Saturday, 27 February 2016

Take Action Now and Achieve Your Goals

TAKE ACTION!

I swear, it seems as if there are more opinions regarding fat
loss than there are people. It's amazing. What's even more
amazing (and frustrating), is that most of them are wrong,
if not downright dangerous.

There is just way too much information for you to even get
started with a successful program, sometimes known as
"information overload".

There is so much information and so many differing opinions that you never even get yourself started. Or, you get started, but never give any particular program a chance, instead going from one to the other, in a "shot gun" approach, never giving anything a chance to make progress.

You need to pick a sensible program and decide to stick with it for a long enough period of time that you can measure your results, or lack thereof.

If you're like most people, fear, doubt and confusion are preventing you from moving forward and tackling your fat loss goals. This prevents too many people from achieving their goals in life, whether it be a successful career, or building their body.

Everyone feels the fear and doubt. The difference is that successful people move forward anyway and use these things as motivators to help them achieve their goals.

Do something! Hit the gym. Eat that nutritious meal.

You don't have to know everything to get started. Do a few weight exercises a couple of days a week, drop one thing in your diet that you know you shouldn't have. You can fine tune your program as you go, doing more and more of the things you need to do.

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Forget about whether supplement a is better than supplement b or if turkey is better than chicken or should you have whey protein with casein or take them separately.

If you aren't doing the fundamentals correctly, these things just don't matter. This goes back to a previous article I wrote where I stated that things such as narrow grip, wide grip, etc. won't mean a thing if there are major flaws in the fundamentals of your training
program.

Forget about which supplement is better for what, whether you should be riding the bike or hitting the treadmill, if turkey has less fat than chicken.

Master the fundamentals first!

The fundamentals of fat loss include:

Perform high intensity weight training,

Burn more calories than you consume

Eat 5-6 small, frequent meals and never skip meals,

Taken in a few tablespoons of good fats such as flax seed or sunflower

Eat natural foods; avoid processed & refined foods

Drink a lot of water

Eat more fibrous carbs, fruits & vegetables,

Consume at least 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body mass

Perform high intensity cardio

If you're not doing all these things, and you're looking for the perfect supplement stack or the optimum periodization plan, then you are just setting yourself up for failure from the beginning.

Fitness Is A Lifestyle, Not A Diet

Do you know what is the biggest fat loss mistake made by beginners?

As many of you are aware, gym memberships always shoot up in January and February. All of the sudden, you can't get the equipment you want without a long wait. Don't worry, as you move into March, most of the newcomers will be gone because they've quit.

Results may come slowly for most of you, unless you are genetically blessed.

But if you stick with it long enough, if you resolve to make it a lifestyle and not a quick fix, you will get the results that you want.

Gregg Gillies

Gregg Gillies is a speaker, consultant, fat loss expert, trainer and author. He teaches fitness via his articles, books and courses at his web site [http://www.buildleanmuscle.com] . He is the author of two books: Complete information on his books, along with lots of free articles are available at his site. And while there, don't forget to sign up for his free newsletter, "Fit Physique".

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Gregg_Gillies/1090



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Friday, 26 February 2016

A Vital Tool For Your Fitness Success

A Training Diary is a Vital Tool For Your Fitness Success

I know you've heard this before and it seems
"basic". But it is an important key to success.
And apparently, it isn't heard enough because
I'd say less than 1% of the people I see in the
gym keep track of their workout.

An essential part of the organization needed to
get each workout day right is a training diary.
At its most basic minimum this is a written record
of reps and poundage for every work set you do and
an evaluation of each workout so that you can stay
alert to warning signs of over training.

After each workout reflect on your evaluation and,
when necessary, make adjustments to avoid falling
foul of over training.

A training diary or journal is indispensable for
keeping you on track for training success. No matter
where you are now -- 180-pound squat or 500, 13-inch
arms or 17, 135-pound bench press or 350 -- the
systematic organization and focus on achieving goals
that a training journal enforces will help you to
get bigger, stronger, and leaner.

As simple as it is to use a training log, do not
underestimate its vital role in helping you achieve
your fitness goals. Most trainees are aware that
they should record their workouts in a permanent
way, but few actually do it.

And even those trainees who keep some sort of
training log usually fail to exploit its full
potential benefits. This is one of the major reasons
why most trainees get minimal results from their
training.

Your training journal is extremely important and
should be more than just a list of weights, sets
and rep.

When used properly, a training journal enforces
the organization needed to get each work-out right,
week after week, month after month and year after year.
By recording your poundages and reps, you log your
entire training program and the week-by-week breakdown
of how you work through the routine (s) in each
training cycle in the journal.

A training log eliminates reliance upon memory.
There will be no, "Did I squat eight reps with 330
pounds at my last squat workout, or was it seven?"
Refer to your journal and you will see precisely
what you did last time--i.e.., what you need to
improve on if you are to make your next workout a
step forward.

With a well-kept and detailed journal, you'll know
with absolute certainty what is working in your
program and what doesn't. Are you stagnating? Not
making the progress you want? Go back and consult
your journal at a time that you were making fantastic
progress? What were you doing then that you are
not doing now?
Image result for fitness clipart
image
You must be 100 percent honest when entering data.
Record the quality of your reps. If you did five
good ones but the sixth needed a tad of help from
a training partner, do not record all six as if
they were done under your own steam. Record the
ones you did alone, but note the assisted rep as
only a half rep.

It is not enough just to train hard. You need to
train hard with a target to beat on every work
set you do. The targets to beat in any given workout
are your achievements the previous time you performed
that same routine.

If you train hard but with no rigorous concern
over reps and poundages, you cannot be sure you are
training progressively. And training progressively
is the key to making progress. But for accurate records
of sets, reps and poundages to have meaning, your
training conditions must be consistent.

If at one workout you rush between sets, then at the
next workout you take your time, you cannot fairly
compare those two sessions.

If one week the dead lift is your first exercise and
the following week you dead lift at the end of the
workout, you cannot fairly compare those two workouts.
And the form you use for each exercise must be
consistent and flawless every time you train.

Likewise, if you do 3 sets of the bench press and
one workout you take 1 minute between sets and the
next workout you take 3 minutes between sets, you
can't be sure that you've progressed from one
workout to the next.

Get all the details of your training in black and
white, refer to them when appropriate and get in
control of your training. In addition to control
over the short term, this permanent record will
give you a wealth of data to analyse and draw on
when designing your future training programs.

Keep accurate records of each workout, each
day's caloric and protein intake, how much
sleep you get, muscular girths and your body
composition. Then you will remove all guesswork
and disorder from your training program.

But all of this is just a bunch of words. You
have to make the theory and rationale come
alive with your conscientious and methodical
practical application. Do exactly that now, and
take charge of your training!

Most trainees have neither the organization
needed for success nor the will and desire to
push themselves very hard when they need to.
But these are the very demanding essentials for
a successful fitness program.

Find out how you did in trying to make today
another step toward achieving your next set of
short-term goals. Have all of today's actions--
training (if a training day), diet and rest--met
or exceeded the goals for the day? If not, why
not?

A daily critical analysis of what you did and
did not do to take another step forward will
help you to be more alert to improving tomorrow.

Take a few minutes each day to review your
journal.

Take as much control over your life as you can.
Learn from your mistakes. Capitalize on the
good things you have done. Do more of the
positive things you are already doing and
fewer of the negative things.

Gregg Gillies - trainer, fitness, fat loss expert, speaker, author of Get Fit Fast, publisher of a free newsletter available at [http://www.buildleanmuscle.com] His articles have appeared in Ironman Magazine, Body Talk magazine, and on bodybuilding.com, among others.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Gregg_Gillies/1090



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Thursday, 25 February 2016

How to Avoid Becoming a Fitness Failure

When it comes to fitness, no one likes being a failure, yet more than half
of new exercisers quit their program within the first six months. With a
little help you can ensure you're not one of them. Give these ideas a try
as you begin your exercise program for the new year.

Set goals

If you don't know where you are going, how will you know when you get
there? Setting short-term and long-term goals may increase your
chance of success. Your goals must give a clear picture of the end-point
to work towards. Use the SMART model, your goal should be Specific,
Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Without these
you'll never know if you have achieved the goal. You can't just say "lose
weight or gain energy." Instead say, "I will lose 10 pounds in 12 weeks
by doing strength training 3 times a week and cardio 3 times a week."

Go for variety
Image result for fitness
image

Whether you do a home workout or belong to a gym, build your routine
on cross-training to keep things fresh and interesting, and keep yourself
from developing an injury. Frequently vary the order of your exercises
and mix in dumbbells, barbells, resistance tubing, machine or body
weight exercises. Don't be afraid to take a class.

Track your progress

Write down your measurements and weight at the beginning of your
program. Keep a workout log and use it. Seeing results is a great
motivator. At least once a month, re-measure and review your log to see
advances in your aerobic fitness, strength, flexibility and body
composition.

Seek out support

A workout partner with similar goals and a positive attitude can make
your workout more fun. knowing you are accountable to another person
can be a great motivator too. So can working with a certified personal
trainer.

Devise a backup plan

Time and access are the largest obstacles to fitness, and even devoted
exercisers experience lapses. Don't use these as excuses to avoid
exercise. Having some portable home workout gear like a stability ball,
resistance tubing, jump rope, and dumbbells, will allow you to work out
while traveling, at home or even at work. With limited time, focus on
compound
movements for the largest muscle groups and superset 2 for opposing
muscle groups. A brief but intense workout can be accomplished in a
few minutes.

Just do it

While pumping iron may not be right for everyone, the idea being active
is. Find something you enjoy doing that elevates your heart rate and
challenges you most days of the week. Also pay attention to how you
feel. If you are like most people in as little as three weeks you will find
yourself
sleeping better and feeling more rested.

The information contained in this article is strictly for informational
purposes and is not intended to provide medical advice. If you are
sedentary or over 40 please get clearance from a doctor before starting
an exercise program.

You have permission to publish this article electronically,
without changes of any kind, free of charge, as long as the
bylines are included, and remain working hyper links. Please send
a copy of the URL where you have posted this article.

©Rick DeToma

Rick DeToma is a fitness coach, and trainer who specializes in home workouts. Contact Rick for a no obligation telephone fitness assessment at: [http://www.tailored-fitness-home-workouts.com/contact.html]

Get more tips like these by subscribing to Tailored Fitness News [http://www.tailored-fitness-home-workouts.com/newsletter.html]

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Rick_DeToma/2479



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Wednesday, 24 February 2016

The Magic of Pain Free Good Health

Has the use of aromas and herbs, only recently been appreciated for their healing, and recuperative qualities? Most certainly not.

Aromas had been used for medicinal, spiritual, and magical purposes going back as far back as Egyptian times 3000 B.C. Even further back in time 5000 B.C. the Tassili cave paintings showed women wearing fragrant flower garlands. There are frequent mentions of the use of potions throughout history - Pliny the 1st century Roman historian, mentions in his Natural History narrative, 32 remedies prepared from roses, 21 from lilies, 17 from violets, and 25 from pennyroyal. Ancient Indian cultures used sandalwood for genito-urinary infections.

Nostradamus, at the age of 21 received a licence, having studied in Montpellier France, to practise medicine. One of the formulae which he used as a remedy for several conditions, has survived to this day, and was compounded of rose petals, cloves, lignum aloes, and the dried roots of iris and sweet flag.
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The ancient Greeks also contributed to the origins of herbal medicine. Dioscorides, a military doctor was the author of De Materia Medica a book on herbal medicine, which was the foundation of all subsequent books for a further 1600 years. Galen another Greek doctor also wrote a major book on herbal medicine De Simplicibus in the 2nd century which was used up to the middle ages by the Islamic physicians.

The word of herbalism was carried to Europe via the crusaders, and the texts were translated into Latin, which when printing was developed, the information became more widespread, though only if you could read. So herbal folklore passed on from generation to generation, by word of mouth. In the 16th century John Gerard published in 1597 the "Herbal or General Historie of Plantes". He had been greatly influenced by the great medical scholar Paracelsus.

Now in recent time the medical fraternity is becoming aware of the benefits of some of these ancient methods, and in the United Kingdom some areas are becoming available on the National Health System.

I would invite you to visit the sites included in [http://www.magicure.com] and see for yourself the benefits that are available.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/John_Wedlake/1616



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Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Top 10 Ways to Jump Start your Weight Loss

1. Eat protein at every meal, including breakfast.

2. Eliminate wheat- and flour-based products for the time being. And yes, that definitely includes bread and pasta.

3. Eat unprocessed foods. Ninety percent of what you eat should be a combination of (in this order of importance) raw vegetables, steamed vegetables, whole grain, lean protein, and maybe a few fruits if necessary.

4. Reduce starch to one portion a day, and don't eat that portion during your evening meal. Best choices are beans, sweet potatoes, and oatmeal.

5. Don't overdo fruit: one a day maximum, and only the low-sugar, high-fiber variety. Apples, pears, plums and berries all are good choices. For now, fruit should be eaten alone or with something light, like low fat nuts. Lose the fruit juice completely.

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6. Reduce or eliminate dairy for the time being, especially cow's milk. Exceptions: reasonable amounts of low sugar, fat free yoghurt.

7. Lose the booze. Despite what the "studies" say, you lose no health benefits by giving up alcohol (including wine). There is nothing essential in alcohol that you can't get in fruits and vegetables without all the bad side effects that go along with it.

8. Stop using vegetable oils such as sunflower, safflower and corn. The supermarket kind is highly refined, and it oxidises easily when heated, contributing to arterial plaque. Use olive oil instead, and apply it to food after the food is cooked when possible.

9. Watch which types of fat you're eating. The amount of fat you eat is probably less important than the kind of fat you eat. The worst are fried foods, margarine and foods that contain hydrogenized or partially hydrogenized oils. The best is omega-3, found in fish and flaxseed oil.

10. Obsessively drink water: At least 8 ounces for every 20 pounds of bodyweight you're now carrying around, each day. Every day. No excuses.

For a ton of f.ree, valuable tips, tricks, and secrets visit: http://www.MaximizeYourMetabolism.com

© 2002-2005 Wisdom Books, LLC & Christopher Guerriero WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this blurb with it: Christopher Guerriero, is the founder of the National Metabolic & Longevity Research Center and a best-selling author, speaker, and coach to millions. He is creator of the award-winning 'Maximize Your Metabolism' system. To learn more about this step-by-step program, and to sign up for FR*EE how-to articles and F.REE teleseminars, visit http://www.MaximizeYourMetabolism.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Chris_Guerriero/43986



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Monday, 22 February 2016

Achieve Your Health And Fitness Goals By Getting SMART

Get SMART to Get Fit

I'm not sure who was creative enough to make the acronym work, but work it does and it can fit in quite nicely with your fitness goals.

If you want to succeed you need to get SMART about your goals.
SMART is a great way to help you stay on track and achieve
your goals.

The S stands for specific. Be specific about the goals you
want to achieve. Forget things like, "I want to get in shape", "I want to add muscle", or "I want to lose weight", or "I want to increase my bench press."

Instead try things like "I want to run a 6 minute mile", "I want to add 10 pounds of muscle", "I want to lose 20 pounds of fat, or "I want to add 40 pounds to my best bench press."

The M stands for measurable. This ties in very well with specific. You can't measure 'getting in shape", but you sure can measure 'running a 6 minute mile'.

With a pair of trusty skin fold callipers, you can also measure pretty accurately adding 10 pounds of muscle or losing 20 pounds of fat.

And of course, you can easily measure the poundage increase on your best bench press.

The specific and measurable aspect can be broken down even more to bring you closer to achieving your goals. For example, if you want to add 10 pounds of muscle, what other specific and measurable things must you do to reach your goal?

image

One could be that you must eat 6 high protein meals a day.

A second could be that you must eat 3,500 calories and 300 grams of protein every day.

You must train with weights three days per week.

You must add weight to your exercises at least every other workout.

All of these are specific and measurable. The more specifics that you have, the more likely you will add your 10 pounds of muscle as quickly as possible.

You can make a list of your daily, weekly, and monthly goals that you must do in order to meet your top goal of adding 10 pounds of muscle.

Each day, place a check mark next to each measurable and specific goal you achieved that will help you conquer your top goal. Obviously, the more checks you have, the more likely that you will achieve your goal.

In addition to specific and measurable, your goals must be A, or attainable. The R stands for realistic. As I've said before, it's important to set challenging goals.

Challenging, but attainable, that is. A goal of a 50 pound increase on your bench press max in 12 weeks would be a challenging goal, but also one that is possible.

However, setting a goal of bench pressing 300 pounds in 4 weeks when you currently bench press 75 pounds will do nothing but set you up for failure and frustration.

Obviously, weight loss is on the minds of many people, which is why so many fall victim to promises like "lose 30 pounds in 30 days without getting hungry and without exercising."

As a reader of this newsletter, you know that the above is neither timely nor realistic. But many people do fall for such things because they want results NOW! They are setting themselves up for failure. Please don't join them.

The T stands for Timely. If you do everything previously mentioned, it's still not enough. You must give yourself a deadline to achieve your goal. More importantly, if your goal is attainable and realistic, but also long term, break it up into smaller goals.

If you wish to lose 75 pounds, start with losing just 10 pounds in 2 months. Reaching that goal will motivate you further and before you know it, enough time has passed that you've lost the 75 pounds.

But if you focus solely on losing the 75 pounds, which could take a year or more to accomplish, your motivation and discipline could wane, and you could fail to follow through on what you need to do to make your goal a reality.

Making goals timely hold you accountable and creates a positive sense of urgency. You may think twice about eating that piece of cake when you know you are having a body composition test and pictures taken in 2 weeks.

In addition to getting smart, celebrate your successes. And I don't mean that you should allow yourself to dust off a gallon of ice cream in one sitting because you lost 10 pounds. That would be self defeating.

But you could treat yourself to a movie, or a pair of jeans you've had your eye on, or an extra hour of sleeping in on the weekend. Don't sabotage your wonderful efforts by giving yourself destructive rewards for accomplishing your goals.

Gregg Gillies is a speaker, consultant, fat loss expert, trainer and author. He teaches fitness via his articles, books and courses at his web site [http://www.buildleanmuscle.com] . He is the author of two books: Complete information on his books, along with lots of free articles are available at his site. And while there, don't forget to sign up for his free newsletter, "Fit Physique".

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Gregg_Gillies/1090



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Sunday, 21 February 2016

Enhance Your Flexibility:

When it comes to the Big Three of exercise - cardiovascular, strength and flexibility training - it's pretty clear which one can get overlooked. After all, while we prize cardiovascular and strength training for their role in helping us lose weight, build muscle and get fit, the benefits of flexibility training are less immediately alluring.

However, as the population ages, more of us are learning to appreciate the rewards of stretching. Staying limber can offset age-related stiffness, improve athletic performance, and optimize functional movement in daily life. Research shows that flexibility training can develop and maintain range of motion and may help prevent and treat injury. In fact, the American College of Sports Medicine has added flexibility training to its general exercise recommendations, advising that stretching exercises for the major muscle groups be performed two to three days per week.

How can you include an effective flexibility workout in your fitness program? Here are some guidelines:

Think in Terms of Serious Flexibility Training, Not Just Brief Stretching. Squeezing in one or two quick stretches before or after a workout is better that nothing, but this approach will yield limited results. What's more, generic stretches may not be effective for your particular body. The more time and attention you give to your flexibility training, the more benefits you'll experience. A qualified personal trainer, physical therapist or health professional can design a functional flexibility program specifically for you.

Consider Your Activities. Are you a golfer? Do you ski, run or play tennis? Do your daily home or work routines include bending, lifting or sitting for long periods? Functional flexibility improves the stability and mobility of the whole person in his or her specific environment. An individualized stretching program is best to improve both stability (the ability to maintain ideal body alignment during all activities) and mobility (the ability to use full, normal range of motion).

Pay Special Attention to Tight Areas. Often the shoulder, chest, hamstrings and hips are particularly tight, but you may hold tension in other areas, depending on your history of injuries and the existing imbalances in your muscle groups. Unless you tailor your flexibility training to your strengths and weaknesses, you may stretch already overstretched muscles and miss areas that need training.

Listen to Your Body. Stretching is an individual thing. Pay attention to your body's signals and don't push too far. Avoid bouncing or jerking movements to gain momentum; this approach can be dangerous.

Instead, slowly stretch your muscles to the end point of movement and hold the stretch for about 10 to 30 seconds. Older adults, pregnant women and people with injuries will need to take special precautions.

Get Creative. Varying your flexibility training can help you stick with it. You can use towels, resistance balls and other accessories to add diversity and effectiveness to your stretching.

Warm Up First. Don't forget to warm up your muscles before you begin. Walking briskly for 10 to15 minutes is a simple way to do this.

Find a Flexibility Class That Works for You. Classes that include stretching are becoming more popular and more diverse. Some combine cardiovascular and strength components with the flexibility training; others focus exclusively on stretching.

Stretch Your Mind and Body. Did you know that your emotional state may affect your flexibility? If your body is relaxed, it will be more responsive to flexibility training. Listening to music and focusing on your breath can help you relax as you stretch. You may also want to explore yoga or Pilates. In addition to stretching, classes in these disciplines may include relaxation, visualization and other mind-body techniques designed to reduce stress and increase mindfulness.

It's Not Just for Wimps. Forget the idea that stretching is just for elderly, injured or unconditioned people. Many Olympic and professional athletes rely on flexibility training for peak performance.

Do It Consistently. It doesn't help to stretch for a few weeks and then forget about it. Integrate regular stretching into your permanent fitness program. For inspiration, look to cats and dogs - they're dedicated practitioners of regular stretching and you rarely see them getting the kind of joint or muscular injuries that humans get!

Shoulder and Trapezius Stretch

** Stand upright with shoulders back, chest out, and feet hip-width apart.

** Clasp your hands behind your buttocks.

** Slowly lift your hands up and away from your body until they have reached the furthest comfortable position.

** Keep your chest out and your chin in without hunching over.

** Once you feel a comfortable stretch in your chest and anterior shoulders, hold this position for at least 15-30 seconds.

Lying Quadriceps Stretch

** Lie face down on a mat.

** Lift your right leg up towards your buttocks.

** Reach around with your right hand and grasp your foot. -Slowly pull downwards, stretching your quadriceps to the furthest comfortable position.

** Hold this position for at least 15-30 seconds.

Shin Stretch

** Using a wall or chair as support, place your left foot behind your right foot, with the top of your left on the ground.

** Extend the bottom of your left shin as far forwards as possible. Slowly lower yourself by bending both legs.

** Once you have stretched your anterior tibialis to the furthest comfortable position, hold for at least 15-30 seconds.

** Switch legs and repeat.

Hip, Gluteus and Back Stretch

** Sit on the floor with both of your legs extended in front of you.

** Bend your right leg over your left leg, keeping your right foot flat on the floor outside the left knee.

** Place your left elbow on the outside of your right knee, and extend your right arm behind you with your palm flat on the floor for support.

** Slowly twist your upper body to the right while looking over your right shoulder.

** Lightly apply pressure with your left elbow on the outside of your right knee as you twist. Be sure to keep your upper body straight.

** Once you feel a comfortable stretch in your hips, buttocks, and lower back, hold this position for at least 15-30 seconds.

** Switch sides and repeat.

Calf Stretch

** Put the sole of the top half of your right foot against the wall. Slide your right heel as close towards the wall as possible.

** Slowly lean forward towards the wall stretching your calves. Once you have stretched your calf to the furthest comfortable position, hold for at least 15-30 seconds.

** Switch legs and repeat.

For a ton of f.ree, valuable tips, tricks, and secrets visit: http://www.MaximizeYourMetabolism.com

© 2002-2005 Wisdom Books, LLC & Christopher Guerriero WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this blurb with it: Christopher Guerriero, is the founder of the National Metabolic & Longevity Research Center and a best-selling author, speaker, and coach to millions. He is creator of the award-winning 'Maximize Your Metabolism' system. To learn more about this step-by-step program, and to sign up for FR*EE how-to articles and F.REE teleseminars, visit http://www.MaximizeYourMetabolism.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Chris_Guerriero/43986



Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6872

20 Simple Ways to Beat Fatigue this Winter

AS Autumn with it's breathless colours of flames and golds comes to an end, we await the arrival of Winter and it's own definitive beauty.

Yes, there is no point kidding ourselves, it will be pretty damp and, at times, downright. It will be cold and chilly and for some the task of dragging ourselves out of bed in the dark mornings will get more and more difficult. The glare of oncoming headlamps will play havoc with your eyes as you head homeward bound during the dark evenings in manic traffic. And as you reluctantly adjust to the shorter days and lack of natural daylight and sunlight, you are also faced with the fact that Christmas, and it's inevitable rush, is heading this way, as it always does, at full speed!

All the ingredients to ensure a good dose of winter fatigue I'm sure you'll agree - but help is at hand! It doesn't have to be unbearable. If you are feeling a little lack lustre, yawning at a ferocious rate and basically have just about enough energy in the evenings to slump down on the sofa in front of the box, you'll be tickled pink you opened this page! You can bring back that 'joie de vivre' and add a little peppering of genuine verve back into your life by trying some (or indeed all) of these 20 simple ways to boost your energy levels this winter!

1) SLEEP - Get as much sleep as you need to and remember your body really needs it at this time of year.

2) VITAMINS - Supplements such as Vitamins A, B and E are all important for well-being. If you want to avoid supplements, however, you can ensure that you eat the necessary foods containing these essentials. Try using 1 teaspoon of Brewers Yeast in a glass of milk or water, it's full of Vitamin B and good for digestion too.

3) LAUGHTER - Bring on the laughter and smiles, it's the most natural way to help depression, anxiety and, believe it or not, it lowers blood pressure too!

4) STRETCH - One really effective way to beat fatigue is to try a Yoga pose known as the 'Standing Stretch'. Stand in the correct posture, that is, with your toes pointed out in front of you, your knees relaxed and your feet at hip distance. Ensure the weight is balanced evenly between the ball and the heel of your foot. Interlace your thumbs and stretch your hands up above your head while keeping your arms against your ears - and stretch upwards from the lumbar area of your lower back.

Keeping your breath even throughout, now slowly release the arms down in front of you. Tuck your chin into your chest bone and gently lower yourself down, vertebrae by vertebrae keeping arms hanging loosely and then just hang from the waist. This position encourages the blood flow to the head and is a real winner when you need to energise yourself. After one minute slowly bring yourself back up into a standing position, imagining as you do so that each vertebrae is stacking itself upon the next until you are eventually upright and repeat three times.

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5) DIET - Check your Diet and be sure over the winter months to include at least five portions of fruit and vegetables everyday.

6) AROMATHERAPY - Use pure Essential Oils as often as you need them. Burning Peppermint or Rosemary oils is excellent for alertness and both also aid concentration. As these oils are energising oils it is best not to use them in the evening if you are planning to have a good nights sleep.

7) THE MAGIC OF WATER - Don't forget the recommended amount is approximately two litres per day.

8) AVOID toxic people because, quiet simply, they can completely drain you of energy.

9) EXERCISE - Get plenty of exercise - There's no escaping it. The health gurus recommend that we all need to include at least 15 minutes exercise, three or four times a week.

10) LEARN TO SAY 'NO' more often. As the old saying goes 'those that matter won't mind and those that mind don't matter'. You'll be amazed at how much energy you can recoup and even more amazed to discover that if you say 'no' the world will keep on turning.

11) COMBAT PARTY NIGHTS - If you've had a late night on the Town try drinking at least two glasses of water before crawling up to bed, it will make the following day far more bearable.

12) BREAKFAST - We've known from a very early age that we should never miss Breakfast. No matter how tight you are for time try not to skip it. For a quick energy-inducing breakfast grab a mug of hot water with honey and lemon and a quick bowl of cereal, ideally with fibre.

13) REDUCE your intake of Caffeine. While it may give a quick boost, a lot of caffeine daily actually ends up having a negative effect on your energy level. You might even try substituting a couple of cups a day with a herbal tea, such as sage to raise spirits, peppermint to aid digestion or chamomile to enable you to unwind.

14) LEARN - Meditation and Relaxation techniques - they'll be invaluable not just today but for life.

15) MOTHER NATURE - Get out there and make the most of the short daylight hours. Overdose on fresh air. There is nothing more revitalizing than taking the time, even if it's only 15 minutes a day, to soak in our beautiful scenery and breathe in the fabulous scents of the season.

16) MASSAGE - It's a wonderful way of keeping the immune system in ship shape order and the body supple and healthy. So go on invest in your health and schedule a massage once a month for optimum results.

17) DIGESTION - Be kind to your digestive system. Eat slowly and avoid late night eating as much as possible.

18) STRESS - Manage your stress levels and become aware of your react to stress. Remember stress is infectious!

19) MANAGE TIME EFFECTIVELY - Avoid using up your lovely energy by rushing to every appointment. Aim to leave about fifteen minutes earlier, not only will you arrive in plenty of time - you'll be completely unfrazzled.

20) CONCIOUS BREATHING - Believe it or not most of us don't breathe properly. With the speed of modern day life most adults are chest breathers which means the breath doesn't make it right down into the abdomen. Become conscious of your breath each day by taking a little time to become aware of your breathing habits. The following short exercise will benefit you in many ways as well as helping to re-energise your mind, body and soul...Firstly r-e-l-a-x your entire body by taking a deep breath into your stomach. As you slowly release it imagine it travelling up along your spine, relaxing all the muscles as you go and bringing attention to the shoulders by consciously dropping them into a relaxed position. Follow your breath and think about bringing the breath down into the bottom of the lungs and really feel the tummy rising and then exhale fully and slowly. After just a few minutes resume your regular activities and feel the difference.

Now you'll be ready to welcome the coming months with open arms and revel in the wonderful delights this season has to offer leaving you invigorated and ready to enjoy this Winter. You won't know yourself - I promise!

Paula Hynes is a Lifeskills Consultant and Educator specializing in stress, touch therapy and self care. She is also the founder of The Natural Therapy Training Centre in County Westmeath Ireland. Paula may be contacted at e-mail: naturaltc@eircom.net

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