Thursday, October 2, 2014

Your fitness regimen does not need to be complicated.

      I'm someone that likes to keeps things simple. For the most part, anyway. I do my best to not complicate or dramatize my life. I keep my living space in order and clean, I manage my work schedule and to do list regularly to keep myself as stress free as possible. But, when it comes to teaching and passing along fitness and training information to my clients, I find myself overloading them with tips, ideas, new ways to try things etc. I can only imagine how their heads must spin sometimes when I get going.
      Why would I do this? I know better than that. I suppose it's because there is so much information to share and a sense of limited time to share it all. But, more is not always better. The more I think about this, the more I realize that less is more. Simple is better. One thing at a time, and all the parts and pieces will fit in place in time.
       Because, there is time. Time to let the information sink in and take hold. Time to allow for a simple change to become habit. Time to learn all there is to learn.
      I realize that no matter how much I want my clients to know what I know, they have to first-want to learn it and second-implement changes for themselves. Just as I have for myself over the years.
      In fitness and exercise routines, the craze these days is pretty complicated. Lots of moves stacked together with heavy loads and time crunches. While that may suit some, it's not the only way and sometimes, again, less really is more. Let's not rush our progress in the weight room or anywhere. Let's take the time to let it in, let's learn one thing at time, try one new thing at a time and be patient with our progress. It just doesn't need to be so complicated.
      If I can do this for myself, I can do it for you and more importantly, we can do it together.

                                                         Train Today to Move Tomorrow

Monday, August 25, 2014

Becoming more active. Daily, weekly, etc.

Lately, I've been putting together '10 Day Challenge' workouts in the hopes of encouraging habit change. Our daily habits increasingly neglect movement and physical activity. We bathe, we feed ourselves, we make it to our jobs each day, we find time to watch our favorite TV shows or spend time socializing at the local bar. But, more often than not, exercise is the last thing on our minds and the first thing to be dropped from the 'to do' list. We know that regular exercise has numerous health benefits, yet for so many of us it's still not even on the list of priorities.
I want to change that for myself and for my clients. I want you to recognize over and over again how much better you feel when you include exercise into your weeks. I hear it from my clients regularly that they feel better, have more energy, have more stamina and look better after training with me. I know that I'm nothing all that special, I'm simply an avenue for them to exercise regularly. Yet, even with that my clients may only be exercising on the two or sometimes three days of the week that they see me. While I know that's great and I know they get much from it, I also know that they, and all of us, could do much better than that.
So, a few months back I put together a short, easy to do workout that I said must be done each day for 10 days in a row if you choose to participate. The main reason for this is to continue to try to get my clients, my friends and family and myself to get up, get out and get moving everyday. I don't ask for much from these super short workouts, just enough to get your heart rate up, to get a little burn going in your body and most importantly to begin to think about daily exercise a bit differently.
We may think a workout takes up so much time, we have to get to the gym, we have to make sure to have our workout clothes and shoes, we have to decide what to do when you get to the gym. If one or more of these things isn't just right, we may just not go, easy as that. I say it's really just as easy to say yes to exercise as it is to say no. Who says we need to burn out at the gym on some treadmill to exercise, that's nonsense. I say anything is better than nothing.
That's where these 10 Day challenges come in. I've found with these workouts as I do them each day that more often than not I've repeated the exercises multiple times, I've been excited to challenge myself by doing more, or adding on more weight each day. I've felt a sense of accomplishment and success. If your start a 10 Day Plank challenge and are unable to hold a plank for a full minute but can with ease at the end of the 10 days, that's really something to be proud of. I hope with these workouts, my clients with begin to see and feel their potential more and more. Our bodies are not meant to be sedentary, our bodies become riddled with disease from being sedentary and unfortunately our lives in this modern world are more often than not sedentary.
But, we have the control. We have the strength and the power and we can change our lives for the better simply by moving more. It's really that simple. So, move with me 10 days at a time and before you know it the habit of regular exercise will be set in and you will reap the benefits.
The photos here show some of the exercises that I've included in the 10 Day Challenges so far. The rules are simple. If you do the exercises that I've picked, or you modify the workout to better suit you and your needs, all that matters is that you do it every day for 10 days straight. I'm always happy to help you find ways to make these challenges your own. Let's move more, and make it habit!

                                            Train Today to Move Tomorrow!


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Functional Movement Screening!

This week, I became a level 1 FMS certified professional. This is a screening system for movements. In addition to the regular initial assessment that my clients go through, I will be utilizing this system for information gathering.

      A few months back, I was experiencing an extraordinary amount of pain, stiffness and discomfort in muscles in my back, neck and shoulder. I went to a chiropractor and she put me through this screening. I've known about this for some time, but had never looked into it until after being run through the system.
      I decided a few weeks ago to learn more and get certified. The information in this course and in this system is very interesting. If you are active or want to be active, doing this screen will inevitably help you to be able to train better. It's a handful of simple tests that show how well your body moves. That's a simple way of putting it, but essentially we're just gathering information in an unbiased way.
      Up until now, the process of assessments for my training has been simple and effective but lacking in sufficient information. In other words, things like asymmetries, compensatory movement patterns, imbalances or pain associated with movement would not always be evident until later on making the initial training programming much more general. With this screen, those things will more evident right away so I'll be able to design a clients training program more specifically to them.
      We'll be able to focus right away on areas of imbalance or compensation and instead of unknowingly exacerbating any potential problem areas, we can train appropriately to move better.
      Check out the FMS website for more information on how it works.

                                                    Train today to Move Tomorrow!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

My commitment to you and to myself

      As you may know, if you're a client of mine, I do my best to encourage and inspire you to do something active everyday. I don't always follow my own advice, so in the desire to live with integrity, I have committed myself to do something active everyday. And as much as I love what I do for you as your trainer, and am passionate about it for you, I don't always feel the same about creating workouts for myself.  Motivating myself to stay active or getting some sort of activity or workout in is always much more challenging.

      I get more from doing workouts along side you during my 360 classes or the times when you allow me to join you in your workouts. So, my solution has been to do short, fast paced and high intensity workouts that will make me sweat and burn and that are over quick. Other options are going for a long walk or hitting the climbing gym for an hour or so, and of course joining you for the 360 workouts. I'm also adding in to my weeks one or two corrective exercise sessions to help keep my body in good working order.

      Here are a few examples of what I've been doing to get in my 'something everyday'. I've been doing this, not only to stay healthy, strong and feeling good, but to help to show you that even something done in a short amount of time is much better than nothing and that it really all does count and matter. We'll always have days where we feel that rest is best or days that we're sick, but I'd venture to say that on most days we are capable of giving at least 15 minutes to moving our bodies, getting our muscles to burn and having a little sweat-fest. 

      In addition to this commitment that I've made to myself, the commitment that I make to you everyday is to continue to support and guide you to your better health. I will do this with honesty and integrity. I make no effort to hide the fact that I am flawed. I have good days and I have bad days, sometimes it's a challenge for me to come out of a bad mood or a bad day but with that I'd rather be honest and open than hide or pretend that that is not a part of who I am. I believe that those of you who have gotten to know me, know this about me and I'm very grateful that you allow me to be me. My honest self, even when training, is loud and blunt, not always too talkative. But, get me going about 'Game of Thrones', and you may not get me to shut up. I often get much more excited about your fitness gains and successes than you do, and I'm totally OK with that. 
       I hope that I can keep on challenging you and inspiring you to get into something active everyday, with no excuses. Good day, bad day, long or busy day, make some time just for you and I promise you will feel better in the long run for it. I have to admit that though I've been doing this only for a short time, I'm already feeling much more motivated. I even was up early the other day, and instead of taking my sweet time with my morning coffee and breakfast, I went to a friend's studio and did one of her awesome bootcamp workouts. And, it was great.

      So, come with me and stay active! We'll feel great, we'll look great and we'll know that nothing can stop us! 

                 Train Today to Move Tomorrow!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Proper Form. So, what's the big deal about it anyway?

      I'm a stickler. That is a fact that if you train with me you know very well.
      Learning and using correct form when strength training is, in my opinion, the most important part of your fitness routine. Taking the time to learn can be an agonizing process, but one that's well worth it in the end.
I'm still learning and working on it and I'll most likely keep on learning and working on it for as long as I strength train. That is also a fact as I see it.
      So, why do I bother so much about proper and correct form?
      Because, that's why.
      Just kidding. I do it because in order for us, all of us, to build the true strength, endurance, capacity, efficiency, and longevity we must train correctly. All of our parts are connected and work together in a synchronized way to illicit the movement that we want. That includes all the things that we don't think about, like sitting, standing and walking. Our bodies sometimes forget what to do in order to maintain posture and gait. This can happen for many reasons. From injury or surgery, from inactivity, from sitting at the computer for too long, slouching, shuffling or dragging your feet when you walk. That's all besides the point because I want to talk about strength training. Though our everyday habits do have an effect, when it comes to strength training, we should all be starting at the beginning. Learning correct positioning and form.
      This should be the standard for all training. For me and for my clients, it is.
      There are a handful of positions and moves that are the foundations.
      Planks. Squats. Hinging. Pushing. Pulling and I'll include rotating (though that usually comes after all the rest). Learning how to do these things correctly, and by correctly I mean, aligning the joints and activating the muscles correctly to maximize effort and minimize injury. Minimize Injury. That, athletes, is the key.
      If you neglect the foundations of strength training, you will at some point get injured. Now, that's not to say that no injury will occur even if you do all the right things, but we can absolutely minimize injury when we spend time and focused energy on learning the foundations.
 For the plank, everything stems from this position, you want to maintain a straight line from your ears, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles. Elbows and wrists (if you're on your hands) should be directly underneath your shoulders. All core muscles, glutes, quads, triceps, pretty much all muscles, are activated to hold this position. Work up to holding for 60 seconds for a solid strength building exercise.
 The squat and hinge work together, though can and will be trained separately. Start with your feet about hip width apart, toes facing forward, and core muscles active. Then push your hips back keeping the weight through your heels and drop down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Going deeper into your squat is great once you've got the foundation down. Keeping your torso upright aids in core strengthening. In the correct position, your back/torso, and shins should make parallel lines.
Pushing, like a push up, starts with that Plank. Even if I were doing a pushing move elevated like on a bar, bench or TRX, I would start by finding my plank position before initiating the movement. Maintaining that position through the entire movement.

Pulling exercises are the same. With pushing and pulling exercises, we get into shoulder strength and stability, which can take a lot of time to build. Especially, if you spend most of your day at a computer or find yourself hunching forward or slouching. PS--building your core strength a foundational exercise like a plank can also help with the shoulder strength and stability. It's all connected!

      Rotational exercises also will stem from our building strength from the other foundation exercises. Knowing how to control and move together will make your rotating exercises feel good and these are fun ways to work on power. In this last photo, I'm doing a split squat with a cross-body chop. Using my squat techniques, stabilizing my hips and driving the medicine ball diagonally from my shoulder to my opposite hip without falling over. All the foundational exercises are being utilized to perform this one exercise.
      So, one of my main objectives as a trainer and coach is to teach and make sure that you understand and can perform these standards correctly. Once that happens, the fun can begin!

                                                  Train today to Move Tomorrow!

Friday, April 11, 2014

What's the real spice of life?

      Balance Training!!
      Well, that's how I see it anyway.
      I like to train in many different ways with many different tools and I like to introduce all the various aspects of fitness and strength training to my clients. One aspect of training is balance. Balance training is critical for overall strength. It's not just about if you can stand on one foot with your eyes closed and not fall over, it's more about total body awareness. What do your muscles have to do to continue supporting your joints when your center of gravity and/or base of support is changed or challenged? Well, they have do a lot and most of us never notice or realize this until it's pointed out, or until we lose our ability to maintain our balance.
      So, we train. For me, balance training is the most difficult and most challenging part of my routine. My brain and my body go into overdrive, the focus and attention that balance training demands can be overwhelming at times. But, one amazing thing about balance training is that gains and improvements can happen really quickly. Usually, after just one or two tries with a new balance challenge you'll start to feel it changing and getting a little bit easier to handle and control.

      And, it can be really fun! BOSU balls are a good tool for challenging your balance. Whether your focus is on joint stability or deceleration like in this video clip. Training balance can be slow, or quick, it can be done with or without external loads like a ViPR or kettlebells, it can be done as it's own thing or integrated in with a strength workout. If you've ever worked with me then you know that I like to include balance training in my workouts as often as I can.

At Be Fit Personal Training studio where I train, we have a COR Bench. It's just a bench, except that it's filled with air. So, every exercise you do on it challenges your core and your ability to balance.
      It's another tool that we can have some fun with!
      Here's me trying a split squat jump, or lunge jump on the COR bench. As you can see in both these videos, I'm not doing a great job on keeping balanced, but it was fun and now I know I can do things like this.
      So, don't neglect balance work in your fitness routines. It does and will aid in overall strength gains.

       Happy Balancing!
                                                         Train Today to Move Tomorrow!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

How do you know?

      When talking about exercise, healthy eating, fitness programs or routines, there is so much information out there it's a wonder how any of us can figure it out. How do you know what's right for you? How do you know what's bullshit and what's legitimate? How do you know where to start?
      None of us truly knows. It's a matter of trial and error. And, yes that's it.
      It means trying lots of different things until you find what you like and what works for you. If you like something, do it. If not, don't. Although when changing habits, we sometimes do have to grit through things that can be uncomfortable for a while. But, that's not to say that you have to suffer to lose weight or be in pain to think you're making gains in the weight room, you don't and you shouldn't. It all comes down to finding what you like and what works for you. I like seeing if I can do push ups while balancing on four medicine balls, or seeing if I can jump onto the COR bench and land in a squat without face-planting.

      I'll give you some examples of my progress. It's taken me about 3 years to get to where I am now with the way that I eat. I started by gradually cutting down, then out all together adding sugar to my coffee. I started drinking a ton of water. I started including healthier snacks like fruit instead of crackers or chips. I started cooking more for myself and eating less processed foods and more whole foods. Now, I feel much more in control, I feel much less bloated and run down, I know what I'm eating and will quickly notice if a food makes me feel gross. So, even though it's taken a long time and a lot of trials, I'm confident now that what I eat will fuel my body in the way that I need.
      It's taken me much longer than that to get to where I am now physically and with my workouts. When I first started working out regularly I thought that how my body moved was just how it moved. That I couldn't change that. I was wrong. The prime example of this for me was how I performed squats. I would see other people getting deep into their squats while keeping an upright posture and all the right parts were doing all the right things and I knew I wouldn't be able to do that. I was too stiff, I was not strong enough, I just wasn't made to do that, are all the things I would think. But, now years later and thousands of squats later, I continue to get better. In this photo, I'm using the BOSU ball as my
guide point for my depth. Who would've thought that I'd be able to maintain my position like that? Not me. But, there it is. Not only have my squats improved, but everything has improved. And, that's with problems like tendonitis in my elbows and other minor injuries that are fairly regular for me. Even with set backs, I've improved and I continue to improve and continue to get stronger.
      My point is that things take time and they take a lot of work. I know that no one wants to hear that, but it's the only reality for any lifestyle change. I encourage my clients to just take things one at a time and before you know it, all the goals are met and it's time to start making new ones. So, we may not know what to do or where to start, but I don't think that matters if you try. I know that if you try, you'll find the best way for you.