Health

The Rules of Normal Eating

We teach our students that there are 8 aspects of the martial arts way of life:

  1. Fitness
  2. Meditation
  3. Philosophy
  4. Yoga & Stretching
  5. Health & Nutrition
  6. Striking Arts
  7. Grappling Arts
  8. Self-Defense

A complete martial artist should be putting energy into each of those 8 aspects of their training.

Today, I have a quick video to share with you in one of the areas that is most difficult for people and is often one of their biggest roadblocks to success - nutrition.

In our nutrition and lifestyle coaching program we teach 25 habits over the course of a 1 year program. You spend 2 weeks working on each habit and receive daily lessons (online) that will help you with your current habit. Two of the most important habits in the program are eating slowly and stopping before you are overly full.

This video hits on these concepts. As Dr. Koenig reinforces, this stuff is SIMPLE but not EASY.

Don’t Get Bent Out of Shape When Getting In Shape

“Getting in shape” is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions. It’s a great goal, but, unfortunately, it’s also one of the hardest resolutions to keep. We’re almost halfway through January, and many of the people who just knew 2018 was going to be their year to get fit, are already struggling - some may even have decided to give up already.

Gym memberships skyrocket at the beginning of each new year, but while gyms may see an initial spike in attendance, those numbers quickly decline. Why? Because getting in shape is hard. 

We all know why physical fitness is essential. We grew up hearing about the benefits of exercise in elementary Physical Education and learned about body fat from unforgiving middle school bullies and learned about muscles and ligaments in high school health and physiology classes. As adults, we get to hear about the endless benefits of eating green, leafy vegetables and taking brisk, daily walks from our concerned mothers or spouses or doctors. No one here is arguing that exercise and a well-balanced diet are bad things - everyone knows they are good. That’s why so many New Year’s Resolutions are some variation of a physical, mental, or nutritional improvement.

So we aren’t going to spend the next few minutes waxing on and on about why getting in shape is good for you. Instead, we are going to talk about all of the reasons it’s HARD, and look at a couple of strategies that might help you get through it.

1. Get Out of Your Own Way

From my own experiences getting back in shape after periods of inactivity, I know that the first thing I have to do is get out of my own way. For anyone that has a job or a family, taking time for yourself - even just an hour or two a week - can leave you feeling guilty and even stressed.

These feelings are totally normal but totally unnecessary. Taking time for yourself is vital for your overall well being, and as we all know from those elementary school PE classes, exercise can release stress and improve focus. Taking time for yourself can put you in the frame of mind to solve that problem you’ve been working on at your job or help you be more patient and present for your kids. How can you take care of your other responsibilities if you don’t take care of yourself?

Get out of your own way, and unabashedly take time for yourself!

2. Lose the Negative Perceptions

While you’re getting out of your own way, let go of the negative perceptions you have of yourself and the perceptions you project, accurately or inaccurately, on the people around you.

Being in shape should increase your confidence, but I’ve been merrily on my way to a healthy body and mind and found myself stuffed into workout clothes that I think make me look like a busted can of biscuits. Self-consciousness happens to the best of us, but we have to let those negative thoughts go.

Everyone thinks they look weird when they run. No one’s stomach stays perfectly flat when they’re sitting down. Most people have a smidgen of fat on their arms that they think flaps in the breeze when they wave. I have wheezing asthma that makes me honk like a goose whenever I do aerobic exercise. Everyone has insecurities, don’t let them hold you back from everything you are capable of and everything you can be.

3. Stay in Your Own Lane

And while you’re on the road to getting in shape, STAY IN YOUR OWN LANE.

In the past, I’ve fallen into the habit of comparing myself to the people training around me whom I’m sure are thinner/stronger/faster/more graceful than I’ll ever be. Focus on your own accomplishments and strengths instead of dwelling on what others can do. Spend your time challenging yourself and learning what your body is capable of instead of being envious of what you see others doing.

If you keep comparing yourself to others, you’ll never feel like you’re good enough. You might start thinking, “what’s the point?”, and give up when you’re really only just getting started. There will always be someone who is better at something than you are. You can’t be the best at everything; you can only do your best in everything. Let go of your spirit of comparing. 

4. It's Uncomfortable

Let me tackle the most obvious hardship of getting in shape last: It’s uncomfortable - even painful at times. Getting in shape is no joke. Your muscles will be screaming one minute and then feel like jelly the next. Your chest will get tight because you can’t breathe and you’ll feel like your heart’s about to pop, but somehow you keep breathing (or wheezing in my case) and your heart keeps beating, and eventually you finish that first jog. The first run turns into a second run that turns into a weekly run and then a daily run and before you know it you have run farther and faster than you ever thought possible.

In the beginning stages of getting in shape, everything can feel overwhelming or difficult. It’s achieving that end goal that feels so good: fitting into that old pair of jeans, seeing your cholesterol or blood pressure go down, passing that stress test, or just having more energy to spend on your family or hobbies.

So how do we get from exhaustion to exhilaration in one piece?

Here are a few things that worked for me:

1. Don’t go it alone.

Find an accountability partner. It can be a friend, family member, or a training partner. It can be as simple as discussing your goals together or strategizing for how you can help each other get there.

My training partners started dragging me on a weekly run with them after I came back from an absence. The farthest I had run before these weekly meets was 1.5 miles - and I thought it was AWFUL. Before I knew it, I was running 3…4…5…miles with them, and the next thing I knew, we had completed a half-marathon together. It was one of the most rewarding experiences, and it will be a favorite accomplishment of mine (though I hope to never do it again…ever) forever. I would never have met my goals without their encouragement and, some days, them physically dragging me on my run to keep me accountable.

 Me and my training partners the morning of our 1/2 marathon!

Me and my training partners the morning of our 1/2 marathon!

2. Find something you love to do.

I’m a martial artist, and I love it. My classes provide an excellent full body workout, and the supplemental workouts I do outside of class are to improve my skills as a martial artist (and also because I really like cake). I’ve found something that I love to do that keeps me fit and motivated. If you are looking to get in shape, discover that for yourself: dancing, running, rowing - there are endless opportunities. Fitness doesn’t have to be limited to a gym.

 Yeah, that's me. Scary, right?

Yeah, that's me. Scary, right?

3. Keep Going

Finally, have the mettle to keep going. When the path to your goals gets uncomfortable, don’t give up. That goal is right in front of you if you only push through.

Remember, you’ve come too far, to only come this far. You can do it; I believe in you!

The Slow-Moving Plague

Consider some of the following information from the CDC:

More than one-third (36.5%) of U.S. adults have obesity.

Over 70% of U.S. adults over the age of 20 are overweight.

Approximately 84 million American adults—more than 1 out of 3—have prediabetes. Prediabetes is a serious health condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. Of those with prediabetes, 90% don’t know they have it. Prediabetes puts you at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

The good news is that if you are prediabetic, or are overweight or obese, we know what lifestyle changes need to be made to prevent, delay, or even reverse these conditions.

The bad news is that SO DO YOU. The problem we are facing is not a lack of information. In fact, you could argue that we have way too much information. The amount of information practically freezes us. And it changes on a daily basis.

Carbs are good…no, carbs are bad.

Fat is good…no, fat is bad.

You should do more cardio…no, you should do more strength training.

This diet is the best…no, THIS diet is the best.

These conflicting statements that are thrown in our faces all the time confuse us, and freeze us in our tracks. We aren’t sure if we have the PERFECT diet or exercise plan, and so we just stay put and continue deeper and deeper into this hole.

That is until something we see on Facebook, or someone tells us about something that convinces us we have found the perfect plan. And we follow it for a little while, but that idea was such a significant overhaul of our current lifestyle that we started to slip a little.

We gave into some cravings.

We skipped a workout.

We just don’t feel like this plan is the one for us. 

But Monday is coming right around the corner, so let’s try again next week!

And we make it a couple of days into the new week before inevitably slipping again. Before you know it, this cycle brings us back to where we were before the plan, and we give it up. Only to fall out of shape even worse than we were before the miracle plan tried to save us.

But it’s okay because a NEW YEAR is coming up!!!

On this magical day, January 1, everything will change. I will overhaul my life and finally be the person I want to be. Even though nothing makes this day any different than any other day, the difference is now the New Year motivates me.

Well, we all know how that works too, don’t we? Eventually motivation from the new year will be gone.

So, let’s not fool ourselves this year.

Try something a little different this year: I want you to take your time and write out 26 habits that you think are the most important for you to change your life. Just to get you started, think of some things like:

Eat slowly and enjoy your food.

Stop eating before you are stuffed.

Exercise daily, but make it something you love.

Eat a few servings of vegetables every day.

Eat REAL food.

Take 5 minutes to meditate every day.

And so on and so forth. With all of the information you have available to you, what habits would you pick? Now, lay them out in a logical sequence, where one habit builds into the next one whenever possible. What order would it make the most sense to learn all of these habits?

Now plot them on your calendar, and spend 2 weeks working on each one for the next 52 weeks (year), and tell me where you land this time next year.

Our problem is not a lack of information, it is understanding how to make change happen. One habit at a time is the way to do it!

This is the way Precision Nutrition (PN) has built their nutrition and lifestyle coaching program. We teach our students that martial arts training is a "Way of Life," and that means you should integrate things like healthy lifestyle habits, nutrition, yoga, meditation, fitness, etc. into your life. The Precision Nutrition platform has powered our ability to offer nutrition and lifestyle coaching to our students, and we couldn't be happier with it. 

We can only open up a few spots in the program at a time because we just don't have enough time to coach a ton of people. We'd love for all of our adult students at Progressive Martial Arts Academy to go through this program because it lines up so beautifully with the "Martial Arts Way of Life." It is the missing link we were looking for for so many years. Unfortunately, we cannot take everyone on at the same time.

We will be accepting a small group of men and women that wish to embark on a year-long program to build the habits and skills necessary to reach and then maintain the healthiest version of themselves. This program with either myself or PMA instructor and certified PN coach, Kristie Fox, as your coach will begin Monday, January 1, 2018.

If you are interested, please email me at dcorrigan@pmaoakridge.com to reserve a spot and get more information.

Changing your nutrition and lifestyle doesn't have to be complicated, boring, or ineffective. If you are sick of trying new diets and exercise programs year in and year out, this is a 1-year program that will help you slowly change your habits to live the healthy lifestyle that you want.

Through PN's ProCoach software, we will provide the nutrition and lifestyle portion of coaching online with daily habits, lessons, and assignments. We’ll get to see your progress, provide feedback on a regular basis to your assignments and progress, and answer any questions you may have along the way. This program can be done 100% online! So wherever you are in the world, don't hesitate to email me.

Space is extremely limited, so please do not wait to email - dcorrigan@pmaoakridge.com.

I recently heard someone on a podcast I was listening to refer to what’s happening with health in this country as a “slow-moving plague.” I view this element of what we do at Progressive Martial Arts Academy as maybe one of the most important. We’ve always been able to make a large impact on people’s lives through martial arts training, and we are so excited to now be able to help with nutrition and lifestyle coaching too.

I hope you have a great 2018! Even if you don’t go through our coaching program, I hope you will take the advice above and give it a shot. Let me know how it works out. Remember, one habit at a time!

 

The Benefits We Can't Measure As Easily

“I walk taller now.

“My posture is better.”

“I’m so much happier on the inside.”

“I’ve become a better parent.”

 “I feel healthy.”

"I feel confident out in public."

“I feel confident in my food decisions.”

“I’m more organized.”

“I am stronger… inside and out.”

“I’m determined.”

“I'm more focused.”

These are real things that our martial arts students tell us on a regular basis. Sometimes we get too wrapped up in the goals, outcomes, and benefits that we can easily see or measure such as pounds and inches lost, promotions, or the number of push-ups we can do. 

Don't get me wrong - those measurable things are PHENOMENAL too. But we can't lose sight of all the other ways our lives are improved by martial arts training, exercise, or changes in our nutrition and lifestyle habits.

So, what are some ways your life has been impacted by the martial arts way of life?


This Saturday at our annual holiday sale from 10 AM - 1 PM, we will be offering our lowest price ever on our 1-year nutrition and lifestyle coaching program. This 100% online program is regularly priced at $1,999, and has only been discounted to our students to $999 in the past. We are going to take on 10 additional students into the program to start on Monday, January 1, 2018, and will be offering the entire year of coaching for $899. This price will be available at the holiday sale only.

If you'd like to go ahead and lock in your spot now, email me at dcorrigan@pmaoakridge.com and I will make sure your spot is saved on Saturday. Then we will check you out at the sale (even if you can't make it in person!). 

Learn more about the coaching program here - 

http://www.pmaoakridge.com/nutrition

Check out the event page on Facebook for more information on sale items, and RSVP to make sure you don't miss announcements as they come out this week:

https://www.facebook.com/events/2031918930370641/

5 Key Health Benefits to Martial Arts Training

Participating in physical activity is much more beneficial than a sedentary lifestyle. And as we age, it becomes even more important to incorporate some form of fitness into our daily routine. Exercise has been shown to improve your mood, combat chronic diseases, and manage your weight. Regardless of your age, sex, or physical ability, experiencing the outstanding health benefits that martial arts have to offer is a great way to improve your well-being.

Here’s a quick rundown on some of the advantages that martial arts provide in the world of fitness.

Mentally Refreshing

Seeped in ancient traditions, the martial arts have significant mental and spiritual elements that work toward enhancing focus and cultivating better self-control. Filtering energy and cleansing the mind from stress and tension enables martial arts practitioners to feel a sense of balance and tranquility that transcends into their daily lives. If you’re feeling the pressure from work, family, and life, exploring martial arts is an excellent way to release some of the tension.

Sense of Accomplishment

Unlike running on a treadmill or pedaling in a spin class, martial arts involves a series of progressions that define advancement and skill level. Through practice and commitment, martial arts enthusiasts can see themselves advance from novice to expert. Measurement through recognition builds confidence and creates a rewarding environment.

Increase Strength

Pop culture and Hollywood have misled many people into believing that martial arts are strictly about training and fighting. In truth, high-quality martial arts training should include many other attributes such as strength and conditioning. Various techniques are employed that develop strength through calisthenics, which makes martial arts a great way to become stronger without getting bulky.

Overall Stamina

Research shows that the combination of exercise and energy found in martial arts considerably bolsters stamina. Chemicals released in the brain make you feel better, stimulate the immune system and have even demonstrated anti-aging capabilities. 

Flexibility

The soft style routines found in some forms of martial arts dramatically increase flexibility. Training and study of martial arts require an entire range of motion from the body, and that helps with coordination and balance.


There are many forms of martial arts to choose from. Find one that’s right for you and discover the benefits first hand. 

How Brittany Lost 38 Pounds and 8% Body Fat This Year

Today, I want to brag on one of our students. I'm a little biased obviously, but very proud, so I'd like to take a minute to brag about my wife, Brittany Corrigan.

For those that don't know, earlier this year she was selected to test for her Black Belt in Kenpo and is now in the preparation phase, but the story I want to tell goes back to last summer.

One year ago, my wife came back to PMA to get back to training after giving birth to our second child, Auggie. Without going too far off on a tangent, let me just give so much credit to women for what they have to go through with pregnancy, childbirth, and the recovery afterward. I know we see some stories about some women snapping right back, but I've seen first hand how difficult it can be (twice!), and all I can say is WOW.

So one year ago, Brittany returned to training at 212 pounds, and at 6 feet tall her body fat was at 38% (yes, she's approved of me giving you all of these numbers!). Today, she is at 174 pounds, and 29% body fat- officially in the first level of healthy body fat percentage for women (read more about the different levels here - http://www.precisionnutrition.com/cost-of-getting-lean-infographic). Best of all, she has done it in what I consider the best possible way - slowly and sustainably.

Brittany didn't go on a diet. In fact, we just finished eating at Chuy's for our date night, and I watched her eat a burrito (slowly and mindfully - more on that later!).

Being a personal trainer and nutrition/lifestyle coach, I could've designed an exercise program and meal plan for her that would have helped her lose the weight and body fat even faster. But since becoming a Precision Nutrition coach a couple of years ago, I know that is not the ideal way.

I've seen it play out so many times, and surely you have too. I look in the mirror and realize I'm not quite in as good of shape as I'd like to be and decide to do something about it. Well, I've heard a lot lately about the ________ diet or this new _____________ workout that people seem to really get great results with. So, I think I'll try that!

A few weeks or months later, assuming I stick with the program, voila! I've lost weight and have gotten in great shape! Well good, I'm glad that's done with, that diet sucked! Or you know, I was getting sick of that workout!

A few months pass by...

I look in the mirror, and huh? I seem to be getting out of shape (maybe even a little worse than last time this happened). But you know what? That program I did last time worked! Let's get back on it!

And repeat...

Most of us have gone through this process, and depending on your age, you may have done it over and over again throughout your life!

So what did Brittany do?

1. Martial Arts Training (2-4x per week)

Last year she got back to her martial arts training 2-4 times per week. This part is essential because finding a hobby like this can help give you a little extra motivation in the nutrition and fitness areas of your life because they will help your performance with your hobby/sport! I say 2-4 because we have two small children and sometimes life interrupts your ideal schedule for the day. It's critical that you consider this, or you can end up letting your whole plan be derailed by your normal life. If you plan a routine to get in shape that doesn't fit into the context of your real life, then it is not going to work. If you just make it work for the short term (90-day program just to get in shape, etc.), then you will go back to where you started before the program when it's finished.

2. Strength Training (3x per week) & Running (1-3x per week)

She does a simple strength training workout I've put together for her that includes body weight, cinder block, and TRX exercises. She does this 3x/week and does a shorter modified version at home if she can't squeeze in the whole thing. In addition to this, she runs 1-3x/week.

3. Nutrition & Lifestyle Habits

She has gone through a year of PN coaching learning habits one at a time that change key areas of her lifestyle but don't require her to adapt something that she cannot maintain.   These habits are things like eating slowly, stopping eating before she's stuffed, balancing her meals correctly, de-stressing, creating a good sleep routine, planning meals, and food prepping for the week. In the coaching program, she's learned about each habit, and built the skills to put them to practice. Best of all, she still gets to enjoy foods that she likes (like that burrito tonight)!

She has done it all in a way that is sustainable, and while she still has high goals for herself over the next few months preparing for her Black Belt test in December, she has adopted the habits that will prepare her for a lifetime of health and happiness.

I am incredibly proud of her, and can't wait to see where she ends up in December, and afterward. After all, Black Belt is just the beginning!

3 Reasons Martial Arts Training is the Perfect Fitness Alternative

Yes, I said perfect. And I mean it!

We all know that exercise is important, and all of the benefits it can give you. We all know that we should eat healthier and move more. In fact, we know too much.

In this information world that we live in, we are knocked all over the place by information that constantly conflicts and contradicts what we were told the day before. This diet and that diet. This new workout plan, and oh, wait, that one isn’t right for you anymore - this one is.

We don’t need any more knowledge though. We need action. Whether you are 4 or 74, martial arts training is an excellent source of exercise, personal discipline, and of course self-defense.

The simple, focused workout provided by high-quality martial arts training has many advantages over a traditional gym membership. So let’s look at three core reasons we believe martial arts training fits perfectly into the modern adult lifestyle.

1. It’s focused.

Every time you come on the mat, your instructor will be leading you through a focused class. Whether it’s a Kenpo class and you are learning to protect yourself versus realistic self-defense situations, or it’s a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class, and you are learning techniques to takedown, control, and submit an opponent, the focus is on something other than exercise, and that is reason number one!

2. Exercise is fake.

We seek out exercise because we know we should keep our bodies healthy and strong. But exercise the way we know it didn’t always exist. Our ancestors didn’t go to a building to lift heavy objects up and down to make an isolated muscle on their body get bigger. They didn’t lace up their shoes (they may not have had any!) and go for a jog just to burn some calories. Heck, they were happy to have been able to eat those calories, why in the world would they waste them!?

Their lives just included more movement. They had to walk more, carry more, and just use their bodies more. But as a species, we do a really good job of inventing ways to make our lives easier. This has brought us to a time where the extent of movement for most people is limited to walking from bed to chair to car to chair to car to couch to bed and repeat.

Workout equipment is a modern invention. Martial arts training is the natural way to train - with just your body (we don’t even wear shoes!).

3. It provides the "why" to your exercise and nutrition habits.

Who do you frequently see on the cover of fitness magazines? Most often are professional athletes. This is partly because they are recognizable faces, and fans of these individuals want to be “that guy” so it sells magazines.

The thing to think about though is what is so different about these guys that helps them be in such AMAZING shape? There are tons of answers to that question, and one of the big ones is that they aren’t actually in as good of shape as they appear in the magazine (read more about that here). But athletes are in great shape!

One of the key reasons that they are in good shape is because they have a reason to be. Their athletic performance and career depend on them being in good shape, so that gives them the motivation necessary to make the decisions on a daily basis required to reach and maintain those health and fitness levels.

Martial arts can do that for the average individual. And what's even better, is it's an activity and lifestyle that you can continue for the rest of your life (if you train the right way). Many professional athletes fall way out of shape when their athletic career is over. Your martial arts journey doesn't ever have to be over.

You will be motivated to make better decisions in your daily life to enhance your martial arts ability and raise your potential.


Adults and children have an incredible amount to gain from training martial arts. Most people just haven’t realized yet how beneficial and enjoyable the training can be.

Do you know someone that doesn’t know yet? Share this with them and encourage them to take their first class. At PMA, the first step is a free private introductory lesson. Call us now at (865)481-8901 to set yours up, and you will never look back.

Have you stopped training martial arts for one reason or another? Guess what, it’s happened to almost every great martial artist, but they came back to the mat. Don’t wait another day - get back on the mat today! No excuses, just get up and go. Take the next step necessary to improve your life right now. Not later. I promise this article is done now, so literally right now take that step!

Bottoms Up!

Let's talk about drinking!

Water is the most abundant substance in your body and makes up 55 to 75 percent of your weight. Drinking enough of it is not only vital to your health or any good exercise program, but it is also one of the most neglected aspects of health and fitness.

Are you unsure about how much you should be drinking? Use the following formula from the ISSA to find out how much water you should be drinking and starting today, make it happen!

Multiply your weight (in pounds) by the appropriate need factor to arrive at your recommended water intake in ounces. It is recommended to drink water about 8 to 12 times per day. So divide your recommended water intake by about 10 and that would tell you how many ounces should be in each glass of water that you drink.

Need Factors
0.5 - Sedentary (No Training)
0.6 - Light Training or Jogging
0.7 - Moderate Training 3x/week
0.8 - Moderate Daily Training
0.9 - Heavy Training Daily
1.0 - Heavy Training Daily with Weights and Aerobic Training (2-a-days)

For example: Someone that trains martial arts 3x/week and weighs 150 pounds should drink about 10 10oz. glasses of water per day.

Now, get drinking! Water, that is...

Fitting Down the Chimney Is Overrated Anyway

In the midst of the holidays, temptation is everywhere.  Decadent desserts like pumpkin or pecan pies, fruit cake (yuck), king cake, and cookies of every kind.  Holiday treats like figgy pudding (again, yuck), candy canes, and hot wassail.  Traditional favorites such as honey ham, bread everyway it can be kneaded, baked, and buttered, and potatoes – mashed, baked, fried, au gratin, julienne, sweet, and boiled.  Stockings full of candies and chocolates.   Mugs overflowing with hot cocoa and marshmallows (why have one without the other).  Frosty glasses of holiday punch.  Like I said, temptation is everywhere.

So what can be done this holiday season to avoid the scrumptious delicacies peeking out from every store window and hiding in every relative’s kitchen corner?

The answer is simple (at least to me).  Nothing.

You don’t need to go back and re-read that last line.  You read it right the first time.  I don’t want you to avoid the delicious and decidedly un-nutritious holiday treats we all love so much (because where’s the fun in that).  Instead, I want you to enjoy those holiday treats…I just want you to be smart about it.

Don’t worry; this isn’t a trick.  I’m serious.  Like many of you, I’m only human, and I enjoy every chestnut and cherry cordial I pop in my mouth between Black Friday and New Years.  I have no intention of giving up the satisfying warmth of a peppermint mocha on a cold day to spare a few pounds in the long run.

I am more than a number on a scale.  I am a daughter who loves baking and eating Christmas cookies with my family – hands covered in powder, hearts full of love.  I am a friend who enjoys nothing more than a marshmallow eating contest at a holiday party – cheeks full to bursting with puffs of pure sugar.

I am more than a size on a pair of jeans.  I am a memory maker, and I am going to enjoy every minute of this life that I live even if it means wearing my stretchy pants from Thanksgiving to Valentine’s Day.

That being said, I want to share with you three tricks of the trade to help slow the gaining of those very thoughtful holiday pounds that keep us warm every winter.  They’re easy and painless, I promise.  Are you ready?

1. Have a little self-control.

Do not refrain from eating a piece of fully loaded pecan pie complete with ice cream and whipped cream.  Instead, refrain from eating the entire pie.

Enjoy, thoroughly, one large piece with all of the fixings, but don’t go back for seconds…or thirds…or fifths.  You can still enjoy all of your favorite foods while making good (or at least good-ish) choices.

2. Eat until you’re sluggish, but don’t actually be sluggish.

Get up and get going.  Don’t neglect your physical fitness during the holidays.  Spend at least fifteen minutes a day getting your heart rate up.

This isn’t as hard as you might think.  With all that time spent with family, get them up and moving with you.  Go outside (in a coat) and throw a football around with your brother.  Give a piggyback ride to your niece or crawl around the floor with your newest nephew.

This next one is my favorite.

3. Don’t drink your calories.

I’m not telling you to cut back on your holiday beverage of choice (remember, I’m a peppermint mocha kind of girl).  I’m simply suggesting that you limit yourself to one cup of Irish Cream at the party.  Try replacing soft drinks with water.  Use fresh juice in your holiday punch.  Make your cocoa with skim milk.

We can easily cut out a few calories and a few buckets of sugar by changing what we drink this holiday season.

This year, as you sit down with friends and family, in your extra stretchy yoga pants, to stuff your face with your favorite Christmas goodies, remember these simple tips.  Enjoy!

Let’s Start with Choices

You are in control of your body and make the choices that will ultimately form your habits. To create an excellent habit, we must choose excellence. What are the areas of your life that you are always looking to make changes in?

Eating better? Exercising more? Sleeping more?

No matter what area of your life you are striving for excellence in, let’s start with our choices. The little choices day in and day out that we make will ultimately form a habit. So let’s make the first good habit that we form consciously thinking about the small choices we make each day.

The next time someone hurts you emotionally and you want to make an entire box of oreos disappear, make the choice to make them disappear into your trash can instead of your stomach (they shouldn’t be in your cabinet in the first place!). When it’s time to get up off the couch to exercise, and your mind start’s convincing your body to stay put, make the choice to get up and exercise. Building a strong habit will ultimately come down to making choices.

As a martial artist, I promise you will have days that you think you’d rather stay home. For whatever reason, there is something else pulling you away from the mat that night. These are the most important nights to get to the dojo and train. Make the choice right there to not even consider the idea of skipping class anymore, and get up and go! You know that you won’t regret your decision once you get on the mat. You just have to make the choice to get yourself there. Your instructor will do the rest!

Let’s stop wasting time and start making choices for excellence.