Friday, December 12, 2014

12 Days of Christmas Workouts

What better way to stay healthy during the holidays than challenging yourself with 12 Days of Christmas Workouts. The plan is this: Choose 12 activities for the 12 days before Christmas. Take your current workout schedule and mix it up a bit. Make it FUN, include friends & family and enjoy the physical exercise. Begin on Saturday, December 13th and complete your twelve-day workout on Wednesday, December 24th.

Here are some ideas:

 *Hike with a friend in Stough Canyon or Wildwood Canyon
 *Ice skate at City Hall or Pickwick
 *Take an evening walk to see Christmas lights
 *Try a different class at your gym or try a new piece of equipment
 *Swim at Verdugo Pool (it is heated)
 *Do 12 push ups, 12 burpees and jump rope for 12 minutes
 *Play an outdoor game: basketball, soccer, bocce ball, just get moving!
 *Go horseback riding near the Equestrian Center
 *Do the workout circuit at Johnny Carson Park
 *Play golf at DeBell Golf Course. Try the 9-hole course, if you are short on time.
 *Jog & sprint the track at Burbank or Burroughs high school
 *Play tennis at Brace Park tennis courts
 *Run the bleachers at one of the high schools or parks. Add pushups & tricep dips.
 *Walk the dog at Brand Park. Try the hills behind the park.
 *Jog 12 blocks, run 1 block, repeat
 *I will do a Christmas Step class at the YMCA on Friday, December 19th. Join us!
 *Roller skate at Moonlight Rollerway on San Fernando Blvd in Glendale
 *Do yoga at Golden Road Brewery on Saturday from 9 - 11am
 *Play Frisbee Golf at DeBell 9-hole golf course
 *Join my YMCA class on Thursday, December 18 for our 30 minute 12 Days of Christmas Workout. I might even sing!
 *Walk, jog, roller blade or bike on Chandler Bike Path. Go all the way from the beginning by Toys R Us to the end in North Hollywood and back for almost 6 miles.

You get the idea. Create your own personalized 12 Day Challenge. Don't overwhelm yourself by adding too many new things. This is not the season for that! Enjoy moving and celebrating life this Christmas season.

When you decide on your 12 Days of Christmas Workouts, share your plan in the COMMENTS below and afterwards let us know how it went. I would love to hear your creative ideas.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Holiday Workouts To Go

Holidays often mean traveling. Traveling often means airports and long car rides, gluttony and immobility. Taking time out every day to get in some intentional exercise can help keep you sane (or at least semi-sane). Plan ahead and take exercise clothes to account for the weather of your destination.

Create a routine - With the freedom of a relaxed schedule, it's easier to think that you'll work out "in a while". Try putting on your exercise clothes when you first get up and go out to explore whatever area you are in. Maybe getting in an after-dinner jog sounds better. Whatever you choose, stick with your travel routine.

Exercise is time for you - It's great to connect with family & friends but all that togetherness can be overwhelming at times. Your exercise routine can be the calm time in the day that you need to decompress and pump up some feel-good endorphins.

Figure out some no-equipment strength moves - Find a park bench for pushups and tricep dips. Try walking lunges and wall sits. Crunches are an easy addition to your routine. Plan ahead. Pack bands or a balance disc. They take up little room and can add intensity to your travel workout. (You probably don't want to bring the huge dumbbells like in the photo above.)

In a hotel, you can use the exercise room, of course, but also think outside the box. The stairs offer a great cardio workout (watch out for housekeeping staff). Try incline pushups, tricep dips and staggered squats on the stairs. Finish with some cycles and you are done!

Enjoy time away. Enjoy time with family & friends. And Keep Moving!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Do I Need New Workout Shoes?

How often you replace your workout shoes depends on your body, activities and shoe type. As a general rule, shoes should be replaced every six months if you wear them four or more times per week. Larger people should replace their shoes more frequently, as should people who sprint or do high-impact cross-training. Lighter shoes may wear down faster.

To prolong the life of your shoes, keep multiple pairs in your closet, each for a different terrain or activity. Don't take walks in your running shoes or lift weights in your trail-runners. Switching shoes this way may also help guard against overuse injury.

Pay attention to how your shoes feel when you put them on. "When your shoes start feeling 'flat''s time for a new pair." says podiatrist and distance runner Jamie Mieras. Make sure to get fitted with a shoe that is correct for you. Different brands run narrow or wide. Some have more cushioning in the heel or the ball of the foot. You may need a specialty insert to customize the shoe for your foot. A comfortable shoe is essential to motivate consistent workouts. You won't get out there if your feet hurt!

Choose a specialty running shoe store. The staff will custom-fit you according to the activity you enjoy and frequency of your workout. They will take into account any pain or fit issues you've had in the past and will choose some styles for you to try on. The staffer will watch you walk, run or jump and help you decide on the right shoe for you.

Give yourself a healthy gift this Christmas or ask Santa to put a new pair of workout shoes under the tree this year!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Gratitude is Good for your Heart

Thankfulness can improve your spiritual and physical health and it may even keep you from having a heart attack. You may exercise faithfully and eat a balanced diet but the absence or scarcity of gratitude can interfere with your ability to experience life at its best.

Anger, resentment and sadness elicit the production of stress hormones which are known to harm the cardiovascular system. These feelings stimulate the release of pro-inflammatory chemicals called cytokines. Widespread inflammation is the basis for the development of heart disease, as well as chronic pain, cancers and depression.

Gratitude, forgiveness and love increase the production of beneficial chemicals, like serotonin, which result in a sense of well-being and can ease inflammation, allowing for a stronger, healthier heart. There is new evidence to show that thankfulness can improve blood flow to the heart as well as positively affect a portion of your DNA, the telomeres, that help you live longer.

Everyone experiences negative feelings but what you do when they crop up is up to you. Choosing to let go of the negative thoughts is a pro-active way to be rewarded with happiness and improved physical health. Don't worry if appreciating the goodness of life doesn't come naturally to you. The more you try to be grateful, the easier it will become.

You can journal your grateful thoughts, announce them to your co-workers and share them with your children. Make a game of it with your family, finding one thing to be thankful for each day. The result can be a healthier heart and body and a happier mindset.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 14, 2014

How to Eat Fewer Cookies Without Even Trying

Researchers have noticed that "it's easier to change your eating environment than to change your mind". In other words, it's not you or your willpower. You can arrange your surroundings in a way that encourages you to eat less and eat healthier.

In a post-party experiment, researchers covered half of the leftover food with clear plastic wrap and half they covered with foil. Within two days, all the leftovers in see-through wrappings were gone, while most of the food in opaque wrappings were still there <10 days later. The good news is this works as well for carrot sticks as it does for cookies. If you can easily see them, you'll eat more of them. So the healthier a food is, the clearer the packaging should be.

Think ahead to Thanksgiving. Choose to arrange healthy appetizers in easy-to-see places. You can still choose a treat or two (I love Brie!) but make healthy choices accessible. Prepare a few low-fat, high fiber side dishes to accompany the traditional dishes. Make it easy to choose well.

Think ahead to post-Thanksgiving leftovers. Do you want second helpings of green bean casserole and pecan pie? Perhaps one serving on the special day is enough. Dispose of leftovers, give them away or freeze them to have at a balanced meal later in the month. If you can't see it, it will be less tempting.

Display the good stuff, hide the "bad" stuff and enjoy success this Thanksgiving while you Enjoy Your Food!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Burn Fat Before you Feast

Did you know? More Americans participate in races on Thanksgiving Day that any other day of the year! Join the crowd and start your holiday on the right foot by participating in the Burbank Community YMCA Turkey Trot. This family friendly 5K/10K race is open to runners, walkers and stroller-pushers. Costumes welcome! There is a Kiddie Run and Fun Zone for the little ones. In addition, you get a long-sleeved race shirt to exercise in all around town throughout the year.

The Turkey Trot is a great Burbank community day with people from all areas of city life coming together to get their sweat on before sitting down to dinner. It's fun to see so many friends gathered for the event. John and I will be power walking the 5K course. Don't miss my turkey feather headband!

See you there! Pre-register today to save $5 at

Monday, November 3, 2014

Pre-Holiday Boot Camp

The LAST mini-Boot Camp session for 2014 begins THIS SATURDAY November 8. The session includes a free personalized exercise and nutrition plan to help you work hard and stay healthy from now until the New Year without the dreaded 5 - 7 lb holiday weight gain. Partner with a friend and set yourself up for success this holiday season with a fun and energizing workout. Contact Ann now to sign up.