“If you understand yourself you are illuminated.
If you overcome others you are powerful.
If you overcome yourself you have strength.
If you know how to be satisfied you are rich.
If you can act with vigor, you have a will.
If you don’t lose your objectives you can be long-lasting.
If you die without loss, you are eternal.”
I’ve been teaching a TRX six-week challenge class the past six weeks and incorporated a focus on mindful eating, food choices, and a change of routine. I love TRX, AKA suspension training. TRX is a great way to build core strength, burn fat, and increase strength and mobility.
Suspension training can be done with a convenient strap system that’s inexpensive and easy to transport to any workout space.
TRX was developed by a Navy SEAL, Randy Hetrick to train during deployment. It is a portable workout system that combines your bodyweight with gravity. The intensity of all exercises can be made more difficult by adjusting the angle of the body.
This six-week challenge has really helped me to break through a plateau and increase lean muscle. Additionally, my challenge group has managed to successfully improve their nutrition, lose inches, and reduce body fat. This is one of the best workouts for the core and to help define the abs.
Try my killer TRX workout below for some of my favorite suspension training exercises incorporated into a circuit (repeat 3x) Let me know how you like! Don’t forget to add a warm-up and cool down.
- TRX Squat With High Row (10 Reps)
2. Jump back Push Ups (10 Reps)
3. Trx Pike Crunch (10 Reps)
4. Burpee Mountain Climber (10 Reps)
5. TRX Hamstring Runner (10 Reps)
6. Up-Down Plank (10 Reps)
“Organic is something we can all partake of and benefit from. When we demand organic, we are demanding poison-free food. We are demanding clean air. We are demanding pure, fresh water. We are demanding soil that is free to do its job and seeds that are free of toxins. We are demanding that our children be protected from harm. We all need to bite the bullet and do what needs to be done—buy organic whenever we can insist on organic, fight for organic and work to make it the norm. We must make organic the conventional choice and not the exception available only to the rich and educated.”
Although organic fruits and vegetables are typically pricey, I’ve discovered good produce options to buy each week that are very affordable. Here is a list of budget-friendly items I purchased at the grocery store this week: Organic Carrots ($1.99), Organic Celery ($2.69), Organic potatoes ($2.99), Organic Gala Apples ($3.99), Organic Cucumber ( 99 cents), Container of Organic Spinach ($2.99), Organic Cherry Tomatoes ($2.99), Organic Bananas (79 cents/lb)
The quality of the food we eat is vital to our health. Why are food items that contain no salt, less sugar, and fewer ingredients more expensive? It’s frustrating that the food items promoted on television and in our grocery stores are loaded with harmful toxins and chemicals. However, the answer is educating yourself and making smarter food choices. If you are unable to afford organic prices, avoid items on the “dirty dozen” list and consider shopping for more affordable organic items like those I purchased above
Here’s the full list of EWG’s (Environmental Working Group) “Dirty Dozen” for 2019: This is a list of fruits and vegetables that have a substantial amount of pesticides and should be avoided unless you purchase organic varieties.
The “Clean 15” are fruits and vegetables that contain fewer pesticides and can be purchased non-organic if desired.
EWG’s 2019 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™
“He who becomes the slave of habit,
who follows the same routes every day,
who never changes pace,
who does not risk and change the color of his clothes,
who does not speak and does not experience,
He or she who shuns passion,
who prefers black on white,
dotting ones “it’s” rather than a bundle of emotions, the kind that make your eyes glimmer,
that turn a yawn into a smile,
that make the heart pound in the face of mistakes and feelings,
He or she who does not turn things topsy-turvy,
who is unhappy at work,
who does not risk certainty for uncertainty,
to thus follow a dream,
those who do not forego sound advice at least once in their lives,
He who does not travel, who does not read,
who does not listen to music,
who does not find grace in himself,
she who does not find grace in herself,
He who slowly destroys his own self-esteem,
who does not allow himself to be helped,
who spends days on end complaining about his own bad luck, about the rain that never stops,
He or she who abandon a project before starting it, who fail to ask questions on subjects he doesn’t know, he or she who don’t reply when they are asked something they do know,
Let’s try and avoid death in small doses,
reminding oneself that being alive requires an effort far greater than the simple fact of breathing.
Only a burning patience will lead
to the attainment of a splendid happiness.”
Have you thought about the time you put into your workouts each week? Are your exercises efficient, effective, and geared towards your goals? Many people perform the same workouts mindlessly week after week because it’s comfortable and familiar. If you want to stay healthy and strong, you may want to re-evaluate your fitness program.
Do not start your workouts without a goal or workout plan? A fitness plan can ensure that you have a well-rounded program that includes stretching, weight training, and cardiovascular work. If you do random workouts each week, you run the risk of overtraining some body parts and neglecting other areas, putting you at risk for muscle imbalance and injury. Consider creating a fitness plan to help you schedule your workouts, add accountability, and help you incorporate variety into your fitness routine.
Plan your workouts at the beginning of the week and make sure to include cardiovascular work 2-3 times per week, weight training 2-3 times on non-consecutive days, and flexibility training 3-5 times per week.
Are your workouts structured to help you attain your goals or are you blindly going through the motions each week without results?
It’s important to evaluate your current fitness routine and determine if it’s working for you or against you. Crosstraining is vital for health and longevity. Our bodies thrive on new activities that challenge us to change our normal routines. When you constantly perform one activity and neglect other muscle groups, you are setting yourself up for plateaus and overuse injuries. If you’re still doing the same routine you were doing last year, it’s time to tweak your program to include cardio, strength, and flexibility components.
When evaluating and setting up your program, ask yourself these five questions:
1. Does my program include resistance/weight training, cardiovascular work, flexibility, and balance (stabilizer) work?
Many people perform their favorite weight training workouts, go to the same group fitness classes, or do the same elliptical or treadmill routines week after week. Body builders, dancers, yogis, runners, professional athletes, or anyone who performs the same activities each week are more prone to muscle imbalance and overuse injuries.
Consider hiring a personal trainer to design your program if you need professional advice. If you don’t have sufficient knowledge of what exercises to do or an understanding of proper form and technique, your workouts will be ineffective and increase your risk of injury.
A certified fitness trainer can create a well-balanced fitness program by considering your goals, current fitness level, and assessing any areas of weakness. For example, if you are a runner, you may have tight hamstrings and weak quadriceps, which can lead to poor performance and injuries. A trainer can suggest you incorporate other activities, such as yoga and weight training to improve hamstring flexibility and increase strength in the quadriceps.
Therefore, it’s vital to include resistance training, cardiovascular work, and stretching into your current routine. Also, don’t forget to incorporate balance exercises to help strengthen your stabilizer muscles and joints.
Many people, when starting their fitness journey, are drawn to the machines at the gym that are only isolating a single muscle at a time. This is really common and, the truth is, we don’t really know any better. We think we are “supposed to go to the gym” and we see all the machines when we get there – it makes sense, right? Wrong! The truth is, the foundation of your fitness routine should be stability and balance training in order to activate and strengthen the core and the many stabilizing muscles, improve coordination, decrease the risk of injury and work to eliminate overcompensations that probably have developed over time.
2. Do your workouts contain an appropriate warm-up and cool down?
A proper warm-up is essential to help prepare your muscles and joints for a more intense workout. Neglecting the warm-up can lead to a pulled muscle, strain, or other injuries. Your warm-up should include movements you will be doing during your workout. Therefore, begin your warm-up at a slow pace and gradually build up the intensity over a period of 8 to 10 minutes. For example, start with a slow-paced walk, transition to a faster pace walk, and then a jog.
The cooldown and stretch are just as important as the warm-up. A proper cool down allows your heart rate time to return to normal. Stretching will help elongate the muscles, improve flexibility, and help promote better muscle recovery.
Always allow for at least a 20 to 30 second stretch for each muscle group at the end of your workout.
3. Do you evaluate your progress and change your program periodically?
Make sure to monitor the progress of your fitness program. Consider starting a fitness journal to set goals and track your progress. A journal is a great way to monitor improvements such as increased strength from lifting heavier weights, improved endurance when running, or participating in an intense Crossfit workout.
Change your workouts approximately every six weeks to create muscle confusion. If you constantly do the same activity week after week, your body becomes adapted to your routine. You will develop strength that is specific to the exercise you are doing. However, repeated use of these same muscles and joints can lead to overdeveloped muscles in some parts of the body and weak underdeveloped muscles in other areas. Muscle confusion is simply changing your workouts on a consistent basis to prevent plateaus and adaptation.
A good time frame for changing your workout routine is every 4 to 6 weeks. For instance, if your current weight training workout is heavy weights, you could switch to increased reps and lighter weights the following month. If you are a runner, you could do long runs for 4 weeks and then switch to a month of shorter and faster interval runs. This creates muscle confusion and is great for increasing overall fitness and performance.
Being able to visualize your goals and progress on paper is a great motivational tool to help you get progressively stronger and increase your fitness level.
4. Does your weight training program address all the major muscle groups: Chest, Back, Biceps, Triceps (all three heads), shoulders ( ex. medial, lateral, and anterior deltoids), quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, core, and lower back (erector spinae). I hear many clients tell me they want a six-pack and they only want to work abdominals or men who only care about a big chest and biceps, but neglect their lower body. However, it’s important to work all major muscle groups to stay strong and injury free. Check out the following link for setting up a well-balanced fitness program:
8 Reasons for Building a Balanced Body
Here are 8 reasons why you MUST focus on building a balanced body:
- Prevents injuries
- Symmetrical appearance that is more pleasing to the eyes
- Improved posture
- No muscle imbalances in size
- No muscle imbalances in strength
- Prevention of aches and pains
- Get stronger faster because all muscles are strong and contribute to overall strength
- Build muscle faster due to greater strength and targeting all major muscle groups
5. Do you evaluate your exercise selections in your workout program? Or could some of your exercises be on this video “Most Dangerous Gym Workout?”
Some exercises may look cool but – is it appropriate for you ( age appropriate and fitness level)? Is it safe and effective or is there a better alternative? Always evaluate risk versus reward.
Unfortunately the current fitness climate is hot for something I call enter-trainment. Much of what we see in the gym is fueled by social media. You only need to look through any fitness feed to see a multitude of handstands, olympic lifts, human flags, couples squatting each other, 1000 rep challenges etc etc.
Better to be safe than sorry and stick with the basics to avoid injury. There are countless safe and effective exercises that will help you reach your goals.
For more information on crosstraining, check out my blog: Crosstraining is important for overall fitness
“No matter how careful you are, there’s going to be the sense you missed something, the collapsed feeling under your skin that you didn’t experience it all. There’s that fallen heart feeling that you rushed right through the moments where you should’ve been paying attention.
Well, get used to that feeling. That’s how your whole life will feel some day.
This is all practice.”
Today is a no meat day for Lent and I’ve been experimenting with different ideas for vegetarian meals each week. I found these Garden Veggie Burgers at Publix and they are pretty healthy when you compare them with other vegan products like Morning Star that are often soy based. These GreenWise veggie burgers list carrots, green beans, onion, broccoli, and zucchini on the ingredient list.
I prepared the garden burgers on a griddle with olive oil and sauteed onions. They had a much better texture than most veggie burgers that tend to be mushy. I topped the burgers with avocado, onions, and feta cheese and added a side of baked sweet potato fries. I’m also trying to incorporate more raw veggies into my diet and added a side of sliced organic apples, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers. YUM!!
“Every single thing has a balance and the moment we overdo that balance something has to give and we are punished by fate in one way or another”
I first heard about rhabdomyolysis in an article about the dangers of CrossFit workouts. Exertional Rhabdomyolysis— “sometimes called exercise-induced rhabdomyolysis — is one of many types of rhabdomyolysis that can occur, and because of this, the exact prevalence and incidence are unclear.”
The Mayo Clinic reports other types of rhabdomyolysis occur from trauma to the muscles due to automobile accidents, snake bites, drugs, alcohol, and performance-enhancing supplements.
During extreme exercise exertion, a breakdown of muscle can result in the myoglobin(contents of the muscle cells) leaking into the bloodstream; this can lead to kidney failure and possibly death. Exertional Rhabdomyolysis is often associated with dehydration, overheating of the body such as exercising in high temperatures, and heatstroke.
Although rhabdomyolysis is considered a rare occurrence, I’ve known two people who have been hospitalized with it related to their participation in CrossFit workouts. Exertional Rhabdomyolysis can occur with any kind of extreme conditioning program such as CrossFit, boot camp classes, military or football training. Other program examples could include, high reps of one single muscle group in a short period of time AMRAP (as many reps as possible), or high reps that focus on the “eccentric” part of the exercise, and also prolonged exercise without recovery.
Some Common Symptoms include:
- Extreme muscle pain
- swelling of the muscle
- extreme weakness
- dark colored urine
“Generally, this syndrome is brought on by the performance of unaccustomed, excessive, repetitive exercises such as push-ups and squat-jumps. Rhabdomyolysis can also occur after strenuous recreational activities such as marathon running, hiking, or performance of excessive strenuous exercise during the first days of a new training program. Mild cases of rhabdomyolysis do not require hospitalization, and individuals recover within one week. However, in certain individuals, rhabdomyolysis can be severe. The combination of heat stress and rhabdomyolysis can produce acute renal failure, which, in rare instances, can result in death. The few individuals who have developed severe rhabdomyolysis generally have never shown any prior symptoms. These individuals may have a latent, sub-clinical muscle disorder that predisposes them to the most negative consequences of rhabdomyolysis. For strenuous exercise in the heat, precautions such as adequate fluid intake and acclimatization are critical. All exercise training programs should start with mild to moderately intense exercise and should progress gradually. These safeguards will not only prevent subsequent muscle pain and optimize performance, but they may also save lives.”
Therefore, remember to exercise caution when participating in advanced training methods. Evaluate the instructor’s qualifications and the appropriateness of the workout for your particular fitness level. Make sure the instructor is certified and understands program design; one that includes the entire body rather than one specific muscle group. Additionally, always make sure to consistently hydrate before, during and after exercise.
And above all- LISTEN TO YOUR BODY; always use common sense when performing intense exercise programs and allow for appropriate recovery.
“People sometimes sneer at those who run every day, claiming they’ll go to any length to live longer. But don’t think that’s the reason most people run. Most runners run not because they want to live longer, but because they want to live life to the fullest. If you’re going to while away the years, it’s far better to live them with clear goals and fully alive then in a fog, and I believe running helps you to do that. Exerting yourself to the fullest within your individual limits: that’s the essence of running, and a metaphor for life — and for me, for writing as whole. I believe many runners would agree”
I had avocado toast with eggs this evening for dinner and it was delicious. I’m always looking for ways to increase the nutrient value of my food and used mainly organic ingredients. I found a great organic bread with flax seeds for the avocado toast. This was a quick and easy meal that I paired with apple and cucumber salad and organic hash browns. (I used olive oil to pan fry the potatoes instead of butter)
1.Cucumber and Apple Salad
2. Fried Sweet Potato