead to depression. The good news: it works the other way around, too. In one study, depressed people on antidepressants felt much better after taking B12 supplements for just 3 months.

96. Take advantage of morning air.
“I wake up, go outside, and I breathe fresh air morning air,” says Dolvett Quince, author of The Biggest Loser Bootcamp (on sale January 6 wherever books are sold). “It rejuvenates me and gives me good energy—I feel like I can take on anything!”

97. Trade your after-work sweatpants for workout gear.
Even if you stay home, donning workout clothes will give you an increased range of motion, so you’ll probably put more energy into your chores.

98. Switch the channels on the TV without the remote.
You could easily burn 200 extra calories a day if you stop using the remote, garage door opener, electric can opener, and other labor-saving devices.

99. Trade that pat of butter for some olive oil.
In one study, those who dipped bread in oil ate a total of 52 fewer calories on average than those who used butter.

100. Sip some green tea before you walk.
The caffeine frees fatty acids so that you burn fat more easily, while the antioxidants appear to work with caffeine to increase calorie burn.

 

Slide the City

It is summer time and that means, hot weather, high humidity, long days and lots of fun in the sun.  What better way to spend some of that summer fun times than with your friends playing in some water.  I am not talking about your ordinary pool, sprinkler or lazy river, I am talking about the old school backyard fun slip and slide.  You know the plastic mat that you lube up with soap, run and slide down as far as you can go?  Well, what if I told you that we can slide down the biggest and longest slip and slide in the world (maybe).  I found this video the other day and it is from a company called Slide the City.  Basically, Slide the City sets up what looks like to be the longest and most fun slip and slide in a city coming near you and it looks freaking AWESOME!  I saw this and thought what a great, wonderful, innocent, fun and novel idea to bring people together and let them relive some of their favorite past time memories.  I am not a promoter of this site at all, I just thought it was too awesome not to share and think everyone who has a chance should definitely look into it.  There are a lot of cities where they are going to be but they dates are still to be determined.  I would highly recommend looking into for summer kick-ass summer time fun.

Here is the video for this truly epic and wonderful idea:

Have a slip and sliding fantastic weekend everyone!

S.W.E.A.T. Pledge

I am always in constant pursuit of motivating and inspiring articles, poems, videos and whatever else is takes to get us fired up, inspired, thinking a little differently and grateful for everything we have.  We should always be happy, grateful and thankful and we all have a choice on what side of the bed we are going to get up from, the positive side or the negative.  Life is too short to always be on the negative, always worrying, always stressing over the little things that are insignificant.  Happy, positive and full of life are the way we should all be going through life.  As long as you are still living and waking up each and every day, we should all be grateful.  Grateful to be here, grateful to have your health, grateful to have a job, grateful to be able to provide for your family and grateful experience all of the joys life has to offer.

Mike Rowe, the host of the show Dirty Jobs created the S.W.E.A.T. pledge that stands for everything I, and everyone else should believe in.  I believe we all need to print this out and read it everyday and start to incorporate it daily

“THE S.W.E.A.T. PLEDGE”

(Skill & Work Ethic Aren’t Taboo)

1. I believe that I have won the greatest lottery of all time. I am alive. I walk the Earth. I live in America. Above all things, I am grateful.

2. I believe that I am entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Nothing more. I also understand that “happiness” and the “pursuit of happiness” are not the same thing.

3. I believe there is no such thing as a “bad job.” I believe that all jobs are opportunities, and it’s up to me to make the best of them.

4. I do not “follow my passion.” I bring it with me. I believe that any job can be done with passion and enthusiasm.

5. I deplore debt, and do all I can to avoid it. I would rather live in a tent and eat beans than borrow money to pay for a lifestyle I can’t afford.

6. I believe that my safety is my responsibility. I understand that being in “compliance” does not necessarily mean I’m out of danger.

 7. I believe the best way to distinguish myself at work is to show up early, stay late, and cheerfully volunteer for every crappy task there is.

8. I believe the most annoying sounds in the world are whining and complaining. I will never make them. If I am unhappy in my work, I will either find a new job, or find a way to be happy.

9. I believe that my education is my responsibility, and absolutely critical to my success. I am resolved to learn as much as I can from whatever source is available to me. I will never stop learning, and understand that library cards are free.

10. I believe that I am a product of my choices – not my circumstances. I will never blame anyone for my shortcomings or the challenges I face. And I will never accept the credit for something I didn’t do.

11. I understand the world is not fair, and I’m OK with that. I do not resent the success of others.

12. I believe that all people are created equal. I also believe that all people make choices. Some choose to be lazy. Some choose to sleep in. I choose to work my butt off.

Take the pledge, adhere to it and continue to make your life great in all areas of your life.

The Squat

It’s Monday and is time to hit the gym so we can start the week off in the right direction making fitness and exercise a normal part to our daily routines.  We all have great intentions of making strides towards our goals whether it be losing weight, inches or getting stronger, faster or bigger.  One of the best exercises hands down to help with it all is the squat.  The squat is a primary movement and can be done any numerous ways whether it be with dumbbells, kettlebells, body weight or the good old fashioned 45lb bar.  All of us can benefit from adding squats to our workout routine regardless of age, gender or specificity of our goals.  Want to lose some fat? Squat.  Want to get strong? Squat.  Want to train for power? Squat again.  For those experienced lifters out there, you know the feeling you get right before your put that bar on the back of your neck and then feeling again when you pop it off the rack.  You know what is in store for you and your legs and how they will feel in a day or two but we don’t care.  We push all that aside, load the bar up even more, and continue to lower and raise the bar up and down until we are grunting, sweating and tired.  We know it is good for us, we know the benefits are great and we are willing to put in the time and energy to push our bodies to the uncomfortable point of exhaustion.  Squatting is great for strengthening the hips, the quads, the glutes, the lower back and the abdominals.  Squatting is performed every single day when you get out of bed, in and out of chairs, off the can and when you bend down to tie your shoe or pick something up off the ground.  We trainers all joke about how on Monday’s at the gym it is international chest day because it seems like all the fellows are there on the benches trying to get their chests all big.  However, how about taking a look over there at the empty, unused squat rack and hopping in there to bang out some sets.  Mix up your workouts folks and try something new and challenging to start off your workout.  Sure, it’s going to be tough and you are going to be sore but don’t shy away from one of the best exercises out there because of it.  Step up to the challenge, own it and dominate it.

Here is a poem I found for all those lifters out there who know what it is like to put that heavy bar on the back.  Enjoy

THE SQUAT

As I step into the rack
My muscles tremble in fear
The smell of iron and sweat
I know pain is near

I step under the bar
With plates loaded on end
And notice how even now
The bar begins to bend

As I step back so slowly
Like a newborn attempting to walk
My legs shake in fear
And the gym ceases to talk

It’s just me and the iron now
I can hold no one accountable
All the months of training
All those times feeling so full

Now comes the time
To lower the iron down
I move ever so slowly
Moving closer to the ground

Ass to the grass
That’s what I know
Not to just half ass
So you can put on a show

I’ve made it down to the bottom
But that was the easy part
I’ve got to go back up
This will prove I have heart

The pain is unbearable
I should just drop the iron
**** that, it will not beat me
My legs will never tire

I explode from the floor
With every ounce of energy
Please legs, make it to the top
I won’t let the iron defeat me

With one last surge
I make it to the top
This is my life
This is the squat

“You can either throw in the towel or use it to wipe the sweat off your face.”

Whats Wrong With The Modern Diet?

I stumbled across this from a Facebook post from Dr. Robb Wolf and I thought it was fascinating and I could not agree more with.  We all know about the modern diet, the problems, the disease, the high intake of sugar and processed foods, and the havoc it does on our bodies. We all are guilty of indulging in our vices here and there and hopefully if we do, we get right back on track to eating clean again.  I have for us an article written by Kris Gunnars from Authority Nutrition about the 11 charts which show everything that’s wrong with the modern diet.  Hopefully this does make some sense to you, opens up your eyes and helps guide you on the right track of eating clean, natural unprocessed foods.

These 11 Charts Show Everything That’s Wrong With The Modern Diet

The modern diet is the main reason why people all over the world are fatter and sicker than ever before. Everywhere modern processed foods go, chronic diseases like obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease soon follow.

The studies are clear on this… when people abandon their traditional foods in favor of modern processed foods high in sugar, refined flour and vegetable oils, they get sick (123). Of course, there are many things that can contribute to these health problems, but changes in the diet are the most important factor.

Here are 11 graphs that show everything that is wrong with the modern diet.

1. Total Sugar Intake Has Skyrocketed in The Past 160 Years

People in Western countries are consuming massive amounts of refined sugars, reaching about 150 lbs (67 kg) per year in some countries. This amounts to over 500calories of sugar per day.

The sources vary on the exact figures, but it is very clear that we are consuming way more sugar than our bodies are equipped to handle (4). Controlled human studies show that large amounts of sugar can lead to severe metabolic problems, including insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, elevated cholesterol and triglycerides — to name a few (56).

Added sugar is believed to be one of the main drivers of diseases like obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and even cancer (78910).

2. Consumption of Soda and Fruit Juice Has Increased Dramatically

Of all the sugar sources in the diet, sugar-sweetened beverages are the worst. Fruit juice is actually no better… it contains a similar amount of sugar as most soft drinks (11).

Getting sugar in liquid form is particularly harmful. The studies show that the brain doesn’t “register” liquid sugar calories the in the same way as calories from solid foods, which dramatically increases total calorie intake (1213). One study found that in children, each daily serving of sugar-sweetened beverages is linked to a 60% increased risk of obesity (14)..

3. Calorie Intake Has Gone up by Around 400 Calories Per Day

Although sources vary on the exact figures, it is clear that calorie intake has increased dramatically in the past few decades (15).

There are many complicated reasons for this, including increased processed food and sugar consumption, increased food availability, more aggressive marketing towards children, etc (16).

4. People Have Abandoned Traditional Fats in Favor of Processed Vegetable Oils

When health professionals started blaming saturated fat for heart disease, people abandoned traditional fats like butter, lard and coconut oil in favor of processed vegetable oils.

These oils are very high in Omega-6 fatty acids, which can contribute to inflammation and various problems when consumed in excess (1718). These oils are often hydrogenated, which makes them high in trans fats. Many studies have shown that these fats and oils actually increase the risk of heart disease, even if they aren’t hydrogenated (192021).

Therefore, the misguided advice to avoid saturated fat and choose vegetable oils instead may have actually fueled the heart disease epidemic.

5. People Replaced Heart-Healthy Butter With Trans-Fat Laden Margarine

consumption of butter and margarine in usa_

Another side effect of the “war” on saturated fat was an increase in margarine consumption.

Margarine was traditionally made with hydrogenated oils, which are high in trans fats. Many studies show that trans fats increase the risk of heart disease (2223).

Grass-fed butter actually contains nutrients that are protective against heart disease (like Vitamin K2), therefore the advice to replace heart-healthy butter with trans-fat laden margarine may have done a lot of damage (24).

6. Soybean Oil Has Become a Major Source of Calories

soybean oil consumption in usa_

The most commonly consumed vegetable oil in the U.S. is soybean oil. Soybean oil actually provided 7% of calories in the U.S. diet in the year 1999, which is huge (25)!

However, most people don’t have a clue they’re eating this much soybean oil. They’re actually getting most of it from processed foods, which often have soybean oil added to them because it is cheap. The best way to avoid soybean oil (and other nasty ingredients) is to avoid processed foods.

7. Modern Wheat is Less Nutritious Than Older Varieties of Wheat

Wheat is a major part of the Western diet. It is found in all sorts of foods… breads, pastas, pastries, pizzas and various processed products.

However… wheat has changed in the past few decades.

Modern dwarf wheat was introduced around the year 1960, which contains 19-28% less of important minerals like Magnesium, Iron, Zinc and Copper. There is also evidence that modern wheat is much more harmful to celiac patients and people with gluten sensitivity, compared to older breeds like Einkorn wheat (26,2728).

Whereas wheat may have been relatively healthy back in the day, the same is not true of modern dwarf wheat.

8. Egg Consumption Has Gone Down

Eggs are among the most nutritious foods on the planet. Despite being high in cholesterol, eggs don’t raise the bad cholesterol in the blood (29).

For some reason, the health authorities have recommended that we cut back on eggs, even though there is no evidence that they contribute to heart disease (30). Since the year 1950, we have decreased our consumption of this highly nutritious food from 375 to 250 eggs per year, a decrease of 33%.

This has contributed to a deficiency in important nutrients like Choline, which about 90% of Americans aren’t getting enough of (31).

9. People Are Eating More Processed Foods Than Ever Before

This graph shows how consumption of fast foods has increased in the past few decades.

Keep in mind that even though it looks like people are still eating most of their foods “at home&” — this does not take into account the fact that most people are also eating processed, pre-packaged foods at home.

10. The Increased Vegetable Oil Consumption Has Changed The Fatty Acid Composition of Our Bodies

Most of the Omega-6 fats that people are eating is a fatty acid called linoleic acid.

Studies show that this fatty acid actually gets incorporated into our cell membranes and body fat stores. These fats are prone to oxidation, which damages molecules (like DNA) in the body and may be increasing our risk of cancer (3233343536).

In other words, the increased consumption of processed vegetable oils has lead to actual harmful structural changes in our bodies. That’s a scary thought.

11. The Low-Fat Dietary Guidelines Were Published Around The Same Time The Obesity Epidemic Started

The first dietary guidelines for Americans were published in the year 1977, almost at the exact same time the obesity epidemic started. Of course, this doesn’t prove anything (correlation does not equal causation), but it makes sense that this could be more than just a mere coincidence.

The anti-fat message essentially put the blame on saturated fat and cholesterol (harmless), while giving sugar and refined carbs (very unhealthy) a free pass.

Since the guidelines were published, many massive studies have been conducted on the low-fat diet. It is no better at preventing heart disease, obesity or cancer than the standard Western diet, which is as unhealthy as a diet can get (37383940).

For some very strange reason, we are still being advised to follow this type of diet, despite the studies showing it to be completely ineffective.

Read more: http://authoritynutrition.com/11-graphs-that-show-what-is-wrong-with-modern-diet/#ixzz2tFEyaEME

Primal Eating: Toddler Style

 

Fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables (Photo credit: nutrilover)

 

As many of you Frontdive Fitness fans know, I am a big advocate of primal/paleo eating.  Primal eating is the elimination of all processed foods such as bread, rice, pasta, beans, sugar and basically anything that comes from a package.  I believe if you want optimal health you need to only eat foods in which come from the earth or you can kill.  Your key players to eat are: fruits, vegetables, eggs, meat and nuts (excluding peanuts).  It is a very simple, basic way to eat and live and it sets you up for success throughout your journey in life.  Eating this way will dramatically reduce your chances of coronary heat disease, diabetes, obesity and any other medical condition.  I have fully adopted this lifestyle and for the most part my wife has as well.

 

The challenge begins with what and how to feed our 18 month old daughter Devon.  We are both firm believers in eat as I do.  If your child sees you eating healthy decisions like fruit, vegetables and meat, then they are more inclined to eat that way as well.  If you are eating crappy garbage food and are trying to feed your child healthy food then good luck with that.  You have to set the example.  I know getting children to eat sometimes can be very challenging, tiring and frustrating.  I’m a dad so trust me, I know.  Just be patient and have them try all the different things you like to eat.  Sometimes Devon is more interested in what is on my plate then what is in front of her.

 

Alright, now on to what we feed our child.  In the morning for breakfast, Devon really loves eggs.  She eats 2 scrambled eggs almost every morning and let me tell you she gobbles them up.  She usually eats her eggs plus whatever fruit we have available in the fridge.  She really loves blueberries,  grapes, strawberries and bananas.  Sometimes my wife will blend together a smoothie with banana, blueberries, strawberries, avocado and half and half.

 

Lunch and dinner become a little bit trickier.  We try to give her a source of protein in which she can feed herself, like ground turkey, bits of chicken or deli lunch meat.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.  If it does not work we resort to feeding her a baby food jar of some kind of meat like turkey or beef.  She generally eats and enjoys cheese, yogurt and almond butter.  One of the greatest inventions out there now are the organic squeeze pouches.  They make these squeeze pouches which are made of organic  pure’ed fruits and vegetables like: pear and mango, apple carrot, and blueberry and spinach.  A great way for your child to increase her fruit and vegetable intake.  Because she is teething, we also give her crunchy vegetables to chew on such as carrots, celery and cucumber.  She also enjoys sweet potatoes, almond butter and has recently been eating broccoli.

 

We do not keep a lot of junk food in the house.  I am not a fan of it, but we do give her some crackers and cheerios occasionally.  My wife says she is a kid and she is going to eat that stuff.  Some battles you just are not going to win.  I know it may seem like she eats a lot of fruit and she does, but I would rather her eat fruit then any other type of processed food.  We generally stick to fruit, meat, eggs, some veggies and cheese.

 

Here is list of what she does eat:

 

  • Eggs
  • Fruit ( all kinds)
  • Vegetables
  • Yogurt
  • Coconut Milk
  • Cheese
  • Meats
  • Squeeze Pouches

 

What she does not eat:

 

  • Breads
  • Candy
  • Cookies
  • Juices
  • Soda
  • Pastries
  • Chips

 

This is just an example of what WE feed our daughter.  It works for us and it is not an outline by any means.  We try to do our best job to feed our child the best food possible.  Hopefully this will continue over to her to make good healthy decisions as she grows up.  We do let her live and are not extremely strict with her diet.  If mom and dad are eating dessert like cookies or frozen yogurt then we let Devon have some bites too.

 

For the most part I believe we as a whole family eat really well.  I believe a family that eats well together, stays together and lives a long life together.