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Keeping a Strength Training Routine

Since the wedding I put on just a few of the pounds I lost, probably a combination of the cruise and not strength training as much. For some reason I just can’t get into a groove with that when I am not working with a trainer. I have all these great routines that my trainers and magazines have given me yet, I still can’t maintain it.

I tried writing down the routine on a piece of paper and taking it with me. It worked for a hot second, but then I got bored just listening to my music and standing there.

I’ve thought about attending Body Pump or something of that nature, but really have a hard time in strength training classes. I guess I don’t feel it is tailored enough for me. Maybe it is the stigma that keeps me from continuing. Very rarely do I see women strength training on their own, so I always feel like the guys are watching my every move in that mirror–thinking “why is she over here, taking up my bench.”

I hit up CXWorx on the regular, but that is mostly core with some arms and legs. I need to get with a new program that keeps me on track and motivates me to actually keep up with it.

How do you keep up your strength training routine? Would love some tips so my arms won’t be so jiggly anymore.

Making a New Behavior Stick

Discipline, willpower and self-control are unsustainable. Eventually, we weaken. It’s great to learn new habits, but if we want to sustain them, we need to change our environment and maintain that change.

At work supervisors often provide you feedback, tell you what you could do better and offer advice on making the process go smoother.

For instance, maybe you don’t communicate clearly or frequently enough. You try really hard to communicate more and update as much as possible, your supervisor stops following up and boom good terms again.

Then you slip, you fall back into old patterns. We need to restructure our environments so that we are more likely to move forward.

  1. Identify up to five things—no more—that you want to focus on for the year
  2. Take a look at your goals  and see how they fit into what you need to accomplish each day
  3. Sit down with someone else and show them your goals, have someone help you meet them

Turkey Day Workout

Tomorrow I am attempting my first Thanksgiving. The whole shebang—turkey, sweet potato soufflé, corn casserole and couple of other shall we say courses. Needless to say I am prepared to work all that off (or as much as possible) in the days before and after.

Only issue is that my entire family is going to be here, family I haven’t seen since September. How on earth can I get in exercise AND hang with the family? Thankfully I have two awesome things on the menu…

Gold’s Gym is allowing families to work out together FREE November 24-27. Told my mom, she is pumped and I am having a hard time choosing which class to go to.

Being that we live in the DC-metro area and have people coming to visit, this means touring, which means WALKING.

So that’s my Turkey Day game plan. What’s on your plate….

Ok those puns were lame.


Defying the Odds, Tim Tebow Style

So we all know I am a HUGE Tim Tebow fan. There is just no love lost once you meet him, shake his hand, and watch him take your university to two National Championships. A lot of what makes Tim such an impressive player is his determination. He knows he has weaknesses, but he works so hard to make up for those that people want to help him succeed.

Here’s the thing his determination is a start, but he is only part of the equation. The fact that his head coach and coaching staff have made adjustment in the game plane to take advantage of his strengths makes the success possible.

A recent blog post by Scott Eblin at The Next Level, discussed how this thinking can be applied to the workplace and I wanted to share.

Ignore Conventional Wisdom—the NFL says no one runs the spread option offense; but Denver is adjusting its offense to include it. Eblin recommends looking for the “we’ve always done it this ways” and then asking yourself what are we missing out on because of that conventional thinking?

Understand Your Tebow’s Strengths and Keep Adjusting—Tebow is not a classic NFL passer, great runner and a fast decision maker and an amazing leader. His coaches are making adjustments to play to his strengths and compensate for his weaknesses. Eblin says you have to commit to paying attention to coach your Tebow through the adjustments.

Be Clear About What You’re Really Trying to Accomplish—Tim doesn’t win pretty, in fact it’s not until “Tebow Time” (the last few minutes of the game) that he even wins the game. Something that really struck home for me was this:

“It’s a lot of work and can be heartburn inducing to make the changes you need to make to accommodate a Tebow. Fox and Elway appear to have crossed that bridge. They’re in it to win the game too. When you’re thinking through how to get the most from your Tebows, don’t forget about what you’re really trying to accomplish. Connect their development with the bigger goal.”

Five weeks after getting his opportunity the Broncos are 5 and 5, 4 and 1 with Tebow at the helm.  One case study, but a heck of a way to demonstrate that you can get a whole lot if you are willing to adjust.

Exercise for the Traveler: Give me some recommendations, please

HELP! My traveling to NYC twice a month for three days at a time has thrown a wrench in my active lifestyle. I don’t usually stay at a hotel that has a gym, so lately I just haven’t been exercising for those three days. In truth it is absolutely killing me.

Yes, it is NYC and I could very easily go for a run. Unfortunately timing doesn’t always allow for that. Also, it is getting cold, so yeah no outside if I can help it. So I am looking for recommendations from you.

I’ve been thinking about buying resistant bands to travel with, since they don’t take up much room and don’t weigh anything. Are there exercises you recommend? Brands?

Are there DVDs that don’t require weights that you’ve used before? I am pretty much open to anything, leave links and recommendations in the comments! Thanks!


Biggest Loser Criticized

At this month’s American Public Health Association meeting, Natalie Ingraham, MPH, of the University of California San Francisco told attendees that the Biggest Loser sends patients an unhealthy and unrealistic message about weight loss.

I am a huge fan of BL, I watch religiously every week. For me it really is about the opportunity the contestants have to change their life and health for the better. I study the workouts the trainers have them doing, making note of things I want to try. I get excited when I watch the pounds come off and angry when they don’t. Sometimes I find myself screaming at the TV, “ALL YOU DO ALL DAY IS WORKOUT. HOW DO YOU GAIN WEIGHT?”

So Ingraham’s assertion makes sense, in the real world it would unrealistic for me to tell someone trying to lose weight that less than 5 lbs a week is a failure. This is a reality TV competition though, one in which the “biggest loser” wins money.

Another early result was that the show rarely focuses on healthy eating habits…this is true, but honestly those portions are littered with product promotion. And this IS television, who wants to watch people sit around eating?

A lot of BL is done for shock level. That is why you see their “real age” and why they create this challenges. It is for our entertainment as much as it is for these contestants weight loss journey.

I have to admit though, just this week I commented that this season’s contestants are expected to run a marathon at the end of the competition…have we seen them training at all? No, we haven’t. (I think I am just sensitive since I know how hard it is to train for a marathon.)

Igraham will be analyzing more seasons and episodes,  taking a look at a statistical analysis of weight loss results and a content analysis of remarks made by trainers and contestants during the show. Totally bias here, but the trainers do the best they can to motivate contestants by pushing, challenging and tapping into their emotional sides. So my guess, there are going to be some words used there that she doesn’t approve of.  (Ingraham is an advocate for Healthy At Every Size and was part of a panel that spoke out against the words “overweight” and “obesity.”)

I think BL motivates people to pay attention to their lifestyle and make changes for the better. Obviously, you can’t expect to see the results contestants have unless of course you do not have a full time job, workout all day with a trainer and have someone guiding you in how to cook your food.

2012 Exercise Trends

Each year the American College of Sports Medicine conducts a survey to identify the top trends in exercise for the coming year. Below are the top 10.  I still haven’t tried Zumba yet..maybe this year. What about you?

1. Educated and experienced fitness professionals. Given the large number of organizations offering health and fitness certifications, it’s important that consumers choose professionals certified through programs that are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), such as those offered by ACSM.

2. Strength training. Strength training remains a central emphasis for many health clubs. Incorporating strength training is an essential part of a complete physical activity program for all physical activity levels and genders.

3. Fitness programs for older adults.
 As the baby boom generation ages into retirement, some of these people have more discretionary money than their younger counterparts. Therefore, many health and fitness professionals are taking the time to create age-appropriate fitness programs to keep older adults healthy and active.

4. Exercise and weight loss. In addition to nutrition, exercise is a key component of a proper weight loss program. Health and fitness professionals who provide weight loss programs are increasingly incorporating regular exercise and caloric restriction for better weight control in their clients.

5. Children and obesity. With childhood obesity growing at an alarming rate, health and fitness professionals see the epidemic as an opportunity to create programs tailored to overweight and obese children. Solving the problem of childhood obesity will have an impact on the health care industry today and for years to come.

6. Personal training. More and more students are majoring in kinesiology, which indicates that students are preparing themselves for careers in allied health fields such as personal training. Education, training and proper credentialing for personal trainers have become increasingly important to the health and fitness facilities that employ them.

7. Core training. Distinct from strength training, core training specifically emphasizes conditioning of the middle-body muscles, including the pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen – all of which provide needed support for the spine.

8. Group personal training.
 In challenging economic times, many personal trainers are offering group training options. Training two or three people at once makes economic sense for both the trainer and the clients.

9. Zumba and other dance workouts. A workout that requires energy and enthusiasm, Zumba combines Latin rhythms with interval-type exercise and resistance training.

10. Functional fitness. This is a trend toward using strength training to improve balance and ease of daily living. Functional fitness and special fitness programs for older adults are closely related.

Should I Stay Or Should I Go Now

I’m one of those people that works late. I typically start my day (even when I was working IN the office) no later than 8:20 a.m. and often don’t get finish up until after 7:30 p.m. First off, let me say I am NOT complaining, it is the nature of my job, which I love.  Also,  while it is the norm for me, I can take a break and go to the gym if I want to.

The interesting fact is I am not the only one. A recent study suggests that nearly two-thirds of U.S. companies report that their employees have worked more hours in the past three years. Your new new normal becomes these extended hours.

I have to admit though, since I moved in with the hubby, working late has become a little harder than it used to be.

So what can you do to avoid the stay-late work pattern or at least avoid its negative consequences?

  1. Reflect on your goals–both professional and personal. Figure out what is important to you. I want to have a family, but I also don’t want to start that until I am well established in my profession. So if that means putting in the extra hours now, so be it.
  2. Talk about it at home. When J and I first started living together he was still in school. It was a little different, now that we are both working, both striving to further our careers it makes a difference.
  3. Open up a dialogue at work. I am lucky enough to work for a company that appreciates work-life balance. They believe in divvying up the work to make sure not one person is stuck there every night


My New Obsession: CXWorx

I am full on obsessed with CXWorx, Les Mills’ core training program.

A quick 30 minute class that hones in on the torso and sling muscles that connect your upper body to your lower body. It’s ideal for tightening your tummy and butt, while also improving functional strength and assisting in injury prevention.

I started going because Q over at LAQuillen.com encouraged me to go to one of her classes. The class is broken into a few tracks, I would like to tell you how many, but have no idea because I am too plum tired to figure it out during class. (Q tell ’em in the comments)

My absolute FAVORITE move is when we hold a plank and then move our hand out at a diagonal and while doing the same with the opposite foot. It is intense!

I also really like the standing tube resistant exercises that work your hips–I like anything that works my hips.

The music is fabulous and honestly the best part, is that it is the same class no matter what day and time. So I try to make it twice a week and it doesn’t have to be the same two classes each week, which is really helpful with my schedule.

If you have a gym near you that does the Les Mills exercise, I would HIGHLY encourage you to check this one out.