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Paige Waehner

Exercise Blog

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Vote in This Week's Poll: How are your summer workouts going?

Monday June 2, 2014

How much pain are you in these days? I only ask that because I'm seeing a lot of weekend warrior syndrome going on around here and, frankly, it's not pretty. It's like we all got let out of Winter Jail and we decided we had to to everything - Run, bike, hike, rake, mulch, trim, edge, take the kids for a 9-hour bike ride and then cut the grass.

Warm weather can do that to you. With all of the outdoor shenanigans going on, I'm curious about your actual workouts. Are you keeping up with your normal routine or do you use your outdoor activities as you workouts this time of year? Vote in this week's poll and tell us about your summer workouts.

Workout of the Week: Energize Your Body

Wednesday May 28, 2014
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The funny thing about this time of year is that it seems like it should be kind of lazy and relaxing. Like the sun is out and it's finally warm enough to go hang out in the hammock reading books all day and/or contemplating one's navel.

What's really happening is probably about as far from a hammock, or a navel for that matter, as you can get. There are graduations and confirmations and family visits and weeds and flowers and kids and piles of mulch to spread and...well...winter is over, y'all. It's time to get busy and, man, are we busy.

I noticed that when we get busy like that, we get a little crazy. For example, one client rolled into her appointment 30 minutes late, having no real inkling that she was late. In fact, she suddenly thought we always met at 8:30 instead of 8:00.

That is a sign that we need to slow down and, perhaps, spend a little more time connecting with our poor, tired brains. Which is what I did with my client that day by creating what I'm calling an Energizing Band, Ball and BOSU Workout. The idea here is to do some basic, flowing movements that get the blood moving and allow things to settle down a bit, while still getting some core, balance and stability into the mix.

If you've been feeling a little crazy, give this one a try and let me know what you think. Sometimes your body just needs something a little different.

Exercise of the Week: Side to Side Ball Rolls

Tuesday May 27, 2014
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I love to highlight challenging, total body, often torturous exercises because they're so effective and, frankly, my clients practically beg for them. Yeah, I know...now pull the other leg.

However, it's easy to forget that everything doesn't have to be challenging and that the gentler side of exercise is just as important as the harder side. My favorite tool for gentle, feel-good exercise is an exercise ball...the perfect tool for everything from warm ups and stretching to abs and stability training.

One of my recent favorites are these side to side lunges for a stretchy, dynamic exercise that is perfect for warming up the body on those days when it's tough to get started.

Side to Side Ball Rolls: Stand with the feet wide, toes forward and the right hand on the ball. Lunge to the left, rolling the ball across the body with the right hand and feeling a stretch down the right side. The right leg should be straight. Come back to center and now lunge the other side, switching hands on the ball. Go as slow or as fast as you want, depending on what you're going for. Repeat for as long as you like.

Vote in This Week's Poll: Will you workout over Memorial Day?

Monday May 26, 2014
Memorial Day is a time for remembering and celebrating those who've fought and died for America and it's also a time of celebration for families and friends. These celebrations usually involve things like barbecue (I'm a southerner, so pulled pork is my official choice), beer, potato salad and homemade ice cream (yum). Also? They involve extra calories.

The nice thing about this time of year is that there are so many activities that can help us mitigate those extra party calories. I offer a few other ideas for how to avoid weight gain this summer, as well as a few workouts to keep you active and busy.

What are your plans for this holiday weekend? Will you be hanging out near a food-laden picnic table? Will you try to keep your calories in check or are all bets off on a holiday? Vote in this week's comment, if you're online today, and leave a comment and tell us about your weekend plans.

Are you a bad influence?

Thursday May 22, 2014
We're all responsible for our own choices, except when it's totally somebody else's fault. For example, say you go to lunch with your co-workers with a firm plan to have the grilled chicken salad, dressing on the side, no bread, not nothing that could insinuate any extra calories into your body. Then two people are a burger and fries and someone else orders the pulled pork and you're hungry...well, it doesn't count if everyone gets something fattening, right?

And think about our relationships with friends or loved ones. There are times when one of you is the good cop and one of you is the bad cop - who is who may change from situation to situation.

A bad influencer can sabotage one's weight loss by saying things like:

  • "Oh, just have a cookie...you've lost all that weight, I'm sure you can afford just one."
  • At a restaurant: "I think I'll have the deep fried lard balls. Oh, you're having a salad with no cheese, dressing on the side?" (frowning) "You'll probably be starving later, but what do I know?"
  • "You're not going to have any dessert? But my birthday's in 3 months! I don't want to celebrate alone."
  • "Oh, you're making broiled chicken." (frowning) "Hey, what if we have pizza tonight and we'll have that nasty-looking chicken tomorrow?"
  • "No cake? But it's Steve's going away party. It's not like that happens every day, right?"
  • "Oh, you're working out after work? I was hoping we could go out and have a drink, but I'm sure an agonizingly boring run to nowhere on a treadmill for 45 minutes would be more fun."

There's no doubt that we influence one another and, sometimes, we may just be the bad influence. I know I've been guilty of that from time to time with my friends and family...what about you? Are you a good influence or a bad influence? Perhaps, like me, you switch sides depending on the situation and your agenda. Leave a comment and tell us how you influence others.

How have you embarrassed yourself?

Wednesday May 21, 2014

Is it wrong that I love to hear stories about how other people embarrass themselves at the gym? It kind of makes me feel better about that time I fell off the treadmill. And, that other time I...fell off the treadmill. I seem to have a problem with treadmills, now that I think about it.

I'm thinking about embarrassing stories because a friend of mine mentioned her own embarrassing fall at the gym which, you guessed it, involved a treadmill. The treadmill was going and *Donna stepped off to tied her shoe and thought she saw a friend of hers down the way. She was so focused on identifying this person that she stepped on the treadmill, forgetting that it was still going. What happened next was so fast, Donna has no actual recollection of how she ended up on her back, on the floor with about 25 people hovering over her. It's too bad that treadmill amnesia couldn't cover the aftermath as well, right?

Thankfully, I haven't done anything embarrassing lately, but I'm sure some of you have...why not confess your most recent embarrassing gym moment? If you need to feel better about your mistakes, be sure to read about other people's most embarrassing moments at the gym.

Stretches of the Week - Your hips don't lie

Tuesday May 20, 2014

You know how you know you're old? When you take a CPR certification class and, when they tell you to sit cross-legged on the floor, you realize your hips no longer rotate in quite the same way as the last time you sat cross-legged...which was probably when you were a child.

Tight hips...we all get them as we get older and they're usually made worse by all the sitting we do. These muscles collectively include the glutes, hip flexors, inner and outer thighs and the internal rotator muscles. When these areas get tight, they can cause aches and pains and even pain that radiates into different areas such as the lower back.

If you want to get rid of tight hips, I have the perfect solution for you: Quit your job, throw out your TV and computer and sell your car. If you can't do that, the next best thing is to spend some time stretching your hips each day. There are lots of great stretches you can do for the hips, some of which you can even do at work without even standing up.

Seated Hip Stretch right: While seated, cross the right ankle over the left knee and sit up tall, contracting the abs. Gently lean forward, keeping the back straight and reaching out with the torso until you feel a stretch in the right glute and hip. You can also press down on the right knee to deepen the stretch. Hold for 10-30 seconds and repeat on the other side.

Glute Stretch with Bands: Lie down on the floor with the left leg straight (or bent, if that's more comfortable) and loop a band or a long towel around the right foot. Holding both sides of the band with the right hand, straighten the right leg (keep a slight bend in the knee if needed) and take it across the body, lowering it down as far towards the floor as you can until you feel a stretch in the right hip and glute. Hold for 15-30 seconds and switch sides.

Lunge Stretch: In lunge position, rest back knee on the floor, with front knee at 90 degree angle. Gently press forward until you feel a stretch in the front of the leg/hip. Switch legs.
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Pretzel Stretch: Cross left foot over right knee. Clasp hands behind right thigh and gently pull the leg in towards you, keeping upper body relaxed. Switch Legs.
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Vote in This Week's Poll: What muscle group do you love to hate?

Monday May 19, 2014

After 15 years in the fitness biz, I've noticed that our muscle groups seem to have their own personalities. For example, the biceps are rather likeable muscles. They're not too painful to work and they tend to respond pretty quickly to strength training, making our arms look a bit more becoming in sleeveless shirts. On the other hand, you have the triceps, which I consider a mean, sneaky group of muscles. Think about it...You start out with a triceps extension or a kickback and you're thinking - Gee, I don't feel anything! Then, around the 8th rep or so, an intense burning begins to spread over the back of the arms, rendering them almost instantly useless. Plus, those exercises don't seem to do much for those batwings, do they?

The hamstrings, too, are rather benign, just hanging out in the back of your legs most of the time. Deadlifts are like a vacation, but do some squats or lunges for the quads? And it's like a vacation from hell.

We all have our favorite and least favorite muscle groups....which one do you love to hate? Vote in this week's poll and tell us about it.

Challenge of the Week: When was the last time you...

Thursday May 15, 2014

I was training a client the other day and she was listing all the things she had to do that day. By the end of her list, I was so exhausted, I had to sit down and rest before I could continue with our session. No doubt we're all crazy-busy, but too much crazy-busy leads to too much crazy-stress. I asked her: "When was the last time you sat down and did nothing?" After a long moment, she said, "1981."

Today's challenge is to ask your own 'when was the last time I...' question and do something about it in the next seven days. Some ideas:

When was the last time you...

  • Enjoyed your workout?
  • Took several days off from your workout routine?
  • Felt really rested and energetic?
  • Rewarded yourself for all your healthy choices?
  • Tried something new?
  • Sat down and did nothing at all?

What questions could you come up with? More important, can you make the answer happen this week? I think you can.

When was the first time you missed your workouts?

Tuesday May 13, 2014

When I think of my first year of exercise, the time when I was finally getting serious about it, there were a number of false starts. I would get in two or three months of workouts before getting bored and quitting, only to start up again a few weeks later. When I looked at exercise, I would think: "How can I miss you if you won't go away?"

Then it did go away and all because of an injury, a painful tendonitis in my Achilles tendon that would not allow me to do more than walk on my treadmill for a few minutes at a time. Suddenly I was begging my workouts to come back, kind of like you do when you're a teenager and you break up with an annoying boyfriend or girlfriend and then, later, when you're crying yourself to sleep because you're lonely, you totally forget why you broke up with them in the first place.

When you're going through that initial, awkward phase of starting an exercise program, it's easy to focus on the negative things - The sweating, the burning, the fact that you have to keep doing it over and over. But, when it's ripped away, you kind of miss it, don't you?

What about you? Was there a time you realized you actually missed exercising? Leave a comment and tell us about it.

What's the Secret to Successful Weight Loss?

Tuesday May 13, 2014

If you've ever been up in the middle of the night or very early in the morning, you may have gotten sucked into one of those crazy fitness infomercials. They're like car crashes, these infomercials, put together to well and promising so much for so little (just 18 payments of $19.99!) that you simply can't look away. Obviously, these people want you to believe they have the secret to successful weight loss. Some of them offer diets, some offer fitness gadgets and a number of them tell you that you can achieve this success with minimal effort and minimal time.

I'm going to be the bucket of cold water here and say that there is no shortcut to weight loss. And believe me, I've looked for it.

If you forget about those bozos, the question to ask is: What do you really need to do on a daily basis to see results? My husband thinks it involves eating lettuce and lemon wedges, but weight loss doesn't have to be a miserable experience. In fact, it can actually be something you enjoy, if you go about it the right way. But, each of us has to find a path that will work and what works for me won't always work for you. To that end, I've pulled together some resources to help guide you in setting up your own successful program. It all starts with a desire to change and a willingness to learn:

  • Successful Weight Loss. In this in-depth article, you'll get a sense of the behaviors you need to adopt in order to lose weight and maintain that weight loss, all based on people who've found success themselves.
  • Weight Loss Reality Check. Jennifer Scott, About.com's Weight Loss Guide, makes some great points in this article about the reality of losing weight. Jennifer reminds you that slow weight loss is the only way to go and to celebrate every success, no matter how small it may seem.
  • Are You Getting Results? Like Jennifer's article, this one covers some of the pitfalls of losing weight. Sometimes, we ignore the progress we're making just because the scale isn't moving as quickly as we'd like. Re-defining what 'results' means to you can help keep you going.
  • Enjoying Exercise & Healthy Eating. Like anything else in life, the more you practice healthy eating and exercise, the easier it gets. Even better? You actually start to enjoy it - mostly because treating yourself right improves your quality of life. This article talks about some things you have to look forward to if you keep at it.

Over 40 and can't lose weight? Join the club...it's free!

Monday May 12, 2014

What happens to our bodies after 40? The answers to this question could fill an entire Discovery Channel documentary for the next three years, but I can give you a short answer: Our bodies gain weight. They do this without our permission and, seemingly, overnight. There we are, huffing and puffing through workouts every day, getting the dressing on the side, enjoying the things we love in moderation and what happens? Our bodies betray us for no apparent reason.

This stubborn, sudden weight gain makes people crazed, sometimes obsessed with cutting calories and working out like crazy to get rid of this extra fat because, this fat? Shows up in the absolute worst place possible - Your belly.

So, what's going on with our bodies and, more importantly, is there anything we can do about it? I spent some time on this question in my latest article, I'm over 40 and I can't lose weight! I offer some advice for people who already exercise and for people who are heading into middle age without a consistent exercise program to help combat the weight gain.

Check it out and let me know what you think and be sure to leave a comment about your experiences. How do you combat weight gain as you age?

Fitness Roundup: A few of my favorite things

Thursday May 8, 2014

With warm weather sort of here, I'm ready to play outside. Here's what I'm loving right now:

  • ElliptiGO - I admit, this thing is expensive (from $1799 to $3499) but, also? It's awesome! As a grieving former runner with little fondness for cycling, I was thrilled to come across the ElliptiGO - The perfect low impact option for people who wish they could run outside, but can't because of the impact. It's like the elliptical trainer at the gym, only harder, especially on hills which are crazy-hard. It gives you a great workout and a great way to get outside even if you're injured or just can't run or cycle.
  • Mio Motiva Strapless Heart Rate Monitor - A while back, I reviewed this Mio HRM, which I really liked, then proceeded to stick it in a drawer and use my good old Polar F6, which isn't even being sold anymore. Then I was using my ElliptiGO with my tracking app (see below) and I realized the Mio works with my app to show my heart rate on the screen. And? You don't even need a chest strap. And, that tracking app is...
  • RunKeeper - RunKeeper is one of my favorite tracking apps. The free version lets you track different activities - Walking, running, cycling, etc. - Showing your distance, pace and so forth and keeping you updated throughout the workout with occasional cues. I like that the robotic voice doesn't comment on more than my pace or the time (As in: "You are slower than molasses in January."). The only thing I don't like is that it isn't immediately obvious how to change your activities - For the record, you have to click on the 'Me' button in the menu, then 'Activities' and then click the 'Log' button on the top right corner and then choose your activity. Kind of a pain, but that's certainly a 1st world problem.
  • Goji Play - The Goji Play is one of those gadgets that could transform your treadmill workout into something that's actually fun. As the website informs us, the Goji Play is "a fitness solution that fuses cardio with gaming to turn your workouts into a whole new interactive experience ... just attach the wireless controllers, clip on the activity sensor, and begin playing any one of the compatible games on iPad, iPhone, an iPod Touch devices." The cost is $99.99, which seems a little pricey to me, but may be worth it if you spend a lot of time on cardio machines. I could totally see myself doing the boxing game while on the treadmill and falling off. Then again, it doesn't take much for that to happen.

What about you? Anything new to report? Leave a comment and tell us what you're playing with these days.

It's Time to Take it Outside - Outdoor Circuit Workouts

Wednesday May 7, 2014

I have tons of indoor circuit workouts to spice up just about any gym routine, but I also like to play around with my outdoor workouts to make them a little more interesting. It's easy to get bored doing the same thing over and over, even if you are outside enjoying the fresh air. Once a week, why not try one of these workouts just to spice things up? My favorite outdoor circuit workouts:

  • Track Circuit Workout - This workout includes a variety of cardio, strength and endurance exercises that are fun, fast and challenging, including things like step ups and pushups done on steps or bleachers.
  • Advanced Outdoor Circuit Training Program - In this workout, our illustrious Weight Training Expert, Paul, offers a killer circuit workout that includes 10 exercises, some of which involve dumbbells and others that involve sprints. Yeah, that'll pretty much do you in.
  • Outdoor Circuit 1 - This is a straightforward workout that involves walking and/or running along with body weight exercises sprinkled throughout for a total body workout.
  • Outdoor Circuit 2 - Level 2 of this workout takes things to the next level with more advanced exercises like jumping lunges and long jumps. Yes, you might look a little crazy doing this along your sidewalk. Think of it this way: It gives your neighbors something to talk about.

What about you? How do you exercise outside? Do you keep it simple with walking, running or cycling or do you do circuits? Leave a comment and tell us about your outdoor workouts.

Exercises of the Week - One-Legged Deadlifts

Tuesday May 6, 2014

If you think about your typical lower body exercises, like squats and lunges and such, you may notice that the hamstrings don't get the kind of attention that the quads typically do. Not that the hamstrings aren't involved...it's more that they do a lot of the secondary work rather than getting more focused attention.

Which is why I love one-legged deadlifts. Traditional deadlifts are fine, but balancing on one leg not only focuses more intensity on the hamstrings of the working leg, it's a great way to work on balance and stability. Some of my favorites:

Modified One-Legged Deadlifts

One-Legged Crossover Deadlift

One-Legged Deadlifts with a Balance Challenge

What about you? Got any new ideas for one-legged deadlifts or hamstring work? Leave a comment and tell us about it.

Vote in This Week's Poll: How are your workouts going?

Monday May 5, 2014

Do you ever do this thing where you say, "As soon as [this future thing happens] I'll get back to my workouts."? Like, right about now, I'm hearing a lot of this: "As soon as the kids are out of school/graduation is over/the weather stops crapping all over me, I swear I'm going to be more consistent with my workouts."

There's nothing like waiting for the perfect time to exercise, right? It's nice to imagine some future time when the sun is shining and you're all shiny and happy and you'll finally feel like exercising. The problem is, that future shiny, happy time isn't really going to come...unless you live in one of those detergent commercials where the woman is frolicking through the grass as her sheets flap in the wind and she's just so happy that her sheets smell like sunshine! Yes, laundry is just like that for me, too.

As soon as that future thing happens, some other thing is going to happen and then another and another, which is why we just have to find a way to fit in exercise right now. And that leads me to my question this week: How are your workouts going? Are you getting bogged down by end-of-school-year stuff? Have you fallen off the exercise wagon until a better time? Leave a comment and tell us how your workouts are going right now.

Sustainable Weight Loss - Why is it so hard?

Thursday May 1, 2014

Every so often, I wake up one dark, dreary morning, burrow down into the covers and think, "Boy, will I be glad when I don't have to get up and workout anymore." Then I remember that this day will never come. Maybe my workouts will change, maybe my goals will change. Hopefully, someday, I'll get to workout later in the morning rather than getting up at 5:30 every day but, whatever happens, I'm going to have to keep exercising, pretty much forever, if I want to manage my weight, stay healthy and avoid dirty looks from my doctor.

And therein lies the problem...the fact that we have to keep doing it if we want to avoid regaining weight. And why is that a problem? Because we start off all motivated to exercise, just like the participants in a recent weight loss study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine. In the study, researchers followed obese veterans who had decided to join a weight loss program. They found that, first, patients were more likely to join the weight loss program if they'd just gotten an obesity-related diagnosis and/or if they'd gained weight in the past 6 months.

That sounds pretty normal, right? Your doctor says you're close to being diabetic or your blood pressure is too high, so you start a weight loss program. But, how long do you keep up with that weight loss program? In this study, only 15 % of participants showed up for more than 8 sessions in 6 months. Extrapolating that to the rest of us, that means what...6 to 8 weeks before the love wears off?

So, why is it so hard to stick to an exercise program? In part, I think our perspective on exercise is one culprit. If you think about the fact that you have to exercise every day for every week for every month of every year of the rest of your life, that sounds like torture. But, if you only think about the fact that you have to exercise today, things get a bit more doable. You don't have to have energy and motivation and discipline and all the other things you need to exercise for the rest of your life...just today.

I also think you have to have a realistic workout program that changes with your time, energy, schedule, obligations and motivation levels. In other words, every week will be different and if you allow for that - For times when you just workout less than normal or even more than normal - It's much easier to sustain something for the long term.

What do you think? Have you figured out how to sustain weight loss? If you haven't, what's standing in your way? Leave a comment and tell us what you think.

Got 10 Minutes? Why Not Blow Some Stink Off

Wednesday April 30, 2014

It's been 40 days since the First Day of Spring and, around these parts, it's been 0 days since I've gotten to go outside without my winter coat. That's a slight exaggeration - I think I did go outside over the weekend while wearing a long sleeve shirt.

Still, the weather is all over the place and, since it's something we have no control over, I thought we could focus on what we can control. Namely, blowing off a little stink with some challenging, sweaty, satisfying workouts. I'm thinking short and sweet...workouts you can do in 10-15 minutes that will let you blow it out the old bloomer leg and, if necessary, keep your sanity as the weather does its thing. My favorite stink-blowing workouts:

What about you? Do you have any favorite go-to stink-blowing workouts? How do you pound out your stress? Leave a comment and tell us about it.

Workout of the Week: Butt Blaster Workout

Tuesday April 29, 2014
rotating lungeHow often do you think about your butt? I know that's a rather personal question, but considering the number of times readers and clients mention the offending body part, I think it's worth asking. "It's so...so...so...flabby," one client told me, while another informed me that her behind was "Flatter than hammered dog poop."

And I thought southern sayings were colorful.

For the most part, the shape of your rear end can be blamed on your parents, whose genes are responsible for how things turn out in your own body. Of course, lack of muscle or extra fat around that area also contributes how it looks, which is where my latest workout comes in.

If you've been lifting weights, you've no doubt done tons of lunges and squats and deadlifts and lunges and squats and deadlifts and...yawn. What if you could try different exercises? Exercises that involve some lateral movement along with the same old forward and back movement you've used to? What if there were a magical Butt Blaster Workout? Oh, wait...there is! Magical Butt Blaster Workout.

Keep in mind that this workout will not magically transform your behind, but it may help firm things up around there with new and exciting exercises. Give it a whirl and let me know what you think.

Vote in This Week's Poll: How do you find time to exercise?

Monday April 28, 2014

After finding the motivation to exercise, the second hardest thing to do is find the time to exercise. If you work full time, it's hard to figure out ways to exercise at the office. And if you're a stay at home parent, you have even less time to exercise, even though everyone thinks you have tons of time to exercise because you're just sitting around the house eating Bon Bons, right?

Whatever your situation, you're busy...yet a lot of you still find time to exercise. You do lunchtime workouts and morning workouts. You scrape together time here and there for short workouts. You prove again and again that it can be done. What I want to know is, how? Vote in this week's poll and tell us how you find the time to exercise. Maybe you'll give us some fresh inspiration.

Challenge of the Week: Stop Procrastinating

Thursday April 24, 2014

Like a lot of people, I'm a born procrastinator when it comes to certain things - Making an appointment for a dental visit, for example, or calling the guy to come out and service my treadmill. You know, those things you say you "really should do" over and over, knowing you aren't really going to do them, but delighting in the fantasy of doing them at some later date when they will, somehow, become more appealing.

Today, if you decide to take my challenge, your days of procrastinating are over. Your challenge? To pick one thing you've been meaning to do and just do it. Some ideas:

  • Buying new running shoes - I don't know why, but buying new running shoes can feel like an ordeal, especially if you go to a running store and spend the time trying on multiple pairs of shoes. Still, it's totally worth it once you get that perfect pair. If you've been in the same shoes for the last three years, today's the day to do something about it. Set aside at least an hour in the next week to do some focused shoe shopping.
  • Scheduling that doctor's appointment - My favorite thing to do is to talk about how I "really should talk to my doctor" about a myriad of things and never actually follow through with it. If you have something you've been meaning to have checked, today's the day to call your doctor's office and schedule that appointment.
  • Trying that yoga class - At least once a week, I hear someone say something about trying a yoga class. If that's you I've been hearing, take the plunge and sign up today, even if you're not sure about it. You never know until you try, right?
  • Scheduling that massage - A lot of us feel guilty about scheduling massages, like we have to be a broken wreck to deserve one, right? Wrong. If you haven't had one in at least a month, today's the day you're going to change that by scheduling an appointment for yourself. Just don't send me the bill.
  • Spring cleaning your home gym - If you've got big, expensive pieces of fitness equipment at home, it's easy to forget about checking on them from time to time and/or having them serviced. This is the perfect time of year to have someone come out and check that everything's working right or, at the very least, clear out the dust in the nooks and crannies of each machine.

If none of these work for you, what ideas could you come up with? What have you been putting off for the last few weeks? Are you ready to get it done? Leave a comment and tell us how you'll stop procrastinating this week.

What does it mean to age gracefully?

Wednesday April 23, 2014

Last week, I published a blog post about aging and the fact that many of us try way too hard to keep our bodies from changing. This generate so many great comments, I wanted to continue the discussion and ask my esteemed readers this: What does it mean to age gracefully?

It seems that many of the older readers who commented on that blog post were very focused on being healthy and fit, rather than their weight or appearance. I'm wondering if that's the key ingredient to accepting the changes that are happening...that along with doing what we can to look and feel our best. Wearing clothes that flatter our bodies and make us feel confident, for example, rather than killing ourselves to get that six pack, which was probably nearly impossible in the first place.

I know there are things we can do to age gracefully...what do you think they are? Is it all about attitude? Leave a comment and tell us what you think.

Exercises of the Week: Let's slide, y'all

Tuesday April 22, 2014

If you've ever been disappointed that you can't do high impact exercises like burpees or mountain climbers (and who wouldn't be), I have great news for you: With the right tools, you can take the impact out of a variety of exercises without losing the intensity

I know...it's like Christmas came early, right? My favorite tools for low impact, high intensity exercise are Gliding Discs or, as one of my clients calls them, "Little pieces of heaven." Actually, I can't print what she calls them because it would offend my delicate readers.

There are so many great exercises you can do with Gliding Discs and I've highlighted my favorite ones below. Of course, you can try paper plates if you don't have discs or you could even use towels if you have a hardwood floor, but I highly recommend investing in a pair.

Sliding Reverse Lunges

Sliding Side Lunges

Glider Crunches

Mountain Climbers

Exercise Lesson of the Week: Do you support your own goals?

Monday April 21, 2014

Losing weight is hard enough, but it's even harder when you don't have a good support system around you. For example, you put together a fresh salad, grilled chicken and a side of whole grains so whole-grainy, you're wondering if it's possible to overdose on fiber.

You plate your meal, already proud of the sheer number of nutrients you are about to ingest when your spouse walks in and shouts, "Honey, I brought home pizza!" Your response is so instant, so primal, you actually have no memory of what happened to that lovely chicken dish, much less how your face ended up in the middle of a deep dish pizza.

That support is important, but we can't always control what our spouses do (though we never really stop trying, do we?). However, there are things we can control, things that, if left unchecked, make it that much harder to stay on track:

  • Your pantry - That bag of Doritoes that stares at you (perhaps even winks at you seductively) every time you open the door doesn't care about what size pants you want to fit into or the fact that your doctor threatened high cholesterol medication if you don't lose weight. It's a known fact that temptation is easier to resist if it isn't there (or, at the very least, hidden where you'll never find it).
  • Your scale - It may surprise you that an inanimate object can be so hateful, but the scale isn't always your friend. In fact, your scale may lie to you regularly, telling you you're not making progress, even when you are. If your scale makes you cry on a regular basis, it may be time to break up with it and find a less destructive relationship.
  • Your workouts - Sometimes, even our workouts work against us. Perhaps they're too long to fit into the time we have, so we skip them. Or maybe they include things we don't like, making them more unpleasant than they have to be. We often try to force our lives to fit the workout schedule we're 'supposed' to follow, rather than fitting exercise into the lives we already have. Unfortunately, having an amazing workout program guaranteed to help you lose weight doesn't matter if you never follow it. A supportive workout program means one you can stick to most of the time.

What do you think? Have you set up an environment that supports your goals or have you sabotaged yourself in some way? Leave a comment and tell us about your experiences.

Total Body Circuit Workouts

Thursday April 17, 2014

Back in the olden days when dinosaurs roamed the earth, I did some very intricate strength training workouts. Some were split routines, doing upper body one day, for example, and lower body the next. Sometimes I would really detail it out - Chest, shoulders and triceps on day one, back and biceps on day two and lower body on day three, later, rinse and repeat.

There's no doubt that split routines can serve us well, especially if we're short on time and/or our goal is to put on muscle. But, if you're goal is overall fitness and weight loss, total body circuit workouts may be just what you need to build strength, endurance and burn calories.

What I like about these types of workouts is, first, they reflect how we use our bodies in real life. Namely, using lots of muscles and joints and limbs at the same time rather than just one at a time. Second, I just think they're more interesting than typical, straight set strength training.

What about you? Do you like the total body approach? Leave a comment and tell us about it, then check out some of my favorite total body circuit workouts.

Need more? Check out more circuit workouts for your workout pleasure.

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