Exercise, General Health

Motivation Monday May 27: 27 Great Reasons to Weight Train Today

  1. It’s the first step toward getting the body you really wantMemorial_Day_2012_freecomputerdesktopwallpaper_1600
  2. You will be that much closer to turning into your childhood superhero
  3. You wouldn’t skip out on brushing your teeth today would you—eeeewww.
  4. You want to keep the commitment you made to yourself to get healthy.  Breaking commitments is bad for your self-esteem.
  5. If you blow off your workout today you will be more likely to blow off your workout tomorrow and the hardest thing is to get back on the wagon once you have fallen off…so don’t even go there. Don’t think—just shrink!
  6. You will get weaker, fatter, and uglier if you don’t.
  7. Somewhere deep inside you will be loathing yourself if you don’t
  8. It’s the best natural anti-depressant in the world
  9. You don’t want to be one of those people that don’t work out ,do you?
  10. It’s the safest way possible for you to get rid of that pent-up aggression you have—better for everyone involved.
  11. Cuz’ you are one sexy Mamma when you train and you know it
  12. You will be so much more productive the rest of the day if you train first, so telling yourself you don’t have time is another way of saying you just don’t want to train.
  13. You don’t want to wimp out on the better existence you are planning for yourself
  14. It’s a great escape from your problems
  15. Its cheaper than therapy and often more effective
  16. Because procrastinating and thinking about all the reasons not to takes more time and is much harder than actually working out
  17. Because you are just gonna go in and lift a few light sets, or hitting play on that dvd or drive in and do the first 15 minutes of class ..and within moments you will find yourself giving it your all.
  18. You will sleep better
  19. You will probably eat better after working out hard
  20. You will have more energy
  21. You will be better able to protect yourself and your loved ones if some unexpected bad stuff should happen
  22. You will age more beautifully
  23. It’s awesome to know you are stronger, faster, and healthier now at 42 than when you were 24.
  24. You will have more better sex –‘nuf said
  25. Because right now there’s someone too sick, too paralyzed, or too dead to train. Somewhere someone’s wishing they could train. Give it your all today because you are grateful you aren’t them.
  26. It’s a great life insurance policy against diabetes, heart disease, cancer and many other yucky things.
  27. There’s some Navy Seal who trains his butt off so you can speak your mind. Go to the weight room with gusto for that guy/gal out of gratitude.
Exercise, Fitness Goals

ABC’s of Getting Back in the Workout Groove


I’ve eaten so much food over Passover/Easter/My Birthday that I feel so fat and bloated I’m not even sure my workout clothes even fit anymore.

I don’t even want to step foot in the gym if I’m going to look like a fool since I have taken so much time off from working out I probably would be huffing and puffing after the warm-up.

I really should get myself into better shape but I’m so tired at the end of the day.

Sound familiar?

Maybe you’re thinking, “I’ll never get in shape again.”

Maybe your exercise plans got derailed by an injury.

Or maybe it was work demands, family schedules, or an emotional trauma like a divorce or death in the family.

Whatever it was, you’ve fallen off the exercise wagon and aren’t sure you’ll ever be motivated or fit enough to jump back on.

This happens to just about everyone. The hardest thing to do after you have stopped exercising is to start again.

Here are some quick ABC tips to help you bust a move:

Accept. Accept that you hit a bump in the road to fitness. Own it and know its only a bump in the road. Its not forever.

Be good to yourself. Don’t expect that you can do everything you could before your setback. Take it one step at a time. Taking on too much is a surefire way to get injured and have yet another setback. Start easy and listen to your body and work at your current fitness level. If you haven’t worked out in a while consider doing half of what you think you can do and if you’re not sore tomorrow, you can try doing a little more. Maybe even ask a trainer how to work around your injury safely or ask a knowledgeable friend how to modify those tough Yoga moves to something you can do.

Commit to something small. Putting your shoes on and driving to the class is the first step. Staying for the first 20 minutes is fantastic. Maybe next week you can stay for 40 minutes. Make that first goal something easy. Go for the low-hanging fruit. Don’t try and run a marathon…just walk out the door and walk for 10 minutes, turn around and come home…today. You will feel good and can build on that success. Make that appointment with a trainer, offer to drive to the gym with a friend and hold yourself accountable.

Do it. The hardest part is getting off our butts – but if I were richer, taller, thinner, smarter, happier…It’s time to stop thinking and start moving. Stop waiting for a brilliant moment of inspiration. It’s not going to get any easier. Just not. You’ll be inspired once you start moving and the endorphins kick in. You’ll be inspired when the music turns on. Maybe not…Just go do it because you know it’s the best thing you can do for your body and your mind.

Diet, Exercise, Q&A

FAQ – Diet Without Exercise?

Dear Kayla,4803786_s

Ever since I learned that 80% of fat loss has to do with diet, I think I lost my will to exercise. I kind of know its good for me and every time I see you, I think to myself I should do it, but I don’t really feel motivated.—M. from Los Angeles


Dear M,

It’s great that you are becoming educated about your body.  Its true that diet, including what you eat, when you eat it and in what quantity has so much to do with weight loss.  Trainers like me can only help you maximize the other 20% of the picture when it comes to getting you to your ideal body weight.

But there’s more to life and more to being healthy than simply being thin!  You can be thin and not necessarily be healthy.  I’d like to think I help people do more than look hot in their skinny jeans–we are talking about quality of life and possibly the duration of your life as well!

So, you mean you are dieting, but you aren’t exercising?  Ouch.  You could be losing muscle, too…That’s not pretty.  There are so many benefits to regular exercise:

Exercise decreases your risk of some cancers:

Cardiovascular activities have been shown to reduce cardio vascular disease risks because they:

  • Decrease triglycerides
  • Increase HDL cholesterol
  • Reduce resting blood pressure
  • Reduce insulin needs
  • Reduce blood platelet adhesiveness
  • Increase stamina, endurance and energy
  • Strengthen the heart
  • Decrease heart rate and blood pressure at sub maximal levels
  • Increase maximal oxygen uptake
  • Improve immune function
  • Improve sleep

Strength Training Benefits Include:

  • Increased functional ability/ability to perform the activities of daily living. (Being more fit means you can do more with less effort)
  • Increased bone density
  • Decreased sarcopenia (age-related muscle loss)
  • Potentially increased metabolism (making it easier for you maintain a healthy weight)
  • Decreased risk of injury
  • Increased strength of connective tissue
  • Increased motor performance
  • Improved feelings of well-being and self-confidence

Additionally, circuit weight training (where one resistance exercise is performed one after the other without rest for 20 minutes or more) may result in:

  • Reduction in blood pressure at rest
  • Improved lipid profile
  • Improved glucose tolerance

Just stretching alone can provide the following benefits:

  • Decreased stress
  • Relief of muscle soreness
  • Decreased muscle tension
  • Improved posture
  • Decreased low-back pain
  • Improved ability to perform daily activities

It’s a choice, really. You have to make the time for exercise and you have to choose to make exercise a priority or it won’t happen.

There are lots of things we know we should do in life that we don’t necessarily want to – change diapers, pay taxes etc. but we get through it. Maybe you haven’t been able to find something fun?  If you can’t–just do it anyway!

Ideally for optimal health, we want 3-4 days a week of cardio and 2-3 days of strength training.  Flexibility training could take place 2-3 days a week, but ideally 5-7 days/week.  If you have been sedentary, you will need to start slowly and work up to this ..for example start walking maybe with just a 10 minute walk a few times a week and increase the duration and/or distance as you build your strength.

Both a sensible diet and exercise are needed to achieve optimal health.

Hope to see you Monday for cardio kickboxing!

Diet, Exercise, General Health

Live For Now

Pepsi launched a new ad campaign.  Maybe you have seen the billboards across town or the TV ad, which proudly demands that we “Live For Now?”

I love it!  Finally, truth in advertising!

No more live for today or live for the moment. Simply put, live for now—right now, this instant… Certainly, if you were thinking of living a long time you wouldn’t be drinking this now.  But you’re not, you’re thinking about now.  One of my personal training clients said the ad is just missing proper punctuation..”Live, for Now”…would have been more accurate, he said.  In fact, if you thought about it for even a second longer you might just decide not to have that Pepsi and drink something really hydrating and less costly in so many ways….Water!

Anyone remember the the old campaign, “the taste for a new generation?”  Forget that.  Pepsi needed a new ad campaign mostly because soda has become the four letter word of beverages.  We have heard that its not that healthy but we wonder..is it really that bad for you?

Lets start by looking at what its made of: Carbonated water, caramel color, flavorings, caffeine, phosphoric acid and high-fructose corn syrup/sugar/artificial sweetner and preservatives, like sodium benzoate.

Carbonated water is plain (water infused with carbon dioxide, which creates the bubbles).  The caramel color  in some brands of soda was in fact found to be carcinogenic, so it has been replaced by another one which is supposedly safer.

Phosphoric acid is a chemical that adds a tangy or sour flavor by breaking down starches into sugar.  The phosphorous can leach calcium from your bones.  Broken bones, osteoporosis—no thanks!

Then there’s the sugar issue..and we know the troubles of table sugar – weight gain, tooth decay, even cancer in rats.  I don’t mind sugar now and then though in moderation. In some ways, maybe soda should be thought of as a drinkable dessert.  For the sake of comparison, a typical sugar packet contains 2-4 grams of sugar.  A 12 oz Pepsi contains 42g  (3.5g/oz) HFCS – high fructose corn syrup is a less expensive type of sugar than cane sugar (thank you to the US corn lobby).  However, corn is one of the most genetically modified crops…and we don’t know the risks of genetically modified seeds and crops yet.  I prefer not to be the government’s guinea pig here—especially since the way to break down the DNA of the seeds is through viruses.  We simply don’t know the long term results.  If you have sugar, your body will register that at some point its full and you will stop. HFCS puts us in an even greater metabolic danger because it doesn’t register that feeling of fullness in the brain the same way.

Aha, but you may drink a sugar-free diet version of Pepsi which contains 0 grams of sugar.  According to one study, those who drank just 1 can of diet soda a day had a 34% greater incidence of metabolic syndrome.  But why?  Partly, I think its because people may indulge in other junk-foods (high calorie foods with low nutrient density) because they think the drink is saving them calories. It could also be that the brain forgets that sweetness indicates calories as you eat more and more artificially sweetened things so when you do finally break down and eat a sweet thing with sugar the body thinks it doesn’t need to burn those calories since there mustn’t be any.

Artificial sweetners like Aspartame/Nutra Sweet, are an excitotoxin, which may damage to the brain’s appetite center.   Carol Simontacchi from her book The Crazy Makers: How the Food Industry Is Destroying Our Brains and Harming Our Children states, “One liter of an aspartame-sweetened beverage can produce about fifty-six milligrams of methanol. When several of these beverages are consumed in a short period of time (one day, perhaps), as much as two hundred fifty milligrams of methanol are dumped into the bloodstream, or thirty-two times the EPA limit.”  Hm, when people characterize soda as a poison, they may not exaggerating.

Then there’s that addictive stimulant known as caffeine which is a diuretic (read: dehydrating).  At first, you feel like you have energy, but when you come down off the caffine, you can feel quite hungry—and eat more calories and put on excess weight which puts you at risk for disease.  The problem is that between the spike in blood sugar caused by the sugar (HFCS included) and the surge followed by a crash caused by the caffine, you are likely to wind up hungry…and throw off the successes you accrued in diet and exercise because it left you depleted.

Finally, there’s the sodium benzoate, which is added to prevent mold growth.  A Consumer Reports test found that when drinks with this sit in plastic bottles in sun or heat, dangerous levels of benzene can form.  Sodium benzoate or potassium benzoate and vitamin C/ascorbic acid can create the benzene.

Its really quite a campaign indeed.  The “Live for Now” campaign is so trendy and cool with its Nicki Minaj pop up concerts integrating her lyrics from the song “Moment 4 Life.” “I wish that I could have this moment for life.  ‘Cuz in this moment I just feel so alive.”  Made me think..

I feel most alive when I’m working out actually.  When do you feel most alive? Are you living for Now? What one small thing can you do right now that will help ensure you will be alive for the really important things in your life?

Blaylock, R. Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills. Santa Fe, NM: Health Press 1997.

Consumer Reports staff.  “Benzene in Soft Drinks.” Consumer Reports, October 2006. www.consumerreports.org/cro/food/food-safey/benzene-in-soft-drinks/benzene-10-06/overview/1006_benzene_ov_1.htm

Swithers, S. and Davidson T. “A Role for Sweet Taste:Calorie Predictive Relations in Energy Regulation by Rats.”  Behavioral Neuroscience 122 no1 (February 2008)

Pierce, W. Et Al. “Over-eating by Young Obesity Prone and Lean Rats Caused by Tastes Associated with Low Energy Foods.”  Obesity 15 no8 (August 2007)


It’s YOUR Knee, You SHOULD Be Able To Lift It! – Why Body Weight Exercises Rock My World

Bodyweight exercises are some of the best types of exercises because you can do them virtually anywhere and you don’t need any special equipment.  Another benefit is that they usually aren’t too difficult to master and are good for a variety of fitness levels.  How’s that for no excuses?

Want to get lean?  Try increasing the amount of repetitions to improve your endurance.  Want to get stronger?  Try increasing the intensity by decreasing the leverage and working at the end of your range of motion.

Want great thighs?  Try doing some squats – sit your weight back into your heels (you might even try lifting your toes inside your shoes for a wiggle).  Keep your abs engaged and imagine there’s a string tied to your head lifting and elongating it toward the ceiling.  Chest up.  Slowly lower yourself down as if you’re sitting on a chair.  You may support the weight of your body with your hands on your thighs or progress to look no hands ma’.  Beginners don’t need to sit back very far and more advanced can progress until their thighs make a ninety degree angle with the shins – or become parallel to the floor.  You can do this while holding a toddler.  You can hold it statically (without moving) at various degrees of your range of motion up or down.  You can add gentle pulses.  You can do it to music.  You can turn your feet out to the sides to work the inner thighs.  You can point the knees and toes to the front to work more of the top of the thigh and butt.  You can do these while folding laundry, making phonecalls, picking up the junk your kids left all over the floor.  You can even sit down with your back against a wall and lower yourself until your legs are in a 90 degree angle and just see how long you can hold that position – try for a longer and longer amount of time each day.

Want great biceps?  My favorite is pushups.  They can be done so many ways!  How about plank your body at an angle while doing dishes and do a countertop push-up.  The closer your feet are to the counter, the easier it should be.  You can progress until your feet are on the floor, or raise your feet onto a step for even more intensity.

The back of your arms wiggle like chicken wings?  Try tricep dips on the edge of your bathtub.

Do walking-lunges while vacuuming.  You can step forward with one leg and lower your body straight down while bending the back leg until both front and back legs make 90 degree angles from thigh to shin.

Do karate-kid style wax-on, wax-off cleaning of your table top with a rag in each hand, or under each foot while cleaning the floor (best not to do hands and feet at the same time).

Cardio endurance your issue?  Try running up and down your stairs or reach up high and pull your knee to your chest while lowering your hands to that knee and tightening your abs.  It IS YOUR knee afterall and you should be able to lift it.  Getting stronger?  See how many times you can do it in a row before getting tired or set a timer and try to beat the clock.

Struggle with lower belly flab and jiggly thighs?  Try raising your knee off the ground until your thigh is paralell to the floor (use a broom or chair if you need help with balance. Raise it slightly up and down…It works the bottom part of the abs and the top of the high- the psoas.

You can even clench your butt cheeks while on line at the grocery store!

If you need more ideas, or want to see this in color, check out Carolyn Barne’s DVD cLEANmomma.  I’m also happy to show you a few more complicated ones in person.