Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 Highlights

Mug shot in the Nordic style of woodcarving from Wisconsin
Mid-summer rain Hiking in North Carolina
I had a busy summer.  I read several good books on training, attended a conference and numerous workshops on Functional Training.  I kept clients busy with workouts between my weekend trips and longer family vacations.  I went to Missouri, Wisconsin, and North Carolina this year leaving only Oklahoma for next year when it's 20 year high-school reunion time!  

Racing and training with Wheelworks Multisport went well.  I even won my division at the Quassy Rev3 race (photos link) in Connecticut and at the Whaling City race in New Bedford, but still, nothing motivated me to write articles.    

Then in July August, and September my trips to see family travels and to race in several new triathlons (USAT Age Group Nationals in Burlington, VT and the Pumpkinman Half-Ironman in southern Maine) kept me running strong with my fastest paces ever in triathlon and juggling clients around my travel times.  

Healthy good veggies from home
 Food continued to be a minor and fun obsession over the summer.  Fresh veggies from our Red Fire Farm CSA share filled us with kale and summer squash.  These were once again my staples for Paleo-influenced eating as whole veg, low grain eating became more my norm. I ditched a lot of sugar and refined grains except when mandated by homemade holiday celebration treats including fine pastry and sometimes, yes, homemade toffee.  There were also a few take-out treats like this meringue cookie found after seeing the Boston Ballet's Nutcracker.
Snowman that doesn't melt...he's meringue!

I barely spent any time on the computer with blogging.  August had me strong with group workouts and a good, lean body fat percent, but still nothing to write about.  Waiting for inspiration to strike, I left blogging and followed twitter feeds on exercise and health more closely.  I also joined the Google+ social networking site but still found it dull compared to Facebook.  Breaking news on exercise science and the latest tips to motivate healthier lifestyles didn't turn my head for long.  I tweeted and I waited for dialog or feedback of any kind, not just the ego-stoking retweets, but it all felt moot.  There was so much more summer to enjoy -- so I went to the river and took up rowing!    

Sculling Level 1 class was a good time!
Single person rowing, or sculling, became a minor obsession in my Tues/Thurs adult lessons at Community Rowing Inc  How I wish I'd discovered crew and ERG'ing while back at UC Berkeley and living in the Bay Area, California, not Massachusetts.  It could have been pretty great to row back then as I'm learning it a little late now.  At least I'm eating well and healthier than ever even if my local access to produce isn't quite as bountiful.
A beautifully balanced salmon salad eaten in SF, CA in Dec 2011

Finally in late October fall really did arrive and I got very busy again with clients.  My hours with SunnyDayFitness clients (~5 per week) and Healthworks clients (~25 per week) took over my planning and marketing time.  I was all about the hustle this fall, and now I feel a little sad for it.  How could I let my writing go for so long without notice?  Who did I disappoint by not sharing more ideas more often?  Anyone?  No one?  I won't really know, but I do know that I feel bad that I missed those months and wrote so little. 

So maybe you fell behind on something, too?  Could 2012 be your year to step back into stride with that lost passion for exercise?  Maybe returning to the old exercise habits won't do this time around?  Let me know if you are looking for something new, OK?  We just might find it together in 2012.  Get in touch if I can help or comment on "What you missed in 2011 and want to find in the new year".
Peaceful and Happy Holidays

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

50th post and Hooray, it's May!

"How's it going with your trainings?"  Business has been good and steady.  I'm proud of what I started here, and I want to make my clients proud of themselves for participating.  Spring started at a good tempo and I'm finally making room for more clients again.  I'm training 25-30 clients each week, mostly in hourly sessions at the gym.  Several new clients are taking it outside, especially now that the weather has improved (finally!).

See that complimentary session gift on my business card?  Well, now you can use it outside in a Bootcamp!  
The SunnyDayFitness Bootcamp series starts June 1 for Wednesdays at 6:30am on June 1, June 15, and June 29.  Meeting at Danehy Park and Champions Track in North Cambridge (map link), we will dust off the old cobwebs and shine with my outdoor *rain or shine* group fitness Bootcamp.  Sign-up by e-mailing me at or just show-up with $20 per workout.  

A high quality nutritional choice

Low quality nutrition
Speaking of Champions... Bootcampers will be given a few nutritional challenges.  Real champions need to eat better foods than cereal, pizza, and peanuts.  We will endeavor together to clean up our diets and fuel our bodies with what we *know* we should be eating.  Each Bootcamp participant will take a weekly diet challenge during the 2 weeks between sessions and will report back.  Are you ready to get fitter and eat healthier?  You'd better be on board!  Wednesdays at Danehy, 6:30am in June.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Healthworks Happenings

It's March already.  How did this happen?  I can honestly say that my busy-ness at the gym has hit new highs.  While still serving my SunnyDayFitness clients on their territory, I worked many long days and nights with new gym joiners in this new year 2011 at Healthworks Fitness for Women.  So many people are now training with me for weight loss and in small groups, it's wonderful!  

Although January was epic and February was full,  I still gave time away to do what I love:  teaching folks how to do new things like

Indoor Rowing

This lady loves taking a break from rowing
Kettlebell Swinging  
She needs a bigger bell to swing, for serious, really. 
and Making Better Nutritional Choices.

Me at Tulsa's QT trying "boston baked beans" and a slushy drink.
Not really your best choices for convenience store eating...sorry!
 Here in March I am actively seeking other venues to teach.  Do you have a community center, a church, or a tennis club where I could share a class like "Restore the Core" to post-natal moms?  Or a senior center with people who'd want to know about "Building Bones with Weight Bearing exercise" to prevent osteoporosis?  

Please think of me and SunnyDayFitness for your fitness teaching and athletic coaching needs.  I offer a complimentary in-home training or consultation to all new clients and a free training session to you if you refer me to someone who does become a client. It's nearly time to run and play outside again, but will your body (or your mom's or your sister's or your grandma's) be ready for that next sunny day...?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Getting older, Not fatter

Getting older gracefully is something many aspire to do.  Some people, however, want more than that.  Flying into our 90s is the dream... right? Look at Olga up there -- she's flying!!  She wants to age with speed, agility, and athletic achievements in age-group competitions.  But getting to the top of "masters" divisions or the "senior games" isn't as easy as it used to be for the Olgas of the world.

Nowdays instead of ever-shrinking 65-70 and 75-80 year old competition brackets, they're growing...  more about that in a future article  But first, the bad news remains:  we lose 10% of our lean muscle every decade.  Only strength training and regular exercise can prevent muscle loss.  Left unchecked, the lost muscle is replaced with fat.  

So for a woman who starts out in her 20s or 30s with a relatively healthy 80% lean, 20% fat body she'll enter her 40s with a 70% lean, 30% fat even IF her weight stays the same.  Her sizes will go up ever so slightly and it may "not matter much" at first, but there are consequences:   
Everything feels pudgy.  Energy levels drop.  Life gets harder.  

People already in their 40s and 50s folks know that losing weight gets harder as we age, and why is that?  It's because the metabolic engine that is our lean muscle mass is getting eaten away.  Like termites gnawing away at wood, fat creeps in to replace our muscle as our own bodies only naturally conserve and build strength in youth but atrophy with age.  

Hormones have a role in this process, no doubt, but rather than hitting the needles and popping pills... why not use the muscle you have to conserve the metabolism you need to age gracefully and healthfully.  

As reported by the NY Times, there is inspiration to be found in the 80-year olds who stay fit with good, old-fashioned work.  Consistency is the key.  And researchers learning more about aging every year:  
Some researchers now see aging itself as a kind of mitochondrial disease. Defective mitochondria appear as we get older, and these researchers say that they rob us of endurance, strength and function. There’s evidence that for young patients with mitochondrial disease, exercise is a potent tool, slowing the symptoms. If that’s true, then exercise could also potentially be a kind of elixir of youth, combating the ravages of aging far more than we thought.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Abs Diet advice

An old friend from Tulsa who got in touch with me via Facebook this summer.  She asked for advice on dieting and exercising to lose 30 pounds over the course of a year.  Now that we've just had Thanksgiving, I'm going to check-in and ask how she's doing so far.

I have helped people like her before, but in person, and not via e-mail or Facebook.  This kind of distance coaching isn't my intended direction for fitness coaching, but I did want to help this friend, so I replied:

Dear Friend, 

Sorry I've not responded to your note yet.  I'm juggling a lot of private and gym clients right now, plus mid-summer vacations.  Yes, life is good even if busy.  :-)   I wish I could afford more time for e-mails to friends, but facebook updates are about all I can do right now.  

Anyway, about these 30, I think you've got the right idea to take some time with it.  Make it a steady effort for 3 weeks at a time, taking a shorter-term view of progress rather than getting lost in the big picture. It's easy to see 10lbs x3 as more attainable than all 30 at a go.  Weight loss is a struggle of inches as well as pounds.  Start with some good basic measurements to see progress in more than just your "skinny jeans" fit.

Now for the specifics:  I doubt that there's a lot of dietary expertise that I could bring to your situation without asking for food logs and making detailed shopping lists for you.  I do know that everything I've experienced and read says that more protein, more veggies, and more water helps.  Similarly, you want less processed (boxed, wrapped, shelved) foods, less alcohol/sugar, and less eating overall (portion control) to help keep excess calories out.  Eat more veggies, fruits, berries, and grains is my first tip.

Basically, You'll need to eat healthy, less refined, raw or natural "ABS DIET" power foods as much as possible.  Check out the list if you haven't already seen it.  About 80% of foods for most athlete's and weight loss diets will come from it.  My one allowance for boxed breakfast is raisin bran or old-fashioned 3-5 lb. round cannister of quaker oats, no packets.  To prepare, just add water or milk until some of the oats float and microwave for 2-3 mins.

I don't know if dairy or eggs work for you, but both are excellent proteins if you skip the full-fat milks/cheeses or yolks.   Even on a budget, a gallon of skim milk and a doz eggs should be affordable protein sources.  Hardboiled eggs are super-portable too and easy to prepare with 10mins boiling water.  

Canned tuna and chicken roasted or baked and cooked in bulk can provide great sandwich material, and making them yourself will save you a lot of cals and cost.  I know saving money is important to you, and I encourage practicing the disciplines of cooking your own meals and packing your food to-go with you as much as possible.  Carry water with you everywhere and spend nothing on beverages except your emergen-C packets. Good stuff!

Basically, I think you already know the answers.  Eat good stuff, and not too much of it.  Move more and preserve muscles by keeping protein intake high, but natural.  The rest is a matter of budgeting in the time and effort to stay focused and in control of how/when/how much you eat.  Not to be cryptic, but it's all within you.  E-mail me for more info and Let me know how you do,  OK?

Take care, -Sunny