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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

From the "Healthy is the New Skinny.com" Website

“Healthy is the new skinny!”  according to  Kate Halchishick in O magazine. In the article, plus size model and beauty Kate Halchishick allows herself to be photographed nude and then artists show what they would have to do to surgically alter her body to fit Barbie doll proportions. See full article here.

What a wonderful message for young women and even older women everywhere. I personally believe in a fitness focus over a fatness focus. By focusing on staying fit and healthy, your body will naturally become healthy and reduce fat content. But not in an extreme manner–in a realistic manner. Our bodies are all different. We start with our genetic code and then do what we can via our environment. For some people, like me, I can work out all day long and I will never become tall. Many people resort to plastic surgery to “correct” the body that their parents gave them through genetics. But this sets a disturbing trend for younger people. Bravo to Kate Halchishick for showing how absurd the body proportions of a standard Barbie Doll are to try to emulate. Check out the full article and pics on the Healthy is the New Skinny website here.

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Getting fit and staying fit when you have a busy schedule is tough.  I sympathize with all my overworked clients, friends and relatives and loyal readers as I work full-time and go to graduate school. But all the evidence points to the importance of regular exercise to help our moods, our minds and our bodies stay healthy and work well. I reviewed some of the articles on the internet about fitting exercise into busy schedules and am providing some of the best below. And, as a way to practice, read the articles as you stand at your computer. For the adventurous, do “squats” as you read. (Sit down, stand up sit down, stand up)

Articles on fitness:

• Staying Fit During Back-To-School Madness from About. Com

• Great tips for those over 40 contemplating starting an exercise program from Berkely Wellness here.

• Check out Technology fitness aid for those that are glued to their computer in Getting Fit the WebWorker Way here.

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

The American College of Sports Medicine tracks trends for the fitness industry and published their findings to show you what to expect in fitness in the coming year at the gym, in your doctor’s office and at work. Experienced fitness professionals topped the list while strength training, core work, special fitness programs for older adults, pilates and balance training also made the top ten. Dr. Walter Thompson, of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) which conducted the poll, said that 1,540 ACSM-certified fitness professionals from all around the world took part in the online survey.

“We really wanted to look at trends,” Thompson, a professor of Exercise Science at Georgia State University, explained. “We instructed the respondents to ignore fads, like the devices you see on late-night TV infomercials.”

Fitness professionals and personal trainers captured the first and third spots in the survey, but according to Thompson, this increase is at expense of clients. Why? Because the increase in demand for personal trainers and fitness instructors has led to an influx of people entering the profession lacking the necessary training to avoid injuring clients. Thompson said, “There has to be some policing. People are getting hurt by trainers who just don’t have the qualifications.” Personal training was introduced about 10 years ago and was once a luxury for movie stars. Now most gyms provide personal trainers and some gyms are personal trainer-only gyms.

Children and obesity came in second in the poll. “For the first time in history the next generation of young people may not live as long as their parents or grandparents,” said ACSM representatives. Strength training  and core training were in the top five as well.

The stability ball  came in at number eight. (Note: The use of the stability ball did not even make the top 20 in an ACSM survey in 2007.)  Fitness professionals once thought this was a fad, according to the ACSM, but the ball has become into a versatile teaching tool for stability, balance and strength.

Balance training, which includes yoga, Pilates, tai chi and exercise balls, came in at number 10. (Two years ago it was not even in the top 20.)

The emphasis on comprehensive health promotion at the workplace was number 12. “The notion of wellness coaching (number 13) was also a surprise. Last year it was at the bottom.” said Thompson, adding that nutrition as well as exercise and wellness training points to a more holistic approach to fitness in general.

Thompson and his team don’t predict the future, but they believe that the trends they track to inform the fitness industry are also useful in educating the public. For example,  physician referrals to exercise professionals is a growing trend. “Exercise is medicine,” Thompson concludes. “We’re bridging the gap between fitness professionals and physicians.”

Read the full article  here.
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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, ACSM Personal Trainer, Certified Wellness Coach, Licensed Massage Therapist

Digitlal Miniposters from Produtive Fitness

I write a lot about increasing activity and fitness in and outside the workplace.  Companies can provide employees with education about fitness to help improve employee health. One easy way to give employees great information about stretching and weight training is to put up posters from Productive Fitness. At home, Productive Fitness provides mini versions of these posters via digital download.

What’s So Great About Productive Fitness?

Productive Fitness Products Inc. is the #1 supplier of fitness books to exercise equipment stores in North America. Mike Jespersen started Productive Fitness Products Inc. with the publication of The Great Dumbbell Handbook. The idea of publishing a book specific to dumbbells came when Mike was working at a local fitness equipment store in Vancouver, B.C. Many of the customers purchasing dumbbells also wanted a reference guide to performing the exercises. The book was an instant success and has now sold over 300,000 copies. This success has been expanded upon with The Great Body Ball Handbook now having sold over 300,000 copies, and The Great Handbook series having sales of over 1.2 million.

Since Productive Fitness Products’ incorporation in 1998, it has continued to publish books, expanding on its series of “Great Books” which offer instruction on specific exercise topics such as the Body Ball, Stretch Tubing, and multi-station gyms.
The “Great Books” are designed as quick-reference handbooks which allow readers to instantly access exercise descriptions for a particular body part. Each exercise description has a start and finish photo with clear, concise, step-by-step exercise descriptions.

• See a sample of Productive Fitness videos on You Tube here.

Who Writes and Reviews Productive Fitness Products?

• Andre Noël Potvin is an internationally accredited author, fitness educator and medical exercise specialist with 24 years of leadership experience and clinical experience. Owner and operator of both a medical fitness clinic and school for fitness professionals, Andre is frequently invited to lecture at international public and professional conferences.
Read more about Andre here.
• James Talo has an extensive background in individual and team sports. His endeavors have ranged from track and field to lacrosse and the martial art, aikido. However, it wasn’t until Jim suffered a spinal injury in 1993 where his appreciation for the human body and how it should optimally move and function became apparent. This injury shifted his attention to the method of kettlebell lifting and the teachings of some of the world’s best coaches. He began his search for knowledge on this niche sport and obtained his first kettlebell certification in 2004.Jim’s coaching philosophy is one he shares with his students, clients and colleagues: “My purpose is to create an awareness… to educate coaches and their athletes on the merits of kettlebell lifting both as a training protocol and as a sport…I am here to serve, and to instruct technique that is safe and highly effective.”

Read more about Jim here.

Fitness Posters from Productive Fitness

• Large Size Posters for the workplace

Large Stretching Poster from Productive Fitness

• Digital Download Posters (8.5 x 11) for home workouts.

Disital Posters from Productive Fitness

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By Barbara Russi Sarnataro
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

How many New Year’s Eves have you spent sipping champagne and vowing to get more fit in the coming year? And how many times have you failed to follow through?

“December 31 over a drink is too late to set goals and make promises,” says Justin Price, owner of The Biomechanics, a personal training and wellness coaching facility in San Diego, Calif.

Fall, on the other hand, is a great time to start a fitness program because “‘you’re going to create good habits for the holiday season and the upcoming winter months,” says Price.

Chris Freytag, a fitness instructor and fitness expert with Prevention magazine, agrees.

“With the change of seasons comes a renewed time to rethink and restart,” she says. “‘What’s so special about January?”

Besides, says Freytag, a mother of three, moms with school-aged kids “think of September as the new year.”

Here are 10 ways to start making the most of the season. And who knows? This year, you might be in great shape before that New Year’s Eve party rolls around.

1. Take advantage of the weather. Fall can be a treat for the senses: the crisp air, apple picking, pumpkin carving, a gorgeous canopy of fall foliage, and the crunch of leaves underfoot. These months are a great time to exercise outdoors and enjoy cooler temperatures.

“Walking, hiking and cycling are all awesome in the fall,” says Todd Durkin, MS, fitness coach and owner of Fitness Quest 10 in San Diego, Calif.

Discover park trails and take in some new scenery, whether you’re walking, biking, or in-line skating, he suggests.

In places where snow falls early, try cross country skiing or snowshoeing. Or, if you live near the beach, get out and play volleyball, throw the Frisbee around, or play a vigorous game of fetch with your dog.

“It’s a great time to do beach activities because it’s so much less crowded,” says Price.

If you’re near a lake, try kayaking or canoeing, for an excellent whole-body workout and a great change of pace.

And remember, it doesn’t have to seem like exercise to be a great workout.

“Raking leaves or doing some fall outdoor yard work is a great way to get the heart pumping, and it’s great calorie-burning,” says Freytag.

2. Think outside the box. Always wanted to learn to tap dance? Attempt to box? Master the jump rope? Ask any schoolchild: Fall is a great time to learn something new.

Many classes at gyms and elsewhere get started in the fall, so look around and see if something intrigues you.

And with the kids in school, parents have more time to check out those classes, Freytag says.

Fall is the perfect time to gain new physical skills, Price says, because you burn fewer calories when you begin a new activity (thanks to the learning curve). If you learn something new now, by next summer, you’ll have mastered the skill — and you’ll burn more calories doing it, just in time for swimsuit season.

3. Be an active TV watcher. Many people get geared up for fall premieres of their favorite television shows, says Freytag. “If you’re going to sit down and watch hours of TV, get moving,” she suggests. “Make a date with exercise and TV.”

While you watch, you can walk or run in place, do standing lunges, do tricep dips off the couch, or lift weights. During commercials, do push-ups or sit-ups. In a one-hour show, you probably have close to 20 minutes worth of commercial interruption.

4. Integrate exercise into your life. You already know the obvious suggestions: park farther away from your destination; take stairs instead of elevators; take a walk during your lunch break. Here are a few that are less obvious:

* If you’re spending the afternoon taking kids to soccer practice, instead of reading a book or visiting with another parent, “why not walk around the outside of the field while they practice?”, suggests Price. “Or (if you feel comfortable) warm up and cool down with the kids.”
* Or try “walking meetings,” like those Price and his colleagues at Biomechanics often hold. ‘”We go for a walk, we brainstorm, and we figure out who’s going to take what responsibilities,” says Price. “‘Things get achieved much more quickly,” he says, and everyone feels better for doing it.
* You can even get moving while you get motivated — for fitness or other life goals. ‘”Get some inspirational music or find a motivational talk and download it to your iPod,” suggests Durkin. Walk while you listen for 30 minutes.

5. Rejuvenate yourself. Fall is the time to rejuvenate body, mind and spirit, says Durkin. Get a massage after your run. Learn to meditate. Take an art class. Treat yourself not just with exercise but other activities that promote wellness, he says, so you can feel good physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

6. Remember the 30-day rule. “‘It takes about four weeks for the body to adapt to lifestyle changes,” says Price. That’s why people who give up on their fitness programs tend to do so within the first 30 days.

So, when the alarm goes off in the morning and it’s darker and colder, don’t roll over and hit the snooze button.

“Try to stick with a program for a month,” Price says. “After a month, behavior patterns will have adapted and it will be much easier to stick with it after that.”

7. Strive for the 3 Cs. Freytag calls commitment, convenience, and consistency “the three Cs”, and says having all three will lead to a successful fitness program.

First, exercise takes commitment. When a client complains to Freytag about a lack of time, she responds: “Tell me something I haven’t heard before. We’re all busy; that’s just part of our lives.

You have to start planning exercise, just like you do everything else,” like meetings, dinners, and getting kids to lessons and practice, she says. “Put in on the calendar, because later always turns into never.”

Convenience means choosing a gym that’s close by, or an activity you can do at home, or a time when you’re not likely to be interrupted.

Finally, there’s consistency. “I’d rather see a brand-new client work out for 10 minutes a day rather than one hour every month,” Freytag says

8. Deal with darkness. The best way to enjoy fall is to exercise outdoors. But it is getting darker earlier, and staying dark later in the morning, so be smart and safe.

“Just because it’s 6 p.m. (or a.m.) and dark doesn’t mean you can’t work out,” says Durkin. If walking or running outdoors, he says, “wear a reflective vest and carry a flashlight.”

When cycling, affix a light to your helmet or bike.

If possible, use trails or a local school track to avoid vehicle traffic. Try to work out at the same time every day, so drivers get used to seeing you.

9. Dress in layers. When exercising outside, layer your clothing. Before your body warms up, you may feel chilled, but once the blood gets pumping, you’ll feel overdressed.

These days, there’s no lack of great weather gear. Freytag and Price recommend clothing with wicking, often called “DriFit.”‘ This fabric wicks moisture away from your skin so you’re not exercising with wet fabric hanging on you.

Freytag suggests three layers: “The inner layer should be a moisture-wicking fabric, so it wicks away sweat and you’re not chilled. The second layer should be a warmth layer, and the third layer should be a protective layer (like a windbreaker or rain slicker, depending on the weather).”

“And don’t forget the sunglasses,” she warns. UV protection is important year round. Fall sun can be blinding at certain times of the day.

10. Find your motivation. “People are motivated by different things,” says Durkin. It’s important to first discover what your individual goals are, whether it’s losing weight, strengthening and toning, or preparing for a race or event, says Durkin.

But goals aren’t enough to get you there; you have to be motivated by the day-to-day workouts, he says. So choose something you’ll enjoy doing and will be likely to keep up, whether it’s walking or hiking with a friend, working with a trainer, or taking part in a “boot camp” class.

Creating a challenge for yourself will motivate you, as will encouragement and accountability, he adds. “You want to know when you’re doing a good job, and when you’re not,” says Durkin.

Remember too, that anything worth having takes work.

“Tell me something you can do three times a week for 10 minutes and be great at? It doesn’t exist,” he says. “If it was easy to be great, everybody would be great.”

Link to Barbara Russi Sarnataro’s article here

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By Sue Shekut, Licensed Massage Therapist, ACSM Personal Trainer, Certified Wellness Coach, Owner, Working Well Massage

Does exercise makes you fatter?  According to an article in Time Magazine ‘s August 9th,  2009 issue, “Why Exercise Won’t Make you Thin,” vigorous exercise can make you unable to lose weight. The article states that people only have so much willpower. Once they use that limited self control to work out, they don’t have any more mental strength to resist over eating. It also states that vigorous exercise makes you ravenous and you end up eating much more if you exercise than if you do not.

Well, that’s just silly.  Think about it. If vigorous exercise made you fat, Michael Phelps would be a Sumo wrestler.  It is true that high caloric expenditure requires high caloric intake.  An Olympic athlete that burns 12000 calories a day in training would need to eat at 12000 calories just to maintain his current weight. People that work out for hours at a time–competitive body builders, gymnasts, swimmers and marathon runners–do expend a lot of calories. And they do need to eat to replace the calories they burn in exercise. But ask a marathon runner if he or she is ravenously hungry after a run. Many of them will tell you they actually lose their appetite immediately following an intense workout. Body builders eat frequent meals throughout the day to keep protean available to give their muscles building blocks to grow larger and stronger.

It’s only been relatively recently that human beings lead such sedentary lifestyles. In the 1800’s and early 1900’s, most people had very physically active lives. Daily caloric intake was larger due to the extra caloric expenditure. In other words, if you spent your day tilling the fields, or washing clothes and dishes by hand, hand washing floors and making bread from scratch, you had a higher caloric needs than someone from 2009 that sits at work all day, drives home, microwaves a meal and sits in front of the television.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, a leading authority in sports medicine and exercise science:

• Physical activity is one of the most important behavioral factors in weight maintenance and improving long-term weight loss outcomes. In fact, participation in an exercise program has proven to be the very best predictor of maintaining weight that was lost.

• Effective weight loss and maintenance depend on a simple equation called energy balance: Calories expended through physical activity and normal lifestyle functions must exceed calories consumed.

• It is a myth that exercise can actually prevent weight loss by leading exercisers to overeat. Research and common sense disprove this notion. Look around the gym or the jogging trail. If this were the case, wouldn’t those who regularly exercise be the fattest?

• Physical activity needn’t involve expensive equipment, gym memberships or team athletics. Simple activities like walking, accumulated in 10-minute bouts, can have significant benefits.

John Jakicic, Ph.D., FACSM states that” “Again, it is clear in this regard that physical activity is one of the most important behavioral factors in enhancing weight loss maintenance and improving long-term weight loss outcomes.”

Jakicic’s research on obesity, published in 2008, showed that a long duration of physical activity (275 minutes above baseline levels) led to the largest observed weight loss after a 24-month intervention.

Sorry for the letdown, folks, but exercise does help you lose fat and maintain the weight loss. And  it can be fun!

Sources:

Time Magazine Article link

ASCM Article link

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