Nicki Anderson
Archive for the ‘Exercise Barriers’ Category

Can Work and Workouts Coexist?

By Nicki On March 23, 2014 1 Comment

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After only 6 weeks in my new position, I hear the voices of my clients from the past (my clients from the fitness world). Client after client would swear that they just didn’t have time to exercise and eating well was near impossible due to eating out for business meetings.  I rarely bought it and believed if they wanted it bad enough,they could make the changes.

As I write this, I have become my client. Working 12-14 hour days, my flexible schedule no longer exists as I’ve become a product of work hard, exercise later. This past week as I found myself feeling a little “off” after once again eating out. I now have a much better understanding of my clients challenges. Here’s what I’ve learned so far.

 You really have to want it. My day starts around 7:15 a.m. or so. If I want to get a workout in, I need to be up at 5:00 a.m. and in the shower by 6:00 a.m. I have chosen to set aside M,W,F as my exercise days, but right now I’m lucky if I hit two of those days. Thank God for Saturday and Sunday, those are my make-up days. I do commit myself to no less than  three days of workouts with a feeling of exhilaration if I can make four. Who’d a thought? After 30 years  of listening to what I thought were excuses, I now get it. However, I do the best I can knowing that staying committed to my workouts allows me to perform optimally both personally and professionally.

Oh the food. I now average eating out about 7-9 times per week. Additionally, there is always food at the office, not necessarily healthy food. Although I don’t eat any of the left-overs at the office there’s still eating out.  I thought I had it under control. I never eat anything fried or processed. I stick to “clean eating” as best as I can, but the bottom line is that restaurant food tastes good for a reason, the secret ingredients whatever they may be. Even in salad there likely lurks something that may not be good for you. After years of eating most all of my meals at home and being largely in control of what I put in my mouth, that has all changed. After this last week of once again feeling “off” after eating out, I’ve realize I simply need to keep the fridge at work stocked with healthy food. When eating out, make it minimal such as  a side salad, or small bowl of soup (ugh the sodium) and then come back to the office and eat what’s in the fridge. P.S. Why do hotels that have fixed menus think when you order vegetarian it means  pasta and cheese? Just throw a bunch of veggies on a plate and I’m happy. Interesting perception. peopleatrestaurant

Breakfast is still the most important meal. Because my time is crunched, I’ve been grabbing a Larabar with some fruit. I was used to better quality such as oatmeal, eggs, green smoothies, leftovers from dinner. I need to get back to that.

The weather has sucked. There is no doubt (I’m sure psychologists have research on this) that a long, cold, snowy winter changes food cravings along with the desire to exercise. Oddly enough, during the time of year when we need it the most, we don’t do it. Guilty as charged. I do hope once summer hits things will change. I live four blocks from work and have walked to work a total of one, yes ONE time. Why? Weather along with meetings where I need my car. It stinks. Once the weather shifts (if it ever does) I will get back to walking.

At the end of 6 weeks, here’s what I’ve discovered. As a country we don’t design life around healthy living, we design it around convenience which means too much fast-food and too little exercise. For years I believed that no matter how busy your life, you can and must make time for health. I still believe that however, my reality has altered. A little bit of something is better than a lot of nothing.

  • So how about you?  Do you squeeze in the time to care for your health or do you find that it’s just too hard? If it’s the latter, I feel your pain, but do what you can to make it work, even if it’s just a few short walks here and there. Let’s not let work trump our quality of life, it’s short enough as it is!
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Here’s to never wishing for more time rather making the most of it.

Nicki


Save Your Dollars and Sense- The Real Scoop on Weight Loss

By Nicki On January 6, 2014 6 Comments

 

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O.K, I have to admit that every January I cringe when I see the ads for weight loss. The miracles abound and the “real” answer to weight loss woes are simply a click away. Too  much belly fat? There’s a program for that.  Excess holiday weight gain? There’s a drink for that.  Get abs of steel with 4 simple steps. My response to all of those secrets to success is bull$&@*!  After 30 years in the health and fitness industry I ask that you read the rest of this post knowing that what I’m sharing with you is fact. No hype, nothing earth shattering simply the honest to goodness truth about weight loss, why people are overweight and ultimately what the ONLY solution is.

First, let it be said that I made the conscious decision to sell my fitness business and walk away from the industry after 30 years. I was fried, frustrated and felt it was time to move on and find my passion and purpose somewhere else. I’m sharing that with you so that you understand I have no ulterior motives other than to motivate you to walk away from any “too good to be true” ads and prevent you from parting with good money for bad solutions. So, here we go.

1. Diets don’t work, period. Yes, yes, yes, we’ve all lost weight on them, self included but for the long-term they do not work. What works is CHANGING your diet. Each day,bit by bit, small change by small change.

2. Say good-bye to fried food, fast food and fake food. You can’t expect to make these changes over night, but I can assure you, if you get rid of the 3-f’s your body will respond in kind, i.e. you’ll drop some lbs. and feel significantly better.

3. Ignore the television ads and 3 minute solutions in magazines. Here is what you should always remember, if there were truly a drug, vitamin, piece of equipment that really helped you lose weight successfully, it would be on every news program, on the front of newspapers, etc.  There isn’t one so the next time you see an ad that shares “Millions of people have already bought our product and been successful” they’re likely lying.

4. Here are the ONLY things you need to know to reach a healthy weight, reclaim your health and potentially get off of medication:  Eat less, move every single day (even if it’s only 15 minutes), drink more water, limit alcohol, get a decent amount of sleep and love yourself.  That’s it, that’s the secret, that’s the miracle.

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Books, magazines and ads can spin weight loss any way they want to, but the truth is #4 is the ultimate solution. Of course, your expectations need to be in line with your lifestyle. In other words, if you like having that occasional glass of vino, you know that exercise daily may not happen and you still love your Friday night pizza, don’t expect miracles. But if you’re still eating better, drinking more water, moving more consciously (even if it’s getting up from your desk every 30 minutes to grab a drink of water) you’ll be ahead of the game by years end.

O.K. I feel better. Do you?

 

Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it. Happy 2014!!

 

Nicki

 


Sometimes it’s more about the finish than the win

By Nicki On November 4, 2013 No Comments

IMG_0658About 8 weeks ago I was at a community event and ended up fracturing my toe. Fortunately, it wasn’t a sprawled on the ground spectacle, rather a moment of internal screaming, followed by a variety of stars  and then an out  loud, “Sh@t! That going to leave a mark!” Then I realized something far more serious. I was in the throes of training for a half marathon, I just broke my toe. Double sh@t!

Let’s go back a bit. I never thought myself as competitive. As a kid, I loved letting other people win. Perhaps being the youngest of three girls I figured I didn’t have a chance, so I just gave in.

That all changed when early in my twenties I was at a karaoke contest. You would have thought that the lives if my children were on the line. I was going to win that contest, period. I concluded that my competitive spirit had been stifled far too long and was ready to make up for lost time.

Fast forward, I love winning. Seems silly but nothing makes me happier than winning. Be it a business venture or family card game, I’m in it to win it.

Since running my first marathon more than 10 years ago, every race  I run to win my age category. People in my running circles remind me that it’s about the finish. Internally, I’d roll my eyes and think, yeah, yeah, yeah.

I have written some columns and blogs about respecting my body and honoring its limits as well as its possibilities. But I don’t always heed my own advice, I tend to focus on the possibilities and um, winning. However, fracturing my toe set me back, significantly. Since then, I’ve become obsessed with making up for lost time.

However, this past week I completed my  longest run before tapering  prior to the 1/2 marathon  November 10th. Early in to my run I noticed a young woman (I live on a college campus) walking with two canes. Immediately after that I saw a  young man wheeling down the college walkway in a wheelchair. It hit me. The fact that I can just lace up my running shoes and go run is a gift. I have no limitations. O.K. so a broken toe, really?

I decided to acknowledge my setback and not head in to next week’s event to win (my age group) rather  simply to finish.  Sometimes just finishing the race has to be enough. I’d rather finish pretty than win ugly.2010 Hot Choc Run033

As of today, I’ve trained the best I can. I appreciate that the real win comes in the training and my dedication to finish the run.  As much as I love to win, I suppose getting to the starting line is a win. Finishing is simply the bonus.

Here’s to many brilliant finishes!

Nicki


The Evolution of Exercise

By Nicki On October 24, 2013 6 Comments

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Recently, a friend of mine wrote a post about exercising as we get older. The gist of her piece was realizing that you don’t have to kill yourself to be in shape.  But when does that realization hit? Is it triggered by the pain following an overzealous workout? Or simply an internal conversation reminding you that pain isn’t necessarily the conduit for a fit body.  For most of us, it’s likely the former versus the latter.

At this stage of my life I’m no longer interested in working out to be a mean, lean fighting machine. I work out to feel good and to fight gravity as much as possible. I work out because it’s my medicine of choice. I can either pop pills or exercise. I exercise because I feel better mentally and physically. I work out because exercise keeps me young, agile and strong. I work out because I’m a very responsible person and working out is being responsible not only for myself, but for those I love.

So why is it that many people still don’t exercise? During my 25+ years in the industry,  the following were the most popular reasons people didn’t exercise.

1. It’s too time consuming

2. I’m too old and the pain is not worth it.

3. It’s too hard

4. I don’t get results

5. I can just change my diet and I’ll be fine.

 

Here is my response to the above.

1. It’s too time consuming.  According to research boomers spend about 27 hours a week on the internet. Yes, 2-7. My friends, that’s a part-time job!  Exercise requires 30-60 minutes a day. If you can carve out time for the internet, favorite television shows, etc. you can make time for exercise. Use the internet as incentive. “After I walk for 30 minutes I can then check out the internet.”  Remember, too much sitting can be deadly.

2. Too old and painful- Not buying it. I know hundreds of men and women well in to their 70’s and 80’s that exercise every single day. Some suffer from arthritis, some from old sports injuries, but they swear that if they didn’t exercise the pain would be significantly worse. They also shared that because of exercise they are medication free. You’re never too old to move. 

3. It’s too hard. You should never exercise to the point of pain. Exercise should be energizing. If you’re a beginner, please don’t take an advanced class thinking it will be more effective, it won’t.  Start off with baby steps. If you take it slow and easy, you’re likely to stick with exercise. If you beat yourself up, you’ll quit. Use common sense, don’t let ANYONE tell you how hard to push yourself. You know your body, honor it and challenge it appropriately.

4. No results. The greatest revelation I had a few years ago was the understanding that exercising for unrealistic expectations (perfect body, perfect abs, legs, etc.) is an exercise in futility. I have seen more people give up exercise because they weren’t getting the results they wanted. Nine times out of ten, the expectations of my clients was completely unrealistic. Here’s the best reason of all to exercise, it’s good for your health. If you feel better you’ll look better.  Magazines or television shows that make promises or show incredible  results are not to be believed. No two bodies are the same and the truth is, the older we get, the more realistic we have to be about exercise. Realistic expectations are key in maintaining a healthy, rewarding relationship with exercise.  I exercise to be engaged in life and live more fully. I owe my energy to exercise. IMG_0073

5. Change your diet. Granted, 65% of weight issues with people are nutrition based. However, exercise is absolutely vital. I’ve seen many people just diet and never exercise. They have terrible muscle atrophy, brittle bones and many problems that come from too little movement. A combination of a healthy diet (not deprivation) and regular exercise is the secret to good health.  Personally, I get in about 7-8 hours of exercise a week. And that’s not all in the gym, it might be mowing the lawn, intense yard work, etc. If I’m active above and beyond walking out to get the mail, it counts.

Please note, there are days when I don’t feel like working out, my life will not end, it will go on with or without my workout. I’ve learned to cut myself some slack when I skip a day here and there. However, missing more than 2 or 3 days is a warning sign, pay attention. Unless of course you’re sick.

There really is no reason to skip exercise. I always used to tell my clients that a little bit of something is better than a lot of nothing. Don’t compare, don’t create unrealistic expectations. Treasure your body, marvel at it’s potential and treat it with the respect it deserves. That my friends is the secret to a beautiful relationship.

 

Here’s to never wishing for more time, but making the most of it.

Nicki

 

 

 


An overdue coversation with my body

By Nicki On October 7, 2013 9 Comments
Everyone's body is different.

Everyone’s body is different.

Me: We need to talk. Let’s have a seat, this conversation is long overdue.

For years you did everything I wanted. You got up every morning without pain or creaks. You ran up and down stairs with little effort. We took an exercise class and you responded with the good kind of sore which prompted me to do it again. At which point you made it very clear,  too much exercise and you don’t get along. I got the message.

For quite some time we worked together liked a fine tuned machine. I did anything I wanted physically and you accommodated.  But all of a sudden you stopped. I found myself questioning activities, wondering if you would come along for the ride or teach me a lesson by making the next day’s simplest of tasks painful.

Provide specifics you ask? Why sure.

I used to run like there was no tomorrow. No discomfort or pain, I just ran. Recently my hips hurt, I get twinges in my knees and well quite frankly, every  morning I wake up it takes a good 10 minutes to work out the stiffness. Honestly, I’m not so sure you get how frustrating this is for me.

Another example. you know how I love to write, I’ve been writing for years. All of a sudden the joints in my hands are sore after too much tapping on my keyboard. Hey, if you want me to give up writing, you’ve got another thing coming. But come on,  a little reprieve would be nice.

Most recently I was out in my garden doing some weeding and there it was, the back pain everyone talks about. I’ve always been good to my back, so why the zinger?  Was it something I said?

So, it seems that if you’ve got a beef with me, now is the time to get it off your chest so we can continue this relationship and feel good about it. O.K. I’m done, now it’s your turn.

Body: Well, I’m not quite sure where to start but let’s start with basics. I think I’ve given you a pretty good ride so far. Despite the periodic abuse during your younger years, you’ve been pretty good to me. But the running, you never should have done that marathon. That pretty much did me in. I can only support you so much before I have to kick in “conserve mode” in order to preserve you for the next 50 years.

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I feel like I’ve been more than fair to you. You still run, you still take stairs 2 at a time, and you’re pretty active. At the halfway point in your life, that’s impressive.

Rather than telling me everything I’m doing wrong, how about a pat on the back for what I do right? I think we have a great understanding. You take care of me, I take care of you, pretty simple.  If there’s aches and pains here and there, get over it, some of my other body friends are in far worse shape. But that comes from the partnership, they don’t have a very good one with their owners. I think we have a pretty good one.

After all these years, we’ve worked well together and I foresee that relationship continuing as long as you keep on respecting what I can do and honoring what I can’t.  All body’s have limits and though I certainly  like to be challenged from time to time, don’t be stupid. I’m the only body you’ve got. Treat me well and I will reciprocate.

Me: I stand corrected. Thanks for all you’ve given me. I look forward to a long, healthy relationship. And most of all, I’m lucky I have you. Thank you.

(Reprinted from MoMentumNation 10/7/13)

Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it!

Nicki


Exercise is great, but what if you don’t like it?

By Nicki On September 30, 2013 14 Comments

 

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My friend and I were out for breakfast the other day and we started talking about the importance of self-care. We discussed friends our age that due to self-care negligence are suffering from a number of maladies. We then discussed the perception by others that just because we both work out doesn’t mean we love it, it simply means we’d rather not deal with the consequences if we don’t.

After 20 plus years in the fitness industry I saw my share of clients who suffered with a number of preventable diseases most common, high blood pressure and diabetes. The truth is that for many of them (other than Type 1 clients) the diseases were 100% preventable. 100%!  Yet, after years of neglect, the body begins to shut down and many feel it’s too late to intervene. It’s never too late.

I was never an athlete. I wasn’t raised being active and never did much of anything until at the young age of 16 I found myself 50 plus pounds overweight. I started reading and implementing what I learned about nutrition and exercise. One year later, I lost the extra weight and never felt better.

The hardest part of being or becoming a healthy weight is maintenance. I can say with certainty that the way I felt 50 pounds heavier, versus the way I felt after,  set the stage for a lifelong dedication to exercise and eating well. To this day, I continue learning. There are also  plenty of times I need to push myself to exercise, like now I should be running, I’m writing. I’ll go, I’ll go.

Along the way I’ve picked up some nuggets that help me stay on track and get my butt out of bed on those mornings where my toasty bed begs me to stay.  See if some of these may help you.

1. We all want to feel good. Regular exercise combined with a healthy diet feels good. one-workout-away-good-mmod

2. We all want to look good. There is no doubt that exercise and a healthy diet result in looking vibrant and well.

3. We all want to fully engage in our lives.  I have seen too many people avoid certain situations because their weight kept them from participating. Life is too short and the older you get the  more you realize it. Becoming engaged starts with becoming active.

4. We all have moments where we just don’t want to. There are times when you need to accept you don’t want to and move on or times you need to kick yourself  in the arss and just do it!  You need to understand the difference between giving your body a day of rest or giving up on your body.

5.  Unrealistic expectations are the undoing of many well intentioned exercisers.  None of us, no matter how we exercise will ever have a perfect body, ever. So what?  Exercising automatically kicks up self-confidence. When you move more you feel better about yourself. Let that be enough. It’s not a competition.

6. Have fun. For the love of God, find something you enjoy. And don’t say, “There’s nothing I like.”  If you say that it’s because you  haven’t found it yet.  Maybe you don’t like crowds, so stop joining a gym. Maybe you don’t like exercise clothing, don’t wear it. You don’t like running? Biking? Swimming?  Then don’t. There’s plenty, literally hundreds of options. Create a list, try everything, dancing,. martial arts, hiking, whatever. Find something. If you can’t, call me, we’ll talk.

7. Make the most out of your life. The truth is that if you really, really want to feel your best, you must care for yourself the best. No one can take better care of you than you!  So many people give, give, give and forget themselves in the mix of things.  Carve out some me time, even if  it means 15 minutes of stretching before bed. You will limit the quality of your life if you don’t take care of yourself, period.

8. Find a role model.  My role model is a gorgeous woman who is likely now in her 70’s and has been an active woman since I met her over 20 years ago. She’s always got a smile on her face,  a kind thought to share and is regularly active. She’s impressive. I want to be her when I’m her age.

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9. Be a role model. If any would have ever told me that someday I’d be a mentor for exercise I would have laughed, a lot.  By changing your life, you may inspire someone else. Trust me, if you’re struggling with eating well and getting active, there are likely people around you who struggle with the same. Be the change, start the movement and watch the lives you can change, beginning with you.

10 Set a dream activity. Ever wanted to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro?  Go on a safari in South Africa? Bike Australia? Participate in a fundraising walk?  Create the steps to make it happen. It will be so cool when you do. I know because I’ve done it.

I hope this helps if you’re at a crossroads with getting yourself on a healthy track. Please don’t wait until January 1st,  because statistically those resolutions are short lived.  Baby steps today, climbing mountains tomorrow, why not?

 

Here’s to never wishing for more hours in a day, rather making the most of them!

Nicki


Exercise- It’s a Privilege Not Punishment

By Nicki On September 1, 2013 12 Comments

 

 

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When I owned my training studio, I would often tell my clients that exercise is not a punishment, it’s a privilege. My clients would give me an odd look as ask, “How’s it a privilege? It’s not fun.”

Well, I suppose it’s all in how you look at it. I am one of those people that takes stair steps two at a time. Every time I reach the top of the stairs I am thankful for the strength, agility and balance to be able to do that. Being active is not only good for your health, it’s also a way of honoring a body that allows us to do so much.

The fact that I  am healthy and able to be active is something I never take for granted. Every time I go out for a run, walk or bike ride I am grateful. I was reminded of this just a couple of days ago when I fractured my toe.

My daughter had just agreed to train with me to do her very first 1/2 marathon. Thrilled at the opportunity to train with my daughter, we set out our training schedule and ran our first 3 mile training session last week. The next day was an off day, so I did a bit of strength training, looking forward to our next training run on Saturday.

However, the running Gods had different plans for me. While out with friends on Friday, the rain slicked up the grass and I banged the crapoli out of my toe on a makeshift walkway. Yes, I saw stars.

I limped back to my crew and was reminded I had to walk about a mile or so back home. I complained the whole way wondering if it was a sprain or actual break. Either way, treatment is simply ice and patience. Ugh.

I woke up to a black and blue foot, discomfort and pain that was not even suited for walking much less running. My daughter had to go out on her own while I stayed at home “resting”. I don’t like to rest, it makes me crabby.

So here I am, 3 days post  injury and wondering how quickly I can get back to running or even walking  pain free. Every day I think about how much I miss my running  and realize that exercise of any kind really is a privilege. And like other things in life, sometimes you don’t appreciate what you’ve got until it’s gone.

At this point, I’ll cheer my daughter on and kick up my strength training. But I’ll be counting the days until I can get back to my training.  With every step I’ll think about how lucky I am.   180133_10150106878560929_760825928_6127386_1997986_a

Exercise- punishment or privilege, what do you think?

 

 

Here’s to never wishing for more time rather making the most of it!

Nicki

 

 

 

 


Showin’ Boomers the Fitness Love!

By Nicki On August 19, 2013 No Comments

 

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I’m in love, again. Romance between me and the world of fitness has been reignited. After recently attending IDEA World Fitness Conference, the largest health and fitness conference in the world, I’m giddy with excitement knowing that after years of wondering, where the fitness love is for a boomer, I’ve found it!

For 10 years I was a speaker at this conference, but this year I attended as press. So cool. I was able to learn, mingle and sample new fitness gadgets with no worry of a pending lecture.

In the last few years the fitness industry has been heavily influenced by research touting high intensity exercise as your best defense against extra pounds and aging. I don’t know about you, but this gal has taken a few of those crazy high intensity classes and I left feeling every bit my age.

For those that love the Cross FitInsanityP90X knock yourself out. The beauty of age is wisdom and I know that jumping around as if my knees had brand new shock absorbers is a bad choice. Further, if my wisdom is slow to engage my bladder jumps in and says, “No!” (TMI?)

What I discovered at this conference is although crazy exercise programs are alive and well for those naive enough to think they’re indestructible, there are programs out there for people like me. In the words of Cindy Lauper, “Girls just want to have fun!” And this girl is no exception!

I need to like what I’m doing, and if I’m going to be consistent with exercise it has to have a likeability factor.  If you’re not enjoying what you do, seek out something else. I loathe when someone says, “Walking is for weenies.” When I hear that my impulse is to challenge them to a walk-off, but I stifle myself.

It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you do something every single day, even if its only 15 minutes. Do what you enjoy and embrace the opportunity to connect with your body. As I get older, I find myself participating in activities that make me stronger and more flexible without feeling like I have to compete with kids 20 years my junior.

IMG_1653So keep your eyes peeled for new programs coming your way including indoor SUP training created by Laird Hamilton. I had the unfortunate position of getting a photo with him. Some body has to do it! Cardio Bounce (old school mini tramps amped up) and of course the plethora of dance classes, no coordination required. Well maybe a bit, but you can fake it.

Although I’m a runner, I am we’ll aware of my limitations and at this years fitness conference it seems fitness pros are getting it and offering classes that are not only fun, they’re inspiring and appropriate. What a concept.

(Original post 8/13/13 – http://www.momentumnation.com/fitness-love-for-boomers/ )

 

Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it!

 

Nicki


Why people fear exercise

By Nicki On March 10, 2013 10 Comments
Is this the only route to fit?

Is this the only route to fit?

When I was a trainer, the most common belief amongst my clients was that I jumped out of bed every morning with a smile on my face yelling from the rooftops, “I LOVE EXERCISE!” Truth be told, I don’t. Unfortunately, today exercise stirs up a much more negative connotation versus 50 years ago. In other words, many people don’t even get started because they fear that exercise has to be all or nothing.

When my Grandmother was growing up she was very active. She lived on a farm and got regular exercise. When I was little I always played outside, there was no such thing as video games so I was outside being active and getting regular exercise. No advertisements, no push to exercise,  being active was simply part of life back then.

Thanks to advances in technology there are more things today to keep us sedentary versus active. Therefore, we’ve had to connect with exercise in an unnatural way, in that  we have to make time for it versus simply being active in our day to day lives which used to be enough. Not to mention that the food consumption was significantly different 50 years ago.

Today exercise is a challenge of the strongest, fastest, fittest people. To just walk is perceived as a less than cool activity which makes Crossfit the antithesis of walking. With each new report that the obesity battle continues, there arises new, more intense fitness programs. Each of these programs brag about their ability to leave participants weeping like a baby on the floor or if they’re lucky, puking their brains out because they gave it their all. That’s where my love or even like of exercise stops.

The idea of exercise which consists of tears, pain and the highly coveted throw-up session is not a draw for me. Now there will be those that say it’s not true, high intensity exercise does not encourage any of those t hings. Well, I will agree that responsible exercise does not encourage nor tout crying for your mama, writhing in pain or hunting down the nearest toilet to let go of your last meal. However, I see hundreds of ads, articles and websites that encourage blood, sweat and tears as a badge of courage.

I cannot in any way take away from those that truly love that sort of challenge. But the promotion and encouragement of that type of activity intimidates many folks that may want to start an exercise regime.  I know on the days where I just go for a walk, I feel a bit wimpy. And I’m in the 35% of those that exercise on a regular basis!  How must those folks feel that don’t exercise?

The bottom line is this. Exercise has morphed in to this world of fast and furious for it to matter, but that’s not so. Sure, if I do 100 squats and 100 pushups and carry a tire over my shoulder for 50 feet, not only am I a stud, I’m probably in pretty good shape. But the truth is I don’t want to do that, but that shouldn’t make me feel like anything less is pointless.walking(2)

I want to be proud of anything that I do to contribute to my health and if that means a walk on a regular basis, so be it. If I want to do a yoga class a few times a week and I don’t leave crying because I pushed myself beyond what is normal doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter, it does. Any amount of activity that you can do counts.

I hate the idea of exercising so intensely that I can’t walk for 3 days following. I hate the idea of being so sore that every time I go to sit down my eyes water. I hate the idea of thinking that if I don’t exercise for at least an hour, it’s pointless.

But here’s what I love:

I love when I get some activity in my day-to-day life be it a walk, bike ride or swim. I love when I feel invigorated and proud when I’m done exercising, not exhausted but invigorated.
I love when I finish exercising and look forward to the next opportunity I have to be active, on my terms. I feel incredibly proud when I finish a run especially when my motivation to do it was weak at best.

For the record, I’m not judging someone who enjoys exercising till they drop, God bless them. What I’m trying to get across is for the 68% of people that don’t exercise on a regular basis, if they think they have to kill themselves to be fit, they’ll never do it. Exercise should not be a scary proposition, nor should it hurt. For beginners will it be hard? Likely yes, but that’s like anything new. New things are always a challenge. But the idea of exercise should inspire possibilities for good health, not conjure up thoughts of fear and pain.

A solid walk counts, a great yoga class that respects your limitations counts, heck any class you take that respects your limitations counts. Exercise is about doing what your body was designed to do, move. There is no reason to beat yourself up during an exercise session in order for it to count.  Find what works for you, what you like or maybe even love. Only then will you be able to embrace activity and realize that whatever you do to be more fit and healthy is a great thing! You don’t have to kill yourself for it to count!

Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it!!

Nicki

 


Getting Back to Basics Best Strategy for Weight Loss/Management

By Nicki On July 15, 2012 2 Comments

Fresh fruits and veggies should be eaten all the time, not as a diet strategy, but as a health strategy.

I had a discussion with a friend of mine last week, and she shared her newest strategy on getting healthy, and losing some unwanted weight. Her approach? Major restriction during the week, and pig outs on the weekends. When I shared my concern about that strategy, she said, “It’s what works for me!” Hmm, it may work now, but what about 1 year from now?

According to research published in the journal Obesity, splurging even just two days out of the week can add up to an almost nine-pound weight gain over the course of a year!

Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis followed 48 overweight adults for a year, tracking daily food intake and weight. Even from the beginning, they found a striking difference in what people ate during the week compared to the weekend: On Saturdays, people ate well over 2,200 calories, while Monday through Friday, the average calorie intake was about 2,000 calories. The amount of weight they were gaining based on these extra calories—about .17 pound a week—could translate to about nine extra pounds a year.

Lead researcher, Susan Racette, PhD, and her colleagues divided participants into three groups: 19 subjects were put on a calorie-restricted diet, 19 were instructed to follow an exercise regimen, and 10 were asked not to change their behavior at all. Over the course of the year, members of the caloric restriction group lost an average of 17.6 pounds, the exercisers lost about 14 pounds each, and the healthy-eating control group lost just two pounds. Upon closer inspection, however, the weekends still posed a problem and thwarted weight-loss efforts.

“Those in the calorie-restricted group would have lost over .6 pounds per week, but because they overate on the weekend, their weekly weight loss was about .5 pounds per week,” Racette says. And those in the exercise group actually gained weight over the weekends.

Even though they were asked to keep food diaries, many people in the study didn’t realize that they were consuming more calories on the weekends. This could be because of the types of food they’re eating (high-calorie on-the-go options), the lack of structure in their days, or the laid-back mind-set that many of us adopt on our days off. Whatever the explanation, this study suggests that one reason why people who go on diets often don’t lose weight as fast or as easily as they first predicted is due to overeating on the weekends.

If you think weekends may be sabotaging your weight management efforts, here are some suggestions:
* Try to stick with the same meal patterns you follow midweek on the weekend.
* If you know you are going out for dinner find ways to get in a bit more exercise that day and  be  mindful about your food consumption during the day. Further, you don’t have to “splurge” when out to eat. There are plenty of healthy options that taste fantastic.
* Limit your alcohol consumption. Alcohol is a diet double-whammy; it’s not only rich in calories itself, but it also reduces inhibitions and causes mindless snacking.
* If you exercise, don’t reward yourself with food. This common practice is the reason so many people are unable to lose weight and keep it off. Stay hydrated and stay on top of healthy food choices. On the flip side, some people blow exercise off on the weekends because it’s their rest time. Bad move, especially if you’re consuming more calories. Make exercise part of your everyday life, not just when you feel like it.
* Pack fruit and healthy snacks (nuts, chopped veggies) if you’re going to be out of the house all day. This way you won’t rely on food-court selections that are loaded with garbage.
These suggestions are pretty basic, but often forgotten. It’s typically the little things that can make a big difference. It’s up to you if you want that difference to be positive or negative.

 

Here’s to Your Health!

Nicki