Fitlandia Blog: Exercise

Strategic Vitality: 11 Small Steps to a Big Transformation

Strategic Vitality: 11 Smalls Steps to a Big Transformation

By Christa King, Fitlandia

11 Small Steps to a BIG Healthy Lifestyle Transformation (with tips to take action!)

What do you feel when you think about a “healthy lifestyle?” Overwhelmed? Frustrated? Exhausted?

I get you. Life gets crazy and before you know it, you are feeling like you don’t even know who you are anymore. Where is that healthy, happy, stress-free person you used to be? That person feels like a stranger now and you just don’t know how to get them back.

Well, never fear! Take a deep breath and check out these 11 easy, yet totally effective steps to help you craft the lifestyle transformation you are yearning for.

  • Develop A Positive Attitude

First thing’s first, you can’t craft an effective healthy lifestyle for yourself until you learn to leave negativity behind. You need to be open to and believe that you can live a lifestyle that puts health and wellness first.

Take Action: To get started simply try to notice when you are thinking or saying something negative. When you notice it, direct your mind to think of something positive instead. The more you do this, the easier it becomes.

  • Conquer Self-Sabotage

Whether you realize it or not (a lot of this happens subconsciously), you spend a large percentage of your day tearing yourself down; telling yourself you aren’t good enough or wishing you were different. You can’t be your true best and healthiest self until you get rid of these tendencies and learn to love who you are right now.

Take Action: Spend time being aware of your self-sabotage. Do you believe you’re worthy of health and vitality? What benefit are you getting from seemingly unhealthy patterns? Looking deep down into the reason behind your actions can help you consciously prevent them from continuing.

  • Release Shame

Being out of shape or losing touch with your past healthy self can bring with it a great deal of shame. Don’t let this control you! You can’t effectively move on to your new healthy self without first being in a healthy relationship with yourself. There is a reason we seek comfort in sugar, processed foods and/or alcohol. It’s ok to acknowledge that, then look toward healthier alternatives. Releasing shame sure change what will happen in your future…the return of your own vitality!

Take Action: Realize you are not the only one who feels shame, everyone does to a certain extent. Take time to note how you’re feeling when you engage in patterns that you want to change. Then make a list of things you could do to replace that (socializing, quick workout, meditation).

  • Get Your Stress In Order

In the modern age, stress is everywhere. It can have a seriously negative impact on your life and health. Staying on top of what is stressing you out and learning constructive ways to cope with it does wonders for the mind and the body…and makes crafting a healthy lifestyle that much easier.

Take Action: Make a list of your top three stressors during your day. Then spend some time brainstorming how you can effectively reduce those stressors. Making space for some me-time each week is a great way to safely and effectively cope with the effects of your modern stress-filled life.

  • Create Your Boundaries

Personal boundaries are severely underrated in our culture. In order to know what you want your life to be like, you have to know what to include…but also where to draw the line. Taking time to make a note of what you want your day (or life) to look like and sticking to that does a great deal of good.

Take Action: Work on learning to say no to others so that you can put yourself first. You are the only one who can control your own life, so finding time to move, eat healthy, and feel happy should be some of your biggest priorities. Sometimes that doesn’t align with what others want…and that’s okay.

  • Harness The Power Of Your Mind

The biggest barrier we face when crafting healthy changes is in our mind. Our brains are wired to stay constant and they fight hard against change. But this doesn’t have to be the case. You can use the power of your brain to rewire thought patterns to support healthy habits…and enjoy it, too.

Take Action: Taking time to check in with your subconscious mind and work on creating new brain patterns via meditation is the biggest catalyst to healthy changes you can possibly embrace. Check out Mind Zoning for a holistic approach to a healthy mind, promoting a healthy life. One of our favorites: Healthy Suggestion Surge.

  • Focus On Your FoodNo Diet Detox

Your health and wellness relies on the food that you put into your body. You’ve heard this many times, but it’s time to come to terms with its truth. Obesity causes a plethora of preventable diseases that you have the power to combat with your food choices. Choosing “whole food” options and eliminating (or at least significantly limiting!) your sugar intake is a great start.

Take Action: Commit to food journaling for at least one week to see what foods work for you and which your body would prefer you eliminate. Make notes of everything you eat, when you eat it, and if it contains any of the most common inflammatory and allergen foods (grains, legumes, alcohol, dairy, eggs, sugar, and soy). Ready for a FREE and easy guide? Try our No Diet Detox program today.

  • Adopt An Active Lifestyle

Movement is essential for all humans. Our bodies are made for it! The trick to a healthy lifestyle is finding movement that works for YOU. What do you enjoy doing? An active lifestyle doesn’t have to mean doing an hour of cardio everyday. If you enjoy walking, walk. If you enjoy swimming, swim. The key is just to move daily, it’s that simple.

Take Action: Writing out a weekly calendar for your daily movement is a great way to encourage yourself to commit to completing it everyday. Once you know what you are planning to do to move each day, it is easier to transfer that to your daily schedule and make sure there is time for it!

  • Find Your Tribe

find your tribe

Crafting and following through with any lifestyle change is so much harder to do by yourself. Don’t go it alone! Find a local or online community where you are comfortable sharing your wins, struggles, thoughts, and goals. They will hold you accountable and you will feel good doing the same for them.

Take Action: Practice sharing your goals with someone, whether it be a friend, neighbor, spouse, sibling, parent, child, or fitness community. They will help hold you to what you say and you are guaranteed to be more successful because of it. Having trouble finding your tribe? Check out the online Fitlandia community in our closed Facebook group and get inspired today.

  • Own Your Unique Journey

One of the most beautiful gifts we can give ourselves is to honor that our journey is unique. Our lifestyle, DNA, past, and goals are different from another’s – and that’s okay! Comparing yourself to others is not constructive…but being proud of your own journey (the good, the bad, and the in between) is extremely empowering!

Take Action: Keep a journal of your emotions, your wins, your lessons, your choices, your changes and more during your journey to a healthy lifestyle. It is wonderful to reflect on what you have done and see how far you have come…and be incredibly proud of it!

  • Share Your Vitality With Others

Working to craft your healthy lifestyle is no small feat. What you are working on can be incredibly inspiring to others. Don’t be shy! Share your story and what has worked for you in hopes of helping others get started and avoid the overwhelm that so often comes up when it comes to taking back your vitality. Bonus: it also helps you stay accountable and continue to improve YOUR wellness.

Take Action: Try writing down your wellness journey. Where did you begin? Where are you now? Where are you going? If you feel comfortable (and you should put yourself out there!) try sharing on social media or with a close friend…after all, you want your loved ones to feel fantastic, too

Ready for more? Check out Fitlandia’s debut book: Strategic Vitality: 11 Small Steps for a Big Transformation. The book and companion Lifestyle Planner are specifically designed to help people overcome the overwhelm of crafting a healthy lifestyle by breaking it down into easy to read chapters with action-oriented workbook exercises.


Sign up today for our early release launch where you’ll get 50% off the eBook, 50% off the 30 Days to Thriving program, and 3 FREE Mind Zoning® audio recordings.

About The Author:

Christa King is the founder and CEO of Fitlandia, an online holistic fitness solution that focuses on the four cornerstones of health: proper nutrition, daily movement, supportive community, and most uniquely, the power of the mind. Christa is the creator of Mind Zoning , audio recordings much like guided meditations that unlock the subconscious and help to build new thought patterns to facilitate healthy choices for a life of vitality. Follow Christa on Instagram to keep up with her healthy habits @fitlandiafitness and get a weekly dose of education and inspiration from her on the Fitlandia Podcast.

Episode 51 – IDEA World Fitness Conference Part 2

This is part 2 of our two-part series of top tips from the fitness experts attending the IDEA World Fitness Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Michael Boccio & Mike Soster

Michael runs BeachFit Long Island in Oceanside, NY, a small group TRX studio and Mike Soster runs Functions of Life out of Broadview Heights, OH where they specialize in American Ninja Warrior training for children 6 – 12.

Top Tips!

  • Start moving. Using a TRX system at home can be used by anyone
  • Get going with even a small step like doing a chore or going for a daily 5-min walk
  • Keep your thoughts positive!
  • Reframing thoughts through the power of Mind Zoning®
  • Engage the power of accountability
  • Connect with the Fitlandia Facebook group for accountability
  • Reinvent yourself and your relationships
  • Change something about your routine

 Shelby Stratton

Shelby is a yoga & group fitness instructor in Ft. Collins, CO and owner of the blog Live Fierce Wellness. Christa again asks what her top tips are to get over the hump of getting started with a healthy lifestyle. It’s no surprise she reinforces the common thread the others have:

  • Start with small steps – like reduce sugar v. going cold turkey cutting it all out
  • Try out the No Fools’ Detox to simply become aware of what you’re eating and how you’re feeling as an easy first step
  • Honor our personal approach to change, not one way works for everyone
  • Use yoga to develop a breath-work practice and to get out of your head and into your body for an emotional and physical cleanse
  • Take time for yourself to move – even if it’s just a for a few minutes as you build upon it
  • As Todd Durkin suggests, clear your mind first thing in the morning to start the day off right

Elizabeth Skwiot

Elizabeth is the founder of Cirque-it Fitness to help people get “Fit, Fun and Done in 45 Minutes” and bring the playground back to fitness. Her philosophy is that you can make great use of 45-minutes, focusing on a structured class that goes by super fast so that her clients have the best workout possible. She and Christa bond over their work to revolutionize the fitness industry and break through old paradigms. Elizabeth’s tips to include:

  • Take care of yourself and challenge yourself
  • You have permission to listen to your body
  • Go to the instructor at the beginning of class to let them know you may need to modify exercises
  • ADD, DON’T SUBTRACT. Then you can focus on what you can bring into your life to create an “upward spiral”
  • Reframing thoughts through the power of Mind Zoning®
  • Talk to yourself like you’re your own best friend.

What was the “ah-ha” you got from the interviews with the pros?!

Head over to iTunes or Stitcher to leave us a review and tell us what you got out of today’s show!


Today’s Sponsor: Dr.’s Mark and Michelle Sherwood of the Functional Medicine Institute. Check out their DNA test today to help you identify food sensitivities to support your health, wellness and fitness goals.

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Episode 50 – IDEA World Fitness Conference Part 1

Welcome to our 50th podcast!  In celebration of this exciting milestone, we are giving you Fitlandian’s an insider’s view of the people and trends from the Idea World Fitness Conference that Christa attended in Las Vegas in July. This two-part series includes interviews from the fitness industry experts she encountered at the conference who focus in the cornerstone areas that Fitlandia is founded on; better nutrition, more daily movement, positive mindset and encouraging community.


Anna Gemma

Our first guest is Anna Gemma with ChoreoBarre®Fitness. This company was created in 2014 in the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s formatted from Vaganova’s Method, a training devised from a Russian dancer, fusing together elements of Italian technique and traditional French ballet. ChoreoBarre® Fitness involves the entire body using cardiovascular intervals, core stability exercises, ballet inspired moves and can be done at three different levels so it suitable for everyone to try.

Want to give it a go?

ChoreoBarre®Fitness classes are in Danville, California at The Studio, as well as in Livermore, California located at LifeStyleRx in the Stanford Health Care – Valleycare Recreational Center.

Anna’s tips:

  • Consistency – getting to the gym twice a week
  • Nutrition – maintaining a healthy lifestyle by making better eating choices
  • Adequate sleep
  • Build confidence – you can do it!

Tips when feeling stuck:

  • Don’t feel discouraged about past choices – it’s a new day with a new start
  • Build confidence and believe in yourself

“We all started from somewhere, you can do it!”

Derek & Shaelah Harmon

Also at the conference, Christa found some fellow Oregonians, Derek and Shaelah who work in La Grande, Oregon at the Mountain Valley Fitness and Health. This holistic gym and physical therapy clinic has a variety of services they provide including acupuncture, group fitness classes, personal training which Derek has been involved in since 2013, a nutritionist to help with meal prepping and sports performance training to help everyone reach their health goals.

Shaelah, the manager at Mountain Valley Fitness and Health helps people daily face their mental challenges in their health journey by introducing them to other clients so they feel more comfortable in a “transitional program”. When working with his clients during personal training sessions, Derek explains that he focuses on finding what people want specifically from their training and then helps them break down walls and barriers to achieve it.

Their tips:

  • Setting goals – short and long term goals so you and track progress and reflect on how to adjust
  • Functional goals – find what works for you day to day

At Mountain Valley Fitness and Health, they work hard to provide members with the highest quality of individualized fitness experience to maximize functional abilities and improve overall quality of life.

Roy Birch

For our third interview, Christa welcomes Roy Birch to the Fitlandia Podcast. Roy has been a personal trainer for 26 years. Over his lengthy career he says he’s learned how to create a solid business through genuine care for his clients. With trust and sincerity as the back bone of his business, the relationships he’s created with his clients has resulted in 50% of his clients continuously working with him for over 20 years!

As anyone working in the health and nutrition business you see and work with your clients through various mental obstacles. Roy states the biggest challenge he sees is his clients is not believing they have the ability to take their health to the next level. This is where the trust they have in him comes in to play. Roy explained that listening to what your client is worried about will give insight on how to push them by staying in their boundaries helping them pave the way back to success.

Chris Stevenson

Next, we meet with Chris, owner of Stevenson Fitness, a 7,500-square foot boutique health club in Oak Park, California. At Stephenson Fitness, they specialize in building an ultimate member experience with group exercises, run clubs, individual personal training, childcare, general memberships and Olympic lifting platforms.

Chris grew up as a competitive martial artist, which unexpectedly turned into performing stunts for the children’s show, “Power Rangers.” After 15 years of live tours, red spandex and creating a healthy, active lifestyle, Chris traded in his spandex and became a group fitness instructor and personal trainer. He later got hired at the Chiropractic Sports Institute of Southern California and ran their injury rehab clinic and athletic training center.

This led him to opening up his personal training studio and growing into what Stevenson Fitness is today!

Client member experience hurdles:

Chris explains how difficult fitness is because of the instant gratification world we live in today and how unfortunately, fitness takes time, mindfulness and consistency. To try and bridge the gap so the journey is fun, Chris focuses heavily on training his staff to be excited and welcome their guests by first reiterating what a great choice it was coming in, instead on memberships and prices. “This starts building that trusting relationship and if they continue to come in, it will improve their quality of life”, he says!

Pro Tips:

  • Try and teach people to put their health first and create lifestyle around that
  • Create one new healthy habit once a month for a year and at the end of the year you have 12 new habits that are drawing you closer to the best, healthiest you! 

“At Stevenson Fitness, everyone leaves feeling better than when they arrived!” 

Head over to iTunes or Stitcher to leave us a review and tell us what you got out of today’s show!


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Episode 37 – Incorporating Your Brain into Strength Training

Today, Christa welcomes her new fitness buddy, Mehul Parekh. While searching the Oregon Entrepreneur’s Network for connection opportunities with other fitness centers, Mehul came across Fitlandia, and thought, “How can you go wrong with a name like that?!” He connected with Christa and they decided to collaborate on a podcast to talk about how to incorporate your brain into your strength training workout.


Mehul is the owner of Bridgetown Brain and Body in Portland, Oregon. He gave Christa a private training session where they focused on the brain and muscle connection during the workout. She calls the session, “mind blowing” and encourages us to work to reframe how we think of strength training – especially for those of us just getting started.

Mehul’s Philosophies

  • injury-prevention
  • how to connect the brain to the body
  • a technique to prevent future injury

“What we’re learning more and more now in physical therapy, chiropractic circles and occupational therapy circles is that rehabbing injuries cannot just be a bottom-up approach,” says Mehul.

“There needs be brain involvement in how to activate muscles to make a lasting effect.”

Traditional physical therapies techniques might include:

  • Movement of injured or limited muscles/limbs
  • Holding something heavy (building strength)
  • Stretching (increasing mobility)
  • Botox injections (loosening muscles)

These therapies can be good, but changes in the physical body won’t be permanent until we connect the brain to the body. In strength training, you can strengthen the muscle all you want, but there is neurological component that needs to be incorporated. It’s necessary to include the brain to create a new neural pathway so we don’t slip back into old patterns. It is a whole-body experience when we connect the brain and the body in strength training.

What’s Different About a Brain and Body Workout? (vs. a conventional personal trainer)

  • Not exhausted afterwards (refreshed instead!)
  • No shouting, no drill sergeant, no platitudes
  • Not a no-holds barred generic one-hour session
  • Not the adage of “no pain, no gain”

The main concern with strength training in most gyms is that people are just given workouts – there is no consideration of long term progression and no planning about how the workout may affect your day.

What we do in the gym is supposed to be a carry-over effect for the rest of the day, it’s not supposed to be the end of it. There is no point to a workout if you can’t move afterwards.

It’s important to understand and be respectful of your body when working out, even when training hard. If you’re trying to break a personal record with a certain lift or squat, then it may be necessary to limit other moves on a specific day or when our bodies are giving indications that today might not be the best day.

Christa incorporates Ayurvedic principles with her workouts, and is a Pitta dosha means that she enjoys a good, hard workout. And even though this is her tendency and it feels good, she stays mindful and respectful of her body’s condition.

The Mark of a Good Trainer

  1. Has a fitness plan (no ad-libbing)
  2. Is flexible (mindful of energy and mobility levels)
  3. Crafts a workout for the individual
  4. Focused on injury prevention

Mehul’s e-book, Shattered!, is available for download at his website, and talks about how strength training stalls out, plateaus occur and how to break through them.

Basic Tips for Engaging Your Brain While Strength Training

  1. Short workout (bursts of exercise, 20-25 minutes daily)
  • Sessions with weights should be 46 minutes or less
  • Accomplishing a goal delivers a dopamine rush
  • Brings a sense of accomplishment
  • Helps overcome addiction cravings
  • Elevates moods, lessens depression
  1. Visualize your workout
    • Engaging in visualization of workout (even without doing it) gives a muscle-building benefit
    • Mind-zoning technique (getting brain engaged as a blueprint)
  2. Range of motion
    • Are you moving? Or are you moving a weight?
    • Greater neurological effect when you’re moving yourself through space (a push up, a squat)
  3. Changing workouts on a regular basis – incorporating a new move
    • Central nervous system burns more sugar when its learning something new
    • Helps with body recomposition and weight loss

The honeymoon period of weight lifting and resistance training is the first six to eight week – this is when strength is rapidly building. There is a neurological reaction caused by a more efficient recruitment of the fibers and the sensory and motor planning systems in the brain are working harder. This levels off after this time period and then it’s time to incorporate more moves which involve a full-range of joint and muscle movements.


  1. Strength is a skill. Thinking about it from a skill-building perspective will change how you workout. Skills take time to learn. Practice consistent, short bursts of application to build the skill in your brain and in your body.
  2. Let go of soreness as a benchmark for a good workout. Get over the “it has to hurt” mentality. Soreness is a horrible indicator of a good workout.
  3. Create the lifestyle to meet your goals instead of focusing on the goal and not the lifestyle.
  4. Strength training is most beneficial when done 3-4 times a week.
  5. Eat healthy food every day – for LIFE!

Mehul is coming onboard as one of Fitlandia’s expert practitioners. Look for him in future podcasts as he’ll surely be posting all types of great videos and workout advice.

Want More? Subscribe to the Fitlandia Podcast today and have a healthy commute everyday! Share your comments in a review and we’ll feature you in an upcoming podcast.

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4 Home Workouts to Help You Keep Your New Year’s Resolution

4 Home Workouts to Help You Keep Your New Year’s Resolution

Many people with the best fitness intentions and New Year’s fitness resolutions fail to stick to them by the end of January for two main reasons: they don’t have enough time to work out, or they hate the gym. If you fall into these categories but really want to commit to making permanent healthy habits this year, the solution may be closer than you think. By working out at home, you will save time commuting to the gym, and you will save yourself the anxiety of working out in front of strangers on unfamiliar equipment. Our X home workouts will help you save your New Year’s fitness resolution.

  1. Start Strength Training

Strength training is an important part of working out for everyone. With regular strength and resistance training, people reduce body fat and burn calories more efficiently for healthy weight loss. Lifting weights also helps preserve and build muscle mass and bones for people of all ages, and it increases resting metabolism by approximately 7% to help protect against muscle loss.

If you are going to workout at home, be sure to purchase dumbbells and kettlebells in the appropriate weights. If you’re a beginner, be sure to get weights that challenge you but won’t hurt you; you will increase the weight as you progress. With a quick search online, you can find various exercises that target certain body parts; for example, squatting with dumbbells works out the shoulders, arms, abs, and legs.

  1. Jump Rope

Jumping rope tones the upper and lower body all at the same time. It’s also a great way to work out because it increases your heart rate and helps you burn calories quickly. If you don’t have room in your home to swing a rope, do it in your driveway or front yard. Another option is to mimic the movement without using a real rope. Once you’re ready, bump up your jump rope workout by doing fast intervals and short recovery times. If jumping rope starts to get boring, spice it up by jumping on one leg, playing double-dutch with your kids, or jumping to your favorite songs.

  1. Follow Along with Online Workouts

There are tons of workout routines available online, and many are available free of charge. You can find beginner, intermediate, and expert workouts in addition to yoga routines, dance fitness classes, step aerobics, and more. If you’ve never tried an online workout before, search YouTube for the type of exercise you want to do. Then, see how many views the video you choose has and how many people gave it a thumbs up. Chances are, you will enjoy a workout video that’s been viewed more often and has more thumbs up than one that only a few people have seen or liked.

Another option is to subscribe to an online workout program and stream it whenever you have some free time, either at home or at the office. When you subscribe to streaming workouts, you feel like you have a personal trainer. Some people also stick to these workouts because they know they will have options and won’t have to keep searching for workouts since the subscription delivers them to you.

  1. Practice Yoga 

For people who like to wind down at the end of the day and don’t want to run to a gym or a yoga studio, practicing yoga is an ideal at-home workout option. Put on comfy clothes, roll out your yoga mat, turn on your essential oil diffuser, play relaxing music or soothing sounds, and start stretching and getting into your practice. If you’ve taken yoga classes before, you can get started right away, or  you can subscribe to a yoga channel that provides daily email, a calendar, and a routine to follow so you stay accountable and on track with your New Year’s resolution.

Working out at home is one of the easiest ways to stay on track with your New Year’s resolution and develop healthy habits. You won’t waste time commuting to a gym, and you’ll be more comfortable working out in the comfort of your own home. Working out at home also eliminates most people’s excuses for skipping their workouts, especially if you purchase the essential equipment ahead of time.

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Stop Putting Off These 5 Powerful Healthy Lifestyle Habits

Stop Putting Off These 5 Powerful Healthy Lifestyle Habits

In a world that is all about “less” it is somewhat foreign to think about adding more of something in our lives. We are told to eat less, weigh less, own less…the list continues. But there are many healthy lifestyle habits that are positively powerful and could and should be increased in our daily lives. And believe it or not, they are easy!

These lifestyle changes can reduce our stress, add value to our daily experiences, or even help improve our overall health and wellness. Developing a healthy lifestyle is essential to leading a happy, productive and enjoyable life daily.

The other benefit to adopting, practicing and improving these 5 healthy lifestyle habits? Beginning with one or many of these changes will make it that much easier to have other incredibly healthy lifestyle practices stick, too!

Check out these amazing 5 healthy habits you should add MORE of in your life NOW…

1) Drink More Water 

Water is a well known essential nutrient for the human body. Our bodies use water for basic functions and requires continuous hydration in order to work properly.

Studies have shown that even slight dehydration of 1-2% can impair basic cognitive performance, critical thinking, attentiveness and even memory.

Drinking plenty of water can even help with weight loss. Another study at Virginia Tech suggests that drinking water before eating your meals can help increase metabolic rates and also encourage you to consume less calories!

Healthcare professionals suggest drinking at least half your bodyweight in ounces of water each day and drinking water before each meal. You will feel more energized when your body has the hydration it needs to perform at its best!

2) Get More Sleep

Sleep is the body’s way of hitting the reset button. We heal, we re-energize, and we fuel our bodies with sweet, sweet sleep. We not only need sleep for energy but also for cognitive function, physical wellness, and emotional well-being.

We all live busy lives but it is important to realize the implications of regularly having a lack of sleep. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, sleep deprivation is linked to an increased risk in heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke and even obesity.

It is suggested to get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night. Give yourself one week of 8 hours of sleep each night on a regular sleep schedule and you will feel incredible benefits!

3) Stand and Walk More

Leading a regularly active lifestyle is incredibly important for your health. Sitting all day at your desk is not only hard on your body, it is hard on your brain and energy levels as well! Try using a standing desk for half of the day (or more!) and see how you feel.

Feeling like you have low energy today? Try taking a 10 minute walk to clear your head and re-energize your body and brain!

Fitting in regular walking or standing into your daily life can make a huge difference in your happiness, and help you burn extra calories, too!

4) Practice More Deep Breathing

Let’s face it. Our daily lives can be incredibly stressful. There are many things that cause this stress and a great deal are out of our control, but taking a moment or two to focus on your breathing can bring you inner peace and help curb that anxiety you are feeling.

Try taking a deep breath for a count of 8, holding it for a count of 3, and fully exhaling for another count of 8. Repeat this as many times as necessary until you feel more at ease and in control of your situation.

Sometimes just taking a moment to appreciate and focus on your breath can be incredibly healing and pleasant, and is a much healthier way to respond to life’s daily stressors.

And don’t just take my word for it, studies have shown than even just a few sessions of controlled breathing can significantly lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, in our brains. Talk about powerful!

5) Eat More Small Meals

If you think back to our ancestors, there is very little chance that they survived by eating three square meals a day. They were foragers and continuously ate throughout each day to survive. So how can we integrate this principle into our modern lives?

Try allowing yourself to graze throughout your day. Pack healthy, nutrient rich snacks and small meals to eat while you are away from the house. So long as you make meal choices that align with a healthy lifestyle, you will gain boosts of energy from each serving and feel more energized in general. Studies have even shown this practice could help with weight management.

Your digestive system will thank you, too! Not overloading your body with too many carbs or sugars in one sitting does a world of good for a healthy gut!

You Can Do It!

Many of these changes may seem overwhelming at first, but don’t get discouraged! Take small steps to integrate these powerful lifestyle habits into your daily schedule and slowly work your way to larger changes. Try your best and your hard work will pay off and help these powerful lifestyle habits stick!

Who doesn’t want to drink more, sleep more, walk more, breathe more, and eat more?!

The best part? You get to do MORE of what makes you feel happier and healthier each and every day!


What healthy habits are on your “must-do” list? Post up your comments below and we’ll feature the on an upcoming Fitlandia Podcast episode.



1 Riebl, Shaun K, and Brenda M. Davy. “The Hydration Equation: Update on Water Balance and Cognitive

Performance.” ACSM’s health & fitness journal 17.6 (2013): 21-28. PMC. Web. 20 Mar. 2017.

2 Dennis, Elizabeth A. Ana Laura Dengo, Dana L. Comber, Kyle D. Flack, Jyoti Savla, Kevin P. Davy, and

Brenda M. Davy. “Water Consumption Increases Weight Loss During a Hypocaloric Diet Intervention

In Middle-aged and Older Adults.” Obesity: A research journal 18.2 (2010): 300-307. PMC. Web. 20

Mar. 2017.

3 “Why Is Sleep Important?” National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (2012) Web. 20 Mar. 2017

4 Diedrich, Sara. “A stand-up solution.” The University of Iowa: Iowa Now (2015): Web. 20 Mar. 2017.

5 “Relaxation techniques: Breath control helps quell errant stress response.” Harvard Health Publications:

Harvard Medical School (2015): Web. 20 Mar. 2017.

6 Cea, Ugarte JI., Arrillaga A. Gonzalez-Pinto, and OM Cabo Gonzalez. “Efficacy of the controlled breathing

therapy on stress: biological correlates.” Rev Enferm 33.5 (2010): 48-54. Web. PMC 20 Mar. 2017.

7 Kant, AK. “Evidence for efficacy and effectiveness of changes in eating frequency for body weight

management.” Adv Nutr. 5.6 (2014): 822–828. Web. 20 Mar. 2017.

Websites/Blogs searched for inspiration/ideas/studies:


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5 Steps for Regaining a Fit Physique

5 Tips for Regaining a Fit Physique

If you’re someone to whom fitness is important, then you don’t need to be told how dedicated you need to be in order to achieve real results. People devote years of their lives and many hours of their time to losing weight, getting healthy, and becoming stronger. Good habits develop as a result. However, even the most deeply ingrained good habits can be broken.

Most modern people lead incredibly busy lives, and sometimes life gets in the way of that fitness regimen you worked so hard to establish. At first, maybe an increasingly busy schedule stops you from making it to the gym once or twice. Then things escalate and continue to take even more time away from your workout routine. Before you know it, you’re completely off the wagon and out of shape, wondering what happened.

This is something that can and does happen to the best of us. However, it’s important to realize that it’s something you can come back from if you really put your mind to it. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

  1. Don’t underestimate what your body is capable of right now.motivation for exercise

No, you’re not in the kind of shape you once were. Yes, you’ve probably got a long way to go before you’re back to where you want to be, and you won’t be able to pick up right where you left off. However, this doesn’t mean that you should work out as little as possible. To begin with, factors like muscle memory will make it easier for your body to bounce back than you might otherwise think.

You also have an advantage that you didn’t have the first time you got into shape. You actually know what it takes to get yourself into tip-top condition, so there’s no guesswork involved. You did it once. You can do it again.

  1. Keep the intensity level low at first.

In many ways, you’re where a beginner would be as far as strength training and general endurance are concerned. However, you can be sure that your progress will be much quicker this time around.

Gauge where you are currently by keeping the intensity level low at first. Lift or work out at about 50-60% of what you perceive your ability to be and take it from there. As long as you’re not totally hurting after your workouts, it’s not only okay to gradually up the intensity, but recommended.

  1. Understand the three stages of muscle building.

It takes the average person about a month to go from a sedentary fitness level to having light muscle mass. After about three months, that same person can expect to have achieved a moderate degree of muscle mass. As touched on above, a person who has muscle memory in their corner can expect to make progress more quickly, as the body remembers where it was once and will be better equipped to get back there.

This process generally takes place over three stages. They are as follows:

  • Stage One: This is the “getting back in shape” phase. Ideally, it involves doing easier exercises, but at a high number of reps to help activate muscle memory.
  • Stage Two: This is where you get into doing harder exercises, but at a median number of reps. Maximize the benefit you’ll get out of your workout by opting for compound exercises that work multiple muscle groups. Pull-ups, dips, and squats are just a few examples.
  • Stage Three: Here’s where more advanced exercises can be safely introduced. Go with lower numbers of reps so that you can use higher amounts of weight – the best combo for rebuilding muscle structure and improving overall strength.

You’ll be seeing (and feeling) yourself improve before you know it.

  1. Don’t forget to take nutrition into account.

As you no doubt already know, your actual workout is only half of the equation when it comes to getting into shape. Nutrition is the other half, and a very important one at that. Even the best, most ideal training routine isn’t going to help you get back to where you want to be if you’re not supporting your body via a proper diet.

The chances are pretty good that if you’ve stopped working out, then you’ve also lapsed in regards to healthy eating habits. It’s time to get back on track by recommitting yourself to a diet that is roughly 40% carbs, 40% protein, and 20% fats.

You’ll also need to be clear with yourself as far as what your goals are. Are you looking to bulk up? Ingest about 800 calories over your basic daily usage. Looking to cut or lose weight? Opt for 800 calories under that usage instead.

  1. Realize that getting enough rest is also important.Restful sleep creates motivation for exercise

Once you have your diet in check and your workout back on the up-and-up, it might be tempting to think you’ve covered everything important. However, it can’t be stressed enough that getting enough rest is important as well. You need eight hours of uninterrupted sleep each day in order to build muscle, rest your system, and recover from your workouts.

For best results, do everything you can to make falling and staying asleep as easy as possible. Don’t nap during the day if you can help it. Avoid drinking too many liquids before bed to lower the likelihood of having to get up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. Keep your bedroom cooler as far as temperature. If you still have trouble sleeping well enough or long enough, try a natural sleep supplement like melatonin.

Avoid overtraining, and definitely try to avoid ever breaking the habit of hitting the gym again if at all possible. It’s too easy to never get around to coming back from such a break! Consider making staying on top of your workouts simpler by setting up a home gym so you can maintain your progress even if life gets in the way again. You’ll be back on track in no time!

Author Bio:

Carole Klein is the manager of social media and content for Unique Fitness Concepts located at their headquarters in Vernon Hills, IL.  She has a B.S. in exercise physiology and is a fitness industry expert with more than 20 years of experience as a competitor and personal trainer.

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9 Reasons Why HIIT Can Be Better Than Cardio

9 Reasons Why HIIT Can Be Better Than Steady State Cardio

When you’re looking to make a permanent lifestyle change and end yo-yo dieting, incorporating daily exercise is a key component in a holistic fitness practice.

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s important to take care of your health in order to reduce the chances of prolonged illnesses and to eliminate stress. The fitness market is flooded with activities to help you achieve a healthy status.  

Activities ranging from walking in the park to running a marathon are always a good choice for those who like traditional exercises.  More recently, activities like Zumba and yoga, along with a variety of cardio and weight training options have also become popular alternative choices for getting fit.

Among all, Steady Cardio vs. High Intensity Interval Training has always been a hot topic of discussion in the fitness world. Some say, “yes” to cardio and some say a big,  “NO” to cardio.

 HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training and Cardio Defined:

As of lately HIIT seems to be gaining ground in the eyes of the experts.  As the name suggests, this type of exercise is a high-intensity regime where you perform rigorously for a short amount of time then take a short break before completing another interval.

You can get healthy with HIIT in a variety of ways.  Many people interval train by moving between a treadmill/elliptical, to cycling, or to running outdoors. Some even combine cardio exercises with strength training by using equipment like kettlebells, sleds, barbells, jump ropes, or even your own bodyweight.  

Contrary to HIIT, Steady Cardio is usually performed at a low intensity or at a low pace where you do same set of exercise for prolonged period of time. Cardio is also known as aerobic or cardiovascular exercise that increases heartbeats gradually. This is not the case with HIIT.

Eric Salvador, NASM, NSCA, head instructor at The Fhitting Room in New York City says that HIIT increases the body’s need for oxygen during the effort and creates an oxygen shortage that causes your body to ask for more oxygen during recovery period. This process is known as EPOC (Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption), and this EPOC leads to continuous fat and calorie burn after performing HIIT.    

Let’s Look at the Pros of HIIT That Will Make You Fall in Love with It.

Increased Metabolism

Wouldn’t you love it if your body kept on burning excess fat even after you left the gym? HIIT increases your speed, power, endurance, and metabolic rate, which helps you burn fat continuously as well as much faster than any other cardio exercise.

Noticeable Results

Short duration and more fat burning leads to quick results. Who doesn’t love that? With dieting, juicing, and aerobic exercises, it’s hard to not lose muscle mass along with fat. Studies show that both weight training and HIIT workouts allow dieters to preserve their hard-earned muscles while burning more fat.

Healthier Heart

Stress, junk food, and the fast life affect your heart the most, and HIIT works as a better way to a healthier heart. When you perform HIIT your body experiences EPOC, which encourages fat burning and leads to lower cholesterol levels.  This in turn equals a healthier heart.

Speedy, Sweaty, and Handy

Lack of time or no access to a gym is the reason most people avoid working out. HIIT brings a solution. It is fast paced and can be done with your own bodyweight if you don’t have access to other instruments. Plus, it can be done anywhere i.e., home, office, park, or even in the restaurant waiting lines.

Better Use of Your Bodyweight

With HIIT, you mostly use your body weight to get your heart rate up and keep it there. No excess to dumbbells? Excuses won’t work here.

Get Toned

Those who love a ripped body, love HIIT. HIIT workouts result in optimal muscle building and muscle retention plus more fat loss and increased calorie burn.

Love the Challenge

Are you one who loves a challenge? Then you are meant for HIIT. You can read a book or listen to your favorite music while walking or running on a treadmill or elliptical machine, but with HIIT all you hear is a loud heartbeat. You will be in pain at the end, but as they say, “No pain no gain”.

It Works

If you don’t have time for the gym, don’t get disappointed. All you need is 20-30 minutes a day for HIIT, and you will get a toned body in a short period of time.    

It’s Not Boring

Many people get in a rut with the same workout routine and stop working out due to boredom. HIIT won’t let you tire of same old routine. Once your body reaches a high endurance level, it needs a more powerful workout regime, which it can get from HIIT.


Once you start HIIT, you will feel the difference. HIIT goes way beyond more calories burned during the workout than many exercise methods. It’s a great alternative to the boredom that most people associate with the repetitive nature of cardio, and it offers more mental stimulation as well as greater physical results.

“What Is the Effect of HIIT on Health Related Markers in …” Accessed July 31, 2016.

Ask The Ripped Dude: Why Does HIIT Burn So Much Fat?” 2012. Accessed July 31, 2016.

Taylor, Conor W., Stephen A. Ingham, and Richard A. Ferguson. “Acute and Chronic Effect of Sprint Interval Training Combined with Postexercise Blood-flow Restriction in Trained Individuals.” Exp Physiol Experimental Physiology 101, no. 1 (2015): 143-54. doi:10.1113/ep085293.


Danaher, Jessica, Tracey Gerber, R. Mark Wellard, Christos G. Stathis, and Matthew B. Cooke. “The Use of Metabolomics to Monitor Simultaneous Changes in Metabolic Variables following Supramaximal Low Volume High Intensity Exercise.” Metabolomics 12, no. 1 (2015). doi:10.1007/s11306-015-0883-7.


Phil Slater is a blogger and fitness expert who writes about all things relating to health and fitness. Over the years, Phil has helped many of his personal coaching clients live happier lives by helping them achieve their fitness goals.


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5 Essential Tips for Setting an Effective Goal

5 Essential Tips for Setting an Effective Goal

By Carrie Billings, MA, CHWC

Are you ready to make some changes in your life, but don’t know how to start?  Try setting a weekly goal!  It’s a great way to get inspired and motivated, and by determining a goal that’s meaningful to you, you’ll focus your energy toward positive change and give yourself something to get excited about.

Before you decide on a goal, take some time to envision what’s important to you in terms of your overall well-being. Once that’s clear to you, think about the steps that can lead you to that vision.  For example, if you’d like to lose weight and become more active, some of the steps to take might include cutting back on soda, spending more time at the gym, or preparing healthier meals.  Once you’ve identified the steps, you can use them to set a goal.

Here are 5 essential tips for creating an effective goal:

  1. Make sure that it’s SMART:
    • Specific – What exactly do you want to achieve?
    • Measurable – How will you know when you’ve achieved it?
    • Achievable – Is it reasonable enough to be accomplished?
    • Relevant – Is it worthwhile and will it meet your needs?
    • Timely – Do you have a time frame?
  2. Define what you WILL do, not what you WON’T do.  For example, instead of setting a goal to “stop drinking soda” set a goal to drink 8 ounces of water at a time when you normally have a soda.
  3. Make your goal about your behavior, not the outcome. You can control the actions you take, but you cannot guarantee a specific outcome.  For example, instead of “I will lose 5 pounds”, try setting an exercise goal like the example below.
  4. Start small, but try to stretch a little bit outside of your comfort zone.
  5. Be accountable.  Find someone you can discuss your goal with – ideally someone who will be willing to listen without judgment as you process your experience.

A well-written goal will look like this:

This week, I will run on the treadmill at my gym for 30 minutes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, at 8:30 am.

Now that you know what to do, set a goal for the upcoming week.  Then, after the timeline for the goal has passed, reflect on your experience by answering the following questions:

  • What went well with your goal?
  • What were your challenges or obstacles?
  • What did you like about this goal?
  • What did you learn?

Don’t throw in the towel if you didn’t accomplish your goal exactly as it was written. Remember that there’s always something to be learned from your experience, and you can use that information to move forward and set a new goal.  For example, if you set a goal to drink 80 ounces of water every day and then found that overwhelming, you can rewrite your goal the following week so that it’s more manageable and fits you better.

Now, it’s time to take what you’ve learned and use it to set a new goal for the upcoming week.  You’re on your way to positive change!

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The Most Important Exercise Benefits to Keep You Motivated to Move

The Most Important Exercise Benefits to Keep You Motivated to Move

You keep your skin clean. You wash your hair and your body. You eat right. You take your daily supplements.  You are doing all you can to look and feel great. However, are you really doing everything you can in order to maintain optimum health and prevent unnecessary illnesses and diseases from occurring in your life?

No matter what your age or shape, you should exercise daily. Exercise strengthens your muscles, keeps your bones strong, and improves your skin – along with all of the cardiovascular benefits we gain, as well. There are hundreds of additional benefits to exercise — just a few are increased relaxation, better sleep and mood, and strong immune function. Let us look at some of the incredible benefits of exercise, and some simple steps to how you can get started.

Walking is a great, low-impact easy way to get daily movement.

If you create a walking program, you will see benefits in:

  • Weight loss
  • Muscle strengthening and definition
  • Stronger bones
  • A lower heart rate
  • Better mood
  • An improved complexion

Stronger Muscles

Most people know that exercise keeps muscles strong. Did you know that strong muscles burn more calories? Muscle mass is metabolically active tissue. In other words, the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn even when you are not working out.

Studies estimate that for each pound of muscle you add to your body, you will burn an additional 35-50 calories per day. Therefore, an extra 5 pounds of muscle will burn about 175-250 calories a day or an extra pound of fat every 14-20 days.

Because men have more muscle mass, they burn calories faster and lose weight more easily than girls lose. Girls need to work out daily to stay strong and in shape.

Stronger Bones

Regular, moderate exercise — particularly weight-bearing exercises like walking, running, jogging, and dancing — keeps your bones strong. Studies show that strengthening exercises boost bone mass and keep muscles strong.

Better Skin

Exercise also boosts circulation and the delivery of nutrients to your skin, helping to detoxify the body by removing toxins. As exercise boosts oxygen to the skin, it also helps increase the natural production of collagen, the connective tissue that plumps your skin. Your skin color improves after exercise because of the increase in blood flow.

Less Stress

Regular exercise reduces the amount of stress hormones in the body, resulting in a slower heart rate, relaxed blood vessels, and lower blood pressure. Increased relaxation after exercise shows on your face with reduced muscle tension.

Improved Mood

Research shows that regular exercise reduces symptoms of moderate depression and enhances psychological fitness. Exercise can even produce changes in certain chemical levels in the body, which can have an effect on your psychological state.  Endorphins are hormones in the brain associated with a happy, positive feeling. A low level of endorphins is associated with depression. During exercise, plasma levels of this substance increase. This may help to ease symptoms of depression. A recent National Health and Nutrition survey found that physically active people were half as likely to be depressed.

Stronger Immune System

Regular exercise appears to help jump-start the immune system, thus helping to reduce the number of colds, flu, and other viruses.


Exercise boosts blood flow to the brain and helps it receive oxygen and nutrients. The better shape you are in, the faster you fire brain waves that are responsible for quick thinking.

“Getting Started With Exercise”

As you incorporate exercise into your weekly schedule, be sure to include the following three types of exercise:

  • Range-of-motion or stretching exercises: These involve moving a joint as far as it will go (without pain). You can do this with basic stretches or through dance, yoga, tai chi, and similar activities.
  • Endurance or conditioning exercises: Endurance exercises include walking, biking, climbing stairs, aerobics, and swimming. These exercises strengthen muscles and build coordination and endurance.
  • Strengthening exercises: Resistance exercises help build strong muscles. You can do them with ankle and wrist weights, free weights, resistance machines, resistance bands, or free weights (handheld weights).

The benefits of exercise are incredible, so don’t waste time and let’s get to it!  Start a daily exercise program and you’ll notice a big difference in how you feel, look and think. 

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