The Dreaded Feeling That All eyes are on me

Going to a gym to work out takes a lot of courage for some. In addition to the feelings of inadequacies as one fumbles their way through equipment that they are not familiar with, people who are overweight also have the extra emotional burden of overcoming the fear that “all eyes are on them”.
In my former personal training days, my clients would often share with me how personal training was a great option because it helped give them gain the confidence they needed to go into a gym and workout independently. But like many things in life, having a personal trainer comes with a price tag, which makes it unaffordable for many. So what alternative solutions when you are not able to afford a personal trainer? Interesting, training videos/DVDS are still great options, yes even in 2017.

Active Exercise

In a recent conversation that I had with a colleague (who is struggling with her weight and who also has a limited income), as we were exploring different options that might help her reach her achieve her fitness goals, interestingly, our conversations kept circulating back to training videos/DVDs. Yes, they are still very significant today because they allow individuals to work out in the privacy of their own home and avoid those unwanted “stares”. Another benefit of well- produced training videos is that they often show progressive movements, which provides viewers a goal to strive towards.
Indeed, training videos/DVDs are not the answers for everyone, particularly since it still requires the “motivation” to work out. However, if you happen to have a few training videos/DVDs in storage, perhaps it might not be a bad idea to dust them off and use them to jump start your fitness goals!
And for those who are still in need of a little motivation, consider acquiring an exercise partner/buddy…
Contributor: Renna Reddick

Zumba: Dancing Your Way to a Healthier Body in 2019.

At the beginning of 2017, I joined a new fitness club. One of the things that made this particular fitness club so enticing was the large selection of group fitness classes that they offered (from TRX training, Cardio Interval training, Core Training and also host of Zumba classes).

Zumba Class

As a former personal trainer and group fitness instructor, I was simply amazed at the large selection of classes in comparison to the corporate gym I use to work for and wished more classes like these were available to augment the training program I designed for my former clients.
Prior to joining this new fitness club, I found myself struggling with my weight, which came as a huge disappointment to me and I am sure to those who once looked up to me to as a source of inspiration as they were striving to achieve and/or maintain their own fitness goals. Although I knew my weight gain stemmed from various stress factors in my life (i.e. working full time, going to graduate school, dealing with family matters, purchasing a home, etc.), I still needed to find a way to pull myself out of my slump. So, I began having these internal dialogues with myself in which I reflected on conversations I once had with former clients that helped to motivate them to stay on track. During one of these internal dialogue segments, I remembered how I would stress to my clients the importance of aerobic exercises, as it has consistently been proven to be the most effective way to lose weight. But, unfortunately, when most people hear the word “cardio” or “aerobic exercise”, they cringe; largely because they find cardio to be mundane, boring, and simply not fun. These feelings are usually based on their experience with traditional methods of cardio exercises like, walking or running. Interestingly, I found myself expressing some of these same sentiments. Although I would alternate my cardio between, biking, walking or running (on my cardio days), it still wasn’t stimulating enough and was becoming more of a chore.
As I continued to reflect on the conversations that I had with my former clients, another thing that kept resurfacing in my mind is how I would tell them to choose cardio activities they enjoyed and which doesn’t make them feel as if they are doing work (like going on a natural trail walk, hiking, kayaking, doing yard work or perhaps dancing). Shortly after reflecting on these conversations, a light bulb went on in my head. Why not give Zumba a try? Being a former member of a local Mamba Dance Team and also a former avid Latin dancer, it seemed only natural that I would have considered Zumba classes sooner. However, I confess that I thought it was a fad and also could not comprehend how people could be in a room following the dance lead of one or two individual instead allowing their own creative dance move to flourish within their body in response to the beat of the music.
Apparently, I wasn’t alone in my thinking that Zumba is perhaps a fad. In fact, despite its current popularity The American College of Sports Medicine still dropped Zumba from its 2014 list of Top 20 fitness trends. But does this mean that Zumba is completely fading? Absolutely not! Zumba is very much alive and has a life cycle just like other things. People will explore and embrace different fitness option based on their current lifestyle. Zumba wasn’t for me 10 years ago, but today, it has been a wonderful complement to my fitness goals. And these days, instead of questioning the Zumba format, I now appreciate the fact that because I have so much on my plate, I can get a great workout and don’t have to think about coming up with creative dance moves on my own. I invite you to also consider Zumba as a way to help you meet your personal fitness goals!
More information is available in two articles at:
http://www.health.com/weight-loss/best-exercise-to-lose-weight; and
http://jap.physiology.org/content/113/12/1831#T2
Contributor: Renna Reddick

Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone

Recently, while attending a Zumba Class, I overheard a group of ladies talking about the challenges they faced trying to lose weight. One lady mentioned that she does Zumba 5 days a week but still could not see any results. Another confessed that she felt her diet may not be the best, especially because she sometimes consumes a large meal after a late evening Zumba class. Their stories are not uncommon.  Millions of people struggle with their weight. In fact the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States reported in June 2015 that more than one-third 34.9% (78.6 million) of U.S. adults are obese. The website www.businessInsider.com also recently reported that Americans were among the top ten fattest countries in the world. Others were China, India, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Egypt, Germany, Pakistan and Indonesia. — leaving many to wonder what these countries have in common. Is there a correlation between “development” and a steady increase in weight gain in these countries in recent decades?
There are many factors that can contribute to weight gain, from increased stress, medical reasons, or perhaps a more sedentary lifestyle. Another reason that people may not typically think of is NOT having a more diversified fitness portfolio, especially since our bodies tend to adapt to exercises. For example, the first time you attempt to run a half mile will probably be very challenging. However, by the 20th time, it gets much easier. Hence, as you become used to a particular type of exercise, it becomes easier, less challenging, and less effective. This is why it’s important to mix things up.
Another thing to keep in mind is “Calories In, Calories Out”. As for the second lady that I reference earlier, if what she does is continue to consume more calories at meal time than she is burning, and at the same time, she does not incorporate weight training into her fitness program, then she will continue to be far away from her weight-loss goals.
Bottom line: Diversify your fitness portfolio by changing things up! Options include: trying different forms of cardio, use split routines when working out (back and biceps on one day, chest and shoulder on another, and legs on a different day). You can also simply make a change to your weight and/or repetition. Most important, manage your calories intake as best as you can.
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renna-on-ledge-in-bostonContributor Renna Reddick is a certified nutrition specialist, personal trainer and group fitness instructor. Certifications include: National Association of Sports Medicine (NASM), National Federation of Personal Trainers (NFPT) and Aerobics, Fitness Association of America (AFAA) Group Fitness Instruction, and NFPT Nutrition Specialist

Finding the Time to Excercise

Life is demanding and many of us often find ourselves juggling many important things in our lives, whether it is multiple jobs, a family, school, and/or caring for an ill loved one. Whatever the case may be, it is very easy to neglect “YOU” – which ironically, if there is no “healthy” and functioning you”, then you will simply be of no good to others. So why is it that many people always seem to find the time to be the hero for others, but often not for themselves?
One of the common responses that I have heard from people during my years as a personal trainer and also during general conversations with others is that they simply do not have the time. However, although there may never seem to be enough hours in the day, it is no secret that people will create the time to do or accomplish things they TRULY feel are important. Hence, the first step towards getting fit is placing it at a higher value in your life. Just think for a moment about things in your life that you have placed at a high value, and also about what it took to obtain it. Whether it was getting an academic degree, a dream job, or buying something special that you always wanted. In order to make that special something become a reality in your life, you had to first make it a priority mentally.
The second thing that must be done is figuring out how to fit that special something into your life. In the case of physical fitness, one of the easiest solutions is to make it a part of your life style. Another way to say it is, “make it a habit”. For example, most of us probably don’ think twice about daily showers, brushing our teeth, combing our hair or even feeding. It becomes habitual after a while. Hence, if exercising becomes a natural part of your life style, then your mind will less likely resist the idea of it.
The final thing that you can do to generate more time to work out is taking advantage of your surroundings. People may miss out on great opportunities to exercise, and in many cases there are many resources at their fingertips. Whether it is having the convenience of having workout equipment at home, access to a gym at work, or living within close range to a gym or park – yet some people still find reasons for why they cannot exercise. I confess, I was one of those people, was guilty of not taking advantage of my surroundings, and in my case, I had a gym at work! In the middle of completing my master’s program I allowed myself to become approximately 15 pounds overweight (yes, it can happen to fitness professionals too!) The excuse I gave myself was, that I was working two jobs (full –time and part-time), producing a radio program, dealing with the stress of having a mother in a nursing home in a different state, going to graduate school and contending with a host of other challenges that comes with daily living.
Life, to say the least was becoming a bit overwhelming and I began to see exercise as “work”, thus pushing it to the bottom of my agenda. It was no longer a part of my lifestyle. One of the wake up calls for me, was realizing that I could no longer fit into my clothing, and that I was becoming more mentally and physically fatigued. I also saw myself in pictures and realized how much I had changed. Do I still have a host of things going on in my life? Absolutely. However, I have chosen to re-prioritize my life reminding that many of the things that I may desire to get accomplished simply cannot occur without a healthy me!
Contributor Renna Reddick is a certified nutrition specialist, personal trainer and group fitness instructor. Certifications include: National Association of Sports Medicine (NASM), National Federation of Personal Trainers (NFPT) and Aerobics, Fitness Association of America (AFAA) Group Fitness Instruction, and NFPT Nutrition Specialist