How to motivate yourself

How to motivate yourself

While I can tell you all the reasons I think you should lose weight and get fit, if you are unable to motivate yourself from within, you probably won’t make much weight loss or fitness progress. Instead of getting in shape for me, look for ways to motivate yourself instead. Personal trainers can certainly help and guide you but, ultimately, you have to get up off your butt, get to work and take control if you want to lose weight, get fit, and reclaim your health. Here are EIGHT strategies for dialling up your internal motivation levels to maximum…

 

  1. Take a long, hard look in the mirror

Stand in front of a mirror in your underwear and ask yourself if you are happy with the reflection looking back at you. If you are contemplating starting a diet or exercise routine, I imagine the answer is no. Don’t just take a quick glance and then look away; stand and stare at all the things you dislike about your body. I don’t mean the colour of your eyes or the length of your hair but your soft thighs, saggy belly, rounded shoulders and skinny arms. If you start dieting and exercising, you will NEVER look this way again but if you don’t do something about the way you look now, things will continue going downhill. Look five years into the future — is it better to change here and now or is it better to change when you’re even worse, or when it’s too late? If you like what you see in the mirror then it’s all good but if you don’t, remember this image and use it to drive you onward toward the new you.

 

  1. Get angry!

So, now you have honestly appraised your current appearance, I want you to get angry about it. The angrier you are, the more likely you are to try and get away from your current weight, shape and level of fitness. Think of all the times you have skipped out on workouts or eaten way too much of the wrong foods and get pissed off about what you have done to yourself. Think about all the times that you maybe were judged about your weight or stared at because of your physical size. Develop a true dislike of your old reflection and do your utmost to make it a thing if the past.

  1. Get a medical check-up

A second opinion is often useful and while it’s obvious from your reflection that you need to lose weight, a medical check-up will reveal exactly what is going on under your skin and inside your body. Blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride readings, hip to waist ratio, a DEXA scan, BMI reading…these are all good indicators of how being overweight and unfit are negatively affecting your long term health and potentially shaving years off your lifespan. Learning that your blood pressure, for example, is dangerously high will probably motivate and even scare you to take your fitness and weight loss efforts much more seriously.

 

  1. Ask for honest feedback

I bet if you ask your friends, work colleagues, your partner or your family if you should shape up and lose weight, they will tell you that yes, you should. They don’t want you to be unhealthy, unfit and unhappy. They want you to be around for as long as possible and not die prematurely because of an otherwise avoidable medical condition like coronary heart disease. Losing weight and getting fit is not just good for you – it’s good for everyone who cares about you too.

 

  1. Visualise

Now you know WHY you need to lose weight and get fit, it’s time to focus on how you’ll feel when you do. The best way to do this is through visualisation. Spend a few minutes relaxing and emptying your mind and then create an image in your mind’s eye of the perfect you – all fit, slim, healthy, and happy. Add as much detail to your image as you can including sounds, sensations, smells and colours to make the image as real and sharp as possible. Now see yourself doing things that, until now, were only pipe dreams like running on the beach or simply looking good in your clothes – make your image into a 3D movie. Once you have your image and movie firmly ingrained in your brain, recall it anytime you need to remind yourself of what you are trying to achieve. Use your image as a template for success.

 

  1. Weigh up the pros and cons

Take a piece of paper and divide it into two sides. At the top of the left-hand side write “pros of losing weight and getting fit” and on the right-hand side write “cons of losing weight and getting fit”. Write as many pros and cons as you can for each and when you are done I can all but guarantee that the pros will significantly outweigh the cons. Yes, you might be able to stay in bed longer or watch more TV if you decide not to do anything about your weight and fitness but then you’ll miss out on all the benefits such as better health, greater self-confidence, more energy, fewer sick days, improved financial situation, better love life, better social life, easier clothes shopping etc.I don’t know about others, but I have completely lost the Buy Xanax ability to concentrate, the numbers on the monitor did not want to come into “focus”. I heavily wanted to sleep and, but fell asleep easily and quickly without hesitation and anxieties. Getting in shape and losing weight does indeed require energy and commitment but what you get in return will make the effort totally worthwhile.

  1. Be positive

How many times have your said “I can’t” only for that exact thing to come true? I can’t lose weight. I can’t get fit. I can’t find time to exercise. All you have to do is delete the letter T from the word can’t and you’ll create empowering mantras where negative roadblocks once stood. I CAN’T stick to my diet instantly becomes I CAN stick to my diet for example. Embracing positivity and turning your back on negativity will really up your motivation levels – guaranteed!

 

8.Motivational quotes or pictures

If you are on instagram, pinterest, twitter or facebook instead of the drag-you-down-negative posts that you see on your feeds, like positive pages or people that post motivational quotes and pictures. These are a great way to constantly remind yourself to stay focused and positive. Remember, can is just can’t without the letter T – you CAN make changes if you put your mind to it!

 

Once you find your personal motivators, you’ll find sticking to an exercise routine or diet is so much easier. Spending some time getting your mind right might seem unnecessary but, in actuality, if you get your mind right, your body has no choice but to follow!
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AUTHOR

Hi, my name is Dinny Morris. I’m a personal trainer and in sunny Sydney, Australia.

I work with men and women at all levels of their physical development, from overweight couch potatoes who want to get in shape, to professional athletes and natural bodybuilders who want to beef up strength and body mass.

Hi, my name is Dinny Morris. I’m a personal trainer and in sunny Sydney, Australia.

I work with men and women at all levels of their physical development, from overweight couch potatoes who want to get in shape, to professional athletes and natural bodybuilders who want to beef up strength and body mass.

Benefits of boot camp workouts

Benefits of boot camp workouts

Are you bored of the gym, lack motivation, just going through the motions when you exercise or not getting the results you desire? Or do you just want to try a new and exciting workout? If so, fitness boot camp workouts could be just the thing you are looking for.

 

Using a wide variety of effective and innovative exercise techniques and equipment all wrapped up in a tough love approach to working out, fitness boot camps can help get you fitter and leaner than ever before.

 

Fitness boot camps offer numerous benefits…

 

Challenging and varied workouts

Boot camps seldom use the same exercises from one week to the next which ensures that each workout will be fresh, interesting and, above all, effective. You’ll approach each workout wondering what is in store for you and your body will thank you for this variety by getting into great shape and burning fat like you’ll never believe. Each workout is designed to deliver maximum results but only if you put the effort in and you’ll get to do things that are simply impossible to replicate in a gym environment.

 

A sense of camaraderie among the participants

Boot camps are demanding workouts but, as part of a group, you’ll be exercising alongside other like-minded men and women who will support your every effort. Boot camp participants form a bond that ensures everyone works as hard as possible which will improve the results you experience. Being part of a group also enhances long term motivation and exercise adherence by increasing your personal accountability – more on that later.

 

Fun!

If you spend an hour on a treadmill or mindlessly do a circuit of weights exercises in the gym – can you honestly say you are having fun? It’s no wonder so many people fail to actually enjoy their workouts! In contrast, as well as being tough and effective, boot camp workouts are designed to be enjoyable and even fun. Many workouts involve a friendly element of competition and you’ll often find yourself working in pairs or part of a team. Forget about boring, sanitized, unenjoyable workouts – boot camps are the antidote to everything that is dull about exercise.

 

Develop self-confidence

Achieving something that you thought was impossible, like doing 50 push-ups or dragging a heavy sandbag 50 meters, has a tremendous impact on your self-confidence which will transfer to other areas of your life. Instead of having a “can’t do” attitude, you will develop a “can do” attitude which will help you in your home and work life. Nothing else you do in your daily life will ever be as hard as what you do in boot camp and like the army says, “train hard, fight easy”.

 

Exercise more intensely than you could on your own

When you exercise on your own, it’s all too easy to stop your workout the moment things get a little uncomfortable. Unfortunately, it’s only when you get into that zone of feeling uncomfortable that you start getting meaningful results from your workout. Your boot camp instructor and your fellow boot campers will ensure you not only reach the point where exercise becomes productive but smash through it to produce the best possible results. This will save you literally years of wasted exercise effort.  

 

Work out in a healthier environment

Gyms are fine but all that recirculated air, piped music and lack of sunshine means that they aren’t always the most healthy or pleasant places to work out. In contrast, exercising in the great outdoors means you get to breathe fresh air and are exposed to a healthy dose of sunshine which will help raise your mood and make you feel happier, healthier and less stressed. Outdoor exercise is definitely more enjoyable than imitating a hamster running on a wheel by exercising on a treadmill in a gym.

 

Greater commitment and accountability

Boot camps run at specific times and specific days and agreeing to be there on time and ready to exercise will help keep you committed to exercise. Not only is your instructor waiting for you, so too are the other participants. If you don’t turn up or arrive late, you are not only letting yourself down, but the rest of the group too. It can be hard to be committed or feel accountable when you exercise on your own but being part of a boot camp group means that there are certain expectations on you such as turning up on time and being mentally and physically prepared to work hard, that you are much more likely to stick with the programme. This will ensure your exercise efforts are consistent and consistency is one of the most important things for ensuring you reach your fitness or weight loss goals.

 

Tough love

Your boot camp instructor’s job is to get you to work harder than you can on your own. They’ll do this using tough love. They won’t want to hear your excuses and “can’t” is not a word they’ll ever accept from you. They will encourage, coach and push you to new levels of fitness by challenging you to reach and surpass your previous best performances. They won’t be mean, bully you or demean you though – but tough love isn’t about wrapping you in cotton wool either. As motivational strategies go, tough love is hard to beat.
While reading about boot camps can give you a taste of what this fun and exciting workout has to offer, the best way to find out more is to try a class for yourself. Stop procrastinating – get up and off your butt and try a boot camp workout today!
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AUTHOR

Hi, my name is Dinny Morris. I’m a personal trainer and in sunny Sydney, Australia.

I work with men and women at all levels of their physical development, from overweight couch potatoes who want to get in shape, to professional athletes and natural bodybuilders who want to beef up strength and body mass.

Hi, my name is Dinny Morris. I’m a personal trainer and in sunny Sydney, Australia.

I work with men and women at all levels of their physical development, from overweight couch potatoes who want to get in shape, to professional athletes and natural bodybuilders who want to beef up strength and body mass.

Weight loss motivation

Weight loss motivation

Are you finding it hard to stay motivated to exercise, eat right and lose weight? If so, you are not alone. A lot of exercisers and dieters suffer from occasional or even permanent lapses in motivation. Without sufficient motivation, you are very unlikely to reach your fitness or weight loss targets so here are TEN benefits to losing weight and getting fit – just to remind you of why getting in shape is such a damn good idea!

 

  1. More energy

If you are 20kg overweight, that’s 20kg of dead weight you have to lug around every minute of the day. That has got to be exhausting! To get a better idea of how your excess weight is effecting you, work out your ideal weight and put the difference between that and your current weight in a backpack and wear it for a few hours. Imagine how much easier virtually every one of your daily tasks will become without that weight dragging you down!

 

  1. Better health

Excess body fat can have a negative effect on virtually every aspect of your health from your blood pressure to elevating your chances of suffering a heart attack or stroke to increased risk of cancer. Being significantly overweight can slash years off your potential lifespan and can severely compromise your quality of life too. Losing weight will have a huge impact on not only how you look but your overall health too.

 

  1. Less back, knee and hip pain

Remember that 20kg of excess weight that is slowing you down and making you tired? It’s also hammering your knees, hips and back too. All that additional compressive force increases your risk of suffering joint pain which can, if ignored, develop into crippling arthritis. Losing weight is a very effective back pain intervention as belly weight really does a number on your lower back and general posture.

  1. Better sleep

Large amounts of fat in your chest and abdominal cavity can adversely affect your sleep leading to deep-seated fatigue, headaches and stress. The fat presses down on your internal organs, especially your lungs as well as your throat, and that can actually interrupt your breathing – something called sleep apnea. At best, this makes you snore and will wake you up every few minutes. At worst, it could actually kill you in your sleep. Losing weight will prevent both!

 

  1. More money

Being overweight, as previously discussed, affects your health and poor health can cost you money. Days off work, lack of productivity, medical bills, specialized beds and furniture, oversized clothes and, of course, a big food bill can all place a strain on your financial resources. Losing weight is good for your body and your bank balance – who knew!

 

  1. More sex!

Slim, healthy people get more sex – it’s a fact! Being slim enhances not only your appearance but also helps normalise your hormone levels – the very same hormones that control your sexual desire and performance. Overweight couples often experience difficulty becoming pregnant and losing weight can significantly improve the chances of conception which is why weight loss and exercise are often prescribed to couples by fertility doctors.

 

  1. Increased self-confidence and improved self-image

Slim, healthy people generally have greater self-confidence and a better self-image, especially when compared to their former overweight selves. This has a lot to do with appearance but is also because, having lost weight, you will have demonstrated to yourself that you can overcome challenges if you put your mind to it. Losing weight can be very empowering and, for many, signals the start of a new, more rewarding, phase of life.

 

  1. More fashion choices

Many modern fashions are simply out of the question for very overweight people – skinny-fit jeans being a classic example. If you want to be able to choose what to wear instead of being limited to just what fits, you need to get your weight down to within healthy parameters.

  1. Better complexion

The causes of being overweight inevitably includes poor food choices such as candy, cola, cookies, cake and processed foods. In addition to making you fat, these foods are also devoid of any meaningful nutrients and can have an adverse effect on your complexion and even your hair. Eating a diet high in essential vitamins and minerals but low in sugar and refined or artificial ingredients can make skin breakouts and rashes a thing of the past and leave you with a beautifully clear complexion.

 

  1. More happiness

Are you happy with your current weight and lack of fitness? Truly happy? Like most overweight people, I strongly expect you’ll feel much better about virtually every aspect of your life after you have started to lose weight and improve your fitness. Everything from your energy levels to your outlook on life will be better once you shed those unwanted kilos, establish some better habits and get a grip on your health. Being overweight is hard on your health, your back, your knees, your ability to sleep, your mobility…in fact, being overweight affects every single aspect of your life. You KNOW you’ll be happier if you lose weight and get fit so stop procrastinating and get to it!

 

If you don’t change now, now will become never.

 

There are dozens of benefits to losing weight and get getting fit but, ultimately, you need to choose to take action. Spend time thinking about all the things you are missing out on by being overweight and unfit and then, maybe, you’ll come to realize that eating a little less and doing some exercise is really no big thing and that the rewards will make your efforts thoroughly worthwhile.
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AUTHOR

Hi, my name is Dinny Morris. I’m a personal trainer and in sunny Sydney, Australia.

I work with men and women at all levels of their physical development, from overweight couch potatoes who want to get in shape, to professional athletes and natural bodybuilders who want to beef up strength and body mass.

Hi, my name is Dinny Morris. I’m a personal trainer and in sunny Sydney, Australia.

I work with men and women at all levels of their physical development, from overweight couch potatoes who want to get in shape, to professional athletes and natural bodybuilders who want to beef up strength and body mass.

Fix your posture

Fix your posture

Posture is the term used to describe the alignment of your joints. In simple terms, posture can be good or bad but as posture refers to pretty much every joint in your body, it’s actually a little more complicated than this. Bad posture can interfere with digestion, breathing, cause stress, headaches, and cause other body parts to become problem areas as well.

 

Poor posture is usually the result of one or more of the following…

 

     Muscle tightness – a tight muscle will pull a joint out of good posture. For example, tight chest muscles can pull your shoulders forward.

 

Muscle weakness – weak muscles are less able to hold you in good posture than strong muscles, the result being that your spine or other bones and joints become misaligned. For example, weak upper back muscles (specifically the lower traps mid traps, and rhomboids) can be the cause of a slouch especially when combined with overactive upper traps, overly tight pecs and lats which end up pulling your upper spine out of proper alignment.  

 

Bad habits – your body is a quick learner and if you frequently adopt poor posture, it will soon become habitual. Sitting at your desk and craning your neck forward so your eyes are closer to the screen will soon become the position you adopt whenever you are sitting or standing. This causes a pronounced forward head posture which places a lot of stress on your neck.

 

Lack of postural awareness – if you don’t know what good posture looks and feels like, it’s unlikely you’ll find it by accident. You parents may well have told you to stand up straight or not to slouch but unless you were actually taught what these things are, you may not have understood what was being asked of you.

Previous injury – if you are in pain, your body will make accommodations to find you the most comfortable position possible. Quite often, you will “lean away from pain”. It’s very common for these newly comfortable positions to become habitual even when the pain has gone. A habitual limp is a good example of this phenomenon as is favouring one side of your body.

 

  •     Being pregnant or significantly overweight – a big belly, thick thighs or a heavy bust can significantly alter your posture. In the case of pregnancy, postural abnormalities normally only manifest in the second and third trimesters and soon disappear in the postnatal period. Being overweight for a long time can cause more lasting damage to your posture.

 

Causes and fixes for common postural problems

If your postural problem also causes you pain, consult with a medical professional before trying to fix it for yourself.

 

  1. Forward head carry

Ideally, your ears should be directly over your shoulders but spending long periods of time sat in front of a computer or driving a car can result in a forward head carry. This is commonly the result of poor sitting habits, tight deep neck flexors, weak neck extensors and bad eyesight. Why bad eyesight? Because if you can’t see your screen clearly, you will crane your head forward to be able to view it more clearly!

 

To fix this problem, get your eyes fixed, remember to lengthen your neck as though your head is being lifted by a balloon and perform the following two exercises…

 

Chin tucks – lie on your back with your head resting on the floor. Lengthen your neck and tuck your chin in toward your chest. Hold this position for ten to fifteen seconds and then relax. Repeat three to five times.

 

Head raises – sit down, place your hands on your knees and lean forward. Lower your head toward the floor and then raise it again; look up toward the ceiling. Lower your head and repeat. Continue until you feel a mild discomfort in the back of your neck. Rest a moment and repeat.

Do these exercises several times a day to a) strength and b) strengthen the relevant muscles.

 

  1. Rounded shoulders

Rounded shoulders are often seen with medially or inwardly rotated upper arms. If you stand in front of the mirror and can see the backs of your hands in your reflection, you probably have medially rotated upper arms. If you look at yourself from the side and can see your upper back, your shoulders are rounded. Not only are these two postural abnormalities aesthetically unpleasing, they can also have a negative effect on your shoulder health and therefore function.

 

To fix your shoulders, perform these exercises:

 

Broomstick shoulder stretch – hold a broomstick behind your lower back and grasp the ends. Push your elbows forward to rotate your arms outward. Shrug your shoulders down and back and hold this position for 60-seconds or more.

 

External shoulder rotations – lie on your side with a dumbbell in your uppermost hand. Bend your arm to 90 degrees, tuck your elbow into your side and lower your forearm across your abdomen. Raise the dumbbell up by rotating your shoulder outward; your elbow should remain tucked into your side at all times. Lower the weight back down and repeat. Do the same number of reps for each arm.

 

Bruegger’s postural release – sit or stand with your arms by your sides. Lift your chest and lengthen your neck. Turn your palms to face forward, pull your shoulders down and back and lift your chest. Maintain this position of perfect posture to 60 seconds and then relax. Repeat this exercise to break up long periods of sitting.

 

Prone Cobra – lie on your front with your legs straight and your hands palms down on the floor. Tuck your chin in so your forehead and nose are resting lightly on the floor. Contract your butt and lower back and lift your chest and shoulders off the floor while pulling your shoulders down and together. Either perform for several slow and controlled reps or just lift and hold. Make sure you breathe rhythmically and don’t hold your breath, Rotate your hands outward to simultaneously reverse internally rotate shoulders.

  1. Hunched upper back

A hunched or rounded upper back can become a serious postural problem if left untreated and may even become a fixed abnormality called a Dowager’s hump. Slouches are usually the result of overly tight chest muscles, weak upper back muscles and poor sitting habits. Address this problem by performing the following exercises several times a day…

 

Doorway chest stretch – stand in an open doorway and raise your arms so your elbows are bent to 90-degrees and your forearms are flat on the doorframe with your elbows level with your shoulders. Push your chest forward and through the doorway to stretch your chest. Hold this position for 60-seconds and then relax.

 

Wall angels – stand with your back against a flat wall with your feet around 12-inches away from the wall. Bend your elbows to 90-degrees and place your arms and backs of your hands flat against the wall, elbows at shoulder-height. Slide your arms up and down the wall while keeping your shoulders back and your arms and hands pressed against the wall. Perform six to ten repetitions and then rest. This exercise works and targets the lower traps; muscle that act like straps to pull your shoulders back and down. A hunched back is often the result when these muscles become weak and/or elongated.

 

If poor mobility makes a standing wall angel too difficult, lie on your back with your legs bent and perform the same movement on the floor. This is an excellent modification for people with very tight chests and shoulders.

 

Upper back foam rolling – lie on your back with your legs bent and feet flat on the floor. Place a foam roller under your upper back. Roll up and down the roller from the base of your neck to the middle of your back. You may hear a few cracks and clicks initially but this is nothing to worry about; it’s just your spine going back into proper alignment. After ten or so rolls, just lie back over your foam roller and let gravity gently lengthen your upper back. If you have very bad posture start with a rolled up towel and then progress to a half roller and then a full roller. Older ladies please avoid this exercise as your rib cage may not be strong enough to do this exercise safely or comfortably.

 

  1. Anterior pelvic tilt

An anterior pelvic tilt means your lower back is excessively arched, your pelvis tips forward at the top and to the rear at the bottom and your butt sticks out. This places a lot of stress on the ligaments and disks of your lumbar spine. An anterior pelvic tilt is common in people that are sedentary, spend a lot of time sitting down or who have weak abdominal muscles. To fix this problem, perform the following exercises…

 

Hip flexor stretch – kneel down and then take a step forward so you are in a split stance. Place your hands on your front knee and then let your hips drift forward as you extend your rear hip. Hold this position for 30 to 60-seconds and then change sides. Make this stretch deeper by moving your rear leg further back. Try to keep your front shin vertical.

 

Glute bridges – lie on your back with your legs bent and feet flat on the floor. Push down and lift your hips up so your knees, hips and shoulders form a straight line. Lower your butt back to the floor and repeat. Make this exercised more demanding by holding a weight across your hips.

 

Planks – lie on your front and rest on your elbows and forearms. Lift your hips up off the floor so your body is straight and there is a slight but not excessive curve in your lower back. Hold this position for 30 to 60-seconds and then relax. Do not hold your breath! Rest on your knees if a full plank is too demanding.

 

  1. Elevated shoulders

Stress can make your shoulders creep up and hunch. If this happens frequently enough, you can end up with shoulders that are elevated all the time – even when you aren’t stressed. To fix this problem you should learn to manage your stresses better and also perform these exercises…

 

Upper trapezius stretch – place your left hand lightly on the top of your head and reach you’re your right leg toward the floor with your right hand. Gently pull your head over to the side while continuing to reach towards the floor with your opposite arm. Hold this stretched position for 30 to 60-seconds and then change sides.

 

Reverse shrugs – to strengthen your lower trapezius muscles, sit on an exercise bench with your hands next to your hips and your fingers pointing forward. With your arms straight, push your butt forward and off the bench. Shrug your shoulders downs to lift yourself up slightly. Raise your shoulders to lower yourself back down. Continue shrugging yourself up and down for eight to twelve repetitions.

 

Get a massage – regular massages can help keep the tension out of your upper trapezius muscles and prevent your shoulders from shrugging upward. 30-minutes once or twice a month will complement the stretching and strengthening exercises you are doing.

 

Poor posture needn’t be a fact of life – you CAN fix your posture! It’s taken years for you to develop bad posture and it will take a concerted effort to fix it but it will be worthwhile; you’ll feel better, look younger and have less pain if you do.  
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AUTHOR

Hi, my name is Dinny Morris. I’m a personal trainer and in sunny Sydney, Australia.

I work with men and women at all levels of their physical development, from overweight couch potatoes who want to get in shape, to professional athletes and natural bodybuilders who want to beef up strength and body mass.

Hi, my name is Dinny Morris. I’m a personal trainer and in sunny Sydney, Australia.

I work with men and women at all levels of their physical development, from overweight couch potatoes who want to get in shape, to professional athletes and natural bodybuilders who want to beef up strength and body mass.

How to beat back pain

How to beat back pain

A very large percentage of the population will suffer from back pain at least once in their lifetime. Back pain can range from mildly annoying to severely debilitating and is, in many cases, also avoidable. If you suffer back pain, make sure you seek medical advice and treatment however, if you want to avoid back pain in the first place, follow the advice in this article…

 

Sort out your posture

Posture refers to the alignment of your joints – especially your spine. Your spine has several curves that help absorb shock and dissipate stress and if any of these curves increase or decrease beyond the norm, your spine is exposed to more stress than it is capable of supporting and back pain can be the result. Becoming more posturally aware goes a long way to preventing back pain so make sure you sit and stand up straight and seek advice on how to develop better posture.

 

Lose weight

Strapping a 10kg weight to your front just for fun might sound ridiculous but that’s exactly what lots of overweight people do. And what has to work extra hard to support that weight? Yep – your lower back. Abdominal fat adversely affects posture while placing an inordinate load on the lower back which is a combination for severe and very avoidable back pain. Losing weight can have a profound effect on lower back pain and health generally so maybe today is the day to start your diet and exercise routine?

 

Sit less, stand more

Sitting down for prolonged periods of time is arguably the worst thing you can do for your lower back. Sitting down plays havoc with your posture, shortens the muscles in the front of your hips and abdomen and deactivates your deep core muscles – the ones that help support your spine from within. Many of us spend eight or more hours sat down and this is a major cause of back pain. Consider investing in a standing work station and also try to break up long periods of sitting with brief walks or even just standing up whenever you get the chance. Finally, make sure your workstation is set up properly to minimize workplace-related back pain.

 

Learn to lift properly

Lifting heavy objects is a safe and even healthy activity providing your do it properly. Too many people make the mistake of trying to lift things with their lower back and arms when, in fact, the safest way to lift anything, heavy or otherwise, is by using your legs. Your legs are obviously much stronger than your arms so it really pays to use them for lifting. Whenever you lift anything heavy, make sure you keep your chest up and your lower back slightly arched. Keep the object close to you to reduce leverage on your back and be prepared to ask for assistance if the object is too heavy to lift safely on your own.

Hydrate
Your spine is made up from 33 vertebrae, many of which are separated by intervertebral discs which are liquid-filled cushions that absorb shock and control how much movement is available at each joint. Ideally, these discs should be well-hydrated and plump to maximize their shock absorbing abilities and ensure that the space between the vertebrae is optimal. However, dehydration can reduce this space and that can lead to otherwise avoidable back pain. Make sure you drink at least one to two litres of water a day to maintain hydration levels. Interestingly, a large percentage of back pain is in fact kidney pain caused by dehydration so there’s another back-related reason to drink plenty of water.

 

Strengthen your core

Core is the common term for the muscles that surround and support your spine. These muscles act like an old-fashioned corset or weight training belt as they squeeze in to produce something called intra-abdominal pressure which bolsters your spine from within. Like any muscles, the core responds to exercise by getting stronger and as a strong core is inextricably linked to a reduction in back pain, it pays to keep these muscles in good shape. Forget crunches and sit-ups for core strength and reduced back pain – they can actually cause more problems than they fix. Instead, focus on things like planks, Pallof presses, dead bugs, horse stance or bird dog’s and other exercises that promote optimal posture during exercise.

 

Stretch and mobilize

Tight abs, hamstrings and hip flexors can have a very detrimental effect on your lower back as they can pull your pelvis out of proper alignment and destroy your lumbar curve. Additionally, long periods of inactivity can de-activate your core and cause your whole spine to stiffen up. To prevent these sorts of problems, make sure you stretch your hamstrings, abs and hip flexors often and mobilize your spine whenever you feel you have been in the same position for too long. One effective way to mobilize your spine is to adopt the all-fours position on your hands and knees and alternately hump and hollow your back. This will help increase blood flow around the area of your lower back and also prevent stiffening up. Also learn about the benefits of foam rolling and find a great masseuse who can get into certain areas of muscles that can release and relieve tight spots.

Some back pain issues are all but unavoidable – say you suffer a fall or are involved in a car accident for example. However, keeping your core strong and otherwise looking after your spine can go a very long way to reducing your incidence of otherwise avoidable back pain. Back pain can make sitting, standing, walking and even lying down very uncomfortable so look after yourself to avoid debilitating back pain.  
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AUTHOR

Hi, my name is Dinny Morris. I’m a personal trainer and in sunny Sydney, Australia.

I work with men and women at all levels of their physical development, from overweight couch potatoes who want to get in shape, to professional athletes and natural bodybuilders who want to beef up strength and body mass.

Hi, my name is Dinny Morris. I’m a personal trainer and in sunny Sydney, Australia.

I work with men and women at all levels of their physical development, from overweight couch potatoes who want to get in shape, to professional athletes and natural bodybuilders who want to beef up strength and body mass.

Weight loss nutrition tips

Weight loss nutrition tips

Are you tired of wading through long, complicated articles about weight loss and fat burning? Me too! Instead, here are TEN simple-to-use weight loss tips that’ll help you reach your target weight in double-quick time.

 

Eat fewer starchy carbs

Carbs are an essential food group that provide your body with energy for exercise and other demanding physical activities but while most mainstream diets are based around starchy carbs, too many carbs can interfere with fat loss – especially if you lead a predominately sedentary life. The less physical activity you do, the fewer carbs you need so start swapping bread, rice, potatoes and pasta for vegetables and you’ll soon be enjoying the benefit of easier, faster fat loss.

 

Starchy carbs also increase your insulin production. Insulin is a hormone that helps ferry nutrients out of your blood and into your muscle and liver cells but it also interferes with fat burning. Reducing your starchy carb intake and eliminating sugar from your diet can help control your insulin levels which will only enhance fat loss.

 

Eat more protein

Protein has a high thermal effect which simply means eating foods like eggs, chicken, fish and meat will increase the thermic activity in your body which, in turn, elevates your metabolic rate. The thermal effect of protein is rated at around 20 to 30 percent which means that for every 100 grams of protein you eat, 20 to 30 percent of the total energy provided is used in the break down and digestion of the food being eaten. Combining protein with vegetables is the perfect recipe for faster weight loss.

 

Cut out sugar

Sugar is fat free but that doesn’t mean it won’t harm your fat burning efforts. Sugar contains no nutrients, is very energy dense, encourages overeating, messes with your insulin levels and is mildly to moderately addictive – one candy bar is never enough. Cutting sugar from your diet is arguably the most effective way to maximize fat burning.

 

Move your body

Unless you like being hungry, you’ll need to combine a sensible reduction in food intake with an increase in physical activity. Exercise uses energy and if you are eating less than you need to sustain your weight, this energy shortfall will be met by your fat stores. Ideally, you should be physically active most days of the week but this doesn’t necessarily mean you should exercise every day. Exercise is important but it needs to be intense enough to be beneficial so that means you are probably limited to four or five workouts a week. However, you can walk every day, cycle for transport or pleasure, play with your kids or otherwise get up and off your butt and move around more; more physical activity means greater fat loss.

Avoid fad diets

Fad diets can seem like a great idea because they promise easy or very fast fat loss. However, the truth is, very few fad diets ever deliver on these promises. Fad diets are generally too restrictive, too strict, unpleasant, unbalanced and unhealthy and you’ll probably quit them within a few days or weeks. Even if you are able to put up with eating, for example, nothing but lettuce and grilled chicken three times a day, such an energy-restrictive diet can significantly slow your metabolic rate and actually result in fat gain and not fat loss. Fad diets are doomed to failure from the outset so just forget ‘em!

 

Exercise on an empty stomach

Exercising on an empty stomach means you are more likely to preferentially burn fat. Low intensity exercise like walking and cycling are best as intense exercise like sprinting or lifting weights can be hard with low levels of blood glucose. Just 20 or 30 minutes of fasted cardio can be enough to burn a significant amount of fat.

 

Drink black coffee before working out

Following on from the previous point, exercising on an empty stomach is a great way to burn more fat but can be hard as your energy levels may be low – especially early in the morning. However, a cup of strong black coffee will deliver an energy boost in the form of caffeine that will give you all the energy you need to get through your workout. Caffeine is also a lipotropic agent which simply means it helps you to mobilise fat making it easier to burn for energy. All in all, coffee before exercise makes perfect sense as it will help you exercise harder and longer while burning fat more efficiently.

 

Drink water before eating

Drink 500ml of water 30 minutes before meals to partially fill your stomach so you feel satisfied sooner and will eat less. Water expands your stomach which sends a message to your brain to say it’s full. Water itself is calorie-free, is an effective detoxifier and helps keep your fat furnaces burning so drinking more water is always a good idea. Aim for around two to three litres spread throughout the day. However, if you know that you have low digestion acid then don’t drink water as this can slow your digesting down by diluting your already low amounts of digestion acid.  

 

Eat more fibre

Fibre is the indigestible part of vegetables, fruits and grains and is not just very good for your digestive system, it is also a highly beneficial fat-fighting food. Fibre is calorie-free, stays in your stomach for a long time which makes you feel fuller for longer, helps stabilize your blood glucose leading to stable energy levels and fibrous foods are bulky and take longer to eat than non-fibrous foods. Increase your fibre intake by eating lots of vegetables with their skins on, some fruit, and moderate amounts of whole grains. In addition to being a good weight loss food, fibre is also important for maintaining the health of your gastrointestinal tract. Healthy and a good fat fighter – what’s not to like?

Eat healthy fats

Fat is very energy dense and a gram of fat contains over twice the calories of a gram of protein or carbs BUT fat is also essential for your health and should not be eliminated completely. Cut down on saturated and trans fats to reduce your energy intake but still make sure you eat reasonable amounts of mono and polyunsaturated fats such as olive oil, coconut oil, fish oil, avocados and avocado oil, flax seeds, nuts and seeds. Fats take longer to break down in your stomach and help control blood-sugar levels, leaving you more satisfied and reducing your cravings. Just remember; fats are dense in calories, so although coconut oil has great benefits, it can add up on a diet when you are counting calories.

 

When it comes to weight loss, exercise and diet should be combined for best results however, implementing some or all of these tips will ensure that whatever diet and exercise plan you follow, you’ll get the best possible results.

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AUTHOR

Hi, my name is Dinny Morris. I’m a personal trainer and in sunny Sydney, Australia.

I work with men and women at all levels of their physical development, from overweight couch potatoes who want to get in shape, to professional athletes and natural bodybuilders who want to beef up strength and body mass.

Hi, my name is Dinny Morris. I’m a personal trainer and in sunny Sydney, Australia.

I work with men and women at all levels of their physical development, from overweight couch potatoes who want to get in shape, to professional athletes and natural bodybuilders who want to beef up strength and body mass.