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Paige Waehner

Exercise

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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.

Do we expect too much from our bodies as we age?

Wednesday April 16, 2014

Are you old? I ask that because I get the feeling that anyone over the age of 35 thinks they're old. It works like this: When you get into your late 30s or so, you may notice a few changes - little lines around your mouth and eyes appear, maybe a slight spare tire starts to inflate around the waistline. But then you turn 40 or 50 and you think, "Dang, If only I realized how good I looked at 35..."

Around this time, things really start to, um, loosen up, shall we say. Perhaps things start to shift around in all the wrong places. If you exercise, the changes probably aren't quite as pronounced, but they are there.

The aging body can be frustrating, especially if you're a woman dealing with menopause and the weight gain that often accompanies that. Man or woman, we all hit that age where things change and I know many of us wonder, are these changes inevitable or can we do something about them?

I know way too many people who try to exercise the aging process away and, frankly, being fit can only do so much. I see so many woman, and plenty of men as well, who become obsessed, fretting over things that we may not have much control over. You may exercise and eat lettuce and lemon wedges all day long, but you still may have a little more excess fat around the middle, just due to hormonal changes. The fact is, exercise is much better at preventing weight gain as we get older than it is at helping us lose weight.

My question to you is, are our expectations too high? Growing up, I remember my grandparents looking very...grandparent-y - A little broader in the behind, a little more fat in the middle, gray hair...the works, and they didn't really seem bothered by these changes. These days, it's hard to tell the grandparents from the parents and many people are using everything from exercise and diet to plastic surgery to maintain a younger looking body. But are we trying too hard? Is there a point where you have to just let your body be how it is and focus more on your health and happiness?

What do you think? Leave a comment and tell us your thoughts on aging, weight gain and how to find acceptance.

Exercise of the Week: Split Squat with Rotation

Tuesday April 15, 2014

It's Tax Day and you know what that means, right? It means stress and do you know one of the best ways to get rid of stress? No, it's not drinking (although that can help occasionally)...it's exercise. And can you guess what exercise I'm loving right now? That's right: Split squats with rotations.

The point of this exercise is not, in fact, to "make people fall over for my own personal enjoyment," as some clients have suggested. That's just a bonus. The real point is that this is a killer lower body exercise that targets almost everything you can think of including the glutes, hips, thighs, core, balance, stability, patience, coordination and flexibility.

This is clearly an advanced move, so a few thoughts: First, the BOSU makes it more difficult, so try this on a more stable platform your first time around. Second, there's quite a bit of rotation here which may not work for every soul out there. I recommend having a rail or wall nearby to hold onto as you learn this move.

Do it right: Stand about 3 or so feet in front of a BOSU or step and place the right foot on top, resting on the toe. Pause to get your balance and take the arms out to the sides as you bend the knees into a lunge. As you lunge, rotate the torso, bringing the right hand towards the left foot and the left arm straight up overhead. Rotate back to start and stand up, repeating for 12 reps on each side. Split Squats with Opposite Rotation

Vote in This Week's Poll: How do you control your calories?

Monday April 14, 2014

We talk about calories as though they're living, breathing beings...beings that we believe we can actually control. We want to burn them, cut them, slash them, get rid of them, measure them and, really, who can blame us? Sure calories don't have actual brains or emotions or opposable thumbs, but who hasn't felt slapped in the face by a big hunk of chocolate cake or a bowl full of greasy, salty yummy potato chips?

Yes, sometimes trying to control our calories is much like herding cats, but the good news is that there are multiple options out there for us. We can keep a food journal for example and count our calories. We can also monitor our portion sizes and avoid eating out too much. Another option is, of course, exercising those calories away.

So, what about you? How do you control your calories and which method seems to work best for you? Do you use more than one? Vote in this week's poll and tell us how you control your calories.

5 Ways to Make Workouts More Fun

Thursday April 10, 2014

Is it possible for workouts to be fun? I suppose that depends on your definition of fun. I don't really consider working out fun, per say, but I do enjoy the benefits I get from it. Even if a workout isn't completely fun, there are ways we can make it more pleasant.

For example, I had one client who mentioned how long she'd been trying to get into a running program. She would go out to walk and then run a little and walk a little, never really progressing from there. Digging deeper into the issue, it became clear why she wasn't progressing: "I hate it," she finally admitted. "Why would you want to do something you hate?" She just looked at me, kind of the way my cat does when I ask him to please get off the dinner table, which is to say, as though I'm speaking Swahili.

I'm always kind of surprised at how many people force themselves to do workouts they hate or treat their workout time like a punishment in which they're not allowed to enjoy even a moment of it.

Which is why I wrote my latest article, 5 Ways to Make Workouts More Fun. I said 'More Fun' not completely fun, just so you know.

Challenge of the Week - Pick a "Should"

Wednesday April 9, 2014

It's easy to get overwhelmed by all the things we need to work on. It usually starts out with some vague realization - You see a co-worker eating an orange and you suddenly think, "I really should eat more fruit." Then you sit down and feel that little twinge in your back and think, "I should really work on strengthening my lower back." As you turn to face your computer, you realize how tight your pants suddenly feel and you think, "I really need to lose more weight."

From there, your neurons start firing and a veritable shower of 'shoulds' begin to flow - You should start running 10 miles a day and learn how to make your own yogurt. You should manage stress better and eat more tofu. And floss more. Yes, definitely should floss more.

This week, instead of getting overwhelmed by all the things you're not doing, why not pick just one thing you'd like to work on and focus on that? It's so much easier to work on one thing then everything at the same time, isn't it? Some ideas:

  • Flexibility - Most of us have this one chronically tight area that nags at us. What's yours? Find it, figure out a stretch or two that would work on that area and do those stretches every day this week - After workouts, after a hot shower, whenever you take a break from work or life.
  • Your diet - What's one thing that kind of bugs you about your diet? Maybe you don't drink enough water or get enough fiber. Maybe you feel like you should cut down on the wine or the potato chips. Whatever it is, spend some time thinking about how you could change that one thing and try it for a week. Set an alarm to go off every hour and drink a glass of water. Research foods that have more fiber and try one of them. Replace wine with tea or just drink less than normal.
  • Your Workouts - Is there some 'should' that always pops up in your workouts? Maybe you think you should stretch more or work harder. Maybe you think there's an exercise you should be doing but don't. Whatever it is, plan out how you'll tackle that 'should' and focus on it this week. You may find it's something you really don't want to do in the first place.

What other ideas can you come up with? Leave a comment and tell us what you'll work on this week.

Exercise of the Week: Rotating Curtsy Lunge

Tuesday April 8, 2014
The worst thing that can happen when you're working with a personal trainer is this: Boredom. No, I don't mean when clients get bored (although that is a problem), I'm talking about when the trainer gets bored. When the trainer gets bored, she stays up late, night after night, night coming up with new and exciting exercises. New and exciting and confusing exercises. New and exciting and confusing and challenging exercises.

Like this rotating curtsy lunge. I'm not sure what I was thinking at the time, but I'm kind of liking it, even if it is a bit out there. The idea is to stand on Gliding Discs or paper plates and slide one foot behind in a curtsy lunge. Then you slide that same leg out to the side and turn 180 degrees into a straight leg lunge. Craziness, I know. Good luck.

Do it right: Begin on discs or paper plates, hands on the hips. Keeping the weight on the right foot (toes are on the plate, heel is grounded on the floor), slide the left foot behind and across while bending the knees in a curtsy lunge. Stand up as you slide the left foot out to the left side and now pivot on the right foot and turn 180 degrees to the right, sliding the left foot straight back into a straight leg lunge. Return to start and repeat for 1-3 sets of 8-16 reps. You can also hold weights for added intensity.

Vote in This Week's Poll: Did you gain weight over the winter?

Monday April 7, 2014
ski

In an article I wrote a couple of years ago, I talked about some of the reasons we regain weight. Most of those reasons are pretty obvious - Eating too much or not exercising enough or trying to follow some crazy diet that makes us crave everything that is sweet and chocolatey in the world.

One not-so-obvious reason for weight gain? Winter. Specifically, the winter we just experienced circa 2013-2014. This winter was so brutal, most of us were involuntarily sedentary simply because it was impossible to even go outside, much less move around out there.

It's normal to put on a little weight during the winter, just because it's hard to move around as much, but I'm wondering how you fared over the winter. Did you gain more weight than usual? How are you handling it? Vote in this week's poll and tell us about your winter weight.

More about how to lose that winter weight.

Fitness Roundup: New Fitness Stuff to Try

Thursday April 3, 2014
If you're feeling a little cranky because the weather is still cold and crappy, may I recommend a little retail therapy? Here's what I'm spending my money on these days:

The Digifit Saddle - I use my iPhone during most of my workouts and, lately, I've noticed a little problem with my arm band. It makes all the tiny letters on the screen really, really blurry so that I can't see what song is playing. No, no, I do NOT simply need to get reading glasses. What I DO need? Is the Saddle, an iPhone holder that fits on your forearm. There. Problem solved.

Yogasessions.tv - You know the best way to reduce stress caused by crappy weather? Yes, it's going to Hawaii. Or doing some yoga. For $5.95 a month you can do some every single day until the sun comes out and life is good again.

GymDJ - You know another way to reduce stress caused by crappy weather? Yes, it's going to Hawaii. Or finding new workout music to listen to. Let's face it, making playlists these days is exhausting, which is where GymDJ comes in. They do all the work for you, creating playlists of popular songs at a variety of beats per minute, so you always have good music to listen to. You can join for $8.99 a month and they also have some free downloads as well.

That's all I've got. What about you? What's getting you through these last days of chilly weather? Leave a comment and tell us about it.

Fit Facts: Lift weights or die

Wednesday April 2, 2014

When you think of things that might save your life, 'more muscle mass' probably isn't on your top 10 list. Yet it may be more important than we think, even more important than how much we weigh or our BMI, which is the standard calculation we've used for ages, even though it isn't the best tool for measuring obesity.

I think most fitness experts already know what new research is proving: Body composition is a much better predictor of mortality and that the more muscle we have, the less likely we are to die prematurely. They discovered this by analyzing data collected by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which involved over 3,000 senior men and women. They measured body composition of the subjects using a bioelectrical impedance scale and found that all causes of mortality were lower in those with the most muscle mass.

Now, the study isn't perfect, of course. The authors point out that this data doesn't prove a direct cause-and-effect relationship, but that won't stop me from saying the following to my clients: If you don't lift weights, you will die.

I've always wanted to say that.

What that means is that, if you're not lifting weights, now is a really good time to start, especially if you're an older adult. And just in case you think you're too old for this, you're not - You can always gain muscle no matter how old you are and I have some resources that can help, if you don't know where to start.

The other thing I want to mention is how you measure body composition, which isn't exactly easy. The accuracy of most body fat measurement tools is always in question, including my own body fat calculator which only offers an educated guess. You can learn more about that in my article, What's Your Body Fat? which goes into details about the different ways you can measure body fat.

So, what do you think? Does this motivate you to lift weights or do you already have the motivation you need? Leave a comment and tell us what you think.

Exercise of the Week - Get Your Booty Rready for Spring with Curtsy Lunges with a Dumbbell Swing

Tuesday April 1, 2014

We sometimes forget just how much our lower body is involved with outdoor spring activities...until we do some of those outdoor activities and realize we can barely walk the next day. For example, my husband and I went to a sporting goods store to try out the ElliptiGO, which happens to be really, really awesome and today? I feel new, uniquely painful muscle fibers in my glutes and thighs. Isn't it amazing how many times one has to sit and stand throughout a single day?

We can't prepare for everything, but we can certainly work on building strength and endurance in our bodies, right? And today, you can focus on the glutes with these curtsy lunges. What I love about this exercise is that, first, it targets the glutes of the front leg and the added dumbbell swing gets the heart rate up and gets the shoulder involved, making it a total body exercise. You can control the intensity by going lighter or heavier. Just watch the knee on this one and make sure there isn't too much twisting during the exercise.

Do it right: Start with the weight in the right hand and take a giant Mother-May-I step back, crossing the right foot behind the left leg in a curtsy lunge. Push into the front heel to come back up as you swing the weight to shoulder level. Repeat for all reps before switching sides, shooting for 1-3 sets of 8-16 reps.

curtsyswinglunge

Vote in This Week's Poll: How much do you exercise each week to manage your weight?

Monday March 31, 2014
nullYou're no doubt aware that we have a pretty significant weight problem in this country and there are a number of us running around - Literally and figuratively - trying to figure out how to sweat the pounds off. The problem is, using exercise to lose weight is fraught with problems, the number one being that you have to do a lot of it if you want to lose weight. And doing a lot of exercise only works if you don't compensate for all those calories burned by eating even more calories, which we're known for doing.

In fact, many of my clients are slightly stunned when they realize they're going to have to workout more than a few days a week, preferably most days of the week - Not that I start them off on such a schedule at first...we all need time to condition the mind and the body for that much exercise, of course. The point is, people who use exercise to manage their weight (along with diet, of course) workout at least 6 days a week, sometimes 7 and many of them exercise for more than an hour. And, that's not all. Many of those workouts are very intense, sometimes going up into the anaerobic zone, where the body learns to burn more fat.

Whether it's because we're eating too much, sitting too much or a combination of the two, we need more exercise than ever if we want to lose weight, but I think a lot of people aren't sure just how much that is. It's different for everyone, which is why I'm curious about your exercise habits. If you're managing your weight in some way - Maintaining your current weight or trying to lose weight - How much exercise do you have to do each week to find the right balance of calories in and calories out?

Vote in this week's poll and tell us what it takes to keep your weight in check.

Dumb Things We Do When We're Trying to Lose Weight

Thursday March 27, 2014
null

Losing weight feels like serious business but, if you take a step back and look at everything you've ever done to try and lose weight, you'll probably get a good laugh. For example, I'm remembering how I tried to tone my inner thighs with the ThighMaster back in the days of Suzanne Somers. I remember sitting on the couch and watching TV as I did something like a zillion reps and, at one point, the thing slipped, catapulted across the room and left a big hole in the wall (which I totally lied about when my mother asked). The next day I could barely walk and my thighs? Looked exactly the same.

As we get older, most of us stop doing really stupid things, but there are still plenty of ways we sabotage ourselves without even realizing it. For example, all that time we spend trying to spot reduce our abs or the way we like to think we're not eating too many calories, even though we know we are.

I could go on and, in fact, I do go on quite a bit in my latest article, Dumb Things We Do When We're Trying to Lose Weight. Take a look, see if you recognize anything you've done in that list and be sure to come back and leave a comment if you have anything to add. What other ways do you unwittingly sabotage your own weight loss? Tell us about it.

What's on your workout playlist?

Wednesday March 26, 2014

You know you're in a workout rut when you realize that you've been listening to the same exercise playlist for the last 6 months. In fact, as I was trying to create a new playlist, I realized I haven't even downloaded any new songs in weeks...maybe even months. As any music/exercise fan knows, nothing can rejuvenate a workout faster than some new, kickin' songs.

Below is the playlist I've played to death - What new music would you recommend? Post your workout playlist and give us some new ideas.

  • "Beautiful Day" - U2
  • "(Reach Up For The) Sunrise" - Duran Duran
  • "I Will Wait" - Mumford & Sons
  • "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked" - Cage the Elephant
  • "Rock that Body" - Black Eyed Peas
  • "Lonely Boy" - The Black Keys
  • "Little Black Submarine" - The Black Keys
  • "Billie Jean" - Michael Jackson
  • "Beat It" - Michael Jackson
  • "Would I Lie to You?" - Eurythmics

How do you make exercise more fun?

Tuesday March 25, 2014

As I was working on a new article about ways to make exercise more fun, I decided to do a little research and find out what other people do to make working out more fun. All I really learned was that most of the people in my life have a serious problem with sarcasm, as you'll see from their responses:

  • "The only way to truly enjoy exercise is to avoid it completely."
  • "You mean you don't already think walking on my dreadmill is fun all by itself? Because that is the most fun I have every day. The MOST!"
  • (wiping eyes, attempting to speak) "Wait, wait...don't walk away. I'm going to answer you, I just..." (choking laughter) "can't stop la...la...laughing!"
  • (long pause) "Exercise? Fun? I've never heard those two words used together in the same sentence. I'm afraid I'm going to have to get back to you on that one."

Of course, 'fun' is a relative term, but I'm convinced (or perhaps I'm just deluded) that exercise can be fun, at least in a certain sense and I intend to figure out all the ways we can make this happen in my next article. For example, listening to great music can make exercise more fun, right? Or what about when you mix things up and get more creative with your workouts?

Anyone?

Okay, I think I'm going to need some help with this one, so please leave a comment and tell us how you make exercise more fun. Is it even possible? Help me convince my readers that you can make working out more fun.

Vote in This Week's Poll: How will your workouts change with the weather?

Monday March 24, 2014

It's officially spring, no matter what my weather app says - And it says it's supposed to snow tomorrow, just in case Mother Nature didn't get the memo - and, boy, are we ready for it. I particularly enjoy seeing the Chicagoland Natives walking around in shorts and tee shirts, even though it's still 30 degree outside. I know - it does seem like we can force the weather to be warm by wearing shorts, but it doesn't work that way.

The point is, we are all getting ready for spring and I like to think about all the things I'm going to do when it's warm enough to go outside.

But the big change for most of us will probably be in activity levels. Even if we try to stay active during the winter, it's often impossible to do much more than the minimum. Now that the weather's changing, hopefully that will change too.

So, I want to hear about your plans. How will your workouts change with the season? Will you exercise more? Are you excited to get outside? What are you looking forward too? Vote in this week's poll and tell us about your spring workout plans.

Don't feel like exercising? Do it anyway

Thursday March 20, 2014

Winter is a rough time in my household. My husband struggles to keep some kind of exercise program going as his usual handball matches fall away and I'm just cold all the time and annoying.

My husband's struggle often turns into a conversation we have all too often:

Husband: I want to workout, but what if it's too cold in the basement?
Me: Then just turn on the heater.
Husband: But what if I'm really tired?
Me: Then just do a long warm up on the treadmill and see how you feel.
Husband: But what if I get hungry?
Me: Stop it.
Husband: I'm serious! What if...
Me: No, really. Stop it.
Husband: (muttering) Some personal trainer you are. Is this how you motivate your clients?

Sometimes, that's exactly how I motivate both myself and my clients. There will be days - Unfortunately, probably more than we'd like - where we just don't feel like exercising. We can waste a lot of energy with the what-ifs, the arguing back and forth about whether to workout but, sometimes it's just easier to do it and see what happens.

In fact, I sometimes have the best workouts when I don't feel like it, simply because showing up becomes the measure of my success rather than having to work at a certain intensity.

What about you? Do you have days when you just don't feel like exercising? Do you argue with yourself and, if so, who usually wins? Leave a comment and tell us what you think.

Can New Nutrition Labels Help Us Lose Weight?

Wednesday March 19, 2014

There's been an interesting trend going on with food products lately...some brands are putting the calorie information right on the front of the packaging. I've noticed this mostly in the bread aisle, but I've also seen it on yogurt containers, bags of chips and other assorted foods. As someone who always looks at the calories (among other things) when shopping for food, it's kind of awesome not having to pick up each item to play the where's-the-nutrition-label game...sometimes they really try to hide that sucker, don't they?

Looks like this is going to be more than just a trend because the Food and Drug Administration is proposing new nutrition labels that will require everyone to put the calories per serving on the front of the packaging in big, bold font. And that's not all. Some of the other recommendations for change include:

  • Changes in serving sizes: We all know that 'calories-per-serving' on the nutrition label is a joke. Yes, it's lovely of them to let me know that 1/2 a cup of my favorite cereal is 250 calories, but am I really only going to have 5 bites of cereal? I don't think so. Experts are suggesting that food companies update the serving size to better reflect the amount we actually eat, not how much we should eat.
  • Sugar: Added sugar is the latest whipping boy in the world of overweight and obesity and experts want nutrition labels to reflect the difference between natural sugar and added sugars so we can see just how much sugar we're eating.

The idea here is, of course, to give us more information so we can make more informed decisions and, hopefully, lose some weight. I'm all for nutrition labels that make sense but, of course, for this to actually work, we have to be smart consumers as well. We have to know that the daily values presented in nutrition labels are based on a 2,000 calorie diet and, of course, not all of us have the same calorie needs. That means, we need to have general knowledge of how many calories we need each day as well as have an idea of a reasonable amount of calories for the foods we're eating for this to make a real difference.

In other words, some of these changes won't matter much to those consumers who don't pay much attention to food labels and are going to eat what they're going to eat no matter what's on the packaging.

Still, I'm curious about what you think. Are you excited to see these kinds of changes? Do you think more transparent food labels will help with the obesity epidemic? Leave a comment and tell us what you think.

More about the proposed changes on food labels.

Workout Challenge of the Week - 10-10-10

Tuesday March 18, 2014

Sometimes, I get really bored doing the same old workouts with my clients. Because of that, I'll sometimes throw out my planned workout and do a fly-by - as in, flying-by-the-seat-of-my pants type of workout, something that can be both thrilling and terrifying. Mostly terrifying.

This happened to me last week, perhaps as the result of a desperate need for spring - Or maybe it's more a frenzied desire for winter to just end already. Whatever possessed me, it took hold and caused me to make up some workouts on the fly. I decided to pick 10 exercises and have my client do each one 10 times without resting in between. The exercises varied, depending on the client, but the result was the same: There was breathless swearing and lots of sweating, but there were also grudging acknowledgements that it's fun to mix things up sometimes.

For your workout pleasure, I've posted a couple of versions of the workout below and I'll eventually be fleshing these out and adding them to my Workout Center. One is more advanced and high impact and the other I used with clients who prefer not to jump. The idea is to do 10 exercises for 10 reps with no rest in between (if you can...it's perfectly okay to take breaks when you really needed to). Then rest and, if you want to repeat the circuit, go for it.

This is a great way to insert a little high intensity into your regular workout or just do this on it's own for a killer cardio workout.

If these exercises don't do it for you, feel free to substitute and do your own thing. And if you do try one of the workouts, let me know what you think about it.

10-10-10 High Impact  10-10-10 Low Impact 
Warm Up: 2-3 minutes of marching or jogging in place Warm Up: 2-3 minutes of marching in place or step touches
10 Burpees 10 Side to side lunge with band chest press
10 Jumping jacks 10 Low impact jumping jacks
10 Squat jumps 10 Sit and stands
10 Jumping jacks 10 Low impact jumping jacks
10 Plyo lunges 10 Wide step puddle jumpers
10 Jumping jacks 10 Low impact jumping jacks
10 Pushups 10 Pushups
10 Jumping jacks 10 Low impact jumping jacks
10 Mountain climbers 10 Sliding mountain climbers
10 Jumping jacks 10 Low impact jumping jacks
Repeat or cool down and stretch  

Vote in This Week's Poll: What does your body really need?

Monday March 17, 2014

I have a challenge for you today. Take a look at your typical day and ask yourself a question: How often do you give your body what it really needs? Maybe a better question is: Do you even know what your body needs?

I thought about this one morning after a client said, "Wow, I feel so good after I workout! If I would just do it every morning, think how good I would feel every day."

Proof that I don't always torture my clients, no matter what they say about me.

Her comment made me think of how my own body feels on a regular basis. If I did more of what my body needs rather than what my mind is dictating it should do, maybe I would feel better every day.

Some of us may need more movement - More exercise, more walking, less sitting and hunching over the computer or steering wheel. Others of us may need more stretching, more sleeping, more relaxing, more time to just be.

So, looking at where you are right now, what does your body really need? Does it need more movement, more exercise? Does it need more rest or more stretching? Maybe it needs more water or more healthy foods. Think about it and vote in this week's poll, telling us what your body needs more of. Then leave a comment and tell us how you'll give your body what it needs.

Springtime Workouts for Golf, Gardening and More

Thursday March 13, 2014

Every year I write a post about how it's almost spring and I list all the workouts we can do to get ready for the warm weather, all while staring at a big pile of snow outside my window.

And every year I realize that, if I lived in Hawaii, I would never have to write a blog post like this again. Of course, I would have to live in a tent and fish for my food to afford to live there, but I wouldn't have to stare at a big pile of snow.

Ranting out of the way, just because it's still cold doesn't mean it won't be warm eventually and you know what happens when it gets warm. We all get a little crazy and we get weekend warrior syndrome and we go bike riding for 6 hours or play 900 rounds of golf (doesn't golf always seem that long?) and then we can't walk for several days.

To avoid that, I'm highlighting the workouts I've created to help us avoid springtime weekend warrior syndrome. It's certainly something to keep you busy while we wait for the snow to melt, no?

  • Golf Warm Up Exercises - These moves are perfect for warming up your abs, back, arms and legs before you hit the golf course or the driving range.
  • Golf Strength Training Workout - Having a strong body and core can give you more power in your golf swing while protecting you from injury. This workout focuses on overall strength as well as the core muscles used in golf.
  • Core Strengthen and Stretch - This simple workout includes exercises for the core as well as flexibility exercises to stretch out the shoulders, back and arms. This is a great workout to prepare you for working in the yard.
  • Outdoor Circuit Workout - If you want to spice up your usual walk or run, this circuit includes some tough intervals to keep things interesting and challenging.

Do you have a favorite springtime workout? Leave a comment and give us some new ideas.

Weight Loss Tips and Tricks

Wednesday March 12, 2014
If you spend any kind of time managing your weight, you probably have a variety of tricks for keeping the extra pounds away...always taking the stairs, parking far away, only licking the icing and never eating the cookie and only eating chocolate while standing up....because, you know, standing up while eating doesn't count.

Right? Just nod your head.

Some of our ideas may be a little kookie, but there are some tried and true methods for staying on track and, adding just one of these tools to your arsenal can make a difference:

  • Keeping a food diary: Lots of people skip this step, but I can't stress how powerful this tool can be. Even the healthiest person probably eats more than he or she realizes and writing things down can give you a reality check while keeping you on track.
  • Figure out how many calories you need: We can't always get an exact number for how many calories we need each day, but our Nutrition Guide, Shereen has done an excellent job of getting you as close as possible with her women's calorie calculator and her men's calorie calculator. Take those numbers as a guideline and adjust those calories as needed to fit your personal needs.
  • Activity Calculator: You know that losing weight is about calories in/calories out. Knowing how many calories you're burning with your workouts can ensure you're doing all you can to burn more than you eat. You can also get an idea of which activities burn more calories than others so you can incorporate some variety into your workouts. Like a calorie calculator, these are never 100% accurate, so keep that in mind as you're calculating your calories.
  • Self-monitoring: You don't necessarily want to sit around and naval- gaze about everything you eat or drink or meditate on how your pants fit each day. But it does make sense to monitor yourself on a regular basis and, if you find the weight creeping up, you can do something about it before it gets out of hand. One way to track your progress is to take your measurements every 4 weeks or so to see if you're losing inches. It's usually a better way to track progress than the scale.

What tips and tricks do you use to keep your weight in check? Leave a comment and tell us about it.

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