Sunday, October 23, 2011

Trying to get my Groove Back

Welcome to Day 1 of my fitness blog! I am a young woman, well, in heart and spirit anyway. I am getting closer to 50, and I am fighting the tide that is trying to pull me in to being old. I have been a runner for years, but I have never attained the level of fitness that I have desired. I work full time and go to graduate school too! I have a husband,  2 sons, 2 dogs, and lots of housecleaning and laundry to do. I have responsiblities in my extended family as well. What I am trying to say is that this is not going to be easy. Oh, did I mention that I have Meneire’s Disease as well? If I can do this, then you can too. I don’t have extra ”time.” I have 2 boys in college, so I don’t have extra “money” either. I know that excuses get you no where. I am going for it. Go with me!
My 21-year-old son has been working with Fadi Malouf  and  Rebecca Pitts at My Fitness Solutions for a few months. His life has changed. His body is becoming a work of art. How could this be? He is getting better and stronger, and I am still carrying the tummy that was stretched out during pregnancy 21 years ago? I can no longer excuse my abs by talking about pregnancy!
My son, Michael suggested that I go to My Fitness Solutions for an evaluation. I went about a month ago. I met Fadi and he evaluated my fitness level. He told me that if I came in and committed to the program that I would see a difference in about 60 days. That excited me! .
In the past month, I went about 3 times and worked with Rebecca, a trainer at My Fitness Solutions. In that short time my body began to react to the training. I could see slight diffrences.   Then I was off on vacation and I missed the training.
 So now I am back from vacation and starting to work  out again and wanting to see if this really works. Join me in my adventure to see if I can get my groove back. I want to gain strength and definition in 60 days. I have visions of abs like Dara Torres. Let’s see what happens. Is it really possible for me to get my groove back?

Strength Training for Women: Why?

Tracy helps me try to make the 12th rep
When I read the advantages of strength training I wonder why I have wasted so much time NOT strength training. The results of strength training for women are quickly visible. It is like the body yearns to get stronger. It is a hidden desire lying wait while I watch movies and make excuses. But then when I give it the chance my body welcomes the workout.
The Mayo Clinic confirms my thoughts. The Mayo Clinic points out that the reasons for women to begin pushing weights are numerous. Just a little time in the gym has huge pay offs. It doesn’t even take as long as distance running and the benefits out weigh all that sweaty cardio. (
Did you know that strength training diminishes the signs of back problems, arthritis, depression, diabetes, obesity and osteoporosis? If it does all that why aren’t women lifting? Why aren’t they getting  with a trainer today? Strength training also boost your stamina. Who doesn’t want to have more energy? Women have too much to do not to be strong. Women are too busy to be sick and unhealthy.
On Saturday, as I was finishing the run part of a triathlon, I  ran by a woman sitting in a chair smoking a cigarette. She was morbidly obese. She and I shared a smile and a hello as I ran past her apartment complex. I was so saddened to see her. I am sure that she was about my age. I realized that  for some reason she had given up and was sitting. Her sitting was causing her to end her life slowly. Women can’t do this. We have to grab life and go! We have to engage our bodies in the activities like strength training that makes life healthier and us stronger.
I have just started lifting weights. I have been attempting to do it on my own at my gym for a while. It is intimidating to try at go over to the “men’s side” and ask questions, not to mention pick up the little weights. I was trying on my own but I wasn’t getting results, however with my trainer, Tracy Carswell at My Fitness Solutions the guess-work has been taken out of it. I go in and get a great workout and see results quickly. I have support and someone else has to figure out what I am supposed to be doing. I am not afraid to ask questions of my trainer. They want to be the expert. They are there for me. They want to help me get stronger!
Too many health benefits are available to women not to lift weights! Grab some weights, girls and get started!
                                                                                                        vacation ended.
I went back to work with gusto. I headed to a week long conference, then to a graduate class that requires lots to homework, and back to regular work that has morphed into 2 new jobs to learn. Did I mention laundry, cooking, running errands and cleaning? My schedule went from lovely to crazy busy. I like to be busy. I like learning. I like a challenge. I like “new.”
All this added up to me sometimes eating poorly and missing my morning cardio . That forced my body into a plateau. This happens when I work out from time to time. I hit a dip. I get very discouraged. When working out alone I don’t know how to get out of it. I don’t know how to develop a plan.  I sent a text to my trainer that I had hit a plateau. I didn’t think it would be much of a big deal. I found out that was it WAS a REALLY BIG deal. They don’t want me to fail. They do everything to help me succeed.
When I got to My Fitness Solutions, Tracy and Fadi met me. They discussed with me my observations of what was going on. Fadi took me into his office to go over my goals again, and we wrote on the board where I had messed up in my ability to reach my goals. Fadi drew it all out on the board for me to evaluate. He explained that I was like a train and headed down the track. I was about to approach a cow. If  I had enough momentum then I could just go through the cow, but I didn’t have enough momentum so my train was stalled. I have to gather more momentum. I have got to produce more steam. I have to work a little harder and watch my nutrition like a bulldog on a bone. Nutrition is 80% of the success of strength training according to Fadi.I don’t have enough momentum yet to have a cheat meal.  Tracy is always giving me ideas of things to pack in my bag to eat.  I have got to get back on it.  We also discussed that I had made goals, but they weren’t specific enough. I need measurable goals.
Fadi then customized a workout for me and worked me really hard. I am sure I catapulted over my plateau, and I am back on track. (I have to be. It is difficult to raise my arms to brush my teeth!) Then one of the other trainers, Rebecca, whom I have worked out with before called me to see if I wanted to go run 10 miles on Sunday morning. She is so helpful and encouraging. She gave me tips along the way. She knows I am beginning to train for a marathon in November.
All this led  me to do some soul searching on developing measureable goals and re-igniting my efforts to obtain them. It is so easy to derail when you are trying to rebuild your body. If you are alone, it is easy to just quit because you don’t know how to navigate out it.   Life easily finds a way to roll in and messes up the ride. Then your head gets in the way and you want to quit. But with accountability and intimate help by my trainers I am back on track.
 Here goes. Gotta build that momentum. Gotta , gotta, gotta.
See my favorite video:
I am back in the gym tomorrow. Making it boil! Kim

How to Live Forever
How To Live Forever
Jack LaLanne at age 94, fitness guru: Put yourself first
LaLanne, who passed away earlier this year at the age of 96, spent two hours a day exercising. “This is where I take care of the most important person in my life: me,” he jokes. “Exercise is king. Nutrition is queen. Put them together and you’ve got a kingdom.” Keeping up with a weight lifting, cardiovascular and diet plan until he died, LaLanne believed in treating his body with the utmost respect.
From Kim:
Great article! Treat yourself to reading the whole article! This is what keeps me active. We are going to be here a long, long time. We want to be healthy the whole time. My friend’s 94-year-old grandmother just died. She told my friend just a few weeks before her death while walking around at the lake, “I want to be alive until the day I die. Here today and gone tomorrow.” What a great tribute to life!
I love LaLanne’s quote, “Exercise is king. Nutrition is queen. Put them together and you’ve got a kingdom.” Brilliant!  This was a life well lived. The article states that he exercised 2 hours a day to take care of the most important person, himself.
Making these rewarding little choices every day,  add up to a better longer life! All it takes is making a choice to get active and then just go do it! Get moving. Make your life better!

Weigh Not, Waist Not

As you know I have been diligently engaged in trying to learn about fitness and nutrition. For the first time in my active,  athletic life I have started strength training. I did not know anything  about strength training. I started at zero with guidance by Tracy Carswell at My Fitness Solutions. I started losing weight quickly, then as I continued to work with the weights I started gaining weight. I got so discouraged. I didn’t know if it was fat I was adding or lean muscle mass.
I was thrilled when I read Dr. Oz encourage his readers to go by their waist size and not their weight because weight changes so frequently but for a variety of reasons. This gave me hope. We do know that women that have a waist size of larger than  32.5 to 35 inches, measured just below their belly button have an increased incidence of some type of cancers. This was one thing I was working to avoid.
I felt sure that this way of keeping up with my progress was going to be magic. I would have a solid number that I could monitor my losses. I quickly grabbed a measuring tape. I measured my waist. It had expanded by 2 inches! I was horrified! I had been working so hard. Now my weight was up, and my waist had expanded! I considered  giving up, but I knew that I was doing everything  just as I had been told and working really hard in the gym. I just decided to keep at it. Although for a brief moment I did consider eating an entire cake and grabbing a gallon of Haagen Daaz. (I figured that it had gotten me through a heartbreak earlier in life, I could probably count on it again.)
Then it happened. I realized that I was hormonal. For a week I was heavier and had gained 2 inches in my waist! That is so unfair. Women have to consider hormones when they are working on fitness. It really does affect all parts of your body and brain! I was shocked that I could gain 2 inches in my waist as I am not usually living by a measuring tape.
I have since measured and I have again lost more weight and inches! I am going to continue to use the scales and the measuring tape. I am just going to use a calendar too! Hormones have to be considered when women are trying to monitor their losses.

Pounds Down

I have been using a nutrition program for two weeks now. I am learning so much. I would not ever call this a diet. It is a nutrition program. I am learning every day. I am eating 6 small meals a day. Every thing is planned out for me. All I have to do is cook and eat it. It is authentic and nutritious foods. There is also an exercise plan that accompanies it. I have found new foods that I didn’t know that I liked. I have lost a quick 5.9 pounds! My husband has shed even more. My son says that you can’t get fat at our house even if you want. We only have healthy choices at our house now. It has changed everything.
We are all feeling stronger and healthier. We have more energy and stamina to help us throughout the day. We are getting wiser about food choices. I have really started looking at the foods that I have eaten and served. I am really seeking what is healthy. Tracy Carswell is a genius at this. He seems to know all the ins and outs of foods. I was thinking today about foods. One thing I have to do on this diet is add good fats with each meal. This has meant that I have had to add avocados, almond or peanut butter, or olive oil to different meals. Then I started thinking about the standards of food-the ever famous peanut butter and jelly sandwich. This should really be renamed the fat and sugar sandwich! Although I must admit that I have eaten more than my share of these over the years.
As I am caught up in my own search and learning adventure for what is healthy and what acurrately fuels the body, I am aware of the foods around me that others are eating. I am trying hard to keep my suggestions to myself now that I have seen the nutrition light. Then because my thoughts are lately dominated by fitness and healthy nutrition, of course life throws me an opportunity. A mother of a student with whom I work suggested that potato chips were healthy because they  are made from potatoes. They were potatoes. I almost choked on my all natural smoothie. Potato chips are not healthy foods.
In the words of Maya Angelou, “When I know better, I do better.” I am now on the curve of learning to do better nutritionally. It is just the beginning. It is a commitment for life. Jack LaLanne, the famous health innovator said, “Exercise is king. Nutrition is queen. Put them together and you have a kingdom.” It is all about trying to be better today than I was yesterday. Living better and learning more. The plan is available on-line to anyone, anywhere. It really works and is easy to manage. It is designed so all the work has been done for you. It really makes it convenient.
I recently heard a friend say,”I want to finally lose 50 pounds for my 50th birthday. ” When you really want to lose it or you know someone who has dealt with a weight issue, or if you want to finally lose that last 10 pounds here is the way to do it. It is just straight, honest, science that can be easily done in your kitchen. I have spent so much money over the years buying diet meals that didn’t work and starving,(that definitely didn’t work). I just want my friends to realize that here is the answer when you are really ready.
Enjoy the weekend! Watch out for what you are really eating and serving! Love those people in your life so much that you will begin to make the healthy choices for them. Give them the fuel that it takes to live a long, healthy, vital life.  Now you know better!

I Ain’t Going to Rehab!

They tried to make me go to rehab, I said, “No, no, no” Yes, I’ve been black but when I come back you’ll know, know, know I ain’t got the time and if my daddy thinks I’m fine He’s tried to make me go to rehab, I won’t go, go, go I’d rather be at home with Ray I ain’t got seventeen days . . . as sung by Amy Winehouse.  She was right. She was exactly right. She didn’t have 17 days. She used up her days as she burned up her body. Her body finally gave out and gave in.
How we justify our actions is nothing short of genius. We can sway even ourselves into believing that our actions, especially our little actions, will not catch up to us. You know the actions like eating that biscuit or eating the last bits of a dessert just because. Afterwards, we find ourselves  in a predicament, and then we talk ourselves into thinking that we don’t have the time or the money to rectify it. When indeed, not choosing to use the time and resources that we have does cut our days short.
I had dinner with a friend this weekend. She works in cardiology. She said that she doesn’t have fit patients in cardiology. They just don’t show up. She said there may be a few that are there for something genetic, but it is usually clean and easy, and they return home. She said that the tragedy is when you have young people who are there because they didn’t think they had the time to be healthy, then she is taking care of them as their lives are really cut short and they are losing fingers and toes due to diabetes, another implication of not making healthy choices. You have to add to that high cholesterol and blood pressure. These can be avoided completely by making those small life changes, just changing one action at a time.
Healthy choices begin one small choice at a time, but like a savings account it adds up and adds days and quality of life to those days. This journey that I have been on to discover fitness and strength  has empowered me greatly with what constitutes good nutrition and strength. It has been almost 3 months. I have lost  10 pounds and inches all over my body. My body is beginning to change its form. I am stronger and healthier than ever. I am glad I took the time. It didn’t take too much longer than 17 days to make big (or small, depending on how you look at it) changes! Take the time to make those changes to your own nutrition and exercise program. You will be better for it. Take care of yourselves!

Goal Setting

We are the creative force of our life, and through our own decisions rather than our conditions, if we carefully learn to do certain things, we can accomplish those goals.
Stephen Covey
Setting a goal in fitness is fundamental to you achieving success. Goals are necessary for success because they focus your intentions and propel you in the direction that you want to proceed. When you have set a goal you are more acclimated to be aware of the tools and resources that you need. You are more open to tap into resources that are available to you. This might be utilizing people, books, free weights, videos,  music, websites, magazines and journaling as support. Surround yourself with support. Let others know your intentions. Prepare to succeed by establishing your fitness goals.
 Additionally, these goals must be specific. The wording of the goal is important. There is a difference in, “I want to lose some weight,” and “I want to lose 10 pounds by the end of the year.” The second goal can be measured. If your goal can be measured then you have a greater chance of meeting success. You are immediately able to see if you are on track to obtaining the results you want. Goals must be specific.
Finally, make sure that your fitness goal is attainable within a realistic time frame. Ask yourself if it is indeed a goal that will benefit you. It may be possible to lose 100 pounds, but do you really need to do that? It may be easy to lose 5 pounds, but is that goal really the one that improves your fitness and health. Think about the time that it took you to gain weight or lose the muscle tone. Are you allowing enough time, but not too much time to get the results you want? Answering questions like these are the reason that it is important to have an expert working with you. Get started. Let an expert  help you set a specific, measurable, realistic, time based goal and go get it! You are your most valuable asset! You can do it.

What do I eat?

It should be no surprise that Americans are reaching unheard of levels of obesity or that our billboards are decorating the highways warning of childhood obesity. It is what should be expected. Unhealthy amounts of foods are pushed on the public on every newstand and every television commercial. Ever tried to stay on a treadmill and watch TV for an hour? By the time you finish running,  you are sure that you should stop by some fast food joint and get a burger and a super size of fries. Evening programming is saturated with advertisements for scale tilting soft drinks, sodium dripped snacks, and jean busting desserts. The thing is that all of this food is legal. It is relatively cheap, and it is easily available. To top it off a  good friend or family member will go with you! We have created relationships that depend solely on gathering for shared food. Why sometimes we will even sit down with people we would rather avoid, just to eat with someone.
It is the side effects of all this eating  that are so expensive. It is very hard to live a full life when you are strapped for medical expenses that pertain to diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. But you could really say, “The devil (media) made me do it.”  High amounts of food are pushed on you until you are not sure what or how much to eat of anything. Then you go to a restaurant and they bring you a single plate. They forget to tell you that plate should serve your entire family of four. By the time that you leave the restaurant you are feeling sluggish, guilty and your pancreas is in over drive. (Your skinny jeans are still at home wanting to come out and play.)
But how much should you eat? Is there a way to figure out how much is okay without walking into Longhorn’s with a food scale and science beaker? Here are some ways to manage your food consumption to make it not quite so obtrusive.
Three oz of meat or poultry is equal to the size of a deck of cards. If you are trying to count calories, then you should only be eating meat the size of a deck of cards. Your days of eating a 22 oz steak are over. Your skinny jeans will thank you. You can measure your fish by comparing it to the size of a checkbook. How about when you are invited out to watch a $15.00 movie and popcorn is offered? Well, realize that 3 baseball handfuls is all you will get to add up to 1 serving. Eat slow and make it last. Remember that movie popcorn is loaded with salt and butter. That adds to the calorie count. Just wait until after the movie and go get a steak the size of a deck of cards! But when you order the steak, if you have to eat the baked potato, remember that a baked potato should be the size of a computer mouse, not the size of Texas.  Most people hear all the great things about almonds. Almonds are very good for your body, but you have to measure these too! One serving of almonds is equal to about 12 almonds, that is right. Not a bag of almonds, even if they are crunchy and a better choice than potato chips. All of those calories add up!
Take charge of your eating. Think about a deck of cards, a checkbook, a baseball and get back in those skinny jeans! You know the secret now!   You are worth it! Your skinny jeans are waiting!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

It Would Never Happen Where I Come From

I read this story, and had to push my chair back. I needed room to laugh. Here is the story: An 11 year old boy in Germany called the police to report forced labor after his mother had asked him to "tidy up his room." He needed more free time.

Now I don't know where you are from, but I am from a little town in south Georgia. My daddy knew the police, his brother was the chief. If I had so much as considered calling to complain about "forced labor" I promise you that the next day I would have been begging for all the forced labor that was available. When my parents gave me a chore there was not a question about doing it.

Where I am from "tidying up your room" was easy. There were jobs available in the sun at Wight's Nursery, there was okra to be cut, tobacco to be broken, peasand tomatos to put up. Have you ever sat with your grandmother and cleaned corn or snapped beans on the swing on a hot summer afternoon?

The heat in the summer in my little town slips up to 100 degrees easy by noon. So any out door activity besides hitting the city pool could really be considered "forced labor," but I promise you no body is going to attempt to call it that. The folks that I grew up with just got it done. Forced labor was so much better than the consequence of questioning anybody about doing any type of work.

Work in a good thing. My daddy always said, "If you don't have blisters you didn't work hard enough." Free time is so much more appreciated when you have worked hard and perservered through any effort. When did work become a bad thing? Even God worked 6 days and then rested. I guess He must have been from my little town too.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Find the Fun!

Well, today was back to real work! I was up and out early this morning. I have decided that no matter what else is going on in life- I have to find the fun in every day. Some days I have to scrounge around for it. There are some days that I want to give in and get old and ignore the fun that is happening around me!  Life is too short!

Today I had to report to work, but I still wanted to have fun.  I decided that getting there would be my fun! I rode my bike all the way! It was nice and cool early in the morning. The road for me to get to work is under construction so I had to take a detour. This led me right up Masters Road past a horse and also 2 deer. What fun! It was a super way to get the day started!

After a full day, I headed over to My Fitness Solutions to work out with Tracy. Today was a leg and core workout. I worked really hard. I pushed weights heavier than before and held my plank for what seemed like days, but it was only 1 minute and 13 seconds. (My PR so far!) As I was gulping down my water after my workout I thought, "Now that was BIG FUN!"

It took me about 45 minutes to workout with Tracy. It was challenging and uplifting! Nothing is as fun as making a goal and beginning to realize that you are going to make it! Fadi, Tracy and Rebecca are helping me! They are taking the guess work out of it and executing a perfect plan that really works. I wish all my friends were with me, then it would be even more fun!

No matter what you have on your to do list for tomorrow, make sure that you find the fun!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Women have all the answers because they aren't scared to ask the questions

Who says that you can't teach an old girl new tricks?


When I arrived at MFS  for my training Fadi asked, "How did your swim go yesterday, and how sore are you?" I told him that my swim went swimmingly. (I didn't confess that I was still trying to deal with the personal devastation from an article that I read that quoted Lance Armstrong in saying that he swims 3000 to 5000 yards a day. That totally minimized my swimming efforts.) I told him that I really wasn't sore from my previous leg workout so I had played the day before at my gym. I had lifted some weights and done some climbing before I  swam. . .

Fadi cast his eyes down like a dad was who ashamed of his daughter for staying out past curfew. He pulled me over to his whiteboard. Then he said, "You only do strength training here so you can get the most benefit of your efforts." He began drawing arrows on the board. "You have to give your muscles time to rest and rebuild."

I quietly stood there and thought that was what I had done. "I  did more. Shouldn't that be better?" I asked.

Fadi explained, "In order to grow muscles and strength you have to break the muscle down and give it time to heal. Think of your muscle this way. It  is like interlacing your fingers together and pulling them apart until you see gaps. That is what happens when you work out. You create gaps in the muscle fibers. You have to take  time in between workouts to give the muscle time to rebuild and fill in. During this time the gaps fill with bigger muscle cells. This forces the fat cells away from that area, and  go else where  in your body where energy is needed. You want the muscle cells to get bigger. You don't want them to break down again. You must  fill in the gaps with muscle cells to become more lean . That is why you have to take time between strength training workouts."

We are born with all the muscle cells we will ever have so we have to build them.  God has a sense of humor.  He created us so that we can make new fat cells and lots of them! They stretch ,poke and extend. Think of it as an deflated balloon. As we eat the wrong foods and continue to be inactive we fill our balloon or muscle fiber gaps with additional fat cells. These stay right there where they are not supposed to be. They can ruin a bathing suit or a midriff top in NASCAR speed. The idea is to force those fat cells away from the muscle by contracting and extending that muscle area. Then I have to wait for this transformation to take place so I can rebuild my muscle cells to take up the space. This builds leaner, stronger bodies!

Okay, I get it. Next time I am going to ask him why your muscle hurts after you work out. You know women aren't scared to ask questions. That is why we have all the answers! Go women!

Friday, July 22, 2011

MFS Academy: Meet Tracy Carswell


"Where's the driver?" a passerby screamed hysterically at Tracy Carswell. Tracy, dazed and wandering on foot north on 85 south answered, "I am the driver." "You survived that?" Tracy continued to walk, lost and aimlessly, along the road in his bloodstained, silk shirt. People began to stop and gather. They summoned rescue squads to the scene. As the paramedics arrived Tracy rebuffed them. He refused any of their services. He told the EMT's that he didn't need his blood pressure checked. They insisted that he might be in shock. He just wanted to be somewhere else.

It was June 4, 1994. Tracy was a successful mortgage originator. He was heading down I 85 S to close another mortgage deal. He had just passed the Jimmy Carter exit and was approaching the Pleasantdale exit when he heard a loud scape ricochet down the side of his car. "Grinnnnnd." As he attempted to figure what it was he thought at first that he had a tire blow out. Things were happening in immediacy. Then his car began to spiral. He quickly realized what was happening, but it was too late. An 18 wheeler had scraped its fuel tank down Tracy's car and over his head. Then Tracy's car was turning in front of the truck. Tracy knew that he had to get out. At some point he got out of his car and started to walk. He doesn't know how.

Tracy got home and within a few hours was back in the emergency room, unable to move. The shock had  begun to wear off. He was now feeling the assault his body had engaged earlier in the day. The doctor gave him pain meds and Tracy was then back at home for months. A guy that used to be outgoing and kind, slowly became a monster -- irritable, quick-tempered, and extremely difficult with which to live. He lost his job and dealt with the agony of physical impairment.

He was ready to regain his life, but then he was walloped with migraines that made him unable to begin the climb back to life. It took more time, but finally a medicine was prescribed to him that eased the pain, Lisinopril.

After months, the doctor told him he would have to have surgery on his back. If he would have the surgery, said his doctor, then he could repair his body over time and get back to being himself.

This surgery seemed like the answer, but again almost too late. His body had grown weak. His attitude was counteractive. He didn't have strength or motivation. He had also added 80 pounds to his skeleton in the months of inactivity. The surgery on his back was a success. He began to move around. He played golf and made a goal to go waterskiing by the following summer vacation.

He felt like maybe he was beginning to wake from the ongoing nightmare. He went in for a physical and was told that his cholesterol and blood pressure were too high. The doctor told him that he would have to begin taking a series of medications to prolong his life. Lipotor being one to lower his cholesterol. He knew that this was a slow death sentence. He was still too young and had survived too much to start taking medications now. He knew that high cholesterol and blood pressure could be controlled with weight loss and exercise. He rebuffed the doctor's prescriptions and vowed that day to take charge of his health.

 He started by reducing his food intake and eliminating the foods that were bad for him. Then he had to learn what foods were actually good for him to eat. He added those to his diet. Slowly he tried adding walking. After a while he ran just a little distance. Just one step at a time. As he started feeling better he learned and tried more exercises and strength training.


Fast forward. Now he is my trainer at MFS Academy. He is agile and flexible. He is strong. He understands the fight against weight gain and medical issues. He is now 80 pounds lighter and his life has changed! He is a gentle giant that is motivating and encouraging. He listens. He wants to know what you want your body to accomplish for you. He supports you to get there. He has endured medical issues and weight issues.

 He is 50 years old and in the best shape of his life! He has dedicated himself to helping others find their way to healthier lives. He wants for you what he has found. He makes the process of getting stronger and leaner something to look forward to and enjoy. He is the new weight loss expert at MFS Academy. He specializes in tremendous weight loss in people over 40. He takes the guess work out of it for you. He has already wrestled weight gain and won.

His services are available at the studio privately or in a group. I know that they offer services even online. I will have to find out about those for a later blog. You don't have to do this alone anymore. Thanks, Tracy! See ya on Saturday morning!
                                                        See Tracy and Me "Hanging Out"



Tuesday, July 19, 2011


We have a BIG PROBLEM! The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports today that 30.4% of the residents in Georgia are overweight. This is an increase from 27.7% in 2009. A new program, the SHAPE Act will be seen in schools this year to help stop childhood obesity. This is long overdue. 

I teach school. One of my jobs is to make sure that students get out of cars safely in the morning.(It is amazing what you get to do with lots of education!) It saddens me when I see children who are so obese that they struggle to get out of the back seat. They are stiff like old people. There is a particular child who grieves me. I have watched him as he advanced through school and got larger each year. One morning he tried to get out of the car and his feet got tangled up in a Tupperware cake plate and he fell. His mom had a cake in the floorboard of their car! I have watched him get out in the mornings with donuts and carbonated drinks that he shoves back into the car. One day I got behind him as he tried to climb the stairs at school. I intentionally stayed behind him because his breathing was so labored that I wasn't sure that he was going to make it. This is beyond tragic.No 10 year old should become exerted to get up stairs. Instead they should be reprimanded by old teachers like myself for running up the stairs

We really need to rethink how we eat and spend our leisure time as adults. We are in charge of making decisions for our children. When we are sedentary we are modeling for our children a lifestyle that promotes catastrophic disease. No one wants their child to have a future that is limited in anyway. When we dream for our children we dream without boundaries. 

It is time for us to begin to dream that way for ourselves. We have got to begin to take those necessary steps to improve our own health. Our futures shouldn't be limited either. I just read a must read-life changing book, Younger Next Year by 71 year old former attorney, Chris Crowley and and wellness doctor Dr Harry Lodge. 


It points out why we are becoming such a sick nation. The writers suggest that since the beginning man was forced to scavenge for food. This simple, but necessary act made humans stronger and more resilient. It is true, "The fittest survive." Fast forward millions of years. 

We are in an age of being comfortable. We don't even get up to change the channel on the TV anymore! We have sofas that have multiple recliners. We spend complete days leashed to computers for our livelihood. We get food through drive in windows. We spend hours of family togetherness watching movies in the dark and not speaking. Then on special days we sit on those same sofas with multiple recliners and WATCH sports! 

 All of this sitting has sent a message to our brains, says the writers of Younger Next Year. This sitting tells our physical brain that we are done with living. This causes the decay and deterioration of our bodies to begin. The body actually begins the dying process when we engage in a sedentary lifestyle. We aren't living! 

We gotta get moving Georgia! So what did you do today? Better yet what are you and your family going to do tomorrow? I am meeting my trainer tomorrow at 4:30 at My Fitness Solutions. Think I will get up early to go run before work just to be on the safe side! Life is good, Georgia! Let's start moving!

Monday, July 18, 2011

My Fitness Solutions:Official Day 5: I am BACK!!

I am back! I have been on vacation for the past two wonderful weeks! I have ridden horses in Colorado and swam in Florida. Now I am back! Back at the gym and back at work!

I really did well on my trip to Colorado. I even went to a gym and did some strength training. I ate lots of chicken and veges. This leg of my trip was with my family.

 Then came the immediate trip to Florida to see my two girlfriends. Any restraint where food was concerned ended when they promised they wouldn't tell if I tasted this piece of authentic Mexican fried ice cream. I fell for it. It is was more than delicious. I stuck my spoon in that piece of cake and fell right off my fitness wagon into the middle of the road. Kerplunk!

                                                This did me in! Knocked me right off the wagon!

Now I did attempt redemption the next morning by running. I am glad life gives do overs! I am doing over. Starting right now. Again.

I called My Fitness Solutions on Friday before I left Florida to schedule a workout. Rebecca was booked for the afternoons, and I had to go back to work. I was assigned to a new trainer who could meet me in the afternoons now that I am back at work. This is going to be difficult because when I am at work. I am usually tired when I get off, and I am making myself go to the gym tired or not. It happens with commitment.

My new trainer, is male and in tip top shape! He swears that he used to be out of shape and over weight. You would not believe it! His name is Tracy. He is from Dacula. I wasn't really sure about having a male trainer especially since I was coming back after 2 weeks off. How much was this going to hurt?

We started off by going in the forbidden room. I protested. I didn't want to go. I made excuses. But Fadi, the owner, thought that I should get measured and weighed. I tried to explain that I had been on vacation for two weeks, one of those weeks with my two girlfriends who would testify in a court of law that I didn't eat that fried ice cream cake! (Even though I have chocolate stains on my shirt! That is the kind of friends I have!)

We went in THE ROOM. Fadi did my measurements, I have only gone to MFS for 4 official visits.Fadi told me that I would see difference in 60 days which should be about the middle of September. The inches are beginning to melt away. Not to mention how much stronger I feel.  I was surprised to find out that in spite of my vacation, I have lost inches all over and weight! Yay! (Don't tell but I really missed working out!)

This is the way for Stella or Kim to get her groove back! It is so incredibly hard for a woman, who is my delicate age to make changes in her body. I actually thought it was somewhat impossible. Fadi, Rebecca and now Tracy keep encouraging me. I feel as though I have an entourage! All these people are helping me look after my health.

Today Fadi told me that I can invite 1 person a month to come work out with me one time for free! Who is coming with me? This is the way to do it and get results quickly! Why waste your time doing the other stuff that hasn't worked in the past and will not work now? Come on!

Oh, and Tracy. He is all muscles and encouragement!  He did push me. He did tell me to add more weight. He did tell me to hold my legs in the air until failure on an ab exercise, but he wasn't mean at all and didn't make me push too much weight. I am going back to train with him on Wednesday. Can't wait! I will take pictures.

Friday, July 8, 2011

My Fitness Solutions: On Vacation

Life is about balance. All year I work really hard trying to be the missing link for students who are struggling to learn. My colleagues and I are dedicated to trying to give the students at our school, whose learning is charged to us, the best possible education. I have always loved working with the students who find school difficult.

But now it is July. . . It is summer. I have left the borders of Gwinnett County and headed first to the beautiful state of Colorado. I left my regular life behind and took off to have some fun! Believe it when I tell you teachers really like to have fun! When I left I also left behind my structure for fitness. I am on my own out here to choose my meals and my exercise.

It really hasn't been hard. I made a commitment to my health before I left. Making that commitment to my health doesn't change because of location. The best investment that I can make is my own health. Taking charge of my health allows me to be a better teacher, mom, wife, daughter, aunt and friend.

Being dedicated to my health makes life better. While out here in Colorado I have been able to do so many things without worrying about my health or fitness. I have walked miles to see ruins, swam in hot springs, climbed and gone on hikes. I did make some intentional decisions while I was out here.

I have gotten up early every morning and walked somewhere to see the local sites. Then I have run back at a moderate pace. This was suggested by Fadi, at My Fitness Solutions to get my metabolism going each day.  I did find a gym and went to work out. I did all the things that my trainer, Rebecca told me I could do.  She is a stickler about strength training correctly! I had a pretty good workout, but it wasn't nearly as intense as when I workout with Rebecca.

Here is my trainer, Rebecca at My Fitness Solutions

When I was at the gym in Colorado, I missed having someone there. It is harder to workout and try to navigate strength training and weight loss without the help of a personal trainer. When I work out at My Fitness Solutions I know I am going  to workout for 1 hour. I will work out hard, but the workout is results driven. The guess work is taken out. There is no feeling of wasting my time or maybe trying some  exercise that will flatten my tummy that I read about in a magazine.

I have continued to try to make healthy food choices. This is stressed by the staff at My Fitness Solutions. I am still eating protein and vegetables. I am developing an aversion to starchy, sugar filled foods. It gets easier each day to not crave the fried foods or the chocolate.

Life is short, but life can be really good. Make the right choices for your own health every day, no matter where you are. If you struggle like me with these decisions get the help of a trainer at My Fitness Solutions. It makes life easier.

My niece has goats. They keep jumping the fence when I leave so we leashed them up and took them with us on my morning walk.
For now I am still on vacation. I am having a blast being active with my niece and nephew! Tomorrow we keep it going with an early morning 3 hour horse ride! Gotta keep moving.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Peachtree Road Race as a Touchstone for health

What is your touchstone? The Peachtree Road Race is one of mine. Everyone needs touchstones that come annually throughout the year. These traditions give you a chance to reflect on the past year, be thankful for today and set goals for the year ahead. Having touchstones lets you evaluate and - get a redo if you need to.

This time last year,  I was in tremendous knee pain. I followed the Peachtree Road Race with multiple visits to the orthopedists and 4 months in physical therapy. I really didn't know if I would be able to run distance again.

It started in April 2010, when I was running the Talledega Speedway half marathon.
"Skrink, pop." The bones scraped. The knee lunged away from my skeleton. I lurched forward, found my balance then gimped on the outside of my foot to try to somehow forcibliy align my knee with my body. I was on mile 7 on the Talledega Speedway running with 6 miles left to go. I went from an all out sprint to a stutter, to a walk, to a hobble.

Since I hate to miss a good time I followed this half marathon with another the following weekend. Then I just kept running until the Peachtree. After that point I was ready to give in and yell, "Uncle!" Then I ended up going to all the medical professionals to help me fix my knee.

Since then I have had to readjust what I thought was un-adjustable. When the physical therapist told me I would have to stop running everyday I looked at him as though he had just told me I wasn't American. I just couldn't take that news. I had been a runner for decades. There were weeks when I easily ran every day, well, just because I could.

He made a very poignant point with me. He had a paper clip. He started talking and bending that paper clip back and forth. I hate when it looks like people have evidence that they are right, and I am wrong. He said,"If you keep doing the same thing over and over, something has to give." Then of course, the paper clip broke and my chin hit the floor.

I took this news and stewed on it a few days. Then I decided that maybe he had some knowledge about what he was saying sense he was a professional and I was still limping. I quit running everyday and started cross training. I never run 2 days in a row now. I mix it up. I go out with friends and we  ride  bikes or swim. I started strength training at My Fitness Solutions, with Fadi and Rebecca. All of this has been so great for me!

I competed in my first triathlon and won my age division. (Old girls, but Stella still grooves!) I am new to the strength training, but I am learning so much, so quickly, that is good for my body. All those questions of going in a gym and not knowing what to do, how to use what equipment, or how to really eat well for my body are being answered. These questions are being answered quickly and with results! I am putting in the sweat and okay some pain, but I am seeing a leaner, stronger me!

Today I celebrated because I ran the Peachtree and had my best time in a while. I finished it in 1 hour and 5 minutes. That is right at 11 minute miles. That is okay for me. I am aiming to be strong, not fast. God blessed me with health and friends with which I was able to share the  experience again. The best investment I can make is in my own health. By investing in my own health I can be better for the other important people in my life for longer! I can be active with them and have fun!

I am looking forward to the year ahead as I anticipate the next Peachtree. I am working to get stronger! I am looking forward to working out with Fadi and Rebecca at My Fitness Solutions. In the next year, I should learn how to take care of my body and meet some physical goals that I didn't know how to meet without guidance and expertise. I have some additional triathlons and a marathon on the horizon. The goal is to be able to come back next year and be strong enough to enjoy the race again! Happy Fourth!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Food Plan: Imaginary dinner guest

So there was this girl and she went in a bar. Well, it wasn't really a bar. It was Macaroni Grill for my beautiful friend's 25th birthday! It wasn't really a girl, but a nice, older gal who is attempting to get in shape. It was fun to be out, but as soon as the waiter put the menu in front of me I thought okay here goes vacation day 1.

First, you get the vino menu. There was Sorrento Lemonades, Perfect Martinis, Savignon, and the popular drink of the night: Long Island Ice Tea. This was easy for me to get around. I am not a big drinker, and I had to drive myself home.

Then, they bring the bread. That bread really wanted to commune with me. It was the same size as my hand. I even considered putting a loaf in my bag, but I was dressed so I brought my little hand bag. Diet safe so far.

Now, the waiter brings THE MENU. I wasn't even hungry, but I came with a plan. No matter what I was not over eating so I put my plan in place. I pretended that I was sitting in between my trainer and the girl who was  on the front of this month's  Shape Magazine. I had decided early that I was going to eat what my imaginary dinner guests ate. (They didn't touch the bread.)  I looked over the menu. Really over it, like right past the pasta di mare, baked four cheese pasta, lasagna bolognese, and the mezzaluna pizza. I kept looking all the way  . . . to the warm spinach and shrimp salad.

The waiter brought it to me and it was beautiful! It really looked like a work of art. It looked so healthy and guilt-free! It was fresh and had boiled shrimp dribbled across the top. It was touched with just the right amount of olive oil and herbs. It was so tasty! I ate it, and I was full. (The Shape Magazine girl ordered the same thing. My trainer didn't eat, but went over in the corner and did crunches .)

I really enjoyed the company with my real life friends and my salad. Then the waiter brings the dessert menu and the coffee menu. He did. That took a lot of nerve don't you think? Did I want tiramisu or cheesecake? Then lots of coffees. Well, I looked and the Shape Magazine girl shook her head and said, "No thank you." I went with her. My trainer was now doing power jumps.

Day 1 vacation saved by my plan! Try taking them to dinner sometime. You make the healthy choices and leave guilt free. When you are in a restaurant you have to have a plan. When you are trying to eat healthy, you have to have a plan. If you don't, then you walk into a restaurant and you are too tempted by all those foods on the menu. Without an eating plan you find yourself hungry at 7:00 pm standing in front of the fridge or pantry thinking about what you want to eat. Then out of hunger, desperation, or maybe you are just exhausted from a busy day you reach for the first quick thing you can find. That  food item is probably not a good choice for you. That choice is not going to help you reach your goals.

Go ahead. Come up with a plan. We plan everything else in life don't we? I know where I will be on July 22nd at 11:00am. Why not a food plan? You don't have to invite imaginary friends with you everywhere, but it makes it more fun!

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Taper: Peachtree Road Race

It is taper time. Tapering is the period before an event where an athlete just rests. We are born to move. Our natural inclination is to run and run hard. When we train for fitness we lace up, sweat and train hard every day. I have recently added strength training to swimming, biking, and running. All of this puts adequate stress on the body. Before an event an athlete lets the body regenerate and recover. Training regularly is stressful on the body and when you have an event, like the Peachtree Road Race, you want to be in "racing form." You want to show up rested and fed a bit of carbs, but not too much as to lose your fitness edge. It is almost ceremonial how an athlete knows how to prepare the body for an event and get in "racing form."

Racing form comes from horse racing. Before betting on a horse the gambler would check the form, or piece of paper that described how the horse was running. If the horse had competed well it was said that the horse was "on form."

I have another idea about how tapering works for horses and athletes. Athletes and horses get accustomed to working or stressing their bodies. Your body expects it. You become dependent on that burst of energy. Ask any committed athlete and they will tell you that when life catches them in a snare and they can't workout they miss it. If you take a race horse off of the track and he just grazes he begins to pine for a hard run on the track. He will hoof at the ground to let you know he is ready. He will take shorts gallops around the pasture. His body wants to run.

Runners are like this too. If you take us off the track or trail for a few days we also begin to miss it. We begin to process the energy and strength that we have bottled up to prepare to run. We want to run just like a race horse. Here is to happy tapering for the Peachtree Road Race!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

My Fitness Solutions: Not for Sissies!

The past 48 hours I have been bumbling around my house gasping and whining. I have avoided the stairs at all cost. If I have dropped something I have left it. I have contemplated signing up for a service dog to do things for me like retrieve my shoes and pick things up. My writing teachers would not approve of my word choice, but they would have to support my clarity of making the point: This AIN'T for sissies!

This strength training is making a total chick out of me. I mean a real chick. One that is powerful and may soon buy a Harley Davidson and clothes made of leather. I have already told my sons ages 19 and 21 that when I meet my goals I am going to get a tattoo and a bikini. They had been really encouraging me until I made this proclamation. You should have seen the terror on their faces. It is hard to make young men at this age and over 6 feet tall wince, but this did it.

My trainer and I did a leg workout the day before yesterday. I skipped in the studio and gave her a chirpy,"Hey." Then she said,"We are going to do legs." I thought how could this hurt? I mean it is legs. I walk and run everyday. I have been doing this for almost half a century. Then she got started. I am sure that our session lasted for 8 hours. Not really, but it was the slowest hour ever recorded by Timex. I have felt it ever since. Who knew legs could hurt so much?

I went to yoga the following day to try to stretch it out. Then woke up this morning and was ready to get back in the gym with my trainer, in fact I am going to miss her while I am headed out on vacation! We got back together and worked really hard on backs today.As we were leaving the studio a lady said to my trainer, Rebecca and me, "Oh the trainers are taking the elevator?" I did an inner happy dance that she had mistakenly thought, I was a trainer. (I guess she thought there was a senior citizen group that met on Thursday morning!)

I am seeing differences, and I have already lost 4 pounds! Even if I am having to tough it out a bit after some of the sessions it is worth it! I am seeing the results quickly.

Today I went to get my hair cut and my sweet, dear stylist said, "You look great! I can tell you have been working out!" She had no idea how much her words meant to me. The work has been hard, but I am liking the results!

Nothing worth having ever comes easy, right? As I was checking out an hour later from the salon this much younger lady (I didn't know her) looked at me and said, "You know I need to start working out. I really need to do something. I keep saying I am going to it." I told her,"You should if for no other reasons, it is fun and makes you feel great!"

My trainer and I made plans for when I return from vacation. I am ready to go out of town to have fun, but I have got to keep the program going so I don't lose my edge and have to start all over. We also discussed some things I can do while I am out of town to keep the momentum with me. If you are interested I may blog and let you know how the efforts go by myself. I am headed to Colorado in a few days to get in touch with my family and my inner cowgirl! Yee Hi! See ya round, partner!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My Fitness Solutions: Day 8

" I have been standing by the door trying to think how I can tell you this the most delicate way. When a woman your age . . ." this was the beginning of a discussion with my doctor last year. He was trying to respond to my suggestion that although I had pneumonia, I just needed an antibiotic and I would be riding a bike in the afternoon. I hate it when anyone starts a conversation with responses such as these or "act your age." What is the new fifty? It is NOT dead yet! Why not live out loud to the very end? Why slow down?  I am not quitting. I think life is getting better every day!

I do get this. When a "woman gets my age" it is super difficult to lose weight. I have been trying to lose the same 5 pounds for a year. I lose a pound and then gain back 6 the next day. If there was an occasion for me to go out to dinner I could plan not to eat for a month afterwards. I would eat out and realize that as I ate I would be having nothing but water and tuna for 14 days. Of course the thing that really deepens the pain is that I would turn on the TV and see Hollywood skinny stars in bikinis eating an extra large pizza supreme, a bag of cookies, a cheeseburger and drinking a pitcher of margaritas! That is when I feel the pinch of those words, "A woman of your age."

With all of this baggage, you can celebrate with me when I tell you that in a week with Rebecca at My Fitness Solutions I have lost 3 pounds! That is really great news for a girl who thought that her scale was cruel, insenstive and inhumane.

It is working! I get measured on Thursday. Let's see how that goes. Then I am hoping that I have learned enough to manage all this while on my vacation. Rebecca reminds me of different exercises that she says I do well enough to do by myself while out of town. She is giving me tools that I can use to make me empowered for my own health.

Monday, June 27, 2011

My Fitness Solutions: Day 6: 1 week done

Woo Hoo! Wonderful Monday! Monday means I am back at the My Fitness Solutions studio with my trainer. Today was chest, abs, biceps and triceps. I worked to the point of failure. I had to have help on the Smith Machine to complete my final rep.  All this and I didn't feel overwhelmed. It is great working with an expert!

 I did all that I could and when I needed help my trainer, Rebecca encouraged me and gave me a hand so I could actually finish the rep. At times she had to readjust the weight. I am getting stronger. It is happening. I still have lots to learn and accomplish.

Today was a better day for me. I am on step one learning about weights. It is all about the form and using the correct muscle to contract and squeeze a weight where you want it to go. It is not about using the momentum of the swing. I was feeling a bit more confident until my son told me that the first time that he went to the studio that  Fadi and his brother were hanging from one of the bars doing inverted, hanging sit ups! That is why both of these men look like their bodies were chiseled out of marble by Michaelangelo. Then my trainer chirped in that she could do it too! I am NO where near that, but I am feeling better. I do know that consistency wins everytime. What if one day I could do that? Me? The old girl?!

This program is not just strength training. I am walking briskly every morning to give  my metabolism a jump start and then trying to make sure that I have my heart rate up at least 2 additional times during the day. After my walk this morning, I headed to the studio and then after getting some real life things done I headed to the pool to get my heart rate up again. I swam 1600 meters this afternoon. I was whipped when I got out of the pool.How will I ever keep this up when I go back to work?

My diet is pretty much the same thing everyday. Breakfast is rolled oats and fruit.  I am eating about 3 oz of meat and a salad with water for lunch. I usually have left overs so I eat this again at dinner. Today after swimming I threw in a protein bar. Then I repeated what I had for lunch. The next 2 weeks I will be at of town . . . that is going to take some dedication. I can do it, the scales were moving in the right direction this morning already!

The highlight of the day was that my hubby told me he could tell I was toning up. This is all the encouragement that I need to keep going! There is also the fact that I will soon be at the beach! Nothing keeps a girl honest like wearing a swimsuit!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Body by Fadi: The Weekend

I left the gym yesterday with my convertible open in my car. I was zipping down Sugarloaf Highway just about lunchtime. I began to become intoxicated by all of the smells. The air was saturated with pizza and fried chicken parts. There was even a guy in a sandwich board trying to wave me in to have Mexican food for $5.99. I tried to ignore him. I refused to look at him because to be honest a quesidilla pollo sounded perfect at that moment. Of course, I got caught at the light right beside him. It would have been an easy right turn too!

It is really hard to eat correctly when so much is pushed on you. Bad food choices are everywhere and easily accessible. It would have been a lot easier to stop and eat the Mexican food for $5.99 instead of going home and grilling my chicken and making my salad, but I did it.

Today I went to a wedding. I looked at the choices on the bar and realized that most of the foods that were  offered were not on my eating plan. I saw little children loading up on starchy potatoes and fried chicken parts. I saw adults pounding their plates with rolls, sauces, cheese, chicken, more potatoes and then there was the wedding cake!

Eating well takes effort. I am hoping that I see some evidence from the self discipline in a few weeks. The next few weeks are going to be hard because I am leaving my trainer and kitchen and heading out of town for 2 weeks. I have to stick it out while I am on my own. I like to think that if you are out of town that WHAT you eat doesn't really matter. This mind set has not helped me in the past reach my goals. Let's see how I do.

It takes commitment. You have got to be all in it!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Day 5: Younger Next Year for Women

"You do have to age, but You Don't Have to Rot," (Chris Crowley). I grabbed this quote from the book, Younger Next Year for Women that I am currently reading. It is my favorite of the summer so far. Now that is a fluid statement, as I still have many books to go before the sun sets on Labor Day, and I am back at work.  I read a variety of genres and can be entertained and intrigued by many ideas, but this one is making me really evaluate how I spend my time, better known as my life.

The book's author points out that if we fully engage in exercise 6 days a week we can, "eliminate 70% of the normal decay, that's rot, associated with aging . . . the weakness, the sore joints, the lousy balance, the feeling crappy can be forestalled almost until the end." Now that makes me wants to grab  my Brooks shoes and go running!

I want to be active until the end. I want to feel powerful and strong. The biggest commitment that I have to make is 6 days of exercise at 65% of my maximum heart rate and 2 days of strength training? Wow! That is like being handed Jack's magic beans. It is the gold!

There is a phenomenal analogy in the book about how as a species we have had a "job" to survive. We have had to "work." We have had to forage and hunt for millions of years. Our bodies got stronger and more resistant as we developed. The fittest really did survive. Our current lifestyle of technology, desk jobs, fast food and instant everything has sent the abhorrent message to our physical brain that we are done; that our bodies have finished the job. We can now decay. We are no longer active, hunting, foraging or for that matter living! When our physical brain gets this subconscious message it begins to rot. It begins to die.

 I am thinking about this every time I watch TV, a movie, Internet surf or just lay around and read even great books! I am grabbing this information and pushing it around. I am going to start really living. I am stopping decay. I have got work to do!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Body by Fadi, Day 4: All by Myself

This is a off day with a trainer. I get up early and head to my normal gym. I spend an hour just stretching and stretching. I tell myself that when I am finished I want to feel like bubble gum. I find my favorite spot . It is a hidden corner where if it is clear I like to go work out without any traffic. Usually it is the corner where a trainer takes their client. I have already staked my spot. I begin to stretch.

Soon a trainer brings over their client and they begin to workout. I am at a vantage point and get to just observe. One thing I notice is that the client is constantly on the phone and that ruins the effectiveness of the workout. Then they start working out again. She is doing squats with a medicine ball. They are standing at the end of my mat as I am stretching. I am shocked as the trainer keeps counting and the client keeps "squatting" with her knees way over her feet and her back leaning too! The trainer just keeps counting. I want to say something so badly.

Then I get to observe another trainer and client. This trainer is all talk. He is leaning on a railing and keeps chirping out a non-convincing, "Good job." He doesn't really seem engaged in the workout. He is talking the smack, but he just not attentive.

This has not been my experience with my trainer. I reluctantly-sometimes get all of her attention. She is totally focused on my form and how I am executing each rep. She doesn't hesitate to ask me to put a weight down and start again. I am nudged to,"give me another one." I have been called the morning after a workout to see how I am feeling. I have been given workouts that are determined ahead of time with my name on them. It is specifically for me! It is not cookie cutter. What works for anyone else is not necessarily what I need to achieve my fitness goals. This is what I needed. I read lots of health magazines and am smart enough to follow a program, but I couldn't get the results that I wanted.  I have also been given list of foods and supplements. I needed the experts!

At Fitness Solutions, I get treated  professionally. It is not a weight loss program or a body building program in isolation. They are really trying to meet my individual needs.  My trainer understands why I am there and we use our time. She is prepared and so am I. She is open for questions and easily gives me suggestions. She is available for me to call later. So far, I feel like I am really getting what I wanted. 56 days to go! Can I see this to the end?  Can I keep up the motivation? Will I achieve what I hope to this summer? Will I see a difference in just 60 days?

Next workout is tomorrow at 11:00!

Body by Fadi Day 3. My Fitness Solutions

I contemplate what life will be like here in the driver seat of my car. This is where I will stay. Today was the leg workout at My Fitness Solutions. I am home from the hour workout, and now I can't get out of my car. Realizing that it is now past time for me to eat "protein" I throw both legs and feet so they land squarely on the floor of the garage in one swoop. I lean so the car door is allowed to close without effort and walk as though Frankenstein has been resurrected all the way to the backdoor. Who knew that we put a step up before you enter the backdoor? Was it here before?

I make it past the kitchen and forego the well meaning 'protein' for a bit and collapse into the recliner. Fortunately there is a big blanket left, so I wrap up. I begin to take deep breaths and realize that now rigor mortis has begun to set in. If I continue to sit then buzzards will begin to circle the house and my golden retrievers will be upset.

We work out so hard. My trainer, Rebecca keeps encouraging me as I do climbing sprints, 1, 2,3’s, and squats, “I see a muscle. It is there. Are you feeling the muscle?" I assure her that I am "feeling the muscle." I am sure that in one more set I will look like Dara Torres. Obviously, I don't yet look like Dara because Rebecca begins to tell me about the next set. I give it all that I have. I have already had a 45 minute inclined walk before I got here.

She then walks me over and introduces me to the leg machines. I was happy with the introduction and wanted to just stand there, maybe breathe and get better acquainted. I have always felt that relationships take time to develop. She insists that I move quickly and keep my heart rate up. I climb on and she explains to me the next set. I start pushing the weights with my legs that feel as though they are becoming disconnected from my body except for the one nerve that is pulsating all the way to my abs. She watches me like a first grade teacher at penmanship time. "Why are you lifting your back? Why is your stomach coming off the machine?" She stops me. She climbs on the machine and demonstrates. Then I get back on. Now that I am focusing on the foundation of doing the exercise correctly I start AGAIN.

After the workout, I do look like a professional body builder. Not because of my muscles, but I am washed down in the glisten of a workout. I look as though I have been oiled down. I feel so good, crazy good. I am feeling power. I am claiming my strength one painful workout at a time. I am getting it. Yes, it hurts but my body is responding. My trainer says she is seeing a difference. "Now you got it. We just have to keep toning," she says. I am re-energized.  My next workout is Friday morning.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Body by Fadi Day 2, By My Self

The morning after is always uncertain. You never know how to act or what to say.  I was outside feeding the dog when my trainer called me, "Did I scare you off? How are you feeling?" "Well, I can do basic movements, like feed the dog and brush my teeth," I answered. She tells me that I should eat a banana, stay heavy on the protein, take an ibuprofen and then she shares the secret: Alka Seltzer. I have already decided that even though I am a bit sore, I will go ahead with my plans to go for a brisk 4 mile walk and then to go swim. I have already contacted a park ranger earlier and asked if I can swim outside the buoys to see if I can possibly swim 1.2 miles.

I take out with my husband for a 4 mile walk at a local park. This is the suggestion from My Fitness Solutions: Walk for about an hour on an empty stomach. Even though it is only 9:00 in the morning, the thermometer in Georgia is beginning to drool at 83 degrees. As we walk, I name another body part that I am now aware of that hurts. How does my butt hurt? It must have been that set of crunches where I held my trainer's heels and she threw my feet to each side.  After we walk at a quick pace, the humidity bends and twists the thermometer. We finally finish as the thermometer gives in to 93 degrees. The thermometer's tongue is now hanging out and gasping for oxygen.

Next, I head home for breakfast. It is oatmeal with berries and whey protein with some decaf coffee and water. I take my regular handful of vitamins that I am convinced will keep me alive forever. Every time I tell my husband this, he exhales as though I make him tired, and I remind him that he will have to be alive forever too, so he can take care of me. He smiles. He is in it. He loves me. I keep his life interesting. Then I ask him if instead of what he had planned to do with the rest of the morning, if he will go with me and hydro-bike while I try to swim a mile at a local lake. I just need a little reassurance in case I get tired, since I am swimming without a life guard and the lake is DEEP. He starts heading toward the car. He is such support. We go and I swim for about an hour.

On the way home, we stop by the store.  I can't tell you how hungry I am! The cakes looks so tempting, I am salivating at the smells drifting out of the deli. I want to eat. The breads, oh my! It is hot! I start fantasizing about a loaf with melted butter dribbling over the top and down the sides. I pick up the Alka Seltzer in case I might need it on another day and a few other items that we need. I head home. Protein is waiting. I get through the store without getting a "quick fix."

I get home and suck down a protein shake and a grilled chicken salad. For dessert I have some watermelon. Honestly, I am feeling better. I needed the food. I made it. I won. I got through it. Battle won. My lunch fed me. I head back to the pool to meet some friends.

I spend the day in the pool, hanging out with some friends. We chat and float. We catch up. We reapply sunscreen.  They drink cold beer. I am drinking water. Just water. I am really trying to win this thing. At the end of the afternoon, I head home and eat more protein, a salad and a bit of a sweet potato. Again, watermelon for dessert. Then I fall on the sofa for an unattended nap.

When I awaken about 2 hours later, I am hurting all over. It hurts to breathe. I can't laugh without feeling like I need to call for medical attention. I try to stand to get the Alka Seltzer. I am whipped. I want to lift my arms to push myself up from the sofa. I decide it will be easier if I attempt to lean and roll up to a standing position. Got it. Ibuprofen and Alka Seltzer . . . I want the banana, but that is all the way down the stairs. I wonder if I could pay a teenager to bring it to me.

I won. I have stuck it out today. It was hard. I meet my trainer for day 3 at 11:00 tomorrow for legs. Now to get that banana.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Commitment, Experts, Power, Strength = Results

Commitment + Endurance.

I have been committed to the sport. I have spent a life time running down endurance.  I have chased running all over Georgia. I have run with the Marines in a marathon in Washington, DC and run with and without shoes along the coast in Florida. I have rounded corners while inhaling plumeria in Hawaii and run up snowcapped mountains in the spring near Seattle, Washington.

Now is the time to go after power and strength with the help of an expert so I can get the results that I want. It is Day 1 of a 60 day training, commitment and discipline program at My Fitness Solutions, in Duluth. I meet Rebecca Pitts, my trainer at 11:00 am. I have to admit that the appointment makes the commitment to improving my health important. I am investing in my body at 47 years old. My body is the only one I will have to get  through this life. I can avoid injury and disease at much as I possible by investing in myself.  I will increase my flexibility, strength and power. I have to invest in myself. I am my own future. Exercising is taking charge of my body. Fueling it with the better foods and pushing it so I can live life larger, better and longer.

Rebecca, my trainer

When first arriving at MFS I have Rebecca's undivided attention and expertise. She leans in and asks me questions, listens and begins to dig into the workout. Today is arms, shoulders, chest and abs. I am pushing light weights repetitively, and then moving to the floor for abs. My arms give in quickly as I push the weight and Rebecca offers her support. I am going to have to work for this. After a few repeats we move to the weight bar, front and side raises. Rebecca is adamant that I maintain correct posture, form and technique. This requires me to stay focused.

Push ups with legs crossed in the air

Day 1. Great workout. I realize that tomorrow I may not be able to hold my phone to my ear or push down on the soap dispenser to wash my hands. I worked out hard. My arms are responding.  As I am driving home, Rebecca calls and suggests that for my cardio for the evening I do the Stairmaster to continue to build strength and power. She reminds me to go heavy on the protein when I eat.

I have confidence in the program. The personal attention to my health and training is encouraging. This is refreshing as I have read a plethora of articles on how to tone arms and abs only to hit the gym and see no results of the promised physical difference. I have gotten discouraged in the past when I have worked from a point of lack of knowledge about strength training, correct form, and technique. I am seeing that I really needed the guidance of an expert if I want results.

Day 1. 59 to go. Commitment + Experts + Power + Strength = Results.

My next appmt is Wednesday @ 11:00.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Chasing a Dream

"Are you having a convention at your house?" my neighbor asked yesterday when I ran into him at Publix. "I mean, there are so many cars," he quipped with an I-know-better smile.

"Well, it is summer and that means I have lots of guests, and they are all under 30 years old,"  I answered. The rhythm of the house changes as my home is pretty much invaded with friends of my sons, ages 21 and 19. They sleep late and stay up late. They sit on the deck and play music. They leave at odd hours, when any person my age would be already in bed with the dog tucked in, a favorite book, comfy socks, tomorrow's "to do" list lying on the nightstand beside the bed, and an extra pillow to support the back.

The wonderful thing is that during the midst of this summer mayhem, I am enjoying the energy. Friends in that 18 to 25 age group still have their eye on chasing a dream and putting it in their pocket. They have few dire responsibilities, other than themselves. The world is their oyster. I am fed off their dreams and eagerness. I love that these young people are getting closer every day to grabbing that celestial hook that lifts them right up to the stars.

                                                                      Young America

A regular group of guests are members of my son's band, Young America. All of them. These are the greatest guys and gal. They have been hanging out here in a variety of assortments like cookies for years. Now they are older, organized, and going for it. Last fall they released their first CD and are taking every show they can find over the summer while school is out to showcase their talent. Lead singer Taylor Alexander just won a Texaco Country Showdown preliminary round and is headed for the next round in August. We will be there! They can't find 2 nickels to rub together between them but they are going for it. They are realizing their dream. They are nudging and rubbing elbows with what they all want. They are following their muse. They are striking it out to a main stage at Cornerstone in Chicago at the beginning of July.

NEW ALBUM )    Catherine Kimbro
This is Catherine!
Speaking of  following the muse, another guest this summer has been the next star on the horizon, Catherine Kimbro. She is running after that dream. She is a performer and songwriter that can still capture innocence and sweetness and lock you into a song. This week she is going from Atlanta to Nashville to Albuquerque, singing her heart out. It has been almost surreal watching her perform and listening to her as she speaks on radio shows.

Muscles are being developed, too! My oldest son, who already stands at an attention-demanding 6’3", is body building. He is working with Fadi Malouf at My Fitness Solution, in Duluth. He is eating egg whites, chicken and water while the rest of us have been gobbling down pizza. He is hitting the gym twice a day. It is not magic, I know, but a transformation has occurred in just 35 days. Muscles, definition and rips that weren't there while we were snuggled in over winter have emerged. T-shirts are crinkling up at the ridges in his biceps. He has a habit now of picking me up and moving me around the house. I have assured him that I am still in control.

There is also 'my Garrbear.' (that is what I call him). He has hung out over here since 7th grade. He is now in college and wants to travel and become an endodonist. I was so happy when he got his grades and came by to show me, "All A's, Miss Kim." Then of course, he took off to England to scour around and hang out. But he is back. I heard the door close this morning when he had to go to work.
                                                            Erica Grainger

Then there is my model. She is doing shoots, wearing too cute shoes, getting professionally painted  in makeup, and getting haircuts by leading stylists. She is asking questions and trying to figure out how to get into the business while she is taking statistics over the summer. She is wearing wedding dresses, funky rock clothes, and swimsuits. She is driving around to different locals for photo shoots, and having a blast. She has already appeared in TV show promos and her image adorns the sides of buses in New York. She is packing today to go play in Germany for 3 weeks.

The Americans
 Of course, I can't forget the night that my son and several of his friends went to see Ryan Bingham at the 40 Watt Club in Athens, GA. They stayed after the show and met the opening band, The Americans, a band from California. They went out to Waffle House together at 2:30 am to eat, then The Americans' lead singer asked if my son knew of a decent motel . . . "Oh come on to my house. My parents won't care. My mom is like the mom in The Blindside." All 14 of the late night muscians arrived at our house about 4 am, came in and spent the night. I am so thankful for hot n' fresh Krispy Kreme donuts when you end up with surprise guests for breakfast. (Don't worry, this only the the 2nd time he has brought home an entire band, other than his own, in the middle of the night! I met the first band that slept over, from Florida, when I came downstairs the next morning).

All this energy! All these dreams! All the vision and imagination just flows in the door during the summer like a summer breeze. They remind you to keep looking ahead. Don't stop dreaming. Keep going.  Oh the days of summer!