Tired of neck and low back pain? Kettlebell Swings Can Help!

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If you’ve ever suffered from neck or back pain, you know how miserable it is.

Back in 2007, I had the worst back pain I had ever had, and it lasted for almost 2 months!   Getting out of bed was excruciating, I couldn’t pick up anything off of the floor, I had to sit with a heat pad everywhere I went, and walking for any amount of time was impossible.

I finally was able to get into physical therapy which helped tremendously.  I vowed to to whatever I needed to do to keep that pain from coming back again.  To this day, I work diligently on my core to keep it as strong and injury free as possible.

Aside from doing the typical core stability work such as planks, bridges, and ab work,  I’ve also discovered  kettlebell swings to be very efficient at building a strong core.

In fact, there was a study done in Denmark that took 40 pharmaceutical  workers who were suffering with neck and back pain, and divided them into 2 groups.  The first group was to complete kettlebell swing training 2 to 3 times a week for 20 minutes,  while the other group was instructed to exercise without the use of kettlebells for the same frequency and duration as the KB group.  This continued for 8 weeks.

At the end of the 8 weeks, they found that the group who worked out by doing KB swings had not only increased strength through their spines and posterior chains (butt, hamstrings, low back), they had significantly reduced their neck & shoulder pain by 47% and low back pain by 57%.  That’s a big improvement!

The study contributes the decrease in pain not only due to the strengthening of the muscles, but also due to the increased blood flow caused by the dynamic muscular contractions while performing the swings.  The article states that the increase of oxygen demand of KB swings coupled with the increased intake of oxygen, helps rid the body of metabolic by products that can cause pain.

Pretty impressive results.

Of course form is key key key!  You can actually hurt yourself if you attempt to do a swing with poor form.

 

The swing is a hinge move, NOT a squat!  This by far is the number one mistake I see people make when they first start swinging kettlebells.  I’m pretty sure I was guilty of  doing this in the beginning too.

kettlebell-swing

Master that swing

What you want to do instead is start the swing with your hips going back into space vs. bending the knees as you would to sit in a chair.

In addition, it’s important to snap the hips forward, squeezing the glutes, thighs & abs as you launch the bell with the dynamic movement coming from the hips.  You don’t want to try and”lift” the bell with the arms during the front swing, nor do you want to use your back to swing the bell.  I found a great video by Neghar  Fanooni, in which she demos and instructs how to perform proper swing techniques.

You can get alot of bang for your buck with kettlebell swings.

I have had so much success with using them with myself and many of my clients.  Not only do they help with injury recovery/prevention; they can provide amazing cardiovascular and strength benefits without impact on the joints.

My very first client, who is now 78 years YOUNG,  has been with me for the past 7 years is in the best shape of his life by training with kettlebells. He came to me with such bad arthritis throughout his back and knees, he couldn’t even step up onto a 4″ step or bend over to pick things up off of the floor, without excruciating pain.  He was on several pain meds to control the back and knee pain.  I started him with kettlebell training as his primary source of exercise.

Flash forward to today, he’s lost 68#,  trains 6 days a week, travels the world by going on cruises, (he even calls the cruise lines to make sure they have KB’s on the ship…LOL), and walks up to 6 miles a day for fun.   His arthritis has responded so well to KB training…he no longer takes any medication for pain.  He now climbs 5 flights of stairs as his “warm up” before he trains with me.  And this guy literally could not step up on a 4″ step.  What a difference!

I hope to be like him when I’m that age! 

If you’ve been on the fence about kettlebell training, you may want to give it a go.  Just be sure you are using proper form, and when in doubt, consult a trainer who is well versed in KB training.

You might just discover that working out with kettlebells could keep your neck, back and the rest of your body strong and injury free!

 

 

 

Not so fast…Healthy Habits take time.

healthy-habits

 

I’ve wrapped up a little over one week of my new healthy habit of daily meditation.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far. I missed two days this week and that’s ok…I managed to do 8 days which is 800% better than last week! Will I nail this everyday for forever…not likely.

But if I end up trending over time with more days doing it than not: that = success!

Do I feel like I am getting anything out of it? Honestly, not yet. So am I going to say “screw it” and give up? NO NO and NO!

We live in a society that is always searching for the next “quick fix” & if we don’t get it right this minute, we automatically engage the “all or nothing” mentality don’t we?

“Worked out for 4 days this week and didn’t lose a pound. Eff it! I’m going eat a whole cheesecake!”

“Ate kale and wild caught salmon with fresh veggies and fruit while drinking 2 gallons of water all week & then I slipped up and had a donut. I’m horrible at this healthy eating thing! I give up.”

Grrr!

I’ve been so guilty of thinking this way at times…it’s almost embarrassing!

But change and progress takes commitment and hard work over the long haul. Yes, there will be speed bumps, and sometimes a shit ton of them…but we just have to keep moving forward and focus on the longterm goal.

Did you learn to drive a car in 1 day? Did you learn to cook in a week? Did you learn to read, write, and talk in “21 days”?

No! Of course not! It took practice and making mistakes and more practice and making mistakes to learn these things.

Same goes for when we are trying to make positive changes in our lives.

It takes time. Almost ALWAYS more time than we’d like.

It takes work. A hell of a lot of commitment and focus.

It takes forgiving ourselves when we “slip up” and giving ourselves credit when we do a great job.

When things get tough as we are trying to change…and they inevitably will, just keep at it. Even if you can only muster up a baby step. Something is better than nothing. Always.

Break it down into #NFP- No Fail Pieces. Baby steps add up to huge mileage.

Progress, not perfection.

#healthyhabitstaketime #progressnotperfection #meditation #NFP #allornothingthinkingsucks

Beyond Buff: Why all people need strength training….yes even you!

Like many things in life, lifting weights is one of those topics that is very misunderstood.

I grew up thinking strength training was for athletes and body builders, and was something women shouldn’t do because we would get “bulky”.  I had also heard people say that if you build muscle and don’t maintain it, it would turn to fat.

 Who wants that??

Of course  I later learned that muscle cannot possibly turn to fat…they’re two completely different tissues and one can’t become the other.

So I just stuck to what everyone said was best for getting in shape.    Tons of cardio. Running, bike riding, aerobic dancing, for hours on end.  This was certainly the magic of getting in shape…right??

NO!

Don’t get me wrong.  There is definitely  room for cardio such as running, biking, swimming, etc.  I like these activities too.  But it’s equally, if not more important to include regular strength training  into our routine…especially as we age.

As a matter of fact, as we start losing lean muscle tissue in our 30’s at the rate of approximately 1/2 pound a decade.

This is not good news.

Lean muscle tissue is important for keeping our metabolism elevated and combating obesity.  It protects our bones-something all aging adults need to be concerned with,  and aids in regulating insulin levels protecting us from diabetes, makes us stronger (frail is not a good thing), and helps with flexibility too.

Plus it makes us look better which makes us feel better.  

I fell in love with strength training back in the 80’s.  I remember everyone was doing “Jane Fonda”, “Jazzercise” and running.  I liked those things…but they became a little boring after awhile.  Then I read some buzz in a fitness magazine about video tapes coming out that featured women lifting weights.  I was so intrigued.  Back then NOBODY was putting out videos with women using weights. I knew I had to have it!

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I have The FIRM to thank for introducing me to strength training! My original tapes that I paid $150 for!

How it all began.

It started with a video tape called “The FIRM”.  I paid $50 for the first tape (and the second and the third!). That was  a hefty price back in 1986.  I bought myself some 1# ankle weights and 5# dumbbells (which felt heavy as hell!) and I worked out 3 days a week with the tape.  Holly crap was I sore!!!  I didn’t realize how much work lifting weights really was.  But I liked it.  I was hooked.

I purchased more and more weights- they ranged from 5#-15#, bought a weighted barbell that I could load up to 90#, and got myself some 5# ankle weights.  I liked the way my body was responding.   Eventually I ended up collecting all of those early year Firms….and to this day I still have them on VHS!

Ultimately I wanted to learn more about strength training so I hired 2 personal trainers in the mid 90’s to teach me how to use heavier weights and machines.  I loved it and haven’t stopped lifting weights ever since.

In recent years I’ve fallen in LOVE with kettlbells, which is another fantastic way to work with weights and get your cardio in too.

If you’d like to learn more about kettlebell training, check out my blog:

Kettlebell blog

Flash forward to today.

I’ve spent the past 8 years working as a trainer in a physical therapy clinic helping clients pre/post rehab.  It’s a fair assessment to say that the vast majority of them have little to no strength training experience.  More often than not,  therapy was the first time they had experienced becoming stronger/healing through exercise.

In these past 8 years, it has been amazing to witness how people’s lives can change when they become stronger.  I’ve worked (and continue working) with clients aged from 40’s to 80’s, and they’ve all seen significant strength and endurance gains by lifting weights.  So many of them can now do things that they never imagined they could do.

I have clients who can now walk for miles because we strengthened their glutes and core which has eliminated the prior knee pain that kept them from walking 1 block.  They can now get up and down off of the floor and play with kids/grandkids/pets, without relying on people to pull them up.  They can walk up and down stairs- which was previously not an option.  They can return back to working full time after being on disability for a weak back and knees.

Strength training also plays a part in keeping people injury free.  I work with clients who run half marathons and have actually reduced post run injuries and improved their time with strength training.  Running and cycling are primarily one plane of motion sports-so it’s easy to suffer overuse injuries and have muscle imbalances.  By training them in all 3 planes of motion, we reduce under/over compensations.  Even for people who don’t run or bike- strength training can keep the injury prone areas of the body, shoulders, backs, hips, knees, ankles,  injury free.

Every single one of my clients has some kind of strength training program because it works!

How to begin

If you’re completely new to working out with weights, I would suggest hiring a trainer- even if it’s just to show you the basic moves and make sure you’re doing them with good form.  Form is key- you don’t want to injure yourself!  The whole idea is to prevent injuries.

If hiring a trainer is not an option, there are tons of great videos on youtube that you can follow, like this one here that uses body weight only as resistance:

Beginning strength training workout

I recommend watching the video first and take note of all the queues given for each of the exercises.  Then I suggest you take videos with your phone of yourself doing the basic moves just to see if what you are doing looks like what they are doing.  Continue to workout with this video 2 to 3 times a week until you feel ready to add light weights…just like I did when I started workout out with the FIRM.

If you wish to try a circuit style workout using either dumbbells or kettlebells, you can check out a video I made using one or the other or both!  You can repeat the circuit anywhere from 1-5 times, depending on your fitness level.  You can check out that video Here .

The bottom line is that we all need to strengthen our bodies, especially as we age!  You don’t need to have a gym membership or tons of fancy equipment.  You can start with your own bodyweight as resistance and work up to using dumbbells (you only need a pair or two), kettlebells, or resistance bands which are really portable and affordable!

Strength training can really be alot of fun…and most of all, it doesn’t have to be intimidating!  Go for it!

I’m off to pump some iron 🙂

#fortheloveofmovement

#strengthtrainingcanbefun

#frailisnotanoption

#nojudgementzone

 

 

 

 

 

 

All or Nothing Thinking; it’s hard to let go…or is it?

I had it all figured out and ready to go…..

I was going to get up and do my “scheduled” workout which was to be a circuit workout  consisting of ;burpees, pushups, lunges, overhead presses and bent over rows mixed in with some treadmill work.  

But then I woke up with pain in my wrists and hands caused by some recent overuse injuries.

I realized that my “scheduled” workout was not going to take place as planned.  Burpees and pushups weren’t going to happen.  

Now I had a choice to make.  I could either:

A. Use the pain I was having as an excuse for not working out at all, or,

B. I could modify my “scheduled” workout and replace the “not going to happen today exercises” with movements using body parts that weren’t hurting.

Today I chose B. ( The workout is below if you’d like to try it!).

Now not so long ago….my “all or nothing” way of thinking would have thrown me into a tailspin and I most likely would have ended up not doing anything at all. I would have been upset all day and obsessed over the fact that I couldn’t get a workout done because my damn hands & wrists were hurting (insert pouty face ).

 Because if you can’t do something exactly the way it was planned…what’s the point of doing it at all right?  

WRONG!!

Rigid thinking like this doesn’t do us any favors at all.  It takes our power away.  It makes us focus on what we can’t do vs. what we CAN do!

Often times, I have to remind my clients of this too.  They will come in and have an ache or pain or injury somewhere on their body and become upset because they can’t “do” the training session exactly the way we planned it.  I gently remind them that we will find things they CAN do and focus on that instead.  

When it comes to moving our bodies…any movement is better than no movement at all.  So what if you have to change up the original plan?  Go with it. Don’t judge it and just be grateful for what you can do!

So  what did I end up doing today (and had a blast BTW)!

First and foremost I had to put on some jammin’ tunes soooo I went for the Red Hot Chili Peppers special that I recorded on TV.  🙂

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I then set out the following equipment:

Treadmill, Interval Timer on my phone- free in app store, various dumbbells ranging from 8’s to 20’s,  16″ step, and a mat or towel.

Warm up by walking on the treadmill for 5 minutes or so.  Do some light stretching if you’re feeling tightness anywhere.

Hop back on the treadmill and jog or run for 1/4 mile.

Exit treadmill, set a timer on your smart phone for 1 minute continuous intervals for a cycle of 6 and do the following taking breaks as you need them.

-Weight step ups on step 1 minute per leg

-Standing shoulder press

-Chest press crunches

-Bent over rows

-Jumping lunges

I repeated this cycle 4 more times.  I substituted the weighted step ups for burpees and the chest press crunches for push ups.  It was a fabulous workout!

Now you could do this modifying ANYTHING that doesn’t work for you.  Don’t have a treadmill?  Use a bike or elliptical instead or just walk around the house.

Don’t have weights, no prob do the motions without…you’ll still feel it.

No high step available?  Just do weighted lunges instead….Don’t want to do 1/4 mile?  Do 1 minute, 2 minutes, 5 minutes…do what works for YOU!  Make it your own.

The point is to not get stuck in that “all or nothing” way of thinking.  There is always a way to modify movement and make it your own!

DO THE BEST YOU CAN WITH WHAT YOU HAVE AND LIVE IN THE “NO JUDGEMENT” ZONE!

#Fortheloveofmovement 

#nojudgmentzone

#didn’tmissburpeesafterall

#dreamconcertredhotchillipeppersand30secondstomars

 

 

 

 

 

 

What did you do for the “Love of Movement” today?

 

What did you do” For the love of movement” today?

Did you do: Yardwork? Dance? Golf? Swim? Walk? Tai Chi? Participate in team sports? ….. So many amazing ways to move our bodies to make us feel good.

I decided to get my movement on by doing a kettlebell/treadmil workout.

In celebration of the 115 and 117 degree temperatures coming to Phoenix this week- 😦, I decided it was time to get used to being indoors again for the next few months and came up with this workout- I warmed up for 10 minutes and then:

-1/4 mile jog (you could walk) on treadmill no incline. Exit the treadmill.
-Perform 1 minute intervals of each of the following taking breaks as needed. ( I used a 25# & 30# kettlebells- you use what works for YOU.)

-Double hook swings
-Alternate Reverse lunge pass thru
-Alternate High pulls
-Kettlebell pullover sit ups

-Back to treadmill for hill climb for 1/4 mile
(I was at a 3.0 speed 10.0 incline use what works for you). Off the treadmill for 1 minute intervals of each:

-Figure 8 swings
-Squat catch
-Snatches
-Push press

I then repeated everything again. Whew…great workout….

Of course you don’t have to do kettlebells or the treadmill. Your way of moving your body might be completely different. The point is to pick something you enjoy…something that makes you feel good!

‪#‎Fortheloveofmovement‬

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

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-collage

The absolute dread of having to play team sports in school

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 considered physically active.

( Ladies, if you can relate to this and want to turn this around; I am hosting a FREE 14 day #MYMCC = Master Your Motivation Consistency Challenge which starts May 1st.  Click here for the details and to register.)

Of course this way of thinking is utter nonsense- but it was the story I kept telling myself for years.

So what that I was terrible at team sports?  Team sports does not an athlete make!  

I was always super active as a kid.  I loved riding my bike, playing one on one basketball with my dad, hiking, skateboarding, and taking really long walks with my best friend around our neighborhood after dinner.  

But none of this counted in my mind, at the time, as exercise.  I thought I  was just a lazy kid. 

As I got older, I fell in love with dancing.  Not the structured kind;  the going to the club kind.  My friends and I would dance for hours and  hours til we closed down the joint. We’d be drenched in sweat by the end of the night because we loved dancing so much. But if someone had asked me if I had worked out back then, I would have said no. Dancing couldn’t really count as exercise could it?  Nope, of course not.  It wasn’t a “team sport.”

Flash forward to today.  I am still super active; I teach group fitness classes 3 times a week, absolutely adore kettlebell training, lifting weights, cardio kickboxing, circuit training, walking, hiking, biking & even running the occasional 5K (took 2nd place in my age group a few weeks ago :-)).   I even still love dancing around the house.

Do I still consider myself to be “lazy” or “inactive”?  Hell no!

I have had a complete shift in mindset.  I don’t know why it took me so long to realize that you don’t have to participate in team sports or individual sports to be considered active or even athletic! 

I love movement.  It makes me feel amazing. I love to be challenged.  It makes me feel strong and healthy and vibrant!

I don’t love ALL types of movement-(by now you get the idea of my team sports issue LOL).

I’m not much into gardening, but that’s definitely movement.  Swimming, skating, shoveling snow, cleaning the house (this one is unavoidable), Tai Chi, Pilates, Golf and Tennis, just to name a few, are either types of movement I have never tried, don’t have any interest in, or just plain don’t like to do.

But that doesn’t mean that someone else doesn’t like them.  It doesn’t mean they have to like the type of movement that I like to do.  And it certainly doesn’t mean that these aren’t legitimate ways to move our bodies.  They absolutely are!

The point is that our perception of movement is really all about mindset isn’t it.

Movement is a natural part of our human nature.  We need it not only to thrive, but to survive!

Sadly though, many people have the mentality  I used to have about exercise.  I see it everyday.  They feel like if  they’re not spending hours at the gym doing a bunch of exercises that they dread, then why bother doing anything at all.

All or nothing thinking at it’s best.

So what can we do to start connecting with the joy of moving our bodies?  Cause let’s face it;  sitting on our butts all day everyday isn’t going to do us any favors in helping us lead a long healthy life.

May I suggest that we:

1. Start small, especially if you haven’t engaged in much movement lately.  This could be as simple as some basic stretching which helps you get the body ready for more motion and they just plain feel good!  I have posted some great stretches to get you started:

2. Take a trip down memory lane.  I was talking with a new client a few days ago and she told me she doesn’t like any exercise at all.  None.  There is nothing she likes to do to get moving. She told me she would rather sit all day long and read a book. She literally called herself “lazy”.

As I continued chatting with her, I started asking questions about activities she enjoyed in past years.  Suddenly she remembered how much she loves rowing.   She used to be on a rowing team years ago and hadn’t really thought about it in awhile.  We started a discussion on how she could get back into rowing again.  Her negative energy towards exercise was now starting to shift.  Rowing was so natural to her…she didn’t consider it to be exercise (sound familiar?).

Perhaps a trip down your memory lane will reveal the activities you used to love to do. You might discover a forgotten treasure.

3. Don’t compare yourself to others!  So what if the neighbor down the street runs half marathons every other day!  Maybe you’ve got dance moves like no other that would put him or her to shame.  We are all at unique with different skill sets.  You just enjoy what you like to do and own it!  Nobody else can move your body the way you can!

4.  DO NOT get into the dreaded “diet and exercise” headspace of, “how many calories is this movement burning”.  NO no no no no NO!

 I suspect this has played a part as to why people have given up on regular  movement and exercise.  We were sold the idea that our bodies function like “calculators” and that it has to be about “calories in and calories out” so we figure why bother if we can’t burn hundreds of calories every time we move.   The idea is to find ways of moving your body in ways YOU love, ways that make you feel good.  I don’t care if it burns 3 calories or 3,000,  live in the moment, connect with your body, and  fall back in love with moving it! 

5. Celebrate your victories and give yourself mad props!  Did you garden for 20 minutes today?  Fantastic! Did you play air guitar to your favorite jams.. Shout about it all over your social media!  Maybe you did yoga, went for a swim, or walked 2 houses up the street for the first time in months or longer….AWESOME!!!!   Exercise and movement have a  cumulative effect….it all counts!

Rinse and Repeat.

“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at will change”. -Dr. Wayne Dyer.

True words.  

Want to conquer this together ladies?  Here’s the link  once again to sign up for the #MYMCC challenge!

#FORTHELOVEOFMOVEMENT #MYMCC #ALLMOVEMENTMATTERS 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Quick Tips to Get You Back on Track After Holiday Indulgence

Overeating-at-Christmas

 

How was your Christmas?

I hope you were able to enjoy friends, family & great food!  I know I sure did.  
I must have been a pretty good girl this year, or else I have Santa really fooled! 🙂

The day after Christmas is a bit of a reality check for me.  I always allow myself to enjoy the great food and  “goodies” that come my way over Christmas.  I don’t believe in deprivation at all.  The holidays come but once a year and I believe we should enjoy them.  I try to practice moderation…although I am not always perfect (no such thing as perfection anyway), I pretty much have a handle on it.

Having said that, I also know that I have to set a cut-off day where all the extra goodies and rich foods need to be dealt with…and I don’t mean over indulging until they are gone. The day after Christmas happens to be the day when I start to take note of what is still in the house and make an action plan to get my nutrition and fitness back on track. 

Here are the steps I take to get the proverbial ball rolling:

1)  If you have any leftover trigger foods in the house, and by trigger foods, I mean those that you absolutely obsess about or just have no self control over once you start eating it (can’t eat just one type of thing), YOU GOTTA GET RID OF IT.  

There’s no other way around this one if you really serious about getting back on track.  Give it to friends, family, co-workers, neighbors- anyone that doesn’t live in your house and where you won’t have access to it. Throw it in the garbage if needed…..  It’s just not worth the “binge- guilt-stuffing yourself til your sick swearing to never eat it again” cycle and feelings that come with trigger foods.  For some that means getting rid of the sweets, for me that would be salty crunchy items. Out of sight out of mind which means not “wearing” it around and trying to “work it off” later- and we all know it’s much harder to get rid of then  to accumulate it.

2)  Freeze any extra portions of “Aunt Lilies rich and fattening macaroni and cheese” into smaller side portions that you can eat throughout the year.  I mentioned that I don’t have too much of a sweet tooth.  But there are some particularly amazing cookies that one of my clients makes every year and they are such a treat.  I actually freeze 3-5 cookies in separate baggies and take them out once a month or so I can savor them throughout the year.  You can do this with just about any type of food and it allows you to enjoy it in the months to come.  Don’t try this with trigger foods….even those taste good frozen.  Get rid of those completely.

3) Start meal planning.  Even if it’s only for one meal a day right now.  Start with fresh or frozen vegetables (not the ones that come with a sauce), protein such as chicken, fish, or lean cuts of red meat or veggie protein, and design mini meals using these items. You’ll save yourself from consuming extra calories, fat, sodium, and chemicals that prepackaged and fast food contains.  Even adding a healthy smoothie in the morning is a great way to take in nutrition and regulate blood sugar levels so you won’t be tempted to reach for those not so healthy foods.  

I recently wrote a Holiday Survival Guide with even more tips and tricks along with a workout, calming meditations, recipes & food prep ideas to get you started.  If you haven’t grabbed your copy yet, here’s the link:

4) Schedule in at least 10 minutes of activity everyday from before the New Year.  Walk, Climb stairs, dance, take a group fitness class….something.  Even standing up from your work chair every 30 minutes and walking from the front to the back of the office gets you up and moving throughout the day.

Don’t wait until January 1st to commit to start an exercise routine.  Trust me: the magic ” I am going to love exercise and commit to doing it everyday after January 1st” fairy isn’t going to come and motivate you when you wake up on January 1…so why wait?  Do something small to get started today. 

5) Get more sleep!  Yes, I said sleep!  It’s easy to stay up late with friends and family this time of year…but sleep deprivation has a price.  Not only does it cause decrease in mental function and higher  risk of cardiac disease, it also is a factor in appetite control & weight gain.

Sleep deprivation effects the hormone ghrelin which is key in controlling appetite.  When we’re tired, our ghrelin levels skyrocket and send out false hunger and fullness signals that causes us to overeat.  And we typically aren’t reaching for the grilled salmon salad when we are tired and hungry.  It’s the unhealthy processed foods & carbs that we tend to crave and over consume.

(Here’s a great link to many studies done on this if you’re interested http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.0010062).

Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep a night.  Naps count too!  Get your ZZZ’s!

You can see how these 5 steps are something we all can begin doing today.  No need to wait for January 1st. You’ll feel better the sooner you get started. 

Feel free to share this email with anyone you think might benefit from it.  

 https://www.facebook.com/CoachRhondaT-  Don’t forget to come hang out with me on my Facebook page! Like, share, comment….I put up lots of content and info there!

Wishing all of you a Healthy, Happy New Year!

Coach Rhonda T

 

 

The number one reason you’re gaining weight over the holidays and it’s not what you think.

 Let’s talk about meal planning during the holidays, shall we.

Ah the hustle and bustle of the holidays.  It’s such a busy time of the year! Parties and shopping and parties and shopping and decorating and parties….

You get the idea.  We are straight up busy.

It’s also the main reason we gain weight over the holidays.  We don’t have a healthy meals planned for times we aren’t at parties eating the holiday goodies.  So we grab the closest convenience food at the mall or hit the drive through on the way home or just load up on the pre-packaged snack foods that seem to be in abundance this time of year.

We end up consuming far more calories than we normally would during this time of year when we are not indulging at the holiday parties.

With a little bit of planning, it doesn’t have to be this way!

I myself absolutely MUST MUST MUST food prep each week, not just during the holidays. I work really long hours and don’t get home most nights until 8:45pm. If I didn’t have food already pre-prepped and ready to go, you can bet I would have to rely and much less healthier options.

The great thing about food prep is that it DOES NOT have to be complicated! Not at all!

So what do I do?

For breakfast options, I hard boil a dozen eggs so they are ready to grab and go with a piece of fruit- and I’m out the door. I also pre-make a smoothie with 1/2 a cup of plain greek yogurt, spinach, frozen berries, 1/2 a banana and some flax seeds- throw it in the blender the night before- and just blend with a little ice the next morning- boom ready to go.

Healthy snacks

I am a HUGE salad fan…eat one everyday so I even through my salad veggies into 2 or 3 bowls and just add the dressing and protein the day I eat them- again a no brainer & ready to go.

For quick dinners, I use my crockpot. This week I made a turkey veggie chili. What’s great about this is that I can freeze several containers of this and have a variety of soups and other meals on hand in the freezer for variety of delicious and healthy time saving options.

To start your food prep:

1) Find recipes that you are interested in and start making a start a grocery list. Be thinking ahead…what will you have for the next few days. Frozen vegetables and fruits such as berries are fabulous to have on hand to make meal prep even easier.

Here is a great link for slow cooker breakfast recipes. http://greatist.com/…/healthy-crock-pot-recipes-for-breakfa…

2) Carve out 2-3 hours to prep eggs, shakes, soups, baking or grilling veggies, and meats that can be used in salads, wraps, sandwiches, etc. throughout the week.

Here is another link for more crockpot lunch and dinner recipes.

http://greatist.com/health/healthy-crock-pot-recipes

To save time, we go for the fast food and pre-packaged foods that are both high in empty calories, loaded with unhealthy fats,sugar and tons of sodium.

The thing is, with a little bit of thought and a game plan; you can have some delicious healthy meals prepared ahead of time to get you through the hectic holiday season.

Start with one or two recipes and get into the habit of setting time aside for meal prep. You’ll see that over time this becomes second nature and you will be a food prep master in no time!

Happy Holidays and Happy Planning!

 

 

Why waiting until January 1st to start exercising and losing weight has a 92% failure rate and how to be part of the 8% success rate

Oh we’ve all done it haven’t we.

Waited until the 1st of January to set our laundry list of New Years Resolutions.

Be honest with yourself….how has that worked for you in the past?  Did you succeed?

Me neither.

Studies have shown again and again that only 8% of people actually succeed at obtaining their New Years resolution goals.

http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/

That’s pretty dismal isn’t it.

One of the issues is that we try to make so many BIG changes without having an actual game plan.

We just make more of a “wish” list…like losing 20# for example.

Maybe we buy a gym membership or a new workout video…but we don’t actually take the time and plan an effective way to workout, how often, when to progress the routine etc.

The next thing we know, we get bored, think of a million other things that have to be done …and well, we are completely out of the exercise habit.

Oh well.  There’s always next year.

But what if you started taking very small, very doable steps that are actually FUN today?

It will increase your chances of long term success greatly…

It’s not a short term resolution.

It’s a way to incorporate small amounts of movement into your everyday life that eventually become long term habits.

So instead of waiting until January 1st to start an exercise routine…..

WHY NOT START TODAY?????

3 months from now

Seriously, if you start now, the chances of being successful in the long term are much improved!

The idea is to start small.

If you haven’t been consistent with exercise in the past, just commit to doing something for 5 minutes a day.

Seriously.  Just 5 minutes.

Walk 2 houses up the street and back.  Do 5 minutes of seated or standing marches.  Do five minutes of alternating sit to stands with wall push ups.  Just do something for 5 minutes.  Dance for 5 minutes!!!!  Yes, dancing is AMAZING exercise!  Do air punches….just do SOMETHING.

Next week add another minute or 2 and keep increasing the time each week.

Guess what?

By January 1st you’ll be ahead of the New Years Resolution game!!!!  If you start TODAY and just do the minimum of 5 minutes plus adding 2 minutes each week; you’ll have worked your way up to 15 minutes of exercise or more per day!!!

Now that’s something you’ll likely stick with long term!

 

Just in time for the holidays…a kickbutt, time saving kettlebell workout!

It’s here!!!

I collaborated recently with Dr. Amy Shah on creating a quick kettlebell workout that is quick, effective,  and low impact; something you can do at home- perfect for the busy holiday season!

This can be done in as little as 10 minutes up to 30- depending on how much time you have in your schedule to workout.

I love love love kettlebell workouts!

There have been several studies done on kettlebell training which show that the two handed kettlebell swing actually burns more calories and conditions the cardiovascular system more effectively than walking on an incline on a treadmill at a moderate pace!

https://www.scribd.com/fullscreen/233881978?access_key=key-WdQSxgyT4QVHj6NUCcIa&allow_share=false&escape=false&show_recommendations=false&view_mode=scroll

Talk about effective!  Not to mention what it does for overall strength and core training.

Form is sooooo key though!  You can hurt yourself if your not using your hips, glutes, quads & hamstrings to swing the bell…NOT the arms!

This graphic shows how a swing is perfectly done:

kettlebell-swing

Master that swing

Choose a kettlebell weight that you can safely perform all of the moves without compromising form.  For most people this may mean selecting a smaller size than you typically perform swings with since you will be lifting the kettlebell overhead.  Make sure you warm up for at least 5 minutes before you begin.

Here is the written workout:

10-20 Two handed swings
10-20 Goblet Squats
10-20 Two handed swings
10-20 Two handed goblet squat to overhead press
Rest if needed for 30 seconds to 1 minute and repeat this sequence for the entire 20 minutes.
Beginners go with the 10 rep count and take more frequent breaks if needed. Intermediate and advanced exercisers go with the max rep counts and try to only take a break at the bottom of each circuit. It is a 3 movement circuit…simple but not easy! You’ll be sweating before you know it and you’ll have completed a full body workout in less than 20 minutes. Make sure you cool down and stretch for a few minutes when you’re done.
Perform this workout 2-3 times a week and you’ll notice quickly improvements in your fitness and endurance.

And here’s the video:

Kettlebell workout

Enjoy and be sure to let me know how did!