Sense Memory

By Susan Howard

working out while sick

One of my clients, who at times struggles to maintain a healthy weight, was “off the wagon” as they say. She got a new demanding job and bought her first home so her stress level was a solid ten. During this time her workouts declined and in turn her eating went south as well. Months later coming back to her training sessions with me she had put on an extra twenty pounds on the hiatus.

Getting her back on track we looked at, in addition to strength training with me, some spinning classes she might sign up for. In the past, spinning was a strong foot hold in her weight loss habits. She enjoyed the music, competition and and energy in the room.

At her first class back, she had to leave the room halfway through the class because she thought she was going to throw up. She was used to maxing out her ride each time she went, but hadn’t been to class in so long her fitness level was much weaker having not trained in months.

A few weeks later I ask her how her workout week went and she said she hasn’t gone back to spinning, I was surprised. I remembered how inspiring the classes where for her. Then we broke down why. Every time she thought about signing up for a class she thought about how out of shape and sick she felt at the last class.

One thing I will say that is true: It’s rough getting back into the gym when you haven’t been doing anything. Especially if you did go consistently and remember yourself so much stronger. During our session we signed up for a class she could make with her work schedule and I told her that she could feel free to leave at the half way mark if she needed to.

We tend to defeat ourselves before we begin. We have a bad experience and that derails us for months. Trying your best means honestly facing where you are right now and starting from there. Meet that person, the you of today and embrace who that is. Your best might be a half of a spinning class or it could be a ten mile run, both are perfect and true.

Ignore all negative bias and get moving.

Stay Ready.

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Tip Your Server

By Susan Howard

After graduating college, as a way to make some cash, I waited on tables at a local hipster diner in West Hollywood.  The job is actually a lot harder than you might think.  To be a successful server you have to take on a bunch of tables while keeping them all happy simultaneously even as they are likely on different parts of their meal.  One wants a drinks menu, another patrons hot order of pancakes and bacon is up and the last is ready to go and wants the check.  At a busy restaurant which is where you make the good money, it’s especially challenging.  Plus you are on your feet for eight hours at a time running around punching in orders, carrying food and busing tables.

As a rule, you should tip these people 20 percent of the total bill across the board, unless something really goes horribly bad, like you get a glass of beer ..read more

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Containers

By Susan Howard

The other day one of my clients, having hit a 50 pound weight loss milestone, was reflecting on some of the decisions she is now making to continue her successful trail.  “Containers,” she said, “You have to start at the source.”  Specifically she was talking about how when she goes to the movies, she orders a small buttered popcorn.  She tells them to charge her for the full, but to fill it half way.  Another wise example she had was at a soft serve ice cream place (she had a friend in town), she ordered a kiddie cup and told them the same thing. She said, “Charge me for the whole thing, but fill it half way and add caramel sauce and sprinkles on top.” 

This may not sound like a weight loss plan as you read it.  You may be wondering…ice cream with caramel sauce…buttered popcorn…this is not a good idea.  If you want to lose ..read more

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Pre-Game Plan For Staying Fit

By Susan Howard

Happy Summer ya all. 

With summer brings BBQ’s and pool parties and as I write this it’s the morning of 4th of July.  In the past I have written about portion control and just take one plate, no seconds and stuff like that.  This time I am going to talk about your pre game plan.

Say you are going to an event that afternoon or evening, here are somethings you can do to help yourself in the storm of hot dogs, potato chips and cupcakes.

First thing that morning, you should workout, Duh.  Get in some cardiovascular activity like a hike, bike ride or a run.  If you can do one of those for 30 minutes and then add 10 or so of strength training you should be good.  When in doubt go on you tube and check out one of the abundant videos, or go old school with push ups and crunches.

Second, eat protein.  We ..read more

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Always, Sometimes, Never

By Susan Howard

This phrase, “Always, Sometimes, Never” reminds me of an Algebra test I didn’t pass or an old drinking game that got me into trouble at a college house party.  Today I am referring to none of the above.  (Answer D) 

Instead, I want you to look at your absolutes. 

From; “I will never stop drinking coffee.” to “I hate weight training.” to  “I am not an early riser.” to “I always need something sweet in the afternoon.”  Whichever one of these phrases relates to you, (you could also fill in the blank with some of your own one-liners) aren’t completely true.

Yes, there are somethings you don’t want to give up…YET, but don’t block off the potential of change you could ignite by deciding that you are any one thing. 

At this moment you are you for as many years as you have been you. You feel most comfortable in your habits, but is the ..read more

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Looking Down

By Susan Howard

If the sky really were falling, surely we would all get crushed.  The reason for this is, we are all constantly looking down at our cellphones, computers or even just the ground.  As I look around, I see forward leaning heads with the cervical curve flattened out and the upper back is slumped with rounded shoulders collapsing in. 

It’s not surprising people are depressed.  Slumping around with your head down is a bummer.  Correct postural alignment can make you feel better.  Why do you think the yogis practice sitting in the lotus position to meditate?  If they are going to get to Nirvana, they have to allow the steady stream of breath to travel up and down the spine.  In order to do this they must have proper alignment.

Here’s how to get straight.  If you are slumped, you know who you are, don’t hate yourself when you are out of correct position.  The first ..read more

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Challenge: Do Something Different

By Susan Howard

CHALLENGE:

Do something different.

If you’ve been in the gym, do some outside workouts, bike, hike, swim, roller skate. 

Or

Vice Versa if you’ve been doing yoga class and mountain climbing, head into the gym do some formal strength training.

We need balance.  We need varied workouts so our minds, bodies, hearts and souls don’t get static. 

Ignite a friend, and tweet at them to get moving. 

Do a meet up for stair climbing and smoothies with some peeps you haven’t had chance to connect with.

Everyone is in their bubble and it’s easy to forget we have each other.  We can lean on each other and use each other for love support and yes, fitness.

Think back at your workouts over the last month and pick something new.

I just filled my bike tires with some new air and hit it on the trail. 

You got this.

Stay Ready.

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Nobody Walks In Los Angeles

By Susan Howard

Every time we head to New York or San Francisco my wife and I walk our asses off.  Grabbing coffees in the AM we head straight for the streets and walk until dinner.  We shop, buy new jeans, coats and running shoes.  We peak in little art galleries and grab a specialty scone along the way.  In the afternoon we likely  do cocktails and a cheese plate or something small.  By dinner we are starving and carrying multiple shopping bags.

The next day we repeat the whole thing again.  We share a vigor for checking out a city and seeing it beyond the touristy spots and the best way to do that we have found is by foot.

This is not true for Los Angeles as it is too vast a place to walk.  You simply must drive.  We drive so much in LA my clients complain about tight hip flexors and right achilles tendons from sitting ..read more

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Self Harm V. Self Love

By Susan Howard

The battle begins.  Who will reign triumphant, love or hate?  I have worked with a few clients who in their sordid past were self harmers—some with food, drugs or razor blades.  No matter the vice, they are all the same really.  Circumventing life frustrations, taking the stress out in a way that cripples them.  Instead of dealing with issues straight on, they hide their feelings and act out.

Why is it so hard to avoid self loathing?  I can take the thinnest most in shape person and they struggle as much as the over weight one.  Maybe that is a reason for the popularity of Instagram in that people are desperately trying to convince other people they are beautiful as they struggle with their own inner pain.

Who cares what you look like, it’s what’s on the inside that counts, as the old saying goes.  People do care what you look like, and you care what you ..read more

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My Dog Died

By Susan Howard

My dog actually did die two weeks ago, he was a great dog.  Bailey, he was like my first son.  He did funny tricks, flipped over couches and snored as he dreamed.  I will miss him forever and always.  The fact is I could not stop my 12-year-old blind dog from dying.  It’s one of the things that happens in life, and so it goes. 

If, however, I put on five pounds and I want to take them off there is a way to do so.  The five extra pounds is not an impossible puzzle.  There is something I can do about it.

Yes I have got to clean up my diet, exercise more, and be discipline in all the choices I make, but there is an answer to my problem.

Know this; if you think you can’t, you won’t.

Don’t make things bigger than they are.  You are not boxed into a corner in the ..read more

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