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Music Monday: MLK Day Edition

Hello, Music Lovers~

I hope everyone is having a nice holiday. I was thinking earlier in the weekend that it is a little sad, how this holiday is often forgotten in the mix, and that a lot of people don’t have the day off (or if they do, they don’t even know why). Then today I heard Common’s “I Have a Dream,” written in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.  and I wondered how many other songs out there were written by people wanting to honor Dr. King’s message. And a lightbulb went off! Special Edition Music Monday, ya’ll. 

A little research revealed a lot of great music that was created in honor of MLK. So put together a list of songs that meet this criteria and that are ALSO good to work out to, and came up with one rocking collection of tunes.

In addition to being generally upbeat, well-crafted songs, these tunes give you some food for thought, and I sometimes I find that music that gives me something to think about helps get me through an endurance workout (like a long run or bike). Plus, you can feel preeeetty smart and good about yourself when you’re jamming to music that honors one hell of a man. So without further ado;

I Have a Dream- Common feat. Will.i.am

This song literally samples from Martin Luther King’s speech, and furthermore it has a great beat and Common kills it. Not much explanation needed- this song definitely belongs on your workout mix.

(Pride) In the Name of Love – u2

Didn’t know that this song was about Martin Luther King, Jr.? Me neither. But sure enough - ”Early morning, April 4/Shot rings out in the Memphis sky/Free at last, they took your life/They could not take your pride.” No mistaking it- this 80s classic is definitely not about Bono’s girlfriend. What a sneaky genius that guy is. I am not such a big fan of u2 most of the time, but the older music is pretty fun to resurrect and throw on a workout mix now and then.

Happy Birthday- Stevie Wonder

This song is so feel-good, it’s impossible for me to keep myself from smiling when I hear it on my workout mix. Most Stevie Wonder songs are like that, but did you know this song was written as a part of the campaign to make MLK Day a holiday? So if you had today off, you can thank Mr. Wonder in addition to the late great MLK himself.

One Vision- Queen

“One man/One goal/One heart/One soul”
Freddie Mercury, what a bloody good songwriter. This anthem to unity in peace gets me totally pumped, and that was even before I knew that it was written as an homage to MLK. In my opinion, nearly any Queen song will do for a gym session, and this one is an excellent tribute to boot. Rock on, Queen.

Like a King- Ben Harper

This song is a little more mellow, good for someone who likes something they can sink their teeth into when you’re struggling through a tough workout. It’s definitely one of those that will give you something to think about. Ben Harper wrote this song in 1994 about the brutal Rodney King incident. When he sings “how I wish you could help us Dr. King,” I honestly get the chills. Think about what a difference MLK made in his short life- and how much more he would have contributed had he not been killed. This is a great song to run to for that reason alone, not to mention the great melody and echoing drums.

And there you have it: Another holiday edition of Music Monday, straight from me to you. Now get out there and work!

xoxo Cory

Music Monday: Emotional Edition

YAY! It’s Monday Music Motivation!

It’s my favorite day of the week again, and I’ve been busy hunting down the best new music to get you going in 2012.

My friend Kate recently mentioned that she likes “emotional music” when she’s working out. To that I say- yes yes yes. Especially when I’m on a long run, or I’m dealing with some stress or anger, there is sometimes nothing better than music that is intense, dark, and driving. Look: an upbeat, high-energy pop-music playlist works fine most of the time. But there is something about a bit of darkness that can really sustain you, especially when things get tough.

Right? Fact is, working out is difficult. Sometimes it helps to listen to music that reflects those difficult emotions.

On that note, I’d like to introduce one of my favorite albums of the past year. The band is The Weeknd (not a typo) and their most recent effort is Echoes of Silence (Official Mixtape). Their sound reminds me of Panic At the Disco or Vampire Weekend meets late-80s Michael Jackson (in a nod to their inspiration, the first track is a modern cover of Dirty Diana, MJ’s classic violent groupie-love song). The rest of the album is an equally powerful expression of some painful, yet ecstatic emotions.

I REALLY love this band right now, but listen to a few tracks and make sure that the lead singer’s voice is up your alley (important when music is blasting into your headphones).

 

My second recommendation, in keeping with the ‘emotional’ theme, is one for the ladies. If you haven’t already picked up Mary J Blige’s newest My Life Part II, what are you waiting for? If you’re going through heartbreak or life changes or any kind of struggle- or you just enjoy recalling these emotions when you’re struggling through a sweat session- pick this one up. Her voice is (of course) flawless, and her passion and emotion come through on every track. Dunno about you guys, but some well-done R&B serves me well when I’m at the gym!

Last but not least- one more great buy. It’s not new music, but if you’re a fan of the British group Gorillaz, and you’d like to own more of their music without investing in their entire discography, pick up the recently released The Singles Collection.  Gorillaz’ genre-defying blend of urban hip-hop, alternative rock and electronica will definitely get your booty shaking. While they might be a little off-beat for the average listener, this collection of all their most popular tracks is very accessible. I don’t think there is anyone who wouldn’t like this album!

On Fruit Juice

My friend Kelsey recently asked me an excellent question about 100% fruit juice. She, like many others, has avoided it because she heard rumors about the high sugar content. But it’s all-natural, right? So (she asks), is it in or is it out?

Here’s my take on fruit juice:
If it came down to a choice between ”fruit” or “fruit juice,” I would of course go with fruit. This is the advice you’ll get if you google the subject: that it’s better to eat fruit instead of drinking fruit juice because you get the benefit of fiber, which helps you feel full. This is a fact.

However, I don’t think that answers the real question. Most people aren’t having trouble making a choice between fruit and fruit juice, they’re trying to make a choice between fruit juice and water. Or fruit juice and soda. Or fruit juice and Arnold Palmer Lemonade-Iced Tea.

Comparing beverages for healthfulness, I place fruit juice squarely in the middle of the pack. It’s fabulous compared to soda or Redbull. Fruit juice has lots of vitamins and minerals in their natural state, which helps with absorption. On the other hand, it’s naturally high in sugar. Therefore 100% fruit juice delivers a lot of calories, but doesn’t exactly satisfy hunger.

If you’re not trying to lose weight, consuming a moderate amount of 100% fruit juice (no added sugar!) is a great way to increase your intake of vitamins and antioxidants, especially if you don’t like fruit. It’s great in smoothies, too. Speaking generally, there is nothing inherently wrong with a glass of OJ at breakfast or some yummy pomegranate juice with your mid-morning snack. Drink it with food so that it doesn’t cause a big spike in your blood sugar- followed by a crash later.

However: If you ARE trying to lose weight, I recommend ditching the juice and opting for water instead. Numerous studies have shown that drinking calories doesn’t leave you feeling satisfied the way that eating them does. So in general, if you’re trying to shed pounds or get lean, I recommend avoiding any high-calorie beverage, even if it is 100% juice. Learn to love water (it’s good).

What I DO love is vegetable juice. Straight up,  V8 Juice is the bomb. The Fusions might be tastier, but they are actually fruit juice, so thats why. Try V8, I think it’s yummy and packed full of good stuff. Go for low-sodium if you have high blood pressure, are feeling bloated or are worried about sodium.

(Alternatively, try unsweetened iced tea. Or, if you’re trying to reduce a daily juice habit, try diluting your fruit juice with water.)

In either case: watch out that your glass of juice isn’t triggering your craving for more sugar. Sugar can be super addictive. Once I’ve had a little, I’m thinking about sugary food for the next couple of hours. So I avoid fruit juice- BUT I was never a big fan in the first place.

Also, don’t opt for “light” fruit juice. They are loaded with artificial sweeteners, and those can also mess with your insulin levels and overall health.

 

Eat Right (and exercise)

Has everyone heard of the KISS method? It means Keep It Simple, Stupid. As far as sayings go, I like it very much, and find that it applies well to matters of health and fitness. For example: when people ask me the best way to get healthy, I tell them to eat right, and exercise.

Notice that the phrase EAT RIGHT comes FIRST in this sentence. This is no coincidence! Some people will say, “If you’re working out enough, you can eat whatever you want!” And to that I say: “bullshit.”

Okay, maybe if you are blessed with a super high metabolism, a perfectly ectomorphic body shape or a low-grade thyroid condition, you can eat a lot of junk without having to invest in an ever-larger wardrobe. But most people who eat crap and stay thin aren’t thin because they exercise a lot- they’re just built that way. The majority of those people would stay about the same size if they stopped exercising. They might even weigh LESS if they stopped working out.

(I know- it seems unfair. Just remember that no matter what else you’re doing, eating garbage will probably cause you to die young. And that sucks, even if you’re skinny).

Here’s the truth: diet is the biggest factor in our overall health and wellness, especially when you’re trying to lose weight. And you can’t cheat it. There is no substitution for a clean, healthy diet. No fad diet, meal-replacement shake, celebrity-endorsed supplement, Chinese herb or Master Cleanse will get you where you want to be with your body.

Frankly, I’m not a big fan of lifestyle diets either (Paleo, raw food, Atkins, the Zone). These types of diets can be interesting to experiment with, IF you already have achieved real control of your eating habits and are looking to get to another level. But don’t even go there with cutting out major food groups if you haven’t mastered the simple task of eating clean. Remember- Keep It Simple. ‘Packaged’ is not a food group.

What is eating clean?  Sticking to whole, real, recognizable foods. Avoiding convenience foods, packages, fast food and cheap on-the-go options.

Go to your pantry- here are the culprits: cookies, crackers, chips. Pretzels.  Even “healthy” packages are often highly processed and full of chemicals, sodium, and/or sugar (soups, microwave popcorn, frozen meals).

And there is a difference between processed meats (lunch meat, hot dogs, sausage, prosciutto, bacon, pastrami, etc) and whole, natural animal protein (chicken, fish, steak) (Hint: it’s sodium nitrate, a carcinogenic). And you’ve probably seen the bad press about sugar in breakfast cereals? Well, granola bars, trail mixes and fruit snacks are bad, too. Most yogurt has a ton of sugar (or, if not, artificial sweeteners). Don’t get me started on salad dressing, sauces and dips.

Why so much junk in our food? Essentially, profits. They keep processed food shelf-stable and enhance the taste of cheap low-quality ingredients, making ordinary grains, etc, so yummy that we are willing to pay a premium for them (example: Fritos are made of corn. Corn is cheap. But HOW’D THEY GROW SUCH DELICIOUS CORN?).

And that is the kicker- we ARE paying up for low-quality packaged foods, and we’ve made the corporations that produce them very large and powerful, indeed. The food industry has a pretty serious interest in keeping you addicted to their foods, and “addicted” is not a euphemism. Today’s processed foods are engineered to be what we call “hyper-palatable,” meaning, “causing a taste explosion so intense it activates our brain’s reward pathways.” We’re talking about food so unnaturally delicious, it makes your brain react the same way as if you did cocaine.

NEWSFLASH: This food is not found in nature. It is created in a lab. It takes advantage of a major human design flaw: our brains actually think Combos and Coco Crispies are good for us. The packaged food industry is making a profit off of your brain’s weakness for all things pleasurable. So they are going to carry on making food even MORE hyper-palatable (enter the Taco Bell Doritos Taco), as cheaply as possible (enter MSG- an inexpensive flavor enhancer that turns cheap, flavorless ingredients into a taste sensation. And causes cancer).

Wouldn’t it have been great if the bioengineers had discovered a way to make our food more delicious AND healthier? Alas, the flavor-orgasms feel great, but they’re making us fat and sick. Bummer. I guess maybe we should go back to eating all the delicious stuff nature provided for us in the first place? The good news is that after a few weeks of eating a clean diet (low in added sugar), your addiction begins to subside, and you crave the junk food a lot less (that is a promise).

So the next time you’re thinking about wanting to make some changes in your diet, my FIRST suggestion is to lose the packages. Try to eat at least 85% whole, clean foods. Of course you’re going to make some exceptions, but don’t rely too heavily on them, and look for food that has less than 9 grams of sugar per serving. Once you’ve gotten your diet “clean,” you can make it even better with some more specialized modifications (total calories, timing of meals, proportion of macronutrients, supplements, etc).

 The hardest part is breaking the addiction to processed foods and additives- do that first, and the rest will come easier. Eat whole, un-messed with foods. Live better.

Another great blog on this subject:

http://paleoatpenn.blogspot.com/2011/08/great-oxymoron-healthy-processed-foods.html

Music Monday: 2011 “Essentials” Supplement

It has come to my attention that both Amazon and Google Music are doing year-end sales of digital music. So, I thought I’d put together an ‘essentials’ list, made up entirely of albums that are on sale now, as an overview of the type of music I’m into for exercise. At the end of this post, you should feel confident that I will be effective resource for your workout music needs, as I explore and discover NEW tunes for 2012.

Maybe you’ve never made a workout playlist before. Or perhaps you get feelings like you want to destroy your current music collection, because it’s been more or less the same for about 5 years and you never really liked your music collection much in the first place? Now you can go for it. Trash that tired stuff and mix it up.

All 10 suggestions are available in MP3 format for $5.00 or less. They all make great investments as a whole album, but key tracks are linked so you can listen online before you buy.

Et Voila: 10 Albums you should buy to keep you moving

1) Take Care- Drake
I love Drake because his beats are smooth and unique and very listenable. They can blend into the background when you’re on a long run or pump you up when you’re finishing some sprint intervals.
Listen to: Make Me Proud, Lord Knows

2) Watch the Throne- Jay-Z and Kanye West
Don’t need to explain this one. These boys know what they’re doing and the songs are all great for a high-intensity workout. Sometimes I feel like Kanye has fallen off lyrically… but he always seems to rebound.
Listen to: Lift Off, Made in America

3) Body Talk- Robyn
Robyn is about to be crowned queen of the dance-pop world. Her beats and her somewhat pained lyrics ALWAYS deliver. She’s recently been nominated for a Grammy. If you’re into girly, emotional dance beats for the gym, keep her on your playlist.
Listen to:  Indestructible, Dancing On My Own

4) The Anthology- A Tribe Called Quest
Not technically a recent album, but it’s essential and it’s on sale.
Listen to: Stressed Out, Keep it Moving

5) Hanna: Motion Picture Soundtrack- The Chemical Brothers
The movie was intense, so is the soundtrack. This instrumental score has a very modern beat, featuring a lot of bass. GREAT for endurance workouts. Someone on YouTube described my favorite song, Car Chase, as “A sonic cruise down a single-note highway.” I think that sounds about right for hauling ass on your feet or bike…
Listen to: Car Chase, Container Park

6) Lioness: Hidden Treasures- Amy Winehouse
Amy Winehouse’s smooth voice over rockin retro-sounding beats makes for a great cardio soundtrack. I like it on a sunny day when you want to feel good. Like Smoke features Nas, and is a great mix blend of genres. 
Listen to: Like Smoke, Valerie.

7) Ceremonials- Florence and the Machine
Florence does it again. If you’ve ever experienced an emotion in your life, she’ll get you to recall it. I like strong, intense, emotional music when I’m running, because it makes me feel like there is some greater force that drives my life, and that keeps me hustling. These songs are powerful and beautiful and are some of my favorites for working out.
Listen to: Only If For A Night; No Light, No Light

8) Recovery- Eminem
Again- no explanation needed. Boy’s still got it and this album is ideal for a high-intensity gym session. Especially if you’re a little… annoyed. The driving beat on Cinderella Man is pretty intense.
Listen to: Talking to Myself, Cinderella Man

9) Hands All Over- Maroon 5
Sometimes pop albums come along that you just can’t deny. The deluxe version of this album (which you can buy right now for $4.99) has 19 tracks on it! So you can finally get Moves Like Jagger on your playlist and also enjoy some of the lesser-known gems, such as Misery, which has a beat which will keep you going up and down during plyometric training.
Listen to: Misery, Last Chance

10) Nothing but the Beat- David Guetta
For the purists out there, this is a classic mainstream dance-pop hip-hop album of hits. Stereotypical and effective gym tunes for the not-so-musically-adventurous. A “sure-thing,” if you will :)
Listen to: Night of Your Life (feat. Jennifer Hudson), Without You (Featuring Usher)



Music Monday: Retro Edition

Retro? Good. Workout clothes? Good. Retro workout dance party? GREAT.

Hope everyone had very merry Christmas! I have to admit that yesterday I indulged a cheat day of epic proportions, involving chocolate at breakfast, popovers at dinner, and many, many many glasses of wine.

Time to get back on the wagon!

This time of year always puts me in a sentimental sort of mood, and I think a lot of people feel that way. I crafted this weeks Music Monday with that in mind. Sometimes, the best tunes to get you through a long run or a boring session on the elliptical are the throw-back dance tracks from before you were born. They warm your heart and keep you moving. Today’s pop, electronic and hip-hop are great, but for variety, try throwing in some classic Motown or late-70s funk. If you don’t have a lot of old albums, you can easily start your collection with a couple of good, cheap compilations. Here are my suggestions:

From NOW That’s I Call Motown, available on Amazon for $4.99:
Do You Love Me, by the Contours. (Everyone remember the entire staff of Kellerman’s getting busy to this song in Dirty Dancing?)
I Can’t Help Myself, by the Four Tops. Good medium-tempo track for jogging
Signed, Sealed, Delivered, by Stevie Wonder. Almost anything by Stevie Wonder or Al Green is good-mood stuff for a long workout.
Brick House, by the Commodores. Obviously. If you’re thick like me, this one is quite the self-esteem booster.
Shop Around, by the Miracles. Great beat and profound life lesson included free of charge.

From Pure Funk, also available on Amazon for $4.99:
Jungle Boogie, by Kool and the Gang. This song will distract you from a tough cardio session by causing your mind to wander to Pulp Fiction.
Tell Me Something Good, by Rufus. Amazing, classic, retro tune which gets me pretty amped when I’m lifting heavy.
Kung Fu Fighting, by Carl Douglas. For obvious reasons.
Every Time I Turn Around (Back in Love), by L.T.D. This song just makes me smile!!
Early in the Morning, by the Gap Band. This song has seriously the PERFECT beat for jogging.

A few of my other favorite retro artists for workout tunes are Sly and the Family Stone, Earth Wind and Fire, Rick James, and Aretha Franklin. I definitely recommend investing in some older music to add some diversity to your gym tunes playlist- it breaks up the monotony of a lot of new dance-y tracks and makes you smile!

If this list doesn’t do it for you, check out this excellent Top-50 Dance Songs list from The Telegraph. You’re sure to find some new-to-you tracks on there.

Enjoy the rest of your week and I’ll be back after New Years!

~Cory

Monday Music Motivation

Image  Happy Holidays! Happy Monday!

I have to admit: I briefly entertained the idea of jumping on the bandwagon and doing a Christmas-themed edition of Music Monday. Then I decided to spare myself the pain of listening to loads of bad holiday music in search of a few good songs. I think we all get enough of that this time of year… and working out should be an escape from the holiday madness. On that note: here is what I used this week to keep me happily moving & shaking-

I mentioned on Facebook a few days ago that The Roots have a new album out called Undun. The Roots have been in the game for a long time; they basically reign supreme, so forgive me if you’re already up on this news. Undun has been applauded by music critics everywhere, and for good reason. It is the definition of sophisticated Hip-Hop: signature Roots high-quality beats, thick with layers of genre-bending musicality, and articulate, intelligent lyrics. I couldn’t ask for a better running/lifting soundtrack.

Image

BONUS: Merry Christmas (or Happy Hanukkah) to you, because you can pick this album up on Amazon for only $3.99. That is cheaper than a latte at Starbucks, which would last you about how long? An hour? Treat yourself to The Roots instead, because this album is timeless. At the very least, it will carry your workout playlist well into 2012.

Fav songs so far: Make My, Tip the Scale and One Time.

Link: http://www.amazon.com/Undun-Explicit-Roots/dp/B006B3975Y/ref=sr_1_1_digr?ie=UTF8&qid=1324333611&sr=8-1

Just in case you already have Undun, or The Roots just aren’t your style, here’s a few more of my favorite workout tunes. Download these 8 songs (all available as singles on iTunes) to add a full 30 minutes to your GYM JAMZ playlist

SIDENOTE: everyone has a playlist named something silly like this. Please leave the name of yours in the comments.

Little Dragon: Ritual Union
The Knife: Heartbeats
Kelly Clarkson: Let Me Down (off her new album, Stronger)
The Naked and Famous: Young Blood
Nas and Damien Marley: Nah Mean
Rihanna: Do Ya Thang (off her new album, Talk That Talk)

Queen: Fat Bottom Girls
Robert Randolph & the Family Band: Ain’t Nothing Wrong With That

 

Pesca-whatian?

AS A HEALTH PROFESSIONAL: HOW DO I EAT AND WHY? 

My diet is influenced by what is best for my body, my mind, and my planet. Beyond eating clean (whole foods) for my health, my food choices are largely motivated by ethics (sustainability and humanitarianism). Luckily, I have discovered that it is possible to construct a healthy, nutritionally superior diet around an ethical foundation. So for the most part, I don’t eat meat.

Do I think eating animals is healthy? Yes. Humans are omnivorous. Speaking generally, animal protein is nutritious and safe for consumption (bacon is not, but that’s another subject). However, given the choice between doing what is best/easiest for me, and what is better/possible for the greater planet, I lean toward the planet. It’s easier to adjust my diet around my ethics than to adjust my ethics around my diet. We basically have access to any kind of food and/or supplement under the sun; we CAN consume a plant-based diet without suffering nutritionally. So why not?

I like to consider myself “on the path” to a totally ethical diet. I don’t expect that I will ever ARRIVE at that destination (veganism), but hey, I like to travel. About about 3 years ago, I gave up eating land animals. I still eat fish and other sea-creatures. This makes me a pescatarian. What does that mean exactly?

-I NEVER eat chicken, turkey, pork, beef, lamb, venison, or anything else with.. lungs? I tried crocodile last year. It tasted like chicken. I probably wouldn’t do that again.

-I SOMETIMES eat fish. It’s not a daily occurrence. Maybe 1-2 times per week. It’s not because I think fish are less cute than land animals (okay, somewhat it is). It’s mostly just because I, too, am a bit lazy sometimes, and lack a bit of willpower. Also to me, fish is the f*cking best. It’s nutritious and amazingly delicious. It’s a quick shot of lean protein for a hard-exercising kinda girl. I just can’t kick my sushi habit. I feel guilty about it.

-Eggs are in. They are one of my favorite most perfect superfoods! I try to get mine from local farms or, in a pinch, Trader Joe’s organic no-hormone-added cage-free style. Eggs are great and we can get them ethically. Hooray. I think my next post will be about all the ways I like my eggs. MMM. Eggs.

- Dairy. Eh. Me no likey the dairy. Unlike meat/fish, I don’t find there to be a good health-based reason to make this ethically-questionable choice. Dairy farms are notoriously inhumane (note: there is no free-range cow label) and milk products make me gassy. For a long time, I made an exception for Greek yogurt, which is pretty bomb and should be crowned the king of the dairy family. Lately though, I’m over dairy. This rule is clearly not 100% established yet, but I’m leaning toward cutting it out entirely. Stay tuned.

BOTTOM LINE:  Humans might be designed with the ability to eat animals, but the way we treat our farm animals in this country is absolutely deplorable. I’m a believer in the transfer of energy from body-to-body, and I’m not much for swallowing a big juicy burger full of anybody’s pain, anxiety, and stress.

I am not suffering for having cut that cord– I get PLENTY of protein (I measure). Being a pescatarian helps, but I do believe that it’s possible to eat vegan in a healthy way– it just requires a lot of dedication, planning and willpower, especially for an athlete. I’m not there yet. I may never be- but I’m gonna keep trying to do my part making choices for the greater good.

In the future, I will write about everything that I DO love to eat (instead of what I don’t eat). I will not write about tofu, because I hate it. Instead, think beans and lentils and quinoa and broccoli and cashews and peas and HEMP SEED…. oh my.

(PS: I’ve just discovered Lola Lollipop, who wrote the comics in this blog. She is fantastic and I could write a blog post inspired by each one of her comics. Check her out at www.lolalollipop.com)

Best reasons to get in shape. Today.

Hi world!

If there is ONE THING in this blessed life I am good at, it is motivating. This is why I am a health and fitness coach; I am a high-energy, fast-moving ball of fun. I know the trickiest thing sometimes is just finding the WILL to get your butt in gear, so I’ve perfected the art of channeling my enthusiasm straight into my clients.

Oh, you don’t have a dinosaur to chase you around?

No problem: Let me be your dinosaur. I will literally chase you down.

Okay, so hiring me to play with you is one way to get moving- but lets talk about some other reasons for you to get and STAY motivated toward healthier living. Here are my favorite reasons to get my ass to the gym:

1. Vanity. Don’t be afraid to use this one. We all want to look good. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Allow me to tie a sub-note into this one. 1a: You’ll have better sex. It’s not that fitter people are better at sex. It doesn’t take athleticism to create the intimate connection that leads to great sex. It’s that you’ll be more confident, and that makes EVERYTHING better, especially when it comes to naked activities.

2. Energy. Life is HARD. Getting through the workday is tough. I don’t know about you, but I am OVER feeling tired, crashing and becoming miserable in the middle of the afternoon. Plus, work is just the tip of the iceberg when you come home to bills, kids, dishes, car trouble, and whatever else life throws at you. How about MOVING? Lots of us move around every year or two. I’ve moved about 3 times in the past 4 months and let me tell you: It’s a lot easier if you’re in shape.

3. Being unhealthy gets EXPENSIVE. These days, it seems like everyone is under-insured, myself included. But eating clean and exercising regularly has helped me to not get sick for over 4 YEARS!!! This means I haven’t spent a dime on Dr.’s visits, pharmacy co-pays, over-the-counter drugs (NyQuil is pricey, right?) and days off work. Furthermore, I am preventing the REALLY expensive, chronic health problems (back surgery, anyone?) from creeping up on me in the future.

4. Health problems suck for lots of reasons other than money. Who likes being sick? Exercise improves immunity, and that’s a fact. Get healthy, feel better more often.

5. I’ve got a lot of world to see. I know not everyone feels this way, but I’m thinking that it would be nice to live long and prosper. With pesky things like money holding me back a bit, it will probably take a long time for me to see the whole world (not to mention, accomplish the rest of my bucket list). It has it’s ups and downs, but I believe that life is beautiful. I imagine kids, dogs, travel, grandchildren, great-grandchildren in my future, and in this picture, no one is pushing me around in a wheelchair. They are chasing me up mountains. For a long long time.

6. It’s fun! Imagine being able to say YES to anything. I had the best summer of my life hiking in the national parks of the west, swimming in the ocean, biking down the coast. Life is more fun when you can do anything. And when you take care of your body and your health, there is NOTHING you can’t do. I promise.

Motivation: Monday Music

According to my Facebook feed, Mondays are no fun. Lucky you have me here to help! I’ll be using this day to tackle what has to be one of the most enjoyable parts of exercising: listening to good tunes. Every week on Monday I’ll share some of my favorite music for working out and staying motivated.

I am OB-SESSED with perfecting my work-out playlist and I am constantly downloading new jamz, so hopefully I can inspire you to update the old ipod and stop using your lame music collection as just another reason you hate going to the gym.

One of my MOST favorite albums of 2011 is Lasers by Lupe Fiasco.

          

If you haven’t picked up this album yet, you’re in f-ing LUCK because you can currently get the entire album on Amazon for $2.99!!! WTF, that is one ridiculous deal. Do it, do it now. http://www.amazon.com/Lasers-Explicit/dp/B004PABBAY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1323708430&sr=8-1

What I love about Lupe Fiasco is that he marries innovative, danceable beats with a thoughtful, intelligent, flowing style of rap. Listening to his lyrics has often put me deep in thought for MILES on long runs- and there is nothing better than a little distraction when you’re running, right?  I genuinely enjoy every track and I wouldn’t recommend you buy an entire album if it wasn’t at the very top of my list. If you’re already a fan- the deluxe version has 4 extra tracks so seek those out.

Here are a few more of my favorite high-energy songs for today:

The Black Keys: Howlin’ For You

Coconut Records: Minding My Own Business

Coldplay: Paradise

Florence and the Machine: No Light

Ida Maria: Cherry Red

Patrick Stump: Run Dry (X Heart X Fingers)

So that should get you going! If you are trying to figure out how on earth you’re going to get through another week before your holiday break, get some new tunes going and you’ll be powered up. And then get your butt in gear and go to the gym.

Happy Monday!

Cory

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