Working IN Movement

Working IN Movement

With the coming and going of 3 kids’ birthdays and a weekend of crazy tummy illness, I’ve felt a decent dose of anxiety over the past week.  

What have you had going on that’s made your feel like life is out of control?

These days, it doesn’t take much, right?

If you are working out and doing any sort of involvement in life at what tends to be an accepted pace then you are likely asking questions about how to avoid burnout.  

Restoring Strength to Reset your Life

Having been a long-distance runner for nearly all of my life, it has surprised me how little respect cardio gets these days. Trust me, I love my cardio...but there are some downsides to cardio that can't be avoided.  While it has always been a great stress reliever in many ways in my life, research also shows that is creates lots of oxidative stress (which makes us age faster) and can be tough on the joints.  And I wouldn't want to forget that it also tends to be less effective as a fat loss tool for most of us than lifting weights. Why weights?

Top 6 Creative Fitness Fit-Ins for the Holidays

Are you feeling rushed with shopping, partying, packaging, baking, cooking, planning, and...oh yeah, keeping up with your "normal" life?

"It came without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages, boxes or bags!... Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! "Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas... perhaps... means a little bit more!" ~Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Whether you celebrate Christmas or some other year end-tradition, this time of year is always full of way more than most of us can normally imagine fitting in. Yet we do all the "extra's" gladly because of the joy it brings in the end.  With all of this running around, perhaps you may be getting in the movement you need. After all, it's estimated that:
  • Wrapping gifts for an hour burns 120 calories, and
  • Shopping while pushing a full cart of presents can burn a little over 100 calories in just 3 minutes.

Imagine!  But here's a little secret.  These little blips of movement add up to more than you think- and I will testify that one of the primary reasons Erica and I can stay in the shape that we do is because we have lots of little bouts of lifting, moving, carrying, stretching, and rushing in our days.  It's the perk of being in fitness, yes, but you can create this for yourself too.  All it takes is a little creativity.

A study completed in 2000 showed that subjects who stood and fidgeted burned 81% more calories than those who stood still, and those who sat and fidgeted burned about 50% more than those who sat motionless.  Ah-ha.

Here's our top 6 list for Creative Fitness Fit-Ins for the Holidays...

  1. Stand, talk with your hands and act out your stories at parties and family events.  You might need a cocktail to get this one rolling, but your family will surely be entertained.
  2. For every present you wrap or open, stop and do one burpee or jumping jack (or better yet, have the person who gave you your gift give you a new challenge for every gift!)
  3. Purposely take the stairs as many times as possible per day.  Even if it means you commit to using only the bathroom on whatever floor you happen to not be on. (Oh, and commit to drinking a full glass of water every time someone says "Thank you".  I am banking on the idea that you have grateful families and friends).
  4. Speaking of the bathroom, do 50 squats after every time you visit the are all alone in the room (is my guess) and there's no one to judge anyway.  A 135 pound person who does 50 squats in 2.5 minutes can burn about 22 calories.  May not seem like much, but considering how many times in a week you visit the bathroom, this could really add up!
  5. Help with clean up in every way possible.  Do the dishes, take out the trash, help the kids set up their new toys and them put them away, make a "giveaway" box for the things that must go to make room for your new stuff.
  6. And finally, if you are willing to get really creative, grab the kids- or just be willing to get a little silly, and learn  this kid friendly dance (includes tutorial)...don't worry- you don't have to do it perfectly, just get up and dance!

Above all- move.  It matters.

P.S.  We are partnering with a phenomenal nutrition coach to lead a 21 day Health Transformation support group for January.  Stay tuned for more info!!

Is your body in a rut?

There's nothing wrong with your body.  Really.  No matter what you are struggling with, and no matter what you feel- your body is not the enemy...or your slave.  It is a beautiful gift. When starting out my professional path toward health and wellness, I was coming out of a dark period of my life. I had worked my body to the bone with running and restricted eating, I had a long history of burning the candle at both ends trying to do as much as humanly possible to prove myself every day, and although I loved running and focusing my health, I felt completely out of balance.

Have you ever done something you really believed was "right" in order to be healthy, happy, and whole, but were left exhausted, burnt out, and frustrated with the lack of joy in your life?

Because that was me.

Despite all the data out there today about how various versions of diet and exercise will solve all your life's problems, it became very clear to me as I started this journey that I wanted to help guide people to authentically partner with their bodies. Too often people are "should-ing" themselves right out of feeding their souls and their overall health because they are neglecting to listen to what they actually need and then actually taking action on it.

When Erica and I started working together, what I admired most about her (and still do) was that she was choosing to listen to her body, to find ways to love it and listen to it more, and to evolve without waivering on one thing: that she is worth it.

And here is the thing I want you to consider today:

Your body can make you happy.

Exercise isn't just something that's nice to do, or that will ultimately make you look better. Exercise is a drug. Once your heart rate elevates and your body starts moving, a series of chemical responses in the brain occur that lead to short and long term benefits. It's called the "Happiness Effect".

Here's the tip...stop beating yourself up for all that you are or are not doing to move and exercise and start doing little things that leave you feeling happier because you did them. Especially if you are feeling stuck in a rut with your energy, weight, or joy.

As Albert Einstein said..."Nothing happens until something moves."

Some of our favorite Corrective Exercises!

We always start Fitness Fire group classes or a training session with some dynamic stretching and then a couple corrective exercises. This is meant to prep your body for use and warm up the areas you're about to workout. It's great to pin point weaker areas of your body and do specific corrective work for those issues. Here's a break down of some of our favorites!

Wall slides: These are great for those of you who sit at a desk all day long and may be trapped in that forward-leaning position. Wall slides work your thoracic spine and really help to open up your chest and shoulders which helps greatly with good posture.

Stand with your back against a wall with your feet about 6 inches away from the wall and a little less than shoulder width apart. Tuck your tailbone forward and make sure your back is nice and flat against the wall, you may need to adjust where your feet are for this to happen. Tighten your tummy and bring your hands up to the wall with your elbows bent at 90 degrees. Now squeeze and press your shoulder blades against the wall (make sure your back is still touching!) and begin to slide your arms from rib height straight up then back down again. Do 10-20 reps with good form.

Bridges: If you have a hard time engaging your glutes, this is a great one for you. 

Lay on the ground with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Make sure your back is flat. Push through your heels and squeeze your glutes simultaneously to bring your butt off the ground. You want to make sure you're keeping your hips level and squeezing your glutes very tight. Pause at the top and repeat. Do 15-20 reps. To increase difficulty you can do a single leg bridge by bringing one foot off the ground and extending the leg towards the sky.

Clam shells: This exercise targets your glutes, inner thighs and hips, which are key for a healthy back and stable knees.  

Lie on your side with your hips and knees bent 45 degrees, legs and ankles stacked. Keeping your feet touching each other and head resting on the ground, raise your upper knee as high as you can while keeping your hips stack. Do 15-20 reps on each side. For added difficulty, put a small resistance band right above the top of your knees.

T-W-Y-I: These target the muscles of your upper back that stabilize your shoulder blades (trapezius and rhomboids). They also strengthens your rotator cuff and help promote good posture.

Start by laying on your stomach. Flex your toes into the ground and make sure they stay touching the ground the whole time. For Ts: Extend your arms out to your side, palms down and gently squeeze your shoulder blades together lifting your chest off the ground. Pause at the top and come back down. For Ws: Bend your arms 90 degrees at the elbow or make a "touchdown" shape. For Ys: Put your arms slightly above you in a Y shape, thumbs pointing up to the ceiling. For Is which are the hardest: Arms come straight above you, palms down. Channel superman or superwoman for this one! If you feel any pain in your low back leave out the Is until you become stronger. Do 8-12 reps of each. You can make this more challenging by holding light weights.

Quadruped opposite arm/leg lifts: his move strengthens your glutes and core, as well as strengthening the stabilizer muscles around your spine which can help immensely with alleviating low back pain.

Get down on your hands and knees with your palms flat on the floor and shoulder-width apart. Tighten your tummy, and raise your right arm and left leg until they're in line with your body. Briefly pause and return to the starting position. Repeat with your left arm and right leg. Continue to alternate sides until you've completed 10-15 reps on each side.

Give these a try... which are hardest for you? This means you should be doing the hardest ones a couple times a week!

It's important to strengthen and engage your weaker areas. If you're diligent, you'll most likely notice improvement quickly.

As Many Reps As Possible- Workout

It sure is HOT out today! Stay inside and try this workout, no excuses! This is an AMRAP- As Many Reps As Possible. This was from a June Fitness Fire class (class cal link: amrap Set a timer for 8 (you can start lower and work your way up) minutes and see how many reps you can do. It is a great way to see improvement and push yourself to go faster the next time you do it. I like to do the same AMRAP workout at least every couple months as a base for my current athletic level. If you have weights, or a medicine ball, or some cans of soup... use a medium weight. If your back hurts, go down in weight. Bodyweight is also a great option!

1. Alternating reverse lunge with front reach from low lunge position (8 on each side)

2. Speed squats (16)

3. Jumping jacks with overhead reach (8)

That's it! Simple and can be done ANYWHERE! Write down your total number of reps so you can try to beat yourself next time. Let us know how you do!!

Complex Workouts that are Simple!

There are limitless ways to workout, and I am sure I will never experience every possible rendition of moving my body.  However, there are a few things I have been exposed to that I really, really enjoy.  One of the specific things we incorporate in our workouts at Restoration Fitness that I personally love to do, are complexes.  A complex is essentially a string of exercises that flow from one to the next, and they most often involve some type of olympic lift (but they don't have to).  There are a few ways you can complete complexes:

  1. The most traditional way is the string 3-5 exercises together, complete them as fast as you can, take at least equal rest to how long it took you to complete the complex, and repeat it again 3-6 times, depending on the amount of reps you do with each exercise.
  2. Another fun method is to string the exercises together and just keep going until you either reach a specific time (and you record the number of reps you get) or you commit to doing a certain number of reps (and record how long it takes you for 4 sets for example).  You can also get more information on the effectiveness of this type of workout on the Metabolic Effect website.

Here are a couple of sample complexes you can do at home with little to no equipment:

Complex Workout 1: Choose 1 set of dumbells that you can bicep curl 5 times but not 8 times.  Start a timer for 10 minutes and see how many total reps of each exercise you can complete going straight from one exercise to the next.  Take rest if you have to, but do not lower the resistance, even if you have to lower the reps.

8 Alternating Reverse Lunges

8 Bentover Rows

8 Squat to over Press

8 Push-Ups

Complex Workout 2:  This is a nice body weight circuit you can do anywhere.  Set a timer and see how fast you can complete the following 4 exercises.  Rest for the same time it takes you to complete the complex, and repeat 3-6 times seeing if you can match or better your time with each repetition!

15 Squats

10 Burpees

15 Push-Ups

30total  Mountain Climbers


Energizing Exercises for Your Body, Heart, and Mind

In Paul Chek's book, "How to Eat, Move, and be Healthy", he states, "Building energy and vitality in your body is a lot like investing.  Just as it takes money to make money, it takes energy to make energy. You might often find yourself thinking, "I am too tired to workout", when in reality, the systems of your body that produce energy also use energy. Usually, we just think of expending energy as something that results in fatigue or loss of energy, but in fact, our muscles are often working to generate more energy.

Muscles help energize the body by producing electromagnetic energy and by behaving like pumps to assist the heart.  When tension is created by a muscle contraction an electric current, called a "piezoelectric current", is generated in the connective tissue, tendons, and even over the skin.  The body uses this energy to help run its systems.  Another name for this current is "Chi".

There are specific zones of the body that when activated, create a targeted effect on the Chi or energy that is elevated in that area.  This is beneficial energy that is activating and awakening which is reffered to as "anabolic", not the kind of energy we typically think of with exercise that is depleting and "catabolic".   These type of exercises can often be found in practices like yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, and the Zone exercises we use at Restoration Fitness, founded by Paul Chek.

Which zone are you depleted in?

The table below outlines the Zones numbered 1-6, the correlating muscles that tend to have issues, and the related functions and issues people will have if they are stuck in one of these specific zones.  This is a very broad overview, but you can easily see that if you are a person who has digestive issues, you may also have a correlating recurring problem with your upper abdominals or lower back (or may at least have weakness there).  In our programs, we go through a detailed questionnaire and then offer specific exercises that help you build energy back into these zones.Zones_CHEK

One specific exercise we love is the "breathing squat".  Paul Chek demonstrates it here so well and gives you more insight into how Zone exercises are performed!

Timed Workouts

To help you focus your time for your workouts so you have abundant energy, time, and flow to be present for your life's passions, here is a quick workout that you can complete in less than 30 minutes.  I have recently been turned on to this type of escalating density training, which essentially means getting your body to do more work in less time.  It is formatted after what is called an "EMOM" approach, which is to do an exercise every minute on the minute for a certain number of reps, but I like this one for the additional endurance piece.  Christine Neff gave me a similar workout like this at her noon Elevate Metabolic Boost and Mobility Class at Inspired Athletic Movement (which is on Mondays and Thursdays...I LOVE it). DIRECTIONS: Start a timer that will repeat every three and a half minutes (3 min 30s).

Complete each exercise for the reps listed in order with as little rest as possible until you are finished.  Then repeat the same exercises every 3 minutes and 30 seconds. In essence you are working as fast as you can to "earn" more rest by getting done faster before the next 3min 30s starts.  Complete 4-5 total rounds of three and a half minutes.  As a warm-up you could do a lighter round of each exercise, then to finish, be sure you stretch and use your roller!

1) 10 Perfect push-ups (you can do these off a counter or couch to make them a little easier so your form stays pure).

2) 10 Bentover rows with Dumbells.

3) 10 Squat to Overhead presses with Dumbells or Medicine ball slams.

4) 60 jump ropes.

Be sure to pick weights that are challenging by the end of workout and that still allow you to use good form.

And reach out to us tell us how you are using gratitude to honor the time you have and to bless your body!

Final Days of Summer Racing in Colorado

Your last few weekends to sneak in a race before summer ends are here!  Summer always goes way too fast, and before you know it, you may be wishing you had made better plans to fit in a road race to get out and meet up with people in your community for a little outdoor fit-time.  There are still some great races left that are fairly local, here are few of our suggestions:

Saturday, August 17, 2013:

  • Give it a FAIR TRI, BlackHawk, CO Triathlon and 5k (including kids!)
  • Color Me Rad;  Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield, Littleton, CO
  • Tiara's and Tutu's Fun Run: Frisco, CO

Tuesday August 20th:

  • Run to Do Good Five for Fire 5k: Boulder, CO

Saturday, August 24th

  • Redline 13.1 and 10k, Lehigh Park,  Erie, CO
  • Monarch Coyote Chase, 8am, Monarch High School (to benefit a great High School program!)
  • Runapalooza 5K & 10K, Apex Center, Arvada, CO
  • Bibfree 5k and 1-mile Kids Run, Thornton Multi-purpose fields

Sunday, August 25th

  • RMRR Fall marathon Training- 10 mile Race at Twin Lakes Park, Denver
  • 9K Sprint Challenge presented by DaVita, Civic Center Park, Denver CO
  • La Sportiva Vail 10k & 5k @10,000', Vail, CO
  • Heart and Sole Half Marathon, 5k and 10, Boulder Reservoir

Saturday, August 31st:

  • Boulder Sunset Triathlon, Boulder Reservoir: Spring, Olympic, Duathlon, 5k

I'd also like to suggest that planning ahead is the best choice!  In which case, as the kids are getting ready to go back to school, it's a perfect time to start planning your fall fitness routine.  You know your schedule best, but unless your workouts are on the calendar, they likely won't get done!  That said, take a look at your local rec center options, call a friend to have them commit to a class with you once a week, or check out Inspired Athletic Movement's class calendar online (you still have a couple weeks to get plugged in to our 10 days for $19 deal!) to see where you could start to plug in.

What should you do?  In a perfect world, we love the idea of having 2 days of strength training, 2 days of higher intensity cardio, 1-2 days of yoga or restorative movement, and 1 day of long endurance biking or hiking.  This keeps your program balanced, your body in harmony, all while helping you remain lean and energized!

Healing Hormone Issues with Exercise

"Hormones are chemical substances that act like messenger molecules in the body. After being made in one part of the body, they travel to other parts of the body where they help control how cells and organs do their work. For example, insulin is a hormone that's made by the beta cells in the pancreas. When it's released into the blood, insulin helps regulate how the cells of the body use glucose (a type of sugar) for energy." - We tend to think of hormonal issues as an adult problem, but as many parents of tweens and teens will tell you...they start their influence at a fairly young age.  Hormonal control and regulation talk has become common place in our society as we search to maintain our energy, mood, libido, and vibrancy into later stages of life.  What is fascinating is that there is a growing trend, even amidst our current scientific "progress", for people to begin seeking hormonal help at a younger age.  Blame it on stress, fast paced lifestyle, phthalates in our plastics and shampoos, the added soy in our food supply, and putting off child bearing into later years, and there's a perfect cocktail for our need to help our hormones.   Tim Ferris in The Four Hour Body states that "The sperm counts of men in the US and 20 other industrialized countries have been falling since 1942 at a rate of roughly 1% per year in healthy males."  Walk into any infertility clinic in the US and you will shocked by the volume of people who need hormonal assistance to have children naturally.   There are so many reasons why they can be thrown off, it can be infuriating to chase down the cause.

While hormone replacement therapy may be the ultimate solution for some, the more subtle solution is to get back to what nature intended to help us feel great.  More sleep, whole foods in moderation, and stress-reducing exercise.  In a comparison of exercisers and non-exercisers, showed that exercisers' moods were significantly more positive than sedentary women's moods, regardless of menopausal state. Exercising women also scored lower on somatic symptoms and memory-concentration difficulties. (Health Psychology, Vol 16(3), May 1997, 203-208).  Physical activity also seems to minimize weight gain and changes in body composition and fat distribution experienced at midlife and might attenuate the rapid bone density loss that occurs when perimenopausal women engage in moderate physical activity an average of 30 minutes a day.

In general, our hormones decline as we age.  They can become more off balance when we don't take care of our health.  There is still research needed to define what specific types of exercise is best for treating hormonal fluctuation, but we know that Testosterone can be boosted with strength training and that over-exercising can actually reduce Estrogen levels.  We suggest strength training 2 days a week, doing yoga or Tai Chi 2 days a week, 1 day of high intensity intervals and 1 day of hiking or biking at a moderate level to maintain a healthy balance of effort and consistency for your hormonal health.  Of course, your effort level will depend on what you are currently used to doing for training, so see your physician and fitness coach for more info!

Excuses are like belly buttons

Normally I am a pretty easy going person.  I have my ideals and standards, but at the end of the day compassion typically trumps my need for things to get done the way I prefer.  It's funny, because I often wonder if I simply just make excuses for myself and others that I disguise as compassion.  Now that I think about it, lots of things have become a little more grey the older I get.  Not much seems too black and white.  For example- it used to be easy for me to say, "if you want to change, start moving".  Now I realize, the in order for some people to change, they literally need someone or something to get them moving out of depression in order to initiate change.  Of course, a depressed person still has to be willing to engage in the process of change once they get started, and that is where the excuses and continue to factor in.

Excuses are like belly buttons: everyone has one and they ain't worth nothin'. - Author Unknown

I have made excuses for more than I would like to admit in my life.  Many of my regrets are for the excuses I made- even subconsciouly, rather than dealing with the situation or taking action in the moment.  It would seem that none of us is exempt from excusing ourselves from time to time.  Usually for good reasons.

The best definition I could find for an Excuse: An explanation offered to justify or obtain forgiveness.

So as far as I can tell, the difference between a legitimate explanation or reason vs. an excuse is that an explanation is an account of what happened without any attempt to avoid responsibility for ones actions. The person giving the explanation would preface and/or follow it up with something like, "what can I do to make it right?"

An excuse is an account of what happened given in an attempt to avoid responsibility for ones actions. An excuse usually includes a sentiment along the lines of, "It not my fault."

So what is your excuse for your actions vs. your reasons?   Do you feel you are constantly apologizing or feeling bad even though deep down you don't think it is your fault or your responsibility?

When it comes to making decisions for your health,  you are in complete control.  You may not think you are because of work, family obligations, social commitments, church, upkeep on the house, etc., etc., but ultimately you are in control.  To avoid what you need and blame it on something else is simply as excuse.  To take responsibility for the fact that you don't exercise or eat better means that you acknowledge that you could make better choices and then ask "what can I do to make it right?".  Even better,  you might let yourself get a little vulnerable and ask, "what can I do to ask for help?"

Let's all strive to avoid making excuses and instead, own up to what we can choose to do to focus our time and efforts on healthy breakthroughs!

The trouble with always leaving yourself a way out is that you always take it. ~Robert Brault

7 Steps to Fit without the Fuss

It might be easy to assume that fit people are just born that way.  I mean, some people are just born smarter than others, right?  While we may all have a genetic predisposition to like certain things, that doesn't give us license to stop learning or being active. My cousin is a bookworm.  She would rather spend her days sitting on the couch with a cup of tea and a great book than do just about anything else.  And as much as I love reading, if I were given the choice to do anything, I will almost always choose a run or a hike outside.

Of course we do what we enjoy and what makes us happy.  So for those who have a hard time getting up and out the door (and perhaps getting their nose out of a book), here are some tips from the research for what makes fit people stay fit.  There's some facts here that may surprise you!

  1. Make exercise a non-negotiable part of your routine. Working out in the morning has been shown to improve exercise consistency, even though multiple studies show that working out between 4 and 5 in the afternoon is physiologically the best time break a sweat (it is when our body temp is highest).
  2. Workout with a friend, hire a trainer, or join a class.  Statistics have shown that individuals that work out with a partner have a higher probability of reaching their personal fitness goals.  Consistency, motivation, and long-term commitment increases when you work out with a buddy!
  3. Pair your workout with an audio book, a podcast, or a youtube video.  I haven't found any research on this one, but I have many clients and have even found for myself that I am much more motivated to go out when I know I have something engaging to listen to!
  4. Have a plan.  Even for when you go on vacation or get sick. Just because your daily routing is different, that doesn't mean you have to give up your exercise.  The general rule of thumb for illness is that if your symptoms are from the neck up, then it's OK to try a moderate workout.  However, if your symptoms are from the neck down, take a day or two off.  This isn't foolproof, however, and research done int he '90's points to the fact that those who regularly get moderate exercise will have half the days of illness as their sedentary counterparts.  Stick to your program by doing something that is much lower in intensity from your normal routine unless you clearly feel worse after 10 minutes of movement.
  5. Move for the sake of moving.  In 1986 Eric Ravussin studied 177 subjects who were confined to a 10x 12 foot respiratory chamber where everything was controlled except for how much the subjects were allowed to move around.  Those who were more spontaneously active burned as much as 2300 calories in a 24 hour period!
  6. Find a great motivator.  Most people think they are working out to stay trim and lean, but there are a million other benefits for activity.  Improved cardiovascular function, improved sleep, decreased stress, improved patience.  Did you know that a new study from the Journal of Labor Research shows that fit people make 9% more money than those who don't exercise?
  7. Work out on an empty stomach.  Belgian researchers have recently discovered that the study group who exercised before eating, despite eating a horrible, weight gain-inducing diet, did not gain weight. Not only that, but the group's insulin sensitivity remained high and the bad diet did not make the group insulin resistant.   Just another reason to get that workout in in the morning!

I like the idea of fidgeting and simply choosing a little different time of day to exercise on an empty stomach having such a large positive effect!

Top 5 Tips for Wise & Warm Winter Workouts

After spending everyday out in any kind of weather including rain, wind, snow, or sleet, I can tell you from experience that wearing the right gear is crucial for success.  Running has always been, and continues to be my drug of choice to give me energy, calm me down, bring me peace, or lift my confidence.  It beckons me from a deep place, even if on the surface I may not feel like getting out the door.  I like to think it's sort of like cleaning the house.  Nobody really wants to do it when they are thinking about it, but once they get started it feels so good to have a clean environment, they can't believe they waited so long to just get it done.  When it's cold outside, it can be even harder to get motivated to get out the door.  Well, from one hooked outdoor enthusiast to another, here's my top 5 list for wisely staying warm for your outdoor workouts: 1) Always dress in layers.  My favorite is a pair of light leggings and a long-sleeved wicking underlayer top, a vest, and light wind pants and a water resistant jacket.  The layers help to trap in heat while the clothes that contact your skin help to keep the sweat moving through the material rather than sitting and collecting in the fabric.

2) Keep a hat and gloves handy.  Even if you don't end up needing these, they are light enough to stow away in a pocket.  I like to start out in those cheap cotton gloves and a cap that covers my ears.  I typically go for cotton, but there are some great synthetic brands that have more grip to keep the hat down around your ears that are great too.  In the end, as long as it covers your ears, no matter how tight it is, you will likely be fine.  For colder days, choose a heavier thickness hat with tighter grip and mittens.

3) Use a mask.  Not like one from the hospital, but I guess that would do.  I have used anything from a tied up scarf, a neck warmer sleeve, to an actual ski mask.  I've always liked the cotton neck warmer the best because you can always just give it a little spin and you have a new dry spot to breathe into!

4) Drink water.  On colder days it sometimes doesn't seem like drinking water is as necessary as the hot days, but it is just as important, if not more important, to keep your body hydrated to maintain a stable body temperature.  I like drinking luke warm water when I can find it.

5) Don't stop.  Even if you are just waiting for the light to change, keep moving.  You want to keep the blood pumping to your extremities and keep the muscles active so you don't stiffen up.  If you have to stop, use the time to stretch your calves, quads or hamstrings to keep your body in some motion.

In the big picture, there have only been a few times over the course of thousands of outings that I have ever regretted getting out in the cold to workout.  In fact, most of the time I feel so much better that I did.  Just like cleaning up my house!


What the diff between Semi-Private's and Classes?

When a person says, "fitness class" it's easy to picture a Jane Fonda type scene with spandex, steps, and tiny weights.  We thought it might be good to clarify what we think our classes have to offer you, and how they differ from our semi-private and private sessions.  Of course, you're welcome to wear whatever you like to any of our offerings, just as long as you know where you fit in! Classes: Right now we call these "Fitness Fire" classes.  They are a high-intensity, circuit-style, total-body workout that combines cardio with weights.  It's what many people in the fitness world call Metabolic Conditioning.  Every now and then we shake it up and go for time or highest amount of reps on a series of exercises which is more about Metabolic Density Conditioning, but overall, it is meant to crank up your metabolism by working the muscular and cardiovascular system together.  This type of workout is likely not going to get you to load your body for building maximum strength, but it will help with building some muscle endurance, and potentially some speed. The thing that makes our classes different, is that our average class size is only 6 people.  That means we can treat each class more like a group personal training session by adjusting exercises to fit each persons unique needs.  Have an injury or a funky shoulder...we can accommodate that!

Semi-private Sessions: These are what we call fitness coaching sessions.  The best part about these is that we get to directly address your goals and your body's unique movement patterns to help you maximize your strength and function.  We incorporate a specific program design to include dynamic warm-up and stretching to correct your tight areas and activate your weak spots.  We also use a variety of methods to strengthen your body in all planes of movement.  The best part about these workouts is that these are what build muscle and improve your overall physique the most!  We love semi-privates because 2-3 people can work out together for greater inspiration and accountability while saving a ton of money compared to personal training.  We like to call it  "buddy strength training".

Private sessions: These include all of what the semi-privates offer, only its you and trainer only.  That means you get the full attention and conversation to maximize your coaching to troubleshoot, motivate and keep you accountable during your sessions.  The only downside, is they are nearly double the price of a semi-private session.  So  if money is not a barrier for you, and you like your trainer all to yourself, then by all means...personal training is a great choice.

We also offer nutrition services and wellness coaching to help you with your nutrition and lifestyle needs.  But that's the lo down on the current activity at the gym!



Holiday Games for Family Fitness

When I was growing up, my favorite thing about Christmas was the Santa presents.  Somehow, Santa always had a special stash of gift in red tissue paper that had our very own name signed on the package in silver magic glitter.  I loved the magic of it all, opening the presents with my family in our jammies listening to Christmas music.  We had a few other things we did over the years, one of which was to deliver holiday cinnamon rolls to our neighbors, piping hot from the oven.  Now that I am a new mother, my mind is beginning to dream of the traditions that we will create for our little boys.  Because I am an active person at heart, and love the idea of creating a family experience of movement and fun, it makes sense to offer you some ideas to get you own family up and moving this holiday season.  After all, the holidays don't have to be all about external gifts, they can be about the gift of life and health too!

1) Create a scavenger hunt for each day of Advent or the Hanukkah calendar.   Hide a little gift or a clue to the meaning of the season that can be read aloud.  You could even create different hiding spots for each person of the family.  Whoever finds that name will have to stop everyone from their searching and exclaim in a loud voice what they love most about that person.

2) Snowball fights.  With the warmer temps this year, we may not get the real fluffy white snow, but you can make your own snowball fight by piling up the couch pillows on two sides of a room and making your own snowballs with plastic Ziploc bags filled with marshmallows.  Or make your own indoor mini-snowmen out of lots of cotton balls.

3) Create a Neighborhood gift walk:  'Tis the season for giving, and what better way to get to know your neighbors than to spread the cheer with a special little treat.  Have your kids get involved with making a fruit basket, or a smoothie kit with protein powder, cocoa, almond butter and bananas and have then help you walk the neighborhood to deliver the gifts.  Or perhaps you could do a door to door campaign to collect can food items and then deliver them to your local food bank as a way of giving back to the community.

4) Play Charades.  This is an all time classic fun game that is sure to get lots of laughs and get people up moving around as then try to get others to guess their challenge.  Here's a great explanation of how to play charades for kids to play too.

5) Stocking relays.  When we think of stockings, we think of those hung on the mantle to be filled with little goodies, but in this relay game, we re-purpose stockings for a way to challenge a fun relay with the family and/or friends.  First, create an open area to run/move.  Then place a 4-8 small items (you'll need 2 of each of these for 2 stockings)  in each stocking for the two different teams to use during the relay.  Line up the participants into two teams behind the stockings.  Have each team start at the same time and select one of the items out of the stocking.  Each time a participant is up, they may not have the same item as the person next to them, but each team will have the same items to get through before they are finished with the relay.  Some great ideas might be balancing a small gift on the head while getting down to a cone and back; balancing a cotton ball on a spoon with the spoon handle in the mouth while going down to cone and back; bouncing or rolling a golf ball on the floor with one hand down to the cone and back; putting on a shirt and shorts while walking down the cone, and taking them off while walking back from the cone; walking blindfolded while your team tells you how to get to the cone and back.  You will have to either instruct your teams on how to use each item before the game starts, or for an even bigger challenge, have instructions on each item and the team has to figure it out with each item.  It's up to you!  This one is a ton of fun!!

No matter what you choose, it is the intention of playing and having a ball letting loose.  The holidays are all about kids, why not act like a kid yourself?!  And if you haven't already done so, take a moment to get your own free Holiday Survival Guide to help you make the most of this holiday by keeping you health a priority.

If you have more ideas or things your family does for fun, we would love to hear them.  Add your ideas to the list by commenting below.

How to convince yourself to workout...and love it

you matterMy mom was here today watching my 5 month old twins (thank God for mom's) and she was on the fence about going to workout.  She had a couple legitimate excuses, 1) she had an allergy flare up and her nose was dripping, 2) it's nearly impossible to leave my two little angels...because they are so darn cute.  In the end, she ended up going to workout with the words "well I guess we will just see how it goes".  Not exactly the words of enthusiasm her workout crazed child would prefer, but the fact of the matter is that she DID go workout.  She didn't let her excuses get in the way of her intention. If you find yourself needing a little nudge to get your workout going and would be thrilled to love doing it- here's my 5 step how to guide:

1) Set your intentions.  If you know why you are going to workout, and you do it for a higher purpose (my mom is planning on staying 49 forever so she can live it up as long as possible), then you will be more likely to stick to it.

2) Tell someone else what you plan to do.  When you go public with your intentions you will be much more likely to follow through, because, lets face it, it's easier to let ourselves down than to let others down or to let them think with aren't keeping up.

3) Put on your workout clothes and commit to 10 minutes.  Even if you are feeling like working out is the last thing you want to do, if you simply get started, your energy will likely change, and after 10 minutes you will find you can easily do another 10 or 20.

4) Get a clear feeling or picture of how you will feel when the workout is over.  Or better yet, how awful it feels to skip the workout when your head hits the pillow at night.  It's amazing how doing something for yourself that is hard to do will lift your spirits and empower you to do even more when the workout is over.  I call this dropping your body baggage, or letting go of the negative feelings you have when you beat yourself up for not doing enough.  You won't have to even go there if you just get started!

5) If all else fails to commit to what you had planned, do something else.  Get creative.  Do a few runs up and down your stairs, pop out a few push-ups, read a magazine article while you do your plank, play your favorite dance tune and get jiggy with it...whatever it takes to just do something that makes you feel alive through movement.

Ultimately moving your body will release endorphins that will help you feel the love of the moment.  Don't believe me?  Watch a runner after a race who has reached a runners high, or a dancer after she or he as expressed themselves with their movement.  Don't worry about how long, how intense, or how precise your workout is...just move, and love yourself thought it.

What's a Strategic Health Plan?

When I say "strategic" things like accounting, business development, or college planning come to mind.  What doesn't come to mind is when I will work out, what I will do, and for how long will I commit to the workout.  Still, most of us plan our vacations better than we plan the day to day things that could have more meaning and add more fun to our daily existence.  Too often we drudge our way from one to do item to the next without stepping back and really thinking  about what will make our lives more exciting and meaningful.  We regress into a state of just getting by and letting life happen.  Unfortunately, entropy will only ensure that if we allow ourselves to constantly go with the flow, our health may just flow right out the window. Never in my life have I had to engage in so much planning to get anything done.  That includes my workouts, or even just a quick stroll with my 4 month old twins.  Last Friday I had the liberty of rejoining the morning Fitness Fire classes that we offer at Restoration Fitness.  All I could think the whole time I was there was, I feel so incredibly privileged to get to workout out, and OMG, am I gonna be sore!  It felt incredible to be back in a high energy atmosphere working out with people I love.  I was motivated, inspired, and energized.  I was also sore for 6 straight days.   It would be easy for me to complain about the soreness, the time it took, how out of shape I feel, how I would rather have had more sleep, but to tell you the truth- it doesn't even occur to me.  I showed up anxious to finally get to do something for MY body.  The hard part is committing to do it again and again when a schedule constantly changes and my energy ebbs and flows.

It just so happens I also just finished reading an exceptional business book by Chuck Blakeman about strategic planning.  It got me thinking-  What if we all strategically planned our workouts so they actually got done and we could really look forward to them?  One of the reasons I believe in fitness coaching and training so much is that it helps you do just that...just like a financial planner helps you with your financial assets, we help you with you health assets.

So, in a nutshell, I thought I would give you a little tutorial about how to strategically plan your workouts based on how we do things here:

1) Get a clear picture of WHY you are doing this.  You won't get far if the only reason is to fit into your jeans.  One of my underlying reasons is that I am simply a better person when I workout. Everything about me is better: my mood, energy, attitude, physical appearance, stamina, and much more. I can tell within days if I haven't worked out because I get crabby.  I am no fun to live with if I am crabby.  Just ask my husband (or my mom for that matter).

2) Choose some specific goals and put a date on when you will achieve them.  Nothing sets your body and mind in action than a deadline you can see in the not so distant future.

3) Get accountability.  This step is probably one of the most crucial.  Tell everyone about what you are doing.  Spread your excitement by talking to people, asking questions, blogging, logging your workouts and food (Get a free copy of our food and exercise log sheet here), workout with a friend, or get accountability with your trainer.  The regular conversations and opportunity to trouble shoot where you are and what is going on will help you in the day to day grind of making changes.

4) Get your workouts planned and on the calendar.  You can find workouts online, or you can make them up...but the preferred and easiest method is to simply have the experts write them for you.  We make sure you are doing balanced exercises that keep you pain free and progress your exercise so you don't have to go through the 6 days of soreness like I did (and I did it knowingly and willingly!)  Once you know what you are going to do between weight training, cardio, or yoga, put the specific times on  your calendar and treat them like a sacred appointment.  It's not just you whom you are letting down when you are letting down your accountability group as well!  Here is a sample of how we change up our sets and reps every 4-6 weeks to progress our clients and keep their muscles growing!

Month 1: 1-3 sets of 15 reps

Month 2: 2-4 sets of 10 reps

Month 3: 2-3 sets of 12 reps

Month 4: A combination of 2-4 sets of 10 reps and 1-2 sets of 20 reps for speed.

As for cardio: Consider doing intervals for 15-30 minutes starting with 1 minute hard. and 90s easy.  Then start reducing your rest time.  Once you get better at these, start reducing your effort to 45 or 30 seconds hard, and give yourself equal rest.  Remember to push yourself to a high intensity for maximum benefit!

5) Check in regularly for milestones along the way:  Re-time your mile, get your circumference measured every 4 weeks, see how many more push-ups you can do.  As long as you choose something that can be measured, it will help you see how far you are coming even if when you look in the mirror you are not seeing as much change as you thought you would.

Most of all, remember that your body is not to be taken for granted.  Keep yourself a a priority, and your health will reward you!

Fitness without excuses

I completed a quick workout yesterday while the boys were napping, and it was glorious. I video taped most of it, but included only the finisher here: Nicole in Home workout. (If the link doesn't work, I will keep working on it and repost soon) Needless to say, you are all my motivation as I get back on track with 2 little "excuses" taking up my time. I felt great after the workout and was even a little sore...especially my tummy! Here's what I did so you can try it at home too! Warm-up: Stair running x3 minutes Dynamic Stretches: Standing quad stretch x3ea; Lateral lunge groin stretch x3ea; Walking heel digs x3ea; Pec stretches x2ea; 15 speed squats. The Circuit: Stepping lateral lunge 2x10 Push-ups 2x10 (these were harder than I remember them being...) Standing bentover reverse fly 2x10 Step ups to the second step 2x10 Finisher: Front plank 30s followed by walking burpees (step back to push-up position, hop both feet to hands stand and jump, repeat) x10. I rested until I felt recovered and repeated this 1 more time.

I got in a good little sweat and felt so amazing to have done something for me! I can't wait to get back into my routine again. Let me know what you are doing these days to get into, and stick with, your routine!