Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Form and Function Over Pride and Ego

On any given day in the gym, if you were to walk in and see me working out, you might wonder what the heck I’m doing. You see, I do a lot of my work with my eyes closed. I do that because I find it helps me to focus and make sure I am working the muscle I am supposed to be working, and not relying on other muscle groups to 'help' me. I guess I like to envision the muscle going through the motion. Just because you hold a weight in your hand doesn’t mean your hands should be doing the work (which is something I see daily in the gym). Think about it...are you doing a pushing exercise that utilizes your chest muscles, or maybe you are doing a pull exercise that should be working your back/lat muscles. If you are white-knuckling your weights (or band or cable) to death, chances are you are using your hands and arms moreso than utilizing the proper muscle. Same could be said when doing core/ab work. Don’t focus on putting all your weight into your hands/feet, focus on contracting your abs and making them do the work they are supposed to be doing. These are just a few things. Every exercise is made for a specific muscle(s)—use the correct muscle.

If you work out on your own, make sure you are using proper form in order to work the proper muscle. Also, you aren’t running a race when you are lifting weights. Blasting through a workout to get it done could add up to a lot of useless work if you aren't activating the right parts. Control that and breathe properly, that is part of the work.

You don’t want to waste your time and effort in the gym…make the most of every work out..work the right muscle at the right pace. The results will speak for themself.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Are You In or Out ... of Control?

Such a powerful word, isn’t it? It’s something we all want to have, but rare is the person that has it in its entirety. Some people can and have mastered it, others are terrified and shy away from it.

I guess I am a control freak (or so I've been told)...sometimes that works in my favor, but most times it does not. I’ve lost some important things because of this, but I am slowly learning that I cannot control the thoughts and actions of others around me, I cannot control the economy, the environment or world in which we live. I have come to realize though that the one and only thing I can control is me. I decided years back that I wanted a healthy, strong body so I did what needed to be done. It was up to me and me alone to make that decision and make it happen, and I did. Regardless of what is going on around me, I strive to not let go of that slot I’ve allotted myself to give my body the respect it deserves. I ‘choose’ to do this so that I give it the best possible chance at future longevity and good health that I can. I feed it right and exercise it regularly. I do so whether I am in the mood or not, or whether I have the proper time or not. I just do it and get it done. I don’t allow the words or actions of others to stop me, and I don’t give myself the opportunity of slacking here and there because I don’t want that to lead to feelings of complacency on my part.

This is an ongoing game, one I will continue to play for quite awhile. This is how I exercise my need for control—I use it on me. Why, because I can.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Little Things Go a Long Way...

You've been eating clean for a few weeks now...you are using portion control, keeping a good balance of protein/carbs/fat and you haven't missed a workout, yet, not much is going on. What the heck you wonder...I'm working my tail off, and for what!

Well, are you truly working your tail off? Are your journaling your food? Are you really eating as clean as you think you are? If you want results, make a plan and stick to it. If you have your day's meals ready to go, then that's what you eat and drink, nothing more, nothing less. Sounds like tough love, but guess what, a lot of you need it. I know, I know, those three french fries your 4-year old left on Monday's dinner plate don't count, nor does Tuesday's mini brownie that your co-worker brought in, oh, Wednesday's fat-free, sugar-free, skinny caramel mocha latte, no whip, no that doesn't count either--at least not in your clean eating mind it doesn't. Well guess what folks--those little things you think are meaningless--well they are more than likely the reason you aren't seeing the results you think you should be. You are consistently sabotaging yourself. Diet and exercise are not easy, but then again, most of the worth while things in life ever are.

So starting now, think about these little things. Is that split second of culinary delight to your tongue is worth losing the benefit of the last couple workouts you did; is not wanting to throw out little Bobby's last two chicken nuggets worth not having your zipper gliding up smoothly (versus you having to lay on the bed and not breathe to make it go up); or is just saying no and walking away from the office food trough, and you feeling like a million bucks for having done so, just not worth it to you?

You've been working hard, I know. I'm not naive, I know 'stuff' happens and sometimes the best choices cannot be made, but I'm realistic and I know that the majority of the time that is not the case. Stop poking yourself in the eye to spite your face..make this happen for yourself. You set out to do something great for yourself, so do it.

Okay, rant over... :-)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Challenge...Can You, Will You?

So, I undertook a challenge. It wasn’t something I set out to do, but it was presented to me and I took it. You all know I work out -- I love it, I’ve done well with it, and I now really try and help others achieve their goals as I have mine. Like most people, even though I do my thing and get my work done, I sometimes find myself in a rut. I’ve been maintaining, but have been getting a little bored with the program and thus maybe not giving it my usual 100%. I’ve gotten to the point where “the trainer needs a trainer”. I can write programs for my clients with no problem, I can guide them, advise them, listen to them, but when it comes to myself, well, I guess it was time for someone to do the same for me. I just wanted to be told what to do for a while (how scary is that?!). Now, once again, the power of Social Media comes through. Another fellow fitness fiend/friend that I've been talking to listened to my tale of woe and offered to write up a new program for me. Yikes! What have I gotten myself into?! I haven’t worked this hard in a long time, but after having successfully knocked out week one, I have to say I feel amazing. The feeling that I had in the back in the beginning, and that same feeling that led me to pursue this, is coming back full strength. Mind you, I never lost it, but I may have gotten a little ‘weak’. I’m now being pushed and being held accountable. I’m liking this new challenge, and don’t want to let this person down. Just as important though, I refuse to let myself down. I’m AM going to do this. Despite the fact that it’s making my already chaotic schedule even moreso, as I said, I survived week one, and will continue to survive the oncoming ones as well. In the end, I’ll be better for it—not only physically, but mentally as well. Sometimes, the mental strength far outweighs the physical. I look forward to it. I’m working my tail off, but I haven’t felt like this in a while. I can’t wait to see the results.

So, are you up for some fun? Challenge yourself and come join me. Do you dare, can you ‘handle’ it?!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Unresolved Issues...

Well, January is almost over…is your head still in the game? Are you still sticking to your New Year’s resolutions or has ‘it’ or ‘they’ already gone by the wayside? Good intentions only go so far. It’s getting to the point where the novelty is wearing off and the reality is setting in. The diet you were so gung ho on the first week is probably starting to drive you crazy..and the ‘excitement’ of being a gym rat is probably getting to the point where if you see one more puddle of someone else’s sweat you are going to scream. Well, welcome to the real world. It’s not always easy, clean or fun. It is though, well worth it. Have you noticed what your clean eating has been doing for you? Have you noticed that the composition of your body is starting to change? If so, rock on! You are working it and making it happen. If not, it’s time to reevaluate what you really want.

I didn’t make any resolutions for myself—I know me and it’s too much pressure on my already overloaded brain (lol…). I did however have goals in mind for myself and things that I still want to achieve this year. I’ve been pushing myself in the gym, and pushing myself to make my training business the place I want it to be. I’m still determined to make it happen, but it has had its ups and downs. Does that mean I’m quitting and/or giving up—not a chance!

The key in all this is patience…and not losing faith—in yourself or your abilities. You didn’t get this way overnight and you won’t fix it overnight. Invest the time and effort in yourself that you resolved to. The race has just started…the finish may not be as close as you’d like, but it’s there. If you’re struggling, find some tools to help you work through it. Find a workout partner—there has to be at least one or two people in your circle that wants to do something good for themselves as you do. Invest in some personal training sessions and see the proper way to get your work done. If the gym crowd scares you, there are many ways to work out in your own home. A few simple and inexpensive purchases can get you the equipment you need to do it all in the comfort of your home. An on-line training plan can then give you the ‘guide’ you need to make it all happen. The possibilities are endless.

Now, stop with all the BS excuses of why you can’t work out. Stop letting yourself down because you think you can’t do it. While I whole-heartedly believe that you should do this first and foremost for yourself, I will shame you by saying, do it for the other people in your life that love and care about you. They worry for you and your future. They want you around to enjoy life as it should be enjoyed. Nothing is life is free or easy, but some of it is attainable, and this is one of those things.

Now, how bad do you want it?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Inspiration ...Do You Have It, Do You Need It???

Well, I survived the two day feeding frenzy of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I am Italian..100% at that. Holidays, birthdays and pretty much 'every day' revolve around food in these households. Did I eat and drink a bit too much--I suppose so. Was I prepared to do that--absolutely. There's no escaping days like this, so the best you can do is just be prepared and work with it. To this day I still get grief over what I choose to eat and not eat. To be honest, I really don't care what people think of my choices anymore. I know what I'm doing is helping to keep me a fit, healthy, strong and happier person. I don't find it always easy, but I find ways to push through. Who and what you choose to surround yourself with can play a major factor in the success or failure of your plan. This is where my 'inspiration' comes into play.

I'm still pretty new to the whole world of Social Media, but I'm gradually getting it. I've spent time in the world of Valerie Waters, and I've gotten stronger myself by working with these awesome girls. Watching them overcome their struggles and proclaiming their successes has meant the world. I've also developed some incredible relationships through the world of Twitter and Face Book. The people I follow (and who follow me), and the people I've befriended on Face Book have taught me, encouraged me and kept me going through some struggles of my own. A simple word or comment can change the whole way you think about yourself. The exchange of ideas with what others are doing and teaching also do the same. There is a world of knowledge out there and I'm gaining more of it daily. I'm also getting the extra push I need to go further myself, and work on my own plan. I have things I want to do, but not sure about the courage to follow through. Strength comes from places you'd least expect sometimes. I've found some in abundance and I thank all of you special, wonderful people I've been talking with. Your behind the scenes words, encouragement, and advice (oh, off-color conversations included ) have done so much for me.

I am looking forward to great change starting in 2010...I do so with a lot of trepidation, but also with inspiration from all of you. If you have a plan of your own, and not necessarily the wherewithal to make it happen, put yourself out there. Ask and be asked..let others give you their two cents now and then. You may be surprised at exactly what you can take from all of that.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

'Tis the Season of Change...

Hey everyone! It has certainly been a while (pretty much a year!)… While I’ve been absent, I have not forgotten about what I attempted to start here. In looking over old posts, I find it very ironic that on this same day last year, I wrote a post entitled 'Tis the Season ...' -- something I did not even realize until I finished drafting this post. Strange how the mind works. Well, it’s been a long year of ups and downs for me and mine, and some of the price paid was the price of time. Of course, there is never enough for any of us, but we make do with what we have. The past year has had its share of every type of malady around: health issues, family issues, and the economics of the world we live in these days, just to name a few. They all took their toll, but I vowed to myself that I would make every effort to get back at this before year’s-end. Well, I made it, not by much, but I did. So what have I learned over the past year? I learned that while I didn’t always feel good mentally or physically, I am a strong person. I won’t say I overcame certain challenges that came my way, but I dealt with them and moved forward. With some of that strength, I most importantly tried to maintain harmony and sanity within my family, I put in extra time and effort developing my gym business, I also continue to also work my office job, and lastly, I always remembered to take care of me. I still hold very true to my belief that you must at some point take time for yourself to care for yourself. That is what helps keep you not only physically strong, but sometimes more importantly, mentally strong. I will reiterate old posts by saying that the kids will always need something, there will always be a schedule to follow or deadline to maintain, there will always be cooking, cleaning, shopping, etc… to be taken care of. The thing that won’t always be there though is your health. Why is it that so many continue to put it on the back burner and think it will take care of itself like magic? Believe me, if there was a magic pill, I'd be first in line for it, and would pay almost anything for it! That, right there, is what I want to focus on as we end yet another very fast-moving year.

It physically pains me to sometimes see the way people struggle to go up some stairs, chase or play with their child, or merely walk from one end of the room to the other without getting winded. What does this tell you? Are you at your optimum health, is your heart working at the rate it ‘should’ be, are you heading into your future with a clean bill and long road ahead? Probably not. Why do you keep putting this off? You can give yourself every excuse in the book, but in the end that’s all you are doing, making more excuses to yourself. Over the course of this year, the one thing I never stopped doing was working out. There were days it was all I could do to get out of bed, but I did it—and I felt amazing afterward. I have said since I started this, ‘think of exercise as the one good thing you will do for yourself that day’ … and that’s what I did. No matter what happened after that, I knew that while I couldn’t control the things taking place around me, I could only control me—and I did.

My wish for you for this upcoming new year is that you find the courage to take that first step and that you start taking care of you. Take care of yourself before it’s too late. Here’s something to get you started. Since the Fall of last year, I’ve been helping out LA-based trainer Valerie Waters on her fitness forum by giving input when her girls needed advice on their diet and exercise. I’ve been following these girls since Val’s inception of her famous Red Carpet Ready Program. I’ve also been lucky enough to meet many of girls personally and be there with them through their personal triumphs over getting control of their own health and well being. Seeing the results in person is believing…this program is believable. I've watched total transformations taking place. This is a program that pretty much anyone at any level can partake in. It’s great for just about anyone with any type of body issues. Check it out—this could be the jumpstart you’ve been looking for. Click to be Fit!

Are you ready to roll?