Should you go to the gym today?

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Something I’ve heard numerous times as a personal trainer is “Should I go to the gym today?” Most of the time, the answer is a resounding “YES!” The grind includes the whole week, after all! But there are always exceptions to the rules, and there are times even I might say “consider staying home today.”

Here’s a few things to think about if you’re considering whether to show up to the gym, or whether you need to stay home for the day:

Do show up if you have never been to the gym before – Look, I get it. You don’t know where to start. You don’t understand what half the machines do. And worst of all, what will the other people there think?

Let me reveal something to you that many people don’t think about. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno, and even Brian Stecker had a first day working out. And they likely had no idea what they were doing at first. Everyone has to learn how to properly curl a dumbbell, how to do lunges, even how to do a push up correctly.

There’s no such thing as a dumb question. That’s what personal trainers at Boomer Fitness are here for, after all! We want you to succeed, and the first step in making that change in your life is asking “How do I do it?”

Do show up if you’re tired – It was a long day, and you have been stuck at work for eight hours. You just got home, and you know that as soon as you sit down on the sofa, you likely won’t be getting back up until it’s time for bed.

Wait! Don’t sit down. Get your gym clothes and get ready for the gym. Yes, I know you’re tired, and I know it was a long day. It might even be the last thing you want to do right now. But that’s the time you need this workout the most! The hardest part about going to the gym is getting out your front door. Once you’re at the gym, it’s a piece of cake! You’re here, you might as well make yourself busy. There will never be a workout that you regret doing.

Do show up if you’re sore – If you wake up and you’re sore from a prior workout, thats a good thing. Believe it or not, thats your body telling you that you’re making progress on your muscles. Instead of taking the time off, stretch before you start your time at the gym. You will notice that once you’re in the zone, you won’t feel as sore anymore.

Don’t come if you’re sore – There’s the good kind of sore, and there’s the bad kind of sore. That might seem contradictory, but there is a huge difference. Check out my blog post on the matter, and be sure to ask me or one of the personal trainers here about what the difference is. If you’re feeling the bad kind of sore, then do your body a favor: sit this one out for now.

Don’t come if you’re sick – I admire your dedication, I really do. Powering through your cold might seem like the right thing to do. But germs have a funny way of sharing themselves with your friends, especially if a location where you’re going to be exerting yourself.

Do yourself and your fellow gym goers a favor: keep your germs to yourself! Take the time that your sick to focus your ability on something you can do in your home. Do some stretches, or plan your nutrition for the week. Besides, the next time you come in, you will be 100% ready for the days challenge.

Fitness is about pushing yourself, even when heading to the gym is the last thing you want to do at this moment. If you’re tired, a little sore, or have never been to the gym before, then lets get started! But if you’re pushing yourself too far, or your body just isn’t up to it, there’s no shame in waiting until you’re physically up to the task.

Fun: The forgotten aspect of Fitness

My folks staying young!
My folks staying young!

Once upon a time, the word “recess” used to inspire anticipation. We looked forward to playing tag, or being the first to the swing set, or grabbing the football and teaming up with your friends against the other dreaded 5th graders.

As a kid, spending time out on the playground wasn’t dreamed of as punishment – it was something to look forward to, something to be enjoyed! Those 30 minutes of freedom outside of the classroom were sometimes the best part of gradeschool.

Now when we think about running across a field or swinging on a jungle gym, many think  its a sport for a younger generation. It’s something your kids do, or even your grand kids, but certainly not you. I’ll watch from here, you go have fun. I’ll get my workout at the gym later.

What happened? When did fitness stop being fun?

Something that always gets pushed to the wayside of fitness it the importance of having a good time. Yes, it’s difficult. Yes, you will break a sweat when doing it. But going to the gym shouldn’t be something that you dread. It should be something you look forward to. Otherwise, what is going to bring you back to the gym on those days that you can’t find any other motivation?

I have a mission for you this week. Spend one hour and do something that you enjoy, but haven’t made time to do recently. Maybe it’s riding your bike down at Fishermans Wharf. Maybe it’s shooting some hoops with your kids or some friends at the office. Maybe it’s as simple as getting on a swing, like my parents! The important thing is to get outside and enjoy doing something active that you don’t normally do. Riding your bike or jumping on the swings will still give you a workout, even if it might not feel like it at the time.

That’s one of the reasons I have put together these 21 day boot camps you might be participating in. Yes, it’s a workout, and yes, we are working toward results. It’s uncomfortable at times, and extremely difficult to get the results we want. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun as we do it!

Don’t make your fitness something to dread. Have fun with it. Enjoy it! Do that, and you may find your schedule has more time for fitness.

When you’re ready to make the change and have fun doing it, email me about getting started on your 21 day plan. We will get you signed up and ready to go!

Natural vs Unnatural Sugars

iStock_000012651702XSmallLast Tuesday, I wrote a bit about sugar and the dangers of consuming too much. Many of us are eating sugar without even knowing it, with many condiments and processed foods smuggling sugar into our diets.

There is such a thing as too much sugar, but does that mean you can cut them from your diet altogether? Well, not exactly. Carbohydrates, necessary to keeping your body energized, is a sugar! Give up carbs altogether, and you won’t have any energy to get through the day.

Now, you might be thinking I’m contradicting myself. How can I tell you to cut sugar from you diet, but then tell you that sugars like carbs are a necessity of life? There is a distinction between necessary sugars and excessive sugars, and it’s as simple as looking at the source.

High Fructose Corn Syrup

The biggest culprit in excessive sugar consumption is high fructose corn syrup, or HFCS. HFCS is made primarily of corn, and is created when corn syrup undergoes a conversion process, changing some of its glucose to fructose. Because of the ease of processing, HFCS is used as a supplement in many processed foods for sweetness. You can find it in most sodas, processed desserts like Twinkies, and even in places you wouldn’t expect like energy bars or cereal.

There has recently been a lot of conflicting information regarding HFCS. Many sources will tell you that there are no dangers in HFCS, while others will tell you that its a poisonous bile you should avoid at all costs. As commonplace as it is, it’s hard to escape HFCS. But there are always alternatives to unnatural sources of sugar.

Natural Sugars 

Of course, sugar isn’t an unnatural product altogether. Many healthy foods, like fruits for example, naturally contain sugars. A single red delicious apple will naturally contain approximately 23 grams of sugar, and you will seldom hear a doctor telling you to stop eating fruits.

As I said before, carbohydrate sugars have a very important part in our lives, and it would be unhealthy to block out these energy sources completely. How can we get through our fitness regimen if our body doesn’t have the energy to do it?

I have a quick tip I tell some of my clients who are struggling with this: If you’re considering a food, look at the nutritional information on the back. If sugar comes up in the first few lines, put the box down and find something else to eat. If High Fructose Corn Syrup shows up, find something else to eat. If you see words that you have to sound out in your head, put the box down.

The ingredient sugar is not deadly, but sugar in high quantity is. As we make changes in our lives, especially in our diet, it is important to be aware of what we are fueling ourselves with. Trust me, I know that making the change from processed foods packed full of sugar will be difficult, but I also know it will be worth the change.

Be sure to ask any of the personal trainers at Boomer Fitness about how you can make a healthy change in your diet. And stay up to date on my blog for more details to come!

Sugar, the Unknown Danger Hiding in your Food

iStock_000016293067XSmallI don’t know about you, but during my childhood, one of my favorite memories was waking up exceedingly early on Saturday Mornings. I would head downstairs, turn on Saturday Morning Cartoons, and grab a huge bowl of Frosted Flakes, doused with extra sugar from the cabinet. It was a childhood tradition, and you could never have too much sugar.

Today, I shudder to think about how much sugar kids are putting through their bodies whether their parents know about it or not. With the amount of sugar that can be found in every day foods anymore, adding even more is beyond excessive.

I won’t beat around the bush on this one: whether you are a kid watching cartoons early in the morning or just adding some sugar to your morning coffee, high levels of sugar in anyone’s diet is deadly. (When I was proof reading this, a client of mine thought claiming excessive sugar consumption is deadly was going too far, but I disagree. I want to make sure you know the truth about what is in your food, and I have no intention of sugar coating the truth for you… pun intended) Excess consumption of sugar is known to be directly linked to heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes, all of which a big portion of our population is struggling with right now.

This problem isn’t just something we can ignore and hope will go away, either. Today, Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the US, and it’s only estimated to get worse. The World Health Organization estimates that the total deaths caused by diabetes will increase by 50% in the next 10 years. in 2012, the American Diabetes Association discovered that just under 10% of the US population had a form of diabetes.

You may be thinking “Ok Brian, I get it. Sugar is bad, but I cut soda out of my diet years ago. I don’t have ice cream in the house, and I treat myself to one candy bar when Halloween comes around. I’m doing enough to cut sugar out of my diet, right?

Unfortunately, you likely have more sugar in your diet than you think. Adding a little sugar from the packets on the restaurant table is one thing, but many processed foods include sugar as an additive already. You are likely consuming sugar without even knowing it’s in the food you’re eating. Take a look at some of the worst offenders of sugar smuggling that could be in your refrigerator right now:

Ketchup – Generic brands of ketchup are well known for smuggling sugar in the form of high fructose corn syrup. One tablespoon of ketchup can have as much a 3.7 grams of it packed inside, which can equate to about a sugar cubes worth of sweetness.

Peanut Butter – Another offender of the high fructose corn syrup smuggling is your typical name brand peanut butter. In two tablespoons, you will find 3 grams of sugar, or just under one sugar cube.

Beef Jerky – How much can you really jam into a piece of dried meat? Turns out quite a lot more than you might have thought. Once piece of jerky, averaged at just under 1 ounce, can have as much as 1.8 grams of sugar. More if it’s a flavored brand of jerky.

Name Brand Iced Tea – Various brands of Iced Tea try to frame themselves as a healthier alternative to soda or other sugary drinks. But one 24 ounce can of generic Iced Tea can hold as much as 72 grams of sugar! That’s 18 cubes of sugar packed into a single drink.

Name Brand Light Yogurt – Even yogurt, which is labelled as a healthy way to start the day and snack on, contains up to 14 grams of sugar. Non “light” versions of the same yogurt can have even more, up to 27 grams.

Unsweetened Diet Cereal – This one almost makes me laugh. After all, unsweetened diet cereal appears to be one of the blandest things you can include in your diet, right? It looks as simple as baked corn flakes! How can they possibly cram sugar into that? Before you grab the non-frosted corn flakes off the store shelves, be sure to take a look at the nutritional facts. A typical generic brand of dietary cereal will have anywhere between 3 to 4 grams of sugar per cup. Just because it’s not labelled as “frosted” doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

Unfortunately, added sugar is found in almost all packaged foods. I have a difficult time going into a local grocery store and finding foods that haven’t had sugar added for flavor. But there are ways of checking if sugar has been added, and even foods that don’t have any additives. This Thursday, check back in and I’ll tell you what to look for and how to avoid the additive sugars you can live without.

Good Supplements – Filling in the Gaps

iStock_000004424358XSmallLast Tuesday, I wrote a bit about the dangers of bad supplements, and how they can do a lot more damage than good. Things like carbohydrate blockers, unregulated testosterone boosters, and too many vitamins can cause harm to the way your body functions. Many don’t measure up to the outrageous claims made on late night tv commercials.

Many supplements can do damage, but that doesn’t mean all supplements deserve a bad rap. In fact, many supplements on the market can do a lot of good, depending on what your body needs and your diet might be lacking.

There are plenty of supplements in the market that are perfectly healthy, when taken in moderation and with the full knowledge of what you’re putting in your body. I could write a book about all the good supplements out there, but lets take a brief look at some of the well known supplements out there:

Whey Protein – When I bring up protein mixes, a lot of people initially think I’m trying to turn them into a muscle head or a body builder. Having extra protein in your diet isn’t going to automatically give you bulging muscles, but what it can do is help preserve your muscles after exercising.

Whey Protein is a great source of Branch Chain Amino Acids, or BCAAs. These proteins reduce the amount of protein breakdown in your muscles. This means your muscles are going to recover faster after a workout, and promote muscle growth.

There are many, many different types of whey protein out on the market. There are even many types of protein mixtures other than whey you can use. I typically do not pay attention to the label as much as I do the nutritional information. Since it’s a protein mixture, I tend to choose mixtures that are higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates.

Vitamin C – This particular vitamin has many uses throughout your body. From fighting colds to reducing pollutants, curing infections to promoting better blood flow, Vitamin C goes a long way to promoting healthy bodily function.

So how much is enough Vitamin C? As I wrote before, having too many vitamins can be a bad thing, but one to three grams of Vitamin C per day can go a long way toward promoting healthy body functions.

Green leafy vegetables and fruits like oranges and kiwis are very high in Vitamin C, and are a great natural source of the vitamin.

Fish Oil – This is a generalized supplement, but fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, which promotes healthy body function when paired with omega-6 acids. Because the common diet of red meats and eggs contain many omega-6 acids but not as many omega-3s, having a healthy boost of omega-3 acids can reduce the risk of diabetes, reduce plaque buildup in the arteries, and even reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Again, supplements should not be taken in excess, as fish oil can also raise levels of cholesterol. But when taken in moderation, the omega-3s found in this oil can be very beneficial.

Of course, the big question comes to mind: do I need to take these supplements? And the answer is of course not! Supplements do nothing but add nutrients to your body that you might not normally get in your everyday diet. There are no miracle cures that will automatically give you the body of Wonderwoman. But what supplements can do is fill in a few gaps you might have in your every day diet. They won’t do the hard work for you, but it might give you a little extra help.

No matter what though, make sure you talk to your doctor before you start taking supplements of any kind. And be sure to talk to me about any supplements you might be considering! I am happy to share my two cents on any and all supplements out there.

Bad Supplements – Causing More Problems Than Solutions.

iStock_000005673431XSmallHave you ever seen those late night TV ads that tell you “Lose weight quickly with this easy pill”? They always have the animated shot of fat disappearing, the bogus infographics, and the customer reaction shots telling you that this pill works. Some ads even get someone dressed as a doctor on the screen telling you they recommend it for all of their patients. And it’s for the low low low cost of four payments of $29.99!

What a deal, right?

I cannot help but laugh when I see these commercials, but it worries me that so many people take these commercials for truth. People want to lose weight, but they don’t think they are capable of the hard work that is involved. Other people not only want to lose weight, but gain tons of muscle mass in a short amount of time. They want to believe in the miracle pill that can solve all of their problems.

If you know me, you know what I’m going to say next: there are no short cuts to fitness. While we might be able to cut corners in other parts of our lives, you get exactly what you put in to your personal fitness regime.

Some body builders use steroids and testosterone boosters to help themselves build muscle mass, but please do not confuse that with fitness. That’s unnatural body building, and while they might look good on the surface, there are always side effects.

Take a look at some of the worst offenders in the world of bad supplements that I have seen:

Unregulated Carbohydrate Blockers – Carb Blockers keeps Amylase, a natural chemical that helps your body digest carbs, from doing its job. As a result, carbs will pass through your body without being absorbed. While prescription carbohydrate blockers are safe and effective at their job, unregulated carb blockers sometimes have unlisted ingredients that can cause harm to your body. On top of that, you don’t necessarily want your body to stop absorbing carbs, since carbohydrates are a natural form of energy your body needs.

Testosterone Boosters – These boosters can be safe when prescribed by a doctor, but I have seen many “miracle pills” out there that claim they can boost your testosterone levels, giving you more energy, zeal, and muscle mass. In the end, these pills are more dangerous than they are helpful. Testosterone boosters can raise blood pressure, elevate blood cell counts leading to blood clots, and even liver damage.

Believe it or not, many doctors posit that simple lifestyle changes, like regular visits to the gym and a change in diet, can give you the kind of boost that testosterone treatment claim to give you.

Too Many Vitamins – Many of us take a multivitamin pill every day. After all, we want to get a natural amount of vitamins in our system, right? It turns out, there is truth to the idea of too much of a good thing. Getting an overdose of vitamin C, for example, could lead to nausea, stomach cramps, and diarrhea. Having too many vitamins can be just as bad as not getting enough.

Even if you’re taking regular doses of vitamins, it’s important to be aware that many multivitamins on the market include fillers that make the pill more appealing. This can include hydrogenated oils, artifical colors, and other fillers that are unhealthy at high levels. Make sure you check what’s really in your multivitamin before you take them.

Please, before you do anything else, talk to your doctor about using these “as seen on TV” drugs and miracle cures. These scams are worse than sugar pills; they will change your body chemistry and lead to more problems than solutions.

Aches and Pains – What to look out for

iStock_000009735766XSmallThis last Tuesday, I wrote a bit about why you get aches and pains after a hard day at the gym. If you worked out the right way, those aches and pains are a good thing! It’s the way  your body tells you that you exerted yourself more than you usually do, and your muscles will start to show results.

But sometimes, our body aches for the wrong reasons, and those aches and pains might not be telling you such good things. But how can we tell a good ache from a bad ache?

There are many, many bad aches and pains you need to look out for. Many more than can be outlined in a single blog. But I have three big sources of aches and pains that you need to look out for when going to the gym, and are completely preventable.

Pain from Bad Posture

Bad posture is something I have seen throughout gyms, even among professional bodybuilders. We might start off a workout session with the best form possible. But by the end of the session, you might be tempted to lift with your back, instead of your legs.

As we get tired, our body naturally tries to take shortcuts to make it easier for ourselves. Like I have said before, think about your body as a river. Instead of moving the boulder, a river will simply flow around it.

Thats why when your arms start to get tired from doing push-ups, you might start arching your back. Your body isn’t trying to hurt you – it just doesn’t want to change.

When I’m working with a client and I see that their posture starts to slack, I stop that particular workout set immediately. Working out with bad posture is asking for injury, and can be extremely damaging if done over long periods of time. Instead of pushing yourself toward injury, it’s best to stop the exercise and move on to another set of muscles.

Localized Pain

If you’re working out correctly, you’re going to feel a burn across a wide spectrum of muscles in your body. Every muscle is interconnected and work together to give you your range of motion. So if you’re doing bench presses, you’re going to feel a burn in your arms and your chest.

Thats why you should not ignore aches that are in a localized, specific part of your body. For example, if your knees really seem to ache after doing squats, you might need to readjust how you perform the exercise.

If you are experiencing pain like this during a workout, stop immediately! You are here to work out your body, not hurt your body. We will readjust your posture, or we will find other ways to work out that set of muscles.

Connected Aches

Dedication is great, but do not allow yourself to ignore an injury when you go to the gym. Working out on an injured ankle will not only make the ankle worse; you’re going to start feeling pain in your knees, thighs, lower back, and beyond.

Because your muscles are interconnected, pain in one part of your body is going to radiate outwards to other parts of your body. Think about it this way: If you injure your big toe, you might think it’s no big deal. It’s just a toe, right?

But when you spend some time on a treadmill, you’re going to walk on your foot a bit differently to avoid putting pressure on your toe. That’s going to cause your ankle to roll a bit more, which will add some more pressure to your knee. After 10 minutes, that slight issue of a stubbed toe isn’t going to be that slight any longer.

Don’t ignore pain. Recognize it, and treat it before it can get worse. Missing one day at the gym and resting an injury is better than spending 2 bad days at the gym and making it worse.

Feeling the burn at the gym is great, but only if it’s the right kind of burn. Make sure you recognize the difference between good aches which are caused by a good workout, and bad aches which are caused by other problems. Make sure you talk to our team of personal trainers so you know how to recognize the difference.

Aches and Pains – What do they mean?

10394567_822127597835919_2048834069246516979_nIf you managed to come to our Charity Boot Camp this last weekend, you might notice that you’re a little more sore than usual. Getting out of bed might seem like more of a chore, the stairs seem a little steeper than usual, or it might seem a little more difficult to raise your arm to brush your teeth. When you’re sore, you suddenly realize how many muscles you use in your daily life.

So why do we get sore? It’s happened our whole lives, but it might seem like the older we get, the less it takes for our muscles to ache after a workout. Especially after we do a completely new set of exercises at the gym. Our arms ache, our legs ache, our shoulders ache… What is our body trying to tell us?

Even though it might not seem like it, sore muscles are telling us that we are making progress in our personal fitness. Take a look at some of the science behind your Aches and Pains:

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

Those aches and pains you feel after a workout is referred to by physiologists as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, and is completely normal for anyone who does strenuous activity. From those just starting their workout regimen to body builders who spend hours lifting weights, everybody feels sore at some point after a workout.

When you’re exercising, your putting your muscles through strenuous activity they haven’t had to endure before. Your muscles are going through some minor stress, which causes some microscopic tears to occur. Exercise physiologists believe these tears, paired with the minor inflammation that accompanies it, cause the minor aches you feel.

But despite how you feel when you wake up and struggle to get out of bed the next morning, these pains are actually a good thing! As your muscles endure your exercise regimen, they adjust to better accommodate your strenuous fitness activity. The next time you do deadlifts, squats, lunges, or bicep curls, you may notice you ache a little bit less… at least until you increase the resistance you’re using.

How do I ease these aches?

One thing I always recommend to my clients is stretch, stretch, stretch! Stretching your muscles better prepares them for strenuous activity, lessening the sudden shock of jumping off the couch and into your gym shoes. It also allows your muscles to limber up, providing less of a chance for injury.

Once you’re done working out, be sure to spend some extra time doing some easier, aerobic activity. This allows your muscles to cool down, again lessening the sudden shock of strenuous movement to less strenuous activity.

Another way to ease your sore muscles is to pace yourself while you work out. Spend one day doing a solid workout, pushing yourself to the limit. Maybe take part in on of our charity Boot Camps! But after pushing your limits, spend the next day or two working on something less strenuous, such as cardio. Your muscles need time to recover from the activity you just put them through.

Believe it or not, one of the best ways of easing muscle aches is to keep on exercising. In order to get the proper nutrients into your muscles, such as Vitamin C or those antioxidants in those blueberries you had for breakfast, your muscles have to move. Exercising allows your muscles to get the nutrients they need to prepare for the next bout of strenuous activity you throw at them.

So instead of waiting out sore muscles on the couch, give your muscles the attention they need! And remember that despite how they might feel at the time, the good kind of aches you feel after a good workout is the feeling of progress.

Vegetables – The Neglected Section of the Food Pyramid

Senior Woman Eating Healthy SaladIf your childhood was anything like mine, there were many conversations (always one-sided) about the merits of eating your vegetables. I know I was a carnivore growing up, and anything green was always pushed to the side of the plate.

Of course, as we grow up, we grow out of our picky eating habits and start to eat much healthier than we ever thought we would as kids. But I have noticed that many vegetables still get sidelined when it comes to preparing meals.

Vegetables play a huge part in making sure you’re getting enough nutrition in each meal and we can’t afford to ignore them, especially as we get older and wiser. But it’s one thing to know that vegetables are good for you, and another thing to know why vegetables are good for you. Other than the fact your parents used to say “It’s good for you,” why should you make an extra effort to get some salad for dinner?

Take a look at some of the benefits you get by having a vegetable-rich diet:

Vitamins – Vegetables are a great source of Vitamins A and C, both of which are essential to keeping your body healthy. Vitamin A keeps your eyes and skin healthy, protecting from infection. Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron, and helps cuts and bruises heal. Vitmin A can be found in Carrots, leafy greens, and broccoli, and Vitamin C is found in parsley, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and peppers.

Folic Acid – This paticular type of acid helps your body create red blood cells in your blood stream. Pregnant women are usually encouraged to get their fair share of folic acid, but its importance doesn’t cease once you have had a child. Folic acid also helps liver and kidney functions, prevent colon and cervical cancer, and prevent stroke. Folic Acid can be found in leafy greens, okra, asparagus, mushrooms, and tomato juice.

Antioxidants – While fruits usually get credit for being high in antioxidants, vegetables also contain a lot of the chemical compound. Antioxidants help reduce oxidant stress, disease, cancerous cells, and can even help boost your immune system. Vegetables that are high in antioxidants include eggplant, spinach, onions, leeks, and oregano.

Dietary Fiber – Fiber is the uncredited hero in vegetables! Fiber does everything from helping reduce your risk of heart disease to reducing your cholesterol levels, helping your insides work correctly and even providing a sense of “fullness” so you don’t overeat. High fiber vegetables include artichokes, peas, avocados (technically a fruit, but still worth mentioning) and lima beans.

You might be thinking “I know that vegetables are healthy for me. That’s not news to me. It’s finding new ways to enjoy vegetables that challenges me,” and I understand that. Sometimes, the hardest part is finding new ways to enjoy different foods. That’s why this Thursday, I’m going to have a few recipes high in vegetable content that you can try over the weekend, and find that maybe, just maybe, your parents had the right idea when you were a kid.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Enjoying Your Vacation

iStock_000002284032XSmallLast Tuesday, I wrote a little about ways Boomer Fitness can help you stick to your fitness goals while on vacation. Even while you’re on a trip, you still have goals you want to reach, and spending a whole vacation ignoring your fitness standards is not going to be easy to make up at the gym when you come back.

When you’re on vacation, make sure you enjoy yourself! After all, it’s not every day you get to spend some time exploring the Oregon Coast. And keep in mind that while you’re travelling, you can still stick to your fitness goals by making small adjustments.

So here are a few Dos and Don’t you can remember the next time you go on a trip out of town:

DO enjoy yourself – You’re on vacation! Odds are, it’s been a long time since you were able to drop everything and enjoy yourself. So get out there and make sure you make the trip a memorable one. If you have stuck to your diet, spent a lot of time at the gym, and seen improvement, go ahead and enjoy that extra drink or dessert.

DON’T make yourself sick – Keep in mind that if you have been sticking to your diet and spending some meaningful time at the gym, you wont be doing yourself any favors if you splurge too much. Many foods you may have eaten before you started working out are going to immediately affect your body once you eat. Many of my clients will feel lethargic after enjoying some fast food for the first time after a few months of swearing off the stuff.

A happy medium I like to recommend is making plans to enjoy a nice dinner in the middle of your vacation and then the last day of your trip. That way, you can really look forward to and enjoy your meal, without going overboard.

DO take a break from the gym – As the owner of a gym, this one isn’t as painful as you might think to recommend. If you’re spending some time on vacation, don’t force yourself to go out of your way to find a gym. There are plenty of other ways to work in some exercise, and the trainers at Boomer Fitness can help you find alternatives. Besides, spending time at the gym is supposed to be an enjoyable experience.

DON’T take a break from your body – Just because you might not be headed to the gym doesn’t mean you should stop all fitness. You might be taking a break from the gym on a vacation, but your body doesn’t magically “pause” its fitness.

Instead of dropping everything for a solid week (or however long your vacation might be) talk to Boomer Fitness about how you can stay on the horse. We usually recommend a few workouts you can do as you wake up, and a few stretches you can do before you head off to bed. While it likely isn’t as intensive as a day in the gym, your body will thank you for not giving up on it for a whole week.

DO go exploring on your own power – When you’re visiting a new place on vacation, go explore it! You’re only in the area for a short period of time, so you might as well see as much as you can while you’re there. Even if you’re just spending some time away from the office, take a day and discover Portland, or take a day trip and walk up and down the Oregon coast.

DON’T sit inside – Don’t experience your vacation looking out a window, or by sitting in an easy chair all day. Go out and enjoy the outdoors! See the sights, and engage the world around you. If you’re travelling with friends, invite them to go explore with you.

Go for a hike either in the countryside or through the city. Take a bicycle tour and go see the tourist spots, or go on your own and find the hidden corners no one else finds. If you’re near some water, go jump in the water and swim a few laps. However you explore, make sure you’re actively doing it. After all, being able to do all of these activities is part of the reason we exercise. Enjoy the hard work you have been doing!

However you take your vacation, make sure you’re enjoying yourself. And when you come back ready to hit the gym again, Boomer Fitness will be here, ready and waiting to help you get back into the swing of things.