The Most Important Exercise You Must Do – Examine Your Identity

There is famous quote by Buddha that says, “The mind is everything. What we think, we become.” As it relates to fitness, how you see yourself, whether weak, fat, tired, or physically fit, is what reality becomes. Therefore, you need to make sure that your self perception is really the one you want to come true!

 

The importance of examining our own identity is something that I learned about from my mentor, Steve Linder. What we say with emotion becomes our reality. This is why it is so important to stop looking at yourself and cutting your body down.

That how we define ourselves determines the choices we take makes it even that much more important that we have a good self identity. If we think of ourselves as weak, we will avoid lifting weights. If we see ourselves as tired, we won’t push ourselves to get more out of a workout. One of the problems here is that we end up limiting ourselves, which keeps us from actually achieving the results that we want.

Let me give you a couple examples of clients I have worked with and how their thoughts on their identity impacted their ability to reach goals. I have a female client that came to me after having back surgery and couldn’t find a way to get fit. She would get hurt or simply wouldn’t know what to do. Soon she became overwhelmed and gave up, which led to a significant weight gain, as well as a loss of confidence in what she would be able to do.

Together we took the time to create a custom plan for her that included setting smart goals. These goals included daily, weekly, and monthly milestones. It also included exercise, nutrition, and supplements. She progressed over the course of a year, and she lost 50 pounds! Over the next year, she began running half marathons and even triathlons. She is now living her true self – the one she wanted to be, which is an athlete.

Another client of mine, a young business women, would get close to her goals, and then when she had to travel, would end up gaining it all back and getting off track. Despite her beset efforts, she defined her identity as being someone that can’t loss weight while traveling, and therefore took a zero action approach.

By realizing who you are currently isn’t who you really are, is a success. Because like the marathon boomer, she ended up becoming her true self. So if a 50-plus back surgery client can change how she defines herself and take daily action and become her best self, why not you?

By achieving your true self, you begin to live the life you were meant. You become a better grandparent, a better traveler, or what ever you see you are. Don’t you deserve to be your best? Now you have to put the work in and commit to the action like the marathon boomer, because there is no quick fix.

So here is your assignment – If you could be your very best you in sustained health and vitality, who would you be? What would you do? Then how would your life be better?
Now that you have defined yourself, take that action and re-enforce yourself with positive feelings.
You can make it in those lines.

CLICK HERE TO START REDEFINING WHO YOU ARE……

Going After the Enemy – The Silent Killer, Part II

In my last post I shared information with you about the silent killer, otherwise known as hypertension. If you are familiar with the term high blood pressure, then you know exactly what hypertension is. It’s known as a silent killer, and one that we can take on and win!

As a personal trainer, I am going to share with you what I tell clients. There are few things that a good exercise routine can not make better. Hypertension, believe it or not, is one of those things. Keeping a regular exercise routine can help you improve your blood pressure numbers, which will help you be healthier and help avoid being another hypertension statistic.

So here’s a few pointers to keep in mind when it comes to exercising and blood pressure:

First off, it’s important to remember that you cannot exercise if you forget to take your medication. It’s essential that you remember your medication, if you are taking a prescribed one for high blood pressure.

Checking your blood pressure to get your reading is essential. Ideally you should be doing it before, during and after exercise.

If you are exercising and see that your systolic number goes above 250 or the diastolic goes above 110, stop exercising immediately.

Keep in mind that if you take blood pressure medication it is going to have an impact on your heart rate, due to the beta blockers. They slow your heart rate, which means you may not be able to reach your target heart rate, despite your best efforts.

You should also avoid exercises like isometric decline positions and putting your arms higher than your head.

As for the amount of exercise you should be doing, stick to doing cardio exercise 3-7 days per week and aim to burn around 2,000 calories. Try to stick to an intensity level of 40-70 percent VO2 maximum. When you are biking, walking, or hiking, you have a variety of cardio options to choose from. Also, be sure to include circuit training, as well as flexibility training three days per week. Try engaging in Tai Chi, which will be quite helpful.

Knowing is half the battle, right? And now you know! I know you are a baby boomer, but it’s never too late to take action, especially when it comes to making yourself healthier. I work with clients on a regular basis who are senior citizens and are ready to get their health under control. It’s never too late! You can win the war on this silent killer. It’s a matter of making lifestyle changes and sticking with them!

 ARE YOU READY TO TAKE YOUR FITNESS TO THE NEXT LEVEL?  CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE.

Taking on the Enemy – The Silent Killer

When you read about the silent killer, you may not even be aware of what I’m referring to. Many people are not, which is why it is considered a silent killer. It is one that can easily creep up on people, and when it does, well, it completely ruins their life. In order to take on this silent killer, it is important to know what your blood pressure numbers are, because the name of it is hypertension.

Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure, which is how hard or forceful your blood is pumping through your body. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are nearly 26,000 people who die each year from hypertension. In order to take on this enemy, it is important to first know what your blood pressure numbers are. You can get these from your doctor, or you can even take your blood pressure at one of those free self-use machines set up in stores and pharmacies.

When you get your blood pressure reading, it will be in two numbers, such as 120/80. You can have one or both of these numbers be too high, contributing to the hypertension. Here’s what the numbers mean:

120/80 or lower – this is normal

Above 120/80, but below 140/90 – this is pre-hypertension

140/90 or above – this is hypertension, or high blood pressure

The factors that contribute to your blood pressure include obesity, being African American, stress, drinking too much alcohol, consuming too much salt, diabetes, smoking, and a genetic predisposition. If you have high blood pressure there is hope. You have the ability, most of the time, to combat it through lifestyle changes.

Here’s what you need to do in order to address the hypertension and see improvement in your numbers:

Improve your diet by reducing fat, eating more fruits and veggies, eating more fiber, and opting for lean sources of protein. You will want to reduce the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in your diet. Also, watch the amount of salt that you consume, keeping it under 1,500 mg per day. Be especially careful when eating out or consuming pre-packaged foods, as they are both typically high in sodium.

Engage in at least 30 minutes of cardio exercise per day, such as walking, dancing, or biking.

Find ways to manage stress, such as doing yoga, Tai Chi, or journaling.

Lose weight, as even a couple of pounds can make a difference in blood pressure.

Watch the amount of alcohol that you consume. Not only is it bad for hypertension, but it also contributes a lot of unnecessary calories.

Coming up next, I will go over how you can use exercise to take on this silent killer. When it comes to blood pressure, baby boomer or not, you can fight back, and win!

WANT TO LOOK AND FEEL LIKE YOUR 30’S??!! LEARN HOW ……

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!

 

Hitting the Road: Part III – Staying Healthy On the Road

In the first part of this series I offered baby boomers advice on preparing for travel. In the second part of this travel series I offered advice on how to be healthy while on the road. In this third part of the series I want to offer advice to help you stay healthy during your vacation. Yes, you really can stay healthy while on vacation!

So let’s assume that you have reached your travel destination. Whether are staying at a hotel, a friend’s house, or you are on a cruise ship, there are easy ways to get in a workout and stay fit. Before arriving to your destination you should have done some research in order to find out where the local workout facilities and trails were. Now it’s time to put it into action.

What you want to do is make sure you maintain as much of your routine as possible. If you are used to working out once per day, make sure you continue that. Even if it means getting in 30 minutes or so of good cardio in the hotel swimming pool or on their treadmill, you need to stay working out. If you are staying at a place that does not have such facilities, find a local gym. Most will allow you to pay for a temporary guest pass so that you can get workouts in.

You are traveling, so you will want to also visit new places, and hopefully you can burn some calories through this route as well. Try to walk as much as possible, such as to go see local attractions. If you are staying with friends, or near friends, team up and get them to take an early morning, or after dinner, walk to burn some extra calories. Be sure to always do a proper warm-up, regardless of what type of workout you plan to do.

Eating is an important issue while on vacation, and not just for baby boomers. Here are some tips to keep in mind when it comes to baby boomer nutrition while on vacation:

Breakfast – Most hotels offer a continental breakfast. But most of the time they are not stocked with nutritious food. Avoid things like pancakes, waffles, sugary cereals, and donuts. Walk past all the white flour items sitting on that table! If you feel you must eat from the continental restaurant, opt for the yogurt, eggs, fresh fruit, juice, and some whole wheat toast.

Meals – For lunch and dinner, stick with soups and salads (dressing on the side), split a meal with someone, and keep alcohol to a minimum. Ask for baked over fried, and avoid dishes that contain cream. Skip the dessert, or if you feel you really want it, split it with others.

Snacks – Stop at the store and stock up on things like water, string cheese, crackers, veggies, and almonds. Have healthy snacks on hand all the time, so there are no excuses.

There are also plenty of neat apps that will help you keep track of calories and your physical activity. Check out My Food Diary, Calorie King, or others that will help you keep things in perspective and not go overboard.

I work with baby boomers who tell me they gain weight on their vacations. It really doesn’t need to be like that! Put in some effort in planning and making a commitment to stick to your goals, and you will come back feeling great, rather than guilty!

 Do You Want The Body You Deserve While On the Road??  Learn More……

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Employers Are Offering Baby Boomers Health Incentive Programs

Think baby boomers are retiring? Think again! Many are continuing to work well past the age that they need to. And before you immediately think it is the economy forcing them into it, let me assure that isn’t the only factor. Sure, some may be working longer due to our shaky economy, but many others are continuing to work because they simply want to. Others are staying on the job because their employer is enticing them to do so!

That’s right, many employers today don’t want to let go of their baby boomer employees. After all, they know the job well, and they hate to lose the good workers that they are. Baby boomers tend to be more loyal, hard workers, and have a lot of experience. Who would want to let go of that in the workforce? In an effort to hold on to an effective, yet aging, workforce many companies are creating incentive programs to help make the job more comfortable and to keep their baby boomers feeling healthy.

Some employers, such as Harley Davidson, offer workout classes, while other employers offer trainers, who help ice down any areas of inflammation following the end of a shift. Employers are taking notice of people’s health in their mission of retaining baby boomers on the job. If you want your employer to think the same way, consider these strategies that you can use to get more fit:

Proper lifting. Many people lift things the wrong way and end up pulling muscles and causing back pain. Always remember that if you are lifting a heavy object off the floor, you need to use the strength of your legs, rather than straining your back.

Stretching. The importance of stretching cannot be overstated. Taking the time to stretch can help keep your muscles feeling great, de-stressed, and flexible. Be sure to stretch daily, especially after being active.

Weight training. It is important to maintain a workout routine that includes weight training so that you can maintain and build muscle, as well as strong bones. This will help keep you active.

Ice and massage. Inflammation can lead to pain that nobody needs. Usually ice or massages will help to address these areas of pain, depending on what it is that is bothering you.

Proper nutrition. Rather than eating out of the vending machine or getting take out each day at work, opt for taking a packed lunch from home. That way you can ensure that it is more nutritious, which will help keep you on your path of wellness.

Even if you are a baby boomer who doesn’t want to keep working, following these tips will help to keep you healthy. But those baby boomers who want to continue working will find that they may be next in line to be woo’d by their employer to stay on the job. And the healthier you are, the more you will enjoy every day of it!

 

Healthy Drinks That Aren’t So Healthy After All

In our quest to get fit and be healthy, we have plenty of products to choose from today. Walk into any store, or even gas station, and the coolers are stocked with healthy drink options. But are they really so healthy? Not quite! Some products that are either being marketed as healthy, or gaining a reputation as it, are not so healthy at all, and may even be doing more damage than you realize!

Many so-called health drinks end up containing too much sugar, artificial sweeteners, and even artificial colors. These are all things that you don’t want, or need, and they may end up doing damage to your body if you reach for them long term. In fact, some may help increase the aging process. Energy drinks, for example, one can of the popular Rockstar energy drink will pump about 23 grams of sugar into you! That’s not something you want when you are trying to get healthy.

Some of the drinks you have to watch out for, that seem healthy enough, but actually are not, include:

Energy drinks

Vitamin water

Diet soft drinks

Any type of “diet” drink

Fruit juice (many appear as juice, but are only 10 percent juice and have high fructose corn syrup)

Some smoothies (depends on what they put in them)

Tea

Sports drinks

At first glance these drinks seem like they would be healthy enough. What’s wrong with tea, after all? Tea is very healthy for you and loaded with antioxidants. But when you buy it pre-made in a bottle or can, or you get it in some restaurants, it may be loaded up with sugar. Same with fruit juice and the other drinks, although they may contain some antioxidants or vitamins, such as the vitamin waters, they usually tend to have more sugar than you should sit around consuming.

So what should you drink? Your first best option is water! Water is the best way to hydrate your body, it is naturally calorie-free and doesn’t contain sugar. If you need a little something in it, try a lemon, lime, or other fruit slice. You could also occasionally have a mixed drink of seltzer with just a small splash of 100 percent fruit juice. Also, making home brewed tea, especially green tea, is a healthy drink, provided you don’t put a bunch of sugar in it. It has a lot of antioxidants that help to keep your body healthy!

 

Why am I doing this? Understanding the 5 stages of change

Do you ever get to a point along the way working toward your fitness goals where you stop and wonder just what in the heck you are doing? You get to a point where you question yourself, why you are putting yourself through daily workouts, and passing on the second slice of cheesecake. We all get like that from time to time, but it’s what you do with it that really matters!

Just the other day I encountered this with one my clients. I had spent three months training hard with this person when the person hit a mental wall and asked me the “why” question. The person had reached that point, after three months of training, where they wanted to know why they were doing it and if it was all worth it. They forgot why they had started it all in the first place.

There are five stages within change, regardless of what it is. If you want to make fitness, diet, or weight loss changes, you will end up going through each of these five stages:

Pre-contemplation. This is the stage that people are in before they start doing anything to make change. They are likely not even aware that they need to make changes.

Contemplation. This is the stage where they are aware that they need to make changes, and they are thinking about making them.

Preparation. This is the stage where the person combines their intention to change things with their actions to make it happen. This is where they are deciding how they will go about making changes.

Action. In the action stage the person begins to take action to modify their behavior in order to overcome the problem and make changes. This is where they invest the time and put forth the commitment.

Maintenance. This is the stage where the changes have already been successfully made and now they just need to maintain them in order to prevent going back to the old behaviors.

It’s important that you know these stages when you are trying to make changes in your life. It’s okay and completely normal to be in each of these stages. It’s actually important that you go through each of these steps, so you are mentally prepared for the next one. So if you start having feelings and questioning things, remember the stages of change and give some thought to where you are and what lies ahead.

If you start to question what you are doing, like my client recently did, it means it is time to set some new goals, both small and big ones. It’s time to reflect on why you started it all in the first place. You have to remain confident in yourself and keep moving on to the next stage. When you do that, you will in time reach your goals and succeed!

 

How to Stay Cold and Flu Free So You Can Keep Training

It’s that time of the year when millions of people will come down with colds and the flu. So that means it is also the time of year for you to take extra precaution in order to help protect yourself. The viruses that cause cold and flu are all around, but there are things we can do in order to help avoid them and stay healthy. And when we stay healthy it means we can keep up with our workouts!

 

Here are some things you can do to avoid getting colds and the flue this year:

Wash your hands frequently. Germs are everywhere, and those germs contain the viruses that will make you sick. Become a frequent hand washer, making sure to wash for 20 seconds each time. Also, be sure to keep your hands away from your nose and mouth as much as possible.

Exercise regularly. This is one that I really like because it is just one more good reason for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Working out regularly builds your immunity and strengthens your immune system. Aim to get at least 30 minutes of cardio each day.

Some things can help to cut down on the amount of time symptoms will last, should you get them, such as zinc lozenges, Vitamin and Vitamin B complex.

Eat yogurt, as well as foods that contain phytochemicals, such as fruits and vegetables.

Drink plenty of fluids, particularly water, so that it flushes your system out.

Avoid smoking and cut down on alcohol consumption.

Take the time to relax and de-stress. Maybe add a yoga or Tai Chi class to your schedule, just to focus on relaxation, which will support your immune system. Other options to help manage stress include journaling, breathing exercises, and joining social groups, which provides a chance to laugh and have fun.

Some people opt for acupuncture as a method to help avoid getting sick. You could look into that and see what it does for you.

While there are some people who get several colds per year, there are others who haven’t had one in years. It’s usually not a coincidence that those people don’t ever get sick. Usually it is something they are doing that helps to boost their immune system and keep them healthy. The more you can do to help keep your body healthy, the more you can stay focused on your fitness goals!

Why Writing a Letter to Yourself is Good

Not long ago I went to a personal development training seminar called a “Date with Destiny.” It turned out to provide a quite useful experience that I want to share with you all here. During this seminar we had an exercise where you write yourself a letter. While it may seem a little odd at first, let me explain why it’s actually a really good thing to do!

Our mission was to write a letter to our future self. The one that had accomplished the goals that we had wanted to do. We had to write about the progress we had made as a person, how hard we had worked, and more. So we did all this writing, then the letter gets taken away and is sent out to you six months later. Wow, when you get that letter in the mail six months later, it is great to read what you had written!

Writing a letter to future self is a great way to think through and really verbalize what it is that you want. It also uses the laws of attraction to help bring it to you. Then, once you get the letter, you get the opportunity to build your confidence as you read the wonderful things you said about yourself. We spend a lot of time beating ourselves up, so it’s nice to finally get something in the mail where we said nice things.

Here’s what you should do to write a letter to your future self:

Be sure to include the basics, like your name and today’s date. Then determine a time in the future that the letter will be sent to you. Six months would be ideal.

Think about where you want to be with your goals in six months and use that as a reference point. Congratulate yourself on achieving those goals and discuss the hard work it took to get there.

Find a way to get it to you in six months. There are several things you can do here, such as have someone else mail it to you in six months, or put it in a sealed envelope and mark your calendar to open it. There are even time capsule services online that will send you something later.

Once you get the letter six months later, read it over carefully. Consider how much you have grown as a person in that time and the goals that you achieved. This can be quite an eye-opening and confidence building experience. Give it a try. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. It takes just minutes, but six months from now you will enjoy reading what you wrote to yourself today!