Monday, October 30, 2017


On a two or three year basis depending on the certification, personal trainers are required to re-certify to keep credentials up to date. For me that means a lot of reading and completing on-line studies and quizzes or webinars.  All in all it is something I enjoy and usually have more cecs than required since I find one more book I just have to read.  Recently I have been taking the ACE Fitness Nutritionist Specialist. Natalie Digate Mute is a wonderful presenter, well qualified being a Pediatrician, Dietitian among other things.  A lot of it has been review but even so it has been quite good. For instance, personal trainers can talk about supplements with clients, the pros and cons if there are any but can not recommend supplements.  We can help the client find answers to questions but the client needs to decide. The protein powder that I use almost every morning is a supplement and if asked about protein powder I can discuss the advantages, etc. even give out printed information from approved sources but not get any more detailed than that.  While I always thought it was OK to say "this is what I do", it is not.  A client might think "Well if it is okay for her it has to be good for me". Individuals need to decide on his/her own given adequate information. Actually making ones own plan with guidance from a professional is a plan for success.  It is quite often necessary to have a trainer or a mentor to lead you in the right direction whatever the cause may be, but long term success requires owning up and taking responsibility for yourself,

Resource:  ACE Fitness Nutrition Specialist Program

Thursday, October 19, 2017


Stretching is only one of the components of fitness and one that is overlooked many times. Often stretching at the end of a workout is something like a quick quad stretch kind of like the picture above.  The quad stretch is a great stretch, but only one of many that we need.  Tight muscles can lead to joint pain, poor posture, etc. That will eventually limit our range of motion and in some cases effect breathing. Even as we get older we find ourselves getting stiff and tight. Flexibility training should be part of our exercise program.  Some of my older adults stretch before getting out of bed in the morning and they tell me without any hesitation that this has been a saving factor as they aged.   One thing I tell everyone is that stretching should be challenging. You should feel the stretch, but never cross the line into pain. Stretching for flexibility and fitness should not be painful.

The most common form of stretching that I use is static stretching. It is the safest especially for beginners. Keep in mind that you may have exercised for years running or walking for cardio and lifting weighs for strength training, but if  stretching has not been a part of your routine, you are a beginner.  Ballistic stretching is what I remember seeing on Ocean Drive in Corpus Christi when we walked or ran.  It involved getting into the stretch position and actually using momentum to move farther into the stretch by bouncing and swinging.  We don't do that so much anymore; i.e., forcing the body to do something.  Dynamic stretching is a type of stretching that does involve moving a body part, but in a controlled fashion.  In fact, I use dynamic stretching at times in the pool with my water exercise participants.  Easy swinging in the water allows for full range of motion and then very slowly the range of motion is increased over time.  If you are like most of us you will not immediately feel a change.  It takes time. One last word of advise on stretching. Just because you see someone doing a stretch, doesn't mean it is being done correctly. Think about what you are doing. Check out a reputable book or a video or better yet, ask for help at your gym.  This is not a time to "Monkey see, Monkey do" or you might just be the monkey.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Exercise For Older Adults

On September 29th my oldest client turned 99.  Not only is she my oldest being 99 but she is also the client who has been with me the longest.  She is amazing, always comes to exercise, and always gives 100%.  While the CDC reports that about 80% of Americans don't get the recommended amount of exercise it is even less for older adults and less than that for old older adults.  The number of older adults in 2016 was about 48 million and by 2050 I believe the number is expected to double.  With that in mind only a small percentage live in retirement communities so a large number are remaining in their own homes or living with family members.  They will not have access to a facility wellness center or gym. Some may visit a senior center such as Kronkosky Center in Boerne where exercise classes or equipment are available.  In many cases if they live alone or with family members they might find it harder to stand up and down, complete daily activities, and move around with ease. Simply getting in and out of bed can become a challenge.  Exercise might help.  In fact, in most cases it does.  I have seen many older adults improve with exercise.  One exercise I do with older clients is chair stands.  On a number of occasions when I introduced this exercise I got " a look".  With a little encouragement all of them have been able to do it and they find that it gets easier with practice.  One of my favorite tools in training is a ball.  With my chair classes I use an air ball (no resistance).  I find them at Walmart or HEB on the end caps of the store aisles.  They are intended for child's play and they are playful but also bring purpose to our class.  We can toss them, bounce them, lift them, kick them and do all sorts of leg exercises with a simple air ball.  It is the simplest, cheapest toy and provides a fun way to increase strength. If you have an older adult that needs exercise and you have trouble coming up with something for them to do try tossing a ball and see what happens.  Not everyone can afford a personal trainer. Few can.  It doesn't mean that exercise has to be tossed out the window.

Monday, September 18, 2017

A "Diet" May Not Be The Answer

The church computer had a mind of its own Sunday morning as it sent part of my post out prematurely. Some of you will have comments about that.  Here is what should have been sent.

I am the person that put out $5.00 for 15 plus issues of Time.  I actually thought I would become more up to date with world events, but not so.  However Time quite often has beneficial information about healthy eating and exercise. Yes, I am surprised and surprised to find it to be quality information not colored by opinion.  In The Truth About Weight Loss Alexandra Sifferlin writes about diets, metabolism, and exercise featuring quotes from others that have conquered their problem. Our country has an obesity rate of 40% and an even higher percentage for the overweight.  Ms Sifferlin brings to our attention that one diet does not work for all.  Everyone has to find their own way.

Picture this.  A group of 6-8 ladies are having lunch and as the dishes are cleared away one of them begins to talk about her successful weight loss and her "diet".  Body positions change and ears lean in.  She has lost a noticeable amount of weight.  I would guess that more than one of those ladies left the group thinking  " I might try her diet" and if so might be disappointed.  In my group sessions I quite often hear one sharing diet tips. Most often it's about the low-carb diet.  I cringe and change the subject. calls the weight loss industry a 60 billion dollar a year business.  That's a lot of money!  If weight loss is an issue for you, find your own way.  Just don't jump on the band wagon and order in what works for a friend.  The TV, the internet, magazines on any given day are fighting for your money.  Keep it.  There's a right way to do it and I don't see marketing for it yet.

Resource: Time June 5, 2017 The Truth About Weight Loss by Alexandra Sifferlin

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

National Weight Control Registry

The National Weight Control Registry is the longest ongoing record of successful weight loss.  Most people will agree that the hardest part of weight loss is keeping it off.  Maintenance.  Losing the weight is only the beginning.  Most will say when they hit that target goal, "I'm never going back there again."  Most do.  Hence we have the term yo-yo dieting.  The NWCR tracks over 10,000 people who have lost a significant amount of weight and kept it off.  You can even join the study yourself if you qualify and are 18 or over.  Members have lost an average of 66 pounds and kept if off for about 5 years.  There are a few things that they all have in common such as:

  • 78% eat breakfast every day
  • 75% weigh themselves at least once a week
  • 62% watch less than 10 hours of TV a week
  • 90% exercise an average of an hour a day

I particularly enjoyed reading the success stories.  I always love reading about a journey to success but I also find interesting the motivation to do so.  Often the motivation is the realization that good health is about to come crushing down.  Sometimes people just get sick of themselves. 
At any rate if you are struggling with weight check out the National Weight Control Registry.

As I sit in my comfortable chair writing this Florida has been hammered with a Cat 4 hurricane, Irma. Yesterday the tropical storm winds reached home for my family in South Georgia. Millions in the Southeast are without power.  Please keep all of those struggling from Irma in prayer.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Reading By The Book

Whenever I hear others talk about books they are reading my ears perk up.  I have a waiting list on my kindle and yet I am always ready for that next great read.  I have recently undated my own reading list. If your ears perk up when you hear others talk about books they are reading, you can check it out on the sidebar of my blog .  For now I will highlight the three that impressed me the most.

1.  One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp. (recommended by my brother)

If I were to give books for Christmas gifts, this would be the book. At a very young age Ann witnessed an unbelievable tragedy in her life.  One such that we only read about in the newspaper or hear on the news.  It shaped her life and from that point she was not childlike in her young life. Later in adulthood with a farmer husband she managed a house and a house full of kids. And at some point she discovered what gratitude for the everyday blessings could do for a life.  She writes
" The real problem of life is never lack of time.  
The real problem of life-in my life-is lack of thanksgiving."

2.  I Thought It Was Just Me by Brene Brown (my daughter's pick for our book study)

I wish I had read this when I was much younger but maybe I was too busy trying to do it all perfectly to really pay attention to the message.  Through years of research and countless interviews Brene Brown writes about our quest to be perfect and instead feeling inadequate. We are never going to get there on this earth but if we can learn to turn away from what we are supposed to be we might find that we are enough.  One quote that stands out for me is
"Courage gives us a voice and compassion gives us an ear."

3. The Book of Joy  Lasting Happiness In A Changing World by His Holiness the Dali Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu with Douglas Abrams (my daughter-in-law's pick)

I loved this book.  I reserved it for my night time reading and I always had a hard time putting it away.  It is humorous, educational, delightful and in the end it addresses the question, "How do we find happiness in life?"  If you are trying to find it, read this book.  The world needs to read that
"With a self-centered attitude, you become distanced from others, then distrust, then feel insecure, then fear, then anxiety, then frustration, then anger, then violence."

Tuesday, August 8, 2017


"Change starts in your thoughts."  

When our son was quite young, maybe 5 or 6, some of his favorite toys were transformers.  He could take a toy airplane and with a few quick turns transform it into a battleship or a monster.  His little fingers were so fast that his Dad and I could never figure out how he did it. "Transform" means to make a major change.  He did that with his toys.  I read recently about a real woman who had struggled for years with her weight problem.  After trying countless diets and fitness programs only to fail, she finally decided she had to change her mindset.  The British dictionary defines mindset as the ideas and attitudes a person approaches a situation when especially the situation is seen as being difficult to alter. Mindset involves attitude, behavior, the way we think and with effort mindset can be changed. The lady I read about took responsibility for herself and her transformation was remarkable. Fitness trackers were involved as was social media. She found online communities that became her inspiration. Facebook provides community for just about everything.  In the end she made a major change. She was the transformation!