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10 Simple Ways to Get Incredible Fitness Results … AT HOME!

10 Simple Ways to Get Incredible Fitness Results … AT HOME!

As it has been said, our home is our castle. It’s one of the few places we truly feel comfortable; so why not exercise there? Because many people don’t have time to go to the gym, are intimidated by the gym (some people scream really loud when lifting…scary), or don’t want to wait on equipment (you know that guy that does like 15 sets per piece of equipment…yeah that guy) almost 67% of gym memberships are never used! Working out at home doesn’t sound like a bad option!

From demolishing calories to shredding fat, you can get the results you want from your living room! Below are 10 of the easiest, most simple ways for beginners to start making their castle into their very own gym and get incredible fitness results along the way!

1. Body-weight Exercise For Starters

“Man, working out at home sounds fun and all but who can afford all of that equipment?”

I’m here to tell you that one of the best tools you have at your disposal is yourself! Bodyweight training is all the rage nowadays because it focuses on increasing your functional strength through movements like squats, pushups, pull-ups, dips, planks, etc. This functional strength is the strength you need to perform daily tasks in your life and this form of training can be just as effective (with all other things considered) as traditional weight-lifting at a gym! Save yourself time and money and get to those push-ups!

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2. After-burn Train

“Great, so I’m getting stronger but I NEED to do cardio; aka I need a treadmill. There’s no way I’m running outsides, it’s freezing!”

The answer is after-burn or commonly referred to as EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption) training. Basically, if you strength train at a high-intensity (70-75% of your VO2) for an extended period of time (at least 30 minutes) your body requires more oxygen and therefore calories after your workout to return it to its normal resting state. In fact, you can burn extra calories over 38 hours after your workout is over still due to that workout—that’s insane. You could be burning calories still from your workout the NEXT night while sitting on the couch watching Big Bang Theory re-runs! [Note: For a more detailed EPOC training guideline click HERE.]

3. Keep It Simple, Stupid

“But dude, I need all of that equipment at the gym and I need someone to help time my rest sets!”

Dude, no you don’t! Making your home your gym is all about being convenient and making it as easy and pain-free as possible! You don’t need complex rest or working sets that only Einstein would understand (because we all know that Einstein was big into lifting). The best thing to do is to keep it simple. In fact, a simple workout (with normal resting sets) when performed at a high intensity is just as effective as some complex workout that you put together from 3 weight lifting magazines, 2 online resources, and the advice of your brother-in-law who lifts a lot. The best bet is to keep your workout simple in order to help you remember it, make it more convenient, and make it more likely for you to perform!

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4. Short Bursts of Exercise Create Huge Results

 “Listen here fella; I have no time to go to the gym now, why would I have time at home?”

Great question and the answer is twofold. First, you will save time not going to and from the gym, save time not at your “gym social hour,” and save time not getting ready because you can basically exercise at home in whatever you want (from pajamas to work boots)! Another thing that is important to remember is that time you save doing all the things can be put towards exercise; even if it’s only 10–15 minutes! Everyone thinks that you need to exercise an hour a day to see great results but a recent study found that those that exercised just 8.5 minutes a day received the SAME cardiovascular benefits as those that exercised 25 minutes a day! That’s incredible! The point is not to exercise less; the point is that you now have the time no matter if its 10 minutes to still help improve your health!

5. Keep Your Workouts Fun

“Yep…nothing says fun like sweating profusely while trying to catch my breath for 25 minutes all while thinking I’m going to die…sure sounds fun!”

Exercise doesn’t have to be running at full sprint for 5 minutes or even doing lunges until you have to crawl to your car. Exercise can be fun and if you can make it fun at home, you are more likely to do it more often and ACTUALLY more likely to eat less afterwards! The next time you need to get some “cardio” in, don’t rush to the gym to wait 35 minutes to get on a machine then power walk for 25 minutes. Instead, go outside and take a hike; literally! Research has shown that when you have fun while performing the exercise you aren’t as likely to reward yourself with junk food afterwards!

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6. Walk Your Way to Better Health

“Well sorry to break it to you, but I’m way out of shape and there is no way I can perform super high-intensity exercise!”

No worries! Do what you can when it comes to high-intensity exercise. Until then, start briskly walking to increase your exercise capacity! Yup—walking. Walking is ideal for helping sedentary individuals build up their exercise capacity so they can move on to more intense exercise! In fact, for the obese (or beginners), walking is  great way to burn calories at a lower heart rate and actually burn calories faster than cycling and even jogging in some instances! If you need to make your walks even more difficult, carry 2 pounds dumbbells with you or punch the air while walking like you are Rocky training for Apollo Creed!

7. Persistence Pays Off

“I go to the gym now whenever I feel like it and haven’t seen results, how can I at home then?” “You can’t just go randomly and expect results…“ “I went 3 Fridays ago, why don’t I have a six pack?”

It’s all about persistence. One of the top ways to get in shape is to stay active and exercise on a persistent basis! One of the biggest factors science has found that determines your cardiovascular and overall health is persistent exercise. It doesn’t matter if you workout less than 10 minutes a day or over 30 minutes, as long as you are exercising on a persistent basis then you will get some great results! Make sure to stay active every day, no matter if it is your workout day!

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8. Stick to the Bare Essentials

“Blah, blah, blah…I’m tired of bodyweight exercises and there is no way I can get a great workout without a ton of equipment!”

Besides your own body the only other equipment that is needed for starting out is a couple dumbbells (5–10lbs) and an exercise mat (or even a towel). That is literally it! You can get a killer workout with just these bare essentials! By exercising at a high-intensity while performing your workout in a circuit like set, you can build muscle, burn calories, and induce the EPOC effect! [Note: circuits are strength training exercises performed at a high intensity where you move from one exercise to another very quickly with little to no rest between sets while performing exercises that work the entire body.]

9. Accountability

“Even if I do start working out at home, there is less accountability there and I’m more likely to not exercise at all!”

I totally understand that! That’s why you need to set up 2–3 fail safes in order to make sure you stick to your at-home workout! Science has shown that the more fail safes you have in place the better prepared you will be. First and foremost have a friend or your spouse keep you accountable! Accountability is one of the biggest motivators to actually workout! Have them check in on you from time to time to make sure you still are crushing your at-home fitness goals! One phone call a week is enough to do just that.

10. Strength Training is a MUST

“Well I hate to lift weights, I have no idea what I’m doing. It can’t be that important!”

Sorry my friend! If you take anything away from this, remember to start strength training. No, it’s not about getting huge ripped muscles that make you look bigger than the Hulk trying to deal with his enormous rage issues (which you can achieve if that’s what you want). For many of us it is about burning calories, building muscle, relieving stress, improving your cardiovascular health, and even improving your bone strength! Strength training can do all of that and more! You won’t get “bulky,” you will get healthy, so start lifting today!

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Last Updated on November 12, 2020

Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (and What to Do About It)

Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (and What to Do About It)

If you find that you’re feeling tired all the time, it’s important to understand that it’s a common problem for many. With all of the demands of daily life, being tired seems to be the new baseline. In fact, two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week.[1]

If you’re tired of feeling exhausted, then I’ve got some great news for you. New research is helping us gain critical insights into the underlying causes of feeling tired all the time.

In this article, we’ll discuss the latest reasons why you’re so tired and practical steps you can take to finally get to the bottom of your fatigue and feel rested.

What Happens When You’re Too Tired

If you sleep just two hours less than the normal eight hours, you could be as impaired as someone who has consumed up to three beers.[2] And you’ve probably experienced the impact yourself.

Here are some common examples of what happens when you’re feeling tired:[3]

  • Trouble focusing because memory and learning functions may be impaired.
  • Experience mood swings and an inability to differentiate between what’s important and what’s not.
  • Dark circles under your eyes and/or your skin make look dull and lackluster in the short term and over time your skin may get wrinkles and show signs of aging because your body didn’t have time to remove toxins during sleep.
  • Finding it more difficult to exercise.
  • Immune system may weaken, causing you to pick up infections more easily.
  • Overeating because not getting enough sleep activates the body’s endocannabinoids, even when you’re not hungry.
  • Metabolism slows down, so what you eat is more likely to be stored as belly fat.

Why Are You Feeling Tired All the Time?

Leading experts are starting to recognize that there are three primary reasons people feel tired on a regular basis: sleep deprivation, fatigue, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

Here’s a quick overview of each common cause of fatigue and feeling tired all of the time:

  1. Tiredness occurs from sleep deprivation when you don’t get high-quality sleep consistently. It typically can be solved by changing your routine and getting enough deep, restorative sleep.
  2. Fatigue occurs from prolonged sleeplessness, which could be triggered by numerous health problems, such as mental health issues, long-term illness, fibromyalgia, obesity, sleep apnea, or stress. It typically can be improved by changing your lifestyle and using sleep aids or treatments, if recommended by your physician.
  3. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a medical condition also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis that occurs from persistent exhaustion that doesn’t go away with sleep.

The exact cause of CFS is not known, but it may be due to problems with the immune system, a bacterial infection, a hormone imbalance, or emotional trauma. It typically involves working with a doctor to rule out other illnesses before diagnosing and treating CFS.[4]

Always consult a physician to get a personal diagnosis about why you are feeling tired, especially if it is a severe condition.

You can learn more about some causes of fatigue in this video:

Feeling Tired Vs Being Fatigued

If lack of quality sleep doesn’t seem to be the root cause for you, then it’s time to explore fatigue as the reason you are frequently feeling tired.

Until recently, tiredness and fatigue were thought to be interchangeable. Leading experts now realize that tiredness and fatigue are different.

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Tiredness is primarily about lack of sleep. However, fatigue is a perceived feeling of being tired that is much more likely to occur in people who have depression, anxiety, or emotional stress and/or are overweight and physically inactive[5].

Symptoms of fatigue include:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Low stamina
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Anxiety
  • Low motivation

These symptoms may sound similar to those of tiredness, but they usually last longer and are more intense.

Unfortunately, there is no definitive reason why fatigue occurs because it can be a symptom of an emotional or physical illness. However, there are still a number of steps you can take to reduce difficult symptoms by making a few simple lifestyle changes.

How Much Sleep Is Enough?

The number one reason you may feel tired is because of sleep deprivation, which means you are not getting enough high-quality sleep.

Research suggests that most adults need 7 to 9 hours of high-quality, uninterrupted sleep per night[6]. If you’re sleep deprived, the amount of sleep you need increases.

Get the right amount of sleep to stop feeling tired.

    The key to quality sleep is being able to get long, uninterrupted sleep cycles throughout the night. It typically takes 90 minutes for you to reach a state of deep REM sleep where your body’s healing crew goes to work.

    Ideally, you want to get at least 3 to 4 deep REM sleep cycles in per night. That’s why it’s so important to stay asleep for 7 or more hours.

    Research also shows that people who think they can get by on less sleep don’t perform as well as people who get at least seven hours of sleep a night[7]

    If you are not getting 7 hours of high-quality sleep regularly, then sleep deprivation is the most likely reason you feel tired all the time. That is actually good news because sleep deprivation is much simpler and easier to address than the other root causes.

    It’s also a good idea to rule out sleep deprivation as the reason why you are tired before moving on to the other possibilities, such as fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which may require a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

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    4 Simple Changes to Reduce Fatigue

    Personally, I’m a big believer in upgrading your lifestyle to uplift your life. I overcame chronic stress and exhaustion by making these four changes to my lifestyle:

    1. Eating healthy, home-cooked meals versus microwaving processed foods or eating out
    2. Exercising regularly
    3. Using stressbusters
    4. Creating a bedtime routine to sleep better

    After I made the 4 simple changes in my lifestyle, I no longer felt exhausted all of the time.

    I was so excited that I wanted to help others replace stress and exhaustion with rest and well-being, too. That’s why I became a Certified Holistic Wellness Coach through the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute.

    Interestingly enough, I discovered that Dr. Sears recommends a somewhat similar L.E.A.N. lifestyle:

    • L is for Lifestyle and means living healthy, including getting enough sleep.
    • E is for Exercise and means getting at least 20 minutes of physical activity a day, ideally for six days a week.
    • A is for Attitude and means thinking positive and reducing stress whenever possible.
    • N is for Nutrition and means emphasizing a right-fat diet, not a low-fat diet.

    The L.E.A.N. lifestyle is a scientifically-proven way to reduce fatigue, get to the optimal weight, and to achieve overall wellness.[8]

    Living Healthy

    Getting enough high-quality sleep every day is the surefire way to help you feel less fatigued, more rested, and better overall.

    In fact, if you aren’t getting enough sleep, your body isn’t getting the time it needs to repair itself; meaning that if you are suffering from an illness, it’s far more likely to linger. In fact, long-term sleep deprivation has been linked to an increase in Alzheimer’s later in life[9].

    As unlikely as it sounds, though, fatigue can sometimes make it difficult to sleep. That’s why I’d recommend taking a look at your bedtime routine before you go to bed and optimize it based on sleep best practices.

    Here are 3 quick and easy tips for creating a pro-sleep bedtime routine:

    1. Unplug

    Many of us try to unwind by watching TV or doing something on an iPhone or tablet. However, tech can affect your melatonin production due to the blue light that they emit, fooling your body into thinking it’s still daytime. This won’t help you stop feeling tired all the time.

    Try to turn off all tech one hour before bed and create a tech-free zone in your bedroom.

    2. Unwind

    Use the time before bed to do something you find relaxing such as reading a book, listening to soothing music, meditating, or taking an Epsom salt bath.

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    3. Get Comfortable

    Ensure your bed is comfortable and your room is set up for sleep.

    Make sure you room is cool. 60-68 degrees is the ideal temperature for most people to sleep. Also, it’s ideal if your bedroom is dark and there is no noise.

    Finally, make sure everything is handled (e.g., laying out tomorrow’s clothes) before you get into your nice, comfy bed. If your mind is still active, write a to-do list to help you fall asleep faster.[10]

    This article also offers practical tips to build a bedtime routine: How to Build a Good Bedtime Routine That Makes Your Morning Easier

    Exercise

    Many people know that exercise is good for them, but they just can’t figure out how to fit it into their busy schedules.

    That’s what happened in my case, but when my chronic stress and exhaustion turned into systemic inflammation (which can lead to major diseases like Alzheimer’s), I realized it was time to change my sedentary lifestyle.

    I decided to start swimming because it was something I had always loved to do. Find an exercise you love and stick to it to stop feeling tired all the time. Ideally, get a combination of endurance training, strength training, and flexibility training during your daily 20-minute workout.

    If you haven’t exercised in a while and have a lot of stress in your life, you may want to give yoga a try as it will increase your flexibility and lower your stress.

    Attitude

    Stress may be a major reason why you aren’t feeling well all of the time. At least that was the case with me.

    When I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive, I felt chronically stressed and exhausted, but there was one thing that always worked to help me feel calmer and less fatigued: Breathing.

    But not just any old breathing. It was a special form of deep Yogic breathing called the “Long-Exhale Breathing” or “4-7-8 breathing” (or “Pranayama” in Sanskrit).

    Here’s how you do Long-Exhale Breathing:

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    1. Sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight and your hand on your tummy.
    2. Breathe in deeply and slowly from your diaphragm with your mouth closed while you count to 4 (ideally until your stomach feels full of air).
    3. Hold your breath while you mentally count to 7 and enjoy the stillness.
    4. Breathe out through your mouth with a “ha” sound while you count to 8 (or until your stomach has no more air in it).
    5. Pause after you finish your exhale while you notice the sense of wholeness and relaxation from completing one conscious, deep breath.
    6. Repeat 3 times, ensuring your exhale is longer than your inhale so you relax your nervous system.

    This type of “long-exhale breathing” is scientifically proven to reduce stress.

    When your exhale is twice as long as your inhale, it soothes your parasympathetic nervous system, which regulates the relaxation response.[11]

    Nutrition

    Diet is vital for beating fatigue if you’re feeling tired all the time – after all, food is your main source of energy.

    If your diet is poor, then it implies you’re not getting the nutrients you need to sustain healthy energy levels, which may lead to daytime sleepiness.

    Eating a diet for fatigue doesn’t need to be complicated or time-consuming though. For most people, it’s just a case of swapping a few unhealthy foods for a few healthier ones, like switching from low-fiber, processed foods to whole, high-fiber foods.

    Here’re 9 simple diet swaps you can make today:

    1. Replace your morning coffee with Matcha green tea and drink only herbal tea within six hours of bedtime.
    2. Add a healthy fat or protein to any carb you eat, especially if you eat before bed.
    3. Fill up with fiber, especially green leafy vegetables.
    4. Replace refined, processed, low-fiber pastas and grains with zucchini noodles and whole grains such as buckwheat, quinoa, sorghum, oats, amaranth, millet, teff, brown rice, and corn.
    5. Swap natural sweeteners for refined sugars, and try to ensure you don’t get more than 25g of sugar a day if you are a woman and 30g of sugar a day if you are a man.
    6. Replace ice cream with low-sugar alternatives.
    7. Swap omega-6, partially-hydrogenated oils such as corn, palm, sunflower, safflower, cotton, canola and soybean oil for omega-3 oils such as flax, olive, and nut oils.
    8. Replace high-sugar yoghurts with low-sugar, dairy-free yoghurts.
    9. Swap your sugar-laden soda for sparkling water with a splash of low-sugar juice.

    Also, ensure your diet is giving you enough of the daily essential vitamins and minerals. Most of us don’t get enough Vitamin D, Vitamin B-12, Calcium, Iron, and Magnesium. If you are low on any of the above vitamins and minerals, you may experience fatigue and low energy.

    That’s why it’s always worth having your doctor check your levels. If you find any of them are low, then try to eat foods rich in them.

    Alternatively, you might consider a high-quality multivitamin or specific supplement.

    The Bottom Line

    If you are tired of feeling tired all the time, then there is tremendous hope.

    If you are tired because you are not getting enough high-quality sleep, then the best remedy is a bedtime routine based on sleep best practices. If you are tired because you have stress and fatigue, then the best remedy are four simple lifestyle changes discussed above.

    Overall, adopting a healthier lifestyle is the ideal remedy for feeling more rested and energized.

    More Tips to Stop Feeling Tired All the Time

    Featured photo credit: Cris Saur via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] YouGov: Two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week
    [2] National Safety Council: Is Your Company Confronting Workplace Fatigue?
    [3] The New York Times: Why Are We So Freaking Tired?
    [4] Mayo Clinic: Chronic fatigue syndrome
    [5] Very Well Health: Differences Between Sleepiness and Fatigue
    [6] Advanced Sleep Medicine Services: NEW Guidelines: How much sleep do you need?
    [7] Mayo Clinic: Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick?
    [8] Ask Dr. Sears: The L.E.A.N. Lifestyle
    [9] National Institute on Aging: Sleep loss encourages spread of toxic Alzheimer’s protein
    [10] American Psychological Association: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
    [11] Yoga International: Learning to Exhale: 2-to-1 Breathing

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