Train Your Brain: The Top 7 Things You Can Do 

I lost my mother 7 years ago. When she talked of aging, maintaining mobility, memory, and independence were her top concerns. Brain health. There are things you can do for brain health.  Many conditions affect brain health and quality of life, including weight gain, “The bigger the belly the smaller the brain.”-Mark Hyman, MD. Although this may seem harsh, making diet and exercise a priority is key to healthy living and healthy aging.

Every single tip below, if implemented to some degree, will drive you towards a healthy weight, a healthy brain. PowerFit for the Brain! 

1) Eat fresh foods. If it’s man-made, leave it. If God made it, eat it. Taking control of your diet may mean some meal prepping or planning ahead, but it’s so worth the time and effort. “Grab and go” can be a healthy habit with some planning. The heart and brain are affected by gut health. Food is medicine, so respect the power of diet.

2) Get enough sleep — Studies suggest that sleep helps to flush out potential toxins that build up in your central nervous system throughout the day. Nothing feels better than starting the day feeling good from a restful night of sleep. Flushing out toxins is good for your brain health.

3) Exercise regularly — The next time you are lacking motivation and you feel like the scale is not moving, consider your brain. Your brain still needs a workout to get the blood circulating. Circulate those healthy nutrients with a sweat session. Regular exercise creates neurons to fight dementia and improve memory. You could tell yourself, “I’m off to create some neurogenesis” when you are in need of motivation to go work out. 

4) Socialize — Stretch yourself out and make time to interact with family and friends. When you socialize, you are gaining new perspectives, experiences, and challenges.  Stretching your brain’s ability to organize ideas and relay them succinctly promotes brain health. Like to read? Join our book club here and get social! 

5) Supplements —  Certain nutrients support better memory, alertness, and creativity. Healthy amounts of nutrients slow down the development of major mental health conditions. Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin d, vitamin B12, coenzyme Q10 are some of the top supplements for brain health.  It is important to consult your doctor before starting any supplements. 

6) Be your own health advocate and do your own research. Perhaps your doctor is prescribing statins, for high cholesterol. There is a debate on whether statins might actually boost the risk of dementia. Doctors are busy, so have your questions ready. Even coming prepared, you will walk away with a ton of questions. No time to do your own research or not sure of all your options? Hire a Health Coach. Find a space that is unhurried and discuss all your options. Don’t be rushed. It’s your brain, your gut, your heart, your health. Your body is a temple. 

7) Stress management. Find a way to manage your stress that doesn’t involve alcohol, drugs, or medication. Activities such as yoga, meditation, and prayer can literally change your brain. The frontal lobe of the brain is responsible for positive capacities including concentration, happiness, creativity, and rational thinking. Meditation strengthens the communication between the prefrontal and other areas of the brain. Meditate 30 minutes a day .

“Recent studies from Harvard University found that long-term meditators have increased amounts of gray matter in the insula and sensory regions, and the auditory and sensory cortex. Meditation also fosters beneficial brainwave patterns such as alpha, theta, and delta. Meditation not only increases your grey brain matter, but also reduces stress, fosters clear thinking, and increases our capacity for empathy.”
BrainFlow

Kathy Dolan, ACE Fitness Pro, Health Coach, Personal Trainer, Yoga Instructor, is a self-employed business owner. Kathy Dolan is a master trainer with years of experience with the secrets to real results! You will find her teaching and training clients at a gym in the San Diego area or on the Class It Up Virtual Studio, and writing health and fitness programs for clients of all ages. She enjoys spending time with her three kids whether it’s in the mountains or on the seashore. 

Step Off The Scale…Grab A Tape Measure

Especially if you are just starting a workout routine. You can lose inches, body fat, and gain muscle without changing the number on the scale and Jenn is proof of that! Muscle is much denser than fat and takes up less space. Think of 5 pounds of styrofoam vs 5 pounds of dry peas. Peas are lovely and so is muscle.

Build more metabolically active tissue to consume all those calories, even at rest. More muscle means better health and improved overall fitness levels.

Now back to my Rock Star Client, Jenn.  As we continue our journey, I just had to share her progress with you all. Below is from Jenn’s Facebook post. I know you have heard it before, but making lifestyle changes is a process. A journey of self-discovery. Jenn trains and meets with me once a week. Each and every week, we work on a piece of the new and improved methods for getting healthy and maintaining health. Our sessions cover Jenn’s workouts, macros, dietary plans, and the safety of each exercise in her program. Our assessments of lifestyle habits help to make behavioral, nutritional, and other changes that promote better health and overall wellness. We create custom-tailored plans for a well-rounded routine. I am loving getting to know Jenn and her adorable son (when he’s not at school). I am beyond excited to work with such an amazing soul!

Flex Friday!

Jenn’s Facebook Post

My body changed so much after 40 – especially w the baby, who is now almost six 😳- and if I had a nickel for everyone who told me as I surpassed 220#’s that I’d never get my body back, The Boy wouldn’t need a college fund – truly, I don’t really care about having a “body” anymore, I mean, I have a man who loves me at 200+#’s (thank you honey, @big_tom_otto ), but being fit and being able to keep up and get up off the floor easily and not have my knees and shoulders and elbows hurt all the time; this.

And having the energy to have a good attitude when things come up that would normally piss a person off; this, too. And knowing I’m making deposits into an account I’ll surely be withdrawing from when I’m 70, just like my retirement fund but for health, not wealth; this, three! But mostly, looking at myself and liking what I see looking back for the first time in six years; especially and unequivocally, that!

I don’t have time to pack a bag and go to the gym and work out and then shower and change and pack up and get back in the car to drive home or work or wherever…My feet hurt from shoes and I didn’t want to invest in another pair of pricy sneakers. I didn’t want to buy equipment or videos or any other dust collectors. I also didn’t think I could afford what I wanted, which was Oprah’s trainer and chef, (we’re being real here).

I wouldn’t trust anyone trying to sell me something here. And I know I can sound salesy when I believe in something. So. Hopefully, for Kathy’s sake, I haven’t lost you. But really. It’s not impossible, it’s not a gimmick and it’s not cost prohibitive if you’re already spending $$ on healthclubs and classes. In fact, it’s more cost efficient because it’s customized – all pfat, no filler 😜”

Consistency Over Perfection.

Remember, health and fitness is a journey. This is why taking pictures, measurements, and journaling are all forms of tracking progress. They can be very motivating when you’re having a hard day. Below is a text Jenn sent me along with some pictures after I suggested she go back to her before pictures. She was pleased to see that she had lost “back fat” and the timing of that was perfect.

“It’s such a mind game, ignoring the number on the scale; all that work and sweat and I still weigh what?! It took these pics lined up side by side for me to really see it. It’s working. In my own time, on my own terms, with what I already have. #mytrainerlive” -Jenn

Work on the following if you are an emotional eater or if you find yourself feeling up or down each time you step on the scale.

Work on becoming a conscious eater. Breathe and count to 30 before starting your meal. Slow down. Eating fast can contribute to poor digestion and a host of health problems. “Eating more slowly may be a crucial lifestyle change to help prevent metabolic syndrome,” said Takayuki Yamaji, M.D., study author and cardiologist at Hiroshima University in Japan.

  • Focus on real information about yourself like: I am feeling better about my food choices and moving towards a more authentic and healthy relationship with food.
  • Find other ways to measure your successes like how your clothes are fitting. Who cares if the scale is the same when you just lost an inch off your waist! Grab a tape measure. Balance your life.
  • Make health your main goal because what good is 10 pounds on the scale when you haven’t learned anything? New lifestyles habits will keep the weight falling off in due time. Be patience because the slower you take it off, the more likely it will stay off.

CONGRATULATIONS JENN! You inspire so many!

Kathy Dolan, ACE Fitness Pro, Health Coach, Personal Trainer, Yoga Instructor, is a self-employed business owner. Kathy Dolan is a master trainer with years of experience with the secrets to real results! You will find her teaching and training on the Class It Up Virtual Studio and writing health and fitness programs for clients of all ages. She enjoys spending time with her three kids whether it’s in the mountains or on the seashore. 

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What’s Trending in Health and Fitness: Trends of 2019

Any sort of challenge or eating plan should be cleared with your doctor before committing.

JLo 10-Day Challenge:

NICHOLAS HUNT/GETTY IMAGES

This challenge lasts for 10 days and includes cutting out all forms of sugar, carbs, alcohol and caffeine.

No starchy vegetables, candy, baked goods, certain fruits, grains, condiments with sugar, sweeteners (even artificial sweeteners), dairy, soda, and alcohol. The deal breaker for many is no coffee.  

For 10 days, the diet will consist of non-starchy vegetables including cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, and spinach. Unsweetened teas and seltzers, nuts, seeds, sugar-free nut butter, meat, eggs, seafood, avocado, spices, and seasoning are also allowed.

Since Jennifer Lopez challenged Hoda from the Today Show. the challenge got some big-time media coverage. With all the buzz, she had a few celebrities join the challenge.

So what are the pros and cons of this trend?

Pros: It brings awareness to the amount of sugar you may be consuming on a daily basis.

Cons: The backlash can be wicked, setting up for a big binge. Not recommended if you have big binge tendencies, a background in eating disorders or struggling with dietary balance. If you are trying to find an eating style that you can live with, steer clear of drastic changes such as this challenge.

With my clients, elimination is replaced with food that is enjoyable. Neuroplasticity is the science of rewiring the brain with reactions and thoughts. This is key to good health and longevity.

A 10-day fast with JLo won’t help you there. Since I startd writing this blog, JLo has now come forward to tell us the REAL reason she did the 10-day challenge, “J.Lo said it was in preparation for her role in the upcoming film, Hustlers, in which she plays a stripper, per J.Lo. ‘I’m sure that the outfits are going to be —,’ she said, motioning to her body, implying that her wardrobe would be skimpy. ‘So I’m, like, getting ready for that’” (Bratskeir, “Jennifer Lopez Revealed…”).

Forming new, healthy habits take 30, 60, or 90 days, and even this falls short to qualify as a habit change. If you are looking for a lifestyle change, plan for a year and commit to real changes that stick.

To summarize, I don’t think this trend is worth the agony, and it only provides extremely short term results. THANK U, NEXT!

Celery Juice:

The “originator of the celery juice movement” is Anthony William, also known as the Medical Medium.

The trend, basically, is adding 16 oz of celery juice to your normal morning routine. That is a plus, adding something to what you already do. Like tacking another post-it note on a bulletin board, you are attaching another healthy habit onto another. I like this kind of challenge! Adding more veggies to your diet is almost always a good idea as the typical American diet is lacking in fresh veggies.

Why celery juice? Celery is packed with vitamins, minerals, and potassium. Most health claims attached to celery juice can be said for all vegetables, and there isn’t much harm to consuming it. Unlike a smoothie, celery juice isn’t loaded with sugar. With its natural form of salt, celery juice can be a component of a healthy diet.

Health Claims of Drinking Celery Juice:

▪️ anti-inflammatory,

▪️lowers blood pressure.

▪️thyroid cleansing*

▪️treats acne

▪️treats athlete-foot fungus

▪️liver detoxification*

▪️melts belly fat

▪️aids in weight loss

▪️boosts hydrochloric acid (HCL)

▪️gut-friendly

▪️improves digestion

▪️promotes a healthy brain

▪️reduces the risk of brain degenerative disease

▪️boosts the immune system

▪️increases energy

▪️purifies skin

▪️reduces bloating

▪️rich in fiber

*THYROID CLEANSING: According to Anthony William, “the mineral salts in celery help to fight and cleanse the body of the Epstein-Barr virus, particularly in the thyroid. Celery can also help to boost the production of important thyroid hormones in those with hypothyroidism” (William, “Health Benefits Of Celery Juice…”).

*LIVER DETOXIFICATION: “Celery’s detoxifying properties work to remove bad bacteria, fungi, mold, viruses and other toxins from the liver; the phytonutrients found in the green stalks also can have a protective effect” (William, “Health Benefits Of Celery Juice…”).

To be honest, I started off skeptical as I committed to drinking celery juice each morning. I am typically not a fan of juicing for nutritional needs or extreme fad dieting. Anything that feeds unhealthy and unrealistic lifestyles habits is concerning.

I am a big fan of eating real food and living a healthy-diet lifestyle. As a Personal Trainer, Certified Health Coach, and Fitness/Lifestyle Expert, I understand the need for some to crash, cleanse, or take drastic measures in attempts to lose weight and improve health. For me, with weight training and bodybuilding, I could not survive on a liquid diet alone.

Food is medicine. Eat whole food whenever possible.

Diet is powerful. With a personalized diet, you can reduce body fat, increase muscle, reduce inflammation, and address your specific health profile. Just like a fitness training program, there is not a one-size-fits-all diet plan. Need a little extra help getting your diet right based on your health and fitness goals? Hire a pro HERE.

So what are the pros and cons of this trend?

Pros: Celery juice is a top anti-inflammatory food. This high water content vegetable is a good way to stay hydrated. I recommend eating a high water content diet (aka eat your water} as hydration is good for digestion and skin. Celery is readily available, although my neighborhood Ralphs was sold out of it on my last trip to the store. I use a Nutri-bullet and a nut bag to make it super easy to cleanup. ORDER HERE. (Scroll down to the Kitchen Gadgets & Appliances sections).

Cons: It takes 5-10 minutes in the morning to clean, clean, blend, and clean the juicer. You may experience acne breakouts and frequent urination. Mild eructation occurs in some as well.

Healthy routines first thing in the morning create motivation to carry you through the rest of the day. Here are my tips if you are going to give the juice a try:

DO use organic

DO use the pulp for baking or making celery crisp

DO keep it fresh

DO drink on an empty stomach

DO clean celery thoroughly before consuming

DOES balance ph levels

DOES contain Concentrated Phytonutrients

DON’T make ahead as it changes the cellular structure, therefore, limiting the benefits

DON’T mix with other juices

Here’s to my bodybuilders: Research shows that when celery juice is consumed as a pre-workout drink, it can increase circulation, promote endurance, and enhance strength training with its natural substance content. Talk about a natural pre-workout drink!

For this trend, I say I WILL KEEP YOU POSTED! But so far, I’ve had more energy for my workouts. I’ve skipped my afternoon 10-minute power naps on occasion. I don’t have such a strong urge to drink a second cup of coffee. I’ve had an acne breakout (which is very unusual). And yes, I have found myself peeing often. Bloated initially, but that went away.

Scraping

I came across scraping when I experienced a shoulder injury from weight training. I have tried cupping for various treatments, but scraping was new for me.

Scraping is also known as the Gua Sha technique. This centuries old method of scraping muscle tissue to stimulate blood flow and to promote healing has helped my shoulder injury. The pain relief is noticeable and lasts for hours.

Another name for scraping is the Graston Technique® (GT)  as it involves rubbing the skin’s surface to help break up energy, reduce inflammation, and promote healing.

So what are the pros and cons of this trend?

Pros: Scraping treats everything from perimenopause symptoms, cold, headaches, lung problems, fevers, inflammation, scar tissue, cellulite, adhesions, stiffness, poor circulation, frozen shoulder, golfers elbow, and weak immune system. You can do it on yourself depending on what body part you are treating. It is less costly than major medical treatments. Scraping speeds up muscle recovery.

Cons: It hurts. Bruising can occur. There are not enough studies on this method for specific treatments.

Do not use if you bleed easily or are on blood thinner medications,

Do not use if you have deep vein thrombosis

Do not use if you have medical conditions of the skin or veins

Do not use with a pacemaker or internal defibrillator

If you are considering scraping, it may help with pain relief. It is recommended that this method is administered by a trained physical therapist.

A 2014 study found that “Gua Sha improved the range of movement and reduced pain in people who used computers frequently compared with a control group that had no treatment” (“Journal of Medical Technology and Physical Therapy”).

In a 2017 study, “weightlifters who had Gua Sha felt that lifting weights took less effort after treatment. This could suggest that the treatment speeds up muscle recovery” (“Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine”).

Takeaway: From my experience, a scraper is a great tool for the gym bag. Purchase a scraper HERE. (Scroll down to the Wellness section). I will continue to use this treatment. Keep you posted!

Sources used in this blog:

JLo Interview

Thyroid Cleansing & Liver Detoxification of Celery Juice

2017 Study (Scraping)

2015 Study (Scraping)

Kathy Dolan, ACE Fitness Pro, Health Coach, Personal Trainer, Yoga Instructor, is a self-employed business owner. Kathy Dolan is a master trainer with years of experience with the secrets to real results! You will find her teaching and training on the Class It Up Virtual Studio and writing health and fitness programs for clients of all ages. She enjoys spending time with her three kids whether it’s in the mountains or on the seashore.

This Fitness Thing…Get in the game!

Super Bowl weekend is here!

I want you to enjoy this weekend to the fullest! Fitness can be fun, it should make you feel happy and proud.

Make a promise to yourself that you will enjoy guilt-free. If you have all the guacamole and chips you desire, buffalo wings, and a few of your favorite adult beverages, so what? Your fitness goals and healthy lifestyle will be there come Monday. It’s not a competition, no end goal or score to make here. There is not a day, time, month, or year at which you need to achieve or arrive at your perfect life or fitness level. No need to stress or rush to the finish line. Consistency over perfection. This is the long game here, you are playing for life. It’s not for 90 days, 30 days, or until you complete the juice cleanse. This game is for life and fitness is forever.

Now, let’s get your mind into the game. There is nothing wrong with ‘falling off the wagon’ when making a healthy habit lifestyle change. For everyone except the perfect one, it is guaranteed you will fall off, be forced off, or voluntarily step off at some point. Have a plan in place for this play.  Make a promise to yourself that you won’t use it as an excuse to say, “I can’t do it” and quit. Replace that thought with an affirmation or a new thought.

Affirmations will change your brain. Neuroplasticity is the science of rewiring the brain with reactions and thoughts. A 30-day juice diet won’t reset anything but your metabolism, leaving you with the same mindset. As we become older, it becomes harder to change our thoughts. Now is the time to learn a new way, a new thought pattern.

I get so excited when my clients have a breakthrough in thinking. This training and coaching season has been amazing with many client breakthroughs. When given the ball, they scored. I feel I have won the super bowl! Having the privilege to train and coach people from all different walks of life and locations, I am clearly moved as I witnessed this real and lasting change. We can talk macros, meal plans, and weight all day, but until a client is ready and willing to show up at practice and do all the work, everything is temporary. Whether it’s undereating, overeating, or poor nutritional choices, mindset and diet is the main game when it comes to health and fitness.

Keep in mind when you see all the before and after pictures that flood social media, what you can’t see is a mind change. You can’t see is if there was a healthy mind change or not. You can’t exercise your way out of an old mindset. It will catch up to you when you least expect it.

“I can exercise with regularity, but don’t ask me to change my diet.”  

“I’m not ready for that part of the program.”

And then one day for one reason or another, something changes. When the shift happens with a client, I get goosebumps! When I can hear and see the difference in clients and the way they see their life and fitness, I know we have arrived at a new level of thinking. The super bowl of athletic minds. If you have a body, you are an athlete. These are the REAL RESULTS!

I love when change lasts a year, two years, a lifetime. Wisdom comes with consistency. Nothing is more heartbreaking than seeing all the weight come back on. That won’t be you, not this time. Get in the game and stop sitting on the sidelines. Nothing is more important than your health, no more excuses. Learn to live healthy and happy. YOU CAN DO IT!

Don’t delay, sign up for a coaching package here.