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, November 29, 2010

Practicing Acts of Kindness

Have you ever noticed how good you feel when you have been kind to someone else?  That is the reward that we receive when we do for others.  When ever I have done something kind for anyone else, I think I have felt better than they did.  The giver is always receives the most.

It makes me wonder why we are not all out there 24/7 doing kind things for others since we are the beneficiary of feeling good from it.  You would think that feeling good would be an incentive for practicing acts of kindness where ever we go, but many people just don't get it.

Practicing acts of kindness can be as simple as letting someone go in front of you in the grocery line who has just a couple of items.  It could be holding the door open for a stranger, or saying hello to someone you don't know.  There are endless ways to practice kindness all during your day.

Every time I am kind, I feel good about myself, which is always good.  Being kind has been proven in studies to reduce stress, enhance your immune system, increases your joy, and gives you a better sense of self worth and optimism.

On the other hand, being rude, self centered, and mean, lowers your immune system, raises stress levels, lowers your feeling of well being, and increases negative thoughts.  Pretty obvious which one of these behaviors is better to practice.

We live in a society that is driven by what we have, and not who we are.  It is more important for many people to drive a luxury car, or have designer clothes, than it is to be a kind and giving  person.  It is more important to try and be famous for any reason at all, than it is to be known for doing something good.  

It is clear when you see which television shows are the most successful.  Many of the reality shows stars are classless, obnoxious, and lack any moral fiber at all.  Being famous today does not mean you that you have talent or have done something phenomenal, but it could mean that you are gross and stupid and making a lot of money.  The quality of someones character is not the goal anymore.

Kindness is a great way to lift yourself up.  It will make someone else feel good, while you feel great and receive wonderful health benefits as well.  What's not to like about that?  If you haven't practiced your acts of kindness, what are you waiting for?

Seriously give it a try.  Make a point of doing at least five acts of kindness in a day, and notice how you feel afterward. Then raise it up to doing ten acts of kindness....soon you will be addicted to being kind because of how good you feel.  I love doing it, and love when it is done to me.  

Get healthy with kindness....pay it forward....you will be better for it!

Till Thursday,

Friday, November 26, 2010

Walking or Hiking off Your Holiday Meal

It is the day after Thanksgiving, and I am still full from all of the great food that my daughter made for our celebration. My digestive system is not used to dealing with so much food at one time, not to mention all the different types of food that I put into my stomach in one sitting. Proteins, carbs, sugars, fats, all dumped in together during a span of a few hours, makes digestion much more difficult.

The day before Thanksgiving my class of girls and I hiked up Refugio Mt. to the top. After nearly three hours of hiking, we made it up and down that mountain. I told the girls that we were burning off at least half of what we were going to be eating the next day. It was a great hike, and the girls did a fabulous job of getting up and down that mountain.

Today I will be going for a five mile walk with my brother to help lose that full and bloated feeling and get back to feeling normal. I will be burning another five hundred calories with the walk today. Added to the 1,200 or more calories that were burned on the hike, I am feeling better about all that I ate.

It is all about calories in, and calories out, if you want to keep yourself lean and healthy. Walking and Hiking are a great way to lose those unwanted calories that we over eat during our holiday meals. Hiking is usually done in areas where the terrain can be hilly. Walking, although it can be done where there are hills, may be done anywhere for exercise, even in a city.

How many calories you burn while walking or hiking depends on your body weight, the more you weigh, the more you burn. It also depends on how much energy and out put you are willing to give. Is your heart rate up into your aerobic zone, or are you keeping your heart rate low to stay more comfortable. These things will make a difference in your caloric burn.

Wearing a heart monitor is a great way to keep in your zone, and burn the maximum amount of calories that you desire. I have talked about this in several past blogs about the importance of knowing your heart rate zone. Remember to minus your age from 220. That will give you your maximum heart rate. The place you want to be is within 65 to 85% of that maximum number. This is where you will burn more fat, and strengthen your heart and cardiovascular system.

Not being in your zone, whether it is too high or too low, will not give you the best results. If you are going to invest your time and effort into exercise, isn't it smart to get the best results out of it that you can?

So if you are feeling a little overly stuffed from your holiday meal.....take a walk or a hike to get you back to feeling better. As I stated in last Monday's blog, our average holiday meal packs a whopping 3,000 calories into our system. That is a day and a half's worth of calories, and nearly three days worth of fat.

It is a beautiful fall day where I live. Many of the trees are turning gold, orange, and red. There is a bit of a nip in the air, and the sky is a magnificent blue. I am looking forward to walking and seeing all of the fall colors, the horses, donkeys, vineyards, and others that are out enjoying this wonderful day.

I hope that your Thanksgiving was a happy one, and that you are out walking or hiking off your fullness too. Enjoy this day!

Till Monday,

Monday, November 22, 2010

Calories in Your Thanksgiving Meal

Thanksgiving is just a couple of days away. It is shocking that it is here so soon....but I have been saying that all year about every holiday. 2010 has zoomed right on by, and in a little over a month will be gone.

Lets talk about your Thanksgiving meal, and how many calories and fat grams will be in it. Of course this is one of those times that we let go of our limiting the calories, and eat more than we normally do. It is a special day of celebration, eating and drinking more, is expected.

There are a few things that you might want to know before you over indulge on this holiday. For instance; the average Thanksgiving meal has around 3,000 calories, and 229 grams of fat in it. Remember, that is just for "one" meal, not including what you eat after wards or before your holiday feast.

If you base your calorie intake at 2,000 a day maximum, clearly you will be over your max with this one meal. The average person should not have more than 80 to 100 grams of fat per day, so you can see that 229 grams of fat are excessive.

If you wanted to exercise this meal off you would have to walk approximately thirty miles to do it. That my dear friends would take you six to ten hours to get it done. You could run it off, but you would have to run for four to five hours straight to achieve that kind of caloric burn. You could bike it off too, but be prepared to ride about 80 to 100 miles in order to burn that kind of meal off.

One thing you can do though, is down size your portions. Down sizing is all the rage these days anyway so, eat half of the mashed potatoes and gravy you would normally eat. Take larger portions of salad, or food items that have less fat or sugar in them. Have half the dessert that you would normally have, and stay away from snacking on cookies and such.

If you are one of those that eat celery stuffed with cream cheese, you might want to know that each celery stalk with cheese is approximately 45 calories, having just four of these adds almost 200 calories to your meal. Snacking on a half of a cup of mixed nuts, which many do for their holiday meal, is a whopping 440 calories. Just in those two snack you can add over 600 calories to your meal, and you haven't even started with the main course yet.

You can throw caution to the wind on Thanksgiving, and eat what ever your hearts desire, but understand the consequences if you are trying to lose some weight. This meal will throw you off track if you don't use some constraint. Most people do not like the feeling of being overly full after a meal like this. It can be quite uncomfortable and make you fell tired and bloated. Showing a little constraint can cut down on your calorie intake, and help you to feel better physically and mentally.

Its up to you, as it always is, to decide how you will proceed during your holiday eating. Are you going to gain that extra five to ten pounds that will make you unhappy? Or are you going to use some discipline by reducing the intake of "too" much unhealthy food this year, and feel good about your self after the holidays have come and gone?

You can still enjoy these fun foods by eating smaller portions. Moderation is the key. You will feel better both physically, and mentally, by exercising your will power, discipline, and desire to achieve your weight loss goal.

I hope your Thanksgiving is full of fun, family, loved ones, and healthy good food! Enjoy!!

Till Friday,

Thursday, November 18, 2010

What is Your Story?

What is your story? We all have a story that we tell ourselves over and over through our lifetime. It could be a story about the bad child hood you had, or a story about how you never have any money. It might be a story that you are not talented, or possibly a story that you won't ever be successful because you don't have a good education. Whatever your story is...you might want to take a look at it, and see if your story is what is holding you back.

I have had a story that I have told much of my life. My story has to do with my childhood. I have used this story to justify why I have held myself back in my life. I have used it to justify why my relationships failed, and I have used it to justify just about all of my dysfunction in my life.

The fact that my childhood was non supportive and dysfunctional had nothing to do with me. I had the choice to not be a victim of it, but instead I made the choice, unconsciously, to let it be the reason why I have struggled and made bad choices in my life. My circumstance was not personal to me, but I chose to take it all personally.

No one ever told me I could think differently. No one told me that what happened to me was not about me. In fact, no one ever spoke about anything that had to do with my experience growing up. That is why I write this blog, so that others can look at their life, and see that they too have the choice to get rid of their story, and stop taking everything that happens to them personally. They too can make the choice today to stop being a victim of their circumstance, thoughts, and actions.

There is small percentage of the population that has the discipline and focus to create the life they want. Everyone "talks" about what they want, but few do what it takes to get it. This is where your "story" helps to support why you are not doing what you need to do to get what you want in this life. Your story allows you to be the victim, but that will never get you what you want. It will just keep you stuck in your belief that something outside of you has control over what you can and can not do in your life.

I suggest that you make a new story for yourself. If your story is about your childhood, begin by telling yourself that your experience has made you stronger. Tell yourself that none of it was personal. Believe that your childhood experience was needed to go on and do the work you will do to become successful. Turn it all around, and think of it in a positive light, instead of seeing it as the reason you can fail.

If your story is about never having enough money to live the life you would like, change your story to one of success and abundance. Believe that you will have wonderful opportunities to create wealth, regardless of your past. Tell a new story about how you are going to create the business you want, or the education you want, or whatever it is that your dream about doing. Tell that story from now on, and soon you will believe that more than the one about lack. Belief is powerful.

Whatever your story is, if you use it to justify why you can't be and do what you want in life, change it. Stop telling your negative story to yourself, or anyone else. Let it go, change your beliefs, and tell a story that is how you want your life to be. Telling your old, tired, sad, story, will never benefit you in any way. Telling yourself and others a new, positive, exciting, story of how great your life will be, will benefit you. Put action, discipline, and focus to your words, and you will never fail.

Till Monday,

Monday, November 15, 2010

Being Your Authentic Self

Has anyone ever said to you, "Just be yourself"? If so, did you wonder what that meant? You may have thought, "who else would I be?", or you may have wondered "who am I?" when you thought about being yourself. This is a difficult thing to figure out for most of us, because we have been brainwashed, and mentally manipulated, by a lot of people by the time we become old enough to evaluate what "being yourself" means.

When you are a child you are taught how to act, what to believe in, and how to talk by your parents, teachers, society, and peer groups. The most pure form of your authentic self, would be to have grown up without any outside influence on your behavior, actions, and appearance. That however is an impossibility given the fact that humans need others to help them grow into adulthood from childhood.

If you could remove the brainwashing that others have done to you such as what religion you should believe in, how you should dress, any prejudice's, any bigoted beliefs, political views, and social expectations and interactions, and then react from the place inside you about those things, without influence from anyone else....you would then experience your authentic self.

Unfortunately, we have been, and are, influenced by many things that can dilute who we really are. Would a racist believe in his or her racist beliefs without the influence of the people around them who told them it was good to believe that way? Or would they form their own beliefs from their authentic self through their own experience? I believe that without an outside influence most of us would not have many of the negative beliefs that we have.

As I have stated in the past, I was not raised with religion, but was allowed to go to any church I wanted to. I did just that, and went to almost every church in town. Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Seventh Day Adventist, and so on, I went to them up until I was twenty-six. I was then able to form my own opinion from my authentic self, for no one was telling me I had to believe in a certain Dogma. I was able to do the research on religion, and figure out what was best for me without outside influence.

When you are being your authentic self, you will be your happiest, that is one way to know that you are acting from your real self. If you are not coming from your authentic self, you will feel conflict within, never truly experiencing real happiness. An authentic self is not angry, mean, or abusive. Those emotions are caused by outside situations, and others, which then leads the authentic self to use negative emotions to protect itself with.

In my experience, and what I have learned from others, the first year or so in a intimate relationship, we are not our authentic self's. Usually we hide our "real" self so that we can be assured of keeping the relationship. We don't let our crabby, or moody self out during the honeymoon part of the relationship. We don't want them to see our selfish side, or our argumentative side, we only want them to see us as they want to see us.....perfect! We are not being our authentic self, just a "hearts, flowers, and tweety-bird" version of who we are.

Then down the road a year or two, both partners start to let their authentic self's out, and that is when the relationship might break down as both partners wonder who the heck is this person? The further you were from being your authentic self, the less chance you will have in being in a good relationship. The closer you are to being your authentic self, the more chance you will have in developing a healthy relationship that is based on who you really are.

As we age, many of us find being our authentic self much more comfortable to do. For many women, it is the age of 50 that the authentic self is able to thrive. There is a better sense of self at that age, and an awareness that it doesn't matter as much anymore what other people think or care about you. When we are released from caring about what others think about us, we tend to find our authentic selves, which is a wonderful and comfortable to experience.

Wouldn't it be great to experience that before your fifties? I think it is possible if you are conscious of what is important to you. Are you behaving in ways to please others? Are you acting in ways to please others? Are your beliefs really yours, or are they the beliefs of someone else? Look at these things and find out if you are coming from your authentic self. You might be surprised at how many of your actions and beliefs are not coming from who you really are, but from others around you.

Your authentic self is who you "really" are. Start taking time to question your beliefs, and actions in this world. Are you living your life to please others, or are you finding happiness through being yourself? You will find true happiness when you can be more of your "authentic self".

Till Thursday,

Thursday, November 11, 2010

What About Dairy?

I have been asked many times in my career if I thought milk or dairy products were healthy for us. This is such a loaded question...but I do have my opinion of course!

First of all lets establish one true fact. Every "body" tolerates dairy differently, just like every "body" tolerates most things differently. Some people can drink a lot of alcohol and have little effect the next day, and some of us end up with a bad hangover, taking several days to get back to feeling well.

Some people can eat rich buttery, fattening foods and feel fine, while others feel bloated and awful. Some of us can take a medication like Vicodin for pain and feel better, while others feel nauseated and worse for it. We all tolerate things differently, and dairy is no exception.

It is said that most people have an allergy to dairy, but for many of us it is not severe enough to bother us. Our bodies lack the lactase enzyme to help with the digestion of dairy. That is why you may feel bloated, cramping, or congested after eating a lot of dairy. However there are people who just can not eat any dairy without suffering with horrible digestive problems. This kind of allergy will keep a person from eating dairy, for it causes them severe pain.

I personally do not drink milk, and have not for decades. I do however have yogurt and cottage cheese almost everyday. I do not have any problems with digesting those two dairy products. If I eat ice cream or drink milk, I notice more of a problem with bloating and digestion.

The dairy industry markets milk as a product that will "Build Strong Bones". My best friend drank six to eight glasses a day for most of her life. She was very active and did a lot of weight bearing exercise as well. At the age of fifty she went for her bone density test and found out that she had pre-osteoporosis. Her bones were in danger of being brittle and she was prime to get full blown osteoporosis. Her doctors advised her to stop drinking milk, as it had so much protein in it that it was actually leaching the calcium from her bones instead of making them stronger.

I read a book years ago called "Diet For a New America" by the heir to Baskin and Robbins, Jon Robbins, who wrote extensively about dairy products in this book. He walked away from his inheritance because he felt that his family business was contributing to the ill health of our population. He tells the story of how his uncle who was in the family business, died of heart disease due to his diet full of dairy. If you read this book you may never want to eat much of anything again except vegetables....it is a very disturbing look into our food industry.

Dairy is also fattening, so eating a lot of it is not recommended if you are wanting to lose some body fat. Cheese can be very fattening. If it wasn't I would eat it on everything! I love cheese, but I eat it sparingly to keep my body fat down. Pizza is a once in a while thing on my menu, maybe a couple of times a year at best.

So if you are wondering about eating dairy or drinking milk, you need to pay attention to how you feel after you have it. If you feel bloated, lethargic, or congested, you probably shouldn't eat a lot of it. If you feel terrible digestive problems, I would consult a doctor (one that preferably knows about nutrition...good luck!) to get tested for dairy intolerance.

Remember too that dairy products usually will add more weight to your body. Eat them in moderation if you are trying to lose weight and get fit. Your body will always tell you what you should and shouldn't eat...most of us just don't pay attention to it when it is telling us. Start paying attention, you will be healthier for it.

Till Monday,

Monday, November 8, 2010

More on Forgiveness

After writing my blog on forgiveness last week, I had an epiphany about one of the aspects of forgiveness that I wanted to share with you. I hope that this will help you if you are unable to forgive someone or yourself.

As I was thinking about the people in my life that I needed to forgive, I began thinking about all the things that I have done in my life that others might want to forgive me for. I have been rude, mean, demeaning, wrong, made huge mistakes, and out of integrity many times in my life, to many people. How could I hold others to a higher standard of behavior, and find it hard to forgive them, when I have done horrible things too.

In those instances where I have wronged someone else, it was always about my own dysfunctions, insecurities, and short comings; it was never about them. Understanding that, doesn't it make sense that when someone has wronged me that it was only about their own dysfunctions, insecurities, and short comings, and not about me?

Once again, we should never take anything personal....because it never is. Doesn't it make it easier to forgive someone when you understand that it was never personal to begin with? Doesn't forgiveness seem easier when you know that it was never about you anyway?

Remember that forgiveness is not condoning a persons bad behavior, or making them right. It is a letting go of the anger, resentment, and rage, that you may be holding onto. It is the understanding that these emotions will only serve to hold you back in your life. It is the knowledge that when you forgive, you set yourself free of being a victim of that person. You understand that we are all human and that we all make mistakes. We need to forgive to be free.

I have forgiven people in my life that I don't necessarily choose to interact with. Forgiveness does not mean that you have to like that person. You don't ever have to talk to them or see them. Forgiveness is a way of freeing you from the bondage, that comes from holding onto anger and pain, caused by whatever your abuser has been done to you.

Always, always, try and forgive for your own best interest. Practice this sooner than later. The longer you hold on to the negative emotions, the harder it will be to let them go. Free yourself from your past, and forgive. Free yourself from any future conflict, and forgive. This is all about feeling healthy and whole.

As I have stated before....forgiving yourself is even more important, than forgiving others. Go back through your life and find the instances where you were out of integrity, or rude, or mean, or any time that you wronged someone else. Then, forgive yourself for those times. You are just like anyone else, human, and that means we all make mistakes. Let them go with forgiveness....forgiveness for yourself.

Practicing forgiveness is changing my life. It is something I wish I had done years ago, but I will forgive myself for not doing it until now!

Till Thursday,

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

How many times do you use excuses to justify not doing what you should be doing to reach a goal, finish a project, or begin a new task? Sometimes we do have valid excuses like, "I didn't finish my homework because I slipped, broke my arm, and had to go to the hospital." Now that's a valid excuse. Unfortunately, most of us have excuses that are simply a ploy to not do what we should be doing.

Take for instance exercise. Here are some of the excuses I have heard from people through the years. "I don't have anytime to exercise." "I am too tired by the end of the day to work out, and that's the only time I have to get it done." "I don't like to work out by myself, and I can't find anyone to do it with me." "I have too many other things to do that have to get done, and working out always gets left out."

What ever the excuse is....I don't buy it! Here's the real reason people don't work out on a regular bases.....Exercise is uncomfortable when you are doing it correctly. It pushes you out of your comfort zone by raising your heart rate, heats your body up, makes your muscles burn, and feels much harder to do than sitting around on a couch watching television. Most people do not like to exercise. It takes effort and commitment, and that is why people don't do it, not because of time or anything else.

How about excuses for choosing to eat badly. Here are some good ones. "All they had to eat at this party was chips, fried chicken, and potato salad with tons of mayonnaise in it. So I had to eat it." "I went to a friends house and they had this great fudge, and I couldn't stop myself from eating it." "We were driving and all we could find was fast food places, so I had a cheeseburger and fries."

Hog Wash to all of those! First of all, you don't have to eat anything at a party, especially if it is bad for you. You will not starve to death if you miss a meal for a couple of hours. If you are at a party or function where you can't find something healthy to eat and you are on a mission to lose weight and get healthy, then DON'T EAT THE BAD FOOD! It is not rocket science.

If you are at a function where there are a lot of fattening foods, or deserts, you are not obligated to eat them. I have never been to an event where someone had a gun to any ones head, forcing them to chow down on foods that they are trying not to have. Basically you need to find your discipline and will power, and just say no to the foods that will make you fat and unhealthy.

Finding excuses for not eating right, not exercising, not meditating, not stretching, and not doing the things that will get you the results that you want is just totally self defeating. Excuses will only hold you back from the life you want. If you are wanting to be healthy of body, mind, and spirit, then you have to do the work to get there. No excuses!

Saying that you want to lose some weight, feel better, and be healthy, takes effort, commitment, and discipline. Finding excuses why you continually do not do the things that it takes to get the results you want, is just going to keep you where you are at....always wanting something, and never getting it.

I would say that at least eighty percent of the people I have worked with do not stay committed to their desires. It is easier to blow off exercise today, to do it tomorrow. Then tomorrow becomes the same. It is easy to start that diet tomorrow, and eat poorly today. It is easy to talk about what you want, but never do what it takes.

So if you really want to be lean, healthy, and feel good, you must do the work on a daily, consistent bases. NO EXCUSES! Excuses do nothing for you but hold you back. Stop using them to justify why you are not doing what you should be doing. Remember, you are in control of what you eat, how you move, and how you think. Take that control and do what it is that will get the results you want.


Till Monday,

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Healing Found in Forgiveness

It has taken me much of my life to understand why it is important to forgive in order to feel healthy and whole. I always felt that if I forgave someone for hurting me in some way, that I was letting them off the hook so to speak. That is very far from the truth of forgiveness.

If we are to understand that "nothing is ever personal", and I do believe that, then anything that another person does or says to us that is painful or hurtful, would be coming from their own hurt and dysfunction and not about us. Forgiving is letting go of any personal attack on us, because it is never personal to begin with.

Forgiving allows us to move on and be free of any abuse that has been perpetrated upon us. Forgiving lets you heal, and has little to nothing to do with the person you are forgiving, except for to set them free of any responsibility in having control over the process of your life. Forgiveness liberates you, and frees you from being a victim. Forgiveness gives you your power back where it belongs.

I have heard stories where a man and a woman have lost their child to a murderer, and were able to forgive that murderer. That is the ultimate forgiveness. I hope I never have to experience trying to find that kind of forgiveness, but I am in awe of anyone who can. Without that kind of forgiveness, a parent would have a very difficult time living a life with an open heart, or having any resemblance of happiness.

I have written quite a bit about child abuse, and how that can destroy a entire life. Without the ability to forgive, even if there was severe abuse, that child can not live a healthy, happy life. At some point there has to be forgiveness to move forward. Otherwise that child will live in an adult body feeling victimized, and can often continue the cycle of abuse. Whether it is in abusing ones self, or abusing others, one must forgive to be able to find a path to healing and healthy living.

I have been focused on forgiveness for myself, and for others in my life that have hurt me in some way. Forgiving yourself is just as important as forgiving others. I can recount many times in my life that I have hurt someone, or have been out of integrity. I realized that I need to forgive myself for these situations, or I would not be able to be healed of the pain it causes me. Forgiving yourself is many times harder than forgiving others, but no less important.

So if you are holding on to resentment, anger, or pain that someone else has caused you, learn to forgive them, so that you can be healthier and live a happier existence. Holding on to those negative emotions will only create more sadness and unhappiness for you. You can not move forward in life if you are tethered to the pain of past abuse. Forgive yourself and others so that you can "Live" and "Thrive" in a life that is waiting for you.

Till Thursday,