Reservoir

Work out with total abandonment -- be strange.

By Susan Howard

I was walking with a client around the reservoir, an Eastside dirt track meant to get her heart rate up. As we walked, we checked out the ducks and people watched.  With our dogs in tow, we walked and chatted.  No, we weren’t the fastest ones around the loop; we were there just to enjoy the morning and burn a few calories.

There were some hard core folks practicing their interval routines, and some serious competitors clocking their fastest miles, which is all good and normal…until…

We saw a women run/sashay/bootie boogie/ around the trail, complete with large arm gestures and random hip twitches.

“Maybe she is a dancer?” My client wondered if she was practicing a routine.  She could have been.  What it reminded me of was the pure joy of movement, the celebration of one’s body for it’s own sake.

This purity of fun, a spunk and strangeness, was not lost on me.

So for you out there that was cruising around the reservoir with reckless abandonment, bless you, and rock on.

Stay Strange.

Stay Ready.

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The secret to not gaining weight back when you go on vacation.

Vacaution

By Susan Howard

“I’m down ten pounds, but I’m heading out to New York.  I am worried that I am going to put it all back on,” said one of my clients who was stressing about her upcoming vacation and all the temptations in her path.  Hanging with old drinking buddies, the amazing N.Y. restaurants, and the “screw it” mentality all play a part.

When she says I am going to put it all back on, I trust that she is right.  I believe my clients know themselves well and are attuned to their patterns.

“Let’s create a plan,” I said.  I will offer you two drink cheats and two meal cheats in the two-week trip.  So, pick a night each week and let loose old school with your friends.  If you at least have a plan, you are much more likely to stick with it.  With no rules, every night is a party, and yes, you will regain the weight you worked ..read more

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How finding joy can help you get fit and find happiness in your body.

Keep It Real

By Susan Howard

While visiting my parents in my hometown on the outskirts of Chicago, I got to connect up with some friends that I hadn’t seen in years. We went to Highland Park High together and suffered through Algebra tests, Homecoming dances and dealing with the bitchy girls.  We weren’t popular by any means, but there were enough of us to feel like we had our own pack.

Let me tell you something, after years of life, we look good.  All of us had kept healthy lifestyles and seemed happy in spirit.  The best part about seeing my old friends is that we laughed and laughed.  There is an inherent comfortability with people you have known for years that you automatically slip back into when you see them again.

With this I say, be joyful.

What brings you true joy?

Answer that and you will be on your way to a healthy life.

We are constantly looking for these quick fixes and they aren’t going ..read more

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The fitness industry has changed. Personal Trainer Susan Howard discusses how her thoughts on exercise and wellness has changed over the years.

Things I No Longer Believe

By Susan Howard

My industry is constantly changing, so if I stay set in my ways, I will likely be missing some cool new innovations coming down the pipeline. Past trends recommended barefoot running and now it has swapped to hyper-cushioned gym shoes. Yoga was a unique new age meditative stretch class, now there is a power yoga on every corner. People used to do Jane Fonda videos, now they listen to a podcast, use an app or follow along with their favorite YouTube chick. You get it.

So what do I think now that I didn’t ten years ago? Here’s my top 5:

1. You have to workout for at least one hour to make it count.

Today, I know that you can crush a workout in under 30 minutes with HITT routines, heavy lifting, and intense runs.

2. You must do a ton of cardio to burn your fat.

Cardio is great, but strength training is better. Hit the weights!

3. Don’t eat high ..read more

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Abstain from sugar this holiday season.

Sugar, You Devil

 

By Susan Howard

If you are a parent (or a person in the U.S.), come Oct 31st, we begin a Sugar-fest that starts with Trick or Treating and continues on through April with the Easter Bunny.  That’s 5 months of the year that one is tempted with chocolate-covered whatevers and frosted bunny heads.

STOP the insanity.

Don’t get on the holiday dessert train.  Once you get on, you can’t get off.  It’s addictive.  Make no bones.

Sugar is addictive like nicotine or caffeine and, if you are like me, it’s tough to just have a little.  Sugar turns to fat on your tummy.

This is the first year I am going to try abstinence from sugar and I implore you to jump in with me.

I am skipping out on all the sweets.  This does not include a cocktail or two, just the sweets.

Who is with me???

Comment below.

Stay Ready.

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Working out is a great confidence booster.

Check Me Out

By Susan Howard

Today at my local gym, I got totally checked out.  The gawker was a tall broad type of guy, blond hair pulled back into a ponytail and muscular. Let’s just say he was the kind of hot that you’d see in an ad for a sports watch or men’s cologne.

I know, I shouldn’t want to be “objectified,” and I don’t even like guys, and, hell, I have a wife, but it’s nice to know I still got it.

Maybe he was checking me out because I was lifting heavy and he was in awe of my brute strength, roar!  Maybe when you workout you emit an extra glow that says I am alive and in the zone.

I just turned 48 and got a head turn from a 20-something Greek god.

Working out works.  You look better, you feel better, and people check you out.

Now get to it.

Stay Ready.

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Wasting your food is better than overeating according to Susan Howard, personal trainer of Los Feliz, California.

Clean Your Plate

By Susan Howard

While I hate to waste food, water, clothes, money, anything really, there is one thing I will always and forever be against, the “Clean your plate” mentality.

Why?  Because it leads to an overstuffed version of you.

First, shrink down your plate size.  Get a smaller plate to put less food on and have less to “clean.”

Second, try and fill your small plate with equal portions of protein, good fats, grains, and greens.

When you are eating out, order LESS than you think you want.

Lastly, listen to your body.  When you are full, the show is over.

Waste, yes, WASTE your food.  Happily dump it down the disposal.

Then it’s done.

Or mail the second half of your sandwich to those poor kids in Africa.

Yes, they do need it. No, your overeating won’t feed the hungry children.

Write a check to the Red Cross each time you dump your plate if that helps.

No guilt.

Stay Ready.

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Tradition

By Susan Howard

I often write about habits and being a fitness professional. The pinnacle quandary to address is, “What are our habits and how can we change them to create a healthier lifestyle?”

I am going to shock you.  Ready?

Some of your habits, you will want to keep.  Yep, even the “bad” ones.

I have a tradition — when I get my car washed I go to a little bakery, grab a coffee and a cookie, and do some work.  It’s got AC, free water, and Top 40 radio pumping.  It also allows me to maximize my free time of which I have little.

I have been off sugar for the last 5 months, so going to the coffee shop was a bit of a challenge.  But it makes sense for me and I love the hang.

So having worked out for over an hour, I knew that I needed to get something besides my earl grey tea.

I paced back and forth, and landed on ..read more

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Find yourself stuck in a rut? Need some inspiration to work out? Susan Howard provides a quick workout to get you going.

Trance

By Susan Howard

We get stuck.

It happens to all of us.  The hardest thing is to get unstuck.  It seems impossible to create and stick to new habits.  What’s the point anyways?

Recently, I have taken on a few new clients and it’s always fun for me to feel the immediate change they get after working out.  “I am feeling a lot less depressed.”  “I am sleeping better.” “I have more patience with my kids.” The list goes on.

Sedentary to active are two total and complete opposing things.  The problem is, being sedentary doesn’t give you any energy to get moving.

We are stuck in a trance, a loop of dim vibrations.

Do this now:

10 minute walk in your neighborhood

10 body weight squats

10 push ups full body or from knees

25 crunches

There you started.  The barrier of entry is a lot smaller.  Now just push repeat.

Love yourself.  Do something that will make you feel amazing.

Stay Ready.

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There's only one thing you need to do to be healthy and lose weight -- be consistent in your workouts.

Rewind It Back

By Susan Howard

There is ONE thing I want you to know — only ONE.

I give you the big secret here….

To have the body of your dreams and to be fit and healthy there is ONE thing you must do…

Be consistent.

Workout every week 3 to 5 times each week.  Each and every one.  3 to 5 times.

It feels so good.

You get to stave off illness, disease, obesity, and yes, death.

Plus you gain energy and feel hot in your jeans.

So there.

Stay Ready.

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