By Devin Almonte
I am a huge fan of GNC’s Total Lean Shake 25 and Total Lean Advanced Lean Shake Burn Protein Shakes. Both the Total Lean 25 and Total Lean Advanced Lean Shake Burn are for those seeking to manage their weight well while improving overall body definition and composition.
As a personal trainer and nutrition expert, I use their Total Lean shakes as a regular part of my own diet and weight management program. I like to combine the Lean 25 and Burn formulas together because I am looking to manage my weight well while toning and defining.
Personally, I am not actively trying to lose a ton of weight. Maybe a pound here or there but more so, I am trying to maintain weight, achieve body health and gain muscle tone, which we lose as we age. GNC’s Total Lean lines help me do just that. I drink a shake every day as a meal replacement and I can already see and feel results.
Here’s what you get with each:
Why Protein Shakes?
There are a myriad of reasons to add protein shakes to your diet. Of course, one of the main reasons is for the protein! Protein is essential for your body's well-being and it can aid in weight loss, decrease hunger, and may help increase your metabolism.
Without exercise, the average woman needs approximately 46 grams of protein per day. With exercise, you need to increase this to approximately 120 grams of protein per day. Protein shakes are an excellent way to help you get there. Plus, with our on-the-go lifestyles, they are quick and easy to make.
The Struggle Is Real
There’s no doubt that it’s hard for women to lose weight or even just maintain their weight. There are biological and behavioral reasons behind this. It’s a fact we have to face head on so we can then find a realistic solution.
Women’s Health Magazine tells us more:
First, men tend to be bigger than women, with more muscle on their frames, so they usually have faster metabolisms than women, says Jessica A. Culane, R.D., a board-certified sports dietitian with Cliff Bar & Company. Second of all, men and women have crazy-different levels of hormones floating in their bloodstreams, says Culane. For instance, women have 15 to 20 times less muscle-building, fat loss-promoting testosterone than men. And, according to a 2016 Yale University review, women have much higher levels of estrogen and progesterone, which contribute to stronger food cravings than men.
Women also tend to be emotional and distracted eaters while overestimating their amount of daily exercise, especially in this age of social media.
We wrongly assume that we can just "exercise off" our excess caloric intake. Adding an extra mile to your run is not going to counteract your overindulgence of pizza and dessert. Let's put this in perspective. To lose just 1 lb in a week, you have to cut 3,500 calories from your diet. If you don’t change you diet and try to lose weight through exercise alone, then you would need to jog at least 16 hours a week or 2 hours a day to lose a pound. Who has the time or discipline for that?!
You must start with your diet. We're not talking about a fad-diet, but a life-changing, lifestyle-diet. If you are really serious changing your health for the better, you need to be conscious about what you are eating and how much you are exercising.
Start Managing Your Weight Well
The key to weight loss and managing your weight well starts with your diet. One of the most proactive, simple, and effective ways to do so is to incorporate protein shakes into your diet. Start with GNC's Total Lean Shake 25 or Total Lean Advanced Lean Shake Burn or both! I have seen amazing results and my energy levels and focus are ten times better than they used to be and that 3pm afternoon slump is gone.
Why GNC's Total Lean Protein Shake
Who is this for?
GNC's Total Lean is for anyone looking to lose weight, manage their weight well, and seeking to tone and define their body.
My GNC Total Lean Recipe
Disclosure: All comments written above are my own opinion and thoughts related to products that I love and enjoy. I do not receive payment for any type of product promotion, nor do I receive commission from any of the above mentioned companies, products, or websites.
For more information:
If you are considering a new diet or workout regimen and want to better understand your nutritional needs, please consult your doctor. All material on this article is provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical advice, instruction, or claim. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.
By Devin Almonte
As a beauty and health advocate, I’m quite obsessed with good skin care, especially as my skin matures. This obsession of mine runs more than skin deep. Beauty alone should never be the goal, but rather the internal and external side effect of self-love and care for one’s health. So when it comes to skin care, we should be striving for good skin health for health’s sake above all else. When we do that, the results are, indeed, beautiful.
"According to Catherine Hannan, MD, Our skin is one of the largest organs of the body. Because of this, caring for your skin can directly affect your overall health. Your skin acts as a protective shield and is most vulnerable to outside elements, as it’s affected by more factors than you may think. And as we age, our skin care needs change and we need to adapt accordingly."
This is not good news for your skin. Our hormones change as we age and we start to lose estrogen, as well as testosterone. A steady decline in the levels of estrogen and testosterone in the body can cause accelerated aging of the skin and loss of collagen, says BioTe Medical. That means less firmness, elasticity, and moisture. It can leave you with sunken cheeks and sagging skin. It means dryness. Before you know it, you are quickly turning into that shriveled up plant like the one you forgot to water in your kitchen! To make matters worse, many of you are desperately trying to lose a few extra pounds. That's great! But here's the bad news: as you start to lose some of those unwanted pounds, you might also start to lose some of the fat in your face when you exercise (in addition to some of the fat tissue that you are already losing simply due to age). This is one place you want to keep the fat! But now that you’re older and you’re trying to stay healthy, you’ve been cursed with 'diet face', which makes your face appear more drawn and gaunt looking. Lovely, isn’t it?
Luxury: Med Spa
Many of the issues with skin health are treatable with the BioTE® method using bio-identical hormone pellet therapy. If you haven’t heard of this, the BioTE® method using hormone pellet therapy is a treatment designed to balance hormones naturally. Hormone pellet therapy can optimize the levels of estrogen and testosterone that drop causing the many signs of aging we see in the skin, including wrinkles and loss of youthful volume in the face. Once your hormones are balanced, you may notice improvement in the look and feel of the skin, not just on the face, but the entire body. It does so much more than just improve the look of your skin and face. You can get back to looking and feeling better about yourself with hormone pellet therapy. Find a BioTe Provider near you.
Everyday: Natural Remedies and OTC
If you don’t want to spend the bucks or you just prefer a more natural way of treatment, you might want to give this is a try: soy, fruits, and veggies.
Adding a supplement that is rich in soy can help your estrogen levels and may bring them back to better levels. And there are many estrogen-rich foods that may help boost your estrogen level. These foods contain phytoestrogen, which is a plant-based estrogen that mimics estrogen once it is processed by the body, says Emily Lunardo for Bel Marra Health. Be on the lookout for fruits and veggies that have natural estrogen content: alfalfa sprouts, flaxseed, cucumber, olives, olive oil, green beans, and apples
This is when sun damage starts to rear its ugly head. Those years of obtaining that beautiful suntan are now coming back to bite you in the form of fine lines, wrinkles and age spots. In fact, sun exposure is the main culprit behind fine and deeper facial wrinkles, freckles, age spots (also known as sun or liver spots), leathery skin texture, dull-colored skin, and enlarged pores, says Hunt Valley Laser and Skin Care Center. So, just when you thought it wouldn’t happen to you, it’s happening.
Luxury: Med Spa
With Intense Pulse Therapy, you can start to remove the signs of sun damage and restore your youthful appearance! The visible light delivered with Photo Genesis procedure is selectively absorbed by the pigmented spots on your skin. The heating of the pigmented cells causes the therapeutic result, effectively destroying the damaged cells. Virtually any part of your body with sun (a.k.a. “age” or “liver”) spots or freckles can be safely treated.
Everyday: Natural Remedies and OTC
Charlotte's Book, the modern resource for cosmetic health and wellness tell us, "As the years pass, UV rays and other environmental factors cause the skin to lose its elasticity. When this happens, pores clogged with sebum, dirt and dead skin appear to be even larger than before. This is because the skin around each pore is not as firm and collagen-rich as in younger skin. Firm skin essentially girds and supports pores, so it has the effect of making pores appear smaller, while looser, inelastic skin makes pores appear larger or more dilated."
Luxury: Med Spa
Comfortably treat excessive redness, enlarged pores, uneven skin texture, and fine lines and wrinkles! Laser Genesis skin therapy is an innovative, technologically advanced way to promote vibrant and healthy-looking skin in men and women. By gently heating the upper dermis well below your skin’s surface, Laser Genesis warms the miniature swollen vessels that create diffuse redness, which are then absorbed by the body over the period of a few weeks. The procedure also stimulates collagen renewal, resulting in tighter pores, smoother skin, and the reduction of fine lines and wrinkles. This method of promoting collagen renewal also smoothes, flattens, and removes the red discoloration of scars.
Everyday: Natural Remedies and OTC
A large number of herbs, fruits and vegetables aid in tightening the enlarged pores. The Home Remedy Shop has a great list of 31 ways to help reduce the appearance of large pores. I won't list them all here, but will give you my favorites:
The National Sleep Foundation tells us that changes to our sleep patterns are a normal part of the aging process. As we age, we tend to have a harder time falling asleep and staying asleep. And many of us are in the midst of our careers and raising families during this time, which further adds to the exhaustion. Many factors can contribute to this including too much alcohol, stress, or other health-related conditions, When that happens, signs of tiredness and life's excesses can be reflected in your face more than ever before.
Luxury: Med Spa
Go to a Medical Sleep Away Camp. Partake in a multidisciplinary approach that brings together several diagnostic and therapeutic modalities. Participate in an overnight study known as Polysomnography. Polysomnography is the simultaneous recording of neurologic and physiologic parameters is an overnight test performed on sleeping patients. Opt in for portable monitoring, which is the simultaneous recording of physiologic parameters in an overnight test to evaluate sleep disordered breathing. Utilize various devices such as continuous positive airway devices and adaptive-servo ventilator. If I've already lost you, you can read more about it at the Wellmax Center. If you have always dreamed of going to a true, sleep-away med spa, check out Skin Inc's top ten list of great sleep spas.
Everyday: Natural Remedies and OTC
Power down an hour before bed. In our techy tech world, this is a big one and it's wreaking havoc on the quality of our sleep. “Sleep is not an on-and-off switch,” says sleep expert and clinical psychologist Michael Breus, PhD, author of The Sleep Doctor’s Diet Plan. “Your body needs time to unwind and ready itself for shuteye.” That’s why Dr. Breus recommends practicing a three-part routine called the “Power-Down Hour.” During the first 20 minutes, complete any chores that absolutely must get done before bedtime. Wash your face, brush your teeth and get dressed for bed during the next 20 minutes. For the last 20 minutes, lie in bed quietly and meditate. Focus on the rhythm of your breathing and shoo away any negative thoughts during this time.
It's important to prepare your body for sleep. Establish a consistent bedtime routine, remove all electronic devices from the bedroom, wear comfortable clothing and set the temperature at a comfortable sleep level. Get a sound machine to help set the mood for sleep and to provide white noise. Drink chamomile. Even if the actual benefits are mild, our bodies begin to adjust to this new routine and will learn to associate chamomile with sleepy time. I also like to use Maty's All Natural Baby Chest Rub. I rub this under my nose and on my chest before bedtime. It's a wonderfully calming and relaxing scent.
Dr. Nigma Talib, ND has worked out exactly why we suffer from common skin problems like breakouts, puffy eyes and redness, and it all comes down to our diets. The renowned naturopathic expert has identified four common food groups that leave our skin looking less than fresh - 'dairy face', 'wine face', 'sugar face' and 'gluten face'. Further, Jessica Wu, MD, a dermatologist in Los Angeles and author of Feed Your Face says, “What you eat can affect your hormone balance, cause acne, and create or lessen inflammation, which is associated with skin aging.”
Luxury: Med Spa
Get yourself some vitamin injections! Feed and nourish your skin directly on-site with this trendy procedure. Lionel Bissoon, a NYC-based mesotherapist says, “When you deposit vitamins directly into the skin with a needle, you’re giving the tissues exactly what they need, where they need it.” Bissoon also said that neither oral nor topical vitamins can offer similar results. Dr. Lionel Bissoon, who is one of the pioneers of facial mesotheraphy, received his Doctorate of Osteopathy from Des Moines University. Further, Dr. Dray, another pioneer of Mesotherapy based out of London, has customized a formula to create the revolutionary Mesolift. This treatment aims to prevent skin aging by stimulating the fibroblasts through administering injections of revitalizing active substances. It consists of a nourishing cocktail of amino acids, vitamins A, B, C, and E, hyaluronic acid, and co-enzymes. Such treatment is recommended for revitalization and hydration of dull, tired skin and to plump sagging tissue. Look forward to fresher and more radiant skin!
Everyday: Natural Remedies and OTC
“There’s a growing body of research showing that diet really does affect your complexion,” says Jessica Wu, MD, a dermatologist in Los Angeles and author of Feed Your Face. “What you eat can affect your hormone balance, cause acne, and create or lessen inflammation, which is associated with skin aging.” Stick to protein rich foods, antioxidant-rich foods like pomegranate and omega-3 fatty acids like walnuts.
For more information:
By Devin Almonte
Is it me, or did makeup recently slither and sneak its way into gyms across America as an acceptable athletic accessory? When did this happen and why? And more importantly, is it really safe to wear makeup during a workout?
We used to be afraid to show our bodies at the gym out of fear of what people would think of us for being a bit too heavy or untoned. How dare we go to the gym to get in shape looking like that! It’s almost sacrilegious. And now we are afraid to show our real faces? Dear Lord, we are a sick bunch.
I guess I can be included in that sick bunch because I am guilty of this relatively new trend. Now, I’m not in a full face of makeup, but I’ve definitely used concealer to hide a few things that make my face look tired and dull. Plus, I want to have blemish-free, glowing skin while I do my burpees and shimmy across the studio floor!
Before we go any further, I want to stress that I am advocate for good health, including our skin. Good health and good skin is naturally beautiful. So I’m all for nurturing our skin and body for health reasons before caring for it cosmetically. However, given that women want to “look good” at the gym (a place for healthy living), I wanted to find out why women wear makeup to the gym and if it’s okay to wear makeup during your workout. Because that makeup you are wearing could be doing more damage to your beautiful face than you realize. And all for the mere sake of looking good while working out for an hour!
WHY WOMEN WEAR MAKEUP TO THE GYM
1. To look your best no matter what.
Looking your best is a great motivator to get you to workout. So whether a cute new fitness outfit or makeup makes you feel your best, this becomes the motivator you need to get your butt to the gym and it can help boost your confidence.
2. To feel less self-conscious.
Makeup can help someone feel less self-conscious about themselves and their supposed flaws. Just as someone who is overweight or not happy with their body can feel totally vulnerable and exposed at the gym, so does the person without makeup. Not everyone feels this way, of course, but particularly for those who struggle with body image issues, makeup may give them the courage to show up. And if that is what it takes to get them to the gym, then I am all for it because with a healthy body will come a healthy mind. And hopefully, makeup will no longer be needed for these superficial reasons!
3. For selfie reasons.
It’s hard to believe that this alone is a reason to wear makeup to the gym but it is. In this new world of Instagram and Snapchat, everyone wants to look their best when they post to their accounts, showing off at the gym in their new outfit and newly toned arms. So we dare not take a gym selfie without a face full of makeup! After all, we have an image and reputation to uphold online to all our followers and fans. Not to mention that gyms are encouraging such selfies because it helps to promote their gym.
4. It helps you play the role.
About a year ago, the NYT had a chance to catch up with Eve Kessner, an instructor at SoulCycle studios in Brooklyn Heights and Union Square, to ask her her thoughts about makeup at the gym. For Eve, getting ready for the gym each morning goes beyond brushing her teeth and pulling on a pair of leggings. Before heading out to classes that often start before 8 a.m., she applies Eyeko Sport Waterproof Mascara and a face luminizer by RMS Beauty or Josie Maran Cosmetics. “Wearing some amount of makeup makes me feel good,” Ms. Kessner said. “Part of getting ready and feeling prepared for class are the steps I take in the morning.”
5. You're headed to the gym from work.
Many women head to the gym right after work. Some of the women I interviewed have admitted that they are just too lazy to take off their makeup before class. Plus, they are scared to see what is under that makeup after an eight-hour day at the office! Others said they are just rushed trying to make the 5pm or 6pm exercise class and don't have time to take off their makeup, so they don't bother.
THE TRUTH: WHY YOU SHOULD SAVE THE MAKEUP FOR LATER
1. It clogs your pores.
Metro.co.uk asked Andy Millward, facialist, aesthetician, and member of the British Association of Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology, why working out in makeup is so bad for our skin, and he pointed to congestion and blockages within the pores as a major factor. ‘Unlike skin care products which are designed to be absorbed into the skin, makeup is designed to sit on the surface of the skin to give it that flawless, airbrushed appearance,’ Andy told metro.co.uk.
2. It can make your pores bigger.
Since the makeup may cause congestion in your pores, the pores may stretch or enlarge to manage the blockage, which could cause larger pores over a period of time.
3. Toxins become trapped in your skin.
We are an organic and all-natural obsessed culture. By wearing makeup during your workout, your own body is essentially working against you because you are not allowing the sweat and toxins to be naturally released. This sounds anything, but organic! You are allowing the makeup to trap in the toxins instead of allowing them to evaporate off the skin, as they should naturally. So for the sake of looking good, you’re holding your sweat toxins hostage under that foundation. Time to let them go free.
4. Breakouts are likely to occur.
What happens when you hold in pent-up emotion? It gets worse and worse until it explodes. You need to release it (in a healthy way of course). Your face on makeup is no different. Your skin needs to breathe and release - during a good workout even more so when your pores open up. Mix in sweat, heat and open pores and over time the skin will become blocked under a face full of makeup. Eventually it will explode in the form of blackheads, whiteheads and dull texture. No thanks!
5. It may promote aging.
According to Samer Jaber, MD, of Washington Square Dermatology in New York City, working out with makeup is believed to be a contributing factor to aging. Wearing makeup while exercising inflames the skin, and chronic inflammation is the root cause of skin aging.
IF YOU MUST...
After reading this, there are many of you who won't listen to this advice and will opt for makeup anyway. I get it. We spend hours of torture to look better anyway, so what if I am trapping toxins in my skin? As long as I look good for that hour, I'm happy!
So, if you must, I suppose you must. At least the skincare products and makeup products have come a long way to accomodate our needs. And you are starting to see some cosmetic companies specialize in Workout Makeup like Sweat Cosmetics and Tarte. Like I said, if you must, here are my recommendations pre and post workout:
In preparation for your workout, make sure you take a 3-step approach for your pre-workout skincare routine. Use a great cleanser, toner, and moisturizer to get you prepped for your workout. Think simple with a soapy cleanse, hydrating toner, and oil-free moisturizer:
Now for the makeup. You want to keep it light and fresh so that your skin can still breathe. And stick with waterproof mascara and finishing sprays to keep everything in place:
Congrats! You've finished your workout for the day. But don't let your health kick "go on hiatus" just yet. You skin still needs some love after all that grueling work you just put in. Keep it clean, hydrated, and refreshed:
My advice? Do what feels best to you that will help you stay healthy. If that means a little makeup during your workout, then go for it. Thank goodness there are some products out there that work with your active lifestyle. But be sure to always give your skin some downtime to breathe.
For more information:
By Devin Almonte
Skin care has come a long way, even in most recent years. There is an old way of doing things and a new way of doing things, Take a look at how we used to treat skin care the old way. Learn why that approach needs to change and why our skin is so important. Discover the new revolutionary way to approach skin care and how Défiderm may help us get there.
Skin Care The Old Way
Fast forward to today, and we have stand-alone retail stores just for skincare. They stock their shelves with everything from exfoliants, toners, serums, oils, starter kits, three-step processes, blemish removers, eye care, cleansers, face masks, moisturizers, and scrubs. And for an added punch to your skincare regimen (and a hit to your wallet) you can take a medical approach to skincare by getting your fillers, peels, botox, and lasers by your trusted local medical physician.
So how do we really know what is best for us? As it stands now, it's been a lot of trial and error. We need to recognize that many factors play into this. Our skin needs are always changing and greatly affected by various factors such as our age, the climate, our hormones, the seasons, or even what we eat and drink. So your tried and true moisturizer that works wonders for your skin in the winter may become your worst enemy during those hot and humid summer months.
The Quest for More Knowledge: Défiderm
- Helps you understand your skin before you treat it
- It records your skin condition and identifies daily changes to your skin condition
- It combines skin, temperature, moisture and uv information to give you an accurate skin assessment based on your skin condition and the environment
- Records product history and makes product recommendations based on your skin condition and environmental assessment
Perfect Products for Your Skin
- When you gently put the device on your skin, the application on the smartphone will display the level of hydration, melanin and skin health.
- It will also display the temperature and humidity percentages in your surroundings, which can help you better discover your skin condition and find the most suitable skin care regimen.
By the looks of it, it appears that Défiderm may be the mover and shaker that can truly help us understand the health of our skin first before we treat our skin cosmetically. There's no doubt that this technologically-advanced skin analyzer is going to be making waves in the world of skin care.
One of the main goals of water consumption during your exercise routine is simply to prevent dehydration. The best way to prevent this is by preparing yourself with appropriate water intake before and after your workout first. Now this is easier said than done. I, for one, thoroughly enjoy rewarding myself with a steaming hot latte post-workout. While this may be oh-so-good, it's a big no-no when it comes to hydration. So reach first for your water and latte later.
Think of hydration during your workout as the icing on the cake when your body has already been adequately prepped and prepared for the workout.
Type of Workout
Hydration methods vary greatly depending on the instructor and class style:
Your life depends on it.
What Happens When You're 40
Gift #1: Slower Metabolism.
I hope you like it! You will gain weight like you’ve always wanted! According to Primary Care Provider, Dr. Kathryn Boling of Maryland, the average woman gains as many as 15 pounds between the ages of 40 and 55.
Gift #2: Decrease in Muscle Mass.
Muscle loss is the single greatest contributor to age-related decline in metabolism. Recent research suggests that women on average will lose muscle mass twice as fast as men the same age. Aren’t you lucky?! And after age 30, you begin to lose as much as 3-5 percent of your muscle mass, which means you are not burning as many calories. So go on and have a another slice of that cake.
Gift #3: Weaker Bones.
Maybe this hasn’t concerned you because you haven’t noticed. This is one that sneaks up on you. So beware, weaker bones come with a lot of risk. It can affect your posture, your height, cause back pain, and lead to more frequent bone breaks.
Gift #4: Stress and hormonal changes.
Life in your 40s can be stressful simply because of things that typically occur during this stage of life: kids, marriage, family, divorce, health issues, financial issues, career pressure, and so forth. Such stress gone awry can affect our health negatively in a myriad of ways, from leaving you feeling exhausted to increasing your risk of various diseases like heart disease. On top of that, there are additional reasons that why you may not deal with stress as well as you used to. According to Naturopathic Doctor Lara Briden, women are three times more likely to suffer anxiety, depression, and insomnia during the five years before menopause. These are called perimenopause and it’s a vulnerable time. Not just because you're busier than ever with career and family, but also because you’ve suddenly lost the progesterone that used to calm and stabilize your stress response system.
Reasons to Weight Train
Conquer the Fear Head On
A common fear of weight training is that it will make you too bulky. Remember, as you age you are losing muscle mass; so by using weights you are attempting to gain back what was lost, and not necessarily attempting to "add" more muscle. So you are really trying to get back to where you used to be. However, if you are looking to add significant muscle mass, rest assured that you still won’t bulk up. It's not something that happens by accident. You would have to plan, prep, and commit yourself to bulk up if that is the look you are going for, say like a female body builder might like to achieve.
Did you know that weight training is safer than most sports?
A study in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research found that the overwhelming impression from the surveys and literature is that both weight training and the weightlifting sport are markedly safer than many other sports, certainly when supervised by qualified people. Perhaps more interestingly, weight training is a great way to prevent injury. According to Stretch Coach, such training improves the strength of the muscles, tendons, and even the ligaments and bones. The stronger muscles and tendons help hold the body in proper alignment and protect the bones and joints when moving or under impact.
I Don’t Know What I’m Doing
Stepping into the weights section at a gym can be pretty intimidating. It’s like walking into your neighbor’s house without knocking, totally uninvited to watch some television. What do you do? Where do you go? Do I say anything to anyone? You feel out of place. Everyone is new at some point and the easiest way to overcome this fear is to introduce yourself to someone. Ask one of the trainers to briefly show you a ten-minute weight routine that would be suitable for you. Come prepared with an online weight training video that you can play on your smartphone and follow along to while you are at the gym. Showing up to the gym with a purpose and a plan really helps. If the gym still scares you, start at home with 3 sets of free weights and a beginner DVD. There’s an oldie but a goodie called Absolute Beginners Fitness: Weight Training - Strength & Tone for Beginners.
How to get Started
- Invest in 3 sets of dumbbells. I recommend getting a set of 3, 5 and 8 pounders to get you started.
- Buy a Beginners Weight Lifting DVD. There are so many on the market. Do a little research before buying to find out what best suits you. I am a huge fan of the workout DVDs. I need someone to guide me and instruct me. This is a much smaller investment than hiring a trainer and will help to get your started with confidence.
- Create a weekly weight-training schedule. Every other day is a good place to start. Put it in your calendar. Make it as realistic as possible, but with enough reach to help push you to the next level.
- Set your goals, not someone else’s. If you’re in your 40s, your goals will surely look different from your goals when you were in your 20s. Maybe you want more energy, a more shapely figure, or strength for your everyday tasks like carrying heavy boxes and groceries.
- If you are feeling more ambitious and have the financial means to do so, join a gym and hire a trainer. Ask for someone who works well with beginners that can help you develop a solid weight training routine.
And most importantly, just start. Don’t wait. Don’t wait until you feel better. Don’t wait until you have more time. That time will never come. Today is the day.
Here are a couple of things to note. Is the gym intimidating? Yes, very much so! My advice? Recognize that it is intimidating and go anyway. Let this be your first fitness challenge. Before conquering the fat, conquer the intimidation. Once you do, you will soon realize that your fears are based on the superficial aura of the gym subculture. Please, don’t take me as being a hater of all gym rats and the gym lifestyle. I am one of the those gym rats that is always at the gym. That’s because I love it. Just realize that you deserve to be there just like everyone else. Remember, I guarantee that most of the people you see probably have no idea what they are doing (including myself much of the time) and are using the machines improperly. Clothes are just clothes and they won’t get anyone in better shape because they are in style. And the smoothies? Most don’t even know what they are drinking, but are doing so because someone said it was healthy. And it probably is somewhat healthy, but don’t make people out to be in a better position than you. Don’t fall into the comparison trap. You deserve a healthy life. Get started where you are, not where they are.
See the similarities? You may have heard that the church is a hospital for the sick, not a shrine for the well. Same idea applies to the gym. But the result of a commitment right where you are, to both your faith and your health is a changed life.
Treat the gym in the same manner as the church or your faith. It’s a place to gain strength and wellness. It’s a place to become the better you. And I’m not talking about appearances. That is just a pleasant side effect of both the church and the gym. The more you go to church and delve into your faith, the better person you will become because it will infect your heart and body with soul. The more you go to the gym, the better health you will be in because it affects your heart and body. When you do such things, you physically look better, you feel better, you ARE better.
So where can you start to help you defeat your gymphobia?
Gyms have certainly changed over the years and I love the array of options out there from the traditional gyms, to family gyms, fitness centers, and boutique fitness pop-ups. It can be like picking the right restaurant to go to. Do I want fast food, fast casual, fine dining, casual, family-friendly, or bistro-style? Think about what will work for you. Do you want a gym with people with similar goals? Similar age? Trainers that will push you? Do you need childcare or do you want to try some of the fitness classes? Do you want the latest equipment and amenities? Don’t forget to consider your budget, though I would strongly push to make this investment in your health even if you may have to cut out expenses in other places. Above all else, choose something that will challenge you, but to one in which you can make a commitment. For some guidance, you can check out this great gym cheat sheet that gives some background of some of the major gym chains out there. Personally, I am a big fan of Lifetime. While expensive, it's worth the investment. It's a safe environment for new gym goers looking to get healthy. There are people of all ages and every shape, size, and level. The amenities are great especially for families. It is easy to make a commitment to your health here.
This is a big one if you ask me. The equipment can be just as intimidating as the people! If you don’t take this step, you might very well end up on the treadmill for the rest of your life or quit because you don’t know how to do anything else.
Have a staff member show you around and have a trainer demonstrate how to use ALL the equipment. It’s your gym. You are paying for it. It’s your equipment. In knowledge, we find confidence. If you don’t have time to walk around for demos of each piece of equipment or find this task too embarrassing, ask the gym for a list of the equipment they have. Then, in your own time, look up a youtube video on how to use it.
Like I mentioned before, trendy fitness clothes won’t get you fit, though they definitely look cute. If you find that dressing the part will motivate you to get to the gym, then go for it. Otherwise, maybe save that as a reward after all your hard work pays off. Remember, there was a day when basic t-shirts and shorts used to count as fitness attire and people still managed to get in shape.
5. Take a class.
This may be a big step for you, but do not fear. Face the fear. I am a huge fan of classes. Working out as a group is so incredibly motivating. It’s a great place to meet people and to connect with others your age or on your level. Classes attract all types. No need to worry about being coordinated. After a few tries, the moves are relatively easy to pick up. And there are different classes with different fitness levels. Find out who the fitness director is and schedule time to meet with them to see what class is best for you. If you are still worried, many gym websites feature videos of the classes online so you can practice ahead of time.
6. Master the gym.
Make it a goal for the year to “try everything once”. Take a swim class. Play racquet ball once. Use the sauna. Try each class. Master each piece of gym equipment by knowing how to use it correctly. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Take small steps like mastering one piece of equipment each week. From there, you can decide what you like and what you don’t like. Soon, gym goers will be coming to you for advice on how to work the equipment and what to do!
7. Join a beginner group.
Many gyms offering smaller workout groups that have a goal in common such as eating healthier or losing weight. Nothing feels as good as being around those that are working towards the same goal as you. It creates a sense of belonging.
8. Stay focused.
Don’t let the voices in your head tell you that you don’t belong there or that you are wasting your time. You deserve a place there just like anyone else no matter your level of fitness or "current state of being". Use your voice. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Remember, the staff is there for you, not the other way around. Make your goal be about getting healthy and fit, not about "getting pretty".
Slowly, but surely, you gymphobia should start to melt away along with those dreaded extra pounds. And when it does, remember, to pass on the love because there is always someone that has to start somewhere.
There is nothing that makes me happier than being in my garden. This is where you will find me each and every day during the summer months, pruning, weeding, and watering away. And being the fitness nut that I am, I love the health benefits it offers. Fitness doesn’t have to be in the gym and there is nothing better than true, organic exercise that starts right in your backyard. There’s no need to turn up the heat when you’ve got the summer sun shining upon your face and the birds providing your with your ultimate workout soundtrack. Gardening is the all-natural and healthy way to burn calories and stay active.
If you’re walking along applying fertilizer, seeding a lawn, or watering your garden, you’ll burn about 20-50 calories every half hour. It’s one of the lower-intensity activities on the list, so don’t expect to get too much of a workout here. Use this one to offset your higher-intensity workouts on other days. If you want to get more out of this activity, break it up. Instead of using a hose to water, use a watering can and walk back and forth to fill it.
Weeding: 150-170 calories/30 minutes
Spend about a half hour pulling weeds from your garden and you’ll burn about 150 calories. Other estimates put the number a bit higher, at about 170 per thirty minutes. The faster you go and the more vigorously you work, the more you’ll burn. To intensify the workout, use more squats and lunges to get at the weeds rather than sitting down in the dirt. Don’t let your knees go over your toes.
Planting: 150 calories/30 minutes
Planting will take about the same amount of effort as weeding, yielding a 150-pound person about 150 calories burned in about 30 minutes. You can increase that number by lunging as you go—lunge, plant, get up, step forward, lunge, plant, and go again.
Digging: 190-200 calories/30 minutes
Digging requires more energy than weeding or planting, as you usually have to rely on your muscles to get that dirt loosened and out. It’s a great exercise for your shoulders and back—just remember to keep your core muscles firm as you work to avoid hurting your back. If you’re squatting down or lifting rocks out, you’ll also be working your thighs and buttocks. A half hour will burn about 190-200 calories.
Clearing Land: 200 calories/30 minutes
If you’re just starting your garden, you may have to clear a space for it. This is a great activity to do to burn some calories, as it usually combines digging with lifting and carrying, working the entire body. Estimates are that you’ll burn about 200 calories every 30 minutes. The same is true for spading and tilling.
Mowing the Lawn: 50-250 calories/30 minutes
The best way to burn calories by mowing is to use a push mower. Estimates are that you’ll burn about 170 calories every 30 minutes this way. If you use a hand mower (without power), you’ll raise that number to about 250 calories every thirty minutes. A riding mower, of course, requires a lot less energy on your part—you’ll burn only about 50 calories every 30 minutes.
Hedge Trimming: 120-150 calories/30 minutes
Often when your trimming hedges or trees, you’re using heavy equipment that you have to hold up and move around. That can help burn more calories for you. Estimates vary—it probably depends on how heavy your equipment is and how intensely you work. Trimming in this way will burn about 120-150 calories per 30 minutes.
Manual trimming, though you’re not supporting the weight of a machine, may help you burn more calories, because you have to use more muscles to do the work. Estimates are that trimming by hand will burn about 180-200 calories per half hour. You’ll also be likely to build up your bicep and shoulder muscles.
Raking: 200-400 calories/30 minutes
The best way to turn this activity into a good calorie burner is to combine your raking and sacking activities. Rake for a bit, then stop and put the grass and leaves in your trash bag. Combining the two will help you burn about 200-300 calories or more per half hour. (Some estimates put it up in the 350-400 calorie range.) If you stick to raking alone, you’ll cut that number about in half.
To get the most out of your raking, stand with feet about hip-width apart and use a wide raking motion on each side. This is a great workout for your arms and upper body.
Laying Sod or Crushed Rock: 200 calories/30 minutes
This is a more high-intensity gardening activity, as you have to carry the sod pieces (or bags of rock), bend and stand to set them into place, and move them around to fit. You’ll burn at least 200 calories an hour at this activity.
Moving Waste with a Wheelbarrow: 300-400 calories/30 minutes
This is a higher-intensity workout because you’re lifting a significant amount of weight with the wheelbarrow and whatever is inside it. Estimates are that filling it, moving it, and dumping it will burn about 300-400 calories an hour, maybe more depending on how quickly you’re moving and how much you’re carrying.
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