Saturday, December 27, 2008

I Hereby Resolve Not To ...


Okay, it's almost New Year's..have you made the dreaded 'Resolution(s)' yet?? Well I haven't and I'm not going to. How many of you make these every year and thus end up condoning yourself for months over your failure to follow through?

I'm going to continue to just strive to make things better for myself and my family--the very same things I've been working on regularly of late. My body and health I got a handle on a number of years ago--I worked hard and continue to do so daily to maintain what I've achieved. My family is a daily work-in-progress. Like most, we have ups and downs (and with two teens there are many ;-) ), but I continue to take that one day at a time and hope to make the best decisions for all of us. I will continue to work daily on my job and financial future because, of course, I want more (and who doesn't, right?!). I work my butt off constantly to achieve this, but that's just not something I can 'resolve' to make happen instantaneously.

Therein lies my point I guess. How can the turning of a new year 'make' things happen for you. If you want certain things for yourself, why haven't you been trying all along to find a way to achieve them? Why does the strike of a clock and a champagne toast commit or condemn you to things you should have been working towards this whole time?

With this coming of 2009 right around the corner, why not decide to just like yourself a little better..that right there can set the wheels in motion to a brighter future for you and those you care for. It will give you a more positive, clearer outlook on things, things that once seemed so far out of reach. Start living in the now, instead of resolving for the later.

Monday, December 8, 2008

'Tis the Season...Survival of the Fittest


Hey, it’s been a while, but I’m back. Things have been crazy busy and I’ve been working really hard on some cool (well at least cool for me) things. Recently, we moved our personal training business to a new location. That took up a good amount of time packing and such, and then getting ourselves and our clients reacclimated to everything. So far, so good..have been training a lot and we’re putting together a new boot camp to get everyone through the holidays and beyond. Hey if your in the Chicagoland area, drop me a line--bootcamp is gonna kick some major butt!

Then, in the midst of all of this happening, I got involved with Valerie Waters and her Red Carpet Ready Program. Val started up a new club for her Red Carpet Ready exercise plan and I started moderating her forum. I help the clubbers with any questions, comments, issues, whatever, that they may have while doing the RCR plan. It’s been a great experience and I’ve come to look at these girls just like they are my own friends. It's been such a fulfilling thing watching the progress of all of them and knowing that at some point during their journey, I may have said or done something that helped even just a little with their success. At one stage during all of this Val came to Chicago for another project, and she decided to start filming here for what is now her Red Carpet Ready TV. I had the pleasure of finally ‘meeting’ Val (haha, all our contact prior to that had been via phone, twitter, email—you know, the American way!), and the two stars of her show Cody and Mary Bess (shown left and right of me respectively). They each flew in the from Colorado and Texas just for this purpose. That weekend was blast..we had a lot of laughs, but also got some good work done. Watching Val in action was great--when it's time to work, she's all business, but in such a way that you still have a great time while you're getting your tail worked off--literally! These two girls have been working diligently and putting it all out there for the rest of us to see—high points and low ebbs as well. They tape their adventures each week and every Tuesday night, it airs for our viewing pleasure. There’s also a live chat and everyone can talk with Val and the girls. They show us how they work out and where (and yes, they work out in their homes, in the gym, the great outdoors—everywhere), as well as what they eat, etc. We also get glimpses of what they have to overcome daily and how they make this program work for them. The girls are doing great and they’ve done themselves and the program proud. They’ve both lost weight and inches, but more importantly they feel great about themselves! They now know how a little dedication to a great program and some simple changes in diet can make all the difference. They have both now learned how to lead healthy lifestyles without starvation and hours and hours of exercise. I love these girls--I'm just so happy to see their success each week. Helping them (and ALL the RCR girls) along the way with all of this has made me feel very proud to be a part of it all, and I thank Val for trusting me to help all these great people out when she can't be there.

So why have I gone on about what I've been up to all this time..well we are now approaching what is, for a lot of people, the diet and exercise downfall of the year. The Holidays! We all have things to figure out to survive this. Parties all over the place all the time, insane schedules for every person in the family, and, in the craziness of all of this, still trying to find the necessary time for ‘you’ and your own routine. As busy as I've been in the past few months I've still not missed a single workout. I know if I start, the next one is easier to miss and so on..the excuses just get better and better. If you don’t manage to stay somewhat in a groove, you can undo months' worth of hard work in these few short weeks. Don’t let that happen. Don’t put off what you can do right now..if you keep saying you are going to start exercising after the New Year, don’t kid yourself. After the first of the year, you'll find some reason to wait a bit longer. Start now before you do any real damage. It may be a cliché, but there really is no time like the present. You may find that this is the perfect time to jump start your body—every little bit you do now will make it that much easier for you later.

And in the grand scheme of things, aren’t you worth it?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

If It Isn't Broke Why Are You Trying To Fix It?!


I learned that lesson the hard way this week. I know what works and what doesn't when it comes to my body and my workouts. I've been lifting some good weights for the past few years and got my body to the place where it really liked being, and I was keeping it there just fine. Well the past months have been kinda crazy in more ways than one for me and I started really trying to push the weights up. I think I was using them as a stress-reliever. I was actually doing just fine with that, but suddenly got to the point where I'd worked some parts too much and they were a tad more developed than what I'd wanted. I like looking healthy and fit, but I also like looking feminine and girly at the same time. That's when I discovered Valerie Waters and her Valslides. They sat unopened for the longest time, but when I finally started using them--they worked their magic. I followed her plan and 'voila'... I was able to bring down the parts that needed it. I then started incorporating a lot of her moves into my lifting program and found a perfect complement with the two programs. I was able to manipulate both to work for my body--oh things were wonderful. My food and exercise were on track and Linda was a happy girl.

Fast forward to the past month. Don't know why I did it, didn't need to do it, just decided to try it--I got a whole new program and started doing work I know better than to do (but did it anyway). I've been orchestrating my own workouts for quite a while now and I'm just a bit tired of it. I wanted someone else to train the trainer for a while. I wanted someone else to run the show so I could just go in and do the work. Well, I should have just left well enough alone. If you have certain body parts that can't tolerate certain moves, you stay away from them. Well, most people do--and I have been up until this last week when I received the new program. I thought, well let me give this a shot--it's new--my body will love something new, right?! Ha-Ha...NOT! I did in one week what I managed to avoid doing over the last three years. I hurt myself. I have an ankle that is held together by plates and screws on both sides, with a couple pins thrown in just for fun (and to hold my heel bone on too). I also have lame elbows so just can't do certain isolation work. Now mind you, I've been running on that ankle since I broke it and have had no residual problems..well after jumping rope twice this week on it..it's killing me and almost dropped me to the floor when it gave way today. The elbows were put through the paces with triceps work and endless curls that they aren't used to doing either--the pain I had today almost brought tears to my eyes! It's so true that compound moves are all you really need--I've done minimal isolation work in the past and still managed to get some nicely defined muscle without putting myself at risk.

What I was doing was working...I should have researched more and thrown in a few new things to entertain myself for a while. Everything was running smoothly and the body was feeling good.

I taught myself a good lesson..don't mess with what works. Don't let a temporary lapse bring you down--take a step back until you can clearly see the situation. Is this a life and death health issue that I'm rambling on and on about--no it's not (and I realize that). But this is the only body I have and I wanna keep it running nice and smooth for as long as I can. If I don't take care of it, nobody else will. Hopefully I didn't do anything that a little rest and ice won't cure.

Lesson learned--not soon to be forgotten!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Maintenance..Or Is It?


When people undertake a new fitness or weight loss goal they always want to know how they can 'maintain' after that point. They want to know if they can go back and eat cookies, candy, cake, more fat, more carbs, etc... They think that once they've reached their goal, they can start to 'enjoy' again. I was one of those people too--which is probably why it took me so long to get the point of taking it off and keeping it off. I also used to refer to the post diet glory as Maintenance too-oh if I only knew then what I know now. These days I try to refer to my post diet simply as 'this is how I eat now--this is the new me'. It really is a life style vs. just the simplicity of maintenance. Once you reach your goals, you have to keep moving forward along that same path. You can't just go back and start eating all the things that got you into this fix to begin with. Would I love to be able to eat bread, pasta and candy on regular basis--you bet I would! I'm a sandwich kinda gal--could eat them for lunch and dinner every day--the bigger, wetter, messier the better..yup, those were the glory days! Now I know better. I know that if I do want to 'maintain' what I've achieved, I have to continue to eat the way I have been eating. I've learned how to make healthy, albeit satisfying choices. I learned how eating in moderation is not a bad thing..I can still feel fulfilled without eating the whole cow. A lot of people have the mentality that if they reach their goals, they deserve a reward. Am I saying that you can never have a snack or treat again--no way, that's just not realistic. But this is where you need to be careful so that the cycle doesn't begin to repeat itself. A reward here, a little treat there, then the snowball tends to get bigger and bigger. Try and think of it like this--you undertook a new endeavor. You succeeded at accomplishing your goals. Do you really want to go back to the old ways? I don't think so. You've taught your body a whole new regime..one it really seems to like. It makes you feel better, look better, and your heart probably thanks you every day..try and hang on to that for as long as you can.

You've created a whole new you--it's worth more than just some routine maintenance..this is a 'Lifestyle' for you now. It's something that's going to take you toward a longer, more happy, healthy future. Don't let the old ways overtake the new--hold on to what you've accomplished.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Good Intentions


We all have them, right? We all do our best to follow through on them, but what happens when you don't? I feel like my life is all about good intentions--where my family is concerned, my clients, my job, everything. I started this blog with the best of intentions of cluing everyone in on what I think about the 'issues' of the world of health and fitness. Hah! Only a fraction of time into it and I'm already lagging. It's not that I don't have a thick skull full of things I want to say, it's just that I can't seem to eek out any more hours in the day to make it happen. I work too much and I'm spreading myself too thin. BUT, I still want to make things happen. I want my kids to know that mom is there for them no matter what--it's a challenge, but I make sure I'm there for the goings-on in their lives (whether they want me to or not--LOL!). I want to find new and exciting things for my clients to do so that they'll feel great about themselves--I want them to continue to be happy they came to me in the first place. I still want to challenge myself and see how far I can go with all of this. I enjoy posting and chatting with all the new friends I have on Twitter as well as with the circle of friends I've developed on Figure Athlete (what a great group of girls over there!). I've also found a whole new group of great people courtesy of Valerie Waters' Red Carpet Ready Club. I love all the new things I've learned courtesy of all these people. I'm just coming to the conclusion that I don't have time to really enjoy and utilize it.

So I ask, "How do you handle all your good intentions?" How do you find time for you and all that you hold near and dear. I need some guidance on this one..I would love to hear everyone's thoughts.

Friday, September 26, 2008

A Guest Spot..

I did a guest post on Workoutmommy...check it out here:

http://workoutmommy.com/2008/09/25/its-never-too-late-to-be-a-strong-healthy-woman/

Again, thank you so much, Lisa!

P.S. -- having issues with the link..if it won't open, cut and paste .. sorry! :-(

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

When Exercise Doesn't Work


This is for those of you out there (and a few people I know as well) who are somewhat struggling in aspects of your workout programs. This is an article written a while back (and recently updated) by Dr. John Berardi, PhD, he's a nutrition expert..and the guy knows his stuff! It's a great read and still holds very true..it's a bit long, but it's worth it:

When Exercise Doesn't Work, by John M Berardi, PhD, CSCS
This week I've got no fancy introduction. I've got no "journalistic hook." You see, I recently had an "ah ha" moment that I've simply got to share with you. And here it is... Exercise doesn't work.

Now that might sound shocking coming from a guy with big biceps and 8% body fat; from a guy that recommends lots of exercise, at least 5 hours per week.

So if this all seems incongruent, I guess I should qualify the statement above. I guess I should have probably said:
Exercise, ALONE, doesn't work.

My Wake-Up Call -- My coming to this realization wasn't an easy process.

I've been working with clients for over 15 years now and although I always knew that diet was an important part of the training equation, I also always harbored some subconscious notion that if I worked my clients hard enough, their lack of dietary effort would be overcome by my super-effective training programs.

Sure, I wanted them to eat well. But if they didn't (more like, wouldn't), somewhere deep inside it seemed ok. I figured in the battle of training vs. diet, training would win.

Now, I never said this aloud. However, somewhere I'm sure I felt it. So it wasn't until I was slapped in the face with some cold, hard, objective data that I realized how wrong I'd been.

The Texas Study -- These data came in the form of a study I recently worked on at the University of Texas.

In this study, nearly 100 initially sedentary participants either stayed sedentary (about half of them) OR began exercising (the other half). They exercisers were given a program to follow that added up to about 5 1/2 to 6 hours of activity per week and that lasted for a total of 12 weeks. The non-exercisers did nothing for the 12 weeks except show up for measurement sessions.

These individuals, as stated above, did no exercise before the study began. As a result of this sedentary lifestyle, they averaged between 35% and 40% body fat (according to DEXA scans).

Once the study began, the training group gathered together for 3 weight training sessions per week and 2 group exercise / interval sessions per week. All the training was designed by myself and overseen by a weightlifting coach and group exercise coach. So there was a pretty high level of quality control there.

Now, it's important to note that we didn't alter the participant's eating at all. And we did this on purpose. We wanted to test the effects of exercise alone - without diet. In other words, the question became:
"Without a dietary intervention, can exercise alone reshape a person's body?"

At the end of the 12 week study, we got our answer: "Not so much..."

That's right, when analyzing the data, I was shocked to find that even with 3+ hours of training per week with a weightlifting coach and 2+ hours of training per week with a body-weight circuit instructor didn't really work. The formerly sedentary participants didn't do much better than their couch-sitting counterparts.

That's right, without dietary control, 12 weeks of high intensity training produced a fairly disappointing 1% loss of body fat. In terms of raw data, the participants lost only 1 pound of fat and gained 2 pounds of lean vs. the placebo group.

Frankly, that sucks.

The Machete Perspective -- Now, imagine you're overweight (about 38% body fat) and you decide to take the plunge, to hire a personal trainer, and to get in shape for perhaps the first time in your life.

So, you decide to buy a training package, one that contains 60 sessions (5 sessions per week for 12 weeks). The cost, per session, is 50 bucks, the going rate. So you plunk down 3 grand and start your initial 12 week fitness journey.

You don't expect big things...you just expect to start moving in the right direction. So you're patient. You attend all your training sessions, you get to know your trainer really well, spending over 60 hours with him or her. You stay off the scale, not wanting to jinx yourself.

Then, at the end of the 12 weeks, you weigh-in.

Body weight - You were overweight, obese in fact, to start with. Well, if you simply exercised (without changing your diet and following the protocol above) you now weigh one pound more!

About to go crazy, your trainer talks you down off the cliff. You probably gained a lot of muscle while losing a lot of fat, he or she says. So it's time to do a body comp test.

Fat weight - Ok, here's the moment of truth. You're sure there must have been some fat loss. Drumroll please...

If you followed the protocol from above, you're down one, uninspiring, unnoticable pound of fat.

"What the heck!? Can I NOW be pissed?"

Lean weight - Because you weigh one pound more, and lost one pound of fat, that means that your formerly sedentary butt put on 2 lbs of lean mass.

That's nice and all. But that wasn't the goal! You wanted to lose fat. This is when your anger kicks in.

So, you spent 3000 bucks and 60 hours working your ass off in the gym. And your ass didn't change one bit! Is it time to grab a machete and take that good for nothing trainer's head clean off?

It's Not A Fluke -- Now, when I first saw these data, I thought they were a fluke. I got the research team together on the phone and chewed them out. There must have been a data mix-up.

I mean, seriously, 12 weeks of hard training and only one pound of fat lost vs. no training at all. Was this some sort joke? Did they screw up the data collection? Did the research participants skip out on sessions? What was the deal?!?

Despite my insistence, there were no errors. The participants showed up. They trained hard. The data were collected properly. The participants just didn't progress. And, for the first time, I started asking the question honestly.
Can a solid training program alone get people into great shape?

Note I said "solid" training program. In the past I figured people weren't getting results because their training program was awful and perhaps so was their diet.

But, as a result of this new study, a study in which the training protocol was solid, the answer appeared to be no. A solid training program alone wasn't enough to get people into great shape.

Other Research Support -- With a new sense of purpose, I started digging around in the research. And I quickly found another recent study suggesting the exact same thing.

This study, published in the April 2008 issue of Nutrition and Metabolism, demonstrated that after 10 weeks of training (3 endurance sessions and 2 strength sessions per week - the flip flop of our study), 38 previously overweight, sedentary subjects also saw minimal changes in body composition with training.

Body Weight - In this study, neither the control (no exercise) group or the exercise group significantly changed their body weight. Both groups saw about a 0.6lb loss in body weight on average. But again, neither change was significant.

Fat Mass - When it came to fat mass, the exercise group lost 2.4lbs while the control group lost 0.9lbs. This means that the 50 exercise sessions lead to a mere 1.5lb fat loss vs doing nothing. Better than a kick in the teeth, I guess. But not all that stellar.

Lean Mass - The exercise group grained 1.7lbs of lean mass while the control group gained 0.2lbs of lean mass. This means that the 50 exercise sessions led to a 1.5lb gain in lean mass vs doing nothing at all. Again, not bad. But not great either.

Different vs. Important -- Sure, in both studies, the changes were "statistically significant." In other words, participants did lose more fat and gain more lean mass when training vs. not training. However, let's not confuse different with important. After all, these changes are small, really small. And I would suggest, unimportant.

I mean, come on now, people exercise to actually change their bodies in noticeable, measurable ways. They want to fit better into their clothes. They want to go from overweight to normal weight. They want to be able to walk up the stairs without getting winded. They want to lower their cholesterol.

In my estimation, and it might just be me, they're just not all that interested in dumping big dollars and lots of time into something that leads to a one pound fat loss. Seriously, that's not all that good.

The Lesson - No, It's Not To Stop Exercising!
At this point you might be wondering if it's my advice to stop exercising. Of course not! Exercise is critically important to looking better, feeling better, and performing better every single day. And don't you forget it!

However, my point is that exercise ALONE just doesn't cut it. What you really need is exercise PLUS a sound nutritional program. Now that's just what the doctor ordered.

Consider what happens when people actually eat well...

In our recent Precision Nutrition Body Transformation Challenge, the average fat loss for all of our participants was 1/2% (or 1lb) lost per week! Remember, in the studies above, they lost about 1 to 1.5lbs in 10-12 weeks!

That's almost at 10-fold increase in effectiveness when people added the Precision Nutrition plan to their training system.

Further, our finalists (the top performers) saw the following results:

Finalist #1 lost about 30lbs in 16 weeks – losing 23lbs of fat, or about 1.4lbs of fat per week.

Finalist #2 - lost about 16lbs in 16 weeks – losing 23lbs of fat, or about 1.4lbs of fat per week.

Finalist #3 - lost 37lbs in 16 weeks – losing 27lbs of fat, or about 1.7 lbs of fat per week.

Finalist #4 - lost 25lbs during 16 weeks – losing 35lbs of fat, or about 2.2lbs of fat per week.

Finalist #5 - lost 37lbs during 16 weeks – losing 31lbs of fat, or about 1.9lbs of fat.

Note: each of our finalists followed one of the training programs available in the PN Member's Resource Section (member's only) and our nutritional guidelines outlined in the Precision Nutrition System.

Also consider the research study discussed above, the one published in Nutrition and Metabolism.

In this study, there was actually a 3rd group. And this group, in addition to exercising, supplemented each day with 2 nutrient-dense meal replacement supplements. Each supplement contained 300 calories, 5g fat, 25g carbs, and 40g protein and a host of vitamins and minerals. And while the exercise-only group saw small fat losses and muscle gains, the exercise plus supplement group, was a different story.

Body Weight - The exercise+supplement group lost 4lbs of total body weight. This compared to the 0.6lbs lost in the exercise alone group.

Fat Mass - The exercise+supplement group also lost 6lbs of total body fat. This compared to the 2.4lbs lost in the exercise alone group.

Lean Mass - The exercise+supplement group gained about 1.8lbs of total lean body mass. This compared to the 1.7lb gained in the exercise alone group.

So, as you can see, even something as simple as adding a high quality protein drink or MRP can improve fat loss vs. exercise alone.

But, again, nothing is as effective as following a solid nutrition program while exercising properly.

You can train as hard as you want. However, without some attention to your nutritional intake, you simply can't expect inspiring, noticeable results.
To get your nutrition program straight, click here... PRECISION NUTRITION

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Spot Reduction ..I Don't Think So


Spot Reduction..it just doesn’t exist folks. I don't know how many times I've had someone tell me, I want to work my abs, I need some extra ab work, can't I do some ab work, etc... I hear those things all time..mostly about the abs, but the thighs and butt do get an honorable mention in there too. It's a hard to battle to wage, and it's a frequent one. Nobody wants to believe that doing 100 crunches a day isn't going to give them washboard abs. I try and give my clients mostly compound exercises to do. I figure, let's work the most efficient way we can in any given session. I do throw in some isolation work, but that's not really what I'm basing their workouts around. Your abs are made by your grocery list—what you put in that cart will make all the difference. . If you shop wisely, eat smart and exercise, you'll get those much desired 2-, 4-, or 6-packs that everyone so covets. If you exercise until you're ready to drop, but don't eat properly, you'll forever be wanting. Also, if you are considering making an equipment purchase, at 2:00 a.m. from your local cable channel, to help you in this quest, chances are you'll regret it. If it looks like a gimmick, and sounds like a gimmick, well, it probably is a gimmick. To get the washboard abs we all have lurking in our midsection, you have get rid of the fat that is covering them. To get the cuts that make those abs look so pretty, well you have to exercise. The pros you see gracing the covers and insides of magazines and doing competitions worked their tails off to get their abs to look like that. They are a cut above most in that they know how to manipulate their diets to time those abs to (hopefully) come in the day of the competition or the photo shoot. So, can you get 'abs'--yup you can..is it easy..not necessarily so. It won't happen overnight, or even over a few nights, but it can happen. If you want it bad enough, you can make anything happen. So I'm sorry if I've dispelled some things for you here, but that is the sad truth.

P.S. Oh, that picture top, right is of Maggie Diubaldo. Her abs are what I aspire to. She's an incredible looking woman. I know what needs to be done, and I am working on it! 2- of the 6- are in place..the other 4 are pending my eating patterns. :-)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

No Skipping Allowed

While this might sound similar to one of my previous posts, it really has a whole separate meaning in the scheme of things. My other post talked about being prepared..this post is more about following through..

This was culled from something Jillian Michaels (The Biggest Loser Trainer) recently posted..I'm borrowing it because it's so very true and something I 'remind' my clients of all the time.

Skip breakfast? Think again. Not hungry for dinner? Not so fast. Not only does skipping meals slow your metabolism but it can lead to overeating, because when you do eat, you're overly hungry. There are a ton of theories out there about when and how often you should eat to maximize your weight-loss results. Believe me, I've heard 'em all, and I'm here to give you the real skinny.

When you're trying to get to your weight-loss goals, it is essential to maintain blood sugar levels to prevent energy crashes and appetite cravings that could throw you off course. In all my years of experience, I've found the most effective way to do this is to eat every four hours, without skipping a single meal or snack.

I can't tell you how often people still think the best way to lose weight is to not eat. Well that is so far from the truth it should be on the Moon! You have to keep your body fueled--if you don't, it starts to think you are starving it and it pulls from other resources to keep it going. Know which resource that is?? -- it's your muscle--not the excess fat you are trying to get rid of, nope, just the muscle you've been busting your chops trying to get. You gotta eat folks..it's that easy. You need to keep that metabolism running round the clock. If you want to lose weight, keep that metabolism running, keep to a workout plan, and your road to success just got a whole lot shorter.

Please don't skip..it will only make you more hungry and more likely to binge. Once you do that, you start to beat yourself up and things tend to keep spiraling downward. Don't do that to yourself, you're so much better than that.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Recap of Valerie Waters' Red Carpet Ready Club Launch


Last night I took part in a live chat given by trainer Valerie Waters. Val launched her new Red Carpet Ready Club..an expanded (i.e. a whole lot of new stuff--more exercises, recipes, video, etc..) version of her Red Carpet Ready exercise/diet program. I spoke of Red Carpet Ready ("RCR") in a previous post, but just to reiterate, RCR is the workout program that she uses with her celebrity clients. She's now updated the program and made it usable for everyone else out there who doesn't have the celebrity income, but still wants to look good enough to hit the 'Red Carpet'. Val spoke at length and answered questions which people posted live, and she also had her guests answering questions as well. Her guests were some of her celebrity clients and they were quite enjoyable to watch. Gals, while these women do lead far different lives than most of us, they were no different when it came to their body image. They struggle and have to work at it just like you and I do. It was enlightening to see them in an ordinary situation for the time they were there. Val's other guests were 'experts' in various fields of fitness/health. I totally enjoyed listening to their particular expertise and all the tips they offered up. As someone trying to expand her knowledge in this industry, I sucked up as much as I could while they were speaking. Great, great info.

If you've been struggling with your own program and are looking for something to try, I would consider this. It's a body-friendly, easy-to-follow program that gives great results if followed correctly. I have incorporated a lot of RCR into my own program and also use the Valslides on myself and my clients as well. Those little buggers give a lot of bang for their buck. Check it out here Red Carpet Ready, it could be the fix you are looking for.

Monday, September 8, 2008

How Clean Are You???

I've been talking to my clients a lot about their diet these past few weeks. It seems that while Summer brings out bathing suits and smaller pieces of clothing, everyone's been eating and drinking bigger portions of everything. I'm not sure what the thinking behind it has been, but a lot of folks have gotten very slack with their diets. You would think that with being able to be outside more, you'd get more activity into your day..but maybe that's the problem. Are we justifying eating more because we feel we are doing more? We all have to remember one thing--even though we are getting out, being active, and getting in our scheduled workouts, diet is still a major player in our fitness routine. Don't ever forget that your diet is likely 90% of the success/failure ratio to any fitness plan you are undertaking. If you eat clean and exercise, you are going to win this battle--if you exercise seven days a week, eat clean Monday - Friday, but then feel entitled to go hog wild every Saturday/Sunday, you are going to lose. One client actually told me that since she screwed up at breakfast, she just figured she'd blown the whole day and continued to eat, eat, eat. I told her, okay, you blew it with the donut this morning--you should have jumped right back on the wagon and 'restarted' your plan for that day. Don't ever fall into that rut of thinking if you eat something 'bad' the day is ruined. I tell my clients that preparation is the key. You need to plan out your shopping and meals ahead of time. If you're not prepared, that's when you are mostly likely to grab the closest thing be it healthy or not. From just listening to everyone talk, it seems the mid-day food is the hardest..you're at work, you are running the kids around, you are going from store to store, etc...; oh, and you've packed nothing for yourself to eat. If you know you are going to be in your car running for hours, pack something..if you are going to work, bring your lunch (and think of all the money you are saving). Look at it this way:
You don't 'plan' to go to the gym and not pack your workout clothing, right? You don't 'plan' a night out with friends and not book a babysitter, right? Your kids have their [sport of choice here] practice two or three times a week--well you know ahead of time that at such and such a time, you will be driving them to/from that practice, right?
Well, why would you decide to finally do something awesome for yourself like starting to exercise and eat right and not 'plan' what you're going to eat?

Please, please stop sabotaging yourself and all your hard work. Just think about it... 'food' for thought here folks (sorry, bad pun intended). It's not that difficult and it makes all the difference in the world to reaching your goals. And most of all, isn't the end result so worth it?

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Bulldog Review..

Finally -- The
Kettlebell
!!

Well, the review is in! Got the bolt issue worked out, and gave the new Bulldog Kettlebell a try. Just to reiterate from my prior post, the Bulldog Kettlebell is an adjustable weight Kettlebell. For those of you that have purchased Kettlebells in the past, you know they are not inexpensive, and I looked at this product as being very efficient in that respect. Well here are my thoughts on it: I love how it feels. The kettle is made of steel, not iron like most are. I was skeptical at first, but I really like it--it has a nice clearcoat finish and I have to say, it looks cool! The grip is perfect (not crazy about the skinny-handled kettlebells--this is a 'fatter' handle). Also, the fact that it's steel and not iron makes it smooth. I did not need any chalk for this kettle. It moved well in my hand throughout the whole range of motion. It's 8 lbs when empty and I had a 10-lb bag of steel shot to fill it with. Herein lies the only possible issue I have with this. The company doesn't give you anything to transfer the shot into the kettle with and that was a little tricky--my funnel kept clogging up but I got it. Oh, I had never seen steel shot before and I will tell you that it travels fast and far when spilled! Also, I think changing the weight will be tricky--I mean, if I add more shot, or take some out, how exactly do I know where I'm at weight-wise. I mean, the weight I use to clean and press is much different than the weight I use for swings; and yes I realize I could keep a scale handy, but especially if I'm training someone, I typically don't have time to waste on that issue. I'm going to contact the Company today and ask them if they have some tips about that. Maybe I'm missing something really easy here, but we'll see what they have to say.

My bottom line so far is that I'm keeping it and will use it. Once I figure out the weight issue, this is definitely a more cost-efficient purchase than buying individual kettlebells are. Add to that that I really like the size and feel of it, so I think it's a thumbs up in my book. If you're interested in checking it out, Art of Strength is who I purchased it through.

And remember, this is just my two cents..everyone has their own lifting preferences and likes and dislikes. This was a product that intrigued me and I just had to check it out. I'm happy I did! If there's anyone else out there who has tried this, I'm curious to hear what you think as well.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Why Do I Run???

It all started back in my teens. That was my first foray into the world of exercise. I think I just decided to give it a try one day and I discovered I was good at it. I'm not a sprinter, but I'm a good distance runner, and I run at a good pace. It turned into something that I always kept coming back to. I went with all the workout trends as they came and went, but running was always there, somewhere, in the mix of things. Back then I did it purely for exercise and burning calories to rid my body of the fat I thought I had back then. These days I run for (i) the challenge it creates for me, and (ii) the mental clarity it gives me.

I'll start with the challenge part first. Back in the winter of '01, I took my kids on clear, sunny, but snowy day out with a friend and her kids for a day of sledding. Well, the four kids were laughing and having a great time and my friend and I decided we wanted in on some of that as well. Well, trying to be like my daughter I stood on the sled and went down the hill like that (snowboarding was just becoming 'the' thing back then) and I did great. It was second run that took me out-I picked up too much speed and put my foot out to slow myself down and bam! My foot planted in the snow, but the rest of me kept going. Cut to the chase--I have an ankle held together by plates on each side, multiple screws and I believe 3 or so pins. Therein lies my running challenge--my orthopedic surgeon told me I would never run again. I'm stubborn, so prove him wrong I did and still do--as often my crazy life permits too!

Re the mental clarity, well it does just that. It clears my head of everthing that clogs it up. I tend to take a lot of things to heart. I agonize over things beyond my control, I take on more than I can and should, and I tend to let things that shouldn't get to me, get to me. When I go out for a run, I can put a lot of things into perspective. I'm by myself, it's my time and I can run the wudda/cudda/shudda's and why/why nots of everything through my head. Most of the time when I finish I feel much better about situations that really troubled me or had me down when I started. I don't know why this is, but it works for me. A lot of people ridicule the 'runner's high' that people claim to get. I, for one, totally get it. The feeling you get following a great run is a stimulant for your body.

I could go on and on about this, but I'm curious to hear other people's point of view on this. Why do you run? What does it do for you?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Quick Note...

Don't want to leave you hanging re the new Kettlebell..it came a couple days ago and I had every intention of trying it out this weekend, but...they sent the wrong bolt to seal it after filling it with the steel shot! Arggggh! I contacted the company, Art of Strength, and they said they would expedite shipment of a new bolt (plus they are tossing in some extra goodies to make up for their bad). While I was not very happy about all that, they seemed extremely apologetic and definitely made every effort to make up for the mix up. I did, however, try playing with the bell a little bit and I will say that it is very comfortable to use, has a great grip (this one is made of steel whereas the others I've used were iron), and it was as comfortable to use with one hand as well as two. I'll finish my review of this once the new bolt arrives and I've actually filled it with the shot and used it for a full workout, but so far, so good; and the Company's Customer Service has been right on. That in itself is a plus in my book when you are ordering items like this online.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Now or Never...

Okay, Summer's winding down, the kids are back in school and you're asking yourself what happened, where did it go? What did you accomplish these last couple months? Were you bathing suit ready like you planned on being, did you hit the Farmer's Market and buy fresh fruits and veggies like you planned on doing, did you keep up with the healthy goals you planned for yourself??? I hope most of you did..I for one fell off the diet wagon a bit, but climbed back on and got my act together. I did manage to get ALL my workouts in and most of the cardio I had wanted to do. It's definitely rough when the kids are home and need to be shuffled here and there and whatnot... BUT, you can't ever forget to keep yourself and your goals and plans in those equations. I hope you didn't put off or skip a workout because you were too busy. Guess what, we are all busy. It's about prioritizing, scheduling, compromising, etc...but you cannot forget about yourself. If you do, you're starting to make excuses, and that will not take you to where you ultimately want to be. Please don't ever forget, if you don't think about yourself and take care of yourself, nobody else will do it for you. You need to schedule your time for yourself as if you were scheduling a pick up or drop off for one of your kids--you would never miss that, would you?! There is nothing that makes me sadder than to see everyone work so hard in the gym and eat so well out of the gym to let themself lose it. Your success and failure is my success and failure as well. It's hard for me to see people sabotage themselves. You work so hard, you've conquered a new weight on that squat you hate so much, you've kicked out two more reps on those lunges that make the sweat pour off you in buckets..don't let yourself lose that! The time is NOW--no more excuses. Let's get back to the plan..you're almost there. I speak from experience--I've been there, done that. As my old trainer told me and I now tell you, "If this sh!t was easy, everyone would be doing it". Hold yourself above the rest and get your head back in the game. No time like the present...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

My New Toy

I'm so excited--I just ordered the Bulldog! Hah, I know most of you are probably like "what is she talking about" or "she thinks that's a toy" ... well to all of you, "yup, I do and I'm excited as all heck about it". See, new exercise equipment is like a birthday present to me. All I can think about is what can I do with this, and how can I make it work for me..and then by default, which of my clients is going to be the first victim, er, I mean lucky one, to try it out. Maybe you think I'm crazy, but this sh!t I/we do really works and that's why I'm so passionate about it.

Kettlebells
are not the cheapest of equipment (although they are worth every penny), but that's the beauty of this little Bulldog, its versatility. With this baby, you buy just one and then supplement it with more weight (or steel shot in this instance) to fill it. This is actually much less expensive than buying separate kettlebells for the different work you do with them, and you can purchase more steel shot at sporting goods stores. And yes, buying the extra weight does cost money (what doesn't?!), but it's still much cheaper than buying separate bells. So all this being said, the order is in, and I'm planning to bring it to the gym as soon as I'm comfortable working with it. Please check out this little gem ... I think it's a great investment in your body and your long-term workout regimen.

I'll repost about this particular item in a week or two after I've had a chance to actually use it, but I have no doubt I'm going to love it!

P.S. -- I ordered a 'bundle' that consisted of the bell, some shot and a rope (???, huh, you ask??). Have you ever used one of those big thick ropes in your workouts? Well I have--mostly for pullups, and lemme tell you, they kick your butt. Well the exercises for this rope will also shake up your workout like you've never seen before. But more on that later..I'll just let you speculate on that one for a bit... Thanks for checking in and we'll talk soon! Lata...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Treat Street

Ha-ha, not really, but I caught your eye! Okay, I’m going to share a clean snack/treat I eat all the time—something that has saved me numerous times from hitting up the cookies or ice cream. Protein Pancakes, and yes you heard (err saw) correctly. The recipe for these was posted in Oxygen Magazine back in the February or March issue of this year. These little morsels can be eaten plain, heated and topped with a little natural peanut butter (so, so good this way), or maybe topped with fresh berries..there are many possibilities, and the more you make them, the more you can experiment. I love sweets—I’m the type that the minute I finish dinner I need something sweet to eat. Depending on how you make these, the texture can be sort of ‘cake’ like so you can really fool yourself with what you are eating. You can also use any flavor of protein you like to create what you’re most craving. You can mix/match your flavors as well—choc/banana makes a great one, I also add some Crystal Light Fruit Punch to vanilla powder and it kind of tastes like that Strawberry Angel Food Cake you see in the store. You can use sugar-free extracts as well and now your possibilities are even more endless. This recipe is a ‘single’ serving..but that being said, I never eat the whole batch in a day. I will eat two and that’s a snack for me. Keep them in the fridge and they last. So when the craving hits you and you’re jones’in for something, try one or two of these and see if that doesn’t help curb your craving. Here goes:

1 whole egg
3 egg whites
1 serving of your favorite protein powder
½ cup quick oats
1 tsp baking powder
dash of Splenda or Stevia (optional)

Mix all ingredient together (if too thick add a little water); cook as you would a pancake.*
Calories: 395; Total Fat 10g; Carbs 32g; Fiber 4g; Protein 46g

*NOTE: Do not overcook these—they will get very dry and hard to swallow. You’ll know what I mean as soon as you do it.

Give these a try—you have nothing to lose except the fat/calories that that cookie would have given you.

Friday, August 15, 2008

My Favorite Things


Okay, so in my novice blogger status, I'm having continuing 'technical' difficulties with some things I wanted to show you re Valerie Waters' chat the other night. But alas, I cannot stop my brain so I'm going forward with the fondest of hopes that I will get that out to you. I wanted to talk about one of my most favorite things to use in the gym.

Kettlebells
! I've actually been using them since I started working out, but mostly I was using them as just a variance in how I was holding a weight, or if I needed an in-between size weight, etc.. well recently I started to use them doing exercises that were made just for them. I came across Anthony DiLuglio, of Punch Gym on east coast, and what this guy does with these things is pretty cool. I started reading his stuff and watching his exercise dvds and here I am today. I would love to make it to one of his seminars at some point and see him in action in person. Let me just say that I think these things rock, and I love'em!

Kettlebells
, in my opinion (for what that's worth!), give you a full, complete workout. You get your weight training and cardio (at least I do :-))all in one. Each move gets the heart pounding and the muscles fired up. Right now with my current routine, I'm doing a lot of swings, clean & press' and turkish getups with them. I'm really trying to do snatches, but my shoulder is thus far saying, please stop, I'm not liking this move at all! So I'm listening to it and will try something else. I also use them for bent over rows, plie squats and deadlifts, to name a few. The possibilities are pretty much endless with these little (or not so little) gems. You can make a whole workout out of them, or just incorporate a move or two into your current routine. Either way, they're a win-win for whatever work you are doing.

So, if you're not using them, or if you've never tried using them, give them a shot. It'll definitely add a new kick to your workout and open up a lot of new doors for you.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Brain Overload

Okay, last night I joined in on a Valerie Waters chat...she answered a question of mine live (cool!), and I feel like it was time that was well-spent because I definitely gained some new insight on certain issues. My mind is racing with things to tell you, but time and lack of experience in this blogger's world is getting the best of me. Get back here soon, because I have some great tips to share with you from last night--the things we all need to continue to "Fit In"...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Four Minutes


And no, I'm not talking about the Madonna/Justin Timberlake number...I'm talking about when that's all the time you have to exercise! I've been doing some reading on Tabata workouts and finally tried it. All I can say is Wow! That is a helluva workout. It's a fat-burning beauty and a fitness-lover's dream.

Tabata was developed by Japanese researcher Izumi Tabata and it's methods are pretty simple (in theory that is). You take one exercise, for 20 seconds do as many reps as possible, rest for 10 seconds, and then repeat that circuit 7 more times. That's all there is to it. Sounds simple, right? Well it was pretty easy, until I reached about set 4 that is. All of a sudden 20 seconds felt like 20 minutes and that 10- second rest period felt like the blink of an eye. Don't plan on doing any Tabata work at your regular weights--unh uh, not gonna happen!

While you can pretty much Tabata with any exercise, it seems the most popular exercises for this is to do either front squats or 'thrusters' (a body squat while holding dumb bells to your chest and then thrusting the db's up over your head when coming up from the squat). I did thrusters and also did the jump rope. For the thrusters I did reps of 10,10,9,8 (I think I started with db's that were lighter than they should be, but that was okay for the first time); for the jumps I did 40 jumps per 20-sec interval. I attempted this little feat while waiting for my first client of the night--big mistake there. She walked in and I was literally dripping with sweat. All that for two 4-minute exercises.

I think I'm going to try Tabata twice a week to mix in with my lifting. Good change of pace for me. Take note though: Tabata is a more advanced type of interval work and is not for everyone. ALWAYS check with the good doc before starting anything new--particularly something as demanding as this. Now this was just a brief synopsis of what Tabata is--if you are new to working out or have health issues, this won't help you cut corners, chances are it'll have you laying face first on the floor; but if your game is on and you're looking for a new challenge, give it try. Just remember, tell someone where you're going when you do these--that way when you're late, they'll know where to find you. Enjoy!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Olympic Fever


I think I've caught it..while waiting for child no. 1 to come home last night I turned on the Olympics. I watched what had to be two history-making races in Women's and Men's Swimming. First I saw Christine Magnuson come from behind and almost steal the Gold--she was fabulous. And, add to that, Christine is from the suburban Chicago town I currently reside in--how about that! Nobody had even heard of this future superstar pretty much until the trials... Then I catch the 4x100 men's relay and see them upset France after France had been trash-talking the Americans! Way to rock it guys..was an awesome sight. The other person I'm watching is Dara Torres.."WOW" is all I can say about her. (That photo is from an article in Women's Health, taken by Jim Wright.) Here is a quote from her from an interview during the games:

"There are a lot of middle-aged men and women who I know that tell me that I'm an inspiration to them and they're now doing things they thought they couldn't do," she said. "I'm hoping that my age paves the way for other athletes who maybe think they're too old to do something."

How about it?! Watching the younger athletes you almost expect great things, but to watch someone like Dara, who looks phenomenal, just kinda makes you realize that yes, you can do this if you really want to. It's not always easy, but if you really want to do it, you can. Getting back in shape is a very 'doable' thing. You just have to start out in the right mind-set. Don't walk into any club, meet with any trainer or even buy a workout DVD until you are ready to work for it! This is a huge mind game and if you don't go into it wanting to win the game, chances are it'll get the better of you.

So, make sure to stop back..I'll share with you some of my favorite exercises and the equipment that I love using. That's the stuff that keeps it fun and interesting. That's what keeps you coming back for more and not stopping until you reach your goal! Lata...

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Time is Sliding Away..

Been a busy coupla days. Have been trying to master this blog thing and still get my clients' programming done and give them great workouts. Also still managed to get my own workouts done as well. I've been doing a lot of circuit workouts for my own stuff, and started the clients on it too. They are really digging it. Makes them feel like they're working harder and they are getting in/out faster too. Actually, it's making all of us happier..LOL! A while back I bought Red Carpet Ready (celebrity trainer Valerie Waters' creation), and for the longest time it sat unread...Well I finally checked it out and incorporated some of those exercises into my workout and they were a great mix..and I felt them! I started the peeps on them too and they love them! They were so surprised--they looked at them and were like, so this isn't any harder than anything you've had me/us doing, what's this going to do for me..well here's a quote from one of them two days after her first time with just one of these new moves: "JC Linda, I couldn't walk or sit on the toilet without being in pain--what did you do to me!?" I laughed and told her it was that 'simple little exercise' she was laughing at. Check'em out and see for yourself.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Welcome!

Well, I said I was going to do it and I finally did! This is a whole new world for me, but I'm pretty passionate about what I do so I hope you'll find some of it useful. Here's how my story came about...I'm a 40-something married mom of two great kids. I found myself approaching the big 4-0 with depression, disgust and the demise of my so-called youth. See, in my head I had been about 32 for so long I couldn't believe the calendar year was actually saying what it was saying. Plus, I was overweight and felt ugly as all hell (I couldn't even look in a mirror without feeling revulsion at myself). I had an ephiphany(sp??) one day and that was the start of it all. I decided to get in shape and nothing was going to stop me. I laid down my plan to the family and there was no turning back. I got a trainer, finally discovered why the years of exercise that I had been doing was not working, and I learned how to eat right. I lost pounds and inches and finally started to feel good about myself again. My trainer was my Guru and I followed everything he said to the letter...I read everything I could get my hands on and learned the why's and wherefore's of everything I was doing. I just couldn't believe it was working. When it was all said and done I thought 'hey, if I could do this, anyone could', so I decided to start training myself and try and help and all the other 'forever 32's' out there! These days I'm training in suburban Chicago and I work with a great group of gals (and a couple guys too!). I've had great success with all of them and they inspire me every single day. I'm hoping others will catch on that this stuff we do really works..this is just the start. Keep following and I'll share what we do and why it works. Don't think you can't do it..stick with me and you'll be there in no time.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned...