Tips for Increasing Upper Body Strength to Do More Push-ups

As a personal trainer in the Vancouver, Washington area, I get a lot of questions. Sometimes they come in person, while other times they come to my Facebook page. One of the questions I frequently get is how someone can increase their upper body strength so that they can do more push-ups. So let’s take a look at that now!

Doing push-ups is essentially a great way to test your upper body strength. Many people, like Patty S., who recently asked the question on Facebook, found that as she was getting older she wasn’t able to do as many push-ups. Today she can only do 2-5 push-ups. In order to increase that, the upper body strength will also need to increase.

Whether you have limited upper body strength as a result of recovering from an accident, like one of my baby boomer clients, or another reason, you can work on this. One client of mine went from being able to do 5-10 on a good day to being able to do 50 within 12 weeks of training. Another one of my clients, who was in the military, needed to improve so she could pass her physical tests. With a five-week period of training she went from doing 5 push-ups to doing 25, which helped her get her passing score and rank.

It is never too late to increase your upper body strength so you can get better at doing more push-ups. Here are a few tips to help you do just that:

  • Always focus on form. Your form has to be right so you are building strength and avoiding injury. Good form includes hands being under shoulders, neck being tucked, and hips being in line with your head. Your back should never be arched or sagging, and your head should never be looking upward.
  • Start out by doing countertop push-ups. You can do this with any countertop. In a standing position, place your arms on the countertop, consider your form, and do as many push-ups as you can do in this position.
  • Once you can do 20 countertop push-ups it is time to move up to knee push-ups on the ground. On your knees, maintain your form, and do as many as you can.
  • When you are able to do 20 knee push-ups it is time to do full push-ups. Start out doing as many as you can, and when you can’t continue switch to knee push-ups to get your full reps in.
  • While building up your strength you will want to do these three times per week, working yourself up to 100 push-ups during each workout.
  • It is also important to do reverse push-ups in order to maintain a balance in your shoulders. As part of your work out add in pulling exercises, or reverse push-ups, where you are pulling your body weight and using the proper form and alignment.

Whether you are a baby boomer or not, it is never too late to increase your upper body strength and get better at doing push-ups. Stick with a program and over time you will be surprised at how many push-ups you will be able to do. I help many clients in the Vancouver area to get fit and believe you can do it, too!

To get your program to improve your push-ups and overall fitness CLICK HERE 

Think it’s ever too late to get fit? Think again!

What age is too old to start getting in shape? Would you think that someone who is a grandpa is far beyond his prime years for doing so? What if I told you that you were wrong? Completely wrong! Well that’s exactly what I’m saying. It is never too late to get fit. Baby boomers are doing it, senior citizens are doing it, and so are grandparents!

A great example of it never being too late to get in shape and reach fitness goals is Robert Durbin. He’s a 64 year old grandfather who lives in Louisville, Ky. Just seven years ago this grandfather was overweight, had health problems, and needed a cane or walker to get around. But he decided to take control of the situation and become fit. While it may seem it was a feat against all odds, the results are impressive!

Durbin spends about four hours every day working out. He’s retired, so he can put in that kind of time at the gym. It’s a bonus – it gives him something to do and is good for his health. He works out seven days a week. He also maintains a healthy diet. He follows a clean eating diet, which includes eating 5-6 small meals per day, and avoiding fried foods.

Following this diet and fitness plan he was able to lose 70 pounds! He also become healthy, fit, and rock hard. He has strength and fitness that many people in their 20s never see. So how did he do it? By making the commitment to get fit and take control over his health, first and foremost. To do that, he worked with a workout team, learning what types of exercises would benefit him. He also never gave up. For seven years he has plugged away, making his health and fitness a high priority. And it shows!

You can get fit, too. It doesn’t matter how old you are or what type of health/physical condition you are in. What’s important is believing you can do it and then making it happen. If you want to be the next Durbin here’s what you can do:

  1. Make the commitment to get fit and live a healthier lifestyle. You will be glad you did it and so will your family.
  2. Work with a personal trainer. As a personal trainer in Vancouver, Washington, I specialize in working with baby boomers, senior citizens, and grandparents.
  3. Never give up. Make it a priority to take care of your health, get fit, and put you at the top of your list.

Robert Durbin showed everyone that he could go from being an overweight grandparent with health problems to a ripped grandparent who is fit and healthy. He is a great example for his kids and grandkids of not only a healthy lifestyle but a healthy life attitude. You can do it, too! I’ve helped many people in the Vancouver area with their personal training goals, and I can help you as well. It’s never too late and you are never too old. If you are breathing, and I think you are, then you can achieve new fitness levels!

Staying Successful While Traveling During the Holidays

If you are like millions of others around the nation you will end up doing some type of traveling this holiday seasons. Most people seem to, whether it’s in the same state or around the country. We live in times when families are spread across the nation, prompting holiday travel from sea to shining sea. Whatever you do, don’t let your holiday travel become an excuse for not staying on track with your fitness goals and routine!

Pushing your fitness plans aside while you are traveling will only leave you with regrets when you turn home, if not beforehand. Like many of you, I will do some traveling this month as well. I plan to head back to Wisconsin for a visit, attend a fitness seminar, and I’m always involved in travel away from home for my National Guard duties. Also like some of you, I could make a lot of excuses for not keeping up with my fitness routine during the travel. But I will not do that and for many good reasons.

Staying the course and keeping up with your fitness routine will keep you feeling good, help you avoid weight gain, and help you lose weight if that is your goal. It’s going to help keep you fit, trim, and energetic. Keeping up with it during travel may require being proactive and creative, but it is something you can do and be successful at. Here are some tips for doing just that:

  • Locate a gym. Look ahead at where it is you will be going and locate a gym before you ever arrive. Most will allow you purchase a day or week pass to work out there. If you are staying at a hotel they may also have a gym right there on the premises. Know ahead of time where you will be working out.
  • Go with friends. If you are visiting friends or family find out where they work out and hook up with them. This will give you a chance to try something new and will make locating a place even easier.
  • Plan ahead. Know ahead of time what you will be eating so you can maintain a healthy diet. If you will be going to restaurants take a look at the menu online and plan ahead so you will know what healthy dishes you can order. Locate grocery stores where you can pick up healthy food options. The more you can map out ahead of time, the better off you will be.
  • Block out time. If you really want to maintain your fitness routine while traveling you will need to schedule the workout time. Literally put it on the calendar and block out the time to get it done. Do whatever it takes to keep it a priority and on your schedule.

Always remind yourself while you are traveling of the importance of staying on track. Write your goals and successes down if you need to. Carry them with you, so you can always pull them out each day and be reminded of all are working for, and have put in time for thus far. Whether you are one of my personal training clients here in the Vancouver, Washington area, or you are a reader from around the country, you can maintain a successful fitness routine while traveling. Just keep these tips in mind, make it a priority, and never look back!

 

 

Avoid the Slippery Slope During the Holidays

Have you ever heard of the slippery slope that takes place during the holidays each year? Maybe you haven’t heard of it, but you may have lived it. The slippery slope takes place when people get out of their usual routine this month, do more sitting on the couch, and next thing they know their fitness level has declined and they have gained weight. It’s a slope you don’t want to be on, and for good reason!

I tell my personal training clients here in Vancouver, Washington that the slippery slope is no place to be during the holidays (or any time for that matter). It will leave you with a lot of regrets come January. Forget passing up on those workouts and sitting on the couch. Yes, life may be a bit busier this month, but if you stay the course you are much happier as a result. Here are a few tips for avoiding the slippery slope during the holidays:

Continue on. Determine when will be the best time to get your workout in all month. Mornings are typically best because you get it out of the way. You will avoid excuses that can come up later in the day. Set a goal to get your workouts in all month, regardless of what time you have to get them done.

  • Burn more. Find additional ways to burn more calories. This may include taking a parking space farther from the store, or taking the stairs at work. All of these additional calories burned will add up and help keep you on track.
  • No excuses. You are going to have parties, more stress, and other commitments this month. But decide that they will not become excuses for not getting your workouts in. Take on a “no excuses” mentality and find a way around ever challenge and excuse that comes up along the way.
  • Stay the course. It’s a month, you can do this. Before you know it you will be back into January, when everyone is on board wanting to lose weight and get in shape. If you don’t stay the course and keep your health and fitness first you will have regrets come next month.

Forget going down that slippery slope that will leave you feeling bad. Keeping up with your fitness routines this month will keep you feeling better, avoiding weight gain, looking great at those parties, having more energy, and avoiding feel bad next month. Whether you are in Vancouver, Washington and want to work with me, a personal trainer, to help keep you on track, or you want to go it alone, stay the course. You will be glad you did!

 

A Special Thank You from Me, To You

We have come to the end of the year and what a great year it has been. I wanted to take a moment to share my thanks and gratitude for having you all in my life. I love being a personal trainer and it wouldn’t be possible for me to do what I do, without all of you!

You all make it possible for me to do what I love. My passion is in helping people in the with their fitness and healthy lifestyle goals. I set out on a mission to help people, especially baby boomers and seniors, with their fitness goals and I have achieved that. I have had the pleasure of working with many clients from diverse backgrounds in the Vancouver, Washington area. But it goes even beyond that.

Over the last year I have had the ability to set up my own space in order to meet with and assist more people looking to get healthy. My own personal training goals have been kicked up a notch this year and they have been successful. Not only have I taken on more clients this year, but I have had a great following online as well. I have readers that have purchased my Boomer Fitness DVD set, read my reports, blog posts, and more. If you aren’t someone who reads my blogs you can start now by visiting WEBSITE.

Each week I hear from people first hand, or get email from some, who want to take a moment to thank me for how I have inspired them. People tell me that I help them reach their goals, understand the importance of being fit, and help them overcome challenges. I’m so flattered that people take the time to write me. I care deeply about helping people and so just as much as I help people I must also give thanks right back to all of you! Without every client, reader and supporter I wouldn’t have been able to achieve my personal goals this year.

Being a personal trainer is rewarding, but that is so because of all of you. When I see you work toward your goals and achieve them I get a sense of pride. It’s wonderful to see you all work so hard and I find that inspiring! This year I also had an outpouring of support from you all as I acquired my own personal fitness space in Vancouver, and as I went on to train for my challenge in Las Vegas. All of your messages, support, and kind words meant a lot to me.

From the bottom of my heart I would like to thank you all for an amazing year. I am happy to have each and every one of you in my life and supporting what I do. You all make it possible and I am so grateful. Here’s to another great year in 2014. May we together have a healthy, happy, and prosperous New Year!

Get a Plan – Or Make One!

Do you have a plan for remaining healthy, fit, and on your path to weight loss? If you don’t you may find the holidays a bit more challenging to get through. It’s so important that you have a plan to get through this month. I know, you may be thinking this is a bit dramatic, but it’s not. The more prepared you are for this month; the more likely you will be successful at making it through without weight gain!

The holiday month is a time when many people, including some of my personal training clients here in Vancouver, Washington, gain weight. Nobody sets out to gain weight during the holidays, but it happens. With all the aromas of cookies, candies, and foods, we may only see this time of year as difficult time for to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  It’s understandable, but there is something you can do to beat it. It’s call having a plan. If you don’t already have one, now is the time to get busy creating one.

Here is how you can make a plan to get you through the holidays safely and healthily:

  • Set goals. You must have a goal of what you want to accomplish through the holidays. Do you want to not gain weight? Lose 5 pounds? Whatever it is you need to write those goals down. Make them specific and get them on paper now.
  • Get a trainer. Work with a personal trainer, such as myself. Our job is to help keep you on track, motivated, and working toward reaching your goals. If you are in the Vancouver, Washington area, contact me. If you are not, find a personal trainer to work with in your area.
  • Write it down. Buy a journal and every morning write down the things that you have succeeded at. Include even the small things, so you have a record of all the successes you have had along the way.
  • Find quotes. Find some motivational quotes online that will keep you inspired and on track. Print a few off and put them on your mirror, refrigerator, and even keep one in your car. This will be a good focal point when you are in need of some encouraging words.
  • Call a friend. If you know someone else who wants to make it through the holiday healthily, become health buddies. Agree to call each other daily this month and discuss challenges, successes, and plans.
  • Follow me. If you are not already doing so, follow me on Facebook. I regularly post things that are motivational and inspiring, which will help keep you on track.

Having a plan is a big key to making it through the holidays successfully. It will help keep you from gaining the holiday weight that so many do, but it will also keep you fit and even on track for losing weight if you are trying to. This holiday season it is all in your hands and you have a choice to make. If you want to make it a healthy holiday, get a plan in action and keep at it all month!

 

Handling the Dreaded Food Pushers

We have them here in the Vancouver, Washington area and there is a good chance that no matter where you are, you have them, too. They are the dreaded food pushers. You know, the people who will insist you eat their fat-filled desserts, despite you telling them you are on a diet or trying to stick to a healthier lifestyle. Well this holiday season you don’t need to take their pushing. This year, push back!

My baby boomer personal clients here in Vancouver often share their stories with me of how they were doing so well only to have someone push a pile of fresh baked cookies on them. Or perhaps it was a new dish that they insisted be tried. You tell them no, but they just don’t listen and keep pushing. Rather than give into them, you need to toughen up and push back a little. It’s a matter of your health and you need to be in total control of it, not the food pushers.

So just how do you go about handling the food pushers? Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Self talk. It is always helpful to have a list of all the reasons you want to lose weight or stay fit. Write them down on index cards if you have to, and then carry the list or reasons with you. As food pushers try to get you to eat things you know you shouldn’t, pull out those reasons as a reminder of why you are saying no.
  • Rehearse comebacks. Before you go into a situation where you there will be food pushers, try rehearsing your comeback. That way you will know what you will say when confronted by a food pusher and won’t be put on the spot thinking of an excuse.
  • Change mindset. You may feel that it’s rude to turn the food down. I disagree. It’s rude to eat something that you know you will regret later. Change the way you think about the situation so you can see the benefits of turning the food down.
  • Have a plan. If you will be attending a holiday event, go with a plan in mind. Decide ahead of time how much you will eat (such as trying three favorite dishes), and then stick to it. That way you will get to try a little bit, but you will be setting limits. Remember to use portion control.
  • Non-food rewards. Make a deal with yourself that you will get yourself a non-food reward by sticking to your healthy living habits this holiday season. Perhaps you can make it a new exercise shirt or something you have been eyeing.
  • Stick to your guns. If you had a food allergy you would never hesitate to tell a food pusher that you don’t want something. Have the same conviction and stick to your guns in turning down the foods that they peddle. When they see you are serious and don’t give in, they will move on to someone else. If you’ve rehearsed your comebacks you are less likely to sound rude. There are plenty of polite ways to say ‘no’.

As a personal trainer I work with a lot of baby boomers and senior citizens in helping them reach and maintain their fitness goals. These lifestyle choices will add years to their life. Many people go overboard when it comes to holiday eating, especially where food pushers come into play. Keep these tips above in mind so you can beat the food pushers and keep on the right path to your healthy lifestyle. You will be so glad you did!

 

Foods & Feelings: Emotional Eating Overshadows Environment

 Does the holiday season get you feeling emotional? If you are like most people, it does. And in a big way! There are a lot of emotional aspects to the holidays. Whether it is the stress of the shopping or getting together for family functions, there is additional stress in our lives this time of year, especially because our schedules are busier.  But that emotional toll can have a major impact on your diet!

Being a personal trainer in the Vancouver, Washington area I work with people who regularly tend to be emotional eaters. Yet they may not even be aware of it. More so than the environment you are in, research has shown that our emotions will get us to overeat more than anything else. Consider how you may grab for a snack when you are feeling down, want to celebrate, or feel additional stress. Think about the times when you reach for high-fat comfort foods (e.g., macaroni and cheese) when you have had a tough day and are feeling a bit overwhelmed.

The good news is that although our emotions can lead us to overeat, we can do something about it. We know that emotions will lead us over the edge and when that happens it will pack on weight gain that we may never lose. Rather than throw our hands in the air and abandon the idea of being healthy, we have to be proactive in putting a stop to emotional eating. Not only is it possible, but it is something we have to do in order to overcome the emotional eating that takes place during the holiday season.

Here are some tips for coping with the emotional eating that may help you avoid  this behavior during the holidays:

Avoid. If you know there are situations that will make you want to engage in emotional eating this holiday, just avoid them. It’s just that simple. And don’t feel guilty about skipping them. Don’t feel pressured to go to every holiday party.

Cope. Learn coping skills, so that you can recognize that you want to eat because of emotions, not out of hunger. Choose something else you will do every time that feeling strikes, and then do it. Maybe you can find another emotional eating buddy and you can text or call each other for support when those feelings arise.

Remember. Make a list of all the reasons you want to be fit and healthy. Then each time you want to engage in emotional eating remember those reasons. They will help keep your eye on the overall goal.

Change. It is important to try to change the way you feel about food. Try to determine why you engage in emotional eating at certain times, and then try to work through those feelings without food, in order to change the way you think.

Of course you want to enjoy the holidays and emotions play a big role in that. And sure you want grandma’s family favorites or the cool colored Starbucks cup that’s out. But if you give into these emotional eating temptations you will most likely gain weight and be sorry come January 1st. Keep it under control this month and you will be much happier through the New Year. This goes for my Vancouver, Washington personal training clients, and all my other readers!

 

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!

 

Baby Boomer Body Composition – Why it’s Important

If you look in the mirror to try to determine how healthy you are there is a good chance you may be missing the mark. That doesn’t tell the whole story. Nor does getting on a scale to see how much you weigh. While these things may give you some clues about your health and fitness level, there is a lot more to it. When you know more, the body composition, then you will have a much better idea of how fit you really are.

As a personal trainer for baby boomers in the Vancouver, Washington area, I am happy to help work with my clients on their body composition. Your body composition is what your body is made up of. It’s the fat to muscle and bone ratio. By looking at you there is no clue how much of your body is made up of fat versus bone or muscle. But by doing tests, using calipers, we can determine the ratio for each. This gives us a better idea of what your fitness level is and if you need to work on reducing fat percentage so that it is in a healthy range.

You actually function better when you have a healthy body composition. You may also be able to avoid or delay the onset of some diseases by having a healthy body composition. Here are some ways you can work toward helping to improve yours:

  • Lifestyle choices. The lifestyle you live is going to be a huge contributor to your body composition. If you sit on the couch all day watching television there is a good chance you will have a high percentage of body fat, for example. It is important to incorporate exercising regularly into your lifestyle. In doing so, opt for both aerobic activity, as well as strength training exercises.
  • Healthy eating. What you eat matters. It matters a lot! Fill your body up with foods that are filled with unhealthy fats, trans fats, sugars, and other such things and you will not have a good body composition. Your body needs healthy sources of nutrition, which includes lots of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains.
  • Having goals. When you have goals in mind you are more likely to actually make things happens. If you set out to do something and don’t know where you want to ultimately end up, there is a good chance you may never get there. Know where you are going so you can judge your success milestones along the way and you will know when you have arrived. You will also increase the chances of obtaining those goals when you share them with others. It helps to hold you accountable.

In the Vancouver, Washington area I work with many clients in personal training. Body composition is one area that we work on. If you haven’t been tested, then followed a plan, and then re-tested to see the improvement in your results you are missing out. It’s a great feeling and is motivating to see that your hard work is really paying off!