Wednesday, October 12, 2016

How To Stay Focused On Your Health Through Adversity

Many times I have clients that take time off from working out because of things that have happened in their life such as a death, sickness, stress, or work related issues.  When you are unhappy or stressed that is the time you NEED to be working out and taking care of yourself. 
worst day of my life
best friends
This past year I have experienced several stressful and devastating things in my life.  If you know me you know my love for my animals.  I don’t have kids so they are my life and I literally plan my schedule around them.  I work a job that enables me to come and go throughout the day so I don’t have to leave them for too long at any one time.   So when I found out my running partner and best friend for the past 8 years had cancer I was devastated.  I took her in to the vet in July for a cough and the next day I was taking her to be put to sleep.  I didn’t care about anything and just wanted to stay in my house with my remaining two dogs Tigger and Spec.  I didn’t have an appetite and I cried non-stop for days.  I finally rallied myself together and managed to do a workout, which was tough to do.  Once I was doing it I felt better and realized it was good for me.  My first run after her death was really hard but necessary to do.  I cried during my run and thought about her the entire time.  I knew I had to keep going for her memory, my health (mental and physical), and for my other dogs.  Running without her wasn’t the same but it helped me through my grieving because I often thought about her and the miles and miles she ran with me over the years.  It was important for me to keep exercising while going through this tough time.  Exercise stimulated my appetite, which was non-existent from the extreme sense of loss and sadness I had.  Some people overeat when they are stressed and others don’t eat at all.  Both are unhealthy and can lead to unnecessary weight gain or loss. 
her last day, car ride, park
and puppichino 
You may be dealing with the loss of a loved one, illness of a loved one, loss of a job,  or a lot of stress at your current job.  Exercise will be the one thing that will help you through all of those things.  Exercise will help keep you focused on your diet and your mind focused on your health.  No matter what your dealing with keep focused on your health and make it your priority.

After two months I still think about Daisy every day and miss her more than you can imagine.  She died way too young at 9 and I think about how much longer I should have had with her.  Of all my dogs she was my problem child, she didn’t like people much, didn’t like other dogs but she was devoted to me and would have died protecting me.  Having a friend like that is something you find only once in a lifetime.  I know I will never have another dog like her but I knew I needed to get another dog.  It was tough to think about but I knew that the right one would come along when the time was right.  A month after Daisy died I met Lilly and knew she was the one within hours of meeting her.  She is the complete opposite of Daisy in many ways because she loves people and other dogs and doesn’t seem to be frightened of anything.  Daisy was scared of everything, which was part of her problem with aggression.  As much as Lilly is different from Daisy there are many things that are similar.  Every night before bed Daisy would come up to my pillow and look at me in the eyes and I would pet her a few minutes and talk to her.  Then she would get up, go to her spot on the bed and do a few circles before lying down.  Lilly does the exact same thing every night!   I have a new running partner and rescued a great dog.  It amazes me someone didn’t want this wonderful dog but I am glad she found me. Whatever you are going through use exercise to help you through it because it will help!

running with her was the best

Lilly and I running and visiting the spot where I spread
Daisy's ashes.  

my tattoo of her running with me

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Weight Loss Myths

I have been in the health and fitness business for over 20 years and I have seen many products and fads come and go.  Some have stuck around but most have faded just as quickly as they popped up.  Here are some of the popular myths about weight loss.  In the end its about how much and what type of food you put in your body along with what physical activity you do to burn calories.

Myth Number 1:  If I only exercise I will lose weight.  While initially you might lose a few pounds but if you don't adjust your diet you will most likely not succeed in your endeavors to lose weight and become healthy.  When people begin an exercise program sometimes they don't lose weight because their appetite increases. If this happens and you are eating the wrong foods you will most likely not lose weight because you may be eating more of the wrong foods.  To succeed you need a balanced diet along with exercise which includes cardiovascular and strength training.  

Myth Number 2:  If I do a detox I will lose weight.  Once again doing a detox you may initially lose a few pounds but at what cost to your body?  If you are fasting then you will probably lose muscle and water weight.  Once you begin eating you will likely regain the weight and probably increase your body fat levels.  The body is an amazing machine and there is no reason you need to detox, your body is made to detox itself.  Some people feel they need a detox to start their health journey as a kickstart.  Instead of doing this lay out a solid plan that incorporates lifestyle changes that include eating healthy with regular exercise.  

Myth Number 3:  Lifting weights will make me gain weight.  Yes its true that muscle weighs more than fat but muscle is a fat burning machine so if you have more muscle then you will likely have less fat.  It is so hard to gain muscle so by beginning a weight training program you will not suddenly become bulky.  It is true that each person is different and some people gain muscle easier than others.  Women in particular have a harder time gaining muscle especially if they are over 40 years old.  It is highly unlikely you will suddenly gain weight from strength training.  Follow the proper diet and you will add muscle and lose fat which will improve your health and overall appearance.  

Myth Number 4:  Carbohydrates are bad for you.  Over the years many diets have claimed that you should eat a low carb diet to lose weight.  There is no question if you eliminated carbohydrates from your diet you will lose weight.  This approach unfortunately is temporary and many people gain weight back because they can't sustain a no/low carbohydrates diet forever.  Processed and sugar filled carbohydrates are bad for you without question.  Good carbohydrates can provide you with lots of vitamins, fiber and are very nutritious for you.  Its important to eat everything in moderation even too much of a good thing can be bad for you.  Some good carbohydrates include:  oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, beans, yams, some fruit in moderation. 

Myth Number 5:  Reducing calories and skipping meals will help me lose weight.  Yes if you eat less than 1200 calories you will likely lose weight.  The problem with losing weight by reducing calories to an extreme is that you lower your metabolism.  Once you increase your calories you will start to gain weight even more quickly than before because your metabolism is so much slower.  You can eat calories based on your activity level and as long as you are eating good calories broken into small and frequent meals throughout the day you will lose weight.  

Myth Number 6:  Natural supplements will help me lose weight.  There are many supplements that claim to help you lose weight.  I worked in the supplement industry for 15 years and I am telling you that there is no miracle pill that will help you lose weight.  Some of the supplements that contain stimulants may help suppress your appetite and give you energy but they don't come without side effects.  Some of the side effects include rapid heart beat, headache,  and dizziness.  It is important to do your research before taking any supplement.  Other supplements that claim to help you lose weight are l-carnatine, CLA, citrus aurantium (bitter orange peel),  garcinia, gymnema, green tea, guarana, cayenne, and black pepper.  Some of these may suppress your appetite but thats about it.  I don't think its such a good idea to suppress your appetite because as long as your eating the right foods its not a bad thing to have a healthy appetite.  That means that your metabolism is working, having no appetite means your metabolism is slow.  

Myth Number 7:  Eating too much fat will make you fat.  There is no question that bad fats are not good for you and eating too much bad fat from processed food will likely lead to weight gain.  Fat is definitely more calorie dense containing 9 calories per gram compared to carbohydrates and protein which contain 4 calories per gram.  As with anything just be aware of the quantity and quality of the fat you are eating.  Look at serving sizes because it is very easy to eat 3-4 servings at one time of nuts which are mostly fat.  One serving of almonds is not bad for you but 3-4 servings may be too much depending on your activity level.  Good fats are in foods such as avocados, nuts, olive oil, and salmon.  

Myth Number 8:  I have to eat a lot of protein.  People think that to lose weight you have to eat loads of protein.  While protein is an important macronutrient its not true that you need loads of it to lose weight.  The RDA for protein for the average person is .8 grams per kilogram of bodyweight.  For a female weighing 150 lbs that would equal 53 grams a day.  There is some evidence that an active person may need a little more than that, about 1 gram per kilogram of bodyweight.  

Myth Number 9:  I need only protein after my workout.  You do need protein but you also need healthy carbohydrates to replace glycogen levels.  So don't just go for the protein shake think about adding some healthy carbohydrates into your post workout meal.  

If you want to lose weight then forget about the shortcuts.  Change your lifestyle and make eating healthy and daily exercise something you do on a regular basis not something you do because you suddenly find yourself overweight.  Make it a lifestyle and start by making small changes.  If you make drastic changes then they are likely to not stick and will be temporary.  Some small changes you can do that are likely to stick are:

1.  Make it a part of your weekend to prepare healthy meals for the week.  Make enough to use as lunch or dinner so you don't resort to fast, unhealthy choices.  
2.  Incorporate more vegetables into your meals.  Vegetables are full of fiber, vitamins and they make you fill full while containing minimal calories.  
3.  Drink more water each day.  Drinking more water will keep you hydrated and that will make you feel better and less hungry.  You will be less likely to overeat and it also helps your digestive system.  
4.  Reduce the amount of processed food that you eat.  Read ingredients and try to stick with foods that contain 5 or less ingredients.  
5. Limit or eliminate dairy products such as milk, cheese, and butter.  Use alternatives such as soy milk, coconut milk or almond milk.  Most dairy contains unhealthy fats, hormones and too much sodium.  
6.  Track you foods on one of the many apps available on your phone.  If you log everything for a few weeks you can really see where you are missing the boat.  You can look at your totals and see what you are getting too much of or not enough of.  What I typically see is people get too much sugar, not enough fiber and too much sodium.  
7.  Time your meals appropriately.  It is important for recovery to eat a balance of healthy carbohydrates and protein after a workout.  Your post-workout meal and breakfast are your two most important meals (they may be the same meal if you workout in the morning).
8.  Park a little further away from the entrance of a building when you are running errands and take the stairs instead of the elevator.  Lastly walk the dogs everyday even if its only for 20 minutes its good for you and good for them!

Good Luck!
Coach Cyndee
Train Hard.  Have Fun.  Recover Well. 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Plan To Succeed

It doesn't matter if you hope to complete a 5k, sprint triathlon, marathon, or ironman you need  a plan to get to the finish line.  If your goal is to lose weight, feel better and live a healthier life then you need a plan to do that too.  You have to make the decision to make a change and commit to the change.   In the end that will lead to success in whatever you want to do.  I have seen people do unthinkable and unbelievable things because they have a great plan to get there and they were very committed to the process.  It is also important to make realistic goals for you as an individual.  Many people decide on a goal because a friend is making a change and has convinced them to do it with them.  This may not be the right goal for you or it may not be realistic for you.  It is important to take into account how achieving this goal will affect your lifestyle and think about the time commitment involved.  Can you dedicate yourself 100% to following the plan with work and family?  If not it may not be the right goal for you.   When you set a goal there should not be a -if I can't do this then I will do that clause in the goal.  If that is the case then that goal is probably unrealistic for you and you have set yourself up for failure from the beginning.  Follow a good plan and you will succeed in your goals.  

Monday, June 6, 2016

Weight Loss While Training For Long Distance Triathlons

Many times people get into triathlons because they are trying to lose weight.  At first they do lose weight while doing some of the shorter distances especially when they go from no activity to regular exercise.  After doing the shorter distance many people inevitably want to do longer stuff like the half and full ironman distances.  Many times the weight loss slows or stops and the training volume has increased.  Most times the appetite increases with more training and people are eating the wrong foods so they don't lose weight.  When training long hours you have to fuel your body to make it through the long rides which many times are followed by a run.  I find that sometimespeople who are trying to lose weight don't want to take in calories while they are training.  They would rather save those calories for goodies after their training and reward themselves with something good.  Some people just want to cut calories so they don't take too many calories while working out.  This is a huge mistake and will likely lead to a bad workout and poor recovery.  If you are training for an ironman and not losing weight you should look at the type and quantity of calories you are consuming throughout the day.  You need to fuel properly during your workouts and this is NOT the time to cut calories.  The bike is the place to consume your calories during a full or half ironman.  Try and take in between 150-250 calories per hour depending on your weight it may be lower or higher.  Part of the calories should come in liquid form and part in solid or gel.  It is also important to begin your workout with a good pre-workout meal.  If you are eating healthy throughout the day you will continue to lose weight and your body will become more efficient at utilizing your fat stores for energy.  If you don't consume enough calories during your workout you will most likely not be able to finish your workout, have a crappy workout, or not recover well from the workout.  The end goal is to finish the race and you may not finish the race if you don't fuel properly for it. 

Train Hard.  Have Fun.  Recover Well.  

Monday, March 21, 2016

The Benefits of a Himalayan Salt Massage Stone And Thai Massage

I recently started doing Himalayan Salt Stone Massage and Thai Massage.  Here are some of the great benefits that await you if you schedule one!  

The benefits of a Himalayan Salt Stone Massage:
  • Negative ions are produced when heated providing a sense of relaxation.
  • The heat of the salt melts restrictive fascia to go deeper into the muscles and loosens the joints andt he moist heat of the stones helps with soothing inflamed muscles and joints.
  • Leaves the skin feeling refreshed and glowing and the salt stones contain moisturize and plump up the superficial layers of the skin.
  • May detoxify and alkaline the body.
  • May aide in reduction of insomnia, blood pressure and stress.

On a spiritual level:
  • Can ground and balance meridian levels, chakras and electromagnetic field.
  • Clear your prana and energy.

Himalayan Salt Stones are used with a choice of organic coconut or massage oil for your relaxation needs. The stones can be used in conjunction with other massage techniques. Highly recommend when fascia is very tight.
The stones provide 84 essential mineral and trace compounds. Stones may be used hot or cold. Unlike river stones, Himalayan stones are anti micro-bacterial.

The benefits of a Thai Massage:
Thai massage should be called Thai Stretching because it is more stretching and compression rather than massage.  When receiving a Thai Massage you should wear loose clothing and it can be done on a mat on the floor or on a table.  

Physical Benefits of Thai Massage


Help detoxification of the body and boost immune system.
  • Increase blood circulation, lower blood pressure.
  • Good for muscle relaxation, increase flexibility in your muscles, and increase mobility.
  • Improve breathing.
  • Improves posture, balance, corrects body alignments and dissolves energy blockages.
  • Improves athletic performance.
  • Help arthritis and back pain.
  • Help tone the body, strengthen joints and fight diseases, including chronic joint problems.
  • Prevents illnesses and alleviates degenerative diseases.
  • Slows the aging process.

Mental Benefits of Thai Massage

  • Improve your outlook towards life; builds an emotional balance.
  • Help with concentration and creativity and helps with mind and body concentration.
  • Clear and calm your mind and help you gain mental clarity.

Psychological effects of Thai Massage

  • Reduce and relieve stress and anxiety.
  • Help people boost their inner energy levels.
  • Develop discipline and self-control.
  • Achieve better health, increases health and vitality.
  • Raise the energy level and stamina 


Give yourself a wonderful treatment by scheduling a Himalayan salt stone massage session or Thai session today.Contact me for discounted rates through the end of the month!  

Coach Cyndee


Saturday, March 19, 2016

10 Common Mistakes When Beginning An Exercise Program

When people come to me to begin an exercise program they are usually more than ready to get started.  They have been waiting for the right moment and want to get going as soon as possible.  I love the enthusiasm a new client brings to my training group.  Sometimes their enthusiasm gets the best of them because they overdo everything.  Sometimes they restrict too much food and don’t want to take a day off from the gym.   When you begin a new program don’t make these mistakes. 
1.     Doing too much too quick.  Take it easy in the beginning and don’t be afraid to do less rather than doing more.  This will lessen the likelihood that you will become injured and make it more likely you can work up to the harder stuff.  Don’t be afraid to ask your trainer for a modification for an exercise if you are struggling through something.  Some people just push through it and then don’t realize they overdid it until they get home or the next day. 
2.     Restricting your diet too much and losing weight too fast.  People are so motivated at first they eat perfectly and don’t allow anything they enjoy. Many times when I consult with a client I ask them how long they have been eating badly, if they have ever tried any “diets”, what did work in the past and why did they regain the weight.  If someone has lost and regained weight many times, gone on low carb diets, eliminated food groups completely then something is not working.  I try and talk more about portion sizes, adding healthy foods, preparing more food instead of eating out, and timing your food intake.  This type of discussion is more about adding good things in and not restricting foods.  Sure you want to avoid the “bad” stuff but what about all the good things you can have! This has to be something they can sustain for the rest of their life.
3.     Doing it alone.  Sometimes its unavoidable starting an exercise program on your own but if you can convince a friend, co-worker or significant other to do it with you that may help motivate both of you.
4.     Not drinking enough water.  When you start an exercise program you have to make sure you drink more water than you were before you began the program.  When you exercise you sweat, which causes water loss and not replacing it will make you become dehydrated. Dehydration can lead to a number of problems such as headaches, muscle loss, hair loss, skin problems, fatigue, and a number of other problems.  Being properly hydrated is essential for building muscle, losing fat, maintaining energy levels, healthy skin, and appetite control.
5.     Not getting enough sleep.  Sleep is when your body recovers and it is essential to help  More muscle equals less body fat.  Muscle is a fat burning furnace so you need to sleep to help it recover and grow.
your muscles recover and grow.
6.     Doing only one thing.  It is important to mix up your workout routine. You should have a good combination of exercises to help improve your strength, cardio, functional fitness and flexibility. 
7.     Not setting goals.  It is important to set specific attainable short and long term goals.  Make sure you document your starting numbers such as weight, fat percentage and muscle mass.  You can also do measurements and from those numbers set realistic long and short-term goals.
8.     Not keeping a food log.  When you are trying to lose weight initially it is important to keep a food log.  It’s important to see where you are at with all your macro and micro-nutrients.  It’s good to see how much protein, carbohydrates, fat, sugar and fiber you are eating.  Most times you will see you are eating too many carbs, too much sugar, and not enough fiber and protein.  Calories are good to track but more important are what type of calories you are consuming.  You will be amazed when you start tracking stuff.
9.     Not letting your body recovery properly so you can remain injury free.  This encompasses many things because there are so many ways to let your body recovery.  Taking one day off a week is good or using that one day for yoga or stretching only.  We discussed the importance of sleep for recovery so getting enough sleep is essential.  Using tools such as foam rolling, massage and chiropractic care can help you remain injury free.  Scheduling a regular massage every two weeks or once a month is a great idea! Foam roll several times a week and make sure you have a good cool down and stretch routine after your workout.
10. Not warming up properly.  Many people just jump right in to every workout without a proper warm-up.  Active stretching is a great way to warm-up before workouts.  Active stretches are moving stretches as opposed to static stretching.  This will reduce your chance for injury and keep you working out longer!

Don’t fall victim to these common mistakes people make when beginning a workout program.  If you are just starting a workout program be smart and  you will be able to continue your program for a very long time.