Friday, November 26, 2010
Of course, I am not suggesting that you begin training in a sauna although the heat wave we have been experiencing makes it feel that way. No, what I am advising is that you take a hard look and consider cranking up the intensity of your workout. I watch the majority of people go through their routines in autopilot, barely breaking a sweat and coming away proud that they have not missed a workout in months. I say, “ That’s wonderful BUT, you may be fooling yourself if you think that you are making any real gains regarding your fitness level.” Maintaining a certain level of fitness is fine, but I am here to tell you that my hero, Jack LaLanne, has never stop growing stronger and he has been training for nearly 70 years! There is absolutely no reason on God’s green earth why we cannot grow stronger and more vital as well as regain or remain in our active, joyous lives as we grow older.
There is no reason why we cannot be healthy members of our families, our communities and our nation. We have been conditioned to believe that after a certain age we are supposed to declare ourselves ‘old’ and from that point on we are expected to sit around and grow increasingly weak, feeble and unproductive. And every bit of that is whole load of bull pucky. The body is muscularly, neurologically and physiologically trainable until the day we take our last breath. Flexibility can be regained, balance can be regained, and vitality is just a few short workouts down the road. Most of what stands in the way of elderly people feeling and living the energetic, productive lives they desire is a false belief system THAT CAN BE CHANGED. Regardless of your age or your present level of health and fitness, please consider the amount of energy you are actually putting out while you are training. No, you do not have to work out like a maniac every time you train. But at least once a week try pushing your pace, and allow yourself to get winded over and over again throughout the session. Depending on your level of fitness you may even want to try this on alternate workout days, averaging 2-3 higher intensity workouts/week. The point I am making is this: If you are floating along and not seeing yourself lose those last few pounds or reach that next weight stack, you would benefit greatly from bumping up your intensity.
The next time you find yourself complaining that you are too old to do THAT any more, stop and ask yourself, “ Is that just a habit of thought or could I actually do THAT if I trained for it and worked at achieving it?” I’ll bet the latter is the truth and the former is a lie you have just settled into telling yourself. For most of us that is a cop-out and an excuse. The fact is that training regularly with consistency is really not good enough, not if you want what I want. I want to move through my 80's and 90's like Jack, strong, healthy, enduring and vitally alive. If that is your desire too, then I encourage you to pump up your intensity, stay regular and never be afraid of changing your routine and changing it often. Happy mind, body and spirit fitness to all.
Friday, November 19, 2010
Most of us eat out of a deep need to fill a gaping hole that simply seems insatiable. Right off the bat most people who are suffering from uncontrollable food cravings would deny that they have any unresolved issues and for good reason. Facing the core causes of our addictive behaviors is extremely threatening to our conscious mind or what some would call our ego. The ego is essential and yet it was never designed to stand at the helm and be in utter control of the ship. Many of us have temporarily lost our way and have gotten into the habit of living in a reactive, routine manner. In other words, we have lost our ability to be present and fully awake in each moment, tuned into how we are feeling and striving to reach for those focus points that are for our highest and best good. We get sucked into “what is.” That means, whatever is happening in our now moment gets our undivided attention. As we ricochet through our days reacting to this event and that newscast and that person's drama and this person's misfortune, we end up thinking and feeling by default. This is exactly why we get to the end of our day and all we can think about is how badly we want to eat an entire chocolate cake. We have spent the day at the mercy of “what is” versus being a selective thinker and consciously picking out only those things to which we truly want to give our attention and energy. Take back your power and decide to be the conscious, deliberate thinker you came forth to be. It truly is your birthright and as a free will being no one can take that choice away from you except you.
So, begin today to become aware of how you are choosing to spend your precious attention and energy. If what you are focusing on causes you to have any degree of negative feeling, I highly recommend that you make another choice. I know that this sounds simple when, in fact, it will take quite a bit of effort at first. That is, until you begin to notice how much better you are feeling and how much more in control you are over those cravings. At that point it becomes quite easy to choose your focus and maintain your control over your energy. Remember that you are the only one who has the power to direct your thoughts and feelings. If you want that “hole” to at long last become full, well, it’s your choice and your decision. After just a short while you will feel such a marked improvement in your life that soon nothing will be more important to you than attending to your focus. People will begin to notice how much happier you are and how much lighter you seem physically, mentally and emotionally. When they ask you what is different, smile and tell them that you decided to be deliberate about where you focus your time and energy, and that you no longer postpone your joy. Happy mind, body and spirit fitness to all.
Friday, November 12, 2010
First and foremost, if you are aware ahead of time that you are facing a surgery, it will serve you enormously to continue fitness training up to the day before surgery. (Of course you'll work 'around' the injury with great care). The reason you want to maintain your muscle strength and endurance is so you will be much better prepared for recovery. It takes a lot of courage, strength and endurance to fully apply yourself to the rehab routines that await and trust me, you want to give that rehab your very best effort. Your future range of motion, capacities and capabilities depend on your truly working hard in rehab. This is not to say that you can’t ever improve long after rehab, however, your body has some of its best opportunities for full and complete recovery the first few weeks following surgery.
Secondly, most people have the benefit of some pain medications the first couple weeks or so. Although one needs to be conscious not to overdo the exercises or overdo taking the medications; the medications are designed to make the recovery a much more comfortable and doable endeavor. So, while you have their benefit, it is in your best interest to push yourself a little and put forth your best effort. Also, as I said, you can make gains during this point in your recovery that may come with much more sweat and tears later, should you decide to take that initiative to regain a greater range of motion or strength capacity down the road.
Now, to be ‘on your own’ during the transition from rehab to solo workouts is doable as long as you can be honest with yourself every step of the way. Remaining objective can be challenging, in other words, deciding how much is actually enough exercise versus how much is too much. You must listen to your body VERY CAREFULLY. The number of repetitions per set of each exercise that you will begin with greatly depends on 1.) How long you were laid up, 2.) what exactly your surgery entailed, 3.) how experienced you are in the fitness arena; how long you have been working out on a regular basis and yes, 4.) your age. If you had minor surgery and you were only out of commission a couple weeks, chances are good that you can jump back into your routine with just a few minor adjustments such as reducing your weights by 10-15% and cutting your sets in half the first week or so. If, on the other hand, you were unable to train for several months or worse, a year or more, then I suggest that you begin as though you were a true beginner. Use extremely light weight, one set per muscle group and ever so gradually ease back up, listening carefully over the next day or two for what your body has to report. The very best approach, and not simply because I am a Personal Fitness Trainer by trade, but because your safety is paramount; would be to hire a Trainer to guide your way back until you feel you confidence returning and your capacities significantly improving.
Regardless of what surgeries you have had to face, returning to your regularly scheduled workouts as soon as possible is crucial. Your body was designed to move, bend, lift and stretch and when you are compromised for any length of time you lose ground, sometimes a lot of ground. The good news is that we all reside within miraculous apparatuses that are more than capable of returning to their full potential. Happy mind, body and spirit fitness to all.
Friday, November 05, 2010
The time has come to stop looking to everyone else for your personal answers. My question to you is, “How would ‘they’ begin to know what is best for you?” Have any of these people, institutions and supposed experts ever walked one day in your shoes? Can they feel what your body is messaging to you moment to moment? We have all been born into brilliant bodies that function 90% of the time with precision, balance and intelligence, all without our conscious awareness. Its wisdom far surpasses any computer or scholar, I might add. Why, then, would we become 'programmed' away from trusting this innate intelligence?
There are many reasons for this phenomenon and not the least of them is financial gain. However, that too is irrelevant. It is enough to recognize that this behavior has happened gradually, but now you are becoming aware of it. Now is the time to put your undivided attention on breaking this habit of looking outside of yourself for your truth. For that is all this behavior is, a bad habit of giving your power and responsibility away. Begin by remembering to tune into your body often. Notice what you are feeling as often as you can. Then begin to relate the thoughts preoccupying you in that moment with the feelings that they cause. Every time you feel yourself moving into fear, doubt and worry, you are thinking thoughts that do not resonate with your well-being. It sounds too simple to be true, but I promise you this is the case every single time. And usually those thoughts are not even YOUR truth. They are thoughts that you adopted from your parents, peers and people you consider to be powerful. By gradually sifting through your thoughts and DECIDING which ones are your truth and consciously replacing the non-truth with that which IS your truth, you will, more quickly than you may think, release many obsessions, addictions, cravings, unhealthy patterns and physical disease. I have not only personally experienced this a multitude of times, but I have witnessed it over and over again throughout my career. We hold ourselves in unhealthy bodily conditions, as well as mental and emotional discomfort because we have forgotten that we each have the power to know what is at the root of our pain. By tuning into our feelings and choosing to monitor the way we are feeling physically, emotionally and spiritually, we can regain our balance. By deciding that nothing can possibly be more important than feeling our best and that nothing is worth sacrificing our joy and our well-being for, we CAN impact our health in tremendous and amazing ways.
What all of this boils down to is trusting the way you feel above and beyond what anyone outside of says you ‘should’ feel. It may take some time to become proficient at choosing your own inner guidance over the advice of those who would have you believe they know best. But as you learn to do this, your life will improve in all arenas and in all ways imagined and un-imagined. Happy mind, body and spiritual fitness to all.