Friday, February 25, 2011

Principles For Overcoming Fitness Obstacles

If you’re like me, the quest to be in shape and manage weight feels overwhelming. And, as if the quest to be fit isn’t hard enough, there’s often other obstacles to overcome: health issues, time management, mustering up courage or energy. Even if you’ve been exercising for a long time, there’s always new barriers to be broken. So, how to put all of this into perspective?

According to Tom Turner, executive liaison for the Spina Bifida Association that’s exactly it: Perspective. And also, according to him, there’s no mountain too high to climb. Tom would know. Paralyzed from the waist down since birth he’s now 35 and trains about three times a week. In fact, he tells me, he just couldn’t get along without exercise.

So in my quest for the last word on overcoming barriers in fitness, Tom sat down with me and together we came up with 3 basic principles that will help break-down fears and intimidations when striving to reach fitness goals. (After all, if he can exercise on a regular basis, shouldn’t that be encouragement enough for anyone to give it a  shot?)

Principle #1 Move Into The Fear.

“Train you mind to believe no mountain is too high or any goal is too difficult to attain,” Tom tells me. Basically, it’s all about meeting your fears and facing them head-on. In this principle, aim to recognize your fears, acknowledge them and then move through them. Ask yourself what is it that makes you uncomfortable? Have you let yourself get out of shape and are afraid you’ll never get back? Do you have an injury that’s caused you to be afraid of your body? If you can visualize creatively, then you can put your fears in check. See your self as you’d like to be. Remember: your body loves you and has the potential to heal itself to perfection. Your only job is to trust it and listen.

Q: What is your body saying to you?

Principle #2 Trust Your Intuition.

It is important when overcoming obstacles and learning to break through barriers that you begin to listen to the still small voice of your body. In most cases, we all want the comfort of having someone telling us what we can and cannot do. However, our highest truth lies within us. This is not to say that the good opinion of others is not important, but ultimately the decision making comes from within.

When facing a challenge or an obstacle look to how you feel. What are your instincts telling you? Often it is simply your instinct that will move you into a new mindset and raise your consciousness. “I wasn’t about to let the wheelchair stand in my way,” Tom tells me. In fact, he says he had to merely change his perspective about it. He says he first had to learn about what his restrictions were then, create a boundary for himself. “We all have boundaries,” he tells me. "Regardless if a person can walk or not, obstacles are as unique as people themselves. Therefore, it’s first best to know your boundaries."

Next, Tom tells me he aims to meet those boundaries.  “I first reach as high as I can within the confines of what I am able to do. Whether it be more sets, reps or greater endurance, I allow myself as much time as necessary to accomplish my small goals. It always surprises me, with small steps, how quickly I can reach a Big goal.”

Principle #3 Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night.

What then, about fear? I wanted to know. If we move into the fear and meet it eye to eye what if fear meets us there? “So,” I asked Tom: “are you ever afraid? “After 19 operations in my life, I’ve really come to terms with fear,” he says. “It really comes down to our most primal fear; fear of death. Once you realize that death is all part of the divine plan, it’s liberating, you can let it go and, instead, choose how to live. So instead of being afraid of death I decided to choose how to live."

So what’s the take away message? Talking to Tom, I’m reminded of the poem by Dylan Thomas who said: “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night.” It seems appropriate here. The bottom line: Staying afraid often keeps us from truly living. Tom reminds me that a positive attitude is key, "Life is all about attitude." He also says he could let fear beat him down, yet he doesn’t. “I wouldn’t want to miss being part of tomorrow,” he concludes. That said, what fears are getting in your way? Make today the right time to face them.

In conclusion: Life Beyond The Boundaries.

When you’ve faced your fears and pushed your boundaries to the edges, what then? I wanted to know. Tom smiles. “Find a new mountain to climb,” he says matter-of-factly. “It’s what makes life fun. I know I have considerations. I know that there will be days that I’ll need to stay in bed and rest while my braces are getting tuned up. It’s those times when I am with my thoughts that I decide what I am going to set my sights on.”

Author’s Note: In my personal quest to live beyond the boundaries I’ve chosen Tom as my role model (lucky for me, he's my brother). We so often look to the media for these sources and so often they are illusory. There are “real” people everywhere doing great things...look around you; angels are everywhere! Learn from them. Choose someone you look up to, admire or of whom you appreciate their values. Set goals, climb mountains! Set intention in motion and enjoy the healthy process.
fitness, inspiration, wellness

Powerful Motivation Tips For Ripped Abs

Can you see your self walking down the street at your favorite location looking and feeling great.  Or as you stroll down the beach and you notice people glance over there shoulders to admire your beautiful ripped abs that belong to you. Feeling so confident in your self that your vacation seems perfect like a dream.  You pinch yourself and realize that you have arrived. 

Everyone in this green earth would love to have six pack abs and be fully healthy.  Can everyone archive this goal?  Yes. We people where created for excellence so yes, anything is possible.  Although some may find it difficult to reach personal goals, anything is possible if you have an optimistic and positive outlook on life.

"Life is not fair" We can begin our day very positive, but by the end of the day if you are not fully focused of your objective and constantly thinking of your aspirations you can be a victim of procrastination.  We as humans tend to enjoy the path of least resistance.  Justifying our excuses and having procrastinations of our
objectives.  Nobody said that being discipline was easy.  As a matter of fact here are some examples of things we tell ourselves unconsciously that keeps us from hitting our goals: "I would love to workout, but I don't want to be sore for tomorrow's barbeque.", "I will have a free day this weekend therefore I will stuff my face with cookies and milk.", "I love the gym, I just don't have time to go anymore."

The interesting thing is that we make ourselves believe such things.  When in reality it is just bogus.  The secret to success is not overworking but being in control of your thinking and outlooks in life.  Whether you are looking to lose a few pounds or get in shape for bodybuilding competition, please under any circumstances don't let yourselves of any excuses.  Here are some helpful mindsets that will help when you get back on track when you feel you are buying your excuses:

One:  Always tell your friends and family about your goals.  Telling your acquaintances about your goals is great.  Some will take you serious and some won't.  But the reasoning behind this is that they can help you be on track.  When you are genuine with people they respect that, and sometimes are willing to help you out. 

Two:  Setting goals with a partner or friend.  Often times having a workout partner or a dieting parter will make things better for everyone.  Besides a little competition, a little encouragement from a workout buddy makes a huge difference.  Pick someone that you enjoy being with and someone that you know will help you when you feel a bit down on your self.  Friends are incredible at picking one up and making us feel great.

Three: Writing down your aspirations and visions.  Get a notepad right this moment, and jock down all of your goals and aspirations.  On a piece of paper make a line down the middle.  In one side have your "goals" and the other have "aspirations" example. Goal #1 Lose 10 pounds this month. Aspiration  #1   Lose 10 pounds so I can buy a new pair of jeans, and so on.  Make sure they are in detail and also try to make them very personable.  Soon you wil  develop these mental changes that will change your life forever subconsciously.  Also Take note of the times you are at your lowest in energy and pull out your sheet and read those to you out loud.  Might sound kind of weird but it works.  Professional athletes do it everyday.  Why not you?

Getting in top shape is harder than it looks.  It takes discipline and full commitment. Its rewards are priceless and the amount of  confidence you get when you are watched or check out is amazing.  Or even if you simply just want to live an incredible healthy lifestyle and carrying on that mindset to your family and kids, is absolutely worth it.  Stay focused, stay in the fight and we will see you in the beaches of the world sporting your ripped abs.

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Little Known Tips To Buying Fitness Equipment

Did you know that buying fitness equipment for your home isn’t really that difficult?
It’s true that the world of fitness equipment can seem like a maze at times and that there are literally hundreds of different types of fitness equipment pieces that might work well for your home arrangement. However, with a little guidance, the process really isn’t that hard and you will be amazed at the bargains that you can find if you just dig a little deeper than the average consumer is usually prepared to. Let’s take a look at some tips to help you out in your quest for new fitness equipment.

1. Look at used equipment. This is where some good deals can be found. Fitness equipment can obtain a weird status in a person’s home. They might have been really excited to buy it initially and dreams of a fit body and monthly gym savings might have filled their head. However, after 3 months, the equipment often sits vacant in that person’s home. Used equipment can be a really good deal due to the fact that it’s often times almost as good as new but now it’s for sale. To you. For cheap. Check out newspapers, Ebay, and other

places; compare prices and get a deal.

2. Consider commercial fitness equipment. Often times, you can buy the same equipment that your local gym has. Imagine, you can have that same (gasp!) Stairmaster that has dogged you for years at the local Ballys, right in your basement. This might be appealing to some who have the capital to invest in a large piece of equipment. If you no longer have to pay a $50 monthly fee to go to a gym every month, this might be a really smart investment. Look into commercial equipment, you might be pleasantly surprised.

3. The first two points are almost worthless without considering the financing of your new fitness equipment. When looking to finance your new set of fitness equipment there are tons of important factors to keep in mind. You really don’t want to be paying too much for equipment that might be found at a cheaper price (after everything is considered) elsewhere.
fitness equipment, commercial fitness equipment, home fitness equipment

Little Known Tips For Helping With Sleep Apnea Research

This may come as a surprise to you, but sleep apnea is more common than you think. Yes, while it might seem like you are the only one who suffers from sleep apnea, we’d be willing to be that at least a few of your close neighbors suffer from it to. Well, the information age now allows you to listen to thousands of different opinions and possible cures for whatever ails you. Sleep apnea is no different. Follow these three tips and you should be all set in your quest for more information.

1) Start with a basic search on multiple websites. Try the regulars like Yahoo, Google, and MSN. Try searching for ‘sleep apnea symptoms’ or ‘sleep apnea treatment.’ Getting multiple sources of information can only make your information quest easier. Some search engines are better for some types of information (Google seems to be especially handy for scientific searches) while others are not. Get a lot of different information sources.

2) Another great source of information for everything is While we definitely don’t recommend trying to treat your sleep apnea yourself based upon the information you find (always see a physician, we aren’t physicians and can’t give a medical opinion), is a good place to start looking for any information as it is “user edited”. “User edited” means that anyone can conceivably change the information on It’s almost like a democracy of information presentation. It’s definitely worth a look in your sleep apnea research.

3) Don’t forget to look for information specifically on understanding sleep apnea. If you can’t understand what sleep apnea is, you are going to have a tough time even if you follow tips #1 and #2 to the letter. Get informed and try to understand what sleep apnea is. There are a ton of great resources out there if you look hard enough.

Lessons From The Biggest Loser

All over the world, night after night, millions of people are riveted to their TV sets - but not to watch the latest soap, or CSI. Not to watch Jay Leno or Sex in the City. Not to see who outwits, outlasts and outplays others in Survivor. No - they are spellbound by the efforts of a small band of obese people trying to overcome the effects of years of overeating.

It's not surprising that for so many people this is compulsive viewing. Obesity is the new epidemic. Fat children lumber around school playgrounds while their overweight mothers fill shopping carts with wrong choices. Then... they sit down at night to watch The Biggest Loser. They see dramatic weight loss and startling new body shapes beginning to emerge. They want the same results - and they begin to think it might be possible.

But who has four or five hours a day to work out? Who can afford a personal trainer several times a week? And who has the luxury of their own personal adviser on calorie content and smart food choices? The answer is: not many people. But you have to remember that this is television: it's a false situation. As the players keep reminding themselves and the viewers: "This is a GAME. You have to make the most of your time here - it's going to be so much harder out in the real world."

IS it harder in the real world? Probably. But you can take lessons away from watching this reality show. You can make it work for you, as well as for the contestants. Here are three practical and useful lessons you can put to use immediately.

1. Put Weight Loss First.

In the Biggest Loser household WEIGHT LOSS COMES FIRST. Make it come first in your household, too. Sounds simple, doesn't it? It is. In fact, so simple that many people just overlook it. They try to fit exercise and meal planning around everything else in their lives, instead of making it a priority.

Think: what is most important: getting the weight off, and becoming fit enough to put years on your life - or watching another TV show? Sit down with a pen and paper and allot at least one hour a day to planning meals, recording what you eat, and doing some form of exercise. You've still got 23 hours left to do everything else!

2. E is for Exercise - and Enjoy!

What else do you notice in the Biggest Loser household? The more they exercise, the more they seem to enjoy it. Oh sure, they grunt and they groan; they sweat and they complain. But as the weeks go on, you'll hear them say things like: "I never thought I'd say that I look forward to working out - but now don't feel right if a day goes past without exercise!"

The secret to enjoying exercise is finding what's right for YOU. If you don't really enjoy the gym, look for other forms of exercise. You need a mix of cardio and resistance training - but it doesn't have to be on machines. Walk, swim, dance, climb hills, push a wheelbarrow in the garden... there are endless choices that can be fun for you. Research what happens to various muscle groups - and to your heart - when you exercise, and pick activities that you will enjoy.

3. Identify the Triggers.

Emotions run high when the contestants have to face their demons. Weight gain is rarely from just a physical cause. If you keep a food diary, and faithfully record not only what you eat but when (and why) you eat it, you'll soon see a pattern of emotional eating. What are YOUR triggers? Boredom? Tiredness? Family arguments?

Once you have identified these triggers, you can start working on strategies to defeat them. This can be as simple as challenging yourself every time you want food. ("Am I hungry - yes or no? If I'm not hungry, then why do I want to eat? Am I really just thirsty? If I'm running to the fridge because I'm upset, is there something else I can do to feel better? Is there a long-term solution that will fix this forever?" and so on.) If you're not yet ready to deal with the root cause, then be prepared with food that won't add to your problems with the resulting rolls of fat. Make sure that you have 'good' food at hand - but also food that you LIKE.

These are just three of the lessons that anyone can take away from watching The Biggest Loser. And you'll have the satisfaction of knowing you did it all by yourself.

sleeping pills overdose

After reading this, I hope you can still sleep well. Sleep-inducing medicines, popularly known  as sleeping pills, have a reputation of helping people get some peace and quiet at night.  Sleep deprivation is such a difficult condition to have since it literally zaps a person's energy to do the more important things in life, at work and at home.  Specifically, it is used by chronic insomniacs who desperately need to get that well-deserved rest.  Insomniacs often flip over the hundreds of cable channels each night hoping to get tired enough to sleep.  For them, it does not matter if they sleep in from of the t.v. as long as they do get to sleep eventually.  But t.v. surfing loses its effectiveness after a few nights, leaving the insomniac up and awake the whole night, and, yes, bone-weary the next morning. Manic workloads, job-related stresses, and the ever-toxic idea of work itself leaves a person with no other option but to trust the “fast” relief. Studies show that people who are prone to stress and other everyday worries are the ones who would most likely resort to the use of sleeping pills.  Other studies, however, also show that long-term use of sleeping pills could cause unwanted side effects or health problems.  People who often take refuge or rely mostly on these sedatives are more prone to negative effects and even life-threatening situations as:

*Degradation of activities

    Studies prove that continuous use of sleeping pills can reduce brain cell activity, affect short-memory term and cause hang-overs. The aftermath of taking these sedatives may seem manageable, but in the long run, these effects may escalate into more serious problems such us forgetfulness and lack of focus. You wouldn't want to report to your workplace with confused and groggy, right? Also, it's a bad thing to forget certain work errands just because of sleeping pills.              

    Just like how the body forms its natural defense through the production of antibodies, the body may also develop an immunity to the drug.  The frequent intake of a certain drug would lessen the potency of the active ingredients. Eventually, the user would have to take higher doses of the drug, and be open to the risk of developing a drug dependence or addiction. Sleeping pill addiction is, in fact, fast becoming a common health concern.                    

*  Death

    People who use sleeping pills have undeniably higher mortality rates than those who don't. Sleep apnea patients are advised to refrain from taking sleep-inducing pills. As sedatives, sleeping pills tend to lengthen the pauses in breathing when one is asleep.  This situation can jeopardize the health of people with sleep apnea.  Every year, many cases of death are attributed to the effects of these drugs.   

    As the saying goes, we can buy luxurious bed but we can never purchase a good night's sleep. This proverbial statement just proves that many people are really struggling to board another express train to Dreamland. And the struggle goes on.  For some people, a good night's sleep is like a rare commodity. The artificial inducement of sleep may be necessary but caution must always be exercised to prevent sleeping pill overdose.  Getting some “shut-eye” with the help of a pill or two need not lead to the sleep of death.