Planning to go on a diet and exercise plan after Passover?

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Consider the following things a personal trainer can do:

  1. Improve Your Overall Fitness by monitoring your progress and fine-tune your program as you go, helping you work your way off plateaus.
  2. Reach or Maintain a Healthy Weight by helping you set realistic goals and determine safe strategies, all while providing the encouragement you need.
  3. Learn to Stick to It by helping you overcome your biggest obstacles to exercise.
  4. Focus on Your Unique Health Concerns such as low-back pain, rehabilitation from injury and pre/postnatal training.
  5. Find the Right Way to Work Out, by learning  the correct way to use equipment, and appropriate form and technique for cardiovascular work and free-weight training.
  6. Stop Wasting Time. Get maximum results in minimum time with a program designed specifically for you.
  7. Learn New Skills.
  8. Enhance Your Mind, Body and Spirit by showing you potential you didn’t realize you had.
  9. Benefit From the Buddy System, individualized attention and support.
  10. Finally find the exercise program that works best for you.

Cleansing for Passover

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You have probably heard all the gossip about the latest fad diet or juice cleanse or whatever and at this point the only thing you really matzo deserves a good cleanse is the back of your refrigerator from any chometz.

Some of us, fear that Passover with all of the matzo balls or macaroons, oddly timed meals and family stressors will ruin the waistline we worked so hard to achieve.  I think Passover can be a great time to institute some good nutrition for yourself and your family. The market shelves are already brimming with boxed specialty latke mixes for Passover, Passover candies, Matzos of every variety and we are carefully checking labels to insure they meet our high standards. We may also start getting concerned about the higher costs of all of these specialty items.

I’d like to invite you to also use this time of preparation to take a look at the junk we puff ourselves up with on the outside and begin fresh this spring by taking the holiday as an opportunity to simplify, and cleanse the body with un-packaged, simpler and self-made goodies that nourish us on the inside in ways that will make us glow as well on the outside.  You can choose to “simplify with ore packaged foods and mixes..or you can choose to simplify and actually save money by using more fresh locally grown fruits and vegetables.  You can make your own convenience foods such as carrot and celery sticks, or melon slices pre-portioned and ready to go in baggies in the fridge. You can even nibble on these while you clean. Soups can be a wonderful addition to your meals because they make you feel more full and (assuming you aren’t using bullion) contain no artificial colorings, flavorings, unhealthful oils either. You can even be your own sous chef and slice all the veggies and separate them into portions all on the same day for different uses-for sides or soups or for steaming all at the same time to economize on time.  Salads are another great option with a lean protein like a poached chicken breast makes a great lunch to keep your blood sugar stable (and your mood) while you are preparing and during the holiday as well.

If there is one area–besides the Matzo not to spare expense–it would be oil. Grapeseed, Walnut oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Coconut are all better choices for your health than the cottonseed and palm oils which will be readily and more cheaply available. These more healthful oils are worth the extra expense!

Make sure to stay hydrated while you are scrubbing and organizing too and re-charge your emotional and physical battery as you prepare to leave Egypt! Take time to tune in to how you are feeling. Do you need a break? Do you need some you-time. Maybe as we get closer you can’t get to the gym or class because of the time crunch but can you do some bodyweight exercise at home or a video? Maybe try to do 3 burpees or pushups between cleaning each shelf of the fridge or turn on some music and dance each time you finish cleaning an appliance.

If you are already using free software like MyFitnessPal.com to track your calories, Do Not vacation from that during Passover. Continue to log- before or after Yom Tov too. Just the act of logging keeps you on track to staying within your caloric requirements.

Finally, choose Chol HaMoed activities which allow you to enjoy the great outdoors and get some exercise. Plan a family hike, take a tour, go vegetable picking at a farm but stay active. You should be blessed to come out more free and energized with your cleaning.

Those are my tips. Do you have tips for thriving and using this prep time to tune up your nutritional cleansing and pantry cleansing?

Are You Living Your Dream Yet?

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Clients: Check your goal sheets against this article about what it takes to meet your goals. So many of us want to be a smaller size but is it worth the lifestyle changes to maintain it? Are you living your dream yet? http://www.precisionnutrition.com/cost-of-getting-lean

Have You Been Naughty?

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santasOne of my long-time clients confided to me last week that the scale hasn’t moved in a while.

She just doesn’t feel that into it anymore, and she’s exhausted.  Ever since the holidays she hasn’t been eating great – skipping meals and eating high-fat, processed foods – and hasn’t been doing all of her workouts.

Between family visiting, the holiday goodies, the change in schedule and starting back at work after her baby, she has taken quite a bit of time off from her program, which previously consisted of some cardio dance classes and yoga, in addition to strength training with me once a week.

Looking back on our schedule, it had been at least a couple of months off.  She feels like giving up, like maybe she’s never going to reach her goals.  Although she knows what she is still doing has health benefits, maybe she’s never going to get into that smaller dress size she had in mind.

Wow!  Is that you?  It has happened to me, too!

Yes, even some fitness pros have moments when the whole enchilada, workout and nutrition, goes kaboom.  Maybe a stress, like family visiting or emotions or a bingeful off-season gone awry or an injury, set you back and you’re not sure if you can ever pick up all the pieces…or if you even want to.

Naughty, very naughty!

It doesn’t feel good to be in that “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” state.  I’m not going to tell you to pick yourself up by your boot straps and get moving because we know if that was gonna happen, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

Now is the time to be nice to yourself.  It feels awful enough already. You haven’t worked out and yet you are tired nearly all the time.  Be good to yourself.  Can you think back to a time when you were energetic?  What activities were you enjoying?  Are you doing any of those things now?

Here are some ideas to get you going:

  • Dig out that workout and or nutrition journal and go back to the early pages when you were so excited. Read through your goals…especially the “why” behind your desire to start a fitness program.  Do those reasons apply still?
  • Try a new recipe from a healthy cook book or online site or magazine.
  • What did you do differently at the times when you were looking and feeling better?  Were you eating breakfast, did you have more salad?  Did you go places or do things that made you happy?  Would you want to do just any one of those things now?
  • Skip the ‘go hard or go home’ style workout, try a restorative yoga class!
  • Try a new piece of equipment.  I know some of us have equipment graveyards in the closet and under the bed, but if it gets you off your tush and back on track even for a little while perhaps its money well spent.  The idea at this time isn’t to start a new long-term program, but to merely get off the couch.
  • Too much effort to get out?  Why not just put on Pandora and dance around in the kitchen to some tunes!
  • Pull out a DVD and just hit play.  No commitment, just hit play and see if you want to try it. YouTube a cardio workout or check FitnessGlo.
  • Get a Groupon for an activity you have always wanted to try.
  • Have that pedicure, that cup of tea, that chat with an old friend…something to just incorporate “you time.”  After all, that’s what your workout should be – time to be good to yourself, not beat yourself up or down.  Maybe all the holiday stuff – the emotional and the seasonal treats everywhere and the focus on doing so much have made you disconnected from taking time to recharge yourself, so take the time to self-indulge with feel-good things to build you back up.
  • Go shopping for a new fitness outfit or sneakers. The sale racks are bursting right now with returned gear that might motivate you to put it to good use.
  • Make a date with a friend to go walking…Or come to one of my walking groups. Groups can make us feel part of something bigger and making new friends and having the support of a group helps reset your mood and motivation.
  • Buy a few sessions with a personal trainer – someone who can focus on you since you spend so much of the day, whether as a Mom or daughter or student or a hard worker, putting yourself aside for others.  The trainer can focus on you, coach and motivate you.  The trainer can create effective and safe workouts so you don’t have to worry about becoming injured or creating a workout program that will be effective.  Have an expert in your corner.  Its cheaper than therapy!
  • Just get outside!!!  (This is the one that got my long-time client back on track).  I find the air, the change of scenery, even for a 10 minute walk once a day, helps break me out of my sedentary rut.  Being in nature lifts my mood and the walking gets my circulation going.  Don’t overthink it.  Just get outside once a day and see how you feel.  Maybe just a walk around the block today.  Maybe in a couple days you will feel like a block and a half.  Maybe you like hiking or horseback riding or raking leaves in the yard.
  • Don’t let your mind talk you down. If the thoughts come, like “Oh, why bother?  I am fat and nothing will change,” just acknowledge it, “Oh, you again” and tell it “next” or something similarly non-judgmental, but dismissive and let go or focus on part of your life you like and think gratitude thoughts.  Just be in the moment for those 10 minutes you are walking or noticing the smells outside or the colors of the leaves.
  • Know this is normal and temporary.

How To Get Arms Like Michelle Obama

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The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) released new statistics which show arm lifts in women have skyrocketed 4,378% in the last 10 years. While there’s no single reason behind the increase, a recent poll conducted in the USA by Harris Interactive on behalf of the ASPS found  that women most admire the arms of first lady Michelle Obama, followed closely by Jennifer Aniston, Jessica Biel and Demi Moore.

Brachioplasty does remove excess skin from the triceps area. It requires an incision from the elbow to armpit generally on the back of the arm and leaves a visible and permanent scar and carries the same risks as other operative procedures.  It also does nothing to actually tone the muscles in the upper arm.  But there’s no need to go under the knife.

There are ways to get those sexy celebrity arms without going under the knife!

In interviews with Vogue Magazine and with Oprah Winfrey, MIchelle Obama revealed that she pumps iron a the gym and regularly hits the treadmill.  “I also do some jump rope, some kickboxing…” added Obama. In fact, on the FLOTUS twitter feed March 11, 2013 she revealed that to relieve stress, she loves kickboxing!

FLOTUS-Kickbox

According to Mrs. Obama herself, she works hard and eats right. Also, the Obama Family’s personal trainer Cornell McClellan shared his tricks for perfectly toned arms.  McClellan says it’s about the whole program – a lifestyle. Nutrition and exercise, both cardio and strength training, but some days you can just focus on the arms. These are the same basic  arm exercises I recommend to my own clients for wonderfully toned triceps (back of the arms):

Period.

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Nearly every one of my female personal training clients had a question about their menstrual cycle this week. Really. It hit me like a sledgehammer that this week’s blog post must address these issues.

It’s like this: “Kayla, I don’t understand, I am working my butt off and eating right and this week I gained weight.”  Another was like this: “I’m just not losing. I am doing everything, well, OK I ate a few doughnuts, well like more than a few but anyway, the scale is going in the other direction and I have no energy all day for the last two days.” “I just started the pill and I think it’s making me gain weight. Do you think that’s possible?”

Did you just get your period, or are you expecting your period like today/tomorrow? The answer 100% of the time was YES!

I’m really not sure why this was so shocking to them. I mean, I practically have 2 wardrobes depending on where I’m at in my own cycle..but it could be that once they are down enough pounds to notice the difference or maybe because they are specifically looking for changes now they notice the scale may not move, or it may move in the opposite direction you want during the time when Aunt Flo decides its time to visit.

Its normal for Auntie to add a few lbs or even more right before and sometimes during her stay. No worries. So don’t jump off the diet and exercise bandwagon. Stay the course and these lbs will just be temporary. I KNOW it feels like the end of the universe when you wake up one morning and for what appears to be no good reason, your clothes are too tight after all that hard work. I even maintain a set of clothes which fit a bit looser for “those” times.

The period can bring with it all kinds of fun – constipation, bloating, moodiness, food cravings.  The science is out there to explain all the details about why and which hormones are doing what to cause it. Bottom line to limit bloating related weight – limit salt, lay off the alcohol, drink plenty of water (yes, drinking water won’t make you retain water), and try some relaxation like tai chi or yoga (avoiding inversions like head stands for prolonged periods). If your big event that you are trying to lose the weight for is during that time of the month, plan in advance to consume foods which have a diuretic effect like watermelon, cucumber, and asparagus. Have a little extra potassium – like bananas, coconut water, leafy greens.  If you’re totally beat, maybe increase some iron, like in beef (if you eat beef).  If you need to back off on the intensity of your workouts for a day or two that’s fine, but studies show that exercising even when you have your period can alleviate some of the crampiness and moodiness that comes along with it.

Also know that gaining or losing a significant amount of weight, or exercising excessively can change your menstrual cycle – making it longer or shorter. Mostly, its temporary…so pull out your list of coping strategies and have at ‘em.

If cramping is severe or weight gain, moodiness, lack of energy is extreme, you probably want to see a Physician! Endocrinology, Gynecology etc.

Finally, as for whether the pill can make you gain weight. Yes. It can. Those based on estrogen can make you gain, and some older birth control pills had an effect on insulin resistance. Your doctor may or may not tell you that your particular brand of birth control could make it hard for you to lose weight or may make you gain weight, whether from bloating, or other hormone-based reasons and effects. I would say that in the overall scheme of your life, having a baby will make you gain more weight most likely than the pill and if every other reason you are taking this pill is fine for you maybe you need to let go of the self-imposed mandate that you should be 4 lbs lighter right?! You could also speak with a registered dietitian about whether changing up your ratio or balance of proteins to carbs might help you out while you are on the pill. Ultimately, you are the world’s foremost expert on you. So if your body is telling you a medication is having a certain affect on how you feel, you owe it to yourself to research it and consult all the experts you need to make an educated decision about whether this is the right medication for you.

ABC’s of Getting Back in the Workout Groove

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abcs

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.

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