Category Archives: Lifestyle

3 Swolemate Valentine’s Day Ideas

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Love it or hate it, Valentines Day is upon us. And while most are running out to shop for chocolates and flowers for that special someone, some others might be more interested in an awesome gym sesh, a romantic dinner of zucchini pasta, and a special protein dessert.

Bottom line is some Valentines day date ideas are tired, overdone and about as boring as a cardio session on an elliptical. If you’re a fit couple looking for some fitness-related Valentines Day ideas, look no further.

  1. Take a hike somewhere with beautiful scenery. Check out your area and see if there are any unique hiking experiences locally. Some will even offer bungee jumping or some other type of activity to incorporate the element of surprise! Which may be a pro or con in your book. Regardless, hiking will probably leave you tired and hungry. Restaurants are going to be packed with crowds and you will most likely not be dressed for a fancy dinner anyway, so why not pack a romantic picnic with some wine to pause and take in nature’s beauty while appreciating the company of your boo?
  2. Road trip to a cool new city and check out the gym there! Some memberships, like LA Fitness will allow you to use your membership at any of their locations – even out of state. If you don’t have a membership like this, buying a day pass and lifting weights in a facility that is new to you can be a huge motivator. Bring a change of clothes because you will want to spend the rest of the day exploring the local attractions!
  3. Indoor rock climbing! Most areas have at least one place not too far away where you can do this, and most offer classes for beginners if you’re an indoor rock climbing virgin. Afterwards, grab a dinner to go, find a scenic location where you can watch the sun set. Eat, drink and cuddle your little hearts out.

If you do try any of these ideas, please share! Post a photo/video on Instagram, tag @healthy_fit_fab_guide and don’t forget your cheesy #swolemates hashtag.

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The Ultimate Guide to Motivational Podcasts

Four years ago, I listened to my very first podcast episode.

At the time, I thought the format was a bit weird — it’s like radio but… I can listen to it whenever I want? Nonetheless, I quickly fell in love with it and haven’t looked back since.

Over the past six or seven years, podcasting has exploded and become a household term. Whether it’s a podcast hosted by your favorite celebrity like Alec Baldwin or Anna Faris or a serial like the wildly popular Making a Murderer, there’s something for everyone.

But where I’ve found the most value in podcasts is as a vehicle for change. With everything else going on in my life I find it hard to manage fitting in time for both professional and self-improvement. However, podcasts allow me to do that in the most efficient way possible: while I’m on the move.

Whether I’m driving, traveling, cleaning, running, grocery shopping, or doing any other assortment of errands, I can listen to a podcast (often more than one episode), get a ton of value crammed into the in-between time where I otherwise wouldn’t be doing anything productive in particular, and motivated to do more in my own life.

There are a lot of amazing podcasts out there but iTunes and Spotify don’t exactly make it easy to find them. Also, there are a lot of different ways you might want to work on yourself depending on your goals.

With that in mind, we’ve crafted a list of the best motivational podcasts available in several categories including:

  • Health and fitness
  • Happiness and well-being
  • Performance, productivity & life hacks
  • Relationships
  • Entrepreneurship and leadership

So, whether you’re looking to work on a single category or find something to help you work on every area of your life, below you’ll find a podcast for everything.

Health & Fitness

Interested in refining your body and mind? Want to change your diet or get fit? Below are three outstanding podcasts that will help you do that.

Bulletproof Radio

Bulletproof Radio is one of the most unique podcasts on this list and one that doesn’t have much competition on iTunes.

The podcast could be organized into several categories on this list because, for host Dave Asprey of the Bulletproof brand, it’s all about gaining a complete understanding of how the mind and body work in tandem to maximize its capability.

Asprey talks about cutting-edge supplements, workout equipment and exercises, and interviews top experts in everything from biochemistry to medicine. If your goal is the master your health but with a specific mind towards performance, it’s one of the best and will really motivate you to get moving.

Check out Bulletproof Radio here

If you’re looking for a single podcast to subscribe to that covers the full range of possible health and fitness-related topics, this is the best there is. Dr. Hyman is smart and easy to understand and makes things relevant to everyday life.

Check out The Doctor’s Farmacy here

Nutrition Diva

Nutrition Diva is a podcast hosted by self-proclaimed “nutrition diva” herself Monica Reinagel that’s all about, well, nutrition and healthy eating as you might expect. If you’re looking for a strictly nutrition-based podcast, this is one of the best.

But what’s really great about this podcast is Reinagel’s short, bite-sized format. Each episode is just ten to fifteen minutes long and targets a specific nutrition topic such as whether the natural fructose in fruit is really bad for you like artificial sugar is and how much Omega-6 our bodies need.

If you’re a busy person and you’re looking for podcasts to improve your health and fitness, this can fit the diet/nutrition slot perfectly.

Check out Nutrition Diva here

Happiness & Well-Being

Looking to reduce stress and anxiety, navigate life’s challenges better, or bring a little more joy into your life? These are the podcasts to help you do that.

10% Happier with Dan Harris

10% Happier is, at its core, a meditation podcast. It’s leagues better than virtually any other podcast of its kind available for several reasons and can teach you a lot about how to become happier, whether you’ve tried meditation already or not.

The podcast is primarily an interview show through the lens of exploring the meditation practices of the various interviewees and, in some rare cases, their spiritual beliefs. The guest list includes everyone from meditation experts and spiritual teachers to T.V. execs, producers, actors and actresses, entrepreneurs, and everything in between.

However, what really makes this podcast special is the fact that it’s hosted by ABC Nightline news anchor Dan Harris, who was once a devout skeptic of meditation (and very much still is a skeptic in a general sense by nature), making it incredibly interesting and full of value.

Harris is inquisitive, curious, and critical while being fair and open-minded at the same time. It creates for a wonderfully valuable and entertaining format that will teach you more about what it takes to truly be happier than virtually any other show out today, audio or visual alike.

Check out 10% Happier here

Ram Dass Here and Now

For the past several decades, Ram Dass has been teaching in the states what he learned decades ago when he and many others traveled to India during the ’70s and since applied in his own life. This podcast is a collection of his recorded talks from various events over that time.

Part of what’s great about Ram Dass is that he doesn’t come off as some transcendental guru who you’re not sure you can trust. Instead, he’s a regular guy who talks in terms of daily life and its challenges and he’s a master at placing things in perspective and then offering simple, relevant wisdom.

If you’re looking for a podcast where you can delve deep into the mind and what happiness really is while miraculously staying grounded (often with a good bit of storytelling), Ram Dass’ Here and Now is what you need.

Check out Ram Dass Here and Now here

Happier with Gretchen Rubin

Similar to 10% Happier but in an entirely different way, Happier with Gretchen Rubin is more discerning and experimental in nature, being almost scientific about happiness.

The podcast follows former New York City lawyer turned bestselling author and happiness expert Gretchen Rubin and her sister, writer and producer Elizabeth Craft, as they break down topics such as mental reframing, habits, and general life wisdom in both a smart and entertaining way.

If you’re interested in learning how to navigate the challenges of daily life and become happier from a more scientific perspective, you’ll love this.

Check out Happier with Gretchen Rubin here

Performance, Productivity & Life Hacks

If the name of the game is honing your mind and maximizing your performance, below are the best podcasts for helping you do it.

The Tim Ferriss Show

If your goal is to master yourself — your process, your craft, your life — this is one of the best podcasts to help you do it.

The interviewees are high-profile and incredibly diverse, from actor and entertainer Jamie Foxx to meditation expert Tara Brach, director James Cameron, entrepreneur Richard Branson, and actor and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

But what really makes this podcast special is Tim Ferriss himself who is incredibly passionate about helping others become world-class performers. Ferriss is both an exceptional interviewer and thoughtful about who he has on the show, what he discusses, and is very open to talking about his own life and process as it pertains to his performance.

Check out The Tim Ferriss Show here

The Tony Robbins Podcast

Like The Tim Ferriss Show, The Tony Robbins Podcast is an interview show. However, the format is much different and less welcoming.

That said, what it lacks is made up for in large part by the quality and diversity of guests and the fact that it gives you the opportunity to hear from renowned performance coach Tony Robbins without having to pay to attend one of his events, even if it’s just for a short time.

If your focus is improving your performance, this podcast is right behind the Tim Ferriss Show and a welcomed addition.

Check out The Tony Robbins Podcast here

Optimal Living Daily

Optimal Living Daily is the most unique of the podcasts in this section by far. The concept is ridiculously simple but you’ll quickly find the value you get from it to be on par with virtually any other podcast available in this category.

There are no live conversations, but rather, host Justin Malik reads the work of popular bloggers such as Ramit Sethi, Leo Babauta, and James Altucher on the topics of productivity, happiness, mindset, and finance among others.

It at first might sound like an odd format, however, if you’ve ever experienced the value of audiobooks, it offers much the same feel but in more bite-sized chunks and with varied topics.

If you’d prefer a more structured podcast with short, value-packed episodes (typically less than ten minutes long), you won’t regret giving Optimal Living Daily a listen.

Check out Optimal Living Daily here

Relationships

We’re social creatures, so the better you are at navigating your relationships, the better your life will be as a whole.

If you’re looking to motivate yourself to create change in your intimate relationship, better navigate family life, or get along better with colleagues in the workplace, there’s something here for you.

Rise Together Podcast

I love the Rise Together Podcast because it’s the perfect mix of relationship advice, motivation, and performance improvement.

The podcast follows hosts Rachel and Dave Hollis’ as they work together as a couple to become the best versions of themselves and talk about how you can do the same. Episodes include topics such as: Let’s Talk about Sex Baby, 5 Ways to Show Up For Your Partner (Rachel’s Perspective), and Why Hard Conversations Are Key To Building An Exceptional Relationship.

If you’re looking for a podcast that motivates you to improve your life with your partner, you won’t find a better fit than this.

Check out Rise Together Podcast here

Anna Faris is Unqualified

Comedian Anna Faris is the most unlikely of hosts in this relationship podcast. But she’s so awesome.

Anna Faris is Unqualified is unique among relationship podcasts because she, along with cohost Sim, interview celebrities about their own relationships: both the ups and the downs, including everyone from David Spade to Kelly Ripa, Topher Grace, and Kat Dennings.

Along the way, Faris offers her own brand of wisdom and makes you laugh through the entire ride. It’s less potent compared to a podcast like the Rise Together Podcast, however, it’s easier to get engrossed in episodes and you end up coming away with a really valuable and diverse collection of insights from all different people.

Check out Unqualified with Anna Faris here

Dr. Laura Call of the Day

Take a good scroll through iTunes and you’ll notice something after a while: intimate relationships aside, there aren’t many podcasts for navigating relationships in a general sense (and even then, it’s hard finding good podcasts on intimate relationships that aren’t just about sex). Dr. Laura fits that bill like a glove and then some.

Dr. Laura has one of the longest-running relationship-centric podcasts on iTunes (and her radio show has been running for more than thirty years) with several hundred episodes. The great part about the podcast is each episode is centered around a question, so you can peruse the list of episodes for questions relevant to things you’re interested in endlessly.

Check out Dr. Laura Call of the Day here

Entrepreneurship & Leadership

Whether you’re solopreneur, you have a team, or you’re simply in a leadership position and you’re navigating the challenges that come with those positions, the podcasts below are perfect for helping tease the best out from yourself.

Jocko Podcast

I’ve watched my fair share motivational videos, listened to podcasts, and watched speeches, but few even come close to the power of retired Navy SEAL Jocko Willink.

Jocko has a way of immediately placing your life in perspective and wiping away all excuses in an instant. He takes no BS from himself and his perspective will very quickly rub off onto you as well.

Plus, Jocko and director Echo Charles tackle some really intense topics, the kind of things very few people are talking about, so it’s simultaneously enlightening and informative.

Check out Jocko Podcast here

The GaryVee Audio Experience

Similar to Jocko, Gary Vaynerchuk doesn’t take crap and will offer consistent wake-up calls. However, where Gary differs is in his talks being more entrepreneurial in nature and specific to business, so the two together actually offer a nice mix.

Gary V. is also a master at staying ahead of social media and general digital marketing trends, making him an ideal person to follow as a business owner or thought leader who needs to make sure they’re staying relevant in a rapidly changing world.

Check out The GaryVee Audio Experience here

The MFCEO Project

MFCEO stands for m*ther f*cking CEO and, if the name of the podcast is any indication, it’s intense.

Similar to the other podcasts in this section, host Andy Frisella, a successful entrepreneur in his own right, will motivate you to take action even when you’ve got nothing in the tank.

Frisella has regular guests hosts and discusses a whole range of topics such as mindset, communication skills, motivation, confidence, and productivity, making it a great all-in-one podcast if you’re looking for entrepreneurial, leadership, and self-improvement advice.

How to Start Thinking With the Heart

By Johanna Bassols

Tap into the Innate Intelligence of the Heart

 

 

For far too long, but particularly in the modern, Western world we have thought of the heart as simply a pumping mechanism responsible for bringing blood to our organs.

The heart’s physical importance is not to be underestimated, it supports life, sending the blood of life to the tree-like limbs of our vascular system–but this is an overly simplistic view of what the heart is capable of.

Gregg Braden’s latest research elaborates on the ancient technique of using the heart as an intelligent organ.

The heart’s intelligence has been ignored for far too long. What we’ve learned about the heart’s wisdom, however, in the past several years through the Heart Math Institute and through the research of psychologists, neurobiologists, and resurfaced wisdom teachings from our ancient past, should inspire everyone to look at the heart in a completely new way.

For those who are not used to using their innate intelligence–that is their intuition—tuning into the heart for answers to the most profound and difficult questions they could possibly drum up might seem ridiculous. Why ask the heart whether to stay in a relationship that is challenging, or even if you should go through with a medical procedure?

It might seem ignorant or even haphazard to ask the heart questions like these, but it has wisdom that the intellect cannot match. Here’s why:

The heart does not send information through an egoic filter.

The heart knows your past, your present, and your future. Its intelligence does not care about your egoic constructs. The heart simply speaks from a completely neutral place.

Follow your heart

What lessons will you learn if you follow your heart?

You can think of it like a close friend who has your best interest at heart, and who does not care about making themselves look good in your eyes.

Hridaya

There is an ancient term that does not have a direct English translation that describes this intelligence of the heart. Hridaya, is the energy which is contained within the heart chakra. This is not just the physical heart, but the spiritual heart. It contains the intelligence of God, or the transcendental mind.

The word comes from the Sanskrit language, and the closest meaning to English would be something like this:

Hrid = center

Ayam = this

Thus, the spiritual heart always brings you to your center. It will not veer away from your highest self, always taking in a 360-degree (and beyond) view of any situation you could possibly face.

The yogi Bhagavan wrote once to explain this spiritual heart in more detail:

Just as there is a cosmic center from which the whole universe arises and has its being and functions with the power or the directing energy emanating therefrom, so also is there a center within the frame of the physical body wherein we have our being. This center in the human body is in no way different from the cosmic center. It is this center in us that is called the Hridaya, the seat of Pure Consciousness, realized as Existence, Knowledge and Bliss. This is really what we call the seat of God in us.

Conversely the mind-brain thinks of our past experiences, our past erroneous beliefs assigned to those experiences, and takes all sorts of twists and turns through a conceptual landscape that we’ve created to give us a ‘right’ answer to life’s deep questions.

Mind or heart
The mind-brain creates false perceptions where the heart is true.

 

A Zen Buddhist can also describe what happens when we think with the head (brain) instead of the heart.

We place a fog–a type of perceptual overlay on top of a situation and then add an emotional investment. We call this ‘real,’ but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Yet, we think we have to obtain a siddhi (great accomplishment or miracle) in order to obtain supernormal wisdom or intelligence. So, we go on trusting the false perceptions of the mind-brain.

The Neurobiology of the Heart

Moreover, if we were to look at the simple neurobiology of the heart–there are many more fibers leading from the heart to the brain than from the brain to the heart. This means–as Gregg Braden recently pointed out in a Gaia talk–that there is much more communication being sent to the brain then being received from it.

As the HeartMath Institute explains, the heart also begins beating in the unborn fetus before the brain has even been formed, a process scientists call autorhythmic.

We humans also form an emotional brain long before a rational one, and the heart has its own independent complex nervous system known as ‘the brain in the heart.’

The heart can also create a level of coherence in the body just through its rhythm, which regulates all its systems, and corrects even diseased cells.

And finally, the electromagnetic field of the heart is about 60 times greater in amplitude than the brain, and permeates every cell in the body. The magnetic component is approximately 5,000 times stronger than the brain’s magnetic field and can be detected several feet away from the body with sensitive magnetometers.

The heart is full of wisdom
Tapping into the heart’s intelligence will give you wisdom.

How to Think with the Heart’s Wisdom

Here’s what Braden suggests to help us learn to tap into the heart’s massive wisdom:

  1. Focus on the heart (and heart chakra). This sends a signal to the heart that you seek its intelligence.
  2. Slow your breathing. This sends another signal to your body that you seek higher intelligence, and not that of the normally stressed, and freaked out ego. Deep breathing calms the nervous system and quiets the brain.
  3. Conjure a sense of gratitude, compassion, or love. These are the feelings which trigger an activation of the heart’s energy.
  4. Ask your heart a question. The question should be brief and to the point.
  5. Everyone will experience the heart’s intelligence a bit differently. You may feel butterflies in your gut, a warm sensation growing around your body, or tingling in your fingertips. You may not feel any bodily sensations, but have a clear, short answer that comes through your mind. Know that it likely won’t need a long-drawn-out story to ‘justify’ its wisdom. The heart speaks directly and clearly. If it isn’t, try this process again to let your body know that you seek the intelligence of the heart and not the ego.
  6. Practice makes perfect. The more often you do this, the easier it will be to tap into the seat of pure consciousness–the hridaya.

Johanna Bassols is the creator of the Soul Reprogramming Method and founder of the Healers of the Light Academy.

What’s your New Year’s Resolution?

Tweet About Fitness

Do you have a plan? How about a goal?

Having a goal is great, but having a goal and a plan to achieve it is even better.

I’m serious about helping you reach your goals! That’s why I’ve created an 8-week fitness program, which I’m excited to present to you now available for sale right here, along with Healthy Fit and Fab’s already massive library of articles focused on fitness training, yoga, meditation, supplementation recommendations, and healthy recipes that minimize harmful effects to our planet. I’m providing you with a workout plan—complete with daily access to total wellness information—to guide you toward success. This plan is sure to transform your body and your lifestyle.

Here’s a sample of what your 8 weeks will look like:

Calendar

You will need:

  • Access to a gym or fitness studio/club with the equipment listed in this fitness schedule.
  • Equipment including, but not limited to, dumbbells, stability ball, resistance band, bench and/or step.

Your fitness package includes:

  • 8 week fitness schedule.
  • FREE lifetime online support from your wellness coach.
  • FREE access to a library of fitness tips, videos and healthy recipes.

Your fitness package does not include:

  • Your personal gym membership.
  • Any fitness equipment needed for the exercise.

Purchase your transformation here:

 

8-Week Warrior Fitness Schedule

Plan will be sent to the email account linked to your PayPal.

$125.00

Still not sure?

Check out these amazing transformations!

Heather

Me

Make Your Heart Beat Cover

General Disclaimer:

You should consult your physician or other health care professional before starting this or any other fitness program to determine if it is right for your needs. This is particularly true if you (or your family) have a history of high blood pressure or heart disease, or if you have ever experienced chest pain when exercising or have experienced chest pain in the past month when not engaged in physical activity, smoke, have high cholesterol, are obese, or have a bone or joint problem that could be made worse by a change in physical activity. Do not start this fitness program if your physician or health care provider advises against it. If you experience faintness, dizziness, pain or shortness of breath at any time while exercising you should stop immediately. You should be in good physical condition and be able to participate in the exercise. Healthy Fit & Fab offers health, fitness and nutritional information and is designed for educational purposes only. Healthy Fit & Fab is not a licensed medical care provider and represents that it has no expertise in diagnosing, examining, or treating medical conditions of any kind, or in determining the effect of any specific exercise on a medical condition. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional. Do not disregard, avoid or delay obtaining medical or health related advice from your health-care professional because of something you may have read on this site. The use of any information provided on this site is solely at your own risk. Developments in medical research may impact the health, fitness and nutritional advice that appears here. No assurance can be given that the advice contained in this site will always include the most recent findings or developments with respect to the particular material. You should understand that when participating in any exercise or exercise program, there is the possibility of physical injury. If you engage in this exercise or exercise program, you agree that you do so at your own risk, are voluntarily participating in these activities, assume all risk of injury to yourself, and agree to release Healthy Fit & Fab from any and all claims or causes of action, known or unknown, arising out of Healthy Fit & Fab’s negligence. If you are in the United States and think you are having a medical or health emergency, call your health care professional, or 911, immediately.

Seven Supplements You Should be Taking Every Day

The majority of adults in the United States take one or more dietary supplements on a regular or semi-regular basis. Dietary supplements come in various of forms including pill form, powders, as well as drinks and energy bars. If your diet is lacking a nutritious variety of foods, supplementing can help you get adequate amounts of essential nutrients. When you’re on a training regimen, it is even more important to make sure your body has everything it needs to stay strong, healthy and recover to the best of its ability. Supplements are a great way to achieve this, but they can be tricky. If not ingested in correct form or in the right amounts, your body may pass them through as waste, which is basically money down the drain. (Literally) For this reason, you want to make sure you pay attention to the recommended serving per day and break it up appropriately between morning and night.

That being said, what supplements should you take? Where do you even start?

ThinkstockPhotos-479562672_field_img_hero_988_380

First and most importantly, the Multivitamin. A good multivitamin in the morning will start your day off right in terms of diet so you’re not having blood sugar crashes, or craving sweets or snacks throughout the day, because your body is starting the day out with most of the nutrients it needs. In order for your body to absorb the vitamins efficiently, I recommend taking one that’s made from whole foods. This one from NewChapter Organics is a good option because it’s made from organic vegetables and herbs which are easily processed by the body, and can be taken on an empty stomach. The one I take has added nutrients for Immune, Stress and Hormone Support. Who doesn’t need that?

New Chapter Only One Multivitamin

 

B Vitamins. B Vitamins help convert food into cellular energy. They’re also necessary for normal functioning of the nervous system. This Super B-Complex formula contains high levels of all your needed B Vitamins and Vitamin C for added antioxidant support and to help support the immune system. In addition, most report a better mood and increased mental focus when supplementing B Vitamins. Since this produces energy, it is best taken in the morning as opposed to in the evening.

Nature Made Super B-Complex

Vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential to healthy bone, breast, prostate and immune support. The truth is, in this day and age where most people are deathly afraid of UV rays, a significant portion of the population is Vitamin D deficient. Ideally, one would have levels measured to determine their ideal dose, but most would benefit from taking 1000 to 2000 IU daily of vitamin D3. In my personal opinion, Vitamin D should be taken in the morning, since naturally you would be absorbing most of your Vitamin D in the daytime, but I haven’t heard any scientific arguments against taking it in the evening instead.

Garden of Life Vitamin Code® RAW D3™

 

Magnesium. Magnesium is a mineral that is involved in over 300 reactions in the body and is unfortunately often lacking in the standard American diet. Magnesium deficiency can cause constipation, heart palpitations, or muscle cramps. I like this Calcium and Magnesium powder because it’s formulated to avoid excess dietary calcium depleting the body’s vital magnesium supply, and to avoid symptoms associated with low magnesium and high calcium levels. This formula includes nutritional co-factors to facilitate the assimilation, distribution and utilization of calcium. I put it in my night-time tea and it dissolves instantly. I like to take my magnesium in the evenings because I find that it has a relaxing effect on my muscles.

Natural Vitality Natural Calm® Plus Calcium Unflavored

 

Omega-3 Fatty Acids. These are essential for brain health and mood support as well as keeping inflammation down. The most common way most individuals get their omegas is through ingesting fish. Eating fish or taking fish oils is a fine way to get your omegas. However, if your diet is a little more strict, or you are worried about the pollution and mercury levels in the fish that live in our modern day environment (me), another great way to supplement your omegas is with Flax Oil. I like to put a tablespoon of this Nature’s Way EFAGold in my protein shakes every other day. The days I don’t use flax oil, I’m using coconut oil, which is basically a cure all for everything, but that’s an article for another day. Nature’s Way EFAGold contains:

57% Omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)

17% Omega-9 oleic acid (OA)

15% Omega-6 linoleic acid (LA)

Nature's Way Organic Flax Oil 57% Omega-3

 

Glucosamine Chondroitin VS Collagen. Glucosamine chondroirin is a supplement that you can take if you tend to have joint issues, especially while training.

Glucosamine. Glucosamine is a naturally occurring chemical found throughout the human body, including in the fluids surrounding joints.

Chondroitin. Chondroitin is another naturally occurring chemical, found in cartilage around joints in the body.

A lot of people have reported stomach issues when supplementing with glucosamine & chondroitin mainly because most of the time these supplements are derived from sulfates. For this reason and many other reasons, I usually suggest Collagen Types 1 & 3 in place of glucosamine & chondroitin. I believe collagen to be a better supplement for this purpose because it also covers many other purposes. It’s not only good for the joints and bones, but also your hair, skin and nails. Collagen is a complex structural protein that maintains strength and flexibility throughout the body. As we age, collagen depletion can lead to common signs of aging in the skin, hair, nails, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones. I really like this Super Collagen +C which contains clinically studied BioActive NeoCell Collagen which supports healthy collagen formation throughout the body. Using NeoCell’s technologically advanced hydrolyzation process, large collagen molecules are enzymatically hydrolyzed into small peptides that are both bioavailable and bioactive in the body. NeoCell Collagen has been shown to increase skin hydration by an average of 21% and up to 50%, with 92% of test subjects experiencing increased skin hydration, and 60% experiencing firmer, softer skin. The serving size is a bit large at 6 capsules per day, so I break this up by taking 3 in the morning and 3 at night. NeoCell also makes a powder version of this that can be put directly into a protein shake.

NeoCell Super Collagen + C™

 

Protein with BCAA’s. Supplementing with protein is SUPER important if you’re training or trying to build muscle. (Yes, even lean muscle) Whey Protein Isolates (WPIs) are the purest form of whey protein that currently exists. You should consume approximately 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight through a combination of high-protein foods and protein supplements. If you’re wondering what foods are high in protein, check out my “Food” tab at the top of the page for information and recipes. For the best results, consume your daily protein over several small meals, spread evenly throughout the day. Take a look at your protein label to make sure you are getting all of your BCAA’S (Branched Chain Amino Acids). These are CRUCIAL for muscle growth and recovery. You can buy your BCAA’s separate from your protein, but most good protein powders will have them included.

amino-acid-chain

As a protein supplement, I really like Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard, which has 24 Grams Protein and 5.5 Grams of BCAA’s per serving. If you’re looking for a protein that is veggie based instead of dairy based, another favorite of mine is the Vega Sport Brand, which has 30g Complete Protein and 6 Grams BCAA’s per serving and is more easily digestible for the body. This one is more expensive than the Whey alternative, but I really do believe you get what you pay for here. If whey protein powder tends to hurt your stomach, definitely try the Vega option.

Vega Sport Protein Powder Vanilla

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Double Rich Chocolate

 

Digestive Enzymes. Enzyme deficiencies may result from a combination of age, diet and lifestyle. These deficiencies can lead to a variety of digestive discomforts, including occasional gas, bloating indigestion and irregularity. A good digestive enzyme helps the body break down carbohydrates, fats, fiber and protein and converts food into energy. Digestive well-being improves concentration and increases vitality. I like Digest Gold for individuals seeking a high-potency enzyme formula.

Enzymedica Digest Gold™ with ATPro™

As a disclaimer, you should always consult your physician and be alert to the possibility of unexpected side effects when taking a new product. Supplements are rare to cause serious side effects since whatever your body doesn’t need, it will pass through as waste. They are most likely to cause side effects when people take them instead of prescribed medicines, or when you take too many supplements in combination. Dietary supplements can also interact with certain prescription drugs in ways that might cause problems. Here are just a few examples:

  • Vitamin K can reduce the ability of the blood thinner Coumadin to prevent blood from clotting.
  • St. John’s wort can speed the breakdown of many drugs (including antidepressants and birth control pills) and thereby reduce these drugs’ effectiveness.
  • Antioxidant supplements, like vitamins C and E, might reduce the effectiveness of some types of cancer chemotherapy.

Be cautious about taking dietary supplements if you are pregnant or nursing. Also, be careful about giving them (beyond a basic multivitamin/mineral product) to a child. Most dietary supplements have not been well tested for safety in pregnant women, nursing mothers, or children.

So there you have it, a pretty good starter pack of daily supplements. For more information or questions, feel free to drop me a line here, on Facebook, or Instagram. Subscribe for more articles and videos on health, fitness, and overall wellness.

How To Expand Your Consciousness Past Your Physical Experience

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Hey HFF viewers!! I know I haven’t posted in a while. Okay, a LONG while. About a year to be exact. I’ve been working on some really exciting things to share with you that are coming very soon! The thing I’m most excited about is that I have worked up 2- eight week fitness plans to share with ya’ll that will be available for purchase right here on healthyfitfabguide.com! Yayyy!

In the meantime, I wanted to take a quick minute to talk about something that we haven’t talked about much, but that I believe has the utmost importance when it comes to our degree of wellness. Now, before we dig into this, I’m asking you to have an open mind. I know that for a lot of people, as soon as the word “meditation” comes up, your mind automatically goes to a place of weird, tree-hugger, spiritual guru nonsense… But listen, I’m telling you there is really something to this.

Over the last few years, I’ve really been digging deep into yoga and meditation and experimenting with various types and degrees of both. As you may know, the two often go hand-in-hand as I believe that yoga, especially “Yin” is really a stepping stone directly into a meditative state. Not only does Yoga help to stretch and strengthen your muscles and the deep connective tissues within the body, but it also helps slow your mind and align your entire being, mentally, spiritually and physically. It allows you to feel grounded, centered, secure, and connected with life and the creator of life… however you think/believe in that creator. This is not religion-specific. This is literally for everyone! The transformation that you can realize in yourself, even after a few weeks, is something truly worth trying to achieve. Less anxiety, better sleep, better relationships, less irritability, more control over your own experiences, and a deep feeling of love and connection… If that’s not something worth at least experimenting with, then you can stop reading now.

So, let’s start with meditation. What is meditation? How do you do it? Well the truth is that the answer is different for everyone. For some people, praying is meditation. Some people like to focus on a mantra, a desire, a good feeling, and empty the mind of everything else. Meditation is really just getting to know your inner self. (mind, body, spirit connection) The most important thing to realize is that meditation is a “practice”. This means that it is not something that comes easy at first, you must work at it. And the more you do, the more you realize that you’re getting better at it, and start noticing subtle changes in your life. You have to give up any thoughts of “Am I doing this right?” and just focus and be mindful of your own unique experience. The fact that there are tremendous benefits to strengthening this practice/skill/whatever you’d like to call it is impossible to ignore.  Research has shown that monks who meditate for thousands of hours alter the structure of their brains and significantly decrease emotionally reactive behavior. However, we in Western cultures are trained to think that we don’t have the time or patience for these types of practices. We don’t have much free time, and the time we have is far too precious to spend it sitting and doing nothing, right? WRONG!! The fact is, the less time and patience you think you have for it, the more you need it! Last year Harvard research found that even those who had never before meditated, saw benefits in five different regions of the brain from just 30 minutes of practice per day, over the course of eight weeks. There are different types of meditation, so it’s important to find the type that is right for you. I’ll go over some of them briefly.

  1. Mindfulness – Here, you train your mind by focusing on your breath, or on sensations in the body. The goal is to purposely pay close attention to your experience with acceptance, patience and compassion. By intentionally focusing into the moment, we train ourselves to live less on auto-pilot, be more present in our own lives, and more comfortable in our own bodies. This type of meditation helps you to increase focus and release stress. This is a meditation you can even do while doing other things like walking or commuting. Although it is best done sitting in a comfortable, quiet place where it is easier to focus.
  2. Loving Kindness – This one’s pretty simple. It’s all about surrounding yourself with love. Connecting to the infinite loving power, or God if you so choose, and sending good thoughts, care, kindness, and love out to the universe and others. You start by focusing your attention on your chest area or “heart chakra”. As you focus on your inhales and exhales, you can imagine this area expanding and sending out love. Mantras such as “I am loved”, ” I am happy”, “I am grateful”, “I am safe” or “I am surrounded by love every day” can help this process. This type of meditation can decrease self-criticism, release emotional tension and blocks, and reduce risks for tension-related health issues like migraines. Also, the more love and gratitude you send out into the universe, the more love and things to be grateful for come back to you like a boomerang. BOOM! Who couldn’t use a little more of that?
  3. Moving – If you really cannot fathom sitting still for 20-30 minutes, then there are also physical practices such as yoga, tai chi, and qigong, which involve mindfulness, breath work, and movement. If you’re not sure where to start, you can sign up for a yoga or tai chi class. Or, if you’re still shy of doing these with other people present, just try searching YouTube for videos you can do at home. In any of these physical practices, you link breath to movement, which encourages a mind-body connection and focuses your attention on the present moment, which is the ultimate goal of all meditation.

I’ve found that a combination of Mindfulness, Loving Kindness and Yin Yoga works best for me, but it is different for everyone. Yin is a practice that encourages slowing down and introducing the kind of stillness that can lead to the expansion of consciousness. It’s a nice counter-balance to the intense physical practice I’m incorporating into my daily routine. When we do high-intensity workouts, we’re activating the sympathetic nervous system, which if not countered, can lead to anxiety, anger, aggression and competitiveness. Yin works to activate our parasympathetic nervous system which switches our body into a “rest and digest” mode, so that we don’t get stuck in that “go go go” mode which can be stressful and exhausting. Yin not only counter-balances the intense workouts we’re incorporating in our lives, but releases emotions and tensions that we are holding deep within our body and mind. It changes the patterns we’ve created in our body from feeling constricted, to feeling free. It releases our entire being in layers from physical muscles and organs, to emotional and spiritual blocks, allowing for an expanding of consciousness.

There is a direct connection between our physical, spiritual and emotional health. The amazing thing about these practices is that in practicing them, you are able to take the lessons you learn during your yoga/meditation and apply them more easily to your life. This allows you to slow down, be more aware and make better choices day-to-day. I will be getting more into this in future posts as I start posting yoga videos and sharing a few accounts, apps, etc. that have helped me in this journey, and will hopefully help you as well! But for now, I urge you to watch the short video below that I thought was a cool intro.

Video Here

We can’t talk about health, fitness and wellness and not dig into this critical factor. I’m really looking forward to sharing with you some of the amazing things in the works for Healthy Fit & Fab. If you haven’t subscribed yet, please click the “follow” button at the top of the right-hand banner here and do so. As always, feel free to comment, or contact me via the contact tab at the top of the site to let me know anything you are interested in discussing or may have questions about.

Til next time! 🙂

How To Survive the New Year Gym Resolutioners


Is there anything worse than being a die-hard gym “regular” showing up on a “regular” day for your “regular” workout only to realize the gym has been taken over by newbies, and there doesn’t seem to be one single machine available that you need? I know this can be frustrating, but try to remember these are people who are trying to make positive changes in their lives, and dealing with your obvious frustration isn’t making them feel any better about achieving their new fitness goals. Don’t you want to live in a world full of people who are healthier? For those of us who have been a gym rat for so long that we can’t even remember what it’s like to be one of those newbies starting out, trying to get on track with a healthier lifestyle… It is our job to be supportive and help motivate people to keep at it. But how do we keep up with our own goals when we only have one hour to work out and there aren’t any machines open!? I hear you. Here are three tips to help you survive the “resolutioners” until some of them drop out. 

1. Free Weights: The use of free-weights is a great way to still get your complete workout done, without waiting for a half-hour at a time for people to get off the machine you need. You can work every muscle group you need to, and all you need is a couple dumbbells and a corner of the room big enough for you to lunge out in either direction. Don’t believe me? I’ve been doing total body workouts with free weights for years, and the longer I’ve been doing it, the more new and innovative ways I am able to come up with to work different muscle groups. Flys, presses, curls, squats, lunges, deadlifts, and the list goes on! If you want to get your heart rate up even more, try incorporating compound movements into your exercises. If your weight is heavy enough, you are able to get the same (and sometimes better) results than with machines.

2. Camp Out: No, I don’t mean sit down on a bench and sulk or stare down the person who jumped on your machine until they make eye contact and you can give them the, “That’s right I’m waiting” look. No need to be rude. What I mean by camping out is this: There are several machines at the gym where you can get a total body workout by using it in different ways. If you are patient and wait for these to open up, you can camp out on them until you have completed your entire workout. But be warned, you may have to deal with the same, “That’s right I’m waiting” looks from others. Here are two of my favorite examples:

A. The Cable Cross Machine: I LOVE LOVE LOVE this machine. You can use the cables to do chest pressses, bicep curls, tricep presses, lateral shoulder raises, cable squats, assisted one-legged squats, butt kickbacks, lunge step-outs, cable ab crunches, etc. There are even ways to do the same muscle group in various ways on this machine. 


B. The Assisted Chin-Up Machine: Chin-ups in and of themselves work a variety of muscles. If you alternate your hand position, you are getting even more of a variety. On this machine, you can also do tricep dips, and work your legs and butt by doing push-downs. To work your abs, you can put the leg part down and turn around to do hanging crunches. Work all four of these into Supersets and you’ve got most of your workout done already. 


These are only a couple examples, but you are a pro gym-rat by now right? Just think creatively and you can figure out how to use the machines in different ways than what the sticker shows. 

3. Home Workouts: The last technique I will talk about when it comes to surviving the resolutioners appeals to some more than others. Home workouts are a fantastic way to fit an entire workout into a tight schedule without panicking because the gym is packed. If you’ve been working out for a while, you probably have a lot of what you need already. A pair of dumbbells, a resistance band, maybe a stability ball… If you don’t, these things are not expensive and can be found at WalMart. Not difficult to obtain. You know what you need to work on. You can achieve most of what you need to do by using these three items. If you’re not sure how, Google is your best friend, and YouTube is a close second. If you want a more tailored workout and need it quickly, that’s what I’m here for. You can contact me and we will figure out what you need together. 

All things considered, the bottom line is that it’s already half-way through January and sadly, most of these people will drop off. Hang in there and you will have your gym back very soon. 

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