Category Archives: Fit Talk

30 Days of Fitness – Day 1

Here it is, the day I warned you would come! It’s Day 1 of 30 Days of Fitness. Alright, Day 1 is actually tomorrow but as I mentioned I will be posting each day’s challenge the day prior. Now before I give you today’s fitness musing, here’s the scoop in case you missed yesterday’s post and want to find out how to WIN something too!

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Starting Saturday, November 1st I’m going to be either blogging or Facebook’ing (is that officially a verb yet?) once a day to highlight ONE thing you can do each day in the name of your health. What for? My goal is to keep you – you who are interested and open to it – as healthy and sane as possible before December hits. Maybe it’s a fitness tip, a workout, or a way to be more mindful of what you’re consuming. Maybe it’s just a reminder to take 5 minutes to appreciate your body for what it does for you. I don’t know yet, I only have about 10 days planned out right now, but I’ve got lots of stuff in this noggin’ and it’ll be good.

I think it’s appropriate to start on November 1st for these reasons:

  1. It’s the day after Halloween. I don’t know about you but my kids have already acquired bags of candy and Halloween isn’t for two more days. I’d love to tell you I have super-human willpower and am not interested in sweets but if they’re in my house someone’s going to eat them and it won’t just be my kids. I’ll be getting rid of most of it on November 1st. And before you might “mean mom” me, please know I do allow my children plenty of sweets. It’s not my fault my 3-year-old loves dark chocolate. Okay, maybe it is a little bit.
  2. November has 30 days in it, what a crazy coincidence!
  3. November brings with it my absolute most-favorite holiday of the year. People eat on that day – a lot. We’re going to do some damage control all month.
  4. I’ve found it nearly pointless to do any kind of fitness challenge in the month of December. People are way too busy. My goal with doing this in November is to hopefully instill some basic good habits in all of us that will stick throughout the holidays, chaos and all.

Here’s how it’s going down:

  1. Look for either a blog post or Facebook post the night before. So this Saturday’s post will be up on Friday night. This way you won’t be waiting on me all day for something you could have done already. If you don’t already ‘Like’ my Facebook page, you can do so here so you get each day’s updates or find the Like button in the left-hand sidebar.
  2. Share with others, please! This keeps you accountable and reminds others who might be interested in their health to do the same. Sharing is caring and around here we care a LOT about not feeling like crap.
  3. Be open. This isn’t some crazy workout challenge. I do those too, but 30 Days of Fitness is meant to encourage you and keep you mindful. So some days it may be little things, other days I may ask more of you. Do what you can and always keep your health in the forefront of your brain every day, because no one else will.
  4. Comment whenever you have questions, concerns, disagree with my approach or love something. If you want more info on a topic, I am happy to dive in for you. I’m kind of a nerd like that.
  5. Subscribe and win. <— See that little sign-up box to the left? That’s a neat tool that, if you enter your email address, will automatically deliver my new blog posts to your inbox for you. All those who subscribe for email updates between OCTOBER 30th  and NOVEMBER 30th will be entered in a drawing to win this REALLY terrific cookbook from Lisa Leake over at the 100 Days of Real Food blog: “100 Days of Real Food: How We Did It, What We Learned, and 100 Easy, Wholesome Recipes Your Family Will Love.” Um, what’s not to love about winning that book at the most appropriate time of year? Check it out here!

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Halloween Candy
Photo Credit: Bluezones.com, but this could have easily been a photo taken of our kitchen counter after surviving a month of Halloween festivities.

Day 1 – Purge the Junk

Day 1 is focused on getting the junk out of the way. So listen up, trick-or-treat victims! All that candy your kids acquired last night (or, if they’re like mine, over the course of October) and all that candy you’re secretly happy didn’t get snatched up by the trick-or-treaters at your door? OUT! Yes, seriously. Here’s what I want you to do:

  • If it’s your kids’ candy, go through it with them and tell them they can pick out 5 of their favorites. Keep those and toss or give away the rest. Do not hide them somewhere “just in case.” Do not put them in the freezer so you can snack on them all year ‘round. Out they go. TODAY!
  • If it’s your own candy that you purchased for handing out, or because it was on sale, or because it was just…there…same rule applies as above but you don’t get to keep any. You have lots of sugar in your future with the upcoming holidays so don’t try to tell yourself you deserve this one thing. You don’t deserve to feel like crap. You don’t deserve the guilt afterwards. Out it goes. TODAY!
  • If there’s candy waiting for you at the work place Monday, make a mental note now to either get rid of it Monday morning or make sure to give it to someone else and have them keep it where you won’t know about it or see it. You can do this.

If you don’t fall into any of the above categories and aren’t concerned with candy overload, Day 1 for you is devoted to assessing what your “junk” is and getting rid of it. Maybe it’s salt in the form of chips and crackers, maybe it’s cheese and starchy carbs (I only speak from experience). Start assessing the junk in your kitchen and decide today to lay it to rest. If you don’t buy it, you won’t eat it. Unless criminal prosecution is totally your thing.

Junk Food is Cheap for a Reason

Stay tuned for Day 2 of 30 Days of Fitness tomorrow!

30 Days of Fitness and Cookbook Giveaway!

Oh man, here come the holidays. The food, the fun, the family, the cheer. The weight gain, the stress, the dysfunction, the drama. I’m not trying to be negative – I’m just seeing the future for what it is and always has been from this personal trainer’s point of view – a time everyone forgets about their health. So what do I propose we do about it? We embark on 30 Days of Fitness.

30 Days of Fitness

Starting Saturday, November 1st I’m going to be either blogging or Facebook’ing (is that officially a verb yet?) once a day to highlight ONE thing you can do each day in the name of your health. What for? My goal is to keep you – you who are interested and open to it – as healthy and sane as possible before December hits. Maybe it’s a fitness tip, a workout, or a way to be more mindful of what you’re consuming. Maybe it’s just a reminder to take 5 minutes to appreciate your body for what it does for you. I don’t know yet, I only have about 10 days planned out right now, but I’ve got lots of stuff in this noggin’ and it’ll be good. I think it’s appropriate to start on November 1st for these reasons:

  1. It’s the day after Halloween. I don’t know about you but my kids have already acquired bags of candy and Halloween isn’t for two more days. I’d love to tell you I have super-human willpower and am not interested in sweets but if they’re in my house someone’s going to eat them and it won’t just be my kids. I’ll be getting rid of most of it on November 1st. And before you might “mean mom” me, please know I do allow my children plenty of sweets. It’s not my fault my 3-year-old loves dark chocolate. Okay, maybe it is my fault a little bit.
  2. November has 30 days in it, what a crazy coincidence!
  3. November brings with it my absolute most-favorite holiday of the year. People eat on that day – a lot. We’re going to do some damage control all month.
  4. I’ve found it nearly pointless to do any kind of fitness challenge in the month of December. People are way too busy. My goal with doing this in November is to hopefully instill some basic good habits in all of us that will stick throughout the holidays, chaos and all.

Here’s how it’s going down:

  1. Look for either a blog post or Facebook post the night before. So this Saturday’s post will be up on Friday night. This way you won’t be waiting on me all day for something you could have done already. If you don’t already ‘Like’ my Facebook page, you can do so here, or on the left sidebar of this page, so you get each day’s updates.
  2. Share with others, please! This keeps you accountable and reminds others who might be interested in their health to do the same. Sharing is caring and around here good friends don’t let friends feel like crap.
  3. Be open. This isn’t some crazy workout challenge. I do those too, but 30 Days of Fitness is meant to encourage you and keep you mindful. So some days it may be little things, other days I may ask more of you. Do what you can and always keep your health in the forefront of your brain every day, because no one else will.
  4. Comment whenever you have questions, concerns, disagree with my approach or love something. If you want more info on a topic, I am happy to dive in for you. I’m kind of a geek like that.
  5. Subscribe and win. <—- See that little sign-up box in the left sidebar? That’s a neat tool that, if you enter your email address, will automatically deliver my new blog posts to your inbox for you. All those who subscribe for email updates between TODAY and NOVEMBER 30th will be entered in a drawing to win this REALLY terrific cookbook from Lisa Leake over at the 100 Days of Real Food blog: “100 Days of Real Food: How We Did It, What We Learned, and 100 Easy, Wholesome Recipes Your Family Will Love.” What’s not to love about winning that book at the most appropriate time of year? Check it out here!

100 Days Cookbook That’s it. Are you ready? See you soon!

What This Personal Trainer Really Thinks of Her Clients

Last week one of my long-time clients came into the studio late for her session and immediately said, “You must think I’m becoming the biggest space case.” She then began explaining why she was late and how nothing was meshing for her lately. I told her it was no problem and I just listened, nodded and agreed with her about how life is crazy as I showed her the first exercise in the day’s routine. The truth is, I wasn’t even worried about her being late. I wasn’t angry with her or even slightly annoyed. I knew she’d show up and I was happy that I could still give her 45 minutes of my time, possibly the only 45 minutes of her day that would be her own.

This got me thinking about the general public’s conceptions about personal trainers (I know what they are because I have them too) and how we get so caught up in the assumption that other people are judging us. I get it, I do. But I think there are a few things you should know about what I’m really thinking when you walk through those studio doors. Even if you’re not a client of mine but you know what I do and are thinking I’m judging you when we run into one another at a restaurant and you’re enjoying your French dip with fries, hear this:

Hey You…

…With all the excuses. There was a time when I would’ve been mad at you for canceling on me. Not anymore. You go to bed with the best of intentions and you wake up feeling like someone beat you in your sleep. Or you hurt your back again at your job and you think you should rest it. Or you’re having a mental war with yourself and think you should avoid all human interaction until it runs its course. Or you’re sick. Or your kid’s sick. Or you’re in the middle of a really challenging relationship phase with your spouse and you don’t have the physical energy to put your shoes on. Whatever it is, it’s not my business and I’m not going to tell you to suck it up and get to the gym. I’m not mad at you and I’m not thinking you’re a jerk for cancelling last minute (8 years ago I would’ve thought you were a jerk). Now that I’m older and confident enough in my own self to know it’s not about me or my training, that it’s about you and this moment you need for yourself, we’re ok. Life happens and things don’t always go as planned. Just show up next week. You can tell me all about why you weren’t here, or you don’t have to say a word.

…With the weight loss obsession. I love you, I do. But please get over it. You see, my concern is your health and making you fit and happier. I could honestly give the whole weight loss thing up. But I know it matters to you, I know you think if you lost 5 more pounds you’d be happier. I would love to help you lose 20 or even 100 pounds if you truly need to but my focus revolves around helping you learn how to make your body healthier for life. Not just for the summer. Not just so you can get to your goal weight for three months and then slowly add it all back on. I want you to feel good about being in the body you’re in, because – I know you’ve heard this before – it’s the only one you’ve got. You’re not going to change your body frame. After having two children I’ve had to come to terms with a lot about my body that I cannot control, so don’t think I don’t know where that self-critic in you is coming from. I’m also not saying you don’t deserve to be at the goal weight you want to be at. All I’m saying is please stop treating it like it’s the only thing that matters. Because believe me, you’ll reach that weight and will battle with staying there or, even worse, you’ll decide it’s still not good enough.

…With the overzealous approach to fitness. I get you because I’ve been you. You come in to the studio and you do the workout and you do it well. You’re pretty sure that’s the best workout you’ve ever had because you’re drenched in sweat, you’re beat, you’re already sore and you thought you were going to die but you kept going. Tomorrow you’ll do it again. Except tomorrow comes and you hurt so bad and not in a good way and you’re beyond exhausted because you just spent every ounce of physical energy you had for the week on that one workout. But you push yourself hard anyway and ignore the fact that maybe you should have gone for a run or done yoga instead. Don’t be that person, please. There’s a reason I customize my clients’ workouts and there’s even a reason one workout will feel more or less challenging than the one prior. You need variety, you need a change in modality, your body needs balance or you’ll burn out quick. I’m not saying those strenuous workouts aren’t worth your time – they are absolutely great workouts and you should do them – along with a variety of other things. My job is to make your body strong, not beat you into submission until your body breaks. So please stop breaking yourself so I can do my job.

…With the low self-confidence. You are always saying how you “should” be fitter, you “should” be skinnier, you “should” have put more thought into your workout clothes when you packed them this morning. You think I’m judging you because maybe you’ve got money and you feel you “should” look better than you do. Or maybe you think I care about the social status of your friends and I’ll ignore the fact that the reason you’re at the studio is because of them, not because of you. I don’t want to train them, please remove them from the room. I don’t want to train your workout clothes, keep those on but forgive me if I don’t notice what they cost. I don’t want to train the person you think you “should” be because I want to train the you who is good with being you.

…With the on again/off again patterns. I understand that you are probably more the norm than the exception. It seems everyone gets gung-ho about a fitness regimen or diet fad these days only to get de-railed a few months into it. All or nothing is the weird mentality I witness every day. I see you for three months straight every other three months and what I really want to tell you is I can’t help you if you keep doing it this way. You come back to me because you got off-track and now you’re going to exercise six days a week and eat perfectly with NO room for screw-ups. And this works for you, until it doesn’t. I wait three months until you’ve gained all the weight back plus some and you call me up to say “This time is going to be different.” What I want is for you to calm your jets. Ease up a little. Work on making fitness part of your life, not just some landmark you’re sprinting to reach. Use baby steps so that suddenly a year will go by and you’ll realize you’re healthier overall because you allow yourself slip up now and then without it ruining your entire journey. This isn’t me trying to persuade you into spending cash on me year-round. This is me trying to tell you that no matter what you do, please stop giving up before your body has a chance to show you what it can do.

…With the kids. What I want to say most to you: You’re doing just fine. I know how exhausted you are. I know how challenging it is to find the time to take care of yourself when you have little people demanding your constant attention. Whether you’re a working or stay at home parent, you feel bad when you have to reschedule or cancel with me because you really do want to come in. In fact it’s the only time you might actually look forward to working out because it’s adult interaction. You need to take care of yourself because no one else will and you simply must be around for your family for the long haul. I commend you for realizing this. You probably don’t get to work out with me as much as my clients do who have older children or no children at all, but I hope you still make the effort to stay healthy outside of our sessions. My goal is to make you aware of how hard it doesn’t have to be and to convince you not to give up on your body. Ever. It’s absolutely possible to be healthier after kids than you were before them.

…With the medical/physical/dietary limitation. You have my utmost respect. You might have Parkinson’s, or are recovering from knee surgery, or are diabetic, or are going through depression, or have lymphoma, or you just finished your chemo treatments for prostate cancer and your doctor cleared you to exercise again. You still come in and give me your time and best effort. You tell me how inspiring I am and I tell you it’s you who are the inspiring one. You never use your limitation as an excuse and we could all learn a lot from you. I soak up our entire hour together because having the chance to work with people like you is exactly why I do what I do. Please stop worrying that I’ll think you’re lame or weak. I am thinking the exact opposite. You get stronger every week and you think I’m just being nice but it’s the truth. I hope to have your resilience if ever I am in your shoes.

…Who shows up. Thank you. You have no idea how happy training you makes me and how lucky I feel to have the clients I have. You are more than a client to me – we have cultivated a relationship that resembles friendship. You come from every kind of background and every kind of socioeconomic status. You keep coming back for more and you never give up on yourself. You understand there will be setbacks in your life that might cause you to gain a bit of weight or become temporarily sedentary. You don’t let that deter you from a healthy lifestyle. You respect my time and knowledge and in turn I respect yours. You’re the reason I wanted to come back to work after having two children. You’re the reason I’m one of the lucky few who feel happy to get in the car to drive to work in the morning. Thanks for showing up.

Treadmill HIIT Workout and Pumpkin Banana Smoothie Recipe

I feel like I’m trying to solve a rubix cube on a slip-n-slide these days! I see no sign of the crazy clearing anytime soon. In fact it’s just different stages of ongoing-craziness, would you agree? It’s messy and fun, frustrating and wonderful, brutal and rewarding. All. At. Once. I don’t care who you are, this wild-life thing is happening to you too, isn’t it?

For me right now this chaos, this gargantuous momentum-build, is a blended concoction of parenting, business ownership and grape harvest. That’s right, Riesling grapes are a-headed this way TODAY! Let the crush and hard labor reign! A few days from now our Syrah grapes will also be ready and our limbs will be purple for weeks to come. On top of these laborious days we’ve got wine events, the farmer’s market, the release of our pumpkin wine, label designs and peppers rolling in waiting to be processed. Between Von’s full-time city gig and my days at the studio, we’re trying to eek out some quality time with the kiddos and still eat dinner at home together. This weekend is also the FitOne fitness event here in Boise which the women in my family have been participating in for over a decade now, so there’s lots of fun going on and many of my favorite people in town for the 5K on Saturday.

There’s not enough coffee or hours in the day, my friends! This should all start slightly calming down around Halloween and then ramp back up in time for our Thanksgiving Open House event. And I won’t even get started on the (super exciting) projects we’ve got lined up to take place in the weeks before Christmas. Yes, I just said the ‘C’ word. Which brings me back to the point I wanted to segue into…

Right now it seems everyone’s back at the studio trying to get fit for the holidays or trying to stay fit to survive their own crazy lifestyle (because I do know I am certainly not alone in the juggling journey). So how are we expected to stay healthy, workout, and eat right through it all?

My own solution: You fit it in where you can. Hence the 15-Minutes-a-Day Challenge I posted a few weeks back. 15 minutes may not seem like enough to make a difference but when 15 minutes is all you’ve got it sure feels a helluva lot better to your body than nothing. As for the eating right aspect – the way we pull it off at our house is to get back to basics. This time of year there are no fancy dinners, a lot of soups, store-bought whole roasted chickens, fall-type salads, slow-cooker meals and we take advantage of the local in-season produce from the market as well as from our back yard (I’ve eaten so many cherry tomatoes lately I think I’m bleeding beta-carotene). Also, I make sure to get in a green smoothie or two every week to give myself peace of mind that I’m at least getting some vegetables and a big source of iron in my blood stream early on in the day.

So this post is two-fold today. I bring you my quick (22 minutes!) Treadmill HIIT Workout and a recipe for a Pumpkin Banana Smoothie!

For those who aren’t familiar with the super-easy concept of HIIT training, check this post out. If you’re new to green smoothies, don’t be scared. There are a lot of reasons why they rock and why I rely on them and one day I will perhaps write more on the benefits. But for right now all you need to know is this: Green smoothies are brilliance in a blender. For another fun recipe and to use up some of that basil you may still have left in your garden, try this recipe I posted over a month ago!

First, the workout. It’s a mix of jogging, inclines, sprints and fast-walking hill climbs. It’s quick, it’s a boredom-buster and it’s effective.

22 Minute Treadmill HIIT.jpg

Next!

Pumpkins are about to be everywhere, why not in your breakfast too? I embrace the pumpkin fever. Who knew pumpkin had the potential to start your day off right AND wine you down in the evenings (yep, we do both over here). This recipe is super simple because I was feeling like a smoothie purist when making it the other day. You can add in some of the optional things if you’d like, I just found it tasty and refreshing all on its own. By the way pumpkin and spinach are cleansing foods when eaten in raw form. So, uh, fair warning on that one…

Photo Credit: Cuisinart
Photo Credit: Cuisinart

Pumpkin Banana Smoothie Recipe

The Ingredients:

1 cup canned pumpkin

1 cup milk of your choice (I use unsweetened almond milk)

1 banana, frozen if you’ve got it but an unfrozen one will work too

Big handful baby spinach

1 to 2 tablespoons honey, pure maple syrup or brown sugar

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

3-4 ice cubes, more if not using a frozen banana

Optional add-ins: Vanilla protein powder, pumpkin pie spice, coconut oil, flaxseed, chia seeds

The directions:

Blend. Drink. Go.

What tips have you found work for you when trying to stay healthy whilst your life schedule has you barely remembering to brush your teeth?

It’s Not Monday and Other Randomness!

Woohoo! Take a congratulatory lap, you’ve survived another Monday! Since it’s too early to drink wine to celebrate (says who?), instead I’m posting some random thoughts. So much randomness in this world, why not highlight a few bullet points?

  1. That crazy earthquake in Napa
Photo Credit: NBC News
Photo Credit: NBC News

If you haven’t yet heard about it, Sunday morning a 6.0 magnitude quake hit Northern California and shook Napa Valley hard – so hard that unofficial reports say the valley could be looking at a $100 million economic loss. That’s a LOT of wine.

There was reportedly a barrel containing $16,000 of pinot noir that crashed to the floor. I’m a bit of a fair-weather pinot noir fan, but re-reading that last sentence makes my stomach hurt.

Check out this Washington Post article for more on the crazy quake that hit at a VERY unfortunate time, as wineries were gearing up for harvest (not that quakes ever hit on an appropriate occasion).

2.   Bulu Box, anyone?

Fun stuff in a box!
Fun stuff in a box!

I’ve just discovered a little mail service over at Bulubox.com, which mails custom fitness and health goodies to you for $10/month. For those of you familiar with Birchbox or Nature Box, this is the same idea. I’m seriously contemplating signing up because #1 – I love trying new healthy goodies, and #2 – I crave variety in my fitness routine. My only reservation about this? Finding out after committing to a 3-month subscription that it’s loaded with supplements, which I’m not a fan of. I don’t even take a multi-vitamin anymore, let alone rely on any weight loss or fitness enhancing-pills. Has anyone out there tried this yet? Or should I just dive in completely and utterly unwarned?

3.  Meal planning – questions and answers

meal-planning

I get a lot of questions from clients about meal planning and how to go about it. Here’s what I know: Sitting down for 10 minutes to plan out the majority of the week’s dinners will seriously save you time every day. I spend about 20 minutes on Sundays making a list of what to have for dinner all week and then writing a grocery list. Then off to the store we go.

I don’t plan every breakfast unless I have some mornings where I don’t have to rush (ha!). Breakfast is usually a green smoothie, oatmeal (overnight oats recipes are HUGE timesavers and scrumptious, more on that soon), or a Greek yogurt and fruit parfait.

Lunches are always leftovers from the night before because we purposefully cook twice as much as we need, unless we didn’t have enough (aka: the Luke monster ate it all) or had the occasional evening out, then it’s something thrown together if I’m at home (cherry tomato and cucumber salad with cottage cheese and avocado toast = happy woman), or a sandwich from Subway or Jimmy John’s if I’m at the studio or running errands. I really try not to spend money on lunch if I don’t have to.

Back to meal planning. I try to use whatever we already have on-hand so that what we buy at the store ends up being mostly fresh veggies. We’re lucky to have some freezer space so we always have lean beef, lamb (yes, this trainer mama eats lean red meat and LIKES it), chicken, some fish (it doesn’t freeze well as long as other proteins), and shrimp. Occasionally we’ll buy tofu to do a stir-fry or lean sausage to mix into pasta.

Here’s my takeaway tip: If you can think about having one protein, one green vegetable (even if only its leaves are green), and one healthy carbohydrate, you can get the job done. I typically give us one or two nights to play with depending on our schedules and I try to be flexible because there are often times where chaos gets more chaotic and dinner becomes totally impromptu.

For example, here’s what our dinners look like this week:

Sunday: Lamb chops, roasted carrots from the farmer’s market, 5-ingredient corn bread (If you’re going to indulge in corn bread make sure to read the ingredients list, many corn breads on the market have hydrogenated oils in them, which is trans fat.)

Monday: Grilled chicken breasts, kale salad (a family favorite – see this post for the recipe!), and quinoa made with chicken broth and garlic

Tuesday: Shrimp sautéed in jalapeno wine (so good!), soba noodles (Love these! Very quick and healthy!), sautéed spinach and roasted bell peppers

Wednesday: Grilled steak salad (with a boat load of chopped veggies) and grilled sweet potatoes

Thursday: Ground beef-stuffed acorn squash with wild rice

Friday: Fun night out with the kids planned at the Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic Nite Glow (my kids love this event and so does their mom), dinner TBD but it will be picnic-friendly

Saturday: Family in town, it could be anything, or it could be whatever we pick up from our fellow vendors at the Boise Farmer’s Market earlier that day.

As you can see, there’s nothing special here. Make it simple and as affordable as you need. Frozen veggies are great in a pinch. Some nights just clean out your fridge and have whatever leftovers you need to eat up. If your work week starts on Sunday, meal prep on Saturday or whichever day you have off. It saves a lot of time, headache, and money this way. Trust me!

4.  Hey moms, this one’s for you

Poise Fitness Playground Workout (<—check this video out to see a bunch of grown adults running around on playground equipment)

Over the weekend Von needed to bottle wine and luckily we live just a few blocks from the winery so I laced up my running shoes, the kids hopped in the jogging stroller, and we hit the greenbelt to pay our winemaker a visit. There’s a playground on this route so it’s inevitable my kids beg to stop there on our way home. Thanks to teaching boot camp years ago and trying to help my mom clients find a way to fit in fitness while entertaining their kids, I have a few playground obstacle courses stored away in my noggin’ that make my kids happy and give me my fitness fix. Granted, it can be challenging to duck your way through playground equipment intended for miniature versions of you, but I find it’s a great way to get exercise and make your kids think you’re the coolest mom ever. Plus, it’s kind of the point for it to be challenging.

A couple ideas: Use the stairs for, well, running up and down the stairs. Use a high step for step-ups. Create a course for you and your kids to run through and it may or may not include the slide. Use any elevated surface for pushups, monkey bars for hanging and bringing your knees up toward your chest (core strength!), another step for tricep dips, lay on your back on the ground and place your feet on the bottom of a slide to do bridge-ups, do jumping jacks between exercises/obstacle course rounds, jump rope (you don’t actually need a rope), perform box jumps on and off a step or bottom of the slide…you get it? Check out the above video for some visuals. And in case you’re wondering, I no longer teach boot camp in the mornings. Now that I’m a mom I reserve that hour for arguing with small people and exercising my non-morning-person patience.

I recommend you save this one for a time when the playground isn’t swamped and you can play freely with your kids on the equipment without some judge-y Debbie Downer parent tsk-tsk’ing you for not paying attention to the sign that clearly points out adults are not permitted.

5.  Being a winemaker’s wife

It's Wine:30 somewhere
It’s Wine:30 somewhere

I’m sure many wives or husbands of winemakers are much more glamorous than I am. Honestly, I don’t do glamour well anyway. I’m too sweaty half the time and the other half I’m laughing too hard, talking too loud or cleaning the mashed-up banana off my shirt. But I find it suits our business well since much of our time is spent at the farmer’s market talking to people, laughing about the un-believability of jalapeno wine, and sometimes doing all that with our sweet holy terrors in tow.

Last Saturday I headed down to the market to our booth like every other Saturday, where Von was pouring our wines and chatting with everyone and I was so excited to see one of my most favorite friends on this Earth. She spotted me first and immediately cracked up at my ridiculousness – pushing two kids in TWO umbrella strollers (for every good idea I have, there are two bad ones) and trying to look as though I have my wits together. It’s moments like those that I truly appreciate good friends to laugh with me about how un-glamorous our lives can be amidst a bunch of hype about people doing glamorous things.

Sunday after Von bottled what will be our next super fun wine release, he brought home a bottle so I could taste it (and make a margarita out of it, of course). I love being able to taste wines straight from the barrel or just freshly bottled. It’s probably the opposite of glamorous, but in reality I think the most glamorous things happen when they are just left to be what they are.

Honestly, being a winemaker’s wife looks a whole lot like making business decisions after 9 pm, writing proof for labels during naptime, holding a kid in one arm while pouring wine samples with the other and holding the fort down at home while the winemaker does the heavy lifting.

Really it looks a lot like what every other parent on the planet is doing in some aspect or another. It’s completely unglamorous, a whole lot of work, and surprisingly rewarding.

Cheers to all your random thoughts today!

Why You Should Stop Working Out for a Week

Typically most workout articles or fitness posts on Facebook I read  are about pushing yourself, working out hard, and making sure you’re consistent about doing so. Those are all legit and all great points. But I’m going to discuss something you don’t hear very often: It’s OK to take a break. Not only is it OK, it’s actually really good for you.

exercise-recovery

If you’ve been hitting it hard and working out consistently (by which I mean you’re only taking one to two days off from working out each week), at some point you’ve likely found yourself losing motivation, feeling weak and exhausted, and actually accomplishing less during your workouts. This was the case for me last month and I knew a break was in order. Enter: Family vacation and total workout strike. Not to say we didn’t walk a lot on the beach, which was definitely the case. And I did go for a short run and do some pushups and triceps dips one day. But there was no strength training, no HIIT, no power yoga or kickboxing. I ate what I wanted, which ended up being mostly healthy things after the second day since my gut couldn’t keep up with the inner fat girl trying to come out. But for the most part I just did what I wanted to do – which was relax.

Using my extra time to learn to fly a kiteboarding kite. Lots of fun!
Using my extra time to learn to fly a kiteboarding kite. Lots of fun!

All that relaxing and regrouping was what I needed physically and mentally to get motivated again when I returned home. And the funny thing? I actually feel stronger now that I’m back to my workouts. I’m sure my clients were super-thrilled with me on Monday morning when I was back to being that trainer who was more excited about their workouts than they were. “Oh great, spaz here went on vacation and she thinks I care how motivated she is.”

So I know what you’re thinking – you’re thinking you’ll gain a bunch of weight, lose all the muscle you’ve worked so hard for, and fall completely out of shape. Well, you won’t. It just isn’t gonna happen in one week. It takes about 4 weeks for your muscles to atrophy and start breaking down, even if you feel like it happens sooner. The thing is, most people forget that recovery is a crucial part of making progress. After 8-10 weeks of consistent workouts and fitness gains, you really should take a week off to let your body repair everything you’ve done and work its magic. Another plus – that change your metabolism will undergo because you’ve switched up your activity level will only do you favors once you surprise it again the following week.

So about that diet during this week of freedom. You still need to eat mostly healthy, but a cheat meal or two won’t hurt because again, it will change your body’s metabolism temporarily. And since our intention is to begin working out hard again the following week, that change is a good thing. But don’t fall off the wagon completely, although if you try to I can almost guarantee that your body will rebel the way mine did. One of the things about having a healthy lifestyle is that once you try to go back to poor eating habits it makes you physically sick. (This does not work with wine, however. I could take a break and go back to it very easily, but I digress.)

Will you gain weight? Probably. But it’s not as bad as you think. You will likely gain a few pounds because of fluid retention. Plus, all that extra energy (aka: glycogen) your body is holding onto will be accounted for in that slightly elevated number on the scale. But you’ll lose it within the first week of getting back into routine. I gained 4 pounds on our trip to the coast. Did I feel disgusting? Yep. Little did I know that by the Monday morning following our return I would be back to normal and feeling energized and strong. Okay so the trainer in me DID know that would be the case, but the self-critic in me was still a little manic about it.

You see, there’s a big fat elephant in the room named Burnout. We all know the definition of insanity by now, right? Apply that same principle to your body. If you keep giving it the same thing over and over, nothing will change. Remember how when you first started working out you saw the best results and felt better than ever? A total break from fitness will give your body that same advantage when you start back up. Eventually you’ll plateau again and you’ll recognize this by feeling mentally underwhelmed, physically exhausted and neurologically frazzled. That’s when you take a week off. Huffington Post actually published a great article about the benefits of taking time off from exercise. While they were focusing more on athletes and recommended a longer break (which is your prerogative, but unless you’re in the athletic zone I don’t recommend taking more than 2 weeks off), they really break down the science of why it works. You can check that out here:

“Why Taking Time Off From Exercise Is Good For Your Health”

“What we really do in hard workouts is apply a stimulus that elevates our heart rate, breaks down muscle fibers, causes the adrenal glands to secrete the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol and generally tells our body that the status quo won’t cut it anymore. The ‘getting fitter’ part – the body’s response to that stimulus – comes afterward.” – Huffington Post

And again, I know what you’re thinking (because I AM that girl): “If I take a week off I’ll never start back up.” My answer for that is, you’re overthinking it. I’m saying take a week off from weights, from cardio, from whatever fitness train you’ve been on. I’m not saying take a week off from thinking about it or setting new goals for yourself. I couldn’t wait to get back to working out again because I had all these new goals in my head, as well as new approaches to achieve those goals, which I had the time and energy to think about. I had time to figure out what I wanted to get out of my workouts and why it mattered to me. That’s what counts – as Jillian Michaels would say – figuring out your “why”. Love her or hate her, that woman has some good points about fitness and the human condition. During your one week off you won’t have to try to remember why you workout, your body will remind you.

One last point worth mentioning: I can attest to not always feeling stronger after a week off – there are times I’ve felt weaker and you may experience that. That’s OK too. Because even if you have to do fewer reps or shorter cardio sessions when you hit it again, your body has to respond to that stimulus and it WILL respond, faster this time and with renewed vigor.

So tell me, have you ever tried this break thing and how did it work for you?

My Fitness Philosophy

I’ll preface this post by saying I’m totally supportive of anyone who trains for competitive reasons, whether it’s body building, bikini contests, marathons, triathlons, etc. I’m also all for setting out to accomplish something and adhering strictly to a plan until that thing is accomplished. We all do that in some fashion or another in some aspect of our lives whether it’s starting a business, raising children, planning an important milestone event or keeping to a budget. Goals are terrific and super, super important. Yay, goals!

Make it Happen
Make it Happen

Now that I’ve put that out there, I’m going to possibly confuse everyone a bit when I tell you about my fitness and healthy living philosophy because most people are used to hearing an all-or-nothing mantra from personal trainers. But if there’s any message I want to convey on this blog it’s authenticity – no BS or smoke and mirrors. No one is perfect and believe me, if you’ve spent any time at all in the fitness industry (even if it’s just going to the gym in a vaguely consistent manner), unfortunately you know that often there is a whole lot of effort (and marketing $$$) that goes into making someone appear perfect. But it’s just not my thing and this isn’t that blog. I am not perfect. There, I said it! I am just a woman who wants to be healthy and help others with the same goal, without being annoying about it (purposefully, anyway).

I can sum up my philosophy with three sentences:

  • Workouts: Keep it interesting
  • Food: Keep it real 80% of the time
  • Body Image: Keep it in check

 

Workouts: Keep it interesting

I get really bored with doing the same fitness plan all the time. In fact, outside of training for the running events I’ve done in the past as well as those I will likely randomly sign up for in the future, I don’t think I’ve ever stuck to a fitness “plan”. That’s not to say I don’t have a plan, but my plan just happens to be to not plan too much (which is completely hypocritical of me because I am indeed a planner by nature). As I write this post I’m three days away from running a fun 5K with my kids in the stroller. It’s not a competitive race by any means but I have some benchmarks I want to hit with it: Run the fastest 5K I’ve ever run while pushing a stroller (a consistent 9-minute mile); Don’t feel like crap doing it.

That’s it. It’s not groundbreaking, but I’ve still done a fair share of preparation by running at least three days a week, training with sprint intervals, running hills on the treadmill (thank you, iTunes!), and just seeing how hard I can push myself. I’ve really enjoyed it, but three months later I’m totally over it and so is my body. I’ve stopped seeing the results I was seeing in the beginning and I’ve become used to everything both physically and mentally. It’s time to mix it up.

Yeah, pretty much...
Yeah, pretty much…

 

I practice this same philosophy when training my clients. Sure, you could realistically come in each day you see me and we’ll have a master plan and we’ll stick to that plan and never, ever stray. But then life happens, injuries happen, illnesses happen, vacations happen, financial burdens happen, being on the verge of a mental breakdown happens (I’m not pointing any fingers)…and you need to be able to adjust your fitness routine or you risk dropping it all together. I can actually see on a client’s face when they walk in the door if my pre-planned workout is going to go down well that day. If I’m not convinced it will, we change it up. I’m not saying that if your pre-planned workout sounds too hard when it comes time to do it you should drop it. Sometimes you have to know when to tell your inner critic to shut the @!#$ up and suck it up. But if your heart’s not in it and you’re going to come out of it feeling like a failure, then spend your time sweating in a way that’s going to be beneficial and leave you feeling better.

Mix it up, try new things, keep fitness fun. Do yoga one day, HIIT the next, weight-lifting after that, etc. Don’t ever be afraid to switch gears. Sometimes the easiest-looking workout is the hardest for your body to do simply because you never do it. Keep your body guessing and your mind will thank you!

Food: Keep it real 80% of the time

Although I don’t want to call it a “movement” since I really do hope it’s here to stay and not just a trend, the real food movement is big right now. Eat local, eat organic, eat clean, don’t eat processed foods, you know the drill. And if you don’t, check out THIS BLOG for a great lesson on what real food is.

I agree with all that, 100%. But I only practice it 80% of the time. The rest of the time I eat my TCBY frozen yogurt and my chips and salsa (not together, in case you had that image going on in your head). If I don’t allow myself a treat once in a while I will likely end up in a straight jacket, divorced, with kids who hate me.

But all kidding aside, diets just don’t work. You can do the shakes, the frozen meals, the multi-level marketing programs, and you’ll see results. Until you get sick of that food, sick of never treating yourself and sick of the guilt when you do treat yourself. Or if you’re like me, you’ll just get sick of having to do it. And then you’ll put weight back on and be back to where you started. Why not just eat well most of the time so that some of the time you can do whatever you want without the rude self-talk? This is also why I don’t do meal plans for my clients. They’re no fun, they’re not realistic, and they don’t work long-term. And while on that note, it’s worth mentioning that I also do not follow a set of guidelines when eating healthy other than consuming mostly clean foods and if they’re not clean they’re still whole, unprocessed foods that either don’t have a label because they’re not in packaging or if they do require a label it lists less than 5 ingredients. While I do dabble with recipes from every kind of nutritional influence, I don’t do Paleo or raw or vegan or meat-free or gluten-free. Of course if you do and it works for you long-term, I think that’s terrific. All bodies are different and what works nutritionally for one person won’t always work for the next. But eating real food 80% of the time will work for most.

Broken Record!
Broken Record!

Body Image: Keep it in check

This is perhaps my biggest point just because I think it’s easy to comprehend but it’s not implemented enough, especially in the fitness industry. Have you ever heard the quote: “I wish I were as skinny as I was when I thought I was fat”?  Here’s the thing: No one notices your body as much as you think they do. I know that may sound harsh but I’m being serious when I say we are all waaaayyy more concerned with how we’re being perceived than the people perceiving us are. And that’s likely because they’re too busy thinking about how they’re being perceived. It’s one of those qualities that makes us human – our egos can really take over a room.

Yes, by all means lose that weight to make yourself healthier, stronger, and overall more comfortable and confident in your skin. Unfortunately I see people who achieve remarkable things like losing 100 pounds and they eventually go into a tail-spin over whether it’s enough, which body part looks fat now, which body part looks the best now, which food they should or shouldn’t be eating, it goes on and on. I know there are some really great exceptions to this and I’m not trying to generalize, but in my experience some people have actually become depressed after becoming extremely fit or losing a significant amount of weight because they thought it would change their lives MORE. They look for constant feedback and validation that they look good and when they don’t get it they think it must mean they’re still fat. You likely know someone like this. How annoying is that?  Always keep your body image in check. Yes, we should strive to be the healthiest people we can be. But not at the risk of our sanity, our relationships and the way we view ourselves.

Do it!
Do it!

For me I think about my daughter and how I want her to feel about herself. I don’t want her to grow up with a mom who’s constantly looking in the mirror and commenting on how fat I look when I’m all dressed up, or wearing my swim suit, or just changing out of my workout clothes. I didn’t grow up with a mom like that and I truly believe it’s the main reason why I’ve never had severe body image issues, even when I was heavier than I should have been. I know my body’s not perfect. I know where my trouble spots are. I know there are other personal trainers out there with better bodies than mine. I also know that overall I’m pretty happy with the body I have. I could see my stomach stay perfectly flat every minute of every day, I’m just not willing to do what I know I’d have to do to get there (stop drinking wine, stop having an occasional frozen yogurt with my daughter, stop noshing on gourmet cheese and crackers and chocolate with my husband at the Idaho Shakespeare Festival the few times a year we go).

I could go on and on, but bottom line of my outlook on body image is keep it in check. Stay who you are fundamentally while always striving to be better in a well-rounded way. Forget the crappy self-talk, the fake smoke-and-mirrors expectations. Leave all that to Hollywood. This is YOUR life, live it! Now where’s my damn chocolate…