Can I really breathe into my bicep? and other cues

I have been taking fitness classes in San Francisco lately and have been loving it.

Twenty five years as a group instructor, it's interesting being on the other side.

As a seasoned professional I process all commands at a level of reality.

So here's what I hear

"Breathe into your bicep!" Here's what I think "Can I really do that? and if I could why would I, shouldn't I be breathing into my lungs?"

"Stomach tight!" Here's what I think, the stomach is a digestive organ, can I hold it tight? Does this instructor really mean, "abdominals tight?"

The best by far is when I was taking a Pilates Mat class

We were in bridge

The instuctor told us that by lifting our butts off the mat "we were opening the spaces between our discs and allowing the synovial fluid to move through our spines"

HHHMMMM really? Here's what I think

By doing a bridge I am contracting my glutes, hamstrings, calves and maybe a bit of my abdominals.

Sugar Sugar and now more Sugar?

I live 20 miles east of San Francisco in a very small town. I run a bootcamp in my town and have had success with it. What amazes me is that most of the food choices in my town are less than healthy.

Let's start with Trader Joes, ok so yes it's better than a huge supermarket but it is by no means a super healthy choice. Then there's Chipotle, ok, well I guess that's better than the  Taco Bell across the street. Next we have Jamba Juice, do people really believe that JJ is healthy? do they look at the sugar content? Moving on we have Yogurtland, across the street from Yummygurt.  Yogurtland charges by how many ounces you yourself pour, in addition to the "toppings" you choose. Does anyone look at the sugar content? Then we have Five Guys hamburger/fries next to a Red Onion, hamburger and fries....NOW we are getting a KrispyKreme Donut shop across the street, you guessed it, from a donut shop. In addition, we have "the ice cream truck" plowing through our community, stopping at our local schools waiting to pounce on the kids once school gets out.

Yet study after study shows the link between Sugar and Obesity....

It amazes me that I live so close to one of the most educated, sophisticated city in the world, yet I live in a town that let's in whomever signs a lease!

We all have time

When I ask clients to incorporate just a bit more exercise into their day, I often hear one of these: "I don't have time to do that" or "Are you kidding me? I can hardly get out of the door on time" or, "get up 20 minutes earlier to walk? are you nuts"? "I'm too busy to do that". "It's too cold and rainy"...


Ok so you get my point

The bigger picture here is that until a health habit is formed, it can sound overwhelming. Once the benefit of just a 20 minute walk kicks in, it's much for doable. I think writing out a plan everyday and looking at how many minutes are wasted in a day is eye opening.


I also think that most people will realize that the world won't end because they have taken a 20 minute walk, and that it truly is ok to step outside and do something everyday to increase longevity.

It's not a priority ~ it's just one more thing I have to do: or is it?

For most people making exercise a top of the list priority is not realistic. The thought of actually "having to workout" every day (even for 30 minutes) seems daunting. I have written about this in a previous blog and have posted a blog on Jills List about "not having time". 

Today I had another Oprah ahah moment. I realized it's not that people don't have time to exercise, they haven't had time to reap the benefits that exercise provides. Of course, it's so logical (as I hit my head on the wall), yes, that's what it is, they just haven't gotten to the wonders of exercise.

Is it because life has become so chaotic and complicated ~Is it because the strangeness of time doesn't allow us to do one more thing? or is it because of how we see time, how we see our days, how we plan our days, how we waste so many moments during our day that we simply can't add exercise to it. Or is it that as comfort creatures we don't want to "rock the boat", we don't want to join a gym or a walking group or take a fitness class, we just don't have time

But we do have time, all of us have the same amount of hours in a day. Why do some choose to workout/exercise daily, why do others decide three times a week is suffice, why do some take Sundays off!. why do others decide that going to the dentist and grocery shopping is more important than a workout?

Why can't exercise be the main goal, the main thing in our day (preferably in the morning), and then enjoy how everything else falls into place

There is time to exercise: it just needs to be found.


I go to the gym

I love that, "I go to the gym"

What does that mean?

Do you go to the gym and talk with your friends? Do you go to the gym and walk on a treadmil?

Do you go to the gym and not have any idea what to do?

Do you spend more time getting to the gym than exercising at the gym?

Do you go to the gym and get bored?

Do you go to the gym and sit on the weight bench?


This is why so many people are surprised when they do our bootcamp or personal training.

Most people really do not know how to workout, they don't know what it takes to get fit

I'm not blaming them, I'm making a clear observation. Time and time again I hear, "But I thought I was kind of fit cause I go to the gym".

Going to a gym is great, what you do at the gym is another story!




The I can do attitude for a DOG TAG!

It may sound cliche', The I Can Do attitude but I believe it.

My clients prove it to me over and over again. As a Health Coach I have seen all of my clients achieve thier goals, yes, you read that right, 100% of my Health Coaching clients have succeeded. 

Now what about my bootcampers...well, I have thought long and hard about that. Physical exercise, the act of actually doing something that requires physical work is actually harder than setting wellness goals. I think the reason is because humans will only work so hard then they stop.


Bootcamp is different than any other type of exercise. It's not a program that "coddles", it's not a program that "gives in" , instead it's a workout that make you dig deep, it makes you challenge yourself in ways you have never had to look at. It makes you stronger or weaker, which ever one you choose. That's the point, it's up to you to decide how much you want to get out of it.


So what about a dog tag? Why does that motivate? For 3 years we have had bootcamp without the "incentive" of a "prize". We finally decided to add dog tags as a reward for perfect attendance and guess what? attendance was amazing. For a dog tag? No, for the sense of achievement ,for acknowledgement, for being at every bootcamp and working hard, for doing our workouts and not complaining, for embracing the workout instead of being annoyed with it!

Whatever you choose to do, do it with all you've got. If you don't have the feeling of accomplishment and you're not feeling it, find something else!

It's like pealing a fava bean

I love fava beans so I baught a huge bag of them at my farmers market last week.

If you have ever pealed a fava bean you know it's a time consuming two step, rather tedius process.First the outer pod layer then the inner shiny shell. It takes longer to get to the actual bean than it does to saute and eat them.

As I was pealing them, I started equating it to exercise. Implementing and or starting an exercise program can be daunting, it can be frustrating, it can be time consuming and tedius yet once the rewards come along it's so worth it's while.

Anything that takes time and has a reward in the end is worth doing.

Eating well takes time but it's worth doing.

We need more fava beans please.

What's there to eat?

The definition of food according to Wickipedia is:

Any nutritious substance that people or animals eat or drink, or that plants absorb, in order to maintain life and growth.

Nourishment is becoming harder and harder to find, or is it? Is it "harder" to purchase fresh veggies and cut them up, roast,steam or sautee' them then to open up a box and put it into the microwave?

Is it "easier"  to go to Starbucks for a Tall frappichino, extra whip, mocha drizzle, than to brew a pot of coffee at home and add a tablespoon of milk to it?

Is it "hard" to track your food before consuming it? Or is it "harder" to hear your doctor tell you that you are diabetic and have high blood pressure.

Is it "hard" to learn portion control, plan your meals, carry a cooler in your car with your food and be prepared for every meal? I mean you are going to eat right? so why not eat well?

Is it "hard" to not eat fast food? Or does it take you just as long, start to finish to fill a container of fabulous food and eat it when you are hungry.

Is all of this really "hard" or is it just a differerent way of fueling your body? Is it hard or do you just not want to do it? 

Don't tell anybody that I have a trainer......

I think it's so funny when my clients want to keep me a secret. Of course I respect that and I don't tell others who I train, but to me it's contradictory.

I am hired to provide a wonderful health service, one that will hopefully enhance my clients well being.

I guess it's the stigma attached or the "I didn't know you had so much disposable income that you can hire a trainer" attitude, when in reality, I think Health is THE MOST IMPORTANT EXPENSE AFTER PAYING YOUR MORTGAGE!

I feel that as a personal trainer and soon to be a certified Health Coach, we need to be embraced by society,not hidden, but at the same time, it's ok...I keep it a secret

Motivation is the Hardest Part

Time and time again I hear "I didn't want to come tonight but I am so glad I did" or, "I would never be doing 10 more pushups, but I am because you are telling me to" or, " I'd still be in bed sleeping if I didn't have this appointment with you this morning"

What is it about human beings and the lack of desire to do something, which in this case is exercise, that they know will benefit them?  


I myself have been guilty of delaying my workouts, I get busy on Fitness Connect or in my garden but in the back of my head I keep having the same conversation, "you need to go hike, you'll feel so  much better when you get done", I know that and so I do it and everytime, I'm right!

So what about people who don't go to bootcamp, or don't have a personal trainer or don't like going to gyms, what do they do for motivation? The catch 22 is that if you don't start and continue for at least 10 weeks, you won't "get it" , you won't "feel the relief". But we as humans love finding excuses and we are so great at "I'll do it tomorrows" that we never really get into the groove.

As I tell my clients, I'ts all mental, it's all in your head. you can do it because you are in charge.