Sometimes, It’s not WHAT, but WHO you know that matters

I just signed up to complete a 5k race with a friend of mine, http://www.thecolorcourse.com.  It was her birthday wish so how could I refuse, right? It’s a fantastic way to spend time with a dear friend, have some fun and contribute to a great cause all while being active! But, it is so much more…

Signing up for this race, got me thinking about how fortunate I am to have friends that lead an active, fit lifestyle. In addition to teaching Yoga and Cycling, I am part of a group of women who, most weeks, meet to run together. We joke and call ourselves a social group that has a running problem, but what a great way to combine fitness with friendship.

Some of my friends are professionals engaged in the business of fitness and wellness, like me, but others are people who are whole-heartedly committed to living a healthy life. Many of my best, most supportive friendships, have evolved through some type of fitness activity or class. It is a bond forged in sweat!

Through this network of fitness friends, I have attempted new and challenging activities (Surf Yoga, Ocean Kayaking, triathlons). All things I probably would have never attempted on my own. I have also received support while injured and encouragement when I was not motivated.

One of the most powerful benefits to maintaining my fitness friendships has been accountability. My friends will not let me fall into a sustained, sedentary lifestyle or unhealthy eating habits. They are reliable resources for nutritional news, the latest fitness trends and apparel loves and loathes. When we are out for drinks or dinner my friends set good examples by ordering a healthy meal, asking for something to be prepared in a more healthy way or sharing a totally decadent dessert, limiting my (temporary) calorie backslide.

So, the moral of this post is, surround yourself with active friends! You will gain more than you can imagine and not a single pound.  The old adage is true, sometimes it’s not what, but who you know that matters most.

Everyone in the water!

With Labor Day weekend coming up and the last of the summer cookouts, are you thinking about heading to the pool or the lake?  Here is a quick swim workout to kick off the fun BEFORE you have that burger.  It will help you shred some calories and get your heart pounding! (Hint: this workout also works with timed intervals of 30 seconds to 1 minute instead of meters.)

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Warm Up: 5 to 10 minutes

2X50m freestyle

2X50m backstroke

2X50m breaststroke

2X50m freestyle

Drills:

4x50m kick (kickboard OR on back hands together above head)

4X50m freestyle with fingertip touch

4X50m kick (kickboard OR on back hands together above head)

4X50m Pull (use Pull Buoy)

Sprints:

(15 seconds rest between each sprint)

4X50m freestyle

4X50m backstroke

4X50m breaststroke

Cool Down:

2X50m freestyle

2X50m backstroke

 Now go enjoy that burger, hot off the grill!

Do my thighs look big on this bike?

As a Personal Trainer and Indoor Cycling instructor, I get this question a lot.  Clients often ask if cycling will make their thighs bigger.  The short answer is no, but I found a great article on the Women’s Health website recently that does explain why cycling might make your thighs FEEL bulky…read on!

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/does-cycling-make-your-thighs-bigger

Thirsty? Thinking of trying some coconut water?

I like to try new things, but I am always skeptical of new products with flashy claims of superiority.  I have been tempted to try coconut water recently, but have been hesitant because I didn’t know much about it.  Take a look at this blog post from Ellie Krieger, host of the Food Networks, “Healthy Appetite” and a well-known, registered dietician.  She sheds some light on the coconut water claims of super-hydration…

http://www.elliekrieger.com/is-coconut-water-all-its-cracked-up-to-be#.U-KD-Va5fwK

Activity Trackers, which one is for you?

If you have been considering purchasing an activity tracker, but have no idea which one is right for you, check out this article from PC magazine.  It lists the features of each tracker, cost and where to purchase it for the lowest price.  It also indicates which ones have heart rate monitors, sleep trackers and which systems each device is compatible with.

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2404445,00.asp

 

 

Client Retention Tips for Fitness Professionals

As a Fitness Professional, I have often been challenged to come up with fresh ideas to maintain my client-base and keep them motivated.  Training the same person or teaching the same class for several years requires a consistent effort on the trainer or instructor’s part to maintain the client income base.   These retention tips from ACE Fitness are very helpful in achieving that goal and sustaining your business.

http://www.acefitness.org/blog/4908/customer-retention-tips-for-personal-trainers-and/

Tabata Timer

Like many of you, I too run short on time for my workouts.  Tabata drills are often my “go to” for a quick, efficient workout that revs my metabolism and gets me energized for the day.  (Tabata = 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest X 8 sets.)

If I am the trainer, I keep time for my clients or my class participants, but it’s hard for me to keep the time for myself.  Luckily, I found a free app to help keep me on pace and motivated.  It’s available at  http://www.tabatatimer.com and you can download it your smart phone, mobile device or computer, FOR FREE!  There is a pro version, but so far, I have found the free version to be just what I needed.

There are numerous personal setting options like a warm up interval that counts your warm up time and includes it as part of your workout, various sound options that count, beep or vibrate your tabata timing queues and even a voice assistance that talks you through your workout.   After each set, the app tells you how awesome you are and gives you the option to tweet or update your Facebook page with your latest workout stats.

So, if gadgets and gizmos get you psyched for your next workout, give the Tabata Timer a try and get your sweat on!

City Cycling Safety

Living in the city, I often enjoy riding my bike to the market, the gym or to run errands.  If you are eager to enjoy your city by bike, here are some excellent tips and information from Greatest.com about safety on the road.  Allez Allez!!RVAcycling

http://greatist.com/fitness/bicycle-safety-101?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Greatist%20Daily&utm_campaign=Greatist%20Daily%202014&utm_content=Final

The Trouble with the Twist

As a Yoga instructor who teaches mostly in corporate fitness centers, I knew that spinal twisting was not good for the low back, but assumed that it was mostly due to prolonged sitting.  During a recent visit to my physical therapist, I learned that the lumbar spine (low back) is not designed to twist.

Seeking a deeper understanding, I came across an excellent article about why Yoga instructors need to be thoughtful in safely teaching clients about poses that twist or compress the spine.  I encourage you to take a few moments and read it.

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2013/06/yoga-twists-turns-how-to-stay-safe-michaelle-edwards/

Travel Workout

Even when you have to hit the road, there are no excuses to miss a workout.

luggage2

Try this no equipment workout the next time you travel.

Burpies X 30 seconds
Lateral Walking Planks X 8-12  (2 steps each side)
Side Plank (on elbow) with Inner/Outer leg lifts X 8-12 (each leg/each exercise)
Mountain Climbers X 30 seconds
Side Plank with Hip Raises X 12 (each side)
Pushups X 10
Plank Jacks X 10 (“jack” feet apart)
Incline Plane (reverse pushup) X 4 hold each 20 seconds
Bicycle Crunches X 15 each side

Repeat X 3

Get Sweaty!!