- I have been a teacher of fitness and health for thirty years. In 1989 I was certified for personal training with the National Acadamy of Sports Medicine. I had a gym in Santa Barbara for eight years. Co-owned and created a spinning bike company which manufactured bikes for five years. Also I have worked with nutrition companies for twenty years. Along with many wonderful non famous people I have trained many celebrities, and members of the Royal Family. My own athletic past consists of long distance running, long distance cycling, cross country skiing, down hill skiing, rollerblading, hiking, sand running, track work, and weight training. I have authored two fitness columns in local papers, and have been writing this blog since January 2010.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Taking time off from your normal day to day schedule is important to do now and then. This is something that I have been out of balance with for quite some time. The past seven years has been pretty challenging for me, and taking time off just hasn't been an option.
I used to travel quite a bit and take time to myself frequently, but sometimes life changes and you have to change with it. However, I am going to be taking five days off beginning tomorrow.
I have a friend in Alabama that is going to get married on Saturday. I am going to be there with her and enjoy her special day of celebration. I am looking forward to having time to relax, and time without a schedule.
Balance is key to a happy life. Working all of the time is not good, nor is playing all of the time. You need to have the balance of work, play, down time, busy time, social time, and alone time.
There are exceptions to this rule however, and that is when you are highly focused on a certain goal such as an elite athlete, or an intense business project, then balance may go by the wayside.
Losing the balance short term for that kind of thing is appropriate, but at some point balance should be restored.
I will be off the computer until Tuesday, March 2nd, and will continue to blog at that time. I will miss my daily chats with you, and look forward to being back next week.
This is a good time to go back and review some of the past blogs for a refresher. Lot's of good info to revisit.
So have a great five days, and I will be back on line on Tuesday. Eat healthy, exercise, and have good thoughts!
Till Tomorrow (actually five tomorrow's!)
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
I have talked quite a bit about choosing your thoughts and emotions. It is always a choice, even when you are not consciously making that choice. One thing that is important to understand about our feelings and emotions, is that they effect our health.
Have you noticed that the feelings like joy, gratitude, happiness, compassion, and giving, have positive health aspects for your body. Experiencing those kind of emotions will lower your blood pressure, reduces stress, help with depression, improve your immune system, raise your self esteem, and give you an overall feeling of wellness.
On the other hand, emotions like anger, jealousy, envy, bitterness, fear, anxiety, vengeance, and hate, are emotions that can make you sick and diseased. Heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, mental health issues, headaches, skin disorders, and digestive problems are some of the physical things that can happen when you practice these emotions.
It is obvious that our emotions have a huge physical effect on us, but they also have a mental and emotional effect. People who live in anger most of the time are the ones who tend to cause violent and abusive crimes. People who live with negative emotions most of the time, tend to be abusive and mentally unstable.
So if we "choose" our thoughts and emotions, why would any of us choose to be angry, hateful, and negative? I believe it is because most of us are unaware that we have the choice. But "we" do....and that fact is freeing and liberating.
Think of how incredible it is that we can choose and not be a victim of our own thoughts. We can choose to feel anyway we want to, in any situation that we are in. That is powerful.
You can choose to feel love, joy, gratitude, compassion, and positive thoughts, over the hateful, jealous, envious, vengeful, negative thoughts, and you will be happier and healthier for it. You do have that choice every minute of your day.
Be conscious of your thoughts and emotions. Choose to be "Mindful" of how you create your life with every thought and feeling you have. Don't be a victim of your own mind....and don't be a victim of anyone else's mind. Be in charge of your life....Choose to be healthy of body, mind, and soul!
The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.
Monday, February 22, 2010
There is so much information out there to assist you on your journey of optimum health for body, mind, and soul. Here are some of my favorite books that I have found to be helpful in my quest of a "Better Self".
Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen's books about health are the best, reader friendly, books on that subject. I think they are some of the best ever written to explain how our bodies work. Their first book called, "YOU The Owner's Manual" is a book that will help you to understand how the body works, and what it needs and doesn't need.
These two Dr.'s are brilliant in their ability to teach us how to stay healthy, and keep ourselves feeling and looking young. This book has life saving facts and info to guide you on your path to well being.
They have also authored "You on a Diet", "You Staying Young", "You Having a Baby", and "You Being Beautiful". I highly recommend all of these if you are interested in learning how best to care for yourself.
I have already mentioned the book "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz in a past blog. I have to recommend to you once again. It is truly a list of four things that if you choose to live by, you will have a much more peaceful existence.
Don Miguel Ruiz has just written a new book called, "The Fifth Agreement". It deals with the subject of "Be skeptical, but learn to listen". The author talks to us about how we can determine the truth from the non truths. I love all of his books.
Dr. Wayne Dyer has published numerous books through the years. His most recent, "Excuses Be Gone" is one of my favorites. Dr. Dyer helps you see the things that might hold you back in life and gives advice on how to change your self defeating habits.
Another one of Dyer's books I think is helpful is, "Being in Balance". It is an easy read with great advice on balancing your thoughts and emotions for a healthier You!
I have a book called, "Power Sculpt"by Paul Frediani. This book gives great illustration and instruction on using an exercise ball for training. It is thorough and easy to follow. Remember all you need to get a good strength training workout is an exercise ball. With this book, you will have a variety of exercises to perform and instruction for perfect form.
Lance Armstrong is probably the best cyclist of all time. He conquered the Tour de France race seven times in a row, something that had never been done before, and may never be done again. The most amazing thing about Lance though, is not that fact, but the fact that he did this following a bout of Cancer where he only had a 4% chance of living.
His book, "Its Not About The Bike; My Journey Back to Life" is a great read. Lance has written several other books. Among them are, "Comeback 2.0 Up Close and Personal", "Every Second Counts", and "Lance Armstrong's Performance Program; Seven Weeks to a Perfect Ride."
If you want to be inspired and truly understand challenge and survival, read a Lance Armstrong book. You will not be sorry.
There is a little book, very easy to read, and full of honest information about what you should and should not eat. I love this book. If you want to be healthy, feel good, and lose some fat, this book will give you everything you need to know about eating healthy. It is called, "Food Rules" by Michael Pollan. If you don't read any other book I have recommended, read this one.
So if you want to be healthy of body, mind, and soul, these books can assist you in that desire. Happy Reading!
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Did you know that walking will help you to lose body fat? It is one of the best ways to exercise and lose fat as long as you are giving it some speed and effort. Walking slowly and comfortably will not give you the results of a speed walk.
One of the benefits of speed walking is that it is non-impact. Your joints will not suffer the shock of the road as they do in running. Another benefit is that it gets you outside and in nature, always good for your soul.
Researchers from the University of Virginia found that women who did three shorter fast paced walks, and two longer moderate paced walks, in a week lost 5 times the belly fat as women who did five moderate walks in a week.
Getting your speed and heart rate up on your walk is imperative for optimum results. Vigorous exercise raises the level of fat burning hormones according to Arthur Weltman PhD director of the exercise physiology laboratory at the University. It will also increase the afterburn (calories burned in post exercise) by 47% compared with lower intensity workouts.
Depending on your body weight, you will burn approximately 100 to 140 calories per mile. A good speed to walk at is around 3 to 4 miles an hour. This is a pace that will keep your speed up and get the fat burning process working. Walking 3 to 4 miles will give you a high quality hour of fat reducing, heart strengthening, exercise.
I recommend that you wear a heart rate monitor so that you can know where your heart rate is. Remember if you want to lose body fat, you need to be in your fat burning zone.
To calculate this, as I have stated before, minus your age from 220. That is your maximum heart rate. To burn fat you want to be in your 65 to 85% range. For instance; if you are 18, your maximum is 202, 65% is 131, and your 85% is 171. So keeping your heart rate between 131 and 171 is where you will burn the most fat.
You will need a supportive pair of tennis shoes as well. Walking or running in shoes that do not support your feet can cause undue stress to your whole body. It is important to have comfortable, properly fit, supportive shoes, to avoid injury and keep your motivation up for the exercise.
Walking can be done pretty much anywhere. Even if you are in a city, walking is always available to you. Walking in nature gives you the bonus of its beautiful surroundings. Using music for your walk will give you the added benefit of the rhythm to pace yourself with.
Using walking as a way to get fit, lose body fat, and feel better is good choice. You can make it as intense as you like without the risk of impact to your joints.
Walking gives you all the benefits of most cardiovascular exercise; lowers blood pressure, reduces risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. It will lower cholesterol, reduces stress, builds bone density, strengthens muscles, promotes better sleep, and gives you an overall sense of well being.
So add walking to your exercise program to get fit and lose the body fat. You will feel and look better for it!
Friday, February 19, 2010
Your body burns calories 24 hours a day, even if you are sedentary or asleep, your body requires calories to stay alive. As I discussed in my "Metabolism" blog, you will burn additional calories with a faster metabolism, and when you have more muscle mass.
Every move that you make requires calories to make that move. Obviously, the more intense the activity, the more calories that are burned.
What is a calorie? When a calorie is defined in reference to food, it is the amount of energy in the food that is available through digestion. It is a measure of heat energy. In other words; calories are energy that fuel our bodies. If you have too many of these calories, and not enough activity to burn them off, you will get fat.
An hour of moderate biking (10 to 12 miles an hour) will burn around 500 calories. Playing basketball will burn 500 per hour. Push ups, sit ups, tricep dips, will also burn 500 per hour.
Cleaning your house will burn around 200 to 300 calories in an hour. Preparing food, playing croquet, and throwing darts, will all burn around 150 calories. Dancing, light aerobics, and horseback riding all burn approximately 300 calories during an hour.
In an hour you can burn 600 calories running a ten minute mile, 500 in rollerblading, 400 in downhill skiing, 600 in swimming the breast stroke, 500 in singles tennis, 350 lifting weights, and 600 in jumping rope.
Everything you do burns calories, but everything you eat adds them back into your body. If you go out and run for an hour and burn 600 calories, and then return home to eat a bagel and cream cheese, you will put back in most of the calories that you burned off, as well as added fat.
This is where you need to be more aware. If you want to lose the fat, be cautious of what you are burning, and what you are putting back in. You want to burn more calories than you are eating. Don't make the mistake of thinking that you just did all of this exercise, now you can eat a lot more. That will sabotage your weight loss. Again, it is simple math.
So be aware of what you are burning, and what you are ingesting. You will be able to get lean and fit by understanding the balance between calories in, and calories out. Burn more, Eat less!
Thursday, February 18, 2010
It frightens me to know that shows like "Jersey Shores", "Bad Girls", and any of the "Housewives" series are the most watched shows of this generation. What is going on that we find entertainment in television where people are disrespectful, rude, obnoxious, stupid, lacking in morals, and engaging in ridiculous behavior.
Watching people scream, yell, and hit each other does not require talent or brains. It falls under the category of the lowest common denominator.
Remember that what you focus on, you create. So if you are focusing on this kind of entertainment, you should question why it is that you find this a good way to spend your time.
I understand that some of it could be funny, but giving your time and focus on a daily bases to this kind of thing will not be benefit you. It will lower your energy, values, and morals, if you infiltrate your brain with this kind of stuff.
It is a rarity to be treated with respect anymore. Whether it is dealing with people in business, or on a personal level, you are more apt to have an experience of disrespect than respect. People are apathetic and self centered for the most part and don't care about being respectful of others.
The morality is another thing that has gone down in past years. Disrespectful language, bad behavior, cheating, lying, and trying to get ahead at the cost of someone else is not practicing good morality.
Gone are the days where we would not want to see someone humiliated and degraded. We now want to see it 24-7. We want to watch people making fools of themselves, drunk and disgusting is good too. Fighting and hitting each other is also great fun! The lower they go on the scale of respect and morality, the more we like it.
Strange but true. We need to shift this. We need to focus on higher energy activities. We need to be respectful and get back to some kind of moral values.
You can start by not giving your time or attention to these types of television show. Another place you can change is any kind of violent, or disrespectful video games that you might play. Find another way to entertain yourself that is healthy and beneficial.
It is no wonder that there is so much violence and lack of respect for each other now. Again, "what you focus on, you create". If much of your attention is spent on negative and ugly entertainment how can you possibly create positive in your life?
Using words like, please and thank-you, will not only make whoever it is you are saying it to feel good, but will make you feel good too. Phrases like, "I'm sorry", or "Excuse Me", are healthy to say when needed.
Helping others and being kind will give you the greatest gift...you will feel good! As the Dali Lama says, "The actual beneficiary of the practice of compassion and caring for others is oneself."
Let's get back to a life of respect and morals which are kind and compassionate of others. You will be happier and healthier for it. This I promise.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Everyone has heard that it is important to eat a good breakfast, but do you know the reasons why? There are many, and I am going to share them with you.
When I was growing up, I didn't always have breakfast before I went off to school. I remember that around 10 to 11 in the morning I would get a headache, feel tired, and find it hard to pay attention in class. I did not associate it with not eating breakfast, but I am sure now that it was just that.
Many studies have been done on breakfast and its benefits. The truth is that "breakfast" is your most important meal. It is called "breakfast" because you are breaking the fast that you have been on all night during your sleep, which hopefully is at least 8 hours.
When you wake your body needs fuel to get going and provide itself with energy for your morning hours. Without it you will not think as sharp, feel very energetic, and your blood sugar will be low. You are also more likely to gain weight when you skip breakfast, and will find it harder to lose it.
Donuts, pastries, sugar cereals, and pizza are not high on the list of healthy choices for breakfast. Downing a bunch of sugar for your first meal of the day is not good. People who choose these kinds of foods for breakfast are more at risk of being overweight or obese.
People who eat healthy breakfast's tend to have healthier lifestyles, longer lives, with less illness. All that just for eating a good breakfast, gotta love that!
Healthy choices of breakfast food include, eggs, lean portions of meat or poultry, yogurt, fresh fruit, whole grain cereals and breads, oatmeal, and peanut butter. Pancakes and waffles on special occasions!
I like to make a protein smoothie with half juice, half water, a handful of berries, half a banana, and a scoop of soy protein. I do not like to eat a lot in the morning, probably because as a child I began that bad habit, so a smoothie works great for me.
What ever you choose to eat or drink, make sure that your morning begins with a positive start by having a nutritional, healthy, breakfast!
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Discipline is a word that has dropped from many peoples vocabulary. Many of us do not want to apply the effort it takes to get the results we want out of life. If you want to be successful at anything, you need to be "disciplined".
Harry S. Truman stated, "In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory that they won was over themselves...self discipline with all of them came first."
Another quote by Jim Rohn, "We must all suffer one of two things; the pain of discipline, or the pain of regret and disappointment."
There is an old Icelandic proverb that states, "He who lives without discipline, dies without honor."
Without discipline your life will be without direction. If you want to get into a good college, but you are not disciplined to do your school work, that college will not accept you. If you want to get into shape and lose some body fat, but you do not want to eat healthy and exercise, you will not reach your fitness goals.
Discipline is what separates successful people from those who are not. You can't just sit around and wish and hope your life will change, you must be disciplined enough to create that change.
Getting what you want out of life is not without hard work, discipline, and focus. You may have to give up some of the things that you love to do in order to get what you want. Discipline is something that used to be common sense, but now seems to have been forgotten, dropped from the English language.
Without applying discipline to my life, I would not be the independent person that I have become. There are many times I do not want to work, but being disciplined is what helps me to do it.
Being disciplined keeps me healthy. I work out regularly because I am disciplined, not because I always want to. Although working out is one of my favorite things to do, I sometimes feel lazy and would rather not. That is when discipline comes into play.
If you apply discipline to anything you want to accomplish, it will most likely come into fruition. It is key in any successful outcome. Practice being disciplined and good things will happen for you.
Monday, February 15, 2010
First we need to establish what "metabolism" is to understand its importance in maintaining, losing, or gaining weight.
Metabolism is the amount of energy (calories) your body takes to live and maintain itself. This would include any activity on your part such as exercise, walking, or any task that causes you to move.
Your Basal metabolic rate is the amount of calories it takes for an individual to be in a resting state as if they were in bed asleep all day. There are general calculations for determining your basal metabolic rate, but it is just that, a generality. The variable factors are weight, height, gender, age, genetics, muscle mass, and activity levels that influence basal metabolism.
If you are active, of normal weight, female, young, and have a normal amount of muscle on you, your basal metabolism should be around 1500 calories. That means that if you were in bed asleep for 24 hours, your body would burn 1500 calories just keeping you alive.
This is one of the reasons food labels always say "based on a 2000 calorie a day diet. They assume that your basal is around 1500 calories, and they assume you are going to be doing another 500 calories of activity. They then assume that in eating 2000 calories a day you will maintain your weight. A lot of assuming going on there by the way!
If only we all had that kind of metabolism, but we don't. People who have slower metabolisms, usually move less, are over weight, have less muscle mass percentage than fat, could be older, and they could have genetics that do not serve them well. There are many factors that determine someones metabolism.
Top athletes require 4 to 6 thousand calories a day due to their fast metabolisms and high caloric burning activities. They have more muscle and work out more than the average person.
So basically losing, gaining, or maintaining your weight is all about math. It is understanding what your basal metabolic rate is, and then adding in the amount of activity you do in a day to come up with the total daily amount of calories that you need.
If you want to lose weight, begin by figuring out your daily calorie burn. For instance say your basal is 1500 calories, and during your day of activity you burn an additional 600 calories. (that includes your exercise) Your total calorie burn for a day is 2100 calories.
Lets say you want to lose 10 pounds. If you ate only 1600 calories a day but burn 2100, you would lose those 10 pounds in about 10 weeks. Remember it takes 3500 calories to lose a pound. By cutting your caloric intake by 500 calories a day, you will lose approximately 1 pound a week. That adds up to 10 pounds in 10 weeks.
If you pick up your exercise, you will lose more weight at a faster pace. It is all about calories in, and calories out. Simple math!
It is a matter of being conscious of how much you are eating, and how much you are burning. And remember, the better you eat, the more you exercise, the faster your metabolism will run.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Today was one of those special days. It just could not have been more beautiful with the green hills, wild flowers popping out, and temperatures in the high seventies to eighties. I had to go to Santa Barbara to do some errands and I decided to do a run on the beach while I was there.
Anyone who lives in this area is lucky. We have access to the mountains, the valleys, and the beaches. Such a variety of beauty. But today I chose to enjoy the beach.
I went to East Beach where I can run a little over three miles in the sand. I do not run on the wet sand, but choose the deeper dry sand to get a more intense run. After donning my socks, ankle supports, water shoes, and sun block, I did a five minute warm up stretch to prepare my legs, and ankles for the sand.
When you do deep sand running your stride is more of a prance with a knee up motion. It is important to keep your ankles steady and avoid twisting them. Water shoes allow for more flexibility during the run.
I made my way down the beach listening to music on my I Pod. Music helps to motivate me when the running gets tough.
People lined the beach with colorful umbrellas and coolers full of food. The seagulls flew and landed in groups near the water. Children were digging in the sand while their dogs barked at the surf. What a pleasure it is to exercise in this environment.
Sand running is a great workout burning around 600 to 700 calories per hour. It will also define your calf's, quads, and hamstrings, to perfection.
After my run I drove up the coast to a beach that I had spent much of my childhood summers on. I took a walk down the nature path and onto the beach to watch the surfers, pelicans, and dolphins out in the water. The smell of the surf, and sounds of the waves were calming and relaxing. It was blissful.
The beach is a great place to exercise, relax, meditate, and connect with nature. If you do not have the luxury of living near a beach, you can always visit one during your meditation. Just close your eyes and visualize the sounds, smells, and feelings of that ocean experience. You can transport your self there anytime you want during a meditation. What a gift!
I was very thankful for today. It was one of those perfect days where I was in the moment and grateful to be there. It was a vacation from any stress and worries that I might otherwise be preoccupied with. I highly recommend a day at the beach, whether it is actual or in a visual meditation, it will soothe your soul!
Saturday, February 13, 2010
One of my favorite ways to get some exercise is to take a hike. Not only are you getting your cardio in, you are strengthening and toning your legs and butt. Then there is the bonus of being outdoors and in nature.
Nature is a way to connect to something besides ourselves. When I have hiked in the mountains of the North West, I have been in awe of its beauty. The trees, fresh air, and extraordinary mountain vistas are food for your soul!
I have seen black bear up close and personal from a distance of twenty feet. It was amazing to hear the Elk bugling out in the wild, and see an eagle fly close by. I have hiked up to a glacier, and been into the depths of a rain forest.
Hiking into the wilderness is high on my list of favorite things to do. Those are some of the things you can experience when hiking out in the wilderness. You will feel grounded and relaxed while spending time in nature.
You will also experience great physical benefits, which makes hiking a perfect physical, mental, and spiritual, workout. You can reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, and high blood pressure. Hiking also helps to reverse aging, relieve back pain, and lowers stress. All of that while enjoying the outdoors.....Fabulous!
Not everyone gets the chance to hike in the wilderness, but most of us live where there are parks, and nature preserves that we can utilize for hiking. Beaches are great for hiking on too. The sand does wonders for toning your legs and butt.
People hike in the deserts, around lakes, and local mountains. You can always find a place to hike close to home.
Depending on your weight, you will burn approximately 500 to 1,000 calories for 90 minutes of hiking. If the terrain is difficult in elevation you will burn more calories. Make sure you always carry water, and bring food if you are planning to hike more than a couple of hours. Nothing worse than having a blood sugar drop out in the middle of nowhere without food.
If you have access to hiking trails, grab a friend (always a good idea to have a hiking buddy, bad idea to go alone) and go for a hike. You'll be doing your body, mind, and soul a huge favor!
So "Take a Hike" and have a great time!