Thanksgiving to me is time spend with loved ones. Thanksgiving is always celebrated with family and then we add friends into the mix, too. My mom has spoiled us all by getting up early and filling the house with the aroma of food being prepped for the turkey and the stuffing. For several years, my sis, nieces and I have participated in the Y’s 5k Turkey Trot - it’s always a great morning spent in the brisk, fresh air mingling with friends and acquaintances from the community. Our table is always set with grandmother’s china and silverware - once the table is filled with all of Mom’s homemade goodness, it truly could be on the cover of a magazine. We all give personal thanks before Dad says the prayer. Then, let the conversation and the eating begin! We all help to clean up and then will spend the rest of the day looking at sales papers, playing games, watching a Christmas movie and just enjoying one another’s company. Of course, we will have seconds on the fabulous food later in the evening! This year, I’ve had friends whom have had to say “goodbye” to loved one so I’m very aware that time is precious that is spent with our loved ones. We never know what tomorrow holds, so it is so important to live in the moment and forget all the small stuff and focus on what is valuable and meaningful and what will last. I also was deathly ill almost the entire month of July and couldn’t eat. So, this year, I am so grateful for health and being able to enjoy food. With all that is going on in our world and now knowing what tomorrow holds, I am grateful for the freedom to travel and have food on the table with a roof over my head with heat, electricity, and running water. I am thankful that I have learned to look at what I have and not what I do not have and that I have learned how to be content. I learned that from my mother growing up - she always referred to Philippians 4:11-13. This is the Amplified Version:
11 Not that I speak from [any personal] need, for I have learned to be content [and self-sufficient through Christ, satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or uneasy] regardless of my circumstances. 12 I know how to get along and live humbly [in difficult times], and I also know how to enjoy abundance and live in prosperity. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret [of facing life], whether well-fed or going hungry, whether having an abundance or being in need. 13 I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.]
It is my hope that you will have moments of contentment this Thanksgiving season and that a heart of gratitude will overflow as you look at what you have and know that you have been blessed. I am grateful for each one of you!
Fitness Specialist, Health & Wellness Coach
Halloween is Saturday, and candy will be all around us! It's okay to indulge in some sweetness in moderation - just make sure you offset it with a great workout! Since pumpkins are everywhere and you probably have a few on your porch, grab one and use it in this workout!
Warm-up for 3-5 minutes by walking, using a jump rope, doing some jumping jacks - then pick up the pumpkin and get busy!!! Do the moves for 30 seconds and do the circuit three times!
Pumpkin Pushup: On your knees or toes, hands on the pumpkin, and go!
Goblet Squat: Hold the pumpkin at chest height, sink into your squat, stand and push the pumpkin overhead, repeat.
Side Lunge: Feet together while holding pumpkin at chest height, step left foot out to side and take pumpkin to the ground beside your left foot while lunging, return to center and repeat on right side.
Overhead Triceps Extension: Stand while holding pumpkin overhead, bend arms to take pumpkin between shoulder blades and then straighten arms.
Twisting Lunge: Hold pumpkin straight out in front of you, lunge left leg forward and rotate to left side, return to center, lunge right leg forard and rotate to right side, return to center, repeat.
Sit-Up: Lie on ground, with legs bent, and arms overhead holding pumpkin, sit-up and bring pumpkin to knees.
Sumo Squat: Toes and knees angled out, pumpkin on ground between feet, squat into sumo squat, pick up pumpkin and stand back up. Squat into sumo squat and place pumpkin back on ground, stand up. Repeat.
Sit-up to toes: On the ground, legs up in the air, arms overhead holding pumpkin, crunch while bringing pumpkin towards your toes.
Uneven Pushup: On knees or toes, one hand on the pumpkin, one hand on the ground, do a pushup, then switch hands.
V sit and twist: Sit on ground and lean back so abs engage. Back should be flat and diagonal from the ground, starting at the tailbone and continuing straight through the spine, long through the neck and up the crown of the head. Make it harder by lifting the feet up to tabletop. Lower pumpkin to right hip then lift overhead and lower to left hip for one rep. Repeat.
Upper Back Row: Hold pumpkin and hinge at hips with back flat and knees soft. Extend arms to reach pumpkin towards ground at knee level. Pull the pumpkin in towards your navel and bend elbows up towards ceiling. Lower back towards ground for one rep. Repeat.
Reach and Crunch: Lay on ground and extend arms (holding pumpkin) and legs long so they are a few inches off the ground. Pull the knees in and crunch the shoulders off the ground while reaching the weight towards feet. Return to starting position for one rep. Repeat.
Pumpkin Climbers: Hands on Pumpkin and do mountain climbers.
Have fun playing with the pumpkins!!!
Have you been working out and not seeing the results you want to see?
If you said, yes, then I have a few things for you to try.
The biggest issue for not seeing results is that we overestimate how hard we are working. We go to the gym and get on a treadmill or elliptical and get our 45 minutes in and then leave and go to our favorite coffee shop and get a latte and a muffin. Maybe YOU don't do that, but many people do that. They feel that since they worked out, they can afford to eat and drink that treat.
There's two problems. 1) If you're not getting your heart rate at 60-85% of your maximum heart rate, you're not getting a good calorie burn or working out at the intensity you should be. Also, when you put your age and weight into the little computer, at the end it gives you a number for calories burned. THESE ARE NOT ACCURATE NUMBERS!!!! So, you cannot go by the numbers the treadmill computer tells you. 2) There's at least 600 calories in that latte and muffin (probably more) and you did not burn that many calories in your average workout. Consequently, you are consuming more calories than you are burning; and you may even see weight gain.
An easy way to figure out if you are working out at an intensity high enough to get results is to use the Rating of Perceived Exertion chart (RPE).
0-1 No exertion. You're pretty much just sitting still.
2-3 Light exertion. This is how you should feel during a warm-up or cool down.
4-5 Medium exertion. You're breathing a little faster. Your heart is pumping a little faster. You're feeling a little warmer.
6-7 Moderate exertion. You're breathing pretty hard now, you're probably sweating. You can talk, but it's getting tougher.
8-9 Hard exertion. You're breathing really hard and you can only say a few words at a time. You're wondering how long you can go on like this.
10 Hardest exertion. You can not keep this pace for more than a minute. Speaking is impossible. This is your limit.
During your workouts, you should at least be at 6-7. Strive for 8-9 and once in a while hit the 10. There are various workouts can address these numbers (more on that at another time).
If you want to get more technical, I would suggest buying a heart rate monitor (Polar is a good brand for this) or a fitness tracking device that measures your heart rate. This way you know exactly where your heart rate is. You put in the information for you - your weight, age, gender, etc. so it's more accurate when it gives you the calorie burn when you are done with your workout.
So, if you're not seeing results, don't quit! You may just need to up the intensity and reduce the amount of food and drink you are consuming. Try it and see what happens!!!
This past weekend I was humbled and honored to be part of LTS Master Trainer Summit in Atlanta. It was three days of intense learning and intense workouts as Marc Lebert, Jenn Hall, and Sharon Mann led us in training to become master trainers for LeBoot, LeBarre, and LeHip. Their experience, qualficiations, and expertise was mind boggling....BUT not only were they such an inspiration, there were 39 other fitness professionals there whose talent was out of this world. As we interacted and shared things, I realized I was surrounded by some of the best in our industry. It could have been intimidating to me; however, I realized that the only way I can get better and become stronger at what I do is to surround myself with people like this. When you are surrounded by people who inspire you, challenge you and movitate you, your only choice is to become better at what you do. I definitely feel like I walked away a better instructor, a better personal trainer, a better entrepreneur, and just a better person than what I was prior to our summit. What about you? Do you want to become healthier? Do you want to become stronger? Do you want to become more fit? Do you want to be more positive? Do you want to be more successful???? You may want to check out the people that are closest to you and with whom you spend most of your time. Are they pushing you towards your goals? Or are they holding you back??? I'm not saying to get rid of all of your friends and stop hanging out with your family. I am saying that you need to evaluate how you spend your time and with whom you spend your time. Are you part of a community that supports your goals? Are you part of a team that is going to help you become stronger? I would suggest that you take some time and look at your goals and then evaluate whom you spend most of your time with. If you're the same person you were last year and you aren't any closer to your goals, than maybe it's time to make some changes. Remember, you get to make choices and you want to make those choices count. Choose wisely!
For those of us who live in the South/Southeast, we had a little more snow than usual this winter. So there were quite a few snow days where events were cancelled, businesses didn't open, and we were pretty much confined to our homes. Our first few days hit after the beginning of the year, and I'll admit I got a little antsy. Here I am a fitness professional and wanting to help people on their wellness journeys but we're having to cancel fitness classes because of the snow. AND, it's the beginning of the year when people are really wanting to commit to working out; momentum will decrease quickly especially when everyone is being stuck inside and just sitting and eating. So, those first few snow days, I did not embrace nor welcome the change to my daily scheudle. In fact, I was quite stressed. I dislike being confined to my house and not able to get out and about; furthermore, I don't enjoy just sitting and watching TV or movies. I want to be busy helping people and teaching my classes. I finally had the "aha" moment that being confined to my house was a welcome break in a crazy, hectic shedule and that I needed to learn to just go with the flow and enjoy the time that I was being given to get caught up on some things, read a little more, rest, catch up with some friends via the telephone, and just "BE". By the time our third snow came around and i knew we would be inside for at least a day again, I willingly embraced the day and looked forward to it because I knew that it might be another year before another day like that would come along. As a result of the snow days, I've decided that I need to allow some more rest days into my life because rest brings renewed passion and purpose and it refuels and revives us. May we all learn to just relax a little bit more!
While having lunch with a friend, she shared an interesting conversation that she and her sister had in regards to life and its cycles of ups and downs. All of us have times where we are feeling happy and on top of the world; and then we will have those down times where we feel sad, lonely, depressed, and like nothing is working out for us. Some people cyle through those good times and bad times more quickly than others. It's so wise to understand this and to know how your own cycle of emotions works. This way when we have a low time and are feeling sad or that things are falling apart, we can pause and check to see if it is part of the cycle of life and our emotions. I've heard it over and over again that one should never make decisions while feeling sad, depressed, angry, or alone because usually the decisions that we make during those times are not for our good and most of the times we will regret having made them. It may be beneficial to keep a journal or a calendar to chart the cycle of your emotions that way you have something to refer to when you're having one of those days where it seems as if nothing is working in your favor and that life is falling apart. Then you can remind yourself that those feelings will pass and all will be well again. What you say and do during those low times is very important. You can make it worse and sink lower and lower into negative feelings/emotions if you allow the negative thoughts and words to spiral out of control. Instead, recognize what it is and surround yourself with positive quotes, sayings, and affirmations because it will pass and happy days will be back again. Let's remember that life is full of ups and downs and our actions and choices are important in both seasons. Thanks, Angela W., for sharing the wisdom from you and your sister, Kristy. Pass it on!
Recently, I had the privilege of attending the MindBody FitPro Conference in LA; this conference is put on by Mad Dogg Athletics, and it was a great weekend of education, workouts, networking, and fun. I brought back a lot from the weekend and was "wowed" by the fabulous presenters. However, there was one man that impacted me the most and I think of him daily. I met him at the Friday night social hour and we hit it off immediately. His name is Hank and he had this way of working a room and connnecting with everyone. Hank is a Spin(R) instructor from Arizona and is 85 years old....yes, you read that correctly....85 years of age! He teaches daily Spin(R) classes and is a great resource for music - he loves the mixes from Europe but likes to put in some hip hop and top 40 hits. Talk about being current!?! Hank has lived all over the world and his stories were fascinating to listen to. He made a friend of everyone he met and we were all in awe of him. Conferences can be exhausting by the time you workout 5-7 hours but it didn't seem to bother him. He truly lives my philosophy that age is just a number and nothing to really consider when pursuing dreams, passions, relationships. He looked fabulous, had great energy, and a twinkle in his eyes. I doubt he has any idea that he was the most motivational, inspiring person there at the conference. He does not buy into the thinking that one has to become less active or less flexible because one is getting older. He is a living example that it's our choices that make us into the person we are - how fit do we want to be? How healthy do we want to be? What about you? Are you making excuses for how you look - how you feel? Do you say, "I'm not as flexibile as I used to be and that's because i'm no longer 18?" Do you ever say, "Someone my age can't do that." Maybe it's time to change your thinking -we are what we say we are and we are how we think and act. Stop the negative self talk and stop the excuses. A lot of times we make excuses because it's easier to make the excuse than to push ourselves out of our comfort zone and try something new. Decide today to refuse to let a number define you - define your fitness level - define your dreams. Forget the number...what would you do if you didn't know how old you were? How would you live? What would you try? Think about these questions - write down some answers - and then.....just go and do it, be it and live it!!!!
Recently, I received a booklet with coupons in it for our local Sonic. It was advertising food that is "Perfect for a study break....after school & evening snacks." One could purchase a 44 ounce drink or a mini blast or two corn dogs for 99 cents. There was also a coupon for $1 off the molten cake sundae. Well, being the curious person that I am I decided to go to their nutritional menu section on their website. (By the way, if you did not realize that most restaurants have this option available on their websites, it's something to take note of. Most of the time you can know exactly what you are eating and how many calories, fat grams, sodium content, etc that you are consuming.) If you decided to snack on the two corn dogs for 99 cents, you would eat 460 calories, 30 grams of fat, and 1,140 milligrams of sodium. Now, I'm grateful that Sonic offers the mini size of their Blasts and 99 cents is a really great deal - however, should you choose one of the five flavors that they have you are still consuming 510-530 calories and 27-29 grams of fat (based on the flavor). Most of their 44 ounce drinks would add 350-400 calories to your day....should you choose the green iced tea flavors, you will save a few calories but will still be consuming 260 calories. Heaven forbid you choose to "snack" on the molten cake sundae because this "snack" will have 800 calories and 34 grams of fat in it!!!! I'm horrified that Sonic would suggest these items as after-school snacks because all of these items are way above the recommended calorie amount for a snack. If one would choose to snack on one of these items every day in addition to his/her regular items, one would potentially put on ONE POUND of body fat just from "snacking" at the local Sonic. Parents and Guardians, please be smart! Yes, your students will benefit from an after-school snack but they do not need to be consuming 350-800 calories as a snack. The recommended calories for a snack is to keep it under 200 calories; obviously, one is going to look to veggies, yogurt, fruit instead of fast food, packaged food, liquid calories, or processed food. Apples or celery or bananas with peanut butter, hummus with raw veggies, smoothies, greek yogurt, string cheese, granola/yogurt/berry parfaits, fruit kabobs, veggie pizza on a pita, homemade trail mix. The options are limitless - making your own snacks will save you money and calories. Don't become part of the statistics - go against the norm. Be healthy - live a quality life - teach your children the importance of making good food/drink choices. Give them a snack that is going to help them be healthy, study better, and feel better!
Sugar is one of the main culprits in our fight to get Amercians healthy and fit. We have oversensationalized our sweet tooth and let it have way too much control in our daily lives. The more we get...the more we want....the more we eat; and it is an unending cycle of being way tooooooo sweet in the United States. When I go to my favorite smoothie place and order my favorite green drink, I have to remember to ask them to NOT put turbinado sugar in it NOR do I want Splenda. Excuse me, but the drink has pineapple and banana in it - isn't the fruit enough to sweeten it????? For me it is and I find it very disheartening that the average American requires the extra sweetener. We start the sweet cravings at a young age. I read a tweet from IDEAFIT that said: "Research shows that 46% of 2 and 3 year olds consume sugary drinks every day." Children's consumption of fruit juices, drinks and sodas should be limited. Our decisions to allow them to have these sugary drinks are increasing their risks for obesity and diabetes. Do you really realize how much sugar you are consuming??? Do you know how much you are supposed to have in your daily diet???? The American Heart Society has recommended that men consume NO MORE THAN 150 calories a day from added sugars....that's about 9 teaspoons. Women should consume NO MORE THAN 100 calories a day from added sugars...that's about 6 teaspoons. Our society is consuming much more than that!!! Men are consuming about 335 calories a day from added sugar; women, 239 calories. These statistics are sugars that are added to processed and prepared foods and but do not include sugar added at the table. Our children are consuming just as much - boys consume about 362 calories a day, and girls consume about 282 calories. (This info was from an article in USA Today on May 1, 2013). Knowledge is power, my friends; and it is at your fingertips. Don't ignore the information that is out there - we live in a technology driven society. Use those tools....the internet, your smart phone, the apps that have been created to help you. Be Smart. Train Smart. Eat Smart. Drink Smart. We need to stop being too sweet when it comes to our food and drinks!
June is fast approaching and that means we are halfway through the year. How are you doing with your new year's resolutions? Have you forgotten them? Do you feel like you have botched up and don't even want to try any more? Don't give up and don't quit. Take an hour or so and go to your favorite place and take another look at your goals. Are they attainable? Are they realistic? Are they specific? Are they measurable? Do you know how you can put them into action today? Sometimes we fail because we set unrealistic goals or we have a goal for a certain date and then there's no plan to continue moving forward after that date. Just recently I had a client realize that she needed to re-think her original reason for losing weight. She began making better choices and attending fitness classes because she wanted to be a "skinny mother-of-the-bride." Well, a stressful week and a wedding date that was moved up caused her to realize she may not reach her goal. I advised her to reevaluate and determine what other things would motivate her to be healthy, well and fit. You see, one is only "the mother-of-the-bride" for one day....if one only wants to be skinny for the wedding, then what does one do after that day is over? Most of the times, people will go back to old habits. Being healhy and well is more than a number on the scale or being skinny for a wedding, class reunion, or event. Those things can help motivate you but they shouldn't be your primary goal. So, take the time to see how you can tweak your goals for 2013 and begin today to make sure you finish the second half of the year strong! "Someday is NOT a day of the week."