- 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, March 31, 2010
Consequential behavior is something we all live with, but many of us don't think about while we are living it. Basically it is an understanding that all of your actions result in a consequence. Not all consequence's are life changing, but many of our actions that we choose do hold major consequences.
If you practice the awareness of your actions, you will most likely deal with less harmful consequences. For instance; choosing to not study for a test, could result in a bad grade. Now if you were thinking about that before the test, you might choose to study so that you can graduate and go to a good college. If you thought about the consequence of failing, it could be more of an incentive to study and get a better grade.
Many times we do not think that far ahead, and have to deal with the consequences after the fact, and then think "I wish I would have studied for the test". Why not think about it before so the outcome will be more of what you want for your future, and future endeavors.
It sounds pretty logical, but many of us do not apply logic when it comes to life's decisions. For instance; having unprotected sex is a common mistake made by millions of people. They are in the throws of passion, lust, or whatever you want to call it, and "choose" to have sex without protection.
There are severe consequences to having unprotected sex. Sexually transmitted diseases are certainly one of those consequences. Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Syphilis, Genital Herpes, HPV, Genital Warts, Chancroid, Pubic Lice, AIDS, Hepatitis B and C, are some of the STD's that you can get having unprotected sex. This is a pretty big consequence to create by not choosing to be proactive in your decision making process.
Of course there is another consequence to having unprotected sex, and that is getting pregnant. This could result in an unwanted pregnancy which is never a good thing. Being irresponsible in this decision effects more than just yourself, it effects an innocent child that may bare the brunt of your choice to not care of the consequence in what you are choosing.
There are consequences to every action you make. Some are more benign than others, such as choosing to not brush your teeth today. That probably won't cause much of an issue, but if you choose to do that consistently, your consequence would be to lose your teeth.
The consequence of eating unhealthy foods will most likely be overweight and obesity issues, obesity related diseases, and many times a lack of self esteem. The consequence of not exercising will lead to much of the same as eating poorly, as well as leave you with less energy, faster aging process, and a poor body image.
Consequences of procrastinating will be stress, anxiety, and a feeling of being overwhelmed. Consequences of cheating and lying can bring much of the same, as well as feeling bad about yourself for being a cheater and a lyre. You may also experience the consequence of others not respecting you for this behavior. You might not be seen by others as a good person when you practice these behaviors.
You can see that the above actions all result in consequences that are not a benefit to you. There are also consequences for good behavior, such as being kind, compassionate, loving, honest, and helpful. These consequences are usually ones that will uplift you and be a beneficial positive experience to you.
Be conscious of your actions and behavior. Know that in every action there will be a consequence. Make sure you are in control of how these play out in your life. Remember you are not a victim, but a person who is totally responsible for every action you take, and every consequence you make. Make them consciously!
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Boys and men....this is a subject that will consume you when you are young....and from my interactions with "all" of my female clients, friends, and acquaintances, young and old, for much of your life.
I wish I had all of the time back that I have spent in my life thinking about and working on having that "special" relationship with a guy, believing that it would make me happy.
If I had spent that time getting a masters degree, or planning my career goals, working on self improvement, I would not have floundered as much as I did. If I would have known that true happiness does not come from a having a relationship with another person, it comes from the relationship you have with yourself.
I know that much of this attention we put on having that relationship is hormonal and biological, but I also believe a great deal of it is societal. We are brainwashed from birth to believe that having that "special" relationship is the most important thing in life! The brainwashing comes in the form of movies, songs, holidays, and books, that send a message to us that we need to find that one special love to complete us.
The truth is, You are complete already, and you can survive without someone else, even though most of us don't want to. The poems, songs, movies, and books that tell a story about a love so amazing that you will die without it, is hogwash. No matter how much you love, you will not die without it. There may be feelings of severe sadness and loss, but you will not die. Life will go on no matter what relationship ends, and you will survive and most likely find a new love to obsess over.
I believe that we all need to work on ourselves first, before we jump into a lifelong commitment to another. If you are dealing with low self worth, low self esteem, or other personal issues that are holding you back from being who you would like to be, this is not the time to get into a relationship. You will only be able to attract someone with like issues, and or someone who will validate your issues for you.
For instance; I had low self worth for much of my younger life, and the men who I attracted into my life would cheat on me, belittle me, and treat me badly. I could have never attracted a "together" guy when I had such personal issues, because that kind of guy would never have been attracted to a female who had such low self worth. That kind of guy would only be attracted to a female who was more together herself. Get it?
You need to be the person you want to be with. In other words, if you want someone honest, loyal, kind, intelligent, fun, etc., you need to be those things to be able to attract someone of the same ilk. If you lie and cheat, don't expect to find someone who is otherwise. Get it?
If you think you are going to find your true love at seventeen or eighteen years old, the odds are highly against you. First of all, you really don't know who "You" are yet, and certainly have not had the experience to know who you want to be with. Now I know there are exceptions to this rule, but they are just that, exceptions.
Two out of three marriages end in divorce...that says it all. People get married young thinking they know what they want, they have children thinking they have this perfect situation, and then a few years down the road realize they don't want to be married to this person and it ends with a divorce and children that become damaged from it.
Give yourself time to get to know who "You" are and who "You" want to be with. Work on yourself to be the person that you like so that you can attract the person that you want. Don't buy into the illusion of what the movies, songs, and books tell us. Find what works for you and what can stand the test of time.
If you are in a relationship where you are always trying to change the person you are with, or they are always trying to change you, you are in the wrong relationship.
If it is happiness you want in your life, find it in yourself first, then another person will enhance your life, not be your life. This is a much healthier approach to finding someone to share in your life's journey with....take your time, learn, grow, and be who you should be, before you commit to someone else.
Monday, March 29, 2010
Reading food labels are important if you want to be assured of getting healthy foods into your body. Most people know about the calorie count when reading food labels, but there is a lot more information for you on these labels if you are able to understand what they mean.
First off, you need to know that all food labels are based on a 2,000 calorie a day diet. Some may offer the information for 2,500 calories as well. This is an assumption that the average daily diet is 2,000 calories a day.
Just by looking around at all the obese people that I see, and knowing the facts of how many people are over weight and obese in the U.S., it is pretty obvious that most people are not sticking to the 2,000 calories a day program.
They need a baseline, and that is what it is, so all of the stats on the label are for 2,000 calories. When you see a percentage of how much your daily values are such as sodium, or fiber, that is only if you are eating 2,000 calories a day.
You also need to note the serving size. If it says a 1 cup is a serving, and you have two cups, you need to double all the fact information on the label to apply to the amount that you ate. Usually serving sizes are very conservative, smaller than what many of us eat. So when it says 200 calories per serving, and you eat double the serving, you must double the calories that you are counting, along with all of the other info on the label.
If the fat percentage on a label reads more than 25 to 30 percent, it is not a healthy choice if you are trying to lose fat. Especially if you are eating more than the serving size recommends.
If a label says "fat free" it has to by law have less than 0.5 grams per serving. If it says "low fat" it must comply with 3 grams of fat or less per serving. If it say "lean" it must have less than 10 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, and no more than 95 milligrams of cholesterol.
If the label says "light (lite)" it must have 1/3 or no more than half the fat of the higher calorie. higher fat version. Hopefully the higher version is not over the top with fat. When a label says "Cholesterol free", it must have less than 2 milligrams of cholesterol, or 2 grams or less of saturated fat per serving.
Your cholesterol intake should be under 300 milligrams in a day for a healthy diet. Your sodium intake should not go over 2400 milligrams in a day for optimum health results.
When reading the ingredient list, remember that they list them by amounts. The ingredient that is in the product the most will be the first ingredient listed. For instance in many processed cereals the first ingredient might be bleached flour, the second ingredient might be sugar. That means that this cereal has mostly bleached flour, (non nutritious) and sugar (also non nutritious) in it. Not a good choice if you are trying to be healthy and lean.
If you are reading the ingredient list and find words that you do not know what they are, or cannot pronounce, it is probably not a good choice to eat. Many processed foods have preservatives, chemicals, artificial flavors and colorings, that you just should not eat if you are looking for healthy choices.
Natures foods do not need any labels. Fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes, fresh lean proteins, are assured to provide you with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes, and amino acids that are pure of the negative health effects of processed foods.
So read your labels if you are eating processed foods to make sure that you are making healthier choices. You will find that many things that you have been eating, and thought were O.K., are simply not. Choose health by taking control of what you are eating. Educate yourself by reading the labels!
Friday, March 26, 2010
There is a food revolution taking place around the world, and my belief is that it is just in its infancy. This revolution is way over due, but I guess as the saying goes, "Better late than never!".
There have been authors and film makers in past years that have brought great light to the subject of how our foods are killing us, but now more than ever, we are seeing masses of people getting out there to educate the population on the importance of how our foods are made and what they do to us.
Several years back Morgan Spurlock made a documentary called, "Super Size Me", in which he focused on our fast food, processed food, obsession, and how it is literally killing our people who eat these foods on a daily bases. This is very interesting and a great film to see.
Marion Nestle is an author who is a professor at New York University, but holds too many honors and accolades to mention. She is an expert in the field of nutrition and the study of foods. Her books "Food Politics", "Safe Foods", "What to Eat", and "Pet Food Politics", are outstanding for informing us about what we should be eating, and what we should not be eating. She also has a daily column online with great info to keep you up on all that is going on in the food world.
Michele Simon wrote a book called, "Appetite For Profit" in which she talks about how the food industry undermines our health for profits. I guess when you consider that Kraft Foods is owned by a cigarette company, "Phillip Morris", its not too shocking to understand that our health is not their priority....Great book.
I have mentioned the documentary "Food Inc." in one of my blogs. This is a brilliant film that at some times is difficult to watch due to the inhumane way that our animals are treated. It is difficult, but all of us should watch it so that you can make the right choices when buying your foods. If we all knew the truths, we would surly make different choices when it comes to purchasing foods. It would cause the industry to change its ways when no one would buy their unhealthy, immoral, products. Definitely watch this.
Tonight Jamie Oliver is beginning his T.V. special on how he is trying to change the obesity epidemic in this country, particularly with our children and schools. He has gone to the West Virginia, because it is the fattest, most unhealthy, state in our country to begin his plight. I have seen the premier of this show, and I have to tell you, he is fabulous.
The people in West Virginia die earlier from diseases caused by obesity by fifteen to twenty years. From what I saw, they want to defend their right to eat unhealthy, and are ignorant to how bad their lifestyles are. I am looking forward to seeing how he progresses with his project and hope the outcome is successful. You can see his show, "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution" on ABC at 9 o'clock tonight. It will open your eyes, I promise you that!
So spend your weekend educating yourself on how you can make better choices with foods for optimal health. Take a look at these informative works and you'll be armed with the truth about our foods. Have a great weekend!
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Working closely with people for nearly thirty years now, I have seen and been involved with my students and clients personal lives. If you are alive and breathing, you will have had, or will have personal family crisis at some point in time.
How do we deal with these times? One of my recommendations is to not take it personally. (See blog on Four Agreements) This is not an easy thing to understand or do, but remember that what others do, is never personal to you, it is personal to them.
If you have a parent that is out of integrity with the marriage, or your parents decide to divorce, it will feel horrible and very personal. You can not own or be responsible for what anyone else does, including your parents. You can however, take care of yourself during such a difficult time.
As much as you would like to change what has happened, and make decisions for your family, it will most likely not be in your power. You can only choose how you react and feel about it. You can do things to help yourself feel better, and know that you did nothing or are responsible for what has happened.
So what are some of the things that you can do to help yourself feel better? I have discussed the practice of meditation several times in this blog. (see past blogs on meditation) Meditation is a great tool to use when you are feeling stressed, fearful, and alone. This is where you can focus on good things happening, helping the people that you love, and relieving your pain. It can help get you out of the hopeless state that you might be feeling.
Another thing to choose is to exercise. Remember that when you exercise you will release endorphins into your body. These endorphins are like natural sedatives for your body, and will actually calm you and relieve the stress, anger, and sadness that you might be feeling.
Having a friend to talk to is always a good thing. Someone who is there to listen and support you through your difficult time is a gift. You might have a teacher or relative that could lend an ear and a shoulder for you as well. It is always healthy to talk about your fears and upsets to someone you trust.
There are an abundance of books that can help you in these difficult times. There are books written specifically for teens dealing with the divorce of their parents. There are books for dealing with family dysfunction and other types of family trauma for teens. Just look online for whatever it is you might be having trouble with, and you will find a source.
The worst thing that you can do is to take on the responsibility of what is going on and then do nothing. Be proactive to help yourself get through the situation with positive and productive choices. We can not stop bad things from happening, but we can choose to do good things for ourselves.
Life is full of wonderful things, but it also is sometimes sad, scary, and difficult. Those are the times that you can choose to take control of how you deal with it. Choose to take care of yourself and become stronger for it.
Its not what happens to us that matters, it is how we deal with it that will make the difference in our life.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Unless you have been living somewhere out of communication from the rest of the world, you have probably heard of Pilates. Pilates is a form of exercise that is primarily concerned with core strength, flexibility, and awareness of body, mind, and spirit.
Joseph Pilates was living in England and worked as a circus performer and a boxer until he was put in an internment camp during the outbreak of WWII. He began to develop exercises to keep himself and other detainees of the camp healthy. Joseph was able to assist others who were diseased and injured with his type of training.
Using what was available to him, like bed springs and beer keg rings, he created exercise with resistance. This is what eventually became the bases for what we now refer to as the reformer, one of the pieces of equipment used in Pilates studios today.
After WWII, Joeseph returned to Germany and began teaching his program to the Military Police for physical training and self defense. He then taught in New York from 1926 to 1966. During this time many of his students became teachers of Pilates, and that is how it began to spread across the country and around the world.
Joseph Pilates defined his work as, "The comprehensive integration of body, mind, and spirit." He also refered to it as "Contrology". However you describe it, it works to strengthen the body's core, enhances flexibility, and improves the connection to your body, mind, and soul, experience.
Here are some basic exercises to begin your Pilates workout.
Single leg stretch;
Plank or front support;
Find additional instruction on the web if needed.
This is just one more tool for your exercise routine. It works and will be a good addition for your cross training program. (see cross training blog)
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Here are some basic Yoga poses that are great to begin your yoga practice. It is a great way to begin and end your day. Yoga is a powerful tool for stress release, flexibility, immune system support, helps with concentration, strength, and wellness of body, mind, and soul.
Cat Stretch; Done on all fours, this helps to stretch the spine.
Child Pose; This is relaxing and comfortable.
Cobra Pose; This is a basic back bend pose.
Downward Facing Dog Pose; Gives flexibility and strength.
Mountain Pose; The foundation to all standing poses.
Plank Pose; Strengthens arms, legs, spine, and core.
Standing Forward Bend Pose; Bending over and reaching for your toes.
Staff Pose: A seated pose from which all poses originate.
So those are just a few of the basic yoga poses to get you started. I will be showing you more later to add to your growing list of things to help you stay healthy of body, mind, and soul!
Monday, March 22, 2010
Most of us understand the importance of consistency when it comes to things like brushing our teeth, bathing, or washing our hair. Without consistency with those things our teeth would decay, our bodies would smell, and our hair would be greasy and look bad.
Lucky for us those things don't cause personal discomfort, or many of us wouldn't do them. Choosing to exercise and eat healthy is something that does cause us to be uncomfortable, so being consistent with those things seems much harder to commit to.
Heaven forbid we get uncomfortable! Exercise requires you to get out of your comfort zone for you to get results. Remember that if you are comfortable during exercise, you are not gaining much in the result category. In order for gains to be made you have to go beyond what is already comfortable for you.
Eating healthy requires you to be prepared and have healthy food choices available to you when you are hungry. It takes more than a quick trip into a fast food place, or to open a package of processed type of foods. You will have to "think" about having healthy choices available, and OH MY GOSH....you might have to actually cook something!
It has been my experience as a personal trainer for over 22 years, that many people go for long periods of time not exercising, eating poorly, then they decide to get fit and healthy. They want results in two weeks after beginning a program for wellness. They get mad and frustrated that they haven't lost any weight or seen much happen with their two weeks of discipline.
Unfortunately it does not work that way. It takes time to reverse the effects of a bad lifestyle, especially as you get older. If you are "consistent" and willing to exercise and eat right even if you do not see the results happen as quickly as you like, it will eventually work.
It always amazes me when people believe all the bad behavior should disappear with a few weeks of good. NOT going to happen!
You can not work out for a few weeks and get fit. You can not eat healthy for a month and be nutritionally sound. You need to commit to a "Consistent" program for life!
Be "Consistent" and "Disciplined" with your good eating habits and exercise routine and you will get to the place of fit and healthy....It will happen! Consistency is the key to most things working...health and wellness is no different.
So just like brushing your teeth, bathing, and washing your hair.....exercise should be done consistently if you want the results of a fit and healthy body.