Tag Archives: Wellnesswinz

The Nitty Gritty; Secrets The Pros Know That You Should, Too

There is a vast array of knowledge that fitness and health professionals keep tucked away in their brilliant brains. It’s disappointing that this information is either not shared or is not communicated in easy-to-digest pieces. For this reason, I’ve decided to put together a very small sampling of some of the most important, unexpected things to know about exercise. You will see a dramatic change in your body and confidence if you put these tips to action. Ready? Set? Let’s GO!

We will focus exclusively on the breath today. Yes, it’s that important…go figure. 

YOUR BREATH IS POWERFUL

Power of the breath

Any person with a brain in their head knows that not breathing will cause you to, um…die. Things just got serious. This fact alone shows us the power of oxygen. What some people don’t know is that we can manipulate the breath in a number of ways for exercise performance, metabolic changes, and peace of mind. Faster breathing impacts the sympathetic nervous system (fight-or-flight) and slower breathing impacts the parasympathetic nervous system (rest-and-digest). Different forms of exercise utilize various breathing techniques to activate one of these two systems. For example:

Swimming Breath

Swimming: Bilateral breathing is crucial for swimmers’ performance. As I’m not the most expert swimmer, I will allow Swim Smooth to explain: “Bilateral is swimming jargon for breathing to both sides, left and right. Classically this is done every 3 strokes (counting both arms) so your breathing alternates from side to side. But equally it could be done every 5 or even 7 strokes.”

Pilates Breath (2)

Pilates: I can remember my first Pilates class to this day. I had NO idea what was going on and figuring out the breathing completely boggled my mind. Various disciplines/formats of pilates even coach you to breathe differently. Some have you breathe in and out through your nose only (like in yoga) and others encourage you to inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. It can certainly be confusing for beginners. Make note of this: whenever you “pull in” or try to squeeze your abs in class is typically when you exhale. If you don’t breathe “perfectly,” don’t sweat it. The Pilates Police will never know.  

Running Breath

Running: Health and Fitness Director Budd Coates has brought increased awareness to rhythmic breathing in running over the past few years. To save you the stress of all the science (which exercise nerds like me love), I will explain it as succinctly as possible. When we run, we tend to use more energy from the dominant side of our body (probably the side of your body that you kick and throw a ball from). This creates extra stress on muscles on that side of the body and typically results in us exhaling as our dominant leg makes contact with the ground. At this point, the force that goes up into our bodies is 2-3x our normal body weight. To keep this stress more evenly distributed, rhythmic breathing helps runners learn how to sync their breath with their strides so that the exhalation is more balanced left-to-right foot strike, and stress is more evenly distributed.

Yoga Breath

Yoga: There are numerous breathing techniques in yoga. The breathing practice, Pranayama, is one of the most important and foundational components of Ashtanga yoga. When I was in yoga teacher training at Yoga Vidya Dham I learned about an instructor who practiced “fire breath” so much on his own that he both lost over 30 lbs and suffered from internal bleeding. He had to be rushed to a hospital for treatment. Unbelievable, right? When done properly, breathing techniques in yoga induce calmness, clarity of mind, and focus. There’s a little something for everyone and with experimentation and practice, you’ll find a technique that you love. This site has great, simple videos of some common techniques: http://www.doyogawithme.com/yoga_breathing

Quick tip: In yoga you are almost always exhaling as you bend or move forward, closing off your body in your mid-section. You almost always inhale as you open your body, bending backward or away from your mid-section. 

Exhale the sticking point

Lifting weights: It’s helpful to breathe slowly so that oxygen supplies “refill” your muscles, to the greatest extent possible, in between reps. This gives your body energy to keep going through the set. It also helps to exhale forcefully at the hardest point of each rep to push past what is called your “sticking point.” If you’ve ever tried to lift a heavy weight over your head and felt a point of resistance that was almost impossible to push past, you know where the sticking point is for that exercise. The same applies to all movements. Why does the forceful exhale help at this point? It helps because your diaphragm (which contracts and releases with your breath) is attached to a muscle in your core, the transverse abdominus. This muscle, when pulled in tight with an exhale, helps stabilize your body and thereby assists any lift you’re doing.  Just don’t forget to inhale too! Kind of important. When you’re not exercising the transverse abdominus acts like a gentle corset around your middle.

Now that you’ve WAY overthought various breathing techniques, remember to take a deep breath. Wink wink. With practice, you will get to where you want to be. It may take a while and at times, it might make you blue in the face, but sure enough, you will eventually be in full control of your breathing. Once you are, the power you have to stay composed during intense exercise will be incredible. You may also find that calming down your racing heart and shallow breathing is easier when your significant other forgets to pick up dry cleaning, your child cries bloody murder over a toy you refuse to buy, or your favorite pair of shoes is out of stock just when you need them most.

Stay tuned for tips similar to The Nitty Gritty! There’s plenty more of this good stuff in store for you…

Yours in health and wellness,

Maggiewellnesswinz logo 2

 

References:

https://www.acefitness.org/certifiednewsarticle/684/ace-integrated-fitness-training-ift-model-for

http://www.ashtanga.com/

http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1827342,00.html

http://www.doyogawithme.com/yoga_breathing

http://karimfitness.com/

http://www.runnersworld.com/running-tips/running-air-breathing-technique

http://www.swimsmooth.com/bilateral.html#ixzz3P1NGLSuM

http://www.yogapoint.com/info/yvd.htm

Become Great and Avoid Hazard

I’m honored to announce that Spinning® and Mad Dogg Athletics asked me to do an article for them this month. The article, Who Do You Want to Be in 2015? , builds off of WellnessWinz’s first post of the year, Before you hit the gym in 2015 .  In addition to helping you reach your physical best, It includes extra tips on how to take care of yourself if you wind up in a lurch (i.e. you forget to eat breakfast, you get dizzy at the gym, etc.). I encourage you to check it out – for your safety, interest, and advancement! Everyone should know these tips. 

Read: http://bit.ly/1DEOlfk

start believing you can (1)

 

 

Frenemies; Exercise Myths That We Hold Onto

From years of training people in the gym, I’ve found that a woman’s devotion to myths about healthy living often becomes her greatest obstacle. Some women may even cling to exercise myths, fearing to test their falsity. I will call this behavior “cray cray” because in truth, these perceptions behave like frenemies. They appear well-intentioned but in reality, they are bent on deceiving you. I said “cray cray” and frenemies in the same sentence…now you know this will be an “interesting” read, haha. So here it goes… 

What's your excuse

Myth #1: “I don’t have time to exercise.”

This is actually the number one excuse for why people say they don’t exercise. Time is not something that multiplies itself. If only, right?! I’m pretty sure we can all say that we’ve used this excuse at one time or another. In fact, my grandmother said it perfectly once….

Grandma: “I hear you haven’t been using your new exercise equipment very much.”

Dad: “Yea, last month got really busy with the business.”

Grandma: “Well, what about this month?”

Dad (with a little uncomfortable chuckle): “This month? We were out of town the first two weekends and last weekend…well, I guess last weekend I was just catching up on some things around the house.”

*Pause*

Grandma: “You know what I hear?”

Dad: “What’s that?”

Grandma: “All I hear are excuses, excuses, excuses!”

‘Nuff said, Grandma! Amen!

If only I had the courage to be as straight-shooting as my Grandma! Love her. I’m sure a few clients would have walked right out the door! Haha. Seriously though, how often do you keep piling excuse upon excuse? The average American watches 5 hours of TV a day and, according to a report from Nielson,

“The average American then spends another 32 minutes a day on time-shifted television, an hour using the Internet on a computer, an hour and seven minutes on a smartphone and two hours, 46 minutes listening to the radio.” 

Ponder the amount of screen time you get on a daily basis and tell me honestly that there isn’t a day or two in the week when you can give it up and enjoy some fresh air (or even stinky, body odor air at the gym…compelling, right?).

Life won't stop

Myth #2: “I have to be in better shape before I go into the gym.” This is something that people think but rarely say out loud.

I have seen this time and time again….and it drives fitness professionals nuts. People will be afraid to come into the gym because they think it’s a place where everyone will be staring at them agape if they’re not trim and toned. Perhaps there are a few snobbish facilities in the world; however, the vast majority of gyms actually exist….get this…to help you! Yes, there will always “that person” trying to show off their six-pack but doesn’t she look just as egotistical as she does impressive? Not to mention most other people are too concerned about how they personally look to notice. And yes, there will always be a few vain trainers who are just interested in lifting weights as often as possible, and staring at themselves in full-length mirrors all day long, but they are in the minority. Whew. Most trainers have solid intentions and genuinely want to help you. Yes, YOU! It takes a lot to “make it” financially as a trainer, and professionals understand this going into the industry, so believe me when I say that these are kind, people-oriented individuals with an interest in serving others.  

Now, before you get scared and say that you don’t wantdon’t need, or can’t afford a trainer (ahem, “excuses, excuses, excuses”), allow me to say that you can approach trainers without having to pay them for a session. Most gyms actually have a trainer walking around the gym during peak hours to assist members. If not, there is likely still a trainer hovering around in between clients. If a trainer is not presently with a client then feel free to approach him/her and ask ANYTHING!

WW Trainer 1

Why not take a few minutes of a professional’s time? They will be glad to give you a pointer. It’s also in their interest to show you good customer service and share their knowledge. At the end of the day, if you DO decide to purchase a session or two, you might consider reaching out to them first. They know this and thus, will put on a smile!

With regards to the energetic professionals teaching group classes:

Unless you know that a group exercise instructor is also a trainer or health professional, be wary of asking them too many questions outside of the scope of their class format. The advice may be more opinion than anything else. It very much depends person-to-person. If the required knowledge is out of their scope then feel free to ask them if they can introduce you to another fitness employee who works full-time in the field.

All this to say, come to the gym when you’re desperate, have put on weight, feel blue, and want to hide in your closet. It will make you feel better because there are normal people, just like you, there too.

Myth #3: “If I can’t workout a lot then it’s a waste to workout at all.”

You may be in denial at having thought this before but chances are that over 50% of the women reading this blog post have felt that it’s simply too overwhelming to begin a workout program because they think that being in a good routine means exercising every day. Although it’s true that establishing a daily routine can help with exercise adherence, it’s not easy to go from never working out to working out every day.

Believe it or not, you can actually gain health benefits from working out only once a week. Yes, it’s true! You will not become a power lifter or a marathon runner from this routine; however, over time, you will make your nervous system sharper. In plain language, your muscles will better know what to do when it comes to external stimuli which correspond or relate to the task of the exercise you performed. For example, if you’re doing squats and lunges once a week then your body may be more flexible and less prone to injury when lunging across your living room to catch a puppy who just ran away with your socks. Am I the only one who has this problem on a regular basis?! Another example: If you do shoulder press regularly then you will be more capable of lifting a heavy box onto a high shelf or reaching overhead without straining your back or neck.

The first 4-6 weeks of any brand new routine are largely about how the body’s nervous system is responding and adapting. These adaptations happen first before major strength gains. Think of it like a baby learning how to move its legs before crawling or walking. Your body has to learn before it will perform. The more you commit to working out a little bit, the more prepared you will be to ramp up your routine before an important event like a wedding, anniversary, or road race, without getting injured or intimidated.

Please do not let perfectionism or fear get in the way of exercising. Whatever energy you can put in will be better than nothing. There are MANY benefits from ANY exercise. Period.

WW Start believing

Note: To help you plan your routine and make it past February, the following articles will be published soon:

The Nitty Gritty; Secrets that exercise professionals know that you should too.

Let’s HIIT it; What high-intensity training is and how it can help save you time in the gym

Yours in health and wellness,

Maggie

wellnesswinz logo 2

 

References:

http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/average-american-watches-5-hours-tv-day-article-1.1711954

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nervous_system

Before You Hit the Gym in 2015

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Avid gym members resent crowded environments come the New Year. They get frustrated that their favorite spot in Spinning class is taken by a newbie and that the free weight section is impossible to navigate without fear of tripping or getting a black eye from flying dumbbells as people enthusiastically show off their moves. Polite gym members hide their impatience because they know that this rapid influx of people will die down within about 4-6 weeks. Does this scene sound familiar?

This year, you won’t be one of those individuals who burns out or who asks for an abrupt time out from exercise come February or March.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a newbie feigning familiarity with mysterious looking exercise equipment or a “seasoned pro” who freely offers fitness tips to friends because this year, you can each establish a successful gym routine. In this article, you will learn a few fundamentals that will help you plan your exercise schedule and see results! Not a bad deal, I must say! 

The two concepts we are going to discuss are traditionally applied to running. These concepts are easy to grasp and can apply to any exercise setting or schedule. The first is called the “10% Rule.” This rule states that one should only increase their exercise intensity by 10% week-to-week. For example, if a woman is running 10 miles total on Week One then she should only run 11 miles the next week. Simple math. Non-runners, I haven’t forgotten you!

There are plenty of ways to apply the 10% Rule to your workout routine. For example: Sarah enjoys working out on the elliptical 3x/week for 30 minutes and lifts weights 2x/week for 20 minutes. Her total exercise time is therefore 170 minutes. Sarah can apply the 10% Rule to see more results week-to-week. She may choose to increase one of several factors for Week Two: 1) the intensity of a cardio workout, 2) the amount of resistance during her weight training,  3) the time spent doing cardio, or 4) the time spent weight training. In scenario three and four, Sarah will either add 15-20 minutes to one of her current workouts or she may add an extra, short exercise session on another day of the week.

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This gradual progression gives the body proper time for recovery, allowing it to become stronger and more resilient. It also ensures that you avoid burning out. A tough exercise routine can backfire. Big time. (Remember I mentioned the January gym mob? It lessens by February because many people hit the gym too hard. Their intensity wasn’t sustainable.) Exercising too hard and too quick can lead to injury or overtraining. A few symptoms of overtraining include increased resting heart rate, sleep disturbances, irritability, depression, change in appetite, decreased sex drive, and more. No fun. Lastly, the 10% Rule helps you PLAN. A haphazard exercise routine is better than none but most people will find they’re on their way to feeling great if they have a road map.

Quick Tip: Map out your exercise plan and put a copy of the schedule on your fridge. Keep a highlighter handy and color over the days you have completed. This will help you stay on track and will offer a visual for your progress. It’s a good idea to include rest days on the chart – give yourself credit for those too!

For those of you who are not currently in an exercise routine, no worries, I’ve got you covered. A general suggestion I like to give new clients is to try to commit to 2-3x/week for working out. I suggest allowing for at least one recovery day in between each exercise day. This is a great start and will ensure that your body can safely adapt. You will also feel GREAT once you’ve completed your workouts, proving to yourself that you can manage exercise after all. After a month of completing this routine then you can start to follow the 10% Rule.

For those of you who are already crazy about fitness, I will give you permission to err slightly from the 10% Rule; however, be wary. Sometimes being mentally stubborn and pushing your body to an unhealthy extreme can give you “negative results” – and that’s not what you want, is it?! I don’t want that for you either.

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The second concept that many runners abide by is the “negative split” to improve their race times. This means that a runner intentionally runs the first half of a road race or training run at a slightly slower pace so that they have energy to shift gears and run fast for the second half. Think about it: the runner actually improves their time by running a little slower in the beginning. In a road race this is because of lactic acid and other limiting factors of the body’s energy systems. Applying this concept to a regular weekly exercise routine can also provide many benefits.

Not every workout in the beginning of a routine has to be slow or easy but in general, your body wants to build up to the hardest moves and the most intense stresses rather than start with them. For example, on Day One would you attempt to max out on shoulder press, do cardio for 3 hours, or take multiple new exercise classes back-to-back? I should think not! Although some unfortunate souls try anyways. In other words, take a deep breath and think wisely about how you approach your goals this new year. You need not hit a road bump. You need not doubt yourself.

Plan your routine. Prepare your body. Pace the journey.

(And ask me questions!)

Yours in health and wellness,

Maggie

wellnesswinz logo 2

 

 

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overtraining

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/workout-burnout

 

A Message From Paris

We are on the verge of a new year and there is much to celebrate! Women from 36 countries have read the WellnessWinz blog since its launch just under 3 months ago – that’s incredible. Imagine the dialogue and awareness we can develop together in 2015! Before the new year begins I want to send a special, brief note from Paris.

…I walked across the famous “Love Lock Bridge” in Paris just a few days ago. The bridge, seen in the picture below, has thousands upon thousands of locks on it. The tradition is for sweethearts to display their love by placing a lock on the bridge. This is much like couples carving their initials into a tree. The bridge is so popular that it’s actually suffering physical damages due to the weight of the locks. Thus, I decided that it wouldn’t be right for me to place a lock on the bridge in honor of WellnessWinz. Instead, I’m sending this “love note” to my readers as a metaphorical lock and promise.

Love Lock Bridge

WellnessWinz will continue to post at least once a week for all of 2015. Even on busy and overwhelming weeks, I will find time. No matter what. Women’s wellness is too important to “put off until tomorrow” because a healthy woman takes on the world with an exuberant energy that is unparalleled.

As we enter a new year it’s also important to look back and remind ourselves of the lessons we’ve learned. Please enjoy perusing the Archives page for posts you want to read again or skipped posts that you still want to make time for. There is a little something for everyone and MUCH more to come!

Upcoming: The new year will kick off with a series of posts that will help you understand how to create and maintain a healthy exercise routine. Rest assured that this year you won’t burn out after a month of hitting the gym hard. I will be here to guide you through posts and to answer questions/emails. Please reach out to me about your personal goals or needs and I will help you more one-on-one (don’t worry this is my favor to you – no charge)! You don’t have to feel lost on your health journey – there is a roadmap we can create and follow together!

Navigate your year

I have no doubt you will be marvelous in 2015! Cheers to ringing in another year!

Yours in health and wellness,

Maggie

wellnesswinz logo 2

To Face Unafraid (the plans we’ve made and more)

The holiday season is full of cheer, gift wrapping, hot cocoa, and a familiar playlist of Christmas carols. One such popular song, “Winter Wonderland,” was written in 1934 and has since been recorded by over 200 artists. The song mostly references winter’s charms like sleigh bells, snowmen, and the thrilling chill in the air. If you listen closely to the words of the holiday tune you will notice that one verse in particular feels a bit out of place. It stands out from the bubbly imagery of winter. It speaks to one of the biggest challenges of the holiday season and life at large:

To face unafraid / the plans that we’ve made” 

Even in the midst of the holidays we too have made numerous plans and overbooked ourselves to the extent that we might now be timid about our agendas. Or perhaps we have cleared our plates of responsibility and must find the resolve to enjoy down time without a whirring voice in the back of our minds telling us about all the things we ought to be doing instead of relaxing. Whatever your situation, finding the ability to thrive instead of survive can be tricky business.

One way that people commonly quell anxiety about the holidays and the upcoming new year is by setting a New Year’s resolution. I’m shocking you with this breaking news. About 50% of us will set a resolution. Unfortunately, research shows that 88% of all resolutions set on New Year’s fail. Ouch. The failure rate is so high because of the way people proclaim their goals. Lucky for you, success is within reach if you do the following…

WW Recommit to Goals

Instead of focusing on a big, lofty goal such as “I want to lose 20 lbs.,” commit yourself to a simple, concrete routine. For example: “I will do my best to go to the gym on Mondays and Wednesdays” or “I will attempt to better control my meal portions by substituting certain calorie dense foods with filling vegetables at lunch and dinner.”

Focus your energy on a routine instead of a goal. This will ensure that you take action rather than sit back and stress over a lack of progress or fear that you won’t be able to attain the high standards that you have set for your future self. As a fitness professional, I have seen time and time again that when people set large goals for themselves, without also creating healthy routines, they get lost in a spiral of frustration and fear. People miss personal training sessions, avoid the gym, and sometimes even gain weight, all because of anxiety over how to achieve their goals.

Fear not. Over time, routines become habitual. According to research it takes approximately 66 days on average for an action to become a habit. This really isn’t too terribly long. It’s worth committing yourself to. Your new healthy habit will become an anchor that keeps you on track. It provides the powerful root structure from which you can grow additional positive benefits and behaviors. The daily choice to engage in this action is the way you consistently recommit to your goals. Thanks to the power of habits we need not fear “all the plans that we’ve made.” This year, there will be no stopping us.


WW Open your eyes

 

Yours in health and wellness,

Maggie

wellnesswinz logo 2

 

 

References

https://blog.bufferapp.com/the-science-of-new-years-resolutions-why-88-fail-and-how-to-make-them-work

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ejsp.674/abstract

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_Wonderland

Recovery Time is Forgotten

WW Happy Winter

Many women are aware that exercise and eating well are essential for good health. Many women also know that good work/life balance, as challenging as it is to achieve, can help them feel more satisfied. In spite of all the things we remember to work towards on a daily basis, there is one crucial thing women frequently forget to make time for. It’s often referred to as “the forgotten training variable” and it’s an important component of wellness. The forgotten variable of exercise and healthy living is recovery.

Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on your perspective, we don’t reap any benefits of exercise until we have recovered. Yes, it’s true. Exercise is a stress applied to our bodies and it’s only once we have recovered from this stress that our bodies becomes stronger and more capable.

Stress isn’t always a bad thing. Stress stimulates the body and helps it become resilient. An article about stress and recovery, The Making of a Corporate Athlete, written by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz for the Harvard Business Review, cites that stress is not the main thing that hinders professionals from reaching their peak performance. What does hinder professionals from reaching their “Ideal Performance State” is the absense of a purposeful recovery.

WW Recovery in Winter

Loehr and Schwartz explain in their work that “Sustained high achievement demands physical and emotional strength as well as a sharp intellect. To bring mind, body, and spirit to peak condition, executives need to learn what world-class athletes already know: recovering energy is as important as expending it.

Athletes and professionals must go through cycles of peak performance and subsequent recovery or “off-seasons” in order to rejuvenate and thereby successfully enter back into their demanding daily grind. Many professionals burn out and athletes get injured when they do not allow for proper recovery. What would happen if a CEO refused to take vacation for years on end and worked 80-100 hrs/week? What would happen if an elite runner trained at race speed every workout in between Olympic trials? Peak performance is something we briefly achieve, not something we maintain for long periods of time. In between moments of reaching “our best” we must work in cycles of effort/expenditure and recovery.

For the average person, a balanced training approach (not including nutrition) is four pronged and includes achieving the following: 1) cardiovascular health, 2) strength, 3) flexibility, and 4) RECOVERY.  ACE Fitness offers a great explanation for why this fourth prong, recovery, is so crucial:

“The best workout program in the world won’t create the effect you want if you don’t get the proper rest and allow the appropriate time for your body to recover from the exercise. In fact, training too hard, too often, with little recovery can actually be bad for you and lead to Overtraining Syndrome (OTS), which could cause weight gain, sleeplessness, poor immune system function and other physiological issues that can keep you from reaching your fitness goals.”

WW Sleep

I get it. This is a hard pill to swallow because American culture, and the many roles a woman plays in her life, make it very difficult to take a break. How many of you have multi-tasked on a much needed “sick day” answering work emails, doing the laundry, or running out of the house at lunch to do errands? Is that really recovery? How many of you have traded in sleep for extra hours of work? (Raising my hand!) 1/3 of Americans get less than the healthy amount of suggested sleep. They trade it in for work. This lack of rest could quite literally be killing a nation by adding to disease and issues with health.  Yikes!

You don’t have to forgo rest though – it’s okay to take a break! In fact, once you return to better health via rest then you will be in a better physical and mental place to take on the next great challenge in your life. Promotion?! Child #2?! Kickboxing class?! Organizing your closet?! Taking a break to relax, get enough sleep, or allow your body to recover from stressful exercise will both feel good and help you to do good. You will have more energy to share. This is truly a scenario where giving to yourself should be top priority. You have permission to think of yourself first and to be a little “greedy” with your time. Simply relax, lady. Recover. Oh, just enjoy! 

WW HH and Relax

 

Yours in health and wellness,

Maggie

wellnesswinz logo 2

 

References:

file:///C:/Users/Maggie/Downloads/Loehr-Schwartz_Making%20a%20Corp%20Athlete.pdf

http://www.acefitness.org/acefit/healthy-living-article/59/3581/recovery-the-forgotten-training-variable/

https://hbr.org/2014/10/research-more-than-half-of-female-execs-were-college-athletes

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/12/15/americans-are-trading-sleep-for-work-and-its-literally-killing-us/

Unselfie; The Joy of Stepping Back

Unselfie?! Does this mean being selfless during the holiday season or are we talking about literally quitting with the mobile driven selfie shots (aka turning your camera view inwards for a self-portrait)? Answer: both.

The holiday season is a time to enjoy being present so that others can receive one of the most precious gifts we are capable of giving: undivided attention.  Taking a break from being “selfie-centered” is rewarding on many levels and there’s scientific data to back that up…

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It’s incredible how many guests at special events spend the entirety of their time with their faces buried in mobile devices. Most of us can admit to both casting disapproving glances at people who whip out their handhelds at delicate times and at one time or another, being guilty of doing the same. I can remember one wedding in particular when I looked at the bride and groom’s table, beautifully decorated with flowers and special place settings, and over half of their attendants (at the same table) were tapping away at their phones, heads down and detached.

The selfie picture taking phenomenon is popular at weddings, family gatherings, date nights, parties, and more. It seems just about every moment of our lives can be broadcast in the form of selfies via social media. If you’re not in a generation that takes endless mobile photos then no doubt you are at least related to another woman who does this. She will probably try to take a selfie with you over the holidays! Selfies have even become a means of checking out how we look, almost akin to looking at one’s reflection in the mirror.

There are a few problems that come with the selfie culture though…

1) Selfies are a highlight reel. Endless filters and photo editing techniques distort the images from reality and allow us to only display the “most beautiful” versions of ourselves. Ever looked at social media sites and the endless attractive pictures of friends and strangers and felt like you just don’t measure up?

2) According to MailOnline Pat Hagan’s article, Looking in the mirror DOES make you more anxious about your looks, ten minutes of looking at your own reflection every day can increase anxiety.

3) Ellen Vora, MD with One Medical writes in her article 5 Health Hazards of an “Always On” Lifestyle :

“As much as we love the convenience of video chatting and Skype to interact with friends and family members, it’s still just video on a screen. A Gallup study found that human beings need up to six hours of social interaction a day to achieve a sense of thriving emotional well-being—and quality matters. Unfortunately, substituting technological communication won’t cut it, and then we frequently disengage once we’re in social situations by fiddling with our phones.”

WW Frozen montage 2

4) Jim Harter, Gallup’s chief scientist of workplace management and wellbeing, says “Not all social time counts the same. In-person time counts more.

So there we have it! These are only a few of many reasons why opting for the “Unselfie” is going to be worth it! It might only be for a few hours, a single event, a day, several days – whatever you choose is great. It’s all about being present for those around us and yes, present for ourselves.

Caring about looks and trying to capture them in time is important to women and it starts at a young age. The recent Disney movie hit Frozen has made over $1 billion in the global box office. That’s not including the incredible amount of money made on Frozen paraphernalia. For example, the number of Elsa and Anna princess costumes that were sold in 2014. Can you guess how many? Wait for it…here it is…3 million! Wow-ee-wow! 

What strikes me the most about these princess costumes is that the majority of them are Elsa. She is the queen with magical ice-shooting powers who feels like an outcast. Her younger sister Anna is warm, self-confident, and always eager to boost her sister’s self-esteem. Anna’s outfit in the movie is rather plain when compared to Elsa’s long crystal-blue gown. Thus, it’s no surprise that millions of little girls wanted to dress up as the “prettier” princess for Halloween 2014. Check out this adorable picture of an elementary classroom full of Elsas on costume day: http://i.imgur.com/yTnbbAi.png  Makes me giggle every time. 

Now, let’s not find fault in these sweet little girls for running around saying “trick-or-treat” between lines of the famous Frozen song “Let it go.” Let’s also not find too much fault in ourselves for being concerned over our looks. The point is simply to say that caring beyond a certain point, fixating on our looks, can become unhealthy for us. It can also cause us to emphasize “you look pretty” lines to a tender, impressionable little girl versus empowering her to invest self-confidence in qualities she has more control over such as her intelligence, humor, or compassion.

This holiday season follow Elsa’s famous words and “let it go.” At least for a little while, let go of constant worry about your looks and let go of the fear that if you don’t post a selfie on social media that you aren’t validated.  You are validated.  You are you. 

 

Holiday medicine

 

Yours in health and wellness,

Maggie

wellnesswinz logo 2

References:

http://abcnews.go.com/Lifestyle/guess-frozen-dresses-sold/story?id=26679037

http://www.cinemablend.com/new/Frozen-5-Most-Mind-Blowing-Accomplishments-41974.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2097717/Looking-mirror-DOES-make-anxiouslooks.html

http://www.gallup.com/businessjournal/151499/Business-Good-Friends.aspx

http://www.spoilertv.com/2014/08/selfie-pilot-review-how-are-you-amy-pond.html

http://www.onemedical.com/blog/live-well/tech-hazards/?utm_source=One+Medical+Group+-+Members&utm_campaign=d516031f09-One_Newsletter_December_2014_DC12_2_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_74172da58b-d516031f09-256466233

 

Women’s #1 Question

The #1 question women ask trainers all the time is “how do I get more toned?”

Whenever a woman asks me this question, I take a deep breath and prepare to answer. I cross my fingers and hope that all the “2 weeks to a tighter core,” “top tricks for toning,” and “5 best exercises for a sexy butt, etc. articles haven’t completely clouded her judgment and made her think that there is a single magic bullet out there in the mystical beyond of the exercise heavens that will get her the toned body of her dreams. Thank goodness, we don’t have to search the world and 100,000 fitness articles for the holy grail of toning – there are endless ways to achieve this goal. Below is a summary that you can take with you for life…

WW Women's #1 Question (2)

The exciting reality is that anything that stimulates your muscles will help them achieve good tone. There is no single and superior exercise prop or movement that fits every body’s needs or even a single person’s needs in different seasons of life. You can use exercise bands, dumbbells, stability balls, body weight, machines, cables, bosu balls, kettlebells, TRX, and many more pieces of equipment to achieve your toning goals. You can even use a toddler or a bag of heavy groceries…wink wink. Actually, it’s true! Again, anything that stimulates your muscles with resistance can improve tone! The secret to seeing results from all this “stimulation?” Answer: CONSISTENCY! 

Incorporating weights or resistance training to work all major muscle groups in your body is sufficient for toning if you do it a few times a week (again, you can use any of the props mentioned above). If you don’t exercise very often then twice a week for a half hour might be a good place to start. If you exercise regularly then you already know that more intensity is required to stimulate your body the same amount, so the aforementioned prescription probably won’t be enough for you. Ohhh, the mountaintop is always just another few steps higher and higher. 

WW Group Exercise

This brings me to the next point; for those who are new to exercise and those who are seasoned, you can take a deep breath and rest assured that you don’t have to spend excessive amounts of time in the gym hitting the weights for good toning. The secret to being efficient for toning purposes is….drumroll please…..lifting HEAVY. 

Using more intense resistance or heavier weight on any number of exercises means you’re stimulating your muscles and hormones at a higher level and can reap greater results in fewer sets and reps. This saves time and helps you look and feel fantastic. Once you experience this firsthand there will be no desire to go back to the cute little weights! Now, before you panic about heavy lifting because you think it will make you “bulky,” I want you to look at the picture below….

WW Women Don't Get Bulky

Okay, now please look back up at the picture again for an additional 10 seconds…

Did it sink in yet, ladies? I can’t tell you all how many times I have had to quell a woman’s fear that weight lifting will make her look bulky. I’m prepared to offer a small sample from the overwhelming evidence of why this just doesn’t happen to women. Read on! 

  • Testosterone is one reason women don’t get bulky. We don’t have a ton of it. Testosterone is a hormone that is produced in 20x greater amounts by men than women and helps with muscle growth. Frankly, this is kind of disappointing news!
  • On the flip side, research suggests that some female dominant hormones may actually prevent protein synthesis which again, aids muscle growth.
  • Women have fewer muscle fibers in their upper bodies compared to men. Hence, it’s harder to acquire that “bulk” women are so afraid of.

Parnell Dean with Body Transformation Fitness wrote:

“Although it is understandable that women are worried that weight training will make them overly muscular, there are many physiological and coincidental reasons why it is highly unlikely that women are going to become too big and bulky from weight training. Unless they take anabolic steroids, eat more calories than they need, and train intensely for years, women will not get too big and bulky from weight training; instead, they will build the strong yet sleek, trim, and toned physique that they desire.”

WW Women at Gym

And why wouldn’t you want to lift weights when you know how much they can transform you? Take for example, Adam Campbell with Women’s Health Magazine who wrote an article titled “12 Reasons You Should Start Lifting Weights Today,” and cited that lifting weights can help women lose up to 40% more body fat compared to just doing cardio exercise or no exercise.

To sum, consistency and lifting heavier as your body becomes stronger will help you achieve the toning you’re after. Trying out a variety of exercises and props will help you hone in on which ones you feel confident performing and which ones you enjoy and want to do more often.

I promise, I could write articles on the top 5 exercises for your gluts, upper arms, calves, inner thighs, lower core, upper back, chest, etc. all darn day long but here’s the thing – I’m interested in giving you so much more than a short list of exercises to take home. Wellnesswinz is here to help you understand how to make living fit and well a lifestyle.

Yours in health and wellness,

Maggie

 

References:

http://bodytransformationfitness.com/can-women-get-too-big-and-bulky-from-weight-training

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/weight-exercises-women