waterman  I am on a mission.  I’d like straightforward answers to questions regarding food choices, exercise, and  my biggest pet peeve–why we still consider antiquated scales a measure of legitimate progress.

Are any of these on your hit list too?  If you’re at even the remotest point in considering weight loss, they should be.  Since I’m a creature of habit (my own unique ones that is), I’ll start with the last one first.

WANT TO RUIN YOUR DAY?  START HERE..

Start it off by jumping on that old-fashioned scale.  Now I realize there has to be an objective means to your weight loss end.  As a nurse, the words “evidence based practice” are etched in my head.  But evidence can be acquired in a variety of ways.  For me, trying on a top I hadn’t worn since late May, was evidence I’d lost weight. Now mid-August, I don’t recall it feeling this loose.  Does it stretch you may ask?  Not this material.

I’ve also noticed a change in my food choices.  More on that next post.

WEIGHTS & MEASURES..

Now you may believe I am anti-scale.  Not really.  It remains one of the most economical & objective choices to discern progress.  However, before you jump for joy or curse the ground it sits on because of a numeric value, keep this in mind:  Can your scale differentiate between body fat, water weight, or muscle?  If not, why bother?  Don’t waste your time.

Cheaper still?  Invest in a tape measure.  Take your measurements.  Better still let someone else take them.  Loss of inches often precedes loss of weight.  Still evidence based, but often encouraging and less discouraging.

By the way, how are your shoes fitting?  Feet often reflect a loss of weight before your body manifests it.  Also, if you wear a ring consistently, how is it feeling?  The truth is in the digits; and often not those glaring up at you from beneath your feet.

As stated previously, I’m not anti-scale.  Yet I do believe in the right tools for the job.  The right tool here is mandatory.  Saving yourself frustration and heartache, is worth the investment in a scale which differentiates between bone mass, water, muscle, and fat.  At minimum,  it should know what is muscle, what is water, and distinguish these from fat.  Until you can swing this, my mantra is this:  “measure your treasure, because the sole knows.”  Measure your treasure? A loose ring is a telltale sign of weight loss.  So is a declining waistline and hips.  Upper arms and thighs–not so much.  These may actually bulk, depending upon the exercises you perform, before they streamline.  The sole knows?  Again your shoes may be slipping a bit–mine did, particularly in the heel of my shoes as I lost weight.

 

Yes, my profession has little tolerance for all but the facts and objective data.  How that data is collected however, is an entirely different matter; for better or worse.  Nurses realize there is more than one way to get the job done.  And as a nurse and now an American College of Sports Medicine personal trainer, bringing realistic means to an objective end is not only necessary, but my purpose.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

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

 

 

 

 

hair out of H20  This post originated over the summer; however, I believe it’s integral to any exercise routine.  If your workout isn’t working, lack of down time between workouts may be the reason.

You’ve been hitting the gym, pavement, and/or the DVD workouts 5-6 days a week.   If this statement falls into the category of “things that make you go huh?” this post is not for you.

However if you are working with a high intensity routine most everyday, you may be wasting your time.  UNLESS you are inserting a recovery day.

Recovery days are essential.  They are the “pause” if you are in a state of constant “play.”  Exercising everyday at moderate to high intensities, you will burn caloriesYour body will also demand more calories.  Translation?  You will want to eat more food.  Yet this isn’t unusual, nor does it necessarily mitigate your workout.  It simply means your body requires additional fuel for additional work.  It can become a problem though, if you are overdoing either.

Sore muscles or DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) may be an expectation if you haven’t worked out consistently.  If you have overextended yourself or tried a new routine, it also maybe the price.  Yet if you have trouble staying awake by midday, achy muscles are a constant companion, and headaches are becoming a part of your post-exercise routine–you are overdoing it. Yes, these symptoms can be attributed to dehydration (more common than you realize among the diligent).  Hydration issues aside, if these sound familiar or persist–slow down.   A check-up may not be bad idea either, if you have not had one.  Your body at this point, is not making a polite request.

RECOVERY–What does it really mean?

Recovery days run the gambit–just like sports.  They mean different ideas to different athletes.  If you are an avid runner, a recovery day may be a “recovery run.”  Check out http://running.competitor.com.  “Workout of the Week: Recovery Runs.”  I found this article very useful, providing insight into recovery as well as running past fatigue.

If the thought of running makes you run the other way–recovery could be that “day off.”  Working towards constructing that chiseled physique?  Check out http://2buildmusclefast.com. “Importance of Rest and Recovery in Muscle Building.”  This should be of particular interest to bodybuilders.  Why?  In part, the article stresses the need for rest, if you want to become sculpted faster.  No rest, no gain, appears to be the theme here.

What if your workouts are here, there, and everywhere?  Not a problem–here are a few suggestions from my “toolbox.”

If you’re a consistent follower of my posts, you realize my workouts vary:  running, INSANITY, gym, hot yoga, as well as ballet inspired.  Because of this, my recovery needs vary as well.  Therefore, a day off for me, literally is “a day off.”  While my teenage son may be into recovery runs (he runs cross-country & track), running is no longer my only form of exercise.  It once was–and still remains my favorite.  However, because my body started to “maintain an even strain” unless I upped my mileage, I had to find something else to get the results/weight loss I once derived running.

Recovery first and foremost–has to entail adequate hydration as well as nutrition.  You will not achieve your goals without either of these.  Yes, eating to fuel “your habit,” is a balancing act.  If you take in more calories than you’re burning, you will gain weight.  And, it may not be the muscle hypertrophy for which you are striving.  My advice?  Start with adequate hydration.  See my post “Not enough? Too much?  A little guidance please…”  Once these needs are met, realize your body is going to demand–not request–higher quality food.  While potato chips, ice cream, and French Silk pie may not be totally eradicated from your thought process, they will not fuel your transformation.  Therefore, be prepared.

On my high intensity days (hard/long run, INSANITY, hot yoga) my drink of choice is electrolyte replacement, supplemented by H20.  My meal?  ONE–not all, of these days includes a meal I really really like.  Otherwise, I make sure I have plenty of salads, fixings for fresh tostadas, chicken breast, & roast beef around.  I am not a fish eater or a vegetarian; nor do I have any plans to become either.  Therefore, my meal plans/snacks include protein in the form of chicken, roast beef, some pork, legumes, or protein bars.  Vegetables, especially snow peas, green onions, mixed frozen, broccoli, and carrots are usually found in my fridge.

Lower intensity days (ballet inspired workout, light run, run/walk) H20 is my drink of choice.  Meals are lighter; and usually DO NOT include a splurge on these days.  My philosophy is lighter workout, lighter food.  While I haven’t the scientific data to purport this rationale, it works for me.

Whether you lift, run, dance, kick a soccer ball, walk, or are a diligent chair exerciser–keep it up.  Keeping it up however, means keeping your body from giving up.  Giving it the rest, hydration, and nutrition it requires are ALL part of RECOVERY.

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

the world is my track

So cooler temperatures are on the horizon.  If you are among many who enjoy outdoor activities, but live in a climate where winter is looming, what do you do? Sure moving is one option.  But if that’s not part of your agenda, read on.

I know there are those who simply can’t run anywhere but outside.  Maybe an outdoor court holds memories of neighborhood friends gathering for impromptu hoops.  Playing inside just doesn’t hold the same mystique.  The idea of kicking a soccer ball across anything but grass is sacrilege.  Softball and baseball enthusiasts–I can already see the mist welling up in your eyes.  Seeing your children return to school leaves you a little dismayed; well maybe that’s a stretch.

If you are among those whose sporting dreams fade and fall with the dried leaves, what do you do?  What’s your off-season plan?  Do you have one?

Nothing replaces what you know and love, and replicates it in circumstances you desire, without the idea of “it’s not the same.”  Acknowledging this fact helps.  Running on a treadmill doesn’t come close to a sunlit trail strewn with heavy shade.  However, losing what you’ve worked hard to accomplish shouldn’t be an option.

What do I do?  I get bored easily.  Therefore, I mix it up with a variety of combination workouts.  Perhaps the INSANITY warm-up coupled with BALLET BEAUTIFUL legs and arms.  Or TAE BO FLEX coupled with yoga stretches afterward.   Who said you have to stick to one workout in its entirety?

Was I always this adaptable?  I could say yes, but too many who know me read my posts.

Though running on a treadmill never bothered me, I understand how strictly outdoor runners feel.  I can also empathize with those in situations I mentioned earlier.  The trick is to find something which simulates what you enjoy.  Also, consider the repetitive stress you place on muscles used for your sport Change in seasons might signal a break–one where you develop muscles which support your habit. 

If you play softball, what will enable you to keep your arm strength and rotation?  What can help you develop muscles supporting your shoulders and back, as well as your torso?  If soccer is your passion, what will help you maintain your running endurance, as well as your kick?  You also need a strong core and back.  These are just a few considerations to keep in mind.

Maybe you have an off-season plan; but maybe not.  The parts of your body used primarily for your sport are not subsets; they are integral to the whole.  Allow cooler temperatures to herald a time to integrate the whole, and stop focusing on a part.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Need strategies to keep you going through your off-season?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

need rest Most of us realize, though may not put into practice, the benefits of uninterrupted sleep.  Yet did you know that sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain?

http://runnersworld.com/weight-loss.  The article is entitled “Sleep deprivation may lead to weight gain.”  It is dated November 27, 2012.

HORMONE HIJINKS

This is a tale of two hormones to be exact; ghrelin and leptin.  Ghrelin is the hormone which signals hunger.  Leptin is the one which tells you that you are full.  To keep it straight, I have nicknamed them: “greedy ghrelin and laid back leptin.”  If you are not getting your “great 8” your body can become confused.  A confusion which favors “greedy ghrelin.”  Translation?  Larger appetite–which can translate to a larger you.

The article goes on to state that even if you are restricting calories, if you sleep less than six hours, you sabotage your fat burn.  Since muscle is built around rest, this makes sense.  Lean muscle mass is now sacrificed in favor of fat.

It further stands to reason that the longer you are awake, there’s more opportunity to eat.  Example?

Ever heard of the “Freshman Fifteen?”  It’s that fifteen pounds (or so) that awaits many HS students, welcoming them to collegiate life.  Late nights spent studying or otherwise, is often blamed for the dreaded weight gain.

In the battle of the bulge, there is little quarter given, or fair fight.  For most (including the most avid athlete) it is mostly uphill with little downhill, and hardly any coast.  Well, this may be that rare coast.  Yes, fitting more sleep into hectic schedules can be next to impossible.  This I know from personal experience.  Unfortunately, I also know how it affected my appetite.

From late night (seemed like all night) care plan preparations, to early clinicals, to the constant testing and review, obtaining a nursing degree in two years leaves little time for rest.  Once finished, you must sit for boards.  If you fail, two years of hell– I mean study is down the drain.  Next comes your first job as a registered nurse.  Rarely if ever, do you have the opportunity to work a day shift.  An evening or night shift, is more likely where you will begin.  Add to this skipped lunches/breaks (I often worked without one, as many nurses do), and you find your body retaliates.  Sometimes in weight loss, often in weight gain.  For me it was the latter.

Making yourself a priority is not on most of our “to do” lists.  As a caregiver, wife, mother, late night studier, and personal trainer, I get it.  Two certifications and a higher degree in nursing later, I really got it.  Unfortunately by then, twenty pounds had gotten to me.

Starting a new career in personal training helped; after all, you have to walk the walk if you’re going to talk the talk.  However I have found, no one can help you understand self-worth.  Other’s experiences can be a guide.  But it still is a path–pitfall, downfall, slick, slippery and all, you must tread yourself.

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

You’ve been hitting the gym at least 4x a week.  Perhaps the pavement, treadmill, or track is where you work out your frustrations as well as your body.  Whether you fight the battle of the bulge doing thisstrong pull up

or thisexcuses dont run,or combination thereof, you probably are in need of some of this.dancer pose

RECOVERY–A tale of two strategies

Actually, recovery is a plethora of strategies.  Strength training usually means you are taking a day or two off between workouts.  Your muscles must recover and rest to perform.  You can see my previous post “If this isn’t part of your workout routine, you may be wasting your time.”  It is dated June 13, 2013 under FITNESS.

If you are a runner, there is debate and dissent regarding recovery runs.  The ideology here is to enhance and utilize muscles not normally used if rested and refreshed, then going for a run.  If you are training for distance, this actually makes sense; as you will need the help of ancillary muscles to support your efforts.

As I have stated in previous posts, for me, recovery is just that–a day to recover.  And nothing recovers like rest.  That being said, I have found my body does not always cooperate.  It may have different ideas.

NO REST FOR THE WEARY

You are lying in bed–about to drift into a well-deserved sleep.  You may get there, or maybe just to the outer limits.  You are then wrenched from your slumber by a foot or leg unwilling to cooperate.  Perhaps it’s a cramp in your instep or toes.  Maybe your legs are a little tingly or just plain restless.  Your arms could be starting their own protest.  What’s going on?

Proper hydration may be an issue.  Beyond this however, your body may be saying “if you want rest, give me some.”  The best way to do this is by including a day or two of stretching.  No it doesn’t mean it has to take the same amount of time as your normal workout.  But it does mean more than 5-10 minutes.

I know what you are thinking, because I’ve been there.  You include a minute or two, or even five of post workout stretching–but it’s usually after an hour or more exercise.  Your body is basically saying “What the hell?  I do all this for you–and that’s all I get? And now you want to go to sleep? Think again.”  Indeed you should.

Whether you are an avid runner, or your idea of working out includes anything but, stretching tight muscles is rest for your body.  A few minutes after the fact is great, but may not be sufficient.

While I enjoy yoga (actually hot yoga), I realize a 60-70 minute practice is not for everyone.  If you are just getting started, a more realistic approach may be to start with a cardio warm-up.  A few jumping jacks, or even a slow jog in place can be where you begin.  Afterwards, with legs hip distance apart, roll your torso downward, reaching for your toes.  Bend your knees enough as to place your hands on the floor.  Alternate bending and straightening your knees.  Roll upward slowly when finished, vertebra by vertebra.

Another favorite of mine is to stand with your feet hip distance apart.  Keeping your legs straight as possible, roll your torso down, reaching for your right leg with both hands.  Keep right leg straight, head and torso reaching for right foot. (You need not be able to touch your foot)  Bend left knee, while maintaining your position over straightened right leg.  Roll up slowly.  Repeat process on left side, this time keeping left leg straight, then bend right knee.

If you have hip or knee issues, consult your medical professional for guidance.

If you’re interested in a yoga based stretch routine, check out “Yogalates” on You-Tube.  The entire workout is an hour and a half.  However, it is divided into 4 segments, starting with a beginner section.  If you are just getting started, this might be for you.  Pace is slow and articulate.  Another pick is “60 minute Yin Yoga for Spine.”  This is one in a series listed under http://www.eckhartyoga.com.  Again, the operative word for both is “slow.”  If you are an advanced yogi, or looking for something more up tempo, these may not be your routines of choice.

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.  If your body is keeping you up at night, then it is reacting to your activity–even if it is in the name of healthier living.  Giving it proper hydration and nutrition as well as medical attention is key.  Equally so, is counterbalancing your intense routines with a day of lengthening tight muscles.  Keep in mind, sleep deprivation can come with its own issues–potential weight gain, to name one.

But that’s another issue, for another day.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

hair out of H20You’ve been hitting the gym, pavement, and/or the DVD workouts 5-6 days a week.   If this statement falls into the category of “things that make you go huh?” this post is not for you.

However if you are working with a high intensity routine most everyday, you may be wasting your time.  UNLESS you are inserting a recovery day.

Recovery days are essential.  They are the “pause” if you are in a state of constant “play.”  Exercising everyday at moderate to high intensities, you will burn caloriesYour body will also demand more calories.  Translation?  You will want to eat more food.  Yet this isn’t unusual, nor does it necessarily mitigate your workout.  It simply means your body requires additional fuel for additional work.  It can become a problem though, if you are overdoing either.

Sore muscles or DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) may be an expectation if you haven’t worked out consistently.  If you have overextended yourself or tried a new routine, it also maybe the price.  Yet if you have trouble staying awake by midday, achy muscles are a constant companion, and headaches are becoming a part of your post-exercise routine–you are overdoing it. Yes, these symptoms can be attributed to dehydration (more common than you realize among the diligent).  Hydration issues aside, if these sound familiar or persist–slow down.   A check-up may not be bad idea either, if you have not had one.  Your body at this point, is not making a polite request.

RECOVERY–What does it really mean?

Recovery days run the gambit–just like sports.  They mean different ideas to different athletes.  If you are an avid runner, a recovery day may be a “recovery run.”  Check out http://running.competitor.com.  “Workout of the Week: Recovery Runs.”  I found this article very useful, providing insight into recovery as well as running past fatigue.

If the thought of running makes you run the other way–recovery could be that “day off.”  Working towards constructing that chiseled physique?  Check out http://2buildmusclefast.com. “Importance of Rest and Recovery in Muscle Building.”  This should be of particular interest to bodybuilders.  Why?  In part, the article stresses the need for rest, if you want to become sculpted faster.  No rest, no gain, appears to be the theme here.

What if your workouts are here, there, and everywhere?  Not a problem–here are a few suggestions from my “toolbox.”

If you’re a consistent follower of my posts, you realize my workouts vary:  running, INSANITY, gym, hot yoga, as well as ballet inspired.  Because of this, my recovery needs vary as well.  Therefore, a day off for me, literally is “a day off.”  While my teenage son may be into recovery runs (he runs cross-country & track), running is no longer my only form of exercise.  It once was–and still remains my favorite.  However, because my body started to “maintain an even strain” unless I upped my mileage, I had to find something else to get the results/weight loss I once derived running.

Recovery first and foremost–has to entail adequate hydration as well as nutrition.  You will not achieve your goals without either of these.  Yes, eating to fuel “your habit,” is a balancing act.  If you take in more calories than you’re burning, you will gain weight.  And, it may not be the muscle hypertrophy for which you are striving.  My advice?  Start with adequate hydration.  See my post “Not enough? Too much?  A little guidance please…”  Once these needs are met, realize your body is going to demand–not request–higher quality food.  While potato chips, ice cream, and French Silk pie may not be totally eradicated from your thought process, they will not fuel your transformation.  Therefore, be prepared.

On my high intensity days (hard/long run, INSANITY, hot yoga) my drink of choice is electrolyte replacement, supplemented by H20.  My meal?  ONE–not all, of these days includes a meal I really really like.  Otherwise, I make sure I have plenty of salads, fixings for fresh tostadas, chicken breast, & roast beef around.  I am not a fish eater or a vegetarian; nor do I have any plans to become either.  Therefore, my meal plans/snacks include protein in the form of chicken, roast beef, some pork, legumes, or protein bars.  Vegetables, especially snow peas, green onions, mixed frozen, broccoli, and carrots are usually found in my fridge.

Lower intensity days (ballet inspired workout, light run, run/walk) H20 is my drink of choice.  Meals are lighter; and usually DO NOT include a splurge on these days.  My philosophy is lighter workout, lighter food.  While I haven’t the scientific data to purport this rationale, it works for me.

Whether you lift, run, dance, kick a soccer ball, walk, or are a diligent chair exerciser–keep it up.  Keeping it up however, means keeping your body from giving up.  Giving it the rest, hydration, and nutrition it requires are ALL part of RECOVERY.

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