Happy Friday friends! It’s that time of the week again, where we all sit down and absorb some tasty knowledge that can point us in the right direction for finding our optimal most health filled self. This week, I would like to discuss with you why fruits and vegetables are different colors and the significance behind this palate.
So here is a fun fact for you that you may not have known. The color of a vegetable or fruit is an indicator of the kinds of nutrients you will find within that delectable morsel.
Wait a minute Ferret … are you telling me that nature is so smart it can actually sort its nutrient content into color categories making it easier for us as humans to identify nutrients so we can make certain we get enough and the rights kinds?
Close enough. It is more directly related to the science behind the chemical makeup of the specific nutrients and the light they reflect. I could provide you with the science of it, but it might be a bit much to swallow (pun intended.) If you are curious as to how nutrient content can determine a fruit or vegetables coloration, I urge you to do some independent research.
But I digress. With this knowledge, we can determine that it is in our best interest to more or less “Taste the Rainbow” (thank you skittles, you did something right.) By doing so, we ensure that our body is going to get all the nutrients plant based foods have to offer.
So let’s look at the categories and some of the nutrition / fruits and vegetables that fall into each.
Let’s start with the darker part of the spectrum. That’s right, I’m talkin bout those Red’s, Purples, and Blues baby.
Red, Purple, and Blue
Within these puppies you can find anthocyanin and lycopene (found in the reds.) Known to have antioxidant properties, these can help combat free radicals in your system as well as have some cancer immunological responses. You can also find potassium, folate, vitamin A, and vitamin C inside.
Some examples of these include: Apples, Beets, Blueberries, and Eggplant.
White or Tan
White fruits and vegetables contain a compound called anthoxanthin which also have antioxidant properties. You can find potassium, niacin, folate, riboflavin, and vitamin C hiding inside!
Some examples: Bananas, Dates, Garlic, and Mushrooms.
Orange and Yellow
These colors yield unto you carotenoids which along with being good for your body and its production of some vitamins can also have a positive immune system response (No wonder they tell you to eat oranges when fighting a cold!) As well, they contain vitamin C, potassium, folate, and bromium.
Some examples for your dining pleasure: Cantaloupe, Oranges, Pumpkin, Yellow Peppers.
Perhaps my favorite of the vegetable and fruit world are the greens. You can find vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, folate, and a whole heap of iron as well as lutein and indoles that like other antioxidants have many beneficial effects for your body as a whole.
Examples include: Kiwi, Avocado, Spinach, and Broccoli.
So remember everybody. There are a ton of vegetables and fruit out there, all of different colors. It is in your best interest to follow the slogan set forth by the Skittles Company and “taste the rainbow.” Your body will thank you, and if you don’t like one of a given color, try another!
Welcome friends! A splendid Friday to you and yours. Today, we are going to discuss Mode, and no, I don’t mean the most frequent number appearing in a series.
Being a fitness guy and a gym junkie in the first place, it’s easy for me to tout all the benefits and amazingness that weight lifting and general gym going can offer a person.
However, I’d be a blasphemer to my own philosophy if I was convinced that IT WAS THE WAY for everyone and anyone.
The truth is: Regardless of the benefits or anything I or anyone else could say, some people just do not care for the atmosphere of a gym or the idea of performing a repetitive motion for the sake of getting better at it and providing a challenge to the body.
Does this mean physical fitness and the benefits of it are out for anyone who identifies with this category?
Show me someone who believes that, and I’ll show you someone who lacks imagination and innovation.
This is where we get into our topic. Mode.
I’m going to ask you a question that I hope you will consider seriously, and ask yourself the very same question.
What is your Mode?
Think about it. Keep thinking about it. Still Thinking about it?
Good! I wanted to pique your interest, curiosity, and get you thinking.
When I ask, “What is your Mode?” Let me be a bit clearer.
What is it that makes you feel alive? What gets your heart racing? What sends the adrenaline coursing through your system at break neck speeds like sneaking out of the house after dark as a teenager and stealing a joy ride in your pop-pops vintage Camaro? What activity would you choose (even if you weren’t good at it) to participate in 8 out of 7 days a week if you were forced to make a decision? If you wanted to make the decision?
If you don’t have an answer to that, don’t worry. You are in a fortunate circumstance. You have the rest of your life to figure it out and try new things!
Maybe yours has even changed over your life time.
At one point in my life, it was sports; another it was being outdoors; today, it is obstacle course racing.
For someone else it may be bike riding, paintballing, climbing trees, running, walking, hop-scotch, curling, pole vaulting, dancing; seriously, I could go on nearly forever.
No matter how obscure, no matter how silly, if it gets you moving and makes you happy, it is yours.
One of the ways I try to encourage my clients to keep themselves fit beyond our sessions, beyond health concerns, is to help them identify what their mode is.
I’ve worked with cyclists, golfers, dancers, athletes, skiers, walkers, runners, just to name a few.
A lot of these people didn’t even realize they enjoyed these things as much as they did until they tried them, until they saw the benefits of a catered workout program helping them excel and become better at their Mode.
Yeah, that’s right. Utilizing the gym to directly benefit your golf game? Your swim speed and form? Your push-off on skates? Your cornering on skis? This is a real thing.
The gym goes beyond mindlessly lifting things up and putting them down. It is a facility with equipment that can be used in virtually limitless ways to help you excel at and improve your Mode.
But I digress to my original point. Even if you choose not to utilize gym facilities (or home gyms) for honing your mode, for improving your health, or improving your body image, it is still very important to your way of life to have a Mode that is yours and yours alone (it’s okay to share it with others, but make sure at the end of the day it’s an activity you do for you, not for them.)
Another thing many gyms offer besides machines and free weights: Classes.
Zumba, Boot Camp, Yoga, Tabatta, Spinning, just to name a few are some of the popular group gym activities that are going through the rounds right now.
Those aren’t right for you either? Don’t worry friend. Your Mode is out there waiting for you to embrace it so it can bring to you the same joy that so many others feel when they become lost in it. Never give up searching, and never give up on something you’re not good at … yet.
As I’ve said before, life happens at the edge of your comfort zone. So get out there and push the envelope.
Happy … Sunday? Friends! Yes, that is right, it is in fact Sunday, not Friday. Womp Womp.
I underestimated how much my adventure last Sunday would kick my butt. But I digress …
This week, I would like to discuss with you some of the profundity’s I came across while hiking a Presidential Traverse on Sunday.
Just what the heck is a Presidential Traverse you ask?
It is a 20 mile hike (19.8) across the White Mountains in which you hit each of the presidential peaks. Of course, I am told from a purist perspective it is not a true presidential traverse unless it includes the 8th peak, but I’m not terribly concerned with semantics.
As I mentioned, this hike really gave me quite a butt kicking! It took us 16 hours and went from pre-dawn to post sunset. Amidst the laughs, the sweat, and the tears, I reached several moments where I felt absolutely clear. As if some mystery or piece of knowledge fell within my grasp to solve and understand. I find these moments often when out in nature hiking (of course, I also find an abundance of these moments in the shower and in the car.)
Today, I would like to simply share with you the moments of inspiration that crossed paths with me during my adventure.
Never Spit Into The Wind.
This seems a little silly and is an age-old saying. What brought about this thought ironically was a literal application to the metaphor.
While at the peak of Madison and dealing with 60mph gusts of wind, I went to spit out some of what could only be described as “by product in the throat of altitude, cold, and physical activity” (I’m sure some people out there no what I’m talking about) and was actually surprised, when a gust picked up just then and flung the projectile back into my own face.
The only appropriate response to that was to laugh at myself. Fortunately, no one else had seen me do it and I was far enough ahead of my companions that I had enough time to consider the action I just took.
From the literal perspective, I was reminded “Don’t spit into the wind.” The consequence being, you’ll get hit with your own spit.
So, figuratively, what the metaphor means to me is a reminder how as we travel through life, we will always encounter gusts of wind. Resistance if you will. Resistance from the universe, relationships, tasks, trials, and the list goes on and on. When faced with those moments, the last thing you want to do is put your own crap against that resistance. It will always come back and bite you.
Consider the following: You are working hard at making a new routine work, and it is pertinent that you allow yourself an extra 15 minutes in the mornings to do so. The alarm goes off, 25 minutes earlier, and you are faced with the decision of waking yourself up or hitting the snooze button. Don’t spit into the wind!
You’ve got a big project due, and an afternoon set aside to work on it. Someone approaches you with an opportunity to do something that will take up half up that time. Will the remaining half still be enough time? Don’t spit into the wind!
You’re on a roller coaster, going 60 miles an hour. Don’t spit into the wind!
Perspective, Yes it’s important.
Perspective. Possibly one of the strongest forces to our mental state and level of drive.
While climbing (several peaks) looking up to your destination always seemed so daunting and far. But as I came to notice each time I reached a peak and looked down, it never seemed as far as it did from the bottom.
Then, the light bulb clicked on.
As with all obstacles we face in life, as we are at the beginning working our way up, the destination always seems so far away and the odds against impossible. But once we achieve the peak, the goal, the end, we look back and it never seems as challenging as it was. It looks almost … easy. Perhaps on some metaphysical level, it is easy now, once we have conquered it there is no longer that battling sensation of “can I do it?” because from the top, that question has already been answered with a resounding yes.
So friends, remember while you are climbing that mountain, looking down from the top will provide you with perspective and make the journey all worth it.
Those who have arrived at the peak already never forget that the struggle is real. No matter how simple it looks from the top, remember what you had to go through to get there. Always encourage those who are still climbing.
Say Yes to Life.
This was quite possibly my favorite profound thought of the day. Through life we are faced with many opportunities to live. To take advantage if of them all we need to do is say “yes.”
It was halfway through the hike, as we were climbing Washington it’s self that my mind started to wander to the “Oh crap … what have I gotten myself into? I am going to die. My legs are going to give out, and I am going to die.” Now, I was not in any real life threatening danger, but my body ached to the point where I was struggling to maintain that mental focus to keep pushing. That all too familiar zone I often times help my clients push themselves into and through.
Mustering what I could, and popping a couple Ibuprofen, I sucked it up and said “yes” to life even though I had the opportunity to ride a train back down the mountain and quit the hike half way through.
The rest of the adventure was STILL just as grueling and my body and mind reached levels even beyond that initial point where I had to keep telling myself to simply throw the next leg in front as I trudged on.
When we hit that final peak at Pierce, and watched the sun starting to set on the horizon, the entire trip suddenly became more than worth it.
The accomplishment, the feat, the adventure.
Never in my life had I completed a hike quite like this, let alone put my body through a challenge quite as physical, and here I was, at the last peak of our journey watching one of the most beautiful sun sets I had ever seen from one of the highest points in North America.
I’m reminded of a story at this moment.
While walking along a beach on the cape with a few friends on a very cold fall day, one of my friends looked out across the ocean and said “Let’s run into the water.”
The rest of us looked at him a little crazy, and without missing a beat, he threw off a couple lairs of clothing, looked us square in the eyes and said “Somewhere on the edge of your comfort zone is where life really happens.” Without missing a beat, he sped off into the water. His words rang true, and gave me this itching sensation of invigoration. I followed after and jumped into the water as well.
Yes, it was very cold.
Yes, it was crazy.
Yes … It made me feel alive.
Friends, say yes to life, as often as you can. We are only here for a short time, and the true adventure is making it mean something to you.
As many tears as it may take, as much as it may be outside your comfort zone. It will always leave you with a memory that can’t be replaced, a feeling that can’t be explained, and a life made, rather than simply lived.
Tune in Monday for another great article written by our friend Erin!
Happy Friday friends! I hope everyone enjoyed their long weekend (to those who had a long weekend to enjoy.) This week, I’d like to discuss something that’s been bothering me with the fitness community lately.
Every so often (really it’s closer to once a day) I encounter a list, or an article written by a professional regurgitating information on the latest trends in fitness, specifically for the sake of this article, it’s been a list of over-rated/useless/don’t do this fitness equipment.
Admittedly, when this particular type of list started circulating, I found myself agreeing with many of the claims as a fitness professional and the logic behind the claims as they were already opinions I had myself.
That being said, there is a certain belief being stated over and over again that I think is a bit misguided and very unfair to a very versatile piece of gym equipment that is getting a bad rap.
What is this piece of equipment you ask? The Treadmill.
In the fitness world, a lot of emphasis is put on losing weight, and what is the most efficient and effective way to do this.
It had always been a long held belief that the Treadmill was the sure fire way to get your heart rate into the “fat burning” zone and walk / run yourself skinny.
We have come to understand that that is simply not true.
From this discovery, a lot of misplaced hate has been thrown at the Treadmill for no other reason than it simply is not the most effective or efficient tool for weight loss and management.
While this is true, by jumping on the hater’s bandwagon and discrediting the treadmill, an unfortunate side effect is that a great piece of equipment becomes the enemy, simply because it is not as effective at ONE particular aspect of fitness as other measures.
As fitness professionals, it is important that we tread carefully when deciding what fads to jump behind and support. One thing to understand about the science behind fitness is that it is constantly changing and evolving as we understand it more and more and studies that have been long standing continue to wrap up.
So as I continue on, I want to make two things absolutely clear.
The Treadmill is not the most effective or efficient means to lose weight and maintain fitness.
The Treadmill is a very useful and versatile tool for several aspects of fitness.
So here’s my defense of the misunderstood Treadmill:
For an endurance athlete that does not have easy access to a safe running route, the Treadmill is perfect for allowing you to push the limits of your distances on a stationary surface free of traffic.
Live in a relatively flat area? The Treadmill can allow the endurance athlete to perform hill training where hills may not be easily accessible.
Is the weather inclement? Live in a snowy region during the winter? The Treadmill can be your friend for these occasions!
Want to push yourself to new distances without potentially stranding yourself far from your origin? Treadmill!
Shin splints bugging you from a rough run? Did you know that walking backwards can help alleviate that stress? Try walking backwards on the Treadmill on a low manageable speed setting. Safer than on an unpredictable surface.
With the above in mind, the Treadmill can also allow you to shuffle sideways for set increments if you feel like trying something new.
With all that being said, the last point to take into consideration is that some people simply enjoy the Treadmill and by calling them out on it for nothing more than “Because it’s inefficient” can seriously alienate a demographic. Fitness is fitness at the end of the day and as long as someone is doing something about their own health, why chastise?
Remember friends. Try to always be open minded, about all things. If we limit our minds, we limit ourselves.
Dan "The Fit Ferret": An avid enthusiast of life and seeking out adventure wherever it may lie. ACSM certified Personal Trainer and Spartan OCR Competitor.