Oftentimes, I am asked which type of applications and electronic devices I am using at present.
The bad news is that I am somewhat electronically- and device-challenged, meaning that I only use these devices when I really must. And when I use them, I bet I do it at 10% of their potential, having not discovered all the cool stuff they can offer to me! The array and the vastness of possibilities simply scare me. Oh, well, it must be personal, because then, our 12-year-old daughter comes and claims it is all SOOO EASY to navigate!
My point of view (and the lame excuse not to go too wired) is that instead of watching TV, I better go out and exercise. Instead of letting my computer know what I ate and see if it is happy with my daily consumption, I just eat healthy. To the best of my knowledge.
After all, we should have an upper paw over the devices! You’d not believe how many times I get into the discussion that this or that person is REALLY going to start their walking program, but only upon the reception of their newest pedometer/watch/tracking device. Which is either not ordered by that person yet, or on the backorder, or on its way, but the UPS delivered the product to Kansas, nor Arizona. So, tough luck, no walking for now, until the infamous pedometer arrives to let us know how much we walk. Only then, we REALLY will beat all the records and we will REALLY go for it!
In terms of the applications, as far as I am aware, there are quite lots of choices to track both your exercise habits and the nutrition. You might check the HealthyOut application, or the Fooducate one. Also, visit EatRight.org or WHfoods.org. Fitness can be relatively easily tracked with the help of, for example, MyFitnessPal.
I’d just suggest, don’t postpone starting your good eating or exercise habits until you become an expert at tracking it all by your devices. The app should be of help to you and you should not feel obliged to “report” to it. I have seen cases where a person let it go for a day or two and intentionally did not record the data from these two days, so it does not “look” bad on the app. Who are we kidding here? Or, the person would eat poorly “because” they did not have access to their app, so they felt it was OK to indulge…
Personally, I do not use any applications. I do use, however, two heart monitor watches, one by Garmin (920XT) and one by Polar (V800). I use them to maintain a reasonable load of training, not to overtrain, and mainly to monitor my heart rates and distances while I train. But if I forget to charge them or forget to wear them, I still train without them, to the best of my capabilities. In such a situation, I simply go by the ‘feeling”. I just refuse to become too dependent on these devices.
A few months ago, I read somewhere that at the elite level of running, some athletes would, actually, not use the watch from time to time. It teaches them to tune in with their bodies at a different level and to experience how one mile of run at this or that approximate pace “feels”. I found it to be quite an interesting, fresh and valuable thing to do in today’s world, which is excessively computer-obsessed.
Why is it so important to me that my daughter likes to exercise? And, by "exercising", I mean both activities, structured around the gyms, studios, and soccer and other fields, and the games and other active pursuits, which she likes while not even realizing that she is working out (such as trampoline jumping or running with the dog).
Well, the gains of moving around and living the fit lifestyle early on are exponential. The active lifestyle becomes her habit. It becomes something she is used to do daily. She does not even realize how much energy and willingness some of us, adults, have to put into convincing ourselves to exercise. Daily commute to school by bike makes her a natural to use the same means of transportation when I ask her to run to the store and get some milk. In the future, she might be less dependent on her car to go to work or to the shop.
If Mom and Dad virtually run while running errands, our daughter might copy this behavior and do the same. We are known for occasionally running about 20 miles round-trip from our home to the Walgreens. Not to mention oftentimes running to the post office, my Studio, or the grocery store. She knows about it and is proud that we are able and willing to do it.
She knows that being fit means we are healthy, strong, outgoing, and that we eat really well. Making sure to know how important it is to sufficiently nurture our bodies might make her not buy into any so-called "diets", which unnecessarily deprive us of this or that nutrient. Being fit already makes her oscillate around the like-minded healthy young people. Socializing with them is her training for the future PR, wherever it will happen: on the tennis course or during that local mud race.
Fit friends know the work they put into their respective practices, respecting each other that much more. They are aware that staying fit is, to the extent, hard work, and then, lots of fun, as well.
Being routinely active contributes to her great health now and fares really well in this field for the future. The emotional aspect is important, as well. Our daughter's self-esteem soars after a great Swim team practice. And she feels really proud of the Nutcracker performances she delivers yearly. As a benefit of the substantial daily dose of exercise, all the "good" hormones stay at high levels in her body, making her feel able, capable and happy.
Let's make sure to set a great fitness example for our little ones. They would benefit from it both immediately and later on in their life.
I always start my day with a moment of reflection: how blessed I am to wake up, be healthy, and feel strong and energetic. How great it feels to be me, to be where I am and to be at the point in my life I enjoy right now. I am 45 and I feel so blessed and happy about my life now!
I do not take things for granted and, I guess, this is why I am able to appreciate the present moment so much. I was not an example of health and fitness while a kid. Nowadays, I am much healthier than in the past and I enjoy all the energy I did not have back then. I have known many people, including my family members, being sick, disabled, suffering, and even anxious about the day-to-day survival and making meet the financial ends. All the situational stress creating a huge burden, landing directly on their shoulders. And imagine experiencing all these daily worries if you are not in great health (as the direct result of the circumstances endured)! They went through a lot: wars, both domestic and international, martial state, Iron Curtain woes, and so on. All this left a huge impact on their health and well-being, oftentimes shortening their lives and robbing them of the retirement years.
The first 18 years of my life, until I left Poland, I was behind the Iron Curtain, as well. Back in Poland, where healthy food was not available or granted, you had to queue for bread as of 4 AM. Well before the time the stores were open. So we did not miss our chance to get some basic food. If the bread got delivered to the particular shop where you were queuing, and if they had enough of it so that by the time it was your turn, there was still a loaf on the shelf, you could exchange a governmental coupon and some monies for it. If not, tough luck. Sugar, meat, chocolate, and coffee, even cigarettes: you could get them sometimes, and in exchange for the specific coupons, which all Poles used to receive monthly. So, we ate haphazardly what was available and when it was available. Environment was highly polluted and people were resigned and depressed. I suffered from heavy asthma and constant spells of bronchitis or pneumonia and wore the shoes of my mother. The shoes were three sizes too large, with cotton balls between my toes and their tip to fill the empty space. I hated not having my own shoes which we could not afford, as my foot was ever-growing. We never knew what the so-called ‘tomorrow” would bring. Many families suffered from repressions and persecution of the state. People felt powerless and had no control over their own fates. By the way, the institution of fitness gyms and spas was non-existent –I saw a real gym for the first time when I left the country. Not the best recipe for great health, good mood, fitness and bright future.
So, I guess, it is very easy for me now to be happy and appreciate it all! I just hope that all of us feel, at least to some extent, how privileged we are to live in this great, free country, have a choice of eating healthy, exercising for health and well-being, taking care of ourselves, spending our time on some work, some fun and some travel! Please reflect for a moment how blessed we are. It will only make you feel good. And, perhaps, say a “thank you” each and every morning, for just… being who you are and where you are, and for having all these choices around us!
“Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.’ - Unknown
I am extremely thrilled to announce my latest accomplishment, from which all of us will surely benefit:
I just renovated a great, warm, inviting, vibrant and much bigger space for my Boutique Be Fit Fit Studio and you are VERY welcome to train with me in there as of today! The new Be Fit Fit Studio is located at 31, Bell Rock Plaza, Suite C (upstairs) which is a block away from its previous location.
Contact me for a tour, to train, or to benefit from the Certified Lifestyle Wellness Coaching sessions I offer - I am in there exclusively by appointment.
Now, once we've got the best Personal Training and Wellness Coaching Studio in town (or, shall I rather say, in the whole great State of Arizona?), there is really no excuse to waste your time and not train. Come in for a nearly impossible abs workout, stretching, balance or weight lifting session or any other fitness endeavor we might sign you for! Come to talk about your wellness or fitness-related goals!
I accept congratulations, flowers, gifts and signs of general admiration at all times!
Your health, your choice! :-) Stay Fit-Fit!
I am often asked about some recipes we use at our home. Below is one of the salmon dinner recipes my husband uses for both of us (all ingredients wild/organic. IF the product claims to be “NATURAL”, it does not mean anything, as this expression is not quantified or qualified by the FDA…):
Place wild (this is the name for the most “organic” salmons we can get) salmon fillets in a pan with a bit of water, fresh or frozen vegetable mix, season with your favorite seasonings, perhaps pepper and lemon juice or a half of crushed low-sodium Knorr broth cube or curry power if you like it and simmer until done. Or, alternatively, put it on a griddle/grill sprinkling with pepper and lemon juice, finely chopped cilantro on top of it works very well too. Do not overcook. You might need to sprinkle both recipes additionally with some salt. We do not add salt it for me, but the above version is really mild in taste and my husband, actually, adds some salt to his part (he is still the sane one in this family!!!). You can serve it with quinoa, burglar, and a fresh salad with minimal olive oil and vinegar, or lime or lemon again. Enjoy!
The breakfast is called the most important meal of the day for a reason. What you eat and how much you eat in the early hours sets the tone for the rest of the day. And yes, you should, indeed, eat a breakfast like a king.
First things first: never skip a breakfast. You do not want to “diet” or starve through the day, you want to nurture your body, virtually build the “bricks” which create your body and make it stronger. Which means, you have to fuel your body’s cells appropriately for all the hard work they are doing!
Moreover, if you skip a breakfast, or eat not enough at this time of the day, you will “crash’ later on. Most likely, by reaching for a doughnut during that 3PM meeting at work or/and inhaling a bag of chips in front of the tube in the evening.
When you eat a healthy and voluminous breakfast, your body will not ‘think” it is starving at any point of the day. Therefore, it will not hold on to every and each calorie you get through the day, which results in even more of a fatty tissue stored and even a slower metabolism. In other words, the body will not “think” that the end of the world and some major starvation is near. It will metabolize nutrients you eat at its own pace, much quicker than if the starvation is “imminent”. This will result in you burning more calories through the metabolic process alone, even while watching the TV!
So, what should you eat for a good breakfast? Well, the rules are the same as for the rest of the day: eat “clean”. No processed foods, no white breads/muffins, no sugars. With the exception, put a particular attention to eating lots and lots of proteins (to feel satiated through the day and to build the lean muscle mass) and lots of healthy and fibrous carbs, either from veggies or fruits. Eat low-fat, but perhaps steer away from any “0% fat” fares: these are, typically, overloaded with sugar (just to compensate for the lack of taste which a “no-fat” fare would normally suffer from). 1% or 2% Greek yoghurt is the best (Greek because it has more proteins than any other type of yoghurt, which is due to the way the companies produce it). Sprinkle it with some healthy fats (nuts, seeds: but they have to be plain, not roasted, not salted). Add berries, grapes, slices of kiwi or orange on top. If you feel OK about it, add some half scoop of protein powder. And voila, you have a great breakfast!
Another option: Eggs are great, again because they have so much proteins. They are a natural, non-processed source of good stuff for us. So, hard-boiled, sunny side up, scrambled (use milk or unsweetened apple sauce instead of oil), 1-minute eggs… All are great choices. If you scramble them, add kale, spinach, bell peppers… The more colors you get on the plate, the better! Just make sure not to have any bacon or ham – they are full of chemicals and fats, even if the label says “natural”.
Otherwise, you might want to have some steel-cut oats (the digestive system works harder to digest the steel-cuts, if you compare with how easy it is for it to digest the round oats). Forget commercial oats, go to the bulk section and start from there. Also, cottage cheese, anyone? It is another great source of proteins and calcium. You can also add your protein powder into it, if you wish, it mixes well.
Have fun, stay Fit-Fit and full in a clean way and keep me posted how you are doing!
We all want to improve our speed and strength – plyometric exercises can be very handy here! Do not start any of these without making sure your GP is OK with it and without a few months of strength and aerobic training. Plyometrics tend to become intensive very quickly and, due to their explosive nature, it is easy to get injured.
Always make sure to warm up properly before doing any plyometric exercises. Never warm up with static stretches, where you hold the stretched position for a while. Warm up with either a jog or 10 min. on the rowing machine, or dynamic stretches (such as marathoner’s legs, single knee tucks to the chest, butt kicks, and so on). Typically, plyo exercises do not take you long time anyway, because they are so tiring, so you might invest all that time into a solid warm-up. You might do them once or maximally twice a week or intercept your weight training session with some of them: do them between weight lifting sets instead of resting, you’ll get even fitter – fast! Progress from low to high intensity and do not use any weight or wrist ankles for this type of movement. Beginners should aim at about 80-100 ground contacts during a typical session, while the intermediate exercisers will aim at 100-120 and advanced – 120 to 140.
Plyometrics will get you out of breath very quickly and also, they will make you feel that muscle burn super quick. This is the kind of discomfort you want to achieve, but if anything aches in a sharp way, stop, as this will lead to an injury.
Plyometrics are great for the prevention of bone loss as we age – each impact movement makes our bones that much stronger! Also, they quickly contribute to increased power, speed and strength, as well as coordination. Perform them quickly. The simplest example of a plyo movement is rope jumping. You might also try squat jumps, vertical jumps, lateral jumps, burpees, jumps over a box or cone, depth jumps, or front or side jumps onto a plyometric box (or a step). If it is too challenging to start from jumps onto a box, then work on jumping from the box down! Land on soft knees: The lower you squat following the landing, the better the workout (you will feel it in your quadriceps and gluteal muscles, I promise!). Also, try ‘froggy jumps”, i.e. squat in place and, from that immobile position, jump as far in front of you as you possibly can! Repeat 20 times! Jogging and running is also a form of plyometric exercise: you have to move your legs relatively fast, and each step is, actually, a one-leg jump! For the upper body, you may want to try the following plyo challenges, using a sand bell or a medicine ball: squat throws, overhead throws, side throws, throws to the back over your head, slams of the ball onto the ground with a simultaneous deep squat, one -arm overhead throws, or even plyo push-ups (hands over the ground [tougher] or over a box [easier]. Once you master these, place your feet on a plyo box and perform plyo push-ups with your hands over the ground – this is a real challenge!
Aim at completing 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps of every exercise you choose to do and in between the sets, rest plenty (or do your weight training).
It all starts around the Thanksgiving time and, well, does not end until a few days after the New Year. Season parties, sometimes two a night, all the frenzy of gift-buying, sending the cards – be it by the snail mail or in their electronic version – while trying to manage our usual daily lives and duties… Our days have not enough of hours, our nutrition slacks and the first thing to “go” and not happen is your daily visit to the gym or your daily walk.
A recipe for physical and mental disaster.
Did you know that the stress hormones, which peak when we stress and also, as a result of sleepless nights, can contribute to the expanding waistlines? They have this sneaky way of working in a way that, in January, as a result, we wake up and notice this additional muffin top which was not there in November! Apart from the weight issue, stress contributes to heart disease, strokes, high blood pressure, back pains, migraines, headaches, cancer, diabetes and, generally, weakens our immune systems big time.
Time to get an upper hand over this mess!
First things first: Make sure you get 7-8 hours of the shut eye every single night. Don’t drink coffee in the afternoon hours and try not to drink alcohol, as well – typically, when we drink, we feel relaxed and might fall asleep, but after that first cycle of sleep, lasting about 90 minutes, we will wake up and lie and toss from right to left, not being able to fall asleep again. This is a case of a secondary insomnia, triggered by our body’s response to metabolizing the alcohol and its by-products. You might try some relaxation techniques before going to bed, or have a few drops of lavender essential oil diffused in your bedroom. Make sure the bedroom is quiet, quite cold (this promotes good sleep) and do not watch TV or use electronics for about one hour before your bed time: the light of the screen might cause you having trouble relaxing and fall asleep. Try meditation instead. Some 15 minutes just before your bed time should do the trick.
Second: Nurture yourself. I know, easy said, while in reality, you have to run from one party to another and simply cannot walk in there and… refuse to eat! Make sure you eat really well while things are in your hands, i.e. at your home or at work. Prepare lunch box for the office to minimize the damage. Before any party, drink two glasses of water or, even better, have a glass and a small healthy snack. This way, you won’t be ravenous once arriving at the party. If it is not a buffet, but a seated affair, eat little, comment how you really, but really love the dish and ask the Hostess to give you some more to bring home with you – somehow, you are not too hungry now. It will make the Hosts happy that you like the dish and you will relax as you won’t feel obliged to eat all that turkey.
Third: Prioritize, be it in terms of which party you go to, where you shop for the gifts, and also, in terms of keeping that daily appointment with yourself to exercise. It is your time and you deserve it and your body will thank you for it by being healthy and fit for years to come! You even might want to mark your walk or gym time in the calendar, just like any other “obligation” or appointment of the day, and stick to it.
Fourth: Smile! And smile often! Approach things from the positive point of view. See the good things about any situation you are in and try to minimize the negatives. Just this should make you more relaxed!
Good luck and have a great Holiday Season!
So, you want to lose 10 pounds!
What to do? Well, notwithstanding the Holiday Season, there is plenty you can do to achieve your goal. You just need to allow yourself some time for implementing the first couple of changes and make sure you do not lose more than 1-2 pounds per week. Any faster than that, and your weight might be back sooner than later! If you “shed” fast, you do not build healthy life habits, you do not change your daily actions for a time long enough to imprint the new way of acting as your “usual” from now on.
To lose about one pound a week, you just need to create a 500 calorie deficit every single day of the week. You can do it in two ways: by exercising and/or making better food choices. The best approach is to combine both of them: making sure you burn some additional calories each day by simply walking, jogging, running, biking, swimming, playing out with the kids, and weight lifting at your local gym or with a trainer, and also eating “cleaner”, leaner and meaner foods. Sometimes, a little change such as abandoning your soda-drinking habit can result in a loss of many pounds over the year! Many Americans drink literally hundreds of calories, due to the “soda habit”. Drink water, sparkly water with lemon, or 1%-2% milk, but, please, give up that soda! Apart from all the calories it contains, it is also full of chemicals 9all these ingredients which are hard to pronounce). You might try to say, well, I will drink a zero calories soda from now on. I’d not do that, either; the sweeteners used in these are so sweet that they challenge and permanently change your taste! This is why today’s kids do not taste the sweetness of an orange, their taste buds are used to so incredibly sweet taste that nothing natural would do!
Also, you might want to try to eat that breakfast, after all. I know, many of you would say that you do not even ‘feel” like eating in the morning, or perhaps this is the meal which is the easiest to skip during the day – in the afternoon, temptations are too many! Well, if we do not front-load with food for the day (so to speak), we will crash and be hungry and attack that vending machine later on. Surely enough. We will also make worse food choices, because we will be hungry. If we happen to shop for food, we will load the cart with many unnecessary and fattening items, because we will be on the “hungry edge”. So, make sure you do eat breakfast every day and that you eat lots of proteins for your breakfast. They make us feel satiated for much longer than the carbs or fats, and they also tend to be good food choices, lean and healthy. Think along the lines of scrambled eggs with kale or spinach or Greek yoghurt or milk, maybe even with some protein powder in it. I personally eat about 5 times a day, sometimes 6. As a result, I am never hungry and I feel energetic and happy. I’d eat some healthy fare every 3 hours or so, just to make sure my metabolism keeps churning. Now, I am aware there are nutritionists who say we should, actually, eat three times a day, point. And then, there are those who promote the way I eat. You have to see what works for you, there is no simple, single answer for all of us. What makes you eat healthy and feeling energetic is the right answer for you.
Keep some notes regarding what (and how much) you eat. We all tend to underestimate the calories ingested, especially if they come in form of a drink. Somehow, the more fluid the food is, the more we think of it in terms of a low-caloric fare- while that margarita can and will set you back by 500 calories plus!
Then, there are little things that, if applied religiously, will add up and result in weight loss. For example, did you know that spicy foods tend to burn more calories? So, go ahead and have some jalapenos and pepper in your food, because hot peppers can burn an additional 20 calories while being digested.
And, in case you head for that party tonight, gulp one-two glasses of water before you open your door, this will make you feel fuller and more satiated and will reduce your chances at overeating. Some people also say that they succeed by simply having a healthy snack before they go out, so they don’t jump on the buffet table like a mad dog on a mission.
Just be consistent and never-ever give up! In no time, the pounds will start melting, no matter that it is the Season of eating and partying and indulging to the brim! Good luck!
So, we all sort of start feelin’ this pre-Holiday rush… Soon, it will be one party here, another there, two over the same weekend… And all this can easily result in pounds accumulating all over our bodies! We can do many things to stop them from creeping on our (Fit-Fit) physiques.
First, it is all in planning. Bring your own food to the parties! Prepare a clean, lean and mean food item, bring it in and eat it!
Second, at the buffets, make sure you scan all the food available, and only then hit the few (lucky) items you really, but really want/must/need to eat. Research says this’ the method to eat the least and the healthiest at any buffet! I also use this method while on the cruises: scanning the buffet for the best food available, then hitting these hot (and, usually and unfortunately, not busy) spots!
Third, DRINK! And I am talkin’ water here! Drink water before and during the party. Ask for sparky water with lemon instead of the booze. Or get one glass of wine and flush it with two glasses of water. Your waistline and your hangover will thank you for this.
Fourth, think STRATEGY in case you are visiting with an uncooperative member of your family or an ever-sitting-and-eating friend. Warn them in advance you will get out and walk/run/visit the local gym daily, even on the Holidays days, because you simply have this urge and you must. Basically, what it is, you become unbearably grumpy if you don’t, so it is indeed in their own interest to let you go… Just for a while, and you will be back, even happier and… healthier!
Fifth: Even for those of you stuck in the guest bedrooms or basement rooms of your relatives, who refuse to train: Think along the terms of the “body weight exercises”. You have your body, which normally weighs anywhere between 115 and 250 pounds, right? So, USE IT! Planks, squats, back, front, side lunges, push-ups, burpees, pull-ups on the un-expecting-anything doors of the bedroom you are stuck in – all this, you can do without the equipment! Also, position yourself under a solid table, any table, hands on its edge, face up, legs straight for the advanced and at 90 degrees for the beginners, and pull up towards that table! See if it is really solid!!! ;-) Then, if you travel to your relatives, you have to have some luggage with you, right? So, USE it! Do back rows and swings using it! Take a bottle full of water and do deltoid exercises, extending those hands in front of you for 12 times, then to the sides… Opportunities are endless…
Sixth: Over the whole year, pray a lot that the family/friends you are visiting with do own a dog (or at least a horse or a donkey). So, if you are lucky enough that they do own a dog, walk them. Tell them how much you love this particular animal and how much you desire to be a part of making them happy, daily! Walk them with purpose, try to challenge the creature so they are also out of breath, their waistlines might depend on you! ;-)
Seventh: Do not overindulge. If you do, just start calmly over the very next mornin’…
Happy and Fit-Fit Holiday Season to you! Keep me posted how you are doin’!