Do you suffer from a lack of motivation during and right after the holidays? This is a common occurrence, so don't feel bad. If you want to avoid it, though, there are steps you can take to stay active and energetic throughout the holidays and beyond.
Why Am I Lacking Motivation?
The holidays are a busy, fun time with lots of gatherings, shopping and food. This can leave little time for working out. Eating right often goes out the window and the cold weather can make you just want to curl up on the couch at home.
Add that to all the holiday shopping and shorter days and you may just end up skipping the gym to sit on the couch scarfing down fudge and binge-watching your favorite holiday movies.
Over a period of weeks, you may notice your energy level drops. You may also have noticed a bit of weight gain, which is discouraging more than motivating. You know you should hit the gym and get back to eating better, but you just don't feel like it. You are officially in a holiday rut.
Food Should Be Nutritious
The faster you can nip this in the bud, the better. You don't need to wait for the new year to get back on track. The first thing is to get back to good self-care. This means getting enough rest, drinking plenty of water and cutting back on sweets. Replace those with high-protein snacks and veggies.
Reboot Your Workout
Next, get moving. If it has been a few weeks, you may need to start out with a modified workout. If you are feeling particularly sluggish and tired, start out by either taking a brisk walk or hitting the treadmill.
Sometimes, you need to up your excitement level by trying something new. It could be you were getting bored with your old routine in the first place. This is a great time to go to your gym and find a fun class or learn some new exercises. Adding some novelty to your workout can increase your motivation.
Need some help jump-starting your fitness goals? Download my free 2 Weeks At Home Workout Guide, HERE.
Developing your brain is just as important as developing your body. Numerous studies show how physical activity enhances brain functionality.
While you remember to fit a workout in every day or so, working out your brain is more challenging. The good news is, you can exercise your brain with apps on your phone. Many apps are cheap (or even free), easy to use, and you can pull them out whenever you've got some downtime.
Here are a few of my favorites.
Available on Android/iOS, Elevate offers mini-games that put your brain to the test. The app's activities test focus, memory, general comprehension and math skills.
Elevate can be addictive. Fortunately, the difficulty ramps up as you progress through the 30 unique challenges. So the more you play, the more you think.
Peak has great user experience. This app is full of brain-boosting mini-games that enhance your understanding of language, memory and boost attention span. The games have just enough variety to keep you interested. The best part is Peak is totally free on iOS and Android.
Available on android, Cognito is a story-based brain exercise app about a global spy mission. Cognito improves logic, memory and vocabulary through fun word-based, mini-games.
The app also keeps detailed track of your statistics to gauge skill improvement. Cognito even incorporates information from Apple's Health app like sleep quality and steps taken per day. Cognito is available at no cost, but you have to pay a small subscription fee for access to the entire collection of games.
Fit Brains Trainer
Fit Brains Trainer has nearly three dozen games divided up into specific groups to maximize the efficacy of mental workouts. The app alternates the order which the games are presented to keep the experience fresh. The games test and enhance language skills, concentration and memory.
These mental challenges are even customized to your emotional intelligence. The app also allows you to log in from your computer to finish your game if your phone dies.
Available on iOS/Android, Lumosity is also free. The app's mini-games are served up in a mix-and-match fashion. Lumosity features extensive user statistic tracking to show how performance improves as time progresses.
You will have to pay a fee to unlock additional games and features, but most people can enjoy the basic version alone.
While you're working out your brain, don't forget to work out your body, too. Test your fitness level with my Fitness Level Body Challenge below.
Feeling fatigue can affect every area of your life. It's not normal to feel exhausted if you're getting enough sleep. If your overall health is good but you still feel tired all the time, other factors could be at play.
Here are seven reasons why you might not be able to shake that constant feeling of exhaustion.
1. You Skip Workouts When You're Tired
You're tired and decide to skip your workout to save energy. But studies show that regular exercise boosts your endurance and strength, makes your cardiovascular system run more efficiently, and delivers oxygen and nutrients to your body's tissues.
Plus, people who exercise as little as three days a week for 20 minutes reported feeling less fatigued and more energized.
2. You Don't Drink Enough Water
Even minor levels of dehydration can cause energy loss. Not drinking enough water causes dehydration, which causes a reduction in blood volume. This makes your blood thicker and requires your heart to pump less efficiently. In turn, oxygen and nutrients reach your muscles and organs at a slower rate.
It's worth noting that eating fruits and vegetables can increase your fluid intake as well. (And, since September is Fruits & Vegetables: More Matters month, what better time to start adding produce to your diet?) Experts suggest dividing your body weight in half and drinking that number of fluid ounces per day.
3. You're Sitting Too Much
Your desk job may be sapping your energy level because prolonged sitting can slow your metabolism and diminish your overall health. The good news is that short stints of light-intensity walking will combat those feelings of fatigue.
Health experts say you should set an alarm reminder to get up and walk around every hour and stand when you're talking on the phone.
4. You Don't Consume Enough Iron
Studies show that an iron deficiency makes you feel tired because a decreased amount of oxygen is sent to the muscles and cells. There are many foods that increase your iron intake, including lean beef, eggs (with the yolk), dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, peanut butter, kidney beans, tofu and more.
5. You Eat Too Much Junk Food
The negative impact junk food has on our health is well known, including its relationship with fatigue. Foods loaded with sugar and simple carbs cause blood sugar spikes (followed by sharp drops) that cause exhaustion over the course of the day. Eating lean protein and a whole grain at every meal will prevent spikes and falls of blood sugar.
6. You Skip Breakfast
Your body uses what you consumed at dinner the night before to keep your blood and oxygen flowing. That said, you need to refuel in the morning, and when you skip breakfast chances are you're all but guaranteed to start your day sluggish. Breakfast kick-starts your metabolism - especially if it includes protein, whole grains, and healthy fat.
7. Your To-Do List Is Too Long
You'll feel defeated if your list of things to do is never-ending. You'll also notice your energy draining as you try to get everything done to no avail. If you've got a lot on your plate, break your day down into achievable goals and write down approximately how much each task will take. You'll feel empowered by your manageable list, not overwhelmed.
Get your energy back. Do these seven TRX moves every morning and you'll start each day off more awake and alert.
No matter how dedicated you are to your fitness goals, the holidays can make you wander off track. Unfortunately, it’s often more difficult to find your way back than it was to begin your fitness routine in the first place.
Getting Back to Your Routine
Even if the holidays have thrown you off your game, it’s never too late to pick it back up. Each day offers a fresh start. Here are some tips to help you get motivated.
1. Hold yourself accountable.
Nothing’s more sobering than tracking what you eat. Every tiny piece of candy, each “taste” of something decadent.
Keeping a log of what you eat and how much you exercise daily gives you an accurate idea of where your problem is. To make tracking easier, check out apps like Lose It! and MyFitnessPal.
2. Get organized.
Mornings are hectic. You’re less likely to stay on track if you have to scramble around putting your gym bag together or scrounging for something healthy to eat.
To combat this, prepare nightly for the following day. Get your exercise clothes or gym bag ready, plan your meals (and prep them if at all possible). Make it easy on yourself.
3. Toss the junk.
You can’t be tempted if there’s nothing tempting in your home. Have a weakness for sweets? Then throw them out and avoid buying them again.
Bonus tip: Don’t grocery shop hungry! Doing so causes you to grab everything in sight. Instead, eat a snack before you go, make a list, and then stick to that list. Download my free Healthy Grocery List below!
4. Avoid nighttime binging.
You’ve done great all day, but now it’s 10 p.m. and you’re starving. Not a good thing. Try eating all your bigger meals earlier in the day so you’re not famished right before bed.
Also, set a time when your kitchen is “closed” each evening. Clear the dishes, turn the lights off, and don’t go back in there.
5. Find a friend.
Working out with a buddy helps keep you motivated. If someone’s waiting for you at a specific time, you’re less likely to skip the sweat session. When this doesn’t work, consider hiring a personal trainer.
You can even participate in online personal training programs and exercise from the comfort of your own home.
6. Set specific goals.
Setting realistic — but firm — goals keeps you going. It’s much easier to exercise when you know what you’re working toward. Plan something special, like a beach trip or a marathon, to get ready for.
For more tips on how to get back on track after the holidays, contact Ralph Roberts Training today.
Sleep is crucial for optimal health. In fact, sleep is just as important in preventing certain issues as are diet and exercise. Getting the recommended seven to eight hours each night helps you feel better, think better, and make better choices.
But what happens when you simply can’t get the sleep you need? Below, we dive into the effects of sleep deprivation as well as some tips for getting through those days when you’re lacking adequate rest.
The Consequences Of Sleep Deprivation
Whether it’s a baby keeping you awake all night, a work deadline pushing back bedtime, or insomnia disrupting your sleep cycles, the side effects of living on little sleep are severe. Some of the consequences of repeated sleep loss include:
Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. Things happen that may cause you to lose sleep. While we don’t recommend skipping sleep on a regular basis if you can help it, here are some tips for making it through the day after a sleepless night.
1. Skip The Sugar
Sleep deprivation disrupts the hormone in your body that tells your brain you’re full. This leads to increased cravings — especially of sugar —the following day. Giving into that craving causes even more fatigue.
2. Get Some Sun
Research has found that getting outside to take in some bright, natural light immediately upon waking has exhaustion-fighting benefits. These include boosting your alertness, raising your body temperature, and resetting your circadian rhythms.
3. Watch the Caffeine
Reaching for cup after cup of coffee on a sleep-deprived day is tempting, but overdoing it on caffeine doesn’t help your situation. While one or two cups of coffee in the morning is beneficial, loading up on it all day can cause you to crash later — and keep you from falling asleep when your head finally hits the pillow.
4. Indulge In A Cat Nap
It’s true that long naps usually leave you more fatigued than you were before you decided to get some mid-day sleep. However, short naps (think 25 minutes) have been found by experts to help people feel refreshed and more energized the rest of the day.
5. Work Out And Drink Water
The last thing you want to do when you’re tired is exercise. But studies have found that low-intensity workouts decrease fatigue by 65 percent. And don’t forget the water. Dehydration in and of itself leads to fatigue, so reach for water instead of coffee when that late afternoon sleepiness hits.
For more tips on getting through a sleep-deprived day and other ways to stay healthy, reach out to Amarillo fitness expert Ralph Roberts.
When it comes to overall health in the U.S., the state of Texas ranks at 34. While there are many factors that go into this rating, below are some of the health strengths and weaknesses associated with the Lone Star State.
Some of the major strengths in the health of Texas residents include:
Measure your personal fitness by downloading Ralph Roberts' free Fitness Level Body Challenge!
The average person's schedule is full of activities and responsibilities. From the eight-hour workday to family responsibilities, cooking and cleaning, we just don't have much free time. Plenty of people completely forego “alone time.”
In many of my Monday Motivations and Friday Reflections, I have stressed the importance of mental health. Taking time for yourself every week is a critical component of maintaining your health and empowering your mind. Here are five reasons you should reserve time for yourself every week.
Reasons To Find "Me" Time
1. Time for Introspection
When you are surrounded by other people, you’re constantly inundated with their opinions, questions and demands. You need time to perform some introspection. Use this time to ponder how you think and feel about the happenings in your life as well as the world around you. Give yourself this alone time each week so you can reflect on the past and plan for the future.
2. There Really is Value in Doing Nothing
Though society claims otherwise, there really is value to slowing down and taking it easy. It seems as though stimuli are bombarding us from every angle, whether it is kids, a spouse, pets, TV, radio or smartphones. The bottom line is that contemporary life moves way too fast. Spend some time on yourself and let everything slow down. Take this time to relax. Kick back your feet, recline and do exactly what you want at that moment. You can read, enjoy a delicious meal, listen to music or simply do nothing.
3. A Chance for Internal Growth
Perhaps the best reason to devote time to yourself is the chance to achieve inner growth. If you are constantly running from one appointment to another and interacting with people, you severely limit your chances to round your edges. Take some time for yourself and you will have the opportunity to change from a “static” person to a “dynamic” person.
4. Anxiety Relief
A steady stream of stimuli is terrible for your mental health. If you spend all of your time doing things and not thinking about what matters the most to you, you'll eventually become a nervous mess. Spend some time alone and you will have the opportunity to process all of the events that occurred during the previous days and week(s). As a result, you'll feel much less stressed.
5. Alone Time Boosts Your Physical Health
When you are surrounded by people you have few, if any, chances to exercise. We tend to gravitate toward others for socialization and fun. Spend more time alone and you will have the opportunity to exercise on a regular basis.
If you are unsure as to how to make the most of the "me time" you've reserved for exercising, give Ralph Roberts Personal Training a call. We will create a highly effective workout for your unique physical fitness needs and goals. Contact Ralph Roberts Training today to learn more.
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