A few of my favorite things…DID NOT see #3 coming!

I love it when people I follow on social media share their favorite things.

It gives me some insight into what they are currently enjoying…and exposes me to some cool things that I might not be aware of.

When one of my clients recently asked what my current favorite workout was, along with my favorite way to relax….well I felt compelled to write this post to share 5 of my current favorite things.

So without further adieu ……..

1) One of my favorite things I am loving right now though is PHA Strength Training and Treadmill Incline walking/hiking training program I am currently designing.

SO FAR (it could change since it’s in such the early stages), it’s called #WalkHike &LiftToLose.

This is likely going to be a 10 week fat burning muscle building program (and no ladies…you won’t bulk up!) that is COMPLETELY no impact meaning; no running, sprinting or jumping required!

The treadmill or outdoor walking/hiking portion of the program will include brisk walking and incline walking intervals along with some light weight work while on the treadmill (yes you can lift light weights while hiking/walking on the TM…not for muscle gain obv. but to help elevate heart rate)…all while avoiding boredom.  It’s a calorie torcher…..and there’s no running or sprinting anywhere to be found!

The PHA piece of the program is Peripheral Heart Action Training, which is a circuit style of strength training that alternates a compound upper body move with a lower body move and core.  It’s typically 6 exercises repeated in circuit fashion 4-6 times.

Cathe Friedrich explains it best: 

“The goal of peripheral heart action training is to maximize the amount of blood that circulates to your upper and lower body as you complete a sequence of resistance exercises. With PHA training, you alternate between upper and lower body resistance training exercises, allowing as little rest as possible between each movement. The lack of rest and recovery keeps your heart rate up, for cardiovascular and fat-burning benefits, while switching between upper and lower body exercises, maximizes blood flow to all parts of your body and reduces build-up of lactic acid. By reducing lactic acid, you’re able to train hard without being forced to stop due to the burn,” 

Beginners would take up to 30 seconds of rest between exercises and perhaps complete 2-4 total circuits.  Intermediate exercisers would work through 4-6 rounds taking breaks as needed; and advanced exercisers would power through all 6 exercises and all 6 rounds with little to no breaks.  It takes about 30-40 minutes to complete…so it’s super time efficient too.

The combo of the TM walking/hiking paired with the PHA training is so amazing…and as far as my research has shown, nobody else has put these 2 together.

I’m loving it so much…I am chomping at the bit to share with everyone!!!  

Soo, I will be sharing one of my favorite PHA/TreadHike combo workouts in my upcoming June 23  newsletter.

If you’d like to try it for yourself, but you’re not yet on my list, be sure to click here to subscribe.

2) Green Tea- 

I heart green tea!!!  I like many brands but my favorite is Matcha tea from Kirkland.
I really love this stuff!  I’m suuper sonic sensitive to caffeine, which is why I think I’ve never been drawn to coffee.

This tea has a little bit of caffeine, but nothing compared to coffee or other caffeinated beverages.  Plus it has a whole host health benefits from increasing brain activity, reducing risks from some kinds of cancers, helps with physical performance, lowers risk of type 2 diabetes…and the list goes on and on! You can read more about the specific benefits here.

3) Harry Styles-

Ok, I DID NOT SEE THIS COMING LOL!!

I am not a fan of  poppy “boy band music”, so I really never paid much attention to Harry Styles when he was in the boy band “One Direction”.

In fact, I had never heard of him at all until he performed a couple of songs off of his new solo album on SNL.

OMG…My hubby and I have a massive crush on this kid right now!  I freaking love his music!!!!!  He’s a youngster..at 23 years old but talented well beyond his years!!!!   Oh and a SUPER CLASS ACT (Justin Bieber you need to take note my friend LOL).

He just released his first solo album last month and it’s 1-800-DA-Bomb!!

You can check out “Sign of the Times” and “Kiwi” here which are from the new album.

Honestly, the whole album is just so different and so good!!!

4) Insight Timer-

This free meditation app is AMAZING!!!

It literally has 2 million meditations on all kinds of topics, that range from 1 minute to and hour, and everything in between.

A few of my favorite teachers are:

Jeremy Alford, Glenda Cedarleaf, & Andrew Johnson.

You really should check it out.

5) Artichokes!

Yes I said artichokes!

I am steaming them lately for dinner (I don’t get home before 8:45 most weeknights), so I need something light and delish for dinner.

I’ve been eating them with 1/2 cup of Greek Yogurt for the protein mixed with…..Hot buffalo wing sauce!!!

Don’t judge!  It’s actually so good!  It’s filling, satisfying and healthy!

I love the taste of buffalo wings (it’s the sauce really) and it spices the yogurt up and makes a great dip!

In fact, I’ll be eating one tonite :-).

That’s it!  These are my current favorite things…for this week anyway LOL!!!

What are your faves????

Anything you’d like to share?

If you try any of my favorite things…let me know what you think!

And don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter if you want to “test drive” my new workout next week!

You can find me on Facebook to carry on the convo there!

 

The great scale debate: where do you weigh in?

How do you feel about

“I just came from my yearly Dr. visit and I am shocked that I somehow managed to gain 15 pounds”.

These were the words that a new client of mine said to me last week.

This has totally happened to me in the past.

I haven’t always been a fan of the scale.

You see, back in the day my friends and I obsessively weigh ourselves up to 5-6 times a day!!!  Yeah, I know- insanity!

After awhile I got tired of the whole scale- obsession- thing and I would completely go the other direction and not weigh for months.

Everytime I went to THAT extreme (not weighing at all), I would eventually have to get on a scale…and inevitably it would respond by telling me, “you’ve gained weight”.

Sigh…

So back to my client…..

He told me had fallen off the exercise/ eating healthy wagon over the past few months and knew that he had put on some weight.  He said he had noticed that his clothes were fitting a bit tighter…but he was thinking he gained maybe 5 pounds…not 15.

I asked him if weighed himself on a regular basis and he told me no.  He said he had thrown out his scale a couple of years ago after his previous trainer told him to while on his weight loss program.

When I asked him why his former trainer recommended this he said, “because working out will cause me to lose fat and gain muscle which can show up as weight gain on the scale”.  He took it as get rid of the scale for good.

While it is true that body composition can change by replacing fat with muscle….it’s not easy and at a minimum it takes:

– Working out on a very consistent basis lifting heavy weights.
– Some kind of metabolic training to help aid with fat loss.
– A clean diet mostly (notice I didn’t say PERFECT), lean protein, tons of veggies, small amounts of healthy fat and carbs, plenty of water
– Great sleep to help with the “hormonal soup” needed for recovery/body comp change.

This is basically what it would take for the body to weigh “more on the scale” and not have it be weight gain from fat.

Most people aren’t doing all of these things for the weight gain showing up on the scale to actually be muscle and not fat.

In my client’s case, he was not working out consistently at all and his diet was definitely adding to his weight gain (fat not muscle).

I feel like if he was weighing in at least once a week, he could have adjusted his eating/exercise habits before it got him to this point.

I know that “throwing out the scale” is a thing now in the fitness industry and in SOME cases it makes sense.

In my opinion, the people who shouldn’t be weighing themselves regularly are those that:

*Have or had eating disorders.
*Those who become obsessive about weighing in, i.e., they weight multiple times per day, or it completely effects their mood or behavior for the rest of the day/week.
*Negatively impacts self esteem.
*Those who take extreme measures such as go on deprivation diets or extreme exercise programs after seeing a number that does not align with their perceived target weight.

If any of the above describes you, then it’s definitely not worth it!

Otherwise, I am of the camp that weighing in regularly is good thing.

In fact, studies (found here,and here), are showing that weighing in everyday
can play a significant role in helping people lose or maintain their weight over the long haul.

I agree with the studies.

Here’s why I’m all for weekly weigh-ins:

1) Weighing in weekly promotes self-regulation and awareness of your weight and how your behaviors affect your weight.

For some it may even help control impulsive behaviors to overeat.

For example, at work, we have a non-stop supply of snacks and junk foods that are consistently available pretty much on a daily basis.

It can be so easy to go in and grab a fistful of this & that, and I must confess;  I do grab a fistful of popcorn or chips from time to time.

But the weekly weigh-ins help to act as an accountability system to myself.  I tend to be much more aware of any snacking or mindless eating when I know I will be stepping on the scale that week.

2) It gives you instant feedback so you can track your weight trends over time.  

Everyone’s weight fluctuates on a daily basis.  That is completely normal (although it sure used to freak me out when I was younger!).

Some weigh-ins you might be up 2 lbs and then down 1. Or you could be down 3 lbs and up 2 the following week.

But it’s the trends over time that matter most.  If you see yourself trending towards a consistent weight gain over a month or two, it’s easier to take action and self assess as to why the numbers are creeping up vs. facing a really unpleasant surprise later.

3) Weighing in weekly can prevent extreme dieting.

If you think about it, when are people more likely to go on a- “21 day cleanse”, or “Detox”, or “Jumpstart”?

They do it when they haven’t weighed themselves for a period of time, and when they finally do; they are completely freaked out at the number they see on the scale.

True?

I’ve done it.

In the past I would be like, “Slimfast here I come.”

But if we weigh in weekly, we won’t experience “sticker shock” at what the scale is telling us…

aannd if we do see the numbers creeping up; we can make SMALL adjustments to our nutrition correct it!

NO EXTREME DIETING NEEDED!!

Which NEVER works long term and almost always sets up for gaining back all the weight we lost plus a few extra pounds on top of that.

Trust me.  Been there done that.

So my client and I have agreed he will weigh in with me once a week (plus we do pics and measurements once a month).

We will use the numbers purely as bio- feedback so we can get him back on track with his health and fitness goals.  Not beat himself up over the numbers.  Just clinical feedback the same way we use our blood pressure and cholesterol numbers so we can make long lasting changes.

What are your thoughts/ experiences with the scale?

Love it, hate it….somewhere in the middle?

 

Perfect eating…it’s all just an illusion.

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I was scrolling through my Facebook and Instagram feeds the other day and realized that I post alot of pics of healthy food.

These pictures are legit;  they’re foods I love to eat and do eat regularly.

But they only tell part of the story.

I do not eat just those foods 100% of the time.

I also indulge in chips and salsa (the photo above was taken a recent potluck at work), cheeses, occasional dark chocolate, wine, etc.

These foods are NOT considered clean eating by any means…..but I enjoy them on a regular basis in moderation.

In the past, I would have the diet mentality of “all or nothing” – meaning I was 100% on my “diet”.   No slip-ups ,or, if I did, god forbid “break the rules”, I would say f*ck it and binge on chips & sweets like it was the “last supper”.

I’ve since learned that the “all or nothing”,”restrictive”, “deprivation”  way of eating rarely gets you all and mostly gets you nothing.

So, yes, I love healthy food and eat it everyday.

But I also allow the occasional and sometimes daily bites of “forbidden” (no longer forbidden) foods ….

Because life is too damn short not to enjoy it!

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Steady state cardio…it ain’t popular but I like it!

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I overheard a convo the other day where one lovely person was telling another that they keep hearing from “fitness experts” that steady cardio is a bad thing, but it’s the only thing they really like to do (referring to running). That person went on to say, “I guess I won’t do anything then since it’s bad for me.”

Wait NOOOOOOOO! If the choice is between doing nothing or doing the thing that gets you enjoy and it gets you off of your butt and moving: DON’T STOP DOING WHAT YOU LOVE DOING!!!!

This is what pisses me off about the fitness industry sometimes. The ‘gurus’ come up with these “all or nothing” rules that leave people feeling frustrated and confused.  These ‘gurus’ are forgetting that there is NO one size fits all in fitness!

I am a believer in all things in moderation. I do believe that a mixture of cardio, strength, metabolic conditioning and flexibility training is best for the majority of people. By combining these forms of exercise, we are less likely to suffer from overuse injuries, keep our bones, muscles & joints healthy, maintain a functioning metabolism, and prevent boredom.

But let’s face it; some people are just natural runners, swimmers, bike riders etc. That’s what their bodies love to do. Who am I to tell them they are wrong!!!!!!

I am not a great runner. In fact, my extremely tight calves really hate the idea most of the time.

But sometimes I just wanna go for a run!! And a steady state one at that!

So that’s what I did this morning after walking my dogs. I jammed to my fave running tunes “30 Seconds to Mars” and went for it.

Steady state cardio helps me clear my head. I can tune out (or in LOL), and just go. I don’t have to focus so much on my form or what I’m doing like I do when performing other types of exercises. It’s a little like “comfort food”, makes you feel good all over …but without the calories 🙂

So the next time you hear some “guru” tell you that steady state cardio is bad and makes you feel guilty for liking it, put in your earbuds, grab your fave tunes and go get yourself some steady state!

#FortheLoveofMovement #dowhatyoulove #NoOneSizeFitsAll#SteadyStateisFitnessToo

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9 Secrets to eating like the Italians do…without gaining (and most likely losing) weight!

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America is a country that is obsessed with dieting.

We just can’t wait to try the latest, “cleanse” or “21 day quick fix”, or “eat 500 calories a day and inject pregnant women’s urine into yourself”, (what the???)  to get the body of your dreams.

Yet, we are a country where 2/3 of our population is overweight.

Clearly “dieting” isn’t working.

I started down that slippery slope of diet obsession when I was 24, managing a trendy clothing store, and the much coveted size “0” was introduced & considered to be the “ideal” body type.  (I shared more insights on this topic and many other nutrition, fitness and mindset topics with my subscribers btw.   You can subscribe here if you’d like !).

My then size 9 body complete with wide hips and big butt was far from ideal and I was trying every diet gimmick from Slimfast to Fibertrim pills, counting calories, not eating a morsel past 6:00 pm ,to eliminating entire food groups (fat & carbs were equally “horrible” back then) to get my body to shrink. I had rules rules rules and more rules on how I was supposed to eat.

Nothing worked permanently of course and I was frustrated.  I would go through bouts of starvation, and then of course bingeing because I was so hungry. Of course I wasn’t bingeing on vegetables either.   It was mostly chips and junk food. My relationship with food was horrible to say the least.

And then I moved to Padova Italy.

My now husband, then boyfriend at the time, was living there (he’s German/Italian…we met when he was an exchange student), and working there as a radio and club DJ ….so why not?

Talk about a difference in culture.  Wow!

When I moved there in August, the beach towns were still filled with tourists (my boyfriend worked at a club in a beach town), the days were still very long- it didn’t get dark until after 10:00 pm.  I could not believe people were packed into restaurants eating what seemed like these ginormous pizzas (they’re actually wafer thin and topped with veggies. Nothing like American pizza at all which is piled 3″ high with cheese and pepperoni), at 10:00 and 11:00 at night!

What??!!!

THAT was breaking 2 of my dieting cardinal rules at one time:  1) Eating carbs & 2) Eating past 6:00 pm.

One of my first observations was that there were very few overweight people eating at these restaurants or anywhere for that matter.  And everybody seemed to be happy….and they were eating pizza and pasta…and they used olive oil on their salads (in America olive oil was a big no no cuz it contains FAT!)…they were hanging with friends and family and really enjoying themselves.

This was really really really different from what I did with my friends.  My girlfriends and I made sure we didn’t eat pizza (except after a few too many beers from time to time).  No way,

We ate lean cuisines and then talked about dieting and how many calories were in our lean cuisines and how many more calories we were going to cut for the day and how we were going to work off these calories later that day.

Pure enjoyment compared to how the Italians eat right?

NOT!

As time went on,I started noticing more differences between Italian eating culture and American eating culture.

Italians drink soda…but it is such a tiny amount.  Like half of a normal can of American soda.  And they typically only have 1 per day with lunch.  No such thing as a big gulp in Italy.  I was never much of a soda drinker…so this wasn’t my thing anyway.

Italians don’t have entire aisles in there grocery stores dedicated to snacks.  They have some chips and candy but very little variety and very small portion sizes.  Mostly because they just don’t snack.  Hmmmm.

It’s rare to find bottled salad dressings in Italy.  They use the balsamic and olive oil.

They take long lunches in Italy.  Like from noon til 2:00.  They either go to restaurants or go home and eat their meals slowly.   No eating at their desks like we love to do here.  Oh, and they take afternoon naps too.

They eat their meals in small courses. The “Prima Piatti”- first plate, is typically the pasta, risotto, tortellini soup, lasagna, etc…but it’s really small portions compared to what we are used to.

I used to love watching Marcus’ (then boyfriend, now husband) grandmother prepare the pasta for the prima piatti. She would take the individual serving bowls that we would be eating out of, and break or pour the dry pasta into the bowl before she cooked it to ensure portion control.  Naturally the bowls are much smaller than American size pasta bowls.  It always amazed me that the portions would come out perfect for each person every single time..  No dumping the whole box of pasta into the water they way we did it when I grew up.

After we would have our soup, pasta, risotto, which, by the way, was served with a small piece of sour dough bread, (not the greasy garlic bread we eat in the states.  There’s no such thing as garlic bread in Italy…totally an American thing), we would have the “Seconda Piatti”, which consisted of vegetables and a small piece of meat or fish.  Again, a very small piece of protein.  Maybe 3 oz max. per person….no 12 and 24 ouncers like in the US.

The final plate would be a small piece of cheese and some fruit.  Yeah there was wine in there too, but, small portions and they mixed it with mineral water.

Wait, so let me recount, we have…carbs…white carbs, smaller than American sizes of protein, and fat like olive oil on our veggies, real cheese for dessert, and no conversations of how many carbs or calories or fat grams we were ingesting while eating?  Nobody talked about ” how we need to go to the gym to work off all that pasta that we ate.”  In fact, the only thing we discussed about the food we were eating is how delicious it tasted.  We took our time eating.  We enjoyed each other’s company.

Weird right?

This was my life for 2 years.  Marcus’ grandmother & great aunt taught me how to make amazing foods like cooked veggies,and pasta sauces, and fish, chicken & salads.  They were all homemade and made with super simple but really great ingredients. Lots of fresh veggies in the sauces and salads.

I stopped obsessing over food, and calories,carbs,fat grams, and loved every minute of it. And the kicker:  I maintained my weight without ever even thinking about it.  I worked out with weights to recordings of my Firm videos and did a ton of walking and riding my bike.  But I’ve always been an active person, so this was nothing new.

But my weight never changed.

I was free from the starvation, bingeing, yo yo dieting cycle from hell (never binged once while I lived there).

Now to be fair, you do see ads in Italian magazines or on TV for natural diet pills or diet foods like yogurt.  And yes, sometimes Italians gain weight and need to lose it.

But they don’t give up their culture of pasta and carbs to lose weight.  They simply cut back a little bit. That’s it. No deprivation/binge cycle or shame for continuing to eat the way their ancestors have for 1,000’s of years.

What a difference in mindset about food wouldn’t you agree?

So what are the takeaways from Italian culture that we can implement here in the USA? Here are my top nine:

1)  Italians eat much smaller portions of food than we do….and the quality is much better!  Processed and take out food is harder to find.  Gas is the only thing found at gas stations.

2) Italians rarely snack vs Americans who eat at their desks all day long.  I think this has something to do with the fact that every meal they eat is so satisfying, they don’t need to constantly eat until the next meal.

3) They don’t eat at their desks or in front of the TV or while on their cell phones!  Eating amazing food and enjoying every single bite is part of their national pride!  Think about it; if we’re eating delicious food…why would we want to be distracted??  We want to be fully present to enjoy every bite.

4) They don’t eat “low fat” or “fat free” stuff.  They eat the real butter, the real cheese, and the real ice-cream….just in smaller portions.

5) They have a much healthier attitude towards food and don’t label foods as “good” or “bad”, therefore they eat with enjoyment and no guilt.

Carbs are not bad!  Cheese is not bad!  Olive oil is not bad!  They’ve been eating them for 100’s of years and are still far healthier than we are.

Their advantage over us is that they grew up knowing how to eat proper portions of these foods.  We grew up being subjected to such massively over-sized portions here in the states that we think is normal.

Eating to satisfaction is what we need to tune into…and that takes times….and it takes not being distracted.  When we master this, we can eat without guilt and remorse, and just enjoy our food.

6)  They eat dinner later so there tends to be no midnight snacking.

7) Sweets are eaten only on special occasions.  The portions are small and they aren’t as sweet and sugary as our sweets.  They prefer to eat more fruit and nuts for dessert.

8)  If they gain a little weight…they just cut back a little.  They don’t go on “cleanses” and “detoxes” and “calorie, carb, fat counting” starvation plans.  They simply eat the way they eat…just a little bit less.  Hmmm, that seems to make a lot of sense doesn’t it?

9) They drink very small portions of soda and tea like I mentioned before.  No refills.  Mineral water is what they consume most.  They are also mindful of their vino intake.  They definitely don’t drink to get drunk.

Breaking free from the “diet” cycle can be so hard, especially because it’s such a way of life here in the states!

But ask yourself this before you try that “next big magical (meaning deprivation) diet”, could you envision eating and living like this the rest of your life and feeling satisfied?

NO?

Then don’t do it!

Take note of how the Italians (and I’m sure other cultures) eat…all day…everyday….365.

Now that is a program I can stick to!

Buon Appetito!!

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My group fit peeps almost killed me in our Bootcamp class.

Bootcamp Image

Well, sort of.
I guess I had a leeetle something to do with it since I was the designer of the whole thing LOL!
Oh, and I’ve linked the workout HERE just for you if you decide you want to try it….
We sprinted, scarecrowed, lunged, squated, high stepped, planked….you get the idea.  We worked out hard.

You know what the cool thing is: we all made the workout work for us.

Because I work in a physical therapy clinic, many of my clients were former patients (I was a former patient there too at one time).  We all have some type of physical limitations.  I have arthritis in my hands and wrists, one client has a bad knee, another has shoulder issues, some have back pain, but you know what?  We modify.  We don’t make excuses.  We make the workout work for us AND the biggie of them all…

WE DON’T COMPARE OURSELVES TO ANYONE ELSE.

That can be a struggle can’t it?
I know it used to be for me.  When the arthritic changes started happening in my hands and wrists, I was straight up in denial.  Damn straight I was going to keep pushupping (is that a word??), down dogging, mountain climbing,…cuz that arthritic shitz was not real and damn it, everyone else was doing it and I’m not stopping!
And then it stopped me.
I now have bone spurs in both wrists and the joints in my hands look like a 90 year old’s.  It got so bad, that I was in a splint on my right hand for 9 months!
My own damn fault.  I was too stubborn, too much in denial, and wanted to do what everyone else was doing.
I have sooooo let that go now.

 I had to.

Who cares if I can’t do push-ups or yoga or burpees on my hands.  I’ve found modifications (burpees on your elbows on a chair in plank position are kinda cool).  I figure out what I CAN do, even if it doesn’t look like what everyone else is doing.
That’s how I help my clients too.  I help them find modifications.  I help them find their own way of moving their bodies that works for them.
We have a blast in my classes.  We all go about our workouts in our own way and we don’t compare ourselves to each other.  Ever.

We workout together in what I call #NJZ:  No Judgement Zone

Maybe that’s the gift of age or just letting go of trying to be like everyone else.  We are all unique and need to honor that.  Always.

On to the workout!

I actually created this workout to do at home, so it’s great for both the gym and at home.
You’ll need a couple sets dumbbells, a step, and cardio machine.

If you are unfamiliar with any of the moves, hit up the youtube or google.

The workout is 1-4 rounds, 1 minute per exercise (30 seconds per side in some of the moves), except for the cardio machine sprints.  Those will always be 2 minutes.  There are no scheduled breaks….take them when you need them.  Some of my peeps last night would sit out for 30 seconds or longer if needed.  Modify anything that doesn’t work for you!
If you decide to do this crazy workout…. do me a favor and let me know how it went! You can always respond to this email or hit me up on Facebook or Instagram.
ANNNND…..
If you would like workouts like this or you want me to talk about any other fitness/nutrition/mindset related topics….let me know!

 

Want to achieve your fitness goals? Go get yourself some accountability.

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Accountability.

That seems to be the buzzword from my clients for the week.

It’s funny how we as humans behave so much differently when we know someone is “watching” isn’t it?

I know I certainly do things quite differently when I have to be accountable to others.

Take my Group Fit classes for example. I teach 3 classes a week at the end of very long days. Sometimes I am just flat out exhausted by 7:00 pm when class starts. I know that if I didn’t have to be accountable to my students and lead them through their workouts, (they make me workout with them…and they can be so mean to me LOL 🙂), I most likely would go home and vege on the sofa.

 

And I am someone who friggen loves to workout!

But they hold me accountable and vice versa.

So when an online client approached me asking for help with her exercise routine (she wanted to start with just 1 day this week), I gave her a simple routine and told her to take a pic of her on her bike with the readout and send it to me at the end of the workout. I knew there was a possibility of her not doing the workout if I hadn’t asked for proof.

Damn if it didn’t work like a charm!!! In fact, she has now worked out 41 days so far this year and says it’s the accountability of checking in with me that has motivated her to keep going.

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 BAM!

An in person client of mine couldn’t make it in to see me this week so she asked for something simple she could do at home. She knows how to exercise. She’s been working with me long enough to figure out some kind of routine for herself. But it’s just not the same unless you have someone to hold your feet to the fire.

Are you having trouble getting started or taking the first steps towards your goals whether they are fitness related or not?

Find a way to be accountable.

Share your goal with an expert, friend, family member or even put it out there on your social media.

We as humans are social beings and we do so much better with the help of others than when we try to take on challenges alone.

Not only are we accountable to one another; we get to celebrate the victories together too!

#FortheLoveofMovement #beaccountable

 

Suffering from Chronic pain or Injuries? 6 Strategies to keep you in the Fitness game.

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What do pullups, push-ups, burpees, mountain climbers, renegade rows, tricep dips, straight arm planks, flow yoga, all have in common?

They are exercises I can no longer do.

I used to love doing these exercises….alot!    I really miss burpees, push-ups, dips & flow yoga the most.  Nothing like a good down-dog!

Unfortunately, osteoarthritis in my hands and wrists have changed the way I exercise and move my body.

I never thought in a million years I’d have arthritis and bone spurs in my hands and wrists.

 

My poor abused/injured over and over again right knee, maybe, but not my hands!

Didn’t see that one coming!

When the changes in my wrists and hands first started happening, I was in a complete state of denial as I think many of us are when facing unwanted changes in our health.

I continued to push on and ignore the pain and swelling which eventually led to bone spurs developing on my wrists.

I could be in denial no longer. This shit was real.

Of course I went through the “woe is me pity party”.  How could I ever live without all of those exercises I enjoyed so much, the 3 yoga flow classes I took each week & working towards being able to do pullups?

I was frustrated and pissed off.

Then I came to realize that I was totally spending all of my energy focusing on what I could NO LONGER do instead of focusing on all the stuff I absolutely CAN DO!

So I made myself a list.  On one side I wrote down all of the exercises that were off limits and then figured out what I could replace them with instead.

Replacement for pull-ups?  Let’s go with a bent over row.  Push-up substitute? How about a standing or lying chest press.  Mountain climbers and burpees?  Using a chair or bench while coming down to my elbows instead of hands, still gets it done.  Renegade rows, tricep dips, straight arm planks….they all of alternatives don’t they?

Life will go on without pull-ups.

The only thing I haven’t found a replacement for is flow yoga.

But that’s ok.

I continue to kick ass by doing all the great things I can do.

As Dr. Dyer said, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

Truth! By focusing on the myriad of things I can do,  it leaves little time to dwell on the things I can’t do.

So what are some of the proactive things we can do when we are working with chronic pain or injuries?

1-Eat an anti-inflammatory diet

Why is this important?

Inflammation is a good thing when we are in the beginning stages of injury as it helps to send nourishing blood to the injured area.  However, when inflammation becomes chronic, it actually does more harm than good.  To counteract chronic inflammation, avoid pro-inflammatory foods such as processed foods, excessive sugar and salt, foods high in Omega 6 oils such as corn and safflower (most all baked goods, chips, fast food is made with these oils).  For some, dairy can also be a pro-inflammatory so it may be worth taking it out of the diet for a few days to see if  your symptoms improve.

What should you eat instead?  Plenty of fruits and vegetables, omega 3 fatty acids such as fish, flaxseeds,  olive oil, mixed nuts, avocado etc..  Precision Nutrition has an excellent info-graphic that illustrates the types of foods to eat when recovering from injury.  You can  Click here to access information.

I know for myself,  when I eat things like corn and wheat, my hands and wrists tend to be more fired up than when I consume other food items.  Everyone is different, so pay attention to your triggers.

2- Keep a Journal of food and exercise triggers 

This really helped me figure out what was working and what wasn’t.  Sometimes I would do a particular exercise such as burpees, and feel fine for a few hours later…but “holy pain in the hands and wrists” the next day!!!!   I take quick notes  on what exercises I did with what equipment so I can see if there is a pattern forming when the pain sets in.  This is how I discovered the exercises I can’t to and replaced them with those I can.

Same with journal-ling my food intake.  My hubbies delicious homemade popcorn made with coconut oil fires my arthritis up almost every time.   Yeah, it sucks.   Wheat is not my friend either.  But at least I know to stay away from these things for the most part.

3- Warm up and Cool down

Suuuuuper important anyway, but even more-so  when dealing with chronic pain or injuries!  When we warm up prior to exercise, we create blood flow to all parts of the body including muscles and joints.  As a result, the muscles and joints become more flexible and are less likely to be injured or re-injured. In the case of chronic conditions such as arthritis, taking time to warm-up will help relieve the pain, fatigue, and stiffness that is common with the condition and prepare the body for movement.

I recently experienced this first hand when I tried swinging a 44# kettlebell for the first time.  I was so excited because a client of mine bought me the bell for my birthday, I just had to try it out!

Without warming up first, I grabbed the bell and gave it a go.  BIG MISTAKE!  Because my hands & wrists were not warmed up properly, my forearm muscles had to take over and let me tell you;  it was so incredibly painful that  I had to wear compression wraps on both forearms and couldn’t even begin to type on the computer for about a week.  So learn from my mistake and warm up properly!

Cooling down is also non-negotiable.  Stretching can help lengthen the muscles and help with post exercise soreness.  I like stretching the body and foam rolling to help the tissues, joints and muscles.

4- Progress Slowly

When we are working around injuries or pain, it’s so important to pay attention to the signals are bodies are giving us and not try to do too much too soon.  Slow things down, take more frequent breaks, and lighten up on weights or impact on the days the body isn’t ready for it.

5-Wear protective gear

Wear your knee braces, wrist wraps, compression socks- whatever it is that you need to keep yourself stable and protected during exercise.  I wear wrist wraps or compression sleeves, a client of mine wears his compression socks due to a history of blood clots, my brother wears his knee brace….don’t be afraid to use this stuff!  Trust me, it helps!

6-Hire a Trainer

If you are uncertain how to exercise safely, hire a trainer like myself who has experience training those who are injured or experiencing chronic pain.  I have spent the past 8 years working in a physical therapy clinic, training post-rehab clients.  I work very closely with the therapists and have learned a great deal from them on how to train around injuries and pain.  Contact your local physical therapy companies and see which trainers they recommend.

Yeah, chronic pain and injuries are not fun.  Most of us will experience one or the other or both at some time in our lives.  And while they can be limiting, there are ways to work around them.  If you can’t figure out how to do it on your own…hire help!  There is no need to let chronic pain and injuries keep you out of the fitness game!

What are your thoughts?  Come on over to my facebook page and let’s chat!

 

 

 

Mindset about movement…5 tips to get you out of your own way

Functional Fitness

Softball.  I highly dislike playing the game of softball.  Well, if I am completely honest with myself….I hate playing softball.  Same goes for volleyball, baseball, and oh, let’s add soccer in there too.  

Ok, so to be clear, I don’t actually hate these sports themselves, I was just never any good at playing them.  

softball-baseball-ball-sport-54330The Dreaded Softball

When I say never any good at playing them…I mean really BAD at playing them. I think it was a coordination issue.

Because I had such dreadful experiences with these sports, I started to have a negative attitude towards exercise in general.  I was no good at it so why bother.  Besides, don’t you have to play team sports to be considered athletic?

This was my mindset for a very long time about exercise and fitness.  I had that all or nothing way of thinking; it had to be team sports or you could never be…

View original post 1,101 more words

There’s always more than one way….

…Of doing things.  Always.

I was “hanging” out in one of the Personal Trainer groups I belong to when a very heated discussion ensued about how to do the perfect squat.

One person said it had to absolutely be this way, another said that that person was wrong and this other way was the only way…and on and on it went until people where calling each other names and questioning there credentials.  It got down right ugly  and I decided to read no further.

Gymnastiska centralinstitutet: Str nigsitt utg.

The truth of the matter is this; there are so many ways to perform a squat…there is no one way!!!   When I say this, I’m not talking about form that could potentially hurt someone, I’m talking about the fact that there are a hundred different foot placements, front loaded, back loaded, side loaded….all of them are a “way” of squatting and all are correct!

But it did make me stop and think.

How often do we fitness professionals think OUR way is THE way?

I’d like to think I’m not one of them….but what if I am?

Yikes.  I don’t want to be that trainer that thinks I have all the answers.  Because I know I don’t.

I know what I’ve done to have success with my clients is just a small teeny tiny way out of a gazillion ways of that they could have been helped.  But others could have helped them by using their methods as well.  They just so happened to choose me and the way I do things.

I’m a big fan of strength training, circuit training, kettlebell training, and HIIT.  But these are by NO MEANS the only way to get people healthy, strong, injury free, and in shape.

The Fitness industry changes it’s mind every other day it seems, as to what is the most effective form of exercise.  Many “poo poo” Zumba, or long steady state cardio, or running, or yoga, or Pilates….the list goes on and on.

I’ve been guilty of this mindset too in the past.  But here’s the truth:

The thing that works the best, is the thing you will do consistently and enjoy the most.

Let me say that again:

The thing that works the best, is the thing you will do consistently and enjoy the most.

I have known PLENTY of people who got into shape and became injury free by doing only Zumba, only yoga, only martial arts, hiking, biking,  water sports …..just look at Olympic athletes for example.  EVERY sport has it’s unique way of getting people into shape doesn’t it?

My message is that just because fitness experts state their way is the only way…it’s NOT. My way of doing things is by no means the only way….it’s NOT!

Find what works for YOU.  Find the way of moving your body that makes YOU feel healthy and vibrant!

THAT is the PERFECT thing for YOU!

#fortheloveofmovement #loveyourbody #dowhatyoulovetodo #thereismorethanoneway