Feeling overwhelmed? Make it simple

February is National Heart Month and 2014 marks it’s 50th anniversary. We wear red to display our support to help improve the strength and focus of improving our heart health. But these concepts shouldn’t be limited to one month a year, right?! Every day of every month should have us engaged in the importance of heart health.
Whether you’re a “health nut” or a “health what?!” there is always room to learn and do more. What amazes me the most about teaching others about health and fitness is how much misinformation or conflicting information is floating around:

Should I eat gluten?
Give up sugar?
Are carbs the enemy?
Is dairy bad for me?

As a subscriber to a number of emails from a variety of sources – popular magazines, trusted news sources as well as research organizations; on any given day I will receive almost half a dozen emails that leave me in a whirlwind of facts, most of which oppose the other. If these so-called “authorities” or disseminators of their words can’t make up their minds, what is the public supposed to do?!

Well, I have a solution! Get a pen and paper & prepare to have your mind blown…

1. Write the date on the top of the paper.
2. Make columns.
3. Now list at the top of those columns life categories – work, housework, kids, workouts, food & any other individual responsibilities.
4. Now the fun part – first, list the areas you feel are your biggest strengths in each of those categories (for example: work – flexible hours. Kids – good napper or in school part of the day. Food – like vegetables.)
5. And now it’s time to list the areas where improvement is needed in all those categories (workouts – few, none, inconsistent. Housework – time consuming. Food – don’t eat enough vegetables).
6. Now congratulate yourself on all your strengths!
7. From the category where you need to improve – Pick 1, just 1, of those behaviors to revamp.
8. Now get another piece of paper and write down that one behavior on top and the date.
9. What are you going to do to make it stronger?! Make it small and easily achievable. (For example: if you don’t eat enough vegetables, decide to eat 1 more serving of vegetables every day. Just 1. And when you go to the store to buy food, buy enough for the week. Or when you order lunch, include a side of vegetables.)
10. Commit to that 1 behavior for a month and if you see improvement, choose another behavior to improve the next month. And if not, examine the reasons why it didn’t work and try again.

Ok, so maybe this didn’t “blow your mind” in that I’ve shared something new and exciting, but when has anyone, in any diet or workout plan said, “just do 1 thing.” It’s all about making a plan and sticking to it. Think about all your friends and family who have been successful In making lifestyle changes… Whether you or I agree with the method, just recognize that it worked because they created a plan and stuck to it. And if they failed it was probably because they stopped following the plan.

Remember moms: you are a role model for everything. These kids watch everything we do and if they see us continuously trying to improve ourselves in a positive way, just think what that can do for their characters.

1 change. 1 month. You can do it.

 

Enough – you can’t manufacture fitness!

As I headed onto my blog to write an entry today I was full of ideas.  Obviously, I don’t make it on here very often so there are a ton of topics on which I want to cover.  But, then I opened up safari and up on my Yahoo pops this scandal on The Biggest Loser.  In all honesty, I don’t really watch this show and I’m not a huge fan from what I have seen and heard.  Having said that, I do think it is great for America to see that plain old exercise and healthy eating habits can lead you and keep you in a healthy and fit lifestyle.  Apparently, that wasn’t good enough for Miss Jillian Michaels, she felt the need to provide caffeine supplements to her team.  Her defense on the matter was that it was better than drinking endless amounts of coffee.  Hey Jillian, why don’t you just advise your clients to limit the coffee!  Explore why they are drinking so much and what else can it be replaced with, either another drink or activity or anything other than a supplement?!  Oh, by the way, major rant on its way…

 

As the title of this post states, I have literally had enough of manufactured fitness.  If you can’t make me sweat, make me healthier, make me stronger or make me better without outside assistance then you don’t know what you’re doing or you’re just not doing a good enough job of what you do know.  All of this for the same reason that numerous supplements are banned from every major sporting event.  Accept your body and use your personal challenges to work harder.

 

Supplements should be used like makeup, they should enhance your natural beauty or help in areas where you may be deficient.  Like wearing blush to enhance your high cheek bones or putting on a little cover up to conceal a pimple.  Similar to taking probiotics to keep your digestive system healthy or a Vitamin D supplement to help improve low levels.  Supplements are not “the shortcut” to healthier and more fit lifestyle.  And they should only be prescribed by a knowledgable and licensed homeopath, naturopathic doctor, or nutritionist.

 

But my rant goes far and beyond this little scandal.  If you have to heat up a room, put your client in a sauna suit, or refuse water then your workouts aren’t enough.  Stop manufacturing sweat and create a better workout.  I am all for ways to inspire people to become fit, but each of these new fitness crazes establish routines that are more dangerous one right after the other.  At the core, I think most of them are positive, but somewhere along the way they each lost their focus…

 

I went to Billy Blanks Jr.’s fitness studio up in North Hollywood a couple months ago at the urging of a friend.  I, who started my love of fitness with cardio kickboxing, was more than excited to attend this class.  My friend forewarned me that it was a little unconventional, but she always leaves with a great sweat and burns tons of calories…  Here we go, the instructor moves around the room doing an exercise and you either have to look for him or find someone who looks like they know what they are doing and watch them.  Not my biggest issue.  The room was crowded and small with barely any room to extend arms and legs, which seems not only uncomfortable but unsafe in a kickboxing class.  There were 2 ceiling fans on either end of the room, moving at the slowest pace possible for any ceiling fan to move.  There was no air flowing through this room, it must have been in the 70’s at the onset, but with body heat, it must have risen an additional 10 degrees.  I have never stopped an indoor workout from being overheated, but here i was in the bathroom adjacent to this cracker jack sized workout room pouring ice cold water on my head in an attempt to lower my body temperature and heart rate.  I returned to the room and had to lower my intensity in order to complete the remainder of the workout.  My  sweaty friend turns to me at the end of the workout and says she burned 700 calories, which was determined by a heart rate monitor throughout the class.  Heat speeds up your heart rate, heat makes you sweat.  Was the class hard? Maybe.  Turn on the air conditioning and make me work for my calories and my sweat!

 

I have never been to soul cycle so I have been waiting to attend a class to give my opinion, however, this posting goes along with everything i have ever heard about these classes.  The room is 74 degrees.  People love going because they leave sweaty and under the presumption that they have burned hundreds of calories.  Heat speeds up your heart rate, heat makes you sweat.  Is the class hard? Maybe.  Turn on the air conditioning and make me work for my calories and my sweat!

 

And last but not least – I train a client at a personal training gym where trainers pay to use the facility.  One night as I am finishing with my session I see another trainer with his clients who are wearing sauna suits.  If you are unfamiliar with these outfits, imagine wearing a trash bag with sleeves.  These are giant plastic bags intended to help you release water, no moving even required, but the more you work, the more you sweat.  As they completed their session the client removed the suit and the trainer commented how sweaty she was.  Of course they are sweaty, they were wearing plastic!  Make your client run down the street or up the stairs or whatever.  Don’t put them in a trash bag, have them do leg lifts for an hour and then jump for joy when they look like they just went swimming in their clothes.

 

All of the aforementioned classes/trainers are trying to give their clients what they want and each of them has created a special community of fitness enthusiasts that keeps them coming back for more and I think that is great.  I just want everyone to be safe and make their clients work for their accomplishments.  It’s like doing your kids homework for them, sure they will get good grades, but are they smarter for it?  Clients deserve the best an instructor/coach can give them, so work for those A’s, don’t accept a cheat sheet.

And if you do workout in the heat, inside or outside, drink more water than you think!

A not-scary Halloween

All year we teach our children to eat healthy, but then Halloween comes around and they get dipped in chocolate and rolled in sugar.  What to do?  Do we say no, and refrain from this childhood pastime or do we embrace the day and return to normal on November 1st?  Well, I’m going with the latter!

But the one thing that drives me crazy as a parent is the “scare” factor that is also associated with Halloween.  I personally don’t like being scared and I certainly don’t want to deal with nightmares or new fears from one these so-called kids Halloween movies.

We had the pleasure of attending a special screening of the The Smurfs – The Legend of Smurfy Hollow this past weekend.  The 8 year old girl inside me appreciated the very exciting combination of old-school animation with CGI. And as a parent I really appreciated how the movie just toed the scary line.  More importantly, the movie displayed team work, importance of family, and ultimately selflessness.  This movie is much more than a Halloween themed short, it’s a great film for the whole year. I should know the whole movie by heart by next Halloween though, my son has watched it about a dozen time in the last 2 days!

 

 

 

10 year anniversary!

Last week I celebrated my 10 year anniversary of being a certified personal trainer!!

What an awesome journey it has been! Starting off in an L.A. Fitness, I had no idea where my career would take me… I am so thankful for all the wonderful client I have, who make this not only the best job in the world, but also inspire me to continue to improve my skills to provide them with best workouts!

Since I was 12 years old I’ve had some sort of weight goal, whether it was weight loss or maintenance, I was focused on my food intake and workout schedule because I always felt as though if I didn’t stay focused all the weight would come back.
10 years ago I said I had 2 major goals:
1. To perform 1 full pull up, unassisted.
2. Not to have my upper thighs touch.

So, I got #1 down and I can actually do about 10 pull ups unassisted, so yay!  As for the thighs, well, they have certainly slimmed down considerably in the last 10 years, but I accepted my body many years ago the way that it is… and I have thighs that may always touch no matter what.  But they are strong thighs that have now run hundreds of mile, performed thousands of squats, and walked up countless stairs.  I have a body built for weight lifting and sprinting and I’m good at those activities and I like them, so let’s go thighs (and I guess the rest of my body can come as well 🙂 and we will move on to our next goals!

In the fall of 2012 I realized that I no longer had to work so hard at maintaining my weight and fitness goals.  I had my eating and working out routine and was able to maintain without thinking about it.  Of course, not too long after I had made this realization, I got bored.  I needed a new challenge!

A few months prior my husband got into cycling and very quickly delved right into the racing circuit.  Racing was something I had wanted to do for years, but it always seemed out of my league and too complicated.  But, as silly as this may sound, all you have to do is sign up and you’re done!  Just pick a race, pay, and that’s it you’re doing it.  So, what race to do… I wasn’t a runner back in the fall of 2012, but I had always wanted to do the Camp Pendleton Mud Run.  That race  is only in June so I started researching mud runs and came across the Spartan Mud Run series.  A 5K course with about 20 obstacles testing strength and endurance sounded great to me.  I recruited a couple friends and we were off.  I didn’t think anything of preparing for the race as I felt my workouts would suffice.  However, a friend who had completed  the run recommended commencing hill running as that would be a significant portion of the race.  Um, running?  For more than a minute without stopping?  Fine, I had committed to the race, I would commit to the training.  And off I went…  running outside, which was also a new experience for me.  I was used to controlled treadmill running for short amounts of time.  But to the streets I went and on the first run I went for 20 minutes.  I was just shocked I lasted that long.  I had the attention span of a goldfish when it came to running.  I kept waiting for that “runner’s high” or that existential drift runner ‘s always talk about.  That didn’t come, but I continued with my hilly runs for the next 2 months, running slightly longer on each outing.

About 2 weeks before the mud run, I started getting worried that I was being over confident and that this would be more challenging than I anticipated.  I had never done any sort of race and here I was starting with an obstacle course?!  Based on my running times I realized it would take me about 30 minutes to run a 3 mile course, which was very comforting and inspiriting all at the same time.  If I could run 3 miles in 30 minutes, why not just run a 5K…??  So, I did the mud run in December of 2012 and then ran my first 5k in February 2013, but not alone 🙂  As my personal goals changed, so did my personal training.  I now had multiple clients who were running and who had either run marathons or were interested in heading in that direction and thus I started recruiting my training buddies from my clientele.  I and 2 clients ran our first 5k in February and one has ran another 3 5k’s, increasing her time on each race.  The other runner has completed 3 10k’s and is now training for his first half marathon in the fall.  I have since completed a 10k and the Camp Pendleton Mud Run and am looking forward to my next race, the Foam Fest, in just a few weeks, with my 5K running buddy.

Continuously striving to improve my personal fitness goals has made me a better trainer/coach.  I challenge my clients to work harder to reach goals they didn’t think were possible, whether it’s weight loss, running for 10 uninterrupted minutes, or doing a pull up.  I am only here today because 18 years ago I made the decision to live a healthier lifestyle and change my eating and fitness habits and having the ability to share the joy I gain from this lifestyle is what makes this anniversary so exciting.  Thank you to all my clients, past and present, who have made me better, who have challenged me to work harder and be smarter.  This job is only awesome  because I have the world’s greatest clients who show up to each workout and bring 110% every time, laughing all the way through!

Here is to another amazing 10 years!  I can’t wait to see what will come!

 

Confessions of a personal trainer

Most people assume trainers workout all day & eat ridiculously “clean,” as we call it nowadays… Atleast here in Los Angeles that is the new term used to define healthy eating.

And maybe some have this routine, but I WATCH my clients workout and correct/assess their movement. If I’m working out too, how can I focus on them?? I have to fit in my workouts just like everyone else.

As for eating “clean,” I think I’ve got a good 80/20 (healthy/not as healthy) balance going on, which is what I recommend to my clients as well because I know it’s realistic.

This post is my first in a new series called “Confessions of a Personal Trainer,” which you may have guessed from the title of this entry 🙂

My goal is to let you know that health/wellness/fitness is achievable for everyone and that we all have setbacks/drawbacks/bumps in the road. How we deal with those obstacles is the key to success in achieving lifetime health and fitness and stop the up/down cycle in which many people are caught.

Some trainers will tell you things like, give up sugar, carbs, junk… Are they wrong? Of course not! Is it realistic? Maybe for them, but maybe not for you…

This is my motivation for this series – I am a real person. I was a fat kid who ate to cover up emotions, who ate way more then her body could handle. But for some reason I woke up one day and decided enough was enough and changed my life, yet i still carry those bad habits along with me.

I am a person who loves working out, but sometimes life gets in the way.

I love eating “clean.” I love how my body feels and the energy level I possess when I am focused and prepared. But… I love ice cream and baked goods and salty snacks.

Even though I have lots of suggestions to get out of these cravings, which I employ on a regular basis, I still want the real stuff from time to time and I eat it and I enjoy it!

I am successful in my journey because I always go back to my “normal.” I get in a workout and a nutritious meal. I remember how I got here and why I want to stay here.

Stay tuned for my next confession…

Quick fitness

May is National Physical Fitness and Sports month.

We all have our personal challenges and the best we can do is to wake up every morning and make the most of every day.

This month is designated to raise awareness about the important role physical activity plays in maintaining health. Honestly folks, who doesn’t know why it’s important to be active? Beyond the aesthetics of weight loss and muscle growth, physical activity is necessary for heart and mental health as well as a plethora of other benefits.

Plain and simple you should be getting atleast 150 minutes of activity a week. Here are some tips to overcome some of your obstacles:

“Staying Fit on a Tight Budget and Schedule”

• Make a schedule
o Eating schedule – plan for the week. Where are you going to be throughout the week, will you have time to eat at home or do you need to take food with you? Will you have time to make dinner every night or do you need to cook on Sunday or make a large meal on Monday so there are leftovers or do you need a meal you can make in 20 minutes or less?
o Fitness schedule – plan for the week. Where are you going to be throughout the week, will you have time to go for a 30 minute walk or do you need a 10 minute workout you can do in morning before the kids wake up? Will you have any time for a dedicated workout or will you have to build it into your day by walking to an errand or taking the stairs to an appointment.
• Life happens – learn how to roll with the changes in your day and have backup plans in place.
o If you don’t know if you will have time to come home for lunch, pack some food and hope for the best, but atleast you aren’t left digging for snacks in your diaper bag.
o If a sick kid home from school throws a wrench in attending your daily class, have a workout you can do in your house or if it’s a little one, pop them in the stroller and head out for a jog/walk.
• There is no “good time” – don’t wait for Monday or after a holiday. Today is the day to make a change and right now is the best time to do so!
• Stop making excuses! Find solutions.
• Make time for yourself and don’t feel guilty about it!
• Include your kids – it’s great for kids to participate in your healthy lifestyle so they learn its importance and natural inclusion into daily life.
• Use it to add quality time with your spouse – take a walk after dinner, join a tennis team, perform partner exercises, or take a new class together (dancing, yoga, boxing).
• Bodyweight, bodyweight, bodyweight – remember all you need is your own body to increase cardiovascular (heart health) and muscular strength. And don’t forget to stretch!
• Inexpensive exercise equipment
o Use the environment you have around you:
• At the park – steps, benches, hills, trees
• In your home – steps, railings, tiled floors, couches/chairs
• At work – stairs, long hallways, surrounding neighborhood environment, parking distance
o Jump rope
o Resistance tubing
o Dumbbells/small weighted balls
o Physioball (birthing ball)

Let’s Go Hiking! (with Kids in Los Angeles)

As the weather begins to warm up (OK, it was never really that cold to begin with…) we Angelenos love to head outside!  Check out these amazing hiking trails located all over the city – near and far, easy and hard, as well as family friendly.  Thank you MommyPoppins.com for all the great detailed information.

 

We can’t literally climb walls. But we’ve all found ourselves – on long weekends, spring breaks, sick days, you name it – feeling like we might be nearing the ceiling. Whether it’s the whining or the post-play mess, the “I’m bored,” the fussiness after a missed nap, or all of the above, there are moments when even the best of us loving and dedicated parents want up. Or, more likely, out.

So go ahead; get out. Head to thetrails. Take a hike. We’ve compiled a list of fantastic hiking destinations for you and your little cherubs. Because we know from experience that climbing a mountain sure beats climbing a wall. (Oh – and if you’re pushing someone up that mountain, you may want the stroller-friendly hikes.)

But wait. Before you go, have a look at the following suggestions. We want to make your outing is as seamless as possible:

  • Many trails have variable shade. No trees can mean hot sun; remember the sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, snacks, and lots of water.
  • Trails are often shared by hikers, mountain bikers, and horses. Remember to watch for bikes and horse droppings.
  • Weekends see a rise in visitors at all parks. This may mean competition for parking and more people on the trails.
  • Due to recent state budget cuts, some parks have had to scale back staff, trail maintenance, and operating hours; some have even closed. Weather (rain, erosion, fires) can also impact trail availability. We advise you call ahead before you go to make sure your intended destination is ready to welcome you. Browsing this park closure list might also be helpful.

1. Griffith Park – Los Angeles
4730 Crystal Springs Parkway
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Map
Park hours: 5:30am-10:30pm. Trails close at sunset.
Parking: Free
Dogs on leashes allowed on trails

Certainly one of LA’s jewels, Griffith Park might very well have it all: a merry-go-roundan observatory, and an old train park. What’s more, there are trails, and lots of them.

Insiders recommend the Charlie Turner Trail. Park at the Observatory and begin your climb up Mt. Hollywood. On a clear day, you’ll be rewarded with views of the San Fernando Valley, Glendale, and the Westside, as well as a closer peek at the Hollywood Sign. The round-trip is less than three miles, with an elevation of roughly 1,000 feet. Eat a snack on picnic tables at the top of the trail. Or grab lunch at Wolfgang Puck’s Cafe at the End of the Universe located in the Observatory. Beware of crowds on the weekends (the trail is a popular destination), the sun on a hot day (hydrate and wear sun screen), and horse poop.

Or, hike to the Observatory from another direction. Start the two-mile loop atFerndell Gardens (scroll down for parking directions), breezing by a shady fern and succulent-lined brook, past stone retaining walls, and over footbridges. Continue along a dusty road through chaparral to the Observatory. Grab some pre- or post-hike grub at The Trails Cafe. The trail is well-traveled on the weekend, so beware of crowds. Morning or late afternoon hiking is best on hot days. Dogs are welcome

For an easier Griffith Park hike, try the Fern Canyon Trail. Park at the the first Merry-Go-Round parking lot and head beyond the t-bar gate. The  trail goes uphill and passes the old zoo. You will most likely see people-friendly gophers, squirrels, and woodpeckers along the way, as well as picnic tables for your snack-time use. Trail length varies depending on which way you choose to walk. Enjoy views of Glendale and Pasadena at the top of the full 400-foot elevation trail.

2. Franklin Canyon Park – Beverly Hills
2600 Franklin Canyon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
310.858.7272
Directions
Park Hours: Daily, sunrise to sunset
Dogs on leashes allowed

Why is this area such a favorite? The Sooky Goldman Nature Center, duck pond, reservoir, and traditional kish (Tongva hut) might have something to do with it. Add the fact that it’s 605 acres big and has five miles of trails to explore, and, well, you get the idea. Trails vary from simple to moderately strenuous. Favorites include the roughly two-mile Hastain Trail (which has been in the news this last year) with elevations that often offer an ocean view on a clear day. The trail head can be reached by entering the park from either Beverly Hills or the Valley, and heading south on Lake Drive. Two trail heads and parking are available on the left side. Or meander around Franklin Canyon Lake (the opening sequence of the Andy Griffith Show was filmed here).  Kids of all ages can also enjoy an easy stroll around Heavenly Pond with its ducks and sometimes noisy bullfrogs. Thistrail map might help orient you, as will an initial visit to the Nature Center (310.858.7272, ext. 131).

Note: Be sure to stop at all stop signs in the park, to avoid unpleasant surprises in the mail a few weeks later!

3. Temescal Gateway Park – Pacific Palisades
15601 Sunset Blvd.
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
310.454.1395
Directions
Park Hours: Every day, dawn to dusk
Dogs on leashes allowed

Easy to get to and bursting with things to see and do, Temescal Gateway Park is a simple and satisfying destination. Popular trails include the four-mile Temescal Canyon Loop complete with ocean views, seasonal waterfall, and rock “climbing.” Or park in the first lot as you enter the park (closest to Sunset Blvd.) and chart your own route along the creek. Have lunch or a snack at the big tree with platform for seating.

4. Topanga Canyon State Park
20829 Entrada Road
Topanga Canyon, CA 90290
310.455.2465
Directions

Park Hours: 8:00am – sunset
Parking: $4
Dogs not allowed on trails.

Considered “the largest wildland within the boundaries of a major city,” Topanga Canyon State Park offers acres to explore (14,000 to be exact). Park at Trippet Ranch (map) and start off on several fascinating trails. For the adventurous, try the four- to five-mile (depending on how you go) loop around Eagle Rock (seephotos). The trailhead is at the southeast corner of the Trippet Ranch parking lot. Or meander through lush meadows (especially after our rainy season) on the shorter Musch Trail. While there are several ways to access Topanga Canyon trails, Trippet Ranch is a favorite as it provides picnic tables, information, and restrooms (phew).

5. Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area
4100 South La Cienega
Los Angeles, CA 90056
323.298.3660
Directions
Park Hours: Daily 6am – sunset
Parking: $6 on weekends and holidays, free on weekdays
Dogs on leashes allowed

Another multi-activity destination, Kenneth Hahn not only has trails to explore but also delights with playgrounds, a duck pond, playing fields, and lots of open green space. This is a great hiking or walking spot if you have young kids. Trails are more like walking paths, and you can walk for as little or as much as you like, with a place to picnic and run around once you’re done. Trail maps are not available online but can be found in the park office, located in the second parking lot on the right (after passing the entrance kiosk). The office is open daily from 8:30am-5:00pm.

6. Palos Verdes/South Bay Destinations
White Point Nature Preserve
1600 West Paseo del Mar
San Pedro, CA 90731
310.561.0917
Preserve open daily from sunrise to sunset
Free Parking
Dogs on leashes allowed

In addition to an education center, the Preserve offers 102 acres of restored land and miles of hiking areas. Have a look at the trail maps and descriptions to find one that suits your family. The education center is open on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 10:00am-4:00pm. (Map)

Those in the Palos Verdes “hiking know” also recommend the Palos Verdes Views trail. This pleasant 1.6 mile romp offers a stunning look at Catalina Island, and sometimes even San Nicholas Island, 70 miles from shore. Park at Del Cerro Park (where Crenshaw Blvd. ends in Palos Verdes) and head to the gate at the very end of Crenshaw. Beyond the gate, follow the fire road. Dogs are allowed on leashes, but beware of tics.

7. Orange County
Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park
28373 Alicia Parkway
Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
Directions
949.923.2200
Open 7am – sunset
Parking: $3
Dogs on leashes allowed

A fun and doable family walk is Dripping Cave. This moderate five-mile loop brings you to a cavernous space where stagecoach robbers actually hid out and stashed their goods years ago; burn marks from their fires are still visible. Park in the main parking area. The trail head is just beyond the picnic area.

Crystal Cove State Park – Orange County
8471 North Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Directions
949.494.3539
Dogs on leashes are allowed on multi-use trails, but not on backcountry trails or beaches.

(Due to rain and erosion, the back country trails have been temporarily closed. Call ahead to determine when trails reopen.)

Seventeen miles of hiking trails through 2,400 acres of native wilderness? Yes, please! Choose from a variety of mild to strenuous trails and loops that offer ocean views, riparian woodlands, and the splendor of Morro Creek. Start or end the day (depending on the tides) combing the tide pools. Take a peak at the many historic cottages lining the coast. Enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner at theBeachcomber Cafe. The cafe offers shuttle service from the Los Trancos parking lot. Parking is $15.

Thanks to the Orange County Hiking Club, detailed descriptions and photos of several other area hikes can be found for your consideration.

Self-led hikes mean you can go at your own convenience and pace; but if a docent-led group hike also appeals, have a look at these organizations that offer regular walks and hikes for kids…

1. Children’s Nature Institute
For more than 25 years this local non-profit has provided walks and classes all around the LA area that encourage kids ages eight and younger to explore the natural world, to wonder, touch, feel, and to ask, ‘Why?” Check out the group’s calendar for upcoming Family Nature Walks as well as the Tykes on Trailsprogram.

2. The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
Outings abound throughout the Santa Monica Mountains. Choose from a Porch Talk with a Ranger on a variety of topics (they serve hot chocolate), a Full Moon Hike or A Family Nature Walk (to name just a few). Click on the interactiveOUTDOORS Calendar of Events for more information. Or browse their catalog for more ideas that might fit your schedule. Kids 8-13 might also be interested in becoming a Junior Ranger.

This article originally posted on Mommy Poppins: http://la.mommypoppins.com/lakids/10-best-los-angeles-area-hikes-with-kids

Breanna Bond – 9 years old, 66 pounds lighter

I just opened up my safari to do some work and this story about 9 year old Breanna Bond losing 66 pounds popped up on the rotation in the yahoo homepage.   Immediately interested, I opened the link and watched the clip from Good Morning America.

My full congratulations to this little girl who changed her life for the better through better eating habits and increased physical activity.

But…

Ok, they have her on a swim team and it sounds as though she plays other sports, but her main source of daily physical activity is 1 hour and 15 minutes on a treadmill!  That doesn’t sound like fun to me, and I love working out!

And, the main focus of her diet is a restriction to 20g of fat/day.  I’m not saying yay or nay to this as I don’t have a lot of other details, but at the age of 9 to be that focused on fat intake, I would be extremely worried about 30 year old Breanna Bond.

The part that confuses me the most is that they talked about how Breanna had been heavy from the onset, weighing 100 pounds in Kindergarten.  To put this in perspective for those of you who don’t have kids, my daughter, who in all honestly is petite, weighed about 30/35 pounds in Kindergarten.  Let’s say the average is more like 40/45.  And at that point the parents had her tested and found nothing physically wrong with her… so what was happening in her environment that was causing her to be so overweight??  Obviously, many unanswered questions by the 5 minute clip on the early morning talk show.  I’m so happy the parents ultimately took a stand and helped her make healthy changes to her lifestyle, but is there potential for a future downfall based on the strict guidelines…??

I was so excited to hear this story as I was also the little fat girl who turned her life around, so awesome job Breanna and keep up the good work!!  I just hope that the new environment that has been created is not too boring, constricting, or controlling.

Help your children make healthy decisions in choosing fruits, vegetables, high fiber whole grains, and low fat proteins as well as increasing their daily physical activity through sports and play.  Don’t focus on food restriction or forced activity, nobody likes that.

How are you helping your child living a healthy life? please share recipes, games, and tips!

 

Video chat personal training from clients perspective

A few weeks ago I wrote about the benefits of Skype or video chat personal training from my perspective… But what about the person on the other end of the call, the client… Did they feel as though they got the personal attention and workout they would get if the trainer was physically in the room with them?

Here is the client’s perspective from this same session.

I’m so glad she enjoyed the session and felt as though she got the benefits of a trainer that was in the same room, but am so saddened at the fact that she, like many others are burdened with the financial aspect that having a personal trainer carries. I believe in “fitness for all” and try to create opportunities where those in all different financial arenas can receive the help they need to reach their health, fitness and nutrition goals. Whether its a personally designed program, group classes, shorter sessions, or something in between everyone should have the benefits of personalized attention to improve their quality of life. So the question I always ask: what do you need and how can we get it for you?

Skype personal training

People come up with a lot of excuses not to workout… no time, travel frequently, don’t like the gym atmosphere…  Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to workout ANYWAY?!

A few months ago I joined a company, http://helpyougetstarted.com/, that does Skype personal training.  Yes, you read that right – Personal Training via Skype.  I just finished my first workout and I think it went great.  She’s going to be blogging about it too, so I’ll post that once it’s up.  But I ran through a typical first session with the physical assessment and first workout movements – she had good form and worked up a sweat in the 30 minutes.

Don’t you hate us trainers… you want to keep coming up with reasons why you can’t workout and we keep coming up with these great solutions to help you stay healthy and active?!

This is not just a great tool for exercise new comers, it’s perfect for frequent travelers, moms, dads, workaholics, and the super duper lazy (you know who you are 😉  I have had so many clients say how much they love that I come to their homes because they can’t escape our session and this is even easier!

AND it’s not just for training… you knew this was coming, right? As I always say, working out is only half of the journey.  Changing your behaviors and eating habits is just as important and oftentimes the more challenging part.  Meeting me at the local coffee place or chatting with me on Skype is just as helpful to discuss all the tools to help you create the new you (and maybe even better because you can be in your pi’s…?)

Wait… and the best part is that this makes personal training available to just about anyone!  If you don’t have access to decent gym facilities or qualified personal trainers – this service puts both of the necessities at your fingertips (literally!).  I always say we are so inundated here in los angeles that we sometimes forget there is a significant part of the country that doesn’t have access to 10 different pilates and/or cardio ballet classes all within 3 miles of their house and those are the individuals who really need the most attention.

Skype with you soon!!