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

Say Yes to Yoga

Yoga seems to be increasing in popularity. If you are a member of a local gym, you will likely see it listed as one of the group fitness options. You may also have noticed that yoga studios are popping up in various parts of your city or town. And perhaps your doctor or someone that you know has recently recommended it to you. Though some have managed to overcome the negative stigma of yoga, others are still yet to be persuaded.
I am reminded of a conversation I had with a friend who had been complaining of pain in the knees, back and hips. Given what I know about this individual, although fitness was always important to him, like many, he was relying on modern traditional methods to help meet his weekly fitness goals – which primarily consisted of a combination of exercise machines and walking. Although the walking is not too concerning, exercise machines can sometimes be problematic. Though exercise machines were created to provide a safe alternative to free weights; they can put your body into unnatural positions and take your joints through dangerous ranges of motion which can lead to injuries overtime, thus leaving some searching for alternative exercises.
Yoga is a great form of exercise and has become a well-respected way of recovery from injuries. For example, according to the website spine-health.com – a site developed by a multi-specialty group of medical professionals, yoga can provide several healing benefits for people with various types of back pain such as: speeding up the time it takes to recover from an injury, preventing re-injury, and helping maintain a regular level of daily activities and thus reducing chances for disability. Other benefits of yoga include: improving flexibility, building muscle strength, preventing cartilage and joint breakdown, lowering your blood pressure, lowering blood sugar levels, boosting your immune system, reducing stress, improving your sex life and giving you a peace of mind.
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However, despite the health and fitness benefits of yoga, still many have chosen to say, “NO” – especially men. In fact, according to a 2012 Yoga Journal Report, 83 percent of the more than 20 million yoga practitioners were woman, which may led some to wonder, why there is such a large disparity. Two of the common reasons I have heard from men as to why they do not practice yoga is that this is “not a real workout” or it is “only for women”.
The term Yoga covers religion, philosophy and practice and can be traced back to northern India. It is a mental, physical and spiritual practice and has a long and rich history that extends over 5, 000 years. The yoga that most people are familiar with today only dates back about 1851. It was introduced into western culture by teachers from India. Among them were Tirumalai Krishnamacharya (1888 – 1989), Sivananda Saraswati (1887 – 1963) and Swami Satchidananda.
Many yoga poses require you to support the weight of your own body in ways which includes: balancing on your hands (such as in a Hand Stand), balancing on one leg (such as in Tree Pose or Warrior Three) or by supporting yourself with your arms (such as in Downward Facing “Dog”, Three Legged “Dog”, or Quarter “Dog”). Interestingly, natural movements were at the core of exercise routines for centuries prior to the use of any modern day exercise equipment. This should encourage some (especially men) to consider using more natural methods that has proven historically to have positive results.


renna-in-green-suiteContributor 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
 

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

Digging Deep for the Motivation

Many people may have the desire to get fit, but acting on those desires is a completely different story. Oftentimes it involves pressing through mental and emotional challenges that can easily put a halt on your fitness goals, sometimes for years. So how is it that some people are able to find the motivation to work out while others do not? And for those that are struggling to find motivation, how can they get it?
The majority of us are passionate about something. Whether it is about our work, our kids, or our hobbies. Hence, there are just going to be some people that have a passion for fitness and are therefore self-motivated to work out. Still, there are many others who need an extra boost.
During my years as a personal trainer, one of the first things I would do with my clients was determine their whys?  Why did they want to lose weight, why did they want to gain weight, why did they decide that it was finally time to make a financial investment into a personal trainer?  Their reasons varied. To be around longer for their kids, to feel more attractive to their spouse, to gain more energy or to be a smaller size for their upcoming wedding.  Despite their reasons, they all had one thing in common when they came to me for assistance – the motivation to want to make a change. Yet still the challenge would become, how to remain motivated.
Here are the top five things that I found that worked best for my clients which can also be applied to anyone who’s interested in becoming more physically fit.

      (1) Take a Picture of yourself and lay it next to an older picture of you when you were smaller or next to a person’s picture whom you aspire to look like
      (2) Get accountability partners. People that can remind you to stay on track when you are tempted to give up.
      (3) Acknowledge and celebrate small successes. Weight loss takes time. Keep in mind that in order to lose one pound, you must have a caloric deficit of approximately 3,500 calories. Meaning that you will need to burn an extra 500 calories per day just to lose one pound. However, exercise and diet changes will get you quicker results.
      (4) Find a physical activity that you will enjoy. Working out in the gym 6 times a week may not be for everyone. Dancing, bicycling, and rollerblading are great options.
      (5) Pull out a favorite outfit from your closet that you have not been able to wear in years and make it a goal to get in it again.

Unless you are on a reality show Like the Biggest Loser, odds are you are not going to be living with a personal training or with a group of people who are collectively trying to lose weight. However this does not mean that you should neglect your fitness goals, rather, you just have to become more creative in your approach.
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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

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