Archive for April, 2013

Crush Your Excuses!

Posted: April 16, 2013 in Fitness
Tags: , ,

I’m too tired, I don’t have any time, it’s too expensive.  We hear the same excuses over and over again. There are so many reasons why we THINK we can’t, but I’m here to tell you that you CAN! It’s time to let go of all these excuses and to take control over your health and fitness. I’m going to lay out some reasons people give for not exercising or eating healthy and offer some solutions.


  • “I don’t have any time”  Yes, we are all busy but there is no way that you can’t find 20 or 30 minutes in your day.  Avoid the drive to the gym and workout at home if you have to.  Schedule yourself an “appointment” during the day and keep it like you would an important meeting.  If you really can’t do it during the day, get up a little earlier or do it after work.  If you want it bad enough, you WILL find the time.
  • “By the time I get everything else done, I just don’t have any energy left”  Well, I hate to tell you, but exercise will give you MORE energy.  If you get into a routine of working out, you will actually feel more sluggish if you miss your workout!  I know it sounds counterintuitive, but trust me, I know this from personal experience.  If you have a little trouble getting started, try a cup of coffee or a supplement that will give you a little boost.  Some of my favorite products are from Top Secret Nutrition.  Try their Cardio Igniter, BCAA Hyperblend Energy, or Energizing Whey.  The names say it all!  If I’m having a tough day, I’ll take one of these products and I’m good to go!
  • “It’s too expensive”  Yes, gym memberships, fancy home equipment, and some healthy foods can be expensive, but so can poor health.  Would you rather spend $$$ on your health or on medical bills?  You decide.  If you really can’t afford some of these things, a jump rope is under $10 and your stairs/bodyweight/sidewalk are FREE!  You don’t need anything to get into shape.  Take a walk outside, climb up and down your stairs, do bodyweight squats, push-ups, burpees, etc.  The options are endless.
  • “I hate to exercise.  I’ve never liked it and I never will”  Well, you obviously have been doing the wrong exercise for you!  The key to sticking with a healthy habit is finding something that you like.  You don’t have to trudge away for hours on a treadmill if you are going to cringe every time you think about it.  There are so many options to choose from.  A simple walk, dancing, a home workout DVD, playing in the backyard with your kids, a bike ride, a kickboxing or yoga class, or even a fitness game on a gaming console like the Wii or xbox.  Just find any physical activity that you enjoy and you are much more likely to be successful in the long run.
  • “I’m injured or I have too much pain”  While some issues may be legitimate, most can actually be improved by exercise or you can find a way to work around your injury.  It is always a good idea to get your doctor’s ok before starting an exercise program but once you do, there are plenty of ways of finding a safe activity.  As a physical therapist, I USE exercise to help with pain and injuries.  For example, if you can’t walk, swim (or find a pool to “walk” in – it will significantly reduce your bodyweight and pressure on joints).
  • “It’s too hard”  Well, you’re right on this one!  Anything worth having is worth working towards.


Gym Etiquette?

Posted: April 10, 2013 in Fitness
Tags: ,

Our time is so precious!  Between work, family, household chores, and errands, we only have so much time in our day to fit fitness in the mix!  We need to get in the gym, get our workout done, and get out!  We don’t need little time-wasters interspersed between our sets.

It’s important to remember that you’re not the only one in the gym and you need to respect others’ time as well. Here is where some basic gym etiquette comes in. I’m not going to repeat what we’ve all heard over and over again: wipe down your equipment, re-rack your weights, don’t sit on the equipment if you’re going to yap on the phone or text your friends, yadda, yadda, yadda.  Yes, these are things that we should all be doing, but unfortunately they do need repeating from time to time.

For me, the biggest issue I encounter is the “social” aspect of the gym.  I have quite a few friends and acquaintances at the gym and maybe that’s because it IS my second home!  I’m going to add in a few of my own thoughts on gym “etiquette” that should be no-brainers, but I encounter them almost daily (insert rant)…

  • Please don’t stand in my personal space, staring at me and waiting to talk to me while I’m in the middle of a set (it’s very distracting) and for goodness sake, don’t tap me on the shoulder when I have a heavy barbell in my hands
  • Please don’t ask me how to use the treadmill while I’m in the middle of a 9.5 mph sprint.  I can barely breathe so I don’t think I’ll be able to enlighten you on the power button
  • No, I’m not available to move your furniture…it wasn’t funny the first, second, or third time you asked me
  • Don’t even start the conversation with “I don’t want to interrupt your workout, but”  because, well, you already did
  • Please stop asking me what I eat.  It’s a big secret…food.  Not just any old food but a wide variety of healthy unprocessed food on a consistent basis.
  • If you really want me to “train” you, you better pull up your yoga pants, tie your hair back (yes, I know you just got it done and it DOES look beautiful, for now…), and be prepared to sweat…cuz you’re not gonna look pretty when I’m done with you!  Anything less and you’re wasting your time, and mine
  • And finally, if we’re exchanging “pleasantries”, a simple “Hi, how are you?  Fine, thanks!” will do.  No offense, while I’m in the gym, I don’t really want to hear the 10 minute saga… I’m here to work!

Now don’t get me wrong, I love all my gym buddies and I will be happy to talk to you when I’m finished!  But, please keep in mind the REAL reason you’re at the gym…some people just want to socialize, some want to meet a mate, and some want to TRAIN…if someone is working hard, sweating harder, and has their headphones on…chances are, they are not going to want to talk!


April is finally here and we are really getting into the swing of Spring!  The first signs of warm weather are an undeniable reminder that Summer is right around the corner.  New Year’s resolutions that may have dropped off are renewed and the “let’s get in shape for summer” mantras begin again.

I try to be pretty consistent with my diet and training throughout the year but I am also human!  I definitely allow some wiggle-room for get-togethers, holidays, and other unexpected events.  A big dinner out for mom’s birthday, all those Valentine’s chocolates and candies lying around, another dinner for my brother’s birthday, and of course the latest visit from the Easter bunny have all been temptations to fall off the wagon.  Of course I allowed myself to enjoy these opportunities with my family, but I didn’t let them get in the way of my goals.  I have now gotten a little taste of sunshine, a few of the layers of clothing are slowly coming off, and it’s full speed ahead for reaching my summer goals.

I would like to share a few things that help keep me on track with my fitness goals.  I call them my 4 P’s for SuccessPlan, Prepare, be Patient, and don’t strive for Perfection.

  • PLAN:  Here is a great place to start.  Whenever I’m asked for advice on how I stay on track, I always say you have to Plan!  Plan your meals, plan your workouts, and plan for a change of plans!   Schedule yourself a workout “appointment” and stick to it.  Realize that occasionally life gets in the way – a child gets sick, you’re stuck late at work, or whatever the potential “excuse” is for the day.  I say create a back-up plan!  There are times I’ll do my workout at 5 in the morning or 9 at night and it might not be the one I had originally scheduled, but I get it done!
  • PREPARE:  Keep your gym bag packed and ready to go at all times (either by the door or in your car) and pre-cook several meals and have them portioned out in your refrigerator.  This way you’ll have easy grab-and-go meals or something quick/healthy to eat when hunger strikes.  Keep a few healthy snacks with you when you are out so you never have to miss a meal or resort to unhealthy choices.  Sort out your supplements for the week and keep them in one of those pill boxes.  I have 2 containers; one for the morning and another for the afternoon.  All I have to do is grab the right day/time, open it up, and all of my favorite Top Secret Nutrition supplements are ready to go!  Keep a journal of your workouts:  write down all your workouts for the upcoming week so that you know exactly what you’re going to do when you hit the gym and there’s no wasted time or guesswork.
  • Be PATIENT:  Here is the tough one!  It’s easy to be gung-ho about a new plan.  The motivation is there and you’re ready to make a change.  But as the weeks go by, you may be feeling a little discouraged because you haven’t seen many changes.  Be patient, stick with your plan.  A great physique is not built in a day, a week, or even a month.  Too many people give up too soon and constantly have to “start over”.  Put a stop to that vicious cycle and just be patient!

images patience

  • Don’t strive for PERFECTION:  There is no such thing!  There is no perfect diet, perfect training, or perfect physique.  We all have strengths and weakness and we all certainly have good and bad days.  Make the best of what you have when you have it!  It doesn’t matter if your workout got cut short or you just couldn’t resist that cupcake; put that behind you, let go of the guilt, and continue on with your PLAN!  Don’t let one or two little “slip-ups” ruin all of your hard work.  Remember, this is a lifestyle not a diet or temporary fix.

There are always bumps in the road; just keep sticking to your plan, stay prepared, be patient with yourself, accept that you are not perfect and you will be sure to see PROGRESS!