Friday, February 28, 2014

Sagging boobs, gassy, and feeling sexy!

When I was obese I used humor to make my fat not so suffocating to me. In doing so I would say things like: 

  • "At least with a rear as big as mine, when I run my butt flaps so wildly it almost sounds like I'm singing the Star Spangled Banner." 
  • "I'm so fat that when I pass gas you don't even noticed that I've just lost ten pounds." 
  • "I don't run because when I do my boobs hit me in the face and sandbags like that can really do damage!"

It was during that same segment of life I would get really ticked off at "skinny people" when they would complain and whine about needing to lose ten pounds. I think I was bothered by it because for most of my life (ages 12-33ish) I was either highly overweight or obese. 

Now I think I finally understand the need to lose ten pounds for what it is; regardless of any one particular person's weight. It's really about feeling good. 

Feeling good health-wise. Feeling better in how your clothes fit. Feeling less bloated. Feeling less in the way. Feeling socially, physically, and even more sexually desirable. Feeling less concerned and aware of how uncomfortable even your skin can be.

There's no one, two, or even three numbers on the scale that are the tipping point for when this happens. 

Simply put, your weight does not always coincide with the burden of feeling unhealthy, undesirable, or sexy enough.

The burden of feeling good is just as much of a psychological effort as it is a physical one. 

Oftentimes people choose not to exercise because they are sad or depressed. That is a mental health road block, not a physical one. That is when you believe that you are not worth the effort or that the effort won't make a difference.

When in this bad place not only exercise goes out the window, but so do spiritual endeavors, hobbies, and relationships. When this happens you start to also "not feel good".

Feeling desirable (and even sexy) has more to do with your perception of yourself than it does about how you actually look. 

When was the last time you looked in the mirror and actually saw you for who and what you are, rather than what you are not?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

A Crushed Heart Can Lead to Triumph

This is the moment. Just as imagined and hoped for. So much preparation has gone into getting to this exact point. Can a heart really pound this intensely without bursting? It's time to shine and overcome what you once thought was impossible. 

This is the description of a moment we have all experienced at some point. The nervousness, excitement, hope, and simultaneous dread; hoping all things go as dreamed, as imagined.

This is Sweet-pea's story. Sweet-pea is the fictitious name of a real person - my friend. 

Using my skills as a personal trainer, I volunteer at a center for developmentally delayed adults. This is where Sweet-pea and I met. 

The need for personal training with this special needs population is so high and often over-looked because it's not glamorous personal training. However, from my perspective, this is one of the populations that need it most. 

How would you feel bound to mobility aides, immobilizing braces, and straps? For a brief time at this center, about 20 of the patrons receive continued and personalized training throughout the week. A grant and volunteers makes this possible. Sweet-pea is one of the 20 who receive these benefits.

Sweet-pea is in her late 40's to early 50's and uses a wheelchair. She can't talk, but she gestures and nods "yes" and "no". Sweet-pea is strong-willed and as independent as she can be. She loves to tease and has a natural "Oh ya? Just watch me attitude." 

Sweet-pea's neck leans excessively forward (practically touching her clavicle) due to postural and upper body weakness. As directed by a physical therapist, we've been working with her to walk with the aid of a walker as we follow behind her with a wheel-chair to catch her (just in case). This week the goal was big and Sweet-pea was eager for it.

Sweet-pea was going to walk about 80-feet with only three rest stops. She was ready. She could see it and taste the victory. She was particular about a friend watching.  She was also specific that no one should get in her way as she walked the hall from point A to point B and back. She was nervous, but oh so ready for the challenge. So she began her walk.

For some reason there was an suddenly an unusual amount of hallway traffic and after 15 or so feet she gave up in anger and her heart was obviously crushed. Everyone was in the way. This was her time and the obstacles were too great. Crying and bitter she stopped.

Angry and yelling she wheeled herself away, crying and hurting she tried to hide. Sweet-pea's dreams, hope, and hard work seem to be for nothing from her perspective. My heart broke watching this breakdown. She was expressing herself the only way she could as language wasn't even hers to own.

I don't know how, but by some miracle me and her friend were able to talk her into coming back in to the gym room to finish a light workout. We were also able to reschedule "the great walk" for the next day during what we hoped would be a less busy hallway traffic time.

Unfortunately I wouldn't be able to be there for her the next day. I prayed for her and she was heavy on my mind all night.  I know the need to accomplish a goal like that. This was big and she was ready, but the circumstance was against her.

I was pleased to hear the next day that not only were the conditions just right for her, but she did "the great walk" and with only one rest stop! Though I wasn't there for it, I could see it in my mind's eye. 

Instead of her arm flailing in anger to motion people away and screaming in anger, I could see her arm triumphantly motioning the joy of success. I could hear her scream have the energy of an Olympic gold winning, "Yes! Yes! Yes!" I could even feel the joy and relief from the other trainers and aids as her goal was met this time.

And with the previous nervousness, excitement, hope, and simultaneous dread; hoping all things go as dreamed, as imagined. There is now an equal sense of relief, accomplishment, satisfaction, and humility. This is just my feeling about Sweet-pea s adventure. I can't even imagine what she must be feeling. Go girl!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

It's About the Heart

"There's no drug in current or prospective use 
that holds as much promise for sustained health 
as a lifetime program of physical exercise."
~ Journal of the American Medical Association

In order to maintain a relatively healthy heart, okay metabolism, and some sort of functional flexibility, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends the following (see attached for complete info):
  • 150min of moderate intensity cardio.
  • 2-4 sets of 10-15 reps of a muscular endurance effort.
  • 2-3 days/wk focus on balance, flexibility, range of motion (R.O.M.) holds for 10-30 seconds to the point of tightness or slight discomfort and repeat that 2-4 times.
Most Americans do not do this and if they do, not very consistently or deliberately. The list above is just the minimum… To achieve more benefits the duration should increase to 250-300min/week; strength repetitions and intensity alter by increase in weights and decrease in reps/sets; balance, flexibility, R.O.M. challenged more than 3 times/wk.

Would you like to take the thought out of designing a way to achieve these healthy measures without committing to or commuting to a gym? 

Then seriously consider the following programs that can easily take you into the 250-300min/week-exercise recommendation from ACSM:
  • T25 (30min a day program with cardio, lifting your own body weight, range of motion)
  • P90X3 (30min a day program with cardio, lifting your own body weight, weights, flexibility, yoga, and range of motion)
  • ChaLEAN Extreme (38-48min a day program with cardio, lifting your own body weight, weights, flexibility, and range of motion – some high intensity training)
  • Tai Cheng (15-48min all focused on balance, flexibility, and range of motion – excellent addition to any cardio or strength training program)
There are many other programs that can give you similar benefits, but the aforementioned programs are some of the most time-commitment-friendly, physically repeatable, and excellent maintenance programs that take you to the 250-minutes or more a week of recommended physical exercise efforts.

Still want a trainer? In-person or virtual coaching? I can help there too! I'm a ACSM Certified personal trainer and Functional Movement Systems specialist. I LOVE designing programs that meet an individuals specific needs.

Above all, I would encourage you to take charge of your health, so that you can be engaged to the best of your ability (whatever level that is on) and participate in life with those you love.