Thursday, June 13, 2019

Exercising for Longevity

At some point in our lives, maybe in our 30's, a shift happens. Most People start thinking about exercise from the perspective of seeking the type and volume of exercise that provides the most long term benefits rather than instant gratification.  Simply put, most of us age 30+ exercise because we want to increase both the quality and quantity of our later years. The focus is less about weight loss (unless truly warranted) and more about keeping our joints, muscles and brain as young as possible.

The truth is, when you see someone who's in their 80's, 90's or even 100's looking spry and you think to yourself, "I hope I look, move, and feel that good when I'm their age." That person was likely not setting power lifting records in the gym in their younger years or playing professional contact sports. Why? Because those sports beat your body up and the curve of where exercise benefits your body begins it's downward slump before that intensity and consistency of physical activity is reached.

This begs the question, "how much, what type and what intensity is most likely to increase both the quality and quantity years ahead of you?" The answer is, "it depends." It depends on an individuals current training status, body composition and a myriad of lifestyle factors. That said, there are a couple things we know for sure (when I say we, I mean academics and my anecdotal experience being an athlete and working with clients over the last 10 years).

1. Walk more, sit and drive less. Blue Zones has complied an impressive amount of research regarding longevity and lifestyle factors. This article highlights and supports the concept of urban planning and how living in a walk-able community can increase your longevity and reduce your risk for heart disease.

2. Commit to move your body everyday. Even if it's just 10 minutes of walking or stretching the increase in blood flow (vasodilation). Just setting your attention on your body begins to cements the habit into your life. You're not someone trying to exercise, you are someone who exercises. You have to own the identity you're striving for. Founder of Brightline Eating, Susan Pierce Thompson Phd, does an excellent job in explaining the importance of how you talk about yourself and the impact it has on your ability to adhere to any plans you may have for your life.

3. Variety is key. Mix up your exercise routine. Include many different movements, in multiple planes of motion. Avoid doing repetitive actions (ie: running, swimming cycles) unless complemented by a variety of other movement. Those who only swim, only run or only do repetitive movement are prone for overuse injuries and muscular imbalances. Additionally, learning new movements under varying loads increases neural pathways and some studies show it can decrease the age of your brain and increase brain plasticity.

4. Do something you enjoy. Exerciser have the highest rate of adherence when they're preforming an exercise modality they enjoy or the company they're exercising with.  The buddy system works great here, but know enough about yourself to identity if you're seeking solitude during your workout.

5. Moderation is key. To experience the most benefits from exercise don't under or over do it. Do intense (if ok by your doctor) sometimes, do moderate exercise frequently and do low intensity exercise a lot. You might find yourself on either end of the  curve above,but hopefully it's temporary and then you can get right back to middle and your goal of increasing the quality and quantity of the years ahead of you.

Live long, feel well and be deliberate about your exercise and nutrition. Your future self will thank you.

In Health,


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Many Misconceptions About Personal Training...

As a self-employed personal trainer I hear many misconceptions about the industry I work in.  People ask what I actually do and how I make a living doing it so here it is.

I do not sell any products; I do not work for a large corporation that requires me to meet a sales quota. I did not get into this line of work to work less. I started personal training because I love learning about the human body, exercise, nutrition, and disease prevention. And I really want to improve the way people feel in their own skin. There is an enormous amount of marketing out there for “health” products and quite frankly crap that gets a lot of hype because people make money selling it. But does this stuff actually help?

As a personal trainer, my job is to reduce pain, increase strength, flexibility and improve my client’s quality of life, not to sell products. Call me a purist, but my job is to educate and therefore I study a lot. I went to grad school to study exercise science and health promotion, I went through Integrative Nutrition to learn about dietary therapies and specialized diets. I've obtained various certifications, I read and listen to lectures about Yoga, strength training, nutrition, massage therapy, postural differences, diabetes prevention and care, Alzheimer’s prevention and care, stroke rehabilitation, drug interactions, pre and post natal exercise, and the list goes on because every client is different and presents more learning opportunities. I’m not here to tell people what is wrong or right, but I am here to provide information and resources. I am not a Doctor, Physical Therapist, Psychologist or Dietician. Each of them serve their own very important role and those defined roles must be respected. But in this career like the ones mentioned above I work with people from all walks of life, except I see my clients at least once a week if not more and I get to help via a listening ear and education as preventative medicine. I believe in what I do I think well informed Personal Trainers can play a huge role improving their client’s physical and psychological health. Personal trainers are not just cheerleaders and rep counters they should be far more than that.

To all Personal Trainers out there keep learning and take everything you learn with a grain of salt. To all consumers of Personal Training, coaching etc take everything you hear with a grain of salt and be your own advocate;  find a trainer that fits your needs, because even if you think “you’re  good” in a group class I guarantee that time with a well-informed one on one trainer/coach will bring a new awareness to your body and/or your health. Even if you hate to exercise there is a trainer for you. ;-)

In Health,


Step it Up and Move Challenge...

Ladies and Gents!

This short and sweet challenge involves $15, the opportunity to move a lot more and even win some money!!! Here’s how it works…
Read About Walking Technique Here
Dates: June 1st - June 15th

Cost: $15 (per person)


1.       You must have a Fitbit, Garmin, i-Watch, an App on your phone, a pedometer or something like. 

2.       You must move (walk, run, bike swim)! (You must also be honest!)

The Details: This challenge involves you and a partner (if you don’t have a partner I can match you up, but please feel free to invite a friend, spouse, co-worker etc). Your team of 2 will try to obtain as many steps as possible between 

June 1st and June 15th. Each night or the following morning you will each submit your daily step count to me via email. I’ll keep a running total of your steps, but you should too just for good measure. The sum of you and your partner steps may earn you some spending money because the winning team takes $8 of every $15 entry.  For example if 40 people enter, the winning team splits $320 and all you have to do is move! I’m sending this invite to over a 150 people so the prize money should be worthy of your efforts. Please feel free to share it with family and friends, the more the merrier!!!

P.S. This challenge works for bikers and swimmers too see the conversion chart below:
Conversion Chart for this Challenge:

1 mile = 500 steps
400 Meters = 600 steps (400 meters is about 8 laps or 16 lengths in a 25 meter pool)

Fine Print:
You can submit your numbers nightly or each morning and you can do so by sending me a screen shot from your device, app etc. All step final step counts are due by 1am on June 15th. I’ll be keeping a running total as we go and I’ll keep everyone updated on current stats, but I’d suggest that you log your cumulative totals as well just for good measure (some apps do it for you). This is purely for fun, but serves as a great reminder to move more! A recent study revealed that walking less that 4,000 steps increases risk for weight related illness and another study showed improvements in metabolic profiles of women who stood or walked for 5 minutes every 30 minutes rather than bouts prolonged sitting. The point is it doesn’t take much to improve your health! Join us for 15 days of stepping it up!
Contact me with questions and to sign up.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Healthy-ish Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars...

Did you know that if you bake with sunflower seed butter your baked goods will turn green? Why you ask...Sunflower seeds contain chlorophyll, also known as chlorogenic acid. The acid reacts with the baking powder/soda in a recipe when heated and when it cools it turns green! It still tastes delicious so have no fear. This recipe is quick, healthy-ish and delicious!

1 can (1 & 1/2 cup drained and rinsed garbanzo beans)
1/4 cup Sunflower seed butter
1/4 cup almond or oat flour
1/3 cup coconut sugar or (unpacked brown sugar)
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
1/8 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Set Aside:
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
1/4 crushed walnuts


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and oil an 8x8 baking sheet or use parchment paper.

2 Mix all in ingredients together in the food process until throughly mixed (except the chocolate chips and walnuts).

2. Stir in ingredients from the "set aside list."

4. Spread batter in the 8x8 pan and bake for 30 minutes (it should still look moist when removed from the and oven).

5. Set on cooling rack until cooled (at which time they will turn green). Enjoy!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Do You Wear Your Busyness as a Badge of Honor?

I'm reading "The Yamas and Niyamas" by Deborah Adele. This book provides a perspective on the ethical practices of Yoga. The Yamas and Niyamas can be thought of as guidelines or words of wisdom to live by; the Yamas are the first five ethical practices which include nonviolence, truthfulness, nonstealing, nonexcess, and nonpossessiveness.

Nonstealing struck me for a couple of reasons. First of all it's not a word (and that bugged me) and I'm not a thief. Also, on the surface it seemed far too simple to be words of wisdom. Upon deeper reading I found that nonstealing is something I really need to work on.

For example, we could be stealing from ourselves. Being too preoccupied to actively participate in our own life is an example of stealing from ourselves. Rather than living in the moment we're mentally somewhere else and stealing those moments away from making new memories. I'm making an effort to slow down and smell the roses so to speak. Rather than wearing my busyness as a badge of honor I'm starting to see it as something entirely different. Using a mind-body practice is one way to incorporate the wisdom of nonstealing in our lives.

In mind-body classes like Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, Barrecore, etc participants are encouraged to use their mind to make movements, to contract certain muscles and to relax others. The focus and the intention that these classes require offers the perfect opportunity to "live in the moment." These classes encourage our mind to draw awareness to our body and our breath. They encourage us to focus on our motor skills, things like balancing on one leg in Bow or lifting the chest and legs simultaneously in Locust. These movements draw out the distractions and let us be truly present. Our minds may still wonder, but simply by attending mind-body classes we are creating a space to focus and live in moment.

Here's a great article about the authors personal experience with busyness.

In Health,


Monday, April 25, 2016

Thoughts on Meal Plans...

Some of my clients are beginning the Fitness Challenge at the West Sac Rec tonight and others are not. I thought I'd share this because even if you're not doing the Fitness Challenge YOU CAN do this with me (you don't have to be client either). This morning I started eating a meal plan that I made just for me and my current lifestyle. I have some hesitation in doing this because I LOVE FOOD. I always have and always will, but I also know that for me personally meal plans work well in the short term. When I eat nearly the same thing, at nearly same time, everyday my body likes it and responds well. Getting myself on a eating schedule and meal plan is how I arrived at the leanest I have ever been (circa 2012). This time it isn't about being the leanest, it just about feeling better in my clothes and making some Yoga poses more comfortable. As one of my former clients so eloquently stated, "It's all about being a size "M."

That said, sometimes wearing a smaller size or getting leaner isn't a big priority because life delivers us bigger "fish-to-fry" (pun intended).  As I'm sure we've all experienced, I haven't had the desire to be really strict, partially because of my schedule, but also because sometimes worrying about how many calories, or grams of protein I've eaten in a day seems far less than important than everything else in my life for the last 4 years. BUT paying attention each day to how much I'm eating is doable right now. This strategy focuses on my daily actions rather than trying to see the big picture. Long term goals are far less tangible and though they may be important in some cases they do not get us through our day-to-day choices. Instead, focusing on one day at a time is how I have experienced and seen the best outcomes. My current objective is not aligned with any specific weight or body fat; it's just focusing each day on the parts of my lifestyle that I can improve upon.

Here's how you can join me:

1. Find a picture of yourself at the weight/body fat/etc. you desire to be. Let this be the picture you glance at when your motivation finds a slump.

2. Set a goal for how much water you will drink each day and perhaps design a meal plan to fit your needs (if you need help here let me know). Aim for high quality and nutrient dense whole foods.

3. Each day do not think, "Oh, when I was____I only weighed ____." Instead focus on the positive and present moment rather than the past. Try this... "I'm eating this food and I'm drinking this water to move the needle a tiny bit closer to where I want to be physically."

4. Eat your meals and plan your exercise with intention and awareness.

5. Grab your calendar and put a little heart of the days that pass to show yourself a little love :-) and to recognize your accomplishment.

My Personal Strategies:

  • When I eat on a meal plan I prep my food in advance and put my days worth of food my lunch bag (sometimes even my dinner), if it's not in the bag then it doesn't go in my tummy.
  • I do not log on myfitnesspal once I've settled into my meal plan because I already know exactly what I'm eating.
  • I start each day with a big glass of water and always drink water before I eat.
  • I drink lots of tea (hot and iced).
  • I carry gum and mints for munchy moments. (I'm always hungry ;-)
  • Lastly, I will not eat when I'm watching TV or on the computer because this is when mindless eating occurs for me.
Side Notes & Disclaimers:
  • Eating on a meal plan does not teach you how to eat healthfully and if your meal plan is not appropriate for YOUR needs when you stop eating the meal plan and go back to your previous dietary patterns it's likely that you will gain weight (probably more than you lost).
  • Meal plans can be tremendously helpful when they're used appropriately for short periods of time and customized to the individual's needs (they are not necessary, but very helpful for busy people). 
  • Weight lost while using a meal plan can be sustained, but education must be provided to the person on the meal plan because eating less calories than needed will slow their metabolism thus decreasing the amount of food an individual can tolerate without weight gain.
  • Final Tip...honor your body, be smart, use logic, do your homework & ask questions!!!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

A Healthier Snack Solution...

I don't know about you, but I love to snack and because of my odd schedule it's important to have some options on hand. It can be hard to find snacks that are healthy, void of added chemicals, and that are also convenient and affordable. As a kid, my mom made homemade popcorn for my sister's and I all the time, but it was normally covered in butter and salt which tasted great, but as I got older I stopped eating it because I knew it was unhealthy. My friend Staci inspired me to make a healthier version that packs some healthy fats, lots of fiber and B vitamins. I hope you enjoy it as much as my hubby and I do!

Spiced Popcorn

1/3 cup Popcorn Kernels (unpopped)
4 Tbsp Avocado Oil (Coconut or other high temp oils work well too)
1/3 cup Nutritional Yeast
1.5 Tsp Garlic Powder
1.5 Tsp Chili Powder
1.5 Tsp Turmeric
1.5 Tsp Sea Salt


1. Mix the spices and nutritional yeast together and set aside.

2. Pour 2 Tbsp of the oil in a large stock pot. Add the kernels and mix the kernels with the oil until coated with oil.

3. Place on high heat and cover. Shake the pot every 30 second or so and wait to hear the popping noise. When 3 seconds passes between popping sounds remove the pan from heat and uncover.

4. Drizzle the remaining oil on top and gently stir or shake in the spices. The turmeric gives it the yellow color so it looks buttery. The measurements above will make your popcorn mildly spiced, but if you like more of a punch add more of your favorite spices.

5. Enjoy and if you want to read about the "Is popcorn bad for you?" question check out this blog post.