Aug 18, 2004 Volume 1 No. 15

Invest in yourself!!!

Our bodies were built to achieve great tasks some of which we'll witness as the Olympics kick off this week in Athens. However, you only get as much out as you put in -- imagine if the athletes decided not to train for their events or did not mentally practice? So let's use the Olympics as inspiration to take time to nurture our bodies with exercise, healthy balanced eating and lots of positive thinking!!!

Cathy Morenzie

"The manner in which one endures what must be endured is more important than the thing that must be endured."

~ Dean Gooderham Acheson

We fall short of our goals and dreams, not because they are unattainable, but because we lose perspective. Instead of focusing on developing the right attitude and mental tenacity to complete the task, we spend countless hours anguishing over how difficult it is. At the times when we are closest to breakthrough and victory we tend to throw in the towel and give in to the suggestion that defeat is imminent. I beg to differ – I know that we can all achieve those goals that we have set for ourselves if we make up our minds to place more emphasis on the long-term goal than the temporary obstacles. Understand and accept that challenges will arise in any venture that we undertake – they are inescapable. You must decide to take on those challenges and conquer them for it's the development of a right mental attitude, strength of character and the ability to endure that separates the champions from all the others in the race. I challenge you to go all the way for no prize is given to those who fail to complete the race – stick in there and don't give up!

~ Nadia C. Thomas


Weight Training for Beginners

Hopefully we've managed to convince you that weight training is critical for all fitness programs. But,, where do you start? If we're already preaching to the converted, you'll have to wait until next week to see how to continue seeing results after training for many years.

Prior to beginning weight training, you should begin by warming up with some cardiovascular activity ( riding a bike or walking for 10 minutes). Beginners should choose one exercise for each muscle group, depending on the type of equipment available to you. I have provided some options for both home and gym workouts. The example below also lists the order of exercises – starting with larger muscle groups and progressing to smaller. Choose a weight heavy enough that you can barely complete 15 repetitions. In weight training, more repetitions are not better, so if you can complete a lot more than this, increase the weight. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that you train each muscle 2-3 times per week. Rest between 30 seconds to 1 minute between sets and allow at least 24 hours rest between workouts involving the same muscles. If you are experiencing muscle soreness, allow more time to rest. Some muscle soreness is normal but be sure to stretch after each exercise to minimize the discomfort.

For your beginner workout, do at least one of the following exercises for each muscle group:

  • Chest: bench press, chest press machine, pec deck machine At home: push ups , chest press with free weights
  • Back: one-armed row, seated row machine, back extensions, lat pulldowns At home: one-arm row (free-weights)
  • Shoulders: overhead press, lateral raise, front raise, military press
  • Biceps: bicep curls, hammer curls, concentration curls, alternating dumbbell curls
  • Triceps: tricep extensions, dips, kickbacks, overhead extensions
  • Quadriceps: leg extension and leg press machines At home: lunges, squats
  • Hamstrings:leg curl machine At home: lunges, deadlifts
  • Calves: calf raises,
  • Abs: crunches, reverse crunches, oblique twists, Pilates,

Next week we will look at how you can continue to see improvements in your strength even if you've been training for years.


I'm Not in the Mood

Food may seem an unlikely way to improve your mental health, yet many foods can have a profound impact on your emotional state. Refined sugar tops the list as one of the foods that can adversely affect our health. It has been said that it is as addictive as a narcotic! If you don’t believe this, try to go one day without it..

Just look at a few symptoms linked to consuming too much refined sugar:

Irritability, manic-depressive tendencies, chronic or frequent bouts of depression, difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness or absentmindedness, lack of motivation, increasing undependability, loss of enthusiasm for plans and projects, inconsistency in thoughts and actions, situational personality changes, irrational thoughts and emotional outbursts (Sugar Blues by William Duffy)

Refined sugars are found in many of the foods we love to eat such as cakes, cookies and sodas.. Even if you don't have a sweet tooth like me, did you know that a tablespoon of ketchup contains a full teaspoon of sugar? Foods like breads, soups, cereals, cured meats, lunch meat, salad dressings, spaghetti sauce, crackers, mayonnaise, peanut butter, pickles, canned fruits and vegetables, tomato juice, and a host of other products all contain sugar.

While these substances may temporarily cause you to feel relaxed or give you a boost of energy, they can also have the opposite effect, triggering or exacerbating a depressive mood. We can accept the mood-altering effects of alcohol but eating refined foods is harder to accept as a mood buster. Look out for sugar in all its forms, sucrose, fructose, glucose, maltose, and lactose, to name just a few. While we don't suggest you give up sugary foods entirely, cutting back on your intake can help considerably to prevent depressive episodes.

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