The Survey Says….

Two views of local Extension leaders drilling ...
Two views of local Extension leaders drilling in physical exercise in middies and bloomers, ... (Photo credit: Cornell University Library)

One of the greatest things about the warm seasons is swimming…but it’s not warm enough yet.  Knowing we turn the calendar to April, on Monday, reminds me that I am getting a little closer.  Swimming adds an entire different element to my workouts.  But for today, I’ll be hitting the gym to teach my hour of cardio/weights/matwork class.  Today I am really interested in what YOUR workout will be.  Please leave me a quick comment and tell me how you will be filling your prescription for some daily exercise.  When you do, you will be inspiring other peeps (I couldn’t resist).  Remember that your comment will not appear until I approve it…that is for your safety, so that crazy spammer links never show up on your screen.  Thanks, in advance for your participation in this quick survey.

Making Muscles

There is something beautiful trendy in the world and that is the idea that strong, fit and athletic are the new beautiful.  Whenever I see or hear 3 things in a very short amount of time and they all echo the same message, I pay attention.  Earlier in the week, it was a mannequin that although referred to as “full-figured,” was in fact simply not skinny.  Then I picked up a copy of Vegan Health and Fitness at Whole Foods yesterday and there was a great spread on “Muscles are the New Skinny.”  I loved that.  Finally, my friend Jeff posted a WTA (World Tennis Association) campaign picture (see below) and their slogan is Strong is Beautiful. I love that, too!

So with spring in the air, and the rebirth it always brings, how about we all eat healthy, lots of fruits and veggies, and make exercise (wherever you find it–in the gym, on the streets, on the courts, in the water, etc.) part of our daily lives and let go of the idea that skinny is the goal.  I think resetting the brain may save us from ourselves!

Maria Sharapova (Jeff’s fav!)

Ellen will NOT be at the gym for either of her classes this morning, but I will be there at 11:30 for my regularly scheduled SilverSneaker class.  If you need any further info about Ellen (I have her home address but don’t want to post it!) contact me with your email address and I will send it to you.  She will be sitting shiva Sunday and Monday but WILL be in to teach her 2 morning classes.  Sometimes you have to MOVE to stay sane.  Endorphins and being surrounded by people you love is always a good thing…

Forks Over Knives

Since my college days, I have always been a coffee drinker.  Sitting at the diner in our college town of New Paltz, NY, I made the decision to delete sugar from my coffee as even back in those days, I was concerned about what I ate, and always looked for ways to shave calories.  A few years later, it was the milk I eliminated and there was nothing like a good cup of Joe for me.  For decades I believed the caffeine was giving me extra energy, which I certainly needed for my long days of exercise.  Then, when I was going through menopause and experiencing palpitations, I gave up caffeinated coffee, switching to decaf.  It took me about 3 days of weaning to be caffeine free, and the most interesting thing I noticed was that I didn’t feel the lack of caffeine (I was at least a 4 cup a dayer) AT ALL.  In fact, as I mentioned to my sister the other day, I often feel more “wired” than tired after a morning of exercise.  All those years of thinking I NEEDED caffeine were really more a result of a belief, not an actuality.

This is all a lead in to another topic…protein (especially meat) in our diets and how it effects us as athletes.   While we have all been raised to believe we need lots of protein in our daily diets, it is said that athletes need much, much more than non-athletes.  Today, I share with you a question and answer session with Rich Roll, author of “Finding Ultra.”  I found it interesting that his whole evolution began with a juice cleanse.  Maybe I should be recommending them more….

Forks Over Knives
Forks Over Knives (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thanks to the good people at Forks Over Knives for this article:

EDITOR’S NOTE: Rich Roll, a California-based entertainment attorney and ultra triathlete, has become one of the principal advocates for vegan diet among endurance athletes in the U.S. Roll was a swimmer at Stanford University, but after college hung up the goggles. At 40, he was 50 pounds overweight, stressed and exhausted. He became a vegan and started training for triathlons.

Within years, he was a top finisher at the three-day endurance challenge, the Ultraman World Championships, with a 6.2-mile swim on Day One, a 170-mile bike race on Day Two and a 52-mile run on Day Three. In 2010, he finished the Epic5 Challenge, which involved completing five Ironman-distance triathlons on five islands of Hawaii in five consecutive days

Now 46, Roll detailed his experiences in the 2012 book, “Finding Ultra,” and will give a talk at 4:45 p.m. today at the College of Charleston School of Sciences and Mathematics Building, Room 129. It is free and open to the public.

Q: Along with ultra runner Scott Jurek, you’ve become a principal voice of eating a vegan diet for en- durance ath- letes. How did that transpire?

A: I wasn’t exactly vegan overnight. I started with a juice cleanse, and as a result … I felt incredible. I couldn’t believe how much better I felt. My wife is into yoga and holistic health and more progressive lifestyle methods.

It was pretty radical for me to try something like that. I didn’t think it would have much of an impact on how I felt. It hammered home the idea of what you eat and how you feel — imagine that.

When I finished that and it came time to start eating, I first started eating a vegetarian diet but I really didn’t do it right. You know, I was eating a lot of dairy, processed food, and figured out I could eat french fries and still be vegetarian. So it came as a shock that my energy level went down again.

After about six months of that, I was kind of ready to throw in the towel and forget about the whole experiment. But … I wondered what would happen if I took the dairy and processed foods out of it. I did that to prove that it wouldn’t work and not make a difference. But about seven days after that, I felt as good as I felt in the final days of that juice cleanse. So it was about a six-month learning curve until I locked into this way of eating.

Q: I’m sure you have endurance athletes ask how you do it. People think you have to eat beef and drink whey protein shakes to repair your body. How do you respond?

A: I think that the first thing I always do is that I’m not here to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do, but I’m just here to show you what I did and that I feel great and continued to get stronger and faster.

The bottom line is that you don’t have to eat the way you have always been eating.

Also, you have to look at all the marketing and that you have to eat red meat to be strong. Who’s behind the messaging? It’s the powerful meat and dairy lobbies, especially now because people are discovering that it’s healthier to eat plant-based.

They are dialing in their marketing messages to hold on to share and that you have to continue to eat their foods to be a strong athlete.

But I’m saying that’s not necessarily the case. I think a lot of people look at myself, maybe Scott (Jurek), and others, and what we are doing despite their vegan diet. I’m actually doing this because of my plant-based diet.

I would not have even attempted to do all these things had I not changed my diet and felt energized. I believe my plant-based diet allows me to train harder and faster.

**Please scroll down to yesterday’s entry for information about Ellyn’s mom’s services.  And yes, I will be teaching her 10 am SS class this morning.



Regarding Ellyn’s Mom…

While I rarely come back to make a blog entry twice in a day, but today is an exception.  This is to let all our (Ellyn and my) students know that Ellyn’s mom passed away today, peacefully and surrounded by her loved ones.  The services will be this Sunday (Easter Sunday) at noon at Star of David on Bailey Road in North Lauderdale.  I just called Ellyn and she was able to talk and sounded OK.  Needless to say, she appreciates everyone’s concern and sends her love to all.  One of Ellyn’s students has already offered to take up a collection to plant trees in Israel in her mom’s memory.  I believe we will get more details in class, tomorrow.  I will be there to sub at 10 and you can all be certain that Ellyn is happy to know you are getting your fitness in, in her absence.  I know I speak for all of us when I say that our deepest sympathy is extended to her and her family….from “our” SilverSneaker family.

Let Your Love Grow

Hearts cascading into each other, gradient
Hearts cascading into each other, gradient (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

During this holiday time, I have been giving a lot of attention, both personally and teaching classes, to “opening the heart.”  We often think of our heart as a vessel to pump blood, and in terms of the mechanics of our bodies, that is obviously true.  But what about everything else the heart has to handle.  Our hearts our also storage units for the truly countless emotional experiences in our lives.  We remember them in our brains, but we feel them in our hearts.  It would benefit us all to take time each day to just focus on our breathing.  Why not multitask and think about opening our hearts with each inhalation and letting each exhalation discard our hearts of some of the negativity and hurt we store there?  Our hearts need to be open in order to let energy flow freely.  Gone are the days of thinking we can possibly disconnect our bodies from our minds.  Today, we know everything is connected.  Without a healthy spirit in our hearts, I believe it’s impossible to really experience wellness.

No word from Ellyn today, so I am assuming no news means everything is status quo with her mom.  One day at a time.  One hour at a time.  One minute at a time.  Check back regularly as I am sure she will keep me posted on any changes and the inevitable arrangements.  Today is her day off, but you are all welcome to come out to my 11:30 SS class.  I will not turn anyone away, despite class size, during this time.  With this being a holiday week, the classes are a bit smaller than usual anyway, though I am thinking many will come back today, needing to burn off some of that brisket…Tomorrow I will be teaching for Ellyn at 10, so however you do it, make sure to get a couple of good workouts in this week.  At this point I have no idea what next week holds, so check in daily for updates.

Make it a great day and remember to take care of that heart of yours.  Think of how empty the tin man was without one…though “Oz never did give nothing to the tin man, that he didn’t already have.”

Tuesday, March 26

"TUESDAY" production sign
"TUESDAY" production sign (Photo credit: Vaguely Artistic)

For those of you checking in for updates on Ellyn’s mom, as of this morning, there is no change.  Though I am unable to sub Ellyn’s 10 am SS class this morning, (meaning that class will be cancelled) please feel free to come at 11:30 to my regularly scheduled Senior Strength class.  Thinking the gym will be pretty quiet today, as many are traveling or have family in celebrating the Passover holiday.  Still I will be there for all classes, so yes, also 6pm cardio mix and 7pm Pilates/yoga or what I call stretch reduction (or…peaceandfitness!)

Annoyingly, my aol account was hacked so if you got (yesterday early afternoon) or get an email from me that looks weird, it is!  Don’t ever click links that seem suspicious.  If you did, change your aol password asap!  I am sure all that was “stolen” was my aol address book which then was used to send the link, which would in turn steal your address book.  No clue how I got it as Kyle taught me a long time ago not to click suspicious links, and I don’t, but obviously I clicked a link that seemed safe enough.  Life on the Internet…especially AOL, which I honestly don’t even know why I still use, but I do.

A very happy birthday to two of my favorite people in the whole world, Lesley and Joy. Lurve and love  you both and wish you a very happy day.  I am always incredibly thankful to have both of you in my life.

Saw this comic in the newspaper this weekend and had to share….If you have a dog, you know it’s true!  Just one of the reasons having one keeps us happy and healthy….Enjoy and have a great day.

This Week at the Gym

First up…congrats to our Miami Heat on win 26…Nice job.

Secondly…Attention TFC students, especially SilverSneakers.  Ellen will NOT be in the gym this week as she stays with her family by her mom’s side.  Hospice nurses say her mom can pass at any time and I am keeping peaceful thoughts for them at this difficult time.  I am also trying to sub as many of her classes as possible but will not be able to sub all of them, due to conflicts in my own work schedule and the holiday.  If you are one of Ellen’s students please come in to any of the classes that are on the schedule.  We will make room for as many as needed this week.  TODAY–Monday, I will be teaching my own classes at 8:30 and 11:30  as well as subbing for Ellen at 10, so come on in.  Tomorrow I will NOT be able to teach her class, but will be teaching at 11:30 and encourage all to come.  Wednesday I have my regularly scheduled 11:30 class.  Thursday I WILL sub for Ellen at 10.  Friday I cannot sub either of her classes but will be in for my 11:30 class.  Please check this site daily for any updates, as I will post them each morning.  So, again, today all 3 morning classes as scheduled. (Then it’s home to cook the rest of the Passover dinner)

Passover Fact 6
Passover (Photo credit: mistersnappy)

 And yes, because I am celebrating Passover with family, tonight, I will be at the gym for all my regularly scheduled classes tomorrow and tomorrow evening.  Make it a great day and if you, too, are observing the holiday, have a very happy Passover.  Take a minute to be thankful for all you have in your life.  I know I am!  Much love.

The Master Blaster. RIP, Joe

If you have ever lifted a weight, drank a protein drink, read a bodybuilding magazine, sat on a weight bench, or watched an Arnold movie, you owe a debt of thanks to the “Master Blaster,”  Joe Weider.  His is a story of one scrawny weakling, “tired of putting his head down and walking away to avoid trouble,” transforming himself into the true father of bodybuilding.  “Skin and bones.  That is all I was.  I needed some muscle,” Weider is quoted as saying when talking about his own childhood transformation.

Joe Weider Strong Arm Bracelets (1971)
Joe Weider Strong Arm Bracelets (1971) (Photo credit: Dex1138)

But fit as he still was, no one lives forever.  The fitness world lost a great mentor, yesterday, when Weider passed away at 93, but his legacy will last till the end of time.  Thanks, Joe.  RIP.

Stop and Smell the Roses…and Herbs and Fruits, Too!

Smelling The Roses
Smelling The Roses (Photo credit: T Hall)

If stress is getting to you (or even if it isn’t) it is time to stop and smell the roses.  They really do have incredible power to help reduce stress, as they contain a chemical called linalool, a proven stress reducer.  Aromatherapy is a powerful superhero against stress and herbs such as lavender and basil and fruits such as oranges, grapes and mangoes all contain linalool!  If your local weather isn’t letting the flowers bloom just yet, consider picking up a bouquet of flowers for yourself.   Or try some dried lavender, or even a bowl of fruit.  Keep them handy, sniff often and say ahhhhhhhh.