KISS

This morning I would like to “keep it short and sweet”…Whatever you do to ring in the new year, I hope you will have a joyous evening surrounded by the special person or people in your life.  Try to remove all the cares of your day to day routine for just this one day and simply ENJOY. 

Wishing you a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.  This last year was tough on so may of us.  In fact, the entire decade was pretty challenging.   In my heart I feel that 2010 will be a very good year and we will see a lot of things turning around for the better. 

May peace, fitness and love all be yours.  I’ll be back tomorrow, all ready to jump (run, dance, scoop, lift, squat, curl, lunge, push, bend, stretch, breathe, meditate and so much more)  into a new year with you.

Spam A lot……..

Due to the fact that I got hit with a lot of spam last night, I spent a little too much time in the delete mode this morning!  Since this site is about fitness and PEACE, I won’t b*tch and moan about it, but I did lose a good deal of blogging time! 

I also took some time respond to a reader/student who is in desire of some of her own motivation.  I do think those of us that list “losing weight” as a resolution, should be giving a lotof thought to how we will achieve that goal.  It’s not enough to want to lose weight, we have to set ourselves up with a game plan that will make us successful!  Think about your next grocery shop…think about what you will do FRIDAY (yes, FRIDAY) to work towards your goal.  Maybe it’s as simple as a good long walk and cleaning out your fridge and pantry.  Posting motivating pictures and getting yourself a journal to track your calorie intake.  For those of us with phones that are really computers, there are great, free apps for fitness, nutrition, personal trainers, music and so much more,that can all help make your journey much easier this year!

I would love to hear what your plan is, what motivates you and what you will be doing to achieve your weight and fitness goals this coming year.  Be excited about all the possibilities that exist for you.  SEE the YOU you want to be!  All things are possible!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DEREK!

Inspiration Abounds

Before the clock struck 6am, I was already thinking about the fact that Biggest Loser starts again a week from tonight.  A whole new season of inspiration awaits me and so many others who regularly are motivated by these incredibly strong willed contestants.  Lately, when I am finding it tough to get through my own personal workouts, I find myself visualizing the faces and bodies of some of these people and what their determination “bought” them in just 7 months. 

Inspiration comes to me, also, from my students, who despite their busy schedules, age or health issues, push themselves daily to accomplish what they know will benefit them in the long run.  In fact, just the other day, I found myself on a running trail behind one of my SilverSneakers students.  For anyone who thinks that program is for the elderly and frail, think again.  When I next saw him in class, I asked him how far and how often he runs and learned that every weekday morning he completes a four miler to log 20 miles a week.   Though I don’t know his age, SilverSneakers is for the “65 and over” age group and this man, Paul, has been my student, in this particular program,  for as many years as I can remember! 

I am inspired by the man on the P90x video, who manages to get through an entire legs and back routine on only one real leg, the other a prosthetic device.  This guy can do more on either of his legs, than most can do on both of their own real ones, together!

I am inspired by some of my co-workers, 10 and 20 years older than me, still healthy, youthful in body and mind and teaching regularly while other’s their age sit idly and complain about the aging process. 

These are just a few of the people that inspire me.  With just a couple of days left before we plunge into our new year’s resolutions, I encourage you to think about what motivates you and get some mental images imprinted in your brain.  I promise those images will help you achieve your own fitness goals in 2010.  I also promise to be here daily, hoping I might in some small way, inspire you, too!

Now go get busy!

Fighting for Fitness

If you have been following my blog, by now you have guessed that the more aggressive forms of fitness are not my personal favorites.  That doesn’t mean, for one second, that they can’t be yours!  If you are looking to spice up your workout, or even if you are just getting started with an exercise routine, you might want to consider kicking things up with one of the following:

Muay Thai Kickboxing:  In an effort to give an edge to soldiers fighting with clubs and spears, Muay Thai Kickboxing, began in Indochina.  Going beyond fists and feet, the “art of eight limbs” also uses elbows and knees.  You will certainly learn how to throw a punch and practicing this discipline will help improve your ability to twist in games like golf and baseball.  Done 3 or more times a week, it’s the only workout you will need this year!

Krav Maga:  Started back in the 1930s, in Czechoslovakia, Krav Maga was taught to Jews so they could defend themselves against anti-semitic gangs.  Imi Litchetenfeld, a wrestling and boxing champ, is credited for the teaching.  Good for the cardio crazed, this discipline mixes punches and kicks with fast past calisthenics and plyometrics.  Besides learning some great self defense moves, this discipline will definitely help build endurance for those that compete in marathons or triathlons.  Make sure to incorporate lots of stretching and flexibility training after a Krav Maga session.

Brazilian Jujitsu:  Brought to Brazil in the early 20th century by a Japanese jujitsu master, this discipline is as much an exercise for the mind as it is the body.  It was designed to give leverage to a smaller , weaker opponent.  Very challenging, this is probably best for wrestlers but will help those that surf and swim by emphasizing work in the back, shoulders and arms. 

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA):  Just as in ancient Greece, where boxers and wrestlers fought, very few rules apply, MMA is probably the “mother” of all fighting workouts!  Best for martial arts veterans and athletic overachievers, this discipline will improve strength, flexibility, agility and balance.  It will keep your metabolism high as it burns lots and lots of calories and will certainly be the only workout you’ll ever need!  As a word of caution, if you are going to try this, make sure to find an instructor that has a solid background in a number of martial arts.  MMA is not for the weak at heart, mind or body!  Don’t be surprised if you come home from your workouts crawling!

Since fighting is not for me, I am off to walk the dog and then do an hour of cardio/core work before showering and beginning my work day.  What will you do today in your daily fight for fitness?

Time to Exhale

With all the holiday shopping behind us and a new year  about to unfold, it’s a particular good day to take a few deep breaths and focus on the EXHALATION!  Breathing is the very first thing we do when we are born, it’s the last thing we do before we die, and yet, in between, we often forget just how important breathing is.  It is the one bodily function we perform without thought, yet can alter, if we so desire.  Occasionally, we should ALL so desire!

The experts tell me when we inhale we bring oxygen into our lungs, raise our heart-rate and energize ourselves.  When we exhale, we eliminate carbon dioxide, lower our heart-rate and relax ourselves.  This process goes on continuously without thought.  When we stop to practice deep breathing, mindful of the inhales and exhales, we can restore a better quality of health and wellness to our entire being. 

Part of the science tells us that practicing deep breathing  allows our acids and pHs to return to a balanced state.  We all know too much acid can wreak havoc on our digest system.  My guess is too little acid, can do the same.  When our acids and pHs are in proper balance,  we are in a position to achieve a better state of homeostasis, which is where our bodies function best.  When we are unbalanced, we set ourselves up for physical and emotional illness.  Conversely, when we are in state of homeostasis, we set ourselves up for complete wellness.

There are many times in our lives when we take some good deep breaths and want to fill our bodies with as much fresh oxygen as possible.  When we are about to compete in athletic challenges, when we are gearing up to take an academic test, when we are feeling exhausted yet know hours of work are still ahead of us or when the work day has ended, but much holiday shopping still needs to be done…these are all perfect times to take some great big breaths in.  When the challenge, the test, the work and the shopping are all over, it’s time to exhale.

Today is a good day to try a little peaceful meditation and spend a little extra time, exhaling.  Meditation is NOT religious, it does NOT have to be formal, you don’t need a mantra or a candle or a sacred spot, though they are all wonderful if you enjoy them. Find a comfortable spot, where you can sit upright, yet relaxed.  Perhaps you have some favorite calming music (Enya is always a favorite of mine) that you can play, softly. 

Simply clear your mind and focus on your breath.  At first, don’t try to change it, just focus in on it.  Get in touch with the rhythm of your own breath and try to remain free of any other thoughts.  Know that your thoughts WILL get away from you, so don’t be harsh or judgemental, just be aware and return the focus to your breath.  For today, to calm yourself from all the holiday madness that is now behind us, begin to focus on long steady streams of exhalations.  Each time you exhale, allow the stress to leave your body with your breath.  You can try adding a mental affirmation, so each time you exhale you think “I am feeling calm, now” or a similar phrase that reminds you to relax.

Too many of us run to the doctor for pills to calm us down.  Stress is  fact of life.  Good stress, bad stress, we ALL experience it.  Another fact of life is that stress can make us sick and is definitely a murderer, as well.  We all owe it to ourselves AND our loved ones, to find safe, effective ways of managing our stress.  Regular exercise is certainly one way as it pumps us with endorphins, or happy hormones.  Exercise it the yang in stress reduction.  Every yang must have a yin, and meditation, combined with some good exhalations, is the perfect one.

Exhale. Today is a perfect day for some yin.  Enjoy it!

Thinking Ahead

One week from now, all the holiday hoopla will be behind us.  Most of us will have exchanged our fair share of presents, spent more money that we should have and consumed enough calories to sustain us indefinitely!  Many of us will have enjoyed a few extra days off from our jobs, seen far away family and friends and written, or at least pondered, some new year’s resolutions. 

 The resolution at the top of my list, is to work harder at saving the environment, while saving money at the same time.  I know I use too much electrical energy.  This coming year, I will be more mindful to turning off lights, televisions and closing windows and doors while running air-conditioning.  Having been a recycler for as long as I can remember, I will work on re-using whatever products I safely can, in an effort to create less waste on garbage days and I will try my hardest to use less paper in general, since I tend to use a too many paper plates and paper towels.  Last year I resolved to donate my hair and by early January, I had given away 14 inches of it.  Two years ago, I resolved to feed more hungry people and have had a houseful of them, every Thursday night, since!  Rarely do I make resolutions that I cannot keep.  I HATE being a failure. 

Each and every year,  I resolve to reach more people that need guidance with their eating and exercise.  To that end, I am excited about starting a SilverSneakers program at Tamarac Fitness Center.  This website will get back to more informative blogs about fitness trends, healthy lifestyle choices and ways to make our bodies and minds the sacred temples we should all live inside of.  You will also find health/fitness articles of mine in a new on-line magazine called the Beauty Bean.  This website, which will be about all things beauty and fitness, started by a lovely young woman in Manhattan, will premiere next week.  You can find the link on my “links” page. 

Having already jump-started my personal new year fitness program by restarting the P90x program, I completed my first full week, yesterday.  After walking and running with Mitch and Blaze, it was legs and back, followed by Ab-ripper-X,  a challenging, yet do-able, 16 minute ab workout.  Later in the day, I sat down and re-watched the Biggest Loser finale, from earlier this month.  Once again,  I was motivated, encouraged and inspired by what the human body is capable of achieving in just 7 months! 

Let me know what you are thinking about achieving in the coming year.  As I continue to think of words that will inspire you, know that my students, clients, readers, friends and strangers are what inspire me!  We are all connected.

T’was the Morning Before Christmas

T’was the morning before Christmas and at mine and Mitch’s house, the cat and dog were stirring, my hand was on my mouse

I was wondering what I could blog about, that might matter this day, was there anything impactful that I could find to say?

No talk of diets, calories or working out, “Eat, drink and be merry,” is what I really want to shout.

But then I thought for a minute and my thoughts began to unwind, for your peace and well being are always on my mind!

Drink some extra water, as you travel through your day, extra hydration goes a long, long way!

Then indulge and enjoy your favorite holiday treats, seafood and pasta and oh my, all the sweets!

More important tonight, than ANYTHING else by far, is to be extra careful when getting in your car.

Please know your limit and don’t get drunk and drive.  Christmas morning will be MUCH more fun, if everyone is still alive!

May your holiday be safe, peaceful and bright…happy Christmas to all, and to all, a good night.

 

 

‘Tis the Season

“Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.”  Henry David Thoureau

In the continuous effort to practice balance, I do hope you are all getting ready to allow yourself to dive into any Christmas celebrations you may have planned for tomorrow and Friday.  If you are hosting the holidays, be sure to stock up on containers and send your guests home with leftovers, especially the sweets!  If everyone takes home just a little, you wont be left with a house full of fattening indulgences come Saturday.  That can give you almost a full week of eating clean so you can prepare to, once again, indulge on New Year’s Eve.  This, at least, is how I look at enjoying the season without putting on the Thanksgiving to New Year 7-10 pound weight gain. 

Thanks to Mitch, the kids, my family and friends, I had a wonderful birthday.  I started my day with the plyometric p90x video.  Plyometrics is basically all about getting airborne.  Jumping, hopping, leap frogging and more, allows you to get your heart rate way up and burn lots of calories.  Practicing plyo will make you better at any sport you do! 

 We had a wonderful brunch at Falafel Bistro and a decadent dinner at Cafe Bella Sara.  In between I got the new iphone, so if you are a friend I phone chat with, it might take me a day or two to figure it all out! The highlight of the day, however, was without a doubt seeing a movie that will go down as one of my top 10 favorites of all times.

If you haven’t yet seen The Blindside, the story of Micheal Oher, I highly, highly recommend it.  It happens to be the perfect combination of a chic flick and a man’s man movie as it combines the beloved game of football, with a story that requires a full box of happy tears, tissues.   Young and old alike will walk away from this movie wanting to be just a little bit better of a person than they were when they entered.   This movie has the power to do more to promote adoption than all the public service announcements in the world could ever do. 

I’ll be at Bally today for SilverSneakers at 11:30 and Senior Fitness at 12:30.  Before I get ready for work, I will be doing the Wednesday p90x video, which I believe is chest, shoulders and arms.  I’ll do whatever Tony Horton tells me to do, because even the trainer needs a trainer in order to be pushed out of the comfort zone!  Though some of the work is just too hard for me, I won’t feel frustrated.  I will, instead, just repeat his mantra, “Do your best and forget the rest”. 

I hope that in fitness and in fact in all things, you will repeat the same mantra.

Tuesday Tidbits…

Shalom.  Did you know shalom simply means peace?  Used like aloha, it is appropriate for hellos and goodbye, but actually translates to mean peace.  ANYTHING that promotes peace is great in my book.  Anyone that knows me well, knows somewhere on me there is usually a peace sign.  Even if you can’t see it, it’s there, somewhere.  Much like my hero, John Lennon, I, too,  IMAGINE!

I acquired a few new peace signs just recently via holiday gifts and cards.  Thanks to everyone for those and for ALL the other gifts , goodies and sentiments you have bestowed upon me this season.  I am grateful and appreciative and truly love each and every gift and word! 

In the midst of all the seasonal holidays, I celebrate my birthday, today.  Mitch and I took the day off and have a fun-filled agenda planned.  Before I can shower and get started, I do want to do the Tuesday p90x workout, which is cardio.  After 29 years of starting my day with cardio, if i don’t, I don’t feel normal!  Even on my birthday, I still want to feel somewhat normal!?!?!  Thanks, also, for all the wonderful birthday gifts, cards, ecards and calls, which all make me smile and feel special.  How sentimental to hear from childhood friends and far away family members.  Kyle and Nicole gave me THE most appropriate card.  I LOVE IT! 

My classes at Tamarac Fitness Center are cancelled until January 2, when we will return fresh and ready to start a new year.  SilverSneakers classes will be starting there sometime during the month of January, so I will keep you posted.  My current SilverSneakers classes at Bally, will run on schedule.  Tomorrow we will save plenty of time for peaceful stretching, deep breathing and meditation at the close of each class.  This time of year, we really need to focus, even more than ever, on stress reduction. 

As I make my birthday wish, I will wish for peace.  Peace in my heart and the hearts of those I love.  Peace in your hearts and in the hearts of those you love and of course, peace on earth.