Wake Up Like a Champ: Pro Tips Used by Athletes

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If there’s anyone who’s concerned with adding health and energy to their daily routine it’s professional athletes. Athletes often cite their morning ritual as the key to strength and discipline.  Since they also have to spend time trying to figure out how they are going to fit their workouts into their busy lives, they are a great example for us all on how to find balance in our lives.   Here are some ideas that have proven successful for elite athletes that you can incorporate into your own morning routine.

Be the Early Bird

Rise and Shine

Work early in the day. You are less likely to have distractions early in the morning that will prevent you from your workout. If you’re someone with a family, or a busy job, by waking up early you’re able to focus on your own goals while everyone else is sleeping. Getting up early requires discipline and athletes with discipline are successful. After adjusting to the initial shock of opening your eyes before the sun is up and getting used to the routine, you’ll realize that you’ll start performing better early in the morning.

Mentally Rehearse the Task

task_list1Olympic athletes spend a great deal of time in psychological preparation. Athletes often imagine themselves acting out a successful completion to their goal. Some ways to do this include: rehearse, read inspirational books and quotes, rehearse mantras and most importantly have a plan that contributes to your success.

Start your day by creating a task list that includes everything you need to do to accomplish your goals. Some athletes find that keeping a performance log or other type of progress chart aids them in sticking to their training regimen. Record your progress, and keep track in case something goes wrong. Looking back over your process may show you where you went off track.

Force Yourself to Eat

lose-weight15“I’m not hungry.” It’s true that many people–including athletes–just don’t feel hungry in the morning, especially if they aren’t in the habit of eating first thing. But once athletes do start eating breakfast, their bodies get used to the habit and begin craving food when they wake up. Perhaps start by adding a light breakfast 15 to 30 minutes after waking up. This could be a small bowl of cereal and milk, a piece of peanut butter toast and apple juice, a granola bar, fruit, or a few graham crackers with a glass of chocolate milk. Eventually, the athlete’s body will get used to morning fuel and they can work up to eating a bigger breakfast.

Athletes who skip breakfast generally train less effectively, suffer needless fatigue and may see suboptimal results. They also tend to have trouble concentrating, and work or study less efficiently in the late morning.

Breakfast(s) of Champion

16592_lOnce athletes make a commitment to eating a healthy breakfast on a daily basis, they reap the benefits quickly. Although many athletes may think primarily of carbohydrates like bagels, cereal, toast, and fruit or juice for breakfast, it’s important to also take in at least 20 to 30 grams of protein in the morning. Including protein is critical for maintaining lean body mass, and some studies have found that when included at breakfast, protein may increase total energy expenditure during the day. Here are some examples of breakfast meals that each includes at least 20 grams of protein:

  • Two slices of whole wheat toast with two tablespoons of peanut butter, one banana, one container of light yogurt, and one cup of one-percent chocolate milk.
  • One cup of Greek vanilla yogurt with three tablespoons of slivered almonds, a quarter-cup of low-fat granola, and a half-cup of fresh berries or half of a peach mixed in.
  • A two-egg omelet with one ounce of low-fat cheese and one ounce of chopped ham wrapped in a medium-sized whole grain tortilla shell, along with one cup of 100-percent grapefruit juice.
  • A smoothie made of one cup of Greek yogurt, a half-cup of frozen cherries, and a half-cup of juice, along with a mini whole wheat bagel topped with a slice of cheese or peanut butter.

Herbal Teas

295137-58111-121For true morning rejuvenation, replace morning coffee with a refreshing herbal tea.  The Greeks regarded tea as the ‘divine leaf’ that cures asthma, colds and bronchitis, aids digestion and improves cardiovascular health. The Greeks, you might recall, were the World’s first Olympians – they invented it!

Athletes often take tea with honey rather than using sugar to sweeten tea because honey provides its own nutrition and boosts the body’s immunity. Black tea and dandelion tea contains niacin, potassium and riboflavin and traces of thiamin, zinc, manganese, and calcium. Tea contains some reasonable amounts of caffeine which boosts energy levels and increases stamina.  This is what an athlete is always looking for: high energy and more active behavior.

All types of tea are beneficial for the health of athletes but using green tea would be the best as it has more antioxidants than others. Antioxidants are compounds that protect the body from the oxidation effect of exercise and other forms of intense physical activity such as sports. The antioxidants in green tea can offset the oxidative stress that comes from physical workouts. This means your body can recover more quickly from physical exercise and have less damage after a workout.

Sleep Well, Rise Well

12-Tips-4-Sleep-Well-2If you want to wake up with energy, it all starts the night before.  Getting enough sleep takes commitment, just like training.   High-level athletes that are training hard need 8-10 hours sleep, but most people should get between 7-9 hours per night.   Focus on quality of sleep by going to bed before 11 p.m. and for optimal hormonal release don’t use a computer or watch TV within 30 minutes of sleeping to avoid effects of electromagnetic waves, and make your sleeping environment as dark as possible.

Make these three fixes part of your routine.

  1. Get on a regular schedule. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
  2. Avoid sleep medication. Relying on natural relaxation techniques before bed — such as deep breathing — is a better approach.
  3. Reduce alcohol.

 

 

 

8 Lies People Tell Themselves to Keep From Dieting

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When it comes to weight management, dieting is not an easy job, many begin but end up stopping, while many keep postponing when to actually begin and never begin at all. They then continue living unhealthy lifestyles by overindulging in their food consumption and eventually the weight problem escalates to disaster levels. The main thing that contributes to these unpleasant results is the lies individuals tell themselves in order to keep from dieting. However, it is still possible to make dieting work for you by simply recognizing these lies for what they are. Some of the commonly used dieting lies are:

1. I’m Not Bad Compared to so and so

maxresdefaultMany people realize their weight problem but instead of doing something about it, they compare themselves to other individuals around them who are more overweight. They then seek comfort from the fact that others are worse off than they are. In no time, their weight levels become uncomfortable and still they try to find some other person who is still worse and compare themselves then continue with unhealthy eating habits. After some time, the weight problem then becomes a medical emergency forcing them to take drastic measures to manage it.

2. I Have Found a Miracle Diet

The concept of the miracle diet is totally unrealistic or downright silly. Miracle diets have been widely publicized by the so-called nutrition experts. Everyone comes up with a diet package and labels it a miracle diet when in truth it is actually very far from being a miracle. A miracle diet doesn’t exist because if it did, no one would be having weight problems. Most of these miracle diets are just ploys by nutritionists to target people who aren’t serious dieters and also an opportunity for them to make money and achieve fame.

3. After This I Will Not Eat Anything until Tomorrow

empty-plate-2Many people go on an eating spree promising them not to eat until the next day. However, this often fails making them crave more food in just a few hours. The craving for more of the juicy steaks, chocolates, wine etc. doesn’t seem to go away and they actually find themselves waking up at night and eating something. What they fail to notice is that the more the body takes in, the more it will want. This then makes any efforts of dieting utterly impossible.

4. Certain Unhealthy Foods are great for the Body According to a Study

There are people who have overindulged in a certain unhealthy food because they read or heard somewhere that it is healthy for the body. People have for example overindulged in chocolates claiming that studies have shown it’s good for the brain; wine is great for the heart; meat is fine, if it’s white. Even though deep down they know that they are overindulging.

5. I can now eat as Much as I Want, I skipped Breakfast After All

burgerSkipping breakfast very unhealthy but many individuals have used that to overeat later. This only causes more weight gain and trumps any dieting efforts or even ideas that one might have had.

6. I Will Start Dieting When I am Older

The misconception that dieting is best when you are older has misled many people who have led carefree unhealthy lives when they were younger. What they fail to realize is that they should start closely examining their eating habits when their bodies are younger to avoid any form of deterioration. As they do that, slowly, their body begins succumbing to the effects of too much unhealthy food.

7. I Will Sweat It Off At the Gym

embarrassing-gym-momentsLosing weight is very difficult compared to adding weight. All you need to do to increase weight is simply eat. Many avoid dieting by over-eating then promising themselves they will sweat it off at the gym. It takes many hours in the gym to actually make a difference. Some might stay in the gym for two hours then rush off to work believing that they have actually gotten rid of the weight accumulated from last night’s eating.

8. This is Just a Small Portion

People who eat a lot by claiming that they are just eating “small portions” find themselves unable to diet. They tend to eat these “small portions” between meals because they are craving food. These small portions contribute a lot to weight gain and unhealthy consequences because often times they are never small portions.

There are more lies that people tell themselves to keep from dieting but the above ones are just some of the common ones.

 

Why Do Fad Diets Fail?

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You may have heard about all kinds of fad diets, including the Atkins Diet, Blood Type Diet, Hay Diet, Zone Diet, Weight Watchers, Ornish Diet, or even the Paleo Diet. The question is will you be able to achieve meaningful results dieting this way? What do the facts reveal?

Fad Diets Do Not Always Guarantee Long Term Success
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The International Journal for Obesity stated that on average only 1 out of 20 individuals who were on a fad diet managed to maintain their weight loss over a 3 year period. As you can imagine it must have been extremely frustrating and resulted in countless tears. Not to mention the painful realization that time was wasted on yet another fad diet.

You may have heard of the syrup diet followed by a well-known celebrity – Beyoncé. She had to lose an astounding 22 pounds for her role in ‘Dream girls’. She managed to pull it off, but warned others not to follow the regimen as there are better and healthier ways to lose your weight. After all, many of these diets lack essential nutrients and certainly do not promote a long term healthy eating plan that can be sustained.

Disappointing Outcomes Experienced with Fad Diets
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Most people who tried one or the other fad diet experienced four recurring outcomes:

  • They experienced a desire for more food. Following a particular diet left them feeling hungry. Cravings and a sense of feeling robbed of some of life’s known comforts and pleasures did not go down very well with most dieters.
  • Feeling drained, depressed and listless due to a lack of energy was often times worse than being overweight.
  • Feeling deprived due to missing out on specific foods that were forbidden. One example would be the Atkins Diet that involved eating less fruit and more bacon and butter.
  • Regained weight. Dieters either did not lose much weight or they picked up weight as following the diet was just too hard.

The average weight loss of 160 obese people who were placed on popular fad diets like the Zone Diet, Atkins, Weight Watchers and the Ornish Diet for one year, only lost around 6 pounds, which was very disappointing for them (The Journal Jama study in 2005).

Other Fad Diets that Went Wrong
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Who of you remember the Acai Berry Diet that was even endorsed by Oprah Winfrey? At the end of the day dieters discovered that this too proved to be just another fad in an effort to boost sales of Acai berry supplements. Make no mistake; there were a considerable amount of people who lost weight. The problem is that it did not produce long term` results.

What Does a Dieter Need to Successfully Lose and Maintain Their Ideal Weight?

For one, their cravings and appetite need to be managed proactively, or else it will sabotage their good intentions. Ensure your metabolism and energy levels are in high gear before you embark on your weight loss journey. See to your nutritional needs and access the actual cause of you being overweight (hormonal, medical, physiological, nutritional deficiency, psychological, etc).

Whatever you do, refrain from depending on quick weight loss diets or fad diets. Long-term weight loss programs are a much better way to shed unwelcome weight.

Distinguishing the Facts about Damiana Leaf Tea

My great grandmother used to say all the time that the world could survive on plants and herbs alone. Research has shown to me at least that Mother Nature has given us enough for not only survival, but also for reasons that benefit us medicinally.

Damiana, or turnera diffusa as scientists like to call it, is a native of Texas but it is also associated with Mexico and other parts of the Caribbean. The small shrub produces small flowers with a strong spicy scent and fruits that taste akin to figs. Mexicans and other natives traditionally made damiana leaves into tea or incense for numerous effects.

In Mexico, it is a major ingredient of a traditional liqueur that locals claim was used in the original margarita. There are many more myths surrounding the leaf but it is time to learn the real facts.

The Science behind the Benefits

l_1324_lady-drinking-teaDamiana has an intricate chemical composition of thymol and tannins. Diamanin, the major chemical compound in the leaves has relaxing effects to the CNS.

The leaves have potential for diabetic and weight control therapies owing to their hypoglycemic effects. Blood sugar stabilization is essential to the fight against diabetes, which is why people are advised to consume extracts from damiana with guidance from their physicians.

The Many Uses

Damiana_TeaThe most popular use of damiana is as an aphrodisiac. Legend has it that women from its native regions drank tea from its leaves for enjoyable love making. PMT and menopause tensions also disappear with regular intake of damiana.

The tea is very effective in helping alcoholics and smokers quit as it lessens desire for them. It is not known why damiana turns people off from alcohol or tobacco but that has made the fragrant tea a popular feature in parties.

Damiana tea is a popular natural kidney cleanse. According to proponents of healthy living, this shrub is among the safest, effective and versatile herbs for enjoyment and general well-being.

Where to Find It

damiana (1)The plant is Mexico’s national heritage and exportation in live form is prohibited. This means that not all of us can brew fresh damiana tea whenever we want but fortunately it is available in other forms. You will find it in supplement stores as tea blends, extracts, capsules, tablets, or tinctures.

Like with all natural supplements try your best to purchase from authorized dealers who will not compromise your safety by selling substandard products. Be careful not to consume damiana in excess as it may impede iron absorption. The recommended dose is a teaspoon per cup taken three times a day.

These are the facts you should know ahead of time about damiana, and now you can use with proper awareness of its effects. If you suffer any serious health conditions, talk to your doctor before taking any damiana product. This helps to dispel any dangers the leaves could pose after interacting with your medication. Caution and moderation are the best ways you can enjoy the benefits of damiana.

Simple and Effective Tips to Make Any Diet Plan Work

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With celebrity endorsed fad diets, fitness guru videos, and new healthy eating lifestyle trends being promoted all over the place, it’s little wonder that people are taking to the season’s favorite diet plans with a vengeance. However, signing up for a diet or deciding to opt for a popular diet plan is not even half the battle won. Most people falter when it comes to actually sticking to these rigorous and disciplined diets. No sweat though, we’ve got it all covered here about some of the most powerful and effective strategies for sticking to any diet plan in the long run.

Remember to Work with Food and not Against It

high-protein-dietOne of the biggest mistakes dieters make is to consider food as their No. 1 enemy. Food is not the villain here, really. Small changes like the method of cooking a particular food item can drastically change its nutritional value. Learn to work with food and not against it if you want to achieve good results with your diet plan.

Be Practical. Do not Starve

This seems too absurd to even list here, but you’d be amazed at the staggering number of people that falter here. If you want to make a diet plan work, you must eat. Period. This doesn’t mean consuming a tub of your favorite ice-cream or gallons of cheese. It just means eat discerningly and intelligently at regular intervals so that your body doesn’t feel sudden hunger pains for you to completely give up the idea of watching your weight. If you stay hungry for long, you’re bound to eat a lot at the next meal owing to the intense hunger and long gap. Keep munching on fresh vegetables (with healthy dips such as hummus), fruits, light crackers etc.

Small Portions. Big Results

getty_rm_photo_of_small_plates_of_foodDieting doesn’t mean stop eating. You can still continue to eat everything you like in limited, regularized portions. Cut down on the portions of your favorite food. If you’ve consumed some extra calories in the afternoon, try to keep it light and compensate for it during supper. Giving up your favorite foods will most likely tempt you to get back to them with a vengeance, which will spell the end of your diet plan. To sustain the plan, don’t keep yourself deprived. Eat in small sizes, and try to find healthier cooking options for consuming your favorite foods to minimize the damage.

Reward Yourself

Keep a weekly target of sticking to the diet plan, and give yourself that one day of indulgence at the end of the week if you have been disciplined throughout the week. This way you aren’t depriving yourself of your favorite, and there will be a lesser tendency to rebel against the diet to make dieting work for you. Look for opportunities for daily rewards such as relaxing with a delicious cup of herbal tea that is rich in antioxidants. Fenugreek seed tea is a great option because the seeds are rich in protein and mucilagenous fiber, so not only are you enjoying its sweet and enriching taste, but you’ll be contributing even more so to your body’s overall health. No one said you can’t enjoy yourself while you get in better shape. The greater balance you have in your life will ensure you stay motivated, and happens to be a more realistic way to reach your goals.

Reinforce Your Goals Visually

If you desire to have a body that you did years ago, keep photographs of those years where you can see them all the time to ensure that you are sufficiently motivated to stick to the diet. Keep taking milestone pictures of yourself after every successful week to record your progress visually.