Sunday, June 22, 2014

What I've been doing instead of writing

I get up in the morning thinking I will write.  But first I scan Facebook.  When nothing is there, I go through my email.  When that’s complete, I head on over to The Weather Channel to see what’s in store for today - should I wear short sleeves or long sleeves?  Sandals or sneakers? What’s the weather in Maine? Oklahoma? How much rain have we had this month? Is it going to rain today? Then, once I decide what to wear, I click on the home button and make my way to the NYTimes where I read a few editorials and a bunch of comments on editorials.  I consider writing a comment but then decide to instead post something to Facebook about an article I read.  Then I scan Facebook again and find some cute pictures of guinea pigs which I email to a friend and my daughter. I hop over to the photographer's website and look at her other pictures of guinea pigs.  And some pictures of ladybugs.  Very cute.  Then I check my email again and delete a bunch of promotional emails except the ones from the Gap and Purl Soho and Bernina.  I’ll go back to those at another time.  Then I start thinking about what I am going to wear and click over to the Nordstrom's website and check out the designer sale.  I put a few things in my cart then google the items to see if there are better prices on another site, which there aren’t.  But I'm not sure what size I need so I decide to go back to my cart later.  Then I decide to check out Barney’s to see if there are any PRADA shoes on clearance.   Nope.  Which is ok because I haven't liked the last 3 or 4 seasons of PRADA shoes anyway.  What was the weather again? 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Core Exercises Part Two

This week for in my Core for Beginners Workshop I focused on exercises using stability balls as well as medicine balls or Bosu Soft Fitness Balls.  For beginners I'm also a big fan of the Bosu Ballast Balls as they are a bit more stable due to the weight of the sand.  There are lots of sites with great stability ball exercises but I think this one is particularly awesome! You have to register to have access but it is worth it.

These exercises may be mixed with the exercises from last week.  I recommend 2 - 3 sets of 10-15 reps for each exercise.

Bridge Press with feet on ball
Bridge Hamstring Curl
Reverse Crunch
Quadruped with abs on ball
Side Plank 
Side Leg Lifts on ball
Windshield Wipers with calves on ball
Standing Russian Twist with either medicine ball or stability ball
Standing Side Bends with or without light weights

Also, if you are looking for a good exercise app, try Sworkit.  Easy to use and great variety.

Get moving!

Monday, January 06, 2014

What Do We Mean When We Talk about Core?

The gym where I work is offering trainer workshops for the month of January and I was asked to come up with a topic to present.  After a few days I settled on "Core for Beginners."

These days fitness people throw around the word "core" the way the fitness people of the past used the word "abs."  But what is "The Core" and why is it important?


A simple way to think about your core is to think of it as your body's center. You can also think of it as your body's base from which your extremities extend.  Your head, arms and legs are attached to your core.

In a spiritual sense, you can also think of your core as your heart's center or your "core beliefs."

In fitness, your core is the basic musculature that supports your pelvis and your spine.  It's role is to provide stability to you in movement.  Essentially your core muscles allow you to move your body in a variety of ways (planes of movement.)

Muscles of the Core

There are four basic muscles groups of the core.

  • Abdominals: rectus abdominus, the tranverse abdominus and the internal and external obliques
  • Spine: erector spinae and multifidus 
  • Pelvic floor 
  • Hip gluteus maximus and rectus, quadriceps, psoas
This is a pretty basic list.  For more detail you can visit an anatomy website.

Exercises for the Core

Truthfully, any dynamic movement will involve the core.  But if you want to specifically work the core, then there are an infinite number of exercises that will strengthen the muscles that support your body.  Below is a listing of mat exercises that can be done at home or in the gym.  These are my favorites and all of my clients are quite familiar with them.

And, please, always maintain a neutral spine to protect your back.  The easiest way to to that: keep you head on the floor!!!

Check back next week for a second list of exercises using exercise balls and other equipment.

Be well and get active.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Changing and Adapting and Enjoying the Process

There is no doubt that the seasons are changing – the leaves are falling, there’s a chill in the air and the skies are grey.  It happens every year but it always seems to catch me by surprise.  However this predictable change is also quite comforting.  I know that cooler weather is coming, what I need to do to adapt to it and approximately how long it will last.

So, what does this have to do with fitness and wellness?  In a direct way, these changes bring challenges to our ability to take care of ourselves.  Parties, food, and the disruption in our routines all come with the fall and winter holidays.  But we know this is going to happen because it happens every year. Therefore we can plan for it, adapt our habits and enjoy the process knowing that these seasonal fitness challenges will end.

However, I want you to consider changing how you view this time of year.  Rather than focusing on filling it with food and libations, focus on filling it with laughter and friendship.  Rather than rushing from store to store for last minute items, take time for a walk outdoors and enjoy Mother Nature as she goes through her ritual.  Rather than feeling constantly overwhelmed, set your intention to enjoy the opportunity to celebrate holidays with your friends and loved ones.

Start planning now for the challenges ahead so that you can enjoy the present moment.  Be aware of your triggers.  Be kind to yourself. 

The point of fitness and wellness is to be able to enjoy your life.  Have fun.  Celebrate.  Jump in a pile of leaves.  Throw a football with your kids or grand kids.  Meet a good friend for a cup of coffee.  Make a healthy vegetable stew to keep you warm on a cool night. 

Because this time will pass and the season will change again.  Don’t worry, the best part is, you get to do it again next year. 

Be well

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Serenity and Change.

God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things which should be changed,
and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other."

This prayer came into my head this morning.  And it got me thinking about how we all try to change ourselves and our bodies.  Increasingly as a society we have accepted surgical modification as a way to either preserve beauty or to enhance it.  But what are the things we can really change without the assistance of a medical professional?

I cannot change my height but I can change how tall I stand.
I cannot change the size of my feet but I can change how rooted they are to the ground.
I cannot change the color of my eyes but I can change what they see.
I cannot change the shape of my mouth but I can change the words the come out of it.
I cannot change the length of my fingers but I can change the frequency of their touch.
I cannot change the placement of my heart but I can change how I often I extend it to others.
I cannot change my IQ but I can grow my emotional intelligence.
I cannot change the fact that my body needs food as fuel but I can change the quality and quantity of the fuel and how frequently I refuel.

And a fun one:

I cannot change my LOVE of chocolate but I can change the frequency with which I eat it.

Be well.