Add an Outdoor Workout for Variety

Outdoor workout at the Ballard Locks
Outdoor workout at the Ballard Locks

Do you need a little variety in your workouts?  Sometimes the gym just plain old gets boring, let’s face it.  I have found that taking my own workouts outdoors, as well as my clients’ workouts outdoors, really can make a difference in attitude.

For one thing, adding the distraction of beautiful scenery, such as what we have in Seattle at the Ballard Locks, is a great way to add some motivation and enthusiasm towards the workout.  Who wouldn’t enjoy working out to Great Blue Heron “fly-bys” and Harbor Seals swimming by?  Ok, maybe our focus is a little distracted at times, but the overall feeling of the workout is a very positive one.

What the great outdoors has to offer is variety.  In our bootcamp classes, such as the one in the video, we use exercise tubing, stairs, and anything else that can be incorporated into the workout, such as benches or trails.   There is so much that can be done on stairs, for example,  from walking or running them at different intensities, to squats or taking the stairs sideways.
Watch this video of our recent outdoor bootcamp!

When you need a breath of fresh air, take your workout outdoors.

Olympic swimmer

How Do Olympic Athletes Train for Gold…and what does that have to do with YOU?

It is that time again..the winter Olympics are about to begin.  I have been thinking about what these athletes have to do to prepare for their competition and what we can learn from this.  Does it seem like night and day, comparing ourselves in any way to an Olympic athlete?  Well, it really isn’t that far-fetched.

Olympic athletes (or Super Bowl athletes, for that matter) spend an inordinate amount of time preparing for their big day, both physically and mentally.  The physical part is huge, don’t get me wrong, but the mental (or psychological) part is even “huger”!

If the physical training is a full-time job, then the mental training is an “all-the-time job”.

Ok, so we all are aware of what it
takes to be a superb athlete, but what does it take to be a superb “you”?

 

How about…….A commitment to do the work that it takes, constant practice and repetition, huge motivation to get out there day after day, laser sharp focus, and an attitude of doing their best?I know what you are thinking….if we could do that, we would all be millionaires or hugely successful or how about just plain old fulfilled and enriched human beings?Regarding your health and fitness goals, put some thought into what they are.  This can apply to exercise, weight loss, better nutrition, and….

  • make the commitment to them,
  • practice and repeat (build the habit–long-term),
  • do whatever it takes to stay motivated (find a workout partner, schedule workouts and/or events on your calendar, try something new),
  • focus on the end goal, but also on enjoying all of the steps along the way (practice mindfulness),
  • check your attitude (the bottom line is that you are doing this for you and you will have ups and downs, but set the intention to keep working at it).

What is Your Fitness Language?

What is your Fitness Language?

Answered…..

We have heard of our “love language”, but what is your fitness language?

 

Do you……     woman running

a) love to exercise?

If you answered “yes”, then you are lucky in a lot of ways.  What you have to be careful of is that you don’t go overboard and become “addicted” to exercise.  Not that over-exercise is a bad addiction compared to many, but it can get in the way of having a balanced life.

 

What is too much?  Too much exercise is when you start to lose touch with friends or family because you are always training or going to classes.  Too much is when you stop doing other things that you love to do because you have to train all the time.

 

b) reluctantly exercise because you know that it is good for you?

If you answered “yes” than you are probably still self-motivated, but may be more motivated by a fitness tool such as the “Fit Bit”, which gives you feedback about your # of steps, calories burned, etc.

 

You are truly a good candidate for a personal trainer to provide that extra motivation and feedback to keep you going.

I find that many women are in this category because many of them are not used to spending money on themselves for exercise (at least women older than 40’s).

 

c) only exercise with someone else or in a class?

If “yes” is your answer here, you are a good jumping ropecandidate for a personal trainer for sure!  Hopefully over time, you morph into someone who loves to exercise and takes more responsibility towards your exercise.  That is a goal of most personal trainers!

 

d) hate to exercise and avoid it at all costs? 

As hard as it is for me to talk someone out of exercising, this type of person is the most challenging to keep exercising.  They usually will only exercise under Doctor’s orders, and even then, they do so very reluctantly.  Once in a while, there is a conversion from exercise “hater” to “lover”, or at least “tolerater”.

 

sea turtle and scuba divers on pristine coral reef

Fit4Diving

Why is scuba diving fitness so important?  Some of the answers are obvious, while others may not be to the non-diver.

“I have seen so many scuba divers go on diving trips while really lacking the physical fitness to participate safely at the most fundamental level.  It might be as simple as climbing up the boat ladder after a dive. It might also be having difficulty walking with gear on to the beach for a shore dive or fatiguing during a long surface swim.  I have seen divers who are so out of condition that they work too hard and drain their tanks too quickly (some of that is also nerves).  Being physically fit is also a huge confidence booster for most people, especially for women.” (from E-book accompanying Fit4Diving.com).

Every time that I dive, I am reminded how my level of fitness contributes to my overall experience.  Swimming against a strong current while having the aerobic conditioning and leg strength to do so without draining my tank is a good thing! What about having the fitness levels to dive day after day on a dive vacation without needing to take a voluntary “non-dive day”?  Of course, a sight-seeing day is totally worthwhile, but if you are there mainly to dive, then that is what you want to do. As I get into my BCD on the dive boat, I am thankful for the flexibility in my shoulders.  As I hoist myself up onto the side of the boat for a back-roll entry, I am thankful for my core strength.  As I walk up onto the shore from a walk-in dive at night in the dark, I am thankful for my legs and back strength as well as all of the balance work that I do.

As I glide through the water, I have the confidence that my fitness levels allow me to get the most out of my diving experience!

In the Blink of an Eye…repost from Plus One Foundation

Mary jogging
Mary jogging

In the Blink of an Eye

Posted May 3, 2013 by Plus One Foundation in Health & Science, Success Stories. Tagged: , , , , . Leave a Comment

Recently I got the chance to meet with one of Plus One’s grant recipients, Mary. Back in 2007, Mary had just given birth to her twin daughters eight days earlier, when in a blink of an eye her life changed forever.  Mary suffered from a brain aneurysm and was then rushed in to have an emergency brain surgery and fell into a coma for three months.

 

Of course before meeting Mary I did a little research on brain aneurysms and here is what I found. A brain aneurysm is s a weak bulging spot on the wall of a brain artery, when the aneurysm ruptures it allows blood to escape into the space around the brain. About 30,000 people in the United States suffer a brain aneurysm rupture, or there is a brain aneurysm rupturing every 18 minutes. Ruptured brain aneurysms are fatal in about 40% of cases. Of those who survive, about 66% suffer some permanent neurological deficit.

 

Needless to say Mary’s life has changed drastically since her brain aneurysm. She had to relearn all the basic things that we take for granted like walking, talking, and breathing. Mary does one-on-one Mobility and Balance training with a physical instructor, Sue. These sessions are so Mary can work on her strength, balance, and mobility. I got to meet with Mary during one of her sessions and got to learn how Sue is such an important part in Mary’s rehabilitation.

 

Sue does a lot to help Mary. One thing Sue does is since Mary is no longer able to drive, Sue drives to Mary’s house once a week for their sessions. Mary gets distracted easily and Sue is always thinking of new ways to keep her attention. One way she does this is through music. Mary danced and sang to Bruce Springsteen for almost the entire session and she absolutely loved it.  Another thing that Sue realized keeps Mary focused is numbers, when doing a certain exercise if Sue didn’t tell her to do a certain amount Mary would get distracted and start talking to me. But the moment Sue told Mary “Ok now do five more” Mary would instantly get motivated and would start counting in French!

 

My favorite part of going to Mary’s session with Sue was at the very end when Mary told me her goal to run again. Mary used to run on the UW cross country team and could run a half mile in TWO minutes. Since the brain aneurysm, Mary has had to relearn how to walk and now that she has got that down she wants to get back to doing the thing she loved, running. At the end of the session Mary ‘jogged’ across her living room and she had the largest smile on her face.

 

While talking with the two of them, I could see that Mary and Sue had become friends in their time together. And to end this I would like to quote Sue and Mary. Sue told me “My favorite part of working with Mary is her great sense of humor” to which Mary responded “You can’t get through life without being able to laugh” Even though Mary’s life changed so drastically and so quickly she remembers to laugh. And this reminds me that everything I do for Plus One is to help people like Mary smile again and find some hope and laughter in their lives.

 

If you are interested in learning more about brain aneurysms check out http://www.bafound.org/

 

Chelsea Husted

Plus One Foundation

Intern

angry feet

Oh, My Achy Feet!

Our feet are our connection to the earth, our support, and really the foundation of our body! No wonder so many people have foot aches and pains!

Feet come in all sizes and shapes, but they all have 26 bones, 33 joints, and more than 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments combined.  Believe it or not, ¼ of the human body’s bones are in the feet!

We ask a lot of our feet. We stuff them into all kinds of shoes, pound on them when we walk and run, ask them to hold us up and balance our body, and bend and flex as we move.

According  to the experts, dysfunction in the foot can create problems in other joints of the body, including the knee, hip, and shoulder.  Ankle mobility is also a crucial factor that affects the functioning of these other joints.

Because our feet are so important, I want to touch on some of the most common issues that I have seen with clients over the years of training.  I have also dealt with tendinitis in my feet in a couple of different places and know first-hand how frustrating it is to deal with a foot problem.

Heel Pain

According to Web MD, plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain. The plantar fascia is a band of tough connective tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes.  It frquently becomes irritated or inflamed.  Heel pain, worst in the morning when getting out of bed, is the most common symptom. Arch pain may also be present with his condition.

Heel spurs are another cause of heel pain.  These are abnormal growths of bone on the bottom of the heel bone. Causes can include an abnormal gait, posture or walking, inappropriate shoes, or certain activities.  Foot pain while walking or standing is likely.  Not everyone with heel spurs has foot pain. People with flat feet or high arches are more likely to have foot pain from heel spurs.

Ball of Foot Pain

Metatarsalgia causes pain and inflammation in the ball of the foot. The usual causes are strenuous activity or poorly fitting shoes.

Morton’s neuroma is thickening of the tissue around the nerve between the bases of the toes (usually between the third and fourth toes). Foot pain, odd   sensations, or numbness over the ball of the foot are the usual symptomsfoot in heels.  It is more common in women and can be a result of wearing high heels or tight shoes.

Arch Pain

Arch pain is most often caused by plantar fasciitis, which can affect the heel, arch, or both.

Fallen arches — or flat feet — occurs when the arches of the feet flatten out (often when standing or walking), causing foot pain and other problems.  Flat feet can be treated with shoe inserts (orthotics), shoe adjustments, rest/ice, using a walking case or brace, or physical therapy. There are some great exercises to strengthen the arches.

Toe Pain

Arthritis, including gout, can cause pain in the toes.  Gout is an inflammatory condition in which crystals periodically deposit in joints, causing severe pain and swelling. The big toe is often affected by gout.

Tendinitis is inflammation and irritation of tendons, the bands attaching muscles to bones. Tendons run along all the surfaces of the foot, and can cause foot pain in many different locations.

Information for this article is from Web MD.  Click   here for more information, including recommended treatments. 

Getting Fit After Cancer, by Melanie Bowen

Getting Fit After Cancer: The Effects of Physical Activity

 

With the amount of information out there today, it’s possible that people are misinformed about what they can and can’t do with cancer. In many recent studies, physical activity has been shown to increase mood, energy and lessen the effects of cancer treatment for cancer patients, including symptoms of fatigue. It’s possible that with daily activity and exercise, a cancer patient going through even rougher treatments for mesothelioma may feel better and even resolve some of their issues with appetite and energy balance. In addition, physical activity has been shown to reduce heart disease and lessen the risk of other cancers. That’s why it’s so important to get moving even when going through cancer treatment. It can mean feeling better today, gaining more strength and eventually healing your body.
Why People Don’t Exercise with Cancer

In some cases, physical activity may be overlooked by cancer patients because they are overwhelmed with the disease and do not realize how it could actually help. It’s so important to speak with a doctor about the benefits and before beginning any exercise regimen. The National Cancer Institute-Funded studies are exploring more into the idea of physical activity as a way to survive and improve the quality of life with cancer patients. There are studies that have shown that regular physical activity can reduce the risk for breast cancer in women as well as prostate cancer in men.
What Types of Activities to Consider

There are all sorts of physical activities out there that you may enjoy. Many people just starting out with cancer treatment don’t want to get into strenuous activity, so they opt for things like yoga, light strength training, walking, and even tai chi, a form of martial arts. These are low impact exercises designed to keep the body moving and loose. There are also other activities which don’t put a lot of strain on the body such as stationary cycling, rowing machines, short jogs, swimming and light aerobic exercise.
How to Form a Cancer Fitness Plan

Getting in shape with cancer can be difficult. It starts with motivation to heal your body and a will to build your strength back. If you focus on certain aspects of your body that you want to train, then you can regain more confidence and even bring an energy balance back into your body. It’s important to realize your fitness goals early on so that you can motivate yourself and find inspiration through photos, videos and quotes that pertain to your fitness goals with cancer.

Visit Melanie’s Blog for more great articles about cancer.

Taking A Gap Year?

I love the term “Gap Year”.  Typically referring to taking a year off between life stages or events, but often referring to college students who take a year off, it can easily apply to fitness.  As a personal trainer, I hear frequently from people that they “used to” exercise more, or “used to” lift weights, etc.   I consider this akin to taking a “Gap Year” from fitness. 

We all do this to some degree.  Often times, injuries require us to step back from a fitness activity that we love to do, or were at least doing regularly.  I have had to take a running break since July.  Others get out of the habit after an illness, vacation, or just get too busy with work or family.

My job is to help my clients figure out how to get back in the habit of exercising.  Do I do a good job of that?  Well, it is really a two-way street.  We both have to recognize that you have slid down the slippery slope of taking a “Gap Year” from all or a portion of your fitness regimen.  Then we have to talk about it.  From there, it is really up to you to make a commitment to doing something about it, which is where I step back into the picture.         running race                   

Let me ask you this?  Do you find that you “used to” do more exercise and now you are doing less because you have slipped down that slippery slope of “getting out of the habit”?  Yes, it is easy to do. 

If you answer yes to this question, you might try a few of these suggestions.

Once you decide on a plan of action, tell someone your plan.  This will help you to follow through with it.

1.  Sign up for a 5k, 10k, half marathon, etc.

2.  Pick a class that you want to try and commit t o going once/twice a week.  Maybe it is Zumba, TRX, Yoga, Pilates, Water Aerobics, Tai Chi…..

3.  Agree with  a friend that you are going to both go for a run, swim, class, etc. together on a specific day and time.

4.  Get a friend to workout with a trainer (guess who) with you.  Shared sessions can be so much fun and a little cheaper than a private session.

5.  Think about how your body felt when you were lifting weights regularly, running regulary, going to Pilates or Yoga regularly, etc.

Abs or Flab?

How many of us want 6-pack abs? Well, unless you are 20 years old, the likelihood that having a 6-pack is your sole focus for your workouts, is not high. Many of us do want strong, firm, toned abs though. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just take a pill every day and burn fat from our mid-section? Well, the reality is that it is a lot more complicated than that. A lot depends on your activity levels, as well as targeted exercises, your diet, and your stress levels. Ok, so it is hopeless, I give up! No,don’t give up!. It is good to remember that the bottom line in all of this is to be healthy!Excess fat around the mid-section is a known risk factor for heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes, among ohter health problems. Without getting too scientific here, I want to make a few suggestions.  First of all, focus on the big picture, which, as I said previously, is to be healthy. Second, develop a good solid abdominal routine that is varied and core-strength based. This doesn’t necessariy mean doing 100 crunches/day. Third, take a look at your diet and stress levels.

Here are two abdominal exercises that are varied and excellent for developing lean and strong abs.

Plank
Plank

1. Plank–This is such a great exercise for overall core strength. There are many modifications and variations to try. Planks can be done on forearms or hands/ knees or feet, from the fitness ball, TRX, and much more.

criss cross
Criss-cross

2. Pilates Criss-Cross–This exercise is about “lengthening” vs. just crunching and twisting. You wan to make sure and flatten your stomache when exhaling and rotating vs. letting it pooch out.

Diet is a huge player in how our bodies store fat. Eating a diet with an abundance of lean proteins, healthy fats, and low-glycemic carbs, including fresh veggies, vs. a diet high in processed carbs, makes a giant difference in how our bodies store and release fat. A lot of people have great success changing their diets by doing the 5-day sugar detox, called RESET (I can help you with this). Eliminating cravings for processed carbs is a major step in the right direction.

Stress increases cortisol levels, among other stress hormones, which also lead to fat storage. The “fight or flight” response is so primal in our systems that we are pre-programmed to store fat in response to high stress hormonel levels. How many of you live in a constant state of sress? A lot of it is actually self-induced by packing our schedules too full and always being on the go, but a lot of it is also due to other factors that are just part of life, such as raising kids, work, financial stress, etc. There are many ways to reduce stress levels though, and that is another whole topic.

Many more factors can influence your fat storage, but these are the most obvious ones that you really can do something about right now!

yogurt breakfast

But I’m Not Hungry!

I hear over and over again about how some of my clients don’t eat anything before coming into their early morning workouts. Not only do I hear about not eating before the workout, but I also hear all about how some of them don’t eat breakfast at all!

Of course I don’t get it at all since food is one of the first things on my mind when I get up in the morning, no matter what time it is. Why is it not on theirs? A lot of people say that they just don’t think about eating first thing….well, this is a habit that can be changed. Others think that they are going to lose weight by skipping breakfast. This is so not true! Not eating breakfast will actually slow your metabolism down, vs. speed it up and cause you to ultimately eat more during that day.

Why is it so important to eat breakfast, even if you don’t feel like it? Research says that those who skip breakfast eat as much as 80% more calories during the day! Is this you? I hope not! While you are sleeping, your body is using stored calories from either glycogen or fat to do its nightly repair work. The glycogen is stored in your muscles and liver.

Before a workout in the morning, if you don’t have a lot of time before you go to the gym, I suggest that you eat something light such as a piece of whole grain toast with almond butter, a few bites of yogurt with some fresh fruit and a sprinkle of nuts, or even part of a low glycemic bar or shake. Your body needs something to draw its energy from and when you get up in the morning since you are already at a deficit fuel. Eating low-glycemic carbohydrates (unprocessed, whole grains) with a little protein is ideal.

When you return home after working out, then you can finish feeding your body with a couple of eggs and whole grain toast with almond butter or uncured turkey bacon, or slow-cooked oatmeal with some fruit and nuts, a nutritious low-glycemic shake, or whatever you like to eat for breakfast that will give you the energy for your day. This is where a balanced meal including healthy fats, protein, and unprocessed carbs is important—-every day! Just think, if you start your day out this way, you won’t be making a direct deposit to those unwanted fat stores in the belly, thighs, or hips!

Eating breakfast daily is a step in the right direction towards a healthy start to your day! Research shows that eating breakfast is consistently important for people to lose weight and/or keep lost weight off for good!