3 Tips For Making Resolutions That Stick

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If you’re the type of person who keeps making the same resolutions year after year, then this post is for you. Here are 3 common problems that keep your New Year’s resolutions from getting accomplished and how to fix them.

  1. They’re too general: How familiar does “get healthy” sound when Jan. 1st rolls around? The problem is that this goal is way too general. It’s much easier to set (and maintain) a goal of eating 2 servings of vegetables before lunch than it is to “get healthy”.

The solution: You must get specific about your goal. Not only what the exact end result be, but also what it will look and feel like to get there. For example, if your resolution is to “get fit”, set a goal of being able to do a certain number of pushups and squats or run a specific distance. Then, ask yourself what it will look and feel like to get there. What will it take on the day-to-day? Do you need to start with 1 push up and 1 squat and add on each day? What does your running schedule look like? The more specific you can be not only about the goal, but about the path to your goal, the more likely you are to succeed.

2. They’re too specific: However, there is the other side of the coin…the issue of getting unrealistically specific. For example, planning to “lose 10 lbs in 4 weeks” is certainly specific, but if we don’t meet that exact goal, we can feel unsuccessful and abandon our efforts all together.

The solution: Make a backup plan. After you give your goal a good, hard look in the eye and determine if it really is realistic and achievable, then make a plan for if you don’t meet it. What will you do if you don’t lose the weight / do 80 pushups / complete the race? Will you try again? Set a different goal? If you have a backup plan in place, then you’ll be able to avoid the all-or-nothing trap of specific goal setting.

3. Clashing goals: Why is that we feel the need to set so many New Years resolutions? Have fun. Sleep 8 hours. Travel. Save money. Relax. Lose 10 pounds. Hang out with friends. Spend more time alone….it goes on, right? The problem with this is that we don’t realize how often these goals can clash. When you have two opposing goals (i.e. save money and travel) it can make us feel like we didn’t accomplish either.

The solution:  We encourage you to try setting just one resolution. Then, commit to 3 different ways to accomplish it. If your resolution is to travel more, then your 3 goals could be 1) set aside a certain amount of money each month, 2) to sign up for flight alerts and 3) to set a calendar reminder to request the time off work.

This single tip makes your goal specific and achievable, sets you with a backup plan and avoids the problem of clashing goals.

Now, we’d love to hear from you. What are your favorite ways to set intentions for the New Year? How will you be using these tips to set powerful resolutions that stick? Let us know!

5 Tips for a Healthy Halloween

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Whether you’re under 10 years old or over 30, Halloween = candy overload.

I mean, who can resist that pillowcase full of bite sized butterfingers?

Instead of  feeling like the holiday got the best of you, we’ve got some tips to help you (and your kids) avoid the Halloween sugar hangover.

  1. Make a festive meal: Instead of sweets being the center of attention, get festive with savory foods. A healthy meal before trick-or-treating can make a big difference in late night snacking. Here are some ideas:

2. Try a candy inspired smoothie: Blend up one of these nutrient packed smoothie for an afternoon snack. With recipes like peanut butter cup, caramel apple and almond joy, they’re sure to leave your cravings feeling satisfied.

3. Make a splurge plan: If you know the Reese’s will be calling your name, make an agreement with yourself to only have a set amount. Be specific. When you know you only get 1 or two, you’ll enjoy it more and set yourself up to avoid binging. Before Halloween night, it’s also smart to set up expectations with your kids too.

4. Try this sugar hangover meal: protein + healthy fat + probiotics + water. Excess sugar can throw off our hunger/fullness signals and we can often end up with intense cravings. Eat a balanced, protein rich meal with a healthy fat to get your metabolism back on track. Refined sugar can also mess with your gut bacteria, so including a probiotic rich food like kefir, yogurt  or sauerkraut is a bonus. Example breakfast post Halloween: egg and vegetable scramble with avocado and sauerkraut or Greek yogurt and berries.

5. Stock up on the health(ier) stuff. For kids, Thrive market is a great online resource for stocking up on additive-free candies and treats. For the adults, choose dark chocolate or these better choices when it comes to the sweet stuff.

How To Become A Morning Person

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Are you the type of person who enjoys waking up early? Do you feel energized and productive in the morning?Or are you a snooze-5-times and don’t-talk-to-me-for-30-minutes type?

If you struggle in the mornings, there are some proven ways on how to become a (happy) morning person.

1. Get Fresh Air:
The famed “breath of fresh air” actually has some science behind it. This study shows that breathing outside air truly does lower cortisol, leaving you feeling more relaxed and calm. While you might argue that one could get fresh air later in the morning, we think that it’s simply the association we make between mornings and feeling calm that makes, this tip a keeper.

2.  Take Your Time:
What’s your favorite thing about sleeping in? It’s that lazy, leisurely feeling, right? Instead of associating early mornings with rushing, leave yourself enough time to move slow. If you can, find a moment to be alone. Sit with your coffee, watch the sunrise, make a healthy breakfast, lay in bed for 10 minutes before getting up, say a prayer, take a warm shower. Even if it means setting your alarm for just a few minutes earlier, those few moments can make early mornings your favorite time of day.

3. Get Some Sun
There is something about seeing the sunrise in the morning that makes us feel awake and accomplished.  A study notes that exposure to orange light (like the sun’s) can increase brain activity and boost alertness. When you first wake up, immediately open the blinds or curtains to let any natural light in. Summer is the perfect time to start establishing these early morning habits since it’s bright early. During winter months, try to get outside or to a room where there’s sunlight as the sun rises.

4. Have a detailed plan:
The best thing you can do to inspire you to get up is to know exactly what you’re about to do. As that alarm goes off and your thoughts start to rush in, you’ll be much more likely to hop out of bed if you have something to look forward to. The more specific the better. For example, your plan could look like this: sit up in bed and take 10 breaths, put water on for coffee, open the blinds and splash water on your face before and enjoy coffee for 5 minutes.

5. Workout:
For most non-morning people, it’s hard enough to get up for work, let alone a workout before work. However, if you struggle with mornings, changing your workout routine, might be what helps.  Research shows that those who workout in the morning (vs. evening) are more likely to sleep better and reduce their stress. Once we start to consistently feel better (from all that good sleep and reduced stress!) waking up early and exercising will be a habit worth keeping.

Ready for  a way to do all 5 habits in one easy step? Register for our summer session! You’ll get fresh air, see the sunrise, workout, and have a morning routine you love.

Check out our schedule here.

 

5 Hacks For A Healthy Week

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When it comes to feeling (and seeing) the results from our health efforts, it can be hard to wait. You’re not alone if you want a little immediate gratification. Try one, or all 5, of these healthy hacks to help feel your best THIS week.

1. Plan and make your breakfasts for the entire weekCheck out these 12 ideas.

2. Stretch or foam roll while watching T.V.  The best way to start a new habit is to associate it with a habit you already have. Since many of us enjoy our favorite T.V. shows at night, use that time to stretch or foam roll (even if it’s just during commercials).

3. Put a full glass of water next to your bed at night. And drink it before getting up in the morning. With up to 75% percent of us dehydrated (1) and since we’re most dehydrated after a night’s sleep (2), drinking a glass of water first thing in the A.M. is a great way to start the day.

4. Set a “move” reminder on your phone or calendar. Sitting for long periods of time can physiologically affect your muscles and metabolism (3). And not for the better. Gretchen Reynolds, NYtimes Well columnist and The First 20 Minutes author, suggests standing up every 20 minutes for 2 minutes. Try setting an alarm on your phone to go off every 20 minutes during long work stints. Check out her interview for more on how sitting affects your body.

5. Try a new healthy recipe. Take some time to scroll through the recipes we have shared on the BCSF blog, dust off your favorite cookbook or find a new food website you like. Pick ONE new recipe to try. Just like one unhealthy meal can make us feel like we’ve fallen off track, one healthy meal can make us feel inspired to eat well all week.

And of course head out and join your BCSF class for a workout! Nothing like a good sweat and workout with your friends to make you feel accomplished for the day.

 

 

Sources:

  1. http://www.medicaldaily.com/75-americans-may-suffer-chronic-dehydration-according-doctors-247393
  2. http://www.nbcnews.com/id/27704531/ns/health-behavior/t/wake-up-call-sleep-deprived/
  3. http://www.npr.org/2012/05/09/152336802/stand-up-walk-around-even-just-for-20-minutes

3 Things Your Fitness Tracker Is Missing

Do you track your food intake with an app like myfitnesspal or loseit?
Do you have a wearable tracker like a fitbit or jawbone that tracks your fitness for you?

If you said no to all of the above and you’ve never tried tracking your activity and food, we suggest giving it a whirl.

Why? Because, it can be one of the best ways to educate yourself on what you’re putting into your body.

However, it’s important to remember to take these tools are just that. Tools to help us get more in tune with our bodies so we can make healthier decisions.

But you’re not alone if you’ve been using an app like myfitnesspal for weight loss and are left scratching your head as to why the numbers and what you see in the mirror don’t match up.

These trackers are missing a couple factors that can leave a huge gap between what they calculate and what’s actually happening.

So before you start taking those “you’ll weigh x amount in x days” alerts too seriously, take a minute to consider these weight loss factors:

1. Quality and timing of food: According to food trackers, you could get 100% of your calories from fast food restaurants and as long as you used more calories than you consumed, you’d be on track for weight loss. This is a major fault in the belief that counting calories is the only way to lose weight. From a nutritional perspective, this type of thinking can lead to eating too many low calorie, low nutrient foods (popcorn, rice cakes, crackers, diet sodas ect.) As a nutrition counselor, I know that eating more nutrient dense foods (yes, even if they are higher calorie) can be the better choice for supporting metabolism and long term weight loss. Also, timing of food intake isn’t taken into account. Are you eating 3 square meals a day or are you starving yourself during the day and eating 80% of your food right before bed? You can see how these reports could quickly get very misleading. Remember to pay attention to what you eat and when and to listen to your body before you consider to your “stats”.

2. Intensity of exercise: Intensity of exercise matters. Sprinting up a set of stairs is going to have a very different effect on your metabolism than going for a walk or lifting weights. Most trackers only take into account total calorie burn, not the metabolic effect. Remember that most of these programs are estimates and take them as such.

3. Overall health and happiness: There are so many other factors that can affect health. Sleep, stress levels, hormones and nutrient deficiencies can all have an effect on weight loss. Remember that these programs and platforms aren’t made for you, they’re made for the masses. If you need or want specialized recommendations, it’s important to speak with a trainer, nutritionist or doctor.

So should we use these trackers?
Are you using this technology to help educate yourself and make better choices? If yes, then keep it up! Like I said, these tools can be a great way to learn about our bodies and our habits. With that said, if it’s making you feel stressed or overwhelmed, then it’s not the tool for you right now. Try journaling about your food choices, creating a simple weekly meal plan or find another way to get in tune with your food and fitness.

At the end of the day, put down the phone, the app, the stats and remember only you can make the best decisions for your health.

Insights from Jaw Surgery: Or How Recovery Is a Little Like a Fitness Journey

Hi BCSF Family!

Catherine (Cat), BootCampSF co-owner, here. We’ve likely emailed in the past, chatted on the phone or maybe I’ve even taught you a thing or two about kettlebells? I hope so! Well, I am currently on the couch with some chipmunk-esque cheeks because on Thursday May 8th I underwent a double jaw surgery and I wanted to share some insights with you.

I wanted to tell you all about this transformative life experience of mine because as I’ve waxed philosophical in the days leading up to surgery and as I’ve been recovering, I’ve had lot of time think about how this process has had striking similarities to the struggles we all go through with fitness and overcoming all the hurdles that get in our way. Seem like a stretch? Well, admittedly, since fitness is my life’s work, the parallels do come easier for me. But stick with me and maybe you’ll be surprised too!

You see, I’ve known that I needed this surgery for years. Since I was in my late teens, actually, but I put it off for so many reasons. Because it sounded painful. Because it’s expensive. Because who wants braces as an adult? And I’d thought that the only reasons to have the surgery were aesthetic: to be prettier, to fix my crooked jaw and look more “normal”. To be honest I thought that was shallow and I was better than that! I was a progressive San Francisco lady. But as the years wore on it became apparent to me that there were other reasons to do it: I had increasing pain in my left joint; my teeth were wearing unevenly; clicking and slipping of my jaw was just getting worse and worse. I had trouble eating sushi — I had reached a tipping point, because a life without sushi is no life at all, am I right?!

And call me crazy, but I know that most of us have gone through this with fitness and with weight loss. We know we need to start. And maybe sometimes we are angered by the shallow aesthetic-driven fitness culture that exists. And you? You are better than that. We live in open-minded San Francisco, right? But just as my jaw surgery was for far more serious reasons than the aesthetic, we hope that you know that there are more reasons to exercise than looking better for bikini season. For the health of your body and mind. For the health of your soul.

It’s always hard to start a new routine and we know it won’t be easy. The road to jaw surgery and the recovery is similar. It has been an emotional journey and the past week the physical aspects have been tough. Feeling weak enough waking up from the anesthesia to need help walking to the bathroom is not a feeling I am used to. But I know that I, too, have been down this road before. Workouts are not always comfortable. When I first started attending BCSF after college, I thought I’d need a wheelchair after experiencing the soreness of a lifetime! We’ve all been through it. We know that running is hard, that burpees are awful and that sometimes squats feel impossible.

But, getting over that hump is what it’s all about, right?

It’s that feeling you get a few months are starting your workout routine that everything seems…easier. Or maybe, just, not easier, but not impossible. I was looking for that moment in my recovery process and it’s been happening every day. I am just six days post-op and my swelling has receded amazingly well. I’m not taking any more painkillers. I am walking my dog, I am getting back to my BCSF admin work.

(Day after surgery on left, today on right! I can even smile a little bit!)

You see, here is the part where I feel fitness is not a metaphor and simply a direct player. My recovery is going swiftly. Despite having a particularly complicated jaw surgery (5 hours under the knife!) I seem to be hitting recovery benchmarks days and weeks ahead of many of the hundreds of people I have connected with online that also have had similar procedures. I can’t help but see a connection between my commitment to fitness and healthy nutrition in my everyday life as playing a major role in an easier recovery process. I am certainly no doctor, but it’s clear that I am ahead of the game for which I am very grateful!

This proces isn’t something I could have done alone. I have an amazing community of people helping me. My orthodontic team, Dr. Good and Sears, have been amazing (Dr. Sears has done many sessions of BCSF!). And while I was in the hospital my pup, Stella, was at Didgeridog – her favorite place in the world besides the dog park. My sister helped me throughout my hospital journey and the first few days at home (there is nothing better than your big sister rubbing eye cream on your face the morning after jaw surgery!). And my brother, Keith (BCSF founder!) left his adorable kids for a few days to stay with me and make sure I was fortified with enough smoothies.

Friends and BootCampers have and will be swinging by with smoothies and soups. Neighbors have come by to take Stella to the park. And knowing that our amazing team of trainers would take care of you guys and put you through your workouts was such a relief. Of course, I owe a special shout-out to Trainer Katy who continues to support my admin work and will be taking our phone calls for weeks to come as I am wearing a splint and am unable to speak clearly.

The thing is, is you don’t need to go your fitness-journey alone, either. Whether it’s BCSF you lean on (and you should!), your friends, spouses/partners, or co-workers, you absolutely need SOMEONE in your corner. Because change is scary. Being uncomfortable sucks. And being able to lean on someone when the going gets tough can often be the tipping point to success. Because to be honest, without my best friend, Lindsey, giving me the push last year to finally get that surgical consult I would have kept putting it off. Her simple words of advice ring true for so many things: “What’s the worst that could happen?”

I’m glad I didn’t have to go through surgery alone. And please don’t force yourself to go through your fitness journey alone, either, just because you think you “should” or because you’re “independent”. We are definitely greater together.

Thanks for reading and I cannot say enough thanks for having you be a part of our BCSF community. I am truly lucky to have the best members a company could ever ask for. My life is so much richer for having you all in it. Thanks for being a part of the ride!

See you outside,

-Catherine

Tips on how to get workouts in while on vacation or traveling.

Time to get up for a workout.
Working out while on the road is challenging, just ask your consultant friend that travels for work more days than not. The toughest part for most of us is finding the motivation to get started. There are plenty of road blocks from wrangling kids, a new environment, lack of equipment. If you don’t find yourself jumping out of bed for a 7am run, here are some things that might get your engine revving:

1. Maintenance. You don’t need to break any records when you’re on the road, just remind yourself that you’re just working to maintain your fitness level. Keep in mind the length of your trip, too: a two-day break isn’t likely to set you back, but taking a whole week off isn’t going to help you meet your goals any faster.

2. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good. Don’t have the time or space for a perfect workout? Don’t have any equipment? That, my friend, is not a good enough excuse to skip it all together. There is usually a work-around to be found. Some sort of movement is better than none at all. 20 push-ups is better than none.

3. Calorie Insurance. We’re all about keeping a healthy balance in mind; i.e., not beating yourself up over your food choices on a holiday is not what we recommend. But giving yourself a little cushion calorie-wise is a way to help allay some of the big meal guilt.

4. TELL SOMEONE. Yes, tell someone that you are going to work out. Tell your Facebook friend, yes, you can be that person. it’s okay. Tell your BCSF trainer. Email our general inbox (info@bootcampsf.com). Make a date with a long-lost friend. The likelihood that you’ll do a workout that you have already talked about, bragged about, or announced is way more likely to happen. You can find a little time to squeeze in a workout.

Work-Arounds

Now, if you have the motivation, but you have a few road blocks:

1. Enlist. If you’re a social butterfly (and you probably are if you like BCSF) and are bummed that you don’t have anyone to workout with, find a cousin or sibling that will go with you. This might be an opportunity to teach them what you know about fitness if they are less experienced than you, or if they are more experience take the opportunity to learn from them, or simply be inspired and get a little push from them.

If you don’t have anyone in your family ready to go and are visiting an area where you have a network, put a call out on social media for a workout buddy for the weekend. You just might find that your junior high BFF is now a running junkie/gym rat/yogi master. Re-connecting over fitness? Now that’s something we can get behind!

2. Equipment-less. Most of you have probably been in a BCSF class where minimal equipment was used. Harness that idea and know that it’s okay to use bodyweight for a workout. It’ll work just fine, trust us.

3. Ideas! Not sure what to do? No problem! Here’s some workouts we designed just for you. Give ’em a whirl. Tell us what you think!