NIFS Healthy Living Blog

Nutrition and Healthy Habits: How Much Caffeine Do You Consume?

Many people depend on early-morning caffeine to “jump-start” their bodies. Others consume caffeinated beverages throughout the day when they are stressed or tired to keep their bodies alert and functioning. However, caffeinated foods and beverages should not replace the healthy habits of regular, balanced meals and snacks or adequate sleep.

ThinkstockPhotos-5146474021.jpgAlthough caffeine provides an “energy boost,” the stimulant can also cause anxiety, restlessness, constriction of blood vessels, and an elevated heart rate. For these reasons, limit caffeine to 400mg a day.

Below are some common beverages, foods, and over-the-counter medications that contain caffeine. Caffeine content in coffee varies widely depending on the variety of coffee bean and the method of preparation used.

Caffeine Content in Milligrams (mg) for Common Foods and Medications

Coffee (8 oz.)
(The amount of ground coffee per cup is a key variable.)
Brewed: 65–120mg
Instant: 40–110mg
Decaffeinated (instant or brewed): 2–4mg
Starbucks Coffee (12 oz.): 279mg
Coffee drink with one shot of espresso (12 oz.): 113mg

Chocolate (1 oz.)
Dark: 5–35mg
Milk: 1–15mg

Cola Beverage (12 oz.)
30–60mg

Coffee/Chocolate-Flavored Dessert (1/2 cup)
Ice cream: 18–126mg
Frozen yogurt: 0–25mg

Tea (8 oz.)
Brewed: 20–90mg
(The longer it steeps, the higher the caffeine content.)
Instant: 24–31mg

Cocoa (8 oz.)
Average: 80mg

Chocolate Milk (8 oz.)
Serving: 2–8mg

Caffeine-Containing “Energy Drinks” (8.3 oz.)
Serving: 3–32mg

Caffeine-Containing “Energy Bars” (68g)
Average: 50 mg

Stimulants (per tablet)
Vivarin or NoDoz
Average: 100–200mg

Pain Relievers (per tablet)
Average: 32–65mg

Other Ways to Stay Awake During the Day

If you find yourself reaching for over 400mg of caffeine per day to stay awake and energized, try some of these healthy alternatives to caffeine:

  • Do not underestimate the power of a quality night's sleep. If you generally feel well rested in the morning, you are likely meeting your slumber needs. If not, be sure to turn the TV off before falling asleep and avoid looking at bright devices that can keep your brain waves stimulated. 
  • Another key is to maintain a consistent sleep/wake schedule even on the weekends.
  • Exercise is another way to ensure a good night’s sleep and being more awake during the day.
  • Try more natural ways to wake up.
  • Finally, go outside for brief sunshine breaks. Exposure to bright light helps regulate your body's rhythms.

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This blog was written by Angie Scheetz, RD, Wellness Coordinator. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: nutrition healthy habits sleep caffeine coffee

NIFS Heart Throbs: 5 Healthy Habits for Weight-Loss Success

team.jpgThe Slim It to Win It* (SITWI) program is off and running again for another year of life-changing results and lifestyle modifications to maintain those changes. SITWI, in its fifth year, is NIFS’ equivalent to the NBC show The Biggest Loser. But unlike that show, the highly trained coaches at NIFS work in and around the real-world challenges that face the participants in the program to get true and long-lasting results. I am honored and very excited to be part of this great program again after a few years away, and look forward to witnessing all of the successes had by all those working hard in the program!

I am coach of “The Heart Throbs” this year, a group of 10 individuals who come to the program with a common goal of reducing body fat and learning to practice habits and behaviors that will keep them healthy and fit throughout their lifetimes. They came to the right place! But why the name Heart Throbs, you ask? Other than being a pretty good-looking group, over half of the people in the group have dealt with or are dealing with a heart issue and have overcome that obstacle to continue to fight and become the individual they want to be.

Stories from the Team

Take Amy Anderyck (Year One overall champion, by the way). Here is a snippet of her story:

I was born with an ASD heart defect. It was a hole the size of a quarter. It's not uncommon for babies to have them at birth, but they usually close up themselves after a bit. Mine never closed. So when I was 5 years old my parents took me to Birmingham, Alabama, to meet Dr. Albert Pacifico, who was the best pediatric vascular surgeon in the country at the time. He did a great job with my repair and I am able to lead a happy, healthy life without any restrictions. I am thankful for my parents and the doctor. 

Slimit16pic2.jpegOr Haley Pratt:

I was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) Syndrome as an infant, but my structures were too small to take care of anything as a baby. I had my first ablation at age 4, which was still very young to operate, but there was no choice. I went on living life normally as an active child. The doctors told me I would never be able to play organized sports, have life insurance, or pilot a plane. I am here to say that I conquered the first two (even got a full-ride scholarship to play volleyball at Lynn University) and someday would love to get my pilot's license.

Two years ago, I did have another scare where I had a tachycardia episode that felt exactly like what I was used to growing up. I wondered how this could happen after 15 years. It ended up being inappropriate sinus tachycardia, which sometimes comes and goes on its own. I am on a beta blocker and have a looping monitor implanted for the time being, but I will be able to quit both soon. I have a healthy heart and nothing can stop me from achieving my goals!

The team’s inspirational stories are too many to list in one blog post, but I assure you that they rival the two stories shared above. It takes a lot of courage and strength to look something like that in the face and overcome it. I am so proud of Haley, Amy, and the rest of the Heart Throbs, and I am humbled that they chose me to lead them to a healthier and better life!

Five Questions About Your Eating Habits

At our first meeting, we spoke about what it took to get results in reducing body fat and body weight, or eliminating medications or staving off type 2 diabetes. I suggested that of the top three things that can lead you down the path to success—mental health, nutrition, and exercise—exercise was a distant third. Exercise should be the fun stuff; it’s the first two that are the tough ones. The Heart Throbs would like to ask you 5 questions about how you are eating that could help you develop those important habits that will lead to success:

  • Are you eating slowly? It takes a minimum of 20 minutes for the brain to signal to the stomach and the rest of the body that you are full. If you eat fast, you usually eat more.
  • Where are the protein-dense foods? Eating protein with every meal will help with recovery, building muscle, and feeling full. Protein consumption soon after a training session is a great habit that will help in all facets of your fitness. Some examples are meat, fish, eggs, plant protein, and yogurt.
  • Are you eating veggies with every meal? Prepare them any way you like, and shoot for few portions each meal. Veggies should account for the bulk of your carbohydrate intake for the day.
  • Where are the carbohydrates? Carbohydrates (grains, beans, starches, fruit) have gotten a bad rap in recent years, mainly due to the increased intake of highly processed and unnatural carbohydrate sources. Carbs are important, especially after a training session, and help supply the body with energy it needs to run various systems of the body. Portion control is key here (1 to 2 cupped-hand-sized servings), as well as timing (after training) to get the most out of your carbohydrates.
  • Are you eating fat? Fat in your diet is important, and although the discussion would be too extensive for this piece, this idea does come with a bit of blowback. So let me put it like this: In the ‘70s and ‘80s, the “experts” labeled fat as the enemy and worked hard to eliminate it from the American diet (remember the SnackWell’s aisles?). What happened to America? It got fat. Choose healthy fats (oils, butter, nut butters, nuts, and seeds) and spread them out through the day.

Bonus Takeaways

 The Heart Throbs have some bonus takeaways for you:

  • Experiment to find what works for you. It has to work for you to be sustainable!
  • Don't try to overhaul; add one habit every couple of weeks.
  • Identify any nutritional deficiencies that can be found through a blood test and work to correct them.
  • You can't change your life unless you change something you do every day.

*Weight loss claims and/or individual results vary and are not guaranteed.

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This blog was written by Tony Maloney, ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist and Fitness Center Manager. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: NIFS nutrition healthy habits weight loss healthy eating Slim It to Win It carbs

NIFS Crucial Conversations: I Took My Life Back (Part I)

Katie_Before_2.jpgThere comes a time when a story of struggle, strife, and success must be shared to remind others that you are never alone in your battle, and that achievement and happiness are closer than you may think. Katie Feltman has such a story.

I have had the privilege to work with Katie for many years now, and I can remember the first conversation we had out in the fitness center about where she was at the time, where she wanted to go, and how we could work together to get there. I felt her struggle instantly, but I also felt a great deal of determination, evident from the progress she had made before coming to see me. She wasn’t going to take this battle lying down anymore!

I asked Katie to talk about her journey with me so that I could share it with those who may be looking for that spark, that notion that nothing is impossible, but I’Mpossible! Join me in walking in Katie’s shoes as she shares some of her journey with us.

Conversation with Katie, Part I:

Tony: So, take me back about four years and tell me what was going on with you at that time.

Katie: I was living a very different life. A recent doctor’s visit had revealed I weighed 286 pounds, I was pre-diabetic, I had high blood pressure, my LDL cholesterol was high, and I had just found out I had to wear a Holter monitor to diagnose heart arrhythmias I was having. I had lower back pain from herniated discs that required an unhealthy amount of daily Advil to keep at bay (and along with my poor eating habits had created a wicked case of acid reflux that ultimately became an ulcer) and I slept poorly. For 37 years of age, I wasn’t doing okay. I was unhappy.

Tony: What were some of the major struggles you were dealing with?

Katie: Like most people, I had my share of stress sources; nothing extreme or unusual, but I had an ill mother, and a job that looking back now I realized had reached a point that made me miserable. But generally I had nothing going on outside of me that should have triggered the kind of profound lack of self-care I was engaging in on a regular basis.

“I coped with my stress by pushing my feelings inward and washing it all down with sugary processed foods and wine. I made no time to take care of myself.”

Katie_Before_4.jpgYou’d think with the scary words the doctor was saying I would have walked out of there that day and taken charge of things right then. But change isn’t like that—not for me, at least. I was frustrated with how I felt, and I know this will sound superficial but it is true: I hated how I looked, which I didn’t realize then but now know was key to my struggle. Self-hate = no self care, and that was how I was living my life. I was living life in a muted capacity, and I lacked the motivation to do something about it—any of it.

Tony: Can you describe some of what you were feeling at that time?

Katie: I was demoralized and frustrated at what seemed like an impossible and insurmountable task—it was so daunting. Getting healthy, changing how I lived, and peeling pounds off. I wanted instant results from modest change. I’m an extrovert, and my social life at the time revolved heavily around eating out, going to bars, and generally going places where food and booze were the main reasons for being there multiple times per week. But there was a nagging voice in there that knew there was more out there for me—I just wanted to feel better, feel happy most of the time, cope better with the smaller, mundane stresses as well as major things, and sleep better.

Tony: How did these struggles and frustrations affect your life? What did you feel like before you decided to take your life back?

Katie: I felt unhappy, ashamed, and not in control of my own life, and generally was in a terrible place emotionally and physically. And if it hasn’t been stated clearly enough before, I felt like crap pretty much all the time and it wasn’t just physical—it was mental, too. I was in a fog much of the time. I didn’t handle even small stresses well, much less bigger things. I was just floating along with life rather than living the life I really wanted to live.

“I was just floating along with life rather than living the life I really wanted to live.”

READ PART 2 of this amazing story and learn what it took for Katie to make the critical changes that resulted in her being able to take her life back and overcome obesity and a lack of healthy habits and see measurable weight loss.*

*Weight loss claims and/or individual results vary and are not guaranteed.

This blog was written by Tony Maloney, ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist and Fitness Center Manager. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

***

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Topics: NIFS healthy habits fitness center weight loss attitude diabetes personal training heart disease Crucial Conversations obesity making changes

Get Family and Friends Involved in Your Fitness Goals

ThinkstockPhotos-78717030.jpgIt can be hard trying to change your lifestyle or fitness on your own. It can be even harder if you don’t have support from your family and friends. You family and friends can play a key role in your fitness journey, so why not get them involved and gain their support? Including them in your journey can help your motivation and help you enjoy the path to your fitness and health goals.

How to Get Friends Involved

Hanging out with friends keeps your life full of happiness and fun. Your friends are people who share common interests with you. It can be difficult to continue to connect and have fun with friends when you decide to change your lifestyle. So why not get them involved?

Identify whether there are unhealthy activities you and your friends like to participate in. Examples can include eating out every weekend, drinking excessively, or even being sedentary together. Then as group, brainstorm new ideas for activities you can try together. Together you can discover which new activities are enjoyable and which activities don’t suit your new lifestyle, and you can help one another's accountability to stick with it. Make it fun!

How to Promote Family Fitness Involvement

Having family support is great to help you accomplish your fitness goals. Even better, now you are helping them to lead healthier lifestyles, too. It can also make it more fun.

The best resource/tool that I have found that offers ideas and tips is Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign. It offers resources on nutrition and physical activity, and tips on how to be successful. The Presidential Active Lifestyle Award challenge is another great resource. It offers guidelines for children and adults to complete together.

Here are a few ideas of fun activities you can do as a group in the Indianapolis area:

Mix up the activities but be sure to do something on a regular basis. All types of physical activity can benefit your health and fitness so grab a friend or your family and get going!

longlinegray.jpg Ramp-up-logo-finalNO-SPACE.jpg

Check out NIFS's all new Ramp Up to Weight Loss membership to get you started! This program offers 14-weeks of workouts with one of our certified trainers, meetings with our dietician, free access to the My Nutrition Coach App, and fitness assessments to help you plan and track your progress. Click below to learn more.

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This blog was written by Masie Duncan, Weight Loss Coordinator. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: fitness winter fitness healthy habits motivation weight loss accountability outdoors Indianapolis

Five Steps to Begin Your Weight-Loss Journey

ThinkstockPhotos-498764272_new.jpgWeight loss tends to be one of the most controversial topics talked about, but I want to take a positive approach. With the new year right here, weight loss tops the list of many people’s New Year’s resolutions.

I would absolutely never undervalue the effort, time, energy, and commitment it takes to be successful at losing weight. Don’t let anyone lie to you; weight loss is hard and has a “whole picture” element combining exercise, clean eating, and emotional, physical and psychological battles. This is why I like to call weight loss a journey. It will not happen overnight, but I believe that everyone can succeed if they put their minds and hearts into changing their habits*.

Tips for Getting Started

I want to share five things to help you get started on your journey:

  1. Make a commitment. The first step to beginning this journey is to make a commitment that you are going to hold onto. You’ve made the decision that it’s time to make a change, and now you must make a promise to yourself that you are going to stick with it.
  2. Identify your habits. Take some time to think about what healthy habits you have that you want to keep and that will help you in your journey. What things will help you stick to your plan? For example, I am good at following a schedule, so if that habit will help me (like scheduling in my workouts so I am positive I will attend), I want to incorporate that into my plan. Then identify habits that are not helping you and think about how you are going to get those out of the way.
  3. Come up with a plan. This doesn’t have to be something that is crazy and elaborate. Start small and come up with three action steps toward a plan. It’s always easier to stick to a plan when you have one in place before you start.
  4. Find support. One of the hardest things about weight reduction is accountability. You want to be sure to find someone (family, friends, a trainer, someone else on a weight-loss journey, spouse, and so on) that you can be honest with to help keep you accountable. Much of weight-loss success comes from those supporting and encouraging someone else who is on their journey.
  5. Put your plan into action. Okay, you have decided it’s time! Now that you have your plan, do something about it. Sign up for that gym membership or a 5K you have been putting off, or try a weight-loss program—whatever will motivate you to stick to it.

It’s important to remember that there will be times when you mess up. AND THAT’S OKAY! Don’t get down on yourself; get yourself back up and keep pushing through. I hope that if losing weight is one of your goals, you will take these five steps to get you going in the right direction!

Help from NIFSRamp-up-logo-finalNO-SPACE.jpg

Check out NIFS's all new Ramp Up to Weight Loss membership to get you going. This program offers 14-weeks of workouts with one of our certified trainers, meetings with our dietician, free access to the My Nutrition Coach App, and fitness assessments to help you plan and track your progress. Click below to learn more.

*Weight loss claims and/or individual results vary and are not guaranteed.

Learn More

This blog was written by Amanda Bireline, Fitness Center Manager. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: exercise nutrition healthy habits weight loss accountability

Fabulous Farmers’ Markets Make Healthy Eating Easy and Fun

ThinkstockPhotos-460495043One of my favorite things to do once it is summer in Indiana is to visit the various farmers’ markets around town. As a dietitian I am a sucker for the fresh fruits and veggies, but I also love the homemade desserts, candles, pasta, kettle corn, fresh flowers, and other wonderful items you can find.

Here are my top five reasons why visiting your local farmers’ market is a must.

  1. Support for the local community: Since the produce is grown and purchased locally, the money remains in the community and stimulates the local economy. Also, when you shop at the farmers’ market, you are cutting out the middle man, and the product is generally less expensive than if you purchased it in the grocery store. 
  2. Eating foods that are in season: Farmers’ market produce is picked ripe and sold soon after picking. Supermarket produce, on the other hand, can take up to two weeks to travel from the farm to the store, even when it is in season. The produce tastes richer and more flavorful, and the nutrients are better retained. Check out the downtown City Market website for which products are available during the months the market is open.
  3. Healthy eating is good for you: The average American eats 4.4 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, as opposed to the current recommendations of 9 servings per day. Picking up multiple servings of fruits and veggies and incorporating them into recipes, meals, and snacks is a great way to get closer to the 9-serving-per-day-goal. This will guarantee you are meeting your recommended vitamin and mineral requirements, increasing your daily fiber intake, and acquiring cancer-fighting antioxidants, too. Locally grown produce is lower in pesticides and chemicals, also. 
  4. You can talk to the farmers who grew the food you are about to eat: You can meet the farmers who grew your food, ask when it was picked, how it was grown, and ways to prepare it. When else do you get the opportunity to learn so much about what you are putting in your mouth?
  5. There is certain to be one that fits your location and schedule: I love being able to go to the City Market farmers’ market on my lunch break downtown and sample the hot, fresh kettle corn; pick up sweet corn; and get homemade cookies on Wednesday afternoons. Saturday mornings, it’s off to the Carmel farmers’ market to purchase a walking waffle, homemade pasta, and a whole assortment of fruits and veggies for the week. To find out the location of a farmers’ market close to you, check out the USDA website.

Whether you are picking up items for dinner or for the whole week, the local farmers’ market is an inexpensive, healthy alternative to the grocery store. Try to get there early to get the best variety and options. Not all vendors accept credit cards, so be sure to have cash on hand. Finally, bring along your own reusable grocery bag to put all of your goodies in so that it is easier to carry home your fresh, delicious finds.

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This blog was written by Angie Scheetz, RD, Wellness Coordinator. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: nutrition healthy habits healthy eating summer clean eating organic foods

10 Healthy Habits of Fit People

Let’s get real: getting healthy and fit (and staying that way) doesn’t happen by accident. In my seven years in the fitness industry I have seen quite a bit—enough to know what works and what doesn’t. The people who are able to reach their healthy, happy weight and maintain it end up developing very similar habits to one another. These healthy habits aren’t anything crazy or extreme, but they consistently allow individuals to lead a healthy lifestyle for years and years.

Today I’ve compiled these habits of healthy people so we can all adapt our own habits to be our healthiest selves.

ThinkstockPhotos-4713112341. Start off with a breakfast to FUEL your day.

Remember learning that breakfast was the most important meal of the day? While I believe that all meals are important, breakfast definitely is a meal you shouldn’t consider skipping. Studies show that eating breakfast helps to improve focus, satiety, and energy levels throughout the day. 

So what does that mean for you? You’ll be more productive at work, will work harder during your workouts, and you may have reduced cravings and hunger later in the day. Sounds like a win, win, win to me! 

2. Drink lots of water.

The body is made up of 60% water! Drinking plenty of water throughout the day will help maintain your body’s fluid balance so that nutrients can be transported throughout the body. That means you will more quickly reap the benefits of the healthy foods you eat!  

Drinking water throughout the day helps you feel full. It may sound crazy, but many people mistake thirst for hunger and end up overeating. 

It’s also important to drink water because when you stress and work your muscles in the gym, they are losing water. If you aren’t drinking enough water, your muscles will get tired faster and you may not be able to work as hard. So drink up, buttercup!

3. Set a deadline.

People are more efficient and more likely to reach their goals with a deadline in the picture. Having a deadline helps to eliminate procrastination and makes the goal seem more tangible and realistic. Having a deadline doesn’t mean you can start being “unhealthy” after you reach your goal, but it simply allows you to have a checkpoint to work toward. Once you reach your goal and deadline, reevaluate and set a new goal! It’s all about progress, not perfection, and there is always something we can improve on when it comes to health and fitness.

4. Don’t leave your healthy-eating goals to chance. 

I rarely say NEVER or ALWAYS, but this is an exception to that rule. Never assume that there will be a healthy option when you eat away from home. Always be prepared. Check out the restaurant menu ahead of time, pack healthy snacks, bring a lunch, bring a healthy dish to share, or eat something small before so you aren’t starving. You are in control of your health. It’s not anyone else’s responsibility to make sure there is something nutritious for you to nosh on.

5. Remain consistent.

Consistency is key. We all have days where we skip a workout or overindulge, but as long as healthy is your default, there is no need to sweat it! What matters most is what you do most of the time, not what you do sometimes. So, if choosing healthy (moving your body, eating whole foods, and drinking lots of water) is your sometimes, you may want to switch your mindset.

6. Eat whole, real foods.

Make it your goal to have most of your nourishment come from unprocessed, real foods that are as close to the source as possible. What does that mean? Check out the ingredients. If you are eating a handful of almonds for a snack, the only ingredient should be just that: almonds! Whole foods fill your body with more vitamins and minerals, the nutrition we need to stay healthy on the inside.

7. Fill your home with healthy, nourishing foods.

This tip piggybacks onto the previous piece of advice. If you fill your home with whole foods, they suddenly become a more convenient option than the processed stuff, and less healthy options are eliminated from the picture. If you surround yourself with healthy, delicious food choices, you are more likely to pick those foods when preparing a meal or eating a snack.

8. Take your workout with you.

 Many people travel frequently for work, to visit family, or for vacation. While traveling can make it less easy to fit in your workout, it’s definitely not an excuse to slack off in the fitness department. Talk with your trainer about a travel workout option, pack a resistance band or TRX strap, or pack a workout DVD that doesn’t require any equipment at all! There are endless resources for fitness on the go; it just takes a little planning ahead of time.

9. Learn to be politely picky when eating out.

I have learned that I can find something healthy to eat at almost any restaurant. Many times, the option I choose is not listed on the menu. It can be intimidating to ask for special options at a restaurant, but you will be surprised at how accommodating your server and the restaurant want to be. Be polite when you make requests, and your tummy will be happy with the healthy and delicious outcome!

10. Dedicate time to mental health.

Whether you practice yoga, write a journal, meditate, see a therapist, or have another way of dedicating time to your mental health, it is just as important to make time for this type of exercise as it is to make time to go to the gym. Having a healthy mental state will help you stay on track with your fitness goals and will allow you to balance your busy and crazy life with ease. Find the method that works best for you and stick to it!

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This blog was written by Tara Deal Rochford, contributing writer, group fitness instructor, and author of healthy living blog Treble in the Kitchen. Meet our other NIFS bloggers.

Topics: nutrition healthy habits goal setting snacks breakfast mental weight management water

Pop Quiz: Check Your New Year’s Health and Fitness ReSOLUTIONS

ThinkstockPhotos-163054981Springtime is here and there is a great deal to be excited about! But are you excited about your progress thus far in 2015 toward those goals you set back in January?

In a recent post, I discussed Redefining New Year’s Resolutions, and I truly hope that some of the information hit home with you when you determined your course of action this year. 

So how have you fared thus far in accomplishing what you set out to do this year? If you are like most Americans, you would probably answer that question with the frowning-face emoticon. :(

Health and Fitness Goal-Setting by the Numbers

Let’s take a look at some numbers: 

  • Only about 4% of Americans write down their goals.
  • 45% of people make new year’s resolutions.
  • Only 8% of Americans will succeed in their new year’s resolutions
  • Check-ins to gyms drop 10% beginning as early as February (according to a two-year Facebook study). 

Unfortunately, the statistics are against us when it comes to seeing our new life solutions (if you read my earlier posts, you know I hate the word “resolutions”) come to fruition. So I ask you again: How are you doing in the first couple of months in 2015 in accomplishing those promises you made yourself? 

Just like any other health and fitness assessment, it’s beneficial to reevaluate your progress in completing those things you felt were pretty important back in January. So let’s take care of some reasons for why you may not be on track to completing your yearly goals. 

Reasons (or Excuses) Why Resolutions Fail: Do Any of These Sound Familiar?

  • Didn’t write down your goals.
  • That positive mindset you started off with has fizzled and you have traveled back to “Negativetown.”
  • Went back to poor sleeping and recovery habits that snowballed into other poor behaviors because you tend to make bad choices when you are “tired and wired.” 
  • Maybe you didn’t see fast enough results, and during one of your negative self-talks you figured, “What’s the big deal about enjoying that third piece of cake?” Keeping with that mindset, you repeated the above.
  • Don’t have enough time. (This one is my favorite!) You have the same amount of time in the week that more successful people have. So it’s not about time; it’s about prioritization. If you were to say “I suck at managing my life,” that makes a lot more sense than “I don’t have enough time.”

How Do I Get Back on Track?

Hurdles and setbacks are inevitable in anything that we hope to accomplish. The trick is to realize what is not working and do something better! Your life will not change until you change something you do on a daily basis.

  • Assess your wellness and prioritize. Your overall health and wellness encompasses every aspect of your life, and each one exists in a delicate balance. With a strong structure of these aspects, you can weather any storm; but if one is out of alignment, you could topple over. Determine which aspects may need some work and focus on them. 
  • So maybe goal writing isn’t for you. Choose one powerful word to say to yourself every day. It works; trust me.
  • Bottom line: Find a way to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep. Create a ritual and stick to it.
  • Manage your time. Quick math here: There are 24 hours in a day. If you work 8 hours, and if you get 8 hours of sleep, you have 8 remaining hours. How are you spending those hours? Remove the unproductive things, such as surfing the interwebs or watching TV, and use that time working toward your goals.
  • De-clutter. If your car, office, and house are full of stuff piled up all over the place, it can make managing your life much more difficult. I will give one example: If your kitchen countertops are full of stuff, how amped are you going to be to cook dinner? Clear out the junk to make room for the jewels! 
  • Get a workout buddy to hold you accountable, not one that will take the day off with you at the first sign of struggle. If you need one, let me know, I will be there for you!
  • Binge cook: Plan your food, cook your food, and eat your own food!

Don’t let the statistics get you down. You can make 2015 great by being a better manager of your life. Reassess, realign, and reenergize yourself toward achieving your best year yet!

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This blog was written by Tony Maloney, Health Fitness Specialist and Fitness Center Manager. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here. 

Topics: healthy habits fitness center goal setting accountability

Top 3 Tips for Staying Healthy in College

collegeEven though it’s been a few years since I graduated, it still feels like I was just walking through campus and living in the dorm. I absolutely loved college, and while many people gained the freshman 15, I took advantage of the opportunity to live on my own for the first time and make lots of healthy habits that I still follow today. Just because I created healthy habits doesn’t mean I didn’t have an amazing time.

For me, living a balanced life full of fun is essential for being healthy. Here are my top three tips for staying healthy your freshman year and beyond (that leave room for plenty of college-style fun and experiences).

1. Keep a Routine

I am a routine type of girl, but I have come to learn that having a routine is not just a “me” thing. The human body was designed to function on a schedule and to have a routine. Everyone can have a different routine, but I found that I functioned best when I went to bed a little earlier than most people and woke up a little earlier. Of course, I would stay up later on weekends to participate in events, hang out with friends, and attend socials and parties, but I would give myself a curfew (typically midnight) so that I could get some sleep and still feel great the next morning (even after having a great time the night before). The most important thing is to figure out what works for your body and stick to it. 

2. Take Advantage of the Rec/Fitness Center

Most colleges and universities have a fitness center or are affiliated with a fitness center for students to use. Guys, this is a no-brainer! Just go to the rec center or fitness center. These places offer tons of group fitness classes, personal training sessions, and weight and cardio equipment for you to do your own workouts, and they are usually open for the majority of the day. Stop making excuses; find a friend and hit up the rec/fitness center. You’ll thank me once you do!

3. Walk It Out

I went to a small university, so the farthest thing away on campus was typically a 10-minute walk. That’s it! I would only use my car if I had to take a large load somewhere or if I was leaving campus, which was very rare. Walking is amazing for the body because it gets the body moving, but it doesn’t put a lot of stress on the muscles and joints. Walking as your form of transportation is a habit that you can start during your college days and then continue throughout the rest of your life! Seriously, just walk. You’ll feel great and those freshman 15 pounds will stay far away. 

Of course, there are tons of other things you can do to stay healthy in college; these are just a few for you to start with! 

Let’s hear from you below in the comment section. What are some of your favorite ways to stay healthy?

This blog was written by Tara Deal Rochford, contributing writer, group fitness instructor, and author of healthy living blog Treble in the Kitchen. Meet our other NIFS bloggers.

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Topics: healthy habits fitness center walking sleep college

Top 5 Tips for Morning Workouts

466265051As a natural-born morning person, many people frequently ask what my secret is for bursts of energy before the sun rises. While I may naturally be a morning person, there are a few things that I do in order to guarantee a successful morning workout because, believe it or not, there are times that even I find it hard to drag my bod to the gym to start my day.

Here are my top 5 tips that will prepare you for a successful morning workout.

1. Plan it into your schedule. 

Personally, I can’t just wake up and “wing it” when it comes to my workouts. I need to have something planned ahead of time. Whether it’s meeting a friend for a workout, taking my favorite group fitness class, or planning out a treadmill run, taking the guessing game out of my morning workout gives me something to look forward to and helps me mentally prepare the evening before.

2. Lay out your clothes and anything you need for the next day the night before.

Even though I may be a morning person, it still takes me a bit longer to do things first thing in the morning. Also, if I have my clothes (shoes, socks, and undies included!) already laid out, I feel like there are no excuses keeping me from the gym if I wake up feeling a little less than motivated. If I am going somewhere after the gym (like straight to work), I make sure to have all bags packed, ready to go, and laying by the door so I don’t have to do any extra work when I first wake up.

3. Pack/plan breakfast.

For me, I always eat a little bite of something before my early morning workouts. Despite my little pre-workout snack, I am almost always starving by the end of my morning workout and I’m ready for an actual meal. Packing a breakfast (something like overnight oats or hard-boiled eggs and fruit) allows me to get the nutrients I need to start my day so that I keep that energized feeling going throughout the day. Having a healthy breakfast packed and ready to go also helps me avoid less healthy yet ultra convenient breakfast options.

4. Go to bed early.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but I honestly think it’s the most important thing on the list. Sleep is so, so important, and if you stay up late or get inadequate sleep, you won’t be doing your body any favors. Getting enough shut-eye will ensure that you are strong for your morning workout and in a great mood throughout the rest of the day.

5. Remember how great you will feel AFTER.

You know that feeling you get after a super-sweaty workout—energized from the inside out, that slight shake in the muscles as a little reminder of the hard work you put in, and you look at the clock and realize most people haven’t even eaten breakfast yet! For me, that feeling of “getting it done” before the day has even started is invaluable. Now, when you come home exhausted from a draining day at work, you can kick back and relax without a hint of guilt.

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This blog was written by Tara Deal Rochford, contributing writer, group fitness instructor, and author of healthy living blog Treble in the Kitchen. Meet our other NIFS bloggers.

Topics: healthy habits motivation workouts attitude