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!

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…

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!!

A mini workout (literally!)

One of the best parts of my profession, or I suppose what I’ve chosen to do with it, is that I get to bring my kiddies with me. (Best part of working with other moms too 😉

My kids get to see first hand what I do when I “go to work” in my very non-traditional work attire. These experiences have truly inspired my 6 yet old daughter to find a love of health and fitness, it’s amazing!

Subsequently, she asks me to “train her” when we are at home. We had a chance to do so this past weekend and it was so cute… She had seen me utilize some new fitness tools that she was itching to try herself. One of which is a small fitness ball, intended to assist in lower back issues for adults, but perfect size for a 3 foot tall person to use like a physioball. She did crunches, half bicycles, and bridges with the ball between her knees. Then she wanted to use the gliding discs and had a lot of fun doing reverse lunges and skaters (giggling the whole time!)

Then her 3 year old brother walked in and wanted to join in the fun…
They did partner crunches, tossing the ball back and forth; ball
passes over the shoulder and then turning and handing off at the opposite hip with their backs facing each other; and then they stretched together with
legs out in wide “V’s” with feet touching and holding hands singing “row, row, row your
boat.”

Being active should be fun and apart of your lifestyle! How are you having fun today?

There is no magic pill!

I literally cannot beleive this article I just read.  I am not even going to post the link to the article on my facebook page as I normally do to share new and/or intresteting articles I come across.  This one I will post here with the most outlandish sentences sprinkled with lots of question marks as to why are these researchers wasting their time creating these drugs (aside from the mass amounts of money they will potentially make) when they could be curing cancer…??

If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times – There is no magic pill!  When you read the excerpts below, if you could explain to me why people would accept the certain and even worse potential side effects just so they don’t have to go for a 30 minute walk everyday or eat some more fruits and veggies, thanks in advance!

Here it is:

“A panel of outside experts to the FDA voted 20-2 to recommend approval of Qnexa, saying they were convinced that the benefits it offers in treating obesity outweighed the potential heart risks and birth defects associated with the drug.”  Hello, does anyone remember “fen-phen” the weight loss drug from about a decade ago that killed and harmed numerous individuals…?  We didn’t learn our lesson then?  How can the benefits outweigh the risks when its a voluntary drug regimen?

“Panelists did say Vivus should conduct a study on possible heart problems and supported the company’s plan to limit its use to women who are not pregnant.”  Why is this even necessary?  Why would a pregnant woman need or want to be on a weight loss pill?

“I would say not treating obesity is not risk neutral. We have few treatments for obesity for those who don’t respond to lifestyle treatments.” This quote from Dr. Susan Yanovski, an advisory panel member and director of the obesity and eating disorders program at the National Institutes of Health.  So, the plan if you cannot figure out a way to eat less and move a little more is to take a pill for an undetermined amount of time…?  All i have to say is, DIG DEEPER!  Why aren’t these individuals responding to lifestyle treatments?! Seriously experts, this is plan B?

My favorite part is when the article explains that one of the risks of obesity is heart disease, but one of the risk of the “magic pill” is “heart risks” so you either way you’re going to have a heart problem.  I guess you’re skinny with a heart problem so at least you’ve got that…?!

So, what is our magic pill made out of? “Qnexa, which combines the appetite suppressant phentermine and anti-seizure drug topiramate,” Anti-seizure medication, does that even sound like a good idea…?

“patients taking the drug had more safety problems, including memory loss and higher heart rates, than those on a placebo, and some of these problems could get worse over time.”  Heart problems and memory loss… wait, but you’re skinny – even trade?

Read enough? I just don’t understand… Your health is your health and that is all that is important.  And by the way, the pill does not improve your cardiovascular fitness (makes your heart stronger), your muscle strength, or flexibility – all of which are significant predictors in long term health.  So, the question is, how much are those skinny jeans worth?

If you can stomach reading the whole article, visit: http://health.yahoo.net/news/s/nm/u-s-advisers-back-experimental-obesity-pill

Staying Connected

We have so many thoughts running through our minds every second of every day, but when you go workout it should be your body’s time to give your brain a break from thinking!

Not only is this a great stress reducer, it’s also the best way to ensure you don’t get injured.

When I train clients, they always say I give a lot of instructions – abs tight, shoulders back, chest lifted… there’s alot to focus on… but when exercises are done correctly, they are more effective and get you the results you want!  They are always excited about that part 🙂

It’s important to create and maintain a mind/body connection when you are working out so you can focus on the muscle that is working, think about the fat you are burning off, and remember to keep your body in the correct alignment.

Happy New Year Deals!!

Happy New Year! Were you waiting for January 1 to make a change?!

To help you make that change I want to offer you 50% off my best services!

Check out my Doodle Deal for 50% off stroller exercise classes: http://doodledeals.com/los-angeles/deals/1676/tot-fitness

I am also offering 50% off my private training and/or fitness, wellness, and nutrition counseling:  That’s 10, one hour long sessions for just $500 (normally $1000)!  Call or email me to schedule your appointment today.