Show Santa Who’s Boss!: 5 Fitness Gifts for 2012

Holiday season is upon us and with just about 1 month until Christmas, it’s time to start thinking about stocking stuffers. We all have that person in our life that’s been talking about making fitness changes in the New Year. How about doing them a huge favor and helping them get started!

This week, I’m going to show you 5 great gift ideas that you can give to your favorite person. Alternatively, you can use these ideas as hints to “Santa” so that you’ll be ready to start 2013 with a bang!

The Dragon’s Favorite Fitness Gifts for 2012:

   1. Fitness Tracking Package: This gift is actually a combination of the three most   important items used to track fitness goals. They consist of a quality scale (I prefer EatSmart or Epica brands because of their great precision), a cloth measuring tape to measure circumference and a set of calipers to measure body fat percentage. All three items can be purchased for around $60.00.

   2. High Quality Blender: This gift is actually on my own Christmas list. I’ve been through more blenders than you can believe. When I began my journey to fitness, I realized the importance of making shakes. After several cheap blenders, I’ve finally had it with the cracked canisters, burned out motors and blades that become dull. Save your fitness chaser the time and headache by providing them with a functional, durable blender. A sturdy blender like the KitchenAid brand 5-Speed model can be obtained for around $100.00.

   3. DVD Fitness Training Program: The popularity of at home fitness programs is at an all time high. The average working person finds it hard to fit gym workouts into their schedule. They also jump into the New Year eager to join a gym only to regret the monthly commitment when money gets tight. A way to solve both problems is to get them started with any great DVD Fitness Training Program. I, of course, recommend any of the Team Beachbody programs (found here) like P90X or Insanity. While it is true that I am a Team Beachbody Coach, I must say that this company really does have the most comprehensive and most effective programs on the market. Just do a quick search and you will see that thousands of people have gotten serious results from the programs.

   4. Workout Clothes: Have a gym rat that wears the same thing every time that they go to the gym? How about a runner whose sneakers are falling apart before your eyes? Or maybe even someone that just throws their workout gear into a plastic bag when they head out for work in the morning? There are tons of options here. Everybody needs an extra set of sweats, shorts & t-shirts or a gym bag where they can store their items. Additionally, your gym guy or girl might need new workout gloves, an armband for their iPod or a lock for the gym locker. Mix and match a few items and use them as stocking stuffers.

   5. Subscription to Fitness Magazines: Nothing says extra motivation like getting a monthly reminder of what you want to look and feel like. Magazines like: Muscle & Fitness, Women’s Health / Men’s Health, Runner’s World or Yoga Journal can all be purchased for anywhere between $20 and $40 for a yearly subscription. The wealth of information far outweighs what you’ll pay for this great gift.

As you can see, it doesn’t have to cost tons of money to give a great fitness gift. Any of these items, along with your encouragement, will go a long way to motivate your loved one to get out and get moving. A few honorable mentions are: Gift certificates to all of the great healing places out there like your local Spa, Massage Therapist or Acupuncturist or purchasing a few hours from a personal trainer. This way, you are not only offering health and wellness but you are also supporting local business!

Now that you’ve gotten some ideas make sure you order early so that you’ll have them in time for the holidays. Enjoy giving your gifts as much as you enjoy getting them and remember…

Dream Fit. Live Fit.

Show Santa Who’s Boss and give the gift of fitness this year!

“Better Body. Better Sex.” : How exercise improves your libido!

As winter approaches so do all of those warm nights with your special someone. But for many people, intimate “fun” seems more like work. As we all get older and busier with work, family, etc. we have the tendency to neglect our bodies. This poor state of fitness, combined with the decreased libido that comes with age, negatively impacts the quality of those special intimate moments.

Wanna know the #1 thing that you can do to ramp up your sex drive?

 Exercise, exercise, exercise!

Beyond any magic pill or potion, exercise has been proven to be the greatest way to turbocharge your sexual appetite and help keep things exciting.

There have been numerous studies on the impact of exercise and sexual health. The results are always the same. Regular exercise DRASTICALLY improves libido. It increases sex drive, improves the quality and duration of sex and thus leads to decreased stress and a happier life. There is a ton of information to support this research but I’ve chosen a few of the more interesting facts to share with you.

Did you know…?

  • Women who perform consistent cardio exercise (30 min per day / 3 days per week) report significantly greater psychological and physiological (body) arousal than women who do no exercise at all.
  • Only one month after men who had sedentary lifestyles began to exercise at moderate to high intensity (45-60 min per day / 3 days a week), they reported dramatic enhancement to their sex lives. This included increased frequency of intimate activity, better endurance, and an overall greater sense of pleasure.
  • High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) has been proven to contribute to sexual dysfunction in men and women. Erectile dysfunction (men), increased pain and discomfort due to decreased blood flow (women) and lowered sex drive (both) are all common side effects of Hypertension. Regular exercise and proper diet are 2 ways to lower High Blood Pressure
  • Lower body fat (specifically around the midsection) increases the amount of blood that flows to the pelvis. This makes for easier stimulation of sex organs.
  • Stretching and Yoga are known for improving the quality of intimacy. The reason lies in the reduction of stress, increased flexibility and pliability in muscles and the opening up of blood vessels, allowing for greater flow throughout the body. This is the reason that Yoga is sometimes referred to as the greatest exercise to increase libido in Women!

Now for the fun part. Here are a few specific things you can do make the bedroom sizzle:

  1. Improve your diet.  A better diet leaves you feeling less sluggish and more energized for intimacy.
  2. Do Cardiovascular Exercise. As previously mentioned, Cardio increases your oxygen and helps improve stamina. It also gives you more energy and will increase your libido.
  3. Train with weights. Both men and women who train with weights often report more aggression and sexual desire. This is due to the increased testosterone and epinephrine. A spike in these hormones in men and women make for potent aphrodisiacs.
  4. Take a Yoga class. After reading this post, Google: “Upward Facing Dog”, “Camel” and “Butterfly” positions. In fact, do it now. I’ll wait…These three are said to be among the greatest positions for promoting a better sex life. I’ve discussed the reasons why above. Now it’s on you to start practicing!
  5. Have Sex. Sex is not only a natural, wonderful way to explore intimacy but it is great exercise in itself. For every 5 minutes of sex you can expect to burn between 5-10 calories! That’s 60 – 120 calories in an hour

As a recap, we’ve learned that multiple health studies have shown that regular exercise can drastically improve our love lives. We can keep things spicy in the bedroom by engaging in regular exercise and taking care of our bodies. Whether it’s cardio, weight training, Yoga or all of the above, you should get moving and stay moving. That special somebody in your life will be very appreciative!

I’ve laid out excellent ways to get started on your fitness journey in my other posts. If you need a personalized plan to put you on the right track, contact me here for more info: Dragon Gate Fitness Contact Info!

There’s not much more to see here, folks. Here’s wishing you exciting, hot and safe times…
Dream Fit. Live Fit.

Keep things on fire in the Bedroom by staying on top of your fitness. Cardio Exercise, Weight Training and Yoga are all great ways to improve your sexual health!

The Greatest Sports Drink of All!

Question: Which “sports” drink promotes fat loss AND also promotes muscle growth?

Answer: Water. Drink plenty of it!

This week’s “Bonus” post comes from the “Fit Tips” newsletter that I offer to all new clients. I decided to post it this week because, as with the previous post, it is a fundamental aspect of fitness. In fact, besides proper nutrition, water is the most important aspect of fitness. People way more knowledgeable about the details of human anatomy and physiology can explain exactly how water does all the miraculous things that it does better than I can. However, what’s important is that you know that you should be drinking plenty of water each day. I’m going to tell you exactly how much and also give you a few basic facts about water consumption. I’ll leave you with some very easy things that you can do to make sure you meet your daily water intake needs.

Question: How much water should I drink each day?

Answer: Ten (10) 8 oz. glasses is about 2/3 of a gallon. This is JUST enough for the average person! The more active you become, the more water you need to consume. Aim for 1 gallon per day.

Here’s some trivia to help you understand why:

  • Water makes up about 60-75% of the human body
  • Dehydration can occur with a minimal loss of water (only about 2-3%)
  • Water is a great appetite suppressant and will help burn fat
  • Water is great for detoxing the body of harsh chemicals
  • Water helps keep the skin tight and smooth
  • The more overweight you are, the more water you need. For every 25 lbs. you are overweight, you need 1 additional glass!

Now, here are some things you can do to make sure you get enough water.

1. Buy a water bottle! Simple enough. There are tons of BPA Free options out there. This way, you can carry your water with you and sip throughout the day.

2. When you’re at work, never pass by the water cooler without getting some water. It’s important to drink at least a small amount of water even when you’re not thirsty.

3. For every cup of coffee or alcohol you consume, you should be drinking 1 cup of water. (Easier said than done…I know. Give it a shot, anyway!)

4. Want some chips or something sweet? Drink a glass of water first. Then see if you still want it.

5. Mix up your water intake: Spring Water, Club Soda, Seltzer Water and Herbal Tea all count towards your daily totals.

Water serves you in so many ways. It aids in digestion, helps fuel your workouts, helps burn fat, and promotes muscle growth. As soon as you consistently up your intake you will notice a change in how you feel and subtle changes in how you look.

So now that you’ve read this GET UP AND DRINK SOME WATER!

 Dream Fit. Live Fit.

One way to drink more water is to buy a water bottle and keep it with you! There are tons of great BPA Free Options.

“Get Fit in the Gym. Lose Weight in the Kitchen.” (Part II)

Today’s post is the second part to “Get Fit in the Gym. Lose Weight in the Kitchen”, originally posted in July. As a conclusion to that post, I will show you how to regulate your metabolism, show you how it’s possible to eat 4-6 meals per day and finally I will give you some homework to do!

Regulating your metabolism plays a tremendous role in losing weight and becoming fit. Your body craves regularity and order. If you don’t feed it properly and at regular intervals it will enter into “starvation” mode. Once here, any food that you eat will be used as storage (fat, yuck!). This is because your body doesn’t know when it will be fed again. To avoid this, make sure you eat every 3 hours (4 is stretching it). In most cases, you only need to eat a small meal consisting of the three basic macronutrients/components that I’ve previously shared with you (Protein, Carbohydrates and Fat).

I know that we all have hectic schedules and sometimes it’s work just to get in one good meal a day, let alone 4-6. But you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to really make an effort here so that you’ll be healthy and look great! There are many options for quick meals including a variety of snacks and MRP (Meal Replacement Products) on the market. I’ll be happy to point you in the direction of great quick alternatives for the busy person. To sum it up though, I really want to express the importance of eating quality food every 3-4 hours. If you absolutely cannot do this then remember this great quote: “Eat like a king (or queen) in the morning and like a pauper at night”. This means that you should eat the heaviest meals early in the day and taper off your calories the later it gets. By your last meal you want to eat smaller portions and avoid lots of carbohydrates and fats. Your body tends to go into storage mode at night and will retain more of each and convert it into fat.

So, you have the keys to nutrition in your arsenal. Let’s use them by doing some “homework”. I’m going to simply ask you to read labels of the food you eat and make some mental notes. That’s it. Read & learn! If you’re anything like me then the first time you will read the labels of your favorite foods now that you know what’s good and bad for you, you will be shocked. Especially at the amount of certain substances that food has. The important items to pay attention to are:

1.Carbohydrates. The higher the number (especially in the SUGAR category) generally the more it will negatively impact your waistline. If you find that the food that you are choosing has most of its carbohydrates coming from sugar, pause and think about whether it’s worth it.

2. Fat: Just like carbs, too much fat (especially Saturated) is bad for you. Fat is extremely dense, hard to burn off and has the additional problem of contributing to diabetes and high blood pressure. A way to greatly reduce the fat you eat is to prepare your food with minimal oil, trim the fat off of beef and pork and try to eat skinless chicken as much as possible.

The last thing I want you to look for is found in the ingredients: HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP. Most processed food contains this sneaky additive. It was originally added as a cheap way to preserve and boost the caloric value of food. Beware of HFCS and what it can do to you. I’ll leave it up to you to Google it and learn about what it does.

Once again, knowledge is power! Now that you know how what you eat impacts your body, you also have a greater understanding of what to put into your body and at what time. Good luck on your journey to becoming more healthy and fit and reaching your goals!

Dream Fit. Live Fit.

*This ratio is subject to change, however depending on specific fitness goals/programs. 

Learning How To Breathe…The Right Way!!!

Hello and welcome back! I’ve been on a slight hiatus as I’ve been in the midst of moving and also planning a video workout series designed to help all of you. I’m back now, just in time for fall, with a post that is not only about fitness but about your general wellness!

Question: Do you want to know how to improve your alertness, reduce stress and help your cardiovascular fitness by doing “almost nothing”?

Answer: Of course you do! I’m going to show you how, with a technique called Diaphragmatic Breathing.

Diaphragmatic Breathing (AKA Deep Breathing or “Belly Breathing”) is a method of drawing in the breath to reduce stress, relax and give yourself greater energy. It’s a technique that has been used for decades in the professional athletic community and for thousands of years in eastern spiritual in religious circles. I can tell you personally that I’ve used deep breathing in tons of different scenarios (from martial arts competition to studying and test taking to easing stress on the job) always to great effect.

Question: So how is it done?

Answer: Doing Diaphragmatic Breathing is simple:

  1. Sit up straight, back erect.
  2. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach.
  3. Slowly inhale through your nose for a count of 10. As you inhale, push your stomach out, making your hand go outward. Imagine breathing fresh oxygen in from your nose and sending it down “into your feet.”
  4. Slowly exhale through your nose. Feel your stomach contract and your hand go inward.
  5. Return to resting position.

Repeat this cycle 5-10 times and notice any changes in your body. If you notice any shortness of breath and/or light-headedness please discontinue this practice.

The more you practice this technique the more you will begin to notice that Diaphragmatic breathing will replace your regular breathing. It will result in more mental alertness, reduced stress and a greater sense of ease. You will also that you are less fatigued during your workouts. This is because of the greater oxygen capacity your lungs now have!

Give Diaphragmatic Breathing a try and remember…

Dream Fit. Live Fit

Diaphragmatic Breathing has a variety of benefits including increased mental alertness, a boost in energy and decreased stress.
(picture courtesy of: Knowcopd.com)

Beyond The “90” in P90X: How to continue to make the program work for you!

You can thank U.S. Representative and VP Candidate, Paul Ryan for this week’s post. Whether or not you agree with his political views, you should applaud his commitment to fitness. At 42 years old, and with an extremely difficult schedule, he finds time to exercise regularly. His workout program of choice is the insanely popular (and insanely effective) P90X series. If you’ve been living under a rock for the past 5 years then you might not be familiar with P90X. Most likely though, you’ve seen the infomercials.

P90X is a 90 day cross training DVD workout program devised by fitness guru, Tony Horton. It has awesome segments that include: Yoga X, X Stretch, Kenpo X, Ab Ripper X, etc. They all function together, along with the nutrition plan included, to take the user from flab to fit in 90 days.

I highly recommend this program. I incorporated it heavily in my training when I first began my journey to fitness over 4 years ago. The purpose of this post is not to review the program but to give you 3 ways to use it after you’ve completed the first 90 days.

1.    Use individual discs/program as your primary workouts.

A great example of this is the Ab Ripper X program. Ab Ripper X is not for the faint of heart. It will, however, help you carve out a 6 pack in no time. Even after I completed the P90X program, I continued to use Ab Ripper X as my primary ab workout. I started by doing it once a week (because that’s all my stomach could handle). After I got used to the intensity I started doing it twice per week!

Another example is X Stretch. I’ve covered the importance of stretching in previous posts. This is a great way to get in your daily stretching. Pop in the DVD and loosen up before the day begins. This program is close to 1 hour so even if you don’t have time to complete it, you can focus on loosing up the body parts that need it most by going to that particular section of the routine.

2.    Use the cardio programs to mix things up when you’re getting bored of your regular routine.

Once you’ve been working out for a while you will get tired of doing the same routine. There are only so many steps you can do on the elliptical machine or so many miles you can walk on the treadmill before you’ll start to lose motivation for cardio. Using Kenpo X and Cardio X as alternatives is a great way to keep things fresh! Occasionally, I’ll even use them just to get my heart rate up on my days away from the gym. If you’re doing regular cardio elsewhere you don’t even need to finish the disc. Just go until you work up a nice sweat.

3.      Use the nutrition plan included with the program as a dietary guide.

After you’ve completed the 90 day program you may be tempted to go back to business as usual. This means no more workouts and engaging in old eating habits. This is the ABSOLUTE WORSE thing that you can do! Your body is now adjusted to burning more calories and it also now requires more quality calories.

Use Tony Horton’s nutrition plan as a base for what you should be eating. You don’t have to follow the plan to a “T” but the recommended requirements for protein, carbs and fat are spot on to maintain fitness. Make a grocery list based on the requirements and stick to it. You’ve worked hard for the body, now do what you can to maintain it!

Here is a Team Beachbody link where you can find P90X and all other Team Beachbody Products:

http://beachbodycoach.com/esuite/home/ReggieGooden

It is a phenomenal program, as are many of the other products that Team Beachbody offers (like Shaun T’s “Insanity” series, Turbo Fire, and Shakeology).

As you can see, it holds its value far beyond the first 90 days and because of that, RG “The Dragon” definitely approves!

Dream Fit. Live Fit.

P90X is a popular home training system proven to deliver serious results!

“Now you know…And knowing is half the battle!”

Hats off to you if you know where this quote comes from. It’s true. Knowledge is power. Which is why this very first fitness post will be about knowing how to properly weigh yourself and take your body measurements. This information will be vital in your quest to become more fit. Now, I know that this can be a humbling experience in the beginning but as you progress you will come to love your numbers and even brag about them to family and friends. The whole measurement process will only take about 10-15 minutes and you should do it every 6 weeks. Weighing yourself can be done as often as you like but, as I’ll next explain, you should keep “official” weigh-ins to once per week.

Question: When is the best time to weigh yourself?

Answer: The best time to weigh yourself is right after you wake up. You aren’t carrying excess weight from food or liquid.

Your body weight fluctuates greatly during the day and during the week. The best time to assess your weight is after you wake up. Your body is essentially empty of most food and consumable liquid when you wake up. This is the most accurate time to weigh yourself. You should also make it a point to record your weight each week on the same day, ideally after you wake up. You’ll then have a great gauge of your weekly progress. Whether you’re trying to lose fat or gain lean muscle, you should aim for no more than a 2 lb. change per week. Any more than that and you’re risking a host of issues like dehydration, fatigue, muscle loss (if you’re losing weight) or excess fat gain (if you’re “bulking up”).

Question: Which areas of my body should I measure and how often should I keep track of them?

Answer: Generally speaking, there are 7 main areas that are important to track:

  • Shoulders
  • Chest
  • Waist
  • Hips
  • Thighs
  • Calves
  • Arms

It is important to track these changes every six weeks so that you can get a good idea of how you’re progressing.

You may need some help the first time you measure but after a few attempts you should be able to do it by yourself. There are great clips on YouTube about how to do this, so I’ll skip the detailed instructions. However, a few tips to remember are:

  1. Get yourself a good soft plastic or nylon tape measure and a journal to record your entries in.
  2. Measure yourself on the same day of the week, every 6 weeks. Try to do it under the same conditions: i.e. before a meal or after you wake up.
  3. Always measure each area 3 times. This ensures accuracy.
  4. Make sure you are relaxed when you measure yourself. Do not tense and contract your muscles.
  5. There are many thoughts on where exactly the waist is. I am from the school that measures it above the belly button but below the rib cage. At the narrowest part of the abdomen. The point is to pick a place and make sure that you measure the same area each time. Also, never measure yourself immediately after a meal (unless you want to be depressed for the rest of the day.)
  6. Have fun! Use these measurements as only one gauge of your progress. The important thing is that you learn something about yourself so that you can see what’s working and what’s not.

Well, there you have it. Two great ways to keep track of your progress. Remember to reward yourself for your success and continue to set new goals. In the next post, I will be sharing with you the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING you’ll ever need on your journey to being more fit and healthy.Image

Remember…

Dream Fit. Live Fit.