Thursday, June 22, 2017

Where has the time gone?  It seems like it was just yesterday when my daughter Kelly and I took this picture to launch her post baby exercise program. It was actually October of 2015, and her second son Roman was just 8 weeks old.

Kelly's goal was to lose the remaining baby fat, tone up, and regain the energy and endurance needed to raise two boys.  When I look back, Kelly's progression was almost text book.

Kelly started planning for this journey when she was still 6 months pregnant. She loves her busy lifestyle and scripted her goals accordingly. Her plan provided the needed consistency and flexibility to make the necessary adjustments to stay on track.  Her biggest adjustment was actually to make sure she had enough rest time. However, as all you mothers know, with two young children that is easier said than done. She is always looking to find ways to maintain the best levels of nutrition and the ever challenging task of meal planning around all the daily activities.  Again, all you moms know what I'm talking about.

Well, Roman is now 21 months old and Kelly has turned the baby weight into toned muscle with a BMI of 22.3. Kelly has created the healthy life style she was looking for, but she knows it doesn't end here.  She continues to raise the bar, accept the ever changing challenges in daily life, and make the necessary adjustments to get results.

Seeing positive results is the great motivator, but the journey to get there can be overwhelming.  That is why you need to find your balance before setting your goal.  Once you've developed your plan, keep it simple and make room for adjustments to avoid any road blocks to your success. Importantly, keep it going.  Raise the bar , accept those new challenges, and be awesome.

Until next time, enjoy your workouts.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

When you think about it, without flexibility, balance, and coordination you really can't do much of anything. We all know this, but how do we address this need in our daily lives and fitness efforts to ensure long term results?

We all incorporate some sort of stretching in our daily lives. Sometimes it's to get moving in the morning, after sitting for long periods of time, or preparing ourselves for an athletic or fitness activity.  However, we need to incorporate activities within our fitness efforts that encourages ongoing muscle elasticity, giving our muscles and joints a greater range of motion. This elasticity and increased range of motion can help you prevent injuries, back pain, and balance problems.

In discussion with my clients and friends, their initial reaction is that we already do that. We stretch, do squats, and incorporate the stability ball in our work routines. That's a great start. You have to be careful, however, not to be too routine in your efforts. That type of redundancy will start to dilute your results and really doesn't focus or encourage the full range of motion of all joints and muscles. The key phrase being "all joints and muscles".

So, what do we do or what is the alternative? Workout fads that address flexibility, balance, and coordination come and go, but virtually no other exercise programs are as enduring as Yoga and Pilates. They each have a lot of similarities. Choosing one or the other is really a personal preference.  Let's take a look:

  • Yoga: It's been around for more than 500 years and does more than burn calories and tone muscles. It's a total mind-body workout that combines strengthening and stretching poses with deep breathing and meditation or relaxation. While it may seem mellow compared to most training programs, yoga's health benefits keep pace and often surpass what many people would call traditional forms of exercise.
  • Pilates: Uses controlled movements, primarily focused on your core to build body strength, flexibility, and endurance. It's a body conditioning routine that won't result in bulky muscles.  Instead, the movements serve to lengthen your muscles as they strengthen them. It emphasizes proper postural alignment, core strength, and muscle balance.

I can't think of a better way to ensure a consistent effort toward establishing a greater range of motion, improved balance, endurance, and coordination. Importantly, it provides the needed variety to avoid redundancy and creates the real potential for better results. I engage in both Yoga and Pilates at least once a week and encourage my clients and friends to do the same.

Keep it simple. It's not hard to find the right avenue to enjoy either Yoga or Pilates with really no additional investment or interrupting your current schedule.  If you are a gym member, most gyms provide a variety of Yoga and Pilates classes.  If you want to do this at home, there are plenty of Yoga and Pilates routines on YouTube, as well as free apps for your phone or tablet. As in any new exercise or fitness endeavor, start slow and progress at your own pace.  You will enjoy the results for a lifetime.

Until next time, enjoy your workouts.

Sources: Google for Yoga and Pilates Definitions