Interview & Free Gift!

I recently got a chance to chat with a friend and fellow man & Dad-on-a-health-mission.  It was in a Healthy Family Meal Plan Expert Interview in hopes of inspiring some men & Dads out there.

My friend also said,

** NOTE: if you’re the Mom it’s still of value to you. The interview will actually give you some insight into the mind of a father (or man in general)…insight that you could use to encourage your husband (or significant other) to focus more on health and connecting with your kids.

Click here to access the interview and there’s a FREE GIFT in there for you as well!
Let’s Pursue Fitness to Positively Impact Others!

Kevin Hsu, CPT & CTNC

When Fear Attacks

When fear attacks, our holistic health often decreases rapidly.  We are often paralyzed from doing daily life routines, including exercise.  We often turn to comfort foods, which typically are not the most nutritious for our bodies.  We often sleep poorly, being physically exhausted, but mentally awake worrying about all the “what-ifs” that come with fear.

Personally, I have struggled with fear, especially fear of the unknown recently.   I had a great support system of family and friends in California, along with fitness mentors and classes already established, but then, we decided that in this next phase of our family’s life, we needed to be in Virginia.  Even after being in Virginia for almost a month, there are still lots of unknowns and many times when fear attacks.

Fear

With all that said, THIS MEDITATION on being “Afraid of the Unknown was really helpful to me.  I hope it is helpful for your holistic health as well when (not if) – WHEN fear attacks.

Let’s Pursue Holistic Fitness to Positively Impact Others!

Kevin Hsu, CPT & CTNC

How Much Do You Drink?

How much do you drink…..of water?

Your body is 60-70% water, with so many vital parts of your body composed of mostly water.  That is why when we are dehydrated, we feel and function poorly in so many different ways.

Water in Body Infographic

While the above infographic provides a good formula to figure out how many cups of water you should drink each day, most people I talk to, including myself, already know that we should drink more water.

So, instead of convincing you to drink more water (which you probably already know you should do), I want to offer up some practical ideas for ways to drink more water.  Some are regular practices I do, and others are routines and practices that other friends do to help them drink more water every day.

  • Buy and use a decent size water bottle, like a 24-32 ounce one.  Remembering to get up and refill cups is hard in the midst of a busy day.  And, tracking eight or more cups per day is difficult as well.  By using a larger water bottle, it helps with both of those difficulties.
  • Personally, I use a 32 ounce water bottle.  I fill it up either first thing in the morning or the night before, placing it next to my bed.  I drink one water bottle within the first hour or so before heading off to work.  I then fill it up for the work day and try to finish it by the end of the work day.  Then when I get home, I have all evening to finish one more bottle.  The natural transitions help me remember to do refills, and it is much easier to track one bottle of water to finish in three different time periods of the day.
  • Drink a good portion of water first thing in the morning.  That way when the day gets busy, even if you forget to drink throughout the day, you have much less “catch-up” to do in the evening.  And, I don’t know about you, but I often wake up pretty thirsty anyway.  In addition, if you are trying to lose weight, many feelings of hunger in the morning are simply because we are dehydrated, so having a few glasses of water or one big water bottle first thing in the morning helps curb hunger pangs as well.
  • One friend I know uses rubber bands or hair-ties around her water bottle, equal to the number of water cups or bottles necessary for her to drink.  Every time she finishes a cup, she removes a rubber band.  Her goal is to remove all the rubber bands by the end of the day.  She adds in different color bands to brighten up her water-drinking habit.
  • Set an hourly reminder on your calendar.  Most people work roughly eight hours a day.  And, most people work at a job where they sit most of those eight hours.  Studies show that sitting for prolonged periods of time has negative effects on the human body.  So, what I have done is to set an hourly reminder on my calendar.  Every hour I get out of my chair and walk around, stretching and moving my body.  It is also a great time to walk and get a refill of water.  Since most people work eight hours a day, doing this will get you eight cups of water during the work day itself.

What are some creative, practical ideas that you have to drink more water?

Let’s Pursue Fitness to Positively Impact Others!

Kevin Hsu, CPT & CTNC

Don’t Forget to Stretch

Last week’s note was a little long on how we can overcome our struggles with shame.  So I am going to keep it much shorter this week.

I simply want to remind you: don’t forget to stretch after you do cross-training or any type of exercise.

I am writing this because recently, I was running late to an appointment, so after my cross-training workout, I skipped my normal stretching routine.  Bad idea.  I normally don’t get sore the day after my workouts, and even when I do get sore, it doesn’t last for more than one day.

However, this time, because I did not stretch after I exercised, I was much more sore than usual, and it lasted for over three days!  Not beneficial for holistic fitness, health, and wellness!

So friends, don’t forget to stretch!

Now, as a quick sidenote: stretch AFTER you exercise, not before you exercise, which is when you should do a more dynamic, movement-based warm-up.  If you have questions about that, let me know.

Struggle with Shame?

Do you ever struggle with shame?

Growing up, I struggled with shame regarding my allergies, asthma, strength (or lack thereof), and health problems.  Still today, I struggle with shame when I am lazy and skip a workout or secretly eat a super-processed, artificially-produced dessert that I am craving. Even recently, I struggled with shame over not writing and sending out an update to serve you in the pursuit of holistic health and fitness.

What about you? Have you ever struggled with shame, which negatively affects your health emotionally and mentally, and often physically as well?

Shame

As we think about holistic fitness, an important question is, “How can we deal with shame?”  How can we deal with feelings of inadequacy and not living up to our own standards?

Now, to answer this question helpfully, I want to prepare you that this meditation is a little longer than the other ones.

It would be helpful to first understand where shame came from.  Why do we struggle with shame in the first place?

The Bible teaches us that shame came into the world because of sin.  When we (men and women) were first created, the Bible says that they were naked and unashamed.  Their entire lives were exposed, but they had no shame because they had no flaws.

Unfortunately, it didn’t take long before the first man and the first woman chose to sin against God.  They loved something more than God.  They pursued identity apart from God.  And they disobeyed God’s Word to them.

Right after their first sin, they were still naked, but now they were ashamed.  They tried to cover up their shame and hid from God.  And you know what?  In many ways, they should have been filled with shame.

The Bible tells us that like Adam and Eve, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  Because of sin, all mankind is imperfect, filled with flaws, and far short of God’s standard and essence of perfection.  It was our choice and our fault, and we should be filled with shame as we are exposed to the perfection and glory of who God is.

Moreover, not only were we exposed to God and rightly filled with shame, but now we also felt exposed to other people and filled with shame in comparison to many others.  Shame came as a result of sin and falling short of the perfections of God.

With that said, what is the solution then?  How can we overcome shame in our lives?  How can we overcome the harmful, crippling, paralyzing, and isolating effects of shame in our lives?

Well, because shame came as a result of sin, the only true, lasting solution to shame needs to deal with the problem of sin.

And thankfully, whereas we ran away from God to pursue sin, compounding the problem of shame, God, in His mercy, grace, and love pursued us to give us the solution.

God sent His Son Jesus Christ to live the perfect, sinless life that no man ever lived.  Jesus was the only perfect man who had no reason for shame in His life.  But Jesus voluntarily chose to die on the cross, bearing our shame upon Himself as He died for the sins of mankind.

Then three days after He was crucified and buried, Jesus resurrected from the dead in victory over sin and the shame that came with it.  And now, because of Jesus Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, God offers to all sinners forgiveness of sin and freedom from shame.

How?

If we turn away from our life of loving things above God, finding identity apart from God, and living in opposition to God’s Word, and we believe and trust in Jesus Christ’s life, death, and resurrection.  We simply need to repent and believe.

And when we do, God covers our shame that comes from our sin and all our exposed flaws, imperfections, and unrighteousness, and God covers us with Jesus Christ’s perfect righteousness.

Jesus Covering Our Shame

Because of Jesus and covered with Jesus’ perfections by faith, we can be fully known, fully exposed and fully accepted and fully loved.  God didn’t wait for us to fix ourselves, get back on the diet train, or become perfect to then love and accept us.  God, who sees everything and from whom we can hide nothing in our shame, God chose to provide His Son to fully cover our shame because He first loved us. That is how we can overcome shame!

It is not well wishes or positive thinking.  It is a true and lasting reality that could be ours today and everyday through repentance and faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.

Let’s embrace this reality and then share this reality to everyone around us, who no doubt struggle with shame in different areas of their lives, which is very damaging to holistic fitness, health, and wellness.

Let’s Pursue Fitness to Positively Impact Others!

Kevin Hsu, CPT & CTNC

Sugar Challenge in Community

How’s your Sugar Challenge coming from last week?

Have you been trying to do it on your own?  If so, try attempting the sugar challenge with 2-3 friends?  

Here are some suggestions for the remaining 7 days of the challenge, or begin the 14 day sugar challenge again with some friends:

  • When you and your friends do a potluck, ask the group not to bring any sugary drink, even though I know it is one of the easiest and cheapest options for potlucks, especially with so many buy 2, get 3 free soda deals at grocery stores.
  • When you or your friends go out to eat at a restaurant, don’t order any extra drinks.  Get water.  Not only will this be lighter on your wallet, but it also means fewer calories and you are putting  less toxic, destructive things in your bodies.  I know the option of “free refills” is alluring, but try it for 14 days and see how you feel.
  • Identify some artificially sweet treats you and your friends often consume together, and come up with a naturally sweet alternative you can try for at least 14 days.

What are some other ideas you and your community of friends have in doing the sugar challenge together?

Sugar Challenge

When I wrote on Clean Consumption last month, I gave you an easily printable one-page list of sugars in disguise.  I am writing on sugar again this month because the over-consumption of refined and processed sugar is a huge health problem.

In America, the average person consumes about 130 pounds of differently disguised sugars and sweeteners a year.  This sugar consumption has contributed to many health concerns such as tooth decay, diabetes, hypertension, depression, migraines, obesity, psychological and nerve problems, and even cancer.  

Now, must we only eat bland, sweet-less foods?

No!  There is a huge difference between natural sweeteners, which are much safer and healthier options, and artificial, refined, and processed sweeteners, which are huge factors to the health problems above.

  • Natural sweetener examples: milk, fruit, honey, and agave.
  • Artificial and processed sweetener examples: white table sugar, raw sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, high fructose corn syrup, saccharine, dextrose, and aspartame.

I want to issue to you a loving, sugar challenge: for 14 days, intentionally cut down (or stop altogether) your consumption of artificial, refined, and processed sweeteners!

  • Simple starting step: cut out sugary drinks and sodas.
  • Advanced additional step: avoid processed and packaged foods.

Warning: detoxing from these artificial, refined, and processed sweeteners may temporarily produce mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms, such as temporary fatigue, anxiety, irritability, rapid heart rate, and poor sleep.

But listen!  These symptoms usually only last a few days, and aren’t they MUCH better than dealing with years of tooth decay, diabetes, hypertension, depression, migraines, obesity, psychological and nerve problems, or even cancer?

Will you accept the sugar challenge today?

Building Healthy Community

Some of the most difficult times in my life have come when I have been alone and lonely.  Working alone has rarely been a formula for success in anything in life, including the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle.

So, here are some ideas for building healthy community to best set you up for long-term success in obtaining and maintaining holistic fitness.

1) Try a fitness challenge (28-day exercise plan or 21-day meal plan) and invite a friend or two to do it with you.  You can support one another and set up some friendly competition with one another.

2) Ask friends to exercise with you in a location convenient for all of you.  Parents can exercise regularly with other parents after dropping their kids off at school or while their kids are at a sports activity.  Neighbors can exercise regularly together.  I personally have had great, consistent community exercise with both parents and neighbors at a local park.

3) Shop for healthy groceries with friends.  You can save money by buying things in bulk and sharing the healthy ingredients.

4) Meal plan and collaborate with friends.  Each person can make a large quantity of one healthy meal, and then share additional servings with others.  That way, everyone not only cooks less, but everyone also gets more variety of healthy meals.  And, you can enjoy eating some of those meals with those friends as well.

What other ideas do you have?

Let’s Pursue Fitness to Positively Impact Others!

Kevin Hsu, CPT & CTNC

P.S. If you have friends who could benefit from my e-book, let them know that they can still get it FREE HERE until the end of the April!

Summer is Coming…Are You Ready?

I can’t believe it is May already.  This year is passing by so quickly, with summer just around the corner.

Now, are you ready for summer?

  • While I don’t encourage the pursuit of fitness solely to “look good,” I know that I can’t change your motivation in pursuing fitness, and I know that many people are thinking about summer readiness in terms of their “beach body.”  Are you ready?
  • Summer also often means travel.  Being out of routine.  No gym access.  Hotel rooms.  Sometimes even busier days on vacation than when working.  Are you ready?  Do you have a time-efficient workout plan to maintain a healthy rhythm of exercise?
  • With lots of travel and vacation taking place in summer, summer doesn’t just mean less time, but also less expendable money for things like gym, equipment, classes, and personal training.  Are you ready?  Do you have a cost-effective workout plan to save more money to spend having fun with family and friends?

For me, I have been in the midst of lots of transition that requires much time and money.  While working full-time, our family has moved out of our home and has been living out of suitcases for almost two months now.   Our family recently celebrated welcoming baby number 4.  And our family is in the middle of two moves, the second across country from CA to VA.

So, for the past several months, I often don’t feel ready!  And, I don’t feel ready, not just for summer, but for day-to-day life!

Moreover, when I searched around for workout plans and options, I often felt lost and stuck, not finding any simple exercise routines that fit my life of transition, travel, no-gym, and minimal time and money.

SO, I DEVELOPED MY OWN HERE: A Simple, Portable, Bodyweight Baseline Cross-Training Program Without Needing Expensive Gym Memberships, Equipment, and Tons of Time & Space!

It has worked well for me the past several months, and I hope it serves you as well.

Let’s Pursue Fitness to Positively Impact Others!

Kevin Hsu, CPT & CTNC

Can You Identify Sugars In Disguise?

Too much sugar and the wrong kinds of sugar are some of the biggest hindrances to long-term success in obtaining and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  For me, I was addicted to soda, especially at places that offered cheap drinks with free refills. (gotta get my money’s worth right?)  In addition, I was deluded into thinking it wasn’t too bad because I chose the “diet” options – which just had many other sugars in disguise.

Now, from the info-graphic below, I suspect that I am not a unique person when it comes to struggling with sugar addiction (sadly).

americas-sugar-addiction

Now, if we desire to decrease our sugar intake, we need to be able to identify the many different ways sugar disguises itself.  I want to help you work smarter and shorter, not harder and longer!

To do so, I am including a one-page handout from the Institute of Transformational Nutrition, the nutrition institute I studied at.  You can print it out or save it on your smartphone for easy access whenever you are out shopping.

Let’s Pursue Fitness to Positively Impact Others!

Kevin Hsu, CPT & CTNC

P.S. If you have friends who could benefit from my e-book, let them know that they can still get it FREE HERE until the end of the April!