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!