Have you ever heard the quote, "You're known by the company you keep"? My mom said that to me regularly throughout my youth. It's a take on the verse found in Proverbs, "Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble."
She cautioned me to choose my friends carefully, knowing that they would have significant influence over me, and I over them. To avoid the "wrong crowd," I kept busy with church activities, school work and athletic pursuits, and was expected to abide by strict house rules and a rigid curfew. "Nothing good happens after midnight," Mom would say.
While I balked at such conservative parenting as a teen (but now model it as a parent!!), the idea that we reflect those with whom we spend time rings as true for me today as it did then.
I spend a fair amount of time on social media, and it struck me one day while perusing Facebook that a significant portion of my FB friends share my passion for fitness. Through their posts, I've been enlightened, inspired, educated, and even motivated to stop procrastinating and get up from my computer right then and there to go work out. Beyond that virtual community, my work in health clubs allows me to be surrounded by fitness enthusiasts nearly every day.
While not all of my friends share a love of health and wellness, the majority of the company I keep does--and it has made all the difference. I'm absolutely certain that the fitness community to which I belong has helped propel my career and kept me on track when I questioned what the heck I was doing, or if my efforts had value.
By nature, humans gravitate toward others like themselves. We have an innate desire to be a part of a group, a pack, a unit. So it makes sense that I would align myself with likeminded fitness folks. For those who desire to lose weight, get healthy and seek wellness, whom you align with will make or break your success.
There are many examples to prove this, but one in particular was a woman--we'll call her Beth--I coached a few years ago. Beth was eating right, losing weight and on the right track, yet she came to my office distraught. I asked her what was wrong, and the bottom line was this: her best friend, who was also overweight, felt threatened by Beth's success. The friend had nearly stopped speaking to Beth. Beyond that, Beth's larger circle of friends didn't embrace a healthy lifestyle either despite her invitations to the gym, so she was constantly pressured to eat poorly and skip exercising.
Beth knew she was doing the right thing for her health, but felt unsupported and lonely, and was contemplating abandoning her program. Here's the deal folks: it's easier for others to pull you down than it is for you to pull them up.
I'm a loyal sort, so I wasn't going to tell Beth to just ditch her friends, but I did tell her that it was time to make some new ones. If she was going to be successful at reaching her fitness goals, she had to surround herself with those who shared her mindset, and would provide encouragement, accountability and positivity. She did just that by increasing her time in the club, attending classes and taking advantage of social opportunities with them. This growth was at times a painful process for Beth, but her desire for self-improvement, for metamorphosis into her best self, meant shedding the old and embracing the new.
If you're someone who's working toward a goal for better health, yet your best buddies are always tempting you to try the latest fast food concoction, the new buffet on the corner, a doughnut when they see the 'Hot & Now' sign, or to ditch working out for happy hour, it's time to make some decisions. Will you allow that company to thwart your efforts to live a healthier life? Or will you seek a new circle of fitness friends who will help get you to your goal?
Could you or someone you know be royalty without even realizing it? Take this 'YES or NO' quiz to find out!
If you answered YES to the majority of these questions, then I now crown you Cardio Queen!
Before you claim your royal title, I need to know one thing: Does your fitness goal include losing fat, increasing lean mass and accelerating your metabolism so that you burn more calories at rest? If you answered yes to this as well, you may want to reconsider donning that crown.
But first, allow me to applaud your commitment to exercise. The fact that you incorporate movement into your day already demonstrates that you value fitness. Making exercise a habit is a critical step in your path to wellness.
My guess is, though, that if you've been performing steady-state cardio for a while (meaning, aerobic activity that is a continuous, steady effort, as opposed to an interval workout where you vary your intensity, allowing for periods of recovery), one or several of these has occurred:
Am I right? Here's some additional insight from one of my favorite fitness experts, Rachel Cosgrove, who co-owns one of the most successful gyms in the country and writes for numerous reputable fitness magazines: "Your body quickly adapts to steady state aerobic activity, decreasing the amount of calories you burn with each walk/run, making you more and more efficient at the activity. This is the goal if you're training for an endurance event – to be super efficient using the least amount of energy (calories) possible to complete the distance. You want just the opposite if you're trying to lose fat."
Numerous studies support this, including this one from the American Journal of Medicine --
I had a client, who is now a good friend (I love when that happens!), who began her fitness journey attending one cardio-based group fitness class most days of the week. Then it progressed to two classes per session. Eventually, she began jogging a couple of miles on the treadmill before classes. She came to me exasperated, exhausted and feeling like she was losing the weight management battle, not to mention her free time. I recall asking her two questions: "How's your diet?" and "Are you doing any strength training?" Her diet was mostly liquid--sweet tea--and she wasn't doing any strength training for fear that it would make her bulky. Please, lady friends, put that myth to rest! While some of us may have an easier time than others adding defined lean mass, we women lack the natural hormones to develop man muscles.
Ok, so back to my client. Once she cut the sweet tea, added real food to her diet, especially healthy amounts of protein, drastically reduced traditional cardio and emphasized circuit-style weight training into her program to build muscle and burn significant calories, she noticed immediate results. Very quickly, she became strong, lean, shapely and energized. Beyond that, she reclaimed her schedule by cutting her time in the gym by more than half.
Are we saying that you should never perform steady state cardio? Absolutely not. It builds endurance, conditions your internal organs, releases feel-good endorphins, and improves our mental state. Furthermore, as I reported in a previous blog, "An individual's cardiorespiratory fitness level is one of the strongest predictors of morbidity and mortality." (NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training, Fourth Edition Revised). But if your goal is fat loss, steady-state cardio should not take precedence over muscle-building strength training or metabolism-revving interval training. If you are an endurance competitor, then by all means, perform steady state cardio as that is training for your sport. That said, even distance athletes benefit from strength training.
So, where does that leave your Cardio Queen crown? Hopefully, on your mantle, at least for most days of the week. On other days, swap it out for weights, a kettlebell or bodyweight exercises performed in interval fashion. For example, after warming up, perform exercises as intensely as you can--and with correct form--for, say, 30 seconds. Then rest for 60-90 seconds. Repeat all work/rest intervals for a total of 15 minutes. As your conditioning improves, reduce the length of your recovery, as low as 30 seconds. And if you're a serial cardio class taker, reclaim some time in your life by skipping three one-hour classes and lifting weights instead for 20 minutes. Imagine what you could do with the two hours you'll get back from that simple decision!
Need help putting an interval training and/or metabolic resistance training program together? You know where to find me!
Do you own a t-shirt with a funny or inspiring phrase on it? Clothing has always been used as a form of expression, but over the last decade or so, our duds have become quite blatant. Text is now printed directly on the chest, back or sleeves of our garments, letting the world know exactly what we think. I'm a bottom-line kinda girl, so terse t-shirt text is up my alley.
I especially enjoy searching for uniquely scripted shirts for my husband. For him, I get thrifty, as in, I visit thrift stores. Who doesn't love sorting through the racks of t-shirts arranged by color, hoping to find a one-of-a-kind gem? Alright, maybe you don't, but I'm ok with working up a sweat digging through piles of used stuff. More calories burned! Anyway, some of my husband's favorite t-shirts include one that reads, "Grillin' & Chillin'-- Hicks Family Reunion" (we're not members of the Hicks family), another promoting the "U Suck Vacuum Cleaning Vocational School," and still another emblazoned with "Tough Actin' Tinactin" in large Stencil font. All of them reflect his sense of humor and appreciation for the absurd.
I, too, have a few scripted shirts that I wear when I work out, with decidedly motivational messages. They read, "Strong is the new skinny," and "Quitting is not an option." I feel extra tough when I wear that one.
During a recent trip to T.J. Maxx (where I intended to purchase four things and left with 12! Does that qualify me as a Maxxinista...or someone with a shopping problem?), I discovered a sleeveless, white shirt in the athletic clothing section that I just HAD to have. The tank featured a large, shiny gold heart made up of the following exercise and wellness words and phrases: motivation, sweat, go, swim, believe, live your best life, cycle, smile, achieve, challenge, run, laugh, determination, dance and dream. What an amazing compilation of words, scattered in the shape representing love, set in a blingy gold design!! Totally me, right?! When I meet people while wearing this shirt, I think I'll just state my name, then point to the heart-shaped collection of words on my chest and say, "Read this and know me."
Ok, so it doesn't represent everything about me--a few words could be swapped out for, "family," "faith," "sleep," "pizza," and "bulldogs," but it's mostly spot on. As I tried the shirt on again, considering the message it would send to those who read it, I began pondering this post's Thought of the Day:
If you could design a shirt that reflected your current level of or relationship with fitness, what would it say? Instead of a heart made up of positive words, would it be a big red "X" made up of words like , "overweight, tired, pre-diabetic, depressed, hungry, embarrassed, out of breath and hypertensive"? If the message on your shirt would be negative, perhaps because you haven't been successful at weight management or diet discipline, take a look at the words again on my new shirt. Pick your favorite, be it "believe," "cycle," "dance," "sweat," or another one that motivates you, and own that as your new t-shirt message for the next month. You may have noticed that nearly all of the words are verbs--they require action. How can you embody that word such that if it were written on your chest, others would believe it? Let me know the word you chose in "Comments" below, and how you plan to live it out over the next 30 days!
Less than a year ago, we moved into a new home in a new neighborhood. With its top-rated schools, easy access to major roadways, close proximity to the beach, a wide selection of builders and lots of preserved green space, it's one of the fastest growing communities in the Southeast. What that means is, everyone is new to one another. That's a lot of newness.
While it's exciting to start fresh, it can also be daunting to forge new relationships. Those take time. And willingness. And reciprocity. And energy. Whew. I'm tired already.
So why bother making an effort to get to know the folks who live beside, across and around us? I discovered the answer while reading a book called, The Art of Neighboring--Building Genuine Relationships Right Outside Your Door, by Jay Pathak and Dave Runyon.
The book's bottom line is this: "The majority of issues that our community is facing would be eliminated or drastically reduced if we could just figure out a way to become a community of great neighbors...The idea is that when neighbors are in relationship with one an other, the elderly shut-in gets cared for by the person next door, the at-risk kid gets mentored by a dad who lives on the block, and so on." Government programs wouldn't be as necessary if we dealt with social issues on a street-by-street basis.
When we moved in to our current home in January, no one on our street went out of their way to welcome us. No freshly baked cookies. No house plants. Not a single doorbell ring or note of welcome left on our stoop. This was dismaying to me, but I figured that perhaps folks had what I call new neighbor fatigue, where their neighborliness was tapped out due to so many families moving in over the last couple of years. And being new themselves, it's possible that they were still acclimating (and hoping for a welcome wagon of their own). Beyond that, everyone's busy. Sooooo busy. Long work hours, kids schedules and an addiction to overscheduling allow little time to neighbor. We fall prey to this condition, too.
Thankfully, I've lived in a neighborhood where our neighbors became our best friends, so I know what this should look like. We shared food, holidays, vacations, milestones, and still remain close to this day, even though we're in Florida and they're in North Carolina (Shout out to the Whitteds, Lowerys, Strines/Kings and Buckleys in Cornelius!). While that was an unusually utopian situation, I've always desired to recreate that on some level in each of my subsequent neighborhoods. It hasn't happened, yet, but maybe there's more I could do to foster a neighborly environment.
I've tried to spend time in the front yard with the boys to show I'm available for impromptu chit-chat, but I often find myself the only parent outside. Perhaps my driveway jump rope/ kettlebell workouts have been off-putting?! I wave at neighbors driving by, who usually wave back, but very few car-side convos have commenced. And our yard is regularly a gathering place for neighborhood kids, but their parents rarely come over to join in the fray. Don't get me wrong--my neighbors aren't anti-social (well, not most of them anyway), and we have two block parties each year, but casual congregations in the street aren't common.
Rather than trying to overanalyze the sociological issues afoot, I'm going to press on with what I know is right: to love thy neighbor. I will look for small, yet impactful ways to show those who live around me that we are a friendly family who believes in community. There are literally eight recently built homes--six of which became occupied in the last two months--on the street adjoining mine, so we shall go about the art of neighboring them. I've put together little gift bags containing a welcome letter, neighborhood contact information, a useful "home" notepad/clipboard set and chocolate chip cookies, that we will deliver during one of our family walks. Cute, simple, thoughtful. Who knows what will come of it. If nothing else, it will be a teaching moment for my boys to treat others as you would like to be treated.
Ok, so some of you may be thinking, "This is great and all, but this is a fitness blog. What does neighboring have to do with that?" I believe that fitness doesn't just refer to the physical. In fact, being physically fit means little if we aren't emotionally fit, mentally fit, spiritually fit, and in this instance, socially fit. All of these require effort, discipline and commitment on our part. It's time to do mine.
Thought for the day: How is your social fitness? Is there a neighbor whom you haven't met? According to The Art of Neighboring, less than one percent of people can list the names, occupations and personal interests of their eight nearest neighbors. How might their life and yours be positively impacted by your efforts to love thy neighbor?
Credit: "Welcome to the neighborhood" hang tag downloaded from http://www.beneathmyheart.net/2011/06/3960/
My 7-year-old son, Magnus, started second grade last week. The first day was an especially momentous occasion, as this was his school's official grand opening--the smell of fresh paint, new carpet and children's futures wafting through the recently erected halls. It was also a memorable day because Magnus and hundreds of his fellow classmates biked to campus. Most students live just under two miles from the school, so we are required to provide our own transportation. And what better way to get there than by bike?
Except that on the first day of school, I didn't own a bike. And didn't plan to own a bike (other than my stationary indoor cycle). But I wanted to chaperone Magnus to school to help him navigate this new adventure. I figured I would just jog with the pack of kids who ride together, at least for the first few weeks while they learned the routine. And that's what I did...the first morning. It was truly a meaningful experience watching this parade of elementary and middle school kids, clad in colorful backpacks and helmets, processing into a new year of learning at a gleaming, modern facility. Norman Rockwell would have been proud of this Small Town, USA, moment.
I jogged back home after releasing my little bird to the academic world, feeling thankful for such a positive start. Once I caught my breath, I also recalibrated my plans to run alongside the kiddos before and after school. For one thing, I don't love jogging. It's boring. It's a slow way to get somewhere. And it's killer on the joints. For another, I can't keep up with the bikes. Nope. Not even while wearing a pair of my super-duper-light-as-a-feather-ready-for-anything-neon-colored Nike running shoes.
With that, I knew what I had to do--get myself a set of wheels, and fast. But what kind? There are so many choices...so many expensive choices, and all I needed was something easy, functional, and affordable. Oh, and cute. REALLY cute. With a matching helmet. And a bell. I gotta have a bell. And while I'm at it, I'd love a cupholder and storage space (Oops, I'm talking about a bike, not a car!).
I realize this is a lot to ask for, especially by a gal who hasn't owned a bike since I rode to school on a bright yellow cruiser in the second grade. Wait! That's it! I decided to hearken back to my elementary years and get an easy-to-ride cruiser. By the second day of school, I found a sweet deal on the perfect bike: a gloss blue retro Huffy cruiser, complete with basket on the front, cupholder and rear rack for storage! Of course, I completed it with a polka-dotted bell and color-coordinated helmet.
As I rode (and wobbled...they say you never forget how to ride a bike, but that was doubtful for the first few spins around the block!) to school to pick up my son, then followed he and fellow riders home, I was reminded of riding my bike as a child. The wind in my hair. The freedom of movement. The spirit of adventure. I was rediscovering a little piece of my youth, and calling upon my body--now three decades older--to have muscle memory, to use my core for an exercise other than planks, squats, lunges, and pushups, and to engage in a new shared physical activity with my child.
This moment is why I work so hard to stay fit and healthy. To keep up with my ever growing boys. To be the parent who can ride alongside them, show them that you're never too old to be active, and to participate in their journey. Then to embarrass them by ringing that bell every chance I get!!
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Is there an activity that you loved doing as a child, but gave it up for one reason or another? Perhaps dance, tennis, rollerblading or basketball? Would you like to try it again? What's keeping you from it and how can you overcome the obstacle(s)?
At the risk of belaboring coverage of the death of comedian Robin Williams, I want to take this timely and relevant opportunity to remind readers that exercise is proven by research to be one of the best treatments for depression.
Now, before I proceed, by no means am I implying that a jog around the block could have saved Mr. Williams, or someone like him in such a hopeless state, particularly with the added knowledge that he was in the early stages of Parkinson's disease. I've read that Mr. Williams was an endurance athlete, and participated in numerous cycling and triathlon events. In fact, CNN reported that he used exercise and cycling to manage his stress and depression, but "the prospect that [Parkinson's] would prevent him from doing that was extremely upsetting, adding to the depression." So clearly, for those battling the depths of depression, exercise alone won't provide salvation.
That said, studies show that exercise, as part of a treatment program, can significantly improve symptoms of depression.
According to the article, "Understanding Depression," from the Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School, "
How does exercise relieve depression? For many years, experts have known that exercise enhances the action of endorphins, chemicals that circulate throughout the body. Endorphins improve natural immunity and reduce the perception of pain. They may also serve to improve mood. Another theory is that exercise stimulates the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, which may directly improve mood.
This entry is a bit of a departure for my blog, which primarily centers on health and wellness subjects. But I feel justified to stray from my usual path today. Because it’s my birthday. My 40th birthday. The Big 4-0. Four decades. Twenty plus twenty. You get the idea. It’s a milestone birthday, so please indulge me as I wax philosophical about my life thus far.
Most of my birthdays over the last decade have come and gone with adequate, yet unmemorable fanfare, and even less reflection. By the time I hit 30, then started having babies, the world became so much less about me, and most of my subsequent birthday celebrations demonstrated that. I say that not to complain, but to make the point that I don’t want this birthday—my, gulp, 40th—to pass by as just another day. Because it’s not. Should I be blessed to live to 80, I’m officially middle age, even though the sweet cashier at Wal-Mart who carded me said middle age is really 55. Bless her.
I teeter between moments of mourning for my youth, and thankfulness that I’ve had this much life. It’s not that I wish I could return to my 20s, because I don’t. I lacked wisdom, humility and perspective that I’ve earned since then through mistakes, loss and perseverance.
It’s just that 40 is, well, FOOOOOORTY. This is when people start saying, “You’re how old? Oh, I hope I look like you when I’m that old.” And, “Oh girl, you look great for your age.”
What else happens at 40? Brown spots. I’m now noticing brown spots. And random gray hairs in conspicuous places. And the insistence on wearing large brimmed hats when I’m in the sun. And less tolerance for teenage shenanigans. And growing pessimism and weariness of government, politics, food quality, the environment and what the future looks like for my boys. Oh, and phobias—of flying, murky ocean water, cruise ships and germs.
Despite all of that, there’s a lot of good stuff about turning 40: four decades’ worth of memorable loving, laughing and living it up—and great health! So, to kick off my mid-life celebration, I’m going to pause long enough to reflect on 20 highlights and reasons for gratitude in my 40 years (in no particular order) :
1. I have functional relationships with my immediate family members. It’s actually better than that, but being a child of divorce and having familial ups and downs since, I’m just thankful that I can call any of my closest relatives and end the conversation with “I love you.”
2. I married a remarkable man. After a bitter breakup with a prior boyfriend in college, I’ll never forget my sister saying to me, “If he’s not the one God intended, think how much better that one will be.” She was right.
3. I was able to get pregnant three times, and deliver two precious boys. Despite losing my second pregnancy, I embrace that experience because it made me more compassionate, humble and relatable.
4. I was able to breastfeed my children—an act that, for me, made me feel wholly woman, perfectly nourished my children and gave greater utility to my body as it was designed.
5. I was raised by parents who were focused on instilling character in me, not on indulging every whim and wish my adolescent heart desired. Character-building moments were often painful, but made me resilient and appreciative.
6. I’ve traveled abroad and throughout North America, which has blessed me with perspective. It taught me that I am such a minute part of this world, yet have an ability to make positive contributions that benefit us all.
7. I was raised in the church and came to accept Christ as my savior at an early age. My faith has served as my compass and foundation throughout my life.
8. I was born in North Carolina. I love that state, and despite growing up mostly in Florida, returning to that state as an adult instantly reconnected me to my roots.
9. I have a small handful of loyal friends. They have sustained me through relocations, remind me of the value of community and raise my spirits when I’m down.
10. I have never been poor, hungry, unsheltered, unwanted or unloved. Considering the immeasurable poverty, homelessness, abuse and anquish experienced by millions in this world, I consider that a significant highlight in my life.
11. I get to pursue my passion for fitness professionally. While the financial compensation is lacking in this field, the reward I receive from clients whose lives are enhanced through my facilitation is highly fulfilling.
12. I had a strong female figure in my life—my grandmother, Priscilla—who was ahead of her time with fashion, nutrition and fitness. By example, she taught me to be independent, confident and brave.
13. I have never had a serious illness or injury. At the risk of sounding overly dramatic, being able to move your body as it was designed is, well, everything. I have friends with varying degrees of physical limitations, and their perseverance inspires me and makes me thankful for my full physical capacity.
14. I worked in corporate America for a decade, and while I was reluctant to conform to the confines of cubicle life and corporate speak early on, that experience has paid dividends ever since.
15. I have eaten my favorite food—pizza—all over the world, and am thankful that my top pick comes from a U.S. chain.
16. My last three homes have backed up to woods. Not a big deal to some, but being able to step out on the back porch and see nature in action, hear rustling leaves and watch the seasons change provides an oft needed slice of serenity.
17. I grew up without a dishwasher, clothes dryer, computer and cable tv, and my first car had no AC and a hole in the floor board. Why is this a highlight? Because I sure as heck appreciate having those things now!!
18. I’ve been able to easily secure employment throughout my life. I had great jobs in college, a career in communications with a Fortune 500 company immediately upon graduating, have had my own communications consulting business for years, and have held positions of authority at leading health and wellness businesses. For some folks, good jobs are elusive. I’ve been blessed with several.
19. My palate has evolved such that I truly desire healthy foods over fast foods. I fully embrace and believe the “you-are-what-you-eat” concept, and am thankful to have access to nutritionally dense food options. I grew up eating organic vegetables from my family’s garden. I had no idea then how beneficial and unusual that was to be able to pick fresh lettuce, tomatoes, broccoli, green onions, pole beans, gourds and herbs from my own back yard. How I wish I had that now!
20. I stepped on the scale this morning, and my weight is essentially the same as it was when I was 20. Woohoo! Even better, my body composition has improved since my 20s as I have applied what I’ve learned over the years about exercise techniques and clean eating. I’m much leaner and more defined at 40. And I love that my job allows me to help other people achieve similar results.
As I celebrate this birthday and reflect on my life’s journey so far, my heart is full with gratitude. I have been blessed immeasurably more than I could have asked or imagined. Bring on the next 40 (although I’m in no hurry!)!!
Want to help me celebrate? Join me in :
How often have you looked at a magazine and wished you had the body of the model gracing the cover--her long limbs, narrow torso and lighter-than-air presence? If you're an ectomorph, you likely share her figure. But if you're a mesomorph or endomorph, fuggetaboutit, turn the page and delve into an unrelated article, because that's not how you were (wonderfully!) made.
If you're now thinking, "Ecto- what? Endo- who?," allow me to explain.
In the 1940s, a PhD MD by the name of Willam H. Sheldon developed the idea of somatotypes, or human physical types. "People are born with an inherited body type based on skeletal frame and body composition." Generally speaking, the gist is that everyone falls into one of three body type categories: ectomorph--slim, linear type, mesomorph--muscular type, and endomorph--round, higher fat type.
Let's delve deeper into each somatotype, courtesy of directlyfitness.net, to learn common characteristics, male and female examples, training and dieting tips for each one.
The ECTOMORPH Body Type
Ectomorphs are often below the average weight for their height and have a skinny appearance. Ectomorphs tend to have very high metabolisms and often complain of relentless eating with little to no weight gain.
Common Ectomorph Characteristics Include:
Ectomorph Training Tips:
Ectomorph Dieting Tips:
The ENDOMORPH Body Type
The endomorphic body type is the complete opposite of an ectomorph. This individual will usually be larger in appearance with heavier fat accumulation and little muscle definition. They find it hard to drop weight even though they try several diets or workout programs.
Common Endomorph Characteristics Include:
Endomorphs Training Tips:
Endomorphs Dieting Tips:
The MESOMORPH Body Type
The mesomorph is somewhat in between the ectomorph and the endomorph and as such, displays qualities from both. This individual is capable of being both muscular and lean. S/he has a larger frame (bone structure) as the endomorph does, but a low body fat percentage as the ectomorph has. Bodybuilders possess this somatotype.
Common Mesomorph Characteristics Include:
Mesomorph Training Tips:
Mesomorph Dieting Tips:
Most people are a combination of types. You may be predominantly one of these, but recognize characteristics of another type. For instance, I'm an ecto-meso combo based on the characteristics outlined here.
So, which one(s) are you? Once you've identified your dominant somatotype, embrace it, and adopt training, diet and lifestyle habits that allow you to be the healthiest ecto, endo or meso you can be!
Sources: http://www.uh.edu/fitness/comm_educators/3_somatotypesNEW.htm; http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/553976/somatotype; http://www.directlyfitness.com/store/3-body-types-explained-ectomorph-mesomorph-endomorph/
There she is. The one I love to hate. The one with the perkier boobs, tighter butt and vivacious personality. She probably eats whatever she wants and still maintains a disgusting size two. Nevermind that she trains hard, has a positive attitude and is friendly to folks. She just has superior genetics, and my parents are fat. Thanks a lot, Mom and Dad. It's all your fault (as are all of my other issues). I know she's hiding flaws under that spandex. Heck, she's probably had cosmetic surgery. Ugh, she absolutely annoys me (and yet I want her body! her life! her very soul!).
Alright, ladies. Let's be honest. Have you ever been part of a conversation like that? Has that scenario ever played out in your head? I'm certain that women have been snarky to one another since the beginning of time. I'll even bet Eve and her girlfriends sat around the apple tree and gossiped about that woman they met at the well.
Which brings me to one of my favorite quotes: "Your candle burns no brighter by extinguishing someone else's." Why is it a favorite? Because it convicts me. Whenever my insecurities creep in and I catch myself coveting another person's assets, I repeat this quote to myself. And if the situation won't turn awkward, I make a point to approach the person and compliment her on the very thing that brought about my judgment. Doing so frees me from the negativity, and edifies us both through the positive interaction. Beyond that, it opens the door to a potential friendship, where I learn that this woman is a lot like me. She, too, struggles with her own fears, failures and imperfections, and that compliment I gave her made her day.
My point is, engaging in snide conversations, creating unnecessary comparisons and making excuses waste a ton of energy. Moreover, they indicate a weakness in character and a reflection of your self esteem. In all fairness, the impossible images and expectations that society puts upon females can bring out the worst in all of us, myself included. But I encourage you to find ways to overcome that, such as the example I gave of complimenting other women, offering a genuine smile and going out of your way to make someone's day a little better.
So, the next time you run into that woman, or any female who exhibits a trait(s) you admire, rather than blowing out her candle, say something nice. And with that, both candles will burn brighter, making this world a warmer, kinder place.
Let's take a little fitness quiz, shall we? Fill in the blanks using each of these three words one time:
____________ CONTROLS weight
____________ CONDITIONS your organs
____________ CHANGES your shape
The answers are:
How'd you do? And why does it matter anyway? Because while each component--diet, cardio and resistance training--is important in its own right, a balanced combination of the three is required for long-term weight management. Most of us are usually decent at one or two of these at one time, but the remaining component(s) may be elusive to us--and therein lies why fitness goals fail to be reached.
Now, let's delve into the quiz statements a little deeper:
When I told my husband that I came up with a concept called The R.E.A.R. View, guess where his mind went? Yep, to my backside. I can't blame him. After all, part of my job as a fitness coach is to help make rear ends high-and-tight. In fact, no workout is complete without a round of squats and lunges to target those gorgeous glutes!
The rear view also reminded me of an instructor's visual perspective when leading fitness classes. Before the advent of Les Mill and Body Training Systems, programs requiring instructors to face their participants, instructors faced the mirror. The reflection in the mirror--the instructor's rear view--is how we keep an eye on our participants. Building on the idea of that rear view, where we continually monitor and coach the participants who faithfully follow the instructor, I came up with an acronym for R.E.A.R. representing four key concepts that create a best experience for my clients. Every time I teach, train, or advise, I keep these concepts in mind to deliver what clients want:
With The R.E.A.R. View--my reader's best interest--always in sight, I hope to provide you with just the right message to encourage you to move a little more, eat a little better, and love yourself a little deeper each day.
1. Hip bridges 20x (Lie on your back, bend your knees with feet on the floor. Lift/lower hips, squeezing glutes at the top)
2. Push-ups 10x
Repeat 3-5 times!
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Molly is a wife, mom,
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I am not a registered dietitian, nor a medical professional. My blog is a representation of my views and experiences, which are not intended as medical advice. While I am a certified personal trainer, descriptions of things I eat and exercises I perform may not be suitable for everyone. Please speak with a medical professional before making any changes to your current routine.