Part 1: Upper Body Exercises
As we head into the new year, many of us strive to make resolutions in an effort to treat our mind and bodies right. Unfortunately, after the initial push to live the healthy life, many of us fall victim to the mid-January slouch, when we realize that the weather outside is still frightful and our motivation has started to dwindle; until alas, we are back to our old habits. How do we avoid this seemingly inevitable trend? I am so glad you asked! J
The first step is to develop accountability. It seems so easy and intuitive, yet many people never think to create a system that keeps them in check. Whether it’s teaming up with someone in the office to discuss your goals or simply writing down your resolutions and revisiting them daily, it is important that you make a conscious effort to keep your resolutions top of mind and . One tool I have developed for clients is a self-contract for goals. When coming up with your New Year’s Resolutions (or Goals) you really need to write them down, using the SMART formula.
Make sure that your goals have the following characteristics:
S: Are the Specific? While I can easily say that I would like to eat better this new year, it is hard to determine what that really means on a daily basis and if I am really achieving that goal. Instead, make goals as specific as possible, such as: Eat 3-4 Fruits and Vegetables a day and cut down on sweets to 1 dessert per week. When our goals are clear and specific it is much easier for our brains to know how to be successful!
M: Are they Measurable? Quantify your goals! You don’t just want to lose weight, you want to lose 10 pounds or fit into a size 8. By having numbers you can measure progress which helps facilitate motivation and long term success.
A: Are they Attainable? While goals are a great way to spark change, setting goals that are unattainable are self-sabotaging and often lead to relapses or negative behaviors. Keep in mind when setting goals that they should be achievable. Increasing my cardio fitness to the level of Lance Armstrong is highly unlikely, so why set myself up for failure. Instead set a goal like completing so many minutes of cardio per week in order to increase cardio fitness. Much easier to track and I’ll still be striving for the same result.
R: Are they Realistic? Remember that we are human, and the occasional slip is not something to fret about. When setting goals, avoid using terms like NEVER, EVERY or ALWAYS. These phrases are not realistic since life is unpredictable, and is it best to remain flexible. Saying that you will hit the gym every day is great in theory, but what if you get sick, injured or have a social obligation. The goal is health and you may need to take a day off. Then you skip and the guilt sets in. Setting realistic goals allows us to maintain flexibility and stay focused on what really matters.
T: Are they Time-Oriented? Always have an end date. This allows us to track progress and avoid procrastination. We all like a healthy dose of competition and it a great kick start to achieve any goal as we see that date approaching. Remember it takes 4 weeks to make a habit and 8 weeks to see a change, so give yourself enough time to see success, but avoid a long term date that hinders motivation to keep the changes going.
Once you have your goals set, make the commitment to change by signing a contract to yourself. Feel free to print off the goal setting worksheet and contract below to help get the results you were looking for. It’s a New Year, so here’s to the New You!
When analyzing your body composition there are two numbers that we pay most attention to: Body Fat & and Fat Free Mass. I figured that for you to gain a better understanding of why these numbers are so important, I should take a few moments to explain what each one is and how we can strive to improve them!
Body Fat Percentage:
This is the percentage of your body that is comprised of fat. Because fat plays an important role in daily body functions, you need a certain amount of fat in order to live to your fullest. Fat is responsible for cushioning joints, protecting organs, regulating body temperature and storing vitamins. While you need a certain amount of fat, too much fat has adverse effects on the body and is associated with health risks such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, thyroid disorder, arthritis, sleep apnea, and many more. A healthy/desirable Body Fat % range based on your particular age and gender is located on the scale below:
Fat Free Mass:
This is your fat free mass, which is basically everything that is not fat: muscle, water, bone, connective tissue, etc. By increasing this mass you lower your body fat percentage, so look to improve this number by gaining muscle mass or improving bone strength(through impact exercises).
Ultimately, our goal is to have the optimal amount of body fat for maximal efficiency. We lower our health risks by staying in the healthy range, so eating healthy foods low in trans fats and saturated fats partnered with regular exercise are an essential part of your health plan. You can also increase your Fat Free Mass by engaging your muscles in regular resistance training. The more muscle your body has, the more efficiently it burns calories, so you lower body fat % from two angles!
How are you working towards the healthy body fat range? Please share some of the things you do to stay lean and healthy!
Want to know your numbers? Email me at email@example.com to set up your Body Comp Analysis!
With the spotlight shifting to preventative measures in health and wellness, it is no wonder that we are looking to new technology and resources to help us determine exactly what our health status is and set goals that will direct us to our optimal state of well-being. Yesterday I had the opportunity to unveil one of Good Measure Meals’™ tools on live TV! Check out Good Measure’s demo of the Tanita SC-331s Body Composition Analyzer on Atlanta & Company!
I had a blast on the show and we had a great response from callers looking to understand their measurements and get help setting wellness goals. Our Tanita Scale is the latest addition to the Tanita Family and increases the amount of information that we are able to provide clients. The scale uses Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis to accurately read a client’s body composition within a minute’s time. Each client receives a printout including:
Our team reviews all of the measurements and assists in setting healthy goals to attain optimal weight, energy intake and state of health. This tool can be used for individuals up to 600lbs and is portable and can be reserved for use at health fairs, biometric screenings, or other health and wellness events.
Pricing: Individuals $30
Group $10/person (minimum 10) or $100/hour or $500/Day(8 Hours)
Feel Free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in getting tested or want us to come to your company’s health fair!
Do you know what the above measurements mean and why they are important for wellness professionals to gauge your current state of well-being? Check back in as I go through some of the most important measurements and how you can improve your numbers!
What on earth is corporate wellness?
I will go ahead and apologize for my “on-camera” skills, but I thought I would share with you all a little about what I do here at Good Measure Meals™. Check out the video short below on GMM Corporate Wellness.
Corporate Wellness is one of those vague terms that are thrown around without much knowledge about what it actually comprises. I figured I could post this week’s blog about Corporate Wellness and what I actually do to help people understand why so much focus is being placed on employee health. Good Measure Meals™ hired me this past January to develop a Comprehensive Wellness Program that we could implement in the corporate environment. The thought is that GMM provides nutrition to our community, but so much can be done to expand on wellness through education and program implementation that will motivate and inspire working populations to invest in their health.
Think about the amount of time you spend at work. We’ll average 8 hours, which is ½ of your day that you spend awake, assuming you are getting the recommended amount of sleep. That means that half of your time Monday –Friday is spent at work, probably sitting at a computer, or performing tasks that have minimal physical activity requirements. Partner the sedentary workplace environment with a lunch rush that leaves you foregoing a balanced diet and also increasing stress from deadlines and bosses and we have a the elements of a perfect storm. So why does your company care? Well, there are many reasons that the modern company takes a vested interest in their employee’s health. The biggest reason is insurance costs. About $2.3 trillion is spent annually treating preventable conditions brought on by unhealthy living. The corporate community has realized that by investing on the front end of wellness, a great deal of money can be saved by preventing chronic diseases. While saving on insurance costs is reason enough to invest in employee health, employers also noticed that Corporate Wellness Programs we increasing productivity, employee morale, retention, and decreasing absenteeism. The benefits of preventative measures paid off big, and now most companies large and small and finding ways to implement wellness programs into their workplace culture.
At GMM, we are all about educating and assisting our community in adopting a healthy lifestyle, so this partnership is quite intuitive. In the last 9 months, GMM has worked extensively with the corporate community to offer educational Lunch and Learns about Wellness in the Workplace, Nutrition and Behavior Modification, as well as create programming and initiatives to get people on the right track towards optimal health and wellness. From city employees and teachers to lawyers and consultants, GMM has worked to develop site specific programs that engage and educate employees about investing in their health and seen great results. An 8-week Biggest Loser competition allowed one municipality to collectively lose over 250 pounds collectively, and a series of lunch and learns at another Atlanta company sparked a companywide initiative to start accruing steps and counting calories.
Is your company in the need of some health and wellness programing? Click on the GMM link below to see what all we have to offer and/or email me, Jess Parsons, at email@example.com to discuss how we can get your company on board or to invite GMM to your Health, Wellness, & Benefits Fair!
Does your company currently do any wellness programing for their employees?
If you have read this blog before you know that I was gently coerced into signing up for my first triathlon this summer. Although I wasn’t as prepared as I would have liked to been, I had an absolute blast and can’t wait for the next race! I know that it can be scary to try something new, especially when you don’t know the first thing about training, but there are so many resources now to help, not to mention the outpouring of support from family and friends who all want you to achieve a personal goal. I think what amazed me the most was the amount of advice that came from individuals that I didn’t know had ever completed a triathlon. My openness about training and the race led to many great conversations and new friendships! Talk about a support network!
Anyway, I know you are all dying to know how it went, so here’s the skinny. My friend Katie and I set a time goal of 2 hours. We figured (both being newbies) that this was a realistic starting point, and we would be satisfied finishing in any time under that. We got up to the race site before dawn on Sunday to set up our transition site. I cannot begin to tell you how nervous we were, but seeing all of the athletes there (some veterans and other first timers) was actually very reassuring. We weren’t there to compete with anyone but ourselves and had a new “family” of 650 out there trying to accomplish the same. How refreshing it is to see so many people really testing themselves!
We were in the last heat due to our experience level and age, so we started a 19 minutes behind the 1st group. It gave us a little extra time to see that people were successfully completing the swim, and the likelihood of us drowning was slim to none…whew, one hurdle down. It was now our turn. The countdown ended with us running and diving in the lake in a massive heard which was a tad bit unruly. I got tossed around a bit and learned that next time I need to stick to the outside to avoid the crowd! I managed to finish in a slow but acceptable time and ran to my transition station, which went quickly. On to the bike. This is what I considered to be my strongest leg. While I didn’t really practice much on the road bike, years of riding as a child and the massive soccer legs gave me the confidence that I needed to start off strong. I thought I was booking it, but looking at the results in retrospect, I was really middle of the pack- but I felt great nonetheless! The ride was only 13 miles, but gave me enough time to catch back up to those that flew by me in the swim. By the time I made it back into the transition station, I had a second wind and flew out of the gates into the run. Unfortunately, that second wind was short lived as I blew by the first turn only to see a massive hill that immediately warned me of impending doom. A good many of those in front of me decided to walk the hill, which I decided was a good choice since my legs still wanted to move in the circular pedaling motion. I lunged up the hill stretching out my quads and hamstrings and at the top decided to really push myself and run the remainder of the route. I was pretty successful in that challenge; minus the moments I had to walk while taking a drink of water. Turns out I am not very coordinated and running while drinking resulted in a wet shirt opposed to hydration.
I finished the race as strong as I could, leaving everything on the course. My mom said I was pretty green running through the gate, but I regained color within a few minutes and felt good about the last push to the finish. I found out that I finished in 1 hour and 38 minutes, well below the 2 hour mark! While this honestly is pretty middle of the pack, I was ecstatic, as this was my first experience and I had not drowned, crashed, or passed out! It was a Success! In fact, Katie had an incredibly strong finish and the other girls that we had trained with/met at the event all seemed so satisfied with their accomplishments as well! It was such a great event and we are already planning on other triathlons to train for. I want to thank all of those who supported me and especially my Good Measure family who helped with pre race nutrition and advice on making the most of my nutritional intake and post race recovery!
Now I am on to my next challenge… any suggestions? I was thinking maybe rock climbing, kayaking, or some sort of dance class. If you are interested in taking up a new fitness challenge, let me know and just maybe you’ll see me training with you! Here’s to being active and always having fun!
The internet can be a powerful tool when researching resources and information regarding health and wellness topics (or anything for that matter!). While I am a big fan of the ease and efficiency that web searches provide, there are still some major caveats and instances when you cannot take information at face value. After sifting through some health and wellness articles on the web today, I realized that there might be a need for some of our clients and readers to access legit resources on nutrition that they can share with their families, friends, and co-workers.
At Good Measure Meals, we strive to meet the science-based nutrition guidelines set forth by several key organizations. These guidelines allow us to create meal plans for those not only looking to lose or manage weight or time, but also those needing assistance in managing a chronic disease. The goal is to create a balanced menu that promotes health. These organizations not only set the guidelines, but also provide tons of great resources which I am linking you to below!
The American Dietetic Association has a wealth of knowledge on their website. My favorites are their 1 page pdf’s on smart snacking, reading food labels, and eating right for a healthy weight. If you are looking for concise info, these docs are easy to read and great to hand out to others who would benefit from the information! http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=206
The American Diabetes Association has a great section on Food and Fitness with great ideas on recipes and exercise for folks dealing with type 1 and 2 diabetes. There is also an entire section dedicated to healthy weight loss with great tips on goal setting, motivation, food and potion size and diabetes management. If you are looking to shed some pounds, this is definitely a site that provides some tools to assist you in your pursuit! http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/fitness/weight-loss/
Another great organization to turn to when looking for information on health and wellness is the American Heart Association (www.heart.org). This site provides all sorts of information on how to keep your ticker kicking! From Stress Management and nutrition to smoking cessation and physical activity, the AHA gives all sorts of advice on how to improve your quality and duration of life.
Another site to visit is http://everydaychoices.org which is a collaborative effort of the ADA, AHA, and the American Cancer Society to encourage the prevention and early detection of disease and cancer. The site helps guide you to what tests you should be taking to monitor your health. It only takes a minute and is completely worth the time!
There are many valid and reliable resources available on the web, but always check to see where the information is coming from. Are there citations or links to citation. It is a trustworthy website/organization. If you come across information that you are unsure about, you should ask a health expert! There are no stupid questions and those of us in the industry welcome and encourage discussion of health issues! Please let me know if you found these resources helpful!
As we head into the hottest days of summer (the high today is 99!), I thought it would be a good idea to address proper hydration. Whether you are extremely active or mostly sedentary, hydration plays a vital role in your personal health!
Let’s start with the facts:
Water is an essential component of your body’s make up, accounting for around 60% of your body weight. Every physiological system depends on water to carry out its function – from carrying nutrients to cells to flushing out toxins and much, much more.
If you aren’t consuming enough water, you can become dehydrated. Basically, this means that your bodily functions cannot be performed efficiently which drains your energy and leaves you feeling fatigued. So how much water should you consume each day? There is no simple answer to this relatively simple question, but we can explore some tips and goals that are sure to keep you properly hydrated throughout the hot and humid summer months!
First off, remember that consumption of water doesn’t just mean drinking straight up water. You can also rehydrate through eating foods with large water content. An average diet usually accounts for 20% of your water intake, mostly through fruits and veggies, but also through beverages such as milk and juice. Although there is water content in beer, wine, and caffeinated beverages, these sources should be used sparingly as they can also be diuretics and have adverse effects on hydration. The dietitians here at Good Measure Meals™ advocate for water consumption with our meals is to ensure that you are not adding extra calories to your plan (altering the daily nutrition balance) and also to keep you properly hydrated!
For the average Joe there are several schools of thought on hydration. The most common approach is the 8 by 8 rule, which basically states that one must consume 8 glasses of liquid per day. Although this is not supported by scientific evidence, it is an easy guideline to follow. According to the Institute of Medicine, men are advised to consume around 3 liters of beverage per day and women around 2.2 liters. Another study by the Mayo Clinic said that proper hydration could be determined using the following equation:
Body Weight(lbs) / 2 = ounces of water needed
This is the total consumption though, so you would need to take the equation one step further and account for the 20% water from food, so the equation would look something like this for a 140 lb women:
140 lbs / 2 = 70 oz.
70oz * 80% = 56 oz.
56 oz / 8(oz in a cup) = 7 cups of water per day
Obviously these are the baseline consumption guidelines, so for those participating in physical activity, we must increase the intake to account for the water loss due to perspiration. A good guideline is to add an additional 8oz. of water or sport drink for every 20 minutes of vigorous activity. I found a great resource addressing Exercise Hydration that was put together by the Dietitians from the Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition group of the American Dietetic Association. Click on the image below to read through the 1 page fact sheet about how to properly stay hydrated and rehydrate throughout bouts of exercise!
I hope you found some of this information useful and are ready to fight the summer heat with proper hydration! Let me know if you have any questions regarding exercise, dehydration, or water consumption!
In Health, Jess
We are all about health and wellness here, so Good Measure Meals and Open Hand staff took the opportunity to participate in Make a Movement Day! A Texas nonprofit created the day-long initiative encouraging the public to create and share their “Moments” of physical activity (Move), healthy eating (Fuel), and personal and environmental health (Honor) to promote healthy, ACTIVE lifestyles.
Open Hand and Good Measure Meals™ jumped on board and participated by creating a “moment” of our very own! Last Wednesday, we all met during our lunch break for a “walk-around-the-block” and some healthy snacks provided by our staff!
We departed from the Armour Building at 12:15pm and complete the 1 mile loop around Armour/Ottley and then all gathered to enjoy some healthy snacks in the Armour Break Room.
I really think that everyone saw the beneficial effects of getting outside for some fresh air and movement during the afternoon. I know I personally felt happier, more focused and productive during the late afternoon when I normally lack energy. The weather was beautiful and we all got the opportunity to enjoy the company of each other. It shouldn’t take a special day like this to get us moving, but sometimes it helps!
For more motivation check out these great articles from The Mayo Clinic:
As a result of Make a Movement Day our staff has committed to a “walk-around-the-block” as a group every Wednesday at 10am. How are you going to get active today? Share your stories by leaving a comment.