A PLEA FOR FITNESS- AND A FAST FOOD FANTASY

If you believed it could be easy, would you work out? What if you knew that huffing and puffing, or jumping up and down, weren’t necessary? Exercise can be like reading- more inner than outer.

If you knew you could find time for it, even on your busiest day, would you exercise? Thirty second time intervals can be used quite effectively, at home, at work, or while traveling.

We don’t even know you, for Pete’s sake! We are preparing a book, but right now we have nothing to sell. We care about sharing our fitness knowledge with you. Our purpose is to share with you so you can grow your love, ability, and level of fitness.

In the blankness of the blogosphere, we hope the internet will deliver our message of hope and possibility- for your transformation. If you like what we do, then later perhaps we’ll be in touch with each other.

We are women- with over eighty combined years of working out under our belts. One of us is just a girl from Kansas with a fifty year workout history, obviously blessed with a love for fitness. One of us is a native New Yorker, former physique competitor, and owner of a personal training business in Northern Virginia. We’ve been friends since 1989.

To some of you our age may seem older than God. But you would never think that about any other part of who we are- body, mind, or spirit.

We can show you exercise choices that even the busiest person can find time for. Don’t argue. Accept this as truth.

If you’re just lazy about fitness, maybe it’s time to just get over it! Perhaps it’s time to tell your inner voice to shut up and work out.

Live life in a paradigm that puts the focus on good health. Everyone doesn’t need to be uber-toned. Acquiring a minimal level of fitness can be acceptable- provided the level is measurable.

Too much weight for your frame is just one of the obvious clues that your focus on your health has become blurry.

As you age, don’t worry about wrinkles: they look pretty good with muscles. Bulges aren’t as simple.

Become healthier. Do you really want America to be known for its obesity epidemic? Don’t contribute to this reputation. Don’t fall prey to the pitfalls.

Change your choices. Freedom of choice is good. Let the door swing both ways and remember your freedom to make healthy choices too!

Make healthy choices. Should you refuel your body when and where you refuel your car? Really? Gasoline is toxic and so is the food that’s sold where you buy your gas.

Choose “no label required” food, made by Mother Nature, still in its original form. Don’t stop at fresh, hot, juicy, delicious or fast. Those have become “marketing” words. That’s not the bellwether you need.

Exercise? Yes. Do it. Thirty seconds here and there throughout the day adds up significantly. There’s lots you can do in a thirty second interval. Think weight lifting. One set of any movement can be done in less than thirty seconds.

Use self-discipline. Be your own watch dog or good role model.

When you were a kid living at home you’d have been in trouble for eating more than your share of the desserts in the house. Guess what? You’re still in trouble for that same behavior- the punishment comes a few years down the road.

Healthy is happy. Fitness feels good. Don’t think living a healthy lifestyle means you need to live a life of strict observance, like a Trappist monk. You’d be mistaken.

Here’s a fabulous fantasy- what if a certain fast food hamburger chain were to do a total turn-around and start using organic free-range beef and chicken for all their sandwiches and unbleached whole grain flour to make their bread? The food would still be fast, right? Imagine the press they’d get- and how much better for America their food would be!

Maybe Uncle Sam would even create a tax benefit for such a restaurant chain, as a reward for working to reduce national health care costs and making a contribution to a healthier America.

Get fit- for goodness sake, your own sake, or for the good of America.

Get Fit Fast: How To Choose A Trainer

Everyone doesn’t need a trainer to become fit…but you might!

A trainer can be very important.

Can your trainer make you or break you, help you become fit or cause you to quit? Yes.

You may need a trainer to help you get started. You may only need a trainer after you’ve been working out for a year, or when you need to brush up on your form. We can all slide backward. If you work with one, choose carefully.

Assuming you need one, how should you select your trainer? Are there right questions to ask? Our best brief answer is that it can be difficult to select a trainer and assess if that trainer is right for you.

  • Ask someone for a referral.
  • Ask for a trial workout.
  • Look for a female trainer who is “obsessed” with weights.

Get a referral from another female. Look around your gym and ask questions. That’s how you find a new hair stylist, right? You see a haircut you like, and get the stylist’s name.

A trial workout will tell you if your fitness philosophy is in sync with the trainer.  She may know fitness but you know you. You may need someone to drill you and push you, demanding “just one more.” The danger is that for some individuals, “just one more” will be “one too many.”

Your personal workout style and taste needs to be respected. When you find what works for you, you’ll find success.

Why weights, you ask? Although anything you enjoy, that relaxes you or gets you to the gym, is good, weights will do all that and so much more, in less time! I’ll take that deal every day.

This discussion is not meant to be all about strength training with weights. The choice is such a good one, however, that we can’t pass up the chance to encourage you. We both would choose something else if it worked better than strength training with weights. Note: both of us run, jog or walk, in addition to our weight workouts. But we would not give up weights and just do the cardio portion of our exercise.

This is what you’ll get if you choose weight training: You will:

  • Get fit faster.
  • Get fit with the least amount of effort.
  • Get fit expending the least amount of time on a daily basis.

It may be hard to find a female trainer who is obsessed with weights, but that’s precisely what you need. If this female is also a bit of a philosopher, even better. There can be a Zen-like element to weight training- something more inner than outer, a sort of quietness. There certainly isn’t any huffing and puffing. See for yourself. Try it. Do it now.

Fitness Path: Square One Is Identify/Eliminate Obstacles

Fitness is a path you walk. Be sure you start at square one.

Square one, for this discussion, is a condition of restoration for your body.  Restoring your body empowers your body because once restored, your body will function in a healthier manner. Restore your body by eliminating “edible evils,” the food and drink choices you’re making, that wreak havoc with your body.

Your first step for an enjoyable walk will be to remove obstacles that are causing you to stub your toes. Your walk will change entirely as soon as you remove obstacles. Two common categories of obstacles are fake sugars and cravage.

Cravage defined is food designed to drive cravings with little to no further regard- like good health, proper weight, or nutrition. Cravage only exists due to food scientists in a laboratory. It’s main purpose is to put money into somebody’s pocket.

Whole foods that are still in their original form need to comprise the majority of your groceries. Every item you purchase needs to make the buy vs. bye cut before crossing the finish line, before crossing the scanner at the checkout.

Fake sugars statistically will cause you to weigh more two years from now that you do right now and cravage is a budget leak at best.

You probably already intellectually know everything you should be doing to become healthier.  But you probably haven’t experienced how easy it is and how good it feels, once you stop being stubborn and self-indulgent and walk the fitness path all day every day.

If you aren’t already doing what you know you should do, then ask yourself why you insist on shooting yourself in your fitness foot.

Choose to walk this beautiful path, making choices that are literally at your fingertips, choices that will propel you forward. Healthy choices will allow you to go skipping along on the path to good health.

Bad food temptations can become turn-offs. You can condition yourself to not want garbage food. Take these 2 steps in every moment of temptation:

  • Remind yourself that you love yourself and deserve goodness and health; then act like you mean it.
  • Remember everything that goes with the bad choice, like heart disease and cellulite and keep it top of mind.

A shot in the foot hurts.

Walking a path without stumbling actually feels good. Give yourself a chance.

The path is only difficult when you throw away you roadmap or try to walk in the dark without a flashlight.

Your roadmap is your knowledge of what you know you should do. Your flashlight will turn on and provide needed light whenever you make the choices you know you should make, the choices that are at your personal fingertips and yours to make. Eliminating fake sugars and all cravage is how you carry fresh batteries for your flashlight.

Dieting? Eating Strategies Work Better

There are lots of problems with diets and dieting. If diets worked long term, then we wouldn’t have an obesity problem in America.

Instead of wasting time picking on all the diets in the world, let’s discuss what would work better: personalized eating strategies.

Eating strategies should replace dieting. Eating strategies are proactive choices you make, with a focus on choice rather than self-denial. Eating strategies open the door to selection and creativity, allowing an individual to personalize the what, where, and when of food consumption.

Be honest with yourself. You probably know your eating pitfalls. Begin to develop your get slim/stay slim strategy by deciding what will be on your “don’t eat” list. Important: whenever you identify an indulgence you want to avoid, put something satisfying on your list to replace it. For example: if you’re craving something salty like potato chips, replace those chips with salted sunflower seeds or dried salted edamame. If you’re in the mood for something sweet, you could choose dried banana chips combined with dried cranberries. If you like frozen treats, perhaps frozen grapes will do it for you- or frozen dark, sweet cherries. You can nibble all night on these tiny morsels, one at a time.

Next decide what will be on your “to eat” list, the mainstays of your meals rather than your snacking. For optimal success, this list must multi-task: these foods need to be nutritious AND delicious, emotionally satisfying while meeting important nutritional requirements. Taste alone is simply not enough to make the list.

While shopping, don’t even enter entire aisles at the grocery store, lest you tempt yourself. You never need anything in the cookie aisle, do you? You also will not purchase your meals at gas stations.

While chewing, chew each bite slower and longer. Don’t swallow a single bite that isn’t worthy, isn’t satisfying, that you wish you hadn’t as soon as you did. Don’t be afraid to spit out mistakes- while no one is watching, of course.

Once you raise your consciousness and allow it to guide you, there’ll be restaurants you’ll stop going to. Let’s face it. Today’s world is littered with fast food chains and chefs are rarely seen anywhere except the food channel.

Getting slim and staying slim doesn’t have to be about suffering and self-denial. It can be exciting and something to look forward to. Whenever you do good things for yourself you lift your spirits. Success leads to more success.

Think in a healthy paradigm. Instead of focusing on all the food you shouldn’t eat, remind yourself of all the wonderful, enriching, delicious and nutritious food Mother Nature has created. Buy them.

While shopping, make a buy vs. bye decision for every single item that goes into your shopping cart- before it crosses the scanner at the cash register.

Success comes from learning how to help yourself.

Free Gym Membership for Seniors: Let’s Start Sooner

Q. Who gives away free gym memberships?

A. Medicare health insurance for seniors 65 and older. Ask if your plan includes a gym membership benefit. It’s called “Silver Sneakers.” You may have the Silver Sneakers benefit and not know it! Find out.

I don’t know if every Medicare group plan includes a gym membership. But I do know that the plan my Medicare eligible husband has allows him to go for free. Since I pay nearly $44 each month to use the very same gym, turning 65 will save me over $500 annually. For that reason I’m looking forward to turning 65 (I do have a couple of additional reasons but this is not the time or place for that discussion).

Is it not awesome that in America, when you become eligible for Medicare, your Medicare healthcare benefit can include a gym membership at no extra out of pocket charge to you? That’s a fabulous benefit! But…

But why wait? If we’re going to provide it at all, why not start the gym membership benefit when a senior first becomes eligible for social security? For me that would have been age 62.

Providing free gym memberships wouldn’t guarantee that people show up to use the gym- but it would undoubtedly help!

I’m atypical. Unlike most people, I started working out and reading about nutrition before my 14th birthday. I’ll be 64 in less than one month and I’ve never abandoned my workout habit. Honestly, 98% of the time I feel like I’m 24, not 64. I hope I can say at 74 what I’m now saying at 64. God only knows.

I don’t require any medications. Yes I have wrinkles. But, in my opinion, wrinkles actually look good with muscles. Maybe I should say that muscles make wrinkles look better. Smile.

Words cannot possibly convey how thankful I am for the gifts of the ability and motivation to exercise. One thing is for sure: I intend to continue to make the choices that are within my personal power to promote my good health.

Right now the Silver Sneakers gym membership benefit activates at 65. Activating the gym membership benefit sooner, at age 62 along with your Social Security cash, could actually lower costs to and for our healthcare system. The sooner in life we focus on being healthy, the better our chances of staying healthy. Staying healthy saves our healthcare system money, plain and simple.

Everyone knows that money is a factor in nearly all decisions. I’ll bet that despite the additional cost of providing the benefit sooner, the resulting savings from an earlier focus on becoming fit and healthy and frequenting the gym, would more than recoup the additional cost.

Sounds like a winning proposition to me! Now somebody needs to propose this idea to someone with the correct influence. Who knows where to go with this proposal? Anyone interested in batting this ball out of the park for a home run?

Summer’s Over: Get Back To Fitness

So you took some time off this summer. Okay, well maybe you took the entire summer off.

Summer is over now, but not your life. Now is the time to restart your good fitness habits and regain all the great benefits you were starting to appreciate.

You still want to look good and feel good but you’re having a hard time getting back to your workout schedule.

You need to attack from the inside and the outside! These ideas can help:

  • Put some “reminders” in plain sight. Reminders could be pictures to inspire you. Even better- position your hand weights or your walking shoes strategically- where you can’t avoid stumbling over them if you don’t pick them up and use them.
  • Remember your positive effective self-talk, your personal and unique inner voice that coaches you and literally get your going. It worked before and it can work again. No one ever regrets having healthy habits.

As for next summer, consider that the “future” is a figment of imagination. Live today the way you would like to live tomorrow.

What is it about summer that makes us want to take a break from our routine? Is it the warm weather? Moving to a different climate isn’t against the law.

Workouts should feel good. Make adjustments to your workouts so they feel good during and after.

Half of fitness is eating well. Choosing your food from taste alone is almost pre-historic. You can do better. You need food that multi-tasks, food that’s delicious AND nutritious.

If you have a “grab and go” eating style, then you may need to plan better to ensure that your choices are nutritious. 

When shopping for food, don’t be caught hungry and short of time:

  • Avoid buying food at gas stations or quick marts. They mostly sell cravage- garbage foods that were designed to drive cravings without providing valuable nutrition.
  • Buy groceries that you can eat or store in your kitchen, your car, and your handbag.

As you strive toward fitness remember that your habits become the fibers of who you are. Keeping habits for a long time changes those habits into fibers and threads, the fabric of the person you always wanted to be.

Don’t give up. Use intention and perseverance to get you where you want to be. Next summer keep up the good habits that will create the person you want to be.

“NO TIME TO EXERCISE” DEBUNKED

“I don’t have time.” If this is your excuse for not working out, then get ready to have it debunked.

If you’re breathing right now, you have enough time to work out.

If you’re breathing right now, you have enough time to work out. The secret you need to learn is how to find the time you have right now and use it effectively.

An open mind will allow you to recognize opportunities throughout your day when you could take 30-45 seconds to exercise. Maybe you’ll be converting otherwise wasted time into productive workout time.

Next you’ll need to learn a few exercises that only take 30-45 seconds to complete. Almost all stretches and strength training exercises can be done in less than one minute. These same movements can be done in the smallest of spaces- if you have space to sit or stand, you’ll have room for most of these exercises. All you need is your open mind, desire, and a set or two of hand held weights that will make your movements of choice an effort but not a strain.

Are you wondering how 30-45 seconds could be effective? Consistency combined with passage of time creates a cumulative effect. It’s easy to understand how money can cumulate when you save consistently over the years. Exercise value adds up similarly. 

Learn how to do deadlifts, squats, bicep curls, and the overhead press. You’ll do your body some good!

AGE and SUGAR: WHAT DO THEY HAVE IN COMMON?

Q. What do age and sugar have in common?

A. They both get too much blame for far too much.

Age and sugar related issues continue to be big issues for many people worldwide. Both bear responsibility for all kinds of problems, but guard against misappropriated, undue excessive blame.

Age gets blamed for and confused with avoidable deterioration. Avoidable deterioration results from a proactively abusive lifestyle- as well as neglecting to have important healthy habits.

When our body suffers and we see visible results that we’ve learned to associate with old age, we wrongfully assign the responsibility of our condition and blame it on our age. It’s important to identify correctly, instead of blaming age for results from abuse and neglect.

Eating too much of any one thing, including sugar, means you neglected to eat a variety of Mother Nature’s other offerings.  We suffer nutritionally from what we don’t get and too much of one thing means too little of another. Too much is too much, regardless of what it is. When we develop adult onset diabetes and our body has trouble with sugars, we wrongfully view sugar as the culprit.

People work hard to make a living for themselves. So much effort is poured into making a good life. Don’t forget to pour effort into the basics of good health. Good health is priceless. Few people would choose wealth over health.

Make an effort to continually make healthy food choices, being clear on what those choices would be.

Make an effort to move your body. Exercise needs to be more than just a word in your vocabulary.

Everyone’s life can include a degree of healthy exercise, no excuses and no exceptions. Your bar for how much daily exercise you get doesn’t need to be sky high.

Habits are not only physical in nature. We have thinking habits too. Physical habits and thinking habits influence each other. Changing your thinking habits will change your physical habits. The mind can teach the body and the body can teach the mind.

Here’s a new habit to choose: whenever you get near food, remember to think. Think of what would be an optimal choice for you to eat, considering both nutritional requirements and emotional satisfaction.  Control your thoughts. Be familiar with your nutritional requirements and keep them top of mind every time your thoughts turn to food. Remember that just because your eyes see something edible doesn’t mean you should eat it. Self-control is needed.

Think first in a paradigm of delicious and nutritious combinations. It’s more proactive than the self-denial paradigm of a constant focus on what you shouldn’t eat.

Need to retrain your thinking? Thought precedes action. Retrain by starting with an intention to re-train. 

Re-train and control your thoughts. If you’re really struggling, read about nutrition or exercise, to inject some new ideas into your head. Reading is a good thing and E-books are cheap.

Keep these ideas in mind:

 

  • Every new good habit pushes a bad one out of the way.
  • Avoid abusive, neglectful, or excessive behaviors.
  • Make it a habit to eat a variety of nutrients from Mother Nature’s bounty.
  • Exercise moderately daily.

FORTY NOW? “OLD” or “OUT OF SHAPE”

My sister Connie recently had her 75th birthday and has taken up strength training with weights. She was thrilled to learn that her health care plan includes a gym membership at no additional cost to her- but also wondered why she was unaware of this benefit for so many years.

Connie has always loved dancing but put it off for years because she was always so busy with her family. Since her husband died, things have changed. As she says, dancing is “in her blood.” It makes her happy so she dances several times each week.

Connie had me show her some strength and flexibility exercises that would ultimately help her improve her dancing. After just a few exercises she said to me “if I had started this at forty, I’d be in great shape now.”

Connie is in far better shape than the majority of gals her age. She has full range of motion in her shoulders and her legs are strong. She’s not overweight, even though she has a thick waistline.

She hates the way her triceps look- the back of the upper arm. They need toning. She also wants to strengthen her abs. The great thing about strength training with weights is that you can target specific areas of the body.

When her husband passed her life changed overnight. Even though her heartache was unspeakable, some of the changes were good for her.

She now helps out part-time at a family- owned day care facility. At work she lifts and bends and generally moves around quite a bit.  Soon she also started ballroom dancing several times each week. By now she has been dancing for two years.

Through the years Connie has gone through stages when she walked or jogged. For a while she was taking karate. But, as she explained, some kind of crisis always developed that would interrupt her habit.

I’ve seen several women improve their fitness level well after 70. A body can experience improvement at any age.

If you’re 40 and feeling old, you’re probably confusing “old” with “out of shape.” Forty years old isn’t old. At 40 you can only be older than you used to be.

Do something about your physical condition sooner rather than later. Why wait? There isn’t a good enough reason to do nothing good for your body.

In the journalism world they say that “no story” is a story. In the fitness world, doing nothing is doing something- being neglectful.

A little muscle makes everything better- including wrinkles.

HOW DO YOU MOVE? AGING POSTURE AND MOVEMENT

Posture and body movement can reveal, from a distance, a lot about an individual. When a person you don’t know is walking toward you, you can probably guess the person’s age range- long before a face comes into view.

Young people move distinguishably different than do old folks. What is it that creates this reality?

Does it have to be this way?

Is there value in striving to move like a chronologically young person? If yes, how do we achieve it?

How do you move and how do you improve?

May I share some thoughts?

Youthfulness is more about how you move than how you wrinkle.

A first step toward better fitness could be as simple as standing up straight. You may have forgotten about good posture for a few years.

Many of us have been sitting at a computer, hanging our heads forward and slouching with rounded shoulders, unwittingly. What to do? Set an intention to strive for good posture. Think “lift and straighten.”

Actions start with thoughts: setting an intention to do something is the first step toward doing it.

A good second step would be some gentle arm exercises that would invigorate the smaller help muscles in your arms and around your neck and shoulders.

Here is what inspired me to write this story:

I recently met an amazing looking woman. I was told she is either 84 or 85 years old.

This petite woman was fashionably dressed and had absolutely gorgeous legs- her dress length was just above the knee. When I saw her legs and heard her age I determined to learn more about her.

I’ll give you my punch line now- without making you read to the end of this article: one of the most amazing things about her, that I could visually observe, is how she moves.

This woman moves like a twenty year old. Her energy was flowing through her body so fluidly that her age was not perceptible.

At the moment I met her, we were in a circle of four people. She responded to our compliments with a physical response- a sort of dip at the knees along with a shrug of her shoulders- and a smile.

Envision Audrey Hepburn at 84, but with the same slim, upright, elegant posture she had when she filmed My Fair Lady. Imagine this dainty and most graceful form standing next to you. Her inner energy was “bubbling” as well.

I didn’t get as many details about this lady’s habits as I’d have liked to. I do know that she swims- that she does the breast stroke without putting her head in the water! She retired at age eighty from a career in fashion design. Lucille Ball, Mrs. Randolph Hurst, and Bobby Vinton were on her client list.

Now you surely know that this lovely lady was fascinating for many reasons.

Be encouraged by proof that physical beauty and resplendent health are possible well into your 80’s. Fabulous health when we’re seniors is something we need more of.

Genetics aside, healthy seniors started healthy habits long ago.

Is your health alarm ringing? Is it time to take on some good habits? Or time to break some bad habits? How about a “one for one” trade: give up one bad habit and pick up one good habit?

If all we ever see is senior people who are sick or having trouble getting around, then we might think that time and age alone will certainly cause this demise.

Obviously, numerous factors affect aging. Therefore, even with one’s best efforts put forth, things happen and the body changes. Aging will happen if you’re fortunate enough to live long enough!

Despite everything, we can always strive to be the best version of our self. Whatever that entails for you, keep the concept in mind: become more aware of what you can do to be the best you possible. What opportunities and choices are within your personal power?

Knowing something is possible can be a first step toward achieving it. Look around you for good examples to inspire and guide you.

Imitation is a primary mode of learning, therefore it’s important to have a good example to imitate.

Meeting this fashionable and fit woman who moves like she’s twenty years old was eye-opening. It was also very encouraging.

Now I believe any of us can be awesome 84 year olds.

Let’s see now, that gives me how many years to achieve awesomeness?