Health and Wellness Tips 2016
Top Health and Wellness Tips from IDEA World 2016
Health tips are often featured on the news and social media, but with one piece of fitness or nutrition advice often contradicting the other (even from one day to the next) it can be hard to take any of it seriously!
That’s why I’m excited to share health and wellness advice I learned in a more reputable place: the IDEA World Fitness Conference.
The conference, which was held in Los Angeles, California this year, is considered to be the “Super Bowl of fitness.” Over 14,000 personal trainers, group fitness instructors, registered dietitians, and health coaches from more than 50 countries came out to this event to earn continuing education credits, mingle, get inspired and bring back health and fitness facts to their followers.
We learned from top peers who work in the fitness industry, but also enjoyed education and inspiration from physicians and thought leaders like Jack Canfield.
I spent four days in session at the conference and needless to say learned a LOT.
While it would be impossible to share every last nugget of wisdom from the conference in this one blog post, I did want to share some of the most important healthy lifestyle tips I learned so you can benefit from my time in LA as well.
Health and Wellness Tips from IDEA World:
- Start with sleep
Arianna Huffington is obsessed with sleep and has been touring around the world to promote her new book about it so it's starting to become more trendy to think about catching enough Z's, but we still have a long way to go!
If you've been a longtime fan of Fit Armadillo, you likely remember one reason sleep can help with your health and wellness goals: It's the time when your body burns the greatest percentage of fat (head HERE for a real throwback post on this! TIP: Skip to minute 4 in the video if you're impatient as it was recorded 2 yrs ago when life moved at a slower pace). Of course, you'll also remember that staying in the highest fat burning zone isn't as important as magazines might have us believe. What is and why is sleep important? Read on!
Why it matters:
No matter what your health and wellness goals might be, getting enough sleep will help you reach them.
Sleep for Weight Loss Goals: Getting more sleep will reduce your levels of the stress hormone cortisol that is likely responsible for your hard to beat junk food cravings.
Sleep for Reducing High Blood Pressure: Part of the full sleep cycle's role is lowering your blood pressure.
Sleep for Your Next BIG Fitness Achievement: Whether you’re an Olympic athlete or just trying to hit your next PR in a 5K, sleep can’t be missed. Multiple studies have shown marked improvements in athletic performance when sleep becomes a priority. Why is sleep such a big deal for athletes? During sleep your body produces human growth hormone which helps with the body’s anabolic (repair) process.
How to Implement this Health and Wellness Tip:
a.) Aim for 7.5-9 hours a night.
b.) Create a bedtime routine.
c.) PUT DOWN YOUR CELL PHONE! It might the reason why the time you head to bed is hours away from the time you actually fall asleep.
d.) Try napping or sleeping in on the weekends (the later as more of a final effort as aiming for 7.5-9 hrs nightly is preferred).
e.) Check out THIS article from Dr. Mike Bracko and visit his website for more ideas.
2. Fuel to Feel Fabulous
Yes, even though I own an online personal training company I'm still not telling you to move more in order to improve your health and well-being.
This is not because your fitness routine isn't an important, but because if you don't have a solid health and wellness foundation to work from, you're going to have a VERY hard time moving properly.
At the conference we reviewed the many reasons why it's hard to fuel yourself to feel fabulous.
From the fact that we're all very busy and not getting enough sleep (read: more inclined to reach for high-fat comfort foods) to the overwhelming availability of unhealthy snacks to kid's sports teams being heavily sponsored by fast food companies to snack companies hiring food scientists that make their treats irresistible it's clear: It's a tough world out there for those trying to make healthy food choices!
When you add in the fact that the media paints the picture that scientific consensus surrounding healthful eating and lifestyle practices is lacking, it can be easy to feel like even defining what a healthy plate looks like is impossible. The truth is that most healthy eating experts do agree on the basics. Below, I summarize some of the key points.
How to Fuel to Feel Fabulous:
a.) Ditch dieting for good. If you've ever been on a diet, you know they definitely don't make you feel fabulous! In fact, dieting is more likely to make you feel isolated from your friends and cranky all for results that rarely last long.
I've shared detailed information on why you should ditch diets before so I won't go on and on, but if you're new here or want a refresher, be sure to sign up for my next live workshop HERE.
b.) Eat more veggies! Aim for a variety and to have at least half of your plate full of them. This was the number one tip from every single health and wellness professional at the conference.
c.) Forget the trends. Aside from the fact that most healthy eating trends are diets, you can safely stop trying to follow the next "healthiest way to eat" guidelines when the protocol goes viral. Focus on the LBD (little black dress) of healthy eating: more veggies, lean protein, and fewer processed foods and you'll always feel fabulous.I hope you're breathing a sigh of relief, but if you're not sure you can give up your focus on eating only the health food of the moment, this clip might help:
Top two trends that kept coming up:-Probiotics: Of course, you MUST take a pill full of probiotics to be healthy, right? Mmmm not so much!Unfortunately, there was some disagreement on whether or not some probiotic-rich foods and live cultures can make it past stomach acids and have a positive impact on your health, but there was no argument on the solution-to focus on more whole unprocessed foods (yes! veggies again and not the juice or green smoothie kind-get 'em whole) and less of the rest. Doing so will help keep your current microbes happy and digestive system running more smoothly.-Protein: We were urged to STOP obsessing over protein! Personally, I've never been a big protein pusher, but I know this isn't the norm in the fitness world.Almost every supplement seller that comes through my inbox talks about how we're not eating enough protein (ironically, their supplement is also the solution!). But they, like all of the crazy products out there that have protein added (like water...REALLY!) are just trying to make money off of an irrational fear that we don't eat enough protein.The reality: Americans get more than enough protein than they need from more meat than they need to eat to get it. Yes, plants DO have protein (ask any vegan). Just another reason to enjoy them and enjoy them more often.Still not so sure about this tip or don't believe that you get get enough protein to fuel your fabulously buff body from plants alone? One of the examples that was shared was of this guy:
d.) We're ALL unique. Just because one brand of a given product or fuel source works well for you and your digestive system and helping you feel fabulous, doesn't mean it will work well for your bff or family.
This is another reason why diets and THE way to eat healthy can't really be prescribed. Instead, you need to experiment with what works for your body.
A fun way to try out this tip: Sign up for a CSA! You'll get to enjoy a variety of fresh veggies and support a local farm.
3. Create a Winning Wellness TeamDuring the conference we learned about some of the exciting steps our healthcare system is taking to move towards this ideal, but the pace is a little slower than we'd like it to be. While you might think seeing your doctor once a year is enough, having a team of people to help you on your wellness journey is even better.How to Build a Winning Wellness Team:a.) Do a Doctor Check. Make sure your primary physician knows when to refer you to other health care professionals and is not surgery or pill happy. This is not to say you shouldn't trust your medical doctor, however, don't be afraid to get a second opinion or to ask if your actions can help you avoid starting or continuing the use of a medication. Exercise is a much under-prescribed, free drug and if you need help creating a routine you might even be able to get paid support reimbursed by your health insurance with your doctor's support.
While this tip is important for anyone, it's especially important for new moms. In the many classes I took to support our mom-to-be and new mom clients I heard many unfortunate stories of post-pregnancy issues that could have been avoided with proper care.Tips for new moms:-Wait to work out post pregnancy! At least 6 weeks and up to 8 weeks if you delivered your baby via cesarean section no matter what your doctor says. If you are given earlier medical clearance, proceed with caution and only if you're working 1-on-1 with a professional who has postnatal experience. Know that your workouts will feel tame, but that's to keep you safe and enjoying exercise (versus injuring yourself or causing damage!).
-Get checked for diastasis recti. Most physicians don't know how to diagnose this and/or will advise surgery first over an exercise routine that could help. If you're not sure if you have diastasis recti, check with your physical therapist and/or a personal trainer with postnatal experience.
-Kick the Kegels. Your pelvic floor is more than just the muscles that stop the flow of urine. Your pelvic floor muscles run like a net along the bottom of the pelvis. That means that addition to engaging the muscles to stop the flow of urine, you also want to focus on squeezing your partner and stopping a "toot." Working on your pelvic floor muscles is super important for moms, but it's also important for all women. Start practicing now (no one will even know!).
-Trade crunches for planks, but start on your toes. Full crunches and even half ones place a lot of pressure on your abs and can lead to or cause diastasis recti. Planks are a way better exercise for new moms and anyone looking for a flatter tummy. Find some of our posts on planks from how to do them to how to change them up HERE.
-Stay low impact for the first 16 weeks. Avoid full burpees, jump rope, and the like for the first 16 weeks postpartum. Whatever will you do? Your personal trainer can help you modify moves likes the burpee, but your main focus should be learning to re-engage your transverse abdominal and pelvic floor muscles.b.) Figure out how to fit in fitness and make it fun. Start with the basics like walking, but don't forget to include strength training for maximum benefits.The best workout? The one you'll complete! But don't let that keep you from moving outside your comfort zone. I know I had to try both indoor cycling and yoga several times before I enjoyed either and now I don't know how to live without them!
If you're just getting back into a fitness routine, you might be tempted to do a ton of cardio, but strength training is SUPER important - yes, even for weight loss! Another format to consider is Pilates and/or yoga. Both will help you focus on building a solid foundation and destressing. Pilates is extremely beneficial for strengthening those transverse abdominal muscles. The good news? We have amazing Pilates and yoga instructors who can work with you via online sessions making it super easy to stay on track no matter where your busy life takes you!
c.) Assemble an accountability group. There's a reason why that diet program everyone says works is so powerful, but it's NOT because you're tracking points or calories. In fact, this habit makes it hard to stay on track and enjoy a healthy lifestyle after you've lost any weight on the plan (I'm sure you have friends who have "beat the system" by eating ridiculous self-made plans and struggled to readjust to life after the diet). Rather, it's the regular meetings and support that make the real difference. While working with a personal trainer is a great way to do this, not everyone can afford to work with one on a regular basis. Luckily, you can also get great results for free by creating a group comprised of your friends (as long as they are serious about supporting you!).
On a budget or find you're the first one of your inner circle to want to make a healthy lifestyle change? Rise above any dieting, juice cleanse, or detox pressure and join us for our Drop 2 Sizes Challenge this fall. You'll learn how to workout safely and effectively, participate in live workouts, and enjoy weekly meetings with a certified fitness professional and your new fit friends. Learn more HERE.
Whew! That's a lot to digest, right? Hopefully, these tips have helped take away some of the stress when it comes to learning how to enjoy a healthy lifestyle.
But, it definitely won't help you unless you take action so start today!
Which of these three main health and wellness tips could you use the most help with? Pick one and one action step to focus on this week and plan out how you will tackle it. Then share your tip and plan by leaving a comment below: