Don’t be afraid of the Big Bad Wolves in the Weight Room

I am a personal trainer and I have been in many weight rooms and trained many men, but I still feel uneasy and at times even insecure when the weight room is packed with men.  Last week I had a fourty-five minute break between clients so I decided to do a quick biceps/triceps workout at the gym. I knew exactly what I was going to be doing, right down to the number of exercises and the reps/sets, I was quick and focused but I still got walked all over in the weight room by two men. I will spare you the details, as they are boring, but they were extremely significant to me and I hope no other woman, who asserst herself enough to step-up and workout shoulder to shoulder with the large, sweaty men pushing gigantic weights, has to feel the way I felt last week. So I decided to write this blog post to give you tips on how to assert yourself and conduct yourself in a weight room.

  • Learn how to use the equipment (yes all of it!) – Not sure what most of the machines do or how to use them? Ask someone who works at the gym, it is their job to make sure you feel safe and comfortable. Don’t keep your distance from the fancy machines that you pay good money to have access too just because they look intimidating. First learn how to use them and then decide if you want to incorporate them or not, when it comes to fitness knowledge really is power.
  • Learn Proper Weight Room Etiquette – Not sure what that means? I will tell you right now. If you are using a machine that only requires the changing of a pin, you must allow people to alternate sets with you. Don’t monopolize a machine and sit on it during your extra long rests. If you are doing an exercise like a chest press or a squat that requires weights be added on to a machine or bar, you are not obligated to let people alternate sets with you, as changing the weights would take too much time. In this case people need to wait their turn, and do not let the angry guy staring at you from across the gym, make you feel anxious, yes even he can wait his turn. Wipe down your machine after using it. Don’t leave your towel/water bottle/keys in the way. Put them in a corner and grab them when you need them, don’t place them on a bench as if you are placing your flag and claiming your position. This also means you are entitled to move any belongings you see off the benches or machines. They do not belong there, no saving seats, but be as polite as possible when doing so. Lifting heavy? Feel free to ask someone for a spot, or offer to give one to someone who looks like they might be struggling, we are all friends in spite of our horribly large egos. Be conscious of personal space.
  • Have a Plan: Sometimes clients tell me how lost they feel when they go to the gym on their own, and I understand why. There are almost too many options at most gyms, this is why you need to have your own fitness plan and know your focus before you walk through the door. Don’t stray from this plan unless you must. Stay focused on your own workout and it will help you ignore the meatheads surrounding you.
  • Wear Headphones: This is the best way to avoid talking to men in the gym. Even if you hear them talking to you while you are in the middle of your workout (RUDE!) you can pretend your can’t hear them.
  • Assert yourself: Just because they are bigger than you does not mean they know more about lifting than you, and just because they grunt louder doesn’t mean they are working harder. Do not let yourself be pushed around in the gym. If you are getting ready to use a machine and someone snatches it from you, tell them they can wait their turn. If someone cramps your space and makes you feel uneasy, let them know.

I hope these few tips give you some sense of empowerment the next time you walk into a weight-room overrun with men. After all, why are you paying for a full gym membership if you aren’t utilizing half of the equipment in there. Get out of the cardio room and do some strength training already! You might feel awkward and out of place at first but if you stay focused on your workout you will start to feel invincible.

 

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Posted in Exercise News

Good, Better, Best: How Good is Your Trainer?

Anyone can become a personal trainer, it is true, but not anyone can become a good trainer, let a lone a great trainer. Yes many of us took the same exam, we might have studied from the same text books, maybe even worked at the same gyms, but we are not all equal. The biggest thing that separates a great trainer from a mediocre trainer is passion. If you are passionate about fitness, passionate about your clients, enthusiastic about your own workouts, you will find a way to get results for yourself and your clients. You will take hours of continuing education courses, you will experiment with new workouts, seek out great music, test out the newest fitness gadgets, and try everything out on yourself first. But you must be passionate about personal training in order to push yourself to do this for the sake of your clients. It takes hours of behind-the-scenes work and preparation for me to plan for a client’s weekly workouts, and I am hopeful that it shows, but I also know I have so much more to learn.

I am writing this article to let you know that you are entitled to a trainer that works hard for you. Two years ago I wrote a similar blog post entitled: “What to Look for in a Personal Trainer” – it is well worth a read if you are in the market for one, but this article has a different purpose. One of my clients that moved to Texas last year informed me that she had been with a trainer that she was in the process of leaving, and I thought, “good for you,” because too many people become complacent. You deserve a trainer that pushes you, challenges you and most of all supports you. I know far too many people who have stayed with the same trainer for years, getting nowhere, but are too afraid to walk away because they don’t want to hurt their trainers feelings. Would you go to the same mechanic over and over if they couldn’t fix your car? Would you go to the same hairstylist if they were never able to cut your hair? I hope not.

Personal trainers are in a position of authority with their clients, but that authority is just part of the contrived relationship, a facade to bring about a mood of obedience. This obedience helps us to get you motivated, to force you to do things you wouldn’t ordinarily attempt on your own. It keeps you from arguing during a workout, or complaining too much, but this “authority” is meant to help you, not to make you feel inferior. You should feel that you can talk to your trainer, let them know what is and isn’t working for you, you should never be afraid to speak openly and honestly with them.

So how do you know if your trainer is great? Are you getting results? Do you feel challenged? Do you feel supported? Do they constantly give you new goals to work towards? Can you laugh at your failures with them? Take a good look at your relationship with your trainer, it is not going to be perfect because nothing is perfect, but it needs to be good. If it isn’t good, start doing some research because this world is completely over-saturrated with trainers and there is no excuse not to work with the best.

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Fitness Trends in Review – Indoor Cycling

Fitness trends will always come and go. Whether it’s the cultish following of certain group fitness programs (Jazzercise, Soulcycle, Crossfit) or a new sport that has recently gained popularity (SUPing) there will always be something to talk about. I pride myself on being open to new sports and activities and trying most things at least once, so I decided to give you my two-cents on a few of the trendy fads that have taken off in the past few years. I am only reviewing classes or activities I have personally participated in, this is my own opinion 100%, take it or leave it.

In this article I am reviewing Indoor Cycling.

Indoor Cycling

There are many different programs out there for indoor-cycling right now and I am not going to name names, but I have tried 3 different programs and taken about 50 classes in my lifetime. I think indoor cycling is a great little workout, and yes, when I say “little” I am intentionally being condescending. But before I talk about the cons, let’s discuss what is great about it.

Cycling classes are fun, bottom line. Most of the time you have rockin’ music, an energetic instructor, you get to feel like you have rhythm even if you are rhythmically challenged, you get to scream,
hoot, holler and most of the time you are in the dark so you never have to see how ridiculous you really look. You can basically pretend you are a badass for 45 minutes….but then the lights come on and it hits you; you have been pedaling in place for 45 minutes. What’s worse? You actually drove 20 minutes, sat in traffic, cut off a few drivers and sprinted from the parking lot, just to sit on that stationary bike and pedal your ass to nowhere. From the very first song you are utterly drenched in sweat because they like to crank the heat up to about 85 degrees and refuse to open doors or turn on a fan to make this whole stationary bike thing seems a little more hardcore, or maybe a little more zen, whatever the reason I think it makes it just a little more ridiculous.

As a fitness instructor though, I have to say indoor-cycling is a good workout. It torches calories, especially if you crank up the resistance and max-out for as much of the class as possible. This workout is fantastic cardio, but cardio is where it ends. Although some instructors have you lift tiny little weights that look like they were made for mice, and then have you hold them for an absurd amount of time, these two-lbs dumbells just will NOT build muscle or give you definition. There is no strength training aspect to indoor cycling, sure your legs will get stronger, but as soon as that happens initially, they get used to it and they will not change much after they adapt in the first few weeks.

So what is it about cycling that creates these cult-ish followers?  It’s fun but most importantly it just isn’t that hard. I know, I know, you think I’m crazy for saying that but hear me out. The classes might seem impossible in the beginning if you are out of shape, but after the first few weeks your body gets used to it. I am not saying that the classes are easy, but in all honesty they aren’t that HARD either. The fact that you can sit there and turn off your brain and let the music move you, that is a beautiful thing. You are not having to lift heavy weights, or run long distances, hell you don’t even have to stand! But this is just my humble opinion and you don’t have to agree with it (although if you think about what I just said long enough, I think you will agree).

If you are to walk away from this article thinking one thing let it be this: do not let any “trend” take the place of your regular workout routine. I workout 4-5 days a week in the gym, on my own, lifting weights and doing my cardio, in addition to taking classes like indoor cycling and playing the sports that I love. Lance Armstrong didn’t just ride his bike to prepare for Le Tour De France, he ran, he lifted, he cross-trained like crazy. So if you think that this cycling craze will get you fit and keep you fit all on it’s own, you are wrong, but maybe you don’t want to be right because being right is just too much work.

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No More Excuses

When it comes to exercise routines I advocate planning ahead of time as much as possible. Whether you are writing out your workouts before you walk into the gym, or signing up for group classes on Sunday night, taking charge and planning your week with workouts in mind leads to a more successful week overall. But what happens when LIFE happens? What if that traffic jam on PCH is going to make you miss you evening yoga class, or what if it is raining when you had planned your weekly run, or your mom stops by just as you were about to turn on that fitness DVD…WHAT THEN???!!!

As a personal trainer I have heard every single excuse in the book, but the clients who get the best results are the ones who refuse to make excuses. So life took an unexpected turn, so what? We try so hard to have complete control over our daily lives, but flexibility is equally as important as structure when it comes to fitness. Being able to roll with the unforeseen injuries, mini emergencies, and forgotten social engagements is what separates the good from the great. So here are a few of my tips on how to persevere and get that workout in, even on the most out-of-control days.

  •  Modify your workout: If you planed an outdoor run and the weather took a turn for the worse, take it to the treadmill. If you don’t have the option of a treadmill, pick up a jump rope and get your cardio in with intervals of intense jump rope. If your knee started hurting last night, don’t throw in the towel, instead do an upper body workout! So you forgot your tennis shoes or your sports bra, there are so many things you can do without shoes and without the support of your trusty bra, just improvise. Obviously no high-impact jumping around without shoes or a bra, but you can do strength training all day, or core work. Be creative and work with what you have!
  •  Shorten your workout: If you planned a 45 minute gym session but that work meeting ran late and you have dinner reservations, be realistic with the time you have and dedicate yourself for a solid 15 minutes and call it a night. Sometimes my best workouts were 12-30 minutes long, not 60-75 minutes. Focus and don’t take breaks and I guarantee you will get as much out of this small time as you would have if you had more time.
  • Invite your house guest to go along with you: Entertaining guests is one of the most common excuses I hear from my clients. So you have people staying with you, so what? Invite them to go workout with you, plan a group hike or kayak. Go for a swim or play a game of tennis, it doesn’t have to be a structured workout in the gym, so long as you are getting exercise you are keeping up your momentum and not letting excuses get the best of you. If your guest does not want to be active or is unable to be active with you, try waking up a little earlier in the morning so you can get in your workout without sacrificing any time together.
  • You have children: This might be the most legitimate excuse ever. I honestly don’t know how some women manage as much as they do, but let me share some secrets from some of the most fit moms I know. One idea is to take your workout to their playground. I can’t tell you how many workouts I have lead at playgrounds. Use the benches as your “step” and bring a set of dumbells. Run the stairs or do sprints on the grass at the park. Another idea is to include the children in your workout. I have actually taught clients with newborns, four year olds, seven year olds and teenagers. Every single time we workout together the energy and the laughter is contagious. And yet another idea is just to do something active together. So what if you couldn’t make it to the gym, walk the dogs that extra mile, take a stroll on the beach and play “sandy seal” or break out the boogie boards. Believe it or not one of the best workouts I did recently was Wii Dance and twister!
  • Exchange Evening workouts for Mornings: Many people I know are either morning people or night people, but all too often I know of people making false promises to either wake up early and go to the gym or get in a run after work. Do not make promises you can’t keep. If you know you are horrible in the morning, don’t keep trying for the morning, and if you know you are useless after work or the commute is impossible to plan around, then stop trying to plan on it! Go in the path of least resistance. If you are never going to wake up early, force yourself to workout after work no matter what. Also if you are a morning person who missed their morning workout, don’t let it ruin your day, be flexible and do an evening session, it is okay to change things up, it might even be good for you :)

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Posted in Exercise News, Health & Wellness

You are not at war with yourself

The gym is not your battleground, your reflection is not your enemy. Stop being at war with yourself.

I feel the need to write this article because the fitness industry (like so many other “industries”) is outrageously unfair to women and it will only stop if we stop paying attention to their rules and regulations. If we stop heeding the advice of fitness magazines and TV shows, stop taking the opinions of a few ignorant men, and even some ignorant women and instead do what makes us happy, healthy and strong.

Let’s get started by celebrating ourselves, just as we are. Stop looking at your instagram on #motivationmonday and then frowning and grabbing your belly fat or throwing all of the food in your house away. Stop checking Facebook to see how Sally is doing with her diet because if she get’s thinner than you, you will just give up on everything. I see so many women, myself included, put themselves down on a regular basis. It is as if we can no longer accept compliments or god-forbid give ourself a little pat on the back for the damn good job we are doing. Someone complimented my abs the other day and do you want to know what I said? I said: “Thanks but I got the stomach flu two weeks ago so I think that has something to do with it.” Are you kidding me? I couldn’t even take credit for all of the hard work I do (and believe me I work hard for my abs) I made it seem like an accident, something temporary that I had nothing to do with. I am a personal trainer, I know better, but I still felt the need to say something, to make a joke of my hard earned success. It’s almost as if it’s socially unacceptable to accept a compliment flat out, and no one wants to be the pariah.

Take a minute right now and silently (or outloud!) give yourself some love, state something you are proud of, whether that is the number of push-ups you can do, or how sexy you look in your favorite pair of jeans. It’s okay to think about this one, and it’s also okay if your compliment doesn’t feel honest or genuine, because if you practice it enough, it will soon be not only a thought but a belief.

Love yourself, and embrace these moments of self-love and live in them for as long as you can. Hang-on to these feelings, wrap yourself in them, because before you know it, someone or something will tell you that you are not good enough, and it takes a lot of practice and a lot of love to know in your heart of hearts how horribly wrong they are. Keep up the compliments, keep loving yourself, it will make you shine.

Go get strong. Get healthy. You are allowed to feel beautiful, sexy, and tough. You are allowed to be powerful, graceful and quick. You do not have to choose one or the other. You do not have to sacrifice sex-appeal for strength, you do not have to be afraid of your own potential. Do not fear the squat-rack because “men don’t like bulky girls.” Who cares what men want, what do you want? Are you really willing to live the rest of your life, starving yourself of your own potential because someone that you sort-of-know or someone on a TV program said something about girls that lift weight? Are you really willing to deprive yourself of trying something new or giving up something you love because you are afraid of what others might think? (And by the way heavy squatters have not only the best butts but also the best legs and abs so BAM!)

Maybe you don’t love weight lifting, and maybe you are a dancer. Keep dancing. Dance your heart and breasts away, and never let anyone make you feel like less of a woman because of your smaller breast size or muscular legs. Afterall you can do things with your own body that take most people’s breath away, that send shivers down my spine, that literally leave me speechless.

Maybe you are a runner, a soccer player, a softball player (dyke), or swimmer. Whatever it is there is a stigma and you are living in a very wonderful place surrounded by only beautiful people if you don’t know of any; but I know many because I rode the bus with the boys baseball team in high school and I have a brother who has friends, and I watch TV, go to movies and I read fitness magazines, and I live in a world that demoralizes women and belittles everything they do on a daily basis. The world makes it hard for us to do what we love because they try hard to make us not love it.

Crossfit women are constantly told they are “too bulky” probably by men who can’t lift half the weight they can. Female swimmers are told that their shoulders are too broad, female rock climbers are told that their backs are too muscular the list goes on and on and on. But no one does this to men, no woman would look at a man who is excelling at something that is very hard to excel at and say…”his butt is too big” or “ew look at his arms,” that is because we are not threatened by their accomplishments, we admire them. We are looking at what they are doing and how well they are doing it, not what they look like while doing it. But women do not have that luxury, we must be good at something (but not too good) and look graceful, elegant and poised while doing it. We must be strong but not look strong.

Although I have singled out men, women have followed their lead and  I hear too many females saying almost the exact same things about one another. Stop it. Just stop, because guess what, putting her down for her small breasts or large thighs does not enhance your breasts or slim your thighs. The more you are putting those around you down, the more desperate and insecure you look. Try to admire her, compliment her, embrace her. Do not be threatened by her. We need to support each other because if we don’t no one will. Celebrate each other, congratulate one another. Enjoy your moments of triumph and success and get comfortable with failure as there will be much of it if you have made worthy goals. Set your sights on the impossible, train hard and believe in yourself. Sweat, grunt, fall, fail, it will only make you stronger.

Step into your gym (whatever that may be) with confidence not cowardice. Put on your headphones, don’t look at the others around you, focus, smile, and enjoy this time with yourself.

The gym is your sanctuary, your reflection is a masterpiece, let your unrelenting determination be your guide. You are not at war with yourself.

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Posted in Health & Wellness

The Comeback Queen

Taking a couple of days or weeks off from your normal workout routine can feel like years. Whether you were sick, slammed with projects at school or work, went on a vacation, got injured, got lazy, or just needed a break, we all know what it feels like to get out of a healthy routine. So how do you make the transition from sweatpants to workout-pants? Well first of all you need to make sure you are ready. If you were sick, it is best to wait until you feel 100% better before heading back to your butt-kicking workouts. If you were down with something serious like the flu, or needed medications, these are not illnesses to be taken lightly and you need to be gentle with your body if you want to fully recover. The same goes for injuries, be careful with your body and give it time to heal. Getting back into your exercise routine too soon can cause you to re-injur yourself or get sick again, keeping you out of the gym even longer than the first time! But if you know you are well-enough and just aren’t sure how to get going again here are some tips I have learned along the way.

Start Slow: Don’t kill yourself on your first workout back after a vacation! Even though you feel like you should be exactly where you left off two-weeks ago, the fact of the matter is, you AREN”T! So don’t max out weight on your first day back. Create an “easy” workout to ease yourself back into things. It will leave you feeling like you want/need more next time, and that is better than leaving the gym unable to walk for four days.

Music Music Music!: Hands down this is the best tool for me. Whenever I am lacking energy, all I usually have to do is turn on some good workout music (for me it’s anything from Ben Pearce to Daft Punk) and I am ready to go! I don’t mean turn it on once you get to the gym, that is obvious. I mean if the thought of making up an excuse to get out of your workout even enters your head, turn up some awesome tunes, and get those workouts clothes on. Getting mentally prepared for the workout before the workout begins is half the battle.

Eat Clean: Avoiding the heavy greasy foods you might have consumed while on vacation is the first step to finding that workout-energy. Eating well leaves you wanting to do more positive things for your body. Eating crap always leave me on the couch wanting to do nothing but watch TV.

Get a Workout Buddy: Tried and true, and I know you have heard it before but seriously, call up a friend, set a date and workout together. Neither of you want to be the one to bail on a workout, and once you are there you will be more motivated to try as hard as possible, because let’s face it, you know you are always in competition with your workout buddy.

Set a Goal: No goal is too big or too small. Whether you want to hike Mt. Whitney in the summer or run your first 5k in two-weeks, sign up, get your BIB or get your permits, and start preparing NOW. A goal is fool-proof motivation to get those workout-pants back on, otherwise you will humiliate yourself come race day, and nobody wants to see that. 

Get a Personal Trainer: Even if you think you know what you are doing, even if you think you are the best gym rat in the world, there is always room for more knowledge or a different take on things. No two personal trainers are the same, and everyone has a unique experience to offer you, so you might as well give it a shot. Clients are always telling me that they have never worked harder than when I am sitting there with a timer in my hand, having them get through their dirty-thirties. Even if it is just one or two sessions with a trainer, you will learn something new, or learn how to do something a little different, and if you don’t, then ask for your money back!

 

And here is a little Ben Pearce to get you excited for your next workout!

 

Posted in Exercise News, Health & Wellness

Rainy Day Workout

Lacking motivation on this rainy day? Well don’t fret about getting to the gym, this quick workout can be done in your home with nothing but a yoga mat or a towel. Enjoy and have a fantastic weekend!

 

Posted in Exercise News, Health & Wellness, Videos

How to Soothe Sore Muscles

All your life you have probably dealt with DOMS following a hard workout, but have you ever wondered what is going on? People might have told you different things to help relieve sore muscles, take a bath, sit in a jacuzzi, foam roll, get a massage, pop some advil or drink water. Did you ever wonder why? Did you ever wonder how it benefitted you, or if it even did? Do you even know what soreness is? Well I am a gigantic bath-time fan; a foam roller addict; an Advil-popping, water consuming, sore-muscle whiner. So I decided to dive a little deeper into the mysterious land that is “DOMS.”

What is DOMS:

DOMS is an acronym for “delayed onset muscle soreness.”

What Creates DOMS?

Many people think that soreness stems from lactic acid build up, but this is not the case. In fact most of the pain you feel after an intense workout (roughly 12-48 hours after) is from micro-tears or micro-trauma in the muscle tissue. When repeatedly putting stress on the muscle during an exercise you actually create small tears within the muscle tissue, when this happens the muscle will react by rebuilding muscle tissue to come back even stronger. Too much muscle trauma can be a bad thing, so it is important to be aware of how hard your body is working in order to avoid injury. Lactic acid is most commonly felt during an exercise rather than after exercise or during muscle recovery. Lactic acid creates the burning sensation in your legs during a prolonged wall sit, or during an intense sprint. But almost as soon as the muscles are relaxed, the acid is washed out of the area and the burning sensation passes. There are many different theories on this topic, but the main concensus is that DOMS is created from actual tears within the muscle fibers that were worked, not due to lactic acid build-up.

Is Muscle Soreness Necessary to Build Muscle?

NO. There are many different answers out there right now and this will always be a topic of debate for trainers and athletes but my personal opinion is that soreness is not necessary to build muscle. Yes, creating muscle trauma is a sign that you worked a muscle hard enough to actually tear it and therefore it will repair itself and hopefully come back stronger (aka hypertrophy), but there is also an element of surprise with muscle soreness. Many professional athletes train for hours a day for their specialty but if you asked a swimmer to try a ballet class or a baseball player to jump hurdles, they would be working different muscles in ways they had never tried before, so they will probably be sore. You can almost always count on a muscle being sore if it is doing something it has never done or rarely ever does, and doing it repeatedly. But in order to build muscle and build strength it is important to do the same exercises week after week, adding more and more weight to build strength in one muscle group. After a certain point you may need to switch up the movements and exercises but don’t underestimate the power of consistency with workouts, it is one of the most central aspects of exercise. Just because you are sore after a workout does not mean you worked your muscles harder or more effectively than a workout in which your muscles were not sore. DOMS is most common and most intense among individuals just starting a workout routine, coming back to their routine after time off, and among those that are constantly changing their workout routine.

How do I relieve DOMS?

Muscles need to rebuild, that is the bottom line. The best way to support your body during this time is to get enough rest, eat well, sleep at least 8 hours a night and drink a lot of water. But there are other things you can do to relieve the pain or some of the pain associated with DOMS. It is in debate whether or not any of these things can shorten the duration of your soreness, but if nothing else these all help alleviate some of the pain and stiffness.

  1. Drink water. Staying hydrated helps your body function more effectively in every aspect of your health, so mending sore muscles is no different. Drinking water maximizes circulation, and speeds the recovery process.
  2. SLEEP. Our body does most of its maintenance and repair work while we sleep, so if you are sleep deprived you are not giving your body enough time to heal. This is arguably the most important factor in any recovery process for the body.
  3. Take anti-inflamatory medication or try some natural anti-inflammatories for pain relief. Ibuprofen is an amazing little drug that I will take if I am in severe pain from DOMS. It helps alleviate some of the discomfort. I do NOT believe in taking ibuprofen regularly, or before workouts as a preventative treatment, but when my body tells me that I have some major inflammation, I find it very helpful. If you are not a fan of ibuprofen then try some natural anti-inflamtory foods like: fatty fish, whole grains, dark leafy greens, nuts, soy, tomatoes, beets, ginger, tumeric, garlic, onions, olive oil, and berries.
  4. Take a bath with Epsom salts 24-48 hours after exercise. Why? The Epsom salts in warm water provide a source of sulfur that can be absorbed through your skin
    and the warm water helps to soothe aches and pains. Don’t take a warm bath immediately after exercising, but 24-48 hours post-workout when the stiffness has set-in. It has been shown that taking a cold bath or shower the day of intense exercise can help to soothe muscles. Also alternating hot and cold helps to increase circulation. I have always believed that within the first 24 hours cold is best, and after that, the warmer the better.
  5. MOVE. Sitting still will only intensify the stiffness, moving and exercising is a great way to keep the discomfort at bay.
  6. Get a massage and/or Foam Roll!! If you can’t afford a massage then you better own a foam roller. Massage is NOT only for relaxation, it is one of the oldest forms of medicine we have. The health benefits correlated with massage are countless, I even wrote a whole blog post about “The Benefits of Massage” a few years ago, so go read it so that I don’t have to repeat everything here. Foam rolling (aka myofascial release) helps to stretch and lengthen muscles as well as break of soft tissue adhesions and scar tissue! Do yourself a huge favor and go out and buy one of these today if you don’t already own and use one.

 

 

Written by: Elizabeth Simonton, founder of Malibu Health and Fitness Personal Training.

Posted in Exercise News, Health & Wellness

Workouts for January Continued

Here are the Wednesday and Thursday workouts for January 2014. Wednesday is our abs/cardio day and Thursday is arm day. Now this does not mean you HAVE to do arms on Thursday or butt on Monday, you don’t have to do the run on the day you do abs and you dont have to hike on the day you do butt. Feel free switch up the order, you can do two workouts in one day and take a rest day the next day, I honestly don’t care what order these workouts go in,  just make sure you do all of them in the same week, and no cramming all four workouts together on the same day is NOT a good idea!

As I said before do not feel the need to complete every rep of every workout in the first week. You are just starting out, you will get there soon enough, don’t rush it. If a three-mile run sounds out of this world to you, remember no one is watching, you can take breaks and walk parts of it, or start out with a one-mile run instead. All i ask is that you time yourself so that you can monitor your progress as you go forward. This is all about you, about making yourself happy and making yourself proud. This is not the time to be hard on yourself but instead it is the time to celebrate your ambition and take full advantage of your new-year enthusiasm!

 

Wednesday: Abs and Cardio 

 

Thursday: Arms (Biceps, Triceps, Shoulders)

 

 

 

Posted in Exercise News

2014 – the year of hard work paying off

Happy First Monday of the New Year!

I hope everyone had a wonderful time indulging over the holidays, and got all of the drinking, over-eating and lazing around out of the way so that now you can focus on your health. I love the new year and the whole resolution process, I know it sounds cliche, or just flat out is cliche but I don’t care. This year it is my goal to be more diligent with my workouts, to force myself to have more structure, and to hold myself more accountable. I have always been good at making sure I am “active” and getting at least 5 workouts in a week, but those workouts barely ever follow any sort of pattern. It is impossible for me to make sure I execute workouts for every body part unless I have a schedule set in place before the week begins.

This is my third “New Year’s” related post, as this blog is a little over three years old and I have written about resolutions before so I will spare you that speech. All I am going to do is share with you what I am personally doing this year, so that if you are interested you may follow along. (Click HERE to read 2012’s Resolution Post and HERE for 2013 – both have tried and true advice for health/fitness related resolutions)

Below you will find two workouts. The first is today’s workout: Monday = Butt Day. I thought it was not only approriate but necessary, Legs/Butt are the hardest days for me. It requires the most effort, the most exertion the most sweat and the most pain. I could do arms all day long if I had to but Legs/Butt, no way, it’s just too much work. This is your Monday workout for the rest of January. That’s right, every single Monday you will repeat this workout. It is a simple workout that does not require any machinery or a gym. You need some free weights or a weighted vest and a chair or bench to stand on. Also a balance ball would help with the hamstring lifts but you can do them on the ground or on a bench instead.

 

 

Now here is the catch. This workout is hard, there are a lot of reps, and for some of you (myself included) 20 lbs dumbells in each hand is a lot of weight, especially after completing the first two sets! The idea is this: do this workout as best as you can today. You do not have to complete every single rep, or use the 10 and 20 lbs dumbells I suggest, but write down what you are able to do and then next Monday try to do more. If you don’t have time to hike today, try to do it at some point this week/weekend, or instead climb the stairmaster at your gym! Three miles is what you are working up to and so is the 2o lbs pack or weighted vest. So don’t quit because you are tired after the first set, do as much as you can, write down how much you were able to do and be proud that you started because starting is the hardest part. Next week you will be even more motivated to get that much closer to completing the workout. The goal is to be able to do this entire workout by the last Monday of January, with the hike (or stairmaster) included. If it is too easy for you, modify it by adding weight and reps.

 

 

The second workout is my TRX Tuesday. If you don’t own a TRX don’t worry, just try to do moves similar to the one’s I suggest but with free weights instead of the TRX. This workouts focuses on arms, core and on keeping the heart-rate up. Once again, three sets is a lot for many of you, and 10 reps might be too high. If you want, try for three sets with five reps for your first week. Modify it so that you feel comfortable, remember you are working up to this one, you do not have to complete it all on your first attempt.

 

I will share more with you as the week goes on but the main concepts I want you walking away with are this:

  • Give your workouts structure – Write down your workout before you begin your exercise, don’t neglect any body part or favor any either, track your progress by writing it down.
  • Make attainable goals – Do not set the bar too high in your first week or even your first month, that is what will lead to your ultimate demise, go easy in the beginning, you increase intensity later.
Posted in Exercise News, Health & Wellness