Monthly Archives: December 2013

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Give Your Kids the Gift of a Healthy Lifestyle
Deb Brown, NSCA Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Wellness Coach

One of the best gifts you can give your kids is the gift of a healthy lifestyle. This includes healthy eating habits, staying active, and trying new activities. It also means providing space and unstructured time to let kids be kids.

The most important thing you can do to encourage your children to be healthy is to model healthy behaviors yourself. Take a few moments to think about how you live your life. As parents, we are the primary teachers for our children. They learn by watching us and imitating us. What do your actions convey about how you live your life and how your children should live their lives?

A good place to start is to examine what you eat and your attitudes toward food. Healthy eating means choosing a balanced way of eating nutritious foods: lots of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean meat and fish, nuts, and healthy snacks. It also means having a healthy approach to junk food. An occasional fast food meal or bowl of ice cream is o.k. However, if you or your kids are constantly ingesting sugar and fat, there will be both short and long-term negative consequences such as energy swings, a challenged immune system, and a higher risk for chronic disease later in life such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease. What you teach them now about eating will have an impact for the rest of their lives, so pay attention to the message you are sending.

Another good behavior to model to children: get moving!! Make fitness a priority in your life and it may just become a priority in your kids’ lives. Try taking up a new hobby together with your child(ren) such as hiking, martial arts or swimming. What do they love to do? What have you always wanted to try but were too afraid? How about trying those activities together? We have a Mom, Dad and teen who workout together in our fitness studio. Not only do they keep each other consistent, but Mom and Dad are helping to lay the foundation for their teen to incorporate healthy habits into her life. Plus, they have a great time and there is lots of laughter during their workouts!

Lastly, don’t forget to allow time for kids to just be kids. Say no to over scheduling your kids in too many activities. Make sure that they do not spend too much time in front of the TV or computer. Given some time and space, their imaginations will kick in and they will think up all kinds of games. Remember, the healthy habits you teach your kids now will help lay the foundation for the rest of their lives. What a beautiful gift to give!

 
Smart Eating Strategies
Deb Brown, NSCA Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Wellness Coach
 

Along with a sound fitness program, we educate our clients on the vital role nutrition plays in living a healthy life. This article will educate the reader on nutrition basics and will address some common challenges that we all face in eating healthily.

Our nutrition guidelines come from an excellent book written by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD entitled, Eating on the Run. This book is for those of us who want to eat healthy but have little time and energy to dedicate toward that effort. She puts forth the idea of the “Nutrition 6-5-4-3-2 Countdown”. Her daily recommendations are as follows: “6 servings of whole grains, 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, combined (more is better); 4-9 ounces of lean protein, 3 servings of calcium rich foods and 2 servings of fish each week”.

Although those guidelines are straightforward, healthy eating is anything but. With the fast pace of life today, we often perceive that we are too busy/tired/stressed to eat well.

The following are some ideas to help you on the path to healthy eating:

  1. Identify emotional eating: When we get bored, stressed, angry, or frustrated, we often turn to food to fill the void. Work to identify how you feel when you are eating. Figure out triggers and try to avoid them. You may also want to think about substituting other healthier behaviors when the situation arises: deep breathing, a quick walk, or a warm cup of tea.
  2. Identify unhealthy patterns: do you spend a lot of time in the car commuting and end up eating fast food too often? Is there a particular time of day when you find yourself craving sweets or salty foods? Seek to identify your own unhealthy habits and work on prevention.
  3. Plan your nutrition: Most of us plan our days and weeks; why not plan our nutrition? Plan your meals and shop once a week. Pack your lunch for work and bring along healthy snacks wherever you go. If you will be on the road all day, buy a small cooler and keep it stocked with healthy treats. Try to eat every 3-4 hours; this way you will not get overly hungry.
  4. For parents: PLEASE pack your kids a healthy lunch for school. Be a role model for your kids when it comes to healthy eating. Childhood obesity is growing at alarming levels due to the junk they are consuming and an increasingly sedentary lifestyle. Parents, your kids are watching and learning from you…what are you teaching them?

Healthy eating truly does not take a ton of energy – it just takes positive attitude and a willingness to try new healthier behaviors. Try some of these strategies and you will reap the benefits of more energy, less stress and a healthier you!

A Guide on Your Journey Toward Wellness
Deb Brown, NSCA Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Wellness Coach
 

As a Certified Wellness Coach, it is my privilege to help guide my clients as they make the journey toward wellness. Each person’s journey is unique, but along the way, there are always challenges and triumphs, trials and joys. The journey toward your optimal level of wellness will not always be easy, but it will be rewarding. You may be a little unsure of where or how to start, unsure of how it will all turn out in the end, unsure if you can really do it. It feels safe to stay the same; it’s tough to challenge our comfort levels.

As a wellness coach, my job is to work with you to understand what your wellness vision looks like. It’s a different and unique vision for each of us. Some clients need to focus on weight loss; some clients are working to better manage stress in their lives. Most of my clients are extremely busy and are managing jobs, commutes, kids’ school schedules and activities. It is sometimes tough to make our health a priority in this busy non-stop world, and that is what I help my clients do. Together we will break your goals down to the smallest components and tackle 1 or 2 areas at a time, depending on your level of readiness.

For example, a client, who we will call Jane, wanted to lower her cholesterol so that she would not have to take pills. Her doctor recommended a change in diet and to begin an exercise program. She is a busy working mom with little extra time. The task of lowering her cholesterol seemed monumental to her. She knew that she needed to change how she was eating, incorporate cholesterol-lowering foods into her diet and start exercising. When we started working together, she decided that the one area that she was ready to make a small change in was incorporating more cholesterol-lowering foods into her diet.

She decided that she would try eating oatmeal 3 times a week for 4 weeks. She researched different recipes/toppings and went out and bought all of the ingredients she needed. Each week, as we had our coaching call, I would ask how she did. We would celebrate when she ate the oatmeal 3 or more times. When she did not accomplish that goal, we would discuss what happened, what obstacles she had encountered and how to overcome those. By the 3rd and 4th week, she was consistently eating oatmeal and it is now a part of her diet on most days of the week. Buoyed by this success, she has also added other cholesterol-lowering foods to her weekly diet. The next area she has chosen to focus on is exercise and we are now talking about what kind of exercise she will do, where and when she will do it and how she will fit it in to her already busy schedule. Soon, she will be both eating more cholesterol-lowering foods AND exercising. She is solidly on the path to lowering her cholesterol step by step and achieving her health goals.

Personal change has got to be one of the most difficult journeys we can make. But, if you have a good guide, a partner, who can help lead the way, it becomes not only doable, but incredibly rewarding. You are not in it alone. Rather, you have an ally that can stick by your side and help you celebrate both the large and small successes and work through the challenges. If you are on a journey toward a higher level of wellness and would like a guide to provide support call Deb to find out how coaching can help set you on the right path.

Connect Your Fitness Goals with Your Values for Success
Deb Brown, NSCA Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Wellness Coach

Creating fitness goals is a fundamental part of getting in better shape or training for an event. Having goals can give you a definite focus for your activities and keep you going on those days when your motivation is waning. We have found that the more closely your goals are aligned with your personal value system, the more successful you will be in attaining them.

In creating goals, first seek to understand those things that are important to you: what are your highest values as a person? If family is high on the list, how can you connect your fitness goals to that? How about having more energy to go hiking or biking with the kids? How about being a good role model for your kids by investing time in healthy eating and fitness related activities. Maybe you could engage in fitness activities as a family.

An excellent example of attaching fitness-related goals to personal values is found with our client Cheryl. Cheryl is in her fifties and one of her values in life is spending time outdoors in our beautiful mountains. Hiking and cross-country skiing are integral parts of her life. She thoroughly enjoys these activities and wants to continue doing them injury- free. She trains with us to remain strong, balanced and flexible, thereby enhancing her abilities and increasing her enjoyment of these activities. I anticipate that Cheryl will continue to workout and be active for quite a long period of time since she has such an enjoyment factor with her activities and is deeply motivated to continue.

We have another client who wants to remain active and full of energy in order to play with her grandchildren. Through consistent cardiovascular and strength training exercises, she is now able to keep up with them and still has energy at the end of the day after babysitting them. I also anticipate that she will continue her healthy lifestyle because the benefits she is seeing are attached to one of her most important values: being an active Grandma that participates fully in her grandkids’ lives and activities.

If you are working on fitness goals, it’s a great idea to examine them and see how they connect up with your values as a person. Your chances of success in attaining your goals will increase dramatically.

 
It’s All About Results!

Deb Brown, NSCA Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Wellness Coach

It’s amazing what working out with weights and doing cardio consistently does for your looks, body shape and energy levels. Even more important, though, is what it can enable you to do. We would like to highlight some of the incredible accomplishments of our diverse clientele.

Our clients’ goals are as diverse as our clientele! Some clients want to lose weight, get stronger or have more energy. They typically see results working with us for 4-6 weeks. But then, because of our business model, they find themselves having fun and enjoying their workouts: they get hooked! This leads to a consistency in their exercise that many have never experienced. This consistency leads to ever greater benefits and becomes a self-perpetuating positive habit in their lives. It becomes a lifestyle. Gwen A. is a great example of a successful weight loss client. Gwen lost 9 pounds in her first 2 months of working with us and is happy about the way her clothes are fitting these days. She has increased energy, is eating better and is tearing it up on the ski slopes as well.

Other clients have very specific goals that they want to obtain: ski all day without getting tired, compete in a Triathlon, manage a chronic disease like fibromyalgia, lower blood pressure. One of our clients, Donna S. came to us over 2 years ago. She expressed an interest in running and ran her first 5K in the summer of 2007. Through much hard work and discipline, this hard-working mother of two, recently ran her first 1/2 marathon. Way to go Donna! Karen F. is a great example of a working-mom-turned-triathlete. This 40- something mother of three works down the hill and manages to stay consistent in her workouts here at the studio. This past summer, she competed in two triathlons. You Go Girl!!

Peter H. is an avid and accomplished skier – and wants to keep it that way. At 60-something, he is a dedicated client who comes in 2 times per week. First hand accounts of Peter’s skiing abilities include the words, “beautiful” and “he makes it looks effortless”. Peter prefers black diamond slopes and really likes skiing in the trees. Our job is too keep him in prime ski conditioning shape and injury free so that he can keep enjoying his passion! Another client who has a passion is Tim S. who is an avid cyclist. He recently rode in the Copper Classic event, which features 3 mountain passes – brutal! Tim accomplished this feat in less than 4 hours. Our clients are continually reaching higher and higher and we are proud to be a part of their efforts and success. Thanks, everyone, for making our work purposeful and fulfilling. We really do love what we do and it’s because of you.

Top Ten Reasons for Getting in Shape this Year
Deb Brown, NSCA Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Wellness Coach
 

January is one of the most exciting months for the fitness industry. We have all kinds of neat people start training with us during this time. I am often asked if we get many clients who start working out in January, only to lose motivation by March. My answer is an enthusiastic, “NO!”. You see, clients who work out with a personal trainer, give themselves an advantage over working out alone at a gym. The personal trainer provides not only a structured, personalized program, but also on-going support and motivation to help the client achieve his or her goals. When working with a personal trainer, a client typically schedules an appointment with the trainer. Because of this, clients make their appointments and have consistent workouts. This leads to quick and lasting results, which is what people are after in the first place.

As we enter the New Year, it is always a good time to take stock of where you are in your life. Are you feeling and looking the way that you want to? If not, this may be your year to finally get into better shape! January is a wonderful time to start working out: you have plenty of company and it’s the time of year where personal trainers run great specials. We are no exception! (See our ad on this page). Here is our official Top Ten Reasons to get in shape:

  1. If you expend energy to workout, you will get MORE energy in return to do the things you love!
  2. It’s a stressful world out there these days, you have got to take care of your health to meet the demands of it.
  3. Be a great role model for your kids.
  4. Great social opportunities. Meet new people – maybe your neighbors!!
  5. Have better overall health, reduce your risk factors, stay away from the doctors office, manage chronic disease.
  6. You will become stronger, more flexible and have better balance.
  7. Local options: Our studio is conveniently located on 285 in Aspen Park and we have been in business since 1994! There are also a number of other local facilities where you can workout.
  8. It’s affordable. You can typically find a membership plan that meets your budget.
  9. You will look great AND feel great!
  10. You may lose a few pounds and get back into your skinny jeans.
Attention Business Travelers: Yes, You Can Lose Weight On The Road!

Deb Brown, NSCA Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Wellness Coach

We have many clients who travel for work. Many of them are seeking to lose weight. It is, admittedly, very difficult to lose weight while on the road. Let’s face it, airplane food is not the healthiest and many airports do not carry healthy choices in the terminals. Then, there are the numerous business lunches and dinners, where you are expected to wine and dine for hours on end. Trade shows and conventions? Exhausting! You are on your feet all day and must always be “on” for potential clients. Does this sound familiar? If so, and you are someone who is also needing to lose weight, I am here to tell you that it can and has been done. Here are some strategies that are working for our clients who travel:

  1. Have a plan. Prioritize healthy eating and exercising in and among your other duties. Be prepared for the plan to change.
  2. Bring healthy, portable foods on the plane and into your hotel room. Items that work: nuts, seeds, dried and fresh fruit, Clif Bars, etc.
  3. Arrive at client meals having already eaten a healthy snack. Do not show up hungry.
  4. Watch your portions and focus on lean protein and vegetable items. Forgo the extra calories in appetizers and desserts. Limit or restrict alcoholic drinks. Yes, your client may have an expectation that you will drink . But, you need to stand firm on this one. If you were a recovering alcoholic, it would be non-negotiable.

  5. Schedule in appointments for exercise as you are scheduling in your other client appointments. Commit to this appointment, just as you would commit to any other appointment.
  6. Try to stay in hotels where there is a gym. If that isn’t possible, scope out local gyms or rec centers where you can purchase a day pass. Many of our clients travel with a TRX Suspension trainer that weighs less than 5 pounds and can attach to any hotel door. There are numerous exercises that can be done just with this one piece of equipment.
  7. Seek out local parks for walking or running. Walk to and from appointments if possible. It is possible to stay active on the road. You just need to make it as much of a priority as you do your work!

The most important strategy is to have a certain mindset about keeping up with your healthy eating and exercise while on the road. It CAN be done. We have a client who travels extensively and has lost 50 pounds in just under 3 months. He is committed and disciplined. You can be too!

 

How Seniors Benefit from Strength Training
Deb Brown, NSCA Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Wellness Coach
The leaves are starting to turn and I am hoping we are getting ready for a colorful and warm Fall. This morning, I had a few “seasoned citizens” working out and we were all sharing some laughs as they worked out. I thought it would be a great time to bring attention to all of the wonderful benefits of strength training for seniors.

The American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association has published the following activity recommendations for adults over the age of 65 OR adults ages 50-64 with chronic conditions such as arthritis:

1. Do moderately intense aerobic exercise for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week OR do vigorously intense exercise 20 minutes a day for 3 days a week.

2. Perform 8-10 strength training exercises for all the major muscle groups, performing 10-15 repititions of each exercise 2-3 times per week.

3 Performing balance and flexibility exercises 2-4X weekly is also recommended. Strength training helps to prevent loss of muscle and bone mass and aids in the ability to do everyday common tasks such as cleaning the house, doing laundry and grocery shopping. Additional benefits include:

  • an ability to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight
  • an ability to continue functioning while living with chronic disease
  • the strength and endurance to travel and really experience different cultures an ability to keep up with grandchildren and get up/down from the floor with ease
  • an improvement in balance which helps to prevent falls
  • increased enjoyment in life because they have more energy and feel more comfortable in their bodies
  • an ability to take up new hobbies/sports because their bodies are strong enough to do so

We have even seen some of our clients able to lessen dosages on medicine or even go off medicine entirely, with the approval of their doctor. This is so cool!

In our studio, there is a great social aspect to what we do as well. This camaraderie is beneficial for all of us, but especially to seniors. Seniors are an integral part of our studio family and are embraced (literally and figuratively!) for the inspiring and interesting individuals they are.

The very first step any senior will want to take in starting an exercise program is to consult with a doctor. If cleared for strength training, a senior will then want to get direction from a personal trainer who has a track record with seniors. Expect to start slowly and build intensity as you go. You’ll love the results!!

 
Weight Loss Do’s and Don’ts

Deb Brown, NSCA Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Wellness Coach

In our business we see a lot of clients who have weight loss goals. Many clients have tried for years to get the weight off and keep it off. Frequently, we hear stories of drastic dieting and strict eating regimens. This is invariably followed with, “but then I gained back the weight I lost and even gained additional pounds!” What we tell clients is this: weight loss is simple, but it is not easy. Why do we say that? Well, to tell you the truth, to lose weight it really is a simple formula to follow. Are you ready? Here it is: Eat Less, Move More. It just is not easy to stick to unless you are truly committed. Here are the Do’s and Don’ts that our successful weight loss clients follow:

DO:

  1. Make a structured plan with written goals.
  2. Exercise 5-6 days per week at a high intensity. Translation: SWEAT!
  3. Include both strength training and cardio sessions.
  4. Eat about every 3 hours during the day. Include healthy carbs, lean protein and healthy fats at each meal. This will help you feel satiated and full of energy!
  5. Keep a food journal.
  6. Drink lots of water.
  7. Include SMALL amounts of the foods you love 1-2X per week.
  8. Weigh in 1X per week and write it down.
  9. Surround yourself with supportive, encouraging people.
  10. Communicate your goals with your friends and family and enlist their support!
  11. Make your weight loss a priority in your life. Get intensely focused on your goals.

DON’T:

  1. Diet. We have seen 1 person (ONE!) in the past five years who lost a lot of weight on a popular diet program and actually kept it off.
  2. Plan on losing weight like contestants on The Biggest Loser. Typical clients take off about 1-2 pounds per week and KEEP it off! This is called being realistic.
  3. Eat out at restaurants more than 1-2X per month.
  4. Drink more than 1 alcoholic beverage per week.
  5. Hang around with unhealthy or unsupportive friends.
  6. Skip your workouts.
  7. Think “short-term”. Adopt healthy eating and exercise habits that you can maintain for the rest of your life.
  8. Make excuses as to why you cannot eat correctly and exercise. If you want this bad enough, you will not make excuses. You will just get to work.

This formula has worked time and time again for our clients to both take weight off in a healthy and realistic manner; and then to maintain that weight loss.

Yesterday, You Said Tomorrow

Deb Brown, NSCA Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Wellness Coach

We humans have an amazing ability to procrastinate! Sometimes we put off important tasks that have to do with our personal health and well-being. We always say, “Oh, I’ll get to that tomorrow”. Many tomorrows later, people wonder why they are still overweight, why they are still exhausted, how they could have let themselves slip from being pre-Diabetic into a diagnosis of Diabetes. I am always interested when I hear people come up with excuses as to why they cannot workout, eat healthier, lose the weight, get serious about battling a chronic health problem, make that important doctor’s appointment, etc. As a personal trainer and wellness coach, I have heard every excuse in the book. I have also seen clients make progress on their health goals despite many huge hurdles. It all comes down to motivation. How do you overcome your excuses, roadblocks and challenges and just get started on becoming healthier?

There are multiple strategies that I use while coaching clients to help them progress. First, we analyze current behaviors and self-talk. Is there self-sabotage going on and if so, what is the root cause of that? What scripts are playing and replaying in the client’s head? I often have clients actually write down all of the negative self-talk going on inside. When people see, in black and white, how they are beating themselves up internally, they are really surprised! It is important to recognize this negative self-talk, stop it and replace it with affirmations.

Second, I have clients create realistic short term and long term goals. Then we work on small steps each week so that actions are doable, but not overwhelming. As the weeks go by, and clients take small steps, they can begin to see progress. Self-talk becomes more positive. Momentum builds. Progress becomes tangible. For example, weight comes down, blood sugar decreases or a fitness milestone is reached. Doctor visits become more positive and exciting. Energy soars, as do spirits.

Third, we create steps to maintain the healthy behaviors and ways to reinforce the behavior. We examine how far the client has come and we celebrate! If you are holding yourself back from being a healthier version of yourself, ask yourself why? The “I’m too busy/too stressed/too exhausted/can’t afford it/have a bad knee/have small kids/commute up and down the hill” excuse is not valid if you are really serious about being healthy. Today, say you WILL do it. And then do it!