Archive for category Nutrition

Practicing what we Preach

Ambitions have started to fade for many people as we head into the lull of new years resolutions.  Motivation, or lack of, affects every one of us at some point- including fitness professionals.  I thought it might be a great idea to reach out to some friends and family in the health and wellness industry to get their strategies for keeping motivation and practicing what we preach.  Here’s what a few of them had to say-

Kelly- Director of Healthy Living, Minnesota
I always have a water bottle with me, I get 7-8 hours of sleep each night, I lift weights regularly, and enjoy hiking and biking outdoors (particularly at state park trails) any chance I get with my husband and 1-year-old son.
It’s important to me that I lead by example so that I can influence others daily so that they can live their lives to the fullest! Many times I share my passion and excitement for outdoor adventures my family has recently done and others want to do the same which is great!

Kelly hiking at Grand Portage State Park on the MN North Shore/Canadian border.

Kelly hiking at Grand Portage State Park on the MN North Shore/Canadian border.

Lynda- Trainer and Group Exercise Instructor, Virginia

Every day is a struggle for me and I know that there are many worse off than me. I used to be able to jump out of bed, go for a run, work out, look after my job hold down a full-time job. But now I force myself to do something. It bothers me a lot that I do not have the energy or enthusiasm I once had. In fact it depresses me.Today was a bad day. I felt so tired. I went to the gym…walked in…looked at the treadmill…and walked out. I felt so hungry, so tired and I went to bed. Tomorrow is a new day.

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Lynda looking great after teaching a spin class.

 

Courtney- Professional Wellness Coach & Personal Trainer, Virginia

First, some clarification on “wellness coaching.” Where personal trainers and nutrition counselors (who are sometimes now referring to themselves as “health coaches”) address the physical aspects of their client, a coach addresses the behavioral aspects. Wellness coaching is much like life coaching with a more specific focus, i.e., incorporating exercise, changing eating patterns, stress management, weight loss, work-life balance or any lifestyle factors that will increase a client’s health and wellbeing. Most clients know what to do and how to do it. They just can’t seem to figure out why they can’t do it on a regular basis. Coaching helps the client uncover behavioral patterns, self-talk, beliefs and perceptions that are keeping them stuck. It helps them shift their paradigm from the lifestyle they are living to the lifestyle they desire.

How I practice what I preach: I understand that living a healthy life is a choice. It’s not always an easy choice and there are many things that can get in the way. However, it is still a choice as is everything we think, say, and do. I practice what I preach by:

  • Working out most days of the week on a regular basis. I don’t love working out, but I love how I feel because of it. I do some sort of cardio (run, power walk, elliptical, or bike) for 30-40 minutes and an integrated weight-training circuit for 10-30 minutes. The time depends on my schedule and how I feel. The key is to “Just Do It!” even if it’s for only a few minutes. You’d be amazed how much you can get in just 10 minutes.
  • I keep up with the LATEST research on food and nutrition. As a result, I eat mostly vegetables, fruits and lean meats, fish, eggs, and poultry. I limit grains (white flour especially) and processed foods.
  • I meditate most days of the week for 20-60 minutes. I mostly use guided meditations.
  • I try to get 7-8 hours of sleep per night. I say “try” because my body doesn’t always cooperate.

Why is it important to practice what I preach?  It’s important to practice what I preach because the only one that can affect my level of health is ME. I am 59 years old and I don’t believe aging has to mean physical decline. I believe I can be as healthy at 80 as I am today if I continue to keep up with the latest breakthroughs in neuroscience, diet, and exercise and practice what I preach.

Courtney,

Courtney, Professional Wellness Coach and Personal Trainer

The last few weeks have been difficult for many people because of grey skies, cold weather and record-breaking snowfalls.  Reignite the flame, find what motivates you to keep moving forward.

be well-

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always Learning

The fitness and wellness industry is an interesting business.  There are a lot of grey areas, with words  like trainers, nutritionists, life coaches, and instructors, which  are vague.  Some are calling for our industry to be better regulated.  The problem I see with that is, who is going to regulate?  The state?  The federal government?

How about we regulate ourselves.  When I was explaining to a client this afternoon that I attended a continuing education workshop over the weekend, she asked who paid for it.  My response, “Me.”  I went onto explain that part of being a professional in this industry is making sure I maintain my certification.

Health and wellness is always changing.  Therefore, I am always learning.  New research comes out every day.  New ways of thinking and applying methods are talked about.  New pieces of equipment or accessories are invented to help us move and feel better.

My official career in this industry began in 2000.  Since then I have earned a college degree in exercise science, maintained an accredited personal training certification, attended a 200 hour yoga school, and earned supplemental certifications in kettlebells, TRX, cancer and exercise, USAW Sports Performance, attended various workshops with Baron Baptiste, Nikki Myers, Annette Lang, Paul Chek, Chuck Wolf and many other recognizable names.

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I believe it is vital to our industry that we hold each other accountable.  The moment one begins to think there is only one way to move, create programs and train, then they are done.  They have lost the drive and passion for what they do.  For me, learning through workshops, books, lectures, and self practice are what help me stay motivated and working to help create a better industry.

be well-

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I was once told…

…there are three things you should never neglect: food, feet and sleep.

Food-

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The relationship we have with food is unique to each of us.  And depending on what is going on in our life, that relationship may change from time to time.  Handing out detailed nutritional advice is one thing I am extremely cautious about as a trainer.  There are too many variables involved, so it is in my client’s best interest to refer them to a more experienced and educated person.

I am a true believer there is no one “cure-all” nutritional program.  What works for me is likely very different from what works for you.  Factors such as goals, metabolism, likes/dislikes of foods are to name just a few.  But in general, I do encourage my clients to each as much whole food as possible.  I mean, food that is typically found on the perimeter of the grocery store.  Here you’ll find fruits, veggies, protein such as meat and fish, dairy and eggs.  Anything that comes in a box, can or jar is likely to be processed and have ingredients that are difficult to pronounce.

Feet-

33 joints, 26 bones and several muscles and tendons make up a single foot.  We are asking this part of the body to take on a lot of weight, gravity and shock throughout the day.  To keep your feet healthy

  • Examine your feet regularly
  • Wear comfortable shoes that fit
  • Wash your feet daily with soap and lukewarm water
  • Trim your toenails straight across and not too short

Your foot health can be a clue to your overall health. For example, joint stiffness could mean arthritis. Tingling or numbness could be a sign of diabetes. Swelling might indicate kidney disease, heart disease, or high blood pressure.

Good foot care and regular foot checks are an important part of your health care. If you have foot problems, be sure to talk to your doctor.

Sleep-

Back in July I purchased the Jawbone UP to help track my sleeping and number of steps I take per day.  The feedback, especially for the sleep has been very useful.  I now have a better understanding of why I feel the way I do after a “good night’s sleep” vs a “not so good night’s sleep.”

The Harvard Women’s Health Watch suggests six reasons to get enough sleep:

  1. Learning and memory: Sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory through a process called memory consolidation. In studies, people who’d slept after learning a task did better on tests later.
  2. Metabolism and weight: Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by affecting the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates, and by altering levels of hormones that affect our appetite.
  3. Safety: Sleep debt contributes to a greater tendency to fall asleep during the daytime. These lapses may cause falls and mistakes such as medical errors, air traffic mishaps, and road accidents.
  4. Mood: Sleep loss may result in irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate, and moodiness. Too little sleep can also leave you too tired to do the things you like to do.
  5. Cardiovascular health: Serious sleep disorders have been linked to hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, and irregular heartbeat.
  6. Disease: Sleep deprivation alters immune function, including the activity of the body’s killer cells. Keeping up with sleep may also help fight cancer.

If your body begins to feel a little gunked up, heavy, uncomfortable, take a look at these three things: food, feet and sleep.  Is there something you can improve on one or all of them?

be well-

 

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Bridging the Gap, part 2

Almost two years ago I wrote a piece called Bridging the Gap.  I wrote about the importance of bridging the gap between the medical word and the fitness world.  Many trainers would agree with me that there are people in medicine that have a difficult time trusting what we do.  And to me, that’s a shame.  I say this because I often hear a client say, “My doctor says I need to lose weight,” “I have high blood pressure and diabetes and want to get off my meds.”…yet, the doctor creates no plan of action to help them.

I feel extremely lucky to work with trainers that take pride in their work and dedicate much of their free time and money to continuing education.  Health and wellness is important and we, as trainers, are a great fit to bridge that gap.

Just this morning, a member of the health club came to me and said, “Ann, do you remember that assessment you did on me a few years ago?  You said I should check in with my doctor because of some of the results.  I was skeptical and let it slide.  A few months later, I rolled my car and while I was in the hospital and they did some tests.  The doctor found a blocked artery.  I ended up having a stint because of that.  I should have listened to you earlier.”

Over the last few weeks I have had a great opportunity to speak at a local hospital with patients that have undergone weight loss surgery.  Many of them were extremely brave, sharing their story with me, a total stranger.  They all have their own story and each was just as inspiring as the one before.  One lady was 17 years post surgery and found that attending the support groups was still vital in her continued success.  In order for her to go through with surgery, at that time, she had to lose half of her body weight.  350 pounds.  It took her five years to go from 700 to 350, but she did it.  She had the surgery and has been losing weight ever since.  A gentlemen shared that he has gone from 700 pounds to 299 in less than three years.  His goal to is be under 250 by next summer.  Another gentleman who was just six months post surgery, is enjoying his new self.  His relationship with food, himself and others has drastically changed.  This last weekend was the first time he’s purchased new clothes since the surgery and he was shocked at the waist size he was able to fit into.

I had been asked to speak to these patients about the importance of exercise as part of their continued success.  So many programs like this focus solely on nutrition and calories, that they are missing an important piece to the puzzle.  I talked to them about finding exercises that they enjoy, such as karate, walking, or yoga.  We discussed how to measure intensity through the “talk test” or rate exertion on a scale.  I asked them to set S.M.A.R.T. goals.  And it became a great dialog, in a safe environment, free of judgement.

I was delighted when the social worker reached out, because I think this was an important first step in bridging the gap between two worlds with a common goal.

be well-

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No man can EAT 50 eggs

It was about 15 years ago that I watched Cool Hand Luke for the first time.  That movie remains in my top five of all time favorites.  One of the most memorable scenes is Luke taking on the challenge of eating 50 eggs in one hour.  They show his training leading up to the day and then eating the 50 hardboiled eggs in one hour.  He seems to look pretty good early on.  But as time passes by, his stomach looks distended, sweat beads begin to roll down his face, he has a hard time walking around.  Who wouldn’t?

There has been a lot in the news the last few days about food challenges and eating contests.  Much of it has to do with a gentleman who died last week while taking part in a hotdog eating contest in South Dakota.  This is not the first time someone has died while taking part in such a challenge.  Trying to eat as much as you can in a short period of time has several risks, with choking being number one.  Another situation was a mother who drank two gallons of water in order to win her kids a Nintendo Wii for her three kids.  She died of acute water intoxication.  Legend has it that after eating some cranberries and Hemlock bark, a gentleman drank some water.  This caused the bark to expand and burst his stomach.

A research study at the University of Pennsylvania  stated the following-

A chronically dilated, flaccid stomach may eventually decompensate, so that it becomes an enormous sac incapable of shrinking to its original size and incapable of peristalsing or emptying solid food. If this happens, long-term competitive speed eaters ultimately could develop intractable nausea and vomiting, necessitating a partial or total gastrectomy to relieve their symptoms and restore their ability to eat. Thus, speed eating is a potentially self-destructive form of behavior that over time could lead to morbid obesity, intractable nausea and vomiting, and even the need for gastric surgery.

While hot wings, spaghetti, pie and hotdog eating contests have become sport, is it worth the challenge and risk?

See how Cool Hand Luke fared with his eggs…..

be well-

 

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A time of Reflection and a time to look Forward

Ah, we are just a few short days away from ringing in the new year.  I was going through many of the photos from 2013 and thought about what a great year it truly was.  Every picture has a story.  Below are just a few of my favorites.

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Cheers to the New Year

remember to smile

remember to smile

pets enjoying the sunshine

pets enjoying the sunshine

practicing my new hobby

practicing my new hobby

Seane Corn yoga retreat

Seane Corn yoga retreat

a few books I read

a few books I read

a few left to finish

a few left to finish

visiting an old friend

visiting an old friend

taking in a ball game

taking in a ball game

love the beach at dusk

love the beach at dusk

family reunion

family reunion

I love seeing a friend follow their passion

I love seeing a friend follow their passion

Jason Collins walking in the Pride parade

Jason Collins walking in the Pride parade

first ever Del's

first ever Del’s

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two of my favorite people

this holds true

this holds true

Hopkinton to Boston 2014!

Hopkinton to Boston 2014!

There are many great adventures to be had in 2014.  Some are already planned such as running the Boston Marathon or being a spectator as my brother does IronMan Wisconsin.  I look forward to improving my attempt at playing guitar.  There are yoga and meditation retreats to attend.  A list of books keeps increasing.  This will go along nicely with my goal of cutting back on screen time; less technology and more hands on reading and writing.

The phrase New Years Resolutions sounds too cliché for me.  How about finding ways to improve your life.  What speaks to you?  Then make it reality for 2014 and beyond.

be well and Happy New Year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Have you ever…

Have you ever looked at a piece of fitness equipment with total perplexity?  Case in point, the image below-

 

Last night while I was at a holiday party, my friend was explaining how 2014 is going to be the year she gets back to working out and being healthy.  As a mother of a three-year old and twins who are 10 months old, the days of running seven miles are long gone.

It comes as no surprise that health and wellness are a top priority for resolutions.  My advice if you do decide to join a gym or health club, seek the advice of their staff.  Working with a personal trainer offers many benefits.  Below are just a few:

  • Accountability and Motivation
  • Proper technique and Form
  • Focus on Your Unique Health Concerns
  • Faster and Better Results
  • Individualized Programs based on your Goals
  • Breakthrough Plateaus

Just remember- you don’t want to end up like the guy in the picture above.

be well-

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