Sunday, February 23, 2014

Eating Healthy and Clean

You see many people talk about getting fit and losing weight. It doesn't matter what you do if your diet isn't proper.  A proper, clean lifestyle of eating is the best way to gain and maintain results. 

People get it twisted when they try diets of every variety. You must change your dining habits, rather than try a fancy diet or a cleanse.

Fruits and vegetables are a must. Use apples, fruit cups, and carrots as snacks.  Eat a salad with at least one meal/day. Substitute regular salad dressing for Italian dressing or vingarette. Beans and greens are especially essential.  Lower your salt and sugar consumption as well. Confirm that this food group doesn't have those dangerous perservatives.

Protein, not heavy meats like beef and pork, is important. Stick to the lean stuff like nuts, chicken, tuna, salmon, and whey protein powder. There are many different protein powders and mixes out on the market, and all have their pluses and minuses. I have found Whey has the most consistent results.  Try mixing with water or soy or almond milk. Limiting your dairy intake and increasing your consumption of multivitamins will make a difference also.

Also, take in more complex carbohydrates like whole grains, brown rice and oatmeal. Cut out the simple carbs, fried stuff, sweets, and fast food. Finally, drink more water. One should attempt to drink at least a gallon (128 ounces) per day. Remember that sodas and even many juices are filled with calories and sugars. Quench your thirst with more herbal tea, green tea, and natural juices.  Even try juicing up fresh fruits and veggies, and drinks such as Naked. 

This are some simple things to help turn your diet around. Remember you aren't sleeping or in the gym all the time. You have more access to healthy and unhealthy foods and beverages than ever.  One just has to decide they want the healthy, clean choice.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Five Curses You May Or May Not Be Aware Of

Many can choose to believe in luck, curses, hexes and the like. I personally believe more in blessings and punishments than good and bad luck.  However, some curses are worthy of mention and note. Here are five of these such curses. 

1. The Kennedys

The Kennedys may not only be one of America's most prominent families, but also one that has had a run of bad luck, scandal and death.  Most are familiar with President John F. Kennedy being assasinated 50 years ago. Five years later, his younger brother, Robert, suffered the same fate. In the mid 1940s, their brother and sister, Joseph and Katherine, were both killed in separate plane crashes. The list goes on of all the tragedy and heartbreak in this family. The most notable was perhaps in 1999 when John F. Kennedy Jr. and his young girlfriend, were both drowned after their plane crashed. Money can buy a lot of things, but the Kennedys have proven it cannot stop life from occuring.

2. The Bambino

This is a curse that lasted 86 years for the Boston Red Sox. Babe Ruth was traded to the Yankees in 1919. The Red Sox went all those decades without winning a World Series, while the Yankees went on to win a record 26 in that span.  They suffered lots of tragedy as a franchise. Carlton Fisk's blunders, Tony G's early career ending injury and of course Bill Buckner in 1986. However, the Red Sox overcame all of this in 2004 by beating those Yankees, then sweeping the Cardinals to break their World Series streak. They have won two more titles since. It appears there is no more Bambino curse.

3. The Chicken Curse

The University of South Carolina Gamecocks has had several awesome athletes come through their program, but never could win a national title in a team sport.  That is until Ray Tanner lead the baseball team to three consecutive College World Series finals , and winning in 2010 and 2011. The football team has become more prominent, winning huge games, having a school record for wins and bowl game wins, and winning five straight over their state rival Clemson Tigers. This is another curse that appears to be a memory.

4. Heisman Curse

For years, it seemed the winner of the Heisman Memorial Trophy for the most outstanding college football player hasn't had a good career after college. We all know how OJ Simpson turned out.  Earl Campbell can barely walk. Many were NFL busts, such as Andre Ware, Danny Wuerfell and recently Tim Tebow. It appears Cam Newton may be helping end this curse, at least for quarterbacks. He's having a great NFL career thus far with the Carolina Panthers and is improving yearly. Now we're counting on Johnny Manziel to live up to his talk and succeed in the pros.

5. Disney

It seems that for a while, many former Mickey Mouse club members and child Disney stars have had rough adult lives. Among those include Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, Vanessa Hudgins,  and others. They peaked as teenagers, and have now become dysfunctional at some point.  Fortunately those such as Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera have avoided this fate.

Whether or not you subscribe to the theory of curses and cursed lives, these five definitely give you something to think about.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Some Cabin Fever Workouts

This week was an odd one for those in the South. Almost half a foot of snow and ice covered the Southeast, making travel virtually impossible for days. Many of these people are also active in their gyms and fitness centers. They developed cabin fever, and an extreme sense of loss from not being able to get out and workout in their gyms.

I was able to stay even thanks to home workouts, DVDs and YouTube. Many folks I know were posting circuits and YouTube vids to help people beat this cabin fever and not get a week behind on their fitness.

Here are some of the more popular workouts during this time period

1. Insanity and Hip Hop Abs

This includes pretty much any workout by Shaun T. He is an awesome trainer and fitness instructor.  His workouts are easily available and designed for home usage.

2. Tae-Bo

No this isn't one of my 90s flashbacks. Billy Blanks is still active in the fitness game, along with his family, and even has a fitness nightclub. His workouts are all over YouTube, and will definitely help you break a sweat.

3. P90X.

Many of these workouts also require little equipment but yield lots of results. The Plyo, Ab Ripper and Yoga are all three especially good for when you're confined to your home.

4. Jeanette Jenkins

She has been a favorite trainer of mine for years. She posts vids and circuits frequently on Twitter and YouTube. She has trained many celebrities, including Kelly Rowland, and she knows what she is doing.

5. Jillian Michaels

The Biggest Loser star also keeps a library of fitness exercises, drills and videos designed for all levels. It's hard to go wrong with her.

There are many others available in this advanced technology world. Trainers are freely posting even short vids on Instagram and Vine, there are fitness apps, and there are even workouts such as planks, burpees and squats that many of us already do at the gym.

Weeks like this past one do not come often in the South but when they do, it's no excuse to put your entire life on hold. Rest for a little while, but stay on track so you won't feel so winded upon your return to the gym.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Some Ways To Effectively Spend, Budget and Stretch Your Tax Refund

One of my personal favorite times of the year is here: tax season. It allows those that actually receive a refund a chance to recoup and recover from the Christmas frenzy, save up some cash for summer and beyond, and treat yourself and others. 

Many people, however, spend their refunds frivolously.  They go to Wal-Mart, the mall, online, everywhere, buying up stuff they could otherwise do without. 

Now I'm not saying don't enjoy your refund. You worked hard for this money from Uncle Sam. However a penny saved is a penny earned. Here are some tips to spend that money more effectively, and even stretch it out some.

1. Tithe 10% of it, or give a portion to a local charity.

Many don't realize you should tithe 10% of your refund to the Lord via your church. Well if you don't wanna do that or do not have a church to send your monies to, choose a church or philanthropy and go that route. The amount will seem small, but the impact will be monumental.

2. Take care of home and automobile.

Car commercials are everywhere now, as many car lots are still trying to clear last year's inventory.  Having your refund can make this possible.  However, if you already have a car note or you don't want another, use some of your refund for routine maintenance.  This includes tires, brakes, tune-ups, and anything that may need replacing.  Also, many that own homes already spend a lot of money at Home Depot or Lowes. You can take care of home improvements as well.

3. Pay off bills and get ahead.

Speaking of the aforementioned car note, it doesn't hurt to pay off your car, or put a dent in the note so the interest is lower. Also, this applies to other outstanding or huge upcoming bills.

4. Pledge to save about 10 percent for a rainy day. 

Regardless of how you spend the check, set aside 10 percent of it for an emergency fund. Put it in a credit union or savings and allow it to accumulate some interest. This will keep that money working for you.

5. Treat yourself. 

It's perfectly fine to do this, as long as you don't break the bank in the process. Go to that five star restaurant you saw on Yelp. Take that vacation or cruise this summer. Buy yourself some new electronics, clothes, or gadgets. Some retail therapy and money to get away is actually healthy.

6. Take care of needs, then wants

This is the theme I'm driving towards.  You should pay down as much debt, and take care of any and all needs you can before having fun with your funds. You will enjoy it more having that peace of mind.

7.  Set a budget for each spending purpose. 

I typically write a list of things that I need to take care of, along with a wish list. I try to make it as reasonable as possible, and ensure I still have money left over. This is discipline with your windfall.

Remember this is tax season, not the lottery. You aren't rich, just a little blessed. Just take proper care of your blessing and don't get quickly separated from your monies.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Loving past February and Valentine's Day

This week of course is one of love, culminating with St. Valentine's Day. During most commercialized holidays, many industries make a lot of money. For this holiday, it's the candy, flower, card restaurant, spa, and hotel corporations and companies that are expected to make a killing.

A killing all in the name of love.

Love is a beautiful thing, and being in love and expressing these emotions are wonderful.  However, why must we ONLY do this once, or even a few times a year? If you love someone or something, some sort of gesture should be made everyday. 

I will start with Christians and loving the Lord. Most who know me know how I cannot stand how hype church folks get after a certain Sunday service, then I don't see nor hear them make further mention of God or Jesus until the next week. I throw Matthew 6:5-8 at them. That verse can actually be a good theme for this entire blurb, especially my next point. 

This Valentine's, you will see all sorts of flowers, candies and gifts delivered to workplaces and schools nationwide. I have two quips here: why make that type of gesture when you are going to see them that evening?, and why don't you do this regularly? It seems too many reserve this for Valentine's, birthday, anniversary, or another special occasion. 

Next is loving your fellow person. This could be your parents, children, other family members, friends, and such.  We don't show or send our affection often enough. Whenever me and my circle of friends or family get together, we always  express this, as we want to make every moment count.

Therefore, whatever you do on this holiday of love, make it count and don't use the day as an excuse to do something special.  Let us endeavor to do this everyday, even with some simple words. Now that's love. 

Spotlight On Rhonda Durbin: Motivated, Versatile and Enthusiastic About Fitness

Finding a good fitness instructor, personal trainer, or especially a gym can be tough. Young ladies like Rhonda Durbin have made all three easier.

I first met Rhonda almost four years ago at a ZUMBAthon at my former gym, Your Best Body Fitness Center and Day Spa.
She had a lot of skill, different moves that I hadn't seen, and a love for fitness and others. Everyone present was impressed.

This enthusiastic, sweet, bright smiling woman is a trainer and instructor extraordinare and co-owns Tryon Health and Fitness Club with her mother in Tryon, NC.

She has literally made fitness a lifelong passion and now a career. She began teaching classes at the age of 13 when her aforementioned mother couldn't teach a class one day and Rhonda filled in. It was a mini trampoline class and she viewed the videos on it and all and taught that class well. The rest is history.

Ms. Durbin has many different certifications and accreditations in fitness through the AFAA  (Aerobic and Fitness Association Of America). She just had to recently get recertified as one must renew every two years. Not only is she a certified personal trainer and ZUMBA instructor, she also does yoga, kickboxing,  body sculpting, yogalates, and many other classes. There's not too many classes or styles that Rhonda doesn't or can't teach.

She trains and teaches folks of all ages, sizes, and backgrounds.  This includes young adults and the elderly. Her style is not a get in your face and yell ala Jillian Michaels. She motivates through examples and positive encouragement. Rhonda will push her students and clients as needed, but keeps a balance and adjusts to each person and class.

She has helped numerous people achieve results, which is something that she takes joy in. Rhonda loves to see others succeed, and loves to succeed personally as well. She strives to be as fit as possible and can be harder on herself than she may be on others.

No YouTube vids of her workouts are available as of current. However stay tuned, as Rhonda's brother is really into doing YouTube stuff, and has his own channel.  For those that aren't near the Tryon area, this would be an added treat.

Find Rhonda Durbin on Facebook, as well as her gym, Tryon Health and Fitness Club. Her and her mother are also very professional and have a good facility going with lots to offer.  Class schedules are available, as well as updates on the facility and Rhonda's life.

Rhonda is definitely one in a million in the fitness world. Do not be surprised if she is later mentioned in the same company as Jeanette Jenkins, Billy Blanks, and Jillian Michaels (less the drill sergeant style) . You heard it here first readers. Those who have taken her classes and sessions know this fitness diva is for real!

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Appeal Of Side Pieces

I decided to reboot my piece on side pieces I penned back in 2014. Hope you enjoy.

Many women have played the role of mistress for years and years. Two of the most notable "side pieces" in the modern era are Marilyn Monroe and Monica Lewinsky. One ended up dead and nude in her bathroom, and the other became rich and famous and backed away.  Then you have wives such as Jenny Sanford from South Carolina who made millions from book deals based on their philandering husbands.

Television and the media are starting to portray this behavior more. In the past on TV, Scandal, Being Mary Jane and the now canceled Single Ladies have all involved a lady who is a married man's sidepiece.

It appears to be some appeal in being the other woman. Karrine Steffans sure enjoyed it for a while, even having a brief career in porn.

Present day, 2017, Bernice Burgos is now the current hot sidepiece. Many are aware that rapper TI's marriage is falling apart. Well he definitely has his next woman in line. Burgos can be found on Instagram and other places as her poolside photos went viral recently.  She is very easy on the eyes, but probably wouldn't be getting as much attention if she weren't linked to a celebrity

Women seem to get caught up in the fantasy, the chase, the adventure of being with a man that isn't theirs or they can't have all the time. One cannot be mad at the media for exposing this sad truth.

To these women: if you ever got this man, how do you think he will treat you? Some old dogs can't learn new tricks, and need to be left in the alley.