Works for me…what about you?

yoga female on top

We are all searching-perhaps desperately–for the next big thing; especially when it comes to battling the bulge.

From personal experience, I can relay what has worked for me.  However, I’m also interested in what has worked for my readers.

What has worked for me?  Primarily, changing my mind about what being fit really means; but more on that under a different entry.

Changing my exercise routine throughout the week

I’ve always enjoyed running.  After the birth of my son, I was looking for a way to lose the “baby weight,” and then some.  My husband asked me what I wanted for Christmas that year.  He was certain I would ask for jewelry, or a memento commemorating our son’s birth.  I did just that–the memento I wanted was a treadmill.

Running became my obsession.  It was the only exercise I took seriously.  Working a busy day shift in PACU (recovery room day surgery), I would get up and run 4-6 miles prior to heading to work.  However, I quickly found unless I was upping my mileage weekly, the weight loss slowed.  Eventually it stopped.  I started to GAIN weight, even though I was running consistently.  I became discouraged.  I soon realized a change in attitude, as well as routine was required.

For me, change came in the form of DVDs.   It also came in the form of beginning hot yoga classes.

So what do I do now?  I incorporate yoga, running, and my favorite DVD into my week.  Running may mean the treadmill or trail.  I realize to running purists the treadmill is anathema.  However, the treadmill is what started me on the road to relieving stress, initiating weight loss, and quieting my nerves after a hectic day.  Running–treadmill or trail–remains to this day, my preferred method of exercise.

DVDs can be a great way to change-up your routine.  I recommend to clients to select one form of a home workout; one that can be performed in under an hour.  This means excuses become void about having time for the gym.  My preference for my clients (after a thorough assessment and MD visit) is to select a DVD one to two levels above their current fitness level.  It may mean taking breaks during the routine; and I encourage them to do so.  Then, get right back at it.  Eventually, you will find you are working into it, instead of growing out of it.  Yet you should expect to grow out of it–if you are faithful to that part of your exercise routine.

Yoga appears to be the new darling of the fitness world.  However, HOT yoga definitely kicks things up a notch.  Room temperature can vary anywhere between 98-105F.  In a crowded room, expect it to be even hotter.  Hydration before, during, and after is key to this workout.  Know this is not for everyone.  Those with heat intolerance, the elderly, certain cardiac issues, or those with problems staying hydrated because of medications, may find this is not for them.  As with any workout, this is a discussion to have with your MD first.

What has not worked for me? What wouldn’t I recommend?  Check out my next entry under FITNESS.  In the meantime, WHAT HAS WORKED FOR YOU?  Let me know.

Questions? Comments?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

 

 

What the nursing process can teach you– A FIVE PART SERIES (continued)

healthy living waterfall

DIAGNOSIS-when most of us hear this word, it conjures up doom & gloom.  It may bring to mind a loved one, or even ourselves when we were told something we didn’t want to hear.  Or in some instances, it brought welcome relief to know a certain disease was now being “ruled out.”  Whatever your experience with this term, chances are you are thinking of a medical diagnosis.

Medical diagnoses are formulated around disease processes-which then give the MD, as well as the patient an idea of how treatment plans will be navigated.  Nursing diagnoses however, plainly name what is happening to the patient, and illustrate how to treat that response.  It’s part of the nursing care plan; and what separates our discipline from medicine.

An example would be a woman who is diagnosed as having metastatic CA of the breast (breast cancer which is spreading).  Her MD would initiate a treatment plan; while nursing follows up with a plan of care, including a nursing diagnosis.  If a mastectomy were in order, a nursing diagnosis may read “Alteration in body image r/t (retaining to) upcoming mastectomy.”  Nursing would then incorporate the next phase–PLANNING, into her care.  Part of PLANNING would incorporate physician follow-up for reconstructive surgery (if she so desired).  However, it may mean involving another woman–one who faced the same road, speaking to this patient.  It is NURSING oftentimes, which anticipates as well as orchestrates this–involving social work, patient advocacy, discharge planning, as well as foreseeing the need for follow-up care, through the nursing care plan.  Nursing is the frontline, follow-through, and many times the follow-up, in assuring successful team based patient care.

Yet, what does this scenario have to do with lifestyle intervention or personal training?

How many times have you been assessed, or told “this isn’t possible for you,” or “I’m sorry, you don’t seem to be a fit for this position?”  The person telling you this may have meant well.  Maybe their ASSESSMENT however, as well as their rush to diagnose, was incomplete; or inept.

It might be helpful then, to take a step back–and plainly name what you see; just as nursing diagnoses illustrate.  Is it a perceived lack of time–r/t work, school, family (or any combination of these) which appear to be keeping you from reaching your fitness goals?  (they really do have to be your goals, to sustain change)

Noncompliance r/t ineffective planning.  Now here’s a loaded nursing diagnosis.  Noncompliance/compliance is one of my least favorite terms to use; mostly because it tells me nothing of what makes someone appear this way.  However, this diagnosis may preview and present a little food for thought; especially when it comes to initiating meaningful change.  It also leads us into PLANNING–the next phase of the nursing process.  That’s really what effective ASSESSMENT and DIAGNOSIS should do, lead you towards effective PLANNING.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Questions? Comments?  See my ABOUT page, or contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

What the nursing process can teach you–A FIVE PART SERIES

healthy living waterfall

The nursing process is the initial step in analyzing how to care for patients.  This process is one of the first principles you learn as a student–yet it can be a useful tool; applicable to everyday living.

ASSESSMENT, DIAGNOSIS, PLANNING, IMPLEMENTATION, & EVALUATION.  These may sound a little intimidating if you are not a nurse; however, as these are discussed, you will understand how they can benefit you.

Let’s look at ASSESSMENT.

Assessing a patient means you are taking inventory if you will, of what the patient is telling you–verbally & non-verbally.  Blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, what brings the patient to the hospital/clinic are documented, and later integrated into the bigger picture.  While this by no means entails a complete assessment, these segments are typically part of it.

However, assessment is a term which applies to any circumstance in which you want to “take stock” of the situation.  It is the initial step most of us take, when we want to make a change–meaningful change.  You cannot decide how to compel transition, without knowledge of what is in stock.

How many of us stop at the grocery store, with the intention of picking up a “few items.”  If we haven’t taken stock of what we have on hand, we often find we have spent more money, purchased what we didn’t need, and forgot what we stopped for in the first place.  This is not only an example of poor planning; it is a lack of ASSESSMENT.

Is streamlining your life, as well as your waistline, part of your goal?  If so, taking inventory of what you have on hand–the positive, negative, what needs changing, what does not, & how that change will impact your life require defining; and of course, ASSESSMENT.

Be sure to check back for DIAGNOSIS.  It isn’t just for physicians–and how it can figure into your life may surprise you.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Be sure to check out my ABOUT page.

Questions? Comments?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

Do I really need a personal trainer?

fitness model male  The short answer may be a “no.”  However, you may want to consider “who” rather than “if.”

A personal trainer can provide motivation, as well as strategic implementation of workout routines, helping you reach your goals.

However, you may want to consider who is training you first.

Who is their target audience?  This is a priority question.  If you are looking to run your 1st marathon, you need a coach/trainer which runs consistently–not one which thinks running supplements his weight lifting routine.  Same consideration affects your choice if you are looking to gain muscle hypertrophy (enlarge your muscles).  You want someone who is knowledgeable, and understands safety is paramount.

Is your personal trainer certified?  This is controversial to some, but certification adds credibility.  It is not a guarantee of client results or expertise in the field; however, it means that the PT has completed an exam assessing his/her knowledge of essential principles.

Who is/was their clientele? Knowing who they have helped and gained results for in the past, can predict your future; and if they are the trainer for you.  (Check out my ABOUT page, to understand my focus & target audience)

Be prepared…Have a list of questions which are important to you, to reach your goals.  For example, “Do you check in with your clients, even on off days?” or “I’ve been told I am pre-diabetic, but I also have knee issues.  What can I do?”  Being prepared also means being prepared to expend more than calories; you should be willing to invest in your health and overall well-being.  It is an investment; and your mindset should reflect that.  Shoe shopping, Starbucks, and eating out certainly add up; so why should you mind spending money on a trainer?  Also, certifications as well as preparation costs–be cognizant and respectful of your PT’s time as well as efforts.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Questions?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

 

 

Hit the pavement or hit the gym–or maybe the DVD player…

fitness model male

What do you have in your house?  It’s a worthwhile question.  And, it applies to more than storage space, clothes for your favorite charity, or leftovers in the fridge.  It is also applicable to your workout.

When counseling clients, I refer to “what do you have in your toolbox?”  For one such client, it meant re-thinking what workouts meant.  Once an avid runner, he now faced hip replacement surgery.  Though he hadn’t run in many years, he felt he could “knock off” 35+ pounds if only he could run.  I told him there were many alternatives to running; but he wasn’t enthused.

I visited the health club he recently joined, and pointed out the cross-trainer.  His first try on it yielded “this will take some getting used to.”  “That may be,” I told him.  “However, you will find it a good alternative to running at this time.”  Although this is still a work in progress for him, it is part of his “toolbox,” since running is not.

My recommendation to him, as well as others is this:  workouts needed to be varied, accessible, and come with a back-up plan.  If you like to go to the gym, but your car isn’t cooperating, what about a DVD?  DVDs can be life-savers if you can’t get to the health club.  The key is selecting one at your fitness level, or a step above.  If you have led a pretty sedentary lifestyle, probably a high intensity workout isn’t for you–UNTIL you progress.  Start with something that elevates your heart rate, yet keeps it within range for your age.  You should feel yourself working up a sweat, and once finished, know you have had a workout.  There are many DVDs available, for all fitness levels and intensities.  Discuss your choice, goals, and overall health status with your MD, before beginning a routine.

Varied workouts keep your body guessing, rest overused muscle groups, while strengthening those overlooked in your normal routine.  If you enjoy strength training, skip the gym and try a yoga class–if you are really up for a challenge, make it a HOT YOGA class.  You will be surprised at the workout it gives your body, and the resolve it gives your mind.

Again, it comes down to “what’s in your toolbox?”  As with any, it should be well-stocked and anticipate almost every situation.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Be sure to check out my ABOUT page.

Questions?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

Injury, surgery, what about my workout?

healthy living waterfall

You were well on your way to running your first 10K–or maybe you just started a fitness routine.  Either way, now you are sidelined with an injury, or perhaps recovering from surgery.  You don’t want to lose what you’ve gained, and you don’t want to gain what you’ve lost.

So what about your workout?  Here’s a few questions for your MD.

–when can I return to my workout?

–what can I substitute which won’t aggravate my injury or stall my recovery, but will help me return to my routine?

–do I need rehab? Once rehab is over, will I need to work with someone out of center?

–what type of nutrition is needed for optimal recovery?

Once you return to your routine, remember, easy does it.  Depending upon your injury/type of surgery, you may have to take things at a slower pace–perhaps a much slower pace.  Proper nutrition, hydration, as well as setting weekly goals can be helpful.  However, consult your MD/specialist for the particulars.

If you believe you will overdo it, bring someone with you who is at the same level you were, prior to your surgery/injury.  Working out with someone at your level, keeps you in check.  Better still, enlist the guidance of a personal trainer.  A personal trainer can provide training specific to your sport and/or fitness level, while helping you avoid aggravation of injury, or stalling recovery.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

New to the site?  Check out my ABOUT page.

Questions?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

What’s on your plate?

happy apples

You’ve just finished your workout.

Whether you’ve spent a couple of hours or a couple of minutes on it, you don’t want to UNDO it.

Here are some tips:

–saturated fats should be kept to a minimum (example bacon, or any food where 1/2 or more of your calories are from fat)

–check your portion sizes (it doesn’t mean you carry a food scale around; it means you stop eating when you feel full–that’s the best scale you can employ)

–eat a variety of foods; however, begin to increase your dark, green, leafy vegetable intake.  Ideally, your plate should be 1/2 fruits and vegetables (rationale=vegetables & fruits act as a kind of “flush” for your system.  Their fiber content helps to rid your body of excess bloat, while providing energy and vitamins needed for workouts, as well as activities of daily living

–swap one can or glass of soda for H20 (staying hydrated properly helps keep you feeling full longer; and soda is not real hydration) If you find this difficult, try this: one full glass of H20, for every 1/2 can or glass of soda

–if you enjoy milk, try 2%; work your way down to 1%(still working on this myself)

–in order to lose weight, you should be expending (either through exercise, decreased calorie consumption, or both) 500 calories per day.  This will add up to 3500 calories/week.  How does that translate to weight loss?  3500 calories=1lb  You will be losing 1 lb per week if you expend approximately 500 calories/day

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Check out my ABOUT pages.

Questions?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com