Week 11 – 12 Weeks To A Stronger, Sexier, More Confident You

I shouldn’t be saying this at week 11 of this program, but I really wish I would have named it something different. “12 Weeks To A Stronger, blah, blah, blah” is so generic. And I’m so not a generic. And neither is this program. If you’ve been following it for the entire 10 weeks up until now I’m sure that you’ll find that you feel stronger, sexier, and more confident, but that you also got past some major hurdles in keeping up with it. How did I let this happen? Oh well, there’s only 1 more week left.

Yup, 1 more week until you’re no longer a beginner at fitness! Can you believe how far you’ve come? Did you ever think you’d be able to stick with it? Pretty awesome! Ok, enough exclamation points (I hate them), on with the program…

The Workout:
Week 11

The Playlist:
- Warm-up
Teenage Dream (Katy Perry)
Somebody’s Watching Me (Rockwell)
Bust A Move (Young MC)
Party Up (DMX)

- Workout
Love Is A Battlefield (Pat Benatar)
The Seed (2.0) (The Roots)
He Got Game (Public Enemy)
‘ Till I Collapse (Eminem)
Sober (Pink)
Hung Up (Madonna)
Sorry (Madonna)
Wind It Up (Gwen Stefani)
Epic Last Song (Does it Offend You, Yeah?)

- Cardio
Day ‘n’ Nite (Chani)
American Idiot (Spike)
Satisfaction (C-Baby)
I’m Gonna Get Tribal (RP)
Vegas
Eclipse (Beltek)
You Will Find Me
En Route (Tariq)

- Cool Down
Precious (Depeche Mode)

Ok, there you have it – your workout and your playlist. If anyone knows how to create a playlist for purchase on iTunes (so that you don’t have to click on each song individually) please let me know. It would save you and me a ton of trouble. Thanks!

This Is For Any Woman Who Thinks She’s Not Good Enough

I’ve been working on revamping my website lately. When I first started personal training I didn’t realize that I would find a specialty and want to focus on women who have self-esteem issues. I knew I wanted to work with women, but didn’t realize that I had a real purpose in life to focus on. So, when I put out my website it was simply aimed at women in general without any real insight into who I was and what my type of personal training was all about. Years later I’ve come to a point in my career where I’ve realized that I have a true calling and a need to help women who are suffering with feelings of imperfection, body image issues, and simply, but not really so simply, feeling like they’re not good enough.

Seems pretty clear, right? Well, not really, because every time I get to writing down my bio or what my philosophy about personal training is I become completely tongue-tied. I’ve written and rewritten so many drafts, but how do you really put into words something that’s so complex? How do I put my very long and complicated bio into something that doesn’t read like the Sunday edition of the New York Times? So, I rephrased my thoughts and asked myself, “how has fitness changed me and what do I want to teach others?” This is what I came up with…

I’ve dieted, starved, binged, and purged. You name it, I’ve done it. After years of abusing my body like this my metabolism came to such a screeching halt that no matter what I did I just kept getting rounder, softer, and more and more unhappy with myself. I spent an entire summer in my bedroom not wanting to leave, because I felt ugly, ashamed, and angry. I was angry at myself for getting to this place and I was ashamed and frustrated because now I couldn’t dig myself out of the hole I put myself in. I couldn’t believe that after losing so much weight I’d gained it all back again, but now couldn’t take it off. It became my world. I hated that I didn’t love myself. I was never good enough. I hated that I’d spent my senior year of high school obsessing about my weight, food, and how I looked. I didn’t know how to be happy anymore. I couldn’t remember it.

You know those “aha” moments people speak about? Those pivotal moments in their lives were everything just seems to make sense? Like they’ve figured out Newton’s theory of gravity or something? Well, I had one of those moments in my bedroom that summer. After spending the entire summer feeling tormented and my entire senior year (and most of my junior too) hating myself a thought popped into my head. “I would rather die than go on feeling this way.” After feeling so weak and defeated for so long something within me took over and I knew that I was going to work up the courage to take back control of my life.

A funny thing happens when you’re trying to be so in control of your emotions, actions, thoughts, and feeling. You become out of control. As hard as pushing yourself to overcome your fears and challenges is it’s not nearly as bad as living your life a prisoner in your own head.

At first, I’ll admit, I began exercising as yet another way to lose and control my weight, but then it became something so much more, and I had another “aha” moment. My trainer gave me a pretty difficult exercise – it was a single-handed pike on a stability ball. Face down, with only my legs on the ball and my hands supporting me, I was supposed to lift one hand up in the air and simultaneously use my feet to roll the ball and bring my body up into an inverted V-shape. – It was excruciatingly hard, but I didn’t give up. I kept trying and trying until I finally got it. Then he asked me, “how do you feel?” And I said “GREAT!” With a smirk on his face, he said that I’m the only client he has that would actually say that after something so difficult. And that’s when I realized that fitness became so much more to me than just losing weight. It was something that I could be good at, and I felt extremely empowered by being able to do things that I thought I’d never be able to do. Normally my perfectionism would cripple me, because I would just give up rather than fail, but instead I learned to push even harder. I relished the fact that people would stare at the short little girl walking down the street with 10 grocery bags all up and down her arms. I was actually quite strong and powerful on the inside.

This became a metaphor for my life. I could do whatever I thought was impossible. I could push past fear, failure, and pain, and become so much more than I ever thought possible. I could take control of my life. I realized that my body and the way it looked wasn’t the problem, my mind was. Our minds are our only limitations.

Very Personal Training is empowerment based fitness. It is for any woman who thinks she’s not good enough. Fitness is so much more than simply losing weight and toning your body so that you look like Jessica Biel. When you push yourself past pain and the seemingly impossible you realize that you are so much more than a dress size. You conquer yourself and you take that with you everywhere you go. Any time you face something that you think you can’t do, you remember, oh yes I can!

(And P.S., once I stopped obsessing about my weight it all came off.)

This Is For Any Woman Who Thinks She's Not Good Enough

I’ve been working on revamping my website lately. When I first started personal training I didn’t realize that I would find a specialty and want to focus on women who have self-esteem issues. I knew I wanted to work with women, but didn’t realize that I had a real purpose in life to focus on. So, when I put out my website it was simply aimed at women in general without any real insight into who I was and what my type of personal training was all about. Years later I’ve come to a point in my career where I’ve realized that I have a true calling and a need to help women who are suffering with feelings of imperfection, body image issues, and simply, but not really so simply, feeling like they’re not good enough.

Seems pretty clear, right? Well, not really, because every time I get to writing down my bio or what my philosophy about personal training is I become completely tongue-tied. I’ve written and rewritten so many drafts, but how do you really put into words something that’s so complex? How do I put my very long and complicated bio into something that doesn’t read like the Sunday edition of the New York Times? So, I rephrased my thoughts and asked myself, “how has fitness changed me and what do I want to teach others?” This is what I came up with…

I’ve dieted, starved, binged, and purged. You name it, I’ve done it. After years of abusing my body like this my metabolism came to such a screeching halt that no matter what I did I just kept getting rounder, softer, and more and more unhappy with myself. I spent an entire summer in my bedroom not wanting to leave, because I felt ugly, ashamed, and angry. I was angry at myself for getting to this place and I was ashamed and frustrated because now I couldn’t dig myself out of the hole I put myself in. I couldn’t believe that after losing so much weight I’d gained it all back again, but now couldn’t take it off. It became my world. I hated that I didn’t love myself. I was never good enough. I hated that I’d spent my senior year of high school obsessing about my weight, food, and how I looked. I didn’t know how to be happy anymore. I couldn’t remember it.

You know those “aha” moments people speak about? Those pivotal moments in their lives were everything just seems to make sense? Like they’ve figured out Newton’s theory of gravity or something? Well, I had one of those moments in my bedroom that summer. After spending the entire summer feeling tormented and my entire senior year (and most of my junior too) hating myself a thought popped into my head. “I would rather die than go on feeling this way.” After feeling so weak and defeated for so long something within me took over and I knew that I was going to work up the courage to take back control of my life.

A funny thing happens when you’re trying to be so in control of your emotions, actions, thoughts, and feeling. You become out of control. As hard as pushing yourself to overcome your fears and challenges is it’s not nearly as bad as living your life a prisoner in your own head.

At first, I’ll admit, I began exercising as yet another way to lose and control my weight, but then it became something so much more, and I had another “aha” moment. My trainer gave me a pretty difficult exercise – it was a single-handed pike on a stability ball. Face down, with only my legs on the ball and my hands supporting me, I was supposed to lift one hand up in the air and simultaneously use my feet to roll the ball and bring my body up into an inverted V-shape. – It was excruciatingly hard, but I didn’t give up. I kept trying and trying until I finally got it. Then he asked me, “how do you feel?” And I said “GREAT!” With a smirk on his face, he said that I’m the only client he has that would actually say that after something so difficult. And that’s when I realized that fitness became so much more to me than just losing weight. It was something that I could be good at, and I felt extremely empowered by being able to do things that I thought I’d never be able to do. Normally my perfectionism would cripple me, because I would just give up rather than fail, but instead I learned to push even harder. I relished the fact that people would stare at the short little girl walking down the street with 10 grocery bags all up and down her arms. I was actually quite strong and powerful on the inside.

This became a metaphor for my life. I could do whatever I thought was impossible. I could push past fear, failure, and pain, and become so much more than I ever thought possible. I could take control of my life. I realized that my body and the way it looked wasn’t the problem, my mind was. Our minds are our only limitations.

Very Personal Training is empowerment based fitness. It is for any woman who thinks she’s not good enough. Fitness is so much more than simply losing weight and toning your body so that you look like Jessica Biel. When you push yourself past pain and the seemingly impossible you realize that you are so much more than a dress size. You conquer yourself and you take that with you everywhere you go. Any time you face something that you think you can’t do, you remember, oh yes I can!

(And P.S., once I stopped obsessing about my weight it all came off.)

Week 10 – 12 Weeks To A Stronger, Sexier, More Confident You

(Sorry for the lateness of this post, my internet was out all day. Don’t you hate that!)

You’re almost at the end, keep it up! I’d love to hear feedback form any of you who’ve been following this workout plan. What changes have you noticed physically, mentally, and emotionally? Do you feel more in control of your body? Is the habit of working out becoming more second-nature and less torture chamber? Is it actually doable and are you surprising yourself by being able to push through when you don’t feel like it? Let me know what you’ve been feeling!

The Workout:
Week 10

I’m having so much fun making these playlists, because I’m discovering new music every week. This week’s playlist features only female artists. Check it out!

The Playlist:
- Warm-Up
Jungle Drum (Emiliani Torrini)
I’m Good, I’m Gone (Lykke Li)
Ooh La La (Goldfrapp)
The Con (Tegan and Sara)

- Workout
Dejalo (Rilo Kiley)
Spring And By Summer Fall (Blonde Redhead)</em>
New Years (Asobi Seksu – absolutely one of my favorite artists right now)
Walk Back In Your Head (Tegan and Sara)
I Feel It All (Feist)
Skeleton Song (Kate Nash)

- Cardio
Goodbye (Asobi Seksu – because they’re that good)
Lions And Tigers (Asobi Seksu – no, really, they are)
Nefi + Girly (Asobi Seksu – ok, last on, I promise. We call my niece “girly, so I just had to put this one in there)
If Looks Could Kill (Camera Obscura)
Kiss, Kiss (Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs)
Foundations (Kate Nash)</em>
You’ll Find A Way (Santigold)
Creator (Santigold)
Great DJ (The Ting Tings)
Le Disko (Shiny Toy Guns)</strong>
Shut Up And Let Me Go (The Ting Tings)

- Cool-Down
Free (Cat Power)
Be OK (Ingrid Michaelson)

Product Review: The Shake Weight

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXHUdvvHTkw]

I’m sure by now you’ve all seen the hilarious commercial for the Shake Weight and you might be wondering if it really works. The commercial claims that using the Shake Weight for just 6 minutes a day can give you toned and defined arms in a matter of weeks. Well, I was in the mall the other day and saw one of those “As Seen on TV” product booths and decided to buy one to test out their claims myself. Any time I hear something like “in just 6 minutes a day” my alarm bells start ringing, because it just sounds too good to be true. Is it?

The inventors of the Shake Weight say that they’ve come up with a technology called “dynamic inertia”, which is just a fancy way of saying that you hold the weight in place and shake it. They say that this technology helps you build and tone the muscles in your arms to give you a sleek and slender shape. So, I tried it out and here’s what I found:

Pros: It’s great for beginners. Anyone can learn how to use it. I definitely felt a burn within one minute of using it and you’re isolating your muscles in a way that’s similar to the way you contract your muscles during a plank (i.e. isometric contraction), which means it’s great for stability work.

Cons: It’s great for beginners. Which means that after about 4-6 weeks you won’t really see any major benefit from the Shake Weight. Eventually you’re going to have to increase the intensity, which isn’t really possible, because it only weighs 2.5 pounds. Their claims of getting sleek and toned in a matter of weeks if you use it for only 6 minutes a day are false, because you’re going to have to do a lot more if you want to burn the fat that’s surrounding your muscles (eating right, cardio, etc.). If working out for 6 minutes a day worked I would have a lot more hours in the day to train a lot more people and most likely I wouldn’t even have a job.

It doesn’t quite shake the way it does in the commercial either. When I opened the box I began looking for batteries, because in the commercial the shaking almost looks mechanical, but you quickly find out that it’s actually slower than they advertise. And that’s not all bad, because it means that you have to work a bit harder. But, it is false advertising, which always turns me off from products, because it makes it seem as if the inventors don’t fully believe in their product as is.

The DVD that came with the product had some exercises involving shaking the weight, but a lot of the 6 minute video were traditional exercises that you could do with any old weight. So what’s the point of having the Shake Weight at all? Oh, and did I mention false advertising? The trainer they used for the DVD was rail thin. Seriously, a stick bug. Are they trying to tell us that you will look like her after using this product for just 6 minutes a day? I promise you that you will not.

And one more thing… From a purely exercise theory perspective, our bodies are designed to move in many directions and it’s best to work out your muscles in a functional way, which means that you should do exercises that mimic every day movements (i.e. a squat with a curl and a press mimics picking up something from the floor and placing it on a shelf). For instance, your shoulders move up, down, and around, so working out your shoulders by just holding them in place doesn’t really help you use them in the way they are supposed to be used. It will definitely help build stability, but it won’t build strength. A muscle needs to go through a full range of motion around the joint to fully reap the benefits of building strength and tone, so just shaking this weight while holding your position will only build the muscle in that position. Make sense?

Bottom Line: It’s good if you’re just beginning, but don’t use it thinking that it’s some magical device that will get rid of your underarm fat. It won’t. It may help, but eventually you’re going to have to progress beyond it. Would I tell people to spend money on it? No. Just get yourself a set of weights and shake those.

Week #9 – 12 Weeks to a Stronger, Sexier, More Confident You

In case you were wondering where your workout for last week was, there wasn’t one. Sometimes you need to completely take a break, which is what my husband and I did this past week. It’s good to let your body and mind rest once in a while, so don’t sweat not sweating.

Now that you (and I) are good and rested you should be able to come back with a renewed sense of inspiration, motivation, and energy. Week 9 marks the 3/4 mark in this program, which is where most people quit. You’ve been going at it long enough to feel you have a handle on things, but you are also losing some of the vigor you felt when you first started. Think of this as a “tipping point”. You are climbing the hill now, but as soon as you hit the peak it will be smooth sailing from here. Fight the urge to slack off and get through this hurdle and you’ll feel so empowered by your ability to force yourself through the discomfort that I promise it will cross over into other areas of your life. You will realize that you have the power to do anything you put your mind to.

To help you out I’ve changed things up a bit. It’s good to challenge your body and mind by shaking things up, so I promise you will not be bored by this one!

The Workout:
Week 9

The Playlist:
- Warm-up
When Doves Cry (Prince)
Common People (William Shatner **everyone always says that they would listen to Morgan Freeman read the phonebook, but Willie is the only phonebook reader in my eyes.)
Jump (Madonna)

- Workout
Kashmir (Led Zeppelin)
Bang A Gong (T. Rex)
1901 (Phoenix)

- Cardio
California Gurls (Katy Perry)
Kool Thing (Sonic Youth)
It Takes Two (DJ EZ Rock & Rob Base)
Crazy In Love (Beyonce’)
Let Me Blow Ya Mind (Eve & Gwen Stefani)
Tambourine (Eve)
Paper Planes (MIA)
NYC Beat (Armen Van Helden)

- Cool Down
Father Figure (George Michael)

** Combine this with my 12 week weight management program to maximize your results. Leave a comment if you d like some more info.

Have A Sweeter Than Sweet New Year

If you’re a jew then this month means eating, eating, and even more eating. Try not to worry about losing weight this month, because that’s even more stress than is worth bearing. Focus on maintaining your weight for the month and fight the urge to restrict before big meals, because that will only slow your metabolism and trigger you to eat even more when you finally do sit down to your meal. Eat small meals throughout the day so you won’t feel like bingeing at dinner. Also, try to keep active by walking everywhere and take the stairs whenever possible.

One last thing: If you use the scale to gauge your success DO NOT get on it the week after the holidays are over. That’s just a torture fest waiting to happen. When you have something like a holiday that causes you to eat more than usual the scale will increase temporarily, but will soon go back to normal after you get back into your normal routines.

Have a happy and sweet New Year everyone!

I Have A Confession

I’m ashamed to admit this, but I too am afraid of eating bananas. The other day I was faced with a dilemma: Do I eat the yummy looking banana sitting on the kitchen counter or do I go for a peach in the fridge, because it’s lower in calories? What I really wanted was the creamy banana-ey goodness, but the peach seemed like a wiser option. Then I thought to myself, “Dani, what would you tell a client who came to you with this question?” I would say go for the freaking banana if that’s what you want! They are both fruits! And so I did. And it hit the spot.

Maybe you’ve never heard of this hole bananaphobia thing and maybe you think I’m crazy, but lots of women believe that bananas are “bad” for you. Since the Atkins and South Beach Diets became popular there’s been an onslaught of diet gurus telling people that bananas are the devil, because they are high in sugar and high in calories. Some people even believe that you can eat a banana in the afternoon, but not in the morning and definitely not before bed. This is ridiculous though! A regular sized banana (not one of those gargantuan embarrassing looking ones) has about 150 calories, and is loaded with potassium, vitamins B and C, and fiber. It’s not like you’re making the choice between a peach and a piece of red velvet cake. It’s a freaking banana! Have one!

I want to know, what foods are arbitrarily off-limits to you?