Saturday, October 30, 2010

Restoring Sanity

I admit it, I wish I was in Washington, D.C. right now at the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear.  I have been watching the stream online and can feel the power of the people.  It is enlivening and gives me hope.  We all need more sanity.

I don't think politicians and the media realize how much their saber rattling and pontificating fray reasonable people's nerves.  Or sadly (and more likely) they do.  It's what gets them support and ratings.  If that's the case, it's sick.  And it's not just one political party or one network, they all pander to our emotions.

We need to take that power back and call for reason.  My friend Maxine Sieleman from PRAISE 940, gave me a great quote for an article I wrote about her, “You can lead me, but you can’t drive me.  I don’t want people telling me what to think, I’m not stupid.  Instead I want to tell people what is happening and let them make their own decisions.” - YES!  

Give me the facts, not your opinion of the facts, not a spin on the facts, the ACTUAL facts, I can take it from there.  Everyone can.  We are intelligent people, common sense tells us to ask questions if we are confused or need more information to form an opinion.  Trying to sway me or scare me will only make me mad and disenfranchised.  I guarantee if you talk down to me like I am three in an attempt to impress upon me your self-perceived intellect, I will balk.  

So, let's bring back reason.  Speak kindly, discuss don't argue.  Smile even when someone says something ugly, it will confuse them. 

And the greatest thing about restoring sanity?  You feel better.  Your stress drops, you eat less and you have time for yourself instead of worry.  

I'm watching the Rally, even as I go to the gym today.  I feel like I can breath a little more each time I see someone embrace reason.  Perhaps by the end of the day my worry lines will have released and I will even look a little younger. :)

Have a sane and sensible day,


Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Halloween!

I promised earlier today on LITE 104.1 that I would post pictures from our Halloween Potluck.  The first one is me as a cowgirl.  The second is my hugely creative friend Calvin as a sock monkey!  This is the same guy that made a complete replica of Floppy as a costume two years ago.  We want to drag him to bars and win money with him, but he won't let us. ;)  The final shot is all but three of the people who dressed up today, missing are Tom Selleck, another cowgirl and a deviled egg.

You can see I have lost weight too!

Calvin is so cool, I want to be him when I don't grow up.

Most of our motley crew.

Bonus picture: My current Facebook profile picture
featuring my very own Obi-Wan Kenobi.
If you are a fan of LOL Cats, you understand the meaning.

Also, I am still working on finding an example of that killer move from Gwyn at the YMCA Healthy Living Center.  Maybe by tomorrow.

Yours in Health,

Thursday, October 28, 2010

This and That and the Other Thing

The last 48 hours have been a blur.

Work has been crazy, but we put the next edition of Intuition Magazine to bed this afternoon, so that was huge.  Really like this issue, it's fun, very holiday.  The cover is beautiful, which has everything to do with our model Lindsey, great photography by Paige and design by Jolene.

One of my bosses and dear friends is leaving, we had her going away breakfast this morning.  I ate too many eggs AND had hash-browns - I know, I let my emotions eat for me.

Yesterday, I had a strenuous workout with Gwyn at the YMCA Healthy Living Center.  Tomorrow I am going to find a video of the torture exercise she likes to have me do, um, it's hard.  Whine. But I also know my abs greatly benefit, so I am torn. ;)  The day before that it was a water workout.  Those are really hard, but I love them.  I have even taken to doing an almost identical one at least once over every weekend.  I am seeing nice results.

Today, no workout, but then Thursday has become my day off.  Tomorrow it's back in the pool or maybe upstairs with weights because I missed Monday.  (No voice.)

I just finished writing a press release for a special concert that will be announced tomorrow morning.  That's all I can tease, but I promise details over the weekend.

Okay, that was enough rambling for three people, so I am going to wrap up and finally go home.  Good night.

Yours in Health,

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Chilly Day Calls for Chili

I am going to regularly post recipes again.  This one is a favorite that is lower calorie and tasty as heck.  With the cooler weather it seemed the time to share this one.

White Chili with Ground Turkey

Yours in Health,

Monday, October 25, 2010

Laryngitis - I don't think it's fatal

Yesterday I told you I was hoarse from yelling at the Race for the Cure.  Today I woke up and my voice was barely audible.  With the help of much coffee I was able to do my shift on LITE 104.1, but then I had to go home. 

Radio is not a business you can be quiet in and everyone was at my desk.  So, I am finishing out the day at home.  I did not go workout because I am also not feeling that hot.

There are people who think I might stop breathing if I do not talk - you know who you are.  But don't worry, it's not fatal.  I'll be back at work and gym tomorrow, even if I don't have a voice.

Yours in Health,

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Race for the Cure - Des Moines 2010

My voice is gone.  I stood at the finish line of the Race for the Cure yesterday with the ladies from the Mercy Cancer Center.  We were cheering on the 25,000 heroes who were helping raise money and spirits in the fight again breast cancer.  I cheered loudly, used my clapper, gave high fives and was inspired.

Thousands of people streamed past me - women, men, children, dogs - all with one purpose, the eradication of a deadly disease.  A disease that will infect 1 in 8 women and 1 in 100 men and affect hundreds more who love those people.  With early detection it doesn't have to be a killer, but it still has to be battled - a team makes that easier.

And that's what you saw yesterday, team after team - Testes for Breasties, Amanda's Army, Team Fight Like a Girl and many other creative efforts put forth for a little fun in a sea of serious.  People walked and ran for victims who had lost their fight.  Women came in wheel chairs because they were too sick from chemo.  It wasn't a place to extol traditional physical beauty - many were bald from radiation, no make-up, one breast - instead it was beauty of spirit that caused cheers and claps.

I was moved, not only by the vast swath of pink that was moving in unison through downtown Des Moines, but by the power of love.  I was honored to be on the side of the street where survivors walked by in a special chute, just for them.  They smiled, they cried, they cheered, they hugged, they danced in pride - they made us all believe.

Thank you to Mercy Cancer Center for inviting us to be a part of the cheer section that welcomed everyone back to the capitol, it was wonderful, even if I have no voice to say it out loud. ;)

Yours in Health,

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Inspiring Stories of Weight Loss

I wanted to start sharing stories about other people on the path to health again. Today I was on the Mercy Weight Loss and Nutrition Center website and found Dave's story.

I have been to the site many times and seen his face, but never clicked. It's a great story! He set realistic goals, sought help to make it happen and is nearly at his goal. He looks great and feels even better.

Some days are harder than others. Some days you look at your car keys and the gym seems too far away. Sometimes the burger wins. But if you look around, someone has been through it too. Hearing their story can help.

I figured I would start in our own backyard.  So, here is the link to the video of Dave.

Mercy - Center for Weight Reduction

Yours in Health,

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Staring at a Blank Page

Staring.  Nothing.  In fact, I have come back several times over the last couple of hours and nada.

So, I will just quickly note that I had a great workout today with Gwyn at the YMCA Healthy Living Center.  She made me whine.  That means she pushed my limits and that's a very good thing.

With that I think I will go home for the night.

Yours in Health,

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Do you pay her to do that?

When I train in the pools at the YMCA Healthy Living Center with my personal trainer Gwyn, we are quite the draw for those with a natural curiosity - today was no exception.

I had put in 25 minutes doing laps and then Gwyn came to join me in the lap pool.  We took over the lane as she had me run up and down the length of the pool.  I did tons of jumping jacks, ab work and swam with water weights as my arms made their windmill through the water.  Between my laps and her workout, I am sore and tired, but invigorated.  I have come so far and it feels great.  The little ladies at the pool have a different view....

Most of the ladies are older, especially since I workout during the day, and they aren't rockin' the killer attitude I am.  They are there to stay fit or if they are trying to get fit, throwing a punch under water never passed through their mind.

I fully admit, we draw attention to ourselves, we splash around like a herd of horses drowning.  But I love their reactions, it really makes my day.  They sometimes stare, sometimes laugh and often comment.  The most popular question is "Do you pay her to do that to you?"  I always smile and says, "Yes, I want to work this hard."  That's met with head shakes, further quizzing or people wanting to ask Gwyn about training.

I actually love it.  I love telling people about how hard work pays off.  About how great Gwyn is.  And when I hear the words that make me go to the gym 5 or 6 days a week, not "you are looking good", instead - "you are inspiring."  If I can help one person feel the urge to go to the gym or eat healthier and therefore they live longer, I have done my job and yes, I would pay for that.

Yours in Health,

Monday, October 18, 2010

What Did You Say? Some Exercise Terms - Part 2

Sorry I didn't post over the weekend.  I worked 13 hours on Saturday and just rested and did laundry yesterday (never happens), so I didn't get a chance to blog.  That said, here is part two of our glossary of terms heard around the gym.

Fiber - From Dictionary.comthe structural part of plants and plant products that consists of carbohydrates, as cellulose and pectinthat are wholly or partially indigestible and when eaten stimulate peristalsis (moving along the waste) in the intestine.  Basically it helps fill you up AND helps keep you regular.  It can also help control blood sugar. 

Free weights - Any weight not attached to a machine.  Dumbells are the most used, but barbells and heavier weights are available as well.  Do not use the latter without someone to 'spot' you.  Spotting means standing there to catch the weight if you lose your grip or footing, so the weight doesn't crush you.

Glutes - The shortened name for the muscles in your buttocks.  Real name - gluteus maximus.  

Lats - latissimus dorsi muscles.  Working this muscle helps whittle down your sides and back.  

Ligament/Tendon - I have combined these because they have similar purposes.  Both are bands of tissue that holds things in place - ligaments connect bone to bone, tendons connect muscle to bone.  Years ago I had a guy run over me playing softball and he tore up those and every other part of my knee - proving the two thick fibrous strands are good neighbors.  Famous tendon - Achilles (up the back of your leg).  Famous ligament - anterior cruciate (in your knee).

Brad Pitt as Achilles - okay, couldn't help it.
Lunges - A move to strengthen lower body muscles, especially helpful with quads (see below for meaning) and glutes.  You start in a standing position and then lunge forward with one leg to end up in this position.
Lunge position
Machines - You hear "I'm going to hit the machines".  That's any machine that involves a weight bearing exercise.  On a rare occasion someone will say that when they are going to a cardio machine like a treadmill or stair-stepper, but most of the time they mean weights.  And remember, even if the weight is controlled by a machine, you can still injure yourself, so have someone walk you through them the first time.

Protein - Again, from - They consist of long chains of amino acids connected by peptide bonds and have distinct and varied three-dimensional structures, usually containing alpha helices and beta sheets as well as looping and folded chains.  In layman's terms - this is the building block of muscle.  It's can be found in meat, beans, seeds, nuts, grain, fish, dairy and a number of other sources.  DO NOT lifts weights without eating protein, your body will revolt.

Quads - Quadriceps femoris.  A large group of muscles in the legs.  Most commonly referring to the muscles on the upper front of your legs - aka- your thighs.  

Rep - Any complete motion in a set of exercises.  Each complete motion is one rep, these are often done in sets of 12 to 20 depending on what you are trying to accomplish.  This is not just s reference to weights, it can be non-weight exercises like sit-ups too.

Shin splints - Pain at the front of your lower leg or just to the inside front of your lower leg.  This can be caused by a number of strains, the most noted are overuse and sudden change in workout.  Examples - Overuse happens when you run everyday and a sudden change would be going from walking to running out of nowhere.  I have had bad shin splints before.  Only three things fix them - rest, anti-inflammatories and ice.

Squats - Imagine sitting, without a chair.  That's the basic idea behind a squat and encourages the idea of not bending your knees more than 90-degrees, which is better for your knees.  In fact, I was kind of scared scrolling the Internet looking for a picture of a proper example for you.  There are a lot of people that are doing them wrong!  You can do them with or without weights, against a wall, with a ball and one legged, but you should consider not going lower than 90-degrees, unless you have really awesome knees.

Beginner squat - the chair is a great safety net.
So there you go.  Between this entry and this one, you have the basics of 'gym speak'.  If there are other things you overhear and wonder about, let me know.

Yours in Health,

Friday, October 15, 2010


Went to bed with the beginnings of a migraine and woke-up with a sledgehammer on my forehead.  It took 3 Excedrin Migraine, a large coffee, 4 ibuprofen and another large coffee to kill the headache - all while working. I am now feeling the headache hangover coming on, so I am headed home.

Sorry, no continuation on the glossary today.  But I promise I will go back at it tomorrow.

Yours in Health,

Thursday, October 14, 2010

What Did You Say? Some Exercise Terms - Part 1

The day has slipped away from me, so I am going to give you ten oft heard terms bandied about the gym.  They could be used by a professional, like your trainer or the triathlete you strike up a conversation with in the locker room. Or the bonehead who looks like he belongs on the bottle of pills he popped to bulge that way and that always drops the weights, rather than put them down.  Huuuuuuuuu, yea!  (He uses them to sound cool and apparently I have an issue with apes like that.  LOL.)

That said, knowing these terms can help turn a conversation into something more educational when everything makes sense.

Abs - your abdominal muscles.  Often buried by too much Ben & Jerry's, you can see them give you definition again, if you are committed.  Sometimes called a 'six pack' and for the really buff and eight pack.  My favorite gratuitous example:
Gerard Butler in "300".

Aerobic - This does not have to involve Jane Fonda or leg warmers.  Instead it simply means getting your heart rate up higher.  Basically, you should be able to do whatever you are doing - running, spinning, stair climbing - and still be able to get a sentence or two out before panting.

Anaerobic - Like it core word cousin, your heart rate is up.  But in this case, way up.  You are probably panting and talking involves "uh-huh".  This is great for training your heart, but is not for beginners or those with health problems.  

Bi's and Tri's - Biceps and triceps.  The biceps are the muscle on the upper part of the front of your arm.  The triceps are their partner on the back.

Carbs - Carbohydrates.  Basically starches and sugars.  These are the basic building blocks of our body.  Our brain literally lives on them.  Anyone who says to you, "You should try this new low-carb diet", is really saying, "I am sick of you beating me at Trivial Pursuit, lose some brain cells, so I have a chance."  Okay, they're not really malicious, they are just misinformed.  Carbs are in almost everything we eat, particularly fruits and vegetables, without which you will get gout -ewww.

Circuit - Moving from exercise to exercise with little rest between and then repeating the order.  This can be on machines or set up with other equipment, it's just whether you are doing a loop or not that makes the circuit.

Crunches - No potato chips are involved here.  Instead this is the overall name for a number of moves that improve your abdominals.  Almost all involve using your abs to pull yourself up or over slightly to 'crunch' your top and bottom abs toward one another, then release.  This is different from a sit-up in which you come all the way up into a seated position. 

Curl - Basically bending a limb back toward your body.  There are arm curls and leg curls.  While you curl your arm back toward the front of your body, you should know that if your leg curls forward instead of back toward your butt, it's time to seek medical attention.

And with that smarty-pants answer, I think I am a little punchy and better wrap up.  I will post more tomorrow, but in the meantime, if you have any specifics terms you are curious about, please comment.

Yours in Health,

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Equipping Your Home Gym

As promised, I had my personal trainer, Gwyn, from the the YMCA Healthy Living Center create a list of options to start your workouts at home.  Sometimes it's easier to start at home, no one, except the cat, is there to see you.  Yet, even when you are a seasoned gym rat, you may find occasions where getting out of the house is hard - read: a foot of snow is packed in your driveway.

So, this is the list.  I have gone and found picture examples for you - I can say 'medicine ball', but you may not have a clue what I mean without a visual aid. :)

  • A ball - sometimes called a stability ball, exercise ball, etc.  It is great for a number of things including core work.  Some people even use them at work instead of a chair to help their core and posture.
    Okay, I could have found a
    picture of just a ball, but hey.
  • Mat - It can be a yoga mat or an exercise mat.  The yoga mat is thinner or you could get one of the new thicker yoga mats.  These are used to cushion a number of your floor moves.
Thick Yoga Mat
  • Hand weights - Grab a pair of weights that are on the upper end of your lifting limit to start.  For example, if 10 pounds is a challenge, but doesn't break your arm, this is a good choice.  You can start here and if you become committed you can increase the number of weights you have at home or get one of the multi-weight sets.
    • If the weights seem heavy- keep your sets to fewer reps until you are stronger.  If you outgrow the weights, increase reps to wear the muscle out - you won't get as much bulk, but will still build muscle.
One example of hand weights.

  • Tubing or Bands - Both of these are good options if you want longer muscles.  You can do a number of weights-like moves, but you can do many things that weights can't. 
Bands can often be bought by length
and come in different tensions -
the higher the tension, the harder it is to pull.

Just like bands, tubes have different tensions,
their color will tell you which is which .

  • Playground ball - Yes, it's what it sounds like.  Go to the toy section and look for the ball you played four-square with in grade school.  The ball is used for toning and balance.
Not kidding, straight from kick ball to you.
Just don't hit anyone in the back of the head with it.
  • Balancing equipment - Bosu Ball, Dyna Disc and Core Board.  You don't need all three, pick the one that seems least threatening. LOL.  All of these are for building core and helping you learn balance.
Bosu ball - basically half a stability ball on a base.
Dyna Disc.

Core board - this is the newest variety,
but you will also see old school wooden ones
that look like a mini teeter totter. 

  • Jump rope - you were likely a thinner person as a child, this little item had something to do with that.  Jumping rope fries calories and is great cardio.
Another flashback to your childhood.
Only the ones for grown-ups come in different lengths,
so if you haven't grown an inch since 6th grade, you are covered.

  • Medicine ball - This has nothing to do with the pharmacist or those guys who used to toss them into each others guts in those odd videos from the 40's.  Instead this is a modern take that can be used as weights.
Medicine balls come in a number of weight options.

  • Step - How many widgets you put under the step determine how high you are stepping.  This can help build quads and glutes.  It can also be great cardio if you do it fast enough.
You can get additional wedges to make them taller - aka-harder.

  • Kettle bells - NOT FOR BEGINNERS.  You may remember a couple months back I was briefly sidelined after a class- that was with an instructor.  If you are really interested in trying these, meet up with an instructor at least once.  And no, the videos at the store do not count.  That's because Jillian Michaels can only correct your form if she can see you.
Kettle bell

I realized as I was writing this there may be some terms that I am tossing out like you have a gym membership or have a trainer.  Tomorrow I will put together a glossary covering some key terms you may hear bandied about as you get healthy.

You can find ways to use the above with a simple Google search.  But I like to help when I can, so I am going to ask Gwyn to give an exercise a week for the next few weeks to walk us through each piece of equipment.

By the way, no need to run out and get all of this at once.  It will set you back a few hundred dollars if you do.  Instead ease into it - the mat, hand weights, tubing/bands and a jump rope are a nice starting point.  If you keep at it, you can invest in yourself at a higher level.

Yours in Health,


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Day 2 in the Water

Ankle is better, just not best yet.  Gwyn let me do water again today.  I will be going back on dry land tomorrow.

This is going to be short, running out the door to "9 to 5: The Musical" at the Civic Center.  Hoping to score some girl power.

Tomorrow:  Gwyn's list of what you need for a home gym.

Yours in Health,

Monday, October 11, 2010

This is Definitely a Monday

My ankle is being iced as we speak.  I twisted it, in bed, early Saturday morning.  And no, I wasn't doing anything fun.  I had fixed the blanket, laid on my side and very groggily pushed up to my pillow with my feet and twisted my ankle.  Now that's ridiculous.  So, it's day three of ice and Aleve or Advil.

Yesterday I did a water workout and trainer Gwyn at the YMCA Healthy Living Center has agreed to do one today as well - lessoning the impact on my ankle.

There have been a few other rocky moment this morning, but the biggest bummer is that a friend/boss of mine is leaving.  She has been one of my biggest cheerleaders, a real innovator and great teacher, nothing will be quite the same without her.

All of that said, rather than dive into a box of chocolate, I will keep busy today and sleep early tonight.  That will give Tuesday a fighting chance.

Yours in Health,

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Day of Rest

I workout 5 or 6 days a week and I don't at least 1 or 2 days a week.  That's something I have really struggled with, I still feel guilty on the days I don't workout.

Something in me is all, "Hey, you sat on your butt and didn't workout for years, you've had your rest, keep moving!"  Of course, it doesn't work that way.  In fact, if you don't rest on occasion, your body will actually force the issue and then you will be down a lot longer than one day.

I know of what I speak.  My insistence on going 7 days a week has landed me in the hospital twice.  It wasn't anything simple either, I had become desensitized so I didn't notice the symptoms my body was trying to throw at me.  By the time I woke up, it was too late, I was flat on my back on a hospital bed.  I have learned my lesson, finally, and now when I feel exhaustion coming on, I slow down and some days, I just plain stop.

Learn from me.  Put together a workout regime that makes sense and gives you 'off' days so that you can recover.

Benefits of a day off:

  • Muscles get a chance to rebuild.  Every time you lift weights, you make small tears in your muscles.  Resting gives them a chance to reknit and get stronger - the whole purpose behind pumping iron.
  • Walking and running stresses joints.  Giving those joints a chance to rest lessens the possibility that you will damage cartilage or attached ligaments from overuse.
  • Your mind needs a break too.  When you are stressing over finding time to do everything in your life AND workout, it can be a little much to take.  Your brain is the most important exercise organ you have, let the stress wash away and your workouts will be better on the other side.
  • If you workout seven days a week, you are more likely to burn out on the very idea of working out.  A break can help you feel like you control your life, not the gym.
There are many other physiological and psychological benefits as well, but these are some of the key concerns that you should keep in mind.

The bottom line is to take care of yourself - because no one else will.

Yours in Health,

Saturday, October 9, 2010

What Should I Wear to the Gym?

I was just on and cruised away depressed.  I love Heidi Klum and she has a fantastic new line of workout wear for New Balance. (It's so cute!)  Yet there are two problems - the average piece runs about $100 and the model wearing the clothes was so skinny I wanted to FedEx her a sandwich.  And it's moments like these that I am reminded why people stumble as they start to workout - a price tag that would scare almost anyone and a model that puts forth an unreasonable expectation.  Today we set the record straight.

If you choose the right gym, no one will care what you are wearing - people are just there to workout like you and we all sweat like a sinner in church.  Okay, you need clothes on and no giant holes and if you have a breasts or male genitalia, you should control them.  But otherwise, no fashionistas need to apply.  This is not the component of your workout you should invest either the most money or time in - money is better spent on a great trainer, mp3 player or swimming lessons and time should be spent in the gym.  :)

That being said, jeans are a poor workout choice - rashes and chaffing await.  Ladies, you will need an actual sports bra, your everyday bra holds the same charms of sweating in jeans.  Loafers aren't going to cut it in the shoe department, instead invest wisely in a great pair of workout shoes with guidance from a pro who has been at it for a while - locally I go to Fitness Sports, but every town has the place all the sports teams shop, that's your cue.

All right, so what do you wear?  First and foremost, something comfortable.  If you are uncomfortable because something is cutting into you or you feel everyone is staring, you will cut your gym time short and that's no good.  When starting out, I suggest people grab two pairs of either cheap workout shorts or pants and the cheapest t-shirts you can find - the latter has likely accumulated in your closet from every event you have attended the last ten years.

Ladies, I mentioned before that you will need a sports bra - if you have smaller breasts the inexpensive ones that you find at Target will be fine.  If, like me, your are genetically endowed on a more pronounced level - spend the money on something that will keep you from knocking yourself out with the 'girls'.  I use Moving Comfort, Oprah uses Enell, there are others as well - I admit they are $50-$70, but they will take away your inhibitions and let you really rock the gym.

For the boys - jocks please.  Or at least shorts with gauze or other materials to rein in the your boys.  If I had a dollar for every time I have caught an accidental peek at someone at the gym, well I would have entirely too many dollars for my taste.

As for socks - if you are running, thinner is better.  But if you are just getting started any sports oriented socks will do - the woolies that keep you warm in the winter are a 'no'.

Hats and headbands?  Baseball caps can be good on a long run purely for sun protection.  However, your body is trying to put out heat through your head, so it might effect your ability to cool down.  As for headbands, unless you sweat profusely, skip it - those are back with Jane Fonda circa 1985 and that's where they belong.

Total financial output - (approximate)
Men: shoes ($75-$100), jock ($15), shorts ($30), t-shirts (free) = $145.
Women: shoes ($75-$100), bra ($15-$70), shorts ($30), t-shirts (free) = $200

Both of those totals are maximums.  If you find great sales, you can do it for much less.  Please don't let the price tag scare you - it is much more expensive to be overweight (doctors, prescriptions, etc.) and your health is worth every penny.

Tomorrow:  You Need a Day of Rest

Yours in Health,

Friday, October 8, 2010

Move to the Music

Of all the things I have blogged about this week for your workout, this one is the most personal.  Everyone gets their groove on in a different way.  But I can give you a few tips so that you pick the right jams for your mp3 player and motivate yourself to 'move it, move it'.

First, a disclaimer, I work in radio, so I actually find myself listening to our stations often, we have six, that's one for any mood.  But I also LOVE my mp3 player.  When I really need to kick butt, this technology gives me that extra something to get it done.

When it comes to a player it doesn't matter the brand, get what you like and what is easy for you to use.  Though there are a couple of must-have features:  1. Get one you can put in an arm band, nothing sucks more than having to make sure it doesn't fall off of your waist band or dropping it.  2. Make sure it has anti-skip technology.  This may seem like a CD or album issue, but some low-end mp3 players can't take the jarring either.  3. Make sure it has enough memory.  The only thing I would change about my player is that it only has 2G (gigabytes) of memory.  It means I have to change out play lists as my taste adjusts.  A 4G or 8G will make this less necessary for you.

When it comes to the music, I highly suggest a plethora of genres, beat levels and attitudes.  My player hosts everything from Metallica to Michael Buble and Garth Brooks to Bon Jovi, with Ricky Martin, Bette Midler and Joe Cocker thrown in.  That's just a peek at my tunes, but as you can tell, I have a host of moods.

That's just it, some days you are ready to workout out and your favorite group (mine's Bon Jovi) will do it.  Other days you need a fast beat to help push your pulse so cardio seems appealing - Ricky Martin, Shakira, Lady Gaga.  When it comes to weights, give me some Metallica, Nickelback, Three Doors Down - I need a little anger with my weights.  When it's time to cool down, I am likely to put on Michael Buble, Tony Bennett or I even have a little Bach set aside.

All of the above is personalized and I believe nothing is more motivating than catching an earful of your favorites.  That said, some people just want a certain number of beats per minute - if you have ever been to a bike spinning class, you know what I mean.  They throw an added fast back beat into every song during the class.  It has been scientifically proven that people try to keep up with a beat when they hear it, no rhythm needed.  It's not always conscious, but it will get your heart rate up.  You can test this theory without even exercising - put on a song with a driving beat and see if you don't find yourself increasing in attention and energy.  (Yes, this can help to keep you awake at work too, I do it all the time.)

If you are feeling a little lost, "Where do I get all of this music?", I can help.  Here is a list of resources for your tunes:

Hopefully this helps get you started on creating the playlists so perfect, you will want to workout just to hear them.  That's another tip, other than yard work (which is a workout too) I rarely listen to my mp3 for that exact reason - if I want to hear those cool songs, I need to be sweating. :)

Tomorrow - What Should I Wear?

Yours in Health,

Thursday, October 7, 2010

How Many Calories does my Workout Burn?

First things first - you do not weigh as much as the person next to you.  Which makes an overall answer to this question of calories burned much harder to answer than calories in food.  There are plenty of websites that claim to have an accurate count.  No site is right unless it takes your body weight into consideration.

For example, when you are on a cardio machine at the gym and don't customize the weight setting before you start your trek, you will only have the right calories burned if you are 150 pound person.  Note that I said person.  The machine does not account for sex.  Nor does it account for muscle mass or lack there of - muscle burns a few more calories a day than fat.  People who weigh more, burn more calories by default.  The Mayo Clinic has a fantastic and simple article explaining metabolism and weight loss.

All of that said, you want tools, you got them.  The one I frequently used was on the Lean Cuisine website I gave you yesterday.  It was convenient because I was also keeping track of my calories 'in', so inputing my calories 'out' there made sense.

Here are others:
Mayo Clinic has a short list with general weight categories.
From Livestrong
Health Status
Calorie Control
This one has more activities than I have ever seen.

Like yesterday, everyone needs to pick the one that works for them.  (I don't mean the one that always says you burn more calories. ;)  )  And something I didn't say yesterday, I don't endorse any of these links specifically.  I am simply doing the hunting and linking for you.  I want you to have an easier time getting started or staying motivated than I have.

Hopefully one of these will work for you. Whatever you do, find something you enjoy and can keep at and watch the changes in your body begin.

Tomorrow - The soundtrack to your workout.

Yours in Health,

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

How do you count calories?

This is one of the questions I am asked most frequently.  It also has many answers.  For some people keeping a food journal is the way to go.  Some just want to ball park it using the knowledge of their foods make up.  Other people only want to count carbs and fat.  And yet other people go cross-eyed at the idea of keeping track of anything.

I need to tell you, again, find what works for you and you will keep up with it.  So I am going to give you a myriad of options and you hopefully will find one that sticks - the key to success.  All of these are online, because you can log on anywhere and keep track - even on vacation.  However, you can also buy just any regular journal and a calorie counting book at the book store and take them along as well.

Food Journal links:  (You will have to create an account, but otherwise, these are free.)
Use the "Track your Fitness" tool - - I used this one.

Calorie Sites:  Most of the above sites will automatically load calorie information when you log your food.  If they don't have what you need, here are a couple of sites that can help.
The United States Department of Agriculture -
And I just found out that iGoogle, if you have a personalized home page, has a Calorie Calculator.

Okay, now you know what you are eating.  Tomorrow I will give you tools to figure out what you are burning through exercise.

Yours in Health,

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Define and Display Your Motivation

The first time I lost weight I had two reasons:  my health and my nephew.  This time the list is a little longer, yet still includes those two key elements.  I think sometimes I struggle with why I am doing this because I haven't winnowed down my list.  So, now I will advise you to do what I haven't - it's kind of like reading something from your parents circa third grade, "Do as I say, not as I do."

Seriously though, a clear idea and a visible representation can go a long way toward winning the mental game that equals success.  That's why I keep a picture of my nephew Caelen on my desk.  (That and he's pretty much my favorite human ever!)  I will be getting my 'list' down to a couple of other main motivators and then placing pictures of them in my cubical as well - or wherever you spend an inordinate amount of time.

Some people post pictures of their former skinny pictures on their refridgerator - I find that depressing and then I just want to sit there and repeat "why" over and over while eating a pint of Ben & Jerry's.  But the rule here is - whatever works for YOU.

If you are not a visual person, create an affirmation.  Write it down, say it in the mirror, record it and play it back or put it in between songs on the mp3 player that you take to workouts.  Maybe it's a pair of jeans you look hot in when thinned down.  In the end it has to be about you.

You can't lose weight for someone else.  If you do, you will be resentful and gain it all back at the end to show them who is really in control of your life.

To sum up:  Find your motivation and do what it takes to keep it top of mind.

Yours in Health,

Pictures of my key motivators:

Caelen on his 7th birthday a few weeks ago
as captured by Annette, my sister-in-law.
Me healthy & in a toga
- which says it all.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Get Organized

I just spent three long hours cleaning and organizing my desk.  Anyone who works with me will tell you - I can brainstorm and create like nobody's business, but my desk usually looks like a graveyard for long forgotten agendas.  So, after months of saying I was going to do it, today I did and I feel better.

Which made me think of organizing your life for any number of changes - baby, new job or even weight loss.  Making sure you have at least the basics of what you need and knowing where you can find them can breed success.

  • Pick a drawer for just workout clothes, when it gets low, it's time for laundry.
    • (Because not having clean workout clothes is not a good excuse for skipping a workout.)
  • Put your healthy food options at the front of the cupboard or refrigerator.
    • If you have to dig for the not-as-good choices, it will remind you there are better options.
  • Keep your gym shoes in the trunk - in fact, if you are forgetful, get yourself two pair.
    • Again, not having these can temp you to skip a workout.
  • Make sure your tools are accessible from anywhere - this includes your calorie counter, food/workout journal, blog for keeping track of yourself - that means internet tools are the best.
Those are just a few ideas, there are many others, but you get the idea.  Being organized for your health can eliminate excuses and breed success.

Yours in Health,

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Long Day at Work

Very short post.  Ended up working ALL day.  Finally headed now to help lost grandfather get computer fixed.  Will post for real tomorrow.

Yours in Health,

Friday, October 1, 2010

It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month - The Importance of Self-Exams

Here's the biggest reminder I want you to mark in your calendar - Feel Yourself Up!  Now put it in PINK in your planner, give it an extra loud beep in your cell phone, create an event in your Outlook, basically whatever assures you will remember, do it.

Of course I am referring to breast self-exams.  Unlike our other major nemesis - ovarian cancer - breast cancer can be detected at home.  Early detection is the number one key to survival.  Breast self-exams or 'feeling yourself up' is the first line in early detection.  Mammograms are important as well, but you need protection in between and a monthly session of visual review and methodical massaging is that magic bullet.

Most women tell me they have no idea how to do it properly.  Honestly, I have struggled with that as well.  So here is a link to the instructional video from the Komen Foundation on how to really do it right and possibly save your life.

Yours in Health,