Select Page
Drink Up!

Drink Up!

Overall, it has been a muggy summer for us Michiganders, with many days seeing humidity above 90 percent. Fortunately this has made for perfect weather when hitting the lakeshore! However, this has also made us more susceptible to dehydration and if you have been working out, you are even more at risk (Team, G.C, 2013).

I myself have fallen victim to dehydration in the past months. I have not been drinking enough water for my body, activity level, and the temperature and nearly fainted during a kickboxing class. You may be experiencing dehydration, as well, if you have noticed any of the following symptoms (Mayo Clinic, 2016): Extreme thirst, less frequent urination, dark-colored urine, fatigue, dizziness, and/or confusion.

I’ve never truly been worried about proper hydration, but I can assure you it is not something to be taken lightly. Dehydration can lead to severe complications which can even be life threatening. Examples of complications which may occur include heat injury, urinary and kidney problems, seizures, and low blood volume shock (Mayo Clinic, 2016). I believe it’s safe to say we all prefer to avoid any of these complications! So, what are a couple things we can do to prevent dehydration?

  • Fluids, fluids, and more fluids

Continuously consume water-based drinks throughout the entire day with very little to no added sugar or artificial sweeteners. It’s important to note here that the suggested amount of eight eight-ounce glasses per day is not necessarily what your individual body needs. Each person must listen to their body, thirst level and, yes, monitor the color of their urine (Mazziotta, J., 2015).

If you regularly work out, there are several things you can do to prevent becoming dehydrated. One tool provided by Camelbak is their Hydration calculator. You provide information such as your gender, weight, height, age, weather, and temperature, etc., and it provides you with an approximate amount of ounces of water you be drinking per hour. Another way to prevent dehydration is the weight test (The University of Utah, 2017). For this test you need to weigh yourself right before your workout and right after. “If you weigh 150 pounds before exercising, but weigh only 148 pounds after exercising, you have lost two pounds of water weight,” (University of Utah, 2017). It is recommended that to replenish the fluid lost, you should drink 3 cups of water for every pound lost during the workout.

  • Keep track!

There are several creatively cool and easy-to-use apps to keep you on the hydration straight and narrow. The apps can even send you notifications to remind you to drink more water throughout the day. I have used the apps Waterlogged and MyFitnessPal in the past to help track my water intake. If you have a Fitbit or Apple watch, you can also use the apps provided by both companies.

Dehydration is a serious matter and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Leverage simple guidelines and helpful technology to ensure you are properly hydrated for the times you really need it, like river tubing, boating, hiking, and cycling in the warmer months. Stay safe and drink up, my friends!

 

Stephanie, Health & Fitness Enthusiast

DISCLAIMER: This article is intended to raise awareness on dehydration and should not be relied on for personal medical advice. Please be sure to consult with your doctor on any concerns to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment.

 

Sources

Team, G. C. (2013, March 20). Dehydration and heat: how hot weather could be dangerous. Retrieved from https://gastrolyte.com.au/dehydration/dehydration-and-heat/

The University of Utah (2017). How to Prevent Dehydration. Retrieved from https://healthcare.utah.edu/wellness/news-resources/dehydration.php

Mayo Clinic (2016, October 29). Dehydration. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dehydration/symptoms-causes/dxc-20261072

Mazziotta, J. (2015, September 16). The Amount of Water You Actually Need Per Day. Retrieved from http://www.health.com/nutrition/the-amount-of-water-you-actually-need-per-day

How to Optimize your Health & Fitness Routine this Summer!

How to Optimize your Health & Fitness Routine this Summer!

How to Optimize your Health & Fitness Routine this Summer!

Summer has officially begun and for most, many evenings and weekends are filled with barbeques, laying out by a pool or the beach, attending weddings and open houses, or vacationing with family and friends. It can be easy to get caught up in these fun summertime activities and leave exercise out of the picture. However, summer is one of the best times to optimize your health and fitness routine. The warm weather, fresh produce, and local activities can help you reach new goals and implement new routines and habits which stay with you all year long. Here are four tips on how you can optimize your health and fitness routine this summer:

  1. Schedule your workouts

One suggestion is to pull out your calendar each week and fill in your work hours, planned activities, and when and where you plan to work out. You can schedule these in a regular planner, phone calendar, on a workout scheduler app, or even planners that are designed specifically for workout and nutrition notes. I personally like to use my phone calendar along with mobile apps. I’m able to view my work calendar, social calendar, and CKO class schedule through the mobile app, all on my phone. Choose a method which will work best for you and keep you accountable.

  1. Get outside!

Take advantage of these warmer months by getting active outside! During your lunch break, get some fresh air and take a walk. After dinner, go out for an evening stroll. If you have children in your life, go out in the yard or park and play with them. Ride your bike, run, or rollerblade around your neighborhood or along the 15-mile paved pathways that Kent Trails offers. Go hiking and take in the beautiful sights that Michigan holds. Take a fitness class on the Blue Bridge. Swing dance in downtown Grand Rapids. The options go on and on. Get out there now and enjoy it while you can!

  1. Visit farmer’s markets and local farms

There is a plentiful amount of fresh fruits and vegetables available to us locally in the summer. Fuel your body with these fresh foods and simultaneously help our local community. You can even turn this into a fun summer activity by visiting u-pick farms. Several farms in or near Grand Rapids let you pick your own blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cherries, and apples.

Local u-pick farms:

  1. Sign up for a Race

When you sign up for a race, you’re giving yourself a goal to work toward which has a set day and time you need to be prepared. For those days when it’s hard to get yourself moving, you will think about the race you’ve committed to and hopefully be given the motivation to get up and move. For the past few years I have done The Color Run. This race is a high energy 5k and provides me with encouragement throughout the summer to mix up my workouts by incorporating running. Plus, it’s another way I get outside and enjoy the weather (as the second tip suggests)!

Upcoming races:

Michigan summers are wonderful, fun, and full of adventure. You can enjoy it all and still optimize your health and fitness routine at the same time.

Stephanie

Health & Fitness Enthusiast

WHY YOU SHOULD BE #SWEATINGFORTHEWEDDING

WHY YOU SHOULD BE #SWEATINGFORTHEWEDDING

WHY YOU SHOULD BE #SWEATINGFORTHEWEDDING

Are you engaged and preparing for your upcoming wedding? Congratulations! I am also engaged and gearing up for my wedding day, August 19. Wedding planning is all-encompassing: overwhelming, fun, exciting, and emotional. People constantly offer their words of wisdom, refer their favorite vendors, and impart advice relative to what you should and shouldn’t be doing before, during, and after the big day.

One recurring piece of advice I see and hear is to get to the gym prior to the big day. I am 100 percent for #SweatingForTheWedding; however, this is not another article about why you should shed a lot of weight before your wedding. You will be beautiful or handsome, glowing, and vibrant on your wedding day regardless of the number on the scale or what other people try to tell you. Ignore anyone who or anything which asserts differently.

Here are three reasons why you should be #SweatingForTheWedding with me at CKO Kickboxing:

  • Relieve Stress

There is no denying that wedding planning will likely create extra stress in your life. CKO is my favorite place to relieve this built-up stress. I am able to punch away many of my frustrations!

  • Build Confidence

Working out consistently builds confidence, thanks to the mood-boosting chemicals released through high intensity exercise. I know it certainly increases mine! When I get into CKO several times a week I feel strong and healthy. It also fortifies my general confidence to better handle other challenging tasks in my day, such as choosing which wedding dress I want to walk down the aisle in!

  • Improve Overall Health

The last thing you want for your wedding day – even over rain – is to be sick! Exercise improves immunity, so your risk of falling ill in the final days leading up to your nuptials is minimized. One example is a study of 1,000 people, reported by BBC news, which found “staying active nearly halved the odds of catching cold viruses,” (BBC News, 2010).

Congratulations again on your engagement, and I hope to see you #SweatingForTheWedding soon at CKO Kickboxing! I’ll save a bag for you.

Stephanie

Health & Fitness Enthusiast

 

References:

Roberts, Michelle. “Exercise ‘can Prevent a Cold’, a Study Shows.” BBC News. BBC, 02 Nov. 2010. Web. 04 May 2017.

 

Image taken by Kait.Cole Photography & Design

How to Start Meal Prepping!

How to Start Meal Prepping!

What’s the first thing you think of when you hear someone talking about meal prep? Maybe it’s that friend of yours on Facebook who is constantly posting about how they meal prepped for the week. Or maybe it’s those hundreds of meal prep pins on Pinterest you swore you were going to start doing “next week.”

For me, preparing meals was something I thought was only for those who were about to take the stage in a bodybuilding competition. Until I tried it myself. Today, I consider meal prep a way to save time and money, as well as a foolproof way to fuel my body with healthy food all week long. It takes a load off my busy schedule during the week when I’m rushing off to work, whereas before I would stare into the fridge not knowing what to pack to ensure I was equipped with adequate nutrition for the whole day. Now I don’t stress; I just grab it and go.

After the first week of meal planning in my routine, I couldn’t help but ask myself why I hadn’t done this sooner! If you don’t already include meal prep in your life, it’s time to overcome any hesitation because this can benefit everyone! Below are some tips and tricks on how to get started:

  • As Nike says, just do it!

While I was hesitant about meal prep, part of the reason I didn’t start for so long was out of pure laziness. I had an excuse of why not this week or how I needed to do more research to be fully prepared. Blah, blah, blah. Put aside the excuses and just do it.

  • Get meal prep containers

This is something you don’t need to do but I think it helps to have specific containers you put each individual meal and snack in. This saves time during the week so you do not have to portion out servings each day.

  • Mix it up

The biggest excuse I hear from people not meal prepping is that they don’t like to eat the same thing every day. Meal prep doesn’t mean you must eat the same thing for every meal during the week. I personally do this for breakfast and lunch, but I mix up my snacks and dinners for overall variety. One way you can avoid the monotony is to do four days of the same meal and three days of a different meal. Or, just make sure you are preparing enough meals to cover breakfast, lunch, and dinner for your week, then store it in the fridge or freezer, choosing what you want from that batch each day.

  • Prep your schedule

Meal prep can initially be time-consuming, so ensure you know what day and time you are planning to go shopping and prep it all. If I don’t schedule it, I know I will put it off and it won’t end up happening. Sunday late afternoon is my go-to day and time to grocery shop and meal prep for the week. It starts the workweek off on a good note! Everyone’s schedule is different though. Do what works best for you.

  • Start small

Prepping every single meal for the week in one sitting can be a little overwhelming at first. Start with prepping only your breakfast for the entire week or only your lunch. After you start to get the hang of it and in a routine, add another meal or snack to the prep. Soon meal prepping will become a habit!

Meal prepping your meals for the entire week can help save you time and money, plus keep you fueled with healthy food all week long! It’s time to put aside the excuses and hesitation and give meal prep a try.

Like Life, Exercise Is All About Balance

Like Life, Exercise Is All About Balance

We talk about balance a lot at CKO.

In order to fuel your body, you need a nice balance of nutrients.

In order to execute powerful, tight strikes, you need to have a strong center of gravity.

In order to manage stress, you need a healthy work/life balance.

When it comes to health and wellness, balance is at the core. And just like your diet, your center of gravity and your life, your muscles need balance. Here is why paying attention to all your muscle groups and making sure they’re balanced is so important to a healthy lifestyle.  

Muscle Imbalance Throws Off Your Entire Body

Your body is this amazing machine. Each piece of our anatomy does its own part to make sure the body can do the simplest to largest tasks. There’s a reason why you don’t need to remember to breathe or deliberately think about every step you take. Your body already knows. That’s why, without balance, your body has to overcompensate for the weak areas. If you only work on abs and forget the rest of your core (back, obliques, hips, glutes, etc.), your posture is going to be off, which will lead to back pain. If you injured your knee and don’t rest it long enough, your other leg will overcompensate. Trust us, you will notice when something is wrong. To keep your body operating at peak performance, learn to read pain signals and understand when something is off. Work with a physical therapist to identify weak areas and incorporate exercises to strengthen them. These things will help your body be better in tune with itself and create harmony.

Your Muscles Need Time to Rest and Recover  

You may think that working a muscle every day will help it develop quickly, but that’s the last thing you should be doing. The way muscle growth works is that the strain put on your muscles creates tiny tears in the muscle fibers. In order for the muscles to strengthen, they need time to repair and recover. If you alternate the muscle groups you work, it gives every group a day to recover. Adding in three-to-four full-body workouts like the kind we do at CKO guarantees that every muscle gets equal attention. Add in at least one active rest day a week to make sure your muscles are getting the rest and recovery they need in order to get stronger.

Mapping Out Your Workouts Help with Balance

Creating a weekly workout plan will help you keep track of the muscle groups worked and give you the most balanced exercise routine as possible. Make each day’s focus a different muscle group, while incorporating full-body workouts into the weekly schedule. Sticking to a workout calendar will not only help keep you balanced, but make it more likely for you to stick with your fitness plan. There are plenty of fitness apps available for free to help you create and map out weekly workouts.

By keeping your body balanced, you will be able to get maximum results, reduce the chance of injury and feel all-around awesome.

Tips for a Healthy Childhood

Tips for a Healthy Childhood

Childhood obesity is a serious issue often overlooked in this country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood obesity rates have increased by more than 10 percent in the past 30 years, while the rates in teenagers have quadrupled in the same period.

There are several reasons why these numbers have increased. In America, cheap, highly accessible, nutrient-deficient foods have become more prevalent. In fact, a National Center for Health Statistics study found that more than a third of American children eat fast food every day.

We are also living in a different world where both parents are working. In the 1940s, only 10 percent of mothers held jobs. Today, women make up half of the workforce. With both parents working full-time or part-time jobs, it can be easy to swap health for convenience.

Stock up on easy-to-pack fruits

To get the vitamins and minerals fruit provide, opt for quick-grab options. Bananas, apples, peaches, pears, and more are examples of healthy foods that travel easy. They need no preparation and can be tossed into a lunch box or backpack on their own. (Just remember to wash your apples!) For picky kids who prefer their apples sliced, you can find pouches of pre-sliced apples at the grocery store.

Encourage outdoor time

Television and video games are fun, but they are rooted in a sedentary lifestyle. Balance indoor and outdoor activities by allowing one hour of TV and/or fun outdoor video games for every hour outside (weather permitting, of course.) Surprise your child with a new soccer ball, sidewalk chalk, water toys, etc., so they associate the outdoors with fun and exciting play. Make time to go outdoors with them or allow them to invite friends over for group play.

Get your kid involved in sports

It’s no surprise that youth sports offer tons of benefits. Not only do kids get the exercise benefits of sports, they learn how to work with others and how to display good sportsmanship. Studies have shown kids who participate in team sports earn better grades and are more likely to be accepted into college.

Limit fast food consumption

Fast food chains might be an easy and cheap solution to meals when you’re in a time crunch, but we don’t need to go into how bad they are. (We know you already know.) You don’t have to take away fast food completely, but limit how many times a month you order from a restaurant.

Get junk food out of the house

Like fast food, junk food – options usually loaded with refined sugars, bad fats, and preservatives – is easy and convenient. The come pre-packaged and travel well. But for the amount of time it takes to put Oreos in a bag, you could fill that same bag with carrots, red peppers and celery. Snack smart. Stay away from the chips and cookies aisle completely so you won’t be tempted.

Be a role model

None of these tips matter unless you make wellness a priority in your own life. If your kids see you prioritizing fitness and health, they will be more likely to do the same. If they don’t see you leading by example, the message is it matters. The best solution to this is to do as much with your child as possible. Eat healthy foods with them, play outdoors, and include them in your favorite healthy activities. The more effort you put into a healthy lifestyle, your mini-me will do the same.

Modeling a healthy lifestyle for your child is a habit they will thank you for as an adult. Healthy children are more likely to become healthy adults, while obese children and adolescents are at a higher risk for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, various cancers, stroke, and osteoarthritis. If you’re looking to make a change in your family’s health, the time is now.

Taking Control of Your Daily Diet

Taking Control of Your Daily Diet

Staying healthy is more than just exercise — you have to be wary of your diet, too. Though being active is an important component of maintaining a strong and healthy body, what embodies the whole of a person’s overall wellness is multifaceted.

While nothing gets us geared up like a hardcore, sweat-inducing HIIT session, we know paying close attention to diet is a MAJOR factor in a comprehensive healthy lifestyle. This doesn’t mean limiting or punishing oneself to get results. It just means making the right choices when eating – much of it is a lesson in moderation.

Meal Frequency

Skipping Meals: Skipping meals won’t help you lose weight. What it does is cause you to binge at your next meal because you’re ravenous. Instead of skipping meals, listen to your body and eat when you truly feel hungry. The body is our most important tool and by listening to it, you will better know what it needs.

Setting Satiety Points: Tied to this idea of eating when you physically feel your stomach is empty is eating to something called your satiety point. If you feel uncomfortably full, you went beyond your satiety point. Use that opportunity to think about how much you ate versus how much your body needed. To avoid overeating, slow down. Your body relies on signals that tell the brain that the stomach is full and stretched. It takes about a good 20 minutes for the brain to register that the stomach is full.

Manage these signals better by allowing yourself more time to enjoy the food you put in your mouth and perhaps to eat those smaller meals more frequently.

Portion Control

When you were a kid, were you expected to “finish your plate”? Many of us have been trained over decades to clear our plates, which established the habit of ignoring our sense of fullness. Adjusting your brain to stop at a point where you feel satisfied can reset your habits long-term, something truly important if you aim to lose weight.

Meal Prep: An effective way to pay attention to portion control is to read labels. Nutrition facts will list serving sizes, so if you pack a lunch, fitting containers to portions is an easy way to keep you from eating more than necessary and packing just enough.

Eating Out: One of the biggest challenges when it comes to portion control is knowing how much to eat when you’re at a restaurant. Many restaurants serve portions that are much bigger than what’s needed for an average meal. We suggest asking for a to-go box when your meal comes out and immediately putting a portion in the box. Out of sight is truly out of mind.

Dieting Don’ts

Avoid Crash Diets: There is always another popular diet popping up. Some are legitimate indeed, and those which are grounded in science are likely going to offer a well-balanced plan. On the other hand, typical fad diets will often promise instant weight loss without evidence or scientific support. Ultimately having a comprehensive understanding about your specific body’s relationship with food provides a healthier map for overall wellness.

3,500 Calories = 1 Pound: It takes about a 500 daily calorie deficit in order to lose one pound per week. For example, a 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola is 140 calories. Decide to drink water instead of soda and you knock down calories in no time. If you particularly have a sweet tooth, replace candy and sugary processed foods with a handful of berries or other fruits and you’re making a healthier yet still satisfying trade. Tuning into the little things adds up.

The overall lesson in eating is to eat real food, not artificial, processed or out-of-the vending machine foods. Some additional key takeaways:

  1. Fuel your fitness by stocking your gym bag with healthy snacks which include good sources of carbohydrates and protein for an energizing pre-workout snack.
  2. Schedule meals with other people, so you’re talking and eating. Read the news or just take a break every few bites. You’ll feel more satisfied and more comfortable if you slow it down.
  3. Mindful eating will help you establish your satiety point, training your brain to push your plate away at the right time. This will in turn help you with eating only when you really feel a hunger pang.
How You Can Balance Work and Exercise

How You Can Balance Work and Exercise

As fitness experts, there are plenty of opportunities to educate people on how to live their best life. Health and wellness doesn’t just include exercise, but your overall well being. Recently, we were able to lend some life-balance tips to Corp! Magazine. Read on.


Think about fitness this way: a one-hour workout is only 4 percent of your day. A 30-minute workout is just 2 percent. No matter how busy a person’s life is, there is always a way to sneak in exercise during a busy day. The great thing about exercise is that it can be modified to fit each individual’s lifestyle and schedule. Here are some ways you can get more exercise into your schedule.

Switch up your lunch routine

For typical nine-to-five jobs, squeezing in a lunchtime workout is the most efficient way to go. Eat lunch before or after your workout, and then spend your hour on a walk, pumping iron in the gym or doing whatever activity you prefer. You’ll come back to the office refreshed, motivated and ready to finish the day strong.

Incorporate “deskercise” into your day

There are only so many responsibilities one person can handle. If your schedule is packed, find little ways to get in some exercises throughout the day. Find one minute to do push-ups, whether they’re at home or in your office (with the door closed). Take another minute during the workday to do triceps dips on the edge of a chair, push-ups against your desk, lunges or squats – whatever combination is best for you.

Connect with a fitness-minded coworker

Skipping a workout is difficult if you have a fit friend pushing you. Find the most fitness-minded person at your workplace and partner up with him or her to help reach your goals. It’s easy to make excuses for yourself. It’s not as easy to make excuses to another person. Plus, if they are at a different fitness level than you, it will be an extra push for you to not slack on your workout.

Schedule in a workout before work

For as hard as it can be to get out of bed early, morning workouts can be a real blessing. Once you get going, you’re jazzed up and feeling like you can take on the world. Thanks, endorphins! By the end, you start to think why you even thought about going back to bed. By raising your heart rate, you’re ready to take on the day with extra oomph. That’s one of the benefits of morning exercise – they give you energy to tackle the workday and have you going into your day feeling great.

Bring gym clothes to the office for an after-work sweat session

Not everyone is a morning person and sometimes after-work exercise can help ease the stress and anxiety the workday brings. Pack a gym bag with a few changes of clothes and throw it in your car or bring it to the office. You won’t have the I-forgot-my-gym-clothes excuse if you have a week’s worth of clothes in your bag.

Join a 24-hour gym

Not everyone has a nine-to-five job. If that’s your case, find a gym that’s open 24 hours so you have access to it whether you work out at lunch, before work or after work. There are benefits to having these types of hours, too. Depending on when you go, the gym could be all yours. No more fighting over free weights.

When it comes to working out, finding time to balance work and exercise is really about efficiency, problem solving and knowing what’s best for you and your schedule. If you’re committed to a fit lifestyle, however, you will find a way and make it happen, no matter what kind of obstacles you face.

7 Ways to Manage Stress in the Workplace

7 Ways to Manage Stress in the Workplace

As fitness experts, there are plenty of opportunities to educate people on how to live their best life. Health and wellness doesn’t just include fitness, but your overall well being. Recently, we were able to lend some stress-management tips to Corp! Magazine. Read on.


It probably comes as no surprise that 83 percent of Americans find at least one aspect of their job to be extremely stressful. Not only is this crazy amount of stress no fun, but it can be costly to your health and overall happiness. Eight hours at a job can take a toll on a person, and only 36 percent of American workers said that their organizations provide resources for managing work-related stress. If you are one that is not privileged with the resources, here are seven ways to cope with workplace stress.

Shorten your to-do list
Basically, prioritize your priorities. Set, small realistic goals each day. What should go on your to-do list that will actually help you reach these goals? Create a balanced schedule by considering your deadlines and what can wait. It makes no sense to try and tackle 30 things before even allowing yourself a morning cup of coffee.

Calm down
Get some perspective. Is this self-induced stress? Is it really the end of the world if your deadline is reached a day later? Don’t lose sleep over it, and don’t make your problems seem larger than they really are. Just stay in the moment and don’t worry about what the work day tomorrow will bring. There are some things that you simply can’t change or control, so communicate them with your team.

Be real
We all know that smiling and trying to win the unspoken friendliest co-worker on a daily basis is exhausting. Get rid of the distractions. Although the social aspect of the workplace is important for productivity and work culture, being busy may mean blocking out the distractors is necessary. Tackle what you need to. Others can read your stress, which in copious amounts can lead to unhealthy work relationships. And if you do have an issue with a co-worker, address it rather than letting it linger.

Try meditating
This practice seems ridiculous to some, but works on many. Take a deep breath. Take a few minutes to focus on your mind (guided meditations are all over the internet). This will help get rid of stress and help you focus.

Become self-aware
Recognizing what causes your stress can actually help you to problem solve better. Where were you, what was said, and who was there? Finding patterns of what causes you stress and your reactions is a useful strategy to manage stress.

Ask for help
Sometimes, the stress can become too much to self-manage. Consult with other employees or an employer with an issue that needs to be solved. If you are given an unrealistic deadline, tell your adviser or ask another employee for help. Believe it or not, asking others for help makes them feel desired and reiterates their abilities in the workplace. Everyone is happy.

If you ignore all of your stressors, you could be leading down a long road of unhealthy coping. Your stress can be the main contribution to addictive habits and your overall unhappiness. If your stress gets to be too much, even with these tips, it is always a good idea to ask a professional for help.

Fitness = Overall Wellness

Fitness = Overall Wellness

A lot of people start a fitness routine because they want to look better. (You look great, by the way.) But fitness is more than just how your body looks. Sure, it’s awesome to love the way you look, but fitness not only helps you achieve that, it also helps you love the way you feel.

That photo of Simone Biles or Michael Phelps may be the thing which gets you into the gym, but your overall wellness will be the thing which keeps you going. When you think about it, an hour a day for three days a week isn’t taking up much time at all. And for all these benefits you get, a regular fitness routine is more than worth it.

Changing the water cooler is no longer a hassle

Let’s start with the most obvious. As you train your body and muscles, you become stronger. That’s just a simple fact. So don’t let soreness deter you from pushing forward. As you sculpt and tone and your body gets responds to the work its doing, the constant or intense soreness will fade, which is a testament to the amount of strength you’ve gained.

Your mind will thank you

We all know about endorphins, the “feel-good chemicals” in our brain. Exercise produces endorphins, which can give you a mood boost, increase brain function, reduce stress, and relax your mind and body. So if your job is giving you extra stress, a morning or lunch-hour workout might curb those stressful feelings.

Tired by 3 p.m.? Not anymore! 

The more your heart adapts to working hard during exercise, the less it needs to work while it’s resting. This helps your body to conserve energy and leaves you less tired throughout the day. Just like the muscles you see in the mirror, the heart needs to be worked and strengthened, too. Like your heart, your lungs are conditioned to be more energy efficient. Think about walking up a flight of stairs when you haven’t exercised in a long time. Out of breath, right? Now think how much easier it is when you’ve been exercising consistently.

Your confidence goes through the roof

Confidence doesn’t just come from your superficial body transformation. It comes from your full-body transformation. By feeling better and even looking better, your confidence levels increase dramatically. You walk with a little more swagger, you’re more likely to speak up, you feel good about the work you do at your job, etc., etc. You find confidence in aspects of your life you never expected.

If you’re not already in a regular fitness routine, starting up and getting momentum can be a challenge. Just take things slow and remember that progress big or small is good progress. Over the course of a few months, you’ll be able to reflect on your achievements and affirm how fitness has shaped you for the better.