The Ultimate Resolution Solution


Get there, this year!

By Raymond Onyango.

New-Years-ResolutionI hope you all had a great start to the year 2013. I know that many of you have made fitness resolutions this year, like every year before it, and I also know that the vast majority of you will fail to keep those resolutions. This is not prophetic, its fact. Exercise attrition rates are notoriously high within the global health and fitness industry.New Years Resolutions Are Easily Broken Here in United States of America it is estimated that up to half of all individuals that take up an exercise program at the beginning of the year drop out within the first 6 to 8 weeks of commencing their training.

This is what we are going to address over the course of this article, and it is my hope that when you’re done reading this you will be armed with a few ideas to keep you from faltering along the way. Maybe 2013 will be the year when you finally make it happen, and here is how:

Get Social

Get SocialSocializing is the key to long-term exercise success. As a matter of fact, one things I do religiously with all my personal training clients is to introduce them to as many other gym members as possible. Even in my group exercise classes I make a point of learning my students names and referring to each individual by name throughout the course of the class. I do this because I realized early in my career that my most successful clients were invariably the ones who had a strong social support network. I learned that connecting my clients to other gym members in a meaningful way gives them a strong sense of belonging, helps to make them feel more at ease on the gym floor and ultimately leads them to cultivate an more enduring fitness habit. Friendship is a powerful thing, and when you have friends at the gym, who are Friends Help You Maintain An Exercise Habitcommitted to exercise you will be more inclined to go there often rather than duck into a pub immediately after work. Your gym friends will look out for you when you don’t show up and they will encourage you when you feel like giving up. So this year when you go to gym, leave your Ipod behind and avoid the temptation to plug the world out; instead go out and make the effort to meet new people. Join a group class, pick up a sport or get a personal trainer. Anything that will allow you to expand your social circle and take the monotony out of exercise. Trust me, you will be more successful for it!

Watch your Sugar Intake

Fat FreeFat has long been the whipping boy of the fitness industry; so much so that a whole industry has been born with regards to fat reduced food. We now have fat free milk, low fat cookies and fat reduced yogurt, just to name a few. Labeling foods ‘fat free’ has been an outrageously successful marketing gimmick, but it has so far been unsuccessful in stemming the tide of rising obesity rates worldwide because most fat free foods are laden with sugar to substitute for the loss of flavor when fat is removed. Here in the United States of America you will find a form of sugar known as high fructose corn syrup in just about every food product on the supermarket shelves form macaroni and cheese to ketchup and bread. The result is that Americans onRethink Your Drink average consume about 22 spoonfuls of sugar everyday. It’s no wonder that almost half of the entire American population are classified as obese. This over consumption of sugar spikes your body’s production of the hormone insulin, which in turn controls your blood sugar by mopping up the excess sugar and converting it to fat. This means you can eat all the fat free products you like, but inevitably you will still gain weight unless you make an effort to reduce the overall amount of processed foods in your everyday diet.

Drop your goals

Yes you heard me right! Throw out the scale, ditch the tape measure and put away the fitness magazines. The best thing you can do for yourself right now is to make the commitment to move everyday. Fitness goals are great, for motivation, but they can also create a disconnect that leads us to think of exercise as something that is separate from our everyday lives. I know for a fact that 90% of the battle to stay in shape comes down to lifestyle change. We are not talking killer workouts in Aim for consistencythe gym here; we are talking about creating opportunities for movement in your everyday life. Walking when you can as opposed to driving everywhere, getting active with your kids or spouse by turning off the television and playing a game of touch football or taking the dogs out for a walk. Many countries in the developed world have virtually engineered movement out human life. I still shudder every time I walk into a supermarket here in America, where they even have motorized shopping carts for individuals who are literally too obese to get around a supermarket on their own feet! It’s shocking!

Daily activity is what serves to bridge the gap between the amount of calories you take in and the quantity that you burn. You want to make it your first aim to accumulate at least 30 minutes of physical activity of whatever kind everyday. If you can do that and then throw in 3 supplementary, hour-long workouts every week, you will see the pounds drop off without too much fuss.  My overall philosophy in fitness is to strive for consistency and not to worry about numbers. If you dwell on pounds and inches you become shortsighted and invariably you loose your way. But if you strive for consistency, the numbers will always add up in the end. Have a fabulous and successful  year 2013.



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Suicide In A Spoon

By Raymond Onyango.

 The ongoing sugar shortage and its looming absence from supermarket shelves countrywide, continues to be a huge source of concern for the great majority of Kenyans. The resulting fear over the potential lack of the commodity has led to panic buying and many retail outlets have resorted to instituting limits on the amount of sugar a single customer can buy, if only to help guarantee supply. This is hardly surprising when you consider that according to the World Health Organization, the average Kenyan consumes 21 kilograms of sugar in a year. Break that down into 52 weeks in a year and you have an average consumption of about half a kilogram per Kenyan, per week – more than twice the average of the neighboring countries ofUganda and Tanzania.

Is Too Much Sugar Making Us Sick? 

It would seem that this elevated consumption of sugar is steadily beginning to affect our collective health as a nation. In fact at an international conference in Russia, in May this year, the minister for Medical Services, Professor Anyang’ Nyongo’ was quoted saying that almost half of all the hospital beds in this country are occupied by people suffering from lifestyle diseases – including high blood pressure and diabetes. Within the next decade, he estimates that the number of people seeking medical care for such lifestyle induced conditions will far outstrip all other ailments in the country’s health care system – a truly dire prognosis.In fitness circles sugar has been variously described as the biggest dietary scrooge of our time – quite literally suicide in a spoon – resulting from the numerous health conditions precipitated by uncontrolled sugar intake.  Refined sugar does not actually qualify to be called food – it is a chemical. During the production process, all the vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats and virtually every aspect of nutritional value is removed – all that is left is empty calories!

The Relationship Between Sugar, Insulin & Mood Disorders

It is with these empty calories that the real trouble begins. The Glycemic Index is a measure used to describe the effect of various foods on the body’s blood sugar levels. Each food is given a specific rating. The lower the rating, the slower the digestion process and the release of sugar into the blood stream. Any food with a higher rating will cause your Pancreas to release a hormone known as Insulin into the blood, to help combat the higher glucose levels and lower them. More sugar, means more insulin, which in turn promotes fat storage and obesity. Obesity as you well know by now, is closely associated with increased incidence of several lifestyle related diseases – especially high blood pressure and adult onset diabetes.Beyond just making you fat however, sugar also has a much immediate effect on your energy levels and overall productivity as an individual. Refined sugar intake usually leads to an energy rush, also known as a sugar high, but this is eventually followed by a virtual crash in energy levels as your body releases insulin into the blood stream to balance out your sugar levels. There is also increasing evidence that sugar also makes your blood thicker and stickier, inhibiting oxygen transport to the brain and working muscles and actually diminishing athletic performance. Perhaps the biggest questions regarding the effect of sugar on our health arise when discussing mood behavior in children and sugar. Many parents are aware that sugar can dramatically affect the behavior of a child, and in recent times there has been a lot of research that would seem to corroborate the incidence of conditions such as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) to the excessive consumption of sugar by underage children.  You only need to attend a birthday party for a group of 5 year olds, where they are serving cake, ice cream and soda. Take note of what you see there and then come back and disagree with me if you choose!

Healthy Eating? Think Again!

Ironically one of the things that is driving this huge increase in our sugar intake is the growing obsession with ‘ healthy eating’. Sugar appears in the places where you least expect it.  Over the last decade or so, many food manufactures are moving away from traditional cane sugar and transitioning into high fructose corn syrup.  This change has occurred mostly because in the attempt to stay health conscious and reduce the levels of saturated fat in our food, producers are now replacing the fat with sugar. You will find sugar in everything from tomato sauce, baked beans, potato chips and even fruit juice. For this reason it is prudent to read food labels carefully if only to educate yourself on what it is that you are actually consuming.One last thing to bear in mind, the next time you’re craving a candy bar or a soda is that your immune systems rely on our white blood cells to remove invaders from our bloodstream though a process known as phagocytosis.  Sugar has been demonstrated to lower this activity significantly – depressing your immune system and leaving you more susceptible to disease. So there you have it, sugar does not only make you fat, slow and unfit, it also makes you sick and cranky.  Reason enough perhaps, that you should use this ongoing shortage as the perfect excuse to review your sugar consumption habits.

Have a sugar free weekend will you!