It’s time to be proactive with your health!

I read an article today that differentiated the difference between being proactive and reactive with your health.  People who are sick tend to be reactive by visiting doctors, taking medication, and otherwise attempting to alleviate a certain problem.  People who are proactive tend to seek out products and services that will prevent disease, slow down the aging process, look better, feel healthier, feel more energized, etc.  This is essentially what the wellness industry is all about, and it is a $500 billion industry!  The article went on to give some statistics, which I would like to share with you:

  •  In studies of coronary bypass patients, only 1 in 9 is able to make necessary health changes on their own
  • 70% of health care costs stem from preventable diseases (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • Stress undermines work productivity in 9 out of 10 companies (Industrial Society Survey)
  • 70-80% of physician visits are stress-related (U.S. Public Health Survey)
  • Obesity, diabetes, and heart disease have reached epidemic proportions – almost all are preventable (American Medical Association)
  • Every dollar invested in worksite wellness yields 300-600% return through reduced absenteeism, increased productivity, and decreased health related costs (Partnership for Prevention National Coalition).

I believe these statistics alone should motivate all of us to work toward achieving our health goals every single day in order to prevent disease and lead more productive, fulfilling lives. 

This information was taken from an article entitled “Coaching the Wellness Revolution” by David Krueger, MD.


Formula For Workout Success

S = D x (T + N + R)

S – Success; D – Determination; T – Training; N – Nutrition; R – Rest

I saw this formula in a book called The Body-Sculpting Bible For Women, and I agree with this wholeheartedly!  If you want to succeed in achieving the new body you’ve always dreamed of, then the main thing you need is determination above all else!!  If you are not completely determined, then you will only give your training and nutrition a half-hearted effort, which won’t take you very far.  You may only do one set instead of 3.  You might swing the weights with lots of momentum instead of reaching the full contraction & release of the muscle.  You might spend most of your time between sets talking to friends (instead of a 1 to 3 minute rest – it becomes a 10 – 15 minute rest).  You might spend your time on the treadmill hanging on to the machine.  Does any of this sound familiar?  Then there’s rest.  This is EXTREMELY important… it is part of the equation.  If you place your body under vigorous physical, mental, and emotional stress, then adequate rest and relaxation is imperative in order to keep your hormones (especially cortisol) in check.  Extremely high levels of cortisol have been connected with fat storage – especially around the mid-section.  So, training, nutrition, and rest are very important.  However, without determination to reach your goals, then you won’t succeed.  Remind yourself often why you want to do be fit.  Put a picture of yourself on the refrigerator with a list of reasons to get fit right underneath it.  This will serve as a steady reminder and inspiration for you.  The fit lifestyle is not an easy one, but it is totally worthwhile! 

7 Tips for Preventing Depression

Today I’m going to switch hats just a little and put on my “counselor hat”.  (For those who don’t know, I’m not only a personal trainer, but I also have a Master’s degree in Social Work and professional counseling experience). 

I was talking to a friend of ours yesterday, and he was mentioning how he has had two major depressive episodes in his life.  The first one left him without even a will to live.  Fortunately, he was treated and now knows the symptoms to look for and what to do when he starts to feel them. 

I started thinking about how depression is so insidious because it attacks every facet of your life… physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.  Physically, you usually have problems with appetite, sleep, energy, motivation, and sex drive among others.  Emotionally, you may feel weepy or just plain apathetic.  You tend to isolate yourself from others.  Your attitude is usually negative, and you just can’t seem to pull yourself out of it.  You will probably struggle with issues of self-doubt, self-esteem, and fear (ex:  fear of inadequacy; fear of intimacy; fear of failure).  Mentally, you tend to believe all kinds of horrible things about yourself.  You might obsess on the negatives you see all around you (if this is the case – don’t watch the news!)  Spiritually, you just feel depleted and drained.  You lose your purpose in life and start wondering why you were even put on this earth to begin with.  Satan would like nothing better for people to be in this state, and if you look around you – you probably know plenty of people who are. 

I started thinking that depression is just like most diseases… it’s probably easier to prevent than to cure through intentional, proactive choices.   Granted, some people might be more likely to suffer depression due to a family history of depression; child abuse or neglect; traumatic experiences; etc.  However, it is my opinion that if you are not depressed now, then it would be very wise for you to take measures now in order to prevent becoming depressed in the future.  Depression can hit any of us any time as is evidenced by the fact of such an astounding number of people on anti-depressant medication in this country. 

Here are some tips to help prevent depression:

1)  Take care of your physical health by engaging in regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, drinking plenty of water, avoiding drugs and alcohol, and getting plenty of rest.  Studies show that people who exercise regularly are less likely to get depressed than people who don’t. 

2) Watch your thought life.  There is actually a scripture verse about this:  Phil. 4:8 says “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things”.  This is so wise!  It also includes avoiding things that send you negative messages.  I am very careful about what I put in my mind through the media…. I’m careful about the books I read, the movies I watch, television shows, etc.  The old saying “garbage in, garbage out” is completely true.  If you fill your mind with garbage, then guess what comes out!!! 

3) Pay attention to the messages you tell yourself.  We have so many thoughts during the day, and we tell ourselves so many things that we’re probably not even conscious of.  A lot of these messages are things we’ve internalized from our parents or other significant people in our lives from when we were kids.  Unfortunately, a lot of it is also negative.  Try to catch yourself in these thoughts… when you do; intentionally reframe that thought so that it conforms to what is actually true (most of the time we end up believing complete lies about ourselves).  Your thoughts follow your beliefs; your emotions follow your thoughts; and most of the time, your actions follow your emotions.  If you believe the truth about yourself, then you will think positive thoughts, which will lead to positive emotions, which will lead to positive attitudes and behaviors. 

4) Spend time with God every day.  God loves you and has a plan and purpose for your life.  He’s just waiting for you to come to Him and to enjoy your relationship with Him.  Jesus died for you so that you can freely experience this. 

5) Write out your mission statement and review it regularly.  This will remind you of your purpose on this earth and how you are unique and especially gifted to fulfill a special role in this universe.  Only you can be you and do what you do.  Your life is meant to positively impact the lives of those in your circle of influence. 

6) Keep a journal.  This will help you process your thoughts and emotions.  Over time, you will see patterns emerge, and hopefully growth as you overcome challenges and obstacles in your life. 

7) Enjoy the simple things in life.  Don’t get so busy that you forget to notice the little things like the welcome breeze blowing in your face on a hot summer’s day; or a baby’s smile; or the smell of a flower.  That may sound cheesy, but sometimes it’s the simple things in life that help put everything in perspective. 

What to do when you don’t feel like exercising…

This is exactly how I felt today.  I woke up earlier than I had planned to, and ever since I’ve been feeling tired, sleep-deprived, and a bit unmotivated to do what I have to do today.  After my client left this morning, I had the choice:  do I work out or don’t I?  The bed was screaming my name.  However, I ignored the screaming and just did what I had to do!  I did my chest, back, biceps, and abs and then the spin bike for 45 minutes.  How did I feel afterward?  Still tired, but proud that I did what I had planned to do.  Now, this is the way I’m tackling the rest of my day… I’m setting my mind to accomplish what I intended and ignoring the inner voice inside that continues to beckon me to take it slow and easy today. 

I tell you this to let you know that I have the same internal battles and struggles as everybody else; I’m no different.  There are plenty of days that I just plain don’t feel like doing anything!  However, since I’m self-employed, I can’t afford to give in to my feelings!  So, to answer the above question, sometimes I think the best thing to do when it comes to exercise is to not ask yourself whether you feel like doing it or not.  Write it down in your schedule/appointment book, and then keep that appointment with yourself.  We all have a mind, emotions, and a will.  Our will is like the gatekeeper for our thoughts and emotions.  You choose by an act of your will what you will think about, what attitude you will have for that day, and what you will accomplish.  If we all lived solely by our emotions alone, what would this world be like?  We don’t need to ignore our emotions, because they are like an indicator light on our car… they let us know when there’s something wrong that needs to be fixed.  Emotions are very important, but we don’t need to live by them. 

Anyway, I thought this was an appropriate thought to write about today since I am struggling with my own motivation level at the moment and having to take my own advice.  I hope it helps someone else out there.

Sunday devotional thought

One of my clients copied and pasted this quote from Joel Olsteen and sent this to me this week.  This is a great spiritual motivator to take care of your physical health.  I figure since today’s Sunday, it’s a great day to share what the word of God says about taking care of your physical body.   

Today’s Scripture
“Dear friend, I am praying that all is well with you and that your body is as healthy as I know your soul is” 3 John 2 (TLB).

Today’s Word from Joel and Victoria Osteen
All of us have prioritized our lives in some form or fashion, whether consciously or unconsciously. Maybe you don’t do it purposefully, but you organize your life based on a hierarchy of needs and interests. The Bible makes it clear that maintaining physical health should be one of the highest priorities for us. God created you to be active, healthy and ready for what He has for you. God has great things planned for you, but you won’t be able to accomplish them if you’re unhealthy and unprepared. The apostle John wrote to a close friend and made sure that he knew physical health was just as essential as spiritual health. Being physically health is not just a good idea – it’s a good spiritual idea!

A Prayer for Today
God, I know that my physical health is of importance to You as well as my spiritual health. I want to dedicate my body to Your service and glory, so please help me to be in the best physical condition possible. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Why do you want to lose weight?

Before you begin any eating/weight loss/fitness program, you need to ask yourself why you want to lose weight.  The reason I say this is that if you are doing it just to please other people, your spouse, a parent, a friend, or anyone else, then don’t do it.  Unfortunately, well meaning family and friends can make hurtful comments or gestures in the guise of being “helpful”. 

I’ve seen it too many times especially among mothers and daughters.  As a personal trainer for women, I’ve worked with numerous women whose mothers had an unhealthy relationship with food and body image themselves.  Then they passed on these messages to the daughters with comments like “You really shouldn’t eat that… it will go straight to your hips” or if you keep on eating like that, you’ll be big as a house – then nobody will want to ask you out for a date”.  (In actuality, the human response to these kinds of comments is to rebel and just eat more of it because nobody likes to be controlled!)  As young girls, they internalized messages about themselves that they won’t measure up unless they’re a size ____ or unless they weigh ____ (you fill in the blank).  Well, you guessed it, now as adult women they still struggle with these wrong beliefs (i.e. LIES) and hence perpetuate the unhealthy relationship with food, exercise, body image, self -esteem, etc.  Then they in turn begin to pass that along to the NEXT generation.  Somehow, some way, this negative, self-defeating cycle needs to STOP!!  This is a prime reason why so many women are chained to this way of thinking and living.  It’s an obsession that they live with every day. 

So, how can you be free of this bondage?  Commit to intentionally change the way you think about food and exercise.  Stop thinking about losing weight, and think about all the positives that come from a healthy and fit lifestyle such as improved mood, increased energy, increased confidence, and the ability to do and experience more things without physical limitations.  Making positive changes for the right reasons (to improve your health because YOU want to) usually leads to a snowball effect of more and more positive changes that spill over into other areas like your mental, emotional, and spiritual health.  Before long, your life will have changed dramatically – one change at a time; one choice at a time.  However, it all starts with YOU and a commitment to living intentionally and purposefully.

Exercise of the day


This is a picture of an assisted lunge.  This is for beginners.  Basically, you can hold onto something for balance (as shown) if you need to.  Lunge to the front so that your legs form 90 degree angles; your front knee should NEVER go over your toe, and your back knee should almost touch the floor.  To come up, kick off the front heel back into the standing position using your muscle and not momentum.  You should feel this in your butt and quads (front of your thigh).  You can vary this exercise by alternating legs or do walking lunges.  This is one of the all-time best exercises you can do for your legs!!!  When it gets easy to do without holding weights, advance yourself by holding dumbbells by your side.  I usually use 20 lb dumbbells when I do these in my leg workouts, but you can start with lighter and work your way up to heavier ones.