Struggling to Reach Your Goals? Common Reasons and Some Solutions

Why does it seem that some people are natural born goal-achievers and others struggle to achieve any of their life goals?  If you think you might fall into the last category, you’re not alone and it doesn’t have to be this way.  FitClub has broken down two main reasons people fail to meet their goals and some solutions to improve the chances for success.no_motivation1

  1. You are lying to yourself. Let’s imagine that you started with the perfect, SMART goal. The goal was reasonable by every measure and even seemed to be something you really wanted from the beginning. You thought you were really trying, but you haven’t made any progress.  If you haven’t been tracking your efforts, and not just your progress, you may have been inadvertently lying to yourself.  Even though it seems impossible that you could lie to yourself, it’s more common than you might think.  For example, if you think you’re eating healthy, but you’re not counting calories, macronutrients, or watching your portion sizes you may not be on track to hit your goals.  If your diet is pretty good during the week, but you let yourself indulge on weekends, you may be burning more calories than you’re consuming.

    Solution:  Lying to yourself by choosing to overlook the details of your diet and fitness routine is common and easy to fix.  There are many apps for your phone that let you tally up your calories even before you begin to eat.  Portion control containers are also available to help you better understand what a healthy portion of any given food might be.  Finally, limiting your “cheat day” to a cheat meal can help you prevent eating back all those saved calories during the week.  This problem is so common and so easy to fix that you might begin to see the error in your plan almost immediately with very little extra effort!

  1. You don’t know how to achieve your goal. For some goals, there are thousands of training plans designed to get you to the finish line.  For example, if you want to run a 5K, you’d be shocked how many training plans exist.  What if your goal, though, is more complicated?  What if you want to build lean muscle mass and reduce your overall body fat?  That goal is more complicated and without a certain level of advanced knowledge and expertise, even a really great effort might not get you to your end goal.

    Solution:  There are professionals readily available to you at FitClub.  You don’t have to become a personal trainer to benefit from a personal trainer’s expertise.  Working with a personal trainer that can design a program specifically for you will go a long way in helping you sort through the complexities of changing your body and creating your healthiest possible self.

Achieving a goal can be its own reward.  If you’re having trouble achieving your goals, talk to a professional at FitClub for the insight and information you need to make healthy life changes.


Having a Tough Time Lately? There’s a Workout For That

Sometimes you absolutely need a workout more for your mental and emotional health than for your physical health.  Like our physical health, our mental health can fluctuate from time to time and occasionally, all of us suffer from a feeling of malaise, whether it’s from grief, anxiety, stress, or depression.  You can absolutely resolve symptoms of less than perfect mental or emotional health through exercise and, at least for now, let the physical benefits be secondary to getting the relief you

  1. FitClub can ease feelings of isolation.When problems arise that negatively impact a person’s mental or emotional health, it’s normal to seek isolation.  Some isolation may help people process negative emotions, but long term isolation can exacerbate feelings of sorrow, stress, or depression.  Just walking into FitClub can provide a temporary break from isolation.  Here, you share a common interest with other FitClub members and you can work out on your own or in a group exercise class without pressure to pretend to be okay when you’re going through something unpleasant.
  2. Clear out the brain fog. Any stressor to your emotional or mental health can induce a feeling of brain-fog making it difficult to concentrate, work, or even think your way through the problem.  Exercise has been proven to produce certain hormones and neurotransmitters designed to combat brain fog and let you think more clearly.  If you’re wrestling with a difficult emotion or problem, a high intensity exercise session may help you see the problem and the solution more clearly. The influx of endorphins and feel good chemicals is also why exercise is commonly associated with alleviating symptoms of depression.
  3. Regain control. Major life stressors can leave people feeling like they lack control over their own lives, problems, or futures.  When you set out to exercise, you can control every movement your body can make on its own.  Regaining even a little control can help you feel better.  If you need to regain some sense of control in your own life, remember that it’s up to you how you workout, how long you workout, and how hard you workout.  Whether you’re working out alone or in one of FitClub’s group exercise classes, this is your opportunity to take charge.
  4. Relax. While most workouts produce a sense of calm and wellbeing when you’re finished, workouts like swimming and yoga actually may help you relax during your workout. Putting your head under water and focusing only on the feeling of the water slipping through your fingers, or relaxing in child’s pose listening only to the sound of your own breathing can have incredible mental benefits.  Even better, you can’t hear the nagging cell phone when you’re underwater or hanging in downward dog.  Putting your life on hold to focus on yourself can help you recalibrate your emotional and mental health.

Do you workout for your mental and emotional health?  Do you have a favorite workout that always makes you feel better?

Trying to Lose Weight? Do Not Skip Meals!

If you’re trying to lose weight, you’re already aware that it’s calories in versus calories out, right?  So with that equation in mind, it might seem tempting from time to time to try to get ahead of the math by skipping a meal or two during a week.  Maybe you ate too many calories for lunch, and skipping dinner is the only way to hit your calorie goal.  Or maybe after an entire of day overindulging, a long fast seems most reasonable.  Before you skip that next meal, you should be aware of what skipping even one meal can do to your body and your weight loss goals.skip-meal

  1. Skipping meals increases your risks of eating too much during your next meal. Your body is pretty good at convincing you of what it needs.  When you skip meals, your body begins to crave easy, quick energyso it can function in the short-term.  When it’s your body making the decisions, it may not be looking at your long-term goals, and instead demanding vending machine or drive-thru junk just to operate in the short-term.  Think of those messages from your body like you would the messages you’d get from a hungry toddler.  The hungry toddler doesn’t care that complex carbohydrates and lean proteins will improve long-term health, it wants the sugar-coated junk right now to make the hunger go away.  A little bit of junk food is never enough to make you feel full and satisfied.  By eating healthy foods more frequently, you can avoid that nagging toddler voice that demands quick satisfaction without considering your long term goals.
  2. Skipping meals leads to less energy for your daily activities. Even one skipped meal can impact your blood sugar. You might notice that you feel more tired than usual, or have a general sense of feeling unwell.  The drop in blood sugar impacts your brain and you might have trouble staying focused, you might feel irritable and foggy and your metabolism immediately slows down to preserve what fuel it has available. Instead of losing weight, you’re now in survival mode, feeling unwell and not at all motivated to complete your daily activities, let alone make it to your favorite group exercise class.
  3. There are health risks associated with skipping meals. A long-term pattern of skipping meals can have dire health consequences.  What may start as fatigue, dizziness, or irritabilitycan become increased bone loss, decreased immunity, and impaired muscle growth.  If losing weight and living a healthier life are your main goals, skipping meals absolutely will not get you to your goals.  Instead, eat frequent, healthier meals, of reasonable portions.  The consistency may mean it takes time to get to your goals, but it is absolutely essential to long-term success.

How do you keep yourself fueled all day long to avoid the crash of missing a meal?

Can You Ever Eat Too Many Fruits or Vegetables?

First, if you feel the need to overindulge on anything from time to time, fruits and vegetables are still your best choice.  But is it possible to gain weight from eating too much of anything, even fruits and vegetables?  When you’re counting calories in and out each day, the total number of calories matters.  The reason why it’s better to indulge in fruit and vegetables rather than get the same amount of calories from junk food is that the junk food calories have no nutrients, no fuel, and no healthy purpose once in your body.  They are empty calories, as opposed to the calories in fruit and vegetables which carry huge nutritional benefits.1468285413814


All vegetables bring nutrients your body desperately needs to your plate so no matter what your weight loss goal, do not skip your vegetables!  That said, there are vegetables that are lower in calories than others and those are the vegetables that you want to load up on when you’re snacking between meals.  For example, cauliflower and asparagus are low in starchy carbs so you should feel free to eat as much as you’d like to feel full.  The vegetables that pack more carbs and calories are vegetables like sweet potatoes, white potatoes, and carrots.  You absolutely still need these foods in your diet, but if weight loss is your goal, you need to be mindful of portion sizes. When you’re packing your snacks or setting your table, aim for one cup of the starchier vegetables and a greater serving of cauliflower and asparagus.

Certain fruit also brings a cautionary warning.  Fruit has nutrients that should never be avoided, but staying mindful of your portion size will help you avoid unburned carbs that store as fat.  While requirements vary based on your gender, activity level, and age, most people need four to five servings of fruit each day to ensure they receive enough nutrients. The portion for a fruit is about the size of one banana or a cup of berries.

Experts believe that your body may not be able to overindulge in fruit. Fruit and some vegetables are high in fiber which promotes healthy digestion and makes you feel fuller faster.  If you’re regularly eating four to five portions of fruit each day, you probably won’t feel hungry enough to overindulge.

Another key tip to keep in mind when you’re adding fruits and vegetables to your diet is to avoid dressings, sauces, and dips on your veggie and fruit trays. Vegetable dips, salad dressings, and fruit dips all contain sugar and unhealthy junk calories.  If you need something to dress your vegetables, a very small serving of olive oil will allow you to take in some healthy fat while you meet your vegetable needs.  Experimenting with different types of fresh, in season produce might convince you that you don’t need added flavor for your favorite healthy snacks!

Four Signs You Might Be Dehydrated and How to Prevent It

As we enter the dog days of summer, we still have many weeks left before the temperature drops and fall begins.  Fortunately, FitClub members workout inside where the high temperatures and higher humidity doesn’t raise the same concerns as might exist if you exercised outside in the sun.  Even in an air conditioned facility like FitClub, dehydration remains a serious risk, particularly this time of year.  Even mild dehydration can impact your neurological and cardiovascular systems. Your body may be warning you in unusual ways that you need more hydration.  You just have to recognize the signs and increase your water intake.Senior Man Drink Mineral Water In Fitness Center.

  1. You’re more tired than usual. Fatigue can actually be one of your first symptoms of dehydration.  Experts believe most people actually have no idea of how little water they are drinking and once they adjust and begin drinking the appropriate amount of water they are surprised how much better they feel and how much more energy they have.
  2. Your skin is cool.We generally think of dehydration during the summer to be caused from heat, and it is, but when your body loses too much water it makes you skin feel cool instead of hot. If you’re working up a sweat, but your skin feels cool it’s time to rehydrate.
  3. You have a nagging headache.A headache may be a sign of even mild dehydration.  If you feel a headache coming on, try downing a glass of water before you reach for medication.  To prevent headache-related dehydration, remember to drink 8 to 10 glasses of plain water each day.
  4. You’re thirsty. This may seem to be the most obvious sign of dehydration, but by the time you feel thirsty, you’re already likely dehydrated.Your goal for staying hydrated should be to avoid feeling thirsty.  This can be easily remedied by carrying a reusable water bottle with you and reminding yourself to sip throughout the day.  If avoiding instead of fixing thirst is new to you, you might even want to set a reminder on your phone or watch to remind you when it’s time to take a drink whether you feel like you need it or not.

The bad news is even mild dehydration can have serious consequences for your entire body, as well as your physical and mental health.  The good news is dehydration is easy to prevent.  By simply drinking more water each day, you can maintain healthy levels of hydration.  Without adding calories, caffeine, or added sugars, you can flavor the water with lemon, lime, or other tasty fruits to help your new habit taste as good as it will make you feel.

Whether you’re exercising in the air conditioning at FitClub or enjoying outdoor summer activities, stay hydrated to have a healthier summer!

What is your favorite way to stay hydrated? Leave your tips in the comments!

Need to Improve Your Sleep? Exercise Can Help!

If you struggle to fall asleep and stay asleep, you can adjust your exercise routine to help you achieve higher quality sleep.  While all exercise helps you sleep by reducing your stress and increasing natural feel-good hormones, some exercises carry an additional bonus of being better at promoting high quality sleep than others.sleep-exercise_h-article

  1. Aerobic exercise. According to John Hopkins, aerobic exercise has been linked to an increase in the amount of deep sleep you experience. It’s during deep sleep that your body and brain have a chance to repair and grow stronger.  Experts don’t know exactly why the two are linked, but theorize that it is because exercise reduces stress that might otherwise keep you awake.  While any cardio exercise you enjoy is the right exercise, you might want to try an aerobic swim if you’re struggling with falling asleep.  Not only is swimming a great full body aerobic workout, but it also requires that you disengage from the technology that might be over stimulating you throughout your day.  You have no choice but to unplug and shut out the world’s noise while you swim.
  2. Strength training. Increased muscle mass is associated with improved quality of sleep. According to a study done by Appalachian State University, people that engage in strength training might fall sleep forty-five minutes faster than normal! Because strength training can reduce your blood pressure, it’s also correlated to less stress.  Not only can strength training help you fall asleep and stay asleep, but its during periods of deep sleep that the micro muscle tears you experience when you strength train begin rebuilding.  When your muscles repair in this way, the muscles grow stronger than before.  If your ultimate goal is to increase your strength and muscle mass, strength training and sleep must go hand in hand.
  3. Yoga. Known for its calming breaths and the relaxation derived from its poses and stretches, yoga is among the top exercises for improved sleep.  According to the Sleep Foundation, a regular yoga practice has been linked to reduced insomnia.

The best news of all is that moderate exercise of only thirty minutes may help you sleep better almost immediately.  There doesn’t seem to be any reason not to test this theory right now!

Ultimately, experts believe the time of day you exercise might be more important to your sleep than what type of exercise you prefer.  Morning and afternoon exercise is better for promoting better sleep than evening or late night exercise.  Exercising at night can prove to be too stimulating to promote easy sleep when you’re ready to wind down.  If you feel that you need to exercise immediately before bed, yoga or stretching may help you fall asleep better than cardio or strength training.

Do you have a go-to exercise that helps you fall asleep and stay asleep?  Share your helpful hints with your fellow FitClub members.  Good night, everyone!

Lunch Bags Ready? While You’re Packing School Lunches, Pack a Better Lunch For Yourself!

It’s that time of year when parents across the country are trying to fall back into a routine that often includes packing a lunch for school-aged children. As time consuming as it might be to pack a healthy lunch for your child, it’s a better alternative than handing him or her cash to blow on an unhealthy drive-thru lunch, right?  So if packing a healthy lunch for your school age children is worth the time, doesn’t it make sense to pack your own?healthy-lunch-snacks

Packing a healthy lunch for yourself not only saves you money, but it also allows you to be in complete control of the fuel you’re feeding your body.  Preparing in advance keeps you from making impulse decisions that can undo all of your healthy efforts.  It doesn’t have to be complicated either, because FitClub has three easy to follow tips for packing the perfect grown up lunch.

  1. Prepare in advance. Weekday mornings are busy and if you don’t have the time in the mornings, you can spend a little extra time the evening before to prepare your lunch.  By making a slightly larger meal for dinner, you can reward yourself with healthy leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch.  You don’t even have to be stuck eating the exact same meal, but take from what you already have and make it new again.  For example, if you’re grilling or baking chicken for your family dinner, prepare one extra chicken breast to toss with a green salad in your lunch bag. Taking the time to wash and prepare extra produce the night before makes it far easier to load your bag with healthy salad toppings or snacks during a busy morning.
  2. Bring your reusable water bottle with you. Avoiding dehydration is crucial and being prepared with plain water throughout the day will keep you from resorting to soft drinks or too much coffee during the course of your workday.  A reusable water bottle that can be refilled throughout the day can be an easy reminder to drink more water and ward off thirst that can sometimes present as hunger pangs.
  3. Stay motivated. What if you have a few evenings or mornings in a row when you just don’t have the time or ability to pack a healthy lunch?  After a few days of eating out or eating on the run, you might start to lose the motivation you had when you started packing your lunch.  Reaffirming the motivation to make healthier decisions is a lifelong process.  Do you have a colleague that brings lunch every day? No one said the motivation can’t be shared!  Leaving yourself a refrigerator of healthy staples might also encourage you to bring your lunch.  Ultimately, motivation is a recurring muscle that you have to strengthen.  The financial savings and calorie savings really do add up over time.

Share your healthy brown bag lunch tips in the comment section!