Friday, November 6, 2009

What is "CLEAN EATING" anyway?

Great question--glad you asked. The term "Clean Eating" seems to be thrown around a lot these days, and you may be wondering what the heck that generic sounding term means. Well, for starters, it sounds very generic because it is. Clean Eating is somewhat subjective in that there is room for a little negotiation here--mind you, I said a little. Basically though, "Clean" food is nutritious food that's as close to it's natural, unadulterated state as possible. Ok, great Vawny, sooo...what? Does that mean that it should also be "organic" to be considered "clean"? It certainly can be, and that would, no doubt, be the best way to deliver nutrients without all the added chemicals found in pesticides, or any other unnaturally occurring substances. But I'd like to take just a moment here to clear something up and see if I can't help you get a little better grip on all of these ambiguous terms being tossed around like olives in a salad.

The thing is, a lot of terms like "organic" are actually misnomers, which is part of why it can be overwhelmingly confusing for a person attempting to "clean up" their diet. For instance, the word "organic" technically refers to anything with a carbon chain in it's molecular structure--that basically means anything that's "alive" (another ambiguous term). Somehow, the word found it's way into a counter cultural group that was rejecting modern societies way of eating processed foods, claiming that this was the cause for most modern illnesses, (a claim not entirely unfounded). Organic, in this regard, refers to foods that are raised or grown with no "man-made" chemicals (fertilizers, antibiotics, etc..,) so that it is truly the closest it can be to it's naturally occurring state by the time it's ready for consumption. "Clean Eating" refers to foods in much the same way, but doesn't necessarily refer to "organic" foods, although to some extent it goes without saying that organic would be preferred.

We know that when the naturally occurring state of food is interfered with by adding dyes, preservatives, bleaching, etc., it's greatly devitalized, or stripped of the many properties with which we were meant to nourish our bodies. Even cooking can have this effect by destroying things like vitamins and fiber. Certainly, when trans fats are added to foods, they are no longer considered healthy, or "clean" in this case.

"Ok, it's still not clear what the heck is meant by clean eating!" you may be thinking. I hear ya. Let me give you a better look at what it means to eat clean. A lot of this stuff you already know, so take heart here. It's not a completely new concept, just a new label for a much healthier lifestyle. You already know that adding salt to your food is not a good idea, and that's one clean eating concept. The food should be low in salt, sugar (no refined sugar whatsoever) and fats. You should choose fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains like plain old fashioned oats (nothing added) for your oatmeal, whole grain, unbleached brown rice, lean meats and fish, and stick primarily with egg whites when using eggs (lower fat). When having soups, (making it yourself would be better) always use a broth base, avoiding creams. And of course, baking things like potatoes, thus avoiding frying, would also be a part of eating clean.

There are many books on the topic of "Clean Eating" out there today. I highly recommend Tosca Reno's books to get you started. I give a copy of "The Eat Clean Diet" to all of my clients who stick with me past their first ten sessions, as I find it a wonderful reference book. Tosca's done a great job of making it very easy to use and understand, with pictures and references throughout. It's one of those books that you can open to any page and get something useful out of it in a few seconds. For those of you who have food allergies or sensitivities, you obviously have to modify your diet regardless of what any book says. However, this is a great way to start, and you'll find many options here.

If you begin employing these principles of eating along with drinking lots of water throughout your day, not only will you feel like a new person in a matter of a couple of days, but your body will go through a metamorphosis that you wouldn't have believed possible. Because after all, you are what you eat...

Contact me at Beachbody Fitness for help with "Clean Eating" and tons of "CLEAN EATING RECIPES!"

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


And it’s nagging at you--everyday. Did you realize that there really is no condition in your life that you cannot modify into something better? No, you haven’t missed the proverbial boat. The boats continue to dock right at your front door, (lack of navigable water, notwithstanding.) You only have to move your gaze in the direction of the boats, and away from your list of reasons why you think you cannot do this. How many boats you think you’ve missed already, makes no difference--none. All that matters is your current focus--right now. What are you talking about? How is it making you feel? Is it negative, complaining, fatalistic? Do you constantly joke that you could never get fit? That you were simply born this way?
Here's an interesting tidbit: Do you realize that by screaming “NO!” at something you don’t want in your life, you‘re actually putting tons of energy into it, thereby focusing on it? You must turn your attention to, and focus on the “new you” in order for it to happen. You already know that it’s the actions that you take everyday that determine your future. Well, by the same token, it’s the thoughts that you repeat everyday that determine your actions!

You will never get to your solutions by focusing only on the problem--even in a humorous way! Unless you stop beating the drum of what’s wrong, you will continue to stay immersed in “what’s wrong.” There will always be another disease, another problem, another “issue” another person pissing you off, so what? Focusing on them, or fighting against them, doesn’t make them go away. But turning your attention to the things you want and the things that are right in your life changes everything--including the way you feel--right now. And that, my friends, is KEY.

Now, I know many of you are thinking "Uh huh, right Vawny. That'll work..." and it’s because you’ve been beating this negative drum pretty regularly, for some time now, (thank you for making my point). Start by making peace with today, and you will automatically improve your future. Instead of pushing against where you are, or where you have been, get ok with it by realizing that a new boat just docked for you, in the steady stream of boats coming your way. You will suddenly have the energy to take a step in the direction of your focus--which will now be your desires! C’mon, just try it!

Wanna try a fun activity? Today, take the time to write the story of your desire, of how you’d really like your life to be, just for fun. No one has to see it, so don’t hold back--this is just for you. What would it say? Would you be fit, healthy, happy, rich? Whatever it is, use this fun activity to discover your heart’s desire. Continue to work this “attitude adjustment” daily, and watch what happens next…

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Ok, it's been a while, I know. I have an excuse...sort of. Honestly, this time of year is incredibly hard for me--not because I don't like it. In fact, I love Autumn! But the sad truth is, I suffer from horrendous allergies in the Fall. So much so, that I'm not sure it's not a combination of allergies and SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder. I'm telling you this because once again, I do truly struggle to work out at times. Working out is my passion, and so I think this incredibly unfair. I mean, c'mon--one would think that with an extremely clean diet, (no sugar--refined or otherwise, no white flour, etc...) and a very regular challenging workout routine six days a week, I'd be feeling pretty damn good 'ey? Yeah, me too. And generally, I do--I feel incredible. That is, until Fall. Then all hell breaks loose in terms of control over how I feel. And what's worse, is that if I stop my routine I get so sick I can't function! I'm not kidding--it's been going on since I was a kid. The only way to manage it is to continue the strict routine I've established and do my best to function throughout the day.

Now, I've been told that I have Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, systemic Candidiasis, among a few other things--by doctors. So what the hell am I doing?? Well, it's all very interesting and challenging for sure, and I certainly have the option to role over and die--or wallow in it. But for some reason I was born as feisty as they come--well, some might say "stubborn" is a little closer to accurate (like my poor old mother--who's earned that right) regardless of my not so feisty immune system. And for some reason, I've chosen to live my life to the fullest.

But seriously, there are many days that I wonder how in God's name I'm gonna get through it, so I break it down into small "bites" as it were. And some days I simply need to nap, or I'll fall over--driving or something entertaining like that. Today was no exception and yet I managed to get a great workout in. After 40 minutes of cardio, I did my P90X, Back, Biceps and Ab Ripper. Not easy...and ya know what? I feel much better. I do too! I swear it--or I don't think I'd be able to talk myself into it. I still feel crappy compared to the way I'd normally feel, or the way I'd like to feel, but I feel better than I did earlier, and it's sooo worth it to feel better, look good, and get something really important accomplished everyday.

So my point here is not to gain your pity--if that were the case, I'd be all over this thing whining regularly. My point is that I do know how hard it can be to maintain a workout routine--and I know first hand how much better it makes life to simply do it anyway--even when we can't do a great job.

I've chosen not to focus on all those "issues" I've been told are mine. I take great care of my body and my mind, just like the doctors and books tell me to, and I let it go. I choose life today--and in order to do that, I push my body to move, forcing blood and oxygen to pump at it's maximum through my muscles and cells, while feeding them the nutrients to support their hard work. I'm certainly no doctor, and I'd never advise anyone with a serious diagnosis to ignore it. But I thought it your business to know me, to know who this "Vawny" (who's always poppin' off about taking care of yourself) truly is. I am human and I have frailties, just like you--But I don't see myself that way. I see myself as strong, healthy and happy. I'm aware that certain times in life are more challenging than others, and I'm aware that "This too, shall pass." So, rather than live in the problem, I chose to live in the solution--or simply to live.

For help dealing with any of these health issues, or others, contact me at, or, and start living your life again!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


I just started my 9th week of P90X and I'm shocked at the difference! After my "rest" week, I came back so much stronger I couldn't believe it! That feels REALLY good. If I knew what to say to get you to try a Beachbody program (there are many to choose from) I'd say it--over and over. THIS WORKS YOU GUYS!!! Logging in to work out everyday because my buddies are expecting me makes a huge difference--and being entered in the thousand dollar a day give away doesn't hurt either. What the heck are you waiting for? Your new life is a click away!!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Crisis Is Right Around The Corner...

"Wow--Not the most positive way to start a blog, there, Vawny..." K, but listen--I'm concerned--truly concerned about you. I know, I know--of course I make money as a personal trainer and Beachbody Fitness Coach. Nevertheless, I do this because it's my passion. Let me fill you in on a just two of the biggest reasons that I do this for a living with such fervor. Two out of three of my brothers were born with severe heart defects, something called Tetralogy of Fallot. I won't go into the technicalities, but suffice it to say that I was somehow blessed enough to have missed out on that lovely little anomaly. From the time I can remember, I watched them suffer the undesirable consequences of HAVING NO CHOICE in the matter. And without going into great detail and boring you with my childhood memories, I have never forgotten the drastic differences between us, in terms of lifestyle options. I was an active kid--swimming all day, all summer long. Gymnastics was an absolute joy in my life. I didn't have to worry about heart surgeries, heart attacks, turning blue and passing out from walking to far or too fast. I didn't have to face my own mortality from early childhood on, but I had to face theirs, and it broke my heart.

A little while ago, I was informed that a much younger cousin just went through emergency heart surgery due to the severe blockage of a main artery to his heart. This cousin was born a robust healthy baby and stayed that way. His only issue now, the need for a healthier lifestyle. Thank God he's OK and has the opportunity to turn it around--he has a lovely wife and children--not everyone's so lucky.

Please, Please hear me! I'm not kidding about this stuff! Your health is EVERYTHING! You may not be cognizant of that at the moment--not until you have to be. Do you really wanna wait for that? Take it from one who's witnessed another's heart surgeries; YOU DON'T WANT TO GO THERE! I can help you and I will go to great lengths to do so--if you are only willing to try. It's not too late to get healthy and live happy the rest of your long life! You deserve that and so do your loved ones. Join me in my quest to change the world's health!

Wanna get fit and make money? What could be better motivation? CLICK HERE!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


I'm feeling a need to address the topic of depression for a couple of reasons. First of all, depression is such an umbrella term these days that virtually everyone refers to themselves as depressed at one time or another, and I hear it often. Second, having worked in the mental health field, I do happen to have a bit of insight.

So let's start with the fact that on any given day, you may "feel" depressed. Without going into all kinds of detail about diagnostic criteria, the fact is you may be quite a bit more depressed than you're even aware of. (??) Oh yes, I did say that... When someone has a chronic low level depression, they can grow so accustomed to it that they aren't really aware of it as anything more than their "daily grind"--sad isn't it? (No pun intended.) Now, granted I'm not talking about severe lethargy on a daily basis, (unless we're talking about my 16 year old son's attempt to get out of bed once school starts) but I am talking about a general feeling of malaise, unhappiness, anxiety or--just plain FATIGUE! Yes my friends, fatigue can be a tell tale sign of depression--and who doesn't experience that from time to time?

When something rather devastating happens in our lives, it's absolutely abnormal not to feel depressed, among a myriad of other unpleasant feelings. This is referred to clinically as "Reactive Depression" and I'm not addressing that here. However, some of what I'm about to say certainly applies to the alleviation of reactive depression as well.

It's a documented fact that those suffering from severe forms of depression, almost without exception, have extremely poor eating habits. In groups that I dealt with, the depressed basically "lived" (if you can call it that) on candy bars, donuts and coffee! (If this is sounding a bit too familiar, better keep reading.) One of the most difficult things to get severely depressed people to do is change their diet--even a little! So the question begs asking: Are they depressed because of their diet, or is it the other way around (the old proverbial "chicken or the egg")? Of course in the end, it really doesn't matter which came first. What we do know is that without fail, depression is alleviated with proper nutrition. Severe cases may not be cured, (although that's certainly been known to happen) but there are always blatant improvements in the mood and energy level of ALL. Therefore, a standard treatment plan for the chronically depressed always includes a nutritional diet. That brings me to this:

If you think that eating sugar, white flour, candy, pastries, etc..., (or simply lacking a variety of fresh, healthy foods) isn't effecting your mood, your energy level, and your general brain function, you are severely mistaken. In those suffering from milder forms of chronic depression, improved diet shows drastic improvement in mood and energy level--sometimes within hours! Oh yes, I did say that it again, it's important.

So, before you run off to the doc for an antidepressant, take a look at your diet. If you're wondering why you just can't get it together in terms of an exercise program, or maybe much of anything in your life, and you seem to have a chronic lack of drive, or feel just plain old "a-motivational" make a note of what you're putting in your mouth today, and ask yourself honestly, "Is this a problem?" If you can't answer that with a resounding (and I mean gut level honest) "NO!" than you've got some work to do, hm?

For more information on overcoming this self-defeating problem, contact me at I promise you, I can help you change your mood and your life. What the heck are you waiting for?

Monday, July 27, 2009


Tired of joining a gym and not using it? Now there's a solution that works. GET THAT BEAUTIFUL GLOW THAT COMES ONLY FROM GREAT HEALTH! Get beautiful...Get Fit!

We bring everything you'll need to get in fantastic shape in the privacy of your own home. Our clients get results because we come to them! No more excuses means no more failure! Come on--what are you waiting for? You know the only way to look healthy is to get healthy! Fitness has never been easier!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Why Exactly Do We Need Antioxidants?

Let me help you with a mental picture of what antioxidants actually do inside our bodies: All of our cells are made up of molecules and molecules are made of atoms. All atoms have electrically charged electrons whirling around them. This gives molecules an overall electrical charge. The atoms that make up the molecule all like to have a certain number of electrons in their outer "shell." This desire to have enough electrons is to stabilize (or kind of cancel out) their positive or negative charge. Once filled, they're stable and happy. However, when not filled, because of their overall electrical charge, they "pull" anything with an opposite charge that happens into the neighborhood in order to fill their need for a partner and gain their strong desire for stability (not unlike us humans-lol).

Free radicals are a bit like bullies from another neighborhood with a powerful desire/charge to snatch any electron looking for a partner in their path. They're ruthless and unfeeling. They will systematically take-out other cells to fill their shell and get what they want--even if it means taking out entire organs...or worse...thus, the beginnings of the disease process. A great visual to help you understand what's happening here is to think of what happens when you pour undiluted bleach on fabric--or god forbid, your hand. Yeah, that got your attention...OUCH! And it won't stop!!! Bleach is a an excellent example of a molecule with a very strong desire/charge to partner with anything--NOW, in order to fill any needy shells. The process by which it removes color and almost anything it touches, is called "Oxidation." Starting to make sense (anti-oxidant)? A free radical "Oxidizes" almost everything it touches in your body! Whew! You mean that's what happens in your body? Um...yeah...pretty much. The stronger the charge on a molecule, the worse the damage. This is as serious as a heart attack folks.

There's good news here though, so please don't fret. There are many vitamins one can take that can be more powerful than many free radicals. Their ability to do to free radicals what free radicals do to us, by latching on to them before they can do their dirty work, is why we need them. How radical is that??

So, here's the thing: If you do what mother told you from the get go, and eat your fruits and veggies, chances are you already have tons of "Swat-Team" like molecules floating around in your body just looking to bust some free radicals. (This process is more commonly referred to as "Prevention" : ) But...yeah. If you’re eating a lousy diet, drinking a ton of booze, and not even bothering with some feeble attempt at health by taking a vitamin or guessed it. You're not gonna know about the bullies till one of your organs is screaming for help. Then you have to go somewhere and get yelled at for not taking care of yourself, on top of trying to do damage control--if it can even be done.

Just do yourself a favor...actually, do us all a favor. Be a grown-up about this and eat right, k? I'm tired of the skyrocketing health care costs. And if you think your lack of self care isn't influencing that, think again. Type II diabetes (yeah, the preventable kind) is the leading cause of rising health care costs in America...kinda pathetic, don't ya think? For those of you who are already living a life of disciplined wellness, my hat is off to you. Thank you, not only for taking care of the only body you have, thus taking the excess financial strain off of society, but for setting an example for the rest of us. I'm proud of you and proud to be a member of your group. Keep up the great work!

Stay fit, stay happy!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

This is where your Journey Begins

Are you aware that your state of mind, self image, all of the thoughts that you have everyday have become your prayer? Your mind doesn't stop even when you're not aware of every thought; it's as if you're unconsciously chanting all day long. The more passionate your feelings, positive or negative, the more powerful your prayer. Unfortunately, that includes your subconscious what to do? We now know that your brain has everything to do with your success when it comes to fitness and weight loss, as well as other successes in your life. Therefore, it's crucial that you begin the process of transformation with "Mind Exercise." I'm not simply referring to affirmations and positive thinking. You've probably tried using them many times in many ways already. They CAN be quite helpful, at least in the short term, but clearly that's not all that's involved, else you wouldn't even be here reading this and hoping for a solution. I'm inviting you to explore your fantasies of life beyond your wildest dreams and become who you know deep inside you were meant to be. Join me and benefit from my many years of experience as a counselor in mental health and my personal spiritual quest for highest and best living. Prepare to embark on a journey that will "CHANGE YOUR MIND" and your life as we clear the wreckage of the past to make room for the BEAUTIFUL MIND that is already yours. You will see miraculous changes as your prayers of desperation become prayers of gratitude. Come along--your metamorphosis awaits...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Pilates--What The Heck Is It Anyway??

What's all the fuss about Pilates? It seems like everywhere you go these days, someones talking about the "magic" of Pilates. Well, if you've tried Pilates in a gym, you may have gone away feeling pretty disillusioned. The reason is simple--without expert small group or one on one training, you can't possibly get all the nuances involved, in which case you wind up a.) injured, b.) confused, or c.) just plain overwhelmed to the point of hating it upon your first try.

As a trained mat Pilates instructor, I know first hand what's involved, and frankly, when I was first introduced to Pilates--I was NOT sold. In fact I, umm....hated it. Yep. There it is, I've said it. However, that was very quickly to change along with the speed at which I saw unfathomable results--one being the core tone gained in record time...that I'd never even had in my youth. Let me give you a brief synopsis of what Pilates actually is and isn't, and hopefully, clear things up a bit.

First of all, Pilates is not yoga. In fact, my toughest clients are those who've been yoga students for years. The reason is that the form and focus are quite different and the tendency is for them to use "yoga form." Even the breathing tends to be different. Without someone to show you exactly how to do it, it's virtually impossible to get the form down exactly. And if you don't have the form down, you're not doing Pilates and you won't get the quick results.

Used traditionally by professional dancers for deep body conditioning and injury rehabilitation, Pilates is a 70 year old exercise technique first developed by German immigrant, Joseph Pilates.
Only recently has Pilates journeyed from it's prolonged position on the periphery of conventional fitness methods. Now used for functional training, as well as body contouring, Pilates sessions are focused and intense; they are designed and modified according to individual flexibility, strength, and postural variants.

The abdominal and back muscles are often referred to as the body's core. Pilates exercises are designed to strengthen this core by developing pelvic stability and abdominal control. In addition, the exercises improve flexibility, joint mobility, and build strength.

Instructors typically work one on one, or with a small group of participants in order to watch them closely and encourage engagement of the abdominals, the back, the upper legs, (quadriceps and hamstrings) and the buttocks, thus stabilizing the body's core. You can find Pilates classes in most gyms today. The problem is that the gyms tend to "pack em' in" jeopardizing safety and individualized quality form. You've probably heard people say they've tried Pilates and hurt themselves or "couldn't get it." IN-HOME AND SMALL GROUP TRAINING spares you those concerns and the time waisted doing it incorrectly. The results are incredibly fast...but only if you're instruction is good.

The mind body connection is fundamental in Pilates. Contrasting traditional exercises that tend to stress many repetitions in a single direction, Pilates exercises are performed with few but extremely precise repetitions in several planes of motion. Focus is required for exceptional results.

Hollywood actors revere Pilates for their fit physiques. Precision and form are keys that only closely monitored training can give you for the drastic results you're looking for.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Choosing Your Personal Trainer

Choosing Your Personal Trainer

A Podcast with Vawny Sullivan, ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Karen Hurd, founder of WomanWize Health. Click on the bottom of the "radio's" streaming words to use your default media player to listen.

Shared via AddThis

Saturday, July 18, 2009

What Do You Really Want???

What do you want? Do you know? Is it improved health, a better build, ability to function with ease throughout your day, a smaller pant size, a Beachbody? Do you really know what it is that you want out of "fitness"? This is an important question, because the more specific you are about your desires, the easier (yes, really) it will be to achieve them--even if your goals happen to be on the side of lofty.

If you haven't already defined your goals regarding fitness/weight loss, then I'd like you to do that--right now. Go ahead, I'll wait... Seriously, even if your not sure, brainstorm for a few minutes and don't be afraid to go too far here. You've probably been "settling" because you're belief system hasn't allowed you to really go for your fantasies. Regardless, have some fun with this list; you can always revise it.

Now, if you've done this before, (and I'm aware that there's a good chance that you have and therefore, may not put much stock in this sort of thing) that's ok. It may have helped, or done virtually nothing. If the latter is the case, then I want to introduce you to a concept that you've been living most of your life completely unawares. If you feel as though you've heard, read and tried everything there is to hear, read and try regarding goals, only to find yourself "stuck" over and over again, take heart. There's actually a rather ironic reason for that.

The fact is, you think you're focusing on your goal, but you're actually focusing on your lack of having reached that goal, (deep breath here) read that again. What I'm trying to say is that even if you know what you want, the contrast between your desire and what you have currently, may seem rather glaring, therefore, you're doing far more of "noticing the contrast" as opposed to actually focusing on the end result. "Ok, great Vawny, so now what? All this time I thought I was doing it right only to have you tell me I can't even get that part of the formula!" Ok, ok...first and foremost, RELAX...seriously. The best barometer you have for whether or not you're focus is in the right place, is how you feel! So, if you have this goal of getting a Beachbody, and you feel tense, controlling, bitchy...guess what? Yeah, that would be because you're NOT focused on the goal (having the Beachbody). It's because you're focused on the fact that you want a Beachbody, but you don't have one yet; you're looking at and focusing on your perceived "flaws" a lot more than you're visualizing the body/health, you want...yes it is...don't argue with me until you really look into this.

If you're focus is on how great you're gonna look soon, or better yet, how great you're beginning to look now, or even better than that--feeling what you'd feel like if you were already there, (most powerful) you'll see better and faster results. Don't tell me you can't do this; I know you fantasize about other things--and probably about being totally fit, at least once in a while. Even if you visualize it for ten minutes every morning, you'll see the difference. But the key here is to stay cognizant of how you're feeling. If you're thinking about your goal of health and fitness, but you're feeling discouraged, sad, angry, (you get the idea) then start making small changes in your thoughts until you feel relief. If you practice this little technique for a while, you'll be shocked at what you find. Your mind habitually turns to the image of what you don't want, rather than what you do want. Start to shift that and watch what happens next...

The first thing you'll notice is how good you feel--and that my friend is actually quite profound. Once there, the vision of who you want to be just flows (it's much easier to visualize yourself in a positive light when you're already feeling good) and that IS how you get there. So when you find yourself in a negative frame of mind regarding your fitness program, step back. What are you really thinking? Is it something like, "I'm sick of this, it never works..." or "I'll always be fat..."? If so, make a left turn. You're not gonna be able to go right to "I'm the most fit, beautiful person in the universe!" But you can make a little turn with a thought like, "Ok, I've done this before--even if only temporarily, maybe I CAN do it this time..." or "Now that I have support, maybe I can finally stay on track!"and you'll instantly feel relief. That's all you need to do in order to begin to change your thoughts and feelings from noticing "lack" to focusing on your goal. Give it a shot--let me know how it goes! I LOVE success stories...

More on this cool topic next time, stay happy--stay fit.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

“If You Had My Life…” Maintaining A Fitness Routine, In Spite Of It All

I was asked to write an article about fitness recently, and honestly, I’ve been in another world as of late. Reason? I moved. I don’t know about you, but moving is one of the most traumatic events in my life. I just hate having to adjust, organize, get used too… I hate the confusion, lack of routine because nothing’s the same no matter how hard I try to make it the same. I feel out of sorts, lonely, insecure. I admit that part of the reason for that this time around, is that I am alone but for my two teens. They’re wonderful, but they’re my children, not my companions.

I also live in a town where I’m a virtual stranger--it’s a small southern town and I’m from a big northern state. I don’t feel like I really fit in, and I haven’t made a lot of friends--lot’s of acquaintances, but not true friends. I’ve probably felt more lonely in this move than any move previous. Worst of all, I feel a lot older. Yes, older. The last time I moved was only two years ago--it was a very, very hard move. I’d packed my kids and left my marriage of almost twenty years. But for some reason, this one was harder--definitely harder physically.

I work out regularly. I’m a personal trainer--and I’m almost 50 years old. Two years is apparently enough to make a big difference at this age, because during this move, I felt aches and pains that I’ve never felt before in my life, and that had me a bit terrified. I spent one whole weekend incapacitated with ice on my hands--arthritis had taken my ability to function and the pain was unlike anything I’d experienced before. “Uh oh…” I thought, with grim alarm.

There were also many things that went “wrong” during this move that I wasn’t prepared to deal with alone. I wound up doing physical labor above and beyond what anyone should have to do in order to move into a rental--but I have kids--I couldn't just back out and find another place overnight. So, I paid the price and now we’re in. Worth it? Well, for my kids, of course it was.

What does all this have to do with fitness, you might ask? Lets just say that this is a perfect example of how difficult a fitness schedule can be to maintain. Was I able to maintain mine during this time? No, not in the same fashion that I had previously, and to try to would have been complete insanity…which would only have added to the insanity I was already experiencing from the move itself. Fortunately, I’ve been at this whole “fitness/healthy lifestyle” thing long enough to know better than to beat myself up over it, and I knew enough to plan around the impending monsoon of unexpected issues. I knew that virtually any semblance of an eating plan or workout routine, would be something to be commended for under the circumstances.

So how did I manage? Well, I planned to workout at least twice a week at an intense level, (a great deal less than I’m used to) barring any unforeseen injuries. I knew my food wouldn’t/couldn't be as healthy as I like it to be, due to the fact that my eating is pretty strict most of the time and I tend to cook most of my food. I did the best I could with making healthy fast food choices when I had to, and I drank tons of bottled water. I could feel the difference in just that much change--I was more tired and irritable--(I react strongly to processed foods), my stomach was "off" and I had more trouble sleeping.

If I’d had a lot more help with the move, I’d have been able to maintain more of my routine, but like many of you, that is not my reality today. It was difficult to hear how I "should be managing it all and managing it well"--that “it can be done!!” from those who have the help of close friends and family, no children, or spouses to go along with the children they do have. I could easily have bought into the idea that I wasn’t doing enough or doing it right. But for those of us with little to no support (which is a number that is rising at an alarming rate) this can be a real set up for failure, or at least perceived failure. And for many, that’s the last thing needed--it becomes one more item on the long and growing list of “previous failures,” thus, one more reason to give up.

So what’s my point? Well, I’ll tell you. What I’ve noticed over the years, both as a mental health worker and fitness professional, is that for many of us there tends to be a rather large “chink in the armor of our characters” when it comes to health and fitness. And that it has everything to do with comparing ourselves to others and their “ability to do it all.” This “chink” is responsible for an “all or nothing” kind of thinking about fitness and thus, sabotages our efforts.

Let me explain: If, (during my recent move) I had decided that no matter what, I was going to maintain my normal fitness schedule and food plan, only to come up against the many difficulties that made that virtually impossible, I’d have been devastated. I’d have seen myself as a complete and utter failure, even though there were nights that I got only a few hours of sleep! After all, I’ve read plenty of articles and heard many stories about women who’ve done far more than me under worse circumstances, and managed to come out “smelling like a rose” in spite of it all. There I’d have it--the perfect excuse--the all or nothing thinking that would have had me convinced that because I couldn’t “do it all” I was a complete failure. That, in turn, would throw me into despair and give me a reason to give up. How do I know this? Been there, done it… And I promise you, it’s all in your head, honey…all of it.

In my experience, both personally and professionally, “giving up” due to interruptions in routine, is a common theme for both woman and men when it comes to diet and fitness. And trust me, I’m well aware that for many of us, it’s a bit like flipping a switch--it’s “on” or it’s “off” and never the twain shall meet, hmm? I know you get what I’m saying here. So you see, I understand that the hardest part about getting/staying fit, is maintaining a routine. I hear it all the time from my personal training clients. It can be almost anything that throws them off, but even the most committed fitness enthusiasts can have a really tough time with the situation I found myself in recently--my “awful“ move. And what about situations more difficult than that? There are serious injuries, illnesses, losses to deal with…I’m sure you get my point.

But...let me make another very important point here: Especially in these situations, when we’re under tremendous stress, (regardless of how others perceive it) the perfectionism has to go--or it’ll literally destroy us and our hard earned, (maybe fragile) self image. You see, I’ve learned that life is what happens when we’re making other plans…‘ey? So, we simply must be realistic about this fact. My life is different from your life, is different from his or her life, etc., but it’s mine--mine alone. Am I worth health and fitness, regardless of how “hard” my life may seem at the moment? Is it possible to do it all, have it all, be happy? You bet it is, but…it ain’t gonna look like someone else’s life, that I can promise you.

So, you may wonder how I’ve managed over the last couple of years. Well, some might say with very little grace, but I can assure you, I’ve done the best that I can. And ya wanna know something else? That’s all I ever needed to do. I’ve gained some weight and lost some weight, and done it again. I’ve worked out religiously only to find myself letting go of my routine for a few weeks at a time, when to do one more thing in a day would have put me in the hospital. But I’ve always come back to what I know is true in the end, and that’s that taking care of me--of my health--is the most essential part in the equation of my happiness, regardless of outside circumstances--that no matter what else happens in my life, I simply cannot feel good unless I’m consistently eating right, working out, and sleeping enough. That even when “things” are great in my life, i.e., my kids are healthy and happy, I’m in love, money’s flowing in easily--if I’m not sticking to that formula, I just don’t feel good.

Alas, when circumstances in my life prevent that kind of discipline, no matter how badly I want it, I keep my vision--without beating myself up--and this is key. I remind myself daily that this is temporary, that I will get back to my routine and to feeling better. I know this to be true because I’ve experienced it over and over in my life.

Look, this is exactly what’s meant by living a “Fitness Lifestyle”. We, (meaning those of us living this lifestyle) keep the idea of fitness in our heads even when “things” temporarily slow us down. Understand one thing here if nothing else: You don’t ever “get done” with fitness, so you will never put it behind you. Once you wrap your head around that one idea, it’ll all make perfect sense. You need to realize that this “always striving” is a theme throughout your whole life--not just concerning fitness! It’s like brushing and taking care of your teeth--you may get them fantastically healthy, but you then have to maintain them. And, (hopefully) should you wind up with an unexpected cavity, you wouldn't decide to “forget it--there’s no point in this uphill climb!” Ok, I may be oversimplifying here, but you get my point. All or nothing thinking around fitness, (among other areas of your life) is certain sabotage, so why do it when you know in your heart of hearts that you must establish healthy routines for a quality life?

The thing is, fitness (just like the rest of life) doesn’t occur in a straight line--it’s frequently two steps forward and one step back--sometimes three or four steps back. But I’m here to tell you that one of the most fundamental concepts in making this work is in keeping fitness as your goal. Don’t focus on what “is” if you’re not where you want to be, focus on the vision. Find pictures in magazines, or pictures of you when you were feeling good about yourself and refer to them daily--always remembering that you‘ll get there. Start your day with meditation--see yourself making good food choices and working out, or doing the best you can do for that day depending on your circumstances, thus setting the day up for success. Visualize the way you want your life to be, and I promise you that even with temporary setbacks, you will get there.

Do I believe this to be true for me and my current circumstances? With all of my heart and soul my friend--my life will be transformed, yet again. Why then, did these circumstances come about if my former vision and thinking were what I‘ve described here? Because I believe that without contrast we’d have nothing to strive for, nothing to get the creative juices flowing, and we‘d never ask others for help--we’d be nothing more than robots--isolated and alone. We need contrast, or challenge, to keep living life. But regardless of what I believe, these principles are based on sound psychological truths. Looking at your current way of processing your thoughts around fitness is bound to shed light on your perceived successes or failures. You’ll see that a funny thing happens when you begin to “reframe” your life in a softer, more positive light--you’ll begin to actually see your successes. And when that happens, watch out world, because a new star is born…

Saturday, June 6, 2009

I Know This Much Is True...

I've been depressed in my life. I've been through tremendous challenge...survived things I didn't think I could ever survive. AND I've been overweight from using food to numb my pain. I'm telling you this because so many of you have told me that you think you're not like me, that you couldn't get as healthy and fit as I am. I'm telling you this because anyone who knows me personally will tell you that my life has been anything but easy and that I've surmounted great odds. I'm NOT telling you this to brag--I believe I was put on this earth for one simple reason--to help others realize that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE as long as you have the humility to ask for help. I will never say that it's easy to ask for least initially. I will never say that life won't continue to happen and that sometimes it's just really, really...well, let's be honest here--sometimes it just really sucks. But I can tell you that there are ways to transcend any situation because so help me, I've done it. I know for a fact that I'm NOT special. In fact, my friends will also attest to the fact that I'm quite average--lol. There's only one secret here, one thing that you have to keep doing to get to where you wanna be in life and that's keep asking. Keep asking the people who have what you want for help, ask and you shall receive. I happen to believe that we're absolutely meant to connect that way, that the planet is set up like that so that we need one another, and therefore must eventually gain enough humility to reach out. By the same token, we have to give it away to keep it--but that comes naturally. Think about it--how many times have you gained a new skill or knowledge that you felt really good about and couldn't wait to share it with anyone who'd listen (and maybe even those who weren't so interested in listening :).

Do yourself the biggest favor you'll ever do--get use to asking for help. I love questions from you. You can leave comments here, or go to one of my websites and send an email (the addresses are on this site). Or find someone else you want to ask--but don't give up if you don't get what your seeking--keep asking. The Internet is such an amazing tool; for the first time in history, the average person has access to (virtually) the entire planet in seconds--think about that for a minute--CRAZY! And think about the implications, for you and for your loved ones.

Life is good. Life can get better. In fact your capacity to appreciate life grows exponentially with your willingness to grow, reach out, and learn how to have it all--health, happiness, self-esteem--all of it. Take that final step and finally become who you really are. Be who you were born to be and let the world see you shine!


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Do you know how Procrastination is affecting your health?

Are you a procrastinator? If we’re honest about it, most of us will admit to at least a couple of areas that we struggle with in terms of motivation. And for many, one of the hardest challenges to overcome is putting off starting a fitness program. The information has been out for quite sometime now concerning fitness and it’s impact on our health, so it’s not as if we don’t know how important it is, or how much we need to start, (like yesterday). The fact is, fear of failure and embarrassment are two of the biggest contributors to procrastinating a fitness program. And if you’re like most of us, you’ve already discovered what a disappointment willpower can be when it comes to making yourself workout consistently…

The answer lies in giving up the insanity--you know, the ol’ “If you do what you always did, you’ll get what you always got.” And just what does that mean? Well, I’ll tell ya just what it means--the more you paddle upstream to figure this thing out, the more worn out and discouraged you’re gonna get and the sooner you‘ll quit…again. That’s because you’re trying to wear too many hats--trying to figure it all out AND implement it. The good news is that you don’t HAVE to do that anymore! (Unless of course you really enjoy beating your head against the wall! Hey…whatever floats your boat…or paddles your canoe upstream.)

What’s so amazing about Beachbody Fitness is that all of the guesswork is taken out of it--AND you can do it IN THE PRIVACY OF YOUR OWN HOME--BUT WITH OTHERS! What?!! That’s right--if you go to right now, and check out the ONLINE VIRTUAL GYM, you‘ll see what an amazing concept this is and how it‘s actually working! I’m serious--the before and after stories and pictures are just about endless! This is the only program of it’s kind…go and see how people just like you are changing their lives daily! Check it out right now--it’s not like you have to walk into some gym and deal with all that goes along with that! You literally have nothing to lose but the unwanted pounds and the yucky self-image you’ve been carrying around for WAY too long. I’ll meet you there…and even workout with you if you’d like!

You know it’s time…procrastination IS negatively affecting your health. Let’s change that together--NOW!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Exercise Plateau

Ok, so you've been training hard for a while now, or you've been training, um...maybe not so hard, for not so long. For some reason it seems as though initially, you made progress. You could see and feel an obvious difference after about six weeks, and now...not so much. What's goin' on here? Well, sooner or later, everyone who works out consistently, hits what's referred to as a plateau. And as a result, they also hit major frustration. How fair is that? And what does one do about it? There are a few things you may have to do, but take heart--this is where exercise ceases to be monotonous and gets interesting--yeah, you read that correctly. Let me explain...

One of the nice things about beginning an exercise program after long periods of inactivity, is the relatively quick response of your muscles. Because you're doing something your body isn't use to, your body perceives your new workout as INTENSE! And that's because relative to what you have been doing, it is intense!

When someone's been working out for a while, say, six months to a year or longer, (consistently) their muscles get so use to working out that it's harder to convince them that the workout is intense. So, the muscles adapt and don't do a lot of changing. Now, don't get me wrong, generally by the time that happens a person's already in pretty darn good shape, so it's not like I'm telling you it's not worth it--on the contrary. Usually, if people stick with it long enough to get to this point, they're actually desiring more--one of the many wonderful benefits of regular exercise. But as a result of hitting a plateau, they become frustrated at their apparent lack of noticeable change.

There's also the problem of challenging oneself adequately; some people have a hard time with this issue, right from the get go--it's a common problem. Most people aren't educated in the science of exercise physiology and don't realize that they're sabotaging their own efforts through inconsistency, poor form, poor diet/supplements, lack of sleep, or simply not pushing hard enough during the workout.

Then there's the opposite problem--overtraining. Yes, it's true. There are those who want results so desperately and quickly that because they aren't familiar with the most efficient ways to do that, they jump in there and exhaust their bodies to the point of chronic fatigue, irritability, insomnia, injury, and even depression! It is not only possible to over-train, it's common among novices and a MAJOR reason that people quit exercising.

"Ok Vawny, (you say) so, now what? It all sounds complicated to me, and I'm not willing to go take an exercise physiology course to figure it all out." Can't say I blame ya... The good news is that you don't have to. Let me give you a brief explanation and an incredibly easy solution.

First, the explanation: The absolute biggest reason for plateauing is continuously using one training routine, day in and day out. People are creatures of habit and we tend to get attached to routines--even exercise routines, especially if we saw results initially. Obviously, if we're not being consistent, our diets aren't good and we're just not taking care of ourselves in other ways, we also won't see much change. But for those who seem to be doing all the "right" things, in terms of healthy living and exercise, there is an answer that TRULY WORKS! Depending on just how fit you are, there are a few things you may need to do.

The first thing you should do is make sure you're changing your routine regularly. How regularly? Again, that depends on your level of fitness. Really fit people may need to change every day! "Wow" you're thinking, "How in God's name does a person do that?" Good question; I'll get to that...

In the mean time, here are some ways to shake-up/wake-up your muscles and interupt the plateau:

  • Change the sequence of the routine regularly
  • Change the frequency of your workouts
  • Change the intensity and volume--both up and down
Make the muscles work harder instead of longer with high intensity training--this may require hiring a professional certified trainer. "Oh God...I knew it!" you're thinking, "This is exactly why I'm not even gonna bother! It always gets too hard and too expensive--just forget it!" as you grimly reach for the bag of chips and plop down on the couch for another episode of ___ (fill in the blank). NO! NO MORE!!!

...And now, the solution:

THERE IS A SOLUTION THAT TAKES ALL THE GUESS WORK OUT OF IT! That's why Beachbody Fitness is sooo AWESOME! They have it ALL covered right there--Go there now and see for yourself! When you order Beachbody Fitness workouts, you don't just get A DVD-you get SEVERAL PROGRESSIVE WORKOUT DVD'S, FOOD PLANS, TRAINING GUIDANCE, SUPPORT, WORKOUT BUDDIES, --EVEN A COOKING SHOW!!! Beachbody Fitness has a whole VIRTUAL GYM AND THEN SOME where it's all figured out for you, and should you have any questions, you can log on and get them answered by professionals. There's just too much there to list here--check it out for yourself! Drop me a line and let me know what you think! But please, do yourself a favor and at least look--isn't it time you do something that gets RESULTS?

Thanks for joining me--until next time, stay fit--stay happy!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

What am I nuts??? Maybe, but now I've upped the anti to P90X. Why? Because I was so impressed with Turbo Jam that I had to see what all the "P90X fuss" was about--and let me tell you, there's good reason for the fuss! Now remember, I am a personal trainer, and although I may not be a world class athlete or body builder, I've been working out for most of my adult life, (I'm 49 years old, after all). But this workout is kicking MY butt--and it has me pretty psyched. I know the difference between working out to the point of injury or overdoing, and working out to the point of hypertrophy (a term used in bodybuilding that means an increase in the cross-sectional size of a muscle in response to progressive resistance training). This is definitely the latter--and hypertrophy doesn't happen without one heck of a lot of intensity.

What I'm saying is, if you're one of the many people who's tried to get results from your workout to no avail, I can promise you that you will absolutely NOT be disappointed, my friend. Do whatever you have to do to get this going-- the results are INCREDIBLY FAST! And if you go to, you'll see that the support there is virtually limitless! The only way you can fail is to do it deliberately. Just logging on to the Beachbody virtual gym will get you so pumped, you won't be able to start fast enough!!! C' reputation as a professional trainer is at stake here and I'm telling you--you have to try this 90 day progressive workout--You will soooo not regret it!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Hi, just got my new "Turbo Jam" and I wanted to tell you about it! First of all, I was surprised that I received several workouts, including a separate "abs" workout. I also received very nice fitted hand-weights, a measurement tracker along with a tape measure to track my progress, a sturdy, impressive "Turbo Results Guidebook" full of information, inspiration and support, AND a "Turbo Slim 10 Day Kick Start" booklet to jumpstart my weight-loss for up to TEN POUNDS in the FIRST WEEK!!! This is all legit, scientifically tested and proven stuff, guys... So log onto WOWY and start tracking your progress along with mine!!! Or feel free to watch me for a while! But... don't take too long, hm? That's been the problem right along, after all!

Don't forget about all the support you get if you join the club, including: The "Thin Kitchen TV" (cooking show) along with Beachbody's Thin Kitchen cookbook which you'll get once you join, the daily Million Dollar Giveaway, and much, much more!!!

Stay Fit, Stay Happy!

Vawny Sullivan
ACE Certified Personal Trainer
Beachbody Fitness Coach

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Is it worth it? it ever. Think about it for a moment. Really think about it--without all the excuses you're googling for (we both know you'll come up with millions). The fact is, if you GET HONEST with yourself long enough to remember a time when you were in better shape, you know darn well you'd give almost anything to get that back again. How do I know that? Because if you allow yourself to go back there and FEEL THE FEELING OF BEING FIT for even 30 seconds, you'll want it--BAD.

Maybe you're thinking the investment of time is just too much. Maybe you're thinking things like "I hate going to gyms--I feel so self conscious there. It's too expensive anyway. With the economy like this, who can afford a gym membership? And besides, I don't know what I'm doing. I always get hurt! And I'm certainly in no position to hire a personal trainer to show me! And then there's the diet part--God I hate having to give up all the things I like to eat--it's all too depressing to even contemplate!" Well, those are all valid points my friend...that's why I started my IN-HOME training company and added Beachbody Fitness.

We're all pressed for time and money these days--that's nothing new. And talking yourself into driving to a gym, then waiting for equipment to be available, and then driving home, hopefully avoiding a lot of traffic, is enough to make the most committed exerciser think twice. But what if I could cut your time commitment in half, or by a third, or more? What if I could offer an IN-HOME program that's effective, affordable and could give you more support than you could ever get at a gym...even with a personal trainer?? Welcome to Beachbody Fitness, where the choice of programs and support, FAR surpass anything you'll ever find at a gym--even with a trainer! AND it's all in the comfort of YOUR OWN HOME!

Join me, Vawny, an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and BEACHBODY FITNESS COACH at and let me take to that place you've been dreaming about for a long, long time. GET FIT, GET HAPPY!

And if you've ever secretly dreamed of becoming a fitness coach, boy have I got news for you! you can make money while you get fit! How's that for motivation, hm...?C'mon...check it out!

Vawny Sullivan