Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Brother's Boot Camp

Since fitness is what the Ramstead kids do for fun, a weekend of sibling bonding might be considered a bit of a boot camp. My visit with my brother this past weekend was an example how a little family competition gave me a workout I couldn’t have done on my own. Day 1: Run up Mt Tzhouhalem On the outskirts of Duncan, BC this trail run had 295 meter altitude gain with gradients as steep as 10 %. The first 5 minutes of the climb was daunting, to say the least. I was gasping for air trying to fuel my burning glutes as they pushed me up the steep climb. I managed to sputter out bits of conversation to my brother, while he trotted next to me barely breaking a sweat. I wondered how far it was to the top and if I would be able to make it up at my 8 km/hr pace. Just when I thought my left hamstring was about to snap we peaked the top, and our reward was breathe taking views of the Cowichan bay.

The descent was the easy part of the run, and at the bottom we felt well worked but rejuvenated. To make sure the workout was total body we moved a giant pile of wood outside his house when we returned. It felt good to use my body in new ways and challenge my fitness level. Day 2: CrossFit: My brother has been raving about his CrossFit workouts for months, so I wanted to try it out with him. CrossFit is an athletic workout that uses little equipment. The high repetition, explosive exercises fatigue the body quickly, giving it a very intense workout in a short amount of time. All the CrossFit workouts are posted online so Cory chose one for us to do that had 4 exercises: Squats, burpees (a jump into a plank with chest onto the floor back into a vertical jump) pushups, and sit-ups. We did 4 rounds with decreasing amounts of each exercise. Cory’s rounds were 40, 30, 20, and 10 reps and mine were 30, 20, 10, and 5 reps of the exercises.

The first round was the hardest, but I did it and I grunted my way through the rest of the sets. When I reached the last round my competitiveness with my brother set in and I wanted to do as many reps as he had, so I added a 5th round of 35 of each exercise. The workout only took a total of 18 minutes but it definitely challenged my body and I’ll be recovering for several days post workout.

Having a workout partner got me to push to my limits which gave me a sense of accomplishment. I survived my brother’s weekend boot camp and discovered new strength in my body and my mind. I’m ready to conquer the mountains of the week ahead of me.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Healthy Body starts with Healthy Thoughts

This blog post is inspired by a couple of genius quotes, that with trial I have proven true in my life, as well as seen true with my clients.
First of all, "never say anything about yourself you don't want to be true" Brian Tracey
and "you can never be bigger than your dreams" JR Ridinger

The mind works in an interesting way; we become what we think about. For many years, I criticized my body every morning as I was getting dressed. I would poke and prod at all the areas I wanted to go away, or "tighten". I thought that if I wasn't aware of every imperfection I wouldn't be able to solve them. Boy was I wrong. Back in those days, I would run and run and run. Every day, I ran, swam, skiied; you name it, I did every thing I could to burn the calories I needed to achieve the body I wanted.
Did I ever get what I was working for? No, because I continued to poke and prod and think poorly of my shape. So much that I even verbalized these thoughts to those around me.

When I heard Brian Tracey's quote, I didn't quite believe it but I thought I'd just test it out. So I woke up in the morning, looked in the mirror, squinted my eyes so I couldn't see my lumps and bumps and said "You are beautiful." it felt kind of good, so I went on. "You are hot" not quite convinced I continued anyway "your body is hot" I really wanted to believe it so I said "other people think your body is hot". This was a completely foreign thought to me, whether it was true or not.
Something switched in me that day, and since then I've had the "perfect body". I don't know if I've actually lost weight or even if anything has physically changed (others have commented it has) but is doesn't matter, because as soon as I released myself of thinking I was "fat" my body let go of that image.
I share only my personal testimonial because I'm not an expert on the mind and how it works, but I'm sure my friend, Janice Manson a hypnotherapist would agree, the mind is very powerful. It has the ability to materialize our thoughts. Even little thoughts that we think are private and confined to inside of our skull can still become a self fulfilled prophesy.

So never think anything you don't want to be true.

Now that you've erased all of your negative thoughts, go ahead and dream big. Imagine, picture, visualize, and write out goals, of what a healthy body is to you. If it's playing with your grandkids, or running a marathon, or just getting through the day without pain, start to create what that means in your mind. Create an identity of the healthy you, and start acting like that. For instance, if you think you are overweight, (I only use overweight as my examples because most of my clients relate however you can insert any health issue in this spot), and you've put yourself on a diet in order to try to lose weight. You'll always be overweight and on a diet trying to lose weight. However, if you adopt the image of a healthy person who is living a healthy lifestyle and therefore easily sheds excess weight, this is what you'll become.

Don't be afraid to set your goals or your image of yourself beyond what you can imagine, because if you set big goals and you achieve half of them you can still look back to where you came from. It's true that you'll never be bigger, or thinner, than your dreams.

My Challenge to you is to create an image, whether it's in writing or pictures of what you as a healthy person looks like, what it feels like, and what you do. Make sure it is in present tense and read it out loud, or look at it everyday and truly live in that image. I want to hear your testimonials of how by changing your mind about something you've made a physical shift in your body, or your life.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The "Secret" to achieving your ideal body

Have you ever said to someone "wow you've lost weight, you've GOT to tell me your secret"? And reguardless of the response the person gives it's usually not too much of a secret or a surprise of how they did it. The reality is there's no secret; the concept of weight loss is simple, and we all know it, so why do we continue to ask? It's because losing weight isn't easy; it requires commitment, education, and motivation. Whether you're motivated to lose 50 lbs or 5 lbs, I'm going to tell you 3 simple things you need to know about your metabolism that will give you a boost to get the extra body fat off; and all you need to do is make the commitment to work towards feeling great in your skin.

1. Change your body composition

Your body is comprised of metabolically active tissues (lean body tissue), metabolically inactive tissue (fat tissue), and water. If your goal is to decrease your fat tissue you need to increase your lean body tissue. The easiest way to do this is by building muscle. Our muscles dictates our metabolism. By increasing muscle mass you are helping your body burn through the energy that is consumed and hopefully a little extra (if fat loss is the goal).

Go to your bathroom right now and throw away your scale, because you will no longer be focusing on how much you weigh but rather your percent of body fat compared to lean body tissue. This is because muscle weighs more than fat and it takes up less space. Exchanging 10 lbs of fat for 10 lbs of muscle may be the difference of 1 or 2 pants sizes, and your weight hasn't even changed!

Don't worry about becoming "bigger" by adding muscle to your bones. If you are increasing your daily activity level; you will be losing fat while you build your muscle, soon you'll need suspenders to keep your pants up.

2. Eat fat burning foods

You can control whether or not your body is going to use the food you consume as fuel or store it as fat. Depending on the types of food you eat, you can switch your metabolism into fat burning mode or fat storage mode.
Eating foods that rank high on the glycemic index, foods that are overly processed or refined, cause the body to release a hormone called insulin, to nuetralize the glucose levels in our blood stream and save the excess as fat. This is fat storage mode.

You can flip this metabolic switch to fat burning mode by eating foods that are low glycemic index, and slowly release glucose into our blood stream. Your bodies cells are able to gobble up the glucose as it comes to them and also use it to break into the extra energy that you have stored in fat cells.

Wondering what these magical foods are? I'll tell you the "secret": Vegetables, fruits, lean meats, beans, lentils, and legumes, and whole grains. Shocker I know.

So stay away from all those low fat, low calorie, low carb, no carb foods, packaged processed and refined foods you are doing your metabolism more harm than good.

3. Relax:

Stress could very well be the reason you are having trouble losing those last 5-10 lbs.

Stress has negative affects on your metabolism: when you are stressed about something, your body releases cortisol, the fight or flight hormone. This hormone was built into the body to get us out of life threatening situations and therefore signals the body to hang on to as much energy as possible so we can be strong whether we are "fighting" or "flighting". However your body doesn't know that what is actually causing stress is a meeting with the boss, or a traffic jam, and it still holds on to the energy, via the cortisol, particularly around the vital organs, or your mid section.

Choosing to incorporate one of these three points will not give you the super metabolism you need to burn through extra body fat. In order to be successful you must combine stress reducing activities with low glycemic index foods and exercise. By doing this you have the power to manage your metabolism to create the body you really want.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A vision of Health

My mission is to empower people with the tools required to live an abundant and healthy life. In order to accomplish this task I must first look at what exactly a healthy life is. Some may percieve health as simply the absense of disease, however my vision goes beyond physical health.

I'd like to create an illustration about what a "healthy life" is to me. Say life is a journey, picture a road of sorts, and moving down the road is a wheel, I'm going to call it the "wheel of health". In this wheel are 5 spokes each representing a different area of our health; physical, mental, social, spiritual, and financial. The strength of each of the spokes effects the efficiency and the movement of the wheel, if one spoke is broken the entire wheel can collapse. Good health could be defined as a balance between the 5 spokes.

Taking the analogy a step further, we can actually increase our health, by growing longer, stronger spokes, therefore expanding our wheel. A larger wheel means we can cover more ground on the road we are traveling.

Depending on our situation we tend to focus on strengthening different spokes of our wheel at different places on our journey. That's life; if you've got a flat tire you've got to pump it up.

How many of us feel like we are traveling down the road with an oval wheel, or worse a flat tire? Whatever your motivation is to become more healthy I encourage you to seek out the resources to do so.

Having expertise in the physcial aspect of health I aim to be a resource to people seeking strength in thier physical "spoke". Not blind to the fact that all the spokes play a role in our physical health, I will challenge you in all areas.

I see an opportunity for others who are more versed in other areas to help me out; I am looking to connect with other "health experts" in order to offer a wealth of resources to my readers and clients.

I Challenge you to create your own vision of health. What does being "healthy" mean to you? What does it look like? Share your thougths and ideas, we can all be inspired by each others goals and creativity.