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.

TRYING TO DO TOO MUCH, TOO SOON

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.”

FOCUSING SOLELY ON CARDIO

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.

NOT FUELING RIGHT

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.

COPYING OTHER GYM-GOERS

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.

LIFTING TOO QUICKLY

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,
Kim
My Next 30 Days To Lean Program Begins in January.

How to Stay Healthy on Vacation Without Being Miserable

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Hi Everyone,

Since my husband John and I just got back from taking a group of student/adults to Italy, I thought it would be a good time to  illustrate some of the routines I go through before traveling to maintain my weight and stay healthy on vacation.
You can see these tips at the end of this article.The article was inspired by a  30 Days to Lean member  who wrote that she was going on vacation to Mexico, but was apprehensive that she would gain weight back while on her vacation. She was quite clear in her conviction that she had no plans to eliminate margaritas and or an occasional beer.Question: How do I maintain my weight loss while on vacation?Answer:

Here’s the thing, you must embrace key ideas, just like you have embraced key ideas with implementing the Phase I and Phase II phase of 30 Days to Lean.
It has been my experience that the vast majority of people know a great deal about losing weight, getting fit and making healthier choices. But they still struggle with following through- and really putting all the pieces together in a sustainable way. Hopefully the 30 Days to Lean plan has helped you put the pieces together in a way that makes sense and is sustainable.
What you need to do on vacation is to begin learning how to vacation and have the absolute best time, while feeling mentally, physically, and emotionally well; And not just while on vacation but in the aftermath of arriving home. We all want to come back from vacation feeling good and not worn out because we ate and drank poorly or didn’t exercise. I think everyone would agree with this.
If you haven’t vacationed since changing your diet/lifestyle then this will be a great time for you to practice key behavior concepts. Like the 30 Days To Lean  plan, you will not be a pro at first so give yourself a break. In the meantime, know that as you vacation more with health in mind, it’s get easier  to  soak up feel good vacation mode, while not feeling like you are depriving yourself.
Below are key concepts to focus on before you leave and while on vacation. Note that I am not giving specifics on what to eat and what not to eat. You will figure that out in time so I will not suggest what you should and should not eat and drink.
Here are the key concepts:
1. Exercise is great for weight maintenance ( not for weight loss – but for maintenance) so enjoy movement you love to do while on vacation like walking, biking, swimming or other activities that feel good.
2. Know that it will be easier to maintain weight while on vacation because your mind, body, and soul are at ease.  Take advantage of  the decreased stress one experiences while on vacation. That margarita, hammock, and a good book may not be such a bad idea.
3. Know that your stress hormones are balanced more fully while on vacation, so your desire for sugar, bad fats, and carbohydrates are naturally reduced. Just make sure you eat 3 meals daily and do not let your blood sugar get too low. Ask yourself if you really need a dessert each night, or if it is just something we are trained by society to think we should do?
4. Take advantage of the great sleep often experienced on vacation. Sleep as you know helps us to lose weight. So enjoy every bit of it, and with no guilt.
5. Consider vacation as a time to get into a rhythm of deepening daily gratitude. Gratitude for what we have helps us to naturally consider taking care of our own bodies by not overindulging in food or drink.
6. Consider using vacation time as reflective time and be thankful for how far you have come in developing better eating habits. Studies show that those that capitalize on how far they have come are more apt to continue good habits.
7. If there are foods you want to try but they seem off the plan, consider that while you are on vacation the goal should be weight maintenance. So foods off limit are fine – eat smaller portions, and make some tradeoffs as you go about your days never worrying and having faith that you will come back home feeling and looking great!
8. Lastly, before you depart for vacation, consider thinking about how you want to feel when you arrive back home. Then make minor adjustments in your eating and drinking while vacationing capitalizing on the above key points.
Hope this helps Everyone.
Below you will find my personal routine prior to going to the eating capital of the world – Italy!
Two days prior to arriving in Italy – set up tennis match 2 days after I get back from Italy.
Why?  If I have a scheduled match I will be less likely to overindulge in food and wine. 
Mindset: There is nothing worse than getting beaten because I ate and drank poorly or too much.  
Recommendation: Know yourself well and what motivates you. Use it to set the stage for success.
One Day Prior: write down how many glasses of wine I will have daily: 4 days of 2 glasses of wine daily. 4 days of 1 glass of wine daily.
Why? Getting it on paper makes it real. I am more likely to abide by it when it is in writing.  My mind feels cleared of cobwebs once I have a decision on paper.
Mindset: I am in control but can still have a great time.
Recommendation: Try writing it down and be empowered.
One Day Prior –  write a personal mission statement of how I want to feel when I return from vacation. It does not need to be fancy.
This is what I wrote in my journal: Part of the fun of traveling in Italy is sitting at the piazzas and soaking up the atmosphere while sipping wine, fancy water, and tasting different foods. I can eat pasta every night if I want, but Italian fare is more than pasta and I know my choices will naturally reflect lots of salads and fish as well. I can always eat less of high carbohydrate foods as well.  
Why? I’ve learned that overthinking on what to eat and not eat in foreign countries causes too much stress.
  
Mindset: A personal mission statement is enough to empower me.  Details will torment me.
Recommendation: Try writing a mission statement before travel.  It may seem a little awkward initially, but if you want to come home feeling like you do not need a vacation from your vacation it is worth it!
Hope this provides valuable to you-
All my best-
Kim
Next 30 Days To Lean Begins Monday January 2nd. Sign up by December 28th  by calling  or texting 904 501 6002.  Or email me at kim@bodysmartway.com

So Many Reasons To Increase Strength- Here’s Where To Start.

Hi Everyone,
It’s Totally Tone Tuesday and it is the day we talk about strengthening, stretching and balance!
When it comes to resistance training there is not a one size fits all answer regarding how best to train, as the amount of weight lifted and the number of repetitions and sets completed depends on a variety of factors, including individual fitness goals and current conditioning level.

 

Ask Yourself What You Want to Achieve

There are a variety of objectives that can be attained through resistance training, including increased muscular strength (the maximum force that a muscle can produce against resistance in a single, maximal effort), increased muscular endurance (the capacity of a muscle to exert force repeatedly against resistance or to hold a fixed contraction over time) and increased muscle hypertrophy (physiological process of muscle-fiber enlargement).

 

What Does This Mean For Me?

  • If you’re new to resistance training and your goal is general muscle fitness and improved health, begin with lighter resistance and aim to complete 1-2 sets of 8-15 repetitions of each exercise with a 30-90 second rest interval between sets.

* Note: As you progress continue to increase the weight over the weeks. As your tendons, ligaments and muscles get stronger, you need to have the confidence that you will not get injured if you increase the weight amount. I often see people training in gyms who are reluctant to increase their weights. We need to improve muscle mass regardless of our age. It makes everything easier.

  • If your goal is increased muscular endurance,  use somewhat lighter resistance aim to complete 2-3 sets of 12-16 repetitions of each exercise (*the amount of weight used should fatigue the targeted muscle at the conclusion of the exercise set) with minimal rest (30 seconds or less) between sets.
* Note: Muscular endurance can be utilized by endurance athletes. It’s also important to note that given the two types of training, endurance training or strength training, a progressive strength  training plan should be preferred over an endurance training plan. Ideally, once one has mastered a high level of strength over a 10-12 week period, then implementing an endurance weight day periodically would be a smart compliment to a well rounded strength training routine. More on that in upcoming articles.
  • If muscular strength is your objective, use heavier resistance and strive to complete 2-6 sets of 4-8 repetitions of each exercise with a longer rest period (2-5 minutes) between sets.
*Note:  One should not start out with high weights and low reps. Equally important is that you weigh the pros and cons of increased injury with heavier weights. If weight training is implemented smartly and progressively there is no reason that people in their 60,70, and even 80’s cannot reap the physiological and psychological benefits of lifting heavy.
  • If you are seeking muscular hypertrophy, use somewhat heavier resistance (higher intensity than that used for muscular endurance, yet a lower weight than used for muscular strength ) and complete 3-6 sets of 6-12 repetitions of each exercise with a moderate 30-90 second rest interval between sets.
* Note: In my 15 years of training clients I have seen outstanding results in hypertrophy of muscle in persons of all ages. One of the things that inspires me the most is the attitude of many people over 40 years of age that want that muscular look. Skinny and frail is out- thank goodness. And lean and muscular is in- even for people well over 60!

Personally. Where Are You At? 

While fitness goals play a large role in determining appropriate training volume, your current ability level is also important to take into consideration. If you are new to resistance training, keeping the training volume relatively low, at least initially, will not only allow your body time to adapt to the training stress, it will also help to feel more successful which ultimately can lead to long-term adherence to the program.

While the exact program will vary from one individual to another, one of the main goals of any resistance training program should be to perform each exercise with proper technique. Focusing on the quality of the movement versus solely the quantity of repetitions will help reduce the risk of injury and also ensure that the muscle the exercise is designed to target is worked effectively.

All My Best,
Kim

Next 30 Days to Lean Program begins Monday April 4th. Sign up via text by Wednesday March 30th. 904 501 6002

Cooking For Health

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Cooking for Health-Why and How?
When it comes to  cooking for yourself, your family, and your friends, cooking is good for weight loss, weight maintenance, better disease prevention, and just plain ol’ looking and feeling better.
 Here’s the thing though: perceived obstacles to cooking like time and money keep us from becoming the healthy, fit, lean, and energetic people that we want to be.
As consumers, we often buy into the fallacies of marketing messages that make us feel good by suggesting we are “so importantly busy people that we must eat out.”  This type of seductive marketing makes me want to help people even more to learn how to cook for better health and weight loss.
In my 30 Days To Lean programs, One of the first questions I get is, “How Much cooking will I have to do?” I love this question because I like to be straight forward and tell it like it is.
“Yes, there is cooking involved and no you will not be cooking all day long.”
And even though I make it as easy as possible with weekly daily menus, grocery lists, and recipes, it will take a while to get into the flow of taking care of your own health and getting to an  optimal weight. I love telling prospective members this because what I have found is that many don’t think about taking care of themselves through cooking and eating well, even though they wish they did.  This is understandable in a society that promotes go, go, go and run, run, run and in which we are surrounded by advertisements for takeout food and all sorts of other naughty (but delicious) temptations.
In my practice, I have found that what people really want is the education, skills, and confidence to cook for themselves.
And for those members that have always cooked for themselves anyway, they want the education, and confidence to know how to cook not just to maintain their weight but to lose weight and keep it off. I tell them there is healthy cooking, but then there is healthy cooking for weight loss. There is a big difference in eating healthy for weight maintenance and eating healthy for weight loss. My aim in both phases of the program is to teach people the difference.

Cooking is Fun!

Cooking is fun and freeing. If you do not normally cook for yourself it can be frustrating, but as so many members have experienced with the 30 Days To Lean plans, it gets easier. Members often say they get to a place where life starts to feel simpler and more basic. This is what I love to hear.
If back to basics of eating and caring for yourself and your family is something you want, then give me a call.
If you have been thinking about joining the plan, the next session begins Monday, January 2nd. Sign up by December 28th by getting in touch
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All My Best,
Kim

 5 Must Do Hip Exercises That Ease Pain and Prevent Injury

Breaking out of  a Routine

Often, I talk with my clients about how breaking out of a regular daily routine can help someone realize how out of shape they are.  For example, taking a ski day after months of working non-stop without much exercise, or taking up tennis after a 5 year lapse.
This weeks tips are exercises you can do so that when you do finally break out of your normal work- life routine, you can be ready to ski the slopes with abandon, tee off on your golf game, run sprints around your friends, or serve with reckless abandon to your opponent on the other side of the tennis court!

It’s all about being flexible and strong in all the muscle groups of our bodies. Today we focus on the hips.

Why Hip Stretches are So Important

The hip is the largest joint in the human body. It supports most of the body’s weight and is key to maintaining balance. Because the hip joint and hip region are so crucial to movement, arthritis and bursitis in the area can be especially painful.

Chronic hip pain is more prevalent as the body ages, but there are various exercises and lifestyle changes you can introduce to treat  painful  and or weak hips.  Follow these steps to help prevent and reduce hip pain and importantly to keep you limber and strong for those times you want to cycle out of the box and play hard.

 Hip Flexor Stretch:

Get into proposal position with your right knee on the floor and the left leg bent at a 90-degree angle with your hands on your hips. Place a firm cushion—such as a Bosu ball,  that’s found at most gyms, or a stack of towels—underneath the right knee. Engage your abdominal and butt muscles and tuck your pelvis slightly and press forward through your hips. “You’ll immediately feel a stretch in the front of your right hip. Gently glide forward and back 5 times, alternating deepening and easing off the stretch. Do 5 reps. Switch legs and repeat.

 Hip Flexor Stretch:

Remain in the same proposal position with your right knee on the floor, your left leg bent at a 90-degree angle and your pelvis pressed forward to stretch the front of the hip. Reach your right arm up to ceiling. Bend your spine slightly to the left. Straighten to return to center. Do 5 reps. Then switch legs and arms.

Hip Flexor Stretch:

Go back to proposal position with your right knee on the floor and your left leg bent at a 90-degree angle with your hands at your hips. Draw a circle with your hips, counterclockwise 5 times and then clockwise 5 times.

Glute Bridge

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your feet close to your butt. Engage your abs, which will flatten your low back to the floor and tilt your pelvis slightly. Pressing your heels into the floor, lift your butt, followed by your lower back and then your mid-back up as if you were peeling them off the floor. Lift until your thighs are parallel with the floor, keeping your shoulders, hips and knees in line. Keep your abs engaged throughout the lift. Slowly lower back down the floor in reverse order (your mid-back, then lower back and finally, your rear). Do 10 reps.

Pigeon Pose

Go into a downward dog pose. Extend your right leg high in the air behind you, and then bring your right knee forward to rest near the right edge of your yoga mat. Take your left leg straight back behind you and level your hips. Hold for 15 breaths.

Next Week check your inboxes on Wednesday. Don’t forget the Lose Your Waist Wednesday edition is jam packed with ways to help you reduce that dreaded middle.

Congratulations to January’s 30 Days to Lean Members.
24 members lost 224 pounds. Best part: healthy, happy, and on their way to continuing to do what they want to do for a long- long time!

Congratulations to both Ph I and PH II 30 Days to Lean Members who are continuing to lose lots of weight! Details at  the beginning of next month, so stay tuned these members are getting healthier and leaner by the day! You can too!rckuhns

Next Lean: March 7th.

All My Best,
Kim

Living In a Box? Not Cool.


Hi Everyone,
It is Totally Tone Tuesday.   It’s the day we talk about strengthening, stretching and balance!

In my practice I often see clients with tight hips. Sometimes they are not even aware of it until they move a certain way and suddenly pain is felt in their hips or back.  I call this kind of pain, the pain of ‘living-in-a-box’.  The reason I refer to it as ‘living-in-a-box’ pain is because it often occurs when one steps out of their normal daily routines and pain suddenly strikes.

So often we think we are in great shape.
After all, we can do what we need to do each day without too much stress on our bodies. But here’s the thing; it’s not most people’s normal routines that illustrates the huge gaps in strength they are lacking in the many muscle groups of their bodies. Normal routines are just that – normal. And with normal we think everything is good. But it’s really not. At some point, we want to break out of our normal routines and do something different.

Let’s say, you haven’t played golf in a while and while on vacation you go out and play a round. You play a round to find out that your back got out of alignment because your hips, core, and back have not been contorted like that in many years.  So now you are in pain for the next two weeks.

So Often What One Does Next
They stop the golf and go back to living-in-a-box. You know, that comfortable box that says, “I have no aches. I have no pains. I am in great shape.”  Forgetting about the golf and the great times they had, they continue ‘living-in-a-box’ routine until even the slightest of daily changes affects them. Then they cease doing much of anything at all. Living-in-a-box is just that – staying in the comfort zone of what makes us feel in good shape. Albeit that may mean just walking a few minutes a day, keyboarding a computer, eating,  going to the theatre and other in-the-box-routines.

Why Bring This Up
We don’t need to live inside a box. Sure, we are not going  to ski like a mad man in our 90’s but we can certainly experience the same rush and feeling of skiing like a mad man or the rush of playing tennis or golf with intensity well into our 90’s. And the only thing is, we gotta condition  our bodies to move in ways that we do not move in our daily life, we have to learn how to live out of the box.

Next week, look for 3 hip exercises that will get you outside of your comfort zone and allow you to do what you want to do for a long, long, time!

Congratulations to January’s 30 Days to Lean Members.
24 members lost 224 pounds. Best part: healthy, happy, and on their way to continuing to do what they want to do for a long- long time!

Next Lean: March 7th.

All My Best,
Kim