Monday, August 1, 2016

2016 is not over: Is it time to make adjustments to your fitness goals?

Now that we’re officially done with the seventh month of the year, it’s a perfect time to take a look back at your healthy (or not?) exercise habits and say, “What the hell?” Just kidding. The half-way mark of just about anything—household or work project, school semester, or workout program—is a great time to check in with yourself and see if a course correction is needed. More TRX and yoga? Need one or two Tabata sessions a week to shrink the waistline? Is it time to give one-on-one personal training a try for the last five months of the year? Think about it: five months. That is a significant chunk of time—more than enough to do something with if you decide to.

The following are a few questions to help you do a little self-reflection. I suggest you grab a piece of paper and write them down, along with the answers. Tack it to the wall of your closet or kitchen where it won’t get forgotten.

  •  In the past six months, have I exercised consistently, and what results have I seen? (This may be increased lung capacity/stamina, more muscle tone, greater flexibility, etc.
  • If I have stuck to my exercise plan, and seen results, what can I adjust to kick it up a notch? (I can help you with this one!)
  •  If I haven’t been careful about sticking to my plan, what has gotten in my way? (Be honest! If you need to spend less time doing unproductive tasks like surfing the Internet or mopping the kitchen floor, write it down.)
  • Do I need help setting realistic goals and creating a work out plan?

Summer is only half over, which means there is still a looooong time to get ready for the eating, I mean, holiday season. Regardless of what you’ve been up to this summer, hitting those goals or hitting the couch a little too often, there is time to either improve, or steer yourself right back on track. Don’t wait until it’s too late. 2016 is not a towel and you have not thrown it in on your fitness goals. You are making an adjustment.

Remember, it’s not about where you begin, it’s about where you end up. Fit, strong and having fun!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Guest Blog:TRX Journal, Part Deux: What to expect when you miss a workout

Well, I’ve been trying to find a way to approach the topic of how to recover…not from an intense, muscle-shredding workout at Motivate, but from the guilt of missing one. I have missed several during this six-week span of TRX classes, and here’s why: blah, blah, blah. Yep, everyone misses a workout once in a while, and everyone has good excuses. Life happens, to all of us, regardless of the kind of job we have, the number of children we have, or how far we live from our workout destination. So I’ll spare you the details of why my workout regimen has been blown to smithereens lately and get right to the meat of the matter: I plan to never miss the safety of my 10 a.m. workout again.

And the reason is, Dominic is even more of a go-getter in the evening, and by go-getter, I mean total loon-atic. As if TRX combined with Tabata wasn’t challenging enough, he threw “stations” into the mix, so we took turns rotating around the room doing a variety of moves with names like, “squats under a fence,” and “walking plank.” Ow, ow, owieeeeeeeeee.

Then, he sent us outside for a quick lap around the parking lot. Was I being punished for missing my mid-morning class and bringing the whole class down with me? Or was this just “Evening Dominator?”

What I truly wish I could do is get to the 6 a.m. class, and this summer, I may just go back to it. For me, getting my workout in before the heat of the day starts is a big deal. For many years, I was an early-morning workout person all year-round. It was truly like having an extra day built into my day. I loved the feeling of walking back into the house at 7 a.m. and having my work-out totally off my plate for the day. My real day was literally just starting, and my workout was done. So last Sunday night, when I realized that I had a doctor appointment Monday during my regular TRX class, I had a choice to make: 6 a.m. or 6 p.m. I chose 6 p.m., just for the heck of it. Wow. Little did I know that the Dominator really comes alive as the sun goes down.

Results: They’re Gonna be Huuuuge!
Now in week 5 of this TRX 6-week class, I’m noticing a different flow in the workout that was missing in the first week or two. Now, when Dominic says, “On the floor and put your toes in,” I know what to expect. I roll over, assume the position, and prepare to plank. The key is anticipating what is coming next. Because I am getting more familiar with how we do the exercises, and how to make them more challenging (just a step or two back to increase that angle during a “low row” makes a helluva lot of difference) I am finding that transitioning between exercises is smoother and easier because I know what I’m about to do, how my body will react, and which cuss words are most appropriate. And I’m seeing increasingly more muscle tone where once, there was…less. It’s subtle, but it’s real. My husband noticed my shoulders the other day and said something about it. My daughter told us to get a room.

Next week is the last in this six-week session. I will not, I cannot, I shall not miss my Monday, Wednesday, or my Friday 10 a.m. class. But if I do, I’ll sneak into the 6 a.m. class if I have to stand outside the door and follow along.  

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Guest Blog: TRX Journal, Part 1: What I get out of TRX, and what it gets out of me

by Lisa Lucke

I’ve just begun my third (or is it fourth), 6-week TRX class at Motivate, and this time, I’ve decided to chronicle some of what is going on, both with my body and mind, how they respond to TRX, and the class itself. I’ll start with a little background.

I’m dangerously close to turning 50, and when that happens this summer, I want to be in the best shape I possibly can, given my conditions: oodles of kids, busy household, job, and believe it or  not, a life outside all of that. In other words, I am not a “party of one” and therefore, I can’t devote two or three hours a day to working out. But I want to be in shape and stay ahead of the aging curve. So I choose to squeeze it in. What I have found with TRX is the most "bang for my buck." In other words, TRX gives me the best results for the amount of time I have to invest in serious exercise: one hour, three days a week. On off-TRX days, I try to do a little yoga at home, just to stretch and get my blood flowing. A couple days a week I walk roads that traverse the rolling hills on the edges of town, which give me a little challenge. For stretches of thirty or forty yards intermittently, I "lunge" instead of walk. If you think this doesn't turn a simple walk into a totally different experience, try it sometime.

I have back issues. Running is out for me, and has been for a few years. A degenerative disc disease and lower back issues brought running to a close about three years ago. TRX is low-impact, so I don’t have to worry about joint/disc inflammation (and consequently, stiffness and pain) that results from the jarring and pounding of running. Once in a while, thinking that perhaps there’s been some sort of divine intervention, I go for a run. The next day I regret it. So now I’m putting all my eggs in the TRX basket.


What I Get Out of TRX
First, I can see muscle tone and definition where before there wasn’t much. My shoulders, legs and upper arms now have a different look. I also feel steadier in my movements. While 50 isn’t 80, it’s also not 20, or even 30. The change in a person’s steadiness and coordination begins to change big time after the age of 40, unless you are a super fit athlete. For most of us average folks, who left the seriously athletic life behind once kids came on scene, which for me was my early 30s, it’s noticeably different. TRX, with its focus on the core muscles of the lower back and abdomen, translates into better balance, period. I already mentioned the increased muscle tone and mass, but there’s one more thing I get, and that’s the mental lift that comes with working my body hard three days a week. My muscles are very tired when class ends. By late evening, I’m usually starting to feel a little stiff and store. The next morning after a workout, I’m wincing, but in a good way. It means my body was challenged and is a little bit better and stronger than it was the day before.

Because TRX relies on bodyweight, everything is scalable for a person’s individual abilities. Need to make that chest row more challenging? Take a step forward, deepen the angle and let gravity give you what you need. Want to add a little edge to the planking? Curl your knees to your chest while holding the plank. A beginner and an experienced TRX classmate can be right next to each other and both will get a serious workout.

Finally, I enjoy hiking in the summer, and without a doubt, this summer, at 50, I will be stronger and in better physical shape than I was when I turned 49 last summer. And for me, that’s success.

What TRX Gets Out of Me
Stress. Anxiety. Feelings of guilt about my physical condition. TRX sucks out the negative energy that comes with life’s everyday happenings: teenagers, work, family, appointments, laundry, animals, and chores. For one hour, three days a week, everything else other than TRX gets relegated to “not the priority.” Of course, life gets in the way now and then and I miss class. After my initial guilt passes about that, I try to have a really “clean eating” day since I had to miss my workout.

And that soreness I mentioned? It keeps reminding me, during the rushing and hurrying of running errands and going to meetings that I’m getting stronger and healthier with every passing day that I work out. The old line, “hurts so good,” is true, mentally and physically, when I’m doing TRX.

For the next four-and-a-half weeks (I’ve just started week 2) I’ll share what’s happening. Or what happens when The Dominator says, “We're almost done” and we still have 15 minutes of class left and I cuss loudly.

Stay tuned!

P.S. This blog is dedicated to Sophie girl, the Motivate mascot who was always there to give us an encouraging kiss or nudge with her wet nose while we were planking. RIP Sophie. You are missed.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

There's No Time Like the Present

We’re almost two months into the New Year. What does your exercise routine look like? How closely does it mirror what you had planned to do back in January? If you’re right where you wanted to be, good for you! Your focus should be to maintain what you’re doing and set a “next level” goal, which I’ll talk about next time.

But right now, I want to focus on those of you who might be a little, or even a lot behind, the goals you set at the beginning of the year. Stop for just a moment and just spend two minutes thinking about why.

Did you over-estimate the amount of time you had to spend working out?

Did you under-estimate the level of self-discipline required to commit to regular exercise?

Is the exercise routine you started back in January just not the right fit? Too hard? Not challenging or exciting enough?

Are lifestyle habits getting in the way of working out?

Whatever your answers are to these questions, here is something to keep in mind: Make a shift today and get yourself back on track to a health and wellness in 2016.

If you are crunched for time, closely examine where you might be able to “shift right” some time to another category of activity. In other words, you can’t create more time in the day, but how much TV time do you need? Are you willing to give up 30 minutes? How much time do you spend on social media? How about giving up 15 minutes of surfing the Internet, 15 minutes of TV time, and 15 minutes of sleep? In 45 minutes, you could complete an at-home Tabata workout and a shower!

If self-discipline is your problem, the only real solution is a little soul-searching. How badly do you want to see significant changes to your level of health and wellness? There is still time before summer for significant weight loss, if that’s your goal. But you’ve got to want it. You’ve got to be willing to make choices. You have to protect your exercise time as if it was a paying job. If you sign up for a 5 p.m. TRX class, then on those days, you plan meals ahead; if you fail to plan ahead, I guess it’s got to be a quick, but healthy take-out (taco salad, hold the sour cream; vegetable stir-fry, one egg roll!) because nothing is getting in your way. This means you block out 5 – 6 p.m. in your calendar, and since you can’t be in two places at once, you schedule no appointments, meetings, car-pools, or kids’ play dates during that time. Period. The only thing that should interfere with working out is being physically unwell.

If you are bored, or not being challenged enough in whatever workout you’re doing, you need help finding the right fit. Reach out to a friend, co-worker, or call me and tell me what isn’t working. You don’t have to sign up for a class to get my honest feedback on what I think might work for you.

Lastly, if your lifestyle habits are interfering with working out, stop and ask yourself how long you are willing to let that be the case. For how long are you willing to stay up binge-watching Netflix instead of spending 30 minutes in the morning exercising and getting in shape? How long are you willing to have just enough to drink on a Friday night so that you don’t feel like going for a run on Saturday? A month? Two months? Why not say, “I’ve done enough of that. I’m going to do things a little differently this week,” and see how you feel afterward? I guarantee you’ll feel better about yourself emotionally and physically if you drop a few bad habits and pick up a good one.

It doesn’t matter that you haven’t stuck exactly to whatever New Year resolution you might have made. Every day is a chance to start over.

Don’t forget: A week, a month or a year from now, you’ll wish you’d started today.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Start From Where You Are

Welcome to 2016! If you’re reading this, you are probably also thinking about what your exercise plan is going to look like this year, or how you might change it up a little from where it has been. Whether you are looking to get started, make a slight adjustment, or take your workout routine to a whole new level, there is one important thing to keep in mind: Start from right where you are and don’t look back. Keeping in this spirit, I’m not even going to mention the festivities of last month. I’m only going to encourage you to keep your eye on the prize, and that prize is coming, in the form of more energy, a fitter body and a better attitude.

I have a client who has had an interesting “strategy” for exercise for many years. The way she describes her exercise habits is “intermittent.” During some periods of her adult life she has exercised regularly, running or lifting weights at the gym, three or four times a week, for stretches of several months at a time. Other times her exercise regimen has been one or two yoga classes per week. And then there are the vast stretches of time when it’s a day of activity here or there, or even no real activity at all—but lots of thinking about it. It’s during these lulls in physical activity, when she finally decides she is ready to get back on track, that she tells herself this: “If I do one thing, even a ten minute walk on the treadmill today, that’s better than the zero minutes I spent exercising yesterday.” 

In other words, she starts very, very small and she decides to be just a little better than the day before. The next day, it’s the same thing. Fifteen minutes on the treadmill instead of ten. Then twenty. If she skips a day, she does a little more than the last day she worked out, walked or ran. She says that what happens on about day four or five of this gradually increasing exercise routine is that she feels a big surge of confidence and accomplishment. It propels her into the next week. Once this mental attitude takes hold, it is much, much easier for her body to follow. Another smart thing she does: She doesn’t punish herself when it comes to exercise. She’s not an early riser, so 6 a.m. fitness classes are out. When she’s done that in the past, exercise becomes something to dread. And the quickest way to bail out of exercise is to see it as punishment.

Now, not everyone is the same. Some people like can mentally tough it out on day one of a new exercise routine and once they’ve made the decision to run a couple miles three times a week, that’s it—it’s as good as done, no matter what time of day they choose. Others I’ve run into, like the client I mention above, like to wade in slowly, giving themselves small, highly achievable goals, which seems to set the stage for them to mentally prepare for larger ones.

Which person are you? Somewhere in the middle? Take a moment to think back to the times in your life when you were the most successful at meeting fitness or exercise goals (nutrition goals count also) and how you went about that. Did you start slowly, or did you pick a day to start and jump into the deep end of the exercise pool? Whatever kind of starter you are, start today. If you do, tomorrow you’ll be that much more fit. You’ll be better than you are today.