About Me

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.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Remembering Our Soldiers

Today is Memorial Day, and I wanted to take a moment to remember why we have this holiday. Unless you have watched the news today, you may have forgotten about the real purpose of this day. It is about remembering our soldiers that died for this country. Men and women who lost their lives for our freedom.

Many of us think of this holiday weekend as a time to barbecue, hang out at the beach, or have a family pic-nic. It is all of those things, but we should also take a moment and think about its true meaning.

50,000 Americans died in WWI, with twenty million soldiers and civilians dieing world wide. 406,000 Americans died in WWII, with approximately 50 to 70 million people who died world wide.

Approximately 34,000 Americans died in the Korean war. It is estimated that 10 million people died world wide from this war.

58,000 soldiers died in the Vietnam war. Over 1 million people died all together. These stats are just too mind boggling for me to comprehend.

Whether or not you believe that we should go to war or not, these soldiers died while protecting the freedom of others. Please take a moment and think about all of these lives lost. It is humbling and so sad that our world can never find peace.

It would be a good idea to do a meditation for all of these souls who lost their lives.. There are many hero's and selfless people here to give a moment to. I hope you can find that moment, and be grateful for these brave men and women who gave their lives so others can live free.

Till Tomorrow,

Friday, May 28, 2010

Calories; Its the Quality that Matters, Not the Quantity

It is not enough to just count calories, it is more important to understand the "quality" of the calories that really matters.

For instance if you ate a candy bar that was 250 calories instead of having 250 calories of fruit, you would not be getting the quality of nutrition that you would have, had you chosen the fruit. With the fruit choice, you'll be getting antioxidants, vitamins, fiber, bioflavinoids, and natural flavor and colors. Choosing the candy bar you will get artificial colors, flavors, and non nutritious white sugar.

As you can see there is a big difference between the two, even though they have the same amount of calories in them. With one you get nutrition, with the other you don't.

Nutrients are what helps your body to function properly. Without those very important nutrients, you will become nutrient deficient and be at risk of developing a host of health issues.

Remember that "natures" foods are where we find the best source of the nutrients we need for a healthy body. It is in the process of manufacturing foods where we lose those vital nutrients.

If you are trying to lose weight, but are eating fast food, processed food, and high fat, high sugar foods, it will not matter about counting calories, you will have a much harder time losing the weight.

However if you are eating fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and lean proteins as the main source of your diet, you can actually consume a larger amount of calories and lose weight at the same time.

Donuts have an average of 250 to 300 calories in them. That doesn't really sound like much, but because they have little to no nutritional value, it will just end up as fat somewhere on your body. Having 250 to 300 calories of fruit and yogurt will give you nutrients that will fuel your body and help it to function. Which do you think is a healthier choice?

So when you are counting calories, remember that the quality of the calories is what really matters, not just the quantity. Would you rather have 2000 calories of healthy nutritious food and not gain weight, or 1500 calories of non nutritious junk food and gain weight?

The answer to that is pretty simple if you are looking to be healthy and lose some body fat. Even if you do not have weight to lose, choosing foods that have nutritional value over foods that don't is a no brainer. That is of course if your agenda is to be healthy, feel good, and look good.

Hopefully that is your agenda. Living a healthy life, and having a healthy body, begins with eating Quality food! Have a great weekend!

Till Monday,

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Are You Signing Up for Type 2 Diabetes?

Are you aware of the Diabetes epidemic in our country? You should be, because it is one of the fastest growing diseases that we have in the U.S. It is estimated that nearly 24 million children and adults have diabetes, with 57 million people that are pre-diabetic.

Every year 1.6 million people are diagnosed with diabetes. This is tragic, and what is even more frightening is that these numbers are growing each year, and most people aren't taking it very seriously.

I know diabetics that keep eating unhealthy foods, keep gaining weight, never exercise, but they take their medication and use that as a stabilizer with no thought to changing their lifestyle which is what caused it to begin with. This is just pure ignorance, and laziness.

Obesity and lack of exercise is the most common cause of type 2 diabetes. 95% of Americans who have diabetes are in this category. When diabetes first invades your body you might feel very thirsty, have rapid weight loss, feel tired, and have skin itchiness and irritation. If you have these symptoms, see your doctor immediately.

There are so many things that can happen to you when you have diabetes and do not change your lifestyle to a healthier one. This is a long list of what can happen with this disease;

Heart disease

Nerve damage

Kidney damage

Eye damage


Foot or Leg amputation

Bacterial and Fungus infections


Alzheimer's disease

Hearing problems

All of that just because people aren't eating healthy and not moving their bodies enough. It makes no sense to me that anyone would prefer the risks of those ailments to trying to do the right thing for themselves and eat right and get off their lazy ass!

I see diabetics eating fatty foods, sweets, drinking soda, and eating lots of white flour, white sugar products. They are literally committing lifestyle suicide. After they consume all the bad stuff, they just shoot a little more insulin into their gut to try and balance it out. Insanity!

95% of these diabetics could control their disease if they change to a healthier lifestyle, but most of these people would prefer to keep glutinously eating away while sitting on the couch. I know I am being harsh, but obviously this is extremely serious, and someone needs to stop babying these people and tell it like it is.

We spend 175 billion dollars a year just on the treatment for diabetes. Just think of what that could be used for if people would just start taking care of themselves.

Type 2 diabetes is also referred to as Adult onset. The reason for this is because adults used to be the only ones to get it due to their unhealthy lifestyles as they got older. Now it is said that 1 out of 4 children will get diabetes. Horrible! Some of the reasons for this is children do not exercise or move nearly as much as they used to. Children are eating more non nutritious, high fat, sugary foods, than they used to. All in all, children are living very unhealthy lifestyles too.

The statistics are scary, but you can choose to not be one of those people by eating healthier foods, and committing to daily exercise. Get off the sugar, white flour, soda's, and all the junk and fast foods. Eat more fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, lean proteins, and whole grains as the bulk of your diet.

Its up to you if you want to feel good, look good, and be healthy. Choose to not be a statistic of diabetes!

Till Tomorrow,

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Benefits of Taking a Power Nap

Are you able to take a nap in your day? Well if you are one of those lucky people that can lay down and fall asleep for twenty minutes in the middle of the day, it will be very beneficial to you.

Power napping lasts only around twenty to thirty minutes. Any longer and you will feel groggy and sleepy for a longer period of time after waking. Taking one of these twenty minute naps can do a great deal for your mind and body.

Having a short nap can actually reduce the stress hormones in your body and allow you to wake feeling less stressed and refreshed. You will also be able to focus better after one of these snoozes.

Scientists have proven that your endurance and stamina increases after taking one of these naps. You will be more productive and alert for the rest of your day as well.

Napping also improves your memory and learning ability. Taking a nap before an exam will probably increase your score due to the memory boost. Naps may protect the brain circuits from overuse, therefore allowing them to function better after a short rest.

Studies have shown that taking a short daily nap may reduce the risk of death by heart disease. It might also ward off a heart attack. Countries that practice daily "siestas" have fewer cases of heart disease.

Studies have also shown that if you nap more than 40 to 45 minutes the benefits of napping decrease. So it is important to keep your napping 35 minutes or under.

Napping can increase your creativity too. If you are working on a project and feel stuck, take a power nap and wake to a more creative mind. It helps to remove you from feeling stuck, and you can begin a new after taking a snooze.

I am not one of those lucky people that can just lay down and fall asleep. It takes me a while to get to that place. I am going to give it another try though. There are too many benefits to it to not do it. I am a sleeper! I love my eight hours a night, but sometimes I don't get it. This is when a nap would be very beneficial for me.

So give power napping a try. You will be healthier for it!

Till Tomorrow,

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Being in Integrity

I asked my students last week if they knew what "integrity" meant. It did not shock me that they weren't quite sure what it was. How could they? In our world today you don't see a lot of examples of it. In fact you see the opposite in most of the things that we view like, television shows, news broadcasts, news papers, and such.

I ended up giving my students an example of a situation that had happened to me where I could have chosen to be in integrity or out of it. I had accidentally backed into a friends car and dented the bumper and broke the tail light out.

I could have told her that someone else had done it, and removed myself from the responsibility of having to get it fixed. After all money is tight, and it would have made things much easier on me than having to pay a couple of hundred dollars to get it repaired.

I chose to be in integrity and tell her the truth. Not telling her the truth would have saved me money, but would have taken some of my self respect. I would not have felt good about myself if I had not taken responsibility for what I had done.

There are many times in my past where I had been out of integrity. I still feel bad about those situations even thought they happened years ago. They still haunt me. I can not change my past, but I can move forward into my future with integrity in all that I do.

It has taken me years to build up my self respect, and I intend to honor that with staying in integrity. It is a healthier choice for my health and well being.

If you have areas in your life where you have been out of integrity, step up and take responsibility for your self. Your self respect is very important to your quality of life. If you do not respect yourself, who will?

We all have been out of integrity in our lives. Some times it might be something that might not seem very significant, but every time you get out of integrity with your self, you take away a little bit of your self respect and self esteem.

As I told my students, it is not as much about the other person or persons that you were out of integrity with, as it is about you. Being the best you can be (see four agreements blog) is about you. It is about you feeling good about yourself so that you can have inner peace. When we are out of integrity, inner peace is hard to find.

So the next time you find yourself in a situation where you could get out of being responsible for your actions, think again about the consequences to yourself. You might not have to own up to something in that moment, but you could pay for it for a long time by losing some self respect. It just is not worth it!

Till Tomorrow,

Monday, May 24, 2010

Using Machines for Exercise

Many of us do not have the availability to go outside and exercise. Whether it be a bike ride, run, walk, hike, swim, or any outdoor exercise, it is not always convenient, or possible to get outside. A great alternative is to use machines for your cardio exercise.

There are several machines that can be used to get a good workout in. If you belong to a gym, you have probably seen them all. Most gyms have the latest most current cardio machines available. Or you may want to work out at home, and these same machines can be bought for home use.

Treadmills are very common, and have been around for a very long time. The first treadmill ever invented was created in 1875. It was not meant for human use however, but for animals to harness their power for help in churning butter, spinning wheels, or water pumps. It wasn't until 1952 that a Doctor from Washington University in Seattle created a treadmill for use in stress tests for humans.

This was the beginning of treadmills and humans using them for exercise. Treadmills can be used for running, walking, cross training, and elevation. Depending on your weight and effort, you can burn hundreds of calories in an hour on a treadmill. It is better to use a treadmill with a soft platform so that you can avoid shin splints, knee, and foot issues. Treadmills are great to use for your cardio exercise.

Elliptical machines are another great way to get a work out in. The first elliptical machine was invented by Precor and introduced to the public in 1995. I was at the fitness show when these were first shown. I remember thinking how strange they were, and thought maybe it was something that would not catch on. How wrong I was! They not only caught on, they took over.

Elliptical's are very efficient and are non impact, which is great for people who have issues with impact to their knee's, backs, ankles, hips, and shin's. They also have the added benefit of using the upper body on many of the models. Whenever you add in your arms, your calorie burn goes up! Again depending on your weight and effort you can burn 700 to 800 calories in an hour on an elliptical.

Stationary bikes are just one more way to get a cardio workout in. Interesting that I can not find out who invented them or when. I do believe that Schwinn was one of the first companies that marketed them to the public. They certainly were at the top of this market, if not the first to do so.

Stationary bikes are excellent for indoor exercise. Besides being non impact, they are good for people with knee problems. When I have had knee issues, riding a bike has never bothered them. When I owned a gym, a local Doctor would send his knee patients in to rehab on our bikes. They are definitely kinder to our knees than many other types of cardio.

Once again depending on your weight and effort, you can burn 600 to 800 calories in an hour on a exercise bike. The other benefits to riding indoors is that you do not have to worry about traffic or road hazards. Balance is never an issue, or deciding where you will go. You just get on and peddle. No worry's here!

I am not a big supporter of Stairmaster, or other climbing machines. I have seen too many knee injury's, and lack of results with them. If they are done properly, they can have a good effect, but it is easy to use them with bad form.

So if you have to exercise indoors due to time, weather, or other issues, exercise machines are a great alternative to outdoor exercise. They are also great for cross training. (see cross training blog) You can split your exercise time up by using two or three different machines in one session. Great for your body, and for your mind!

Till Tomorrow,

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Power of Music

Music is a powerful thing. It can create the feeling of relaxation, excitement, fear, sadness, or most any emotion that you can think of. Have you ever watched a movie without the background music in it? I have, and it has a completely different effect on how you react to the story.

Remember the movie Jaws? Without the music that played when the shark showed up, it would never have been as frightening as it was with the "Da Dum, Da Dum, Da Dum" that accompanied it.

Music has been called the International language. Anyone from any culture can feel the same emotions that music invokes. Music can lower or raise your blood pressure, depending on the type of music that you are listening to. If it is calm and peaceful music, you will tend to feel calm and peaceful while listening to it.

If music is loud screeching, and put to a fast tempo, it could make you feel anxious or jumpy. If music is fast, your heart rates and blood pressure raise as well. If music is slow, your heart rate and blood pressure will lower.

I have listened to music for many years while I ride my bike. If I am climbing a steep hill without music, it feels much harder and difficult to get to the top. However climbing the same hill with upbeat music helps the climb feel much easier. It literally helps me to ride stronger and faster, particularly if it is music that is faster tempo and something that I like. Music is a motivator.

There is some music that can evoke tears or sadness. Some music can make you feel glorious and triumphant. Music is the soul of most movies, television shows, and theater productions. Without it, they would all feel flat and empty.

When stroke patients in Finland had a daily dose of music therapy, their verbal memory and attention span improved significantly over patients that did not listen to music. By listening to music you can actually improve your immune system. It will increase the release of immune boosting hormones.

Research has also shown that by listening to certain music it will increase intelligence, learning ability, and I.Q. This is one reason they say that pregnant women should listen to classical, jazz, or peaceful music so that the baby will receive these benefits.

So when you are listening to music you are creating many things to happen in your body. Be conscious of how you are feeling when you are hearing music. If it makes you feel good, it is good for you. If it makes you feel irritated or anxious, change the type of music you are listening to.

Music is powerful! Use it to enhance whatever it is you are doing, whether it is exercise, meditation, housework, or just relaxing. Music is the frosting on the cake of "life", enjoy!

Till Monday,

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Dealing with a Frustrating Day

Have you ever had a day where you feel frustrated and things keep going wrong? A day where you wish you hadn't gotten out of bed? Well, if you are alive and breathing, you probably have had a day like that, if not many days like that.

These kind of days have a way of discoloring our lives. This kind of day can make us forget about all of the good things that we have in our life, and then we choose to focus on the negative instead.

How can we get through these kind of days? We can deal with a frustrating day by using the tools I have talked about in this blog. First off we can "choose" to think about our frustration with mindfulness. Ask yourself if this day is truly as bad as you are making it. Usually it isn't. Most of the time we create more frustration by dwelling on it in our minds, over and over, again.

For instance, if something has gone wrong, reliving it in your mind again and again, just makes it feel worse. Instead of focusing on the problem, stay focused on what you can do to find a solution to that problem. Distract yourself from the negative thoughts with positive thoughts, or engage in a healthy activity like exercise or reading a good book.

Look at your bad day and ask yourself if you are 100% sure it is as horrible as you have made it. Most of the time, it isn't. Think about the times in your past where you thought something was just terrible, but looking back on it you can see that it was not nearly as bad as you made it out to be. This is usually the case.

On a day where things seem to be dark and without hope, do your best to change those thoughts. Remember "The Four Agreements" book by Don Miguel Ruiz, and the section on "Always do your best"? (see blog on Four Agreements) You can call upon his teachings for these frustrating, hard to get through, days. Do your best, whatever that may be, during days that seem to be difficult.

As you have probably experienced before, difficult days pass and better days come. As my mother always said about days like this, "This too shall pass". There is such truth in that. All days pass, even the spectacular ones. There is no difference with the frustrating and hard to get through days.

Meditation is also a great tool for those tough days. Sit in your quiet meditation, or take a walk for some active meditation. Clear your mind of the negative chatter and make room for thoughts that will help you with your frustration and negativity. Believe and know that this is a momentary situation that will go away and be replaced with a good day.

It is all a choice. No matter what it is that is frustrating you, it will change. It always does, and it always will. By focusing on the negative of a situation, you can make it last longer. You can choose to end the frustration by thinking about it being temporary and by not giving it all of your attention.

This is simple, but not easy to do. I have to practice it all of the time when I have a day that seems filled with problems. I can tell you that I feel better about these days when I am mindful of choosing better thoughts. If I don't, I keep myself in unnecessary misery, that ultimately was a waste of my time and energy. It has never helped me in any way to give so much thought and attention to the frustration. It only distorts it and magnifies it way out of proportion.

So when you have a frustrating day where nothing seems to be going right, use your mindfulness, meditation, and exercise tools. Be in charge of these days, and don't let them get the better of you.

The sun always sets and rises again with the promise of a new and better day to look forward to. You are in charge, take control!

Till Tomorrow,

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Water Aerobics for Exercise and Fun

Here comes summer, and that means time in the water. Whether you are in a pool, ocean, lake, or river, hot summer days are always great when you can cool off in a body of water.

There are so many ways to have fun in the water. Swimming is one of the most popular activity's that we do in water. You can burn calories, tone and define muscles, and have fun while swimming. (see blog on swimming) There is another way to exercise in the water, and that is by doing water aerobics.

Any pubic gym that has a swimming pool usually offers water aerobic classes. You can also use your own pool or a lake to exercise in as well. The ocean is probably not as good a choice due to the current and action of the waves. It would be more difficult to stabilize in this kind of water. Best to stick to swimming, body surfing, kayaking, and those sort of things while in the ocean.

Choosing to take a water aerobic class first before venturing on your own in a pool is a good idea. You will get instructions and be taught proper form, and this will help you if you choose to be on your own.

Water aerobics consist of certain rhythmic motions performed in the water. Jogging and running can be done from side to side in the pool. Holding onto the edge of the pool and kicking your legs for a period of time will give a good leg workout. Kick boards can also be used for holding on to while doing laps.

You can purchase certain exercise tools to assist with your water aerobics in the pool, but they are not necessary to get a good work out. You can simply cup your hands when standing in chest high water, arms raised parallel to your shoulders, and move them forward and backwards. This will give your arms a good workout because you will be using the water for resistance.

Using this technique with all arm movements will provide resistance and therefore help to work your muscles to create tone and definition. Holding your arms down by your side with palms facing backwards while pushing the water behind you will strengthen your triceps.

Standing on the pool floor doing knee raises, torso twists, and jumping jacks, will burn calories and work your legs and core. You can burn 400 to 750 calories per hour with water aerobics, depending on your weight and effort.

Water aerobics allows you to get fit, burn fat, and have fun at the same time. Remember to use your sun screen! Sun burn and sun damage is not fun.

So enjoy the warm summer days in a pool with friends doing water aerobics. What a great way to get fit and have fun. Just one more way to enjoy being healthy!

Till Tomorrow,