Monday, May 23, 2011

My Sneaker Talks to Me

One thing is certain, in this age of iPads and smart phones and Internet-connected everything: There is no shortage of cool gadgets to help you keep every aspect of your life on track.

My latest favorite is the Nike plus device on my Iphone (more here: I wasn’t kidding, in the title: My sneakers really do talk to me. Well, the little gadget laced into my left sneaker talks to me, to be specific. It tells me when my pace slows down, for instance, or that I have 5 more miles to complete my workout.

It doesn’t hurt that the voice of the gadget on my sneaker is that of a sultry, sexy man who maybe sounds a teensy bit like John Hamm. 

There are lots of fitness gizmos out there. There always will be. One of my workout buddies, for instance, swears by the “fitbit,” ( a $99 pedometer that connects over Blu-tooth to an Internet log that gives even more options to log health-related information.

For me, the fitness gizmo that always keeps me going is the one that has my music on it. Creating playlists to go with whatever type of workout you’re up for will help with motivation. Plus, playlists are fun to put together. Imagine what type of workout you are doing – intense cardio, or deep yoga? Different songs motivate differently.

But there’s more than sneakers that talk to you, of course. Another way to get motivated is to find a workout partner. For the last 8 years I have worked out three days a week with my best friend -- and even though there has been times where it took every fiber of my being to get up at 4:30 am to meet her at the gym at 5:30, the simple fact that I know she’s going to meet me there gives me the motivation to get out there door.

What’s great about having a workout partner? Primarily, it gets you there. You won’t bail if you know someone is going to be waiting for you. Plus, you push each other further than you would if you were on your own.

The alternative is to push the snooze button, go back to sleep, and spend the rest of the day with a little nagging feeling at the back of your head, that you didn’t get your workout in (again.) Sure, maybe you accomplished a lot that day, at work, or at home. But you didn’t accomplish anything for your body.

So think about putting a fitness gadget on your Birthday wish list, and find that friend or a personal trainer who motivates you the most, and get some great tunes together. Most of all: Get movin’.

The Plan of Attack

We all have something special to plan for the future, even if its 10days or 6 months away, we to have to have a plan of attack to look good for that wedding, reunion or just a sunshiny vacation, to get in shape. Well here are some suggestions to help you get started.

If you have 10 days, here is the plan:

EAT FOOD, don’t starve. It’s not good for your metabolism to go below 1200 calorie diet. Instead choose your foods wisely. Don’t eat out stay home and prepare your meals.

Cleanse your system. Although there are a lot of different types of cleansing products out there, you must be careful of which products are good for you. Try to find one that you can still eat food while you are cleansing. Do your research. I find the best cleanse is easy as this one – one liter of bubbly water, one cup of lemon or lime juice, 1/8 to ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper, ½ cup grade A maple syrup. Mix together and drink throughout the day, just one day a week. Also, make sure you eat during that day of cleanse.

Exercise, if you have been slacking in the activity department, well get back on track. Exercise is the best way to shed those lingering pounds. Even though starting exercise with in this 10 day goal won’t take of the pounds immediately, but it will get you going in the right direction.

If you have 4 to 6 weeks to your goal:

Food, aim for a 1200 to 1500 calorie diet (or as I like to say, “changing your bad food choices to good food choices”). Stick to lean meats, low sugar, fruits and green veggies, low fat dairy products, legumes and whole grains.

Journal your food and exercise intake every day. It will keep you on track and even gives you a record of what you did weeks prior.

Don’t deprive yourself of those tasty temptations. If you take away all pleasures of your favorite yummy goodness, you may find yourself resenting and then binging. Have that piece of candy or cookie or glass of wine. It’s ok, I’ll bet you will be a lot happier.

Exercise, start to change it up!!!! About this time frame your body will start to plateau and you need to change your routine. Find another class to take or try some other type of cardio machine. And as the weather starts to getting warmer and sunny, maybe try hiking or going out for a long walk. It’s always great to get out of the monotony of the gym and/or house.

If you have 4 to 6 months:

Food, mix it up. By now you have a comfortable diet plan and are well on your way to your goal. Try different healthy recipes.

Friday, November 12, 2010

How to Like your Naked Body by Christmas

Everyone wants to look good naked all the time, but this is the time of year we start to snack and drink ourselves off track, which has a direct impact on how we look unclothed.

Think about it. The holiday eating season is knocking. It starts with the Halloween candy. Then, less than a month later, the Thanksgiving gorge, followed by Christmas cookies and candies and cocktail weenies. Then, we bubbly ourselves through New Years Eve. That’s four major eating/drinking events, in two months. No other period of time contains this much eating/drinking temptation.

Let’s keep you on track! Close your eyes and imagine how good you want to look naked by Christmas. Imagine that sweet little dress you want to wear at your company holiday party, or that new tankini you got for your escape to Hawaii for Christmas.

We have two months, my friends, and a lot can be accomplished in that time frame. But time is limited. To get serious you must start now.

Start with a plan to be active every day. Now is a good time, for instance, to get to the gym and try out the latest and greatest group exercise classes. If you don’t have a gym membership, then bundle up and walk outside. Grab 5 lb dumbbells and pump your arm while walking. Do some walking lunges. At stop signs, do some squats. Who cares if someone is watching? It’s not about them. It’s about how you want to look naked. Keep the goal in sight.

At the same time, turn up the knob on how attentive you are to what you eat. Plan your meals through the eating season. Plan for healthy snacks. On days that end with holiday parties, eat healthy and drink lots of water before you go. Eat your healthy meal at home, and when you are at the party, stay near the veggie tray.

Another angle for staying on track is to challenge yourself. At my studio starting November 15 to December 15, I am challenging my clients to do 30 days of Pilates or some sort of workout to stay on track. I will be monitoring progress throughout the month. Yes, I’m taking measurements and body fat calculations, and naming a winner at the end. The winner gets a 5 pack of Pilates classes.

Since many, if not most of you are not nearby my studio, do it on your own. Challenge yourself at your local gym or at home. Most gyms will test your body fat and take your measurements. Keep a journal of your progress, and when the 30 days are up, reward yourself with something you always wanted. Or, just strip down and see how much you like what you see. If you stick to your plan, you will see results --- which will shore you up to keep it going through the holidays.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Getting Back on Track

Here’s one from the Department of Personal Experience: When you are bombarded with extra-curricular obligations, at too high a rate, for too many consecutive days, no matter how organized you are, you’re taking a toll on yourself.

I am a hyper-organized person. It makes people close to me nuts sometimes. By mid-summer, for instance, I’m already pretty sure what’s happening for Thanksgiving. I’m always 10 minutes early, wherever I go, which makes people I meet with regularly feel like they’re always 10 minutes late, they tell me.

Being organized tends to impart a feeling of control. You have a plan, you will not deviate from the plan, and if you do, you will find a way back to the plan. You are in control. Right?

Not always. Case in point: During the month of August, I had an unexpected house guest who required a lot of attention. It was an old friend, going through some stuff, and no the timing wasn’t great, but, old friends are old friends.

The following week, two expected houseguests arrived. Then, a business trip. Then, more house guests, who stayed for a while.

By the middle of it, my head was spinning. I was exhausted. I’m accustomed to and enjoy living a fairly busy life, usually with a pretty hectic routine – but this was different. Amid menu planning and finding activities for my guests, I found myself obsessing about how to get my life back to NORMAL.

This made me take an inventory of what “normal” means for me. It included these basic questions:

• Did I work out? Yes or no?

• Did I get a healthy amount of “us time” with my sweetie? Yes or no?

• Am I getting healthy amounts of "me time" / alone time?

• Am I eating healthy? Yes or no?

• Am I falling asleep and staying asleep? Yes or no?

• Am I drinking enough water; taking enough deep breaths?

• Am I living in moderation, when it comes to adult beverages?

At the end of it, I realized I was doing really great … on drinking lots of water. (Woo hoo!) But that’s about it. It follows that too many “no’s” means things are not normal.

When life’s anticipated and unanticipated intensities gets you down, re-align by reminding yourself who you are when you’re feeling healthy and at ease. Find your goals again. Or, if they don’t do it for you any more, set some new ones.

In my case, I took a bigger step – like changing my schedule to get a full weekend back in my life. That was pretty major, because it meant

So You Had a Bad Day

So, you had a bad day. Well, gee, just take 10 deep breaths, examine how bad it was, and see about putting it back together, right? Right. Just like that.

The economy is still in the toilet, and times are still tough. When times are tough, people aren’t always, shall we say, their best selves. In the latest (October 2010) issue of Vanity Fair, editor Graydon Carter observes that “America … seems to be just plain angry, all the time.” He calls it “the anger movement.”

When you’re trying to survive and thrive in the midst of an “anger movement, it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s especially hard to do so and talk about it, without sounding like a sap.

Still, I like to think that it’s always there.

Without going into a whole lot of me-me-me, let me just say that being a small business owner, operating a boutique Pilates studio south of Denver, has its stressful moments. Cable TV subscriptions stayed steady through the recession, which perhaps explains the spike that didn’t happen in the fitness sector.

I try not to let it upset me too much. Bad or good, things usually fall into two categories: Lesson learned, or action item.

Still, there are those days when I get home and Just. Can’t. Shake. It. Off. In these glowering moments, exercise works best for me. Rather than sitting around in a funk, plotting revenge, I get the dogs collared-up for a hike, or (on really really bad days ;-) go for a run.

Listening to some kick butt music also works almost every time to get myself recharged. (My top 3 kick-butt recharge songs: Dancing with myself by Billy Idol, Save it for Later by English Beat and OMG.. by Usher.) I always end my day with a journal entry, and finish with meditation.

So, while I can’t take away your or my bad days, my suggestion is to remember the endorphin. It will kick you into gear. Remember it early, if you can – even a brisk walk around the block (try jogging one leg of it.) It’s almost as good as coffee to kick start at day, set your mind at ease, and set up the day straight.

As optimistic as we can or should be about life, there are just some days that will bother us more than others. (“Momma said there’d be days like this, there’d be days like this, Momma said!”) Do the best you can to shake it off. Remind yourself that tomorrow is a new day.

The more we keep a positive attitude about our everyday life, the more positive it will be.

Tips To Get Some Action in Your Life

Lots of times, when interviewing and being interviewed by prospective clients, I run into the “yes, but.” They want to live a healthier lifestyle, and they know it will involve making lifestyle changes. BUT, (fill in the blank here – your schedule’s too busy, you’re swamped with work, the kids, the travel…)

First of all, give yourself a big clap on the back for recognizing that if you want to live a healthy lifestyle, you’ll need to make some lifestyle changes. And that’s as much coddling as you’ll get there, because let’s face it, those are excuses. Right? Or, at best, you have prioritizing issues.

So here’s what you do. I know this because I’ve been there: You make the commitment to put activity back in your life, and hit the ground practically sprinting. You work out seven days in a row, hard core. And a few years later, you realize that your life is patterned around having this strange, two month bouts of intense activity, at the end of which you pulled something, and you need to take a break.

Sound familiar? I thought so.

Small changes, friends. Start slow, work up. We are not children anymore.

Start by being realistic about your day-to-day activity level. How active are you, and what openings do you have in an average day to put in some exercise? You want to be as active as possible without getting hurt. That’s the goal. This, of course, depends on where you are in life: Raising kids, flat-out career-mode; free time on weekdays or weekends. Here’s a few pointers to get started:

For those of you who sit at a computer most of the day:

• STAND UP. Get up every half hour or so, if you can.

• Stretch; move around. Stretch your hands; pinwheel your arms around.

• Take the stairs, not the elevator. (For those of you above the 10th floor: Plan walkups for days when you’re not schlepping too much STUFF.)

• Talk a walk at lunch, especially if you eat at your desk.

• Look at your calendar, and find a time (include drive time) for an hour at the gym for weight training, or pilates, or yoga, or cardio. Repeat for at least 2 other days each week; preferably more. STOP. Do this right now. 

For those of you who are stay-at-home Moms and Dads:

• Go for a walk with the kid(s). Pop that little one into a jogging stroller and hit the trail.

• Don’t just go to the park – play at the park. For starters, who doesn’t love the swings? Great way to stretch your legs and your back

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Finding Your Goals to Good Health

As individuals, we have to define our own goals and use them as our guide. Goals are targets and can (should) be changed as our situations change. We target ourselves for a certain weight or exercise. Perhaps it is exercise related, running a marathon or triathlon, swimming in a race or maybe there are exterior goals such as rock climbing, skydiving or hang gliding. Whatever the case, write it down and have a plan for how you’ll achieve those goals, and DO IT.

What has always helped my through my goals in good health is finding something that I want to train for. For example, every year I walk 39 miles for Breast Cancer. It takes a lot training but I love it because it gives me a goal to get in better shape. I look at my diet and make small changes. I schedule my workouts in my calendar. It gets me motivated. Now, that is a ‘once a year’ event for me and my colleagues. Each year I strive to hit the goal and God-willing I am able to do so. But I think goals are about reaching higher, further than you possibly could imagine. What do I mean? It’s called ‘stretch goals’. What is it you want to accomplish, and can you improve that by 10%? Maybe 20%? Back to my annual walk. Those 39 miles are tough, and in two days that is like combining a marathon and a half! I’m beat and totally tired after the walk…and yes, no running is allowed. I have a certain time to get done, but I would like to beat it (I’m that competitive). How do I stretch my goal? I keep walking a bit faster each mile, put myself on a pace to get done early.

Achieving good health and living a healthy lifestyle is not hard to do. Set your goals and keep them front and center. You’ll find yourself doing thing better than you could possibly imagine and reaching higher than ever.