Cheese power…

cheese please  It seems like all things dairy have taken a bad rap lately.  I’ve talked about this before.  One minute celebs are lining up to wear the milk mustache.  The next, dairy is responsible for everything from bloating to acne.  Certainly if you are lactose intolerant, dairy is problematic.  But for those of us who never really bought into the “swearing off dairy” craze, here’s a bit of good news.

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/06/17/heart-healthy-cheese.aspx

CHEESE WILL MAKE ME FAT

Well, not so much.  Anytime you consume more calories than you expend(burn off), there is a possibility of storage.  Think of those units you purchase to place items you can’t fit into your home/apartment.  You may start off with “I’ve just got a few things.  Will never fill this entire space.”  Soon, you find yourself visiting more often, and eventually filling it to capacity.

Same idea with calories.  Whether its cheese, roast beef, or sweet potatoes (all favorites of mine), unused translates to “stored.”  True enough, not all calories are created equal.  However debunking some of these dairy, gluten-free, sugar-free myths is required.

People are indeed, confused enough when it comes to calories, exercise, & food choices.  The health and wellness industry, still in relative infancy, is still “working out the kinks.”  Well, here’s one kink this personal trainer, takes immense pleasure in straightening.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

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

Functional movement

healthy living waterfall  ADL.  How many of you have heard this term? Unless you are a nurse, MD, physical or occupational therapist, probably not many.  There is a trend in the fitness industry to help with that, as well as correct improper body mechanics which may lead to injury.

What is an ADL? ADL stands for activity of daily living.  What does that have to do with exercise or fitness?  Well in non-medical jargon–one whole hell of a lot..

As stated earlier, the trend for the fitness industry is to create programs which sustain and prolong independence.  You see, strength training and exercise isn’t just for the twenty something, searching for a new routine to amp up his biceps.  Nor is this market cornered by women looking to get into their size 4 bikini.  Personal trainers abound to help with both.  I’m just not one of them–but I digress.

FUNCTIONAL MOVEMENT–for ADLs

Functional movement screens are not new.  However, they are gaining popularity in health club orientations, for new members.  They are designed to help assess exactly what the name implies:  functional movement.  Such tests may include but are not limited to:  ability to step over a low hurdle, dropping straight down to a deep squat, as well assessing orientee’s ability to clasp (or attempt to clasp) hands behind their back–one elbow pointing up, one pointing towards the floor.

You may be wondering, what does this have to do with an activity of daily living?  True enough, the latter appears to have little to do with it.  Yet consider this.  If falling backwards, many of us could put our hands out to catch ourselves; but an equal amount would end up on their rears.  Let’s add in a few years–perhaps ten, twenty, or thirty.  At age 65, 75, or 85–still confident in your ability, or your client’s ability, to catch themselves?

What about picking up one foot, and balancing on the other–long enough to step over an obstacle?  While this may sound simplistic, and those engaged in regular physical activity may take this for granted, there is a substantial part of the population for which this may give pause.  Just because their goals don’t include attempting to mimic an air brushed magazine cover, does it mean they don’t count?

FUNCTIONAL MOVEMENT–ALIGNMENT AND INJURY PREVENTION

Beyond promoting independence as we age, functional movement seeks to correct improper body mechanics.  Now there are many schools of thought which seek to do this.  And as with any research, each person engaged in their pet project may have their own opinions or promotions.  It is not my intention to favor one over the other. Yet if you are a trainer or need more information, take a look at this.

http://www.movementlectures.com/SFNT.html

These lectures are fairly inexpensive.   However, they may be what takes your body to the next level, assist with an injury, or provide you with information outside the mainstream.

Again, fitness and healthy habits do not belong exclusively to one group.  On the contrary–lifestyle intervention, achieving a goal, and subsequent maintenance affects society as a whole.  You may be asking “how is that?”  And my reply would be “look around.  How does it not?”

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Need help scheduling a “lifestyle intervention” of your own?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

What works–keeping it real

teaching fitness  As a trainer and nurse, my focus is what works for those who lead real day-to-day lives.  My encounters range from those dealing with acute to chronic pain, as well as those in the midst of transition.  It can be one perceived as upward or downward; incline to decline.  Yes, perception in my view is everything.  Far from the way most practitioners’ view health, I don’t subscribe to every theory and hypothesis–regardless of the source.  Why? For a few reasons, but mainly because they are just that.  Theory and hypothesis.  Proof?  Well if set in stone, we would be practicing medicine the same way we did in the 1800s; or even 25 years ago.  We don’t.  Therefore for me, incline or decline is part and parcel in the mind.  At the very least, in our outlook.

My hope is to change minds and bodies, one at a time.

WHAT WORKS

Much of what I post on exercise (not all, but most) I have tried myself.  No I’m not naturally long, lean, and thin, with a graceful body.  I have talents and some gifts; that’s not one of them.   However, it doesn’t mean I’ve settled into a mindset which says “that’s not for you.” I beg to differ; and have.

If you want a longer leaner body, there are ways and means.  Though the endless squats and lunges most personal trainers feel requisite, isn’t one of them.  If you goal is to strengthen/increase quad and glute size; go for it.  However if it entails elongation, they may not be for you.

Yes it takes a village–and here are a few of the inhabitants.

THE NEED FOR SPEED

Cardio is an absolute necessity for me.  Running on a treadmill (even if I can’t sustain the speed) at 6.0 or higher, begins my workout.  I do start with a brief walk first.   Ten to fifteen minutes alternating at different speeds, is the rev I need to initiate a routine.  This sets the tone for how I want my body to react; and ultimately look like.

SKIP THE SQUAT; BUT NOT THE STRENGTH

Strength training is essential; but not all is created equal.  Nor does it just apply to free weights or machines.  That’s not to say they don’t have a place.  They do; and furthermore I believe machines give your muscles a workout almost impossible to replicate at home.  But if the gym isn’t your thing, there are great alternatives.  If elongation and toning is your goal, then the gym may be your alternative, not your main source.

Here are a few suggestions.

1. ESSENTRICS/Classical Stretch–Don’t the let the name “Classical Stretch” fool you.  The pulling and toning associated with this routine is anything but classical.  This workout is unlike any I’ve tried.  It can elongate and define your torso, arms, and legs in ways you’d never thought possible.  The DVDs will run you about $20.00 each, depending upon what you order.  My favorites are the ESSENTRICS FULL BODY BARRE WORKOUT and ESSENTRICS Arms, Abs, & Waist Toner with Legs, Butt, & Thigh Thinner.  The first features combination routines which can be mixed and matched.  The latter features 2 workouts; one for upper body and one for lower.  While this may not be traditional strength training, it will help lengthen and strengthen your limbs.

2.  BALLET BEAUTIFUL–Again, the name is a fooler.  Mary Helen Bowers is, as a friend termed it “the silent assassin.”  The music is classical, the studio clean, crisp, and pristine.  The workout?  One of the toughest I’ve performed; especially the butt and leg segments.  One DVD contains 4 workouts, another has 6.  The one containing only 4 is harder, in my humble opinion.  Strength training?  You better believe it is.  By the time Ms. Mary Helen is finished with you, squats will seem like a brisk walk on a spring day.  The kicker here is while lunges and squats may help with cellulite, this workout actually does.  It may not get rid of it completely.  Yet I’ve seen marked improvements; in places I thought impossible to tone with any other exercise.

THE RECAP & TAKE AWAY

To recap, my workout starts with brisk cardio–treadmill walk, then run; upwards of 6.0-7.0.  If not a treadmill day, I also still like INSANITY.  However, I START with 15 minutes of it, then go to a toning routine.  Rarely at this point, do I finish an INSANITY workout.  My toning segment consists of a Pilates, Essentrics, Classical Stretch, Ballet Beautiful, or yoga type routine.  Choose a DVD you like, but one which will challenge you as you become more fit.  That is key.  My rule of thumb is if it’s easy to do in the beginning, you’re wasting your time and money.  Whatever the exercise, it should grow with you, challenging you as you become more fit.

So how long does this take?  It depends.  I can work out anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hrs, every other day.  I also include at least 1 day at the gym–weather permitting.

Hope this helps.

Need additional tips? Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Changing bodies, one mind at a time

feeling green & great  I’ve often wondered–with as many theories regarding weight loss and exercise that exist, why aren’t we all a size 4? Why isn’t every guy chiseled from deltoids to calves?  From where do these theories come? Research?  Self experimentation? I know much of what I write about comes from both; but mostly the latter.  I’ve learned to listen to my body, not theories.  As I’ve often said, it’s a matter of what works for you; not a control group, or someone else.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t avail yourself of the latest data.  You should; but you have to try it on for size.  Kick the tires, take it for a test drive.  If you don’t you might find yourself lost in a maze; confused and frustrated enough to say “f#@! this.”

As a nurse and personal trainer, that’s not where I want clients to be.

I also don’t want to hear them sounding like a textbook, or engaging in the latest trend, thinking it will cut calories.  Examples?  Gluten free.  Dairy free.  Sugar free.  My questions for them?  Do you have celiac disease?  Gluten sensitive?  Are you lactose intolerant?  Do you realize what is added to foods to make them comparable in taste, if gluten-free or sugar-free?  Most of them answer with a resounding “no.”  My answer then–do your own research.  Do your homework before you reiterate what the world is telling you.  Why?  Because chances are, like Chicago weather–it will change.  Just wait a little bit.

CHANGING YOUR MIND MIGHT JUST CHANGE YOUR BODY

As a man thinketh, so he is.  You reap what you sow.  Old adages indeed–that may harbor a grain of truth(though it may not be gluten-free).

Not so long ago, pro athletes and celebs alike were lining up to wear the milk mustache.  What about the milk your diet commercials?  You know, the ones where lean, svelte waisted people were drinking up?  A milk glass would then appear, with slight hour-glass curves.  Surely, there are a few of you who recall these ads.

Dairy and I at times don’t always see eye to eye.  I know what that feels like; no one has to tell me.  If you are gluten sensitive or diabetic, unless newly diagnosed, no one has to tell you what that feels like; especially if you eat the wrong food.

For the rest, let’s not rely on the latest craze or hypothesis alone.  Let’s put it to the test in our lives.

Recently, a trainer from Australia I viewed online was debunking what she hailed as “fitness myths.”  One such myth was “yoga & Pilates do little for weight loss.”  She felt yoga was helpful, just not so much for losing excess pounds. Well, this is one theory I test drove for myself–pretty much for an entire summer.

I happen to like hot yoga.  The kind performed with upwards of thirty people, in a room designed to accommodate twenty.  Sad to say I didn’t see much weight loss.  What I did notice however, is that I was more aware of what I was putting in my mouth; particularly if I was participating the next day.  Enter ballet inspired workouts, CLASSICAL STRETCH, ESSENTRICS, and a little Pilates.  Now here’s the kicker.  All I heard in these DVDs and workouts was “engage, pull in your stomach, abs are hollowed up into the ribs.”  With all that hollowing, engaging, and pulling in my stomach, guess what happened? Less food went in, more weight came off.  Matter of fact, my entire body shape changed.  My legs and waist elongated.  Cellulite I’d long since given up on, started to shed.  The first time I heard one trainer state “this will help rid cellulite,” I laughed out loud.  That leg workout was no walk in the park.  But she was right.

As you can see, fitness is not a “one size fits all” endeavor.  Training involves understanding what you enjoy (and despise), as well as knowing what you want to accomplish; besides weight loss.  That will happen.  Once the weight is gone, what’s your end game?  Long, lean, toned?  Muscular arms and thighs? Running a marathon? Running a mile?  How much time do you have to spend training?  On maintenance?  What are you willing to sacrifice to get there?  Yes, I said sacrifice.  When you answer these questions, you can transform.  And not by someone’s theory, newest book, or trend.  Sure they may help.  Yet in the end, it’s not about how they did it, it’s about how you do it.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

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