TOTAL FITNESS: Trick Your Brain Into Loving Your Workout


TF September 2012

Truth is, not everyone loves (to) workout. Otherwise, we would all be looking very fit and healthy and the word obesity may not even be found in the dictionary.  For most of us, the problem is not the absence of desire to get fit. Secretly, we all want to fit into our sexy pants and tops and still breathe normally; or reach for that last piece of muffin not worrying about our clothes suddenly bursting at the seams. The problem is embracing the paradigm shift that it is within our capacity to reach new level of excellence each time we do our workout. And the key to taking this paradigm shift to heart and making it happen is to trick our mind into loving our workout.

How successful we are in making our exercise a big part of our routine has a lot to do with our mindset. Meaning, we have to change the way we see ourselves. If we keep thinking fat and resign ourselves to our overweight state, the more that it will become a reality.

Having a defeatist mindset is counterproductive and not just in keeping fit. So the first thing that you must do is to see yourself as a healthy person and affirm it! Instead of obsessing about how fat and sluggish you are, picture yourself fit and healthy. Same thing goes for your workout. Let your mind tell your body that workouts are a fun challenge that can give you that body you want and not a tedious chore that you can keep putting off.

Here are some more tricks you can employ to finally get you on the road to a passionate love affair with your workout:

  1. No more excuses! We all make excuses to try to justify our behavior – eating too much and working out less – but these kinds of excuses are not going to bring us any closer to our ideal weight and form. Break the cycle and work on improving our eating and exercising habits.
  2. Decide to be thinner, fitter, and healthier. Sometimes all it takes is a firm resolution to make a change in your life. If you want to lose weight, make the choice to do so and let your actions follow suit.
  3. Avoid being emotional when it comes to your weight and diet. For many people, food is a convenient coping mechanism for things that aren’t right in their lives, that’s why we have such a thing as emotional eating. When faced with such situations, the wise thing to do would be to think clearly. Try to separate your emotions and employ a logical approach as far as your diet is concerned.
  4. Be positive. There is no benefit to negative thinking when it comes to weight loss. Staying positive will help you feel better about yourself, keep you motivated and reduce stress — all of which will help you lose more weight.
  5. Think in your best interest. Direct your thoughts to gradually replacing your unhealthy thoughts and habits with healthy ones. Keep revisiting your health and fitness goals and you’ll be one step ahead of the game.

Total Fitness: The Rise Of The Alpha-Female


By definition, an Alpha-Female can be a lot of things. She is a quintessential woman who is fearless in the use of, and sometimes, in the exploitation of her feminine wiles in order to get her way or seal a business deal. Some say she is someone who has complete control of her destiny and has zero tolerance for traits that may be perceived at weakness or liability. Others say she is full of contradictions, often keeping her male partner in a suspended state, not sure exactly what to do with her. And still quite a few, especially those who cannot grasp her Alpha-ness, simply dismiss her as a bitch. But if you even know half of what she’s all about, an Alpha-Female is neither Satan’s mistress or a bitch and she doesn’t fall into the category of a saint either – she just loves to win.

They say it is from the ideals of feminism that the Alpha-Females’ roots can be traced. If you are strongly supportive of feminist views and admire smart, talented women who can fearlessly grab the bull by its horns and take a commanding lead, you are one step closer to becoming the alpha female. Appearance is not the only measuring tool, contrary to popular belief, simply because the root of the alpha female is much deeper than that. In fact, you’ll be surprised to see for yourself that the Alpha-Female is NOT always the most beautiful or the one who has the best personality. She stands out because she has created a niche for her kind and suddenly all the other women either want to be like her so badly – or to have a piece of her.

Unlike the Alpha-Male, whom extensive studies have been done on his conduct and behavior, the research on the Alpha-Female is still quite limited in comparison. But that is not to say that there is very little interest shown in this peculiar female specie. On the contary, Alpha-Females are on the rise and in such overwhelming but always very stylish and awe-inspiring fashion.

So you want to be an Alpha-Female? Here’s how you can start:

  • Elan is the word you should add to your vocabulary – and personify! Make an effort to look good by making sure your wardrobe not only has varied styles and accessories for every occasion but you also gotta wear them with elegance, flair and style. But it doesn’t mean that you have to blow your money and max out your plastic cards hoarding designer stuff. Remember that you can always look very well put together even on a budget. The key is to know your body and how to dress it up in a such a way that you only highlight your assets and draw attention away from the deal-breakers.
  • Be extraordinarily confident, but never in a such a way that you alienate people. Your confidence must be genuine and must come from within. That way, you do not always have to assert your presence on people – they will know just by looking at your glow and radiance that you are a  force to be reckoned with.
  • Show great leadership by developing a group of genuine friends and never letting that friendship fall apart. You may even appoint a Beta-Female, one who can be your stand-in when you are not physically there to assume your role as Alpha-Female. Now this may have despotic written all over it, but you must understand pack beahavior forms part of the Alpha-Female phenomenon – and you, as the AF, must have a pack to lead.

Those are just the basics and as you go on your journey to becoming an Alpha-Female, you will learn a few more tricks of the trade which you can exploit to dominate and win in varying situations. The important thing to remember as well is that you should be happy with your life and let it manifest by being optimistic about everything and knowing how to keep your cool even in the most exasperating situations.

Now while Alpha-Females are viewed as awesome successes in everything they do, they are unfortunately perceived as something else in committed relationships as a growing number of them are reportedly turning their backs on their equals – the Alpha-Males – and going for the beta versions. Yes, the laid-back and domesticated types who can live with the thought of being in the shadows of the Alpha-Females.

An interesting research done by Catherin Gray for Eve Magazine showed that the alpha female intimidates even the traditional alpha male and her success is a passion killer for him. Supposedly, a man’s chances of marriage goes up with his IQ, but for each 16 point rise in a woman’s IQ, her prospects of getting hitched decline by 40%. Therefore, women are only admitting to half their salaries and dumbing themselves down in a bid to attract men. Because, well,  let’s face it, nobody wants to be alone and unloved.

But clearly, this is not the kind of relationship an Alpha-Female who has worked so hard to become the powerful  person that she is, deserves. So how can she find the right relationship for her? First, know that the kind of people we attract says a lot about who we are, about the relationship we have with ourselves and it speaks volumes about our beliefs about relationships. By being clear about your core values, purpose and expectations, not only do you attract the type who can live up to them, you also gain some semblance of control over the relationship because you are in your element – your own environment and there is no misrepresentation involved.

Total Fitness: Caught In A Bad Romance?


With my extensive relationship history, one would be inclined to think that I have somehow earned my stripes in the romance department.  Possibly. But that’s not to say that I have mastered the art of not shedding copious tears each time a relationship crumbles to a heap of broken dreams on the ground. I still cry. And the most unbelievable amount of tears I cried for he-who-must-not-be-named and our  so-called non-relationship, not too long ago. A non-relationship because he was invoved with someone else and I, well, I was the side dish to her entree.  Though filled with the most intense love and passion, it was, clearly, a Bad Romance and it didn’t take long before I found myself making an unscheduled trip to Rock Bottom.

But I guess you could say i’m one of the lucky ones because right in the middle of the unfortunate three-way I have knowingly thrown myself into, Romance (with a capital R) has tiptoed into my world once more and is standing quietly in the corner with the umbrella stand, as of writing.  And said Romance, though multi-cultural and, for now, long distance, has given me back my self-worth.

And you know,  the good thing about an all-exclusive romance, is that I had forgotten what a good thing it was. I mean, dude, the happy feelings? They’re very good happy feelings. This is, perhaps, more addictive than smoking even.  And I highly recommend that more people should do this. Perhaps we can have a Bring Back The Romance Club, where for 500 pesos a month, you get flirty texts, flowers on your birthday and late-night phone calls with a sexy French accent. Sign up now!

But, Romance also has its downsides. Like the simple fact that on rare occasions, I find myself insanely jealous of his Ex-girlfriend when there’s clearly no reason to be. Or how I’m suddenly more analytical of certain conversations, forgetting that he comes from a different cultural background, ergo, it is but natural that we see things differently sometimes. These all seem pretty inconsequential in the general scheme of things, but falling in love and being in a relationship sometimes makes you think and do a lot of crazy things.

All in all, being in a relationship is a good thing. No, scrap that. It is a GREAT thing. It helps chart your priorities in a way that you stop being extremely self-centered and start paying more attention to your partner’s needs and  much to your delight, discover that it’s actually more fulfilling. Being in a relationship also keeps you grounded and though there are no guarantees, you still tend to look at your partner in terms of marriage and children, which, in my opinion, is a very healthy exercise of the heart and the imagination.

And so to keep the love roaming around freely in the building – if indeed that is what you wish for yor relationship – here are some romance Do’s and Don’ts that you must follow:

  • DON’T ever go to bed mad at your mate.  Sleep on the couch if you have to, but make sure the bedroom remains to be a safe, wonderful, and enjoyable place to go to.
  • DO pick your fights.  Ask yourself if this is something that is going to matter in 5 years.  If not, let it go.
  • DON’T speak when you are mad, rather, wait until you calm down enough to talk.  Take a walk, a long bath, hit the gym, or do yoga to calm down, and always, always, always stick to the subject of discussion. Never ever attack their personal feelings, they have just as much right to them as you do to yours.
  • DO put your partner first. A lady can open a door for a man just as easily especially if his hands are full.
  • DON’T badger your partner for his or her opinion on everything, especially when they’re too tired or stressed out to even come up with one. It will only start a fight over nothing and neither one of you would want that.
  • DO tell your partner often that you love them.
  • DON’T allow your relationship to get into a rut. If you find that nothing seems to be as spontaneous as it once was, first talk then think of some action to take.
  • DO try to understand what  your partner is saying. And if your partner likes a certain type of sport, try to learn what the sport is about and the names of the teams and you never know you might actually like it once you understand it.
  • DON’T be afraid to show your love in the way that you take care of yourself, your partner, your children, your home your job.  You would be surprised to see how well that works.

And finally, this is the easiest one of all and I think that if more people should follow it, the world would truly be a better place. LAUGH. Yes, just that. Have a good laugh with your partner.  Heck, you can even laugh at yourself! Whatever you do, learn to find something amusing out of anything. Laughing is good for you and those around you.

Total Fitness: Best Workout For Different Body Types


Love the body you were born with –  that’s what we’re often told, right? But sometimes, we can’t help but be overly critical with our own body, especially when it pales so much in comparison with that of our sister, friend, co-worker, or gym buddy. And we are not even talking about the latest covergirl of Sports Illustrated basking in her bikini-clad glory. Her kind usually unleash the green-eyed monster in us, causing large, painful knots to form in the pits of our stomachs.

The painful truth is, some people are genetically blessed to have that hourglass figure, while others are born with some other odd shape.  That’s right, body type or shape is a genetic thing and it is usually impossible to change this, without having to go through very painful major surgical operations.

Good news is, there are special diets and workout routines that you can do to sculpt your body and make the most of what you have. So you don’t need to make that emergency appointment with your friend’s plastic surgeon – not yet.

But before we go to the recommended workout routines, let us first have a clear understanding of what Body Type is and its three main classifications.

What is Body Type?

Body type is completely determined by genetics. Every man and woman is born with a different body type and develops different levels of body fat and muscle mass. There are three different body type classifications:

 

Endomorphs: Endomorphs tend to have bigger bones and have higher levels of body fat than the other body types. They usually have round faces, larger thighs and hips, and arms and legs that tend to be short and tapering, giving them a stocky appearance. Weight loss is most difficult for the endomorph body type.

Mesomorphs: Mesomorphs are usually described as athletic-looking. They often have an hourglass or ruler shape, and gain muscle mass easily. The majority of mesomorphs have broad shoulders and a narrow waist. They have a fast metabolism and can lose weight more easily than endomorphs.

Ectomorphs: Ectomorphs have a thin, linear appearance with their narrow waists, hips, and shoulders – the runway models, if you may. Ectomorphs can lose weight easily and tend to have low levels of body fat. However, they also have a harder time gaining lean muscle mass.

In addition to your body type, you will also find that you have a distinct body shape – which is based upon the size of your physical features and the overall balance of your body. Men and women tend to have different body shapes. Men are often described as having a rectangular shape or a cone shape. Women are typically described as having hourglass, pear, apple, or ruler body shapes and for each body shape, there are recommended exercises to perform in order to highlight those good features and hide the unsightly ones.

 

However, before you hit the gym and go on a massive campaign to sweat out, you must know your body type and shape and have a clear mindset of what it is that you really want to achieve. There are different workouts for different body types and this is what you should be aware of. It will depend on your body shape for each routine that you need to do. Each specific type of workouts can strengthen weak spots and tone all those flabby areas you have. Here are some exercises that you can perform that will aid in toning your body, whatever your shape is.

 

Hourglass: Proportional, curvy chest and hips with narrow waistline. This shape is known as an hourglass because of the curves shown off by the well-proportioned upper and lower bodies and the distinctively narrow waist. For this body shape, both cardio and resistance exercises are recommended. Cardio will assist in keeping the weight in check, while resistance exercises will help to maintain balance between upper and lower body.  Jumping rope is the appropriate exercise for you which will get you toned all over. You can start doing this with 50 rotations then slowly work it up until you reach about 250 to 300. Riding a stationary bike can do the trick too but do this only with light resistance to avoid adding more bulk to places where you don’t exactly need them. Doing this for half an hour will just get you right. You can engage in swimming or dancing for that matter. Half an hour of this will get your entire body the toning it needs. It will work you out and it will build better endurance.

Ruler: Waif-like and slim but pehaps with that prominent belly look. Other than that belly, you are already in good shape so all you need is to tone evenly as well. Running is the ideal exercise for you. This will keep your build lean. You can do this for about half an hour. Sit-ups can also do well for you to strengthen your abs and maybe even that prominent belly look. You can do these 3 sets of 20 if you can. The ideal sports that you can engage to will be volleyball and basketball. These sports will involve your whole body and you can do this for also half an hour. Reaching and stretching before the game will do wonders on your upper body segment.

Pear: Larger lower bodies and smaller upper bodies. If you are a pear, you will find that your hips are slightly wider than your shoulders and that you tend to gain weight below your waist. Pears usually have small chests and flat stomachs. If you are a pear, your focus should be on balancing-out the top half of your body with the bottom half of your body and aerobic activities are among the recommended workout routines. You may also include walking, cycling (with low resistance), elliptical training, jumping rope, leg lifts and dips, push ups, chin ups, and shoulder presses to your routines.

Apple: Larger top half, smaller bottom half. Apple-shaped bodies commonly have slim hips and a large chest and stomach and they tend to gain weight above the waist or along the backside. Same with pears, people with apple-shaped bodies are encouraged to focus on aerobic training in order to slim down and lose body fat. By working on the lower half of your body, you can help balance out your chest and shoulders. Perform exercises that are low-resistance and involve low repetitions, such as stairclimbing, walking on an incline, running, leg squats, leg presses, and dead lifts.