Meet Two Fit Women

You want real-life health and fitness success stories? You want to read about people with careers and kids, who are fit? Well, I have two women’s stories for you. I know these stories well because I know the following two women pretty well. Say hello to Rebecca and Tanya.

Let’s begin with Rebecca. She is in her thirties (sorry Rebecca, people want to know the age of fit people, always). She works, has two children, runs a house hold, is a wife, has social commitments, and somehow she finds time to workout. Wow!! This is her before and after picture.

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As you can see, Rebecca has transformed her body. She was kind enough to write a testimonial for me that will be on my website soon, but I want to tell you about her from my point of view, and why, in my opinion, she has succeeded in shedding pounds.

First of all, she is very consistent with her workouts. Unless she absolutely cannot make my bootcamps, she will be there. Rebecca doesn’t have time for excuses. Even if she’s tired, or not feeling 100%, she shows up to exercise and gives it her all. Segundamente, and very importantly, she understands that food trumps almost all other factors when it comes to weight loss. She often says that she would rather eat her calories, than drink her calories (great motto. What’s a motto? I don’t know. What’s a motto with you!!).

She is so “matter of fact” about food/calorie consumption, that one day we were having a group discussion about dieting, and someone said that during the summer it can be a bit difficult to watch your calories because of all the cook-outs and such. Rebecca chimed in “It’s hard in the summer because of cook-outs, its hard in the fall because of candy during Halloween, and then Thanksgiving arrives. Before you know it, it’s Christmas and all the holidays. Oh what the heck! It’s always hard.” End of conversation. Yes, I agree with Rebecca. It is always a challenge to diet because food is everywhere, all the time, and much of what we do with family, friends, and even co-workers, revolves around food and drink.

And lastly, Rebecca pushes herself during exercise. Whether it’s my bootcamps, or training at the gym, she pushes herself. She is not afraid to lift weights, run, sprint, do pushups, run hills, or try anything else I can come up with to keep her and the rest of the crew fit.

Here she is in bootcamp, she’s the second one from the top, in the light blue top, walking up a hill with 15 pound weights in each hand. That means she shoulder presses, curls, and all other exercises that requires weights, with 15’s in each hand. You go Rebecca!

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Next, we have Tanya. Tanya is a busy professional, a mother, and a very fit woman, in her 40’s!! When it comes to fitness. Tanya is also like Rebecca, all business. Tanya does my bootcamps, and has hired me as her personal trainer.

As you will read in her testimonial, once it’s up on my website, Tanya came to me for strengthening purposes, more than anything else. Tanya is a runner. She ran track in high school and college.

Now she does mostly distance running, about 3 to 5 miles at a time. When she came to me she had bursitis in her hip. She asked me if I thought I could help her pain by strengthening her legs? I gambled and said “Yes”.

The gamble was the following: I didn’t know if strengthening her legs, specifically her hamstrings and glutes, would alleviate her pain, but I knew I could get her legs stronger, and then I hoped/bet (fingers crossed and all) that Tanya having stronger legs would help her pain subside. My gamble paid off!! Tanya is practically pain free. She’s back to running, and even sprinting hills.

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As you can see from the picture above, Tanya is lean. Some of you may be thinking “What’s Tanya’s formula for being lean?” It’s very simple. She follows a pretty strict diet. I believe she consumes about 1,500 calories per day. She lifts weights about three to four times per week, and she runs. She basically does all three facets of fitness. Portion control when it comes to food, resistance training, and cardio.

Cover your eyes if you dislike tough love when it comes to weight-loss. There is no magic bullet, miracle pill, or perfect workout, when it comes to weight-loss and fitness. Exercise, specifically cardio, does burn calories, and weight training the right way, does build muscle. But if the diet isn’t right, weight-loss will be quite the challenge.

Rebecca and Tanya are great examples of what it takes to be fit. I can only instruct them during our exercise sessions, and give them nutritional advice, but ultimately, they must execute the “fit plan” day in and day out.

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The sign says “No Parking” and not “No Kettle Bell Swings”. Good job ladies!!!

An Inspirational Story of Commitment

Hello my fit friends. Happy Cinco De Junio. No, today isn’t a holiday. I just thought I would wish you a happy day.

And now it is time for a feel good story. A story of accomplishment and commitment. A true story that makes me feel good as a personal trainer. This is the story of my United Communications Group exercise group in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

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The group originally began as a walking group. U.C.G.’s HR department contacted me last spring to see if I would run an exercise group for them in the evenings. I said “sure!” I tricked the participants and called it a “walking group”, with me fully knowing that I could never, ever, get paid to have someone just walk. If you exercises with me, you will eventually lift weights, jog hills, and you might even do a 5k.

Our first session was last summer at 5pm (I think). For our first session I had them walk around a lake adjacent to the U.C.G. offices, and then we did some exercises on a yoga mat. The WALK around the lake which is .77 of a mile, and the exercise routine without weights, was tough for some of the participants. Some of them admitted to me that they hadn’t been exercising for a while. Good! Because that is what one of my job descriptions is: To get people moving that haven’t been doing so, and to keep them moving.

We continued to workout outdoors, weather providing, twice a week, for one hour per session. Over the next few months I made the sessions harder and harder. We incorporated weights, and I had them running up and down a grassy, undulating hill, next to the lake. At one point I even brought pulling sleds for them to do, and they obliged. I never said they didn’t complain, but they always obliged.

And then the days got shorter and it began to get cold. The group was in full swing by now. They were all getting stronger, and their endurance was improving. We couldn’t stop! What to do? Well, as it turns out, the office building where the U.C.G. offices are has a gym in it. We contacted the person who runs the gym, I met with him and explained what we were doing, filled out some paper work, and it was a go. We were, and are, allowed to use the gym twice per week for group training. And the group was in for a treat, especially the one’s who had never lifted weights before.

In the gym I split up the group of 8 to 10 into two groups. While one group did cardio for 5 to 10 minutes, the other group did circuit training with weights. They did lunges, squats, lat pull-downs, cable rows, shoulder presses, and even a Gravi-tron machine that aids in doing pull-ups. It was great!

Then one day I noticed that while I was training the group on weights, the group on the cardio machines was just chatting away, like if they were just having a pleasant walk in the park. I thought “Oh, heck no! I will never get paid to have someone just walk and chat during a Hector session.” So I brainstormed, “What can I do to push them on cardio, while indoors?” And I realized that I could use the one thing that all buildings have, if not, most. Steps!!! Yes steps, as in stairs!!! So I said “ladies were doing steps today, follow me.” They thought I was nuts. And they are correct.

The first time they did the steps, 5 floors worth, they were gassed. They couldn’t believe how difficult it is to walk up steps, briskly, without stopping. Over time they got better at it. To further condition them, I gave them homework of 10 sets (that means all the way to the top, and all the way back down is one set) of steps during the week, in addition to our workouts. They all did the homework, I mean office work, too. Their endurance improved tremendously.

Whenever I see improvements in clients I always think “What can I do next to further get them fit?” So I added light indoor jogs to their indoor circuit training. And then it hit me, “Once the weather improves, I will have them do a 5K!!!” When I told them about my grand plan, they thought I was loco.

The weather improved, and we started training outdoors again. And what had started months earlier as a walk around the lake, was now a non-stop jog. For our sessions we did about 20 to 30 minutes of cardio around the lake, and then went into the gym for weight training. It worked well. How well has the training gone? Yesterday, the group did a 5k around the lake.

To make it a Hector 5k, I had them also do a Farmer’s walk for about 40 yards, with a 50 pound trap bar. And that was after the 5k! Here are some pictures of yesterday’s event.

This is our fastest runner, Andrea. She did the 5k like in 30 minutes or so.

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Shalisa and Jocelyn.

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Carmel and Deanna. They love to chat.

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Laura and Mona. Mona is very funny and motivated.

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Group hug congratulating Jeannine on her 5k completion.

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Chris waiting at the finish line to give Maureen a high-five.

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Shalisa, smiling as always, even during her farmer’s walk.DSC_0247

Maureen told me mid-walk “this is heavy”.

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Kelley plays soccer on weekends AND participates in bootcamp!DSC_0279

Group cheer for Laura and Mona finishing the 5k.

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That’s the U.C.G. crew. We are officially a Bootcamp group.

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Next challenge, obstacle courses in the mud! Good job ladies.

 

 

 

 

How Much Exercise Do You Need?

How much and how often you should exercise depends on your goals. Are you trying to lose weight? Are you trying to get stronger? Are you training for endurance, like a marathon (if you are, you so crazy)? All of the previous goals require different routines, intensity levels, and frequency.

I have read and heard various theories on the amount of exercise one needs to maintain a decent level of fitness. I was recently asked by a client if taking 10,000 steps a day is a good goal? I couldn’t answer because I had no idea how far 10,000 steps is for the average person. So I Googled “10,000 steps”, and I was shocked.

10,000 steps is approximately 5 miles! That is f-a-a-r. At a 3 mile per hour pace, you would have to walk for one hour and forty minutes straight, without a break, to walk 5 miles. If you accumulated 10,000 steps a day, six days a week, you would be walking 30 miles per week, and approximately 120 miles a month. 120 multiplied by 125 calories per mile burned would be 15,000 calories a month used as fuel from walking. That’s almost 5 pounds of fat burned, in one month!!! Ok, did you feel that free-fall descent back to earth? Wheeeeee!! That was the realization that very few people walk 5 miles per day, erry-day.

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I used to tell people that they needed to accumulate 5 hours of exercise/movement per week. Boy, I tell you, I was being kind. Because if 10,000 steps a day is the going rate to stay fit, I was undershooting with my advice, big time. If you are one of those rare folks, rare like a flawless diamond and not like a steak, who walks 5 miles a day, you are a beast!!!!! Being called a beast in the exercise world is a good thing. So I guess you can call my wife and I “Beauty and The Beast”. (I had to write that one).

Now to be fair about calling myself a beast, I doubt that I walk 5 miles a day. I am sure that on days I exercise (cardio+weights) and work, I might get in 10,000 steps, but that’s a stretch.

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Let me share with you what I can do: I can dead-lift 315 lbs about 3 times. I can do anywhere from 12 to 15 full range of motion pullups without kipping. I can do about 5 to 8 pullups with 20 lbs attached to my body. I can overhead press (barbell) 105 lbs about 3 times without my legs helping (so it’s not a push-press). I don’t bench press anymore.  I can do a boxing class without having a heart attack. I can run pretty fast, and jump decently high. That’s me touching a 10 ft high basketball rim, but that was like a year and a half ago. I might have to try that again.

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Peep the Vans I’m wearing.

Please keep in mind that I am 42 years old, 5’11”, weigh 185 lbs, and do not use steroids. I was much stronger in my 20’s, without steroids of course. (I have nothing against roids, it’s just not my thing.)

The previous braggadocious paragraph does serve a purpose other than narcissism. It is to show you that I practice what I preach, because no one should hire an out of shape trainer, and that I maintain those fitness/strength levels with about 5 hours per week of not so easy exercise. I lift weights 3 times per week for an hour per session, and do a one hour boxing class twice per week (most of the time). That’s it!! The rest is diet. FYI, six-pack abs are created in the kitchen, and not in the gym. Sorry.

More on food.

Nutrition is the foundation of how you perform when you workout. The crappier your food, the crappier your workout. Your nutrition is also the main factor that will determine how you look, known as body composition, and how much of your hard work in the gym will show on the outside. The cleaner your diet, and the more you eat according to your desired weight, the more “tone” your body will reveal. Tone=reduced body fat levels. We often say “he or she has good muscle tone”, but what we are really saying is that he or she has body fat levels low enough to show muscle definition. Here’s the ultimate heart breaker. You can workout all you want, do millions of situps, lift weights, and walk everywhere, but if you have a crappy diet, you know what I’m talking about, pizza, burgers, fries, and beer, three to four days per week, chances are you won’t have much muscle tone. Trust me, I see these types at the gym I workout at, everyday. And please don’t forget your New Year’s Resolution, it’s only February. By the way, am I the only one that finds it kind of odd that the day many of us get plastered is the day we swear we’re going to make a positive change? It reminds me of a Hemingway quote: “Always do sober what you say you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut”.

Ok, gotta go. I will keep you posted on my attempt at touching a 10ft high basketball rim later in the spring. The older I get, the higher the rim appears, and the heavier weights feel.

 

 

 

Group Exercise

Happy New Year!! I know, I know, it’s already the 5th of January, but better late than never, right?

Guess how I’ve been bringing in the New Year? I will give you some hints: a runny nose, sore throat, dry cough, headache, body ache, and just feeling overall crappy. Yep, you guessed it. Healthy Homeboy is not so healthy today. I have the flu. For you edge-a-macated folks, I have influenza. Yuck!!! My symptoms began on January 2nd, in the evening.

I scoured my thesaurus and dictionary for the perfect word to describe influenza, found it!! Sucks. Yes, the flu sucks. But I will keep this post positive, like all my posts, and talk about positive experiences I had with my personal training business last year. (One of my New Year’s resolutions is to stay away from negativity and be as positive as possible).

By far, without a doubt, the best experience I had last year with my personal training business was, and continues to be, group training.

It all started in the spring with a group a women who wanted to exercise together and needed a trainer to monitor and push them. I obliged. We agreed to train outdoors at 6am twice per week. Before I knew it, they were doing weighted sled pulls, running and sprinting, push-ups, lunges, and everything else I asked of them. workout-collage

The group stayed together through spring, summer, fall, and now winter. We are no longer outdoors though. It’s muy frio. So we have taken the bootcamp indoors. Guess what some of my neighborhood bootcamp crew asked me to do for them on January 1, 2015? They asked me to run a bootcamp for them. What!!!! I couldn’t believe it. Even some of the husbands showed up. To top it off, the bootcamp we did was outdoors, because our indoor facility was closed on January 1st. Through a camera lens the day was beautiful, but physically, it was a bit cold. Here are some action shots.

Flutter kicks for abs. This was after jogging, sprinting, sled pulls, lunges, squat and press, and whatever else I had my motivated New Year’s day bootcamp crew do. (If any of you are observant enough to notice that one of the participants is wearing flip-flops, good job. No, she did not do the bootcamp in flip-flops. Exercising on a muddy field in flip-flops is a safety hazard).

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Push-ups to focus on triceps. (Elbows close to body).

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And after the torture, I mean bootcamp, they all had protein shakes that I made for them. Trust me, they were protein shakes, despite what the red cups might allude to.

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Even my sisters, Norma and Vicky, who were visiting from Florida and Cali, showed up for the bootcamp. Everyone said the protein shakes hit the spot.

Thank you, Stonegate bootcamp particpants. You all gave me and continue to give me OJT, on the job training, when it comes to group training, and I love it. Keep up the great work. And remember ladies, strong is the new skinny. (I challenge any man over 40 to do as many push-ups as the lady on the right can. How many can she do? It’s more than 40). strong-beautiful-women

And to my UCG workout crew, your story will be next.

Inspiration

This past weekend my friend and personal training client, Salomeh, participated in a two-day, 150 mile bike ride here in Maryland. Even though she did strength training with me on the weekdays, and did bike ride training with her friend Jamie on weekends, leading up to the event she was nervous, anxious, and at times questioned if she would even be able to finish the event. Well, she did finish the event.

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I personally never questioned if she could finish the 2 day event. Salomeh is inspirational because not only has she been exercising and dieting to lose weight, she has lost 30 pounds this year, but she also trained for the bike ride while dieting. That takes some serious discipline and guts. So I interviewed her yesterday. The day after she crossed the finish line.

How are you feeling today? “I am actually surprised. I feel great. My legs are a bit stiff, but that’s about it.”

What did you eat after your event? “I had Famous Dave’s. I had beef brisket, cole slaw, and maccaroni and cheese.”

When did you start training for the bike ride? “I started with 5 to 8 mile bike rides in March.”

What is the longest training ride you did leading up to the event? “I did 78 miles on mostly flat ground in July. My ride time was 5 hours and 24 minutes. That’s just ride time, so not including breaks.”

Did you always ride with someone? “No, sometimes I trained solo.” You go Salomeh.

What was the most difficult part of the training rides? “By f-a-r, the hills. They sucked. But I did get better at them because my ride time got better/faster.”

Did you ever hit a wall during your training? “Yes, but it was diet based. I had cut back too much on my carbs. But once I increased them, my performance improved.” On a side note, I am the one that had to convince her to INCREASE her carbs. For someone like Salomeh on a weight loss mission, this is very hard to believe and implement. But she trusted me, I kept my fingers crossed, and it worked. Whew!!

What motivated you to do the Ride to Conquer Cancer? “Within the last year I have lost 4 people to cancer, so I decided to do my part.”

How much money did you raise? “I raised $3,200 and all the riders raised 2.6 million dollars total.”

What were the riding conditions, like for the actual two day ride? “The first day sucked. It was rainy, a bit cold, and I was soaked. It was a tad dangerous out there with the slick roads. At the 3rd pit stop I totally felt like quitting, but I just couldn’t. 120 riders dropped out the first day, for a multitude of reasons. The first day was very tiring. I started at 7:30am and finished at 4pm. I ate some chicken, rice, and a bit of a salad and went to sleep.” I think if I ever ride 75 miles in one day, I will skip the food and just go to sleep.

How was the second day? “Well I didn’t have restful sleep, so I woke up feeling rundown. I had scrambled eggs, French toast, oatmeal, a bagel, and beacon for breakfast, and I felt much better. I started at 7am and finished the ride at 5pm. At 7am it was a bit cool, almost cold. The first 4 miles were hilly, and that SUCKED, and about half way through the ride, my legs were gone. I was tired. The 3rd pit stop was about 5 minutes from my house and I was so tempted to come home, but I couldn’t. I had come too far to quit. At the 4th pit stop I had 22 miles left, and my hip was killing me. There was a physical therapist at the pit stop, and she worked on my hip. It hurt like hell when she was working on it, but it worked because I finished the ride, and today it feels fine.”

What kept you going on the ride? “I was doing it for my friends, and on the ride I saw a shirt, on one of the other riders who is a cancer survivor, that said ‘If you think this is difficult, try chemotherapy’. The shirt reminded me that it wasn’t all about me.”

How did you feel when you crossed the finish line? “I was in disbelief and burst into tears (Yes I was there, she was crying so much I almost cried. Ok, ok, maybe I did shed a tear, but just one. It’s simple, when I see a woman cry, I tend to do the same). I couldn’t believe I actually did it. I’m still in disbelief.”

Do you feel that our strength training helped you on your ride in any way? “Oh yes. During the ride I heard riders complaining about pain in their back, shoulders, and neck, but I didn’t have any of that. Probably because of all the strength and core training we did.”

Well there you have it. A woman in her late 40’s (she said I could mention her age), who in the midst of her weight loss mission, decided to take on a challenge of riding to conquer cancer. Not only did she raise money, but she did finish the two day 150 mile bike ride, and ahead of others. I witnessed it. Wow!!!

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And stay tuned, because guess what Salomeh is doing next year? She is doing an “Iron Girl” event. Isn’t that swimming, biking, and running, all in the same day!? Daaannnngggg! You go Salomeh. And don’t you dare doubt her because not only has she biked 150 miles in two days, but she has also climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. I am not kidding. In the fitness world we call that “BEAST MODE”.  And in my world I call her my Home-Girl. (Yes, Home-Girl is capitalized. It is like a proper name or something).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Real Life Weight Loss

Hello everyone. When it comes to weight loss, I usually give advice along the lines of moving more, eating less, and drinking water, simple formula right? Well today, I will introduce you to a real life person, who attained real life weight loss results. Her name is Farah, and she is my wife’s cousin.

Farah came to visit us a few weeks ago. When I first saw her I thought “I didn’t know Farah had a twin sister. This girl looks just like Farah, except her face, and the rest of her body is thinner”.  Nope, Farah does not have a twin sister. Farah looked different because she had lost weight. Good job girl!!!!

For starters, Farah is a mother, and works full-time. So she does have a life other than working out and watching what she eats. This is her when she was about to burst and become a mommy a few years ago.

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Below, that is Farah before she began her weight loss journey.

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And below is the “Look at me, I look great, I am 36 years young, I have busted my butt working out, have been strict with my food intake, and I have lost 27 pounds! and counting” selfie. Look how much thinner her face looks, and look how much flatter her tummy is. Great job!!! To tell you the truth, in person, the results are that much more  impressive ad evident than these pictures illustrate.

after(1)Because Farah did not use my services to lose weight and tone up, I decided to interview her, so I could learn a thing or two and share her weight loss wisdom with my readers.

Interview:

1. What is the biggest change you made to help you lose weight? “My eating habits”. (She didn’t hesitate with this answer). She reduced her portion sizes, cut out processed sugar considerably, and “almost completely eliminated fast food”. And yes, although you can make healthy food choices at Subway, it is still considered fast food.

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2. When did you begin your weight loss? “After I had my baby, I did Weight Watchers for  3 months. I lost about 8-9 pounds”. She also said that Weight Watchers taught her about portion control, and she now uses saucers instead of plates, whenever possible, when she eats. (And when she gets angry, the saucers become flying saucers, just kidding. Farah is always happy just like my wife, her cousin. Maybe happiness runs in families like diabetes does. It’s just a thought).

3. Do you drink alcohol? “I drink less overall now. I really don’t drink beer, and just stick to mixed drinks. I sometimes have a glass of wine with dinner”.

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4. When did you begin exercising, and what do you do for exercise? “I began exercising last March, 2013. I go to the gym three times per week. I workout for 45 minutes to an hour and do weights and cardio. I also walk my baby in the stroller, for up to 2 hours sometimes”. The walking of the stroller outside is a seasonal thing because Farah resides in Canada. I believe she works out 4 to 5 hours per week. You go girl!!

5. I know you’re already busy as a mother, do you work too? “Yes, I have a full-time job”. This is very important because it means that she makes time for her workouts, despite her busy schedule. Technically, she has two full-time jobs because being a parent is a full-time job too. I speak from observation and not from experience.

6. Ok Farah, this is the million dollar question. Everyone who embarks on a weight loss journey needs a strong reason to do so. I always tell my clients that if their reason for weight loss is strong enough, it will fuel their weight-loss efforts. So, what was your main reason for wanting to lose weight? “I didn’t like how I looked in my clothes”. This answer was quick and serious, so I knew it was the truth. She said she also did it for health reasons, but it was mostly vanity. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Who doesn’t like to look the best they can look? Even back in the day folks were vain. The painting below is from the 1800’s.

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7. What has been the most challenging aspect of your weight-loss and fitness plan? “Creating a workout routine and sticking to it has been the toughest. The food changes have not been that tough”. This answer surprised me because most of my clients struggle more with food change/reduction than with exercise adherence.

8. What is your favorite form of exercise? “I like doing the elliptical machine and lifting weights”. Translation: She likes most forms of exercise except, in her words, “I do not like to run”. Amen.

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9. I have plenty of female clients, and many of them are working mothers just like you. What advice would you give to them if they are trying to lose weight and get fit? “Just stay active and eat clean”. I swear that this was her answer. It is great advice in just six words.

There you have it ladies, an interview with a young woman who took it upon herself to lose weight and tone her cuerpo. After our interview, I did give Farah some fitness advice and wrote her a workout routine in exchange for her allowing me to post her pictures and our conversation on my blog. Thanks again Farah, and I know you will inspire some women out there with your great results and sincere advice.

 

 

 

 

 

Snow, Reading, and Exercise

Hello, today is hump day. Get your head out of the gutter! It is the middle of the week. But I agree with you, hump Wednesday sounds funny.

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Yesterday, here in Maryland, we had a little snow storm come through these here parts. Where I live we got about 6 inches or so. For you measurement geeks, that would be half a foot or one sixth of a yard.

Luckily for me and my wallet, snow flakes and flurries didn’t start until 10am or so yesterday, so I got a few hours of personal training in. Then I came home and chilled with the family. We watched some television while playing Scrabble, and later that evening I finished reading “The Old Man and The Sea” by Ernesto Hemingway. He is one of my favorite authors. This is him sipping on what I assume is something other than water, and writing. He passed away in 1961.

ERNEST HEMINGWAY

Hemingway broke several rules when he wrote. He often didn’t use commas and he started many sentences with “I” and “The”. But he was a great story-teller and that is what matters in writing. He also didn’t use longer words where shorter ones sufficed. Ernesto, like many, enjoyed alcohol. Here are two quotes from him about alcohol that I agree with.

“I drink to make other people more interesting.”  I many times have done the same. And “Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.” Sounds good to me.

I like to read classics on my Kindle. For starters, most of them are free or a buck. I’ll buy that for a dollar! But I really read the classics because I didn’t read them in High School and I realized that when I do read them they inspire me to write, so much so that I am currently working on a novel. And what better way to learn to write than by reading classics that have withstood, or is it stood, the test of time. The first literary classic I read was “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen, when I was attending Community College straight out of the Marines in the mid 1990’s. Thanks G.I. Bill! Then I read “The Call of The Wild” by Jack London and I was hooked. Fast forward to now.

Last summer I read “East of Eden” by John Steinbeck. That book was l-o-n-g, but it was a great read too. Recently I read “The Scarlett Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne. For me, it was a complicated read. Hawthorne, in some ways, is opposite of Hemingway. Hawthorne’s sentences are wordy, long, and full of comas. I had to read many of his sentences twice just to make sure I was sure of what I had just read. When I was done reading the book I thought “Damn, many men and women should wear the scarlet letter A.”

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I have now moved on to the writings of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known by his writing name, Mark Twain. Just last night I started reading “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Twain. It was written in 1885. I warn you now though, if you decide to read that book, the N word appears as often in it as it does in a KKK membership pamphlet, a bunch. But the book is a classic, so I shall read it.

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I read a few pages and then I decided to look up quotes by Twain. And guess what I found? Twain had a quote on exercise that fits to this day.

“The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d druther not.” This quote is over 100 years old! So even back then people didn’t like to eat right, move, and drink water. Wow!!

exercise motivation

Here’s a quote from Twain the ladies will like mucho.

“No civilization can be perfect until exact equality between man and woman is included.”

Here’s one for parents, or expecting parents, also by Twain.

“As long as you’re in your right mind don’t you ever pray for twins. Twins amount to a permanent riot. And there ain’t any real difference between triplets and an insurrection.”

Here’s one on children.

“We lavish gifts upon them [children]; but the most precious gift-our personal association, which means so much to them, we give grudgingly.”

And this quote by Twain is hilarious and true.

“When red-headed people are above a certain social grade, their hair is auburn.”

As for today. I woke up, had my oatmeal with whey protein powder, some coffee, and shoveled the driveway in the name of duty and exercise. After that I came in the house and exercised with some free weights because I wasn’t sure if the roads were clear to head to the gym. Now I blog, and then it is off to train some clients and help them get strong and lose weight. Oh, if you shoveled snow today I want you to know that it does count as exercise. I found a “Snow Shoveling Calories Burned Calculator” online. It said that I burned 391 calories shoveling snow for 45 minutes. Damn! and then I worked-out too. Leadership by example is best.

lead-by-example1

Just a reminder, 57 days til spring. So stay on top of your resolution to lose weight. The sun will shine bright and warm before you know it. And for my Angelinos, please don’t remind me. I know that the high will be 83 degrees in city of Angels and city of my birth today. The good news is that with hard work, we can always catch a plane to change the weather.