Archive for January, 2013

We’ve got our Favorites, but show some Respect

As someone that works in an environment where I see nearly 1,000 members walk through our doors everyday, I am privy to a world like no other.  There are the early morning risers that get in, do their workout and leave.  The evening crowed tends to be a little more social and laid back.  Some are here twice a day.  I tend to notice which members attend classes on a regular basis and know which instructors they follow.  We all have our favorites, and rightfully so.  It might be because of the intensity of class.  Or maybe music selection.  Possibly it is because they love the instructor’s persona.

We are fortunate to offer such a wide variety of classes and instructors.  All of whom are extremely talented and gifted in their own way.  There are times when a substitute is needed.  Hopefully there will be plenty of notice when a situation like this happens.  But there are rare occasions when it becomes a last minute sub.  As I see people walking out of a class or complain about a substitute instructor I get upset, even angry.  I feel it is a complete sign of disrespect and question your intention for taking a particular class.

I am a strong believer this is a missed opportunity for you to learn something new.  Maybe there is a new exercise you have never done before.  There could be a specific movement that you’ve been struggling with and it was explained in a way that made sense to you.  A new music selection may have peaked an interest.

All instructors have something to offer.  Take advantage of this great opportunity to try something new.

be well-

 

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the YIN with the Yang

I started my yoga journey nearly eight years ago.  It was a great compliment to the weight lifting, running, swimming and cycling I was doing to prepare for my first full season of triathlons.  I came to yoga with extremely tight muscles.  And in time discovered my joints were just as limiting with my range of motion (ROM).  Soon after I stared practicing yoga, I knew I wanted to study it further.

After completing my 200 hour teacher training in 2008, I continue to attend workshops.  There is one that I repeatedly go back to review the materials because it had such an influence on myself and my teaching.  I had been introduced to Yin yoga.  A style of yoga that has characteristics that were nothing like I was living in my life.  Once I attended this weekend intensive, many things changed.

Not only did I learn a tremendous amount of information, I learned how to apply it in my life.  We have all seen the symbol above and heard the phrase the Yin with the Yang.  Once I took this workshop I developed an understanding of both.  The table below shows a few of the characteristics that distinguish one from the other:

Yin

Yang

Water

Fire

Coldness

Heat

Moistness

Dryness

Dark

Light

Stillness

Activity

Slowness

Rapidity

Heaviness

Lightness

In our world that is so crazed with stimulation, we all need to slow down and become still.  This has been the greatest thing I took away from the training.  Learning there is a need for both in order to live a balanced life.

be well-

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Oh, my achin’….

I must say that with all of the years I played both competitive and recreational sports and haved worked in the fitness industry, that I have never experienced low back pain or discomfort.  Until now.  While I was in the middle of a KB swing yesterday a young lady decided to walk directly in front of me.  Because all of her attention was on her phone and not where she was walking, I compromised my back by altering my swing instead of hitting her in the chin.  From that point on, I could feel something was wrong.

I’ve heard stories of people bending over the dishwasher and their back goes out.  Or it happens shoveling.  Maybe while sitting in a chair for too many hours.  Our backs are extremely vulnerable.  Any wrong motion with too much force or momentem can cause major disruption to our everyday life.

Here are a few tips from the NIH to help keep a healthy back-

  • Always stretch before exercise or other strenuous physical activity.
  • Don’t slouch when standing or sitting. When standing, keep your weight balanced on your feet. Your back supports weight most easily when curvature is reduced.
  • At home or work, make sure your work surface is at a comfortable height for you.
  • Sit in a chair with good lumbar support and proper position and height for the task. Keep your shoulders back. Switch sitting positions often and periodically walk around the office or gently stretch muscles to relieve tension. A pillow or rolled-up towel placed behind the small of your back can provide some lumbar support. If you must sit for a long period of time, rest your feet on a low stool or a stack of books.
  • Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes.
  • Sleep on your side to reduce any curve in your spine. Always sleep on a firm surface.
  • Ask for help when transferring an ill or injured family member from a reclining to a sitting position or when moving the patient from a chair to a bed.
  • Don’t try to lift objects too heavy for you. Lift with your knees, pull in your stomach muscles, and keep your head down and in line with your straight back. Keep the object close to your body. Do not twist when lifting.
  • Maintain proper nutrition and diet to reduce and prevent excessive weight, especially weight around the waistline that taxes lower back muscles. A diet with sufficient daily intake of calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D helps to promote new bone growth.
  • If you smoke, quit. Smoking reduces blood flow to the lower spine and causes the spinal discs to degenerate.

Please pass this along if anyone you know has trouble with their back.

be well-

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Last Call

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Most of us have been to a party of some sort and seen this when walking in.  It is a booze free for all situation.  Wine, beer, mixed cocktails, take your choice.  The question is, when is enough, enough?

This week the CDC came out with a report saying that 1 in 8 women 18 years and older and 1 in 5 high school girls binge drink at least three times per month.  This activity means consuming four or more drinks on an occasion.  Binge drinking causes nearly 23,000 deaths per year and increases the risk of breast cancer, heart disease, std’s and many other health related issues.

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The following link taken from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism provides great information on how the body is affected due to binge drinking and drinking in general.

http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/Hangovers/beyondHangovers.pdf

be well-

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Etiquette Reminders…

As we begin our first full week in the new year, that means gym-goers will encounter many gym etiquette no-no’s.  Every day I see people off in their own little world while surrounded by hundreds of others.  Here are a few key etiquette reminders to keep in mind as you embark on your resolutions:

  • Stay off your cell phone.  Most people come to the gym to unplug.  If you need to be on your phone, take it to the lobby or a private area so we don’t all need to hear your conversation.
  • Wipe down your equipment!  With cold and flu season here, be sure to disinfect any machine you use.  Also, nobody likes to be the next person on the treadmill when sweat drips are all over.
  • Allow others to work in while using stationary weight equipment and benches.
  • Wear appropriate clothing.  Just because you are fit and think you have a great body, most people are offended when your mid-drift is exposed or your “shorts” fall just below the crease of your gluteus maximus.
  • Avoid unnecessary grunting and hissing noises.  While it may be appropriate to help get through a particular set, every rep of every exercise does not need to be heard across the gym floor.
  • Keep the perfume and cologne for post workout.  Many people find it difficult to breathe while running on the treadmill next to somebody that smells like they just came out of Bath and Body Works.

I promise if you follow some of these etiquette reminders, it will make for a more enjoyable experience for everyone involved.

be well-

 

 

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Doing without Thinking

Happy New Year and Welcome to 2013.  Many of us create New Year’s Resolutions.  I’d rather like to think of it as obtaining results in hopes to create a more well-balanced lifestyle.  Often our results are dependent on the habits we have in our life.

Say you want to create a new habit, whether it’s taking more exercise, eating more healthily or writing a blog post every day, how often does it need to be performed before it no longer requires Herculean self-control?  There are many studies that say it takes anywhere from 21-28 days.  But I feel how much time will be dependent on the habit you are looking to create.  One goal I have for 2013 is to try and create a new healthy habit every month.  I hope by the end of that particular month I am able to do without thinking.

For January I am looking to drink at least two liters of water every day.  Some of the great benefits I will reap include-

  • keep the joints strong and lubricated
  • build muscle
  • flush waste out of the body
  • raises metabolism
  • relax the body and keep it at ease

 

What healthy habits are you looking to incorporate in 2013?

be well-

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