Archive for February, 2014

Gone too far?

A few weeks ago, the Biggest Loser show on NBC forever changed, in my mind.  During the season finale, they crowned their latest Biggest Loser, Rachel Fredrickson.  When she first walked on stage, this is the reaction of two expert trainers and one other contestant associated with the show-

 

Rachel started the show at 260 pounds.  She lost nearly 60% of her body weight, bringing her to 105 pounds.  The show has gone too far.

As fitness professionals it is our job and obligation to do more than help them lose weight.  It is about creating healthy lifestyles.  This means on all levels; physical, mental and emotional.  The show, the doctors and the trainers failed.  Just look at the reaction of Bob and Jillian.  They have claimed that Rachel was not theirs, that she belonged to another trainer.  Putting blame on another to make yourself look better does not help the show, the trainer or the contestant.

The Biggest Loser has helped to inspire many people around the world to get off the couch and begin exercising.  They need to do a better job of educating both the participants and the viewers on the importance creating a balanced lifestyle.

be well-

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Building a Base

I began reading a new book, Running with the Mind of Meditation by Sakyong Mipham.  This is a great read for me, as I am less than 70 days from running the Boston Marathon.  Early in the book, he talks about the importance of building a base.  This goes for both the body and the mind.

Building a base is a process of taking what you have and gradually increasing the ability.  Whether it is running, meditating, learning a new sport and coming back from being away for a while, building a base is essential.  Creating a strong foundation on stability, strength, flexibility, mobility and stillness provide integrity.

When I began meditating on a regular basis a few years ago, I started with just a few minutes at a time.  Since then, I have been able to build up sixty minutes of quality sitting time.  With running, it started with a few short runs, and now I am consistently in the double digits for mileage.

Too many people want to get from point A to point Z without creating a strong foundation.  By doing so, it increases the risk of injury, disinterest, and possibly failure.  Taking the body and mind through regular, familiar and repeated sessions allows for room to increase your ability.

Often we burn out because we have added too much time, resistance or energy too quickly.  A great indicator of burnout is your level of enjoyment.  When the activity you are doing becomes a constant struggle or grind, scale back a bit and see what happens.

Lay the foundation and build your base.  This will lead you on a more fulfilling and gratifying journey.

be well-

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“Just a little Heart Attack”

Watch this short entertaining, yet very informative video and then continue

Today is national GO RED for Women Day.  Heart disease is the number one killer for American women.

Here are a few unsettling facts:

  • Heart disease causes 1 in 3 women’s deaths each year, killing approximately one woman every minute.
  • 90 percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease.
  • Since 1984, more women than men have died each year from heart disease and the gap between men and women’s survival continues to widen.
  • The symptoms of heart disease can be different in women vs. men, and are often misunderstood.
  • While 1 in 31 American women dies from breast cancer each year, 1 in 3 dies of heart disease.

A few causes for heart disease include :

  • Heart failure or congestive heart failure, which means that the heart is still working, but it isn’t pumping blood as well as it should, or getting enough oxygen.
  • Arrhythmia or an abnormal rhythm of the heart, which means the heart is either beating too fast, too slow or irregularly. This can affect how well the heart is functioning and whether or not the heart is able to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs.
  • Heart valve problems can lead to the heart not opening enough to allow proper blood flow. Sometimes the heart valves don’t close and blood leaks through, or the valve leaflets bulge or prolapse into the upper chamber, causing blood to flow backward through them.

Prevention is key: eat healthy, stay active, manager your blood sugar, quit smoking, lower your cholesterol, know your family history.

For more information, check out the American Heart Association.

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Addiction is an awful Beast

I began writing this particular post in response to a comment I saw on Facebook.  After taking some time to reread what I wrote, I decided to go from another angle.

Like many others, I was saddened to hear of the news about Oscar-winning actor, Philip Seymour Hoffman.  There have been many great articles, Facebook posts and kind words shared all over the media about him.  And some are expressing views the other direction.  While it is also a right to voice your opinion about how this was a “selfish act”, I would ask that you continue to read below.

Addiction doesn’t care if you are an award-winning actor, the Wolf of Wall Street, a suburban mom, or a homeless man sleeping in the park.  This is a real disease.  And until you are intimate with a person such as a spouse, child, or friend with someone struggling with addiction, I encourage you to educate yourself.

There are many reasons people begin to drink or drug.  Often it’s for experimentation.  Maybe it’s because we want to be “cool.”  Other times, it is used as a coping mechanism to mask the extreme pain and hurt one might be feeling.  This can be physical pain, emotional pain, or mental anguish.

Addiction = separation.  Separation from your physical self, your mind, relationships with friends, family, coworkers and maybe your higher power.  It is true, we always have a choice.  However in a single moment, we may not be our true selves.  Many people just say, “all they need to do is ask for help.”  That is so much easier said than done.  Think of the worst scenario you could ever imagine getting yourself into; where you might feel embarrassed, ashamed, hurt.  Think about how society might react because you’ve gotten yourself into this situation.  And now, how easy is it for you to ask for help?  Is it really that easy?

The great news is that help does exist and people really do care about one-another.  In fact, I received a note from a friend from Indiana asking for references in Boston because they needed help once their friend’s heroin detox was over.  Immediately I suggested three clinics.  The network for traditional 12 step programs such as AA, NA, al-Anon, OA are extremely powerful.  So are the people who attend them.

I proudly wear the following tattoo on my arm-

 

To Write Love on Her Arm is a great organization that helps create support and provide awareness for those struggling with depression, addiction, self-harm and suicide.   I have friends and family that fall into each of those categories.  So, I know this issue very well.

Below are references for help with addiction.

Addiction is a beast.  Some are lucky enough to find their way out.  There is no cure.  It truly is one day at a time.

be well-

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Jump for Joy

Do you remember as a kid how easy it was to perform jumping jacks, jump rope or play hopscotch?

Lately I have been incorporating a lot more jumping of sorts exercises into my clients’ workouts.  This includes the three mentioned above with a few others.  I also have clients do jump squats, box jumps, move along an agility ladder and more.

There are so many great benefits for adding this type of movement to your workout.  It helps to build cardio endurance, strength in the legs and core, and to build bone density.  A great number of my clients are 60+ years old.  While many of them offer a quizzical look that says, “You want me to do what?”, I have the confidence they will successfully perform the exercise.  Most are pleased when the exercise is over, but happy they had the strength both mentally and physically to complete the exercise.

While your vertical jump may not be what it was back in the day, it is still important to build it into your workout programs today.

be well-

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