Reaching For Your Dreams – Age No Barrier

This past week there was something really inspirational that was on the news. You may have been one of the millions that saw it as I did. I’m talking about Diana Nyad and how she accomplished a goal at the age of 64. For those who feel that you reach a point where it is too late to reach for your dreams, she serves as an example that it is never too late!

Nyad was big news this past week because she did something that nobody else has done before. She swam the 110 miles from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage. Did you get that? At the age of 64, she swam 110 miles in order to set a record. She’s the first person to do this and yet she’s a baby boomer. No protection from the elements, bitten numerous times by jellyfish, and hungry, she finished the goal she set out to do.

Her message to people is that they should never give up. She didn’t, and neither should anyone else. She also demonstrated that you are never too old to chase your dreams. You only have one life to live, making it crucial that you go after that which you dream of. She had a dream of making that swim and she did not let her age become a barrier to her achieving her goal. Another one of her messages is that many things in life, such as what she accomplished, is not a solitary act. While she gets the credit for the swim, she actually had a team of people who were providing her the support in order to make it possible.

While Nyad had a team of 35 people, some people need merely to work with a personal trainer or coach in order to reach their goals. Many people don’t realize it, but we are often the biggest obstacles we face when wanting to achieve something. We have a goal in mind, but we talk ourselves out even going for it with piles of excuses. We place limits on ourselves that don’t need to be there.

The negative self talk that floats around in the heads of most people, including my personal training clients, has probably stopped you from achieving many goals. You have to believe in yourself and in your ability to accomplish things in order for it to become a reality.

Perhaps you are reading this and your own dream comes to mind. Maybe it has nothing to do with fitness, but rather with finances or business. Your dream may have been something more related to personal issues, spirituality, or romance.

It’s never too late. Whatever your dream was is still waiting for you. You may think that at your age you have lost the ability to achieve that dream. You may think you are too old now. But let me remind you that a 64 year old woman just swam 110 miles in shark and jellyfish infested waters in order to make her dreams a reality. She did it in 53 hours, after she had failed at attempting it on three other prior occasions.

So what is your dream? What’s stopping you from going after it?

Forget the excuses. Instead, put a plan into action and make it happen. You can do it. I believe in you and you will achieve your goals!

 

Balance for Baby Boomers: Why it’s Important and How to Improve It

If you have ever had a problem with balance you know how serious it can be. In fact, it is estimated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that a third of all adults over the age of 65 fall each year. These falls can lead to serious problems, including hip fractures. Focusing on one’s balance is a good way to help lower the risks of these falls.

The risk of falls aside, not having good balance can do numerous other things as well. It can make it more difficult to walk upstairs, get up out of a chair, bend over without getting dizzy, and just being able to walk steadily. Balance is what keeps you safer, as well as feeling better as you move around.

In my field, as a personal trainer for baby boomers in the Vancouver, Washington area, I am always happy to help my clients address their balance issues. Having poor balance is a bad thing, but the good news is that there are things you can do to improve your balance. Here are a few points that I always share with my clients:

It is important to exercise regularly. This exercise needs to be on your feet. What this means is that you should get out from those machines that have you sitting down. If you are sitting on an exercise bike you are not doing anything to help your balance. Choose exercises that will get you standing up and moving around, such as using the treadmill. Also, consider taking Tai Chi. It is a mild form of martial art that has worked wonders in helping people to improve their balance.

Doing unilateral movements, those which have you use just one side of the body at a time, can also help improve balance. There are various squats and leg lefts that you can do to make balance improvements.

You may have been shying away from them before, but now is the time to get to know free weights. By using free weights you will strength train and improve your balance.

If you are unsure which ones to do always work with a personal trainer who can develop a plan specifically for meeting your goals. My Vancouver, Washington baby boomer clients benefit from better balance as a result of the personal workout plan that I create for them. Whether you are in my local area or beyond, make it a priority to work on your balance. The benefits are long lasting and important for every baby boomer!

Dig Into Strength: How Baby Boomers Can Improve Strength

Do you have difficulty walking up the steps? What about making dinner? If you find these things a lot more difficult than you used to it is time to take action. Believe it or not, you can get your strength back, even as a baby boomer. You do not have to take a loss of strength sitting down. Now is the time to stand up and fight… now is the time to dig in!

As a personal trainer in Vancouver, Washington who helps numerous baby boomers I address the strength issue on a regular basis. Yes, it’s true that if you do not work at it you will lose strength as you age. In fact, you will lose about 30 percent of your strength in the years that follow turning 50 years old. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can get that strength back, but it takes you being proactive in making it happen.

Many people think that you only hit the gym and lift weights if you want to be a body builder. Not so! The strength training that you will do in the gym will help you be able to climb those stairs better, or make it easier to tackle making dinner. You can use free weights, elastic bands, or exercise machines. The key is to have some resistance, because that resistance is going to help you build and maintain your muscle mass.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to increasing your strength:

  • Make sure you start with mobility. Without first focusing on improving your mobility you will find it difficult to take on the next step of strength training. Once you have addressed the mobility issue you are ready to move on.

 

  • Get a program to help you increase your strength level. The key here is that you have to make sure it is focusing on your weak areas. If you cannot identify them work with a personal trainer so you get the results you are after.
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    Use a progressive overload approach, which will keep your body from bulking up or getting bigger. Instead, you will set goals of getting stronger and focus on meeting them.

 

  • Take action. This is the most important part. You can talk all day long about what needs to be done and why, but it will be worthless if it is not put into action. If you want to see results you must get a program and put it into action.

Getting older does not have to mean getting weaker. You can stop the loss of muscle and gain some strength back again. But you have to be proactive in making it happen. Whether you work with me, through my Vancouver, Washington personal training for baby boomers, or you do it with someone else, your strength training goals can be achieved. They also make a big difference in your quality of life, making them a goal worth fighting for!

Dig Into Mobility: How Baby Boomers Can Improve Mobility

Mobility is not something one thinks about all that often. At least, that is, until it begins to decrease over the years. Once you can no longer do the things you used to do as easily, you may begin to think about mobility issues. The good news is that there are things you can do to improve your mobility, regardless of your age. As a personal trainer that specializes in working with baby boomers and senior citizens, I have witnessed the way being proactive can help people improve mobility.

There are numerous things that can impact your mobility, including arthritis, slowing reflexes, a decrease in the ability to stretch or bend, loss of bone tissue, and more. The loss of mobility is especially problematic for baby boomers because it can not only hinder your ability to do the things you love, but it can also lead to you losing some independence. If you are a baby boomer who wants to stay independent and continue doing things for yourself it’s time to get serious about improving your mobility.

Here are a few of the principles that you should follow when it comes to mobility. These are principals that I share with many of my personal training clients:

  • Make it daily. Working on improving your mobility is not something you can do once in a while and then expect to see results. Rather, you have to make a commitment to improving it and then being proactive to get there. You have to work on mobility exercises on a daily basis. This includes getting daily exercise, stretching, and living a healthy lifestyle.
  • Try different methods. Stretching is a good way to help improve mobility. But you also need to know the right kind of stretches you should be doing (which is why you should be working with a personal trainer). However, if you feel stretching is not doing enough for you, try something else. Other methods to try are to include using a foam roller, getting massages, art, structural integration, tennis ball rolling, and partner stretching. There are many different methods to try, so there is a good chance you will find one that is going to help you improve your mobility.
  • Test and test again. It is important to know if your efforts are working. To do this, take a pre-test before you get started with the mobility exercise plan. Then, test as you go in order to see if you are gaining motion. If you are, great, then it is working as planned. If you are not, then you may need to try another method in order to get better results.
  • Take action. The best way to take action is to meet with a personal trainer, such as myself on a weekly basis. When you do that you will get a plan that will work for you, the results will be tested, and you will see and feel the difference it makes. A personal trainer will help identify weak areas and exercises to strengthen them.

If you are feeling down about a loss of mobility it is important to understand that it doesn’t have to stay like that. You can take measures to help make improvements. But if you ignore it, the problem will get worse and it will keep you from being as happy. Take the steps now to make improvements. Before you know it you will have improved your mobility and will be feeling great. If you are in the Vancouver, Washington area I will look forward to hearing from you. If you are not, seek out a personal trainer that specializes in working with baby boomers or senior citizens, so that you get the best possible results.

How many calories should I be taking in for my body?

As a personal trainer, I’ve lost count of how many times this question has been put to me: how many calories should I be taking in for my body?

Now this is a really valid question if you are keen to lose or maintain weight, because what you eat, in conjunction to what exercise you do determines how many calories you need to consume each day.

In determining exactly how many calories you need to consume each day, you need to determine how many calories each day your body will actually use.  Think of it as income to expenditure.  Your food or calories are income and the spending of calories through exercise is the expenditure.  The first step in calculating the calories you must consume each day, is to determine your Basil Metabolic Rate or BMR.

Now, rather than go into great detail and outline the formulas for calculating your BMR, it’s easier for you to just enter your weight and height details into the BMR calculator .  I’m going to ask you to go and get your BMR now, so please google BMR calculator in another screen and get your BMR number.

Okay, you’ve got your BMR now?  That’s great!  Determining how many calories per day your body needs to consume is easy.

The amount of calories you must consume per day – referred to as Total Daily Energy Expenditure or TDEE – is determined by the amount of exercise you engage in each day.  TDEE tells us how many calories we need to maintain our weight.

Total Daily Energy Expenditure for somebody who does very little is calculated by your BMR x 1.2.  If you do very light activity 1-3 days per week, your Total Daily Energy Expenditure is your BMR x 1.375.  If you engage in moderate activity, exercise or sport 3-5 days per week, your TDEE is BMR x 1.55.  If you do high physical activity, sport or exercise 6-7 days per week, your TDEE is BMR x 1.725 and if you are involved in very heavy activity – a physical job, or you do a lot of sport or exercise twice a day, everyday, your total calorie intake per day is calculated by BMR x 1.9.

Now that you know how to calculate your daily calorie needs for maintaining weight, how do you calculate daily calories needed to lose weight?

You need to subtract from your Total Daily Energy Expenditure figure to lose weight.  To determine how much to subtract, you need to know how calories relate to weight.  And that’s why I need to mention the following:

1 lb (0.45kg) equates to 3500 calories

1.5 lb (0.68kg) equates to 5250 calories

2 lbs (0.91kg) equates to 7000 calories

Say for example, your BMR is 1800 calories and you do moderate exercise.  Your TDEE is:

1800 x 1.55

So your TDEE is 2700 calories per day to maintain your current weight.  Multiply 2700 x 7 and your weekly calorie intake to maintain your weight is 18,900 calories.

So, if you want to lose 2lbs per week, here’s how you calculate the calories you need to consume per day:

18,900 – 7000 = 11,900/week

11,900/7 days = 1700 calories/day

You need to consume 1700 calories per day to lose 2lbs per week.

It’s important to never exceed weight loss of 2lbs per week, because to lose more than this will burn muscle, overtraining, or burnout which is unhealthy.  You need muscle to help you burn fat, so keep your weight loss to a healthy level.

So now you know how to determine the calories you need every day.

 

Going After the Enemy – Obesity

There’s an old English proverb that says, “Don’t dig your grave with your own knife and fork.” Yet that’s exactly what many people across America are doing. Obesity has become a major issue, with over a third of all adults in the country falling into the category, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What’s more, further studies by Cornell University indicate that those who are obese typically do not see themselves as such. They tend to think that about 30 pounds heavier than they are is obese.

Clearly we have a big problem on our hands, and baby boomers are not immune. When it comes to senior citizens, 45 percent are overweight, while around a third of them are obese. The problem is that it raises the risks for hypertension, diabetes, coronary heart disease, etc. Just when you thought you could retire and enjoy the rest of your years, you find out that obesity has put a damper on things!

When people are obese, they have a more difficult time traveling, being active, and doing all those fun things that make up their bucket list. So just how do you go about determining if you are obese? It’s a mathematical equation, really, where you determine your body fat, BMI, waist circumference, etc. When women have more than 30 percent body fat, and men over 25 percent, they are considered to be obese. You can also use a BMI calculator, which can be found online, to determine what your BMI is and if it falls into the obesity or overweight category. Also, women with a waist that is more than 35 inches are considered to be obese.

When you think about what has happened over the last several generations, it is easy to see where the obesity issue came from. We used to be a society made up of active people, who walked, biked, worked in the garden, cleaned our houses, and even washed our clothes by hand and hung them to dry. Today we have conveniences for everything you can think of. We have largely become a sedentary people, which is leading us to pack on the pounds.

So, what is it that is preventing you from losing weight? The top reasons that I find, from the baby boomers I work with, include inactivity, alcohol abuse, eating out too often, empty nest syndrome, baby boomer boomerang (moving back home), being a caretaker, stress, menopause (for women), and testosterone decline (for men). The good news is that you can address these issues and get to the root of the problem. Stay tuned for the next blog post, when I look at menopause causing weight gain, and what you can do about it.

The key to losing weight and battling obesity is in your hands. I have watched many people ignore this problem and end up losing in the end. Yet, I have also seen baby boomers take it on and beat it. The choice is completely up to you; it’s just a matter of determining which path you will take!

Water Exercises for Boomer Fitness

Q. Boomer Fitness – I’m hoping you can help me out with something. I work out at a gym that has an indoor pool. I noticed that the schedule they have offers some senior water aerobic classes. I stopped in and watched for a few minutes and although it looks like a fun time in the water, I wonder if people are actually getting a good workout. What do you think?

A. What a great question, thank you for asking it! This is a question that I have had from many senior citizens over the years. Baby boomers see the water aerobic classes going on and want to suit up and take a dive. Yet there is a little hesitation in doing so. Maybe it’s because they don’t see people that are in the classes sweating.

Even if you can’t see people sweating in the water aerobics classes there is a good chance they are doing some good for their body. One of the main reasons that senior citizens opt for water aerobic classes is that it is easy on the joints. If you ever suffer from joint pain you know that it can make keeping up with your workouts challenging. Yet most people who do water aerobics find that there isn’t any pain.

While I may not rank water aerobics as the best possible way for a senior to get in a workout, I do think that it’s an acceptable option. This is because it gets you working out. I’m much more concerned with people working out regularly, rather than what it is that they are doing to get that work out.

You mentioned that you thought the water aerobics class looked like fun. Well I can tell you from working with many baby boomers that when something is fun you are more likely to continue doing it. Fun workouts make time go by faster and you will forget that you are actually doing some hard work.

My suggestion would be to give it a try. Unless you suffer from the ongoing joint pain I would not suggest that you make it your sole form of exercise, because it’s good to change it up some. But doing it once or twice a week, especially if you find it to be fun, is a great thing. You will burn some calories, have some fun, and go easy on the joints. If you feel you need a little something more, take a few laps in the pool before or after the water aerobics class. So, suit up, jump in, and have fun!

FOR MORE EXERCISES THAT ARE BOOMER FRIENDLY CLICK HERE

Tips for Winter Workouts

Q. I have a question for you, Brian. I just started working out over this past summer, and now winter is nearly upon us. I worry about not being able to get out to the gym as often as I’d like as the weather gets bad. What should I do?

 

 

A. Thank you for your question! I know it’s one that a lot of senior citizens have, because I specialize in working with baby boomers. I have many clients that bring this issue up to me. Depending on where you live, it may even become a major issue if where you live gets snowy conditions.

So let’s assume that winter may pose a few challenges here and there for senior citizens who need to get out to exercise. Now that we have identified it as a problem, we can consider some ways to address it, so that we can successfully get through the season. The goal is to continue getting exercise and maintain your fitness routine, even if your driveway is snowed in, or ice covers your windshield.

Here are a few things that you can do to address this challenge:

  • Be flexible. If you usually work out every Monday morning, you may need to once in while during the winter change your workout day to Tuesday morning. Since you don’t know what day may be too cold or snow to head outside, you should just agree to be more flexible over the winter, but still make sure you get your work out in.
  • Find alternatives. Let’s say that your area just got hit with a snow storm and you don’t think it’s safe to get out to exercise. This is the perfect time to turn to an alternative exercise option. Luckily there are plenty of good options to choose from, including everything from home aerobic videos to stationary exercise bikes.
  • Remain positive. The last thing you need to do is let the winter challenges bring you down. This may be all it takes to get you off track for months. Instead, remain positive and focused.
  • Go outdoors. If the weather is not too bad and it seems safe, head outdoors for a little exercise. Even on some brisk days, depending on where you are located, you can take a walk or bike ride outside in the winter.

Winter is going to keep on coming each year. But we can’t let it become an excuse for why we don’t continue our fitness and exercise program. It may pose challenges, but senior citizen or not, we need to keep going forward. And that forward, on a cold winter day, may be exercising right in the living room of your home!

CLICK HERE FOR YOUR WINTER WORKOUT TIPS

Tips for Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain

Q. Help me, Brian! Every year during the holidays I end up gaining a few pounds. I’ve done so well this year with my eating and working out. I’m so scared that I’m going to put on the pounds and all my hard work will be out the window.

 

 

A. I know exactly how you feel! But don’t despair, there is hope. Many of my baby boomer clients come to me every time the calendar hits November. It does not mean that you have to be one of the ones that gain weight. Instead, put the breaks on that idea right now while it’s on your mind.

The average person tends to gain up to five pounds throughout the holidays of Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve. And it makes sense why this happens. Everywhere you turn there are foods that you typically don’t eat throughout the year. Just thinking about all the goodies that are set out during the holidays is enough to add a few pounds to the scale!

So here are some things you can do during these holidays in order to avoid gaining those extra pounds:

  • Be picky. If you are determined to nosh when you head to parties try to do it with a healthy outlook. Choose those foods that have less calories, such as baked foods, rather than fried ones. Skip the breads that are set out, as well as piling on the gravies. All these foods can be loaded with calories that you may not be aware of.
  • Go full. When you know you will be attending a party or gathering, eat something healthy before you arrive. That’s right, I am suggesting you show up with food already in the tank. If you do this, you will have eaten healthy at home, and will only be able to do some light snacking at the party. This can save you a lot of calories over the course of the night.
  • Go small. Choose a small plate to fill up with. This way you can try a little of all the things you want to try, but you will avoid being tempted to overload the plate. If there isn’t one available, then fill half of your plate with healthy, low fat veggies, and then the other half with a mixture of items you really want.
  • Change the focus. Food doesn’t have to be the focus of the gathering or celebration. Turn your focus to socializing with others and having fun, rather than focusing on the food.

Whatever you do, don’t go to a party or holiday gathering with an empty stomach. If you do, you will probably end up regretting it, because you will fill your plate up with eye-appealing items that may contributing to packing on the pounds. The more you plan ahead when it comes to healthy eating throughout the holidays, the better off you will be with avoiding holiday weight gain!

CLICK HERE TO AVOID HOLIDAY WEIGHT GAIN……

Got flabby arms? No problem, here’s how to get rid of them!

Many people struggle with flabby arms, otherwise known as bat wings, back wings, and even grandma arms. The names are not flattering, but most people that have them don’t exactly find them flattering either. The good news is that there are ways that you can get rid of flabby arms, whether you are baby boomer or not!

Flabby arms are not just something that those overweight may deal with, although that it one reason that people have them. Those who have lost a lot of weight may also have flabby arms, as do some thinner people who have just never taken any measure to tone their arms. If you do nothing with your arms, there is a good chance that they will be flabby, or at least not very tone. But you can change all that.

Here are a few ways you can fight back against flabby arms:

  • Arm rotations. This is an exercise you can do without any weights. When you are standing around somewhere, simply put your arms at your sides and do rotation exercises. Rotate your arms, clockwise and counter-clockwise, repeating a dozen or so times. This is something you can easily do when you are standing around killing time.
  • Push-ups. Doing push-ups is a great way to strengthen your upper arm muscles, among other areas of your body. Each day, do a couple of reps of push-ups to help get rid of flabby arms.
  • Free weights. Using free weights is a good way to help tone arms and reduce flab. You can use some small dumbbells to do some dumbbell presses. Try holding them, as you sit in a chair, and hold them behind your head, slowly lifting to straighten out your arms. Do this a dozen times at each sitting.
  • Lose weight. If you have the flabby arms as a result of needing to lose weight, try to shed some pounds and then also follow the above steps. You can lose weight by eating healthy and exercising regularly.

As a personal trainer, I often work with people who start out having flabby arms. But with some attention to them and getting active, they are usually quite happy with the results they get. Flabby arms may be embarrassing to you, but they don’t have to be. Start making a point to do something at least 3-4 days per week to address your flabby arms, and in time you will see results.

Be sure to use a tape measure and measure around your arms when you get started doing these exercise. Then be sure to take another measurement each month, so you can monitor your progress. With some dedicated arm attention, you will say goodbye to flabby arms!

 IF YOUR SICK OF FLABBY ARMS CLICK HERE