Recent studies indicate gratitude can help strengthen your immune system, lower your blood pressure, reduce symptoms of illness, and even reduce your everyday aches and pains. So during this season of joy and giving, I’m wishing everyone more joy and gratitude attitude with 5 suggestions to help incorporate more gratitude into your life:
1. Start saying blessings over your food, over nature or have more intention and focus when you are saying them.
2. Have a gratitude journal where you write about someone or something that you encountered each day which was good. Use these things as affirmations or mantras when you may be feeling down.
4. Pay it forward– offer to pay for something for someone else that you have abundance in that they are lacking in (even if its paying their parking meter) or handing out a snack to a homeless person.
5. Take a walk in nature and focus on all the sights and smells you are appreciating.
Gratitude makes for improved physical health, happiness, enhanced sleep, improves self-esteem and better relationships. Gratitude is self-care
What are the ways you incorporate gratitude into your daily life? Tell me about it in the comments below.
I’m grateful for all my wonderful clients and the many ways they enrich my life by bringing their best to session and sometimes by bringing their worst but showing up anyway. Thanks for sharing the journey.
Why Do I Get Muscle Cramps When Exercising and What Can I do about it?
You’re really jammin’ on your workout and then suddenly it happens, your muscles just cramp up and you can’t go on. Maybe a charlie horse hamstring or a calf pulsation ..What gives? Well there are many factors that could cause it and that’s why I often ask my clients if they have eaten recently and I also review their training program and ask about their activities between training. Aside from medications (like those for high blood pressure and cholesterol) and nerve issues, there are many factors which can cause cramping including overexertion, dehydration/electrolyte imbalances, inadequate nutrition, or chronically tight muscles.
When someone is new to fitness, deconditioned, or working out harder than they usually do, muscles are subjected to forces much stronger than that which they are accustomed. As a result, they may go into a spasm as a protective mechanism to prevent injury. Isn’t the body marvelous! Okay, it may not feel maahvelous at the moment. If this is the situation the obvious solution is to get more fit- gradually. Things like interval training will build up your endurance: both cardiovascular and muscular.
Another factor which often leads to cramping is dehydration. Potassium, magnesium, calcium and sodium in and out of the muscle and surrounding tissues maintain an electrical charge which allows it to do its work. When the levels of these minerals aren’t adequate or in the right amounts or the fluid which carries them in your body-H2O-water isn’t adequate, the muscle either can produce a weak contraction or make a contraction that fails to let go-a cramp.
Most people do get enough sugar and salts in their diet. Unless you are a serious athlete your issue is likely to be dehydration rather than inadequate salt intake. Make sure to hydrate before, during and after your workout. Consider avoiding caffeine and diuretics.
However, some people are sweating so much in their workout and having water but are not replenishing their sodium fast enough and water alone won’t relieve the issue. Typically this isn’t something happens in a one-hour training session but more of a marathon training of 90+ minutes of moderate to intense exertion. Researchers at Brigham Young University found that salt inhibits the message the brain sends to nerves which cause muscles to cramp. (It was a study where they made athletes cramp and then fed them pickle juice and it worked to stop the cramp within seconds). So you could try having something salty to relieve the cramping.
Low Potassium levels can contribute to cramping. Try eating potassium-containing foods such as banana, avocado or oranges at least once a day. Calcium and Magnesium found in dairy and nuts can also help reduce cramping events. .
Some clients think that carbs are the enemy. However carbohydrates are the primary fuel for aerobic activities. The muscle can only store so much glycogen to fuel the workout and at a certain point it can become depleted. It takes about 60-90 minutes to deplete the glycogen stores but if we’re working very intensely it could become depleted in 45 minutes. Muscles need energy to contract and to relax.. So adequate fuel in the form of complex carbohydrates like whole grains and fruits can totally be part of your healthy lifestyle and may help performance.
Some researchers hypothesize that shortened/tight muscles- like shortened hamstrings from prolonged chronic sitting are more likely to cramp. The solution then is to become a regular stretcher. Things like standing toe touches, down dogs from yoga, lunges or similar modifications against a wall or using a chair etc can stretch the calf and hamstring area.
At this point you may be wondering why am I writing to you about cramps just after Passover?
I always think of cramps during Passover because while pregnant in 2002 or 2003, I got the worst cramp that would not go away. I turned to Rabbi Blumenkrantz’ Passover book for a remedy in 2002 and on page 486 he writes, “ Vinegar is high in potassium and low in potassium levels;may cause some cramping, For best results, drink a mixture of 2tsp vinegar and one tsp of honey in a glass of warm water.” Worked like a charm.
If you have fitness questions that need answers, write to me Kayla@getfitwithkayla.com
Just One Thing…
The most common New Year’s resolution is to lose weight and get into shape or tone up.
If getting into shape is your goal, and you actually want to change your shape-say from a pear to an hourglass or from an apple to an hourglass or from a brick to an hourglass, or from a stalk of wheat to something that won’t blow over in the wind, cardio isn’t the best way to try and get there. Cardio is a great choice for heart health and stamina and we need to do it a few times every week but its not a top choice for maintaining a healthy weight and for actually changing your shape.
With resistance or weight training, we can build you some shoulders to give those of you with a pear shape a more balanced look and we can tighten and firm your glutes and use high reps on your thighs to give them a longer leaner appearance. Will that make you an hourglass? Technically no, because bone structure and genetics are what they are, but we can get you closer to balance and proportion you might have in mind.That said, there’s nothing wrong with any of those body shapes and many people do find them attractive despite the singular message about beauty standards the media seems to offer. From a health and longevity perspective weight training is great for you.
Those with more voluptuous bellies or booties may also be dealing with another big issue: hormones. Those of us in our mid to late 40s or 50s with bat wings who may be dealing with age-related loss of muscle.Muscle also gives a more youthful firmer appearance. Muscle tone helps you lose fat because it takes calories just to sustain itself. Even if weight loss is your goal, resistance training, and especially resistance training in midlife is the way to go.
Muscle is metabolically active tissue…which means you don’t need to starve yourself and run marathons to maintain your physique. In fact, muscle tissue needs calories to stick around or it will waste away- which means you can eat good nutritious food without worrying so much that it will turn to fat. Isn’t that good news?
So if starting the new year with an exercise program means loving your body, that’s fantastic. If it means beating into submission, can you believe you’re less likely to succeed at weightloss? Yes the scientific data says loving your body with enough hydration, rest, nutrient dense food, an occasional unhealthy but so yummy treat and the healthy hormones released when you exercise with intensity are fabulous for your health and better for weightloss.. Starving your body, over-working it and telling yourself about how your various bits aren’t up to par is horrible for your body and your emotional health and actually inhibits weightloss and may even foster illness.
This year, can we resolve to work out smarter instead of harder and be kind to our bodies? I’m ready. So here’s my challenge to you: This year don’t join a gym, and blow it out on the treadmill and dry ryvita crackers for 3 weeks and give up by March.. Just pick one thing. ONE small thing you could commit to for the rest of 2019 that might make a difference and stick to that one thing.
Here are some examples: (Feel free to come up with your own…but only ONE..and make it small and achievable)
- I will drinking a glass of water every day before breakfast.
- I commit to walking for 10 minutes every day.
- I commit to a one minute meditation or mantra of gratitude every day.
- I commit to learning to do something besides a bicep curl with dumbells
- I will learn to do one pushup.
- I will join a workout group and attend each of my 6 sessions (okay I had to throw that in there) as a way to kick start making fitness part of my lifestyle.
(Excerpt from Jewess Magazine, September 2017)
Even the most disciplined women find it difficult to maintain their exercise routines due to schedule and eating changes during Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot.
As a personal trainer, even I struggle with keeping up my exercises during this time. However, it can be done. I’m going share the strategy and mindset that my training clients and I use. It’ll help you emerge renewed and re-energized about working out.
By Kylie Ora Lobell (excerpt from wework.com, March 27, 2016)
Sitting too much is killing us all.
We’re sitting an average of 9.3 hours a day, and this lack of activity has been linked to health problems like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. We’re getting heavier and sicker just by having full-time office jobs. Is there any way to stay fit at work?
Kayla Goldwag, a personal trainer in Los Angeles, likes treadmill desks because they’re pre-programmed to go at a slower pace than normal treadmills.
“The idea with these pieces of equipment is that sitting is the new smoking and that some movement is better than being stationary, and that’s true up to a point,” she says. “So if getting 10,000 steps in at a slow steady pace in this manner helps you move more, burn some calories, and you can get your work done, why not?”
by Kylie Jane Wakefield (Excerpt from the Jewish Journal Summer 2015 Boomers Supplement)
One step boomers can take is to find a trainer who understands their specific physical needs. Kayla Goldwag, a fitness trainer in Beverlywood, said she frequently works with this population and understands its challenges.
“When people retire, they want to be able to pick up their grandkids and have the endurance to enjoy the travel activities they couldn’t do before,” she said. “They want to have that good quality of life to enjoy those luxuries. If you take care of your body, then you’re going to have that quality of life as you age.”
Goldwag runs a weekly small-group personal training class for boomer women. She incorporates yoga, dance, sit-ups and abdominal workouts, as well as suspension, resistance and weight training.
I have been reading so many articles and hearing a whole list of “don’t” and “should” and another helping of shame’ about body image that I find rather disturbing lately! Let me set the record straight as a fit pro: Healthy, fit, attractive bodies come in all shapes and sizes!! It really IS OKAY to exercise because it helps you fit into your jeans!
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
I have been substitute teaching PE at an all-girls private High School. When I took the 9th graders, split them into groups to do resistance exercises circuit-style, one group assigned to do sit-ups couldn’t execute a single sit-up with proper form. One pretty young thing just lifted her head up and down while laying on her back. It was so sad.
I explained to them the many health benefits of exercise. I don’t think they were incredibly impressed.
I explained how 65%+ of Americans are overweight – which puts them at all kinds of health risks from diabetes to heart attacks and cancer. They could even quote back the statistics to me…and nobody seemed to think these numbers had anything to do with them. If you look around, its usually like a carnival house of mirrors with all kinds of distorted bodies peering back at you – distended bellies and all, but this group was actually relatively thin looking. From all outward appearances, you would assume they are a healthy bunch. So I think the girls figured they don’t really need to exercise.
That’s simply not true! There’s something called Skinny Fat – medically, the term is metabolically obese, normal weight (‘MONW’). Not enough lean muscle. Or your ratio of muscle to fat is off-kilter. For instance, a body-fat of 24-39% is high by medical and health standards, but with good genes and bone structure you might appear thin. Yes, its also true that if you fit into a size 2, but you still jiggle while you wiggle and your skin feels spongy…there’s a good chance you fit the definition of skinny fat.
Actually, a Skinny Fat person can have the same health risks as someone overweight/obese—or worse. The shocking news published in the Journal of the American Medical Association is that nearly 1 in 4 skinny people have pre-diabetes and are metabolically obese. Skinny people diagnosed with diabetes have twice the risk of death than heavy people with it. Could be that having some extra muscle from lugging around that extra weight is protective?
In other words, a heavy fat person with a good amount of muscle might be healthier than you, Miss String-Bean! Yeah, fit people come in all shapes and sizes is what I am saying.
Why am I so passionate about this subject? Because I have been Skinny Fat myself.
Thanks to genetics and bone structure, I appear taller and slimmer than I actually am. Many years ago, after the birth of my second child, I went for my annual physical. The doctor looked at the results of my blood tests and asked what I did for exercise. I told him “I chase toddlers. ” He went on to tell me that although I was active and exhausted from all the chasing of my kids all day long, I was actually 33% body-fat. I was obese. I gasped – but I’m not that heavy according to the scale! He said if I were older, he would have put me on a statin drug because of my cholesterol numbers and that I should start an exercise program (I had not done regular exercise since High School) and eat oatmeal for breakfast. I joined a gym and attended classes religiously, ate my oatmeal for breakfast, backed off on the fancy coffee dessert-drinks, and within 3-6 months I had lowered my cholesterol 13 points. This was the start to my journey of becoming a fitness professional.
There are a number of tests your Doc can run to see if you are Skinny Fat, including a fasting glucose tolerance test, HDL, triglycerides, blood pressure, NMR lipid particle test.
So how to fix it when you are Skinny Fat? Pair a lean protein with a healthy low GI carb at every meal in order to keep blood glucose levels steady. For instance, an apple with some almonds, a hard boiled egg and oatmeal, celery and peanut butter, rice and beans, chicken breast and bell pepper. Don’t drink your calories. Get enough sleep. Do resistance training with cardiovascular intervals…just like I have been doing with all of the classes I have been teaching at school this week.
Don’t worry – if you lift more than 2 lbs you aren’t necessarily gonna bulk up and look like a female version of the Hulk! If you would like more help finding a fitness program to help you avoid being Skinny Fat, drop me a line or take one of my classes this week!