Saturday, October 16, 2010

Fitness Factors and How They Shape Your Body


There are many factors that make up your fitness and the shape of your body. Often times we tend to look in the mirror and beat ourselves up over how we view our bodies. When we are going through a transformation it is easier to be negative in the beginning about how we view our bodies.

Switching the forces about how we view our bodies is a motivation strategy and can be the deciding factor in how far we go into out fitness journey. Switch the forces from the things that cause you discomfort and pain and focus on the things that give you true pleasure and what you are grateful for. So, focus most of your energy on what you like about yourself. Spend time on the things that give you
joy. You will then reap long term benefits because you are happy and grateful and you are willing to spend energy and effort maintaining that level of happiness.

You are the result of what you do 80-90% of the time. The 90% compliance rule says be 100%, 90% of the time. This is a good rule to follow. When you exercise regularly and eat right you are the product of those choices. Simple daily actions can make a world of difference when it comes to keeping yourself well. On the other hand, simple, compounded errors in judgment can have a lasting negative effect on your health. This process is all about creating a better quality of life. Consistency is part of the formula to being well.

There are other factors that will play a role in your body development. All of these factors I will mention are controllable variables, even genetics to a certain extent. So pay attention to these fitness factors and how they shape your body.

Factor 1: Exercise

Structure determines function. Use it or lose it. The body is designed to move. Energy begets energy. Exercise is definitely uncomfortable at first, but remarkably simple. You have to show up. 90% of life is showing up. Exercise relieves stress and tension, burns calories, increases metabolism, and speeds up the elimination of waste. There are two main types of exercise: cardiovascular/respiratory and resistance training. Your body will function as a direct result to the structure of your exercise program.

This is the Principle of Specificity. If you are a runner then you will take the shape of a runner. If you are a power-lifter then you will take the shape of a power-lifter. The ideal functional athlete is the gymnast whose craft crosses all performance levels.

Factor 2: Food Choices and Portion Control

Our food choices are a reflection of cost, time, convenience, taste, and heritage. Some say “you are what you eat.” I say you are what you absorb. You must eat to improve metabolism and therefore performance. Your cells, tissues, organs, organ systems all rely on proper and balanced nutrition. You biology is your biography. Avoid portion distortion. Focus on 400-600 calorie meals with balance and variety. Eating too much, eating the wrong foods, and untimely eating can have a huge effect on whether you get to your ideal weight and stay there.

Factor 3: Supplementation

Supplementation is defined as adding nutrients to the diet to fill in the gaps where everyday food lacks. Our food supply is damaged from over-processing, green harvests, poor soil and through the release of toxic chemicals in the environment. Supplementation is helpful but in some instances vital to your health, your performance in the workouts, and to aid in recovery from workouts. The most important nutrients are the ones you are missing. There are different grades of supplements so you want to do your homework on this. Without all the necessary nutrients in the proper balance (26 vitamins, 72 trace minerals, 9 essential amino acids, 8 structural sugars, etc), you may hang onto excess weight, have a lowered immune system, have poor skin and nails, lack mental acuity, become irritable, and aid the host of many diseases.

Supplementation is ancient. Thousands of years ago people took tonics to boost fertility and fight virility. Today, many cultures boil teas and herbs to assist in better health. According to JAMA, (Journal of American Medical Association) 99% of people fail to meet their daily recommendations for vitamins and minerals. We are deficient in many nutrients and a large percentage of them are minerals. Although you still need to eat a well balanced diet with variety, supplementation seems prudent and is now recommended by many doctors.

Factor 4: Restful Sleep

Rest is crucial to your longevity and overall wellness. Lack of sleep truly ages us. We can become accident prone, short-fused, and our immune system can suffer due to lack of restful sleep. During sleep your body creates growth hormones which aid in the repair of the muscles and tissues that you breakdown during the day (during exercise especially).Growth hormones also aid in the release of body fat; much of this can occur at rest. Restful sleep can be a challenge in today’s world. Shoot for 7-8 hours each night. You will reap the benefits.


If you struggle with sleep here are some tips:

1. Keep a sleep log. Record your hours and how you feel.
2. Cut back on processed carbohydrates. When people are tired they crave carbohydrates to stay awake. Eating too many processed carbohydrates can wreck havoc on your body over time (a process called accelerated metabolic aging) and cause you to want to eat more to stay awake, only to come crashing down, forcing you to nap, which will disrupt your sleep patterns.
3. If you use caffeine, avoid it after lunch time. This includes soda, diet soda, coffee, and tea.
4. Drink an IsaLean shake one hour before bed. These shakes are high in tryptophan, a naturally occurring amino-acid, as well as a level 7 protein blend (high bioavailability), enzymes, and probiotics. Protein before bed can stimulate new muscle growth during sleep.
5. Drink IsaCal before bed. Mix it with your shake. Calcium helps for a more restful sleep.
6. Limit fluids 2 hours before bed. With the exception of your shake, limit fluids before bed.
Rather than dose dumping late at night, you should time your fluids throughout the day to meet this recommendation.
7. Wind down to sleep. Read something positive or listen to a meditation CD.
8. Keep a notebook and pen by your bed. If your mind is racing you will have hard time winding down. Write down what is on your mind and set it aside for the next day.
9. Start your bedtime routine at the same time each night. Try using breathing techniques to help you relax.
10. Avoid television (electronic income reducer), internet, and articles that contain violence. Sleep research has found that violent images disrupt sleep by being imbedded in your subconscious. The last hour and the first hour of your day are the most critical. Go to sleep reciting all that you are grateful for. Wake up reciting what you are thankful for and you will be ready for all the possibilities of the day.

Factor 5: Support Network

Accountability is absolutely necessary for your success. Your support network is vital to you being held accountable to your program goals. Building a support network is an integral part of just how quickly you will reach your goals. Your support network is your rock to lean on when times are tough. You should have 2 teams (internal and external). Your internal team is your trainer/wellness coach and
your external team is your family and friends. This support network is the glue that holds together a good, well thought out wellness action plan.

Factor 6: Medications/Drugs

Some medications (prescription, over-the-counter, recreational) will make it more challenging to release weight. Many medications can actually disrupt your metabolism and accelerate your aging (Accelerated Metabolic Aging).Always consult with a doctor before beginning an exercise/nutrition regimen (wellness action plan). A doctor’s responsibility is to manage your medication dosage. Let them decide when it is time to eliminate medications. Isagenix is a whole-food program and many doctors (the ones with nutrition training) react positively once they see the ingredients. If you are on medications/drugs work to get off all of them. If you are stuck on them (by doctors prescription or by choice) you will just have to work a little harder to get the results you desire.

Factor 7: Genetics

The jury is still out on the role of genetics vs. environment (learned behavior and exposure) when it comes to body structure and the body’s ability to perform. The truth is that both genetics and environment play a role in your biology. I believe that obesity is more of a learned behavior (simple errors in judgment) that is compounded by many environmental factors such as heritage, toxins,
availability of foods, marketing ploys, and ignorant consumers. Your body type on the other hand has a genetic base: ectomorp: naturally thin, mesomorph: athletic, and endomorph: naturally heavy. If you have inherited the body type endomorph (exp. big hips and thighs) then you will have to work hard on those areas that you wish to change.

Factor 8: Illness and Disease

Sometime we get sick. We can even get sick when we are in good health. Bacteria, viruses, and parasites literally catch you when you immune system is compromised. Your immune system can be compromised from stress, overtraining, or lack of sleep. For obvious reasons, illness and disease (being out of balance) can affect your ability to achieve your ideal body.

Factor 9: Stress

Stress wreaks havoc on the body. Stress affects many hormones in your brain. One hormone, cortisol can cause you to crave sugar. When we crave and eat sugar we have a hard time focusing. It is also hard to get restful sleep due to the metabolic noise created by sugar dumping. When we lack sleep, we tend to gain unnecessary weight.

Tips for Stress Release:

1. Drink plenty of water
2. Get adequate rest
3. Use adaptogens (Ionix Supreme) and B-vitamins to help your body deal with stress
4. Take calcium (IsaCal) before bed to help deal with stress
5. Take yoga, Tai Chi, or a meditation class
6. Avoid violent TV/news before bed (if at all)
7. Log your feelings
8. Seek proper counseling
9. Create additional income (residual) to help deal with financial stress
10. Get help with your finances (if money is a stressor)
11. Take time to do fun activities
12. Use visualization tools to help you gain clarity
13. Work smarter rather than harder (if you are able)
14. Remember that you are the warrior, never the worrier.

Factor 10: Lifestyle

Your lifestyle is defined by what you do on a regular, consistent basis. You are defined by what you eat, how you act, and how you spend your free time. Are you always in the office? Are you running from one task to the next? Do you sit down for meals? Do you remember special occasions? You should work on operating with ease. You should work on being calm, patient, peaceful, happy,
energized. If you do so, you will be lean. I promise you that. You need to find balance in your life. When you are balanced, you are most content.

Factor 11: Age

As we age it becomes harder to maintain a desirable weight and body composition. We can lose up to a ½ pound of muscle each year after age 25. The loss of muscle forces change on our metabolism. Without proper diet and resistance training we can age prematurely. By exercising more and boosting your protein consumption you can slow the aging process by maintaining or adding muscle tissue.
Remember, muscle means movement. Movement means living.

By Rocky Reeves, MS, Rock Hard Fitness/Anchorage Fit Club

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