My Mental Health Story

Anxiety in a picture

My name is Alex Costa and I have anxiety and go through panic attacks. I am more than anxiety and panic, I am a hard worker. I’m loving, confident, and thankful. 

Back when I was a sophomore in high school, I broke my femur in football. That year I also went through my 1st big heartbreak. I almost lost my father and on top of that, we had a couple of deaths in the family that were recent. Talk about life throwing you a curveball.

I remember sitting in class and getting dizzy. I felt more of an off-balanced feeling. I would be sitting in class and get really hot out of nowhere so I would always start wearing shorts even on the coldest of days. I wore shorts and was freezing cold going to school but I knew if I would go through this feeling, I would always get really hot and start sweating. So at least I wouldn’t be sweating during class.

Senior Year

I remember getting so scared. I thought I had things wrong with my head and started googling things which only made it worse. I would go to school and be worried about if I’d have these feelings come up again. It even got to the point that I was being more careful about playing football. I thought if I had hit my head, it would get worse. It affected my junior year slightly and my senior year heavily to where I was always concerned about what would happen if I took a hit to my head. There was no way I could play the game feeling like this. You can’t play football and play scared, it just doesn’t work. Football was my life and as my senior year came to an end, it felt like I watched my dream slip away right in front of me. At the same time, I had a relief feeling because I didn’t like my coach my senior year, he ruined football for me so I was also excited to be done. 

It wasn’t until my senior year I talked to the girl I was dating and completely opened up. I left nothing on the table and she mentioned something about anxiety. I had heard of the term before and never thought much of it till that moment. Her mother was a psychologist so we talked to her and she explained more about it to me. As I found myself opening up about this and finally getting a name for what was wrong with me, it was such a huge relief. It felt like a weight being lifted off my shoulders. 

From that day on, I started to make small progress. 

Fast forward a couple of years after I graduated high school and tried college. Notice how I put “tried”. It was not for me. I had anxiety in class and sometimes felt like I had to leave early. My heart would be racing, I would be sweating and have that dizzy feeling at times. It was impossible for me to focus with that. Oh yea, did I mention I was diagnosed with ADD when I was younger? So trying to focus on tasks for school was never my strong suit. I failed out after my 1st year which I never really talk a lot about. So this is me being open with it. It just wasn’t for me, I was distracted because I was talking to a girl I liked, I was going through anxiety, I didn’t know what I wanted to major in and its year one in college so I was always hanging out with friends. As I received my letter saying I was kicked out, I felt like a complete bum. I would wake up early, go workout, come home and nap till 12. My life felt like a joke. Finally I dedicated myself to a career path after speaking with a mentor of mine. I never looked back and was fully locked in.

Lets fast forward again, maybe a year or 2 later. One day I was at the gym. It was before I was about to leave for DC to see my sister. I was sitting on the bench and started feeling my heart skip beats and felt very off. I had felt this before but for 1 split second. This was happening and wasn’t stopping. I instantly jumped up and was in a panic. I ran to the front desk to inform them about this, they were about to call the ambulance and I told them to wait. “Let me go outside and get some fresh air” I said. I calmed down and now was worried about my heart health. Woo, another thing to add to my anxiety. It happened a year after that again and it was one of the scariest days of my life. I remember laying on the ground outside of my gym at 5am and looking up at the sky thinking that was it. You really do see your life flash before your eyes in those moments. I wasn’t ready to go yet, I was like 21, I had so much to do still. 

I scheduled an appointment with the doctors and went to a cardiologist to do an ultrasound, EKG, and blood work. Everything came back okay and again, a huge relief but not satisfied because I didn’t know what the hell was going on with me. Was I broken? Was there something the doctors missed? 

Well, for your reading pleasure, let’s fast forward one more time, shall we? It’s August 21st, 2020, a year we will all remember for the rest of our life. It’s summertime and my friends invite me to stop over and hang out. I go over, we start talking and playing pong. My buddy and I were doing pretty good, although you guessed it.. My anxiety was also on my team. Let me paint you a picture of what happened next.

My heart starts to get faster, I have a feeling in my gut like I just finished eating a thanksgiving meal. You know, like where you feel so full you can barely move, breathe, and want to do nothing. Well, I finally said I needed to make a call. It was 12am so people probably thought I was a drug dealer at that point. I go out to call my parents because I was typically able to calm myself down. Well, no one answered and I call my sister, by this point my heart rate is getting faster and faster. I instantly think to myself, “oh no”. Yea, don’t do that if you have high functioning anxiety because it typically is like pouring gasoline on a flame. 

Well, the 2-minute drive back home felt like 200 miles away. I was speeding the whole time and every symptom of panic, anxiety, and fear showed itself. Heart rate is still speeding up, I’m losing my breath and can barely get a full gasp of air. There is something about not being able to breathe that sends your fear and anxiety through the roof. Oh yea, cause it doesn’t seem normal.

As I pull into my house, I remember unhooking my seatbelt and trying to get out of my car before I even put it in park. Raced inside and you would think everything settled down right? Wrong, it went down as the scariest panic attack I ever had. My heart was palpitating, skipping beats and wasn’t slowing down. I would dump ice cold water on myself and start hyperventilating as it shocked my system. I was praying, and wishing for it to stop. I remember thinking that maybe this time we would have to call 911. But would they even make it to me in time? I lost my breath every time my heart started to palpitate and skip.

Well after 30 minutes or so, it calmed down. It felt like 3 hours and I was emotionally and physically exhausted. My chest felt sore and I felt as if I looked death in the face that night. It was honestly traumatizing and was a huge set back for a while. To be completely honest, I am still recovering from that as I am writing this now. It was a downhill spiral of panic attacks and anxiety. But with this came a lot of positives.

I learned more about the topic of mental health than ever before. I watched video after video. Read article after article. Book after book and talked to a lot of great people in that time to understand this more. I felt completely hopeless at one point. I felt that I would never return to “normal”. That I was going to have this feeling of being trapped forever. Well again, WRONG. I am living proof that this mental barrier that you may be going through is temporary. The storm may come through but that sun will always come back out to shine on us.

As I learned more, I realized that I was doing this all wrong. I was fighting everything, most importantly, I was fighting myself. I was my own worst enemy. I learned a lot about going with the flow, not trying to make these symptoms stop but to simply ride the wave. I learned more about brain health and by doing so, your mind will follow. 

I am here to help you and show you that everything will be okay. I promise you will make it through it but the first step is making the initial effort to get help. And let me just say, there is NOTHING wrong with asking for help. I want this stigma to end. I am working with 2 councilors, I reached out for a psychiatrist. I am taking anxiety medication. Talked to doctors, talked to my family and it took a while but I finally reached out to my friends. These steps were the best thing I ever did for my mental health. I also started to learn more and create more awareness. I started to take care of my mind and body through better nutrition habits, mindfulness, exercise, and getting help. 

I am not here to say this is an easy fix because it typically isn’t, but I am saying you ARE WORTH IT. This is worth it. I am so happy you are here because I know how hard it can be. Please don’t lose hope. I am telling you, there is so much to try and so many things that can work. It just takes time and effort to find what works for you. This is why I wanted to bring the mental health page to Costafitness. I want to spread awareness, give you hope, give you things to try and I want to build a community that makes us feel at home. 

Let’s become mentally and physically healthier together. You are not alone and either am I. I love you, keep up the great work.

-Alex Costa-

Things will get better, I promise. Please keep trying and don’t hesitate to reach out for help.

Iron Made Arm Workout


I know there’s a lot of stress right now with the election so what better way to simmer down and relieve stress than with a solid arm workout! Stop watching the news all day, take a break and get out of the house to enjoy the weather. Get some exercise, eat healthy food, practice some meditation and yoga. This is a simple way to relive a little stress that may be coming up.

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I put together a video you can watch while you workout so you can see form, sets and reps. I also included exercise tips on the video!

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Barbell curls 5×8

Tricep rope extensions 5×15

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Barbell skull crushers 4×12 

Hammer curls 4×8

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Bodyweight skull crushers 6×10-15

Seated curls 6×15

Band pushdowns 6×20

8 Foods That Can Scientifically Improve Memory

With finals coming up for all of my students out there, studying can get exhausting and tiring. One big thing you can do to help is focus on your health, especially what you’re eating.

I want to give you some foods you can try to throw into your diet to help increase your memory!

#1 Broccoli


Broccoli is known for its health benefits and one of the most popular veggies among the rest. It is high in vitamin K which has been revealed in a couple studies to be linked to an increase in memory. However this study was conducted on 320 conductees that were between 70-85 years old that had no cognitive impairment. I believe it is safe to say if you don’t completely get the memory benefits, it will be very beneficial in other areas of your health!

#2 Pumpkin seeds


I went through very bad anxiety/panic attacks consistently a couple years ago until I read more on the nutrition aspect of the mental health industry. I found that magnesium can help immensely with your brain function which in turn can help with things such as anxiety and depression. I recently found that magnesium can be essential for your memory and learning!

With Pumpkin seeds being high in magnesium, they make a super simple snack to incorporate, especially during finals week!

#3 Spinach


Time to break out the spinach like Pop-Eye. Spinach is very high in vitamin k and in magnesium. Based off of what we have learned so far, that is a good sign. Start throwing in some more salads or throw some spinach in with a meal. This is a food that will help in more ways than one!

#4 Avocados


No surprise, avocados are in most top food list due to numerous health benefits they offer. Avocados are high in vitamin k and folate. These two nutrients combined with the mono-saturated fat content can decrease chances of stroke because it can help reduce the chances of blood clots. Avocados can also help with memory and concentration which is what we like to hear! Hit up my easy guacomole recipe!

#5 Fatty Fish


With the brain being comprised of about 60% of fat (mainly omega -3), it makes sense that this would be a good one to add to the list. If you look closely, most of this list is made up of healthy fats.

A study found that regularly eating fish that was baked or broiled could increase grey matter in the brain. Grey matter holds the nerve cells that make decisions, memories and control your emotions. Some of the best options you can get are salmon, tuna, trout and sardines.

#6 Berries


Berries are something you can throw in with cereal, yogurt, smoothies and shakes or just have as a snack. This makes it super easy to add them in immediately.

A study says that “the berry fruit may exert their effects directly through alterations in cell signaling to improve/increase neuronal communication, calcium buffering, neuroprotective stress shock proteins, plasticity, antioxidant/anti-inflammatory action, stress signaling pathways and inhibition of acetylcholinesterase.

So in other words, berries are high in antioxidants, improve neuron communication in the cell, increases the plasticity, which will help brain cells form new connections promoting learning and memory enhancement. This same study also mentions that more clinical trials need to be done to see the effects of berries on therapeutic agents for brain-related diseases.

A good example of berries to go for regarding this article suggest blueberries, blackberries and strawberries.

#7 Walnuts


Every nut is a powerhouse of nutrients but nothing compares to the walnut on the charts in this study. Walnuts are a great source of ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), the plant form of omega-3 fats. They had a count of 2.5 grams compared to the others such as pecans which was the closest having 0.5 grams, then followed by peanuts, almonds and pistachios which all come in at 0 grams. I have a chart below I used to show you a visual of this.

This graph is being used from bebrainfit.com, they had a great article on this!

There was an interesting study showing that an increase consumption of walnuts showed a significant increase in reaction time, learning, and memory recall compared to those who did not eat them. The study was done with conductees that were the ages of 20-90 years old and they saw an increase all across the board no matter what gender you are or the age. So I would go out and start looking for walnuts for better brain function!

#8 Olive Oil


There is always a lot of controversial conversations surrounding olive oil. “It’s the healthiest thing for you”, “it’s bad news”. Here’s the thing, no matter what in my opinion, we can’t deny how olive oil is better that some other choices out there for you. I have read articles claiming both health benefits and no health benefits. It gets even more confusing when you start reading into studies.

Olive oil is high in vitamin K and E, paired with being a monounsaturated fat, we have a formula for something here that could improve brain performance based off of what we read today so far.

An article I read explains that diets such as the Mediterranean diet higher in olive oil can reduce chances of Alzheimer’s up to 40%. The MIND diet has the ability to reduce the chances of Alzheimer’s more than 50%. If you are a younger adult this may not interest you as much as an older or even mid aged adult. This is still a very important topic because it can decrease chances so it may not be a bad idea to look more into this topic especially if Alzheimer’s runs in your family.

The other benefit I enjoy about olive oil is that it is pretty easy to incorporate into a diet. You can use it for cooking which makes it easy to get more olive oil into your diet. One more remark I would like to add on olive oil is that although I use it in my diet, I try not to overdue it when I use it, as many vitamins out there, too much may be as bad as too little.

In conclusion
I believe that healthy fats can definitely play a role in our brain function as well as other nuts, berries and seeds. There are more things out there, I just researched many articles and studies to see which ones came up the most and why. It is a good idea to eat healthy not only for your future self and body but you should also do so because it can help increase performance mentally as well as physically.

I really value your opinions and feedback so please feel free to leave a comment below or reach out to me and let me know how you liked this article. Would you like to see more like this and on what topics? Thank you again for taking the time to better yourself today. By reading this, I know you take your health seriously, so make sure you keep coming back for more new content on the website. Also follow me on my social media links shown below for even more helpful tips including exercises, workouts, nutrition, increased athletic performance and so much more!

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Thank you and have an awesome day!
-Alex Costa-

Disclaimer:
Please check with your physician before using anything on this article. I am not a registered dietitian and although I researched and used scientific studies in a lot of the material here, your health history or medical stand point may need assistance of other foods, vitamins or supplements so check in with your doctor / physician before making any drastic changes in your diet.
Thank you.

Other resources:

-https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-brain-foods#section1
-https://www.ncu.edu/blog/best-brain-foods-studying-and-memory-boosts#gref
-https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324044.php

Pictures from:
-https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/vegetable-of-the-month-broccoli
-https://loveonetoday.com/how-to/pick-buy-fresh-avocados/
-https://bebrainfit.com/brain-foods/
-https://www.tannersfish.com/product/alaskan-king-salmon/
-https://atasteofolive.com/products/novello-di-gradassi
-https://nuts.com/nuts/walnuts/english-in-shell.html
-https://www.nutritionadvance.com/types-of-berries/
-https://www.livescience.com/51324-spinach-nutrition.html
-https://nuts.com/snacks/pumpkinseeds/organic.html

10 Ways to Manage Stress

Stress is a constant knock on the minds door that can be hard to shake. It can beat you down if you let it and I fell victim to it for such a long time. I still do from time to time but I have learned many techniques and skills to cope with stress and anxiety. Let me help you by sharing 10 of my top ways to fight back and get rid of some of that stress and anxiety you have bringing you down.

  • “75% of adults reported experiencing moderate to high levels of stress in the past month and nearly half reported that their stress has increased in the past year – American Psychological Association.”
  • “Stress is a top health concern for U.S. teens between 9th and 12th grade, psychologists say that if they don’t learn healthy ways to manage that stress now, it could have serious long-term health implications – American Psychological Association.”

These are some alarming statistics I got from Gostress.com and if we don’t fix this, we could be in for some trouble down the road. So let’s get started.

#1 Exercise
This is a no brainer and I hate to be a broken record player because you have probably heard this a thousand times. This really helps though and if you haven’t tried it, I recommend you get out and exercise. This doesn’t always have to be strength training, it can be running, boxing, taking a class, working with a trainer, walking with your dog (which is a double whammy -see #5) or a friend. Just get out and move. This boost self-esteem and self confidence and also gets blood flowing which helps send more blood to the brain to help process thoughts easier. This also releases endorphins in the brain which is basically like sending love to your mind, body and soul to help relax and reduce stress. So what are you waiting for, get out and move around!

#2 Meditation
I used to think meditation was the biggest waist of time until I made myself do it for a month straight. Since then I try to mediate in the morning right after my workouts everyday.

Meditation may not get rid of all thoughts but it will help immensely with coping with the thoughts and making the mind feel more at ease with it. Trust me, this helps so so much. I went through such bad anxiety and when I started to use meditation for just even 5-10 minutes daily, it played a huge role in being able to fight back. I highly recommend HeadSpace. It is a guided meditation app that you can get on your phone and it has worked wonders for me as well as millions of others I’m sure. It’s a FREE app so go delete some photos to make more storage and download it!! There is also a subscription you can get for more options.

#3 Yoga
I did yoga back in high school during football and track but not daily. It helped a lot with flexibility and nerves before big games. I started doing daily yoga at the same time I started my daily meditation and they go hand in hand. These first three things on my list are literally how I start everyday and I can’t put into words how beneficial it has been for me with managing stress and anxiety on a daily basis. Yoga is a great form of mindfulness and mobility work for your body to stretch and strengthen muscles you probably forgot you had.

I highly recommend Sarah Beth’s yoga YouTube channel, it’s what I use everyday. I do a 10 minute yoga session everyday and usually try to switch it up each time. She knows her stuff and makes it so easy to follow along. Go get ya yoga on!

#4 Essential oils
I know, I sound like a hippie for this but don’t knock it until you try it! I added a lavender essential oil roll on to my bag after I had a massive break down a couple years ago with my anxiety and panic attacks. I still use it to this very day. I like the roll ons because I am on the go a lot and I can put it on my wrist for a smell I can easily have access to when needed.

They have a bunch of different scents and essential oil forms so go out and check it out and pick one that you enjoy. Lavender is popular for its calming effect but each smell has its own unique spot to help you so research and try it out!

#5 Seeing animals


This will most likely be everyones favorite part of this article. You might as well get in the car after you read this and go to a local pet store and play with the dogs. Studies show that being around an animal such as a dog can reduce stress, fear and anxiety. It does so by releasing oxytocin, which is a chemical in the brain the can increase your mood positivity.

Here is one of the studies I read about : “The effect of social support by a dog in comparison to support by a friendly human during a social stress test on the cortisol levels of children with insecure attachment representations was investigated by Beetz et al. (2011). The support by a friendly dog during the experiment was associated with significantly lower cortisol levels than support by a friendly human.”

Who doesn’t love spending time with a good boy/girl? Go give your dog some love, it will be beneficial for both of you.

#6 Talk to a friend or family member

My family are some of my best friends and I would never trade them for the world.


Although it may not be as good as an animal based off of what we just read, sometimes being able to interact with another person like a good friend or close family member can be a good way to have a person to help for advise and to listen to your problems.

A study discusses how having a low quantity of social support may increase mental health effects such as depression and anxiety, this is more common in high stress situations such as low income household in the study. So find some friends and family and hangout because friend networks can gives a sense of belonging which can help get through the harder times.

#7 Reflect on positivity
I know when you are stressed or going through any kind of anxiety attack, the last thing that comes to mind is about how thankful you are to have some bomb cold pizza waiting in the fridge at home for you.

On a real note, try to write some of the things and people you are thankful for each week and carry it with you so you can reflect on positive thoughts when you get a little stressed. These can be things such as family, friends, a date with your girlfriend or boyfriend, a task that was completed, an event you have coming up, nice weather, anything really that brings enlightenment or excitement. Take 5 minutes and just reflect on some positivity, it can lighten up the mood.

#8 Write and rip
This is a little quick and easy technique you can use if you need to get a little stress anger out. Write the topic down on a small piece of paper and rip it up. Do it 2 times if you need to, just make sure you try to recycle paper if you do this more than a handful of times each day or just try one of the other 9 techniques.

#9 Laugh & smile

Taylor and I laughing as we have a stranger try taking our picture


This kinda ties in with seeing animals in a way. When you smile and laugh it basically tricks your brain into thinking you’re happy.

There are a million ways to crack a smile and laugh. Go do something fun with your friends, family or boyfriend/girlfriend. Listen to a comedy podcast, watch comedies on Netflix, I recommend Chris D’elia, Kevin Hart and Sebastian Maniscalco. I also watch “What The Fit” Kevin Harts YouTube series, it is hilarious and you’re bound to get a laugh out.

Laughing will help relax your muscles from being tense due to the stress, so laugh it up just like Taylor and I in the picture above. I think we were laughing about the pumpkin and how giant it was, definitely was probably something else.

#10 YOUTIME
This may be one of the most important ones on the list and it is always overlooked. When you have a busy schedule, work a crap ton of hours, full time student, anything along those lines, you need to make time for yourself. I have a solid 2-4 hours of ME TIME almost everyday. I wake up at 4-5am, go to the gym by myself, comeback and then meditate, do yoga and then I’ll usually make breakfast and then watch a youtube video before I start my day. I get that almost everyday and it is super nice to be able to gather my thoughts and prepare to whoop the days a$s.

Start getting a little YOUTIME even if it’s a 20 minute walk in the middle of the day.

I really hope you find some takeaways that will help you because this is a subject that is important and needs more attention. Please share this with friends and family that it might help so we can decrease the amount of stress and anxiety the world fights on a daily basis. Have a good Thursday!

-Alex Costa-

Other resources:
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/16-ways-relieve-stress

anxiety#section16https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19331256

STRESS FACTS



6 Steps to A Great Idea!

 

Hello everyone, hope you’re having a great Tuesday!

In today’s video I wanted to show you something I do and use a lot when I am trying to come up with a good business idea or any idea really! I think this could be really helpful for you! I hope you like it!!

Tell me what kind of things you do to come up with good ideas and plans in the comments below!

 

-Alex Costa-

Stretches to Relieve Neck Pain

Ever have an ache in your neck and it brings on a headache?

Ever have a stiff neck cause you sleep on it wrong??

Do you have poor posture in your neck and need something to fix it?

I HAVE GOT YOU COVERED!

In todays video, I am giving you a couple stretches you can do at home to lengthen up those muscles and help relieve pain in that area! I hope you all like this video. If you like it then subscribe and tell a friend about the website.

I hope everyone has a great Saturday, enjoy some good football games!
-Alex Costa-

4 Secrets to Weight Loss (STUDIES)

apple

From the outside looking in, weight loss can look easy. We see transformation pictures of 1-2 months and people are down 20, 30 sometimes 40 pounds. When we try it for 2 months, we don’t always seem to get anywhere. It seems simple right? Eat healthy and go to the gym, I will magically lose weight, right? Well sometimes we get cravings (which is completely normal) and it is hard to stop those cravings. It can sometimes be a lot harder than you think because of everyone being different. Some have a faster metabolic rate than others, some have something that holds them back mentally and they need to find a way around that. I am bringing you 4 weight loss secrets that will send you on your way to losing weight! Look no further because the I have you covered in the article below.

 

Secret #1) Bring stress levels down

stress in gym

Stress is one of the most common things all of us go through from time to time, but do you actually know how much it can affect you? I read into a study that I would like to share with you.

One study (Statistic Brain Research Institute, American Institute of Stress, NY) set out to find out just how many of us live with stress and what it does to us. A U.S. Stress Statistics study showed that 77% of Americans had regularly experienced physical symptoms caused by stress. One symptom was fatigue which came up at a whopping 51%. People in the study that were going through psychological symptoms had experience a lack of energy, guess what that percentage was…? 45%.

Do you see a pattern here? The stress levels are not only very high in the U.S. but negatively effect our bodies when going through it. These symptoms that I have mentioned are the last thing you want when you are trying to lose weight. They can lead to a lack in self confidence which in my opinion is the most important tool to keep using during a transformation.

So how do we get rid of stress??

Well there are multiple ways of decreasing stress levels. When these levels are going down, your self confidence is going up! Here is a list of some of the best stress relievers you could try:

  • Working out– this is a given but we will have to tackle this from a different angle so our performance in the gym does not suffer. If we just go to the gym without trying to resolve the problem then we still have a lack of energy and focus when we are at the gym which rapidly decreases performance which can lead to no results.
  • Meditation & Yoga– these will work on breathing techniques that can help you relax. It is great for flexibility and just unwinding the mind some. Try it!
  • Eating the right foods– foods and snacks high in sugar may not help so try dropping them. Instead if picking up a pop tart, grab a banana or some other fruit that will stop that sweet tooth.
  • Lying against a wall with legs straight up– so I know this sounds weird but I read an article while back somewhere on the internet that was explaining a pose you could sit in that would help decrease stress. Find a wall, place you butt where the wall starts at the floor. Place your legs straight up onto the wall so that you are in about a 90 degree angle. Feet straight up and back flat on the floor. What this does is lets the heart relax a little bit. The blood flow decreases slightly from the legs, meaning that the heart does not have to work so hard to pump blood to the legs. Work on breathing while you sit and relax for a few minutes. I do this one a lot.
  • Have the right workouts set up– when people feel stressed their nervous system can do some weird things. It can sometimes cause slight dizziness, head aches and muscle tension. On days it may be bothering you more, simply try going for a bike ride or run. Try some extra stretches or throw in yoga! If you feel more comfortable in the weight room doing some curls then try it. Sometimes doing an activity like running or biking can take your mind off of the symptoms and relax the brain.

 

Secret #2) Try counting macros

When I offer my training packages to clients, the macro counting introduction can be included in the package to help the client learn how to count macros and get on track with what they are eating. It has helped millions of people with meeting their fitness goals so why not try it! I was never a huge fan at first then I tried it. I got away from it for a while but counting macros seems to be one of the main things I come back to, to help me. I will not go in depth about counting macros today but will say that there is an app in the App Store on your phone called “My Fitness Pal” it is free. It is a macro counter that has a scanner on it and everything. Just scan the package and put the serving size and it will keep track of it!

Counting macros can be extremely beneficial because once you know what your maintenance calories are then we can work on either increasing or decreasing them. They will usually need updated. If you find your maintenance calories then just reduce 200-400 calories in everyday for a while. Not 200-400 calories day one the 400-800 the next day just 200-400 everyday for a while. Like I said, I can write another article on this topic for you because this can help BIG TIME.

Secret #3) Hit the gym like you mean it/ Switch it up!

scooby

Don’t just go through the motions. You go in and hit the same workout you’ve been doing for 3 months now.. NO. Switch things up, I am not saying that the workout program you are following isn’t working but our nervous system and body will get used to a stimuli when it is brought face to face everyday for months. Switch it up so you keep the body guessing. It won’t know what to do if you do 15 minutes of swimming instead of 25 minutes of running for a few days. By doing this one simple secret, you are also keeping yourself interested in the gym and keep the excitement rolling.

When I create a workout program for my clients wether its online clients or in person, I always like to keep their body guessing. I usually will not do the same workout program more than 4 weeks AT MOST. For some clients, everyday is a new day.

Now don’t get me wrong, having a set workout program is a solid idea but like I said, I change them every 4 weeks. You could get away with doing a workout program 6 weeks straight but I like to keep my clients on their toes and keep having them hit their goals.

Secret #4) Grab a friend or trainer

When you are training with a friend or if you have a trainer that keeps tabs on you then you are now kept accountable to something. When your buddy misses a 5am workout, its can get frustrating so thats why we try to keep that gym partner accountable by getting them there to make them better. Wether its calling or sending a message. If they still aren’t getting there then find someone else that will show up. It’s not always easy nor will everyone want to do it. Sometimes you have no other option but to do it yourself for a little while. Don’t forget that there are trainers in gyms for a reason.

The importance of a good training partner or group is so underrated. I’ve had some of my best training sessions when I was with a group because we are all trying to compete against ourselves and each other. It can be a solid game changer especially if you need motivation to lose weight. So pick up your phone, hit up your friend and meet them at the gym.

 

Conclusion

I hope you all liked this article. I put a lot of effort into this to help those who wish to lose weight so do me a solid and share this with your family and friends. I have content on here that will help everyone no matter what your goal is. We are all out here trying to get better so why not help each other out. Thank you for your support, have a great Thursday!

P.s this is article #99… Might being doing a giveaway for #100!

                 -Alex Costa-

 

NEED TO LOSE WEIGHT?

Training with Alex:  I am taking more online clients. Some spots opened up so email me at costafitness1@gmail.com to set up your training! I am also taking a limited number of in-person clients for speed and agility as well as weight loss.

Email me!

costafitness1@gmail.com

Resourses:

http://www.statisticbrain.com/stress-statistics/

http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/chronic-stress-wrecking-workouts/

3 Fast & Healthy Recipes for College Students

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With college classes starting up, this can mean you will exhaust yourself very quickly. Let me give you 3 healthy snack recipes that you can prepare within minutes! These nutritious snacks will provide an extra layer of energy to keep you going in class!

For incoming freshman, you are about to be welcomed to a whole different level of stress and self accountability. It can get frustrating very quickly and you will find yourself running on empty either in class or when you are trying to catch up on studying. When you do not get the right food into your body, you are just beating a dead horse now. Fast food will not help either will soda and sugary foods loaded with bad stuff. Think of your body like a machine or a car. You can only go so far before you need to refill the gas with fuel. The fuel is the food you are consuming. If you consume bad stuff then your body will react by not reaching its full potential. On the other hand, when you place the right fuel into the machine then you can perform at a higher level mentally. So focus up and take something away from this article so you can take all the information in clearer in class.

RECIPE #1) Banana boats

These will provide an energy boost as well as give you a dose of protein! This will take you about 2-3 minutes to get ready and it is very convenient for dorm life as well. Take a banana, split it straight down the middle, spread peanut butter or a butter spread of your choice like almond butter, coconut butter, cashew butter,etc on the inside of the slices. From there, you can place toppings of your choice  on the butter spread such as cracked sun flower seeds, raises, flaxseed, chia seeds, cranberries, etc.

 

RECIPE #2) Loaded Ezekiel bread

Again, here is something that you can prepare in seconds!

Just take a slice of Ezekiel bread, use some cottage cheese to spread out on top. Afterwards, you can dazzle your tastebuds by placing pineapple and sliced cashews on top!

Here is some side notes to read for this recipe:

  1. Ezekiel bread is NOT in the normal bread section. It will be in the refrigerator section. It is to stay cold because it is a sprouted bread unlike normal wheat or white bread. Just take a piece out and let it thaw a little. I will sometimes place a piece in the toaster for a very short amount of time. It has less preservatives in it so when you bring it home, clear a space in the fridge for it!
  2. Cottage cheese is becoming a very popular, nutritious item on the food market. Cottage cheese is something that like everything else on the list is easy to store in your dorm and grab when you need it. It has a good amount of calcium in each serving which is good for bone health.

 

RECIPE #3) Fruit rice cakes

It doesn’t get any easier than this! Go to the store and pick up any of your favorite brands of yogurt. I would personally recommend a low sugar Greek yogurt for this. Greek yogurt has probiotics which can help your immune system which is CRITICAL during school. The more class you miss, the further you will be behind! Plus it is a good source of protein. Then pick 1-3 different pieces of fruit. Last but not least, stop by and grab some rice cakes! I would do a plain flavor for this.

Step one is simple, grab a rice cake and put some yogurt on the top. Spread around on the top so it evens out.

Step two is to cut up some of the fruit you purchased from the store and then place it on top of the rice cake!

This is a nice treat if you have a sweet tooth. It provides natural sugars from the fruit and yogurt depending on what you grab.

The fruit will provide a natural energy boost and give your body extra vitamins depending on what fruit is picked.

Conclusion:

In this article, I have provided 3 very easy and quick to prepare snacks that will deliver energy to your body. This is the perfect formula for ANY college student! Not to mention every item on the list is not expensive. These items are also convenient for dorm life as well. So go out and grab a few items from the store and try these out when you are needing that extra energy boost!

Thank you for reading this article, I hope you were able to find something that could help you! GOOD LUCK TO ALL OF THE NEW COLLEGE STUDENTS! If there is any other topics you would like to see covered on Costafitness then let me know!

              -Alex Costa-

 

10 Ways to do Cardio Without Knowing

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Time for cardio…sigh

If this is your reaction to cardio, then I might not only have 1 solution to your problem but 10 solutions!

Spring break is upon us and most people choose to start cutting and toning up. This usually leads to countless hours of boring cardio. Don’t you wish you could get cardio in without doing it? I am one that has never been a fan of cardio. The thing with cardio is you can still get the time in without realizing it. I am going to give you 10 ways underneath on how you can feel like you are “cheating” the system while still weeping the benefits!

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#1) Pick up basketball games are a great way to get your daily cardio in without feeling like you have to be stuck on a treadmill for 45 minutes. The good thing about this is even if you don’t have enough people to play a game, you can shoot around. By chasing the ball around for 30-60 minutes you will be surprised by the amount of calories you will burn!

#2) Take a nice swim day! I personally believe that swimming in a pool can be one of the best ways to burn an excess number of calories without even knowing!! Have kids? Take them out for a nice day at the pool and swim a few laps every 5 minutes or so! When I say swim day, I don’t mean that sitting poolside getting your tan on counts as swimming. Even just doing an extensive amount of walking or running in a pool will burn those extra calories!

#3) Beat up on your punching bag.  Have you ever noticed how Rocky was ripped or for matter of fact, almost all boxers. Boxing workouts can be a great way to take out some frustrations and torch fat right off! Throw some gloves on and start punching!

#4) Dance! Yes of course I had to put dancing on the list. With the compound movements that are involved in dancing, this sets you up for a ton of fun, hefty amounts of calories being burned and a fresh style to bring to the dance floor when you go to a wedding. Try some dancing classes with your significant other or a group of friends!

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#5) Climbing can be a great activity that can be a great exercise and cardio movement. With some practice, I guarantee this will leave you with a strong and toned back. This can be a great date to take your significant other on if you are looking for something with a little more adventure. This is something great to pick up and take on in the real world, my friend Max has went on some great climbing trips in Colorado and hits up the indoor wall climbing all the time for fun.

#6) Taking the dog on a walk or jog is one way for you and your best bud to stay fit! Start of with 5-10 minutes walking then turn it into a slow jog, I guarantee the dog will love it and you’ll be forced to keep up with the pup. You can always do runs for 5 minutes and walking for 5 minutes for a grand total of 40-60 minutes and you will get a nice cardio sesh in.

#7) Kayaking is so much fun and is a tremendous workout! I have had the chance to kayak in the great state of Michigan and it can be beautiful depending on where you are. I recommend this when you go on vacation around lakes or a safe body of water, it is a great way to stay active and get a vacation of cardio in!

#8) Riding a bicycle is one of the most common ways to stay active and get some extra cardio in. You can increase the difficulty with riding up hills for part of the bike ride. Take a buddy with you and ride around the bike path to get that cardio in!

#9) Throw the good ol pigskin! Throwing can be a form of light cardio, the more cardio you want to get in, the worse the opposite thrower should be. If you have that one buddy that has never thrown a football in his life then you could be looking at a high intensity cardio session. This is simply because he probably could not hit you right on the spot so you will be chasing the ball half the time. Now on the other hand, if you want a good workout then set up a quarterback and line up at receiver to run routes. Run about 5-10 routes then switch places! This is a great way to burn fat due to the short durations of speed you are running. So what are you waiting for? Call your dude and grab a football!

#10) Golfing without a cart is a great way to get that extra cardio milage in. I know what you are thinking though, that’s probably a lot of walking and yes you are correct. It adds up to a pretty good amount of steps but it beats running in place on a treadmill for an hour, plus you can be having fun, relaxing and getting the health benefits as well!

I think that everyone should do cardio even if its lighter cardio. It has great benefits for a healthy heart! I don’t do a lot of cardio currently but I would not mind knocking some of these activities off the list!

Picture source: track ,basketballclimbingkayaking