I love this article**!!! Precision Nutrition has hit the nail on the head again, especially with the awesome graphic I copied below. This is why I coach like I do and why I chose to be certified by PN – no calorie counting, advanced metrics, too much planning, etc. It’s all habit based. Build healthy habits that you can apply in any situation and enjoy your life 🙂
**One caveat though, a personal concern of mine – I don’t agree with their suggestion to “get a dog that needs walking”. Do not, I repeat DO NOT get a dog with the sole purpose of helping you lose weight. Dogs are living beings and are not a responsibility to be taken lightly. My dog is the love of my life and means the world to me but even so it’s not always easy and getting a dog for the wrong reason means a trip to the pound for the poor pup.
Today I got an unexpected dose of motivation just before teaching my 5:30 AM cycle class. I was talking to one of my students and she mentioned me being 24. For the record, I’ll be 36 later this week. I’m often mistaken for 25 and recently was denied a drink at a local restaurant because I forgot my ID and the waiter couldn’t be sure I was of legal age. Not that I want to look 21, but being mistaken for 10 years younger than I am is a great feeling. I credit a healthy diet and regular exercise to this. Many of my gym friends also look 10 years younger than they are. So today our motivation to exercise is to stay young – we have found the fountain of youth my friends 🙂
Happy Friday! I can’t believe it is November already. And in much of the world it’s not the time most of us think about today’s fitness spotlight: Swimming.
As usual, we’ll highlight the pros and cons in an effort for you to move smartly. But the object is to MOVE. Any exercise is better than no exercise and nothing is perfect. Now on to SWIMMING! Keep in mind that all of the advice below is for lap swimming (with or without a group) executed with a proper stroke. If you’re bobbing around in the pool going no where the below may not apply.
- If you have access to a pool, getting started is relatively cheap. All you need is a supportive swimsuit, a pair of goggles that fit (yes, you may try a few pairs before finding the right pair for you) and possibly a swim cap. That’s all!
- Low impact. We have no risk of impact injuries from swimming. It’s often recommended to people who are injured as well as to those whose joints might not be able to take impact activities like running.
- Full body workout. I get it, you’re in excellent shape. I dare you to swim for the first time in years and not feel muscles that you have overlooked! Now for those who aren’t in excellent shape…yes, you will be sore too. It’s a good kind of sore. So take it easy the next swim and ease yourself back into it.
- Cardiovascular – pick up the pace and you’ll feel your heart rate rise. Swimming burns some serious calories! And, increased heart rate = endorphins = a good mood! Swim happy!
- Increased Lung Capacity. Yep, you read that right. Swimming increases lung capacity that will help you breath easier and stronger in life and other sports.
- Relaxing. If you aren’t nervous in the water, the feeling of zooming through the water can be amazingly relaxing.
Of course there are cons, but don’t let these stop you if you love swimming.
- You need access to a pool or open water source. Depending on where you live this can be pricey or inconvenient.
- In the cold winter months it can be very hard to motivate yourself to get to the pool, never mind strip off your warm layers and jump in!
- Technique matters. I mean it really, really matters. If you are unsure, make sure you get a good coach to help you get started. Bad technique can set you up for a lifetime of injuries, especially to your tiny little rotator cuff muscles which can take a beating swimming.
- Hunger. Yes, hunger. Swimming burns mad calories BUT because there is no jarring sensation to your body (like running) and you are in a horizontal position swimming causes some serious post-workout hunger. Stick to your caloric budget and clean foods to combat this.
Now with all that said, is swimming the right workout for you? Only you can say. If you love swimming or are even curious to give it a try then I have 1 piece of advice for you – Get out and swim!!!
Happy Friday. Whatever exercise you choose, just keep moving 🙂
It’s time to start our spotlights on differing forms of exercise. Earlier this week I posted that any exercise is better than none. Above all else I want you to do what you love most, but I also want you to be aware of the pros and cons of your chosen form of movement so that you can make informed decisions to keep yourself safe and healthy. I’d love to hear your thoughts on these segments!
Today’s spotlight is RUNNING!
Running is one of my favorites yet it is under constant scrutiny. There are so many types of running – you can do short sprint workouts, you can run a steady pace for as long as you want. There is no right or wrong. There is no magic distance or speed that makes you a runner. If you lace up your shoes and run, you are a runner. You can run / walk (where you take walk breaks during your run) or you can run straight through. You are a runner. And if you can’t run due to knee issues, back problems, anything, do not be hard on yourself! We do not have to run, we just need to move in some form or fashion. But this article is for those of us who do or who want to run.
- Relatively cheap to start. Get yourself fitted professionally for a good pair of running shoes. The best shoe in the world is no good if it does not fit you properly and you need an expert to make sure you stay safe. Invest money in a good pair of socks. Ladies, a good sports bra is essential. Everything else is extra. You do not need fancy apps or watches or anything else. If it’s hot please carry water but that can be a disposable water bottle.
- No skill necessary. We all know how to run. Put one foot in front of the other in a running-like motion. There you go!
- You can start from nothing. I couldn’t run a block when I started. I have completed runs up to 100 miles. Yes, you can start from nothing. I did the couch to 5K plan. I repeated weeks multiple times and it took me 6 months but I finally got there
- It’s emotionally healing. There is a meditative state that comes with running, many runners need to run for their emotional health and stability.
- You can do it anywhere. I don’t recommend going to bad areas of town to run, but generally speaking anywhere you can walk, you can run. It’s easy to do while traveling, just pack your running shoes and you’re good to go!
- Community. Runners are almost immediately friends. We talk and laugh while running together. A good running club or community can brighten up your life with new friends.
- Repetitive use injuries. Especially while road running there is a lot of pounding on your joints putting runners at risk of overuse injuries. Running on trails will help mix up the muscles used. Cross training is always a good idea. Running 3-4 days a week with rest days and cross training days in between really help with this. Treat your body with respect – add in miles slowly, focus on recovery and listen to your body to try to stay injury free.
- Our bodies are amazingly adaptable. This is a good thing as we can train ourselves to run further and further with less effort. However, it also means as we become more efficient we are not burning many calories running. This is one of the main reasons that running shows up on the hater lists. They compare the finish line of a marathon to the zombie apocalypse. Broken down bodies, overweight and overused. Yes, you can and will get a better calorie burn running sprints, but the feeling of accomplishment of finishing a race is unlike any other! Just know that as you go further it’s for the mental release. It is not necessary to run far to get a workout in.
- Toys. It can get expensive if you keep buying more and more gear. I said above it is cheap to start but it can get expensive quickly if you let it.
Running long has it’s pros and cons. If you want to lose weight, sprints are the way to go but they do put you at higher risk of injury. Sometimes though, endurance running is not about weight loss or caloric burn. It’s about the love of running, the friends we make and the emotional release only running can provide. It’s not for everyone, and if you don’t enjoy it that’s ok. There are plenty of other workout modalities out there to choose from. If you do love…run long and be happy 🙂
Anyone want to learn to do a handstand with me? It’s been on my goal list for a while now, if anyone wants to join me in a challenge let me know!
I love this info graphic! Pushups are one of the best exercises around. I’ve used this progression with several clients to get them to do full pushups. Be careful with the table/chair ones. I used counter tops or something that will not move. You can always push your table or chair against the wall, just be sure it will not move when supporting your body weight.
Do you have a stability ball? It’s a great tool to help work your full body. The below has a full body workout using them. One caveat – DO NOT arch your back over the ball like the first picture of the last exercise. Keep the back flat through the movement to avoid injury. I found a better picture (proper form is a must!) that I posted at the end of this.
**avoid arching over the ball! The below has better pictures of the last exercise: