Hate to Exercise?

Hate to Exercise?

Try small group personal training. Group classes are fun, motivating, social, and cost effective. Some of my clients “hated” any type of physical activity and were motivated to exercise by the friendships that they developed in the class.  Now, they actually look forward to attending their sessions due to the group format. In our impersonal world of social media, texts, and emails, the social aspect of exercise cannot be overlooked. For some, it is the only part of their day where there is a human connection.

The social aspect of group fitness can help you maintain a fitness routine.  Find a group that you like to exercise with. This will enable you to stick with it and ultimately increase your physical activity level and improve your health.

A small group exercise class can also be also educational. It enables me to keep everyone up to date on the latest research on health and fitness. In some cases, they can also act a support group. A fun, small group exercise class can transform a participant from couch potato to fitness enthusiast. Contact me at caroljmichaels@gmail.com for a current schedule or to set up individual session in my studio or at your home.

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The Stability Ball

The stability ball can strengthen the core, strengthen stabilizing muscles, improve balance and posture and increase strength, flexibility, and endurance.

We have witnessed an explosion of new equipment and training methods over the years. One of my favorite fitness workouts involves the stability ball. Although the ball has been a part of training for a long time, I always find myself going back to this versatile piece of equipment. As my knowledge and experience grows, so does my ability to use the ball in creative and effective exercise programming. It can be used effectively for improving strength, balance, and flexibility. The ball alone can be sufficient to create a fun and unique session. It is inexpensive and can be transported easily for in-home trainers.

The stability ball has been used by physical therapists since the mid 1900s. In the early nineties, personal trainers increased the use of the ball with their clients. The stability ball has applications for every population. Children and teens find exercising fun while using a ball.  Fit and healthy clients enjoy the challenges of doing some of their exercise routine while using a ball and learning new exercises which take advantage of the instability provided by the ball. Older adults appreciate the challenge of performing basic strength training exercises while just sitting on the ball. Rehabilitative exercise programs are endless.

The people participating in my exercise programs have said that the ball adds a new dimension to their work out. As a trainer, I never get bored while using this equipment with my clients.   Sitting on a ball also reinforces the need for good posture while performing each exercise. It allows one to strengthen the core in a very safe and effective manner. There are so many applications. With a little creativity you can create a unique and exciting exercise session.

Weight Loss is More Than Counting Calories

  • It may be necessary to stay way from white starches like refined grains and refined sugars. These foods also can cause an increased appetite and cravings.
  • If you are having trouble losing weight increase your proteins and healthy fats. Weight loss can be more complicated than just counting calories. Sometimes you have to tweak a few things to see what works for your unique situation.
  •  Always read labels. Know what you are putting into your body. Try to eat fresh whole foods and stay away from processed foods. Look out for high sodium and artificial ingredients.
  •  Eat more low calorie density food. These foods contain a lot of water so there are fewer calories. Example would be leafy greens like lettuce, and spinach, fruits, and soups.
  •  Cook more meals at home so you know exactly what is going in to your food.
  • Weight loss can require more than a daily workout and food moderation. Your lifestyle has a huge impact on your ability to lose weight. Sitting for just a couple hours can cause a decrease in the enzymes that break up fat.
  • Lack of sleep can cause a reduction in growth hormones and cause us to crave sugar.
  • Try to minimize stress which can effect your weight. Often eating is the way we reduce stress. Too much cortisol, which is released when under stress, can slow your metabolism. One technique to reduce stress is relaxation breathing.

Weight Loss Tips

Weight loss tips from guest blogger Larry D.-a recent weight loss success story (70 pounds which was down >28% from his peak)
1- Drink two tall glasses of water a minimum of ten minutes before eating anything,
2- Reduce/eliminate white starches/sugars(bread, pasta, cereal, rice, potatoes and pizza)
3- Monitor your meals. Find a web or smart phone app food tracker and use it. I used WebMD’s tracker. If you eat a bag of potato chips, record it on the tracker. You’ll be able to see your caloric, sugar, carb, protein, etc., intake. It’s important to understand the most vital aspect of weight loss and maintenance, that being your daily consumption statistics. Find a suitable recommended level of intake for weight loss and see if you can hit the targets.  You can also keep a hand written food diary.
4- Exercise a minimum of thirty minutes a day – include aerobic and strength training exercises and stress reduction stretches  and relaxation breathing for decreasing emotional eating
5- Set a goal of never finishing a meal or leaving a clean plate. Even if it’s just one more bite, leave it for leftovers.
6- Put fork down for a minimum of ten seconds after each bite of food.
7- Take a sip of water in between each bite of food. Drinking alcohol with meals can cloud your judgment and lead to overeating, be mindful of this if you typically imbibe. Maybe have a drink at the end of the meal, rather than at the beginning or during
8- Always come in last! When eating with companions, make sure you are the slowest eater. Never finish before anyone else.
9- Snack on cherry tomatoes, cheese, small handful of nuts or steamed vegetables
10- Repeat this phrase in your mind three times whenever you think you’re hungry “the feeling in my stomach is thirst, not hunger“, then have a tall glass of cold water, wait a few minutes and see if you’re still “hungry“. The body is giving you a thirst signal, it is NOT a hunger signal.
11- Use small plates for meals. Fill plate with salad and vegetables first and finish them before eating the main course
12- Cut the size of your typical “forkful” in half. The tip of the tongue can only taste so much food at once.
13- Re-read this message at least once a week until these become your habits.
As I am not a registered dietitian nor a trained medical professional, please take the tips as merely suggestions from a fellow struggler who finally got tired of being obese (it’s okay to use that word). Please consult with competent registered or trained professionals or do your own research on specific changes in diet and exercise to see what works best.

Evaluate Your Weight Loss Plan

Everyone is unique when it comes to weight loss, improving your fitness level and general health.  You might be in a fitness program with a friend and not getting the same results. But do not give up.  You cannot compare your results to anyone else. If your health buddy is heavier than you to begin with, she will lose weight quickly at first. Men will lose weight faster than females due to testosterone and greater muscle mass. Older people will lose weight slowly due to slower metabolisms, hormonal changes, and decreased muscle mass. Medical conditions can cause your weight loss to be slow and those on anti- depressants and corticosteroids, may have an additional challenge. Finally, genetics may add to the challenge.

Are you eating more than you think you are? Your calorie intake may be more than you think it is. Make sure your calorie intake is accurate. Are you eating the right foods?

Are you exercising properly for weight loss? You might not be exercising as much or as intensely as you need to for weight loss.The machines only estimate the amount of calories used. Fitness trackers are not always accurate. Make sure to add strength training. This should be performed 2 to 3 times per week. Increasing your muscle mass can increase your calorie burning ability.  If you are not achieving your health and fitness goals it may be time to meet with a fitness professional to help you achieve a healthy lifestyle and  to learn how to maintain a healthy weight and eating plan.

Are You Reaching Your Health and Fitness Goals?

Start by stating your goal and writing it down. Then, break it up into small attainable goals. Small changes can lead to big results. Your goal might be to feel good, energetic, and strong. These goals have just as much importance as the number on the scale.

If you have a bad day quickly return to your new healthy habits. Try not to throw in the towel and give up. Accept the fact that we can make mistakes and be flexible. In order to reach and maintain goals you have to have that mindset.

Keep learning and start to make healthy choices. Try to find ways to increase your fruits and vegetables. You will find that your food preferences will gradually change. When you decrease sugar, cravings will decrease. Learn to make substitutions like mustard instead of mayo. Always try to plan ahead. If x happens, you do y. Planning ahead will help you to more effectively handle temptation and impulses. Have a backup plan before you get into the situation. Planning ahead will also ensure that you make time to exercise.

Soon you will find your new habits as natural as brushing your teeth!

Is it Time to Change Your Exercise Routine?

We tend to stick to things we are familiar with and are good at performing. But when it comes to your workouts, if you want to keep making progress and improve your fitness level, you have to start changing your routine. Cardio is important but you need more than just cardio workouts.

If you have been pounding the pavement or the treadmill with nothing to show for it, perhaps it is time to change up your workout. Think about adding an incline to your treadmill routine. You can also alternate between a comfortable pace and a rapid, high intensity speed. If you have been walking outdoors on flat land, start to add some hilly terrain. Alternating between the treadmill and other cardio machines can be helpful as can adding Zumba or spinning classes.

It is also important to add strength training, preferably with hand weights, tubing, or your own body weight. Weight machines alter the way your body naturally moves and restricts your range of motion. If you want results, you need to incorporate exercises that allow your body to move naturally, with full range of motion. Machines also do not strengthen the small stabilizer muscles that help prevent injury and improve balance and coordination.