Stretching, warming up, and cooling down are essential to getting a good and safe workout as an adult.

Warm Up, Stupid

By Susan Howard

When I was in my twenties, I remember age-old advice given to me: before working out, always warm up for at least 5 minutes and always cool down and stretch for 5 minutes after working out.  This and “wash behind your ears” were solid truths I chose to ignore.

What a waste of time, I thought. Why not just workout hard, jump on the treadmill, run 3 miles and be done with it?  I don’t have all this time to be bringing my body temperature up and slowly building to a run. Yawn.

That was then.  If you are 20 and reading this, you are probably okay.

But, when you get into your 30’s and 40’s a warm up is really essential, especially if you have been working out consistently.  As an adult, your connective tissues get tight from over use and repetitive contraction.

You must warm up, or you are likely to suffer a pull, strain or even a tear.

On this ..read more

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Susan Howard encourages people to just unroll their mat, start stretch, get to moving -- a good workout will follow.

Ask Not What Your Workout Can Do For You

By Susan Howard

“I am out of the habit,” one of my client laments.

“I know every workout right now is going to be painful, even yoga.”

If you are feeling unmotivated or even scared to get started up again, fear no more. Here is your plan: force yourself to go to a class or to the gym and decide that you can chill on a mat do some stretches and just relax. With low expectations, you can match your low motivation and at least start.

The gap between doing and not doing is like the Grand Canyon, unsurpassable. Once you unroll that mat, inevitably, you will get a decent workout.

Never ask if you feel like it. Nobody cares how you feel, your body needs to move, period.

Stay Ready.

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Personal Trainer Susan Howard shares advice on why we binge eat and assures readers that it's okay.

The Morning After, Stories of Binge Eating

By Susan Howard

“I had a horrible night last night,” my client begins. “I binged.” And so it goes, the tale of the morning after and for my big weight loss clients, this habit is especially a scary one that feels shameful and out of control.  “I am scared,” they continue, “that I am going to put all the weight back on.”

Of course you are.  Even the science thinks so.

Once you lose a large sum of weight, the fat cells remain, but have just shrunk down in size.  You cannot lose the cells. Stinks right?  That’s why it’s best never to get overweight in the first place.  Those little fat cells are hanging out asking to be filled up. “Hey, what’s the story, why am I so small now?  When am I getting filled up again?”

Here are a few causes for binge eating, beyond emotionally charged stress eating and plain old habit:

Taking in too little calories. Anything under 1,500 for an ..read more
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Getting back into shape doesn't have to be hard. Here are some great tips to get started again if it's been awhile since you worked out!

Back in the Chain Game

By Susan Howard

While it’s always better just to stay in the game, getting back into it is something most of us have to grapple with at some point.  Be it injury, vacations, or plain laziness, the possibilities are endless why someone might skip their workout.  Since we are a sum of our habits, skipping one workout could then mean skipping for months.

I run, therefore, I am.

Here are some tips my clients and I have found to be winners in jumping back into the iron.

Warm up your muscles with a 5 minute walk before you start. This will awaken the connective tissues and prepare your body for the routine.  In this case, dust off the cobwebs. Do 2 sets only of all moves at 75% of your normal weight. Within a week of not lifting weights muscle starts to break down.  Don’t go back to what you lifted a month ago, you have to build back to that. If you have a treadmill ..read more
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When you're tired or out of your routine, don't give up. Get your fitness done. You can do it!

GET IT DONE

By Susan Howard

I went out for a friends birthday last night and stayed up late, past midnight. Out of my normal routine, which is to be asleep by 10:30, I really felt heavy.

As I sit here with my computer, I don’t want to write about wellness and fitness.  It seems crazy — out partying the night before and now touting the benefits of heart rate raising workouts and avocado toast.

But yet, still… I persist.

It reminds me of something I made up:“Just Do It.” Okay, maybe Nike did… but I must borrow the simplicity of the phrase.  It doesn’t matter what I am in the mood for or how I am feeling  All that matters is what I DO.

Staying in the zone, ready for whatever, is the most important thing you can do for your body.

Consistency.

You got this.  You will wake up, warm up and feel good.  Just start.  The little engine really can.

Stay Ready.

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Susan Howard explains that being too strict on your health and wellness journey can be a drawback in the end.

Black or White

By Susan Howard

If your goal is weight loss, muscle building, or somewhere in-between, chances are you are being mindful about what you eat, how much you workout, the amount of sleep you get — the whole lot. Cruising along on My Fitness Pal (an app I love by the way), tracking your every move, you are getting some success and feeling great.

Then the BOMB hits.

You go on a trip, get off your routine, have a cheat day, and the whole plan goes to pot.  Something as simple as a cheat meal can derail a well meaning fitness seeker.

“Well, this is my cheat meal so I might as well have a third glass of wine, a troth of pasta, and a huge piece of cheesecake.”

Remember it’s not a competition.  You should be pretty healthy MOST of the time.  The more deprived you feel, the more likely you are to go off the rails. Try and find shades of gray. (Not that ..read more

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Stay fit and healthy by moving throughout your day and celebrating life.

You Can Always Get What You Want

By Susan Howard

Although the fitness industry would like you to believe you have to suffer and deprive yourself to look good, I totally disagree.

Can you eat a box of doughnuts and watch reruns of Friends everyday and get fit?  No.

Do you want to feel bloated and tired all day?  No.

What I want to talk about today is balance.

It’s a journey, the quest to self care, but please don’t let my industry with it’s bro dudes and size zero chicks tell you what feels good to your body.  The path to good health can be a bit rough, but it should also be fun.

When I was a kid I remember struggling to keep weight on, and my pants up for that matter.  Why?  It’s because I was too busy having fun riding my bike, playing chase, and climbing trees to eat.  I was booked up.

Yeah, you could say my metabolism was faster and blah blah, which is true, but I think ..read more

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Susan Howard discusses the drawbacks of being overweight and to focus on one pound at a time during your weight loss journey.

Skinny Bitch

By Susan Howard

Here are somethings I will never have to worry about.

Shopping in stores that will carry my size. If a belt hole will reach the buckle. Buying boots that go over my calf. Fitting into a movie theater seat/airplane seat. Fastening a seat belt. Wearing short sleeves on a hot day.

Working with my weight loss clients, I have learned a lot — mainly that it kind of sucks to be over weight.  Yes, there are more and more plus size stores and on the cover of February’s Sports Illustrated swim suit issue there was a plus size model.  Yet, there’s still limits to carrying around 100 extra pounds, not including joint pain and heart health.

Overeating is an addiction you wear everyday.  Not to mention, there’s the social stigma, as people can be so harsh.  You can be a closeted alcoholic/drug addict, but not the same can be said when it comes to food.

Recently I heard a statistic that at least fifty percent of Americans ..read more

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Before and After

By Susan Howard

Although intriguing to look at, I’ve always hated before and after pictures because they imply an untruth. The before image is of a sad sap, overweight and dumpy.  The after is a picture of a trimmer, suddenly tanned, buff version of themselves. It’s as if by the mere nature of losing 20 pounds the “after” person’s life is now flawless, all of their troubles have vanished, they have a smoking hot girlfriend/boyfriend, a large bank account, and great friends to party with.

In truth, there is no before and there is no after, there is only NOW.

This workout, this day, and choices made in this moment are all the factors in the image of you.  If you are unhappy in your body, then, no, you won’t feel good today or any other.  It is not empowering to walk around day after day in a body you despise. I am not talking about fitting into a size 2 jean, more like acknowledging ..read more

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Don't be disciplined! Change up your workout routine with a fun class or two!

Motivation is Dead

By Susan Howard

There is a reason the fitness industry is a 50-billion-dollar business. Americans want a change in their bodies, but fear they don’t have the motivation or discipline to get there on their own.  So like good consumers, they look to products to help them achieve the perfect self.  Most often, the diet or plan they pick only works temporarily or not at all and they move on to the next big thing.

Discipline is a mean word. It makes me feel like I got in trouble and am sitting in the principals office. Who wants to be disciplined? Not me. Is the disciplined person getting invited to a girl’s weekend, the lead singer in a punk band, or wind surfing in Australia?  The disciplined person sounds boring to me.

Great, you got your egg whites and your salad, but are you having sex? (Which can burn almost 100 calories, by the way.)

Motivation and discipline comes from a true want.  Identify ..read more

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