Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Progress Update...

End of Week 5! Only 2 more weeks to the completion of the Body Transformation Challenge. But I don't plan on stopping there! This has been such a wonderful experience, learning a lot about myself both physically and mentally. I have pushed myself harder physically in recent weeks and  realizing how strong I have become and need to continue to push myself. I have definitely gained a much more productive attitude about food during the Challenge, I am much more in tune to the difference between emotional and physical hunger and this is key when attempting to conquer mindless snacking.
This week's check in may have revealed only small changes from the previous week but all numbers still headed in a positive direction. I am only 1 pound and less then 1/4% body fat% from reaching the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the Challenge. So empowering to set a goal and reach it with nothing more than good, honest dedication and hard work!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Progress update- End of Week 4

Hard to believe, past the half way point of the Transformation Challenge already! Pleased with Week 4 Stats with all numbers going in the right direction. Would like to see more gains in LBM but at least I have gained the last 2 weeks and still losing fat! Scale weight down one pound but body fat % down to 17.47%. My Challenge goals are definitely within reach!
 Looking forward to the Holiday festivities but present a definite challenge of will to not eat all the sweets. I actually received 3 boxes of chocolates and gifts earlier this week and did not eat 1! I did open the box for a whiff (smelled gooood!) but no harm in a little olfactory indulgence! Real test as I have all sorts of fun baking, candy making and gingerbread house constructing projects planned with the boys! Looking forward to being Mom for the Holidays but need to keep my fingers out of the frosting!  :)
Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Baby, it's cold outside

Find the delights winter has to offer!
Getting hard to get out of a warm bed on these cold winter mornings! Then the thought of going outside to head to the gym....but here I am at the gym! What keeps me going? I've worked to hard to get where I am to have to start all over again in the spring if I allow myself to hibernate for the winter! I will never fight to GET in shape again...I will STAY in shape! BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop
Think about this...many people are 'surprised' when they take out their spring wardrobe to find things fitting a little tighter and are not at all excited about getting out of their warm, and very forgiving, winter clothes. Consider this, more appealing find spring clothes a delight with a little extra room and a new leaner figure to show off as the summer months approach. Stop the seasonal desire to be fit and stay fit year round! Now get up and get out, don't allow the cold mornings to derail your plan, make it a mission to have start the New Year with healthier habits already in place and not dread peeling off the camouflaging layers when long awaited spring arrives!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Progress update...

Week 3 completed, only 4 more weeks to go! Lesson learned this week....the scale really doesn't tell you much about progress particularly if your transformation plan includes changes in nutrition and exercise/strength training. There is a big difference between just dieting to lose weight and working to improve your body composition. Dieting alone by just reducing calories will result in a 'skinny fat' situation....the resistance training and being sure to eat enough clean and nutrient dense foods including lean proteins is the only way to sculpt a new body and improve body composition and health. So take a look at the QUALITY of your nutrition plan and go lift something heavy! BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Progress update...

Slim Guide Skinfold CaliperResults are in....completed week 2 of the transformation challenge! Down another 4 pounds and body fat percentage dropped 1.2%. Lost a lot more fat mass this week compared to muscle, working on increasing the protein intake and increasing the pounds lifted at the gym in hopes of actually gaining lean body mass this week! Energy levels are so much better after eliminating sugary sweet treats...gonna get harder to avoid temptation as the holiday treats surround me....the key is keeping myself accountable with journaling food, weekly weigh-ins and body fat assessments~ BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Progress Update-End of Week 1

Just completed Week 1 of the 49 Day Transformation Challenge. The Challenge came at a great time to get me back on track! I had gotten a little careless with sweet snacks with Halloween and my birthday.  I did really well this week...complete sugar detox and feeling good! The cravings for sweets now is minimal after fighting for the 1st few days but now feeling much better with improved energy levels and no more crashing. The other challenge was trying to be more aware of actual hunger versus habit with what/when I am eating. Keeping a journal was a great tool to keep myself accountable! (You'll think twice about eating it if you have to admit to yourself later that you ate it.)

Official Challenge check-in: 2 pounds down but unfortunately lost more lean body mass than I had hoped, no change in Body fat %.
Goals for week 2: increase intake of lean protein and re-assess macronutrients in general to hopefully maintain more LBM this week.
Overall feeling really good, motivated and ready to tackle another week. Will update end of week 2.

How are you doing with your New You Resolution? It is hard work and a constant struggle to stay on track, some days more than others...but remember the long term goal of living a healthier lifestyle! It does get easier! Stick with it!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Day 3

I know Day 3 is a strange place to start but the 1st 2 days were a flurry of activity....I was thrilled when I learned that I had won a year membership to Tom Venuto's Burn the Fat Inner Circle in a blog contest (Thank you, Tom Venuto!) and have officially entered his 49 day Transformation Challenge! This is the ultimate companion to my own New You Resolution!  Busy getting organized, posting the before pictures, starting stats etc. I have never entered a contest before and am finding it extremely motivating, the forums in the Inner Circle are full of information and make it easy to surround yourself with like-minded people, all working towards the same goals despite many starting in very different places. The overall attitude in the forums is very positive, people reaching out to support and motivate people they have never even met. And talk about accountability... regular entries to a journal are a part of the contest and a real sense of community leads to a desire to succeed both for yourself and all the others cheering you on.  Looking forward to the next 46 days of the journey and I will keep you posted.  How are you doing on your New You Resolution?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Setting goals (and acheiving them)!

Photo by marcus-jb1973
Setting goals is so important in the quest to make changes in any aspect of your life. Without goals we lose direction and often take the attitude of "doing it tomorrow." Goals also keep us honest...did you achieve a goal or not? Goals should be something you can measure and be sure to make yourself accountable to the goals you set- write them down, tell others and set a date to attain them by. Health and fitness goals may include a variety of measurable, objective components: body composition/body fat percentage, weight (not your best option if just starting with a resistance program as the scale my not change as quickly), inches lost, adherence to workout program (days per week), minutes of cardio, sets/reps/weights increase and the ever popular (and a good one!)"how your clothes fit." Pick something that works for you and set goals both short and long term!

I personally reached a goal this week with regards to body composition, I admit, enjoyed a grin to myself and then...set the next goal to lose another 2% bodyfat. Reaching a goal renews my motivation to adhere to my program. Enjoy the moment of attaining a goal and celebrate (not with a Big Mac and a large fry!) but then it is not the time to sit back and consider it done but then time to set another goal and keep the momentum going. Look back where you came from (keep a journal/photos of your progress) and congratulate yourself on all the positive changes, hard work and sacrifices you made to get here and remind yourself why you are doing it! Look forward to where you want to be, set new goals and stay on track! Place small reminders of your goals in visible places to help keep you on track all day.

Start right now set a goal and make yourself accountable, write it down, make it real and get after it!
I'll get you started....I shared my goal, post your health and fitness goals here now! Share you goals and surround yourself with like minded people and you'll be surprised by the boost of motivation and little daily reminders to stay on track. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Kicked my own butt

Ok, have to admit I was less than enthusiastic about getting out of bed before 5 am but as I always tell myself the only workout I ever regret is the one I skipped. So I headed out....

Today's workout:

Split squats
Sumo squats
Hip Thrust
And a variety of abs exercise during 'rest' times...
And finish it off with a kick butt cardio session.

Result....energized and feeling good! BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Monday, November 1, 2010

New You Resolution

Let's try something different....instead of deciding to set another New Year's Resolution this year get started today and we'll call it a New You Resolution. Think about it...and be honest... how many years have you set a resolution and actually stuck with it? New Year's resolutions are a recipe for disaster in a lot of cases. We spend months before building up to the big day, usually spending more time living it up in anticipation of the fear of losing the freedom to eat what we want and dreading starting at the gym....that adds up to even more holiday pounds and harder habits to break.  Then...the big day arrives and wow have you got a lot to face! And since it only comes once a year if you mess up that deal with yourself it is a big drop off the side of that wagon!
Let's mix it up and start now, don't wait for New Year's, with a plan to make little resolutions each day to get headed to achieving that new you. See desserts at holiday gatherings as your cheat meal for the week not an excuse for complete overindulgence for the next 2 months, deal with a food hangover and then you try to go cold turkey on January 1st.
Join a gym now instead of trying to get started with the rush of other  newbies that have set a New Year's resolution. Just watch the gym, for the 1st 3 weeks of the year it will be packed, after that all that remain are the regulars that were there on December 31st because they made a resolution to change a lifestyle. I'll be there, how about you?
 The bottom line....start now making healthy changes you can LIVE with (not stick with for a few weeks) because you desire a healthier life! Who's with me? Let's get started now!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Grab a rake!

Fall brings beautiful colors, brisk, fresh air and leaves....lots of them! Now you probably see this as yet another item on your to-do list but how about we consider it a bonus? Grab a rake, head outside.....soak up the sunshine, build up some vitamin D stores for the winter, breathe the fresh air and give your core a workout! How is any of that a chore? I see it as a bonus!
No need to find something to occupy the kids...they will be running and jumping right into the middle of the project! Smiles and giggles, activity based family afternoon plans in the fresh air and sunshine(and checking something off the to-do list).....what more could you ask for? So grab a rake and get started!
Remember a key to staying fit and healthy is about your attitude and learning to find the pleasures and benefits of being physically active everyday. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Monday, October 11, 2010

When life gets in the way

Photo by Flying House Studios
 Events of recent weeks have presented challenges resulting in missed workouts and giving in to a few comfort foods. Discouraged and frustrated at first but then changed my outlook and decided to look at missed workouts as scheduled rest and recovery (though not scheduled purposefully). Simple change in thought allowed me to stay in a fit and healthy mindset despite the challenges in maintaining my usual activity levels. When I managed to get back for a workout I enjoyed a little of the 'good sore' the next day. The key was to keep the mindset and get back into routine as quickly as life allowed....becomes easy to give up/fall of the wagon but just remember how hard you worked to get started and make the positive changes to live a healthy lifesytyle don't let a little speed bump in life derail your plan. Get back at it! BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Excuses, excuses....

Everybody who isn't living the healthy lifestyle and getting to the gym is pretty good at presenting excuses. Very few are valid in my opinion, it becomes more an issue of priority and commitment. If you want it you will find a way to do it. Please do not see these words as judgement but rather motivation to look critically at your reasons for not reaching your goals of living a healthy lifestyle. Do your excuses fit in here?
  • Don't have time: I just don't accept that one from anybody...I work 50+ hours per week, have a husband and 2 young boys at home and still find time to get to the gym 4 days per week and work out at home another 2! Key issue I make it priority and make the time. Be many hours do you waste watching TV every day? I only watch when doing cardio! Turn of the TV an hour earlier, get up early and watch the DVR while you start your day with a good sweat session...before long you will start to enjoy it. Plan ahead and organize your day to avoid wasting time trying to figure out what you should do next.
  • Then there is the money issue...ok...I acknowledge everyone's concern about the cost of a gym membership but lets take a look at the Starbucks coffee on the way to work or the eating on the run...(again plan ahead...make coffee at home and pack a lunch) add that up over the month and I guarantee you have a gym membership paid for (and most likely a decent caloric deficit). Or put that money into a fund to grow a home gym to include a few dumbbells, bench, stability ball, etc. this then assists with the time problem as well as a home gym is open 24 hours and no wasted time driving to the gym!
  • Chronic pain....first let me say check with doc to be sure you will do no further harm! In the case of chronic pain you must make the decision to not let it rule your life and choose to continue living. Added body weight and being deconditioned will certainly not help the issue. Try moving more and start a program within your tolerance, you may be surprised with a reduction of pain! Consider this, make positive changes to take control of health where you can even if you can't change the pain, tip the balance in your favor for a healthy life style and reduce your chances of adding other health related problems to the list.
  • Don't know what to do: certainly heading to the gym can be intimidating but there are a million resources easily accessible to get you started or spend a few dollars that you save by skipping Starbucks and set up a few appointments with a personal trainer. Pick up a book or check the Internet...tons of videos (be careful of the source). Find a friend interested in getting started with an exercise program.
  • Now be honest about this "don't want to." If you really take a look at things is this not the real reason for you not starting or staying on an exercise program? If that is your choice then accept it but don't complain about pants not fitting right, the scale not moving or being out of breath trying to keep up with the kids. Don't be angry with skinny people as they have worked hard to stay healthy. Staying fit is hard work! My advice- make the decision to get into shape once and then stay that way!
Now have an honest discussion with yourself...what are your health and fitness goals? Are you really prioritizing your life challenges to make the best you you can be? Life happens but consider have the power to make the decision to live it the healthiest way possible and give your body the best defenses to what comes your way and not add health issues related to being overweight or unhealthy eating to your life challenges. Decide today to make the commitment to make one healthier choice each day.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless mobile phone BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Inspiration and Motivation

Decided I needed a little change of pace so I hit the road for a day trip to attend  the East Coast Natural Body Building, Figure and Bikini Championships. I had never been to this type of event before and I must say it was a great experience. Inspiring to see the beauty of the human form that can be achieved, but only with high levels of commitment and dedication that was required by each and every competitor to get to that stage. So many different physiques, some more impressive than others but I am sure each had their own story and motivations that set them out to achieve the goal of competing on stage.
The energy in the room was incredibly positive with the small audience of fans supporting all competitors as they walked across the stage to showcase their dedication and commitment to hard work. Some of the competitors gave me more positive affirmation that I was headed in the right direction and that maybe my goals are achievable, other competitors further inspired me to reassess my commitment to fitness and find the leaks that are contributing to my current  physical (and mental) plateau. I have renewed my passion for learning more and committing to making more forward progress towards my health and fitness goals. Thanks to all that were part of the show!

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Importance of Strength Training

To all you cardio addicts out there...lets take a look at strength training...All too often I hear comments in the "judgement free zone" that are hard to ignore regarding cardio, most recently overheard someone telling her training partner that she "forced" herself to do an hour and a half of cardio on her off question... why? If you are pushing hard enough for the benefit of the workout how can you continue at that pace for more than an hour? If you have the time to do that on your "off" day why don't you reassess your program and add in some more strength training to sculpt the muscle you are trying so hard to reveal by burning calories?  On another occasion a client shared that she was told by "her trainer" to only do cardio if she had limited time (her limited time was 2 hours/day 2-3 times per week!), certainly can think of a few beneficial activities to fill that time with instead of another hour of spinning. Her frustration..after a month she saw no results! No scale weight or visible change, at least if she added some weight training she would see some change in shape if the scale weight didn't drop.  (Of course, I think diet probably was partially to blame as well.)
Too often people looking to lose weight and slim down immediately look to lots of cardio to get more caloric burn. Is it because the cardio machines flash numbers at us telling us how many as we race to burn calories? Truth is we may burn more at the time but cardio certainly doesn't effect our resting metabolic rate (RMR) like strength training can. Or consider doing weight training circuits for some benefits from both.  True, cardio may burn more calories during the workout but strength training builds more metabolically active tissue to increase your calorie burn after the workout and increase your overall metabolic rate!
The benefits from strength training are many. There is no other way to sculpt a beautiful body without resistance training.  Lots of cardio and a caloric deficit will only reveal a skinnier version of yourself and generally at the cost of also losing muscle.  "Skinny fat," love that term!  Skinnier is certainly a good thing but the real beauty comes from firming and sculpting the muscles that were hiding beneath the insulation.  And ladies...don't worry about bulking up, without hormonal assistance you will not get huge!
Through weight training you will build more lean muscle tissue thus raising your resting metabolic rate with resulting increased caloric burn at rest! Increasing your lean body mass (LBM) improves your body fat percentage/body composition and THIS should be the goal of healthy lifestyle makeovers!
Need to lose the scale and focus on fat loss, not weight loss. Initially scale weight may not decrease and may actually increase as you add resistance training to your program. Fear not, just adopt a different method of tracking your progress, consider an honest look in the mirror, a tape measure or skin fold calipers. And of course consider the fact that your clothes will start to fit differently.

Strength training provides so many benefits to both physical and mental health:
  • improved strength and function, stronger bones
  • improved body composition (increased LBM/decreased body fat %)
  • improved physique
  • increased resting metabolic rate (increased calorie burn at rest!)
  • stress relief
So venture out of your comfort zone, look the muscle heads in the eye, pick up a dumbbell and start sculpting a better/healthier body!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

"An Apple a Day..."

Apple picking season is in full swing in upstate NY! Now be honest..nothing better than a crisp red delicious apple at the peak of the season! Why not have a family weekend activity revolved around a healthy snack, some fresh air and some physical activity instead of sitting in from of the TV with greasy chips and soda. Head out to the orchards and get picking!
Apples are a great portable healthy snack offering a great number of nutrients including Vitamins A, C, E, folate, potassium, magnesium and calcium to name a few. Also full of antioxidants (everybody knows we all need more of these), phytonutrients and flavanoids that aid in preventing and reducing inflammation.  Apples are known to aid in eye health ad well as playing a role in cancer prevention and benefit maintaining strength of bone. Apples as well as many other fruits provide a good source of fiber, helping maintain a healthy digestive tract and work to lower cholesterol/LDLs.
 Apples and fruit in general play an important role in weight loss programs as they are nutrient dense providing essential nutrients for health but pack relatively few calories, a medium apple containing only 80 calories. Combine an apple with a 1/2 cup fat free cottage cheese for protein and you have a great snack combination.  Also consider dipping apple slices in natural peanut butter for some healthy fats and protein (but watch your serving here as PB has a high calorie content).
So head out this weekend and get some apples but try to avoid the cider donuts!

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Importance of Posture

The anatomical structure, alignment and movement of the human figure is of incredible design, I hope you use it to its full potential and protect it as it needs to last you your whole life! With perfect postural alignment there is minimal stress to ligaments and tendons. Ideal upright posturing includes the line of gravity falling through the axis of joints such that forces are equally distributed and upright position requires little effort/strain on muscle to maintain. Unfortunately in the general population we rarely see ideal posture, with contributing factors relating to attitude, laziness, poorly conditioned/weak, being "well nourished" or other structural  reasons. Whatever the reasons are we should all strive to achieve our most ideal posture to  prevent/minimize injury as many "unexplained" aches and pains can be related to postures.
Take  a look around you, at the office, in the stores and around the neighborhood- how many people actually sit/stand with their head on top of their bodies? Most often our heads and shoulders reach our destination first. This forward head/shoulders position causes strain and abnormal structural stresses throughout the neck, upper back and shoulders which in time can lead to pain and injury.
Life generally occurs in front of us, compounding our ever forward positioning, with posture continuing to deteriorate with the day and with passing years. You must make good posture habit just as bad posture became habit...pull up your chair, sit your butt in the back of the seat where it belongs, shoulders back and stay that way! Change your attitude, change your habits, change your work station and change your program in the gym to work towards improving your posture!
Your postural solution:

  • awareness and changing habits is most important as even with improvements in flexibility and strength if your don't change your habits your posture will not change....the stretching and strengthening will provide you with the the tools to improve your posture but you must commit your mind to improve your postural habits.

  • stretch the chest wall/anterior structures with a corner or doorway pectoral stretch

  • strengthen the scapular retractors and stabilizers to help you maintain an upright posture

  • core strengthening is also important in  protecting the lower back (can dedicate a whole other article to that!)
In addition to the physical benefits of improved posture, consider how your posture reflects to the world your attitude, consider how much more confident people appear with a straighter posture. Also consider how much nicer your figure looks with your head up and shoulders back revealing even more of your hard work at the gym. Never seen anyone look worse while standing taller!

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Importance of Eating

I know, sounds silly, but I think we all need a reminder of the importance of eating as society has made it either the center of every social event (generally with poor food choices and lots of them) or something we do on the fly grabbing the easiest, usually not the healthiest, option. With a little information maybe general attitudes towards food can be changed and maybe then we will change our priorities and work to improve our health.
It's really just about physiology and metabolism...First we need to begin to see food as fuel for our bodies not just something to fill our bellies when we are hungry or reach to it for comfort.  The building blocks for health come from the food we eat. Think about finding the foods that will provide the best support for your body systems in their daily function.  Keep your metabolism burning high by eating more healthy foods more frequently.
All the excuses start now....don't have time to prepare or sit down for a meal, I'll grab something on the way; it's expensive to buy healthy food....Well, consider this what you do now to save yourself time only takes away from quality and quantity of life in the long run. Granted some diseases, illnesses etc are out of our control but eating right and living a healthy lifestyle certainly tips the scale in your favor to avoid or certainly improve your chances in successfully fighting illness/disease.  I will certainly choose to take the control of what I can.

Important components of establishing a healthy eating lifestyle:

  • Food choices: whenever considering a food think about what it provides for your body, is it good fuel? Is it calorie dense or nutrient dense? Consider that with more nutrient dense foods you can eat a much larger volume allowing you to fill up without overloading on calories. You can eat more and maintain a healthy weight with the right foods! Learn to read labels, watch for fat content, avoiding trans fats and saturated fats (sure I don't need to elaborate on the need to avoid those). Avoid quick energy foods including simple carbs and sugary snacks...they may provide quick relief from an energy slump but sends you quickly back to a low.  
  • Like any other machine, your body runs most effieciently with a consistant fuel supply. Small frequent meals keeps metabolism running high, helps control blood sugar levels to avoid insulin spikes and energy crashes. Consistant fueling provides a thermogenic effect increasing metabolism as well as encouraging efficient use of nutrients. Low calorie diets result in low energy levels, decreased activity and a resulting slowed metabolism. Maintain consistant levels to control snacking and find less cravings for sweets and sugars as giving in to these cravings only perpetuates the cycle of energy crashes.
  • Start the day with a healthy breakfast, your tank is empty, cruising on fumes only works for so long and you body starts to take from body stores for required energy and not the good places like that fat around the middle you are trying to get rid of. As the day progresses you reach for quick and generally simple carbs are the snack of choice for quick energy starting off the energy peaks and crashes. The frequent blood sugar spikes increase insulin release which then encourages fat storage...aha..the belly fat stays!
  • Combine lean protein and complex carbs at every meal: this combination results in a slower digestion due to the fact that protein are harder to digest (more caloric expenditure!) and therefore results in a slow, steady release of sugar and no insulin spikes. 
  • Basic math always applies: calories in must be less than caolries burned for a caloric deficit if your goal is weight loss. The calories in healthy food still count with some adding up portion distortion with nuts and peanut butter as well as the healthy fats...great benefits but still pack on pounds if eaten in abundance.
  • Be prepared: plan meals ahead and start preparation before you are too hungry and tempted to snack on something quick or "sample" as your are preparing..these calories count too!  Carry some healthy snacks with you to avoid giving in to eating out or vending machines when you are out.  Consider small portion sized snack containers in your cabinets to allow you to quickly grab when hungry to avoid portion distortion. The key is to have the healthy options easily within reach!

Of course it is easier to toss around the excuses...but with some planning and commitment you will soon see the benefits of eating in the way the human machine was meant to be fed.  Plan for hunger by having healthy snacks handy (pack them to go!) and watch portion sizes always. Make the committment for 1 month and then admit to yourself that your energy levels are higher and more level and your pants button a little easier!

References: For more information please consider reading The Eat-Clean Diet by Tosca Reno for information that will help you easily incorporate healthy choices into your healthy eating lifestyle. If you are interested in more detail regarding the science behind it all and more of the 'nitty-gritty' consider the e-book Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle by Tom Venuto

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Presciption for Health and Fitness

Too often the medical community is filling people's medicine cabinets with prescriptions/medications for illnesss and to manage consequences of poor lifestyle choices. How about writing 'prescriptions' for healthy food choices and daily exercise; these 'medications' only have beneficial side effects...
  • increased energy
  • improved self esteem
  • improved health
  • fat loss
  • decreased medical costs
  • general improved ability to live life!

1. Choose clean healthy foods for everything you put on your plate! The less ingredients on the label the better. If you can't pronounce it, don't eat it! Eat lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains!  Be consistant with fueling your body, eat small meals every 3-4 hours to keep the metabolism burning and keep cravings to a minimum. Avoid sugary snacks and avoid energy crashes!

2. Exercise Daily: exercise can take many forms...just move! An exercise program should have variety to keep challenging muscles. Include cardiovascular training as well as strength training. Cardio burns calories and strengthens your heart and lungs, while strength training scuplts your body and increases lean muscle mass that in turn increases your resting metabolic rate. Muscle is a metabolically active more to burn more calories! What ever you choose, make it fun, enjoy it or you will never stick with it and that is the key!

3. Hydrate:  Pure, clean water is essential to keep all systems going, flushing out waste products of normal cell metabolism, assist with good oxygen transport to cells and reduce water retention. Check out this great post for even more benefits of good clean water. Even the slightest amount of dehydration can contribute to decreased enery levels. Thirst is not a good indicator for maintaining good hydration levels as thirst generally indicates an already slightly dehydrated state. Drinking water throughout the day keeps good hydration levels and may help keep you from snacking, drinking water prior to meals may result in eating less at meals.

4. Most importantly-critical to your success: change your attitude and priorities: view new healthy habits as a change in lifestyle to change your body and improve your health. Healthy food should be viewed as fuel and exercise needs to be a part of your life and identity not just one more thing on your to-do list. Think of time spent now on improving your lifestyle an investment in quality and quantity of years ahead.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Max(imus) Strengthening

So many reasons to strengthen and firm the glutes...they are a large, hard working muscle group helping you get up from your chair, walk, go up stairs or climb mountains. Strong glutes and hips can help in the prevention of back pain with good balanced muscular structure helping with core stability. And so many people aspire to firm their butt simply to look good in a pair of jeans! And remember building lean muscle tissue in large muscle groups such as the glutes equals more calories burned even while you sit on them!
The glutes include the gluteus maximus, medius and minimus; the maximus usually the main focus of an exercise program as this is the most visible and largest but all 3 should be included for good function and shape.

Your Glutes exercise program: (  Exercise Log )
  • Squats, leg press:  Higher foot position on the plate of the leg press focuses efforts more on the glutes. Wider and externally rotated stance will place more efforts on the hip rotators and inner thighs (bonus!)
  • Lunges: usually a love/hate relationship...Focus on long step into lunge postion to again focus more efforts on the glutes vs. quads.
  • Step ups : higher step activates more glutes, be sure to use a slow and controlled movement on the way up and down.
  • Bridges: so many variations including use of a therapy ball under back or legs, my favorite way to ramp up the burn is to add a elastic band around my knees to add an isometric hip abduction throughout the reps to include more glute medius activity.
  • Don't underestimate the benefits of some of the basics...include sidelying hip abduction leg raises, sidelying "clam shell" to target glute medius, minimus and deeper piriformis, and quadruped hip extension for some maximus.
  • Deadlift variations are also a good component to include for glutes but may not be best for a beginner without proper one-on-one instruction for proper form to avoid injury.
  • For even more exercises, Oxygen Magazine publishes a collector's issue dedicated to glute training with some great exercises and information. Check Glutes Summer 2010.

Other points not to be forgotten in our attempts to burn calories and firm figures...stretching needs to be a part of any exercise program to ensure good flexibility and mobility for proper mechanics of joint structures. Some key stretches for the glute/hip area include a hamstring stretch, piriformis (figure 4) stretch and ITBand stretch.  All stretches should be performed in a slow and controlled manner with steady stretch held for at least 30 seconds per stretch.

And remember to continue to follow a heathly eating plan with clean foods to make faster progress towards your goals. You can't expect all your hard work exercising to make up for a bad diet!

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Limping around the house with a calf strain..spasm/knots/the works....but still hit the gym this morning...upper body (including the mind!) still needs its workout !Cardio on the other hand becomes more challenging!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Do your research!
Great post by a knowledgeable trainer! Give it a read! So much can be learned here...aside from the obvious training lesson...
Great example comes from this post...has long been scary to me who calls themselves trainers...I hear horror stories from my patients regarding what "their trainer" told them. Some patients are patients because of their trainer or at the very least are paying a lot of money to not reach their goals! Everyone had their own opinion and approach to things but sometimes... they're just wrong.   I try to approach the conversation gently and diplomatically so as not to state the obvious and offend but sometimes it just has to be said! Thank you, Tony Gentilcore!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Home Gym

The benefits of a home gym space are many....
Your home gym is open 365 days a year/24 hours a day, you can fit in small workout when time allows, no excuse for bad weather/long commute to the gym....
So let's get a home started and quit making excuses! A home gym can be modified depending upon space and financial limitations. Start with a few simple inexpensive items and grow as your commitment and strength grow....
To get you started:
  • Elastic bands or tubing- so much versatility in the ability to perform exercises for every muscle, portable and inexpensive
  • Stability/therapy ball-again versatile and inexpensive (look around and don't pay more than $10), can be substituted for a weight bench for many exercises to add dynamic stabilty training to your program.  Also a great tool for creating an abs program. Use it as a desk chair for more core activity ("active sitting") and improve postural stabilty.
  • Dumb bells- again a versatile piece of equipment to add resistance to your training, cost can vary...small dumbbells to get started a few dollars but may be worth considering a larger investment initially to get a set of adjustable dumbbells (I like the Bowflex pair I purchase a few years ago but there are quite a few options out there), saves money long term and saves space, growing with you so you don't have to buy new weights with your increasing strength.
  • Good pair of sneakers- spend the time and a few bucks to invest in a good pair of sneakers!
  • A few extra items for variety....dynadiscs/stabilty discs, medicine balls
Start simple and don't let yourself get overwhelmed...your home gym and your exercise program will grow with you! Just be sure to start somewhere! Start with a positive attitude and remember consistancy is key so make it enjoyable and adopt exercise as part of the daily routine!
Sent from my iPod

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Adirondack Fitness

Just returned from another beautiful weekend in the Adirondacks! Did some hiking, found our way to the top of Bald Mountain and then climbed some more to the top of the fire tower at the summit.   The hike was challenging but the reward at the top was worth it, the views were beautiful and I felt more energized the rest of the day! My usual routine is heading to the gym in the early morning hours, after several days away from my organized exercise program I realized after the hike how much better I felt with an active start in the early morning. Renewed motivation for making fitness and activity a priority!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Straighten out your attitude

I hear so many times in a day that people don't have time to exercise..I have little patience with this attitude as I see the general population get larger, move less, and complain more about all that ails them physically. Let's get moving and do something about it! No time?  Really... take a look at your you really need to watch another episode of The Biggest Loser? Try to learn from the poor choices that put those people in the position they are in. Turn off the TV and use that hour to move! Quit farming on Facebook and get to the gym!
It all goes back to priorities and matter how long my to-do list gets, it can wait...I'll be at the gym! I look forward to my time being active and healthy, not just something that I have to do.  Make being fit part of your identity and find a way to enjoy being active, don't make exercise another thing to check off your to-do list each day.
Read a great post that really hits on a lot of good points regarding attitudes towards fitness and living a healthy active lifestyle. Check it out....

One last piece of wisdom...It is a lot harder to get in shape than it is to stay in shape so get in shape once and stay that way !

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Lose it!

A huge part of a successful healthy eating lifetsyle transformation (note I did not say diet!) is accountability, most importantly to yourself and to others for outside motivation. A friend commented on her difficulty with "mindless munching," this easily a challenge to everyone! I have found it helpful to combat this by logging food, often if we know that later we have to admit we ate it we might decide not to eat it! Logging food is also helpful when getting started as you never really realize how many calories go in.... I have found the Lose it! app (free) on iTunes to be useful, take the time to customize the foods im the beginning and it then becomes easy. It will also calculate you macronutrient ratios for the day which makes it easy to recognize some of the issues (I was surprised how much fat was in my low fat diet). This feature also helps me work to stay on track for the recommendations from Tom Venuto to Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle. Tom has written an excellent e-book with tons of information regarding creating healthy habits (read lifestyle!) with healthy calories and nutrient balance and a good dose of background information. I certainly am more able to comply and digest the information with  the reasons behind it. Again, a lot to absorb but excellent information.  His 'system' is loads of information and motivation to reorganize your eating habits, create goals and start an exercise program. It is not like any other systems that require you to buy their food and supplements etc. He also wrote another wonderfully motivating book The Body Fat Solution, read this when you are ready for a kick in the butt with a no nonsense get started attitude, dispelling all myths and basically letting you know it is all about you deciding to admit its up to you and commit!
A big part of your success making positive changes is being honest (accountable) with yourself. It takes hard work getting started but consider the benefits! Make the decision and move forward with a plan!
Sent from my iPod

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Monthly motivation

Treat yourself to a Subscription to a fitness magazine for a burst of motivation when it arrives in your mailbox each month. There are quite a few options out there. My favorite is Oxygen Magazine, I read it cover to cover when it arrives and each page is filled with exercises or clean eating information, recipes, motivation. Other fitness magazines are out there but I have been loyal to Oxygen for years because it provides so much fitness info and motivation without any fluff. If you would enjoy a mix of fitness and other areas of interest for women try Women's Health, Fitness, Shape or Self Magazines.
Sent from my iPod

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Mornings this time of year are beautiful! Get up, get moving and enjoy them. Start with an early morning walk while the rest of the house is still snoring...Start your day on a high energy note (and I don't mean the chaotic, crazy high energy of the the children!). The early morning fresh air, sunlight (hello Vitamin D) and exercise helps get you going and provide you with more energy all day! Getting out of bed is the hard part but by the time you get back I promise you will have a bounce in your step and be glad you went!
Sometimes my walking buddy joins me...the pace may not be as brisk but the conversation is energetic and provides a great opportunity to catch up without pesky younger brothers interupting. These memorable times are the ones that remind you of all the things you are doing right!
Sent from my Verizon Wireless mobile phone

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Kicking some butt at the gym.

Just finished working up a new gym program for me and the hubby. Kinda sent him to the gym initially with some basics and unfortunatly don't get to go to the gym together. He has made great progress over the last year losing inches! He has been doing programs just based on the info he has absorbed from living with me all these years. I am excited to finally get a program organized for him to mix it up and break the plateau....we both need a new program. I have a feeling he'll feel a few muscles he hasn't felt before as we all stick with what we know and need to venture to some new and unknown to make forward progress.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless mobile phone

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Push/Pull split program: Pull workout

Been doing upper/lower splits for quite a while now. Wrote up a new program with push/pull split. Legs and abs on opposite days
Here is my basic Pull workout I started with today but plan on modifying as I go...

Close grip lat pull downs
Low Rows
Straight arm pull downs
Low pulley Bicep curls
High Pulley Biceps curls
Reverse curls
Bent over over lateral raises (incline bench)

For a great reference book for exercises with incredible artwork and full of information for those who want to know a little bit more...Check out Strength Training Anatomy.

Next gym day....Push....

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Simple guilt-free Summer treat

Try this recipe (does it qualify as a recipe with only 2 ingredients?) for a guilt-free treat on a hot summer day!
Blend together 1 cup light/fat-free vanilla yogurt with 1 cup of frozen blueberries. Frozen are best because they thicken up the smoothie for more of a milkshake treat. You can add some vanilla protein powder but I found this to add too much sweet.
The benefits of yogurt are plenty....protein, calcium, active cultures (the whole probiotic craze). Greek yogurts are lower in fat and contain a greater amount of protein. Give this article a read for some great information on yogurt.
Blueberries provide numerous health benefits as well. Packed with antioxidants with all their benefits of protection against those famous free radicals. They are also an excellent source of Vitamin C and a good source of dietery fiber.
Another bonus is that our kids love smoothies, they have a great time tossing in the fruit and blending. We had to hold back our son while taking these photos so he didn't drink the smoothie!
Invest in a personal size blender (I found the Hamilton Beach single-serve blender to do well and easy on the budget.) for quick and portable blender treats.
Be creative with other fruit mixes as well for guilt-free summer treats. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Focus on food...

Been quite busy the last few weeks! Been soaking up some great information reading Tom Venuto's e-Book, Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle. If you are looking for a great book with all the information in one place this is it. Focusing on tweaking the diet again with the details that are provided in the book. Find that reading and working to incorporate new info really keeps me focused! Started logging foods again and working on analyzing and balancing macronutrients. Definatley need to up the protein intake some more! Have found the "Lose it" app on iTunes helpful but need to take some time in the beginning to create food/recipe lists for quicker entries later. The app will then calculate your macronutrient ratios and give you a calorie budget. Links up to online site for additional options and connecting with others for that accountability factor.

In the gym last month added drop sets to some shoulder exercises with some positive results. This month focusing on the back, lats, posterior shoulder.  Keep on pushing a little harder!

Serious Fruiting

My boys take their fruiting seriously...well not always! :) But both my boys will grab a snack from the fruit basket. Fruit comes in its own package with little waste so that pleases my older son trying to recycle and save the planet. Each week fresh produce is a large portion of my purchase at the grocery store including 5-8 pounds of apples! Summer treats include blueberry smoothies and watermelon (my favorite) and of course the occassional ice cream!
Sent from my Verizon Wireless mobile phone


I have always included supersets, trisets and giant sets in my
workouts. I always find I have so much I want to accomplish in a
workout and can't spend hours in the gym so supersets are a must. I
actually find the rest betwen sets seeming to be a waste of
time....why not work a different muscle while one rests? Probably the
multitasking mind of a mother at work... Supersets and giant sets
have benefits other than time, they also help keep the heart rate up
to keep the metabolism burning even hotter.
Pick a pair of exercises tha work different muscle groups, perform one
set of each exercise without rest between exercises and you have a
superset, and a third exercise you have a triset....another beauty
here...mix and match and you never have the same workout twice, the
variety is good for your mind and your muscles!
Sent from my iPod


Back in the gym this morning was a lot tougher than I expected....maybe it was the horrible heat and humidity we have been dealing with (though the gym is air conditioned...), more likely I just proved to myself loudly how much my dedication to proper fueling and hydration of my body really effects my ability to get a good workout! A few days with a more relaxed attitude about the diet in regards to a few 'treats,' and not the usual whole grain or low fat dairy products. Seems my 'machine' has really gotten used to the more premium fuel I have been filling the tank with. Back on track as my workouts and feeling good working hard are important to both my physical and mental health!
Sent from my iPod

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Adirondack escape

Just returned from an excellent mini vacation to 4th Lake in the Adirondacks. What a great (and much needed) mental escape. Though I did miss my regular gym workouts (borderline addiction but what healthier addiction than a regular exercise program) everyone is just more active all day...hiking, fishing, swimming and even enjoyed waterskiing which I haven't done in years! I did take my Jungle Gym and used that for some resistance/bodyweight exercise for upper body/Back; what a great "gym" mother nature provides....surrounded by fresh air and can't beat the lake views and sunshine!
The biggest challenge to staying on track was the tempting foods that others shared while they too were on vacation...many people see this also as a diet vacation...calories and quality still count...need to stick with the cheat meal not weekend. Found a little less ab definiton than I had last week after working so hard and had really started to see results! Lesson learned! And very honestly the "treats" do not make the vacation but the times and the memories....
Gotta buckle down and get back to the clean eats and looking forward to getting back to the gym!
Sent from my Verizon Wireless mobile phone

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Take time to stop and smell the roses...

Always remember to enjoy the little things...I try to sneak a few minutes (or a hour if allowed) on a sunny afternoon to enjoy my rose garden. I find something so peaceful there...maybe the sun on my face, the smell of the roses or the fact that I shave succeeded in finding a few moments by myself. :) I was especially pleased this afternoon to find my single blue rose blooming as I get only one every other year. Not sure why this particular rose pleases me so...maybe because it reminds me to take the time to enjoy the beauty in the simple things and time passes so quickly. Remember to enjoy the little things as they happen, don't miss then waiting for the big things to happen.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless mobile phone

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Take it outside

The sun is out, breeze is warm, take your workout to the grass and
trees. Soak up the sun (with proper sun protection of course!) make
some vitamin D and strengthen your mind and your body while you
breathe the fresh air of summer!
Bodyweight training shines for outdoor new suspension
trainer hanging from a tree branch provides opportunity for a whole
body workout. There is always lunges, squats and sprints on the grass,
push ups, sit ups or a brisk walk around the neighborhood.
I find the more time I spend outside and the more active I am the
fewer cravings I have and enjoy much healthier choices for all meals. Continue to fuel and hydrate well! I carry my Bean Kanteen full of water everywhere and fuel up with healthy snacks every 3-4 hours.
Whatever you do enjoy the day and the moment while you continue to find new ways to enjoy a fit lifestyle.
Sent from my iPod

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Great workout this morning....pushed hard on the cardio session with the nudging of Motiontraxx again. Hit the weights for legs and glutes! Can't wait to try the new suspension trainer this afternoon for uppers/back and core! Nothing like mixing up the program for a burst of motivation!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Listen to this...

If you are looking for great fitness information...subscribe to The Fitcast, available on iTunes. Entertaining and informational! They have frequent guest interviews including many well renowned fitness experts providing great information and motivation. Weekly podcasts provide entertainment and motivation. Great listen!
The usual cast of characters, Kevin, Jon and Leigh are full of great information and kick yourself in the butt motivation. The recent guest interview with Steve Cotter, kettlebell expert inspired me to dust off my kettlebells for a workout yesterday and my glutes and thighs were screaming through my cardio this morning! Thanks for the inspiration to mix it up!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Get moving....

Love Motiontraxx (available on iTunes)! Makes HIIT easy...well, times the intervals and sets the pace for me but the workout still kicks my butt!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Time for a change...

I have been at the weight lifting thing for several years and have experienced plateaus before but this time somehow I am stuck in a routine...I definately need to take some time to come up with a new program.

My goal: change up the routine the beginning of each month!

This month I add drop sets! Start with a set or 2 as usual then without rest between sets lower the weight and perform exercise until failure, lower weight and do it again! Trying this with delts, triceps and lats so far.

Next month? Switch from dumbbells work back to more cables?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Please help yourself...

Bottom line...we all have to choose to make changes and educate ourselves to get on and stay on the path to fitness/wellness. The hard part is getting into shape...let's only do it once. On the quest, develop a lifestyle that will keep you in shape.

Find motivation to stay on track and bring your halthy lifestyle goals to the front of your mind. It is critical to have frequent reminders throughout the day to help stick to the plan when making decisions about snacking and push myself to go the extra mile with the workout. I subscribe to Oxygen Magazine and gain a freshened motivation each month when it arrives in the mail. I also have subscibed to The FitCast podcast which is very entertaining, motivating and informational, I listen to the podcast on my commute. All this keeps me thinking in the "fit mindset."

These are working for me, find something that works for you!

Friday, April 9, 2010

A quote to ponder...

"Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled in defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons." ~Michael Shermer columnist for Scientific American

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Fueling the body for success...

"Eat to live, not live to eat." Wise advice. As we travel through each day our bodies require fuel, food should fill this role. Food is used for so many other things that end up with long term consequences- emotional eating, including under stress or as a reward; eating treats/sweets for the sugar rush ..and subsequent crash...more food...weight gain....setting off a cycle that lasts all day...sometimes a lifetime...
The information is out there...research supporting the ill effects of a poor diet and look around attention the contents of people's carts at the grocery store and compare to their physique. Read it, see it, understand and believe it; find in it the motivation to make a positive change today.
Some good basic information about proper fueling of the body comes from any of Tosca Reno's Eat Clean Diet books. When you are really ready to accept/admit that it is really all up to you to make all the necessary changes to achieve a healthly attitude and make healthy lifestyle changes read Tom Venuto's book- The Body Fat Soultion. Great information about the reality of fat loss and it is more the attitude and accountability that makes or breaks the plan. A great book to force you to be critical of your self and find the kick in the butt you needed to make the attitude change....that is really what is all goes back to.
Exercise is not a chore to me, it is a priority. I work out regularly and truly enjoy it. Diet, however...a challenge...Over the last several years I have been working on the diet...a picky eater all my life, much was lacking ...Gradually our household changed to eating all 100% whole grain products. Have added vitamins and minerals as supplements (great resource: The Real Vitamin and Mineral Book)and finding ways to enjoy the things I avoided and then gradually clean up those items as well. Never liked yogurt and my diet significantly lacking in the fruit and veggie department had lead me to experimenting with homemade smoothies. We can not avoid food but must work daily to achieve/maintain a healthy relationship with it.
Bottom line about's hard and you have to want it bad enough to go for it and live it.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Finding motivation and a note on accountabilty...

Ultimately we need to find the motivation in ourselves to make changes but also necessary are the people or things we encounter in daily life that remind us and drive us to stay on track...My biggest motivation of recent weeks has been my husband. Last summer I 'nudged' him to begin an exercise program and shared what I had learned in my quest to make changes over the last few years. He now enjoys the exercise and has made great dietary changes. Initially he endured frustration with lack of pounds lost but watched inches come off....Now I watch him as he works in the yard and each day realize more and more how much his hard work has paid off. He keeps me on track with a friendly (unspoken) competition to become more 'buff', after all my years of working out I can't let him get past me! He keeps me accountable as we now work on this lifestyle change together.
My own frustrations with the 'stuck scale' started a body fat measurement means of accountability, (also found a few photos told a tale) I only wish I started long ago to see how far I have really traveled since the journey beginning several years ago. I needed a new burst of motivation and sometimes need to sharpen the details of the challenge.
Staying accountable and being honest with yourself is critical to making effective and lasting changes. Set goals and find an objective means of documenting changes, keeping you accountable and to help you stick to the plan. No one else in your world can do it for you, be honest with yourself but find support (and a little friendly competition) in others.

Finding sanity...

Finding balance in life is hard....but if I have learned nothing else in this crazy, hectic life I love....I have learned that I must put my health, mental and physical, at the top of the To-Do list. Many think I am crazy for rising before the sun to hit the gym and find some peace...these quiet hours are the most productive of my day. I spend time exercising my mind and muscles, organize my thoughts and blow off steam, returning to my house full of exuberant boys with a little, though often momentary, feeling of peace.