Jeffry Schneider and Fitness

Health & Fitness

Keeping your new year's resolutions posted by Jeffry Schneider

Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions

2016 has been a long, long year.  And with 2017 coming up, it’s time to think about New Year’s resolutions.  Many are getting excited about the positive changes they can make in their lives, yet like every year, New Year’s resolutions are more often than not forgotten by the end of January.  One of the most common New Year’s resolutions, as has been the case since forever, is to pick up healthier habits.  Yet how can you make sure that you can make these habits, as opposed to fleeting wishes?  Here are some tips, taken from an article I was reading this morning:

Be realistic: Many novices to fitness expect instant results, but anybody who understands fitness knows that if you look like Chris Farley, you won’t look like Arnold Schwarzenegger after a month.  Make resolutions that are practical: you won’t lose 60 lbs over six weeks, but 1-2 lbs is perfectly reasonable.

Break it down: By breaking down your long-term goals into more manageable short-term chunks is ultimately more rewarding, since it allows you celebrate every small milestone.  

Don’t overload: Piggybacking on the previous point, after you break down your resolutions make sure you’re not overloading yourself.  Let’s say you want to be healthier, take one step at a time.  Let’s say you want to get healthy: instead of going to the gym, quitting drinking, eating more salads and quitting smoking at the same time, just do one at a time.  Once you’ve got one under control, you can move onto the next one.  

Work SMART: Psychologists talk about goals that are “SMART”: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound.  Let’s say you want to “cut down on eating unhealthy meals”, that’s not SMART.  But if you say “I don’t want to eat more than one unhealthy meal a week”, then that’s SMART.  

Start a diary: Often-times, emotional triggers cause us to relapse into bad habits, even if we don’t recognize it.  If you start a diary that records your feelings, you’ll be able to identify those triggers.  Ask yourself how you’re feeling and what you need, and once you’ve done that you can find healthier alternatives.  Instead of getting a burger when you’re stressed, you can try going for a jog.  

Be simple: An action is a habit when you don’t have to think about it, so remove any excess options.  For example, let’s say you want to have a healthy breakfast every morning; don’t vary your choices too much, but rather stick to one simple recipe that you can easily replicate every day.  

Tell people: Sometimes people can get really annoying when they tell everybody about their fitness goals, but if your family and friends know about your plans, then you’ll be encouraged to keep with them to save face.  

Find a buddy: Changing bad habits on your own is tough, but if somebody else has the same goals as you, then team up with them.  It will offer an extra bit of support, and help your chances of success improve overall.

Setbacks will happen: Lapses are a natural part of the process; it’s only inevitable that you won’t always be able to resist temptation.  If that happens, don’t beat yourself up, but accept that it’s all part of the learning process. 

Treat yourself: By rewarding yourself, you can “fix” new healthy habits.  Reward yourself for your first few steps, at least until your new healthy habit becomes ingrained.  Make your rewards small and enjoyable, and they’ll serve as a great incentive.   

Staying Fit this season posted by jeffry schneider

Staying Fit This Season

Ham and eggnog.  Brisket and latkes.  And not to mention all of those cookies, cakes and kugels.  Regardless of what holiday you’re celebrating, this is the season to put on pounds.  The average person gains around 2 pounds this season, but if you aren’t careful that number could go up steadily.  Constant family obligations from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, filled with all sorts of rich foods, make staying fit a huge obstacle.  In a season of excess, here are some great tips I found online for staying fit:

Keep moving: Even if you can’t squeeze in a workout between your company holiday party and eggnog with your cousin, simply moving makes a lot of difference.  Try to avoid sitting for too long; studies show that simply getting up for about five minutes every hour goes a long way.  

Have a plan and hydrate: Start your day with a game plan and stick with it by tracking how much you’re eating.  Also stay hyrdated; the more water you drink the more full you’ll feel.  Before any big, rich meals, make sure you have two big glasses of water.

Exercise early and sleep: Before day and night parties get in the way, start your workout in the morning.  This is a great way to energize you for the rest of the day as well, and get prepared to take on the many plates that will inevitably be put in front of you.  

Be prepared: No plans ever go completely smoothly.  If you divert from your plan, that’s okay.  I read one piece of advice that said keep an “emergency supply” of healthy food with you; that seems a bit extreme, but it’s a good idea to be prepared.

Indulge reasonably: When you’re trying to be healthy this season, avoid the “all or nothing” mentality; if you have that extra serving of brisket or ham, that’s not the end of the world.  Likewise, don’t let your leftover “treats” become staples of your diet.  Turning a couple nights of indulgence into an entire month’s worth will lead to unwanted habits that continue beyond the season and could mess with your New Years’ Resolutions!

Motivating your employees to stay fit by jeffry schneider

Motivating Your Employees to Stay Fit

I’ve always been enthusiastic about fitness, and as a business owner it’s important to encourage your staff to feel the same way.  An active and healthy workforce can make or break corporate success.  However, promoting an active lifestyle isn’t easy at work, especially when work is desk-based.  I recently read an article with a few suggestions to motivate your employees to get active, and I’m excited to share some of their points with you!

Encourage flexible working hours: By offering your employees a chance to make their own schedule (at least a reasonable schedule) they can develop healthy habits outside the office.  Physical activity has been proven to prevent common illnesses such as back pain and stress, which often lead people to taking off work.  If somebody in the office is into fitness (like me), they can start a fitness club to boost morale.

Remind everybody to move: A lot of employees get so engrossed behind their keyboards that they hardly leave their desk.  You want your employees to be working, but sitting all day is bad for their health.  Remind your staff to get up from their desk at least once an hour.  

Give everybody a task: If you delegate physical tasks to different employees, then everybody will have something to do away from their desk and computer.  I’m not saying have them do heavy lifting at the loading dock, but something such as fetching stationery or greeting and escorting a visitor is a great way to get employees to move.  

Create a more relaxed working space: If you don’t have some more informal “relaxing” furniture, get some and put it around the office.  You can create a designated lounge area or a few separate sofas for employees to relax during their breaks, or even bring their laptops to work.  Anything to get your employees moving is good for their health.  

Balancing parenthood and fitness posted by Jeffry Schneider

Balancing Parenthood and Fitness

Sticking with an exercise routine is tough enough, but when you’re a parent it can feel nearly impossible.  Between caring for your kids and workplace demands, fitting in exercise isn’t easy.  I recently read an article that interviewed various fitness-minded mom bloggers about their advice for balancing exercise, work and parenthood.  While the article was more geared towards moms than dads, a lot of what they said resonated with me:

Start early: Waiting to exercise until after work only guarantees that you’ll never actually get in your workout.  So wake up early, exercise and then tackle everything else that day.  This will also make you feel more energized, and you’ll get in your workout before your kids even wake up.

Make plans: Give yourself a scheduled, penciled-in time to exercise, but make sure you know just what you plan on doing once you’re working out.

RUNch: If you aren’t a morning person, then try a “running lunch”: take your lunch break as a time to exercise, then once you’re done grab a quick lunch that you can eat on the go.

Include your kids: It’s not always possible to find “alone time” when you’re a parent, so why not include your children in your exercise routine?  Maybe not wake them up at 5am to do your morning workout with you, but stay active with them after school.  Kids love to move.  And if you take your kids to the playground, try playing with them.  If your kids aren’t into fitness, try offering them incentives.

Be stealthy: When you’re busy balancing work and your kids, you often need to sneak in your workout.  If you have a super busy day, try breaking up your workout throughout the day with high-intensity training in 10-15 minute spurts.  If you’re taking your kids to soccer practice or ballet class, use that time to squeeze in a workout as well.  

Workout at home: Making it to the gym is tough, so just exercise at home.  You can do a whole range of exercises with something as simple as a chair.  

Have a support crew: While it sometimes feels like you’re all alone, a lot of people are going through the exact same thing you are.  Finding a buddy who can hold you accountable is a big help, and fellow parents can always sympathize when things get tough.  

Don’t forget why you’re doing it: At the end of the day, being with your family is your top priority.  One of the contributors offered the mantra “make it worth it”: if you’re working out instead of spending time with your kids, make sure you’re pushing yourself as much as possible.  

Avoiding sugar posted by jeffry schneider

Avoiding Sugar

We all try to avoid sugar.  Yet even if you take your coffee unsweetened, avoid candy and only eat cake on your birthday, a recent study suggests that you’re most likely consuming more sugar than you think, particularly if it’s anything out of a package or bottle.  The study, published in the journal Lancet Diabetes & Endrocrinology, found that 68% of all packaged foods and beverages sold in the US contain sugar sweeteners, and 74% include other sweeteners.  Since these added sweeteners come from hundreds of different kinds of sugar, spotting them can be difficult at best.  But there are some precautions you can make before picking up any packaged food.  Here’s a helpful checklist I found from an article:

Common sense: Ultra-processed or frosted products, especially those with cartoon characters on the label, tend to be loaded to the brim with sugar.  Think of twinkies, which feature a cowboy on the cover, or moon pies, with the man on the moon.  Chances are that their nutrition facts will reveal a disturbing amount of sugar, and the reality is most likely even worse.  

Scan the ingredient list (twice): Even if a snack looks healthy, the ingredients will often be able to tell you otherwise.  Ingredients are ordered from the highest to lowest quantity, so anything with sugar in the top few spots should raise a red flag.  Once you’ve scanned the ingredient list, scan it again.  Take a look at the entire ingredient list, and keep your eyes peeled for any alternate names for sugar.  Manufacturers often use multiple types of sugar in smaller quantities so they won’t be listed up high on the ingredient list.  

Check the nutrition facts: If you’re still wondering if the product has added sugars, then take a look at the sugar grams in the nutrition facts.  As a general rule of thumb, watch out for anything with over 15 grams of sugar per serving.  Maybe dessert is an exception to that, but even then beware.  

More sleep more productivity posted by jeffry schneider

More Sleep, More Productivity

Everything from our coffee cups to our computer screen habitually sap us of our energy, which in turn can hurt our performance at work.  An evening cup of coffee while responding to an email might seem innocent enough, but this can drastically diminish the quality of sleep.  According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, lack of sleep doesn’t just cause anxiety and irritability but also inhibits concentration and memory.  It goes without saying that these effects equal poor productivity.  I recently read an article that offered some suggestions for those who don’t want a lack of sleep to get in the way of work.  

Be strategic about caffeine: A study by the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences suggests that the best time to drink caffeine is between 9:30 AM and 11:30 AM, when you’ve been awake for a bit.  Your first drink of the morning should be water, juice or maybe a protein shake.  And don’t drink coffee after dinner or close to bedtime; any caffeine taken six hours before bedtime or less contributes to significant sleep disruptions.

Eat healthy: Late night cravings, whether that’s a hot dog after a night out or some cake in the fridge, get to the best of us.  But even that can hurt.  Heavy or spicy foods late at night can cause indigestion and other discomforts that contribute to a bad night’s sleep.  Finish eating at least two hours before you fall asleep.  Try and limit your alcohol as well, especially right before falling asleep.  Even if it makes you tired, alcohol actually interferes with the ability to stay asleep.  Try to drink enough water throughout the day to stay hydrated and healthy.  Try to eat melatonin-rich products as well, such as cherries and rice.  

Control your environment: The environment of your bedroom, according to the National Sleep Foundation, plays a major part in whether or not you have a decent night’s sleep.  Don’t just get a nice mattress; optimize the physical setting of the room as well.  Take out any unnecessary light, artificial or not, keep the room quiet and make sure that the temperature of the room is ideal.

Be natural: Millions of people have trouble sleeping, and use medication to sleep at night.  Unless you’ve been clinically diagnosed with sleep problems, you should avoid sleeping pills, and rather let melatonin production occur naturally.  

Keep up a routine: As a general rule of thumb, try to get at least seven hours of sleep every evening.  Try going to bed and waking up on a relatively consistent schedule, and avoid oversleeping.  Sticking to a schedule regulates the body’s circadian rhythm, causing you to feel more refreshed and energized when you actually do wake up.  

Relax before you fall asleep: Instead of going at 100% and then immediately passing out, take some time to relax before bedtime.  Working and socializing before sleep creates stress that compromises how well you sleep.  Maybe try reading, listening to some music or even meditating.  

Nap regularly: Even though it was unheard of 10 years ago, napping has slowly become a part of companies’ cultures.  Google and Hubspot, for instance, feature napping spaces for employees, reinforcing the idea that naps help increase productivity.  

Respect your bed: People who use their bed just for sleep rest better and fall asleep easier.  If you want to eat or check your computer, don’t do it in bed.  Going to another room will increase mental and physical association between bed and sleep.  

Time Crunch Fitness: How To Stay in Shape at the Office

Your daily routine can put a wrench in your best-laid plans for getting fit. Whether you deal with a long commute, have to sit in an office chair for most of the day, or simply have never-ending daily errands, it can seem tough (if not impossible) to carve out some time for working out. Luckily, there are exercise “cheat codes” that you can do in just a few minutes. Even better, they can be done on a normal day at the office, and you won’t even get any weird looks from your coworkers.

Take a walk on your lunch break. The simplest solution, getting the blood flowing and doing a few laps outside is a great way to recharge your body and start to work off that sandwich you just ate. Plus if you keep a pedometer or have a pedometer app, it’ll add some mileage.

Office FitnessDo some leg exercises in your chair. No one can see your legs past your desk anyway, so why not do some leg lifts? These are surprisingly challenging considering you don’t even have to stand up. Lift one leg up and extend it straight out for a few seconds, lower it parallel to the floor, hold it again, and then let it touch the ground again. Enough reps for each leg can really make a difference.

Stretch. It’s not the most strenuous activity out there, but stretching is majorly important for relaxing any tension in your body. Trying some light yoga poses may add some nice flexibility that’ll come in handy once you do have the chance to properly exercise.

Do some ab squeezes. Sitting down isn’t the most flattering position, so you’ll probably be motivated to touch up those abs anyway. Simply tighten your stomach muscles, relax, and repeat.

If you’ve got a standup desk, do some squats or leg lunges. Or try some other leg exercises, like kicking out straight behind you (make sure your coworkers are at a safe distance) and holding your leg in place for a few seconds. You can use your desk for support.

2 Novel Ways to Motivate for the Gym

Fitness literature, recommendation, and tips are seemingly omnipresent in the digital age. Whether you browsing Instagram, the New York Times, or nearly any other website, you will inevitably stumble upon an “expert” advising you how to most effectively and efficiently achieve your results. Raising awareness for the importance of maintaining a healthy, balanced, and active lifestyle is undoubtedly great. However, millions of Men and Women have yet to join in on this fitness movement as they lack a single, yet necessary, thing: Motivation. If you find that you need help motivating to hit the gym after a long day’s work, this blog is for you.

The award-winning journalist, Charles Duhigg, examined this problem as well in The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business. A primary takeaway from his thorough investigation is that you need to give yourself a very real, tangible reward if you hope to encourage an action. In this way, we’re not too different than our canine cousins. This action actually works to form a neurological habit loop. Imagine this situation. You just arrived at home from work and want to do nothing more than relax and watch your favorite television show, but you know should hit the gym. Your habit loop should include creating a trigger (such as placing your workout clothes by the door), completing the action (working out at the gym), and an extrinsic reward.

Pact - Gym MotivationA monetary incentive can go a long way in motivating people to workout. Academic studies examining the subject demonstrated that a $100 reward more than doubled gym attendance rate. If you are like most people and don’t have a benefactor or random stranger willing to shell out money on your behalf, try the new app called Pact. Pact charges a set amount if you end up skipping a gym session, which goes to a general fund. This fund is then used to reward the community’s users who reach their goal.

Recent News in Men’s Health

Men’s health month, which was spotlighted this past June, celebrated the scientific advances made in that specific arena. The first half of this year alone, notable advances, achievements, and discoveries highlighting men’s health have come to fruition. Here are four important studies from 2015:

Prostate Research

Affecting nearly 1 in 7 men throughout their lifetimes, it’s estimated that prostate cancer will affect about 221,100 new men in 2015, according to the National Cancer Institute. While 99% of those diagnosed will survive, treatments are often expensive and mentally taxing.

British researchers collaborated with American scientists to generate a detailed map of gene mutations found in prostate cancers that spread to other parts of the body, called the “Rosetta Stone of prostate cancer.” Their study found that 90% of men with advanced prostate cancer “carry genetic mutations in their tumors that could be targeted by either existing or new cancer drugs,” according to the website of London’s Institute of Cancer Research.

What this means is that doctors can now test for said gene mutations, and thus treat the cancers with the drugs known to target them. Practicing precision medicine, which is the use of genetic testing to inform treatment options, has the potential to significantly lower treatment costs.

Fit now? High rate of survival later

A University of Vermont, Burlington study explored the relationship between midlife (ages 40 to 60) fitness in men and cancer survival at age 65 and up. Using 13,949 male participants, the researchers used a fitness test metric referred to as cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) to measure participants level of fitness.

Jeffry Schneider - HealthyWhat they found, according to the results published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Oncology, was that men who were measured as more fit during midlife ran a much lower risk of developing cancers such as lung and colorectal later in life. Of those men with a high CRF who did get cancer at age 65 or later are “33 percent less likely to die from the cancer” than those who were not as fit.

The truth about testosterone replacement

Increasingly popular in men, testosterone replacement is often sought out to alleviate issues with sex drive and increasing muscle tone. However, high levels of the hormone are also a risk factor for enlarged prostates and prostate cancer. A University of Texas, Galveston study found that in the 61,000 men prescribed testosterone replacements, 20 percent were prescribed despite already having normal levels of the hormone, which risks potential future consequences.

Testosterone treatment should not be viewed as a simple fix for problems “in the sack” or tiny muscles, and thus safer alternatives should be explored before increasing the risk of future prostate issues.

Depression and Sleep

Depression, though underreported and often untreated, is very real in men. Knowing potential indicators of depression are key to understanding and overcoming it before it evolves into something much more serious.

Researchers in Australia presented a study at the 2015 American Thoracic Society International Conference about the potential relationship between obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and depression in men. What they found was that men suffering from OSA and “excessive daytime sleepiness” are four to five times more likely to suffer from depression, compared to their more well-rested peers.

With such a high correlation between the two, it’s important for men with OSA to be screened for depression in order to better understand and treat it.

7 Daily Habits of Healthy People

30 Minutes of Activity Every Day 

At this point, you have probably read an article or two highlighting the dangers sitting too often. Humans, as these health experts point out, simply did not evolve to be sitting for 12 hours every single day of the week. Even the act of exercising for just half-an-hour everyday can do wonders for your general health. Sometimes working out can feel like a chore, so try to find an exercise or an activity that you truly enjoy.

Go Outside

Athletic trainer and exercise psychologist, Scott Weiss, notes how many of the healthiest and happiest people find time every day to spend just a few minutes outside. Doing so can help mitigate the negative effects of depression and stress. Furthermore, exposure to natural sunlight is also crucial in promoting healthy sleeping habits. 

Focus on Water Intake 

Drinking plenty of water is vital for one's health.

Drinking plenty of water is vital for one’s health.

Water is obviously a necessity for a healthy body. But, many do not realize quite how important it is to be fully hydrated at all times. Research has found that mild dehydration can affect mood, concentration, fatigue, and more. Experts recommend drinking around two liters each day to stay hydrated. 

Sleep is Key

Everybody’s body is different, so there is no magic number for the hours of sleep required to maintain good health. It generally falls between six and eight hours each night though. Learn what is best for you, and aim for that number each night. 

They are Social

While it may seem that friends and family are only communicating via texts and Facebook these days, it is nonetheless important that you try to make time for in-person interaction. Studies have found that the size of your personal network can actually lead to a longer and happier life. 

Stretching

Although not everyone may be a huge fan of Yoga, regular stretching undoubtedly has its benefits. These include promoting flexibility across your body, flushing toxins out of your muscles, and more. Weiss suggests targeting nearly any muscle that often goes neglected such as your hamstrings, forearms, calves, and hip flexors. 

Be Open to Learn and Try New Things

Novel and more effective methods for exercising and dieting are being developed every year. Therefore it is important to stay updated as much as possible, and to not be afraid to try a technique that may be a little bit outside of your comfort zone. 

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