January Fitness Fail – The Truth About the Gung Ho Approach to Fitness

By far January has to be the busiest time of year at the health clubs across the nation. Everyone wants to start out the New Year with resolutions to get fit, lose weight, and live a healthy lifestyle. That’s great, it really is! But what happens is that people usually take what I like to call a “gung ho” approach to fitness, and that isn’t exactly the best route to take!

The gung ho approach is when you have someone who has not had exercise be a part of their life and then overnight they dedicate an hour each day to it. Sounds like it might be a great thing, but in actuality, it tends to backfire. As a personal trainer I’m the gym a lot and see this happen. People start out all gung ho, working out like crazy.

Heck, you can’t even get a treadmill at the gym half the time in January because it’s so busy! Usually there’s not a free weight in site during this month either. Everyone is working out frantically, pushing their limits and hitting the gym. Fast forward to about the third week of January, and it seems like everything in the gym is available! What happened to everyone?

What happens, year after year, is that most people start out with the best of intentions and then tend to falter as time goes on. They give up, they decide it was too hard, too time consuming, or too something else. There are as many reasons for why they quit within the first few weeks as there are people who sign up to begin the gym membership each January.

The gung ho approach is all about being overly excited in getting started in fitness. While I want you to be excited about working toward fitness, I don’t want you to go gung ho on your approach. It fails, and with it, so will your goals for fitness. Instead, you need to have a plan that will be long lasting. Change little things at a time, such as the way you eat, and start working out by easing your way into it. Not everyone is at the same fitness level, or has the same goals, so not everyone can start out doing the same thing.

The best way to assess this, and get off to the right start, is to work with a personal trainer. A personal trainer will evaluate your current level of fitness, determine reasonable goals, and develop a plan to help you get there.

When you take a more reasonable approach to fitness, you are more likely to still be in the gym come February. And once you reach those goals, you need to find new ways to challenge yourself in order to remain interested and motivated. That’s another area that a personal trainer can work with you. So forget going gung ho and throwing yourself into the gym full force. Instead, have a plan that will be effective and you will be successful at!

 

 

Heart Health – Loving Yourself this February

February is known as American Heart Month. It’s a good time to raise awareness about heart issues, such as heart disease and heart attacks. Because it is such an important issue that effects so many people, it is crucial to take steps to protect your heart. The statistics surrounding heart disease are astounding to stay the least. For example, in the time it takes you to read this blog post, there will probably be four people who have a coronary event and two people who die from one.

That’s right, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every 25 seconds someone in America has a coronary event, and every minute someone dies from one. In 2011 alone, there were 785,000 people in America who had a coronary heart attack. It is the leading cause of death in the country, for both men and women. The more you know about it, and what you can do to protect your heart, the better!

Heart disease is largely a problem of lifestyle. Sure, there can be a few hereditary and other factors thrown into the mix, but for the majority of people it simply comes down to the way we live our lives and the choices we make. Here are some things you can do to love your heart and protect it, so that it helps to protect you:

Get tested. Get a cholesterol test done to see what’s going on with your arteries. It will give you information about if your arteries are clean and clear or have a build up that can be of concern. Cut back, or avoid, those foods that will raise your cholesterol, such as meat and dairy products.

Eat healthy. While you may be able to get away with having some treats here and there, it is important that the majority of time you are reaching for healthy foods. This includes whole grains, lean sources of protein, and plenty of fruits and veggies. Also be sure to watch your sodium intake and keep alcohol to a minimum.

Get active. Even baby boomers today are joining gyms, working with personal trainers such as myself, and getting fit. Doing exercise and keeping physically active is a great way to help keep your heart healthy. Aim to get a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise each day of the week.

Avoid smoking. If you smoke, find a successful method for quitting. If you don’t, try to limit your exposure to secondhand smoke, which the CDC reports can trigger a heart attack.

When it comes to taking care of your body, you have to have heart. And getting a healthier heart, no matter what age you are now, is within reach. Don’t become a one of the statistics of people who have a heart attack. Instead, focus on what you can do to protect your heart, and start making steps every day toward achieving those goals!

 

 

5K Season is coming

5K season is coming.

I know as soon as it starts to get close to 5K season, I have notice a lot more people running outside.

It is great to see people outside and having fun but I know, well over half of them will have to stop running because of some nagging injury.

If you do not want to be the half that is injured, let me show you 3 ways to do that.

 

 

Step #1 – Start Off Slow

I know, we all know this but most of us do not follow this, but our bodies need to.

When we start running, we feel good and we think of how fast we were able to run before and we want to get back to that level right away but we need to prepare out bodies for it.

If you head out and start running at the level that you were running before, you will get injured.  Start off a notch or two slower then last year and give your body 2 to 4 weeks to build up to last year, then you can pick it up the pace.

Step #2 – It Might Be 5 K season but Your Joints Aren’t warmed up to it the idea yet

It might be 5K season but it takes a few minutes for your joints to warm up.  If you do not wait for them to warm up, you can increase your risk of injury.

At the start of your run, give your ankle, knees, and hips about 5 to 10 minutes to warm up.  You do this by running a little slower than you usually do.

This will loosen up the joints and warm up the muscles leading to a better run and less likely to get injured.

Step #3 – Little Stretch Afterwards

The debate on when to stretch has been decided, stretch after your run.

If you stretch before, it will affect how well run.

If you stretch afterwards, it will help you recover for your run and get your body ready for the next days run.

The Last Word on Running Injury Free

Now get out there and run but remember the three little tips that I gave you.

Running is such a great thing to do but being injured is not.

Remember to start off slow, warm up your joints and stretch after your run.  I know if you do these 3 things, it will keep you running all 5K season.

About the Author

Rick Kaselj is a personal trainer in Vancouver, Canada that specializes in designing exercise programs for clients recovering from injuries.  Rick has trained thousands of clients and completed his Master’s of Science degree focusing on injury recovery and exercise.  Rick shares with other fitness professionals and exercise enthusiasts, the exercises he uses to prevent knee injuries and overcome knee injuries in the Knee Injury Solution program.

For more great injury free info click here 

Evening Eating Holding You Back? Regain Control!

As a personal trainer who specializes in working with baby boomers, I can tell you that there is a common story that I hear among my clients. Many of them report to me that they do perfectly with their fitness routine and following a healthy diet all day long, and then it all falls apart in the evening. Sometimes they are reaching for quick bites of food to hold them over until dinner is done, while others come home stressed out and ready to reach for whatever they can get their hands on. Whether you are an emotional eater or running short on time, there are ways you can re-gain control over your evenings!

Even if someone does limit their emotional eating or “bad” eating to the evening, it may not seem like a lot of time, but it can still wreak havoc on ones health and wellness goals. Grabbing the wrong snacks, for example, can end up serving up more calories than you expected and help you to pack on the pounds.

Here are the top five reasons that I find people tend to ruin it in the evenings, and what you can do about it:

Stress. Many people are emotional eaters when they feel stressed out. Rather than take the day’s stress and reach for food as a soother, find something else to do to relieve that stress. Try addressing the stress issue with journaling, taking a weekly Tai Chi class, or just taking a 15 minute mental break to sip some green tea and clear your mind.

Tiredness. When you are tired you are more likely to reach for snacks that you feel will give you some pep. But those foods are often loaded with calories. Instead, be sure to get plenty of sleep at night, take a short 20 minute power nap during the day (if possible), and eat a healthy diet. If you are eating a healthy diet, you are likely to feel more energized all day long.

Hungry. If you find yourself ravished in the evening, you are more likely to reach for just about anything you can get your hands on. Eating healthy balanced meals and snacks throughout the day can help keep you from becoming overly hungry.

Being unprepared. When you don’t know what you will be doing for dinner, or lack the ingredients on hand to prepare anything healthy, you will probably forgo the diet and eat anything. You can avoid this by always having your dinner planned out and making sure you have all the ingredients on hand to make the meal.

Lacking time. Feeling rushed and that you don’t have the time to prepare a healthy meal can make people just start grabbing for anything. If you feel you will lack time in the evening, prepare your dinner earlier in the day, or make it on the weekend and put it in the refrigerator or freezer for during the week.

It is also important to make sure you reach for healthy snacks during the day, which will help you avoid a lot of the issues mentioned above. Stick with eating things like carrots and hummus, natural peanut butter and apple, low fat yogurt, almonds, or a healthy nutrition bar. Just be sure to watch your snack portion sizes, keeping it to no more than around 100 calories. By following these tips you can turn your ruined evenings into fabulously fit ones!

How to Shop at the Grocery Store

Assuming you can’t get to a farmer’s market year-round, it is important to know the healthiest way to shop at the grocery store, as well as what should be in your shopping cart by the time you check out. It’s a skill that many of us have either forgotten or don’t pay much attention to. But living a healthy lifestyle depends upon making sure that what you baby boomers have in your shopping cart is foods that will work for your body, not against it!

When you go shopping, you want to come home with whole foods that are not processed. Processed foods usually contain too much salt, fat, and unnatural ingredients. Whole foods are those that nature has provided for us to eat, and they are in their natural state. When you go to the grocery store, try to stick to shopping the perimeter of the store, where you will find the dairy, meat, and produce departments.

Now that’s not say you have no need to go in the middle aisles because there are some good things, such as dry beans, whole wheat pasta, nuts, and high fiber cereal, mixed in with all the processed foods. But try to get most of your groceries from the perimeter of the store, only stopping down specific inside aisles to grab a few things.

Here’s some of the top healthy foods that all baby boomers should be shopping for:

Proteins. Making sure you have good sources of protein is essential. Opt for things like wild salmon, fish, beans, lentils, tofu, low fat yogurt, quinoa, and nuts.

Carbohydrates. Many people think carbs should be out, but that’s not the case. You want to make sure to reach for healthy whole grain sources of carbohydrates, such as oatmeal, quinoa, whole wheat bread, brown rice, and high fiber cereal.

Fats. There are good fats and bad ones. Stick to the good sources of fat, such as olive oil, nuts, and avocadoes.

Others. Other healthy ingredients that you should have in your basket include green tea, turmeric, and lots of fruits and veggies. Green vegetables especially, such as spinach, kale, and broccoli, pack a powerful nutritional punch that your body needs.

Keep in mind that each of these foods above provides your body with something it needs, as well as helping to keep you healthy. Some help people avoid cancer, while others fight inflammation. When you fill your grocery basket with these healthy foods, you will be well on your way to maintaining a healthy body. Now you just need to focus on preparation, and if you are bored of the same old dishes, try doing an online search for some recipes, or check out a cookbook at your local library!

 

The Benefits of TRX and the Baby Boomer

As a baby boomer you may like the convenience of having an exercise system you can take with you. One that will allow you the opportunity to work your muscles, boost your metabolism, and that is easy to use. Well, that’s where the TRX Suspension Trainer comes in handy!

The TRX Suspension Trainer is a good pick for those baby boomers who want a convenient, easy to use, muscle-building piece of equipment that can be taken anywhere. If you are familiar with resistance bands, you will have an idea of what the system is like. You can do some of the same exercises on it as you can resistance bands.

At around $200, the TRX Suspension Trainer comes with a host of benefits, including:

It is lightweight, making it easy to carry around. You can take it with you when you travel, so you always have an effective way to get your workout in. It can easily be stored as well.

Using it is simple. All you need is a closed door to hook it to. The video it comes with shows you different exercises you can do. Once you get used to them, you can take it anywhere and do them on your own.

This system is also good for helping to improve balance and flexibility. Many baby boomers struggle with balance issues, so doing exercises that help to improve it is recommended.

The TRX Suspension Trainer will give you a good, and effective, workout. It will work all the muscles in your body, helping to build muscle, as well as boost your metabolism. It provides a total body workout, yet it’s a small portable system.

It can be used for any fitness level. So although some avid athletes may use it in a class at the gym, it is also a solid pick for baby boomer’s looking for an effective exercise system at home or for traveling.

If you are like most baby boomers, you could benefit from a convenient exercise system that can easily be stored, as well as used for traveling. Some gyms also offer it as group exercise classes, where you can get the chance to try it before you buy it. The TRX provides this and more, making it worth considering. It will give you the chance to do hundreds of different exercises, working everything from your abs and glutes to your hips and thighs.

 

Top Fitness Tips Learned in 2011 (and How to Make it a Great 2012)

One of the many benefits of being a personal trainer is that I get a chance to keep up on learning lots of fitness tips, news, and information throughout the year. One of the benefits of keeping a blog is that I get a chance to share that information with all my readers, both baby boomers and beyond. Throughout 2011, there were several key fitness tips that I picked up that I think can help you make 2012 the best year ever!

Here are the top fitness tips I learned throughout 2011:

Taking a break can be a good thing. It can help you to get re-focused, so that you come back fresh and ready to get down to business. Taking a vacation or small trip, for example, will help you reflect and remember that you are not a human “doing,” but rather you are a human “being.”

Getting a tune-up can be a really great thing. By a tune-up I mean a massage, acupuncture, or some other type of activity that helps you feel great. After all, we take our cars in for a tune-up, so why not take in ourselves? It will help with recovery, mind clarity, and overall wellness.

Making health and fitness a lifestyle is crucial to long term success. One effective way you can make your fitness goals a long term lifestyle is to work with a personal trainer. The support, guidance, and accountability is extremely important and effective.

Trying something new can be a great way to clear the mind and help you feel good. For example, this past year I went to the symphony for the first time. I found that I enjoyed it! It’s important to try new things and remember that variety is the spice of life.

It is important to find things you love to do and then do them during the week. This will help you to take care of yourself and your passions, so you can give more of yourself to others.

Just because someone takes a step backward doesn’t mean they have failed. Two steps forward, one step back, means you still took a step forward! Don’t get caught up in what you are not getting. Instead, focus on the fact that you trained four days, for example, rather than focusing on the fact that you are not at your goal yet.

You can’t out-work bad nutrition. If you consistently eat poorly, it will catch up with you. It is essential to eat a healthy, balanced diet to have overall wellness.

Whether you are a baby boomer or not, or you are seeking weight loss, or just want to adopt a healthy fitness lifestyle, you can increase your chances of success in 2012 by keeping these points in mind. This year, success can be all yours!

Gym packed? Don’t give up!

 

 

 

 

 

Sure, the first of the year hit, and if you are someone who works out regularly, you will doubt have noticed a difference at the gym. Yes, that’s right. There will be a change in what’s going on at the gym! Each January at the gym you can tell what time of the year it is without ever looking at the calendar. There’s a reason for it, but don’t let it get you down. The more you know about why it happens and what you can do about it, the more successful your fitness schedule will be.

In the first day or two following New Year’s I arrived at the gym to find a crowd. In fact, I couldn’t even find a place to park. I spent some time circling the parking lot to find a spot, asking myself how this can be so? Being a personal trainer I know the answer to this question, and I know how to compensate for it. But others don’t, and that worries me!

Think about what happens each January. You guessed it. People set resolutions for the New Year, and millions of them include goals to become healthier. While they are great goals for sure, they can really pose a problem at the gym. As each New Year starts, the gyms around the country become filled with all the people who have decided to make fitness one of their new goals. Problem is, they arrive at the gym with all those who have already been there all along. This can make for some really cramped conditions and makes it harder to get on the machines you want.

In fact, once I got into the gym, I had to wait for a treadmill to open up. The next day I couldn’t get my circuit training. It’s enough to make people want to throw their hands in the air and turn around and head for the door. But before you do that, know that there are some solutions to this busy gym problem.

Here are a few things you can do to combat the busy gym problem:

Pick an area to workout in that you will be able to do similar exercises. Maybe you won’t be able to find the exact machines, but if you are a little flexible, you can still work the same muscles.

Do some superset exercises, which are great for burning fat and working through plateaus. With superset exercise you do two different things, one right after the other, but you don’t stop to rest in between. For example, do a cardio exercise, then go immediately into a strength training exercise. Superset exercise save time, but are highly effective.

Rather than focus on cardio, where all the people are lined up waiting for machines, do body weight training routines.

Another important part of the equation in beating the first of the year rush is to work with a personal trainer. A personal trainer will keep you baby boomers focused on what you need to do, how you can get it done (even when the gym is busy), and best of all, you won’t quit your routine at Valentine’s Day because you are not seeing the results!

Chris Elias: I am an Active Boomer

Famous author Mark Twain once said, “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” When it comes to being a baby boomer and being physically active and fit, Twain couldn’t have put it a better way! Age really is just what you make of it. Reaching a particular number in years does not mean it is time to slow down, unless that’s what you have made up your mind to do!

Take Chris Elias, a baby boomer client of mine. Chris is one baby boomer who has not let age slow her down, even following knee surgery, or get in her way at all. She embraces where she is in her life and makes being physically fit a priority.

Here are some of the tools that have helped Chris to stay fit:

Start slow. Chris, like many other baby boomers who want to get active and start working out, was afraid she would get hurt, especially because she had undergone back surgery. This is why starting slowly is always a good idea. It will help you reduce the risks of injury and will help you progress in a healthy way.

Get a trainer. Chris sought out a trainer so that I could help her evaluate where she was at with his fitness level, where she wanted to go, and develop a plan that would help her safely get there. A good trainer will make sure you progress safely, yet still challenge yourself.

Track food. There is a lot of research that proves that there are benefits to keeping a food log. Get an inexpensive notepad, or create a file on your computer, and keep track of what you eat, when you eat it, and any emotional state you may be in at the time. For example, realizing you reach for chocolate when you feel stress will help you identify your trigger foods, and then you can seek out healthier alternatives.

Read stories. Seek out stories about other healthy baby boomers. Chris made a point of wanting to read about the stories filled with a positive, healthy outlook. It will inspire and motivate you.

Surprise yourself. Chris never thought she could do push-ups. Now she does push-ups routinely and even outdoes some family members. Today she can even run. When you challenge yourself, you never know what you may find you are capable of doing.

Stay focused. Keep in mind all the benefits of how being fit makes life better. You will feel better, have more energy, and be able to enjoy activities more.

Treat yourself. Don’t give up everything you love. Keep it in check. Chris loves a glass of wine and chocolate, and she makes having it a treat.

Get a tune-up. Getting a massage is a great way to reduce stress and increase mobility.

Find support. Find an environment of other baby boomers who are also seeking fitness. Surround yourself with such a positive environment, such as BoomerFitness, positive people, support, gym etc.

Not only did Chris surprise herself as a boomer on the road to fitness, but she exceeded

Falling Off the Diet Wagon and Why It’s Good

 One of my clients came into the gym recently and he didn’t have the normal vigor that he usually had. I noticed it right away and asked him what was going on. “I fell off the band wagon,” he replied, assuming that he had done something terrible and possibly created a major setback in his quest for fitness. I explained to him that it is just not the case and falling off the diet wagon once in a while can actually be a good thing!

My client, in falling off the wagon, screwed up on the diet end of things. Keep in mind that he stilled showed up at the gym for his workout, so he didn’t fall off there as well. It was just with the food. He got busy, didn’t have the right foods on hand in the house, and when he went to the pantry, he noshed on what he found handy. He ate chocolate, chips, and candy. The type of things that he would normally try to avoid, but since he had no variety on hand, he got desperate and bored and he ate. He even took in some empty calories with some soft drinks.

The thing is, it was only for one day. Falling off the wagon for one day is not a bad thing. Now if you let one day go into two, into a week, and so on, then that is a whole other story. But one day of eating the unhealthy foods isn’t going to do you in. And, it may just turn out to be a good thing for you to do once in a while. Let me explain…

Many people feel restricted when they try to eat a healthy diet or watch their caloric intake. They may feel like they are turning down and passing up on many of the foods they used to enjoy, like cookies or chips, so their want for those foods continues to grow and so too does their feelings of being restricted. But if one day a week or every couple of weeks you let yourself fall off the wagon and eat those things you would normally turn down, you will be satisfying that craving, both mentally and physically.

If you know that you can still have those foods, only you get to have them once a week or once a month then you will most likely feel better about sticking to a more nutritious diet the rest of the time. You know you will still get to taste that cookie or cake again in the near future. Often times, once you do fall off the wagon and have that day of indulgence, you find that it doesn’t taste nearly as good as you thought it would or that you remember it tasting.

There is also a good chance that by falling off the wagon once in a while, you may end up no longer feeling the need to fall of the wagon. Once you have done it a few times, you will realize that you aren’t really missing that much at all, and you may, in time, skip doing it by choice. So the next time you fall off the wagon, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, get yourself right back to the gym the next day and get back on the wagon!