Looking Down

By Susan Howard

Good posture

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 thing you want to do is be aware of when you are slumping.  So each time you notice yourself slumping it’s a good thing.  “There I am, slumping again.” Then if you are sitting, find the seat bones firm on your chair and lengthen your spine up from there, drop your shoulders away from your ears and lift your sternum slightly up.  Finally lengthen through all four sides of your neck.  Now relax into this new position and breathe. 

You can repeat the same process from a standing position, just notice how your feet rest on the ground and try and find the center of your standing position.  Notice if you lean on the front of your foot or heel, also note if you turn in with your feet or turn out.  Try and keep your foot placement in neutral.

You got this. 

Stand tall, stand proud, be a leader, oh yeah, and watch out for the sky.

Stay Ready

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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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A closer look at what some people claim is a healthy diet and how to improve it.

Are You Healthy?

By Susan Howard

So… are you?  “Of course, I am healthy,” you retort.  I had wheat toast with almond butter for breakfast, a salad for lunch, Cliff bar for a snack, and a bean and cheese burrito for dinner.  To you, I say, “Yes, those are all fairly healthy choices especially if you are working out 4 to 5 days a week.”

I hate thinking of food as the gate keeper and myself as a prisoner in my own dietary life.  If, however, you are not getting the results you desire, you must look more carefully at the choices you make.

Back to that eating day, let’s look and assess…

Although the day’s calories contain a salad, the intake is a bit light on vegetables and has no fruit at all.  On top of that, there are hidden calorie bombs.  Almond butter, although good for you, can be over-served jacking up your calorie and fat count.  A thin layer of something creamy and delicious ..read more

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You can choose to be as fit as you wish. Make the choice!

Fight, fight, win!

By Susan Howard

Today at my local gym, I was talking to a workout pal of mine that also happens to be a mega bro. He looks like a pro wrestler with big guns, strong legs, and ripped abs. He was eating a cookie at the time (granted it was the healthy kind with extra protein inside), and he offered me a bite. I took a little taste and said, “You can eat that stuff, I can’t.”

“No I can’t,” he retorted. “Everyone always says that and they are dead wrong.” He continued, “I watch what I eat all the time, that’s how I look like this. It’s tough to give stuff up, but if you want to look a certain way, you have to.”

There it is.  All the images of hot chicks in swim suits and shirtless dudes with their jeans pulled down past their hips, don’t just look that way, they choose to look that way.  This opens a whole ..read more

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Find out if using a scale is the right move for you.

The Scale: To Use or Not to Use?

By Susan Howard

Riddle:  What tells you things you don’t want to hear without speaking a word?

Answer: The scale.

Okay, I just made that one up.

Some of my clients that have had a large weight loss and in the wake of this massive success have taken to weighing themselves on a daily or at least weekly basis.  For this category of person, I say good on ya.  It keeps you honest and keeps the pounds from secretly creeping back on.  You are fighting the 50 plus pounds you lost last year.

For the rest of us, let’s decide what is the best fit.

Answer these questions:

How do you feel after getting off the scale?:

Freaked out?

Hopeless?

Inspired?

Depressed?

Motivated?

For some of you the scale can mean many things.  It could be used as a reward or a punishment.  If it sends you into a fit of over or under eating then it’s not for you.  If, on the other hand, it keeps you in check and focused on your ..read more

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Find out which fats are okay for your diet.

FAT is FAT is FAT

By Susan Howard

Okay guys so what’s the story with fat?  Well, you should have some in your diet. Are all fats equal? Yes and no. Some fats are better for you than others.

Recommended fats are those from olive oil, avocado, fish and nuts.

So, the question is, what about all the other fats?  Can we have butter, or coconut oil, or trans fats?

The word on trans fats is still a no-go.  Most packaged foods have removed trans fats so you don’t have to worry as much about that, but be mindful of fried foods like french fries or doughnuts as they may have trans fats in them.  Continuing on with butter and coconut oil… Both have come back into favor over the last decade.  Yes, these fats are okay to consume, but don’t go crazy.  It’s still recommended that about 10 to 20 percent of your diet comes from fat.  So, good or bad, it’s still fat.

Which brings me to my ..read more

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Some healthy foods might not be good for everyone. Learn to eat what's good for your body.

What’s Good For Ya

By Susan Howard

Recently I was talking to a new client and she said, “I know salad is good for me, but every time I eat it, I get a huge stomach ache.”

“Well, it seems, salad isn’t good for you.”

Nothing is right for everyone.  Yes, fruits and veggies are generally good for fiber and nutrients, but if you have major stomach cramps after eating something you have to think about whether it’s a match for your system or not.

“Try warm vegetables instead of raw salad,” I suggested.

Healthy fats, lean proteins, vegan, carb free diets are all fine for some of you.  If you find yourself bloated or tired after a meal you need to question that.

Some of the mean intruders are the acid levels of citrus foods, coffee, and raw vegetables.

Other people have issues with diary or gluten.  Be mindful, take care of yourself.

You are you, honor that.  You deserve to feel good in your body.

Stay Ready.

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