Monday, July 27, 2009


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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…