Trainer Blog

My Rainbow through the Storm

Yesterday, it rained. Hard. It reminded me of the kind of downpour you’d see in Texas—steady-going for at least an hour. During the storm, I had a little bit of a break before my Tabata class, so I figured I’d go see my mom for a little while. I ran out to my car, trying to run in between the raindrops so I wouldn’t get completely drenched, got in and turned on the windshield wipers as high as they’d go. I was feeling inconvenienced, that is, until I spotted a double rainbow right in the middle of Route 9. It was beautiful, and a rare sight for this area, I feel.

As I stepped into the assisted living facility where Momma lives, I felt a little apprehension, which is not uncommon. Many of you know that my mother has been exhibiting symptoms of Alzheimer’s for the past eight years, and has declined in performing many day-to-day functions. She’s still got her spunk, but my apprehension lies in knowing that I’m still going to experience a good bit of pain when I see her, knowing what a strong, independent woman she once was. As many times as it’s happened, it still tugs on the heart strings when she repeats the same questions, sometimes several times in a short period of time, and each time I answer as if it’s the first time she’s asked me. Other reminders of the disease are difficult, too, like when her clothes are mismatched or she tries to put things on backwards. Momma was never a fashionista, but she was always put together. And as the day-to-day tasks become increasingly challenging for her to accomplish, the more of a reality this is for me.

But of course, without rain, there can’t be rainbows, right? Yesterday, I was sitting next to her with my arms wrapped tightly around her, and I said, “Momma, sometimes I never want to let you go.” And she said, “Katie, I never want to let you go all the time. I love you so much, I can hardly see straight.” And there it was—my rainbow through the storm.

We all have our own storms going on, some that are light drizzles and some that are full on deluges. But more often than not, there is a rainbow mixed in somewhere, and it’s vital that we pay attention to its appearance in our lives. That’s my challenge to you this week: look for the rainbow in whatever you have concerning you right now. Or, if it doesn’t manifest right away, trust that it will. And, on the slight chance that you’re just not ready to see the rainbow right now, make sure you stay open to a future sighting. I’m not promising any pots of gold, here, but my sincerest hope is to offer a little light to your path.

No Time to Workout?

The number one reason why you don’t exercise is that you don’t have time.

At least that’s what you tell yourself.

I know we are all busy. Between getting to and from work, balancing responsibilities and having time for yourself, there’s little left over for workouts.

With summer in full swing, your busy schedule is sure to get even busier. There will be vacations, cookouts and family gatherings. It’s no wonder that exercise quickly takes a backseat to summer activities.

You don’t have to succumb to weight gain this summer. Escape the time crunch excuse in three easy steps:

Step One: Schedule Your Workouts: You’ve heard this before, and it makes so much sense. If you treat your exercise time with the importance of a work meeting then you’d never skip a workout and you’d be in amazing shape.

While the scheduling concept is brilliant in its simplicity, you have to put it into practice to reap the benefits. Pull out your calendar and a pen. Don’t laugh, I’m serious! Just do it. If you want to get into shape it starts with committing to a revised schedule with a set exercise time.

Identify three 45-minute time slots and mark them on your calendar. That is when you’ll exercise.

Remember this: if the thought that you should exercise this week is floating around in your head, but you haven’t anchored it down to a specific time and date, then it will quickly disappear.

Step Two: Get the Most from Each Minute: The days of endless, mind numbing cardio are over. A great workout can take place in under an hour, when done correctly. The idea is to burn more calories each minute. This is done through short, intense bursts of exercise.

Use the following three tips to bring your routine up to the next level:

1. Be Unstable: Use your entire body, and target your core, by performing exercises that engage stabilizing muscles. To do this use an exercise ball, a balance board, a balance disk, or you could simply stand on one leg.

2. Add Resistance: The more resistance that you incorporate with your routine translates into higher intensity and more calories burned. Some ideas for adding resistance include: carrying dumbbells while doing lunges, carrying weights up and down the stairs, or simply using a resistance band (great for traveling) for a quick, dynamic upper body sequence!

3. Use Intervals: Interval training is an amazing tool for creating short yet effective workouts. Don’t worry, it’s not complicated. Interval training is simply alternating between different short bursts of activity.

Here’s an example: Let’s say you want to focus on your legs and abs, all while getting an effective cardiovascular workout. This would be a great, simple interval routine for your goals:

  • Lunge while biceps curl, 15-20 repetitions/side
  • 30 seconds of intense cardio: sprint, jump rope, or jumping jacks
  • Squat while pressing dumbbells overhead, 15-20 repetitions
  • 30 seconds of intense cardio: sprint, jump rope, or jumping jacks
  • Crunches on an exercise ball, 15-20 repetitions
  • 30 seconds of intense cardio: sprint, jump rope, or jumping jacks
  • Leg raises off the end of an exercise bench or from the ground up, 15-20 repetitions

Step Three: Twice the Results in Half the Time: What if I told you that we have a proven way to deliver twice the fitness results in half the time? It’s simple really… When you attempt to lose weight or meet a fitness goal on your own, the odds are stacked against you. Sure, you could do it over time – but it’s a long and trying road. A road lined with detours that threaten to undermine your progress.

When you start a program with us, you suddenly have the upper hand on weight loss… You have one of our Health & Fitness Specialists in your corner, coaching you each step of the way, keeping you accountable to workouts inside and outside of the gym and giving you that dose of encouragement went the going gets tough.

Call or email today to get started on a fitness program that will put exercise firmly on your calendar, and results squarely in your future.

Creating Myself

Katie’s Corner

I recently came across a quote that I haven’t been able to get out of my mind. “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” When dietician, Michele LaRock, gave her Spring Nutrition Series earlier this year, she offered the advice of setting a goal and making decisions that would only support that goal, rather than sabotage it. Since that talk, I ask myself several times a day, “Will this activity/mindset/food/behavior get me closer to my end goal?” If the answer i no, then I choose a path that leads me in the right direction. I have set my own goals about where I want to go, who I want to go there with, and how I want to get there. They are simple and uncomplicated and perfect for the life I wish to lead. Now it’s just a matter of making decisions that support those goals.

For many years, I sort of let life happen to me rather than be an active participant. It didn’t help matters that I didn’t really know what kind of life I wanted, but once I figured out what would help me make a great life for myself, I decided to try for it. I tried, I tried, and I tried, and by golly, it’s worked. I have always had a drive to achieve greatness (and was open to whatever that looked like for me), but I’ve finally learned how to focus my efforts into the greatness I’ve sought, with the help of many, many others, no doubt. I dreamed big, and now I am surrounded every day by the most amazing people, who work their asses off for the health of their body and mind. Every day, I strive to do great things, and many times those things come to fruition and I get to see them manifest. Don’t get me wrong, I am and always will be a risk taker. I’m now, however, less interested in experimenting with life and more interested in grabbing it by the handles and taking it out for a spin.

My challenge to you this week is to think about a way you can actively create and develop one aspect of your life, big or small. Being ardently responsible for how our own lives turn out can admittedly be a scary thing, but the reward in it always outweighs the risk. Watching life pass you by does not make the end result of whatever comes your way fulfilling. However, working hard for that end result does. So are you going to let life pass you by, or are you going to be an active participant in its journey? It starts with a simple choice.

Wait, You Read My ‘Corner?’

Katie’s Corner –

When I first began writing Katie’s Corner, I figured it would be an insignificant way for me to get my thoughts—either from the past week or things I’ve been sitting on for a while—down on paper, hoping that some may find some value in what I share. I imagined by disclosing my real-life stories, insecurities, faults, and experience, others would find ways that Katie’s Corner would apply to their own lives. However, an overwhelming number of you have told me you look forward reading the column every week and that my words were exactly what you needed to hear in that moment, and I have to say, it is truly a humbling experience. Many of you, who I look up to and who are accomplished in your own careers and lives, have told me you are faithful readers of “The Corner”, which I must admit is simultaneously intimidating and empowering.

It’s a little weird wrapping my mind around the idea that what I write can be inspirational to others, but I think it’s important to take this opportunity to point out how much of the time we can be an inspiration to others without even realizing it. For example, you pick up a piece of trash, and it can inspire a person to take part in an organized clean-up of a local park. You run your first 5K, and your child runs the next one with you. You smile at a person on the street walking past, and they smile at the next person they pass. The point is, through small acts, we can move others in big ways.

Your challenge this week is simple, and it doesn’t require any real action on your part. All I ask is that you realize and digest that you affect others in purely positive ways. People find value in what you do, the way you act, the attitude you choose. Know that what you bring to the table, no matter the perceived significance is real and influences people all around you in ways you may never know. Think about it. What you do matters. Now isn’t that effin’ wonderful?

Find more Katie’s Corner articles at this link.

Off the Beaten Path

Though it hasn’t always felt like it this year, summer is upon us! It’s a time when routines are broken and spontaneity is necessary after a full year of predictability. Vacations and barbeques and staying out late are perks to the warm weather, especially after the winter we endured, but this also means routines are broken, which can throw our quests for health out the window. Many people establish their own routines with outdoor workouts, which is wonderful, as we have some of the best outdoor sporting in the country. However, many of us take a few days off of working out and eating right and then we have a hard time fitting it back into our schedules.

It’s important to give yourself a little bit of a break and not beat yourself up about not making time for the gym or eating out more than you should. However, it’s just as important to establish some sort of routine around this strange schedule that only occurs for a couple of months during the year. Instead of giving up on any routine, create a modified nutrition and eating schedule for yourself, which may include two days of eating out, rather than your normal one during the other months of the year. However, when you eat out, try to make healthier choices that don’t squash all of your efforts. Put sauces on the side, and only have a couple bites of the neighbor’s award-winning potato salad.

In terms of working out, you may not be able to hit the gym as much as you normally would. Instead of feeling bad about your inability to make it to as many classes, figure out something you can stick to and then supplement with home workouts. After all, I’ve seen so many of you accomplish so much since January, and we need to keep that momentum going.

At the same time, a change in routine is also the perfect time to try something you haven’t yet and maybe even to construct new routines. Have you heard people rave about the barre classes? Have you always wondered what it would feel like to punch a punching bag? Give Raise the Barre and Cardio Kickboxing a try. Mix it up! And if you need help in choosing what’s best for you, we’re always here to offer advice. Just don’t give up what you’ve worked so hard to achieve.

Your daily habits define who you are…

The things that you consistently do on a daily basis determine your body’s shape, strength and stamina, as well as many other things.

You can look at it any which way you want, but ultimately, that’s it! Nothing else matters as much as those daily habits.

The problem is that most of us have bursts of fitness motivation, when we eat well and workout hard for a short time…but then the motivation wears off and we go back to our daily habits. That familiar routine that gives us comfort and security.

Your only focus, when it comes to finally shaping up (for good) should be to make and keep a handful of healthy,daily habits. When these healthy habits become your comfortable routine, then you’ve hit fitness gold.

This is great news for two reasons:

  1. First, when you do something habitually it no longer requires a lot of brain power or motivation to get it done. It pretty much happens automatically. So once you’ve settled into your new daily habits, you’ll easily maintain them.
  2. Second, once your daily habits have been around long enough to begin to transform your body, you get to give up the exhausting psychological and emotional struggle of trying to “lose weight”. That quest, which has taken up so much of your time and mental energy, can finally be put to rest, leaving you time and capacity to go out and enjoy your life. Once you’ve achieved that ever-allusive feeling of self worth and security, the ride has just begun. Now the fun really begins.

So today, take a few moments to determine which healthy, daily habits you will begin to include in your daily life, and continue to prompt yourself to do these until it becomes automatic and comfortable. While each and every one of you have unique situations and abilities, here is a general list of ideas of healthy daily habits to get you started…

  • Daily resistance training workout – same time each day.
  • Daily cardio bonus workout (walk, jog, bike etc) – same time each day.
  • Daily protein shake to replace breakfast or lunch.
  • Daily water drinking – bring your water bottle with you.
  • Daily green drink.
  • Daily salad at one meal (maybe lunch?).
  • Daily bonus push-ups at home.

Go on, get working on your own personal list of daily fitness habits. Make these realistic actions that you could fit into your daily life, and watch as your body effortlessly, naturally transforms over the next several weeks. Contact us to see how much these habits (and others) can really facilitate a key role in your overall, personal success.

Quick note for you overachievers: resist the urge to commit to difficult or extreme daily habits. You aren’t having one of your fitness bursts right now, that fizzle out shortly – these habits are meant for the long run. So instead of saying that you’ll run 6 miles each day, only commit to 2 miles. Do those 2 miles ever day for a few months and you’ll see the value and truly life-changing powers of a daily habit. It takes time for them to settle in. It’s the consistency, not the effort or duration, that matters most.

If I Were the King of the Forest

Katie’s Corner – It seems one of the concerns that I’ve been hearing over and over again in the past few weeks is that people fear they are not good enough. Whether it’s that they are not able to do a certain exercise to the full range of motion or they are intimidated to try a new class, it seems to have become a recurring theme as of late, and I’m not sure why. Regardless, I do think it’s important to address, as there are likely many others who keep their insecurities to themselves.

The other day, a friend coincidentally sent me a quote, quite apropos, which reads, “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” Of course, we all know that Thomas Edison was as persistent as they come, but he was human and therefore also feasibly suffered much fear of failure. And yet he invented one of the greatest, most widely used creations on earth.

One thing we forget—or maybe don’t even realize—is how much courage it takes to walk into a gym or studio, not just the first time, but also the third, and 53rd, and 123rd. Every time you walk through the door to the studio, you’re saying, “I’m not giving up. I’m going to try. And I don’t care who’s watching.” This week, celebrate your courageousness. Your courage to put one foot in front of the other is the very thing that is going to lead you to success.

Replace your Toothbrush

Every year, we painstakingly set and commit ourselves to New Year’s Resolutions, which most frequently are forgotten by the end of the month of January, only to be remembered again in a post-holiday haze of guilt. And so begins the habitual cycle of setting ourselves up for failure. The system seems broken to me, and I’ve learned that if a pattern isn’t working, a change is needed. So I have an idea that’s simple but, more importantly, doable in order to keep you (and me) on track for sustained success.

It’s probably no big news to you that The American Dental Association recommends that we replace our toothbrushes once every three to four months because of inevitable bacteria buildup and wear on the bristles. This is a pretty common fact that you likely learned at an early age, so you may be wondering why I’m bringing in up in a Katie’s Corner and what relevance it has to you. Well, my proposal is this: every time you replace your toothbrush, you also reflect and reevaluate your behaviors, actions, and goals in your own life. Because of the daily grind and regular life occurrences, checking in with oneself on a daily—and even weekly—basis seems daunting and nearly impossible to do. But checking in once every three to four months is much more achievable and frankly, I think, a much healthier way of pondering desired goals and perceived shortcomings.

Try it out. Replace your toothbrush…and then reevaluate your expectations of yourself. Are you accomplishing what you want to accomplish? Have you reached the goals that you’ve set for yourself? If so, great! Treat yourself to a (healthy) reward. If not, modify your approach so that you’re able to reach your goal within the next three months. I know I’m due for a new toothbrush soon. Are you?

Time for a Summer Shape-up

It’s that time of year again! No more excuses and no more halfway doing it. You’ve got to go all out to look and feel your best, just in time for Summer. But before you set up shop in the corner doing 3.7 million sit-ups, you should know that as helpful as it is to have a strong core for overall health, there are much more effective ways to get the results that you crave.

What you need is a full-body exercise routine that really gets your heart pumping. That means on top of a solid foundation of strength-training exercises, you’ll want to pile on plenty of high intensity cardio exercises to really jump-start your metabolism. Try a class that takes you out of your comfort zone or sit down with one of our health & fitness specialists for a complimentary consultation. We’d be happy to help you develop a routine that makes the most sense for you and your schedule.

Food journaling is a critical component to weight management. Documenting what you eat throughout the day makes you more accountable for the choices you make. The simple action of tracking your food intake is a constant reminder that you are choosing to pay attention to your health and well-being. In time, you’ll start to understand where your calories are coming from and the nutritional balance of your meals and snacks. This knowledge will make it easier to make the necessary changes to your diet and lifestyle. Then, if your stomach is upset, you feel unusually tired or sluggish, bloated, unsatisfied, etc., you can look back and see which foods made you feel this way.

Follow this link to set up an online food journal through MyFitnessPal!

The Art of Reflection

It always amazes me the things that I remember from my childhood. I joke around that I don’t remember anything before age 12. Although slightly true, the more I reflect — the more that comes back. So why are those memories suppressed? Things happen and things change so fast that we’re forced to react. For me personally, I think it’s more of a protective response. If I uncover those memories, it becomes increasingly more difficult to embrace the change that’s taken place as time has taken it’s toll.

Three days ago, I was on the Cape celebrating my 25th birthday with those closest to me. My family went out to dinner to our favorite restaurant – who are we kidding, the foods not even that good. Anyways, I look around the table and see all of the same people, but it doesn’t feel the same. Sure, my dad’s still cracking crab legs for everyone, my mom’s still cracking jokes, and everyone is happy to be together. But, we’re all so different. My sister is in high school, about ready to start driving, my grandfather is half asleep (maybe not so different), and my Nana is sitting in her wheel chair.I look down at my grandmother repeatedly and she’s smiling ear-to-ear, just because I’m “home” for the day. It means the world to her. As she sits there looking so fragile and so worn, I can’t help but think about what a strong woman she was, always there to support all of us. Many of my best childhood memories are centered around her. I was the favorite and I called her my best friend (still do). I used to sleep over every Friday night and she’d cook pancakes for me in the morning. I’d see her almost every day– so active, so caring, and so full of life.Recently, life has gotten in the way and it was my first time back since right around the Holidays. I was happy to see everyone, but sad recounting old memories. It’s certainly easier (for me at least) to trudge forward, rather than to reflect back. But, what good does that do?

Here I am, just days later, back on Cape — but this time alone in a hospital waiting room. It’s 4AM and eerily quiet on the floor. My grandmother lies in the next unit, on life support, and completely sedated. There’s no telling if she’ll wake up and how she’ll be when she does. With each passing day, leading up to this most recent event, she was losing fragments of herself — physically, mentally, emotionally. The aging process is difficult for someone like me — who can’t reflect — who can’t absorb or truly understand how quickly things can change. I can, however, recognize that there are some parts of her that will always be there, that will always stay with me. Every day, sometimes 3, 4, 5 times she’ll call from her chair at home.

“Hey Honey, it’s only me; call me when you get a chance”.

Hundreds of voicemails… Always wondering how I’m doing, always from “only her” or “just Nan”. She lived her life for all of us, and that was enough for her.

As time pushes on, once more I’m forced to reflect. How can I lead a life that’s meaningful to me, yet purposeful at the same time? I can’t change what’s thrown at me and I certainly can’t slow things down. But, I can alter my approach. I can choose to reflect back, rather than to push through. I can choose to enjoy the little moments, instead of getting saddened by them. I can choose to spend time with those that matter most, because that is what matter’s most to me, deep down. I can take these lessons from my grandmother with me for the rest of my life, cherish them, and truly be the best person I can be.

Then I’ll know, like Nana, that I lived a good life.