… About Everything Healthy

Make it a Healthy Day!

I Have A Secret- I Listen to What You Say!

I have a little secret to tell everyone. Today I accidentally eavesdropped on a conversation at the gym. By accidentally I mean I overheard two people talking about me. I was sitting in the fitness assessment office creating a program progression for a client,  with the door closed, but their conversation was loud enough for me to hear.

It was interesting to listen to them talk about my teaching style, what they thought of me as a fitness professional and generally just their superficial impression of me. I actually thought it was funny because it was so very different from how I view myself as a fitness professional or person.

Thankfully the conversation was supportive of my teaching and not the other way around. It made me realize that I was doing my job as a fit pro and some people were motivated to come back for more. I am happy to say that listening in on somebody else’s conversation just made my day 🙂

Trust me, I’ve had my share of the negative comments and from time to time still get people who don’t appreciate my style. Although it stings just a little to hear people complain about you I do listen wholeheartedly to what they say and either try to accommodate them or just let them rant. You can’t please them all!

In either case you can be guaranteed that I will take what you say to heart, try to support it in any way I can or figure out a way to make it work. I care  about what people think of me as a fitness professional and hope that everyone knows I am passionate, opinionated, educated and know what you need to do to get the job done.

Now if I could only figure out how to get everyone to actually LISTEN to my advice.

In the words of Dr. Frasier Crane:

“I’m listening,”

Amy

PS-  I listened to what people wanted for classes. Check them out at http://www.fitnessgatherings.com/bootcamp.htm

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December 9, 2010 Posted by | Fitness Goals, fitness professional | Leave a comment

Do I Frighten You? A Fitness Professional’s Concern

Personal trainer assessing a client's goals an...
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I’m sure most people who know me would agree that I love to exercise and work up a good a sweat doing something active. I enjoy the physical challenge of movement, the way it makes me feel and the results of working hard to attain a certain fitness or health-related goal. It is the ultimate pat on the back when you accomplish something you’ve set out to do.

I also love to teach, train and educate others on what I know as an 18- year, professional,  fitness veteran. I’ve worked in clubs, Y’s, yoga studios, corporate wellness centers, private homes, schools and now in my own  beautiful studio.  I’ve had the opportunity to work with different layers of clientele, other fitness professionals, mind-body teachers, PE teachers, coaches, athletes, parents and their children. Every experience has made me the person I am today, BUT that’s what has me a little worried!

I get this feeling that I scare some people away because of my enthusiasm for my work. I hear things like, “Oh, I can’t come to your class until I get in shape!” or “I always hear about how sore their butts are from those exercises that you have them doing.”  The other impression I get from listening and talking to people is they worry I may be too aggressive or hard on them during their workout sessions. GASP!!! Me? Really- do I make people feel this way? Do I frighten you?

It is never my intention to make anyone feel uncomfortable or afraid to try something new. Especially when it comes to exercise and movement. On the contrary, I work to avoid injuries in classes, sessions and training seminars. Modification, acceptance of all levels of fitness and encouraging individuals to achieve their personal best is what I set out to do.

Ask any of my class attendees how much I walk class and educate on form, encourage different levels of performance, but also give an appropriate amount of challenge to those who want it. Each of my clients gets the same, individual treatment. I want them to be excited to see what they can do next, and learn how to get the most safe, effective and well-rounded workout they can.

I’m not alone in my thoughts because there are thousands of  fitness professionals who share my wisdom, compassion and love for movement. Generally, we are cut from the same cloth and have our students and clients best interest at heart with whatever we do.

With all that said, I hope that this encourages interaction with me rather than discourages it. If not, then at least know these 5 things about me as a fitness pro and fitness geek:

1. My classes, camps, seminars and workshops are always built-in layers so that any level can participate and feel accomplished with whatever they can do. However, the individual’s ego can sometimes get in the way and alter performance in a less than pleasurable manner..you know who you are 🙂

2. I explain the reasoning for performing movements and why they are beneficial and assume each individual will make that choice to do or not do it based off of that information.

3. Details, details, details. I love them and like to share them, not to be a know-it-all, but to pass along great information so others may benefit from it. Little things can make a big difference 🙂

4. My personal fitness philosophy is “You get what you give!” Your efforts will produce results, but those results will vary based on personal motivation, physical abilities and the understanding that sometimes our worst enemy is the “I can’t” monster.

5. You can talk to me about other things besides fitness. I’m a free spirit, who adores and surrounds herself  in music, loves theater, photography, fashion, culture, traveling and listening to other people’s amazing stories about their lives. People are cool! Especially when they are considerate, passionate, adventurous and live life to the fullest.

Less frightened? I hope so! It may be what I do, what I say or even the way I describe the classes I teach that keeps you from getting to know the professional me. Don’t be afraid, I don’t bite. I encourage, support and will lead you down the path of success if you give me a chance 🙂

Come to the light..all are welcome!

Amy

PS – check out the latest camps, workshops and events at  http://www.fitnessgatherings.com/bootcamp.htm

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April 28, 2010 Posted by | Fitness Goals, fitness professional | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Five Things I Learned From Watching Middle School Wrestling

Two high school students competing in scholast...
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I absolutely love  to watch people! I could be a professional observer of life: how people walk, talk and administer their day-to-day actions. I know- it’s a bit weird, but you must consider the source 🙂 Today I was at my son’s middle school wrestling tournament and was overpowered with so many things I had to post my thoughts.

As I sat on the bleachers made of concrete (at least that’s how it feels on my butt) and watched my son and his teammates tangle their bodies up into positions that would make many a yogi cringe in pain, I took note of the following five things:

1. Vicarious behavior- not from the wrestlers, but some of the parents. They live through their kids, coach from the sidelines, yell at the referees and all but make a giant donkey out of themselves by their ridiculous antics. My observations/thoughts are: if you have so much to offer than why aren’t you coaching or refereeing? Shut-up already! If you were a wrestler, are a wrestler or wanted to be a wrestler it doesn’t matter. Your kid’s on the mat, not you!! Quiet down and let the coaches and referees do their jobs.

2. Elite athleticism- this is one of the most amazing sports ever! The power, strength, mental focus, agility, flexibility and physical ability of grappling is insane. Not to mention the confidence it takes to wear a singlet (skin-tight, spandex short length unitard) in front of your peers, friends, family and strangers as a middle school student. That alone is mental training to the max!

3. R-E-S-P-E-C-T- the courtesy and manners at a wrestling match remind me of the martial arts. Shaking hands with your opponents, the other team’s coaches, supporting each wrestler with team shout out after their match. It’s awesome sportsmanship and one of the things I really love about MMA, martial arts and wrestling. I know it exists on some levels with other sports, but it just doesn’t hold a candle to this. Win or lose..you are respected!

4. All guts for some possible glory- just knowing there is a possibility that your opponent could squeeze you into submission takes huge GUTS! I don’t know many people who look forward to getting their butt kicked, but that is exactly the point of these events. Who can out muscle, out manuever or out smart the other. It’s the ultimate game of chicken! I wish we could all look at our workouts and health like this. Hopefully, I’d be out of a job because nobody would need me 🙂

5. Diversity- all shapes, sizes, sexes and personalities are accepted! WOW- how may sports do you know of that can say this? I saw short, tall, skinny, heavy, girls, boys, smart, smarter, special needs, ego maniacs, shy, confident, unsure, experienced and inexperienced all participating in today’s adventure. This is life! We all come from different places, experiences and lifestyles. I resonated with this part the most as a fitness professional. Each of my clients has different needs, goals, life experiences and lifestyles that I need to take into consideration when training..I am one big wrestling tournament, minus the vicarious behavior from parents 🙂

I have three kids, all different, all amazing and all have played some sport or another in their lifetime. I’ve spent my time on the sidelines of soccer, basketball, baseball/softball, football, golf (well I dropped off/picked up),  Tae Kwon Do, MMA, track, cross-country and now wrestling. For some reason it took today’s event to make me realize that the five most important things in life.

Live vicariously, not through others, but through your own actions. Be your ultimate athlete and train with tenacity, strength, vigor and passion. Train with guts, be fearless and accept your results with head held high. Show respect for yourself and others and appreciate diversity- accept and appreciate all human beings for what they bring to you and your life.

Live out loud!

Amy

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March 3, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fat Tuesday Challenge- Changing Your Life for the Next 46 Days

Fat Tuesday is notorious for gluttonous eating, drinking and sometimes hedonistic behavior, but also serves as a reflective time for many who are looking at changing a behavior and letting  go of certain things for an allotted time. It’s a last chance to let go, unwind and unload for some, but a reflective time for others who are honestly looking to make a change in their lives and let go of some not so healthy behaviors.

I figured this was the perfect time to offer up a challenge! Fat Tuesday is the precursor to Ash Wednesday, which is 46 days away from Easter Sunday. The day of going back to whatever it is you decided to give up for 46 days. I believe it is the perfect amount of time (a little over 6 weeks)  to change a habit, let go of poor attitude and behavior and make a positive change in your life.

By the end of this challenge my goal is to see that all of you have made positive steps in taking better care of your health and fitness and that you just plain see, feel and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Are you up for it? Of course, you are!!

I am a firm believer in health AND fitness and know that it takes more than physical action to make a person healthy. So, to represent all of you I’ve created a challenge in the five categories that I know represent everyone in the categories of health and total wellness.

Pick one or more of the following “Fat Tuesday Challenges” or create your own. In either case, you must commit to making this behavior change for the next 46 days:

1. CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH- walk or do something that gets your heart to pump above its normal level at least 30 minutes 5-6 days per week. Cardiovascular health not only makes the ticker a stronger pump, but also assists with burning extra calories and will contribute to weight loss by the end of the 46 days. Especially, if you are not an already active person.

2. STRENGTH CONDITIONING- perform a strength conditioning workout that fatigues all your major muscle groups withing 30-60 seconds,  3 days per week on non-consecutive days. Muscle is very active tissue, and is responsible for more than 25% of our calorie use while we sleep. The more we have, the more we burn at rest. It’s a VERY good thing. Don’t be afraid of heavy weights and/or strength training (women, I’m talking to you).  It’s the secret to staying lean!!!!!

3. EMBRACE YOUR STRETCHINESS- practice yoga and/or stretch out all your major muscle groups at least 2-3 days per week. This is the forgotten element in many of the aging fitness enthusiasts and contributes to many of their common issues such as low back pain, shoulder and neck tightness. Maintaining normal, healthy range of motion in your joints is only enhanced by being a regular stretcher!

4. TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR EATING- for once and for all..please listen to me here. You can sabotage every intention by not eating enough, or eating too much. The body is a scale and needs to be balanced! Good intake supports good effort. Visit dietgrader.com and get your optimal nutrition and stop the habit of poor nutrition.

5. MIND/BODY AWARENESS- just like poor nutrition, a poor attitude can influence everything you do when it comes to taking care of yourself. Take the opportunity to write down your thoughts on a daily basis and let go of the negative, flip your thoughts (make the negative a positive) and enjoy every moment. Journal your thoughts daily and let go of everything that makes you feel or act negatively. Honestly this is one of the key factors to changing your behavior!

My hope is that by the end of this 46 day challenge, you are a new person who appreciates their health, fitness, mind, body and understands that being healthy takes more than being physically active. Do you embrace all 5 of the categories to health and wellness?

You should! If you don’t then take the 46 day challenge. After all, we can all use a little improvement when it comes to taking care of ourselves.

Amy

PS- I will be joining you many of you in this challenge and will be sorting my thoughts out on the FIT Launch, Facebook, Fan page…beginning tomorrow, look for weekly posts on my own Fat Tuesday Challenge.

PPS- Become a fan of FIT Launch on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Everett-WA/FIT-Launch/86524801158?v=app_4619579915&ref=ts copy and paste this really, long address 🙂

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February 17, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Valentine’s Day Workout- 3 Easy Ways to Train With Your Partner

In honor of Valentine’s Day I thought it was only right to mention the amazing opportunities available to you by working out with a friend, partner, spouse or loved one. It’s the bomb-shizzle! Even me, the most independent likes to workout alone with her I-pod, loves to get her sweat on with somebody who shares the dream of a good, sweaty, intense workout 🙂

OK- so I’m a freak and obviously workout alone- A LOT! Outside of this, there are several reasons why a partner is so integral to your workout and training time. They make you accountable, offer support, inspiration, camaraderie and are a source of challenge because they do better than you in some respects.  Did I mention that it is also fun to have somebody who shares a common interest? It is!

Here are 3 easy ways to train with your partner, plus integrate the beautiful holiday known as Valentine’s Day (my favorite) into the equation:

1. Interval Circuit Training- Picture this, you are jogging, walking or running  on the treadmill while your partner is performing 30 seconds of the next 3 movements: dumbbell squats, push-ups and lat pull-down machine. When they finish, you switch roles. Add in 6 more, multi-joint exercises and you have yourself one, heart-pumping, body shaping, sweat inducing workout!  To make it more Valentine’s Day-ish wear the color red and give one another a butt slap as you change positions to make it more amorous, good times!

2. Partner Strength Workout- You and your affectionate one use things such as medicine balls, tubing and one another’s body weight to make things more interesting, challenging and bond-building. Think of this: you and your partner sitting, with knees bent and feet pressing together, passing a medicine ball back and forth while performing sit-ups (pass the ball to partner, they fall back and sit-up with MB, then pass to you and you repeat motion). To make it more Valentine’s Day-ish, pass a kiss, high-five or knuckle bump every 6th repetition.

3. Partner Yoga– Mix up your flexibility training and yoga practice with a little help from your friend or loved one. Yoga postures and movements become not only a work of art, but an amazing experience when performed with someone close to you. It creates a  perfect opportunity to connect, grow and explore a new appreciation for each other. Use one another as extra leverage, support and/or physical encouragement. It is the perfect Valentine’s gift to one another 🙂

Whether you want to bond, motivate, encourage, give a challenge or just incorporate some variety into your workouts, grabbing a partner will make it happen. Not only will they hold you accountable, but they will also give you the love, support and sometimes kick in the butt that you need to make it happen.

XOXO- Amy

PS-   this “Be Mine” workout is brought to you by the color red, dark chocolate and the verb: love (I love you, Still loving you, Love you..etc.). Enjoy your workouts, your partner and a small indulgence once in a while, but just remember the basics (eat less, move more).

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February 12, 2010 Posted by | Core Training, Fitness Goals, Strength Training, Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Top Ten Gym Pet Peeves

I’ve worked in the fitness industry for over 18 years, and playing gym junkie for just as long if not longer than that. In all my years of teaching, training, coaching and partaking I’ve collected some keen observations and pretty strong opinions- SURPRISE on the opinion part 🙂

I value all of my training, certifications, college education and knowledge I’ve gathered through the years and believe it makes me the opinionated, passionate, creative and honest fitness professional that you’ve grown to love (or hate). Needless to say, I will share my thoughts at the drop of a hat, be blunt when I need to, but always have my heart and soul behind the message.

My message today is inspired by my fellow gym goers and people I’ve interacted with over the years as a fit pro. Hang on for a large dose of sarcasm, brutal honesty and of course this trainer’s educated opinion- it’s RIGHT by the way 🙂

My Top Ten Gym Pet Peeves:

1. People who wear sunglasses while they workout inside– I tweeted about this a few days back,  but it deserves another mention. Nobody is that cool!! Famous or not, you look like a freaking idiot and it is rude and disrespectful. Unless your blind or coming from the eye doctor spare us your ego!

2. Not wiping down your sweat off of equipment– I think this speaks for itself. Nobody wants to sit on a piece of equipment covered in another person’s bodily fluids. Unfortunately, there are still people who think it’s cool to leave their mark and not wipe it up. Don’t be gross- wipe it off!

3. Machine hoggers- if somebody is waiting to use the machine you’re on, then please be respectful and let them work in instead of doing all 5 of your sets while they wait. Didn’t your mother teach you any manners and how to share?  Be considerate and use proper gym etiquitte..get your butt up and let them do a set.

4. Ridiculous diet talk- This is really what turns my stomach. Listen to me- CARBS are not the enemy, your serving sizes and lack of nutritional info are. We need a balanced eating plan that is nutrient dense, and supports each of our individual needs and activity levels. Everything outside of this is CRAP, garbage and useless jargon meant to push individuals into buying their products, services, pills and potions. It’s a temporary solution to a much bigger issue- lack of control. Get with the program and find out what your individual nutritional needs are by visiting our website, diet grader, to get your perfect eating plan.

5. 8 minute ab fanatics- I see them laying on the mats doing hundreds of crunches in different directions, longing for the infamous six-pack and I just laugh.  This is not a method advised by any certified and educated professional. Muscle conditioning for a specific body part will develop muscle, not dissolve fat from that area. You need a well-rounded fitness program that encompasses proper conditioning protocols to help with that.  Besides that 100’s of crunches don’t develop a well conditioned spine or core. The spine needs to extend backwards, rotate side to side, bend laterally and brace correctly to keep the torso in tip-top shape. Trust me, some of the exercises my clients do create more awareness of their six-pack muscles than any crunch has. Get off the mat and come see me!

6. Telling me how to do my job- Seriously, if I could smack somebody upside the head and get away with it this would be the time I’d do it. When I’m working with a client, teaching, coaching, training or just discussing something with a member and an individual chimes in with their personal advice or invalidates my comments with their non-professional education it’s full on war!!! Mind your own damn business!  The person I’m working with has individual goals, abilities and motivation factors that I am privy to because I’ve assessed them, know what they are able to do and have developed their own unique program. So get out of my face or risk getting a nice dose of my unfiltered commentary 🙂

7. The shadow mongers- This is just creepy! Everywhere you go they are right behind you or watching you. They mimic your moves, follow your steps and try to listen in on your conversations to hear what you’re saying to people. They never say a word to you, they just follow like an unwelcome shadow. I’m not sure if it’s just trying to get free advice from the trainer or they are stalking. In either situation it’s weird. Speak up and say something will ya?

8. The free advice fans- I appreciate people asking me questions and getting more info on exercises, or better details on some of the things I’ve discussed, but it becomes a bit rude when you try to sit me down for an hour and gather up the free advice others pay money for. I offer free advice all the time in my blogs, handouts, classes and training sessions. If you’re looking for intimate details for you personally, then book an appointment with me. My time is valuable, so please respect that.

9. People who talk to you when your I-Pod’s on- I love my workout time, and love my music even more and really don’t get people who come up to you when your obviously “working out” and start talking to you. If I’m sweating, breathing heavy, pushing weights, or just plain wearing my I-Pod that means I’m working out and don’t want to talk. Wave hello, smile and make eye contact, but let me do my thing. Like I say to my kids- unless it’s an emergency don’t bother me. If I want to work out with you and talk, I will let you know and won’t wear my I-Pod. Nobody should interrupt the perfectly timed sprint on the treadmill to Metallica’s Judas Kiss. Let me get my sweat on.

10. Creatures of Habit 18 years in the same place, same exercises, same weight, same routine from start to finish. How can you do that? I’m happy they are there doing their thing, as it’s better than nothing, but it kills me to see the lack of progression and enthusiasm during their workouts. Many of them have developed poor posture from only working certain muscle groups (Hello, my 8 minute ab friends), lack of joint mobility and decreased performance. I understand it’s the social thing, but put some punch back into your routine will ya? Give me a call let me see what I can hook up for you. After all, I like to be entertained by member activities, too.

So there you have it, my Top Ten Gym Pet Peeves. Do you do any of them? Make an effort to show a little consideration and wipe it off, leave the shades in the car, stop stalking, interrupting and put a little more gusto into those 18-year-old workouts.

I love, respect and admire everyone who’s ever given me a thought to write about. Thank you!

Enjoying life- Amy

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January 18, 2010 Posted by | fitness professional, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A Four Run Attempt at New Year’s Resolutions

Snowboarder in the halfpipe.

Image via Wikipedia

The other day I mentioned on Twitter that “trying something new” is  an excellent way to inspire your brain and body for New Year’s resolutions. Studies continue to show that the brain loves new adventure and learning, and the body demands it in order to stay healthy, fit and on top of your fitness goals. Need I say anything else?

I practice what I preach and decided on behalf of my New Year’s resolutions I would try something that I never really wanted to do- snowboarding! I am a skier and love the mountains, fresh air, ease of getting on and off of the chair lift and the beautiful scenery from the chair lift itself, but the rest of my family snowboards so I thought I should give it a whirl.

My first lesson and attempt at surfing the snow was today at Steven’s Pass. I was frustrated, angry, competitive, humbled (especially by the little 5 year olds whipping by me as I laid on my back), joyous, elated and content- in that order exactly. It also reminded me of how hard it is to have the guts to try something new, let alone feel successful at it your first attempt. Very much like New Year’s Fitness Resolutions.

I summed up these comparisons in my four runs down the Daisy chair today:

Run Attempt #1- I fell 37 times (yes I counted) and felt frustrated, angry and completely wanted to punch my instructor, get to the bottom of the run, turn in the board and rent some skis. I compare this to that first week of being at the gym, working with a trainer or getting a new workout program started. You’re sore, frustrated, angry because you don’t really enjoy what you’re doing and seriously just want to go back to your old comfortable ways and be content.

Run Attempt #2- I fell 6 times. I had lunch and regrouped my thoughts and told myself that this is an adventure and to give it everything I could. Similar to week 2 of your new fitness regime. Your getting the hang of things, remembering why it is you decided to do this and are looking at the positive changes you’re making in your life. The muscle soreness is getting a little better and your feeling pretty good by the end of this week.

Run Attempt #3- I fell 3 times. Yeah- things were connecting. I focused on one skill, and  hammered it into my head all the way down to the bottom. The falls were on purpose to avoid hitting others or to slow my uncontrolled, novice behaviors on the board. Similar to week 3 of a new fitness routine- positive mental changes continue as most begin to  sink their teeth into the exercise programming.  They learn not only what they are good at, but also what needs a little polishing. Of course their trainer tells them to focus on what they can do and do it well (and possibly adjusts their program to accomodate this).

Run Attempt #4- I fell once. Yes, just once and it was off the chair lift. My goal on this last run was to NOT fall off of the chair lift because I had every time before, but instead I had a beautiful experience all the way to the bottom. I was elated and completely content with my attempt, but also knew more practice would be needed to get off of the Daisy chair and onto my favorite skiing runs (precious Big Chief). I compare this to the 4th week of many New Year’s fitness resolutions. The goal may have been to lose a certain amount of weight, but instead the goal of weight loss is surpassed by the fact your waist is 2″ smaller and your pants are too big. BONUS!! It’s motivating, exciting to see the change and encourages you to continue the journey and add more weeks (runs) to your fabulous, new thing.

In essence, what I’m saying is it takes a bare bones minimum of 4 weeks of  commitment to anything to see some changes. It won’t happen overnight, and of course will be different for all of us due to individual differences in not only our physical state of body, but mental state of mind. For me, the mind is the key to most resolutions we make. We pre-contemplate, we contemplate, we take action and we succeed or don’t succeed depending on how strongly we want to see change or make attempt. Attempting  something new is the first part, committing to it is the second.

Make your four run attempt this New Years! Attempt, commit, change  and see the changes in your body, mind and soul. May blessings of health, wellness, attempts and commitments shower you and your loved ones.

Happy New Year- Amy

PS- For future reference, being a fitness pro does not mean that I’m good at every physical stunt known to man; practice and skill are required for all human performance movements indoor and out 🙂

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December 31, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized, weight loss | , , , , , | Leave a comment