Where Have All The Manners Gone?

When I was a child there were certain manners that we expected of me. I had to treat adults with respect. Everyone was to be addressed as Mr. and Mrs. or Aunt and Uncle (if they were family or close family friends). We did not talk back to our parents without severe repercussions, and we didn’t get to negotiate with them much either. Our parents weren’t our friends, they were the law.

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Outside of the home, we were taught that being late was a sign of disrespect. Being courteous and kind to strangers was a given, and we were to treat each other as we would want to be treated (the old golden rule).

Now I am well aware that a lot changed to our society’s views on etiquette and manners as a result of the sexual revolution, women’s revolution, and the collision of drug exploration with esoteric philosophy experiments like EST. It left new parents in the late 70′s and 80′s making choices to be less strict with their children, allow for more creative thinking and a more “natural” (i.e., less structured) form of child rearing. Some went as far as to be on a first name basis with their children, and allow them to refer to other adults by their first names. In public, manners too seemed to disappear as we focused inward on ME.

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Though I feel that many of these rule-loosenings weren’t a bad thing (especially where women’s rights are concerned), sadly the loss of treating and addressing each other respectfully is not one the changes that has benefitted us. I constantly remind several of my young niece and nephews that I am not their peer “Ariana,” I am their “Aunt” Ariana. Though my husband and I vowed we would not say “because I said so” to my daughter (feeling that teaching her with explanations and reason was a better choice), I now find myself using that phrase when her negotiations go too far.

But how does this all relate to Fitness you may be asking? Well it lands smack dab in the middle of gym politeness and etiquette – or lack there of — something I grind my teeth over every day. Dumbbells and barbels left lying haphazardly around the floor as if the last user had been simply too exhausted to put them back. Men using leg press machines racked with dozens of 45 pound plates on each side, leave them for us lovely ladies to unload before we can use the machine. Sweat, spit, and even gum left on benches, floor mats, and water fountains.

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Then there are the young men who when asked (politely of course) if I can work in (share the weights or machine) stare blankly at me as if I’m a piece of meat – albeit a piece of meat they do not covet. The same request made by an overly endowed blond female may be met with a tad more courtesy, but only so that they can ogle her as she exercises.

If you’re wondering why I’m really on this soap box today, it’s because yesterday at the gym I approached the cross cables machine where a muscle-bound man was performing single-arm triceps pull-downs using only the right side of the cables. I set my stuff down on the left and started to change out the straight bar for the triceps rope. He rudely jumped in front of me and told me that he was using both sides. I questioned this and was told with contempt that he was here first and was working compound moves and I could not work in. I asked why he couldn’t just switch the handle for the bar and allow someone else to use this side. I received no answer, he plugged back in his headphones and proceeded to stand and exercise right in front of me.

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Other people around cast me sympathetic looks and shrugs but minded their own business. I laughed and mumbled something about his manhood being small, then walked away. As I drove home ruminating (more like fuming) I got the urge to write a tirade over the loss of manners in society, and so, today I write…

Hopefully the next time you have an opportunity to exercise good gym etiquette (pun intended), be more polite, compassionate, or on time for a dinner date, you will think of this blog and act accordingly.

Message for Our Daughters

Recently I had a discussion with several friends who, like me, have a daughter(s). I asked what one lesson do you feel is the most important to impart to your daughter? The answers all varied slightly (to use their voice, to stand up to bullies, to have good regard for their bodies) – but when broken down to their root core all the answers ended up being what my answer is: strong self-esteem.

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As you may know if you’ve read my book Joan of Arc Is Dead, or been a client of mine for any time, I am on a personal mission to rid the world of modern-day martyrs. “Super women” who take on too much to their own physical and emotional detriment – women who do not speak up regarding their needs and wants. Worse yet is a prevalence in society to place value in looking (or acting) like Kim Kardashian or Pam Anderson while offering no substance.

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Little girls are taught very early on to dress or pose sexy to gain acceptance (have you seen the Bratz dolls?!). This is often even before they understand the word, and more importantly, the ramifications of “sexy.” I overheard a young mother with her five-year old daughter in a salon one day reading People Magazine and discussing which women were sexy. The other day I saw a 10-year old girl dressed in very short shorts, high wedge heels and her shirt tied to reveal her belly button. SHE WAS 10!!!!

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There is still a huge double standard in this world that while a man can go wild in Vegas and be considered cool, a drunk bikini clad girl at spring break is a desired conquest while simultaneously being considered loose and not the kind of girl you bring home to mom.

So how do our young daughters make sense of all these mixed messages? The still coveted ideal that men want a prim and proper lady running their home while being a whore in the bedroom is in itself a ridiculous concept to strive for.

Therefore, my goal is to inculcate my daughter with the ideals that she is a beautiful soul first and foremost – and on equal par to any man. She has a brain and a heart that must be used for her own self-advancement while still being compassionate and giving. Her body needs to be healthy inside and out, and confidence about her shape comes from knowing that she offers so much more underneath her skin (and that no BODY is perfect).

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I hope to instill in her a value of her body as a whole – one that keeps her from choosing to flaunt her sexuality, especially before she’s old enough to understand what that means! I am teaching her to use her voice, not as a tattletale, but as a tool when a choice is being thrust upon her that does not jive with her moral code, comfort level, or simply an obvious injustice. As she grows, I hope to help her understand the power, beauty, and double-edge sword of female sexuality.

Lastly, I tell her she should never do something she really doesn’t want to do just to make me or her Dad (or a boyfriend) happy. Too often little girls learn early on to please their parents for the wrong reasons at the wrong times. Then once an adult this habit continues and the relationship between parents and children suffer, especially if she doesn’t feel she can say no to them, thereby imposing boundaries once she is married and has children.

As a Mother I feel that the goal of guiding my daughter into being a strong women who can still be vulnerable, with a healthy balance of selfishness and selflessness is an ongoing project, but one worth staying focused on. The same goes for mothers of young boys. They too need to be taught the fine line between strong self-esteem while still being able to be emotionally in tune and open.

Ultimately, we all need to have healthy boundaries and keep ourselves balanced!

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“Eating Healthy is Hard”

Recently one of my clients back-slid on her healthy nutrition for an entire month. The affects showed up in an increase in body fat, and a decrease in her mood – partially from the negative change in her body, partially because of “food depression” (which I will discuss shortly). When I asked what prompted her choice to eat less healthy, she claimed that “eating healthy is hard, you have to plan and prep and it’s not cheap.”

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While I agree completely with her assessment about the time commitment and cost, I do not agree with it being hard. “Hard” (or in this case difficult) is a perspective. For many, it’s hard to get up every morning and go to work; or to do Saturday chores of house cleaning and errand running. It can be hard to be full-time student (my niece is often up until 3:00 a.m. with all the homework a highschool junior has). The difference with all these examples is that they are typically mandatory. Jobs are a necessary part of life for adults; school is not a choice for those under the age of 18, etc. But nutrition and exercise, those are optional, right?!

Well that depends on your perspective. To my perspective, healthy eating and regular exercise is essential (even mandatory). So how do you change your perspective? The first thing is to have your motivation be more than just “I’d like to get in shape.” You have to really want to FEEL better and stronger and more youthful all the time. Second, you need a routine. Despite the obvious pun, I’m referring to a weekly or daily routine of menu planning, shopping, and food preparation. Just as you have a routine to your weekday morning of getting up and getting to work on time, you can have a routine to your nutrition. Once the routine is routine it’s difficultly decreases as it becomes the norm.

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Lastly, do not be intimidated by the appearance of higher cost for healthy eating. Again, with proper menu planning, and shopping at the right store, the cost of eating clean doesn’t have to be more than eating processed junk that can stay fresh in your pantry for months. Fresh vegetables bought in bulk at CostCo can sliced up and frozen for later use in stir-fries or crock-pot dishes. Those same crock-pot creations can be made double sized, and then freeze half for consumption at a later week/month. A box of quinoa, though higher priced than a bag of white rice, has so many more health benefits packed into each small kernel, that a little goes a long way and ultimately it can last you just as long if used properly (as an ingredient IN your dish, not a huge carbohydrate addition on your plate).

Don’t forget to factor in your reduced sick time or doctors bills because you are healthier. I know many over-fat people/clients (remember I never say over-weight) who spends hundreds of dollars on prescription blood pressure medicine because their have too high a percentage of body fat. Those same clients, when they have embraced healthy nutrition and exercise, have been able to stop taking their prescription drugs.

 

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As mentioned earlier, there is also the syndrome of food depression. Filling your system with nutrient-low foods combined with the preservatives added to them can cause blatant chemical depression. Just watch Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me to see the affect long-term consumption of fast food has on the body.

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If you still feel eating healthy is hard, try this test. Eat clean and healthy for 1-2 weeks. Keep track of your money spent at the grocery store, and how much time you spend preparing the food. Then do the same but eat the cheaper-easier-faster options. Then compare your money and time spent vs. how you felt physically. If you found, like most people, that you had more energy, vitality, and possibly a reduction in chronic issues like headaches, swollen joints, digestive issues when you ate healthy – well then you might just conclude that even if harder or more expensive, it’s worth it. I’d rather feel fit and healthy than depressed and bloated any day!

 

Exercise and Senior Citizens

As a member of the Baby Boomer Generation, I am pleased to see that on the whole we are a generation maintaining our physical fitness levels far better than our parents did. However, fitness for people over 60, whether yourself or your parents, is still being sorted out as to what is enough, what is safe, and what is necessary to live a long and healthy life.

I have worked with a lot of clients over the age of 60 and the one thing all have in common is reduced flexibility, strength and endurance. For me the key is not to attempt to get them toned or muscular (“lean and mean”) but rather to simply help them regain confidence that their body can support their lifestyle.

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If golf and travel (i.e., long walks as a tourist) is their goal, I work on improving their balance and lower back strength. If keeping up with the grandchildren is their focus, then I work on cardio endurance and flexibility (got to be able to get down on the floor with the little ones right?).

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My mother is a great example of my approach to senior fitness. At 78 she suffered a minor fall at home, and although no major damage was done, she lost her confidence that she would walk with stability, and more importantly, that she could get herself up off the ground. She cancelled her annual culinary trip to Europe (her passion) because she felt only my Dad could pick her up and he did not attend her annual trips.

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I was not willing to let her lose the ability to enjoy such a simple passion, but I was well aware that she disliked exercise. But I pleaded my case, and as I live out of state, I found her a local pilates trainer who spent six months working with her on floor stretches and core strengthening. The result, my mother can now get herself up off the ground, and has regained leg strength and balance, as well as her physical confidence. The following year, off to Europe she went. Now in her 80′s she performs the pilates exercises every day along with 10 minutes of elliptical. We weren’t trying to alter her body to any dramatic effect, just enough to help her keep up with her chosen lifestyle.

So if you have parents or loved ones who are giving up on their passions because their bodies just can’t keep up, lovingly nag them to try gentle, once a week exercises and movements like water aerobics, beginners yoga, pilates for seniors, etc. and in a very short time they can regain enough physical fitness to enjoy their hobbies, grandkids, or independence.

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Now of course nutrition plays a huge role in maintaining healthy insides as well. Hopefully they can follow a low-fat, un-processed clean and lean approach to food, keeping in mind that with moderation, they can still enjoy their comfort foods.

Enough About Flat Abs!

ENOUGH ALL READY! Enough of the constant barrage of ads, articles, blogs, retouched photos, Dr. Oz peddling Green Tree Extract, workout videos promising 6 minute abs – all pushing women to feel bad about our bodies if they do not match up to the 20th century ideal that we all must have flat fat-free stomachs.

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I’m not trying to be hypocritical — I offer workout routines focused on abs, I counsel clients on  how to reduce their abdomen fat, and I’ve even written in this blog about performing the perfect crunch.  BUT what I’m addressing today is that a washboard stomach is NOT necessary to have a healthy life, causes women to feel less good about themselves, and most importantly, is shifting focus away from serious health issues like diabetes in obese children, and heart disease from too much body fat, etc.

Why are we so obsessed with flat stomachs and when did this obsession set in? In the 70′s my beautiful mother used to lament that she wished zaftig bodies were still in vogue, as in eras gone by she would have been considered beautiful for her rounder figure. Victorian paintings, roman statues, even pin-ups of the 50s glorified the rounder, softer, more voluptuous female physique. But not anymore.

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I tried to research it on the internet, when exactly did our ideal of body beauty change? Was it wafer-thin model Twiggy in the 60′s? Was it Madonna prancing around in a bra in the 80′s? The answer is not quite clear, but regardless, the pressure is on – we MUST banish muffin tops, have no dimpling, eat no carbs and stay in a constant crunch all day to be beautiful. And for what? So we can be more attractive to men and land that sensitive thoughtful considerate prince who ultimately cares more about our insides? (I’m sensing an oxymoron there.) Or so that we can wear clothes that only a tall thin 16-year-old girl looks good in.

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twiggy1Then there’s the rest of our figure. Breasts must be perky yet at least 36C (at which size it’s almost impossible to be perky unless implants) and hips curvy but not fat. Is it any wonder we women feel consistently inadequate, especially as we pass 40.

So what can we do about this? What can we change? The answer is: only our perspective – one woman at a time. First we must accept that very few of us can have what our “world” considers female body beauty. Second we must focus our beauty ideals inward – our true essence is what radiates beauty.

For me the ideal female body is one of confidence and grace. Good posture, welcoming eye contact, a warm smile, and a firm handshake or hug. There are those rare individuals who think they’re beautiful no matter how large or round they are. Because of their extreme confidence everyone around them sees their beauty as well. I wish more women had their perspective.

Keep in mind that I am still, and forever will be, an advocate of lower levels of body fat via healthy nutrition and exercise. But that is about keeping your body going strong for decades – living to 90 and beyond! It’s all about how the body functions, and lower body fat IS healthy. But you can have healthy insides and still not be a stick figure.

Even working in the fitness industry along side body builders with 9% body fat seeing their deliciously muscular bodies in the mirror beside me can be a hard pill to swallow sometimes, until I remember that maintaining too low a body fat level is seriously detrimental to your health, and once again, my perspective is all about being healthy, while still enjoying life (and chocolate…and wine…and days off from the gym). Heck, I’m 52 and stronger than I was at 20 with the same endurance I had at 30. What more could I ask for?

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So ladies the next time you find yourself feeling inferior, inadequate, or unattractive because you aren’t a size 4 any you do not have 6-pack abs, just remember that it’s about your health. If you are not currently eating right and exercising – start! But do it for the goal of a long life, not society’s ideal of what makes a body beautiful.

Turns out Toned Abs are easy AND free

A recent study was undertaken in by fitness professionals to find out if machines, gadgets, and trendy ab exercises all garnered equal results on toning the abs.  The results proved that the good ‘ol crunch, if performed CORRECTLY was the best way (and the cheapest and easiest) to tone your midsection.  Here are several graphs which will paraphrase the test findings, and their summation:

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Figure 1.  Comparison of upper rectus abdominis (URA) activation for the various exercises compared to the traditional crunch.

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Figure 2.  Comparison of lower rectus abdominis (LRA) activation for the various exercises compared to the traditional crunch.

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Figure 3.  Comparison of upper rectus abdominis (URA) activation for the various exercises compared to the traditional crunch.

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“THE BOTTOM LINE:  ‘We spent a considerable amount of money on abdominal exercise equipment to basically show that you can effectively train the abs at home for free,’ notes Stenger. ‘Obviously, laying on the ground doing the traditional crunch is not appropriate for everybody, especially people with low-back pain, but for the average person who wants to work his or her abdominal muscles to get stronger, have less back pain, and get better health benefits, all you need to do is get a comfortable spot on the floor, lay down and do some crunches. It doesn’t cost anything to work out. Everything else is kind of a waste of money from this standpoint.’

That said, Porcari notes that this study’s findings exhibited greater activation from the traditional crunch than some other similar studies. The lesson from that: It’s all about form. Do your crunches correctly and deliberately and you’ll get the most out of your workout. ‘When you look across the different exercises, none were greater than the traditional crunch. This is interesting because other studies (including other studies we’ve done), showed a difference,’ he says. ‘I think a part of it is, when we looked at the EMG for the traditional crunch, we had people do the traditional crunch very deliberately and correctly, and I think we had fairly high activation from the abs because of that.’

‘It’s important, however, to keep in mind that there is no single abdominal exercise that challenges all the abdominal muscles in the most effective way,’ explains Dr. Cedric X. Bryant, ACE’s Chief Science Officer, ‘and the best way to work the abs is with different types of exercises. For example, the plank exercise effectively engages the transverse abdominis, which plays an important role in spinal stabilization.’”

So my advice — CRUNCH away.  But please stop performing them  lightening fast, barely getting your shoulder blades off the floor.  You know who you are, I see you at the gym daily.  Rapid fire half-way crunches will NOT do the trick.  Nor will crunches on the balance ball where you come up so high you’re sitting straight up facing the mirror.  If you need help with learning the proper form, please contact me.

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“Help me, I’m obsessed!”

As many of my previous blogs have addressed (Calories, The Great Destroyer, Dieting Is Your Enemy), watching weight and counting calories are futile concepts in my opinion.  Weight should not be micro-managed, and life is too short to spend hours each day worrying about your body. If you follow my prime directive (shout out to all my fellow Trekkies) that moderation in all things is key, then no one aspect of your life (food, exercise, work, relationships) will carry a consistently heavy burden on your brain.

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But regardless of my sage advice, still many of my clients and friends just can’t stop being obsessed with their weight.  When they beg for a trick, tool, or pearl of wisdom that can help them relax on this issue, I have a favorite nugget, I borrowed from my years studying as a classically trained actress, that I call the Purple Giraffe.

You all know the adage of “ignoring the elephant in the room.”  One of my dear old directors once suggested that instead of focusing on the Pink Elephant, you should turn your attention to the Purple Giraffe.  The idea is this, the harder you try to ignore the pink elephant in the corner, the more likely you are to continuing thinking about it, spying on it, and trying to figure out how to get it out of your sight. BUT, if you redirect your attention to an albeit nonexistent Purple Giraffe you will slowly but surely stop focusing on the elephant (the issue) that is causing you such dismay.

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The trick is to imagine all the minutia of the purple Giraffe.  How tall is it? What shade of purple is it, and what color are its spots?  Boy or girl, young or old.  The more details you can fill in, the more your mind will shift focus away from the elephant.  Now this may sound like a temporary fix, and it also may not make sense in relation to obsessing about food and calories and weight. However, if the elephant is your food/weight obsession – make the Giraffe be your new workout routine, or a daily goal-oriented plans for training for a 5K.  Pick something that you can think about as much as food and weight, but with more productive and positive results.

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Set goals, make plans, and when your focus starts to shift back to worries, redirect yourself to the details: how many more blocks will you run next time, what new class will you try at the gym, etc. Please keep in mind I am in no way suggesting that you replace one obsession with another. You should use this technique whenever you find yourself spending a predominate amount of time and energy worrying about one aspect of your life.  With a little perseverance and practice your obsession will fade away and a healthy lifestyle will be in its place.

What about Posture?

Everyone who has ever worked with a personal trainer, reads this or other fitness related blogs, or simply has some level of exercise experience, is undoubtedly aware of the need to care for their muscles by warming up, stretching after, and not overdoing anything that will strain them in a negative way. Raise your hand if this is you. Great. BUT…. What about your posture?

One of the first changes to my perspective that I experienced when I became a certified personal trainer was that I saw postural distortions all over the place, and more importantly, I now understood what was causing them.

What are postural distortions you ask? Simply put, its having muscles so tight they are shortened, which therein causes opposing muscles to be stretched tight, which therefore causes an imbalance in the body. How does this manifest in the body to the naked eye: shoulders curled forward, one shoulder higher than another, head thrust forward, bow-legged walking, heels that can’t stay down, etc.

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Mind you, these are often subtle visually, so you might wonder why it matters. It matters because a body party out of balance has a domino effect on other body parts – issues that may matter to you more than your aesthetic posture (which I will address later). If you have overly tightened pectoral muscles (chest) you may suffer from chronic neck aches and/or head aches. If any of the numerous muscle groups in your legs are tight causing misalignment, you can suffer everything from extreme knee pain, to sciatica, lower back lock ups, and in general pain from your hips to your ankles.

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For those lucky few who suffer no pain, but still have postural distortions resulting in poor posture, think about this – many people find women or men who do not stand up straight to appear less confident and less open emotionally. A man who has over trained his traps, lats and rhomboids can appear comically crab-like (or Neanderthal) with shoulders that roll forward and arms that cannot rest at their sides. These man are often viewed as“less intelligent” or “meat heads.”

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I have been known to spend an entire training session with a new client just focusing on stretching and fixing their postural distortions. Often they complain that it while the stretching feels good, they feel the session wasn’t as productive as a normal training session. But usually within a few months of our working together, they realize how much they’ve gained by resolving their posture issues (in strength, stamina and confidence) and how much better they feel.

Your posture is important, both for what it conveys about yourself, and what it does for your overall health. Do not neglect it.

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Cancer vs. Fitness

In the past two years I have held the hand of one of my best friends as she battled and successfully won the fight against Breast Cancer. But the months post treatment have actually been more traumatic on her body than the treatment itself. She was forced into menopause (at age 36), and ultimately had to opt for removal of her ovaries – all of which has messed with her body more than chemo and radiation.

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In light of this, as her friend and personal trainer, I researched ways to ease her back into exercise, and discovered that there is a serious dearth of information and support regarding post-cancer physical fitness.

How do you get your body in shape after chemo and radiation has left your muscles weak or your stamina nonexistent?

How do you regain flexibility and muscle tone after a lumpectomy, mastectomy or any other cancer related surgeries?

How do post cancer drugs (like in her case tamoxifen) affect blood pressure, metabolism, moods, and even equilibrium (some meds actually make clients dizzy)?

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These are just some of the questions and issues that cancer survivors face.What I have learned is that there is no one approach fits all – much like all training sessions – but even more so in this case. The trainer, client AND doctor must work together to assure that the client’s body can handle the reintroduction of exercises and flexibility-range of motion . Nutrition has to be closely examined as it relates to the drugs they ingest. Most of all, patience – HUGE PATIENCE – must be maintained by the client as the body make take a very long time to build back up from the destruction it underwent.

My advice to anyone in this situation is to take it slow, but persevere. The body is resilient but is also fragile under these circumstances. Think of it as starting from zero. Keep your goals small, but keep setting goals as the baby steps are achieved. Also remember that body acceptance is essential as your body may be changed irrevocably – on the outside as well as the inside.

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If you attend a support group, perhaps extend the meetings to include 20 minutes of yoga or pilates, or find a Certified Personal Trainer who would be willing to offer a gentle body-sculpt class for the group (I would offer this pro bono). If you belong to a gym, stick with circuit machines until your strength and balance are back.

So the next time you or someone you know survives cancer, CELEBRATE, but then get back on the exercise train with patience and focus and your body will come back to life too.

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Guest Post: Top 3 Ways to Go From Fat to Fit

jenn1 By Jennifer Espinosa-Goswami jenn2

You will never see me wearing a bikini on the Katie Couric show. You will never hear me tell you that “thin is in”. You will also never believe that this used to be me.

I spent half of my life having the normal fat girl problems. Problems such as finding stylish clothes that fit, crying in my bathroom because of a cruel joke, and trying to hide as much of my stretch-marked body as I could during the hot summer months.  I am not a fitness buff, model, or professional trainer. I am just like you. What I did is something any woman can do. Here is my journey from fat to fit.

Not every fat girl is lazy! I used to win track competitions in elementary school, played volleyball for my junior high, and biked every weekend with my family. I loved being active.  It wasn’t until college that I realized there is a difference between being active and fit. As the pounds piled on, I wasn’t physically able to do the things I wanted to anymore. Like climb a flight of stairs without losing my breath, or jog more than 1 minute.  There is a myth when it comes to fitness: No pain, no gain. Don’t believe it! Fitness is not a punishment. Fitness should be FUN.

The one thing I really love to do is dance. At my ninth grade dance, I asked every guy in my class for a spin on the floor! Maybe it’s my Hispanic blood, but I love to shake my hips and feel the beat with my body. That became my fitness program.

4 times a week. I have danced with Kathy Smith, Richard Simmons, and even Cindy Crawford. My favorites can be found here. Today, I know enough choreography that I just turn on the music in my living room and have a dance party! hooping to martial arts.

Did you know that cardio can only take you so far? There is a secret ingredient to really becoming fit that I didn’t discover until after I had my first daughter. That secret is strength training. Strength training helps you burn fat and feel sexy. It’s easy to build a home gym with dumbbells, resistance bands, and even kettlebells. I have even used my toddler as a weight while doing lunges or squats.

Want to know the best way to go from fat to fit? Here are 3 top tips:

1.  Start with what you love to do. Do it for as long as you can, as often as you can. Then, increase the time and/or frequency. Try a new technique or exertion level once you’ve mastered it.

2. Build your muscles! If you don’t know how, Ariana and Dane Life Fitness can help.

3. Keep your tools within sight! If you go to the gym, keep a gym bag with everything you need in your car or at work. If you have a home gym, don’t keep it in the corner.

Fitness doesn’t mean you have 6-pack abs or killer thighs. I went from fat to fit by choosing what I already loved to do and by building muscle. Increasing my fitness allowed me to fuel my life.  How will you fuel your life?

Jennifer Espinosa-Goswami is a motivational speaker and writer on women’s weight loss. A member of the National Weight Control Registry, she has maintained a total weight loss of 100 pounds through marriage, career transition and motherhood. Jennifer is dedicated to helping busy, professional women achieve weight bliss. She currently resides in Richfield, MN. For more information, visit her website (weightlesschronicles.com) or like her Facebook fan page.