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!

 

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!

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.

A Big Announcement!

I have a big announcement to make and I hope that you are all as excited about it as I am. Drum roll please… I’m doing a show!

That’s right, I have decided to participate in the upcoming Las Vegas Classic bodybuilding show. This is big news, right? Of course it is and it’s going to be great! The show takes place in Sin City, otherwise known as Las Vegas, on November 2, 2013. That means I have less than two more months to get busy preparing for this challenge. But I’m excited and ready to meet it head on.

You may be wondering why it is that I have decided to get involved in a body building show. After all, my career is that of a Vancouver, Washington-based trainer who specializes in working with baby boomers and senior citizens. Well, I have several reasons for wanting to get involved in this bodybuilding show, which include:

  • Inspiring my clients. That’s right! I want to be an inspiration to all my personal training clients. I think that one way to do that is to be in the Las Vegas Classic bodybuilding show. That’s because it will require me to work hard, achieve milestones, stay committed, and to achieve a goal that I have set. I am always harping to my clients about setting and achieving fitness goals. With this, I’m taking my own advice.
  • Gain understanding. Since I’m the personal trainer many people feel as though I don’t have a clue what they are going through on the other side of the table. Well this is going to give me an idea. A real good idea! With the training I will be doing for this bodybuilding event I will get a good taste of what it is that you all go through during training and setting goals. I believe the experience will help me in my personal training further down the road.
  • Personal reasons. I do have a few reasons that are personal and close to my heart. Some of you who personally know me may know these already. If you don’t that’s okay, this will leave you intrigued, and that’s a good thing! But just know that I do have some personal reasons as well.

An important thing for me to note here is that I have hired a coach to work with to train for this event. I heard many of you just say “why” in unison. There are a lot of reasons. Just like how you hire a personal trainer so you have someone to hold you accountable, identify and improve weak areas, focus a plan to reach the goal, etc., they are the same reasons that I am working with a coach for my training. Oh, and stay tuned because you will have the chance to win some prizes as we get closer to this big goal of mine! I look forward to sharing my experiences with you once I have been in the show.

 

James Gandolfini Dead at 51

 

 

 

 

 

 

This past week many people around the country gasped when they heard that talented actor James Gandolfini had died, at the young age of 51. This came as sad news as he, and the characters he brought to life, will be missed. While the autopsy is yet to be performed, the theory thus far is that he died of a massive heart attack, making this an ideal time to look at the issue – which is one plaguing our society.

Heart disease is a major issue, not just with the personal training clients I work with here in the Vancouver, Washington area, but around the nation. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is the leading cause of death in America for both men and women. In fact, they report that each year there are 600,000 people who die from cardiac arrest, about one out of every four deaths. But it doesn’t stop there. Roughly 715,000 people in the country have a heart attack each year, with 525,000 of those being first time heart attacks.

While we don’t know for sure what James Gandolfini’s diet and exercise habits were, we have an idea that they probably could have been better. His excessive weight and lifestyle habits may have contributed to the heart condition that led to his death. The good news about heart disease is that there are things you can do to lower your risks for it and even avoid it all together, which include:

 

  • Maintaining a healthy weight. Having excessive weight can lead to a variety of diseases and complications, of which heart disease is one.
  • Exercising regularly. One of the best ways to lower risks of heart disease is to keep your heart healthy by exercising most days of the week. A lack of regular exercise activity is so much more harmful than people realize.
  • Eating healthy. We all know this, but we don’t always live by it. Garbage in is going to result in problems. Load up on healthy foods. To lower heart disease risks eat lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein sources that are low or devoid of saturated fats and cholesterol (primarily found in animal based foods).
  • Avoiding smoking. If you don’t smoke, good for you, don’t start. If you do smoke find a route to quitting that will work for you. Don’t give up on quitting this habit. Try, try, and try again until it finally works.
  • Cutting back on the alcohol. Excessive alcohol can increase heart disease risks, so keep alcohol consumption to a minimum.

I guide baby boomers, and others, in the Vancouver, Washington area toward a healthier heart all the time. With commitment to health, which is an investment in yourself, you can help reduce and eliminate the risks associated with heart disease. Whether I help you do it or you do it on your own, make the move now before it’s too late!

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.