Archive for Fitness/Exercise

EXERCISE: A CELEBRATION ONLY

A client of mine sent me this photo and I just LOVE it.

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Exercise is the most glorious thing you can do for your body. Putting aside the long list of health benefits, moving your body simply puts you in a great mood. It is a natural antidepressant. So if you want more energy and to feel happier then move your body! Never use exercise as a punishment for food ESPECIALLY since……

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DIET AND EXERCISE: UNLINK THEM!

In the New York Times today there is a whole section devoted to diet and exercise with the title “FITNESS FOR EVERYONE”. Inside, there are pages and pages of diet and exercise tips including how to become more flexible , how to make an exercise plan, diets that are trending, the best food-tracking apps and even a beautiful illustration of the gluteal muscles.

Diet and exercise are always linked together because they do make up a good portion of download.jpg lifestyle choices. As a trainer, I went back to school to study nutrition so I could counsel my clients in the most comprehensive way. Having said this, I do think sometimes we need to NOT link them together. As I mentioned in previous blogs, I see the pattern of people cleaning up their eating and once they do, they start exercising.  However, when the diet slips, the exercise vanishes, too.  I say, UNLINK THEM! Exercise needs to be the constant. It needs to happen in good eating phases and in bad. In times of ease and in times of stress.  When the weather is good and when the weather is bad. When you’re in the mood for it, or when you’re not.

Moving is fundamental. It’s what makes us alive and keeps us happy. It keeps our bodies limber and our minds sharp. But forget all of that. Moving your body simply puts you in a good mood.

So, don’t make your body suffer MORE when you’re eating is off. Keep moving. Walk, jog, hike, ride a bike, stretch, do some yoga, walk the dog, dance in your underwear, do an exercise video on you tube, try cross fit, jump rope, play in the garden, sweep, vacuum, park your car far away from a store, take the stairs, walk around the block……it doesn’t matter. Just move as much as you can and as consistently as you can. And the best part is that your body will thank you by putting you in a good mood!

 

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FEEL GOOD!

As many of you know, I’m not a huge fan of the winter. Ok, I hate it. I hate the way the cold makes my body feel and I can’t stand the darkness. In the past, I started feeling utterly miserable a week before we changed the clocks in the Fall. I would complain, to anyone who would listen, about how I couldn’t stand the darkness, how I felt doomed and depressed that winter was coming, and blah, blah, blah, complain, complain, complain. This past Fall, I was in my normal a-week-before-we change-the-clocks-complaining-mode, when my good friend called me out. After our talk I realized that winter was coming whether I liked it or not and that I had a choice to continue with this atrocious attitude or put an end to it. I chose the latter. And I have to proudly brag that I have sailed through this winter feeling MUCH better. (Even with March kicking our butts!)

I know it sounds cliché but attitude makes all the difference in the world.

I now want to talk about how your attitude can change the way you view exercise. Here’s weerhandig-happy_walker-e1451928576689.jpgwhat happens when you exercise: you feel better. You have more energy, your mood is improved, your body feels less stiff, you are less stressed, you sleep better and you feel alive! Many people actually start eating a lot cleaner once they start moving.  Even though we know exercise makes us feel wonderful, many people struggle with being consistent. It’s almost as if the chalk board, full of positive exercise attributes, gets erased and amnesia sets in immediately.  The result is having only episodes of regular exercise—as soon as life gets in the way, it falls off.  And for many, when exercise stops, that cleaner, healthier eating also ceases.

Here’s my suggestion. Change your attitude. Think of exercise as a non-negotiable part of your life just like brushing your teeth is. When you’re eating clean and lean, you are an exerciser. Likewise, when you’re not eating as well, you’re still moving your body. What will happen, over time, is that you will constantly reap the benefits of exercise—and I’m not even focusing on things like heart health, bone density, or blood sugar control. I’m just talking about feeling good.

The bottom line is that we make time for things that are important to us. Feeling good has to be one of them!

 

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BAR v. BRA?

I need to vent.

Since we are currently living in a time where women are openly expressing themselves, I thought I’d take a moment to talk about something that really bugs me.  Yes, this is all about inequality: most exercise equipment is made for MEN.  A specific example? Push up bars. It seems that no matter which ones I order, they never feel right in my hands because most of the time, the grip is too large.  413WMvCWd3L

So, the other day I searched, again, for a pair of push up bars that will make my hands, and the hands of my female clients, feel better. I did a google search for “push up bars for women”. Much to my horror, the first result that popped up was PUSH UP BRAS for women.  Seriously?

Needless to say, I could not find a product—a push up BAR—that was made specifically for me. This is awfully disappointing since I am a strong, bad ass woman, WHO CAN DO PUSH UPS.

Whew. Thank you for letting me vent.

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EYE ROLL!!!!

Every now and then, your daughter, mother, husband or some other loved one will say something to you that will cause a major eye roll. Well, now it’s my turn.

It’s December. After all of the festivities, many of you will be thinking about New Year’s download.jpgresolutions and I have 2 suggestions that we all need to be doing.

STRETCH YOUR BODY and DRINK WATER

STRETCHING

Aging isn’t fun. If you’re over 50, you will see that stiffness is a part of life. Tight muscles restrict your range of motion around your joints making even daily activities (bending, lifting, reaching) more difficult. We seem to associate stretching with exercise but stretching your body daily will protect your mobility and, eventually, your independence.

Unfortunately, stretching is completely underrated and yet it is one of the most effective ways to prevent injuries and to have a good quality of life. Tight muscles can cause lower back pain, poor posture and muscular imbalances. Who wants to be stooped over, hobbling around, and feeling constantly stiff? I can’t stress the importance enough. Stretching will not only make your body feel better, but you will be giving yourself a tremendous gift in the long term. The best way to start is to go on you tube and find a stretching routine that you can follow. Make it a part of your daily routine. DO IT!!! It will be the best investment in you!

DRINKING WATER

There are so many reasons why we need to be drinking water but I want to focus on just one: Drinking water prevents fatigue. Our blood is 92% water. If we don’t drink enough,  there will be less water in our blood. Less water means a lower blood volume. A lower blood volume means that the heart has to work harder to pump oxygenated blood around the body.  Our organs start to work less efficiently. Drinking water allows our bodies to function better.

Often, when a client comes to me complaining about feeling tired I find that it’s usually coming from one of two things: a lousy diet OR not enough water. How much water should you be drinking? There many formulas out there (one says to drink in ounces 2/3 of your body weight and then adjust for sweating), but I advise my clients to drink enough so that when they go to the bathroom, their pee is clear. Like any change, if you are not a big water drinker, SLOWLY ease into drinking more and increase gradually. Add some lemon, lime or orange to your water. I love drinking water with cucumber slices. Make water as palatable as you can so you’ll drink it.

You can eye roll me all you want but I am telling you that stretching your body and drinking more water will absolutely make you feel better in 2018!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BE POSITIVE ABOUT THE “E” WORD

“Damn, I have to lose weight so I guess I have to start exercising”. Have you heard this happy-healthy-couple.jpgbefore? I have! Since losing weight is challenging, tedious and downright HARD, exercise takes on the same negativity. Ironically, studies show that exercise alone is NOT an effective weight loss remedy. We are wrongfully linking exercise to weight loss and we have to stop. Instead, we have to focus on the positives.

Exercise is miraculous because it has wide-ranging benefits and these benefits can happen at ANY age. Ninety-year-olds can get stronger if they start a strength training program. Even small doses of exercise count and work! If you want to feel better, both mentally and physically, simply move your body. Walk, garden, dance, take the stairs, skip, jump, bounce on a trampoline, pick things up and put the down. All of these activities are exercise! And, they wind up acting like a super power drug. While exercise may not help with weight loss, look what is DOES do:

It improves mood and can keep depression at bay

It makes you sleep better

It lowers elevated blood sugar

It lowers your risk of developing chronic diseases

It reduces stress

It increases energy

It keeps your joints less stiff

It builds muscle

It strengthens bones

It increases circulation

It makes your heart healthier

It makes your brain function better

It makes you stronger

It makes you feel happier

A happier, more energetic, less-stressed you is worth it. Be positive about exercise and try some. Do what you like and not what you think you should do.  Start out small so you don’t get overwhelmed and have fun!

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THE FALLACY OF THE FITBIT?

My husband and I recently went on a bike trip to Napa Valley, where we rode every day for a week, climbed big hills, and were cycling for hours and hours each day. Did we lose a lot of weight from all of this exercise? Uh………NO! For most people, exercise increases appetite.img_8349 In our case, we were HUNGRY!! While I burned a minimum of 1000 calories per ride, I also carried sustenance with me: a small bag of nuts that had chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, raisins and dried cranberries mixed in. That little baggie must have held a minimum of 500 calories. And that’s only what I ate WHILE riding.

I’m writing about this because I recently read an article about a study done on weight loss with people using fitness trackers, like the FitBit, vs. people who didn’t. The FitBit users actually lost LESS weight than the people who used nothing. This is not surprising. Seeing that you burned 500 calories at the gym might give you the false sense that you can eat more than you need to.  Just like the caloric trail mix that I carried, it’s effortless to add back what you have burned off. In fact, it’s easy to put even MORE in!

So, if you’re looking to lose weight, pay attention to your food intake. Exercise is a  wonderful thing to do for your body and your brain. However, exercise alone won’t do the trick.

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