Saturday, August 29, 2009
Circuit or interval training is fun and interesting and can be easily adapted into any kind of environment and training regimen. For instance, if you have spent the winter weight training and doing the cardio machines, then you could step outside your doors and create a circuit combining fast walking/jogging and calisthenics. Begin with a 5-8 minute warm up of moderate to fast walking. The first grassy spot you come across, drop down and knock out as many either traditional or modified pushups, (done by aligning the spine from head to knee, place your weight on the front of the thigh, not the knee itself, while placing your hands shoulder width or wider beneath the shoulders themselves), as you can. Do anywhere from 5-50 repetitions, depending on your fitness level. Pushups are very thorough in addressing the majority of the upper body musculature as well as the abdominal group. Then get right back into your walk/jog for another 5-8 minutes.
At the next opportune spot, drop down and do a set of dips, (sit with your palms placed at either side of your buttocks and your feet shoulder width apart, as far away from your buttocks as you can, lift the body into a bridge position and proceed to bend and straighten at the elbows). Dips target the back of the upper arms and your triceps, we all need that. Just a note, the further your feet are away from your buttocks, (using straight legs while balanced on your heels as the highest difficulty), the more difficult the exercise will be. Again, do 5-50 repetitions.
Back up to walk/jog for another 5-8 minutes, then stop and take a stance, place your feet shoulder width apart and perform 5-50 squats. Be sure to keep the knees safely behind your toes as you send your hips back as well as your arms forward to counterbalance yourself. Squats are a great exercise to strengthen quadriceps, hamstrings and buttocks. Immediately get back into your walk/jog mode for another 5-8 minutes. This time when you stop, try doing a combination move. While standing on one foot and holding the other knee up in front of you, perform a set of smaller, slower ˝ squats. Be sure to change legs and repeat an equal number of reps on the other leg. This is great for buttocks and hamstrings, not to mention the dozens of secondary muscles being utilized to balance you.
At this point, you will be approximately 45 minutes into your training session, so you may opt to begin cooling down by reducing your pace, and once your heart rate has slowed (3-5 minutes) you can stop. Or you may wish to continue for 1-3 more intervals using your own favorite calisthenics. When you do begin cooling down and finally stop, do a few exercises to target the core and then move into 5 minutes of thorough stretching.
Outdoor circuits can be so much fun because you can get as creative as you desire and utilize curbs, park benches, trees and anything else you can find to play with and on. Another option would be to interval your cardio segment only by simply varying the speed and intensity by which you are exercising. Use a 3:1 ratio as a starting place and expanding it as you grow more fit. You would then want to supplement that with some sort of resistance training.
I love the change in seasons because it reminds me to “bust a move” and change things up, and with our gorgeous spring weather, outdoors is truly beckoning. Have fun with your program, be consistent and always be safe. Happy Fitness!
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Willingness is an interesting phenomenon, and to the best of my knowledge it comes to each of us uniquely by way of our capacity to tolerate pain and discomfort. If you are one who has a low tolerance for discomfort, chances are good that you will find willingness swiftly. If, on the other hand, you have been taught that pain is virtuous, that there is never any gain without pain and that anyone worth their salt knows you must be willing to struggle and fight for what you desire, well, it could be a longer road for you. If the latter sounds familiar, you are far from alone. Most of us where raised with such values, and even though they go against every fiber of our beings, we feel compelled to trudge onward, dragging them with our miserable existence. We have forgotten that life is supposed to be fun and that we are, at our very core, feeling beings who are pure, positive love energy.
The reason living in this manner feels so bad is because it literally goes against our very nature. We came equipped with an amazing emotional guidance system and it is functioning perfectly -- at all times we should choose to pay attention to it. The discomfort that we feel is our guidance attempting to call us toward something, anything, that allows us to feel a little better. When we are moving our thoughts and thereby our emotions away from the reality of what is, away from that which feels bad, we are inherently going to feel some sense of relief and a slight increase in empowerment. This is the pathway out of unconsciousness into awareness and happiness.
Once the pain has pushed us into surrender and therefore willingness, the next important step is to begin to move into acceptance. Just because you acknowledged that something “IS” does not automatically mean that you are required to agree with it. This is a valuable piece of information, because most have a tangled concept around acceptance that leads them to reject it. This is another misperception that has blocked many from moving in this direction. We have got to stop facing reality and acknowledge that looking for the positive aspects in things allows a better feeling to arise. Our attention to “what is” keeps us trapped there. It is only present to provide the contrast necessary for us to determine what IS WANTED and THAT is where our attention needs to diligently be placed.
There is great power in moving into willingness and then into acceptance. It paves a pathway out of unconsciousness, out of pain and suffering and into the light. Wellbeing abounds, it is so extremely prevalent in comparison to the small pockets of darkness that spot our planet, and yet those pockets are where the majority of people focus, wondering all the while how and when they will ever find peace or joy again. We have a choice as to where we focus -- we have been given freewill to create our lives in any manner we so desire. Decide today that nothing is more important to you then how you feel and that feeling good or even a slight bit better is your primary intention. Decide that struggle and pain are not the answer you thought they were and move toward becoming willing. From willingness, acceptance is your next great ally, and once you have achieved making peace with “what is,” you are on your way to becoming the conscious creator you came forth to be. You get to decide, and your feelings are there to guide your way. Joy and happiness are your birthright, you were meant to thrive and prosper. Choose to be a conscious, deliberate, free and completely alive being. Postpone your joy no longer. Blessings on your path.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Carbohydrates comprise one of the most essential group of nutrients needed by the body in order to maintain good health. Sweeping statements like, “Carbohydrates are all bad and need to be avoided completely” is like throwing the baby out with the bath water ... it’s insane. Fruits and vegetables are carbohydrates and are not only nutrient packed but provide us with the majority of our necessary fiber. We all need to be taking in 5-8 servings of these nutritious foods on a daily basis, certainly not avoiding them.
Let me briefly qualify those carbohydrates that are truly of no real value to our bodies. Many of these ARE favorite foods but realistically, they have barely any vitamin or mineral benefit and they add a huge amount of unnecessary calories to our diets. Ready? They are all foods that are comprised primarily of processed white flour, many of those being white breads and white pastas. Check the labels, and if the very first ingredient is unbleached flour, make a different choice. By the time that flour is put through all the processing it goes through, it is literally striped of all its nutrient value. All that is left is a carbohydrate that once ingested is immediately turned from sugar into fat and stored. If you are about to run a marathon or are going to engage in some rigorous physical activity within 8-12 hours after eating it, then fine, but if not, those calories remained stored as fat.
The trick here is to read your labels and use your common sense. Human bodies require carbohydrates, lean proteins and healthy fats to function optimally. That means that physiologically our bodies require nutrients from all three of these categories in order to perform the necessary tasks of digestion, absorption, filtration, detoxification and elimination. When you choose to strike one or more of these essential components from your diet, you are robbing your body of the building blocks it needs to keep you healthy.
The best advice I know is to be sensible and make healthy choices. Cut back on your intake of foods that do not serve you, and up your portions of those that do. If you look at a normal size dinner plate and divide it into 4 equal fourths, then cut 1 of those fourths in half again, the 1/8 size section is where you put your pasta, white bread, white potatoes or white rice. Then fill 2 of those fourths with steamed vegetables or include in that section your leafy green salad. The final fourth or so is reserved for your lean protein choice. You get the picture. Most people get into trouble because over 50% of the meal is comprised of white pasta, white bread, white rice or white potatoes. By cutting way back on these nonessential foods and increasing your vegetable intake, you could conceivably lose a pound of unwanted body weight per week. That means one could lose over 50 pounds in just one year’s time. Be wise about your food choices and decide that it’s your top priority to eat in a more healthy manner -- your body will thank you. You are worthy of taking good care of and you will feel much better overall and in the long run. Happy fitness!
Monday, August 03, 2009
“We are one” is beginning to have a deeper meaning, to sink into our psyche and shine a light on why our present existence has caused us so much fear, pain and discontentment. On a very deep level we know that we are connected, we are of the same, we are designed to love, honor and accept one another without fear, judgment or envy. This shift in awareness is likened to a veil being lifted from our eyes. It’s as though we have been groping around in the dark, afraid of what THEY will do TO us, when suddenly, by grace, we can see how moving into the light and seeing one another as family and friends is long overdue. It feels so right, so natural and so good. It is not too late, nor are there ever any mistakes. All things happen in perfect right time and with exact right ordered perfection, for this I am sure.
I see more and more people all the time reaching out to help one another, to be of service, and genuinely wanting to extend themselves, showing great acts of kindness. My theory on this is that our collective consciousness has grown to the place of RE-MEMBERING, reuniting with all the parts of itself. When we act and speak and think in ways that are in harmony with this new realization it feels wonderful, and we are drawn to seek out more ways to feel that connection. Service is the most humane act we can perform, service to ourselves and to anyone else we see we have the capacity to assist. As we look for opportunities to be of service, we move into closer and closer proximity to becoming whole once more ... into remembering who we are and why we came forth. Oneness is not a fallacy, it is a reality that we grew away from and are just now remembering how to move back into alignment with.
It begins inside each and every one of us and then extends to our immediate families, friends, neighbors, communities, cities, states and country, and then to other countries of the world. The USA has an extraordinary opportunity to become the world leader in SERVICE and to extend our love, honor and acceptance globally, to go forth and be an example to other nations. Of course, our work must begin at home first, one home at a time, striving to live in harmony and to extend love and kindness each and every chance we get. “Be the change you want to see in the world,” that is where it is at. I choose to encourage this in my small world and hope you do the same. Gradually, deliberately and consciously we are becoming the loving, powerful Creators we came forth to be. We can, it is already happening. Blessings on your path.