OMG!!! I saw daffodils today!!! There they were popping their optimistic little yellow heads out of the muck and it made me so happy!! Whooo Hooo spring is really here!!!
I'm always in awe of the first flowers of spring. I'm always astounded how in a matter of weeks the landscape shifts from bleak to glorious. Part of me wants to scream, "Hey, Everyone, check it out -- the miracle is happening again!". And don't get me started on cherry blossoms...
So there is NO better time to get outside and start a fitness program. Whether it's biking, walking, jogging or roller blading outside fitness makes getting in shape for summer fun and easy.
Make it simple to start out, just 15 minutes out and 15 minutes back and before you know it you're done with your workout. Plus being away from stale inside air, computer screens, ringing telephones and florescent lights will improve your mood and reduce stress. Another added plus: sunlight is important for adequate Vitamin D levels.
So lace up your sneaks, grease up the bike chain, dust off your rollerblades and go check out the show!
Geralyn Coopersmith, MA, CSCS is an exercise physiologist, certified personal trainer and the creator of The Best Me Ever, a comprehensive weight loss and wellness system just for women
Many people eat diets that have way too much fat or too much protein or tons of the wrong kinds of carbohydrates. But if good health and sustained energy is your goal (and it should be!) you want to be conscious of the way you combine foods at every meal.
A balanced meal contains a combination of all three "macro-nutrients": carbohydrates, fats and proteins. You want to try to eat:
healthy carbs (whole grains, fresh fruits and veggies - high in fiber, nutrients and anti-oxidants)
lean proteins (such as skinless chicken breast, fish, lean beef or pork, egg whites, tofu, legumes- essential for tissue repair and digested in the stomach which provides for greater satiety)
heart-friendly fats (like those found in olive or canola oil - improves blood lipid profiles and again, digested in the stomach for greater satiety)
at every meal, whenever possible.
Some examples of this could include:
Salad with a grilled chicken breast and some balsamic vinaigrette with a multi-grain roll
An egg white omelet with low-fat mozzarella, tomato, fresh basil and mushrooms
A stir-fry of shrimp, mixed veggies tossed in canola oil over brown rice
Making sure that you have carbs, fats and proteins allows for: 1) the best chance at balanced nutrition, 2) a greater feeling of satiety and 3) more stable blood sugar levels.
Get nutrient savvy by reading labels and seeing which foods are high in fat, protein and carbohydrate...always looking for the most natural, least processed choice whenever in doubt.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?
Actually who are you NOT to be?
Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are born to make manifest the glory ...that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fears, our presence automatically liberates others.
Years ago I went to a women's workshop where we did a very interesting exercise. We were paired off with another woman whom we did not know. The exercise was to sit face-to-face with your partner -- and pay her one sincere compliment after another until the instructor said, "time".
And as if that weren't difficult enough...we weren't allowed to break eye contact, we weren't allowed to disagree (verbally or otherwise)...in fact, we weren't allowed to say ANYTHING at all in response but, "thank you...it's true".
The exercise was easy when you were "the giver"...you didn't know the person personally, so you just went by what you saw and complimented it. But when you were on the "receiving end" -- geez it seemed to last f-o-r-e-v-e-r.
I can remember sitting there as this stranger paid me one compliment after another. "You have pretty eyes", "you have a nice smile", "you have great skin" etc. Let me tell you -- it was brutal. I was breaking into a cold sweat and squirming in my seat. There was a giant lump developing in my throat as I croaked out each successive "thank you...it's true". Geez, why didn't I just go to that bamboo shoots under the fingernails workshop, instead?
Which begs the question, how well do you take a compliment? How do you answer somebody when he or she pays you a compliment?
Do you launch into a series of "oh, that's not trues..." or "you've got to be kiddings..."?
Or do you stand there, smile, let it sink in and say a simple (and heart-felt)"thank you"?
Each and every morning millions of women across America perform a secret masochistic tribal ritual.
We approach The Oracle -- and we ask that the truth be revealed.
We stand naked before it.
We confront the unpleasant reality.
And then... if The Oracle declares that we have sinned -- we begin the atonement process.
We spend the rest of the day performing the sacred acts of mental self-flagellation.
"I am a big fat pig, I am a big fat pig, I am a big fat pig..."
In other words, we step on the bathroom scale -- and then we terrorize ourselves for the rest of the day by the numbers we see there.
Why is it that so many of us feel compelled to get on the scale each and every morning?
Moreover, why do we beat ourselves up when the numbers on the dial don't match the numbers that we have in our heads? Especially when the numbers that we have in our heads are usually numbers that appeared onceon our wedding day, when we were a nervous wreck from the all the stress and coming off of a four-day bout with a stomach flu.
Usually they are numbers that we haven't actually seen in years, they aren't "real numbers" -- yet some part of us still expects them to be there. Fat chance of that.
You made it -- It's Day 30!!!! Whoooooo Hoooooooo, come on let's all dance in the end zone. Wait? You aren't allowed to celebrate in the end zone -- says who!? This isn't football -- this is life!!
The fact is, when it come to our health most of us don't give ourselves enough credit for the little accomplishments and changes that we make along the way. Most of us approach our lives and our goals -- as all or nothing propositions. If we fail to do everything absolutely perfectly we feel like we failed. Too often we don't celebrate the little victories or stand back and acknowledge just how much progress we've made.
Anthony Robbins (I swear I'm not on this guy's payroll, but I really do love his stuff) talks a lot about setting up the "game of life" so that you can win more often than not. He says that we set up far too many rules about has to happen before we can feel good about what we've done. What if instead we make it as easy as possible to get a win? For example:
If I exercise for 20-minutes today --- that's a win
If I drink 2 more glasses of water than I did yesterday -- that's a win
If I get an extra 30 minutes of shut-eye -- that's a win
If I substitute one crappy food choice for one better one -- that's a win
You get the idea. Too often we set the bar of success sooooo high, we'd have to be superhuman to even come close to reaching it.
What about you? What small changes have you made in the past 30-days that you could give yourself a pat on the back for? What other little changes could you implement and then celebrate? Think about it, I'm sure you have a lot to be proud of.
Okay, now spike the ball and let's bust some moves....
There is nothing more frustrating than going on a diet, losing weight, only to find out that several weeks or months down the line you've gained all of it back -- and more!
If you've read my book Fit and Female, then you know that I am not a big proponent of "dieting", but rather making permanent lifestyle changes. Changes that you embrace for the long haul -- not just for a quick fix. So how do you keep those pounds from slowly creeping back on? Here are some sure-fire strategies to keeping your weight off after dieting.
Change the way you think about "dieting" . Most of us approach dieting and weight loss as an all-or-nothing proposition. We are either "on a diet" or "eating normally".
The problem is that eating "normally" is what caused the weight gain in the first place -- so that is the LAST thing we want to return to doing. You need to identify those areas where you were either overeating and/or eating too much of the wrong thing. You need to be honest about it and limit whatever it is in the future so that you don't undo all the hard work you did to lose weight in the first place.
Watch your drinking! And I'm not just talking about alcohol consumption here, although certainly that can contribute to re-gaining weight. Remember that ALL calories count, even the ones that go down quickly and easily in the form of a beverage. This means limiting your consumption of: juice (eat the whole fruit instead), coffee drinks, "health shakes", smoothies and (of course) alcohol can have you drinking 300 calories in a minute or two. Just one extra 300 calorie beverage per week can add up to over 1/2 pound of weight gain per week -- 2.4 pounds per month --or an unbelievable 28 plus pounds in a year!!!
Remain a "conscious eater". When we are on a diet we are all very aware of what we are eating and when. Somehow when we "go off the diet" we start developing "eating amnesia". That bag of M&Ms we had at the desk didn't count, the handful of fries off our kid's plate didn't count, the food you nibble while cooking dinner didn't count.
The painful reality is EVERYTHING COUNTS. Calories count. In order to keep weight off you have to be aware of everything that you eat and make conscious choices.
It's fine to have a piece of chocolate cake every once and a while, but you need to balance it out with some healthier, lower calories choices (salad and grilled chicken for dinner that day, for example) in order to compensate.
Hey it's Day 28!! We're almost there!! Today I want to say a brief word about feeling your best when you workout -- by looking your best.
I know a lot of people who roll out of bed and put on the oldest, crappiest workout clothes, sneakers that they've have since senior year in high school -- then top it off with their husband's sweatshirt (you know the one covered with paint stains -- the one he uses to clean the garage).
"I feel pretty...oh so pretty..."
Personally, I'm a big believer in wearing workout clothes that you feel good wearing. You don't have to get dolled-up to exercise or "do" your hair. But making some effort to look your sportif best does make exercise seem more important -- and more fun. So you look forward to getting ready to go to the gym. Back in the day, Jane Fonda used to say she always like to look like a dancer when she worked out. She said she would show off her body to motivate herself and remind her what all her hard work was for.
Also by making some kind of an investment in your workout duds, you are sending a message to your subconscious that working out is a priority -- not something you just fall into wearing some grimy old T-shirt. Something that you take seriously. You don't have to spend a fortune either, Target for example, has a Champion Line that looks great and wears very well.
While we're here...a word about sneakers. Sneakers breakdown internally (offering far less cushioning) LONG before they actually "look" worn-out. On average runners are advised to changed their sneaker approximately every 500 miles. If you are not a runner, it's hard to know how much mileage, but if you go to the gym 3x/week, you should probably look into getting a new pair of sneaks every 6 months or so. You can save the "old ones" as an emergency pair to leave in the trunk of the car.
Here are other suggestions for gear must-haves:
An MP3 player - nothing like your own tunes to motivate you to move. Unless you've been under a rock for the last few years, you probably have one. But if you don't -- run, do not walk, and get one. It's your own personal commercial-free radio station.
A really cool gym bag - I once knew of a very wealthy Park Avenue lady who transported her fitness gear in a ripped plastic shopping bag from CVS. She had a $5000 Berkin Bag to wear around town, but this is how she transported the clothes she wears to take care of her body. Shows you how much value she placed on working out.
Expensive socks - all socks are NOT created equal!!! Forget the 10 for $10 value pack here. Cushiony, athletic performance socks provide increased support, prevent blisters, wick moisture away and help reduce impact. And even the really pricey ones are only about $10. A small investment for happy feet. Check out my personal faves, Thor-Los and Nikes.
Clothes with Dri-Lite or other "wicking" fabrics - There are tons of microfiber clothes which move moisture away from your skin to the outside of the clothes, keeping you more comfortable and cooler in summer and warmer in winter. Again, I love Nike clothes, you can't destroy them and they keep looking and feeling good.
A nice "just for the gym" toiletries case - Pack it with little sizes of what you need to wash-up after a good sweat (shampoo, conditioner, a great-smelling shower gel, deodorant, perfume, shaving cream, razor, etc.). All neat, zipped-up in your gym bag in a pretty tote-- just ready to roll. If you are putting things together on the fly you are bound to forget something.
Good weight training gloves - I can't lift weights without them. The skin on my hands is very sensitive and grabbing those iron dumbbells or machines just rips 'em to shreds. A nice padded pear of weight training gloves cushions your palms, helps you grip better and prevents callouses.
A good, supportive jog bra - Everyone -- even the smallest-breasted among us need proper support for "the girls". A good jog bra should be comfortable, but snug compressing the breasts and preventing motion. Breast motion during exercise can temporary discomfort and annoyance during exercise (unless of course you're the guy ogling her on the next treadmill). Worse yet, repeated bouncing can cause permanent sagging by damaging a structures known as the Cooper's ligaments (special connective tissues that provide breast structure).
So what little fitness fashion indulgences can you treat yourself to as a way of rewarding yourself and honoring your commitment to your health and fitness?
"Ch...Ch...Ch...Ch...Changes, Turn And Face The Strain" ~ David Bowie
As I look around the gym each day, I am always taken by the number of people who have been doing the exact same workout, 3-5 days per week -- for years.
While, I certainly applaud their commitment to exercise, I don't think most of them understand the concepts of "adaptation" and "progression".
"Adaptation" means that your body gets "used" to what ever you do on a regular basis. For example, you try spinning for the first time. You wake up the next morning with your upper back sore, your quads in a knot and your nether regions bruised from the seat. But after a couple of classes you don't feel any of those things -- you feel great. Spinning becomes easier. Your body has adapted to this new "training stimulus".
That's not to say that you won't continue to get benefits from the activity (in this example, a great cardio workout) -- but you won't get the same degree of benefit that you did initially. Because your body has made all the changes that it needs in order to get the job done. Which leads me to the second concept, "progression".
A girlfriend of mine once said, "To be female and living on The Upper East Side (of Manhattan) is by definition -- to be eating disordered".
It wasn't as funny a statement as it should have been -- because in the circles we traveled in -- it was actually true.
(Manhattanites will also appreciate this gem from that same friend...she used to call Tasti D-Lite Stores -- "a beacon for the eating disordered"...I love TD, but it's really true!)
And from the emails that I'm getting from women all over these days, I think that there is far more borderline eating disordered behavior among women in this country than anyone believes.
Not really a stretch of the imagination when you consider that:
According to some studies as much as 97% of women are unhappy with their bodies.
Models whose bodies represent 2-5% of the world's women are touted as the ultimate goal of womanhood in the media.
It seems like the celebrities whom thousands of young girls idolize are coming clean about their body image problems every day.
My friend and I were both in our mid 20s at the time (I'm 29 now ;-), both teaching "aerobics" (that was old skool for "group exercise") and both recovering from various issues with food. She was a former professional dancer who had dabbled in both anorexia and bulimia.
I was never a full-fledged anorexic, but I was as close as you can get without falling over the edge. I was aspiring (but failed) bulimic, having tried a few times to make myself throw-up with no success. Virtually every woman we knew had issues with eating, food and their body image.
One of our friends (a group fitness instructor) was a serious exercise bulimic. She would literally spend two hours at a time on the stairmaster afterteaching fitness classes all day long. Her weight would swing back and forth 20-30 pounds in the seeming flash of an eye. Lose-gain, lose-gain. Then she would be seen by various people at odd times (like 9 AM) in some random out-of- the way dinner eating huge amounts of chocolate cake.
Later, this fitness professional actually took up smoking, because it helped her lose weight. And finally, and most tragically..apparently, she got addicted to heroine and cocaine...true story...her health meant nothing to her. It was all about looking a certain way.
CharlieWeingroff.com Charlie Weingroff has a doctorate in physical therapy, is a certified athletic trainer, former NBA strength coach and current strength and conditioning specialist. Great information from one of the best in the business when it comes to connecting the worlds of physical therapy and personal training.
"Do Work!" with Coach Dos Join celebrated strength coach Robert dos Remedios for his brillian insights into the world of strength and conditioning. "Coach Dos" knows his stuff -- and knows how to teach it to others!
Michael Boyle's Strengthcoach.com It's known as "the world's best source for performance enhancement information" for a reason. Join Coach Michael Boyle and the top minds in the industry. Worth the price of membership for access to the forum alone.
Perform Better If you need anything for your facility (or home gym) chances are the good folks at Perform Better have it. Renowned for their excellent customer service and unparalleled selection.
Functional Movement Systems Two of my heros, Gray Cook and Lee Burton (and friends) have developed an amazing system for health and fitness professionals to identify imbalances which can impair movement and contribute to injury. As Gray says, "Move well first - then move often."
Stop Chasing Pain Dr. Perry Nickelston is a DC and an expert in reducing pain using laser therapy. Great information on moving better and staying pain-free for life!
Bettergolfwithfitness.com Are you in shape for golf? No really, I'm serious. Being fit can help you play better, reduce your risk of injury and correct swing faults. Be sure to check out Titleist Level 3 Certified Golf Fitness Pro, Anthony Renna's blog -- designed to help you get "your fat butt in shape for golf"...subtle and charming, but you get the idea.
Golffitnessproducts.net "Golf fitness" - nope, it's not an oxymoron!! Check out this amazing resource for all things related to golf fitness. Packed with tons of credible, free articles, videos, blog and a podcast on everything from nutrition, to the mental game to workout tips. Hey, they don't all have to look like John Daly.
Fitness Foresight Be sure to check out Tom Godwin's blog from the UK. An intelligent perspective on health and wellness.
Fitness Insights by Jamie Atlas He's smart, he's funny -- and he's an Aussie transplanted into the mountains of Colorado. Be sure to check out my pal, Jamie Atlas' musings on all things health and fitness.
HellerHealth.com Check out my friend, exercise physiologist and registered dietician, Sam Heller. She's brilliant and funny and has her own informative radio show on Siruis. Fridays 12-2 PM EST. Always fun and informative!
Visit Nettervillefitness Check out my friend and fellow educator, JT Netterville's informative and motivating blog for the newbie and fitness enthusiast alike.
Your Fitness Guru Check out my buddy, exercise physiologist, Liz Marmesh as she brings together the best info from all corners of the fitness world.
Bizzywomen.com Bringing high quality information together in one place to empower busy professional women. Topics include investing, finance, work-life balance, parenting, and everything in between.
Other Cool Sites To Check Out
Animals Love Snacks Enter the delightfully silly, brilliant, creative brain of my buddy, "JuRu" with the dada-esque "Animals Love Snacks". I have no idea what it all means, but I love it!
Antidote 360 I'm a member of the Guru Group, a professional advisory panel working with new Antidote 360, an integrated marketing agency specializing in health & wellness marketing solutions.
Crazy Asian Gal If you like baking, Asian food -- or cats check out my multi-talented girl from Canada!
Home Sanctuary Want simple tips to make your home your sanctuary? Check out this great blog from Rachel Anne Ridge.
Skinny Latte Strikes Back! Check out the musings of Phil from The Land Down Under, as she shares the secrets she learned to transform herself from an overweight deconditioned woman to a fit and fabulous female. Very inspirational!!