Apr
08
2011
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They say over 70% of people experience some form of back pain than that stops them from doing what they enjoy.  I'd be willing to bet at least that same amount of people experience some form of shoulder pain that does the same thing -- stop you from enjoying the life you deserve. 

Last week I shared with you that shoulder pain doesn't just come from doing lots of pressing movements in the gym, it can also come from just living life. The main thing to understand is that keeping your shoulders healthy requires specific exercises that you won't see the average gym person doing.

Why?

Because 9 times out of 10 most people train their body to create a certain look. Not taking into consideration how it functions. So most often you'll witness people training the muscles they can see, rather than the muscles that matter.  It doesn't matter what you look like if you can't do the things you truly enjoy doing.
                 
I don't care if it's tennis, golf, boxing, softball, beach volleyball, rollerblading or gardening; as long as it's something you truly enjoy doing. Something that, when you do it, makes your hard week of work all seem worth it.  And the only way to be able to continue to do "that" activity or get you back to enjoying "that" activity, is to take good care of your body by training the muscles that matter as well as the ones you can see.

So here is the your next installment for getting you out of shoulder pain or making sure you don't ever have to experience it. 


No matter how you slice it, you can't transform your body if you don't transform your eating first. (Yes, pun intended)

There are no two ways about it.

All the excuses in the world won't create the results you want if you don't at least start making a daily effort to change what you eat. Now that doesn't mean you have to change overnight.  You can do it in a gradual process.  I generally suggest to my clients to pick one meal they will commit to eating in the right proportions, at the right time, consistently (daily).  That way they don't have to feel overwhelmed with making a complete change overnight.  After 2 weeks of getting that one meal in each day, I ask them to then pick a second meal, and so on, until the entire day is covered -- one meal at a time.

They are all sorts of tips and tricks you can use to get yourself motivated and to make the process easier.  Need a few suggestions?

Here are 5 Simple Solutions that will definitely help.

But let's be honest.  Sometimes losing weight has to do with a little deeper issue.  Sometimes we place the responsibility outside of ourselves as the reason why we haven't gotten rid of those extra pounds.  Sound like you or someone you know?

Check out this link to put things back in perspective -- The Blame Game

If the above two don't really seem to apply to you, perhaps your challenge is to have a better plan in place to make the process of getting that one meal or more on track -- with as little thinking as possible. 

No problem.  I've got that covered as well.  Here's a 12 Meal Plan to help you get on track by providing you with 12 days of meal options.  Now maybe all the meals don't quite fit your palate.  Don't let that stop you.  Find the ones that do and use the one's I've provided to help fill in the blanks.

Well, it looks like you're running out of excuses to not be ready for the warmer weather ahead.

Don't Let Life Get in the Way of Your Progress!
Well, let's get right to it shall we.

This month I want to focus on helping you get out of shoulder pain.  Far too many people suffer from it and there is honestly no reason to continue to live with it. 

I can't tell you how many times I see someone getting up from doing a bench press and rubbing their shoulder.  Instant hint that there is something going on that's about to get much worse in the shoulder.  But shoulder exercises and rotator cuff exercises are not just for those that do bench pressing movements.  Heck No!




Spend your day hunched over a computer?

Carry your child around the mall or at the park?

Tend to carry your purse or laptop on one shoulder consistently?

Sleep on your shoulders?

If you answered YES to any of the questions above, then this month is especially for you. 

Our shoulders take a beating day in and day out.  In our society we live our life in a forward posture all too often.  This constant forward posture can lead to all sorts of problems, from the obvious shoulder pain or discomfort, to neck pain, and yes, believe it or not, even lower back pain.

Everything is connected!

If you spend your day in poor posture, no matter what the reason, it's only a matter of time before your body starts giving you signals that something is wrong.  Now like most people you'll probably solve the problem by first avoiding the movements or activities that give you pain or discomfort.  But that is only a short term fix.  That's kind of like turning up the volume on the car radio when you hear a rattling noise in your car.  And as we all know, turning up the radio won't fix the rattle.  Likewise avoiding certain movements or activities won't make the problem in your shoulders go away either.

It's an alignment issue most likely. All of that hunching over the computer, sleeping on your shoulders, etc. all lead to creating a misalignment in your shoulders.  And like your car tires, a misalignment is only going to wear your shoulder joint out sooner.  But of course not before it gives you a great deal of pain in the process.

So every Friday this month I will share with you an exercise you can do to help re-align your shoulders.  But of course being me, I want to get as much out of the movement as I can, so I'm going to ask you to perform these movements using a Swiss Ball.  Using the Swiss Ball will force you to activate your core (think tensing your abdominal muscles).  In this way you'll get a bit of core training while getting your shoulder back in alignment.

Always remember, when performing these movements be sure to keep your shoulders and ears as far apart as possible.  The goal is to put your shoulders back in alignment, under your ears.  I also want to encourage you to keep as much space as you can between your shoulders and ears.  So during the movements be sure to reach for your ankles as you proceed backwards in each of the movements.


Mar
28
2011
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I don't know exactly where I heard it, but there is a quote that goes something like this:

" A truly wise person doesn't have all the answers.  But the truly wise person does know where to look for the answers."

I will readily admit I don't know everything.  But the funny thing about me is that I am willing to look long enough to find the information I need.

Over the past few weeks I provided you with meal options, diagrams on why it's important to eat on a regular basis, information regarding portion control, and a host of other items, sure to give you the info you need to create the changes you want to see in your body.

Well this Monday is no different.  I want to share with you an amazing article on the lessons other people have experienced when trying to lose weight and get lean. 

Why?

Because all too often I think when we get frustrated in trying to achieve a goal, we think we are all alone in our experience.  Sometimes it helps to know that someone else has gone through the same thing -- and how they overcame that stumbling block.

Below is a link to a great article on how to get lean and the stumbling blocks that can sometimes occur.  As well as some good old to the point suggestions on how to get over those stumbling blocks.

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/9-leanness-lessons

I believe John Wooden said, "Don't let what you can't do, stop you from doing what you can do".

Get On Track and Stay On Track!
Well this is the last exercise for the series on different movements you can do on the suspension straps (Jungle Gym XT). Of course there are literally hundreds of movements you can do on the straps, but as the month comes to a close I want to move on to share some new movements using the Swiss Ball.

Yes, I do realize that I say it all the time. 

Core fitness is 70-80% of being truly fit

The truth is, you can't perform to near your capability or avoid injury as well if your core is not fit and functional.  And I'm not just talking about being lean and having a 6-pack to show off.  Heck, that's just a matter of having a great metabolism and/or sticking to a good nutrition program.  No, having a 6-pack to show off has nothing to do with how well your core functions.

The funny thing is no matter what your sport, a strong and stable core is the basis of all movement.  Ask someone with back or hip pain how important is a strong and stable core.  And for those of you stuck at a desk all day long it's even more important. 

Why?

Because you're stuck at a desk all day long in a seated position. Your core is literally shut off for most of the day.  Muscles function better the more you use them.  Kind of like your brain.  The more you exercise virtually any muscle, the better it will function and ideally the longer it will last.

Thus the importance of exercising a minimum of 4-5 times per week.  Your body, your hormones, your mind and your spirit need that challenge to continue to function at their best.  Like your brain, if you don't exercise it regularly it goes bad a lot sooner than you realize.  Trust me on that one.

But I digress.

Today, I wanted to share with you one more version of the core exercise commonly known as plank.  In this version you are forced to have a strong and stable core as it relates to each side of your body independently, not just when both legs are there to support you.  It's a great next step after you've mastered last weeks example.

Remember, check back in with me each Friday next month where I will be sharing some core exercises using the Swiss Ball.

I don't know about you, but I need variety in my training to keep me motivated and excited about my workouts.  I change my entire routine every 4 weeks, minimum.  I change:

  • the grouping (push/pull integration) of my exercises each month,

  • deciding whether I'll be emphasizing the use of dumbbells or barbell,

  • whether I will be emphasizing unilateral style training (training one side of the body at a time- think squat versus 1 leg squats),

  • what type of circuit style I'll be using,

  • and of course how I want to group the body parts, as well as an assortment of other variables. 

Why?

Because it's not only an issue of the necessary mental excitement, but keeping the body adapting to new stimuli, and thus continuing to improve in conditioning (think lower body fat) and function.  More recently I've been trying to experiment with different training methods (think battle ropes and kettlebells).

Are you familiar with Suspension Training Straps?  My personal favorite is the Jungle Gym XT. 

It is a piece of exercise equipment that basically mimics the idea of the rings used in gymnastics.  This is a great piece of equipment to add to your training routine to keep things fresh and challenging. The true beauty of this piece, I believe, is that:

  • you can go from one exercise to the next without resting;

  • even better you can make the exercise more or less difficult based on how close or far you stand from the anchor point,

  • and virtually every movement you do significantly engages your core.

Why is that such a big deal?

Because it means you can really push yourself to the end.  When you get fatigued using your standard weights (barbell or dumbbell) you usually have to either go find the another set of dumbbells to finish your set, get assistance from someone you trust, or "cheat" your way through the last few reps hoping you don't injure yourself in the process.  With suspension strap training, it's as simple as taking a few steps forward or backward to the anchor point.  Thus decreasing the chances of injury and increasing the chances of a kick butt training session.

Remember, the whole goal of working out/exercising/training, is that you can better enjoy your life on a day to day basis.  If you're not changing your workout a minimum of every 6-8 weeks, your not getting the best you could out of your training time. Today there are so many different ways to challenge yourself safely and effectively. Thus allowing you to make steady progress (think lean, beautiful, and functional body), and avoid or shorten plateaus.

Here's a little taste of Suspension Straps.  More in the coming weeks.

WOW!  What a first week of the new year.  Talk about having to kick start the body back into reality.  Thank goodness it's Friday.  Time for a little down time and finalizing the plan for the first six months of the year.

Let's get down to business.

I received an email a few days ago asking for help.  This person states she travels a great deal and doesn't always have time to get to the gym.  Whether it's the weather conditions or late night business dinners, she states she has so much trouble staying on track when she's out of town.  She feels as though she has her nutrition down pretty well, but her workouts suffer tremendously.  She asked for my help with a travel workout that she could do to train her major muscles in about 30 minutes.  But she cautioned me, "don't make it too easy, I want to feel like I actually worked out.  My workouts help me relieve my stress, so please challenge me." 

Well here you go.

A simple to the point circuit, using only 2 types of bands, that trains the major muscle groups. Three times through is less than 30 minutes. Let me know what you think.

Get on track and stay on track!

It's the last Monday of the year, and that means it's time for 2 more recipes for you to add to your file.  Remember, there are no magic pills, no magic shoes, and no secrets I have not already shared with you.  It's all about making the plan and sticking to it.

But when it comes to nutrition, who wants to stick to a plan where the food tastes horrid.  Neither do you want to spend what little free time you have in the kitchen slaving over a stove and measuring every little morsel, right?  Thank goodness you've been courageous enough to check in with me each week to build an incredible file of recipes, making sure you are ready to go for the new year.  Now you have plenty of choices for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

Now all you have to do is make a plan.  Stick to it.  And watch your body transform. 

It can happen.

It will happen.

And you can do it.

Here are your next two:

Recipe #1:  Rancher's Omelet (Ranchers_Omelet.doc)

Recipe #2:  Stir-Fry Beef (Stir_Fry_Beef.doc)

These are courtesy of Gourmet Nutrition by Dr. John M. Berardi, Michael Williams and Kristina Andrew.  I would strongly recommend you take the time to pick up this wonderful book.  I've shared a few with you, but there are countless other recipes that are sure to meet every taste, time schedule and lifestyle.

Enjoy.
The year is almost over.  I promised to make sure that you were well prepared with a wide variety of recipes to make sure you start the new year off right.  Recipes to help start you on track, keep you on track, and not make you feel like you were going to have to give up taste.  I believed I've delivered as promised.

Only one more Monday left in the year.  So here are two more recipes to add to your ever growing file.  Next year is going to be so easy for you start off on the right track.  By spring you'll be unveiling a new you and not had to suffer, by living on tasteless boring food.  No one likes to feel deprived.  So I've made sure that your journey to a new you is as painless as possible when it comes to your nutrition.

Here you are:

Recipe #1:  Pizza Eggs (Pizza_Eggs.doc)

Recipe #2:  Romaine Tuna Wraps (Romaine_Tuna_Wraps.doc)

This weeks recipes are from A Recipe for Life by Susan Dopart, M.S., R.D. with Jeffrey M. Batchelor and Eat 2 Liv by Elizabeth Brown M.S., R.D., C.D.E

Be sure to come back next week for more recipes to add to your file.  Remember, the more options you have the easier it will be to stay on track.  No one likes boring food.  And cooking and preparing food that actually tastes good should not be a chore.  If you've been cutting and pasting you will ready to rock come January.
Well here we are again on a Friday.  Two weeks left in the year and it will be time to start with a clean slate. Time to apply all the things we learned about ourselves in 2010.  It will be time to step up to the next level. 

But right now it's time for the next installment on getting you ready for ski season.  An opportunity for me to share with you the process that will keep you healthy for the entire season so you can enjoy what you love doing -- skiing, snowboarding or ice skating.

First we started with the all important self-massage.  You have to get the muscles properly warmed-up, prepared, to work before you can do anything.  Then last week I shared with you some important stretches to make sure you're flexible and your range of motion is improved. Ice, snow and generally unstable surfaces are nothing to play with. So now you should be ready for the next stage in your preparation for a heck of an active winter season.

This week I will share with you the next stage in training properly for a successful winter-fun season.  The all important core/abs. That will be followed by some new movements such as single leg exercises, and a host of lunges to make sure your hips are flexible and stable in various positions.

So let's do a little review first shall we?  Let's make sure the proper core work is being done so that that area is prepared to handle the challenging leg exercises that are to follow.  I know, too many people like to just skip over this part of their preparation, believing that it is really not all that important.  But let me assure you, a strong core is by far one of the most important pieces to being physically fit for any activity. 

Next week let's blast those hips and legs.