How to Flip the Bird to the Halloween Candy Binge! (and other events that test your resolve)

We’re nearing the end of my first 5-Week ‘Change You’ Challenge (it’s going fantastic! Squee!) and at the end of last week’s meet-up, as we were talking about the importance of staying the path before next week’s fit test and measurements, someone gasped, “Oh no! Halloween is this week! I always binge on my kids’ candy!” Then another person chimed in, “And I’ll be drinking! So my guard will be down!” Halloween isn’t the only challenge we’ll face. We will be faced with opportunities that challenge our resolve often. So how do we handle them? Do we stand our ground and resist all temptation? (And say no to every party invitation until the end of time.) Or do we chalk it up as “it’s just one night” and binge away? Here are several tips for dealing with Halloween and other such temptations (including some no-nonsense, tough love advice for those who respond best to a verbal smackdown): 1. Get Full If you’re worried you won’t be able to stop grazing the buffet table once you arrive at a party, eat before you go. Eat a LOT. A lot of high-fiber, nutritious foods. Think protein + veggies + healthy fats. That will ensure you don’t hit the buffet table first thing upon arrival, cutting down on the sheer number of hours you’ll want to stuff your face, and arriving full makes it easier to make sane choices. When you’re starving, everything sounds good. When you’re full, you might still want some of your favorite foods but you’re more able to skip over other options. Get full before you Trick or...

4 Ways to Bust a Workout Plateau

My HiiT Quickie Workouts provide plenty of variety, intensity, and full-body exercises, but any workout can get old, and at some point you might feel like you’re not seeing as much progress as you were before. Welcome to Plateau, the land of frustration. First off, let me tell you that I don’t see a plateau as a bad thing. I know, living in the cornfields for too long has made me lose my mind, it’s true, but stay with me here…. You began an exercise routine. You cleaned up your diet. (You cleaned up your diet, right?) You lost some weight, you built some muscle, you feel stronger, you look stronger. BOOM. :::bicep flex::: Kiss, Kiss. Which way to the gun show, bitches? So you kept going. And life was good. And suddenly… one day…. the workout didn’t seem so challenging. And that was exciting! But soon after came….  stagnation. The weight isn’t coming off as quickly. You’ve got muscle but you don’t seem to be getting bigger or stronger. You’re not getting your ass kicked by every single workout. Fun fact: I’m there. Right now. And it’s tempting to get frustrated and wonder why you’re doing this to yourself if you’re not seeing progress. But wait! You DID progress! Your endurance and strength improved. Your body changed.  And now your body is all like, “We got this, yo. Come AT me, bro.” And now, your lovely new muscles are kicking back, hanging out, preening, taking selfies, and being all nonchalant n’shit. Time to up the awesome, y’all. Time to change it up. Time to raise an eyebrow at complacency and plan...

HiiT Essentials – and Why You Should Be Doing It

What is HiiT? HiiT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training and involves alternating periods of high-intensity exercise with periods of rest and recovery. For example, in my HiiT Quickie Workouts we do 3 rounds of 5 exercises for 50 seconds on, 10 seconds rest. HiiT workouts are designed to improve cardiovascular capacity and conditioning, which in turn improves glucose metabolism (how your body produces energy) and fat burning. Research also shows that short HiiT workouts can be just as or more effective than longer, steady-state cardio because of the EPOC effect. What is EPOC? Also known as the afterburn effect, EPOC stands for Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption. Simply put, this is the amount of oxygen your body requires after exercise to return to its resting state and adapt to the work you just did. EPOC matters because it means you’ve pushed your body to the point of having an oxygen debt.  If you sprint up a steep hill as fast as you can, it will be quite difficult to catch your breath afterward, right? That is EPOC in action. Your body is now forced to work harder to return to normal, and all the while you’re expending more energy. The good news – that means you’re burning calories even after you’ve stopped exercising! Brilliant! Interestingly enough, you may burn fewer calories during a HiiT workout (as compared to a steady-state workout like jogging), but you’ll burn far more calories after the workout. According to one study, for up to 38 hours afterward! Most forms of exercise will generate an afterburn effect to some degree, but not all forms are equal.  After...

The Biggest Loser is the…. Smallest Winner

Do you watch The Biggest Loser?   I don’t watch the show. Here’s why: 1) I don’t have much time to watch TV, so if I’m going to watch something, simply put, The Biggest Loser doesn’t make my short list. 2) The extreme weight loss methods employed make me twitchy. 3) I watched an episode during which the losers of a physical challenge were forced to eat unhealthy foods like donuts and chocolate fudge cake, which *infuriated me* and in my mind completely discredited any good they might otherwise do. But trust me, I know enough about the show to have an opinion.  And here’s the thing….  yes, it’s about weight loss, but first and foremost, IT’S A GAME. It’s reality TV. And reality TV isn’t good unless it’s dramatic and out of the ordinary and shocking and pulls you, the viewer, onto an emotional roller coaster. Therefore, from a health & wellness standpoint? The show gets a failing grade. From a TV ratings standpoint? A+ all the way. I happened to catch last night’s finale, only because my husband was channel surfing while I was working at my desk nearby, and when we noticed they were revealing this season’s winner, we tuned in. I haven’t watched a single moment of this season’s show until last night. I know nothing of the contestants’ experiences. And by now you must know the interwebs are a’buzz about the winner, Rachel Frederickson of Los Angeles, who is a mere 24 years old, and who lost 59.62% of her body weight. 59.62 gahdamn percent of her body weight, people. When the show started,...

The 5 Most Oddly-Named Exercises

Me: “This move is called Sunrise, Sunset.” Client: “Oh, funny. I was in Fiddler on the Roof many years ago. I didn’t realize it would come back to haunt me in this form.” During Sunrise Sunset, you lie face-up with arms and legs extended toward the ceiling and a stability ball in your hands. You open, lowering arms and legs toward the floor, then close and pass the ball from hands to ankles. Then, you open again, and repeat, passing the ball from hands to ankles each time. Then, you whine and cry and flop around in pain. It’s a challenging move. One can see why this move is called Sunrise, Sunset, because as you pass the stability ball from hands to feet and open long each time, the ball arcs like a sunrise and a…. well, a sunset. And it’s beyond me to come up with a name that’s any better and doesn’t involve complicated lingo. I suppose I could call it “ab and hip  and shoulder extension with pull-over utilizing stability ball.” Huh? Exactly. My client’s comment made me chuckle, and made her lose her focus, but it got me thinking about all the other ridiculously named exercises out there. So I did a little brainstorming and a little digging and came up with my top 5 most oddly-named exercises. 1) DIPSTICKS – aka Pistol Squats I love dipsticks! I do. To me, they are the ultimate leg exercise and this move also challenges your balance and agility, which means you’re building a strong core. Whenever I see a pistol squat variation, I almost have to try it....