want to wish all of my past and present clients and all of the
subscribers to this newsletter a Wonderful and Happy Christmas and
really appreciate all of you. If you are a former client, I hope you
are still working out and eating properly. If you still have a few
sessions left, I will be glad to honor them as my schedule allows. Of
course, I want you to contact me anytime with any questions or
problems you have concerning your exercise or nutrition.
all my current clients, I want you to know how much I appreciate and
sincerely care for each one of you. My work is a joy everyday because
of you. Keep up the great work.
the hundreds of subscribers to this newsletter, thank you for taking
the time each month to read my comments. I hope you find something
helpful in each issue. If there is ever a question or topic you'd
like me to cover, please let me know about it. I also
welcome your comments.
the coming days, I hope you will take the time to think of the Savior
whose birth we commemorate during this season. Perhaps our prayer of
thanks might be like that of Simeon, who upon seeing the infant
Jesus, took him in his arms and prayed to the Father:
you may now dismiss your servant in peace.For my eyes have seen your
salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a
light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people
wish for you is that of the angels at Bethlehem:
Glory to God in the highest.
And on earth, peace, goodwill
Exercise is important for many reasons. Most often, we think of
exercising to lose weight, but aside from that, there are many other
benefits to be derived from exercise. Ideally, you should be getting
at least 30 minutes a day five or six days a week of moderate to
vigorous aerobic exercise. A brisk walk or jog serves the purpose. In
addition, you need to include at least two weight lifting workouts a
A good strength workout might include two or three sets of crunches,
back extensions, squats or lunges, hip raises, something for the
upper back such as lat pulldowns or seated rows, bench presses or
pushups, biceps curls with dumbbells or a barbell, triceps pushdowns
or dips, and lateral raises or shoulder presses. Once you get used to
the routine, you can do it in about 45 minutes in the gym. Combined
with the recommended aerobic exercise, you're looking at about four
hours a week. It sounds like a lot, but with a little planning, you
can make it happen.
So what are some of the benefits of all this exercise? Here's a list
of just a half-dozen:
- It helps prevent many serious health
problems such as heart disease, diabetes, certain types of
cancer, and arthritis.
- It wards off depression. Exercising
releases chemicals in your brain which can elevate your mood.
I can't tell you how many times I've had
clients begin their workout in a lousy mood only to leave
feeling much better both mentally and physically.
- It increases your energy - no kidding.
When you exercise, your heart pumps faster and with more volume
per beat, thus delivering more oxygen and nutrients to your
body. I've been so tired before a workout,
I've literally had to force myself to get out of the car only to
feel revitalized after the run or strength session.
- It will help you sleep better. If you have
trouble falling asleep at night or getting a restful night's
sleep, try exercising before you hit the sack. You don't want to
exercise immediately before going to bed. That might keep you
awake. (See number 3.) A couple of hours before bedtime is best.
You'll be surprised at how well you will sleep.
- It will make you smarter. Recent research
has discovered a molecule that is released during exercise that
improves cognition and protects against brain degeneration.
In order to keep the brain sharp, the older
we get, the more we need to exercise.
- It is fun - seriously. When you were a
kid, you got plenty of exercise, not because you wanted to stay
fit and healthy, but because it was fun. It was called playing.
There is something out there that you enjoy, such as dancing,
swimming, or riding a bike, Find something you like to do, and
have some fun with it.
A couple of weeks ago while channel surfing, I happened on a program
about a new treatment for aging, and I started watching it. A team of
doctors had studied centenarians to try to determine why they live
longer than most of us. It wasn't their lifestyles since they were
all different. Some drank or smoked or maintained a terrible diet.
Others followed all the rules. But they did find one thing most of
them had in common - a slight modification in their DNA which seemed
to prevent cellular degeneration.
The scientists also noticed another phenomenon which seemed strange.
They observed that some diabetics who had been treated with the drug
metformin were living longer than non-diabetics even though their
life-expectancy was eight years less than their healthier
counterparts. Studies on animals using metformin as an anti-aging
drug have proved successful, so these scientists petitioned the FDA
to begin testing on humans.
These scientists believe that it's possible we could live up to 120
years, but more importantly, they would be healthy years. Normal
aging is accompanied by cellular breakdowns which lead to all the
normal aging diseases such as cancer, heart disease, dementia, and
osteoporosis. Metformin seems to prevent the cellular degeneration.
If the tests prove positive, many of these diseases associated with
aging could become a thing of the past.
By the way, two days after I watched the program, I noticed a small
news item that said the FDA did approve the testing of metformin as
an anti-aging drug.
If you are trying to lose weight, should you weigh yourself every day
or maybe only once a week? That's a question that's been around a
while. I remember writing an article on the subject for this
newsletter about seven or eight years ago. But let's look at the
subject again. There are pros and cons for both. First, the pros:
- Regular weigh-ins serve as a red flag and
allow you to make immediate adjustments to your eating if
- Daily weight checks can keep you
motivated. If you can see incremental improvements each day, it
can help you keep on track.
- Stepping on the scale every day can lead
to better diet and exercise choices. You might think twice about
downing that bowl of ice cream or skipping your workout because
you know you'll have to step on the scale later.
As for the cons,
we've got three of them as well:
- Frequent weigh-ins can lead to obsessive
behavior which can work in either direction. It could lead to
eating disorders, obsessive calorie counting, or excessive
exercising. Or it could cause stress and result in binge eating.
- Weighing often can magnify normal weight
fluctuations. Your weight can fluctuate one to five pounds
throughout the day depending on what you are wearing, how much
sodium is in your system, whether your bladder is full or not,
or when you ate last. If every time you
weigh yourself, your mood changes depending on what the scale
registers, you probably shouldn't weigh as often.
- Daily checks put more emphasis on short
term results rather than focusing on the big picture. It's
better to work toward long-term goals and not get caught up in
the daily minutiae.
So there you go. You'll have to decide what's best for you. I really
can't supply a one-size-fits-all answer. I had one client who had
panic attacks when she would have to get on the scale, so for her, we
never weighed. I've had other clients that literally could not pass a
scale without getting on it. I would say the best thing
to do is whatever you are comfortable doing.
like running when it's cold outside, but you've got to dress for it.
So let's take a minute and discuss dressing for cold weather
exercise, just in case we ever get any cold weather this year.
say it's 20 degrees and breezy as you start out on your 7 a.m. run.
You'll want to dress in layers. Begin with heavy cotton sweat pants
or sweat wicking tights. Cotton sweat pants work well in dry weather,
but not in rain or snow, because they get wet and heavy and can cause
you to lose body heat. The lighter sweat wicking fabrics are much
more suitable for wet weather exercise. You can wear a pair of
running shorts over the tights or under the cotton sweats in order to
provide a little extra warmth on your thighs.
For your upper
body, I'd suggest a short or long sleeve nylon undershirt as the
first layer. A heavier nylon turtleneck or a fleece turtleneck makes
a good second layer, and if it's really cold, you could add a
lightweight nylon windbreaker. Stay away from fleece gear in wet
weather for the same reason you should avoid cotton.
The most important
cold weather items are the accessories, specifically gloves and a
toboggan hat pulled down over the ears. You lose most of your body
heat through your head, so it is absolutely essential to wear a hat.
It goes without saying, I hope, that shoes and socks are also
somewhat important. You should really wear ankle high running socks,
and if there is snow or rain, you might opt for wool socks.
There you have it. Now that
you're well outfitted for the cold weather, go for it. There's
nothing more invigorating than a run or brisk walk on a cold crisp
I've been a personal trainer for a dozen
years now. When I started, I thought every overweight client could
achieve normal weight by eating less and exercising more. What I
didn't realize was how difficult it is for people who are overweight,
especially those who are obese, to lose weight. Obesity is defined as
having a BMI (Body Mass Index) over 30. A BMI over 40 indicates
A study completed this year in the U.K. and published in the American Journal of Public
Health showed just how difficult losing weight really is.
It found that the probability of an obese woman achieving a normal
body weight was 1 in 124. For a man, it is even tougher - 1 in 210.
For a person who is morbidly obese, the odds go up. For women in this
category, only 1 in 677 are able to reach a normal weight, and for
men, only 1 in 1290.
Long ago, I realized that my job with my overweight clients is to
help them achieve the best fitness levels they can and help them
maintain their current weight or lose a few pounds. After all, even a
10 pound weight loss will make a significant difference in how they
feel even if it doesn't dramatically decrease their BMI. And
everyone, no matter what their weight, is better off if they exercise
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said it, but I wish I had: "I'm 99 percent sure no one would run
marathons if they weren't allowed to talk about running
And now I close
this newsletter with the immortal words of Ogden Nash: "Merry
Christmas, nearly everyone!"
Certified Personal Trainer
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Harbison Recreation Center
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The Harbison Rec
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Wolf's Fitness Center
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Wolf's is a total
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