It's About Time

If you have ever spent more that 5 minutes with me, it is fairly obvious that I love fitness. I have learned so much (sometimes the hard way) in the 30 years that I have been teaching. What better way to share my passion than to start a blog and pass on the information that I share with clients on a day-to-day basis.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Motivate Yourself Any Way You Can

Consistency is the key to maintaining your fitness goals.  Many things can get in your way like holidays, kids, snuffles or just plain old Lack of Desire.  No matter what your road blocks are, we need to find ways to avoid missing those workouts.  I am lucky to have a job that I love very much. I take it very seriously.  Part of my responsibility is to make sure you want to come in and exercise.  I know many of you are probably thinking, "Then maybe you shouldn't hurt me."   I do it because I care. I get to be with wonderful people and I try and help you keep healthy by motivating or encouraging your fitness passion.  Cole is one of my favorites (Well all of my clients are favorites.)  We have found creative ways to get him excited about exercising.  One day he came to his workout with his Santa hat and from there our workout developed into a Santa's Workshop theme. All  exercises were based on chores that Santa would do.  Taking care of reindeer is a lot of work.  He worked non-stop for the whole hour.  Enjoy the pictures below.
Santa on his sleigh

Ho Ho Ho

Reindeer got away from him.  Barely holding on.

Hit some rough weather.

Santa got a little hot.  Had to lose the belly and coat.

Cole's idea to add the belly after he ate all the cookies at every stop.

Santa jumping for joy.

Monday, November 14, 2011

ACSM Guidelines for Flexibility 2011

2011 ACSM Guidelines for Flexibility

Our schedules are so full that we are lucky to just get our workout in and stretching takes a back seat.  Flexibility is a major component of fitness, therefore, it is crucial that we make it a part of our daily routine.  As we age, stretching and recovery become even more important.  Please try and make sure you are able to pamper those muscles a little bit by stretching.

When you stretch, try and do active stretching before your workout and static (Hold) stretching at the end.  As you incorporate stretching make sure you allow your body and muscles to be warm so as to avoid even more stress to your muscles.  Stretching shouldn't create more strain or pain so do it gently.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Love the 80's

We were required to wear a costume to work on Halloween.  My friend thought it would be very fitting if I went in traditional 80's workout attire since I am a trainer at a gym.  I am starting to wonder if she is really my friend.  There is a reason that those old leotards went out of style.  Giggles.  I was a good sport and was able to help bring lots of bad leotard memories to so many at the fitness club.  Once the belt was cinched up and the leg were warmers on, I had to resist the urge to do some of the old exercises.  Do you remember?

  • Windmills (Still not recommended today.)
  • Squat Thrusts (Thrust idea is still bad.)
  • High impact aerobics (Loved to flail my arms and legs around.)
  • Fire Hydrants (Remember Jane Fonda saying "Feel the Burn.")
  • Hip Lifts (Still and effective today if done properly and without a thong leotard.)
  • Burpees (Still used today.)
  • Balistic Stretching (Bounce, bounce, bounce.)
Do you also remember the fashion trends?
  • High cut leotards at the hip?
  • Thong leotards?
  • Leg Warmers (They're back.)
  • Spandex
  • Headbands
  • Belts (Worn inside and then pulled out at the hips.  (See Photo)
In spite of some serious fashion decisions back then, I am still grateful for having fitness and health in my life.  Feel free to share some of your 80's memories.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

New ACSM Guidelines for Resistance Training

You can use resistance tubing

Resistance training is a form of strength training in which each effort is performed against a specific opposing force generated by resistance (ex. resistance to being pushed, squeezed, stretched or bent).  Exercises are isotonic if a body part is moving against force or isometric if a body part is holding still against the force.  Resistance exercise is used to develop the strength and size of skeletal muscles.  Properly performed resistance training can provide significant functional benefits and improvement in overall health and well-being.

The goal of resistance training, according to the American Sports Medicine Institute (ASMI), is to "gradually and progressively overload the musculoskeletal system so it gets stronger. "  Research shows that regular resistance training will strengthen and tone muscles and increase bone mass.  Resistance training should not be confused  with weight lifting, power lifting or body building, which are competitive sports involving different types of strength training with non-elastic forces such as gravity (weight training or plyometrics) rather an immovable resistance.  Full range of motion is important in resistance training because muscle overload occurs only at the specific joint angles where the muscle is worked.

ACSM Guidelines for Resistance Training
You know exercise is good for you. Ideally, you're looking for ways to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. If your aerobic workouts aren't balanced by a proper dose of strength training, though, you're missing out on a key component of overall health and fitness. Strength training is important for everyone. With a regular strength training program, you can reduce your body fat, increase your lean muscle mass and burn calories more efficiently
Muscle mass naturally diminishes with age. "If you don't do anything to replace the lean muscle you lose, you'll increase the percentage of fat in your body," says Edward Laskowski, M.D., a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., and co-director of the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center. "But strength training can help you preserve and enhance your muscle mass — at any age."
You can use weights

Benefits of Resistance training are:
  • Better Body Composition
  • Stronger
  • Develop stronger bones
  • Reduce risk of injury
  • Boost Stamina
  • Control Weight
Strength training can do wonders for your physical and emotional well-being. Make it part of your quest for better health.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

New American College of Sport Medicine (ACSM) guidelines for Cardiovascular Exercise 2011

The last time guidelines were published was in 1998.  I will be posting the latest on Cardiovascular, Resistance Training and Flexibility.  Things have changed and all the changes are scientifically based.  As far as cardiovascular training is concerned, daily activity can help diminish the devastating affects of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, elevated blood pressure and cholesterol.   We need to just keep moving.  

Cardio is short for cardiovascular, which refers to the heart. Cardiovascular exercise is exercise that raises your heart rate and keeps it elevated for a period of time. Another name for it is aerobic exercise. The kinds of exercise that are associated with cardiovascular workouts are things like jogging, fast walking, and swimming, spinning, skating, sporting events, skipping, dancing, etc.  where there is continuous movement.  

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Weight Loss Made Simple

I hope this title will catch your attention.  Weight loss is actually hard work but you can do it.  Just remember these simple principles.

Your body gets its energy from the food you take into your body in the form of calories.  The number of calories will determine if you gain, lose or maintain your weight.  Extra calories are stored as body fat.  A pound of fat is made up of 3,500 stored calories. 
  • 500 extra calories a day   X   7 days a week  =  3,500 unused calories or 1 lbs.
 If you eat fewer calories than your body uses, you will lose weight.  The recommendation for weight loss in a week is 2 lbs.  If you lose more than that, it is usually water or lean muscle instead of fat.  
  • 200 calories cut from food  +  200 calories burned from exercise  =  400 fewer calories a day
Don't try and accomplish this goal alone.  Buddy Up, Join a Gym, Get family support or a trainer to help you achieve your goals.  Good Luck.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tempo Games Workout

I'm back.  I have no good excuses but I'm going to try.  My boys play college ball and we have had the great opportunity to go to all of their games.  I have been out of town a lot and enjoying every minute of it but I have neglected my blogging duties and my attentiveness to your well being.  I promise to be better.  While you are trying to forgive me, please do the following workout.  It is a simple but effective concept.  The workout is endurance based.  We focus on strength, moving in multiple planes and even throw in a few anaerobic intervals to get our cardio push.  You do the same sequence with every exercise.  Below is the sequences written in terms of counts to perform the movement.

The Sequence
Up two counts Down two counts (cts)
Single cts Up and Down
Isometric hold (Example:  Lunge down and hold) 8 cts
Pulse 8 cts (Small contractions, not just bounces.  Try and pulse up against gravity instead of down with gravity)
Up three cts, Down one ct-4 sets
Up one cts, Down three cts-4 sets
Up 4 cts, Down 4 cts (Uber Slow)
Single counts

The exercise outline was the following:

  1. Warm Up (rehearsal effect-practice all the movements you will be performing later on)
  2. Lower body sequence(Depending on your leg work selection, you may have to repeat to work other leg, example: lunges
  3. Upper body sequence
  4. Anaerobic Interval (30-90 high intensity movement)
  5. Cool Down

Let me tell you,  my Chisel class did this workout today and it's simple but intense.  You keep the same sequence for the legs as well as the upper body exercises.  Pick a weight and try and stay with that same weight the entire sequence.  While your are doing endurance training, it is not a good time to have heavy weights.  Go lighter and Endure.  I will list the exercises that we did today but you can definitely implement your own moves.  Just try to consider moving in different directions or planes of movement when you put your exercises together.  The changes in tempos are  a catalyst to get those calories burning.  You keep changing things up on your muscles and they have to respond to all of the changes.  You also incorporate both slow twitch and fast twitch muscles fibers when you mix up the speed of how you recruit your muscles which is another plus.

Lower Body

  • Squats
  • Side Lunges with slider disk under outside leg.  (Weight is on inside leg)j
  • Reverse Lunges with ball
  • Goblet Squats
Upper Body
  • Bicep Curls
  • Tricep Extensions
  • Overhead Presses
  • Chest Presses while lying with upper back on ball
If you haven't forgiven me by the time you read this blog then go and do the workout and you will be too weak not too.  Giggles.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Great Interval Workout

A Northwest fitness colleague, Sherri McMillan, has a fun variation of interval training. If your goal is to improve your fitness, increase your speed as a runner, cyclist, rower, walker, swimmer or improve your performance in any sport, try this…
Try intervals if you have a need for speed!
Start by warming up for about 5 minutes. Then go very hard for 30 seconds followed by a 1 minute slower, more comfortable pace. Do this 15x for about a 20 minute workout and then cool-down. Do this workout 2x/week for one to two weeks.
The next stage will be exactly as above except decrease the recovery pace down to 45 seconds. Again, complete this workout 2x/week for one to two weeks.
The next stage will be exactly as above except decrease the recovery pace down to 30 seconds. Start with 20 minutes of these intervals and then increase the volume to 30 minutes over the next few weeks.
Fraser reminded me that during the hard intervals, you should focus on quality. If your quality decreases because you are getting fatigued, take a longer recovery set so when you’re ready to go hard, you can really push the pace.
And guess what, I’m a believer. I’ve only done 3 of these workouts so far and this morning I did a 12 mile run 8 minutes faster than my last 2 training runs of the exact route and distance. Speed work is definitely the most effective way to get fit and fast quickly!
Good Luck.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Make your own healthy McMuffin

Here is an easy recipe for you.  I usually have all the ingredients on hand.  I have actually used low sodium deli meats instead of the Canadian bacon and it is still yummy.

1 egg ( I put in Microwave)
1 slice of Canadian bacon
1 slice of tomato
1 toasted whole-wheat Enlish muffin
1 Tbsp reduced fat cheese
326 calories, 24 g protein, 30 g carbs, 13 g fat, 5 g fiber


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Core Test-How did you do?

Boy did my family have fun with this test.  Not actually taking the test but for making fun of me and my big words. I don't know how they could twist that knowledge and make words like Rectus Abdominus and Obliques seem bad and almost inappropriate.  I am going to give you all the answers to the test and share a little bit more information for those who are vocabulary challenged. (My family) Giggles

  1. The Rectus Abdominus is the most external abdominal muscle. T The deepest is the Transversus TA, then internal obliques, followed by the external obliques and last, rectus abdominus RA.
  2. The fibers of the Transversus abdominis are essentially perpendicular to the Rectus Abdominus. Transversus fibers run essentially horizontal while the rectus runs vertical.  It is a compressor muscle.  Think of it as an internal corset holding everything in.  It is great for stabilizing your core and protecting your back.
  3. The Internal Obliques origin is both bone and ligament. T The origin of the internal obliques is the lateral half of the Inguinal ligament (large ligament at the base of the abs) , the pelvis and also the thoracolumbar facia which is connective tissue that runs on either side of your spine.
  4. The most external of the abdominal muscle group are the External Obliques. F See question #1.
  5. The origin of the Rectus Abdominus  is at the xiphoid process and the cartilages of ribs 5-7. F.  That is the insertion.  The origin is the pubic bone.  Origin is where the muscle begins and insertion is where it ends.  
  6. Abdominal muscles can be used as both stabilizers and movers. T You should train both ways too.
  7. The Serratus  Anterior interdigitates with external obliques. T The fibers of those muscles intertwine( interdigitate).   If either the obliques or the Serratus are performing well it affects the other.
  8. Normal range of motion for spinal flexion is 30-45 degrees. T Greater movement involves hip flexion.
  9. There are only 4 major muscles considered when training the “core.” F.  We also consider hip flexors,  Erector Spinae (back muscles), Quadratus Lumborum  and deep spinal muscles to be included in the “Core.”
  10. The most effective training for the core is flexion exercises. F.  Abdominal muscle fibers run in multiple directions so you should train in many planes of movement.
  11. You actually have an 8-pac not a 6-pac. T  You have an 8-pac.  There are three tendinous intersections that carve out your pac.
  12. Your four major abdominal muscles run in the front, sides and back of your core. T
  13. Core exercise doesn’t really help improve performance or daily functional movement. F
  14. There are 5 major core abdominal muscles. F The 4 major abdominal muscles are, Transversus Abdominus, Internal and External Obliques and Rectus Abdominus
  15. Planes of movement for abdominal movements are sagittal and Frontal. F  There is the transverse plane for rotational movements as well.  

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Test Your Core Knowledge

In all of your spare time today.  Take this core quiz and see how much adbominal savvy you may have. Just answer T or F.   I will post the answers later.
  1. The Rectus Abdominus I the most external abdominal muscle.
  2. The fibers of the Transversus abdominis are essentially perpendicular to the rectus abdominus.
  3. The internal obliques origin is both both bone and ligament.
  4. The most external of the abdominal muscle group are the external obliques
  5. The origin of the rectus abdominus  is at the xiphoid process and the cartilages of ribs 5-7
  6. Abdominal muscles can be used as both stabilizers and movers.
  7. The serratus  anterior interdigitates with external obliques
  8. Normal range of motion for spinal flexion is 30-45 degrees.
  9. There are only 4 major muscles considered when training the “core.”
  10. The most effective training for the core is flexion exercises.
  11. You don’t actually have a 4-pac not an 6-pac.
  12. Your four major abdominal muscles run in the front, sides and back of your core.
  13. Core exercise doesn’t really help improve performance or daily functional movement.
  14. There are 5 major core abdominal muscles.
Good luck and please hold in your abs while you take this test.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Timpanogos Cave-Spectacular Hike

My husband and I had the opportunity to hike to a popular cave system in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah.  The caves are amazing.  I'm not a big fan of dark, cramped and closed-in places but these caves and their history were incredible.  The Timpanogos Cave is the most famous of this system.  The hiking part was fun.  It is 1.5 miles up with a vertical rise of 1092 feet.  You then shimmy through a cave system and then hike your way back down.  The caves were actually discovered starting in 1887 by Martin Hansen.  I don't know how he ever scaled the cliffs to find the small opening of the first cave but he did.  His son and grandson later found other caves.  Here are a few pics.  I want you to try and enjoy the beauty that I did.  Too bad I can't let you enjoy the fitness aspect of the hike as well.
Ready to begin our weekend hike.

Saw my first rattlesnake.  My zoom hasn't worked since I dropped it in the sand and I wasn't about to lean in closer to get a better shot.  Yikes.  I hate snakes.

Ceiling of one of the caves.

This was called the Heart of the cave

This was the original hole used to access the caves.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Be a Savvy Shopper

Trying to find healthy foods can be overwhelming.  Here are few hints that may help you.

  • Plan Ahead
  • Make a grocery list and stick to it.
  • Consult the MyPyramid guidelines for healthy food choices and also portions.
  • Shop the perimeter of the store.  That is usually where all the meats and produce are sold.
  • The less processed the better
  • If the foods you are buying have more than 5 ingredients, think twice.
  • Read Labels
  • Don't let sale pitches make your decisions.  
  • "Fat Free." or "Sugar Free." isn't always the best choice.
If all else fails. Use flow chart above.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

To Do or Not To Do-That is the Question

Decisions, Decisions

Thanks to the internet, exercise, diet and fitness information is so accessible.  I love the commercials where the people are asked a simple question and they ramble on and on because they are overloaded by all the browsing information.  Sometimes when you look for answers it can be very overwhelming.  An intelligent exerciser is always asking questions and using that information to improve their workouts and their performance.  The problem is that there are so many opinions and answers as to what is the “best” exercise or workout that it can be very confusing.  If you search long enough you could find any data that supports either side of an exercise theory or debate.  How can you make good decisions when it comes to your health? 
  • Consult with QUALIFIED professionals.  Make sure the person you contact is giving you recommendations within their “Scope of Practice.”  Many can make recommendations or share personal stories but they may not be applicable to you or their expertise.
  • Read information from reputable resources.  Be careful of popular magazines that want to promote the latest “trend” or make promises of a skinny body in 5 minutes.   Remember-Check the source of the information to see if they are qualified to know what they are talking about.
  • Keep up on the latest fitness information.  That is a hard one because the industry is ever - changing.  As science improves, the more we apply that information and evolve how we should train. If the information is too technical or confusing, use your qualified trainers to help you sort out information.
  • When choosing an exercise or a workout, base your decisions by weighing out the pros and cons of why this certain program would be good for you.  Avoid hard edge judgments of saying this exercise is “right,” “never,” “best-way,” “contraindicated, “or “wrong.”  An exercise that is good for one person may not be for another.  There is no “One exercise program that fits all.” 
  • Evaluate your exercise choices and make sure that the ones you choose will help you achieve the goals you have set.  Just because an exercise is good doesn't mean that it would be a good choice if it doesn't help you reach your goals.
  • Weigh the risks of an exercise.  Even if the exercise is intense, fun, and challenging, you have to decide if the benefits outweigh the risks.

Effective and safe exercises and programs should be based on an assessment of all the pros and cons of each exercise.  You should weigh the risk vs. the benefits and personalize it to what your goals and physical needs are.  

Thursday, August 18, 2011

You Are Never Too Overweight To Workout

I try and use this blog to answer questions that may come up.  I am glad someone asked me this question: "Where/how can I start to incorporate fitness back into my life when I am overweight?"  There are many ways to fight obesity.  Having the desire and deciding to take steps to make it happen is definitely important.  Any time you introduce a  new exercise program you need to set some short-term and long-term goals and make sure that they are realistic.   Here are some suggestions:

  • Individuals undertaking non-medically supervised weight-loss plan should reduce their calories 500-1000 per day, never dropping below 1200, to promote a weight loss of 1-2 pounds a week.
  • Eat 6 small  meals a day to keep energy levels steady.  Don't starve yourself.   Also don't try and just manage your weight by diet.  Use the combination of diet and exercise to achieve your goals.
  • The recommendation for exercise is 5-6 times a week with the minimum being 30 minutes each day and working up to 60.  "More is better."  Begin with 3 times a week if you are starting from scratch.  
  • Choose activities that you like.  You are more apt to stick with it.  Choose your movement wisely.  If you strain your back or knees with your chosen activity, you may want to look at other options. Anything in the pool is good. Sit on an exercise ball instead of a chair.  Try recumbent bikes or walking/hiking for cardio.  Try Pilates on the reformer.  It is a great exercise tool to take the pressure off the joints and still get a great workout.  It is a preferred choice for me with many of my severely obese clients.
  • Get your family and friends to support you in your ambition.  They can help to motivate you along.
Many things can detour you away from your goals when starting an exercise program.  Some common hold- ups are:
  • I am intimidated to workout in front of others.-Joining a gym can be overwhelming.  You worry about not wearing or fitting into the typical gym attire.  Equipment doesn't necessary accommodate or fit.  You stress about not being able to keep up with a class.  You don't know how to use the equipment.  All of those concerns are valid.  You just have to find the right fit.  
  • Every time I workout I feel more pain.  Exercise selection is key. Choose exercises or equipment that adds less stress to your joints and allows you to focus on your movements.   Additional weight accelerates wear and tear on your joints.  If you don't know where to start, find a qualified trainer to help. They can help you with alignment and exercise choice.
 "The field of biomechanics (the relationship between forces and motion in the body) gives us some interesting information about loads that our weightbearing joints undergo. In the hip and the knee, two joints that are commonly affected by arthritis, joint forces are approximately 1.5 times body weight when walking on level ground. This means that when a person weighing 200 pounds is walking along a level sidewalk, the forces on the joint are the same as for a 300-pound person standing still. Other activities place even greater forces on the joints. Getting up out of a chair increases the force to approximately 2 to 3 times body weight. The same is true of going up and down stairs. With more vigorous activities, such as running or jumping, the forces on the joints can approach 4 to 5 times body weight. For patients who are overweight, this means dramatically increased force on the joints."
Don't be intimidated by this information.  Be empowered by it.  Making a choice for a better quality of life is important.  It is never to late to start.  Know that if you start exercising now you can make a difference and you will feel better.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Muscle Imbalance

Loaded with blossoms

It is only twigs on the left side

Can you now see why I thought of  muscle imbalances?  Duh
I love flowers, love plants,  and love fresh food out of the garden.  Oh how I wish I could have a green thumb.  I try so hard but plants and I have a weird relationship.  Take a look at my pictures and you can see what I mean. A client gave me this beautiful Orchid.  Now look at it.  It does great on one side and the other side just sits there.  What is up with that?  My thoughts after looking at this forlorn plan wasn't about getting directions to the nearest nursery for help-No, No, No.    My mind went straight to muscle imbalances.  It is pretty obvious why isn't it????

Muscle imbalances are a very common reason for injuries or the chronic tics and pains that bother us as we get older.  Our muscles should work together symmetrically to promote ease of movement.  Wouldn't it be great if we could just maintain that balance.  There are many reasons why muscles start to get out of sync with each other.

  • Daily Activities-Carrying a backpack inappropriately, wearing high heals,  slouching in our chairs or just overall poor posture.  All of those things can wreak havoc on our alignment and proper muscle recruitment.
  • Work Environment-It is hard to avoid working.  Many occupations make it hard to have maintain good muscle balance.  Think about hair stylist who have to stand all day.  Dentists who have to lean over to look in people's mouths.  Their work can easily promote muscle imbalances and they need to work to counter that.
  • Workout routine-Have you ever seen the people who only focus on their chest and shoulders and not their back? Basically their palms face outward and their arms sit on the front of their body.  Uggg.  Not pretty.  All their strength and attention is focused on the front or what they see.  Or how about the people who only work their upper body but walk around on chicken legs.  Not good.  Balance people, balance.
  • Injuries-When something is hurt our body tends to favor the part or side of the body affected.  We shift or compensate to alleviate pain.  As the injured part is used less it becomes weaker.  The other side or part of the body picking up the slack gets overused.  Weak and overused is a bad combination.
  • Sport Specific-Many sports promote using one lever more than the other.  Volleyball players tend to hit with their strong arm,  Tennis players tend to serve with the same hand and use the same torso rotation for that serve.  The more we have a dominate side the more apt we are to have a muscle imbalance.
All of these issues can be fixed.  Just being aware that you may be compensating in some way can help you avoid major problems or injuries. Be conscious about balancing everything out. Your body will thank you. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Do You Feel Lucky-Punk-Well Do Ya?

Say the title in a raspy voice and try and intimidate yourself into working out.   Did it work?  Probably not.  Scaring people into working out isn't usually effective and being lucky doesn't  help either.  What does work is you SCHEDULING in your exercise just like you would for any other event, or appointment during the day.  I can't live without my calendar and schedule book.  Every week I write in what I am doing for my work outs just like I would if I were scheduling in a client.  Our planners just keep getting more congested and overbooked.  If we don't prioritize for our fitness, even the best of intentions can get interrupted.  There are several environmental factors that influence whether or not a person adheres to their exercise program.  They are 1) Access to a facility, 2) Social Support, and 3)Time.  A lack of time is the most common excuse for not exercising and for dropping out of an exercise program.   People will always make time for the things that are important to them.  We should all make time to exercise.  You'll  feel better when you do.  You might even feel LUCKY.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Forging Friendships at the Gym

Add caption

Some might think making friends at a fitness club may be hard or even kind of creepy but I can't think of a better place.  You are all going there because you have the same goals-health and fitness.  You struggle with the same scheduling issues when it comes to getting to the gym.  You have the same passions like running, spinning or dancing.   A couple of weeks ago an older gentleman at the club had to go in for emergency surgery on his heart.  He was a long-time member and once people heard, everyone was so concerned.  A card and well wishes spread very quickly.  Yesterday was his first day back.  I happened to be on the treadmill when he walked in doing a killer interval class.   I know people cry on the treadmill and I was tearing up.  It wasn't because it was hard, it was because I saw everyone stop what they were doing to rush over and welcome back their friend.  It was so touching.   I have met some of my best friends at a Gym.  Once those friendships are forged, you help each other to become healthier and I think happier.

  • Friends motivate each other to keep coming.  Some days it is just tough to fit in exercise.
  • Friends support each other.
  • Friends encourage each other when the class is hard.  You can both whine to each other while you finish.
  • Friends schedule their workouts together so they can exercise and visit.  I love running and talking.  It distracts me and make the time go by faster.  
  • Friends listen to each other when they are going through tough times.  Your workout can be very cathartic.
  • Friends offer nice competition.  You can push each other to be better.
  • Friends make it hard to cancel or just not do your workout.  You don't want to let them down.
  • Friends share their successes, their injury issues and killer workout stories.  We can all learn from each other.
I am so thankful for all my workout friends.  You have definitely helped me keep my passion for fitness.  

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Be an active Lounge Lizard

Ninety-Nine percent of American homes have a television.  I have to admit I have several.  I'm not a good sitter but I do have my favorites on TV.  (So You Think You Can Dance is on tonight) I don't think there is anything wrong with watching TV UNLESS you do it too much.  The average adult watches 4 hours of TV a day.  AC Nielsen Co says, "In a 65-year life span, a person will have spent 9 years of that life glued to the TV."  Yikes.  No wonder obesity is on the rise.  The American Journal of Public Health study showed that an adult who watches 3 hours of TV a day is far more likely to be obese than an adult who watches less than 1 hour.  There are so many ways we can tweak our watching hours by just incorporating a few little changes.
  • Don't DVR past the commercials.  Use that time to get up and walk around or do some exercising like squats or upper body work.  I remember using this principle with my kids.  "You can watch your goofy show but every commercial you need to work on your flexibility."  
  • Sit on a stability ball or wobble board while watching 
  • Get up to change the channel.  "Whoa, Whoa, Whoa!" might be your response but ignore the channel changer every once in a while.
  • Avoid watching TV while you eat your dinner.  Use your eating time to be with family and work on the art of conversation.  TV also tends to distract us so we may not realize how much we are eating.
  • Riding a bike (stationary of course) or walking/running on a treadmill while you watch is a wonderful idea.
  • Use your TV for fitness. There are so many workout options available now.
  • Pull out your kids XBOX or Wii and participate in your own Olympic events, bowl, play tennis or whatever your game tells you.  So much fun and you can get your whole family involved.
So if your couch has the exact outline of your body engraved into its cushions, that might be a sign that you sit and watch a little too much TV.    Get up and get moving.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


You can achieve the desired posture you are looking for.  Good posture isn’t necessarily just standing or sitting up straight.  Neutral posture is the position of the body with its natural curves that promotes the least amount of stress on your muscles and joints.  Good posture or structural integrity is defined as that state of musculoskeletal alignment and balance that allows muscles, joints, and nerves to function efficiently (Kendall et al. 2005; Soderberg, 1997) “Good posture has long been considered important, even our language recognizes its desirability.  We may refer to someone who is trustworthy as  being upright or a pillar of the community, whereas spineless tells us the opposite."  Think of good posture as the straight path that leads to longevity and a healthy body.

Common Symptoms of Poor Posture
“My back aches when I stay in one position too long.”
“I don’t like how I look in my clothes.  They hang funny.”
“I get a lot of headaches.”
“I carry a lot of tension in my neck and shoulders.”
“I missed work because of my back pain.”

Contributing Factors to Poor Posture
Work Environment-Many of us do activities in front of our bodies that may promote rounded backs and shoulders
Injuries-movement compensations occur regularly with injuries
Obesity-Muscle recruitment, joint action and even gait are modified with obesity.  Genetically where your body stores fat may also affect your posture.
Weak or deconditioned muscles-Muscle imbalance and overuse enhances risk of injury and discomfort
High-heeled  or ill-fitting shoes
Poor Biomechanics-Improper movement of joints can cause compensation of posture and movement.
Poor Movement habits or patterns-Hiking your hip while carrying a child, carrying a backpack, slouching in a chair can all alter posture and the muscles that control it.

Good Posture Tips
Walk, stand, and sit tall
Lift from your sternum-Be careful not to lift your head.
Be patient-It has probably take you years to acquire the posture you have.
Don’t Tense up-When you stand or sit tall don’t overwork muscles to get there.
Know your postural plum lines-Sagittal and  Frontal plane.

Good Posture Requirements
Good ROM (Range of Motion)
Body Awareness-Know where your body is in space and know how to properly put it there.
Normal Joint Movement
Strong Muscles
Muscle Balance

Benefits to Good Posture
Keeps bones and joints in good alignment
Decreases unnecessary wear on joints
Decreases stress on ligaments
Prevents fatigue from inefficiently used muscles
Prevents overuse and strain of muscles
Promotes confidence
Look good!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Planking Epidemic

Planking at Scout Falls

Side Planks, Ball planks, Supine Planks, Push Up Planks-All of these exercises have been come a standard exercise for your core.  Lately it has been taken to a whole new level.  I've seen several postings of this new craze and I can't resist.  I'm joining in.  I have challenged my family and friends to fall for this crazy idea.  I can't see any harm in it.  You may even get a stronger core while you are at it.  If you have no idea what I am talking about, please click on red links below.

Teach Me How To Plank-Some examples of planking may not be suitable for little kids or my mom. Little ones will probably like the potty talk and my mom hates bathroom humor.

Planking Ideas

Planking at Stewart Falls
I challenge you, your kids, your pets, your boss or anyone to do the plank and send me the picture.  Have fun and be safe.

Scout Falls

Kurt, McCall, Maddy
This Saturday hiking thing has become a fun habit for my husband and I.  We're new to Utah so we have lots of places to explore.  We are trying to push this behavior on our friends and luckily we got some of the Andus' to come with us. Sun + Friend + Fitness + Beautiful Surroundings = Happy and Healthy Life.  I love this kind of math.


Friday, July 29, 2011

Quinoa and Pear Breakfast cereal

1 C uncooked Quinoa (cook to specifications)
2 medium apples or pears diced
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 Truvia Packets or 3 TBSP Brown Sugar
1/4 C Skim Milk

This is a great protein-packed cereal or side dish.  You could probably try raisins, nuts and berries too.  It was very good and a great alternative to other hot cereals.  Yum Yum.

P.S.  Yes I am going to post other recipes without Quinoa as the main ingredient.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Don't Let the Joke Be On You

The fitness and exercise industry is always changing.  As a professional I need to stay up on the most current fitness findings and then pass on the information to you.  I just couldn't let one more day go by without covering a few topics..  If you have said, thought or event justified any of the information below, call me immediately.  We need to talk.  Enjoy

Common Misconceptions about diet/ fitness and weight loss.

  • At my gym they have free weights, so I took them. 
  • Every time I get the urge to exercise, I lie down till the feeling passes.
  • I want to get a six-pack and know exactly what to do, head straight to the grocery store and head down the drink aisle!
  • The older you get, the tougher it is to lose weight because by then, your body and your fat are really good friends.
  • Flexibility is overrated.  If God had wanted me to touch my toes He would have put them up higher on my body.
  • I'm in shape. Round is a shape.
  • Chocolate is a vegetable. How, you ask? Chocolate is derived from cacao beans. Bean = vegetable. Sugar is derived from either sugar CANE or sugar BEETS. Both are plants, which places them in the vegetable category. Thus, chocolate is a vegetable.
  • Whole Cookies are fattening.  Just have a piece of cookie -- the process of breaking causes fat leakage.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Flexibility is one of the major components of Fitness training but it is often overlooked and undervalued.  It is defined as the ROM (Range of Motion) of a given joint or group of joints or the level of tissue extensibility that a muscle group possesses.  Tight or strained muscles can be very frustrating and limiting but several studies show that flexibility can be improved at any age. 

What defines or limits Flexibility
  • Joint Capsule- The flexibility is broken down to 47% coming from the muscles and their facial sheaths, 41% coming from tendons, 10% from skin and 2% coming from other factors.
  • Age-With age there is a loss in elasticity in connective tissue but can be improved and maintained at any age.
  • Gender-Women tend to be more flexible than men.
  • Connective Tissue-Fascia and Tendons-Have some elastic properties. 
  • Ligaments-You don’t necessarily want to stretch these because they don’t stretch back and you compromise the integrity of the joint.
  • Muscle/Hypertrophy-Excess muscle mass may inhibit range of motion
  • Type of Joint-Each articulation has different ranges.  Ex: Hip joint (Ball and Socket) will have more range of motion than your elbow joint (Hinge Joint)
  • Temperature-The warmer the joint the better it moves
  • Pregnancy-Women produce a hormone called relaxin which allows more flexibility.
  • Exercise History-Sedentary people will tend to have less ROM than those who move with great ranges of motion.
  • Body Types-Some studies have shown longer levers (arms, legs, torsos) to have different ranges of motion but not limited to decreased movement.

Stretching Guidelines
  • Adequately Warm Up
  • Design Program-Do Daily
  • Stretch all major muscle groups-Some may need to be stretched in different directions and planes of movement
  • Focus on Alignment
  • Stretch after each major workout
  • If pain-Stop immediately
  • Breath-
  • Relax- don’t strain
  • Hold 15-60 seconds 3-4 times (Static, passive, PNF,and Myofascial)
Types of Stretching
  • Passive-Requires an outside force like a towel or person to help facilitate stretch.
  • Active-Moving with control through range of motion. Rehearsing movements to come later with greater force.
  • Static-Taken to the point of  gentle tension, 15-60 seconds, 3-4 times
  • Dynamic/Ballistic-More movement specific. Geared towards movements that require great ROM at great speeds.  Ex. Dancer jumps and leaps or Volleyball Player shoulder movement.
  • PNF (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular facilitation)-Proven very effective.  Some initial specific training involved but can eventually be done individually or with trainer.
  • Myofascial Release-Small continuous movements on foam roller or tennis ball covering 2-6 inches for 30-60 seconds to realign elastic muscle fibers from bundles position.
Benefits of Stretching
  • Increase ROM
  • Improved Posture
  • Improved Muscle Symmetry
  • Improved Muscle Efficiency
  • Improved Muscle Performance
  • Maintenance of muscle length
  • Decrease risk of Injury
  • Decreased incidence and severity of injury
  • Decrease in back pain
  • Decrease in DOMS (Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness)

Please try and incorporate stretches into your daily routine.  As you can see the benefits are worth it.  I not just saying this for you but I need a reminder myself.  I know I feel better when I stretch.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Mango Quinoa Salad

Is there a support group out there for people who can't stop eating Quinoa?  If there is, I need to join.  I just love it and its great nutritional value makes it that much more enjoyable to eat.  I volunteered to take dinner to a friend who has had surgery.  I thought this yummy salad would be perfect so I made a double batch.  Just one problem.  I'm not supposed to drop by her dinner until next Friday.  Oh well,  now there is twice as much Mango Quinoa salad for me to eat.  Not a bad thing if you are obssessed with the stuff.  Enjoy.

Mango Quinoa Salad
Recipe adapted from Ali Vincent
2 cups cooked quinoa* at room temperature, or chilled
1 14 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium mango, peeled and diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
6 green onions, thinly sliced
1 handful chopped cilantro (about 1/2 cup)
4 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1-2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
kosher salt
freshly cracked black pepper
*Quinoa can be cooked in water or broth.  I suggest using vegetable or chicken broth for enhanced flavor, but plain water works great too.
Place cooked quinoa in a large bowl.  Add mango, red pepper, green onion, black beans, and cilantro.  In a small bowl combine vinegar, olive oil, and lime juice.  Whisk until smooth and pour on top of salad.  Toss to combine and add salt and pepper to taste.  Chill for at least one hour before serving.

Thanks to OurBestBites.Com

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Weight Loss Simplified

I thought I had a pretty good handle on how to help people lose weight and then I read this.  I was way off.  Thanks for sharing Julie.
I just figured out why I'm overweight! The shampoo I use in the shower that runs down my body says "For extra volume and body."  I'm going to start using Dawn dish soap.  It says, "Dissolves fat that is otherwise difficult to remove." 

I think any color will work.  Giggle.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Laugh Yourself Skinny

Marcus and Caleb

Well our annual, Bear Lake family reunion  this past weekend was a huge success.  If I had to describe it in one word, it would be LAUGHTER.  We giggled so much and as I would be falling over with laughter, I realized there are many benefits to laughing your way to good health.  When you are happy, you tend to face things with a better attitude even if it is lunges.  A good belly laugh works your abdominal muscles and snickering, giggling, and laughing all burn calories.  There are even studies to prove it.
New research published in the International Journal of Obesity has discovered that laughter really is the best medicine for a weight problem.
The small study included 45 pairs of adult friends, who were shown either funny or serious film clips in a room that was set up with equipment to measure the amount of calories burnt and to monitor the rate, duration and type of laughter. The participants also wore heart monitors to measure their heart rate.
The researchers discovered that laughing increased both heart rate and calorie expenditure by up to 20 per cent – and the longer participants laughed for the greater the effects.
Using the results, the scientists then went on to calculate that just 15 minutes of laughter a day will burn 10 to 40 calories, depending on a person’s weight and the intensity of the laughter. That’s enough to shift between 1 and 4lb a year.
Emma and Sophia

I love my family and thoroughly enjoyed our time together.

Kurt and Katie

Sam, Landi, Vanessa, Sopia, Ryan and Jordan
Landi and Ryan