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Fitness Column

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Vitamins and supplements can offer assistance in keeping your health and fitness at peak levels. Sure, daily multivitamin can help your immune system, and the children’s cartoon version might have a nice fruity flavor, but there are certain vitamins that offer more help to meet your weight loss goals and to stay healthy throughout the winter months.

 

Eating healthy is important, and getting your nutrients from natural foods is great, but just in case you are lacking in some nutrient levels, you might want to consider adding the following supplements to your daily intake. While you speed up the weight loss and boost your immune system, you will feel great throughout the day and as you get your workout in.

 

Vitamin B: If you add in a B complex, especially B12, you will help your body reduce your stress levels – and who likes to be stressed? B vitamins can also boost weight loss by improving your digestion and metabolism.

 

Vitamin C: Vitamin C already has a great reputation for boosting your immune system, but it also prompts your body to burn more calories for energy and thus speeds up weight loss.

 

Vitamin E: Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that has anti-anemia properties, as it helps preserve red blood cells in the body. When we have a higher red blood cell count, our body has more energy and stamina to push us through our workouts.

 

Iron: It is important to make sure you have enough iron when exercising, especially if you exercise often. It gives your body the energy it needs to endure exercise routines by providing oxygen to the blood supply to the body’s muscles. Iron works in a similar way to Vitamin E in relation to exercise.

 

Taurine: This amino acid helps your muscles function properly, providing you with energy. An added bonus is that it helps electrolyte balance post-exercise!

 

As you power through a grueling workout, make sure you are providing your body with what it needs to get through the exercises and to recover after. By making sure your vitamin intake is sufficient, you can help your body out as you move towards your fitness goals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Do you have a diary or journal? No, I’m not talking about a book full of your crushes from fifth grade; I’m talking about a food journal. I’m sure you have heard that dieters who keep food journals have more success than those who do not. If you made fitness or health the focus of your resolution, you might want to consider tracking your calories, nutrients and workouts to optimize your results.

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Sound a bit overwhelming? Well, it’s not with the help of some awesome online tools that do all the hard work for you. All you have to do is log in, enter the food you ate or the workout you did, and voila! It shows you nutrient breakdown, calories and even how much water you drank.

 

It is much more obvious how well you are sticking to your resolution or fitness goal when the cold, hard facts are staring you in the face. It can be motivating to see your progress as your weight tracker goes on the downward slope. Plus, if that slope starts to rise, it will be a good wake-up call to get back on track. You can even adjust your goals for nutrient intake and how much weight you want to lose per week.

 

There are many free sites to use as your online food diary. Simply search for online food journals and you can find a variety of sites to assist you with your weight loss tracking. I have found “My Plate” at www.livestrong.com to be the most helpful and comprehensive to track all the facts. So, log on, create a free account, and give it a whirl! Hopefully, you will see your eating habits improve while your weight drops. Start your food journal, and keep that resolution going strong!

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As 2011 comes to an end, the annual tradition of New Year’s resolutions becomes a common topic of conversation. For many, making the resolution and actually sticking to the resolution are two very different things, so here are some tips to keep you motivated to stick with your resolution.

 

Make it fun!

  • Why not pick a new activity that is a workout in disguise? Accomplishing your goal doesn’t have to be anti-fun. Below are a few examples of many activities that provide an excellent workout.
  • Pole fitness not only offers strength training, but also allows you to build confidence. These new fitness crazes are taking over the city and empowering women inside and out. And no, it isn’t stripping. Try a class, and see for yourself!
  • Zumba classes have been popular for awhile, and it’s no wonder with the mantra, “Ditch the workout. Join the Party.” Now if that isn’t a good motto for life, I don’t know what is. Zumba classes are full of great cardio moves while shaking to upbeat songs.
  • Hula hooping isn’t just for the playground anymore. Hooping offers great core work while you take a walk down memory lane. Take up this activity, and you’ll make all the boys pine for sure.
  • Skating, whether on ice or around the rink, is another example of a fun way to get in some cardio work. You won’t even realize you are breathing heavy as you whip around the rink!

 

Switch it up
A monotonous routine will inevitably lead to boredom, which we all know to be a killer to that motivation we had at the beginning of the year. Try to keep your fitness routine interesting by throwing in different group fitness classes, at-home DVDs or running trails. Try out a body-sculpting barre class, full-body TRX suspension training class, yoga to get the bonus of connecting with your center or Tabata to maximize your results in a short amount of time. Who said a workout consists of a treadmill every day?

 

Partner up
This resolution doesn’t need to be a lonely one. Get a friend to join you as you work towards your goals together by being workout buddies. Join a Biggest Loser competition at your office, or start your own with a group of friends. By surrounding yourself with cheerleaders, it will be harder to give up on your resolution and yourself.

 

Set Monthly Goals
Goals are much easier to work towards when you get a reward. Set yourself up for success by breaking down your overarching goal with smaller per-month goals. Sit down on January 1, and write a different fitness goal on the top of every month on the calendar. At the bottom of every month, write a corresponding reward if you meet your goal. Just make sure to keep your rewards in line with your goals. Pick rewards that won’t undo your hard work – you know you thought about rewarding yourself with a pint of ice cream. Buy yourself a new pair of shoes, new bubble bath products or treat yourself to a mani/pedi day.

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The holiday season is upon us, and your calendar is probably filling up with parties and gatherings. While the fear of additional pounds from eating too many holiday treats pervades the majority of our minds, we often forget about food’s partner in crime – alcohol. With all the extra festivities come extra cocktails. These liquid calories can quickly add up to a day’s worth of caloric intake and extra inches on your waist. Consider some of the tips below to help minimize those extra holiday pounds.

 

  • Drink water between every drink. Having a glass of water between every cocktail not only helps to rehydrate you, but it also paces your drinking throughout the evening. Water doesn’t have to be boring either; add a lime for a little extra flavor.
  • Pick clear liquids. Choose drinks like vodka and seltzer water or Sprite Zero or gin and tonics. A gin and tonic is 103 calories! Stay clear of darker liquors and sodas like dark rum and coke.
  • Pick wine over beer. A glass of wine has the benefit of powerful antioxidants, which have been shown to prevent heart disease. Who can say no to heart attack prevention?
  • Relax, and take it easy. Sip your drink, and enjoy it. Don’t start downing it, because then you’ll be reaching for another one before you know it. Take the time to really enjoy every sip, and space it out.
  • Create wine spritzers. If you like to have a drink in your hand while at a party, extend your wine allotment by making wine spritzers. Just add club soda to the wine of your choice. By lightening up the wine in your glass, you can afford to have your glass a little fuller while still sticking to a serving of wine.
  • Set a limit at the beginning of the night, and stick to it. When too much alcohol is consumed, you can lose your inhibitions and willpower. Before you know it, you are eating a late-night slice of pizza.
  • Celebrate in style! It’s the holidays and a special occasion, so why not glam it up and choose the bubbly as your drink of the night? Besides looking fabulous, you will only be consuming 85 to 100 calories per four ounces of champagne. Cheers to that!
  • And finally, be realistic. Really consider the serving sizes, especially when it comes to that glass (or should we say goblet) of wine. A glass/serving of wine is five ounces. If you fill that wine glass up past the five-ounce mark, it does not still count as one glass. So, be honest with yourself!

 

The holidays are a time to be enjoyed with friends and family. Don’t let your fitness or weight goals restrict you from enjoying that holiday gathering. As long as you make smarter choices with your drink order and stick to just a couple cocktails, you will stay on top of your fitness and weight loss routines. Plus, by holding back on the drinks you’ll be the one who can let everyone know what crazy things they said and did at the company Christmas party.

 

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Busy moms are far from sedentary, as they chase their kids, rush them to and from school and drive them to soccer, dance or scouts. Although this busy lifestyle is sure to help burn some extra calories, it is still important for the mind and body to get in a workout for some mommy time. Here are some tips to squeeze in some exercise into the list of things to do today:
Utilize the child’s nap time as your time to focus on yourself. Do some yoga or run on a treadmill while your kids nap.

 

Turn household chores into a workout. Do you have stairs? Try running up and down the stairs a few extra times while carting the laundry before putting it away. Have a full bottle of detergent? Why not hold it and do some squats or arm workouts. Who says weights have to be dumbbells?

 

Do the kids have a little extra energy today? Do a cardio dance DVD together. They will enjoy the music and burn off some energy (so hopefully they won’t fight bedtime later), and you will get an invigorating workout in without missing time with your kids.

 

  • Catch a morning class at the gym after you drop the kids off at school. Throw on your gym clothes first thing in the morning and after dropping the kids off at school or putting them on the bus, immediately head off to an a.m. class at the gym or set off on a run. By not going back in the house, you’ll force yourself to squeeze in the workout first thing and get to cross off one more thing off your list for the day!
  • After the family finishes up their school/workday and extracurricular activities, it’s nice to sit down as a family for dinner. Why let the bonding time end there? Create a routine of setting off as a family for a post-dinner walk.
  • If junior is still in a stroller, look for local mommy-and-me workout classes. These classes incorporate strollers into the workout and provide a chance to interact with other moms and children.
  • Having a hard time carving out 30 minutes or one hour for that workout? Try breaking it down into five- or 10-minute increments. Your workout doesn’t have to be all at once. Using some of the suggestions above or slipping in toning movements to other daily chores, you can still get an effective workout throughout your day.

 

Being a parent requires you to constantly be on your toes and creative as you adapt to the challenges of being a mother. While continuing that creativity, you can still get that time you deserve to focus on yourself and feel the great effects of exercise.

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Keeping your eye on the prize is a familiar concept when trying to achieve a goal. What better way to focus on your fitness goals than to take that phrase to heart? Creating an inspirational board can be a great tool to boost your fitness motivation and keep your goals on track. By displaying a board of motivational pictures and quotes of things you want to achieve, you can constantly remind yourself of the end result. By glancing at the board on your way out the door, it might just give you that extra boost to kick it up a notch in your workout.

 

Motivational boards can be made in the style of junior high crush posters by cutting out magazine pictures, writing goals and maybe even adding a healthy recipe on a bulletin board. Are magazine collages too old school for you? You might enjoy going to the web for a hip version of a bulletin board. Pinterest.com is a cool site where you can create a virtual pin board of images, quotes and such that you find online. Plus, you can follow other people’s fitness boards to steal – I mean borrow – their ideas and motivation.

 

While making your inspirational boards, here are some tips to keep in mind when selecting images or “pins”:

  • Stay away from airbrushed images. Make sure you are picking positive and realistic bodies to admire. Those body images that are artificial will only lead to frustration, so pick positive role models.
  • Motivational quotes for different moods towards exercising can be great to have on hand when you are just having one of those days and need an extra word of encouragement.
  • Images of different exercises you enjoy or those you want to try are a constant reminder of things to add to your to-do list for the day.

 

So break out the scissors and glue or head over to Pinterest to get started on your own motivational board. Hey, before you know it, you might be adding a before and after photo of yourself to show your success!

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Fall has officially settled in. The kids are back in their school routine, and the weather has turned a little crisp and the days a little darker. With the change of the season, many might find it a harder to stay on their summer workout routines. Although fall might bring images of cuddling up inside with a good book or your favorite fall television series, it offers many great outdoor activities as well. So put that book down, and set Modern Family on the DVR. Get moving!

 

Take advantage of fall activities! The days are great for some of Ohio’s many hiking trails or taking a walk around the park to admire the foliage. Perusing pumpkin patches, picking apples or wandering through corn mazes provide great activities for the whole family with plenty of walking. Once those leaves start falling, use the opportunity to rake the lawn as extra exercise. (And hey, if you run and jump in them, we won’t tell!)

 

Be Smart:
As you are preparing to head outdoors for a nice run or an outdoor adventure, make sure you are properly prepared. Fill that water bottle up, and make sure you hydrate! Just because the days of blazing heat are behind us doesn’t mean your body requires less water. So, drink up that H2O.
Don’t forget about your skin either. Sunscreen should still be used to protect your skin against the sun’s harmful rays – even on overcast days.
And while you are choosing your outfit, make sure to layer up, as it will be a little chilly until you get that heart rate moving. Also, for the darker mornings and evenings, make sure to sport some reflective wear.

 

Need one more motivational push for settling into that fall workout routine? Consider the months ahead filled with cocktail parties and family feasts. Formulate your battle plan against the holiday bulge. The fall is the perfect time to crack down on a workout schedule and create a habit to prepare you for the holiday months ahead.

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Consistency. A word we all know but probably with a definition on which we don’t always follow through. Webster’s Dictionary defines "consistent" as being "free from variation or contradictions." We think we are consistent with things in our life, but are we?

 

Think about the different areas of life in which consistence is important, like the way we support our spouses and keep our career goals. How about the goals we set for our fitness and nutrition?

 

It takes up to 12 to 18 months to see a notable change when we make small but consistent changes in our daily routine. Even when we set well-thought-out and defined goals, it is so easy to get distracted, bored or complacent. Before you know it, six months have gone by, and we are either in the same place as before or even in a worse position.

 

Today’s society wants instant results. We want the microwave result! Quick and easy! That old saying that anything worth having doesn’t come easy is true. Marriage, children, career, health and fitness all take consistent attention and commitment to success.

 

If you only spent one or two days a week being a good spouse or a nurturing parent, what would you expect to get out of your efforts? How about if you smoke cigarettes but decided to only smoke five days a week instead of seven? To reap the benefits of your actions, you must have consistency. You decide what your plan is, set your goals and stick to them!

 

We all know how to lose weight, right? Eat less. Move more. But, without being consistent, we will not reach our goals. This is why most people are on the diet rollercoaster ride. Our weight and health have consistent ups and downs from being inconsistent in our routines. This rollercoaster ride can also cause mood swings and mess with the dopamine release we get from getting regular physical activity. It’s a vicious cycle that can make it difficult for our bodies to achieve the motivation to exercise.

 

So, you may ask, "How do I stay consistent?"

 

I think the most important thing you can do is EXPECT and ACCEPT that it’s going to be hard. And then, as Nike says, "JUST DO IT!" You can "train" yourself to be better at consistency by simply being consistent!

 

Don’t give in to yourself or those around you! Remind yourself why you are doing what you are doing and remember that anyone who has achieved success has done it by being free from variation or contradictions. Now let’s set some goals, stay focused and achieve!

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Memorial Day is a time to remember and honor those who have died in service to our country. This day also is an opportunity to recognize other heroes. With this in mind, I’d like to tell you about two local heroines who live in my community of Mason, OH: Ria Davidson and Christine Neitzke.

 

They are co-founders of The Dragonfly Foundation, an amazing charity that brings comfort and joy to kids and young adults with cancer and blood diseases. They work in partnership with the Cancer & Blood Diseases Institute of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center to provide distractions to help ease the pain and fear patients and their families experience on a daily basis.

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My husband and I have had the honor of working with these heroic ladies, and have partnered with them and their foundation. We work alongside them as they pour their hearts and souls into their mission, and we marvel at how quickly they have built a community of caring around patients and their families.

 

I have never met two women more determined, dedicated and SPUNKY! You would be amazed to learn what they have accomplished in an incredibly short period of time. We can only imagine where The Dragonfly Foundation will be a year, two years, even three years from now.

 

All of their work holds a special place in Christine’s heart that I pray you or I will never have to visit. In February 2011, Christine’s 10-year-old son, Matt, was diagnosed with Stage 3 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Hearing about the Neitzke’s treatment journey, and how it affected their son, his brother Sam and their family, will make you feel every emotion. Their story makes me count my blessings daily for having healthy children. Though he has to be scanned every three months, we are thankful that Matt is in remission.

 

The Dragonfly Foundation was founded in August 2010 out of pure determination to help comfort kids and their families. Christine and her best friend of 20+ years, Ria, joined forces to make a difference by implementing and enhancing programs, both in and out of the hospital. Their goal is to distract patients and families from their nightmare, and deliver comfort, joy, peace and hope during a time where it feels like there is none.

 

Cincinnati Children’s calls their work "truly transformational." One program they have brought to Cincinnati Children’s Cancer & Blood Diseases Institute is Beads of Courage®. With this program, patients receive a 3-ft length of string and specific beads for treatment procedures and milestones (i.e., a glow-in-the-dark bead represents a radiation treatment). It is not uncommon for these "necklaces" to become more than 150-ft or more in length. These little beads illustrate stories of strength and courage. The thousands of beads that make up a typical treatment journey are almost too much to contemplate.

 

The Dragonfly Foundation will do almost anything to make to make patients and their families smile. From Play-Doh and toys, to DVDs and video games, to laptop computers with webcams and flat screen televisions for the hospital activity rooms, the list of items provided for patients to enjoy is astounding. They also hold concerts and celebrity meet-and-greet opportunities at the hospital. That’s in addition to the tickets to local events they distribute to families because they understand the financial and emotional burden that comes with treatment.

 

What appeals to me is that The Dragonfly Foundation serves kids, teens and young adults and their families. Their support doesn’t end with hospital stays, one-time events or 18th birthdays. They make patients and their families smile. Every. Single. Day.

 

Christine and Ria like to say "Until there is a cure, we can’t forget to care." They’re right. We can’t promise that a cure will be around the next corner, but we can provide basic comforts, compassion and opportunities for patients, siblings and caregivers to understand that they are not alone in this world.

 

Cincinnati has two guardian angels in Christine and Ria. I want to add that their husbands, Jim and Matt, and their kids, are right by their sides, supporting and helping at all times!

 

If you are looking for a non-profit to support with your time, talent, resources or connections, then I can honestly say you have found it in The Dragonfly Foundation. Their track record is impressive and their energy is infectious. They have the endorsement of celebrities Nick Lachey, Vanessa Minnillo, Frostee Rucker of the Bengals. They also have supporters in the business community, such as Mark Matson, CEO of Matson Money, Keep It Tight Fitness, Cincinnati Bell/CBTS, The Cincinnati Reds, The E.W. Scripps Co., Feld Entertainment, Peoples First Saving Bank, and more. The list goes on and on.

 

As you know, I am the owner of Keep It Tight Fitness. Fitness is a priority in my life and relates to almost everything I do, but I strive to have overall balance. In addition to being physically fit, I also believe in being fit emotionally and spiritually. For me, that includes helping those in need and donating my money or time to children and families who require help to even make it through the day. I can’t think of anything more rewarding and worthy than to offer my endorsement, commitment and support to The Dragonfly Foundation.

 

Please go to www.thedragonflyfoundation.org for more information and follow them on Facebook.

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I have a lot of women tell me "I just don’t enjoy working out" and "I will never get those feel good feelings that I hear other people talk about."

Well, I have to admit that I don’t understand why some of us get that feeling and others do not. But I do believe that enjoying exercise may be "a learned thing."

Traditional exercise may not be for everyone. People have different interest and different goals and I think the key is finding the activity that excites you and that you enjoy doing.

The most important issue is health. It’s not healthy to be inactive most of the day. It’s unhealthy to have a poor diet lacking in necessary vitamins and nutrients. If you don’t exercise because you don’t enjoy it, then change your frame of mind: exercise to live longer. The reality is that exercise and diet go hand in hand with the quality and length of your life.

I recently read a startling statistic. The question asked "If you could remain at your goal weight, and never gain a pound regardless of what you ate, would you still exercise?" Eighty-six percent of the people surveyed said they would still continue to exercise.
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Personally, that percentage seems high to me. I think initially people may continue their workout schedule, but eventually I think gyms would be empty. The reason I have this opinion is because I feel that the number one reason people exercise is to stay at their goal weight and feel confident about themselves.

I personally exercise for several reasons. The first being that it makes me feel good and have a more positive outlook on life. Exercise decreases my stress level and does release "feel good" endorphins in my body. Secondly, it’s to stay in my weight range that I feel best at. I simply am not as happy or confident when I feel I am over the weight I should be. And another reason for me to exercise is to stay healthy for myself and for the ones I love. I want to be around for my children, husband and parents.

My advice when people tell me that they simply do not enjoy exercise is that you don’t have to necessarily enjoy it. There are ways though to make is more enjoyable. You can exercise with friends, you can choose activities that don’t involve a treadmill or weight machine, and you can also plan activities that involve your children if that’s what motivates you more.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics for 2011, 34% of Americans are obese and 33% are overweight. The obesity rate in America has more than doubled since 1980. My point is this: We all sometimes have to do things we don’t necessarily enjoy. The main reason to exercise is no longer just to look better in our clothes. It’s to save your life and to be healthy.

We make choices everyday that affects our health in either a good way or a bad way. Now is the time to start making good choices and be a positive role model for your family. It’s never too late!