If you didn’t know it when you signed up, you will when you start the program. This is an immersive experience! Food and mental fitness are a large component of the CFP. So it’s fitting that we should have an opinion about them.
During cool down stretching after each workout, we will talk about what you ate the day before. Fat, sugar, junk food lead to push-ups on the spot. There is a lot of information circulating out there which tends to complicate what it takes to eat properly.
Beware of any quick fixes and gimmick diets. Diets pandering to the insecurities of our obese, yet thin-worshipping society, are not necessarily healthful or effective long term. There are no quick fixes. If you are losing more than a few pounds a month, you’re not just losing fat – loss of water and muscle may gratify you when reading the scale, but won’t tell you the true story. In fact, the scale is only one of many indicators of your progress. I have had a few troops come to me frustrated after the initial couple of months because they weren’t seeing much weight loss. Upon asking the person how her clothes are fitting, I can almost literally see the light bulb come on and invariably the person states that clothing is a lot looser on the waist and hips and often tighter at shoulders. Muscle weighs more than fat and progress often is not translated to the scale.
Drink lots of water. Eight 8 oz. glasses a day plus 32 oz. for every hour of working out. Unless you’ve taken vitamins in the last several hours, your urine should be close to clear. If you’re are properly hydrated, you will recover from workouts more quickly, you will digest better, you will speed up your metabolism, you will work out better, you will feel more energetic, etc. And no, sodas, coffee, iced tea, sugary juices, etc. don’t count. Get a big squeeze bottle or idiot cup and park one in your car if you drive a lot and one on your desk if that’s where you often are. Sip throughout the day.
Jump Start your Engine. When you wake up in the morning, your blood sugar is at an all-time low. If you work out without something to jump start your system, you will have a difficult time picking up a head of steam. Before you work out, a glass of O.J., an energy bar, raisins, banana, etc. will give you the needed boost to get you started. After a workout, your body really needs carbs. Your body will assimilate more carbs within the first 20 minutes after a workout and assist your muscles in recovering. Same type of food as before the workout. These are the times where simple carbs can do you the most good.
Graze, don’t Gorge. Rather than eating a couple of huge meals, and starving yourself in between, eat small portions frequently. Your body will more efficiently utilize the nutrients and you won’t get that post-lunch coma. Get a feed bag and stick in your desk. Fill it with good stuff. Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, etc. You will be less tempted by those fat pills left out by the well-meaning office treat meister who wants to kill you with kindness. Bring your lunch. My worst transgressions occur when I go out to eat where the options are less in my control. Go to the grocery store when you’re not hungry, buy good stuff and pack it every day. By the way, if you work out and eat well routinely, a once-a-week feast of grease will not be a problem. Enjoy.
We keep it simple. Because we are outside, other than your dumbells, we use the terrain as our equipment (benches, curbs, inclines, trails, hills, skate parks) and our routine is always a little different. It is not going to be the same every time – that keeps it interesting and frankly, even exciting. We are very consistent without being boring because of this approach. Most people don’t like change, but ironically do like adventure. As one client exclaims, “I love coming home saying, ‘You won’t believe what Brian made us do today…’”
We believe the benefits of being outside include increased energy, psychological well-being, brain stimulation, and just a heartier, less self-indulgent based outlook. We build our deferred gratification synapses (ok, not a real thing), when we are experiencing a little cold, a little heat, a little wind, or a little rain or snow. Not that we are total sadists. If the weather is unsafe, we have the ability to work out inside.
Some benefits of working out outside:
- It feels less routine than working out in the same environment every day. Unpredictability is essential for the human spirit. When you exercise outside, every day the environment is a little bit different. Even if you work out at the same park, chances are the weather and surroundings will never be quite the same as they were the day before.
- You breathe better air outside. There is no doubt that fresh air outside is superior to the recycled air you breathe inside of a building. Fresh air will even give you more energy. Just 20 minutes of working out outside is equivalent to drinking one cup of coffee in terms of its energy-boosting effects.
- You’ll burn more calories. You are pretty limited on the treadmill or elliptical. Sure you can adjust the incline, but nothing beats the complex terrain of the outdoors. Working out outside promotes “muscle confusion,” which can help your body burn more calories.
While outside, you will probably also work out longer than you would indoors at a gym because indoors you’re probably constantly checking how much time you have left. It’s easy to lose track of time and exercise longer when you’re working out in a beautiful environment, like a park.
- It’s good to disconnect and be in nature. We spend essentially most of our days indoors using technology for work-related or personal reasons. It’s way too easy for someone to spend days or weeks at a time barely going outside. It’s always a good thing to stop and disconnect from our virtual worlds in order to step outside and soak up the benefits of the outdoors. Working out outside helps clear your mind while reducing stress. Being outdoors in an environment like the park also helps with focus, which will probably in turn help with your professional and personal life.
- It promotes higher vitamin D levels. Vitamin D, also known as the “sunshine vitamin” has recently been proven to affect everything from cancer development to mental health. Many Americans are not getting sufficient vitamin D from spending too much time indoors. Overweight people are almost twice as likely to not get enough vitamin D. The more you absorb vitamin D through your skin from outside, the better your body is able to absorb it.
- It just makes you feel good. Scottish researchers discovered that working out outside has a 50 percent greater positive effect on mental health than just going to the gym. Outdoor exercise is linked to stress reduction, a decrease in feelings of tension and anger, and fewer symptoms of depression.