Monday, November 24, 2014

Seven Strategies to Get Your Steps

Are you a FitBit, WiThings, Misfit, Garmin or other tracker user? Need to get your steps but the weather (cold, snow, rain) has you hemmed in? Here are some tips for getting your 10,000 steps for the day in.

  1. Hit the steps! Whether at home or at the office, sneaking in 10-15 minutes for some step work will get your step count up.
    Bonus: Going up steps burns 3x the calories as walking on a flat surface.
  2. In addition to a step session - include more steps as part of your daily routine - SKIP the elevator!
  3. When you're going to the water cooler, take the long way. I've got a break area right near my desk, I'll take a 1-2 minute walk around the floor to get to the water cooler 15 feet from my desk.
  4. Walk the floor plan. Even if you're stuck at home, take some laps around the floor plan of your house. If you've got steps (as I do - though I miss my old house where I had three floors instead of only two) that's even better!
  5. Walk the parking garage. Sure, you can always take the steps up to your car (that you parked on the top floor) but if you want even more steps in a sheltered environment, walk the garage as if you were a vehicle. That'll get your motor revving! 
  6. Got a treadmill at work or home? Hit the treads baby. Sure, it's as boring as watching paint dry, but if you need something to keep you occupied, then load a great podcast or audiobook!
  7. Run in place. it doesn't take much time to rack up 1k steps just running in place. (I prefer this to a treadmill actually). So, pop on something you like (or not - maybe just a good metronome to keep you on pace) and go for it!
There you go, seven strategies to get your steps when you're locked inside or seeking shelter.


OK, now for the bonus for everyone that's read this far.  Want to get steps and really crank up your metabolism too? Do body weight exercises instead of just steps!

Here's a variety for you:

  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Side Lunges
  • Step-ups
  • Push-ups (yup, your tracker will count the up and down movements)
  • Side to Side ski-jumps
  • Jumping jacks
  • Mummy kicks
  • Heisman's (or the ones I like better 1-2-3 Heisman's)

Friday, November 14, 2014

Love your FitBit, Get Your Steps, But NOT Because You'll Loose Weight

If you look at my timeline, you'll see that I use RunKeeper to track my morning cool down walk, and I have a FitBit that keeps track of my steps. But I DON'T walk to loose weight, and neither should you.

A recent study (here: shows that if you're walking as exercise without changing your diet (as in: what you eat every day), you will increase your aerobic conditioning, but you're more likely to gain weight than loose it.

So why walk?

Walking (or 30-60 minutes of movement a day) is an indicator for longevity. Those who move more have a tendency to live longer. No, it's not hard and fast, it correlates but it doesn't necessarily cause longer life.  The likelihood is that more physically active people have a tendency to take better care of themselves in general. 

So, long slow cardio? Basically, not good for weight loss.

What should you do? Weights, body weight exercises and interval training.  Well, at least if you want to loose weight anyway. 

If you want to gain weight, then keep hitting that elliptical, walking, or going out for a "run" (which, BTW, if you're at 10 minutes a mile, you can get more benefit if you actually just walk because you won't pound your knees and other joints as much).

Of course, I'll end this as I end many conversations about fitness - you can't out exercise a bad diet. Food choices, even putting calories aside, make a huge difference in your health.

Oh, and BTW, just counting calories doesn't work either - but I'll explain that in a different post.

Till then, #BeFierce have #NoGuilt and #BringtheFit


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

I'm a Girl, I don't want big muscles!

The good news is ladies, that unless you want big muscles and specifically train for big muscles, you won't get them!

So lets start at the beginning of the conversation.

Me (to female): Lift weights.

Female: I don't want big muscles.

Me: It's not a problem, unless you specifically train to gain muscle mass, girls don't get big muscles.

Female: Why not?

Me: Well, lots of reasons, many of them the same reasons why guys can lift weights and not all look like The Rock. The biggest reason is that girls are just different than boys.  Specifically, guys have more testosterone than women, and they also by default have more naturally available upper body strength.  It's not that you can't get big, but most women (unless they're body builders) just end up stronger with nicely toned figures.

Female: Well, I'm not worried about being strong, I just want to be healthy.

Me: That's great! If you want to be healthy, you want to be strong. Especially because as women age (like everyone) they loose bone mass. For women that problem is more serious because of menopause. The best way to prevent getting that bent over old lady look is to lift heavy (builds bone mass) and make sure you do some good postural exercise.

Female: That's great, but I'm not really that worried about menopause or old age just yet.

Me: That's OK. Need to tote around that computer bag? How about that huge Coach bag you're holding.  Have kids? Need to hold them? Strong arms are a plus! 

Female: OK, I can see that, but really, why should I do all the squats you've mentioned before?

Me: Well, besides strength in your legs being key to maintaining your independence while you're older (think - "Help, I've fallen and I can't get up!" ) those squats are going to get you some nice glutes. Additionally, if you want to burn serious calories, you want to hit the biggest muscles in your body  - so there's good short term benefit too :D

Female: OK, you've convinced me.

Me: Wow. I really wish it was that easy in real life. But I'm glad you get the idea. Hope I've allayed any fears you might have had. Now go hit the weights!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Can I Tell You a Secret? (Slightly Embarrassing Photo Inside)

Hey, can I tell you a secret?  Well, maybe not SO much a secret, especially if you saw the videos from the past weekend.

I'm a little chunky right now.

Really.  Look.

As you can see, I have some love handles working and I've got a bit of a tummy.

Can I tell you something else? I can't really figure out why, though that's not completely true, so let me explain.

I can't figure out exactly why I put on about 8 lbs. A couple of months ago, I had just finished a pretty comprehensive (and strict) protocol, I was down right near my goal weight - then I got burned out and sick and gained a few pounds.  Then, even though I was eating well and exercising, I still continued to gain weight.

I was a bit flummoxed to be honest.  I even stepped up my workout schedule. Looked into balancing my hormones more with my food choices. I even wasted some money on garcinia cambosia. No luck, I gained weight.

I changed my eating protocols a couple of times too. Feast/Intermittent fasting protocols. 4 hour body protocol. Paleo. Nope, still gaining weight.

Then I realized something. I gained weight this same time last year too. And the year before that. And the year before that. For some reason, it seems in this October/November time frame, I always gain weight.  No idea why. I just gain weight.

Now, I've also done a bit more research and it seems that I have other allergy related stuff going on in this time frame as well. My body is completely out of sync from the way I usually function. More rest required, less energy to expend.

So why am I telling you this? Why am I pointing out my chubby pictures? I mean, I'm supposed to be a fitness professional, right? I'm supposed to be lean at 8% body fat and ready to pose for those fitness magazine pictures right?  But I'm not. 

And sometimes, neither will you.  Sometimes you'll be doing everything right, but for whatever reason (stress, hormones, allergies, lack of sleep, whatever) YOU will seem to be doing everything right, but not see the results. You'll be wondering "HEY! I'm doing all these killer workouts, thousands of burpees - whatever - and I'm not a fitness model!" It happens.

Here's what to do. Keep doing the right things. Keep getting up and working out. Keep eating well. Right at the moment you may feel frustrated, but when the switch does flip, when all of a sudden your body starts working along its normal baseline, you're going to be happy. You'll be thrilled that you've constrained the worst of it AND your body will be better prepared to CRUSH the next phase.

So, what's my motive for pointing out the chubby pictures? Just this: Don't give up. Don't ever give up. Don't quit. Even whey you're frustrated, even when it's not working the way you want to - DON'T STOP. And when you're tempted to, then come here and look at those pictures and this post.

I'm not going to stop - I've got too many reasons to keep going, to many things I still have planned to do. I'm not going to quit, because if I quit I'll never accomplish what I've set out to accomplish. Keep working with me.

Keep pushing. Keep striving. Keep doing. You will succeed.

Maybe you're saying "oh no! it's too late for me!" NO it's not. It's never too late. Get back on the horse and start riding boys and girls.

You are the little engine that could. "I think I can. I think I can. I KNOW I can."

You can do it. I'll be right here with you.

Crush it,