Archive for December, 2010

Diet

Posted: December 28, 2010 in DIET

I have a confession.  I do NOT like the word diet.  I never have.  Why?  First, it CAN have negative implications.  People hear diet and their thought process immediately goes to – I’m fat.  I need to lose weight.  I’m not good enough.  And about a hundred other negative thoughts that are not healthy.  Second, “diet” is all too often used as a temporary, obligatory thing.  For example, I am going to diet until my vacation.  I am going to diet until my wedding.  My high school reunion is coming up, I’m going to start a diet.  Ok, these are all good reasons but they are temporary. And, what happens after the vacation, wedding, high school reunion? People often revert back to bad eating habits.

I imagine that some of you reading this may be confused.  You may be thinking ok cool, finally someone that says I don’t have to diet.  To those people, I say nice try. My problem with the word “diet” is the way that it is used.  All the above uses are negative. So, let me try to change you way of thinking.  For now on, when you refer to diet, USE THE WORD TO DESCRIBE THE WAY YOU EAT EVERY SINGLE DAY.  For example, I don’t eat any junk food as part of my diet. My diet consists of clean, healthy foods. Do you see the difference?  Used this way, diet reflects a lifestyle choice.

The following are the rules I believe in and try to follow. I encourage everyone to do what works from them.  However, if you want to follow along here it is:

1. I eat small meals every 3-4 hours with good clean foods like:

  • Complex carbohydrates like legumes as well as whole grains such as brown rice and oats.
  • Lean proteins such as chicken breast and lean turkey.
  • Healthy fats like olive oil, avocado and raw almonds (check labels) – just keep it in moderation
  • Green leafy vegetables

2.  I avoiding eating any of this garbage: Sugar, artificial sweeteners, fruit juice (unless squeezed from the fruit itself), regular AND diet soda, processed foods, saturated and trans fats, alcohol, and basically any form of junk food.  At the end of the day, come on, you guys know what’s bad for you.

3.  I try to avoid carbs after 3:00 PM. There is some debate about it’s effectiveness but it has worked for me.

4.  I eat 3 cups of green leafy vegetables a day. Spinach is a personal favorite.

5.  I drink a minimum of 3 liters of water a day.  I will probably actually drink way more than that.  The workouts will make sure of that.

6.  And now for the last rule so good news – I have one cheat meal every week – usually on Fridays for dinner.What is a cheat meal?  A cheat meal is your choice, your treat.  It is your chance to well, cheat.  It is great for both your metabolism and mental state.  I find that if you know you are going to cheat you won’t break your diet.  Want that slice of pizza?  That’s fine – on cheat night 😉

#JanGTD Guide

Posted: December 26, 2010 in GENERAL, WORKOUTS & CHALLENGES

Hi folks.  I’m so honored to be a part of #JanGTD and I love what @FatGirlvsWorld has been doing with you in past #GTD challenges.  For #JanGTD, we are going to be picking it up a notch and adding in some strength training routines.   Although cardio is great, strength training is necessary to a well rounded fitness routine.  With that said, I’ve set up some great workouts for that have been separated into three categories – beginner, intermediate and expert.  Because I can not be there with you, please use your own judgment as to what category you belong in and you are going to have to be my rock stars and teach yourself the routines.  It is always recommended that you consult a fitness professional or physician before beginning any new fitness program and you are engaging in this program at your own risk. The best thing is always to have an individual program designed for you to meet your individual needs and goals. However, since I can’t be there to do that, these are great general fitness routines to get you started.

That said, I’m super excited for all you.  This is going to be a great learning experience as well as an opportunity to take your fitness to the next level.  In preparing these workouts for you, my goal was not only to help you to get into better shape but to help you start to train.  I’ve always said there is a big difference between exercising and training.  Exercising you are just going through the motions.  In training, you are working towards a specific goal and gaining knowledge along the way.  So, the exercises I chose are designed to not only get you in shape but to teach you how to move, balance and work with your body.  I hope that comes across as you are going through #JanGTD.  I realize that some may not be familiar with some of the moves I chosen.  That’s ok because this a GREAT time for you to learn.  You have a few options on how to do that.  First, I’m ALWAYS available to my readers and I will extend that offer to any of #JanGTD participants.  You can post comments with questions, email me at fitnessgauntlet@gmail.com or tweet me @brooklyn_1012.  If you happen to be a New York Sports Club member, we can actually set up a time to meet at the location where I work as a Floor Trainer.   I’d be happy to walk you through anything you need.  Other than me, there are other options available to you.  Google and YouTube are amazing resources.  You would be surprised at what you can find with a simple search.  To you beginners, I definitely recommend YouTube versus Google because I think you need to see the moves rather than just read about them.  I also suggest that you be careful about what videos you rely on.  Try to choose videos prepared by trainers rather than some show off looking to brag about how fabulous they are.  Trust me – you will know the difference when you see it.  Another amazing resource is the American Council on Exercise’s website.  Their address is www.acefitness.org. Many of my moves are from there. I strongly encourage you to view their exercise library which can be found under the Ace GetFit tab (fifth from the left on the menu at the top of their page).  Yet another useful website is www.livestrong.com.  For you advanced warriors out there, check out bodybuilding.com and t-nation.com.  I think you will like them.

To get you guys started, I want to throw a few things your way.  I selected what I thought were the move complicated moves and am including here either a video or a website where you can view the exercises.  When needed, just cut and paste the address into your browser.

To make it easy to find them, you will see that everything is divided into categories.  So, the beginner moves are listed under beginner, intermediate under intermediate and expert under you guessed it – expert.  Let’s roll:

BEGINNER

1.  Three-way lunge – Note:  This person is using a weight here. You don’t have to.  In fact, I prefer you don’t ESPECIALLY is you have never done lunges before.  All three lunges (front, side and back) have to finished to complete one rep.  This is a toughie but a great learning tool for you newbies.

2.  Dirty Dog

http://www.acefitness.org/exerciselibrary/109/dirty-dog

3.  Superman

http://www.acefitness.org/exerciselibrary/9/supermans

4.  Plank

Folks, if I had to pick a favorite exercise, this would be it. In my humble opinion, this is the most effective ab exercise out there.  It is super important to strength your core.  If you do not have stability there, well forget it.  Please please master this one.  It’s challenging at first but  you’ll thank me later.  ACE lists this as an intermediate exercise.  However, there are differences in opinion on that throughout the industry.  I can tell you, again in my humble opinion, that this is one of the first exercises I did and I believe a beginner can absolutely do this.

http://www.acefitness.org/exerciselibrary/32/front-plank

INTERMEDIATE

1.  Push up with T-Raise – The video below was the best explanation I could find but it only shows the T-Raise.  However, what I want you guys actually doing is a push up with the T-Raise.  So when you are in the push up position do a push up AND THEN go into the T-Raise on one side, come back to the center, do another push up, and then do a T-Raise on the alternate side.

2.  Mason Twist

3.  Reverse lunge with Knee Raise – Practice this one.  It’s not easy as first.  However, this is great learning tool.  It forces many different muscle groups to work together. If you master this, a whole new world of exercises with be available to you.

http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/videos/m/32072192/reverse-lunge-with-knee-lift.htm

4.  Woodchoppers

http://www.livestrong.com/video/5085-core-training-woodchopper/

5.  Sumo squat with side kick – Here is a video and text explanation of the move.  One thing I wanted to point out though.  You don’t need to squat to parallel at first if you can’t.  But, it’s great if you can because that will add to the effectiveness of this move. Second, you don’t need to kick as high as those demonstrating the exercise.  At first, you can shoot for kicking above the ankle, then the knee and then go for it.  So keep that progression in mind if you don’t have that flexibility quite yet.

http://www.health.com/health/article/0,,20410609,00.html

http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/videos/m/32070497/sumo-kick.htm

6.  Squat Rows – This is another GREAT exercise.  It works so many muscles all the same time so doing this is going to super charge your workout.  Practice, practice, practice.  Oh and ladies, just because it’s published in Men’s Health does NOT mean you can’t do it.  Matter of fact, this is an exercise I’ve included in my personal workouts for nearly three years.

http://www.menshealth.com/fitness/exercise

7.  Hand to Foot Stability Ball Pass – A couple of notes here.  This is a tough one. If you can’t do it, try mastering just the upper body crunch and lower body crunch separately.  On the other hand, if you find that you have mastered this, try doing it with straight legs.  That brings the move to a whole new level.

EXPERT – Many of the moves in this category are challenging.  They have earned their place in the Expert category.  I can do them but I was training for over a year before I even tried them.  Unless the intermediate exercises are super easy for you, I would not attempt these quite yet.  But don’t worry, we’ll get you there.  All in good time 🙂

1.  Iron Cross

http://www.bodybuilding.com/exercises/detail/view/name/iron-cross?mcid=WEXER00000

2.  Hanging Leg Raise

http://www.ab-core-and-stomach-exercises.com/hanging-leg-raises.html

3.  Bulgarian Split Squat – This is a hard one.  I recommend trying this one without weight at first.  Get used to and good at the form.  Add the weight when you feel ready.  In adding weight, please start out lightly.

http://www.menshealth.com/powertraining/cms/publish/knee-dominant-uni/Bulgarian_Split_Squat.php

4.  Clean and press and Deadlifts

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/south30.htm

5.  One arm snatch

http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/the_perfect_snatch

6.  Good Mornings

http://www.livestrong.com/video/2527-do-good-morning-exercise/

7.  Speed skaters

http://training.strengthengine.com/fitness_info/exercise828.html

8.  Jump Lunges – The video demonstrates a weighted version of this move.  However, if you have never done these before, start out with no weights.

Read first http://www.livestrong.com/article/3720-need-jump-lunges/ and then watch video below

9.  Box Jumps

http://www.livestrong.com/video/5306-box-jumps/

10.  One-arm Dumbbell Swings – If you need to, you can swing with both hands until you are ready to do these with just one-arm

http://shahtraining.com/one-arm-dumbbell-swing-exercise/

Well folks with that I’ve done my part.  Now, it’s time for you to put the work in.  Remember, I’m here for you if you need help.  Let’s get moving! Go to @fatgirlvsworld’s blog to read about the challenge and add your name to her spreadsheet to get started.

New Challenge for You

Posted: December 22, 2010 in WORKOUTS & CHALLENGES

Hey folks.  I found another great challenge for you courtesy of Sweat and the City’s website.  Check it out here:

http://sweatandthecity.com/mydiary.html

It’s another workout you can do right at home with no equipment.  From what I see it’s the first of many to come.  I did this today and loved it.  You want to go the link and scroll down a bit to see the video post on December 21.  It’s called the Holiday Workout #1.  Stress Busting Circuit Training.

Ok enough talking.  Time for you to get to work 😉

The Why – Dig Deeper

Posted: December 22, 2010 in GENERAL

With New Year’s right around the corner, I already know that my gym is going to be much more crowded very soon.  As usual, thousands will join gyms in order to stick to their holiday resolution to lose weight and eat right.  The problem is they most likely made the same resolution last year, and the year before that, and the year before that, and well if you get the idea.

Trainers, other gym members, friends, family members and sales people will all ask them the same question – WHY did you decide to join the gym?  To which the person will respond, to lose weight and get in shape. Many on the receiving of that generic answer will give an affirmative nod or smile and the conversation end there.  Well, that’s just great because the problem is that answer is the BEGINNING but not enough.  And, I think that’s why those same people are no longer in the gym three weeks later.  The problem – they DON’T have a crystal clear goal.  They have some vague notion of their desire to lose weight but haven’t really identified why.  Because their goal is not clear, it’s easier for them to divert their attention to other things as time goes on.  So, let’s look at this another way.

When I ask someone why did the join the gym and receive the response “because I want to lose weight” I say that’s great and why do you want to do that?  Nine times out of then the person looks at me confused.  Once and while the person will actually say what do you mean why?  And right there I know we have a problem.  They haven’t thought this through enough. 

Let’s walk through it now.  The truth is when you say you want to lose weight or you want to weigh 120 as opposed to 130, that means something to you.  You don’t want to lose weight for the sake of losing weight and you don’t want to weigh 120 because you like the number 2 better than the number 3.  You want to lose weight because for some reason you want to change.  My point is that 120 means something to you.  Weighing less and getting in shape means something to you.  THAT IS what you have to figure out to be successful.  That is what you need to focus on to FINALLY reach your goal.  And that is what I mean by dig deeper for that why.  For example, maybe you would like to be able to keep up with your children.  Or maybe, you have been teased all of your life and are sick of it. Perhaps, you want to improve your game or win a figure competition. Or, maybe you are just tired of feeling sorry for yourself.  The list of possibilities are endless. BUT THOSE ARE ALSO THE THINGS THAT REALLY MATTER TO YOU!  AND, THEREFORE, THOSE ARE THE THINGS THAT YOU NEED TO CONCENTRATE ON!!  Find out what it is that you really want.  What drove you to make your decision to lose weight? This takes some self reflection and you may need to thing about thing you’ve swept under the rug.  Trust me, you are more complex than you actually think you are.  However, it’s worth it.  In my mind, only TRUE self-reflection can lead to TRUE and permanent change. 

Once you have gotten to the nitty gritty of what your goal is, write it down.  Keep it in a place that you can see when you first wake up and your wallet.  If you are tempted to sleep in and skip the gym, take a look at it.  It may help you get out of bed.  If you are thinking about going to that bad for you restaurant, reach for your wallet and read your goal.  It may help you make a better decision.

Your reasons are personal to you.  Identifying them will help your resolution come true.  And, I mean REALLY, wouldn’t it be nice to choose a new resolution next year?  Think about it – a year from now you will have your fitness in check and you resolve to change something else.  Maybe save for that new wardrobe, dream home or car.  Let’s get it done.  DIG DEEPER and I’ll see you in the gym!

Please Pardon My Appearance ;)

Posted: December 22, 2010 in GENERAL

Hi all!  If you had a chance to read my last post, you know that I’ve decided to keep my blog going after the holidays and that I would be changing it around.  I wanted to let you know that I’m starting to make those changes today.  This way as of January 1 all the changes will already be made – I hope.  Haha.  So if you see things moved around, missing or a bit disorganized it’s because I’m doing some housekeeping.  I titled this post what you typically see when a business was doing renovations because hey I thought that was cute.  If you know me, you know I have a corny sense of humor or so my friends say.  So, if you don’t get the joke, I apologize. Haha.  Don’t worry it’s only for a few days and then things will be back to normal.

As an aside, I’m deleting some content.  So, if there is something that you liked but don’t see any more, let me know and I will see what I can do about getting the information to you.

By the way, a few of you have told me that you were sad because you didn’t see the announcement on Twitter and were “late” in reading a few of my post.  First, don’t worry about it.  I put this information here for you guys to read at your convenience.  I certainly don’t mind at all if I get comments 2 days or even 2 years after I first post something.  I’m ALWAYS thrilled to hear from all of you.  Second, if you want to receive the post immediately as they are added to my blog, you have the option to subscribe.  In doing so, you will receive my posts immediately by email.  That is totally up to you.  And, don’t worry – I don’t EVER use my subscribers email for ANYTHING.  The only thing you will get from me is the posts and the only time I will ever contact you by email otherwise is if you sent me an email and I was responding.

Hope you are all well!

Hi folks.  For those who have been following my blog since I first started, you know that I started this blog to publish the Fitness Gauntlet Challenge.  It was a challenge that I created for myself to keep myself fit during the holidays.  It has worked out very well and I’ve enjoyed getting you all involved with the process.  The challenge was designed to end on January 1 and so it shall. That’s the “bad” news.

The good news is I decided to continue the blog.  I have enjoyed writing for you folks and reading your lovely comments.  I hope that I have inspired some of you to make healthy changes – both physically and mentally.  That said – because my blog as it is now was designed around the Fitness Gauntlet Challenge, certain changes are going to need to be made to keep it going.  So, as of January 1, my blog will be updated to go from a blog designed around one challenge to an all inclusive fitness blog.  I will be changing a few of the pages and adding some new ones probably.  The pages and info specific to the challenge will be gone but don’t worry my workouts, exercises, bonuses, attitude posts and well everything else will remain.  I will also be updating my About page to let you guys know what’s been going on with me lately.  So much has changed since I first started and I can’t wait to share the news.

The challenge is not over yet though.  We still have a couple of weeks to officially get through the holiday season.  So hang tight with me folks. Keep those spirits high and that booty working hard!!  I hope you will all grow with me and keep reading.  I think you are going to like what I do next.  Trust me there are a lot of exciting things to come.

Happy holidays!!

 

 

 

So you had a bad day…

Posted: December 12, 2010 in ATTITUDE, GENERAL

One of the most common reasons for people not wanting to work out at the gym is lack of motivation.  I think this problem is most common with those who are new to the gym floor.  Newbies join the gym ready to go and after a few weeks the newness wears off and reality sets it.  All of a sudden these newbies start having those days when they just don’t feel like working out.  Or, no matter what they do they can’t seem to get into their workout.  If this is you, let me guess.  You start to beat yourself up for not meeting your goal for the day or not being able to complete a workout.  Exhausted and frustrated you look around you at the gym and see the gym rat next to you running with ease and the bodybuilder behind you benching twice his bodyweight.  You think what is wrong with me?  Why can’t I be them?  Or, how come they can do it and I can’t?  The negative thoughts start to swarm around like vultures circling above a dead animal. Defeated, you decide the best thing is to just give up and go home.  The next day these memories are still lurking and you begin to think why bother.  It becomes harder and harder to get to the gym and your motivation continues to dwindle.  Sound familiar? How did I know?  I’ve been there.  Though I am fit now, very few people know, I was once 200 pounds at 5’6″ and couldn’t lift a weight to save my life.  Though that was long ago, I haven’t forgotten.

Now, if none of this sounds familiar, wonderful!!!!  You’ve already moved past or perhaps were never in this stage.  Congratulations.  Read no further.  For those still with me, this secret is for you.  What you probably don’t know about gym rats, personal trainers and athletes that you are so envious of is that WE FAIL TOO.  Yes that’s right! We have our days when we don’t want to go to the gym.  We have our days when we think why bother with working out today.  We have those moments when we feel inadequate and insecure.  There are days when we don’t meet out goals or get through our workouts.  There are days when we cheat our diets or perhaps don’t do a full rep or two to make it easier for us.    So, first please know that you are not alone at all.  I am definitely a gym rat – I live and breathe fitness and am now working as a floor trainer at a gym.  I can tell you I have these days.  I know for a fact that other trainers struggle with this as do elite athletes.  Remember, we are all humans and we battle with the same emotions and stresses that you face.  So stop being so hard on yourself! It’s not that strange to have a hard day.  It’s how you deal with it that matters – more on that in a bit.  At any rate, I hope it provides some relief to know that you are not alone. But wait – as they say on those annoying infomercials – there’s more 🙂

I think what separates the experienced person (for lack of a better term) from the beginner (again for lack of a better word) is that we KNOW that it’s ok to have an off day or two and that it is really ok to not ALWAYS be successful.  We may have our moments but we do our best to keep it to a moment.  We try to begin the next workout fresh and leave that bad workout in the dust.  Try to adopt the same logic.   In other words, you may not be at the athletic level that you wish you were.  That’s fine.  But self-loathing behavior doesn’t help at all.  Indeed, it hurts your progress.  One, if you allow it to, it can keep you from continuing on your journey.  Two,  when you are stressed, your body realizes a hormone called cortisol which prevents weight loss and can actually cause weight gain.  So, while we can’t change our circumstances, we CAN absolutely change how we deal with them.  The next time you have a defeating day start the next day fresh without carrying yesterday into the present.  It takes practice but it is quite effective when used often.  Here’s some help.  When you feel the stress creeping in, remember the magic word “RELAX” and follow it with “So what!”   Ok so you ran three instead of four miles and you freaking out.  Now, take a couple of breaths – that’s the relax part – and follow with so what!  I’ll run four and half miles tomorrow.  Trust me – It works!  Apply carefully.

Another critical point is that on the days when experienced people don’t feel like going for it – we do it anyway.  Think about it – would you skip brushing your teeth, eating, using the bathroom as opposed to a diaper because you didn’t feel like getting up?  Probably not – at least I hope not.  My point is that people that are committed to fitness think about it as a necessity no less important than any other necessity.  So on those “off” days we just do the best we can to get through the workout.  Granted, it may not end up to be a workout for the record books but it WILL be a workout and that is still a win in the game of life.  The take away here is just do your best on those days.  Try to get in 20 minutes instead of that hour.  Just do something!  You will feel less guilty AND what often happens is once you start moving you realize that you actually can get through the workout. You only get one body so you might as well be as good to it as you can.

Ok folks so that’s it for me.  If you take anyway anything from this, let it be these three things:

1.  Everyone struggles once and awhile.

2.  Leave bad days in the past.  Live in the present.  Remember, relax and so what – they are some of the most powerful words in the English language.

3.  If you don’t want to, do it anyway.  Take care of you.  If you don’t, who will?

I want to end here with a few quotes that I look to when I need inspiration. I’m going to add them here with the hope that someone else will find some inspiration in them:

Unless you puke, faint or die, DON’T stop.  -Jillian Michaels

‘Cause sometimes you just feel tired,You feel weak, and when you feel weak, you feel like you wanna just give up.But you gotta search within you, you gotta find that inner strength and just pull that shit out of you And get that motivation to not give up, and not be a quitter, no matter how bad you wanna just fall flat on your face.-Lyrics from ‘Til I Collapse – Eminem

Do or do not.  There is no try.  – Yoda.

For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind – 2 Timothy 1:7

Failure isn’t falling down, failure is not getting back up. – Proverb

Nothing changes if nothing changes.  – Another proverb

Pain is weakness leaving the body – Tony Horton

Til next time everyone!! Take care of you.