This Childhood Habit Is Bad For You As An Adult

You’ve heard of siblings like this, right?

Three brothers, all within about 6 years of each other. Everything is a competition. Even eating. Whoever gets the food onto their plate first gets to eat it, but it had better be gone fast or it could get stolen.

If the serving dish on the table only has one piece of chicken left, you can be sure someone will be stabbed with a fork as everyone grabs for it at the same time. Blood everywhere… Tears… Pointing fingers…Whining…

And that’s NOTHING compared to when they were kids! 😉

Seriously, it’s not just males who eat quickly, without thinking either. Many people have developed the habit of eating as fast as possible. Often it’s because you developed the habit while in elementary school, when lunch breaks were short. And then you continued when you got home from school, wolfing down dinner in order to get to some rehearsal, or practice, or study session on time.

Now as an adult, you work long hours, rush home through painful traffic or an overly-crowded public transportation, only to rush through eating again, because there are bills to pay, bathrooms to clean, kids to shuttle….

We Need To Slow Down

Our fast-paced society includes fast-paced eating.

Yet, there are plenty of reasons to eat slowly.

If you eat slowly, it helps your digestion, you stay hydrated more easily, it’s easier to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, and you enjoy your food more. If eating slowly creates these benefits, eating too quickly obviously causes the opposite effects.

One of the most important reasons to eat more slowly is it allows your brain to catch up with your stomach. It takes about 20 minutes from the time you begin eating for the brain to recognize when you are satiated, that is, full.

Many people eat so fast, their brain doesn’t have time to tell them they are done eating, and they end up consuming more calories than they need!

In addition, if you eat slowly, you help your digestion. Like any system, digestion has to go from step 1 to step 2 to step 3, etc. But it takes time to get ready for each step.

Here’s what I mean. When you think about eating, you start to salivate. Saliva contains enzymes that break down your food and moisten your mouth for easier swallowing.

While this is happening, your stomach starts to secrete more acid in order to digest the food completely. In addition, your small and large intestines begin to get ready to do their jobs. Etc.

When you eat too fast, you send food into this relatively fragile system before it’s ready. This is especially true if you don’t take time to chew your food sufficiently; it lands as a lump in your stomach without having been as well processed as it should be.

So if you suffer from indigestion or other GI problems, you might want to evaluate how quickly you eat your food.

Case Study

Let’s take a look at a study done by the University of Rhode Island (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18589027), in which they brought in 30 women of “normal” weight, for two visits.

The women were told to eat until full (satiated), but one time they were told to eat quickly, and the other time they were told to put down their fork after each bite.

When they ate quickly, they consumed 646 calories in 9 minutes. When eating slowly, they consumed 579 calories in 29 minutes. That’s 67 fewer calories in 20 more minutes! In addition, when they ate slowly, the women drank 7 oz of water (fast) vs. 14 oz (slow).

Finally, when they ate quickly, the women felt hungry sooner than when they ate the same amount of food slowly.

If you imagine these kinds of results three times a day, seven days a week, week after week, you can see how quickly these women would eat more calories and drink less water, when eating fast. I mean, that’s an additional 1,407 calories each week!

Tips to Slow Down

OK, so I hope I’ve convinced you that eating slowly is much better for you than wolfing down your food. So how do you do that?

There is actually a mindful eating movement afoot. This is when people count their bites, or how often they chew each bite. To do mindful eating very thoroughly, people first sit and look at their food, experiencing it with as many senses as possible – sight, smell, touch – just thinking about what it’s going to taste like and feel like. After five or more minutes of this, THEN they begin to eat their food… slowly.

So sitting and looking at your food for five minutes doesn’t fit your particular lifestyle, here are a few suggestions you can consider incorporating. Even doing a few of them each day will make a big difference in how quickly or slowly you consume your food, and give you the attending health benefits:

  • – Eat more high-fiber foods (like fruits and vegetables) that take longer to digest.
  • – Cut your bites smaller before putting them in your mouth. Then actually count how many times you chew before swallowing.
  • – Drink a glass of water before you sit down to eat – and during the meal – as this will make you feel more full, and less desperate to get the food into your mouth.
  • – Use smaller plates for smaller portions.
  • – If you usually use a fork, try using chopsticks! (If you’re not familiar with them, this will definitely slow you down.)
  • – Give yourself at least 20 to 30 minutes to eat…. Not the usual 5 to 10.
  • – Eat with others and engage in witty, engaging conversation. 😉
  • – Put down your utensil after each bite to savor both the flavors and the company
  • – Don’t eat when you’re bored; only when you’re truly hungry
  • – Don’t multitask while you eat; pay attention to the experience of eating
  • – Eat on a schedule, not all day long
  • – Pause to consider where your food came from. The people who harvested it, transported it, stocked the shelves with it, and prepared it; maybe even the animals that were raised for your sustenance. Consider the cultural traditions that brought you to that table, and the recipes shared among family and friends. When you stop to consider all this, it may slow you down and help you make wise choices about sustainability and healthy food.

Take Action

If you’re like most people I know, you probably lead a pretty busy, hectic life. But when you mindfully, intentionally slow down during your mealtime, you will feel healthier, have more control over your weight, and feel more connected to your food and to those at the table with you. I’m challenging you to give it a try for the next few weeks and see how it makes you feel.

I’d love to have the chance to speak with you about this, and other health issues that you may be wondering about. Please shoot me a message at fitness@ptifortwayne.net and we’ll schedule a time to chat. I look forward to speaking with you!

About the Author:

Hi, I’m Josh Davidson, owner of Personal Training Institute of Fort Wayne. I have been involved in health and fitness for over 7 years. You can learn more about my staff and I as well as what we do by calling 260-338-2022 or visiting our website at www.ptifw.com.

What’s for dinner tonight??

How often have you picked up the kids in the evening and let them talk you into the local drive-through, because it was easier than going home and trying to figure out what to serve for dinner? Or talked yourself into it after a long day at work?

If this ever happens to you, even occasionally, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

We live in what seem to be frantic times, and there’s always something else that needs our attention.

But there is a solution to the last-minute fast-food decision. It’s called meal planning.

Now I know not everyone is ultra-organized. I’m certainly not either!

But there are some great reasons to plan your meals in advance instead of just standing in front of an open freezer, wondering what you can throw together. (Remember those “mystery meals” from your youth? Or was that last week…?)

Why Should You Try to Plan Your Meals?

First, meal planning helps you save money. It’s much cheaper to eat grocery-bought food than fast food. Grocery-bought food may seem more expensive when you buy it, but most of the time what you get can be used for multiple meals or feed more people than fast food.

 

Second, you get to eat REAL FOOD, not processed chemicals! Do ya think your body might like that a bit more? You bet it does! And it will definitely show in how you feel as well as in your fitness endeavors. When you fill the pantry with real food snacks and meals, you and your whole family reap the benefits. These include: eating fewer chemical additives (which adversely affect us in so many ways); eating more vitamins and minerals (which not only builds your immune system and helps you fight germs and illness, but also helps your children’s bones and organs grow well); feeling healthier; BEING healthier; and being less likely to gain weight.

Yes, fresh food has a shorter shelf life, but you’ll waste less food when you plan exactly how you’re going to use it all. This isn’t just the main meals; it also includes leftovers and snacks. This is the best way to avoid finding unexpected science experiments in the back of the fridge!

If you’ve ever wondered, “What are we going to eat for dinner tonight?” at 4 pm, or even at 7 pm, you’ll realize how much unnecessary stress you’re putting on yourself. It takes up a lot of mental energy to try to think on the fly. It’s a lot less stressful if you already have the meals planned in advance, and know exactly what you’re going to serve each night.

Planning in advance also definitely saves a lot of time, as well as stress. And it gives you a chance to make sure there is plenty of variety in the foods you serve and provide throughout the day. If you’ve got a crockpot, you just throw it all in when you leave for work to come home to a meal ready to go. Plus you can use leftovers for another dinner later in the week or as lunch for the next day or two.

How To Go About Meal Planning?

OK, so those are all the compelling reasons to plan your meals. How do you actually do it? Here are some steps you can take right away:

  • First things first, start with a weekly template for the types of meals you’ll make. For instance, each week you can do 1 stir-fry, 1 salad, 1 slow cooker meal, 1 soup, 1 seafood meal, 1 Mexican, and 1 grilled. Or something like that, that your family will eat. That helps you narrow down your choices.
  • Plan your recipes in advance, one day a week. Look through your pantry and fridge to see what you already have (and what will last for a few more days), and what you need to buy. Make a comprehensive shopping list.
  • Tip: Organize your list by aisle, if you are very familiar with that store. It saves a lot of time wandering around looking for just the right ingredient.
  • Tip: Plan recipes around seasonal veggies and fruit because it will be cheaper at the store, fresher, and less expensive than the rest of the year.
  • Tip: Reduce prep time by getting pre-chopped veggies and pre-cooked meats.
  • Build up a go-to resource of at least 20 family-favorite recipes. Use at least 4 of them each week, rotating so you don’t use each one more than once every few weeks, and add in a couple of new recipes the other days.
    • Tip: Get your kids to find recipes online that they’d like to try, and encourage them to help you in the kitchen, in an age-appropriate way.
  • Plan to eat leftovers for lunch and maybe another dinner. This means making a little (or a lot) more when you first cook the meal. Just think of all the time you’re saving for the rest of the week.
    • Tip: Make some meals ahead, say, on the weekend, with a double recipe.
    • Tip: If you know you or someone else in your family will be taking leftovers to school or work, after making more than you need for dinner, pack leftovers in portion-sized containers and put them in the freezer.
  • Other Helpful Tips

    • Yes, eating more healthy food is a little more expensive upfront. But as I said earlier, you can usually make it last for a couple meals. It’s also higher quality, so it will fuel your body much more than hitting up fast food. But here are some additional tips for to help out and keep some variety.
    • Stretch your meat by putting it in a stir-fry or casserole where you can include a lot more veggies. Your plate should generally contain more veggies anyways. You can also change up the spices you use to change up the flavor of something. For instance, instead of curry, try cumin and other Mexican-style flavors.

I hope this has given you at least a few great ideas you can try that will make meal planning easier, cheaper, and healthier for you and your family. Just remember, it might be a little tough once you start, but as you get the hang of it, it’s gonna get easier and easier to implement.

About the Author:

Hi, I’m Josh Davidson, owner of Personal Training Institute of Fort Wayne. I have been involved in health and fitness for over 7 years. You can learn more about my staff and I as well as what we do by calling 260-338-2022 or visiting our website at www.ptifw.com.

Creating “More” Time by Finding “Lost” Time

Last week I encouraged you to look in the rearview mirror before planning goals for your new year. Did you have a chance to do that? If not, take another look at that message, because looking at LAST year is a critical first step to achieving your goals for NEXT year.

And based on many conversations I’ve had with many clients, here’s the problem my clients encounter: they run out of time.

They know they “should” be taking care of themselves… that when they feel healthy they feel better about themselves… that exercise and proper nutrition give them energy to do all the things they want to do…

But finding time to get to their workout every day is challenging.

So let me help you “find time” in your schedule, so you don’t put off taking care of yourself.

If you’re thinking about something, especially something you need to do, write it down. Once it’s out of your head, you’re able to focus on the tasks or people in front of you, and not on this other thing you should do… later.

Chunk your day into blocks of time. I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but if you haven’t, let me share it with you: Don’t try to multitask. The human brain actually sucks at this. Instead of doing two things at once, it switches back and forth, losing energy – and time spent reacquiring attention – with every switch.

Time chunking could look something like this:

  • 15 minutes to confer with your calendar and make sure you know what’s ahead in the day
  • 90 minutes on a creative task
  • 15 minute break (your brain needs breaks)
  • 90 minutes on another creative task
  • 30 minute break
  • Meetings and appointments as necessary
  • 30 minutes replying to email
  • 30 to 60 minutes on other small, relatively mindless tasks
  • 15 minutes reviewing the day and planning the next day

What those creative tasks are depends on what your daily tasks look like, but I think you get the idea. If you identify your most important activities for the week, and the tasks that will help you accomplish them every day, knock those off your list first thing. They are usually the “harder” things to do, and take more willpower, so do them early in the day before your willpower is depleted.

I also recommend setting a timer and turning off all distractions during your 90 minute creative tasks. Time chunking is a proven system for getting things done, so try it out – and tweak the time frames if necessary – if you haven’t used it yet!

Use other people’s time. If you’re a natural control freak, this may be challenging, but do it anyway. In fact, the more you empower others to do their job (from colleagues to kids), the more time you will have to yourself, and the less stress you will experience. Hire a house cleaner if you have to, or a VA for your business. Your time is valuable; don’t waste it doing things you hate, and that don’t help you accomplish your goals.

Celebrate small wins. Your brain thrives on positive feelings, so create positive feelings of happiness and inspiration by celebrating every little win.

I know this may look silly, but it really works. When you achieve even a small task that moves you forward on a goal, stand up, punch the air with your fist, and yell “Yes!! I did it!!

This physical activity actually changes your body chemistry, making you feel great. When you feel great about yourself, it’s easier to dive back in and try to get the next goal accomplished. Remember, your brain craves those feel-good moments, so give it as many of them as you can!

Plan in some daily “nothing” time. If you have to, actually put break times into your calendar and do something that doesn’t require a lot of attention.

And be aware that those moments when you’re daydreaming are an indication you are not fully engaged in your task. If you have to, stand up, stretch, walk over to a window, down the hall, or go outside, and let your mind wander.

Your brain is processing everything you’ve been working on and thinking about. Now give it a chance to solve problems. If you don’t give it regular breaks, it’s like trying to grab the steering wheel from someone else when they don’t want you to have it!

Use technology if it helps you move faster. Sometimes technology slows us down because it distracts us from the task at hand. But many times it streamlines a task and makes it more efficient. Figure out where you can use technology to your advantage.

Conclusion

When you start applying some – or all – of these strategies, you’ll begin to feel like you have more time in your life. And what’s the best way to use that new free time? By taking care of yourself!

I would love to be able to help you create a time-efficient workout and nutrition plan to start your new year on the right foot. Please give us a call at (260) 338-2022 to get started on an amazingly healthy 2018!

About The Author:

Hi, I’m Josh Davidson, owner of Personal Training Institute of Fort Wayne. I have been involved in health and fitness for over 7 years. You can learn more about my staff and I as well as what we do by calling 260-338-2022 or visiting our website at www.ptifw.com.

Why Look in The Rearview Mirror…

The New Year is upon us! Are you feeling inundated with offers to “create your best year yet”, or “goal-setting for 2018!” or any other way of saying the same thing?

I know my email inbox is full of subject lines like that.

And I’m not knocking forward thinking or planning. Not by any means. There are a lot of different ways

of doing it – the “90 day year” or the “getting things done” plans. They are definitely valuable, and you should pick a system and work it.

But the real gold is in the rearview mirror.

Before planning for NEXT year, start by looking at LAST year, so you can identify the lessons that will help you move forward.

First, did you have written goals for this past year? If so, pull them out and write them down on a new sheet.

If you didn’t have any written goals this past year, think back 6 to 12 months, and put yourself into that time frame. What were you talking about doing? What new initiatives did you start? Work with those as “goals” for this past year.

Now, next to each of your goals, write down whether or not you achieved the goal completely, partially, or not at all. Also write down any obstacles that got in your way, and any strategies you used to overcome those obstacles, as well as how successful those strategies were.

What do you learn about yourself when you read what you have written?

Is it easier for you to start something than it is to finish it? (A common problem, by the way!)

Do you get easily side-tracked by “bright shiny objects”? In other words, are you in search of a “magic button” that makes it “easy” to achieve your goals? Do you need a dose of reality about focus, attention, and hard work?

Were you creative enough in coming up with ways to overcome perceived obstacles? What sorts of obstacles did you encounter? Were they mostly relationship/people obstacles? Financial? Mindset? Lack of time?

Now think about all the things you did last year.

What activities and events did you enjoy most? What was so great about them? Were they purely for fun, or can you extract any lessons from these activities?

Relationships are next. Who were the people with whom you spent the most time? Was it enjoyable time, or was it often challenging? What can you learn about yourself by thinking about these relationships, and how you react and respond to them? (React = speaking or acting without a lot of thought in advance. Often leads to unintended consequences. Respond = thinking carefully before doing or saying anything)

Who were the people who influenced you the most? How did they influence you? Was it “good” or “bad” influence? Who are the 5 people whom you WANT to influence you over the next year? How can you make sure you spend enough time with them so that influence rubs off on you?

Who were the people whom you think YOU influenced? Was it “good” or “bad” influence? Whom do you WANT to influence positively over the next year, and how can you put a plan in place to make that happen?

Now let’s look at your contributions over the last year. What were they? Yes, I’m talking about money, but I’m also talking about time, energy, and attention. Do you feel good about the contributions you made? Is there any way you can improve your contributions for next year?

Personally, how did you learn and grow this past year? How did you apply that new growth? How did it impact your life and relationships?

Productivity is a key element in how you feel about yourself. How well did you leverage your time last year? In case you’re not sure what that means, it refers to being able to multiply your outcome without increasing your effort. An example of leveraged time would be running on the treadmill while listening to an audiobook or podcast that teaches you something new. Or by hiring new team members to do things that don’t pay for themselves (like hiring a house cleaner so you have more time either with your family, or to grow a business).

Finally, how did you take care of your health and wellness this past year? Did you stick with your plan pretty consistently? Did you allow yourself to get derailed, or permit lack of motivation to keep you from getting your workout in every day?

Now What?

Once you’ve answered all these questions, you’re in a much better place to begin planning your new year. I recommend identifying 3 big goals, one each in career, relationships, and health. Then break them down into quarterly sub-goals, monthly sub-goals, and weekly action steps.

I’d love to be able to speak with you about creating and achieving your health and wellness goals. If you want some help taking action, give us a call or email, and we’ll make 2018 “your best year ever!!” (wink, wink) 🙂

About the Author:

Hi, I’m Josh Davidson, owner of Personal Training Institute of Fort Wayne. I have been involved in health and fitness for over 7 years. You can learn more about my staff and I as well as what we do by calling 260-338-2022 or visiting our website at www.ptifw.com.

Importance of Sleep

Importance of Sleep

By: Taylor Plattner

Sleep. Something all of us wish we could get more of but so few of us get enough of. We all make excuses for not getting enough sleep, but did you know that sleep is absolutely crucial in allowing our bodies to function at their peak level? If everyone knew how vital sleep is to them and the benefits it provides, I believe we would all make a greater effort to get more of it.

Why is sleep so important?

First, let’s talk about how much sleep we should get. Most health professionals recommend that grown adults get 7-9 hours of sleep a night with younger children and teens needing slightly more. During the time that we are sleeping, our brains are forming new pathways to learn and retain information and preparing us for the day to come. In addition, our bodies are repairing the damage done by the various stresses we put on them throughout the day. For example, that workout you performed so well earlier in the day put a lot of stress on your body. To gain the maximum benefit of that workout, it is important to get adequate sleep and rest so that your muscles and bones can repair and grow bigger and stronger than before. For children and teens, getting the proper amount of sleep is even more important in order to ensure healthy growth and development.

What happens if I don’t get enough sleep?

I’ll be honest, I know many nights I don’t get as much sleep as I should, and I think many people would say the same. However, I believe we would all make sleep a greater priority if we knew the consequences of sleep deficiency. Besides the obvious effect of feeling tired and sluggish throughout the day, ongoing sleep deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. A lack of sleep also increases the risk of obesity in individuals of all ages.

Conclusion

Just remember that sleep is important for us to function at optimum levels. As hard as it is, try to make sleep a priority. It’s going to be hard, but make it a goal just like you do with workouts. Slowly increase the amount you get until you get into that 7-9 range.

Working Out From A Personal Trainer’s Perspective

Working Out From a Personal Trainer’s Perspective

By: Michael Nix

Posted by Personal Training Institute of Fort Wayne, Indiana on Thursday, March 23, 2017

As a personal trainer, I can easily say that I love the idea of working out. The way the body functions absolutely fascinates me. There are probably many who believe that working out is easy for a Personal Trainer. Not only is the process of working out a simple thing but we also get very excited by the thought of getting to work out. I am going to set the record straight. These facts are not entirely true. I know that I personally find the work outs themselves to be extremely challenging and even more challenging is getting myself up for my (almost) daily workout. There are many days that I would much rather do anything else. The trick is to find a way to get beyond the physical pain of the workout and the mental challenge that lead up to it.

How do you get through the workout?

I will not lie right now. I kind of do enjoy working out once I get started; the real challenge is beginning each time. Being a very competitive person, I have learned to embrace the physical challenge. That is not to say that the workout is an easy task by any means. I am very dramatic when I workout and if something is challenging, you better believe I am letting the person training me now about it. I have just learned to accept the physical challenge as a necessary process in the pursuit of a healthier life. For that reason I have come to appreciate “the burn,” knowing that it is only there to help me and to improve my life. This is a very difficult mindset to develop, but you eventually learn that it is a very short term discomfort for a very long term feeling of a healthier life.

How do you get the motivation to work out?

As stated earlier, this is the truly challenging part of every workout. I am often sore, I have other things to do, and until I actually feel “the burn” happening, I cannot seem to bring myself to see the benefit of it. It is a definite mental battle to tell myself that it is worth it. It is worth it though. Everyone knows the benefits of fitness, but it is hard. This statement is completely true. However, if we can allow ourselves to see the good that comes out of fitness before the work out, it can help us to embrace it and continue to do it.  Pretty soon, we create a habit. We can eventually get to a point where working out is just part of our routine. There will be times when that routine breaks and you miss a few days, but do not panic. Think about the long term benefits, get back in the routine, and create the habit again to continue the cycle.

It should now be clear that even someone who has a passion for working out can struggle with it. Remember your long term goals, whatever they may be. Consistency is the key. Make it a habit and stay at it forever. There will be days that are more challenging than others, but you know why you are doing this.

Spice Up Your Food Without Using Salt!

Spice Up Your Food Without Using Salt!

By: Courtney Sudac

            Salt makes everything test better, right? The salt shaker isn’t exactly the problem these days. Sodium find its ways in all types of packaged and processed foods, deli meat, canned vegetables, and of course fast food.

Daily Intake

Are you aware of what your daily intake of sodium should be? The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 mg of sodium a day. The ideal daily intake should be around 1,500 mg of sodium.

Health Effects

Excessive sodium intake can result in health issues such as: high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure, headaches, kidney stones, kidney disease, stomach cancer, and osteoporosis.  Excessive sodium leads to water retention which can lead to: puffiness, bloating, and weight gain.

Potassium

People in the United States have a dietary imbalance of potassium and sodium, consuming too little potassium and too much sodium. Potassium is a mineral that plays a key role with fluid balance in your body. It is known for decreasing your blood pressure as it relaxes the blood vessel walls. The more potassium we eat, the more sodium is passed out of our body through our urine. The recommended intake for potassium is 4, 700 mg a day. Are you wondering what are great sources of potassium besides bananas? Citrus fruits, vegetables, avocados, spinach, prunes, and sardines are all great sources of potassium.

Herbs

Spices and herbs are a great way to spice up your food without adding salt to it. There are many herbs and spices to choose from for all different types of cuisines and taste preferences. Some spices, such as turmeric, fresh ginger, and fresh garlic, even have beneficial health effects as they are all anti-inflammatory. To get the most flavor from herbs, crush or rub them before adding them to the dish. Buy herbs and spices in small amounts as you need them rather than storing them for a long time. If you are using fresh herbs such as parsley or cilantro, store them in water so they stay fresh.

How to Use Your Spices

Basil : Use in soups, salads, vegetables, fish, and meats
Cayenne Pepper: Use in meats, poultry, stews, and sauces
Chili Powder: Use in meats, poultry, and stews
Cilantro: Use in meats, sauces, stews, and rice
Cinnamon: Use in salads, vegetables, breads, snacks and meats
Cumin: Use in meats and poultry
Curry Powder: Use in meats, shellfish, and vegetables
Dill Weed and Dill Seed: Use in fish, soups, salads, and vegetables
Ginger: Use in soups, salads, vegetables, and meats
Nutmeg: Use in vegetables and meats
Parsley: Use in salads, vegetables, fish, and meats
Thyme: Use in salads, vegetables, fish, and chicken

Conclusion

If you’re still not sold on the harsh effects from salt, take into consideration that more than 360,00 Americans deaths in 2013 included high blood pressure as a primary contributing factor. That is almost 1,000 deaths each day. Making simple changes such as eating out less, not using the salt shaker at dinner time, using herbs to spice up your food, and increasing your potassium intake can such a positive impact on your health.

Keeping Up During Spring Break

By: Josh Davidson

Spring Break is upon us! Now is the time when families escape to warmer climates to recharge before summer and the end of the school year. For those of you that have to stay in good ole’ Indiana, sorry. It looks like Mother Nature was playing tricks on us in February with that warm weekend. Spring Break is a time when most people think about taking it easy and relaxing. But just be sure not to take it too easy or you’ll risk undoing all the work you’ve already done.

Challenges and Solutions of Spring Break (or any other vacation)

While Spring Break provides its share of benefits like relaxation and stress relief, it also has its fair share of challenges to living a healthy lifestyle. Need some examples? Don’t worry cuz here are some ways those Spring Break trips and other vacations tend to challenge us.

Extra Intake of Alcohol

Let’s be honest. Vacations usually go hand in hand with alcohol. You get the island drinks with the little umbrella or try the local beer. It’s a part of the carefree island life that most of us join when we travel to these tropical places like Cancun or the Bahamas. Even if we stay stateside in Florida, there’s the sense of “letting loose” and enjoying yourself. And I’m not saying you shouldn’t! You’ve worked hard and this is your time to relax and take time off. I just want you to remember that alcohol leads to dehydration, so be sure to keep up with the water intake as well. Especially when you’re hanging out in the sun all day!

Eating Out

Who wants to cook while on vacation? I know I don’t. But as you already know, eating out at restaurants can be dangerous for the waistline. Again, I’m not saying you should cook every meal yourself because that’s work. But maybe shopping and preparing some local cuisine yourself once or twice wouldn’t hurt too much. Depending on where your travels take you, many places have great selections of fresh seafood to eat. Eating out at restaurants is great too and encouraged since they know how to make local fare and delicacies. Just remember to watch what all is going on your plate. Maybe ask for fresh vegetables instead of fries. Or choose grilled or baked entrees instead of fried ones.

Hydration

I’ve already touched on this in regards to alcohol consumption. Even if you don’t drink alcohol on vacation, you’re probably out in the sun or being more active than normal. Be sure to keep up with the water consumption! It helps keep the body working efficiently. I would say it is probably the biggest obstacle most people will face and not realize during vacation.

Staying Active

Nowadays, any hotel you stay at on vacation is going to have a gym or exercise room. I would tell you to try and make a trip down there, but let’s face it, it probably won’t happen. And it doesn’t necessarily have to either. You probably think I’m crazy, but hear me out. What do you usually do on vacation? From talking with a lot of members, I know you hike, swim, walk around towns, go ziplining, deep sea fishing, and much more. You’re not sitting around all day doing nothing. In my personal experience, I’m probably more active on vacation through swimming, snorkeling, and walking around town. So instead of going to that small little gym, go swimming throughout the day. You’ll get a full body workout and some cardio at the same time outdoors in the sun!

Conclusion

Everybody needs a vacation, so enjoy it! Leave all the stress of work and life at home. This is your time to relax and work on your mental health which is just as important as your physical and nutritional health. Just don’t completely forget about the physical and nutritional side. Follow the tips laid out above and you’ll be fine, but don’t stress about it! And if you need additional tips, Courtney has made a handout on nutrition tips for vacationing which can be found outside her office. The staff at PTI wishes you the best on your travels and will be waiting to hear about them when you return.

HAVE FUN AND ENJOY YOUR TIME OFF!

The Importance of Hip Mobility

By: Michael Nix

When one thinks of fitness, words like strength, speed, and stamina come to mind. Thinking of these words is totally fair as they are all very important in the world of fitness. However, there is a term that is often forgotten. This term is joint mobility. Although it is often forgotten, this does not diminish its importance. Joint mobility allows one to develop the speed, the strength, and the stamina. From children to adults, the value of good joint health cannot be stressed enough. Joint mobility is crucial for an athlete because as the joint stretches, more power is being generated. It is equally important to the couch potato because the more range of motion for the joint means less pain for everything around it. At the center of all of the joints in our body are the hips, which is where we are going to put our focus today. Good mobility through the hips is extremely important, not just for the hips themselves, but for the entire body.

Why are the hips so important?

There are many answers to why the hips are important. First off, the hips are in the middle of everything. Often times, pain in the low back or an injury to the knees can be the result of tight or weak glutes and hip flexors. If they cannot properly do their job, then the body naturally compensates which puts stress somewhere that is not designed for it such as the lower (lumbar) back.  Another reason why the hips are so important is the fact it is such a dense area. The size of the muscles and bones in the hip should be enough to tell us that the hips were designed to generate a lot of power. If we limit the strength and mobility of this joint, we are wasting the potential power they have to offer. Stretching and strengthening the hip musculature not only improves that area specifically, but it can help the body as whole.

What causes the hips to lose mobility?

            The main reason why the hips lose mobility is actually pretty simple: we sit way too much.  We have all heard this countless times. What we do not know is what is actually happening as we sit. The glutes are not being used and thus weakening. The hip flexors, which are located on the front side of the hips, are shortening and thus losing their mobility. Another way that we can take away from the mobility of the hips is by not using them properly. Often times people lift items with their back. Whether it is a bag or a child, we often resort to using our back to lift items which leads to lower back issues. This is because the lower back is part of the core and has the task of stability more so than the task of lifting. If we can allow ourselves to stand more frequently and focus on using the strong muscles in the hip to lift, we can greatly improve not just the mobility of our hips, but our whole body’s movement in general.

Call To Action

The hips, as mentioned before, are loaded with the potential for power. It would truly be a shame if we did not take full advantage of that potential. By gaining knowledge of the importance of hip mobility, hopefully you will try to incorporate stretching into your daily routines. Be sure to follow our Facebook page for posts on different exercises to help improve the hips. The hips are a massive area in relation to the rest of the body. Therefore, it is vitally important that we take advantage of their power. In addition, we need to allow them to work through their entire range of motion. If the hips are healthy there is a very good chance that the rest of the body will be healthy as well.

The Front Desk Perspective via Emma

By: Emma Steele

Building Relationships

I haven’t been at the front desk for a long time,but in the few months I have, I’ve gotten to experience PTI from a unique perspective.  Working in reception has let me see the gym from a viewpoint that’s a little more on the outside of things and it has been truly awesome to watch everybody working together and building the great relationships I see happening during every shift.  PTI is a smaller and more intimate operation.  That in and of itself has allowed me to have the opportunity for the clients to be more than just faces walking through the door every evening.  I’ve really enjoyed being here, and a big part of that has been that I’m walking into a place where I know the people coming in to train and those people know me and it’s not a stiff, overly-polite environment like I’ve encountered working for larger companies.  I think that plays a big part in why people choose PTI.

It’s truly one of the coolest parts of this place to watch people come in and build rapport with the staff.  It’s so neat to see everyone arrive for their session and automatically feel comfortable and strike up easy conversation.  Especially for this type of business, that’s vital.  People can be intimidated when it comes to getting in shape and exercising, so it’s a great thing to see everyone coming together and creating a welcoming atmosphere where people can come in to reach their goals and better themselves and feel like they are among friends.

More Than a Job

A big part of what I do is creating the schedule.  I set up appointments and keep track of who’s coming in and out throughout the evening and in doing that, it has been easy to see just how dedicated the people who work here are to the clients.  I see just how many hours each staff member is putting in everyday and I’m up here at the desk when trainers are looking at videos of new exercises that are being incorporated or making up new workouts for each PTI member.  This goes back to the wonderful relationships there are between the staff and the clients.  When you say a client name to a staff member, they can put a face to it.  The trainers know the clients’ stories, their personality, their goals, even the type of music they like to hear while they work out.  Everyone takes care to tailor the gym to each client’s needs and desires.  And that was the most notable aspect of PTI I saw when I first got hired on.  In a lot of the other places I’ve worked, the staff took a more smile-and-nod type of attitude toward the people that came in; but here at PTI, the people care about each other.  And that has made my time as the receptionist really enjoyable.