´Walking Doesn´t Work For Me´: Myth Busting

Couple, Lovers, Walking, Love, Young, Relationship

How it Starts

Do you believe that walking doesn’t work for you? Do you think that walking doesn’t count as exercise? Think about this.

Myth: Walking Doesn’t Work For Me

Truth:  Walking has been proven to be an effective way of managing a healthy weight, achieving performance goals, releasing stress, and improving overall health.

There are a variety of reasons why someone might feel like walking doesn’t work. Novice exercisers often become frustrated if they don’t immediately achieve results; many fitness programs promote false-hope promises like losing 10 pounds in 30 days simply from walking.  And sometimes people enter into a walking  routine with great intentions but start too hard, too quickly, and burn out and or get injured.

In my practice of health coaching and healthy living, I like to meet people where they are at. Often where they are at is searching for an activity that they enjoy. Walking is a go to for many people who want to just feel healthy. I encourage walking but recommend  the following tips.

5 Tips

1. Do not expect to lose 10 pounds in 30 days by increasing your walking/exercise.  On the other hand most people who are even moderately  overweight can expect to lose 10 pounds in 30 days if they change what they eat. If feeling healthy is your main focus, get out there and move, but if weight loss is your main focus, change what you eat, and exercise yes, but do not think you will exercise your body to a lean body weight without also changing your other habits.

2. Increase your walking time and or distance incrementally. A consequence of not being smart about exercising progressively is that the body tends to break down when it is ill prepared. Though you can ” walk all day and it feels easy” it may not actually be easy on your body.  So many people are injured prematurely because “it feels easy and my body should be able to do this” mentality.  Don’t let this be you. Incorporate long and short walk days mixed in with thoughtful mileage or time goals for each week as you progress.

3. Stretch all the key muscle groups after long walks. Walking on flat surfaces increases endurance in the muscles especially in the back of the body: calves, hamstrings, and lower back, and hip flexor muscles.  You should stretch these muscle groups once a day and right after you walk preferably. If you are climbing hills, then the quadriceps/ front of the upper thighs, as well as the gluteal muscles are also engaged. They should be stretched as well.

4. You should size yourself up with a good running/walking shoe. Research is changing and the old days of sizing up your feet for shoes based on whether you are a pronator striker ( feet and ankles tend to rotate inward on impact), supinator striker ( feet tend to bend outward on impact), or neutral striker ( feet tend to strike evenly) are gone. Best advice: choose a comfortable shoe that feels great. Walk around in the store with the shoes on  and make sure it fits and feels great. Don´t buy something you feel you need to ´break in´.

5. Go  into your walking routine with a lifestyle change mindset. Often in the beginning of forming new habits it takes a while to get into the flow of simplicity and healthy living, but as you continue on with your new challenge things start changing inside of you. We can’t force this change inside of us, we just have to, as one client says, trust that you’re going to feel better and begin to look forward to getting out and walking and or exercising. I love this thinking. We can’t force things.  We just have to trust that all is going to be fine and that soon walking/walk running/ running  or whatever it is you are working on is going to soon feel fine.


How To Get Back On The Wagon

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The other day John and I had to unexpectedly make a trip to Ohio to assist my mother. Our long distance driving trip came at a time  when we were both feeling grooved in our daily exercise habits, eating habits, and work-life balance habits.
 I mention this because often in my health coaching practice, client’s main goals are often to  liberate themselves from the stresses of their day to day lives by increasing their good health habits and eradicating poor health habits.
But what do we do when emergencies arise?  Being as they say, “on the wagon”, or as I like to call it, “grooved” is a great feeling no doubt, but then… real life happens

A two-week vacation! A business trip.  A visit to the see the kids, or a surprise emergency situation.

And we fall “off’ the wagon.”

Vacation time or visiting family used to get me out of my groove.  These days, I am a pro at it. And My husband John is kinda good at it.
Here’s What We Do:
Instead of  stressing  out about how to continue our good routines during this period of disruption with hotels, eating out, sitting in cars/airplanes, and not getting home until after 10pm, we just take another wagon. We tell ourselves ( sometimes I just tell him) we’ll be taking another wagon for a while. It won’t be the same wagon as when we are grooved in our lifestyle at home getting up at 5 a.m., stretching, walking the dogs, reading meditations, and enjoying breakfast before the day’s work begins, but it will be a better wagon than simply resigning ourselves to poor health habits because we are too stressed about where we will work out and run or walk.
A Better Wagon For You
Could it be possible to find different ways of staying healthy while in different scenarios? When I’m in control of my schedule/food sources/exercise equipment/comfortable bed, I will have one routine. Then, when on the road I will have another routine.  And on vacation, I will find another routine.

Even on weekends! I will have a weekend routine!

I will never be ‘off’ my wagon.

Each routine will incorporate as much goodness as possible.  Sometimes more goodness than others, but at no point will I just throw in the towel.

I will always stay ‘on’ a wagon.

Here is an Example of My home wagon and my travel wagon (previously known as ‘off’ the wagon). See If it helps:
Home Wagon:
– 16 oz water with lemon zest. 6 oz. coconut water. Coffee. 20 minute stretch routine.
– inspirational readings 5 minutes. Dog walk  with dogs and husband.
– morning shake and supplement routine including multi -vitamin, fish oil, vitamin D, b complex vitamins.
Afternoon Exercise:
– cardio exercise run/walk, singles tennis, elliptical, bike, steps, or rowing.
– strength training workout at Serenata Beach Club or World Gym.
During the Day:
well balanced meals including good fats, abundance of vegetables and low sugar fruits, proteins, nuts, seeds, and some beans and whole grains depending on weight goals.
Bedtime Routine:
Walk the dogs with John.
Watch 30 minutes of Ted Talks/or Netflix Series.
Read 10 minute in bed.
Lights out.
Work/Family Travel Wagon:
– 16 oz water.  20 minute stretch and strength routine in hotel room including pushups, squats, and abdominal curls.
– 2 minutes meditation mantra – mantra changes with situation. For example recently: ” I can do whatever it is I set my mind to do.”
– multi vitamin supplement only if traveling for under 5 days. Starbucks high protein snack pack and coffee for breakfast
Afternoon Exercise:
– Find ways to include more walking while at airport, between car stops and while visiting family friends/or during conferences
During the Day:
Make best possible choices while at restaurants/family/friend homes being sure to always eat lots of vegetables, good fats when possible and lean proteins.
Bedtime Routine:
10 oz water. 15 minutes easy television watching.
Lights out.
Here’s the Thing
Don’t beat yourself up.  Don’t stress out about real life interference.  Don’t feel guilty about enjoying your vacation. And  don’t sabotage your weekly progress on weekends. Just identify your wagon and create an easy plan for each one.
You need never be ‘off’ your wagon again.  Just hop on a different wagon, and make the most of the ride.
30 Days To Lean Good Stuff!
Congratulations to Brandon and Robin who lost a total of 57 pounds together in 60 days on BodySmartWay’s 30 and 60 Days to Lean Program
And guess what? They just got married!
Good stuff Robin and Brandon! Congratulations!All My Best,

Why Do I Gain Weight Just In The Middle?

Belly, Body, Calories, Diet, Exercise
Hi Everyone,
It is  Lose Your Waist Wednesday  and it is the day we talk about belly fat.
This question came to me over the weekend.
A reader asks, why is it that whenever I gain weight I gain it in my mid section? My legs look fine. My arms look fine. And even my hips look fine.
I don’t see why the extra pounds go right to my middle.
Answer: You Must Know
When you begin to put on weight, especially visceral belly fat, your body is telling you that it is shifting out of balance, veering into an unhealthy state.  And… a vicious, sickly cycle often ensues unless you take control of your weight. Sounds dramatic I know. But if you  do not get a firm grip on fighting belly fat then your chance for disease is magnified in ways that curtail your vitality big time. Know that when one fattens up in the midsection, it has everything to do with what we eat, what we do not eat, as well as  how we exercise. The how’s of exercise we’ll go into at another time, but just know that for now, over exercising often has negative effects on belly fat storage.
Here’s the thing:  First congratulations on being concerned about weight gain in the middle.  Often people just assume that they will gain weight in the middle as they age, and that this is normal. You need to know that it is not normal and can have devastating health effects if the visceral fat increases as the years unfold.
To get you started, and to put you fully in  awareness mode, you should take the waist to hip ratio test. This test will let you know what your probabilities are of incurring diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular attacks, strokes and other life debilitating diseases. Scary yes, but the good news is we have control to live a more vital lifestyle than we ever imagined through proper diet and proper exercise plans. You’ve done well to identify that your mid section is increasing in size and your next step is to go to http://www.bmi-calculator.net/waist-to-hip-ratio-calculator/  to get the waist to hip ratio test. Then come back and finish reading how insulin is the key player in reducing belly fat.

Insulin: The Key Player in Belly Fat

Numerous hormones contribute to belly fat, but none proves more powerful than insulin, your fat storage hormone. High levels of insulin tell your body to gain weight around the belly, and you become more apple-shaped over time. Additionally insulin drives inflammation and oxidative stress, creating myriad downstream effects.

Eventually you become insulin resistant, which leads your body to generate belly fat and hold on to that spare tire for dear life. Fatigue after meals, sugar cravings, blood sugar swings or hypoglycemia, high triglycerides, low HDL, low sex drive, and problems with blood clotting are also common among people who are overweight.

Simply put, less insulin equals less belly fat, since insulin makes you hungry and stores belly fat. The best thing you can do to prevent disease and all its problems is to lose weight.

The Number One Thing You Can Do to Reduce Belly Fat

High insulin levels don’t just exist in a vacuum. They influence other hormones like leptin, your satiety hormone.  When insulin blocks leptin, your body thinks it is starving even after a Big Mac, fries, and a large soda. Ever wonder how you can still be hungry right after a big meal? It is the insulin surge and the leptin resistance.

More than any other food, sugar becomes responsible for hijacking your brain chemistry and your metabolism to create insulin resistance and all its repercussions.

Calorie for calorie, sugar is different from other calories that come from protein, fat, or non-starchy carbs such as greens. Sugar scrambles all your normal appetite controls. So you consume more and more, driving your metabolism to convert it into lethal belly fat.

Fructose, the most metabolically damaging sugar, just makes things worse. It goes right to your liver, where it starts manufacturing fat, which triggers more insulin resistance and causes chronically elevated blood insulin levels, driving your body to store everything you eat as – you guessed it – dangerous belly fat.

You also get a fatty liver, which generates more inflammation. Chronic inflammation causes more weight gain and diabesity. Anything that causes inflammation will worsen insulin resistance.

Another problem with fructose is that it doesn’t send informational feedback to the brain, signaling that a load of calories just hit the body. Nor does it reduce ghrelin, the appetite hormone that is usually reduced when you eat real food.

We are programmed to store belly fat in response to sugar so that we can survive the winter when food is scarce. Genes do play a role, but they are a minor contributor to the epidemic we are experiencing currently. We need to  shut down the insulin surges—and thereby arrest belly fat storage and cravings. 

Why Belly Fat is Not Your Biggest Challenge

You should know that the biggest challenge you’re facing with being overweight in the middle  is not your waistline or your weight. It’s not your belly. It’s your brain. Changing the way you think about food so you get your mind working with your body, not against it, is critical to weight loss and healthy living that is with less pain and less mental anguish.

In my program that has been successfully running monthly  for two years called 30 Days to Lean, you will learn how to train your brain. You will learn what foods to eat and what foods not to eat. This program, is designed for readers that are just tired of not knowing what to eat or are sick of diets. We focus on real foods. We focus on bringing health back to the body.  We focus on hormonal balance. And we focus on Eating. Yes eating. For more information go to http://www.bodysmartway.com/30-days-to-lean/  The  last day to sign up for my June 30 Days to Lean is this Thursday June 2nd. Call, email or text me directly to get more information on this unique program that is literally changing  the body shapes and minds of members.

I leave you with the question: What can you do now to empower yourself?

With Gratitude,





904 501 6002

Why We May Weigh The Same as in College But Look Different

Over the weekend an acquaintance of mine told me he was tired of being flabby. That’s his term, not mine. He said he lost a bit of weight and is now at his college weight, but he doesn’t like what he looks like.  He’s only in his early 60’s, and says he doesn’t understand why he looks so differently now since  he weighs the same as years ago.

I wasn’t sure if he really  wanted me to give him the reasons why his body looked differently  from  years ago even though he is at the same weight, so I listened.  In the paragraphs below, I tell you what I was thinking.

Me Thinking Out Loud

When you start to lose muscle and lay down fat around the belly, it’s the first sign that your metabolism is off-track and your health is taking a path towards poor health.  Storing fat and losing muscle is one of the biggest signs of aging, and worse yet, belly fat (also known as “visceral fat”) is metabolically active, sucking out your ability to maintain testosterone and build muscle while increasing your risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

While this is ominous sounding, muscle actually makes you a better fat burner and more resistant to metabolic problems. The more muscle you have, the better your body balances blood glucose; the better you balance glucose, the better you will feel, the easier it will be for you to maintain and or lose weight,  and the healthier you will be.


I Knew He Did Loads Of Cardio Exercise – So This is What I Was Thinking.

He probably knows that lifting weights will burn calories,  but what he doesn’t know is that even though he burns 500 calories on the treadmill, muscle building, as in weight training, actually makes us better fat burners day in and day out 24 hours a day.

Not only that, increases in muscle size means not only increases in metabolic processes for a longer time after your workout but there is a direct correlation between muscle mass and basal metabolic rate or called BMR. BMR is the amount of energy expended daily by humans and other animals at rest. Of course the more energy expended, the higher our daily calorie burn is. And who doesn’t want this? I like to call this burning energy or calories in our sleep. And this is just one of the nice things that muscle mass does for us. So the question becomes… Why wouldn’t my acquantance or anyone want increased muscle mass too? Not only does it look good, but it helps us maintain a higher metabolic rate.


You Need To Know

Increased muscle mass for both men and women not only makes us feel better, move better, look better, but allows us to continue to eat in abundance all the nutrients that we are designed to take in, and without gaining weight. This is what normal is. It is not normal to consume miniscule amounts of food while appearing rounder as we age. We can put a stop to this and we can improve our body composition considerably.

Increased Muscle Mass Also Makes the Rest of Life Easier


Muscle makes routine tasks less cumbersome and reduces injuries. Our day-to-day life often involves lifting and moving heavy objects, and when your body is equipped to carry these burdens, it is much less prone to injury. It’s hard to imagine (a young) Arnold Schwarzenegger throwing out his back taking the trash out, yet this is a common injury precisely because so many people don’t build the muscle to support the daily or weekly tasks they need to perform!


Muscle also provides your golden ticket if you want to improve your sex life, boost immunity, and reduce your risk for dementia. In fact, studies at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that building and maintaining muscle improves your: Balance, Fall risk, Blood sugar levels, sleep, and mental health.


And More! Hormonal Advantages…..

Strength training has another big advantage over endurance training athletes. In a recently published clinical trial, athletes who strength trained over 12 weeks reported the greatest testosterone to cortisol ratio while endurance athletes experienced plummeting testosterone levels. Increased testosterone is key to building more muscle, maintaining anabolism (growth), and it also helps with sex drive.


To keep this in perspective, just realize I am not suggesting one eliminate cardiovascular workouts. Our heart muscle is central to good health.  What I am suggesting is that you would be wise to focus on more strength training as a means to reach your desired weight and body composition rather than cardiovascular workouts. Or in other words if you are pressed for time, and your heart is in good shape, then avoid the temptation to jump on the elliptical, treadmill, bike or other cardiovascular machines, thinking that a good sweat is going to burn more calories. In the long run, and often in the short run, weight training trumps cardiovascular workouts in weight loss/maintenance, body strength, and overall functional living capacity!


Note: Controlling inflammation after working out (particularly during strength training) is important because it controls the muscle repair process that ultimately causes one to gain lean muscle.


What Else?


Eating is super important for growing muscle and getting rid of belly visceral fat so tell me what you eat and what you do not eat. I bet you will be wildly surprised that many “health foods” are keeping you from reaching your body composition goals.


Quick Congrats

Congratulations to Brandon Van Dermark and his fiance Robin Cleary – 30 Days to Lean is not over for them yet but together they have already lost 35 lbs! So much good is going on everyone! People are tired of eating crap!


All My Best,



*BodySmartWay’s 30 Days to Lean Programs start the first Monday of every month. Sign up 5 days in advance by texting 904 501 6002 or emailing kim@bodysmartinc.com.





Top Five Mistakes People Make at the Gym

As a fitness trainer and coach  I see people falling into a lot of bad habits at the gym.
Bad habits don’t optimize your potential for success, so I think it’s important to be aware of the traps people most often fall into, in order to making these mistakes yourself.
Here’s a list of the Top 5 bad habits I see in the gym.


New exercisers tend to be overanxious and so often will lift too much too soon. This is a recipe for injury. I tell clients, “When lifting a weight, your muscles will tell you that it is too light – I need more weight! But it’s really your tendons and ligaments that need the lighter weight in the beginning of an exercise plan. Ligaments and tendons break down quicker and take more time to recover. So be progressive with strength training even though you can do more initially.”


Cardiovascular exercise is an extremely important component of an exercise routine.  It burns calories, boosts our mood and strengthens our most important muscle: the heart. But too many people spend the majority of their workout time performing relatively low-level cardiovascular exercise. I see this often and it seems  that people use cardio exercises to make amends for poor eating habits and or over-consumption of foods. My clients that make the most improvement in muscle mass and body structure are the ones that combine moderate healthy eating with minimal cardio exercise and medium to  high intensity weight training.


Beginner exercisers may train for 3-8 hours a week with various intensities. But here’s  the thing: There are 168 hours in the week.  If you don’t  put things together properly in the kitchen then you may get a little stronger yes- but it  will not show on the scale! Guaranteed! You can’t outrun the nutrition piece.
The other day, I had someone call me and say they are so discouraged. They have been exercising and doing all kinds of cardio and strength  classes for 5 weeks and have not lost one pound! I am always so sad when I hear this. And I hear this scenario often.  With this particular lady, I put her on my 30 Days To Lean program and told her to only do exercise that made her feel good- no wild woman routines- just enjoy movement. In the first week, which is today, she lost 7 pounds and her husband lost 7 pounds as well! I am so happy for them. So the point is, if you are training to lose weight, know you will make the biggest impact in the kitchen.


Blindly following what other people are doing is a mistake.  You have no idea if the person you are watching is doing the exercise correctly unless they are doing it with a trainer. And even if they are with a trainer, there may be a reason they are doing a particular exercise. Because I have clients that I have been training for several years, they have acquired healthy backs and hips through the various progressions over the years I have them do. But if you have a weak back, various discs that are shot, and or spinal stenosis, and you do some of the exercises that you see my clients doing, you may end up damaging your spine further.


Many people lift way too fast, not allowing for both the concentric and eccentric contractions, and instead,  relying on momentum. When you do a bicep curl, for instance, the concentric phase is when you bend the elbow, but the eccentric phase is when you lower the weight. This should be done slowly for increased muscular strength. The momentum piece is when people go so fast, the weights are swinging, their body is rocking and they are using the momentum created to lift heavier. If they slow down, they will work the muscles more effectively. I like to tell my clients that my job is to slow them down. I mean it in two ways however. The first way is to create a better mindset for strength training. Many of us, and it probably goes back to that old style thinking we received from coaches in our early years, that we gotta play the part of “when you are in the gym- you better be exerting continuously.”  Ironically when I slow clients down in the gym and make them laser focus on muscles they are engaging, not only does it make for a better experience, but it makes for a stronger body. And although you can’t see it, they are working that muscle like no other person including the moaners and groaners in the gym! And the second way I like to slow down my clients is between sets. It’s not always necessary to  rush from one set to another. Stretching in between sets to nurse a tight back or stretch a calf muscle that seems a little strained is just smart!
All my best,
My Next 30 Days To Lean Program Begins in January.