Category: Blog

Five Easy Tips for Achieving Your Fitness Goals in 2021

Before I begin, allow me to make some guesses about your fitness goals. Guess number one: You have fitness goals for this year. Guess number two: Last year you may have achieved some or none of your fitness goals. Guess number three: You want to make this year different and achieve your fitness goals. If any of the guesses I have made regarding your fitness goals is true, you are reading the right article. In 2020, I achieved most of my fitness goals. However, in the previous year I did not accomplish any of my goals. In the sections below, I will walk you through the tips I deployed to achieve my fitness goals.

 

Set Smart Goals

I am sure you know what the acronym SMART stands for. In case you don’t, SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound. I realized that non-specific goals like ‘get a six-pack’ will not help me achieve anything. Such a goal is vague, has no plan, has no deadline, and has no accountability. I realized that I had to set specific goals. So, I looked at my goal and reframed it as follows, “I want to get a six-pack by the end of the year. To achieve this, I will need to enroll in the closest gym and make sure I go to the gym at least three times a week. I will also watch my diet and avoid fast foods.”

 

After reframing the goal, I put in the effort and the time. By mid-year, I had cut a lot of abdominal fat but had not yet achieved a six-pack. By the end of the year, I had attained a four-pack and not the desired six-pack. I fell short of my goal, but I made significant progress compared to the year before.

 

Make Short Term Goals and Daily Plans

I know how intimidating long-term goals can be. They at times look impossible, especially after some false starts. Sometimes I feel like quitting because the goal seems unattainable. I realized that I fail in reaching my long-term goals because I do not have daily actions and short-term goals that add up to the bigger goal.

 

For instance, if I want to run a ten-mile run by the end of this year, I will break down my goal into small weekly and monthly goals. I can begin by running one mile three times a week for a month. Then I can add one mile each month such that by October, I will be running ten miles three times a week. At the end of the year, I will be able to run 12 miles. These small goals give me momentum, and I can see progress.

 

Make Time

At this point, I have identified my goal, and I have a system in place to help me achieve the goal. The next step is to create time to execute the plan. If my days are like yours, then you must feel like you never have enough hours in a day to spend between work, family, and other commitments. We are all busy, but I realized that I always make time for whatever is important for me. Therefore, I became intentional about scheduling time for my fitness goals. I reduced my television time and slotted my gym time after work to avoid postponing the session once I arrived home.

 

Track Your Progress

Fitness goals are hard to achieve because the results are not immediate. So how did I stick with the goal for a whole year? I got a desk calendar and tracked every time I hit the gym. I felt good seeing my progress every week. I also knew when I was slacking off and took an appropriate action.

 

Get Some Accountability

Peer pressure is not always a bad thing. Some positive peer pressure can help you achieve your goals. I discovered that it was easier to ignore a resolution I kept to myself instead of one that I had told someone. So, when the year began, I shared my fitness goals with my friend, and we kept each other accountable on a monthly basis. There are days I went to the gym just because I could not bear the thought of telling my friend I had missed all gym sessions in an entire week.

 

Wellness Trends on My 2021 Must-Try List

2020 was one of the most challenging years in history, not just for my loved ones and me but also the entire world. Most of my plans were ruined, and worst of all, I had to cancel most of my wellness routines, retreats, and vacations. It isn’t even over yet – We’ve two months to go – but I figured it is a good time to look ahead this month.

 

I had to begin working out at home just like everyone else. If I wanted to go to a yoga studio, I had to deal with significant changes at the few yoga studios that reopened. I was also forced to shift my focus from skincare to sanitization, which also came with the perpetual wearing of masks. These occurrences compromised our mental well-being, forcing us to develop some healthy coping mechanisms to get through the year. I adopted several wellness habits that have stuck with me, and I want to share them with you.

 

Talk and Walk Therapy

With all the time we spent indoors in 2020, the couch is not the best option for most of us in 2021. Together with my loved ones, we have made a compulsory habit of heading outdoors at any chance we get. These walks have proved to be quite therapeutic. Additionally, the onset of the pandemic forced most therapists to stop seeing their clients in the office due to safety concerns.

 

Teletherapy has become a popular trend, and I obviously will be trying it out not just for my safety but as a means of improving my mental wellness. To break the boredom that comes with this trend, I have chosen to also do the walk and talk sessions with my therapists on the road and nature trails. This helps me feel connected with both my therapist and nature.

 

Touchless Spa Services

With the coronavirus still around, we can no longer pop up to the spa and get a massage like we used to do in the past. The need to relax and recover from general stress and fatigue, on the other hand, still exists. We, therefore, have to think fast about how to get these services. This is where the touchless spa services come in so handy to give the same experience without any extra contact.

 

Some of the most effective options to consider when going to a touchless spa include compression therapy, cryotherapy, float tanks, salt caves, infrared saunas, IV drips, and hyperbaric chambers, among many others. These are some of the best spa services anyone can get amid the covid-19 pandemic, where the human touch is a risky affair, but people still need to decompress and enhance their mental wellness.

 

Mindful and Intuitive Eating

Mindful and intuitive eating is another excellent wellness trend that I cannot miss out on in 2021. More people are slowly turning away from restrictive diets, mostly those that demonize certain macronutrients such as carbs. Together with my family, I will embrace food in all its forms through the popular upcycling food trend. The latter refers to the process of turning any veggies termed as ugly and wasted food scraps into amazing meals and snacks. This is a great step towards living healthier, more sustainable, and conscious lives.

 

Digital Detoxes

There is a lot of negative energy globally, ranging from the news, TV, and social media. One of the most important lessons that 2020 taught us is that we have the individual power to choose what we consume. We also have the ability to set boundaries on our digital consumption. As we step into 2021, I will consider digital detoxes and their impact on the collective consciousness.

 

A digital detox can be as simple as devoting just a day, weekend, or week to living our lives free from TV, social media, or phones. This creates more personal time without any digital distractions. We can also use this time to bond with our loved ones, meditate, take long nature walks, read a book and work on creative projects. Disconnecting from all the noise around you is the perfect way of reconnecting with yourself and taking time to understand what you are feeling.

 

You should try out other wellness trends in 2021, including simpler skincare routines, flexibility in goal setting, and cold therapy. I wish you all the best as you take care of your health and wellness in 2021.

 

How to Keep Kids Active in the Virtual Learning Era

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many schools opted to switch to virtual learning to get the curriculum moving. Unfortunately, the schools were in charge of taking care of our kids during the day, and schedules were totally up to them. Now with my kids at home, it has not been easy to keep them active while the center of their lives seems to have drifted to their devices.

 

Thankfully, changes such as these demand that we adjust accordingly, which made me learn a few techniques to keep kids active. Here is a simple guide that has become my saving grace, and maybe it will be yours too.

 

1.  Create a Schedule

Now that I cannot rely on my kids’ teachers to create and monitor their schedules, I have to do it myself. I found that the best way is to try to mimic the daily school schedule as much as possible.

 

Such a program involves:

 

  • When to take virtual lessons
  • When to have interim breaks
  • What to do after an extended learning day
  • Being mindful about the lunch hour
  • Including after school activities
  • Keeping bedtime and waking time consistent

Apart from the after-school activities, the rest will find a productive balance between schoolwork and play. Your schedule might include more things than mine, depending on your kid’s school curriculum. Still, foundationally, it will consist of most of the above activities.

 

2. Be Intentional with the Breaks

I’ve realized that it is easy to bypass a break, especially in between related subjects. When this happens, my kids often lose interest in the middle of the next class, and then I have to convince them to pay attention longer before lunchtime.

 

Since kids are generally playful, they need adequate rest time and activities to keep them excited, so they can find their schoolwork more interesting. When I started getting more intentional with their short breaks, I realized it was easier for them to successfully concentrate through each lesson. This is how a school system works anyway, so why not try my best to keep it up at home?

 

3. Stretches in the Middle of a Class

It’s one thing to allow the kids to take breaks between different classes and a whole different scenario when stretching in the middle of a session. The latter works to boost their concentration and make them feel free now that they are at home anyway.

 

4. Going Out for Breaks

Although it is still not as safe to go out or allow our kids to play together, I find it helpful when they have their breaks outside. Basking in the sun is ideal for kids and helps them come alive while taking a break from the house.

 

5. Learn a Few Kids’ Games

After a few rounds of the same routine, both you and the kids will start getting tired. This happened to me too. I decided to learn a few games to play with my kids to spice things up. The interaction boosted both the kids’ performance and my relationship with them.

 

6. The More Involving the Activities, the Better

Kids have energy that keeps them active almost all day long. If you try to restrain them from tapping into this energy, you start to notice how restless they get. To avoid this, I prefer going for more physically involving games during breaks to balance out the time they have been on the screen. Activities such as playing ball or scavenger hunts have come in handy.

 

7. Incorporate School Work with Home Chores

Now that kids are at home and still have to get their school work done, it does not mean we exempt them from home responsibilities. In fact, such chores could help foster productive procrastination. This allows kids to grow up all rounded.

At first, staying with kids at home was hectic, and we all wanted things to get back to normal. However, as time went by and most institutions started to look for alternatives, it was clear that we had to adapt as well. I’ve held it together and will continue to do so because of the help around me. Therefore it would be useful if you become intentional about asking for some help.

My Obesity Struggle

I had been obese for the longer part of my life. And just about being overweight, I have been morbidly obese. I am 5 feet 7 inches tall, and at some point, I weighed 136kgs. My goal has always been to lose weight because I am tired of living with obesity.

 

Before looking at my journey, I found it essential to shed some light on what being obese means in relation to the body mass index. A healthy body mass index (BMI) ranges from 18.8 to 24.9. A BMI score ranging from 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight. If you get beyond 30, then you are considered obese.

 

If my calculations are right, my BMI was way above 40. So if you see me talking about obesity, I happen to know it too well. If you have never been obese, it might be hard to comprehend what it means to be obese. For instance, I was accustomed to silent and instantaneous judgments, which at times led to outright rejection.

 

What It Means to Be Obese

I have battled obesity for the better part of my life. Although I always put in some effort in the past, I might say that I have finally found a way to get around obesity. First, I would want to share some of my experiences for those who might not be alive to the plight of persons with obesity.

 

I always started my day feeling exhausted. I only came to understand that my ‘bloated’ stomach was to blame. Waking up feeling tired meant that I had to start my day with high-calorie foods to feel energized and stay awake. This meant that I was trapped in a cycle that was almost impossible to break.

 

Being obese also brought me lots of pain. Excess body weight burdened my skeletal tissues, which meant that my joints would hurt all day. Even taking a walk around the neighborhood seemed impossible unless I took some strong painkillers to mask the pain.

 

Another thing that most obese people experience is their struggle with natural human tasks such as going to the bathroom. Because of my size, I have broken toilet seats. Also, taking a shower was a great struggle, which meant that I had to turn to my childhood sweetheart for help.

 

Combating Obesity

All along, I had no idea of what I could do to bid goodbye to these self-inflicted problems. Luckily, with the help of the love of my life (God bless her), my struggle of fighting independence could soon be behind me. It all started by embracing the fact that eating was an addition, something I remained unaware of all along. I was addicted to pizzas, cream, sodas, and fries. And any time I felt low or stressed, my only solace was food. Any calorie ingested ended up worsening my miseries.

 

By the end of last year (2020), my only focus was to change my eating habits or tackle food addiction. It only started with some talk therapy, which helped uncover critical aspects touching on food addiction. As far as curbing cravings is concerned, I also had to try some medications that help ease cravings, further strengthening my resolve to curb unhealthy eating.

 

Having lost 24 kgs in the last 15 months, I honestly cannot say that I have won the ‘fight,’ but this has injected a breath of fresh air into my life. I believe that I will be able to lose even more weight in the future, but it all boils down to my ability to close my mouth and stop overeating.

 

As far as dealing with chronic obesity goes, I would not recommend that you start going for morning runs, which I am yet to begin. Doing this would make you susceptible to joint injuries. You can be active in many ways; all you need is to be creative and wary of your health status.

While it might be too early to claim that I have won the fight against obesity, I at least now know why I have been obese, what I did, and what I have to work on going forward. Simply, if I can resist the urge to gorge myself, then my weight loss struggles will soon be behind me. And this is a lesson for anyone who would want to rewrite his or her obesity struggles.

 

Simple Tips On Staying Active While Working from Home

The workplace has significantly changed over the years and especially in 2020. This has led to some significant trends such as flextime, working from home and telecommuting. However, working from home comes with some major challenges, such as staying inactive while working from home.

 

In most cases, when I initially used to work from home, I found myself spending the whole day hunched over my desk and only taking brief bathroom breaks. Having worked at home for several years now, I have adopted several ways of staying active while working from home. These habits ensure that I do not compromise my health in the process of meeting my work goals. If you want to know what these tips are, then continue reading.

 

Keep Exercise Equipment Close By

Besides setting specific times to walk and climb stairs, I have also managed to stay active when working from home by keeping my exercise tools and equipment nearby. Some of the most crucial equipment to consider keeping around the home office include hand weights, exercise mats, push up bars and resistance bands. The sight of this equipment motivates me to always indulge in some simple exercises every time I take a short break. These short exercise routines boost my energy and keep me active throughout the day.

 

Develop A Daily Workout Program

Keeping fit and active is heavily determined by one’s habits and rituals. Rituals and habits are so powerful because they can either keep me on track or derail me. With that understanding, I took some time to create and develop a specific workout program that I follow daily. Being consistent with my wake-up time, workout schedule, and exercise equipment has also helped keep me fit and active at home.

 

Getting Up to Cook or Eat

Working from home creates a lazy tendency whereby most people cannot even cook or get up from their workstation to get their food from the kitchen. Like everyone else, I was a victim too, and I kept ordering in instead of taking some time off to prepare my food. Today, I enjoy walking around to cook and get my food from the kitchen. This keeps me more active and fit in the long run. Other tricks to beat your slackness while working at home include eating out, which forces me to walk out of the house.

 

Blocking My Calendar for Breaks

Unlike at the workplace where I used to get quick coffee breaks, and clients would easily come by later if I was not at my desk, virtual working made me feel guilty anytime I needed to take a short break. I was always worried about what the entire team would think about any little break I took. This decision increased my inactivity, and I gained some extra pounds in the process. With time, I have learnt that small breaks matter because they give me a chance to stretch around and keep active. Anytime I take a break, I always block my calendar to show my clients that I am away for lunch or coffee.

 

Taking Walking Conference Calls

Another simple but effective strategy that I use to keep active and fit while working from home is taking conference calls while walking. Moving around does not just feel good but also enhances my blood flow. Thus, it helps my body and mind relax, enhancing my productivity when I get back to my desk. Additionally, these video conference calls also help me see my colleagues on the other side, which brings along more fulfillment and satisfaction.

 

Conducting Business Outside

As someone that works from home, I often schedule face to face meetings outside my home office. This entails talking to clients and colleagues while walking around, which in the end keeps me fit and active.

 

I must admit, at first, it was hard getting used to working from home and also remaining active. If you are facing that same struggle, you are in good company. You can implement these steps gradually then add more as you go along. You will notice that after a while, these habits become almost second nature. All the best as you keep active while working from home.

 

My Fitness Journey

Fitness has been a part of my life for decades. I thank my parents for instilling in me the discipline to lead a healthy life. Seeing them take a morning run while we played catch up with my elder brother evokes timeless memories. But as soon as I was done with my academics and soon became a marketing executive at a local tannery, I ditched my fitness routine to focus on my new profession.

 

I soon realized that as I was concentrating on my career, my love handles started developing. And for the decade that followed my first appointment, I was not happy with myself. I knew I had no time to waste, and regaining my fitness could have been a tough call had I waited any longer. And on 14th January 2014, on a Tuesday morning, I set forth for a morning run. This marked the start of a healthy future. It was through lots of hard work that I realized how powerful a tool fitness could be.

 

By moving my body in the cold mornings or at an aerobics class, I learned, bit by bit, how to take care of my body through fitness. Along the way, I also chose to switch careers and become a personal trainer to share the fitness lessons I picked up along the way.

 

Where It All Began

Besides the early morning runs, I can say that my fitness journey began at home. At home, overwhelmed by some personal struggles, I found my passion for fitness and an intrinsic calling to help anyone who shared similar issues – by empowering using fitness.

 

Everything about my fitness was insanely personal when I was getting started. The small space in our garage was my sanctuary. Although I usually started my day with negative fears about my body, I knew that I had to soak in sweat and endure the pain. And slowly, I endured the struggles – and here I am, feeling positive and looking at myself differently.

 

Small and Consistent Changes

At first, after I was done jogging around the neighborhood and doing some simple stretches in the garage, I started incorporating some weight training aspects into my daily routine. I almost called it quits after I discovered that I could not do a single pushup.

 

I pushed hard and stopped many times, and I almost felt like fitness was becoming too much for me. During these low moments, I got the strength to accept myself and my body rather than focusing on my shortfalls. This meant that I had to work on the small things first. Therefore, I only focused on making small changes in my routine and stuck to them until it became a routine. ==

 

I Ditched the Scale

At first, the only way I would measure my progress was to keep weighing myself whenever I felt lighter. At times the numbers were positives. Nevertheless, in most instances, they kept affecting my motivation. I started by setting weight goals based on emotions that had nothing to do with how I felt on the inside, and nothing was forthcoming. I remember at one point when I cried in frustration when my weight stagnated for a month, although I was feeling closer to fitness.

 

Wary of what the scales would show, I began weighing myself less often. And this was a real boost for me for many weeks. And over time, I stopped weighing myself. Instead, I focused on measuring my progress by how I felt inside (physically, mentally, and emotionally).

 

Sharing My Love for Fitness

As I continued with my fitness and empowerment journey, something inside was telling me to be a personal trainer. Although I shelved my ambition for some time, mostly because I felt inadequate, I finally decided to try it.

 

I was well aware that I was not the fittest out there, but I desired to help others as we learned together. So I decided to enroll in personal training classes to understand better how to help individuals with different fitness needs get better. The long and short of it is that I started a gym, with my wife’s assistance, where I offer science-based fitness solutions to persons of all fitness levels.