Category Archives: Coaching

A Client Success Story

For those of you who have known me and followed me over the years know that not only am I fitness professional but a very passionate one. You see, fitness to me is a way of life. I’ve just been fortunate enough to make a career out of it. Most view fitness as a side activity, one that either fits into their lives or it doesn’t. I take a great deal of pride and education for myself in helping people to understand the positives that fitness can have on their lives. I don’t always have followers but that’s why I continue on. I want to share with you today a story of a client who has done all those things – made fitness a priority in her life; continued to follow my guidance; took all the positives along with the negatives and turned out to become the best version of herself.

How We Started

Tricia and I first met about 12 years ago when I worked at Pottstown Health Club. She had been working with one of my trainers and it was brought to my attention that I might be better suited to help her. Tricia had a “nagging” forearm issue of sorts that we later determined was the result of carrying heavy bags (computer, handbags). With a successful evaluation and treatment plan, Tricia’s arm got better and shall we say, the rest is history. Tricia has been a personal client since then and stuck with me through the gym closing and venturing out on my own. Stories like you’re about to hear are one of the many reasons why I do what I do, why I love what I do, and where my passion for all things fitness comes from. What better way than for you to hear this story other than from Tricia herself.

Her Story

I’ve always been athletic; a tomboy most of my life.  As a kid, I played baseball and football with the boys in the neighborhood.  I played field hockey and lacrosse in high school until knee issues sidelined me during my senior year.  Since then I’ve had a total of 5 surgeries on both of knees.  Ultimately, I will need a full knee replacement, so I have learned to manage the issues and pain since I was 17.  Having a chronic injury like that impacted my participation in sports, as well as working out.  This led to weight gain, which is not good for anyone, but for me with my knee issues, it was worse because I found it even harder to work out or even move.  That’s when I decided to take control and lose weight.  Another motivator was that I was engaged and wanted to look my best for the wedding. I joined Weight Watchers, as I knew I needed to be accountable to someone other than myself in the weight loss journey.  I lost 30 pounds and was very proud of myself.  I focused mostly on my nutrition but was working out a little as well. 

After the wedding, a few of my work friends started working out together at a gym close to the office.  Within a year, I was at my most fit and felt great.  I really enjoyed working out with my friends (never thought I would be a “gym rat” but I was there a lot). Then life happened.  I began traveling a lot with work and was not home a lot.  Because I was working out so much, I had a lot more “flexibility” in my diet.  When you stop working out consistently and continue to eat the same “flexible” way, a not-so-funny thing happens; you gain weight.  I did work out while I was traveling.  I found I had less excuses to NOT work out when I wasn’t home.  It helped that most of my work travel mates were working out in the hotel gyms, so if I brought my workout gear, and told my colleagues I was going to work out. I was accountable to them.  So, I tended to work out more when traveling then when I was home, but eating more than I should have, and maybe drinking more.  Because of my travel schedule, as well as losing most of my workout buddies (started families, changed jobs, moved) I canceled my gym membership. 

My husband and I decided to join Pottstown Health Club together.  I was using the cardio equipment and taking classes.  It had been a while since I spent time in a proper gym, so felt like I needed to work with a trainer; also felt like I needed someone to be accountable to again.  I had started working out with Cathy but then I met Jeff. He created a workout for me that allowed me to continue my momentum despite my injury.  I have continued to work with him since.

Fast forward a couple of years to the week I turned 40.  That seemed to be the year I hit the wall; it felt like I hit the wall, bounced off, then got run over by a truck, got up, and then fell face first into a vat of molasses.  I’ve felt stuck for the past 8 years. The week I turned 40 my back spasmed.  I never had any back issues until that week.  I spent most of that week in bed trying to recover from that until Jeff had recommended massage therapy.  In March of my 40th year, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Luckily it was caught very early, but a lumpectomy and 7 weeks of radiation were necessary.  Oh, and you can’t forget the 5 years of Tamoxifen.  Through my recovery, it was difficult to bounce back into a healthy, fit lifestyle.  It’s been nearly 9 years, but I found my way.  My health journey has one consistent factor…accountability.  And today is no different.  I got a sinus infection in January and visited the local urgent care.  They take your temp, blood pressure and weigh you before seeing the doctor.  As you leave, they provide a synopsis of your visit, including an evaluation of your weight.  I rarely read that information, but for some reason I did after that visit.  Based on their information, I was considered OBESE.  I knew I was heavy, but to see that word in my “chart” was eye-opening. 

Jeff and I talk about accountability a lot, and why it is so hard for people to be accountable to themselves.  I think it took the word OBESE and the quarantine to finally get me to be accountable to myself.  I also know that I do not want to start my 50’s feeling the way I have for most of my 40’s. I’ve taken advantage of the time that I’m home to take care of ME.  I’ve been using my normal “commute” time to work out.  At 6:00AM I ride my Peloton for 20 minutes (that’s my normal commute time).  Again at 5:00PM, I’m on my bike for another 30-45 minutes.  I’m also eating clean and healthy; tracking everything I eat (using Weight Watchers again).  I am feeling great!  I have a lot more energy and just overall feel better.  My approach to the quarantine has been one of taking care of me.  Since I am not traveling (which has been a major excuse for not always eating healthy or working out) I really have no excuses to NOT take care of me.  If I’m not going to do it now, I’m never going to take responsibility for myself. 

My husband is benefitting from it as well.  His pants are a little looser too.  And I just hit 40 pounds lost!!  I am at the same weight I was when I got married 18 years ago.  The journey has not been easy.  As much as it is about eating healthy and implementing a fitness routine, it is also about psychology.  I’ve found that without feeling accountable to myself I would self-sabotage.  It was a viscous cycle.  It is a little crazy that it took the word obese and a quarantine to set me straight.

Tricia – a living example of what it means to train smart, eat well, and be better!

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better

Fitness Tidbits From One of the Best

In today’s post I wanted to share with you some of the musings from someone whom I consider to be one of the best in the business, Thomas Plummer. Mr. Plummer is a veteran in the fitness industry as both a trainer and business consultant for over 30 years. In July of 2019, I finally had the privilege of seeing Mr. Plummer for the first time in 25 years  at two sessions at the 2019 NSCA National Conference. I also got to speak with him personally at the hotel gift shop. As an astute follower of Mr. Plummer’s knowledge, I can tell you he shoots straight from the heart in telling the truth that most weak minded people would find insulting or offensive. I’ll let you decide for yourself as I share with you some of his clippings from recent posts/articles and see if you agree.

A Training Client’s Code Of Responsibility

  • I will find a coach whom I trust and stick to the plan. I will not try and outthink my trained professional.
  • I will accept who I am now and not try to be the person I was physically 20 years ago.
  • I understand that no matter how many times a week I go to the gym, there is no magic workout that will overcome a lousy lifestyle. If I want big change, I have to make big change, in not only how I approach fitness, but how I live too.
  • I will always remember that there will be days when I just don’t feel like it and even the act of just showing up and getting it done is far superior to doing nothing at all.
  • Good coaches lead but aren’t magicians. I still have to do the work if I want the change. My fitness is my responsibility.
  • I understand that the ultimate goal of any fitness plan is the quality of life. Looking good is nice, but living healthy and feeling great is everything in life and fitness.
  • I realize that about 99% of all the garbage on FB and YouTube may not be true and I will trust my coach instead of the magic exercise or supplement of the week.
  • I will not lie to my coach about food, or wine, or what I ate Sunday watching the game. And no matter what I say, I realize my body can’t lie and what i ate is what I wore in today so I might as well as write it all down.
  • My goal is to get to the point where I understand that fitness is motion, and motion is life, and the best day of my life is when I just go out for a long walk for the simple pleasure of moving that day.
  • I will understand that my coach is a professional, the same as everyone else who supports me in life, such as my doctor, accountant or chiropractor, and that I understand he or she needs to get paid decent money for putting up with my nonsense every week.

Things to Ask and Ponder Yourself

  • Why don’t you fight back?
  • When did you quit on yourself physically?
  • What day did you decide it is no longer worth taking care of your body?
  • If you are in your 30s and not happy with your body now, but not doing anything about it, what kind of health and body will you have ten years from now?
  • Isn’t being there to watch your kids grow up important enough to get you to move?
  • Is hanging on the back of the shopping cart because you are too lazy to stand up and walk the life you want?
  • Are bad food choices worth dying early?
  • Do you really want to spend your years watching others live full and active lives while you sit and do nothing but make excuses?
  • Do you use the time excuse when you spend hours a day staring at screens?
  • Do you use the money excuse when you could at least walk and hour a day and change your life?
  • Do you blame not knowing when you could hire a coach for only an hour a month if you don’t have much money to start you in motion?
  • If not now, then when?
  • When will you realize your life and how you live it is your choice?

Age is Not an Excuse

  • You choose your age.
  • You define your own age by the choices you make each day as to how you will live.
  • You can be in your 50s and choose to live as 35.
  • You can chase fitness and healthy food and have a body that screams 35.
  • You can jump rope, chase the grandkids, run on the beach, and love the one you love.
  • Or you can ignore your health, tell yourself 50 is getting older and you are slowing down, watch television for four hours a day, wear frumpy old lady clothes, wear the same hairstyle you did in high school and be 50 doing everything you can do to be 65.
  • You can be the 40-year-old guy with the too-much-time-at-a-desk forward head lean thing going on with the muscle-free rounded shoulders, old dude pleated pants to hide the belly (it doesn’t) and ignore that your choice of lifestyle is killing you, or you can fight back, join a gym, get a coach and turn back the clock to a mentality and body that says 30, not 40 looking a bad 60.
  • You can move, eat better, dress better, and realize age is just a condition of your mind and you choose to be the youngest version of yourself possible or you choose to live 20 years past your time.

The Choice is Yours

  • You choose to sit, others choose to move.
  • Most of the diseases of aging are self-inflicted and we know they are coming
  • You refuse to exercise, you are a self-inflicted statistic in the making…and you do know it is coming your way.
  • You just didn’t wake up some morning, stand in front of a mirror naked and realized, “how the hell did this happen to me? I look like a bad clay project done by a bunch of four-year-old drunks.”
  • You became that nasty artwork in the mirror by choice, by one lazy day at a time, by one donut as a snack, by too much, too much of everything bad for too long.
  • But today, if you choose, you can turn back the clock.

Best Wishes to Everyone

  • May you always keep your shoulders one inch wider than your hips.
  • May you always have a butt that only needs one chair. One butt, one seat; that is a basic rule of life.
  • May you always remember that if you are wearing it, then you ate it and if it is on the hips it came through the lips.
  • May you always remember that lying to your coach, and yourself, in your food journal helps no one. Entering one glass of wine, but drinking one bottle, does make it difficult to help you lose weight, although you might be fun to hang out with.
  • May you always have a belt buckle that points east and west, not mostly to the south.
  • May you always remember that hardcore purists die alone in the dark without friends. Being 90% good equals a life of health and friends.
  • May you always remember that the best day you will ever have in life is today. Doesn’t matter who you use to be. Doesn’t matter who you will be. Does matter who you are today.
  • May you always remember that your kids, family and friends are worth a few hours a day without your phone in your hand.
  • May you learn whomever wrote, “He who dies with the most toys wins” was wrong. He should have said, “He who dies with most experiences wins.” Life is about what you do and how you live, not about what you own.
  • May you always remember that not trying at all is worse than actual failure. Not trying because you don’t know where to begin is a lie you tell yourself because you are lazy. Do something, even if it is wrong, and keep moving forward. You can fix a mistake moving forward, you can’t ever fix doing nothing.
  • Always remember that even one small act of kindness changes someone else’s life, and maybe your own soul. Petty people who are continually angry are the people the world can do without. If you are one of those, grow up in 2020. Your friends and family will be grateful.
  • Always remember that no matter how bad your day is, somewhere in the world are people who don’t have fresh water, enough food or the simple safety we assume to be part of life. Even when life is tough, you should still be grateful for your life.

Learn the Power of Saying NO

  • Say no to drainers of life who expect you to carry their load.
  • Say no to anyone who wants your time and energy but gives nothing back.
  • Say no to taking on so many projects your own life and business hurts.
  • Say no to your television and get a life today.
  • Tell your phone you are breaking up and today I can’t scroll with you.
  • Say no to toxic people who do everything they can to keep you from succeeding.
  • World, today the answer is no to you, but for me, I am all about yes.
  • My life is short. I will only spend time with the ones I love or the ones who inspire.

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

12 Days of Fitness: Day 12 – 10 Resolutions Only the Most Successful People Make

(This is part 12 of a 12 part series to provide you with some helpful health and fitness tips over the holiday season)

New Year’s resolutions: Most of us make them; most of us fail to keep them. Why do we fail? Usually, we resolve to do something so big, so difficult, so time-consuming, we reach too high – the simple act of reaching gets tiresome. And so we quit. Fortunately, there’s a better way. Here are 10 simple things I came across in an article I read earlier this year to try sometime in 2020. They’re all one-time events, although you can certainly repeat them as many times as you like. And each is a lot easier to accomplish than some hopefully-life-changing-but-in-the-end-never-accomplished New Year’s resolution.

  1. Do one thing you’ve been afraid to do.The most paralyzing fear is fear of the unknown. Nothing ever turns out to be as hard or as scary as you think. Plus, it’s incredibly exciting to overcome a fear. You’ll get that “Oh, my gosh, I can’t believe I just did that!” rush. That’s an amazing feeling you probably haven’t experienced for a long time. Enter a race this year or participate in some event you never thought possible for you.
  2. Apologize for one thing you need to apologize for. We all make mistakes. So we blame them for our problems.But we are almost always to blame too. Maybe we didn’t provide enough. Maybe we didn’t foresee a potential problem. Maybe we asked too much, too soon. We did or did not do something we could have. Take responsibility, and then focus on being smarter or better or faster or more creative next time.
  3. Start one thing you’ve always planned to start. You have plans. You have goals. You have ideas. Who cares? You have nothing until you actually do something. Every day, we let hesitation and uncertainty stop us from acting on our ideas. Fear of the unknown and fear of failure often stops us. Pick one plan, one goal, or one idea. And get started. Do something. Do anything. Just take one small step. The first step is by far the hardest. Every successive step will be a lot easier.
  4. Tell one person how much they mean to you. No one receives enough praise. No one. Pick someone who did something well and tell her or him. Surprise praise is a gift that costs the giver nothing but is priceless to the recipient.
  5. Ask for help. Asking someone for help instantly recognizes the person’s skills and values and conveys your respect and admiration.That’s reason enough to ask someone to help you. The fact you will get the help you need is icing on the achievement cake.
  6. Offer to help someone. Then flip it around. Many people see asking for help as a sign of weakness, so they hesitate. Yet we can all use help. But don’t just say, “Is there anything I can help you with?” Most people will automatically say, “No, I’m all right.” Be specific. Say, “I’ve got a few minutes; can I help you finish that?” Offer in a way that feels collaborative, not patronizing or gratuitous. And then actually help. You’ll make a real difference in someone’s life–and you’ll take a solid step toward creating a connection with that person.
  7. Do one thing no one else is willing to do. Pick one thing other people aren’t willing to do. Pick something simple. Pick something small. Whatever it is, do it. Instantly, you’re a little different from the rest of the pack. Then keep going. Every day, do one thing no one else is willing to do. After a week, you’ll be uncommon. After a month, you’ll be special. After a year, you’ll be incredible, and you won’t be like anyone else.
  8. Just once, refuse to care what other people think. Most of the time, you should worry about what other people think–but not if it stands in the way of living the life you really want to live. Pick one thing you haven’t tried simply because you’re worried about what other people think–and just go do it. It’s your life. Live it.
  9. Don’t be afraid to say yes. You’re busy. Your plate is full. There are plenty of reasons to sit tight, stay safe, keep things as they are. But that also means tomorrow will be just like today. Say yes to something different. Say yes to something scary. Say yes to the opportunity you’re most afraid of. When you say yes, you’re really saying, “I trust myself.”
  10. Don’t be afraid to say no. Still, you can’t do everything. You can’t help everyone. You may want to, but you can’t. Sometimes you just need to say no: to a favor, to a request, to a family member. Sometimes you really need to be able to focus on what is important to you. Say no at least once before the end of the month–the harder to say, the better. And don’t worry if you feel selfish: When your heart is in the right place, what you accomplish by spending more time on your goals will eventually benefit other people, too.

Wishing you and your families a wonderful holiday season and all the best for a healthy and prosperous New Year!

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better

Just in case, here’s what you might have missed:

Day #16 Tips for Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain
Day #2 – Cholesterol Myths You Need to Stop Believing
Day #3 – Festively Fit: Staying Fit Over the Holidays
Day #410 Fitness Myths That Need to Die
Day #59 Ways to Trick Yourself Into Feeling Full
Day #6The Cult Of Supplements And The Dangers Of Multi-Level Marketing
Day #7 – The First 5 Things Nutritionists Will Tell You To Cut From Your Diet
Day #8 – Dispelling 5 Common Training Lies
Day #9 – Fitness is a Choice and Mindset
Day #10 –The 11 Most Common Weight-Loss Blunders
Day #11 – 8 Things to Remember When Everything Goes Wrong

 

 

12 Days of Fitness 2019: Day 11 – 8 Things to Remember When Everything Goes Wrong

(This is part 11 of a 12 part series to provide you with some helpful health and fitness tips over the holiday season)

No matter how good or bad I have it, I wake up each day thankful for my life, because someone, somewhere else is desperately fighting for theirs. Truth be told, happiness is not the absence of problems, but the ability to deal with them.  Imagine all the wondrous things your mind might embrace if it weren’t wrapped so tightly around your struggles.  Always look at what you have, instead of what you have lost.  Because it’s not what the world takes away from you that counts; it’s what you do with what you have left.

  1. Pain is part of growing. Sometimes life closes doors because it’s time to move forward.  And that’s a good thing because we often won’t move unless circumstances force us to.  When times are tough, remind yourself that no pain comes without a purpose.  Move on from what hurt you, but never forget what it taught you.  Just because you’re struggling doesn’t mean you’re failing.  Every great success requires some type of worthy struggle to get there.  Good things take time.  Stay patient and stay positive.  Everything is going to come together; maybe not immediately, but eventually. Remember that there are two kinds of pain: pain that hurts and pain that changes you.  When you roll with life, instead of resisting it, both kinds help you grow.
  2. Everything in life is temporary. Every time it rains, it stops raining.  Every time you get hurt, you heal.  After darkness there is always light – you are reminded of this every morning, but still you often forget, and instead choose to believe that the night will last forever.  It won’t.  Nothing lasts forever. So if things are good right now, enjoy it.  It won’t last forever.  If things are bad, don’t worry because it won’t last forever either.  Just because life isn’t easy at the moment, doesn’t mean you can’t laugh.  Just because something is bothering you, doesn’t mean you can’t smile.  Every moment gives you a new beginning and a new ending.  You get a second chance, every second.  You just have to take it and make the best of it.
  3. Worrying and complaining changes nothing. Those who complain the most, accomplish the least.  It’s always better to attempt to do something great and fail than to attempt to do nothing and succeed.  It’s not over if you’ve lost; it’s over when you do nothing but complain about it.  If you believe in something, keep trying.  Don’t let the shadows of the past darken the doorstep of your future.  Spending today complaining about yesterday won’t make tomorrow any brighter.  Take action instead.  Let what you’ve learned improve how you live.  Make a change and never look back. And regardless of what happens in the long run, remember that true happiness begins to arrive only when you stop complaining about your problems and you start being grateful for all the problems you don’t have.
  4. Your scars are symbols of your strength. Don’t ever be ashamed of the scars life has left you with.  A scar means the hurt is over and the wound is closed.  It means you conquered the pain, learned a lesson, grew stronger, and moved forward.  A scar is the tattoo of a triumph to be proud of.  Don’t allow your scars to hold you hostage.  Don’t allow them to make you live your life in fear.  You can’t make the scars in your life disappear, but you can change the way you see them.  You can start seeing your scars as a sign of strength and not pain.  Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most powerful characters in this great world are seared with scars.  See your scars as a sign of “YES!  I MADE IT!  I survived and I have my scars to prove it!  And now I have a chance to grow even stronger.”
  5. Every little struggle is a step forward. In life, patience is not about waiting; it’s the ability to keep a good attitude while working hard on your dreams, knowing that the work is worth it.  So if you’re going to try, put in the time and go all the way.  Otherwise, there’s no point in starting.  This could mean losing stability and comfort for a while, and maybe even your mind on occasion. It could mean stretching your comfort zone so thin it gives you a nonstop case of the chills.  It could mean sacrificing relationships and all that’s familiar.  It could mean accepting ridicule from your peers.  It could mean lots of time alone in solitude.  Solitude, though, is the gift that makes great things possible.  It gives you the space you need.  Everything else is a test of your determination, of how much you really want it. And if you want it, you’ll do it, despite failure and rejection and the odds.  And every step will feel better than anything else you can imagine.  You will realize that the struggle is not found on the path, it is the path.  And it’s worth it.
  6. Other people’s negativity is not your problem. Be positive when negativity surrounds you.  Smile when others try to bring you down.  It’s an easy way to maintain your enthusiasm and focus.  When other people treat you poorly, keep being you.  Don’t ever let someone else’s bitterness change the person you are.  You can’t take things too personally, even if it seems personal. Rarely do people do things because of you.  They do things because of them. Above all, don’t ever change just to impress someone who says you’re not good enough.  Change because it makes you a better person and leads you to a brighter future.  People are going to talk regardless of what you do or how well you do it.  So worry about yourself before you worry about what others think.  If you believe strongly in something, don’t be afraid to fight for it.  Great strength comes from overcoming what others think is impossible.
  7. What’s meant to be will eventually, BE. True strength comes when you have so much to cry and complain about, but you prefer to smile and appreciate your life instead.  There are blessings hidden in every struggle you face, but you have to be willing to open your heart and mind to see them.  You can’t force things to happen.  You can only drive yourself crazy trying.  At some point you have to let go and let what’s meant to be, BE. In the end, loving your life is about trusting your intuition, taking chances, losing and finding happiness, cherishing the memories, and learning through experience.  It’s a long-term journey.  You have to stop worrying, wondering, and doubting every step of the way.  Laugh at the confusion, live consciously in the moment, and enjoy your life as it unfolds.
  8. The best thing you can do is to keep going. Don’t be afraid to get back up – to try again, to love again, to live again, and to dream again.  Don’t let a hard lesson harden your heart.  Life’s best lessons are often learned at the worst times and from the worst mistakes.  There will be times when it seems like everything that could possibly go wrong is going wrong.  And you might feel like you will be stuck in this rut forever, but you won’t.  When you feel like quitting, remember that sometimes things have to go very wrong before they can be right.  Sometimes you have to go through the worst, to arrive at your best. Yes, life is tough, but you are tougher.  Find the strength to laugh every day.  Find the courage to feel different.  Find it in your heart to make others smile too.  Don’t stress over things you can’t change.  Live simply.  Love generously.  Speak truthfully.  Work diligently.  And even if you fall short, keep going.  Keep growing.

Awake every morning and do your best to follow this daily TO-DO list:

  • Think positively.
  • Eat healthy.
  • Exercise today.
  • Worry less.
  • Work hard.
  • Laugh often.
  • Sleep well.
  • Repeat…

“The best way out is always through.”

―Robert Frost

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better

See you tomorrow for the conclusion of the 12 Days of Fitness!

Just in case, here’s what you might have missed:

Day #16 Tips for Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain
Day #2 – Cholesterol Myths You Need to Stop Believing
Day #3 – Festively Fit: Staying Fit Over the Holidays
Day #410 Fitness Myths That Need to Die
Day #59 Ways to Trick Yourself Into Feeling Full
Day #6The Cult Of Supplements And The Dangers Of Multi-Level Marketing
Day #7 – The First 5 Things Nutritionists Will Tell You To Cut From Your Diet
Day #8 – Dispelling 5 Common Training Lies
Day #9 – Fitness is a Choice and Mindset
Day #10 – The 11 Most Common Weight-Loss Blunders

 

12 Days of Fitness 2019: Day 9 – Fitness is a Choice and Mindset

(This is part 9 of a 12 part series to provide you with some helpful health and fitness tips over the holiday season)

I’ll be honest. I really struggle when I hear people say that they either hate to exercise or that they don’t have any time to exercise as well as the thousands of other excuses they give on the subject. But then I can come to a better approach and realize that they just don’t get it. Going to the gym isn’t a punishment for what you ate or how much you sit; fitness is a celebration of the fact that you are alive and can still move. Perhaps they just don’t feel alive. I don’t know.

It a Choice

Fitness isn’t something you only do at a gym; fitness for life means you either approach your body and mind with respect, or you disrespect the gift of your own life and health and then everything that defines a healthy human being, such as the ability to pick up a grandchild or to walk on the beach, is taken away from you. Getting in shape isn’t something you only do for a wedding or upcoming vacation. Fitness is a personal choice where you decide to live your life at the highest level you can possibly achieve, because if you are fit and healthy, then anything in life seems possible. What would you give for an extra 10 years of quality life? If you are 30, this doesn’t seem relevant, but if you are in your 40s, way overweight and don’t move, you made a decision, and that decision was to end your life earlier than someone who does realize what you do today in fitness determines how you will live 20 years from now. You, and only you, can determine the quality, and in many cases, the length of your life.

It’s a Mindset

The mindset for fitness isn’t about being perfect or trying to recapture who you were, “back in the day,” but rather becoming the best you can be today. There is no perfect you, but there is a you within that can overflow with happiness, vibrant health and crazy energy, because you now understand you don’t do fitness, you are fitness. Mindset is everything in the pursuit of personal health, but you have to enter the arena with the understanding that fitness isn’t another hobby you only do when you have time or to relax. Fitness is the very essence of how you live 24 hours a day, how you think and who you are. You choose to be healthy; then you chose life. You choose to ignore your fitness, and you made a choice… and you will pay for that choice someday, and then when you can’t get out of a chair without help, or play with a child, or hold the hand of the one you love on a walk through the woods, what would you pay then for just one hour of health and life? And the sad thing is you could have had it all along.

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

See you tomorrow for Day 10 of the 12 Days of Fitness!

Just in case, here’s what you might have missed:

Day #16 Tips for Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain
Day #2 – Cholesterol Myths You Need to Stop Believing
Day #3 – Festively Fit: Staying Fit Over the Holidays
Day #410 Fitness Myths That Need to Die
Day #5 – 9 Ways to Trick Yourself Into Feeling Full
Day #6 – The Cult Of Supplements And The Dangers Of Multi-Level Marketing
Day #7 – The First 5 Things Nutritionists Will Tell You To Cut From Your Diet
Day #8 – Dispelling 5 Common Training Lies

12 Days of Fitness 2019: Day 5 – 9 Ways to Trick Yourself Into Feeling Full

(This is part 5 of a 12 part series to provide you with some helpful health and fitness tips over the holiday season)

Let’s face it—there’s no single, magical way to lose weight. Everyone’s body is different, which means everyone’s optimal diet is also different. But essentially, losing weight comes down to three main factors: exercise, food, and mindset. That last one can be the most challenging to conquer. Our brains, more often than not, get in the way of our weight loss goals, and make us think we’re hungry when in reality we’re just bored, tired, dehydrated, or something else. But your brain doesn’t have to be a diet saboteur. In fact, there are plenty of ways to manipulate yourself into achieving your weight-loss goals. Here’s a list of some proven ways to eat less, painlessly.

  • Keep a healthy snack on hand. Fast food or something from a vending machine may call your name when hunger strikes on the go. But if you keep a healthy snack like an apple in your bag or glove compartment, you won’t have to sacrifice your diet to silence a grumbling stomach.
  • Keep a journal. Would you still eat that chocolate muffin if you had to log it in a food diary? Research says maybe not. A Kaiser Permanente study found people who kept a daily food journal lost twice as much weight over the course of six months than those who didn’t record their meals. Researchers believe writing down what you eat makes you more aware of food choices, and therefore encourages cutting the calories you’d otherwise sneak in.
  • Just keep chewing. If you like to chew gum, it may help you keep off the pounds. One study discovered that women who chewed gum for 45 minutes after they ate lunch ended up keeping snack cravings at bay later in the day.
  • Curb hunger with coffee.You may think you’re just drinking your daily cup of joe for a morning pick-me-up, but in reality, it’s doing more than just giving you a caffeine boost. Drinking coffee can actually boost your calorie burn by 12%, according to findings in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Plus, it’s a natural appetite suppressant. But be wary of adding sugar and cream, since too many extras will kill your coffee perks.
  • Count your bites. Counting calories can help you slim down, but it can also be time-consuming and/or frustrating to jot down every bite. Try counting your bites instead, which a recent study found actually works. Study participants lost an average of 3.4 pounds over the course of a month by reducing their daily bites by 20 to 30%.
  • Serve yourself directly from the pot. Rather than leaving serving dishes at the table where you can easily dip in for seconds, leave them in the kitchen—otherwise overeating is simply too convenient to resist. If you have to physically get up and walk to the kitchen for another helping, you’re less likely to do so.
  • Start out with a smaller portion. If food is on your plate, you’ll probably end up eating every last morsel, according to a Cornell Food and Brand Lab study. But these findings don’t mean your diet goals are hopeless—in fact, this knowledge can help you outsmart your own appetite. The solution is simple: serve yourself less food. Then go back for more if you’re still hungry.
  • Slow down. Scarfing down your dinner doesn’t give your brain enough time to register that your belly is actually stuffed. Let your body realize you’ve feasted sufficiently by slowing the pace. You’ll end up eating less food and feeling more satisfied.
  • Go for the H2O. One of the best ways to trick your body into feeling full costs you nothing: just turn on your tap and fill a cup. Drinking an entire glass of water before every meal fills your belly, so you’ll likely end up eating less than you otherwise would have. During your meal, taking sips in between bites will help slow your pace and eat less overall. What’s more, staying hydrated boosts your metabolism—making water better than any “diet” beverage out there.

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

See you Monday for Day 6 of the 12 Days of Fitness

Just in case, here’s what you might have missed:

Day #16 Tips for Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain
Day #2 – Cholesterol Myths You Need to Stop Believing
Day #3 – Festively Fit: Staying Fit Over the Holidays
Day #410 Fitness Myths That Need to Die

 

 

 

12 Days of Fitness 2019: Day 3 – Festively Fit: Staying Fit Over the Holidays

(This is part 3 of a 12 part series to provide you with some helpful health and fitness tips over the holiday season)

Are you fearing this year’s holidays? Are you wondering how you will handle the challenges of being confronted with mountains of delicious food, endless parties, and crazy schedules? Unfortunately, these worries and fears often lead to complete resignation, which causes people to give up all regular routines, self-discipline, and otherwise manageable self-restraint related to health and fitness. This, in turn, can result in guilty consciences, sick stomachs, sleepless nights, sluggish bodies, and bad attitudes.

The Good News: There is a Better Way!

If all this sounds familiar, your first step is to change your mindset. Practicing sound nutrition, health and fitness habits is vital to life-long wellness. Healthy eating, effective physical activity and regular rest are practices that should become part of who you are and essential to your daily life, just like brushing your teeth or taking a shower. This shift in mindset sets the stage for greater self-empowerment and self-confidence, as well as a transition in locus of control from external to internal. The key is to recognize that you have the power to transform your life and live it to the fullest during times of joy, trouble, hardship, success, holidays, and festivities by applying key foundational behavioral principles. When you do that, you won’t get bogged down with seemingly endless challenging choices in every situation. If you make the following key foundational behaviors a priority, circumstantial, seasonal and unexpected events won’t have the power to derail you. Here ya go:

1) Drink water.Choose to drink water over anything else. Cold or hot herbal teas are a good option, too. Drink two cups of water when you first wake up in the morning and when you feel hungry outside of your regular mealtime/regular snacks. Festive Fit Tip: When you arrive at a holiday party, drink two cups of water or herbal tea before you start eating.

2) Move more, sit less. If you have the option of standing versus sitting, stand. If you have the option of walking versus driving, walk. If you have the option of moving about versus standing, move about. Daily physical activity and structured exercise, including cardio, strength and flexibility exercises, are a part of a healthy daily routine. Festive Fit Tip: When you attend a holiday party or an event, find a way to avoid sitting for the majority of the time (move about the room, start a dance party, etc.).

3) Something positive is better than nothing. Get away from an all-or-nothing mindset. If you don’t have time for a full workout, do 10 minutes of exercise and you’ll reap some positive benefits. If you forgot to add any fruits or vegetables to your meals during the day, add an apple at night. Apply this principle where it makes sense. Festive Fit Tip: Focus on nutritious foods during the holidays rather than on what you shouldn’t eat. Each time you eat at home or at a holiday party, add things to your plate that are good for you, such as vegetables, fruit, nuts or other healthy proteins or grains.

4) Take control. Focus. Reflect. Ask yourself: Is this behavior good for me? Be mindful. Choose wisely. Follow-through. Festive Fit Tip: When you are at a party and about to fill your plate with all the goodies from the buffet, pause and ask yourself: Is it time to eat now? What have I already eaten today? What is available here that is considered healthy?

5) Half is enough. Eat only half of the less-nutritious foods on your plate. If you take a cookie, for example, eat half of it and pack the other half for another day. Festive Fit Tip: At a holiday party or event, serve yourself only half of what is on the serving platter. For example, if you want a brownie, cut it in two on the serving platter and only serve yourself half (and don’t go back for seconds).

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

See you tomorrow for Day 4 of the 12 Days of Fitness!

Just in case, here’s what you might have missed:

Day #16 Tips for Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain
Day #2 – Cholesterol Myths You Need to Stop Believing

 

What Motivates You?

Motivation is defined as the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way. An individual’s motivation may be inspired by others or events (extrinsic motivation) or it may come from within the individual (intrinsic motivation). Motivation is of course different for everyone, but it begs the question, what motivates you? Is it intrinsic or extrinsic? Some people have no idea what motivates them while others will simply say they need motivation. I want to share with you a personal story, journey if you will, that just concluded for me in the hopes that perhaps you too can find some motivation and begin your own journey.

MS City to Shore

20 years ago I embarked on a journey I thought would be one and done. I liked riding my bike, so I was looking for some charitable event which involved riding endless miles on my bike. I came across the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s annual City to Shore Bike Tour, or MS 150 as it was known back then. The 150 represented the 75 miles from Cherry Hill, New Jersey to Ocean City, New Jersey and back across over two days. Perfect! I also had the honor, if you will, of knowing someone first hand who was living with this disease, my aunt’s sister Diane. As the years would go on and many rides later, my sister in law Susan was also diagnosed with MS. Multiple sclerosis is a progressive disease that causes damage to the central nervous system (CNS), manifested in outward and silent symptoms. Although there is no cure yet for MS, many treatments are available that can help slow the progression of the disease, which is why I continued to fundraise in hopes that even more treatments could be found and perhaps even one day a cure. So one year quickly became 20, and every year I looked forward to the next. The inspiration and motivation I drew from those who lived with the disease pushed me on even further. So you might be asking, why stop now? And the answer is simple – to find other ways to continue to help those in need.

The “Road” Tests

I had every reason not to ride a second year after an incident that occurred my very first year. About 27 miles from the finish (I had chosen to ride the now optional 100 miles on the first day; 75 the second) I had an awful crash. It was a completely freakish thing, but I had an open compound fracture of my right humerus and a broken right hand. Drawing on my own intrinsic motivation, I could not wait to get back on my bike again the following year and complete the ride, which I did. About 12 years later I crashed again in yet another freakish accident, but this time only skidded across the macadam with some flesh wounds. Unlike the first time however, I was able to keep riding and complete the ride, even more motivated this time to ride yet again. And then two years after that, an extremely freakish mechanical issue with my bike occurred as I had stripped the crank completely off of the bottom bracket with 8 miles to go, hence unable to finish the ride. So I rode again, and again. This ride had become such a huge motivational journey in not only the desire to help others, but also myself by not giving up due to setbacks. If those I was riding for weren’t giving up, then neither was I.

Your Turn

Perhaps for you it starts with a charity walk/run where families are encouraged with kids and animals in tow. It could be to support a cause that has meaning to you, or it could be just for fun to get you moving. Even better, maybe you’ll volunteer at any one of the hundreds of events held locally (they’re always in need of volunteers) to support those participating. Many volunteers find their motivation at the very events they support and then become a participant the following year. They became motivated to do what they had seen others finish. While there’s no perfect time to get started, why not make it now? No matter the event, I can’t even put into words the euphoria I feel every time I cross a finish line about what I just accomplished. So find something that motivates you, and go after that euphoric feeling. And don’t worry about what others might think, because believe me when I tell you that everyone at any event is proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with everyone about to partake in the journey ahead. And while everyone prepares differently, ultimately everyone does the same course.

By the way, I’m not done riding yet.

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

Some Fun and Interesting Stats:

• 20 years riding in the annual MS City to Shore Bike Tour (one year was actually cancelled due to hurricane fall out)
• I’ve raised over $23,000.00 for the National MS Society
• I’ve biked over 3,000 miles
• I used two different bikes: Bianci Brava and Trek 5000
• I had two crashes; one really bad, one not so bad
• Rode through 2 hurricane-esque storms
• Met some incredible, inspirational people on the ride, including a Japanese woman who rides every year in her Sunday best and just this year, a 70 year old woman who just discovered riding a few years ago and was hanging with me
• My wife accompanied me for 2.5 rides
• My sister accompanied me for ½ ride
• Made some very good friendships with guys who have gone on to participate in triathlons and ultra marathons

Why Do I (You) Work Out?

I’m often asked, “How often do you workout?”, not what do I do. It’s generally presumed that someone who makes a career out of keeping people in shape must workout 8 days a week, right? No. Just like everyone else, I like my rest days too, only what I consider a rest day is probably more like an active day for most. But here’s my honest answer. I’m physically active 7 days a week. Some days more involved than others but I’m moving to some degree. Why? Because I choose to and the alternative does not appeal to me very much. So when did this all start or have I always been this way?

My Humble Beginnings

It goes way back to when I was very young witnessing my mother working out with the likes of Jane Fonda, Richard Simmonds, or Jack LaLanne. I was so impressed that people moved their bodies in certain ways to create a positive outcome. Then, I was an athlete through high school and I quickly appreciated the value of taking care of myself physically and it’s positive outcomes. I was never the best athlete but I could compete and “hang” with whoever or whatever the competition and not feel destroyed. In college, I was able to pursue an education in an area that I had already enjoyed and had fueled my passion to simply helping others. Not a day goes by that I take for granted the path that was laid out for me but also worked hard at keeping it growing. Working out was not something I did; it was a part of the fabric that makes me who I am.

Today

My workouts have evolved and rightfully so. As a fitness professional for almost 25 years, I’ve seen it all, tried most of it, and have the clarity to understand what is worth its investment and what is not. Exercise at its root is simply physical movement, a concept most don’t appreciate enough to include in their lives. There’s a ton of blame to be passed around as well as to why this occurs but it ultimately comes down to a choice: you either choose to move or you don’t. Forget about what you think you have to do and just move! Simple, right? Forget about the joining a gym, taking a class, buying equipment for your home, etc. and just move. Once that starts and is consistent, then you can look at alternatives to improving that movement. I love it when people tell me they don’t like to exercise. For one, I feel bad for them. Some where along their path they had a bad experience that soured them on the subject. Secondly, their outlook on life is bleak and perhaps there are deeper issues than I’m quailed to assist. Exercise is not the end all, be all, of life, but we were born with two legs for locomotion and the results of moving far outweigh any alternative.

So Why Then Do I (And You Should) Workout?

In no particular order:
• My personal health and well being. There are no guarantees in life but my odds are greater.
• My family and loved ones need and want me to be there, as do I.
• I love the way it makes me feel and look.
• It makes me feel confident.
• I feel generally stronger all around.
• It puts my mind at ease and is a superb way to handle stress.
• My energy levels are higher.
• Day to day tasks and activities are not a burden.
• I rest and sleep well.
• I rarely get sick and if and when I do it’s short lived.
• Most physical tasks aren’t so daunting. Yes, I can be depended on.

If any or all of these appeal to you, I can guarantee they’ll become your reality by getting and staying moving. So what are you waiting for?

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

The Follow Through

In sports, the follow through is the complete execution of a movement. (i.e. a golf swing, basketball shot, etc.). In the business world, the follow through is the series of events from concept to completion. So what do the both have in common? An action which is dependent on a clear series of events leading up to a specific outcome. In the world of health and fitness, the one thing generally escaping most is the follow through, no matter what the goal. Any goal, no matter big or small, doesn’t happen by chance. It requires a focused attention to what’s most important at that moment, and that’s where the follow through falls apart.

But???

Excuses – the bane of our existence. Everyone makes them and they’re all bad. The only person the excuse means anything to is the one making the excuse.”But I can’t.” “ But I have to…” But I have to see…” “But I don’t.” On and on. Fill in the blanks with whatever you want but in the end they represent nothing but an unwillingness to commit to the process, to follow through. Things in life happen BUT if you’re in a constant behavior of making excuses, making “buts”, you’ll never achieve what you had originally set out to do. There’s no magic there and luck is not something that happens by chance. It’s your mindset, your work, your focus, and your dedication that makes it all happen.

The Process

Let’s say you want to lose a few pounds. You might start by deciding to exercise and eat better. Good start. Then it happens. There’s little to no change on the scale. Exercise all of the sudden becomes a burden. The best eating habits only exist may be 3-4 days a week. Pretty soon you’re back to square one except square one is now heavier than before. Where did it go wrong? First, eating better is more than just substituting salads for meals or skipping whole meals or eliminating macronutrients. Secondly, exercise, or physical movement, is great but it’s also not the magic elixir that most assume it to be. Both require a conscientious commitment to change, doing things differently than you’ve done before. They are not to be compartmentalized and treated as something you do short term. They are both individual processes themselves that require the respect they each deserve. Do anything short term or “cheat” the process, and you will fail 100% of the time, and that’s a big no ifs, ands, or buts!

Change It All Now

A concept most people can’t or don’t come to terms with is that they are 100% in charge of their lives. Again the doubters emerge and will say “Yes, but”, or “You don’t understand.” Actually, I know all I need to know. The phrase “you are what you eat” is true on so many levels. Only you can make the change. Only you can make the laser focus. Only you can commit to what you deem as important. Anything short of that and you’ll never escape. The really good news is that it all can change right now. It doesn’t have to move mountains or be an ultimatum. It just needs to begin with the belief that it can change. Right there and you’re already ahead in the follow through.

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.