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.






I thought about it for quite some time before I decided on this title.  I look at it this way, you have an owner's manual for everything from your toaster, to your blender, cell phone, automobile, computer, and stove, etc.  And let's be honest, how well you follow the owner's manual great decides how long that item will last.  Either you follow the manual and have significant success or you don't and . . . . 

Pretty much anything that has any value to you, you have an owner's manual for, right?  But for some reason when it comes to getting out of pain or improving the quality of your fitness, people just tend to "wing-it".  Then they wonder why they get the results they get.  It's not by accident.

But there is so much information out there, how do you know what is good information guiding you in the right direction and how much is just hype and trends? 

Check out today's video blog and know which is the right information that will help you quickly build your own manual.

As promised here are 2 more delicious recipes to add to your growing file.  We all have busy schedules, this time of year more than ever.  But that shouldn't mean all of your hard work should go out the window.  Whether you're committing to a new year of losing those extra pounds or just looking for a change in your usual day to day of staying on track, these recipes are sure to help.  They are quick, tasty, and will definitely keep you on track.

Remember, food that is good for you can actually taste good too.  All too often I hear people avoid making good food choices because they believe they have to give up flavor.  Not with these.  The second biggest reason I hear is that making food that is good for you just takes too much time.  Again, not with these.  But I will admit it will require some planning on your part to make sure you get all of your meals in each day.  And heck if it tastes good, all the more motivation to take as little as 5 minutes to whip up something that tastes good going down and gives your body what it needs to stay healthy and assist you in getting in better shape. 

Don't fall into the easy excuses.  Take a few minutes and cut and paste these to your file.  Good food and get in shape at the same time -- sounds like a win/win to me.  Enjoy!

Recipe #1:  Mint Chocolate Shake (Mint_Chocolate_Shake.doc)

Recipe #2:  Sauteed Salmon (Sauteed_Salmon.doc)
Dec
10
2010
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This month I want to make sure to have those of you who enjoy winter sports activities like skiing, snowboarding and ice skating to be prepared to enjoy your season.  I can't tell you how many times I watch "regular" members come in on crutches after a weekend away of enjoying their sport.  If it's something you truly enjoy, then let's make sure you can do and not get injured. The whole idea of working out and keeping healthy is so you can participate and enjoy the activities that make the daily grind all worth it -- right?

Well, last week I shared with you the first part of an effective warm-up -- self-massage.  We all know you cannot effectively stretch a cold rubber band fresh out of the refrigerator (which would represent your muscles).  You have to first warm it up properly, before engaging in stretching.  That way you can avoid injuring yourself during stretching, and definitely decrease the chances of injury while engaged in your favorite activity.

This week I want to share with you the second part of an effective warm up -- stretching.  I want you to do this after you have completed the self-massage.

When considering winter sports we want to be sure we have your body ready to handle the pounding of the slopes.  Balance is a big factor considering the instability of ice and snow.  So ankle, knee, and hip flexibility and stability are very important. We want to prepare your entire body, for sure, but we will give extra attention to the lower body because you will be using it so much more.

Since we all know time is of the essence please find below the stretches I've found most important in preparing for a safe and fun winter season of activities on the slopes or ice.

Be sure to check back next week as I will share with you the important exercises that will get your body strong and help you avoid injury.

This is Stretch#1 (1/3).
This stretch is often called Child's Pose. From a kneeling position, toes pointed straight back, sit backwards so that you are sitting on the heels of your shoes. Reach forward with both arms, far enough to feel a stretch in the lower back and shoulders. 
Hold for 7-10 seconds


This is Stretch #1 (2/3)

Keeping your legs where they are at, engage your abs and move both arms to the right until a stretch is felt on the left side of the body. Think of making your body into a half circle. Be sure to remain seated on your heels.  Hold for 7-10 seconds.


 
This is Stretch #1 (3/3).
Now do the same process you did for the above picture for the left side. 
Hold for 7-10 seconds
 

This is Stretch #2
From a seated position place your hands behind you, approximately shoulder width, with your fingers pointing away from your body. Slowly slide your body forward, away from your hands, until a stretch is felt. Be sure to keep your chest up and gently squeeze your shoulder blades together as you lift your chest. Hold this position for 7-10 seconds.  Repeat 2-3 times.


 

This is Stretch#3.

(face down image) Position your body with your right leg bent at a 45 degree angle. Straighten your back leg with the toe facing the floor. Position your upper body so that your knee is in line with your sternum (chest bone). Hips should be parallel to the floor.  You should feel no pain in the knee. If you do stop immediately. This pose is also know as Pigeon.  Hold position for 7 breaths.



(face up image)

This is a slightly less aggressive form of pigeon from the lying position. Lay flat on your back.  Bring your right leg towards your chest. Grasping your knee and ankle gently, pulling the leg towards the left side of your chest (so you are moving the leg across the body) until you feel a stretch in your glutes. You will create a very gentle stretch in the hip. You should feel no pain in the knee. Repeat this process 3-7 times on both sides.



 

This is Stretch #4

Begin on your knees, with your knees out wide, resting on forearms. Then straighten one leg out to the side. Be sure that the toe of the straight leg is in line with the knee of the kneeling leg. If possible, reach out to touch toe of straight leg with same side hand.  Repeat movement 3 times on both sides.



This is Stretch #5.
I call this Windshield Wipers. Lay flat on your back, arms out wide, knees bent 45-90 degrees, feet flat on the ground. Take your left ankle and place it on your right knee. Drop both legs to the left side to feel a stretch in the right hip. The goal is for the stretch to come from the hip and NOT the lower back.
Hold for 5-7 breaths. Repeat on other side.


This is Stretch #6.
With your calves against the supporting surface take a medium to large step forward. Place one foot, shoe strings down, on the stable support surface behind you. Kneeling down bring the back leg knee to the floor. Now if you're just beginning you may need to place a pillow under your knee for cushion and to decrease the intensity of the stretch. Be sure that the front leg knee is bent at a 90 degree angle and the shin is perpendicular to the floor.


Well there you go.  So self massage first, followed by the stretches above and you'll be ready to tackle the exercises I will show you next week.  Remember, each part of the warm-up is important.  Do not skip steps, you'll only pay for it in the long run. 

Let's be sure this season you can enjoy your chosen winter activity for all it's worth.  See you next week.



I was just painfully reminded of how important it is to keep things simple in life. Had an unbelievable workout on Saturday, only to awake on Sunday feeling as though I had been run over by a truck -- repeatedly.  Yes, I do typically feel my workouts a few days later; but this soreness was far beyond that "typical" feeling.  So I traced my steps back to see what was different.  What I realized is that I had tried out some new "exotic" movements in my warm-up to replace some of my usual movements.  Doing my usual research, I came across some stretches and warm-up movements that were said to replace several other movements I was already doing.  So I figured, hey, that sounds like a good idea, if I can save time and accomplish the same amount of quality work, why not do it.  What I quickly realized is that these new (exotic) movements in fact did not work as well.  They did not warm my body up properly nor effectively prepare me for my workout.

And of course being me, I started thinking about how this example of using the "new and improved" happens in not only when it comes to staying healthy, but in life. 

Check out today's video blog post to see what I mean:

It was recently brought to my attention that I could probably eat cardboard with a few spices and it wouldn't bother me at all.  Fortunately for me, cardboard has no nutritional value.  I don't know, I guess I'm just weird that way. 

It's said that some people over-indulge with food to meet other needs besides nutrition.  This type of person tends to go overboard with the sauces, sugars, breads, etc.  I'm just the opposite.  I mainly eat for function.  And if it was a choice between a flavorful meal that would take an hour to make or eating right now a nutritious meal but with little flavor, I'd probably pick the latter of the two.

Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy a flavorful and nutritious meal, it's just that often times my schedule gets so busy that I skimp.  No, I refuse to go grab fast food, or some other highly processed food substitute.  No, I admit it, I'm willing to skimp on taste.

So believe me when I tell you I am really excited and appreciate this recipe book-- Gourmet Nutrition by Dr. John M. Berardi, Michael Williams and Kristina Andrew.  It is full of quick, tasty, good for you meal options all in one spot.  The authors probably saved my life and don't even know it.

Now I can stop eating cardboard. 

I refuse to waste your time with any hoopla about something that tastes good when it doesn't, just because it meets some nutritional number guide. I am actually coming to appreciate taking my break and enjoying my meals these days.  And believe me that is a nice change of pace.

So don't forget to cut and paste these to your filing cabinet on recipes so you'll be ready for next year.

No more excuses!


Recipe #1: Chai Blueberry Oatmeal (Chai_Blueberry_Oatmeal.doc)


Recipe #2: Turkey Sausage and Yam Hash Browns (Turkey_Sausage_and_Yam_Hash_Browns.doc)


As always, let me know what you think.  I always appreciate your feedback.

Welcome to December! Not only are we in the midst of the holiday rush season for Christmas, it also happens to be ski season, or snow boarding as the case may be.

For many of my clients it's the time of year they've been looking forward to all year long.  We've ramped up their training over the past few months to make sure they are in proper condition (think climbing a long flight of stairs and not being out of breath), have great balance and a strong, stable core.  Remember, when it comes to winter sports or activities you are dealing with the added factor of instability because of the ice and snow.  So your program has to be well rounded to avoid possible injury.

You'd be surprised how many times I've watch gym regulars come in on crutches from late December to early February talking about a fall they've taken; some on the slopes, and some actually in the parking lot on the way to the slopes. 

I don't want that for you.  So this month I want to make sure that each of you is ready for your winter activities, whether it's skiing, snow boarding or ice skating.  Each of these activities deals with significant balance issues, having a strong and stable core, as well has having strong, yet flexible hips.  So each week of the month I will share with you warm-up techniques,  stretches, and exercises to make this season your best yet.

Funny thing about me, while I do largely focus on getting people out of pain through the use of self-massage and exercises, I happen to have also gotten really good at helping people avoid pain.  Once you've figured out how to fix a certain problem, it's not long before it becomes clear on what to do to avoid that painful experience all together.

 


For those of you that have been following my posts for any length of time, you know I believe in a proper warm-up.  And a proper warm-up is comprised of two specific elements: 1) self-massage of all the important areas, and 2) a flexibility routine to get your body fully warmed up.


I want to make an important note here regarding warming up.  I know how much I despised it when I first started over 20 years ago.  I really didn't see the value in it and quite honestly felt it was a waste of time.  Well now after years in the business of helping people get out of pain and doing research, I can tell you warming up is worth every minute.  In fact, in most cases injuries occur (minus of course impact injuries like being tackled or falling) due to a poor warm-up routine or no warm-up routine at all.  The muscles have not been adequately prepared for activity (think of trying to stretch a rubber band you've had in the refrigerator all night and then pull it out of the refrigerator and start stretching it vigorously).


So today I will share with you some techniques you may or may not be familiar with regarding self-massage.  Next week I will share with you some stretches to complete your warm-up phase. The following week will move into various exercises to make sure you are seriously ready to tackle the winter festivities.





It's Mid Week Motivation Day.

It continues to both amaze and concern me how many people confuse doing an exercise correctly with just moving around.  Just because a person has low body fat that allows you to see their abs, doesn't mean that person knows how to train their core muscles.  It just means they have low body fat.  It could be from having a great nutrition program or it could be that the person is blessed with a high metabolism and hence low body fat.  One doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the other.

I want all of you to get the right information so that you can avoid injury and get results fast.  Results that will last and you can be proud of.

Check out today's video blog post for more on how to train the right way.

In this day and age when you say you're going to do something, you better darn well do it.  I'm sure we are all tired of the "Oh, let's do lunch".  And you don't hear from the person for weeks or months.

A handshake and your word is pretty much all you really have when it comes to establishing your integrity.  In this day of information (overload in some cases), it's pretty easy to have something witty or interesting to say.  But how many people actually back it up with action?  It has been my experience that those individuals are few and far between.  A mentor of mine once told me, "under promise and over deliver".  When it comes to establishing your credibility follow through on what you tell others you are going to do. In fact, over deliver on what you committed to doing.  It let's people know that they can count on you, that your word actually means something.

Well, in keeping with my promise to make sure you are ready for the coming year with lots of recipes to help keep you on track and not spend hours in the kitchen preparing food, here are two more to add to your file called "recipes". 

I sincerely want you to have a variety of meal choices that are tasty, good for you and are easy to prepare (take as little time as possible).  Goodness knows, we all have enough to do in our daily lives.  Spending hours in the kitchen to create a nutritious, tasty meal is not to motivating.  In fact it will just increase the chances of you getting off track and grabbing some highly processed alternative to a good meal.

So let's keep it simple.

Recipe #1:  Microwave Orange Roughy (Microwave_Orange_Roughy.doc)

Recipe #2:  Chicken a la King Kong (Chicken_a_la_King_Kong.doc)


Remember, plan your meals in advance.  It will make the day so much easier, and I'll bet, make you much more productive as well.
First off, I do hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving celebration.  It's a great time to reflect and give thanks for all the things you do have.  A time to sincerely appreciate friends, family, and all of those people who have truly made a difference in your life throughout the year.  It's also a great time to reflect on the how the year has progressed and what you want to keep doing next year, as well as the things you want to change.

I must be honest with you.  I have yet to meet a person that trained their core too much. So I know this months exercises will be a great addition to your regular workouts.

Keep making your lists, keep making sure to put you on that list, and be sure to get your meals in every 3-4 hours.  I promise it will make for a much more enjoyable holiday season.

Click on the video below to get your next core exercise.  Let's make sure you're one step ahead of everyone else as this year comes to a close.