Stay Fresh and Local at the Farmers Market

iStock_000010147416XSmallWhen you live in the city, it’s easy to take some things for granted. Seasonal fruits and vegetables are sort of a thing of the past, with a few minor exceptions. Can you imagine how your great grandparents might react if they knew they could get fresh fruit in the middle of December? It’s easy to take that kind of access to fresh food for granted.

But we lose something when we 24/7 access. Don’t get me wrong, I recognize how blessed we are to have access to food whenever we need, but there’s something special about knowing that peaches will be ripe this month, or knowing that those green tomatoes are going to be turning red any day now. The anticipation of knowing fresh food was coming up made it taste that much sweeter when it finally did become available.

That’s why I love local farmers markets. You get to see locally made products, meet new people, and most importantly, be exposed to fresh, locally sourced fruits and vegetables. While you can get relatively fresh food at any supermarket, you can find freshly picked, locally produced fruits and vegetables that was likely grown within 30 miles of your location. And I don’t think I need to remind you how important it is to escape processed foods and incorporate fresh vegetables and fruits in your diet.

Now, you might be thinking “Brian, why waste time going to a farmers market when I can get something almost as good down the street? After all, you just said it: I can get the same kind of foods at the superstore, and it’s much more convenient.”

Going to a Farmers Market does more than expose you to good food. A farmers market gets you outdoors, in the sun and away from the couch! You can ride your bike down to the market, or just put on some walking shoes and just go for a casual stroll around the various stalls. Just getting outside and keeping yourself active is a great way to stick to a fitness regime. Plus, a little vitamin D from the sun always helps! It’s more than just helping your physical fitness; it’s about social health as well.

Here are a few things to consider when you go to the Portland or Vancouver Farmers Market this coming weekend:

Know your Seasons – If you have your own garden, you probably know that there’s a season for every kind of fruit and vegetable. Apples naturally grow during a specific part of the year, squash normally shows up in the fall… So plan your meals accordingly! There’s always something fresh and new that’s going to be popping up at the market. Right now for example, you can likely expect to see some fresh tomatoes showing up, so think about incorporating some fresh tomato into a garden salad. Or if you’re looking for a snack, think about grabbing some fresh celery or some cucumber.

Dress for the Occasion – Farmers markets are a great place to enjoy some time outdoors, so make sure you wear the right apparel! Put on some comfortable shoes, plan for the temperature, and wear a hat to keep the sun off your head. Don’t forget sun protection if it’s going to be hot out, like sun block, sunglasses, and even an umbrella if you’re very sensitive.

Be Spontaneous, but Healthy – When you’re walking down the stalls, you’re probably going to see some foods that you may have never heard of before. I remember one client of mine was so excited that she found this thing called Okra, something she had never tried cooking with before. If you see something new, don’t be afraid to ask about it, pick some up, and try making something with it. What’s the worst you can do? But beware – farmers markets are well known for having unhealthy foods, like deep fried Twinkies. Try new things, but REMEMBER YOUR MEAL PLAN!

Ask Vendors for Recipes – Think about it this way: If a vendor has some kind of vegetable at his booth, he or she has probably had a lot of it at home, which means they probably have to find some pretty creative ways of eating it to keep it from getting mundane. After all, there’s only so much you can take of the same meal. I remember one vendor told me about a recipe she had for eggplant pizza. At first, I thought she was just a bit too enthusiastic about eggplant – I mean, how versatile can the thing be? It turns out, eggplant pizza is delicious! I never would have known such a recipe existed if she hadn’t told me about it. Vendors want to talk about their food – Otherwise, they wouldn’t be there.

So come on down to the farmers market! Enjoy the sun, browse the stalls, and see what you can find to help spice up your meal plan. And if you’re looking for something specific, ask a personal trainer at Boomer Fitness what you should look out for when you head down to the Farmers Market. We’ll have some great recipes you can incorporate into your meal plan.

Apples, Pears, Plums… Can I Enjoy It?

Apple, pear, tape and glucometerI love it when my clients get excited. Not just about fitness, either! I love hearing about what my clients are up to outside of the immediate realm of fitness, whether it’s hobbies they enjoy, weekend plans they are looking forward to, or just daily updates.

One client of mine, Jon, has been telling me all about the fruit trees he has planted in his backyard. He is stoked that his micro orchard, if you can call five trees and orchard, are going gangbusters. Despite the heat, the trees have been producing a lot of fruit, and it looks like he has a lot of dishes that include apples, plums, and pears in his immediate future.

You can see where I’m going with this, right? I bet you can!

During the late summer, a lot of fruit starts to make its way to the market. I see a lot of independent entrepreneurs on street corners selling fresh apples, pears, plums, peaches, and cherries. As a chef, it’s a great time to take advantage of seasonal foods.

Now for the most part, fruits seem to get a bad rap at the surface. Fruits are seen as sugar packing desserts, inferior to vegetables. It’s true, in some cases: many fruits are used in dessert items, like cherry pie, apple strudel, plum pudding… and yes, these items are not on your diet plan! But that doesn’t mean fruits as a whole should be taken out of your diet.

Fruits are still a huge part of the food pyramid, and while they should be regulated like any other portion of food, you should still include healthy fruits into your diet. Take a look at some of the most important aspects of keeping fruit in your diet:

Fruits don’t contain cholesterol – That’s right! Cholesterol free! Fruits are also low in sodium, unhealthy fats, and calories.

Fruits are sources of nutrients – As a whole, most Americans lack a healthy source of potassium, dietary fiber, and vitamin C. Guess what many fruits have? All of these, especially bananas, prunes, peaches, apricots, and cantaloupe.

Fruits reduce heart disease – Because of these nutrients I just listed, fruits are amazing at preventing heart disease, which includes risk of heart attack and stroke.

Fiber! – Fiber is essential to any diet as you get older, as it helps protect against types of cancers, creates a sense of fullness, and helps proper bowel movement.

So don’t feel bad by grabbing an apple for the afternoon snack, or grabbing a few plums for lunch. Enjoy the treat! Be sure to talk to a personal trainer at Boomer Fitness to see how we can fully incorporate a healthy amount of fruit into your daily diet.

 

Sugar, the Unknown Danger Hiding in your Food

iStock_000016293067XSmallI don’t know about you, but during my childhood, one of my favorite memories was waking up exceedingly early on Saturday Mornings. I would head downstairs, turn on Saturday Morning Cartoons, and grab a huge bowl of Frosted Flakes, doused with extra sugar from the cabinet. It was a childhood tradition, and you could never have too much sugar.

Today, I shudder to think about how much sugar kids are putting through their bodies whether their parents know about it or not. With the amount of sugar that can be found in every day foods anymore, adding even more is beyond excessive.

I won’t beat around the bush on this one: whether you are a kid watching cartoons early in the morning or just adding some sugar to your morning coffee, high levels of sugar in anyone’s diet is deadly. (When I was proof reading this, a client of mine thought claiming excessive sugar consumption is deadly was going too far, but I disagree. I want to make sure you know the truth about what is in your food, and I have no intention of sugar coating the truth for you… pun intended) Excess consumption of sugar is known to be directly linked to heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes, all of which a big portion of our population is struggling with right now.

This problem isn’t just something we can ignore and hope will go away, either. Today, Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the US, and it’s only estimated to get worse. The World Health Organization estimates that the total deaths caused by diabetes will increase by 50% in the next 10 years. in 2012, the American Diabetes Association discovered that just under 10% of the US population had a form of diabetes.

You may be thinking “Ok Brian, I get it. Sugar is bad, but I cut soda out of my diet years ago. I don’t have ice cream in the house, and I treat myself to one candy bar when Halloween comes around. I’m doing enough to cut sugar out of my diet, right?

Unfortunately, you likely have more sugar in your diet than you think. Adding a little sugar from the packets on the restaurant table is one thing, but many processed foods include sugar as an additive already. You are likely consuming sugar without even knowing it’s in the food you’re eating. Take a look at some of the worst offenders of sugar smuggling that could be in your refrigerator right now:

Ketchup – Generic brands of ketchup are well known for smuggling sugar in the form of high fructose corn syrup. One tablespoon of ketchup can have as much a 3.7 grams of it packed inside, which can equate to about a sugar cubes worth of sweetness.

Peanut Butter – Another offender of the high fructose corn syrup smuggling is your typical name brand peanut butter. In two tablespoons, you will find 3 grams of sugar, or just under one sugar cube.

Beef Jerky – How much can you really jam into a piece of dried meat? Turns out quite a lot more than you might have thought. Once piece of jerky, averaged at just under 1 ounce, can have as much as 1.8 grams of sugar. More if it’s a flavored brand of jerky.

Name Brand Iced Tea – Various brands of Iced Tea try to frame themselves as a healthier alternative to soda or other sugary drinks. But one 24 ounce can of generic Iced Tea can hold as much as 72 grams of sugar! That’s 18 cubes of sugar packed into a single drink.

Name Brand Light Yogurt – Even yogurt, which is labelled as a healthy way to start the day and snack on, contains up to 14 grams of sugar. Non “light” versions of the same yogurt can have even more, up to 27 grams.

Unsweetened Diet Cereal – This one almost makes me laugh. After all, unsweetened diet cereal appears to be one of the blandest things you can include in your diet, right? It looks as simple as baked corn flakes! How can they possibly cram sugar into that? Before you grab the non-frosted corn flakes off the store shelves, be sure to take a look at the nutritional facts. A typical generic brand of dietary cereal will have anywhere between 3 to 4 grams of sugar per cup. Just because it’s not labelled as “frosted” doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

Unfortunately, added sugar is found in almost all packaged foods. I have a difficult time going into a local grocery store and finding foods that haven’t had sugar added for flavor. But there are ways of checking if sugar has been added, and even foods that don’t have any additives. This Thursday, check back in and I’ll tell you what to look for and how to avoid the additive sugars you can live without.

Vegetables – The Neglected Section of the Food Pyramid

Senior Woman Eating Healthy SaladIf your childhood was anything like mine, there were many conversations (always one-sided) about the merits of eating your vegetables. I know I was a carnivore growing up, and anything green was always pushed to the side of the plate.

Of course, as we grow up, we grow out of our picky eating habits and start to eat much healthier than we ever thought we would as kids. But I have noticed that many vegetables still get sidelined when it comes to preparing meals.

Vegetables play a huge part in making sure you’re getting enough nutrition in each meal and we can’t afford to ignore them, especially as we get older and wiser. But it’s one thing to know that vegetables are good for you, and another thing to know why vegetables are good for you. Other than the fact your parents used to say “It’s good for you,” why should you make an extra effort to get some salad for dinner?

Take a look at some of the benefits you get by having a vegetable-rich diet:

Vitamins – Vegetables are a great source of Vitamins A and C, both of which are essential to keeping your body healthy. Vitamin A keeps your eyes and skin healthy, protecting from infection. Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron, and helps cuts and bruises heal. Vitmin A can be found in Carrots, leafy greens, and broccoli, and Vitamin C is found in parsley, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and peppers.

Folic Acid – This paticular type of acid helps your body create red blood cells in your blood stream. Pregnant women are usually encouraged to get their fair share of folic acid, but its importance doesn’t cease once you have had a child. Folic acid also helps liver and kidney functions, prevent colon and cervical cancer, and prevent stroke. Folic Acid can be found in leafy greens, okra, asparagus, mushrooms, and tomato juice.

Antioxidants – While fruits usually get credit for being high in antioxidants, vegetables also contain a lot of the chemical compound. Antioxidants help reduce oxidant stress, disease, cancerous cells, and can even help boost your immune system. Vegetables that are high in antioxidants include eggplant, spinach, onions, leeks, and oregano.

Dietary Fiber – Fiber is the uncredited hero in vegetables! Fiber does everything from helping reduce your risk of heart disease to reducing your cholesterol levels, helping your insides work correctly and even providing a sense of “fullness” so you don’t overeat. High fiber vegetables include artichokes, peas, avocados (technically a fruit, but still worth mentioning) and lima beans.

You might be thinking “I know that vegetables are healthy for me. That’s not news to me. It’s finding new ways to enjoy vegetables that challenges me,” and I understand that. Sometimes, the hardest part is finding new ways to enjoy different foods. That’s why this Thursday, I’m going to have a few recipes high in vegetable content that you can try over the weekend, and find that maybe, just maybe, your parents had the right idea when you were a kid.

The Traits of a Good Personal Trainer, Part I

DSC_1198Most fitness blogs talk about the right nutrition you need to look for in a diet plan. Most will write about the kinds of exercises you need to be focusing on to properly work your biceps, triceps, glutes, core… Any muscle you might want to focus an exercise on.

My own blog features a long list of these subjects. I’ve got write-ups and videos detailing the most important nutritional aspects of any good diet. I’ve got a long list of write-ups and videos detailing various workout routines you can do at home.

But how do you know that what I’m saying is true? Or for that matter, how do you know if any personal trainer is worthwhile? If you’re going to be spending a lot of time making progress with your own personal trainer, you want to make sure he or she knows what they’re talking about, not just blowing hot air.

Not all personal trainers are created equal. True, we all go through rigorous training. We get certifications and credentials. We’re required to endure years of reviews, self appraisals, and tests before we begin training. But even after all this, some bad trainers still manage to slip through the cracks at larger corporate gyms. It only takes one bad apple to spoil the bunch.

So what do you look for in a good trainer? At Boomer Fitness, I put a lot of pride in my team of personal trainers. I know they are some of the best trainers in the area, and I wouldn’t invite them to the gym if I was not 100% sure of that fact. Take a look at some of the things you should look for in a personal trainer, and some of the things we do here at Boomer Fitness:

Assessments – I love recording data. To me, there is nothing more rewarding than seeing quantifiable results when coming to the gym. But more importantly, it is a sign of a good trainer to make assessments of your improvement. This includes the initial measurement, and standard measurements every few weeks to record change.

At Boomer Fitness, we take this measurement process very seriously. The very first thing you do when starting work with a personal trainer is an assessment of your body. This gives us a baseline to judge your improvement every four weeks. During one of our assessments, we measure your range of movement, weight, diet, and even your willingness to make changes to your daily life. If it’s quantifiable, we will record it.

Want a quick telltale whether a personal trainer is measuring you? See if they’re carrying a clipboard with them through the gym. If they’re not, they aren’t measuring nearly as much as a trainer should be.

Planning and Setting Goals – One of the most important aspects of heading to the gym is having a goal for the future. Without a goal, we don’t have a direction to align ourselves toward, or a rudder to steer us. With a goal, we know where we will be in 3 months time. A good trainer knows how important planning is, and will sit down with you in the beginning of your fitness regimen to help you plan your future.

At Boomer Fitness, we always discuss goals as a part of our initial assessment. When we know where you want to be down the road, we begin planning out 4 week milestones to gauge your success factors. No matter how well trained we are or how sophisticated the gym equipment is, we cannot make progress without a game plan.

Integration of Training and Nutrition – Exercise alone does not get you results. You can spend hours each week at the gym, but if you don’t make the change to your diet as well, your time is going to make little to no change on your lifestyle. A good diet will ensure you’re getting the nutrition you need, without excessive sugars or carbs that usually are found in unhealthy diets. Good trainers know the relation between nutrition and fitness, and create dietary plans as well as fitness plans.

Trainers at Boomer Fitness don’t stop their work when you leave the gym. We make sure we outline a dietary plan to accompany your total fitness plan. This way, your fitness plan will be the most effective at helping you reach your goals.

This isn’t even half of the traits found in good trainers. Be sure to check my blog next week for more traits you want to look for when choosing a Personal Trainer, and all the traits you will find at Boomer Fitness. And when you’re ready to make a healthy change with some of the best personal trainers around, contact us for more information!

The Relationship Between the Gym and Your Health

Progress in Action - Road Barricade Improvement and Change for FLast week I wrote about the dangers of not working out. It might have sounded a little harsh, but I meant every word. Too few people know the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle, especially when paired with the unhealthy foods so many of us find on grocery shelves.

With an unhealthy lifestyle comes heart disease, plaque in the arteries, a proneness to diabetes… the list can go on and on. It’s scary to think about what can happen if we choose to do nothing. But like I wrote last Tuesday, I would much rather you hear the truth than hiding behind a set of lies.

Sometimes, we all need a kick in the pants to get started on our long journey. But on the other hand, we always hear about the doom and gloom surrounding an unhealthy lifestyle. What about the positive effects of a mobile lifestyle? And not just the long term effects, either.

Believe it or not, your body starts changing the exact moment you start working out at the gym. Big results take a long time, but that doesn’t mean you’re accomplishing nothing when you start doing lunges for the first time. Take a look at what’s happening to your body when you first start working out:

Metabolism Boost – Minutes after you start working your body, your metabolism is going to get a huge boost in energy. As your body starts to recognize that it’s using more energy than normal, it’s going to start producing neurochemicals responsible for metabolism to compensate for this new motion. This boost can last anywhere between a few hours and a few days. To get the best results, you will have to continue exercise so your body continues to boost.

Improvement in Mood -After a workout, you might notice that you’re having a better day now compared to when you walked in. It’s not just in your head; those same neurochemicals I talked about boosting your metabolism are also responsible for boosting your mood. Working out at the gym will produce these neurochemicals, and you will feel more relaxed, more confident, and have more energy to hit the day.

Regulate Blood Sugar – Blood sugar, or glucose, is used as an energy source throughout our body, but we can’t have too much of it floating around in us. Your body produces insulin to control the amount of glucose found in our blood stream, but having too much glucose can lead to Type II diabetes. So how do we balance it? Exercising goes a long way to combating excessive blood sugar, burning it as you move more. As your body burns more energy, it will compensate less.

Lowering Blood Pressure – You might be thinking “how does making my heart work more cause blood pressure to drop?” As we get older, our blood vessels start to get stiff, causing more pressure throughout our system. While it’s true that your heart might be beating more frequently during your time in the gym, you’re also flexing and moving your blood vessels, which loosens them up and allows blood to move freely. You might not notice a difference in how you feel, but your blood pressure monitor sure will.

These improvements don’t take months to acquire. Your body is designed to move, and doing so means it will react positively! The first day at the gym is always tough, but just showing up and doing something is better than sitting in front of the TV. I like to think that no matter how slow you’re moving, you’re still lapping the version of yourself on the couch!

But don’t think you can get away with minimal time at the gym. While small improvements are a good stepping stone, ramping up your effort at the gym is an important aspect of winning back your health. As we like to say at Boomer Fitness, you only have your health once!

Email me when you’re ready to start getting your body in motion! We will start getting you on track to a healthier tomorrow.

Fitness – Do it for your Health

Bored, overweight man sits on the sofaTo some, fitness might be seen a hobby, or something to pass the time. It might be something a family member does, or even something you’re planning on doing in the future.

Have you ever noticed that the future always seems to be a week away? It’s always something that will get done eventually, when you have more time. When it’s more convenient. But we always seem to find time to catch up on that show we’re watching.

If you know me, you know I don’t like to sugar coat things. To me, the truth is always more important than lies meant to make us feel better, no matter how hard it is to hear.

So let me put it bluntly. Personal fitness is not something you can afford to delay for the future. Personal fitness is the first step of combatting an early death.

I do not say this lightly. The world we live in today is extremely tough for our body. We eat processed foods full of sugar and unnecessary carbohydrates. We lounge on our day off, and pour ourselves an extra drink after working in the yard.

If you’re not getting yourself to the gym, you’re putting yourself in danger many issues surrounding a stagnant lifestyle. Dangers that are much more inconvenient than a trip to the gym, I might add. Most of those who choose not to exercise are at a high risk without even knowing it.  Here are just a few of the big name issues you’re going to be facing:

Prone to Type II Diabetes – The more sugar in your diet, the more insulin your body has to produce. The more insulin your pancreas produces, the harder it works, which can lead to a shut-down and lead to Type II Diabetes. Sugar is found in many processed foods, in places you might least expect. Check out this trailer for Fed Up, a movie which documents how prevalent sugar is in our food.

Higher Risk of Heart Disease – Build-up of body fat means a build-up of plaque in your arteries, which means your heart is going to be working on overtime to get blood to your extremities. This means you’re going to have a higher risk of heart attacks, higher blood pressure, and discomfort with minor exertion.

Higher Risk of Stroke – Your heart isn’t the only victim of plaque in the arteries. Blood clots can form, which means your going to be at a much higher risk of stroke.

Sleep Apnea – When your body becomes overweight, you will begin to struggle for breath as you sleep. To breath properly as you sleep, doctors will sometimes prescribe a mask to wear at night which assists in breathing.

Prone to Gallstones – Your body is working at full capacity just to keep you functioning while you’re overweight. This means some parts of your body, like your gall bladder, are going to be working on overtime. Gallstones are made of cholesterol, and can cause some severe stomach and back pain.

There’s no way to pretend these issues don’t take their toll on your body. But it’s never hopeless. Even if you already have some of these issues, it is never too late to start making progress. At Boomer Fitness, we’re dedicated to making sure you have the knowledge and foresight to turn your life around and start making the healthy choices.

Give me a call when you’re ready to make the change, and we’ll set you up with a tour of the gym!

Facebook FAQ Part III – Continuing with Mobility Work

Picking up where we left off from the last two blog posts, we will look more at mobility workouts. Many people are unclear about what mobility work is and why it’s important. Whether you are a personal training client of mine in the Vancouver, Washington area, or you follow me on Facebook, there are benefits to mobility workouts that everyone needs. It is especially important for seniors and baby boomers to make mobility work part of their weekly routine.

Mobility, by definition, is the ability to move. As they age, many people complain to me that it seems more difficult for them to move. They don’t have the mobility they once had. Well, that’s because they are no longer doing the things they once did. As many people age they become more sedentary. When that happens, they will begin to lose their mobility. Doing mobility work each week is not only going to keep you more mobile, but it’s going to make it easier. The best way to have mobility that is free and easy is to do the work to help your body get there and stay there. It doesn’t matter how old you are, either, because mobility is something you can work on and achieve at any age.

When it comes to mobility work, follow this workout plan:

Monday – Mobility/Workout 1

Tuesday – Mobility/Cardio

Wednesday – Mobility/Workout 2

Thursday – Mobility/Cardio of choice

Friday – Mobility/Workout 3/Cardio of choice

Saturday – Cardio of choice

Again, when we are discussing cardio as we have in prior posts, it is important for you to do activities that will get your heart going. This can include walking, jogging, biking, hiking, row machines, or any other activities that will get your heart rate up more. Here are some specific mobility work examples:

1)    Piriformis stretch

2)    Glute stretch

3)    Spiderman stretch

4)    RDL

5)    DB Row

6)    Step-up

7)    Push-ups

8)    Lateral lunge

9)    Leg Raise

10) Bird dog

11)Side plank

You will want to do all of your mobility work in 2-4 sets, with 8-10 reps, or if you are doing  static hold go for 20-40 seconds. Be sure to add in the day one mobility work, as well as the day two mobility work. For the resistance training, you will want to do:

1 round week one 15-20 reps

2 rounds week two and three 15-20 reps

3 rounds week four and five 15-20 reps

During week 6-8 do three rounds, bringing the rep range down to 10-15 reps. Also, focus on bringing up the intensity. You can do that by increasing the weight you are using, but always keep form in mind, as it is priority. If you can’t control the weight or maintain form, then do not increase the weight.

Following this three part series will help keep your mobility in a range that will have you feeling great and doing things with ease. It’s never too late to get started with mobility work, so make it part of your workout plan today!

IF YOU MISSED PART 2 CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

TO GET YOUR COMPLETE BOOMER FITNESS PROGRAM CLICK HERE

Holiday Weight Gain is Bull Shit – and Totally Unacceptable!

Yes, I said it. And I’m going to challenge you on it. You know what I mean. The very idea that just because it is the holiday season you have to succumb to the idea that you will gain anywhere form 4-10 pounds. That’s what is reported as being average during this time of year, right? Well I say enough is enough. That’s not acceptable. Let me explain why!

Just a few pounds you say, so it’s nothing to worry about? Not so fast! Some people may gain 4-5 pounds, but others may gain more like 8-10 pounds or even more. Just depends on how much you are willing to abandon your healthy lifestyle goals and eat to the point where you just put your health on the backburner. I say right now, on this holiday season, that this weight gain madness comes to a screeching halt. Here are some reasons why:

  • If you are like most people you will never lose whatever amount of weight is that you gain this holiday season. Rather, you will keep compounding it year after year. Right now you are still probably batting some pounds you gained from a holiday binge three years ago!
  • Most people tend to rationalize that they will go on a new diet and fitness plan at the first of the year. They figure they will lose whatever weight they are gaining at that time. Nonsense! The majority of people who start New Year’s fitness routines drop out just weeks later, walking away with that extra weight gain still on them.
  • The extra weight you gain during the holidays will put more stress on any health conditions you already have. This includes things like diabetes, high blood pressure, and other conditions. There is a 5 percent increase in the number of heart attacks experienced by people during the holiday season, and more fatal heart attacks on Christmas and the day after Christmas. Your body doesn’t need the added stress of holiday weight gain.
  • People tend to never lose the additional weight, so they create an “identity” and just use it as an excuse. They may chalk it up to getting older, start cutting back on how active they are, and will lose additional health as the years ago by, due to their inactivity.
  • You are a leader and it is important for you to be aware of the message and example you are setting for others in your life. Maintain your health through the holidays and others will often follow suit.

Deep-fried turkey fire balls, flammable Christmas trees, toy hazards, seasonal car accidents, and decorating disasters (think Chevy Chase movies here), provide enough stress and danger in your life at the holidays. No reason to add to that with additional weight gain!

As a personal trainer I work with people from all around the Vancouver, Washington area. When I explain my thoughts on holiday weight gain they say my initials (BS) stand for more than just Brian Stecker. They say they want to enjoy their holiday and don’t want their spirit ruined. They may even call me Brian “Scrooge” Stecker. I know this may be an intense idea, but I am going to provide you with a series of actionable strategies you can use over the next 6 weeks to safely get you through the holidays, help you avoid the holiday weight gain, and keep you healthy and fit.  My advice comes from 10 years of training and includes solutions that will keep you fit, and enjoying the holidays!

 

Video Ask Brian; Greek or Plain Yogurt?

Being a personal trainer who specializes in baby boomers and the creator of the popular comprehensive home video system that leads them to fitness success, I get a lot of questions sent my way. Whether they come through email, in person, or as comments on my blog, I try to take the time to answer every one of them. In this video blog segment, I am going to answer some of the most recent questions I have gotten, because I figure there are more of you out there that would also like to know the answers.

Lisa – Troy, Michigan

What is the best way to reach my fitness goals without giving up after a week or so?

This is a common complaint for those trying to lose weight or reach fitness goals. They start out on a Monday, and it seems like they are ready to start out again the next Monday, and maybe even the Monday thereafter. Somewhere along the way, they give up and stop trying to reach their goals. The best way to reach your goals is to set them first. Write the goals down and review them regularly. Then, every day do something toward helping you reach your goals. Remind yourself of why you want to reach them. If you do slack or do something that wasn’t good for reaching your goals, quickly get back on track.

Bart – Las Vegas, Nevada

Help! I love to snack. I know it’s not good for me, but I still like it. What can I do so that I don’t blow my diet?

Who doesn’t like to snack? Most of us love to have a snack or two throughout the day. There’s nothing wrong with having a snack. The problem is what your snack consists of. If you are making healthy snacking choices, then you have nothing to worry about. But if you consistently make unhealthy snacking choices, you will end up sabotaging your efforts and maybe even end up gaining weight. Start out by limiting the number of snacks you have per day. It’s important to stock your home with healthy snack options so that you can reach for those every time. Try such things as apple slices with natural peanut butter, a rice cake topped with natural peanut butter, a green smoothie, a handful of nuts, or hummus with a handful of pita chips. These are tasty snacks that won’t end up making you feel guilty later.

Alaina – Hollywood, Florida

Being a senior citizen, I see all my friends want to take a seat and not exercise. I want to keep moving. They tell me I am doing too much at my age. Help, what should I believe?

First of all, congratulations for being active! No matter what age you are, it’s always a good thing to remain active. You should exercise regularly, whether you are a senior citizen or teenager. As a senior citizen, it’s ideal that you get a minimum of 30 minutes of cardio on most days of the week, plus you should add in a couple of days of weight bearing exercise to help keep your muscles in shape.

Delores – Lima, Ohio

I am finding that the older I get, the more off-balance I feel. It makes me shy away from exercise, although I know that’s not a healthy thing for me. Can you tell me how I can improve my balance so that I feel more confident engaging in exercise activities?

You are not alone. Balance issues are a common complaint with many of the baby boomers that I provide personal training services to. It’s believed that 9-10 percent of senior citizens suffer from some sort of balance issue. The good news is that whether there is a problem now or not, you can work on improving your balance. Try taking a weekly Tai Chi class, which is a mild form of martial art. It’s an ancient activity that is great for improving balance. Other good options for improving balance include yoga, one-legged standing positions, and Pilates.

Fred – Madison, Wisconsin

I am about to begin an exercise program. However, I suffer from arthritis, and I’m afraid the joint pain may prevent me from sticking with the routine. Do you have any tips for helping to protect my joints when it comes to working out?

As a personal trainer who works with senior citizens and baby boomers, I can tell you that this is a common concern that people have. The problem is that most people think that they should not exercise because the pain is present, when ideally it is the other way around. Those with joint pain or arthritis will actually benefit from maintaining an exercise program. To help protect your body, avoid over-working your muscles, apply heat for about 20 minutes before exercising, always spend 10 minutes warming up, and use slow, yet steady movements. If you have extreme pain, you should stop immediately.

Larry – Lancaster, California

I hear a lot of talk about the importance of knowing your heart rate when working out and in reaching your target heart rate. But I’m not sure what it is or how to figure it out. Can you help?

Yes! Knowing your target heart rate, and then staying with it, can help you get the most out of your workout. You can use this calculator provided by the American Cancer Society to find out your rate, as well as how to take it during and after you are finished working out.

Carol – Austin, Texas

Is there a way I can get fit without leaving my home?

 Yes! Check out my comprehensive  Boomer Fitness DVD program. It will do just that!