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My 6 picks for a healthier 2012

18 Dec

You have the Christmas gifts for everyone else…now it’s time to give yourself a gift. What better time than during the gift-giving season? Here are my 6 picks for a healthier 2012:

1) For those who live in areas of Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, my first pick is weekly delivery from Green Bean Delivery (if you don’t live in the delivery area, check around your area – similar services are popping up all over the country). I’ve been using Green Bean Delivery (GBD) for my groceries for over a year now. What I like about GBD is the wide selection of superior-quality local foods, from organic produce to grass-fed meats and everything healthy in between. My weekly order is delivered right to my door in temperature controlled bins. I don’t have to worry about quick produce spoilage because my veggies weren’t picked 2 weeks ago, shipped in a truck across the country and sitting on a grocery store shelf for a week prior to purchase. I get better quality from the local farmers who care about their product. AND…I’m at no risk getting one of the many unnecessary illness-producing bacteria (e.g., e-coli and salmonella) coming out of the major food manufacturing plants (e.g., Cargill). (Disclaimer – these bacteria can pop-up on local farms too, but it’s less likely that you will get e-coli or salmonella from a small local farmer – they are generally a large manufacturing facility problem.) If you absolutely can’t find a service like Green Bean, shop your local farmer’s markets and mom & pop grocery stores. You’ll find higher-quality, more environmentally-friendly, healthier choices in those places.

2) Don’t have a smartphone yet? Time to get one! It’s the only piece of technology I need. No, Steve Jobs did not leave me in the will! With the ability to play music, have endless fitness and nutrition apps in hand, built in timers, cameras and social networking – a smartphone has nearly everything you need to get fit, stay motivated and track your progress. If only smartphones came with athletic shoes…

3) Speaking of athletic shoes, a great pair of shoes is essential to fitness. One size does not fit all when it comes to the type of shoe that’s right for you. I’m can’t tell you if you should be barefoot or a thick-soled motion control shoe that keeps your foot totally restricted. You need to do the research to determine what is best for your feet – read up on the positives and negatives of each type of shoe. For example, while the rate of stress fractures with minimalist shoes is higher than normal (generally from misuse), severe motion control shoes create problems with the Achilles tendons and plantar fascia. The best research can be found in dedicated shoe stores (they will let you try out shoes for hours), exercisers who have been through the shoes choices, doctors who have your health (not their wallet) in mind and tons of expert blogs on the subject. Be open to donating your old shoes in favor of new shoes that suit your feet.

4) Put down that Self / Men’s Fitness Magazine and pick up a book (or 20) or read an expert blog surrounding in-depth detail of nutrition and fitness topics. Should you become vegetarian or eat like a caveman? Is wheat the new fat? Is [insert any number of fitness rumors] a myth? What’s the difference between P90X and CrossFit? Should you be doing a crunch or a plank for core strength? I promise you, there are a wealth of experts (chefs, biologists, doctors and alike) who write nothing but books and blogs about these and other nutrition / fitness topics. You won’t be lacking for data. Can’t find these experts? Try Twitter – they are all on there posting study after study daily. It will open your mind to new possibilities and ways of living your healthy life. Don’t just believe what Jillian or Dr. Oz tell you – go out there and educate yourself! Come on, you have shoe research to do!

5) If you don’t know how to cook – take some cooking classes. Then invest in quality cooking supplies. Did you know that non-stick cookware is linked to numerous diseases? A-ha! You would if you were doing your reading (see #4 above). Just having the basics (both cookware and cooking knowledge) gets you ready for a whole new world of eating healthy. You may never be a 5-star chef, but what you cook will taste far better than fast food (and be FAR better for your health).

6) This last one is something I truly believe in – the gift of personal or small-group training. Having someone there to teach you new ways to use your body, to encourage you to move beyond what you think you can do, who will push you to be your best. We all need that…even other trainers and fitness experts. Whether you hire a personal trainer for one-on-one sessions or join a CrossFit box, find yourself someone who will push you towards and beyond your fitness goals. You might just achieve something that you never would have imagined could be achieved. SHAMELESS PLUG – Contact me if you want to train with me, or come to the CrossFit box where I am just one of 5 super-awesome coaches. Or if my blog totally annoys you and you can’t stand me – I can provide referrals. I know several great trainers in the area.

Extra credit for those who want to geek out: Know your numbers, as in, VO2 Max/submax, body fat and resting metabolism. It’s not very expensive to have the testing done and a number of places in town will do the tests, but I want to offer another SHAMELESS PLUG for a personal recommendation: Baseline Fitness (located in Worthington, OH.). Believe it or not, they don’t pay me to recommend their business! If you have real specific goals you are working towards – weight loss, a figure competition, an Ironman event – having this knowledge isn’t a bad idea. Plus, all the info you get can be plugging into a heart rate monitor for easy tracking and training. See how your numbers look in January and perhaps June or next January. You’ll see the result of the hard work that you are putting into eating healthy and working out.

Here’s to a healthier 2012 for all of us!

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