Exercise, Misc

Exercise and Emotional Trauma

One out of three women will experience a sexual assault, domestic violence, attempted assault in her lifetime! 3d002060-3ed0-4c3a-9011-79812960e2c2

As a fitness professional who works primarily with women, I understand the sense of helplessness, depression and other symptoms that can linger and hold you back from achieving your optimal health and well-being.  April is sexual assault awareness month and I’d like to talk a little more about how exercise can help in the healing process.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder triggered by witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event. Although it is commonly associated with combat veterans, it also frequently affects survivors of violent personal assaults (rape, mugging or domestic violence), childhood abuse, natural disasters, accidents and life-threatening illnesses.

Exercise can play an important role in helping clients with PTSD or who experienced a trauma recover and regain confidence. Exercise also addresses many of the health problems commonly associated with chronic PTSD, including cardiovascular disease and depression or other bodily manifestations of the emotional after-effects of trauma.

Mind-body exercises like yoga, low-intensity aerobic exercise, in addition to the sense of accomplishment provided by feeling stronger through resistance exercise are valuable components of a comprehensive treatment plan.(Tsatsoulis & Fountoulakis 2006)(Cohen & Shamus 2009)(Cohen & Shamus 2009).

Diaphragmatic breathing, muscle relaxation exercises and stretching are an essential component of all my training programs. Abdominal or diaphragmatic breathing has been shown to improve immune function, hypertension, asthma, autonomic nervous system imbalances and psychological or stress-related disorders (Jerath et al. 2006).

Symptoms of PTSD can vary from day to day and may be triggered by seemingly innocuous situations, such as loud noises or crowds. The bootcamp drill sergeant approach may really trigger someone for whom being pushed or yelled at was part of their traumatic experience. This is another reason why I think touching a client without asking permission or standing  too close to a client in general is inappropriate.

Sufferers of trauma often need a sense of control which they lack in other aspects of their lives. There is a risk these clients could develop unhealthy or unsafe approaches to exercise. It is my job to show my clients how to make sure that exercise does not become an excessive behavior.

I would welcome the opportunity to assist you in your journey to wellness, wholeness, health, fitness and peace.

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Diet, Exercise, Fitness Goals

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

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.
Diet, Fitness Goals

Cleansing for Passover

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?

Diet

Veggetti

1455987_743692369040441_7586790813147492486_nMy friends give me a sly look when I tell them I bought myself a veggetti at Bed Bath n Beyond..I’m not saying it won’t help in the bedroom but its for the kitchen..to make spaghetti spirals out of your zucchini. Just top with sauce and you should be good to go…(minus all the extra calories and refined white flour in regular high-gylcemic pasta.) Now everyone can be happy. Sshhh..don’t tell the marketing folks who wrote “without the carbs” on the package that vegetables are carbs.

Diet

How To Skinny Up That Latte

Now that the coffee shops are brimming with holiday treats…This article has some great tips on how to skinny it up at Starbucks. All good to know, but you still can’t out-train a bad diet! (Organic coffee and milk or nut-milks are also healthier options because of fewer pesticides. Also drip coffee won’t raise your cholesterol the way espresso can-yes u read that right). Also, let’s skip the NSA crap. Studies show it slows your weight-loss efforts. Keep it real. http://www.starbucks.com/blog/how-to-skinny-your-beverage

Exercise, Fitness Goals, Injuries

Have You Been Naughty?

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.