"10 Nighttime Habits That Will Transform Your Tomorrows" Review

Having trouble falling asleep? With the close of the year, there is plenty to stress about (and I’m sure it doesn’t help your sleep). I’ve dissected a recent article on Livestrong .com and picked out the best ways to redefine how you hit the pillow.

Unplug to Recharge

Even your beloved smartphones can’t go nonstop without being recharged, and your mind is no different. At least 30 minutes before going to bed, turn off all your devices to allow your mind time to relax and unwind. You may notice the inevitable side effect of feeling more present to enjoy the final moments of your day.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Unfortunately, computers and phones stimulate my neurons to caffeine-like levels (even if I am tired). Most often, I need to unhook 120 minutes before bedtime otherwise Ill stare at the ceiling for an hour while trying to sleep. It took a great level of experimenting, and I know the boundary line varies from person to person. I have found that my personal training clients aren't much different, though.


Put down that glass of vino! “Rose all day” on weekends if you want to, but if you want to wake up alert, focused and productive, avoid alcohol before bed. It can lead to frequent sleep interruptions in the later half of the night as blood sugar levels spike. And those disruptions to your REM sleep can cause next-day drowsiness. Try some herbal tea to wind down instead!

Personal Trainer Wisdom: I seriously consider the effects of wine and food on my blood sugar levels….especially before bedtime. Typically, your blood sugar rises to its highest level around 2 hours after your last meal. A similar effect takes place with the consumption of alcohol too (although often sooner due to its simple carb ability to spike the blood stream at a quicker speed). With all this being said, the true effects of this consumption may occur after you crash the pillow and your body will need to respond instead of recover.

Prepare for Tomorrow

Take some time the night before to choose and lay out your wardrobe for the next day. Pack your bag or briefcase too, and don’t forget a healthy lunch! Being prepared the night before makes mornings less hectic and gives you time to consciously ease into your day.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: I’m a man of lists. If my next day isn’t organized, I play out every scenario in my mind like a movie. Of course, my sleep is compromised with this type of brain activation! My hard rule: I don’t let anything sit on my mind. I write it down and often organize those thoughts as fast as they appear.

Have a Pajama Party

Put on those PJs! Experts say that a conscious transition into “bedtime” mode actually helps your body and mind begin to prepare for sleep. Choose something loose-fitting, cool and comfy for optimal relaxation.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: You’re probably wondering “I didn’t know Michael has pajama parties!!!” I don’t, but you shouldn’t judge me if I did! I have established a routine of changing into a pair of comfy pants and a t-shirt every night to cue my relax time. Many of my routines are fairly, well, routine for a good reason. Not only do they eliminate decision fatigue but they also cue a state of comfort (especially before bedtime).

Stick to Your Bedtime

Set an earlier, non-negotiable bedtime for optimal sleep. Getting a full night’s rest (seven to nine hours is the optimal range) gives your body time to replenish. It can help regulate your hormones, recharge your body on a cellular level and refresh your mind as well. A good night’s sleep is one of the best and most scientifically proven ways to enhance our mood, energy, and productivity.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: The body is a creature of routine and depends on its circadian rhythm to reach its most optimal self (homeostasis). It wants to predict your eating and sleeping schedules to efficiently and effectively handle the influx of fuel or recovery time. While it’s important to sleep the most appropriate number of hours, the consistency of your bedtime schedule will also determine its effectiveness. So, literally sticking to my typical bedtime of 11 or 11:30 on most nights has been just as important as the length of sleep for me.

Photo Credit:
videoblocks .com–What keeps you up at night?

Article Credit:
Author: Michael Moody Fitness with excerpt sourced from https: //www.livestrong .com/article/13712476-10-nighttime-habits-that-will-transform-your-tomorrows/
”10 Nighttime Habits That Will Transform Your Tomorrows” Review
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.

What Being a Parent Taught Me About Managing Stress

The Big Aha Moment:

My 18 month old son, Preston, taught me how to manage stress more effectively without knowing it! What a smart little man! 😊

The reactive assumption, without breaking down this claim: Babies teach us nothing! They are little animals trying to survive in nature. What do they know!!!

The real breakdown: Giving birth to a child will change your life forever. You will always need to think about others, be mindful of your risk-taking behavior, plan ahead, focus on meaningful interaction, show empathy and sympathy…..wait a minute, shouldn’t we be doing this anyway (with or without a child)! In all honesty, my wife, Sammy, and I haven’t felt the drastic change in life that most people claim. The responsibilities and day-to-day specific approach may have been reshaped but the principles are the same. Although that’s true, Preston has inspired new approaches to managing stress. He unknowingly prepared a Stress 101 curriculum for his Dad: A model of human instinctual behavior. Without a doubt, it made rethink about my needs and how I structured my life to minimize stress. Here’s how:

Observation: I need to make my primary (survival) needs a priority before pursuing any secondary tasks/projects.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: A long time ago (when Preston was 0-8 months) Sammy and I relied on Preston’s cries to alert us of his basic survival needs: Changing his diaper, laying him down to sleep, giving him milk, making sure he’s not too cold, and making sure he’s not too hot. While a parent will always look for serious signs of discomfort or sickness as a caution, the primary focus is this list. If we fail to meet these demands, Preston’s cries, will, uhm, continue for a very long time (rightfully so).

Now, Preston’s ego has certainly kicked in, and life is more complicated (e.g., crying is a result of the inability to communicate in a way that we understand, the lack of attention, or the societal restriction of haphazardly tossing toys down the stairs). Although his cognitive brain may muddle what he needs in the moment and how he communicates it, Sammy and I still consider Preston’s survival needs as a first option. I take the same approach with myself when I experience discomfort or stress. Poor Preston can’t move on until we meet these needs, and I can’t either. And, yes, I’m a big baby.

Unfortunately, my advanced cognitive brain taught me to ignore or distract myself from these innate physical needs for most of my life. With my new observations of Preston in mind, I began asking the following questions: How often do I hold off eating lunch or visiting the restroom because I need to finish a computer project? How comfortable do I feel while ignoring these cues? What level of stress do I experience while “h-angry” or squirming in my chair? How often does it redirects my focus from the project at times? Does it contribute to a subtle (or not-so subtle) anxiety?

Once I considered these questions, I started to realize the level of discomfort and stress I created by ignoring my need to eat, sleep, or potty (think like Preston). Despite my efforts to suppress the need, it was still sitting in my unconscious and manifesting itself in a number of ways, including impatience, irritability, reactiveness, etc. In terms of creativity, effectiveness, and efficiency, I never want anything to become an obstacle to my success. Sometimes the most stressful situations in my life have been resolved with this renewed focus on my physical self. President Bill Clinton always fed diplomats before an important meeting and I will certainly continue to take the same approach with myself.

Observation: Routine Rules!

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Babies are creatures of habit and routine. Please let me rephrase this: ALL of us are creatures of habit and routine. Babies thrive on the predictability of a schedule. It isn’t a result of feeling cognitively satisfied with their adherence to a routine. They rely on physical cues to trigger action for food and sleep. The core system of their bodies loves to efficiently and effectively prepare for both (think hormonal release). Ever wonder why babies typically wake the same time every day? For some reason, Preston never realizes that it’s the weekend and that Mama and Papa want to sleep an additional 1-4 hours. He continues to wake at 7:15 am almost within 5 minutes every day (even on Saturdays!!!). While less convenient for sleeping parents, it contributes to a healthy lifestyle and proper recovery time. In a perfect world, I don’t need an alarm, and my body begins a systematic approach to slowly wake the body starting three hours before that typical time. What an efficient machine! The same process takes place with a consistent eating schedule. The human body wants to predict the next influx of fuel to use it in the most efficient manner (hence, the reason you’re hungry at noon on Saturdays if you typically eat every weekday at noon).

Of course, if we miss one of Preston’s naps, he reaches an epic level of irritability that’s difficult to calm. I can’t it’s much different when I’m overtired. If my body typically rests for the night at 11:30, it certainly gives me an internal physical smack until I succumb to its demand. I easily recognize when I’m pushing these limits and fighting my physical self (especially if I’m working on a work project late night). Unfortunately, the anxiety I feel as a result ends up affecting my ability to fall asleep when I eventually hit the pillow. A routine helps me become an efficient machine, and it will protect it as much as it comes. The more I fight it, the more discomfort I feel, and the same applies to the timing of meals.

Article Credit:

Author: Michael Moody Fitness
What Being a Parent Taught Me About Managing Stress
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.

4 Ways to Approach Holiday Eating

Challenge: My holiday eating is out of control!

Reason You Give: “I can’t escape it!”

It’s that time of year….turkey roasting in the oven….the scent of rosemary and thyme floats through the air while the savory stuffing and sweet cranberry sauce absorb your stares. Soon your indulgence reaches maximum effort, and you’re ready to sleep off your food coma on the host’s hardwood floor. The official kickoff to 41 days of eating: An annual tradition of celebrating the best of life from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day!

While it is a time of celebration, it is also a time of stress for people who are interested in weight loss or maintaining their health. Although I believe that “if you do it, you should do it well”, you may not feel or look well if you do “it” for 40 nights. With this being said, here are 4 approaches to help you handle Thanksgiving and other festive eating holidays this fall and winter.

Establish a day-to-day routine, enjoy the holiday indulgence, and then return to your routine.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Whether it’s a holiday or not, your indulgence, or cheat meal, truly needs to be an outlier. Why? You want a routine that is so impeccable and nutrient-dense perfect that a celebration won’t undo everything you worked hard for….it’ll just slightly skew it for the moment. If you find that the simplest smell of a pumpkin pie sends your weight through the ceiling without returning, you need to question your day-to-day approach (which means rethinking your daily meals). Ultimately, the routine you integrate before and after a holiday will determine how restrictive that holiday becomes. Take the time to establish an effective diet (normal way of eating) that meets your health goals and make the celebrations a small blip on the radar of health.

Set food rules.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: No matter how you spend the holidays you most likely will be enticed by the many belt-busting traditional dishes. While you can’t avoid it all, you can establish a framework to guide your choices. It will help you achieve bottom-line nutrition with each meal and the proper exchange system to manage holiday eating. Here are several rules to consider:

-Minimize the “Big 6”: Dairy, grains, alcohol, refined sugar, processed food, and meat. The combination and amount of each of these foods have played the biggest role in whether or not my personal training clients lost weight over the last 13 years. Choose the pastries with the least amount of sugar. Cut your portion of turkey in half and replace it with roasted vegetables. Eat half of the cheese that you normally select when drinking wine. Little changes can go along away!
-Fill half of every plate with vegetables.
-Drink a glass of water between each glass of alcohol.
-Precede each treat with a healthy option.

Bring two healthy dishes.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Recently, my wife, Sammy, and I hosted a Friendsgiving (an early Thanksgiving party with friends). Although I have a dairy intolerance, our friend, Zelle, is allergic. We took special care to identify which dishes had butter, milk, and cheese. Funny enough, nearly half of the potluck dishes had fit this criterion (and were some of the favorites). Not taking any chances, Zelle typically brings a couple of dishes knowing most people’s habits. If you have a similar restriction or concern about the food at parties, take the same initiative. At the bare minimum, you’ll have a couple of dishes to choose from without feeling guilty.

Host the party and make the food.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Don’t like what other people are serving at holiday parties? Host your own party then! There’s no better way to control the type of food being served. It’ll give you the chance to control every ingredient of your meal. You limit the temptation of another host’s treats and organize a party that supports your goals. If cooking is too much of a burden, cater from Whole Foods or ask guests to bring a specific dish (with your restrictions in mind).

Photo Credit:
trendsinusa .com–How will you approach this table over the holiday season?

Article Credit:
Author: Michael Moody Fitness
4 Ways to Approach Holiday Eating
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.

5 Ways to Make Your Child a Healthy Eater

Myth: Kids can eat whatever they want.

Reason Parents Give: “They’re children…they can get away with it.”

Many parents believe the myth that children can really eat whatever they want. As a parent, I wish this was true! It’s a lot of work showing my 17-month old son, Preston, a powerpoint presentation about the benefits of broccoli. Unfortunately, that first statement is false (and it makes sense why). Think about the period of 0-11 years of life for a child. Do you see any other period of physical and mental development as drastic in a human’s life? Absolutely not. The growth during this span of time is tremendous and pivotal to the physical foundation of one’s life. Why wouldn’t you give your child the proper fuel to not only build it efficiently and effectively but also protect the process with the best immunity? The good Dr. Fuhrman says it best:

The poor dietary habits of today’s children are contributing to the development of obesity, reduced brain function, higher incidence of allergies, asthma, autoimmune diseases, and emotional and behavioral disorders, such as depression and ADD. Poor nutrition also increases occurrence and severity of infections and results in chronically reoccurring infections such as sinusitis and otitis media (ear infection). It is also laying a foundation for poor academic performance, chronic disease later in life, violent behavior, and premature death. A Nutritarian diet is essential for a disease-free, healthy, and happy child.

I know what you’re thinking, “Good luck getting your kid to eat a plant-based diet.” I fully realize the difficulties here. At times, Preston will refuse everything until he gets what he wants (a very difficult customer at times!). You need to remember that our little ones aren’t much different from adults. Here are several strategies to dramatically improve your child’s diet and health without running for cover:

Introduce new foods…and try it again next month.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Do you want to eat the same thing all the time? Unless it’s pizza, bacon, and ice cream, you’ll probably answer “No” (and rightfully so). Not only does neural stimulation greatly diminish after the 5th bite, but you also lose the mental and emotional excitement of eating a new dish. Poor Preston suffers whenever we discover he likes a new dish. “Do you like frozen peas and butternut squash, Master P?” Yessssssssssssssssssssssssssss! And then we feed him that for 10 straight meals until he throws it on the ground (and we don’t have a dog).

If your approach is on repeat too, I get it. Be mindful of your (and my) laziness, though. Chalk up a new food gobbled up in seconds as a victory but continue your experimentation. Your child has not tried the wide array of dishes that our world offers (and you most likely haven’t either). Move onto something new and help your child stimulate her senses. You’ll always have the peas and butternut squash in your back packet. And if it doesn’t work today, try the dish again in 4 weeks. Your child’s pallet and senses are evolving, and his or her preference or sensitivity will change over time too. With this being said,….

Add a variety of different tastes, smells, and textures (including different seasonings and sauces).

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Babies and kids are curious animals exploring the world. I honestly admit to restricting Preston’s scientist tendencies. After all, who wants to see their eggs cracked across the kitchen floor for the sake of learning physics! Appeal to your child’s curiosity by opening her senses to the culinary world. Not only let your child physically touch and feel the difference between different fruits and vegetables but also encourage her to smell and taste the bites of goodness (and it’s okay to get messy).

Take your experiment to a new level and assign a different ethnic style of food to each day. Simply add a combination of the seasonings and sauces most commonly found in that culture. For instance, if Monday is Mexican Day, add salsa and/or a taco seasoning to the meals (Tuesday can be Italian, Wednesday, can be Indian, etc.).

Model good behavior.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: If you’re serving a dish to your child, it’s a great time for you to eat too! Everybody loves company while they eat….and your child is no different. Ever been out to dinner at a restaurant and you notice a friend not ordering anything. You probably wondered, “Is Amy on a diet?”….”Is Amy upset?”…..”Does Amy not like me?”….etc., etc. Your child might be thinking the same about you in those moments! Interestingly, Preston will not eat at times but will not hesitate to sit on my lap moments later to lovingly (and grub-bingly) grab the same food off my plate. Little P just wants to share the experience with Papa!

Modeling good behavior goes beyond simply eating in front of your child. Eating the right foods is just as, if not more, important. What message are you sending while telling “No candy” to your child while eating the candy bar in front of her? It scares me to think about the things that Preston witnesses me doing. I recently started the habit of throwing his shoes to a rack near the door. What a surprise when I witnessed Preston tossing a bell strap across the daycare room….hitting the helpless victim, baby Liam, in the forehead. Shame on Papa! It’s a good reminder, though, that I have the opportunity to positively shape my son’s behavior by acting like a good healthy citizen (especially while eating dinner). Take the initiative and demonstrate healthy eating behavior by eating healthy food WITH your child.

Determine your child’s food preferences and find the healthiest versions.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Let’s be honest: Your kids will be introduced to unhealthy foods at school, friends’ homes, parties, and more. It seems that many kids could eat an endless amount of candy and pasta (and they’ll let you know). If it’s a constant fight, not all is lost. Don’t forget that a piece of food can be a comprehensive experience for the senses. It’s possible to replicate the experience with a healthy substitute. Not surprising, Preston instantly loved pasta (who doesn’t?). Instead of feeding him the enriched flour, blood-sugar spiking versions found on most American tables; we cook a pasta noodle made of chickpeas. It is a wonderful, more nutrient-dense option with protein and fiber compared to the white flour, wheat, AND whole wheat versions. Although it may take research, there are other thoughtful substitutes for your child’s other unhealthy preferences too!

Explain the benefits of every meal and the reasons why you’re eating it too.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Why has parenting become so complicated????? Life was so much easier when you can respond to your child’s Socratic question, “Why do I have to do this?” with the answer, “Because I said so.” Now you have to explain things and….wait, nevermind….we should’ve been doing this all along! Why? Because they don’t know better and need the message reinforced repeatedly (a lesson I now understand as an obligation of effective parenting). Your kids may not understand why they need hemp seeds, nuts, collard greens, and a piece of fish on one plate. They haven’t established any value of eating healthfully. Take the time to illustrate why it’s important so that your kids eventually make the same independent choices without your supervision.

Photo Credit:
Shaw academy .com–Could your child’s answer to eating healthy be sitting in your lap?

Article Credit:
Author: Michael Moody Fitness
5 Ways to Make Your Child a Healthy Eater
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.

The Grocery List that Will Help You Lose Weight (and Live Healthy)

The Personal Trainer’s Grocery List

Whether my Personal Training clients are trying to lose weight and/or optimize their health, the general nutrition guidelines are the same. These guidelines are based on the percentages below and “The Simple Plate" photo at the bottom of this post.

· 45-55% Plant Nutrients/Vegetables (dark green, starchy, red/orange, etc.)
· 25-40% Protein (lean white meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, nuts, beans, etc.)
· 25% Fiber (beans, legumes, fruit, seeds, vegetables, etc.)
*****Although I haven't specifically mentioned it, you should still be mindful of the amount of good fats (nuts, avocado, olive oil, etc.) in your diet, too. You shouldn't exceed 15% in any given meal unless deemed necessary.

Great! Now you know what every meal should look like! How do you know what to buy from the grocery store, though? I’ve taken the hard work out of your hands by supplying my grocery list below. Take on the challenge and create quick and easy meals with these ingredients in mind!

Fresh Fruit

Green Kiwi
Produce Organic Pink Lady Apples
Organic Blueberries
International Harvest Organic Dried Mango Slices, Bulk

Fresh Veggies

Organic Red, Green, and Orange Bell Peppers
Hass Avocado
Local Asparagus
Organic Sliced White Mushroom
Organic Baby Broccoli
Taylor Farms Angel Hair Coleslaw
365 Organic Micro Tipped Green Beans
Organic Broccoli Florets
365 Shredded Organic Carrot
Organic Red Grape Tomato
365 by Whole Foods Market Organic Broccoli Slaw
365 Organic Baby Spinach
365 Shaved Brussels Sprouts
Organic Limes

Frozen Veggies

365 Organic Frozen Quinoa With Roasted Vegetables
Organic Frozen Broccoli
Organic Brozen Butternut Squash
Organic Frozen Peas


365 Organic Large Omega 3 Brown Eggs (If the package says Omega 3, it means the chickens were fed seeds)
Nature's Rancher Turkey Ground Organic
Wild Fresh Salmon Coho Fillet

Dried Goods

365 Organic Pinto Beans (Dried)
Organic Black Turtle Beans (Dried)
365 Organic Whole Raw Cashews
365 Organic Sliced Raw Almonds
Organic corn tortillas
Hemp Seeds
Chia Seeds

Canned Goods

365 No Salt Added Garbanzo Beans
Amy's Organic Soups Fat Free Chunky Vegetable
Canned Stewed Tomatoes

Sauces, Seasonings, and More

Frontera Salsa Mexicana Red Tomato With Jalapeno + Cilantro
Frontera Fajita Sauce
Creole Seasoning
Jar of Minced Garlic
Jar of Minced Shallots

Photo Credit:
hotforfoodblog .com–Even your favorite meals can be healthy with the right grocery list.

Article Credit:

Author: Michael Moody Fitness
The Grocery List that Will Help You Lose Weight (and Live Healthy)
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.
 This is your ultimate guide to losing weight. Use it to guide your approach to every meal.

This is your ultimate guide to losing weight. Use it to guide your approach to every meal.