Sure there are more stringent health and fitness recommendations that you were probably expecting to hear... but that's just it. We've all heard them, probably too many times to count. And so I ask you this, Did you adhere to any of it? If I asked you today what the basic fitness and nutrition recommendations for health are, could you tell me?So again, I say -- <SIT UP STRAIGHT>While that sinks in, think about how many ways you could improve your life that aren't direct health and fitness guidelines but carry over to so many parts of your life.
- Ladies and Gentlemen ... If I could offer you one tip to keep you fit, healthy and motivated it would be one simple thing. One tip that could offer you immediate results and requires little effort. One suggestion that could change your whole life. One tip you've probably heard your whole life. <SIT UP STRAIGHT>
- None of us are as young as we once were. Take a minute to look back at photos of yourself and remember how much potential you had and how fabulous you looked - It's not too late to be that good again!
- You're not as fat as you imagine -- but don't rest on your laurels
- Do one thing everyday that scares you
- Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind... the race is long and in the end, it's only with yourself.
- Remember the compliments and forget the insults (we insult ourselves enough without hearing it from others)
- Stretch (every chance you get)
- Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. Plenty of retirees are still trying to figure it out as well.
- Get plenty of calcium
- Be kind to your knees, you're going to "kneed" them for a long time!
- Are you still sitting up straight?
- Don't congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself too much
- Take a daily multivitamin (none of us eat as perfectly as we like to think we do)
- Wear sunscreen
- Dance! Whenever... Wherever... Go for it!
- Don't read beauty magazines, they'll only make you feel ugly.
- Enjoy your body, it's the greatest instrument you'll ever own. Use it every way you can!
- But trust me about your posture -- <SIT UP STRAIGHT>
Still slouching? A study published in European Journal of Social Psychology found subjects who were told to sit up straight with good posture gave themselves higher ratings and had more self esteem/confidence than those who were told to slouch. Greater self-confidence increases chances of maintaining a regular exercise program. Here are several other benefits of good posture:
- look 10lb thinner
- appear more confident
- relieve back pain or even prevent it
- strengthen your core muscles
- prevent kyphosis
- appear younger
- PAY ATTENTION/BE PRESENT IN YOUR LIFE - let people know you are interested in them
- less complications from over use of cell phone and computer time
- be more productive
- feel more alert
- get things done
- be ready to take action
- look more attractive
- don't be called a slouch
- make your mom happy
So here's how to do it:1. Stand up and lift your chin slightly 2. Align your ears over your shoulders and your shoulders over your hips3. Place your hands on your hips and pitch forward about 2 inches4. There should a slight inward curve in your lower back, an outward curve in your upper back and another inward curve at your neck.5. Maintain this posture and sit down.Maintaining good posture requires abdominal and back strength -- The CORE! (the core involves all the muscles from your collar bones to your pelvis). It's not enough to simply <SIT UP STRAIGHT>. If your muscles are weak they won't be able to maintain that position over time or during movements. Try a Pilates or yoga class, which focus on posture and core strength. You could hire a persona trainer to create a personalized exercise plan for you to add strength to your core muscles. Here is a sample exercise plan for improving the endurance and strength of your posture muscles:
- Bird Dog (on all 4's extending opposite arm and leg simultaneously)
- Cat/Cow (on all 4's arching and lowering back)
- Plank (holding push up position for time)
- Seated Spinal Twists (sit with one leg bent and one extended - use opposite elbow to press on bent knee and twist you around as far as you can comfortably twist while lengthening spine toward ceiling)
- Bridge Hip Lifts (lie on back with knees bents and feet flat on floor, lifting and lowering hips)
- Rotator Cuff Pulls (use resistance band to rotate bent-elbow hand from in front of body to as far out to the side as you can go)
The average American sits and remains sedentary for 8.5 hours per day. Sitting for extended periods of time puts pressure on spinal discs and fatigues the muscles. The National Institute for Neurological Disorders says back pain is the most common cause of work related disability. This results in an expense of $50billion per year for employers. Most of the back pain can be attributed to sitting. Remember to get up and move around every 30-60 minutes throughout the work day. If you sit at a desk all day, check the ergonomics of your workspace including your desk, chair and keyboard.
Think that you can't possibly find the time to stretch every hour? If you're drinking your recommended quantities of water each day, it shouldn't even be an option, it should be a necessity!
- The top of your computer screen should be at or below eye level.
- The desk should allow your forearms to rest comfortably at 90 degrees
- The chair should be at a height where your feet can be flat on the floor directly beneath your knees
You could also use those handy little gadgets you've all got in your hands to set up reminders. Or better yet, just tell Siri to remind you!So you see, it's a cyclical solution:
- <SIT UP STRAIGHT>
- Feel more confident
- Exercise more often
- Make healthier food choices
- Be more productive
- <SIT UP STRAIGHT>
I've come to realize that I am passionate about exercise, and I want others to be as well. BUT... not everyone is or will be. We only have so many years on this earth, so if you want to extend those years make healthy choices and if you don't want to do that at least <SIT UP STRAIGHT> and look like you do!!!
Where are you going? What do you want to do?
Life is so funny... People with curly hair want straight hair, those with straight want curly.Girls with big calves want slender legs, but hard gainers long for lean muscle mass... Skinny people don't exercise, overweight people run marathons... Who are you? What do you want to do?
Last week I felt like I had fallen in the water and was drowning... barely able to keep my head above water. Overwhelmed by this life... one that I wanted... one that I created. I thought I knew who I was & where I was going, but just couldn't seem to swim fast enough.
Jump forward a week and I feel like I finally climbed out of the pool. But I haven't left the resort yet. I decided to get up on the diving board. But I can't decide if I'm jumping in. There just seem to be too many unknowns. Hot? Cold? Deep/Shallow? Will I jump high/far enough? Will I look silly? Will I get hurt? Is it going to be fun? Will people judge me? Will I be the best?
Don't we all feel like this from time to time. We let what we can't do interfere with what we can. We seek excuses to rest on our potential instead of taking action to be potent! Don't de-value your strengths by dwelling on your weaknesses. Be YOU ... and be GOOD at it, but don't forget the map. That potency needs a path. "I want you to be everything that's you, deep at the center of your being." Sounds like Dr. Suess... but no - its Confucius.
It's amazing that it took a 9-year-old to help me jump in...
Cinch, my son, asked to join me for my evening run. He has a short attention span (I can't imagine where he inherited that from) and so I wasn't super fired up to have him join me. Typically my runs are my "me-time" where I go and think or not-think and just let it all out. Shut out phone calls, texts, basically all responsibilities for a short period of time. But I always want to support and encourage any fitness/health endeavors that I can... so I excitedly took off down the road with him. A short way into the run, Cinch got the dreaded-make-you-want-to-never-run-again SIDE STITCH! I tried to encourage him to run it out. Slow your breathing down, relax and run through it. At the turn around point we took a short break and then began the journey home. He really wanted to quit. So I decided to play on his competitive spirit to keep him going.
I asked him if he knew what a Relay Race was. He said not really and asked me to explain. So I went through each leg of the race: from the starter to the middle legs to the finisher. I detailed how important the lead off man was - he got the race off to a good start, put the team in the lead, and set the pace for the entire race. The 2nd and 3rd legs I explained, weren't as glamorous but were equally important. They had to have a tuff mentality to maintain the lead that had been set or make gains and keep others racers from catching up. The fourth leg, now that's where all the excitement is. The 4th leg runner has all the pressure to finish the race strong, either to keep up the lead and cross the finish line ahead or to catch up and win the race for the team. After a lengthy description I asked Cinch which leg of the team he wanted to be... Slightly out-of-breath, but without missing a beat he answered, "The 4th Leg".
You see, that's Cinch. He knows who he is and what he wants to. He's the person that wants to ball in his hands when the game is on the line. He doesn't want to win because there was no competition. He wants to prove that he is the best. He pushed harder that last half of the run and finished with a sprint... with determination. He knew where he was going.
Where are you going? What do you want to do?
It's time to jump in... take a risk... don't be afraid to put it all on the line. Don't look back. Don't second guess. MOVE!
Do you want to be:
Then it's time to decide...Who are you? Where are you going? What do you want to do? Then MOVE!!!!
Turn your potential into potency.
"I want you to be everything that's you, deep at the center of your being." ~Confucius.
There are a million exercise plans available. Two million different diet plans. All of them promising to make us slimmer, stronger & sexier.
The missing ingredient?
The ingredient or movement that's going to make us better on the inside... the ingredient we can't see!
Sometimes the most important things can't be seen ...
Sometimes the reasons we think are driving our actions aren't really the reasons at all.
Can you see your heart beating?
Can you see your god?
Can you see the feeling you get when you finish an amazing workout?
Nope - not one of them.
This fitness girl knows all about wanting what you can see...
The perfect abs, legs, butt, arms
But what would those things really do for me?
Get some gawking stares from strangers?
Make me need to buy new clothes?
Get some inappropriate attention?
Do any of those exterior desires really define me? Do they outwardly express the inward me?
The truth is we - all go into exercise & diet plans for exterior goals, but along the way we realize that the insides have to change first. And once we can accept that we can truly begin to change - to become the real us.
"turning inspiration into perspiration."
I have the best of intentions, but the worst follow through. To still a line from one of my favorite musicians. I know what I want, I know when I want it & I know how to get it. My problem is putting that into practice. Do you ever feel that way? People often ask me for detailed diet & exercise plans. As a certified fitness instructor I am more than qualified to provide workout plans and have the experience & knowledge to throw so many at you that you would be exhausted from the mere suggestions let alone the actual workouts. I can give you 50 exercises to target your pecs (chest - see how it starts?) but if it overwhelms you then how do you apply it? (pause, while I text wake up reminder to friend/client who trains at home alone via exercise info I have provided her)
The diet aspect is a different story. According to the ethical policies of my certification I am not a dietician nor a nutritionist. Therefore I am instructed to provide mere suggestions and never to prescribe... diagnose... or treat. So I try my best to recommend or give my own personal practices as guidelines or references for others to follow. But do I tell people about the bowl of brownie batter I consume more frequently than I should or the beer/wine that I enjoy regularly? Or do I pretend I do it all perfectly all the time? No. I'm not perfect. But I work at it ... consistently.
So here's my message to YOU as YOU work towards those SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-specific) new years goals - you know what to do. Have confidence in your knowledge & work on the application. Start small. A bottle of water stashed in your gym bag. A bag of carrots in your lunch box. Choose a salad instead of a burger. Consciously thinking about what you'll eat all day before your day even starts. Make it start at the grocery store or before you even look at that restaurant menu. We know what to eat (fruit/veggies/whole grains/lean protein) now follow through! - You're TUFF enough to do it.
Resolutions... Some love them, some hate them, some make them, some break them... So what's a fitness gal to do? Blog about them of course! If you're reading this now, 1/2/12, then you've probably already given this topic some thought. But what have you decided? Are you ready to be SMART> (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely)? That's truely the key - Make it, Shout it, Do it! Get everyone you know involved. It has to become part of your lifestyle or it won't stick.
But maybe you're reading this and thinking... But Shanna, I don't really have anything specific I want to accomplish. My first response would be - Satisfaction breeds complaceny. My old weight lifting partner penned this phrase on the front of our training log years ago and it has been stuck in my head since. Then along came a bootcamper who constantly reiterated - Be here now; and now years later somehow the 2 have melded together in my head. To truely live in the moment, don't we need a challenge ~ something to stive for? Something better than "SATISFIED"?
So try this one on for size... I just want to feel awesome. Feel alive. Be full of energy every single day. I want to love life. And know that making healthy, active choices will get you to that point. Now, I think that's S.M.A.R.T.!
So 1) shout your goals/resolutions/heart felt thoughts from the roof tops 2) Find some partners in crime who will hold you accountable to the shouting 3) be Consistent ( I can't say enough about this part, well actually I can but you'll have to wait 'til the next blog) 4) beat out 50% of people who make resolutions by making it a lifestyle... Preferably a TUFF one!