Monday, December 27, 2010

Natural Disasters, Telomeres and the Promise of a New Year

A lot went on in the world this year. 2010 was sadly a year of severe natural disasters; earthquakes, heatwaves, floods and continued disease, hunger and lost lives. It almost felt like it was the year mother earth spoke up. For our planet and it's inhabitants this was a challenging year. In reality we are such a small fraction of the world's population and so far from what is going on around us. Sure, we see so much on our television but this degree of loss, destruction, terror and suffering is not really part of our day-to-day lives. Our normal is really not so outside our borders. I realize it's much easier to view the world on a large scale. When you break everything down, put a child's face, a sibling, a parent – when you put faces and names to the lost lives it's unbearable. If only we could change the world...

This was also a year with much focus on cancer, obesity, diabetes and heart disease. In 2010 there were many who were touched by these life altering diseases. But the focus was not only on their negative impact on our lives and health system but there was also progress in fighting disease and promise to a better life. Perhaps this was the year that thousands decided to make better lifestyle choices for the rest of their lives. What I found most fascinating this year was the amazing research and breakthroughs on telomeres and genes and, more specifically, how exercise keeps our cells young. The discovery of telomere function won several scientists the 2009 Nobel Prize in medicine. I think my clients are tired of hearing me talk about these “tiny caps on the end of DNA strands.” “Dr. Dean Ornish shared new research that showed how adopting healthy lifestyle habits can affect a person at a genetic level. For instance...when you live healthier, eat better, exercise and love more, your brain cells actually increase..when you make comprehensive lifestyle changes they affect gene expression “turning on” disease-preventing genes and “turning off” genes that promote cancer and heart disease, as well as increasing telomerase, an enzyme that lengthens telomeres, the ends of our chromosomes which control aging” This is pretty freaking exciting.

The research supporting the benefits of good diet and exercise is endless. As our society becomes a reflection of the times, or are the times a reflection of society, we seem to bore easily. Things are pretty fast paced to accommodate our demands for the new and varied, so we have many options to stay active with a buffets worth of fitness tools. It's all good if it gets you moving. But never forget the classics. Because they work. When people ask me what I do to stay fit quite often they expect a complicated answer. I use free weights and regularly do my chin-ups, push-ups and squats. I can't say that anyone gets bored while training with me. The “classics” are the foundation multiple routines are built from. Sure I might get a few eye rolls here and there and sometimes I hear “you want me to do what?!?!” but its all good and in the end everyone is happy...

So what will it be for you this year? Are you resolving to exercise – more? To eat “right”? I suggest you make your exercise goals visual. Mark your workouts on your calendar for the week. You'll be more accountable if it's booked in advance. And if you don't workout you will have to scribble it out and that sucks. Nobody wants a calendar full of scribbles. Actually this is the great thing about what I do. Whether I'm on the calendar or not, I'm at at door – whether you feel like working out or not. Sorry. And finally to “eat right” is not really specific. "I will eat breakfast consisting of... I will pack a lunch on Monday, Wednesday, Friday consisting of...I will eat a fruit and vegetable at each meal" is more specific. For me this year will be about continued growth and development; Professionally, in my personal relationships and in my health and well being. And I too am setting out a specific road map. My calendar has consistent reminders that pop up to keep me focused and give me perspective.

I wish you much success in all that you set out to do. Be good to yourself and others. All good comes from a place of love. Move ahead even if things don't go as planned. If you mess up at one meal don't throw out your efforts for the rest of the day. Move on and eat right at your next meal. If you miss your workout, get one in the next day. Don't let it slide. Make every decision a mindful one and make 2011 your year of successful, long term change. Happy New Year Kids.

Enjoy yourself if good health and fitness. All the best/gena.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Proud Transformation...Make 2011 Your Year

I love to write about my experiences as a trainer. But this time, with great pleasure, a dear client took the liberty to share her experience...

"...This has changed my life. Not just because of the weight loss but because you have helped me figured out what was holding me back and what pushes me ahead. Besides getting leaner and stronger, I have gained so much confidence. Gena you're my support system. You clear all the negativity. When we train a lot happens through your direction, motivation, instruction and our goal setting. The thing is that it's not just the time we spend training, it's this open communication and accessibility that keeps me on track and accountable. This benefits all areas of my life.

It's been an awesome experience. Did I work hard?!?!?! You know I did! And I continue to work hard (even on my own G!):) But I actually enjoy it now! 15 pounds lighter, 10k stronger and 5 sizes smaller. I have the energy to get through every day, every workout and be my best. Gena, you've helped me take care of myself and everyone benefits from this. And I have become a role model! Now my friends and family turn to me for advice on exercise and clean eating! Thanks G, couldn't do it without you!