Online Fitness Coaching: Get Your Zzzzz’s!

Happy Weekend!  On the exercise and  fitness front today, I took a three mile walk to get ready to walk a 5K.  It was another perfect day for a long walk.  Then I came home and did ChaLean Extreme.  I’m on the lean circuit now and that one is the most intense.  You get a weight and core workout at the same time.  It really has increased my metabolism. My weight is consistently 3 lbs. lighter since I increased my weights during this round. Woo hoo!

I had a whirlwind Thursday and Friday.  Our family hosted a choir member from Hofstra University Thursday night.  My daughter, Katie is in the Choir at her high school and the Hofstra choir came and workshopped with them, did a concert that evening and left the next morning. I got up extra early to take Leah (who sang beautifully by the way) to catch her bus.  I worked all day, then changed clothes and drove an hour and a half to see “Menopause the Musical” with  some gal pals.  The show was an absolute hoot!  If you are female and over forty, you owe it to yourself to see this one.

I didn’t get home until 12:30 p.m. and had to wake my daughter at 3:30 a.m. (I know get the toothpicks for the eyelids) to go on a bus trip to NYC to see “Sister Act”.  Needless to say, I am feeling a little bit sleep deprived today.  Thought this would be a good time to share an infographic from frugaldad.com on the dangers of sleep deprivation.  Studies show if you average only 5 1/2 hours of sleep per night in a year, you will also average a 12 pound weight gain? YIKES  Another good reason to get your Zzzz’s

sleep

Source: http://frugaldad.com

 

Online Fitness Coaching: Walking My Way Through a 5K

I’ve done a lot of blogging about setting goals when making your fitness plan.  Helping people set goals is a big part of online fitness coaching.  I feel like it’s time for me to set a new goal for myself.  I’m feeling the need to have something new just over the horizon to get ready for.  If I have an event coming up, it will help me keep working out and staying in shape.

So….this summer I am going to sign myself up for two 5Ks.  One is called the Train Wreck Trek and it is run on a railroad bed (no rails anymore) in the tiny town of Reedsville.  The other one is in Southport, SC.  It will be held over the Fourth of July Weekend.  Unlike most folks who take part in 5ks, I will be walking.  I am just not a runner, but I love to walk.  I haven’t done anything of this length since I use to take part in the 12 mile walk-a-thons for hunger in the 70’s.  Yes I have just dated myself!

canine walking buddy
My daily walking buddy, Mocha.

My usual fitness routine is weightlifting 3 days per week, cardio twice a week and an ab rountine once a week.  I walk my dog almost every day for at least 20 minutes.  I spend an hour or two each week ballroom dancing.  I am in pretty good shape so I don’t think I will have any trouble walking a 5K.  I do want to start getting a long walk in once a week.  I need to get a baseline time and see if I can improve on that to be “race ready” in June.

Success!  My goal is now in writing and I have told others about it.  It’s your job to keep me accountable!  I’ll be updating with posts on my progress from time to time.  Have you ever walked a 5K?  What tips do you have for me?

How to Start A Fitness Support Group on Facebook

Here’s a tip from your online fitness coach:  It’s always easier to stay with your fitness routine if you have likeminded friends to support you and keep you motivated.  Did you know you could use Facebook to make your own private fitness group?  It’s a great place to bring in your friends, set some goals, track your workouts and be creative to keep each other motivated.  Here’s how to set it up.

Step 1  Go to your “home” tab in Facebook and click on the “Create Group” tab in the left sidebar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 2   Now create your group. Give it a name and invite your fitness minded friends.  Then make sure you make it a secret group!  That way whatever you post is only seen by the people in your group and no one else.  Posts will appear in their timeline, but no one else will see them.  Genius.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 3 Click the “Create” button and you are ready to get started.  In my next post, I will give you some ideas on events you can start within your group to increase motivation and keep people exercising.

Online Fitness Coaching: Featured Blog of the Week

This week’s featured blog of the week is Meals and Miles.  This blog was started by Meghann Anderson.  Her story is familiar to many.  She was active in high school and college, but was not that concerned with healthy nutrition.  After graduation came a desk job. She wasn’t getting any exercise and slowy put on 20 pounds.

This wake up call got Meghann motivated to change her eating habits and start running a little.  Her goal was to lose those 20 pounds.  She did that plus 5 more.  During her journey to get healthy, the blogging community was a big support, so she is giving back by blogging about her newfound healthy lifestyle.

This blog is well organized.  There is a section where you can read about all the races Meghann has participated in and recipes she has tried.  There’s a blogroll of her fav blogs.  She has some really nice reviews of fun things to do in Orlando, Florida and oh yes…she’s getting ready to get married and there’s a nice section on that.

So check out Meals and Miles.  If you are starting a fitness journey, Meghann can be a big help to you.

What Happens When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep?

The Wrap-up to My Good Food Mood Experiment

After crunching the numbers, I discovered that not getting enough sleep affected my mood, stress and energy level and self-confidence more directly than what I was eating.  Take a look at the video and see for yourself.  Try your own experiment and let me know how it goes!

 

Build Your Self Confidence by Building Your Muscles

In your quest to find ways to build your self confidence have you ever thought about starting a  strength training program? I know they may seem worlds apart when you first think about it, but consider these connections:

  • According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise (strength training qualifies) increases endorphin levels in your brain.  That’s the “reward chemical” your body gives itself when you do something to keep the species going.  In caveman times, you got rewarded when you ran around chasing down your dinner.  You still got that reward when you went to work and did physical.  Now we don’t move around so much to earn our keep.  You have to get your reward chemicals through exercise.  You know how relaxed and calm you feel after a workout?  Endorphins. Feeling good and at peace with yourself on a regular basis will increase your self confidence.
  • Strength training improves your overall appearance.  If you replace five lbs. of fat with five lbs. of muscle, you will be leaner and more fit.  A better overall appearance improves your self esteem. Did you know you lose 1/2 pound of muscle every year after age 30?
  • If you physically feel stronger, you feel more self-sufficient.  If you don’t have to depend on others to do physical tasks for you, you will gain confidence.
  • Strength training increases your metabolism.  Muscles require more energy to sustain themselves, even while you are sleeping.  Your energy level increases.  More energy makes you feel better about yourself, which increases your self confidence.
  • Physical strength lowers your chance of injury.  If you are healthy and injury free, you are more self sufficient.  Don’t we all feel more self confident when we can live more independantly?
  • My two favorite strength training programs are P90X and ChaLean Extreme.   Have you tried any others? If you are feeling a lack of self confidence, try a strength training program.  You most definitely will notice a difference!

 

Vacation Fitness

When you are on vacation, sometimes your fitness plans go out the window.

Saturday we travelled from our home in Central PA Sunset Beto the shores of the Carolina Coast.  We spend a relaxing family vacation in Sunset Beach, North Carolina.  Sometimes it’s hard to continue your fitness routine when your regular routine is non-existant.  Here’s some ways I try to stay focused on fitness while I am on vacation.  With a little pre-planning you can too.

While travelling:

  • Pack your own nutritious snacks rather than stopping at convenience stores and loading up on junk.
  • When you take rest breaks, make sure they include a walk around the rest stop and some stretching before you pile back into your car.

At your destination:

  • Plan some fitness activities for your family.  Hikes, kyaking, swimming, walking on the beach and bike rides all count as exercise and will burn some of those extra colories you consume while vacationing.  Have you tried a new fitness activity with the family lately? This is the perfect opportunity to try a climbing wall, whitewater rafting or some other fun yet active outing. 
  • Plan workouts you can do on the go.  That means something you can do that doesn’t require a gym or heavy equipment.  My hubby and I put together some workouts we can do in the parking area under our beach house.  All we need is some space, a stopwatch and some resistance bands.  I am planning to make some of those workouts available here on this website for you to use.
  • Eat as nutritiously as possible.  Buy local produce, whole grains and lean meats to eat at your destination.  When you eat out, remember that there are some very tasty yet nutritious dishes on most restaurant menus.  I brought my Shakeology along on my vacation to have for lunch.  That way I won’t miss out on the nutrients I need to keep me going strong all vacation long!

Physical Fitness Plans

How to Write a Physical Fitness Plan

If you want to reach your goals, you have to have a plan.  It’s the same for fitness.  Here’s how to write a plan to get where you want to go.

  • Include your fitness goals, make them specific and set a date to reach your goal.  An example might be, “By the end of 90 days, I want to be able to lift 100 lbs in the bench press (2 set of 10 reps each).
  • Use the FITT formula:  Frequency (how often you do the activity) Intensity (at what level you will be working) Time (how long you will work out each session) Type (what type of fitness activity you will be doing)
  • Always include a warm-up and a cool down.  A warm up should include a heart warm-up, five to ten minutes of an easy physical activity to get the blood pumping to your muscles.  Then stretch for the muscles you will be using.  A cool down is five to ten minutes of reduced physical activity followed by stretching the muscles you just used.  This lowers your chances of injury and reduces muscle soreness after a workout.
  • Include aerobic exercises three to five times per week.  This would be any type of exercise that would raise your heart rate into your target range.
  • Include resistance exercises.  This would be any type of exercise that would develop muscular strength or muscular endurance. Do resistance exercise two to four days a week with a day of rest in between.
  • Include flexibility training at least once a week.  This would be any type of exercises/stretches that move body parts through a full range of motion.

If this sounds like a lot of work, there are many workout programs available that have done the work for you.  Beachbody has workout programs that include all parts of a fitness plan for every level of fitness.

Fitness for Father’s Day

The author and her dad

Happy Father’s Day to all you Dads.  Being a Dad is an awesome and sometimes frightening responsibility.  You have younger human beings counting on you for food, shelter, love, support and guidance.  Being your best as a dad requires a certain level of fitness. Make a committment today to be fit and healthy for your family.

My dad was a smoker who quit after my sister cut up his cigarettes one night while she cried, “I don’t want you to die daddy, I don’t want you to die!” That was his moment to commit to a healthier lifesyle.  He’s 79 now.  He has survived open heart surgery and colon cancer.  He still goes hunting every Fall and Spring and hikes up and down the mountains of Central PA.  I have no doubt that he would have died long ago, had he not made that commitment that night with my sister crying hysterically at the kitchen table .

So dads, do whatever it takes and give yourself the gift of fitness.  Start today and keep with it daily.  Quit smoking, start walking, join a gym or get a good at-home fitness program.  Be a good role model in this age of obesity and stick around for lots of good times with the family you love!

Fitness Goal Setting: You Can Do More Than You Think

“I could never do that.”

“That would kill me!”

“I’m too (old, out of shape, fat, fill in your own adjective here) to do that anymore.”

I have heard people making these statements when they are considering fitness goal setting in a new fitness program. They take a look at it from the bottom of a very steep hill and the hill just looks too hard for them to climb. Take heart, oh you people of little strength and conditioning!  Your body was made for activity. Your body wants to be strong and healthy. Your brain just doesn’t know it yet.

When you physically challenge your body, it will respond. If you challenge it consistently, you will see gains in muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance and flexibility.  Challenge means you are going to apply the overload principal.  The overload principal means you are going to make the body work harder than it is used to working.  Does that mean you start out like an Olympic athlete and kill yourself?  No.  Working out like that leads to really sore muscles, injuries and the quick quit which happens to many people who are just starting a program.

To apply the overload principal, you start out at a certain level (depending upon your individual fitness level when your start) and you gradually increase your workout intensity over time.  For example:  Let’s say you need to work on your upper body strength, so you choose to do push-ups.  Let’s say when you start, you can only do 10 modified (on your knees) push-ups with proper form.  For your first three workouts, you do 10 modified push-ups.  During your fourth workout you increase your intensity to 15 modified push-ups. You stay at that level for another 3 workouts.  Now you decide you are ready for push-ups from your toes, but you can only do 8 with good form, so you go to your knees for the remaining 7.  The next week, you increase your intensity to 10 push-ups on your toes and 5 on your knees.  You see how it works?  I’m no youngster anymore and I can do more push-ups (from my toes) than most of the high school students I teach.  I could never do a pull-up in my entire life.  Now I can do two unmodified pull-ups.  Yay me!

Your body will respond to this kind of training and you will be pleasantly surprised at how fast you make gains.  That is incredibly motivating.  The beauty of it is…you can start at any level and increase from there.

Here’s where I stop and tell you that if you have been sedentary, you need to get checked out by a Doc first and get the green light to start exercising.  Safety first!

If you are not sure how to plan this out contact me.  I will be glad to walk you through it. Beachbody also has great programs that apply this principal to each workout.  You can check those out for your fitness level on my “workouts” page.

Now get out there and climb that mountain!  Slow and steady wins the race 🙂

 

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