Baby steps are the rule (and not the exception to it) with fitness

Ours is a society of instant gratification in so many ways. When it comes to fitness, however, you simply can’t come to a workout once or twice a week and expect to see rapid, big changes taking place in a month or two. It’s just not how the body responds. 

If it took you 10 years to add those 20 extra pounds, I’m not saying it will take another ten to lose them. I am simply saying that fitness and weight loss depend on all kinds of factors and on small but significant changes that have nothing to do with the time I spend with you.

Body transformation requires developing healthy habits to replace unhealthy habits. You may feel overwhelmed with all the suggestions I make to improve your health and achieve a leaner body, but it truly is a matter of divide and conquer.

I am often asked why some of my clients get great results and others, even if they gain firmer arms or legs, don’t really look like they’ve been showing up at the workout studio. And I tell them the difference is what they do when I’m not around. It’s sessions on the treadmill or runs down the bike paths 2-3 times a week, what types of food they permit themselves to indulge in, and even giving up that nightly glass of wine.

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Small changes made over time can add up to impressive results, but consistency is the key.  Here are some starters for you to think about:

  • Limit alcohol (even if it’s slowly dropping the number of drinks you have per week)
  • Forget sugary drinks (even the zero-calorie ones) and replace them with water.
  • Commit to at least two visits to my studio per week and schedule it as if it’s an important work meeting.
  • Shift carb sources from processed to natural ones and fatty meats to lean ones.
  • Add more vegetables and fruits to your diet.
  • Supplement your strength training sessions with at least two cardio workouts per week. Start with 20 minute walk-runs and work yourself up to 40.
  • There are reasons I ask you to do the exercises I assign you. If you balk at them, make sure it’s for a darned good reason, because it’s the ones you don’t want to do that your body probably need the most. Honestly — I am not your enemy. 

Moving as a Way of Life

As we close out January and stop saying "Happy New Year," I am thrilled so many of you are taking your fitness challenge seriously. It would be great if going for the gold six months from now becomes as important as it is to you now (I hope it does!) but I suppose any new year tends to be a real catalyst for change. 

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Apart from proper eating, the biggest challenge most of my clients face has nothing to do with showing up for their workouts with me. While it’s true I can be the taskmaster, you all seem to know going into this that once you show up, you’re basically mine for an hour and in order to get out of here and into the cool morning air, you pretty much have to do everything I ask. The biggest hurdle, then, is getting that cardio workout in 2-3 times per week. After all, I don’t have you running around a parking lot or subject you to a rowing machine for more than a few minutes at a time.

Perhaps if you looked at the cardio element of your weekly commitment differently even during weeks you find it hard to get to the gym, moving more every day (in addition to our workouts together) will simply mean less time sitting — a way to automatically lower your risk for heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and an early demise. While intense exercise is good for us, 30 minutes to an hour of cardio doesn’t completely erase the effects of a sedentary lifestyle. But it can make big difference.

So how much cardio is enough? Experts recommend 150 minutes per week (30 minutes five days a week) which includes our workouts together. Whether you pick 30 continuous minutes of activity or 3 ten-minute sessions, however, there is more than one way to get more active between workouts with me.  

At Work…

  • Are there stairs in your building? I found it fascinatng that researchers discovered that while the rate of caloric expenditure was greater when taking two steps at the time, the burn over an entire flight of stairs was higher when taking them one at a time. Being out breath, of course, is normal either way…
  • How about moving your meetings? No, not rescheduling them. I  mean setting up walking meetings, chatting with a coworker as you walk around the block with them. Even walking for 15 minutes burns up 66 calories, while sitting for that same length of time uses up only 28. Mobile meetings can also strengthen work relationships as well as improve health and boost creativity. Actors playing spies and politicians do it in movies to make the context look more interesting, so why not do it for your health?
  • Think of the ring tone on your smart phone as an excuse to stand up. Every time you take a call, stand or walk to another part of the office, if possible. Better yet, create your own standing desk by stacking books or investing in an inexpensive contraption to help you occasionally work standing up. People may think you’re nuts, but they’re not occupying your body nor looking for a way to burn more calories.
  • You KNOW you need to drink more water. And the more water you drink, the more trips you make to the bathroom. If you are not a natural water-drinker, find a way to flavor your water that makes it more palatable (lemon, cucumbers, etc.)

On Your Own …

  • You don’t have to get gussied up and go our to a club to dance, You can crank up the music on your home speakers and dance for a solid 30 minutes. Like nobody’s watching…
  • Go on a cheap date with a partner, a neighbor or a friend to burn calories. Long walks with a little running thrown in. Bike to your favorite frozen yogurt hangout or even the movie theater and then walk or bike home. Or take up thy racket and hit a ball or two, even if it’s up against a building. The scramble is good for you.
  • There are tons of computer-generated fitness games called “energames” put out by Xbox or Wii FitPlus. Find the ones that get your heart pumping!

Getting Places ….

  • You don’t HAVE to sit there and wait for your flight or your connecting flight. You can walk around the terminal, rolling your carry-on behind you to burn up a few more calories. Pack a pair of sneakers or just wear them to the airport. Airports are now interesting places to explore, with museums, displays and great little shops — as l long as you pay no attention to the smell of cinnamon rolls wafting past you.
  • Europeans do it all the time. Americans, not so much. Walking or biking to work. Most of us can’t picture ourselves doing this, but you gotta try it sometime just to be able to say you did it, right? The wealth of biking trails and dedicated pedestrian room on streets these days make it much less dangerous that it used to me. Map out a special route for yourself. 

When Dreams Do Come True....

Not a lot of time to write lately, but I do have more photos of my brand spanking new fitness studio. Come take a peek even if you don't have a workout scheduled! It still smells NEW, all the the equipment was hand-selected by ME, and the light in this space is incredible! I don't even have to turn on the overhead lights during the day! Here are more photos:

 Continuous surface rubber as well as hardwood floors offer my clients plenty of room to lunge, plank, and get to the next level!

Continuous surface rubber as well as hardwood floors offer my clients plenty of room to lunge, plank, and get to the next level!

 I DO love affirmations, and they're everywhere you look!

I DO love affirmations, and they're everywhere you look!

 A few things are still being fine-tuned...

A few things are still being fine-tuned...

 Machines missing from my last space are HERE. Face it. You can't escape these, and complaining about muscle soreness is a GOOD problem....   

Machines missing from my last space are HERE. Face it. You can't escape these, and complaining about muscle soreness is a GOOD problem....

 

 This one is still true. Think it. Do it. Don't ever give up!

This one is still true. Think it. Do it. Don't ever give up!