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Fitness is a Journey. Bring a Map.

Fitness is a Journey. Bring a Map.

    From the several hours I spend a day at my gym I get to observe all types of gym goers.  One thing most of them have in common is that they all appear to be lost.  The gym, much like a dense forest, can be a very scary place and if you don’t have a plan you can end up forgetting where you are or where you are going.  Here are a few things you must do if you want to guarantee success at the gym.

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    1. Have a clear destination

    If you’re going to venture into the forest it would seem smart to have a general idea of where you are going and why you are going there.  The first question you must ask yourself is “why”?  Why are you even working out?  It sounds simple but if you cannot come up with a good enough answer than you may be wasting your time.  You see, if you are working out based on other people’s values of what a healthy lifestyle is, then you may be setting yourself up for failure.  Once you understand why then you must figure out what you would like the end result to be.  You should choose something specific and you should write it down.  How many pounds would you like to lose?  What size clothes do you want to fit in?  How many points off your cholesterol would you like to drop?  Ask yourself specific questions and have answers for them.  Next you must decide when you would like to have reached these goals.  Create specific times and dates.  Mark them down on your calendar.

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    2. Have a plan

    Once you know where you want to go you must now figure out the path you would like to take to get there.  In fitness there are many paths to choose from and it can be quite confusing.  While some paths may be quicker or more appropriate to take then others it is most important to just pick one and stay with it.  Every time you enter that gym have a clear idea of what is going to happen. Know what pieces of equipment you need to use, know how many sets and reps you must perform and have a good idea how long it should take you to complete the workout.

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    3. Stay the course

    There will be times when it may seem hard to stay on track.  Whether you’re traveling, someone is using a piece of equipment you need to use, or work gets in the way.  It will be important for you to learn to improvise in these situations.  Plan ahead when traveling, have alternate exercises in mind, and learn to adapt when change occurs. But in the end, always trust in the course you have previously mapped out for yourself.  Come back to it and adhere to it as accurately as possible.

    4. Record everything

    Always keep a fitness journal. Otherwise you will find it very hard to keep track of where you have been and where you are going.  Write down all exercises performed, how much weight used, how you felt, and if you think you can do better the next time you workout.  This is one of the most overlooked and powerful tools when it comes to attaining your goals.

    Fitness is all about getting from point A to point B.  Unless you have a clear and defined path to get from one to the other you will find yourself going in circles. Using the tips outlined above create yourself your own fitness map and stick to it until you reach your destination.

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    How to Keep Yourself Awake at Work Without Caffeine

    How to Keep Yourself Awake at Work Without Caffeine

    Keeping yourself awake at work can be a real challenge when you’re bored, exhausted or sleep-deprived.

    But before you reach for that can of Red Bull, bottle of Mountain Dew, or pot of coffee, try these healthy remedies to stimulate your 5 different senses and help you stay awake at work:

    Sight – Visual Stimulation

    The first thing you do when you wake up is opening your eyes, so your visual stimulation is very important to keeping your energy level high.

    1. Maximize your exposure to light.

    Your body’s internal rhythm is regulated by the amount of light you receive. The greater your exposure, the more alert you will feel.

    Open the shades and let in the sunlight. Step outside or look out the window. Turn on all the artificial lights in your office or around your work space.

    2. Exercise your eyes (or give them a break).

    Roll your eyes up and down, side to side and diagonally. Rotate them clockwise and then counterclockwise. Squeeze them shut and then open them wide. Do this several times.

    Reading and sitting in front of a computer screen for long periods can lead to eye fatigue.

    Take regular breaks with deliberate blinking and looking out into the distance.

    3. Take note of your environment.

    Learn to enjoy people-watching. Observe their activities, speech, body language and interactions with others. Notice the details of building, trees and other objects around you, including their color, shape and size.

    By doing this, you’re not only relaxing your eye muscles but also calming your mind.

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    Hearing – Auditory Stimulation

    What you hear or listen to have direct effect on your brain. This is why we feel so annoyed and sometimes angry when we hear construction noise when we’re working.

    4. Engage in conversation.

    Talk to a friend or colleague. Trade funny stories. Discuss your business venture, a creative idea, the latest political scandal, or any other topic that interests you.

    Practice mindful listening to what you and the other person are saying. Tune into the tone, volume and content of the conversation.

    Learn how to practice better listening from this guide:

    Why Listen to Reply Instead of Understand Is the Key to Failure

    5. Listen to upbeat music.

    Try hip hop, rock or jazz to keep you alert. Instrumental, non-distracting music works best.

    Sing, whistle, and hum along if you can. Plug in the earphones if you must.

    Smell – Olfactory Stimulation

    If you’re feeling sleepy and suddenly smell the coffee, you’ll probably feel more energetic. This is why smell is an influential stimulation.

    6. Work your nose.

    Aroma therapists recommend essential oils of peppermint (to boost energy), rosemary (to build awareness), eucalyptus (to increase oxygen), cedarwood  (to activate your mind), and cinnamon (to improve your reaction time).

    If you don’t have essential oils on hand, you can use lotions or burning candles that provide the same scents.

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    Citrus like lemons, limes, grapefruits and oranges are also natural olfactory stimulants. Get a whiff of these citrus scents to stay awake.

    Taste – Gustatory Stimulation

    If you want an energetic day at work, you can’t let your tongue feeling plain and flavorless.

    7. Have a good breakfast.

    Start off with the most important meal of the day.

    Think fresh, light and healthy: bran cereals, wholegrain breads, fruits, and yogurt.

    Nix the heavy stuff like sausages, greasy eggs or pancakes.

    Need some breakfasts inspirations? Check out these ideas:

    20 Healthy Breakfast Choices That Will Save You Time

    8. Drink lots of water.

    Keep a glass or bottle of H2O near you and sip from it throughout the day. Dehydration can leave you feeling tired, sluggish and sleepy.

    So make sure you drink enough water throughout the day. Not sure how much to drink? This can help you:

    How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day (and How Much Is Too Much for You)

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    Think that you’ve been drinking too little water? Try these friendly reminders:

    3 Best Apps To Help You Drink Much More Water

    9. Eat energy-boosting snacks.

    Nuts and fruits (like bananas, apples and strawberries) are sure bets. Pairings with staying power include baby carrots with a low-fat cream cheese dip; celery sticks with peanut butter; red peppers with hummus; and plain yogurt with granola.

    Avoid carb-filled, sugary snacks that make you crash and leave you feeling tired.

    Here you can find some healthy snack ideas:

    25 Healthy Snack Recipes To Make Your Workday More Productive

    Touch – Tactile Stimulation

    Last but not least, your sense of touch will make you physically feel more energetic and less stressful.

    10. Splash cold water on your face.

    Do this in the morning, during bathroom breaks and in the afternoon. Being exposed to cold water pushes your body to adjust and regulate its internal temperature, which in turn keeps you alert.

    This works the same as you take a cold shower to increase mood and alertness. Take a look at this article to learn more about it:

    5 Surprising Benefits of Cold Showers

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    11. Use acupressure.

    Apply pressure to, massage, or tap on the stimulation points of your body. These include the top of your head, the back of your neck, the back of your hand (between the thumb and index finger), just below the knee and your earlobes.

    Watch this video to learn about the acupressure points you can try:

    12. Get moving.

    Move away from your chair and stand, walk, run or climb the stairs. Feel the earth under your feet. Stretch and twist. Do jumping jacks, lunges, push-ups and back bends.

    And if you need to move more discreetly, wiggle your feet, bounce your knee up and down, scrunch your toes, or cross your legs.

    You can also try some simple stretches and exercises at your desk:

    Unlike addictive caffeine fixes, these remedies activate your senses, engage your attention, amp up your energy and prevent morning grogginess and afternoon slumps without the side effects or health risks.

    Pick a few ways from this list of suggestions and practice them consistently. And when you do this consistently, you’ll soon see the positive results — a more energetic and productive you at work.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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