Does Thanksgiving Give You Anxiety? (Reprint)

In November of 2013 I published this article to help reduce some of my client’s anxiety over the impending Thanksgiving feast.  I thought it best to repeat it this week as Thanksgiving 2014 is just days away.  I have made a few more notes of nutritional advice as well.  Hope it helps a new group of food-worriers.

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Here it comes, the single most high-caloric, high sodium, high sugar meal of the year — Thanksgiving!


It’s no wonder so many of my clients suffer anxiety over the this annual feast of thanks.  They worry about what to cook, how to cook, when to cook, what to eat, what NOT to eat, and the biggie … how much weight they’ll gain.   Okay, people, listen very closely to what I’m about to say….


The reality is that unless you gorge yourself on crappy processed carbs, sugar and fats for 48 hours non-stop, you’re not going to do that much damage in one day/meal. Now I know some of you look at the Thanksgiving feast as just that … crappy processed carbs, sugar and fats, but in reality for most the meal just isn’t that bad, especially if approached with moderation, and an accepting state of mind.  Stress puts more weight on than a meal, and accepting that this is just ONE higher calorie day out of many other days where you burn more than you consume, willl help you relax.

Again, the key is moderation.  Substitute healthier food choices when possible.  Eat smaller portions when your only choices (or your desire) is less quality and higher calories. Here’s a simple list of choices and/or substitutions that are quick and painless and can make the difference between a 1400 calorie meal and an 800 calorie meal.

TURKEY:  Eat the white meat, it’s packed with protein, and very lean. If you love the dark meat, just mix a small quantity in with the white meat.

MASHED POTATOES:  Substitute mashed sweet potatoes or yams. Use olive oil and non-fat milk instead of butter and cream. If your starch tradition also includes yams covered with marshmallows, consider nixing the marshmallows, but at the very least, keep the portion ridiculously small.


STUFFING:  Hard to make substitutions here (gluten-free bread is one), but if you are a stuffing junkie – keep the quantity small.  I personally make small “stuffin’-muffins,” which allows for better portion control. (Rachel Ray has an excellent recipe, google it!)

GRAVY:  Another item that’s difficult to substitute in a way that’s healthy and tasty (and also must be altered for those looking to be gluten-free) , but if you keep it as a garnish and not a soup-sized portion, you’ll be alright.


VEGGIES:  Skip the green bean-mushroom soup–Velveeta casserole, and just oven-roast your veggies with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, salt and pepper. You can then fill up with these powerful green veggies loaded with vitamins and fiber, helping you to eat smaller portions of the starchier side dishes.

BREAD:  Bottom line is rolls are a redundant waste of nutrition-less filler that you can definitely skip.  If you’re having stuffing there’s already enough of bread on your plate!

DESSERT: What can I tell you … desserts are where most people have the hugest weakness. I make organic apple pie casserole (with no refined sugar) topped with crumbles of gluten-free granola (therefore no crust), but if you have no healthy options, keep the portion size small and skip the ala mode (ice cream) in favor of a small dollup of home-made whipped cream (made with only a dash of maple syrup as the sweetener).


ALCOHOL:  Being that I was grew up not far from Napa, California, wine is definitely a part of my thanksgiving feast. But I keep it to Red (which has less sugar content) and in general is healthier for you (if kept to moderation of course).


In conclusion, don’t sweat Thanksgiving. It’s a lovely holiday where friends and family gather to eat, drink, catch up and hopefully share a few laughs. Keep your nutrition in check but don’t micro manage it, and on Friday, work out instead of or before shopping (although walking the mall is good for burning a few calories as well).

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!


A Shameless Plug

“Why should I work with a personal trainer?” “What does a trainer do that I can’t do on my own?” These are questions I am asked regularly. My answers are forth coming in this week’s blog, what I like to call my “shameless plug.”

Clearly, most people view personal trainers as a luxury. They are well aware of the benefits obtained by working with a trainer, but when economic times are tough, those benefits are viewed as luxury items. However, I feel there are some significant cost savings to working with a trainer, but you might not see them unless you look a little further down the road.

General view of Personal Trainers 7/7/2013

The obvious benefits to working with a certified personal trainer are:

1.   One less thing to think about. That’s right, with a trainer there’s one less thing for you to think and worry about. We tell you what to do, how to do it, and make sure you’re doing it correctly. Thirty to sixty minutes later, your workout is done, your one step closer to your fitness goals, and all you had to do was show up.

2.  Motivator. When your motivation and fortitude fall short, your trainer offers you that much-needed emotional understanding and support to re-motivate you and keep you on track with your fitness goals.


3.  Accountability. Someone to hold you accountable for the other 23 hours each day when you are supposed to eat sensibly, drink water, and move more. Accountability is one of the strongest motivators that keeps my clients on track.


But here are some less obvious benefits that come with a personal trainer:

1.  Variety. One of the keys to success in your fitness goals is variety of exercises. This not only keeps your brain challenged (and not bored), but keeps your body from plateauing (one of the biggest culprits to one’s failure to achieve their fitness goals).

2.  Guilt. No, I’m not talking about feelings of guilt that you ate what you shouldn’t the night before (although that kind of guilt can serve as a huge motivator) – I’m referring to guilt about wasting money. When money is on the line, you’d be surprised how much more likely you are to show up and do the work.


3.  Cost savings. The amount of money people waste annually on fad diets, current-rage exercise DVD’s, infomercial miracle exercise equipment is a at least double the amount it would cost you to work with me twice a week for one year. If you tallied up what you’ve spent over the last five years attempting to get into shape, I bet you’d find that you could have achieved your goal in half the time for half the money if you’d just worked with a trainer.

You mustn’t underestimate how much knowledge personal trainers have that you don’t. Every year we must complete several courses of Continuing Education to remain certified. This year I am studying three specialty courses: Nutrition for Women – Menopause & Beyond; Vegetarian Nutrition; and Carbohydrate Requirements for Exercise. Wouldn’t you like to have access to that kind of specific information without having to study it yourself?


So as the year comes to a close and those new year’s resolutions rear up, consider making 2015 the year you work with a trainer and finally get your body where you want it.

One last note as to something I specifically offer clients that many trainers do not, is my website In my efforts to accommodate my more advanced clients, or clients who are truly on a limited budget, I offer a site where I will customize a workout routine to any individual. This allows you, at a fraction of the cost of working with a trainer weekly, to receive a workout that takes the guess-work out of how to quickly achieve your fitness goals. If you already know proper (and safe) exercise forms and are self-motivated, but still need that extra push (via accountability and the aforementioned guilt motivation) then this option is a perfect fit.


Don’t Be Fooled

To the untrained eye, lately it would seem that many fast-food chains are offering healthier food options for the growing population that cares about their nutrition. However, the catch here is that “healthier” may not be healthier — don’t be fooled by false advertising!

Take for example a comparison of McDonald’s Quarter Pounder vs. their “fresh menu” Chef Salad. While the salad is lower in calories, and fat and carbs, it’s higher by 15 grams in cholesterol and almost equal in sodium, yet significantly lower in protein. We won’t even get into the fact that the quality of said protein (both the beef and chicken) offered in these two options are sub-grade B and not something I would ever put in my body.


Next lets look at the popular chain Tropical Smoothie (similar to Jamba Juice for those of you in state without this chain). They are currently advertising the following “limited offer” sandwiches as being healthy options: Chipolte Cranberry Turkey Club and Rustic Turkey & Apple Club. Both have over 650 calories, as much as 34 grams fat, 2043 sodium, and in the case of the cranberry choice, 22 grams sugar! If you look at their turkey bacon ranch on ciabatta sandwich (which looks and sounds less healthy than the two specials), it is lower across the board with only 576 calories 20 grams of fat, 1940 grams sodium, and only 8 grams of sugar. Once again, I’m not certain that the turkey being sliced and served is all that healthy, and clearly it comes packed with a whole lot of sodium, but I was amazed to find out that the bacon ranch sandwich was slightly healthier than the Rustic Rurkey & Apple Club!



Following are a few helpful hints to help you manage your fast food choices. By making a few simple changes/choices to your orders you can make a huge difference in the nutritional breakdown of what you eat.

  • When ordering Subway or other deli chain sandwiches: ask them to scoop out the inside of the bread, leaving the outside of the bun to hold your veggies and deli meats. (This significantly lowers the carbs and sugars you would otherwise ingest from the bread.)


  • Skip the diary – no mayo, no cheese. Use mustard and avocado to smooth out and spice up the flavor of your sandwich.


  • When faced with limited choices, opt for simple. The basic and unadorned McDonald’s hamburger is actually healthier for you than some of their salads and chicken and fish sandwiches.


  • Avoid obvious salts – bacon added to fast food sandwiches is a horrible addition as it is usually sub-par quality fatty pork, loaded with sodium, nitrates and fat. Same goes for pickle options (jalapenos, pickles, and pepperoncini). I am a lover of pickles so I’m not saying ditch them completely, but I used to put all three options listed above on my Subway sandwiches until I realized how much extra sodium I was ingesting. Now I pick just one.


  • Also, when it comes to sandwiches, avoid the traditional “Club Sandwich” wherein an extra piece of bread is inserted into the middle. If this is your only choice, take out that middle piece before you eat the rest. Removing that extra bread can seriously lower your ingested carbs, sodium, and sugars.


  • Remember, lighter fare doesn’t necessarily mean healthier.  Calories are not the only indicator to the healthy quality of food.  They may be lower in calories but higher in sodium and sugars both of which rob your body of nutrients, make digestion slower and less effective, and therefore turn more of what you eat into fat storage.


  • Lastly, dink water vs. soda or fruit juices. Your best tool to battle the sodium bloat and digestive slow down from fast foods is water water water – keep your system flushed.


So the next time you get suckered in to a menu offering “healthy” or “light” fare, remember to read between the lines – the nutritional breakdown lines that is.

The Burpee – Torture or Treasure

With the fitness industry focusing more and more on fast total body exercises that utilize and strengthen your core, it’s no wonder the Burpee has become the go-to exercise. The burpee consists of a series of exercises performed in rapid succession, ideally as a quick way to measure agility, coordination and strength. Yet, the burpee is one of the most dreaded exercise by many of my clients.

Most people hadn’t even heard of a burpee 15 years ago, unless they had military experience. The exercise was created in the 1930’s by American physiologist Royal H. Burpee as a quick and simple way to assess fitness. During World War II, the United States Armed Services adopted it as a way to assess the fitness level of recruits.


The benefits of this exercise are obvious: it’s a quick total body workout which engages your cardio-vascular system and core (the transverse abdominous muscles that circle around from your lower belly to your delicate lower back) thereby enhancing endurance and strength. All large muscle groups are engaged (arms, chest, back, legs, glutes and abs), balance and stamina are created, and you need no equipment and very little space.


The negative issues of this exercise are the same as the positive – IF you are out of shape. If your core is weak and/or you have a significant amount of belly fat, and if your cardio system taxes easily this exercise will be torture.  The biggest risk to a beginner is that they will not engage their core muscles and could spasm their lower back, irritate their sciatic nerve, or just simply face plant into the floor.


So let’s review the proper form and execution of a burpee:

1.  Start in a standing position. Quickly squat down placing your palms on the floor directly under your shoulders.

2.  Pull your abs in tight and with a bit of a hop, throw your legs out behind you so that they land, feet together, on your toes as if you are about to perform a push up. Elbows are locked in place.

3.  Now perform a slow and precise push up, keeping in mind that it’s not about how low you go, but that what’s important is that you don’t sag your body downward while barely bending your arms.  This is where many clients hurt their back and/or shoulder blades.

4.  In one smooth motion, bring your legs back into the squat position, and then explode upwards reaching for the ceiling.

5.  Upon landing from your huge hop up, move right back into step 1 by squatting down. Repeat for the requisite amount of burpees or use a time limit to work by (i.e., as many as you can do in 1 minute).

For even more advance version, use a bozu ball. Lift the bozu ball overhead to start, then place it on the ground (inflated side down), as you perform steps 2 through 4.


Once again, burpees are a great way to get in a quick total body energizing work out with limited space and time. If you can change your mind set to see these as a welcome challenge and not a dreaded torture created by us personal trainers, you will reap huge benefits while moving on with your day! Please feel free to let me know how it goes for you.


Shave Off Some Fat

Okay, it’s that time of year – the holidays – time for parties and feasts and drinking and less time for exercising when you’re spending all that times partaking in vast quantities of delicious calories. The annual dilemma shared by many is how to attend all these parties and holiday dinners without putting on extra fat.

The answer is to NOT to avoid the festivities like several of my clients have suggested. No, the better solution is to apply a few tricks of the fitness trade to shave off some of the fat (both via smarter nutrition choices and squeezing in extra exercise).

Here’s a few tips to help you have your cake (or pumpkin pie) and eat it too!

1.   Before attending any holiday party, have a small serving of raw, steamed or lightly sautéed veggies. These veggies will ensure that you are not feeling overly-hungry and thus prone to over-indulging. Also, they will provide you with a nice layer of fiber which will keep you regular in spite of ingesting higher-fat and slower digesting foods.


2.  If you are in charge of any of the holiday feasts or parties, try using a healthier menu for the same food favorites. Example: If you must have traditional green bean casserole (green beans, cheese, cream of mushroom soup), trying using either non-fat or organic cream of mushroom soup (available at most grocery stores) and vegan cheese. Or make your fresh apple pies with ½ the amount of suggested sugar AND change out refined white or brown sugar for coconut sugar, xylitol, or maple syrup. (The internet is littered with great options for leaner recipes of traditional foods – google or scan Pinterest for ideas.)


3.   If an event offers a buffet (as many corporate parties do), check out the offerings first, then decide what dishes you most want and use the “Rule of Five” – 2 proteins, 2 fun carbs (bread, pasta, rice, potatoes), and 1 dessert. Keep your portions small, and wait 10 minutes before attempting seconds. You will likely find yourself full if you can wait a little while. Otherwise, hit the dance floor (if dancing is offered) and work up the need for more fuel.



4.   Booze – do not forget that alcohol has sugar and that messes with your body’s blood sugar, which in turn messes with how you digest your food and how much gets stored as fat. Try to keep your alcohol consumption to 2-3 drinks max (in a 2-3 hour period). This will not only keep your fat levels under control, but will likely not get you a DUI either!


5.   As for exercise, take a daily walk with family, the dogs, or even by yourself. Just one average paced mile can level out your insides from the decadent dish or cocktails the night before. When out shopping, park further away, all those extra steps add up! During time off, engage more with the kids. If you have long trips facing you, break them up with challenges at rest stops or airports (jumping jacks, incline push ups off the backs of chairs, air-squats, lunge walks through the terminal).


6.   Lastly, do not forget to drink plenty of water. High sodium foods, alcohol, and excessive refined sugar deplete the body of hydration. Water will keep these toxins flushed and your fat retention will be lower.194094-attachment

So go enjoy, but remember MODERATION makes for a balance between health and enjoying the decadent holidays to their fullest. That’s all any of us can ask for.

What Are You Watching?!

Today my diatribe will seem to be off the subject of fitness, but in reality has everything to do with being healthy of mind and body. I have come to my wit’s end with society’s preoccupation with talent-less, substance-less, worthless icons of super-wealthy plastic women. In case you didn’t get it by that description, I’m referring to the Kardashians.

Every day when I stop in the gym locker room prior to or after my workout, I am assaulted by two televisions permanently glued to (and loudly playing) the E Channel. The E Channel (formerly Entertainment TV) has decided, assumably because of viewer demand, that 75% of their programming should be the show Keeping up with the Kardashians.


For the 5 minutes that I utilize my locker I am subjected to Kim crying because some designer can’t make her million dollar wedding dress, or Kanye decided to fly her to Paris before she was ready, or one of her sisters lamenting about how tiring it is to go to another $100,000 night where she has to stand around at a club in Las Vegas pretending to have a good time.

These women who never seem to work out (or at least never sweat), have chefs preparing their calorie-counted food, almost always appear in flawless airbrushed make-up, and live in mansions with assistants and drivers actually believe that their trivial woes are something we can relate to and should sympathize with.

The Madam (as in head of the brothel) who leads this circus is their mother Kris who just this year has launched her two youngest daughters (ages 16 and 18) into the same career as their older sisters. By the way, in case you didn’t know these “careers” are really nothing but a few modeling gigs, event appearances, and of course, showing all aspects of their plasticized non-intimate lives on television.  I will say that Kris is quite the marketing genius as she has turned 5 vapid self-centered females into a million dollar enterprise, but somehow that just isn’t enough to garner her my full respect when she’s peddling such hollow fluff.


So why am I bitching about this you may ask? It’s because my mission as a fitness professional is to help people – most importantly women – to accept their flaws, surmount obstacles and limitations, and love their bodies and lives. The Kardashians are in direct conflict with my mission. Their show tells girls that shallow is ok, that fashion and fantasy have more value than hard work. I sincerely doubt that any Kardashian daughter can balance a check book, live on a budget, and multitask the care of children, with the chores of maintaining a house, car, job, and their own personal fitness and emotional fulfillment.

They call it reality TV but it is the furthest thing from reality. As long as viewers enjoy the mind numbing line up of Kardashians, Lohans, and Sex In The City reruns Entertainment TV, MTV, and VHI will never change and girls will continue to be exposed to these unrealistic depictions of life as a woman in America.  So if you want to show your daughters examples of television women worth emulating there’s lots to pick from, but unfortunately you’ll have to go way back. Try reruns of Mary Tyler Moore Show, One Day At A Time and Julia if you really want to see women of substance and value.


















Time to Make A Plan

How long have you been saying you want to get in shape? How long have you been stuck in that dead end job or still living where you didn’t want to be in the first place? For many people, the answer is a really long time – too long – but they just sit and complain about it. If this resonates with you (or someone in your life), I have one more question: what will it take to get you to get off your butt and do something about it? 


Blunt, I know, but that’s me. Time spent complaining, being depressed over a situation, wallowing in your inaction is the biggest waste of life I can think of. There’s always something you can do to improve your situation. Usually what’s holding you back is your fear. Fear that changing things might make life worse – you won’t like the new results any better. Fear that you might have to have a conversation of a serious nature (also known as the dreaded confrontation). And the biggest obstacle of all – indecision.

I’ve come to understand that despite the fact that I rarely, if ever, am indecisive, many people are. There are either too many overwhelming choices to pick from, or too few. Either way, they cannot make a decision with conviction for fear that they are making the wrong choice – that another choice might be the better way. Unfortunately they forget the first rule of decisions and planning. You can always change the plan!

Crossing out Plan A and writing Plan B on a blackboard.


We’re not talking Sophie’s Choice here people. We’re taking a point A to point B choice to get you to your desired goal. If the first step of the plan doesn’t get you in line for the next, revise the plan. Movement, even if not completely successful is better than stagnation. Besides, sometimes movement even in the wrong direction, brings forth an opportunity that you would not otherwise have found.


I often use the analogy with my Life Coaching clients that they are on a ship, staring intently upon the horizon for another ship to come by so they can jump ship. But as life as proven to me and many, sometimes you have to jump ship and tread water before the next better ship comes along.

So to any of you stuck in a rut reading this, I say make a plan. Don’t second guess yourself, don’t make it too complicated or take too long. Then outline at least the initial steps (first 3-5) and then execute them in a timely fashion. I promise you the next steps will be easier. I’m always here to help should you desire it.


Time to get off your butt and do something starts NOW!

Random Acts of Kind Words Challenge

Once in a while I’ve seen or heard of surprise random acts of kindness like someone in the car-line at Starbucks paying for the next customer’s coffee. Usually their intentions are to create a spirit of infectious pay-it-forwardness. Unfortunately these generous and genuine “gifts” happen with regular seldomness as we continue to be an inherently self-focused society.

Starbucks Invests Heavily In Drive-Thru Market

As this has been weighing on my mind, the other day at the gym I decided to act spontaneously and complimented a woman who was working clearly very hard at her goal of losing body fat and through all the pain and sweat still looked radiant. I told her “I just wanted to tell you that you look radiant and keep up the good work.” Her first response was one of suspicious caution, so I quickly added “I don’t think any of us give or receive enough compliments lately.” At that, she graced me with a huge smile and said “you’re right. Thank you, I’ll have to pay that sentiment forward.


There’s no denying that it felt good and I resolved to not only offer more unsolicited complements but to issue a challenge to my friends, clients and blog followers.

Buying a stranger coffee, or helping them out when they’re short at the checkout counter is great, but more than money, we need to lift each other’s spirits more. There’s a lot of negativity out there, and a lot of hectic life being rushed through without stopping to smell the roses or, more aptly in this case, appreciating each other.

Rather than wait for a situational catastrophe (whether personal or global), let’s show our compassionate, giving sides when there’s no reason to do so other than to brighten someone else’s day, and in turn brighten our own.


So here’s the challenge: A weekly random act of kind words.

Once a week offer a tactful, graceful, and sincere compliment to a stranger. While you could certainly perform this act daily, I felt that it carries more impact upon your week if you do not over-use the gift, so it remains special.    (Of course if it is to a person of the opposite sex, that’s why I caution to be tactful and sincere – this is not an invitation to hit on someone and come off creepy.)

Let’s do this together for eight weeks (two months) and see what kind of results return our way. Like a pebble dropping into a lake, I suspect the ripples will be profound and wide reaching.

Green Stem and Water Ripple the long goodbye


I welcome your comments either here in the response area of my blog, or on my facebook page (

A Quick and Easy Fitness Trick

Lately the most common question I get from over-weight or too-sedentary individuals, especially seniors, is how they can get a quick fix, short-cut, easy way to burn fat, increase their metabolism, improve their circulation, and strengthen their heart and lungs, all in one low-impact quick exercise. Keep in mind these individuals are usually not prone to enjoying any exercise, and their lack of physical endurance and flexibility makes many basic exercises (like even walking) a chore that they quickly give up on. So for you I offer up my quick, easy and cheap fitness trick:  The Stairs!


Climbing stairs strengthens your lungs and heart which let you take in more oxygen, which is key to circulation and muscle stimulation and growth, which in turn burns more calories. When you walk up stairs, your body’s response is to release endorphins to handle the “strain.” Endorphins are natural mood lifters and anti-inflamatories. Stress is reduced, focus is improved, and your immune system is enhanced.

A study in European Heart Journal followed 69 hospital employees who used stairs instead of the elevator for about three months. Some of the results for the stair-climbing employees were:

  • Body fat dropped 1.7%
  • Blood pressure fell 2.3%
  • LDL (or bad) cholesterol fell 3.9%
  • Lung capacity went up 8.6%


Now before you say that you I can barely walk, there’s no way I can handle stairs take a deep breath and consider this, to get any real fitness benefit from walking you have to achieve a certain speed or length, all the while having nothing to hold on to — daunting for many.  With stairs, however, you can get maximum body benefit with as little as one flight.  You don’t even have to spend 20 minutes walking a stair climber at the gym, or handle five flights of stairs at the office. What you will need to do is incorporate steps whenever and where ever you can as much or as little as you can – with the commitment to do so regularly and always push yourself just a little so that you never plateau.

Here are some practical examples of using stairs to better your body:


Say you have a flight of stairs in your two-story house. You probably always walk up and down them several times a day. Next time you are taking the stairs to go to another room, stop and repeat the up and down (or down and up) 1-2 extra times, then continue on your way. Doing this 3-4 times a day is a simple way of increasing your fitness. Once that becomes easier, increase your speed a touch or add an additional up/down set.

Extra-credit: Sometimes when I walk past my stairs (not intending to use them), I just throw in a quick up and down (or down and up) then continue on my way. Try it!



For those of you in a high-rise building (or at least more than three stories), you probably have access to the fire-stairwell.  Even if you’re up too many flights to use the stairs to go to and from – take 2 breaks (one a.m. one p.m.) and walk up and down just 2-3 flights of stairs. Throw in an extra set on your lunch break. Once that is no longer difficult on your system, increase speed or add a set.




Maybe there’s a stair climber at the gym, but since you only attend classes or perform a quick resistance training circuit you’ve never used it.  Well, try adding 3 minutes of stairs climbing to your workouts, 3 times a week. When that become easier, add a few more minutes or increase your speed. An extra 5 minutes to your hectic schedule won’t kill you, and in fact it’ll do just the opposite!


Important tips:

If you have problematic knees, keep in mind that walking down stairs is harder on the knees than up. Take them sideways (walk turned to the side) on the down, and the pressure is transferred off the patella (knee cap).

Speed is not essential – however, if you always stop just when your heart rate and breathing seem a little strained, you’ll never improve your cardiovascular condition. Take it slow but stay steady and always push yourself just a touch further.

Seniors: if balance or falling is your concern, there’s no reason why you cannot hold on to the railing (especially on the walking downstairs angle).  As long as you continue climbing you will still get the benefit. Just don’t pull yourself along, use the railing for stability but whenever you feel confident (especially on the upstairs), walk without holding on.

Senior man climbing stairs

So give it a try, before you know it you stairs will be a part of your daily life that you will enjoy.  Feel free to write me back and tell me your experiences. Now I’m off to run up and down my stairs!

Kids:  They will do what you do.  Teach your children to take the stairs whenever possible.  We must not forget the terrifying rise of childhood obesity in America and this is just one more way to make fitness an automatic aspect of their lives.


How Good Is Your Word?

From an early age my mother instilled in me a solid work ethic, that being late was a sign of disrespect, and the importance of your word and honoring a commitment. I have never lost these ideals and am now teaching them to my daughter. I am sadly aware, however, that many parents from the generations in between my youth and now seemed to have slacked off on these traits.

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When I became a personal trainer at the ripe age of 42 (20 years older than the average first time trainer) the Fitness Manager at the gym lamented daily about how he wished he had 10 more like me. While the other beginners stood around talking on their phones when they had no clients, I walked the floor, re-racking weights, helping people with their workouts, passing around free samples of our protein bars, etc. I was always on time, never kept a client waiting, and had their workout planned out in advance. Surprisingly I was the anomaly.

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When I was 21 I committed to photographing a co-workers wedding, happy to have a paying gig. Then it turned out that her wedding was taking place over an hour away from where I lived, that I would know no one else, and couldn’t bring a date. I really didn’t want to do it. I thought about what excuse I could make. But my mother’s teachings would not let me off the hook. I had made the commitment – given my word. I sucked it up, drove the 80+ miles by myself, focused politely on my task as photographer, and left four hours later knowing I had done the right thing.

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I find these days that many people do not share these apparently antiquated social ethics. They just weren’t raised with them. Kids call their relatives by their first names, not Aunt or Uncle, etc. I’ve had four play dates for my daughter here at the house this summer, not one of the parents ever reciprocated. I contact my clients the night before their training sessions with a courtesy reminder, yet many clients continue to give last minute cancellations or simply not show up. Friends email me with suggestions of getting together, I reply with multiple dates, and then weeks go by and the dates are missed.

My ultimate pet peeve is tardiness. It simply isn’t in my DNA to be late – and chronic tardiness by friends and clients irritates the heck out of me. There’s no reason for it, especially with all of technology on our side – alarms on smart phones, reminders set with Siri, etc. But alas, I know that time management is not a priority to everyone.

Once again I find myself on a soapbox today, spurned on, no doubt, by having watched Ken Burn’s amazing 14 hour documentary on The Roosevelts. If you want to teach your children about good social ethics, FDR and Eleanor were great examples. Not perfect people, but certainly raised with an ingrained sense of honor, commitment, and respect.

Roosevelts Leaving Easter Service

People used to say “my word is my bond.” It’s a simple statement that says so much about the reliability of a person. I ask you – how good is your word?