Saturday, February 28, 2009

Considering A Personal Trainer? Read This First

I highly recommend hiring a personal trainer. However, I’ll be the first to tell you that it’s not for the faint-hearted.

There are two reasons why I say this. First, it’s not cheap. And second, working with a personal trainer requires commitment.

I would share with you my two most important gauges in hiring a personal trainer --

1. Are you finding that you really need help and motivation toward committing to a personal fitness program?

2. Do you need more professional advice in a particular area of fitness for personal improvement?

Most of us know how we can basically start some sort of a four-to-five day fitness routine by taking easy steps toward walking, running or some other aerobic activity. However, if you need motivation, you’ll quickly find that investment in a personal trainer will drive your fanny to wherever you end up going to seek that help in accomplishing these activities. If you really have difficulty making appointments for yourself to commit to fitness, you’ll find that setting appointments with a personal trainer will help you better compartmenalize that time within your routine.

Good for you if you’re already on your way toward running a race or considering alternatives for new and expanded forms of activity. This is where a fitness trainer or coach can help you attain your expanded fitness goals.

This post on e-how offers a great starting point in hiring a personal fitness trainer at However, you can “google” the search words “hiring a personal fitness trainer” and come up with quite a bit of information to help yourself down this road.

Good luck!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Try This On Your Bike

Spinning today, the instructor and I came up with a new little routine that we thought we would share.

Try our version of “tempo biking”. You have the normal 10-minute warmup. Then you go into a series of 5 to 10-minute rides where you maintain steady pace. You can also work in periodic hills for 20 to 30 seconds. Recover as appropriate.

This is a great part of the trainer bike workout that can help you with your biking goals for the year!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Motivation To Get Started With Running

Most people ask me, “How in the hell do you run as much as you do?”

What my acquaintances don’t know is that I don’t run near the distance many endurance runners travel per week. I will usually do in the neighborhood of 20 to 30 miles per week. However, it’s not unusual for a runner in marathon training to run 60-plus miles a week.

I’ll just be honest. I’m completely at peace with the fact that at 43 years old, running is not the most optimal exercise for me – all the time. That’s the key. While I love to run, there are other activities to use to support my running abilities. That’s why I enjoy occasionally doing triathlons.

I digress.

Let’s assume that you enjoy running as much as I do or you would like to try and find out how much you enjoy running as a form of regular exercise. I stumbled upon this list that should be helpful to runners just getting started at This post is actually listed at the Complete Running Blog Network and it lists the top 100 things a beginning runner should know --

It’s going to touch 50 degrees this week, so give a run some thought!

Friday, February 20, 2009

ARod Or ARoid?

What an unfortunate unfolding of events surrounding Major League Baseball, the use of steroids and one of the game’s marquis player Alex Rodriguez this past week.

It’s sad the grand game of baseball has been limited to one of its feature highlights now being “Who’s next?” on the list of steroid abusers. Baseball fans have been forced to accept this practice as a daily course of business as usual. Unfortunately, the practice will probably never cease until MLB starts eliminating records as a result of these offenses. That’s probably not going to happen any time soon.

I ran across a post by journalist Mark Hyman that perhaps sheds an even more devastating light on this most recent chapter in the “Steroids in Major League Baseball” saga. What message are players like Alex Rodriquez sending to the youth players? It is so unfortunate that the good this guy has committed and the largesse of his abilities are completely mitigated by his admission.

Take a look at Mark’s post and draw your own conclusions --

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Don’t Cut Back Fitness In Times Of Stress

None of us can say we aren’t just a bit stressed out these days.

These uncertain economic times have brought on a variety of unusual circumstances. Personally, I’ve had an number of friends who have lost jobs or who have experienced layoffs at their place of employment. Additionally, many employers are requiring more from their employees. It is odd to think that at this time two years ago, these types of issues where nowhere near as pervasive in our economy.

Resist the temptation to allow stress become an excuse for decreasing your fitness activities. Remember, if nothing else, your time for fitness is YOUR time. It belongs to no one else and it’s your time to decompress, breathe better and make yourself better overall.

As activities in my family have increased with growing children, I find that I have to wake up early to complete my fitness and training activities. It’s very relaxing at this time of day because it is quiet and less bustling. My training is truly my BIGGEST outlet for stress relief.

If economic times have forced you to cut back on spending associated with fitness, that doesn’t mean you can’t find a walk, run or workout video that curbs costs. Or maybe it’s time to consider the YMCA instead of the fancy health club you’ve belonged to for umpteen years. The YMCA is the most affordable health center on Earth and they are EVERYWHERE (even when you travel). Find the location closest to you at

This post from Nancy Howard at offers more helpful information on how fitness relieves stress in these current times --

Monday, February 16, 2009

Try This “Total Body” Workout

Yuri Elkaim’s “Total Wellness Blog” regularly features some great information about numerous fitness-related issues. I thought I would pass the link along to this particular post from last week as it covers a really interesting total body workout. Check it out --

Some great exercises here. He offers a variety of “total body” exercises that are different from what you might be used to.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Volunteer For Spring Youth Sports

It’s that time again! I get excited about the snow melting and the green of the trees and grass just around the corner.

I don’t get excited about recruiting volunteers so much though. I’ve preached about this in the past, but it’s worth repeating. Your children's spring and summer sports leagues are in desperate need of volunteer coaches.

Having spent quite a few hours over the past few weeks recruiting coaches for our local spring youth baseball program, it makes me think that it shouldn’t be this hard to identify quality volunteers to fill these roles.

Don’t parents want to spend quality time with their children? Believe me, this is quality time spent when you’ll be giving back to your community AND learning more about your child and who he or she socializes with.

So you don’t know much about the sport in which your child participates? Can you type “Google” on your computer or spend a little time in the local public library? These are easy ways to become quickly educated about drills in a particular sport. Can you find a field, a time and use e-mail? Most communication with team families occurs through e-mail. It’s not that hard.

When that call or e-mail comes over the next few weeks requesting folks to "step up" and coach, please give it strong thought. Trust me, my efforts over the past few weeks tell me “your country needs you!”

Friday, February 13, 2009

Women’s Running Magazine Launches

I try to stay on the lookout for resources I believe will be helpful to followers here.

Christine Luff recently reported about a new running magazine focused on women launched in December. Appropriately titled Women’s Running, this magazine looks to be a helpful resource to female runners.

For a limited time, subscribers could receive a free t-shirt. I’m not sure that is still available, but check it out here -

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Simple Ways To Improve Your Fitness Training

Hopefully, you’ve made strides toward adopting healthier fitness habits in the new year. Here are some simple suggestions to make your training more productive --

Run Or Work Out With Some Friends. It makes the training go faster and your friends hold you accountable.
Try Interval Workouts. Identify a series of exercises you can do over a period of time. Then do a recovery period. For example, run six 800 meter intervals with a 1:00 to 1:30- minute recovery.

Stretch and Warm Up Before You Work Out. Warming up your muscles and getting fluid flowing to your joints helps prevent injury and prepare you for the workout.

Do Something Different. Add biking, swimming, elliptical, weights or whatever to your training routine. The body adapts quickly to the same routine, thus burning caloriesmore efficiently. Varying your activities is good for cross-training, injury preventionand forcing your body to work harder and burn more calories.

Jog Through Water. It’s one of the most strenuous activities you canperform, since water is about 12 to 15 times as resistant as air.

Feed Yourself. Try a banana, other fruit or energy bar before you workout to get an edge. If you’re going on a particularly long workout, you may need an energy gel or jelly beans to replenish what you’ve burned up.

Try some of these simple additions to your workout routine in order to make it more effective.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Not Too Late To Get Fit For New Year

Well, I'm back. Just needed a few days away from the blog.

It’s hard to believe, but January has past. Gone. History. January 2009 is nothing more than the past now.

So, maybe you’re thinking, “Geez, I just couldn’t get my butt in gear and join a health club the way I had planned.” Or perhaps the mantra is a little more like, “I just ignored that New Year’s resolution of using the treadmill four times a week.”

No fear. It’s really not too late. It’s NEVER too late to start a fitness program, lose weight or just get yourself back into shape. In the immortal words of my favorite fitness brand, “Just do it!”

Maybe you need a little nudge.

If it helps, many health clubs are still offering incentives for membership in the new year. I know my health club is still offering its “no initiation fee” special. Check it out at When I attended the Iowa Energy basketball game the other night, the Gold’s Gym folks were giving away all types of membership-related prizes. They also have some other promotions available that you can check out at

So even though your lazy, bad self didn’t get moving in January, there’s plenty of incentive available for starting NOW!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Register Your Child For Summer Sports

If you’re seeing any grass under the snow, it’s brown. But that grass will turn to green before you know it!

While anything above 40 degrees is considered a “heat wave” at this point, it’s time to get your child registered for a baseball or softball program. In fact, if you’re just getting to registering your child for Holiday Park Baseball in West Des Moines now (, you’ll pay a late registration fee.

Being so involved in local youth baseball, I’m often asked or told, “When is baseball registration?” or “You can sign up for softball? I didn’t know anything about it. I haven’t heard anything.” Take responsibility, folks. You don’t need to wait for someone to come down from the sky to tell you it’s time to register for a spring/summer youth athletic programs.

Most of you know the website address already for the youth sports programs in which your child participates. If you don’t, contact your local parks and recreation department to learn more about what youth athletic programs are available in your area. The staff in these departments are generally very knowledgeable and willing to help you track down your needs for summer sports activities.

If your children are young and just starting out, ask a friend or neighbor for information about their experiences with children’s sports activities. Chances are they are more than willing to lend helpful advice.

Don’t forget that most of these leagues desperately need volunteers. Considering being a volunteer coach this year. It’s truly a rewarding experience!

I’m going to take a little break from posting for the next few days with some family visiting from Florida. We’ll pick back up again next week!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Warming Up Is SO Important!

Writing this blog makes me feel a bit like the pastor at my church. I feel as though I am regularly “preaching” about better fitness and coaching habits.

“Warming up” is one of my regular “Sunday morning preaching” topics. I know I have discussed this in the past, but it’s worth mentioning again.

Engaging in a low-impact exercise, such as biking, walking, an elliptical machine, a rowing machine, etc. is perhaps the most effective method of warming up.

There are many reasons why you should warm up and stretch before working out - the biggest motivator is injury prevention. A warm up and stretch help increase the flexibility of your limbs, muscles and connective tissues prior to testing them with the impact of your chosen workout. Increased elasticity simply means muscle and tissues are more relaxed and flexible. Running is just one example of an exercise that puts an enormous amount of stress on your body. Therefore, proper stretching is very important.

Your muscles will actually perform better with the appropriate forms of warm up and stretching. Lactic acid builds up in your muscles quicker without a warm up. Lactic acid is what you feel when you are doing an intense exercise and you feel a "burn." Warming up and stretching reduces lactic acid to get more out of your workout.

If you’re a busy 40-something like me, you’re more prone to injury. Take time to warm up and stretch in order to reduce the risk of injury. I typically warm up and stretch for up to 20 minutes prior to each workout and cool down for at least 10 minutes AFTER the workout.

One more tip – don’t overlook the value of stretching if you’re recovering from injury. With the guidance of some great physical therapists, stretching has really helped my recovery from some nagging injuries in the past.

And finally . . . announcing the winner of our Arbonne $100 gift certificate . . . (insert drum roll here) . . . is jillwillrun! Jillwillrun, contact me @ and we'll make arrangements for you to receive your gift certificate.

If you're interested in learning more about Arbonne, contact:

Nessa Doria
Arbonne Independent Consultant
Executive Area Manager
515-633-7121 (mobile)

Thanks to all for participating!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Check Out Arbonne – Win $100 Worth Of Product!

My good friend Nessa Doria is a representative for Arbonne products. I told her I’d be glad to devote a post to educate readers about Arbonne’s products and philosophy.

I think it’s exciting this company takes such a “natural” approach to its products. Arbonne products are botanically-based – blending science and nature, based on herbal and botanical principals; hypoallergenic (voluntary human testing meets hypoallergenic substantial claim criteria); never tested on animals in the company's 29 years of existence and formulated without any animal products or by-products. All products are certified “vegan”. Plants and herbs together with science and technology offer superior benefits.

Here are some examples of Arbonne products that are useful to athletes --

Bio-Nutria® Joint Formula - Help support healthy joint functioning with Arbonne’s Joint Formula that includes glucosamine sulfate.

Bio-Nutria® Herbal Muscle Massage Gel - Heat, soothe and relieve tired, aching muscles and joints associated with minor exercise injury or arthritis with this massage gel.

Nessa says these products are great for those aches and pains from training. She has clients who use them for carpal tunnel pain in their wrists, tennis elbow, sore knees, aching backs and necks. The muscle massage gel is very concentrated and a little goes a long way. It has a nice fresh scent.

Daily Power Packs for Women - A balanced, power-packed combination of multi-vitamin and multi-mineral tablets that work to address women’s specific health concerns every day.

The daily Power Packs for women contain six supplements
1. 1 mulitvitamin tablet
2. 1 multimineral tablet
3. 2 calcium tablets
4. 1 superfood antioxidant tablet
5. 1 digestive enzyme tablet

Daily Power Packs for Men - A balanced, power-packed combination of multi-vitamin and multi-mineral tablets that work to address men’s specific health concerns every day.

Daily Power Packs for Men includes six supplements
1. 1 multivitamin tablet
2. 2 multimineral tablets
3. 1 prostrate formula
4. 1 superfood antioxidant
5. 1 digestive enzyme tablet

The SeaSource Detox spa products help stimulate, strengthen and support the body’s ability to release toxins and remineralize our skin. If you swim and workout often, these products are a necessity. Toxins are trapped on your skin when you sweat. So if your dry-fit workout gear seems to not get clean in the wash, these products will definitely help take the stink out of your sweat.

So that's a little introduction to Arbonne. Now, here’s your chance to win -- Comment about any Arbonne product by 6 p.m. CST tomorrow (Tuesday, Feb. 3) and we’ll hold a drawing for a $100 Arbonne gift certificate from among the eligible comment posters. Watch for the drawing results to be posted Wednesday evening.