I’m In Love…

…with Fitocracy.com, a fitness social network that helps you reach your goals by turning them into a game. Get rewarded for your workouts by earning points, unlocking challenges, and gaining rewards. Share it with your friends and become part of the community to get tips and motivation from real people trying to achieve the same goals you are.

I love this site, (there’s also an app for your iPhone, by the way), because it puts the fun back into working out. They have optional “quests” you can take upon yourself, such as a 6 mile hike to earn even more points and rewards, which means you may even try something new that you never would have otherwise. And reaching new levels can help keep you motivated by seeing your progress.
So, get tracking!

Remember This…

Ever hear of Newton’s Law of Inertia? You may not know the proper name for it, but you’ve definitely heard the phrase “an object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion”, right? Well, Newton it seems wasn’t just a genius scientist, he was a genius coach, because this principle doesn’t just apply to physics, it applies to your mind and your body as well.

It’s like when you decide to wipe a spot on the table. It’s just a little spot. But then, once you clean that spot you notice another and another until you’ve not only cleaned the entire table, but your bookshelf too, because it’s right next to the table and you have a wet rag in your hand anyway, and if you sit down now you know it’s never going to get done later, so what the hell, you’ll clean the bookshelf too. Oh, and the mirror next to the bookshelf. And did you see that dust bunny roll behind the lamp? Once you start you can’t stop.

So many times when working with clients I’ve seen them quit at the last 3 reps. They say it’s because it’s “too hard”, “they’re muscles are on fire”, or they’re “out of breath”. As a trainer though you learn to spot the signs when someone is truly at their limit or if they’re just giving up because it’s difficult. It’s one thing if you’re at true failure (in fitness failure is a spectacular thing – think about that!), then I can understand not being able to lift any more, but if you’re giving out because it’s hard, I have news for you, it is always physically hard. If it isn’t then you’re not growing. That doesn’t mean you need to be in pain, but you need to challenge yourself. That never ever changes and never goes away. If you always stop at the last three then you’ll always stop at the last three, because you give yourself permission to do so. Without fail, every time I need to work out there is still this thought in the back of my mind, “really? Maybe I’ll just stay home. I’m really not in the mood.” And that’s after 10 years! The difference though, is that I go anyway, because put simply, that is what I do. I am an object in motion staying in motion.

Finding a healthy balance in your life (food, exercise, sleep, work, play, family, etc.) isn’t something that happens overnight. It’s something that takes careful honing and work. If you really want to change your habits, it is deliberate, and takes a shift in attitude. Over time though, it gets easier, not because there are no obstacles, but because it becomes second nature. Giving into your excuses and not challenging them only leads to you sitting on the couch watching yet another episode of How I Met Your Mother. You settling for a bit of immediate gratification keeps you from moving forward, and all that serves to do is keep you on that couch. You have to expect some discomfort and know that you can overcome it, because if you stay on that couch you’ll remain on that couch, but if you decide to just shut the excuses up and move you’ll be more likely to move the day after and the day after that – discomfort and all.

Products I’m Obsessed With – Fit Deck

What makes working out fun, less confusing, easy to follow, and super transportable? You guessed it, Fit Deck.

Fit Deck is a super portable deck of cards designed to take the confusion out of working out. Each deck of cards comes with easy to read and follow instructions for different exercises. And each deck comes with its own unique theme, such as bodyweight, stability ball, Yoga, resistance bands, plyometrics, dumbbells, prenatal, senior fitness, and even travel. Oh, and I forgot my favorite – Playground! I love the travel and bodyweight ones, because then there’s never an excuse to not exercise, and I don’t have to lug tons of equipment with me.

I own about ten different decks (they have over 25) and seriously don’t travel anywhere without it. If you’ve got your Fit Deck and your body then you’re ready to go and don’t have to have the excuse that you couldn’t find a gym or don’t have fitness equipment.

Each deck comes with its own set of exercises with options for beginner, intermediate, or advanced worker-outters, plus ideas for games that you can play with the cards. That’s right, you heard me, games! Who says working is boring and tedious?

Right now they’re offering 50% off their mobile app. You can check that and all the other decks out here.

Products I'm Obsessed With – Fit Deck

What makes working out fun, less confusing, easy to follow, and super transportable? You guessed it, Fit Deck.

Fit Deck is a super portable deck of cards designed to take the confusion out of working out. Each deck of cards comes with easy to read and follow instructions for different exercises. And each deck comes with its own unique theme, such as bodyweight, stability ball, Yoga, resistance bands, plyometrics, dumbbells, prenatal, senior fitness, and even travel. Oh, and I forgot my favorite – Playground! I love the travel and bodyweight ones, because then there’s never an excuse to not exercise, and I don’t have to lug tons of equipment with me.

I own about ten different decks (they have over 25) and seriously don’t travel anywhere without it. If you’ve got your Fit Deck and your body then you’re ready to go and don’t have to have the excuse that you couldn’t find a gym or don’t have fitness equipment.

Each deck comes with its own set of exercises with options for beginner, intermediate, or advanced worker-outters, plus ideas for games that you can play with the cards. That’s right, you heard me, games! Who says working is boring and tedious?

Right now they’re offering 50% off their mobile app. You can check that and all the other decks out here.

I Resolve To Not Resolve This Year

I hate the idea of New Years Resolutions. Every year we vow to do a million things that we think will change us. And, every year we look back on the last and see what we didn’t really make happen, and decide that this year will be different. This year things are going to change once and for all and we’re going to become fluent in Italian, take an art class, raise the perfect children, and of course, lose 15 pounds and become a walking billboard for swimsuits. It’s all just too much pressure to do in one year really. And for some reason we make these grandiose claims like we’re some sort of superheroes that can go from not speaking a word of Italian to becoming fluent. And on top of that we think that we can do the other 3 things on the list too. I don’t know about you, but the last time I checked there’s only 24 hours in a day. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t strive for things. You most definitely should. I just don’t think that you should put such an “I must or else…” attitude on it.

You need to set yourself up for success, not disappointment, and that’s why I think we should start a “Fitness Bucket List” instead. This is a list of things that you want to accomplish in your lifetime. Maybe you like the idea of running a marathon, but aren’t ready to do it. Instead of putting that down as a resolution for this year (who are you kidding, really…), put it on your bucket list, and then set a goal this year to run a 5k. That’s so much more manageable and will get the momentum going for running longer distances. And then maybe 2 years down the road you’ll have actually become a runner and the idea of going the full 26.2 miles won’t seem like such an impossibility.

Most of the time we quit things because it gets too hard to handle. And the reason it gets too hard to handle is because we put too much pressure on ourselves from the get go when we really should have been more realistic about our abilities.

The other great thing about a Fitness Bucket List is that it sets us up for a long-term mindset of living a healthier lifestyle. Resolutions always seem to be something that you accomplish once to check it off your list, but it has no staying power. For many who see a resolution through to completion end up slacking off after they’ve accomplished it. And then you know what happens? It goes right back on their list next year. And that only makes you feel worse. A Fitness Bucket List will keep you moving forward.

Here are some tips on creating your list:
1. Nothing is out of reach, so write down everything and anything that comes to mind (you can always erase things later).
2. Keep it positive. Instead of writing “get down to 130 pounds”, write down things that will help you get there, such as working out 3 times per week or getting 7 hours of sleep a night.
3. The word “fitness” relates to every aspect of your health, which means anything that you think will help create balance in your life. If that means taking more “me time” or doing something that you’ve been afraid of, then so be it!
4. It’s not set in stone. Remember that you can always change the list, so don’t be worried about writing what you really want.
5. Nothing is out of your reach. Many people say “I’m not a runner”, and to me that’s crazy. You might not run right now, but you can if you want. And you don’t have to log 20 miles a week to be considered a runner either. You just have to run.
6. Write down what YOU want, not what you think you should want, or what everyone else is doing.
7. Choose things that will empower you, not make you crazy.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and hear some of the things that you put on your list, so please share!

Will Ugly Toning Shoes Actually Give Me Beautiful Legs?

Do you own any of these ugly shoes and think that they’re going to give you the body that you’ve always wanted just by wearing them? I swear, I was walking by Haagen Daaz one day with Roman and the dogs and I saw this woman wearing a pair of these ugly things sipping a milkshake. I told her I was a trainer and was a little skeptical of the shoes, but was excited to meet someone who’s tried them and wanted to hear what she thought. She swore it was the reason she dropped a dress size, but I just couldn’t believe that those shoes alone are what made her lose weight. I figured that it wasn’t the shoes themselves, but it was the fact that wearing those shoes probably made her more mindful about being healthier overall, and perhaps owning those shoes made her walk around more than she normally would have, which made her burn more calories, and therefore lose some weight. And don’t get me wrong, that’s not a bad thing at all, I just couldn’t believe that these shoes alone could be responsible for transforming your body. I started reading around to see if these things really do work and here’s what I found…

So, we have the MBT shoe, Skechers Shape-Ups, and Reebok EasyTone, which claim that they can all give you a better body by helping you lose weight, tone your butt and thighs, and burn more calories. And they even have studies to go along with them that claim they work. The American Council on Exercise (ACE) conducted a research study and put these shoes to the test to see if they really lived up to their claims. In a nutshell, here’s what they found:

These companies did conduct experiments, however they were not peer-reviewed and were of questionable design. At first glance, it’s easy to see why women would buy these shoes. Their claims seem to make sense and so it’s easy to put the shoes on and say, “hey, I can actually feel my muscles working”. You have to be careful of studies sponsored by manufacturers though, because their main goal is to prove that their product works and it’s very easy to conduct a research experiment and find evidence to support your theory. It must be peer-reviewed, proven, and reproven for it to be true.

ACE conducted a study testing these shoes for exercise response (i.e. heart rate and oxygen consumption), as well as muscle activation in the butt, thighs, back, and abs. They took 24 women from ages 19-27 and separated them into 2 groups to measure both exercise response and muscle activation. Each of the women rotated between all three of the balance shoes, as well as a regular sneaker as they performed various 5-minute exercise trials on a treadmill. A baseline for their performance was taken before the testing too, so they had something to compare their results to.

Result: None of the shoes showed a significant increase in either exercise response or muscle activation. There was no evidence showing that any of these shoes will help women exercise more intensely, burn more calories, or build more strength or tone. It’s a hard thing to hear, but there is no quick fix. If you’re hoping that these are magically going to transform your body I’m here to tell you to stop waiting. BUT, if these shoes mean that you’re getting out and walking around more, and they make you more mindful about being healthier, then that’s definitely a plus and I say more power to you!

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

Ok guys, this is it – your last week of the beginners program! I want you to really notice how far you’ve come and how hard you’ve worked. The only way to make a change is to simply do it. No one else can do it but you. If you take anything away from this experience I want you to realize that you are so much stronger and capable of so much more than you realize. Your ability to power through these workouts is really just a metaphor for life. Know that anything you want is yours if you decide to put in the effort to make it happen. The strength that you’ve built from these workouts is of course physical, but actually, it’s 98% mental. Feel empowered by your ability to power through this and take that strength with you wherever you go. There is nothing that you can’t do. Congratulations!

This weeks playlist is put together with the idea that music is what moves you. When you let yourself go and allow yourself to just be part of the music a beautiful thing happens – you let go of your thoughts, your inhibitions, and all the filters that are telling you not to do or say something. Really connect your body with your mind and just let the music guide you.

The Workout:
Week 12

The Playlist:
- Warm-up
Harmonize (Spirit Catcher)
Rio Nero (Drum Nation)
Absolutely Africa (Saxomatto)
Esperanca (Danny Tenaglia)

- The Workout
Twelve (Aria)
Genesis (Cozzy D & Kid Dub Present D Dub)
School of Thought (Kevin Swain)
Winter (Aril Brikha)
Vertigo (The Oval Five Project)
Smoke (Trafik)
Circus (Trafik)

- Cardio
Tribal (Tanke)
Tribal (Aggregat)
Tribal (RMB) (*I was trying to find as many “Tribal” named songs as possible… I guess it ends here.)
Move Your Body (DJ Wope)
We Believe (Junior)
Love Nature (Hystera)
Gimme A Smile (Lost Tribe)
Robots (Kevin Swain)
Female (Santos)

- Cool Down
So Long (Sissy)

Well, there you have it, your 12 week beginner program. Just because this is the end of this program though doesn’t mean it’s the end of your working out. If you want to keep up your results you’ve gotta keep up your activity. If there’s anything else you’d like to see featured here, just drop me a line and let me know.

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.)