Author Archives: Otmf

How to Have Your Best Trip Ever!

Deb Brown, NSCA Certified Personal Trainer, CNS, CWC

Short break during Margaret Turner’s Acacongua attempt (22,841′)

More and more people are wanting to experience travel in a hands-on, adventurous way. When you can really take part in the local culture, have experiences off of the cruise ship, away from your hotel or out of the resort, then you really get the flavor for the local culture.  It enhances your experience. Before you finalize plans for that big trip, think about what you want your experience to be like. Do you need to be stronger, have more stamina, better balance? If so, consider utilizing a fitness program to help you meet your goals. We help train people of all ages for their next travel experience.

Here are some adventures that we are training (or have trained) our clients for:

  • Hiking in the local National Park
  • Backpacking for several days
  • Climbing/mountaineering a large mountain
  • Kayaking along a coast
  • Diving and snorkeling
  • Exploring ancient ruins
  • Touring a large city for multiple days
  • Walking through a large museum for hours
  • Skiing for back-to-back days

When a client comes to us wanting to be stronger for a trip, we start by analyzing the movements that a person will make during the trip. For example, for our client who will be on her way to Everest Base Camp soon, we want her whole body to be strong. Flying there requires 3 flights and no small amount of stamina. Once she gets there, she will have multiple days of hiking at altitude. During her workouts, we do quite a lot of leg work, including squats, deadlifts and step ups. We also have her walk uphill on the treadmill wearing our backpack loaded up with weights that approximate what she will be carrying. Her core has be strong to provide spinal stabilization as she is hiking. Her balance must be good too, since the ground she will be walking on will be rocky and uneven. Her upper body is also worked since she will be handling heavy baggage, putting stuff up/taking stuff down out of the overhead bins on the plane, often while rotating her torso. Lastly, we have worked with her on a schedule to get out and on the local trails, dealing with the different weather situations and getting used to hiking for multiple days. She is going to have an excellent and enjoyable trip!

We had another client who recently went to Europe for three weeks. She toured large cities, old cobble-stoned towns, multiple museums, and traveled on multiple planes and trains. We worked to get her whole body strong to endure the overall stress of travel. We also spent extra time on building both strength and endurance in her lower body for all the walking she anticipated doing. The result? A spectacular trip with many unique and amazing memories during which she said she always felt great and had enough energy to do the things she wanted to do. We call that a successful trip!

If you have a trip on the horizon and are wanting to improve your stamina, work on your balance and improve your strength, give us a call to see how we can help!

The Top Ten Ways to Stay Motivated on Your Health Goals

By Deb Brown, NSCA-CPT, CNS, CWC

We hope everyone had a peaceful and happy Holiday Season! As we roll into the New Year, many people create goals around healthier living. It feels good to have some structure around healthy eating and working out. But as weeks turn into months, it gets harder to adhere to strict workout schedules and diet plans. All too often, the temptation is to just throw up your hands and stop working on anything at all in regards to your health. As personal trainers, we know a thing or two about how to keep our clients motivated, not just throughout the winter months, but for years and years.


Here are some tried and true strategies that we have our clients practice:

1. Write down your goals on paper. Yes, in this day and age of technology, writing down your goals using old fashioned paper and pencil works like a charm to get you focused and motivated. Hang it up on your fridge or bathroom mirror. Try it!

2. Examine your commitment. What is it, exactly, that you want to accomplish? Why? Ask yourself how committed you are, how hard are you willing to work, how much are you willing to sacrifice? Write this all down as well. Be honest with yourself. “Wanting” to lose weight is very different than being truly “committed” to losing weight. Understand the difference.

3. Find a way to seamlessly fit physical activity into your life.  If you need accountability, work with a personal trainer who will help you keep to a structured, consistent program.

4. Have a realistic eating plan that will work long-term. If you’re eating is too structured, it is going to be too hard and unrealistic to stick to long term. Instead, create a plan that works for you, with your schedule, in your environment. Keep a food journal to help you stay on track.

5. Enlist a support system. Exercise with friends, a trainer or attend a class. Communicate with your family what you are trying to accomplish. Ask for their support and be specific with what you need.

6. Put in the work! If you work hard, and consistently, you will get results. There is nothing that reinforces personal motivation like getting results. It gives you the mental and emotional boost you need to keep re-committing day after day after day.

7. Re-evaluate your goals periodically. Adjust as needed to adapt to changing life situations.

8. Reward yourself for attaining your goals with whatever is special to you. Give yourself something tangible to really celebrate: a spa day or nice outfit; etc.

9. Register for an event. There is nothing like signing up for an event, for example a 5K, and plunking down your $25 registration fee. All of a sudden, you are “in training”, not just “working out” It gives you a whole new focus and can really energize you!

10. Notice when you are making excuses for not eating healthy or staying active.  Analyze why you are making the excuses and take steps to get back on track.


Manage Your Stress This Holiday Season

Deb Brown, NCSA Certified Personal Trainer

This time of year is always so fun and festive! There are presents to buy, parties to attend, special meals to make – all in the name of celebration. It can also be a time of high stress. One of the hot topics my clients bring up every December is how to manage their stress levels. So, I thought I would share some tried and true techniques that will help you to coast through this December feeling calm, peaceful and healthy:

  1. Take time to plan. Sit down with your calendar, look at the schedule and determine where you need to be and when. Plan in some down time for relaxation. Schedule time to cook some healthy meals. Avoid over committing.
  2. Keep up your physical activity! In addition to staving off unwanted extra pounds, consistent exercise will keep your stress under control and you will just feel better. It will also help to boost your energy and immune system! Plan your exercise into your day/week just like you would any other appointment – put it on your calendar.
  3. Be aware of what and how much you are eating. Keep a food journal for yourself so that you can balance out those higher calorie holiday treats with lighter fare. You can also make sure you are eating for optimal energy.
  4. Set realistic expectations of yourself. You actually DON’T have to get to every party, get the perfect present for everyone on your list or donate to every charity. Think you will lose 5 pounds in December? Think again. We always coach our clients to just maintain a stable weight from mid-December to January 2nd. Many times, the unrealistic expectations we have of ourselves and our family members create nothing but stress and frustration. Release the expectation.
  5. Incorporate active stress reduction techniques. Do some yoga, drink herbal tea, treat yourself to a massage, meditate or just practice general breathing exercises. Get enough sleep!
  6. Have fun! Make sure you are enjoying your holiday rituals and traditions. If not, spend your time on those activities that bring you peace and joy!
Client Profile: Nancy Marrs

By Deb Brown, NSCA-CPT and Nancy Marrs

Nancy came to us in early 2018 and her goals were straightforward: to gain strength and improve her balance. She also wanted to be consistent with her exercise, as well as lose some weight. In the 6 months that we have been working with her, she is well on her way to accomplishing all of the goals she set for herself. She has shed several pounds, has increased her muscular strength and endurance; and has greatly improved her balance. Nancy is very consistent with her workouts, always showing up with a smile and ready to get to work. We love the way that she just comes in and gets it done! Her program includes cardiovascular work, followed by strength and core training. We wrap it up with balance and flexibility work at the end. We also incorporate balance challenges into the middle of her strength training program. For example, we have had her work on shoulder presses while balancing on one foot at a time. We also do balance-specific exercises that have her move in multiple directions.  Her workouts generally take about an hour and Nancy is usually in 2-3 times per week. Here is what Nancy has to say about her experience:

“After letting my fitness habits slide for a year and a half, I decided in January I needed to do something. I started at On the Move. Mind you, I planned to go for just a month or two, just long enough to learn some exercises. Then I planned to work on my own at home. But Dave and Deb gave me so much support and encouragement, I could see that is just what I needed to stick with a program and reach my goals. As I got stronger, they would change up the exercises to challenge me. I love a good challenge! One of my goals was to have better balance. At my age (young 70’s), I don’t need a fall, injuries or a broken bone. Dave and Deb helped me work on that at every session. Within a couple of months, I could see my strength and balance improving steadily. I find myself looking forward to going to On the Move. I have gotten to know the other folks who come and everyone is friendly and we all encourage each other. I have lived in Colorado for four years now. There are so many wonderful things to see and do in this state and, now that I’m stronger, I won’t have to miss a thing.”

I remember early on as I was getting to know her, being surprised by her inherent strength. Nancy informed me that she grew up on a farm and worked very hard doing manual labor chores. This strength has carried through all the way to her seventies. It is apparent to me that she will continue to retain her strength and balance as she moves into her eighties and beyond.

Recently, Nancy travelled to the Oregon cost to visit her son. Both Dave and I were impressed that she kept very active while on vacation and even hit the gym a couple times to workout with a program that we had given her. Now, that’s dedication! And that is why she is getting results. Her focus, determination and hard work are all paying off and will continue to pay off in the years to come. Great job, Nancy!

Use it or Lose it, nothing shows it better…

I’ve never seen anything that better depicts how we lose muscle as we age if we don’t use it. I’ve seen other studies that correlate a better quality of life as we age with increased fitness, but a picture really is worth a thousand words.

The image below is from MRI cross sections of the quadricep muscles from a research study published The Physician and Sportsmedicine (link down at time of posting). The study took detailed measurements of 40 masters athletes between the ages of 40 and 81, and found a surprising lack of age-related muscle loss. The top pic is a cross section of the thigh of a 40 year old triathlete. The bottom is a triathlete at 70. The middle is a sedentary 74 year old man.

I think this summary from the study summarizes it best.

This study contradicts the common observation that muscle mass and strength decline as a function of aging alone. Instead, these declines may signal the effect of chronic disuse rather than muscle aging. Evaluation of masters athletes removes disuse as a confounding variable in the study of lower-extremity function and loss of lean muscle mass. This maintenance of muscle mass and strength may decrease or eliminate the falls, functional decline, and loss of independence that are commonly seen in aging adults.


Give Love to Your Body

Deb Brown, NSCA Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Wellness Coach and Certified Nutrition Specialist

How do we show love to the important people in our lives? We do nice things for them. We show appreciation and gratitude for them. We are constantly thinking about what is best for them. We monitor their health and well being. If a child is sick, we provide medicine, encourage rest and make sure they are eating and drinking appropriately to support the healing process.

Are you giving love to your body? Too often, we all get so busy and distracted with life. We ignore and take for granted how amazing our bodies are. In the course of a single day, your heart will beat over 100,000 times. You will inhale and exhale about 23,000 times per day. You will digest and absorb a multitude of nutrients. Your body will be constantly healing and repairing bones, muscles and tissues. There are thousands of chemical reactions taking place in your body right now as you read this article. These reactions are finely tuned to help keep your body at a homeostasis: the right level of hydration, the right level of sugar and nutrients in your bloodstream, the correct level of a myriad of hormones. Miraculous!

So, are you giving love to your body to support the miracle that it is? Or do you take it for granted until something goes wrong? Here are some suggestions on how to give love to your body.

  1. Hydrate often with water.
  2. Don’t ingest too much poison in the form of processed sugar, processed foods, alcohol, saturated fat, junk foods.
  3. Understand it. Think you need a “cleanse”? Nope! Your liver and kidneys are built for cleansing. Just eat right!
  4. Exercise it. Our bodies are built to move, not to sit for hours in cars, at a desk and on the couch. Fit small amounts of exercise in every day.
  5. Feed it. Focus on lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, healthy forms of carbs and fats.
  6. Be calm. Manage stress. Learn how to meditate. Contrary to popular belief, meditation is NOT about clearing your mind. It’s about being mindful and present. And you can start with just 5 minutes a day!
  7. Stay up to date on medical appointments. Get that mammogram or colonoscopy that you have been putting off. Neither are really a big deal at all!
  8. Invest some time for stretching, keep your body flexible. Yoga anyone? If not, there are all kinds of apps out there to help you integrate stretching into your life.
  9. Know your family history and support your health accordingly.
  10. Breathe. Be mindful. Of your body, of what you are putting into it, of your overall health.
  11. Perform random acts of kindness. It is good for your heart and soul!
  12. Make your health a true priority. Stop putting yourself and your health at the bottom of your “to-do’s”.



“When you have your health, you have everything. When you do not have your health, nothing else matters at all.”  Attributed to Augusten Burroughs

On my hike this weekend in Staunton State Park I saw my first dandelion of the season. Signs of spring were everywhere: buds on trees, bright green blades of grass springing up among the brown, and birds chirping madly to each other. I got to thinking about how it is a season of renewal and a good time to slow down a bit, and reflect on where you are in your life. How is your health? How are you treating your body and mind? Are you eating well, getting enough sleep and exercising appropriately? Are you taking time to slow down, rest and enjoy your life and the people around you

Very often, I see people walking around with their shoulders up around their ears due to stress. Life these days is fast paced and filled with many pressures and responsibilities. Now, today, as you are reading this: stop and breathe. Relax for a few minutes and let your “to do” list go. Bring those shoulders down. Ponder how you are living your life for a few minutes. It’s a good time to re-adjust if your health has been a low priority lately. Think about how you can take small steps to improve your eating, physical activity and overall well-being. What do you need more of? What do you need less of? Take an inventory:

  • Are you eating in a healthy and balanced way?
  • Do you get enough servings of fruits and vegetables each day?
  • Do you need to lose weight and if so, what is holding you back?
  • Are you physically active several times per week?
  • What is your stress level like? Are you taking active steps to control it?
  • Are you getting enough sleep? If not, what can you do that change that?
  • Do you limit alcohol and drink plenty of water?
  • Are you up to date on all doctor/dentist visits and testing (mammogram, colonoscopy, cholesterol, etc)?
  • Your health is of paramount importance. Don’t ignore it and take it for granted. Now is a great time to take stock, figure how you need to re-adjust and do just that. Take action – even one small step towards being healthier, will give you energy to continue to improve. Summer won’t be log off and you will be better able to enjoy it when you are at your healthiest and feeling your best!

Your health is of paramount importance. Don’t ignore it and take it for granted. Now is a great time to take stock, figure how you need to re-adjust and do just that. Take action – even one small step towards being healthier, will give you energy to continue to improve. Summer won’t be log off and you will be better able to enjoy it when you are at your healthiest and feeling your best!

Creating Goals That Work!

Deb Brown, NSCA Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Wellness Coach and Certified Nutrition Specialist

The annual season for creating resolutions is upon us.  This year, we suggest you try a different approach to the dreaded Annual Resolution. Instead, create realistic goals.  If you have tried to set goals in the past but didn’t reach them, you may have become disillusioned with the process. As a trainer for over 12 years who has the privilege to help people make life changes, I can tell you that goal-setting works. But, like most things you get out of it what you put in it!

First, your goals should be specific and measurable. Saying that you are going to “lose weight” is nebulous. Instead, if you express your goal in concrete terms, you can measure your progress along the way. “I will lose 25 pounds by April 1st, 2018” is very specific and something you can measure. You can also break this down into smaller mini-goals, which is a key tenet in any lasting behavior change.

Second, invest time to write down why you want to do this and what might stand on your way. Make sure this is your goal and not one created for you! To succeed at anything, the drive and motivation has to come from deep inside. Really spend some time with that “why” question. When you think you have the answer ask “why” again. Sometimes, you will uncover a deep wish, fear or important personal value that can help you stay truly committed to your goal. Write down the obstacles that will keep you from reaching your goal – be specific! And then, write down how you will surmount those obstacles.

Lastly, define your action plan: what are the specific steps that you need to take to get you from where you are now to where you want to be? Break your goals down into the smallest component parts that you can. For example, if you want to lose 25 pounds by April 1st, you will need to lose about 2 pounds per week. That’s a realistic and measurable mini-goal. Create action items and assign dates to them. Make yourself accountable to completing these actions. Share your goals and your journey with friends and family members who will be supportive.

Throughout your journey it’s important to keep a journal. Write about your successes and setbacks. There will always be setbacks, but by journaling about them you can get perspective and make a plan to avoid the setback in the future. When there are setbacks, learn from them and move on. Don’t look back, change is about looking forward and what’s possible.
“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” – Michael Jordan

How Do People Stay Motivated for Long-Term Exercise?


I am always impressed with people who have been exercising for years and years. They reap numerous physical and emotional benefits and feel like something is amiss if they do not exercise. Like all of us, they get injured and sick. They travel. They have busy work and family lives. They have major life events happen that could easily distract them and yet, still they continue to exercise. How do they do it?

I recently polled several of our clients about this very subject and the response was both educational and intriguing.

From Cheryl, who has been exercising for 30+ years:

Cheryl on a hike on the Napali Coast.

I started swimming in my 20’s and found out that I could then hike with better endurance and I lost weight, so that continued my habit.  Because I like to eat, I realized that I could eat more if I exercised. Then in my 30’s, exercise became “me time”.  Time when I did not have to be a mommy and I could escape the stress. In my 40’s I started to gain weight, and discovered that weight lifting worked magic in weight control.  In my late 40’s I was going through a divorce so exercise become a survival tool to get endorphins. In my 50’s I rediscovered hiking and skiing and continue to exercise to be able to pursue my passion of mountain activities.


From Theresa: “What keeps me motivated is knowing that as I age I’ll be able to keep my body moving and hopefully ward off any injuries.  Being motivated helps me to be active in everyday life but yet helps me to enjoy those days of play, like hiking, waterskiing and being in the outdoors.”

From Kerry: “Staying young in body to help stay young in spirit; maintaining vitality to experience yet more places in the world where I haven’t been; desire to be an example to my daughter and participate in physical pursuits with her.”

From Peter: “For me I just know that I have to do it. I don’t always want to exercise but I know it’s a slippery slope if I miss even one day.”

From Sue: “What motivates me is being able to ski better and rock climb stronger!  At my age (67!)

Sue and John all smiles after climbing up Old Mill trail.

I feel good about how strong I am and how good I feel doing all my activities, plus the fun I have exercising.”

For most people, a common thread is that they have found an activity that they are interested in, and sometimes passionate about. This often leads to additional activities. For example, Sue started strength training with us about 8 years ago and then, as a result of how good she was feeling, she took up rock climbing in her 60’s.

Another common thread is that they make exercise a habit and miss it when they do not do it. They make it a non-negotiable part of their lives, like eating and getting the oil changed in their cars. It is a priority, therefore, it gets scheduled.

Lastly, several people participated in a variety of activities. All of the people surveyed were active clients with us who regularly do strength training. But, most are also involved in a variety of other physical activities (rock climbing, skiing, hiking) so that each feeds into the other. This also helps to prevent boredom.

So, if you would like to become more consistent with your exercise, consider incorporating these ideas into your life. Let your passions drive your exercise! If you need some structure and support around your fitness, please contact us at 303-816-1426 to learn how we can help.

A Paradigm Shift

Deb Brown, nsca-cpt, cwc, cns

If you have been trying for years to shed 10-20 pounds, with little or no results, I would like to propose a radical idea. Stop trying to lose weight. You won’t hear that from many personal trainers, but stay with me a bit.

The definition of insanity is to continue to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results. I have seen many people obsessed with losing weight over the course of years by adopting crazy diets, starving themselves and/or working out in an unhealthy way. After years of work, guess what? Some people are right where they started. In addition, they are constantly beating themselves up mentally. They feel like failures. They live in a state of constant frustration and stress because they cannot take off the weight. That’s not healthy!

Most people know what they have to do to lose weight. However, there is a significant gap between people knowing what they have to do and actually performing those actions day after day. A certain percentage of people can adhere to new healthier habits. Many are just not willing to make the sacrifices it takes to attain weight loss. If you have significant weight to lose and/or your weight is affecting your health, consider seeking the guidance of a doctor. But, if you are obsessed with losing 10-20 pounds to look better, and you have been working on it for years with little success, it may be time to take a different tack.

I propose a paradigm shift. A paradigm shift is when your perception about the same information or situation changes dramatically, providing a new insight or a new way of looking at things. It was coined by an author named Thomas Kuhn, in his influential book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

I propose that you stop focusing on weight loss and, instead, focus on your overall health and longevity. How can you be the healthiest, strongest person possible? How can you treat your body so that you feel good living inside of it and you can take part in the activities you want to? How can you have more energy, be happier and more at peace with yourself? Ensure that you are eating in a healthful way? How long do you want to live and be an active participant in life? If you start to focus on these things and take the actions necessary, you may or may not lose weight, but you will be healthier and feel better in the long run. Life is too short to live in a way where you are constantly mentally beating yourself up. If you are someone who has been trying to lose weight for years on end, consider changing your whole thought pattern. Start to focus more on your overall health and well being and see what happens!