September 23, 2012

Five Common Weight LossTraps To Avoid:

1.      Thinking it is ok to eat more because you exercised.  Exercise is key to keeping weight off, but one hour on the treadmill does not give you license for a second dessert.  Ignore the “calories burned” display (they are seldom accurate), and treat yourself with a non-food reward.
2.      Maintaining that you do not eat much.  Most people severely underestimate how much they eat.  The only way to be accurate is to keep a food journal, and to record each item when you eat it.
3.     Eating only “low fat, low carb, organic, vegan, vegetarian, natural or gluten free foods”.  None of these terms mean low calorie (or are necessarily even healthy).  Read labels, make note of ingredients, nutrition data, and especially serving size.
4.      Keeping your exercise routine the same.  Not only is this boring, but your body will adapt, and results will be harder to come by.  Change up your sessions, add intervals, try a different machine or class.
5.       Hating to exercise.  It is almost impossible to keep weight off without exercise.  If you hate it, I believe you just have not found the mode right for you.  I go into each class and session with a client hoping to make it the highlight of her day.  That may be a little too optimistic, but I feel there is an enjoyable fitness option for everyone.  Zumba is popular because it is fun and accepting of all, boot camps are popular for the sense of camaraderie and “getting through it” they inspire.  Keep trying, and you will find an activity that makes you feel and look good.

September 16, 2012

An Easy Roll To Pain Relief

The tennis ball is great tool for reducing pain all over the body.  (See link:  Using it under your foot is also a great example of how our whole body works as a unit: By releasing the fascia in your feet, you can reduce pain in connected areas of your body.
Try this experiment: Reach down to try to touch your toes, do not push or bounce, just notice how far you can go.   Next take a tennis ball and roll it under your foot (without shoes), and apply a little pressure.  Take about 30 seconds for each foot.  If you feel any sore areas, pause over that spot, point and flex your toes until the soreness lessens.  Once you have done both feet try to touch your toes again; you will notice a big difference. This is because the connective tissue that surrounds our muscles forms lines that wrap around our body.  The fascia at the bottom of the feet is also connected to our hamstrings and back.  Releasing this fascia with the tennis ball helps everything “let go”.
Try this simple move twice a day (before and after your workout are ideal times).  Some may feel more results with a golf ball, but the technique is the same.   Whether you exercise or not, this easy step will help you move and feel better.

September 9, 2012

Is The Biggest Loser Bad For Personal Training?

Whether you are inspired or repelled by the The Biggest Loser and other weight loss “reality” shows, I can tell you that most in the fitness industry are horrified. Contestants perform high-risk exercises in poor form, they are shouted at and humiliated.  Trainers yell and belittle the clients while showing no regard for progression or form.
The concern of many in the fitness industry is that consumers will believe this to be normal behavior for personal trainers.  There is also the worry that many will believe losing hundreds of pounds is achievable with the “right” trainer.  Remember that the producers of these shows decide exactly what we do and do not see. The shows are edited for dramatic effect, and you can be sure that the mundane and tedious are left in the digital equivalent of a cutting room floor.
Despite the tactics, one cannot argue with the results, in fact they are life changing.  However, while it is never easy to lose weight, results are practically guaranteed when you are removed from your home environment and monitored by nutritionists, personal trainers, psychiatrists and medical personnel.  Were we all to have those resources available (and free) there would be no obesity crisis.  On the positive side, the shows do emphasize personal responsibility, making it harder to blame obesity on McDonald's or soda, but their extreme training methods make them hard for me to watch.  I do not agree that these shows are “ruining personal training”, but we should all remember when watching these “reality” shows, that it is just TV.