FIT FOR LIFE

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What does it mean to be FIT FOR LIFE? 

For one, it means that the aim of the fitness program is to give you the abilities to handle the tasks of your day-to-day schedule and the demands that you place on your body in your normal daily routines.  Whether it is strength, endurance or stamina, as well as balance and coordination, your fitness program should enhance each category according to your specific needs. 

Secondly, the exercises you do today and the exercises you do 20 or 30 years from now should be identical, only varying in degree.  This very simple domain measures the longevity of an exercise regimen.  Your ability to pick things up is something that you should never lose, therefore it is beneficial to learn how to do it properly.  Your ability to sit down and stand up without assistance is something you should never lose, therefore it is beneficial to learn how to do it properly and maintain that ability throughout your life.  The same applies to pulling or pushing objects in various planes of movement. 

Excel in the variety of movement, not just in one particular movement.  This is the key to fitness, which is a fundamental aspect of proper health. 

Opening Your Hips to Help Your Lower Back

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I recently wrote about shifting your weight onto your heels throughout the day during different daily activities.  Well now I’d like to address the concept of opening your hip and the benefits that doing this also simple technique will benefit you in your day-to-day lives.

Most everything we do is in front of us and below our eye line. Because of this, we find ourselves ever so slightly and unconsciously leaning forward at the waist most of the time.  Let me explain…

You’re at the sink doing washing dishes, and of course you are standing up.  However, you are looking down the entire time and reaching forward.  Your hips are up against the counter and from your hips up you are at a slight angle.  The longer you are at the sink, the more your back will start to tighten up and hurt.  The physical action taking place echoes that of a wire tied to a newly planted tree so that it won’t tip over.  All the weight of the tree is sent to that stake in the ground.  Your lower back is that stake, and it’s getting tired.  Another analogy I use a lot is the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy.  That base of the tower is screaming if you’d just stand up straight for five minutes I wouldn’t have to work so hard.  Your lower back is the base of the tower, and it’s screaming!

Well, you have to wash the dishes, or you have to cook dinner, or you have to sit at your desk and work on a computer.  Or mow the lawn.  Or assemble those parts at the factory you work at.  Or whatever it is that you do, more times than not, you are in a posture that is going to strain your back. 

Add to all this “normal” stuff we do, we then go to a gym only to pick up weights and build muscles of the back that are already taxed, so we become even more tight.

Never fear, there’s hope for us yet!

All you have to do is stand up and send your hips forward.  If you are familiar with the term “pinch a penny”, do it.  If you’re not, to really be certain that you are getting the most of this mobility technique, squeeze your butt muscles as you move your hips forward.  This will help the front hip muscles relax even further.

Now it may be uncomfortable to you, but trust me, it is helping, and that’s certainly an area where I can help further.

But do this move anytime you are fixed in one position for an extended period of time, and you will feel great relief.

Let me know by clicking here if you’d like more info on this technique or how it can specifically help you.

What is Behavioral Coaching?

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Well, it begins with what I like to call the “Can Do” principle – meaning all that is necessary to achieve ANYTHING is a willingness to do what is needed to get what you want.  This principle applies to everyone.

Let's say you have the ability to perform a particular task a certain way; you have the tools, you have the physicality, but perhaps you lack the mentality and the focus for what is ultimately required to have success in that area.  That’s where Behavioral Coaching comes in.

Take the following scenario, and for this example, I will use the area of fitness as the example.  However, any behavior can be put in its place and the model can be used exactly the same…

Remedy: I, as a coach, need you HERE, if only for a second.  That simple task is something that gets lost with people and often derails them.  The misinformation that increasing your level of fitness and health requires a huge time component is widespread.  It really doesn’t.  It simply requires ALL your focus for a short amount of time and the results will come, far greater than if you are only partially present in the moment and just going through the motions.  And to add to this point, I can easily state that the level of true fitness achieved through an average of 15 minutes of intense interval training far exceeds that of anyone whose exercise session exceeds 45 minutes.

The next layer of health resides when you actually allow your focus to be all consumed in the action you are instructed to do, as in a fitness regimen.  The mere essence of placing your attention on a task that is removed from the daily, monotonous and regimented “treadmill”, for lack of a better word, is in itself one of the healthiest things you can do.  Diverting your attention, a state break if you will, for even that short amount of time, can have a profound effect on your psychological health and allow a true perspective on things going on in your life to come in to view.  From there, decisions are made clearer, and that which was once stress-saturated, now has a glimmer of hope to it.  And all this is due to the fact that you took a well deserved, very structured time out of your daily grind.

Enjoy your new found successes using this template, and if you'd like further information, or if I can help in any other way, please click here.

Mental Reset Button (part 2)

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Welcome back!  So you’ve had your interest piqued and now you want to know more about this ancient Chinese secret.  I told you I would explain why the simple task of guided focus is so important in your life, so here it is.

As stated before, our lives are ridiculously hectic and full of stress-stimulating moments and responsibilities that take such a profoundly negative toll on our bodies.  And for what?  I mean are we really able to place such important value on everything that we do which could possibly justify the taxation on ourselves in the way it does?  If we really understood the damage we are doing to ourselves, it would be a no brainer.  There’s a reason the “outsider’s perspective” is so powerful and prevalent in society, but I’ll touch more on that topic at another time.

Our need to stop and smell the roses has never been more necessary, and the fact that stress is becoming more and more evident in this culture as the root of all dis-ease in the body supports the need for the rose detour. 

Some behaviorists call it a “state break” and a particular favorite social media guru of mine, Amy Jo Martin, calls it her “Ready, Set, Pause”.  I call it a “Mental Reset Button” because just like my MacBook when it freezes up a bit, I just turn it off and back on, and it is reset like new. 

You must find your outlet.  And I couldn’t be any more specific with the word “YOUR” because this happens only in your mind.  This isn’t a physical outlet like exercise or yoga, this happens between the ears.  The new catch phrase used quite often is “mindfulness”.  This seems to be a more universally accepted alternative for the words prayer, meditation, self-hypnosis, etc.  Whatever you choose to call it, the action is what is key. 

The purpose of this type of task is to gain control of your thoughts, if only for a few minutes, thus planting a seed or preparing your FOUNDATION, to build the healthy life that you deserve.  Once you begin to train this muscle it will become stronger.  And you will become stronger.  Not allowing your life to be dictated but to dictate your life the way you want.

Join me and let’s build that Reset Button that will allow you such an abundant life.

Click here for information on how to get started!!!

Mental Reset Button (part 1)

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Far away from here in Shaolin Prayer Halls of China, a teacher would stand at the door of the hall and as the students entered he would assign them their daily focus point.  These vary day to day, and they ultimately had major purpose, usually medicinal, but were simplistic in nature.  Some examples would be a tiger’s paw, a sitting monkey, or the petal of a beautiful flower.  Their assignment would be to sit or stand and focus on that “object” for as long as they were there, even hours sometimes.  This was meditation at its finest.

Our lives are filled with that which defines the word “hectic”.  Our response, although ultimately achieving what is necessary, is not always healthy.  In fact, it usually is very un-healthy. 

What if I could assign you your focus point, had you lay down and attend only to that for, let’s say, 20 minutes?  Sounds fairly impossible given all that you’ve got going on right now, doesn’t it?  And that’s exactly why you MUST DO IT!!!

Tune in next time to see why this simple exercise is necessary.  For those that want to jump to the last chapter, or want me to read the proverbial book to you, please click here for more information on getting started in my program that I can guarantee is tailored for your lifestyle.

Fitness and Finances... A Love Story

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That title pretty much grabs the attention in a dog’s head-tilt sort of way, doesn’t it?  Well let me explain, and this won’t take much time at all.

For those in the investment world, you work tirelessly to safeguard and build your clients’ portfolios.  They have made the money and have entrusted you with its protection for them to use upon to retirement, and to pass on to further generations.

Often times, we see retirees cross the threshold from work life to retirement and not be able to enjoy the fortune they have amassed.   They had grandiose plans of travelling with their spouse, or spending their days on the golf course, simply because they earned that right.   However they lack the ability due to failing health, that, if attended to a few years (decades) back, would have given them that very opportunity to live the life they longed for.

My hope, in the fitness world, is that as much consideration is taken in securing the health of an individual, as is the wealth of that individual.  Nothing drastic has to occur, just some simple fitness strategies to implement into their daily regimen.  Regardless of their age, starting a fitness program can yield amazing results.  This will set them up so much better for when they are dealing with the next chapter of their life, and hopefully years of enjoying life to the fullest will follow.

Time crunch solution...

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Did you know…

2 Weeks of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) sessions improves aerobic capacity as much as 6-8 weeks of endurance training?

Well it does. 

Further, research is plentiful showing the benefits HIIT has over low intense, steady state cardio (treadmill or elliptical for 30 min. at steady pace) in regard to fat burning. 

So the next time you’re planning to go the gym, ramp up the intensity a bit and combine your normal exercises into one mega super-set.  You’ll be saving time and increasing your overall fitness all at the same time!

Today Brings First and Second Chances

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Stop punishing yourself for past mistakes, choices, failures, or whatever is lingering with you creating a layer of negative you have to look through to see anything good.  Today brings opportunities; whether it is reconciliation of past troubles or a new portal for enjoyment that can occupy some space in your head where certain negatives currently reside.  Filling your life with happiness and motivation and a desire to help others rarely leaves much space for worry or stress.

Find Your Heels to Work and Workout

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I came up with the term “Feel your heels to not feel your knees” several years ago, and the meaning is simple: if, when working out, you sit back on and focus on driving through your heels, then later in the day or days thereafter, you won’t have tenderness in your knees.  The physiology behind the statement explains that to minimize any anterior/posterior translation (sliding and gliding) of the femur over the tibia helps reduce strain and eventual flare up in the patellar tendon.  This also takes away improper striking of the two bones which would lead to cartilage tearing. 

But enough of that technical mumbo jumbo!  Just sit back in your heels and all is well.

The further I thought about it, I noticed this premise translated to our everyday lives as well, including on the worksite.  If I am sitting at a desk all day, finding my heels when I stand up allows me to open my hips completely, reducing the tension in the hip flexor muscles that have become tightened over time. 

If I stand at work, shifting weight back into my heels reduces lower back pain as the shoulders tend to slump forward.

And if I am walking around throughout the day, focusing on my heels before I set off will help to upright my posture, thereby opposing the forward lean my heavy shoulders tend to create.

There’s so much to learn from this simple ancient Chinese secret, yet is so hard to remember to put into practice.  But it doesn’t have to be.  Work with me to learn all the feels, tricks and trades of how to incorporate this into your daily lifestyle activities. 

To Yolk, or Not Yolk, That Is The Question!

Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of eating strictly lean foods, or to take in the good fats that come along with eating egg yolks is an age old question.  I’m sure Shakespeare pondered this same thing.

My take falls in the moderation category.  Any time I am fixing eggs, I usually am needing them for protein sources.  So that is my main priority, and I will do 6 eggs.  And even though I am not necessarily at risk for high cholesterol, I will do only 3 yolks.  Yes, I do want the omega-3 fatty acids, but I also count macros.  So, I don’t want to get all my fat intake for one day in one setting.  I need to spread it out.

Jillian Michaels, that celebrity Biggest Loser training lady, posted a very good article on her website summarizing this topic.  I suggest you check it out here.

https://www.jillianmichaels.com/blog/food-and-nutrition/myth-egg-yolks-are-bad-you

I Need All of You Here, Just For a Second

There’s a lot of learning that goes on in any of my sessions, be it therapy, personal training or any coaching that I do.  And I’m not just talking about what I have to teach, but also what clients can teach me.  One of the biggest things I have learned and that I, in turn, try to convey to everyone is patience.  Getting results takes time, so you have to understand that and be willing to put in the time. I don't need much from you, and I want to make sure you understand that. But you do have to show up. You don't need a specified commitment to a long, draw-out plan per se, but you do need willingness to do the work. My biggest point with people every day is that I need you HERE, if only for a second. And that's something that often gets lost with people and can easily derail them. There's misinformation that this level of fitness and health I have you aim for requires a huge time component. It really doesn't.  It simply requires ALL your focus for a short amount of time and the results will come, far greater than if you are only partially present in the moment, more or less just going through the motions.  And in regards to learning, by focusing on the task at hand there is a comprehension and feeling that accompanies each movement such that it seems to “make sense” to you.  You have clarity as to the purpose of each exercise or task I have you do. 

So, put the distractions down, or better yet, just leave them at the door.  They’ll be there when you are done.  Put the work in today that will result in true change, true success.  You’ll thank yourself later.

The Best Technique to Clear Your Mind

Unfortunately, you can’t really clear your mind.  The actual fact that thinking your mind is clear negates the concept.  So, let’s just use this phrase anyway, regardless of it's true nature, to describe how we can stop the treadmill of thoughts that go through your mind in preparation for meditation, relaxation therapy, self-hypnosis, or whatever you want to call it.

Cool?  Good!

The first activity is to create a mental stamp that you are about to use on your thoughts, and on it is the word “THOUGHT” with a never-ending supply of ink.  Next you need a focal point, like your breathing pattern or even the image of an inanimate object like an angel you sit out on your shelf at Christmas.  As you sit or lie in silence, well, as silent as you can achieve, your eyes close, you notice your breathing, and all of a sudden, here they come.

All the items on your to-do list, what you need at the grocery store, what time you scheduled tomorrow’s meeting, what you will say at tomorrow’s meeting, what will you wear to tomorrow’s meeting…

The list of “thoughts” is endless, right?  And while you are supposed to be clearing your mind, the exact opposite seems to be occurring.  Never fear; just take out your trusty old “THOUGHT" stamp and let’s get busy.  As soon as a thought comes in, stamp it as a “thought” and then let it go.  As best as you can, come back to your focal point, as described earlier.  Oh look, another thought is coming in.  What to do?  Yep, stamp it!  And back to your focal point.

This can go on for probably 5 minutes or so, but then those thoughts seem to slow a bit, and it seems easier to stay focused on your intended target.  A few minutes more and you are totally “clear” and you can stay there for as long as you feel necessary, or until the alarm goes off that you set for yourself (which is a good idea because sleep is often a side-effect of this practice, and that’s ok).

So, give this a shot, and if it works, then great.  If it didn’t, don’t think you did it wrong, just get a bigger stamp next time.  Let me know how it goes!

Mobility is the Key to Proper Movement

Mobility and movement seem to be the same thing, right?  Perhaps, but in this narrative they will be treated as follows: Mobility is the “ability” a joint has, where Movement is the actual process of your joints doing work.  Get it?  Good!

Let me start with an example that might give a bit more clarity.  If I have a lack of mobility in my hip, then squatting down might be difficult.  So we can see that mobility refers to the capability of a joint, while movement involves an action.

On this premise, we can deduce that improving mobility in our joints creates better movement patterns.  If we have better movement patterns, we will be less prone to injury.  If we are less prone to injury, life is good.

My aim is to help you move better (get you to that “life is good” point).  This might require stretching and mobility exercises.  It might entail strengthening a weakened area.  And it might include breaking through some emotionally negative tension in areas of the body that are being manifested physically. 

Regardless, these are all revealed by how you move.  So if there’s a problem, the solution lies in bettering your movement.

Do You Know Why You Should Get a Massage?

Here’s a few reasons:

Decrease stress

Increase mobility in joints

Increase blood flow throughout the body

Prevent migraine headaches

Treatment of fibromyalgia

Treat postural related issues

Plantar fasciitis

Decrease lower back pain

Massage is becoming more and more recognized for its therapeutic benefits in addition to just pure relaxation.  My recommendation is to find therapist from a referral of a friend, chiropractor, personal trainer, etc. and try a few out.  It is best to get on a consistent schedule with the therapist, maybe once every couple of months, to keep things in order.  And, the more you see a therapist, the more familiar they will be with your body postures, and are more apt to notice changes that can be addressed.  The best way to treat a disorder or injury is to head it off before it even develops.

I'll be glad to assist in any way possible, so reach out to me with your questions.

Those stupid knots in the shoulder!!!

Everybody gets them some time or another, the "knot" in your shoulder that feels like a rock and won't ever seem to go away.  Well, here are a few things you can do to help.

First, let's understand where they come from.  When muscles are under tension for an extended period of time they will tend to go into spasm, or basically stay tight until resting, like as in going to bed (and even then that won't release some of them).  At that particular spot on your shoulder, it is a veritable malfunction junction of several layers of muscles crossing over each other.  Some are responsible for holding your head up, others are postural, and some are used to elevate the arms.  

The primary culprit of these "knots" is working on a computer.  It is during this time that all those activities I just listed are engaged, thus a perfect storm is created.

So what to do about them...?

First thing is to utilize your arm rests by placing your elbows on them while you work.  A desktop will work also, just slide the computer back some.  This will immediately remove the responsibility of your shoulders having to hold your arms up while you type or use the mouse.  

Next, is to look up.  Periodically make a habit of looking up to the ceiling or resting your head on the back of the chair if it is high enough.  The more we are tasking on a computer, the more down and forward our head and neck posture become.  We need to reverse this, if even for just a minute, resetting our posture the best we can.

These fixes are also good for issues with migraine headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome and fibromyalgia, so spread the word!

There are more things that help, but hopefully these will get you started.  I'd be glad to help anyone specifically, so just reach out to me through the contact link above.  

Increasing Blood Flow and the Brain

The connection between increased movement and proper blood flow to the brain has to do with oxygen.  Oxygen is vital to brain function and healing, and blood carries oxygen to the brain.  Therefore, a healthy practice of a lifestyle activities that encourage increased blood flow is going to produce a list of positive benefits, one big one in particular being brain function.

The most agreed upon method of increasing blood flow is exercise.  Now, this of course has different meanings for different people.  So let’s just say that it can be any type of movement that causes you to breathe harder and increase your heart rate.  For some that may be an hour-long session in the gym, while for others it may be a walk around the block, and still others achieve it working in the garden.  Regardless of your activity, it is best that you remain cognizant of the fact that movement is good for you, in so many ways, but this one is really important!

Nutshell, the increase in blood flow is very evident in all areas of the body when you are able to have immediate feedback.  You can almost feel an increase in blood flow and its benefits after a good exercise or yoga session.  What is not so evident are the benefits that are taking place in the brain.  It’s a bit more difficult to feel good stuff happening so you’re just gonna have to accept the research, and take my word for it.

So, if possible, maybe you can look at those stairs in a different light next time, knowing now that by taking them you are doing something good for your brain, even though your lungs may be screaming (pssst…they’re getting benefit too).

The truth about Fitness, specializing and REAL LIFE

Remember, fitness is about movement, not about maximum strength or speed.  The aim of a true fitness program should be to improve your daily lifestyle and all that is required of you.  There is certainly a time and place for moving the most weight or being the fastest person, but those usually deal with competitive atmospheres and goals, not fitness.  Above all, your fitness program should enhance the longevity of your life, not hinder it.  Your joints should be strengthened, not taxed.  Your back should become stronger, not weaker and less mobile.  You should be encouraging your body to move, throughout your life, with the least amount of hurdles, especially those that you control.  This is not rocket science, but it is as difficult as putting a man on Mars apparently.  The biggest obstacle that I see is influence and ego.  We allow ourselves to be influenced by things we see around us and amazed at the abilities of athletes we admire.  But we don’t realize that their body, their capacity and their lives in general all aim toward that specialty.  More times than not, that’s not your specialty.  And regarding ego, that’s simple… we want to at least do what he/she can do, if not do it better.  Winning at all cost doesn’t usually work out too good for the one paying. 

Making sure that you're still there...

The New Year brings along with it some new aspirations, new goals and new resolutions, some loftier than others.  Regardless of your intentions, even the best laid plans don't always work out the way we hoped.  While this may be true, and more often than not it is, by no means is this an excuse to lose hope and stop aiming for that goal.  Three weeks into the booming new workout plan without even the slightest sense of gain (or loss if that is the case) can be disheartening.  But these are the times to bear down, suck it up and grind through!!! Your success is on the horizon and you're closer than you've ever been in your life.  So grit your teeth, make no excuses and accept no failure!  As a matter of fact, why don't you go ahead and give me 10 burpees right now to celebrate your upcoming success.  Enjoy yourself, don't quit, and by all means, keep moving toward that goal!  Have a great day!

Monday, 110215

"There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind." C.S. Lewis

It's November!!! New month, new opportunities await you.  Make sure you take advantage of each and every one of them.  Whether it's a fitness/ health goal, business aspirations, or some way you aim to better your family life, start down that path today.  It may not be perfect and unobstructed, but opportunity lies on the path of those that take action.  So get up, overcome this "Monday" and look forward to all that lies ahead!