5 Steps to take Family Fitness from Good to Great

5 Steps to take Family Fitness from Good to Great

The journey from ‘good to great' is a marathon and never a sprint.

As any coach or mentor will tell you, qualifying and quantifying our goals is essential if we're ever going to reach a personal milestone in any endeavor we set our mind's to achieving. The leadership guru, Jim Collins, in his book Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don't, defines greatness as…

I love this definition of greatness as it implies that ‘greatness' is a personal choice. It is a habit of discipline underlined by a continuous want to be one's best. If my family had a crest, the words “Good to Great” would brand it proudly, but being that we don't have one, we'll settle with it as our battle cry.

This has been a massive year of transition for us. We've been living out of suitcases and our SUV since January 2016. One would think we'd be concerned about where we sleep each night, or the kid's “road schooling” schedule, but no! Our biggest concern has been our health. With our schedules up in the air, and our lifestyles being anything but routine, we anticipated finding it difficult to support our accustomed levels of fitness and nutrition. (Me especially! I'm a creature of habit who likes to eat clean and move my body regularly)

Our goal was to move and eat well, aim to go beyond just being ‘Good' on the road traveling to being ‘Great'. To make this a reality versus a wish, we created a plan and we're mindful to execute it each and every day.

So when goodnessknows asked me what goals me and my family set for ourselves this year, I was happy to share. And I know in doing so, this information will help you the next time you find yourself on an extended trip to anywhere.

With the launch of my first book, The Whole Life Fitness Manifesto, my family and I gave away all our stuff, packed up and stored the items we couldn't part with, packed our bags into our SUV and headed off on the road for epic journey across North America. (to see some of the highlights, check out the hashtag #WLFMroadtrip)

For anyone who's been on a road trip for an extended period, you know that crazy things can happen when you cram a family of 4, a dog and all your worldly possessions into a tight space and run out of food! That's when the hangry monsters rear their ugly heads. So to keep ourselves limber, nourished and happy, we implemented a 5-step strategy.

When you find yourself on an epic road trip, it’s crucial to have plenty of water on hand.

It’s a known fact that most people don’t drink enough water each day, which means that our bodies aren’t functioning at optimal levels. In fact majority of people walk around at any given time in a state of dehydration. While dehydrated, people confuse the feeling with that of being hungry. This, as you can imagine, can lead to eating foods and snacks our bodies don’t need and ultimately lead to unintentional weight gain.

Drinking water can help with suppressing appetite and controlling cravings. In a study conducted by Virginia Tech professor, Brenda Davy, observed that participants who drank water before their meals lost much more weight than those who didn’t drink. Researchers explain that this is because water subdued feelings of hunger and in turn the water also acted as a thermogenic – revving up their metabolisms! Additional studies show that people who substitute pops, juices and other sugar sweetened beverages in lieu of water tend to consume an extra 400 to 500 calories per day — that translates to 3,500 calories per week, which is the same amount of calories found in a pound of fat. Yikes! So who’s thirsty for water?

Mindfulness is a buzz word being thrown around a lot these days. In my book, I describe it as ‘being passionately aware of my life, relationships, my surroundings, and using all of my senses to fully experience my life to the max.’ When it comes to your nutrition, it’s no different. Just as we are mindful of our daily choices and actions, we need to look at our dietary choices through a similar lens.

Food labels, where our food is sourced, how it is manufactured and most importantly how does the food make you feel at the time when you eat – and how do you feel 60 to 90 minutes after eating. Developing a close relationship with the foods you eat, paying attention to how it makes you feel, will give you a greater understanding and appreciation for the food choices made each day.

If you have a tendency to reach for sugary treats as a quick pick-me up, do you ever take stock how you feel an hour after eating? Once the sugar-buzz wears off, how do you feel? What’s your knee-jerk reaction most of the time – I bet it involves wanting a nap or reaching for another sugary treat, right?

Being mindful of these cycles and tendencies with our food choices frees us up mental space and empowers us to make better decisions about the foods we eat to sustain our vitality.

Next time you find yourself prepping for a road trip, ask yourself are your food choices in line with the lifestyle you are striving to lead?

When it comes to eating, Dr. Wasnik has also studied the effect of visual cues versus feelings of fullness and how it affects how much we eat. What he found was that when we rely on visual cues we have a tendency to overeat.

Psychologists have attributed dopamine (the ‘pleasure system’ of the brain) as one of the factors playing into our habit of over eating. Dopamine, a neurotransmitter, provides feel good sensations by naturally rewarding experiences such as food, sex, abuse of drugs… these feel good sensations reinforce and motivate us to do and continue to do certain activities – whether they’re healthy or not, it doesn’t differentiate that for us.

So when you are reaching for a chocolate bar and telling yourself you’ll only have 1 little piece, and inevitably you find yourself returning to the cooler 3 minutes later for another one… it’s dopamine at work. After all, once you start, it’s tough to stop because we like to finish what we start.

So if you share these tendencies with me, I suggest trying goodnessknows snack squares. We discovered these when we first set out on our #WLFMroadtrip. They're deliciously, amazing and satisfying snack that combines the goodness of whole nuts, real fruit like cranberries and tart cherries, toasted oats and dark chocolate with no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners. And the best part is there are 4 mini snack size squares in each pack, so perfect for sharing or eat them all yourself, it's a perfect snack on the go.

I know I don't need to preach the harm that sitting for long periods causes to the human body, but humor me anyway. Study after study talks alludes to sitting being worse than smoking!

Here's a few of the most alarming statistics and findings I've read so far:

So bottom line? Get up and stretch those legs – and do it often! Got it?

There's no denying it. When we're having fun our moods and desires change. We want to keep the feeling as long as we can. In the past 30 years there's been some incredible research that connects evolutionary links between exercise and happiness. (Duh! Didn't we already know that?) I've included a wonderful lecture from Dr. David Raichlen where he shares some of his findings – it's definitely worth the watch if you want to nerd out on the WHY we're wired the way we are when it comes to exercise and the happy-juice that flows through our veins.

If you are traveling and on the road for long stints, make sure to make opportunities to play. You've heard the expression ‘time flies when you're having fun', right? Well, trust me, play time is a great way to pass time when on long drives with the family. Something to try is every time you see a rest stop along the highway, pull over and play a 10 to 15 minute game of follow the leader. Nothing is off-limits. Picnic tables, rocks, fences and pretty much anything in your path is now an obstacle. Take turns alternating as the leader and warm up your cheeks 'cause the smiles won't be stopping anytime soon.

Have you taken any steps this year or this summer to go from good to great? Maybe you’ve taken your fitness routine to the next level? Or perhaps you finally got around to reorganizing your closet?

No matter your goal, I would love to hear about it. Reach out and comment below. 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of goodnessknows. The opinions and text are all mine.

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