Saturday, December 24, 2011

Break On Through to the Other Side

My favorite running coach, Jim Bowles, told me once if he told me a thousand times: "Run THROUGH the finish line, not to it."

My husband's favorite golf coaches tell him: "Swing several inches PAST the ball, or your swing will decelerate at the ball."

Your instincts, oh you novice exercisers, and yes you too, seasoned movers and shakers, seem to be telling you to flop to your knees/your hands/your behind/your tried and true slouch, just as you are approaching the halfway point of your last repetition.

Please, don't slouch halfway.  See it through.  Finish what you started with all the great technique and oomph and breath and determination you can muster!

Shall I go on at length about the neuromuscular sequencing, motor learning, and proprioception benefits to a strong finish?  No, I shant.  Are you more likely to take it from me given my use of those five dollar words?  You probably shouldn't but I'm kind of hoping so....

Let's insert a slight re-framing.  A strong finish is good for your self esteem.  Do your very best, with a significant -- even uncomfortable but not painful -- effort, and you will feel better about your movement and more confident in your ability to repeat your fine performance in the future.  You will also feel confident transferring your stick-to-it-ive-ness to other demanding tasks.

Follow through.  Go beyond.  That's the spirit!

May blessings surround you at the holiday season and then some -- Be Well!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

If you weren't already thinking about food....

It's the holidays. It's visits with friends and families. It can be wonderful... it can be taxing... it can cause toxicity, inflammation, and excessive weight gain!

Listen, food is a big part of nearly every cultural celebration this time of year.  OK, check that, ANY time of year.  We break bread together, we eat and talk, we do lunch, we get together for a drink... and that nourishment is emotional, physical, spiritual.  But does it really have to be over-the-top overindulgent?

I've been a personal trainer for 20 years now.  Every year at holiday time, one or several of my clients starts baking, or shopping, to distribute confections for gifts.  Thoughtful, yes.  And no. Baffling, it is. I have to admit, there were some instances in which I received some really decadent, rich, truffle-ly gift and thought there might be a sinister, passive-aggressive motive behind it.  Probably correct only half the time on that score, though. 

Over time I have come to take myself less seriously, and thus take less offense at these gestures.  But if you know someone who doesn't eat a lot of sugar/butter/cheese/chocolate/cream/sugar/shortening/sugar/flour/sugar for a reason, wouldn't it be more considerate to go the extra mile to present something delectable without all those ingredients?  The fresh fruit basket thing is AWESOME, really it is!  The cake or the cookie platter is going to go to waste.  Will I eat one or two servings?  Sure will, if it's there I'm going to taste it.  But eating more than one or two will make me feel sick.  See, it's not a guilt thing, vis-a-vis, "A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips."  Frankly, I exercise a lot, for a living and for a lifestyle, so I doubt the cookie will be camping out on my thighs. 

But people who eat sweet/rich stuff regularly don't feel sick from it.  People who don't?  It's going to mess up my digestion, make me grumpy, give me a headache, increase my sinus congestion, make my hormones act up, interrupt my sleep patterns. 

How about your friends with diabetes? Or arthritis? I hear more friends and acquaintances being diagnosed every day, it seems.  Even if they are on medication to control their symptoms, the rich/heavy/sweet stuff will exacerbate their conditions so they'll need more medication to feel alright.  Not to cure the condition, just to feel alright with the condition.  A considerate treat would herbal tea sampler? An organic nut tray? 

You get the idea.  The generosity is appreciated.  The indulgent taste is definitely flavorful.  But the lingering effects have room for improvement.  Does health take a holiday?  Sometimes.  But there's a price to be paid for it.  If the holidays put you in more of a "pay it forward" kind of mood, then make the choice of treats healthier.  You and your recipients will feel so much better inside and out, physically and emotionally and spiritually.

Be Well, and Happy Healthy Holidays!