Work and Your Health

Deb Brown, NSCA Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Wellness Coach

I have been struck recently by the number of people I know who have high stress jobs and how it is negatively impacting their health. Alternately, I am impressed with how some people can keep their health a priority even given the demands of the work place. Current challenges in the workplace include long commutes, unpredictable schedules, difficult clients, long hours, increasing amounts of work responsibility, demanding bosses, and an overall high level of stress. Compound that with erratic eating, meals out with clients, and spotty sleep and you have a recipe for over-the-top stress and exhaustion. Here are some ideas to maintain optimal health in the workplace:

Exercise: preferably in the morning before the work day starts. Lunchtime or even after your work day will work as well. Even if you can squeeze in 30 minutes of movement after a long day, you will feel better. I cannot stress enough how a regular exercise program will help you feel more centered and grounded on a daily basis. This helps reduce stress in a big way.

Healthy eating: try to eat every 3-4 hours (small mini-meals) that keep your energy up and blood sugar on an even keel. Set an alarm on your computer or phone to remind you. Drink water and non-caffeinated beverages frequently so that you can stay hydrated. Make sure you are getting some healthy carbs, protein and fat at every meal. Do not eat at your desk if you can help it. A change of scenery is always refreshing. If you must stay in/near the office, at least try to get out of the office for a quick 10 minute walk outside.

Set boundaries: Try to get out of work at a reasonable time every night. Make appointments with yourself to workout and treat that like any other appointment. Sure, sometimes it will not work for you to get out the door on time, but you can at least shoot for 80%. Realize that you need to make yourself a priority. Your job is temporary, your health is forever. (Repeat that last line).

Realize that stress is not going away: Figure out ways to adapt and manage it. Eating properly, exercising, getting enough sleep and employing relaxation techniques will all help you to be able to manage stress. If you can, get regular massages. Get outside for some fresh air and sunshine on a consistent basis. Practice meditation or yoga for relaxation. Dedicate time to your hobbies and passions to help create a balanced life. Invest time in relationships with friends and family.

OTMF Blog

Welcome to the On The Move Fitness blog. This blog exists to keep you up to date regarding OTMF and to give you valuable information to help you with your journey to better health. We’re always adding new articles, links to interesting health news we come across or anything else that comes to mind that we think will add value to your day. Our hope is that you look to this blog for reliable time tested information based on years of experience helping clients who’s goals are not unlike your own. There is so much mis-information in fitness magazines and on the web that we often just shake our heads in dis-belief. There are no tricks, diets don’t work long-term. Real change comes from hard work and dedication.

I leave you with a Dave’ism – There is no true destination, just a journey with lots of bumps along the way.

Master the Art of Goal Setting
Deb Brown, NSCA Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Wellness Coach

Many people start the New Year with high hopes and a list of goals for self-improvement. Often, what starts out as a positive effort, ends in failure and frustration a few months later. By taking some extra steps and analyzing why and how you want to obtain these goals, the chance for success goes up exponentially. If you are considering making some personal goals this year, go grab a mug of something hot, sit down with this article and a blank pad of paper and invest in some thinking and planning time.

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 June 1st, 2008 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, your goals should be realistic. Think; REALLY think before you decide on a goal. Can you do this? Are you really committed to make this happen? Do you understand and accept all that it will take to attain this goal? If the answer is no or maybe, scale back the goal until you feel that you can definitely do it.

Next, take some time to understand your deepest motivations in wanting to reach your goals. Be honest with yourself. If your motivation is coming externally (from a spouse or friend), it will not be enough to sustain you as you are working on changing. If you are truly motivated internally and want to accomplish this goal for yourself, you will have more inner strength to stay the course, even when the inevitable roadblocks pop up.

After you have clarified and documented your motivations for change, write down all of the obstacles that are standing in the way of you reaching your goals; be very specific here. For each obstacle, come up with some strategies or actions that you will take when you hit one of those roadblocks.

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 June 1st, you will need to lose about 1 pound 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. Reward yourself when you do!

Now, look back over your goals again. Double check that you have not left any of the above steps out. Write down some affirmation statements. What will it look like when you have accomplished your goals? Enlist the help of supportive friends and family members. Keep track of your progress on paper. If you have a bad week don’t spend time looking backwards, figure out what you could have done differently and move forward. Now get started!

Why Stress Management is an Integral Part of a Successful Weight Loss Program

Deb Brown, NSCA Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Wellness Coach

As the New Year approaches, many of you will start to think about weight loss. One area that you may not include in your planning is how you will manage the stress in your life. You can have the best of plans, but if you have a high level of stress in your life and you do not manage it well, it will be almost impossible to be successful in your weight loss efforts.

If you are constantly at a high level of stress, you may not sleep well or make healthy eating choices. You are probably living your life in a reactive manner. Stress also makes your body produce a constant stream of the hormone cortisol. High levels of cortisol affect how your body metabolizes sugar, stores fat and has a negative effect on blood pressure and cholesterol levels. High levels of cortisol make weight loss extra challenging.

Stress can affect the quality of your sleep. A good night’s sleep is absolutely critical to weight loss. Recent studies point to a definite relationship between how much sleep you get and how this affects the hormones that control hunger and satiation. There is a negative cascading effect to not getting enough sleep. When you are walking around tired all day, you will tend to do more emotional eating: not only eating larger amounts of food, but often eating foods that are high in saturated fat, calories, salt and/or sugar. Although this may temporarily give you a good feeling, you will invariably get an energy and mood slump. That workout you had scheduled later for the afternoon? Who has energy for that!? Stress can sabotage even the best of weight loss plans.

Our clients typically have excellent success with their weight loss efforts. We have them address, up front, the level of stress in their life and how they are going to proactively handle it. We understand that stress is here to stay. What needs to change is how the client recognizes stress triggers and the resulting behaviors; and then work to avoid triggers in the future. At the same time, we also have them put viable alternative behaviors in place should the stress arise again. One thing that works well is to make a list of healthier behavior options and post these someplace where they are readily accessible.

Clients find that as they start to proactively manage stress, they can keep focused on the healthy behaviors that lead to weight loss. They can focus on healthy eating and making the time to work out. These behaviors, in turn, lead to a positive cascading effect. Workouts can be more intense, leading to a better night’s sleep. Endorphins released during the workout, help to maintain a good mood and energy for hours after the workout. Issues that seemed so stressful before a workout, no longer seem like such a big deal after one. Additionally, with improved sleep, they wake up with energy to spare and take control of their day. The scale becomes their friend and weight loss efforts turn into success.

 

Participate in Life!

Dave Brown, NSCA Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist


I recently returned from our annual Dad/Girls trip. These are annual trips I take with just my daughters, Katelyn and Abby, that allow me to spend focused time with just them without life’s distractions. Deb does the same type of trip in July. This year we ventured a little further than usual to Sedona, AZ and the Grand Canyon. If you’ve not been, it’s a must do trip. I’m not one usually at a loss for words, but Sedona is a tough place to put into words. There’s a presence there like I’ve felt nowhere else. Likewise, the Grand Canyon is so immense that the brain can’t comprehend it.

While we were hiking the first day it hit me that trips like these are thebest reason to be in good shape. Because when you can do things like hike, bike, travel with your kids or with a friend or spouse you are Participating in Life! In doing so, you’ll experience a deep peace and satisfaction that cannot be duplicated in any other way. The memories and sites we experienced on our trip will be with us forever.

One of the hikes that stands out was our hike up into the Cathedral Rocks, one of the vortex sites. While it’s only about a mile to the top, it’s straight up the side of a mountain, all rocks, with 1076’ feet of elevation gain in that short distance. Once up there we hiked and scrambled around the rocks with ever-changing views.

While on this hike we came across a family that did not make it to the top. The Mom and kids (probably in their late teens) were both overweight and sadly the Mom was unable to even start the hike due to sore knees and steps she needed to go down. The kids started the hike, but did not seem to make the top. When we carry extra weight on our bodies, it prevents us from truly Participating in Life. I know, I was there 15 years ago, weighing 30 pounds more than I do now. There’s no way I could have done the hikes and bike rides I do today. If I had not lost the weight years ago, I can’t imagine how many of the amazing memories I have with Deb and the kids would have been lost.

You may remember we profiled Paul Colangelo’s amazing weight-loss journey in January. Paul continues to expand his limits and recently completed the Elephant Rock 27 mile off-road mountain bike ride. Afterwards he sent Deb and I an email titled Redefining Physical Limits talking about the positive impacts of being healthier. Paul is now able to participate in activities that before would have be impossible 21 months ago.

Losing weight, lowering high blood pressure or getting diabetes under control is incredible. But along the journey the true gem is being able to Participate in Life and create experiences and memories that will last a lifetime.

Top Ten Reasons to Work with a Personal Trainer

Dave & Deb Brown, NSCA Certified Personal Trainer

Working with a certified personal trainer can provide multiple advantages over just working out on your own. This article will discuss the top ten reasons to work with a certified personal trainer, whether you have been working out for a while or are just starting a fitness program.

  1. Motivation – you will work harder with a personal trainer than you will on your own. When you have someone standing behind you and encouraging you, you will be pleasantly surprised about what you can accomplish.
  2. Accountability – when you work with a trainer and you have an appointment set up, it provides for a structured fitness schedule.
  3. A personalized program – a good personal trainer knows how to work around previous injuries and current weaknesses. He/she will also know how to design an appropriate and safe workout for those with chronic disease or conditions like high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
  4. A support system for weight loss efforts – a good trainer can provide a structured program for weight loss including the proper combination of good nutrition, cardiovascular and strength training.
  5. Efficiency – everyone is so busy these days with jobs, commutes, kids, volunteer work, etc. A trainer will design a program that can be done in a focused period of time.
  6. Constant Change – it’s important that you challenge your body in new and different ways. A trainer will work to keep your routine creative and changing every 4-6 weeks so that you will stay interested and engaged.
  7. Customized workout for home/travel –a trainer can put together a plan for you to do if you will be working out at home or if you are a frequent traveler, no matter what equipment you have available.
  8. Correct Form and Technique – a trainer will ensure that you are doing your exercises correctly and with the proper amount of weight. This helps you avoid injury and make progress without being too sore.
  9. Specificity – A trainer will look at movements you make in life, at work and for outdoor activities/ sports and design a program accordingly. There is no “cookie cutter” workout when you are working with a trainer.
  10. Fun! Yes, you CAN actually have fun working out. A trainer can keep the workout creative and fun; and the rapport you develop with a trainer can make your workout time fly by. Before you know it, you have completed another workout and will be that much closer to your goal.