Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Exercising On The Go

I've heard many people say they don't have time to exercise because of their busy schedule. If your job requires heavy manual labor, then that may not be a concern for you, but for most people who sit at a desk or in front of a computer all day, they only end up exercising their fingers while they are at work.

I know that the work environment is usually not the most convenient place for working out, but here are some simple things you can do to add more physical exertion and activity to your daily schedule.

1. Walk or ride a bike to work whenever possible. At least park further away in the parking lot.

2. Take the stairs instead of elevators or escalators in order to get more exercise.

3. When you get stressed or tired, drop and do 20 push ups. You can also try wall sits, squats, lunges, or calf raises. No equipment is needed for these exercises and they can be done in under a minute.

4. Get up from you desk at least every hour and walk around to get your blood flowing.

5. Sit on a stability ball instead of a chair in order to work your core and stabilizer muscles.

6. Be aware of your posture and try to sit up straight and avoid slouching.

7. Stretch your muscles. Sitting still for long periods of time is rough on your body. Stretching is also a great way to relieve stress.

8. Exercise on your lunch break. Occasionally I go to the nearby gym on my lunch break for a brief workout. I may just work one or two body parts and might feel strange being there in my street clothes and only lifting for 10-20 minutes, but it is a great way to get some exercise in and blow off some stream during the workday.

Sometimes we focus too much on our comfort and efficiency at the expense of our health. Most Americans have sedentary jobs and can afford to expend more energy and be more active. It doesn't take much time to increase your activity level. We all have 24 hours in our day, so make sure you are improving the quality of your life by making to exercise.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Hollywood Makeovers

Tom Hardy in Warrior
I recently saw Warrior and was shocked afterwards because I did not even recognize one of the stars of the movie. Tom Hardy plays a mean MMA fighter and he looked nothing like he did in Inception last year. He added what looked like 35 pounds of muscle to his frame. Movie stars frequently make some dramatic changes to their physique in an effort to get into character for a role. Some examples that come to mind include:

-Tom Hanks losing 50 pounds for Cast Away.

-Christian Bale losing 63 pounds for his role in The Machinist and then gaining muscle again to portray Batman the next year.

Same guy before
 -Brad Pitt getting shredded for Fight Club or bulking up to play Achilles in Troy.

-Will Smith putting on muscle and size in order to look like Mohamed Ali.

-Jake Gyllenhaal getting in shape for Prince of Persia.

-Hillary Swank bulking up to play a boxer in Million Dollar Baby.

-Gerard Butler and his 6 pack flaunting entourage in 300.

So how are these celebrities able to make such amazing and often drastic transformations in such a short amount of time? They get results because they have trainers, dietitians, and others helping them around the clock for months. There is also a ton of pressure on them. If you had 6 months to prepare to look like a super hero, warrior, athlete, etc. I'm sure you wouldn't want to show up out of shape and disappoint everyone. (It also doesn't hurt that they also have wardrobe, makeup, lighting, special effects and CGI at their disposal for that additional boost.)

You may not have the unlimited funds and resources to help you get the look you want, unlike some of these actors and movie studios, but you can still make some drastic changes in your own life. I hate to put too much emphasis on appearance since looks are not synonymous with health, but I am always impressed when I see people make amazing changes to their physique.

If you need motivation to get in shape, just get cast for a role in a Hollywood movie as a bodybuilder or model, then give yourself 6 months to physically prepare for the part. If however, you are like 99% of the population then you will have to just keep plugging along with the rest of us.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Confessions of a Hypocritical Trainer

One of the benefits of being a trainer is the added pressure it puts on you to stay fit since most people don't care to take advice from someone who does not practice what they preach. I've observed many people at the gym raise their eyebrows in surprise when they've seen how out of shape some trainers are.

Since I got certified as a trainer back in 2001, I have done a decent job of staying in shape and exercising, but I know I could do so much better, especially when it comes to the food I eat. I eat way too much sugar, processed foods, and fast food. I am always telling others to avoid these things so this makes me a hypocrite. It's time to change that.

I believe that for changes to be lasting, you have to focus on long term permanent lifestyle changes as opposed to just going on quick fix "diets" or temporary programs. At the same time, however, I believe working on a 90 day fitness program can be a good way to jump start things and to help you develop the important habits you want to change.

This is my favorite time of year, but with summer and swimsuit season ending, many people start to slack off from now through the holidays. If you don't want to lose the results of your prior hard work and don't want to just let things slide like the masses do, then I'd encourage you to set some new goals for improved fitness and better health over the next 90 days.

For the next 3 months I am going to continue to exercise 5-6 times a week but will also improve my nutrition dramatically by eating less processed food and foods high in sugar. Instead I will eat a lot more plant based foods and whole foods as well as just eating less than I have been in the past. Join me by setting some specific goals that are important to you. You'll be glad you did when Christmas rolls around and you are feeling good about yourself instead of being depressed and waiting for the first of the year so you can start getting back in shape.