Saturday, December 31, 2011

Small Tweaks For 2012

I really am uncertain about my feelings of "resolutions" even as I write this entry about resolutions.I feel like we are constantly changing so therefore we must be prepared at any time depending on what life throws our way to revisit our goals and game plans to fit the needs of our current situation. It is literally the final hour of the year, and what a year it has been! I will say the past years have felt like a plateau on some levels in my life, almost as if I was at a standstill. Then this time last year I got the ball rolling and started heading in a direction that finally felt right. The first goal that I faced in 2011 was purchasing and preparing for my National certification in personal training. I spent most of 2011 reading, studying, preparing, stressing, and finally testing AND passing the exam. That was huge. The year as a whole had a lot of lows, times of struggle, setbacks, and was definitely one of my more challenging years but then ended on such an amazing note yesterday when I met my dad, which has been something I have wanted to achieve for many New Year's. So check! Now as I sit here and reflect on the past year and anticipate the coming year, I feel empowered to take this year by storm! Make lots of changes or tweaks to really make the most of my life. Here are a few of the things that I would like to work on when it comes to me this year:
1. Most people want to go to the gym...Not an issue..No I want to make an effort to get out of my gym clothes once I leave the gym. I have a bad habit that I have developed over the past few years for a few reasons of staying in sweats, hoodies, tanks, and flipflops all day. Not this year! I work too hard to have the body I do have, so I vow to put an effort into my appearance and wear more flattering clothes and do something with my hair!
2. Do CARDIO!!!!!I am a gym rat but I hate cardio!!!I will find all sorts of other ways to justify my "cardio" for the day. I am going to strive for 20 min 2-3days per week.
3. Get more sleep. I don't get enough of this!!!
4. Try more dishes in the kitchen. I have recently started preparing more meals at home. It is cheaper and healthier, I want to continue exploring more recipes and meal options.
5. Read more goal is a book every month. It is important to stay mentally sharp/fit.
6. Be more spontaneous. I can be so rigid in my life and set expectations for so many things that I have found myself feeling empty at times after the moment has passed. So I would like to allow more room for options and changes to be made when needed.

These are a few simple tweaks I would like to see in myself in the coming year to help me have a great year. I also put together a virtual vision board of words, thoughts, pictures that will be constant reminders through the year of the direction my life is now heading. I can't wait to see how these small changes will have big improvements in my attitude, health, and life!HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

Happy Endings...And NEW Beginnings

I realize this blog was created mostly for fitness and healthy lifestyles. Part of a healthy lifestyle is not only your physical health, but also your mental and emotional health. Another purpose of this blog was to INSPIRE you to make moves, take chances, and change situations so you can live a better life...To improve yourself and feel empowered. So as 2011 comes to a close and we look to start a new year, and a fresh start I felt that one of my final blogs should be a story of inspiration. To leave this year on a good note and start the new with something positive. I hope that after reading this you feel inspired and can find some way to apply it to your own life presently or sometime down the road.
How often does "happy endings and new beginnings" apply to one situation all at the same time??I would have to say not often, and I definitely have not experienced it personally in my own life until yesterday. Let me start at the beginning...I was a little girl who was raised solely by my mother. My dad left shortly after I was born and was never a part of my life. My mom did re-marry, and have another child. But she eventually divorced and before I was in junior high, she was a single mom, raising two girls. I can honestly say that I spent most of my childhood and a good portion of my adult life crying about my dad and longing that he was a part of my life. In addition as a kid I vividly remember always wondering what was wrong with me, why wasn't I good enough, why didn't my dad want me....Those thoughts and feelings are horrible for a child to think and feel. It affects you in ways that are so complex and multi-faceted that it would take a long time to describe to an outsider and years of therapy to undo. I have wanted to meet him my whole life and there has honestly never been a day that has gone by that I have not thought about him in 32 years. Besides the typical milestones that I longed for him to be a part of such as first day of school, first day of high school, first dance, prom, high school graduation, college graduation (both times), birthdays, holidays, etc. There were also the simpler things that left a huge void in my life such as teaching me to catch, cheering me on at softball games, giving me a pep talk before cheer leading tryouts, teaching me to drive, celebrating my accomplishments/successes, and so on. Let me make it clear however that my mom was and is an amazing mom. She inspires me and I remain in constant admiration of the woman she has been my whole life and the woman I see her evolving into before my eyes even as an adult. And on some levels I feel that if my father had not been ABSENT in my life, there is a possibility that my mom would not have been as PRESENT as she was/is and we might not have the bond that we do today...
Well my moment finally arrived and my prayers were answered yesterday. I finally met my dad(12/30/11). This was a lifetime in the making on some level, but it became more urgent in recent years, and I definitely started actively seeking him out about three months ago. Before I go any further I will say that I am going to refrain from sharing some of the personal details from yesterday and my moments I shared with my dad because it is very sacred to me. However the themes from yesterday and my general thoughts on the amazing experience I will share in hopes that anyone in a similar situation will feel inspired to take the steps towards finding their own closure, or anyone else can gain strength from my story to apply it to various aspects of your own life. Prior to yesterday I had it all planned out how it would go, I was very methodical about the situation. I had my outfit picked out, a list/outline of questions I wanted answered in case I lost focus and got wrapped up in my emotions, I had it mapped out how to get from my house to his, a time of departure, I even had my car washed so it would be perfect and make a good first and possibly last impression on my dad. I am a planner. However even with all the planning I was not prepared for the way the day played out, the turns it took, the dead ends I hit along the way (literally and figuratively), nor the way it ultimately came full circle. After making the drive, I spent 2 hours lost even though I had directions, three hours waiting on his driveway because he wasn't home (which I hadn't anticipated), to then be greeted by his wife,alone...also not prepared for...who turned me away and shut down every suggestion I presented to bring me closer to meeting my dad, which turned into me and my mom sitting on a parking lot trying to re-group and make executive decisions on what to do next. As I called my very logical and at times brutally honest friend to get advice, and as she became inspector gadget for me and googled my dad trying to find some kind of contact info, my line clicked and it was a number that I had dialed several times during my wait on the driveway which my mom had in her address book but wasn't sure who it belonged to but it was near my dad's name so I thought it was worth a try. The voice on the other end turned out to be my dad!!!!And to my surprise he was eager to meet me but he was at work...Somehow plans changed and an hour later we were both heading to a decided meeting spot to meet for the first time..The next few hours I spent with him were total game changers. This was absolutely a life changing experience.....for the better....Even just 24 hours later I can't believe it happened. The way the day started, the turns it took, there were moments I felt defeated and disappointed, but I never gave up. Yesterday reminded me that I have a lot of fight in me, when there is something I want I have the drive to achieve it....My determination is not measurable and my resilience and ability to persevere are incredible. I told my mom that I have not had to "fight" for anything in a long time. But this lifelong "battle" brought one of the greatest blessings yesterday. Sitting here on New Year's Eve, I can honestly say I feel more complete then I ever have in my 32 years. It took me a long time to get here..I have hit many bumps in the road, gone over many hurdles, and jumped through my fair share of hoops..but this moment and this experience reaffirms me that the greater the struggle the more you appreciate something. Words can not describe how thankful I am for yesterday. I have always said my whole life that if I ever met my dad I would not call him my dad...He is my father, which by definition means someone who contributed to me being here..A dad is someone who is there for their kid, which he never was...So therefore I always felt he was un-deserving of that title and honor in my life... However it is amazing that after a lifetime of heartache and pain when it comes to him, just spending the three hours that I did with him and really feeling and hearing his genuineness in his voice and touch I can refer to him without hesitation as "dad". That is my dad. And I learned so much about him in that conversation and about myself. He is a good man and I am proud to be his daughter and call him my dad. These feelings are so new and shocking to me because I never thought I would feel that way towards him and share the moment I did with him yesterday. When I dreamed about me meeting him, even in my best dreams, they never played out like yesterday. Yesterday was my best dream magnified by a million!!!It was so amazing that I honestly chose to stay in tonight to celebrate by reflecting on it, knowing that no matter what was presented or suggested to celebrate a new year, there was no way that it would top me meeting MY DAD. My life has literally come full circle, my heart is full, another piece of my puzzle has been put in place, I feel loved. I don't care who you are or what your life situation is, but I can honestly say coming from where I did and now arriving to this moment, that all of us at our core wants to be validated, especially by our parents. I have been since day one by my mom. But after yesterday I was validated by my dad, he acknowledged me, and claimed me as his daughter. It is a dream come true, and because of it I am walking a little bit taller today, there is a glow on my face that I haven't felt in the longest, and a permanent smile that can't be erased.
I remember right when I left my dad I rushed to my mom's to tell her all the details and remember feeling a little torn because I knew how much time I have lost with him and opportunities I have missed and we have missed. However, as I thought it out I decided I could either be mad about that or feel grateful that I shared what I did with him yesterday and the endless possibilities that we have moving forward. That is what life is all about...Moving forward...Does life always play out the way you want? Not even close. Do things happen that you don't plan? All the time. So all we can do is try to make the best out of every situation, never give up, and never lose faith that amazing things can happen. And when they do happen, and they will, know that you deserve them and appreciate every moment of it, and try to never lose sight of the feeling that it gives you, because that is what I am doing tonight. Happy New Year!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Why WOMEN Should Lift Weights

I can't tell you how many times I walk into the gym I see the same situation..Men by the weights and women mostly occupying the cardio machines. Or how many times I have seen women sticking to "light weights" when they actually do lift because they don't want to "bulk up". All I can say to that is that it is very difficult for women to gain large amounts of muscle mass due to hormone differences between men and women. In addition it is very difficult for women to do so NATURALLY without the help of steroids, etc. Yes, women can become very lean and buff as some people would describe it, naturally, but in addition to a disciplined, specific training plan, one would also have to maintain a very strict high protein diet to support muscle growth. Recently I read an article about women and weight lifting, so for all of you cardio fanatics that fear the weight racks, here are the top ten reasons why WOMEN should lift weights. Hope this changes your opinion or at least opens your mind about the possibility to venture into the weight room:
1. You Will Be Physically Stronger
Increasing your strength will make you far less dependent upon others for assistance in daily living. Chores will be easier, lifting kids, groceries and laundry will no longer push you to the max. If your maximum strength is increased, daily tasks and routine exercise will be far less likely to cause injury. Research studies conclude that even moderate weight training can increase a woman's strength by 30 to 50 percent. Research also shows that women can develop their strength at the same rate as men.
2.You Will Lose Body Fat.
Studies performed by Wayne Westcott, PhD, from the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, Massachusetts, found that the average woman who strength trains two to three times a week for two months will gain nearly two pounds of muscle and will lose 3.5 pounds of fat. As your lean muscle increases so does your resting metabolism, and you burn more calories all day long. Generally speaking, for each pound of muscle you gain, you burn 35 to 50 more calories each day. That can really add up.
3.You Will Gain Strength Without Bulk.
Researchers also found that unlike men, women typically don't gain size from strength training, because compared to men, women have 10 to 30 times less of the hormones that cause muscle hypertrophy. You will, however, develop muscle tone and definition. This is a bonus.
4.You Decrease Your Risk Of Osteoporosis.
Research has found that weight training can increase spinal bone mineral density (and enhance bone modeling) by 13 percent in six months. This, coupled with an adequate amount of dietary calcium, can be a women's best defense against osteoporosis.
5.You Will Improve Your Athletic Performance.
Over and over research concludes that strength training improves athletic ability in all but the very elite athletes (See Article). Golfers can significantly increase their driving power. Cyclists are able to continue for longer periods of time with less fatigue. Skiers improve technique and reduce injury. Whatever sport you play, strength training has been shown to improve overall performance as well as decrease the risk of injury.
6.You Will Reduce Your Risk Of Injury, Back Pain and Arthritis.
Strength training not only builds stronger muscles, but also builds stronger connective tissues and increases joint stability. This acts as reinforcement for the joints and helps prevent injury. A recent 12-year study showed that strengthening the low-back muscles had an 80 percent success rate in eliminating or alleviating low-back pain. Other studies have indicated that weight training can ease the pain of osteoarthritis and strengthen joints.
7.You Will Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease.
According to Dr. Barry A. Franklin, of William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan, weight training can improve cardiovascular health in several ways, including lowering LDL ("bad") cholesterol, increasing HDL ("good") cholesterol and lowering blood pressure. When cardiovascular exercise is added, these benefits are maximized.
8.You Will Reduce Your Risk of Diabetes.
In addition, Dr. Franklin noted that weight training may improve the way the body processes sugar, which may reduce the risk of diabetes. Adult-onset diabetes is a growing problem for women and men. Research indicates that weight training can increase glucose utilization in the body by 23 percent in four months.
9.It Is Never Too Late To Benefit.
Women in their 70s and 80s have built up significant strength through weight training and studies show that strength improvements are possible at any age. Note, however, that a strength training professional should always supervise older participants.
10.You Will Improve Your Attitude And Fight Depression.
A Harvard study found that 10 weeks of strength training reduced clinical depression symptoms more successfully than standard counseling did. Women who strength train commonly report feeling more confident and capable as a result of their program, all important factors in fighting depression.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Stay Fit Christmas Wish List

This is my Christmas list this year....It is very similar in theme to my birthday list(which was just two months ago). Actually all of my gift "lists" have been similar for the past few years, ever since fitness became my way of life. I truly feel that when I express an interest in these items and then receive them as gifts I stay more motivated to stick with my training. With that being said this is my "stay fit xmas list" that only has items dealing with fitness (minus the Kardashian book)...I think its a great idea to include items that support your fitness habits whatever they be (mat for yoga, shoes for runners,etc). Also if you have a family member that just started a new activity or just joined a gym, buying them a gift that they could use for whatever activity is a great way to show support!!!Here's my list:
Tennis shoes-hot pink and black new balance (they are the newest style)
2. Victoria Secret CAPRI LEGGINGS pants from the PINK line...and design...size small
3.Jackie Warner workout DVD-target
4. Insanity Workout DVD set (its like P90x but crazier)....I was thinking off of ebay??
5.sliders...its small workout flat discs that slide on the floor for workouts -----bed, bath, and beyond

6. Kris Jenner All things Kardashian book
7. large stability ball for workout

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Snacking and Losing Weight

Here is an interesting article I read in a recent email and wanted to pass along...When it comes to losing weight, it’s generally the culmination of numerous small actions—such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or choosing nonfat over whole milk—that end up making the biggest difference. Unfortunately, the reverse also appears to be true. New research suggests that something as benign as a mid-morning snack may hamper even the most dedicated dieter’s efforts.

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association compared the dietary habits of 123 overweight-to-obese postmenopausal women, ages 50 to 75, who were randomly assigned to a diet-alone intervention or a diet-plus-exercise program. Both groups followed the same dietary goals of consuming 1,200 to 2,000 calories per day (depending on starting weight), with less than 30 percent of calories coming from fat. The second group also performed 45 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise, five days per week.

The women were followed for one year and researchers discovered that those who avoided snacking after eating a healthy breakfast lost 11 percent of their body weight, while those who consumed a mid-morning snack (defined as any food or drink) lost an average of 7 percent of total body weight.

Researchers (and most nutrition experts) don’t believe snacking is inherently bad, and can, in fact, be an important tool for warding off hunger that can lead to poor choices. However, according to lead researcher Anne McTiernan, M.D., Ph.D., a member of the Hutchinson Center’s Public Health Science Division, “Mid-morning snacking…might be a reflection of recreational or mindless eating habits rather than eating to satisfy true hunger.”

In other words, not all snacking is bad, but it could slow down weight-loss efforts if it is done habitually or mindlessly rather than in response to true hunger. Interestingly, afternoon snackers ate more fruits and vegetables compared to the women who didn’t snack after lunch.

Rather than discourage your clients from snacking, instead urge them to follow the advice of most nutrition experts and choose nutrient-dense snacks that also include protein, such as low-fat yogurt, string cheese and small amounts of almonds or other nuts. And, based on this latest study, snacks should be timed according to hunger and not eaten too close to other meals, particularly in the morning.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

High in Protein Low in Fat Meal Option

This is my first attempt at turkey meatballs, and I gotta say they were delicious! Two meatballs equal one serving and only contains 80 calories and provide 11g of protein!

KALE is the new BEEF!

Like the saying goes, the only constant is change. We may resist it all we want, but Time and its inevitable evolution of everything in its path is unaffected by our attempts to stop it. The resulting trajectory of humanity's nascent ascent appears to be positioning itself to sweep us into progressive new times, especially where our food choices are concerned, as nearly 7 billion people are now standing on the little scraps of land that we share with some 55 billion rather large animals raised for food each year. (As another famous saying goes: This town ain't big enough for the both of us.) So, beef (and all factory-farmed meat) may be going from rib-eye to relic as we transition to a greener world… literally—as in leafy, green vegetables.
Environmentalists cite meat production as one of the biggest contributors to global warming, and the USDA's new food pyramid (MyPlate) suggests the healthiest choice is making vegetables and fruit the biggest part of every meal by reducing consumption of animal proteins. Kale is far more nutritious than other leafy greens, but these seven reasons why it is such an important futurefood may just surprise you.
1. Anti-inflammatory: Inflammation is the number one cause of arthritis, heart disease and a number of autoimmune diseases, and is triggered by the consumption of animal products. Kale is an incredibly effective anti-inflammatory food, potentially preventing and even reversing these illnesses.
2. Iron: Despite the myth that vegetarians are anemic, the number of non-vegetarians with iron-deficiencies is on the rise. Per calorie, kale has more iron than beef.
3. Calcium: Dairy and beef both contain calcium, but the U.S. still has some of the highest rates of bone loss and osteoporosis in the world. Kale contains more calcium per calorie than milk (90 grams per serving) and is also better absorbed by the body than dairy.
4. Fiber: Like protein, fiber is a macronutrient, which means we need it every day. But many Americans don't eat nearly enough and the deficiency is linked to heart disease, digestive disorders and cancer. Protein-rich foods, like meat, contain little to no fiber. One serving of kale not only contains 5 percent of the recommended daily intake of fiber, but it also provides 2 grams of protein.
5. Omega fatty acids: Essential Omega fats play an important role in our health, unlike the saturated fats in meat. A serving of kale contains 121 mg of omega-3 fatty acids and 92.4 mg of omega-6 fatty acids.
6. Immunity: Superbugs and bacteria are a serious risk to our health. Many of these come as a result of factory farm meat, eggs and dairy products. Kale is an incredibly rich source of immune-boosting carotenoid and flavanoid antioxidants including vitamins A and C.
7. Sustainable: Kale grows to maturity in 55 to 60 days versus a cow raised for beef for an average of 18-24 months. Kale can grow in most climates and is relatively easy and low impact to grow at home or on a farm. To raise one pound of beef requires 16 pounds of grain, 11 times as much fossil fuel and more than 2,400 gallons of water.

To get my dose of kale I choose to juice it...It mixes well with other veggies and fruits, however uncoooked the taste can be quite bitter. There are tons of ways to prepare it and the benefits of this super veggie are unreal!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Why JUICE???

This is a cliff notes version that I found in an article online which discusses the benefits of juicing....I have been juicing for about three months now, and I can't tell you how many times I get asked: WHY DO YOU JUICE???

If you are looking for an easy and effective way to do something good for you body, consider the health benefits of juicing. Juicing is preparing and drinking fruit and vegetable juices, and the many health benefits of juicing far exceed those of eating solid fruits and vegetables.

For one thing, the body can quickly absorb larger amounts of nutrients from juices than from solid foods because the process of digestion that is necessary when you eat whole foods is bypassed. Raw fruits and vegetables contain many substances that enhance health, and juicing benefits the body by providing the most concentrated and readily absorbed source of these substances.

Another one of the major health benefits of juicing is that it is an easy way to get beneficial enzymes, which are primarily found in raw foods, into the body. Enzymes in fresh fruits and vegetables have the vital role of converting food into body tissue and energy. Enzymes are also involved in metabolism, so one of the more valuable health benefits of juicing is that it can increase metabolic rate. Juicing also ensures that the body is getting sufficient amounts of phytochemicals, substances in plants that are considered among the most powerful ways to fight disease. While most people do not eat enough raw fruits and vegetables to obtain the amount of phytochemicals that would make a difference, it is relatively easy to drink enough juice to obtain sufficient amounts of these powerful nutrients. In addition, antioxidants and other immune enhancing properties are concentrated in juices.
Juicing can therefore help to accelerate recovery from illness. In fact, juicing with specific combinations of fruits or vegetables can target particular conditions and improve or alleviate symptoms.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Holiday hints on how to stay healthy

I saw this article on my email and thought I would share. It reminded me of a post I did before Thanksgiving.....BUST the Top 6 Excuses for Skipping Exercise During the Holidays

Holiday season comes with great cheer, but it also comes with alcohol- and calorie-laden parties, sweet treats and busy travel schedules — all of which can make good excuses for why you can't keep exercising.
If you're already convincing yourself that you can't possibly fit in exercise this wintry season — because it's too cold, you're too busy meeting family obligations, or traveling between family and friends — you need ACE's tips on how to bust the 6 most common excuses.
Won't it be nice to enter the new year without having to start your exercise program from scratch and without extra holiday weight gain? Exercise will also help you beat holiday stress and keep energy levels up!
EXCUSE: It's too cold.
Surely, with the temperatures dropping and the holidays being just around the corner, Mother Nature becomes a great excuse to avoid the gym or experience the great outdoors. If this is the case for you, bring the gym home — literally.
Stair steps, chairs, your living room floor, and doorways can all be easily converted for exercise. Use these body-weight-only exercises to keep your exercise routine on track.
EXCUSE: I don't have the time.
With holiday gift-shopping, get-togethers, cooking, hosting and entertaining family members, time is more precious than ever. If you feel like you're too busy to fit in regular exercise, try combining exercise with some of your daily activities.
Park your car further away from the entrance at the mall; set up walking business meetings; take your dog for an extended walk; and create workouts with your co-workers during lunch. Recruit your family for fun, aerobic activities, such as taking brisk walks, engaging in a friendly snowball fight or visiting the public ice skating rink, the ski slopes or playing Nintendo Wii Sports video games. Physical activity is a great way to relieve stress, create team spirit and tighten emotional bonds.
EXCUSE: But I need to travel and can't take the gym with me.
If you're traveling this Holiday season, you're not alone. Millions of Americans will be on the road or in the air, but that's still not a good enough excuse to stick your exercise routine on the backburner!
People who travel for extended periods of time in an airplane should stretch to avoid deep vein thrombosis, a potentially life-threatening disorder that occurs when a blood clot forms, and create an action plan to incorporate active breaks during extended car travel.
EXCUSE: I'll start fresh in January
The new year does mean new beginnings, but wouldn't it be nice to start it with a headstart? New Year's resolutions are full of promise, but very few people actually keep them. By staying active through December, you can avoid the common new year pitfalls of doing too much too soon, which can often lead to burn-out or injuries.
EXCUSE: I can't get motivated when it's so dark.
If you’re telling yourself, “I can’t hit the running trails in the mornings, because it’s still dark outside,” or say “I may as well drive home after work because it’s dark,” it may be time to recruit an exercise buddy or hire a personal trainer. Having the accountability and companionship may be just what you need to stick to the workout on your calendar — even when it is cold and dark outside.
If you can’t find a workout buddy, try a group exercise class like indoor cycling, Zumba and boot camp. The classes might add some needed variety — and fun — to your routine, too.
EXCUSE: I have so many holiday parties to attend!
Yes, it’s definitely tough to stay on track when temptations like holiday treats are ubiquitous. While there is nothing wrong with splurging a little, you’re bound to feel better following a healthy diet while limiting your alcohol intake.
Useful tricks for party-goers include bringing your own healthy treat like a veggie platter; eating something healthy before going to the party; drinking a glass of water with every alcoholic beverage; staying away from the dessert tray; paying close attention to portion sizes; and avoiding going back for seconds.
Also, exercising before festivities helps prevent unwanted weight gain and fosters well-being, so try to fit in 30 minutes before you get ready for that party. If you don't have 30 minutes to go for a brisk walk, try breaking it up into three 10-minute walks!

A little late....but still THANKFUL.....

I realize this is a bit late for a Thanksgiving post but time has definitely escaped me..It always seems to happen to me about this time of year....I get swept up in the hustle and bustle of back to back holidays and lose all track of time..However this post has been on my mind even prior to Thanksgiving and I didn't want to forget to post about a few of the things that I am thankful for in my life....First and health...I remember when I was a little girl my grandpa would tell me, "if you don't have your health, then you have NOTHING". He would remind me of this occasionally throughout my teenage years and into my adult life..I would always nod and think "yeah yeah," but never really put too much thought into it until recent years when I became obsessed with fitness. He was right...You could be the poorest person, but if you are healthy you are richer than the wealthiest man. Having your health is everything! And I am so thankful to be mostly healthy...This saying that I heard years ago from my grandpa is always in the back of my head, and on days when I struggle to be active I can hear the voice louder and it pushes me to get moving! Along with my health, I am so thankful for the loved ones that are in my life, be it family or friends. I have some very amazing people in my life, that each have something to offer and make my life that much richer. Beyond that I am very thankful for my job, especially in today's world where employment is not guaranteed, nothing is definite, and so many are barely getting by paycheck to paycheck. I am thankful for my drive and passion in fitness, and that I finally found my calling, and am determined to be an advocate for it and contribute in a positive way to society to impact as many lives as I can......I am thankful for all the moments that have led me to this moment and this place in my life to share with the people I love. I am just THANKFUL for all the blessings I have been given......big and small

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Feast Without Feeling Guilty

I don't know if that is even possible really for even the biggest fitness fanatic.....But it is a nice concept...Every year, at this time of year people start freaking out about weight gain...All the parties, get togethers, celebrations, festivities over the next few months can definitely freak people out about gaining weight...Add to it all the pressures surrounding the holidays, which are supposed to be happy times that lead you (well at least me) to turning to comfort food...Not to mention the time crunch surrounding the hustle and bustle to accomplish everything which can quickly lead to people crossing "going to the the gym" off their list.....So here's what I think...During this time my strategy is to maintain my healthy eating habits most days of the week so a meal here and a meal there won't affect your weight...Before heading out to parties have a small snack so you don't over eat while you are there....And the funny thing is, sometimes I'm just a social eater.I will literally eat and eat because I am with people and we are talking, and I keep eating...Some people are social drinkers...I am a social eater...Knowing that I try to be mindful of what I am consuming without depriving myself....As far as activity goes, that can be difficult with all the things you are running around doing to prepare for holiday gatherings. A great goal is to still try to maintain 20-30 min/day, MOST days of the week of physical activity, this will also help keep the holiday pounds away. Finally little tricks like parking farther from the stores and malls so you add extra steps to your shopping experience (which will probably happen whether you wanna park far away or not). Take the stairs when possible, on the escalator actually walk up the moving steps instead of enjoying the free ride, or do calf raises while you wait in line to checkout... These are just some tips I have found to work!!!Happy Thanksgiving!!

Friday, November 18, 2011

The SKINNY on being healthy

Too often people use terms like "skinny", "small", etc along with tons of numbers (meaning what the scale says) to describe their health not really knowing what it exactly means because everyone defines it differently, but somehow many people share the common thought that being skinny/small (whatever that is) and having a low number when you step on the scale makes you healthier. WRONG! I have met many people with a low number on the scale or what they deem low and they have been completely unhealthy compared to others with a larger number...This was yet another misconception I had to get around, which took me years to understand....I was so consumed for years with a certain number that I wanted to see when I stepped on the scale. First, it was totally a number that I had created in my head, no real rhyme or reason behind it, and nothing that lead me to that number. I remember doing all sorts of ridiculously unhealthy behaviors to TRY to achieve THAT number..Everything from a seriously restricted diet, to starving, to bingeing and purging, all combined with hours of exercise every day. And somehow I never got to that number. I remember being frustrated and feeling like a failure, not to mention being totally confused as to why I couldn't weigh that number. Now years later I understand why. My body, as everyones body has a comfortable weight. A weight in which your body can naturally maintain with minimal effort. Of course you fluctuate depending on multiple factors...Diet, activity, stress levels, among other things can all affect your weight. But the bottom line is everyone's body is different and my wish for everyone is to not get caught up in the scale, or a certain image that is not realistic for your body type. Instead focus on factors that truly determine your health such as energy levels, mood, blood pressure, cholesterol, your heart/cardiovascular health, and how strong your body is (physically and mentally), not a number on a scale or a poorly defined adjective that gets thrown around in society.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A tribute to the woman that inspires me

Being that it is my mom's birthday it only seems fitting that I dedicate my entry to her today...When it comes to fitness and health, my mom has struggled with her weight for years and definitely had her fair share of insecure moments when it comes to body image...I mean, who hasn't??Actually WHAT WOMAN HASN'T??With that being said as soon as I found the gym and became passionate about it I immediately wanted to be an advocate for it, and living a healthy lifestyle...And one of the first people I tried to "recruit" to impose my love of the gym off on was my mom....I would show her different exercises, explain everything to her, I even dragged her to the gym a few times...But nothing seemed to work...I didn't realize that just because the gym was MY thing, lifting weights and such when it comes to fitness, that it might not be everybody's thing....That's when I had my "ah-ha" moment and somewhat backed off of her, to give her space, hoping she would find something that was a good fit for her...And she did...It was YOGA....She has been doing yoga, faithfully and consistently for almost a year...And let me tell you I couldn't be more proud..And not just because she is being active...Taking yoga speaks volumes about many areas of her life...For a woman who has done without, never taken care of herself, made herself a priority, and wasn't consistent with too much besides always being there for her kids(which is huge...don't get me wrong) to set aside time each week, even if it is only an hour...says so much...It says she knows shes worth that time....That is HER time...And everyone else needs to respect it and not ask for anything during that block of time because she is doing something she enjoys..Also yoga has done wonders for her stress levels...I don't know why I didn't suggest it before to her, knowing what a stressful life she has lead...It has improved her balance, posture, and levels of flexibility...She is definitely overall more fit, and has lost  lots of weight...I even notice that she carries herself differently, she seems to have so much more confidence which is amazing for a daughter to see when she looks at her mother...She just seems happier...And that change in her life has snow-balled into her making other changes because she feels better about herself..She is eating better, she has bought herself new clothes, got a new haircut....She recently bought her first pair of high heels and I got to teach her how to walk in them...Can you imagine being almost 60 and never owning heels not to mention not knowing how to walk in them??She was so cute and I love moments like that with her, seeing her excited to try new things...She reminds me and I reiterate to her, that you are never too old to try new things. I remember how excited she was when she purchased her yoga mat for her first class...I have shown my support for her new found passion by giving her gifts that pertain to yoga during different holidays..This is huge to me...I think it is symbolic that I not only believe in what she is doing, but I support her.I have even taken an interest in yoga by going to a class with her..Whenever you are trying something new and you wanna stick with it, a strong support system is essential...With that being said my wish on her 59th birthday is that she continues to practice yoga to end her 50's on a high note and strives to set and reach new goals, try new things, continues to grow and I feel so blessed to be a part of this journey as she truly seems to finally be coming into her own and finding/becoming who she is meant to be...HAPPY 59th BIRTHDAY MOM!!!!!I love you more than words could ever express.....

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Personal training and personalities

Before I became a trainer I had trainers....Several...I completely feel that everyone, especially if they are just beginning a workout program should have a trainer for a little while, even if it is just to navigate through the gym, various equipment, certain exercises, and even longer if they have a goal in mind that they are trying to achieve. When I think back to the trainers I have worked with and the experiences I have had and now standing on the other side of training, I must say it is important to find a trainer that you "click" with...Someone that listens, really hears you, gives you feedback, is attentive to YOUR needs, and someone you feel comfortable around....As I was training my client the other day she re-affirmed my thoughts when she told me how comfortable she feels around me, and that she is glad she is working with me, because she doesn't feel intimidated by my presence or embarrassed to do certain exercises in front of me. In that moment I was like "YES!!!!That is how it's supposed to be"..I remember feeling THAT way with some of my trainers and the complete opposite at times with different trainers. After all, at the end of the day, it is a relationship between the trainer and the client, so it is important that you find a good fit.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Quality versus Quantity

The constant struggle between these two can be found in so many areas of one's life....Would you rather have a large circle of friends that is filled with people that really don't know you, respect you, understand you, etc just to say you have "a lot of friends"??Or would you rather have a small intimate group that you know you can count on and call on when you need a good laugh, a shoulder to cry on, or someone to get you out of a sticky situation?? I definitely used to get caught up in the numbers...The more the better...Right??But as I have grown I have a small group of friends that are a part of my life, that know me, "get me", and that I choose to spend my free time with, whenever I get it....Or you can apply it to clothing or material items, shoes and such....Would you rather have 30 pairs of poorly made boots (well maybe that's an excessive number) or 1 great pair that will last FOREVER??!!Anyway you get my point...The same applies to the gym and your workouts....Let me preface this by telling you that it took me years to understand this concept...So I really hope by reading this you see what I'm saying and can save yourself some time and see results quicker!! I used to spend hours in the gym...Literally....Doing total body workouts, every day, the same moves, a million crunches (well maybe 1,000...seriously), thinking that it took all of that to achieve results or maintain what I had achieved, or whatever...Not realizing that I didn't need to spend 2-3 hours, 7 days a week in the gym...In fact you shouldn't..It is a waste...Anything over an hour is not beneficial...Unless it is a special situation like you are lifting AND doing cardio, then maybe a little over an hour is okay...But I shoot for cutting myself off at an hour regardless of what I am in there doing. It makes me work harder because I know I have a time frame, keeps my heart rate up, and gets me in and out and on with my day....Let me also add to it, when it comes to quality versus quantity in certain exercises....It is better to do 10 crunches with good form than 100 with bad form....Trust me I don't do that insane amount of crunches anymore....There are even days I don't do any ab work...I just try to keep my core engaged with every exercise I do, so it is constantly working....This concept was a struggle for me to wrap my mind around and then to give into and stick with...I am so OCD and a definite Type A, that to give into this theory was a personal battle that I feel pretty confident that I have FINALLY won!!!And the amazing thing is, is that once I gave into this, I actually started seeing more results! So yes....DEFINITELY always QUALITY over QUANTITY!!!!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Training Day (Two)

Today actually went really well...We did a completely different workout than we did the first session, but still hit every body part for a full body workout...In addition I took her measurements because for some reason she has no idea what she weighs....She doesn't own a scale which can definitely be a good thing, because too often, especially women get caught up in numbers....We discussed using other methods to determine changes in her body...The way your clothes fit is an excellent indicator of weight loss/gain..I don't weigh myself that often because my body fluctuates depending from week to week, day to day, even time of day. So to keep from getting too consumed by numbers my rule of thumb is: DON'T WEIGH YOURSELF MORE THAN ONCE A WEEK. With that being said I decided to measure certain parts of her body and we will re-measure her in about three weeks to see what changes have taken place. Three weeks is a sufficient amount of time to see some changes when she is active most days of the week and is starting to improve her eating habits.We also discussed eating habits again and how important they are in seeing results...Diet is definitely 80-90 percent of it and the rest being divided between level of activity and genetics. For example, you could spend hours in the gym but if you only eat fast food/drink soda, you will struggle to maintain a healthy weight. Or on the flip side you could be minimally active but make healthy, nutritious choices when it comes to meals and maintain your weight. Ideally, would be the combination of both, because they do go hand in hand...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Where Do You Want To Spend Your Money??

This is a thought I keep repeating to myself when I think of things I spend my hard earned money on, things like new tennis shoes, a new sports bra, my membership at the gym, a variety of fitness classes I have taken over the years, my protein shake powder, all the healthy fresh food I consume...The list could go on and on but you get the picture...Even with the health nut that I am, with all my passion about fitness it can be a struggle to fork out the cash for these things...However, then I think about this: I am a firm believer that there is a direct correlation between fitness/activity and your health..DUH. So at that point I know the choice is mine, as it is yours....Do you want to spend your money on proper workout gear, gym memberships/classes/personal training, healthy food, etc to maintain a healthy lifestyle?? Or do you want to spend your money at the doctor's offices, with specialists, at the hospital, and on medication?? Something to think about.......

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Words For Every WOMAN

I already posted this on facebook, but if you missed it I thought I would share it again...My mom first shared it with me because she said when she read it she instantly thought of me...The words in this poem hold so much truth and I feel every woman should read this:
enough money within her control to move out
and rent a place of her own, even if she never wants to or needs to…
something perfect to wear if the employer, or date of her dreams wants to see her in an hour…
a youth she’s content to leave behind….
a past juicy enough that she’s looking forward to
retelling it in her old age….
a set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra…
one friend who always makes her laugh… and one who lets her cry…
a good piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in her family…
eight matching plates, wine glasses with stems, and a recipe for a meal, that will make her guests feel honored…
a feeling of control over her destiny.
how to fall in love without losing herself.
how to quit a job, break up with a lover, and confront a friend without; ruining the friendship…
when to try harder… and WHEN TO WALK AWAY…
that she can’t change the length of her calves,
the width of her hips, or the nature of her parents..
that her childhood may not have been perfect…but its over…
what she would and wouldn’t do for love or more…
how to live alone… even if she doesn’t like it…
whom she can trust,
whom she can’t,
and why she shouldn’t take it personally…
where to go…
be it to her best friend’s kitchen table…
or a charming inn in the woods…
when her soul needs soothing…
what she can and can’t accomplish in a day…
a month…and a year

Invest In YOU!!!!

Investing in yourself is so hard for most of us....I see it going on all around me...Women putting their boyfriends/husbands first, putting their children first, themselves last..or not at all...I witnessed it growing up with my own mom. I can't tell you how many times she did without so my sister and I could have whatever we needed or wanted...And although that is an admirable quality because of the intention behind it, what we all need to realize is that unless you take care of yourself and meet your own needs you are really useless to those around you to a certain degree....You are almost doing yourself a disservice by neglecting yourself and not taking care of yourself so you can BE THE BEST YOU, which will then domino effect into you being the best whatever to others....Maybe you don't agree, but it is truly how I feel..I realize that I am in a situation where I can for the most part take care of my needs/wants/etc because I don't have anybody that relies on me (this is by and depends on me, where many others are not in this situation...To which I say that putting yourself first while still tending to whoever relies on you will be a challenge, it will take balance and organization....but it can be done!

Muscle versus Momentum

This concept crosses my mind almost daily, especially if I am in the middle of a workout...I find myself often looking around the gym to try to see what others are doing, possibly learn new ideas, but often trying to figure out what is being done incorrectly, what can be done to fix it, or how I would alter the exercise. Call me crazy but I guess it's the student/new trainer in me. Anyway, I'm not trying to point fingers or single anybody out, but when it comes to muscle versus momentum (meaning you are using MOMENTUM instead of your MUSCLE to complete the exercise), it is most often seen in least from my observation. It can typically be seen by the person that is trying to bench press, squat, curl, just to name a few, an excessive amount of weight, because they feel it is more beneficial or maybe they are trying to prove something...However, they incorporate momentum/speed into the equation, in addition to compromising form which leads to ZERO benefits and risking injury. So with that being said I advise everyone to slow down, it should take approximately 6 seconds total for a rep (approx 3 sec on the lifting and 3 sec on the lowering), go for a lower weight for whatever exercise you are attempting and really focus on proper form and contracting the muscle you are working when you are lifting...Follow those guidelines and you will see results so much quicker!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Training Day (One)

So today I trained my first client..FINALLY!!!It has been in the works for about three weeks, cancelled once, and today it finally happened...It is a female in her mid twenties, that just had a baby about six months ago and is looking to get her pre-baby body back. She has never really been active, and when she approached me about training she made it very clear that her focus area is her tummy...Although I loved the idea of training someone who has never been active because I feel like she is a blank slate, I couldn't help but feel instantly challenged by the thought of WHERE TO BEGIN??!!! On top of my nervousness of training my first client I was also facing a challenge of not knowing the facility and not being aware of what equipment would be available. We trained at her community center, so I knew I had to be prepared to alter and improvise the workout that I had written up prior to our session once I saw what was actually there...When I got there, things had to be altered..All that was available was a circuit of machines that isolated each major muscle group, one mat, one bench, one rack of dumbbells, and a few medicine balls...WOW!!!!Well going from my gym to this experience..But we made it work...We did a warm up to get blood flowing and warm up her muscles, which consisted of mountain climbers and planks...Planks are amazing to engage your core and really fire that muscle group...As a new mom, those muscles haven't been put to work in a while so it is important to strengthen that area back up...Then we did a circuit of approximately 8 exercises which targeted every major muscle group, plus some ab work...We did some back strengthening exercises to balance out her core, because along with a weak core her lower back is also weak. And finally we finished with lots of stretching...Overall I felt the first session went well...She definitely felt it, and I warned her that she will feel it tomorrow because her body is not used to all that activity...We discussed eating habits which totally need to be modified. I'm  not a fan of a diet or the word diet in the traditional sense but I will say that you need to make healthy choices, there are food groups for a reason, you need to fuel your body because it is kind of like putting gas in a car, drink lots of water, everything in moderation, I mean it really is not rocket science...I don't believe in depriving your body of cravings, because when you finally give in, and we all do you will eat WAY more then if you had just satisfied that craving when you originally had it....Like I said EVERYTHING IN MODERATION! Honestly this session was great for both of us..She is the perfect candidate for my gym guinea pig...She was very cooperative and receptive to the training, and those qualities will really help me build my confidence as a trainer. I feel after today the first session of personal training regardless of which side of it you are on is a learning experience. A client needs to learn  and get a feel for the trainer and their style and a trainer needs to take an inventory of the client, strengths/weaknesses, goals, etc. We definitely accomplished all of that today, and she added increasing flexibility to her goals so I will definitely be adding those exercises to her future workouts. I think one of the best moments was her confusion that most of her exercises DID NOT involve any weights..It is amazing what a great workout you can get by just using your body weight..Meaning lunges, squats, tricep dips, pushups, just to name a few...We will be training three days a week..So stay tuned!

How It All Started......

This blog was a LONG time coming...Actually this chapter of my life was a long time coming...I spent all of my teens and most of my twenties drifting...Not knowing what I wanted to do with my life, what I wanted to be, what my purpose was...none of that..And maybe that sounds normal..But it didn't to me..It felt like everybody else knew what they wanted to be, knew their major coming out of high school and I WAS LOST. I remember growing up and when I would talk to my friends about what we were gonna "be when we grow-up" it seemed like they could all answer immediately and they never wavered all through high school. Me on the other hand? I would change my answer all the time or choose someone else's answer...My bachelor's degree (in Elementary Ed) was actually a spin off from a job I had at the time at a daycare...I THOUGHT I wanted to work with kids...But throughout the program it never felt "right". And by the time I was student teaching at the end of the program I KNEW it wasn't right, but my ability to see things through kept me in it till the end and I completed the 4 year program....Four years of my life that to some might seem like a waste because I changed my mind and the fact that I was back at square one led me to mostly feel the same....I took some time off, took some classes, and then I discovered the gym...Who knew that, that place would be the beginning of a snowball experience that would lead me to obtaining a master's in Kinesiology, a national certification in personal training, and coming to the realization AKA "ah-ha" moment of what my purpose was...I always knew I wanted to touch lives, make a difference, but I never knew how..Training people and working in the world of fitness will give me the ability to do both...I also knew that since I struggled with eating disorders (which I will talk about later) for several years and body image issues on top of self-esteem issues I knew that I wanted to empower people, specifically women to save them from wasting some of the time I did with my battle by improving their self esteem while improving their health thru fitness.....So on that note, welcome to my world which is consumed with allllll things fitness...It's gonna be a crazy ride!