Archive for January, 2014

A little of what they Want, a little of what they Need

It comes as no surprise that I have been working with several new clients.  This is a busy time of year, people are eager to get back in shape, making a commitment.  When I first meet with a client, I try to gather as much information as possible.  Everything from health history to baseline assessments to movement screens.  From there I begin to develop a plan that best suits my client’s needs.

Over the last fifteen years, the number one thing I have found to be most beneficial when working with a new client: give them a little of what they want and a little of what they need.  Keeping clients motivated to keep coming back is my priority.  If they don’t come back, chances are they fall off the wagon all together.

I have witnessed trainers create or develop programs solely based on what they thought was best and leaving out what keeps a client motivated.  And that might work for a little while.  But at the end of the day, it’s about our client, not about us.

be well-


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All you Need is a Deck of Cards

I know there are days when it’s cold and rainy outside and all you want to do is stay home.  Or the kids are sick which means no gym time.  There is an easy solution…grab a deck of cards.  This is a great way to get a short, intense workout in from the comfort of your own home.

It’s very simple.  Take a deck of playing cards and shuffle them around. Each of the four suites (hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades) is assigned a particular exercise.  The number of each exercise you do is the face value of the cards with 2-10 equal to the number, jacks = 11, queens = 12, kings = 13 and aces = 14.   When the jokers show up, 100 jumping jacks!  The timer begins when you flip the very first card.  As soon as you’ve completed the exercise, flip the next card over wasting no time.  You can take rest breaks to catch your breath and get a drink of water.  But… the clock keeps running.

Here are a few sample programs:

  • Hearts = Pushups
  • Diamonds = Squats
  • Clubs = Burpees
  • Spades = Crunches
  • Hearts = Lunges
  • Diamonds = Shoulder Taps
  • Clubs = Mountain Climbers
  • Spades = Tricep Dips
  • Hearts = Knee to Elbow from push-up position
  • Diamonds = Squat Jumps
  • Clubs = V situps
  • Spades = Chinups

This is a great type of workout because-

  • It’s an excellent measure of total body muscular endurance. It also increases your endurance when you gradually make it more difficult.
  • Every time you do it, it’s different. You are at the mercy of the shuffle. There’s nothing quite as brutal as being on the 47th card and getting 3 (or even 4) cards in a row that are all high rep burpees.
  • It’s flexible. You can adjust it very easily to make it easier or harder. Just double or triple the face value of the cards to increase the difficulty or give yourself small time breaks between each card to make it easier.
  • It’s quick. You get an amazing, high-intensity workout in a short period of time – relatively speaking of course. If you are extremely out-of-shape it may take an hour (or more), but you can always start with a half-a-deck to ease into it.

Have fun.

be well-

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just Radiating

Early last week I had received a note from a college friend of mine saying she was going to be in Boston for a weekend workshop.  I gave her my schedule, hoping she might have time to stop by and take one of my yoga classes.  On Friday morning while I was doing a few sun salutations before class, I rise up; and there she was.  Beaming with light, a smile so large, just as I remember from 15 years ago.

It was such a great surprise to spend a few hours with her.  We reminisced from our school days, talked about our life experiences since then and a little about our future.  She was and still is one of those people who light the room when they walk in.

A few weeks ago, a study was released saying our emotions can be mapped to the body.  The Finnish researchers studied 701 subjects, asking them what they felt in their bodies as they experienced 13 different basic and complex emotions.


“We often think the emotions are something that happen only in the mind, but there’s also lots of evidence suggesting that they also happen in our bodies,” says Lauri Nummenmaa, assistant professor in Cognitive Neuroscience at the Aalto University School of Science in Finland.

Using warm and cool colors, the body maps reflect the subjects’ bodily experience of an emotion. As these images indicate, feeling happiness increased activity throughout the body and particularly in, the chest area and head. This might reflect an increased heart rate and more rapid breathing, the study noted. In contrast, feelings of depression were marked entirely in black and blue, the cool colors reflecting an overall decrease in bodily responses. Nummenmaa clarified that the subjects, according to their own report, were all healthy. The experiment reflected feelings of depression and not a clinically diagnosed state.

For Nummenmaa, one of the most surprising results of the study was the consistency he found across Eastern and Western cultures. The study included subjects from Finland, Sweden, and Taiwan. “So it seems to be unrelated to the cultural background that the individual has pointing towards a biological basis for these bodily responses related emotions.”

I am a strong believer that our issues live in our tissues.  This phrase I learned about five years ago and wholeheartedly believe to be true.  Our body is a vessel for everything we take in.  Including food, drink, the air we breathe, the products we apply to our skin and the emotions we take on.

Our bodies are certainly adapting and changing every day.  What does your body map say about you?

be well-


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Who will Speak for You?

In recent news, there have been three young girls put on life support or in hospice care.  Their families, doctors and in some cases, the State, have made some tough decisions.  It is likely the parents or legal guardians were the health care proxies for these kids.

A few years ago, my parents sat down with our family to discuss their future wishes.  It is important to appoint someone you trust, such as a family member or close friend.  Often times, it is an adult child or sibling that is appointed or co-appointed.

Two reasons that a health care proxy may be needed according the New York State Department of Health-

  • Temporary inability to make health care decisions – no matter what your age is. For example, you are having an outpatient surgical procedure and are under general anesthesia. Something unexpected happens and a health care decision needs to be made. If you have a health care agent, since you are temporarily unable to make your own decisions, the health care agent may make the decision. Once you become conscious again, the health care agent would no longer have any authority to act.
  • Permanent inability to make health care decisions – this would arise if you were comatose from a terminal illness, in a persistent vegetative state, suffered from an illness that left you unable to communicate or, if elderly, suffered from senile dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Under these circumstances you would obviously be unable to make your own health care decisions. If you don’t have a health care agent, all appropriate medical treatments will be provided to you. If you have appointed a health care agent, your health care agent can be your voice and make your health care decisions according to your own wishes, or your best interests.

When having the discussion with your proxy, be very clear about all of your wishes.  A person will not be able to predict every scenario that may present itself in a health care situation. As such, explaining your thoughts, feelings and preferences will give your agent the information necessary to make decisions on your behalf.

It is also recommended to share with your close family and friends who has been appointed and if there are any changes, whether the health care proxy or future wishes.  This will decrease or eliminate arguments about who and what decisions are being made.

A Health Care Proxy and other accompanying documents are extremely important to have in place.  Who will speak for you?

RIP Finley

be well-

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nothing changes if Nothing Changes


Today was a brand new beginning for many people.  Common themes are health and wellness, rebuilding finances, improving relationships, breaking old habits.  The list goes on and on.

It’s been said before that insanity is described as doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result.  Change takes thought.  Change takes effort.  Change takes action.  Otherwise nothing changes if nothing changes.

What are you willing to do in order to make the changes you want for 2014?

be well-

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