Stretching: Is it worth the time?

We’ve all heard how important stretching is. It’s been preached about forever and a day. I remember high school gym teachers would run us through some static stretches and that was a loooong time ago! 😉

All joking aside, stretching truly IS all that it’s cracked up to be and yet not everyone does it.

Why? It seems that many people feel it’s not as important as the all powerful ‘workout’ and it is just a waste of valuable time when there is so much to do in a day. Or maybe, it’s viewed as a practice for people who like to do yoga and or need to relax?

Maybe. While these can definitely seem true, it’s still critical to our goals to stretch but not in the way we’ve learned a million years ago in high school! (disclaimer: if you are in high school today and reading this, you might still be doing static stretching as my son has said and he’s in high school today)

 

Anywho (this word cracks me up because it makes absolutely NO sense and yet so many people use it), let’s talk about adding in some dynamic stretching into your program to see how valuable this is to your training. Maybe you don’t know what this is? Totally okay, because I’m here to help 😉

Dynamic stretching is exactly what the name implies. You are actually moving and involving the muscles for the stretch to take place. Static stretching is where you hold a stretch and breath for a given amount of time. (yes, kind of like yoga but not really). Dynamic stretching is perfect for both athletes and weight lifters alike, because it not only stretches the muscles but also helps incorporate a warm-up at the same time due to the movement that is involved. Two for one! No more thinking it’s a time waster (which it isn’t). 😉

 

So let’s clarify why it’s important to incorporate dynamic stretches and how they can help our performance. This way of stretching and moving tells our body that something is coming in terms of a workload being placed upon our bodies and we are better able to prepare for the challenges. It helps get our blood pumping, raises our core temperature and helps to eliminate and reduce muscle stiffness that we may experience. The muscles get flooded with blood and oxygen to help them perform at a higher level in sports and a workout plan. It helps our muscle fibers and connective tissue to become more flexible and improve our overall range of motion.

Not only these, but dynamic stretching also increases our power. A very important aspect to an athlete who needs to utilize explosive movements in their game, or a powerlifter who needs to exert explosive forces against a weight in order to perform and complete an exercise or lift.

I’ve been incorporating this type of warm-up in my clients’ workouts; both online and in person. It’s important to correlate the stretching movements with the workload that will be done. It would be a waste of our valuable time if we focused on upper body stretches only when our training that day involves running and lower body movements. My son played football last year in high school and told me how they warmed up with dynamic stretches. For these athletes, it’s important to incorporate both upper and lower body in their dynamic stretches. Here are some excellent benefits to adding dynamic stretches into your routine:

  • it increases flexibility
  • it increases our range of motion
  • in increases blood flow and body temperature
  • it increases our power output capabilities
  • it helps increase our endurance
  • it improves neuromuscular activation
  • it helps to improve our balance
  • it improves our coordination
  • it decreases our risk of injury

All winning benefits in my book! 😉

So now that you know what it is and why it’s important, let’s talk about how you can add it into your routine. I’ll give you a 3-step process to follow for best results in your next workout:

  1. Warm-up first for about 5 minutes on a machine or you can go for a walk, jog or even light cycling.
  2. Incorporate some dynamic moves based on the work you are getting ready to perform.
  3. Start your workout.

Easy! Now, what the heck are some dynamic moves anyway, right? (thought you’d never ask!) Here is a great video that shows both upper and lower body dynamic stretches. It also gets you warmed up, as you’ll see!

Let’s get started! Need some help with your training and goals? Let’s see if we can work together on some goal setting and success. Just fill in this application and I’ll be in touch shortly!

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Stretching: Is it worth the time?

We’ve all heard how important stretching is. It’s been preached about forever and a day. I remember high school gym teachers would run us through some static stretches and that was a loooong time ago! 😉

All joking aside, stretching truly IS all that it’s cracked up to be and yet not everyone does it.

Why? It seems that many people feel it’s not as important as the all powerful ‘workout’ and it is just a waste of valuable time when there is so much to do in a day. Or maybe, it’s viewed as a practice for people who like to do yoga and or need to relax?

Maybe. While these can definitely seem true, it’s still critical to our goals to stretch but not in the way we’ve learned a million years ago in high school! (disclaimer: if you are in high school today and reading this, you might still be doing static stretching as my son has said and he’s in high school today)

 

Anywho (this word cracks me up because it makes absolutely NO sense and yet so many people use it), let’s talk about adding in some dynamic stretching into your program to see how valuable this is to your training. Maybe you don’t know what this is? Totally okay, because I’m here to help 😉

Dynamic stretching is exactly what the name implies. You are actually moving and involving the muscles for the stretch to take place. Static stretching is where you hold a stretch and breath for a given amount of time. (yes, kind of like yoga but not really). Dynamic stretching is perfect for both athletes and weight lifters alike, because it not only stretches the muscles but also helps incorporate a warm-up at the same time due to the movement that is involved. Two for one! No more thinking it’s a time waster (which it isn’t). 😉

 

So let’s clarify why it’s important to incorporate dynamic stretches and how they can help our performance. This way of stretching and moving tells our body that something is coming in terms of a workload being placed upon our bodies and we are better able to prepare for the challenges. It helps get our blood pumping, raises our core temperature and helps to eliminate and reduce muscle stiffness that we may experience. The muscles get flooded with blood and oxygen to help them perform at a higher level in sports and a workout plan. It helps our muscle fibers and connective tissue to become more flexible and improve our overall range of motion.

Not only these, but dynamic stretching also increases our power. A very important aspect to an athlete who needs to utilize explosive movements in their game, or a powerlifter who needs to exert explosive forces against a weight in order to perform and complete an exercise or lift.

I’ve been incorporating this type of warm-up in my clients’ workouts; both online and in person. It’s important to correlate the stretching movements with the workload that will be done. It would be a waste of our valuable time if we focused on upper body stretches only when our training that day involves running and lower body movements. My son played football last year in high school and told me how they warmed up with dynamic stretches. For these athletes, it’s important to incorporate both upper and lower body in their dynamic stretches. Here are some excellent benefits to adding dynamic stretches into your routine:

  • it increases flexibility
  • it increases our range of motion
  • in increases blood flow and body temperature
  • it increases our power output capabilities
  • it helps increase our endurance
  • it improves neuromuscular activation
  • it helps to improve our balance
  • it improves our coordination
  • it decreases our risk of injury

All winning benefits in my book! 😉

So now that you know what it is and why it’s important, let’s talk about how you can add it into your routine. I’ll give you a 3-step process to follow for best results in your next workout:

  1. Warm-up first for about 5 minutes on a machine or you can go for a walk, jog or even light cycling.
  2. Incorporate some dynamic moves based on the work you are getting ready to perform.
  3. Start your workout.

Easy! Now, what the heck are some dynamic moves anyway, right? (thought you’d never ask!) Here is a great video that shows both upper and lower body dynamic stretches. It also gets you warmed up, as you’ll see!

Let’s get started! Need some help with your training and goals? Let’s see if we can work together on some goal setting and success. Just fill in this application and I’ll be in touch shortly!

Cleaning out the Clutter

First of all, it’s been a long time in between posts so I feel like I should re-introduce myself again :p

But that’s just the way life works sometimes, right? We get on a roll and then we get busy in other areas and our priorities align in what we are putting our attention towards most. The past 3 months have been a whirlwind for sure; my hubby was laid off so I picked up a few (or it feels more like a thousand) more shifts and clients to make up the difference, our home had some issues that have now been resolved, we made it through the summer season and now getting set up for Fall. Is it that time already?

I find it so rewarding to clear out all the “stuff” from the past few months when I’m entering a new stage or creating a new schedule again. I don’t know if it comes mostly from my OCD tendencies but I seriously feel like the biggest badass after I clean anything up!

I know I’m not alone since I’ve had this conversation with many friends and some family members who can relate with me on every level.

  • When I clean, I don’t like to ‘cut corners’, I prefer to get every nook and cranny finished to my high standards so that I know it was done ‘right’. If you just rolled your eyes or think I’m crazy then you’re probably going to disagree with most of what comes next. 🙂
  • I don’t just “clean and go”; I complete each task and then stand back t admire my work. This is what I work for! This is my reward! If you’ve ever done this, you are nodding your head like a mad-person right now because you understand how exciting this clean and fresh feeling is that you were responsible for! #strangebuttrue
  • I get a high from shredding old papers, sweeping off the porches and indoor floors, vacuuming the carpets, wiping crud from walls, etc. It feels like I’m purging the old, icky stuff and making room for awesomeness that is CLEAN, organized and tidy as can be!
  • When working on a task, like cooking for example, I cannot leave a ginormous mess to clean “later” all at once. This drives me insane!! I actually do “mini” cleanings in between my steps of work. For instance, if I am chopping veggies and sauteeing them for a recipe, I’ll complete all the chopping and put the veggies into the sautee pan while I’m washing down the dirty knives, chopping boards, sink, etc before moving to the next step. How does one just ‘put the dirty dishes in the sink’ to clean later ‘all at once’??? I cannot even imagine it and even now, it’s giving me a bit of a panic attack. lol

These are a few of my happy practices. I’m definitely not encouraging anyone to follow these steps if you cannot relate with the feelings I shared above. We all work and complete tasks at different levels and with different patterns but what matters most to the task at hand – is completing it!

So in honor of Fall season; back to school season and just getting back to where my heart lies (in writing and entertaining you, my dear friend and reader!); I challenge you this week to take on at least 3 or more of the following tasks to clean out the clutter and make room for something new and lasting this season!

  • Have too many emails? Start by clicking “unsubscribe” from all of the useless marketing lists that provide zero value (their purpose is to distract you from what you should be doing anyway)
  • Need some reconnecting? This week, call someone that you care about but haven’t spoken to in awhile. Tell them hello and how much they mean to you and just catch up.
  • Take 100% responsibility for everything in your life and stop making excuses for not being where you want to be. Decide what needs to go and what you will start to implement in order to move you closer to your goals. If you don’t make changes, those goals are just “ideas” and not as important to you as you think.
  • Focus on making better nutrition choices. Throw away foods that are not from nature and stick to vegetables, fruits, whole grain carbohydrates and lean protein sources. Drink water and get your rest each night for more energy and better long term health.
  • Do something physical each day this week that breaks a sweat. It doesn’t have to be a marathon workout, just get 10 minutes (minimum) of an activity that brings you joy! (remember that feeling?)
  • Write down 3 things you are most grateful for and truly appreciate these today.
  • Clean out your inbox until it’s at “0”. If you have too many old messages, start with 10-20 per day until they are cleaned out completely. Zero messages feels good 😉

What are you waiting for? Choose the 3 areas you will complete this week and get to it now! There is no need to wait for a new month, a new year or a Monday to start again. Time is ticking every second of every minute in every day. You can decide to take control or it will control you.

Are you ready to clean?

Stressed, Overwhelmed and Anxious? Oh MY!

I’m going to be honest with you today!

I’m growing tired of talking about fitness, health and eating all the time.

You probably didn’t expect that from me, did you? Well, honestly, neither did I! But the last few years have been quite interesting and brought me to a realization this past year that I wanted to share with you.

I know that it’s important to take care of our health and I know you already understand that too. The truth of the matter is, I always figured that the more I talked about my journey and tips on these health and weight loss goals, then others would eventually start to live the life too.

But I started to notice a rather common pattern, instead. Many people would be excited to start a healthy plan – only to fall short somewhere along the line.

Was it their fault? Was it mine? What were the missing links between starting on a said goal and actually achieving (not to mention, maintaining) that said goal?

I then began to research what was different from where I am today versus who I was when I began this crazy ride 25+ years ago. What had changed from then to now?

Or a more realistic question would like be, what HASN’T changed since then?

There seems to be one underlying common issue for our ups and downs throughout life. It’s called, “LIFE”…
Or more accurately, STRESSES OF LIFE.

So why would I continue to push health and fitness tips and plans with those who continue to come up against another one of life’s roadblocks, time and again? No, I would need to restructure the way I work with my clients and customers based on their personal stress levels, struggles and common barriers instead.

The result? My own personal plan for eliminating our stress levels and finally getting to the core of our best selves.

Are you ready to cut the crap and start to live your life, once and for all? Stop second guessing if you should be doing more of “this” or less of “that”. Stop putting all of your focus on one area and then being frustrated when that doesn’t turn out exactly as you’d planned.

Are you currently dealing with any of the following:

  • caring too much about what others think of you
  • dealing with toxic people daily
  • procrastinating on things you know you ‘should’ do
  • feeling overwhelmed with all that needs to be done
  • wishing you could just fast forward until the next weekend or vacation
  • not knowing what you really enjoy anymore
  • feeling as though the person you used to be is “lost”
  • feeling like a failure when you continue to sabotage yourself in any goal you set
  • too embarrassed to share your true thoughts and shortcomings because you think that nobody else will understand
  • thinking that success and happiness is only for those who “earn” it

The thing about life is that, nothing will ever truly turn out exactly as we planned. We can either accept that fact and find another way; or just give up and throw our hands up as we look for the next magical solution. (which doesn’t exist) But before you decide to give up completely; there is another solution…and it’s so much simpler than we have been making it out to be!

Are you ready? The 5-Day Back to Basics challenge starts next week!

 

I’ve put together an amazing program that will not only help you lessen your stress levels, but it will also help you to succeed more than before. Sounds crazy, right? I know! I thought the same thing at first, until I started to implement these strategies into my life.

I cannot imagine living and thinking the way I used to because it brought me anxiety, unhappiness and lots and lots of stress.

No thank you!

I’m inviting you to join me for this first official launch next week! It’s FREE, it’s only 5 days and it’s easy – what is there to lose? (except stress and doing too much with less than stellar results!)

You can sign up right here (it takes less than a minute!)
JOIN THE 5-DAY FREE BACK TO BASICS CHALLENGE!!!

As a THANK YOU, I will send you my first video and assignment starting Monday, March 6th that will help you find your own success formula. There are no “one size fits all” ways to succeed but these little tips will show you how you can start now.

Ready? I’m so excited for this! I know it will be worth the few daily check-ins as it sets the tone for the rest of our lives!  Just click HERE and get the info you need to see what’s in store for this challenge and sign up in less than 30 seconds!

Enjoy your day and looking forward to helping you succeed more in the coming year than ever before!

Your friend,

Kathy P.
http://www.kathyprofitness@gmail.com

Week 1 Wrap-Up

I made it through week 1 with limited struggles and hunger cravings!

I’m actually a little surprised because I usually struggle mentally in my first week of a new plan only because my calories are being cut back a little.

But that all stems from diets and feeling deprived of what I love to eat. In the past week, I’ve counted every food and macronutrient that I ingested. Even those “small tiny bites” that most of us usually discount as “too small to count”…unh uh. It’s all getting counted and I’m sharing it all with you, me dear reader. Aren’t you feeling fab? 😉

So let me start with each day’s workouts and calorie breakdowns (I am set at 1800 calories a day):

Monday, Day 1: 1684 – Total Body Synergistics 30 minute workout

Tuesday, Day 2: 1842 – Body Barre class (which I lead) and 30 minute upper body workout 

Wednesday, Day 3: 1699 – Yoga and Pilates 

Thursday, Day 4: 2176 – Body Pump and Pilates classes (which I lead) and 30 minute workout

Friday, Day 5: 1749 – 30 minute circuit training workout 

Saturday, Day 6: 2616 – Cycle and Body Pump classes (which I lead) and 30 minute body weight training 

You could see that my calories fluctuated up and down depending on the activity I did that specific day. It helped me to listen to my body’s hunger cues and eat as needed. I’m tracking my protein, carbs and fats so I know how to break them down each day to give the best results. If you’ve never heard of this before, it’s basically called “macro counting”. My daily goal is to get in 40% of my calories from carbs and 30% from fats and proteins. This allows me to get the best quality nutrition and best results as I progress through the coming 3 months.

A calorie is not just a calorie. Our body uses the nutrients we eat and if it’s empty calories (aka: sugar and processed adds) or too many of one nutrient; our bodies are forced to store the extra calories to fat storages if they can’t be used efficiently at that specific time. That’s why it’s so important to find out how many calories our body’s require (and it’s going to change along the way), how we should break down our meals (in terms of macronutrients and timing of meals) and what to do when we get hungry or start to crave the foods that our body’s are used to eating.

I’ll talk more about how I handle these areas along the way as they come into play. What I’d like to leave you with today is that when we follow what our body’s need to survive and thrive and change the habits that are pulling us into the land of unhealthy and illnesses; we have no options but to succeed. The scale is one small area to show changes but it’s definitely the least accurate along the way as it can only show a number and not what that number means in a specific time period.

If you want to learn more about the scale and how it can hinder us if we give it too much credit, please check out this post from last year: How to understand the scale 

 

Results in the first week on the scale.
Results in the first week on the scale.
Getting my 30 minute workouts done at home.
Getting my 30 minute workouts done at home.
Ready for my Super Burpee!
Ready for my Super Burpee!

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Made sure my nutrition was met with daily Shakeology!
  Made sure my nutrition was met with daily Shakeology!
My favorite breakfast choice!
  My favorite breakfast choice!                            

 

Day 1: We need to start somewhere

I begin at day #1…

We all get excited on “day 1” of something new, don’t we? Think about New Year’s day and the millions of promises that are made in the excitement of a new year and a new opportunity to reach goals that we’ve only hoped for in the past. The success, however, does not come from our giddy energy on day 1…but the true and unending desire to push for new heights in our quest for these said goals.

I’ve worked with hundreds of one-on-one clients and I’ve lead thousands of classes over the past 20+ years in the fitness field. I’ve believed that through my sheer excitement and leadership, I could inspire anyone to follow through in their promises and quest to reach health and fitness goals that had seemed nearly impossible.

But it doesn’t work that way.

Not to say that I haven’t helped many people transform their bodies, minds and lives in ways that they had only dreamed about; but what what happens when the trainer stops working with you? What happens if you move away from your favorite gym or bootcamp instructor and you are left to find something else that works for you? What if you are the one and only person who is responsible for your success – or lack of it?

Guess what, guys? Whether you know it now or not…you are the only person who is 100% responsible for your life. So what to do now? What workout should you do? How many calories should you eat each day? What types of foods are the best for you? Who is going to cheer you on when you are struggling? How will you know when you are making progress in your goals? How will you keep going when you just don’t believe you have what it takes…or you stumble along the way?

While these are all good questions (and ones I hear every day), let me start by saying we need to get clear on what our goals are. We need to have a plan B when we get thrown off our path. We need to know we aren’t the only person in the world to feel like we do.

That’s what this transformation is about. The next 90 days are meant to show you what it looks like to fight for what we want most. The next 3 months are going to be a bit uncomfortable for me (and most likely downright ugly at times!) but I’m willing to put myself out on a limb and share with you, me dear reader, like a reality tv show (but without the drama and screaming matches).

I start today. This is my day 1…

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Day 1 begins with stats. This is not any different than if we were working together as trainer-client. I’d measure you and have you take your “before pictures” so that we have a baseline to compare as we move forward. Above, are my day 1 pictures and while I don’t have much weight to lose (I just have some “softer” parts of me to tone up), I have goals to add more lean muscle and look like a shredded fitness model in 90 days. Think I can? So do I! 😉 No matter the goals, the struggles are pretty common and typical whenever starting something new (or restarting again).

Here’s how I measure my stats:

Body weight: 150.1

Chest: 36.5

Waist: 28.5 & 30.75

Hips: 38.5

Right thigh: 19.5 / Left Thigh: 19.5

Right arm: 10 / Left arm: 10.5

What about my meals? I calculate my daily needs on my new fitness program and will be eating 1,800 calories a day. I also like to focus on quality nutrition and breaking down my macronutrients to fit my body’s needs to feel my best and reach my set goals. I’ve set a 40/30/30 split and will be getting in 40% of my daily calories from carbohydrates; 40% from healthy fats and 30% from lean protein sources.

I will be sharing my foods too so don’t think this will be a secret 🙂

So far today:

Breakfast:

Coffee with 3 Tbls half and half (don’t take away my cream!)

2 whole eggs + 1 egg white

Post workout snack:

Cafe Latte Shakeology made with 1 cup almond milk and 1 cup ice

Pink lady apple sprinkled with cinnamon

Lunch:

1 cup oven roasted brussel sprouts (my son and I are obsessed!)

1/2 cup lowfat cottage cheese mixed with 1/2 cup whole grain cereal

I’ve had 3 water bottles of water and my goal is to drink 6 each day (which totals a gallon of water)

I worked out to my total body core conditioning and some practiced some power yoga to get an extra stretch.

I’ll be planning to drink water, herbal tea and maybe some lowfat hot chocolate (to curb my hunger and cravings today). I’m making a turkey based dinner with salad and enjoy some Greek yogurt with berries for another snack today.

I feel good so far but please follow me on IG @KathyProFitness and Snapchat @spazzykay to get all the daily ups and downs along with the daily blog posts.

If you are interested in starting NOW and need a place to begin, I’m hosting a 28-Day workout + meal plan challenge and looking for 10 serious people to join our team! This program will challenge you with strength and conditioning training and I’m going to reward those who commit and reach new goals with a gift basket of fitness goodies plus a FREE month of one-on-one training with me before summer season.

Are you IN? Then fill out the form below and I’ll be in touch asap!

Walking; What is it good for?

Does walking count as “real” exercise? To most of us who love higher intensity workouts, it may seem a bit wimpy. How does it compare to workouts that blasts fat in record time?

Not all walks are equal, obviously, but when you’re trying to lose weight and boost your cardio health, power walking may help you lose that weight for sure.

Walking for fitness is easy. First of all, it’s affordable. It’s also safe and easy to do and perfect for any level looking to take it up a notch or just gradually ramp up exercise intensity and frequency.

Do you walk regularly?

I know since I’ve been on my challenge of 45 minute fat burning walks this month, I have been feeling so much more energetic and excited about my fitness. There are days that a higher intensity workout feels draining to jump into; but with a simple and brisk walk outdoors, I rev my energy up to either pushing up steeper hills or challenging my pace per mile to end on a high like I hadn’t imagined with just walking.

anatomy-of-walking

To maximize your results and avoid any aches and pains, pay careful attention to your form. Once you’ve made a habit of maintaining good posture and brisk strides, you’ll transform your body into a much more efficient walking machine — and you’ll burn even more calories!

Posture Tips for Walking Harder, Faster, and Farther

– Lower your chin parallel to the ground; don’t jut your head forward.
– Consciously draw your navel in toward your spine, and keep your back straight. (Think “tall” but not stiff.)
– Lift your chest and comfortably draw your shoulders down your back.
– As your propel yourself forward with each step, it may feel natural to lean slightly forward. Lean from your ankles, not your hips.
– Keep your elbows bent 90 degrees and don’t swing your arms too high or cross them in front of you.
– If you want to increase your walking speed, take smaller steps instead of wider ones.
– Most people automatically rotate their hips a little as they walk. If you don’t do this naturally, try to develop the habit to reduce the impact on your joints.
– Land on your heels with the front of your feet raised, rolling into the next step. When you land flat-footed, you create undue stress to your knees, ankles and feet.
– Finally, pay attention to how your walking shoes feel. Walking shoes wear out from the inside, so it’s not always easy to tell when you need a new pair.

And lastly, I’ve actually made my own game of walking and it is so much fun to push yourself this way (think of the Pokemon app and how it got people walking around in search of the next Pokemon!)

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To lose weight with walking and cross-training, pedometers and mobile apps can make walking more like a game. Since it might take a month or so for you to notice a difference in your weight, these apps can help you stick with it. For more inspiration, try these:

Does the thought of winning money motivate you? Pact is an app developed to monetize health improvement. Just sign up and tell the app your goals. You won’t get rich, but you can earn a dollar here and there.

Walk for charity! The Charity Miles app has paid out more than a half-million dollars to various organizations. It works for other activities too!

If you’re like a lot of people, music plays a key role in your fitness regimen. Use it to stay excited about your daily walk. Crank up the speed (and beats-per-minute of the music), and the pounds will fall off more quickly. Or try Spotify, which will create an instant playlist for you based on your music preferences and walking speed.

If music isn’t your thing, consider podcasts, audiobooks, or a walking mediation to keep you motivated to return to your walking workouts often. I use “Map My Walk” and focus on the minutes walked per mile and love mapping my routes every time I step outdoors.

Are you up to the walking challenge?