Does fitness have a positive or negative impact on your relationship?

I am putting together some ideas for a future blog post and I need YOUR help. I have actually seen a couple posts about relationships and fitness but I really wanted to find out for myself from all of you!

Here is my question:

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  • Does health and/or fitness have a positive or negative impact on your relationship? Whether it is yes or no, can you explain why?

Fitness and health play huge roles in my relationship. My boyfriend Joey trains in Jiu Jitsu about 4 – 5 days a week. I weight-lift about the same amount of days. We both encourage and motivate each-other to work hard doing what we enjoy. He is okay with the time I take to weight-lift and I am okay with the time he takes to train. Two people in a relationship should be able to take time to do what they enjoy even if it involves being apart. Don’t get me wrong we workout together too! 😉

Please comment and leave me your thoughts and opinions. Your comments will help me write my next blog post on Fitness and how it impacts relationships!

-mk

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Achieving Balance in an Unbalanced World: Is it possible?

Is balance possible? In a world where we are constantly juggling responsibilities is it truly possible to achieve perfect balance in our lives?

balance

We are constantly being pulled in so many different directions: work reports, deadlines, children’s play dates, hobbies, school, part-time jobs, etc. The list goes on and on … and on. Even your house is calling your name! The front door needs to be fixed, there’s a leak in your bathroom, and you have to paint the living room walls because your children “ran out of paper”. Yikes! You think, “Gosh, there’s not enough time in a day!” A strenuous work load and  having to make time for your family along with household chores is difficult to balance. You feel absolutely exhausted even though you’re not pushing forward or making any progress with anything. Why do you feel this way? Because you are trying to balance everything in your life.

If balance is so impossible to achieve then what are we doing every day to make time for the different responsibilities in our life?

It’s called counterbalance.

Work-Life-Balance41

Counterbalancing is simply prioritizing. It is the constant shift of our attention from one thing to another to make time for everything in our lives. This will naturally force you off-balance. That’s okay, as long as it is done so for the right reasons. Sometimes you have to be at the top, the bottom, or to the extreme left or right side in order to give your attention to your priorities.

There are two parts of your life that you will continually attempt to balance out:

  1. Work and life
  2. Within work and within life separately

There will be times at work where you may feel like you are being pulled in different directions. Priorities at work are ever-changing which is completely normal. You will be at extreme ends of the scale much of the time.

In order to counter balance your life there are three things that need constant attention:

  1. Family and friends
  2. Body and spirit
  3. Personal needs

balance3

Family and Friends

  • Make time to spend time with those close to you, especially family; even if it involves putting household chores, work responsibilities, and hobbies on the back burner. Just be sure when doing so, it doesn’t produce negative effects. You have to pick and choose what needs to be taken care of and what can be put off.

Body and Spirit

  • I am a huge advocate for taking care of your body and spirit. Whatever direction you choose to take for physical activity: yoga, weight lifting, running, walking, etc. It is truly important to take of yourself. When it comes to spirit everyone has different beliefs. You can take care of your spirit by joining a church, meditating, giving back to the community, etc. Exercising your body and spirit is important to living a healthy lifestyle. Stress relief will naturally help balance your life.

Personal Needs

  • Let’s face it. We just don’t put aside time for ourselves. When you work full-time and have a family to take care of, it’s easy to put your own needs on the back burner. The thing is, setting aside time for yourself is very important. Even if it’s just 5-10 minutes every morning before the kids get up or on your lunch break from work … 5 – 10 minutes alone to reflect will relieve so much built up stress! Go get your nails done, a massage, go for a walk, read a book, go to the gym, go shopping, go to a gun range, meditate, participate in yoga, etc. We don’t utilize these things as often as we should.
  • Not only should you set aside time for what you love but you should take care of yourself just as well as you take of your family. If you have a family, I’m sure you are strict in making sure your family eats three meals a day but do you, yes you as an individual, make time to eat? Probably not. Here’s an example; my mother played such a huge roll in my health when I was growing up. She made sure my brother and I ate 3 meals a day, that’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The problem? She doesn’t eat breakfast, never has, and rarely eats lunch, if she does its very small maybe a granola bar. She is such a hard worker that she puts her work and family needs before her own. I am sure she is not the only one that does this. You, the one reading this, probably falls into this same routine. You have to make time to nourish your body.

Below are a  few simple ways you can satisfy your own personal needs at home and/or at work. 

  1. Snacks – If you are a person who doesn’t eat enough or your work doesn’t allow you take very long breaks, buy snacks specifically designated for your office. You go to the grocery store for your family right? Well, buy your own snacks you can take with you to work. You can also meal prep if you have the time to cook your meals for the week.
  2. Music – Music is extremely underutilized as a stress reliever. Maybe your office doesn’t allow you to play music. That’s okay. Bring some headphones with you. When you go on your break walk outside, sit down, plug-in and relax. Whatever music relaxes you is what I recommend. When I am trying to clear my mind I use an app called Spotify and type in “Relaxing Music” in the search bar. It brings up different playlists I can choose from. I choose one, sit back, and chill.
  3. Meditation – This may require some practice but once you learn how to meditate and clear your mind it works wonders! There are also apps out there that will walk you through the meditation and breathing process.
  4. Reading – Reading a book is an easy way to escape the real world. Whatever interests you, fiction, science, fantasy, romance, etc, bring your favorite book with you and read on your break. It will refresh your mind and allow you to escape reality!
  5. Manicures & Pedicures – I am targeting mostly women with this one, not saying that there aren’t men out there who love these, but a large majority of women are fans of manicures and pedicures. This is such a great way to clean yourself up, especially if it’s been a long week planting or playing with your kids. The plus is that it’s relaxing! (They have massage chairs that will make you feel like jello) ;).
  6. Date Night – Let’s face it, when you have a family it’s difficult to designate time for dates but I think it is a necessity. Now, you obviously can’t go on a date at work but you can certainly make time for it. Making time for date night with your significant other is very important not only for you as an individual but for your relationship. It’s refreshing to get that alone time and chances are you probably need that “connection” (you pickin’ up what im puttin’ down?)
  7. Set aside alone time in the morning or at night – Talk to your family or significant other and just let them know that you want ten minutes alone just to relax and de-stress. It can be in the morning before your kids wake up or at night after they go to bed. For those of you who don’t have families to take care of setting aside time should be easier! No excuses! 😉 Setting aside mental time will help you rejuvenate and recharge.
  8. Lists – Now, I know some of you are list people. If there are multiple things you need to take care of make a list AND prioritize; key word being PRIORITIZE. That is how you truly counterbalance.

Join the conversation

  • Do you think it is possible to achieve true balance in life? Or, are we constantly shifting from one side to the other counterbalancing our work responsibilities and life responsibilities?
  • What are some things you do to either counterbalance or achieve true balance within your own life?

-mk

Diet or Exercise – Which one is more important? Part. 1

Part 1: Diet or Exercise – Which one is more important?

For the past couple of days I have been posing this question to my friends on Facebook, my followers on Instagram and on Twitter and the responses have been amazing!

So, which one is more important?

I found that choosing one or the other can be very situational.

One blogger commented that,

“They are both important. But it depends on what either of them can and will do for someone. Are either for weight loss, disease prevention, diagnosis corrections, build of stamina, preparation of a marathon, walk increase. One may be more important than the other depending on the situation.”

Determining what your goals are is essential to figuring out where you should start and what you should focus on first. If you are working on weight loss many might say to focus on your diet first and later down the road exercise will come into play. Some would also say to focus on diet MAINLY along with a light fitness regimen.

Another blogger posted that,

Wellness is achieved through a balance of many elements. Nutrition and exercise are two of the most important factors in determining your health status. As a registered nurse, I educate patients on both topics. In terms of preventative health, lifestyle modifications like diet and exercise are a great defense against chronic illness. There is a direct correlation between diet/exercise and risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease and many other debilitating illnesses. Diet is more crucial for my patient population because they are paralyzed and do not have the luxury of physical activity.”

Did you catch that?

Her patient population consists of people who are paralyzed. Do you think they have the luxury of exercise? Certainly not, diet is most important to keep their bodies as healthy as possible.

Almost all of the responses I received were in agreement with both of them (diet and exercise) being equally important as a whole, but when it came down to choosing one or the other nutrition took center stage.

What is considered good nutrition?

According to the National Food Service Management Institute, “good nutrition means getting the calories we need for energy and the nutrients we need for proper growth.” They also state that, “Variety, balance, and moderation are keys to good nutrition”. If we look at those three keys to good nutrition how many of us can honestly say that we pick the foods we eat because we need the nutrients it gives us? My guess would be not too many. We pick the foods we eat

because it’s what we like, it’s what we crave, out of habit, or addiction. Good nutrition can be achieved after we have educated ourselves on what foods give our body what it needs.

The link below lists types of foods and lists specific nutrients they offer!

http://www.whfoods.com/foodstoc.php

Here are some pointers in achieving variety, balance, and moderation:rainbownutrition

  • Variety
  • An easy way to obtain variety in your diet is to make sure you’re meals include an array of different colors, much like a rainbow!
  • Balance
  •     Fruit and vegetables should make up half of your plate shown in picture B. The remaining half should be split between protein choice and starchy/whole grains choice.divided_plate_630
  •     Learn how to calculate the calories you need daily. The link below can help you figure out the total calories you need daily for your size and also show you how to calculate the calories you need to lose weight.

http://www.eatingwell.com/diet_nutrition_health/weight_loss_diet_plans/diet_reports_information/3_easy_ways_to_balance_your_di?page=2

  • Moderation

I know you have heard time and time again, “Moderation is key” Well, it is!

  • Moderation is the control or the regulation of food intake WITHOUT depriving yourself of the foods you love.

This is key when it comes to good nutrition or dieting.

Utilizing moderation in your diet does NOT mean depriving your body of the foods you crave or enjoy.

For instance, I LOVE chocolate chip cookies but does that mean I am going to sit down and eat the whole container? No. One or two cookies will suffice! This can also be applied to alcohol consumption. Ladies, I know we love our wine but does that mean we have to drink the whole bottle? No. Moderation is key. One or two glasses are all we truly need unless your ultimate goal is to get plastered … (yikes!)

Moderation also means “changing it up”.

Consuming the same foods in excess can cause major health issues. Some nutrients may accumulate to toxic amounts, which can lead to serious disease. For example, too much vitamin A during pregnancy can cause birth defects.

By “changing it up” we can lower toxic levels in our body. Instead of eating a banana every single morning try eating an apple one day, a banana the next, and maybe berries another day. This gives us a variety of different vitamins and minerals and not too much of the same vitamin or mineral.

What can good nutrition do for you?

No one can deny that good nutrition has unlimited health benefits. Good nutrition is essential for our bodies to operate optimally for a lifetime. Medical online states it perfectly,

“…the benefits of good nutrition can be found in physical and mental health because a healthy diet provides energy, promotes good sleep, and gives the body what it needs to stay healthy.”

Here is a list of health benefits good nutrition offers (just a few):

  • Healthy heart
  • Strong bones
  • Higher energy levels
  • Better weight control
  • Positive brain health
  • May reduce the risk for stroke and other cardiovascular diseases
  • Reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes
  • Help decrease bone loss

Above are some of the most important aspects of good nutrition. We can all agree that these are just a few examples among the thousands of ways to achieve good nutrition. Eating whole foods and drinking lots of water is the best way to maintain a healthy body. Try staying away from any beverages and snacks high in artificial ingredients and artificial sweeteners (splenda, equal, sweet ‘n’ low, etc.). Be sure to utilize the three keys to good nutrition: variety, balance, and moderation. Also, try to “eat a rainbow a day”; this simply means to choose colorful foods. These are just a few easy ways that will help you switch from an unhealthy diet to a nutrient dense, healthy diet.

If your ultimate goal is to live a healthy lifestyle nutrition alone won’t give that to you.

You have to be willing to put in the blood, sweat, and tears in the gym!

I know, I know … it’s hard and it hurts. Well, look at it this way, if it was easy every person in the world would be doing it! Nutrition and exercise truly go hand in hand. They’re “two peas in a pod”, “two halves to a whole”, or even your “yin and yang”; you truly cannot have one without the other unless you have a physical impairment hindering you from moving your body. Physical exercise should be as much of a necessity as breathing!

Let me paint a picture for you.

You don’t exercise nor do you like to. You believe that you are a healthy individual because you “never” get sick during flu season. You consider yourself a pretty healthy person even though that long walk from your car to your office or climbing a couple of flights of stairs makes you feel like you just ran a marathon! You’re pretty convinced that you just don’t NEED to exercise because you “never” get sick.

What happens as you age and maintain this sedentary lifestyle?

Your heart grows weak and heavy; it isn’t strong enough to pump the blood your body needs to move effortlessly. Heavy breathing ensues not just when you walk up a flight of stairs but the slightest physical exertion standing up out of a chair can throw you into a breathing frenzy! Your muscles slowly waste away not only as a result of aging but as a result of inactivity making you prone to injury. You also develop osteoporosis in your bones making them very brittle, frail, and very susceptible to fractures or injury.

Before you know it, you’re either bed ridden or ordered to be in a wheel chair for the remainder of your life all because you decided not to designate only 30 minutes a day to exercise.

Here is an amazing fact:

Just 30 minutes of cardio and weight lifting each day can have an amazing effect on your bones when they…

6.9.2015 – Part.2 of Diet or Exercise – Which is more important?

meagan kunisch

Diet or Exercise – Is one more important than the other?

What are your thoughts? 

Do you think diet is more important?

OR

Do you think exercise is more important?

Please share your thoughts.

Your comments will help me write my next blog post on this debate.

mk

What does fitness and exercise do for you?

What does fitness and exercise do for you? Does it provide a place of solitude from our less than perfect world? Has it taught you how to self motivate and have discipline in all areas of your life? Fitness has changed me as a person in more ways than I can count.

In the beginning it was all about looking good, am I right? I mean, there are always those problem areas everyone suffers with or so WE think. We want to get in the gym and fix them. Now, when I go to the gym I am constantly working on molding my body, building my muscles to look how I want them to look. I am also working on myself inwardly, teaching myself patience with my body in the gym and with my life outside of the gym.. You see, in the beginning looking good was largely about my presentation to the world. How does the world view me? Do they like what they see? Those thoughts consumed my mind as I was growing up. I think that is pretty much the “norm” for any teenager growing up in a superficial world.

Point blank: that doesn’t matter. Yes fitness and exercise is all about changing your appearance but, it should be deeper than that. You shouldn’t be working solely on your appearance you should be working on who you are as a person; growing stronger not only physically but mentally as well. Think about Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nicole Wilkins, or Ashley Kaltwasser… they all train day in and day out not only in the gym but outside of the gym as well. They have to maintain the highest level of self-control, self motivation, discipline, persistence, and determination to make it to where they are now. Those are characteristics that fitness and exercise has taught me.

I have learned self-control with my diet and have learned to listen to my body when it needs something like any nutrients I may be missing or craving. I listen to my “junk” cravings and control them as well. When I first started analyzing my diet and meal prepping it was hard, stressful, and frustrating. Now, it is like second nature. I cannot have a balanced day without the meals I prep OR without the exercise my body craves.

Self motivation is one of the most difficult characteristics for any person to learn. We can all find motivation through someone who is successful and who can offer wise words of wisdom because they have been where we are now, at the bottom. It takes a very strong person to get up in the morning and go to the gym because they know the goals they have set forth for themselves and they know that they want it more than they want to breathe. That is self motivation. You are motivated by what you want and not by what you see others have achieved.

Discipline, persistence, and determination I place in the same sort of category. I feel each of these characteristics are links in a chain. Without one or the other, there would be a missing link and an incomplete chain.

“It takes true determination to be persistent enough to learn the discipline it takes to achieve your goals.” – Me 🙂

Make sense?

Dig down deep and find your determination.

Be persistent and don’t give up.

Discipline yourself, don’t show up and do less than your best, ALWAYS work hard and success will follow.

I may not be where I want to be, but I am closer than I was yesterday.

M.