1. Commit to a set amount of time and keep moving the whole time. When I first decided to start a regular workout routine, I had it all planned out perfectly: I went out and bought the right clothes and workout tools, started a workout journal, and wrote out a detailed workout plan. By all appearances I was ready to kick my workout routine’s butt! The reality– two minutes into my 25 burpees, I thought to myself “this is not going to happen today”. Confronted with a similar feeling the following day, I decided that the most important thing is to keep moving in some way… even if it’s a made up move. In the beginning, the most important thing is to establish the habit of exercising for a set amount of time each day– no matter how many calories are being burned. Thirty minutes a day is a great starting point. As you go along you will push yourself to do a little more each day and quickly work your way up to the workout plan you aspire to. Keep moving throughout the whole time you set aside… even if it is literally just turning your head side-to-side or clinching your cheeks (you know which cheeks I’m talking about.. haha!). Don’t stop moving!
2. When mapping out time to workout, include at least 15 minutes of rest afterwards. This is especially important for those of us who choose to exercise in the morning, before work and/or other obligations. When you’re starting out with a new workout routine, you may feel sick afterwards . If you go right into your morning routine, you’ll notice that you feel like crap. In turn, you’ll begin to associate working out with feeling like crap– leading you to not want to workout. Don’t do this! Map out time to sit and rest after working out with the same importance as the workout itself.
3. That feeling of sickness you have after working out will fade away. Nausea, headaches, and other aches and pains will likely show up during, immediately after and hours after you begin a new workout routine. Science says is caused by a redirecting of the blood flow in your body along with the destruction and growth of new muscle fibers. It’s also worth considering what you’re doing before and after you workout; for example, if you’re eating beforehand, try going without food until after the workout. Or,as mentioned above, if you go right into another activity, try giving yourself some rest and relaxation time afterwards.
4. Consciously think about working out. Many of us go about our lives in “robot-mode” for majority of the day. It happens for good reason. Being conscious is often uncomfortable and scary when you’re not accustomed to living that way. Conscious awareness holds us accountable for living our best lives. Before I get too off track(click here to read more about conscious awareness), this factors into your workout routine because you have to train yourself to anticipate working out. When you realize it’s time to workout RIGHT BEFORE it’s time to workout you’re likely going to let out a deep sigh, curse out the invisible exercise gods, and ultimately arrive at the executive decision, ” I’m just going to have to skip today.” Carve out a space in your mind to remember that you are going to be working out “today”. Actively think about it throughout the day until it has a ‘house’ in your brain on the same block as the “I’m going to shower and brush my teeth” house, the “I’m going to go to work” house, the ” I’m going to figure out what’s for dinner tonight” house… etc. Figure out ways to help yourself remember throughout the day until it becomes automatic.
5. Have Compassion for yourself and your weaknesses. Don’t confuse this with allowing yourself to lean on excuses. Holding yourself accountable does not equate to attacking your physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. As Brene Brown points out in “The Power of Vulnerability”, reject the behavior not the person. Talking down against yourself will never serve to inspire, it feeds self-doubt and attracts the same behavior that incited the bad feelings in the first place. If you get off track, start again… every time. The universe shifts in your favor in real time, every single time you take a step in the direction you desire. Your chances are unlimited.
6. Time will move forward whether or not you choose to do the same. Something I like to do for all aspects of my life is create a list that I call “The choice is mine”. I grab a piece of blank paper and some markers; at the top of the page I write out the word “Choices”. Underneath that I write “Where could I be in 1 month?” I then draw a line down the middle of the remaining space on the paper. On the left side I list where I could be if I do nothing and remain in the same place I am at the time of making the list. On the right, I create a list–corresponding to the items listed on the left–describing where I could be if I take action in the direction of my goals. The list on the right may not be the end point of my goals since I create it on a monthly basis, but it’s a map that clearly outlines the real changes I can make to improve my life.
7. Realize the big picture, make a lifetime commitment. I promise you, making a lifetime commitment to exercising is not as scary as it sounds. Bob Proctor, a renowned motivational speaker, makes a good point that gives perspective on this matter; he said we make lifetime commitments to showering, eating, and a multitude of other daily tasks(that are both good and bad for us). Why then, do we recoil at the idea of committing to an activity that will not only lengthen our lives but make it a more enjoyable experience. When you’re coaxing yourself to power through what may seem like an experience of suffering and discomfort, remember that it will only feel that way for as long as you decide it does.
I remember watching a documentary several years ago that said un-dissolved vitamins are one of the top things found in waste water treatment facilities. Aside from the ‘gross’ factor of thinking about how they’re getting there, it’s a sobering look at how much money is literally being flushed down the toilet. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Americans spend more than $30 billion dollars on dietary supplements each year . On the bright side, there are some supplements with proven benefits– not to mention, droves of users who swear by their effectiveness.
1. Black Seed Oil
Black seed oil– coined the “Miracle Herb”– is thought to be one of the most powerful natural supplements on the market. Impressively, this oil is touted to have the same benefits as multiple over-the-counter and prescription drugs: anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-histamine– to name a few. Black seed oil users across the web report healing and treatment of almost everything including cancer, skin and bacterial infections, Candida overgrowth, joint inflammation… even HIV/AIDS. Science says the benefits come from 3 natural properties in the oil: Thymoquinone (TQ), Thymohydroquinone(THQ), and Thymol. These natural chemicals are quickly getting attention in the medical community thanks to several studies showing significant results against MRSA, tumors and other serious conditions.
Turmeric is mostly known as a spice used for cooking, but its lesser known benefits make it suitable to be taken as a supplement also. It is naturally anti-inflammatory, helps to lower cholesterol, and promotes heart health. Turmeric also helps to strengthen the immune system. Several YouTube beauty bloggers say it whitens teeth and lightens armpits, when applied topically (I’ll leave the latter to the adventurous to test out).
So I first discovered L-Lysine while searching the web for a natural remedy for my cat’s eye-infection. Hopefully I haven’t lost you there haha! It turns out, L-Lysine is one of eight essential amino acids; it plays a crucial role in the development of antibodies and has important antiviral properties. Most notably, L-Lysine can cure a cold sore very quickly (a few days) as it is a powerful treatment against the Herpes Simplex Virus. Additionally, it has been shown to decrease anxiety and support the formation of collagen and muscle tissue. And if you’re wondering– yes, it cured my cat’s eye infection… overnight! Amazing!
4. Vitamin C with Rose Hips
So you already know that Vitamin C is a great way to stave off a cold, but you may not have known Vitamin C enhanced with Rose Hips can give you a glowing complexion. Together the supplements become an antioxidant dynamo– protecting the skin from bacteria and viruses often linked to acne. The combination helps to prevent new blemishes and calm inflamed pimples.
5. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is another vitamin staple… however it’s worth noting, Vitamin D may be most effective when taken as a softgel (versus a tablet). Vitamin D promotes healthy bone growth. The key with Vitamin D is absorption. Health experts recommend you take it with food, as that can increase absorption by 30 to 50 percent. The oil in the softgel further aids in absorption.
Passionflower is the perfect alternative to (or at least a great first stop before turning to) anti-anxiety medications. While the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) says more research is needed to prove its efficacy, multiple trials and studies show Passionflower to relieve anxiety and insomnia.
Ashwagandha– an Ayurvedic healing staple– is also known for its calming effect, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. More than 200 studies nod to the herb’s ability to: improve memory/learning, support the immune system, stabilize blood sugar, reduce brain cell degeneration, enhance sexual potency, reduce anxiety, depression and the effects of stress, reduce inflammation, and help lower cholesterol.
8. Oregano Oil
Oregano oil has a cult following similar to Black Seed Oil. And the great thing about a ‘cult following’ for a supplement is the fact that it’s based on the supplement’s effectiveness — not because it’s ‘cool’. Carvacrol is the active ingredient in Oregano oil. The natural chemical has gained a lot of attention because of its proven ability to kill cancerous cells. Carvacrol is also backed by science for its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammation, and cholesterol and blood sugar- lowering abilities. The key to finding the most effective Oregano oil is to pay attention to the Carvacrol concentration (which can range from 5 to 86 percent); higher percentages are considered the best quality.
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With so many options, choosing the best Probiotic can prove to be a daunting task. Something to aim for: choose a Probiotic that can make it past the stomach acids into the lower gastrointestinal tract. This will ensure that good bacteria is making it to all of the right places. A healthy gut is arguably the starting point for overall good health.
Garlic supports heart health and is a natural antioxidant. If you’re not a fan of the ‘garlic-y’ aftertaste from some supplements (let alone eating a fresh clove), look for one with an enteric coating. The enteric coating allows the supplement to make it to your small intestine before dissolving. This will allow you to get a healthy dose of garlic and all of its benefits without the garlic burps.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or medical professional in any capacity. Always consult with your health care provider before taking any new dietary supplements. Some of the supplements mentioned above may not be compatible with those who are pregnant, suffer certain illnesses, and/or take certain medications. Additionally some individuals may have unknown allergies. ALWAYS take the safe route and talk to your health care provider first.
Black Seed Oil
Vitamin C with Rose Hips